News of the Force: Saturday, January 20, 2018 - Page 2

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Jan 20, 2018, 3:42:17 PM1/20/18
Saturday, January 20, 2018 - Page 2

US Coast Guard
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With warmer weather and rain in Michigan and Ohio's forecasts, the US Coast Guard has issued a warning about potentially dangerous ice conditions. Last week, Coast Guard Sector Detroit's Command Center rescued 10 people and had one death on Lake Erie.
     Warmer temperatures may make it dangerous to go out onto frozen lakes and ponds to do things like go ice fishing or ride ATVs. In a news release, the US Coast Guard in Detroit says the expected warmer temperatures could create “extremely dangerous” conditions on the ice.
     United States Coast Guard cutters were back out on the Connecticut River yesterday. Ice continues to float down the river and that is due to the work done by USCGC Bollard and USCGC Hawser.
     A Russian spy ship - the Viktor Leonov - is operating near the US roughly a year after it popped up off the coast of Connecticut. A Pentagon spokesman said he could not "specifically" confirm whether the military was tracking the Russian spy ship, but did say, "The US Coast Guard and the US Navy's Fleet Forces Command are on the case."
     The Coast Guard received a request  on Wednesday from the Maine Emergency Management Agency to break up the ice on the Kennebec River to reduce the flooding risk. The depth of the river and bridges limit the Coast Guard's ability to reach the ice jam, but it could still break up ice downriver to improve the flow.
     Three people were killed and five others injured after an explosion on a towboat on the Tennessee River in Kentucky yesterday, a US Coast Guard spokeswoman said. Authorities are investigating what caused the blast on the vessel, which was moored and being repaired.
     USCGC Oliver Berry (WPC 1124)'s crew patrolled off the coast of Maui during Operation Kohola Guardian this week. Operation Kohola Guardian is a cooperative effort between state and federal agencies to reduce risk to mariners and to whales in Hawaiian waters.
     The US Coast Guard in Grand Haven, Mich., is warning ice sport enthusiasts of potentially unstable ice conditions due to weather forecasts calling for warmer temperatures and anticipated rain and fog. The Coast Guard warns that venturing out onto the ice is extremely dangerous during increases in temperatures.
     A US Coast Guard cutter that was en route to the Straits of Mackinac to help free five ships trapped in ice there is now limping back to port after suffering an engine failure, the military said. The crew of USCGC Biscayne Bay left the St Marys River earlier yesterday, where it had been breaking ice.
     A Coast Guard aircrew from Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas, conducted the first-ever training evolution with a Signet Maritime Corporation tugboat on Thursday in Corpus Christi Bay. The Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew and the crew of the Signet Polaris conducted joint hoist training.
     The Coast Guard says that they assisted two people in distress yesterday near The Pen, near Lafitte, La. Coast Guard Sector New Orleans says they received a call from the men that their 16-foot flat bottom boat got stuck in the mud due to shallow waters in The Pen, a lake near New Orleans.

False alarm at North Carolina nuclear plant
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     The siren that went off yesterday afternoon at the Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant in North Carolina resulted from an accidental activation, authorities said.
     A spokesman for Duke Energy, which owns the plant in New Hill, N.C., in southern Wake County, said the energy company is investigating what prompted the alarm to sound shortly before 1 p.m., EST. The siren prompted a flurry of calls to WRAL News and posts on social media. "This afternoon several sirens around the Harris Nuclear Plant malfunctioned, specifically near Apex and Cary," spokesman Brandon Thomas said in a written statement. "There is no impact to the public and no need for public actions."
     The Apex Police Department tweeted around 1:15 p.m. that Wake County Emergency Management confirmed that the siren’s alarm system went off in error and there were no issues at the plant. Officials at Wake County posted a statement on Facebook saying the alarms were tripped in error. "We have confirmed with Emergency Management staff that the sirens going off at the Harris Nuclear Plant this afternoon are a false alarm," the statement said. "Please refer to Duke Energy for more details and information."
     Authorities said had there been a real emergency at the plant, local emergency response officials would have provided information for the public on how to respond.

US Air Force
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A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket launched the new missile-warning satellite last night from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Liftoff occurred at 7:48 p.m., EST, after a one-day delay so engineers could address a ground-based issue.
     Undersecretary of the Air Force Matthew Donovan delivered the keynote speech during an Air Force Association (AFA) breakfast on Jan. 18th in Washington, D.C. Donovan addressed variety of issues facing the Air Force.
     The US Air Force has found 20 contaminated water wells at the former Reese Air Force Base. In a news release, officials say the Air Force is providing bottled water to affected well owners and has been working with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the EPA and affected communities to protect human health and drinking water supplies.
      A man who died in a house fire in Lansing, Mich., early Wednesday has been identified as Gerald Price, 72. He was a US Air Force veteran who was born in 1945, Lansing officials said in a news release late yesterday afternoon.
     The United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine is celebrating 100 years. It started out in World War I to handle the needs of pilots who were dying at alarming rates, and has trained tens of thousands of students.
     A 90-year-old lesbian who was dishonorably discharged from the US Air Force in 1955 after a crackdown in LGBTQ service members has finally had the situation rectified. Helen Grace James was expelled from the service after a crackdown led by the the US Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI).
     The US Air Force is considering forming international squadrons of low-cost fighter planes to strike terrorist targets in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
     The US Air Force issued an advisory yesterday warning that several A10-C Thunderbolt II aircraft will be "conducting a deployment exercise" around MacDill AFB in Tampa, Fla. The Air Force says the Warthogs - which belong to the Indiana Air National Guard 122nd Fighter Wing's 163rd Fighter Squadron - will be flying with KC-135 Stratotankers and C-130 Hercules aircraft out of MacDill AFB.
     Members of the 315th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and the 86th AES recently participated in a three-day training mission in which real-world troops and cargo were transported from Joint Base Charleston, S.C., to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska.
     Airmen with the Mississippi Air National Guard's 186th Air Refueling Wing graduated from the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) on Key Field Air National Guard Base, in Meridian, on Jan. 7th.
     Lt. General L. Scott Rice, the director of the Air National Guard, recently toured California National Guard units and installations. He was accompanied on his tour by Maj. Gen. Clay Garrison, the commander of the California Air National Guard.
     A double fuel tanker hauling 9,000 gallons of gasoline and 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel overturned and exploded on the I-15 interstate near Midvale, Utah, on Jan. 18th. The Utah Air National Guard was called in to assist with extinguishing the fire.
     The Kerrville Composite Squadron of the CAP's Texas Wing will be hosting an Open House at Ingram Tom Moore High School on Jan. 29th at 7 p.m. Are you interested in aviation, youth leadership, or service to your country? If so, the Civil Air Patrol – the United States Air Force Auxiliary – is for you.
     The Lt. Col. Arthur King Composite Squadron, the Civil Air Patrol squadron in Modesto, Calif., will be having an open house for new youth cadets ages 12 to 18 at the Modesto Airport. Squadron 50 accepts new cadet members three times per year. The new membership period begins Feb. 1st.
     "First, we really appreciate each of the volunteers that either sponsored a wreath, attended our ceremony, or helped distribute wreaths in December," the Civil Air Patrol's 2nd Lt. Austen Roberts said in Chattanooga, Tenn. "Now, we need volunteers to help us retrieve the wreaths."
     And it's highly unusual, but has apparently not published anything new in more than a month. News of the Force sent them an inquiry early this week, and we've still not received a reply.

The parting shots
      The National Security Agency (NSA) has reportedly deleted data it promised to keep for use in court cases.
      Actress C.C.H. Pounder is known for playing the role of "Loretta Wade" on the hit CBS show NCIS: New Orleans. But did you know she was an avid art collector? The actress and former gallery owner got Xavier University's attention and wanted to display some of Ms. Pounder's pieces.
      Pope Francis has told Catholic sex abuse victims that they committed "slander" by making their reports.
      It was all in a day's work for the ever-unpredictable Pope Francis. First he celebrated the first-ever airborne papal wedding, marrying two flight attendants at 36,000 feet during a flight on Thursday over Chile.
      Former US Marine Drew Carey has signed on to play a character by the name of "Marine Sergeant John Ross" in an upcoming episode of the ongoing fifteenth season of NCIS. "John Ross" retired from his work as a Marine sergeant and now spends his days shipping care packages to active duty servicemen but finds himself accused of murder.
      The Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority ferry line has decided to not show CNN, Fox News or MSNBC after customer complaints, and will instead air The Weather Channel.
      Facebook, tired of being accused of bias and blamed for "fake news," is now leaving it up to users to decide which news organizations are credible and which are not. The social media organization has announced that it would rank news organizations by credibility based on users’ responses to "trust ranking" surveys, with organizations determined to be "broadly trusted" likely to see a boost in readership. In a statement, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote that the organization is no longer comfortable deciding which news outlets are trustworthy, saying they "decided that having the community determine which sources are broadly trusted would be most objective. The hard question we’ve struggled with is how to decide what news sources are broadly trusted," Zuckerberg wrote. "We could try to make that decision ourselves, but that’s not something we’re comfortable with. We considered asking outside experts, which would take the decision out of our hands but would likely not solve the objectivity problem. Or we could ask you - the community - and have your feedback determine the ranking."
      The wrecking ball could be swinging toward the old Club Imperial, a St. Louis, Mo., music venue landmark that helped launch the careers of Ike and Tina Turner. Bought at a city delinquent tax sale over the summer, the new owner of the building at the southwest corner of Goodfellow Boulevard and West Florissant Avenue said he'’d be happy to sell it to someone to rehab it, but the only proposal he received for the property was from someone who wants to tear it down for a restaurant.
      Singer Tom Petty died of an overdose, his family says. The legendary singer-songwriter's overdose in October was caused by taking several pain medications, according to a statement issued yesterday.
      New Zealand's prime minister says she is expecting her first child in June. Jacinda Ardern says she'll take six weeks of leave after the birth and her partner will be a stay-at-home dad.
     A prank intended to fool snow removers in Montreal, Canada, snagged a much more delicious target: the cops. The Canadian man and local police had a good laugh after the Montreal resident fooled officers with a full-size car made entirely of snow.
     Police in Portugal and Spain said they seized hundreds of kilograms of cocaine hidden inside fresh pineapples, and arrested nine people.
     The state of Ohio is launching a voluntary accreditation program for Ohio's licensed private investigators and companies that provide security services. The program's standards were developed last fall by the Department of Public Safety's Private Investigator and Security Guard Services unit.
     And Sunset Hills, Calif.-based Panera Bread on Thursday filed a petition with the Food and Drug Administration asking that it establish a clear definition of one of the world’s simplest foods —- an egg. Without such a definition, the food industry is allowed to promote egg products on menus and in advertising as eggs, even when the products consist of multiple non-egg ingredients, Panera said in a statement. "“We firmly believe that if I ask for an egg, I should get an egg,"” Blaine Hurst, Panera’s' president and chief executive officer, said in a phone interview. He said such a move continues the discussion about what’s in our food, and about being transparent. Sara Burnett, Panera’s' director of wellness and food policy, said the company’s petition to define eggs is another step toward meeting the consumer’s right to clear labeling, and that half of the top 10 fast-casual restaurants that sell breakfast have an egg made of five ingredients or more. The petition comes as the chain, which operates in Missouri as the St. Louis Bread Co., markets its newest breakfast sandwiches that rolled out nationally late last year. Only a small amount of citric acid is used in its scrambled eggs. While developing the sandwiches, the company said it discovered that current FDA regulations do not establish a “definition and standard of identity” for eggs. Without a definition, companies can sell food under the generic term of egg, even if that food contains additives such as butter-type flavors, gums and added color. Panera contends 100 percent, real eggs should be defined as freshly prepared, cracked shell eggs and/or egg whites with no additives. The new sandwiches move Panera from the more commercial method of cooking eggs —- hardcooking them in a ring known in the industry as an egg puck - — to a made-to-order method such as over-easy or scrambled. Hurst said that shift required training more than 10,000 employees how to cook eggs in the new way.


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