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Top Medical Experts conduct Virtual Pandemic Preparation and Response- US Navy

Medical experts from six African nations, the United Kingdom and the United States, participated in a Virtual Pandemic Preparation and Response Engagement on March 16 in support of Obangame Express 2021, the largest multinational maritime exercise in Western Africa.

The virtual medical event served as an opportunity for partner nations to discuss infectious disease surveillance and virus outbreak response. Participants included medical leaders from Nigeria, Senegal, Côte D’Ivoire, Gabon, Liberia and Ghana, along with medical professionals from the U.S. Navy and United Kingdom. These experts exchanged lessons learned from previous epidemics in their respective countries, as well as the unprecedented worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.


USGS Crews Work Fast to Capture Critical Ida Flooding Measurements-USGS

Five days after Hurricane Ida made landfall, leaving behind catastrophic flooding and significant damage in its path, U.S. Geological Survey scientists started quickly working a multi-week effort to capture high-water mark elevations in some of the most impacted areas. Teams from USGS water science centers in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland are working together to preserve, document, and survey elevations of more than 200 combined high-water marks left from flooding caused by Ida’s heavy rains.

“We are working with federal and state partners, along with the New York City mayor’s office to coordinate our high-water mark collection effort in the hardest-hit communities of New York City,” said Ronald Busciolano, a supervisory hydrologist at the USGS New York Water Science Center.  “Our marks will provide ground-truth to other ongoing mapping efforts and be used by emergency managers to define the extent and depth of flooding in impacted areas, which decision-makers can use as they work to protect their communities from future flooding.”

The USGS experts are looking for telltale lines of seeds, leaves, grass blades and other debris left behind on buildings, bridges, other structures, and even tree trunks as floodwaters recede. Once they find these high-water marks, they label them, photograph them, survey them, and record crucial details about them. The physical signs of flooding provide valuable information that can confirm or correct other lines of evidence.


Five geologists spent two weeks in the Alaskan wilderness studying one of the fastest-moving earthquake faults in North America. Project leader Rob Witter led the team on the expedition to the Fairweather Fault, only accessible by boat, with the group camping outdoors during their field work.

Even though their work takes place 500 miles from the contiguous U.S., much of what the team will learn during the ongoing project can be utilized in many other areas.

“Our research in Alaska likely will have its greatest impact elsewhere in the U.S., by informing federal agencies and the public about the seismic hazards posed by the Fairweather Fault,” said Witter. “Our data will be used to update the Alaska seismic hazard map, part of the collection of USGS maps used to support effective building codes. Other federal agencies, such as the National Park Service, NOAA, U.S. Forest Service, and FEMA use our data to increase public safety related to earthquake and tsunami hazards.”


Days after fatal debris flows devastated Southern California’s Montecito community,  a team of U.S. Geological Survey geologists joined county, state, and federal partners to survey and  evaluate the aftermath. Commonly known as mudslides or mudflows,  debris flows are slurries  of water, rock, soil, vegetation, and boulders with the consistency of wet concrete that can move rapidly  downhill and down channel.

USGS geologists from the Landslide Hazards Program and Earthquake Science Center  deployed to Santa Barbara County to support a geohazard assessment of the Montecito area; led by the California Geological Survey,  with the support of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE).

“We’re  mapping the area that’s been inundated by debris flows so that we are able to get some sense of the spatial extent of the area  debris flows impacted,  as well as the magnitude of the flows,”  said USGS geologist Dennis Staley. “We will also be able to produce a forensic reconstruction of what happened throughout the event.”


Early in his college career, U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist Rufus Catchings became drawn to the mysteries that lie beneath the earth’s surface — and was determined to understand them. This interest began during the first geology conference he attended, while an undergraduate student at Appalachian State University, North Carolina.

“I remember there was a huge debate that broke out about the sub-surface of the earth and whether there were faults in various locations,” said Catchings. “ I felt that it really wasn’t that difficult to solve. I thought they could’ve used geophysical techniques to answer those types of questions. Early on, I became very interested in the physics of the earth.”

Sparked by this newfound passion, Catchings, one of the first African-American research geophysicists to join the USGS in 1979,  started what was to become a much-lauded career in geophysical science. He began to advance the understanding of seismic activity with his groundbreaking sub-surface research.


Struggles of single moms — Democrat and Chronicle

Six months ago, Karen Tyson made a difficult decision: She and Chaunté, her 9-year-old daughter, walked out.

“There was domestic violence in the home, so I knew I needed to separate myself from that,” shesaid. “I had to reestablish myself all over again.”

Tyson, 44, left her husband – without her own car, job or place to live – and started her life over as a single mother, risking poverty in exchange for safety.

Now, as the sole head of her new household, she and her daughter live on the $1,700 a month she receives in disability payments. Like 78 percent of the Rochester households with children that are headed by women, they’re living below what it takes to make ends meet.


Homeless face losing refuge —Democrat and Chronicle

The dark corners of the Civic Center parking garage are the closest thing Nathan Prasad has to a home. The concrete floor is his bed.

Unemployed and battling drug addiction, Prasad, 23, is one of about a dozen homeless men and women who take shelter in the Monroe County-owned garage on cold nights. Some have come, off and on, for years or even decades.

The garage was privatized in 2003 and is owned by Civic Center Monroe County Local Development Corp., which is a nonprofit company created by county officials to take ownership of county assets.

Now, amid what operators say are growing customer complaints and declining sanitary conditions, the encampment is facing closure.


In Gates, a pricey problem : Owners, town fight flood maps — Democrat and Chronicle 

Sixty-nine-year-old Len Perno has lived in his Gates home for 30 years. He always imagined that he would one day sell his house and move with his wife to a ranch near their children.

That dream was dampened after his property and more than 100 others in town were placed into possible flood hazard zones by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 2008.

“Now, with the devalue of the property, it sort of prohibits me from (selling my home),” he said. “I’ve never had a flood. I’ve never had anything close to flood.”

Perno is now paying more than $1,000 a year for new mandatory flood insurance and says he’s facing an up to 30 percent decrease in property value.


’12 Years’ descendants proud of family history–Democrat and Chronicle 

Born a free man in upstate New York – then later kidnapped and sold into slavery – Solomon Northup’s story,now a film, is not just entertainment for his Rochester-native descendents.

Northup’s biopic, 12 Years a Slave, named after his 1853 memoir, details his treacherous journey through slavery from 1841 to 1853 on major Louisiana cotton plantations.

“My sufferings,” Northup wrote: “I can compare to nothing else than the burning agonies of hell!”

Northup was born in Minerva, Essex County, and worked as a successful musician, cab driver and carpenter in Saratoga Springs, Saratoga County, for years before his abduction in Washington, D.C. He worked on different plantations, owned by some he praised for their humanity and others he criticized for their cruelty.

“I read the book myself three times, and each time I had a different emotion, but overall, I’m very, very proud,” said Kevin Linzy, 51, Northup’s great-great-great-grandson. “I really want not just Rochester, but the world to know about Solomon Northup, what he did and what he stood for at that time.”


Families in crisis rely on housing program–Times-Mail

Tyler Babbs vividly remembers the night his family became homeless. A tornado struck the 10-year-old’s home on May 25, scattering his family’s life to the wind.“I always been scared of storms, and that was my biggest fright,” Tyler said, trying to hold back tears. “I was scared, and I could hear my mom and sisters screaming.”

He remembers the chaos and panic that ensued as the tornado lifted the mobile home off the ground. His mother, Marie Carter, said their home was then dropped five feet while her husband, two daughters, youngest son and two family friends were inside.“Our walls were blown in and half of our roof was ripped off,” she said. “It wasn’t livable at that point.”

According to Carter, the family went back to their home on Ind. 45 on May 31 and attempted to salvage anything that remained. They found it hadbeen bulldozed by their landlord without notification.


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