Jodi Arias’ attorneys want 2nd jury sequestered

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PHOENIX (AP) — Jodi Arias' lawyers are asking a judge to sequester the jury in her second trial to shield the panel from the intense publicity that enveloped her first trial, which ended with a murder conviction but without a sentence.
 
Arias was convicted of first-degree murder May 8 in the 2008 stabbing and shooting death of boyfriend Travis Alexander in his suburban Phoenix home. The same jury failed to reach a decision on whether she should get the death penalty, setting the stage for a second penalty phase.
 
While the judge has yet to set a new trial date, Arias' attorneys filed a motion this week seeking to have the new panel sequestered "to ensure that the jury is not exposed to community and/or media influence."
 
The motion filed Thursday cites thousands of television news shows and newspaper articles about Arias throughout her roughly five-month trial, as well as a recent Lifetime movie about the case that attorneys said attracted 3.1 million viewers.
 
Arias' lawyers claim the same intense publicity will no doubt come with a second penalty phase and will hinder her ability to get a fair trial.
 
"This integrity is in the most danger of being compromised when the process is contaminated by outside influences," the attorneys wrote. "Given what took place in the last trial and the propensity for history to repeat itself, it is certainly beyond legitimate dispute that the threat to the integrity of the retrial is severe."
 
Prosecutors have not yet filed a response.
 
The motion comes on the heels of several others filed recently. One seeks to have the retrial moved out of the Phoenix metropolitan area because of excessive publicity and to prohibit live television coverage. Another motion filed last month seeks to have the judge compel all jurors eventually seated in the second trial to reveal their Twitter user names so Arias' lawyers can monitor their accounts to be sure they're not communicating about the case.
 
Under Arizona law, while Arias' murder conviction stands, prosecutors have the option of pursuing a second penalty phase with a new jury in an effort to get a death sentence. If the second jury fails to reach a verdict, the death penalty would be removed as an option, and the judge would sentence Arias to ether spend her entire life behind bars or be eligible for release after 25 years.
 
Arias, 33, admitted she killed Alexander, but claimed it was self-defense after he attacked her. Prosecutors argued it was premeditated murder carried out in a jealous rage after the victim wanted to end their affair and planned a trip to Mexico with another woman.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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5 possible risks of a U.S. military strike on Syria

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So if the United States takes military action against Syria, what could be next?
 
1. Failure
 
The strike fails to deter dictator Bashar Assad from continuing his slaughter of civilians to put down a more-than-two-year rebellion. Such a flouting of President Obama could put pressure on the United States to ramp up military action, given that it has crossed the line into the use of U.S. military force.
 
2. Retaliation from Syria
 
Syria launches attacks on neighbor Israel to try to draw a response that would threaten to fragment the Middle East U.S allies that oppose Assad but do not want to be seen as supporting Israel — states such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
 
3. Iran emerges
 
Iran has threatened often to use its naval vessels to cut off the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow point in the Persian Gulf off the coast of Iran where 20% of the world's oil passes. The move would force the U.S. Navy to respond with possible military attacks. Iran, a Shiite Muslim theocracy, can spur large Shiite populations in friendly Arab states to rise up against their leaders.
 
4. Terrorists strike
 
Terrorist groups in the Middle East, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, launch attacks against U.S. targets in the region and U.S. allies. Those targets can include bases such as the port for the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet in Bahrain.
 
5. Russia gains
 
Russia, which under Vladimir Putin has increased repression at home and is steadily increasing its influence abroad, will become a major player in the Middle East by helping Syria survive the strike. That may strengthen the anti-American axis of Iran and Syria and lead to a further destabilization of a region of important strategic and economic value to Western nations.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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U.N. chemical weapons experts pull out of Syria

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U.N. weapons inspectors have left Syria ahead of schedule amid high anticipation of an imminent U.S. attack.
 
The Associated Press reports the team of inspectors was seen crossing into Lebanon early Saturday. They carried out their final inspection Friday.
 
Their departure had been planned for about 9 a.m. Saturday (2 a.m. ET), but NBC News reports they left their hotel in Damascus about 5:30 a.m. in vehicles headed to Beirut, Lebanon.
 
The weapons inspectors' exit comes after Secretary of State John Kerry laid out the U.S. case for war, Friday.
 
"History would judge us all extraordinarily harshly if we turned a blind eye to a dictator's wanton use of weapons of mass destruction against all warnings, against all common understanding of decency," Kerry said.
 
The chemical weapons experts have been working to determine what occurred in the apparent chemical weapons attack near Damascus on Aug. 21, which U.S. intelligence reports say left 1,429 people dead, including 426 children. They have collected samples from victims of the attack.
 
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the five permanent Security Council members that results from the inspection team's findings could take about two weeks, according to NBC News.
 
Although, the team's report will confirm whether or not chemical weapons were used, it is not expected it will confirm who actually used the weapons.
 
U.S. and British intelligence reports have presented evidence that the Syrian regime was responsible for the attacks, while the Syrian government maintains that the attack was carried out by rebel forces.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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David Cameron’s Syria Defeat: ‘Retreat has Become a Rout’ [VIDEO]

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David Cameron's political leadership was plunged into crisis after rebels from his own Conservative party forced him to abandon plans for Britain to participate in military strikes against Syria after suffering an unprecedented Parliamentary defeat.

The Prime Minister was likened to the Grand Old Duke of York by political pundits from opposite sides of the political spectrum, for leading his MPs up the hill of conflict and then down the other side after the government lost by 285 votes to 272.

Writing in the Daily Mail – which opposed intervening in Syria following a gas attack in Damascus – historian Max Hastings, said: "He [Cameron] now discovers that he has charged up his own hill while the majority of the British people and indeed a majority of their MPs remain stubbornly at the bottom.

"David Cameron's attempt to play statesman on the world stage has created a political shambles which culminated in a humiliating defeat in the House of Commons late last night.

"It will not mean the end of his tenure as Prime Minister, but it is a savage and damaging setback – and it is one he has brought upon himself.

Employing a similar metaphor, Kevin Maguire in the Daily Mirror wrote a damning character assassination: "Humbling and catastrophic for David Cameron.Talk about a PM misjudging the political and public mood, arrogance destroying the PM's judgement. What started as a retreat became a rout. Hoping last week to attack Syria with no vote, he had to offer two. The Grand Old Duke of Downing Street may have blown up his Premiership by being a hawk when people want a dove."

Cameron's predecessor in Downing Street Tony Blair was silent after parliament spoke out against the latest bid for military intervention in the Middle East. His last public pronouncement on the issue was a link to his Times article calling for Syria to be bombed on 27 August.

But Blair's old New Labour accomplice Alastair Campbell did add his voice to reaction at last night's Commons defeat for Cameron, saying on Twitter: "With military action not an option, UK still has responsibilities to help bring humanitarian catastrophe in Syria to an end."

Polly Toynbee in The Guardian said Cameron was now exposed as out of touch with not only his own party – but all of Britain.

"Poor David Cameron has been the one left stranded when the music stopped, still singing as everyone else falls silent. From Number 10 came effing and blinding at Ed Miliband, calling him, as reported in the Times,  a f****** c*** and a copper bottomed s***.

"But it wasn't Labour, it was Cameron's whole country who had changed while he wasn't looking. Cue last-minute key change in Downing Street's unconditional promise to the US, but he's still out of tune with a country that doesn't want to go to war."

Even grassroots Tories went in for the kill. Mark Wallace, writing on Conservativehome.com called the vote defeat for Cameron the "worst foreign policy defeat in modern times."

Fraser Nelson, the editor of right-leaning magazine The Spectator and a columnist for The Daily Telegraph, wrote: "David Cameron failed the test of trust, and paid the price. Parliament has rejected the PM's vision of this country's place in the world."

Labour blogger Sunny Hundal tweeted: "A sitting Prime Minister loses the support of his own party on a motion to go to war. There isn't a bigger humiliation, frankly.

 

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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The global consensus against the use of chemical weapons will be fatally unraveled

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The global consensus against the use of chemical weapons will be fatally unraveled A 100-year taboo will have been breached."-British Prime Minister David Cameron on the need to punish Assad's Syria regime for purportedly using chemical weapons against Syrians.

My first reaction to that statement was that the British and the Americans gleefully breached thousands of years old taboo on gay marriage. But that's a story for another time.

Did Assad's regime in Syria actually use chemical weapons against Syrians or are we back to the pre-Iraq war scenario of unverified dangerous weapons use in war precipitating further bloody conflicts?

As far as I know Assad's position in the conflict was not desperate before the alleged use of chemical weapons. Why will he use a weapon sure to give excuse to foreign invaders?

Something is not adding up to me and the involvement of Saudi Arabia again, as in 1990, makes me uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable.

I believe the West should give time for UN inspectors to release their findings and avoid precipitate response. We all saw how "weapons of mass destruction" were not found in Saddam's Iraq even after the invasion by America. It will be wrong to allow same scenario repeat itself knowing the cost of pacifying Iraq.

Obama's America should also be careful with international military engagement that might give Russia and China the opportunity to showcase their new found military resurgence and "arrival" at the global stage. Even an air strike by the West might attract Russia-Chinese response and I cannot see how American economy will survive an escalated military conflict in the Middle East that will naturally raise oil prices and further de-stabilize global economy and markets.

Let all sides breathe in and wait for UN investigators to produce a report. Any Syrian action should be UN sanctioned and involve Russia and China. Unilateralism will hurt the players.

Nigeria should also plan what to do with a possible improved earnings from oil if this stand-off enters war mode. Let us have good reinvestment plan now and also note that after the conflict the same Western powers might be interested in "instigating" a Nigerian conflict that will provide them the opportunity to reverse whatever gains we make. They are still the highest suppliers of small arms and weapons used in African conflicts.

"First fool no be fool, second fool na proper foolish man."-MI Okpara

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Judge orders sale of ex-presidential yacht Sequoia

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WILMINGTON, Del. — A Delaware judge on Thursday ordered the owner of the former presidential yacht USS Sequoia to sell the boat for $7.8 million, minus legal fees and loans, to a Washington-based investment group after a legal battle in Chancery Court.
 
Gary Silversmith, the Washington lawyer who owns the boat, argued that FE Partners used a $5 million loan agreement in an attempt to wrest control of the 104-foot yacht, which has an illustrious past.
 
President John F. Kennedy celebrated his last birthday onboard, and President Richard M. Nixon spent a night aboard the vessel in 1974 before resigning the presidency. President Jimmy Carter sold the ship, and it has passed through a series of private owners.
 
Silversmith, who has owned the yacht since 2001, turned to FE Partners to secure a $5 million loan to cover debt and expenses.
 
Chancery Court Judge Sam Glasscock ruled in favor of FE Partners, saying Silversmith must give the investment group the option to buy the boat for $7.8 million, minus other obligations, including legal fees and outstanding loan balances.
 
FE Partners, which is backed by wealthy mining magnates in India, is expected to exercise its option to purchase the boat, an option that was included in its original loan agreement with Silversmith. A spokesman for FE Partners said the group intends to keep the boat docked in the United States.
 
"For months, the owner of the Sequoia has tried to use the courts and media to defame and pressure us," FE Partners said in a statement. "During the litigation, he fabricated crucial documents, engaged in witness intimidation and destroyed computers on which critical evidence was stored."
 
In his order, filed Thursday morning, Glasscock said the "Sequoia parties fraudulently induced" FE Partners to provide the loan, including by producing a fabricated letter from Russian gas company Gazprom to buy the yacht for $20 million. Silversmith said he did not know the letter was fabricated, and submitted evidence to the court that he says proves another party was responsible for drafting the letter.
 
Silversmith said he could not afford to keep paying legal fees on the case.
 
"I'm disappointed but realistic that we cannot afford to keep litigating," Silversmith said. "We hope that the lender, FE Partners, does not buy the Sequoia, but they will have the legal right to do so."
 
Contributing: Sean O'Sullivan of the News Journal

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Surveillance drone helps firefighters battle Calif. blaze

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An unmanned drone aircraft is flying over the vast Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park and sending back real-time data to firefighters on hot spots and movement of the blaze, fire officials say.
 
The National Guard Predator drone launched Wednesday from an airfield in Southern California and can remain airborne for 22 hours at a time.
 
Daniel Berlant, spokesman for California's state fire agency, says the military drone is being used in its biggest firefighting test to date and has provided commanders with real-time images and information on fire activity near and inside Yosemite.
 
"Because the fire is so large … we're hoping that new technology will allow us to better deploy our resources,'' Berlant said.
 
The U.S. Forest Service said in a statement that the aircraft "will identify where fire activity is located and how it is moving, including locating and identifying spot fires which will improve the ability to protect life, property, and natural resources."
 
The Rim Fire has grown to 311 square miles in less than two weeks, and officials say it is 32% contained. More than 4,900 firefighters are battling the blaze, aided by retardant-dropping helicopters and tanker airplanes.
 
Firefighters got a break with relatively cooler temperatures and moist air this week, but hotter weather is forecast, just as the Labor Day weekend brings increased visitors to wilderness areas and parks around the country.
 
This fire is one of 10 burning around California, with nearly 10,000 firefighters battling them, With more than two months left in the normal fire season in California, officials are worried about more big fires like this one flaring up.
 
"This is one of the last weekends for families to go out camping and recreating before summer ends. While conditions remain ripe for fires … we're trying to urge everybody to be extra cautious outdoors,'' he said.
 
Fire officials estimate that the Rim Fire can be contained no sooner than Sept. 10 and that portions will continue to burn beyond that date.
 
The remotely piloted drone, which is the size of a small Cessna, has helped firefighters by shouldering the burden normally carried out by helicopters, which must be refueled every two hours.
 
The MQ-1 unmanned aircraft is from the California Air National Guard's 163rd Reconnaissance Wing from Riverside and is operating from Victorville Airport. It flew over mostly unpopulated areas on its 300-mile flight to the Rim Fire
 
''The drone is providing data directly back to the incident commander, allowing him to make quick decisions about which resources to deploy and where,'' Berlant said.
 
Officials were careful to point out the images are being used only to aid in the effort to contain the fire. Outside the fire area, it will be escorted by a manned aircraft.
 
In 2009, a NASA Predator equipped with an infrared imaging sensor helped the U.S. Forest Service assess damage from a fire in Angeles National Forest. In 2008, a drone capable of detecting hot spots helped firefighters assess movement of a series of wildfires stretching from Southern California's Lake Arrowhead to San Diego.
 
Contributing: William M. Welch in Los Angeles; the Associated Press

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Recovery from Superstorm Sandy ignites fight over dunes

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Read Time:8 Minute, 56 Second
OCEAN BEACH, N.J. — On a patch of land a block from the beach in this private community of modest cottages, Kurt and Linda Framhein want to protect their hard-earned slice of the American Dream.
 
As they look to rebuild the bungalow wiped away by Superstorm Sandy, they want to make sure the federal government builds dunes and wider beaches to protect them from future storms.
 
To do that, the government needs permission from oceanfront property owners such as Ted and Dorothy Jedziniak. Twenty-three miles south in the enclave of Ship Bottom, the Jedziniaks are fighting to protect their hard-fought slice of the American Dream, too. They won't sign away to the government land they've owned for more than four decades. They are suspicious that local leaders will use their land to build boardwalks, parking or public restrooms to attract more beachgoers.
 
As the summer season comes to a close on Labor Day, New Jersey has spent the 10 months since Superstorm Sandy roared ashore Oct. 29 deciding how best to protect homes, roads and development on the coast from future storms.
 
That's no easy feat. Since Sandy, the strong emotional ties residents feel for the Jersey Shore have become a jumbled mess of competing interests that have pitted neighbor against neighbor, politicians against residents and all of them against environmental advocates and coastal scientists.
 
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and mayors in beach towns are pushing an elaborate $1 billion plan by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build dunes and expand beaches.
 
Debate over the plan goes back more than 10 years, but it intensified after Sandy wreaked a wide path of destruction that included 82,000 homes and $7.8 billion in insured losses. Had the dunes been in place, state officials say, the storm would have caused less damage.
 
About 1,000 oceanfront property owners are holding up the plan, refusing to sign easements that would allow the corps to build 22-foot-high dunes and 200-foot-wide beaches. Some argue the dunes would block their view. Others, such as the Jedziniaks, are ideologically opposed to government treading on their property.
 
Mayors and businesses posted the names of holdouts on websites and storefronts. Christie derided the property owners as selfish. Residents bombarded them with phone calls, visits to their homes and letters calling them out in newspapers.
 
Adding to the conflict, environmental advocates and coastal scientists say the debate is misdirected. It's akin to "fighting over the curtains when your house is burning," says Tim Dillingham, executive director of the Jersey-based American Littoral Society, a research and coastal conservation group.
 
Dillingham and other coastal scientists say limiting development and reducing the population on the spit of land — a half-mile across at its widest point and a fifth of a mile at its narrowest — should be at the heart of any discussion about post-Sandy rebuilding. Moving away from the coast may ultimately be the best option, they say.
 
Shore residents laugh at the idea. Regardless of what side of the dune debate they fall, residents cling fiercely and proudly to a tradition of claiming the Shore as their birthright.
 
"New Jersey would be just another state without the Shore," says Long Beach Township Mayor Joseph Mancini, a dune proponent and barrier island native, whose father served as mayor for four decades. "If we moved away from every area that was hazardous, we'd live in 10% of the U.S."
 
ATTACHED TO SHORE
 
Kurt and Linda Framhein and Ted and Dorothy Jedziniak fall on opposite sides of the dune debate, but they have a lot in common. They share an intensity for the Jersey Shore that is common among its residents.
 
Each comes from working class roots and sees their home on the Shore as a badge of achievement.
 
The Shore has been in Kurt Framhein's DNA since he was a boy visiting with his parents and sisters. His wife, Linda, grew up on the Shore, too. Her family owned their beach house in nearby Chadwick Beach for more than 50 years.
 
"It was the classic American Dream," Kurt Framhein says. "We came here every summer to rent in Ocean Beach."
 
It's why the couple, married 30 years, scrimped and saved to buy their $188,000 cottage in 2001 and hoped to retire there someday. Sandy changed that. More than a foot of water flooded their home. Mold destroyed the rest. They razed the house Memorial Day weekend.
 
"It's as if someone took an eraser and erased chunks of your life," Linda says.
 
That's why the dune issue has become so emotional.
 
The Framheins want to rebuild their home and want all of the protection they can get. They plan to elevate the new house, but they also want high dunes on the beach to block or slow down the waves if another storm hits. "The dunes are our lifeline," Kurt says.
 
The couple have been advocating for big dunes for years, but Sandy "opened everyone's eyes," Linda says. Kurt adds, "It does seem crazy that a handful of people can put thousands of people in jeopardy."
 
Ted and Dorothy Jedziniak agree dunes are important. Over the course of several decades, they've built a dune in front of their oceanfront property that is more than 25 feet high.
 
They say they don't object to the Army Corps building dunes on their land and will sign the easement if they receive a legal agreement from the town that it won't build a boardwalk or any other type of development between their house and the ocean.
 
Christie, the Army Corps and local officials have told residents that the easements will only allow the Corps to build and maintain the dunes. The Jedziniaks are not convinced.
 
"This is a land grab," Dorothy, 83, says. "We want to preserve the ambience of the island."
 
"This is our land," says Ted, 87, displaying the streak of toughness that got him through his service as a tail gunner on sorties in Japan during World War II. Owning land was a point of pride for the son of Polish immigrants.
 
The Jedziniaks have owned their property since 1970 when they bought and ran a 17-room boarding house. Dorothy says they had no experience running a motel. She was an English teacher, and Ted was an engineer. On a trip to the Shore, Ted found the place through a friend. Dorothy fell in love with the brick fireplace and the Great Room. In those days, they charged $15 a night for a room with a shared bath.
 
The couple knocked down the motel in the 1980s and built a duplex. They've lived there year-round ever since.
 
The Jedziniaks say they've been vilified and harassed. They've received letters calling them unpatriotic. People have come to their home in an effort to make them sign the easement. "We've lived here 45 years with no trouble, except now," Dorothy says.
 
'WE ARE NOT RUNNING AWAY'
 
More than 10 years ago, the Army Corps proposed an extensive coastline project of dunes and widened beaches. Several years before Sandy, it started the project in the northern beaches and in pockets in the south. Sandy washed away much of that work, requiring the corps to rebuild using about 17 million cubic yards of sand — the equivalent of 850,000 dump trucks.
 
The dunes and wider beaches offer the most protection against storms, while doing the least environmental damage, says Keith Watson, project manager for the Army Corps of Engineers. That matters in New Jersey where tourism on the Shore is a $40 billion industry.
 
Dunes are part of a state plan that includes mandating higher elevations for homes in flood-prone areas and a $300 million buyout program for homes in hazardous areas. Homeowners in working-class and low-income communities along rivers and bays are taking advantage of the buyouts, but none in the beach communities, says Larry Hajna, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, which oversees state efforts to protect from future storms.
 
Hajna says the state's goal is to protect homes and businesses on the barrier islands. "Our economy is tied to the Shore," he says. "We are not giving that up. We are not running away."
 
Coastal scientists say they know talking about moving people away from the Shore in a state that relies on the coast for so much of its revenue is taboo.
 
"But at some point, we will have to walk away," says Robert Young, a geologist and director of the Program for Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University.
 
He and other coastal scientists say federally funded dunes and engineered beaches help in the short term but are too costly and require too much sand to be long-term solutions in the face of rising sea levels and bigger, badder storms. The amount of sand needed to build the dunes and widen the beaches along the entire coast one time is the equivalent of filling the 82,000-seat stadium where the New York Giants play with sand 10 times, Young says.
 
The beaches and dunes would need to be replenished every three to seven years, depending on how fast the sand erodes, according to the Army Corps.
 
"How long do you think they can keep that going?" asks Dillingham of the Littoral Society. "The sea wants to keep pushing back in. In the end, it's not a fight we are going to win."
 
The Framheins and Jedziniaks say the fight is worth having to protect a way of life their families have cultivated for generations.
 
"It's a part of us," Kurt Framhein says. Dorothy Jedziniak says, "This is our American Dream. We're not just going to give it up."
 
At least on that, the two families — who sit on opposite ends of the battle over the future of the beach — agree.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Iowa’ cars clogging streets in N.Y. neighborhood

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Why are all those rental cars with Iowa license plates hogging so many parking spaces along the streets in a nice neighborhood of Victorian homes in Brooklyn, N.Y?
 
That's what Joel Siegel, president of the Ditmas Park West Neighborhood Association, wants to know. He's written to the Iowa Department of Transportation, the Iowa Insurance Division and New York government administrators and politicians trying to get some answers.
 
Maj. Paul Steier, commander of the Iowa DOT's motor vehicle enforcement investigative unit, says Iowa investigators are working with New York authorities in an effort to find out what's going on.
 
Siegel provided a list of 20 cars with Iowa plates parked in his neighborhood, but Steier said Iowa investigators have linked about 200 cars with Iowa plates — mostly from Polk and Linn counties — to the firms that have registered the vehicles parked in Siegel's neighborhood. It's not clear exactly how many of those 200 vehicles are being driven in New York, Iowa officials said.
 
One possibility is that the rental cars have been registered in Iowa in an effort to secure lower insurance rates, as first reported this week by the Cedar Rapids Gazette.
 
New York has the nation's third-highest car insurance premiums — with a median of $1,062 per vehicle. Iowa has the third-lowest auto premiums at a median of $530, according to Bankrate.com
 
"Insurance companies want to know where a vehicle is garaged and operated. The reason is that the risk is different. Even within a city you can have a neighborhood that is rated differently," said Tom Alger, communications director for the Iowa Insurance Division.
 
Siegel says the business responsible for the rental cars parked in his neighborhood — which is within the larger Victorian Flatbush area — operates under several names.
 
A call by The Des Moines Register to the business on Thursday was picked up by an answering service, and a message seeking comment from the rental firm's manager was not immediately returned.
 
Steier said it's not uncommon for cars with out-of-state license plates to be parked at the Des Moines airport, for example.
 
But under Iowa law, a vehicle with out-of-state plates can't be used indefinitely in Iowa without being registered here. Other states have similar statutes. As a result, Iowa investigators are asking New York authorities if they can determine whether there has been any violation of a New York law.
 
Iowa officials are also attempting to learn if the vehicles were properly registered and titled in Iowa. For example, businesses can't use Iowa license plates for their vehicles using false addresses and false federal identification numbers, Steier said.
 
"Our investigation is wide open on the motivating factors behind why these cars have ended up in New York with Iowa plates," Steier added. This includes the possibility that criminal activity, ranging from drugs to human trafficking, could be involved.
 
But Siegel, who is a Manhattan lawyer, is mostly concerned that the rental cars are a pain in the neck for his neighbors, making it harder for them to park their own cars on the street.
 
"Obviously the guy who owns the business doesn't have sufficient parking to store his cars. This is not Des Moines, Iowa, with all due respect to Des Moines," Siegel said. "The bottom line is that we want the cars to be stored somewhere, not on our streets."

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Detroit River patrol boat honors slain border agent

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DETROIT — U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are patrolling the Detroit River in a boat launched Thursday in the name of slain Agent Brian Terry.
 
It's the same swath of river where Terry, 40, boated as he grew up in Flat Rock and served as a police officer in Ecorse and Lincoln Park before becoming a Border Patrol agent.
 
Terry was killed Dec. 14, 2010, in a U.S. gun-smuggling operation known as Operation Fast and Furious.
 
The former Marine was killed after a shoot-out with smuggling suspects along the Arizona and Mexico border.
 
On Thursday, his mother, Josephine Terry, 72, of Brownstown Township, christened the Brian A. Terry with a spray of champagne.
 
The 25-foot, aluminum-hulled boat with twin 225-horsepower engines and a 51-mph cruising speed will be used to prevent smuggling along the Canadian border from Trenton to the mouth of Lake Erie.
 
"It makes me so proud that Brian has been honored in so many ways, and now our hero has a beautiful vessel in his name, close to the hometown where he was raised," his mother said at the waterfront ceremony at Elizabeth Park in Trenton. "I am sure Brian is smiling down and grateful that his brothers in green have honored and have kept his amazing legacy alive."
 
The event drew dozens of Border Patrol agents, officers, dignitaries, family and friends, including Terry's father, stepparents, brother and two sisters. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., and Eastern District U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade also attended.
 
The head of the U.S. Border Patrol, Michael Fisher, emphasized the christening is another way to live the phrase, "We will never forget."
 
"What Brian did in life and throughout his career in law enforcement, and certainly with the Border Patrol, was the epitome of honor," Fisher said. "If we could be half of the agent, with half the commitment and dedication to service and excellence, if we could aspire to be half of what Brian was, then my career personally would be fulfilled. That's why I always do not forget."
 
Terry's partner at the Ecorse Police Department from 1998-2000, Sgt. Geoffrey Howard, said he misses boating on the Detroit River and patrolling the streets with Terry.
 
"A great friend — I miss him very much," Howard said. "I think it's an honor for them to dedicate this boat to him. I'm kind of emotional right now, trying to hold it together. But he would be proud and be satisfied."
 
Contributing: The Associated Press

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Anthony Claret

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