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On April 17, 2013, an explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. storage and distribution facility in West killed 15 people and injured more than 160. More than 150 buildings were damaged or destroyed. The aerial images below depict the fertilizer plant and its vicinity as it was before the explosion and what it looked like the day after the blast.

 

 

 

 

  • Police were responding Friday morning to reports of shots fired at Noblesville West Middle School in Indiana. >> Read more trending news Nobilesville police had a suspect in custody after the reported shooting, officials with the Carmel Fire Department said. Check back for updates to this developing story.
  • If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between Memorial Day and Veterans Day, apparently you’re not alone. No less an authority than the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says people frequently confuse the two holidays. >> Read more trending news Make no mistake about it: Both are incredibly important holidays, with their common focus on Americans who’ve served in the military. The key distinction: Memorial Day “is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle,” the VA says. While Veterans Day also honors the dead, it is “the day set aside to thank and honor all those who served honorably in the military - in wartime or peacetime.” Here’s a guide to each holiday: MEMORIAL DAY When it is: This year, it is on May 28. Its original name: Decoration Day. Initially, it honored only those soldiers who’d died during the Civil War. In 1868, a veteran of the Union Army, General John A. Logan, decided to formalize a growing tradition of towns’ decorating veterans’ graves with flowers, by organizing a nationwide day of remembrance on May 30 (Logan also served in Congress from Illinois and in 1884, unsuccessfully ran for vice president on the Republican ticket). During World War I, the holiday’s focus expanded to honoring those lost during all U.S. wars. When it became official: In 1968, Congress officially established Memorial Day (as it had gradually come to be known) as a federal holiday that always takes place on the last Monday in May. Its unofficial designation: Memorial Day is still a solemn day of remembrance everywhere from Arlington National Cemetery to metro Atlanta, where a number of ceremonies and events will take place on Monday.   On a lighter note, though, many people view the arrival of the three-day weekend each year as the start of summer. One more thing to know: In 2000, Congress established the National Moment of Remembrance. It asks all Americans to pause at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day each year to remember the dead. VETERANS DAY When it is: November 11 every year.  Its original name: Armistice Day. The “armistice” or agreement signed between the Allies and Germany that ended World War I called for the cessation of all hostilities to take effect at 11 a.m. on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year in 1918. One year later, on Nov. 11, 1919, the first Armistice Day was celebrated in the U.S.  When it became official: In 1938, a Congressional act established Armistice Day as an annual legal holiday. In 1945, World War II veteran Raymond Weeks first proposed the idea of expanding the holiday to one honoring veterans of all U.S. wars. In 1954, the holiday legally became known as Veterans Day (In 1982, President Ronald Reagan presented Alabama resident Weeks with the Presidential Citizenship Medal in recognition of his efforts in creating Veterans Day). Its temporary relocation: In 1968, the same Congressional act that established Memorial Day moved Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October every year. That law took effect in 1971; just four years later, in 1975, President Gerald Ford -- citing the original date’s “historic and patriotic significance” -- signed a bill that redesignated Nov. 11 as Veterans Day every year. One more thing to know: Despite much confusion over the spelling, it’s Veterans Day, plural, and without any apostrophes. That’s according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which explains on its web site: “Veterans Day does not include an apostrophe but does include an 's' at the end of ‘veterans’ because it is not a day that ‘belongs’ to veterans, it is a day for honoring all veterans.”    
  • Under growing pressure from the House to change how lawmakers deal with workplace harassment claims and damage awards, the Senate on Thursday approved a package of reforms that would not allow members to use taxpayer funds to pay any legal settlements, and change the process for Congressional employees to bring complaints against lawmakers. “This is an incredibly important moment,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who joined with Senators in both parties to forge a compromise that was approved on a voice vote. “We are completely overhauling the sexual harassment policies of the Congress,” Klobuchar said on the Senate floor. The Senate just passed bipartisan reforms to fix Congress's broken process for reporting sexual harassment, and finally end taxpayer-funded harassment settlements. This is a big step in the right direction towards transparency and accountability. — Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) May 24, 2018 “These reforms are commonsense,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who had been more and more vocal in recent days about the lack of action on a similar measure passed by the House. Along with streamlining the process for employees to bring a complaint – and then have it evaluated by Congressional officials – the plan would force members to personally pay for any legal settlement, and not have taxpayers foot the bill. “Hardworking taxpayers should not foot the bill for a Member’s misconduct, and victims should not have to navigate a system that stands in the way of accountability,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO). The extra protections for employees would also be extended to unpaid staffers on Capitol Hill, including interns, legislative fellows, and detailees from other executive branch offices. As the Senate approved the plan, the leaders of the House Ethics Committee confirmed that ex-Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) had reimbursed taxpayers for a $39,000 settlement involving a former female staffer in his office. “We understand he sent that reimbursement payment to the Treasury. We welcome that action,” said ethics chair Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN), and the top Democrat on the panel, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), in a joint statement. “There is overwhelming bipartisan consensus in the House that Members should be personally accountable for settlements paid with public funds to resolve claims against them alleging sexual harassment,” Brooks and Deutch wrote in a statement. But what about when lawmakers leave the Congress? The ethics leaders said even then – they should still have to pay up. Ethics committee writes in new letter they believe “any proposal to reform the CAA should include provisions to ensure that Members remain personally liable for their own conduct with respect to discrimination and retaliation & that they remain liable even if they leave Congress” — Alex Moe (@AlexNBCNews) May 24, 2018 Brooks and Deutch also noted that ex-Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) – who had resigned without following through on a promise to pay off an $84,000 settlement – was a perfect example of why the system needs to be changed. “Farenthold publicly promised to reimburse the U.S. Treasury for $84,000 in funds paid to settle the lawsuit brought against him for claims of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation,” they wrote. “Last week, he announced that he would not do so,” the two added. The House and Senate must still hammer out a compromise measure between the bills passed by each chamber – but the Senate vote gives a new shot of energy to the effort, though there are House members who feel the Senate plan is not strong enough, especially in dealing with lawmakers. “I’m optimistic that we can finish the job and get this bill signed into law,” Gillibrand added.
  • The opioid epidemic has now made its way into marine life in Washington’s Puget Sound. Scientists who track pollution have for the first time, discovered traces of oxycodone in mussels. >> Read more trending news  But scientists say those mussels don’t end up on your plate.  The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, or WDFW, gets clean mussels from Penn Cove on Whidby Island and puts them into areas they want to test for water contamination – like in urban waters. And they’ve discovered there’s enough oxycodone in Elliot Bay for mussels to test positive.  “What we eat and what we excrete goes into the Puget Sound,” said Jennifer Lanksbury, a biologist at the WDFW.  Scientists deposit mussels in cages in 18 locations. They teamed up with the Puget Sound Institute to analyze the data and discovered that three locations were positive for trace amounts of oxycodone - two near Bremerton’s shipyard and Elliot Bay near Harbor Island. “It’s telling me there's a lot of people taking oxycodone in the Puget Sound area. The contamination is likely coming from wastewater treatment plants,” Lanksbury said.  >> Trending: Sunken treasure worth $17 billion on 300-year-old shipwreck discovered off Colombian coast After people consume oxycodone, some of it ends up in the toilet, and it goes into wastewater. The water gets filtered, but King County Wastewater Management said although their system can catch a lot of contaminants, it can't specifically filter out drugs.  >> Trending: Great Pacific Garbage Patch 16 times larger than estimates: 87,000 tons of plastic and growing And opioids, antibiotics, drugs for depression - mussels are testing positive for all of it.  “Those are definitely chemicals that are out there in the nearshore waters and they may be having an impact on the fish and shellfish that live there,” Lanksbury said. Again, Lanksbury says people have nothing to worry about when it comes to eating mussels from a restaurant or shop because they come from clean locations. “They’re clean and healthy and delicious. We love to eat mussels from the Puget Sound. We use them for our food and we use them for contaminant analysis,” Lanksbury said.  But the study shows it’s another sign of what's ending up in the water and harming marine life.  “People should be wary,” Lanksbury said. “Hopefully our data shows what’s out there and can get the process started for cleaning up our waters.”  >> Trending: Your bottled water is probably contaminated with tiny plastic particles, health experts say This was a one-time study for prescription drugs, but Fish and Wildlife officials will seek more funding to continue testing and tracking what happening to in the water over time. 
  • An idea to help police patrol under area bridges is approved by the Tulsa City Council. The new ordinance gives police the authority to patrol under bridges that were previously considered state property. The plan is designed to help the City of Tulsa deal with damage under bridges. Leaders with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation say sometimes fires started by people living in homeless camps can do damage. ODOT has also paid for environmental agencies to clean out drug paraphernalia and human waste.