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Tag Archive: Mississippi


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Dead birds wash up on MS beaches

Posted: Dec 13, 2015 4:29 PM CST Updated: Dec 14, 2015 7:16 AM CST

Fish were the first organisms to wash ashore dead after the algal bloom was announced. (Image Source: Missy Dubuisson) Fish were the first organisms to wash ashore dead after the algal bloom was announced. (Image Source: Missy Dubuisson)

 

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) –

It’s a frightening sight along the coastline. First fish, now dozens of birds found dead on beaches in several coast cities.

“We got reports of several birds in the Gulfport area and after speaking with DEQ they got several more birds in the Biloxi area,” said Missy Dubuisson with Wild at Heart Rescue.

Even in Long Beach, many species of birds have been found lifeless or clinging to life. Experts saying it all goes back to the unprecedented December red tide.

Dead seagull found lying on beach in Pass Christian. (Image Source: Missy Dubuisson) Dead seagull found lying on beach in Pass Christian. (Image Source: Missy Dubuisson)

 

“Of course there probably has been this issue before on a smaller scale and we might have just had a bird or two that maybe came in and didn’t make it, but we weren’t seeing what we’re seeing now,” said Dubuisson.

Caretakers at Wild at Heart Rescue are currently rehabilitating a pelican who started with a hook injury, but is now battling respiratory distress due to the algal bloom.

 

 

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Incredible drone footage shows huge 600ft sinkhole that opened up in IHOP parking lot and swallowing 15 cars WHOLE

  • Customers at the IHOP were shocked when they heard booms and looked out to see ground opening up
  • Authorities are trying to figure out why the sinkhole opened up outside the restaurant on Meridian, Mississippi
  • Restaurant’s parking lot was built over a drainage ditch which appears to have collapsed creating the sinkhole
  • More than a dozen vehicles were swallowed up in the sinkhole but no-one is believed to have been hurt
Around 15 cars which were parked behind the restaurant fell into the chasm, while one had a lucky escape and can be seen teetering on the edge

Around 15 cars which were parked behind the restaurant fell into the chasm, while one had a lucky escape and can be seen teetering on the edge

A massive sinkhole has opened up at a Mississippi IHOP parking lot – swallowing up more than a dozen parked cars as diners looked on in horror.

Incredible aerial footage, shot by a drone, shows the gaping chasm that opened up outside the restaurant in Meridian, Mississippi, on Saturday night.

The sinkhole appears to have been caused after part of the restaurant’s parking lot, which was built over a drainage ditch, collapsed in on itself.

Witnesses say they heard huge booms before the hole started to widen taking in car after a car until it stretched 54ft across and a staggering 600ft long.

Aerial footage, shot by a drone, shows the gaping chasm that opened up outside the restaurant in Meridian, Mississippi, on Saturday night

Aerial footage, shot by a drone, shows the gaping chasm that opened up outside the restaurant in Meridian, Mississippi, on Saturday night

Botulism from Canned Food Spawns MS Man’s 3-Year Survival Struggle

Canned Food

On Thanksgiving weekend 2011, Jay Klein of Mississippi ate some canned food that almost killed him. The former construction worker didn’t know what was happening to him, that a nerve toxin produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacteria in the food he ate was paralyzing his muscles. Neither did the emergency room doctors who placed him on a ventilator. Six days after Klein was admitted, they prepared to tell his wife Amanda that he was brain dead, although he was actually fully conscious.

Klein, who recently shared his story with WMCTV, says he was aware of what was happening but unable to move or speak. He prayed that God would help him show the doctors he could hear and understand and somehow when the doctor told him to move his leg, Klein did.

 

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Jay Killen struggles to even eat a spoonful of chocolate pudding, after more than two years in and out of the hospital.

 

Man fights to survive after contracting botulism from canned food

Posted: Apr 30, 2014 5:45 AM CST Updated: May 01, 2014 12:02 PM CST

DESOTO COUNTY, MS –

(WMC) – A Horn Lake, Mississippi man is fighting to stay alive after his wife says one bad bite of food destroyed their lives. Mid-South doctors had never seen a case like this before; it is a condition so rare, they contacted the Department of Homeland Security.

“One thing he ate changed our entire lives,” said Amanda Killen.

Jay Killen struggles to even eat a spoonful of chocolate pudding, after more than two years in and out of the hospital.

“This is the first I’ve been able to feed myself,” said Jay.

Around Thanksgiving, in 2011, Jay got sick.

“I thought I was having a stroke or something,” he explained.

So did doctors in the emergency room.

He was unable to move or even breathe; Jay was hooked up to a ventilator and placed in intensive care. By day six, doctors prepared to declare the 40-something former construction worker brain dead.

“He took me right outside the room and said, ‘I have to tell you, that it doesn’t look good,’ ” said his wife.

Paralyzed and unable to speak, Jay was desperate to let everyone know he was awake and aware of his dire circumstances.

“I said ‘God, please! Please help me show them I’m here.'”

Amanda played Jay’s favorite music at his bedside and noted his leg moved in rhythm. Amanda’s mother demanded doctors investigate.

“He said, ‘Jay, move your leg.’ I did,” said Jay.

“He [the doctor] said we’ve got this wrong. He said, ‘We need to figure out what this is but it’s not what we think it is,'” said Amanda.

After conferring with researchers at the Centers for Disease Control, doctors at Baptist DeSoto determined Jay had contracted botulism. It’s a disease that affects fewer than 150 people a year in the United States.

“It paralyzes all of your voluntary muscle function,” Amanda explained.

 

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Tornadoes In Mississippi, Alabama Flatten Homes As Massive Storm Sweeps South

Posted: 04/28/2014 9:05 pm EDT Updated: 04/29/2014 3:35 pm EDT
VILONIA, ARKANSAS - APRIL 28: Victor Umbright of Vilonia Direct TV, sits in what is left of his office after a tornado yesterday tore through the area for the second time in three years, on April 28, 2014 in Vilonia, Arkansas. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

LOUISVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Ruth Bennett died clutching the last child left at her day care center as a tornado wiped the building off its foundation. A firefighter who came upon the body gently pulled the toddler from her arms.

“It makes you just take a breath now,” said next-door neighbor Kenneth Billingsley, who witnessed the scene at what was left of Ruth’s Child Care Center in this logging town of 6,600. “It makes you pay attention to life.”

 

Widespread Damage And Casualties After Tornadoes Rip Through South
VILONIA, AR – APRIL 29: A passerby stops to look at damage caused by a tornado on Sunday evening, on April 29, 2014 in Vilonia, Arkansas. After deadly tornadoes ripped through the region leaving more than a dozen dead, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana and Tennessee are all under watch as multiple storms are expected over the next few days. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Bennett, 53, was among at least 34 people killed in a two-day outbreak of twisters and other violent weather that pulverized homes in half a dozen states from Iowa to Tennessee. The child’s fate was not immediately known.

As crews in Mississippi and Alabama turned from search-and-rescue efforts to cleanup, the South braced for a third round of potentially deadly weather Tuesday. Tornadoes usually strike in the late afternoon and evening.

One of the hardest-hit areas in Monday evening’s barrage of twisters was Tupelo, Miss., where a gas station looked as if it had been stepped on by a giant.

Francis Gonzalez, who also owns a convenience store and Mexican restaurant attached to the service station, took cover with her three children and two employees in the store’s cooler as the roof over the gas pumps was reduced to aluminum shards.

“My Lord, how can all this happen in just one second?” she said in Spanish.

On Tuesday, the whine of chain saws cut through the otherwise still, hazy morning in Tupelo. Massive oak trees, knocked over like toys, blocked roads. Neighbors helped one another cut away limbs.

“This does not even look like a place that I’m familiar with right now,” said Pam Montgomery, walking her dog in her neighborhood. “You look down some of the streets, and it doesn’t even look like there is a street.”

 

AP
Tornado hits Mayflower, Ark.
Travel trailers and motor homes are piled on top of each other at Mayflower RV in Mayflower, Ark., Sunday, April 27, 2014.A powerful storm system rumbled through the central and southern United States on Sunday, spawning tornadoes.
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UPDATE 4-U.S. storm system that killed 16 causes tornado in Mississippi

Tue Apr 29, 2014 3:35am IST

* Tornado touches down in Mississippi

* More than 100 injured

* Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia at risk (Adds Mississippi governor)

By Colin Sims

VILONIA, Ark., April 28 (Reuters) – A ferocious storm system caused a twister in Mississippi and threatened tens of millions of people across the U.S. Southeast on Monday, a day after it spawned tornadoes that killed 16 people and tossed cars like toys in Arkansas and other states.

A tornado went through Tupelo, Mississippi in the northern part of the state at about 3 p.m. (1800 GMT), damaging hundreds of homes, downing power lines and toppling trees, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant told CNN.

There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries after six instances of tornadoes touching down in the state.

“It is not over. This is going to be a prolonged storm,” Bryant said.

Parts of Alabama, western Georgia and Tennessee also were at risk as the storm system that produced the series of tornadoes headed east toward the Mid-Atlantic states.

Rescue workers, volunteers and victims have been sifting through the rubble in the hardest-hit state of Arkansas, looking for survivors in central Faulkner County where a tornado reduced homes to splinters, snapped power lines and mangled trees.

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe said at least 14 people died statewide in the storm that authorities said produced the first fatalities of this year’s U.S. tornado season. He previously told a news conference 16 had been killed but later said there was a mistake in calculation.

 

Nine of the victims came from the same street in the town of Vilonia, with a population of about 4,100, where a new intermediate school set to open in August was heavily damaged by a tractor trailer blown into its roof. A steel farm shop anchored to concrete was erased from the landscape.

Beebe told reporters of the capricious nature of tornadoes. He said a woman died when the door of her home’s reinforced safe room collapsed, while a father and three daughters survived by seeking shelter in a bathtub that was flipped over in winds that leveled the house.

One person was killed in neighboring Oklahoma and another in Iowa, state authorities said.

 

‘LONG ROAD TO HEALING’

“Everything is just leveled to the ground,” Vilonia resident Matt Rothacher said. “It cut a zig-zag right through town.”

Rothacher was at home with his wife and four children when the tornado passed through. While his home survived, The Valley Church where he serves as pastor was flattened.

 

Read More Here

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PENSACOLA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — People were plucked off rooftops or climbed into their attics to get away from fast-rising waters when nearly 2 feet of rain fell on the Florida Panhandle and Alabama coast in the span of about 24 hours, the latest bout of severe weather that began with tornadoes in the Midwest.

 

On Wednesday, roads were chewed up into pieces or wiped out entirely and neighborhoods were inundated, making rescues difficult for hundreds of people who called for help when they were caught off guard by the single rainiest day ever recorded in Pensacola.

 

Boats and Humvees zigzagged through the flooded streets to help stranded residents. A car and truck plummeted 25 feet when portions of a scenic highway collapsed, and one Florida woman died when she drove her car into high water, officials said.

 

Near the Alabama-Florida line, water started creeping into Brandi McCoon’s mobile home, so her fiance, Jonathan Brown, wrapped up her nearly 2-year-old son Noah in a blanket and they swam in neck-deep water to their car about 50 feet away.

 

Then, the car was flooded.

 

“Every which way we turned, there was a big ol’ pile of water,” she said.

 

Brown called 911 and eventually a military vehicle picked them up and took them to a shelter.

 

Kyle Schmitz was at his Pensacola home with his 18-month-old son Oliver on Tuesday night when heavy rain dropped during a 45-minute span. He gathered up his son, his computer and important papers and left.

 

Read More Here

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Jan. 24, 2014 at 6:44 PM ET

U.S. Geological Survey, file
Undated photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey shows a landslide trench and ridge east of Reelfoot Lake in Obion County, Tenn., made by the New Madrid earthquakes in the early 1800s.

LOS ANGELES — The New Madrid fault zone in the nation’s midsection is active and could spawn future large earthquakes, scientists reported.

It’s “not dead yet,” said U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Susan Hough, who was part of the study published online Thursday by the journal Science.

Researchers have long debated just how much of a hazard New Madrid (MAD’-rihd) poses. The zone stretches 150 miles, crossing parts of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.

In 1811 and 1812, it unleashed a trio of powerful jolts — measuring magnitudes 7.5 to 7.7 — that rattled the central Mississippi River valley. Chimneys fell and boats capsized. Farmland sank and turned into swamps. The death toll is unknown, but experts don’t believe there were mass casualties because the region was sparsely populated then.

Unlike California’s San Andreas and other faults that occur along boundaries of shifting tectonic plates, New Madrid is less understood since it’s in the middle of the continent, far from plate boundaries.

Previous studies have suggested that it may be shutting down, based on GPS readings that showed little strain accumulation at the surface. Other research came to the same conclusion by blaming ongoing quake activity on aftershocks from the 1800s, which would essentially relieve strain on the fault.

Read More here

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Martial arts instructor charged over deadly ricin letters sent to Obama after Elvis impersonator claims he was ‘framed’ by him

  • Everett Dutschke was arrested early on Saturday morning
  • Has been charged with being in possession of a biological toxin
  • Set to appear in the U.S. District Court in Oxford, Miss., on Monday
  • Dutschke had been under surveillance but slipped away on Wednesday
  • Kevin Curtis was set free on Tuesday after the FBI arrested him last week
  • The ricin-laced letters were sent last week to President Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi and 80-year-old Mississippi judge Sadie Holland

By Michael Zennie and Daily Mail Reporter

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A Mississippi man whose home and business were searched as part of an investigation into poisoned letters sent to the president and others has been charged with possession of a biological toxin.

Everett Dutschke, 41, was arrested on 12:50am on Saturday at his home in Tupelo, Miss. in connection with the letters, FBI spokeswoman Deborah Madden said. He was charged later on Saturday.

The letters, which allegedly contained ricin, were sent last week to President Barack Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi and earlier to an 80-year-old Mississippi judge, Sadie Holland.

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Disappeared: Everett Dutschke, the chief person of interest in the case of deadly ricin letters being sent to President Obama, has gone missing

Disappeared: Everett Dutschke, the chief person of interest in the case of deadly ricin letters being sent to President Obama, was arrested on Saturday. He went missing earlier this week

41-year-old Everett Dutschke
41-year-old Everett Dutschke

Arrested: Everett Dutschke (pictured left and right in previous mugshots) had been under surveillance this week. An FBI spokesman said he was arrested without incident early on Saturday

Madden said Dutschke was arrested without incident. She said additional questions should be directed to the U.S. attorney’s office. The office in Oxford did not immediately respond to messages Saturday.

Dutschke’s attorney, Lori Nail Basham, said on Saturday in a text message that ‘the authorities have confirmed Mr. Dutschke’s arrest. We have no comment at this time.’

She said earlier this week that Dutschke was ‘cooperating fully’ with investigators.

Dutschke has previously insisted he had nothing to do with the letters.

He is expected to appear in the U.S. District Court in Oxford, Mississippi, on Monday before Magistrate Judge S. Allan Alexander, the U.S. attorney’s office for the Northern District of Mississippi said in a statement, according to CNN.

Monitored: Everett Dutschke, working on his mini-van in his driveway in Tupelo Mississippi on April 26, had been under surveillance this week, police said

Monitored: Everett Dutschke, working on his mini-van in his driveway in Tupelo Mississippi on April 26, had been under surveillance this week, police said

Defense: A lawyer for Dutschke told the AP that she didn't know what the charges against Dutschke were

Defense: Dutschke was charged with possession of a biological toxin. He is expected to appear in court on Monday

Ryan Taylor, a spokesman for Wicker, said on Saturday that ‘because the investigation is still ongoing, we’re not able to comment.’

Charges in the case were initially filed against an Elvis impersonator, Kevin Curtis, but then dropped. Attention then turned to Dutschke, who has ties to the former suspect and the judge and senator.

Curtis’ attorney, Christi McCoy, said on Saturday: ‘We are relieved but also saddened. This crime is nothing short of diabolical. I have seen a lot of meanness in the past two decades, but this stops me in my tracks.’

Authorities said on Thursday that Dutschke had been under surveillance but slipped away on Wednesday, according to Itawamba County Sheriff Chris Dickinson who is working with the FBI.

Itawamba deputies searched a home in Ozark, Mississippi where Dutschke was believed to have been on Wednesday and found no one.

Suspect: Federal agents search the property of Everett Dutschke in Tupelo, Mississippi on Tuesday

Suspect: Federal agents search the property of Everett Dutschke in Tupelo, Mississippi on Tuesday

Investigation: A hazmat official enters a taekwondo studio previously operated by James Everett Dutschke in Tupelo, Mississippi on Wednesday

Investigation: A hazmat official enters a taekwondo studio previously operated by James Everett Dutschke in Tupelo, Mississippi on Wednesday

Search: Officers search the grounds of the home of Melvin Kitchens as they try and help federal authorities locate Everett Dutschke near the town of Kirkville, Mississippi on Thursday

Search: Officers search the grounds of the home of Melvin Kitchens as they try and help federal authorities locate Everett Dutschke near the town of Kirkville, Mississippi on Thursday

The local sheriff said he believed a friend of Dutschke was ‘helping him to lay low.’

Dutschke did not answer his cellphone when attempts were made to contact him on Thursday.

Charges in the case were dropped against earlier suspect Curtis, an Elvis impersonator had been charged with sending the poison letters last week.

He said he may have been framed by Dutschke, an accused child molester, martial arts instructor and political candidate with whom he has been rivals for several years.

Federal authorities on Tuesday dropped all charges against Curtis and spent several hours searching Dustschke’s house in Tupelo, Mississippi.

Dutschke addressed the media and denied he sent the ricin letters.

‘I don’t know how much more of this I can take,’ he told reporters.

‘I’m a patriotic American. I don’t have any grudges against anybody. … I did not send the letters,’ Dutschke said.

Accused: J Everett Dutschke, right, had his home raided by federal agents on Tuesday after Curtis lawyer alleged he might be behind the ricin attack. He is seen here with Senator Roger Wicker

Accused: Everett Dutschke, right, had his home raided by federal agents on Tuesday after Curtis lawyer alleged he might be behind the ricin attack. He is seen here with Senator Roger Wicker

While the drama plays out in a series of baffling TV interviews given by both sides, the FBI has said little about its investigation.

One possible connection is Judge Holland, a common link between both Dutschke and Curtis. The two men also both know Wicker.

Holland was the presiding judge in a case in which Curtis was accused of assaulting a Tupelo attorney in 2004. Holland sentenced him to six months in the county jail. He served only part of the sentence, according to his brother.

Holland’s family has had political skirmishes with Dutschke.

Her son, Steve Holland, a Democratic state representative, said he thinks his mother’s only other encounter with Dutschke was at a rally in the town of Verona in 2007, when Dutschke ran as a Republican against Steve Holland.

Holland said his mother confronted Dutschke after he made a derogatory speech about the Holland family. She demanded that he apologize, which Holland says he did.

Steve Holland said he doesn’t know if his mother remembers Curtis’ assault case.

Denial: Dutschke has said he had nothing to do with the ricin attacks and is a 'patriotic American'

Denial: Dutschke has said he had nothing to do with the ricin attacks and is a ‘patriotic American’

J Everett Dutschke
Kevin Curtis

Southern-fried feud: Everett Dutschke, left, and Kevin Curtis, right, are both caught up in the federal investigation over poison letters sent to the president. They are both also martial arts rivals

However, he admitted a longstanding animosity with Curtis.

Dutschke says he is a member of MENSA, the society for high-IQ individuals. Curtis claims to be a member of the group, as well.

‘He is not a MENSA member,’ Dutschke emphatically said as federal agents and hazmat crews combed his house. ‘The certificate he posted online is a lie.’

During a strange and rambling press conference on Tuesday, Curtis said Dutschke ‘hates him.’ He offered several reasons why.

‘I don’t if it’s a martial arts kind of conflict and he thinks you’re better than him and he wants to challenge you in the rink. I don’t know,’ he said.

Both men are trained in the Korean martial art of taekwondo and they agreed to a showdown at a local martial arts studio in Tupelo.

‘At one point on the phone I did say, “If you wanna meet somewhere just you and I…” and he said, “Taekwondo Plus, Main Street.” I said, “I’ll be there in 20 minutes.“‘

Read Full Article Here

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Mississippi Man Charged in Obama Ricin-Letter Case

By Marty Russell & Cheyenne Hopkins – Apr 27, 2013 3:51 PM CT

A Tupelo, Mississippi man was charged in connection with the mailing of letters containing ricin, a deadly poison, to President Barack Obama and a Republican U.S. senator.

The arrest early today of J. Everett Dutschke, 41, follows the government’s April 23 dismissal of charges against Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, an Elvis impersonator from Corinth, Mississippi, who was initially accused in a probe of the matter.

Dutschke was taken into custody at 12:50 a.m. without incident, according to the FBI. He is charged with knowingly developing, producing and possessing a biological agent for use as a weapon, said U.S. Attorney Felicia Adams of the Northern District of Mississippi. Dutschke faces possible life imprisonment if convicted.

Christi McCoy, an attorney for Curtis, said in an April 22 preliminary hearing in federal court in Oxford, Mississippi, that her client may have been framed for the mailings by Dutschke, with whom Curtis had a long-running e-mail feud.

Curtis was arrested last week after envelopes allegedly sent to Obama, a Democrat, and Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker were intercepted April 16 and found to contain “a suspicious granular substance” that tested positive for ricin. The letters were signed “I am KC and I approve this message,” according to the criminal complaint.

The case against Curtis fell apart after an FBI agent testified at a preliminary hearing that searches failed to turn up any trace of ricin at Curtis’s home, as well as in his vehicle and the homes of his ex-wife and parents. An analysis of his personal computer also found nothing related to ricin, agent Brandon Grant said. Federal scrutiny quickly turned to Dutschke.

‘Missing Pieces’

The letters to Obama and Wicker were postmarked April 8 and both read in part: “No one wanted to listen to me before. There are still ‘Missing Pieces’ Maybe I have your attention now Even if that means someone must die.”

Dutschke is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge S. Allan Alexander in Oxford federal court on Monday, according to Adams.

Ricin is made from castor beans and has been used experimentally in medicine to kill cancer cells, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. It’s harmful and potentially fatal if inhaled or ingested, according to the CDC.

At a press conference after Curtis’s release from custody on April 23, McCoy said the idea that he was framed is “very diabolical, very frightening.”

Body Parts

Curtis, who said he loves his country and would never threaten the president, stated that he intends to return to performing, aiding his favorite charity –the Save A Life Foundation — and finding a publisher for his book, “Missing Pieces,” a novel he said exposes a black-market in human body parts.

Curtis and Dutschke have known each other for many years and Dutschke at one point had a business relationship with Curtis’s brother, Jack, McCoy said at the hearing.

McCoy told Judge Alexander that the dispute between Curtis and Dutschke was over “who is the biggest liar and is putting false information on their website.”

She said Dutschke, the operator of a martial-arts studio who was arrested this year on child molestation charges, may have thought Curtis was somehow involved with “the girls coming forward” to authorities.

Read Full Article Here

Earth Watch Report  –  Flash Floods

 

Octavio Castillo paddles down a flooded street on Friday, April 19, in Des Plaines, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Octavio Castillo paddles down a flooded street on Friday, April 19, in Des Plaines, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.

24.04.2013 Flash Flood USA State of Illinois, Grafton Damage level
Details

Flash Flood in USA on Wednesday, 24 April, 2013 at 14:01 (02:01 PM) UTC.

Description
A powerful spring cold snap brings more rain and snow to a soggy U.S. heartland Wednesday, putting more pressure on riverside communities from the upper Midwest to the Deep South. The residents of Grafton, Illinois, north of St. Louis, will see the worst of the floodwaters through Friday as the Mississippi River peaks at more than 11 feet above flood stage, the National Weather Service says. Many along the river’s edge decided to evacuate. But Jerry Eller thought he would wait it out. “I’ve got water coming up through cracks in the floor, so I have about 3,000 gallons an hour of pumps running down the basement keeping water out, and that seems to be keeping it down to about an inch,” Eller sa

Midwest begins to see some relief from flooding

By Ed Payne, CNN
updated 8:18 PM EDT, Wed April 24, 2013
Household items are submerged in floodwaters in front of a house in Fox Lake, Illinois, on Monday, April 22. Steady rains are expected Tuesday, April 23, in several Midwestern states already facing severe flooding. Have you been affected by the flooding? <a href='http://ireport.cnn.com/topics/962945' target='_blank'>Share your images with CNN iReport</a>. Household items are submerged in floodwaters in front of a house in Fox Lake, Illinois, on Monday, April 22. Steady rains are expected Tuesday, April 23, in several Midwestern states already facing severe flooding. Have you been affected by the flooding? Share your images with CNN iReport.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Areas north of St. Louis should see water slowly recede
  • NEW: Some rivers closed to public because of debris, fast currents
  • Fargo, North Dakota, is preparing for flooding
  • The rain and flooding have caused four deaths, local authorities say

(CNN) — It appears the people on the banks of at least one major river in the Midwest are finally getting a break from rising water.

Water levels have peaked north of St. Louis, but the floodwaters from the upper Mississippi River will be slow to recede in the coming days, CNN weather producer Taylor Ward said.

And forecasters think the weather north of St. Louis in the next few days should be mostly calm.

But rain is expected on Friday and Saturday from St. Louis into Mississippi, Ward said.

The peak waters will continue to head south in the coming days but are not expected to be significant south of Missouri. The expected rainfall late this week shouldn’t have much of an impact on the anticipated crests of rivers.

The residents of Grafton, Illinois, north of St. Louis, will see the worst of the floodwater through Friday as the Mississippi River peaks at more than 11 feet above flood stage, the National Weather Service says.

Many along the river’s edge decided to evacuate, but Jerry Eller thought he would wait it out.

“I’ve got water coming up through cracks in the floor, so I have about 3,000 gallons an hour of pumps running down the basement keeping water out, and that seems to be keeping it down to about an inch,” Eller told CNN affiliate KPLR.

Floodwater has ravaged dozens of counties in Illinois, forcing thousands of residents from their homes.

On Wednesday, the Missouri and Illinois rivers and parts of the Mississippi River were closed to recreational boats due to debris and fast currents, the Coast Guard said.

The statement said conditions had already caused 200-foot long barges to break away from their moorings and sink.

The Army Corps of Engineers closed three of its locks to all river traffic until flooding subsides.

“Public safety is our first priority. Rivers are unpredictable and dangerous in a flood,” said Col. Chris Hall, commander of the Corps’ St. Louis District. “Even if someone has lived along a river his whole life, he shouldn’t assume it will behave the same way during a flood. It’s not a good time to be on or near the rivers.”

Affected by the flooding? Share your images

Widespread flooding

As rivers across the heartland swelled during the past two weeks, rising water was blamed for four deaths. Flooding has threatened rivers in Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Indiana, North Dakota, Mississippi and Michigan, the National Weather Service said.

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Charges dropped in ricin case; new home searched

 

The move was announced in a brief document filed in federal court in Oxford, Miss., hours after Paul Kevin Curtis was released from custody. The charges were dismissed without prejudice, meaning they could be re-instated.

At a news conference Tuesday, attorneys for Curtis declined to discuss whether they were told what new information the government had uncovered.

“I respect President Obama,” Curtis said. “I love my country and would never do anything to pose a threat to him or any other U.S. official.”

Prosecutors couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Numerous law enforcement officers went to Tupelo, Miss., the home of J. Everett Dutschke, 41. Dutschke adamantly claims that he has nothing to do with the letters attributed to Curtis.

In a phone interview, Dustchke said he feels targeted by Curtis’ defense, and that he didn’t know why his name was brought into it.

“I guess Kevin got desperate. I feel like he’s getting away with the perfect crime,” he said.

He said he feels like his implication is a defense trick to establish reasonable doubt.

 

Read Full Article  and Watch Video Here

 

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FBI: No ricin found in home of Mississippi suspect

AP file

This undated photo obtained from the facebook page of Paul Kevin Curtis, shows, according to neighbors, Paul Kevin Curtis, 45.

OXFORD, Miss. — Investigators haven’t found any ricin in the house of a Mississippi man accused of mailing poisoned letters to President Barack Obama, a U.S. senator and a local judge, according to testimony Monday from an FBI agent.

Agent Brandon Grant said that a search of Paul Kevin Curtis’ vehicle and house in Corinth, Miss., on Friday did not turn up ricin, ingredients for the poison, or devices used to make it. A search of Curtis’ computers has found no evidence so far that he researched making ricin.

Defense lawyers for Curtis say investigators’ failure to find any ricin means the government should release their client. That lack of physical evidence could loom large as a detention and preliminary hearing continues Tuesday morning. U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Allan Alexander ended the hearing after lunch Monday, citing a personal schedule conflict.

 

Through his lawyer, Curtis has denied involvement in letters sent to Obama, Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, and a Lee County, Miss., judge. The first of the letters was found April 15.

“There was no apparent ricin, castor beans or any material there that could be used for the manufacturing, like a blender or something,” Grant testified. He speculated that Curtis could have thrown away the processor. Grant said computer technicians are now doing a “deep dive” on the suspect’s computers after initially finding no “dirty words” indicating Curtis had searched for information on ricin.

Christi McCoy, who is leading the defense for Curtis, said the government doesn’t have probable cause to hold her client and his history of problems related to bipolar disorder are not enough to keep him in jail.

“The searches are concluded, not one single shred of evidence was found to indicate Kevin could have done this,” McCoy told reporters after the hearing.

She questioned why Curtis would have signed the letters “I am KC and I approve this message,” a phrase he had used on his Facebook page, and then thrown away a processor used to grind castor beans. And she said that in any event, Curtis is not enough of an imminent danger or flight risk to justify holding him without bail.

“If they continue to demand his incarceration, it’s basically bad faith,” McCoy said. “Now, surely they are satisfied that there is no immediate threat from Kevin Curtis, and we want him released.”

McCoy said in court that someone may have framed Curtis, suggesting that a former business associate of Curtis’ brother, a man with whom Curtis had an extended exchange of angry emails, may have set him up.

Still, Grant testified that authorities believe that they have the right suspect.

“Given the right mindset and the Internet and the acquisition of material, other people could be involved. However, given information right now, we believe we have the right individual,” he said.

Grant said lab analysis shows the poison is a crude form that could have been created by grinding castor beans in a food processor or coffee grinder.

“That would be a low-tech way of doing it. You’re just blending up the beans to get the ricin that’s on the inside on the outside,” Grant testified.

The detention and preliminary hearing began Friday in U.S. District Court in Oxford, Miss. More witnesses besides Grant are expected Tuesday.

Holli McPherson, right, and other volunteers help fill sandbags inside a Grand Rapids City maintenance garage on Market Street in Grand Rapids, Mich., Friday, April 19, 2013. She and other WMEAC volunteers were planning to take part in the annual Grand River clean-up but instead helped with flood control. Volunteers plan to work through the weekend in Grand Rapids to fill sandbags as part of an effort to hold off West Michigan floodwaters. (AP Photo/The Grand Rapids Press, Chris Clark) ALL LOCAL TV OUT; LOCAL TV INTERNET OUT

Floodwaters rising after storms deluge heartland

By JIM SALTER and JIM SUHR

Associated Press

— Flood fighters from small Mississippi River hamlets to the suburbs of Chicago staged a feverish battle Friday to hold back raging rivers, after days of torrential rains soaked much of the Midwest.

Mississippi River communities in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri are expected to see significant flooding – some near-record levels – by the weekend, a sharp contrast to just two months ago when the river was approaching record lows. Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana had flooding, too. All told, dozens of Midwestern rivers were well over their banks after rains that began Wednesday dumped up to 6 inches of new water on already saturated soil.

In Quincy, Ill., the normally slow to swell Mississippi River rose nearly 10 feet in 36 hours, National Weather Service hydrologist Mark Fuchs said. One bridge in the town about 120 miles north of St. Louis was closed Friday, leaving one open.

“That’s pretty amazing,” Fuchs said of the fast-rising river. “It’s just been skyrocketing.”

Smaller rivers in Illinois seemed to be causing the worst of the flooding. In suburban Chicago, which got up to 7 inches of rain in a 24-hour period ending Thursday, record levels of water were moving through the Des Plaines River past heavily populated western suburbs and into the Illinois River to the south.

As many as 1,500 residents of the northern Illinois city of Marseilles were evacuated Thursday night when fears of a levee breach were heightened as seven barges broke free from a towing vessel and came to rest against a dam on the Illinois River.

And in the central Illinois town of London Mills, the swollen Spoon River topped a levee, forcing about half of the 500 residents to evacuate. Police Chief Scott Keithley said some homes were half under water, and abandoned cars were sent floating in the torrent of water.

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Hundreds fill sandbags as besieged Grand Rapids area prepares for flooding to worsen

(Gallery by Sally Finneran | sfinnera@mlive.com)

By Zane McMillin | zmcmilli@mlive.com
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on April 21, 2013 at 10:49 AM, updated April 21, 2013 at 1:23 PM

Volunteers turn out to fill sandbags Volunteers turn out in force to fill sand bags Sunday, April 20, 2013 in Grand Rapids Mich.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Patty Moyer offloaded a freshly packed sandbag onto a pallet Sunday and stood up panting, sweating under a heavy coat and headband as she worked with roughly 300 volunteers in Grand Rapids.Summoned by city leaders working to minimize impacts of a downtown under siege by a Grand River swelling past its brim, Moyer had been at work for hours with a dozen members of the Forest Hills Crew Team.

The Grand River is expected to crest at multiple locations throughout Greater Grand Rapids on Sunday, particularly downtown and in Comstock Park, where high water forced residents to flee their waterlogged homes in droves.

Photos: Hundreds fill sandbags in downtown Grand Rapids

Such dire predictions prompted city leaders to ask for help filling tens of thousands of sandbags for residents and businesses.

“We were kind of torn because there’s flooding in Ada and Lowell and Grand Rapids,” Moyer said after schlepping a sandbag to a pallet. “One of our (team) board members … heard that we could come down and fill bags, so we jumped on it as quickly as we could.”

At the Grand Rapids Public Works building, 201 Market Ave. SW, the crew team worked amidst what city leaders estimated was 300 volunteers out since 8 a.m. to fill sandbags that will be used to shore up flooded areas along the river. The work will continue all day.

It was the highest turnout so far after three days spent packing 40,000 sandbags that have been dispersed to problem spots throughout the city, including riverside structures downtown such as the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

Old Town Riverfront Building ‘holding up pretty well’ against Grand River flood waters

 

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After days of surging, Grand River finally crests in Grand Rapids, Comstock Park

(Gallery by Cory Morse | cmorse1@mlive.com)

By Zane McMillin | zmcmilli@mlive.com
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on April 21, 2013 at 11:00 PM, updated April 21, 2013 at 11:52 PM

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — After days spent surging to historic levels, the Grand River finally crested Sunday night in downtown Grand Rapids and Comstock Park.

Measurements from the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids show the river peaked at 21.85 feet downtown around 10 p.m., breaking the record of 19.64 feet set in 1985.

In Comstock Park, the river crested at 17.8 feet around the same time, eking past the 65-year-old record of 17.75 feet set in 1948.

The new benchmarks are the culmination of days of waiting for the swollen waterway to hit its peak after a prolonged period of torrential rainfall last week.

Forecasters had expected the bloated river to peak downtown and in Comstock Park around 2 a.m. Monday, but the figures show it is not expected to rise further.

 

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