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Published: Wednesday, August 09, 2017 @ 7:39 PM
Updated: Thursday, August 10, 2017 @ 11:30 AM
— The August 21 Great American Solar Eclipse will be the first total solar eclipse to stretch coast to coast in the continental United States in 99 years. Humans are expected to react with amazement when the thin path of totality, or total eclipse, passes through portions of 14 states, but what about their pets?
Dogs and cats will be affected by the eclipse much less than wildlife, says to Russell McLendon, science editor for Mother Nature Network. But there are still important things to know about how the solar eclipse could affect dogs and cats, including safety measures responsible pet owners should take.
Here are five of the most important things to know about how the solar eclipse could affect your pet:
Cats and dogs may not notice the solar eclipse much.
Many wild animals may mistake solar eclipses for twilight, McLendon wrote in MNN. Crickets and frogs may jump-start their evening chorus, diurnal animals might quiet down and even nocturnal animals like bats and owls might be lured into activity in the eclipse's totality.
While they can't anticipate the eclipse phenomena like humans who read about it ahead of time, family pets are unlikely to have a primeval reaction to the eclipse like their wild animal relatives. They react differently, because their daily routines are influenced by human schedules as well as sunlight levels, McLendon reported.
Pets may still become fearful during the eclipse.
More than the darkness of the solar eclipse, pets may be apprehensive about the crowds that gather to view it, according to Lloyd Nelson, an Illinois animal-control officer interviewed by the Southern Illinoisan. Be aware that your dog or cat could get spooked by solar eclipse-inspired events that involve crowds of people, whether you take a pet with you to a viewing spot or it's near your home.
"It's sort of like the Fourth of July, but tripled," Nelson said. "We are going to have concerts, people shooting off fireworks in the dark of the midday sun, loud noises and strangers."
Just as you do during firework holidays, make sure your pet is either safe inside for the eclipse or on a leash and under careful watch.
Pets can suffer "eclipse blindness." One thing we do have in common with our pets is that human, canine and feline eyes can all suffer from "eclipse blindness" when safe precautions are not taken during the eclipse viewing. During the eclipse, as the moon's shadow starts to block the sun's light, some of the sun's fiery disk will still be visible, according to LiveScience.com . A view of that light can literally burn any eyes, human, cat or dog, that look up at it.
>> 7 things to know about the rare total solar eclipse crossing the nation this August
The condition, commonly called "eclipse blindness," happens when the sun's powerful rays burn sensitive photoreceptor cells in the retina. It usually results in blurred vision and other vision loss instead of complete blindness, since humans and animals ordinarily turn away before complete blindness occurs.
Pet's don't necessarily need glasses, but it wouldn't hurt.
Space.com's safe viewing recommendations for humans include proper eye protection from NASA-approved eclipse glasses, along with strict warnings against trying to view the partial eclipse with a camera or telescope.
Whether your dog or cat also needs the glasses is up for debate in the scientific community. Mike Reynolds, an astronomy professor at Floriday State College in Jacksonville, Florida, told LiveScience.com that it's best to outfit pets that will be out during the eclipse with protective glasses.
Another expert quoted in the article wasn't as concerned. "On a normal day, your pets don't try to look at the sun, and therefore don't damage their eyes," said Angela Speck, director of astronomy and a professor of astrophysics at the University of Missouri. "And on this day, they're not going to do it, either,"
Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 11:34 PM
— Constance Petot didn't think twice about the push button starter on her car until it almost killed her and her toddler last Valentine's Day.
"He just went completely limp in my arms. It's the most terrifying moment in my entire life," said Petot.
The busy mom was ending her work day with a conference call as she was pulling into the garage of her parents' Florida home, where she was staying.
"As I came in I wanted the garage door to be closed when the conference call started so I went ahead and pushed the button to close the door," Petot said. "And I think in my head I just told myself I had pushed this button instead of that button."
The mistake sent carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas, flooding through their home as she got 13-month-old Parker ready for bed.
The car was still on after Petot left the garage.
"My son woke up around 12:30 a.m. and was screaming," Petot recalls.
She got out of bed to pick him up.
Petot thinks her son, Parker, may have had a headache because she now knows the level of carbon monoxide at the time was high enough to have killed them within about 20 minutes.
"Once I got dizzy, I knew I needed to get out of there," Petot said. "And walked down the stairs, opened the garage door and saw that the taillight was on."
A WSB-TV investigation has tracked more than two dozen injuries and deaths around the country connected to cars with keyless ignitions being left on, with families left wondering how this could happen.
Cars with keyless ignition have no key and are designed to start with the push of a button. But it is also easier to forget to turn off the car.
The family of Bill Thomason and Eugenia (Woo) Thomason say the couple likely never realized their mistake. Their Toyota Avalon ran inside their closed garage for 32 hours as they slept.
"We know that they went to bed that night and didn't wake up the next morning," said Will Thomason, who now lives in Atlanta.
His brother Dave Thomason also lives in the metro area, and they both rushed to Greenville, South Carolina, to get to their parents, but it was too late.
"By the time they were found they were essentially brain dead," said Will Thomason. "You can't prepare for something like this."
The sons say the active retirees had just renewed their wedding vows after 50 years and adored their five grandchildren, who they won't get to see grow up.
"Oh, it's been just absolutely terrible," said Dave Thomason. "We all know that people can get killed in car accidents due to different things, but a car sitting alone, basically doing nothing but running?"
The brothers said their pain is worsened by the number of times they've now heard the same story, with reported deaths and injuries connected to running cars around the country.
The Thomason family has filed a lawsuit against Toyota, which has already settled with several of the other families.
"Hell yeah, that makes me angry. I mean, we've lost our parents," said Will Thomason.
"Nobody is in the car, it's been running for however long. The car should have an automatic cutoff. I mean, to me that's a very easy fix," said Dave Thomason.
Records show since 2011 the federal government has been studying the need for an external alert to be placed on cars that have button ignitions, but has yet to require car companies to do anything to include an external alert.
"There's probably 25 other things that car makers do ... for safety. Well, this is a life and death safety thing and it seems to me that this is an easy thing for them to address, and they aren't addressing it," Will Thomason said.
WSB-TV tested more than a dozen of the most popular cars to see what happens when you leave them running and walk away with the key fob.
Most of the cars had a dashboard display that notes that the key fob has left the vehicle. Some even emit a low interior sound, similar to the one that reminds drivers to fasten their seat belts.
However, if a driver has left the vehicle, he or she wouldn't see that display or hear that warning. Very few of the cars made an exterior noise.
The loudest warning came from the Chevy Impala, which utilizes the car's horn.
Petot didn't hear the three low beeps her car made and she's lived with the guilt ever since.
"I absolutely take responsibility for what happened," she said. "And I think that it could happen to anybody."
But she said the price for being distracted or forgetful should not be death.
"We were incredibly lucky. We absolutely wouldn't be here," Petot said while watching Parker play in their new Marietta home. "He is definitely my little hero Valentine."
Petot said the day they moved in to their new home she purchased carbon monoxide detectors for each of the rooms.
Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 8:40 PM
PARKLAND, Fla. — The brother of confessed school shooter Nikolas Cruz was arrested Monday afternoon for trespassing on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas campus in Parkland, according to the Broward County Sheriff’ Office.
Zachary Cruz, 18, told deputies he went to the campus to “reflect on the school shooting and soak it in,” according to the arrest report.
The sheriff’s office said he rode his skateboard through the campus, passing all locked doors and gates. Deputies said he was previously warned by school officials to stay away from the campus.
The sheriff’s office said Zachary Cruz has no connections to Broward County at this time. Before the shootings, he lived with his brother and family friend, Rocxanne Deschamps, in a Lantana-area mobile home.
Nikolas Cruz, 19, is charged in a 34-count indictment with killing 17 people and wounding 17 others. He is being held without bail at the Broward County Jail after the Feb. 14 school shooting that left 14 students and three adults dead.
After the fatal shootings, Zachary Cruz was put under a mental-health evaluation. He told investigators that as he drove home with Deschamps after he heard about the shootings he said, "I don't want to be alive. I don't want to deal with this stuff."
He has denied wanting either to kill or harm himself.
Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 9:30 PM
AUSTIN, Texas — Law enforcement and others seeking clues into the mind of what now appears to be a serial bomber say the latest explosive incident on Sunday night, the city’s fourth over 17 days, provided more trail crumbs than definitive signposts pointing toward a potential suspect.
Austin interim Police Chief Brian Manley has said preliminary indications are that the newest bomb is similar enough in construction to be connected to the previous three. That doesn’t necessarily mean all were manufactured and planted by the same person.
But if that does turn out to be the case, experts said, the latest attack would slightly alter their profile of the serial bomber’s methods and motive.
Police on Monday said it appears as though a trip wire was used to trigger the latest blast in Southwest Austin, revealing two new important pieces of information about the bomber.
The first is that the new form of detonation indicates the person making the explosive has a higher level of skill or sophistication, said Fred Milanowski, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ special agent in charge of the Houston field division.
The earlier bombs, which were hidden in packages, appear to have been detonated by movement devices, which would complete a circuit when the package was lifted or tilted, experts said. The latest incident means that investigators now must contemplate a bomber capable of using multiple methods to start an explosion, perhaps even by timer or remote control.
A trip wire, which typically works by stringing a taut string across a pathway, detonates a bomb when a person pushes into it. Stringing a wire across or near a route used by multiple people could introduce a new element of randomness to the attacks, said James R. Fitzgerald, a former FBI profiler who worked on the Unabomber case.
Employing a detonating device that doesn’t target any particular person would indicate a dangerous capriciousness and callousness, he said — the bomber “wants to strike out at some perceived wrong, and anyone
By mixing his targets — from specific people who receive a package on their porch to anyone who stumbles by — the bomber could be trying to spread general fear and unease throughout the city, Fitzgerald said.
Or he might be purposefully trying to distract from his real intention.
That was the case when, in December 1989, an Atlanta attorney named Robert Robertson was killed when he opened a brown package he received at home. Investigators at first thought his death was connected to a virtually identical fatal bomb detonated at the house of federal Judge Robert Vance two days earlier. But they later learned Walter Moody had killed Robertson as misdirection.
Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 3:34 PM
— How can a two-hour treatment for a bee sting end up costing a patient $12,000? Prices can soar when the patient goes through a barrage of tests and insurance doesn’t cover the bill, but Sylvia Rosas’ case is shining a light on the cost of health care in the country.
It all started with a simple bee sting in her yard in Florida. Rosas had allergic reactions to stings in the past, but didn’t have an EpiPen, so she went to the emergency room, CNN Money reported. Several doctors looked at her sting and ordered blood tests and an EKG to ensure she wouldn’t have a reaction. The visit, which took less than two hours, happened to be at an out-of-network hospital, so her insurance wouldn’t cover it. Rosas had to pay the bill out of pocket.
Now, she’s second-guessing when she needs to see a doctor so she won’t wind up with the bill later.
Rick Brown found himself in a similar financial situation, CNN Money reported.
He twisted his ankle. After trying to treat it at home to no avail, he went to his local emergency room, on his own crutches, and was seen by a physician assistant. Brown had an X-ray done on him and was given a splint and a prescription, with a suggestion to see a specialist for the fracture.
He was billed $2,600 for the ER visit. Then, he received a separate bill for $5,700 from the doctor’s office. Insurance paid half of the ER bill, but denied the doctor’s charges because the person who saw him was out-of-network.
Brown said that if he would have known that the bill wouldn’t be covered, he would have waited a few days longer to see someone else.
Officials with the Health Care Cost Institute say ER visits cost an average of $1,917 in 2016. That’s more than 31 percent higher than it did four years before.
The amount billed by the hospital usually covers the facility fee and some tests and services, CNN Money reported. But it usually doesn’t include the cost patients incur for actually seeing a doctor, which is usually billed separately.
The big question is: Why does it cost so much?
Emergency rooms are seeing more patients, and those patients have severe medical problems.
People with cuts and fevers will more likely go to urgent care locations. Patients with chest pain and those suffering from asthma attacks are seen in emergency rooms, and those conditions are more expensive to treat, CNN Money reported.
Emergency rooms also have access to expensive equipment, like CT scans and MRIs.
So where does that leave patients who need care, but don’t want to gamble with their finances?
First, experts told CNN Money that patients don’t need to sign paperwork with the ER that promises to pay in full just to be seen. Federal law says ERs have to screen and stabilize anyone who comes in.
Second, if you’re stuck with a bill, speak with the health care providers. Prices can be negotiable, CNN Money reported. A professor of surgery and health policy at Johns Hopkins University found that hospitals mark up some services as much as 340 percent more than Medicare allowances.