Miracle Cave Rescue of Thai Soccer Team

The Thai Navy Seals announced the good news on their Facebook page this morning. All 12 boys and their soccer coach are out of the cave they were trapped in northern Thailand.

“Hooyah!   12 wild pigs and coaches our of the cave. Safe everyone. This time waiting to pick up 4 frogs.”

Today’s rescue of the remaining 4 boys and their coach took less time, around 8-9 hours, NBC News reported this morning, the third day of the rescue mission.  The rescued today were taken to the hospital in Chiang Rai by helicopter and ambulances to join the rest of the rescued team members.

The young soccer team, ages 12-16, and their coach were missing on June 23rd.  Thai Navy Seal divers miraculously found them inside the dark, partially flooded Tham Luang Cave on July 2, 2018.    As the world watched and prayed, volunteer help and international divers also joined the operation to find and rescue the soccer team. After they were found, the trapped soccer team received food, water and medical treatment via the divers. As water was pumped out the cave, the divers took oxygen tanks inside the cave and used guide wires to reach the boys.

With monsoon rain starting and oxygen levels dropping inside the cave, the rescue operation started this weekend.

One of two ambulances leave the cave in northern Thailand hours after operation began to rescue the trapped youth soccer players and their coach, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand, Sunday, July 8, 2018. Chiang Rai province acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn, who is heading the operation, said earlier Sunday that 13 foreign and five Thai divers were taking part in the rescue and two divers will accompany each boy as they’re gradually extracted. He said the operation began at 10 a.m., and it will take at least 11 hours for the first person to be taken out of the cave. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

The harrowing rescue involved diver teams with oxygen tanks to rescue each member of the soccer team through 2.5 miles of the dark and partially flooded cave over the last 3 days.   Four boys were rescued on Sunday, July 8, 2018. Four more boys were rescued on Monday.   The remaining 4 boys and their coach were left behind in the dark, lonely cave until they were rescued this morning.

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Thai Soccer Team

Monday, July 9, 2018  10:36 p.m. CDT

Tesla and Space X’s Elon Musk tweeted this update 5 hours ago:

“Just returned from Cave 3. Mini-sub is ready if needed. It is made of rocket parts & named Wild Boar after kids’ soccer team. Leaving here in case it may be useful in the future. Thailand is so beautiful.”

  Photos: Elon Musk

Images, photos:  Thai Navy Seals via AP, Express.com UK




Monday, July 9, 2018, 8:05 a.m. CDT —A total of 8 soccer team boys have been rescued.  Four more boys were rescued by Thai Navy and international dive teams with oxygen tanks from the Tham Luang Cave in northern Thailand today.  The rescued boys were brought out on stretchers.  As night falls in Thailand, the rescue operation is done for today. Four soccer team boys and their coach remain in the cave. The 4 boys rescued today were taken by helicopter and ambulances to a hospital in Chiang Rai. Parents have not been allowed to see the rescued boys, but they are reported to be healthy and hungry for fried rice, Thai officials told reporters.

Sunday, July 8, 2018 , 10:15 p.m. — The dangerous rescue of the remaining boys on a soccer team and their coach in a north Thailand cave is underway.  Divers rescued 4 boys earlier Sunday. The acting governor of Chiang Rai province confirmed 4 boys were rescued. The strongest boys were rescued first. The boys trapped in the cave for 16 days, were escorted by divers through the 2.5 miles of darkness and murky waters of the partially flooded cave. The 4 boys were helicoptered and taken by ambulance to a hospital in Chiang Rai.  Torrential rain outside and dropping oxygen levels inside the cave forced Thai officials to rescue now. People have been praying for the Thai soccer team and rescue operation. International divers, including divers from the United States, Great Britain, Australia, are there to help the boys and coach get to safety.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

It’s a race against time,  dropping levels of oxygen in the cave and monsoon rains in the weather forecast to rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped deep inside a partially flooded cave in Chiang Rai in northern Thailand.  Thai Navy Seal divers found them all alive on late Monday, July 2, 2018.  The soccer team and coach had been missing since June 23.  The search and rescue efforts in Mae Sae have attracted international attention and volunteer help. The Associated Press reported the boys are in stable condition. The soccer team is being treated by medics and receiving food and water inside the cave. The boys reportedly don’t know how to dive and swim. Their soccer coach has apologized for what happened. Rescue efforts include pumping out water from inside the cave and extending lines of oxygen into the cave.  One Navy Seal died this week during the rescue operation.

On CNN this week,  a former U.S. Navy Seal in Colorado said making the young soccer team dive to safety could be deadly.

Tesla and Space X’s Elon Musk is sending a team of engineers to help in the rescue effort.

“Some good feedback from cave experts in Thailand. Iterating with them on an escape pod design that might be safe enough to try. Also building an inflatable tube with airlocks. Less likely to work, given tricky contours, but great if it does,” Musk tweeted today.

After an explosion in August 2010, 33 miners were trapped in a mine in the desert in Chile for 69 days. The Chilean government contacted NASA for help. They were individually lifted up in a capsule, going up 2,300 feet to safety, according to the Washington Post and the Smithsonian Institute.


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U.S. China Trade War in the Wok

As the U.S. China trade war ramps up, it could affect what’s in your wok, stock in the kitchen pantry or buy at grocery stores to cook Asian dishes. Above, items found in our kitchen pantry: dried Canton noodles, wheat starch to make Dim Sum, dried Shitake sliced mushrooms and Shao Hsing Cooking Wine–all products of China.  We’re keeping them because the expiration dates are still good or until they run out.

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Houston News

Houston Police are looking for two unknown suspects who robbed a store at 7003 McHard Road and killed an employee. The fatal robbery happened around 9:35 p.m. on July 3.  Jose Fidel Gomez, 63, was pronounced dead at the scene.  Police say  two unknown suspects wearing gloves and hoods approached the front door.  The first suspect showed a gun and demanded money from the store clerk. The other suspect acted as a lookout.   A co-worker, Mr. Gomez, pulled out a gun and shot at the suspect trying to rob the store. The suspect and Gomez fired at each other, but Gomez was killed.  Both suspects fled the store on foot. Anyone who has information on the suspects is urged to call the Houston Police Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.


On July 3, State District Judge Mark Morefield dismissed the case  of James Noteware vs. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and the City of Houston.  In December 2017, a voter sued the City of Houston to challenge the results of the November 7, 2017 election.  During that election, Houston voters overwhelmingly approved the pension bonds.

“These pension bonds are a critical part of our pension reform statute and plan, and I am very pleased with the judge’s ruling,” Mayor Turner said in a news release.


No one was hurt during a house fire and explosion.   It happened  in the 90 block of N. Bryan  in Houston’s Second Ward on June 29, 2018 at 9:49 a.m.  The Houston Fire Department estimates $140,000 in damage.  The cause of the fire in the one-story brick home is under investigation by the HFD arson division. HFD reports there was a small fire inside the home and the explosion blew out the outside walls.   The fire was put out quickly.  Firefighters from Stations 20, 18, 17 and 42 responded.


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July 4th Fireworks on Television

After the flash floods and heavy rain on July 4th, there were public fireworks displays in Houston.  Although private July 4th fireworks with family, friends and neighbors are banned in Harris County, the skies lit up with fireworks on television.

The fireworks show from the city’s cancelled  Freedom Over Texas festival was broadcast on KTRK–TV. The outdoor Miller Theater’s July 4th celebration with fireworks in Hermann Park  went on.  For those who stayed home, there also were fireworks and music on the Capitol Fourth on PBS, the White House July 4th on the Hallmark Channel and the Macy’s Fireworks show on NBC to watch on July 4th.

Here’s a brief look at the televised fireworks displays on July 4th with  “God Bless America” sung by Celion Dion.


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Houston High Water Spot on July 4th

The water is still high at 610 South and the Westpark Tollway underpass on Post Oak for drivers headed to Bellaire or Meyerland from the Galleria area. These photos and video were taken around 4:45 to 5 p.m. on July 4th.  KPRC-TV reported a high water rescue of a driver earlier today at this location.  Since this morning, the water has slowly receded and the southbound underpass remains closed tonight.

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Flash Flooding in Houston

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch until 9 p.m. CDT for the following counties in southeast Texas:

Chambers…Coastal Brazoria…Coastal Galveston…
Coastal Harris…Fort Bend…Galveston Island and Bolivar
Peninsula…Inland Brazoria…Inland Galveston…Inland Harris
and Southern Liberty.”

Local officials urge people to stay home and wait for water in flooded streets to recede before traveling to celebrate the rest of July 4th.

Street flooding has been reported in the metro Houston area along the SW freeway (HW 59) and Interstate 10,  in SW Houston, NW Houston and west Harris County.

Stay tuned to the National Weather Service, local television station broadcasts, emergency management, flood control district officials on social media for updates.

Freedom Over Texas Special Events  Susan Christian and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner canceled Houston’s July 4th celebration for safety reasons.  However, the fireworks show will go on at 9:35 p.m.  Christian said ticket holders will get a refund, but it will take some time.  Eleanor Tinsley Park will be closed for those who wanted to watch the fireworks there. The heavy downpours also flooded parts of the park.

“I am a kid at heart. Very rarely do I want to cancel a fireworks show. Tonight the Freedom ver Texas fireworks show will go on. The show allows us to pay homage to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice so we can enjoy the freedoms we cherish everyday.” Mayor Turner said at a news conference this afternoon and on Twitter.

“We are asking people not to come to Eleanor Tinsley Park. We do not want people to slip and fall at the venue. You can watch tonight the fireworks show on @abc13 Houston (KTRK-TV),” Mayor Turner said.

Mayor Turner tweeted if your car was towed to call 713-308-8580 to check on the status or visit findmytowedcar.com.

As the downpours continued earlier today, some streets flooded in Bellaire, West University and Southside and other parts of Harris County. Flash floods made driving hazardous at the intersection of Bellaire Boulevard and 610 South, Bissonnet to Fournace Place at 610 South and the Southwest Freeway and 610 interchange.  The Westpark Tollway at 610 South near Bellaire to and from the Galleria became filled with water. Since 2 p.m., water has receded in some of these flooded areas. Intersections in Bellaire along 610 South and Bissonnet Street were clear for travel by 5 p.m.

Below driving on Bellaire Boulevard from Rice Avenue to 610 South at 9:55 a.m. today.

Bellaire City officials say they cancelled the annual July 4th Parade and Festival due to lightning. They also thanked the volunteers and participants for sticking it out and presented awards for the entries.

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Houston DWI July 4th

Houston Police Department Traffic Enforcement Division commanders, AAA Texas and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office have a strong message for motorists during this July 4th holiday.  Don’t drink and drive. They held a news conference today to prevent people from drinking and driving.  Outside HPD’s downtown headquarters, the group displayed the deadly results of drunk driving for the public.

Video runs: 2:59

0:11  D.N. Egdorf, Houston Police Department DWI Task Force

0:42  Ruben Perez, Bureau Chief Special Crimes Unit, Harris County District Attorney’s Office

1:55  Joshua Zuber, AAA Texas Senior Public Affairs Specialist

Houston Police and law enforcement will have increased patrols to pull over drunk drivers this July 4th.

“Have a plan. Are you toing to take a taxi? Do you have a designated driver? Are you going to use Uber? Have a plan because once you leave without a plan, it’s too late,” said Harris County Assistant District Attorney Ruben Perez.  Perez also is the bureau chief of the DA’s Special Crimes Unit.

“If you drink and drive and hurt somebody, you’re going to jail. You can be sure we’re going to prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law,” said Perez.

Joshua Zuber of AAA Texas encourages people who’ve had too much alcohol to call their toll-free number 1-800-AAA-HELP for a free ride home.  AAA Texas also offers free towing up to 10 miles, but the user of the free towing service must pay the towing contractor any fees over the 10 mile limit.

The AAA Texas free rides and towing service are available from 6 p.m. July 4th through 6 a.m. July 5th.

—Carol Lim



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July 4th

Happy Independence Day and July 4th, America!

On July 4, 1776,  the Second Continental Congress adopted the Thomas Jefferson draft of the Declaration of Independence. On this day, 13 colonies unanimously declared their independence from Great Britain.  The Declaration of Independence was signed on August 2, 1776 at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. The historic events later led to the formation of the United States and July 4th as a federal holiday in America.  July 4th also is known as Independence Day.  Above, a parchment souvenir copy of the Declaration of Independence.

The original Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are on display in the Rotunda of the National Archives building in Washington, DC.

Sources: National Archives, History.com


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Metal Detectors for Santa Fe School District

Photos: Santa Fe ISD and Huffington Post

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick announced today he is donating up to 10 metal detectors to the Santa Fe Independent School District to help the school district update the security of its entry ways before school starts in August.  The donation still needs the approval by the Santa Fe School Board.

Garrett Metal Detectors, a Texas company also is donating metal detectors to Santa Fe ISD and has agreed to do a security analysis and train school staff for free.

On May 18th, a 17-year-old Santa Fe High School student came to school, shot and killed 10 people that included 8 students and 2 teachers.

Last week a large group of Santa Fe parents asked the Santa Fe ISD School Board to install metal detectors at all schools before classes start again after the summer break.

“On the day of the shooting in Santa Fe, I made securing the entrances and exits to our schools a top priority. Santa Fe parents have asked for immediate action to secure the entrances to their schools and I want to make sure that if the Santa Fe ISD School Board wants to install metal detectors they can do so.

“Today I am also pledging that the Texas Senate will create a new matching fund program in the next legislative session for other schools that want to install metal detectors or use wands for inspection. Schools that install detectors or buy wands before next session can be reimbursed retroactively through the matching program.

“We know we need a comprehensive plan to secure our schools statewide and there is no ‘one-size-fits- all’ strategy. Each district will decide the path best for them.” Lt. Governor Patrick said in a news release today.

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