Tag: Syndicated

Central Iowa Mission Team Bringing Boat to Houston

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  A central Iowa mission group is heading into Houston’s flooded waters.

On Tuesday, the group left Des Moines with a boat, fuel, and tools. Once they arrive in Texas, they plan to buy supplies to hand out to people in need. The local nonprofit organization, Disaster Relief Missions, say it will also meet up with a local pastor who will help coordinate their relief efforts.

Paul Wilson Jr. says he’s helped with hurricane relief before, but says this one might be the most devastating.

“We're always looking for opportunities to be able to help and serve people, so seeing something like this, sometimes when hurricanes come through, they don’t end up doing much damage, but this one is just unbelievable. It looks like it’s as bad a Katrina, if not worse."

The group is already in the process of raising money and planning another trip to the Houston region. To follow their journey and find out how you can help, visit their Facebook page.

ARL Taking in Animals Evacuated From Harvey Flood Waters

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Some of the smallest evacuees from Hurricane Harvey have already arrived in Des Moines.

The Animal Rescue League of Iowa took in 20 dogs on Tuesday from the north Texas area. A shelter there arranged to empty its kennels before the storm because it knew they would be needed once the storm did arrive.

The ARL is offering a "name your price" event for all dogs and cats this weekend to make room for more storm evacuees to arrive.

Avoid the ‘Danger Zone,’ Officials Warn With Busses Back On the Roads

DES MOINES, Iowa–There’s a ten-foot area near school buses that law enforcement needs you to respect in Iowa. And if you don’t, it could cost you.

Transportation officials refer to the ten-foot area surrounding each side of a school bus as the “danger zone.” When children are walking within that zone, they can be difficult for drivers to spot.






(School buses can weigh nearly 25,000 pounds).

“When we have crashes, not only are the school bus operators, their kids, their passengers at risk,” Iowa Department of Transportation Director Mark Lowe said Tuesday, “But the people in the cars are at risk, too.”

In 2011, Kadyn Halverson, 7, was walking across the street to get to the bus near her family’s home in Northwood. A pickup driver struck and killed her.

After that incident, lawmakers toughened punishment against drivers who don’t stop for school buses with their flashing lights on. Drivers could face a fine of up to $650, 30 days in jail and 30 days without their driver’s license.

The Iowa DOT lays out the rules for when and where you need to stop when you see a school bus. 


Nationwide Sending Dozens of Insurance Adjusters to Texas

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Insurance experts are predicting Harvey will be one of the costliest ever for the industry.

So far, Nationwide has sent close to 40 insurance adjusters from its Des Moines location to Dallas and San Antonio. However, officials say that number will likely increase. They also say relief workers are struggling to get into Houston due to flood waters.

The insurance giant says it insures a large portion of southeast Texas and is working to help ease customers' concerns. As a result, the company has deployed its catastrophe response unit to help reach more people faster.

“We have a couple of response units. One is a semi-trailer. It comes fully equipped with communication efforts and we'll stage our humanitarian efforts there. People can come there and report a first notice of loss. We'll handle their claims,” says Dick Clinard, a Nationwide spokesperson.

Officials say until flood waters recede, they won't be able to make damage assessments.

Iowa National Guard Prepares for Possible Hurricane Harvey Support Trip

JOHNSTON, Iowa  --   As the flooding continues to worsen in Houston, Texas, agencies around the country are looking for ways to help.

“It’s devastating to see what’s happening with the people of Houston. The Iowa National Guard stands ready to help whenever called,” said Col. Greg Hapgood of the Iowa National Guard.

Col. Hapgood said the call hasn’t come in yet, but as the water continues to rise, so will the likelihood that the Iowa National Guard will be going to Houston. Surrounding states like Nebraska have already sent National Guard assistance. 

Hapgood said the unit here is specially trained to handle flooding, and responded responded to toppling Iowa flood stages in 2008, 2011, and 2016. Hapgood was also part of the Iowa team that helped during Hurricane Katrina, and he can’t help but think of that when he sees what’s currently happening in Houston. 

“It’s a huge amount of destruction with huge amounts of water. Huge amounts of wind that just destroy and leave debris for miles. So the scope of it what is pretty striking about it,” he said. 

Once they get the call, Hapgood said the unit can be there and operating within 24 hours. He doesn’t know exactly what is needed, but he has had early calls with officials about how they can help.

“Aviation assets would probably be one of those that would be significant. Transportation assets, big trucks and trailers, etc. would probably be another pretty commonly called for in these situations." 

As far as a timeline goes, he isn’t sure when the call will come in. Members of the guard here are on notice, and know they could be called on and need to leave pretty quickly. If deployed, units can expect to be there for at least five days and up to a couple weeks. 

Stranded Dogs Left on Family Boat Have Been Rescued

Credit: CNN reporter Ed Lavandera / @agband93bcobrooks (Instagram)

HOUSTON — Two dogs that were left on a boat after their family was forced to evacuate during Hurricane Harvey have been rescued.

The dogs were apparently left behind when their owners had to evacuate due to flooding caused by heavy rains from Harvey.

CNN reporter Ed Lavandera shared the original photo on Monday with this caption:

“Two dogs left behind in a boat. Sadly a family had to evacuate their flooded neighborhood in Dickinson, Texas without their dogs. Hope they’re ok. I should add, I think the people have every intention of coming back to get the dogs. Food was left behind and I suspect it had to be a tough choice and that they will come back for them as soon as they can.”

On Tuesday, Lavandera posted a photo of Frankie and Bear getting rescued with an update:

“UPDATE: Frankie & Bear are safe. The two dogs we saw sitting in a boat in a flooded neighborhood have been rescued! They’re being cared for and the owners will reconnect them at some point. Photo courtesy @agband93bcobrooks.”

Instagram Photo

Instagram Photo

Here’s how you can help:

Rescuers continue to pull people from rising floodwaters. The traumatized and weary evacuees often have nothing but the soaked clothes on their backs. Aid groups are scrambling to provide shelter, emergency services and hope.

There are several ways you can help.

Donate money: By clicking on the button below, you can donate to charities vetted by CNN’s Impact Your World. These organizations are helping in Harvey’s immediate aftermath, and they will continue working through the long term.

If you are in Texas, there are additional ways you can contribute:

Donate blood: The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center desperately needs more than 2,000 units of blood. The biggest need is for O positive and O negative. A list of locations to donate blood can be found here.

Donate food and clothing: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is asking people to donate clothing, medical supplies, baby items, and food to nearby shelters. Feeding Texas is coordinating with local food banks to distribute food and cleaning supplies. The organization is asking people to drop off non-perishable food, bleach, and paper towels. The Texas Diaper Bank is seeking diaper donations. You can mail them to 5415 Bandera Road, Suite 504, San Antonio, Texas 78238 or drop them off at the same address.

Help with clean up: Austin Disaster Relief Network is asking for toiletries, inflatable mattresses, undergarments, and cleaning tools. They can be dropped off at the Hope Family Thrift Store in Austin. Volunteers can also sign up for cleaning efforts there. The Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group needs construction cleanup supplies — debris containers, truck cranes, forklifts, ladders, and nail guns.

Donate toys and supplies: Mayor Turner said many children inside the shelters need “things to do” and is asking people to donate coloring books, puzzles, and other toys to the shelters.

Houston Police Officer Drowns in Hurricane Harvey Flooding

HOUSTON, Texas  —  The Houston Police Department has learned it has lost one its own to flood waters as fellow officers continue to work around the clock to save residents from the rising water.

The Houston Chronicle reports that a 30 year veteran of the police force drowned on Sunday while driving to work.  The officer was trying to find an alternate route when he made a wrong turn into flood waters.  He tried to climb out of his vehicle but wasn’t able to make it out.

The officer’s name is not being released.  At this time he is the 15th confirmed fatality from the storm, according to the Chronicle.

Trump Says ‘all options on table’ After North Korea Launches Missile Over Japan

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US President Donald Trump has warned that “all options are on the table” after North Korea launched a missile over Japan early Tuesday.

The missile was fired just before 6 a.m. in Japan, where the launch set off warnings in the northern part of the country urging people to seek shelter.

“The world has received North Korea’s latest message loud and clear,” Trump said in a statement. “This regime has signaled its contempt for its neighbors, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behavior.”

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also denounced Tuesday’s launch, saying it represented a “most serious and grave” threat.

The unidentified missile flew over Erimomisaki, on the northern island of Hokkaido, and broke into three pieces before falling into the Pacific Ocean, about 1,180 kilometers (733 miles) off the Japanese coast.

The missile was in flight for about 15 minutes, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at an emergency press conference. “There is no immediate report of the fallen objects and no damage to the ships and aircraft,” he added.

Tuesday’s launch is the first time North Korea has successfully fired a ballistic missile over Japan. Various stages of launch vehicles have overflown Japan during Pyongang’s attempts to launch satellites into space in 1998, 2009, 2012 and 2016.

This is the fourth missile North Korea has fired in four days — Pyongyang tested three short-range ballistic missiles, one of which failed, from Kangwon province that landed in water off the Korean Peninsula.

This time, the missile was launched near the capital of Pyongyang, a move CNN’s Will Ripley, who is reporting from Pyongyang, say is rare and “highly provocative.”

The test shows the mobility of North Korea’s arsenal, and may have been intended to deliver a message that pre-emptive US strikes on missile launch facilities could land uncomfortably close to civilians, Ripley said.

North Korea has launched missiles from various positions across the country in recent months, and it possesses trucks that have been converted into transporter-erector-launchers (TELs) — vehicles for quickly deploying and launching missiles — including some from China.

It also is developing missiles that use solid fuel, which are much quicker to deploy than their liquid-fueled counterparts.

Ripley said that as of about 6 p.m. Pyongyang time, the news had not been broadcast to people inside North Korea.

Abe speaks to Trump

Soon after the launch, Abe called it a “unprecedented serious and grave threat to Japan” that “significantly undermines the peace and security of the region.”

The Japanese leader said he spoke with US President Donald Trump for 40 minutes.

“Japan and the US completely agreed that an emergency meeting at the UN Security Council should be held immediately and increase the pressure towards North Korea.”

Trump reiterated that the United States “stands with Japan 100%,” Abe said.

While the missile flew over Japanese territory, one analyst said it wasn’t necessarily intended as a threat to Japan.

“If they’re going to launch to a distance they’ve got to go over somebody. It looks to me like a risk reduction measure, they want to reduce the populated areas they fly over just in case anything goes wrong,” said Joshua Pollack, a senior research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.

South Korea response

South Korea responded by conducting a bombing drill at 9:30 a.m. local time to test its “capability to destroy the North Korean leadership” in cases of emergency, an official with the country’s Defense Ministry told CNN.

Yoon Young-chan, the head of South Korea’s Presidential Public Affairs Office, told reporters that four F-15K fighter jets dropped eight one-ton MK-84 bombs at a shooting range.

The operation was meant “to showcase a strong punishment capability against the North,” he said.

“We are fully ready to counter any threat from North Korea and will make unwavering efforts to protect the lives of our people and the security of our nation,” South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck said.

Alerts in Hokkaido

Analysts believe Tuesday’s launch shows a new level of confidence from the North Koreans.

“It is a big deal that they overflew Japan, which they have carefully avoided doing for a number of years, even though it forced them to test missiles on highly lofted trajectories, and forced them to launch their satellites to the south, which is less efficient than launching to the east (due to the Earth’s rotational motion),” said David Wright, co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Pyongyang’s missile tests are banned under United Nations Security Council resolutions, but that hasn’t stopped North Korean leader Kim Jong Un from attempting to rapidly develop his country’s nuclear and missile programs.

This time, the missile was launched near the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, which is rare.

CNN’s Will Ripley, who is on the ground in Pyongyang, said the news had not been broadcast to people inside North Korea as of 9:45 a.m. local time.

Minutes after the missile was launched, residents in northern Japan received a text message urging them to seek shelter in a strong structure or a basement.

“We were awoken by sirens and messages from the government telling us to take cover,” one local resident told CNN.

China, North Korea’s only real ally and economic patron, called for restraint from relevant parties.

“China urges the relevant parties not to take actions that would provoke one another and escalate tensions in the region,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

Peaceful pressure

Japan was quick to condemn the launch as an unprecedented provocation.

“We will make a firm response,” said Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Taro Kono. “The United States made clear both in written and spoken statements that President Trump had instructed to put all options on the table regarding North Korea, and I highly value that stance.”

US President Donald Trump’s administration has been pursuing what it calls a strategy of “peaceful pressure” to rein in North Korea’s weapons programs.

The goal is to put enough diplomatic and economic pressure on Pyongyang in order to push them to the negotiating table.

Last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Trump hinted that the strategy appeared to be working.

Trump mused at a rally in Phoenix that Kim might now respect the United States. At a State Department briefing Wednesday in Washington, Tillerson said the brief respite in the missile launches may have been an example of North Korea demonstrating restraint.

“If Trump and Tillerson believed North Korea backed down, they were sorely mistaken,” said Adam Mount, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Center for American Progress.

“They’re not going to volunteer to do this (give up their weapons). Ever,” he said. “It’s a matter of bargaining. And North Korea has signaled over and over again that the price is really high.”

Analysts say North Korea believes developing a nuclear weapon that can fit atop a missile powerful enough to reach the United States is the only way Pyongyang can deter any US-led efforts at regime change.

“They cross line after line in an effort to say this is the new reality and you should accept it and go easy on us,” Mount said. “I think that’s a pretty unambiguous signal that they’re no longer going to be restrained by the United States.”

‘Very dangerous’

The launch was likely a signal to Japan, analysts say, as it comes the day after the Northern Viper military drills ended between the United States and Japan on Hokkaido — part of a North Korea strategy to drive a wedge between the US and its two main allies in the region — Japan and South Korea.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga told reporters this launch “could endanger peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region. It is also very dangerous and problematic in terms of the traffic safety of planes and ships.”

The United States is currently participating in its annual 10-day Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercises with South Korea, which began on August 21.

Those drills are more logistical and defensive in nature — though Pyongyang sees them as provocative — whereas the Northern Viper drills could be considered more operational, Mount said.

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry condemned the North Korean launch as “yet another provocation despite grave messages of warning,” in a statement Tuesday.

“The North Korean regime needs to realize that denuclearization is the only true path to securing its security and economic development and needs to come to the path for nuclearization dialogue instead of conducting its reckless provocation,” the statement said.

Harvey Maintains Strength, Will Make Landfall Again

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Harvey’s havoc continued to pour down, three days after the storm rammed Texas as a Category 4 hurricane, unleashing a torrent of rain, turning streets into rivers, and leaving thousands of residents stranded in flooded homes.

Harvey, a tropical storm by Tuesday morning with its eye hovering over the Gulf of Mexico, could still dump up to 15 inches of rain on portions of southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana, including the saturated Houston area, where thousands have been rescued and many more still wait for help.

Headed east, the storm was due to dump more heavy rain across both states, worsening the “catastrophic and life-threatening” flooding situation, before making landfall again Wednesday morning, near the Texas-Louisiana border, according to CNN Weather Center.

Louisiana braces for Harvey’s rain

Four people have died as a result of the catastrophic storm, and thousands of Texans are believed to have sat in darkness overnight Monday amid rising floodwaters.

“The Coast Guard is continuing to receive upwards of 1,000 calls per hour,” US Coast Guard Lt. Mike Hart said on Monday. The Coast Guard rescued more than 3,000 people on Monday, he said.

Keep track of Harvey

People have turned to the walkie-talkie app Zello to report their dire situations: an elderly couple trapped on a roof; a family caught in the maelstrom with three children, including one in the throes of a seizure and another with autism.

Search-and-rescue efforts unfolded at an inundated overpass in northeast Houston as residents walked through murky floodwater amid the rain. Many tried to help each other, and some guided seniors through the submerged street.

Stuck in the floods? Here’s what to do

And the water won’t stop rising anytime soon. Swollen rivers in east Texas aren’t expected to crest until later this week, and federal officials are already predicting the deadly storm will drive 30,000 people into shelters and spur 450,000 people to seek some sort of disaster assistance.

Latest developments

— President Donald Trump will head to Texas Tuesday to visit parts of the state battered by Hurricane Harvey over the weekend and to survey relief efforts.

“To the people of Texas and Louisiana, we are 100% with you,” Trump said Monday, adding that he believes Congress will act quickly to provide disaster-relief funding.

— Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center had 9,021 evacuees on Monday night, said Bob Mayer, Red Cross disaster program manager. Those who couldn’t get a cot were given pillows and blankets to sleep on the floor, Red Cross spokeswoman Betsy Robertson said. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said city officials are looking for more shelter space.

— Houston officials will not ask for immigration status or papers from anyone at any shelter, according to tweets in English and Spanish from the city’s verified account.

— Dallas is preparing to open a mega-shelter at its downtown convention center as the city has been asked to get ready for what could be tens of thousands of evacuees from Harvey. Authorities aim to open the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center by Tuesday morning.

— Houston so far has seen few cases of looting. Turner issued this stern warning: “No looting allowed. Don’t take advantage, don’t prey on people who are distressed and have to leave their homes because they have no choice.”

— The local district attorney’s office will “seek prison or jail time in each and every forthcoming case where the defendant stands charged with theft (looting), burglary, robbery, or any similar crime committed during Hurricane Harvey,” Montgomery County, Texas District Attorney Brett Ligon warned.

‘None of us (is) giving up’

Thousands of calls for help have gone out across Houston.

Since midnight Sunday, more than 2,300 calls have poured in to the Houston Fire Department, including 400 calls for rescue Monday afternoon, Houston officials said Monday.

Houston police had rescued 1,000 people since Monday morning, bringing the total number rescued to more than 3,000 since the storm flooded the city, Turner told reporters Monday night.

State, local and military rescue units have plucked thousands of stranded residents from the water and deluged homes.

“None of us (is) going to give up,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said.

The Pentagon is identifying resources, including trucks, aircraft and troops, that can be dispatched for hurricane relief if the request comes, defense officials said. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott activated the entire Texas National Guard, roughly 12,000 Guardsmen, he said Monday.

In Harris County, authorities asked stranded people to hang sheets or towels from their homes so rescuers could spot them more easily.

The scope of how many people are trapped in flooded homes remains unclear.

Rep. Al Gree told CNN that he believes 10,000 people are still trapped in flooded homes in just one section of Houston he toured Monday. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee said she believes the total number of trapped across Houston could be “tens of thousands.”

Volunteers come to help

Citizens with boats were assisting authorities in search-and-rescue efforts. At a Monday news conference, FEMA Administrator Brock Long encouraged more citizens to volunteer, saying recovery efforts would require community involvement. The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster website can direct people to religious and nongovernmental agencies that are helping people in at least 30 counties, he said.

But as water levels have risen, so has the desperation.

People started to panic, rushing rescue boats and even shooting at them if they didn’t stop, one volunteer rescuer said.

Clyde Cain, of the Cajun Navy, a Louisiana-based rescue force that gained fame during Hurricane Katrina, said in one instance, a boat broke down, and while the crew sought shelter in a delivery truck, people tried to steal the inoperable boat.

Nursing home residents rescued

“They’re making it difficult for us to rescue them,” he said. “You have people rushing the boat. Everyone wants to get in at the same time. They’re panicking. Water is rising.”

Jim McIngvale, who owns furniture stores in Houston and Richmond, also pitched in. He opened his doors to evacuees Sunday and gave 600 people a place to sleep.

“We have tons of mattresses in our warehouse, and we can provide them with a blanket,” he told CNN. “We have a restaurant inside the stores, and we are feeding them for free.”

Iowa Volunteers Ready to Rescue Animals From Texas Floods

TEXAS  --  Some Iowans are traveling to Texas to help with hurricane relief efforts, including volunteers from AHeinz57 Pet Rescue & Transport.

The volunteers will drive to Texas on Tuesday to bring van loads of homeless dogs back to Iowa. The local rescue is working with shelters hit by Harvey to free up space for family pets who were flooded from their homes. Organizers have room to bring back around 70 dogs.

"We don't want to take people's pets that are in shelters right now because they need to be reunited with their pets when everything dries up, so we're working really hard with the rural shelters around the Houston area," said Amy Heinz.

Volunteers are scrambling to get supplies to take with them to Texas. If you want to make a donation, items can be dropped off at PetSakes in Des Moines and at Bone-A-Patreat in West Des Moines.