The Daily Moth 8-30-17

August 31, 2017



Another Day of Harvey Rainfall and Devastation, Storm Hits Louisiana and Wreaks Havoc on Eastern Texas Cities, FDA Announces First Gene Therapy Treatment in U.S. for Cancer Treatment, Rare Dinosaur Fossil Found in Colorado by Construction Crew, and DEAFinitely Dope Announces Rebranding to Focus on Humanitarian Efforts 




Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Wednesday, August 30. Ready for news? 




It is another day of Harvey rainfall and destruction. Today the center of the storm hit Louisiana, sending dangerous rainfall and lighting there and into cities east of Houston, causing more severe flooding.


The cities of Beaumont and Port Arthur at the eastern Texas border had flash-flood emergencies with 26 inches of rain in 24 hours, more than two feet. The rains started yesterday afternoon at 2 inches an hour with wind gusts of almost 40 mph. Thousands of people were surprised by floodwaters overnight.


Port Arthur’s mayor said their whole city is underwater, but that they are sending help and told people to get to higher ground, but to avoid attics. A shelter there for more than 100 flood victims was itself flooded. Hundreds of people called for help on social media. 


Police asked volunteers to bring boats to help save people and for people stuck to hang a white towel, sheet, or shirt to alert first responders. It is a disaster zone over there, with 20,000 homes having water in them. 


There was an apartment fire and some house fires. There were people taking shelter in a bowling alley that was dry inside but flooded outside. One of the people inside has a pet monkey. 


Beaumont was also hit with serious flooding. This is a terrible story — yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon in Beaumont, first responders on a boat saved a 18-months old girl who was holding on to her drowned mother’s body floating in floodwaters. Both were pulled into the boat. The girl was shivering and had hypothermia, but is now in stable condition at a hospital. They tried to revive the woman, but she had already passed away. The mother’s car was half a mile away, stuck in a flooded parking lot. A witness saw the mother trying to walk away from the flood but was swept away by rushing waters. Rescuers said if if they arrived later, the girl would have been sucked under a railroad trestle. They said they were devastated but that it was a true display of a mother who sacrificed her life to save her child. Heartbreaking.


There are still helicopter and boat rescues by the National Guard in the Beaumont area. News video showed military Black Hawk helicopters rescuing adults and children.  


Lamar University, known for its Deaf Education programs, is in Beaumont and social media pictures show some streets around campus with minor flooding. The university said the campus was doing well with no major flooding within buildings. Classes there are cancelled, apparently  until after Labor Day weekend. The campus is being used by first responders and possibly will be an evacuation center. 


An oil refinery in Port Arthur, Motiva (the U.S.’s largest) had to be shut down because of flood conditions and for the safety of its employees. Several other oil refiners had either shut down or reduced production. Analysts say this will raise the price of gas in the near future. 


The storm Harvey is expected to move to the Louisiana-Mississippi border overnight and then tomorrow (Thursday afternoon), continue northeast into Tennessee and Kentucky. Weather reports warn of downpours in those areas from 3 to 10 inches and potential tornadoes. So people in those areas, be sure to keep watching the weather channel or local news to see if you need to take shelter, especially those in low-lying areas.


In Houston, rainfall has ended and some areas are seeing a reduction in water levels, but there is still dangerous flooding and still rescue efforts — the city’s fifth day. So far, there were between 9,000 and 10,000 rescues. One-third of the city is flooded and over 40,000 homes are destroyed. See this image from the Wall Street Journal to see flooded areas in blue. The flooding is expected to linger for weeks or even months in some areas. 


A civilian boat with three men on it crashed and capsized last night, sweeping the three under a bridge. One of them managed to hold on to a tree, but the other two are missing and is being searched by the US Coast Guard.  


Rescuers have found the van where six people from the same family died in — a white enclosed van that was overturned in a flooded ditch. Six bodies were inside. 


There are now 19 deaths from Harvey, but that number is likely to increase. The costs of the storm could be around $160 billion, surpassing the $120 billion that was provided after Hurricane Katrina damage in 2005. President Trump said Congress would issue a financial relief package. 


There are now many famous people making huge donations to Harvey relief. Comedian Kevin Hart donated $50,000 to the Red Cross and raised more than $500,000. Houston Texans NFL player J.J. Watt has raised over $6 million and has a $10 million goal. NFL team Tennessee Titans owner Amy Strunk donated $1 million to JJ Watt’s fund. The Kardashian-Jenner family has donated $500,000 to the Red Cross and Salvation Army. Rapper Chris Brown donated $100,000, but said he would not to donate to the Red Cross because he wanted the money to go directly to the people. There is some criticism and controversy related to donations to the Red Cross and how they use the money, citing previous records that show inefficiency, but the Red Cross is currently very invovled with Harvey and is a major presence in government rescue efforts. 


If you want to make a donation, you can check out the charity to see where and how the money will be used. 


Here’s another reminder that the Texas Association of the Deaf is raising money for  Deaf Harvey survivors via Deafopia, the link is in the transcript — they have raised over $1,700 so far. There are several other Deaf organizations that are raising money as well. 


Jessie White, a Deaf person who works at at the “San Antonio Pets Alive!” shelter — said they are taking in animals from the Houston flooding. Jessie is the neonatal foster coordinator (responsible for newborn animals up to 6 weeks old). Here is her message.


You can help by buying the items on Amazon and sending them to the shelter at the address in the link below. Or you can donate at the fundraising link below. [] [[] [Address: Jessie White - 4710 Highway 151 - San Antonio, Texas 78227] [@SAPA Urgent Neonates]


You can see more information and updates at the Deaf Hurricane Harvey Survivors Facebook page. 




The FDA Food and Drug Administration announced they have approved the first gene therapy treatment in the U.S. to fight a specific kind of cancer, acute lymhoblastic leukemia (ALL), a cancer of the bone marrow and blood.


The treatment, named Kymriah, works by drawing a patient’s blood, sending it to a lab where their immune system cells are genetically modified to kill the cancer, then having it infused back in the patient to kill the cancer cells. 


This therapy is available for babies up to 25 years old who cancer has not receded after standard treatment. 


During tests of the Kymriah treatment, the FDA saw that 83% of patients had remission within three months, which is a great percentage. But it has severe side effects, some life-threatening. So the FDA approved additional treatments to focus on those side effects, called Actemra. 


The FDA said for safety reasons, they will study those who got the gene treatments to see the long-term effects. 


One potential drawback is that this treatment is very expensive — the company that developed the treatment, Novartis, said it will cost $475,000 for patients who has their cancer respond to the treatment, but no charge if the patient’s cancer does not respond. 


Various patient advocate groups said this could be one of the most expensive drugs ever. 


So, this is the first gene therapy approved in the U.S., and we know what might come down the line in the future — gene treatments for hearing loss.




In Thornton, Colorado — construction crews working on a field discovered a fossil of a dinosaur — a triceratops. 


They called scientists from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to examine it and they confirmed it was a dinosaur fossil and said it was very rare, that there was only three other triceratops skulls found in the Front Range and estimated its age at 66 million years. 


The discovery has suspended construction work as people will stabilize the area, carefully expose the fossil, look for any other uncovered bones, and safely extract them. If all goes well, the fossil will be placed at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. 


There are many dinosaur fossils in the Denver area, but most of them are underneath parking lots, shopping malls, or houses. In order to discover them, you’d have to dig down to ancient rock layers that correspond with the time dinosaurs roamed the area. 


Scientists say it was lucky that the construction team found the dinosaur and that they did the right thing to ask for them to look at it.



Deaf man Matt Maxey, who founded DEAFinitely Dope to interpret music in ASL and has seen great success with the recent partnership with Chance the Rapper to interpret his concerts, has announced that they’ve rebranded DEAFinitely Dope to focus on humanitarian efforts and founded a new non-profit organization, “We Break Barriers.” They want to provide camps and after-school programs for both deaf and hearing children and provide instruction in various areas — sports, music, advocacy, and self-identity. They also will provide workshops for live music interpretation. For more information and to see who else is on the DEAFinitely Dope team, check out 




That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light! 

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