Capstone Project for J486 on Personal Safety and Violent Crime on UW-Whitewater’s Campus

The entire thing didn’t go exactly as I planned, but then again there really no such thing as a 5 minute news package in a local newscast. Preferably, I would have liked to shoot something in the vein of Vice, but I doubt I would get a grade above 50%.

Here’s the link:

Typhoon Haiyan Flattens Philippines

Photo of Typhoon Haiyan captured by astronaut Karen L. Nyberg aboard the International Space Station

Super Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the Phillipines last Friday displacing millions and killing at least 1,200 in the country.

The death toll initially estimated at around 10,000 has been reduced to 2,000-2,500 and many thousands more missing. Over half of the countries provinces have been affected.

The storm measured is about 500 miles in diameter recording 195 mph winds easily reached category five and is the strongest recorded tropical storm that made landfall.

Rescue operations have been greatly hampered by obstructed roads caused by fallen trees and 13 airports had to be shut down.

In addition electrical and telecommunication services were knocked out, but authorities pledged to restore them within 24 hours and have since done so; however, there are some areas beyond repair.

The destruction in many areas hit by the super typhoon has been described as “total.”

Further devastation

To make matters worse for the archipelago country a 4.8 magnitude earthquake hit the island of Bohol on Tuesday.

Along with the earthquake tropical storm Zoraida arrived Tuesday.  It is nothing compared to Haiyan, it has grounded relief flights waiting for it to pass.

International Aid Pledged (in USD):

  • U.N.: 25 million
  • U.S.: 20 million
  • UK: 16.1 million
  • UAE: 10 million
  • Australia: 9.5 million
  • Canada: 4.8 million
  • European Union: 4 million
  • Norway: 3.4 million
  • Denmark: 3.1 million
  • New Zealand: 1.75 million 
  • Ireland: 1.4 million
  • Vatican: 150,000
  • China: 100,000

The U.N. has now proposed to increase their aid to $301 million.

Desperate for supplies

There are still a reported 12 million people within the country at risk according to the Philippine’s Government.  Of that group 2 million need food and 300,000 are pregnant women.

The lack of food and water has caused many civilians to turn to theft for survival.

The local grocery store owners banded together in efforts to protect their stores threatening to shoot would be thieves.

Military police are being dispatched to these areas for peace keeping and relief operations.

A report from Philippines Army Capt. Ruben Guinolbay to Reuters, via Russia Today, said, “Today, we have stabilized the situation. There are no longer reports of looting. The food supply is coming in. Up to 50,000 food packs are coming in every day, with each pack able to feed up to a family of five for three days.”

The country is no stranger to typhoons, averaging 19 per year,  has already suffered through 24 this year alone.  Last year Typhoon Bopha ravaged three towns in the Southern Phillipines killing 1,100 and causing $1 billion in damages.

Typhoon Hyian is expected to make its way towards Vietnam next, where 300,000 people have already been evacuated.

Video of the aftermath is available here.

The U.S., U.K. , and Japan are set to deploy military personnel to aid in the affected areas.  The naval vessels and personnel are expected to arrive in the next two to three days, barring any other potential disaster.

Other countries like Belgium and Russia sent field hospitals.  Israel sent two Boeing 747s loaded with supplies and 200 medical personnel.

Whitewater Common Council Announces Smoke Testing

The Whitewater Common Council meet in the Municipal Building on Tuesday Sept. 17, 2013 to discuss the beginning of smoke testing in the city’s sewer lines to determine effectiveness.

Smoke Testing Map

Smoke Testing Map

Smoke testing sewers is a process used to determine where connections to the sewer lines are in reference to buildings and houses.   The search involves finding breaks in the line and illegal connections to the sewer lines, such as sump pumps, storm drains, and rain gutters.

The testing will commence on Sept. 23.

The importance of this issue cannot be underestimated as these additional illegal connections could potentially cause a major issue for the city in the future if left unchecked.

The major problem that could arise from these additional illegal connections is that the Waste Water Treatment Facility would overflow in times of heavy rain.

When the excess amounts of water get transported to the treatment facility the treatment process slows and potentially overflows.

When the process slows, the electrical costs for the facility increase, which means a greater cost for the tax payers.

In the event that the facility would overflow, that would mean raw sewage leaks into surrounding creeks within the area.

According to the Wis. Department of Natural Resources website, “Urban storm water contains pollutants from roads, parking lots, construction sites, industrial storage yards and lawns.”

If this were to occur the city would be in violation of Wis. DNR policy and subject to fines and cleanup costs.

Cameron Clapper, Whitewater’s City Manager, announced that the smoke testing process would begin Sept. 23 in the West and move East district by district.

The obvious concern for community residents is what happens if their home is found to have an illegal connection?

Clapper assured that cooperating with the Waste Water Treatment Facility’s solution would not result in a fine to the occupant/owner and/or landlord of the property, however; Lynn Binnie, Council Member District Four, stated that failure to cooperate would result in a hefty fine.

For home owners that have drains in their basement, they are encouraged to pour water into it, to avoid smoke from infiltrating and potentially causing damage to the interior of the property.

If smoke does happen in a residence, the occupant is instructed to contact a member of the field crew working on the street near the building.

Clapper said during the meeting that if smoke is seen in a yard, that it is perfectly normal, and not an issue.  All that it means, is that the home is connected to the city’s sewer system.

Residents with respiratory problems should avoid direct exposure to the smoke.  In the event an issue occurs from contact with the smoke residents should contact Jeff Gwaltney with the city at 262-473-5920.

If anyone has additional questions they are encouraged to contact the Waste Water Treatment Division Superintendent Tim Reel by phone at 262-473-5920 or by e-mail at

Further information is available on the city’s website here.