Tag Archive: San Antonio


Senator demands independent investigation as VA scandal spreads

By Jeremy Schwartz

The chair of the Texas Senate’s veteran affairs committee on Monday called for an independent investigation into allegations that wait time data was manipulated at Department of Veterans Affairs clinics in Central Texas and San Antonio.

Sen. Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, made her comments as the burgeoning scandal over VA patient care reached the Rio Grande Valley, where a former VA doctor accused the department of delaying colonoscopies for veterans with cancer and jeopardizing veterans’ visits to non-VA specialists because the agency took so long to reimburse private providers.

In Austin, Van de Putte demanded accountability from top VA leaders over claims that scheduling clerks were trained to falsely input appointment data to make it appear that waiting times were far shorter than they really are. The VA aims to see patients within 14 days of their desired appointment dates, and medical centers are graded on their ability to hit those targets.

“It appears the motivation for the deception…was a personal pay day in the form of a VA performance bonus,” Van de Putte said. “Someone is responsible. These scheduling clerks didn’t just decide to falsify reports all over the country at the same time…The allegations show a pattern that crosses multiple clinics and shows the actions were condoned at a pretty high level.”

The claims of whistleblower Brian Turner, a VA scheduling clerk who said he saw data manipulation in Waco, Austin and San Antonio, were first reported by the American-Statesman last week.

On Monday, new allegations emerged against the VA Health Care Center in Harlingen, and officials with the VA’s Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System, which oversees the facility. Dr. Richard Krugman, former associate chief of staff at the center, told investigators that “patient care was impacted by the VA’s requirements to cut costs,” according to documents obtained by the American-Statesman.

 

Read More Here

 

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Cornyn Demands Answers From VA Secretary

May 13 2014

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) today announced on Fox News he has sent a letter to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki after several reports surfaced of abuse and mismanagement in VA clinics in Texas and across the country.  The letter asks several questions of Sec. Shinseki, and calls on the Secretary to provide answers during his testimony before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Thursday, May 15. A video of Sen. Cornyn’s Fox News interview regarding VA failures can be viewed here. Sen. Cornyn’s questions for Sec. Shinseki include:

“Can you confirm that supervisors at VA facilities in Texas have not and are not ordering employees to ‘game the system’ by concealing wait times?

“Can you confirm that veterans diagnosed with cancer of any kind that requires chemotherapy are provided that treatment in a timely manner by the VA? 

“Can you confirm that any bonuses or pay raises are on hold for senior leaders at VA facilities in San Antonio, Austin, Waco, Harlingen, and all VA facilities where similar allegations have been made?

“Can you confirm that staff at facilities currently under investigation for allegations of falsified reports will not be assigned to investigate other VA facilities? 

“Can you confirm that documents are being preserved at all Texas VA facilities?”

The full text of the letter is below and attached.

May 13, 2014

The Honorable Eric K. Shinseki
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  20420

Dear Secretary Shinseki:

I write to reiterate my deep concern regarding the numerous, troubling reports that continue to surface regarding mistreatment of our nation’s veterans at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities across the country.  These reports indicate that incidents—including the withholding of life-saving care from some veterans—were the result of a culture of cover-ups, indifference as to the health and welfare of our veterans, and a complete lack of accountability that pervades your Department.  Yet, the Administration’s response to these troubling revelations has been lethargic and its inaction puzzling.

During your testimony before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Thursday, I call on you to provide direct, clear answers to these questions:

1.         According to recent reports, you have ordered a “face-to-face audit” of all Department of Veterans Affairs clinics.  Can you describe in detail how you intend for this audit to be conducted, its timeline for completion, and what measures are being taken to ensure these audits are conducted in an independent and transparent manner?  If the allegations are substantiated, what type of action are you willing to take to right these wrongs, and how will the responsible officials be held accountable?

2.         A whistleblower in Texas claims that during his time as a scheduling clerk for VA facilities in Austin, San Antonio, and Waco, he was directed by supervisors to hide true wait times by inputting false records into the VA’s scheduling system.  VA officials in San Antonio deny this, while VA officials in Austin claim employees may have been discouraged from using the electronic scheduling tool that would reveal long wait times, but that those orders did not come from “executive leadership.”  Can you confirm that supervisors at VA facilities in Texas have not and are not ordering employees to “game the system” by concealing wait times?

3.         An Austin-based surgeon recently contacted my office to inform me he is not accepting any further subcontracts from the VA due to failures in patient care that he has personally witnessed.  Specifically, he saw a veteran in August of 2013 who was referred to him by the VA after they detected a lesion they suspected was cancerous.  Already two months had lapsed between the time they detected the lesion and the time he saw the veteran.  This surgeon performed a biopsy and diagnosed it as laryngeal cancer.  He informed the VA that the veteran needed immediate chemotherapy – that they had a real chance to treat his cancer if they started chemotherapy right away.  Almost two months later, he followed up on his case only to learn the VA never provided chemotherapy, with no good excuse as to why.  The veteran died several days later.  Can you confirm that veterans diagnosed with cancer of any kind that requires chemotherapy are provided that treatment in a timely manner by the VA?

4.         A whistleblower in South Texas who formerly served as associate chief of staff for the VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System in Harlingen, TX, told the Washington Examiner this week that roughly 15,000 patients who should have had the potentially life-saving colonoscopy procedure either did not receive it or were forced to wait longer than they should have.  He also claims that approximately 1,800 records were purged to give the false appearance of eliminating a backlog.  Can you confirm that veterans requiring colonoscopies to detect cancer are provided with the procedure in a timely manner?

5.         In 2012, VA medical facilities in Central Texas reported that 96 percent of veterans were seen by providers within 14 days of their preferred appointment date.  In the South Texas region that includes San Antonio, the statistics were even more impressive: 97 percent of veterans were seen within two weeks, according to annual performance reports.  Can you produce documents that show the original dates of veterans’ requests for appointments for 2012?

6.         According to public records, the director of the Phoenix VA hospital, where news investigations have discovered at least 40 veterans died while waiting for care and languishing on secret lists, received more than $9,000 in bonus pay in 2013.  Can you confirm that any bonuses or pay raises are on hold for senior leaders at VA facilities in San Antonio, Austin, Waco, Harlingen, and all VA facilities where similar allegations have been made?

7.         My staff attended a Quarterly Congressional Staffer and Veterans Service Organization Representative Meeting at the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System (CTVHS) Friday, May 9, 2014.  Sallie Houser-Hanfelder, director of the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System, told meeting attendees that, as part of the face-to-face audits you have ordered, a quality systems manager from CTVHS would be sent to another VA facility to assist with investigations there.  Can you confirm that staff at facilities currently under investigation for allegations of falsified reports will not be assigned to investigate other VA facilities?

8.         A former VA employee at the VA Greater Los Angeles Medical Center told the Daily Caller that employees at the Center destroyed veterans’ medical files in a systematic attempt to eliminate backlogged veteran medical exam requests.  The former employee said, “The waiting list counts against the hospital’s efficiency.  He said the chief of the Center’s Radiology Department initiated an “ongoing discussion in the department” to cancel exam requests and destroy veterans’ medical files so that no record of the exam requests would exist, thus artificially reducing the backlog.  In addition, you have been subpoenaed by the House Veterans Affairs Committee over concerns by Chairman Jeff Miller that evidence in Phoenix may have been destroyed after the Committee issued a document-preservation order on April 9.  A top VA official testified on April 24 that a spreadsheet of patient appointment records, which may have been a “secret list” proving misconduct, was shredded or discarded.  Can you confirm that documents are being preserved at all Texas VA facilities?

I look forward to your prompt and detailed responses to these pressing questions.

Sincerely,

JOHN CORNYN
United States Senator

 

 

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According to San Antonio Pets Alive (SAPA), a senior Chihuahua is in dire need of emergency care at an animal control agency in Texas.

The non-profit organization shared the following information about the 9-year-old dog in need on Saturday:

This sweet ol’ guy just came in to ACS and he needs a hospice foster. He is a medical emergency. He will need to have his eye enucleated and SAPA will provide his medical care for a foster or adopter.

He is a sweet and gentle 9 yr old Chihuahua and he has been through hell and back and is very emaciated and has a painful Upper respiratory infection (like havinga bad cold). He is contagious to other pets for the next 7 to 10 days but he is so tiny and east to keep separated.

Chewy needs a warm space away from the others until he is feeling better. He weighs approx 8 lbs. This sweet little man just needs to be comfortable and loved for the short time he has left. Please email if you can help him.

 

Read More Here

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Earth Watch Report  –  Flooding

(AP Photo/Eric Gay). A San Antonio metro bus sits in floodwaters after it was swept off the road during heavy rains, Saturday, May 25, 2013, in San Antonio.

(AP Photo/Eric Gay). A San Antonio metro bus sits in floodwaters after it was swept off the road during heavy rains, Saturday, May 25, 2013, in San Antonio.

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Today Flood USA State of Texas, San Antonio Damage level
Details
—-

Raw: Rescues From San Antonio Flooding

AssociatedPress AssociatedPress

Published on May 25, 2013

It’s a real mess in south-central Texas. Heavy rains have led to massive flooding. Fire officials say about 130 people have been rescued from their homes and cars in the San Antonio area. (May 25)

 

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Flood in USA on Sunday, 26 May, 2013 at 04:47 (04:47 AM) UTC.

Description
Two women died Saturday – one of them after being swept away moments after being inches from her would-be rescuers – due to raging floodwaters in San Antonio, which braced for yet more drenching rains. At one point Saturday, a storm and subsequent floods had knocked out power to about 12,000 customers and spurred the closure of dozens of streets in the Texas city and the surrounding county, authorities said. Scores of people had to be evacuated due to floods and other issues, and Fire Chief Charles Hood noted there had been about 250 water-related calls – in addition to ones for things like medical emergencies, accidents and more – in the first 15 hours of Saturday. The greatest concern had to do with people getting too close to fast-moving, deceptive and unpredictable floodwaters. “We’re asking folks to observe low-water crossing (warnings), to use common sense and to stay off the road if possible,” Mayor Julian Castro said. The first confirmed fatality – a woman around age 30 – was reported around 7:30 a.m. (8:30 a.m. ET), and her body was about three hours later, police Chief William McManus said. Some time later, an older female driver went into water that was 4 feet above flood markers. Firefighters got to her vehicle and broke a window – with one firefighter cutting his hand – Hood explained. Then, as the would-be rescuers tried to get her from her vehicle, “the currents changed and washed that vehicle away,” the fire chief said.

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San Antonio flooding kills 2; 200-plus rescued

Posted: May 25, 2013 4:29 PM CST Updated: May 25, 2013 10:29 PM CST

(AP Photo/Eric Gay). A flood gage shows waters just under 10 feet at an intersection, Saturday, May 25, 2013, in San Antonio.

(AP Photo/Eric Gay). A flood gage shows waters just under 10 feet at an intersection, Saturday, May 25, 2013, in San Antonio.

(AP Photo/Eric Gay). A man surveys floodwaters caused by heavy rains, Saturday, May 25, 2013, in San Antonio.

(AP Photo/Eric Gay). A man surveys floodwaters caused by heavy rains, Saturday, May 25, 2013, in San Antonio.

By MICHAEL BRICK
Associated PressSAN ANTONIO (AP) – Torrential rains swamped San Antonio with flash floods on Saturday, leaving at least two people dead as emergency workers rushed to rescue more than 200 residents stranded in cars and homes.

“It was pretty crazy,” said Gera Hinojosa, a valet parking cars downtown after the storm. “It was pretty unexpected. We hardly got any warning about it.”

For two women, the storm turned fatal.

One became trapped in her car and climbed to the roof before being swept away in floodwaters, said San Antonio Fire Department spokesman Christian Bove. Her body was later found against a fence, he said. Her name was not immediately released.

Emergency officials also found the body of a woman who was swept away in her car while firefighters were trying to rescue her. Her name also was not released, but Bove said she was in her 60s.

In suburban Schertz, a teenage boy who was swept away while trying to cross the swollen Cibolo Creek was still missing Saturday night.

The Fire Department conducted more than 235 rescues across the city, some by inflatable boats, authorities said. They continued their search into the evening.

“We’ll be out there as long as daylight permits and again in the morning if the water recedes,” San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said, adding that going into floodwaters was more dangerous for firefighters than entering a burning building.

By nightfall, water still pooled in ditches and underpasses. Several roadways were closed, including a major highway that links the suburbs and the city.

But even in low-lying neighborhoods along Commerce Street east of downtown – a faded stretch of clapboard houses and beauty parlors – yards were clear. In the tourist district around the River Walk, the streets were thick with weekend revelers.

While the water in some homes rose 4 feet high, according to Bove, most residents experienced the floods primarily as a major traffic hassle. Karen Herring, 50, who spent the day volunteering at a fitness contest at the AT&T Center, said participants complained of 3-hour drives across town.

 

Read Full Report Here

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Earth Watch Report  –  Earthquakes

 photo PuertoRico-22EQsMay18thto19th2013_zps21f89ca1.jpg

 photo PuertoRico-22EQsMay18thto19th2013activityforlast30days_zps575cd1b0.jpg

Puerto Rico – 20 EQs May 18th to 19th 2013 activity for last 30 days

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M3.1 – 90km N of Brenas, Puerto Rico

 2013-05-18 05:44:28 UTC

Earthquake location 19.288°N, 66.353°W

Event Time

  1. 2013-05-18 05:44:28 UTC
  2. 2013-05-18 01:44:28 UTC-04:00 at epicenter
  3. 2013-05-18 00:44:28 UTC-05:00 system time

Location

19.288°N 66.353°W depth=72.0km (44.7mi)

Nearby Cities

  1. 90km (56mi) N of Brenas, Puerto Rico
  2. 92km (57mi) N of Dorado, Puerto Rico
  3. 93km (58mi) N of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico
  4. 94km (58mi) NNW of San Juan, Puerto Rico
  5. 94km (58mi) N of Levittown, Puerto Rico

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M3.1 – 112km N of Brenas, Puerto Rico

 2013-05-18 09:24:17 UTC

Earthquake location 19.483°N, 66.340°W

Event Time

  1. 2013-05-18 09:24:17 UTC
  2. 2013-05-18 05:24:17 UTC-04:00 at epicenter
  3. 2013-05-18 04:24:17 UTC-05:00 system time

Location

19.483°N 66.340°W depth=13.0km (8.1mi)

Nearby Cities

  1. 112km (70mi) N of Brenas, Puerto Rico
  2. 113km (70mi) N of Dorado, Puerto Rico
  3. 115km (71mi) NNW of San Juan, Puerto Rico
  4. 115km (71mi) N of Levittown, Puerto Rico
  5. 115km (71mi) N of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico

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M3.4 – 112km N of Brenas, Puerto Rico

 2013-05-18 12:36:45 UTC

Earthquake location 19.480°N, 66.309°W

Event Time

  1. 2013-05-18 12:36:45 UTC
  2. 2013-05-18 08:36:45 UTC-04:00 at epicenter
  3. 2013-05-18 07:36:45 UTC-05:00 system time

Location

19.480°N 66.309°W depth=52.0km (32.3mi)

Nearby Cities

  1. 112km (70mi) N of Brenas, Puerto Rico
  2. 113km (70mi) N of Dorado, Puerto Rico
  3. 114km (71mi) N of San Juan, Puerto Rico
  4. 114km (71mi) N of Levittown, Puerto Rico
  5. 114km (71mi) N of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico

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M3.3 – 116km N of Brenas, Puerto Rico

2013-05-18 13:13:23 UTC

Earthquake location 19.522°N, 66.324°W

Event Time

  1. 2013-05-18 13:13:23 UTC
  2. 2013-05-18 09:13:23 UTC-04:00 at epicenter
  3. 2013-05-18 08:13:23 UTC-05:00 system time

Location

19.522°N 66.324°W depth=13.0km (8.1mi)

Nearby Cities

  1. 116km (72mi) N of Brenas, Puerto Rico
  2. 117km (73mi) N of Dorado, Puerto Rico
  3. 119km (74mi) N of San Juan, Puerto Rico
  4. 119km (74mi) N of Levittown, Puerto Rico
  5. 119km (74mi) N of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico

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M3.3 – 108km N of Brenas, Puerto Rico

2013-05-18 18:43:48 UTC

Earthquake location 19.447°N, 66.267°W

Event Time

  1. 2013-05-18 18:43:48 UTC
  2. 2013-05-18 14:43:48 UTC-04:00 at epicenter
  3. 2013-05-18 13:43:48 UTC-05:00 system time

Location

19.447°N 66.267°W depth=59.0km (36.7mi)

Nearby Cities

  1. 108km (67mi) N of Brenas, Puerto Rico
  2. 109km (68mi) N of San Juan, Puerto Rico
  3. 109km (68mi) N of Dorado, Puerto Rico
  4. 110km (68mi) N of Levittown, Puerto Rico
  5. 111km (69mi) N of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico

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M3.3 – 108km N of Brenas, Puerto Rico

 Islands 2013-05-19 03:15:26 UTC

Earthquake location 18.943°N, 64.671°W

Event Time

  1. 2013-05-19 03:15:26 UTC
  2. 2013-05-18 23:15:26 UTC-04:00 at epicenter
  3. 2013-05-18 22:15:26 UTC-05:00 system time

Location

18.943°N 64.671°W depth=8.0km (5.0mi)

Nearby Cities

  1. 58km (36mi) N of Road Town, British Virgin Islands
  2. 71km (44mi) NNE of Charlotte Amalie, U.S. Virgin Islands
  3. 124km (77mi) ENE of Fajardo, Puerto Rico
  4. 137km (85mi) ENE of Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
  5. 149km (93mi) ENE of Carolina, Puerto Rico

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M3.1 – 125km N of Brenas, Puerto Rico

2013-05-19 05:42:03 UTC

Earthquake location 19.597°N, 66.360°W

Event Time

  1. 2013-05-19 05:42:03 UTC
  2. 2013-05-19 01:42:03 UTC-04:00 at epicenter
  3. 2013-05-19 00:42:03 UTC-05:00 system time

Location

19.597°N 66.360°W depth=60.0km (37.3mi)

Nearby Cities

  1. 125km (78mi) N of Brenas, Puerto Rico
  2. 126km (78mi) N of Dorado, Puerto Rico
  3. 127km (79mi) N of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico
  4. 128km (80mi) NNW of San Juan, Puerto Rico
  5. 128km (80mi) N of Levittown, Puerto Rico

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M2.9 – 86km N of Culebra, Puerto Rico

2013-05-19 05:54:05 UTC

Earthquake location 19.082°N, 65.241°W

Event Time

  1. 2013-05-19 05:54:05 UTC
  2. 2013-05-19 01:54:05 UTC-04:00 at epicenter
  3. 2013-05-19 00:54:05 UTC-05:00 system time

Location

19.082°N 65.241°W depth=8.0km (5.0mi)

Nearby Cities

  1. 86km (53mi) N of Culebra, Puerto Rico
  2. 88km (55mi) NNW of Charlotte Amalie, U.S. Virgin Islands
  3. 94km (58mi) NNE of Fajardo, Puerto Rico
  4. 99km (62mi) NE of Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
  5. 108km (67mi) NE of Carolina, Puerto Rico

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M4.1 – 71km N of Hatillo, Puerto Rico

 2013-05-19 12:58:56 UTC

Earthquake location 19.108°N, 66.728°W

Event Time

  1. 2013-05-19 12:58:56 UTC
  2. 2013-05-19 08:58:56 UTC-04:00 at epicenter
  3. 2013-05-19 07:58:56 UTC-05:00 system time

Location

19.108°N 66.728°W depth=37.0km (23.0mi)

Nearby Cities

  1. 71km (44mi) N of Hatillo, Puerto Rico
  2. 73km (45mi) N of Arecibo, Puerto Rico
  3. 74km (46mi) NNE of Isabela, Puerto Rico
  4. 80km (50mi) NNW of Barceloneta, Puerto Rico
  5. 103km (64mi) NW of San Juan, Puerto Rico

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M3.0 – 66km N of Hatillo, Puerto Rico

 2013-05-19 13:03:02 UTC

Earthquake location 19.091°N, 66.834°W

Event Time

  1. 2013-05-19 13:03:02 UTC
  2. 2013-05-19 09:03:02 UTC-04:00 at epicenter
  3. 2013-05-19 08:03:02 UTC-05:00 system time

Location

19.091°N 66.834°W depth=15.0km (9.3mi)

Nearby Cities

  1. 66km (41mi) N of Hatillo, Puerto Rico
  2. 68km (42mi) NNE of Isabela, Puerto Rico
  3. 69km (43mi) N of Arecibo, Puerto Rico
  4. 77km (48mi) NNW of Barceloneta, Puerto Rico
  5. 103km (64mi) NW of San Juan, Puerto Rico

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M2.7 – 72km N of Hatillo, Puerto Rico

2013-05-19 13:05:09 UTC

Earthquake location 19.145°N, 66.817°W

Event Time

  1. 2013-05-19 13:05:09 UTC
  2. 2013-05-19 09:05:09 UTC-04:00 at epicenter
  3. 2013-05-19 08:05:09 UTC-05:00 system time

Location

19.145°N 66.817°W depth=23.0km (14.3mi)

Nearby Cities

  1. 72km (45mi) N of Hatillo, Puerto Rico
  2. 74km (46mi) NNE of Isabela, Puerto Rico
  3. 75km (47mi) N of Arecibo, Puerto Rico
  4. 82km (51mi) NNW of Barceloneta, Puerto Rico
  5. 106km (66mi) NW of San Juan, Puerto Rico

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M2.7 – 59km N of Hatillo, Puerto Rico

2013-05-19 13:12:48 UTC

Earthquake location 19.015°N, 66.726°W

Event Time

  1. 2013-05-19 13:12:48 UTC
  2. 2013-05-19 09:12:48 UTC-04:00 at epicenter
  3. 2013-05-19 08:12:48 UTC-05:00 system time

Location

19.015°N 66.726°W depth=22.0km (13.7mi)

Nearby Cities

  1. 59km (37mi) N of Hatillo, Puerto Rico
  2. 60km (37mi) N of Arecibo, Puerto Rico
  3. 65km (40mi) NNW of Barceloneta, Puerto Rico
  4. 65km (40mi) NNE of Isabela, Puerto Rico
  5. 89km (55mi) NW of San Juan, Puerto Rico

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M2.6 – 72km N of Hatillo, Puerto Rico

 2013-05-19 13:17:02 UTC

Earthquake location 19.137°N, 66.859°W

Event Time

  1. 2013-05-19 13:17:02 UTC
  2. 2013-05-19 09:17:02 UTC-04:00 at epicenter
  3. 2013-05-19 08:17:02 UTC-05:00 system time

Location

19.137°N 66.859°W depth=38.0km (23.6mi)

Nearby Cities

  1. 72km (45mi) N of Hatillo, Puerto Rico
  2. 72km (45mi) NNE of Isabela, Puerto Rico
  3. 75km (47mi) NNW of Arecibo, Puerto Rico
  4. 83km (52mi) NNW of Barceloneta, Puerto Rico
  5. 108km (67mi) NW of San Juan, Puerto Rico

….

M3.7 – 77km N of Hatillo, Puerto Rico

2013-05-19 13:17:59 UTC

Earthquake location 19.189°N, 66.781°W

Event Time

  1. 2013-05-19 13:17:59 UTC
  2. 2013-05-19 09:17:59 UTC-04:00 at epicenter
  3. 2013-05-19 08:17:59 UTC-05:00 system time

Location

19.189°N 66.781°W depth=39.0km (24.2mi)

Nearby Cities

  1. 77km (48mi) N of Hatillo, Puerto Rico
  2. 79km (49mi) N of Arecibo, Puerto Rico
  3. 80km (50mi) NNE of Isabela, Puerto Rico
  4. 85km (53mi) NNW of Barceloneta, Puerto Rico
  5. 107km (66mi) NW of San Juan, Puerto Rico

….

M2.5 – 68km N of Hatillo, Puerto Rico

 2013-05-19 14:04:37 UTC

Earthquake location 19.105°N, 66.808°W

Event Time

  1. 2013-05-19 14:04:37 UTC
  2. 2013-05-19 10:04:37 UTC-04:00 at epicenter
  3. 2013-05-19 09:04:37 UTC-05:00 system time

Location

19.105°N 66.808°W depth=31.0km (19.3mi)

Nearby Cities

  1. 68km (42mi) N of Hatillo, Puerto Rico
  2. 70km (43mi) N of Arecibo, Puerto Rico
  3. 70km (43mi) NNE of Isabela, Puerto Rico
  4. 77km (48mi) NNW of Barceloneta, Puerto Rico
  5. 102km (63mi) NW of San Juan, Puerto Rico

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M2.7 – 69km N of Hatillo, Puerto Rico

 2013-05-19 14:10:02 UTC

Earthquake location 19.117°N, 66.831°W

Event Time

  1. 2013-05-19 14:10:02 UTC
  2. 2013-05-19 10:10:02 UTC-04:00 at epicenter
  3. 2013-05-19 09:10:02 UTC-05:00 system time

Location

19.117°N 66.831°W depth=31.0km (19.3mi)

Nearby Cities

  1. 69km (43mi) N of Hatillo, Puerto Rico
  2. 71km (44mi) NNE of Isabela, Puerto Rico
  3. 72km (45mi) N of Arecibo, Puerto Rico
  4. 79km (49mi) NNW of Barceloneta, Puerto Rico
  5. 105km (65mi) NW of San Juan, Puerto Rico

….

M3.6 – 69km N of Hatillo, Puerto Rico

 2013-05-19 15:07:42 UTC

Earthquake location 19.107°N, 66.752°W

Event Time

  1. 2013-05-19 15:07:42 UTC
  2. 2013-05-19 11:07:42 UTC-04:00 at epicenter
  3. 2013-05-19 10:07:42 UTC-05:00 system time

Location

19.107°N 66.752°W depth=38.0km (23.6mi)

Nearby Cities

  1. 69km (43mi) N of Hatillo, Puerto Rico
  2. 70km (43mi) N of Arecibo, Puerto Rico
  3. 72km (45mi) NNE of Isabela, Puerto Rico
  4. 76km (47mi) NNW of Barceloneta, Puerto Rico
  5. 98km (61mi) NW of San Juan, Puerto Rico

….

M3.0 – 65km N of Isabela, Puerto Rico

2013-05-19 15:41:06 UTC

Earthquake location 19.081°N, 66.915°W

Event Time

  1. 2013-05-19 15:41:06 UTC
  2. 2013-05-19 11:41:06 UTC-04:00 at epicenter
  3. 2013-05-19 10:41:06 UTC-05:00 system time

Location

19.081°N 66.915°W depth=20.0km (12.4mi)

Nearby Cities

  1. 65km (40mi) N of Isabela, Puerto Rico
  2. 70km (43mi) NNW of Arecibo, Puerto Rico
  3. 76km (47mi) NNE of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico
  4. 80km (50mi) NNW of Barceloneta, Puerto Rico
  5. 109km (68mi) NW of San Juan, Puerto Rico

….

M3.0 – 68km NNW of San Antonio, Puerto Rico

 2013-05-19 18:01:45 UTC

Earthquake location 19.082°N, 67.304°W

Event Time

  1. 2013-05-19 18:01:45 UTC
  2. 2013-05-19 14:01:45 UTC-04:00 at epicenter
  3. 2013-05-19 13:01:45 UTC-05:00 system time

Location

19.082°N 67.304°W depth=35.0km (21.7mi)

Nearby Cities

  1. 68km (42mi) NNW of San Antonio, Puerto Rico
  2. 70km (43mi) NNW of Isabela, Puerto Rico
  3. 74km (46mi) NNW of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico
  4. 88km (55mi) NNW of San Sebastian, Puerto Rico
  5. 143km (89mi) WNW of San Juan, Puerto Rico

……..

M3.1 – 67km N of Hatillo, Puerto Rico

 2013-05-19 22:28:15 UTC

Earthquake location 19.096°N, 66.823°W

Event Time

  1. 2013-05-19 22:28:15 UTC
  2. 2013-05-19 18:28:15 UTC-04:00 at epicenter
  3. 2013-05-19 17:28:15 UTC-05:00 system time

Location

19.096°N 66.823°W depth=35.0km (21.7mi)

Nearby Cities

  1. 67km (42mi) N of Hatillo, Puerto Rico
  2. 69km (43mi) N of Arecibo, Puerto Rico
  3. 69km (43mi) NNE of Isabela, Puerto Rico
  4. 77km (48mi) NNW of Barceloneta, Puerto Rico
  5. 102km (63mi) NW of San Juan, Puerto Rico

….

….

Tectonic Summary

Seismotectonics of the Caribbean Region and Vicinity

Extensive diversity and complexity of tectonic regimes characterizes the perimeter of the Caribbean plate, involving no fewer than four major plates (North America, South America, Nazca, and Cocos). Inclined zones of deep earthquakes (Wadati-Benioff zones), ocean trenches, and arcs of volcanoes clearly indicate subduction of oceanic lithosphere along the Central American and Atlantic Ocean margins of the Caribbean plate, while crustal seismicity in Guatemala, northern Venezuela, and the Cayman Ridge and Cayman Trench indicate transform fault and pull-apart basin tectonics.

Along the northern margin of the Caribbean plate, the North America plate moves westwards with respect to the Caribbean plate at a velocity of approximately 20 mm/yr. Motion is accommodated along several major transform faults that extend eastward from Isla de Roatan to Haiti, including the Swan Island Fault and the Oriente Fault. These faults represent the southern and northern boundaries of the Cayman Trench. Further east, from the Dominican Republic to the Island of Barbuda, relative motion between the North America plate and the Caribbean plate becomes increasingly complex and is partially accommodated by nearly arc-parallel subduction of the North America plate beneath the Caribbean plate. This results in the formation of the deep Puerto Rico Trench and a zone of intermediate focus earthquakes (70-300 km depth) within the subducted slab. Although the Puerto Rico subduction zone is thought to be capable of generating a megathrust earthquake, there have been no such events in the past century. The last probable interplate (thrust fault) event here occurred on May 2, 1787 and was widely felt throughout the island with documented destruction across the entire northern coast, including Arecibo and San Juan. Since 1900, the two largest earthquakes to occur in this region were the August 4, 1946 M8.0 Samana earthquake in northeastern Hispaniola and the July 29, 1943 M7.6 Mona Passage earthquake, both of which were shallow thrust fault earthquakes. A significant portion of the motion between the North America plate and the Caribbean plate in this region is accommodated by a series of left-lateral strike-slip faults that bisect the island of Hispaniola, notably the Septentrional Fault in the north and the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault in the south. Activity adjacent to the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault system is best documented by the devastating January 12, 2010 M7.0 Haiti strike-slip earthquake, its associated aftershocks and a comparable earthquake in 1770.

Moving east and south, the plate boundary curves around Puerto Rico and the northern Lesser Antilles where the plate motion vector of the Caribbean plate relative to the North and South America plates is less oblique, resulting in active island-arc tectonics. Here, the North and South America plates subduct towards the west beneath the Caribbean plate along the Lesser Antilles Trench at rates of approximately 20 mm/yr. As a result of this subduction, there exists both intermediate focus earthquakes within the subducted plates and a chain of active volcanoes along the island arc. Although the Lesser Antilles is considered one of the most seismically active regions in the Caribbean, few of these events have been greater than M7.0 over the past century. The island of Guadeloupe was the site of one of the largest megathrust earthquakes to occur in this region on February 8, 1843, with a suggested magnitude greater than 8.0. The largest recent intermediate-depth earthquake to occur along the Lesser Antilles arc was the November 29, 2007 M7.4 Martinique earthquake northwest of Fort-De-France.

….

Earth Watch Report  –  Power Outage

Blustery winds gust through S.A., knock out power for thousands

Today Power Outage USA State of Texas, [San Antonio and the Hill Country] Damage level
Details

Power Outage in USA on Monday, 11 March, 2013 at 05:43 (05:43 AM) UTC.

Description
An early morning squall with hail and high winds swept across parts of San Antonio and the Hill Country, knocking out power Sunday for about 6,500 CPS Energy customers. Many of the outages occurred in the northern portions of the utility’s service area and lasted from about 1 a.m. to noon Sunday, when crews restored power, said CPS spokesman John Moreno. The National Weather Service received reports of quarter-sized hail at the San Antonio International Airport, where about three quarters of an inch of rain fell. Golf-ball sized hail was reported in Kerr County, said Pat McDonald, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Blustery winds gust through S.A., knock out power for thousandsCredit: KENS 5 viewer Javier Cortinas

A worker wrangles a portion of roof that blew off Stephen F. Austin Elementary School near downtown San Antonio on Tuesday, March. 5, 2013.

by Kens5.com Staff

Posted on March 5, 2013 at 7:45 AM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 5 at 10:01 PM

 

Thousands of San Antonians woke up Tuesday morning without power as high winds sweep through South Texas.

CPS Energy’s online map showed about a dozen outages affecting thousands of customers in the downtown area and on the city’s south side early Tuesday.

A wind advisory and Red Flag warning had been issued for nearly all south Texas counties.

KENS 5 meteorologist Paul Mireles said the San Antonio International Airport recorded gusts up to 40 mph early Tuesday morning. The wind should calm down by the afternoon, he said.

Earth Watch Report  –  Nuclear Event

South Texas Project Electric 
Generating Station Picture

Image Source

Today Nuclear Event USA State of Texas, Bay City [South Texas Project Electric Generating Station] Damage level
Details

Nuclear Event in USA on Thursday, 10 January, 2013 at 03:59 (03:59 AM) UTC.

Description
A fire at the South Texas Project Electric Generating Station, the nuclear power plant about 90 miles southwest of Houston, shut down one of the plant’s two reactors Tuesday afternoon. The fire broke out at 4:42 p.m. at the main transformer that feeds power from the reactor to the public power grid, and the reactor was shut down immediately, plant spokesman Buddy Eller said. The fire was extinguished within 15 minutes, Eller said. He did not know when the reactor might be restarted. Eller said the fire never threatened the reactor or other key components of the plant, no workers were hurt and the public was never endangered. Each of the South Texas Project’s reactors produces 1,280 megawatts of electricity, according to an inventory of nuclear reactors kept by the International Atomic Energy Agency. It is owned jointly by NRG Energy, Austin Energy and San Antonio’s municipal utility, CPS Energy.

 

KABB 29 San Antonio News

 
By: Yami Virgin

 

Since she was 3 Paige’s family has known she has a special gift.

 

The family tells us that Paige at the age of 7 sees and speaks to the Virgen de Guadalupe.

 

During a special healing mass on Sunday Paige prayed for many in a small Southside house.

 

Among those present Brenda Lutz, a woman who 3 months ago was given days to live due to her Pancreatic cancer.

 

Pictures of Lutz show the child on her hospital bed praying for her.

 

A week later the San Antonio woman was able to walk out on her own.

 

While Lutz says she is still battling her cancer, she is not currently undergoing any type of treatment.

 

Paige’s family says the child also sees St. Michael and St. Peregrine.

 

St. Peregrine is the patron saint for cancer patients.

 

If you would like to get in contact with Paige’s Parents for prayer requests you can go to our links section.

 

You can Follow Yami Virgin on Twitter: @yvirgin

 

or like on Facebook at Yami Virgen

Opting Out and Paying the Price of Being Awake

Alex Pietrowski, Contributor
Activist Post

More people are starting to awaken to the realities of our world – the good: human energies, medicinal properties of plants, the power of meditation, universal consciousness – the bad: the assault on natural health, genetically-modified foods, chemtrails, electromagnetic pollution – and the ugly: toxic disasters, deforestation, corruption, greed, endless war, cancer.

With this awakening comes greater awareness of the role that an individual’s acquiescence to intrusions on personal liberty plays in supporting the system.  The awakening process naturally compels one into developing the courage to risk inconveniences like expulsion, humiliation, arrest, fines and jail-time, or worse, in order to live in a accordance with principle and common sense. Courageous non-compliance to ridiculous government edicts and rules, as well as to the opinion’s of others, is the highest form of protest, but often carries penalties, both social and legal.

So, what price are some paying for being ‘awake?’ 

Expulsion and Loss of Opportunity

Implementation of location tracking radio-frequency ID (RFID) technology has been underway for many years now, with governments putting RFID chips into passports, vehicle registration stickers and license plates, medical institutions using these chips on infants and Alzheimer’s patients, and corporations using RFID to track employees and inventory.
Often the reasons given for the implementation of this technology are security and increased efficiency. Yet, many are justifiably concerned that RFID can and is already being used to compromise our civil liberties and invade personal privacy.

With tags in so many objects, relaying information to databases that can be linked to credit and bank cards, almost no aspect of life may soon be safe from the prying eyes of corporations and governments. – Mark Rasch, former head of the computer-crime unit of the U.S. Justice Department (Seattle Times)

Schools, such as Northside Independent School District (NISD) in San Antonio, Texas, are starting to use RFID-equipped ID badges to stay aware of students’ locations while they are on campus in an effort to reduce truancy and tardiness. Yet, students are standing up for their right to privacy. Andrea Hernandez, sophomore at NISD’s John Jay High School, is a great example; she has refused to wear the RFID badge.

What we’re teaching kids is that they live in a total surveillance state and if they do not comply, they will be punished. There has to be a point at which schools have to show valid reasons why they’re doing this. – John Whitehead, civil liberties lawyer and founder of the Rutherford Institute (ZDnet.com)

Andrea Hernandez is being expelled from John Jay HS and her program at the Science and Engineering Academy. Her father, Steven Hernandez, objects to his daughter wearing the tracking device, citing Biblical concerns. He compares the RFID cards to the “mark of the beast” in the Book of Revelation.

Publicly criticizing the school in this way has prompted school officials to offer immunity to his daughter if Mr. Hernandez would in turn hush up and stop encouraging others to stand up to this Orwellian policy. They offered to remove the chip from Andrea’s card in exchange for the family to end its criticism of the “Student Locator Program.”

[A]s part of the accommodation my daughter and I would have to agree to stop criticizing the program and publicly support … it. I told [the Deputy Superintendent] that was unacceptable because it would imply an endorsement of the district’s policy and my daughter and I should not have to give up our constitutional rights to speak out against a program that we feel is wrong. – Steven Hernandez (InfoWars.com)

In this case, a bright young high school kid is risking being expelled from school, the bravery and astuteness of Andrea Hernandez and her family has inspired many others in her school district to speak out – 300 more students now refuse to wear the RFID badges and about 700 more have signed a petition opposing the use of RFID-equipped badges, giving reasons such as religious beliefs and concerns about civil liberties and personal privacy. 

Unjust Criminal Punishment and Public Humiliation

There is a growing concern among the American public about the use of increasingly invasive and potentially harmful body scanners at airports, and the lack of unbiased third-party testing on the potential dangers of using these scanners. This is doubled by the growing abuses conducted by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which was created to oversee airport security in the US after 9-11.

We are writing to call your attention to serious concerns about the potential health risks of the recently adopted whole body backscatter X-ray airport security scanners. This is an urgent situation as these X-ray scanners are rapidly being implemented as a primary screening step for all air travel passengers. Our overriding concern is the extent to which the safety of this scanning device has been adequately demonstrated. – Doctors John Sedat Ph.D., David Agard, Ph.D., Marc Shuman, M.D., Robert Stroud, Ph.D., all of whom are faculty at the University of California, San Francisco (Natural News)

Created in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the TSA was charged with providing effective and efficient security for passenger and freight transportation in the United States. It has since become one of the Department of Homeland Security’s most visible and costly means of clamping down on Americans domestically, boasting an $8 billion annual budget and a roster of employees that includes TSOs (or airport screeners).Canada Free Press

Worries about harmful radiation, virtual strip searches, inappropriate “pat downs” and molestations, theft of personal items, and the verbal abuse of the traveling public, are resulting in regular citizens speaking up for their rights.

TSA claims you have the right to refuse scans, however, it has become clear that opting out exposes one to more ‘invasive’ treatment, which, in some cases, leads to delayed travel, embarrassment, charged emotions and anger, or even arrest and prosecution.

This is what happened to Andrea Fornella Abbott, who recently was found guilty of disorderly conduct and sentenced to one year of probation for standing up for her 14-year old daughter’s rights and not allowing TSA screeners to ‘pat-down’ or touch the child.

The common sensical act of not permitting strangers to put their hands on the private parts of her teenage daughter comes with a price tag; however, it also lights the way for others whose intuition is already telling them that we are in grave danger of become a new breed of highly obedient slaves.

Just like Andrea, many travelers have already paid the price for being awake and standing up for their rights and beliefs. As the world transforms around us and we enter the age of enlightenment, many more students, employees, drivers and regular citizens will jeopardize their comfort and convenience, be publically humiliated, or disrupt their daily lives in order to spark a revolution. Movements, such as TSA opt-out week taking place during this Thanksgiving week, will give more individuals the confidence to stand up to tyranny, despite threats of retaliation by TSA, and pursue life with renewed awareness of the power of the individual, at whatever cost.
There is no single grand act that can bring about a revolution, only a thousand daily unsung acts of individual courage can do that.

What price are you paying for being ‘awake’ during the waking times?’

Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.  He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com, and an avid student of Yoga and life. 

Sources:
http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/51189
http://www.naturalnews.com/037181_body_scanners_radiation_health_risks.html
http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/crime/video-andrea-fornella-abbott-found-guilty-refusing-allow-tsa-screeners-pat-down-her
http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/next-big-privacy-concern-rfid-%E2%80%9Cspychips%E2%80%9D
http://www.zdnet.com/student-expelled-for-refusing-to-wear-rfid-tracking-chip-badge-7000007723/
http://americanfreepress.net/?p=7385
http://www.infowars.com/student-expelled-for-refusing-location-tracking-rfid-badge/

Crossroads News : Changes In The World Around Us And Our Place In It

Community  :  Education – Invasion Of Privacy – Surveillance

Wear radio chip or leave, school tells students

Superintendent issues warning: ‘There will be consequences’ for not submitting

Chip32

Brushing aside privacy concerns by parents and civil rights activists, a Texas school district has gone live with a controversial program requiring all students to wear a locator radio chip that will enable officials to track their every move – or face expulsion.

At the beginning of the school year students at John Jay High School and Anson Jones Middle School within the Northside Independent School District were told their old student ID badges were no longer valid. During registration they were required to obtain new badges containing a radio frequency identification tracker chip.

Students refusing the chips were reportedly threatened with suspension, fines, or being involuntary transferred. Unlike chips used by retailers to track inventory which activate when scanned by a reader, these chips contain batteries and actively broadcast a continuous signal.

On October 1, the schools went live with a program to use the chips to track the exact locations of students using the badges. The badges would even be able to tell if a student in a classroom is in his seat or somewhere else in the room.

The district’s stated reason is to help obtain funding from the state by documenting the number of students who attend the school.

WOAI television reported district spokesman Pasqual Gonzalez said the two schools have a high rate of truancy, and the district could gain $2 million in state funding by improving attendance.

According to the San Antonio newspaper, the program is expected to cost the district $526,065 to implement with annual cost of $136,005 per year to continue running the program.

However, a counselor at the school told Steve Hernandez, a parent whose daughter Andrea is a sophomore at John Jay, that the district currently does not have any single person assigned to monitor the location of students or track the data.

“That destroys the argument that the purpose to track students for attendance purposes,” Hernandez said. “How are they supposed to safeguard privacy concerns if no one is responsible for its administration?”

The website ChipFreeSchools.com cites health concerns over the chips and includes a position paper from groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Big Brother Watch, Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom, Constitutional Alliance, Freedom Force International, Friends of Privacy USA, the Identity Project and Privacy Activism said no students should be subjected to the “chipping” program “unless there is sufficient evidence of its safety and effectiveness.”

“Children should never be used as test subjects for technology, no matter what their socio-economic status. If schools choose to move forward without complete information and are willing to accept the associated liability, they should have provisions in place to adhere to the principles of fair information practices and respect individuals’ rights to opt out based on their conscientious and religious objections,” the statement said.

The paper said RFID tracking is dehumanizing, since it can “monitor how long a student or teacher spends in a bathroom stall.”

The plans also violate free speech and association, since the presence of a tracking device “could dissuade individuals from exercising their rights to freedom of thought, speech and association. For example, students might avoid seeking counsel when they know their RFID tags will document their presence at locations like counselor and School Resource Officer offices.”

Andrea Hernandez has refused to wear the new badge citing religious and privacy concerns. She said that since the policy went into effect several students have engaged in civil disobedience by leaving their badges at home. However, Hernandez has been wearing her old badge to school in an attempt to have some form of ID.

While the district has not yet expelled any students for refusing to wear the badges, Hernandez has already faced consequences for her refusal to take the chip.

“About two weeks ago when I went to cast my vote for homecoming king and queen I had a teacher tell me I would not be allowed to vote because I did not have the proper voter ID,” she explained. “I had my old student ID card which they originally told us would be good for the entire four years we were in school. He said I needed the new ID with the chip in order to vote.”

In an attempt to obtain legal help, Andrea’s father, Steve Hernandez reached out to the American Civil Liberties Union, but was rebuffed because organization officials didn’t feel Andrea’s religious concerns would advance their core mission.

In an email to Hernandez, Rebecca Robertson with the ACLU of Texas told him, “the ACLU of Texas will not be able to represent you or your daughter in this matter.”

In citing its reasons for refusing to take the case Robertson said among the factors they use to decide to take a case are whether it “has the potential to achieve broad and lasting advances in civil liberties” and as such, Andrea’s case does not apparently meet that threshold.

WND requests to the district for comment were not returned.

In an October 2 letter, Deputy Superintendent Ray Galindo said he was willing to let Hernandez wear a badge without the chip, but then goes on to portray the issue as one of her refusing to wear any type of ID.

“We are simply asking your daughter to wear an ID badge as every other student and adult on the Jay campus is asked to do.”

Galindo went on to suggest there would be consequences if she did not agree to wear the new badge.

“I urge you to accept this solution so that your child’s instructional program will not be affected. As we discussed, there will be consequences for refusal to wear an ID card as we begin to move forward with full implementation.”

Steve Hernandez said the so-called accommodation actually came with other strings attached.

“He told me in a meeting that if my daughter would proudly wear her student ID card around her neck so everyone could see, he would be able to quietly remove her chip from her student ID card,” Hernandez explained. “He went on to say as part of the accommodation my daughter and I would have to agree to stop criticizing the program and publicly support … it. I told him that was unacceptable because it would imply an endorsement of the district’s policy and my daughter and I should not have to give up our constitutional rights to speak out against a program that we feel is wrong.”

Andrea Hernandez said that since she has begun taking the stand she has been surprised by how many students agree with her.

“On Monday a group of students came up to me in the lunch room asking me about the chips after they saw me appear on television,” she said. “I got the majority to understand there were legitimate reasons for not wearing the badge. Many of them thanked me, saying they were uncomfortable with wearing them, but were unsure how to explain why they should not have to wear them.”

She went on to say while some students have said they didn’t have a problem wearing the badges, she is not aware of any who enthusiastically support the program.

Heather Fazio, executive director of Texans for Accountable Government, said the district has not been willing to take steps to listen to parent’s concerns over the chips.

“The school board refuses to put it on the agenda or hold a forum where the matter can be debated publicly,” Fazio said. “Parents are allowed to speak to the board on any item not on the agenda, but the board is under no obligation to respond to what is being said. When we mentioned our concerns to them, they looked at us with indifference.”

Highlighting the dangers the chips pose to student privacy issues even while off campus, Fazio said she was able to get list containing the names and addresses of all of the students in the district by filing a Freedom of Information Request.

“After paying a $30 fee with the FOIA request I was able to get every student’s name and address,” Fazio explained. “Using this information along with an RFID reader means a predator could use this information to determine if the student is at home and then track them wherever they go. These chips are always broadcasting so anyone with a reader can track them anywhere.”

Andrea says while the school has not yet taken any retaliatory action, she is concerned that there will come a time when they will decide to retaliate.

“It is just a matter of time before they write me up and expel me. This would put a big black mark on my record if this were to happen, but I don’t feel I should be punished for standing up for my religious rights and privacy issues.”

She said, “In order to get into the Science and Engineering Academy I had to have good grades, great attendance, and be in pre-AP [advanced placement] classes. I had to fill out an application and write an essay about why I would be a good student. Now they want to take the education that I have worked so hard for away from me because I refuse to wear a tracker.”

USDA Ready to Inspect Horse Slaughter By Year End

Food Safety News
Equine inspections will be back on the menu at USDA by the end of the year, according to Al Almanza, administrator of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
On Saturday, Almanza told the Texas-based Southwest Meat Association, meeting in San Antonio, that USDA will be ready to inspect plants that slaughter horses for human consumption by the end of the year.
The San Antonio Express-News quoted Almanza as saying FSIS had two applications for equine inspection at slaughter plants that “wanted to get started as soon as possible.”
Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, NM and Unified Equine, which has sought locations in Missouri and Oklahoma, are probably the two applicants Almanza was referring to in his remarks.
USDA’s inspection services were prohibited for about five years from making any expenditures to inspect horses slaughtered for human consumption. President Obama and Congress lifted that prohibition in a budget deal made a year ago.
Unified Equine, headed by Wyoming State Rep. Sue Wallis, has not been able to acquire a closed beef processing plant at Rockville, MO as quickly as planned because the current owner does not have a clear title to the property due to ongoing litigation. Unified Equine now has plans for an Oklahoma plant.
It’s possible that before either group can get an inspected horse meat slaughter operation up and running, Congress will reimpose the ban on USDA’s services. The U.S. House’s proposed budget already contains such a provision.

© Food Safety News

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