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Mom’s Expression Captures Essence of Back-to-School Experience

Jolie

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Back-to-School is billed as a fun-and-exciting time. There’s the anticipatory glow in kids’ eyes in ads from Target and Wal-Mart. It sounds great. After all, who wouldn’t love all the deals, the smell of antiseptic wipes, and squeak of brand-new sneakers and glittery sandals? Don’t believe it. It’s all a sham. Honestly, the real deal is perfectly captured by that picture… and here’s why.  

First, The Lists 

It’s great that schools post those great school lists online, and they’re even in the stores for easy reference. They always outline the 10 million supplies and materials that the kids need. It all sounds great until you really start looking at the list, and see that there’s no way that your kid will ever use all the supplies. The mega list supplies are destined to become part of the teacher’s barter system, a clever solution to the chronic school-wide shortage of supplies. But, all of that really doesn’t matter at this moment, because when you venture to the school supply bins at any store, they’re bare. You tried online outlets, and they’re out too. So, now, you’re just grabbing a basket-full of stuff, hoping that some of it will apply to the needed items on the list. It’s like Black Friday, only for school supplies.  

But, That’s Not All… No, That’s Not All… 

We venture to the clothing aisles next, but those are just scary. It quickly becomes clear that the kids have all grown two inches, but the size they’ve managed to achieve appears to be absent from the clothing racks. It’s clear that every other child in the multiverse has grown to the precise size(s) you need, so you’re left trying to find something that’s too big or too small. (Too big is usually preferable, since it means you may not have to buy clothes for a while, at least you’d like to think that, if it wasn’t so obvious that the boys will wear holes in their knees before the week is out, and the girls will refuse to wear it after the first time.)  

You’ve got clothes for the kids. It’s an accomplishment, and you breathe a deep sigh of relief, until you remember that the lunchboxes are all in tatters after last year and you still need to figure out lunch eatables that your kids will actually eat. It’s no small feat, since each of the kids have dietary restrictions. You vaguely remember those bygone days when your own school lunch consisted of a PB&J sandwich, with an apple thrown in. Oh, how far we’ve come from those days.  

So, The First Day of School?  

When you get to the first day of school, you’ve already spent days, hours, and frantic minutes scrambling to get everything your kid needs and wants for their return to school. Where does that leave you, the mom (or dad), who has frantically scrambled to pull all the disparate parts together into a mangled mess. Florida Photographer Shawna Genua depicts the calm after the storm. It focuses on moms in their bathrobes, with glasses of wine aloft. They all look tired, exhausted even, and they appear to be celebrating the kids’ return to school. The implication is that the moms have time to sit around and relax, since the kids are all out of the house for a few hours. There’s even the celebratory cupcake in one mom’s hand. It’s relief that the moms are relaying in their faces… if only just for a few moments. Since three-quarters of all American mothers with children at home also work, three of those moms in the pictures will probably be headed off to work in a bit. It’s the fun, frenetic, wonderful life of a mom. Gotta love it!  

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Michael Jordan Opens a Clinic in Charlotte for the Uninsured and Underinsured

Danielle S

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Without a doubt, Michael Jordan’s most famous moments are on the basketball court. He won a national title with the University of North Carolina Tar Heels basketball team and then went on to write his name in the history books with the Chicago Bulls. In the minds of most, he is the best to ever have played the game of basketball. Even though his career on the court is behind him, he still tries to use his fame and fortune to make a positive difference in the local community. Now, he is a pillar of the community in Charlotte, NC, where he makes his home and owns the Charlotte Hornets basketball team. He is always trying to give back to the community that has given him so much. Recently, he did this by trying to help people who are struggling to find healthcare, which many consider should be a human right.

There are too many people who don’t know how they are going to pay for healthcare. Maybe someone has been diagnosed with cancer. Others might need surgery. Some might have a chronic disease that requires regular doctors’ visits. Michael Jordan decided to help out the people who need it most. He recently opened up a clinic in the local area of Charlotte, NC that has been designed to cater specifically to those who either do not have health insurance or do not have enough insurance. The clinic is called the Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Medical Clinic. Novant Health is one of the two major medical networks in Charlotte and is the sponsor of the Charlotte Hornets basketball team. Michael Jordan spent more than $7 million of his own money to make this clinic come to life. There are countless people in the local area who, without a doubt, breathed a sigh of relief to finally have some place to go when they need healthcare. 

Better yet, this is also the first of two clinics for low income families that Michael Jordan is going to be funding out of his own pocket. He recently spoke at the opening of this first clinic and many people were smiling as Michael Jordan broke down in tears. He was so excited to give back to the community that has supported him for years. From his ventures with the UNC Tar Heels (which are incredibly popular in Charlotte) to his homecoming as a member of the Charlotte Hornets, the community has supported Jordan from day one. Now, he is using his success to give back to the members of the community who need it most. He considers himself to be a member of the Charlotte community and now his name is emblazoned across the front of a medical clinic for the uninsured.

The clinic has 12 separate exam rooms along with an x-ray room for diagnostic procedures. There is also a separate space in the clinic for those who need physical therapy. This clinic is located close to home for many families, in an area of the community that is mostly impoverished. This is a great clinic for a community that struggles with social and economic mobility. Many children in Charlotte who are born into poverty never find their way out. The second clinic is already under construction and he is looking forward to opening this clinic soon. There are tens of thousands of people who do not have access to key primary care services in Charlotte. These two clinics are going to go a long way toward fixing this serious situation.

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Tiger Paw Prosthetic

Sarrah M

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Veterinary medicine has come a long ways from just 20 years ago, and the idea of a pet limb prosthetic is now quite possible, similar to a human leg or arm replacement. However, up to now prosthetics have generally been restricted to trainable animals who work well with human interaction and care, such as dogs. The idea of putting a prosthetic on a wild animal, even one in captivity, hasn’t been tried until a certain tiger came along with a damaged paw.

Sahebrao was an Indian tiger that was rescued in 2012 after a paw injury due to a trap. Unfortunately, the living paw had to be amputated when gangrene set in, which otherwise would have killed the animal. As a result, Sahebrao was functionally limited to three legs to move around and would have to spend the rest of his life in captive care to survive at the Wildlife Rescue Center in Nagpur.

Unfortunately, Sahebrao’s suffering continued. Increasingly, the animal’s loss of a limb has contributed to ongoing pain as it tries to compensate on limited mobility. Sushrut Babhulkar became aware of this tiger problem and decided to get involved. Babhulkar’s specialty is orthopedic surgery. He adopted the cat from the Gorewada Zoo and began developing ideas and concepts with animal experts. One of these teammembers on the project was Dr. Peter Giannoudis, based at the University of Leeds, who first brought up the idea of a tiger limb prosthetic.

Soon enough the team engaged in action to make the impossible happen. The first step was to deal with the pain sensitivity the tiger had in the damaged limb. Using a radiographic study, the surgeons operated on Sahebrao to eliminate the remaining nerve ending firing pain receptors up the limb. This in turn stopped the pain sensations the tiger was suffering from. In a month, as the tiger heals, the prosthetic limb specifically designed for the tiger will be manufactured based on specific measurements of the animal’s limb. Ideally, once attached, Sahebrao will be able to at least walk with some normality again, relying on the prosthetic for full balance.

Sahebrao’s case is an example how far tiger conservation in India has evolved in modern times. The protection of the animal and species is recent, and the tiger was almost hunted out of existence between big game sport and Indian villagers afraid of being attacked.

Despite an old history negative imagery, tigers have been under significant proactive conservation efforts in India, and the work has paid off with a rise in the domestic tiger population. The numbers of have increased by 30 percent since 2014, which matters quite a bit since India is literally the home of more than two-thirds of the world’s tigers.

Poaching and fear of interaction due to development continues to be a problem and threat to the tiger’s survival, and they represent the number one cause of tiger death in the country. The Indian government has applied severe punishment on any poachers caught, resulting in at least 7 years in prison if convicted. However, tiger deaths by man still continue.

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Ex-College Football Star Meets and Hugs Foolish Gunman

Liz L

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Keanon Lowe was a regular guy who did not want to be famous until fame found him at Parkrose High School in Portland, Oregon, on May 17, 2019.  At that time, Lowe coached football and track and served as one of the Parkrose high school’s security guards.  Lowe, in his first year at Parkrose, did attend an active shooter seminar but had no experience with security, but he knew what he had to do in that type of situation.

Keanon Lowe was a successful football wide receiver for the University of Oregon Ducks.  When he played football, he was agile and aggressive.  Lowe weighed less than two hundred lbs and is five foot, nine inches tall. When he played football, he was fearless and one of the team’s leaders.  This physical agility played a significant role in his life.

Lowe aspired to play in the NFL but was not drafted.   He did work on the staff with the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers and became knowledgeable of what it took to be an NFL player.

Keanon Lowe was different from most people.  When he was nine years old, Keanon had a responsibility when growing up that established his positive approach to life.  When his parents divorced, he became committed to taking care of his younger brother Trey.  Keanon became Trey’s role model. This type of experience probably is one of the reasons why he aspired to coach children.  Coaching requires several personal skills.  Lowe understands that a person needs to have a passion for working hard and winning, and when working with children, the compassion to keep the children motivated and hopeful when you lose.   He is known to go out of his way to help his students.

On May 17, 2019, Keanon life’s changed.   His mom Jen received a text which alerted her about a serious problem Keanon had at school.  She turned on her TV and saw a local report that there was an active shooter at Parkrose High School.  She then telephoned and texted Keanon, but there was no response.  She then rushed to the school and saw a local TV van and police coming out of their cars rushing to the school with their guns drawn.

Earlier on May 17th, it was Keanon Lowe’s responsibility to find a student in a Parkrose High School fine arts building, located on Portland’s northeast side.   Looking for stranded students is a standard security procedure.  The student could not be found, but Lowe saw a school senior, eighteen-year-old Angel Granados-Diaz walk into the same room Lowe was in holding a loaded shotgun, but with only one shell.   

There is a black and white school surveillance video that documented the entire event.  The video shows that Lowe took the shotgun from Granados-Diaz hands and then grabbed the eighteen-year-old in a hug but not to take the boy down but to remarkably give Granados-Diaz comfort.  Lowe saw a tragic boy with fear in his eyes who was planning suicide and not to kill hundreds of students, with one shotgun shell.  As it turns out, Granados-Diaz wanted to kill himself at school because he did not want his mother to find his body. Lowe was recognized by a hero, received a local award by the police department and national coverage for his heroism.  It seemed that Lowe’s approach to living through strength and compassion saved Granados-Diaz’s life and is an example of Lowe’s fearless humanity and to show that life was worth living.  

Granados-Diaz pleaded guilty and sentenced to 36 months of probation.  He was also ordered to receive mental health and substance abuse treatment.

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Training Starts Early

Danielle S

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When Tyra Winters woke up that Saturday morning, she never dreamt she would change a child’s life that day. At 17, Tyra’s life revolved around her friends, school, and cheerleading. The day of the homecoming parade started like any other but would end with Tyra and her fellow cheerleaders learning how important it is to pay attention in class.

Tyra’s mom had encouraged her to learn CPR and First Aid. Working in the medical field, she knew how important it was to learn simple lifesaving maneuvers if the need ever presented itself. On that beautiful sunny day, the need was there and Tyra stepped up. Being at the right place at the right time, Tyra went from being an average teen cheerleader to one child’s forever hero.

Nicole Hornback had taken her child to the parade to see the firetrucks and beautiful floats. Grabbing some candy here and there was on the agenda as well. As the parade continue to pass by, Hornback noticed that her little boy wasn’t moving. He wasn’t making any noise either. She scooped him up and attempted to do the Heimlich maneuver but since she wasn’t properly trained, it didn’t work.

As the Rockwall High School cheerleader’s float drew close, Tyra noticed the frantic actions of the young mother and immediately knew something wasn’t right. Her first instinct was to jump off the float and race to the mother’s side. She took the toddler and gently laid him over her arm, giving three firm back thrusts. After the third strike, the toddler ejected the candy and began to cry.

Statistics provided by CPR Certified claim that close to 4,000 adults choke to death every year and every five days, a child dies due to choking. The Heimlich maneuver takes approximately 10 minutes to learn and can be used on children ad adults. When properly performed, the maneuver saves over 85% of victims who are choking on a foreign object.

After the incident, Tyra said, “He was turning purple, so I jumped off the float.” It was her quick thinking that saved the toddler’s life. Hornback followed with, “She saved my baby. I commend her for being a teenager and being trained.” Many people associate first aid and CPR training as part of adult education, it can actually be taught to teenagers as well.

Many schools offer CPR and first aid training to their students who are involved in extracurricular activities. Teaching students at an early age and stressing the importance of being aware of their surroundings will save lives as well as provide them a skill they can use for the rest of their lives. For Tyra and her cheerleading squad, a valuable lesson was learned that day. Every day is a gift and you never know when something will happen that can change your life.

For both Tyra and the Hornbacks, that day will be one that is not soon forgotten. Tyra’s quick thinking was just what was needed to save a child’s life. It’s never too early to start teaching lifesaving skills. You really never know when they will be needed.

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Cute Baby Has the Best of Both World – Napping & Eating at the Same Time

Sarrah M

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Babies are adorable. They are little humans, and they really do the darnedest things. Even if they are doing something wrong, all you need to do is just look at their face and your heart melts and you are no longer upset at them. How can you be? They’re too cute.

When they’re not getting into trouble by taking everything out of the drawers and cabinets, or making you chase them around the house, they do and say cute things. Like baby Zeppelin. Baby Zeppelin is living his best life. Napping, sleeping, playing, and doing all the fun things with his parents. But Zeppelin wanted more. He wanted to have the best of both worlds, and he did just that recently during lunch-time.

Zeppelin was very tired after a long day of playing with his toys. But he was also hungry. While his dad attempted to feed him, Zeppelin decided to take a nap in between bites. It got to the point where his dad thought he was down for the count, when his little head would pop up, mouth open, waiting for his next bite. It was the cutest thing. It reminded me of the memes on-line comparing toddlers to drunk people, or even this article that details 20 Ways Toddlers are Just Like Your Drunk Friend.  Here are some examples from the article:

  • They cry for no reason.
  • They’ll pee anywhere, and it will probably be on themselves.
  • They’re messy eaters.
  • They won’t admit they’re tired.

Those are just a couple of examples Joanna McClanahan from Scary Mommy gives as to why toddlers are tiny drunk people, and it is eerily correct.

Little Zeppelin reminds me of myself or a number of friends who have gotten drunk, are hungry, but wind up falling asleep before finishing whatever food we were eating. Zeppelin is just a cuter version, obviously.

There are a few times in the video, where it appears that baby Zeppelin has finally fallen asleep. But the hunger, or the delicious food he was eating, got the best of him, and he wakes up, slightly, wanting more. His eyes are barely open throughout the whole video, so whatever he was eating must have been very good. I can think of a few things that could wake me up from dreamland, but I don’t think he was eating French fries, tacos, or pizza, but that’s just a guess.

I’m not sure if it was Zeppelins dads intention to make his son a viral sensation for nap eating, but it sure works. Not only because it is one of the cutest things I’ve seen, but also because it’s hilarious and I’m glad he shared this with the world. Zeppelin is too cute for words. Watch the video and see for yourself.

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