Train carrying munitions derails east of Elko; I-80 reopened

ELKO, Nev. — More than a dozen cars of a Union Pacific train derailed east of the town of Wells, Nevada, Wednesday morning.

The accident caused a section of Interstate 80 to close for several hours because of the volatile nature of some of the train’s cargo.

According to Elko County Sheriff Aitor Narvaiza, some cars of the train were carrying military grade munitions and chemicals.

“According to the manifest, there was ammunition, grenades, explosives,” Narvaiza said.  “We were pretty lucky to dodge a bullet today.”

After members of the Elko County SWAT team investigated the explosives, it was determined they were not in the cars that derailed.

“If that stuff would have breached, we would have had explosives on the ground,” Narvaiza said.  “If any of those tankers

Photo courtesy Nevada Highway Patrol

would have ruptured, it would have been pretty ugly for anybody on the ground and in the city of Wells.”

Narvaiza said officials with the U.S. Department of Defense arrived on scene to oversee the transport of the items that did not derail to a secure location.

The sheriff said aluminum oxide powder leaked from some of the cars, but it is a non-hazardous skin irritant that can be washed off.

Officials with Union Pacific said the train was headed west from North Platte, Neb. to Roseville, Calif.

A tween from Nevada Emergency Management indicated nine flat cars, two tankers and three box cars derailed.

Investigators with Union Pacific are working to determine the cause of the accident.

Sheriff Narvaiza was informed the NTSB will not be on site to investigate.

No injuries were reported.

It is unclear when the wreckage will be cleared and the tracks repaired.

Eastbound I-80 was closed at mile marker 352 and westbound was closed at mile marker 360, and drivers were detoured onto US 93. The road has since reopened.

Video posted by Michael Lyday on Twitter shows the aftermath of the derailment.

Wells is a small town located between Elko and the Nevada-Utah border.

Utah will charge some vehicles for every mile driven on the roads

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s Department of Transportation will launch a program next year that will charge drivers for every mile they use the roads.

At a meeting of the Utah State Legislature’s interim Transportation Committee, lawmakers were briefed on the program being launched in October, with driver signups beginning in January.

“Utah could be the first state that actually does this!” said Sen. Wayne Harper, R-Taylorsville.

UDOT is implementing a road use charge to address declining gas tax revenues, which pay for road construction and repairs.

“The gas tax is being eroded by cars that are getting good mileage that are electric and they aren’t actually paying tax,” UDOT Deputy Director Teri Newell told FOX 13.

The proposal would be to charge .015 cents per mile to electric and hybrid vehicles, based on a GPS measurement of how far they are driven. For example, 10,000 miles would be about $150. Or, drivers could sign up to pay a flat fee that would be equivalent to (and could be in lieu of) vehicle registration with the state.

Other states are considering similar programs, but only Utah and Oregon are moving beyond a pilot project. The state is already contracting with a third-party to handle GPS tracking to avoid privacy concerns.

Newell insisted the program was not designed to penalize people for purchasing fuel-efficient vehicles. UDOT is aiming for the program to be revenue neutral.

“We’re trying to make it the most fair possible and make it a fee based on how much you use the system,” she said.

Right now, UDOT is seeking volunteers for a January 2020 signup. Lawmakers asked about it making money, and how it would impact vehicles from out of state and local roads.

“What is your plan, or when do you anticipate making it mandatory at this point?” asked Rep. Melissa Garff Ballard, R-North Salt Lake.

“As we start to learn more with the program there are other things we might consider,” Newell told the committee.

Rep. Adam Robertson, R-Provo, asked about expanding it to gasoline-powered vehicles. The legislature would ultimately decide when to fully adopt a per-mile charge for every vehicle.

“I think it has some great potential,” he said, praising the program. “It has some great implications for funding transportation in the state in general. I like the principle of taxes that are use-based.”

Thatcher Company’s chemical leak, injuring 56, is latest in series of incidents involving facility

SALT LAKE CITY — Thatcher Company’s sulfur dioxide leak Wednesday morning, injuring at least 56 people, is just the latest in a series of incidents involving the company.

For those who have been following the news in Salt Lake City over the past 30 years, the company’s name should sound familiar. Officials with the Salt Lake City Fire Department said the company used to be notorious for spills but has since had fewer incidents needing attention.

Thatcher Company’s most notable case took place in 1991.

According to the Associated Press, the same facility was responsible for a sulfur dioxide spill that affected more than 500 people. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the company $175,000 and found employees responsible for 13 violations, ranging from serious to willful.

In 1998, a number of cars were contaminated by ferric chloride, which leaked from a Thatcher Company truck.

In September 1999, Thatcher Company released a thick cloud of chlorine into the atmosphere. Crews said the leak occurred when one of the pressurizers had a little too much pressure in it, allowing the excess gas to escape. Paramedics treated about a dozen people for chlorine exposure. At the time, FOX 13 reported this was the sixth incident in the past decade.

In October 1999, witnesses reported a large vapor cloud over the Thatcher Company complex and called 911. Investigators said employees experienced a larger chemical reaction than expected, causing gases to escape.

In 2001, two people were exposed to sulfur dioxide because of a leak at the facility. One of the victims was driving on Interstate 215 when he inhaled the chemical. Another victim, who worked at a neighboring business, was treated for exposure. Police blamed a “mechanical failure.”

In 2003, about 150 people evacuated from six neighboring businesses because of a hydrochloric acid spill. Crews shut down part of I-215. At the time, FOX 13 reported this was the 14th chemical incident at Thatcher Company since 1991.

In 2004, a chemical explosion at Thatcher Company created a scare for employees. One employee was doused with sodium thiocarbonate but was not hurt according to firefighters.

In 2012, the Salt Lake City Fire Department traced an ammonia-like cloud to Thatcher Company’s facility, which shut down segments of Redwood Road and California Avenue.

TJ Harward, who works next to Thatcher Company, said he refuses to drink tap water at work because he’s not sure what types of chemicals might be in the ground. He said he hasn’t experienced anything “too scary” in the past six years.

“Haven’t really had any — anything like this ever happen,” Harward said. “I’ve never been evacuated in the six years I’ve been here… I was just wondering what the heck was going on, and if it was an actual drill or whatnot, because usually when they do drills they have two guys who come in and tell us, ‘We’re doing a drill so don’t be too alarmed.’”

Harward said he did not know about the large sulfur dioxide spill in 1991 or the handful of other cases that have been in the news since.

“Every once in a while you get a little whiff of something, but nothing I guess too scary,” he said.

According to OSHA records, investigators last fined the company in 2011 for two serious violations. FOX 13 is still working on obtaining details on that case.

The Environmental Protection Agency last inspected the company 548 days ago. It started as a routine checkup, with inspectors acknowledging there have been previous violations. Thatcher Company received violations, but FOX 13 is working on obtaining details on that case.

Officials with the Salt Lake City Fire Department said Thatcher Company is “notoriously” responsible for being slow to report incidents.

In this most recent case, firefighters said victims called 911 to report the incident instead of the company. FOX 13 is working on obtaining copies of the 911 calls for further review.

FOX 13 has repeatedly reached out to representatives with Thatcher Company, but we have not received a response thus far.

Carnival or Oceania: Can You Cruise with Your Vapes?

Is smoking on cruise ships legal or not? We’re going to let you know what you can and cannot smoke on a cruise. Getting your facts straight before getting to the dock is the best way to avoid surprises.

We always want to encourage you to practice safety and know the rules of vaping. This will ensure that you, your family, and your environment remain safe. Get the most out of your upcoming cruise, and read on to see if your vape pen can tag along!

Smoking on Cruise Ships: What You Need to Know to Have A Great Trip…

All cruise lines will differ in how they handle smoking. It’s important to check in with guest services for information on policies. Most times, there are clear signs in staterooms or along bars.

It’s also important to be mindful of other guests. While we all want to vape at our leisure during vacation, it can be uncomfortable for others.

Carnival Cruise Line

For the Carnival cruise line, you can expect there to be a designated area for smoking. This would include vaping because all indoor smoking is prohibited. They do have casinos and cigar lounges which all for some indoor vaping.

That means you can’t smoke in your stateroom or on the veranda. Housekeeping checks the room every night as they service your beds and baths. Hints of vaping or smoking will then lead to a hefty fine.

Oceania Cruise Line

Like the Carnival, Oceania allows smoking and vaping only in certain locations. This spot is, for the most part, found at the top deck near a bar. Again, check in with guest services for directions, or start by checking the pool area.

Oceania’s staterooms are smoke-free, and they always have a smoking/vaping fee. Unlike Carnival, Oceania doesn’t have any indoor smoking.

Nicotine and Batteries: Staying Safe

The most important thing to know about vaping is that it contains nicotine. Nicotine is addictive and can lead to health problems or worsen pre-existing ones. Be mindful and conscious of your vaping habits to ensure safe, responsible use.

Being on vacation can make you more comfortable with taking an unusually higher dose. Symptoms of nicotine overdose include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Shaking
  • Heart palpitations

Be aware of how much you smoke, especially while on a cruise where you might have alcohol. Practice safety and never mix any medicines without consulting a medical professional. Another safety note is to have a working vaping battery for your trip!

Buy new accessories so you’re set to vape for the duration of your trip. Make sure to store your vape in a travel case.

Can You Smoke on a Cruise Ship?

Smoking on cruise ships or vaping depends on the ship you chose. Most ships offer designated areas for safe smoking. Never light up in a stateroom without checking the policy!

Avoid any uncomfortable confrontations by being mindful of other guests and children. If you have more questions about where you can and can’t vape, check out our blog for everything on safe vaping!

Teaching English Abroad: What Qualifications Do You Need?

Teaching English Abroad: What Qualifications Do You Need?

teaching Engligh abroad

About 1.5 billion people across the world are currently learning English. That opens up a lot of potential jobs for those who want to pursue a career in teaching English abroad.

The prospect definitely sounds alluring. You get to experience living in a completely new country and enrich the lives of children and adults as they strive to master their English skills.

But what exactly does it take to teach English abroad? Do you need a degree in teaching or classroom experience?

Hold on tight as we dive into what qualifications are necessary to teach English as a foreign language.

Native English Speaker

English is quickly becoming the language spoken amongst international businesses. Many foreigners strive for English fluency, so they can get promotions at work and communicate flawlessly with clients from around the world.

Part of excelling in any language is having the accent down, leading many language schools to require teachers to be native English speakers. Some even go as far as to require teachers to have a specific accent, like American or British.

Native English speakers also understand various slang words, or how the perceived meaning of a word can vary based on inflection or usage. This is something that even the most advanced non-native speaker may struggle to understand themselves.

This qualification is popular among many major countries in Asia, including China, South Korea, and Japan. However, many European, Southeast Asian, and South American countries are not as strict.

College Degree

What degree you’ll need, or if you’ll need a degree at all, vastly differs depending on which region you wish to teach in.

Many European countries and the major Asian countries (China, Japan, and South Korea) will want a bachelor’s degree. This doesn’t have to be in teaching or English, though. Many schools will accept any bachelor’s degree.

Southeast Asia and South America often don’t require a degree at all. However, some may require an associate degree or show preference to those with a degree.

The Middle East can be the hardest region to get into as many schools require a master’s degree. They may also require prior experience.

TEFL Certification

TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. This certification is by far the most valuable tool in your arsenal. You’ll learn teaching techniques, how to create lesson plans, and how to deal with the communication barriers in the classroom.

The majority of schools will require a TEFL certification, no matter what region they’re located in. However, it is possible to volunteer in countries like Africa without a certification.

Most schools don’t require prior experience, but you may need this in order to teach abroad without a TEFL certification. You could find work through an online school or become a freelancer in order to build up your portfolio. However, it’s generally much easier to find work abroad with certification under your belt.

Teaching English Abroad

Teaching English abroad is a great career option for anyone who wants to see the world or make a difference. With a TEFL certification in hand, you’ll be able to teach English in Southeast Asia and South America. Add a bachelor’s degree and being a native English speaker on top of that, and your options are seemingly limitless.

Do you have all the qualifications you need? Then check out our job board to find the perfect position today.

Iran Shoots Down U.S. Spy Drone; CENTCOM Says It Was In International Airspace

Updated at 7: 30 a.m. ET Iran’s Revolutionary Guard announced Thursday that it had shot down a U.S. drone over its territory to send “a clear message” to America, but a U.S. official tells NPR that the targeted unmanned aircraft was operating in international airspace. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said Thursday that it downed an RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance drone that had entered Iranian airspace around Kouhmobarak district in country’s south, near the Gulf of Oman. “Iranian reports that the aircraft was over Iran are false,” U.S. Central Command spokesman Navy Capt. Bill Urban said Thursday. “This was an unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset in international airspace.” Gen. Hossein Salami, the IRGC commander, was quoted by The Associated Press as saying Iran does “not have any intention for war with any country, but we are ready for war.” U.S. Central Command says Iran used a surface-to-air missile system to shoot down the U.S. Navy Broad Area Maritime

Vape pen explosion shatters Nevada boy’s jaw, breaks his teeth

Warning: This article contains a photo some may find graphic

NEVADA – The 17-year-old traveled 250 miles with a bloody mouth, broken teeth and a hole in his jaw, trekking from a small town in Nevada to a pediatric hospital in Utah with his mother. There, doctors rushed him into surgery, working to reconstruct and repair shattered bone.

What he told doctors shocked them: The boy was vaping when, without warning, his e-cigarette exploded in his face. The freak accident, described in a case study published Wednesday, is just one of thousands in recent years.

“People need to know before they buy these devices that there’s a possibility they’re going to blow up in your pocket, in your face,” said Dr. Katie Russell, the trauma medical director at Primary Children’s Hospital who first treated the boy.

It’s unclear what type of e-cigarette was involved in the incident.

Thousands of explosions and fires

One study published in 2018 estimated that more than 2,000 e-cigarette explosion and burn injuries sent users to US hospital emergency departments from 2015 to 2017. But few are aware of just how serious the incidents can be.

The teen from Nevada said he had no idea his vape could explode, according to Russell. He repeated the line over and over again in the emergency room, she remembers, and he was still “pretty freaked out” hours after the explosion.

“At that time, in my career, I had never seen this. I never heard of this as a possibility” said Russell, who described the boy’s injuries in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“I just wanted to get this out there so other people could know that this was possible,” she added.

The boy Russell treated was “a tough kid,” she said, and he healed well. But others have been less fortunate.

Two dead, others injured in e-cig explosions

In February, a Texas man died after his e-cigarette exploded and shrapnel tore through his carotid artery. Part of the device remained lodged in the man’s throat at the hospital, according to his family.

About a year ago, a Florida man was also found dead after his e-cigarette exploded during use, sending a projectile into his head. Both cases involved “mechanical mods,” larger vaporizers that have more powerful batteries than many typical devices.

Both deaths were in adults, but numerous teenagers have reported burns from similar e-cigarette explosions. The injuries have mounted as experts warn of an “epidemic” of teen vaping, with almost 40% of 12th-graders using the devices, according to a report released last year.

One teen in Oregon nearly lost his eye when his vape exploded two years ago, according to CNN affiliate KYTV. Another 17-year-old told CNN affiliate KNXV in 2016 that “it was like [a] bomb going off” before her clothes caught on fire and an e-cigarette explosion left her with burns across her chest, arms and hands.

In one case from 2017, a 14-year-old girl was burned when an e-cigarette exploded in a nearby college student’s pocket while she was on a Harry Potter ride at Universal Studios. A year earlier, another 14-year-old was blinded after an e-cigarette exploded in a Brooklyn mall, according to CNN affiliate WPIX.

‘Blast injuries’ and skin grafts

While experts and advocacy groups have long raised questions about the health effects of vaping, the risk of explosions and fires has received less attention. Some researchers, though, have sounded alarms.

The boy healed well after six weeks and two surgeries, although he still hasn’t received implants for his missing teeth. (Dr. Micah Katz & Dr. Katie Russell/NEJM)

In a 2016 letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine, doctors at the University of Washington Medical Center described 15 patients who had suffered from e-cigarette explosions in less than a year.

Most accidents involved flame burns, and almost 30% of patients endured “blast injuries” that led to “tooth loss, traumatic tattooing, and extensive loss of soft tissue.” The flame burns required wound care and skin grafts, the doctors wrote.

They added that “e-cigarettes remain largely unregulated” and warned that although “these incidents were previously thought to be isolated events, the injuries among our 15 patients add to growing evidence that e-cigarettes are a public safety concern that demands increased regulation as well as design changes to improve safety.”

FDA ‘concerned’ but doesn’t mandate e-cig recalls

Industry groups remain wary of regulation, arguing instead that manufacturers need the freedom to easily make changes to — and improve — their products. “We need to make sure that we’re not going to be regulated out of business,” said Ray Story, the founder of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association.

“The industry can always do more,” Story said, but he blamed consumers for some of the accidents. While batteries may explode, he said, “a lot of that happens because of the failure of the consumer to actually charge those batteries properly.”

Last year, R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company initiated a voluntary recall of 2.6 million power units for fire risk, but the FDA — which has regulatory jurisdiction over e-cigarettes — has not mandated any e-cigarette recalls in response to the recent explosions.

The agency said in a statement that it was “concerned” about “overheating and exploding batteries.” It recommended that consumers consider “using devices with safety features, preventing loose batteries from contact with metal objects, using the correct charger and not charging [a] battery overnight or [leaving] it charging unattended.”

The FDA also launched a website titled “Tips to Help Avoid ‘Vape’ Battery Explosions,” but Russell, who treated the Nevada teenager, believes many users aren’t even aware that e-cigarettes can explode — meaning they don’t seek out resources on battery safety.

“A pack of cigarettes says this can kill you,” Russell said. While e-cigarettes warn that nicotine is addictive, they seem to offer little information on battery risk, she said.

The safest option, according to Russell, may be to avoid vaping altogether. “The mom actually used one of these devices too,” she said. “After this, they all stopped.”

56 people suffer respiratory symptoms after chemical spill in Salt Lake City prompts hazmat response

SALT LAKE CITY — Hazmat crews responded to a chemical facility in Salt Lake City after up to 1,000 pounds of product was spilled, leaving a total of 56 potentially exposed patients.

Officials said the spilled product is sulfur dioxide, which can cause respiratory symptoms at high concentrations. 

Eight patients were transported to a local hospital for treatment but have been released, according to Intermountain Healthcare Media Relations Manager Erin Goff.

Some patients were at the facility where the spill occurred, Thatcher Chemical near 1910 West 1230 South, and others were at nearby locations.

Ryan Mellor, a Division Chief with Salt Lake City Fire, said two rail cars bumped into each other, which caused some hoses to tear and product to spill.

Authorities became aware of the spill around 8:40 a.m. after several reports of an odd smell with accompanying respiratory symptoms.

“We were able to trace it down here to here at Thatcher Chemical, where initial reports say there were about 1,000 pounds of a product that was spilled from a rail car,” Mellor said.

Mellor said there are several patients being treated for “respiratory symptoms” in connection with the spill. He said as the wind changes others in the area may experience symptoms and he encouraged people to avoid the area near Fortune Road and Wallace Road.

The leak has been stopped but the product spilled on the ground has not yet been contained. Mellor said between 400 and 1,000 pounds were spilled.

“The incident shouldn’t be getting bigger because the spill has been contained, but now comes the hard part—now comes the work,” Mellor said.

Exclusive: U.S. tells India it is mulling caps on H-1B visas to deter data rules – sources

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The United States has told India it is considering caps on H-1B work visas for nations that force foreign companies to store data locally, three sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters, widening the two countries’ row over tariffs and trade. FILE PHOTO: A man holds the flags of India and the U.S. while people take part in the 35th India Day Parade in New York August 16, 2015. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo The plan to restrict the popular H-1B visa program, under which skilled foreign workers are brought to the United States each year, comes

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Liquid Technology’s IT Asset Disposal Solutions Expands to Chicago

Originally posted to Data Center POST Data Center POST interview with Richard Greene, Managing Partner, Liquid Technology By Contributing Editor Sarah Chamberlain Richard Greene is Managing Partner for Liquid Technology, an industry-leading IT asset disposition (ITAD) service provider. As a founding member of the company, Richard has been instrumental in helping the company evolve into […]

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