Friday, September 15, 2017

Ohio anti-puppy mill proposal moves forward; impact on bird dog breeding unknown


A big hurdle has been surmounted regarding an Ohio constitutional amendment affecting the business of breeding dogs.

Called the “Ohio Puppy Prevention Amendment,” the initiative petition was certified by the Ohio Attorney General as having met certain legal criteria. This criteria contained both the necessary 1,000 valid signatures from registered Ohio voters and a “fair and truthful” summary of the proposal, said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

By accepting the filing from attorneys representing “Stop Puppy Mills Ohio,” the Ohio Attorney General has green-lighted the next step, which will mean petitioners have their work cut out for them. They will have to meet various voter signature-gathering requirements in order to place their agenda before Ohio’s voters, likely in 2018. That is the target date the “Stop” group states on its web site.

Ohio has often been cited by animal rights organizations as being a hotbed of of the so-called “puppy mill” business, defined in a 1984 Minnesota court case as “a dog breeding operation in which the health of the dogs is disregarded in order to maintain a low overhead and maximize profits.”

It is estimated by some animal rights groups that as many as 10,000 licensed and unlicensed puppy mills produce about two million canines annually in the United States with a 2004 estimate of 4,000 dogs born in Ohio.

However, calls in the past for crackdowns on the so called “puppy mill” issue has met some resistance from legitimate bird-dog and houndsman enthusiasts. They fear that a too broadly written law could very well hurt their small and specialized operations that typically involve only one or a few pure-bred female dogs.

As for his duties as Attorney General in regards to this petition, DeWine says:

Without passing upon the advisability of the approval or rejection of the measure to be referred, but pursuant to the duties imposed upon the Attorney General’s Office I hereby certify that the summary is a fair and truthful statement of the proposed law.”

DeWine said also that once the summary language and initial signatures are certified, the Ohio Ballot Board must determine if the amendment contains a signle issue or multiple issues.

That requirement is vital. The reason being is that petitioners must then collect signatures for each issue from registered voters in each of 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties, equal to five percent of the total vote in the county for the office of governor during the immediately previous gubernatorial election.

Total signatures collected statewide must also equal 10 percent of the total vote cast for the office of governor at the last gubernatorial election, DeWine said.

In other words, more than 305,000 signatures will be needed.

The petitioner’s summary is lengthy and detailed. They also claim that the proposed ballot language will exempt so-called “hobbyist breeders.” This term is defined by the petitioners as keeping seven or fewer unspayed female dogs.

Also exempt are those persons who sell 15 or fewer dogs in the state each year.

However, the requirements as stipulated for the generic term “puppy mill” are rigorous. They include defining the parameters of care, how often dogs are to be fed, continuous access to potable water that is “free of contaminants,” access to veterinarian care, sheltering, exercise, and “socialization.”

It even states how many times a “puppy mill”-eligible female dog can be breed: no more than twice in any 18-month period and no more than six times in a female dog’s lifetime.

Many of the demands are quite specific and includes where dogs can be sold. They include animal shelters, animal rescue centers, legally defined hobbyist breeders, and those commercial breeders who are compliant with the proposed Ohio constitutional amendment, should it ultimately be placed on a near future ballot and after it has met all of the initiative petition requirements.

The full text of today’s letter and the amendment petition submitted by the attorneys for “Stop Puppy Mills Ohio” can be found at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/Petitions.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Ohio commercial fishing ban efforts likely to continue in spite of good walleye, perch hatches


Near average hatches of both walleye and yellow perch in Lake Erie's Western Basin will continue to top off the angling tanks of fishers in that end of the lake.

Whether such good hatches will spill over into the Central Basin remains to be seen, though at least for the more migratory walleye, that chance is pretty much a given.

For yellow perch the question is more problematic.

That being said, efforts are underway from Lorain east to the Pennsylvania line to work toward ensuring that recreational perch anglers will find less interference from Ohio's small commercial fishing trap-netting fleet.

More than just talk is beginning to bubble and brew over still-developing plans to eliminate commercial fishing altogether in Ohio's share of Lake Erie. Whether that effort means working towards buying out the commercial fishermen or legislatively banning such activity is still undetermined.

However, meetings have been held in the Central Basin between sport angling activists, state legislators and others to get a move on in ridding Lake Erie of all commercial fishing. Or much more specifically, commercial fishing in Ohio's share of Lake Erie.

Until details are released by proponents of tighter restrictions on commercial fisherman or an outright ban is instituted, Ohio recreational anglers must satisfy themselves knowing that Lake Erie walleye and yellow perch stocks are both doing exceptionally well.

Here, then, is the Ohio Division of Wildlife's official take on this year's walleye and yellow perch hatch in the Lake's Western Basin:


"Each year in August, wildlife agencies from around the western basin of Lake Erie sample the waters using bottom trawls in search of young of the year walleye and yellow perch. Data from these bottom trawls are combined into a basin-wide index, and fisheries biologists compare the figures to previous years to estimate the success of the walleye and yellow perch hatches.

"Biologists from the ODNR Division of Wildlife conducted bottom trawling surveys at nearly 40 sampling locations across Ohio waters of the western basin. This information provide biologists with an estimate of how many young fish will enter the fishable population two years later.

"Based upon results from the August trawl surveys, the 2017 yellow perch hatch was successful in Ohio waters of the western basin. Initial results found 280 yellow perch per hectare compared to the 20-year average of 300 yellow perch per hectare. Five good yellow perch hatches in a row should help the perch population in the western basin continue to rebuild and lead to quality yellow perch fishing over the next several years.

"The 2017 walleye hatch was near the 20-year average in Ohio waters of the western basin. Average to excellent hatches from three of the past four years have resulted in an abundance of young walleye to complement the older and larger fish that make up the current Lake Erie walleye population. Results from Ohio’s surveys found 21 walleye per hectare. The average since 1998 is 22 walleye per hectare.

"During the upcoming months, Ohio and Ontario bottom trawl data will be combined to estimate the basin-wide hatches of walleye and yellow perch. These estimates will be used as part of the annual process to determine jurisdictional quotas.

"Information on the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s Lake Erie research and management programs, fisheries resources, fishing reports, and maps and links to other Lake Erie web resources are available at wildohio.gov."

- By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net



Monday, September 11, 2017

Birders excited that Hurricane Irma's track may shuttle rare bird species to the area

Ohio’s birding community is preparing to make lemonade out of the lemons still tossed about by Hurricane Irma and its aftermath.

With at-one-time a powerful Category Five storm, Hurricane Irma crashed through the Caribbean, swept up the west coast of Florida and is now headed toward the Tennessee River Valley with its remnants possibly to likely invading the Ohio River Valley.

It is what Hurricane Irma is carrying that is intriguing Ohio’s birding community: bird species seldom or even rarely encountered in the state.

“It’s unfortunate that the hurricane happened but birders are prepared to take advantage of potential sightings,” said John Pogacnik, Lake Metroparks’ biologist and an avid birder.

“Hurricane Harvey never did much and it didn’t bring anything into Ohio because it sort of died out,” Pogacnik said.

What makes Irma so different is the anticipated hook the storm’s remnants are anticipated to take; a route that is projected to move north-northwest and then swing northeast.

When freed of the winds and the resulting entrapment, the birds are going to work to find a place to rest their weary wings. This potential appearance of uncommonly to rarely seen bird species could began as soon as the end of this week, Pogacnik says.

Pogacnik says too that sea birds and shorebirds in particular are likely to be Hurricane Irma’s hitchhikers. Among these potential avian visitors are laughing gulls, magnificent frigate birds, and shearwaters.

“These birds may very well have been trapped inside the eye of the hurricane for days, and they could end up along Lake Erie or some of our inland lakes” Pogacnik said. “We also could see some rare terns showing up, too, but it’s all possible. It could be some good stuff.”

Even so, Pogacnik says whatever arrives may stick around for only a day or two and then depart in an effort to return to places the bird is more familiar with in the way of suitable habitat.

However, not all of any arriving refugee bird may make it back home alive, Pogacnik says.

“Some of these bird species can live only in a salt-water environment, and we could see that these birds have died; it’s happened before,” Pogacnik said. “It could go bad for some species.”

As for what Hurricane Irma and its residuals might mean to migrating birds – which have begun their seasonal trek south – Pogacnik says the recent weather events could delay but will not stop, that travel.

Yet whatever happens the birding community is ready, and its spy-glassing citizens are primed to take quick action when news via the Internet appears quicker than a carrier pigeon, Pogachik says.

Among the sites that Ohio birders will find themselves monitoring include the North American Rare Bird Alert (narba.com), ebird.org, burroughsnatureclub.org, and birding.aba.org/maillist/OH.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net

Friday, September 8, 2017

With Irma's eye on Forida, this is what the Coast Guard expended on Harvey

NEW ORLEANS -- The Coast Guard has completed search and rescue operations in response to Hurricane Harvey but continues to work alongside the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other federal, state and local partners to address pollution concerns as a result of the storm.

During their response to Hurricane Harvey, Coast Guard men and women rescued 11,022 people and 1,384 pets.

Involved in the Coast Guard response were:

• 2,060 active duty, Reserve, civil servant and Auxiliary personnel from as far away as Guam, Alaska and Hawaii
• 50 rotary and fixed-wing aircraft
• 75 shallow-water boats
• 29 cutters

Of the 2,519 Coast Guard members who live in the impacted areas in Texas, 51 suffered catastrophic property loss and 124 others reported property damage. Most of the members who experienced these losses were heavily involved in response efforts despite the personal challenges they faced.

“The Coast Guard’s response to Hurricane Harvey is one of the largest our organization has seen in decades, and men and women from the furthest reaches of our service answered the call to assist others in their time of need,” said Rear Adm. Paul Thomas, commander of the Coast Guard 8th District.

“I’m incredibly proud and humbled by the resiliency of our first responders who were deeply impacted but continued to work around the clock to save more than 11,000 people in a matter of days.”

All commercial ports in Texas have reopened, and Coast Guard captains of the port for the Corpus Christi and Houston-Galveston captain of the port zones are continuing to evaluate and reassess port restrictions.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Hurricane Harvey rumor mill bears watching; alerting impacting family members

You can take it to the bank that rumors and false alarms will surely follow natural disasters faster than a tornado, be more powerful than a magnitude 8 earthquake, and sink deeper than flood waters.

Hurricane Harvey is no different. Here is the response from the U.S. Coast Guard and FEMA on rumors spreading through the Houston area. Anyone with family there should alert their relations to be on the alert for scams and rumors.

Hurricane Harvey rumor control

Posted by LaDonna Davis, Thursday, August 31, 2017
There are a lot of rumors floating around the internet in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
Unfortunately, there are also many scams out there trying to take advantage of  people’s good will during this massive flood event. FEMA has put together a rumor control website to fact check many of the rumors and keep the public informed of what’s true, what’s false and how to tell the difference.

HIRING:
Rumor: There are reports of a flyer titled FEMA Field Inspectors needed ASAP and states
Earn $4-5K per week call (214) 284-XXXX between the hours of 9:00am – 11:00am up to August 31, 2017.
This report is TRUE. (August 29/Updated 8/30).
FEMA is hiring field inspectors under a pre-existing contract to assist with surge capacity of field inspections.

Rumor: There are reports stating FEMA is looking to employ 1,000 people offering to pay $2,000/week for 90 days and the phone number to call is 888-776-XXXX.
This report is FALSE. (August 29/Updated 8/30)
Learn more about official FEMA job opportunities to help with the response and review a list of trusted non-profit organizations who are active in disaster response.

IMPERSONATIONS
Rumor: There are reports of people impersonating Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
special agents in Texas.
This report is TRUE. (August 29).
Real Homeland Security Investigations officials wear badges labeled “special agent,” which members of the public can ask to see and verify. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers with Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO)also wear badges labeled with ERO Officer. They also carry credentials with their name and organization. Members of the public who receive such visitors should ask to see these properly labeled badges, and their credentials.
In addition, these officers and special agents would be conducting hurricane relief operations with other local law enforcement agencies. Also note that during Hurricane Harvey relief efforts,
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is not conducting immigration enforcement operations in the affected area.
To report suspicious activity or individuals you believe are impersonating ICE officials, members of the public should immediately contact ICE toll free at 866-347-2423.

UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS:
Rumor: There are rumors undocumented immigrants cannot go to a shelter because they will be reported to ICE or CBP.
This rumor is FALSE. (August 27)
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have stated that they are not conducting immigration enforcement at relief sites such as shelters or food banks. In the rare instance where local law enforcement informs ICE of a serious criminal alien at a relief site that presents a public safety threat, ICE will make a determination on a case-by-case basis about the appropriate enforcement actions.
More information is available at U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) joint statement. The Federal Government strongly encourages all persons to follow the guidance of local officials and seek shelter regardless of their immigration status.
Most shelters are managed by local communities, the Red Cross, and other voluntary agencies. American Red Cross’ humanitarian mission is to feed, shelter, and provide other forms of support without regard to race, religion, or citizenship status.
The Red Cross will not ask people to show any form of identification in order to stay in their shelters. In order to receive some Red Cross services, such as meeting with a caseworker to facilitate disaster recovery, they will need to verify a person’s pre-disaster address. For people who don’t have government-issued identification, the Red Cross can usually do this through alternative means, such as a copy of a utility bill.



- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Jfrischk@Ameritech.net





Coast Guard remains on the front line in Harvey search and rescue operations

While Ohio has not directly sent anyone yet to the Houston area the U.S. Coast Guard
has been very busy there, working with local, state and other federal governmental
agencies as well as such civilian assets as the “Cajun Navy” to offer aid and perform rescue operations.

This is the latest from the Coast Guard:

The Coast Guard Flood Punt Teams rescued more than 940 people in the
greater Houston Metro Area, Wednesday.
"We are assessing the needs of the community around-the-clock and strategically placing
our punt teams in the best place to assist,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Stephanie Tindall,
marine science technician at Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston. “We have been working
closely with partnered agencies to ensure an effective and efficient response effort." 
The Coast Guard has deployed assets and resources from across the country to create
a sustainable response force. 
Currently, there are 33 Coast Guard helicopters and nine Coast Guard Flood Punt Teams,
with 12 shallow-draft vessels, capable of operating in flooded urban areas.
Coast Guard has rescued more than 4,500 people and more than 113 pets.


By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Jfrischk@Ameritech.net

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Coast Guard's diversion to Houston not hampering its role on Great Lakes

Driving a stake into Hurricane Harvey’s heart has proven problematic with the storm expected to spread misery into Ohio – just in time for the Labor Day weekend.

And thus also for the start of Ohio’s early Canada goose-only hunting season, which opens September 2nd; Saturday.

Certainly a missed goose season opener pales in comparison to what the Houston area is undergoing right and what the bayou country of lowland Louisiana will encounter over the next couple of days.

As it stands, only two of Texas’s six ports are open: Brownsville and Port Arthur. Closed still are Galveston, Freeport, Houston, Corpus Christi, and Victoria, reports the U.S. Coast Guard. In Coast Guard parlance, these ports are under what the agency calls “Zulu Status.”

The Guard has been pulling assets from all over to help in the search and rescue as well as recovery efforts in Houston and the surrounding area – an area larger than some New England states.

Responders have encountered an overwhelming need for evacuations and
search and rescue operations. The response to Harvey is drawing upon Coast Guard assets
throughout the United States,” said the Guard’s Ninth District (Great Lakes Region)
headquarters in Cleveland.
In the Great Lakes, this will mean that some seasonally operated units will
suspend their operations at least one week earlier than anticipated.”
In terms of Coast Guard assets diverted to the Houston area, the service reports
that more than 2,000 of its personal are working there along with 20 helicopters
and one airplane (about one-tenth of the service’s aviation fleet), and 20 marine vessels.
Since beginning its assistance in the Houston area, Coast Guard personnel have affected
more than 3,200 rescues of people and more than 110 rescues of pets, the service reports.
Even with a large contingent in the Houston area the service remains
“fully capable of responding to emergencies throughout the Great Lakes,”
said Coast Guard Captain Tim Wendt, chief of response for the Ninth District.
That capability was demonstrated Tuesday when the Coast Guard
joined forces with its Canadian counterpart in a search and rescue operation off Cleveland.
This duel duty came about when a pleasure boat with two anglers aboard was reported overdue.
During the search, a Canadian helicopter located the capsized boat with one of the anglers
clinging to the vessel. The victim was successfully retrieved but the other angler
remains missing and is presumed to have drowned.



Monday, August 28, 2017

UPDATED August 30 - Ohio-based hurricane help assets now in Houston; more on the way


With the Hurricane Harvey remnants still ravaging southeast Texas and specifically the Houston area, Ohio is some fashion will almost certainly have a role in assisting during the emergency.

In fact, that role’s throttle has all ready been engaged and is expected to pick up tempo shortly.

Assets associated with the U.S. Coast Guard’s Ninth District – which covers the entire Great Lakes region and is headquartered in Cleveland – were within the past few days deployed to the Houston area.

FEMA/federally activated Ohio Task Force 1 is now in Texas though the state has not yet sent any assets through a multi-agency compact and as explained August 30th by an Ohio Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman.

Ohio Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Kelly Blackwell said Ohio and Texas are part of a national/state emergency management compact that provides assistance as needed. This compact is activated through electronic communications as a requesting state puts out a request for specific aid.

“And it’s expected that we’ll be asked to provide specialized staffing such as those in communication,” Blackwell said also.

Similarly, even a Geauga County-based no-kill animal shelter anticipates a rippling effect of caring for abandoned dogs and cats; all related to the impact of Hurricane Harvey.

“We’ve sent two Dolphin helicopter from Wisconsin and four air-boats – including one from our Station Marblehead that is typically used for ice rescue operations on Lake Erie,” said Petty Officer Brian McCrum, spokesman for the Coast Guard’s Ninth District Office.

McCrumm said the Ninth District has also deployed about 40 of its personnel to the Houston area of which about one-quarter coming from the Cleveland area.

Ohio Department of Natural Resources Department spokesman Matt Eiselstein, said his agency will work with the Ohio Emergency Management Agency on any request. He added that the last time the agency sent teams out-of-state to assist in rescue and recovery operations was in 2008 for Hurricane Ike.

Yet even weeks and months after Hurricane Harvey has disappeared the storm will leave a footprint that will require Ohio intervention, though of a rather unusual nature.

Geauga County-based Rescue Village – a component of the Geauga County Humane Society and a no-kill all-animals shelter – expects that in coming days it will take on dogs and cats that will need adopting.

However, these canines and kitties will less likely come directly from the Houston area but more likely arriving from shelters in neighboring communities. That’s because the dogs and cats living in those shelters have all ready been passed over for adoption but room will be necessary to accommodate an almost guaranteed influx of pets displaced by Hurricane Harvey, said DeeDee Bondra, Rescue Village’s volunteer coordinator.

“It will be a lot easier to reunite a displaced pet with its owner if the dog or cat is close by instead of it being taken to Northeast Ohio,” Bondra said.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net

Don't be blown away by fake Hurricane Harvey relief pitches

Ohio’s Attorney General says give to Hurricane Harvey relief but do so intelligently.

This from the state’s state’s top lawman on the subject:

Attorney General DeWine Offers Charitable Giving Tips Following Hurricane Harvey, Texas Flooding

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today offered advice to help Ohioans make wise charitable contributions and avoid scams following the catastrophic flooding in Texas caused by Hurricane Harvey.
We encourage people to be generous in helping those affected by the devastating floods in Texas,” Attorney General DeWine said. “We also encourage people to make sure their donations go to legitimate causes, not scammers.  A little bit of research can go a long way to avoid being taken advantage of when helping those in need.”

Tips for making charitable donations after a natural disaster: 
  • Carefully review donation requests. Do some research to make sure your donation will be used as intended. After a natural disaster or national tragedy, some sham charities pop up to take advantage of people’s generosity. Don’t assume that charity recommendations on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites have been vetted. The first donation request you find may not be the best. 
  • Evaluate charities using resources such as the Ohio Attorney General’s Office (or the offices of other state attorneys general), IRS Select Check, Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, and GuideStar. 
  • Beware of “look-alike” websites or accounts. Be skeptical of charities or groups with names that sound similar to well-known organizations. They may be intended to confuse donors. If you receive a message from an organization asking for a donation, confirm that the request truly is from the organization, and not an impostor, by contacting the organization directly or visiting its website. 
  • Be careful when giving to newly formed charities. Some charities that are formed shortly after a natural disaster or tragedy have good intentions but lack the experience to properly handle donors’ contributions. Established charities are more likely to have experience to respond following a tragedy and to have a track record that you can review.  
  • Check out crowdfunding campaigns before donating. If you want to make a contribution using a crowdfunding or peer-to-peer fundraising site, find out how your donation will be used before donating. Try to determine which campaigns are legitimate and supported by those close to the tragedy, and which haven’t been vetted. (Some people ask for donations claiming to help victims but ultimately keep the money for themselves.) Also consider how much of your donation will go to the website itself or whether you will be charged any fees for making the donation. Find out how the website will use your personal information. Be wary of sites that don’t provide a privacy policy.
  • Review claims carefully. Some groups sell merchandise online and claim that “100 percent of the proceeds” will benefit a specific charitable purpose, but this claim does not necessarily mean 100 percent of the sales price will go toward the cause. Contact the organization to ask how much of each purchase will support the cause. If the organization cannot give you an answer, consider donating another way.
  • Contact a charity before raising money on its behalf. If you want to set up a fundraiser for a particular charity, contact the organization in advance and determine how you can properly collect donations. 
Signs of a potential charity scam include:
  • High-pressure tactics.
  • No details about how your donation will be used.
  • Refusal to provide written information about the charity.
  • Organizations with names that sound similar to other better-known organizations.
  • Requests for donations made payable to a person instead of a charity.
  • Offers to pick up donations immediately versus in the mail or online.
Those who suspect a charity scam or questionable charitable activity should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or 800-282-0515. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office investigates and takes enforcement action against charitable fraud.
By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net





Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Coast Guard has proven itself an exceptionally important first-responder allies during Hurricane Harvey’s landfall along the Texas Gulf Course.

This is a summary of the Coastie’s activities that includes the notation that it helped save the lives of 20 people – and one dog. Can’t forget the dog.




Update 1: Coast Guard responds to Hurricane Harvey response 
HOUSTON  — The Coast Guard continues response efforts for Hurricane Harvey’s impact
on the coasts of Texas and Louisiana, Saturday.
Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi aircrews rescued in total 20 people and a dog
after they received reports from watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi
Saturday morning and afternoon.

For more information, please visit our newsroom at http://www.news.uscg.mil/Texas/.
Our Coast Guard members prepare on a daily basis for anything that may come their way,” said
Capt. Kevin Oditt, incident commander, incident command post Houston-Galveston.
Anytime the Coast guard is not conducting a mission, they are training. They are professionals.”
Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston and Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi
captains of the port have set port condition zulu for the ports of Houston, Texas City, Galveston,
Freeport and Corpus Christi except for Port Brownsville, which reopened Saturday morning.
For more information about port condition zulu for Sector Houston-Galveston,
please visit, https://goo.gl/emQeQB.
We are preparing to open ports once the storm has passed or weather conditions permit,”
said Oditt. The wind conditions and sea state determines port conditions.”
Three Coast Guard Western River Flood Punt teams, who use shallow-draft vessels
that are capable of responding in flooded urban areas, have arrived at
Sector Houston-Galveston and three are en route to the Sector.
Coast Guard assets deployed to Houston include:
  • Three 29-foot response boat-small from Coast Guard Station Houston
  • Three 29-foot response boat-small from Coast Guard Station Lake Jackson
  • Two 29-foot response boat-small and five 45-foot response boat-medium
  • from Coast Guard Station Galveston
  • An 87-foot patrol boat from Coast Guard Sector Louisiana
  • Six MH-65 Dolphin helicopters assigned to Coast Guard Air Station Houston
  • One MH-65 Dolphin helicopters assigned to Coast Guard Lake Jackson
The Coast Guard reminds the public of these important safety messages:
Stay off the water. The Coast Guard search and rescue capabilities degrade
as storm condition strengthen. This means help could be delayed.
Evacuate as necessary. If mandatory evacuations are set for an area,
the public should evacuate without delay.
Secure belongings. Owners of large boats are urged to move their vessels to inland marinas.
Trailerable boats should be pulled from the water. Be sure to secure loose items.
Stay clear of beaches.
Stay informed. Information can be obtained through local television, radio, Internet,
and VHF radio channel 16.
For the most up-to-date weather information, visit www.weather.gov. 
For imagery and video of Hurricane Harvey response, please visi
https://goo.gl/4JKLaf.
For frequent updates, please visit Twitter and Facebook at
https://twitter.com/USCGHeartland and https://www.facebook.com/uscgheartland/.

HOUSTON – The Coast Guard is responding to a report of seven people
in distress at their residence near Aransas Pass, Texas, Saturday.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi received a report at 7 p.m.
of seven people, one of which is reportedly on oxygen and had run out,
in need of assistance.

Watchstanders directed the launch of a Coast Guard Aviation Training Center
MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew to assist the individuals.

“In situations like this, the Coast Guard remains flexible in these dynamic environments
and are able to rescue people on sea and land if the need arises,”
said Capt. Tony Hahn, commander, Sector Corpus Christi

By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Jfrischk@Ameritech.net

Friday, August 25, 2017

Coast Guard prepping for Hurricane Harvey, issues maritime restrictions

On the front lines of natural disasters that impact military, commercial and recreational marine-related activities, the U.S. Coast Guard is girding its loins - so to speak - in preparation of Hurricane Harvey, set to soon make landfall along the Texas Gulf Coast.

Harvey is a Category Three storm and is the most powerful hurricane to strike the U.S. in more than a decade. Besides packing winds of 115 to 125 miles per hour, Harvey is also expected to dump water in excess of 40 inches in some locations.

This is the Coast Guard’s official announcement on the hurricane:



HOUSTON — The Coast Guard continues preparations for response efforts for
Hurricane Harvey’s impact on the coasts of Texas and Louisiana, Friday.
Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston and Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi
captains of the port have set port condition zulu for the ports of Houston,
Texas City, Galveston, Freeport and Corpus Christi.
Under port condition zulu for Sector Houston-Galveston: 
  • Vessels and barges are prohibited from transiting the safety zone without
  • the approval of the captain of the port.  If transiting is required,
  • contact the Vessel Traffic Service at 281-464-4837.
  • All cargo and bunkering operations must cease.
  • A radio watch must be maintained on VHF-FM channels 16, 21A, 11, 12.
  • All ports, hatches, portholes and other openings shall be closed and secured.
  • Sufficient crew must be onboard to tend mooring lines and control
  • the vessel in the event of an emergency and
  • at least two anchors must be ready for letting go.
  • Vessels and barges anchored at Anchorage Areas Alpha, Bravo, or Charlie
  • were required to depart anchorage areas prior to 10 a.m. Friday. 
Coast Guard Western River Flood Punt teams, who use shallow-draft vessels
that are capable of responding in flooded urban areas, are en route to three
staging areas in Texas and Louisiana.
The Coast Guard reminds the public of these important safety messages:
  • Stay off the water. The Coast Guard search and rescue capabilities degrade
  • as storm condition strengthen. This means help could be delayed.
  • Evacuate as necessary. If mandatory evacuations are set for an area, the public
  • should evacuate without delay.
  • Secure belongings. Owners of large boats are urged to move
  • their vessels to inland marinas. Trailerable boats should be pulled from the water.
  • Be sure to secure loose items.
  • Stay clear of beaches.
  • Stay informed. Information can be obtained through
  • local television, radio, Internet, and
  • VHF radio channel 16.

By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net