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News Brief: March 27-31


Pope Hospitalized

Ohio River Accident with Toxic Material

Thieves Target Exterior Post Office Boxes


Pope Hospitalized

On Wednesday, 86-year-old Pope Francis was taken to the Gemelli University Hospital in Rome after complaining of respiratory difficulty.

“This afternoon, he went to the Gemelli [hospital] for some medical checks,” a statement released on Wednesday said. “The outcome of these showed a respiratory infection (excluding COVID19 infection) that will require several days of appropriate hospital medical treatment.”

It is unclear what kind of infection or treatment the Pope has or needs, but his condition has improved according to Matteo Bruni, director of the Press Office of the Holy See.

“The clinical picture is progressively improving, and the planned treatments continue,” Bruni said. “This morning after having breakfast, he read some newspapers and went back to work. Before lunch, he went to the little chapel of the private apartment where he gathered in prayer and received the Eucharist.”

On Thursday, the Pope expressed gratitude for the support over Twitter.

“I am touched by the many messages received in these hours, and I express my gratitude for the closeness and prayer,” he said.

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Ohio River Accident with Toxic Material

At 2 a.m. Tuesday morning, a vessel tugging 11 barges down the Ohio River had a “navigational accident” at the McAlpine Locks and Dam, resulting in 10 of the barges breaking free and the one carrying 1,400 metric tons of methanol – a toxic alcohol – to become lodged and partially submerged.

No injuries have been reported, and an update issued later on Tuesday said there was no leak.

“There is currently zero evidence of a tank breach or any leaks,” Louisville’s emergency services agency said in an update on Tuesday, “and air and water monitoring resources are in place. … There is currently no impact to Louisville Water’s water intake or water quality. The river waterway is open through the use of the local vessel traffic services.”

As for the barges containing soy, corn and other products, three wound up pinned against a lower part of the dam while one was pinned against a bridge pier according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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Thieves Target Exterior Post Office Boxes

Multiple locals have reported being victims of a check scam – they will drop off checks in a blue box outside a post office from which thieves will look through and remove the check’s ink to make it out to someone else.

“I had a cashier’s check and a personal check in one envelope,” Jamie Hilburn said. “The cashier’s check got cashed. They attempted to cash the personal check, but the bank rejected it.”

Hilburn reportedly lost $3,000, while one bank claimed scammers got away with $45,000 from a customer.

Postal Inspectors said they have recovered more than $1 billion counterfeit checks every year and advise against dropping mail in any blue box after its last pickup time for the day.

Jarrell Hollinsworth said this kind of concern drives him to always take his checks inside.

“I don’t have to worry about anybody breaking into nothing or anything like that,” Hollinsworth said.

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