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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Amarillo area wildfire photos ...

Update: Westcliff & Woodlands area now open

Wildfire 5-29-11 #5 UPDATE 12:15am As of 12:15AM the City of Amarillo has lifted the mandatory evacuation for the Westcliff and the Woodlands area with the exception of Brookfield Street in Westcliff. This street remains closed at Coulter to the public. Potter County officials are keeping the mandatory evacuation in the Cliffside Estates, Mesquite Acres, Tascosita and the Stoneridge neighborhood (just north of 9th & Soncy). Tascosa Road from Coulter to Loop 335 will remain closed overnight.

Fire units will continue to patrol the area for any hot spots that might flare up. Some Fire and Police units and personnel have been released to return to their normal duties and/or timeoff. There are no further damage reports available at this time. The Emergency Operation Center is staffing down but will continue to support the field units and will remain open till 2:30am unless additional fires spark up.

Wildfire 5-29-11 #4 UPDATE on wildfire that started in Northwest Amarillo. A 911 call was received around 5:43pm for a vehicle that was on fire near 9th and Soncy. It is unknown how the vehicle caught on fire.

The fire spread quickly and proceeded in a Northern direction. The fire caused damage to some structures in the Tascosita addition and to structures in the Westcliff area. The fire as of 10:00pm is still not fully under control. At 8:30pm the City of Amarillo and Potter County officials declared a Mandatory evacuation for several neighborhoods; Woodlands, Westcliff, Cliffside Estates, Mesquite Acres, and Tascosita.

AFD, Potter Co Fire, Randall Co, Fire, as well as units from Dumas, Childress, Pampa, Hansford County and 2 task force units from the Texas Forrest Service are continuing to battle the fire.

The Amarillo Fire Department has 21 units on scene and has done a general alarm for off duty firemen to report. The fire continues to threaten homes in the above neighborhoods.

At this time reports are 7 structures have been damaged or lost. There are additional reports of damaged property but they have not been confirmed at this time. There are approximately 110 people in the receiving center (being run by the Red Cross) located at Grace Church at Plains & Western.

Sunday evening will not soon be forgotten for many Amarillo residents.

It was a night when flames and smoke filled the air and prompted mandatory evacuations for several areas in Amarillo. Unfortunately, Pronews 7 confirmed at least seven structures were damaged or lost as a result of the blaze.

This is the second time in a week parts of the Amarillo have been invaded by fire. The fire was wind-driven and pushed by Sunday's record breaking 103 degree heat.

As for the cause of the fire, Pronews 7 confirmed it started when a vehicle caught fire near 9th and Soncy at around 5:43 Sunday evening. Officials said the fire then spread quickly in a northern direction.

The City of Amarillo has not yet released any new information regarding the status of the evacuations in Cliffside Estates, Mesquite Acres, Tasosita and Stoneridge neighborhood. Tascosa Rd. from Coulter to Loop 335 remained closed overnight
(C) Steve Douglass

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tex Randall - still standing ...

Tex Randall -still standing welcoming everyone on Hwy 60 to Canyon. If he isn't restored soon- one day - after a windstorm I expect to see him ...gone.

(C) Steve Douglass

Friday, May 27, 2011

Song Signs

I found this series of signs - song lyrics pasted to telephone poles on south Coulter extending for miles. Quite strange and typically Amarillo.

You can find them yourself - they are the right side of the road as south of Loop 335 on Coulter - but be careful there's lots of traffic on this road so pull completely off if you take photos. Anyone no the origin?


-Steve Douglass

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ride Of Silence ...

Photos by Steve Douglass
Story by Nastassia Tamari

The mission of Share The Road is to improve the safety of drivers and cyclists, runners, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. It promotes awareness, education, and understanding in Amarillo and the surrounding communities.

Wednesday night, they rode in silence.It's part of an international awareness ride that done on the 3rd Wednesday in May at 7 p.m. Upwards of 200 participants showed up to ride, making it one of the larger rides in the world.

"I and a friend of mine, were riding our bikes, we were actually in Canyon, and we were hit by a driver. I had a shattered clavicle, I had a horrible concussion, which my helmet, if you could see my helmet you would see how that played a big part in saving my life, as well as my friends. I was on a walker for 8 weeks. I had a bilateral fracture both sides of pelvic and my tailbone," said Robyn Willis, a rider and volunteer board member of Share The Road.

That happened after she was hit by a car, and she's not alone. Just last year riding enthusiast Cindy Whitney was hit and killed by a distracted driver. "We're riding in memory of Cindy Whitney tonight and there are six other cyclists who have been killed in recent years, over the last 10 years or so," said Ken Graham, the President of Share The Road. So Share The Road was formed to help everyone be safe.

"Actually all the research shows that most of the time when you're a driver behind the wheel and really you're feeling that you're in an impatient situation, you're really only are loosing three to five seconds waiting on that athlete that may be on their bike or on their motorcycle or running," said Willis. And waiting or being less in a hurry is just what the cycling community is hoping for, "We all live in this world together and we need to survive together in order to survive together, we need to be a little more tolerate of each other," continued Willis. "Bicyclists are on the road, all the time, doing different things recreation, communing to work, riding to school and we ask that motorists remember that we have a legal right to use the road as well," said Graham.

In many states there is a law that requires vehicles keep three feet away from cyclists for safety reasons. Another way to be safe, is to stay off your cell phone. During the ride, some cyclists were wearing black or red bracelets. Black meant they had not been hit by car while riding, red meant that they had.


Super Guppy back in Amarillo --

Photographed Tuesday night flying into Amarillo/Rick Husband International Airport. It is ferrying V-22 fuselages for assembly at the Bell/Textron Plant here.

Click on each photo to enlarge:

Photographed Tuesday night flying into Amarillo/Rick Husband International Airport. It is ferrying V-22 fuselages for assembly at the Bell/Textron Plant here.

Photos by Steve Douglass & Frank Murphy


Monday, May 16, 2011

Election Results Amarillo

Grady "Cory" Traves 104
Rodney Johnson 125
Drew Alexander 300
David H. Grisham 98
F.E. (SandraDunn) Dunaway 387
Paul Harpole 11,428
Roy D. McDowell 1,867
William Jean 23
Steve Dawson 221
Jim Brokenbek 141
Ryan Vigil 116
Ellen Robertson-Green 11,592
Fred Bartlam 1,220
Trevor Renfroe 1,234
Brian Eades 11,965
Karl Taylor-Restine 2,165
Lilia B. Escajeda 8,541
Irma R. Heras 1,315
John Ingerson 3,665
Carol King 94
Fransetta Mitchell Crow 1,639
Johnny L. Johnson 2,144
Jim Simms 10,151
For 4,568
Against 9,703
For 4,367
Against 9,980
For 3,517
Against 11,116

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Amarillo makes list top 10 clean air cities!

KVII: Clean air... It's something many of us, perhaps, take for granted... Especially in Amarillo!

In fact, Amarillo has made the list for the top 10 cleanest cities in the United States.

The list comes from the American Lung Association (ALA). It released its annual report, highlighting the cities across the country that are cleanest when it comes to air pollution, short-term particle pollution, and year-long particle pollution.

Amarillo made the list! The city is tied for 8th place with Albuquerque, N.M.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Mysterious man's death ruled as drowning ...

Monday May 9, 2011 8:17 AM CDT

Local man found dead in Medi-Park Lake area drainage channel on 5-7-11 identified. Foul play is not suspected.

UPDATE: The man found dead in a concrete drainage channel that runs along Wallace Blvd. in the Medi-Park area has been identified as Billy Ray Holley, WM age 68, of Amarillo. Wheelchair tracks indicate that he rolled along the bottom of the channel and into a drop off containing about four feet of water. Justice of the Peace Thomas Jones ordered an autopsy. Foul play is not suspected.

DATE: 7 May 2011
TIME: 1:37 P.M.

At approximately 1:37 PM, a citizen reported a male, face down, in Medi-Park Lake. Fire Department arrived along with APD and removed the wheel chair and body of a 68 year old male resident of Amarillo. He was positively identified by APD photo records. His name has not been released pending notification of next of kin. He was last seen approximately 9:30 P.M. on 6 May 2011 in the are of Northwest Texas Hospital.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Amarillo observes national day of prayer

AMARILLO, TEXAS -- The National Day of Prayer is observed the first Thursday of May each year, inviting people of all faiths to pray for America. Thursday night, Amarillo citizens joined in that tradition, gathering in the park, on public land, to preserve that right for the future.

For one day, the nation is forgetting its problems, and looking to a higher calling. "Any parent knows what a delightful thing it is when all the children get along, even if it's just for a short while. I think God looks down on us and the many different people that He created, all for different wonderful purposes, and this is such an incredible opportunity to see us all come together in a united spirit when right now we have some huge divisions in our country," said Lee Blakeney, the coordinator of the event at John Stiff Park.

Those divisions weren't evident Thursday, what were instead were heads bowed in prayer. "It's in scripture to pray for those in authority as well as, if my people which are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray for our county then I'll heal their land and we certainly need a lot of healing," said Bruce Das, a National Day of Prayer participant.

Last year the National day of Prayer was challenged in court. "One of my goals is to gather and pray on public land to preserve that right for the future," said Blakeney. Another goal is to bring unity to the community. "For one day we stop and we pray for our city and our state and our nation," Blakeney continued.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Texan heads Bin Laden raiders

The commander of the U.S. military unit responsible for killing elusive al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden — Vice Adm. William H. McRaven — is a San Antonio native and graduate of the University of Texas in Austin.

McRaven, 55, earned a bachelor's degree in journalism in 1977, although a campus dean said a computer listing didn't indicate whether the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps member had an interest in the print side of news coverage, broadcast or public relations.
A fellow ROTC member recalled McRaven as eager for military service.

"He was extremely focused on preparing for special forces details," said Curtis Raetz, of McKinney, who majored in engineering at UT, served in the Marine Corps and now works in private business.
'He had drive.'

Raetz, who graduated a year before McRaven, said the ROTC program included required courses such as naval science.

James Gruetzner, who served in the same Navy ROTC batallion as McRaven, told Cox Newspapers, "He had drive. He went on extraordinarily long runs to stay in shape. He was very dedicated."
McRaven's Navy biography states he attended the Naval Postgraduate School and was its first graduate in Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict. In 1995, he wrote a book called Spec Ops: Case Studies in Special Operations Warfare Theory and Practice.

McRaven became commander of the U.S. military's Joint Special Operations Command in 2008.
In that role, he reportedly led the planning and execution of bin Laden's death Sunday at the hand of Navy SEALs, an acronym that stands for Sea, Air and Land.

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