Saturday, May 18, 2013

Tornadoes. Legal Limit. Varied Health Care Costs. TX Sues BP. Betty White Surprises Morgan Freeman. Team Lotus. Mount St. Helens.


For “Summary Saturday”, News, Some New, Some Old:

Victims' names released in North Texas tornadoes

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Officials say 16 tornadoes touched down

GRANBURY, Texas - “Hood County officials were continuing search and rescue efforts as seven people were still missing Thursday afternoon.

Hood County Sheriff's Office officials released the names of six victims killed in tornadoes that touched down in North Texas Wednesday.  Officials said the deceased are: Robert H. Whitehead, approximately 60 years old;  Glenda Whitehead, age unknown; Jose Tovar Alvarez, 34; Leo Stefanski, 83; Tommy Martin, 61, and Marjari Davis, approximately 82 years old.

National Weather Service officials also increased the count of the number of tornadoes that touched down. So far, 16 tornadoes have been confirmed, the NWS said. The first tornado occurred in Montague Country around 5:38 CDT Wednesday with the last reported at 12:10 a.m. Thursday in Ennis, according to officials.

Meteorologists with the National Weather Service in Dallas/Fort Worth said at least two tornadoes hit the Granbury area. Granbury is located about 40 miles southwest of Fort Worth.

One of the tornadoes was classified as an EF-4 based on the Fujita tornado damage scale. The tornado's width was ¾ to one-mile wide and it traveled 2-3 miles on the ground.  The National Weather Service said the storm carried wind speeds up to 200 mph. At least 97 homes were damaged. Trailers were tossed and thrown up to 100 yards.

Utility officials said nearly 15,000 homes and businesses lost electricity at some point following Wednesday night’s storms.  United Cooperative Services says more than 100 utility poles were toppled by the severe weather.”  More at:


Before a Tornado

  • “To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information. In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials.
  • Be alert to changing weather conditions. Look for approaching storms.
  • Look for the following danger signs:
    • Dark, often greenish sky
    • Large hail
    • A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
    • Loud roar, similar to a freight train.
    • If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.”

More at:


States Urged to Cut Limit on Alcohol for Drivers


A police officer in San Jose, Calif., administering a breathalyzer test in 2010. The current standard of 0.08 percent blood-alcohol concentration was established a decade ago at the instigation of Congress.

WASHINGTON — “Thousands of people are killed or injured every year by drivers who have not reached the legal standard for being drunk but who have a reduced ability to see, make decisions or operate a vehicle, the National Transportation Safety Board said on Tuesday, and it recommended that the states reduce the allowable blood-alcohol concentration by more than a third, to 0.05 percent from 0.08 percent.

The board is already on record favoring research on built-in alcohol detectors, which could measure blood-alcohol content through a driver’s palms on the steering wheel or some other unobtrusive way. Those could be available as an option on new cars or could be universally required. Either would affect drinkers who have never been caught driving, who make up more than 90 percent of those involved in fatal alcohol-related crashes.”    More at:











Hospital Prices No Longer Secret As New Data Reveals Bewildering System, Staggering Cost Differences

“When a patient arrives at Bayonne Hospital Center in New Jersey requiring treatment for the respiratory ailment known as COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, she faces an official price tag of $99,690.

Less than 30 miles away in the Bronx, N.Y., the Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center charges only $7,044 for the same treatment, according to a massive federal database of national health care costs made public on Wednesday.

Americans have long become accustomed to bewilderment and anxiety when confronting health care bills. The new database underscores why, revealing the perplexing assortment of prices for medical care, with the details of bills seemingly untethered to any graspable principle.

Even within the same metropolitan area, hospitals charge prices that differ by staggering degrees for the same procedures. People without health insurance pay vastly higher costs for care when less expensive options are often available nearby. Virtually everyone who seeks health care winds up paying inflated prices in one form or another as these stark disparities in price sow inefficiencies throughout the market.

While this basic picture has emerged as the consensus reality among health care experts, their evidence has been primarily anecdotal. Hospitals have protected their price lists — documents known as charge masters — as closely guarded secrets.  Their prices are secret no more.” 

More at:


Texas sues BP over 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Seeks damages for worst environmental disaster in U.S. history

BP oil spill, Gulf of Mexico, oil rig, smoke, ships

AUSTIN - “The State of Texas filed a lawsuit against BP America and other defendants for their role in the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon offshore oil spill.

In Friday’s actions, the State seeks natural resource damages, economic damages and civil penalties caused by the oil spill.

The lawsuit comes after years of work with Texas’s sister Gulf states and the federal government, as well as BP, to resolve damages associated with harm caused to the Gulf. State officials expect this case to be consolidated with the case already underway in New Orleans.”  More at:


Betty White Surprises Morgan Freeman at the 39th AFI Life Achievement Award

“In this hilarious clip from the 39th AFI Life Achievement Award show honoring Morgan Freeman, Betty White performs a great song and dance tribute.” Uploaded on Jun 17, 2011

“WOW!!! BETTY WHITE is still going strong. At 89 years old.”


On This Day:

Lotus makes Formula One debut, May 18, 1958:

“In Monaco, France, on this day in 1958, Team Lotus makes its Formula One debut in the Monaco Grand Prix, the opening event of the year's European racing season. Over the next four decades, Team Lotus will go on to become one of the most successful teams in Formula One history.

Team Lotus was the motor sport wing of the Lotus Engineering Company, founded six years earlier by the British engineer and race car driver Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman.

In 1977, the low-slung Lotus Esprit had a starring turn in the James Bond movie "The Spy Who Loved Me"; another Esprit, the Turbo, was featured in the 1981 Bond film "For Your Eyes Only."  It remains one of the most successful Formula One teams of all time, with more than 50 Grand Prix titles.”


Mount St. Helens erupts, May 18, 1980:

“Mount St. Helens in Washington erupts, causing a massive avalanche and killing 57 people on this day in 1980. Ash from the volcanic eruption fell as far away as Minnesota.

Throughout April, scientists watched a bulge on the north side of Mount St. Helens grow larger and larger. Finally, on May 18 at 8:32 a.m., a sudden 5.1-magnitude earthquake and eruption rocked the mountain. The north side of the peak rippled and blasted out ash at 650 miles per hour. A cloud of ash, rocks, gas and glacial ice roared down the side of the mountain at 100 mph. Fourteen miles of the Toutle River were buried up to 150 feet deep in the debris. Magma, at 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit, flowed for miles.  Mount St. Helens went from 9,600 feet high to only 8,300 feet high in a matter of seconds.”



Ray came over early to help me with the Mama cat and kittens that we had put in my little bathroom.  We needed to get them in carriers, so they could go to their new home. 

Oh! My! Oh! My! What a mess.   The mama cat had been up on the 4’ long window sill of the high up window in that bathroom, and had knocked down all the decor vases and glassware. There were blue glass shards everywhere.  How mama and the kittens didn’t get hurt is amazing.  We put the Mama in a carrier, took the kittens out of the bath tub and put them in another carrier.  It took a long time to clean all the glass up.  There had been two very heavy (3lb each) glass steins up on that window sill, and one had landed in the tub with the kittens.  How it didn’t kill one, I don’t know.  It was so heavy that it cracked my vanity when it fell, and the other narrowly missed the toilet.  The steins were the only items that didn’t break.  Ray was going to be home all morning so he could hand over the cats, while Jay and I went shopping.

Misty and I went to get Jay, and for our walk Jay and Maddie, the little Yorkie, joined us.

After a late start, we made a stop in our town, and Jay saw a man riding a bicycle that had been stolen from him.  The Mexican speaking man thought that we wanted to buy the bike, and offered it to us for $200.  But with the lack of communication skills we couldn’t get his name and address.  He went into the grocery store so we followed him in, and we all went to the bank in there, as the tellers are bilingual.   He seemed like he was a very nice old man, and said he was living with his daughter, but didn’t know the address.  He offered to let us follow him to get the address, but we realized that he is probably the victim, as Jay knows who took the bike originally.  Jay said there was no sense in calling the cops and getting him deported away from his family, if he was illegal, so we didn’t follow him, and went on our way. 

At the next town, we unloaded the paper recycling at St Mark’s Thrift Shop, and Jay bought a plate with a dog on it for Maddie, and I bought a tank-top for Shay, as she had asked me to, if I saw any her size.

We went to Lowe’s and they only had the white roofing, not the translucent.   Jay said they had a bunch of it at Home Depot, and I said they must have just got it in, as they only had one 12’ sheet of it when I was there.  When we got there, there was only one sheet, but it was in the same rack as the corrugated, so it looked like there was a full rack of it.  They don’t stock it anymore, so I bought that one sheet for $5, normally $20, but we need at least 20. 

We went back to Lowe’s and bought some of the white, which only comes in 10’ lengths, and the ridges aren’t as deep.  I will be glad when we get some shade over my front porch, as Misty is like me, she is blinded by the bright sun, and has trouble going down the steps. 

SAM_2000 Simba, (right), and Nila, (left) foster feline siblings, are a lot more comfortable here, and Simba started eating.  Not much, but it is a start.  Their Mom had said that they had suddenly started snarling at each other, and I told her that is usually territorial.  When I let them loose in my grooming room, they got along well, as they have two kitty condos here, and don’t have to share.

It was very definitely AC weather.  The air was very oppressive, and I could hardly breathe yesterday.              

1 comment:

Nan Talley said...

oh my gosh...........that Betty White and Morgan Freeman bit!!!! B.W. is such a hoot. Thanks for sharing.