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January 2, 2014

Early reports indicate massive blizzard to strike northeastern portions of US late Thursday

Early reports indicate massive blizzard to strike northeastern portions of US late Thursday

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

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File photo of a commuter train in Boston during a snow storm.

Early media reports today indicate experts are predicting a massive blizzard to hit the northeastern United States late this evening. Such storms, coloquially called “Nor’easters“, often wreak havoc across cities and smaller towns. The storm itself may ultimately stretch across 22 states, potentially effecting about one-third of the country’s population.

The city of New York came under a winter storm warning late yesterday evening, with nine inches of snow predicted to fall. Sources also indicate Long Island may experience wind chills as severe as 10 below zero Fahrenheit (about 23 below zero Celsius). Boston schools were reportedly closed for tomorrow, though the press secretary for Boston’s mayor had earlier, regarding braving cold weather, described New Englanders as “hardy”.

By 2pm today Chicago O’Hare airport had experienced 592 flight cancellations. Many homeless shelters across the Northeast region are expected to be filled to capacity or beyond. Weather officials have speculated that next week, parts of Wisconsin could experience the coldest temperatures in nearly seventeen years, since February 1996.



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December 20, 2013

Public health officials advise on rising flu levels in Texas 2013/2014 season

Public health officials advise on rising flu levels in Texas 2013/2014 season

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Friday, December 20, 2013

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Image: Biggishben.

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With current flu levels classified as “high” around the state, public health officials in Texas are encouraging citizens to seek vaccination. While many officials anticipated the flu season to peak in January, it has seemingly arrived much earlier in many parts of the state.

Health officials are urging citizens to seek care with their primary doctors, instead of their local hospital emergency rooms. They also recommend that everyone over age six months receive a flu vaccination. Thus far in December, over 450 cases of influenza have been reported in just a small portion of central Texas. Four recent deaths are being blamed on a flu-like illness. Other citizens are also showing signs of the same unknown condition, health officials said.

A nurse for a Texas school system noted during a media interview, “The number one prevention for the flu and cold is hand washing, [from] little kids [up to] big kids.” People suffering from the symptoms report fever, and coughing along with headaches and fatigue. One Texas man told Wikinews, “I had the flu just a few weeks ago. It was awful. I was miserable.”



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October 21, 2013

Controversy brews surrounding small Texas church

Controversy brews surrounding small Texas church

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Monday, October 21, 2013

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The Church of Wells, based in the small town of Wells, Texas has been at the center of significant media activity in recent days. Wikinews spoke with a Tyler, Texas minister who had an encounter with Church of Wells members recently.

In the media, reports have surfaced surrounding Catherine Grove, a 26 year-old Arkansas woman who recently joined the Church of Wells. Grove’s parents and other family say they’ve hardly communicated with her since July. Grove’s parents have been in Wells since July, hoping to have a chance to speak with her directly.

A Latin Cross, a comon symbol of Christianity.
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Tyler, Texas is a city located about 70 miles north of Wells. The Tyler minister explained to Wikinews, he and several of his church members were distributing food and water to homeless citizens in downtown Tyler when they were accosted by members of the group. He described the individuals as appearing “[…] very robotic, kind of disengaged and had very big eyes.” The Church of Wells’ group’s leader became “very agitated” and yelled at the minister and his parishioners. The minister said he recognized the Church of Wells members from recent news coverage. Elaborating on the encounter, he recalled, “At one time, I happened to call him ‘brother’. He replied, “Don’t call me brother. I don’t think you and I serve the same Christ.” He reported the Church of Wells leader also insulted one of the other church’s volunteers, stating, “Look at you. You look just like the world.”

The minister reported the Church of Wells members even followed his group on foot for about two city blocks, and began yelling and hurling insults at them when they arrived at the city’s square plaza. When asked if he believes the Church of Wells to be a cult, the minister replied, “The way they were yelling and the leader seemingly believed that our church member absolutely had to share his testimony aloud with him, specifically him, that’s why I can say with comfort that this group is a cult. A cult is controlling and exclusive. All the women dressed the same. He resorted to name calling. He called me a blasphemer, he called me a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Often, when someone begins to feel as if they’re losing traction on an argument, they’ll often shift over into name calling.” The minister continued, “As we were about to leave, [the Church of Wells group leader] said, ‘Prophets of God are not to be mocked.’ I said, ‘Brother, there are no more prophets. It ended with Jesus. Yes, there are preachers and ministers, but the prophets have ended.’ I believe the man thinks he is a prophet.”



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October 9, 2013

Wikinews interviews President of the International Brotherhood of Magicians

Wikinews interviews President of the International Brotherhood of Magicians

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

File photo of magician David Gish displaying magic props for a young child.
Image: Paul Budd.

October is National Magic Month in the United States. Wikinews spoke with William Evans, president of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, about the current state of magic and what its future looks like in the world of entertainment.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png For how long have you been involved in performing/studying magic?

William Evans: Over 50 years. I am 61 now so I really started when I was about 10 years old even though I had seen and worked with some basic tricks a few years earlier. I remember going into Hollywood Magic and wanting that big red box with the dragons on it and I didn’t even know what it did. The magician behind the counter was wise enough not to sell it to me, but instead sold me two books which I still own today — “Scarne on Card Tricks” and “Scarne on Magic Tricks”. That started me out on books and I have amassed quite a few since then. My major influences on performance are Eugene Burger and Michael Skinner.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png October is National Magic Month in the US. Do you think magic is alive as a viable form of entertainment today?

WE: Absolutely. There are more magicians working today than ever before. There will always be an audience for good magicians doing good magic.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Has the internet helped or hurt magic?

WE: Both. I think it has helped draw younger people to magic as a hobby, but I think it has hurt the ability of young magicians to think because so many rely on the internet for everything and they aren’t reading the books. We have to have knowledge of the history of magic and what has been done before. Moreover, seeing someone perform on the internet takes away the use of our senses, originality and imagination that reading and thinking about magic can produce. Anyone can become a monkey; it takes serious study to become a magician.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you travel much in your current role?

WE: Yes, I am traveling quite a bit. After I was inducted as International President in Phoenix in July, I have been to the Jeff McBride Experience in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Magic Live in Las Vegas, The Midwest Magic Jubilee in St. Louis, the TAOM in Dallas, the British Ring Convention in Buxton, England and the Magic Circle in London. I am going to Las Vegas and Los Angeles next month, Italy in November, back to Las Vegas in December, Mexico in January, Magi-Fest in February, the Winter Carnival of Magic in Tennessee in March, Eureka Springs Cavalcade of Magic in March, and the FFFF in April. That’s as of now.



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March 25, 2013

Science museum hosts first-ever \’Maker Faire\’ for city of Tyler, Texas

Science museum hosts first-ever ‘Maker Faire’ for city of Tyler, Texas

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Monday, March 25, 2013

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On Saturday, Discovery Science Place hosted a mini Maker Faire in Tyler, Texas. Multiple vendors and exhibitors were on hand. An art car, featuring what might be the largest collection of singing robotic lobsters anywhere in the world was on display, curiously titled the “Sashimi Tabernacle Choir.” A large modular analog synthesizer was also available for attendees to experiment with, designed by staff at Synthesizers.com.

Some exhibits were quite simple, showing how to modify inexpensive radio-controlled cars using epoxy and LEGO bricks. Two three-dimensional printers were displayed, showing attendees how the new technology operates. Outdoor exhibits included multiple forms of robots and flying drone-style aircraft (see video below). According to a news release, the event is one of 60 planned to occur worldwide this year.

Numerous volunteers were on hand to assist with the event. Colleges and university groups were on hand, including representatives from The University of Texas at Tyler, among others.

A public display of a radio-controlled mini drone-style bot.
Video: Buddpaul.



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February 13, 2013

Texas man appears before judge following fatal mall shooting

Texas man appears before judge following fatal mall shooting

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

File photo of a Smith and Wesson handgun.
Image: David Grenier.

Ricky Neal, Jr. appeared before a judge on Monday at 3:00pm CST following his alleged role in the shooting death of 23 year-old Chris Mass at a shopping mall in Tyler, Texas on Saturday.

Police say Neal killed the former high school basketball and football star in the mall’s parking lot, after arguing with him in a store located inside the mall. The argument appeared to have centered around some “Tweets” sent via the popular social networking site Twitter.

Reports also indicate Neal faces an assault charge after police say he shot at Jonathan Dews of Tyler during the incident, but missed. Bail was set at US$1.25 million for Neal. Early reports indicated Neal and the victim had been involved in an additional altercation before Saturday.

During Neal’s court appearance, the judge appointed local attorney O.M. “Buddy” Lloyd to represent Neal as his public defender. Neal told the judge he was unable to afford to pay an attorney. Neal was actually employed at the Champ’s sporting goods store inside the mall where the argument began, but reportedly he was there as a customer at the time the argument began.


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January 14, 2013

Healthcare workers, public officials struggle to address Influenza outbreak across much of U.S.

Healthcare workers, public officials struggle to address influenza outbreak across much of U.S.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

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The influenza virus under an electron microscope.
Image: CDC.

Physicians and others are struggling to address a growing outbreak of influenza affecting a large portion of the United States. Earlier this week, the Mayor of Boston declared a “flu emergency” for the city, as 700 cases of the virus were reported.

Public officials in Texas have urged citizens to receive a flu shot. The state’s public health Commissioner said in a press release, “The best thing people can do to protect themselves is to get a dose of flu vaccine now.” Doctors are telling citizens to wash their hands, get a flu shot and avoid sick people if possible to lessen chances of catching the virus. However, a report released on Friday noted that 7.3% of deaths last week were a result of pneumonia and the flu.

A total of 20 children in the United States have died during this flu season from flu-related illnesses. The Centers for Disease Control reports nine out of 10 regions in the United States had “elevated” flu activity. These data indicate that seasonal flu has spread and reached high levels several weeks before the usual time of late January or February. New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo declared a state-wide public health emergency on Saturday. He also issued an executive order which allows pharmacists to administer flu vaccinations to patients between six months and 18 years of age.



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December 23, 2012

High winds in Texas cause property damage and utilities loss for many

High winds in Texas cause property damage and utilities loss for many

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

A tree fell on this home located in Chandler late Wednesday evening during the storm.

Wind storms swept across a large part of Texas on Wednesday, leaving property damaged and many homes without power.

Downed lamposts and trees were reported in multiple locales. One media source reported overturned playground equipment in the city of Rockwall. Winds up to 40 miles-per-hour (mph) were reported over much of the DallasFort Worth Metroplex. Approximately 9,500 people within Tarrant and Dallas counties were without electrical power as late as Thursday afternoon.

A car covered in a thick film of dust on Thursday morning.

Late Wednesday evening, the National Weather Service reported winds at Dallas Love Field up to 66 mph. The city of Edgewood recorded wind speeds up to 70 mph during the storm; three homes, two barns and two business buildings sustained damage. A home in Chandler was damaged when a tree was toppled during the storm (see photo at left).

Dust from as far away as west Texas covered vehicles and other property early Thursday morning in the eastern part of the state. A car wash manager in Tyler told media his business cleaned about three hundred cars on Thursday, busier than usual even for holiday season.


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August 27, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac creates worries across US gulf states

Tropical Storm Isaac creates worries across US gulf states

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Monday, August 27, 2012

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Satellite file photo of Hurricane Katrina from 2005.

Tropical Storm Isaac is creating a swathe of concerns across many gulf states in the US, as it sweeps into the Florida Keys.

As of 5:00pm EDT, Miami area winds were measuring at 60 miles per hour. Authorities indicated 5,180 homes across Broward county are without electricity. According to media sources, the governor of Louisiana anticipates giving evacuation orders as early as Monday morning.

Hurricane warnings have been issued in the Florida Panhandle, sweeping as far west as Louisiana. Sunday afternoon, Louisiana’s Governor Jindal issued a state of emergency for the state. Over 450 flights at Miami International Airport were canceled this weekend, in light of the storm’s arrival.

Ultimately, the storm’s winds could reach as high as 110 mph, according to sources. The mayor of New Orleans told media that many residents there are nervous. The last time a hurricane struck the Gulf coast was in 2008.



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Wikinews finds citizens\’ feelings, actions throughout Texas regarding West Nile virus threat vary greatly

Wikinews finds citizens’ feelings, actions throughout Texas regarding West Nile virus threat vary greatly

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Monday, August 27, 2012

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Wikinews spoke to several residents of the US state of Texas finding varying opinions, and responses, to the threat from the West Nile virus; this, in contrast to the troubling media reports released recently. The state as a whole has seen more than 400 confirmed instances of the illness so-far this year.

A girl applies insect repellant to her arm.

A Longview woman, said, “[…] It’s terrifying. I’m so scared.” The woman was quick to point out a virus-related death occured in her city the same day. When asked about her daily routines, in light of the virus, she said, “I don’t go outside. I stay indoors. West Nile [virus] is bad.” The Director of Nursing for a large encampment located near Tyler said their operation had seen no cases of the illness, despite serving over 19,000 campers this summer. Her staff took no special precautions during August.

Although having some worries, Jimmy Philmont, 39, of Fairfield told Wikinews, “[…] I don’t let it keep me up at night. Overall, I’m not too scared.” Asked if he was aware of recent virus-related deaths in Texas, Philmont said, “Yeah, I am. That’s kind of scary. But, you have to live your life, you know? The world is hot now. You can’t go hide in a hole somewhere.” Earlier in the month, Tim Whitley, a city official in Malakoff, told Wikinews his city had began using a pesticide specialist to spray twice-weekly. Whitley explained two treatments per week is more often than usual for the city, “With the concerns in Dallas, we’re taking it seriously”, he said.

A nurse at a senior activity center in Austin told media she’d taken time to educate their facility’s clients about the virus and proper precautions; Adding, “They feel less alarmed and we try to protect our folks here […]”. Mark Kitsmore, 54, of Tyler said, “Honestly, I’m not too worried about it.” He jokingly commented, “I’ve probably used a little more bug spray over the past few weeks, though.”

Twenty-six people have died so-far this year as result of having contracted the virus, approximately half occurring in Texas. The mayor and county judge in Dallas have declared a state of emergency in response to the virus.



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