Monday, January 08, 2007
Let's see now...
New York and New Jersey stink - but we all knew that already (New Yorkers - you will be reluctant to admit it and I would be remiss if I did not remind you that "I told you so" - but, the fact is that "I told you so" - indeed! You can profess to "loooove Nuuuuu Yerchh" all you want - we know it and you know it; deep down, it isn't even remotely true! If you'd make a bundle in a jiffy, you'd high-tail it out of there faster than I can drill into your cranium the mere CONCEPT that "New York Stinks"... But I digress once again...)
What else... Ah yes - the Birds!
Alas, it was they who were dead, not humans - proving once again that real life bites and can never be as blissful as cinema... Especially Hitchcockian film nirvana! But that is another story in itself...
Wow - two mysterious and freakish occurrences in less than 24 hours here...
The NY Stink that bothered everyone "where it all happens" so much (and destined to be more famous -or infamous really- than the blackout when S.o.S. was in town and the greatest collapse in major sports history -the Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series, opposite the determined and eventual World Champion Boston Red Sox!) and then there was the extremely mysterious Austin, Texas deaths of dozens of birds all over downtown... Pigeons, sparrows and grackles were found dead all along Congress Avenue, a main artery, and there seems to be no reason for their sudden dropping down dead from the sky...
There's never two without three... Deaths come in threes... And, as we know, "three's a crowd"... Still, the obvious third mystery around these days is the weather itself, evidently...! All over the east coast, January is feeling like late April - and that is very bizarre indeed!
Add a personal note to all this - me being in a funk, distraught for a thousand and one reasons it seems - and the apocalypse is actually a very *agréable ambiance* right at this moment, I'd dare to proclaim...!
By JIM VERTUNO, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 11 minutes ago
AUSTIN, Texas - Police shut down 10 blocks of businesses in the heart of downtown early Monday after dozens of birds were found dead in the streets, but officials said preliminary tests showed no dangerous chemicals in the air.
As many as 60 dead pigeons, sparrows and grackles were found overnight along Congress Avenue, a main route through downtown. No human injuries or illnesses were reported.
"We do not feel there is a threat to the public health," said Adolfo Valadez, the medical director for Austin and Travis County Health and Human Services. He said preliminary air-quality tests showed no dangerous chemicals and the area should reopen around noon.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke said officials had no credible information to suggest any imminent threat to the city.
On Congress Avenue, just outside the state Capitol, emergency workers donned yellow hazardous-material suits Monday morning, and dozens of fire trucks and ambulances were parked nearby.
Workers were testing for any sort of environmental contaminant or gas or chlorine leaks that might have cause the bird deaths, said police spokeswoman Toni Chovanetz. At least one bird carcass was being tested locally for other possible causes, and other carcasses were shipped to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Texas A&M University.
Valadez said the tests on the dead birds would likely take several days and look for signs of poisoning or viral infections, though he said officials do not think bird flu is involved.
A 10-block stretch of Congress Avenue, several side streets and all buildings in the area were shut down and declared off-limits as a precaution, Chovanetz said.
The street closure stretched from just outside the Capitol to a section of the Colorado River known as Town Lake. The Capitol opened on schedule Monday, the day before the legislative session was to begin.
On the East Coast, New York City also had a scare Monday morning when a mysterious gas odor moved across Manhattan. It wasn't immediately clear what had caused the odor, and it dissipated fairly quickly. No injuries or damage to wildlife was immediately reported.
The Associated PressPublished: January 9, 2007
NEW YORK: The mystery of an overpowering stench that wafted along the Hudson River from New Jersey to Manhattan remained unsolved Tuesday, although New York and New Jersey officials were quick to blame each other as the odor's source.
According to Charles Sturcken, spokesman for New York City's Department of Environmental Protection, initial complaints about the smell indicated it emanated from south and west of the city. That would place it in New Jersey.
But New Jersey officials, tired of industrial waste jokes, were quick to charge New Yorkers with prematurely blaming them for the Monday morning stench that disrupted transit service and sent a dozen people to the hospital.
"It looks an awful lot like jumping to conclusions," said Lisa Jackson, New Jersey commissioner for environmental protection.
The United States' largest city and its most densely populated state are used to feuding over ownership of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the National Football League's New York Giants and Jets (who play in New Jersey), and the National Basketball Association's New Jersey Nets (who are coming to Brooklyn).
Today in Americas
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New York investigators considered three possible theories for the odor.
The first was a New Jersey chemical facility, although it was later ruled an unlikely source, said Sturcken. Next was a natural process, such as decaying vegetable matter caused by the recent warm weather. And last was a buildup of sewer system gasses, tied to Tuesday's wet weather.
In New Jersey, officials cited a possible natural gas pipeline problem there. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, after testifying on homeland security issues in Washington, echoed the idea of a chemical plant as the cause.
The bottom line?
"We don't know what it is," Strucken said.
Associated Press Writer Wayne Parry contributed to this report from New Jersey.