Tag Archives: Lake

Great Salt Lake is shrinking fast. Scientists demand action before it becomes a toxic dustbin.

Human water consumption and diversion have long depleted the Utah lake. Its level today is inches away from a 58-year low, state officials say, and Western drought conditions fueled by the climate crisis have exacerbated conditions.
The worst part? It’s only July, and the lake historically doesn’t reach its annual low until October.
Lucy Kafanov of CNN and Kevin Perry ride bikes Tuesday on the dry lake bed playa of the Great Salt Lake.
“I have never seen it this bad — not in my lifetime,” said Andy Wallace, soaring over the body of water in a prop plane, as he’s done for years as a commercial pilot.
Simply put, the largest salt lake in the Western Hemisphere is shrinking rapidly. Left alone, the lake’s footprint would span 2,100 square miles — more than three times the area of Houston. An analysis published last year showed that water siphoned off the rivers that feed the natural wonder had reduced its level by 11 feet, depleting the lake area by more than half.
“Twenty years ago, this was under about 10 feet of water,” said Kevin Perry, chairman of the department of atmospheric sciences at the University of Utah, as he rode a bike in July across the desiccated lake bed.

Dying organisms and arsenic

Perry and other scientists worry they’re watching a slow-motion calamity unfold. Ten million birds flock to the Great Salt Lake each year to feed off of its now-struggling sea life. More pelicans breed here than most anywhere else in the country.
The trouble trickles up the food chain. The Utah Geological Survey openly expressed its fear Thursday that the shrinking lake levels threaten to kill microbialites — underwater reef-like mounds that help feed brine flies, brine shrimp and, thus, the 338 species of birds that visit each year.
Pelicans gather in June on an island on Farmington Bay near the Great Salt Lake.
“We think of these structures as living rocks,” said Michael Vanden Berg, manager of the survey’s energy and mineral program. “The population in Great Salt Lake is one of the largest accumulations of modern microbialites in the world.”
If the lake continues to recede to historic levels, a heretofore unseen proportion of the lake’s microbialites will be exposed, a news release said. It can take only weeks for the microbial mat to erode off the “living rocks,” it said, and it could take years to recover, even if lake levels return to normal.
Brine shrimp, also known as sea monkeys, are also battling the rising salinity that comes with less water. They’re not just bird food, either. They’re exported as fish food, and commercial harvesting contributes to an estimated $ 1.5 billion economy — which, along with recreation and mineral extraction, helps feed fishers and others living around Great Salt Lake.
Economic downturn isn’t the only threat to humans in the area. Utah’s soil is naturally high in arsenic, a toxic compound that causes a frightening range of health problems. When it washes downstream, it lands in the lake, Perry said. When the wind blows, as it regularly does quite fiercely, it kicks up the dusty lake bed.
A bison walks in April along the receding edge of the Great Salt Lake on its way to a watering hole at Antelope Island, Utah.
“One of the concerns we have is the particles that are coming off the lake getting into people’s lungs,” he said. “Fifteen to 20 years ago, when the lake was higher, most of these dust spots were covered up, and if you cover them up with water, they don’t produce dust. And so as the lake has receded, it’s exposed more and more of that lake bed. … As we get the larger area, we have more frequent dust storms.”
Owens Lake, a mostly dry lake east of the California’s Sequoia National Forest, was diverted to the Los Angeles Aqueduct almost a century ago, Perry noted. Though some water is returning to the lake, its dry bed is the largest source of PM-10 pollution — large, inhalable dust particles — in the nation. Great Salt Lake is much larger than Owens Lake, and whereas the population around Owens Lake is about 40,000, there are more than 2 million people living around Great Salt Lake, Perry points out.
“This lake could become one of the larger dust emission sources in North America as well,” he said. “Right now, the lake bed is protected by a fragile crust, and if that crust is disturbed or erodes over time, then this lake could start to emit a lot more (dust).”

‘We’re on the doorstep of a catastrophe’

A dried-out portion of Great Salt Lake is seen Wednesday from the air.
Huge swaths of the Utah lake look more like Death Valley than any waterway, the ground barren and fractured from dry heat. Other areas look like sprawling street puddles. Birds wade through shoreline muck along empty marinas, their slips sagging to the ground.
“The saltiest sailors on the planet have had their sailboats hoisted out of the Great Salt Lake’s marinas by crane in recent days, due to dropping Lake levels,” the Utah Rivers Council wrote in the introduction of a report warning that a dam, pipeline and reservoir proposal to the east will only compound problems.
While human behavior remains scientists’ primary concern, the lack of rain out West isn’t helping. Great Salt Lake now is like water sitting in a plate, whereas most lakes resemble a cup, said Jaimi Butler, co-editor of the 2020 analysis showing the lake area had shrunk by 51%.
The shallow waters are more prone to evaporation in drought conditions, and while the lake’s level ebbs and flows over any given year, the lake tends to reach its low point in the fall, around October. The lake will continue to drop and shrink over the next three months, and the water level could sink as much as 2 more feet by Halloween, Butler suspects.
“Keeping water in Great Salt Lake is the biggest thing that keeps me up at night,” said Butler, a wildlife biologist who grew up around the lake and serves as coordinator for the Great Salt Lake Institute at Westminster College. “We’re on the doorstep of a catastrophe.”

Mother Nature and residents must join forces

Butler wept contemplating the ramifications of not taking strong action to save the waterway.
“Great Salt Lake will be an environmental, economic and, really, cultural catastrophe all in one,” she said. “I grew up here. A place becomes you. … We are all Great Salt Lake. All of us are, and we shouldn’t let it go away.”
Humans created the problem, and humans will have to take part in the solution, she said. Curbing water usage and raising water utility rates to deter waste would be a start, she added.
Jaimi Butler poses along the receding edge of Great Salt Lake.
Despite the warning bells, water meant for Great Salt Lake continues to be diverted to farms, ranches and cities — the latter of which enjoy some of the cheapest water in the nation, Butler said.
Salt Lake City residents paid one of the lowest water rates of major US cities, according to an analysis by Circle of Blue, a nonprofit advocating for responsible stewardship of water resources. A family of four using a 100 gallons a day paid $ 32 a month in 2018 — about half of what New Yorkers paid, a third of what Atlantans paid and a quarter of what San Franciscans shelled out that year. Among the major cities, only Memphis residents paid less.
But it seems residents around Great Salt Lake have been acting more conscientiously, said Marcie McCartney, the water conservation and education manager for the Utah Division of Water Resources.
“Everybody around and in that basin is doing all they can to use water as wisely as possible,” she said. “We’re seeing a lot of (water) saving this year, which is awesome, but the Great Salt Lake is definitely suffering, and the only way we’re going to get those lake levels up higher is a better water year for our snow pack.”
The Great Salt Lake recedes in May from Antelope Island near Salt Lake City.
Officials charged with monitoring the snow runoff into streams and reservoirs must calculate how much is needed for water supply — drinking, agriculture, etc. — and the rest can be released downstream into Great Salt Lake, McCartney explained. This year’s “poor snow pack” melted too quickly, she said, “and the soil is really thirsty.”
“Mother Nature is going to take her share first, and we’ll get the rest,” she said.
In November, Butler co-wrote an obituary for Great Salt Lake in Catalyst Magazine, based in the Utah capital.
“Great Salt Lake experienced her final glimmering sunset today, succumbing to a long struggle with chronic diversions exacerbated by climate change,” it began. “Her dusty remains will be scattered across the Salt Lake Valley for millennia — we will be constantly reminded of her passing by our air quality monitors.”
Visitors stand in June in the shallow waters of the Great Salt Lake.
The piece laid out the history of the reservoir, how it found itself in dire straits and what concerned Utahans can do to change the narrative and amplify their voices to save the beloved body of water.
“There was action to prevent the death of Great Salt Lake, but it was too little, too late,” the obit read. “She supported Utah’s economy for many years, but we did not adequately fund her healthcare in time. Had we done so, we may not be mourning her death today.”
Speaking to CNN, Butler reiterated many of those points, imploring, “We’ve changed our world, and we need to change our behaviors to keep incredible ecosystems that include humans like here at Great Salt Lake.”

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Former Prior Lake standout Dawson Garcia transferring from Marquette to North Carolina

Prior Lake native Dawson Garcia announced Thursday that he is transferring from Marquette to North Carolina, where he will team with another Minnesotan in Kerwin Walton.

The 6-11 Garcia averaged 13 points and 6.6 rebounds per game last season as a freshman at Marquette. He earned Big East All-Freshman Team honors and shot 35.6% percent from three-point range.

Garcia tested the NBA Draft waters but pulled out to maintain his college eligibility. Marquette went 13-14 last season, and changed coaches from Steve Wojciechowski to Shaka Smart.

At North Carolina, Garcia will play for new Tar Heels coach Hubert Davis, the team’s longtime assistant who took over after Roy Williams retired.

North Carolina went 18-11 last season, with Walton, a 6-5 guard from Hopkins, averaging 8.2 points per game and shooting 42% from three-point range as a freshman. Garcia and Walton were AAU teammates with D1 Minnesota.

Author: Joe Christensen
Read more here >>> usnews

Everything we saw at the Fourth of July celebration at San Antonio’s Woodlawn Lake

By San Antonio Current Staff

Last year, San Antonio’s official Fourth of July celebration at Woodlawn Lake was cancelled due to the pandemic. As you can see, people turned up this year ready to have a great time. Here are shots of folks enjoying the food and fun — and a sampling of the nighttime fireworks that closed out the festivities. 

Read more here >>> Texas News

'No one wants to work anymore': Oasis on Lake Travis needs employees

AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Friday, the extra $ 300 a week in federal unemployment assistance for the COVID-19 pandemic ends in Texas.

According to data from Indeed, in states where they have already ended that extra money, fewer people are searching for jobs compared to the rest of the nation. In states yet to end the benefits, people are searching for jobs at a higher rate.

Despite the concern, the Austin Chamber of Commerce reported Austin regained 97% of the jobs lost due to the pandemic last spring.

Leisure and hospitality industries added 4,800 jobs last month, which is nearly 74% of all jobs lost in that industry in March and April last year.

This data makes it tough for some restaurants who are searching for workers. The Oasis on Lake Travis, a popular Austin-area attraction, is saying “no one wants to work” there.

Outside the Oasis, you’ll find a sign that reads: “Thank you for coming. We are short staffed. Please be patient with the staff that did show up. No one wants to work anymore.”

The Oasis on Lake Travis now hiring (KXAN/Kaitlyn Karmout)
The Oasis on Lake Travis now hiring (KXAN/Kaitlyn Karmout)

“The entire public is ready to come back, and enjoy the summer as much as possible,” said Billy Enney, Oasis assistant general manager.

It’s a great, but frustrating struggle for Enney, who does the scheduling for staff at the Oasis.

“I’m more flexible than I’ve ever been before. We’re accepting part-time work, we’re accepting less than part-time work,” said Enney.

As a manager, he’s having to work in the kitchen and wait tables too to fill in those gaps. Enney said staffing is down by 30% for the summer peak hours. Generally the Oasis needs 200 employees to efficiently run during the summer. Right now they’re a little over 100.

“We’ve tried incentive programs, we’ve tried referral bonuses, we’ve raised the pay across the board,” said Enney.

In Austin, the Capital Area Workforce Solutions organization helps connect people to jobs. Leslie Puckett, a research director for the group, said unemployment in Austin is trending down.

“Some individuals are still hesitant to move into those face-to-face jobs,” said Puckett.

In May 2021, more than 30,000 new jobs were posted for the Austin metro area. 5,000 of those postings were for the tech industry, with roughly 3,000 being for retail.

The National Restaurant Association blames three things for the shortage of employees: People nervous about working in a close environment, switching from cooking and serving to driving for Door Dash or Uber Eats and unemployment benefits that often exceed the pay for some jobs.

“Everyone is different, and everyone has a different situation in life with their family and health,” said Puckett.

Enney is banking on the worker pool expanding as benefits run out.

“We’re pretty much always at 90% capacity for the first floor,” said Enney.

According to Capital Area Workforce Solutions, the Austin-area unemployment rate is 4.2%, which is about 54,000 jobless residents. That number is 2% higher than pre-pandemic, however, it’s still less than the national unemployment rate at 5.5% and the Texas unemployment rate at 5.9%.

Author: Kaitlyn Karmout
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

Boil water notice lifted for Lake Jackson residents after low pressure

LAKE JACKSON, Texas (KTRK) — The city of Lake Jackson lifted its boil water notice Monday morning after city officials announced a drop in water pressure Saturday afternoon.

As of 8:30 a.m., residents are no longer required to boil water before use, according to a press release from the city.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality reportedly required city officials to notify all customers to boil their water prior to consumption.

On Sunday, city said authorities were still testing the water due to requirements when pressure reaches below a certain level.

“The public water system has taken the necessary corrective actions to restore the quality of the water distributed by this public water system used for drinking water or human consumption purposes and has provided TCEQ with laboratory test results that indicate that the water no longer requires boiling prior to use as of June 21, 2021,” Monday’s press release said.

This boil water notice came months after a previous advisory was issued when a 6-year-old boy died after coming in contact with contaminated water.

The family of Josiah McIntyre said he became sick after playing in a Lake Jackson splashpad.

According to officials, water samples taken from that splashpad were in fact contaminated with a brain-eating amoeba. Officials from the city of Lake Jackson said they were responsible for Josiah’s death.

SEE ALSO: City officials in Lake Jackson take responsibility after amoeba threat

A boil water advisory can be issued under a number of circumstances from natural disasters, like in the aftermath of hurricanes and winter storms, to sudden emergencies like a water main break.

The notices are issued when an area’s water is, or could be, contaminated with bacteria that could make you sick.

Boiling kills disease-causing organisms, including viruses, bacteria and parasites.

You’ll want to boil water before you do anything that involves human consumption, such as drinking, cooking, and brushing your teeth.

The following information is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here are some common questions and answers about boil water advisories.

What should I do if a boil water advisory is in effect?

If you have bottled water available for drinking and to prepare and cook food, you can use that. But if bottled water isn’t available, it’s advised you:

  • Bring water to a full rolling boil for 1 minute (at elevations above 6,500 feet, boil for three minutes)
  • Allow the water to cool before use
  • Boil tap water, even if it is filtered
  • Don’t use water from any appliance connected to your water line, such as ice and water from a refrigerator
  • Breastfeeding is the best infant feeding option. If you formula feed your child, provide ready-to-use formula, if that’s available

Note that many cities and communities surrounding the Houston area said you can boil the water for at least two minutes.

SEE ALSO: Boil orders in effect for much of the Houston area

Is it safe to brush my teeth?

Only brush teeth with boiled or bottled water. Do not use untreated tap water.

What about hand washing under a boil water notice?

  • In many situations, you can use tap water and soap to wash your hands. Still, follow the guidance of your local health officials.
  • Make sure you scrub your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Rinse hands well under running water.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Is it safe to bathe and shower?

You can use the water for bathing and showering, but you must be careful not to swallow it. Use extra caution when bathing babies and young children. Consider giving them a sponge bath instead.

Can I wash dishes and laundry under a boil order?

According to the CDC, it is safe to wash clothes as usual. But you’ll need to follow a few more guidelines for dishes.

  • If possible, use disposable plates, cups, and utensils during a boil water advisory
  • Household dishwashers generally are safe to use if the water reaches a final rinse temperature of at least 150 degrees Fahrenheit (65.55 degrees Celcius), or if the dishwasher has a sanitizing cycle

What if I need to clean?

Use bottled water, boiled water, or water that has been disinfected with bleach to clean washable toys and surfaces.

Follow these CDC guidelines carefully as it relates to using bleach.

How do I care for my pets under a boil order?

Provide bottled or boiled water after it has been cooled for pets. Why? Because they can get sick by some of the same germs as people or pets can even spread germs to people.

You’ll need to follow the order until your local health or city officials have deemed it safe to end it and resume consumption.

Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.

Author: KTRK

This post originally appeared on ABC13 RSS Feed

Lake District spot is ‘haunted’ by ghost army on horseback that appears in June

Legend says that the fellside on the edge of Blencathra is home to a ghost army that has been seen on a few occasions at this time of year. It is thought that the army was first seen during the evening of Midsummer’s Day in 1735 when a servant saw a line of soldiers on foot and horseback marching across the fell.

According to Lancashire Live, two years later the servant’s master and other family members witnessed the same sighting, which was apparently five men deep.

Ten years later on Midsummer’s Day evening in 1745, the spirits were seen by 26 people who even testified on oath as to what they had seen.

They claimed to have watched a line of marching troops, cavalry and even carriages travelling along the summit ridge for hours.

READ MORE:NASA discover ‘weird’ planet similar to Earth

One of the lakes itself is thought to be haunted. According to legend, when the villages around Lake Windermere are about to come under harm, a white horse can be seen walking across the lake to warn residents.

In addition, one of the UK’s most haunted castles, Muncaster Castle, sits in the Western Lake District. There have been claims of footsteps in the corridors and doors opening on their own.

For those who want to experience the spooky castle they can attend a  ghost vigil or, if you are brave enough, you can spend the night in the Tapestry Room, the most haunted part of the building.

Additional reporting by Sarah Hodgson.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Weird Feed

This Is the Story of a Man Who Jumped Into Lake Michigan Every Day for Nearly a Year

CHICAGO — One Saturday last June, Dan O’Conor began his day in a prickly and painful state. He was anxious from the coronavirus pandemic, troubled by American politics and, on this particular morning after celebrating his son’s high school graduation with neighbors and a few tumblers of bourbon, spectacularly hung over.

Fed up with his whingeing, his wife, Margaret, ordered him out of the house. He climbed on his bike and rode three miles east to Lake Michigan, where he could see the skyline of downtown Chicago shimmering to the south.

Mr. O’Conor stood on the lip of concrete at the edge of the lake, where the water below was maybe 15 feet deep and a bracing 50 degrees. His head throbbed. He jumped.

“It felt so good,” he said. “I just wanted to block it all out, the pandemic, everything.”

This is the story of a 53-year-old man who has jumped into Lake Michigan every day for nearly a year. Mr. O’Conor’s jumps have followed the complete arc of Chicago’s seasons, from the gloriously warm to the punishingly frigid and back again. And they have nearly traced the pandemic, too, from its early months till its waning days in the Midwest.

The daily jump began as a private ritual, a way to escape the demoralizing news of the day, get a little exercise and cheer himself up with a bike ride and the splendor of the lake.

One year later, it has become something else entirely.

What was once a solitary morning dip in the lake now attracts a regular crew of spectators: family members, friends, casual acquaintances, fishermen and, on some days, a pair of chatty women from Poland who stop by on their daily stroll.

The jump is a musical performance, too, ever since Mr. O’Conor began inviting local bands — many of them out of work because of the pandemic — to serenade him as he leaps into Lake Michigan.

And there are thousands of online watchers: Mr. O’Conor posts a short clip of his daily jump on Twitter and Instagram.

That was where I first glimpsed Mr. O’Conor, who posts under @TheRealDtox, a nod to his side gig making stenciled rock T-shirts, which he sold at Lollapalooza and other festivals in the days before Covid.

Last fall, I was in the middle of a year of reporting that was focused on the pandemic’s human toll. After interviewing people who lost spouses, relatives and friends, emotional conversations that could stretch for hours, sometimes I would decompress by lying on the rug in my home office, taking a few minutes with my spine pressed to the floor. Other times I would log on to Twitter and watch a man I had never met flop into Lake Michigan.

It turns out plenty of other people shared this tiny pandemic escape.

“All of us were sitting at home, bored and scared and unsure of what’s going on in the world,” said Bob Farster, a real estate agent who is a neighbor of Mr. O’Conor’s. “And here’s this guy with a weird mustache who keeps jumping in the lake and he’s having a blast doing it every single day.”

After the first morning’s jump, Mr. O’Conor came back the next day, and the day after that. Somewhere around the fourth day, he posted a picture on social media. About a month later, a friend asked him if he was still jumping in the lake.

“During the pandemic, it was a sort of light,” he said. “Everything was so dark with the pandemic and the protests and politics. Then people were like, how long are you going to do it? What are you doing it for?”

Mr. O’Conor did not know how long he would keep jumping, or even particularly why he kept jumping, morning after morning. But there was something about the whole endeavor that appealed to his big, obsessive personality and his appreciation for routines. Before the pandemic, Mr. O’Conor, a stocky, gregarious former advertising executive for Spin magazine with unruly hair, attended music festivals and shows at least twice a week — and took a small notebook where he wrote down every song that the bands played. There is a plastic bin crammed full of notebooks in his garage.

In times of great stress like the pandemic, rituals can take on a heightened importance. In March 2020, New Yorkers leaned out of apartment windows, clapping for health care workers each night at 7 p.m. sharp. Other people, jittery at home, baked bread daily, scheduled a Zoom call with their families every Sunday, or went for a walk at the same time each evening.

The daily jump was slowly becoming Mr. O’Conor’s own way through the pandemic.

During the winter, there were days he could not really jump at all: When Lake Michigan was covered with snow and ice, he had to break through with a shovel to find a place to carefully drop into the lake, then climb out again. A woman interrupted him at the water’s edge once, concerned about his mental health.

“Are you trying to kill yourself?” she asked.

“No, I’m just jumping in and getting out,” he replied.

Steve Reidell, a musician in Chicago, played with a band during one of Mr. O’Conor’s particularly icy mornings. To get to the water’s edge, the band pulled a portable amp on a cheap plastic sled.

“I was like, ‘Do I want to play a show outside in the winter, even if it’s just one song?’” he said. “But I was pretty moved by what he was doing.”

Some people found it infectious, diverting, even inspiring. Others wondered if he had gone crazy.

“I never got this straight-up from people,” said his wife, who runs a food pantry in Chicago. “But people who have a penchant toward not being risk takers would give me a ‘How can you let your husband do this?’ kind of thing. But you’re with somebody for 30 years, you tend to get to know them. I’m not going to be able to tell him not to do it.”

One of Mr. O’Conor’s jobs is driving a paratransit bus in the northern suburbs of Chicago, taking people with health issues or disabilities to their appointments from early afternoon until late evening — work that allowed him the time to do the jump each morning.

A few months in, a local media outlet, Block Club Chicago, caught wind of his jumps, amplifying the attention from friends and acquaintances.

One friend who was going through personal problems began coming to the lake for the jumps, just to start his day on a lighter note and get his mind off the negative. Mr. O’Conor, an extremely social person before the pandemic, found that because of the jumps, he was renewing old friendships, making new ones and getting notes from people he had not heard from in 20 years.

Elaine Melko, a photographer who knew Mr. O’Conor as a fellow parent at youth baseball games, has found herself drawn to the lake with her camera, in part for the chance to socialize a little.

“It’s almost been like a bar without drinks,” she said. “Getting together by the lake and having a little conversation, and then everyone has to go home.”

Last week, Mr. O’Conor arrived at his usual spot at 10:30 a.m., wearing a long robe — a thrift-shop find originally from the Kohler spa in Wisconsin — he had stenciled with the words “Great Lake Jumper.” The sun was intense; a few people sat around talking as Tim Midyett, a local musician, warmed up on the guitar.

“I haven’t played in front of anybody since January 2020,” he said.

Mr. O’Conor prepared for his jump. There is nothing elegant or artful about his technique. He does not swan dive or cleanly disappear into the water. He plunges, messily. Sometimes he executes a solid, and fairly impressive, back flip.

He was still cheery as he emerged, dripping, from the water, and insisted on doing another couple of tries before he left.

“Refreshing,” he said of the water. “Takes your breath away.”

Serendipity is guiding the end of his yearlong quest: On Friday, Chicago will become one of the biggest cities in the country to fully reopen, with the lifting of pandemic restrictions and capacity rules in restaurants, bars and Mr. O’Conor’s beloved live-music venues.

He has something big planned for Saturday, a grand finale by the lake on the 365th day. There will be surprise guest musicians, pulled pork sandwiches, veggie burgers and popcorn. Mr. O’Conor does not know how many people will show up. But he is expecting that at least some of them will jump in.

Author: Julie Bosman
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News

Lost engagement ring found at bottom of England’s largest lake by freediver

Lost engagement ring found at bottom of England

LAKE WINDERMERE, England — Forget finding a needle in a haystack, how about finding an engagement ring at the bottom of England’s largest lake?

Freediver Angus Hosking answered the call when couple Rebecca Chaukria and Viki Patel lost their diamond ring off the end of a jetty on Lake Windermere, in the Lake District, northwest England, just two days after getting engaged.

The couple were having photographs taken when the ring slipped off Chaukria’s finger on Monday. The couple initially tried to use the photographer’s tripod to reach the ring but it only pushed it further into the mud at the bottom of the lake, Hosking told CNN in a phone call on Saturday.

Patel told CNN he panicked when the ring fell in and tried to rescue it himself but the water was “absolutely freezing” and he couldn’t see a thing.

Hosking heard about the couple’s plight via a friend and rushed down to the jetty as soon as he finished work. The 21-year-old had been helping to clear trash from the Lakes for three and a half years and set up the group Lake District Diving with his friend Declan Turner to tackle the problem.

It’s not the first time he has been asked to rescue valuables in the process, and he told CNN he knew only too well that it could take minutes or hours.

“As soon as I put my head under the water the visibility was absolutely terrible so it didn’t fill me with confidence. I couldn’t see anything,” Hosking explained.

“It was just all silt — really fine mud — even if you drop a penny it goes straight to the bottom,” he added.

Fortunately after 20 minutes searching with an underwater metal detector and a few false positives, Hosking scooped up the ring.

Patel described Hosking as a “brilliant guy” and said his fiancee was “speechless” when he emerged with the ring. “Now she’s never taking it off,” he joked.

Hosking said Patel “couldn’t stop saying ‘thank you.’ He just kept on saying it, it was brilliant.”

Patel had planned to propose on five different occasions — but they had all been scuppered by coronavirus restrictions.

Patel said if restrictions allow he would love to invite Hosking to their wedding in August.

Author: CNNWire

This post originally appeared on ABC13 RSS Feed

Llano County man indicted for ‘Lady in the Lake’ murder from 15 years ago

Llano County man indicted

LLANO COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — A man was indicted by a grand jury on a murder charge May 3 in connection with the death of a Buchanan Dam woman who went missing nearly 15 years ago.

The Llano County Sheriff’s Office said Jimmy Don Wolfenbarger is accused of murdering Holly Marie Simmons, who originally went missing from her home in Buchanan Dam in November 2006. Her remains were found July 2009 in Inks Lake.

Simmons’ brother, Paul Wishman, and sister, Deb Sherwood, spoke with KXAN on Wednesday and both said they were “relieved” after waiting 15 years for something to happen in her case.

“There was always that little glimmer of hope that it would happen,” Wishman said.

“Our mom had been in contact with a Detective Williams for the last 15 years, calling him once a month, getting, you know, updates and whatnot,” Sherwood said. “The phone call came in Monday morning, just before 11 o’clock, saying that, you know, they had him that he was arrested and was going to be indicted.”

Holly Marie Simmons went missing from her home in Buchanan Dam in November 2006.
Holly Marie Simmons went missing from her home in Buchanan Dam in November 2006.

Wolfenbarger turned himself in to the Lubbock County Jail Wednesday. He was released after posting a $ 2 million bond, according to the sheriff’s office. He was also ordered to turn in his passport.

Sherwood and Wishman said they weren’t surprised when they learned Wolfenbarger had been arrested for the murder. Simmons had been living on his family’s property, and he was her landlord at the time of her disappearance.

“What we’ve been told over the past 15 years is he was the main suspect,” Sherwood said. “But, there wasn’t enough evidence.”

The siblings were both disappointed Wolfenbarger bonded out of jail.

“I don’t think he should have ever been able to have bond,” Wishman said. “He should be behind bars.”

“Hopefully he doesn’t get away, and hopefully they’ve got a good case, and justice will be served for her, her kids, her grandkids and the rest of the family,” Wishman said.

A case that started in 2006

On Nov. 29, 2006, Simmons, who was 45 at the time, was reported missing “under suspicious circumstances” from her home, located at 216 Cortez Trail in Buchanan Dam. She was last seen the day before sending her daughters off to school just before 7 a.m.

Both the sheriff’s office and the Texas Rangers have been investigating the case.

“Her purse, her cell phone, her car were at the house when her daughter came home that afternoon, but she was missing at the time,” said Llano County Sheriff Bill Blackburn in an October 2015 interview with KXAN.

Nearly three years later on July 7, 2009, possible human remains were reported to be in Inks Lake, which is east of Buchanan Dam off Highway 29 about 6.7 miles away from Simmons’ home.

The sheriff’s office, Texas Rangers and personnel with the Lower Colorado River Authority responded to the call. Some recreational divers had found the remains at the bottom of the lake, near its center, under the Highway 29 bridge, according to the sheriff’s office.

Investigators previously told KXAN the body was 18 feet deep and weighed down by 600 pounds of concrete.

Two days later on July 9, 2009, the Texas Department of Public Safety Dive Team recovered the remains, the sheriff’s office said. The remains were taken to the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office, as the case turned into a homicide investigation.

“There was physical evidence that something did occur at the house,” Sheriff Blackburn said in the past interview. “We don’t think she left the house alive.”

Almost two months later, on Sept. 1, 2009, the medical examiner’s office was able to identify the body as Simmons through dental records. Her death was then ruled a homicide.

Today, Simmons would’ve been 60 years old. According to a KXAN Investigation from October 2015, investigators believed she had been murdered violently in her home — and that she knew her killer.

“I will say that is was a personal type of death… it was someone she knew,” Blackburn said in 2015.

With few clues and evidence, investigators had little to go on for 12 years. It is not yet clear how the case was broken after or who came forward with more information.

Author: Jaclyn Ramkissoon
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

UFO formation over Salt Lake City leaves witnesses baffled – claim

A clear blue sky on a Salt Lake City day led to an unexpected sighting in the sky. Witnesses were stunned to see an odd formation in the sky which seemed to have a choreographed motion. One witness saw the odd entities on their lunch break from work and snapped a video.
They submitted their sighting to UFO investigation network MUFON, claiming the objects were like orbs.

They said: “I was driving back to work from my lunch break when I saw what looked to be shiny balloons in the Sky but then they were behaving a little odd for balloons.

“When I looked harder I thought maybe they could be birds but they were disappearing and reappearing, dancing and making shapes, they seemed to be like orbs not birds.

“There was about 10 of them moving oddly in the sky, so I pulled over and took a video.”

Another person also witnessed the strange formation, and said the objects looked red.

They submitted to MUFON: “Saw some object/light in the sky appear quickly, looked red to my eyesight.

“I could visibly see no trail, when zooming in on the video and snapping photos you could see the motion blue showing the object moving away from me.”

However, there is likely to be a more logical explanation than an alien invasion.

One person wrote in the comment section of the YouTube channel UFO Institute to which it was uploaded: “Could be drones, not sure, lots of patterns.”

Astronomer Chris Impey, from the University of Arizona, said most UFOs have “mundane” explanations.

He argued there are billions of objects in the space near Earth which are more than likely the inspiration for supposed UFO sightings.

He wrote in The Conversation: “Most UFOs have mundane explanations.

“Over half can be attributed to meteors, fireballs and the planet Venus.

“Such bright objects are familiar to astronomers but are often not recognised by members of the public.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Weird Feed