Bay Area earthquake could lead to massive loss of life and property: USGS report

ABC News (SAN FRANCISCO) -- A new report details the potential effects that could be produced by a hypothetical major earthquake on a California fault running underneath the Bay Area.

The simulation predicts what could happen if a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit directly under the city of Oakland on the Hayward fault, which runs under the highly populated East Bay corridor and is called one of the most active and dangerous faults by the U.S. Geological Survey.

“It’s potentially catastrophic,” said CalTech seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones. “When you build a city right on the fault you get much worse shaking than we usually think about.”

If this earthquake were to occur today, the report says it could result in the deaths of 800 people and cause 18,000 injuries -- numbers the report says could be reduced by earthquake early warning systems currently in development. Jones added that one of the purposes of the report is to show how slightly increasing construction costs can significantly reduce the number of buildings damaged in a major earthquake.

In the report’s scenario, damage from shaking could displace 77,000 households, and many high-rise office and residential buildings in San Francisco could be unusable for up to 10 months after a major earthquake.

Fires following an earthquake could be nearly as destructive as the shaking. Scientists estimate that building space equivalent to 52,000 single family homes could burn following a hypothetical major earthquake. Destruction from fires increases if there is major damage to water supply lines, roads or communication infrastructure.

“Earthquakes burn cities as much as they shake them,” said Dr. Keith Porter, author of the report and geophysicist at the University of Colorado at Boulder. “About a third of property loses in the scenario would be from fire.”

Earthquakes cause fires to ignite at multiple points simultaneously due to broken gas lines or downed power lines, while also taking out firefighters' water supply lines. Restoring water service could be a challenge after such an earthquake; the report shows some residents could lose water service for up to six months.

Scientists say the Hayward Fault produces a major earthquake on average every 150 years. The 150th anniversary of the last major earthquake on the fault occurs later this year. The USGS predicts a 33 percent chance of a magnitude 6.7 or greater earthquake will occur on the fault by the year 2043. There is a 72 percent chance of a similar earthquake on any fault in the Bay Area in the same time period.

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Barbara Bush: An appreciation

Tom Pennington/Getty Images(HOUSTON) -- The first time I had a formal interview with Barbara Bush she was the "second lady" and her husband was running for president. I had accepted an assignment from Seventeen Magazine to query the wives of the two major candidates and it had all been arranged through Mrs. Bush's staff.

But when I arrived at the (somewhat intimidating) vice president's mansion Barbara Bush exclaimed, "Seventeen! Why are we doing this interview? They can't vote!" After that somewhat rocky start, we had a lively conversation where I was treated to her ready humor.

That humor is part of the reason America came to love Barbara Bush. Soon after he left the White House I was interviewing President Bush about something and he marveled with a hint of surprise in his voice, "The whole country loves Bar!"

That's because everyone thought they knew her. There was none of that fake politician foolishness about her. On several occasions she told me bluntly that I needed to do something about my hair. She either said what she believed or kept her mouth shut.

One thing she believed passionately was that she could make a difference in the lives of people who couldn't read. And she was right. The Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation now conducts 160 programs in 12 states and it has been highly successful in improving the reading skills of adults and bringing disadvantaged preschoolers up to par with their more privileged peers.

Barbara Bush herself attended hundreds and hundreds of events aimed at boosting literacy because, as she said, you can't achieve the American dream if you can't read and write.

That was another passionate belief -- in the dream and the promise that this country offers to its citizens. Her devotion to our American values of tolerance and inclusion and her willingness to act on them came second only to devotion to family.

When her son George was running for president, I conducted the first joint interview with Barbara and Laura Bush. Laura was understandably slightly nervous about this conversation with her formidable mother-in-law (the family calls her The Enforcer) but she needn't have been.

Anytime I asked about anything controversial the elder Mrs. Bush jumped in: "Don't answer that Laura, it will only get you in trouble. If anyone gets in trouble today it should be me." The whole extended Bush brood could count on her protection.

And America saw that -- saw her love of children and country, and especially of her husband, saw her no-nonsense looks, heard her funny, feisty and frank comments and understood that she was teaching us how to live.

In the end, she also taught us how to die. By telling us on Sunday that she would opt for "comfort care" rather than more medical intervention she set yet another example. Instead of leaving this earth hooked up to machines while doctors poked and prodded to extract one more breath, she went in her own home surrounded by the family she devoted her life to, holding the hand of the man she had loved for 75 years.

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Nanny found guilty of stabbing 2 children to death in New York apartment

WABC(NEW YORK) -- A New York City nanny has been found guilty of the murders of two young children who were stabbed to death in their idyllic Upper West Side apartment.

Yoselyn Ortega had worked for Marina and Kevin Krim for two years when she killed 6-year-old Lulu Krim and 2-year-old Leo Krim on Oct. 25, 2012.

She was found guilty on two counts each of first-degree murder and second-degree murder.

She had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

"It was not a decision we reached lightly or easily," one juror, David Curtis, told reporters, as he was overcome with emotion. "There was some raised voices and a lot of tears. But I think we all feel good that we addressed all of these issues and fairly weighed everything that was presented to us."

Kevin Krim declined to speak at a news conference, but Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. turned to Kevin Krim and said, "Our hearts go out to you today as it has every day of the last five years. As a father of two myself, I cannot imagine the pain you have felt and continue to feel."

Vance said he hopes the verdict will give the family an opportunity to heal.

The day of the crime, Marina Krim came home after taking her then-3-year-old daughter, Nessie, to a swim class and opened her bathroom door to find "the bloodied, lifeless bodies of her 6-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son ... their eyes open, covered in blood," Assistant District Attorney Courtney Groves said in opening statements last month.

Ortega, who was standing in the bathroom, then stabbed herself in the neck, according to Groves.

Marina Krim grabbed Nessie and ran out of the apartment and the doorman called 911, prosecutors said. Marina Krim, who testified for the prosecution, said that moment she was screaming uncontrollably and saying, "I just saw my kids dead."

"I was destroyed," Marina Krim said on the stand. "She killed my best friends."

Ortega's defense attorney Valerie Van Leer-Greenberg had argued that her client was mentally ill and was "suffering from severe psychosis" and "dissociation" at the time of the killings.

Ortega is set to be sentenced May 14.

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New York City to ban doors-off helicopter flights

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New York City will no longer allow doors-off tourist helicopter flights to take off from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport, a consequence of a deadly crash last month.

No doors-off flights currently depart the heliport in lower Manhattan, which is the only pad in the city where tourist flights originate, and the New York City Economic Development Corporation is instituting new rules to make sure it stays that way.

“It is our hope that by officially banning doors-off helicopter flights out of New York City, we will help improve air safety within the five boroughs,” said NYCEDC President James Patchett.

An open door flight for a photography shoot that took off from New Jersey crashed in the East River March 11 after a strap snagged a fuel line. Five passengers died after they were stuck in their harnesses.

“By calling for today’s hearing of the Committee on Economic Development, we were hopeful that immediate positive safety changes would occur for helicopter aviation in the city,” said Council Member Paul Vallone, chair of the NYC Economic Development Committee. “This agreement is very welcomed news and takes a huge step in the right direction.”

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Alleged 'face' of robocalls testifies it's as easy as the 'click of a button' -- The alleged "face" of unwanted robocalls testified Wednesday that the technology to start a large autodial campaign is easy to use and can be set up by "anyone" from a home office.

"There is available open source software that can be misused by someone to make thousands of automated calls with the click of a button," Adrian Abramovich said during a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing.

Abramovich, who was appearing before the committee under subpoena, is facing a record $122 million Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fine for allegedly making almost 100 million spoofed robocalls over three months.

He is accused of making the calls in order to trick unsuspecting consumers into answering and listening to his advertising messages, according to the FCC.

Consumers reported receiving calls from what appeared to be local numbers about "exclusive" vacation deals from companies such as Marriott, Expedia, Hilton, and TripAdvisor.

Abramovich, the former president of Marketing Strategy Leaders, told the committee that there are several options to easily carry out these large-scale calls, which can start with a simple Google search. He said it would take only one employee to make 10,000 robocalls a day.

Abramovich said he would answer general questions about robocalls, but declined to answer questions about his specific case, evoking his Fifth Amendment right.

However, he did offer a brief defense of his case during opening remarks – denying any "intent to defraud, cause harm or wrongfully obtain anything of value."

"I’m not the kingpin of robocalling that has been alleged," he said.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., told Abramovich that he had "become the face of this problem."

"You may think it unjust, but the fact of the matter is that you have a duty to answer questions," said Blumenthal.

Blumenthal called mass robocalls a "pernicious" and "obnoxious" problem that is "rightly abhorred by consumers."

"There is bipartisan loathing for robocalls," he said.

Robocalls increased from 831 million in September 2015 to 3.2 billion in March 2018 – a 285% increase in less than three years, according to testimony from Margot Freeman Saunders, senior counsel at the National Consumer Law Center.

Abramovich told the committee that he himself receives "four of five robocalls a day" and since the FCC headlines, he has gotten "even more spoofed calls.”

"And you don’t like it?” asked Sen. Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat.

"I decline the call," he said.

Abramovich also said the effect on consumers from his calls has been overstated and that only two percent of consumers had any meaningful interaction with these calls.

Two percent of the alleged calls would be eight million people, said Thune.

"Does that sound like a small effect?” he asked.

"I am not prepared to discuss my specific case," responded Abramovich.

Thune said that the committee would consider holding him in contempt of Congress for claiming a Fifth Amendment privilege throughout the hearing after speaking about his specific case during opening remarks.

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What we know about the bank VP who died after Southwest Airlines engine failure

Obtained by ABC News(PHILADELPHIA) -- Jennifer Riordan, a bank executive, community leader and mother of two, died Tuesday when her Southwest Airlines flight blew an engine in midair and its debris smashed a cabin window.

Riordan of Albuquerque, New Mexico, was among 144 passengers and five crew members on board when the Boeing 737 suffered an engine failure some 20 minutes after takeoff from New York’s LaGuardia International Airport, while en route to Dallas Love Field Airport, according to authorities.

Two passengers managed to pull Riordan back inside when she was partially sucked out of the shattered window, according to witnesses. She was given CPR while the pilot was forced to make an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport.

Riordan was transported to a nearby hospital where she later died, though officials did not immediately confirm a cause of death. She leaves behind a husband, Michael Riordan, as well as two children.

“Jennifer Riordan has passed away as a result of previously reported events on Southwest Airlines flight No. 1380,” her family said in a statement. “Jennifer’s vibrancy, passion and love infused our community and reached across our country. Her impact on everything and everyone she touched can never be fully measured. But foremost, she is the bedrock of our family. She and Mike wrote a love story unlike any other. Her beauty and love is evident through her children.”

In addition to being a wife and mother, Riordan was vice president of community relations at Wells Fargo in Albuquerque, where she was "loved and respected," according to a company statement.

"The Wells Fargo family is saddened to learn of the death of our friend and colleague Jennifer Riordan – a community relations leader in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was a well-known leader who was loved and respected," according to the statement.

After graduating from the University of New Mexico, Riordan worked in media relations and marketing at the school’s Health Sciences Center, according to colleagues.

"Jennifer was an amazing community leader, team member, wife and mother," Paul Roth, chancellor for University of New Mexico’s Health Sciences Center, said in a statement posted to Facebook. “Her passion for our community, our students and our future was unwavering. We are committed to carrying on her work to ensure quality education and career opportunities to New Mexico’s youth."
Riordan became a key member of the Albuquerque community through her "leadership and philanthropic efforts," Mayor Tim Keller.

"Albuquerque lost a thoughtful leader who has long been part of the fabric of our community," Keller said in a statement posted on social media. "This is a tremendous and tragic loss for Jennifer’s family and many others throughout our city. Her leadership and philanthropic efforts made this a better place every day and she will be terribly missed."

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating Tuesday's incident. Boeing said it is providing technical help to the investigation, with which Southwest Airlines is cooperating.

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Hero Southwest pilot was one of Navy's first female fighter pilots

WPVI-TV(PHILADELPHIA) -- Tammie Jo Shults, the hero pilot who safely landed a Southwest Airlines plane Tuesday after one of its engines failed, is said by a friend to be "doing fine" and concerned about the family of the sole fatality in Tuesday's incident. An experienced pilot with Southwest Airlines, Shults was among the Navy's first women pilots trained to fly fighter aircraft.

"The pilot, Tammy Jo, was amazing!" Amanda Bourman, a passenger on Southwest flight 1380 posted on social media.

Shults "came back to speak to each of us personally," wrote Diane McBride Self on Facebook. "This is a true American hero. A huge thank you for her knowledge, guidance, and bravery."

A friend in contact with Shults since Tuesday's incident told ABC News that "she is doing fine." Shults was said to be undergoing routine tests conducted after flight mishaps to ensure that pilots did not have any drugs or alcohol in their systems.

While a lot of attention has been focused on the flight skills she and her co-pilot exhibited in safely landing the plane, Shults is said to be more concerned about the passengers on her flight.

The friend said Shults's thoughts are with Jennifer Riordan and her family. Riordan was the sole person killed in Tuesday's incident, dying from injuries suffered after the Boeing 737's engine came apart.

Shults is not only an experienced pilot with Southwest Airlines, but she was also among the Navy's first female fighter pilots.

"She was commissioned in the Navy on June 21, 1985, and completed flight training in Pensacola," said Lt. Christina Sears, a Navy spokesperson.

"She served at the Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ-34) in Point Mugu, Calif. as an instructor pilot flying the EA-6B Prowler and F/A-18 Hornet," Sears said.

"We can confirm that Lieutenant Commander Shults was among the first cohort of women pilots to transition to tactical aircraft," Sears said.

The New Mexico native remained on active duty with the Navy until 1993 when she transitioned to the Naval Reserve and retired in 2001 with the rank of Lt. Commander.

Shults was trained as a Navy fighter pilot at a time when female pilots were not allowed to fly with combat units.

After graduating from flight school in 1989, Shults served with Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 34 (VAQ-34) from 1989 until she left active duty in 1993.

But like the other first female Navy pilots trained to fly on the F/A-18 Hornet, Shults was assigned to fly the fighter aircraft in an electronic warfare training squadron instead of flying with units assigned to aircraft carriers like their male counterparts.

In March 1993, she was among the VAQ-34 squadron pilots interviewed by the Navy's All Hands magazine.

“In AOCS [Aviation Officer Candidate School], if you’re a woman [or different in any way], you’re a high-profile; you’re under more scrutiny,” Shults was quoted in the article.

“It would be nice if they would take away the ceilings [women] have over our heads,” Shults said.

“In VAQ-34, gender doesn’t matter there’s no advantage or disadvantage,” she said. “Which proves my point - if there’s a good mix of gender, it ceases to be an issue.”

Shortly after that article was published, Defense Secretary Les Aspin lifted the restrictions on female pilots flying combat missions. But by then Shults had already left the active duty Navy.

Shults also spoke about the difficulties she and other female Navy aviators faced in the 1998 book "Call Sign Revlon: The Life and Death of Navy Fighter Pilot Kara Hultgreen" written by Sally Spears, Hultgreen's mother.

A friend of Shults's, Hultgreen was the first female Navy pilot certified for combat duty. She was killed in October 1994 crash while attempting a landing on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln.

In the book, Shults noted that Navy commanders tried not to show female pilots special treatment, but their actions sometimes had the opposite effect on male pilots.

"Like they would have the women in for coffee and cookies with the captain," said Shults. "It made us feel like idiots. I mean, nobody has coffee and cookies with the captain."

Among the awards that Shults received during her Navy career were the Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Defense Service Medal and the Marksmanship Medal (Expert.)

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Three-year-old girl accidentally shoots pregnant mother from backseat of car, police say

WLS-TV(MERRILLVILLE, Ind.) -- A 3-year-old girl accidentally shot her pregnant mother from the backseat of a car Tuesday after the woman's boyfriend allegedly left the loaded gun there, according to police in northwest Indiana.

The shooting happened Tuesday afternoon in Merrillville when the boyfriend walked into a store and left the loaded gun in the car between the console and the seat, Merrillville Police Chief Joseph Petruch told ABC News.

The gun owner's pregnant girlfriend, whom police did not name, sat in the driver's seat in the parking lot with her children, ages 3 and 1, in the backseat, Petruch said.

The 3-year-old girl got hold of the 9mm Glock 19 pistol while she was in the back, and the weapon discharged, hitting her mother in the chest, Petruch said. The bullet then went through the windshield, Petruch said, and the woman got out of the car and collapsed.

Meanwhile, her 21-year-old boyfriend was in the store, Petruch said. He said the "next thing he knows, somebody comes running in and said, 'Your wife or girlfriend has just been shot.'"

"The first thought was to get the kids out of there," said Rebecca Todd, an employee at the store, according to ABC station WLS-TV in Chicago. "We grabbed them. We brought them inside, and we just tried comforting them as best we could."

The children -- who were OK -- were turned over to child protective services, Petruch said. The victim was hospitalized, and her condition was not immediately clear.

The boyfriend, Menzo Brazier, was taken to Lake County jail, where he was held on child endangerment charges, Petruch said. Police said they expect to meet with the prosecutor's office Thursday to determine additional charges. The prosecutor's office did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Petruch called the shooting a "careless, dangerous act," adding that Brazier is "directly responsible for this."

"When you take on a responsibility of gun ownership, you have to be a responsible adult," he said. "Especially, you don't leave a loaded gun around when children are present."

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Everything to know about the upcoming National School Walkout

Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Thousands of students across the country will come together again this week to rally against school gun violence -- an event the teenage organizers hope will empower students to continue their momentum in a push for common-sense gun reform.

The event -- called the National School Walkout -- focuses on high schools and will take place on April 20, the anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado, where two students opened fire in 1999, killing 12 of their fellow students and a teacher.

Who is participating?

The event was organized by 16-year-old Lane Murdock, a sophomore at Ridgefield High School in Connecticut, along with three of her classmates.

More than 2,000 events are registered across the country, with at least one in every state and several globally, according to the organizers.

When will it start?

The walkout begins at 10 a.m. in each local time zone.

When students head outside, they will first take part in 13 seconds of silence to honor the 13 people killed at Columbine High School.

Then the format of the walkout is up to each school. Lane told ABC News she proposes that schools incorporate open mics, guest speakers and voter registration. She said some students plan to write letters to those in communities impacted by school shootings.

But this event differs in one major way from last month's nationwide school walkout, which was held on March 14, one month after the shooting at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 students and staff.

The March 14 walkout officially lasted for 17 minutes to mark the 17 lives lost. After the 17 minutes, many students returned to their classrooms.

The April 20 walkout, meanwhile, is set to last from 10 a.m. until the end of the school day.

"This is a problem that needs to be addressed longer than 17 minutes," Lane said.

"As a student who can't vote, you don't have a lot of power. But what you have that's powerful is your voice, your thoughts, but also your attendance. And leaving for longer than 17 minutes, leaving and breaking up that schedule that all American students have every day is how you get people to pay attention," Lane said.

What inspired the walkout?

Lane said the walkout comes as a direct response to the Stoneman Douglas massacre, because her first reaction to the February shooting was numbness.

"I started to think to myself, 'What can I do to change the narrative?'" Lane said. "But also, 'What can I do to give people who maybe don't have as much time on their hands as I do, to give them that power?'"

Three of Lane's classmates are leading the National School Walkout with her, including Grant Yaun, a 17-year-old junior.

Grant said he was an 11-year-old sixth grader at the time of the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, which is near Ridgefield.

That shooting, which killed 20 children and six teachers, was the first time he said he was aware of the realities of school violence and "how disturbing these kinds of things were."

But in the six years since then, Grant said, the "onslaught of shootings" has made him more desensitized, so he also didn't have a strong first reaction to the Stoneman Douglas shooting. But "after some reflection," he said, he felt "it was time for something to change."

Lane and Grant said they hope the walkout will build momentum for common-sense gun reform, such as bump stock bans and universal background checks. They also want the event to empower students across the country and increase the turnout of young voters at the November midterm elections.

"The walkout is an event designed to create friction, put some energy into the discussion, and it's almost a show of force," Grant told ABC News. "We're not going to be silenced or ignored."

Grant said the "overall reception" from school administrators across the country to their nearly all-day walkout is "relatively neutral or positive."

"Resistance does exist," he said, but "thankfully it seems at least the majority -- however slim the majority may be -- of schools are at least friendly to the event or have accepted it's going to happen whether they sanction it or not, and have made moves to accommodate."

In Maryland, Washington County Public Schools Superintendent Boyd Michael said at a listening session this month that students would be considered truant if they walk out, according to the Herald-Mail Media, the website for the local Herald-Mail newspaper and HMTV6 cable news channel.

But Michael added that "discipline would vary depending on students' specific actions," the Herald-Mail Media reported.

"We'll continue to work with student government and students," Michael said at the listening session, according to Herald-Mail Media. "We want them to share their ideas and their concerns with us, but we can't have a situation where we're disrupting the natural school flow or the natural school environment."

He didn't immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

But to the student organizers, disrupting the school day is an important part of the walkout.

"When you get rid of the routine, you show them this is a cause that we care about. We're changing how were doing things and voicing our opinions," Lane said.

"This will not be a day off," Lane continued, stressing that students worked hard to organize these walkouts for their communities.  

He added, "This walkout isn't the end -- it's kind of a start, actually. We've rolled out a chapter-based organization to capture the momentum of the walkout, to capture that raw energy as it kind of reaches this peak."

Lane and Grant said these chapters -- of which there are already 150 -- hand over the control to students across the U.S. who know their communities.

"Students enrolled in their local chapters will plan the walkouts and follow through with the walkouts and then transition into a school club-type organization -- not necessarily sanctioned by the school," Grant said. "Then the chapter-based organizations will meet regulatory to a)  get young people who are eligible to vote registered, and b) get young people interested in politics and remove any sense of fear or apprehension from it, or just general confusion, and to raise political awareness."

Grant, who will be too young to vote this November, admitted that this does create some frustration, but he added, "I feel I'll have done more than a single vote for myself ever could just by helping organize this."

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Gusty winds spread wildfires in Plains as big storm moves east

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Extreme drought and winds topping out around 90 mph have created perilous wildfire conditions from Colorado to Oklahoma.

At least 28 wildfires were burning as of Wednesday morning in the Southwest and southern Plains. Winds are expected to subside Wednesday as the storm system that produced them moves east.

Fire alerts in Arizona and New Mexico have been posted in advance of more strong winds forecast for Thursday.

As the storm system heads east, winter storm warnings and advisories have been issued for six states, from Nebraska to Illinois.

That system, now in the Plains, is bringing snow from the Dakotas into Iowa. Rush-hour snow is expected Wednesday night in Milwaukee and Chicago, although downtown Chicago likely will see more rain than powder.

The storm system is forecast to arrive in the Northeast on Thursday morning, with rain falling from New York to Boston, and snow in upstate New York and western Pennsylvania.

Heavy snowfalls are expected in southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa, which may see as much as 8 inches through Thursday.

Snow also is possible in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, as well as western Pennsylvania, upstate New York and parts of New England.

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