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Articles on this Page
- 10/23/18--21:10: _Ticket Matching 5 o...
- 10/23/18--21:16: _Health Care Prices ...
- 10/23/18--22:34: _Daycare Worker Accu...
- 10/23/18--22:57: _Road Repair on I-80...
- 10/24/18--04:16: _Why We Can't Resist...
- 10/24/18--06:37: _7th Child Dies in '...
- 10/24/18--06:12: _School Bus Safety W...
- 10/24/18--06:48: _Suspicious Packages...
- 10/24/18--11:52: _Cruise Ship Norwegi...
- 10/24/18--13:05: _Health Care Vote a ...
- 10/24/18--08:21: _Several Pets Dead i...
- 10/24/18--08:37: _Retired ATF Officer...
- 10/24/18--13:27: _Shoe, Empty Bag of ...
- 10/24/18--11:42: _Carlsbad Killer's S...
- 10/24/18--13:06: _Trump, Lawmakers Re...
- 10/24/18--11:55: _2 Teens Arrested in...
- 10/24/18--12:20: _3 Members of Calif....
- 10/24/18--12:08: _PICS: System of a D...
- 10/24/18--12:18: _$220K in Fake Apple...
- 10/24/18--14:29: _'Not a Solution': R...
- 10/23/18--21:16: Health Care Prices Vary Widely Across US, Study Finds
- 10/23/18--22:34: Daycare Worker Accused of Abusing Two Children Arrested
- 10/23/18--22:57: Road Repair on I-805 Might Impact Morning Commute
- 10/24/18--04:16: Why We Can't Resist the Promise of That Lottery Ticket
- 10/24/18--06:37: 7th Child Dies in 'Severe' Viral Outbreak at NJ Center
- 10/24/18--06:12: School Bus Safety Week Gets Boost From CHP
- 10/24/18--06:48: Suspicious Packages Sent to Hillary Clinton in NY, Obama in DC
- 10/24/18--11:52: Cruise Ship Norwegian Bliss Diverted to San Diego
- 10/24/18--13:05: Health Care Vote a Pre-Existing Condition for Ill.'s Roskam
- 10/24/18--08:21: Several Pets Dead in Escondido House Fire
- 10/24/18--08:37: Retired ATF Officer on Suspicious Package Investigations
- 10/24/18--13:27: Shoe, Empty Bag of Chips in Boxes Left Outside High-Rise
- 10/24/18--11:42: Carlsbad Killer's Sentence Will Not Be Reduced Under SB 620
- 10/24/18--13:06: Trump, Lawmakers React to Threatening Packages
- 10/24/18--11:55: 2 Teens Arrested in Verizon Wireless Store Robberies
- 10/24/18--12:20: 3 Members of Calif. White Supremacist Group Arrested
- 10/24/18--12:08: PICS: System of a Down at Valley View Casino Center
- 10/24/18--12:18: $220K in Fake Apple Products Seized at Port of San Diego
- 10/24/18--14:29: 'Not a Solution': Residents Concerned About Scooter Rules
Though nobody in California won the $1.6 billion Mega Millions lottery jackpot, a player out of Del Cerro will take home a few bucks for matching five of six winning numbers.
According to the California Lottery, the near-winning ticket was sold at a Chevron gas station on Del Cerro Boulevard.
The ticket was one of eight others in the state that matched five of six numbers. The others were sold in Stockton, Rancho Cucamonga, Arcadia, Norwalk, San Francisco, Chatsworth and San Luis Obispo.
The value of the eight tickets won't be determined until results from other states are finalized, the CA Lottery said.
In case you missed it, the numbers drawn Tuesday night were 5, 28, 62, 65, 70 and Mega Ball 5.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
El premio del Mega Millions, que subió a la increíble suma de $1,600 millones, se sorteará el martes en Estados Unidos, donde se ha desatado una verdadera fiebre por acertar los seis números. Te contamos cuáles son los consejos que no te puedes perder para aumentar las posibilidades de ganarlo.
A patient receiving health care services in one part of the United States could pay twice as much as a patient living elsewhere, according to a new study.
Prices were highest in San Jose and lowest in Baltimore in 2016 for privately insured patients, the Health Care Cost Institute found.
The Washington-based nonprofit group analyzed nearly 1.8 billion health insurance claims filed between 2012 and 2016. It then calculated a nationwide average for health care prices and ranked 112 metros against that average.
Although prices generally were well above average on the West Coast and the Northeast, regional patterns broke down elsewhere.
Across the Midwest, prices were below the national average in most cities, including Chicago, Indianapolis and Cleveland. But Milwaukee and Green Bay, Wisc., were the fourth and fifth most expensive areas nationwide, just behind San Francisco and ahead of San Diego.
“It reinforces this idea that all health care is local,” said Bill Johnson, a senior health researcher with the institute.
There is little logic to health care prices within regions. Metros with professional fees near the national average sometimes have very high hospital prices and vice versa.
In Los Angeles professional fees are 5 percent below the national average while prices for inpatient (hospital) stays and outpatient services (emergency room and procedures such as colonoscopies) are 28 percent and 30 percent above the national average respectively.
Green Bay has the fifth highest health costs in the nation – 14 percent above the national average. But it’s too simple to say that health care is expensive in Green Bay. Inpatient and outpatient costs are below the national average there while professional fees are 43 percent above the national average.
Kevin Kennedy, a researcher at the institute, said that examples like this “help direct attention to what the right question is to ask.”
For example, in Dayton, Ohio (health care costs 11 percent below the national average), inpatient charges are 18 percent above average. In Boston (health care costs 3 percent above the national average), professional fees are 22 percent above average. In San Jose (health care costs 65 percent above the national average), outpatient charges are a whopping 117 percent above average.
“It seems like there’s a different reason (for high costs) for every area,” Kennedy said.
“Health care isn’t one big problem,” Johnson said. “It’s a series of little problems.”
The institute plans additional reports to see how usage and competition affect the price of health care.
The group analyzed health claims data from four major insurers – Aetna, Humana, UnitedHealthcare and Kaiser Permanente – representing more than 50 million individuals.
Photo Credit: jdoms - stock.adobe.com
A woman accused of physically abusing multiple kids at her in-home daycare in Linda Vista was taken into custody Monday and faces multiple felony abuse charges.
Zakia Astanzai, 35, is accused of abusing a child in her care this summer, and another child during the summer of 2016.
Unique Wilson told NBC 7 in August that she picked her 17-month-old son, Royal, up from Zakia and Benafsha Astanzai Family Child Care and found scratches and bruises all over his face.
She said when she picked up her two sons from the daycare, both of them ran to meet her. At the same time, one of the caregivers approached her and started explaining the injuries on Royal’s face.
A doctor's summary that Unique provided to NBC 7 noted the bruises are consistent with an injury such as a slap.
According to charges filed by the San Diego County District Attorney's office, on or about Aug. 15, Astanzai inflicted "cruel and inhuman" punishment upon Royal and inflicted "unjustifiable physical pain."
The San Diego Police Department investigated Unique's claims and took Astanzai into custody Monday. She was charged with felony corporal injury upon a child and felony child abuse for her alleged abuse of Royal.
Unique says her son has been more aggressive since the alleged abuse and has suffered nightmares. She said he is going to start counseling in November.
She says the charges against Astanzai give her some peace of mind, but she won't be happy until The Department of Social Servies (DSS) is reformed and the woman accused of abusing her child is locked up for good.
A second felony corporal injury charge brought against Astanzai stems from a July 2016 claim involving a different child. A DSS investigation of the claim was inconclusive. The DA's office didn't say what led them to bring charges in that case.
The DSS also investigated a 2017 claim against caregivers at the daycare alleging they failed to properly supervise a child resulting in questionable death and found it unsubstantiated.
DSS did not respond to NBC 7's request for comment.
Astanzai is scheduled to make her first court appearance Wednesday.
The effort to fix big cracks in the pavement along Interstate 805 could impact your morning commute.
Crews were working to repair the cracks in southbound lanes just north of Mira Mesa Boulevard Tuesday night.
The connector ramp from westbound State Route 56 to southbound I-805, the southbound I-5 to southbound I-805 bypass, and four lanes near the construction zone were crews worked.
CalTrans said the work would last until at least 4 a.m.
Tune into NBC 7 News Today at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday for the latest traffic updates, or scout your commute on NBC 7's live traffic map.
The chances of winning the Mega Millions are a truly miraculous 1-in-302.6 million, so why did so many people play for the $1.6 billion jackpot?
According to UCLA psychiatry professor Timothy M.D. Fong, it involves buying into the fantasy we might win, rather than really believing we will, NBC News Better reports.
Americans "love spectacular scenes and big events. When you think about it, lining up to buy lottery tickets is completely unnecessary, but people do it because they want to be a part of the spectacle," he said.
One study has shown that winning the lottery leads to a better life, but another has shown that people who feel poor tend to play more, and Fong said it's also possible to get addicted.
Photo Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
A man walks past advertisements for the Mega Millions and Powerball lotteries at the New York Lottery Customer Service Center in New York City on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018. The $1.6 billion Mega Millions prize drawn Tuesday night was the largest lottery prize in U.S. history.
A seventh child who was treated at a long-term care medical facility in New Jersey has died after a “severe outbreak” of adenovirus, a family of viruses that can otherwise cause mild illness, according to the state's Department of Health.
New Jersey Department of Health officials said 18 children were recently infected with adenovirus at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, Passaic County. The medical institution houses the Pediatric Center; the seven deaths came from the 18 infected kids.
The facility has been instructed not to admit any new patients until the outbreak ends and they are in full compliance, the DOH said Tuesday.
"The Department continues to work very closely with the facility to ensure that all infection control measures are being followed," DOH added in a new statement Wednesday.
Adenoviruses are common viruses that can cause a range of illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The viruses cause cold-like symptoms, sore throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhea, and pink eye. Adenoviruses can pose serious complications to certain people, particularly those with weakened immune systems, respiratory issues and cardiac disease.
That is the case at the Wanaque Center, health officials said.
"Unfortunately, the particular strain of adenovirus (#7) in this outbreak is affecting medically fragile children with severely compromised immune systems," the New Jersey Department of Health in a statement Tuesday. "This strain has been particularly associated with disease in communal living facilities."
According to the CDC, adenoviruses are typically spread from an infected person to others through: close personal contact such touching or shaking hands; through the air by coughing and sneezing; or by touching an object or surface with adenoviruses on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.
Health investigators visited the facility over the weekend as part of their probe, officials said.
The state Department of Health further said that it is monitoring the situation “very closely” and has been in contact with the staff at the center “providing guidance on infection control and cleaning procedures.”
The Wanaque Center is a for-profit facility that, according to its website, works with "with medically fragile children" from newborn to 22 years of age. The center also serves as an adult nursing home and rehabilitation center for short- and long-term care.
A spokesperson for the Wanaque Center did not respond to repeated request for comment.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy issued a statement on the adenovirus outbreak saying that he is "heartbroken by the news that several children have lost their lives."
"I have been briefed by [Commissioner of Health] Dr. [Shereef] Elnahal, who has assured me that the Department of Health has recommended vital measures to enhance protections against the further spread of infection and will continue its active on-site surveillance," Murphy says in his statement. "I am confident that the steps being taken by state and local officials will minimize the impact to all those who remain at the facility, including patients and employees.”
The cause of the outbreak remains unclear.
Photo Credit: News 4 NY
Riding the school bus is the safest way for students to get to and from school, the California Highway Patrol said during National School Bus Safety awareness week.
"For kids traveling to school, it's very safe for them in those school buses and it's safe because people follow the rules and do what they're supposed to do," said CHP Officer Jake Sanchez.
This week is National School Bus Safety awareness week and CHP wants to share the benefits of riding a school bus and encourage the community to keep school bus riders safe.
Students are about 70 times more likely to get to school safely when taking a bus instead of traveling by car, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
School buses are the most regulated vehicles on the road and are designed to be safer than passenger vehicles, Sanchez said.
He also stresses that it is a community effort that keeps San Diego County roads safe.
"When that bus stop happens in front of you, make sure you stop," Sanchez said. "Make sure you're aware so those kids can get to school safe."
California school buses have not had a passenger fatality since 1995, according to CHP.
In 2017 CHP began the "Vehicles Illegally Passing a School Bus" (VIPS) enforcement project. The project allows officers to ride on school buses and patrol bus routes, watch for vehicles that do not stop for flashing red school bus lights. The project also encourages people to report drivers who illegally pass a school bus.
"When you see that bus even if it's not indicating for you to stop, you still want to be extra cautious in case the child does something unexpected like run out into the roadway to catch their bus," said CHP Officer Jake Sanchez.
U.S. Secret Service says agents intercepted two suspicious packages -- ones thought to be potential explosive devices -- that were sent to Hillary Clinton at her Chappaqua home and to former President Obama in Washington, D.C.
Secret Service says it recovered the Clinton package late Tuesday; the parcel addressed to Obama was intercepted early Wednesday.
The nature of the contents of the packages wasn't immediately clear, but two senior law enforcement officials had told News 4 the concern in the Clinton case was that it was similar to the bomb found in the mailbox of billionaire philanthropist George Soros' home in the same county days earlier.
"The packages were immediately identified during routine mail screening procedures as potential explosive devices and were appropriately handled as such," Secret Service said in a statement. "The protectees did not receive the packages nor were they at risk of receiving them."
Secret Service says it has initiated a "full scope criminal investigation that will leverage all available federal, state, and local resources to determine the source of the packages and identify those responsible."
No one was hurt in the Soros case, which happened at his home in Bedford, about 10 miles apart from Chappaqua. It's not clear if the New York cases, both in Westchester County, are thought to be related.
In Soros' case, an employee noticed the package, put it in a wooded area and called police, who alerted the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Explosives. A law enforcement source told NBC 4 New York that the device contained explosive powder; it was detonated as a precaution.
Investigators are reviewing surveillance video to determine whether the package was sent via mail or otherwise delivered.
The FBI is working with police to figure out who sent the device, which a senior law enforcement official said was similar to a pipe bomb. A law enforcement source says evidence was sent to the FBI lab in Quantico for testing.
Should the package at the Clintons' turn out to be a similar device, it would be the second such attack on liberal heavyweights in the county.
Soros, a billionaire who made his fortune in hedge funds, has donated heavily to liberal causes and is vilified on the right. He is also the subject of many unfounded conspiracy theories. Recently, conservative critics have, without evidence, accused him of secretly financing a caravan of Central American migrants to make their way north toward Mexico and the U.S.Others have falsely accused him of being a Nazi collaborator during World War II, when he was a child in Hungary.
Activists frequently post the addresses of homes he owns in Westchester County on social media sometimes accompanied by ill wishes.
Soros' foundation, The Open Society Foundation, released a statement Tuesday condemning "the politics of hate that dominates our discourse today."
"In this climate of fear, falsehoods, and rising authoritarianism, just voicing your views can draw death threats," the statement continued. "George Soros deplores violence of any kind, and urges politicians across the political spectrum to tone down their rhetoric. Words have consequences, and we bear a collective responsibility to create a more civil way to discuss our political differences. Respect for a diversity of opinions is fundamental to open society and that is the work that George Soros has devoted his life to. Our politics should be more about what we’re for than who we hate."
Photo Credit: Getty Images
San Diego is welcoming a cruise ship full of passengers who were rerouted because of the now-Tropical Storm Willa.
The Norwegian Bliss sailed into San Diego Bay just before 7 a.m. Wednesday.
The ship was supposed to visit several Mexico ports but was diverted north after Willa moved ashore Tuesday southeast of Mazatlan as a Category 3 hurricane.
As a result, more than 4,000 passengers will be stopping in our city and could be walking around the downtown area at lunchtime.
The original itinerary included Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, according to Desire Rosa from Puerto Rico.
This was her first cruise and she and her husband were celebrating their first vacation in a long time as a couple, without their children.
On the first day, they learned they were being diverted because of weather.
“All my clothes is for Mexican weather,” Rosa said. “It was a little challenging about the cold in San Francisco but it was beautiful.”
She and her husband plan to explore San Diego because they’ve never been to the zoo or Balboa Park.
“Just go with the flow,” she said. “That’s the Puerto Rico way.”
The Bliss is the newest ship for Norwegian Cruise Lines released earlier this year.
Some of the new amenities on this cruise ship include an aqua park, laser tag maze and a race track on the top deck.
There is also a mural by the artist Wyland on the bow of the ship.
Photo Credit: Melissa Adan, NBC 7
The Norwegian Bliss arrives in San Diego on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018.
Susan Kaye Quinn joined the Republican Party in her early 20s for its conservative economic policies and said she was a dedicated member over the next three decades. She voted straight-ticket Republican, campaigning for candidates in her home state of Illinois and attending party events around her congressional district in the suburbs north and west of Chicago.
"I was a part of the party until they nominated Donald Trump," said Quinn, a 53-year-old novelist and former environmental engineer, in a phone interview. "But I didn't leave the Republican Party, the party left me."
Appalled by Trump's rhetoric and many of his policies, Quinn crossed party lines in 2016 to vote for the Democratic candidates for president and Congress, she said. Hillary Clinton carried Illinois' 6th Congressional District by seven points even as the Republican House incumbent, U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, was easily reelected to a sixth term.
"The Republicans threw out their principles," Quinn said. "They overlooked moral issues, Russia meddling in our elections. They overlooked all of that to gain power in Trump’s popularity."
This article, part 4 in a series, examines one of the key battleground races for control of the House of Representatives in the Nov. 6 midterm elections. Carried by grassroots momentum, Democrats must take 23 seats from Republicans to win the balance of power. They are contending with Republicans' experience and organization, and an outspoken but polarizing president.
Democrats looking to regain control of the House are hoping to separate socially progressive, economically conservative Republican voters in the 6th District from a Republican Party that moved further to the right on positions of abortion, immigration and LGBTQ rights, among other issues. Two issues they have seized on are health care and opposition to Trump's tax bill.
Republicans in districts that went for Clinton have been forced to thread a line between appealling to moderates fed up with Trump while maintaining support among the president's base.
“It’s a tough year for Republicans in suburban Illinois, we know it, but Congressman Roskam has stood up to the President on issues, especially trade and is unique in his style and not a cookie cutter Republican,” said Kirk Dillard, a former DuPage County Republican chairman and veteran of Illinois politics, in an emailed statement to NBC. “Peter Roskam is on sound footing with his base.”
Roskam touts himself as a moderate who opposes Trump's trade war, has advocated for a universal background checks system and elimination of bump stocks. Despite voting repeatedly to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Roskam said he supports protections for pre-existing conditions and has proposed expanding access to pre-tax health savings accounts to help pay for deductibles. The 57-year-old from Wheaton is also staunchly anti-abortion and supports legislation banning the use of federal dollars from going to organizations that provide abortion services.
"Those are the things that I'm voting on and I think those are the things that represent voters of the 6th District," Roskam told NBC. "And the proof of that is I've consistently won these elections with these views."
But Roskam's attempts to repeal the ACA while refusing to hold town halls with constituents hasn't sat well with a number of conservative and independent voters in the district. And neither did the $1.5 trillion Republican tax bill Roskam helped write, which will hurt some in high-tax states like Illinois by capping their state and local tax deductions.
"How do you respond when your representative doesn't hold a town hall to avoid hearing criticism and makes no bones about the fact the he has increased our tax burden?" Ken Hillman, a father of three from Cary, told NBC in a phone interview.
Others disenchanted with the congressman they once supported are evangelicals — voters Roskam has historically relied on — who feel that many Republican policies are contrary to Christian values.
Kristin Sterling, a 52-year-old bookkeeper at a Presbyterian church in DuPage County, told NBC she had voted for Roskam because their mothers were involved in a church women's group together and she believed "he was very religious and Christian. But the idea that we are all about ourselves, would strip health care from the poor and sick, and don't care about neighbors and the community, really bothered me."
The Democrat hoping to capitalize on Roskam's newfound weakness is Sean Casten, a clean-energy entrepreneur and political newcomer from Downers Grove. Casten emerged from a crowded field to defeat initial frontrunner Kelly Mazeski, a breast cancer survivor, in the primary.
Casten has made protecting and expanding health care access under the Affordable Care Act a top priority of his campaign. He says he's "unapologetically" pro-choice and supports legislation that will protect young immigrants living under former President Barack Obama's now-threatened Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Casten has also vowed to work on restoring state and local tax deductions and proposes investments in infrastructure and clean energy as a way to boost the middle class economy.
That appeal seems to be working. Earlier this month, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report shifted its rating for the district from tossup to leaning Democratic.
"Democrats didn't get their ideal nominee here back in March, but in this kind of political environment, it may not matter," said Cook's David Wasserman in his ratings analysis of the race. "Roskam, who hasn't had a competitive race since beating now-Sen. Tammy Duckworth for this seat in 2006, is now trailing Casten in both parties' polling."
Red, Blue and Green
The 6th District is predominantly white, highly educated and affluent. More than 50 percent of residents have college degrees and the median household income is just shy of $100,000, according to the Census. That's potentially bad news for Roskam in the current environment — a March poll from Pew Research Center found a larger share of college graduates favor Democrats.
Roskam's seat has been solidly Republican since the mid-1970s, reinforced in 2011 when the Democratic-controlled state legislature redrew the district to pack in Republicans and maximize Democrats' hold on surrounding districts. But despite the gerrymandering, the C-shaped district that arcs through Chicago suburbs in five counties has voted for presidents of both parties in recent years: Obama in 2008, Mitt Romney in 2012 and Clinton in 2016.
"When Hillary won in 2016 we realized there are more of us here than we think, and there are fewer hard-right Republicans in this district than we assumed," said Leslie Sadowski, a liberal who moved to Downers Grove in 2012. "In the past, I think most people took for granted that it was a red district and stayed home."
Peter Cooper, a lawyer from DuPage County, said he's never been involved in Democratic politics and voted Republican in the 2016 primary, but did not support Trump.
"I was so appalled by the tenor and tone of President-elect Trump that I began looking for opportunities to get involved," he said.
Cooper joined political activism groups, encouraged friends to consider runs for public office and has volunteered for Casten's campaign.
Roskam, who ran unopposed both years, received 56,544 votes this year. The Republican's vote total was down by nearly 9,000 from four years earlier.
Dillard warned not to discount Roskam's support among a "tried and true conservative" base, which includes evangelicals, and told NBC he believes they will be loyal to the congressman "even if some want to break with Republicans."
Both candidates have seen millions of dollars pour in from their parties and outside groups.
Roskam spent about $800,000 more than Casten and had nearly $500,000 more on hand through the end of September, according to their Federal Election Commission filings. More than $1 million has been spent by outside groups to attack Casten or back Roskam, compared to less than $200,000 to support Casten or oppose Roskam.
Roskam's Pre-Existing Condition: Voting Record
Wasserman noted Roskam's vulnerability stems from his party-line votes. According to the political analysis website FiveThirtyEight, the congressman has voted in line with Trump's position 94.6 percent of the time.
"I don't see why we'd fire our representative to get back at the president," Brad Hagstrom, a Roskam supporter from Downers Grove, told NBC. "I believe Peter is an American first and a Republican second."
In a September debate with Casten, Roskam stood by his congressional record, arguing that many of the votes included in the FiveThirtyEight statistics were for "common-sense" legislation like hurricane and opioid relief, support for veterans, funding for government agencies and sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea. Roskam called Casten's claim that he's aligned with the White House an "over-characterization" and said he's condemned Trump both privately and publicly on issues like trade tariffs and funding cuts to the Great Lakes clean-up and preservation program.
But it was Roskam's repeated votes to repeal and replace the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, most recently by backing the GOP's American Health Care Act last summer, that voters who spoke to NBC found "reprehensible." The bill, a priority for the Trump administration, passed the House but was narrowly voted down in the Senate.
For months before the vote, Roskam had refused to hold town hall meetings with constituents who were concerned about losing pre-existing condition protections they had under the Affordable Care Act. Citing the "drama" at those types of events, he instead conducted tele-town halls, "which are much more civil," he told NBC.
Few of the constituents who spoke to NBC have been satisfied with the "don't call me, we'll call you" format, which selects callers and prescreens questions, and Roskam has been hounded by protesters demanding a public meeting.
Roskam told NBC that the ACA is a "catastrophic failure" because of rising premiums and limited providers in the exchange for some areas of the country.
However, experts arguethat a major factor behind rising premiums and the reduction of health care options was uncertainty over the law's future caused by frequent attempts by the Republican party to kill or weaken it. The average price of premiums for benchmark plans will actually go down by about 1.5 percent in 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced this month. That's because insurers who increased the price of 2018 premiums in reaction to the failed Republican repeal bill are now rolling back prices to correct for overinflation.
Roskam said he is advocating for a replacement health care plan that will increase competition, lower premiums and include protections for pre-existing conditions. But with the individual mandate repealed under the tax bill, many of the constituents who spoke to NBC said they question the feasibility of attaining a comparable level of coverage to the ACA without either increasing cost or cutting services.
"Insurance as a business model is made up of a risk pool. You need healthy people to balance the cost of the unhealthy ones," said Cooper, the DuPage lawyer. "I think it's disingenuous to suggest that we are going to reduce premiums but increase benefits, but we need to find better and more efficient ways to provide health care."
Cooper said he believes in access to health care for all and is skeptical of Roskam's "lip service" to pre-existing conditions without offering specifics on an overall plan.
Casten's platform calls for building on "Obamacare," as the Affordable Care Act is often called, and moving the country toward universal health care by creating a public option for people to buy into the Medicare system.
"What we should be doing from a data perspective is recognize that as a country we spend more per capita on health care than any other country in the world and have worse outcomes than every other country that has universal health care. And the ACA was not universal health care but it was closer than what we had before," Casten said in a phone interview.
Cutting the SALT on Taxes
Like many Republican members of Congress in Democratic-leaning states across the country, Roskam faces the challenge of defending the $10,000 limit on state and local tax (SALT) deductions that were part of the Republicans' Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts of 2017.
In a high-tax state like Illinois, where more than 43 percent of returns claim SALT, property and sales taxes, many voters in the 6th District may be particularly hard hit by the cap on their SALT deductions, according to the Tax Policy Center.
Roskam, who is the chairman of the Tax Policy Subcommittee for the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, said the original version of the GOP bill had a zero-deduction allowance and that he insisted on the $10,000 break, calling it a "sweet spot" for his district. He maintains that middle-class families will see a net benefit due to changes in other parts of the tax law.
But constituents who aren't seeing a big bump in their paychecks are skeptical.
"My property taxes alone is over the $10,000 cap, so the SALT limit will definitely hurt my family this year," said Carolynne Funk, a mother of four from Lake Zurich, who plans to vote for Casten.
Proponents of the SALT cap, like Hagstrom and Deborah Kraus of Hillsdale, defend the decision. Kraus said that while she may pay more in taxes, limiting the deduction puts pressure on the "Illinois machine" to reduce taxes and tighten its spending belt.
For Crystal Lake resident Greg Alexander, his biggest concern is the long-term impact of the $1.5 trillion tax cut on the federal deficit budget. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that it will add $1.9 trillion to the national debt by 2028, and could be higher if provisions of the tax cut that are set to expire are renewed instead.
"Eventually the deficit will need to be paid down, and they are going to do that by cutting Social Security, Medicare and other safety nets," Alexander said. "It's just horrible."
Asked about concerns over the deficit, Roskam told NBC that said while he understands the criticism, the money borrowed to pay for tax cuts will keep companies and jobs in Illinois and the U.S. "The question is do you take on debt to buy something that is increasing in value and the answer is 'yes,'" he added.
Casten has vowed to restore SALT deductions and said he supports lifting the payroll cap, currently $128,400, on earnings subject to the Social Security tax in order to fund entitlement programs long-term. He said he also supports raising the gas tax, which was last increased in 1993, to pay for road and other infrastructure projects.
"These are the things that are going to help the economy and the middle class," Casten said. "Not huge tax cuts skewed to the very wealthy."
More Than Just 'Pro-Birth'
Jeff Greenberg, a historically single-issue voter from Wheaton told NBC he is abandoning the anti-abortion ticket this year to vote for Casten, a shift for a district that was previously represented by Henry Hyde, the namesake of the Hyde Amendment restricting federal funding for abortion.
Greenberg, a "pro-life evangelical Christian" who teaches geology and environmental science at Wheaton College, the alma mater of Rev. Billy Graham, said that while he disagrees with Casten on the issue of abortion, he feels his proposals for health care, taxes and for tackling climate change are more aligned with his Christian values than those of Roskam.
Greenberg said he had always voted a pro-life ticket, supporting Roskam in at least two elections. But with Roskam defending Trump's Muslim ban, repeatedly voting to repeal the ACA, failing to protect "Dreamers" and supporting a tax bill that "further widens the income inequality gap," Greenberg said he's realized that anti-abortion advocacy can't be the only thing he looks for in a candidate.
"To be a pro-life, you got to be more than just pro-birth," Greenberg said.
Roskam did not respond directly to the "pro-birth" criticism but he told NBC he's "not going to be defensive about being pro-life" and condemned Casten for not supporting the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Act — restricting abortions at 20 weeks — and favoring expanding the availability of taxpayer-funded abortions.
Casten maintained that abortion should be a decision between a woman and her doctor and not the government. He told NBC he believes the only way to actually reduce incidents of abortion is by decreasing the chances of unplanned pregnancy through access to contraception, maternity health services and sex-education. Those are all positions that Greenberg said he supports.
Casten is also capitalizing on a growing contingent of voters who support women's reproductive rights and are frustrated over the Republicans' resolve to defund organizations that provide preventative care like Planned Parenthood.
"As a college student and a young professional, I relied on Planned Parenthood for affordable birth control," said 49-year-old Erin Micklo of Glen Ellyn. "This administration's determination to destroy both affordable contraception for those who cannot afford it and their desire to make medical and reproductive decisions for women is abhorrent and terrifying."
Micklo has voted for Roskam four times, including 2016, she said. But the high school teacher said she is the parent of a gay daughter and a son with a disability and is actively working to flip the 6th in the midterms in order to protect the rights of LGBTQ Americans and pre-existing conditions afforded under the ACA so that her son will always have access to healthcare.
"In some ways, at nearly 50 years old, I feel more alive and energized than I've ever felt in my life," Micklo added.
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Flames were pouring out of the roof of an Escondido home where a fire ignited Wednesday morning.
The fire sparked before 6 a.m. at the home located in a residential neighborhood near the intersection of E. El Norte Parkway and N. Broadway, the Escondido Fire Department said.
At first, firefighters had a hard time discerning where the fire was located due to low-hanging fog, EFD Battalion Chief Jeff Sargis said. Firefighters then spotted heavy flames and a stream of smoke coming from the backside of the building.
Crews began to tackle the fire and had the blaze under control within the hour, EFD said.
Sargis said several dogs and birds were inside the home when the fire erupted and many did not survive. Animal services was called to tend to the other pets.
No one was home during the blaze but EFD has not been able to contact the residents to inform them of the fire.
Investigators do not believe the fire was suspicious in nature but an investigation would be completed to determine the cause, Sargis said.
No other information was available.
Please refresh this page for updates on this story. Details may change as more information becomes available.
A retired ATF officer and arson and explosives expert details how a suspicious package investigation is handled. U.S. Secret Service agents have intercepted two suspicious packages sent to Hillary Clinton at her Chappaqua home and to former President Obama in Washington, D.C.
The report of a suspicious stack of postal boxes shut down a busy block in downtown San Diego Wednesday and prompted the evacuation of a high-rise building that houses the San Diego Union-Tribune.
San Diego police said the boxes did not contain anything dangerous but rather held random items including an empty bag of chips.
Officer Billy Hernandez said police were called to 6th and B streets just after 8 a.m.
Five shipping boxes were stacked on a patio table outside of 600 B Street.
San Diego police closed 6th Avenue between A and B streets to traffic and advised one building to shelter in place.
Meanwhile, investigators set up X-ray equipment to try and determine the contents of the boxes.
"Our hazmat team is there to investigate five packages," San Diego Fire-Rescue Public Information Officer Alec Phillip confirmed.
Just before 9:30 a.m., bomb squad officials and police officers opened the boxes, walked around the table, took photos and appeared to be smiling.
The contents of the boxes included a shoe, 2 kids books, a football, an empty bag of chips and a hat, SDPD Sgt. Kevin Wadhams said.
There was also an air pump around the box.
“There was a camera that showed somebody dropping off the packages at approximately 1:45 a.m.," Wadhams said. “But nothing could be made out on that image of a description of the person."
The U.S. Postal boxes were not postmarked or addressed and had no return address, he added.
Officers reopened B Street to traffic at approximately 9:35 a.m.
"Due to the threats and devices being found [Wednesday] on the east coast, the area was evacuated so the contents of the boxes could be examined," SDPD officials said in a written statement.
Five "potential explosive devices" sent to Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, billionaire philanthropist George Soros, ex-Attorney General Eric Holder and the CNN station in Manhattan's Time Warner Center are believed to be linked, law enforcement said Wednesday.
Law enforcement officials say at least three of the parcels -- those addressed to Clinton, Obama and Soros -- had a manila outer packaging and the devices had stamps on them.
Wadhams said the San Diego incident did not appear related to the East Coast events.
One SDUT reporter said the 24-floor San Diego Union-Tribune building was evacuated.
Ben Sullins owns a space in 600 B and was standing on the corner, waiting to be told he could enter the building.
“I don’t know what’s going on but we’re not allowed to be in,” Sullins said.
U.S. Senator Kamala Harris has an office in the 600 B Street building.
Her staff posted a message via Twitter saying the office was evacuated as part of the incident.
"The packages were not addressed to the Senator or our office. We are grateful to the San Diego Police Department for their work to swiftly investigate this issue," said Lily Adams, Communications Director.
Photo Credit: NBC 7
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A judge ruled Wednesday that a Carlsbad woman's 40-year sentence for shooting and killing her husband will not be reduced.
Julie Harper was eligible for resentencing under Senate Bill 620 -- a law that gives a judge the discretion to strike a gun allegation, which mandates 25-years to life.
But judge Blaine Bowman on Wednesday ruled Julie Harper would still serve her 40-year sentence.
Before making his decision, the judge heard from Jason Harper's mother, who urged Bowman to keep Julie Harper's sentence as long as possible.
"In no way should his killer be free any sooner than the number of years that she took from him," Lina Harper said. "For true justice and fairness to Jason, her sentence should remain at 40 years to life."
Letters from the Harpers' three children, ages 15, 12 and 7, also asked Judge Harper to maintain their mother's sentence.
Julie Harper sat motionless during all four testimonies.
If the gun allegation was removed by the judge, Julie Harper would have seen her sentence reduced from the original 40 years to life behind bars to 15 years to life in prison.
Julie Harper's first trial was in the fall of 2014, and at that trial, she was acquitted on first-degree murder charges. Prosecutors sought to retry her on second-degree murder charges, and her retrial began Sept. 14, 2015. Following the retrial, a jury found her guilty of second-degree murder on Oct. 8, 2015.
Julie Harper's retrial included dramatic, emotional testimony from her in-laws and the couple's children.
The defendant also took the stand for three days, recounting graphic details of her relationship with Jason Harper and the chilling moment she pulled the trigger and killed him.
President Donald Trump said Wednesday the government would "spare no resources or expense" in protecting "the safety of the American people" in response to reports of apparent explosive devices being mailed, delivered and addressed to various prominent Democrats at government buildings, personal residences and media outlets in New York, Washington and Florida.
"The safety of the American people is my highest and absolute priority," Trump said in remarks from the White House Wednesday afternoon. "We will spare no resources or expense in this effort. I just want to tell you in these times, we have to unify, we have to come together and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America."
Trump said he had been briefed by the FBI, the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Secret Service, who are conducting a "major federal investigation" into the packages' origins.
"It’s a very bipartisan statement I can tell you from both sides," Trump said. "We both agree on that. This egregious conduct is abhorrent to everything we hold dear and sacred as Americans."
First lady Melania Trump, who spoke directly before the president at the Wednesday afternoon press conference on the opioid crisis, said she "strongly condemn[s] all who choose violence."
"We cannot tolerate those cowardly attacks," Mrs. Trump said. "I'm grateful to the Secret Service as well as the local and federal law enforcement for all they do on a daily basis to keep us safe and encourage people across the country which is kindness over hatred."
Political figures from both major parties took to social media earlier in the day to condemn politically driven violence against prominent Democrats.
The packages that appeared to be targeting former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, CNN's New York offices, billionaire philanthropist George Soros, Eric Holder and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, were sent to various locations this week, appeared to contain live explosive devices and appear to be linked, law enforcement sources told NBC New York.
At a campaign rally for a congressional candidate in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Vice President Mike Pence condemned the attempted mail bombings.
“These cowardly acts are despicable and have no place in American society,” Pence said.
Trump also retweeted a tweet by Pence where the vice president thanked law enforcement members for their fast response.
"I whole heartedly agree!" Trump wrote.
“I stand with all Americans in condemning today’s attempted acts of domestic terrorism," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. "As we continue to learn more, Americans are united in gratitude for the first responders — the Secret Service, the Postal Service, and other law enforcement — who protect our leaders and public figures from such unconscionable acts.”
House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also commended the "heroism of America’s first responders" and urged for unity in the face if terrorism in a Wednesday afternoon tweet.
"The goal of terrorists is to instill fear," Pelosi added in the tweet. "We will not allow them to diminish our commitment to building a brighter future for communities across America."
Packages addressed to Clinton's home in a New York City suburb and Obama's in Washington, D.C., were intercepted during mail checks. Authorities said the Clintons and Obamas were not at risk of receiving the packages.
At a campaign event in Coral Gables, Florida, Wednesday afternoon, Hillary Clinton thanked the people who stopped the packaging from reaching her Chappaqua home.
"We are fine, thanks to the men and women of the Secret Service who intercepted the package addressed to us long before it made its way to our home," Clinton said. "But it is a troubling time, isn’t it, and it’s a time of deep divisions, and we have to do everything we can to bring out country together."
Another package sent to CNN offices at Time Warner Center in New York City was addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan, who is now an analyst for MSNBC. The package got as far as the mailroom before CNN employees were evacuated.
CNN President Jeff Zucker released a statement accusing the White House of "a total and complete lack of understanding...about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media."
"The President, and especially the White House Press Secretary, should understand their words matter. Thus far, they have no comprehension of that," he said.
Another package that was addressed to former Attorney General Eric Holder had the wrong address and was sent to the Florida office of ex-Democratic National Committee chairman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., which was the return address listed, NBC News reported.
Later, Congressional leadership sources confirmed to NBC News that a suspicious device intercepted at a mail processing facility for the U.S. Capitol was addressed to California Rep. Maxine Waters. That device's nature, and possible connection to the others, was not immediately clear.
"I have been informed by U.S. Capitol Police that my Washington, DC office was the target of a suspicious package that has been referred to the FBI," Waters said in a statement. "I am appreciative of the law enforcement entities who intercepted the package and are investigating this matter. I unequivocally condemn any and all acts of violence and terror."
"Those behind such reprehensible acts must be brought to justice," House Speaker Paul Ryan said. "We cannot tolerate any attempt to terrorize public figures."
Ted Cruz, Texas’ U.S. Senate candidate, called the possible mail bombs “deeply, deeply disturbing.”
“Violence is never OK,” Cruz wrote. “America is better than this. Political disagreements are fine, even healthy, but we should always be civil and respect each other’s humanity.”
The comment came after Cruz joked Tuesday night during a campaign event that his political opponent running for U.S. Senate, Beto O’Rourke, should be in jail with Hillary Clinton.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., called the devices acts of terror.
Last June, Scalise was among four people shot at the Annual Congressional Baseball Hearing for Charity by a man who specifically targeted Republicans out of hatred for President Donald Trump.
“Those responsible for these evil acts of terror must be hunted down and brought to justice, and I have great confidence that our law enforcement officers will succeed in that mission,” Scalise tweeted. “As a nation, we must agree that this is a dangerous path and it cannot become the new normal.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also said his Manhattan office received a suspicious package, though law enforcement later determined was not at all linked to the others. A senior law enforcement official told NBC New York the item was a threatening letter, not a device, that referenced the Proud Boys street brawl from earlier this month. There was no explosive, the official said.
Photo Credit: Kevin Hagen/AP
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Officers watch over the scene outside the Time Warner Center on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018, in New York. Law enforcement officials say a suspicious package that prompted an evacuation of CNN's offices is believed to contain a pipe bomb.
Two teenagers were arrested Tuesday in connection to Verizon Wireless store robberies in Bay Park and Pacific Beach.
Christian Ledon and Carey Anderson face charges of armed robbery, according to Lt. Martha Sainz with the San Diego Police Department.
The two have been booked into jail, Sainz said.
Ledon, 18, and Anderson, 19, are expected to appear in court Thursday.
Two men reportedly stole a wallet and cell phone from the Bay Park store, SDPD said. They were wearing masks.
One of the men had a gun, but police don’t believe he ever fired it.
The robberies took place October 10.
No other information was available.
Photo Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images, File
A sign hangs outside of a Verizon store on April 20, 2017 in Chicago, Ill.
Three members of a Southern California-based white supremacist group face federal conspiracy charges in attacks on counter-protesters at political events across the country, including the rally that turned deadly in Charlottesville, Virginia, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Robert Boman, 25, of Torrance, Tyler Laube, 22, of Redondo Beach, and Robert Paul Rundo, 28, of Huntington Beach, were arrested without incident early Wednesday in the South Bay area of Los Angeles County. A fourth suspect, Aaron Eason, 38, of the Riverside County community of Anza, was being sought, officials said.
The suspects are accused of sparking violence in Berkeley, Huntington Beach, San Bernardino and Virginia in 2017, according to a federal criminal complaint.
"Every American has a right to peacefully organize, march and protest in support of their beliefs – but no one has the right to violently assault their political opponents," said U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna in a statement. "The allegations describe an orchestrated effort to squelch free speech as members of the conspiracy travelled to multiple locations to attack those who hold different views. This case demonstrates our commitment to preserve and protect the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution."
The men are accused of going online and coordinating combat training to prepare for the events, arranging travel, and celebrating their actions to recruit members for future events, court documents said.
RAM was formed in the winter of 2016-2017 by several founding members, including Rundo and Ben Daley, prosecutors said.
RAM represents itself, through videos and other public online posts, as a combat-ready, militant group of a new nationalist white supremacy/identity movement, prosecutors said.
The case is connected to one earlier this month that charges four other California RAM members with violent fights at a torch-lit march at the University of Virginia and Unite the Right Rally in August 2017.
The four defendants -- Benjamin Drake Daley, 25, of Redondo Beach, Thomas Walter Gillen, 24, of Redondo Beach, Michael Paul Miselis, 29, of Lawndale, and Cole Evan White, 24, of Clayton, California -- were arrested on federal criminal complaints in the early morning hours of Oct. 2.
Photo Credit: FBI/US Attorney's Office
In an image released by the FBI, members of Southern California-based white supremacist group RAM (Rise Above Movement) appear in skeleton masks. Robert Paul Rundo, arrested Wednesday Oct. 24, 2018, is in the front row at center.
As part of a rare, select-five-city tour, hard-rock gods System of a Down reigned supreme over a packed Valley View Casino Center.
Photo Credit: Alex Matthews
The San Diego Oct. 17 date was part of the band's first U.S. shows since 2015. The brief tour kicked off in San Bernardino and also included stops in Phoenix, Las Vegas, and a headlining slot at the Aftershock Festival in Sacramento.
Thousands of counterfeit Apple products were confiscated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Port of San Diego.
CBP agents examined a shipment from Portugal at an airport warehouse on September 18.
The package was labeled as “back covers” and “polarizers,” according to CBP.
Inside, officers found counterfeit iPhone backings and LCD screens.
There were 4,820 fake iPhone parts, valued at $222,113, if real, CBP said.
“One of our goals is to protect American consumers and U.S. industry from the threats posed by counterfeiting and piracy,” said Port of San Diego Port Director Bill Snyder.
CBP’s website describes common counterfeit products that may pose real danger.
Photo Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection
A council committee on Wednesday heard from San Diegans who are concerned a proposed speed limit reduction for the popular dockless scooters is not enough to keep citizens safe.
The San Diego City Council's Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods committee voted to advance proposed regulations that electric scooter companies, like Bird, Lime, and Razor, would need to adhere to in order to operate within San Diego. By the unanimous vote, the committee sent the regulations to the full council for consideration.
The regulations, proposed by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and backed by council members Chris Cate and Lorie Zapf, would implement geofencing to create 8-mph zones, create a consistent rider education program and allow the city to gather data from each company, among other rules.
Liberty Station is one of the seven areas selected as a "slowdown zone" for dockless scooters. Other areas include the beach boardwalk, Downtown Embarcadero and the Convention Center.
“I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have yelled at people to slow down. They almost hit me. They almost hit other people. It’s out of control. Right here, downtown on the sidewalks,” Zapf said.
Each company would be required to apply for a permit and agree to the city's terms in order to continue operating in San Diego, according to the proposal. For some at Wednesday's Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods committee meeting, the regulations are not enough.
"Allowing scooters, even at eight miles per hour, is not a solution," one resident said. "Please don’t put pedestrians at risk by allowing hundreds of scooters to joyride on our trails, promenades and walkways."
Zapf and Councilmember Barbara Bry shared concerns that user data was being sold to third parties.
Tim Carter with Bird said the company was not selling user information to a third party.
“I’d be shocked if it were happening on a national scale. I can confirm it’s not happening in San Diego,” a Lime representative told the committee.
One scooter company, Razor, supports the proposed regulations.
"We support regulations that will continue to encourage San Diegans to leave their car at home while enhancing rider and pedestrian safety," said Brandon Cheung, Government Affairs Manager for Razor, in a written statement.
There have been three scooter collisions causing injury reported in less than 24 hours.
On Tuesday night, a scooter collided with a taxi on Harbor Drive and First Avenue downtown, the San Diego Police said.
In Logan Heights, two people collided with the back of a trolley. The two people were riding tandem on an electric scooter on 21st and Commercial streets when they crashed.
In Golden Hill on Tuesday morning, a woman couldn't get her scooter to slow down so she jumped off at full speed and broke her leg, according to police.
All of these incidents are under investigation.
Scooter share operators will be required to educate users of local city, state vehicle and traffic codes.
“People are out there thinking that, ‘Oh these are just suggestions’ and they get shocked when it’s a $250 fine,” Zapf said of the companies' current signage.
They will also be required to provide the city with monthly reports of where the scooters are, how often they are being used and the number of scooters in the city.
The report will be used by the city for its Climate Action Plan monitoring and mobility planning.