05-26-2018  9:07 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

Attorney General Forms Hate Crime Task Force

The task force will study hate-motivated crimes and review existing legal protections for victims ...

Portland Art Museum Celebrates Art Museum Day with Free Admission on May 25

Portland Art Museum joins art museums across North America, with great works of art and public programs ...

June Key Delta Community Center Hosts May Week ’18 Health Fair May 26

Event includes vision, glucose screenings, medication disposal and car seat installation ...

Mississippi Avenue Giving Tuesday

On Tuesday, May 22, 10 percent of proceeds from participating Mississippi Ave. businesses will go to SEI ...

Oregon advances with 11-1 run-rule victory over Kentucky

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — DJ Sanders hit a grand slam in a seven-run second inning and the Oregon Ducks are headed to the women's College World Series after an 11-1 run-rule victory over Kentucky Saturday night in the deciding game of the Eugene Super Regional.Shannon Rhodes hit a solo home run...

Amtrak: No evidence injured passenger was in fight

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The family of a 22-year-old train passenger found severely injured next to railroad tracks in Truckee, California, suspects he may have been the victim of a hate crime, but Amtrak said Saturday that investigators have found no evidence of foul play.Aaron Salazar's family...

City aims to block release of dangerous psychiatric patients

LAKEWOOD, Wash. (AP) — The city that houses Western State Hospital, Washington's main psychiatric facility, is fighting to keep patients from being released into its boundaries.The News Tribune reports Lakewood on Monday approved a moratorium on city business licenses for new adult family...

Missing fisherman found by divers in submerged vessel

SEATTLE (AP) — The body of a missing fisherman was found by divers inside the sunken vessel, the Kelli J.The Coast Guard said Saturday that the body was found before the vessel was refloated by contractors in Willapay Bay on Friday.The Pacific County Sheriff's Office took the fisherman's...

OPINION

Racism After Graduation May Just Be What's on the Menu

Dr. Julianne Malveaux says that for our young millennials, racism is inevitable ...

Prime Minister Netanyahu Shows Limits of Israel’s Democracy

Bill Fletcher, Jr. on racial politics in Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s uneven treatment of African immigrants ...

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Meeting draws people angry over fatal police shooting

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — More than 200 people turned out for a community meeting Saturday to protest the death of a young black man who was fatally shot by a Virginia police officer after he ran naked onto an interstate highway.Speakers at the meeting at Richmond's Second Baptist Church said...

The Latest: Family: Police need to handle people better

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Latest on the fatal police shooting of a naked and unarmed man in Richmond (all times local):5:16 p.m.Family and friends of a man who was fatally shot by Richmond police after running naked onto an interstate highway are calling on police to find non-lethal ways of...

White neighbor gets prison for harassing black family

EASTON, Pa. (AP) — A neighbor accused of harassing and using racial epithets against a black Pennsylvania family for years has been sentenced to prison.A Northampton County judge sentenced 45-year-old Robert Kujawa to the term Friday after a jury convicted him of ethnic intimidation,...

ENTERTAINMENT

Glenn Snoddy, inventor of fuzz pedal for guitarists, dies

MURFREESBORO, Tennessee (AP) — A recording engineer whose invention of a pedal that allowed guitarists to create a fuzzy, distorted sound most famously used by Keith Richards in the Rolling Stones' hit "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" has died.Glenn Snoddy was 96. His daughter Dianne Mayo...

Reaction to criminal charges filed against Harvey Weinstein

Reaction to rape and other criminal charges filed in New York on Friday against Harvey Weinstein:"I hope this gives hope to victims and survivors everywhere, that we are one step closer to justice. Because one win is a win for all of us." — Weinstein accuser Rose McGowan, to The Associated...

Vindication, triumph, also fear: Weinstein accusers react

NEW YORK (AP) — Watching the stunning images of Harvey Weinstein walking into a courthouse Friday in handcuffs, a detective on each arm, Louisette Geiss still felt a shiver of fear in reaction to the man who, she says, once cornered her and tried to physically force her to watch him...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Klay Thompson has 35, Warriors force Game 7 in West finals

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Klay Thompson hit nine 3-pointers and scored 35 points, the Warriors held James...

AP FACT CHECK: Trump on border stats _ and a Merkel mystery

WASHINGTON (AP) — Illegal border crossings, as President Donald Trump measures them, have gone up since he...

US Gulf Coast prepares as Alberto brings wind, rain north

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Florida, Alabama and Mississippi launched emergency preparations ahead of the...

Declassified US cables link Uribe to Colombia drug cartels

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — As Alvaro Uribe, Colombia's most powerful politician, was making his rise to the...

Ebola vaccinations begin in rural Congo on Monday: Ministry

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — Ebola vaccinations will begin Monday in the two rural areas of Congo where the...

Israeli soldier badly wounded in West Bank arrest raid dies

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military says a soldier who was seriously wounded in action this week has...

By Chelsea J. Carter CNN




Investigators have not ruled out an intentional fire being behind explosions at a fertilizer plant in the small town of West that left 15 people dead, the Texas fire marshal said Thursday.State Fire Marshal Chris Connealy said investigators were unable to rule out three possible causes, including a spark from a golf cart, an electrical short or an intentionally set fire.

"The cause cannot be proven to an acceptable level," Connealy told reporters.

Investigators said the incident was actually two simultaneous blasts triggered by the fire. The blasts, which registered on seismographs as a magnitude 2.1 earthquake and was felt 50 miles away, caused damage to a 37-block area of the town.

The announcement follows news last week that authorities launched a criminal investigation into the April 17 fire and explosion in West, about 70 miles southwest of Dallas.

Authorities announced the criminal investigation last Friday, the same day investigators said a paramedic who responded to the fire was arrested on suspicion of possession of a destructive device after investigators allegedly found materials to make a pipe bomb at his home.

Federal authorities have not said whether the arrest of Bryce Reed was connected to the fire and blast, and Robert Champion of the Dallas office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives declined Thursday to discuss whether a pipe bomb could cause the damage that led to the explosions.

The state fire marshal's office had previously ruled out four potential causes: weather, natural causes, anhydrous ammonium and ammonium nitrate in a rail car.

The powerful explosion leveled a portion of the town, damaging numerous homes, a nursing home and the town's high school and middle school.

In that weeks that followed, scores of investigators have following up on leads. At least 60 have been on site each day and have conducted more than 400 interviews in trying to determine how the fire started and what caused the explosion, authorities said.

The West Fertilizer Co., which operated the facility, had been cited by federal regulators twice since 2006.

In 2012, the Transportation Department's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration fined West Fertilizer $5,250 for storing anhydrous ammonia in tanks that lacked the proper warning labels. The agency originally recommended a $10,000 penalty, but it was reduced after the company took corrective action.

In 2006, the EPA fined it $2,300 and told the owners to correct problems that included a failure to file a risk management program plan on time. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality also investigated a complaint about the lingering smell of ammonia around the plant the same year.

 

CNN's Greg Botelho contributed to this report.

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