Reference Library – USA – Arkansas
Families and friends dressed in red, white and blue filled the 39th Brigade headquarters in North Little Rock to see off 21 Arkansas National Guardsmen for a nine-month mission Thursday morning. Among them, Shannan Rozenberg, who watched through tears the brief deployment ceremony for the troops heading to Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina. It comforted Rozenberg to know that her husband’s mission, his third deployment, is a noncombat one. Nonetheless, it was difficult to say goodbye.
“It’s still not easy,” she said.
Thursday’s sendoff marked the final installment of the 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team’s three-part deployment this spring. The 130 soldiers will support the Kosovo Force, an ongoing NATO peacekeeping mission that began in response to the end of the war between the Serbian government and its autonomous province of Kosovo. The initial purpose of the mission was to help that nation recover from the conflict by relocating displaced people, removing mines, providing medical assistance, protecting ethnic minorities and supporting the establishment of civilian government. Now, the mission’s purpose is to maintain peace across the Balkans. Brig. Gen. Kirk Van Pelt told the soldiers that their work will continue to stabilize the region.
“The peace and support operations that you are about to undertake will be instrumental in maintaining the local security and to ensure the safety of the citizens of Kosovo for the next year,” Van Pelt said.
Kosovo Force involves roughly 4,500 military members from 29 countries, according to the mission’s website. Thirty Arkansas National Guardsmen were sent May 8, and 80 were sent May 29, Lt. Col. Joel Lynch said. They serve as the headquarters staff in Kosovo, while the troops sent off Thursday will work in training, advisory, supply and administration. In addition to the 21 at the ceremony, two soldiers from the same brigade have already been sent over for training, and four are completing a postal mission in Germany, Lt. Col. Miriam Carlisle said.
“We’re going to do this mission, and we’re going to be back soon,” Carlisle told the families. “Sooner than you think. I hope.”
The troops fly today to Fort Bliss in Texas for training before splitting up to leave for either Pristina, Kosovo, or Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. Van Pelt thanked the families for their sacrifices.
“It’s your love and support that allow these soldiers to do what they do to serve our country and our nation,” he said. Toddlers in their mothers’ laps waved small American flags. One soldier put his arm around his wife. His young son, sitting on the other side, grabbed his hand from behind the chair.
The Arkansas National Guard drills one weekend a month, so most of the members deployed Thursday have full-time jobs. Rozenberg’s husband will leave his job as a school superintendent in Bearden.
Living in a town with fewer than 1,000 people an hour and a half from Little Rock, Rozenberg isn’t part of a family support group. But this deployment will be easier than past ones, she said, because she’ll be able to video chat with her husband every day. She also knows it’s what her husband is meant to do.
“He could have retired 10 years ago, but he loves it,” Rozenberg said. “He’s going where he needs to go. He needs to do his part.”
Metro on 06/23/2017
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – The Latest on Tropical Storm Cindy (all times local):
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) – The National Weather Service says it expects heavy rain to spread across West Virginia starting late Thursday and continuing into Saturday.
Meteorologists say a combination of two systems – remnants of former Tropical Storm Cindy and another storm front – could produce severe thunderstorms, flooding and damaging wind gusts particularly on Friday. Emergency officials are monitoring the forecast starting late Thursday night in the greater Charleston area with expected heavy rain at times continuing into Friday and early Saturday. The severe weather forecast comes nearly on the anniversary of last year’s torrential rains and flooding, which killed 23 people in West Virginia.
Forecasters say Cindy, the onetime tropical storm since downgraded to a depression, is weakening as it heads inland. But bands of heavy rain are continuing – with heavy rain in parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. The National Hurricane Center in Miami says a tropical storm warning from High Island, Texas, to Morgan City, Louisiana, has been discontinued, hours after the storm made landfall. At 10 a.m. CDT Thursday, Cindy was about 165 miles (265 kilometers) northwest of Morgan City and moving to the north at 13 mph (20 kph).
A turn toward the northeast is expected. Cindy or its remnants are forecast to move into Arkansas early Friday, then into Tennessee. Forecasters warn that heavy rainfall will spread over the Tennessee and Ohio valleys Thursday. Then into the central Appalachians Friday and Saturday.
9:55 a.m. Forecasters have issued a flash flood watch for eastern and southern Arkansas as Tropical Storm Cindy heads toward the state.
The National Hurricane Center says the storm is expected to weaken as its moves inland. The storm made landfall early Thursday in southwestern Louisiana. The National Weather Service in Little Rock says the remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy will move into southern Arkansas later Thursday, bringing scattered thunderstorms and some areas of heavy rainfall. Forecasters say areas south and east of Little Rock could see 2 to 5 inches of rain through Saturday morning.
The flash flood watch is in effect from 7 p.m. Thursday through Friday afternoon.
8:10 a.m. Authorities in Florida are urging people to stay off the beaches and out of the Gulf of Mexico until weather conditions brought by Tropical Storm Cindy improve. Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford tells the News Herald deputies responded to 37 calls regarding swimmers in the Gulf on Tuesday as the storm brought heavy rain to Florida’s Panhandle.
The swimmers entered the water even though Panama City Beach was flying double-red flags, warning of dangerous conditions and extremely rough surf. Ford says lifeguards and deputies were fed up as tourists entered the water in spite of the warnings. There’s a law that bans swimming in the Gulf when double-red flags are flying. Ford says he’d rather people use common sense and not get in the water. There were no reports of injuries.
In southwest Louisiana, not far from where Tropical Storm Cindy came ashore before dawn, motorists in trucks were driving through knee-high water in the streets. Some other drivers, though, were pulling over Thursday morning and not attempting to navigate the flooded roads in Cameron Parish, Louisiana. Shortly after dawn, some of the low-lying clouds were rotating, and gusty winds whipped across the landscape.
With the storm now over land, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said it’s expected to weaken over the next two days. The storm was blamed for one death Wednesday: A 10-year-old boy from the St. Louis area was killed on an Alabama beach when he was struck by a log that washed ashore.
7:15 a.m. Tropical Storm Cindy has brought heavy winds and rain to southeast Texas but minimal damage as the storm system moves northeast.
Street and other flooding was reported in places such as Port Arthur, along Sabine Pass and the border with Louisiana, where Cindy made landfall early Thursday. Winds in the Galveston County town of San Leon exceeded 50 mph but were slightly weaker along other parts of the Texas coast southeast of Houston. The Houston area was expected to get a couple inches of rain through Thursday. A flash flood watch was issued for parts of East Texas.
The Texas Department of Transportation says all state roads and bridges are open in the area.
7 a.m. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Cindy is expected to weaken as it moves farther inland after coming ashore in southwestern Louisiana early Thursday. The storm’s maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph (64 kph) and it’s expected to weaken to a tropical depression later in the morning and become a remnant low Thursday night.
As of 7 a.m. CDT, Cindy is centered about 40 miles (64 kilometers) northwest of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and is moving north near 12 mph (19 kph). Already, the storm has been blamed for one death Wednesday: A 10-year-old boy from the St. Louis area was killed on an Alabama beach when he was struck by a log that washed ashore.
6 a.m. Floating colonies of fire ants could form in flood waters as Tropical Storm Cindy trudges inland.
That’s the warning from Alabama state officials, who say the insects known as red imported fire ants can present a potentially serious health threat to people and animals during severe flooding. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System said in a statement that the floating colonies may look like ribbons, streamers or a large ball of ants floating on the water. They say the floating blobs contain all members of the colony, including worker ants, winged reproductive males and females, and queen ants.
The storm made landfall in southwestern Louisiana before dawn Thursday, bringing rain and the threat of flash flooding and tornadoes.
4:05 a.m. Tropical Storm Cindy has made landfall in southwestern Louisiana, bringing rain and the threat of flash flooding and tornadoes. As of about 4 a.m. CDT Thursday, the storm was centered about 30 miles (48 kilometers) west-southwest of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and is moving north near 12 mph (19 kph).
The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Cindy’s maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 40 mph (64 kph) with continued weakening expected over the next two days. Already, the storm has been blamed for one death Wednesday: A 10-year-old boy from the St. Louis area was killed on an Alabama beach when he was struck by a log that washed ashore.
2:05 a.m. Weather forecasters are expecting a third day of rough weather for Gulf Coast states as Tropical Storm Cindy approaches.
The storm was blamed for one death Wednesday: A 10-year-old boy from the St. Louis area was killed on an Alabama beach when he was struck by a log that washed ashore. In addition to bands of drenching rain, the storm brought high winds and numerous, short-lived tornadoes and waterspouts. Most of the severe weather was to the east of the storm. Numerous coastal roads and highways flooded and there were scattered reports of power outages and building damage from wind or water.
Gulf Coast states were in for a third day of rough weather as Tropical Storm Cindy sloshed ashore early Thursday in southwestern Louisiana.
Already blamed for one death in Alabama, Cindy was expected to keep churning seas and spin off bands of severe weather from eastern Texas to northwestern Florida. The storm’s maximum sustained winds had decreased to near 40 mph (64 kph) Thursday morning with additional weakening expected, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. A boy on an Alabama beach was struck and killed Wednesday by a log washed ashore by the storm. Baldwin County Sheriff’s Capt. Stephen Arthur said witnesses reported the 10-year-old boy from Missouri was standing outside a condominium in Fort Morgan when the log, carried in by a large wave, struck him. Arthur said the youth was vacationing with his family from the St. Louis area and that relatives and emergency workers tried to revive him. He wasn’t immediately identified.
It was the first known fatality from Cindy. Otherwise, the storm was blamed for widespread coastal highway flooding, rough seas and scattered reports of power outages and building damage caused by high winds. There were numerous reports of waterspouts and short-lived tornadoes spawned by the storm. National Weather Service forecasters estimated the storm had dumped anywhere from 2 to 10 inches (50 to 250 millimeters) of rain on various spots along the Gulf Coast from southern Louisiana to the Florida panhandle as of Wednesday. And more rain was on the way. Alek Krautmann of the National Weather Service in Slidell, Louisiana, said Thursday’s pattern would likely be much like Wednesday’s: Bands of intermittent, sometimes heavy rain spinning onto the coast.
In Gulfport, Mississippi, Kathleen Bertucci said heavy rainfall Wednesday sent about 10 inches of water into her business, Top Shop, which sells and installs granite countertops.
“It’s pretty disgusting, but I don’t have flood insurance because they took me out of the flood zone,” said Bertucci, whose store is near a bayou. “We’re just trying to clean everything up and hope it doesn’t happen again.”
In nearby Biloxi, a waterspout moved ashore Wednesday morning. Harrison County Emergency Management Director Rupert Lacy said there were no injuries but fences, trees and power lines were damaged. Storms also downed trees in the Florida Panhandle. Fort Walton Beach spokeswoman Jo Soria said fallen trees hit houses and cars in what she called “pockets of wind damage” in two or three residential neighborhoods. The White House said President Donald Trump was briefed on the storm Wednesday by Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency, like his Alabama counterpart a day earlier. He was among authorities stressing that the storm’s danger wasn’t limited to the coast. In Knoxville, Tennessee, the power-generating Tennessee Valley Authority, said it was drawing down water levels on nine lakes it controls along the Tennessee River and its tributaries in Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky, anticipating heavy runoff from Cindy’s rains once the storm moves inland. The TVA manages 49 dams to regulate water, provide power and help control downstream flooding. In Alabama, streets were flooded and beaches were closed on the barrier island of Dauphin Island. Some roads were covered with water in the seafood village of Bayou La Batre, but Becca Caldemeyer still managed to get to her bait shop open at the city dock. If only there were more customers, she said.
“It’s pretty quiet,” Caldemeyer said by phone from Rough Water Bait and Tackle. “Nobody can cast a shrimp out in this kind of wind.”
Rough seas also led to the rescue of a shrimp trawler in danger of sinking off the coast of Texas. The U.S. Coast Guard said crew of the trawler Footprint was about 80 miles (130 kilometers) southeast of Galveston when the crew radioed that the vessel was taking on water faster than onboard pumps could clear it. A helicopter crew lowered and extra pump that enabled the shrimp boat crew to clear enough water to stay afloat. A Coast Guard cutter escorted the vessel to Freeport, Texas.
Associated Press writers Janet McConnaughey in New Orleans; Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Jeff Amy and Emily Wagster in Jackson, Mississippi; Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Alabama; Kimberly Chandler in Montgomery, Alabama; and Brendan Farrington in Tallahassee, Florida, contributed to this report.
Sound designer Antwan Williams combines beats, keyboards and ambient sounds to create the unique sound of “Ear Hustle.” Jim Seida / NBC News
The rush of outside engagement has not been equaled at California s other prisons, most of which are located in the Central Valley, far from the state s large and liberal urban centers. But the push to clear a
path for prisoners to change apparently has been embraced by many of the state s residents. Twice in just the last two-and-a-half years, Californians voted to reduce penalties for less serious offenders, via Propositions 47 and 57.
Those initiatives came before the election of Donald Trump and the ascension of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who in May pushed the U.S. in the opposite direction. Sessions told federal prosecutors to pursue the toughest possible charges and maximum sentences against crime suspects. California stands apart when it comes to capital punishment, too. Texas and Arkansas, alone, have put eight men to death in 2017, while the lethal injection chamber at San Quentin has not been used since 2006. And there is no effective political or legal drive to reverse that trend. While not overtly political, at least in its initial episode, Ear Hustle s very existence posits that prisons and prisoners can t all be crowded into a few narrow categories, or represented in hyper-violent dramas like HBO s Oz. San Quentin and its residents have to live down not only such pop-culture clouds but a grim history that includes a 1971 escape attempt that left six inmates and guards dead. A half-century later, images of that
bloody episode and attendant riots still fix The Q in many minds as the home of hopeless incorrigibles.
But most of San Quentin s population today is classified as Level 2 medium security and the main yard can feel surprisingly loose, with inmates mostly free to move about. Many who aren t playing basketball or tennis or lifting weights mill around with fellow prisoners. Black, Latino, white and Asian inmates stick with their own much of the time, but also allow each other to mix with other races. That would be unthinkable in California s maximum security penitentiaries.
Woods, Williams and Poor have remarkable latitude to record conversations, the odd rap session and happenings around the facility. They invite other prisoners to San Quentin s Media Lab. The bungalow can echo with conversation, so voluble that visitors occasionally must be shushed, so fresh recordings won’t be spoiled. The chatter and bits of discovered sound become part of the yard talk, a regular leitmotif of Ear Hustle. In Episode 1, cellmates Sha Wallace-Stepter and Donte Smith break down the relative merits of Denzel Washington vs. Jamie Foxx and Jay-Z vs. Ja Rule. They re chopping it up, explained Woods, in a way that is totally compatible, totally acceptable. Sha and Donte s laughter and easy rapport reveals that their unwanted home as a place of deep connections and even joy beating back a persistent fog of lost lives and freedom.
Not that Ear Hustle shies from the bleak reality that can take hold inside the beige fortress, where inmates live tantalizingly close and impossibly far from some of the world s most exclusive communities. Case in point: Episode 1 introduces listeners to an inmate named Ron Self, a former Marine who might have become hardened after years at the ultra-tough Corcoran State Prison. But even Self, a veteran professional prisoner, is thrown off-center when he arrives at San Quentin s reception center and immediately is subjected to a fierce stare-down by a prisoner named Duck.”
Self recalls being so unnerved he could not wait to leave the inmate reception center. When he did, minutes later, guards directed him to his new cell, only to find Duck waiting inside. Says Self: That one six-month period felt more like 60 years.
We have caused a tear in the Universe that can never be put back together, said Ear Hustle sound designer Antwan Williams. But that gives us an obligation, a responsibility, to show we actually understand where the wrong was.
Later in the program, Self returns to explain how he later won a single cell, because of multiple medical challenges. Alone, he finally can escape the hundreds of other men and enjoy a slight respite from the unending cacophony of the cell block. I can go back in there, shut the door, he confides, and just cry. One challenge for the Ear Hustle team will be to find a way to evoke their common humanity with their audience, without minimizing the crimes that brought them here.
We have caused a tear in the universe that can never be put back together, said Williams. But that gives us an obligation, a responsibility, to make sure that, here on forward, we show we actually understand where the wrong was.
Williams said that when he was a teenager growing up in Los Angeles s Crenshaw District, he nearly died in a car crash. Bed-ridden for weeks, he became sad, then agitated, when he wasn’t visited by people he thought loved him. It was like, Screw everything, screw everybody, he recalled. He set out on a series of armed robberies. I made that my excuse to act on my own selfishness, Williams now says. His crime spree earned him a 15-year prison sentence that he hopes will end in parole in another two and a half years. As Ear Hustle s sound designer the man responsible for its beats, keyboard riffs and unique rhythms he is hoping to find similar work outside. For Woods, 45, who co-hosts the podcast with Poor, an upcoming episode on California s three-strikes law will be personal. He is serving 31 years and is not eligible for parole until 2028 for an attempted second-degree robbery. His long sentence stems largely from a juvenile crime that counted as two strikes. I kidnapped and robbed a drug dealer, he said, and I got a strike for each of those.
Woods, nonetheless, called three strikes a good law, but one he believes was unfair to him and others who accumulated strikes when they were teenagers and before California voters approved the tough new guidelines, in 1994. Woods helped write a ballot initiative in 2015 that would eliminate strikes accumulated before passage of the law. But with only volunteers gathering signatures, the initiative failed to qualify for the ballot. When he gets out, Woods hopes to work in video and audio engineering. I am pretty damn good on this software, he said, adding with a chuckle: I can make people say stuff! Poor, a 54-year-old who lives in San Francisco, is all-in with her Ear Hustle partners and the push for systemic reform. But they agree that another change must come first. We ve all said, How can you get people interested in changing laws, unless they know the people who are affected by those laws? she said.
A professor of photography at California State University, Sacramento, Poor arrived in 2011 to teach videography. She soon determined that the process of hauling video outside the prison for editing and securing the requisite security approvals would be far too cumbersome. So she proposed a jump to the audio world. I really liked the idea that we would be doing something we had to learn together, with this new medium, Poor said. I wouldn t be the instructor.”
Public radio station KALW in San Francisco was soon accepting the
offerings from San Quentin and airing them on a program called Crosscurrents. But Poor, Woods and Williams wanted to push farther. Poor longed to break the boundaries of traditional journalism and create free-form pieces. Ear Hustle is the result.
Besides helping craft the tone and broad themes of the show, Poor lends an every-woman s voice in her role as co-host. She wants to know: How does one plan a funeral or family visit in phone calls limited to 15 minutes? And, isn t looking for a cellie really a bit like dating? She had a nice joust with Woods over that idea.
Earlonne Woods and Nigel Poor interview inmate Jack Benbro in the Lower Yard at San Quentin State Prison. Jim Seida / NBC News
PRX has committed to distribute 10 episodes of Ear Hustle, each ranging from 22 to 30 minutes. The show s win in the podcast competition also meant it joined in the promotion and ad sales network provided by PRX s
Radiotopia network. Though there s not yet a formal agreement for a Season Two, talk has already begun of new topics to explore. And which ones to avoid. A prison guard recently pulled Williams aside to suggest, in all earnestness, that he had a great story about a colonoscopy.
Williams demurred: I m sure that s hilarious. We ll have to think about how we re going to frame that.
While Ear Hustle looms large, there are other concerns for the partners to tend to. With his current cellmate weeks away from parole, Woods continues to focus on finding a new one. Williams time is short enough that he can think seriously about life outside. But, for now, there are the microphones, the next bit of ambient sound cued up on Pro Tools and all those other men locked away. Every one could be holding on to a story, one that Ear Hustle might set free.
You come down here and you don t have to pay attention to all the penitentiary stuff, Woods said, toying with a digital recorder in the Media Lab. You come in, do your work and get lost in it. It s almost like a piece of freedom right here in prison.
- ^ path for prisoners to change (www.nbcnews.com)
- ^ bloody episode (www.latimes.com)
- ^ offerings from San Quentin (kalw.org)
- ^ Earlonne Woods and Nigel Poor interview inmate Jack Benbro in the Lower Yard at San Quentin State Prison. Jim Seida / NBC News PRX has committed to distribute 10 episodes of Ear Hustle, each ranging from 22 to 30 minutes. The show s win in the podcast competition also meant it joined in the promotion and ad sales network provided by PRX s Radiotopia network. Though there s not yet a formal agreement for a Season Two, talk has already begun of new topics to explore. And which ones to avoid. A prison guard recently pulled Williams aside to suggest, in all earnestness, that he had a great story about a colonoscopy. Williams demurred: I m sure that s hilarious. We ll have to think about how we re going to frame that. While Ear Hustle looms large, there are other concerns for the partners to tend to. With his current cellmate weeks away from parole, Woods continues to focus on finding a new one. Williams time is short enough that he can think seriously about life outside. But, for now, there are the microphones, the next bit of ambient sound cued up on Pro Tools and all those other men locked away. Every one could be holding on to a story, one that Ear Hustle might set free. You come down here and you don t have to pay attention to all the penitentiary stuff, Woods said, toying with a digital recorder in the Media Lab. You come in, do your work and get lost in it. It s almost like a piece of freedom right here in prison. (media2.s-nbcnews.com)
- ^ Radiotopia network (www.radiotopia.fm)