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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Make A Wish Car Show - March - 3rd & 4th!

Spring is just around the corner - and that means it must be time for the annual Make-A-Wish Foundation Car Show!

If you love classic cars (or your kids do) and yo haven't been before - ya just gotta attend.

There will be hundreds of amazing classic and antique automobiles - from Model As to Detroit metal and super cars. Bring the kids - bring the neighbors! It's all for a great cause!

Adult admission is only $7.00 - Kids $5.00 with children under five - free.

You'll find more info at this LINK.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Amarillo looses Marine in Arizona chopper crash ...

AMARILLO, TEXAS CONNECT AMARILLO -- When two Marine Corps helicopters collided during training over the Arizona-California border Wednesday night, seven Marines lost their lives and Amarillo lost one of its own.

32-year-old Amarillo native, Captain Nathan Anderson, was a pilot of one of the choppers and was killed in the crash.

Most of the Marine's family immediately made their way to Yuma, Arizona to be with his wife and kids and prepare for the Memorial Service to be held on the following Wednesday. But brothers Andrew and Roland were not able to join them, that is, until Sunday.

Thanks to the efforts of America Supports You Texas and American Airlines for providing two plane tickets, the brothers walked through a flag line of stars and stripes before departing from Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport on a plane bound for Arizona.

"It's a show of the flag to provide encouragement and extend 'thank you's' to these two brothers and for the family," said Jack Barnes with America Supports You Texas. "We want to honor that Marine and his family for his sacrifice for our country."

A sacrifice Captain Anderson's family always knew was a possibility, but continued to support him anyway.

"I was constantly worried about it," admitted the Marine's 26 year-old brother, Roland. "I think we all were but it's what he loved to do, it was his passion so we always supported him."

Now, finally reunited with their family in Arizona, they'll have to rely on each other for that same support as they remember their fallen brother, father, son and husband.

"He is an outstanding person and he's been our role model and we couldn't have asked for a better brother," added the Marine's 28-year-old brother Andrew. "He was kind of the leading light in our family."

Roland agreed. "I wish that everybody could have met Nathan," he said. "He was the most amazing man I've ever known or ever will know."

After a whirlwind week of tragic news, grief, needing someone to help get them through, the brothers were finally on their way to Arizona. To honor Captain Anderson, together, as a family.

"The past couple of days have been very, very difficult not being there, not being with family and not seeing his wife and kids," added Roland. "So this is a Godsend that we're going to be able to go do this."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Blue Angel #7 stops in Amarillo.

Click to enlarge:

The two seat Blue Angle Number 7 (sporting an unpainted right tail) stopped to refuel in Amarillo today. I manged to just make it out to Rick Husband and captured it as it departed. I heard the tower say "Blue Angel #7 - you are cleared to make some noise."

-Steve Douglass

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Amarillo's Top ten Most Dangerous Intersections!

APD: 2011's Most Dangerous Intersections

1) South Coulter Street and West Interstate 40, 18 accidents

2) South Coulter Street and Hillside Road, 12 accidents

3) South Georgia Street and West Interstate 40, 10

4) South Bell Street and West Interstate 40, 10 accidents

5)West Interstate 40 and South Western Street, 9 accidents

6) Plains Boulevard and South Western Street, 9 accidents

7) South Bell Street and Canyon Drive, 8 accidents

8) West Amarillo Boulevard and Tascosa Road, 8 accidents

9) East Interstate 40 and Ross Street, 8 accidents

10) East Amarillo Boulevard and North Pierce Street, 7 accidents

Monday, February 13, 2012

Bell unveils "Relentless" B-525 helicopter to be built in Amarillo

ACN Newswire via COMTEX) -- Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company TXT +1.78% , announced the world's first "super-medium" helicopter, the Bell 525 Relentless, at the 2012 Heli-Expo in Dallas, Texas.

"Today, we celebrate with our customers - not only the launch of this new product - but the result of our collective efforts to define a new class of helicopter that raises the bar on innovation in the industry," said John Garrison, President & CEO, Bell Helicopter.

The Bell 525 Relentless defines the new "super medium" product class - positioned at the upper end of the medium class and designed to offer best-in-class capabilities to our customers. It features superior payload and range, cabin and cargo volumes and crew visibility.

"The new Bell 525 Relentless is a culmination of our research and development efforts, which were informed by a representative product development panel of our customers, including PHi, an industry leader in helicopter operations. Relentlessly listening to our customers and using their feedback to provide them with the right product at the right time has been the winning combination," he said.

The new Bell 525 Relentless will be powered by the reliable performance of world-class GE engines - the GE CT7-2F1.

This latest version of the highly successful CT7 family is designed with an emphasis on low fuel consumption, low cost of operation and with other technical features to ensure aircraft meet the requirements of long range, high payload missions. The CT7-2F1 engine includes a state-of-the-art Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) plus advanced materials, primarily in the turbine section.

Capable of carrying up to 16 passengers, the Bell 525 Relentless is designed to support our customers in various mission configurations including oil & gas, search & rescue, helicopter emergency medical services and VIP/corporate transport.

Final assembly and flight test of the B-525 will take place in the Bell/Textron facility in Amarillo, Texas.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Special Crimes Unit releases detail of 2-6-12 incident at 2809 E. IH-40.

Hi Steve Douglass,

At approximately 1:05 p.m., SWAT officers were serving an arrest warrant at 2909 I40E in the Super 8 Motel parking lot. They arrested Phillip Wade Schindler, WM, 38 years old on a warrant for possession of a controlled substance. Schindler also had narcotics in his possession and was charged with possession of a controlled substance, PG1, over 4grams, less than 200 grams.

SWAT officers then learned of a person in room 223 of the Super 8 Motel who was possibly in possession of numerous weapons. Room 223 is on the second floor of the motel. They knocked on the door of the motel room in an attempt to talk to the person about the report of the weapons. The officers identified themselves as such and a WM opened the door. The WM was identified as Brandon Don Albritton, WM, 31 years old.

Albritton then slammed the door shut. One of the SWAT officers ran down the stairs to make sure Abritton was not trying to escape out of the back window of the motel room. As the officer approached the corner of the building to get a view of the back window, Albritton threw or dropped a long rifle from the window onto the ground. Albritton was leaning out of the window with a pistol in his hand and looked at the officer down below.

The officer fired his weapon at Albritton who retreated back into the motel room. Albritton was not struck by the bullet fired by the officer. Based on these circumstances, a warrant was issued for Albritton for Aggravated Assault on a Public Servant with a deadly weapon. After barricading himself for several hours, Albritton surrendered to SWAT officers and was taken into custody for his warrant. A pistol was found in the motel room after Albritton was arrested.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Crime report ...

On 2-5-12, at about 2:06 am, officers were sent to the Sleep Inn at 2401 East I-H40 on an armed robbery call. The male clerk told officers that two white males came into the motel. They were both wearing ski masks and black jackets. One was armed with a black handgun and came around the counter and demanded money from the clerk.

The clerk told the suspect that the motel didn’t have any cash. Both suspects left the motel west bound on foot. No vehicle was seen. No one was injured.

At around 3:03am, officers were sent to the Days Inn motel at 2102 S Coulter on an armed robbery call. The male clerk told officers that two male subjects armed with black handguns came into the motel. They were wearing ski masks, dark blue or black hooded jackets, and blue jeans. One subject waited at the front doors while the second subject approached the counter and demanded the money. The clerk placed the cash drawer on the counter.

A suspect took money from it. An undetermined amount of money was taken. They fled the motel north on Coulter driving a dark red or maroon vehicle. No one was injured in this incident.

At about 3:20 AM, patrol officers saw a red Ford Freestyle SUV westbound on Amarillo Boulevard. The vehicle matched the description of one investigators believed was used in one or more of the recent robberies.

Officers stopped the vehicle in the 100 block of S. Fannin. There were four males in the car. Two of the occupants were wearing clothing that looked like the clothing worn in the two robberies just reported.

Officers took the four into custody and searched the vehicle. They found four air-pistol type replica handguns, a dark colored coat with the “Tigger” lettering seen in an earlier robbery, and black ski masks.

The following people were booked into the Potter Co. Correctional Center: Obed Vargas HM 20 of Amarillo was booked for six charges of armed robbery and a warrant for probation violation/possession of marihuana.

Joaquin Eloy Damian AKA Damian-Rodriguez HM 21 of Dumas was booked for six charges of armed robbery. Gilberto Rodriguez HM 18 of Dumas was booked for two charges of armed robbery stemming from the two robberies described in this release. Also, a HM 15 with an Amarillo address was taken to the Youth Center of the High Plains on a charge of robbery stemming from the two motel robberies above.

The other robberies being investigated in connection to these arrests are the 1-16 and 1-20 robberies of the Toot ‘n Totum at 6802 Wolflin and 1735 S. Nelson, the 1-21 robbery of the Executive Inn at 2100 S. Coulter, and the 2-5-12 robberies just prior to the arrest.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mystery booms/fireball/noises over Texas was it a sonic meteor or high weirdness?

Brad McGavock was on duty this morning when we called the Tulsa National Weather Service office about the possible meteor ripping through the sky.

"Around 8 p.m. there was reported to be a sonic boom that was heard over the DFW area."

McGavock says there was a report that a highway patrolman inadvertantly caught a glimpse of the sighting.

"His dash cam on his car actually recorded the meteor as it went through the sky."
He says the FAA confirmed that the object indeed was a meteor.

Some people said the object had a long tail and that it appeared to fall apart. Others said they heard or felt an explosion as it passed.

Police, fire and weather officials all reported receiving a high volume of calls.
Information from the American Meteor Society said that the object was a bolide.

A bolide is a fireball or very bright meteor.

It explodes often with visible fragmentation and sometimes a sonic boom, according to AMS.

Case closed right?

But wait there's more? Strange noises from the sky are coming in from around the globe - with explanations ranging from meteors to "Auroral noise " to Gabriel's horn calling down the Apocalypse.

Here are a few related videos:

From Canada:

From my hometown of Amarillo:

From New York:

Maybe this explains it?

Damn Interesting:

If you happen to be reasonably close to one of the Earth’s magnetic poles, the next time there’s a particularly intense aurora, go outside. Get as far as you can from sources of noise – traffic, barking dogs, TVs – and listen. Listen carefully.

If conditions are right, you may hear some unusual noises. Earwitnesses have said the sound is like radio static, a small animal rustling through dry grass and leaves, or the crinkling of a cellophane wrapper. Inuit folklore says it’s the sound of the spirits of the dead, either playing a game or trying to communicate with the living.

It’s the sound of the aurora itself. And the cause is currently unknown. Understanding the phenomenon is made more difficult by the fact that though there are many anecdotal reports, the sound has yet to be recorded.

Aurora displays are caused by the solar wind interacting with the Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere. Because these interactions happen at altitudes of at least sixty kilometers, the sounds heard cannot be made by the aurora directly. Even if the air up there were dense enough to support sound waves, they would disperse and fade long before they reached the ground.

The sounds aren’t common, and there doesn’t seem to be any consistency in their occurrences. What’s more, one observer of an aurora may hear the sounds distinctly, while another observer of the same display– even at the same location– may not.

The inconsistency makes it difficult to determine the underlying cause of the sounds. As with any faint phenomenon that is difficult to observe and study, theories abound. One hypothesis claims it’s all in the observer’s head. Modern media has made us used to hearing sound along with visual display, so we sometimes believe we are hearing things even when there is no actual sound. But this doesn’t account for those Inuit legends that predate the technological era, nor does it account for observations made by blindfolded or indoor observers.

Another theory also claims it’s all in your head, but for a different reason. Electrophonic hearing is the direct stimulation of the auditory nerves by external electromagnetic fields. There are reports of people hearing “clicks” and “pops” coincident with lightning flashes, and well ahead of any thunder, that can only be explained this way.

The theory is unable to explain why only the sense of hearing is affected – though there are rare reports of people noting odd smells accompanying an aurora display.

The Earth did experience a solar storm last week: Here's an excerpt from a report on this storm:

A wave of charged particles from an intense solar storm is pummeling the Earth right now. NASA scientists say.

The storm began when a powerful solar flare erupted on the sun(Jan. 23), blasting a stream of charged particles toward Earth. This electromagnetic burst, called a coronal mass ejection (CME), hit Earth at about 9:31 a.m. EST (1430 GMT), according to scientists at the Space Weather Center at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

"It's a minor to moderate storm," Yihua Zheng, a lead researcher at the Space Weather Center, told "Probably in the next 10 hours or so, people at high latitudes can see auroras. This could maybe cause communication errors at the polar caps, but the magnetic activities are probably not too strong."
The northern lights displays will be especially visible for people in northern latitudes where it is currently night.

"For parts of Europe already, and further points to the east, we should expect to see strong magnetic storm conditions," Harlan Spence, an astrophysicist at the University of New Hampshire, director of its Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, told "There's a very good chance tonight that we'll be seeing some very strong auroral displays. Typically auroras occur at relatively high latitudes, but for events like this, you could get auroras down at mid to low latitudes."

When a coronal mass ejection hits Earth, it can trigger potentially harmful geomagnetic storms as the charged particles and the fields within it interact with the planet's magnetic field lines. This can amp up normal displays of Earth's auroras (also known as the northern and southern lights), but a strong CME aimed directly at Earth can also cause disruptions to satellites in orbit, as well as power grids and communications infrastructures on the ground.

The recent solar flare set off an extremely fast-moving CME, Zheng said, and the associated radiation storm was the strongest since 2005. But the ejected cloud of plasma and charged particles was not directly aimed at Earth, and is hitting the planet at an angle instead. This glancing blow will likely lessen any impacts on Earth, she added.

But wait - maybe it's a sign of the coming 2012 Apocalypse or the magnetic poles flipping? Here's an interesting video:

Then there are those who suggest we are all the victims of a viral advertisng campaign as suggested HERE.

Or how about emitted from flying triangles? Spoiler alert: bad audio dub to follow:

It's getting weird out there folks!
Stay tuned!

-Steve Douglass

This just in - a smoking gun? Could the sky sounds all be a fake?


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

STS-107 - the death of Columbia remembered

So I'm lying in bed on a cold February morning. I know I should be awake by now but the room is cool and under the covers it feels toasty and good. I'm in that state between awake and asleep - floating. Suddenly my (then) wife comes into the room. She says, " Sorry to wake you but you have a phone call." "Who is it?" I manage to croak - stretching and now somewhat slightly miffed that anyone would be calling me so early in the morning. "Paul Hart - she says.

Paul is a friend of mine who worked at Northrop Grumman. I grumble and roll over. "Tell him I'll call him later." She leaves but in a few seconds she comes back in - phone in hand. "Talk to him." she says pushing the phone against my face. I pick it up and in a voice still cracking with sleep I manage a raspy "Hello."

The next words I hear - hit me like a thunderbolt. "Steve, Columbia is coming apart over Texas. It should be just south of Amarillo now.

Fully awake I spring out of bed. I rush into the living room and rummage with one hand in my always ready photog bag for my camera while juggling the phone in the other. Paul says "It's tracking now just to the south of Amarillo - looks like almost over Lubbock."

I step outside in only my shorts - and it is freezing. I look to the south and see an ugly chalk mark etched into the ice-blue sky. It is Columbia and it is falling

I raise my camera and shoot a few frames - both the winter chill and the chilling site taking my breath away. I watch as the plume arcs to the Southeast towards central Texas. I tried not to imagine what was falling out of the sky near Dallas.

"It's on the TV now." my wife shouts to me.

I come in and see live video of the shower of debris that was once a great ship and a brave crew - raining down on Texas.

It strikes me as tragically ironic that Amarillo's favorite astronaut son - Rick Husband - died, along with his brave crew within sight of his hometown.

I also find it severely weird that his classmate (me) would document his tragic end from the back balcony of my apartment, standing in my underwear.

I attended Crockett Junior High- withe Rick - and although I didn't know him well - I did know him.

We both shared a passion for aviation and spaceflight and occasionally our paths would cross - his as an aviator and NASA astronaut - mine as an aviation journalist and photographer. I was extremely proud when I learned he had been selected to command STS-107.

Rick - we hardly knew ye - and I wish I had known you better. Thoughts and prayers go out to your family and friends on a day (an anniversary) of one of the most shocking days in our lives.

I remembered Rick and his crew this morning by standing on that same balcony and silently staring into a cool blue sky.

-Steve Douglass

February 1, 2012 is the eighth anniversary Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, which claimed the lives of all seven crew members.

The shuttle disintegrated during reentry after superheated gases penetrated a damaged spot on its left wing. The initial damage had occurred shortly after launch, when a briefcase-sized piece of insulating foam broke off from an external fuel tank and smashed against the wing.

Columbia disintegrated about 15 minutes before it was scheduled to touch down at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

As a result of the disaster, President Bush announced his eventual goal to retire the remaining space shuttles but assured the public that the manned space program would continue. "The cause in which they died will continue," he said. "Mankind is led into the darkness beyond our world by the inspiration of discovery and the longing to understand. Our journey into space will go on."

Late January also marks the dates of two other dark moments for NASA and the nation's manned space program. See the following links for more images commemorating the Apollo 1 fire on January 27, 1967 and the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986.

The Columbia Space Shuttle disaster claimed the lives of Commander Rick D. Husband, Pilot William C. McCool, Payload Commander Michael P. Anderson, Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon, Mission Specialist Kalpana Chawla, Mission Specialist David M. Brown and Mission Specialist Laurel Clark.


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