Category 1 Hurricane Florence Hits North Carolina; At Least Four Killed; Elizabeth Smart Asks Parole Board Not To Release Her Kidnapper; The Philippines Braces For Super Typhoon Mangkhut; Deadly Gas Explosions in Massachusetts Destroy Dozens Of Homes; Recap of “Deaf Out Loud”
Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Friday, September 14. Ready for news?
Category 1 Hurricane Florence Hits North Carolina; At Least Four Killed
This morning Hurricane Florence weakened to Category 1 and made landfall (its eye hit land) at 7:15 a.m. near Wilmington, North Carolina.
There was flooding in New Bern with a 10-feet storm surge. Over 200 people were rescued, with over 100 others still waiting for rescue this morning.
One person said her house was flooded up to her waist, then to her chest. They had to go up to the attic. That area seems to be the most severely impacted by flooding.
A roof of a hotel in Jacksonville, North Carolina collapsed, forcing 60 people to evacuate.
Sadly, there is a report of a mother and an infant who died after a tree fell on their home in Wilmington. The father is in the hospital with injuries.
A woman in Hampstead had a heart attack and emergency crews couldn’t arrive in time to save her because downed trees blocked roads.
One person died after plugging in a generator.
The storm is expected to stay for 24 hours along the Carolina coast, and some areas might see 40 inches of rain. Officials are warning of catastrophic freshwater flooding.
Over 600,000 people lost power. 26,000 people went into more than 200 emergency shelters.
President Trump said the FEMA, first responders, law enforcement were doing an incredible job.
The Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf in Wilson, about 2 hours north of Wilmington, has been closed since Tuesday.
If you live in the area, you can send pictures or video to email@example.com or on Daily Moth Facebook inbox.
Elizabeth Smart Asks Parole Board Not To Release Her Kidnapper
Yesterday in Utah, Elizabeth Smart had a press conference to state that the person who kidnapped her, Wanda Barzee, remains a threat and should not be released from prison. She asked the parole board to reconsider their decision and re-evaluate Barzee’s mental condition.
Back in 2002, Smart—14 years old at the time—was kidnapped from her own bedroom by Barzee and her husband, Brian David Mitchell. For 9 months, Smart was raped and tortured almost daily.
Barzee and Mitchell had also attempted to kidnap Smart’s cousin, but failed.
Barzee was arrested in 2003, and confessed to the kidnapping. She testified against her husband, Mitchell, who is now serving a life sentence. In 2009, Barzee was sentenced to jail until 2024.
But the Utah parole board announced that they would release Barzee next week. They determined they had to count time Barzee spent in federal custody, from 2003 to 2009. She has served 15 years in jail.
The Utah parole board said that it was not an early release, and that Barzee can’t legally be held in prison beyond 15 years, the length of her sentence. Barzee will be under federal supervision for 5 years after her release.
Smart said she believes that Barzee, now 72, is still dangerous. She said that Barzee is a woman who had six children, but still could kidnap a 14 year old girl, encourage her husband to rape the girl, and sit next to the girl while she was being raped.
Smart said that Barzee is not a threat just to her but every person in their community.
Since being rescued by police, Smart became an author and motivational speaker. Smart has two young children and is pregnant with a third.
The Philippines Braces For Super Typhoon Mangkhut
Over in the Philippines, people are preparing for Super Typhoon Mangkhut, one of the strongest storms in its history. Heavy rains have already started.
Called Ompong in the Philippines, the storm is more than 500 miles wide, with maximum wind speeds of 170 mph. It is equivalent to a category 5 hurricane.
The eye of the storm is expected to hit the northern island of Luzon today, where more than 4 million people live.
More than 9,000 people have already been evacuated from their homes. Flights have been cancelled, schools shut down, and the army is on standby.
The storm passed Guam on Thursday and knocked out 80% of the island’s electricity.
China and Hong Kong have also started preparing for the typhoon, as it will head their way after passing the Philippines.
Deadly Gas Explosions in Massachusetts Destroy Dozens Of Homes
Last night in Massachusetts, there were 3 natural gas explosions and over 60 house fires. One person is dead and 10 people hospitalized.
More than 8,000 people are still not able to go back to their homes, and there is no timeline on when they will be able to.
There is no official cause yet, but investigators suspect it could have happened because of over-pressurized natural gas lines. The gas lines are owned by the utility company, Columbia Gas.
Thursday morning, Columbia Gas sent out a notice to their customers that they would be upgrading their natural gas pipelines across the state. They did not specify where and when they would start.
The first explosion happened around 4:30 Thursday afternoon. Boilers in several houses caught fire. One explosion toppled a chimney, which crashed onto a SUV that had 3 people inside; an 18 year old boy died.
Phone alerts were sent to all residents in the area. Residents with homes connected to Columbia Gas were told to evacuate their homes immediately. Electricity and all gas lines were shut off. More than 18,000 homes and businesses did not have power.
Massachusetts State Police said there were more than 70 reports of fires, explosions or gas odors last night. At one point, there were 18 fires burning at the same time. All of them have been put out.
This morning, Columbia Gas said they will visit each of the 8,600 affected homes to shut off the gas meter and conduct a safety inspection.
Governor Charlie Baker said the focus is on public safety first. Residents should expect that it will take some time to investigate and ensure safety.
Recap of “Deaf Out Loud”
On Wednesday night the A&E special “Deaf Out Loud” was released. Many of you in the deaf community and ASL students watched it in “viewing parties.” I want to give a recap of the show. It is about three deaf families: The Mansfield family in Austin, TX, the Posner family in Connecticut, and the Garcia family, also in the Austin area.
The mansfield family’s parents are both deaf. Both of them grew up in hearing families. The father, Manny said he spoke growing up and learned ASL later in college, then decided to turn off his voice. They have two children, the older one deaf and the younger hearing. The family chose to communicate in ASL all the way. Their opinion is that doctors, medical staff, hospitals should make ASL the first option for those who are born deaf, rather than making cochlear implants the first option.
They had one concern about their second daughter, Ivy, who is hearing — she will go to kindergarten. They had some thoughts about her having hearing peers, would it cause her to slowly lose some of her deaf culture or identity?
Another concern and objection they had was on other people saying it was child abuse when the parents, although they could, did not use their voice with Ivy. Others said it was child abuse. The parents felt like it was a double standard, they compared it with other hearing people who might have a different native langauge at home and used it, would they be called out for child abuse? They questioned if it was because they were deaf / disabled. That’s the family.
Now let’s go to the Posner family in Connecticut. The parents are both deaf and can speak. The mother, Rachel, is very good at using her voice and uses it during interviews and at home with her two kids. The two kids are both deaf and also skilled with speaking. Both can hear with hearing aids. The father, Mick, used to have a cochlear implant but took it off because he was tired of people asking him about it.
About the kids, the boy and the girl — the boy wanted to hear more, his hearing aid was not effective. So they went to get a MRI scan to see if he qualified for a cochlear implant. Their appointment was filmed. The doctor told them there was no nerve in his cochlea, so he is not eligible for a cochlear implant because there was no nerve.
The mother Rachel was seen crying, she seemed sad. Many thought she was sad because he couldn’t get a cochlear implant, but she just did an interview with Melmira on Thursday (a live interview). Rachel said she was sad because the MRI scan showed the son had a spinal issue with his discs, he can’t play contact sports. So she felt sad for that, she said the fact he couldn’t have a CI was fine, but a big deal was that she would have to pay $4,000 for a hearing aid. She was not heartbroken for the CI, but the editing made it look like that.
The parents’ concerns were on if the deaf community would judge them, criticize them for their choices. Both of them said it was not about the deaf community, it was not their first priority, that their priority was being parents first, what was the best for the children, and what the children wanted. That was their philosophy.
Now the third family, the Garcia family, who are in the Austin area. The mother April is hearing and a CODA Child of Deaf Adults. She said growing up with deaf exposure made her who she is. The father’s name is Paco said he was born and raised deaf, that a hearing aid didn’t work for him, and he didn’t want a cochlear implant. He said he felt normal and that it was who he is. They have six children, 4 deaf, 2 hearing, and four of them are adopted. Their dream is to start a home or deaf children who don’t have parents, a foster group home. That’s their dream, they hope to start this.
The main issue in the filming of the family is their son, the second youngest child. He is deaf and can speak. He attended a mainstream school with a hearing aid. But he said he missed out, the interpreter lagged behind, the hearing aid was not effective. The parents decided to try a Deaf school, the Texas School for the Deaf. The son agreed. So they went and interacted with others there. The son liked the school, the communication, and said the kids signed just like his father, Paco. The son can speak. The parents supported him going to TSD where he can be with his peers.
So, that’s the three families’ stories. I am just giving a recap. If you want the full experience, you will have to watch it. You still can on Hulu or at iTunes for $2.99.
A&E told the families that it can become a full series, a full season. Many people wanted this, because they felt the show only scratched the surface, that there is more stories to tell. It depends on the amount of views.
I saw Manny and Sheena’s Facebook post saying they were told by A&E that the views were good, but not “WOW!” There is still time, we’ll have to record it on DVRs, buy it on iTunes, and watch it on Hulu, keep the numbers up. Also talk about it on the internet, keep the buzz going.
Hopefully it leads to a full series, so their stories can have more depth.