California utilities say wind-driven outages still possible
Tuesday, October 16
LOS ANGELES (AP) — California utilities were restoring electricity after intentionally cutting it to tens of thousands of people because of extreme fire danger but high winds projected to sweep the area into Tuesday morning could see more outages.
Winds strong enough to topple trees and down power lines killed one woman Monday and brought a renewed threat of fire to parched California scant months after wildfires devastated the north.
In an unprecedented move, Pacific Gas & Electric company began cutting power Sunday night in Northern California. About 60,000 customers were affected. The utility expected to have about 70 percent of them back in service before dawn Tuesday.
However, the National Weather Service issued an advisory that winds gusting up to 50 mph (81 kph) at times would continue over foothill and mountain areas east and north of Sacramento, including the Sierras, Shasta County and other rural areas.
Pacific Gas & Electric previously announced its plan to shut off power preemptively after authorities blamed its power lines for sparking some of California’s most destructive wildfires.
The utility expects to pay billions of dollars in wildfire damages and has sought ways to limit its liability through the courts and Legislature.
In the south, San Diego Gas & Electric turned off the juice Monday morning to more than 300 customers in foothill areas near Cleveland National Forest, where multiple blazes have scorched large swaths of land in recent years. Electricity was restored by evening after crews had checked out the lines.
“We have contract firefighters with them at the same time. If they determine that the lines are clear, then we turn the power back on,” spokeswoman Colleen Windsor said.
“There’s a possibility” of more safety shutdowns depending on the wind, she added.
The weather service predicted gusty winds continuing into Tuesday from Santa Barbara southward. Gusts of up to 45 mph in valleys, canyons and foothills were expected from the fall Santa Anas, which are hot, sustained winds that blow out of the state’s desert-like region in the east to the ocean.
Southern California Edison hadn’t intentionally cut power for safety reasons but spokeswoman Susan Cox said more than 27,000 customers remained without power late Monday night.
The utility warned some parts of its vast territory that there would still be a chance of a safety shutdown if necessary.
Only one death was attributed to the winds. Dennet O. Bermas, 34, of Tustin was killed Monday when a 40-foot (12-meter) eucalyptus tree toppled onto her car as she was pulling out of her apartment carport, authorities said.
“I saw the car crushed,” neighbor Danny McCabe told KCAL-TV. “I checked for a pulse in her throat and I couldn’t feel any.”
The mosques that survived Palu’s tsunami and what that means
October 16, 2018
Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Richmond
Jennifer Nourse receives funding from Fulbright and the University of Richmond Faculty Research Committee.
University of Richmond provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.
In the devastation that followed the earthquake and resulting tsunami in the Indonesian city of Palu in Central Sulawesi, many Muslim religious sites were destroyed.
Two mosques, however, survived, with little to no damage to their structure.
In a province where 85 percent of the 3 million residents are Muslims, the survival of these particular mosques and not others has started a discussion about the very nature of Islam.
Mosques of Palu
I came to know Palu well while doing fieldwork in Central Sulawesi in 1984 as part of my research on “traditional rituals.” Palu is the administrative and cultural hub for the whole Sulawesi province.
Of the 24 mosques, 20 were severely damaged in the tsunami. The worst hit was the Baiturrahman Mosque, where 300 people were killed during evening prayers.
However, the Alkhairaat Mosque, and the Arkham Babu Rahman Mosque, known locally as the Floating Mosque survived. The Floating Mosque dominated the Palu Beach with its dramatic walkway from the shore to mosque. After the tsunami, the mosque’s access from the shore has been cut off and it is now literally floating in Palu Bay.
Though partially submerged, its structure remains intact. Palu residents, commenting on Facebook in the first few days after the tsunami, noted how “it remained miraculously untouched.”
At a time when people are trying to make sense of the death and destruction, the survival of Alkhairaat and Arkham Babu Rahman is seen to be a sign of saintly power and the mercy of Allah. Thousands have turned up to pray at Alkhairaat Mosque and walk reverently past the mosque floating in water.
The mosques that survived
The history of the Floating Mosque is dedicated to the 17th-century founder of Islam in Palu, Datuk Karama. Karama came from the western island of Sumatra and preached Islam to the people of Palu.
The Alkhairaat mosque was erected by a Yemeni merchant Sayyid Idrus Al-Jufri in 1930. Al-Jufri also founded religious schools after discovering upon his arrival that many people did not have basic education. The first school eventually became the Alkhairaat University.
The tombs of Al-Jufri and Datuk Karama are located near their mosques, where people come to seek spiritual guidance. The street where Alkhairaat Mosque is located as well as the airport in Palu have been named after Al-Jufri.
What it means to Palu survivors
In private comments on Facebook’s instant messenger, people have asserted that the Alkhairaat Mosque and the Floating Mosque survived because of the mystical power of the saints who “guard” these mosques.
These comments have revealed tensions between what people refer to as “old Islam” and “reformist Islam.” In Palu, reformist Islam includes beliefs of Salafis and Wahhabis, who want to go back to a purer form of Islam. They see the belief in saints as a “recent” addition to the original Islam that was revealed to Prophet Muhammad in the 7th century A.D.
In fact, during the early 2000s, some of the more radical Wahabi and Salafist sects used extreme, violent methods to convince Central Sulawesians to change their beliefs in the mystical power of saints or “old Islam.”
The educational institutions led by the Alkhairaat Foundation have played a considerable role in fostering the old Islamic beliefs. The foundation runs 43 boarding schools, and 1,700 religious schools across Eastern Indonesia and a large university in Palu. All emphasize tolerance. However, Salafi and Wahabi schools, promoted by Saudi funding in the 1990s, argue that the tolerance taught by Alkhairaat was the “wrong kind of Islam.”“
In 2000, Alkhairaat students at a school in Poso, a port town near the southern coast of Central Sulawesi were targeted by terrorists. The region’s 14 percent minority Christians have also been under attack.
Since 2010 there has been no violence, but even as recently as 2016, the Indonesian government has been searching for terrorist cells in the mountain jungles of Central Sulawesi.
Despite the reformists’ activity, Alkhairaat’s influence in Palu remains strong. As a major philanthropic organization in Palu and beyond, with many graduates of Alkhairaat University serving in government and private sectors, Alkhairaat has helped counter hate rhetoric and actions.
Some of the comments on Facebook reveal survivors’ loyalty to Alkhairaat values. Post-tsunami, however, Alkhairaat’s resources are likely strained, as graduates say in private conversations on Facebook with me.
The question is will this tragedy bring outside funds that once again disturb the internal harmony among Muslims? If so, will Palu sustain its spirit of tolerance?
We asked five experts: should we use food as a reward for kids?
October 15, 2018
Chief of Staff, The Conversation
David J Hawes
Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Sydney
Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology, Deakin University
Executive Manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition; Senior Fellow, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne
Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Freelance Science Writer, University of South Australia
President, Paediatrics & Child Health Division, The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) & Associate Professor, Griffith University
Finding means of cajoling the kids into behaving in certain ways or doing things they don’t want to do can be challenging. And most parents at some point would have offered up sweets as a reward for finishing veggies or cleaning up a mess.
But this raises some questions about the relationship we could be encouraging between our children and food. Do we want kids to see food as fuel for the body rather than a treat to be sought after? And as junk foods are more often than not the rewards on offer, are we encouraging a taste for the wrong types of foods?
It also raises questions about parenting more generally. Should we be trying to teach our kids to do the right thing for the sake of it, and not in the hope of being rewarded?
We asked five experts from various fields if we should use food to reward kids.
Five out of five experts said no
If you have a “yes or no” health question you’d like posed to Five Experts, email your suggestion to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclosures: David receives funding from the NHMRC and Movember. Jade Sheen receives funding from Commonwealth agencies including the Office of Learning and Teaching and the Department of Health.
COLUMBUS ZOO AND AQUARIUM MANATEES, AGUA AND GOOBER, RETURN TO FLORIDA
Powell, OH – Manatees, Agua and Goober, began their journey back to Florida late Monday night upon completion of their rehabilitation at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium after being rescued as orphans off the coast of Florida.
A member of the Zoo’s animal care team, along with one of the Zoo’s staff veterinarians, traveled with Agua and Goober, and confirmed that they arrived safely at SeaWorld Orlando. There, both manatees will complete their final preparations to be returned to the areas in Florida from which they were initially rescued.
Female manatee, Agua, arrived at the Columbus Zoo on September 29, 2017 when she was 18 months old. Agua and her mother were brought to Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo on June 24, 2016 after Agua’s mother was struck by a boat near Clearwater, Fla. Unfortunately, Agua’s mother succumbed to her serious injuries on August 12, 2016. After Agua’s condition was stabilized and she received additional care from the team at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo for over a year, Agua moved to Central Ohio to continue her rehabilitation journey and eventual return to Florida waters.
Male manatee, Goober, arrived at the Columbus Zoo from SeaWorld Orlando during the early morning hours of October 18, 2017. Goober was rescued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) from Desoto Canal in Indian Harbour Beach and was found in poor body condition. He was so thin when he was found that the rescue team thought his shape resembled a peanut. They affectionately named him Goober, after a Southern nickname for “peanut.”
In addition to Agua and Goober, twin manatees, Millennium and Falcon, returned to Florida earlier this fall. They are completing final preparations at the Miami Seaquarium before they soon return to the area in the Florida Keys from where they were found.
With Agua, Goober, Millennium, and Falcon now in Florida, the Columbus Zoo is currently caring for three manatees: Heavy Falcon, Carmen, and long-term resident, Stubby. Due to the extensive injuries she received from a boat strike, Stubby is a conditionally non-releasable animal. Her condition is evaluated every five years to determine if she is ready or not to return to Florida, but it is unlikely that she will move out of this category. Instead, she has often assumed the role of a surrogate mother looking after the other manatees and is the first to greet newcomers during their introduction to the Zoo’s Manatee Coast habitat.
“Each manatee who comes under our care is extremely special to us and while we miss them when they return to Florida, we also realize just how important each manatee is to the overall manatee population. We are very proud to participate in the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership, through which we are able to make a positive difference in the lives of these amazing individual manatees while also protecting their species’ future,” said Becky Ellsworth, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s Shores region curator.
As part of the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP), the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a second stage rehabilitation facility that provides a temporary home for manatees until they are ready for release back to the wild.
The MRP is a cooperative group of non-profit, private, state, and federal entities who work together to monitor the health and survival of rehabilitated and released manatees. Information about manatees currently being tracked is available at www.manateerescue.org. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium was the first program partner outside of the state of Florida and is one of only two facilities outside of Florida to care for manatees.
The threatened Florida manatee is at risk from both natural and man-made causes of injury and mortality, including entanglement in or ingestion of fishing gear, crushing by flood gates or locks, and exposure to cold stress, disease, boat strikes, and red tide.
In August 2018, Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency due to impacts of red tide—a toxic algae bloom—in several counties. Though red tide events have occurred historically in Florida for centuries, in more recent years these events have grown significantly in scale and duration, suspected by researchers to be exacerbated by human activities. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission found that this year, red tide is affecting approximately 145 miles of Florida’s coastline, negatively impacting the state’s tourism industry and resulting in widespread fatalities of manatees, dolphins, fish, sea turtles, and other marine species. The governor’s action resulted in some additional funding to support MRP’s work, and the MRP continues to monitor the red tide event closely while remaining in frequent communication with State of Florida biologists and officials. As part of this collaboration, each manatee release is coordinated carefully to help the manatees avoid areas impacted by red tide. Additionally, the MRP employees a full-time biologist who travels throughout the state to check on the tracked manatees previously released as part of the MRP program to ensure they are not in need of assistance.
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium also supports field conservation projects for three of four living species of manatees through its Conservation Fund. Providing grants to researchers on three continents (North America, South America and Africa), the Zoo contributes to rescue and rehabilitation in Florida, environmental education focused on the Amazonian manatee in Colombia, and critical population surveys for the least known species: the West African manatee.
For the latest news about the manatees, follow the Columbus Zoo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more information about the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, please visit ColumbusZoo.org.
About the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Home to more than 10,000 animals representing over 600 species from around the globe, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium leads and inspires by connecting people and wildlife. The Zoo complex is a recreational and education destination that includes the 22-acre Zoombezi Bay water park and 18-hole Safari Golf Course. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium also manages The Wilds, a 10,000-acre conservation center and safari park located in southeastern Ohio. The Zoo is a regional attraction with global impact; annually contributing more than $4 million of privately raised funds to support conservation projects worldwide. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Columbus Zoo has earned Charity Navigator’s prestigious 4-star rating.
Public Invited to Attend Tour of 2018 Ohio Tree Farm of the Year in Monroe County
Tour offered at tree farm on Saturday, Oct. 20
COLUMBUS, OH – The public is invited to attend the annual Ohio Tree Farm of the Year Tour. The tour is hosted by the 2018 Ohio Tree Farm of the Year recipients, John and Bess Lusk, at their Whispering Ridge Tree Farm, located in Monroe County in eastern Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
The public field day is planned for this coming Saturday, Oct. 20, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Whispering Ridge Tree Farm to highlight conservation practices with demonstrations by forestry and wildlife experts. Guided walking tours will be provided via trail systems that highlight unique areas of the woodland, including examples of completed timber stand improvement projects and a small-scale maple syrup operation.
The field day will be held rain or shine so people are encouraged to dress for the weather and for hiking in the woods. Pre-registration is appreciated; people can email email@example.com with the number of participants attending. Parking will be available at the Swiss Hills Career Center, with buses shuttling participants to the tree farm. The parking address for the Swiss Hills Career Center is: 46601 State Route 78, Woodsfield 43793; GPS coordinates: 39°45’08.9”N 80°58’41.8”W.
The Lusks have actively managed their 135-acre woodland in rugged Woodsfield for the past 23 years. The property features diverse plant communities and scenic rock outcroppings overlooking steep ravines. John and Bess have coordinated closely with the ODNR Division of Forestry’s service foresters throughout the years to implement good stewardship of the land. They have also worked to ensure future generations will benefit from sound forest management.
The Ohio Tree Farm of the Year is selected by the Ohio Tree Farm Committee from submitted nominations. The Ohio Tree Farm Program was organized in 1946, bringing foresters and landowners together to apply the American Tree Farm System standards of sustainable forest management. The system includes 1,700 woodland owners across the state who are committed to caring for their land under a comprehensive plan developed by a professional forester. Landowners interested in the American Tree Farm System may visit ohiotreefarm.org.
The ODNR Division of Forestry works to promote the wise use and sustainable management of Ohio’s public and private woodlands. To learn more about Ohio’s woodlands, visit forestry.ohiodnr.gov. Follow us on Instagram at @odnrforestry (instagram.com/odnrforestry).
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.
Could rebuilding ruin ‘mom-and-pop’ Florida beach town?
By RUSS BYNUM
Tuesday, October 16
MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Hurricane Michael swamped Dena Frost’s mobile home and obliterated the shop where she sold pottery beside the main highway running through Mexico Beach. Most of her neighbors saw similar destruction.
The monstrous storm wrecked the mayor’s hardware store and the only grocery in this Gulf Coast town of about 1,000 people. It splintered beachfront condos and smashed the inn that has welcomed tourists for four decades. It reduced seafood restaurants to rubble and literally broke the bank.
As Frost, 62, searched on Sunday among the large clay pots lying scattered among her shop’s ruins for undamaged inventory she might still sell, how soon — or even if — she might be able to reopen her business of 12 years was a question too painful to bear.
“It is so devastating right now that you can’t think about,” Frost said. “Mexico Beach was the loveliest place on Earth. And now it’s gone.”
As they face rebuilding a town that Michael practically wiped off the map, Frost and others worry about what Mexico Beach might become.
For decades, the town has persisted as a stubbornly middlebrow enclave on what residents proudly refer to as Florida’s “Forgotten Coast.” Businesses are locally owned. The closest thing to a national franchise is Mayor Al Cathey’s Ace Hardware store. While some locals owned posh homes that overlooked the beach on stilts, many lived in mobile homes.
The spring-break influx of college students that fuels neighboring Panama City Beach’s economy bypasses Mexico Beach. High-rise condos and resort hotels have been kept at bay by local ordinances that restrict building heights to 48 feet (14 meters).
“We’re one of the most unique coastal communities left,” said Cathey, a Mexico Beach native. “We’re not commercialized. We’re mom-and-pop businesses. There’s no corporate America here. There’s no Walmart. There’s no Pizza Hut.”
But the mayor, like many of his constituents, is concerned that could change. Many property owners in Mexico Beach are older retirees who may not want to rebuild. They and other owners might opt to sell rather than start over, Cathey said. And the new owners will probably want to build bigger.
“Families passing beach cottages along over three or four generations, that’s over,” Cathey said. “I think the pressure will come to want us to be something that we aren’t.”
Bill Shockey, 86, said he plans to sell his Mexico Beach home of more than 40 years after the hurricane battered it with storm surge and peeled off much of the roof.
Earl Boyett of Bainbridge, Georgia, has owned a condo for vacations and weekend getaways in Mexico Beach for 16 years. It’s still standing, but with the side of the building facing the beach largely torn off.
The 60-year-old contractor isn’t looking forward to rebuilding, and he is not sure what the four other owners who shared the building will want to do.
“Lots are going to be for sale now, point-blank,” Boyett said. “I would sell, probably, before I build.”
After falling in love with the small beach town during a decade of vacations, Hilary Davidson and her husband built a home two years ago and moved in permanently. Her stepson built the house to withstand a big storm, and it held up admirably during the hurricane. The only water that got in, she said, came up from the shower drain.
She describes Mexico Beach as a place where her daughter can ride a bike without worrying about speeding traffic. When she returned home after the storm, Davidson slept with the windows and doors open.
“We don’t want our community to change,” she said. “I’m afraid a lot of the people who have been devastated are going to give up. There are a lot of older people who aren’t going to have the resources.”
Many residents who also worked in Mexico Beach no longer have jobs. Tom Wood and his wife employed about a dozen people at the Driftwood Inn, which they opened more than 40 years ago.
The hurricane’s storm surge nearly demolished the side of the 24-room inn facing the beach. Three of the four rental homes Wood had across the highway got smashed. Wood said he will keep workers on the payroll as long as he can afford to. But he also has to refund thousands of dollars in deposit money from guests who had booked vacations through next summer.
“The plan right now is I’ll build it back bigger and better than it was,” Wood said. “But it’ll take me two years to rebuild.”