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News Brief: April 3-7


The Death of a Beloved Japanese Zoologist and Filmmaker

Chinese Balloon Intelligence Update

This Week’s Good News

Possible Tax Breaks in Wake of Wildfires


The Death of a Beloved Japanese Zoologist and Filmmaker

Japanese zoologist and filmmaker Masanori “Mutsugoro” Hata, who famously directed The Adventures of Milo and Otis, an 80s classic, has reportedly died of a heart attack at 87.

Hata made it his purpose to connect humans with animals and lived much of his life at a large ranch in Hokkaido, an island in northern Japan, with his wife. Together they looked after brown bears, horses and dogs of a variety of breeds and sizes.

The ranch was also the setting for The Adventures of Milo and Otis, which depicted an unlikely friendship between a kitten and a pug.

By filming real animals in the film, Mr Hata “lends this children’s film a poignancy that cuts much deeper than might a similar story featuring animated characters,” the New York Times said.

To read more from BBC’s article about Hata’s passing and legacy, click here.


Chinese Balloon Intelligence Update

According to reports, the Chinese “spy balloon” that flew over the U.S. in February wasn’t taking pictures, but rather collecting intelligence through electronic signals.

These signals can be acquired from weapons systems or include communications from base personnel, according to two current senior U.S. officials and one former administration official.

Officials claim the balloon made off with only “limited additive value” for intelligence collection, explaining how they were aware it would enter U.S. airspace and took precautions by moving potential targets around and ceasing or limiting signal output at times.

“The administration’s explanation that the balloon had ‘limited additive value’ is little comfort to the Montanans and the American people…” Montana Sen. Steve Daines said.

To learn more about this story from NBC, click here.

This Week’s Good News

         Skier a Hero by Chance – While skiing at Mt. Baker in Washington State, Francis Zuber fell off his skis in a bumpy ‘tree well’ only to spot a snowboard nearby that would have been blocked from sight by the trees had Zuber not fell. When the board wiggled slightly, Zuber realized it was still attached to a person and, in his uploaded helmet cam video, is seen frantically reassuring the man as he dug him out.

         Chef Trades Apron for Cape – In Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, when the sous chef of Philips Seafood witnessed an unidentified man drive into the frigid harbor waters, he jumped in himself, broke the window with his elbow, and drug the man out. The chef, who was temporarily hospitalized for his elbow, has been identified but does not want attention.

         On This Day in History – 375 years ago, the iconic architectural relic of the Mughal period was completed. Lal Qila, or the Red Fort in Old Delphi, was reportedly designed by Ustad Ahmad Lahori, who also constructed the Taj Mahal and is described by UNESCO as the ‘zenith’ of Mughal creativity.


Possible Tax Breaks in Wake of Wildfires

If your home was damaged in last week’s wildfires in and around the Oklahoma City area, you could see a tax break as soon as next month.

Wildfires damaged and destroyed numerous properties last week. On Wednesday, April 5, Oklahoma County tax assessors began visiting and evaluating the affected locations.

“A few years ago, when we had a wildfire in the Choctaw area, the problem was we had all these houses that were being destroyed and hopscotching all over the place,” Oklahoma County Assessor Larry Stein said. “The tragedy was that there was no legal way to remove that value.”

Stein said Oklahoma County is fortunate to have technology allowing quick access to blueprints, a feature most cities don’t have.

The assessors discovered around 30 affected homes, which they are actively trying to assess – if property owners cannot live in the home,  there is no point for them to pay property taxes, Stein said.

Click here for more information from OKC Fox’s article.

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