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*Scattered showers and thunderstorms high 82
*Today many new state laws go into effect including a new state law that lowers the minimum wage from $10 to $7.70 per hour. At least 100 area businesses say they plan to keep the higher rate. Mayor Lyda Krewson and St. Louis County Exec. Steve Stenger are planning a rally to annouce their next steps to fight for higher pay.
*There are new laws that take effect today. Most of them were passed by a Republican leg legislature. One law imposes a higher standard for proving workplace or housing discrimination in court. That change has been praised by Republican Gov. Eric Greitens and business groups, who say it has been too easy to sue for alleged discrimination and that the change will help businesses.The Missouri NAACP opposes the change. State chapter President Rod Chapel says the organization might sue the state over the law.
*Tropical Storm Harvey continues to do more damage than officials can keep up with.
With up to three feet of rain already on the ground in areas around Houston, officials were forced to start releasing water from two dams overnight, earlier than they'd planned. And forecasters say another two feet of rain is possible in the area. Officials say even the controlled releases may not be enough if the rain doesn't relent, and if the dams were to fail, half of Houston would be underwater.
The intense flooding has made it impossible to get an accurate count of fatalities, but the Houston Chronicle has confirmed at least five deaths.
About 50,000 people south and west of Houston are now under a mandatory evacuation order because of anticipated flooding from the Brazos River.
Meanwhile, the National Hurricane Center expects Harvey to meander back over the Gulf of Mexico and undergo some minor restrengthening before coming back ashore in the middle of the week.
Hurricane Harvey Was The Fiercest Storm In Over A Decade-
Hurricane Harvey was the largest storm to hit Texas since 1961’s Carla and though expected to be a Category 3 on landfall was Cat 4. And it made two landfalls. So far, the storm has claimed at least three lives. The first was in the town of Rockport. At least 14 people have been injured.
Over 300-thousand people are without power and Governor Greg Abbott says it will be days until electricity is restored.
The decisions of Houston’s leaders are already being criticized as they were against widespread evacuations. Hundreds of water rescues occurred in the city just yesterday. The governor urged more people to flee, but Houston officials recommended no widespread evacuations, citing greater danger in having people on roads that could flood and the fact that the hurricane was not taking direct aim at the city.
Overnight, regional authorities issued immediate mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders. Flash floods will be a threat to the area through Thursday.
Source: Houston Chronicle
States Send Help To Overwhelmed Texas-
With rain from Tropical Storm Harvey not letting up until possibly Thursday, Texas needs help. And they are getting it.
Teams from around the country are headed to Texas to help rescue and first response efforts.
Indiana's Task Force 1 Water Rescue Team is on their way. Officials announced yesterday that the 14-member team had been activated. Indiana's Task Force members will be getting resources like food, fuel, and equipment to save lives. Missouri, California, and at least ten more states are involved in the response.
More than 100 NYPD and NYFD members are also on their way to Houston. They will distributing emergency supplies as well as doing rescues and damage assessment. The teams are part of the Urban Search and Rescue Task Force network set up by FEMA.
Accused Attempted OKC Bank Bomber To Get Competency Test-
The man accused of trying to set off a vehicle bomb outside a downtown Oklahoma City bank will receive a mental competency hearing.
According to court documents released Friday, there is reason to believe Jerry Drake Varnell is suffering from a mental disease and is unable to aid in his own defense. The 23-year-old Varnell was arrested earlier this month after allegedly trying to detonate what he thought was a one-thousand-pound bomb outside the BancFirst Building. The mental evaluation will be conducted over the next 30 days and all court proceedings in the case have been placed on hold.
Varnell is said to have been inspired by the movie “Fight Club.”
*Cards lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2, Cards are off today... they play the Brewers tomorrow, its an away game!