WQAD News

Iowa puppy mill dogs get second chance at life in Moline

MOLINE-- Last week an Iowa woman was found guilty of animal neglect after her Worth County puppy mill was shut down. What what happened to the more than 150 dogs there? Now some of those dogs are getting a second chance at life.

Even a gambler feeling lucky wouldn't jump on these odds; that two-year-old Layla the Semoyed, with all her puppy energy, would get a sister.

"This is Sadie. Sadie's about six maybe seven years old," says James Zahara.

That bet gets even more risky when you find out where Sadie used to live.

"We were heartbroken, absolutely heartbroken," says Zahara.

In north central Iowa in the county of Worth, Sadie was one of 154 Semoyed dogs saved from an illegal puppy mill.

"They had them crammed several small kennels, they were thin. It was just atrocious," says Humane Society of Scott County director Pam Arndt.

The rescue was so intensive that Arndt and her team were called in as backup.

Then Pam called backup of her own, Zahara.

"We found out they were pretty much experts in Semoyeds and knew they would be a good fit," says Arndt.

The fostering and adoption process wasn't easy.

"When we first got Sadie, she had no personality. She didn't even know she was a dog," says Zahara.

But with time and patience, Sadie started to change.

"The tail starts waggling, the tail starts waggling. We were just like yeah! You're becoming a dog!" says Zahara.

With that, the odds of this family growing again, those odds, in Layla and Sadie's favor.

"Someone to adopt both of them? Perfect!" says Arndt.

"We heard about Boo. We thought let's do this!" says Zahara.

Two-year-old Boo is also a puppy mill product from Worth County.

Signs of the past are still present; Boo's apprehension to new visitors and Sadie's shorter stature.

"She never played with dogs before. All she did was breed, all she did was breed in a small environment," says Zahara.

But with every passing day, for these fighters, the odds improve. Because in this game of life, everyone deserves a second chance.

"It was mainly trust more than anything else, and knowing that it brought more love into this house than we could have ever imagined," says Zahara.

Davenport mayor appoints 4 new civil rights commissioners

DAVENPORT, Iowa- City of Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch announced his appointments to the Davenport Civil Rights Commission.

The 4 prospects are:

Linda Gilman: Ms. Gilman has resided in Davenport since April 2017. She has a Master of Science degree in Gerontology and Counseling from National Louis University. Her professional work involves helping families who have individuals diagnosed with dementia and providing training to caregivers.

Erie Johnson: Mr. Johnson has a Juris Doctorate from Northern Illinois University College of Law where he received many awards and honors. He currently works as a fiduciary advisory specialist and has previously worked in a legal office representing a variety of legal disciplines. Among various other groups, Mr. Johnson is a member of the Greater Quad Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Scott County Bar Association, and Salvation Army Advisory Board.

Michael Liendo: Mr. Liendo was born and raised in Davenport. He is currently employed as a software engineer and an organizer of QC Coders where he presents free programming sessions to the community. Mr. Liendo also participates in Well Suited QC, a nonprofit organization founded by Tracy White, to bring together African-American boys and teenagers from disadvantaged neighborhoods in the Quad Cities with African-American men.

Ruby Mateos: Ms. Mateos has a Master of Science in Health Sciences from Trident University International, a Master of Jurisprudence in Health Law and Policy from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, and is working on a Doctorate of Public Health in Advocacy and Leadership. She is employed as a public health manager where she has collaborated in a multicultural and multilingual environment to support health law and public policy including community and public health.

"Erie Johnson and Ruby Mateos have been serving on Davenport’s Affirmative Action Commission and Housing Commission, respectively. They will vacate these seats concurrently with their confirmation to the Davenport Civil Rights Commission. The four new commissioners will be presented for confirmation at the April 24 City Council meeting."

UnityPoint Health unveils new SouthPark Pointe facility

MOLINE, Illinois -- The new SouthPark Pointe facility opened to patients in mid-March.

UnityPoint Health held a ribbon cutting on Thursday, April 18th. The new facility, located at 3904 16th St. in Moline, is now home to Express Care, Family Medicine and Pediatrics are all under one roof.

The facility also includes onsite x-ray and lab, more exam rooms,  and convenient parking.

"It makes it more convenient for all the patients to get the services they need," said  Kate Cuellar with UnityPoint Health. "And we've got really wonderful feedback on that from our community."

UnityPoint Health-Trinity Physical Rehabilitation was also relocated to the facility. The new rehabilitation location at SouthPark Pointe includes brand new equipment, a UV booth, adjustable parallel bars, specialized treatment rooms and an overhead track and harness system used to prevent falls.

Victim of brutal taco shop attack says he’s standing up against bullying with the help of his family

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - The 16-year-old victim of a brutal attack that started on social media spoke out against bullying Wednesday at a rally organized by his family.

"As soon as I felt them come at me, I thought I was dead," Paul Martin told FOX 5. “I thought, one bad stomp to the neck or to the head and I wouldn’t be here right now.”

Viral cell phone video showed six teens beating Martin inside a Chula Vista restaurant April 11. The teens were arrested the following week.

“I just want to thank everyone for putting a situation like this in the spotlight where other people can focus on it and speak up," Martin said.

Martin's father said it is a miracle his son is alive.

“For some reason he survived this beating. So I’m going to turn a bad thing into a good thing," Margarito Martin told KSWB.

The Martins organized a peaceful protest outside of the restaurant where the attack took place. Dozens of people attended, carrying posters and wearing T-shirts with anti-bullying messages.

“We know there are so many cases out there and we want them to know that they’re not alone," Chula Vista resident Mari Parraza said. "It’s about time that we raise our voices and our voices need to be heard.”

"We have teenagers as well," another protester said. "If it happened to them it could happen to us so that’s why we’re here supporting our community."

Chula Vista Police Department Captain Vern Sallee also addressed the crowd, urging students to speak up and parents to intervene early on. He said students and parents can submit information directly and anonymously to law enforcement on a mobile app called P3 Tips.

"We get tips on a daily basis," Sallee said.

The Martins said they plan to work with Chula Vista schools to support other families dealing with the issue of bullying.

"I'm not going to let it go," Margarito Martin said. “Our family is going to be available for anyone that wants help. We’re going to try to help them.”

Here’s why McDonald’s is ditching its fancy burgers

(CNN) — McDonald’s is streamlining its menu by revamping its Quarter Pounder and abandoning its craft burgers.

The company said Wednesday that it will “move away” from its Signature Crafted Recipes line — which includes items like a mushroom and swiss cheese burger and one with bacon, cheddar, and fried onions — on its national menu to focus on its Quarter Pounder. McDonald’s said it made the decision based on customer feedback.

Over the past few months, the company has introduced new versions of its classic Quarter Pounder to its national menu: One with bacon, and a deluxe version with lettuce and tomato. Both are prepared with fresh beef.

“With more and more fresh beef offerings for their core sandwiches, it was probably the next natural step for them to phase those out and put the priority on the Quarter Pounder,” Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy said. Restaurants that “have focused around reducing the number of products to improve speed of service and order accuracy” tend to have more success, he noted.

McDonald’s has indeed been paring back its offerings.

Recently, McDonald’s shared its plan to shrink its late-night menu: Starting April 30, Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwiches, Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Sandwiches, Buttermilk Crispy Tenders, Filet-O-Fish and premium salads will not be available from midnight to 5 a.m., according to the company. Signature Crafted Recipes were also on that list. Other late-night menu items, including Big Macs, Quarter Pounders and McNuggets, will still be available.

“We’ll be simplifying what’s served after midnight so customers can get the most popular favorites,” said Andrea Abate, spokesperson for McDonald’s, at the time.

McDonald’s wants to reduce the “complexity” of menus and store operations, CFO Kevin Ozan told analysts at a conference last month. He added that the company’s new additions — all day breakfast, fresh beef and premium sandwiches — have “created a little bit slower drive-thru times.”

Meanwhile, the company is expanding its breakfast menu — an important meal for fast food chains. In October, the company added its first new breakfast sandwich in five years. In February McDonald’s also introduced Donut Sticks, which are only available during breakfast hours. The company serves other breakfast items all day.

Hottovy thinks that McDonald’s will continue to innovate around its core products, including the Quarter Pounder.

Oklahoma man arrested after hidden camera discovered in women’s restroom

SALLISAW, Okla. — A restaurant employee has been arrested after customers found a hidden camera in a women's bathroom while trying to connect to the WiFi.

Edgar Leonel Moran-Carrera, 32

On Sunday, a customer at Roma's Italian Restaurant in Sallisaw logged into a WiFi account and saw a camera pointing at a bathroom stall.

Sallisaw officers, with assistance from restaurant management, located a hidden wireless Bluetooth camera in the air vent above the stall in the women's bathroom.

On Tuesday, Edgar Leonel Moran-Carrera, 32, was arrested after he reportedly confessed to placing the camera in the bathroom. He has been an employee since the restaurant opened over five years ago.

According to a press release, this is the second time a camera has been found in the women's bathroom at the restaurant, but is the first time it's been reported to the police.

Upon searching Moran-Carrera's residence, investigators seized several cellphones, laptops, data storage devices and computer equipment.

This case is still under investigation.

Grand jury indicts Ohio man accused of pretending to be missing Illinois boy Timmothy Pitzen

CINCINNATI, OH (WCPO) – A federal grand jury Wednesday indicted an Ohio man who is accused of pretending to be a missing boy from Illinois, federal officials said.

A grand jury indicted Brian Michael Rini, 23, on two counts of making false statements and one count of aggravated identity theft.

When neighbors found 23-year-old Brian Michael Rini wandering the streets of Newport, Kentucky Wednesday, he told them he was Timmothy Pitzen, a 14-year-old boy who had been missing for years, according to federal officials.

According to an affidavit filed in federal court, Rini said his name was Timmothy Pitzen, he’d been abducted when he was 6 years old and he just wanted to go home. After Newport police officers made contact with him April 3, Rini complained of abdominal pain and was driven to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

He also claimed he’d recently escaped from a hotel room where two men had been holding him captive, and that he’d been sexually and physically abused while in captivity, according to the affidavit. But a DNA test revealed his true identity.

Rini has twice before made bogus claims about being a juvenile sex trafficking victim and only admitted to the hoax this time after being confronted with the results of a DNA test, the FBI said.

A federal magistrate ordered Rini be detained pending his trial.

Authorities have asked anyone with genuine information about the case to call Aurora police at 630-256-5000 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678. The FBI asked anyone with information about Rini’s activities over the past few months to call 1-800-225-5324.

Rini is scheduled to appear in court for arraignment at 1:30 p.m. Friday.

‘Game of Thrones’ has used 12,137 hairpieces and 4,000 gallons of fake blood. Here’s some other eye-popping stats from the HBO show.

How big of a global juggernaut is “Game of Thrones?”

As the show rolls through its climactic season, here are some numbers from HBO that illustrate its massive production scale — and staggering growth.

US viewership (in millions)

It’s hard to imagine now, but it took a while for the series to grow into the cultural phenomenon it’s become. Some people initially dismissed it as another swords-and-sorcery fantasy series before mainstream viewers began to recognize its broader appeal.

Season One (2011) — 9.3

Season Two (2012) — 11.6

Season Three (2013) — 14.4

Season Four (2014) — 19.1

Season Five (2015) — 20.2

Season Six (2016) — 25.7

Season Seven (2017) — 32.8

Weeks of post-production per season

In the first season, the special effects were simpler, fewer and farther between. In later seasons, as Daenerys’ dragons grew and the series’ producers staged epic battles, they became more complicated and spectacular.

Season One — 17

Season Two — 21

Season Three — 20

Season Four — 21

Season Five — 22

Season Six — 24

Season Seven — 30

Season Eight — 42

Thousands of extras, wigs, and gallons of blood

10 — countries where the show was filmed

Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Morocco, Malta, Spain, Croatia, Iceland, United States, Canada, and Scotland.

207 — countries where the show is broadcast

12,986 — extras used in Northern Ireland, the show’s primary filming location

12,137 — wigs and hairpieces used over the show’s eight seasons

— prototypes used to develop Daenerys’ wig color and style

— shooting stages at Titanic Studios in Belfast

They have housed the interiors of Winterfell, Castle Black, High Hall of the Eyrie, the Sky Cells in the Eyrie, the Hall of Faces, the House of Black and White, the Great Sept of Baelor, the Great Pyramid of Meereen’s Throne Room and the iconic King’s Landing Throne Room.

40 — VFX (visual effects) companies who have worked on imagery for the show

They are in 13 far-flung countries, including China, India, New Zealand, and the US.

52,000 — bags of paper snow used over the eight seasons

4,000 — gallons of artificial blood used over the eight seasons

132 — Emmy nominations for the show (it has won 47 Emmys)

More than 5 million — tweets about Sunday’s Season 8 premiere, the most ever for a “Game of Thrones” episode

Colorado neighborhood ‘Swastika Acres’ to get new name after unanimous vote

CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. — A neighborhood in the Denver suburb of Cherry Hills Village will no longer be called Swastika Acres.

The Cherry Hills Village City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a name change, hoping to prevent future controversy.

The subdivision was named Swastika Acres decades before the symbol was adopted by the Nazis, according to KDVR.

The subdivision’s name can’t be found on roadway welcome signs, but it can be seen on real estate closing documents.

“Some buyers are savvy enough to read the documents and really dig in and understand what their legal description of their property is,” said Cherry Hills Village councilman Dan Sheldon. “That’s the only way you’d know.”

Sheldon spearheaded the effort to change the name. He said the name comes from the old Denver Land Swastika Company. That was the company that divided the land into plots near the turn of the 20th Century.

“There was nothing wrong with [the name] at that time,” Sheldon explained.

Over the years, there’s been a desire to change the name of Swastika Acres, but the legal process to do so wasn’t easy — requiring 100 percent of property owners to be on board, according to city officials. Cherry Hills Village adopted a new ordinance requiring just 51 percent owner approval.

Not everyone supported the name change. One woman voiced her opposition to the city.

“She thought it was important to preserve that historical value of that symbol, the swastika, even though she herself lost family members in the Holocaust,” Sheldon said.

But with a majority of residents wanting change — 74 years after World War II — Swastika Acres in Cherry Hills Village is no more.

The new name of the subdivision is Old Cherry Hills.

Man falls asleep next to garage, accidentally shoots himself when homeowner wakes him

LAKE TAPPS, Wash. — A 33-year-old man is in custody after reportedly falling asleep in his truck next to a stranger’s garage in Washington state, then accidentally shooting himself when the resident confronted him.

According to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded about 6:40 a.m. Thursday to reports of a man in a truck firing shots at a property in the 2800 block of 170th Avenue East.

When deputies arrived, they found a 33-year-old man in the driveway area of the property in question. He was suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the leg and was taken into custody without incident.

Deputies learned that sometime overnight, the suspect was driving to visit an acquaintance in the South Hill area, but got lost and decided to park his truck alongside a garage at the property on 179th Avenue. The suspect reportedly used methamphetamine and then fell asleep inside his truck.

Thursday morning, the person who lives at the property noticed the unknown vehicle when she was pulling out of her driveway. The woman told deputies that she rolled down the window of her vehicle and verbally confronted the suspect.

The suspect reportedly awoke screaming and began firing a handgun. Multiple rounds went through the windshield and window of the suspect’s truck in the direction of the victim and her vehicle. One round also struck the suspect in the leg.

The woman was not injured.

The man was taken to an area hospital and is under guard while he is receiving medical treatment for his gunshot wound. He’ll be booked for assault in the first degree when he’s released.

Bride-to-be cancels engagement shoot, opts for ‘first dance’ photos with dying father

CULPEPER, Virginia — When Becky Carey learned her father was losing his battle with prostate cancer, the bride-to-be reached out to her photographer before the engagement photo shoot and requested a change of plans.

Instead of posing with her fiance, Matt, Carey requested a photo shoot with her father.

She knew there was a chance he wouldn’t make it to the wedding and wanted to document their first dance.

When photographer Bonnie Turner learned that Carey’s father died late last month, she posted the images on Facebook and shared Carey’s emotional request to her.

Here is a portion of Carey’s email:

“My dad has been fighting Prostate cancer and his body is now at the point where it can’t handle more treatment. We found out yesterday that he starts hospice this week. We’d really love to use the deposit Matt gave you to do a family photo session. Matt and I will worry about our photos later, because this is more pressing with time. We haven’t had professional family photos taken since my brother and I were little, and this would mean so much to us. Of course this is a very difficult and dark time, but I know how you feel about love and capturing it so beautifully and meaningfully.

This weekend (on Sunday) a good friend of mine who does videography is doing a really special favor for me – My dad and I are getting dressed up to film our first dance so that I can have it at my wedding. Dad is getting weaker by the day and unfortunately we have to do this as soon as possible. I wanted to see if you were able and willing to come and take photos at my parent’s house in Woodbridge on this really last minute request. We are throwing this plan together really fast because we don’t know how long we have before he won’t be able to.”

Turner’s post was shared more than 33,000 times and has more than 4,000 comments. Many were from people who wanted to help pay for the engagement photos and the wedding. That’s when Turner decided to set up a GoFundMe page.

“Not only could they use the help with the wedding,” Turner wrote on the GoFundMe page. “Her darling mom who stood right by his side and cared for her husband for years, could use some relief with any kind of medical, funeral, and/or home expenses.

“Any help will be appreciated to this amazing family. Thank you for your sweet words, love and sincere hearts.”

Parents call for better anti-bullying measures after boy’s attack caught on camera

WENTZVILLE, Mo. – Patrick Vining calls it “very disturbing.” A video that’s been shared on social media shows his son being repeatedly struck inside a classroom at Wentzville Middle School.

Vining said a teacher was inside the classroom while one student recorded the video and the other assaulted his son.

“I was appalled,” he said.

Vining said it’s the second time his son was attacked inside the school and wants the district to do more to try and prevent bullying.

“If we can make a change and be a catalyst for that change here in the community, that’s what we’re looking for,” he said.

Tina Meier is a well-known advocate for victims of bullying. She started the Megan Meier Foundation in honor of her daughter, who was bullied and eventually died by suicide.

“Bullying is everywhere,” Meier said.

Meier said many districts need more counselors and social workers to help ensure students are safe. She believes school districts need more funding for resources related to anti-bullying efforts.

“What we really want to look at is how can we make more of an effort within schools to provide the schools with the supports so that when these things happen, they can work with a counselor, they can work with groups and can work on conflict resolution,” she said.

Vining is calling on the Wentzville School District to review its policies and look for ways to stop bullying.

“As a community, we should come together and push the district to really review those policies and see if we can make a change,” he said.

The Wentzville School District released the following statement:

“The video referenced and shared on social media is disturbing and we take any harm to our students or staff very seriously. We regret that this situation occurred, and although we cannot share specifics with regard to students or disciplinary matters, we can share that the incident was investigated immediately and reported to local law enforcement. The safety of our students is always our primary concern and we are committed to providing a safe learning environment for all students.”

Why these nests are floating on the water at Scott County Park

ELDRIDGE, Iowa — Two swan nests have been installed at Scott County Park.

In mid-April 2019, park staff built and installed the nests, which were made to float to be able to withstand changing water levels.  A post on the Scott County, Iowa Conservation Facebok page said that the floating nests would be more sustainable.

“A floating nest will fluctuate with rising or falling water levels and there is far less risk of the nest being flooded, unlike a nest built on land,” read the post.

There are swans that return year after year, according to the post.  Drivers and hikers can expect to see them as they pass by.

Florida man impersonating police pulls over undercover detective

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. – A Florida man is behind bars after pulling over a real police officer while pretending to be one, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

Matthew Joseph Erris, 26 was arrested for impersonating a law enforcement officer, according to WFLA.

According to deputies, Erris turned on red and blue lights Tuesday night and pulled over an undercover detective. The detective called 911 to call in the bizarre traffic stop, and Erris was arrested a short while later.

WFLA said deputies found a “realistic looking” airsoft pistol inside Erris’ Chevy Trailblazer.

He was arrested and later released on bond.

Read the Mueller report for yourself

(CNN) — Congress and the public can access a redacted version of the Mueller report.

The release came after a news conference by Attorney General William Barr.

Watch: Attorney General William Barr’s press conference on the Mueller report

You can download a copy of the report here.

Here are some key lines:

Trump campaign “expected” help from Russians but did not conspire

Mueller’s report concludes that it “did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in the election interference activities.”

That’s as clear as it can be, but Mueller also concluded that both the Russian government and the Trump campaign believed the other would be beneficial.

Here’s how the report put it:

“[T]he investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts…”

Trump asked campaign aides to find Hillary Clinton’s emails

Mueller learned that after publicly saying he hoped Russia would find Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails from her private server, Trump asked people associated with his campaign to find them, including a future member of his White House staff.

“Michael Flynn — who would later serve as national security adviser in the Trump Administration — recalled that Trump made the request repeatedly, and Flynn subsequently contacted multiple people in an effort to obtain the emails,” the report says.

Trump privately and repeatedly “asked individuals affiliated with his campaign to find the deleted Clinton emails,” the report says.

Flynn and another campaign official, Sam Clovis, were also aware of an ongoing effort by longtime Republican operative Peter Smith and former Senate staffer Barbara Ledeen to find the emails.

But, the report says, Mueller “did not establish that Smith was in contact with Russian hackers or that Smith, Ledeen, or other individuals in touch with the Trump Campaign ultimately obtained the deleted Clinton emails.”

Mueller “does not exonerate” Trump on obstruction

Mueller offers no definitive conclusion on whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice during the course of his investigation.

“While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” the report says.

The evidence “about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred,” Mueller adds.

Furthermore, Mueller makes it clear his investigators would have said there was no obstruction if they could demonstrate it: “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.”

Aides refused to help efforts to obstruct

Mueller reports that because aides and advisers to Trump refused to “carry out orders,” the President was prevented from influencing the special counsel’s investigation.

Here’s the relevant line: “The President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.”

White House counsel Don McGahn received a phone call at home from Trump on June 17, 2017. Trump directed McGahn to call Rosenstein and tell him Mueller “had conflicts of interest and must be removed.”

According to the report, McGahn refused and said he would “rather resign than trigger what he regarded as a potential Saturday Night Massacre.” That’s a reference to President Richard Nixon’s order to his attorney general to fire the independent special prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal. Both the attorney general and the deputy attorney general resigned rather than carry out the order.

Mueller says Congress can pursue investigation of Trump obstruction

Members of Congress will zero in on one critical section in Mueller’s report. The special counsel provides a constitutional justification for its own investigation, but also points out that Congress can also apply obstruction laws in investigating and impeaching a sitting president.

Here’s the relevant line in the report: “The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.”

The report also cites Supreme Court precedent and the separation of powers to say “the Constitution does not categorically and permanently immunize a President for obstructing justice.”

Trump’s written answers to Mueller’s questions were “inadequate”

The special counsel viewed an interview with Trump “vital to our investigation” and even considered a subpoena but decided not to because the process could “delay” finishing the investigation. Instead, Mueller provided Trump with written questions to answer but was not satisfied with the President’s responses.

“We noted, among other things, that the President stated on more than 30 occasions that he ‘does not ‘recall’ or ‘ remember’ or have an ‘ independent recollection” of information called for by the questions. Other answers were ‘incomplete or imprecise,'” the report says. “The written responses, we informed counsel, ‘demonstrate the inadequacy of the written format, as we have had no opportunity to ask follow-up questions that would ensure complete answers and potentially refresh your client’s recollection or clarify the extent or nature of his lack of recollection.'”

Could not prove Trump Jr. “willfully” broke law with Trump Tower meeting

Mueller did not prosecute President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Jr., over his actions in accepting a meeting in June 2016 at Trump Tower with a Russian national who promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

Investigators could not prove Trump Jr. or the other campaign officials at the meeting “willfully” violated the law.

The other Trump officials at the meeting were Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign chair Paul Manafort, who agreed to meet with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. The special counsel concluded that prosecuting the campaign officials present for campaign-finance violations would be too difficult to pursue.

“The Office ultimately concluded that, even if the principal legal questions were resolved favorably to the government, a prosecution would encounter difficulties proving that Campaign officials or individuals connected to the Campaign willfully violated the law.”

Ivanka and Hope Hicks knew Don Jr. was seeking dirt on Clinton

Days before he held the 2016 meeting at Trump Tower, Donald Trump Jr. announced at a meeting of Trump campaign officials that he was pursuing a lead on getting negative information about the Clinton foundation, according to Mueller’s interview with deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates.

“Gates believed that Trump Jr. said the information was coming from a group in Kyrgyzstan and that he was introduced to the group by a friend. Gates recalled that the meeting was attended by Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Paul Manafort, Hope Hicks, and, joining late, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.”

Trump misled the public on the Trump Tower meeting, but it wasn’t criminal

Mueller describes finding three occasions in the summer of 2017 when Trump told people around him not to mislead the press about the Trump Tower meeting.

“Each of these efforts by the President involved his communications team and was directed at the press,” Mueller writes. “They would amount to obstructive acts only if the President, by taking these actions, sought to withhold information from or mislead congressional investigators or the Special Counsel.”

In one particular instance, Trump directed White House aide Hope Hicks on July 8, 2017, to amend a draft statement from Donald Trump Jr. to give the New York Times, which would publish it along with a story breaking news of the meeting on July 9.

“The President told Hicks to say only that Trump Jr. took a brief meeting and it was about Russian adoption,” the report reads. The final statement as published by the Times, Mueller found, “did not mention the offer of derogatory information about Clinton” or about future US sanctions on Russia, which the investigation discovered were the “principal subjects of the meeting.”

Sarah Sanders misled the media about the firing of the FBI director

On May 10, 2017, then-deputy White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a televised briefing that President Trump had fired James Comey as FBI director because the “rank and file of the FBI had lost confidence” in him. Pressed by reporters to support this assertion, Sanders said the White House had heard from “countless members of the FBI.”

When interviewed by the special counsel, however, Sanders admitted that was not the case.

“Sanders told this Office that her reference to hearing from ‘countless members of the FBI’ was a ‘slip of the tongue.’ She also recalled that her statement in a separate press interview that rank-and-file FBI agents had lost confidence in Comey was a comment she made ‘in the heat of the moment’ that was not founded on anything.”

Trump dropped swear word after Mueller got the job

According to the report, the President said in May 2017 that the appointment of the special counsel was the “end” of his presidency.

When he learned deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein had appointed Robert Mueller to investigate Russian interference, Trump apparently “slumped back in his chair and said, ‘Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m ******.'”

Jason Momoa shaves his beard while promoting transition from plastic to aluminum

A man whose beard has become almost iconic has gone under the razor, shaving it all off while talking about an important cause.

Jason Momoa, more commonly known as Khal Drogo or Aquaman, recently shaved his beautiful beard, one he said he hasn’t shaved since 2012.

Momoa recorded the buzz, all while discussing what kind of changes need to be made in order to preserve the environment for the next generation. His focus: trading out plastic for aluminum.

In the YouTube video, Momoa said 75 percent of all aluminum is still in circulation, and an aluminum can that gets recycled can be back in circulation in 60 days. For these reasons, Momoa said making the switch from plastic water bottles to aluminum cans is a good call for the environment today and for the future of the planet.

“I just want to do this to bring awareness that plastics are killing our planet and I think I have a solution. I don’t want to b**** about it, there’s only one thing that can really help our planet, save our planet, as long as we recycle — and that’s aluminum,” Momoa said.

$336,000 bond payments keeps fight to save RICo Courthouse going

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois — A bond payment will keep the Rock Island County Courthouse in tact temporarily.

Demolition of the century-old building was initially put on hold by a preservation group called Landmarks Illinois in late March 2019, when they filed an appeal.  The group needed to pay a $336,000 bond to keep the fight moving in court.

According to Rock Island County State’s Attorney John McGehee, the group made their payment on Friday, April 12, days before the deadline.  Mcgehee said that money would cover the cost of the delays for the Rock Island County Public Building Commission.

The hold continues and a judge will determine if the case will be expedited.

More charges for man accused of claiming to be missing boy Timmothy Pitzen

CINCINNATI (AP) — A federal grand jury indictment that was filed Thursday accuses an Ohio man who claimed to be a missing child from Illinois of lying to federal agents and of identity theft.

Brian Michael Rini, 23, of Medina, now faces two counts of lying to federal agents and one count of aggravated identity theft.

U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman’s office in Cincinnati said making false statements carries a possible sentence of eight years in prison with conviction, while the identify theft count would bring a mandatory two years if he is convicted.

He had been arrested earlier on a single false statement count after DNA testing proved he wasn’t Timmothy Pitzen, who disappeared in 2011 at age 6.

Related: FBI: DNA shows that person claiming to be long-lost Timmothy Pitzen is not

Rini is being held without bond, with arraignment scheduled Friday. A message seeking comment was left Thursday with his federal public defender.

Police picked up Rini the morning of April 3 on the streets of Newport, Kentucky.

They said that he told them he was Timmothy and that he had escaped two kidnappers after years of sexual abuse.

Police took him to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for treatment and testing. Federal authorities have said they were skeptical, especially after he refused to be fingerprinted, but didn’t want to miss a chance to possibly solve the Pitzen disappearance.

The FBI said DNA testing established his identity as a convicted felon who had been released on probation in March from an Ohio prison after serving more than a year on burglary and vandalism charges.

Federal authorities said he also has twice before portrayed himself to be a juvenile sex trafficking victim, as he did in this case.

federal magistrate last week cited Rini’s lack of a permanent address, past mental health issues and “a lengthy criminal history” that goes back to age 13 as she ordered him held without bond.

In 2017, Rini was treated at an Ohio center for people with mental health or substance abuse problems, according to court papers.

Illinois education board studying teacher testing costs

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois education officials are considering whether the cost of teacher licensure tests may be contributing to the state’s teacher shortage.

The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports that the Illinois State Board of Education discussed Wednesday how to solve the problem while still maintaining high quality in classrooms. Higher-education partners and teacher candidates have told board members that one basic skills test costs $113 and another test is $300.

The board indefinitely has put on hold the Test of Academic Proficiency starting June 30 while it studies other ways to test teachers’ basic skills.

Three bills are pending in the Illinois General Assembly that would eliminate the test or refund the cost to certain teachers. A board lobbyist says it has taken a neutral position on bills eliminating the test.

Pages