Thursday, August 10, 2017

Highschool football player Joshua Mileto, 16, was crushed to death in the head by a log during a workout camp at the Sachem East High School in Farmingville on Long Island

Farmingville high school football player killed in freak accident at workout camp

FARMINGVILLE, Long Island (WABC) -- A high school football camp turned tragic on Thursday when a player suffered serious injuries during a drill at Sachem East High School on Long Island and later died, Suffolk County police said.

The incident happened on the athletic field at the school on Granny Road in Farmingville around 8:40 a.m., according to Assistant Commissioner Justin Meyers.

According to police, during a strength and conditioning camp, some of the athletes were performing a drill carrying a log overhead. The log fell and struck Joshua Mileto, a student at the school, in the head.

Mileto, 16, of Farmingville, was transported by the Farmingville Fire Department to Stony Brook University Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Grief counselors have been at the school trying to help students and faculty members.

Labor tensions have erupted at Sarbanand Farms, a berry farm in Sumas, Washington after farmworker Honesto Silva Ibarra, died on Sunday

More than 70 workers, who were fired from Sarbanand Farms after they called attention to unfair and abusive work conditions, marched in protest Tuesday at the berry farm's management office in Sumas.

One worker, 28-year-old Honesto Ibarra, died last week.

"A farm worker died on our watch," said Rosalinda Guillen of the advocacy group Familias Unidas for la Justicia. "This is outrageous."

Demonstrators said Ibarra, a father of three, died after collapsing on the job. They told KING 5 News a neighbor took Ibarra to a clinic after he started suffering headaches while picking berries for Sarbanand Farms in Sumas.

The official cause of Ibarra's death has not been released. Supporters say even if it was not heat-related, Ibarra still did not get proper medical attention.

High heat and poor air quality plagued the farmlands all of last week. Protesters claimed Ibarra complained to his supervisors about feeling sick in the high heat but was told to return to work.

Norm Hartman, a spokesman for the farm, said the farm does not comment on "labor issues." When asked about the farmworker's death, he had no comment.

In addition to literally working a man to death in the fields, refusing him rest or medical attention until he callapsed, fell into a coma and died.... Sarbanand Farms also intentionally neglected to renew their guest worker's visas to basically create indentured servants that they can threaten with deportation anytime (and the inability to even apply for a visa again for 10yrs because 'they overstayed their visas'!) These legal guest workers have been refused translations of their contracts, and were given an hour to move off the farm when they dared demand enough food, water, and rest to not collapse dead in the field like their friend.... Over 80 homeless and (through no fault of their own, as the farmer is required by law to renew visas) undocumented immigrants now just trying to survive on a neighboring farmer's land.....after signing up for and trusting a legal government supported guest worker program....
Have you no shame??

A farmworker’s death in the broiling fields of Washington state has prompted his fellow braceros to put their livelihoods in jeopardy by going on strike, joining a union, being discharged—and risking deportation.

Honesto Silva Ibarra died in Harborview hospital in Seattle on Sunday night, August 6. Silva, a married father of three, was a guest worker—in Spanish, a “contratado”—brought to the United States under the H-2A visa program, to work in the fields.

Miguel Angel Ramirez Salazar, another contratado, says Silva went to his supervisor at Sarbanand Farms last week, complaining that he was sick and couldn’t work. “They said if he didn’t keep working, he’d be fired for ‘abandoning work.’ But after a while he couldn’t work at all.”

Silva finally went to the Bellingham Clinic, about an hour south of the farm where he was working, in Sumas, close to the Canadian border. By then it was too late, however. He was sent to Harborview, where he collapsed and died.
Silva’s death was the final shove that pushed the contratados into an action unprecedented in modern farm labor history.

Silva’s death was the final shove that pushed the contratados into an action unprecedented in modern farm labor history. They organized and protested, and when they were fired for it, they joined Washington state’s new union for farmworkers, Familias Unidas por la Justicia. As this article is being written, 120 H-2A workers are sitting in tents on a patch of land near the ranch where they worked, protesting their treatment and demanding rights for guest workers.

On the website of CSI Visa Processing, which recruited Silva, Ramirez, and others to work at Sarbanand Farms, a statement reads: “The compaƱero who is hospitalized, the cause was meningitis, an illness he suffered from before, and is not related to his work.” Ramirez and other workers doubt that explanation. Silva had been working in the United States since May, and did not arrive with symptoms of meningitis. Instead, they insist that it was the consequence of increasingly bad conditions at the ranch.

According to Ramon Torres, president of Familias Unidas por la Justicia, H-2A workers at Sarbanand Farms had been complaining for weeks about bad food, temperatures in the nineties with no shade, warm drinking water, and dirty bathrooms in the fields. In the last two weeks, the air near the border became smoky from forest fires just to the north in Canada, making it hard to breathe. Some workers fainted amid the blueberry plants where they were picking.

When Silva collapsed and went to the hospital, a group went to the ranch management and asked for safer working conditions. When they were turned away, they organized a one-day strike on Friday, August 4. Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ), which just signed its first union contract with Sakuma Brothers Farms in nearby Burlington, held its first convention that Friday. When the H-2A workers came from Sarbanand Farms, they decided to join.

The following day, 70 were fired. “They told all of us in the work stoppage we were fired for insubordination,” another worker, Barbaro Rosas Olibares, told FUJ organizer Maru Mora Villapando in a video interview. The CSI statement insists: “Eleven people were fired for questions of insubordination, which is a legal cause.”

While most workers in the United States are covered by laws that make such retaliation for striking a legal violation, farmworkers generally have no such protection except in the few states, like California, that have given agricultural workers those rights. H-2A workers have even fewer rights and protections. The visa they’re given when they come to work in the United States binds them to the employer who recruited them. If they lose that job, they lose the visa and become deportable. They have no legal standing to sue their employer in a U.S. court.

It was therefore remarkable that not only did the Sarbanand workers strike in protest over bad conditions, but that after they were fired they did not leave the country. The company told the fired workers they would not pay them immediately for their final four days of work, but instead would send a check to their address in Mexico—a violation of H-2A regulations. The workers were given an hour to clear their belongings out of the company’s labor camp, leaving them standing outside with no money.

Sarbanand’s recruiter, CSI Visa Processing, took some to a local bus station, but didn’t buy them a ticket home. This violates another H-2A recruitment regulation, which requires recruiters to pay transportation to and from the jobsite in the United States. In the meantime, workers reached out to union president Torres and also to Community2Community, a farmworker advocacy organization. Together, they found a private residence near the Sarbanand location, whose owners agreed to let the fired workers camp on their land while deciding on their next course of action. Local supporters brought out tents and a generator, and an encampment quickly sprang up.

The workers marched back to the ranch and demonstrated outside. “They formed a committee among themselves,” Torres says, “and another 50 workers left the ranch and joined them, even though the [Whatcom County Sheriff] deputies and local police were threatening to call immigration.”

Torres says other workers have suffered from partial facial paralysis, and three are now living at the camp. In the video interview, Rosas Olibares held a placard denouncing local authorities for turning a blind eye to their conditions. It read:

County & City — Your Blindness = GUILTY
-Suppression of immigrant workers rights
-Workers open to threats of deportation!
-Immigrant workers dying HERE/NOW
County & City — You are complicit through neglect!
How do you sleep at night?

H-2A worker Ramirez has been employed as a contratado for 15 years, picking tobacco in North Carolina and Kentucky, and for the last two years, blueberries in northwest Washington state. Last winter, he signed a contract in the office of CSI Visa Processors in his hometown of Santiago Ixcuintla in the Mexican state of Nayarit. Under the terms of that contract, he was guaranteed a minimum of five months of work, until October 25.

Ramirez was then taken to Nogales on the U.S.-Mexico border and given a visa. “But I saw that it was only good until June 30,” he recalls. “When I asked, they said they’d fix it. But they never did.”

More than 250 workers were recruited in the Nayarit office, he says, one of nine that CSI has in Mexico. They were brought to Delano, in California’s San Joaquin Valley, on May 7. There, they began picking blueberries at Munger Farms, a large grower and partner in the giant Naturipe growers partnership. Then on July 1, the day after the visa of Ramirez and many others expired, they were transported to the Sarbanand Farms ranch in Washington state, where they continued picking. Sarbanand is a subsidiary of Munger Farms, owned by the family of Baldev and Kable Munger.

CSI’s statement insists the workers “received an authorization by the government of the U.S. for this second contract, [and] none of them are out of legal status.” Yet after the turmoil started last week, one worker tried to buy an airline ticket back home to Mexico, and was refused because his visa had expired. “We don’t know what will happen now,” Torres says. “What we believe is that workers have the right to protest and organize, and shouldn’t be punished for that by being denied the work they were promised”

“I think we have to get organized,” Ramirez adds. “I’m willing to work hard, but they put such pressure on us—that’s the biggest problem. I have a 16-year-old son back home in Mexico. What would happen to him if I died here, like Honesto did?”


Labor tensions have erupted at a berry farm in Sumas, Washington, on the border with Canada. Advocates say more than 120 people have walked off the job after a worker fell ill and later died.

Harborview Medical Center officials confirm the man, Honesto Silva Ibarra, died on Sunday. His death has sparked questions and outrage among his fellow workers.

Men who worked the fields alongside Silva described him as 28 years old, married and a father of three children. He came to Washington for the blueberry harvest as a temporary worker from Mexico.

A video from a makeshift camp in Sumas, near the Canadian border, pans to several workers as they call out where they’re from in Mexico — Guanajuato, Nayarit, Michoacan. They were all brought here on the federal H-2A program to work at Sarbanand Farms.

“The only thing they wanted was to ask for information about his medical treatment,” says the voice behind the camera. It belongs to Ramon Torres, a leader with a farm union in Skagit Valley called Familias Unidas por la Justicia.

Advocates said Silva reportedly collapsed in the fields last week, then was in a coma at Harborview.

A fellow worker, Misael Gonzalez Montes, said Silva complained of a bad headache to company staff on at least two consecutive days last week and they did not offer any support.

Gonzalez said Silva tried to get a plane ticket back to Mexico but wasn’t able to take a flight because of an expired visa.

“After feeling really bad, he decided on his own to go to the hospital and paid for everything out of pocket because the company wouldn’t take him there," Gonzalez said.

As the workers sought answers about Silva's care, they said they also raised concerns about undercooked food and company policy that discouraged sick days.

“In order to be heard, we stopped working for one day so that the company would pay attention to our demands for this fellow worker,” said Barbaro Rosas Olivares, one of the H-2A workers at Sarbanand Farms.

“We also wanted explanation about why we’ve spent more than a month working for this company without visas,” Rosas said.

Rosas said the workers who participated in strike were promptly fired in retaliation and given one hour to clear out of the farm housing.

H-2A worker, Misael Gonzalez, said he was fired after complaining about poor conditions at Sarbanand Farms.
Credit Facebook photo

“It is a labor issue and we do not comment on such matters,” said Norm Hartman, a spokesman for Sarbanand Farms. “We hope that the issues can be resolved soon.”

Tim Church, a spokesman for the Washington State Department of Labor, said the agency is looking into the fatality to assess any potential workplace safety factors.

“We want to know more,” Church said, to determine if a formal inspection is warranted.

The Mexican consulate in Seattle is also looking into the situation.

The King County Medical Examiner has not yet released information about Silva’s cause of death.

In the meantime, the H-2A workers are camped out less than two miles from Sarbanand Farms. Videos show dozens of donated tents, suitcases on tarps, a fridge and coolers packed in the yard.

The workers are consulting with an attorney. It's unclear if they will return to work or to Mexico.

Washington is one of the top five states that uses the H-2A farm labor program, with 13,689 jobs approved in 2016.

Pilot/owner David Plambeck, 51, from Edgerton and Max Burlingame, 16, from Fort Atkinson killed after an experimental Pegasus Quantum trike, impacted the waters of the Rock River east of the Fort Atkinson Municipal Airport in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.

The Pegasus Quantum trike prior to the crash

UPDATE: 2 killed in ultralight plane crash identified 

Updated: Wed 4:15 PM, Aug 09, 2017

JEFFERSON, Wis. (AP) - Sheriff's officials say two people have died in the crash of an ultralight plane into a river in southern Wisconsin.

Jefferson County Sheriff Paul Milbrath said in a statement Wednesday the pilot, 51-year-old David Plambeck of Edgerton and his passenger 16-year-old Max Burlingame of Fort Atkinson died when the aircraft went down in the Rock River near Jefferson Tuesday night.

The ultralight had taken off from Fort Atkinson Airport just before it crashed about 8 p.m. The sheriff says the plane was nearly submerged when first responders arrived. Recreational boaters on the river helped emergency responders pull the two from the plane. They were pronounced dead by the Jefferson County medical examiner.

Federal aviation officials will investigate.

The Pegasus Quantum is a British two-seat, ultralight trike that was designed and produced by Pegasus Aviation and later by P&M Aviation. 
The Quantum was intended as an up-scale touring trike for long distance flying.======================

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Wis. -- Authorities have identified the two people who died after an aircraft crashed into the Rock River in Jefferson County Tuesday night.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office says 51-year-old David Plambeck from Edgerton and 16-year-old Max Burlingame from Fort Atkinson were pronounced dead Wednesday morning by the Jefferson County Medical Examiner's Office.

Chief Deputy Jeffrey Parker, of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, said no information was available yet regarding the relationship between the two passengers.

The aircraft, a Pegasus Quantum Light Sport Aircraft, crashed into the river at 8:05 p.m. It is registered to Plambeck. 

  Parker said the aircraft took off from the Fort Atkinson Airport.

Because the aircraft landed in the river for unknown reasons, the FAA has been called to investigate the cause of the crash.

A spokeswoman with the FAA says the NTSB is likely taking the lead on the investigation, and it could take anywhere from 12 to 16 months to complete.

Jefferson County's Dive Team, which removed the boat from the water, could be seen making its way out to the crash site about 9:00 a.m. Wednesday.

Neighbors in the area said the plane crash left them stunned.

"That was really crazy to see," said Sheryl Spooner. "It was almost unbelievable."

Parker said people on a pontoon boat in the area at the time of the crash drove over and pulled the victims from the water. However, life-saving measures at the scene were unsuccessful.
Parker added that first responders reported other people in the area swimming out to the wreck to try and help the two people on board the aircraft.

"In a sense, it's heroic, when you people that come to the aid of others," Parker said. "It's a great sense of pride to have people in your community who will help others when they're in need."

Emergency officials say the aircraft was almost completely submerged in the water when they arrived to the scene with the two victims reportedly to be unconscious.

According to the EAA, the aircraft is designed for personal flying and typically doesn't fly faster than 75 mph. The aircraft is classified as "experimental" with the FAA, meaning it's likely the current owner or a previous owner built the aircraft after getting a kit from the manufacturer.

Burlingame was a student in the Fort Atkinson School District. The superintendent there says grief counselors will be available at the high school from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday.

Max J. Burlingame, 16, of Fort Atkinson, died in an airplane crash on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017.

Max was born on April 5, 2001, in Fort Atkinson, son of Lloyd and Diane Burlingame.

Max did everything and always helped anyone who was in need, he never had to be asked twice, and he always responded with “I will.” He lived on the edge, loved life and lived it to the fullest.

Max was going to be a junior this year at Fort Atkinson High School and enjoyed playing baseball, lifting and soccer. However his biggest passion was flying. He soloed at 15 and had been in love with aviation since day one.

Max is survived by his parents, Lloyd and Diane of Fort Atkinson; brothers, Luke and Jack Burlingame; aunts and uncles, Carol (Larry) Combs, Guy (Karen) Burlingame, Ron (Micki) Burlingame, Betty (Jeff) Herdendorf, Nancy (Rob) Sweyer and Charles Hughes, and many cousins.

Date: 08-AUG-2017
Time: 20:12LT
Type: Pegasus Quantum
Owner/operator: Private
Registration: N56092
C/n / msn: 173671
Fatalities: Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities: 0
Airplane damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location: Fort Atkinson Municipal Airport (61C), Fort Atkinson, WI - United States of America
Phase: Take off
Nature: Private
Departure airport: Fort Atkinson Muni (61C)
Destination airport:

Shortly after takeoff, the aircraft, an experimental Pegasus Quantum, impacted the waters of the Rock River east of the Fort Atkinson Municipal Airport (61C) in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.
The weight-shift-control (WSC) trike sustained substantial damage and the two occupants onboard were fatally injured.


Serial Number 173671 Status Valid
Manufacturer Name PEGASUS Certificate Issue Date 12/09/2009
Model QUANTUM Expiration Date 01/31/2019
Type Aircraft Weight-shift-control Type Engine 4 Cycle
Pending Number Change None Dealer No
Date Change Authorized None Mode S Code (base 8 / oct) 51625230
MFR Year 2007 Mode S Code (base 16 / hex) A72A98
Type Registration Individual Fractional Owner NO

Registered Owner

County ROCK Zip Code 53534-9314


Engine Manufacturer ROTAX Classification Experimental
Engine Model 912 Category Reg. Prior to 01/31/08
A/W Date 12/15/2007  
A typical Pegasus Quantum trike

The 10-alarm fire that destroyed a luxury apartment complex under construction in Waltham, Mass. last month has been deemed arson

Arson deemed cause of massive blaze that destroyed luxury apartment complex in Waltham

Updated on August 10, 2017

By Michelle Williams

The 10-alarm fire that destroyed a luxury apartment complex under construction in Waltham last month has been deemed arson, officials announced Thursday.

"This was a significant event statewide, a fire of this magnitude," Waltham Fire Chief Paul Ciccone said. "This had a ripple effect and it stripped many communities of its fire services locally."

A fire sparked July 23 at the construction site where 264 units of luxury apartments were being built on the southern side of the Charles River. The project was about 60 percent completed.

Major fire burns down luxury apartment complex in Waltham

A 264-unit apartment complex in the works in Waltham has been halted following a large fire at the construction site. A 264-unit apartment complex in the works in Waltham has been halted following a large fire at the construction site.

Fire departments from more than a dozen communities across the greater Boston area were called to help suppress the flames. Four firefighters were injured in the blaze.

The Massachusetts State Police Air Wing and several patrols were called to help evacuate nearby buildings and control traffic.

Officials announced Thursday that up to $5,000 is being offered through the Arson Watch Reward Program as a reward for information leading to an arrest in the fire.

The developer has offered an additional $100,000 reward to tipsters upon the arrest and conviction of the arsonist(s) involved.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency Thursday (Aug. 10) as a precautionary measure, in the event that the state has to help with flooding in New Orleans over the next few days.

Gov. John Bel Edwards declares state of emergency over New Orleans flooding concerns

Updated on August 10, 2017

By Julia O'Donoghue | The Times-Picayune

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency Thursday (Aug. 10) as a precautionary measure, in the event that the state has to help with flooding in New Orleans over the next few days.

"If we get the heavier expected rainfall, time will be of the essence," Edwards said at a press conference with Mayor Mitch Landrieu Thursday morning. "We are working well together. Obviously this is a serious situation, but it is not something to be panicked about."

The emergency declaration is retroactive. It runs from Aug. 5 -- when the first round of flooding started this past weekend -- to Sept. 3. The governor can terminate the order early if he wants.

Edwards and the state government are providing 14 2-megawatt generators to the city that will stay in New Orleans for the remainder of hurricane season. The Louisiana National Guard could also assist with flood respond if that becomes necessary. Landrieu has also declared a state of emergency in New Orleans, which allows city government to circumvent some regulations to respond more quickly to a disaster.

Gov. Edwards assisting Landrieu on potential flooding

The governor is probably look at declaring a state of emergency.

Early Thursday morning, Landrieu announced that the city lacks the backup power to run pumping stations west of the Industrial Canal that help prevent flooding on the east bank of New Orleans during rain events. The outage does not affect Lower 9th Ward, New Orleans East and Algiers, according to Landrieu.

Still, several parts of the city will be vulnerable to storms five days after widespread, damaging floods affected several neighborhoods. Many New Orleans residents are still recovering from that event that damaged vehicles, businesses and homes.

"We are currently running on our last backup power source," Landrieu said during the press conference. "If all the power from Entergy continues -- and we expect that it will -- we will be able to handle any typical rainfall."

Landrieu said he first called Edwards about the power outage at 1:30 a.m. Thursday morning. "Immediately, as he has always done, he pledged his continued and aggressive support," Landrieu said of Edwards.

The Sewerage and Water Board could restore power by the end of the day, the mayor said Thursday morning, but numerous showers and thunderstorms are expected Thursday afternoon.


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — With more rain in the forecast and city water pumps malfunctioning after weekend floods, New Orleans' mayor is urging residents of some waterlogged neighborhoods to move their vehicles to higher ground.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu's office said in a news release early Thursday the city has lost service to one of its turbines, which powers most of the pumping stations that service the East Bank of New Orleans.

Landrieu said that means the system's capacity to drain storm water from the streets has been diminished.

"We are at risk if we have a massive rain event that comes up at the last minute and creates the kind of flooding we had," Landrieu told reporters at a 3 a.m. news conference, referring to the weekend flooding. "The power we have available to us now will not be enough to pump the city out in the time needed."

New Orleans' municipal pumping system is supposed to move water out of the low-lying city. Having the system besieged and broken down in August could not come at a worse time for New Orleans, since the Gulf Coast is in the middle of hurricane season. Thunderstorms are also prevalent in New Orleans during August.

Showers and thunderstorms are in the forecast for New Orleans every day from Thursday through Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

Earlier this week, city officials said the water-pumping system was fully operational. Officials and spokespeople had said repeatedly that all 24 pumping stations were working at full capacity.

But after the system failed to keep up with a storm that dropped 9.4 inches (24 centimeters) of rain in three hours, the truth about the state of the water pumps began to emerge.

Despite what the public had been led to believe, city council members were then told that pumping stations in two of the hardest-hit areas went down to half- to two-thirds capacity on Saturday, news outlets reported.

"It is unacceptable that the public was not only uninformed, but misinformed as to our drainage system functionality during the flood," Council Member LaToya Cantrell said in a statement Wednesday.

Cedric Grant, one of Mayor Mitch Landrieu's top deputies and the head of the Sewerage & Water Board, told the city council at the start of its meeting Tuesday that he would retire at the end of hurricane season, which lasts through November.

Public Works Director Mark Jernigan submitted his resignation shortly after the meeting, when he was asked whether his agency had done enough to clean the catch basins that feed the drainage system.

Landrieu said he also wanted the board to fire Joseph Becker, the Sewerage & Water Board's general superintendent.


NEW ORLEANS, LA - A Desire neighborhood that sits in the shadow of a major Sewerage & Water Board pump station took on several feet of water during Saturday's heavy rainstorm. The flood left people cleaning out their flooded cars and business owners trying to dry out and re-open.

Mother nature may be as much to blame for the flood as a drainage construction project by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

“That's a $30,000 sander right there. Gone? Gone,” said Bobby Terese, the owner of Terese’s Top Works, a business run out of a cluster of warehouses half a block from the Peoples Avenue Canal.

Tuesday, Terese scooped out soggy and crumbling particle board, water-logged plywood and tools forever frozen in time by Saturday’s flood water.

Therese estimates the flood will cost him $300,000 after his flood insurance picks up part of the tab.

“I actually knew we were flooded when I saw the Franklin Avenue underpass filled up to the top, you know? It was pretty much a dead giveaway that we had water up into our buildings up in here,” Terese continued, “It's not a good feeling. Because I know what it's going to take to get us back up to operation back here.”

Piles and piles of debris sat outside his warehouses Tuesday right next to the dumpsters ready to cart the inventory-turned-trash away. But Terese said his insurance adjuster won’t get to his business until Thursday. That’s five days of looking at everything his family business lost.

The irony in the tragedy is that a drainage project underway in the streets and canals around Terese’s shop may be partly to blame for the flood.

The neighborhood sits in the elbow of the Peoples Avenue Canal and the Florida Avenue Canal.

Three weeks ago, contractors for the Corps of Engineers removed 70-foot sections of metal sheet piling that flank the low side of the Peoples Avenue Canal.

“Neighbors said the streets were dry until the canal started overflowing where the sheet piles were removed and that's when the water started coming up into our neighborhood back in here. And within a period of time, it was knee deep,” Terese said.

The canals are full of vegetation, which makes drainage more difficult. The Sewerage & Water Board is responsible for keeping the growth cut. They didn’t respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

Some people in the area say they believe water gushing through the gaps created by the corps made the flooding much worse than what Mother Nature alone dished out.

“I guarantee you. I'd bet my life. That would have stayed here, it wouldn't have flooded,” said Osmond Caston.

Caston has had a car restoration shop less than a block from the canal for 15 years. He has seen his share of floods in the area, but he lost several cars of his own on Saturday.

Pictures taken by one of Caston’s employees show a neighborhood and a canal still full of water on Sunday, hours after the rain stopped.

Work in the Desire area is part of a $119 million SELA flood protection project to widen the Florida Canal and improve drainage in the area.

The project start date is listed on the Corps' website as 2014, but residents said construction started in earnest this year.

Massive concrete box culverts stand ready to take their place underground a block from Terese’s shop.

After two days’ of requests for information and comment about the gaps in the canal’s barrier, the commander of the Corps’ New Orleans District, Col. Michael Clancy addressed the situation in front of the city council.

“There were a few parts of the canal that were quite a bit lower than they should have been this weekend. Trying to assess if that contributed to the damage, how much it contributed to the damage,” Clancy testified.

The Corps never directly responded to questions from WWL-TV, instead issuing a press release to all media late Tuesday.

Clancy also told the council that the holes were placed in the sheet piling to connect the underground drainage culverts to the canal.

When asked how he feels about the fact that a flood protection project may have contributed to the flooding of his business, Terese replied, “I'm not too happy about it right now, but I'm hoping once it's all finished it's gonna solve some of our problems. You know? What else can I hope for?”

While business owners said the area has flooded three times since Hurricane Katrina, this was a first: a flood protection project making a flood worse.

While the Corps stopped short of admitting the construction caused the flooding they asked people who believe they were flooded by the corps to call this construction hotline: (877) 427-0345.

Thomas C. Robinson, of Perrysburg, an Andersons employee died in a work-related accident at the Maumee Railcar Repair Facility in Maumee, Ohio


An Andersons employee died in a work-related accident at the Maumee Railcar Repair Facility in Maumee on Illinois Avenue Wednesday.

According to Maumee police, Thomas C. Robinson, of Perrysburg, died working at the facility, though neither police nor the company went into the specifics of the accident.

Rasesh Shah, President, The Andersons Rail Group, released the following statement:

"The Andersons is saddened by the loss of the 29-year-old employee who was fatally injured in an accident at the Maumee Railcar Repair Facility this afternoon. Out of respect for his family, we will not be providing his name or any other information at this time. The welfare of our employees is of the utmost importance to the Andersons and we are committed to uncovering the details of what led up to this tragic accident."

“This young man’s life was precious to his family, his friends and his colleagues at The Andersons. Our heartfelt condolences go out to all those who knew and loved him.”

A representative for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says the accident in under investigation.

54-year-old Patty Rulon, of Manahawkin and 91-year-old Albert Rulon, of Tuckerton, died after Rulon fainted and lost control of her GMC Acadia SUV along Route 9 before hitting utility poles and then crashing into the side of Calloway's restaurant in Ocean County, NJ


Police in New Jersey say two people have died and another has been seriously injured after their SUV crashed into the side of an Ocean County restaurant.

Authorities say the crash happened in Eagleswood around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. Police say the driver of an SUV lost control along Route 9 before hitting utility poles and then crashing into the side of Calloway's.

According to police, 54-year-old Patty Rulon, of Manahawkin and 91-year-old Albert Rulon, of Tuckerton, died as a result of the crash.

Authorities say a 15-year-old boy is being treated for serious injuries.

According to the owner of Calloway's, no one in the restaurant was hurt in the crash.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.


Two people died and two others were seriously injured when a GMC Acadia struck the southeast corner of Calloway's Restaurant in Eagleswood on Wednesday afternoon, a spokesman for the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office said.

The driver of the SUV- a 54-year-old Manahawkin woman - was heading north on Route 9 at 3 p.m. when she suddenly lost consciousness and slumped over the steering wheel with her foot still on the accelerator, said spokesman Al Della Fave.

The SUV veered into the southbound lane, went up a bank of shrubs and bushes and struck the southeast corner of the restaurant, he said.

There was substantial damage to the front of the SUV. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene via telemetry by a physician from Newark Beth Israel Hospital, Della Fave said.

The passenger in the front seat - a 91-year-old Tuckerton man - was flown to Atlanticare Medical Center with multiple injuries, but died on the way to the hospital, Della Fave said.

The rear passenger side occupant - a 44-year-old woman from Tuckerton - was partially ejected through the windshield from the backseat. She was taken to the hospital with shoulder and head injuries but is in stable condition at this time, he said.

The rear driver's side occupant, a 15-year-old male, was flown to Jersey Shore Medical Center for possible broken ribs and internal injuries. He is in stable condition.

Identities of the victims have not been released yet.