Record heat and severe storms expected across the country

first_imgABC NewsBy MAX GOLEMBO, ABC News(NEW YORK) — Twelve states this morning are under heat warnings and advisories from California to Florida.Dozens of records fell across the Southwest, including Texas, yesterday.The hottest temperature in the country was in Death Valley, California which reached 127 degrees.A record high was reached in Palm Springs, California, where the temperature hit 121 degrees.In Phoenix, the temperature hit 116 degrees breaking a record and also making it the hottest temperature in the city in nearly two years.Las Vegas hit 113 degrees which was just one degree shy of a record but did make it the hottest temperature so far this season.In the East, the combination of temperature and humidity made it feel like it was 114 degrees in New Orleans, and at midnight on Saturday into Sunday that heat index was still 111 degrees.More heat is expected in the Southwest today with more records possible.In the South, temperatures near 100 degrees and high humidity will make it feel like its 105 to 115 in some areas.Meanwhile, strong to severe storms are expected on Monday from the East Coast to the Plains.In the Plains, a threat for tornadoes will stretch from Minnesota down to Nebraska.From Nebraska to Kansas and Colorado, damaging winds to 70 mph and golf ball-sized hail is possible.Along the East Coast, a stalled frontal boundary will bring a chance for strong storms in the Northeast and also in the Mid-Atlantic and into the Carolinas with the biggest threat with these storms being damaging winds and hail.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Mobile home park fears road loss

first_imgINDUSTRY – The owners of a 457-unit Hacienda Heights mobile home park are worried that a recent move by the Industry City Council could threaten access to their facility. Industry recently invoked the power of eminent domain over most business areas of the city, which gives it power to force property owners to sell them their land. Although the eminent domain area included no homes, the City Council voted to include Wildwood Drive and the Wildwood Mobile Country Club’s golf course, the only parts of the mobile home community in Industry city limits. The rest of Wildwood is in Hacienda Heights. Theoretically, the city now has the power to force Wildwood’s owners to sell the street and golf course, which would eliminate the only road to the club. “It’s true they didn’t include any homes in the area, but they might as well have,” said Thomas Barrington, an attorney for Wildwood. “Because we would have to take out houses and build an entire new road if they were to take that land. We do not want to fight with Industry, but we need some sort of guarantee from them that they won’t take that road.” Industry Mayor Dave Perez said the city would work with the country club. “Hopefully what we’ll do is make a special agreement with them that would keep that land as a private road and a golf course as long as it is a mobile home park,” he said. Because Perez’s disposal business, Valley Vista Services, also was included in the eminent-domain area, he was not able to participate in the Dec. 8 vote that enacted eminent domain power. Neither was Councilman John P. Ferrero, whose ranching business was in the area. The measure was approved by the three remaining council members – Paul Bielec, Phillip Marcellin and Jeff Parriot. Before the vote, Bielec said he wanted to make sure the homes at the country club were not in danger. Members of the city’s staff assured him that they were working to make an arrangement to keep the road. After the meeting, Barrington said the city seemed willing to cut a deal with the club. He added that he doubts the the city’s claim of blight would stand up in court. “They have just a very generic description of blight in their findings,” he said of a packet of information handed out by city officials at the meeting. “There is nothing specific in there that shows why this area would be considered blighted.” Residents said they had no idea Industry officials wanted the power of eminent domain on the road. Barrington was the only one at the meeting who objected to the establishiment of eminent domain. “We hadn’t heard about this at all,” said Mary Engberg, 68, who has lived at the park for 20 years. “We residents all play bingo on Friday, and we’re going to be doing some talking.” [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2703 AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

No stopping SA’s Rea Vaya

first_imgThe smart red and blue Rea Vaya buses line up at their specially built stations. (Image: Rea Vaya) MEDIA CONTACTS • Megan CameronBRT Marketing and Communications+27 11 870 4602 or +27 83 441 6747RELATED ARTICLES• SA ready for Rea Vaya• Rea Vaya gathering speed• Gautrain rolling along smoothly• Cape Town’s new bus system• All aboard the Tshwane ExpressJanine ErasmusThe fuel-efficient Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) system, launched in Johannesburg on 30 August 2009, is set to change the lives of South African commuters while doing its bit for a greener environment.Although the media focus has been largely on the ruffled feathers and strident protests of the minibus taxi industry, which fears major job losses, the benefits of Rea Vaya (seSotho, meaning “we are going”) far outweigh the perceived drawbacks.Rea Vaya is part of Johannesburg’s Integrated Transport Plan, an initiative to raise the standard of the city’s public transport to fall in line with the global standard.The system is a first not only for the country, but also for the Southern African region. Meanwhile, Cape Town, Tshwane and Port Elizabeth are implementing their own BRT systems.With the 2010 Fifa World Cup mere months away, the four cities, which all host a number of games, are ensuring that visitors will be able to get around quickly and easily.Green transportNot only will South African commuters now have a choice of transport to work, but the effects on the environment are not to be underestimated.In the short term the benefits include efficient and accessible service, affordable fares and easier traffic conditions. Medium term benefits include job creation and enhanced social interaction for those who up till now have had no way of getting around, and in the long term Rea Vaya will contribute to economic development as well as reduced pollution and a better quality of life.All of these factors add up to the development of a world-class public transport system.Described by the City of Johannesburg as the largest individual climate-change initiative ever undertaken by city management, Rea Vaya’s buses have efficient engines that run on low-sulphur fuel and emit less nitrous oxide and particulate matter, one of the primary causes of air pollution.According to Rea Vaya, if just 15% of people who would normally use their cars to get into the city switch to BRT, this will save a massive 382 940 tons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2010, and an incredible 1.6-million tons a decade later.And hard-pressed Johannesburg drivers will feel the relief in the form of less traffic congestion.Speaking at a public transport summit held in August 2009, Johannesburg’s executive mayor Amos Masondo said that 47% of commuters travelled by public transport. This figure is further broken down into 72% travelling by minibus taxi, 14% by train, and 9% by bus.Advanced vehiclesRea Vaya is to be rolled out in three stages. Phase 1A, spanning 25.5km, is currently underway and is expected to be complete at the beginning of 2010. There are 40 smart red and blue buses currently operating but by completion of the initial phase, all 143 will be on the roads.The 86km phase 1B will follow later in 2010, and the phase is expected to be fully complete by 2013. This will see the route wind through 150 stations along 122km of trunk, or main, roads.The trunk routes feature the largest buses, articulated and able to carry 112 passengers each. These vehicles will travel only in the dedicated bus lanes and will stop at the Rea Vaya stations.Complementary buses have a capacity of up to 75 passengers and will be able to pick up passengers not only from Rea Vaya stations, but also from bus stops on the pavement.The feeder buses, with a capacity of 32 passengers, will bring commuters to the trunk routes from outlying areas. All buses are wheelchair-friendly.With the system running between 5am and midnight, passengers will be able to catch a bus every three minutes in peak times and every 10 minutes during off-peak periods.For those worried about the infamous tardiness of buses the world over, it may help to know Rea Vaya has an on-board global positioning system that will keep vehicles to a tight schedule by monitoring the exact position of a bus and advising the driver to slow down or speed up where necessary.Smooth runningThe initial service runs just over 25km, from Lakeview station in Soweto, to Ellis Park station in the city. Tickets cost between R3 and R8 a trip.Latest reports show that the system is running smoothly despite taxi demonstrations and the occasional teething problem. Rea Vaya is carrying an average of 8 000 passengers per day, after an initial surge of almost 17 000 passengers on day one, as a result of a taxi strike.Ultimately it is envisioned that taxi operators will make up the bulk of the planned bus operating company that will own and manage Rea Vaya.And the commuter will come out tops, as the notoriously dangerous and unreliable taxi sector and other public transport operators will have to raise their game to compete with the new system and woo their customers with good service rather than complacency in knowing passengers lack an alternative.Integrated transportRea Vaya is designed to blend with other forms of transport, such as the Gautrain rapid rail system. Combined bus stations and taxi ranks will facilitate passenger transfers between the two.Gautrain is currently in an advanced state of construction, with stations and viaduct construction well under way. The rapid rail system has also not been without its controversy, notably because of its high construction cost and probable targeting of middle class passengers, but many agree that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.Gautrain is expected to bring economic growth to the province through job creation, less traffic congestion and stress, and a reduction in costs of road accidents and the accompanying loss of productivity.It will also bring added convenience and reliability for commuters, as well as a far lower carbon footprint than the thousands of vehicles that jostle for position on the overburdened freeways between Johannesburg and Pretoria every day. The expected saving in carbon emissions is around 70 000 tons per year.The first Gautrain section expected for completion is the route between OR Tambo International Airport and the Sandton station, north of Johannesburg. According to the latest progress report, construction all along this route is going well. All eleven bridges are nearing completion, while work on the three viaducts is essentially complete.Ample choiceWith Metrorail’s Tshwane Business express – a service launched between Johannesburg and Pretoria in May 2008 and now running a second train – the Gautrain, the BRT, Metrobus, and taxis, commuters will have ample choice in their modes of transport.Johannesburg’s RideSmart campaign is also up and running – this is an initiative that encourages people to share rides. Drivers or passengers enter their names into a database and are automatically matched by the programme with others in their area.A further initiative that will ultimately ease traffic congestion is the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, which is upgrading and widening the province’s network of freeways, and introducing an electronic toll-collection system.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Contact Janine Erasmus at [email protected]last_img read more

Putting canine DNA to work: The working dog project

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Don “Doc” SandersIn the past, I have written about the work of a geneticist at the USDA’s Bovine Functional Genomics Laboratory in Beltsville, Md. — Curtis Van Tassell. In the ’90s he used a new genetic test to identify genes in Holsteins that influence milk production, health, and soundness of feet and legs.For the foundation of his research, he used detailed records of 300,000 cows dating back to the 1940s. His work was renowned in the dairy industry and even contributed to research in human DNA.But the company funding his work at Beltsville went bankrupt. The company assets were purchased by Illumina, a human genetics company in Illinois. They planned to discard the cow genetic research.When Van Tassell realized this, he went to Illumina’s management and spent several days trying to convince them of the merit of his research. Illumina relented and agreed to continue funding his research. When I last checked, bovine genetics made up 90% of Illumina’s profits even though they are a human genetics company.I recall some of my colleagues excitedly suggesting that this test be used to characterize the DNA of dogs. At the time, dog breed organizations kept little more than a mish-mash of genetic records. No one maintained consistent performance information about dog breeds. Certainly nothing like the information of the Holstein Association.Jump ahead to today and you’ll find that the situation is quite different. There’s now a much greater drive among breed associations and researchers to track the genetic makeup of dogs. And that includes identifying genes that affect behavior. What’s the motivation behind this major change? Dogs serve us in many more roles than they used to:Sniffing out drugs and bombs in airports, train stations and sporting events, assisting police and security officialsSearching for missing persons and survivors of hurricanes, earthquakes and bomb blastsUsing their sense of smell to detect health conditions, such as certain types of cancer, diabetes and urinary tract infectionsAnd serving people with disabilities, such as seeing eye dogs for the blind and companion animals for people in wheelchairs, such as the late President George H.W. BushOne of the most recent exciting contributions is the USDA using these super-sniffing canines at our border to detect African Swine Fever-infected pork products being smuggled in from China. You may have read about two Beagles that detected infected pork in a million-pound imported food shipment.In the early days of my vet training and practice, Pilot Dogs, Inc., an organization founded in Columbus, trained dogs to serve the visually impaired. But back then, I couldn’t imagine the many other services that working dogs perform today.Because of dogs’ expanding service roles, the current supply of newly trained working dogs meets only about 5% of the need. And before the relatively recent advent of canine DNA analysis, it was common for about half of dogs to flunk out from training for service roles — their failure often not apparent until near the end of a year or more of training. Canine DNA analysis can help improve selection of dogs for training — and graduation rates — by identifying genes that influence dog behavior.A relatively new program, The Working Dog Project, has played a key role in developing DNA analysis for working dogs. The Working Dog Project is a collaboration of The Theriogenology Foundation (which represents veterinarians who specialize in reproductive health), The Broad Institute (associated with MIT), the American Kennel Club, numerous dog breed organizations, and universities such as Auburn and Cornell.One of the key early researchers in DNA analysis of dogs is an Alaskan musher, Dr. Heather Huson, who competed in races like the Iditarod in Alaska from Anchorage to Nome. In her PhD project she identified sled dogs’ DNA to determine which would be her “high-performance” dogs. After a successful sledding career, she ended up at Cornell University to start their canine project, which became a part of The Working Dog Project.Her work and that of others in The Working Dog Project showed that not every dog was cut out to be a sled dog, pilot dog, security dog, bomb-sniffing dog or recovery dog. And that DNA analysis can assist in separating super-achieving canines from those that are more at home sleeping on the couch.Check out The Working Dog Project at workingdogproject.org. I encourage you to donate to their cause.last_img read more

Service sector predicts Canadian drilling activity will fall even more in 2019

first_imgCALGARY – The Petroleum Services Association of Canada is predicting more pain for the oil and gas sector next year.It predicts a total of 6,600 wells will be drilled in Canada in 2019, down about five per cent from an expected 6,980 wells this year, adding that translates to a year-over-year decrease of up to $1.8 billion in capital spending by exploration and production companies.Outgoing association chief executive Tom Whalen says the oilfield services sector in Canada is headed for a third year of stalled activity as export pipeline capacity constraints keep petroleum prices low.It forecasts an average Western Canadian Select price discount to New York-traded West Texas Intermediate of US$24.50 per barrel next year, about US$10 above typical differences.3,532 of those wells are epxected to be drilled in Alberta. The decrease in wells is going to mean $1,5 to $1.8 billion less in capitl spending by exploration and production companies across the country #yyc— Ian Campbell (@news_ian) November 1, 2018The forecast calls for activity to gradually ramp up during 2019 as crude-by-rail volumes rise to allow more barrels to get to market.PSAC announced Thursday that former Alberta cabinet minister and provincial trade representative Gary Mar will become its new president and CEO as of Dec. 1.last_img read more

TMC leader shot at in Jhargram family accuses of party rivalry

first_imgKolkata: A Trinamool Congress leader from Gopiballavpur block I in Jhargram sustained bullet injuries and IS fighting for his life in a hospital. Police said the victim, Bikash Nayek was taking a stroll outside his house after finishing his dinner on Sunday night when some unidentified miscreants came and shot at him from point blank. A bullet pierced through his left shoulder. The family members of the victim who were having their dinner rushed to the spot after hearing the gun shot. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThey found Nayek in a pool of blood. The miscreants had already fled the spot after committing the crime. He was immediately rushed to the Jhargram Superspecialty hospital. According to the hospital sources, the condition of the patient is serious. According to preliminary investigation, police suspect that the miscreants had come on a motorcycle and disappeared in the darkness after the incident.The incident triggered tension among locals. The family members alleged that some BJP backed miscreants might have been involved in the incident. It was a deliberate attempt to kill Nayek who had been instrumental in strengthening the party organisation in the area. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedSenior party leaders from the district also blamed the BJP for the incident as they were trying to weaken the organisation of the Trinamool Congress. The family members of the victim handed over the names of some suspected miscreants to the police who might be been involved in the incident. The district BJP leaders, however, denied the allegation and termed it to be a result of the intra party clash within Trinamool Congress. A police picket was set up at the hospital as the family members of the victim are apprehending fresh attacks on Nayek. Police have started a detailed probe in this regard. Raids are being conducted to nab the culprits.last_img read more