Texas drops DUI charge against billionaire Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton

  • Highway patrol officer who pulled her  over in 2011 has been suspended and can’t testify
  • Walton was arrested on her 62nd birthday  in Texas
  • Walton is worth an estimated $27 billion 

By  Daily Mail Reporter UPDATED: 14:36 EST, 10 September 2013

 

Prosecutors in Texas have dropped a 2011  drunken driving citation against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. heiress Alice  Walton.

The highway patrol officer who pulled over  Walton, 63, has been suspended and won’t be available to testify, officials said  yesterday.

Parker County, Texas, Prosecutor John Forest  told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that his office had two years to pursue the  case against Walton. But the trooper’s suspension won’t be over by the Oct. 7  deadline.

Prosecutors in Texas have dropped a 2011 drunken driving citation against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. heiress Alice Walton (pictured in Arkansas in 2011) 

Prosecutors in Texas have dropped a 2011 drunken driving  citation against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. heiress Alice Walton (pictured in Arkansas  in 2011)

 

Forrest said the trooper is on paid leave.  The suspension for alleged misconduct began in February.

Walton’s attorney, Dee Kelly of Fort Worth,  says the matter has been resolved without a formal charge being filed.

 

The arrest came about a month before the  opening of the Walton-backed Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in  Bentonville.

Alice Walton's mugshot after the 2011 arrest in TexasAlice Walton’s mugshot after the 2011 arrest in  Texas

 

Walton was arrested on her 62nd birthday when  was stopped at an Intestate in Parker County Texas for a traffic  violation.

Texas Highway patrol Trooper Gary Rozzell  said at the time: ‘Through an investigation at the scene, Walton was determined  to be intoxicated during a field sobriety test.’

He also said she refused a breath test,  according to the Weatherford Democrat.

She was booked and released on $1,000  bond.

A statement from a family spokesman said: ‘Ms  Walton was pulled over by a patrolman with the Department of Public Safety for  driving 71 mph in an unattended 55 mph construction zone.

‘She was returning home from a birthday  dinner with friends at a Fort  Worth restaurant. She accepts full responsibility  for this unfortunate  incident and deeply regrets it.’

The DUI arrest was not Walton’s  first.

According to information from the  Springdale  District Court in Arkansas, Walton was convicted of driving  under the influence  in a 1998 case.According to the UK’s  Independent, she hit a gas meter and told the responding police officer: ‘I’m  Alice Walton, bitch!’

She paid a several hundred dollar fine in  that case, according to other news reports and served no jail  time.

No previous conviction showed up on her  criminal history so Walton was charged Friday with a first offence DWI,  according to Rozzell.

Alice Walton, Jim Walton (left) and Rob Walton (right), chairman of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., speak at the company's annual shareholders meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in June 2012 

Alice Walton, Jim Walton (left) and Rob Walton (right),  chairman of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., speak at the company’s annual shareholders  meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in June 2012

 

Previous news accounts state Walton was  also  involved in a 1989 wreck in Arkansas that resulted in the death of a 50-year-old  woman.

No charges were filed at that time.

In October 2012 Walton was worth about $27  billion, making her the second-richest American woman, tenth-richest American  and 14th richest person in the world.

Walton purchased her first piece of art when she was about ten years old and this interest led to her spearheading the Walton Family Foundation’s involvement in developing Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

She has spent over $300million building an  American art museum in Arkansas, and the facilities alone cost over  $100mllion.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2416912/Wal-mart-heiress-Alice-Waltons-DUI-charge-dropped-Texas.html#ixzz2eYFRVuBw Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Wastewater injection spurred biggest earthquake yet, says study / 5.7 earthquake

Contact: Kevin Krajick kkrajick@ei.columbia.edu 212-854-9729 The Earth Institute at Columbia University

2011 Oklahoma temblor came amid increased manmade seismicity

A new study in the journal Geology is the latest to tie a string of unusual earthquakes, in this case, in central Oklahoma, to the injection of wastewater deep underground. Researchers now say that the magnitude 5.7 earthquake near Prague, Okla., on Nov. 6, 2011, may also be the largest ever linked to wastewater injection. Felt as far off as Milwaukee, more than 800 miles away, the quake—the biggest ever recorded in Oklahoma–destroyed 14 homes, buckled a federal highway and left two people injured. Small earthquakes continue to be recorded in the area. The study appeared today in the journal’s early online edition.

The recent boom in U.S. energy production has produced massive amounts of wastewater. The water is used both in hydrofracking, which cracks open rocks to release natural gas, and in coaxing petroleum out of conventional oil wells.  In both cases, the brine and chemical-laced water has to be disposed of, often by injecting it back underground elsewhere, where it has the potential to trigger earthquakes. The water linked to the Prague quakes was a byproduct of oil extraction at one set of oil wells, and was pumped into another set of depleted oil wells targeted for waste storage.

Scientists have linked a rising number of quakes in normally calm parts of Arkansas, Texas, Ohio and Colorado to below-ground injection. In the last four years, the number of quakes in the middle of the United States jumped 11-fold from the three decades prior, the authors of the Geology study estimate. Last year, a group at the U.S. Geological Survey also attributed a remarkable rise in small- to mid-size quakes in the region to humans. The risk is serious enough that the National Academy of Sciences, in a report last year called for further research to “understand, limit and respond” to induced seismic events. Despite these studies, wastewater injection continues near the Oklahoma earthquakes.

The magnitude 5.7 quake near Prague was preceded by a 5.0 shock and followed by thousands of aftershocks. What made the swarm unusual is that wastewater had been pumped into abandoned oil wells nearby for 17 years without incident. In the study, researchers hypothesize that as wastewater replenished compartments once filled with oil, the pressure to keep the fluid going down had to be ratcheted up. As pressure built up, a known fault—known to geologists as the Wilzetta fault–jumped. “When you overpressure the fault, you reduce the stress that’s pinning the fault into place and that’s when earthquakes happen,” said study coauthor Heather Savage, a geophysicist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

The amount of wastewater injected into the well was relatively small, yet it triggered a cascading series of tremors that led to the main shock, said study co-author Geoffrey Abers, also a seismologist at Lamont-Doherty. “There’s something important about getting unexpectedly large earthquakes out of small systems that we have discovered here,” he said. The observations mean that “the risk of humans inducing large earthquakes from even small injection activities is probably higher” than previously thought, he said.

Hours after the first magnitude 5.0 quake on Nov. 5, 2011, University of Oklahoma seismologist Katie Keranen rushed to install the first three of several dozen seismographs to record aftershocks.  That night, on Nov. 6, the magnitude 5.7 main shock hit and Keranen watched as her house began to shake for what she said felt like 20 seconds. “It was clearly a significant event,” said Keranen, the Geology study’s lead author. “I gathered more equipment, more students, and headed to the field the next morning to deploy more stations.”

Keranen’s recordings of the magnitude 5.7 quake, and the aftershocks that followed, showed that the first Wilzetta fault rupture was no more than 650 feet from active injection wells and perhaps much closer, in the same sedimentary rocks, the study says. Further, wellhead records showed that after 13 years of pumping at zero to low pressure, injection pressure rose more than 10-fold from 2001 to 2006, the study says.

The Oklahoma Geological Survey has yet to issue an official account of the sequence, and wastewater injection at the site continues. In a statement responding to the paper, Survey seismologist Austin Holland said the study showed the earthquake sequence could have been triggered by the injections. But, he said, “it is still the opinion of those at the Oklahoma Geological Survey that these earthquakes could be naturally occurring. There remain many open questions, and more scientific investigations are underway on this sequence of earthquakes and many others within the state of Oklahoma.”

The risk of setting off earthquakes by injecting fluid underground has been known since at least the 1960s, when injection at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal near Denver was suspended after a quake estimated at magnitude 4.8 or greater struck nearby—the largest  tied to wastewater disposal until the one near Prague, Okla. A series of similar incidents have emerged recently.  University of Memphis seismologist Stephen Horton in a study last year linked a rise in earthquakes in north-central Arkansas to nearby injection wells. University of Texas, Austin, seismologist Cliff Frohlich in a 2011 study tied earthquake swarms at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport to a brine disposal well a third of a mile away. In Ohio, Lamont-Doherty seismologists Won-Young Kim and John Armbruster traced a series of 2011 earthquakes near Youngstown to a nearby disposal well. That well has since been shut down, and Ohio has tightened its waste-injection rules.

Wastewater injection is not the only way that people can touch off quakes. Evidence suggests that geothermal drilling, impoundment of water behind dams, enhanced oil recovery, solution salt mining and rock quarrying also can trigger seismic events. (Hydrofracking itself is not implicated in significant earthquakes; the amount of water used is usually not enough to produce substantial shaking.) The largest known earthquakes attributed to humans may be the two magnitude 7.0 events that shook the Gazli gas fields of Soviet Uzbekistan in 1976, followed by a third magnitude 7.0 quake eight years later. In a 1985 study in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, Lamont-Doherty researchers David Simpson and William Leith hypothesized that the quakes were human-induced but noted that a lack of information prevented them from linking the events to gas production or other triggers. In 2009, a geothermal energy project in Basel, Switzerland, was canceled after development activities apparently led to a series of quakes of up to magnitude 3.4 that caused some $8 million in damage to surrounding properties.

In many of the wastewater injection cases documented so far, earthquakes followed within days or months of fluid injection starting. In contrast, the Oklahoma swarm happened years after injection began, similar to swarms at the Cogdell oil field in West Texas and the Fort St. John area of British Columbia.

The Wilzetta fault system remains under stress, the study’s authors say, yet regulators continue to allow injection into nearby wells. Ideally, injection should be kept away from known faults and companies should be required to provide detailed records of how much fluid they are pumping underground and at what pressure, said Keranen. The study authors also recommend sub-surface monitoring of fluid pressure for earthquake warning signs. Further research is needed but at a minimum, “there should be careful monitoring in regions where you have injection wells and protocols for stopping pumping even when small earthquakes are detected,” said Abers. In a recent op-ed in the Albany (N.Y.) Times Union, Abers argued that New York should consider the risk of induced earthquakes from fluid injection in weighing whether to allow hydraulic fracturing to extract the state’s shale gas reserves.

###

The study was also coauthored by Elizabeth Cochran of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Scientist contacts:

Geoffrey Abers: abers@ldeo.columbia.edu  845-365-8539

Heather Savage: hsavage@ldeo.columbia.edu  845—365-8720

Katie Keranen: keranen@ou.edu  405-325-6528

More information: Kevin Krajick, Senior Science Writer, The Earth Institute kkrajick@ei.columbia.edu 212-854-9729

Receive our Press Releases via RSS Feed

Receive our State of the Planet blog via RSS

Follow us on Twitter

The Earth Institute, Columbia University mobilizes the sciences, education and public policy to achieve a sustainable earth. http://www.earth.columbia.edu

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory seeks fundamental knowledge about the origin, evolution and future of the natural world. Its scientists study the planet from its deepest interior to the outer reaches of its atmosphere, on every continent and in every ocean, providing a rational basis for the difficult choices facing humanity.  http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu

Man Says Kaiser Business Model Includes Death

 

By PHILIP A. JANQUART

 

LOS ANGELES (CN) – Kaiser Foundation Health Plan refuses to pay for care necessary to save a man’s life, he claims in court.

Jalal Afshar, 58, suffers from Castleman’s disease, a rare condition known as lymphoproliferative disorder. The disease is not cancer, according to the American Cancer Society, but often leads to lymphoma and is treated with chemotherapy or radiation. He also suffers from a rare blood disorder that appears along with Castleman’s disease, called POEMS syndrome.

Diagnosed in 2005, Afshar says he developed a growth in his abdomen in January 2012 and sought advice from his Kaiser oncologist, Dr. Iman Abdalla, who told him, “I don’t know what to do with you,” and that she had “run out of ideas and options” for his treatment, the complaint says.

She attributed his difficulty in breathing, edema in his limbs and stomach, and the growth in his abdomen to “middle-age fat” and a “sedentary lifestyle.”

He then sought out a second opinion, ultimately traveling to Arkansas where he was seen by Dr. Frits van Rhee at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. Afshar began receiving chemotherapy on the advice of Dr. van Rhee who also planned to have stem cells collected for a future stem cell transplant. Kaiser, however, denied any coverage of the treatments, claiming Afshar could get the same treatments under the Kaiser plan.

Afshar twice appealed the decision over the phone because Dr. Abdalla had “already admitted that she did not know how to treat him, and given that all of the past treatment Kaiser had offered had been ineffective.” Kaiser refused, causing Afshar to return to Los Angeles where doctors administered a 12-hour course of chemotherapy using a combination of drugs that were not the same as the ones used by Dr. van Rhee, according to the complaint.

By June 8, 2012 Afshar’s legs were significantly swollen and his breathing had become more labored and difficult, according to the complaint. He developed a fever and his blood pressure dropped, leading to his admittance to the intensive care unit.

On June 13, Afshar’s wife Maryam was told by doctors that his condition was “without hope” and that “there was nothing else they could do,” according to the complaint.

A chaplain and a palliative care representative then visited Afshar in his room and told him they believed his case was hopeless, according to the complaint.

Afshar, however, refused to accept defeat, returning to Arkansas where he once again began receiving care from Dr. van Rhee. He has since amassed over $1.8 million in medical bills, which Kaiser refuses to pay.

Afshar has been under Dr. van Rhee’s care since June 17, 2012.

“This action arises out of a deliberate strategy and business practice on the part of defendants to systematically deny medically necessary care that Kaiser is unable to provide itself,” the complaint states. “Based on a consistent pattern and practice, defendants routinely deny medically necessary treatment requested by members’ medical professionals on invalid and unjustified and unjustifiable grounds for the sole purpose of saving money and, ultimately, cause the premature death of members, thus relieving defendants of the continuing financial obligation to provide care and treatment to desperately ill people.”

Afshar is suing for breach of contract, violations of California’s Business and Professions Code and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Scott C. Glovsky and Danae A. McElroy, of Pasadena, represent the plaintiff

 

http://www.courthousenews.com/2013/03/14/55705.htm

Aquatic Weed Killer Allowed on Cotton: Because GMO Cotton is Failing as Weeds Adapt. Will allow Fluridone to be used above approved Safety limits

Aquatic Weed Killer Allowed on Cotton

By RAMONA YOUNG-GRINDLE

Aquatic Weed Killer Allowed on Cotton

WASHINGTON (CN) – The Environmental Protection Agency is allowing Arkansas cotton growers to use fluridone on cotton through 2014, to avoid an expected 25 percent crop loss from aggressive weeds resistant to glyphosate, the commonly used pesticide, according to a new regulation.

“Since the introduction of glyphosate resistant cotton in 1997, twenty-one weed species have developed resistance to [it],” the regulation notes. Glyphosate-resistant palmer amaranth has become the most severe weed problem that Arkansas cotton growers face, according the regulation.

Fluridone is generally used on pond weeds such as duckweed, milfoil and watermeal, according to commercial pesticide websites.

The agency will revoke the time-limited tolerances allowing .1 parts per million of fluridone residues on cotton, before 2015 “if any experience with, scientific data on, or other relevant information on this pesticide indicate that the residues are not safe,” according to the regulation.

Learn more by clicking on the document icon for this action and others.

http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/11/09/52173.htm

 

Arkansas legislator says slavery may ‘have been a blessing’

Arkansas legislator, Republican Jon Hubbard, says slavery may ‘have been a blessing’ in new book.

News DeskOctober 6, 2012 17:34

Clone of slave chains 7 12 2012

US Arkansas legislator makes claims about slavery in new book. (Paula Bronstein/AFP/Getty Images)

Arkansas legislator, Republican Jon Hubbard, says slavery may ‘have been a blessing’ in his new book.

Hubbard, a first term member of the Arkansas House of Representatives, made a number of “racially charged statements” in “Letters to the Editor: Confessions of a Frustrated Conservative,” according to the Huffington Post.

The Arkansas Times reported Hubbard wrote:

“… the institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise. The blacks who could endure those conditions and circumstances would someday be rewarded with citizenship in the greatest nation ever established upon the face of the Earth.” (Pages 183-89)

In his self-published book, Hubbard also said school integration between African-Americans and whites is hurting whites, describing black students as having “a lack of discipline and ambition.”

He added, “even while in the throes of slavery, their lives as Americans are likely much better than they ever would have enjoyed living in sub-Saharan Africa,” The Arkansas Times wrote.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/121006/arkansas-legislator-says-slavery-may-have-been-b