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Sunday, March 13, 2011

WISCONSIN BUDGET BACKLASH RECALL ELECTIONS WILL VOTERS ASK FOR DO-OVER ??? Wisconsin Union LOSE, GOP bypasses Dems, cuts collective bargaining, Protest GROWS Continues

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Wisconsin Republicans Threatened with Recalls

March 12, 2011
After using a loophole in parliamentary procedure to pass its controversial bill, GOP legislators in Wisconsin are on the defensive.

BY ALYSSA CARTEE
ANCHOR: MEGAN MURPHY

You're watching multisource business video news analysis from Newsy.

Wisconsin lawmakers could face recall elections after Governor Scott Walker signed a bill into law that strips unions of some of their collective bargaining rights.

Republicans amended the bill to remove non-spending issues, effectively bypassing Democrats -- who remained out of the state in protest of the bill. (Video: CNN)

And the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee is moving fast to mobilize public opinion against the state’s Republicans.

“We expect pins to get bowled over, pies to get rolled, but we certainly don’t expect our senators to get flattened. Last month, Sen. Olsen said eliminating collective bargaining is, quote, ‘pretty radical.’ But Olsen voted for Gov. Walker’s backroom deal to end collective bargaining.”

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow points to
a SurveyUSA poll -- which suggests some Wisconsin Republicans are already facing backlash from their constituents.

“In the district of Republican Senator Randy Hopper 54% of his District would please rather have somebody else represent them now. He's up for recall. That's not 54% of Democrats in the district. That's voters in the whole district. That's not Democrats. That's voters. Those who elected them a couple of months ago.”

But it isn’t just Republicans in the crosshairs. In Wisconsin - an elected official can’t go up for recall until he or she has been in office at least a year. 16 lawmakers are eligible - and Republicans are launching their own recall campaign against as many as eight Democrats.
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Protesters Flood Wis. Capitol Over Anti-Union Vote

March 10, 2011
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Thousands of protesters pushed past security, climbed through windows and flooded the Wisconsin Capitol on Wednesday night after Senate Republicans pushed through a plan to strip most public workers of their collective bargaining rights.
Within an hour and a half of the vote, the protesters had seized the building’s lower floors, creating an ear-splitting free-for-all of pounding drums, screaming chants, horns and whistles. Police gave up guarding the building entrances and retreated to the third floor.
The state Department of Administration, which operates the building, estimated the crowd at about 7,000 people. There were no reports of violence as of late Wednesday evening. DOA spokesman Tim Donovan said no one had been arrested as of late Wednesday evening. By midnight dozens of protesters had bedded down in the building’s corridors and alcoves. Some slept in front of the office of Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, R-Horicon.
Donovan said officials decided not to try to clear the building because they want to avoid confrontation.
“The more talking we can do, the less this devolves into something unpleasant,” he said.
The bill would require public sector workers to contribute more to their pensions and health care, in what would amount to an 8 percent pay cut for the workers, on average. It also would prohibit most of them from collectively bargaining for their working conditions.
Republican Gov. Scott Walker, the plan’s chief author, says the bill will help fill the state’s current $137 million shortfall and a $3.6 billion hole in the state’s upcoming two-year budget. He said limiting collective bargaining rights for public workers will give local governments more flexibility to handle deep cuts in state aid.
Democrats and unions say the attack on collective bargaining is purely political, and that Republicans are simply trying to financially cripple the labor movement, a pillar of Democratic Party strength.
The Capitol has been a flashpoint for demonstrations since the bill was introduced about three weeks ago. Republican Gov. Scott Walker, the plan’s chief author, has said the bill is needed to help fill the state’s $137 million Senate Democrats were so outraged at the proposal they fled the state to block a vote in that chamber. They haven’t been seen in Madison for weeks.
Tens of thousands of people spent days jamming the area around the building, setting up a makeshift village inside complete with a day care center and signs plastered on the walls. Hundreds slept overnight on the floor for about two weeks.
Police imposed tighter access restrictions last week, closing down entrances. They persuaded the last overnighters to leave on the evening of March 3. The protests had been confined to the ground floor and the lawns until Wednesday evening, when frustrated Senate Republicans used a procedural maneuver to pass the bill without the minority Democrats.
As word spread that the vote was coming, hundreds of protesters moved into the building before its official 6 p.m. closing time and jammed the corridors in front of the Senate chamber, chanting “shame.”
Protester Damon Terrell, 19, called Senate vote a “despicable travesty.”
“They know what they’re doing is wrong,” he said. “Which child hides what they were doing: the one doing their homework or the one that was messing around?”
Police held their positions at the Capitol for a time after the vote, but more and more protesters found a way in. Police believe some climbed through windows, Donovan said. He initially said protesters broke windows and door handles, but later backed off that statement, saying he wasn’t sure that was true.
Finally police commanders decided to pull officers off guard duty at all the ground floor entrances, he said.
“The efforts to secure them weren’t working,” Donovan said. “It would be safer for everybody (if officers withdrew).”
Police addressed protesters repeatedly over the building’s public address system, warning them the building had been closed for hours and they had no right to remain inside. No one could hear the warnings over the din as protesters banged buckets, blew whistles and shouted “This is what democracy looks like!” and “Who’s house? Our house!”
The state Assembly was scheduled to vote on the bill Thursday morning, the last step before it would go to Walker for his signature.
A group of about 150 protesters jammed the Assembly foyer on Wednesday evening, debating whether they should occupy the space indefinitely. They had written the phone number for the American Civil Liberties Union’s local chapter on their arms, ensuring they could call a lawyer if they were arrested.
Later in the evening police again came over the building’s loudspeakers, this time warning people to get off the second-floor skywalks that link the building’s wings because they could collapse. No one listened.
Donovan said police had about an hour’s notice that the Senate was preparing to vote. Commanders tried to put together a reaction plan, but “it turned out to be not enough,” Donovan said.
Asked about the police’s plan, Donovan said officers just hoped to make sure no one got hurt. He didn’t know how many police were still on the scene late Wednesday but said more were on their way.
“The priority is to keep everybody safe,” Donovan said. “We’ll figure out what went wrong another day.”

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State Capitol has been reoccupied

The state Capitol in Madison, Wis., has been reoccupied by protesters who rushed into the building after hours, Wednesday evening, March 9, 2011. The Wisconsin Senate voted Wednesday night to strip nearly all collective bargaining rights from public workers, approving an explosive proposal that had rocked the state and unions nationwide after Republicans discovered a way to bypass the chamber's missing Democrats.
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Mar 9, 2011

Wis. GOP bypasses Dems, cuts collective bargaining

By SCOTT BAUER
Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Senate succeeded in voting Wednesday to strip nearly all collective bargaining rights from public workers, after Republicans discovered a way to bypass the chamber's missing Democrats and approve an explosive proposal that has rocked the state and unions nationwide.
"You are cowards!" spectators in the Senate gallery screamed as lawmakers voted. Within hours, a crowd of a few hundred protesters inside the Capitol had grown to several thousand, more than had been in the building at any point during weeks of protests.
"The whole world is watching!" they shouted as they pressed up against the heavily guarded entrance to the Senate chamber.
All 14 Senate Democrats fled to Illinois nearly three weeks ago, preventing the chamber from having enough members present to consider Gov. Scott Walker's "budget-repair bill" - a proposal introduced to plug a $137 million budget shortfall.
The Senate requires a quorum to take up any measures that spends money. But Republicans on Wednesday took all the spending measures out of the legislation and a special committee of lawmakers from both the Senate and Assembly approved the revised bill a short time later.
The unexpected yet surprisingly simple procedural move ended a stalemate that had threatened to drag on indefinitely. Until Wednesday's stunning vote, it appeared the standoff would persist until Democrats returned to Madison from their self-imposed exile.
"In 30 minutes, 18 state senators undid 50 years of civil rights in Wisconsin. Their disrespect for the people of Wisconsin and their rights is an outrage that will never be forgotten," said Democratic Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller. "Tonight, 18 Senate Republicans conspired to take government away from the people."
The state Assembly previously approved the original proposal and was set to consider the new measure on Thursday. Miller said in an interview with The Associated Press there is nothing Democrats can do now to stop the bill: "It's a done deal."
The lone Democrat present on the special committee, Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, shouted that the meeting was a violation of the state's open meetings law. The Senate's chief clerk said hours later the meeting was properly held.
Senate convened within minutes of the committee meeting and passed the measure 18-1 without discussion or debate. Republican Sen. Dale Schultz cast the lone no vote.
"The jig is now up," Barca said. "The fraud on the people of Wisconsin is now clear."
Walker had repeatedly argued that collective bargaining was a budget issue, because his proposed changes would give local governments the flexibility to confront budget cuts needed to close the state's $3.6 billion deficit. He has said that without the changes, he may have needed to lay off 1,500 state workers and make other cuts to balance the budget.
Walker said Wednesday night that Democrats had three weeks to debate the bill and were offered repeated opportunities to come back, but refused.
"I applaud the Legislature's action today to stand up to the status quo and take a step in the right direction to balance the budget and reform government," Walker said in the statement.
The measure approved Wednesday forbids most government workers from collectively bargaining for wage increases beyond the rate of inflation. It also requires public workers to pay more toward their pensions and double their health insurance contribution, a combination equivalent to an 8 percent pay cut for the average worker.
Police and firefighters are exempt.
Walker's proposal touched off a national debate over union rights for public employees and prompted tens of thousands of demonstrators to converge on Wisconsin's capital city for weeks of protests.
Wednesday's drama unfolded less than four hours after Walker met with GOP senators in a closed-door meeting. He emerged from the meeting saying senators were "firm" in their support of the bill.
For weeks, Democrats had offered concessions on issues other than the bargaining rights and they spent much of Wednesday again calling on Walker and Republicans to compromise.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said earlier that Republicans had been discussing concessions offered by Walker, including allowing public workers to bargain over their salaries without a wage limit. Several GOP senators facing recall efforts had also publicly called for a compromise.
"The people of Wisconsin elected us to come to Madison and do a job," Fitzgerald said in a statement after the vote. "Just because the Senate Democrats won't do theirs, doesn't mean we won't do ours."
Union leaders weren't happy with Walker's offer, and were furious at the Senate's move to push the measure forward with a quick vote. Phil Neuenfeldt, president of the Wisconsin state AFL-CIO, said after Wednesday's vote that Republicans exercised a "nuclear option."
"Scott Walker and the Republicans' ideological war on the middle class and working families is now indisputable," Neuenfeldt said.
While talks had been going on sporadically behind the scenes, Republicans in the Senate also had publicly tried to ratchet up pressure on Democrats to return. They had agreed earlier Wednesday to start fining Democrats $100 for each day legislative session day they miss.
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Associated Press writers Todd Richmond and Jason Smathers contributed to this report.

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A small crowd of people protests inside the capitol Rotunda during day 18 of the budget standoff at the state Capitol in Madison.
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Budget Battle: Day 18

Walker notifies unions of layoffs, but gives Democrats 15 days to reverse move

By Patrick Marley and Jason Stein of the Journal Sentinel  
March 4, 2011

Madison — Gov. Scott Walker notified unions Friday of impending layoffs if a budget-repair bill isn't passed in the next 15 days, even as both Republicans and Democrats showed signs of moving from their entrenched positions as they try to break a stalemate that has lasted nearly three weeks.
Walker warned Thursday that he would issue the notices on Friday that would affect up to 1,500 state employees. The actual notices, however, did not spell out how many people could be laid off, and a spokesman for the governor said the layoffs could be reduced by employee retirements.
According to GOP sources familiar with talks on the bill, the discussions with Democratic senators holed up in Illinois include removing or changing a provision from Walker's budget-repair bill that would limit unions' bargaining over wages to the rate of inflation. The talks have also touched on the possibility of removing or changing a provision that would require workers to vote every year on whether their union would remain active or be decertified, the sources said.
The last provision especially is anathema to Democrats and unions, who say it could kill many labor groups. The sources asked not to be identified because they had no clearance to speak and because the talks were still delicate.
The Republican governor acknowledged Thursday that his administration was in talks with Democrats but declined to provide details. He also signaled for the first time in the budget crisis that he might be willing to make at least a marginal change to his budget-repair proposal.
The bill has been stalled since Feb. 17, when all 14 Senate Democrats left the state. Twenty senators must be present to pass spending bills, and Republicans have only 19 seats.
The budget-repair bill would require most public workers to pay more for their health care and pensions, eliminate most collective bargaining by their unions, and give the governor broad powers to reshape the state's health care programs for the poor and elderly.
Unions have agreed to the concessions on their benefits, but the provisions taking away most collective bargaining have prompted sustained protests for over two weeks.
In a sign of the political stakes for the governor, a poll released Friday found a solid majority of likely voters in Wisconsin disapprove of Walker's job performance.

Changes discussed

In the Thursday interview, Walker said he remained firm on the core of his proposal but also acknowledged the provision forcing workers to vote every year on their unions' status wouldn't save local governments money.
"I'm not saying what's on the table (in the talks), but, no, I don't think that's an issue that if someone were to look objectively and say, 'Does that hurt local governments if that were altered in some way?' (That) observation is prudent," Walker said.
The governor said he didn't want to give details on the talks out of fear that doing so could disrupt them.
Walker's layoff notifications went to unions, and notifications to individual workers could come in 15 days. The actual layoffs would occur in early April.
Democrats have said layoffs are unnecessary and have shown no signs that the layoff threat is moving them.
Walker's announcement also appears to give Democrats more time to reach a deal than the GOP governor has indicated in the past. He had insisted his budget-repair bill needed to pass this past week in order to avoid layoffs. But a news release from Walker Friday said layoffs might be avoided if the bill passes in the next 15 days.
One labor leader said Walker was bluffing.
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People get a bird's-eye view of thousands of protesters outside the state Capitol building from the Wisconsin Historical Museum on Day 12 of protests over Gov. Scott Walker's budget-repair bill. 
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Budget Battle
Remarkable fight sparks national interest

Experts marvel at events but can't predict outcome

Feb. 26, 2011
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Two weeks old and counting, Wisconsin's scorched-earth budget battle has become a consuming national spectacle and defining political moment, an episode with few parallels in the legislative annals of this or any state.
"It's really a confluence of a series of extraordinary events," said Peverill Squire, a University of Missouri professor who studies legislative politics. "This has all been full of terrific story angles nobody could have anticipated."
Even the most experienced political players are having trouble seeing an endgame.
"Everybody's playing chicken," said Madison pollster Paul Maslin, a Democrat. "I'm pretty close to saying this is maybe a no-win for everybody."
What started as one state's budget dispute has become a much bigger melodrama, test case and proxy war, spawning fundraising and advertising campaigns, mobilizing labor and the left on a national scale and transforming a longtime but low-profile conservative cause (reducing the power of public employee unions) into a hot-button issue that could influence the 2012 Republican nominating fight and shape the future of organized labor.
"This is a battle that Republicans and tea party types, conservatives, have been waiting for frankly for some time," said Steve King, a member of the national GOP's executive committee from Wisconsin. "And Scott Walker . . . he chose to go first."
It's a conflict that said a lot about its time and place.
A collision between conservatives and public-sector unions could only play out this way in a strong union state that just elected a Republican governor.
Only a conservative politician emboldened by a tea party movement inflamed by government spending would pin his career on a battle he initiated with the other party's most organized constituency.
Perhaps only in a state capital and university town as liberal as Madison in a state with Wisconsin's history of political and union activism would a fight like this draw protest crowds bigger than those of the Vietnam War.
Only in an age of new media, social media, 24/7 media and flourishing right-wing and left-wing media would protests materialize with such speed, would the fight go national so quickly, would obscure state legislators and activists become temporary talking heads on cable television, and would a blogger from Buffalo spend 20 minutes on the phone "punking" the governor of Wisconsin.
Only at a moment of extreme partisan polarization would a fight this divisive be undertaken, inspire such bitter reactions and extreme tactics and be so destructive to the legislative culture and process.
And only on the eve of a presidential campaign would doing battle with unions become an important new conservative credential for nationally ambitious GOP politicians.
"Whether you're running for mayor, governor or president, (Republican) voters are going to want to see that the people they're electing are going to have the fortitude to take the hits, to take the protests and make the tough decisions like Gov. Walker is doing," said Alex Conant, a GOP operative now working for former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a potential presidential candidate who released a pro-Walker video and launched a pro-Walker petition drive this week.

Touching a nerve

Two weeks in, people on both sides express amazement at the twists and turns and speed and scale of the struggle that has unfolded here.
"The Packers won the Super Bowl, and they didn't get this much ink," said union leader Jim Palmer, executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association.
King, the GOP committeeman, argues that people should not have been surprised by Walker's decision to go after collective bargaining rights, even if it wasn't something he explicitly campaigned on.
"For Republicans, conservatives, this was I think somewhat of a much anticipated event," said King, noting that the power of public employee unions has been a well-known conservative concern and Republican frustration. If there's an element of political hardball, of doing "anything to deny the other guy a resource that may be key to them," that's a game both parties play, said King.
But there was no mistaking the shock on the other side when it became clear what Walker was proposing.
"This was really a very dramatic proposal," said Squire, the political scientist. "It was a significant attempt to shift public policy, and it was met by a significant backlash."
The reaction within labor, the Democratic Party and the progressive movement, which saw the move as an audacious kill shot aimed at their political coalition, was swift and seismic.
"A critical mass of people realized the only way to stop this was to go to the street," said Robert Kraig of Citizen Action Wisconsin. "I haven't experienced anything like it."
For many on both sides, there is a broader context and epic sweep to the battle that ensued.
For conservatives, it is raging deficits and untamed government.
"The people of Wisconsin and the American people are ready to have this fight," said Wisconsin's Reince Priebus, national Republican chairman, in an interview Saturday.
"Led by famously progressive Wisconsin - Scott Walker at the state level and Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan at the congressional level - a new generation of Republicans has looked at the debt and is crossing the Rubicon," wrote conservative Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer on Friday, celebrating the "magnificent turmoil" and "singular clarity" of the nation's Madison moment.
"Budgets are blowing up all over the country," said Ryan, the Janesville congressman. "We've got a new (group) of conviction politicians at all levels of government looking at this situation and telling the truth (about it)."
For the left and labor, the broader context is unchecked corporate power, economic inequality and an already embattled union movement.
"Republicans are using the economy to kick the middle class in the teeth," said MoveOn.org's executive director Justin Ruben, whose organization coordinated rallies Saturday in 50 state capitals. "We want to nationalize that fight."
Dennis Van Roekel, president of the 3.2-million member National Education Association, called the struggle in Wisconsin a defining moment for the American labor movement. "It's defining because if collective bargaining is eliminated, there is nothing but a corporate voice," he said.

Declining numbers

In 2010, the national union membership rate - the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of a union - was 11.9%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 1983, the first year for which comparable data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1%. During that decline, the public sector has become the heart of organized labor (36.2% of public sector workers were unionized in 2010 compared with 6.9% of private-sector workers) as well as an essential player in Democratic politics.
Each party has a financial foundation, said pollster Maslin. For Democrats, the four-legged stool it relies on for contributions consists of labor, grass roots and online activists, trial lawyers and wealthy individuals.
"You take away one of those legs and guess what? We're weakened!" said Maslin. "I think both sides quickly perceived the stakes. This is not just Wisconsin, this is the whole country. It's not just one isolated governor (proposing this), it's a whole series of them. This isn't just one budgetary issue, it's an assault on public unions in general. It's not just an esoteric political argument, it's raw political power. Both sides quickly perceived how much was at stake here, and that's why it blew up. . . . It went viral every which way."
The chain of events Walker set into motion - the prolonged mass protests, the flight of Democratic legislators, the raucous civil war in the state Assembly - has poisoned an already harsh political climate in Wisconsin. And it's given the country a glimpse of the bile and dysfunction that could ensue from a similar standoff in Washington.
One sign of the way the debate has been nationalized is that Republican politicians across the country are finding themselves forced to take a position on the specifics of what Walker has proposed.
An explicit debate over the pros and cons of public-sector unions is one that some conservatives relish.
"We never got the media to pay attention (to the issue) . . . up until 10 days ago," said Mark Block, who used to run the conservative group Americans for Prosperity in Wisconsin and now works for Republican Herman Cain, a possible long-shot presidential candidate.
But it's an argument some Republicans still are reluctant to join, including many GOP governors. Even Walker, who started it all, has sought repeatedly to frame the issue as a budget debate, not a debate about bargaining rights.

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Tsunami sweeps 5 to sea, rips out California docks UPDATE: Tsunami Batters US Harbors Man Swept Out To Sea Northern California coast

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Tsunami sweeps 5 to sea, rips out California docks

C. Johnson 
3/11/2011
www.news10.net

CRESCENT CITY, CA (AP) - A tsunami swept at least five people watching the waves out to sea Friday and ripped docks out of harbors in California and Oregon, spreading the destruction of a devastating Japanese earthquake to the shores of the United States. SLIDESHOW: Quake, tsunami damage
Four people were rescued from the water in southern Oregon, but one man who was taking photos in Northern California was still missing Friday afternoon and presumed dead. Coast Guard helicopters searched for him near the mouth of the Klamath River in Del Norte County, Calif., but suspended their search after more than seven hours over the cold, rough ocean.
The large waves shook loose boats and tore apart docks in at least two California harbors and one in Oregon, causing millions of dollars of damage.
A man was found dead aboard a commercial vessel in Brookings, but sheriff's officials said it appeared to be from natural causes.
"This is just devastating. I never thought I'd see this again," said Ted Scott, a retired mill worker who lived in Crescent City when a 1964 tsunami killed 17 people on the West Coast, including 11 in his town. "I watched the docks bust apart. It buckled like a graham cracker."
The waves didn't make it over a 20-foot break wall protecting the rest of the city, and no home damage was immediately reported.
Del Norte County sheriff's spokesman Bill Stevens said most boats were pulled out of the harbor in preparation for Friday's tsunami, but 35 vessels that remained were crashing into one another and sinking.
The wooden docks also were breaking apart under the force of the waves.
Crescent City Councilwoman Kelly Schellong said the docks and harbor "are pretty much completely destroyed."
According to Brad Alexander with Cal EMA, in Del Norte County 8,000 people were evacuated. No homes believed to have been damaged but the commercial area of town was flooded. The flooding was but not particularly destructive.
Santa Cruz
The Santa Cruz region experienced several surges in the harbor Friday morning following tsunami warnings that sucked some boats right out of the harbor.
Alexander said Santa Cruz County evacuated 6,000 people. There was an estimated $4.5 million in damage to private property (mostly boats) and $10 million in damage to harbor facilities.
San Mateo County
Port and harbor facilities in San Mateo County were damaged, the extent and exact location unknown, said Alexander.
Ft. Bragg

Noyo harbor at Ft. Bragg on the Mendocino coast was evacuated Friday morning, according to local emergency officials. No damage had been reported.
San Luis Obispo County
Alexander said Port San Luis in San Luis Obispo County (Avila Beach) also sustained some damage, the extent unknown.
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Man Swept Out To Sea; Tsunami Batters Harbors

March 11, 2011


www.ktvu.com
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A man who went to the Northern California coast near the Klamath River to photograph the arrival of a tsunami early Friday was swept out to sea and remained missing, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
Elsewhere along the Northern and Central California coast, the tsunami generated by a massive earthquake in Japan left a wake of battered boats and debris littering ports throughout the region.Coast Guard Petty Officer Rachel Polish told KTVU that three people had gone to the coast to take pictures of the tsunami’s arrival around 10 a.m. when they were swept out to sea.Two of the individuals were able to make it safely back to shore, but the third remained missing and was the subject of an intense helicopter and water search by the Coast Guard.The tsunami capsized and damaged several boats in harbors up and down the coast, leaving the waters littered with debris.Officials reported that the tide pulled back about 8 inches over a five-minute period nearby at Pillar Point, setting the scene for the destruction in Santa Cruz. At least 15 fishing and pleasure crafts were ripped from their moorings and heavily damaged during the surge.Two docks also sustained major damage during the surge. Local officials had declared an emergency and estimated the damage at $2 million.Meanwhile, to the north in Crescent City, the tsunami caused heavy damage to the harbor town. Del Norte County sheriff's spokesman Bill Stevens said most boats were pulled out of the harbor in preparation for Friday's tsunami, but 35 vessels that remained crashed into one another and were sinking. The wooden docks were also breaking apart under the force of the waves. Crescent City Councilwoman Kelly Schellong said the docks and harbor were "pretty much completely destroyed."Stevens said the damage cost wass estimated to be into the millions, and the surges were expected to continue through the afternoon. "This is just devastating. I never thought I'd see this again," said Ted Scott, a retired mill worker who lived in Crescent City when a 1964 tsunami killed 17 people on the West Coast, including 11 in his town. "I watched the docks bust apart. It buckled like a graham cracker." The waves didn't make it over a 20-foot break wall protecting the rest of the city, and no serious injuries or home damage was immediately reported.Elsewhere, the wave impact had not been felt as dramatically.Earlier in the morning, hundreds of cars jammed the roadside along Highways 35 and 92 as residents of Half Moon Bay and other nearby communities obeyed a voluntary evacuation warning in preparation for the tsunami's arrival.County officials had advised residents in the low-lying areas west of Highway 1 to move to ground east of the highway, according to the county's emergency alert system.Residents in the Linda Mar area of Pacifica were advised to evacuate to the east of Adobe Drive. Those in El Granada should evacuate to the east of Coronado Street.Meanwhile, Pacifica school officials canceled classes for the day.In San Francisco, acting Mayor Ed Lee said no evacuations had been ordered because of a combination of low tide and only a surge expected to be only 1-2 feet.However, as a precaution Lee said the Great Highway along Ocean Beach had been closed. The highway was closed from Point Lobos at 48th Avenue to Lake Merced, Lt. Troy Dangerfield said.To the south along the Central Coast the tsunami surge also caused damage to boats in Morro Bay.Police Chaplain James Berg said the swells had knocked some boats loose and damaged a dock. Hundreds of people have been evacuated from low lying areas, the harbor and the embarcadero areas of the city.
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East Central College Spring Enrollment 2011 Sets New Record For the School

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East Central College Sets Record for Spring Enrollment

March 11, 2011
www.emissourian.com 
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Enrollment at East Central College has set a record for a spring semester with 4,444 students enrolled, an increase of 98 students over last spring.

The 2.3 percent increase is primarily due to a larger number of continuing students, according to Dr. Ed Jackson, college president.

This semester ECC students are enrolled in 41,372 credit hours, which is 61 fewer credit hours than last spring.

Over the past five spring semesters, student head count has increased 32.6 percent and credit hours have increased 39.9 percent.

The majority of ECC students, more than 60 percent, take classes at the main campus in Union.

The number of students taking classes at the college's satellite locations in Rolla, Sullivan, Warrenton and Washington is down slightly this semester, but the number of students enrolled in dual technical credit classes at area high schools is up 19 percent.

More than 48 percent of ECC students are classified as transfer majors, intending to move on to a four-year college or university after ECC.

The ratio of men and women attending remains almost unchanged from spring 2010, with males making up 39.6 percent of the student body now.

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Don't Mess With Wisconsin, You Might Get Your Tail Kicked

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There is no man in any rank who is always at liberty to act as he would incline. In some quarter or other he is limited by circumstances.

The man who most vividly realizes a difficulty is the man most likely to overcome it.

When you can't solve the problem, manage it.
Real difficulties can be overcome, it is only the imaginary ones that are unconquerable.
The human mind prefers to be spoonfed with the thoughts of others, but deprived of such nourishment it will, reluctantly, begin to think for itself- and such thinking, remember, is original thinking and may have valuable results.
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Missouri Lost 10,100 Jobs February 2011 unemployment rate edged lower

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Missouri lost 10,100 jobs in February

Associated Press
March 12, 2011

While lawmakers in the state talk of cutting extended unemployment benefits, Missouri keeps shedding jobs.
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A new report says Missouri lost more than 10,000 jobs in February, although the state's jobless rate edged lower.
   Figures released Friday by the state Department of Economic Development show the state lost 10,100 jobs last month. The most significant declines were in the leisure and hospitality sector and in manufacturing. The department attributes those declines at least partly to the severe winter weather.
   The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 9.4 percent in February, down from 9.5 percent in January.




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Villa Ridge Teen Dead in Creek Face Down Identified, Franklin County Missouri

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Body of Villa Ridge teen found in creek

BY TIM O'NEIL 
  STLtoday.com
Sunday, March 13, 2011
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VILLA RIDGE  • The body of Randy E. Dawson Jr., 17, of Villa Ridge, was found shortly after 8 a.m. Saturday in a creek near American Inn Road and Highway AT. It's an area along an Interstate-44 service road. The Franklin County Sheriff’s office said his body was face down in the water.
Investigators found no sign of foul play and do not suspect foul play.  An autopsy was requested through the St. Louis County medical examiner’s office.
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Saturday, March 12, 2011
www.emissourian.com
 
The Franklin County Sheriff's Department said a 17-year-old youth apparently died after running from a party that deputies were raiding Friday night in the Villa Ridge area.
A motorist reported at 8:30 a.m. Saturday seeing a body in a creek off American Inn Road.
A sheriff's office spokesperson said deputies responded Friday night to a underage drinking party and when officers arrived at the scene many of the participants fled on foot and were chased by officers.
The sheriff's office said it could not be determined at this time if Dawson's death was due to head trauma, exposure or drowning.
READ MORE



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14 Dead Tour Bus Crash Bronx New York UPDATE

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Deaths from New York tour bus crash at 14

www.reuters.com/news/us
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The death toll rose to 14 on Saturday after a tour bus carrying sleeping gamblers returning from a Connecticut casino flipped over in the Bronx, shearing off its roof. 

New York • A crowded tour bus barreling for Manhattan overturned at high speed on a highway in the Bronx early Saturday and was sliced open by a sign stanchion. Fourteen people were killed and 19 were injured, five of them critically, police said.
Officials said the crash, which happened at about 5:30 a.m. on Interstate 95, was the worst loss of life in New York City since the crash of an American Airlines jet in Queens on Nov. 12, 2001, which killed all 260 on board and five people on the ground.
The victims were returning to Chinatown on a chartered bus from the Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville, Conn. Some on board described grisly scenes of mayhem: at least one person decapitated, people hanging upside down, victims gashed by flying glass and screaming in the darkness, struggling to get out.
The driver, Ophadell Williams, 40, told police that his bus was clipped from behind by a passing tractor-trailer, which sped away.
The identities of the victims were not released.
The police quickly began a search for the driver of the tractor-trailer, but no description of the vehicle was immediately available. The police said at a briefing at the scene of the crash that it had not been determined whether the bus was actually hit by the unidentified tractor-trailer, or whether the bus driver, upon seeing it, began to swerve.
Investigators said the bus was operated by World Wide Tours, a company based in Brooklyn. There was no answer at the company’s telephone number on Saturday morning. World Wide Tours was recently flagged by federal regulators for troubles with fatigued drivers, although its overall safety record was satisfactory, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
The company’s buses were involved in two crashes in the past two years that resulted in passenger injuries, though details were not immediately available.

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Angry Birds Game Facebook App Coming Soon More Features

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Angry Birds to Fly into Facebook?

March 12, 2011

After accumulating $42 million from investors, Angry Birds developer Rovio has some big plans for the game.

Y STEPHANIE STOUFFER
Anchor: Jennifer Meckles

The world’s no. 1 selling app is getting even bigger. Angry Birds hit the jackpot with its first shot at fundraising -- $42 million from investors. The game’s developer, Rovio, announced the massive investment this week -- and its big plans to go social and become a brand name. 

Now known as a major player in the mobile gaming industry, Rovio is hoping to fly into social networking -- and land success on Facebook. Friends will be able to play Angry Birds with each other online. Rovio’s "Mighty Eagle" Peter Vesterbacka hinted to Wired UK back in January that it’s putting a new spin on the Facebook version.

“There will be completely new aspects to it that just haven't been experienced on any other platform … The pigs will have a more prominent role.”

And he went on to reveal even bigger plans for the company...

“We're building an integrated entertainment franchise where merchandising, games, movies, TV, cartoons and comics all come together … Like Disney 2.0.”

GamesBeat is calling this mobile gaming nirvana, citing mobile phone users still amount to five times the number of Facebook users.

“The deal shows that at least one mobile game company is able to attract marquee investors and a valuation ... that social game companies attracted in their run-up to the big time. At some point, the industry will flip, with Facebook becoming the smaller part and mobile becoming the bigger part.”

. Click Here to Read More.

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