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Politics, flames, doggie doppelgangers: I-Report highlights

  • Story Highlights
  • The best of the week's I-Reports, including fiery explosions in Dallas, Texas
  • I-Reporters shared their video analysis of CNN-YouTube Democratic Debates
  • Photos also show Utah fire, Florida water spout, and a serious "Simpsons" fan
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(CNN) -- It's the end of the week again, and we get the feeling the days just flew by. We heard your views on important political issues, saw your photos and video from explosions in Dallas, Texas, and received all kinds of reports of fires and waterspouts around the country. You also sent us a sweet tribute to Tammy Faye Messner, who passed away Friday.

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Ricardo Martinez shot this photo of flooding on July 21 at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

Add in a few devoted Simpsons fans, overwhelming numbers of Harry Potter look-alikes and a loving dog, and it's been another huge week in I-Report land. It's time to take a look back at the week that was.

The first CNN/YouTube debate was a landmark event in political history, allowing citizens to ask video questions that presidential candidates would answer. After the Democratic debate on Monday evening, you sent an overwhelming number of amazing video responses.

Another big story this week was the fiery explosions Wednesday in Dallas, Texas. Marek Ryciak lives only blocks away from Southwest Industrial Gases Inc., a facility that sells acetylene gas. He rushed upstairs to the balcony of a friend's apartment after seeing the smoke. His windows rattled as well.

Justin Randall happened to be driving down the freeway in a convertible when the incident happened. As soon as he started shooting video of the rising fireballs in the not-so-distant distance, he found himself dodging giant pieces of metal debris that had fallen on the road.

Elise Burket filmed a waterspout that turned into a tornado on July 24 in Jacksonville, Florida, and Ed Jones photographed a waterspout in New Orleans, Louisiana. Ricardo Martinez shot photos of flooding on July 21 at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. We also received impressive photos of a fire at Utah's Zion National Park from Desiree Zapinsky. Bill Morey of Salt Lake City, Utah, sent another Utah wildfire picture and Julie Beasley shot photos and video of a fire at a fabric plant in Dyersburg, Tennessee.

Tammy Faye Messner's death the day after her interview Thursday on CNN's "Larry King Live," prompted Shereka Stafford of suburban Charlotte, North Carolina, to dig through her photo album for a snapshot of the two of them together. Stafford ran into Messner at an Applebee's restaurant in 2005 and says she inspired her to go back to school and better her life.

"She told me I could do anything in this world, if I put God first and put my mind to it," Stafford said.

On the lighter side, we received photos from Glenn Thibert that show the "Simpsonian" memorabilia room he used to keep when he lived in Springfield, Massachusetts. He said he now lives in Chicopee, the next town over.

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We received many photos and videos from the July 21 midnight release parties for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," the seventh and final book in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. Kevin Burns, 10, of Fullerton, California, reviewed the book for CNN. Dependable I-Reporter James Brierton of Nesconset, New York, recorded a stand-up in front of a Wal-Mart in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. (He also sent analysis of the debate.)

On the wacky side, Gavin Jocius of Durham, North Carolina, is sure his Chihuahua puppy, Oki-du, is every bit as cute as Heart-kun, a Japanese dog that some have called the cutest dog in Japan. Jocius points out that his dog also has a heart mark on her side. He and his wife had just brought Oki-dun home when they heard about Heart-kun, and like to joke that their situation is like Joey Chestnut of the United States beating Takeru Kobayashi of Japan in the annual hot-dog eating contest at Coney Island in New York. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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