Pet swap: are chickens really the new dogs?


IN THE NEWS: On AUG 29, 2017

Are you a dog person or a chicken person? It is, by some accounts, the question bouncing around the gardens and smallholdings of the UK as more established pets cry “fowl” over a chicken coup. No longer happy to employ poultry as egg suppliers, we are reportedly embracing them as pets, with names and roaming rights.

“I keep finding eggs in the cat basket!” says Lucy Deedes of her own avian interlopers, Mrs Rochester and Miss Bates. The hens live in Deedes’ Sussex garden but enjoy coming inside (the kitchen is off-limits lest the birds endanger the council hygiene rating Deedes requires for her marmalade business).

Hen expert Kathy Shea Mormino, AKA the Chicken Chick, says in her new book, The Chicken Chick’s Guide to Backyard Chickens, that new owners, like her, soon realise hens make good companions. “It was a shock to me when I started giving them names,” she told the LA Times. Deedes, 62, agrees: “If I’m lying in the garden on a sunny day they come and flop beside me and when the dog jumps in the car to go somewhere, I’ll see the chickens standing there thinking, ‘shall we hop in, too?’” She does not walk her hens but did once incubate a rejected egg in her bra; she says it hatched while she queued at the post office. But are chickens really the new dogs? Britain’s domestic fowl population has been a fairly stable 500,000 since 2010, according to the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association’s annual survey (about the same as guinea pigs, but no threat to our 8.5m dogs). But anecdotal evidence of warming relations is rife, and is expected to grow after the release of Pecking Order, a documentary set inside New Zealand’s cutthroat show hen scene (think Crufts with clucks).

“A lot more of our members are treating them as pets, particularly those with young children,” says Pedro Moreira, chair of the Surrey Poultry Society. “They’re very sociable animals and all have their own characters and routines.” He advises would-be hen-keepers to first consult neighbours and the council (they’re classed as livestock and not always allowed in gardens) and to research coop size.

Deedes says her hens have passed peak egg production, but she has no plans to dispatch them. Meanwhile, her friends are getting chickens, too.

“One has a hen called Sir Cliff, because she looked like a shirt Cliff Richard once wore,” she says, before getting back to her marmalade.

Read the full article…

Louisiana SPCA prepping for influx of animals from Texas

NEW ORLEANS – The Louisiana SPCA is preparing to take in animals rescued from the floodwaters inundating Houston.

Even as Tropical Storm Harvey still rages across parts of Texas and Louisiana, the Louisiana SPCA is coordinating transports to prepare for an expected influx of animals from Texas.

“By transporting adoptable animals out of Louisiana we are creating much needed space to take in animals affected by Harvey,” Louisiana SPCA CEO Ana Zorrilla said. “We’re not only transporting animals from our facility, but animals from all over southeast Louisiana.”

About 100 animals from the Louisiana SPCA and the St. Landry Parish Animal Shelter have been transported to Atlanta and the Greater Birmingham Humane Society so far.

An airplane transport is scheduled to move about 100 more animals from the Louisiana SPCA, Plaquemines Animal Welfare Society, St. Bernard Animal Shelter and Companion Animal Alliance in Baton Rouge to the Humane Society of the United States on August 31.

The Louisiana SPCA is also working with Zeus’ Place to transport more animals out of state.

The Louisiana SPCA, along with the Houston SPCA and the SPCA of Texas, are encouraging the public to make monetary donations instead of physical supplies.


Vandals Damage Statue Of Christopher Columbus In Yonkers « CBS New York

YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — As New York City considers the future of the monument at Columbus Circle, others are taking more direct aims at tributes to the controversial Italian explorer.

For the fourth time in ten days, a statue of Christopher Columbus has been vandalized. This time, it happened in Yonkers.

As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, the effigy may seem insignificant compared to the monument that towers over Columbus Circle. But seeing the two-foot high bust knocked off its pedestal and broken into pieces is still a shock to Italian American Patsy Gambardella Jr.

“I’m horrified that something like that has happened in Yonkers,” he said.

yonkers columbus statue Vandals Damage Statue Of Christopher Columbus In Yonkers Amid Growing Controversy

Parts of damaged Christopher Columbus statue knocked over in Yonkers. (credit: Arty Thanasoulis)

The Columbus monuments in Buffalo and Houston were recently defaced with red paint. In Baltimore, the oldest Columbus monument in the country as vandalized by an activist who narrated and posted the attack online.

“Observe how vehemently Republican and Democratic ‘misleaders’ defend genocidal terrorists like Christopher Columbus and George Washington,” he can be heard saying on the video.

Gambardella Jr. says he thinks a small group of people are to blame.

“I think these are all copycat actions,” he said. “To have people come out and destroy them because of their personal opinion, it’s very disrespectful and shows us a very bad direction in the way America is going.”

The NYPD would not say if it’s taking special precautions to protect Columbus Circle, a flashpoint as the city prepares to review monuments and memorials that may cause offense.

CBS2 has been pressing Mayor de Blasio for more information about the Monument Review Commission.

On Tuesday, a spokeswoman would only say that City Hall will release additional information in the coming days.

Teen Gets To Be Patriots Photographer For A Day « CBS Boston

FOXBORO (CBS) — Even when health problems get her down, 13-year-old Meghan Condon stays passionate about two things: the New England Patriots and photography.

Meghan has had two heart surgeries in her young life and suffers from other health issues.

To help lift her spirits, her mother decided to reach out to the New England Patriots as a surprise.

“I didn’t know who the gift was from, or even what it was, so all I knew was I was getting something from someone,” explained Meghan.

meganandpaul Teen Gets To Be Patriots Photographer For A Day

Meghan shares her scrapbook with Paul Burton (WBZ-TV)

A few days later, she received a package in the mail. It was a scrapbook with her name on it and a letter from Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

“Knowing that you love the Patriots and have a passion for photography, how would you like to be a Patriots photographer for a day at training camp this year?” She read from the letter.

patsscrapbook Teen Gets To Be Patriots Photographer For A Day

Meghan’s Patriots scrapbook (WBZ-TV)

This summer, as the Patriots photographer, Meghan got to be up close and personal with the players.

She shadowed and got advice from the real Pats photographer David Silverman.

Her amazing photos showcase her talent and creativity.


meganspic Teen Gets To Be Patriots Photographer For A Day

One of Meghan’s photographs from training practice (Photo Courtesy: Meghan Condon)

“It was pretty awesome,” said Meghan. “The best part was being able to use their cameras which were a lot bigger and better than mine.”

Meghan added that the experience doubled as her first time ever at Gillette Stadium.

meghanphotographing1 Teen Gets To Be Patriots Photographer For A Day

Meghan Condon as the Patriots photographer for a day. (Photo credit: Condon Family)

“The fact that she was in then same space at one point with Kraft, Brady, and Marvin Hagler, and took that photo, and that she got to go to that press conference where Ninkovinch retired is truly amazing,” Meghan’s mother Peggy DelVecchio said.

She also said her daughter cannot stop talking about it and putting her scrap book together.

“My favorite shot was probably one of Gronkowski — or Tom Brady, I have some close-ups,” Meghan said.

DelVecchio added, “I saw her confidence soar. Ever since we’ve been there, the camera has not left her body.”

Florida Family Finds Gator Sunning In Their Pool « CBS Miami

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1212 Florida Family Finds Gator Sunning In Their Pool

In the picture, you could see the 8-foot gator at the bottom of the pool around 8 a.m. (Source: Twitter/

LITHIA (CBSMiami) — A Florida family looked into their pool only to find an alligator taking a dip.

Wednesday morning the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office took to social media to share the site of the trespasser.

In the picture, you could see the 8-foot gator at the bottom of the pool around 8 a.m.

The picture’s caption read, “Deputies on scene now, apprehension of this trespassing suspect should be interesting. – Alligator in residential pool.”

At last check, deputies said a trapper with Florida Fish & Wildlife was headed to their home to take it out of the pool.

12221 Florida Family Finds Gator Sunning In Their Pool

A Florida family looked into their pool only to find an alligator taking a dip. (Source: Twitter/

13 cited, 4 in custody after fight at Columbia school

  • Police identify 2 killed in plane crash near Portland airport

    Police identify 2 killed in plane crash near Portland airport

    Wednesday, August 30 2017 7:22 PM EDT2017-08-30 23:22:55 GMT

    Two people were killed in the plane crash in Portland, TN. (WSMV)Two people were killed in the plane crash in Portland, TN. (WSMV)

    The FAA said the Grumman American AA-1B aircraft crashed about 2,500 feet from the end of the runway around 7:20 p.m. Tuesday.

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  • News 4 TV tower a landmark in west Nashville

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    Wednesday, August 30 2017 6:56 PM EDT2017-08-30 22:56:26 GMT

    The tower stands more than 1,300 feet. (WSMV)The tower stands more than 1,300 feet. (WSMV)

    In the world of record-breaking heights, television towers get no respect.

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  • Nashville woman scammed into scamming others

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  • Houston furniture store opens as shelter for flood victims

    Houston furniture store opens as shelter for flood victims

    Wednesday, August 30 2017 12:11 PM EDT2017-08-30 16:11:29 GMT

    A Houston-based furniture store transformed two of its locations into shelters to support hundreds of people displaced by Tropical Storm Harvey.

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  • Crew to attempt removal of mysterious object from beach

    Crew to attempt removal of mysterious object from beach

    Tuesday, August 29 2017 7:04 PM EDT2017-08-29 23:04:04 GMT

    (Source: Twitter/@messagetoeagle)  Unknown metallic underwater object shaped like a starfish discovered in Rhode Island.(Source: Twitter/@messagetoeagle) Unknown metallic underwater object shaped like a starfish discovered in Rhode Island.

    Workers will try to remove a mysterious circular object with steel legs that has puzzle onlookers since it was found lodged underwater off a Rhode Island beach.

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  • Mayor Barry says ‘Nashville Statement’ does not represent city’s values

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    Tuesday, August 29 2017 7:32 PM EDT2017-08-29 23:32:24 GMT

    (WSMV file photo)(WSMV file photo)

    The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood has created the “Nashville Statement,” stating that marriage is between one man and one woman.

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    The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood has created the “Nashville Statement,” stating that marriage is between one man and one woman.

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    CT firefighters collect supplies for trip to Texas


    Many are looking for ways to donate to the victims in Texas, and communities all over are collecting anything they can do help out.

    People in Beacon Falls have been collecting supplies all day for the people who need help in Texas, and the best part is it’s just the beginning.

    Harvey is hitting home for a Connecticut family.

    The Moffat’s moved from Beacon Falls to the Houston area. In a FaceTime interview, Joy and Randy Moffat said they are okay, but their daughter Miranda is trapped in a flooded home.

    “It’s hard because I can’t get to her and I can’t, she’s basically saying that she wants everyone to be rescued before her,” said Joy Moffat.

    Help is on the on the way from the Moffat’s home town. 

    Volunteers with from the Beacon Hose Company Number One Fire Department have been collecting supplies all day, and by Thursday morning they’ll be on the way to Texas.

    Four emergency responders, Cal Brennan, Ryan Caulfield, Tim Hanks, and Mike McGee will use personal vacation time to take a massive trailer down to a fire house in Texas. 

    “The messages we are getting is that’s great, we can’t believe you guys are coming down, we really need the help,” said Ryan Caulfield.

    Cal’s brother Kyle Brennan, who helped organize the drive, is proud of the volunteers and all the people who have donated. The response has been overwhelming.   

    “It really shows the real character of a town when you go outside it to help other people in need,” Kyle Brennan said.

    Down in Texas, the Moffat’s have been following the drive closely. They say the donations coming from their old hometown have given them a little joy during a very trying time. 

    “Just keep it coming because they’re going to need it in the next few weeks. It’s a great feeling knowing a small town like Beacon Falls can connect to Houston,” the Moffats said.

    One thing Beacon Hose Company firefighters said they really need are baby supplies. Everything from diapers to wipes to formula.

    To make a donation, head over to the firehouse on North Main Street in Beacon Falls between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. on Wednesday.

    Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

    Benghazi Mission Attack Fast Facts

    September 11, 2012 –
    The US mission in Benghazi, Libya, is attacked and burned. An attack later that night involves mortar and rocket fire against a US diplomatic annex in the city.

    US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other US nationals are killed in the attack.

    More than 30 Americans are evacuated.

    September 11-12, 2012 Attack Timeline as released by the Pentagon:
    September 11: (Events listed in local Benghazi time)

    9:42pm – Armed men begin their assault on the US mission.

    9:59pm – A surveillance drone is directed to fly over the US compound, but it is unarmed.

    10:32pm – The Office of the Secretary Defense and the Joint Staff are notified of the attack by the National Military Command Center at the Pentagon. “The information is quickly passed to Secretary Leon Panetta and General Martin Dempsey.”
    11pm – Secretary Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Dempsey meet with President Barack Obama at the White House where they discuss the unfolding situation and how to respond. The meeting had been previously scheduled.

    11:10pm – The surveillance drone arrives over the Benghazi facility.

    11:30pm – All surviving US personnel are evacuated from the mission. Ambassador Chris Stevens and State Department computer expert Sean Smith are killed in the initial assault.

    September 12:
    Midnight to 2am –
    Secretary Panetta and other senior leaders discuss possible options for further violence if it were to break out. Panetta gives verbal orders for Marine anti-terrorist teams from Rota, Spain, to prepare to deploy to Tripoli and Benghazi. Panetta also orders a special operations force team training in Croatia and an additional special operations force team in the United States to prepare to deploy to a staging base in southern Italy.

    1:30am – A six-man security team from the US Embassy in Tripoli arrives in Benghazi.

    2:39am to 2:53am – The National Military Command Center gives formal authorization for the deployment of the two special operations force teams from Croatia and the United States.

    5:15am – Attackers launch an assault on a second US facility in Benghazi. Two former US Navy SEALs acting as security contractors are killed. They are identified as Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

    6:05am – A C-17 aircraft in Germany is told to prepare to deploy to Libya to evacuate the mission personnel.

    7:40am – The first wave of Americans is evacuated to Tripoli via airplane.

    10am – A second group, including those killed in the attack, are flown to Tripoli.

    2:15pm – The C-17 departs from Germany for the flight to Tripoli.

    7:17pm – The C-17 leaves Tripoli with the American mission personnel and the bodies of Stevens, Smith, Woods and Doherty.

    7:57pm – The US special operations force team based in Croatia arrives at a staging base in Italy.

    8:56pm – One of the Marine anti-terrorist teams from Spain arrives in Tripoli.

    9:28pm – The US-based special operations force team arrives at its staging base in Italy.

    September 11, 2012 –
    Initial reports claim a mob of angry protestors gather outside the US temporary mission in Benghazi, Libya. Protestors reportedly storm the building, and Ambassador Stevens dies of smoke inhalation as does IT expert Sean Smith. Two security personnel, former US Navy Seals Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, are killed in a subsequent attack after helping to evacuate those at the mission to a US diplomatic annex.

    September 11, 2012 – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney releases a statement at about 10:30pm ET, “I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American mission worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn the attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.” This was in response to the US Embassy in Cairo releasing a statement denouncing the film, “Innocence of Muslims,” that had led to the protests. Later it emerges that the statement preceded the protests.

    September 12, 2012 – In an address from the Rose Garden, President Obama says, “The United States condemns in the strongest terms this outrageous and shocking attack. … no acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation.” Later that day he says, “No act of terror will dim the light of the values that we proudly shine on the rest of the world, and no act of violence will shake the resolve of the United States of America.”

    September 13, 2012 – At a campaign stop in Golden, Colorado, President Obama says, “I want people around the world to hear me: To all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished.”

    September 13, 2012 – Doubts about the cause of the attack pick up steam. A senior US official tells CNN, “The video or 9/11 [anniversary] made a handy excuse and could be fortuitous from their perspective, but this was a clearly planned military-type attack.”

    September 14, 2012 – President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attend a funeral service for the four victims at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.
    September 14, 2012 – CNN reporters find a journal belonging to Ambassador Stevens on the floor of the mission compound. They use relevant information from the journal for reporting and return it to his family.
    September 16, 2012 – US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice says, “We do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned” and “soon after that spontaneous protest began outside of our mission in Benghazi, we believe that it looks like extremist elements, individuals, joined in that effort…”

    September 19, 2012 – Matthew Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, tells the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that the ambassador and three other Americans “were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy.” This is the first time an Obama administration official uses the term “terrorist attack” to describe what happened.

    September 20, 2012 – After days of repeating that the video mocking Islam caused the attack, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says: “It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Our embassy was attacked violently, and the result was four deaths of American officials.” US officials also back away from the theory that a protest led to the attack.

    September 21, 2012 – Secretary Clinton says, “What happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack, and we will not rest until we have tracked down and brought to justice the terrorists who murdered four Americans.”

    September 25, 2012 – President Obama says on ABC’s “The View” in response to whether the attack was an act of terrorism: “We’re still doing an investigation. There’s no doubt that (with) the kind of weapons that were used, the ongoing assault, that it wasn’t just a mob action. We don’t have all the information yet and so we’re still gathering it.”

    September 27, 2012 – Secretary Panetta says, “As we determined the details of what took place there and how that attack took place, that it became clear that there were terrorists who had planned that attack….”

    September 28, 2012 – The Office of the Director of National Intelligence announces that despite initial reports the attack was spontaneous, they now believe it was a terrorist attack.

    October 1, 2012 – Representative Peter King (R-NY), demands that US Ambassador Rice step down after making what he called misleading comments about the attack in Benghazi.

    October 4, 2012 – An FBI team arrives at the mission to investigate. They are delayed nearly three weeks because of security concerns.

    October 9, 2012 – Two senior State Department officials brief reporters, saying there was no prior indication that an attack was imminent, there was “nothing unusual” throughout the day of the attack, and that Ambassador Stevens held a meeting with a Turkish diplomat that evening and then retired to his room in one of the compound’s buildings at 9pm.

    October 9, 2012 – CNN reports that Eric Nordstrom, regional security officer in Libya until July 2012, sent two diplomatic cables to the state Department requesting additional security agents for the Benghazi mission. The cables were sent in March and July 2012.

    October 10, 2012 – Charlene Lamb, Eric Nordstrom, Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Wood, and Ambassador Patrick Kennedy testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
    October 15, 2012 – Secretary Clinton says, “I take responsibility. I’m in charge of the State Department’s 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts.”

    October 16, 2012 – During a presidential debate, President Obama says: “I am ultimately responsible for what’s taking place there because these are my folks, and I’m the one who has to greet those coffins when they come home.”

    October 19, 2012 – Several senior administration officials tell CNN that UN Ambassador Rice’s use of the word “spontaneous” to describe the Benghazi attack came directly from an assessment provided by the CIA, which was not edited by the White House. This assessment is revised following Ambassador Rice’s use of the word.

    October 25, 2012 – The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence announces it will hold hearings to review the attack.

    November 3, 2012 – A US government official tells CNN that the FBI is expected to question Ali Ani al Harzi, a suspect in the mission attack. The United States first became aware of Ali Ani al Harzi when he apparently posted details of the attack on social media while it was happening. He was detained by Turkish officials after he entered the country from Libya.

    November 8, 2012 – Mark Basseley Youssef (the Egyptian-American film maker who made “Innocence of Muslims,” which was originally blamed for the mission attack) is sentenced to one year in federal prison for violating the terms of his probation from a 2010 bank fraud case. He is also ordered to serve four years of supervised release after his prison term.

    November 15, 2012 – The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence holds a closed oversight hearing.

    December 18, 2012 – An independent review of the attacks is released. The report cites “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies” at the State Department.

    December 30, 2012 – Flashing Red: A Special Report on the Terrorist Attack At Benghazi is released by the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
    January 23, 2013 – Secretary Clinton testifies for more than five hours before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Clinton acknowledges a “systemic breakdown” as cited by an Accountability Review Board but says that her department is taking additional steps to increase security at US diplomatic facilities.
    April 23, 2013 – House Republican leaders release a 46-page interim progress report about the terror attack in Benghazi, in which they claim Secretary Clinton personally signed off on cuts in security at the compound, which they say would contradict her congressional testimony.
    May 4, 2013 – A senior Republican releases names of witnesses for a May 8, 2013, congressional hearing on the attack, including two characterized by Republicans as whistleblowers. The witnesses include Mark Thompson, the acting deputy assistant secretary for counterterrorism; Gregory Hicks, a foreign service officer and former deputy chief of mission/chargé d’affairs in Libya; and Eric Nordstrom, diplomatic security officer and former regional security officer in Libya.

    May 8, 2013 – Testimony is given at a six-hour, Republican-led House Oversight Committee hearing from State Department whistleblowers who had not previously testified, including details from Gregory Hicks who was on the ground in Tripoli at the time of the attack.

    May 9, 2013 – Committee members request additional hearings and the release of unclassified emails that preceded the initial statements given to the public by Ambassador Rice.

    May 15, 2013 – The White House releases more than 100 pages of emails detailing the development of unclassified talking points used to explain the events of last September 11. CNN reports, “The emails indicate the CIA was likely the lead organization in developing the talking points, with the State Department recommending significant changes.”

    August 7, 2013 – Federal authorities file the first criminal charges, and several suspects including prominent Libyan militia figure Ahmed Abu Khattalah are charged in the Benghazi mission attack.
    November 13-14, 2013 – CIA contract security officers who initially responded to the Benghazi mission attack appear before a House Intelligence subcommittee. The sessions take place behind closed doors, but a congressional source tells CNN that the CIA contract operatives testified they were told by the CIA to sign nondisclosure agreements just before a memorial ceremony at the CIA’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia, this past May. Their testimony seems to contradict information sent by CIA Director John Brennan to the House Intelligence Committee investigating the events in Benghazi.
    November 15, 2013 – The US State Department discloses for the first time that a reward of up to $10 million is being offered for information leading to the arrest of anyone involved in the Benghazi mission attack. Though charges have been filed regarding the case, no one has been arrested. The reward has been in effect since January but never publicized.
    May 2, 2014 – House Speaker John Boehner announces that he will form a select committee to investigate the 2012 Benghazi terror attack. The move comes after previously unreleased documents, including an email from a White House national security aide, add to questions about what the Obama Administration knew about the armed assault and how it responded in the days after.

    June 28, 2014 – Khatallah appears before a judge in Washington, DC, to plead not guilty to one count of providing material support to terrorists.

    November 21, 2014 – The US House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence releases a report on the Benghazi attacks. The report concludes there was no intelligence failure prior to the attack, no stand-down order to CIA operatives trying to go assist at the besieged consular building and found conflicting intelligence in the wake of the attack about the motive and cause, which were reflected in early public comments by the Obama administration.

    July 25, 2015 – Clinton’s spokesman announces Clinton will publicly testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi on October 22, 2015. The agreement comes after a protracted back and forth between the Republican-controlled committee and Clinton’s allies on Capitol Hill and in Washington.

    October 22, 2015 – Clinton testifies for 11 hours before the House Select Committee on Benghazi.

    June 28, 2016 – After a two-year investigation, House Republicans release a more than 800-page report that faults the Obama administration for security lapses that led to the deaths of four Americans, but contains no revelations likely to further damage Hillary Clinton. The report paints a picture of a perfect storm of bureaucratic inertia, rapidly worsening security in Libya and inadequate resources in the months that led up to the killings of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three colleagues on September 11, 2012.

    December 12, 2016 – The House Select Committee on Benghazi shuts down.

    Convention Center preps for Harvey evacuees, others arrive by air

    DALLAS — It’s looking a lot like 2005 in downtown Dallas with the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center packed with forklifts, cots, and blankets.

    Like Hurricane Katrina 12 years ago, millions are stranded in Houston’s high waters.

    “It may be 48 more hours before those roads are available,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said Monday.

    Thousands of those are destined for Dallas as soon as they can escape Harvey’s high waters, joining the more than 500 who are staying in temporary shelters at the Walnut Hill, Tommie Allen, and Samuell Grand Recreation Centers.

    5,000 cots, along with medical, food, and charging areas are being assembled in the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center for Houston evacuees.

    “I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but we’ve been asked to prepare for numbers that could be up in the tens of thousands,” Rawlings said.

    The Hutchison Convention Center is ready for 5,000, and Hurricane Katrina taught the City of Dallas to be prepared for everything.

    “We are setting up a whole new medical, almost a mini-hospital,” Dallas Office of Emergency Management Director Rocky Vaz said.

    That will be complete with a pharmacy.

    “We have a separate feeding area, we have dorm area, we’re going to have charging stations,” Vaz promised.

    They thought about the animals, too. Vaz said animals of Hutchison ‘residents’ will be kept in a temporary shelter inside the old Reunion Arena garage. The SPCA of Texas and Dallas Animal Services are teaming up to take care of however many pets need it.

    By the way, wondering how Dallas is going to pay for this? Rawlings and Vaz said all costs of care in the shelters is 100 percent reimbursable by the State of Texas. As for other costs that could be incurred by having thousands of more people in town? Rawlings said Katrina taught a valuable lesson there, leading to the establishment of extra foundations that have the money to handle the situation.

    Passengers wait to board humanitarian evacuation flights from Houston’s Hobby Airport to Dallas Love Field Sunday. (Courtesy: Micah Garb)

    While many wait, nearly 500 people trapped at Houston’s Hobby Airport found their Dallas reprieve Sunday night.

    “It was basically presented as, ‘Everybody on board. We’re going to get you to Dallas, and we’ll go from there,'” traveler Micah Garb recounted to NewsFix. “Believe me, no one wanted to be anywhere other than out of Houston.”

    The Garb family was supposed to have a 90-minute layover at Hobby, a connector flight at the end of a Costa Rica vacation. The layover turned into 24 hours. They hoped to at least get out of the airport, but by the time their flight was canceled, roads were impassable. It was looking like maybe they’d be stuck at the airport until Wednesday or Thursday.

    “The amount of rain is like nothing I’ve ever seen. It was just relentless and all through the next day,” Garb said.

    Then came the unlikely announcement that the FAA approved Southwest to fly humanitarian evacuation flights in a small window Sunday.

    “Once we lifted off there was applause, and it was a good feeling,” Garb said. “We’re really grateful to be away and headed home to where we live, but there’s a lot of people down there who aren’t nearly so lucky. I hope everyone who sees this takes a minute and reaches out.”

    Want to help Dallas’ effort to house our Houstonians? Check out the city’s new Hurricane Harvey website.


    Amidst his grief emerged something sweet; Superhero Micah lives on

    FORT WORTH — When he’s in the kitchen, Maurice Ahern is at ease.

    “My favorite cheesecake?” he asked laughing. “Right now, it’s probably this one.”

    He pointed to his freshly made espresso cheesecake, but when it comes to cheesecake there’s no bad option for Ahern.

    If you recognize his name, you might realize there’s something special about that espresso cheesecake and all the other confections in his collection.

    “Not only is this going to put a smile on your face when you taste it,” Ahern said. “It’s going to put a smile on your heart because you know you’re making a difference.”

    Ahern’s son, Micah, spent about three years as a local celebrity. He was the youngest member of TCU’s baseball team, a light in the lives of both players and fans, and he suffered through childhood cancer.

    That last one never defined him.

    “Anyone who knows Micah’s story knows that Micah loved to smile,” Maurice reminded us.

    When Micah died last August, it dimmed the light of the family, but a unicorn cake he was asked to make flipped a switch.

    “When I saw the smile on her face, it was like Micah was there,” Ahern said.

    A longtime dream suddenly had a purpose. Maurice started Gold Ribbon Confections. That gold ribbon reps childhood cancer awareness.

    “Every month I’ll give a percentage of the money and help different organizations that helped our family,” Ahern said.

    Places like the Superhero Micah Foundation, Make a Wish, Kidd’s Kids, and others can give to other families because of these cakes, pies, and rolls.

    As for Maurice?

    “There’ll be moments where, yeah, I remember Micah and I feel sad, but there are moments where I remember Micah, and there’s joy because I’m able to continue what Micah had a way of doing and making people smile,” Ahern said.

    Life’s messy sometimes, but why not help Maurice make the ride as sweet as possible?