More than one thousand rescued in Louisiana floods; three dead
TweetShareShareShareBY ASSOCIATED PRESS | August 13, 2016 @ 10:37 am
Residents wade through floodwaters from heavy rains in the Chateau Wein Apartments in Baton Rouge, La., Friday, Aug. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — As the floodwaters swallowed Lyn Gibson’s two-story home, she hacked away on a hole near the roof, desperately trying to get to safety.
She used a saw, a screwdriver and her feet, knocking her way through wood, vinyl and sheet rock.
“I just kept picking and hitting and prying until I could get a hole big enough,” the slightly-built, 115-pound woman said. “I would saw for a while. I’d kick at it for a while.”
Eventually, Gibson made it out of her Tangipahoa Parish home with her dogs, and they were all rescued by National Guard soldiers on a boat. It was one of more than 1,000 rescues after a deluge swamped parts of Louisiana, submerging roads, cars and homes.
At least three people were killed.
In another dramatic moment, two men on a boat pulled a woman from a car that was almost completely underwater, according to video by WAFB. The woman, who is not initially visible on camera, yells from inside the car: “Oh my god, I’m drowning.”
One of the rescuers, David Phung, jumps into the brown water and pulls the woman to safety. She pleads with Phung to get her dog, but he can’t find it. After several seconds, Phung takes a deep breath, goes underwater and resurfaces — with the small dog.
Both the woman and the dog appeared to be OK.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency, calling the floods “unprecedented” and “historic.” He and his family were even forced from the Governor’s Mansion when chest-high water filled the basement and electricity had to be cut off.
“That’s never happened before,” said the governor, whose family relocated to a state police facility in the Baton Rouge area.
During an aerial tour, an Associated Press reporter saw homes in parts of rural Tangipahoa Parish that looked like little islands among flooded fields. Farmland was covered and streets descended into impassable pools of water.
“This is an ongoing event. We’re still in response mode,” Edwards said, urging residents to heed warnings to evacuate.
Beginning Friday, 6 to 10 inches of rain fell on parts of Louisiana and several more inches of rain fell in places on Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency for several counties in his state as it also battled the heavy rainfall.
In Baker, just north of Baton Rouge, residents were rescued by boats or waded though waist-deep, snake-infested water to reach dry ground. Dozens of them awoke Saturday morning on cots at a makeshift Red Cross shelter only a few blocks from their flooded homes and cars.
John Mitchell, 23, said he swam to safety with his pit bull after police officers in a boat picked up his 20-year-old girlfriend, her 1 year-old daughter and Mitchell’s father.
“This is the worst it’s been, ever,” Mitchell said. “We tried to wait it out, but we had to get out.”
Mitchell fears he lost their trailer home and his car, which was flooded up to the seats. A bag of clothes was all he had time to save as the water levels rapidly rose.
Shanita Angrum, 32, said she called 911 on Friday morning when she realized flood waters had trapped her family in their home. A police officer carried her 6-year-old daughter, Khoie, on his back while she and her husband waded behind them for what “felt like forever.”
“Snakes were everywhere,” she said. “The whole time I was just praying for God to make sure me and my family were OK.”
The body of a woman from Amite was recovered Saturday from the Tickfaw River, according to Michael Martin, chief of operations for the St. Helena Sheriff’s Office.
The woman, her husband and the woman’s mother-in-law were driving on a state highway Friday when their car was swept off the road. The woman’s husband and mother-in-law clung to a tree for hours before they were rescued Saturday, Martin said.
One man died Friday after slipping into a flooded ditch near the city of Zachary, said East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s spokesman Casey Rayborn Hicks, who identified the victim as 68-year-old William Mayfield.
The body of 54-year-old Samuel Muse was found in St. Helena Parish, where crews pulled his body from a submerged pickup on Louisiana Highway 10, authorities said.
Numerous rivers in southeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi were overflowing. The governor said some were expected to crest more than 4 feet above previous records and officials were not sure just how widespread the damage would be.
LSU canceled its football fan day amid the floods.
In a 24-hour period, Baton Rouge had as much as 11 inches of rain. One weather observer reported more than 17 inches of rainfall in Livingston, according to the National Weather Service.
The Tickfaw River, just south of the Mississippi state line in Liverpool, Louisiana, was already at the highest level ever recorded.
In southwest Mississippi, Leroy Hansford, his wife and stepson were among those rescued near Gloster, which had more than 14 inches of rain.
Hansford, 62, said waters from Beaver Creek, which is normally more than 400 feet away from his house, rose quickly overnight. He said another stepson who lives nearby alerted him.
“We woke up and the water kept on coming,” Hansford said. “It came up to my waist
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Fireworks Send 11,000 to Emergency Rooms, Feds Say
by MAGGIE FOX
Tuesday was a bad day to be a dummy or a watermelon.
The annual Consumer Products Safety Commission fireworks safety demonstration on the National Mall should give anyone a healthy respect for the explosives. The CPSC team blows the heads, arms and hands off mannequins to demonstrate the dangers of everyday fireworks sold at stands across the U.S. in June and July.
The climax comes when an M-1000 firework blasts a watermelon into smithereens.
Fireworks accidents sent more than 11,000 Americans to emergency rooms last year, two-thirds of them in the weeks before and after the July 4 holiday, the CPSC said Tuesday.
Think Twice About Lighting Fireworks on July 4th 0:44
The commission said 250 people on average end up in the ER with fireworks-related injuries every day in the month around July 4.
Related: 4th of July Fireworks Sales Hit New High
Most injuries are burns, and the fingers or hands are the most vulnerable as people handle bottle rockets, firecrackers and other explosives, the CPSC said in its annual report on fireworks injuries. But 900 of the
bad injuries were from sparklers, which smolder at very high temperatures and which should not be given to small children, the CPSC said.[Image: The Consumer Products Safety Commission uses mannequins to demonstrate what not to do with fireworks on July 4]
The Consumer Products Safety Commission uses a mannequin on June 27, 2017, to demonstrate what not to do with fireworks on July 4. NBC News
And horrific fireworks accidents killed at least four men last year, the CPSC said. One of them was 27-year-old Stephen Goodman of Douglas, Georgia — killed on New Year’s Day 2016 when he put a rocket in a tube upside-down and set it off over his head. “The firework exploded from the bottom and struck the victim in the neck. The victim suffered a large laceration to his neck,” the CPSC said.
The CPSC says 67 percent of the injuries happened when fireworks malfunctioned, going off too soon or blowing up in place or exploding sideways, for instance. A 28-year-old woman suffered burns over her chest when a friend lit a multiple-tube fireworks device and it fell over, shooting the blazing shells sideways, CPSC said.
Related: 31 Die When Fireworks Market in Mexico Explodes
But improper use of fireworks can also injure innocent bystanders.
“In Case 20, a 29-year-old male and his family were outside lighting fireworks. The family across the street was doing the same thing as well,” the CPSC said.
“The neighbor family set up a mortar not on a flat level of plain but on a hill. The mortar fell over and shot across the street into the victim’s yard, right next to one of the victim’s young cousins. The victim picked his cousin up to shield her and the mortar went off,” the CPSC report said.
“The victim suffered burns on the left side of his face and neck. Moreover, some of the embers from the firework got into the victim’s left eye and caused blurred vision.”
Judge considering whether to block legal pot measure
TweetShareShareShareBY ASSOCIATED PRESS | August 12, 2016 @ 7:17 pm
FILE - This April 14, 2010 file photo shows more than 100 boxes containing over 252,000 signatures collected by the Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project line at the Arizona Secretary of State's Office at the Capitol in Phoenix. The campaign committee delivered the boxes in an effort to qualify for the November ballot the effort to legalize medicinal marijuana in Arizona. Opponents of a campaign to legalize recreational marijuana in Arizona will urge a judge Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, to bar the initiative from the November ballot. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)
PHOENIX — So many provisions of a law that would legalize recreational marijuana were left off the short description Arizona voters saw when they signed ballot petitions that it should be blocked from the November ballot, opponents told a judge Friday.
The 100-word legal description did not include details about changes to DUI laws, child custody issues, employment law and many others, the attorney for Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy told Maricopa County Superior Court judge Jo Lynn Gentry at a hearing.
“If you omit principal provisions as interpreted by the court then you cannot be certified for the ballot,” attorney Brett Johnson told Gentry. “We have identified 22 principal provisions, your honor, and they have identified five – and one of those is false.”
Johnson also pointed to provisions left off the summary that legalize hemp farming, hashish, and allow marijuana retailers to allow smoking on their premises as major problems that he characterized as a “bait and switch.”
Lawyers for Proposition 205 said their summary accurately described the principal provisions and was not required to list all changes to the law.
Proponents “are free to draft initiatives that embrace as few or as many subjects as they desire,” said Roy Herrera, the attorney for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. “Ultimately it is up to the voters to decide if the text is too confusing, whether it’s overreaching or if it is too complex.”
Gentry asked a few pointed questions, then said she would issue a ruling quickly, possibly as early as Monday.
Under the measure, adults age 21 and older could carry up to one ounce of marijuana and consume it privately. Adults could also cultivate up to six marijuana plants in an enclosed space and possess the marijuana produced by the plants. No more than a dozen plants would be allowed in a single residence.
The system would regulate pot in a way proponents say is similar to alcohol, with a 15 percent tax on all retail marijuana sales. Most of the new state revenue would go to Arizona public schools and education programs.
But Johnson said that basic description — regulating marijuana like alcohol and allowing private use — was not accurate. He noted that one provision allows marijuana bars, something voters weren’t told when they signed the petitions.
“This is a travesty of an initiative and there has to be a line that’s drawn in the sand,” he said.
Kristie Reeves-Cavaliero, left, her husband Brett, right, and their daughter Sophia Rayne "Ray Ray." Courtesy Kristie Reeves-Cavaliero
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Hot Car Deaths:Scientists Detail Why Parents Forget Their Children
by KALHAN ROSENBLATT
On an average day, Kristie Reeves-Cavaliero didn’t need to set an alarm clock. Her hungry one-year-old daughter Sophia Rayne “Ray Ray” Cavaliero was more than enough to get her out of bed at 5 a.m.
But on the day Ray Ray died, the infant slept through her usual early-morning feeding.
“I glanced at the clock, and it was flashing ‘9:43,’ and the whole household was late,” Reeves-Cavaliero told NBC News. “It was totally chaotic.”
Dad Who Left Child in Sweltering Car Issues Warning 1:27
While her husband Brett frantically got ready for work, Reeves-Cavaliero dressed Ray Ray.
“We both gave her a hug and a kiss and told her we loved her, and she waved goodbye to me,” Reeves-Cavaliero said.
As he drove through Austin, Texas, Brett came to a T-intersection. To the left was Ray Ray’s childcare, to the right was the route to work.
“That morning he took a right-hand turn instead of a left. And so our tragedy started with one single wrong turn,” Reeves-Cavaliero said.
Hours later, the couple would discover Ray Ray dying of heat-related illness in the back seat of Brett’s car. Emergency responders tried to resuscitate the tiny child to no avail.[Image: Kristie Reeves-Cavaliero, left, her husband Brett, right, and their daughter Sophia Rayne "Ray Ray"]
Kristie Reeves-Cavaliero, left, her husband Brett, right, and their daughter Sophia Rayne "Ray Ray." Courtesy Kristie Reeves-Cavaliero
The tragedy of Ray Ray’s death is experienced by the parents of an average 37 children each year. Most parents believe forgetting their child in a car is something that will never happen to them until it does, according to Dr. David Diamond, a professor of psychology at the University of South Florida.
Diamond has studied the science behind the phenomenon of children forgotten in cars, and the power-struggle that can occur in all human brains when it comes to memory.
Competing Parts of the Brain
In the past, Diamond called the phenomenon “Forgotten Baby Syndrome,” which he told NBC News was a term coined by the media. After witnessing the ridicule parents experienced when assigned this term, he said he no longer uses the terminology.
The principles, however, remain unchanged.
“We all experience when we have a plan to do something in the future and then we forget to complete that plan,” Diamond said.
He said this is where several competing factors in the brain come into play. The first component is the basal ganglia, the brain center, which operates on a subconscious level. Diamond said it’s this part of the brain that stores the ability to ride a bicycle and allows people to “go on autopilot.”
“Any person is capable of forgetting a child in a car.”
The basal ganglia works independently of the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that has to do with conscious awareness and new information. The hippocampus and the frontal cortex work together to plan future activities and events.
Diamond uses a tennis match to explain how the three pieces of the brain can work in perfect harmony.
The basal ganglia allows a tennis player to hit the ball in an almost reflexive way, while the hippocampus and the frontal cortex allow the player to devise a strategy.
“This is where the systems compete against each other,” Diamond said. “In the case of you driving home, your basal ganglia wants to get you from Point A to Point B to the point it can suppress your hippocampus. [People] say you can forget to stop at the store, but you don’t forget your child is in the car. I get that feeling completely. I get that argument, but you can’t argue with brain function.”
'Any Person is Capable of Forgetting a Child'
Diamond has interviewed several parents whose children have died after being left in cars, and he said he often sees a pattern in the stories.
“When you drive home and don’t normally take a child to daycare, when you have a habit and you are normally driving home from work — and in those subsets or maybe none at all take a child home — well, what happens in all these cases, the parent goes into autopilot mode, which is typically from home to work. It’s in that subset of cases the basal ganglia is taking you on a route that does not include a child,” he said.
In these cases, Diamond said, the child is quiet and out of sight, which causes the parent to lose awareness of the task they’re out to do.
“The twist is, they did not stop at daycare on the way but brain creates false memory the child was at daycare,” Diamond said. “If the child isn’t in the car that child must be where the child belongs, and the parents go to work with absolute certainty the child is safe.”
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