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The Eagle • theeagle.com

Friday, July 29, 2011

News

Ex-astronaut forced out of Navy Douglass By MIKE SCHNEIDER Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. — A former astronaut banished from NASA after she confronted a romantic rival in a bizarre episode is being kicked out of the Navy, officials said Thursday.

nstrated a complete disregard for the well-being of a fellow service member,” Garcia said. Nowak was accused of confronting Colleen Shipman in the parking lot of the Orlando International Airport in February 2007 after driving from Houston.

Capt. Lisa Nowak will retire with an “other than honorable” discharge and her pay grade will be knocked down one rank, Assistant Secretary of Navy Juan Garcia said in a statement. Nowak’s conduct “fell well short” of what is expected of Navy officers and she “demo-

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HEAT: Some rain may hit area Friday Continued from A1 Nielson-Gammon said dryness is a major factor contributing to the current heat. “If we get some decent rain, which we haven’t for awhile, the high temperatures should drop right away,” he said. If reports from the National Weather Service hold true, the Bryan-College Station area could get some rain: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms are forecast for late Friday and early Saturday. Temperatures aren’t expected to exceed 100 degrees until Monday. Brian Blake, spokesman for the College Station-based Texas Engineering Extension Service, said about 75 percent of the injuries reported during fire training involve heat exhaustion. To avoid those problems, Blake said, participants are constantly encouraged to drink from the stations located throughout the Brayton Fire Training Field. More than 2,500 fulltime and volunteer firefighters, along with instructors, made their way to Brayton this week for municipal fire training school. TEEX hosted similar fire training schools, including industrial and Spanish-language ones, earlier this month. “Our biggest concern dur-

LAKE: Levels are ‘sustainable’ Continued from A1 The number of visitors to the recreational lake that touches Washington, Burleson and Lee counties has been lower than normal, Attaway said, adding it could be because of the extreme heat and wasn’t necessarily because of the boat ramp closures or low lake levels. The lake’s gates — which allow water to flow into Yegua Creek and eventually into the Brazos River — remain open, but Brad Brunett, water services manager for the Brazos River Authority, said that soon could change. “Somerville is going down at a fairly rapid rate because of releases we’re making for customers further downstream,” he said. “With Lake Somerville expected to be getting down close to 50 percent here in the next few weeks, we will be reducing our releases there.” The lake as of Thursday was 59 percent full. Some of the river’s other reservoirs at low levels include Lake Georgetown at 52 percent full, Proctor Lake near Fort Worth at 45 percent full and Lake Whitney not far from Waco at 56 percent full. Unless something changes, Brunett said the water supply levels are sustainable through the end of this year and into next. “History tells us it’s unlikely we’ll have two years this dry back-to-back, but you never know,” he said. Bob Wheeler, spokesman for Bryan Texas Utilities, said water levels at Gibbons Creek Reservoir and Lake Bryan — both operated by the cityowned utility company — were near normal. The normal level for Lake Bryan is 352 feet and it’s a foot below that, he said. Gibbons Creek typically is at 247 feet, and recently it was measured at 244 feet. Recreation has not been affected by those slightly low levels, he said. “It has been suggested, though, that boaters might use more caution as stumps, and sandbars, and rock formations are closer to the surface than usual,” Wheeler said.

body,” Blake said. “But we do everything we can to maintain a safe environment and mitigate some of that stress.” Trainees immediately are instructed to remove their gear, find shade and drink water after they’re done with a simulation. Of course, firefighters aren’t the only ones using water to combat heat spells. Just about anyone who works outside follows the same guidelines. Marq Synwolt, field operations manager for Bryanbased Madison Construction Corp., said each foremen and superintendent has to constantly make sure their workers are drinking water. “The main thing from our point of view is hydrate, hydrate, hydrate,” he said. Synwolt said workers will sometimes begin working earlier in the day to avoid the afternoon heat. To date, no Madison employees have been hospitalized due to heat exhaustion although some over-eager workers have “gotten into trouble” with the heat, he said.

ing any of the schools is the heat,” Blake said before stressing the importance of getting enough fluids. “But it’s Texas. It’s July.” Even though some participants do overheat, Blake said the percentage is low. He credits this to the amount of importance the instructors place on hydration. “Every morning they’re telling people, ‘make sure you hydrate,’” Blake said. “It’s a culture out there.” One member of the on-site crew’s sole responsibility is to refill water jugs and make sure hydration stations are loaded. Each training unit also has its own safety officer who monitors hydration. The school used more than 20,000 pounds of ice this week alone. With temperatures in some of the training rooms that simulate interior fires reaching almost 800 degrees, trainees especially are susceptible to dehydration. Firefighters pack on an extra 45 pounds of protective gear before entering most fires. “It makes for an environment that causes stress on the

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