Keep you and your children safe. Find the latest Product Recalls here.

BEWARE OF THE DEADLY TOXINS IN YOUR HOME - What you don't know about many common household products

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Deadly Pattullo Bridge to be Scrapped for a newer model to be completed in 10 years or so

The South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority (Translink) has given staff the go-ahead to begin preliminary work toward building a new Pattullo Bridge in Surrey, B.C., that will be financed by tolls.

The resolution adopted at a Translink Board meeting on Thursday said: "The TransLink Board approves the development of a plan for the construction of a new tolled crossing to expedite the replacement of the existing Pattullo Bridge and improvements to related infrastructure.

There will be exploration of partnership opportunities with affected local and senior governments and stakeholders that have an interest in the Pattullo corridor."

The board's decision is based on the results of a consultant's report that concluded it was preferable to build an entirely new bridge rather than invest more money in the existing structure as one half of a twinned span.

Chair Dale Parker said that TransLink has a responsibility to address transportation issues, but that its ability to respond is limited by its financial resources.

"TransLink needs to proceed on the basis of a tolled bridge if it's going to be able to respond with the urgency required to address the problems created by the Pattullo," Parker said.

He said it normally takes about ten years from decision to opening day. But it is his hope that a new bridge can be built in a shorter time as a remedy for all of the technical limitations imposed by the current 71-year-old crossing.

TransLink CEO Tom Prendergast said the next stages will involve making some fundamental decisions, including where the new bridge will go, which road network improvements will be needed, and whether a new rail crossing will be integrated into the new structure.

"It would cost as much to rehabilitate the Pattullo to provide three lanes for 50 years as it would to add three lanes on a new bridge that will last 100 years. So our direction will be to build an entirely new bridge and tear the old one down," Prendergast said.

The full study commissioned by Translink to tell the what we already knew can be found here

Man Be-headed on Greyhound Bus in Manitoba

Police haven't confirmed it, but a passenger says a gruesome attack on a Greyhound bus near Portage la Prairie, Man., has left a young man stabbed to death and decapitated and dozens of passengers in shock.

The RCMP and Greyhound officials will only say that a ``major incident'' occurred on the bus Wednesday night, but have not provided any details.

But a passenger who said he saw the attack said a man repeatedly stabbed a seat mate, and eventually severed his head.

``We heard this blood-curdling scream and turned around and the guy was standing up, stabbing this guy repeatedly, like 40 or 50 times,'' Garnet Caton said Thursday morning from a hotel in Brandon, where he and other passengers had been taken to rest.

Caton said everyone on the bus scrambled to get out, and he and the bus driver shut the door from the outside while they awaited police.

Eventually, the attacker came to the front of the bus and showed them he had cut off the victim's head, Caton said.

Another passenger, a young man from Nova Scotia, said RCMP had taken 36 witnesses in for questioning into a detachment approximately 100 kilometres east.

"I felt bad that all the young people and old people had to see that," he told The Winnipeg Free Press.

The man, who did not want his name used, said the victim of the stabbing had been sleeping before the attack.

The bus had been carrying 37 passengers and the driver to Winnipeg from Edmonton.

At one point, Mounties surrounded the bus with one officer standing just a few feet away from an unidentified man sitting in the driver's seat.

A man was taken into custody after the standoff with police.

A portion of the Trans-Canada Highway, about 15 kilometres west of Portage la Prairie, remained closed Thursday morning.

Yellow tape surrounded the empty bus and RCMP officers were still on the scene. Traffic was being rerouted onto a side road.

Fire onboard nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington Causes $70 Million in Damages

Smoking appears to have sparked a fire that caused $70 million in damage to the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington, Naval officials said Wednesday.

The announcement by the Navy came as Adm. Robert F. Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, relieved the carrier's commanding officer, Capt. David C. Dykhoff, and the executive officer of duty, Capt. David M. Dober.

Willard cited lost confidence in the commanding officer and his failure to meet mission standards after the investigation found unauthorized smoking by a crew member appeared to have ignited flammable liquids and other combustible material that were improperly stored. The other officer was relieved of duty for substandard performance.

"The fire and the subsequent magnitude of the fire were the result of a series of human acts that could have been prevented," according to a statement released by the Naval Air Forces in San Diego.

The Norfolk, Va.-based carrier was en route from Chile to San Diego when the fire began on May 22.

"The smoking was happening in an unauthorized space and the evidence points to it probably was a lit cigarette that ignited the oil," said Capt. Scott Gureck, a spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet. He said the investigation did not reveal who was smoking.

Flames were initially spotted near the auxiliary boiler room and air conditioning and refrigeration space in the rear of the ship. The safety of the ship's nuclear reactor wasn't threatened.

Naval officials now say it took about 12 hours to put out the fire because of the location and size. Fire and heat damaged electrical cabling and components running through 80 of the 3,800 compartments across several decks of the carrier.

The crew of the carrier has been temporarily assigned to shore duty in San Diego since shortly after the fire.

Capt. J.R. Haley, who previously commanded the nuclear-powered carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, has taken command of the carrier, replacing Dykhoff. Capt. Karl O. Thomas has replaced Dober. Dykhoff and Dober have been temporarily assigned to shore duty with the Pacific Fleet, Walker said.

The Navy also revised the number of sailors injured during the fire from 23 to 37, saying 36 sailors were treated for minor injuries suffered while fighting the fire and one sailor suffered minor burns. All were returned to duty shortly afterward.

Gureck would not comment on whether the Navy was considering further disciplinary action against the two officers or possibly other people.

He said Rear Adm. Richard B. Wren, currently the USS Kitty Hawk carrier strike group commander, will decide what additional administrative and disciplinary measures, if any, will be taken when he becomes the USS George Washington strike group commander.

The carrier was initially expected to arrive in Japan in early August to replace the USS Kitty Hawk, which is being decommissioned. The George Washington, which is now scheduled to depart San Diego in late August, is due to be stationed at the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka.

The USS George Washington, the fourth Navy ship to bear the name, was commissioned July 4, 1992. It is a Nimitz class nuclear-powered supercarrier with a crew of 3,000 but can carry up to 5,000.

"Montauk Monster" Brings speculation and conspiracy Theories

THE photograhed remains of a mysterious "creature" washed up on a Long Island beach near New York has led to a frenzy of online speculation.
Hot on the heels of claims from an ex-NASA astronaut about aliens visiting Earth, news of the find has excited conspiracy theorists around the world.

Dubbed the Montauk Monster after the Long Island town where it was found, the creature has prompted speculation it was part of a secret mutant breeding program undertaken by the US Government.

Victim of Antiqua Honeymoon Shooting Lying Brain Dead in Hospital

Ben Mullany, 31, is lying in a coma unaware that his wife of just two weeks, Catherine, was shot dead in the same attack.

The couple were on the last night of their two week holiday when intruders broke into their secluded cottage at the Cocos Hotel on the idyllic Caribbean island.

Mr Mullany was shot in the neck and as his doctor wife called for help, she was shot in the head and killed outright.

More than £60,000 reward was offered for information leading to the conviction of Mrs Mullany’s killer.

Police Commissioner Gary Nelson, a former Canadian police officer, said the reward was made up of £46,500 from Antigua’s hotel and tourism association, while an anonymous businessman offered another £18,000.

“This suspect, this person that’s committing these terrible crimes - they have to have a girlfriend or boyfriend who knows something, and I call out for them to help us,” he said.

“A tourist being murdered is a high priority, anybody being murdered is a high priority. We’ve got to get this under control ourselves.”

Among the six people questioned over the attack which took place on Sunday morning are two security guards who worked at the hotel.

One of them was supposed to be patrolling a path directly outside the Mullanys' cottage and both are still in police custody.

Dr Mullany's parents, Dai and Rachel Bowen, flew from Swansea in South Wales to Antigua with Mr Mullany's parents, Cynlais and Marilyn.

They have visited their son at Holberton Hospital several times, but are expected to make the painful decision to turn off the life support machine after his condition worsened.

Surgeon Dr Fidel Fernandez said Mr Mullany had not responded to treatment after a bullet lodged in his brain.

Despite speculation that his parents want to move him to an American hospital by air ambulance, a doctor at the hospital said they had told his parents that there was no point moving him as he is medically brain dead.

Mr Mullany’s brother Adam, 23, was thought to be arriving on the island to be with his parents.

In Wales, one of his former teachers and close family friend, Phil Davies, said it was a heartbreaking decision: "I feel desperately sorry for Ben's parents. What a choice to have to make. They have a very talented son, a very popular boy, very likable and loved by everyone.

"They were newly-weds just starting their life together and now they've got to go out there and make a decision to switch the machine off.

"I wouldn't like to be in their position. As a parent of two girls myself I can't imagine what they must be going through."

Mrs Mullany’s brother, Richard, 33, has also flown out to the island to join his parents.

A paramedic called to the scene of the shootings said it was one of the worst emergency calls she had ever handled.

The paramedic, who asked not to be named, said that their crew was called to the hotel at 5.55am on Sunday, about 50 minutes after a guest reported hearing the first shot from the Mullany room.

She said that Mrs Mullany was on the floor of the foot of the bed while her husband was sprawled on the bed.

“Mrs Mullany was lying on the floor on her back at the foot of the bed,” she said. “She was wearing her nightclothes – a vest and trousers – and it was obvious she was dead.

“Her husband was lying on top of the bedsheets. There was so much blood around his head, neck and shoulders. The mosquito net around the bed was soaked in blood, too.”

She went on: “Mr Mullany was conscious and breathing. He was moaning and trying to raise his hand. He opened his eyes and was murmuring something.”

“He responded to my voice and I comforted him as he lay there, and also all the way to the hospital in the ambulance.”

The paramedic described the scene as the “saddest sight I will ever see”, and added: “ I have seen some violent scenes in my time but these people must have been so happy on their honeymoon, and for it to end like this is truly awful.”

Police are continuing to question three men over the attacks but admitted they had no real suspects. They have also yet to find a murder weapon, which is assumed to have been a handgun.

As the investigation continued, there were claims that the couple may have been specifically targeted by intruders.

As the family struggled to come to terms with events, it emerged that another British couple were attacked in one of the £250-a-night cottages near where the honeymooners stayed.

Ian and Joyce Oliver stayed at Cocos Hotel in March last year and were woken by two intruders who stole their passports and valuables before running off.

Mr Oliver, a 51-year-old hotel manager, said: "It was the early hours of the morning when I suddenly saw a torch shining around the room.

"I jumped over my wife towards the man. One was outside the room and another intruder was inside with us.

"They had already managed to take our mobile phones, passports, cameras and other valuables. I ended up on the floor and the men ran off into the night. We were just left in total shock."

Mr Oliver, from Hutton, near Weston-super-Mare, said they never found out what happened to the thieves.

"We were driven to the police station by the hotel manager so we could make a statement, but we don't know if they ever caught the people who were in our room that night," he said.

"I would never go back there after what happened to that poor couple on Sunday.

"It's absolutely terrible."

The Cocos Hotel has received mixed reviews from visitors.

Its English-born owner, Andrew Michelin, said the two security guards were taken in for questioning immediately after the shootings. They were released from custody without charges yesterday.

Although fellow guests heard screams and gunshots from the Mullanys' secluded cottage, the guards are alleged to have called the police only after they were alerted by guests.

Mr Michelin said: "I don't know whether it's suspicious or whether they'd just gone to the bathroom."

It was also possible that they were in police custody to protect them from being intimidated by the men who actually carried out the attack.

He said the hotel had almost finished a four-month project to replace its wire perimeter fence with a five-feet high wooden one, but the stretch next to the Mullanys' cottage had not been completed.

All week, workmen have been hammering new wooden security fences into place in the area around the cottage.

Mr Michelin said the intruder or intruders had got into the Mullanys' one-room cottage by "smashing down" the bathroom door that opens on to a balcony.

Police said yesterday they were no nearer to finding the culprit.

Dr Mullany and her husband - a third year physiotherapy student at the University of the West of England - got married on July 12 and went on honeymoon on July 14.

The ACDC World tour - "We Sold our Soul to Walmart"

AC/DC is powering up for a new trip down the highway to hell.

Marking their first world tour in nearly eight years, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers will kick off their U.S. leg in October, per Billboard, following the release of their new studio album, which in a sell out move will be sold exclusively by Wal-Mart (The Kings of Censorship.) 

Manager Rob Light told an industry conference that AC/DC will embark on an 18-month jaunt in support of the new release, which has been two-plus years in the making but doesn't yet have a street date or title. (The Aussie rockers have been toying with the name Black Ice, but nothing's official.)

The first single, "Runaway Train," is due to ship to radio stations next month.
Light indicated a full itinerary should be announced soon. The colossal tour, traversing 17 countries, is destined to hit mostly arenas.

To honour their Sellout Deal with the Retail Giant Walmart, Angus Young will bounce around the stage wearing the trademarked Blue Walmart Uniform with the Yellow Smiley Face. This will replace his trade marked school boy uniform.
The Not-so-Great Rock and Roll Sell out

AC/DC has just become the latest veteran act to sign an exclusive deal with the big box, per a Wall Street Journal report, joining the likes of Garth Brooks, the Eagles and Journey. The new album will be the Aussie rockers' first since 2000's Stiff Upper Lip, making this the band's longest break between studio releases.

The powerhouse retailer proved to be a reliable partner for veteran acts in recent years. The Eagles' Long Road Out of Eden has sold 3 million copies since debuting as a Wal-Mart exclusive last November.

Journey is expecting a top 10 bow for its new triple-disc Revelation, which debuted in Wal-Mart last Tuesday.

While the Eagles and Journey signed their Wal-Mart deals as essentially independent acts, AC/DC's new album will be the Hall of Fame band's first as part of a long-term deal signed with Sony BMG in 2002. The deal also included reissuing remastered editions of the group's entire back catalog.

While the retailers played a major role in marketing the previous exclusives, it's uncertain what role they'll play with a signed act like AC/DC.

Last year, Wal-Mart announced it was cutting back its shelf space for music releases, despite being the country's largest seller of physical CDs. Record companies often compete for the shrinking shelf space by offering the retailer exclusive versions of new albums. Of course, their exclusive acts tend to get the best shelf placement of all.

AC/DC recorded the new album in Vancouver with producer Brendan O'Brien (Pearl Jam, Audioslave) and longtime audio engineer Mike Fraser. The as-of-yet untitled album is expected in the fall.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong Take the Hot Box out on the road together

Two of the most famous pot smokers of the 1970s, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong, unveiled plans on Wednesday for their first comedy tour in more than 25 years following their acrimonious split.

"Cheech & Chong: Light Up America ..." will hit 22 cities in the United States starting with Philadelphia on September 12 and ending in Denver, Colorado, on December 20. In between they will play Los Angeles, Miami, Washington, D.C. and other places.

This is a moment that I've been looking forward to for many, many years because we have such a legacy and history together that we couldn't escape it, even if we tried," Chong told reporters at a news conference to announce the tour.

Cheech and Chong were one of the most successful comedy teams of the 1970s with hit movies and chart-topping records based on their brand of marijuana-influenced humor.

"They were potheads who appealed to a youth generation steeped in personal freedom spawned by 1960s-era hippies.

Marin said their humor about doing stupid things while being stoned on marijuana should still appeal to today's youth, as well as Cheech & Chong's older fans.

"We've had the younger audience all along. Every time they get to that certain age, they go through that Cheech & Chong period of watching the movies, listening to the records. So, it's almost like a rite of passage," Marin said.

The comedy duo said the tour will be theatrical and will rely on the sizable budget that Live Nation -- the company behind the tour -- can muster. When they toured early in their careers, the duo's props were a bag of used clothes, but the new tour will have large video screens to flash images on.

As they discussed the tour, Cheech and Chong relied on some props in the form of synthetic marijuana plants to win some laughs, as Chong "watered" the plants with bottled water.

Marin, 62, and Chong, 70, spoke about the tour to reporters at the Troubadour, a fixture on the Southern California club scene. Marin said as budding comedians, he and Chong waited in line outside the club for hours for the chance to perform.

Cheech and Chong gained notoriety in nightclubs in the Los Angeles area in the 1970s and released their first album, "Cheech and Chong," in 1971. "Los Cochinos" in 1973 won the Grammy award that year for best comedy album.

In 1978 their first movie, "Up in Smoke," proved to be a blockbuster, raking in more than $100 million at box offices.

They performed together onstage for the last time in 1981, but continued to make movies and records.

The pair split following the 1985 release of their album "Get Out of My Room." Chong said that their break-up -- which was well-publicized and bitter -- was caused by success.

"What happens if you don't have big problems, like trying to make it -- when that's cured when you've made it -- then your little problems become your big problems," he said. "So you start fighting over stupid things."

Marin carved out a career as a television actor in shows such as "Nash Bridges" and "Judging Amy." Chong also did a lot of TV work, including appearances on "That '70s Show."

Chong has long advocated the legalization of marijuana, and in 2003 was arrested and later imprisoned for selling drug paraphernalia.

California Earthquake Hits in the Middle of Judge Judy Taping - See Footage here

Judge Judy rules with an iron fist and at times it might seem like an earthquake is coming down when she delivers a no nonsense ruling, especially if you are on the losing end of a Judge Judy ruling. But when the Los Angeles earthquake hit on Tuesday the cameras (as always) were rolling in the courtroom as the earth was rolling and jumping form the California quake  

The final tally on the rolling quake that hit Southern California is still coming in but it appears there were only minor injuries and property damage but it certainly was felt throughout Southern California and that means there is a ton of video from shows that were being taped as the earth moved.

One of those tapes is now online and it shows our favorite television judge a bit shook up as she rules on a case between a man and a woman. It is hard to tell what the case is about but the man looks a bit concerned once he begins to feel the quake and the people in the courtroom scatter.

See the video here and check out the look on the man's face as he wonders if he should leave or stay in the courtroom.

Massive Rock Slide Closes down Sea to Sky Highway Route for 2010 winter Olympics

Geo-technical crews now think it could be five days before they can clear the massive rockslide that's blocked the Sea to Sky highway in both directions between Lions Bay and Furry Creek.

A ferry may be brought in to help in the meantime, if infrastructure is able to support the move.

A geo-technical crew steps cautiously over the debris and boulders that now block the highway, a vital link to Squamish and Whistler completely vacant except for the crews and media standing nearby,.

Some campers at nearby Porteau Cove park heard the rockslide happen just before midnight.

"It sounded like dynamite," says one young girl who heard the boom. "This morning I found out it was rocks coming down."

Crews bring in dumptrucks to haul away boulders, debris.

The rubble is nine metres high in some parts and completely covers the highway, rail lines and stretches to the water below. Squamish RCMP say there are no confirmed injuries at this point, but there is no question a massive cleanup lies ahead.

A hillside in the Porteau Bluffs area collapsed just before midnight, sending approximately 15,000 cubic metres of rock and debris crashing down on the Sea to Sky highway between Furry Creek and Porteau Cove.

Some of the boulders now blocking the road are as big as semi-trucks.

Highway crews are now assessing the size of the slide and the stability of the slope above the road. Drivers are being told to go the long away around through Lillooet if they need to travel between Whistler and the Lower Mainland.

The Sea to Sky Highway is currently undergoing a half-billion dollar upgrade to ensure it can handle all the traffic expected between Vancouver and Whistler during the 2010 Olympic Games.

New Automated System to Alert Victims of Crime and Public of Inmate Release

Luzerne County PA on Wednesday launched a new automated system online to notify victims and the public when an inmate is released from county prison.

Previously, members of the prison would call a victim when the inmate was released. There was no guarantee the person would be notified if the initial calls didn't reach the victim.

Now, victims and anyone interested will have repeated automated calls placed to them immediately. The calls will be placed every 15 minutes for 24 hours until the person is reached. There is also an option to receive notice by e-mail.

About 100 people attended a press conference Wednesday held by Luzerne County PA District Attorney Jackie Musto Carroll. The system, known as SAVIN, or Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification, was praised as a way for victims to prepare for the release of their perpetrators and to take appropriate steps to keep safe.

To sign up, go to www.pacrimevictims.state.pa.us or call 1-866-9PA-SAVIN.

Preparing for the "Big One" an Earthquake Survival Guide

Prepare Now for an Earthquake in British Columbia

Title Image

Before the earthquake

Seismic experts say we can expect a major destructive earthquake in British Columbia. We don't know when this will happen. But we do live in a region where some of the largest earthquakes in the world occur.

Arrange an out-of-the-area contact. Each family member should carry the contact
phone number and address. Have an alternative family rendezvous if you can't get

   Remind your family to rely on emergency authorities for guidance. Broadcast reports on radio and television will have instructions.
   Also remind your family members that emergency phone numbers are in the inside cover of the telephone book. But use them only in an extreme emergency. Your telephone may not work after an earthquake, or it may take a while to get a dial tone.
   Make sure each family member knows how to shut off the utilities gas, electricity and water. (Don't shut off the gas unless there is a leak or a fire. If the gas is turned off, don't turn it on again... that must be done by a qualified technician).
   Your plan should include a list of where emergency supplies and equipment are stored.
   Share your emergency plans with neighbors.

Your emergency supplies

Be prepared to be on your own without help for 72 hours or more--- at home, in your car, at work. Assemble these emergency supplies and keep them in your emergency kit, stored in a secure place, ideally accessible from outside.

   First aid kit and instruction booklet.
   Shelter- a plastic tarp, a small tent, emergency ("space") blankets, or even some large garbage bags.
   Water- at least four litres of water per person, per day, in tight-lidded non-breakable containers. That's at least 12 litres per person for a three-day supply.
   Keep a supply of water purification tablets in your emergency kit. Water also can be made safe to drink by using four drops of liquid household bleach in 41/2 litres of clear water or 10 drops in 41/2 litres of cloudy water. Replace stored tap water at least every six months.
   If the water is still running, fill a bathtub and other containers. Remember, there's water available too in a hot water tank and toilet reservoir.
   Food- keep a suply of non-perishable food handy, such as canned and dehydrated food, dried fruit and canned juices. Rotate periodically to keem them fresh. Remember a manual can opener.
   Flashlight and spare batteries. Keep the flashlight near your bed. Batteries should be separate in your kit.
   Battery AM/FM radio and spare batteries, stored seperately in waterproof bags.
   Essential medication and supplies for infants, elderly persons and those with special needs. Keep at least a one-week supply in your emergency kit. Include copies of prescriptions for your medicine and glasses.
   Personal toiletry items- toilet tissue, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, etc.
   Class ABC fire extinguisher. Keep it in a handy location in your home, after testing according to directions.
   Wrench (crescent or pipe) to turn off natural gas. Keep it in a handy place or in your emergency kit.

   Shoes- heavy enough to protect from broken glass and other debris. Keep them handy, wherever you are.

Other items you may wish to include:

   gloves, outdoor/winter clothing
   waterproof matches and candles- but don't use them if there are gas leaks or spilled flammable liquids
   money, including coins (25 cents) for telephones, because banks and credit cards may not be usable
   a sleeping bag for each member of your family
   garbage bags
   a portable toilet

When an earthquake occurs, your first warning may be a swaying sensation if you're in a building, a sudden noise or roar. Next, vibration, quickly followed by rolling up, down, sideways, rotating. It will be scary! It may last a few seconds or go on for a few minutes. The earth won't open up and swallow you. But you could be hurt by breaking glass, falling objects, and heavy things bouncing around. Be prepared for aftershocks.

You can't prevent an earthquake. But you can:

   be prepared to avoid injury

   be prepared to minimize damage to your home

   be prepared to survive afterwards for at least 72 hours without help.

Preparing now could save your life! An earthquake could hit B.C. at any time, so start preparing by developing your family emergency plan.

Your family should prepare and practice what to do during and after an earthquake.

Plan your needs. Delegate tasks. Write down and exercise your plan. If you have no family, make your individual plan with neighbors and friends.

   Know the safe and dangerous places in your home.

Safe: under heavy tables or desks; inside hallways; corners of rooms or archways.

Dangerous: near windows or mirrors; under any objects that can fall; the kitchen... where the stove, refrigerator or contents of cupboards may move violently; doorways, because the shaking may slam the door on
you. Practice taking cover.

   Train members of your family to use fire extinguishers.
   Sign up now for a first-aid course, including cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
   Make an appointment now with your insurance broker to talk about your earthquake insurance. Check your coverage... it will affect your loss and financial ability to recover after an earthquake.
   Plan and practice evacuation.
   Talk to your children about what to do if they're at home, at school, if the quake separates your family. Become familiar with the school's earthquake plan.


   rope, heavy tape
   a crowbar or prybar
   a gasoline generator and a rated extension cord
  earthquake buddies for children (eg: stuffed animal, doll game)
   evacuation pack for each person (see below)
   vehicle pack for each vehicle (see below)
   office pack (see below)

Evacuation pack

The items in this list are in addition to the supplies in your home emergency kit. They should be kept in a separate pack (eg., in a tote bag) which each person would take individually if you have to evacuate.

Remember packs for small children, the elderly, the handicapped in your home. The evacuation pack should be stored in a secure place with your other emergency supplies.

  food- dehydrated, dried fruit, high-energy bars, etc- enough for 72 hours
  first aid kit and booklets
  survival manual
  flashlight and batteries
  money, including coins
  photographs of your family, friends
  gloves and other warm clothing

Supplement those with items from your emergency supplies stored at home, including:
  bottled water- (ideally) 12 litres for 72 hours
  cooking utensils
  portable radio and batteries
  medications and toiletry items

Vehicle pack

The items in this list are in addition to the supplies in your home emergency kit. Keep them in a separate pack (eg: a tote bag) in your vehicle. There should be a pack for each vehicle in your household.

  booster cables, tools
  bottled water- at least four litres
  canned food, dried fruit, nuts and a manual can opener
  outdoor clothing and a backpack
  sleeping bag(s), "space" blankets
  first aid kit, medication
  flashlight and spare batteries
  waterproof matches, candles
  toilet tissue, towelettes, "baggies"
  money, especially coins
  map of the region in which you live
  pen/pencil and paper

Also, keep your vehicle's gas tank at least 1/4 full.

Office pack

The items in this list are in addition to the supplies in your home emergency kit. Keep them in a separate pack (eg: in a tote bag) stored in a convenient place in your office, handy to walk home or to safety.

  gloves, heavy shoes, outdoor clothing
  emergency ("space")
  flashlight, radio and batteries (stored separately in waterproof bags)
  a whistle
  dried fruit, nuts, high-energy food bars
  small photos of your family, friends
  piece of paper with your name, address and medical information

Preparing your Home

Go through your home, imagining what could happen to each part of it if it were shaken violently.
If you live in a condo or apartment building, you may experience more sway and less vibration than in a single-storey building.
Work with your building or strata corporation manager to help quake-proof your home. Seek advice from professionals (insurance, engineers, architects) if you are unsure what to do.
Previous earthquakes have proven that these items need attention:

  Check for home hazards: Is the house bolted to its foundations? Are the walls braced? Chimneys weak? Are roof tiles loose? Make necessary repairs now!
  Tie down your water heater and other appliances that could break gas or water lines if they topple.
  Secure top-heavy furniture (eg: shelving units) to prevent tipping. Keep heavy items on lower shelves.
  Fix mirrors and other hanging objects so they won't fall of hooks.
  Locate beds away from chimneys, windows, heavy pictures, etc. Closed curtains will help keep broken window glass off nearby occupied beds.
  Put anti-skid pads (eg: Velcro) under TVs, VCRs, computers and small appliances.
  Store valuable documents and special small keepsakes in a fire-resistant place.
  Keep sturdy shoes and outdoor clothing handy.
  Use child-proof or safety latches on cupboards to stop contents from spilling out.
  Keep flammable items and household chemicals away from heat and where they can't spill. Keep them in a safe cupboard if they can't be stored in an outside shed.
  Put plywood up in the attic on joists around each chimney to help prevent bricks and mortar from coming through a ceiling.

During the earthquake

Preparations for an earthquake include knowing what to do while it is happening. By learning and practicing what you should try to do, you will be more able to remain calm enough to protect yourself and help others. Even if you have a plan for your home, you may be away. Know what to do, wherever you are. In summary, you should take cover and stay there.

  If you're inside your home, stay there. Get out of the kitchen... safer places are inside halls, in corners, in archways. Take cover under a heavy table, desk or any solid furniture that you can get under and hold onto. Protect your head and face. Doors may slam on your fingers if you're in a doorway. Avoid areas near windows.
  If you're in a yard outside your home, stay there and get clear of buildings and wires that could fall on you.
  Don't go outside where you may be hit by falling debris... sidewalks next to tall buildings are particularly dangerous.
  Avoid elevators... if you're in an elevator when an earthquake happens, hit all floor buttons and get out when you can. High rise residents will hear fire alarms go off and electricity may fail.
  If you're in a vehicle, pull over to the side (leave the road clear), away from bridges, overpasses and buildings. Stay in your vehicle.
  If you're in a crowded public place, take cover and watch that you don't get trampled. In shopping centres, take cover in the nearest store and keep away from windows, skylights and display shelves of heavy objects.
  Remain in a protected place until the shaking stops. Anticipate aftershocks... they may occur soon after the first quake.
  Try to remain calm and help others.

After the earthquake

Preparations for an earthquake also include knowing what to do, and not to do, after the shaking stops... when there is danger from after shocks, fires, falling building materials, debris, etc. Remain calm. You may have to take charge of others. Take care of life-threatening situations first. Remember, you may be on your own for 72 hours or more.

  Check your home for structural damage and other hazards.
  Check yourself and others nearby for injuries... administer first aid quickly and carefully.
  If you are evacuating, locate and take your pack of emergency supplies with you.

  Use a flashlight to check utilities and do not shut them off unless damaged. Leaking gas will smell. Don't light matches or turn on light switches... until you are sure there are no gas leaks or flammable liquids.
  Wear sturdy shoes, gloves and protective clothing if it's winter and/or if there's debris, particularly broken glass.
  Check your neighbors after looking after your own family. Your first help after an earthquake usually will come from family and friends.
  Place a HELP sign in windows if you need extra assistance.
  Confine frightened pets.
  Don't flush toilets if you suspect nearby sewer lines are broken.
  Secure your home against intruders.
  Turn on your battery-powered radio (or car radio) and listen for broadcast emergency instructions.
  Don't use your telephone, except in an extreme (life-threatening) emergency.
  Stay at least ten metres from downed power lines.
  Avoid waterfront areas because of the threat of large waves (tsunamis).

Want to do more?

Now that you've taken care of the basics, you may want to take additional steps to protect yourself and others. Remember- you may be on your own for 72 hours or more. What you do will depend on your particular situation. You could:

  Check with your insurance broker to learn if you have adequate earthquake insurance. Learn what your policy covers and determine if you are sufficiently protected to minimize your financial loss from an earthquake.
  Volunteer any special skills you have to your Municipal Emergency Program Co-ordinator.
  Involve your neighborhood in earthquake preparedness... by helping elderly neighbors to prepare their homes, by agreeing to check on each other after an earthquake and to care for pets.
  Plan for special needs for infants, the elderly and the handicapped, in case pharmacies and other stores are closed for several days. If your family includes people with impaired mobility, hearing or sight, see the list of useful contacts at the end of this document to get special preparedness details for them. If you depend on electric power for life support or a wheelchair,

you may wish to have a small generator with extra fuel handy.
  Review the supplies that you would need to be self-sufficient and comfortable for at least 72 hours. In addition to basics, there are many items such as plastic sheets or dust masks that you may want to acquire, or perhaps games and comfort items for children. Sources of advice are shown below.

Planning for earthquakes will also help prepare you for many other emergencies.

Be prepared, not scared.

Want to find out more?

After you have followed the advice in this booklet, more local information on how to prepare for an earthquake should be available from your Municipal Emergency Program Coordinator. Call your City Hall, Municipal Hall, or District Office.

Assistance also may be available from officials at your local school board office, hospital, police and fire stations. Other sources for additional information include:

  • Provincial Emergency Program
    (250) 952-4913
    or a PEP Regional Office

  • Emergency Preparedness Canada
    (250) 363-3621

  • Insurance Bureau of Canada
    (604) 684-3635

Still need more information?

Every effort has been made, within the limited space available, to provide you with useful information to prepare effectively for an earthquake in B.C. However, some detailed information is available from technical sources, including a brochure for businesses in B.C.

If you require more information, please note your request on a piece of paper with your name, address and telephone number, then mail it to:

B.C. Earthquake Information

c/o Insurance Bureau of Canada

510 Burrard Street, Suite 1010

Vancouver, B.C V6C 3A8

Fax: (604) 294-1524

For further information contact:

Your Local Emergency Program

Southern California Earthquake renews concern over "The Big One"

A 5.4 magnitude earthquake struck near the Los Angeles suburb of Chino Hills just before noon today, causing strong shaking and a power outage but just minor damage. The quake was felt from Arizona to Nevada.

The epicenter of the quake was located about 28 miles east-southeast of Los Angeles city center and 8.5 miles deep beneath the Earth's surface, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.  

Nearly 50 aftershocks have been recorded so far, most of them small, said the USGS, the largest being a magnitude 3.8 temblor.

People who felt the earthquake can go online and report their observations on the USGS Did You Feel It? website. So far, about 35,000 people have reported feeling the Chino Hills earthquake.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says he spoke to Los Angeles and Chino Hills officials to check on the status of their communities and to offer them whatever assistance they need from the state.

"Our state Office of Emergency Services has reached out to local governments in the affected area to ensure that levees, bridges and other critical infrastructure are inspected and declared safe," the governor said.

Southern California Edison's transmission and generation systems were operating normally today after the quake, but some customers near the epicenter lost power.

Initially, an estimated 5,000 customers were without service in the areas of Chino Hills, Chino, La Habra, Diamond Bar and Pomona. The utility says power is expected to be fully restored tonight.

The earthquake was felt at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station site. There were no safety issues reported and no indications of any damage. Both units at the plant continue to operate normally.

"Even though it felt like the strongest earthquake Chino Hills residents could remember, when the shaking stopped, all was well in Chino Hills," city officials said.

After the earthquake, police, fire, and city crews performed an assessment of the city of 78,957 residents and reported no major damages nor injuries.

The Gas Company did not identify any issues following an aerial assessment and physical check of two major gas lines in the City.

City crews checked water reservoirs, pump stations, traffic signals, and road conditions. Verizon reported a heavy increase in cell phone traffic which hampered cell phone service for a period of time.

The USGS says earthquakes cannot be predicted but earthquake-prone areas such as Los Angeles can be prepared. The federal agency is getting ready for a series of preparation events coming up in November.

The Great Southern California ShakeOut, a weeklong series of events featuring a massive earthquake drill on November 13, in Los Angeles, is one way for the public to get prepared for the next big earthquake. It is being sponsored by the Earthquake Country Alliance, of which the USGS is a founding member.

The ShakeOut drill centers on the ShakeOut Scenario, a realistic portrayal of what could happen in a major earthquake on the southern end of the San Andreas Fault.

Created by over 300 experts led by Dr. Lucy Jones of USGS, the scenario outlines a hypothetical 7.8 magnitude earthquake originating near the Salton Sea, which would have the potential to devastate the region.

With a goal of at least five million participants, the ShakeOut drill will be the largest in U.S. history. Southern Californians are signing up at www.shakeout.org/register, to pledge their family, business, or organization's participation in the drill.

Registered participants receive information on how to prepare and drill, connect with other participants, and encourage a dialogue within the community about earthquake preparedness. In the first six weeks of registration, over 1.9 million people have registered to be part of the drill.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

2 Month old baby boy killed by Labrador Puppy in Tulsa Oklahoma

Police say a puppy has attacked and killed a 2-month-old boy who was left unattended in a swing.

Officer Jason Willingham said Monday the baby was mauled by the Labrador at the boy's home and died at the scene. He says the dog will most likely be destroyed.

Authorities have not yet released the infant's name.

Willingham says the baby's mother and grandmother were home, but nobody was in the room at the time.

Police are unsure why the dog attacked.

The child's body was taken to the Medical Examiner's office. Willingham says police will forward their investigation to the district attorney to determine whether criminal charges are warranted.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Trailer AKA Harry Potter 6

When it comes to the sixth installment of one of the most successful series in movie history, the release of its trailer is almost as exciting as that of the film itself.

Due out Nov. 21, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" teases movie screens this Friday, before showings of "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor."

Voldemort is played by Ralph Fiennes, and his 11-year-old incarnation is played by 10-year-old Hero Fiennes-Tiffin, the actor's nephew. Not only does he bear a resemblance to the grown-up Voldemort, but he also has the requisite intensity, Yates says.

"His mother (Martha Fiennes) is a film director, and Hero was very focused and disciplined," Yates says. "The fact that he's related to Ralph wasn't the primary reason for choosing him. It was an advantage that he looked very similar to Ralph. Of course that was useful. But primarily I went for Hero because of this wonderful haunted quality that seemed to bring Tom Riddle alive on-screen for us."

Yates stressed how hard it can be for very young actors to find the necessary dark place to play such a creepy character.

"But even though he's the nicest child you'd ever want to meet, sweet-natured and pleasant, he got the corners and dark moods and odd spirit of the character."

Audiences also will meet a teenage Voldemort, still known as Tom Riddle. He's played by Frank Dillane. The character made an appearance in the second Potter film, Chamber of Secrets, played by a different actor.

"Even at a very young age, Tom Riddle shows tendencies toward cruelty and maliciousness," Yates says. "And it's a very unsettling thing to see."

NASA 50th Anniversary

On July 29, 1958, President Eisenhower signed National Air and Space Act, establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as a civilian agency in response to the challenge of the Soviet launch of Sputnik nearly a year before.
Before the establishment of NASA, American space efforts, such as they were, were divided among the branches of the armed services.

The establishment of NASA gathered into one civilian agency, along with the aeronautics research efforts of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) that had been founded in 1915.
Even so, President Eisenhower was somewhat skeptical of funding a large space program and barely approved of the first American man in space program, Project Mercury. It would take another Soviet space feat, the successful orbital flight of Yuri Gagarin, and a new President for NASA to really come into its own.

The first space age, for NASA, was the Apollo program to land a man on the Moon. Born of Cold War necessity, Apollo was one of the greatest and, ultimately, most bitter sweet technological feats in human history. Even decades later, people who were alive when man first landed on the Moon remember it with a kind of heady nostalgia.

With success came a perverse and almost inevitable punishment by the political powers that be. For a time it seemed that publically funded space flight might end in the United States in the early 1970s. Fortunately Richard Nixon, who care less about space exploration than he did about votes and campaign contributions, tasked NASA to a more practical job than lunar voyages of exploration.

NASA was ordered to build a reusable space shuttle that handle all of the nation's space flight needs, commercial, military, and NASA. The idea was that a reusable space vehicle would decrease the cost of space travel, making possible space stations, a return to the Moon, and maybe voyages beyond. NASA would also have roughly half the budget it thought it needed to do it. Thus the second space age was born.

One Small Step for Man, on Giant leap for mankind.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Beatrix Potter (Even though you are long dead)

Today is the birthday of iconic writer Beatrix Potter, InEntertainment reports. The author of the famous book, "The Tale of Peter Rabbit," was born on July 28, 1866, and died December 22, 1943.
According to the article, Potter was born into a privileged family, but was very sad because she was kept isolated by her family. In seeing that she wrote 23 books and further, that she also was an illustrator, mycologist and conservationist, it seemed to me it made sense to find out a little more about her, especially since Peter Rabbit was such a big part of my life.

Beatrix Potter grew up in Victorian England and was shy and reserved. In the mid-nineteenth century little girls were not always academically educated and Beatrix was not, however, she was taught art and music.

I had to laugh when I found that this noble woman, while she was shy and reserved around "the outside world" as her site says, had a deep-coded secret diary where she apparently wrote what she really thought about other artists.

Potter taught herself a lot with respect to mycology and it was this love that she developed with an incredible love for nature which led to Peter Rabbit

The Peter Rabbit "Tale" actually started as a picture letter to a boy who had a chronic illness. Two initial lightening-fast printings of several hundred total copies led to the initial printing of 8.000 copies and the book has never been out of print since!

Tragically, Potter's publisher and fiancé, Norman Warne died without warning and she remained unmarried until age 47.

The proceeds from the sale of "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" allowed Potter to purchase Hill Top Farm in her beloved Lakefront District.

When Beatrix Potter died she left much of her estate to the "National Trust" to allow people to see nature.

Beatrix Potter is described as a "woman ahead of her time." One of the reasons that Peter Rabbit has remained so popular (now over 100-years-old), is that Potter produced the first patented soft toy of Peter Rabbit in 1903; she had uncanny business sense.

And the creme de la Creme, if you really want to know more about the woman, check out the Beatrix Potter Movie. From what I heard, a great movie about an amazing woman and well worth the few bucks

Shia LaBeouf gets Tanked and rolls truck

“It was immediately apparent to officers responding on the scene that LaBeouf was intoxicated and he was subsequently placed under arrest,” said Sgt. Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s department. Shia LaBeouf, 22, was the star in last year’s mega hit film ‘Transformers’ and played opposite A-list star, Harrison Ford in last month’s fourth sequel to the Indiana Jones saga, ‘Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull.’

LaBeouf was driving his pick-up truck in Hollywood at approximately 3:00 a.m. when he collided with another vehicle. The collision rolled the pick-up; causing extensive injury to his hand and knee. LaBeouf was immediately taken to Cedars Sinai Medical Center for treatment.

“LaBeouf under went hand surgery and plans to return to work within a month,” said publicists Mellissa Kates.

Riding with LaBeouf was an unknown female passenger. The woman is said to have not had any serious injury. The woman driver of the other vehicle in the accident was also said to not have any serious injury.

According to Sgt. Wolf, the immediate cause of the accident is unknown and obviously remains under investigation until all the facts are in. The Associated Press has been trying to contact LaBeouf by telephone but to no avail.

“The Beef” is not unfamiliar with police, having been cited by Chicago police last year for drunken behavior in a Walgreens. The charges were eventually dropped. In February LaBeouf was given a citation for smoking in a designated no-smoking area of Burbank, a suburb of Los Angeles. An arrest warrant was issued when he and his attorney’s failed to show up for court. His attorney returned to court the day after. LaBeouf paid a $500 fine and the charges were dropped.

During an interview last year printed in the OC Register by Barry Koltnow, LaBeouf had this to say. “When you’re putting together a career plan, you have to take into account the potential pitfalls of a career and, in Hollywood that means partying. To not party is part of the plan. I have made a calculated effort to stay away from the party scene because that can have as much impact on your career as your performances. If the industry takes you lightly because you’re always partying, then they will take your work lightly as well.”

LaBeouf said he’s watched other actors his age self-destruct on the party scene, although he declined to mention specific names (but we know who they are).

“Who wants to be around those people?” he asked in typical straight-talking fashion. “Who wants to show up on a set and find someone who’s not prepared because they’ve been partying all night?” Interestingly, he credits his dysfunctional childhood with keeping his adult life on track.

LaBeouf was referring to his father who some reporters have said LaBeouf Sr. raised his son while on heroin and allegedly offered Shia marijuana at the young age of ten. At times the father and son duo lived in cheap motels. His mother currently lives in Los Angeles and his father lives in Montana. Shia LaBeouf translates as “Gift from God” in Hebrew and –“The Beef” in French.

The OC Register further added. In the meantime, he said, he plans to stay out of trouble. “I know what happens to young successful people in Hollywood. These people get lost. They start believing their own press. They don’t realize that the party scene isn’t real. It’s all fake stuff and you can’t take it seriously. Its one long dream sequence and I have no intention of getting lost in a dream.”

Shia is set to star in the 2009 sequel to ‘Transformers – Revenge of the Fallen’ (how ironic) with the return of hot stuff Megan Fox - as long as he can stay alive to see it through. Let’s hope Shia doesn’t become another James Dean, River Phoenix or Heath Ledger or worse yet, take someone out with him if he does.

Franz Felhaber's Burried Treasure

The businessman arrived at the Treasury Department carrying a suitcase stuffed with about $5.2 million in petrified, nearly unrecognizable bills. He asked to swap it for a cashier's check.

Money like this normally arrives after a bank burns or a vault floods. It doesn't just show up at the visitor's entrance on a Tuesday morning.

But Franz Felhaber's banking habits had stopped making sense to the government long ago.

For years, authorities say, he and his family have popped in and out of U.S. banks, looking to change about $20 million in decaying $100 bills for clean cash, offering ever-changing stories:

_It was an inheritance.

_Somebody dug up a tree and there it was.

_It was found in a suitcase buried in an alfalfa field.

_A relative found a treasure map.

That buried treasure stands to make someone rich. It could also send someone to jail.

Felhaber is a customs broker. His company, F.C. Felhaber & Co., navigates the customs bureaucracy in El Paso, Texas, where tens of billions of dollars in Mexican goods enter each year.

Felhaber says that is all he was doing with the adobe-looking bundles of money. He said a Mexican relative, Francisco Javier Ramos Saenz-Pardo, sought his help. Saenz-Pardo worried a foreigner with that much money would attract unwarranted suspicion, Felhaber said.

If discretion were the goal, Felhaber went about it all wrong. Rather than making one exchange at the Treasury, Felhaber allegedly began trying to exchange smaller amounts at El Paso-area banks, raising suspicion every time.

In 2005, authorities say he arranged a $120,000 exchange at the Federal Reserve Bank in El Paso, with the money being wired to an account belonging to his uncle, Jose Carrillo-Valles.

Banks normally refer such requests to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, an arm of the Treasury. The $120,000 exchange was an exception. Investigators say Felhaber wasn't so lucky elsewhere.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say he unsuccessfully tried to get a Bank of America armored truck dispatched to the Mexican border to retrieve the money. Weeks later, they say he gave a fake name at two banks while inquiring about exchanging millions.

Once, the explanation was that he discovered the money while excavating a tree in Chihuahua, Mexico. Another time, the story was that it had been buried in an alfalfa field, investigators say.

Felhaber denies nearly all of this, including giving a fake name. But he is tough to pin down on details. At times he acknowledges helping exchange a $20 million inheritance. Minutes later, he contradicts himself and says there's nowhere near that much. And he has no idea where the money came from.

It's unclear what first caught investigators' attention. Most of the thousands of mutilated money exchanges each year are routine. Natural disasters create lots of inquiries. Children of the Depression have discovered their attic savings shredded by rodents. Greeting cards stuffed with money are accidentally shredded.

But Leonard R. Olijar, the chief financial officer of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, said there are warning signs that will trigger investigations. A series of small exchanges, for instance. Or money coming from abroad.

ICE agents questioned Felhaber in October 2005. According to a government summary of that interview, Felhaber said he believed the money came from a Mexican land deal. It was buried in a coffin, he said, until Saenz-Pardo — who brought him the money in the first place — discovered a treasure map.

He now says he was mistaken in his interviews with investigators.

"They take you to your word like you're supposed to remember every single thing every single time," he said.


Maybe it was the visit from federal agents or perhaps someone realized the bank visits weren't working. But the strategy apparently changed.

In January 2006, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing received a package containing about $136,000 from Jose Carrillo-Valles, Felhaber's uncle. A letter explained the money had been stored in a basement for 22 years.

There was no evidence of a crime, just unanswered questions. So the Treasury mailed a check, which Carrillo-Valles deposited. Yet when authorities followed the money, he and his wife denied knowing about it, according to a government affidavit.

And the $120,000 wired to Jose's account a year earlier from the Federal Reserve? The couple said it was an inheritance.

Authorities don't believe that. They traced a wire transfer from Jose's account to someone named Saenz-Pardo, suggesting that Carrillo-Valles was an intermediary who took a cut of the money and sent the rest to Mexico.

Twice, reporters called Carrillo-Valles. First, he said he spoke no English. When a Spanish-speaking reporter called, he said he could not hear her and he hung up.

The case became a criminal investigation in April 2007. ICE agents called the Justice Department, saying Felhaber had just arrived at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing with $1.2 million.

Finding money is not a crime, but there are rules about its importation. Import documents identified Jose Carrillo-Valles as owning the $1.2 million. Authorities believe that was a lie — a violation carrying up to five years in prison.

But federal prosecutor William Cowden sat on his hands, in case Felhaber tried to exchange even more money.

He did.

This April, Felhaber returned with $5.2 million. Investigators found no import documents this time, a smuggling violation that also carries up to five years in prison.

Prosecutors moved in. Felhaber's Treasury visits gave them probable cause to seize a combined $6.4 million. Authorities told a federal magistrate they suspected it was buried drug money.

Stephen A. Schneider, an ICE investigator, dismissed every other explanation as "conflicting and cockamamie stories."


Even though Felhaber often says he doesn't know where the money came from, he says it's definitely not drug money.

Prosecutors don't accuse him of involvement with drugs. Court documents leave open the possibility that somebody stumbled across a cache of abandoned drug money in the Mexican desert.

Prosecutors plan to seek forfeiture of the seized $6.4 million, giving Felhaber and his family the opportunity to ask for the money back. If they do, a judge will ask them to sort through the inconsistent stories.

Felhaber bristles at the suggestion there have been inconsistencies.

"The story has never changed," he says.

Cowden, the federal prosecutor, doesn't know what to expect. Sometimes, nobody shows up.

If so, the money will become government property.

Or at least some of it. Perhaps there is $14 million still out there, waiting to be exchanged.

Does Felhaber know if there is?

On that, it's hard to get a straight answer.