(Homeland Security) – Statement by Secretary Jeh C. Johnson on Chattanooga

Release Date: July 16, 2015
For Immediate Release
DHS Press Office
Contact: 202-282-8010

The Department of Homeland Security is closely monitoring the tragic shooting in Chattanooga, and we are supporting the FBI-led investigation. We caution that, at this time, there are many unconfirmed and possibly false reports about events. Department officials are actively supporting the local response to this incident. The Department is also enhancing the security posture at certain federal facilities, out of an abundance of caution. We express our condolences to the families of those members of the United States Marine Corps who were killed.

(Israel News, Ynetnews) – ISIS claims to destroy Egyptian warship with rocket

Smoke on the Water Sequence depicting the rocket approaching and hitting the ship  Moment the ship was struck  Smoke billows from the Egyptian ship (Photos: AFP) 

Sequence depicting the rocket approaching and hitting the ship


Photo shows moments of attack, which terror group claims killed troops – which Egypt denies. Roi Kais Published:  07.16.15, 19:05 / Israel News

The Islamic State terror group on Thursday claimed responsibility for firing an apparently guided rocket at an Egyptian warship in the Mediterranean Sea, north of Rafah.  The group claimed that the ship was destroyed and troops killed, but there was no official confirmation. Sequence depicting the rocket approaching and hitting the ship  Photos showing the incident could be found on social media sites after the attack. Palestinian sources said earlier Thursday that an Egyptian ship was on fire after an explosion whose cause was unclear.  An Egyptian military spokesperson issued a statement reporting exchanges of fire between naval forces and terrorists. According to an Egyptian military statement, navy vessels guarding Egypt’s shores noticed suspicious terrorist activity along the coast, chased after them, and exchanged fire. The military said this caused the ship to catch fire, but added that no one had been killed. 

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(ourmidland.com) – Mud, rain, debris, hamper search for Kentucky flood victims

FLAT GAP, Ky. (AP) — As the Johnson family dug through the wreckage where their trailers once stood, they found a mud-soaked box of family photos, cherished heirlooms and a tiny porcelain statue of Jesus, but not what they were looking for.

Scott Johnson, 34, was swept away two days ago, trying to save his grandmother as a flash flood Monday ravaged this rural eastern Kentucky community.

He is still missing. Three others are confirmed dead, and the fate of four more remains uncertain. Families reported them missing, but they could be stranded in their homes, without power or phone service.

Rescue teams are slogging through knee-deep mud, door-to-door, across the rugged Appalachian terrain, painting orange “X”s on each structure they search. Desperate families roam the banks of the swollen creek, looking for their lost loved ones.

Kevin Johnson last saw his son Scott wading through rushing floodwater with his 74-year-old grandmother on his back.

Scott Johnson had already guided his father, uncle and sister from the raging flood that inundated their cluster of trailers. He turned back one last time to save his grandmother, called Nana, and a 13-year-old family friend.

“We told him, ‘You can’t make it,'” his father recalled. “He said, ‘I’m going to get her out of that trailer.”

Standing in a cemetery on a hill overlooking the creek that had swallowed his son, Kevin Johnson was so overcome with grief he sometimes struggled to speak. He had watched his son push the boy to safety in the branches of a catalpa tree and hoist his Nana onto his back, only to be swept away.

“Scott wouldn’t turn her loose, that’s why he died,” said Veronica Marcum, Scott Johnson’s sister.

The grandmother, Willa Mae Pennington, was found dead Tuesday among debris from the family’s shattered mobile homes, Johnson County Coroner J.R. Frisby confirmed.

Frisby identified the second known casualty as Herman Eddie May Sr., 65. May was driving alone in a sport-utility vehicle when floodwaters from Patterson Creek started to sweep him away. He drowned after he got out and was swallowed by the rising water, Frisby said.

The body of Richard Blair, 22, of the Flat Gap area, was found Wednesday afternoon, on a creek bank in a pile of tree debris and downstream from the rubble of a broken mobile home, the coroner said.

Rescue crews battled swarming mosquitoes, oppressive humidity and mud so thick it sucked off shoes. Utility crews lined the roads, trying to restore power to thousands still without it. A convoy of National Guard vehicles and heavy equipment rolled through the hardest-hit areas.

Randall Mulkey, chief of Allen Volunteer Fire Department in nearby Floyd County, came to help with the search. He said he’s seen homes splintered into rubble, others split in half and cars strewn in places he never could have imagined. Tromping through the mud is exhausting he said, and it’s devastating to see people’s belongings — clothes, toys, photographs — scattered everywhere, some piled 10 feet high.

As the water receded, a crew found a car upside down and partially submerged in the creek. They called for the jaws of life to tear it open and see if anyone had perished inside. But the car’s owner arrived just in time, and told the crew it had floated there, unoccupied, from her home a mile away.

“Thanks for not being in it,” said Flatwoods Police Officer Justin Stevens. “We really didn’t want to see that.”

Seven cadaver dogs are aiding in the search, which stretches more than 8 miles from the town of Flat Gap south to Staffordsville — an area with 500 homes and 1,200 residents about 120 miles east of Lexington, police said at a news conference. Authorities estimate more than 150 homes were destroyed.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear declared a state of emergency, giving local officials immediate access to state resources to assist in recovery efforts. Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen toured the destruction Wednesday and called it “gut wrenching.”

“I think all of us who are here and who have seen this in person recognize this as a truly devastating natural disaster,” Luallen said. “People have lost everything.”

Families returned to the ruins of their homes to try to save what little they could. Church groups and others passed out sandwiches and water, neighbors banded together to clear heavy debris and police said they hoped there still might be some happy endings.

Johnson County Deputy Sheriff Terry Tussey spotted a Chihuahua, alone and trembling, pacing a pile of debris on the other side of a creek.

“She was dancing like she wanted to come across the creek but couldn’t do it,” he recalled. He trudged through the muck to find a safe crossing. Then he coaxed the little dog to him and cradled it back to his car. He drove around the afternoon with the tan dog in his lap, looking for its owner.

A shelter was opened at the Paintsville recreation center, though many displaced residents turned to families and friends. Many who lost everything said they felt lucky to be alive.

Robin Cisco sifted through the remnants of her daughter’s trailer, digging her grandson’s clothes and toys from the mud and rubble. The family barely got away: Her daughter ran from the trailer with her 18-month-old son as the storm hit and water started rising.

“They got out and they’re OK, that’s all we were worried about,” Cisco said. “All this other stuff can be replaced.”

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Associated Press writers Claire Galofaro and Rebecca Reynolds Yonker in Louisville, Kentucky, contributed to this report.
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(TribLIVE) – Man hospitalized in Greensburg after fall from third-story window 

(Trib Live) –  A man was hospitalized Friday night after falling out of a third-story window in Greensburg.Police Capt. Chad Zucco said officers responded to an apartment on Alwine Avenue at 10 p.m. for a reported domestic dispute. James Hanna, 24, was under the influence of “magic mushrooms” and was destroying items in the apartment, his girlfriend told police.Officers went inside but initially couldn’t find Hanna, Zucco said.“They heard somebody running through an upstairs attic,” the captain said.Hanna then ran through a closed third-story attic window and crashed to the ground next to a police car, Zucco said. Hanna was unresponsive and was taken to Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg. Zucco didn’t know whether Hanna remains at the hospital or was transferred to another facility. A condition report could not be obtained.
Source: Man hospitalized in Greensburg after fall from third-story window | TribLIVE

(chron.com) – Obama unveils high-speed Internet help for low-income homes

resident Barack Obama speaks in the Choctaw Nation on economic opportunities for underprivileged communities across the nation, on Wednesday, July 15, 2015, in Durant, Okla.

DURANT, Okla. (AP) — Calling the Internet a 21st century necessity, President Barack Obama on Wednesday unveiled a program to bring faster Internet connections to more low-income households, particularly to help students living in public and assisted housing stay ahead in school.

Under ConnectHome, the public, private and nonprofit sectors have pledged to work together to provide high-speed connections and digital devices to more families at lower cost.

More than 90 percent of households headed by a college graduate have Internet access, Obama said. But fewer than half of low-income households have similar access.

In this day and age, Obama said the “digital divide” puts these individuals at a disadvantage by limiting their educational and economic opportunities because the Internet is increasingly needed to find a job, finish homework or keep in touch with family and friends.

“In this digital age, when you can apply for a job, take a course, pay your bills … with a tap of your phone, the Internet is not a luxury. It’s a necessity,” Obama said in Durant, Oklahoma, on the first day of a two-day visit to the state.

“You cannot connect with today’s economy without having access to the Internet,” he said.

ConnectHome is similar to ConnectEd, a federal program that Obama said is on track to wire 99 percent of K-12 classrooms and libraries with high-speed Internet by the end of 2017.

ConnectHome will begin in 27 cities and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, which is headquartered in Durant. With about 200,000 members spread across much of southeastern Oklahoma, the Choctaw Nation is the nation’s third-largest Native American tribe.

The Choctaw Nation was also among the administration’s first “Promise Zones,” a designation that makes it eligible for tax incentives and grants to help fight poverty.

The only federal money expected to be spent on ConnectHome is a $50,000 Agriculture Department grant to the Choctaw Nation, officials said.

The 27 cities the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development selected for ConnectHome are: Albany, Georgia; Atlanta; Baltimore; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Boston; Camden, New Jersey; Cleveland; Denver; Durham, North Carolina; Fresno, California; Kansas City, Missouri; Little Rock, Arkansas; Los Angeles; Macon, Georgia; Memphis, Tennessee; Meriden, Connecticut; Nashville, Tennessee; New Orleans; New York; Newark, New Jersey; Philadelphia; Rockford, Illinois; San Antonio; Seattle; Springfield, Massachusetts; Tampa, Florida; and the District of Columbia.

Obama was spending the night in Oklahoma and on Thursday continuing a weeklong focus on making the criminal justice system fairer.

He planned to meet Thursday with law enforcement officials and inmates during a historic tour of the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution, a medium-security facility west of Oklahoma City that holds about 1,300 male offenders. “I will be the first sitting president to visit a federal prison,” Obama said in a speech Tuesday to the NAACP meeting in Philadelphia.

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Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap

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(Pittsburgh City Paper) – Pittsburgh City Guide 2015

Photo by Heather Mull Photo Assistants: Mark Perrott and Will Owen / Models: Lea DiMarchi and Ebony Cunningham / Location: Row House Cinema, Lawrenceville
Photo by Heather Mull
Photo Assistants: Mark Perrott and Will Owen / Models: Lea DiMarchi and Ebony Cunningham / Location: Row House Cinema, Lawrenceville

City Guide 2015 Bringing you lots of hot spots and cool events to keep you thrilled, no matter the season
By Charlie Deitch

There’s an old joke that goes, “If you don’t like the weather in Pittsburgh, wait five minutes and it’ll change.” Spend five minutes in our fair city and you’ll quickly realize that it’s not a joke at all.As we prepared this guide in June, high temperatures for one weekend ranged from 85 on Friday to 58 on Sunday. We’ve seen it snow in late May and we’ve seen it reach 90 degrees on Christmas. Our weather is crazy, there’s no doubt about it. You have to be prepared to leave the house in the morning dressed for winter and adjust for summer on your evening commute. You can see that confusion in the outfits of our City Guide cover models, Ebony Cunningham and Lea DiMarchi.But regardless of the weather, this city is packed with fun things to do, great food to eat and lots of great neighborhoods to explore. And that’s the theme for this issue: Fun for All Seasons.On the following pages, you’ll find a calendar of seasonal activities. These are special local events and activities that are unique to the four seasons, and if you find yourself here on a visit during that time, you owe it to yourself to check them out.The second part of the magazine highlights some of our favorite spots throughout several city neighborhoods. We’ll even start you out with a few can’t-miss locations, a few highlights which are ideal for the short-term visitor. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and we encourage exploring on your own. But this guide will get you started, with suggestions of places and events to keep you busy and optimize your time in Pittsburgh.And if you set out on your adventure and it’s too cold or too rainy … just wait five minutes and you’ll probably be A-OK.
Read More: Pittsburgh City Guide 2015 | Pittsburgh City Paper

(Post Gazette) – When Hurricane Agnes slammed soggy Pittsburgh | Old Pittsburgh photos and stories | The Digs

Damage and death toll were the highest in Pennsylvania, with more than $2 billion in losses and 50 fatalities.

When a storm named Agnes arrived in Pittsburgh in June 1972, she was the first tropical storm of the season and drenched this region with more than eight inches of rain.

Forty three years ago this summer, mountaineers in West Virginia lost their shacks and affluent people in New York’s affluent Westchester County experienced damage to their fancy homes because of the wettest tropical cyclone on record in Pennsylvania’s history.

On June 24, 1972, President Richard Nixon declared five states disaster areas: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Florida, Virginia and New York.

Two weeks before Agnes blew into town, a series of rains swept across New York and Pennsylvania, completely saturating the ground so that it was unable to absorb additional water.

In Pennsylvania, the storm left 220,000 people homeless. Damage and death toll were the highest in Pennsylvania, with more than $2 billion in losses and 50 fatalities.

Harrisburg was inundated; 8,500 people there had to leave their homes.

In Wilkes-Barre, 45,000 people went to emergency shelters; the community’s water supply was contaminated and it lost phone service due to the raging Susquehanna River.

The Ohio River swamped the city of Wheeling, W.Va.

But for the construction of 10 flood control dams that ring Pittsburgh, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimated, the waters that inundated the Golden Triangle would have been two feet higher than that of the famous March 1936 flood on St. Patrick’s Day.

Hurricane Agnes inflicted $45 million in damage on Pittsburgh. If the flood control dams had not been built, the Corps of Engineers, estimated, damage would have soared past the $1 billion mark. Erie was the only Pennsylvania county to be spared.

Pennsylvania’s climate, location and terrain all played a role. A wet weather state subject to sudden and violent storms, Pennsylvania typically receives 40 thunderstorm days each year. The state also lies in a hurricane pathway and its steep valleys channel runoff from storms.

Taking into account damage in all five states, Hurricane Agnes killed 122 people, destroyed 5,000 homes and damaged 100,000 more, and left 400,000 people homeless, according to Gen. Richard H. Groves, a corps engineer for the North Atlantic Division who testified before Congress.

Half of Pennsylvania’s National Guard was mobilized to do relief work and used helicopters and boats to rescue people.

Gov. Milton Shapp knew all about the flood because the Georgian mansion he occupied, which is set on land overlooking the Susquehanna River, had two feet of water in it, covering the home’s first floor.

*A note on the images: The Pittsburgh Press librarians were known to fold oversized prints in half to fit them into standard-sized archival envelopes. Thus, many of the paper’s beautiful large photo prints are permanently creased, including many from Hurricane Agnes.

Read More: When Hurricane Agnes slammed soggy Pittsburgh | Old Pittsburgh photos and stories | The Digs