WQAD News

Liquid blood, urine found inside prehistoric 42,000-year-old foal

VERKHOYANSK, Russia – Russian researchers have found liquid blood and urine inside the frozen carcass of a foal that died 42,000 years ago in Siberia’s Verkhoyansk region.

The animal’s body fluids were extracted during an autopsy and tested in the hope of cloning the extinct species, according to Semyon Grigoriev, director of the Mammoth Museum at Northeastern Federal University (NEFU) in Yakutsk.

Mammoth tusk hunters discovered the ancient foal embedded in the permafrost of the massive Batagaika crater during the summer of 2018, on a day when the temperature had plummeted to -67.8 degrees Celsius (-90 degrees Fahrenheit).

Grigoriev told CNN via email the foal appeared to have been just two weeks old when it died, likely by drowning in mud which then became part of the permafrost.

“An autopsy showed the foal carcass was extremely well-preserved, the body even without deformation,” he added. “The hair cover also preserved most parts of the carcass, especially at the head and legs.”

The preservation of the animal’s fur was extremely rare, Grigoriev said, before adding, “Now we can say what color was the wool of the extinct horses of the Pleistocene era.”

The discovery of liquid blood and urine is rarer still. Grigoriev said he was aware of only one other case where liquid blood was found in an animal from the Pleistocene epoch, which lasted from around 2.6 million years ago until about 11,700 years ago. That was in the frozen carcass of an adult mammoth discovered by Grigoriev’s team in May 2013 at Little Lyakhovsky Island off the northeast coast of Russia.

“As a rule, the blood coagulates or even turns to powder in the ancient remains of animals of the ice age, even if the carcass is preserved seems to be well,” Grigoriev explained. “This is due to mummification when moisture and other biological fluids gradually evaporate over thousands of years, even if the remains are in the permafrost. The remains are preserved best if they are in the ice, as it was with our mammoth.”

Grigoriev said NEFU specialists were working with experts from the controversial South Korean Sooam Biotech Research Foundation in an effort to cultivate the foal’s cells for cloning, though he was pessimistic about their chances.

Sooam is led by scientist Hwang Woo-suk, who claimed in 2004 he had successfully cloned human embryonic stem cells before admitting he had faked his findings.

“I think that even the unique preservation [of] blood is absolutely hopeless for cloning purposes since the main blood cells – the red blood cells or erythrocytes – do not have nuclei with DNA,” Grigoriev said. “We [are] trying to find intact cells in muscle tissue and internal organs that are also very well-preserved.”

The ancient horse will be exhibited across Japan from June to September 2020 as part of The Mammoth exhibition.

Brighter skies heading our way… Check out how warm Easter Sunday will be!

Flood warnings continue along several area rivers including the Mississippi and Rock. Crests are occurring now and will continue for the rest of the month. Be prepared for road closures and detours in these areas. For more information on river levels go to https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=DVN

Clouds will continue to stream in as we go through the rest of the day.  Combined with a steady northwest breeze and temperatures will hover around the 50 degree mark.  May see a few more breaks come tonight with overnight lows around the 40 degree mark.

Brighter skies are still on track heading into the upcoming Easter weekend with temperatures slowly improving each day.  Highs on Friday will average around the 60 degree mark with upper 60s come Saturday.  Easter Sunday will be blessed with the weekend’s warmest and highs well into the 70s.

Related: Where are the local Easter Egg hunts?

The new week is on track to bring more wet weather with scattered showers with a few embedded thunderstorms mixed in. Highs during this stretch will be in the 60s.

Chief meteorologist James Zahara

Download the News 8 Weather App — for iOS, click here and for Android, click here

Download the free News 8 App — for iOS, click here and for Android, click here

Precautionary lockdown at Bettendorf High School is lifted

BETTENDORF, Iowa — Bettendorf High School was placed on lockdown for less than an hour Thursday morning, April 18.

Police directed the school to lock down because of “an event in the community,” according to a tweet on the Bettendorf High School’s community Twitter account.   The tweet, which was sent out around 10:15 a.m., said the lockdown was being done “out of an abundance of caution.”

“There is NO danger at BHS; all staff and students are safe,” read the tweet.

Due to an event in the community, out of an abundance of caution, the Bett PD has directed BHS to go into lockdown procedures. There is NO danger at BHS; all staff and students are safe. This will be updated as we have more information. #bettpride

— BettHS PRIDE (@u_bett) April 18, 2019

At 10:55 the school said the lockdown had been lifted and normal procedures had resumed.  Parents were notified.

“All is well and safe @ BHS” read the tweet.

There was no word yet on what prompted the lockdown.

Text/email went to all parent/guardian contacts notifying situation has ended and that we have resumed normal procedures. All is well and safe @ BHS. #bettpride

— BettHS PRIDE (@u_bett) April 18, 2019

‘Cards for Kenzy’ to support Iowa teen with inoperable cancer

ALTOONA, Iowa — After years of battling cancer, an Iowa teen fight has changed completely.

Mackenzy Larson was diagnosed with bone cancer as a child and has since fought it five different times. Kenzy has undergone multiple surgeries during treatment and had to have her left leg amputated.

At the age of 17, Kenzy has been told that the cancer is now inoperable.

Her friends and family are asking people to show her some support by sending a note or card.

Those can be sent to:

Kenzy Larson c/o Angels for Sam

P.O. Box 185

Carlisle, IA 50047

Kenzy has planned to have a celebration of life she can attend with her family and friends, but a date has not been set.

High speed chase across Rock Island, Davenport ends in crash, arrest

DAVENPORT, Iowa — A man was arrested last night, April 17, after leading police on a high speed chase and ultimately crashing into a parking garage.

Davenport police responded to the Centennial Bridge at 10:40 p.m. to assist the Rock Island Police Department in a chase across the river, according to multiple criminal complaints. The suspect’s vehicle was seen going at least 90 mph going from the bridge to Gaines Street, which is a 35 mph zone.

The suspect,  Zaccheus Nathaniel Hayes, 20, of Rock Island, was wanted in connection with battery with a firearm in Rock Island, the complaints state. The original call in Rock Island indicated shots fired.

As the chase went on, Hayes discarded the firearm, a .357 magnum revolver in the 500 block of W Locust Street. The gun was found with one spent shell casing and five live rounds.

Photo courtesy of Bridget Nicole – 4/18/19

The pursuit finally came to an end when the Hayes lost control of his vehicle on a wet street downtown Davenport, the complaints say. The vehicle crashed into Redstone Parking Ramp on 101 Main St. Hayes attempted to flee on foot, but police quickly arrested him. An onlooker captured this photo (left) of the accident.

Hayes is charged with interference with a firearm and eluding police, both felony charges, as well as several misdemeanor charges.

He is being held at Scott County Jail.

Barnes & Noble is offering free download of the Mueller report

Robert Mueller’s full report has yet to be released, but you can already order it online.

Bookseller Barnes & Noble said Wednesday that it’s offering “The Mueller Report” for pre-order to customers.

The highly anticipated report, which took two years to complete and is expected to provide an in-depth look at special counsel Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, will be released publicly Thursday. Mueller concluded his investigation nearly a month ago.

So far, the public has been privy only to Attorney General William Barr’s four-page summary of Mueller’s report.

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

On its website, Barnes & Noble said it is offering a “PDF/direct replica” of the nearly 400-page report – “Barr redactions and all.” It can be pre-ordered using the company’s Nook e-reader or app, and delivered upon release Thursday.

The bookseller described the report as “essential reading for all Americans on both sides of the aisle.”

“We’ve received strong demand from our customers for this report, and want to make it as easy as possible for them to access it for free as soon as possible,” Tim Mantel, the bookseller’s chief merchandising officer, said in a statement.

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

(Start the video at 7:10 to jump to the beginning of the press conference.)

WASHINGTON D.C. — Attorney General William Barr gave a press conference on April 18 at 9:30 a.m. (8:30 a.m. CT) about the release of the redacted Mueller report.

Barr spoke on three topics, according to ABC. First, he will talk about executive privilege and whether it was involved. He will also discuss the White House’s interactions with the Department of Justice since Barr’s last letter on March 29. He will also talk about the redaction process.

The press conference lasted around 22 minutes.

Related: Barnes & Noble is offering free download of the Mueller report

Cave diver who helped save Thai soccer team rescued from Tennessee cave

GAINESBORO, Tenn. – A cave diver from the UK who was part of the crew involved in saving the Thai soccer team last year needed rescuing after becoming trapped in a cave in Tennessee.

Josh Bratchley went missing Tuesday when he failed to exit a cave he was exploring with four others, according to the Jackson County Emergency Management Agency.

The group of experienced divers dove into the cave in Gainesboro, north of Cookeville. Upon exiting, they noticed Bratchley was missing. They called 911 early Wednesday, according to the EMA.

Specialized divers from Arkansas and Florida were called in to help with what officials deemed a “highly technical rescue.” By Wednesday evening, Bratchley was brought out of the water, according to the agency.

He was awake, alert, and oriented when found.

“His only request was he wanted pizza,” said Derek Woolbright, EMA spokesperson, during a press conference.

Edd Sorenson, a rescue diver from Florida who flew into Tennessee to rescue Bratchley, described finding Bratchley in an air pocket in the flooded cave.

“He said ‘Thank you, thank you. Who are you?’ ” Sorenson said. “We had a nice talk.”

Officials said it took Cave Adventure diver Sorrenson 45 to 50 minutes to find the trapped diver.

“This was a really small, nasty cave,” Sorrenson said.

He said many similar missions have become recovery efforts rather than rescues, and he was surprised to find Bratchley alive.

Both officials and Sorenson cited Bratchley’s calmness and mental strength as keys to his survival.

The British Cave Rescue Council said Bratchley aided the effort in Thailand.

Last year, Bratchley was one of the divers who helped rescue 12 schoolboys and their coach stranded on a ledge in a flooded cave in Chiang Rai, in northern Thailand. The world watched as the team of international cave diving experts led the mission to retrieve the boys.

Bratchely was later recognized for his role.

The Tennessee cave is about 3 miles off the main highway and in a very rural area. Ethan Burris of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office said the group had been in the area for two to three days mapping the Mill Pond Cave.

“You have to go underwater to get into the cave,” Burris said. “The maps that we have, we’re not rightly sure how deep it is right now,”

The other members of the missing diver’s group stayed at the scene to offer and assistance in the rescue efforts.

“They are our biggest asset as to getting us information about the cave, about how it’s laid out,” Burris said.

Pay It Forward recognizes woman who is always there for those in need

DAVENPORT, Iowa-- Through strong gusts of wind, bitter cold winters and hot streaks during the summer, Carrie Hoover is always out working.

For six years now, Carrie has been collecting items for her group, Saving the Perfect Stranger. She collects toiletries, clothes and blankets, all kept in her car until it's time to drop them off at Kings Harvest Shelter in Davenport. Her constant generosity is how she met Deb Bowen.

"I was watching her all through the winter, the horrible cold, the horrible snow, she was out there everyday doing something and that so touched my heart," said Deb. Carrie stepped in a few months ago to help Deb collect items for local women in need.

Deb is no stranger to the Pay It Forward contest sponsored by Ascentra Credit Union. Over a year ago she was awarded it for her work in the community, and after working with Carrie, she knew she had to nominate her.

"Deb, thank you for nominating Carrie for the Pay it Forward. Carrie's passion for helping others is a true example of what it means to be listening, caring and doing what's right which our are core values at Ascentra Credit Union," said Megan Guldenpfennig, with Ascentra Credit Union. "For that reason on behalf of Ascentra, I would love to present you with $300 so that you may Pay It Forward to her congratulations!"

Ready to go and surprise Carrie, Deb walked up to find Carrie hard at work outside King's Harvest.

"Hello I'm surprising you today on behalf of Ascentra Credit Union and WQAD, I get to Pay it Forward to you for all you do for the homeless, so here's $300, girl," Deb said.

Carrie couldn't believe it.

"I'm used to helping others, and I never ask for anything in return, you know what I'm saying? I help others, so for somebody to say, 'hey, let's help you out,' that's overwhelming," said Carrie.

This money gives Carrie the chance to continue her grandmother's legacy.

"My grandma Cleo died, and she worked at the Salvation Army, and she loved the homeless, so I do this in honor of her... This will be my sixth year doing it for my grandmother, but there's a huge need out here. We have shifted from serving the homeless to advocating for the homeless."

Carrie plans on using the money to buy more tents and sleeping bags for the homeless here in the Quad Cities.

If you know of someone doing good things in your community, someone who shows the core values of Ascentra Credit Union, which are Listening, Caring and Doing What's Right, nominate them for the Pay it Forward Contest here.

Attorney General Barr to release redacted Mueller report

(CNN) — The Mueller report is coming: Attorney General William Barr is expected Thursday to release a redacted version of Robert Mueller’s report detailing the findings of the special counsel investigation.

The redacted report, which is nearly 400 pages, will fill in some — but likely not all — of the details explaining what Mueller’s team uncovered during the 22-month investigation that’s hung like a cloud over Donald Trump’s presidency while the special counsel investigated possible collusion between Trump’s team and Russia and any possible obstruction of justice. Barr will also give a press conference to discuss the report at 9:30 a.m. (8:30 a.m. CT) Thursday morning.

About 90 minutes later, some time in the 11 a.m. ET hour, the report will be released to Congress on discs, according to a senior Department of Justice official. After it’s been delivered to Congress, it will be posted on the special counsel’s website.

A source familiar with the report told CNN Wednesday that the publicly released version of Mueller’s report is expected to have relatively minimal redactions in the section on obstruction of justice. The Washington Post reported Wednesday evening the report will have an in-depth look at Mueller’s investigation into potential obstruction of justice by Trump. The report will show Mueller could not determine Trump’s intent and some of his actions could have innocent explanations, the Post reported.

Trump and Republicans have claimed total exoneration after Barr released a four-page summary last month, in which the attorney general said Mueller did not establish a criminal conspiracy between Trump’s team and Russia and left the obstruction question undecided.

But Democrats have demanded to see Mueller’s full, unredacted report, charging that Barr cannot be trusted to provide an accurate accounting of Mueller’s findings as a Trump political appointee who previously argued against the merits of an obstruction case against the President.

Congressional Democrats rose up in anger at Barr’s decision to hold a press conference before the release of the report. Five House Democratic committee chairs said in a joint statement Wednesday night that Barr should cancel the press conference and slammed Barr.

“With the Special Counsel’s fact-gathering work concluded, it is now Congress’ responsibility to assess the findings and evidence and proceed accordingly,” the joint statement read.

On Thursday morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer jointly called for Mueller to testify before Congress publicly, saying there was a “crisis of confidence” in Barr’s independence and impartiality.

“We believe the only way to begin restoring public trust in the handling of the special counsel’s investigation is for special counsel Mueller himself to provide public testimony in the House and Senate as soon as possible,” they said.

Democrats have been particularly suspicious at the fact that Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made the decision there was not sufficient evidence to prosecute such a case, especially in light of reports that some on Mueller’s team have told others they were unsatisfied with Barr’s characterization of the investigation.

In a series of tweets on Wednesday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler questioned why Barr was having a press conference to explain the report at all, saying he was “deeply troubled by reports” the White House had been briefed on the report ahead of release, as The New York Times reported. He likewise said it was “wrong” for the Justice Department to time the release of the redacted report to Congress for after Barr’s press conference.

Congress will get to see a little bit more of Mueller’s report and his findings than the general public once the report is delivered to them.

Federal prosecutors said in a court filing related to the case against Trump associate Roger Stone on Wednesday that there would be two versions of the redacted special counsel report, with one for public release and another, less redacted, version for a limited number of members of Congress.

Congressional Democrats have already authorized a subpoena for the full report and the underlying evidence, and they urged Barr to change course and provide them an unredacted version. They’re likely to move forward now with the subpoena, which could spark a court battle between House Democrats and the Trump administration.

After Barr released his summary of Mueller’s conclusions, Barr told Congress that he would redact four types of information before making the report public: grand jury material, classified material, material about ongoing investigations and “information that would unduly infringe on the personal privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties.”

Democrats have argued that some of that information cannot be made public, but it should still be turned over to Congress as part of the legislative branch’s oversight role. Nadler made clear the day his panel authorized a subpoena for the full Mueller report that he was willing to take the fight to the courts if the Justice Department would not turn over all of Mueller’s materials.

Man with gas cans, trigger lighters caught entering St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York

NEW YORK – A man was taken into custody after he tried to enter St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan with several gallons of gasoline on Wednesday night.

He tried to bring the gasoline, two bottles of lighter fluid and extended butane lighters controlled by a trigger into St. Patrick’s Cathedral, police said. A security officer confronted the man and told him he could not bring all of that in. Some gasoline appears to have spilled on the floor.

The man later said he was just cutting through the cathedral to get to Madison Avenue and that his car had run out of gas, officials said. Police checked his vehicle; it was not out of gas.

Five police vehicles were seen out front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Counterterrorism NYPD officers were at the scene.

People were told to expect a heavy police presence in the area.

A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of New York said an “individual was stopped as he tried to come into the cathedral.” The man was turned over to the police and nothing happened inside the cathedral, according to the spokesperson.

This comes just days after a devastating fire at Notre Dame in Paris. The spire at the cathedral collapsed as Parisian firefighters battled that massive blaze.

Trail-lovers say Davenport GO plan is a step in the right direction

DAVENPORT, Iowa-- Inside Ruby's Bicycle Shop in Davenport, you can find Fritz Schafer most days tinkering away.

He's been repairing bikes for decades and says he's loved riding bikes since he was three years old.

"It's freedom," he says. "It kind of sounds weird. But as soon as you get away from mom and dad and you can ride around the block by yourself, you're free."

Schafer has been riding free all over the country and the Quad Cities since then.

"We need to look at cycling as a better transportation for our citizens," he says. "You get physically, emotionally, mentally healthier."

Schafer says he wants more people to join the biking community, and a new initiative in Davenport could help.

Davenport City Council members passed a multi-modal transportation plan, Davenport GO, during their meeting last week. It includes a focus on bicyclists and pedestrians when street projects are being planned. It also has a plan to better connect the bike trails and paths throughout Davenport and beyond.

"It's a regional kind of comprehensive trails map for the future," says James Martin, the Bi-State Regional Trails Commission President. "It's amazing that Davenport is taking a huge step forward and planning for the future in which people can get out and go wherever they want to go."

Martin, who sat on the steering committee for Davenport GO, says work will start later this year on connecting the Eldridge/Long Grove trail with a trail that runs through Davenport, Moline and beyond.

"It's a great way for people to come together and just get out and be healthy," Martin says. "Trails are an amazing resource for our region. It's one of the unsung treasures of the quad cities."

Martin says by this time next year, people could bike or walk for miles non-stop. He adds Davenport GO will encourage people to get out and get active.

It’s now legal for your meat to have trace amounts of fecal matter, doctors’ group says

This product “may contain feces.”

That’s the label that one consumer rights advocacy group wants for the government to require meat distributors put on the food they send out to grocery stores.

The recommendation is tongue-in-cheek, Deborah Press, an attorney for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, tells CNN. The group represents 12,000 physicians whose mission includes promoting plant-based diets and ethical scientific research.

But it gets at real concerns the PCRM has about the US Department of Agriculture’s food safety inspection system.

The US Department of Agriculture has a “zero tolerance policy for fecal material on meat and poultry,” a spokeswoman told CNN.

USDA said it sends inspectors out to facilities who look at a “statistically valid sample of carcasses randomly selected throughout the production shift.”

If inspectors find fecal material on an animal carcass, they ensure that contaminated meat can’t enter the food supply, USDA said. And if inspectors observe repeat infractions, the FSIS uses “progressive enforcement actions” against the meat company.

But Press says USDA’s current inspection policy isn’t good enough because it only applies to fecal matter that’s “visible” on the production line.

And the USDA has relaxed its rules on the speed at which poultry companies can process birds. The requirement used to be 140 birds per minute, but has since been raised to 175 birds per minute.

That would mean those working on the line are scanning about three birds per second. They’re whizzing by at a rate that’s hard for the naked eye to comprehend.

Doctors are looking for answers

For at least six years, the PCRM has been asking questions about fecal matter contained in the birds we eat on a daily basis.

Yesterday, the group filed a lawsuit in a federal district court based in Washington, DC.

The question matters, first of all, for the obvious gross factor. “Nobody wants to eat feces,” Press says. But it gets more dire quickly: harmful microbes like E. coli are found in fecal matter.

Despite their questions and follow-ups, they say they’re not getting straight answers from the government about its food inspection procedures.

In 2013, PCRM sent a petition to USDA asking for it to change its rules regarding fecal contamination, and to remove the word “wholesome” from the way it labels and categorizes food that’s past inspection.

Press said the term misleads the public.

The PCRM tested chicken products, and found 48% tested positive fecal contamination. And the petition cited a Consumer Reports studythat corroborated their evidence, finding “more than half of the packages of raw ground meat and patties tested positive for fecal bacteria.”

The USDA didn’t respond to the petition.

In 2017, the PCRM filed a Freedom of Information Act request asking for “records regarding the number of USDA poultry inspectors, detection rates for visible fecal contamination in poultry, average poultry line speed, USDA poultry inspection rates, and inspection training.”

Their lawsuit this week says the USDA violated the Freedom of Information Act by failing to respond to that FOIA request about fecal contamination rates. Federal law requires that agencies respond to FOIA requests within 20 days of the agency receiving them, according to the Digital Media Law Project.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for the Department of Agriculture told CNN that USDA can’t comment on pending litigation.

The requirement around “visible” fecal contamination belies what’s going on in the bowels of those chickens, the PCRM says.

In its legal complaint, the group cites an unnamed federal inspector who spoke to them:

“We often see birds going down the line with intestines still attached, which are full of fecal contamination,” that inspector told them. “If there is no fecal contamination on the bird’s skin, however, we can do nothing to stop that bird from going down that line.”

From there, the bird would get into a large vat of water called the chill tank, where fecal matter in the bowels can easily wash out and settle on other bird carcasses in the tank. The inspector cited in PCRM’s legal complaint said this is sometimes called “fecal soup.”

Hope for reform

Press said the complaint faces an uphill battle in court. But she was optimistic that reform is possible.

“‘The Jungle’ came out in 1904,” she said. “At that time, there was no federal oversight” of food manufacturing. But Theodore Roosevelt, the President at the time, read the muckracking novel that detailed the horrors of the meatpacking indstury. He demanded action.

In 1906, Congress put the Meat Inspection Act and Pure Food and Drug Act on Roosevelt’s desk for his signature.

Press is hoping that, by detailing the industry’s flaws today, PCRM can push for improvements in food safety.

21 Moline Student-Athletes sign to play at the next level

 

21 Student-Athletes from Moline are taking their talents to the next level in a variety of sports.

Audrey Ellison – Scott Community College (Soccer)

Morgan Hemmen – Scott Community College (Soccer)

Maya Gault _ Simpson College (Soccer)

Kyree Morney – Coe College (Soccer)

Jake White – Augustana College (Soccer)

Noah Cruz- Scott College (Soccer)

Jorge Segoviano – Scott College (Soccer)

Manny Raya – Scott College (Soccer)

Deonte Billups – Indiana Purdue- Fort Wayne (Basketball)

Drew Wiemers – Benedictine (Basketball)

Treyton Lamphier – Washington University (Football)

Evan Juarez – Augustana College (Swimming)

Sydney Jensen – Illinois Central College (Softball)

McKenzie Murphy – Trinity Christian College (Softball)

Lily Knobloch – St. Ambrose University (Track)

Aiden Michna – Luther College (Baseball)

Devon Breiholz – Luther College (Baseball)

Noah Sebben – Luther College (Baseball)

Jake Nitzel – Beloit College (Baseball)

Landon Thiele – Central College (Baseball)

 

Students say they’re the ‘real victims’ after barbecue ends with $30M fine

Two students whose barbecue started a wildfire that raged through a forest in northern Italy for days have been fined more than $30 million.

Alessio Molteni, 22, and Daniele Borghi, 22, said they were “deeply sorry” about the fire, the Telegraph reports. But they also said they were made scapegoats, saying that they didn’t think their barbecue was the only source of the forest fire. And their lawyer questioned why the forestry service would impose such a large fine “knowing that these two kids, who are still students, cannot pay it.”

Police calculated the fine using a formula called for by local laws. The blaze burned about 2,500 acres on Monte Berlinghera. The prosecutor called the fine “a signal that we need to push people to greater responsibility in protecting the environment,” per the BBC.

The students were celebrating the new year when they lit the barbecue last Dec. 30 in a garden near Lake Como, at a home belonging to the grandfather of one of the men.

“As soon as the fire broke out, we called the fire service and we threw ourselves at the flames to try to put them out,” Molteni said. High winds and dry conditions helped the fire to spread quickly, officials said. Several properties were damaged, per the Telegraph, and domestic animals, including horses, were killed.

Officials traced the fire to the barbecue, but the students say there were other sources. “We are the scapegoats of a fire that cannot be explained,” one of them said. “We are the real victims of this story.”

(Read more forest fire stories.)

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First Army Command has a new Sergeant Major

ROCK ISLAND- The First Army welcomed a new Command Sergeant Major on a Wednesday morning.

Wednesday, April 17, a ceremony was held at the Rock Island Arsenal for Command Sergeant Major Todd Sims.

He will also serve as the senior enlisted advisor for the commanding general.

He joined the Florida Army National Guard in 1988, he then went on to enlist in the marine corps.

Sims says one of his goals is to work local mayors and community members to show them what the First Army does.

Command Sergeant Major Sims also served in operations desert shield and desert storm.

Grow with Google comes to the QC

DAVENPORT, Iowa- Job seekers and small businesses learned digital skills at a "Grow with Google" workshop at the Davenport public library.

Congressman Dave Loebsack kicked off the event Wednesday, April 17.

Onsite instructional training was led by Google teams, presenters and coaches.

Grow with Google is on a national tour partnering with libraries in all 50 states to host the workshops.

Their goal is to help create economic opportunities for all Americans.

The Google impact challenge was also announced, it asks all nonprofit organizations in Iowa to come up with innovative ideas to better their community.

Aurora shooting video released

AURORA, Illinois- Police in Aurora, Illinois have released surveillance video of a deadly workplace shooting from February.

Investigators say Gary Martin opened fire at the Henry Pratt Company killing five people and hurting five police officers.

In the video, Martin can be seen firing at the officers before retreating.

Police say Martin should not have been able to possess a gun because of his 1995 felony conviction.

Officials believe Martin carried out the deadly attack because he suspected he was going to be fired from his job.

Rep. Loebsack wants full Mueller Report disclosure

MOLINE, Illinois – Iowa Democratic Congressman Dave Loebsack says he believe top members of Congress need to see the entire Mueller Report investigation of Russian influence in the 2018 Presidential election.

Loebsack, who announced he will retire at the end of his term, says "true national security questions" should be redacted, but added that he's not "100% convinced" Attorney General William Barr will do "the right thing" in the redacted release of the 400 plus page investigative report.

"If I don't see the whole report I think that there are members of Congress who should be entitled to see that report," Rep. Loebsack told News 8 during a sit down interview in WQAD's Moline studios.

Rep. Loebsack says the "Group of 8", a bi-partisan group of top congressional leaders, should be among the first to view the full, unredacted report.

Democrats on the Judiciary Committee already plans to issue subpoenas demanding the full release of the "Mueller Report".

Rep. Loebsack's full interview also touched on his planned retirement, the new Democratic members of Congress and the ideological tilt of the Party, and the future of Arsenal Island, the military installation located in the heart of the Quad Cities.

But regarding the Muller Report's release, Rep. Loebsack says he is worried that public opinion may have already been formed regarding its results.

"I'm fearful of that," he said.

"We are a divided country, you know, and there are two camps.  Essentially pro-Trump and anti-Trump, and it's really quite unfortunate."

Local non-profit uses music to jog memories for dementia patients

DEWITT, Iowa  --  Millions of american suffer from Dementia or Alzheimer. In recent studies, sound is becoming a big part in helping patients slow the progression of the illness.

Davenport non-profit, River Music Experience, travels to nursing homes around the Quad Cities area to play music for the residents. On Wednesday, April 17th, they played at West Wing Place in DeWitt.

"Folks with dementia, that might be really progressed, they remember the words to songs," West Wing Place activities coordinator Megan Gogulich said. "They remember where they were when they first heard the song."

"Music is an extremely powerful tool for patients with Alzheimer or dementia," Bret Dale with River Music Experience said. "It sparks something inside of all of us, and you see people, especially with dementia, come alive."

RME plays classic artist like Frank Sinatra and Johnny Cash, trying to help patients remember their youth.

"It can get really emotional sometimes," Dale said. "Maybe a patient is just constantly quiet and never talks. Next thing you know, they are smiling and telling a story."

West Wing Place brings in musical guests two to three times a week, because of the benefits they see with their patients.

"Aside from bingo, I would say music draws our biggest crowd," Gogulich said. "Folks get brought back to their Friday night dance halls and where they met their husbands."

West Wing Place resident Dean Marlowe says he likes it when bands play.

"They play some good music," Marlowe said. "It brings back old memories. You sing along, you just have a good time with all your friends here."

The residents sing along to the songs and the ones that can dance.

"I haven't danced in a long time," resident Gladys Maassen said. "I'm afraid of falling. But, I sure do wiggle."

According to Alzheimers.net, music helps remind dementia patients of emotions and their past. The study says pairing music with everyday activities can improve cognitive ability over time.

River Music Experience plays at a local nursing home once a month.

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