National Dog Day

Today is a day to celebrate dogs – on National Dog Day. And dog owners everywhere are giving their four-legged friends extra treats and belly rubs today. About 66 dogs rescued from Louisiana now have a big reason to celebrate: They’re in the caring hands of Last Chance Animal Rescue in Waldorf.

We spent National Dog Day with the adorable dogs looking for their forever homes, meeting Eva, Ava, Dalton, Dakota, Zandra, Rory, Clayton, May, Kara and a couple dozen more. 66 dogs in all taken by the Last Chance Animal Rescue from Louisiana. Some are in fosters and will soon be ready to be adopted. But in the meantime, they’re getting all the extra love and attention they can handle – on a day that’s dedicated just to them. “We are celebrating just like we do every day,” says Cindy Sharpley, the Executive Director of LCAR. “We love them and feed them and take care of them and walk them and find them new homes.”

At LCAR, however, every day is National Dog Day. “You know what, we celebrate every day. We really do, it sounds corny but it’s true,” says Sharpley.

National Dog Day was started in 2004 as a way to celebrate dogs and bring attention to dogs and puppies all over the country that need homes.

If you’re interested in adopting or fostering dogs, contact the Last Chance Animal Rescue or call (240) 412-5751. Additional information is also available on their Facebook page:

Some of the dogs are available for adoption right away, and will be at the Alexandria PetSmart on Friday.


Silver Spring Blast: Residents moving on

The Red Cross disaster team is still on site at the Long Branch Community Center. Families have been stopping by to get help, but there’s so much that needs to be done.

It’s hard to really understand what the victims from the Flower Branch Apartments explosion are going through. Sarah Garcia is one of the residents who lost everything and for her, there are more questions than answers. She doesn’t know where she is going to live next.

There are about 90 people or so displaced, after an explosion and then fire tore through their homes, destroying almost everything. Sarah Garcia is staying at the Long Branch Community Center with her family for now. She’s thankful they are all safe, but her world was shattered.

“I feel so sad. Everything is gone, our apartment is gone, we didn’t find anything. We cant go in, everything is burned,” she says.

But life moves on, and Sarah has no choice but to keep going. She had to go to work on Thursday, the same day she lost everything, and she’s on her way back to work now.

“Now I’m going to Walmart to buy some pants and t-shirts,” says Sarah. “And then I’ll go to take a shower with some friends and go to work, but I don’t have any clothes to change (into). We don’t have anything 57 nothing at all.”

The Red Cross knows Sarah isn’t the only one here who has to work. “For many of these people, it’s a job that I only get paid for if I show up,” says Paul Carden with the American Red Cross. “I don’t get a sick day, I don’t get a vacation day so for many of them they’ve got to go to work.”

When they come home from work, they’ll have a place to go. The Red Cross will keep the Long Branch Community Center shelter open as long as it’s needed. Financial Aid, food, water, clothing, counselors and even nurses will stay on site to help. Some still need medical attention, like Trina Benitez who was hurt in the explosion. “It’s very difficult for my babies and my husband,” says Trina.

They’ll be given all the basic necessities, but the one thing they need the most, is not easy to come by: hope.

On Friday, non-profits in Montgomery County along with government officials and the Red Cross held a meeting to determine how best to help the victims. People still searching for loved ones can stop by the Long Branch Community Center to help and file a report.

Members of the community have also continued to stop by to drop off donations. Paul Carden with the American Red Cross says they are extremely thankful for the outpouring of support, but right now, cash is king. “We have more than we can physically house. Meeting rooms, conference rooms and garages are full. We don’t need any more product right now, we need the financial support.”

The best way to donate is through the Red Cross or any Montgomery County organizations that are offering assistance. “We need to be able to give them the financial support so they can sit down with the families and say you need help with rent, great, I’ve got money to do that,” says Carden.

2 dead, 90 displaced from Silver Spring Apartment explosion

Residents of the Flower Branch Apartments are still in shock after the massive explosion rocked the community Thursday morning in Silver Spring. Many are displaced and seeking help from the Red Cross at the Long Branch Community Center.

Video taken from Flower Branch apartments resident Marlon Lopez shows flames shooting out of the building after the explosion. “I was in my room when I heard the explosions, I got scared,” says Lopez. He and his neighbors ran outside. “People were knocking on doors saying, ‘get out, get out!”

Lopez’ family and his neighbors are all safe, but he still can’t go home. So for the foreseeable future, the Long Branch Community Center is where he’ll stay, along with about 70 others.

Olegareo Diaz’ brother is among those displaced. He says his brother lived in the apartments, and he was relieved and thankful to find his brother safe at the community center. “He’s so afraid about everything,” says Diaz.

Dozens and dozens of people showed up at the center in the middle of the night. Some with no shoes, in their pajamas, or just in a towel. The Red Cross Disaster team is here to help them all, offering food, water, clothing, a place to sleep and most of all, comfort. Some apartments, and everything inside, are destroyed.

“One of the buildings is basically blown in half, contents of apartments are in the streets, envelopes, socks, clothing,” says Paul Carden with the Regional Disaster Director for the Red Cross. “Many of them are in shock.”

Before the sun was up, people started showing up to help, including neighbors Alejandro and his 10-year-old niece, Madelyn Fuentes. “It’s really cold in there so they needed some clothes,” she says. “I brought them clothes. They didn’t bring any money or any telephones either. I had $2.00 so I spent it and bought them juice and chips.”

“I saw the big hole in the building and my first thought was there are people who are going to need stuff. They will need food and kids will need toys,” says Rita Mortellaro, who brought items to donate to the community center as well. Rita’s 11-year-old daughter also helped. “I just thought they would need help since their houses are destroyed and the kids might be scared so they might want something to play with,” says Kasia Malloy-Mortellaro.

Items can be dropped off at the Long Branch Community Center or donations can be made to the Red Cross.

Delta Blues

A massive problem for travelers at Delta airlines, a power outage is impacting flights for the Atlanta based airline all over the world. That includes frustrated travelers at Reagan National airport in Arlington.

The Delta blues are all too real for thousands of passengers all over the world Monday. “It’s not a good first experience for the baby here,” says Christine Klein who is traveling to Montana with her 1-year-old son. She’s not happy about the delays or the lack of communication. “I tried to checking in this morning and it said there was no information.”

The problems started at 2:30 in the morning when the entire computer system went down because of a power outage. Travelers lined up by the dozens at Reagan National, among them was Derek Favors who knew something was wrong when he got to the airport. “I came in this morning and tried to do the curb side check in they said it was down,” he says. Little did he know, that would be just the beginning of his travel woes. “I just walked in and tried to use the computer systems and was told by somebody in line at they were shut down,” says Favors. “So I don’t know how they are going to work the situation out but I gotta get home somehow, right?”

Flights already in the air this morning landed as scheduled, others were grounded. A back-up system was put in place to check-in customers in the meantime, but those departure boards continue to go from on-time to the dreaded bright, red ‘delayed.’

Delta says passengers should expect widespread cancellations and delays all day long. Agents are re-booking passengers when possible, like Pearl Beach, who just wants to visit her grandkids. “They don’t know, really they don’t know. They are able to do this, they were able to re-route me.”

Delta is offering a waiver for customers traveling Monday the 8th until August the 12th. If that’s not an option, be sure to check the status of your flight online before heading to the airport.



More problems post-flooding in Ellicott City

More problems and more heartbreaking for many homeowners in Ellicott City, because while some were allowed to go inside their houses and get their belongings, others were not; and they may never be.

Patience: That’s what homeowners along Main Street have tried to maintain this week while engineers work to secure the buildings. “It’s just so sad to see your life in ruins,” says one flood victim.

Now, that patience has run out and in it’s place, disappointment. That’s because engineers say there are at least 2 buildings that couple collapse at any moment, and they’ll have to be torn down immediately, along with everything inside. That demolition also impacts the people who live close by, like Sydney Kirchhoff, who was returning from her honeymoon the night of the flood. “I’d love to get some documents so I could change my name,” says Sydney. “We’d love to open a wedding gift, if we could. I mean, our whole lives are in there.”

A lucky few got inside to grab anything that was salvageable, even luckier, were people like Gail Robinson, who just had a few feet of water in her home. “I just need to dry out the basement, this is the second time I have had water in my basement,” she says. “But this time I’m just kind of taking it in stride.”

Meanwhile, perseverance remains on Main Street. For those who lost everything, they say they will rebuild; and they’ll have the helping hands of their neighbors.

To add to the issues in Ellicott City, officials say there is a massive sewage leak nearby. 5-million gallons of sewage is going into the Patapsco River each day. Everyone is asked to steer clear.

Homeowners anxious to return to Main Street

It’s been 3 days since 6 inches of rain flooded Ellicott City and all but destroyed downtown. The flash flood happened Saturday night when people were settling down to dinner and enjoying a night on the town.

Two people died when six inches of rain turned main street into a raging river. Now, those chilling 911 calls have been released by Howard County.

“Oh my God,” says one caller to the 911 dispather. “We are here in Old Ellicott City and the water is coming up on the buliding. We need someone to come in. I can see the ceilings crumbling.”

Trapped inside their homes and businesses along Main Street, people frantically called 911, trying to get help. “Oh my God, there are cars flying down the street, the floor is buckling,” says another caller.

The nearly 11 minutes of 911 calls strung together, give a glipmse into the terrifying night so many experienced on Saturday. 911 operators tried to get people to safety and to higher ground, some are successful, others have no where to go. “The door won’t open and we can’t get out the back,” says a caller. “The water has come into this floor!”

As water continued to rush in, many people were helpless, sitting ducks just waiting for rescue crews to arrive and helping everyone they can.
911 operator: “Are you guys trapped inside?”
Caller: Yes we actually got some people inside that were on the street.”

Rescue crews got there as quickly as possible, but two people didn’t make it; their bodies found on Sunday.

Main Street is still closed to the public this week, but homeowners are expected to be allowed in to see their homes at 12:30 on Wednesday. Homeowners should meet at the Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church on Rogers Avenue. Bring protective eyewear, a flashlight and wear long pants and closed-toe shoes.