Showing posts with label news. Show all posts
Showing posts with label news. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Meteor Shower Early Thursday..


Perseids 2015: Biggest meteor shower of the year peaks tonight

Watch for shooting stars tonight — the biggest meteor 
shower of the year will reach its peak, and unusually 
dark skies could make it an especially good show.

The annual Perseid meteor shower happens every 
August when Earth passes through debris left by comet 
Swift-Tuttle. When the tiny chunks of rock crash through
 the Earth's atmosphere and burn up, they leave trails of 
light that we see as meteors. The Perseids produce more
visible meteors than any other annual meteor shower.

This year, the Perseids peak early Thursday morning, 
and the best time to watch is between midnight and 

Monday, June 20, 2011

NBC APOLOGIZES...............

By Cindy Boren
NBC apologizes for cutting “under God” from Pledge of Allegiance before U.S. Open

NBC apologized for cutting the words “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance in its leadup to coverage to the U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club.

The move quickly drew criticism Dan Hicks said, during the broadcast of Open action:
“We began our coverage of this final round just about three hours ago and when we did it was our intent to begin the coverage of this U.S. Open Championship with a feature that captured the patriotism of our national championship being held in our nation’s capital for the third time. Regrettably, a portion of the Pledge of Allegiance that was in that feature was edited out. It was not done to upset anyone and we’d like to apologize to those of you who were offended by it.”


Monday, June 13, 2011

Diver Says He Will Look For Bin Laden's Body

Oh, I can tell you right now, this might not be a good idea.......

A California scuba diver says he plans to go on an underwater search to find the body of Osama bin Laden, since there has not been a photo released to the public to prove the terrorist leader is dead.

Bill Warren, 58, is an experienced deep-sea scuba diver normally dives searching for underwater treasure in sunken ships. He said last week that he plans to scour the North Arabian Sea for bin Laden's body. The U.S. Navy allegedly buried bin Laden at sea by pitching his body overboard there in early May.

Warren said the expedition could cost about $500,000. He plans to rent a ship and a remote-control submarine at the cost of $11,000 per day.

The seach will begin next month in India, he said. If he finds bin Laden's body, he plans to photograph it and perform a DNA test on the ship.

Warren said he plans to bring a film crew on the expdition to document it.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Swearing In Ceremonies For Rigell On Wednesday

Scott Rigell will become the new second district congressman tomorrow. Rigell will be officially sworn in during ceremonies at Capitol Hill.

The new house majority leader John Bohener has decided to make the swearing in ceremonies low key so as to demonstrate the seriousness of the issues this Congress will face.

After an overall swearing in ceremony, each of the new representatives will be sworn in personally by Boehner. Melody Scalley will be at the ceremony and the following press conference and will be reporting on the activities.

Rigell defeated incumbent Congressman Glenn Nye in the November election, one that saw the Republicans win a 63 seat majority in the House.

The Second District was one of three that changed parties from Democrat to Republican. Two other Democrats, Tom Periello and long time Congressional veteran Rick Boucher also lost their seats.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Senate Votes To Turn Down Volume On TV Commercials

I know commercials can be annoying and loud. I discovered this back in 1976 with the birth of my first daughter and her attraction to them. Back then she wasn't interested in buying any of those products, she had been distracted from her normal routine by the volume of the commercial.

Now, that was over 30 years ago and since that time we have gone from the volume knob (remember those?) to the remote control. Yep, the remote control........the TV addicts best friend!

So now time is being wasted on passing legislation to have advertising companies turn back the volume on their ads. Good grief! How are these companies supposed to sell? Remember, you TV people, you don't have to get your butt up anymore to turn a volumn knob.......just hit mute on the remote!

Besides, even with lower volume on TV ads you still won't be listening or hearing any better when someone is trying to speak to you. You will still answer with "HUH?"

Know what I would like to see abolished from TV? Some TV shows themselves......"The Price Is Right" and "Let's Make A Deal". That's loud........oops, not an annoying commercial.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Legislation to turn down the volume on those loud TV commercials that send couch potatoes diving for their remote controls looks like it'll soon become law.

The Senate unanimously passed a bill late Wednesday to require television stations and cable companies to keep commercials at the same volume as the programs they interrupt.

The House has passed similar legislation. Before it can become law, minor differences between the two versions have to be worked out when Congress returns to Washington after the Nov. 2 election.

Ever since television caught on in the 1950s, the Federal Communication Commission has been getting complaints about blaring commercials. But the FCC concluded in 1984 there was no fair way to write regulations controlling the "apparent loudness" of commercials. So it hasn't been regulating them.

Correcting sound levels is more complicated than using the remote control. The television shows and ads come from a variety of sources, from local businesses to syndicators.

Managing the transition between programs and ads without spoiling the artistic intent of the producers poses technical challenges and may require TV broadcasters to purchase new equipment. To address the issue, an industry organization recently produced guidelines on how to process, measure and transmit audio in a uniform way.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., requires the FCC to adopt those recommendations as regulations within a year and begin enforcing them a year later. Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., is the driving force behind the bill in the House.

Its title is the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, or CALM.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., a co-sponsor, said it's time to stop the use of loud commercials to startle viewers into paying attention. "TV viewers should be able to watch their favorite programs without fear of losing their hearing when the show goes to a commercial," he said.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cell Phone Ban In Maryland Takes Effect Friday

WASHINGTON - Come Friday, driving and talking on a cell phone in Maryland could get you a ticket, but only if you're doing something else wrong.

The law, which was passed in April, requires drivers to use a hands-free device. It's a secondary offense, meaning you can only get a ticket for using your cell phone if you've already been pulled over for another violation.

The District and seven other states have similar bans, but Maryland is the only jurisdiction where it is a secondary offense.

The fine is $40 for a first offense, and $100 for a second offense.

The state already has a ban on texting while driving. Both the District and Virginia also have general bans on texting while driving, but only school bus drivers and drivers under 18 are not allowed to talk on the phone while driving in Virginia.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Studies Show That Sanitizers Do Not Ward Off Colds

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - Applying an alcohol-based hand sanitizer may not limit your chances at catching a cold or the flu.

That's the finding of a University of Virginia study reported by The Daily Progress newspaper.

Every 100 study subjects who used hand disinfectants had 42 rhinovirus infections. That compares to 51 infections for every 100 subjects who went without hand sanitizers.

The rates of influenza were about the same between the two groups, 12 versus 15 cases per 100 subjects.

Dial Corp. sponsored the study. The results were to be expected to be announced during the weekend's Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy in Boston.

Researchers say other studies show hand sanitizer does curb gastrointestinal disease.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Quote Of The Day............

Why Internet Debates Are So Awful................
"I have thought a lot about why people get so hostile online, and I have come to believe it is primarily because we live in a society with a hypertrophied sense of justice and an atrophied sense of humility and charity, to put the matter in terms of the classic virtues. ... In our online debates, we not only fail to cultivate charity and humility, we come to think of them as vices: forms of weakness that compromise our advocacy. And so we go forth to war with one another."

--Alan Jacobs, professor of English at Wheaton College, writing at Big Questions Online. (Via ArtsJournal.)

U.S. Muslims Boost Security For 9/11

NEW YORK (AP) - American Muslims are boosting security at mosques, seeking help from leaders of other faiths and airing ads underscoring their loyalty to the United States — all ahead of a 9/11 anniversary they fear could bring more trouble for their communities.

Their goal is not only to protect Muslims, but also to prevent them from retaliating if provoked. One Sept. 11 protest in New York against the proposed mosque near ground zero is expected to feature Geert Wilders, the aggressively anti-Islam Dutch lawmaker. The same day in Gainesville, Fla., the Dove World Outreach Center plans to burn copies of the Quran.

"We can expect crazy people out there will do things, but we don't want to create a hysteria," among Muslims, said Victor Begg of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan. "Americans, in general, they support pluralism. It's just that there's a lot of misinformation out there that has created confusion."

On Tuesday, the Islamic Society of North America will hold a summit of Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders in Washington "to address the growing tide of fear and intolerance" in the furor over the planned New York mosque.

Islamic centers in many cities are intensifying surveillance and keeping closer contact with law enforcement. Adding to Muslim concern is a fluke of the lunar calendar: Eid al-Fitr, a joyous holiday marking the end of Ramadan, will fall around Sept. 11 this year. Muslim leaders fear festivities could be misinterpreted as celebrating the 2001 terror strikes.

"We're telling everyone to keep their eyes open and report anything suspicious to authorities and call us," said Ramzy Kilic of the Tampa, Fla., chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations.

Other efforts around 9/11 aim to fight bigotry. Muslims will clean parks, feed the homeless, and give toys to sick children as part of Muslim Serve, a national campaign to demonstrate Islamic commitment to serving humanity.

Separately, groups are distributing ads to combat persistent suspicions about Islam. One spot, called "My Faith, My Voice," features American Muslims saying, "I don't want to take over this country."

Sept. 11 anniversaries have always been challenging for U.S. Muslims, who have been under scrutiny since the attacks. This year, the commemoration follows a stunning summer in which opposition to a planned Islamic community center near the World Trade Center site escalated into a national uproar over Islam, extremism and religious freedom.

Islamic centers as far away as Tennessee and California faced protests and vandalism. In western New York, police said a group of teenagers recently yelled obscenities, set off a car alarm and fired a shotgun during two nights of drive-by harassment at a small-town mosque near Lake Ontario.

Usama Shami, board chairman for the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, said a new mosque the congregation has been building for years drew little attention until recently, when some resistance emerged in the neighborhood and from some in city government. Recently, vandals broke into the new building, spilled paint on the floor and broke expensive windows.

Shami believes the ground zero dispute is partly to blame for the trouble, along with passions unleashed by Arizona's strict new law that would require police to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are in the country illegally.

"All of these issues came at the same time," Shami said. "When things like that happen, I think they bring out the worst in some people."

On Sept. 11 in Chicago, Zeenat Rahman, a 34-year-old native of the city, will visit a local nursing home with Muslim and non-Muslim friends to spend time with residents and help serve a meal.

"This is when people are going to look at our community, and when they do, what are they going to see?" said Rahman, a policy director for the Interfaith Youth Core, which promotes pluralism. "Sometimes, saying 'Islam means peace,' feels a little defensive and apologetic, whereas service is really core to our faith."

Unity Productions Foundation, a Washington-area group that specializes in films about Islam and Muslim Americans, will hold an interfaith talk on Sept. 11 at the Washington Jewish Community Center.

Speakers include Monem Salam, the subject of a Unity Productions film titled, "On a Wing and a Prayer: An American Muslim Learns to Fly." Unity recently launched, where visitors can view films and use them for community discussion about Islam in the U.S.

Salam, 38, of Bellingham, Wash., usually spends the Eid weekend with his wife and three young children, but said he persuaded his wife he had to participate in the event.

"I have to leave them and go across the country to answer questions about Islam," said Salam, a portfolio manager who was 4 years old when his family left Pakistan for the U.S. "It's unfortunate. It's the time that we live in."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Disaster Checklist For Seniors

The elderly are among the most vulnerable victims when hurricanes strike. Home Instead Senior Care has offered up some tips to help seniors prepare.

Disaster Prep Checklist For Seniors:

Tune in. Contact the local emergency management office to learn about the most likely natural disasters to strike your area. Stay abreast of what's going on through your local radio or television.

Take stock. Decide what your senior can or can't do in the event of a natural disaster. Make a list of what would be needed if a disaster occurred. For example, if your loved one uses a wheelchair, determine an evacuation strategy ahead of time. Prepare for whatever disaster could hit the area.

To go or to stay? When deciding to evacuate, older adults should go sooner rather than later. By waiting too long, they may be unable to leave if they require assistance.

Make a plan. Schedule a family meeting to develop a plan of action. Include in your plan key people - such as neighbors, friends, relatives and professional caregivers - who could help.

More than one way out. Seniors should develop at least two escape routes: one to evacuate their home and one to evacuate their community. The local emergency management office can tell you escape routes out of the community.

Meet up. Designate a place to meet relatives or key support network people outside the house, as well as a second location outside the neighborhood, such as a school or church. Practice the plan twice a year.

Get up and "Go Kit." Have an easy-to-carry backpack including three days non-perishable food and water with an additional four days of food and water readily accessible at home. Have at least one gallon of bottled water per person per day. Refresh and replace your supplies at least twice a year. And don't forget the blanket and paper products such as toilet paper.

Pack extras and copies. Have at least a one-month supply of medication on hand at all times. Make ready other important documents in a waterproof protector including copies of prescriptions, car title registration and driver's license, insurance documents and bank account numbers, and spare checkbook. Also take extra eyeglasses and hearing-aid batteries. Label every piece of important equipment or personal item in case they are lost.

Your contact list. Compile a contact list and include people on a senior's support network as well as doctors and other important health-care professionals.

If you can't be there. If you're not living close by to help your loved one, enlist the help of family or friends, or contact a professional caregiving company.

"We know that a disaster can be deadly for some seniors because of physical and other limitations," said Laura Bousman owner of the Home Instead Office serving Tidewater. "That's why the sooner the better for families to talk with their senior loved ones and begin preparing in advance for any kind of emergency that could threaten their health or safety. Consider this checklist as you help your older adult get ready."

For more information contact Home Instead Senior Care at (757) 631-7744 or online at

Amtrak Cancels Some Services Due To Earl

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Amtrak says it's canceling some Virginia passenger train routes because of Hurricane Earl.

Amtrak says the cancellations involve routes between the Tidewater area and Newport News. The changes announced Wednesday run Thursday through Saturday.

On Thursday, Amtrak says trains 67 and 66 will end in Richmond instead of Newport News and Train 95 will end at Washington, D.C. instead of Newport News.

On Friday, Train 66 will start from Richmond instead of Newport News, while Train 94 will originate in Washington, instead of Newport News. Trains 95 and 83 will end their routes in Washington instead of Newport News and Train 78 is canceled.

Saturday, Amtrak says Train 194 will start in Richmond instead of Newport News and Train 82 will originate in Washington instead of Newport News.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Earl Weakens To Category 3 Hurricane/Hurricane WATCH Moves Up The East Coast

RALEIGH, N.C.Ocracoke Island tourists were ordered to board the ferries and head for the mainland today and more evacuations could be on the way as powerful Hurricane Earl threatened to sideswipe the East Coast.

The National Weather Service, meantime, extended its hurricane watch up the coast to include the Virginia Hampton Roads localities of Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, and Northampton County on the Eastern Shore.

Hyde County emergency officials said the evacuation of Ocracoke Island started at 5 a.m. for about 5,000 visitors. The 800 or so year-round residents don’t have to heed it, but Emergency Services Director Lindsey Mooney said officials hope they’ll follow tourists on the 2½ hour trip to shore.

Hyde spokeswoman Jamie Tunnell said about 30 cars, including trucks pulling campers, were lined up to board ferries that would begin leaving Ocracoke Island on the state's Outer Banks for the 2½-hour trip to shore.

"Ferries are the only way off unless you have a private plane or boat," Tunnell said.

The 800 or so year-round residents don't have to heed it, but Emergency Services Director Lindsey Mooney said officials hope they'll follow tourists and leave the island.

The last time the island was evacuated was in 2005 as Hurricane Ophelia approached, shortly after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast.

More evacuations along the Eastern Seaboard could follow, depending on the path taken by the storm, which weakened to a Category 3 hurricane early today as it whipped across the Caribbean with winds of 125 mph.

Earl was expected to remain over the open ocean before turning north and running parallel to the East Coast, bringing high winds and heavy rain to North Carolina’s Outer Banks by late tomorrow or early Friday. From there, forecasters said, it could curve away from the coast somewhat as it makes it way north, perhaps hitting Massachusetts’ Cape Cod and the Maine shoreline on Friday night and Saturday.

Forecasters cautioned that it was still too early to tell how close Earl might come to land. But not since Hurricane Bob in 1991 has such a powerful storm had such a large swath of the East Coast in its sights, said Dennis Feltgen, spokesman for the National Hurricane Center.

“A slight shift of that track to the west is going to impact a great deal of real estate with potential hurricane-force winds,” Feltgen said.

Even if Earl stays well offshore, it will kick up rough surf and dangerous rip currents up and down the coast through the Labor Day weekend, a prime time for beach vacations, forecasters said. Virginia’s governor today planned to declare an emergency, a preliminary step needed to muster emergency personnel should Earl hit the state.

The approaching storm troubled many East Coast beach towns that had hoped to capitalize on the BP oil spill and draw visitors who normally vacation on the Gulf Coast.

Yesterday, gusty winds from Earl’s outer fringes whipped palm fronds and whistled through doors in the Turks and Caicos Islands as tied-down boats seesawed on white-crested surf.

Islanders gathered to watch big waves pound a Grand Turk shore as the wind sent sand and salt spray flying.

“We can hear the waves crashing against the reef really seriously,” Kirk Graff, owner of the Captain Kirks Flamingo Cove Marina, said by telephone as he watched the darkening skies. “Anybody who hasn’t secured their boats by now is going to regret it.”

Carl Hanes of Newport News, Va. , kept an eye on the weather report as he headed for the beach near his rented vacation home in Avon, N.C. He, his wife and their two teenage children were anticipating Earl might force them to leave tomorrow, a day ahead of schedule.

“We’re trying not to let it bother us,” Hanes said before enjoying the calm surf.

In Rehoboth Beach, Del., Judy Rice said she has no plans to leave the vacation home where she has spent most of the summer. In fact, the Oak Hill, Va., resident plans to walk around town in the rain if it comes.

“I kind of enjoy it actually. You know, it’s battling the elements,” Rice said. “I have seen the rain go sideways, and, yeah, it can be scary, but I have an old house here in Rehoboth, so it’s probably more important that I am here during a storm than anywhere.”

In the Florida Panhandle, which has struggled all summer to coax back tourists scared away by the Gulf oil spill, bookings were up 12 percent over last year at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. The resort is nowhere near Earl’s projected path, and spokeswoman Laurie Hobbs said she suspects the increase in reservations was partly because of a discount the hotel is offering and partly because of the hurricane.

“Weather drives business,” she said. “They go to where the weather is best.”

If Earl brings rain farther inland, it could affect the U.S. Open tennis tournament, being played now through Sept. 12 in New York City.

“We’re keeping our eye on it very closely,” said United States Tennis Association spokesman Chris Widmaier.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Restoring Honor" Rally

Glenn Beck lamented the "garish light of America today" at his "Restoring Honor" rally Saturday, saying it was time to reverse course from "what we've allowed ourselves to become."

Speaking at the Lincoln Memorial 47 years to the day after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech in the same spot, Beck said, "Something beyond imagination is happening."

"Something that is beyond man is happening," Beck told his enthusiastic audience at the planned three-hour rally. "America today begins to turn back to God. For too long, this country has wandered in darkness."

Said an impassioned Beck: "Are we so pessimistic that we no longer believe in the individual, and the power of the individual? Do we no longer believe in dreams?"

"One man can change the world!" he stated, telling members of the audience that they must take up that charge.

Approximately 87,000 people attended the rally, according to a crowd estimate commissioned by CBS News. The estimate was made using aerial photos taken at noon, which was judged to be the height of the event. The estimate has a margin of error of 9,000 people.

Crowds gathered for the event stretched from the Lincoln Memorial all the way to the World War II Memorial. One person held a cardboard cutout of President Obama and asked people what they would tell him, CBS News' Fernando Suarez reports. One man said he'd punch the president in the face, while another said he'd take Mr. Obama to jail.

For the most part, however, the crowd was calm. Beck had asked his supporters not to bring political signs to the event, which was ostensibly non-political (despite the presence of Sarah Palin, among others). Most of the assembled crowd complied, opting for American flags instead of political messages.

Beck, at times near tears, said that heroes like Abraham Lincoln and George Washington had disappeared from American life, but that the next generation of those heroes were in the crowd, and were the children of those who had come to an event he had compared to Woodstock.

Palin, speaking near the start of the event, said, "We stand today at the symbolic crossroads of our nation's history."

"May this day be the change point," she said. "Look around you. You're not alone. You are Americans!"

Beck would go on to oversee the awarding of the "badge of merit" to three Americans he cast as modern-day heroes, among them an African-American pastor who called Beck a "servant of God."St. Louis Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa introduced Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols, the recipient of the "badge of merit for hope," who discussed his faith in Jesus.

The event often seemed like a religious service, with a pastors offering prayers and Beck and other speakers peppering their comments and songs with references to God. A large wooden cross could be seen in the crowd, and Beck implored attendees to let their children see them pray.

"This day is a day that we can start the heart of America again, and it has nothing to do with politics, it has everything to do with God," Beck said, arguing that God had been sending Americans "wake-up calls," including the Sept. 11 attacks.

"We must be better than what we've allowed ourselves to become," he said. "We must get the poison of hatred out of us...we must look to God and look to love."

A Mormon, Beck asked attendees to tithe ten percent of their incomes and said it is "my joy and my honor" to do so.

In addition to "restoring honor," the event was designed to honor members of the military, which Beck said was one of the few institutions that Americans continue to trust.

"Our fighting men and women do the things that most of us don't even want to think about," he said, before introducing speakers from (and asking for donations in support of) the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

Al Sharpton was hosting a much smaller "Reclaim the Dream" counter-rally as the Beck rally went on at the Lincoln Memorial. Sharpton told CBS News yesterday that Beck is trying to "hijack" the civil rights movement.

Near the World War II memorial, a few protesters stood holding signs protesting Beck's rally. One sign said, "Glenn Beck is a F'king Racist. Another said, "DC Does NOT Hate." Beck has suggested that President Obama is a racist.

Another protester holding a sign deeming King a "dream" and Beck a "nightmare" got into a screaming match with a Beck supporter who said she is tired of living under communism.

Midway through the rally, Beck showed a video hailing King and introduced Alveda King, King's niece. Alveda King gave an emotionally charged speech calling for, among other things, prayer in schools.

Beck said King's dream was the dream of all Americans. Though the audience at the event was overwhelmingly white, many of the speakers were African-American, including a woman who sang a song about unity.

Beck insisted he is not a "fearmonger" as, he noted, some have suggested. He said that while he talks "about frightening things," he is no different than the man on the Titanic who first saw the iceberg and yelled out a warning.

Beck read Lincoln's Gettysburg Address at one point and repeatedly invoked the Founding Fathers in his remarks. He said he and the assembled crowd were standing on "a great battlefield with warriors on each side."

"America is at a crossroads, and today we must decide, 'Who are we? What is it that we believe?'" Beck said. "We must advance or perish. I choose advance."

Beck said that the event will be "meaningless" if the "wake-up call" he was offering fades after the day ends. But if people let the day be a turning point, he said, "we will change the world."

"It is time to start the heart of this nation again and put it where it belongs - our heart with God," said Beck. He added: "The truth will set you free."

Saturday, August 28, 2010

DON'T FEED THE DEER Say Virginia Game Officials

Don't feed the deer. Ok. But I'd like to know how the "negative consequences of feeding deer" were decided.
I'd also like to know how this will help control vehicle collisions with deer.

Starting Sept. 1, feeding deer will be illegal in Virginia.

The annual prohibition runs through the first Saturday in January.

The state Department of Game and Inland Fisheries says the ban is intended to curb the negative consequences of feeding deer, such as unnaturally increasing population numbers. That can lead to damage to natural habitats, disease transmission and human-deer conflicts, including vehicle collisions with the large animals.

Besides the September-to-January feeding ban, it is now illegal to feed deer all year in Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah and Warren counties.

The feeding ban in those four counties is part of the department's chronic wasting disease management plan established in April.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sea World Fined After Death Of Trainer

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - The federal job safety agency fined SeaWorld Orlando $75,000 on Monday for three violations uncovered while investigating the February death of a trainer who was grabbed by a killer whale and dragged underwater.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration categorized the most serious violation as "willful," or showing indifference or intentional disregard for employee safety. That citation, carrying a $70,000 penalty, was for exposing workers to drowning hazards when interacting with killer whales.

The agency proposes not allowing trainers to have any physical contact with Tilikum, the killer whale responsible for trainer Dawn Brancheau's death in February, unless protected by a physical barrier.

The OSHA report described Tilikum as having "known aggressive tendencies." The six-ton whale was one of three orcas blamed for killing a trainer in 1991 after the woman lost her balance and fell in the pool at Sealand of the Pacific near Victoria, British Columbia. Tilikum also was also involved in a 1999 death, when the body of a man who had sneaked by SeaWorld Orlando security was found draped over him.

Sea World trainers were forbidden from getting in the water with Tilikum because of the previous deaths. But the killer whale still managed to grab Brancheau's long hair as she laid on her stomach on a cement clab in three inches of water. The cause of death was drowning and traumatic injuries.

The OSHA report also suggests that trainers not work with other killer whales at the park, either in the water or out of water, unless they are protected by a barrier, deck or oxygen-supply system underwater.

"SeaWorld trainers had an extensive history of unexpected and potentially dangerous incidents involving killer whales at its various facilities, including its location in Orlando," OSHA said in a statement released with the report.

The second citation, deemed serious, was for failing to install a stairway railing system beside the stage in Shamu Stadium. That citation carried a $5,000 penalty.

The third citation was considered "other-than-serious" and was for failing to have weather-protected electrical receptacles at the stadium. That citation didn't have a penalty.

SeaWorld spokesman Fred Jacobs said the park will contest the citation.

"SeaWorld disagrees with the unfounded allegations made by OSHA today," Jacobs said in a statement.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Woman Tries To Depost Cocaine At Her Bank

SOUTH WINDSOR, Conn. (WTNH) - A Wethersfield woman is facing charges after police say she handed a bank teller an envelope containing cocaine.

It happened at Rockville Bank in South Windsor Thursday afternoon.

Kendl Murphy, 43, pulled up to the drive-up teller and handed over a deposit envelope that contained a small bag with white powder. Bank staff asked Murphy to wait for her transaction to be completed and called police.

A field test of the substance revealed that it was cocaine.

Murphy has been charged with possession and possession within 1,500 feet of a school or day care. She was later released on a $1,000 bond.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Man On Jet Ski Was Electrocuted From the Storm

The 63-year-old Annapolis man killed on his jet ski during Sunday's severe thunderstorm was electrocuted by a nearby lightning strike, police said Wednesday.

Maryland Natural Resources Police released the preliminary cause of death for Warren Douglas Smith, and said a final autopsy is scheduled for next month.

The accident occurred about half mile south of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge during the storm. Police said Smith, who was riding a jet ski prior to the accident, was caught in the storm.

Police believe he was not struck directly by lightning but was electrocuted by a nearby strike. Elmer Sappington, 65 of Severn, who was about 75 to 100 feet away from Smith, also on a jet ski, was not harmed by the lightning.

Natural Resources Police warn boaters that lightning can strike over 10 miles away from heavy rain and storms. They advise boaters to check the forecast before going out, and say that anyone caught on the water during a thunderstorm should to move to land and seek shelter immediately.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

6 A.M. Pony Day Swim

CHINCOTEAGUE -- Crowds are gathering on the banks of Assateague Channel this morning in anticipation of the 85th annual Pony Swim.

Accomack County Public Schools buses are taking people to Chincoteague's Veterans' Memorial Park to watch the event, made famous by Marguerite Henry's 1947 novel, "Misty of Chincoteague."

Longtime residents and people with an intricate knowledge of the event serve as guides on the buses, providing onlookers -- estimated to be in the tens of thousands -- with information about the event.

"The best thing to do is move forward and to the right," said guide Kat Edwards to a bus with onlookers. "Get as close as you can."

She told those on the bus that the first pony ashore will be named King or Queen Neptune and will be raffled off at the Fireman's Carnival.

But members of a family seated in the middle of the bus, with a young daughter in tow, shook their heads when Edwards announced the raffle.

Edwards, whose day job is director of housing services for the Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission, laughed.

"Don't let your kids hear that? Is that what you're trying to say?" she asked, as the young girl suddenly became interested in winning a pony.

They got off the bus and blended into the crowd at Memorial Park, some people seated in lawn chairs, others farther down the coast, standing in marsh grass, looking toward the channel.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Being A Pony Penning Volunteer

CHINCOTEAGUE -- Roe Terry intricately understands the annual Chincoteague Pony Penning from every angle.

Terry, a 34-year member of the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company, which owns and manages the herd of ponies, knows the importance of the event's tradition and cares deeply for the welfare of the animals.

As the company's public relations officer and media representative, Terry helps television and print reporters get access to the ponies and the volunteers who are so important to this week's activities.

The result is that Wednesday's 85th annual Pony Swim and Thursday's Pony Auction will get worldwide coverage and have a dedicated following of enthusiasts.

"It's a juggling job," Terry said recently from his decoy carving shop on North Main Street. "You've got to be diplomatic."

Terry also understands the impact of Pony Penning on Chincoteague Island. The event helps local businesses and restaurants. And the proceeds of the pony sale and annual Fireman's Carnival help the fire company.

Long after the ponies are sold and crowds are gone, the funding helps meet the operating expenses for firetrucks, ambulances and more.

"Chincoteague's very lucky because we have the ponies," he said.

This year has been no different from others. Terry has been in contact with a reporter from Europe who recently spent time on the island documenting the ponies, and a television reporter from Japan who is expected to attend the event.

Last year, he was particularly proud that Horse Racing Television came to town to film the event and produce a segment. And Terry enjoys recounting when Spencer Christian, the "Good Morning America" weatherman, interviewed him live on national television while the ponies swam in the background.

"You learn, through your trials, what to do," he said. Terry always gives credit to the volunteers and firefighters who came before him and thanks Donald Leonard for being his mentor as the company's public relations point person.

Terry's involvement with the event, however, lasts far more than one week. Caring for the ponies, organizing the swim and auction and preparing for the carnival is a year-round process.

He waves off attention and deflects the credit to all the dedicated volunteers in the fire company and Saltwater Cowboys who give their time and talents to make the event a success.

"Everybody does it, not just me," he said. "It's a tremendous amount of work."

Terry's background

Terry, 57, joined the Navy after high school in Chincoteague and then worked at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Terry and his wife, Monnie, have two grown children, Ryan and Irene.

For a decade, beginning in the early 1980s, he was a full-time decoy carver.

Terry has been a carver ever since he was 15. He credits a neighbor, Doug Jester Jr., with fostering a love of the outdoors.

"He took me clamming, fishing, hunting," he said of Jester.

After carving 5,751 pieces in a little more than nine years, he went back to NOAA as an electronic technician, saying he "decided I better get some retirement and health insurance."

Still, Terry enjoys carving -- he works 42 hours a week at his full-time job and carves another 20-25 hours a week behind his house in a shop where he shows and sells his intricate, detailed birds.

These days, Terry produces about 200 pieces a year and donates some of them to worthy causes like the new Chincoteague Island Library for fundraisers. He also gives 40 talks a year to groups like Elderhostel on carving and wildfowl.

Dedication to volunteering

It seems Terry likely won't get much carving done in the coming days as volunteers coordinate the swim and auction. He'll be speaking with the media and granting access to the swim site. Like many others who help with the event, he takes vacation time from work so he can volunteer for the storied event.

Volunteering is dear to Terry, whether it involves the Pony Penning, helping on a wintertime house fire or with any other organization. He bristles at people who complain about volunteers.

"Don't complain about your volunteers," said Terry, who keeps his firefighting gear in his pickup truck. "Be a volunteer."

That's exactly what people will see Terry and the other Chincoteague firefighters and Saltwater Cowboys doing, not only in the coming days, but all year long.

"It's a satisfying job because you're a volunteer," he said.

Crisfield Mud Hop-- I'd Call It A HUGE Success

After weeks of waiting the Crisfield Elks Mud Hop finally became a reality on Sunday! Alot of credit has to be given to each spectator in attendance on that very, very hot day! Some had unbrella's, some erected those life saving canopy tents. But the bravest were those that sat on the bleachers and watched! What a great crowd!

By noon the area was packed with racers. Some drove campers, some drove semis to transport their racing vehicle. Others trailer towed their vehicle.

The 187 East Performance Racing Team were all there. Donald, the team mechanic, could be found almost anywhere throughout the day...... never in one spot for long.

During the intermission the young racers had their chance to compete.
No truck ever comes out of the pit looking like it did before it went in.
There were a few delays in the racing events during the day. During one race a truck ran completely over the hay bale taking the timing lights with it. That had to be restored before racing for be resumed and completed.

But nothing was quite like this wreck at the end of the day in the Unlimited Class. There were only two more vehicles to go after this one and the hot day would be behind us. The next thing everyone witnessed was this car rolling and rolling at a very fast pace towards the crowd. Luckily it stopped and I think every heart watching stopped too. Paramedics and Staff were there almost immediately and had the driver unlatched from cage and slowly the driver stood to his feet and gave the thumbs up! Whew!

Day done!

You know, this huge event just didn't happen over night. And an event of this magnitude took hours and hours of planning. It took dedicated people to work outside in the hot temperatures like Sunday. A HUGE thankyou to ALL of you that took part making this a sensational event. I honestly don't know how it could have been any better.