High winds cut power, menace Lake Erie shorelines with ice
Monday, February 25
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — High winds howled across much of the country’s eastern half for a second day Monday, cutting power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses, closing schools, and pushing dramatic mountains of ice onto the shores of Lake Erie.
Wind gusts of hurricane force — 74 mph — or higher were reported around the region, including West Virginia and New York. A motorist in Sandusky, Ohio, captured video of a tractor-trailer flipping over on a bridge.
Toppled trees and power poles, easy targets for strong winds that uprooted them from ground saturated by rain and snowmelt, plunged homes and businesses into darkness, though in most places power was expected back quickly as winds died down by the end of Monday. Hundreds of schools were delayed or canceled in New York alone.
Wind advisories and warnings were in effect through Monday in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast up to northern New England.
Giant chunks of ice spilled over the banks of the Niagara River across from Buffalo on Sunday, creating a jagged, frosty barrier between the river and a scenic road.
Dramatic footage captured by park police in Ontario showed the massive chunks tumbling atop one another. An ice boom in Lake Erie, which is upstream from the river, had broken amid high winds. The winds had raised water levels on the eastern end of the lake in a phenomenon known as a seiche.
Ice mounds 25 to 30 feet high also came ashore farther south, piling up on several lakefront properties in suburban Hamburg.
“We’ve had storms in the past, but nothing like this,” resident Dave Schultz told WGRZ. “We’ve never had the ice pushed up against the walls and right up onto our patios. … It’s in my patio, the neighbor’s patio, and the patio after that.”
A voluntary evacuation for the area was issued Sunday.
Empty tractor-trailers and empty tandem trucks have been banned on some highways. Trucks were also banned on some bridges in New York City, where the winds sent litter swirling in the canyons between skyscrapers and rocked sidewalk food carts precariously.
Divisive whistleblower is Ohio State doc’s loudest accuser
By KANTELE FRANKO
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Of the 150-plus men alleging two decades of sexual misconduct by a former Ohio State team doctor, ex-wrestler Mike DiSabato has been the loudest, often literally raising his voice with claims of being abused, betrayed by his alma mater and stifled by detractors in a web of connected woes.
DiSabato, whose allegations helped spur the ongoing investigation about the late Dr. Richard Strauss, is a pit bull about defending his own claims and character when he considers them under attack. In recent months, that has alienated former teammates and allies, drawn questions about his motives and bumpy business and legal history with the university, and even landed the whistleblower in jail in a tangential harassment case.
Nonetheless, the allegations DiSabato started raising last spring are now the subject of a law firm’s investigation for the university; a U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights investigation; two federal lawsuits with dozens of plaintiffs; and conversations by middle-aged men reevaluating whether Strauss encounters they joked about in college locker rooms or mentally buried for years were actually sexual abuse.
DiSabato, 50, said he came forward after seeing parallels to the sexual abuse scandal that imprisoned former gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar .
“I’m not going to let them put a scarlet X over my varsity O,” DiSabato said, patting the gray logo on the letter jacket he wears.
No one has publicly defended Strauss, who killed himself in 2005. Strauss’ family has said only that they were shocked at the allegations, which span 1979 to 1997 and include athletes from at least 16 sports .
Lead plaintiffs in the lawsuits told The Associated Press they’re grateful DiSabato stepped forward.
“Sometimes his being loud, you know, helped push the envelope early on when we needed it,” said Brian Garrett, who says he witnessed and experienced sexual misconduct by Strauss while briefly working at his off-campus clinic in 1996.
If not for DiSabato, other alumni might not have realized similarities in their experiences with Strauss, said Steven Snyder-Hill, who made a documented complaint after being examined by the doctor at the student health center in 1995.
Garrett, who didn’t know DiSabato previously, disagrees with the ex-wrestler’s fight-on-all-fronts style. But Garrett said his belief in DiSabato’s claims about being fondled by Strauss in exams isn’t shaken by other bits of DiSabato’s life that complicate his reputation.
He sometimes seems erratic. When he talks about Strauss — in interviews, public statements, comments to federal investigators , middle-of-the-night emails to friends and media and lawyers he doesn’t seem to trust — he often rambles into other claims that he considers related: misdeeds in the wrestling world, exploitation of college athletes, conspiracies and cover-ups.
DiSabato also talks about the scrutiny his unrepentant outspokenness induces. It echoes the kind of costs voiced by headline accusers such as actress Rose McGowan, who lamented being gaslighted by Harvey Weinstein, or Andrea Constand, who recalled being cast as “a gold-digger, a con artist, and a pathological liar” before Bill Cosby was convicted of sexually assaulting her.
DiSabato said that he has bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, and that his battles with Ohio State have exacerbated his depression.
Critics question whether his past beefs with Ohio State, including it ending an apparel licensing deal with a business he had, were factors in his decision to speak up about Strauss.
In the harassment case that got him jailed for 12 days before he pleaded no contest and got probation, DiSabato is accused of sending harassing messages to a university-affiliated administrator who publicly criticized his character and questioned his motives. DiSabato contended he was the one being harassed.
Some people question whether his motives are political — a point particularly in focus last summer when DiSabato and other ex-wrestlers alleged that Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan knew Strauss was groping athletes back when Jordan was an assistant coach at Ohio State. Jordan denied knowing of abuse, and other former wrestlers mustered a public-relations wave of comments defending the congressman, joined by a former teammate’s widow who characterized DiSabato as a bully with a “displaced personal vendetta.”
DiSabato, the sixth of nine kids from an Italian Catholic family in Columbus with deep ties to wrestling, said he’s standing up for himself and for accountability at Ohio State, where he competed in the late 1980s and sent two of his own children to study.
So how much do his motives matter in assessing his claims? That’s a classic conundrum with whistleblowers, said Richard Moberly, the University of Nebraska law college dean who has researched related legal matters.
It’s common, Moberly said, that observers consider not just the facts of alleged misconduct, but also the motives and character of the person reporting it.
“Whistleblowers come in all shapes and sizes and all different personalities, but it does take a certain amount of courage to stand up in that way and to continue to fight,” he said.
Ohio State won’t comment about DiSabato but has said it is grateful to alumni coming forward with allegations about Strauss.
DiSabato acknowledges his style puts even fellow accusers in an awkward position at times, but he said he doesn’t regret his approach.
“I know I make it difficult for everyone,” he said, “but that’s what whistleblowers do.”
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Opinion: Thwarting Progress in the Fight Against Heart Disease
By Helen Durkin
It’s more than 50 years since Dr. Rene Favaloro performed the first American coronary bypass surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. Our understanding of cardiovascular disease has progressed steadily since the Framingham Heart Study got underway in 1948. Artificial heart valves, vascular stents, pacemakers and catheters have been saving lives for decades. And the genius of invention to address cardiovascular disease has pushed doggedly forward.
Yet, heart disease still kills more Americans than anything else. Despite solid proof dating back to 1967 that physical activity cuts the risk of heart disease, 80 percent of the U.S. population doesn’t get enough exercise. More recent studies even suggest a link between prolonged sitting and sedentary lifestyles and an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
It’s a conundrum: On one hand, innovation has propelled us enormously in the struggle to overcome diseases of the heart and cardiovascular system. On the other hand, we’ve “I.T.’ed” ourselves into largely motionless recesses, where much of our daily routines require the movement of our eyes, mouths and hands, leaving the rest of our bodies in a chronically sedentary state.
The human body is designed to move. The more we learn about human health, the more we realize the central role of physical activity in keeping us well.
So here we are in 2019: Equipped with the knowledge, but wedged into lifestyles that defy it.
Unless we do something collectively to overturn the status quo of inactivity, the only fallback we’ll have to overcome the pull of modern-day lifestyles is our own individual will power. Absent of the right public policies and social and societal supports, individual will power tends to be a very limited resource.
Coming together is the answer. And meaningful change in the fight for a healthier America must come from every level, every sector, and each one of us.
Fortunately, there are many unsung leaders across America already making a difference in the space they inhabit and influence.
In 2016, when the small town of Bethel, Maine, and surrounding communities faced a changing economic base, they turned to the Orton Family Foundation and its proven Community Heart & Soul development model for inclusive, resident-driven planning. Guided by the Vermont-based nonprofit, residents in the Bethel area set to work talking directly with community members, gathering their stories and viewpoints. Preserving the area’s natural beauty and ensuring an active outdoor environment were among the common priorities that emerged.
Now, as the project begins to sketch out a roadmap for the future, prioritizing opportunities for physical activity is part of the conversation. One idea would set aside nearly 1,000 acres of former logging land adjacent to 2,500 acres owned by the town. The Bethel Community Forest project would expand opportunities for outdoor recreation, including hiking and biking, and enhance existing amenities that include a walking path, bicycling loops and a skate park.
How America uses its physical environments to advance health isn’t the only thing that requires innovation. Matthew Miller saw a void in how depression and anxiety are addressed. Exercise was missing — despite convincing evidence that physical activity helps with both. (Research also shows depression as a risk factor for heart disease, and they often co-occur.)
So, in 2015, in his own enclave of Passaic County, New Jersey, Miller and his co-founders started The Anxiety & Depression Initiative, Inc. (ADI). The ADI organizes events, bringing people together to exercise, benefit from social support, and enjoy nature. Recently, the ADI kicked off an activity tracker recycling program, working with mental health organizations to provide people in the area with mental health disorders an additional tool for staying physically active.
At 26, Samira Howard started Fitness is Fundamental, a community outreach mission dedicated to inspiring girls and women to be active. She grew up playing competitive sports and knew the benefits of exercise: “It taught me to overcome obstacles and built my confidence,” Howard says. “When I realized that many women in my own community, women of color my age and older, never learned to prioritize their well-being in that way — some not even owning a pair of workout shoes — I wanted to do something about it.”
Using her background in Kinesiology, Howard developed educational programming on fitness, nutrition and positive body image practices and started running workshops. “It’s about taking care of each other,” she says. “Reaching girls while they’re young is so important in preparing them for active, healthy, empowered lives.”
During another February — 55 years ago — we looked ahead to all the advances we hoped to make in the battle against cardiovascular disease with the very first American Heart Month. We’ve come far. We still have far to go. But much of the progress we still need to make doesn’t depend on the science, the medicine, or the technology. It rides on how we choose to live.
So, this year, let’s join together. Let’s finally create a national culture that supports all Americans in their efforts to live physically active, heart-healthy lives.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Helen Durkin is executive vice president of public policy and international health at the Racquet & Sportsclub Association and president of the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity. She wrote this for InsideSources.com.
Tornado death confirmed as violent storms smack the South
Monday, February 25
COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) — Weekend storms raked parts of the Southeast, leaving deaths and injuries in their wake as a tornado smashed into a commercial district in a small Mississippi city and drenching rains fed a rising flood threat.
A woman was killed when a tornado hit Columbus, Mississippi, and a man died when he drove into floodwaters in Tennessee, officials said.
Columbus Mayor Robert Smith Sr. said 41-year-old Ashley Glynell Pounds of Tupelo and her husband were renovating a house Saturday evening, and when the husband went to get them something to eat, the building collapsed in the storm and killed her.
Smith said 12 other people were injured, but the injuries did not appear to be major. City spokesman Joe Dillon said the tornado also seriously damaged a school and two community center buildings.
“There was pretty extensive damage,” Dillon said Sunday, a day after the Columbus twister struck. “But the streets today have been filled with workers and volunteers, all working hard to clean up the mess.”
In Knox County, Tennessee, officials said a man died after his vehicle became submerged in high water.
Saturday afternoon’s tornado in Columbus was confirmed on radar, said meteorologist Anna Wolverton with the National Weather Service in Jackson. She told The Associated Press that experts were dispatched Sunday to the east Mississippi city of about 23,000 people to gauge the tornado’s intensity. Officials said a second, smaller twister damaged a mobile home and a shed and snapped trees in a small community in the region that same afternoon as severe storms rolled through.
At First Pentecostal Church in Columbus, the Rev. Steve Blaylock said the building was “a total loss,” with a wall pushed in, holes in the roof and substantial water damage. He and his congregants tried to salvage what they could on the morning after the storm. But he said they still held a Sunday prayer service and even went ahead with a scheduled baptism, using a borrowed portable baptismal pool.
“We will rebuild. We’ve got a good church here,” Blaylock said. “It’ll be a testimony of God.”
Residents of one street on the east side of Columbus were out early Sunday morning with chain saws, clearing away branches of the many trees that had snapped or were uprooted in the storm. Metal siding and roofing materials were scattered throughout the neighborhood of older homes. While the houses generally remained standing, sheds and outbuildings were mostly demolished.
Lee Lawrence, who said he has been selling used cars for decades in Columbus, told The AP that four buildings on his car lot were destroyed. He said trees toppled across vehicles and car windows were blown out.
Lawrence said he was at home getting ready to take a bath when the storm struck.
“The wind all of a sudden just got so strong and it was raining so much you could hardly see out the door, and I could hear a roaring. Evidently it came close,” he said, speaking with AP in a phone interview.
“It will be a start-over deal,” Lawrence said. “I can’t say it will come back better or stronger, but we’ll come back.”
A photographer working for The AP in Columbus said some antique cars on Lawrence’s lot were resting in the debris of a destroyed building a nearby pet grooming business appeared now to be mostly twisted piles of metal. A printing shop had been speared by a pipe.
Elsewhere around the South, homes, highways, parks and bridges were flooded or put out of commission amid the heavy rains and severe storms.
News outlets report that water rescues have been performed in some Middle Tennessee counties.
Interstate 40 near the Tennessee line with North Carolina was closed by a rockslide, one of the dozens of roads and highways shut down throughout the region, transportation officials said.
Officials said a mudslide destroyed a Subway restaurant in Signal Mountain, Tennessee. No injuries were reported.
In West Virginia, authorities have evacuated 11 families in the southern part of the state after low-lying areas flooded from heavy rains. Workers cleaned up from mudslides and high wind warnings remained in effect Sunday for much of the state. More than 50,000 customers were without power at one point, emergency officials said, warning driving would be difficult in high winds and more power lines could fall.
In Bruce, Mississippi, rivers broke flood stage and flash floods poured into homes and businesses. News outlets report that officials in Grenada, Mississippi, declared a local state of emergency after dozens of streets and homes flooded. A 6-mile (9-kilometer) stretch of the Natchez Trace Parkway was closed in Mississippi after water covered part of the road.
Kentucky announced Friday that it was closing the U.S. 51 bridge over the Ohio River to Cairo, Illinois, because of flooding on the southern approach. The bridge, which carries 4,700 vehicles a day, is likely to stay closed until Thursday, and possibly longer.
The Ohio River at Cairo was predicted to crest Sunday at its third-highest level ever recorded, and stay that high into next week. The Tennessee River near Savannah, Tennessee, also was forecast to crest at near-record levels.
Associated Press writers Adrian Sainz in Memphis, Tennessee and Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Alabama, contributed to this story, along with staff photographer Rogelio Solis and freelance photographer Jim Lytle working in Columbus, Mississippi.
Toxic red tide appears to have faded from Florida’s waters
SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s coastal waters appear free from a devastating red tide bloom that began in October 2017.
A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission report released Wednesday says the toxic algae were no longer present in water samples collected anywhere in the state.
The bloom caused respiratory irritations in people and killed vast numbers of sea turtles, manatees, dolphins and fish.
Red tide is caused by an organism called Karenia brevis, which occurs naturally in the waters off Florida.
In a Herald-Tribune report , University of South Florida red tide expert Robert Weisberg said currents that swept the organisms up from deep offshore waters toward shore have stopped and there’s no evidence more toxic algae is growing.
Conservation groups are working with officials to replenish fish stocks decimated by the red tide.
Information from: Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune, http://www.heraldtribune.com
Opinion: Stay in Your Lane? Maybe Not for Everybody
By Jill Ebstein
I suspect I wear a mildly pained look when I am asked, “What do you do?”
If I were a lawyer, teacher or doctor, the answer would be easy. Or if I just stuck to my knitting and exclusively played out the MBA in me, the answer wouldn’t be that hard either — something like, “I do market studies to gauge customer attitudes … and a few other things.” I could even answer the “few other things” with relative ease, and people would mostly nod in understanding.
But there is this other side to my work. I like to write non-business stuff and have feverishly worked on a series titled “At My Pace.” In this series, I select a topic, establish guidelines and solicit contributors to create a short piece that gives the reader a range of experiences and — it is hoped — insight on said topic.
I also pen a piece, but mostly I use my consulting skills to identify findings on topics like the pace of our journey — driving on the autobahn or meandering on the carriage road and why? My goal is to facilitate conversation and build bridges of understanding sans judgment. It is how I make more sense of my world and maybe help others.
So the contorted look on my face when asked what I do is whether to answer door number one (market studies), door number two (“At My Pace” series), or explain them both. In some ways the work is similar. I listen to people, probe and extract their experience for sharing. In one case the subject is technology with jargon and acronyms like ROI. In the other, the subject is personal, bordering at times on spiritual. I never tear up in the first case but am often moved in the latter.
In explaining what I do, I am aware of a subtle expectation these days to “stay in your lane,” meaning to stay focused in the area of one’s expertise. I understand this preference. Organizations are complex and the challenges are steep. To achieve our goals, we often need narrow over wide, specialized over general. There is a reason why expressions like “core competencies” and “subject matter experts” populate our vocabulary. There are personal reasons too for staying in your lane. There we are safely ensconced in our comfort zone, feeling competent and in control.
But for me, there is a competing desire to stay fresh and enthused. I like trying to exercise new creative muscles. If I were a twenty-something, I’d be thinking about growing my skills and managing by personal brand. Alas, I am way past that. But I have an inclination and history that has always made me want to widen my lane.
In high school one of my favorite novels was “The Great Gatsby.” Of the many beautiful lines Fitzgerald wrote, the one that stuck with me the most has no sizzle. Narrator Nick Carraway has graduated from Yale and is viewing his future. He remarks, “Life is much more successfully looked at from a single window.” When I read this as a teen, I understood this as a call to stay narrow and focused, and at some visceral level, I wanted to challenge it.
There is also the football player I admired growing up. I was a diehard Denver Broncos’ fan, and this was before they were any good. I craved being a coach some day and routinely wrote our coach, suggesting tweaks on play calls. But the player I admired most wasn’t a Bronco at all. Mike Reid was an all-pro defensive lineman for the Cincinnati Bengals, and he was also a classical pianist. I loved his range of skills, even if not a Bronco. He eventually added gifted songwriter to his credits, composing many hits including Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me.”
What does this tell me about me? I can see that from early on, I have had a compulsion to go wide. I double majored in college before it was the thing to do. I would go from my biology lab to my poetry class where I loved Wallace Stevens because he wrote great poetry (let the record show he was also an insurance company executive).
The angst I experience in explaining what I do is followed by the pleasure I feel in doing them. I would like to be that person who knows a lot about a little, but I have also accepted me being me. On a good day, I bring perspective, experiences, alternate views and immense curiosity. I mostly love sitting down to work — writing, market studies, no matter — and that may be just enough.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Jill Ebstein is the editor of the “At My Pace” series of books and the founder of Sized Right Marketing, a Newton, Massachusetts, consulting firm. She wrote this for InsideSources.com.