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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Oysters Habitats Disappearing Worldwide - Functionally Extinct

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Oysters disappearing worldwide: study

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A survey of oyster habitats around the world has found that the succulent mollusks are disappearing fast and 85 percent of their reefs have been lost due to disease and over-harvesting.
Most of the remaining wild oysters in the world, or about 75 percent, can be found in five locations in North America, said the study published in BioScience, the journal of the American Institute of Biological Sciences.
An international team of researchers led by Michael Beck of the Nature Conservancy and the University of California, Santa Cruz, examined the condition of native oyster reefs in 40 ecoregions, including 144 bays.
"Oyster reefs are at less than 10 percent of their prior abundance in most bays (70 percent) and ecoregions (63 percent)," said the study.
"They are functionally extinct -- in that they lack any significant ecosystem role and remain at less than one percent of prior abundances in many bays (37 percent) and ecoregions (28 percent) -- particularly in North America, Australia and Europe."
By averaging the loss among all regions, the researchers came up with an estimate that 85 percent of oyster reef ecosystems have been lost, but said that figure was likely low because some areas lacked historical records for comparison.
 The study also did not include oyster reefs in parts of South Africa, China, Japan, and North and South Korea.
Other studies and observations in those areas "suggest that wild oyster abundance was much higher in the past and that reefs have declined greatly in abundance or have disappeared altogether," the authors said.
The one bright spot in the oyster world was in the Gulf of Mexico, where native oyster catches are "the highest in the world despite significant declines in abundance and reefs," according to the study.
Five regions where oyster catches were globally the highest were located in eastern North America, from the Virginia coast southward and also in the Gulf of Mexico.
Oysters are important to ecosystems because they filter impurities from water and provide food and employment for people living in coastal communities.
The decline in oyster population often begins when trawling or dredging destroys the structure of parts of the reef, leaving surviving oysters vulnerable to stresses in the environment.
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George Noory Interview - Egypt Could be “Shot Heard Around The World” to Start WW3

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Weekday host of the late-night radio talk show Coast to Coast AM, George Noory stops by to talk with Alex about the conflict in Egypt, and the rest of the middle East.
www.coasttocoastam.com/
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Epic storm ? Depends where you live Hermann, Missouri Reports 12 Inches Snow


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Epic storm? Depends where you live in the St. Louis area

FROM STAFF REPORTS www.STLtoday.com Wednesday, February 2, 2011
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ST. LOUIS • It was supposed to be a wild winter storm of "historic" proportions with predictions of devastating ice build-up followed by a heavy, nearly two-foot layer of snow.


But by most early estimates, the year storm that hit the St. Louis area Tuesday could hardly be described as epic.


Sure, the storm brought freezing rain, ice and a few inches of snow in St. Louis, a winter Midwestern blast one might expect in January.


But historic? That might depend where you live, forecasters say.


At the National Weather Service office in Weldon Spring, post-mortem questions about the accuracy of Monday’s forecasts depend entirely upon location.


"When you talk about the forecast for the immediate metro area, it wasn’t absolutely correct," said Jim Kramper, a meteorologist at the local office. "Not far west of here, we nailed it. I-70 doesn’t get closed every day."


Even what hit downtown was a big event, he said. "Getting two to three inches of sleet isn’t normal," Kramper said. "Equating that to snow gets you roughly eight to 10 inches."


As it happened, the city received 3.1 inches, mainly of compact sleet. But Old Monroe, Mo. had 10 inches of snow and sleet. Parts of Lewis County, Mo., north of Hannibal, 22 inches. Sedalia was hit with 21 inches, Columbia 17, Jefferson City 14, and Hermann 12. It was all part of the storm that brought heavy snow from Oklahoma to Chicago, where 22 inches fell.


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Bon Jovi Coming to Scottrade Center, May 22, 2011, St Louis, Missouri MUSIC VIDEO What Do You Got

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February 3, 2011

Due to popular demand, a slew of new Bon Jovi concerts have been added to the rock band's itinerary today, and St. Louis has finally made the cut.
The band will perform at Scottrade Center May 22, which looks like the last date on its North American trek.
The St. Louis date comes from the band's tour publicist.
The venue has not yet announced the concert, and ticket information isn't available.
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New Mexico Statewide natural gas shortage hits, tens of thousands cut off

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Gas and electricity affected by weather

Companies banding together to keep people warm

Thursday, 03 Feb 2011

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NEW MEXICO (KRQE) - Various gas and electric companies are encountering issues Thursday morning due to the extreme cold.
Natural Gas Emergency - Due to rolling black outs in West Texas and other problems, the delivery of natural gas into New Mexico has been impeded. States in the southwest are experiencing similar issues. The New Mexico Gas Company pipeline system is intact and crews are working to minimize the impact of this temporary situation. Customers have experienced an interruption of service in several communities. These include: Tularosa, La Luz, Espanola, Taos, Questa, Red River, the town of Bernalillo, Placitas, Santa Clara Pueblo, Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, Alamogordo, Silver City, and San Ildefonso Pueblo. NM Gas Co. has been working with National, County and State emergency services and officials, as well as local assistance agencies
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Oil Price Jumps Above $103 on Egypt crisis

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Oil price shoots above $103 on Egypt crisis
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Brent crude rallied to a 28-month high above $103 on Thursday as the political crisis in Egypt erupted into violence, sparking fresh concern over energy supplies in the crude-rich Middle East.

"The continued unrest in Egypt has prompted Brent oil prices to climb overnight to $103 a barrel, the highest level since September 2008," said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in March climbed to $103.37 a barrel -- the highest level since September 26, 2008. It later stood at $102.67 in London trade, up 33 cents compared with Wednesday's close.

New York's main futures contract, light sweet crude for March, gained 79 cents to $91.65 per barrel.

Egypt's health ministry said five people were killed and 836 injured since Wednesday in running clashes for control of Tahrir Square, the focal point of the protests against President Hosni Mubarak.

The oil market is jittery due to fears the crisis could spill over to other countries in the crude-rich but politically volatile Middle East.

And although Egypt is not a major crude producer, it is home to the Suez Canal, which carries about 2.4 million barrels daily, roughly equal to Iraq's output.

"The latest news from Egypt triggered... fresh buying from funds," Newedge brokerage analyst Ken Hasegawa told AFP on Thursday.

"So far there is no factor to prompt traders to sell. We don't see any sellout in the market at the moment."

Hasegawa added that the spread in the price between Brent crude and the benchmark New York contract, also known as West Texas Intermediate (WTI), was likely to widen further because of oversupply in the US port of Cushing in Oklahoma.

The latest weekly stockpiles report from the US Department of Energy showed reserves had increased sharply for a third week in a row.

Crude oil stocks rose 2.6 million barrels to 343.2 million in the week ending January 28, in line with expectations, official data showed on Wednesday.

At the almost-full depot at Cushing, reserves rose 600,000 barrels to a record high of 38.3 million. 


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Underemployment at 18.9%, compared with 19.0% at the end of December

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February 3, 2011

Gallup Finds U.S. Unemployment Up Slightly in January to 9.8%

Underemployment at 18.9%, compared with 19.0% at the end of December

by Dennis Jacobe, Chief Economist
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PRINCETON, NJ -- Unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, increased to 9.8% at the end of January -- up from 9.6% at the end of December, but down from 10.9% a year ago.
Gallup's U.S. Unemployment Rate: 2010-2011 Trend
The percentage of part-time workers who want full-time work improved slightly, to 9.1% of the workforce in January from 9.4% in December -- similar to the 9.0% of January 2010.
Percentage of Americans Working Part Time and Wanting Full-Time Work: 2010-2011 Trend
Underemployment Essentially Unchanged in January
Underemployment -- the combination of part-time workers wanting full-time work and Gallup's U.S. unemployment rate -- was 18.9% in January, essentially the same as the 19.0% of December. Underemployment now stands one percentage point below the 19.9% of a year ago.
 U.S. Underemployment: 2010-2011 Trend


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Egypt President Mubarak Says He Fears Chaos If He Quits Now

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Mubarak says he fears chaos if he quits now

Feb 3 2011
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CAIRO (AP) – President Hosni Mubarak has said in an interview with ABC News that he wants to leave office now, but cannot for fear the country will sink deeper into chaos.

ABC's Christiane Amanpour says Mubarak told her Thursday that he is troubled by deadly violence between anti- and pro-government groups in Cairo's Tahrir Square and that the government is not responsible for it.

In the interview at the presidential palace, Mubarak blamed the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood for the violence.

Mubarak has said he will not run for office again after his term ends this year, but protesters want him to leave now. According to the ABC website, the president also said he did not intend for his son, Gamal, to assume the presidency after him.
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National Weather Service Forecast Spring Flooding Likely in Missouri

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 Mississippi River, St. Louis, June 2008
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National Weather Service says spring flooding likely in Missouri

Thursday, February 3, 2011
BY The Associated Press

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ST. LOUIS — The National Weather Service is predicting a high likelihood of significant flooding along much of the upper Mississippi River this spring.

The St. Louis office of the service released its Spring Flood Outlook, and the concerns are ominous. The service cites high levels of stream flow, soil moisture and snowpack in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and northern Missouri.

Hydrologist Mark Fuchs said this week's snowstorm didn't help. He said towns along the Mississippi from Minnesota south to the St. Louis area could see moderate to major flooding in the spring.

Flooding is considered less likely on the Mississippi south of St. Louis because parts of southern Illinois and southeast Missouri had below average rainfall through 2010.

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Augusta Bottom Road May Get Guardrails, Funds Pledged, Warren County Red Tape Stalls Instalation

Enough Funds Pledged to Add Safety Guardrails

On Hazardous Section of Bottom Road
By Ed Pruneau, Missourian Managing Editor
February 1, 2011

Warren County Coroner Roger Mauzy said enough money has been pledged to install guardrails along a dangerous stretch of Augusta Bottom Road where a Washington teen died last October.
Now he just needs to get a government entity involved to accomplish the project.

Mauzy sought some guidance Monday from the Washington Area Highway Transportation Committee.

Earlier this month, Mauzy and family members of Ella J. Neier, 16, Washington, started the campaign to fund guardrails and other safety improvements along a rough gravel section of the road, bordered by a large pond, known as the Augusta Parkway. The section is near where the road changes from pavement in St. Charles County to gravel on the Warren County side.

Neier died after her car ran off the road Oct. 22, 2010, and overturned in the pond.

Mauzy, who responded and pronounced the girl dead at the scene, said he's convinced the crash could have been prevented if guardrails had been in place to keep a vehicle from entering the water.

"MoDOT said if the road is in Warren County, it's Warren County's responsibility," Mauzy said. "They're (commissioners) putting politics ahead of human life. They have the capability to resolve it but they won't.

"I'm going to continue my rampage until the rails go up," he remarked.
An initial rough estimate to install about 3,000 feet of guardrail along the large pond is about $75,000.

"Surprise. All the money has been pledged," Mauzy told the committee.

"Unfortunately, my county commission is uncooperative. The red tape is being flashed," Mauzy said, noting that all the commission would need to do is agree to maintain the guardrail after it's installed, but they have refused.
READ MORE
 
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Washington, Mo., looks at guardrails for Augusta Bottom Road

BY SUSAN WEICH   
www.STLtoday.com  
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
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WASHINGTON, Mo. • Making Augusta Bottom Road safer moved a few steps forward Monday.
Members of the Washington Area Highway Transportation Committee passed two measures after family members of Ella Neier, 16, who died in an accident on the road, made pleas for their cooperation.
The committee agreed to ask St. Charles County to put up warning signs on the road where it enters Warren County. In addition, the board requested that the Washington City Council get bids to perform an engineering study on the road to find out if guardrails would make it safer.
A city engineer also announced plans for a new road that would link Washington to St. Charles County, although that fix is in a very early stage.
No part of Augusta Bottom Road is in Washington — it runs through St. Charles and Warren counties — but the section called Augusta Parkway has been maintained by the city since shortly after the Great Flood of 1993.
Efforts to get a guardrail where the road abuts water started shortly after the death of Neier, a student at St. Francis Borgia High School in Washington. She drowned the evening of Oct. 22, after her car plunged into a pond next to the road.
Neier's family has pledges from private donors to cover the estimated $75,000 cost of the guardrail, but those efforts stalled because of questions about who owns the road.
Warren County says the stretch of road where the crash occurred, while within the county boundaries, has been owned by the town of Augusta ever since it rebuilt the segment after flooding in 1993. However, a title search failed to pinpoint the owners, and Augusta's attorney says ownership of the road is unclear. About 700 cars use it daily.
The section in St. Charles County is paved and the lanes are striped, while the portion in Warren County is about 1.7 miles of gravel.

. Click Here to Read More.


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