Report: Great Lakes Feeling Effects of Rapid Climate Warming

0806E02A-BE2A-4116-BFCF-470A0B14D5B0In this March 12, 2019 satellite photo provided by NOAA, shows the Great Lakes in various degrees of snow and ice. A scientific report says the Great Lakes region is warming faster than the rest of the U.S., which likely will bring more flooding and other extreme weather events such as heat waves and drought. NOAA via AP

 

The Great Lakes region is warming faster than the rest of the United States, a trend likely to bring more extreme storms while also degrading water quality, worsening erosion and posing tougher challenges for farming, scientists reported Thursday.

The annual mean air temperature in the region, which includes portions of the U.S. Midwest, Northeast and southern Canada, rose 1.6 degrees (0.9 Celsius) from 1901-60 and 1985-2016, according to the report commissioned by the Chicago-based Environmental Law & Policy Center. During the same periods, the mean temperature for the remainder of the contiguous U.S. rose 1.2 degrees (0.7 Celsius).

Warming is expected to continue this century, with rates depending on the volume of heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide and methane that humans pump into the atmosphere. As the air warms, it will hold more moisture, which likely will mean heavier winter snowstorms and spring rains — with more flooding in vulnerable areas. Yet summers will be hotter and drier.

“Climate change is already affecting the climate of the Great Lakes region and the physical behavior of the Great Lakes themselves,” said Don Weubbles, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Illinois and former assistant director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Obama administration.

The five Great Lakes hold about one-fifth of the world’s surface fresh water and are so large that they influence regional weather. They keep nearby lands cooler in summer and warmer in winter than those farther inland, while their humidity fuels lake-effect snowfall and summer rains. In addition to providing drinking water for millions of people, they are the backbone of an economy built on manufacturing, agriculture and tourism.

A warming climate will add to stresses the lakes have suffered from industrial pollution and development, particularly overflows from urban sewer systems that carry harmful bacteria, said the report produced by 18 scientists, most from Midwestern universities as well as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

While annual U.S. precipitation increased 4 percent between 1901 and 2015, it jumped nearly 10 percent in the Great Lakes region, with much of the increase due to unusually large storms, the report said. Future precipitation is likely to happen less evenly, decreasing 5 to 15 percent in the summer by 2100.

Heat waves should become more common, posing risks for the elderly and children with asthma. By the end of the century, the region should have up to 40 additional days with temperatures exceeding 90 degrees (32.2 Celsius).

Winter snowfall should decrease in most places, although locales accustomed to lake effect squalls can expect them to dump even more snow — particularly along the Lake Ontario snowbelt in New York.

The study did not include a cost-benefit analysis of a warming climate’s likely results. Several of the scientists said in a phone news conference there may be some bright spots but that the economic impact would be mostly negative.

The region could have longer growing seasons, said Brad Cardinale of the University of Michigan’s Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research. But the report suggests that benefit could be offset by wetter springs that make it harder to plant crops, plus increasing drought and heat in summer. Corn and soybean yields are expected to drop 10 to 30 percent by the century’s end.

Drinking water quality will be degraded by more releases of untreated sewage during heavy storms and runoff of nutrients that feed harmful algae blooms, some toxic. While such blooms are common on Lake Erie and portions of Lakes Huron and Michigan, they’ve also begun showing up in deep, frigid Lake Superior — an unprecedented development, said Lucinda Johnson of the University of Minnesota at Duluth.

Beaches, dunes and shorelines will experience more erosion from heavier rainfall, the report predicted.

It’s uncertain how climate change will affect water levels in the Great Lakes, which already fluctuate periodically, the scientists said. Warmer temperatures will produce less ice cover, boosting evaporation and pushing levels down. But they could rise in years with especially heavy precipitation and temporary deep freezes caused by southward migration of frigid polar air.

Although the Trump administration has reversed federal policies intended to prevent climate change, states and local governments can take measures such as increasing energy efficiency, stepping up use of renewable sources and preventing runoff of nutrient-rich manure from large livestock farms, said Howard Learner, president of the Environmental Law & Policy Center.

“We cannot wait for the Trump administration to accept sound science,” Learner said. “We need to step up and act.”

 

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Iowa Mom of Baby Found Dead in Maggot-Infested Diaper Sentenced to Life in Prison

NEW HAMPTON, Iowa — A northeast Iowa mother found guilty of her baby son’s murder will spend the rest of her life in prison.

Online court records show 21-year-old Cheyanne Harris was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole. She was found guilty of her four-month-old son Sterling Koehn’s murder earlier this month.

The baby was found dead in a child swing in August of 2017 in his parents’ apartment in Alta Vista. Investigators say he had been wearing the same maggot-infested diaper for at least nine days and weighed under seven pounds at the time of his death.

The baby’s father, Zachary Koehn, was found guilty of first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death back in November. He was also sentenced to life in prison.

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Police: Mesa man accused of bestiality involving a cat

WARNING: Graphic content

MESA, Ariz. (FOX 10) — A man is accused of having sexual contact with his pet cat and injuring the animal — and according to court documents, this may not have been the first time he allegedly had sex with the feline.

On March 20, police received a call regarding a man who had taken his cat into an apartment unit’s bathroom and called out for help, saying the cat was stuck on his penis.

According to the police report, an officer at the scene near University Drive and Lindsay Road said the defendant refused to open the door to the apartment. When the officer gained entry, he “observed the defendant naked, standing in the middle of the bathroom with a cat partially wrapped in a towel placed by his genitals.”

Police stated the defendant, identified as 40-year-old Michael Navage, immediately began saying “he was only drying his cat off.”

According to the officer at the scene, “During my investigation, one of the witnesses told me he heard what he thought was a cat in distress. He heard the defendant in the bathroom yelling at the cat and calling that cat a whore.. and telling it to stop [expletive].

Navage denied having intercourse with the cat, saying it was impossible for him to do so.

During an exam, a veterinarian noticed superficial wounds to the cat’s anal area. X-rays indicated the feline had suffered previous rib and pelvic injuries, which are consistent with a larger object being inserted into the orifice.

Navage told the investigating officer that he has had the cat since it was a kitten and he loves his cat.

Methamphetamine was also found in the apartment, along with bags containing IDs, credit cards and a checkbook which had other names on them besides Navage’s. Police say Navage was also in possession of a $100 bill that appeared to be fake.

Navage was taken into custody and during an interview, he admitted to buying an ounce of methamphetamine that was found in the apartment, finding the identifications, checks, credit cards and not attempting to return them to the owner.

Police say there is probable cause to charge Navage with dangerous drug-possession for sale, dangerous drug-possession use, forgery, drug paraphernalia possession/use, bestiality and animal cruelty.

Navage was released from jail and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 1.

Bretta Nelson of the Arizona Humane Society says the five-month-old male cat is under the care of AHS’ trauma hospital.

 

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Mother Russia: South Florida Sees a Boom in ‘Birth Tourism’

Hundreds of pregnant Russian women travel to the United States every year to give birth so that their child can acquire all the privileges of American citizenship.

In this photo taken on Jan. 24, 2019, Denis Wolok, the father of 1-month-old Eva’s father, shows the child’s U.S. passport during an interview with The Associated Press in Hollywood, Fla. Every year, hundreds of pregnant Russian women, like Wolok’s wife, Olga Zemlyanaya, travel to the United States to give birth so that their child can acquire all the privileges of American citizenship. (AP Photo/Iuliia Stashevska) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

MIAMI (AP) — Every year, hundreds of pregnant Russian women travel to the United States to give birth so that their child can acquire all the privileges of American citizenship.

They pay anywhere from $20,000 to sometimes more than $50,000 to brokers who arrange their travel documents, accommodations and hospital stays, often in Florida.

While the cost is high, their children will be rewarded with opportunities and travel advantages not available to their Russian countrymen. The parents themselves may benefit someday as well.

And the decidedly un-Russian climate in South Florida and the posh treatment they receive in the maternity wards — unlike dismal clinics back home — can ease the financial sting and make the practice seem more like an extended vacation.

The Russians are part of a wave of “birth tourists” that includes sizable numbers of women from China and Nigeria.

President Donald Trump has spoken out against the provision in the U.S. Constitution that allows “birthright citizenship” and has vowed to end it, although legal experts are divided on whether he can actually do that.

Although there have been scattered cases of authorities arresting operators of birth tourism agencies for visa fraud or tax evasion, coming to the U.S. to give birth is fundamentally legal. Russians interviewed by The Associated Press said they were honest about their intentions when applying for visas and even showed signed contracts with doctors and hospitals.

There are no figures on how many foreign women travel to the U.S. specifically to give birth. The Center for Immigration Studies, a group that advocates for stricter immigration laws, estimated that in 2012, about 36,000 foreign-born women gave birth in the U.S., then left the country.

The Russian contingent is clearly large. Anton Yachmenev of the Miami Care company that arranges such trips, told the AP that about 150 Russian families a year use his service, and that there are about 30 such companies just in the area.

South Florida is popular among Russians not only for its tropical weather but also because of the large Russian-speaking population. Sunny Isles Beach, a city just north of Miami, is even nicknamed “Little Moscow.”

“With $30,000, we would not be able to buy an apartment for our child or do anything, really. But we could give her freedom. That’s actually really cool,” said Olga Zemlyanaya, who gave birth to a daughter in December and was staying in South Florida until her child got a U.S. passport.

An American passport confers many advantages. Once the child turns 21, he or she can apply for “green card” immigration status for the parents.

A U.S. passport also gives the holder more travel opportunities than a Russian one; Americans can make short-term trips to more than 180 countries without a visa, while Russians can go visa-free only to about 80.

Traveling to the U.S. on a Russian passport often requires a laborious interview process for a visa. Just getting an appointment for the interview can take months.

Some Russians fear that travel opportunities could diminish as tensions grow between Moscow and the West, or that Russia might even revert to stricter Soviet-era rules for leaving the country.

“Seeing the conflict growing makes people want to take precautions because the country might well close its borders. And if that happens, one would at least have a passport of a different country and be able to leave,” said Ilya Zhegulev, a journalist for the Latvia-based Russian website Meduza that is sharply critical of the Kremlin.

Last year, Zhegulev sold two cars to finance a trip to California for him and his wife so she could give birth to their son.

Trump denounced birthright citizenship before the U.S. midterm election, amid ramped up rhetoric on his hard-line immigration policies. The president generally focuses his ire on the U.S.-Mexico border. But last fall he mentioned he was considering executive action to revoke citizenship for babies born to non-U.S. citizens on American soil. No executive action has been taken.

The American Civil Liberties Union, other legal groups and even former House Speaker Paul Ryan, typically a supporter of Trump’s proposals, said the practice couldn’t be ended with an order.

But others, like the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for less immigration, said the practice is harmful.

“We should definitely do everything we can to end it, because it makes a mockery of citizenship,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, an outspoken Russian lawmaker, said the country can’t forbid women from giving birth abroad, and many of them also travel to Germany and Israel.

“Trump is doing everything right, because this law is used as a ploy. People who have nothing to do with the U.S. use it to become citizens,” Zhirinovsky said.

Floridians have shown no problem with the influx of expectant mothers from Russia.

Yachmenev, the agency manager, says he believes it’s good for the state because it brings in sizable revenue.

Svetlana Mokerova and her husband went all out, renting an apartment with a sweeping view. She relished the tropical vibe, filling her Instagram account with selfies backed by palm trees and ocean vistas.

“We did not have a very clear understanding about all the benefits” of a U.S. passport, she said.

“We just knew that it was something awesome,” added Mokerova, who gave birth to a daughter after she was interviewed.

Zemlyanaya said that even her two nights in the hospital were a treat, like “a stay in a good hotel.”

In contrast to the few amenities of a Russian clinic, she said she was impressed when an American nurse gave her choices from a menu for her meals.

“And then when she said they had chocolate cake for dessert, I realized I was in paradise,” Zemlyanaya added.

She even enjoyed how nurses referred to patients as “mommies,” as opposed to “rozhenitsa,” or “birth-giver” — the “unpleasant words they use in Russian birth clinics.”

Zemlyanaya said she was able to work remotely during her stay via the internet, as were the husbands of other women, keeping their income flowing. Yachmenev said his agency doesn’t allow any of the costs to be paid by insurance.

Most of the families his agency serves have monthly incomes of about 300,000 rubles ($4,500) — middling by U.S. standards but nearly 10 times the average Russian salary.

Yachmenev said he expects that birth tourism among Russians will only grow.

Business declined in 2015 when the ruble lost about half its value, but “now we are coming back to the good numbers of 2013-14,” he said.

___

Associated Press writers Curt Anderson in Miami and Varya Kudryavtseva in Moscow contributed to this report.

 

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Video shows White man violently beating Black woman for blocking his car in parking lot!

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DALLAS (KTVT) – Video has emerged of a shocking assault in Dallas committed last week, as a bartender beat a woman for blocking him in a parking lot.

Dallas police say it started with an exchange of words between a man, 30-year-old Austin Shuffield, and a 24-year-old woman. Her car was reportedly blocking the exit behind a barbershop and bar where Shuffield works serving drinks.

The Dallas Morning News reported the victim told police she had stopped her car after she realized she was driving the wrong way down a street. In the video, Shuffield can be seen confronting her with a gun in his hand.

When the victim pulled out her phone to call 911, Sheffield slapped it out of her hand, and she hit him.

At that point Shuffield delivered as many as five violent punches and uppercuts to the woman, while witnesses recording the video gasped in disbelief.

“It’s horrific, what happened in the video itself,” said the owner of the barbershop bar.

He said it was shocking to see such violent behavior from what he called a “very good employee.”

Video shows man’s brutal assault of woman over parking lot dispute

On Facebook, the barbershop said it does not stand behind the actions that took place and “hope that the full weight of the law comes down on this incident.”

According to the Morning News, Shuffield has been charged in the assault. He has also been fired by the barbershop.

The condition of the victim is unknown.

 

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Amazon driver shot and paralyzed over Handicapped parking spot forgives shooter??!!

Man_Paralyzed_In_Parking_Space_Shooting_7_76784574_ver1.0_640_360

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) – At 21 years old, with two jobs and a 1-year-old son, Jaylen Walker was always on the go.

But now, the motor that raises and lowers his hospital bed is about the only way he can move.

“I’ll be paralyzed for the rest of my life,” Walker said from his bed in the intensive care unit at Saint Louis University Hospital.

Instead of life in a Level 1 Trauma Center, Walker was working as a personal trainer and as an Amazon delivery driver with a plan for his future.

“I wanted to go back to school and play college basketball, play with my son just like any other father would,” he said with his family beside his bed.

Tuesday, Walker said he had just finished his Amazon shift when he stopped in a St. Charles Target parking lot to help a fellow driver.

He admitted he parked in a disabled parking spot. What happened next, he and his family can’t understand.

Prosecutors said 65-year-old Larry Thomlison confronted Walker.

Walker said Thomlison approached him and “asked me why the hell I parked in a handicapped spot and I told him, ‘I’m gonna move it,'” recalled Walker. “And he kept harassing me.”

Walker said Thomlison punched him and he fought back.

“When he pulled the gun out my eyes were just amazed. I tried to run in between two cars. He had a nice aim and hit me right in the spine,” said Walker.

Prosecutors said surveillance video shows Walker trying to run away when he was shot in the back. The bullet paralyzed him from the stomach area down.

On Wednesday, St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar charged Thomlison with first degree assault and armed criminal action.

 

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Seminole County kindergarten teacher, former boyfriend accused of producing child pornography

os-1552673936-gcia9kxsyc-snap-imageJustin Ritchie and Audra Mabel (Seminole County Jail)

 

A Seminole County kindergarten teacher and her former boyfriend are accused of recording themselves sexually abusing young children, court records show.

Audra Mabel, 34, is facing federal charges of creating child pornography and sexual exploitation of a child. Justin Ritchie, 36, is accused of sexual assault of a child in Seminole County.

The investigation started March 5, after a preschool-aged child Ritchie is related to told her mother he had touched her inappropriately, according to his arrest affidavit. The mother took her child to Seminole County deputies that day, records show.

Sanford police officers spoke with the child the next day, records show. She told them Ritchie had touched her inappropriately “many times” and that there was video of the incidents on his cell phone, according to Ritchie’s arrest affidavit.

Officers arrested Ritchie March 8 as he stepped out of an Uber in front of his home after returning from a business trip to Chicago, records show. They had a search warrant for his cell phone and other devices, on which they found the videos, records show.

Authorities said they also found videos of Mabel inappropriately touching a young child she is related to, and video that showed Mabel in a Michigan where she taught first grade. In the video, Mabel exposes herself before turning the camera toward a classroom full of children, investigators said.

Mabel worked as a kindergarten teacher at Spring Lake Elementary School, according to a directory posted on the schools’s website. A Seminole County Public Schools spokesman said Mabel, who was hired full-time by the district in December, has been fired.

Mabel and Ritchie are being held in the Seminole County Jail without bond.

 

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