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Jaguars DE Calais Campbell named Defensive Player of the Year 

Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell has been named Defensive Player of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America. 

Campbell, who has been declared Mayor of Sacksonville, totaled 14.5 sacks, 14 tackles for loss, forced three fumbles, and had one fumble recovery for a touchdown. 

Campbell was acquired by the Jaguars in March and started all 16 games.  His 14.5 sacks set the Jaguars single-season franchise record, and it was also a career-high. 

Campbell was also named a Pro Bowl starter at defensive end.  


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The Latest News Headlines

  • Venting his frustration in a series of tweets on Sunday, President Donald Trump again demanded to know how the Justice Department, FBI, and Obama Administration handled questions of Russian interference in the 2016 election, saying he would request a new review specifically to see if an investigation was opened for ‘political purposes’ involving his campaign. “I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes – and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!” the President said. It was one of a number of tweets where Mr. Trump flashed aggravation with the investigation into questions of Russian interference in the 2016 elections this weekend, as he repeated his charge that the feds had gone easy on Hillary Clinton and Democrats, while focusing investigative resources on his own campaign. I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes – and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018 Things are really getting ridiculous. The Failing and Crooked (but not as Crooked as Hillary Clinton) @nytimes has done a long & boring story indicating that the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt has found nothing on Russia & me so now they are looking at the rest of the World! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018 ….At what point does this soon to be $20,000,000 Witch Hunt, composed of 13 Angry and Heavily Conflicted Democrats and two people who have worked for Obama for 8 years, STOP! They have found no Collussion with Russia, No Obstruction, but they aren’t looking at the corruption… — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018 …in the Hillary Clinton Campaign where she deleted 33,000 Emails, got $145,000,000 while Secretary of State, paid McCabes wife $700,000 (and got off the FBI hook along with Terry M) and so much more. Republicans and real Americans should start getting tough on this Scam. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018 Now that the Witch Hunt has given up on Russia and is looking at the rest of the World, they should easily be able to take it into the Mid-Term Elections where they can put some hurt on the Republican Party. Don’t worry about Dems FISA Abuse, missing Emails or Fraudulent Dossier! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018 What ever happened to the Server, at the center of so much Corruption, that the Democratic National Committee REFUSED to hand over to the hard charging (except in the case of Democrats) FBI? They broke into homes & offices early in the morning, but were afraid to take the Server? — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018 ….and why hasn’t the Podesta brother been charged and arrested, like others, after being forced to close down his very large and successful firm? Is it because he is a VERY well connected Democrat working in the Swamp of Washington, D.C.? — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018 The Witch Hunt finds no Collusion with Russia – so now they’re looking at the rest of the World. Oh’ great! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018 What seemingly set off Mr. Trump on Sunday was a report in the New York Times, which said Donald Trump Jr. had held a meeting at Trump Tower in the months before the elections, to hear an offer of help from emissaries of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. “The Witch Hunt finds no Collusion with Russia – so now they’re looking at the rest of the World,” the President tweeted. The President’s call for a review of how the FBI handled questions about Russian interference is already the subject of a review inside the Justice Department – it wasn’t clear how this request would be dealt with by officials. “There are rules,” said Carrie Cordero, a former Justice Department national security lawyer, who is now a professor at Georgetown University Law School. The Department of Justice doesn't open investigations for political puposes, which is what the president says today he will order tomorrow. There are rules. And I'm convinced there are people left in this government who will follow them. — Carrie Cordero (@carriecordero) May 20, 2018 In Congress, Democrats saw the President’s tweets as a signal of one thing – that he’s worried about what investigators are finding out about the 2016 probe, as they raised questions of whether the President is trying to exert political pressure on the Justice Department. “The President has sent 8 tweets in 5 hours on Hillary and the Mueller investigation,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA). “He is unhinged.” I would like a lawyer to explain to me why that last tweet from POTUS is not a big deal, because it seems like maybe it’s a pretty big deal. — Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) May 20, 2018 “A President who has nothing to hide would not have done another series of tweets this Sunday Morning smearing the DOJ investigation,” said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA).
  • An exchange student and a substitute teacher are among the victims of a mass shooting Friday at Santa Fe High School in Galveston County, Texas, where 10 people were killed and 10 injured when a gunman opened fire at the school. >> Read more trending news  Shana Fisher Shana Fisher doted on her dog Kallie and was a beautiful, smart, funny and talented girl, her mother, Sadie Rodriguez, told the Houston Chronicle. She turned 16 the same month she was killed. Rodriguez told The Los Angeles Times that her 16-year-old daughter 'had 4 months of problems from this boy (the gunman).” 'He kept making advances on her and she repeatedly told him no,' the Times reported, citing a private message from Rodriguez. Rodriguez told The Associated Press that the week before the shooting, Fisher 'stood up to him' by 'embarrass(ing) him in class.' Rodriguez gave no other details, the AP reported. On Facebook, Rodriguez said she created a fundraiser in her daughter’s memory. “i want to help teachers and parents (be) more aware of teens and their mental state,” she wrote. “My daughter was the most sweet and shy young lady. She never hurt anyone.  “This boy. i cant even do this. i cant even finish this. it isnt even fair. i have to stay strong for Kaylenn, her younger sister. My heart is being ripped out. My baby is gone. i cant even go into her room.” Sabika Sheikh Pakistani exchange student Sabika Sheikh, 18, was among the nine students killed in the massacre, according to news reports.  Sheikh came to the United States as part of the YES program, which was established by Congress after 9/11 and is funded by the State Department. >> Related: Santa Fe High School shooting: 10 dead, 10 injured, suspect charged with capital murder  The program provides scholarships for high school students from majority Muslim countries to spend an academic year in the U.S. They go to school, live with host families, learn about American values and help educate Americans about their countries and cultures. The Pakistani Embassy in Washington confirmed Sheikh’s death to CBS News.  Sheikh was scheduled to return home next month. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued an official statement Saturday on the death of Sheikh. Ann Perkins Substitute teacher Ann Perkins, 64, happened to be teaching Friday when gunfire erupted at the school. She is the only teacher killed in the massacre. She’s described as a “beloved teacher,” who loved spending time with her children and grandchildren. >> Related: Parkland students, families offer condolences to victims of Santa Fe school massacre >> Related: Texas shooting: Who is Dimitrios Pagourtzis, suspect in the Santa Fe High School attack Chris Stone A junior at Santa Fe High School, Chris Stone was one of the victims of Friday’s shooting rampage, according to ABC 13. He was a student in an art class at the school, which was the first target the gunman attacked. Stone was among several students who blocked the door to try to prevent the gunman from entering their art classroom, freshman Abel San Miguel, who was in the class, told The Associated Press.  Cynthia Tisdale Cynthia Tisdale was a teacher’s aide at Santa Fe High School, her family told CNN.  Her niece, Leia Olinde, said the family was notified of her death Friday night. Her brother-in-law, John Tisdale, posted on Facebook that Cythnia Tisdale was a member of the Anchor Bible Baptist Church in Pharr, Texas. “We are all heart-broken,” John Tisdale wrote. Kimberly Vaughan KImberly Vaughan was in art class when shots rang out Friday morning. Her mother, Rhonda Hart, announced on Facebook that her daughter was one of the children who did not make it. 'She is in heaven,' Hart said. 'I am heartbroken.' Later on Facebook Hart urged people to “Call your damn senators. Call your congressmen.” “We need gun control. We need to protect our kids,” she wrote. Jared Black Jared Black, 17, really liked comic books, his uncle, John Conrad, told KHOU. Conrad said his nephew loved to draw his own artwork. Black’s birthday party had been scheduled for Saturday, family members said. Black loved playing Minecraft on Xbox and Pokémon Go on his cellphone, they told the Chicago Tribune. Aaron Kyle McLeod  Aaron Kyle McLeod, 15, a freshman who went by Kyle, could always be counted on to make light of any situation, close friend Kali Reeves told the Chicago Tribune.  'He was never one to be a sad or down person, he always had to joke or laugh about things,' Reeves told the Tribune. 'He was just outgoing and super sweet. He definitely didn't deserve this.' Christian Riley Garcia Family members told KHOU that 15-year-old Christian Riley Garcia, who hoped to enlist in the military after high school, “died a true hero.” 'From what we've gathered thus far he got in front of other students and barricaded the door,' his aunt, Sarah Saunders told KHOU. 'He laid down his life so others could have a chance.' Saunders said Christian hoped to enlist in the military when he became of age. He felt it was his calling to serve others. 'He had the biggest heart and the biggest chunk of ours feels to have left with him,'d Saunders said. On Facebook, Crosby Church, which Garcia attended, announced it would have a memorial service Monday to remember Garcia and the others killed in the shooting. “Our hearts are broken to see such deep loss of so many precious individuals,” the church wrote. “We will especially be lifting up (Garcia’s) family -- mother Shannon, father D J little sister Candace who are a part of our body, our family, our church. Angelique Ramirez Family members confirmed to KHOU that Angelique Ramirez was among the victims in the shooting. Sylvia Pritchett, who identified herself as Ramirez's aunt posted on Facebook that 'with a broken heart and a soul that just can't process all this right now, I have to announce my niece was one of the fatalities.' Ramirez’s family told KHOU that the student “was creative beyond belief.” Check back for updates on this developing story.
  • The suspect in the Santa Fe High School shooting in Galveston County Texas was arraigned on capital murder and aggravated assault charges Friday in the deaths of 10 people and the wounding of a police officer.  Thirteen people were also injured in the massacre Friday morning at the high school in southeastern Texas, the FBI said Saturday. >> Read more trending news  The gunman was identified as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, a student at the school. When he finally surrendered, nine students and one teacher had been killed. Pagourtzis used two weapons in the attack on the school, according to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a shot gun and a .38-revolver, which belonged to his father.  The governor also confirmed a Molotov cocktail and “various other types of explosive devices” were found at the school and two other locations. >>Read: Texas shooting: Who is Dimitrios Pagourtzis, suspect in the Santa Fe High School attack Authorities were interviewing two other people in connection with the shooting, but it’s unclear what part, if any, they played in the massacre. >>Read: What are the worst school shootings in modern US history? Update May 20, 8:13 a.m. EST: The Galveston County Criminal District Attorney released the complete list of the people killed in the shooting, the Houston Chronicle reported. The teachers were identified as Glenda Perkins and Cynthia Tisdale, 64. The students included Shana Fisher, 16; Angelique Ramirez, 15; Christopher Jake Stone, 17; Jared Black, 17; Christian Riley Garcia, 15; Sabika Sheikh; Aaron Kyle McLeod, 15; and Kimberly Vaughan. Update May 19, 2:47 p.m. EST: Santa Fe High School students are being allowed to return to campus to pick up their cars and belongings left behind after Friday’s deadly shooting.  According to a post on the Santa Fe ISD Facebook page, students with cars are meeting officials at the junior high cafeteria between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. CST. The school district states that students will not be allowed to go directly to the high school. Update May 19, 2:14 p.m. EST: A teen who was shot in the leg during Friday’s shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas is in good condition, according to a Twitter update from the University of Texas Medical Branch.  A woman in the intensive care unit (ICU) is in serious condition. John Barnes, the student resource officer and former police officer, remains in critical condition.  Officials gathered Saturday afternoon at Santa Fe High School in an adjacent grassy lot. According to KHOU, the Santa Fe Independent School District superintendent and Santa Fe mayor called for unity and peace. Galveston County Judge Mark Henry said there were no new updates to the investigation, KHOU reports.  Update May 19, 11:40 a.m. ET: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued an official statement on the death of Sibika Sheikh, the Pakistani exchange student who was one of the victims of the Santa Fe High School shooting. Update 10:30 p.m. ET: Three of the victims in the shooting massacre have now been identified, according to news reports. A substitute teacher, Ann Perkins, an exchange student, Sibika Sheikh and high school junior Chris Stone are among the victims killed in the rampage. The FBI and ATF are still processing the scene in Santa Fe, using SWAT teams, bomb techs and K-9 teams to search for explosives investigators say the suspect planted around the school. Update 7:20 p.m. ET: Santa Fe High School shooting suspect Dimitrios Pagourtzis made his first court appearance in court and was denied bond on capital murder and aggravated assault. Update 6:15 p.m. ET: Police are searching homes and cars for more explosives related to the attack on the school, CNN reported. Pagourtzis, who wanted to kill himself, but surrendered instead, according to authorities, allegedly built explosives and planned to use them in the attack. Federal authorities in Texas, including the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, are teaming up and scouring the crime scene at the school and surrounding locations, according to the FBI in Houston. “The FBI Houston and ATF Houston are combining resources to meticulously process the scene,” the FBI said in a tweet. Update 5:15 p.m. ET: The suspect in the Santa Fe High School shooting, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, has been charged with capital murder in the deaths of 10 people at the school Friday morning and aggravated assault of a peace officer for the shooting injury of school resource officer John Barnes, the Santa Fe Independent School District has confirmed. Pagourtzis is jailed without bond in the Galveston County Jail. Schools superintendent Leigh Wall called the rampage “a terrible tragedy. “Words cannot express the sorrow in our hearts for those we have lost,” Wall said in a statement posted on the district’s website. “Our campus remains an active crime scene with law enforcement personnel from throughout our region supporting Santa Fe ISD Police Chief, Walter Braun.” Wall also pledged to keep the community informed on developments in the investigation. Update 4:10 p.m. ET: The school resource officer, John Barnes,  who was wounded in the shooting rampage at Santa Fe High School is in the operating room and is in critical condition, University of Texas Medical Branch officials said at an afternoon press conference. Barnes was injured in the arm, according to Dr. David Marshall, shot in the elbow. There are two other patients at the hospital, a middle aged woman and a young male, but both are still unidentified. The female patient suffered a fractured leg bone and is now out of surgery. The male suffered a gun shot to the leg and is listed in stable condition, Marshall said. Seven other victims were transported to several other medical centers near Santa Fe. Update 3:15 p.m. ET: Governor Greg Abbott said during a press conference that Pagourtzis used two weapons, both of which were legally owned by his father, a shot gun and a .38-revolver. There are two persons of interest, one who is currently being interviewed by law enforcement and a second who will be.  Abbott says he plans to take action because people need to “do more than just pray for the victims and families. It’s time in Texas that we begin to take action to make sure this tragedy is not repeated ever again.” Abbott vowed to begin roundtable discussions next week to work on solutions to prevent shootings in the future. He plans to speak with anyone with a vested interest in stopping gun violence --  parents, students, those who want to support second amendment rights, safety personnel. He wants to address mental health to help prevent gun violence. He also said that the state needs to make sure schools have resources and can identify those who could pose a risk of violence. According to Abbott, Pagourtzis had journals on his computer that outlined the attack and that he planned on committing suicide after the shooting. Abbott also spoke to parents across the country telling them to “hold your children close tonight and let them know how much you love them.” UTMB confirms that John Barnes is the man who is in critical condition. He is a recently retired detective who started working for the Santa Fe ISD police.    Update 2:33 p.m. ET: Police are talking to Pagourtzis. CNN is reporting he was injured in today’s shooting but did not say what injuries he suffered. Update 2:17 p.m. ET: A second person is now in custody in connection with Friday’s deadly shooting. Earlier police said that a second person had been detained. Update 1:44 p.m. ET: Clear Lake Regional Medical Center officials said that eight patients were taken to their hospital and of the eight, six have been discharged. Of the remaining, one patient is listed in critical condition. The other is listed in fair condition, KHOU reported. KHOU is also reporting that the adult male being treated at UTMB was retired police officer John Barnes.  Update 12:35 p.m. ET: Santa Fe Independent School District police administration chief  Walter Braun said that the campus has been cleared of all students and staff.  Braun said that at least six people, including a SFISD police officer, were transported to area hospitals with injuries.  Doctors clarified that the adult male who has in the operating room did not have a chest wound, but had an upper arm injury, near the chest. The middle age female has been transferred to the operating room for surgery on her leg wound. The teen, who is a 16-year-old male, is in the pediatric ward with a wound to the leg. Update 12:18 p.m. ET: The Santa Fe school district has confirmed via a Twitter post that police have found possible explosive devices at the school and off campus. President Trump spoke earlier about this latest shooting. Update 12:04 p.m. ET: Doctors at UTMB said that the adult male who is undergoing surgery is a middle aged man who has chest injuries. He has been listed in critical condition. Doctors said they are unsure how many times he was shot. The male teen who was admitted to the hospital was shot and has a leg wound and is listed in good condition. The other patient, who was being treated in the emergency room, has a gunshot wound to the leg also and is listed in good condition. Update 11:47 a.m. ET: In a news conference with Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzales there are between eight and 10 fatalities, but media sources are reporting 9 deaths. The majority of those killed are students according to the sheriff but there were some adult staff fatalities.  Law enforcement is doing a systematic search of the building to make sure that there are no additional injured students or students still in hiding. Police are also looking for any potential devices that were left behind.  Gonzales said it is an active crime scene and a family reunification area that has been set up to get families and their children reunited. As for the shooter, Gonzales did not have an age or identification but said that the shooter was a male student at the school. Another student, again no name or age was available, was detained. Update 11:14 a.m. ET: The University of Texas Medical Branch officials held a news conference. During it they announced that three patients have been taken to UTMB -- two adults and one person under the age of 18. Officials with the hospital said that an adult male was taken to surgery. One adult was still being treated in the emergency room and person under the age of 18 has been admitted to the hospital. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez says that one person is in custody, another is detained. A police officer was hurt and is being treated. Update: 11:06 a.m. ET: There are now reports of a possible explosive being found near an area roadway and the potential that the gunman was not alone, KHOU reported.  President Donald Trump has reacted via Twitter about this latest deadly school shooting. Update: 10:40 a.m. ET: Two sources familiar with the situation have told KHOU that there are multiple student fatalities and that an officer was wounded. KHOU reported that once source was a federal official, the other was a county official, both close to the situation. Federal officials told KHOU that the suspected gunman was a student. The district has a dedicated police force, including resource officers, crossing guards and a dispatcher, according to the district website.  Update: 10:20 a.m. ET: The school has confirmed that there are injuries, but there is no information on the extent of those injuries.  Update: 10:01 a.m. ET: Dr. Cris Richardson, the assistant principal of Santa Fe High School, quickly briefed the media outside the school. She told reporters that the active shooter has been arrested and secured. She did not disclose the suspect’s name. School officials are starting to reunite students with their parents. The school district had only two weeks left in the school year. Richardson confirmed that the school has trained for the situation. Richardson had no details on any injuries. Update: 9:54 a.m. ET: University of Texas Medical Branch has told local news outlets that patients are on the way to the hospital. They have no number of patients or their injuries. A news brief from the hospital is expected in a few hours. The Galveston County Sheriff’s Office told KPRC that one person is in custody. >>Read: Santa Fe High School Shooting: What to know about Santa Fe Independent School District Update: 9:37 a.m. ET: Witnesses told KTRK that it happened in an art class at the school. Santa Fe Police, Galveston County Sheriff’s Office and ATF agents are responding, KTRK reported. Neighboring schools are also in what is called “protect mode” because of the shooting at Santa Fe High School. >>Read: Over 170 Texas school districts allow staff to be armed Update 9:23 a.m. ET: KHOU is reporting that some students were evacuated to a business down the street from the school complex. There are unconfirmed reports that police exchanged fire with the shooter and that there may be injuries, KHOU reported.  The school has also posted a warning to its website that reads:  Important Message SFISD District Response to SFHS Active Shooter This morning an incident occurred at the high school involving an active shooter. The district has initiated a lockdown at the high school. We will send out additional information as soon as it is available. The school also posted the message to its Facebook page.  The school usually starts its day at 7:10 a.m., according to the school website and dismisses at 2:35 p.m. On late-arrival days school starts at 9:15 a.m. >>Read: Texas school marshals allowed to carry guns on campus Original story: Details are still coming in, but it has been confirmed that police are on scene for an active shooter situation, KPRC reported. >> Read more trending news  There have not been any official reports of injuries, KPRC reported. However, a medical helicopter has been sent to the scene, KHOU reported.  The school district has confirmed that there was an active shooter situation at the high school. A student at the school told KTRK that fire alarms went off around 7:45 a.m. local time and students left their classrooms. The student told the station that others thought they heard shots fired. She and other students, along with teachers, have found shelter near campus, KTRK reported.
  • Houston police Chief Art Acevedo is calling for gun reform, after 10 people were shot and killed and 10 more hurt in a shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas. >>Read: Santa Fe High School shooting: 10 dead, 10 injured, suspect arraigned on capital murder charges The gunman was identified as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a 17-year-old student at the school. Pagourtzis was arraigned on capital murder and aggravated assault charges Friday.  >>Read: Texas shooting: Who is Dimitrios Pagourtzis, suspect in the Santa Fe High School attack In the post on his Facebook page, Acevedo said that he has hit “rock bottom” after this deadly shooting. “Today I spent the day dealing with another mass shooting of children and a responding police officer who is clinging to life. I'm not ashamed to admit I've shed tears of sadness, pain and anger,” Acevedo posted. “I know some have strong feelings about gun rights but I want you to know I’ve hit rock bottom and I am not interested in your views as it pertains to this issue.” >> Read more trending news  School resource officer John Barnes was injured in Friday’s shooting. He remains in critical condition, the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) tweeted Saturday. According to CNN, Barnes is a former officer with the Houston Police Department. Acevedo also called “shame” to those in power who are not speaking out against gun violence, in a post on Twitter. Acevedo has been vocal about gun control in the past. According to CNN, Acevedo urged others to join him to change legislation after the deadly massacre in Las Vegas last year were 58 people were killed.  Acevedo is the first Hispanic to lead the department. Before that, he was chief of the Austin Police Department, according to the Houston police department website.  He was sworn in as Houston police chief in 2016.
  • Lava from the Kilauea volcano has crossed Highway 137 and entered the Pacific Ocean, the Hawaii County Civil Defense said Sunday. A second lava flow is about 437 yards from the highway, the Star Advertiser of Honolulu reported. >> Read more trending news Big Island residents may now have to contend with laze -- a mixture of lava and haze -- that forms when hot lava hits the ocean, CNN reported. After making contact with the water, the laze sends hydrochloric acid and volcanic glass particles into the air. Laze can lead to lung, eye and skin irritation, CNN reported. 'This hot, corrosive gas mixture caused two deaths immediately adjacent to the coastal entry point in 2000, when seawater washed across recent and active lava flows,' the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory wrote on its website. Officials have told people to avoid areas where lava meets the ocean, CNN reported. Powerful eruptions accompanied by thunderous booms punctuated the air Friday around Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island. The volcano spewed lava bombs the size of cows as molten rock flowed from several of the 22 fissures that have opened around the volcano.  More than 40 structures, mostly homes, have been destroyed in the eruption that started more than two weeks ago. Lava has now inundated almost 325 acres around Kilauea. Update May 19, 2018, 2 a.m. EDT: Fast-moving lava isolated about 40 homes in a rural subdivision, forcing at least four people to be evacuated by county and National Guard helicopters, the Star-Advertiser of Honolulu reported. According to the Hawaii County Civil Defense, police, firefighters and National Guard troops were stopping people from entering the area. Update May 18, 2018 11:30 p.m. EDT: Hawaiian authorities have sent the National Guard, police and fire units into the East Rift Zone in Puna, according to the Hawaii Civil Defense Agency. “There are approximately 40 homes in the area that are isolated. Officials are gaining access by helicopter to the area to assess how many people are there and if they need assistance. All persons in that area are asked to stay where they are and wait for further instructions,” the agency said on its website. The Hawaii Volcano Observatory has confirmed another fissure opened on Friday, bringing the total number of fissures to 22.  Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes as Kilauea continues its violent eruptions. Update May 18, 2018 8:35 a.m EDT:  More lava is spewing  from the Kilauea volcano as the 21st fissure opened Thursday, CNN reported. Meanwhile, state officials have been handing out masks to protect people who live near Kilauea, ABC News reported. About 18,000 masks have been distributed, CNN reported. The safety measure protects residents from breathing in pieces of rock, glass and crystals that fall as the volcano continues to erupt, ABC News reported. Update May 17, 2018 10:45 p.m EDT: Lava is erupting from points along the fissure system on Kilauea volcano, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, but the agency is calling it a “low-level eruption” at this point.  Although lava is still spattering from Fissure 17, the flow has not advanced significantly over the past day, the USGS said. There are currently 18 fissures that have opened due to seismic activity on Kilauea’ over the past two weeks.  Volcanic gas emission are still elevated throughout the area and residents are urged to remain on alert.  “This eruption is still evolving and additional outbreaks of lava are possible. Ground deformation continues and seismicity remains elevated in the area,” the USGS reported late Thursday.  Rain on the Big Island Thursday helped the situation with the ashfall, but volcano experts are warning the situation on Kilauea is  still very dynamic. (Previous story) Several schools were closed as ash continued to fall Thursday due to elevated sulfur dioxide levels. Officials warned people in the area to take shelter and protect themselves from the falling ash. >> Here's how to help victims of Hawaii volcano, earthquakes 'The resulting ash plume will cover the surrounding area,' officials with the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said in a 5 a.m. alert. In a subsequent update, USGS officials said the ash plume was moving to the northeast. The plume could be seen in an image taken from a webcam at the USGS’ Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. 'Driving conditions may be dangerous so if you are driving pull off the road and wait until visibility improves,' the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency warned. Michelle Coombs, of the Hawaii Volcano Observatory, told Hawaii News Now that the situation remained “very, very active and very dynamic,” on Thursday. “The potential for larger explosions is still there,” she said. Officials with the USGS warned Tuesday that an eruption of Kilauea's volcano appeared 'imminent.' >> Red alert declared on Hawaii’s Big Island; major Kilauea eruption ‘imminent’ The eruption on Kilauea began May 3. It has since forced thousands of people from their homes, destroyed nearly 40 structures -- including dozens of homes -- and created more than two dozen fissures in the ground surrounding the volcano. Check back for updates to this developing story.

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