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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Helicopter crashes at Rick Husband/Amarillo International Airport

Connect Amarillo/KVII TV
AMARILLO, TEXAS -- No serious injuries were reported Thursday evening as a helicopter reportedly had a hard landing at Amarillo Rick Husband International Airport, officials said.
Two people were on board and one was taken to the hospital with injuries not considered serious, Patt Rhodes, Aviation Director, said.
The chopper, which was a Bell Ranger 3 helicopter, went down unexpectedly just before 5:00 p.m.
According to sources, the helicopter was owned by Chesapeake Bay Helicopters Inc.
ALl photos (C) Steve Douglass/ 

Photo of the same helicopter at Rick Husband two weeks before today's crash. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Jet Blue pilot using insanity defense

Reuters - A JetBlue pilot whose midair meltdown prompted a cross-country flight to make an emergency landing in west Texas last month will plead he was insane at the time of the incident, his lawyer said in a federal court filing on Wednesday.

Attorney Dean Roper filed the notice in U.S. District Court in Amarillo, Texas, saying pilot Clayton Osbon would use an insanity defense.

Osbon, 49, was charged earlier this month with interfering in the operations of a flight crew after he allegedly screamed and pounded on the cockpit door, forcing a March 27 flight from New York to Las Vegas to land in Amarillo.

Osbon was undergoing court-ordered psychiatric examination to determine if he could stand trial. The outcome of those examinations has not been disclosed.

A federal indictment described a harrowing flight during which Osbon had to be subdued and forcibly restrained from re-entering the cockpit.

The FBI said Osbon began saying, "Things just don't matter" while he was at the controls of the Airbus A320 about halfway into the five-hour flight, and that he told the flight's first officer, "We're not going to Vegas."

After the pilot suddenly left the cockpit and started running up and down the aisle, banging on a restroom door, and attempted to force his way back into the locked cockpit, several passengers restrained him until the plane landed.

The FBI said that while he was being restrained, Osbon yelled, "Pray now for Jesus Christ," started yelling about Iraq, Iran and terrorists, and shouted at one point toward the cockpit, "Guys, push it to full throttle!"

Neither Osbon's lawyer nor prosecutors could immediately be reached for comment on the insanity defense.

Nationwide closing Amarillo office.


Nationwide Insurance announced plans Wednesday to cut 325 jobs and close its Amarillo call center in July 2013, a company spokeswoman said.

“This is really part of our effort to enhance our productivity and efficiency, increase our competitiveness and cut operating costs,” spokeswoman Nancy Smeltzer said. “By no means does this reflect on the performance of the associates on this site.”

Call center employees, who primarily provide customer service for existing policyholders, will meet individually with Nationwide personnel who will help the employees pursue jobs within the company or offer “career transition services” including severance packages, Smeltzer said.

The closure will affect neither Nationwide customers nor the operations of local Nationwide agents, the company said.

The Amarillo call center at 4320 S. Western St. will carry out normal operations until July 2013.

At that time, employees at Nationwide call centers in Lynchburg, Va.; San Antonio; Des Moines, Iowa; and Columbus, Ohio, will take over the calls, she said.

In July, Nationwide eliminated 64 jobs at the call center and gave employees a 60-day notice their positions were being phased out, spokesman Mike Switzer said.

Nationwide came to Amarillo in August 1997 after the Amarillo Economic Development Corp. approved a $6.2-million incentive package that included renovations to the former Best Products store on Western Street.

AEDC President Buzz David said Wednesday in an email his organization will work to find a new company to fill the void left by Nationwide’s closure.

“We are certainly disappointed to hear of Nationwide’s departure from Amarillo next summer,” David said.

“The company has been a terrific corporation citizen and valued employer.

“The business and financial services sector is important to our community, and we will keep working to bring more of these jobs to our region.”

AEDC owns the property where the call center is located, and the building has an appraised value of $2.7 million, Potter-Randall Appraisal District records show.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Raw video: Amarillo Warehouse Fire 4-18-2012

KVII: CONNECT AMARILLO, TEXAS -- Billows of smoke dominated the Amarillo skyline on Tuesday evening as a massive structure fire burned, destroying a warehouse.

The building, locating at 3007 S. Pierce Street, was home to a sign company, known as Courtesy Sign Company.

Fire officials said the blaze started around 7:00 p.m. and was under control by about 8:30 p.m. Fortunately no injuries were reported.

At least two explosions were reported.

Traffic in the immediate area was stopped by officials and a house near the building was evacuated as a precaution.

The Amarillo Office of Emergency Management requested that citizens avoid the area. The fire burned extremely hot and quick, fire officials said.

Several people in the area taking photos and spectating caused a problem for emergency officials and made traffic congested.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Domestic dispute results in SWAT standoff in North Amarillo

On 4-9-12, at about 2:00 AM, officers were dispatched to 716 N. Houston on a domestic dispute. When they made contact with a female resident in the front yard, a HM that also lives there came out on the front porch.

The female told officers that the man, later identified as Rodrigo Ramon Rodriguez HM 29, had assaulted her and had a gun. Officers ordered the man to stop, but he turned, went back inside the house, and closed the door. The man refused to come out. Officers called for SWAT to respond to the barricaded suspect situation.

At one point, officers saw the man trying to leave through a side window. He went back into the home when he saw officers. The suspect called the AECC and made threats to kill officers that approached.

He said that he had a gun and he would make the police kill him. At about 4:45 AM, officers used the bomb team robot’s arm to break a window and try to establish communication with the man through the robot’s public address system. The robot’s arm was extended into the home. The suspect struck the robot’s arm and video camera with a small hatchet. At about 5:10 AM, APD SWAT introduced chemical agents into the house.

A few minutes later, the suspect stepped out of the home and was taken into custody. He was transported to a local hospital for medical clearance and then booked into the Potter Co. Correctional Center on a charge of criminal mischief over $1500 for the damage to the robot. Officers located no firearm in the home.

Amarillo Cruise Night Photos 4-7-2012

"Cruise Night" - Region 16 Amarillo, Texas.
Click to enlarge photos. All photos (
C) Steve Douglass photography
Sponsored by Panhandle Council of Car Clubs

Shelly & her rat rod "Karma."

Sweet T-Bird:

Fuzzy Dice:

When fins were in:

Gold Corvette - detail:

Michel Wilhelm - proud owner of a 1988 Lincoln Towncar - in mint condition:

1931 Model A owners Ken Hanson & E.J. Dennis apparently called each other and said "wear plaid" at Cruise Night.

Dodge Charger 500 - sweet MOPAR:

Convenience store owner murdered - suspect sought

On 4-8-12 at approximately 10:23 p.m., officers were dispatched to 1500 N. Mirror, La Esquina convenience store, on a person who was shot. An ambulance transported the shooting victim to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. The shooting victim was Adrian Chavez, HM, 47 who owned the convenience store.

Mr. Chavez and another person were in the front part of the store when two black males, wearing what appeared to be dark clothing, entered the store. One black male was armed with a handgun and pointed it at the other witness.

The suspect then shot Mr. Chavez in the upper body. Both suspects were last seen running from the store heading northbound on N. Mirror. An autopsy is scheduled Tuesday morning in Lubbock and preliminary results will be available after that. The suspects are still at large. Anyone with any information about this case is asked to call the Special Crimes Unit at 378-9468.

Contact Information:
Lt. Erick Bohannon/bb
Special Crimes Unit

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tornadoes ravage Arlington/Dallas Ft Worth

Tornado-wrecked Dallas begins assessing damage
By PAUL J. WEBER, Associated Press –

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The tornado hurtled toward the nursing home. Physical therapist Patti Gilroy said she saw the swirling mass barreling down through the back door, after she herded patients into the hallway in the order trained: walkers, wheelchairs, then beds.
"It wasn't like a freight train like everybody says it is," said Gilroy, who rounded up dozens to safety at Green Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. "It sounded like a bomb hit. And we hit the floor, and everybody was praying. It was shocking."

The National Weather Service said as many as a dozen twisters touched down in a wrecking-ball swath of violent weather that stretched across Dallas and Fort Worth. The destructive reminder of a young tornado season Tuesday left thousands without power and hundreds of homes pummeled or worse.

As the sun rose Wednesday over the southern Dallas suburb of Lancaster, one of the hardest hit areas, it was clear that twisters had bounced in and out of neighborhoods, destroying homes at random. Vehicles were tossed like toys, coming to rest in living rooms and bedrooms.

At one house, a tornado had seemingly dipped into the building like an immersion blender, spinning directly down through an upstairs bedroom and wreaking havoc in the family room below before lifting straight back up and away. A grandfather clock leaned slightly but otherwise stood pristine against a wall at the back of the downstairs room that was filled with smashed furniture and fallen support beams.

Despite the intensity of the slow-moving storms, only a handful of people were hurt, a couple of them seriously, and no fatalities were reported as of late Tuesday.
The Red Cross estimated that 650 homes were damaged. Around 150 Lancaster residents stayed in a shelter Tuesday night.

"I guess 'shock' is probably a good word," Lancaster Mayor Marcus Knight said.
The exact number of tornadoes won't be known until surveyors have fanned across North Texas, looking for clues among the debris that blanketed yards and rooftops peeled off slats.
April is typically the worst month in a tornado season that stretches from March to June, but Tuesday's outburst suggests that "we're on pace to be above normal," said National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Bishop.

An entire wing at the Green Oaks nursing home in Arlington crumbled. Stunning video from Dallas showed big-rig trailers tossed into the air and spiraling like footballs. At the Cedar Valley Christian Center church in Lancaster, Pastor Glenn Young said he cowered in a windowless room with 30 children from a daycare program, some of them newborns.

Ten people in Lancaster were injured, two of them severely, said Lancaster police officer Paul Beck. Three people were injured in Arlington, including two Green Oaks residents taken to a hospital with minor injuries, Arlington Assistant Fire Chief Jim Self said.

Gilroy said the blast of wind through Green Oaks lasted about 10 seconds. She described one of her co-workers being nearly "sucked out" while trying to get a patient out of the room at the moment the facility was hit.

Joy Johnston was also there, visiting her 79-year-old sister.
"Of course the windows were flying out, and my sister is paralyzed, so I had to get someone to help me get her in a wheelchair to get her out of the room," she said.
In one industrial section of Dallas, rows of empty tractor-trailers crumpled like soda cans littered a parking lot.

"The officers were watching the tornadoes form and drop," Kennedale police Chief Tommy Williams said. "It was pretty active for a while."

Most of Dallas was spared the full wrath of the storm. Yet in Lancaster, television helicopters panned over exposed homes without roofs and flattened buildings. Residents could be seen walking down the street with firefighters and peering into homes, looking at the damage after the storm passed.

Hundreds of flights into and out of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Field were canceled or diverted elsewhere Tuesday. About 500 flights remained grounded Wednesday, airport officials said.

The storms knocked out power for thousands. Utility Oncor said nearly 14,000 homes and businesses, mainly in the Arlington area, still had no electricity early Wednesday.
Meteorologists said the storms were the result of a slow-moving storm system centered over northern New Mexico.

Dixon reported from Lancaster. Associated Press writers Nomaan Merchant, Terry Wallace and David Koenig in Dallas, Betsy Blaney in Lubbock, Angela K. Brown in Fort Worth and Robert Ray in Lancaster contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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