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The Buresh Blog

    The 'Buresh Blog' is updated about once per week.... next one is not due until the week of March 25th.... So 'The Players' goes back to March this year when the golf tournament was played pre 2007.  In my eyes the biggest difference will be the potential for balls in the water on the infamous #17 & the shorter days.  This time of year - vs. May - winds are generally stronger & more from the E/NE.  This will create a crosswind on #17 that will make the delicate tee shot more difficult.  As for daylight - more than 90 min. less this time of year - 11:58 vs. 13:41.  Temps., of course, will be a big deal too with the avg. in mid May of a low of 60 & a high of 84 much warmer than this week's averages of 47 & 72 respectively. Interestingly... a golfball will travel an avg. of 8 yards less at 55 degrees vs. 90 degrees! The Vernal Equinox - first day of astronomical spring - is March 20th & will coincide with a full moon this year.  The Vernal Equinox means the sun's rays are just about perpendicular to the equator which means approximately 12 hours of daylight & 12 hours of night.  Remember earth's seasons have nothing to do with how close to earth is to the sun but rather the tilt of the earth toward (N. Hemisphere summer) or away (N. Hemisphere winter) from the sun. The National Weather Service is always in need of weather observers to expand their reporting network, & you can start today!  CoCoRaHS - Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, Snow Network - is made up of 20,000+ volunteers from around the country (as well as Puerto Rico, Canada, Bahamas & the U.S. Vrigin Islands) who digitally report the weather.  Find out how you can join * here *. White Oak has welcomed a couple of 'charming' baby rhino's. Yulee, Fla. (March 6, 2019)  — It’s a baby boom at White Oak Conservation: Two rhinos were born weeks apart this winter and are being raised at the 17,000-acre wildlife refuge owned by philanthropists, Mark and Kimbra Walter.   Remarkable video and photos of the two baby rhinos are available for media use  here . (Mandatory credit: White Oak Conservation.)   Rhino baby No. 1 is Tidbit, the first southern black rhino born at White Oak in 13 years. When he was born in early November, he was underweight and too small to reach his mother to nurse. He began to weaken quickly, so the wildlife specialists at White Oak intervened and decided to hand-rear and bottle-feed Tidbit.   Tidbit is fed a milk matched to rhinos’ milk, which includes skim and 1 percent cows' milk. Hand-raised animals are often more at risk for medical challenges while young, so the veterinarians and animal teams at White Oak are paying extra attention to Tidbit’s development and weight gain.     Recently, Tidbit got a newborn, critically endangered mountain bongo calf as a buddy. Both animals will live together while they are young and benefit from each other’s companionship. The pair has room to play outside together, and if it’s chilly, they have a heated barn to share.    Rhino baby No. 2 was born in late December. Kali is a greater one-horned rhino, also known as an Indian rhino. Kali was the first calf for her mother, Shomili, who came to White Oak two years ago from San Diego Zoo Safari Park.     Southern black rhinos like Tidbit are native to Africa and are classified as “critically endangered” in the wild. Greater one-horned rhinos like Kali are native to India and Nepal are classified as “vulnerable.” The greatest threat to all rhinos is poachers. About  every eight hours a rhino is killed for its horns , which are in high demand as status symbols in China and Vietnam and also are used in traditional Asian medicine.   “Their use as a prestigious gift for parties shows total indifference to this great animal and its extinction,” said Mark Walter, White Oak’s owner. “My wife and I will continue to do everything we can to protect these animals until the poaching is materially diminished and the populations rise again, but we will not succeed unless the Chinese government does all it can to crack down on the criminal networks financing the trade.”     The Walters own or co-own hundreds of thousands of acres of reserves in Africa, where they fund anti-poaching efforts. Their teams track and monitor rhinos; rehabilitate injured rhinos; move them from high-risk areas; and work with local communities to build support for their safety.   With large habitats surrounded by almost 17,000 acres of quiet forest, White Oak provides a protected home in the northeast corner of Florida for three of the five rhino species: black, white and Indian rhinos. Rhinos first came to White Oak in 1985. Black rhinos from Zimbabwe were brought to White Oak in 1993 to start a breeding program in case the wild population was lost. The Indian rhinos came later.   White Oak manages its rhino species as a critical part of collaborative species conservation plans. These plans guide White Oak and its partners as they support conservation efforts and build a sustainable North American population of rhinos as an assurance, or backup, population.    “Given the unabated poaching crisis, every rhino birth is precious,” said White Oak CEO Steve Shurter. “These two rhino calves are valuable additions that support White Oak’s efforts to sustain and secure an assurance population of rhinos.”   Today, White Oak also is launching Rhinogram, a free, monthly emailed newsletter. Those who sign up at  www.whiteoakwildlife.org/rhinogram  will get monthly photos, videos and updates about all of the rhinos of White Oak Conservation.   Facts about black rhinos · In the wild, they live primarily in South Africa and Zimbabwe.  · They are classified as “critically endangered” by the  IUCN Red List . · They have two horns.  · One distinguishing feature is their hooked upper lip.  · They eat leaves from bushes and trees. · By 1993, just 2,300 remained in the wild, down from approximately 65,000 in 1970.  · Thanks to sustained conservation efforts, that number today is around 5,000.     Facts about Indian rhinos · Their official name is the greater one-horned rhino. · In the wild, they live in Nepal and India. · They are classified as a “vulnerable” species by the  IUCN Red List . · Their grey-brown hide is marked by skin folds, giving an armor-plated appearance. · They have one horn, 8-25 inches long. · They eat grasses, leaves, branches of shrubs and trees, fruit and aquatic plants. · Earlier in the 20th Century, fewer than 200 remained in the wild. · Through conservation efforts, the populations in the wild now number about 3,550. Photos below courtesy White Oak: March skies from SkyandTelescope.com: Mar. 11 (evening): The waxing crescent Moon and Mars are 7° apart in the west. They set together around midnight. Mar. 12 (evening): The growing Moon skirts the Hyades star cluster.  Mar. 18 (evening): The waxing gibbous Moon and Regulus start the evening only 2° apart at dusk (5½° apart by dawn). Mar. 20: Astronomical spring begins in the Northern Hemisphere at the equinox, 5:58 p.m. EDT (2:58 p.m. PDT). Mar. 27 (dawn): The waning crescent Moon is 4° to the left or upper left of Jupiter. Mar. 29 (dawn): The waning crescent Moon is 3° to the lower left of Saturn.  Apr. 2 (dawn): The waning crescent Moon and Venus are less than 5° apart low in the east. Apr. 8 (evening): The waxing crescent Moon, Aldebaran, Mars, and the Pleiades form a diamond in Taurus.   Moon Phases New Moon March 6, 11:04 a.m. EST  First Quarter March 14, 6:27 a.m. EDT  Full Moon March 20, 9:43 p.m. EDT (Worm Moon) Last Quarter March 28, 12:10 a.m. EDT
  • Winter is not yet over for Jacksonville/NE Fl./SE Ga. though the 'fat lady' is at least beginning to clear her throat & get restless :) . So far - as of the end of Feb. - only 5 freezes officially at JIA - & no lower than 30 degrees - & NO freezes during the very mild month of Feb.  That's the third Feb. in a row without a freeze - pretty unusual considering the avg. last date for a freeze at JIA is Feb. 14th. But attention & First Alert early gardeners/planters: a 'polar plunge' is on the way for next week - centered on March 6th - with the potential for a couple of inland freezes &/or frosts. An interesting weather phenomenon Tue., Feb. 26th when a 'virga storm' occurred across NE Fl.  Virga occurs when rain is falling from the base of clouds but fails to reach the ground due to very dry mid &/or lower level air in the atmosphere. ,p> March is upon us.  Pine pollen has already peaked & oak pollen should be complete by mid March.  An early pollen season but also an early end.  JIA averages for the month: Low / High: 1st - 47 / 71 degrees.... 3st - 52 / 76 Rainfall: 3.95' Sunrise / Sunset: 1st - 6:53am EST / 6:26pm EST.... 31st - 7:17am EDT / 7:45pm EDT - gain 55 min. of daylight - 'spring forward' Sun., March 10th.
  • NOAA has officially declared the El Nino underway (advisory).  In other words, the criteria has been met which is warmer than avg. water temps. by at least 0.5 degrees C (0.9 degrees F) for five consecutive 3- month overlapping periods near the equatorial Pacific.  However, the warming is just barely 0.5 degrees C & is not met across the entier ENSO region so this is a weak El Nino. Forecast models predict the El Nino to slowly wane into the summer. Since the El Nino is weak, global weather implications are not as strong nor as consistent as would occur with a stronger El Nino.  But still some wetter than average conditions can be expected from California eastward along the Gulf Coast into spring.  The weak El Nino will not likely be a significant factor during the upcoming hurricane season.  El Nino winters are often relatively mild but this one - 2018-'19 - has been downright warm despite the late Jan. arctic outbreak & especially warm for Jacksonville & much of the Southeast U.S. Image below courtesy SERCC: Speaking of which.... I've posted - with the help of the creative Nora Clark from the Action News Jax digital team - a podcast from my recent visit to ground zero, hurricane Michael - go ** here **.... ** here ** for pics & details in the 'Buresh Blog'. Meanwhile.... we can get a daily weather report on Mars!.... thanks to NASA's InSight lander which has two weather sensors on each side - for wind & temp.  Mars' weather is harsh to say the least with recent temperatures reaching highs near zero but lows as cold as 140 degrees below zero F! Images below from NASA/JPL-Caltech:
  • Jacksonville is having a winter that's largely void of freezing temps.  As of Feb. 13th, only 5 freezes so far which has only happened one other time since the 'official' thermometer was moved to its current JIA location in 1971.  The seasonal average is 17 (5 or fewer for the beaches). And we're running out of 'time' to have freezes - especially from I-95 to the beaches.  The avg. last date (50% of the time) for a freeze at JIA is Feb. 14th. Our mild winter (3 consecutive years) is coming off news from NASA & NOAA that 2018 was the 4th warmest on record of the satellite era (going back to the 1960s).  Since the 1880s, it's approximated that the global surface temp. has risen by about 2 degrees Fahrenheit. 0 1 So lots of bugs & other pests survived the winter.  From Nader's Pest Raiders: Key Points about Mosquitoes: As the temperatures continue to rise, mosquito populations boom and the recent rains have created the perfect breeding ground for these pests.  Not only do mosquitoes leave behind itchy, red bites – they can also spread diseases like West Nile Virus, Zika Virus and Chikungunya fever Needing only a bottle cap size of standing water to breed, these blood-sucking pests can develop from egg to adult in just 10-14 days. These pests are always in search of their next meal and sense a potential target from up to 75 feet away   Simple, Proactive Measures to Protect from Mosquitoes:  Eliminate all sources of standing water such as children's wading pools, birdbaths and flower pots; Keep rain gutters cleaned out to prevent water from standing in drains; Cut back or get rid of unnecessary vegetation around the home where mosquitoes can breed and/or rest;  Keep swimming pools covered in colder months to prevent mosquitoes from laying their eggs there, and drain any water that has collected on top of pool covers;  Remove water that has collected in tree holes and hollow stumps;  Screen windows and doors to prevent mosquitoes from getting inside homes; and  Consider using yellow bug light bulbs in outdoor light fixtures – the bulbs reduce the number of flying insects around your home.   Possible Warning Signs of a Termite Infestation: Termite wings which are thin, papery wings and typically found near window sills or floors. Mud tubes built by termites to connect them from the soil to their food source. Distorted areas of paint or wood surfaces which appear “bubbled” or cracked. Hollow-sounding wood Frass or termite droppings is a sign of drywood termites and has a hard, gritty feel to it.   Nader’s Pest Raiders offers these tips to help prevent a termite infestation: Eliminate moisture around foundations.  Also, divert water from the house by using proper downspouts and gutters because termites are attracted to moisture. Do not stack firewood or lumber near home. Termites can burrow into the woodpile and then right into the home. Remove old tree stumps in the yard. Keep tree branches and shrubbery well-trimmed and away from the house which will also help with inspections and finding termite infestations. Additionally, avoid excess piles of mulch since this is a favorite food source for termites. Reduce humidity in crawl spaces with proper ventilation. Have your home inspected annually by a licensed pest professional who specializes in termite control. If you have termite protection is important to maintain your coverage and renew annually. And 2018 was a very stormy year.  There were 14 separate billion-dollar disasters highlighted by hurricanes Florence & Michael & California wildfires.  Only 2017 & 2011 (16) & 2016 (15) had more billion-dollar disasters.  It should be noted that some of this is related to population growth & humans inhabiting areas that were once unsettled. Night skies from 'Sky & Telescope':   Feb. 13 (evening): The Moon, one day past first quarter, is in the Hyades, 2° from Aldebaran.   Feb. 18 (dawn): Before sunrise, Venus and Saturn are only about 1° apart in the southeastern sky.   Feb. 17 (evening): The waxing gibbous Moon is in Cancer, nestled up against the Beehive Star Cluster.   Feb. 26 (dusk): Mercury is easiest to see low in the west. Look 30 to 45 minutes after sunset.   Feb. 27 (dawn): The waning crescent Moon is 2° to the upper right of Jupiter.   Feb. 28 (dawn): Antares, Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus form a long arc from the south to the east-southeastern horizon.   Mar. 1 (dawn): A waning crescent Moon is very close to Saturn: 1½° as seen from East Coast, ½° from West Coast.   Mar. 3 (dusk): Last good opportunity to glimpse Mercury low in west 30 to 45 minutes after sunset.   Mar. 10 (morning): Daylight-Saving Time begins for most of the U.S. and Canada.   Moon Phases New Moon - Feb. 4, 4:04 p.m. EST First Quarter - Feb. 12, 5:26 p.m. EST Full Moon - Feb. 19,10:54 a.m. EST (Snow Moon) Last Quarter - Feb. 26, 6:28 a.m. EST
  • Our mild winter continues & includes a pretty remarkable stat: the last month during which we did NOT have at least one 80-degree day is January, 2016 - 36 straight months!  Considering the average highs are in the 60s in Dec., Jan. & Feb., this streak is pretty amazing. This winter's mild temps. are partially a product of strong upper level high pressure that generally has been setting up not too far from Florida. The pattern is a familiar one going all the way back to the past summer & peak of the hurricane season (helped to guide hurricane Michael to the Panhandle).  This high pressure area - at about 30,000 feet or so - has blocked virtually all of this winter's arctic air invastions into the lower 48 deflecting these air masses to the east rather than allowing the cold air to invade Florida. Despite the presence of the upper level high, the storm track - jet stream in other words - has at times dipped far enough south to help trigger decent rainfall.  January was no exception with some spots more than 2' above avg. - Jacksonville N.W.S. summary: FL   JASPER                      3.53                                          FL   JACKSONVILLE BEACH              4.09  FL   FERNANDINA BEACH           3.96                                    FL   LAKE CITY 2 E                   4.04        FL   GLEN ST MARY 1 W             4.76                 FL   PALM COAST 6 NE           4.14                FL   CRESCENT CITY                     4.24    FL   GAINESVILLE RGNL AP          5.42         FL   HASTINGS 4NE           4.38                                          FL   OCALA                 4.49                                                       FL   JACKSONVILLE CRAIG MUNI AP        3.61     FL   JACKSONVILLE INTL AP         4.37               FL   JACKSONVILLE NAS           3.42                          FL   BELL 4NW                    5.52                FL   FEDERAL POINT             3.52                                       FL   BUNNELL                     3.64                                                           FL   S FLAGLER BEACH                     2.99                              GA   PRIDGEN                               3.14           GA   ALMA BACON CO AP         3.13                                               GA   NAHUNTA 6 NE             3.45                                                          GA   BRUNSWICK              1.89                   GA   BRUNSWICK MALCOLM MCKINNON AP    2.61  GA   WOODBINE                      2.98 So coming off of 'National Weatherperson's Day' - a big day in the First Alert Weather Center! :). February 5th is National Weatherperson's Day, commemorating the birth of John Jeffries in 1744.  Jeffries, one of America's first weather observers, began taking daily weather observations in Boston in 1774 and took the first weather balloon observation in 1784. National Weatherperson's Day was created to recognize the men and women who collectively provide Americans with the very best weather, water, and climate forecasts and warning services of any nation in the world. Recent severe weather statistics show that we continue to improve our capability to warn the public of impending hazardous weather. Nationally, lead time for flash flood warnings improved from 22 minutes in 1993 to 67 minutes in 2011.   Lead time for tornado warnings has increased from 6 minutes in 1993 to 15 minutes today. Tornado warning accuracy increased from 43 percent to 75 percent. Winter storm accuracy in 2008 was 89 percent with an average lead time of 17 hours. Since 1990, the National Hurricane Center’s 24 to 72 hour tropical storm forecast track errors have been reduced by more than 50%. These more accurate and longer lead time warnings help communities stay safe. Nearly 300,000 volunteer storm spotters are trained by the NWS to provide visual reports of severe weather conditions to forecast offices and local emergency management officials. Volunteer amateur radio operators provide critical emergency communications during severe weather.  Nationwide, more than 11,000 volunteer Cooperative Observers take regular measurements of temperature, precipitation and other data, which is used by forecasters and climatologists.  In addition, there are numerous supplemental snow observers and rainfall observers in the area that report through the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow (CoCoRaHS) network. You can sign up to be a volunteer weather observer helping the First Alert Weather Center gather important weather info.
  • Oh dear - the polar vortex is back in the news!  Let's get one thing straight first: the polar vortex has been around as long as our earth, its circulation & the atmosphere has existed such as it is. Scientists have 'known' about it for nearly a century.  The polar vortex is a naturally occurring circulation over or near the northern provinces.... sort of the opposite of the Bermuda high I so often talk about during the summer & fall - dictates heat & how any hurricanes & tropical storms might move.   From Brian McNoldy, University of Miami: 'The polar vortex (also sometimes called the circumpolar vortex) is a large, persistent, upper-atmospheric, cyclonic circulation that forms and exists over the winter pole...The polar vortex is perfectly normal, and has been known about for at least 70 years. It is not a winter storm, or a storm of any kind. It's just a natural part of Earth's circulation 10 to 30 miles up in the atmosphere.' It just so happens that a 'chunk' of the polar vortex broke off from near & north of Hudson Bay dropping southward into the U.S. this week (Jan. 29-31) resulting in some of the most frigid temps. in at least 20 years.  But the dip south was not as great as it could have been sparing Jacksonville & all of Florida a severe freeze. NOAA illustration: So we turn the calendars to February.... averages at JIA: Low / High - 1st: 43 / 66.... 28th: 48 / 71 Rainfall: 3.19' Sunrise / Sunset: 1st - 7:17am / 6:03pm.... 28th - 6:54am / 6:25pm - GAIN 45 min. of daylight I paid a visit to hurricane Michael’s “Ground Zero” in the Florida Panhandle over the weekend.  You can see my FB Live hits * here* & * here *..... listen to a podcast ** here **.  Subsequent stories and video will be on CBS47/Fox30 as well posted on our website: www. Actionnewsjax.com But here’s a bit of a recap + some pics of the sobering reality……… First of all, the Central Panhandle is still reeling after the historic hurricane – the strongest tropical cyclone to ever hit the Florida Panhandle – see the “Buresh Blog”. The day began at one of the few homes left standing on the beach in the devastated close-knit community of Mexico Beach.  Co-owner Russell King was kind enough to show me around his hurricane RESISTANT home that weathered the near Cat. 5 hurricane pretty well.  A little water was forced in by the extreme winds causing virtually no damage, however.  And a couple of east facing hurricane resistant windows cracked but the inside window remained intact.  And the same side of the home had ceiling light canisters that dropped several inches due to the wind.  In other words, there were indications that the wind was not too far from causing more serious damage.  Parts of the home – a side stairwell & the lowest storage area below living quarters were designed to break away during strong winds &/or high storm surge.  That’s exactly what happened.  Russell has pics of the devastation afterwards with huge piles of appliances near his home after the storm & a pier that’s gone save a few “stumps” still visible.  The dunes are gone & the beach now backs up to his home as the “beach” nearly doubled in size after the storm. Photo below is the view from the 2nd story of Russell's home on Mexico Beach: The thousands of appliances that were eventually crushed & hauled away: What was left of the Mexico Beach pier: Russell then introduced me to local chef Mike Scoggins whose “Killer Seafood” restaurant was wiped out.  With help from a friend in St. Simons Island – Chef Dave Snyder at Halyards restaurant – the two helped form “Camp Happy Tummies” in the days after the storm feeding survivors, first responders & whoever might be hungry 3 times a day, 7 days a week all the way through Thanksgiving!  Mike stayed in his home throughout the hurricane moving to his car in the garage when he feared trees could cause damage to his home.  The storm did indeed drop trees on his roof causing damage that still has to be fixed.  But through an emotional recount of the days since the mighty storm, Mike plans to stay in Mexico Beach AND to rebuild his restaurant. The slab of 'Killer Seafood': Mike's home now vs. right after the storm: That first day – Saturday – ended with a stop at the “Ground Zero White Tent”.   Again – a very emotional & sober setting.  This tent is where any & all donated goods are kept.  Hurricane victims can come & shop – free of charge – whenever they need to.  The greatest needs right now are cleaning supplies, work tools, paper products & hygiene items.  Go * here * for a 'wish list'/what's needed & * here * to the FB page. 0 1 Sunday began in Panama City Beach where damage west of the Hathaway Bridge is generally not all that bad & pretty sporadic but east of the bridge – Panama City – is a much different story with widespread damage that only intensifies as you drive east on Highway 98 with trees that are still standing bent toward the south (west or backside of the eye).   Panama City: Tyndall AFB remains severely damaged...... About halfway between the Air Force Base & Mexico Beach – a distance of 5 miles – the trees are bent to the north (east side of the eye as Michael approached the coast).  Damage is then “complete” through Mexico Beach where we stopped again to do some more videotaping.   The rest of our Sunday was spent about 13 miles to the east in hard hit Port St. Joe.  Just across seaside highway 98, well built homes were devastated by wind & water.  It’s here that I met & talked with Clayton Studstill.  Clayton’s story is hard to fathom.  He & his wife planned to stay in their home during the storm.  Once water reached about 3 feet deep in the house, the couple went to the attic.  But a natural gas leak eventually led to a fire that engulfed their home.  Clayton & his wife jumped into the water & swam out of their home – about 9-10 feet of storm surge over the road – through a once tree-filled state park to a neighbor’s home for refuge.  Now Clayton finds himself sifting through ashes of his home – like an archaeologist – trying to salvage whatever treasures he might be able to find.  So far little more than some beads & coins.  Clayton’s 3 children are at least back in school not far from the slab of their home & there’s no doubt in Clayton’s mind that they will rebuild in the same spot.  His biggest regret is that he had checked off a long list of “to do” things before the hurricane hit but didn’t get to the gas shut off for his home.  Clayton says he & his wife were exhausted after preparing for Michael for 3 days nearly nonstop – it’s one of the primary reasons they did not evacuate (though they did get their kids to relatives well inland). Port St. Joe: Clayton sifting through ashes: My last stop was at a home a few blocks away where a tree remains on a brick home that’s otherwise demolished – at least the bottom floor.  Nancy & Rex Buzzett are working through insurance “issues” but are entirely set on rebuilding on the plot of land they’ve owned & raised a family for 45 years. 25th wedding anniversary photo album: So I came away from the Panhandle seeing folks - in more or less dire straits – trying to rally – emotional, strong, faithful, resilient, doing the best they can including taking care of each other.  I plan to revisit from time to time.  The devastation will – in my mind – be turned around – forever changed no doubt… Michael never forgotten but the Panhandle will come back stronger than ever. In the meantime, they could use some help – actionable aid. Not only talk, thoughts & prayers but something tangible.  There is a sense of being forgotten.  Survivors are at that point now where they wake up each morning thinking it was all just a nightmare only to realize their situation is reality. Broken but not down & out.  Recovery & rebuild is the mantra.  The first building permits are expected to be issued approximately Feb. 11th – how symbolic the that paperwork will be.  Then it will be years of reconstruction.
  • 2019 & January so far has picked up right where '18 left off - mild & a little wet at times.  Temps. have been - & will be - trending cooler to the end the month continuing into early Feb., but the avg. is 4+ degrees as of Jan. 22nd.  Total rainfall is running a bit behind but we'll be playing 'catch-up' with a couple of storm systems as colder air tries to push southward. Only 3 freezes so far this season - way below the avg. of 11 by now & seasonal avg. of 17/18 (inland) - so pollen has made an early return.  Pine pollen is the primary allergen right now beginning as early as Jan. 10th!  Oak pollen will follow in Feb. depending on temps.  A hard freeze would help but temps. falling into the 20s for several hours is unlikely after mid Feb., so the clock is ticking.  Rain & cool temps. will briefly help while dry, windy, warm days lead to the highest pollen counts.  Local allergy info. ** here **. Sun. night's (Jan. 20-21) full lunar eclipse was pretty sweet considering an eclipse of the moon often varies in its beauty & is, of course, not as spectacular as a solar eclipse.  Scott Dumaop with the photographic catalogue: January is 'National Radon Action Month'.  From NEEF: January is  National Radon Action Month. What is radon? Radon is a radioactive gas produced when uranium in soil decays; it can be found all over the United States. Radon gas moves up through the ground into your home through cracks and holes in the foundation, becoming trapped inside. The EPA estimates that about one out of every 15 homes has elevated radon levels. You can’t see, smell, or taste radon, but it can be harmful—it is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States among the population as a whole, and the primary cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.  Winter is a good time to test your home for radon. When windows and doors are sealed tightly, radon levels inside your home can rise. Testing is easy, inexpensive and only takes a few minutes. If you find high levels of radon in your home, the problem can be fixed! Some radon reduction systems can reduce levels in your home by up to 99%. Learn more: Find state-specific resources for radon A Citizen's Guide to Radon Radon-Resistant New Construction for home-buyers Healthy Indoor Air Quality in a Changing Climate Source: US Environmental Protection Agency. 2012. 'A Citizen's Guide to Radon.' Accessed January 18, 2016. US Environmental Protection Agency. 2017. 'Health Risk of Radon.' Accessed January 16.
  • The week of Jan. 14th - 'Severe Weather Awareness Week' - topics include lightning, marine hazards, hurricanes, tornadoes, wild fires & flooding.  The idea: get - always have - a plan. * Lightning * Marine Hazards * thunderstorms & tornadoes * hurricanes & flooding * temperature extremes & wildfires Sunday night, Jan. 20th - eye out for a full lunar eclipse which occurs when the sun, earth & moon are aligned casting a shadow by earth onto the moon. While not as spectacular as a solar eclipse, expect a good view - barring any cloud cover - of a 'shaded' moon that may also be orange in color hence, the term 'blood moon'.  This will be a late 'show' - beginning shortly after 10:30pm with totality beginning at 11:41pm.  Unlike during a solar eclipse, a lunar eclipse does not require any safety glasses.  Just find clear skies & get away from light pollution. U.S. solar eclipses: (next full one is in April, 2024): Future night skies from 'Sky & Telescope': 20–21 Jan (night): The Moon, approaching perigee, will be eclipsed for all of the Americas, with Europe and most of Africa seeing partial phases on the morning of the 21st.   22 Jan (dawn): Venus passes less than 2½° from Jupiter in the early morning hours. Red Antares 8° to their right.   23 Jan (dawn): Just before sunrise, Saturn makes its reappearance very low in the southeast. Binoculars will help.   30 Jan (dawn): Venus and Jupiter are flanked by the waning crescent Moon and Saturn.   Jan. 31 (dawn): The Moon inserts itself between Venus and Jupiter, while Saturn hovers lower in the southeast.   1 Feb (dawn): Antares, Jupiter, Venus, the waning crescent Moon, and Saturn form a graceful arc 35° long stretching from the southeast to the south-southeast in the brightening twilight.   10 Feb (evening): Look halfway up in the south-southwest to see the waxing crescent Moon located 6° lower left of Mars.   Moon Phases New Moon: 5 Jan, 8:28 p.m. EST First Quarter: 14 Jan, 1:46 a.m. EST Full Moon: 21 Jan, 12:16 a.m. EST (Wolf Moon, total lunar eclipse) Last Quarter: 27 Jan, 4:10 p.m. EST
  • Turning the calendar to '19(!) & January..... averages at JIA: Low / High - 1st: 41 / 65 degrees.... 31st: 42 / 66 degrees Rainfall: 3.30' Sunrise / Sunset: 1st - 7:23am / 5:37pm, 31st - 7:18am / 6:03pm - GAIN 31 min. of daylight. The 2018 annual lightning report - go * here * - has been released at the AMS (American Meteorological Society) conference: Lightning Strikes Decrease to 17 Million in the U.S. in 2018, an 11 Percent Drop From 10-Year Average Vaisala’s data, released at the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Annual Meeting, show Florida with the most strikes per square mile and Texas with the highest overall number of strikes. Vaisala, the global leader in environmental and industrial measurements, including comprehensive lightning data, today released its 2018 Annual Lightning Report. This year’s data show there were nearly two million fewer lightning strikes in the U.S. in 2018 compared to the 10-year average. Vaisala compiled data from its National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN) and analyzed the year in lightning to find 2018 had 17,804,321 negative cloud-to-ground flashes, the most common cloud-to-ground lightning. This marks the third-fewest flashes in the last 10 years and a 1.9 million flash decrease from the 2009 - 2018 average of 19,728,634 lightning flashes across the U.S. annually. The report’s findings were announced at the AMS Annual Meeting in Phoenix this week. “The likely reason for the reduction is simply that there were fewer big storms,” said Ryan Said, Lightning Research Scientist at Vaisala. “Specifically, there were fewer days with very strong air mass contrasts across the Central Plains and Upper Midwest during the spring and summer of 2018, which contributes to the severe weather season.” Vaisala’s National Lightning Detection Network offers detailed accuracy in detecting both cloud-to-ground strokes and cloud pulses in and above local communities. The company recently announced its patent-pending innovation to detect continuing current associated with cloud-to-ground lightning events – which are much longer in duration and the most damaging to infrastructure – by combining the ground-based NLDN technology with data collected by the Geostationary Lightning Mapper on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) GOES-16 satellite. The 2018 Annual Lightning Report also found: ·  Florida has the highest average of negative cloud-to-ground flashes per square mile, with 24. Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Oklahoma rounded out the top five. ·  Texas has the highest flash count, with 2,483,805 negative cloud-to-ground flashes. Florida is second with 1,385,710. Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska all have just under one million flashes for 2018. ·  County lightning data shows Harrison County, Mississippi, has the highest 10-year average of flashes, but in 2018, Florida took 14 of the top 15 spots for the counties with the most lightning. Accurate lightning information and education is critical. According to NOAA, the U.S. averaged 51 annual lightning strike fatalities and several hundred injuries each year during the last 20 years. In fact, the only weather events causing more U.S. fatalities than lightning are floods. “We found some large areas that had less lighting than usual, including Texas, which had nearly one million fewer lightning flashes in 2018 than it had in 2017,” explained Said. “Additionally, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri all had relatively cool weather last spring, and that meant fewer lightning flashes. At the same time, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota had larger organized storms, which resulted in a higher-than-average lightning activity compared to the 10-year average.”

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  • Mass shootings at two mosques full of worshipers in Christchurch, New Zealand, left at least 50 people dead and dozens more injured Friday. >> Read more trending news  White supremacist Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been charged with one count of murder in the slayings and a judge said Saturday that it was reasonable to assume more charges would follow. >> Photos: Mass casualties reported in New Zealand mosque shooting Update 10:50 a.m. EDT March 18: President Donald Trump said Monday that the media was “working overtime to blame me for the horrible attack in New Zealand.” “They will have to work very hard to prove that one,” Trump wrote in a tweet. “So Ridiculous!” The gunman in last week’s attacks left a document in which he called himself a white nationalist and referred to Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity.” In the past, Trump has drawn criticism for saying “both sides” were to blame for violence at a deadly white supremacist demonstration. >> Trump again blames ‘both sides’ for violence in Charlottesville Update 11:50 p.m. EDT March 17: Leaders of New Zealand’s Muslim community are planning a national memorial burial for all the victims of Friday’s deadly shooting rampages at two mosques in Christchurch, according to media outlets. The New Zealand Herald is also reporting that despite Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s expectations that the bodies of all the victims would be released to family members by Monday, that  isn’t expected to happen now, instead authorities believe it might be Wednesday before all the victims have been released. While Islamic leaders have said they are planning for a mass burial, the families will ultimately decide how they’ll proceed, the Herald reported. Not to far from the scene of the Linwood Mosque shooting, burial preparations are underway at Memorial Park Cemetery where workers are digging graves for the shooting victims behind a large temporary fence. Update 10:15 p.m. EDT March 17: The owner of a Christchurch gun store confirmed Sunday that he sold four guns and ammunition to alleged mosque shooter Brenton Tarrant in a “police-verified” online purchase, according to the New Zealand Herald. But the owner of the retail chain Gun City, David Tipple, said his store did not sell Tarrant any semi-automatic weapons. Tipple said he and staff are 'dismayed and disgusted' by Friday's shootings, The Associated Press reported. Tipple said the store did not notice any red flags in Tarrant’s gun purchases.  “We detected nothing extraordinary about this (gun) license holder,” he said. Meantime, counter-terrorism police executed search warrants on two homes in New South Wales, Australia, believed to be connected to the alleged shooter. Authorities searched a house in Sandy Beach near Coffs Harbor that is believed to belong to Tarrant’s sister, according to Australia’s News 9. They also raided a home in Lawrence that is believe to be connected to Tarrant’s mother. Authorities said they’re searching for anything that might help New Zealand investigators. “The community can be assured that there is no information to suggest a current or impending threat related to this search warrants,”the Australian Federal Police and NSW Police said in a joint statement, News 9 reported. Update 12:30 p.m. EDT March 17: Pakistan will observe a day of mourning for the victims of the shootings, The AP reported.  Vatican News reported Pope Francis offered prayers for those killed in the attacks.  “In these days, in addition to the pain of wars and conflicts that do not cease to afflict humanity, there have been the victims of the horrible attack against two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. I pray for the dead and injured and their families. I am close to our Muslim brothers and all that community. I renew my invitation for prayer and gestures of peace to combat hatred and violence.” Related: Photos: Mass casualties reported in New Zealand mosque shooting Update 7:41 a.m. EDT March 17: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Sunday that members of her Cabinet will work to change the nation’s gun laws in the wake of Friday’s deadly mosque attacks, The Associated Press is reporting. In a news conference, Ardern added that officials will release the victims’ bodies to their families starting Sunday evening and should finish by Wednesday, the AP reported. Pope Francis on Sunday also prayed “for our Muslim brothers who were killed,” the report said.  Meanwhile, an online campaign has raised more than $3 million U.S. for the victims and their families. Learn more here. Update 5 p.m. EDT March 16: The death toll in the New Zealand mosque attacks has risen to 50. Police Commissioner Mike Bush confirmed in a news conference that 50 people died in the shooting attacks at two mosques in Christchurch, RNZ reported.  He also said that 36 are in the hospital with two in critical condition. Update 6:30 p.m. EDT March 15: The man suspected in at least one of the shootings that killed at least 49 people at two mosques in New Zealand has appeared briefly in court. Two armed guards brought Brenton Tarrant into court Friday. He showed no expression as District Court Judge Paul Kellar read one charge of murder to him. The court appearance lasted only about a minute and he was led back out in handcuffs. He was ordered to return to court again April 5. After Tarrant left, the judge said that while “there is one charge of murder brought at the moment, it is reasonable to assume that there will be others.” The gunman posted a 74-page manifesto on social media in which he identified himself as Tarrant and said he was a 28-year-old Australian and white supremacist who was out to avenge attacks in Europe perpetrated by Muslims. Update 5 p.m. EDT March 15: New Zealand’s prime minister said the “primary perpetrator” in the mosque shootings was a licensed gun owner and legally acquired the five guns used in the shootings. Jacinda Ardern said the country’s national gun laws will change after at least 49 worshippers were shot dead in the two mosques in Christchurch. Update 3:25 p.m. EDT March 15: President Donald Trump said he spoke Friday with Ardern and offered “any assistance the U.S.A. can give.” “We stand by ready to help,” Trump wrote. “We love you New Zealand!” Update 11:30 a.m. EDT March 15: New York police said the department is ramping up patrols around the city Friday and keeping in contact with officials at area mosques in the wake of the deadly shootings in Christchurch. 'To the Muslim community here in New York: We stand with you always, and we will remain vigilant in keeping you safe -- and making sure you feel safe, too,' Police Commissioner James O'Neill said Friday in a statement. 'The people we serve, in every neighborhood, must always be free from fear and have the immutable right to worship and live in peace.' Update 10:20 a.m. EDT March 15: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan, said Friday in a statement that their “hearts go out to the families and friends of the people who lost their lives in the devastating attack in Christchurch.” “No person should ever have to fear attending a sacred place of worship,” the statement said. “This senseless attack is an affront to the people of Christchurch and New Zealand, and the broader Muslim community. It is a horrifying assault on a way of life that embodies decency, community, and friendship.” Update 9:35 a.m. EDT March 15: Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama shared condolences for the people of New Zealand in a message posted Friday to social media. “We grieve  with you and the Muslim community,” said the message shared by President Obama. “All of us must stand against hatred in all its forms.” Update 8:55 a.m. EDT March 15: Pope Francis was “deeply saddened to learn of the injury and loss of life caused by the senseless acts of violence” in New Zealand, his cardinal secretary of state said Friday in a telegram. “He assures all New Zealanders, and in particular the Muslim community, of his heartfelt solidarity in the wake of these attacks,” Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin said. “Mindful of the efforts of the security and emergency personnel in this difficult situation, His Holiness prays for the healing of the injured, the consolation of those who grieve the loss of their loved ones, and for all affected by this tragedy.” Officials in New Zealand said 49 people were killed in a pair of attacks on mosques in Christchurch. Health officials said 48 patients were being treated for injuries ranging from minor to critical after the shootings. Update 7:49 a.m. EDT March 15: In a tweet early Friday, President Donald Trump sent “warm sympathy and best wishes” to the people of New Zealand after “the horrible massacre.” “Forty-nine innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured,” Trump said. “The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!” In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders called the attack “a vicious act of hate.”  “We stand in solidarity with the people of New Zealand and their government,” Sanders said. Queen Elizabeth II, who is head of the Commonwealth and New Zealand's monarch, said she was “deeply saddened” by the shootings, CNN reported. “I have been deeply saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch today,” the queen said. “Prince Philip and I send our condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives. I also pay tribute to the emergency services and volunteers who are providing support to those who have been injured.” Update 5:01 a.m. EDT March 15: New Zealand police said a man in his late 20s has been charged with murder, TVNZ reported. The man was expected to appear in court Saturday morning, The Washington Post reported. Officials have not named the suspect. Police clarified that while four people were detained, only three were thought to have been involved in the shootings, the newspaper reported. Update 4:20 a.m. EDT March 15: New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush confirmed in a news conference that 49 people died in the shooting attacks at two mosques in Christchurch, TVNZ reported. The attack at the Masjid Al Noor mosque near Hagley Park in central Christchurch left 41 people dead, and seven people were killed at the Linwood Avenue mosque, TVNZ reported. Another person died at a hospital, Bush said. Update 3:14 a.m. EDT March 15: Forty-eight patients are being treated for gunshot wounds at Christchurch Hospital, CNN reported. David Meates, chief executive of the Canterbury District Health Board, said the patients’ conditions ranged from critical to minor. One of four people taken into custody after the mass shooting attack at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, said he was a 28-year-old Australian, according to The Associated Press. Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed that the shooter was Australian-born. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a news conference, “It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack. From what we know, it does appear to have been well planned.” 'We were chosen (because) we represent diversity, kindness compassion, a home for those who share our values, refuge for those who need it and those values, I can assure you, will not and cannot be shaken by this attack,' Ardern said. 'We utterly condemn and reject you.' Update 2:37 a.m. EDT March 15: In a news conference Friday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed that 40 people died in the mosque attacks. Arden said 30 people were killed at the Masjid Al Noor mosque near Hagley Park in central Christchurch, and that 10 people were killed at the Linwood Avenue mosque, TVNZ reported. Twenty more people have been seriously injured, TVNZ reported. Update 2:24 a.m. EDT March 15: In a news conference Friday, Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel expressed shock and anger after the mass shooting at the mosques. “I never could believe anything like this could ever happen in Christchurch,” she said. “I never thought anything like this could happen in New Zealand.” Dalziel told TVNZ, 'We need to come together and care for each other, we need to make this unite us, not divide us.' Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the shootings “a vicious attack.” 'We grieve. We are shocked, appalled and outraged as we stand here and condemn the attack that occurred today by an extremist right wing violent terrorist,” Morrison said. Update 1:43 a.m. EDT March 15: St. John Ambulance has transferred multiple patients to Christchurch Hospital and other local medical facilities, TVNZ reported. The news agency reported that injuries of the patients ranged from minor to critical. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is expected to address the country at 7 p.m. local time. Update 1:30 a.m. EDT March 15: New Zealand police tweeted Friday that while they cannot confirm the number of fatalities, “it is significant.” Police have asked all mosques throughout New Zealand to close, and advised people to stay away from them “until further notice.” Update 1:04 a.m. EDT March 15: Police confirmed Friday afternoon that the lockdown of schools in Christchurch has been lifted, TVNZ reported. Update 12:33 a.m. EDT March 15: At a news conference, New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said four people were in custody. Three are men and one is a woman, “as I understand it,” Bush said. There were improvised explosive devices found in vehicles after the shootings, Bush said. Update 12:16 a.m. EDT March 15:  “This is one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a news conference Friday afternoon. “Clearly what has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.” A cricket match between Bangladesh and the New Zealand national team was canceled. The Bangladesh team was arriving for prayers at a mosque when the shooting occurred, but all members of the squad were safe, a team coach told Reuters. Update 11:15 p.m. EDT March 14: New Zealand authorities have confirmed that there have been multiple fatalities and one person is in custody: “Police is responding to a very serious and tragic incident involving an active shooter in central Christchurch.  One person is in custody, however Police believe there may be other offenders. This is an evolving incident and we are working to confirm the facts, however we can confirm there have been a number of fatalities.  Police is currently at a number of scenes. We understand that there will be many anxious people but I can assure New Zealanders that Police is doing all it can to resolve this incident. We urge New Zealanders to stay vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour immediately to 111.  We are mobilising resources nationally and support is being brought into the District. We are still working to resolve this incident and we continue to urge Christchurch residents to stay inside. We ask all mosques nationally to shut their doors, and advise that people refrain from visiting these premises until further notice.” Update 10:55 p.m. EDT March 14: New Zealand media said an additional shooting has occurred in a second mosque in the city of Christchurch. Original report: As many as 30 people have been injured or killed, a child care center manager told Radio New Zealand. Witness Len Peneha told The Associated Press he saw a man dressed in black enter the Masjid Al Noor mosque and then heard dozens of shots, followed by people running from the mosque in terror. Peneha, who has lived next door to the mosque for about five years, said the gunman ran out of the mosque, dropped what appeared to be a semi-automatic weapon in Peneha’s driveway and fled. Peneha said he went into the mosque to try and help, “I saw dead people everywhere,” he said. Police are urging people in the area to stay indoors and schools in the area have been placed on lockdown. About 300 people were inside the mosque, according to RNZ. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A shooting on a Dutch tram left at least three people dead and several others injured in Utrecht, according to authorities. >> Read more trending news  The city’s mayor, Jan van Zanen, said three people were killed in the attack and nine others wounded, according to The Associated Press. Authorities have classed the incident as a possible terror attack. Update 10:25 a.m. EDT March 18: Utrecht Mayor Jan van Zanen said three of the nine people wounded in Monday’s shooting were seriously injured, according to The Associated Press. “We cannot exclude, even stronger, we assume a terror motive,” van Zanen said Monday. “Likely there is one attacker, but there could be more.” Police have identified a man wanted in connection to the shooting as Gokmen Tanis, 37. Update 10:10 a.m. EDT March 18: Utrecht Mayor Jan van Zanen said three people were killed and nine people were injured Monday in the Utrecht shooting, according to CNN and The Independent. Update 9:55 a.m. EDT March 18: Dutch police issued a correction Monday on the name of the man wanted in connection with the Utrecht shooting. Authorities said his name was spelled Gokmen Tanis. Officials initially identified the 37-year-old as Gokman Tanis. The Independent reported trains were not being allowed into Utrecht’s central train station in the wake of the shooting. Update 9:25 a.m. EDT March 18: Police in the Netherlands asked for the public’s help Monday locating a man wanted in connection to Monday’s shooting. Authorities warned against approaching the man, identified as Gokman Tanis, 37. Update 8:55 a.m. EDT March 18: The shooter behind Monday’s attack remained at large after the incident, according to Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg, the Dutch anti-terror coordinator. “In Utrecht there was a shooting at several locations,' he said Monday at a news conference, according to The Independent. 'A lot is still unclear at this point and local authorities are working hard to establish all the facts. What we already know is that a culprit is at large.' Authorities continue to investigate the shooting. Original report: Utrecht police wrote Monday in a tweet that a “possible terrorist (motive) is part of the investigation” into the shooting, which occurred about 10:45 a.m. local time, according to CNN. >> See the tweet here The gunman remained at large Monday and may have fled the scene in a car, according to BBC News.  After the attack the country’s anti-terror coordinator, Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg, raised the terror threat level in Utrecht to 5, its highest level. Check back for updates to this developing story.
  • The teams have been chosen and brackets set up for the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. >> Read more trending news  The tournament begins Tuesday when the first of the “First Four” games are played, and gets into full swing on Thursday as the first round begins.  Here’s a look at the schedule for the 68-team field, tip-off times, channels and how to watch. How to watch: The games will be televised on four networks, CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV. Check your TV provider for channel information. If you have CBS via a TV service provider, you can see all the games broadcast on CBS there. The CBS Sports App will not be showing the games for free. The CBS All-Access TV app will have the games available via a paid subscription.  TNT, TBS and truTV are available via streaming once you authenticate your tv provider subscriptions. The games are available on an NCAA March Madness Live TV app available via Roku, Amazon Fire TV Stick and Apple TV set-top boxes. You can also get the games on Microsoft's Xbox videogame console and on the Android TV platform.  Below is the schedule for Tuesday and Wednesday’s “First Four” games and the schedule or the first round of the tournament which begins on Thursday. Check back here for an updated schedule of games as the tournament continues. All times are Eastern time. March Madness games schedule: Tuesday, March 19 – First Four 6:40 p.m.: Prairie View A&M vs. Fairleigh Dickinson – truTV After the conclusion: Temple vs. Belmont – truTV Wednesday, March 20 – First Four 6:40 p.m.: NC Central vs North Dakota State – truTV After the conclusion: St. John’s vs. Arizona State – truTV Thursday, March 21 – First Round 3:10 p.m.: Maryland vs. the winner of Tuesday’s Belmont/Temple game – truTV  12:40 p.m.: LSU vs. Yale – truTV  12:15 p.m.: Louisville vs. Minnesota – CBS  2:45 p.m.: Michigan State vs. Bradley – CBS 7:20 p.m.: Villanova vs. St. Mary’s – TBS  9:50 p.m.: Purdue vs. Old Dominion – CBS  1:30 p.m. Auburn vs. New Mexico State – TNT  4 p.m.: Kansas vs. Northeastern – TNT 9:40 p.m.: Wofford vs. Seton Hall – CBS  7:10 p.m.: Kentucky vs. Abilene Christian – CBS  7:27 p.m.: Gonzaga vs. the winner of Tuesday’s Farleigh Dickinson/Prairie View A&M game – truTV  9:57 p.m.: Syracuse vs. Baylor – truTV  4:30 p.m.: Marquette vs. Murray State – TBS  2 p.m.: Florida State vs. Vermont – TBS  6:50 p.m.: Nevada vs. Florida – TNT  9:20 p.m.: Michigan vs. Montana – TNT Friday, March 22 12:15 p.m.: Cincinnati vs. Iowa – CBS  12:40 p.m.: Ole Miss vs. Oklahoma – truTV  1:30 p.m.: Texas Tech vs. Northern Kentucky – TNT 2 p.m.: Kansas State vs. UC Irvine – TBS  2:45 p.m.: Tennessee vs. Colgate – CBS  3:10 p.m.: Virginia vs. Gardner Webb – truTV  4 p.m.: Buffalo vs. the winner of Wednesday’s Arizona State/St. John’s game – TNT  4:30 p.m.: Wisconsin vs. Oregon – TBS  6:50 p.m.: Utah State vs. Washington – TNT 7:10 p.m.: Duke vs. the winner of Wednesday’s North Carolina Central/North Dakota State game – CBS  7:20 p.m.: Houston vs. Georgia State – TBS  7:27 p.m.: Mississippi State vs. Liberty – truTV  9:20 p.m.: North Carolina vs. Iona – TNT 9:40 p.m.: VCU vs. UCF – CBS  9:50 p.m.: Iowa State vs. Ohio State – TBS  9:57 p.m.: Virginia Tech vs. St. Louis – truTV   The second round begins Saturday, March 23. The Sweet 16 round begins Thursday, March 28. The Elite Eight round begins Saturday, March 30. The final four play on Saturday, April 6. The National Championship game, held in Minneapolis, will be played Monday, April 8.     
  • Duval School leaders are inviting parents to a series of meetings on the school district’s aging public schools.  Over the last few months, Duval County Public Schools leaders have been sharing with community members and parents information about the district’s aging school problem. March 18th – kicks off the series of meetings that deal with draft recommendations for the district to move forward with all of the schools in the county. There is nothing extremely wrong with the schools. Leaders are stressing that all schools are both safe and operational. Superintendent Dr. Diana Green says they cannot ignore the impact the condition is having on the success of students and staff. “When facilities are not in good working order, our administrators spend a number of hours focusing on facilities instead of being instruction leaders and focused on the students.” According to a spokesperson for Duval County Public Schools – the draft scenarios include:  • Construction of 30 new schools as either replacement on-site or on new sites.  • 17 consolidations impacting 42 schools with children from those schools attending new or renovated school buildings. (Any buildings no longer in use as a result of the consolidations would be demolished and the land sold to prevent former schools from becoming a future blight.)  • Security upgrades at all schools and removal of the majority of portables from schools across the district.  • Cutting more than 5,000 student seats from the district’s inventory and improving the district’s facility utilization rate. Click here to see the dates and locations for each meeting.
  • Jacksonville-based FIS is buying Worldpay for approximately $35 billion.  FIS says the merge agreement expands its capabilities by enhancing its acquiring and payment offerings. The combined company will retain the name FIS and will be headquartered in Jacksonville.  In a statement announcing the acquisition, FIS says the combination of stock and cash values Worldpay at an enterprise value of approximately $43 billion. Worldpay is a leading payment technology company that processes over 40 billion transactions annually, supporting more than 300 payment types across more than 120 currencies. “Scale matters in our rapidly changing industry,” said Gary Norcross, chairman, president and chief executive officer, FIS. “Upon closing later this year, our two powerhouse organizations will combine forces to offer a customer-driven combination of scale, global presence and the industry’s broadest range of global financial solutions. As a combined organization, we will bring the most modern solutions targeted at the highest growth markets. The long-term value we will create for clients and for shareholders will set the bar in our industry and will create a range of new career opportunities for our employees. I have never been more excited about the future of FIS.”

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