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Warming causing stress in Arctic

The Arctic is under increasing stress from warming temperatures as shrubs colonize the tundra, changing wildlife habitat and local climate conditions, researchers said Wednesday.

Sea ice fell well below the previous record, caribou are declining in many areas and permafrost is melting, according to the annual update of the State of the Arctic report.

“The bottom line is we are seeing some rapid changes in the Arctic,” said Richard Spinrad, assistant administrator for oceanic and atmospheric research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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Posted by: Ryan Henry on Oct 18, 07 | 2:07 pm | Profile

PUC denies request to intervene in wind farm plans

The Public Utility Commission of Texas has denied an environmental group’s request to intervene in plans to build two electricity-generating wind farms in Kenedy County.

The Coastal Habitat Alliance, which includes King Ranch, Frontera Audubon Society and several other organizations, had petitioned for “intervenor” status in the construction of a transmission line that will connect two proposed wind farms to the electric grid.

The two wind farms — one being developed by PPM Energy and the other by Australia-based Babcock & Brown — both are located on privately owned Kenedy Ranch, and so the alliance saw the PUC’s public hearing as its only opportunity to stop the wind farms, representatives have said.

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Posted by: Ryan Henry on Oct 18, 07 | 6:15 am | Profile

County commissioners consider nearly $10K raise for employee

A Cameron County employee received a nearly $10,000 pay increase, but the vote on his raise was not a unanimous one.

County Judge Carlos H. Cascos questioned why the Cameron County Sheriff’s Department was proposing the $9,636 increase for registered nurse and infirmary administrator Dean Garza after the county had already voted down the pay raise during the county’s budget hearings.

“I have a concern that you are picking one person out” of all the other employees at the sheriff’s department, Cascos said during Tuesday’s Cameron County Commissioners meeting. “Something doesn’t look right.”

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Posted by: Ryan Henry on Oct 17, 07 | 6:19 am | Profile

County takes first step to replace trash contractors

Cameron County commissioners late Tuesday took what may be a preliminary step to replace Red River Service Corp., the unpopular company that collects trash in rural areas of the county under a mandatory program started by former County Judge Gilberto Hinojosa.

The supplemental agenda item, which was passed by a vote of commissioners, states: “Consideration and authorization to exempt from the County Purchasing Act the purchase of solid waste collection in the unincorporated area of the county as a health and safety item …”

After the meeting, County Judge Carlos Cascos explained the meaning of the vote:
“Well, it was something that we had to do,” the judge said.

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Posted by: Ryan Henry on Oct 17, 07 | 6:17 am | Profile

New, free Miss America browser aims to keep kids safe on the Internet

By WAYNE PARRY
Associated Press

Seven years ago, 13-year-old Lauren Nelson and a few friends entered an Internet chat room during a sleepover. Within a week, an online predator was e-mailing one of them lurid photos.

“We were chatting with people we didn’t know, which was our first mistake, and someone asked for our personal information,” she said. “A week later, he sent some inappropriate pictures to one of my friends. We were all scared, and told our parents, who contacted the authorities.”

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Posted by: Ryan Henry on Oct 11, 07 | 12:47 am | Profile

Coming to your doctor's office: Small ultrasound scanners to spot hidden artery plaque

What if your doctor could swipe a wand over your neck and reveal whether you have hidden heart disease?

That is now possible in places other than the sickbay of the starship Enterprise.

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Posted by: Ryan Henry on Oct 10, 07 | 12:46 am | Profile

Not sure which seafood is best for you? Snd a txt msg

Still not sure which is more eco-savvy, farmed or wild salmon? Snd a txt msg.

The marine conservation group Blue Ocean Institute has launched a cell phone-based service to send you text messages with the information you need to make smart seafood choices.

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Posted by: Ryan Henry on Oct 09, 07 | 12:45 am | Profile

Remains of John Does stack up

By SUSAN CARROLL
Associated Press

LAREDO, Texas--The yellowing skeletons are stored in filing boxes in the hallway of the old prison outside Laredo. Under fluorescent lights, the dead are stacked in a bay of metal lockers, two high and three across. The walk-in cooler across the hall is larger, but all of the tables are full, too.

At the makeshift morgue, Dr. Corinne Stern, the Webb County medical examiner, started storing bodies on rolling gurneys in the walk-in refrigerator when she ran out of space. Less than ideal, she thought, but temporary. It started with just one or two bodies, but recently, there were at least half a dozen.

“We try to make space the best we can,” she said, “but we are completely full.”

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Posted by: Ryan Henry on Oct 08, 07 | 12:43 am | Profile

Tarpons punish Zapata

In Port Isabel, it’s good to be the king.

On his way to picking up his Homecoming King honors at halftime, Port Isabel Tarpon running back Nolan Nunez rushed for 214 yards and four touchdowns—in the first half against Zapata. He would finish the night with 274 yards and five scores on the ground (292 yards total from the line of scrimmage) to lead Port Isabel (3-2) to another victory.

Port Isabel won 36 to 7 over Zapata Friday night at Tarpon Stadium.

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Posted by: Ryan Henry on Oct 06, 07 | 5:19 pm | Profile

Officials find swimmer's body after 24-hour search

The body of Thomas Jeffery Lopez, 26, of Brownsville was found Friday on South Padre Island after nearly a 24-hour search, officials said.

The body was found behind the Radisson Resort at about 6 p.m., near the area where Lopez was last seen by a friend, Lt. J.G. Ben Sparacin, Coast Guard Corpus Christi public affairs officer, said late Friday.

It is unknown why Lopez drowned, Sparacin said, but the Coast Guard received reports that he was epileptic, he said.

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Posted by: Ryan Henry on Oct 06, 07 | 5:37 am | Profile

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