Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal threatened by possible lawsuit

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Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal threatened by possible lawsuit
September 18th, 2018 by 6FjUhLbu

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Buffalo, New York — The property at 605 Forest in Buffalo was the center of attention at last night’s public meeting held at the offices of Forever Elmwood on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo. Eva Hassett, Vice President of Savarino Construction Services Corporation, confirmed last night that the company will be seeking a variance for the 605 Forest property. Originally, both the 605 and 607 Forest Avenue properties were going to have variances placed on them. As it stands, 607 Forest will not be directly affected by the proposal, should it go forward. Both 605 and 607 are currently occupied by residents.

During Monday night’s meeting, Pano Georgiadis, owner of 605 Forest and owner of Pano’s Resuraunt at 1081 Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, threatened to “sue” Savarino Construction if they tried to obtain a variance on his property to build the Elmwood Village Hotel.

The Elmwood Village Hotel is a proposal by Savarino Construction that would be placed on the corner of Forest and Elmwood in Buffalo. In order for the project to move forward, at least five buildings (1119-1121 Elmwood) which include both residences and businesses will have to be demolished. The hotel was designed by architect Karl Frizlen of the Frizlen Group. Although the properties are “under contract,” according to Hassett, it is unclear whether Savarino Construction owns the properties. Hans Mobius, a resident of Clarence, New York and former Buffalo Mayoral candidate, is still believed to own them.

Currently, none of the properties is zoned for a hotel.

A freelance journalist writing for Wikinews asked Hassett what kind of zoning permit they [Savarino] would be applying for and, if 605 Forest is included, what zone that would be.

Buffalo, N.Y. Hotel Proposal Controversy
Recent Developments
  • “120 year-old documents threaten development on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, November 21, 2006
  • “Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”” — Wikinews, November 16, 2006
  • “Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended” — Wikinews, October 2, 2006
  • “Court date “as needed” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, August 14, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled” — Wikinews, July 26, 2006
  • “Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn” — Wikinews, July 13, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed” — Wikinews, June 2, 2006
Original Story
  • “Hotel development proposal could displace Buffalo, NY business owners” — Wikinews, February 17, 2006

“There is a ‘special development plan’ in front of the council, which changes only one thing about the zoning. It allows one permitted use for just a hotel. The rest of the zoning remains as it is under the current Elmwood Business District zoning. 605 and 607 Forest are not required for the project. They are not part of the footprint for the project. Let me answer this question again. This is on the record, in council: 605 needs to be rezoned in order to facilitate the project because of the sideyard requirement. Anything in C-2 is excluded besides the hotel. So we’ve taken the C-2 and included the hotel as a permitted use, and excluded everything else and everything else remains the same.”

However, during the February 28 Common Council meeting, Hassett was quoted as saying that the two properties were “off the agenda.”

“Now Karl said, at the last meeting, that they will build this hotel right on the borderline [property line]. If a wall forty-five to fifty feet high goes next to this house, of course it’s not right. You really have to go with whatever the city code says, so you have to get back as many feet as the city code says,” said Georgiadis.

“If you try to get a variance to change the code, I will sue you. This is my home, number one,” added Georgiadis. “First of all I think we are all wasting our time here, you [Savarino], have already made up your mind, but if you go against city code, and you try to do the most rooms with a minimal amount of parking, again, I will sue you. If you build a hotel, in my idea its going to fail. It’s doomed, ok. [If] it’s going to be a home for the disabled, for the homeless, for recovery people, but that’s another story. Then how is it going to be when we say, well I told you so? You will be over and done with. Its very hard to take a four story building [hotel] down.”

Georgiadis stated last night that he was against the proposal and signed a petition to stop it, jokingly saying, “this isn’t a paper to sign to build the hotel, is it? Don’t make me sign the wrong thing.”

Joseph Golombeck, district councilman, was at Monday’s public meeting and said, “we also did request this and the reason we are doing this as a special business district is so that it has to be this specific plan. They [Savarino] can’t go halfway through it and in six months decide that [the hotel] it’s going to be three floors. They can’t decide it’s going to be five floors. It has to be, per law, exactly what it is that they brought to us [the public] so far, and then ultimately to the City of Buffalo Common Council when it’s approved. So if it gets approved, it has to be this specific, exact project. They couldn’t make it fifty parking spots, they couldn’t make it thirty. It has to be specifically what they have right here.”

A man who lives on Granger Street in Buffalo attended the meeting, speaking in favor of the hotel development. He claimed, “There are a lot of low property values. Hopefully if we embrace development, our property values, for those of us who have property, will go up. There are a lot of people unfortunately, who are working hard, that do not get a chance to come to these meetings. I myself was at work and wasn’t able to go to the last two meetings. I express that we appreciate that you [Savarino] invest in the City of Buffalo and for what you hope, because I do not think Savarino is into losing money. These people are not in business to be losing money here. They are hoping for the success of this [the hotel] more than any one of us. They are hoping that the property values in this area will go up more than any one of us, because it will benefit them [the residents and business owners], more than any one of us. I want this city to develop. I don’t think anybody else is here understanding that we’re looking for development in this city, we are looking for the city to get better. The councilman here is not interested in Buffalo failing.”

Evelyn Bencinich, resident of Granger Street, would have the hotel directly behind her home, if it were to be built.

“What about construction [time]? Is that just for the exterior, the nine months? Or does that include the interior? Is there going to be blasting through bedrock? Is there property protection for damage? Are you [Savarino and the Frizlen Group] responsible?”, asked Bencinich.

According to Frizlen, there is a layer of solid bedrock at least 30 feet from the surface of the land saying, “we anticipate that the bedrock is at least thirty feet down.” He also admitted that “we haven’t done any soil sporrings,” but did say “the bedrock is somewhere in between twenty-five and thirty feet [down], we don’t need to go that deep. So blasting is most likely out of it [the question].”

“Personally, I can only speak from the city side, but a few years ago we rebuilt Vulcan Street, in the northwest corner of Buffalo, and there were a couple of properties that were damaged and they [the owners] were able to file a claim against the company that did the work and they won in each case. It was the same thing with a school that was built on Military Road. There were a couple of problems with foundations on a couple of properties, and they weren’t sure if caused by the school or not, but the insurance company ended up paying them,” answered Golombeck.

“I would assume that Savarino is insured with someone. So if there is a problem with anything that happens to your properties, what I would recommend is that anybody that lives on Granger Place, if this does go through, that you get pictures taken of your basement and of your foundations, because God forbid if there is a problem, you want to have an[sic] before and after [picture]. You don’t want to come afterwards and there’s a crack in there [foundation] and you have no way of proving that it happened,” added Golombeck.

According to Golombeck, the properties that Mobius owns have been “in housing court on several occasions, but has a date of April 11, 2006 that he is going back [to court] for these properties. So it is in housing court and I wouldn’t know Mr. Mobius if he walked in this room right now,” stated Golombeck.

“I’ve gone after him on numerous occasions and everytime he gets out of housing court with a slap on the wrist. If I am a conspiracy theorist and say that there is a lot more going on than meets the eye. I can only get him into housing court. Once he’s in housing court, the judge rules on it. Now I don’t mean to take any shots at previous administrations, but I am hoping with the new administration, being in here, that the inspections department is going to be a much better department than it has been for the previous several years.”

The city’s Planning Board on March 14, 2006, agreed to send the Elmwood Village Hotel proposal back to the Common Council so that it may “be opened back up to discussion from the public.”

On March 2, 2006 the Common Council sent the proposal “to committee” for further discussion and also requesting that the public be “engaged further.”

During that meeting, Justin Azzeralla, Executive Director for Forwever Elmwood, said that the organization “supports the hotel project.”

Also on March 2, the planning board agreed to table, or postpone, any decision on the hotel proposal for at least thirty days, also citing the need for the public to be “more engaged.”

The Common Council is expected to meet on March 21, 2006 at 2:00pm local time where they may approve or deny the proposal.

According to The Buffalo News, at least six Common Council members support the hotel project and are pledging to vote to approve it at the meeting on Tuesday, March 21.

However, the city’s Planning Board will get the final say on the project.

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Athletes prepare for 2012 Summer Paralympics at the Paralympic Fitness Centre

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Athletes prepare for 2012 Summer Paralympics at the Paralympic Fitness Centre
September 17th, 2018 by 6FjUhLbu

Monday, August 27, 2012

London, England — As Paralympians ready for the Games which are set to open later this week, they have access to a world class fitness center inside the Paralympic Village which is designed to maximise their pre-Game preparations.

According to volunteers staffing the center, instead of being a single large room, as in Beijing, the building has numerous rooms. It, along with the adjacent Village Services Centre, is designed to be converted into a school after the games conclude. Rooms have been structured as a gym, an auditorium, and science laboratories.

Gym equipment is supplied by Technogym, an Italian firm that has supplied gym equipment for the Olympics since 2000. Equipment has been provided not just for for the Fitness Centre, but for gyms at all the Olympic venues. The newest equipment is oriented toward maximum flexibility, allowing athletes to exercise the particular muscles that they most require for their sport.

In addition to the equipment, the Fitness Centre also provides instructors trained in the use of the equipment, the likes of which athletes from many countries have never seen before. There are also a number of instructors available to provide motivational training.

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Wikinews Shorts: April 19, 2007

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Wikinews Shorts: April 19, 2007
September 17th, 2018 by 6FjUhLbu

A compilation of brief news reports for Thursday, April 19, 2007.

Contents

  • 1 Compensation sought for New Zealand’s Internet outage
  • 2 Peruvian farmers issue warning to government
  • 3 Missile shield to feature in talks
  • 4 Water cuts possible as Australia faces drought
  • 5 Russian plans for Bering Strait tunnel received with skepticism

Wikinews reported previously on an Internet outage in New Zealand that lasted for over five hours. Telecom New Zealand, the company that owns and operates the “local loop”, said that they will review compensation for its customers on a case-by-case basis.

A wholesale ISP is attempting to give its subscribers compensation for the outage. CallPlus says that it is asking Telecom for the thousands of dollars it needs to pass on to its affected customers. They doubt Telecom will give them the money needed.

Related news

  • “Outage leaves tens of thousands of New Zealanders without Internet” — Wikinews, April 18, 2007

Sources


Farmers in Peru striking over the Peruvian government’s stance on coca, have issued an ultimatum. The ultimatum appears to be: negotiate within 24 hours, or face roadblocks indefinitely.

The protests come in response to a coca eradication drive and measures Peruvian president Alan García is taking against cocaine production in the country.

Peruvian police have arrested the leader of the Shining Path rebel group, Jimmy Rodríguez on charges of organising anti-government protests.

Sources


Meetings are underway at NATO headquarters in an attempt to reassure Russia that the missile defence plans pose no threat. The United States maintains the system is to protect against missiles from rogue states, whereas Russia sees the system as compromising its strategic interests in the region.

In today’s talks NATO allies encouraged the United States to make the planned anti-missile shield capable of covering all of Europe. They did this without committing themselves to joining the project.

Reaction to the proposed system in European states has been mixed.


Irrigation water to a substantial proportion of Australia’s farming regions could be cut due to drought conditions, Australian PM John Howard has warned.

Mr Howard’s comments concerned the Murray-Darling Basin, one of the largest systems in Australia. “If it doesn’t rain in sufficient volume over the next six to eight weeks, there will be no water allocations for irrigation purposes in the basin”, adding that the drought conditions could continue until May 2008.

He continued “It is a grim situation, and there is no point in pretending to Australia otherwise,” he said. “We must all hope and pray there is rain.”

Sources


Russia, in coordination with the government of the United States and Canada, is planning to build a tunnel from Russia to Alaska, Viktor Razbegin, deputy head of industrial research at the Russian Economy Ministry, told reporters in Moscow Wednesday.

The tunnel is budgeted to cost US$65 billion and would take 10 to 15 years to build. The tunnel is to provide train and automobile transport between Alaska and the Russian Far East, and to carry petroleum and natural gas pipelines, and high-voltage electrical cable.

The proposed tunnel is 64 miles long, or about 100 kilometers, in total, and is designed to link with two islands in the Bering Strait. The project is expected to have a very positive economic effect in the area.

Derek Brower, an energy market expert, called the project “absurd” and suggested the Russian government is playing political games to threaten its European customers to sign energy deals.

“I’ve never heard of this plan,” said Sergei Grigoryev, Vice President of oil pipeline monopoly Transneft.

“To be honest, anyone who look[s] at the map will realize that the project is too hard to implement,” an anonymous government source told Reuters.

Sources


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Testosterone For Muscle Gain And Boost Pheromone Production

September 17th, 2018 by 6FjUhLbu

Click Here To Find Out More About:

By Chris Chew

There are a number of things that determine how much muscle you can ultimately build such as your workout intensity, form and techniques, nutrition, supplementation and rest, just to name a few factos.

Not commonly known to many people, a major contributor in your muscle building equation is your body’s natural level of the anabolic muscle building hormone, testosterone.

Testosterone is generally regarded as the male hormone and is the most important muscle building hormone in your body. It is the level of this amazing hormone that determines how much and big your muscles can grow.

Other benefits of having a high level of testosterone are :-

a) Increasing your muscle size and strength.

b) Help to lose body fat

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c) Increase libido and hardness

d) Decrease levels of “bad” cholesterol

e) Increase production of pheromones, your natural sexual attraction chemical

So it is pretty obvious that if you want to build bigger muscles, you must increase your own production of testosterone. But before I show you how to do that, let’s look at the science.

You see, your brain releases a substance called luteinizing hormone (LH). This hormone acts by triggering your body to start producing testosterone. Once this occurs, the adrenal glands release DHEA into your bloodstream. LH and DHEA then travel together to your testicles where testosterone production begins (this is why women has lower level of testosterone than men). Testosterone can now be released into the bloodstream to perform its amazing functions.

So here are some methods to increase your level of muscle building fat busting testosterones naturally.

a) Train with compound exercises during your weight resistance workouts such as squats, deadlifts, bench presses etc. This will put your muscles under the greatest amount of stress that will force your body to increase testosterone production.

b) Always workout with full effort and intensity. If you want to see impressive muscle growth, you must push yourself to the limit. Again, greater muscular stress in the gym translates to higher testosterone production.

c) Train your lower body as hard as your upper body. Many people do not realize that lower body training can actually stimulate growth in your chest, back and arms. Absurd? Of course not because training lower body such as squats forces your body to release more human growth hormones (hgh) such as testosterone!

d) Stay away from alcohol. Alcohol consumption is kown to have a dramatic effect on suppression of testosterone levels, so try to limit your binge drinking nights and keep your alcohol consumption in moderation or be a teetotaler if you can.

e) Increase your consumption of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, turnips, cabbage etc. Cruciferous vegetables can reduce estrogen levels (female hormones, yes, males do have them), thereby raising your testosterone level.

f) Lower your stress levels. This is because stress stimulates the production of cortisol which is a highly catabolic hormone that will cause your testosterone levels to plummet and consumes your muscle for energy instead of fats.

g) Increase your sexual activity as sexual stimulation causes the body to increase the production of oxytocin which increases endorphin level (feel good or happy hormone) thereby also raises your testosterone production.

h) Go sleep like a log! A lack of sleep contributes to cortisol production, and this will lower your testosterone levels, furthermore, your growth hormone production is at its highest when you sleep!

i) Supplement with Human Growth Hormone and Testosterone Enhancers if you are over 25. This is because these amazing muscle growth and fat busting production keep on decreasing as you age. Imagine, how can your muscle grow to its maximum potential if you have insufficient anabolic growth hormones to make them grow?

So start to produce your natural testosterone for muscle gain and at the same time raise your pheromones level to be sexually attractive.

About the Author: Chris Chew is a fitness, health and relationship consultant. Read his free articles at his sites at

Boost Human Growth Hormone

and

Herbal Viagra Erectile Dysfunction

Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

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Microsoft launches BizTalk Server 2006 R2 with RFID integration in Taiwan

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Microsoft launches BizTalk Server 2006 R2 with RFID integration in Taiwan
September 14th, 2018 by 6FjUhLbu

Thursday, September 13, 2007

On Tuesday, Microsoft launched BizTalk Server 2006 R2 with Radio-frequency Identification (RFID) technology in Taiwan. Microsoft Taiwan held a launch seminar with “Pulse the Operations with the Communication of Enterprises” topic and invited hardware and software companies to highlight the integration of RFID, SOA, and EDI with BizTalk Server 2006 R2.

At the press conference, Steven Martin (Director of Product Management for BizTalk® Server Product Group at Microsoft Corp.) mentioned the improvements to BizTalk Server 2006 R2 and the lower costs, which could increase the opportunities for enterprises. Martin also praised Taiwan for having an environment conducive to the development of RFID technology, and suggested that was the reason Microsoft Global Headquarters chose Taiwan as the first location for the product launch.

Aside from seminars and exhibitions, Microsoft Taiwan also welcomed Chang Jung Christian University, Telecommunication Laboratories of Chunghwa Telecom Co., Ltd., Tekho Inc., Formosa Petrochemical Co., Ltd., and Quanta Computer lnc. to introduce their solutions from their earlier integration and show the strength of RFID technologies in Taiwan.

After the launch series in Taiwan, Microsoft Global Headquarters announced that the next launch for BizTalk Server 2006 R2 would be Sydney, Australia on September 13, followed by Chicago, United States on October 2.

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At least 55 killed by Hurricane Katrina; serious flooding across affected region

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At least 55 killed by Hurricane Katrina; serious flooding across affected region
September 14th, 2018 by 6FjUhLbu

Tuesday, August 30, 2005File:Katrina damage.jpg

Thirty people died in the Gulf of Mexico resort of Biloxi when Hurricane Katrina demolished a water-side apartment block, Harrison County emergency operations center spokesman Jim Pollard told AP. However, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency has yet to confirm the news.

At least another twenty have died across the rest of Harrison County; this number is expected to rise. The Governor of the state of Mississippi has asked people to stay away from the area for several days. The towns of Biloxi and Gulfport took the brunt of the hurricane’s 140mph+ winds after it veered away from New Orleans as it made landfall.

Three more people have been killed by falling trees and at least two died in traffic accidents resulting from the hurricane. Hundreds of people have been rescued by boat and helicopter from the roofs of houses cut off by flood water.

The hurricane has caused a storm-surge — the force of the winds has piled the waters of the Gulf of Mexico against the coastline, causing widespread flooding reaching at least a mile inland in places.

A levee on the Lake Pontchartrain canal has broken in two places, causing massive flooding. Some parts of New Orleans are now under 20 feet of water. Flooding seems to have reduced to increasing at a rate of one inch an hour and Army Corps of Engineers are on the scene of the breaks. At aproximately 10:00 PM Central city officials confirmed that a major floodpump has failed, which could result in an additional nine feet of floodwaters.

The western part of New Orleans has been flooded after a two-block long stretch of the 17th Street Levee gave way on Monday afternoon. Much of the city lies below sea level and depends on flood defences to keep it safe. One hospital — that has 1,000 patients inside — has been surrounded by the water. The vice-president of the center has described seeing whitecaps on the waves of the water in a street outside.

A water main pipe has failed, meaning that tap water has been contaminated with flood water, and is no longer safe to drink.

The mayor of the city has described seeing “bodies floating in the water.”

Some 10,000 people remain in the Superdome stadium, despite the electricity supply failing leaving the indoor stadium in darkness. The coverings of the concrete roof of the structure have been stripped away by the wind.

Electricity supplies to 1.3 million people across the south eastern parts of the US have been damaged, and it could be months before power is restored to all affected.

Two oil rigs have broken free of their moorings in the Gulf of Mexico, and a third drifted into a bridge in Mobile Bay, Alabama.

Katrina has now been downgraded to tropical storm status as it moves northwards across the US, and wind speeds have dropped to 60mph. The current death toll does not include the 11 killed in Florida when Katrina struck there last week.

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Interview with Glen Stollery of ScienTOMogy.info

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Interview with Glen Stollery of ScienTOMogy.info
September 9th, 2018 by 6FjUhLbu

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Glen Stollery is a New Zealand website developer who created the site ScienTOMogy.info in mid 2005. The site, which is a parody of Tom Cruise and his involvement with the Church of Scientology, became the centre of controversy when it was served with a number of cease and desist orders initiated by the Church. On March 19, 2006, Glen issued a media release stating that his web hosting provider, YouTube, had removed videos of Tom Cruise which formed part of the site. The release suggested that YouTube had taken this action under external pressure from Cruise or Viacom.

Responding to a query by Wikinews reporters, YouTube stated “We have not received a DMCA notification letter from Viacom.” The Church of Scientology was offered the opportunity to respond to the claims made by Stollery during the interview. No reply was received.

This exclusive interview deals with these issues and others relating to the website. It was conducted with Glen via email between March 21 and April 3, 2006.

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400 pound python seized by wildlife officials in Florida

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400 pound python seized by wildlife officials in Florida
September 5th, 2018 by 6FjUhLbu

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A “monster” Burmese python, weighing in at 400 pounds and stretching 18 feet long, was seized by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials on Friday after it was deemed unsafe in its cage near Lake Apopka, Florida.

The snake, named “Delilah”, is at least 16 years old. Melvin Cheever was caring for Delilah after his brother moved to West Virginia and left the snake behind temporarily. Officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission visited the home after a complaint arose questioning the security of the snake’s chain-link cage.

“I fed her this morning, gave her seven rabbits. She is as docile as can be. She’s as happy as can be,” said Cheever.

Officials called it the largest snake they had ever witnessed. Lt. Rick Brown with the organization’s investigations section said, “To me it’s a Goliath. It’s a monster of a snake.”

The incident occurs amid fears of snakes following the death of a 2-year-old Sumter County girl who was killed by her family’s pet python earlier this summer.

Delilah was transported to a properly licensed caregiver, but is expected to remain there only temporarily.

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Dog owner to face felony charge

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Dog owner to face felony charge
September 5th, 2018 by 6FjUhLbu

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Two dog attacks in a week puts Spotsylania County authorities in the spotlight to take action on pet owners for their dog’s behavior. In unrelated incidences, an elderly woman was killed and another woman was bitten. Three dogs have been shot dead by police.

An 82 year old woman was walking her Shih Tzu breed of dog in her front yard last week when she came under attack by three Pit Bulls. She died being transported to the hospital after police responded and shot two of the attacking dogs. They later captured the third dog and euthanized it.

More recently, a 31 year old woman was bitten on her hand during a fight that ensued between two Pit Bulls in her back yard. The responding police officer shot the aggressor dog.

Public outcry over the death of the elderly woman stirred procecutors to charge the dogs’ owner, Deeana Large, with involuntary manslaughter. This is a first for the Commonwealth of Virginia where charges that carry a maximum penalty of 10 years are leveled in a case involving a pet’s owner. In order to gain an indictment, prosecuters will have to prove the dogs’ owner was criminally negligent. In the biting incident, the attacking dog’s owner faces a misdemeanor charge of letting the dog run at large.

Deeana Large, who initially said she owned only 1 of the 3 dogs involved in the mauling case, has not yet been formally charged and awaits indictment. Investigators in the case say there were earlier reports of her dogs allegedly killing a German Shepard and a kittten in her neighborhood. Complaints by neighbors spurred an animal control officer to be looking for the dogs at the time the woman was killed.

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Death toll from tsunami in Southeast Asia increases

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Death toll from tsunami in Southeast Asia increases
September 2nd, 2018 by 6FjUhLbu
 Correction — May 8, 2018 This headline incorrectly locates the tsunami in Southeast Asia; it was in the South Pacific, as stated in the lede. 

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A tsunami that was generated in the South Pacific by a powerful undersea earthquake has killed at least 110 people, according to authorities.

The majority of the fatalities occurred in Samoa, where rescue workers say at least 84 people were killed. Another 24 people are confirmed dead on American Samoa, while at least seven fatalities have been reported in nearby Tonga.

The US Geological Survey says an 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck early Tuesday local time. It generated waves that devastated coastal areas, knocked down buildings and sent cars floating out to sea.

Strong aftershocks followed the initial earthquake, with at least one measuring a magnitude 5.6. Tsunami alerts were issued for the entire South Pacific region but were later canceled. Survivors fled to high ground and stayed there for hours.

Several villages were destroyed on the southern Samoan coast of Upolu, which is also home to many tourist resorts.

During a flight on from Auckland, New Zealand to Apia, Samoa, Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi told reporters he was shocked by the disaster. “So much has gone. So many people are gone. I’m so shocked, so saddened by all the loss.”

“The situation is very bad,” said Marie-Francoise Borel, a spokesperson for the International Red Cross, to the CTV News Channel by telephone. “This massive wave has swept across – it’s destroyed villages, it’s destroyed homes, people are in shock.”

The assistant chief executive of Samoa’s disaster management predicted that the death toll in the country could surpass one hundred, saying that searches for bodies in the region are still ongoing.

“They are still continuing the searches for any missing bodies in the area. Some areas have been flattened and the tsunami had brought a lot of sand onshore, so there have been reports the sand has covered some of the bodies. So we need specialised machines to search for bodies that are buried under the sand,” he said.

The communications head for the International Federation of the Red Cross, Jason Smith, told the Al Jazeera news agency that the Red Cross “[…] is working hard through five evacuation centres to provide people with safe places to stay and access to clean water,” estimating that up to 15,000 people in sixty villages were affected by the tsunami.

At the capital of American Samoa, Pago Pago, the tsunami measured 1.57 meters in height. The superintendent of the National Park of American Samoa Mike Reynolds reported four waves as high as six meters. People who experienced the quake said it was long, lasting from 90 seconds to three minutes.

We’re focused on bringing in the assistance for people that have been injured, and for the immediate needs of the tens of thousands of survivors down there.

Pago Pago city streets were strewn with overturned vehicles, cars, and debris. Some buildings located only slightly above sea level were completely destroyed by the waves, and power in some locations is not expected to be restored for up to a month. FEMA administrator Craig Fugate said that “we’re focused on bringing in the assistance for people that have been injured, and for the immediate needs of the tens of thousands of survivors down there.”

“The first federal team members are currently en route to American Samoa aboard a Coast Guard plane and will be providing on the ground assessments once they arrive on the island,” Fugate said. “FEMA, who has provisions pre-positioned in a distribution center in Hawaii, is also preparing to send supplies as needed to help meet the immediate needs of the survivors.”

Didi Afuafi, 28, who was riding on a bus in American Samoa when the tsunami struck, described her experiences. “I was scared. I was shocked. All the people on the bus were screaming, crying and trying to call their homes. We couldn’t get on cell phones. The phones just died on us. It was just crazy,” she said. “This is going to be talked about for generations.”

US President Barack Obama declared a major disaster in American Samoa, and has sent federal aid to support local recovery efforts in the US territory.

“My deepest sympathies are with the families who lost loved ones and many people who have been affected by the earthquake and the tsunami,” Obama said. He had earlier pledged in a written statement to give a “swift and aggressive” government response to the disaster.

“I am closely monitoring these tragic events, and have declared a major disaster for American Samoa, which will provide the tools necessary for a full, swift and aggressive response,” Obama said.

During a Wednesday appearance near Washington, D.C., the president said the US was ready to help its “friends” in neighboring Samoa and throughout the region.

In Tonga, seven people were confirmed dead and another three missing, after waves struck Niuatoputapu, a northern island.Acting prime minister Lord Tuita said in a statement that “according to information gathered from Niuatoputapu so far, seven people are confirmed dead, three missing and four with very serious injuries,” Lord Tuita, the acting prime minister, said in a statement. “It is reported that the tsunami did serious damage to the village of Hihifo, which is like the capital of the island.

“The hospital on the island is reported to have suffered major damage; telephone communication has been cut as a result of damage to equipment and facilities on the island; homes and government buildings have been destroyed,” he said.

An airplane was reportedly chartered by Tongan authorities to determine the amount of damage done to Niuatoputapu, but wasn’t able to land.

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