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Galveston closed to reporters. Biowarfare lab located there.

Galveston officials are restricting media access. A biowarfare lab is located there.

Galveston officials restrict media access

By Rhiannon Meyers
The Daily News
Published September 15, 2008

GALVESTON - Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas on Monday ordered all city
employees not to talk to news reporters. She did not say when that
order would be lifted.

Thomas and City Manager Steve LeBlanc will be the only officials
allowed to talk to reporters. City spokeswoman Mary Jo Naschke
vehemently denied the city was trying to clamp down on coverage.

She said emergency personnel and city employees were too busy to talk
to reporters. Naschke also said the city had been accommodating news
reporters by allowing them access to the island when others weren't
allowed, giving them escorted rides to damaged areas and allowing
them to move about outside during a curfew.



Mon Sep 15, 2008

Houston journalists are irate and concerned as a total media blackout
in the wake of Hurricane Ike.

"...reporter Wayne Dolcefino revealed that media have been blocked from
covering Hurricane Ike's devastation. In a press conference,
Dolcefino pressed
Gov. Rick Perry on why media aren't even allowed to fly over parts of
Galveston Island, noting that media access was far better in
Mississippi and
Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina."

"I continue to get reports from all corners that there is a high body
Not to be macabre or disrespectful, but there are leaks coming from
Galveston and Houston that there are bodies floating around
Galveston's West
End and Bolivar. "


(CNN) -- Workers at a Galveston, Texas, laboratory said to contain
biological agents secured the pathogens Friday ahead of Hurricane Ike,
officials said.

A patient at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston is
from the building Thursday.

The pathogens, which include the deadly ebola virus, were purposely
before the staff left the facility in advance of the hurricane, said
Gov. Rick
Perry's spokesman, Andrew Barlow
A Department of Homeland Security official concurred that all the
samples had
been destroyed, and the building was locked down, quarantined and

But a former student who worked at the Level-III laboratory while the
facility was being constructed and who knows the manager, said she
would be
surprised if all of the pathogens had been destroyed, since some of
them are
rare and extremely valuable.

The lab is one of the country's five biosafety labs that are Level-
IV, the
highest level. Such laboratories typically handle pathogens like
tularemia and anthrax to develop vaccines and antidotes. [Is that why
won't allow anyone in that area:]


Posted to a forum: It doesn't take a lot of speculation to figure out
"up". As someone said a few posts back...there are, or may be, many
floating among the debris, and there is no reason whatsoever to show
images to the public. How would you like to learn you've lost a
friend or
relative by seeing their body floating in the flood waters after a

I think it's very clear that the western end of Galveston is a total
loss. I
can't fathom any possible reason to try to hide this fact from the
public, it
would be impossible. They are simply censoring terrible images of death.

Originally posted by Valhall On the damage forums they are stating that
Galveston authorities are making statements that the west end of the
island is
permanently gone. The whole tip of the island itself.

Channel 13. The fireworks are firing!

A reporter is grilling the City Manager. It's getting very heated. The
reporter is confirming that they are being kept out of BOTH Boliver
and the
West End. He's calling the restrictions unprecedented. He
specifically said
this had never been done to media choppers before. He demanded a
justification....none was given. The desk anchor said they "were
fighting for
our right to know."

The following is a first-hand account of the destruction of Galveston
by Hurricane Ike by Mark Collette, former Tyler Paper reporter, who
there with his wife, Rhiannon Meyers, also a former Tyler Paper
reporter and
now a reporter for the Galveston County Daily News.

Collette sent an e-mail, from which this information was included, to
friends and family know they are doing fine.

"The island, as a whole, looks like a war zone. The structures that
destroyed have been ruined by water. Fire destroyed at least 17
buildings. One
entire apartment building collapsed."

"Every structure built over the water in front of the Seawall was
and left little trace, except for the Flagship Hotel, which was severely
damaged and separated from the island."

"Some people are believed to still be inside but cannot be reached
because the pilings on the building were damaged, so a helicopter
cant land
on top."

"Much if not most of the property on the Bolivar Peninsula is now
Homes on the West End of Galveston Island that used to be behind the
dunes are
now over open water. The Seawall was covered in chunks of concrete
that weigh
hundreds of pounds."

"Authorities are still in search-and-rescue mode. About 24,000 people
heed evacuation orders. Rescuers are leaving the dead in houses and
moving on
to look for the living.

"Unlike in New Orleans after Katrina, they are not spray painting a
giant "X"
on a building when they find bodies. Instead, they are putting discrete
stickers on the buildings. On the one hand, government officials seem
to be
trying to keep the media from portraying the true extent of the
disaster, but
on the other hand officers are tipping off reporters about deaths and

Rhiannon said the amount of buildings reduced to rubble suggests that
bodies will be found and the magnitude of the disaster will become
clearer in
the coming days. A couple thousand have probably been rescued, a couple
thousand have left the island on buses since the storm. Thankfully,
for those
who remain, the government has arrived with food, water and ice, and the
weather has cooled so that people can stay comfortable just with open
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
The walls in our apartment that are parallel to the Seawall had
watermarks as
high as three feet, suggesting that waves rolled through the building
even though the windows didnt break. Rhiannon said the smell is
awful. But we
have renters insurance, and I took all the photos and most of the other
keepsakes with me when I evacuated.

Galveston 19.Sep.2008 12:27


The streets of Galveston are filled with raw sewage. there is no water, and no electricity. There are downed hot electric wires dangling from all sorts of locations. Those remaining there are defecating in the streets. If there is a car accident or if a reporter is hurt stepping on or sliding in raw sewage there is no medical personnel and no EMT, no hospital, no ambulance, no help. If you have a heart attack or stroke you are dead. Reporters have been kept out as have owners of property in Galveston. There are 11 confirmed deaths in the area, from natural causes, two from drowning. Reporters were denied entrance to the island because repair vehicles, Texas Department of Transportation personnel, and all sorts of people arriving on the island to assay damages and repair roads, bridges and rescue all sorts of folks who chose to stay through the storm. All Galveston needs is an army of reporters arriving, trying to set up shop in the filthy streets, announcing what dead bodies there might be. DAYS before IKE hit, people were ordered out of Galveston, authorities saying get out or face certain death. Continuous helicopters have brought close coverage from the day IKE hit - reporters like Wayne Dolcefino, who is disliked and ridiculed in the whole area, are attempting to score air time and enrich their resumes. It all goes back to "the buck", doesn't it.