Charles Simmins

Charles Simmins

Charles Simmins is a native Western New Yorker with nearly thirty years of experience at senior level accounting positions in non-profit and for profit organizations. He was a volunteer firefighter, and a volunteer EMT for fourteen years.

Currently he is a freelance writer and publishes an on-line magazine, America's North Shore Journal. He is a long time participant in the Defense Department's bloggers' outreach program.

He is married and is presently owned by four cats.

Twitter: @CharlesSimmins
Facebook: /chuck.simmins
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  • Defense Cuts Are Based Upon Strategic Guidance
    Pentagon officials briefed reporters by telephone on Thursday about President Obama's newly announced defense strategy and its implementation over the next decade.
  • German Volcano Could Devastate Europe
    The inactive Laacher See volcano is making news since it has the potential to bury much of western Europe under feet of volcanic ash. It is not the only geological danger we face.
  • Russians Sail to Rescue of Ice Bound Alaska Community
    Braving 250 miles of ice pack, the Russian tanker Renda is slowly making its way toward the western Alaska town of Nome. Cut off by ice, the town will run out of fuel oil and gasoline without Renda's supplies.
  • Pope Embraces Anglicans in U.S. with New Ordinariate
    On New Year's Day 2012, Pope Benedict XVI established the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. This allows Episcopalians and Anglicans in the United States to rejoin the Catholic Church.
  • Santa's Gifts for (Mostly Naughty) Politicians
    Throughout 2011 American politicians demonstrated that they needed some help with their lives and their careers. Santa came early with some gifts for the naughty and nice.
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  • New York Condo Goes for $88 Million
    Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev has bought his 22 year old daughter a nice Christmas present. Ekaterina is reported to be the proud owner of a 6,700-sq-ft condo on Central Park West in New York City. Daddy's generosity? $88 million.
  • Tropical Storm Sendong Kills Over 600 in Philippines
    Tropical storm Sendong lingered over the southern Philippines for nearly three days last week. With rainfall rates of as much as two inches per hours, flash floods and river flooding brought death and destruction to the region.
  • Geminid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight
    The annual Geminid meteor shower peaks tonight but the nearly full moon will present a viewing challenge. While the best show is to be seen in regions north of the equator, the Southern Hemisphere will also see the annual shower of space debris.
  • U.S. Spy Drone Crashes in Seychelles
    An Air Force Reaper drone crashed on landing at the international airport in the Seychelles capital of Mahe Tuesday morning. The MQ-9 drone was part of operations in the Somalia region of Africa.
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  • Nebraska Nuke Plant Placed on Special Inspection Status
    Nebraska's Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant had been scheduled to resume operations in January. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has placed those plans on hold by placing the plant onto special inspection status.
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  • Police Officer Wounds Self Unloading Pistol at Hartsfield Airport
    TSA agents at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport discovered a .22 caliber pistol in a passenger's carry on bag this weekend. A police officer was wounded while unloading the gun.
  • Michelle Obama Helps Break World Record
    Guinness World Records announced today that First Lady Michelle Obama was part of a world record in October. She led a group of 400 joining the effort from the South Lawn of the White House on October 11.
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  • Obama Calls for New Nationalism in Heartland
    Speaking in Osawatomie, Kansas, President Barack Obama used the memory of Teddy Roosevelt to call for "fair play, a fair shot, and a fair share" for the American middle-class. It was a call for a "new nationalism".
  • Japan Crash Turns Luxury Cars into Scrap
    Bad weather may have been the cause of a chain reaction accident in Japan Sunday that injured ten. Nearly four million dollars worth of cars, 14 in all, were damaged or totaled.
  • Bishop Eddie Long to Take Sabbatical
    Bishop Eddie Long has announced that he will be taking a sabbatical from his duties at Atlanta's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. He is just the latest television evangelist caught in a sex scandal.
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  • Radioactive Water Leaks at Japanese Nuke Site
    The efforts to control the tsunami-damaged Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant suffered another setback over the weekend as thousands of gallons of radioactive water flooded a treatment building. A small amount ran off into the nearby ocean.
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  • Japan Damaged Nuke Plants Still Not Under Control
    The fight to control the meltdowns in three of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors continues. Nearly 10 months after Japan suffered a historic earthquake and tsunami, the melted uranium continues to generate radiation and heat.
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  • Fewer Children Receiving Vaccines in U.S
    The Associated Press has released its study of exemptions to school vaccine schedules nationally. Exemptions for required immunizations to enter public school are up. The increase in illnesses like whooping cough are one result.
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  • Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on CBS Tonight
    CBS hosts the seventeenth annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show tonight at 10 pm EST. One of the highlights of the show will be model Miranda Kerr modeling a $2.5 million jeweled bra.
  • All U.S. Troops Out of Iraq by Christmas
    Brig. Gen. Bradley Becker, Deputy Commanding General (Support) for United States Division – Center, told reporters today that all U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by Christmas. Nearly all will be home for the holiday.
  • U.S. Marines Headed to Australia
    President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard have issued a joint announcement that U.S. Marines will be deploying to northern Australia for a continuing training mission.
  • Fire Island Resort Businesses Burn
    The heart of the Fire Island Pines business district was ravaged by fire overnight. The Pavilion and the LaFountaine Building were gutted. Multiple fire departments fought the blaze in the popular summer resort.
  • Va Nuke Plant Restarts After Quake
    On November 11, Dominion Virginia Power began the process of restarting the two nuclear reactors at the North Anna power plant. Both reactors had been shut down after the earthquake of August 23, 2011.
  • Alaska Being Pounded by Winter Super Storm
    A record storm is pounding the west coast of Alaska, bringing hurricane force winds, heavy snow and a massive storm surge. The many, small coastal communities are bracing for the worst.
  • Air Force Wraps Up Iraqi Deployment
    MG Russ Handy spoke with reporters today about the U.S. Air Force's role in the withdrawal from Iraq. He also talked about the structure and preparedness of the Iraqi Air Force.
  • U.S. Navy Fires Railgun for 1000th Time
    The railgun has been a staple of many of the stories written by science fiction writers because of its enormous potential. The U.S. Navy is turning that fiction into fact.
  • U.S. Tests Nationwide Alert System November 9
    At 2 pm on November 9 the Emergency Alert System, formerly the Emergency Broadcast System, will be tested nationwide in the U.S. While the system has regular tests at state and local levels, this is the first national test.
  • Manhattan Mosquitoes Are Biting
    The Upper West Side of Manhattan is beset by biting swarms of mosquitoes that are coming out of the sewers. Current control programs by New York City seem ineffective.
  • Suicide in America's Military and Veterans
    A survey of the data on suicide in America's veteran and military populations.
  • Serious Illness Outbreaks in New York
    New York residents have not escaped a number of illness outbreaks that public health authorities are monitoring. Both food borne illnesses and contagious diseases are being seen locally as well as nationally.
  • Andy Rooney Seriously Ill
    92 year old television icon Andy Rooney is hospitalized after serious complications from minor surgery. The Sixty Minutes fixture retired from his weekly commentary just three weeks ago.
  • 200 Years After the War of 1812
    Few nations survive the capture and burning of their capital. The United States did, during the War of 1812. The bicentennial anniversary of that war is just three months away.
  • Obama Sends US Troops to Central Africa
    President Obama has followed up on months of effort to support Central Africa in their fight against the cult-like Lord's Resistance Army. On Oct. 12, the first of 100 U.S. military were sent to Uganda to "provide information, advice, and assistance."
  • Moving Home from Iraq, by the Numbers
    MG Thomas Spoehr spoke with reporters on Thursday and discussed the on-going transition of bases and equipment to Iraqis from U.S. control. The December 31 deadline to leave is approaching.
  • How Will the United States Punish Iran for Murder Plot?
    With the discovery of a plot to kill the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. by bombing his favorite Washington restaurant, the Obama administration has to decide what to do about Iran.
  • More Computer Virus Issues for U.S. Military
    The Air Force's computer systems that allow pilots to remotely fly drones all over the planet has become infected with a computer virus. Eradicating the virus is proving difficult.
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  • Air Force Returns to Attack Texas Wildfires
    The drought and related wildfires continue in Texas. A national shortage of civilian air tankers has resulted in the return of Air Force aircraft and crews to fly fire retardant drops.
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  • Veterans Treatment Courts Divert Troubled Vets from Path to Jail
    U.S. military veterans can become involved with the criminal justice system due to substance abuse or mental health issues. Veterans Treatment Courts offer a way for these vets to avoid imprisonment and turn their lives around.
  • New York Trembles when Kodak Stumbles
    Kodak, a former industrial giant, is based in Rochester, NY. As it struggles to transition from film making to a digital future, the company has experienced serious financial woes.
  • Afghan Police Blunting Taliban Efforts
    MG Walter Golden described recent high-profile Taliban attacks as failures, after not creating mass casualties as planned. Afghan National Police units contained and defeated the terrorists.
  • Dam Safety in Upstate New York Questioned
    Two key dams operated by the Army Corps of Engineers have been rated as unsafe and marginally safe in Western New York. The safe operation of these dams prevents increased flooding from Upstate New York to Chesapeake Bay.
  • Bahrain Votes as Protests Continue
    Bahrain held parliamentary elections on Saturday to fill 14 seats in the lower house left empty by the walkout of a Shia backed political party. The walkout protested security measures taken after "Arab Spring" demonstrations in February and March.
  • Air Force Cross to Be Awarded to Tech Sgt. Robert Gutierrez Jr.
    He thought about the daughter that he had never seen as he fought for his life. Badly wounded, then Staff Sgt. Robert Gutierrez, Jr. called in air strike after air strike as his Special Forces unit carried out their mission deep in the Afghan mountains.
  • Minot Sees Recovery After Record Flood
    When the water of the Mouse River overtopped the levees in Minot on June 22, ten thousand people were evacuated. As the water receded, thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed. Now, the community sees some signs of recovery.
  • Travis Tritt Cancels Joplin Appearance Over Use of Recovery Funds
    Travis Tritt was scheduled to appear at a free concert in Joplin, Missouri this Sunday. He has canceled, citing the City's use of donated recovery funds to pay concert expenses. He does not feel it is appropriate.
  • Tropical Storms Land One-Two Punch on Upstate New York
    Upstate New York experienced rainfall from, not one, but two tropical storms in the last several days. Record flooding has occurred.
  • How Sub Base New London Coped with Hurricane Irene
    Naval Submarine Base New London met Hurricane Irene head on August 28. Pre-planning and preparation were the keys to the experience and the base survived.
  • Special Election to Fill Anthony Weiner's Congressional Seat
    With the special election to fill the Congressional seat of Anthony Weiner just a week away, Republican Bob Turner may have an edge. Recent polling shows him ahead of Democrat candidate David Weprin.
  • 18 Months After Earthquake, Haiti Still Struggles
    Haiti continues to struggle with recovery after the January 2010 earthquake. Many Haitians remain in refugee camps. Cholera is still epidemic. The continuing role of U.N. peacekeepers is being questioned.
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  • More Dead in Texas Wildfires
    The Bastrop County, Texas, fire has claimed two victims, according to media reports. This brings the death toll for the three days to four. Hundreds of homes have burned and tens of thousands of acres of land.
  • Central Texas Burns
    As the winds from former Hurricane Lee wrapped around its center and hit Texas, the fires began. Dozens of wildfires fanned by the high winds began Sunday and still burn today. Two deaths are reported.
  • Hurricane Irene Federal Aid for Vermont Slow in Coming
    Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin sent the state's application for a major disaster declaration to President Obama Thursday. FEMA funds will require action by Congress. The Federal Transportation Department has released $5 million for emergency road repairs.
  • Hurricane Irene's Rainfall a Weighty Matter
    For a time, the safety of the Gilboa Dam, on Schoharie Creek in the scenic Catskill Mountains of New York was in doubt as the rain from Hurricane Irene fell. The dam survived without damage. Just what did it have to deal with?
  • Upstate New York Flooding Recedes
    The flooding experienced by many upstate New York communities after the heavy rainfall from Hurricane Irene is receding. Road and bridge closures are widespread and some areas remain under water.
  • Hurricane Irene: Flood Threat in Upstate New York
    As Hurricane Irene moves out of the Northeast, heavy rains continue to fall in many parts of New York State. A number of lakes and streams are swollen and flooding is likely in most areas.
  • National Guard Responds to Hurricane Irene
    At least seven states have activated National Guard units in response to Hurricane Irene's approach. Vulnerable assets such as aircraft have been sent inland. Relief and rescue forces are being pre-positioned.
  • Hurricane Irene: Military, Coast Guard Prepare
    As Hurricane Irene moves closer to the U.S. mainland, the military, National Guard and the Coast Guard are ramping up their preparations. Relief assets are being pre-positioned and vulnerable ships and planes relocated.
  • Military Prepares for Hurricane Irene
    Hurricane Irene, the first hurricane of the 2011 season, is approaching the east coast of the United States. The U.S. military and the National Guard are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.
  • Historic Earthquake in D.C. Results in Historic Senate Session
    Tuesday's 5.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked the East Coast was historic in nature. So too was the U.S. Senate session that was held that same afternoon.
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  • Biofuel a Navy Priority
    Navy Secretary Ray Mabus briefed reported Monday on the U.S. Navy's progress with alternative energy programs, including biofuel. He laid out the four principles the biofuel program is operating under.
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  • Navy Goes Green
    Navy Secretary Ray Maybus spoke with reporters today about the Navy's alternative energy programs. From solar power to geothermal to biofuel, the Navy is reducing energy costs and its carbon footprint at the same time.
  • Is America's Military Body Armor Defective?
    On August 1, the Department of Defense's Inspector General issued its fourth report on the testing and procurement process for body armor. The reports were prepared at the request of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY).
  • Sinai Fighting Endangers U.S. Troops
    The United States is the major contributor to the Multinational Force & Observers (MFO) which monitors the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel on the Sinai Peninsula. Police actions and terrorist attacks today are putting these troops at risk.
  • Ohio Woman Finds Missing Blimp in Backyard
    The Hangar One Vodka blimp took a little excursion on its own on Sunday. High winds broke the unmanned airship free of its moorings and it drifted into a backyard about two miles away.
  • Is Weiner's Congressional Seat Up for Grabs?
    With five weeks left until the special election to fill the Congressional seat vacated by Anthony Weiner, a new poll shows the Republican candidate within striking distance. Will Weinergate cost the Democrats a former Democratic Congressional spot?
  • D.B. Cooper Remains at Large
    Marla Wynn Cooper, from Oklahoma, told the FBI last week that her uncle might be the legendary skyjacker. In 1971 a Dan Cooper, popularly known as D.B. Cooper, jumped from an airliner in flight with a $200,000 ransom. He has never been located.
  • The Famine Crisis in Somalia
    The prolonged drought in the Horn of Africa has brought famine to the dysfunctional nation of Somalia. The hardest hit regions of the country are controlled by an Islamist militia that refuses to allow aid to enter.
  • New York State Unemployment Numbers Mixed in June
    The June 2011 unemployment figures for New York State and its metropolitan areas were released August 3. Year over year comparisons generally showed slight improvements though historical data shows a grimmer picture.
  • Moving Out of Iraq Underway
    Maj. Gen. Thomas Richardson gave a news briefing Wednesday covering the drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq and the concurrent drawdown of equipment. Over $400 million in equipment has been given to the Iraqis while more has been shipped out of the country.
  • Radiation Still a Concern at Fukushima
    The recovery efforts at the Fukushima nuclear power plant continue. Since the earthquake and resulting tsunami struck the site on March 11, the slow process of regaining control of the reactors and clearing the damage has proceeded.
  • Giffords One of Several to Vote in Congress Despite Medical Issues
    Gabrielle Gifford's emotional entrance into the house Chamber on Monday to cast her vote on the debt ceiling bill stirred many Americans. She was not the first to overcome medical issues to serve in Congress.
  • Turkish Military Chiefs Resign in Protest
    The Turkish Chief of the General Staff has resigned as well as those the heads of the Army, Navy and Air Force. The resignations are a result of a dispute over promotions to be given to officers charged with plotting a coup.
  • Typhoon Juaning Leaves Flooding and Deaths in Philippines
    The latest tropical typhoon to hit the Philippines has moved into the South China Sea, leaving flooding and deaths behind. Winds were not the issue. NASA found two inch per hour rainfall in many parts of the storm.
  • Ghana Site of Latest U.S. Humanitarian Exercise in Africa
    The West African nation of Ghana is the site of the MEDFLAG 11 exercise, a joint undertaking of the U.S. Africa Command and the Ghanaian military. Joint training and medical outreach to needy locals will improve knowledge and skills of all participants.
  • Minot Airmen Cope with Record Flooding
    The men and women serving at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota have been hard hit by the historic flooding along the Mouse or Souris River. Over 1,100 are now facing an uncertain future when they return to the ruins of their homes.
  • The Minot Flood: One Airman's Story
    Over 1,100 airmen from Minot Air Force Base have been directly impacted by the Great Mouse River Flood of 2011. The story of one airman and his family represents the tales that so many have to tell. And the story is not ended.
  • Bridge Closed Due to Flood Risk in Minot, N.D.
    At one point during this year's flooding, the 83 Bypass was the only north / south route open to the citizens of Minot over the Souris River. Now, as the waters slowly recede, engineers have discovered river channel changes that may threaten the bridge.
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  • Corps of Engineers Continues Assistance in Missouri River Flood Fight
    The Missouri River continues its record flooding and the Army Corps of Engineers remains in the middle of the flood fight. The six main stem dams are at or near capacity and levees remain threatened all along the river.
  • South Sudan Celebrates Independence
    The world's newest nation will be born on Saturday, July 9. The Republic of South Sudan will celebrate its independence from Sudan amidst border conflicts and grinding poverty.
  • Wounded Iraqi Vet Dies in Fall from Rollercoaster
    Army Sgt. James Hackemer lost both legs in a bomb blast in Iraq and suffered a severe brain injury. Now living in Western New York, Hackemer was killed when he fell from the Ride of Steel roller coaster at the Darien Lake Theme Park on Friday.
  • Yellowstone River Oil Spill Cleanup Continues
    A week after a twelve inch pipe carrying crude oil broke beneath the Yellowstone River in Montana, cleanup continues. High water has spread the oil into nearby marshlands.
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  • Minot Air Force Base Personnel Cope with Flooding
    Minot Air Force Base is assisting the families of personnel forced to evacuate the city of Minot due to flooding on the Souris River. Personnel are also taking an active role in the flood fight.
  • The Attack of the Giant Hogweed
    Giant Hogweed is coming to a community near you. Since it was introduced in 1917, this noxious weed has slowly spread. Its sap is dangerous, resulting in blisters, scarring and potential blindness.
  • Phoenix Experiences a Haboob, a Historic Event
    It looks like a wall of sand as it approaches. The haboob is a dust storm that makes a great photo but can be deadly, as well. Phoenix, AZ, just experienced such a storm.
  • How the U.S. Military Celebrates the Fourth of July
    No matter where members of the United States military might be, the Fourth of July is celebrated. Here is how American troops celebrated this Independence Day.
  • Yellowstone River Oil Spill Spreads over 40 Miles Downstream
    A Saturday morning break in an oil pipeline has dumped at least 10,000 barrels of crude oil into the scenic Yellow Stone River in Montana. The flood-swollen river is spreading the resulting oil slick far from the break.
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  • U.S. Military Focuses on Training with Six Months Left to Iraqi Pullout
    Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick recently brief reporters on the status of U.S. and Iraqi forces, with six months remaining until the deadline for U.S. troops to leave Iraq. Helmick made it clear no talks have yet been held about extending the timetable.
  • Six Months of Mother Nature's Fury
    The first six months of 2011 saw many natural disasters across the United States. A partial list of these spans the nation from coast to coast.
  • Minot, N.D., Waits for the Flood to Pass as River Levels Drop
    With the crest of the flood past the North Dakota city of Minot, its residents are in a waiting game. The river levels are dropping but remain high enough that flood recovery is impossible for now.
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  • Dysfunctional New York Government
    The passage of a same sex marriage bill by the New York legislature is being hailed as proof that the system works. It was the last item acted on before the summer recess, hardly a shining moment.
  • Flood Crest Passes Minot, N.D.; Little Relief in Sight
    The crest of the Souris River flooding has passed Minot, N.D., and is now adding to the misery of the smaller communities downstream. The flood in the city continues and no end is in sight.
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  • National Guard Brings Everything to Minot Flood Fight
    The North Dakota National Guard has been involved in the fight to save Minot, ND, from record flooding since the beginning. The backgrounds of its soldiers and the unusual tools it can bring have made a difference.
  • High Runoff to Blame for Missouri River Flooding
    Amidst criticism over its handling of the flooding along the Missouri River and its tributaries, the Army Corps of Engineers has released data showing the weather conditions in the Missouri basin. Massive runoff totals are blamed for the current flooding.
  • What Minot, N.D., Should Do After the Record Flood Subsides
    The historic flood in Minot, N.D., continues, and predictions are that the water may not disappear for months. What should Minot do after the water drains off?
  • 1,000 Air Force Personnel, Families Evacuated from Flood Zone in Minot, N.D.
    As the waters of the Souris River flow over the levees in Minot, N.D., about 1,000 Air Force personnel from Minot Air Base have been evacuated from the flood zone. At the same time, 500 members of the state National Guard are in Minot to assist authorities.
  • Scarlet Fever Outbreak Kills Two in Hong Kong
    An outbreak of antibiotic resistant scarlet fever in China and Hong Kong continues to grow. At least two schoolchildren are believed to have died from the illness.
  • Minot, N.D., Faces Worst Flooding in History
    Minot thought it had seen the last of the major flooding on the Souris River by the end of May. Heavy rains in Canada have forced dams to discharge record amounts of water, though, and the Souris is expected to surge to never-seen levels in the city.
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  • State Senate May Vote on Same Sex Marriage in New York
    Same sex marriage advocates are looking to add New York to the list of states that allow that type of marriage. The State Senate is expected to vote today and only one or two votes are in play.
  • Air Force Called to Attack Southwest Wildfires
    With two wildfires along the Arizona / New Mexico border continuing to grow, the firefighters have added the U.S. Air Force to their arsenal. Four specially equipped C-130 aircraft will be spraying fire retardant to assist those working on the ground.
  • Rising Missouri River Overtops Levees in Nebraska, Missouri
    The Missouri River, already at flood stage along most of its length, rose 2 feet between Saturday and Sunday morning. Water is flowing over the top of several levees as a result.
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