Friday, May 31, 2013

Today's Good Newsz Quote of the Day...

Being born with only two fingers hasn't stopped high school student Pat Hurley from excelling in sports - he captains the soccer, basketball and baseball teams.

At the end of the school year, coaches from Catholic Memorial stare at a list of every student-athlete and search for the one who will be named the most outstanding athlete.
The panel looks for a student who thrives on and off the field, and looks for a young man who personifies all the values of a school that has a tradition of successful athletics throughout the years.
At the end of this year’s quest, it came as no surprise that the meeting of the minds produced Pat Hurley’s name for the honor.
Hurley, a three-sport athlete and captain of the soccer, basketball and baseball teams, has a story that goes beyond overcoming adversity. The 18-year-old senior was born with two fingers on his right hand, and earned every accolade that came his way with hard work and perseverance through a disability that would force others to not even give sports a try.
“He’s just tremendous,” Knights basketball coach Denis Tobin said. “He goes about his business with no excuses and he did everything that a normal player would do and more. So it just goes to show people that no matter what, you can achieve your goals. He’s one of the best kids I’ve ever coached.”

Muji Karim survived his own tragedy and now he gives hope and inspiration to others- In giving, he is building his own strength.

Muji Karim didn’t want to talk to anyone, least of all a stranger. For days, he had met the unimaginable with a refusal to despair. As the extent of his injuries became clearer, though, he wondered what his life had become.
The 29-year-old former football star had been trapped in a fiery car wreck in August 2011. Both legs were amputated. Much of his left hand was gone, and injuries to the right arm left him with no fully functional limb. Normally gregarious, he grew quiet.
Then George Pessotti walked into his intensive-care room at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The healthy, bald-headed volunteer more than twice Karim’s age had come to talk about recovery — physical and mental.
“What does this guy know?” Karim thought.
Pessotti, it turned out, knew plenty about injury, although his scars were not obvious. In 1979, then 31 and a father of two young sons, he was burned over most of his body when gas fumes ignited in his Westford kitchen.
‘His reaction was striking. He said, “OK. I don’t have any legs. What do we do now?” ’ — Dr. Simon Talbot, Brigham surgeon
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Pessotti gave Karim some advice: He could choose to spend the next months worrying that he wouldn’t run or play football again, that he wouldn’t get married or have a life apart from his injuries — but if Karim thought that way, Pessotti warned, he would indeed be disabled.

There's a new breed of dogs at the airport and their job is to take the stress out of travel...

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- There's a new breed of airport dog. They aren't looking for drugs or bombs — they are looking for people who need a buddy, a belly to rub or a paw to shake.
"His job is to be touched," volunteer Kyra Hubis said about Henry James, her 5-year-old golden retriever that works a few hours a week at the San Jose airport. "I am just standing there with him. They are talking to him. If I need to answer for him, I do. But I am at the end of his leash, he's not at the end of mine."
Mineta San Jose International Airport is widely credited with introducing the first airport therapy dog in the days after Sept. 11, 2001, when flights were grounded, passengers were stranded and reaching friends and relatives in the East was nearly impossible. Passengers were anxious and afraid.
Enter Orion, owned by a volunteer airport chaplain who got permission to bring the dog to work. He made such a difference that San Jose formalized the program and now has nine dogs. Miami International Airport got onboard the program with one and Los Angeles International Airport has 30 and is hoping to expand its program.
The dogs are intended to take the stress out of travel — the crowds, long lines and terrorism concerns.
You never know why people are flying, said Heidi Huebner, director of volunteers at LAX, which launched Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUPs) in April. Travelers might be in town for a vacation, a funeral, to visit a sick family member or to attend a business meeting.
"You can literally feel the stress levels drop, people start smiling, strangers start talking to each other and everybody walks away feeling really, really good," Huebner said.

In between his school work high school student Justin Beckerman tinkers around and builds himself a submarine...

(CNN) -- The submarine's body may be constructed from drainage pipes and the hatch from a recycled skylight, but according to its 18-year-old inventor, this single-person U-boat can plunge to a depth of 30 feet and has already completed three successful dives.
The Nautilus took high school inventor Justin Beckerman just six months and $2,000 to put together -- all while keeping on top of his homework.
"He has been building things since he was two years old," says his mother, Jess Beckerman. "If we tried to help him we would just get in the way and mess things up."
The submarine has ballast tanks to maintain its depth and equilibrium; air vents that bring oxygen down from the surface; a functioning PA and a range of emergency systems including back-up batteries, a siren, strobe lights, a breathing apparatus and a pump to fight leaks. The vessel can remain submerged for up to two hours and travels beneath the waves at one and a half miles per hour.
Beckerman says he is going to use it to "explore the lake, see fish and hopefully find a bit of history, like the cannons from my neighbors' historic house" that, he says, were dumped in the lake during renovations in the 1960s.
When he was younger, Beckerman began by making things out of balloons and string, but as the years went by his inventions grew in scale and complexity. At the age of 12, instead of complaining about having to help with the housework, he developed a remote-controlled car that could mop and vacuum.
Beckerman's website is a testament to his enormous productivity. It is a menagerie of home-constructed machines including boats, planes, architectural constructions, and prize-winning robots.
The materials he uses in his creations are often technological cast-offs from family and friends, or garbage scavenged from electronics recycling facilities. The Nautilus has regulators and pressure gauges from an old restaurant soda fountain that Beckerman found behind a shopping center. The two main batteries are from a child's ride-on toy, and its PA speakers are made from an old car stereo.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Today's Good Newsz Quote of the Day...

Marc Fucarile, the last of the injured Boston Marathon victims, leaves Mass General Hospital to continue his journey of recovery...

BOSTON — The last of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing being cared for at Massachusetts General Hospital expressed both hope and uncertainty Wednesday as he was discharged after more than six weeks of treatment.
Marc Fucarile, a 34-year-old roofer, had his right leg blown off in the second of the two April 15 blasts. Ever since, doctors have been fighting to save the left leg. As he was released Wednesday, Fucarile said the leg's health was coming along but that nothing was guaranteed.
An optimistic Fucarile said he was looking forward to walking again and dancing with fiancee Jennifer Regan at their wedding, and playing with the couple's 5-year-old son, Gavin.
Fucarile was surrounded by family members, including his mother and grandmother, as he left the hospital on a stretcher. His next stop is Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, though he said he would be returning to MGH in about two weeks for additional surgery.

Saying he felt good, though still tired, Fucarile thanked the doctors and nurses at the hospital for saving his life, and also thanked "all the perfect strangers who don't even know me who have supported me with their prayers, their thoughts, their donations."
"It's been amazing to see how America is really the most beautiful place you can live," he said.
Fucarile also gave a nod to first responders who treated him after the blast and, according to his doctors, got him to the hospital with only minutes to spare before he would have died.
The hospital was one of several were the wounded were sent after the bombings. MGH treated more than 30 patients, 23 of whom were admitted. All have been released, hospital officials said. Three people died in the blasts, and more than 260 were injured.
Fucarile was among a group of friends from Stoneham who were at the finish line to cheer on another buddy who was running in the race. Two of those friends, brothers Paul and J.P. Norden, also lost one leg each in the bombing.
Fucarile additionally sustained burns and severe shrapnel wounds, including a piece of metal that lodged in his heart.
He underwent a series of surgeries to repair multiple fractures in his left leg and foot, not knowing if the limb could be saved.
"Nothing is guaranteed, and I know that," he said Wednesday. "But (the doctors) said it looks promising. It's looking good, it's doing what they want it to do and now it's pretty much going to be on my end in rehab."
Fucarile and Regan have not scheduled a date for their wedding.
"Not until he dances," she said.
Fucarile, who joked that his fiancee was giving him no choice but to dance, nonetheless said he was confident he'd be able to do that.
"His strength is amazing. He's kept us all strong," said Regan, adding that the family was "psyched" for him to begin the next phase of his recovery.
"We're all blessed and glad that he's still with us and his attitude has been amazing through all of this," said Edward Fucarile, Mark's older brother who postponed his own wedding that had been scheduled for Saturday.
Fucarile was effusive in his praise for hospital staff, noting how they always arranged for him to watch his favorite team, the Boston Bruins, on TV.
"Honestly, I don't want to leave," he joked.

Los Angeles Dodger Matt Kemp maybe struggling on the field, but his off the field contributions are unmatched as he reunites with Joshua Jones a teen fighting terminal brain cancer

Matt Kemp has struggled on the field of late. He was booed at Dodger Stadium on Monday night in a game the Los Angeles Dodgers eventually won, 8-7. A few nights earlier, he was benched as part of a double switch. He's 2 for his last 16 at the plate.
The outfielder has had much more success off the field. Back on May 5—which might seem like a season ago for Kemp—he gave Joshua Jones, a Dodgers fan who is terminally ill with brain cancer, the jersey off his back, his cleats, his hat, a bat and a ball following a game in San Francisco.
Kemp didn't stop there. What started with Jones' dad asking Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach to have Kemp come say hello to his son continued 3 1/2 weeks later in Los Angeles.
Kemp flew Jones and his family from Tracy, Calif., which is about a five-hour drive away, to LA for Monday night's game against the Los Angeles Angels.
Before the game, Jones was introduced to Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw and president Stan Kasten. Kemp also introduced Jones to Angels outfielder Mike Trout, the 2012 American League Rookie of the Year.
Following his visit with Jones early this month, Kemp said the gesture helped him "refocus."

Blind students get a special treat and learn how to make their own culinary dishes through the "Cooking without Looking" program

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE (CBS4) – It may seem like an odd mix, bringing a cooking show out “into the wild” of Zoo Miami, but for someone like 12 year old Daniella Ghuraim, it’s a sensory experience that makes perfect, well, sense. “I went to feed the birds, and then we’re going to go cook without looking,” explains Daniella, adding, “I want to learn how to cook at home, maybe by myself.” The show takes students from local non-profits like Miami Lighthouse for the Blind on a culinary experience in the great outdoors. “We have all kinds of experiences for visually challenged kids, you can feed a giraffe and feel that tongue on your hand, feel that rhino, feel that incredible skin, you can sit on top of a camel and walk on top of a camel – it’s not just the sights, but it’s the smells, it’s the sounds,” 
explained Zoo Miami’s Ron Magill. The Miami Lighthouse for the Blind feels it’s a valuable experience for the students they serve. “You have to touch, smell, taste everything to get the behind the scenes experience,” said Carol Brady-Simmons, Chief Program Officer for the Miami Lighthouse. After touring the zoo, and a few up close and personal experiences with some of the animals, it was time to wash up and hit the kitchen.

 “Cooking without looking was actually the first show that was created for the blind and visually impaired, and the hosts are blind and visually impaired, like I have macular degeneration, our other host is totally blind,” explained show host, Annette Watkins. A pan full of pizzas later, the students had a new dish to add to their recipe box. “Someone might think, how could somebody totally blind cook – and it’s amazing to see, no pun intended!” joked Watkins. It was all about tackling an ordinary process like cooking in an extraordinary way. “That’s what the blind and visually impaired need to do, they do the same things that the sighted world get to do, but they have to do it a different way,” said Brady-Simmons.
For more on the "Cooking without Looking" television show click here

Injured Chinese farmer Sun Jifa turns his homemade bionic arms into a business to help others just like him that can't afford expensive prosthetic arms.

When a Chinese farmer couldn't afford expensive prosthetic arms, he reportedly created his own functional, bionic arms, which later turned him into an entrepreneur.
New Tang Dynasty (NTD) Television reports that farmer Sun Jifa, in China's northern Jilin province, lost his arms years ago when a fishing explosive prematurely went off. Sun could only afford a low-grade pair of prosthetic arms, but they weren't very useful.
So despite having no instructions, Sun spent eight years building his own steel pair of bionic arms from scratch, NTD Television reported. His story is explained in the video above.
"It transfers power from the natural movement of my elbow into the finger, allowing it to grab and hold," Sun, 53, told NTD Television.
But what's arguably even more remarkable is that Sun then turned his invention into a successful business.
Other amputees soon began requesting their own version of Sun's prosthetics, according to NTD Television. Today, Sun has reportedly sold over 1,000 steel limbs for about US $490 each.
"By using these hands, I can help the family with chores. I can do some farmwork. I'm not useless," he told NTD Television. "I really feel a weight has lifted. I feel I'm not a freeloader. I can be useful."

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Today's Good Newsz Quote of the Day...

Inspiration: "It just takes me a little longer", says 29 year old Scott who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a child.

This 6-minute video will completely change the way you look at the disabled.
It stars a 29-year-old man named Scott, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a child. He can't talk, has difficulty walking and has limited mobility in his arms, according to a Thursday Reddit post by user ciscomd.
Despite this, he's unstoppable at the gym.
"People out there [who] have disability please dont be sorry for yourself," Scott says in the video through a speech assistance device. You'll see him bench press, lift weights, and even run on a treadmill.
The video, titled, "It just take me a little longer," has been viewed on YouTube more than 250,000 times -- and Reddit users have left over 1,000 comments about Scott's story. The post drew enough attention that ciscomd set up an "Ask Me Anything" post with Scott the next day.
In Friday's AMA, Scott shared the he may have a job offer as a result of the documentary, and he dreams of working with abused animals one day.
"This guy is a classic example of why people need to start seeing people with disabilities as people, rather than just seeing the disability," wrote user fetal-juice.

300 police officers stand in for fellow officer at his daughter Tatum Raetz's kindergarten graduation...

Tatum Raetz graduated from kindergarten this week, just three days after her police officer father was killed while investigating a drunk driving case.
But the 5-year-old girl definitely felt her father’s presence at her ceremony, thanks to nearly 300 uniformed officers standing in his place at her Phoenix elementary school.
The officers lined the school’s sidewalk on Wednesday morning to greet Tatum and her mother as they arrived for the graduation.

Phoenix police department officers line a school sidewalk as they wait for the arrival of 5-year-old Tatum Raetz, whose father was killed in the line of duty three days before her kindergarten graduation.
phoenixpolice / Twitter
Phoenix police department officers line a school sidewalk as they wait for the arrival of 5-year-old Tatum Raetz, whose father was killed in the line of duty three days before her kindergarten graduation.
“When they stepped out of the car, they saw a sea of blue out there. The officers were clapping, calling out her name, congratulating her,” said Phoenix police department spokesman James Holmes, who attended the ceremony. “The look on her face was absolutely priceless.”
Tatum was given a bouquet of flowers before she walked down the line of officers, at times shyly hiding behind her mother. The girl’s elation was obvious, as were the officers enjoying the bittersweet moment.
“We probably soaked the sidewalk,” Holmes said. “It was impossible not to be emotional in that moment.”

Identical twins Kirstie and Kristie Bronner share the title of class Valedictorian at Spelman College in Atlanta.

Identical twins Kirstie and Kristie Bronner share practically everything: hobbies, favorite colors, favorite foods, and clothes.  But now they can share the title of valedictorian.
Kirstie and Kristie, both 22, from Atlanta, Ga., will graduate May 19 as the first co-valedictorians who are also identical twins at Spelman College, in Atlanta.
“I don’t think we even thought about the possibility of it,” Kristie told
“We actually have prayed about it,” Kirstie said.  “Lord help us to make 4.0s all the way through college.”
The two have the same major—music—and both have perfect 4.0 GPAs.  The sisters managed to keep up their grades while juggling Spelman College’s glee club and volunteering at their father’s church, Word of Faith Family Worship Cathedral.
“I am extremely proud of them.  They have gotten that particular status the old fashion way,” their father, Bishop Dale Bronner, told “Their greatest asset is their discipline. They got their brilliance from the mother, but they got their discipline from their father.”
“We prayed harder than everybody else and worked harder,” Kirstie said.
For the twins, their achievement meant having to sacrifice going out on the weekends occasionally. “Our friends kind of just stopped asking,” Kristie said.
The sisters attribute most of their achievements to their relationship and their similarities. “Our values are the same,” Kristie said. “Our drive is the same. We spend a lot of time together so we always studied together.”
In fact, their personalities are so similar that the two said that they’ve had many occurrences where they’ve written papers or taken tests and had the same thesis points or wrong answers.

Injured Boston Marathon teen Sydney Corcoran is crowned Prom up - Graduation.

LOWELL, Mass. —A teenage girl injured in the Boston Marathon bombings was crowned prom queen Tuesday night.
Sydney Corcoran, 18, and her mother, Celeste, were injured in the April 15 attacks.
Lowell High School's senior prom is being held at Lowell Memorial Auditorium. 
"I keep feeling like I'm going to cry because I'm just happy to be back.  See now, I'm going to start crying. It's just really good to see everyone," Sydney told Newscenter 5's Mary Saladna.
She said this definitely became a goal during rehab.
"When I was in the hospital, I didn't think this was going to be possible.  Then I got to the rehab and I was up and doing things.  It felt like I could do it. So it was a goal.  This and graduation -- definitely goals," she said.
Her friends are just so thrilled she is OK and was able to attend prom.
"She's loyal, trustworthy, she's just an amazing friend, (I) love her dearly," said one friend.
Sydney graduates from high school on June 7.

Sydney suffered near-fatal shrapnel wounds and a torn femoral artery.

Doctor's had to amputate both of her mother's legs below the knee.

The women had picked a prime spot along the course on Boylston Street to cheer Celeste's sister, Carmen Acabbo, who was running her first marathon.

"It was huge and I was so proud of her and I was going to be there at the finish line to see her. Then obviously the bomb happened," said Celeste.

"I heard screaming. I was just down on the ground and then I looked down and I saw my legs.  I knew how bad it was, I saw how bad it was," she said. "I just kept saying over and over in my head, 'No, no this can't happen.'"

Her husband of 23 years, Kevin, jumped into action. He had no medical training, but she said it didn't matter.

"He kept touching my head and kept telling me that I was going to be OK. And he saved my life. He immediately took off his belt, he made a tourniquet.  He stopped somebody and said, 'I need a belt,' so he put another one on me," she said.

"At that moment I remember saying, 'Where's Sydney?"

Sydney had her own hero, Matt Smith. He'd just left the Red Sox game and was a total stranger.

"He was saying, 'I want you to squeeze my hand, hold onto it. Stay with me, stay with me, bud.' He kept calling me 'Bud.' And he made sure he was right and close so I could see him and he kept asking me, 'Do you want me to stay with you?' And I tried telling him yes."

Doctors said that Smith saved the high school senior's life.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Today's Good Newsz Quote of the Day...

Father and Son Dorian Joyner Sr. and Dorian Joyner Jr. graduate together from Morehouse College

Two men named Dorian Joyner will graduate on Sunday from Morehouse College in Georgia. They are a father and son who have supported each other as classmates and family.

Dorian Joyner Sr., 46, was a student at Atlanta's Morehouse College in 1988 when he decided to take some time off from school to pursue a career opportunity in computers. Over the next 20 years, he worked as a senior analyst in data and finance for several major corporations, including a large law firm.

After growing more and more interested in law, he went back to school in 2006 to get an associate's degree in paralegal studies to make sure he really loved law before investing time and money in law school.

In 2010, Joyner Sr. approached his son to tell him about his decision to go back to Morehouse.

"I just told him to repeat the question one more time and repeat the answer one more time because I thought I heard a different answer," Dorian Joyner Jr., 23, told with a laugh. "I thought he was coming to visit friends. He was coming back as a student."

Martha's Vineyard Love Story Follow Up: Cynthia Riggs 81 and Howard Attebery 91 Tie the Knot.

Cynthia Riggs and Howard Attebery were married Saturday before a crowd of family, friends and well-wishers in the West Tisbury Congregational Church, adding a long-awaited chapter to a love story that has captured hearts and imaginations around the country.
Ms. Riggs is 81; Mr. Attebery is 91.
They reconnected a year and a half ago, 60 years after they first met, fell in love again and decided to marry.
The story has been told in the Gazette, on National Public Radio's Moth Radio hour and other media outlets.
On Saturday the couple exchanged vows before the Rev. Arlene Bodge in the classic spired New England church that sits in the heart of the village that has been home to Ms. Riggs's family for more than two centuries.
“They say the marriage of two lives overcomes whatever obstacles life may bring,” Reverend Bodge said in a ceremony marked by laughter and light moments. “I would love to say this is a perfect testimony to that.”

Rare video footage of Helen Keller sharing a special moment with her remarkable teacher Anne Sullivan.

Anne Sullivan Macy (1866-1936) was a woman whose brilliance, passion, and tenacity enabled her to overcome a traumatic past. She became a model for others disadvantaged by their physical bodies, as well as by gender or class.

Anne was a pioneer in the field of education. Her work with Helen Keller became the blueprint for education of children who were blind, deaf-blind, or visually impaired that still continues today. Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) dubbed her a "miracle worker." However, Anne's personal story remains relatively unknown. Although some of her letters still exist, it is primarily through the eyes of others that we know her. Some time after she married John Albert Macy in 1905, the young wife burned her private journals for fear of what her husband might think of her if he should read them. Similarly, she did not want her correspondence to be kept after her death. But for historical purposes, materials were retained and the Helen Keller Archives at the American Foundation for the Blind contain some of her letters, prose, and verse. Other materials about Anne are located at the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts and the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Anne Sullivan Macy was a remarkable woman whose life and teaching philosophy remain an inspiration to those who educate children who are visually impaired. In 2003, Anne Sullivan Macy was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame and the American Foundation for the Blind was privileged to receive a medal in her honor.

By nature she was a conceiver, a trail-blazer, a pilgrim of life's wholeness. So day by day, month after month, year in and year out, she labored to provide me with a diction and a voice sufficient for my service to the blind.

—Helen Keller, writing about Anne Sullivan

Diners from across the nation stepping up to pay their tabs after being forced to leave on day of the Boston Marathon

Marathon-goers who had to leave their unpaid restaurant tabs behind when the deadly bombings interrupted
lunch are stepping up to pay the check — making good on their debts from across the nation, the Herald has learned.
“They all said, ‘Listen, we were there, having a good time, and we want to pay our tab,’” said Tony Castagnozzi, owner of the Rattlesnake Bar, who said he has received a flood of calls since the April 15 terror attack. “I was speechless. ... You see there are so many good people out there. It makes you feel good.”
Castagnozzi, who has owned the Boylston Street bar for 23 years, said his customers were forced to leave behind more than $3,000 in unpaid tabs when cops evacuated them after the bombings. Since then, he’s received nearly a dozen letters and calls from customers who’ve made good on their bills. In all, Castagnozzi estimates the bar has recouped about $1,200.
The first call came from a man from Denver who had a $91 tab and called to give his credit card over the phone. Then came calls from Florida, Virginia, Rhode 
Island, New Hampshire and across Massachusetts.
“It’s the right thing to do, isn’t it? At least in my mind it is,” said David Christmas, an Acton runner who has run the marathon 16 times. He was having beers with friends and family when the bombs went off. He sent in $50 to cover his $35 bar tab and a tip.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Today's Good Newsz Quote of the Day...Memorial Day - Remembering those who serve and who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our Freedom.

They may be a little bit older, but they are still sharp as a of "SuperAgers" volunteer for a study of the aging brain.

CHICAGO—As soon as the crowd of chatty octogenarians and nonagenarians shuffled away from the bar, Alex Karczmar, wearing brown-and-white wingtips, sidled over. It was 4:30 in the afternoon, and the 96-year-old was ready for another glass of red wine.

Mr. Karczmar and the others are part of a group of 42 people over the age of 80 identified by Northwestern University researchers as having excellent cognitive function and memory capability typical of those decades younger. The researchers have been studying the group of so-called SuperAgers for years, but a party this week at the medical school's downtown campus was the first time they'd all been brought together.

As a jazz trio played Gershwin classics, the partygoers sipped cocktails and chatted about their interests and role in the study. "Evolutionarily speaking, we're supposed to get to 30, put some babies in the world and then perish," said Mr. Karczmar, a retired neuroscientist who still attends professional conferences. People aren't designed to reach such advanced age, he said, and those who do should contribute to research—if for no other reason than to offset their pension and medical bills. "Can you imagine how much I cost the country?" he asked, laughing.

Researchers at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine identified an original group of SuperAgers six years ago when they noticed that some participants in an Alzheimer's study didn't even exhibit the memory loss common in people in their 80s and beyond. Dr. Emily Rogalski and her colleagues in the school's Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center wanted to find out why.

Country music star Carrie Underwood steps up in a big way to support the Red Cross and the citizen's of her home state of Oklahoma who were impacted by last week's tornado with a $1 Million donation

Given the outpouring of concern that Oklahoma musicians have shown toward their home state this week (see Toby Keith and Blake Shelton), it should come as no surprise that yet another native Oklahoman has come forth to help.
And this one did it in a big way: "American Idol" Carrie Underwood has pledged a remarkable $1 million to Oklahoma for tornado relief.
"I have watched the devastation in my home state of Oklahoma over the past several days with great sadness,” Underwood said in a statement. “With the help of my fans who attended my concerts over the past year, we can offer the Red Cross a little extra help in comforting those affected by the recent tornadoes."
Underwood's donation went to the American Red Cross and was funded via concert proceeds from her Blown Away tour, which wrapped Thursday night in Abbottsford, B.C.
"Thanks to all who came to a show during this entire tour! I hope you all feel great about the Red Cross contribution that WE made today," the superstar tweeted after the show.
This isn't the first time Underwood has been generous over the run of her tour. In November, she earmarked the proceeds from an Atlantic City show to New Jersey for relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

U.S. soldier Brandon Patterson is reunited with his missing dog Alfaba after she went missing for more than 18 months...

ATLANTA -- Brandon Patterson was serving in Iraq, when he got the heartbreaking call. It appeared his dog Alfaba had found a gap in the sitter's fence and wandered away.

Helpless to do anything from so far away, Patterson asked his friends to post flyers and ads on Facebook, but Alfaba had disappeared.

"It's been very difficult just for closure. Just not knowing where she was at, if she was still alive?" said Patterson.

Patterson says he never stopped looking for Alfaba, keeping an eye out every time he saw another dog, and he certainly couldn't bring himself to adopt another.

"I think that I wanted to wait until I kind of have a peace about this and I never really did," he said.

Now he knows why. Cobb County Animal Control says Alfaba was one of nearly 40 dogs pulled from the house of an elderly woman, who also had dozens of cats and birds, all stuffed in cages inside her tiny house.

"Her back is black fur, but it was just dense with dirt and grime. You could tell she hadn't been brushed in a very very long time," said Judy Price, a volunteer with Atlanta Pet Rescue & Adoption.

Price was one of the first rescue volunteers called to the house to help.  The shelter couldn't take them all, but wanted to find as many good homes as possible.

"The wire cages (were) stacked double high, very dimly lit.  The shades were pulled down so no one could see in.  Cats (were) perched on any surface imaginable.  The smell of old urine was almost caustic," Price said, describing the conditions inside the house.

Price took three of the dogs and called Erika Dillingham for help in finding the right place for Alfaba, since she had experience with his breed, a Welsh Terrier.

Dillingham volunteers with Society of Humane Friends of Georgia and American Fox Terrier Rescue.

"Calle's Big Show" - a special night of dancing brought out the sparkle in the eye and energy inside of Caroline "Calle" Cronk a young 5 year old who is battling brain cancer.

Caroline "Calle" Cronk (Right)
For a young Norwell girl with brain cancer, a special night of dancing brought out the sparkle in her eye and the energy inside.
Caroline “Calle” Cronk, 5, who in December was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, an inoperable tumor in the brainstem, took the stage Tuesday, blowing kisses and sticking out her tongue.
“It was just perfect,” said Michelle Hayes, Calle’s dance teacher.
Hayes was worried Calle might not be able to take part in a recital scheduled for late June, and decided to have one sooner. She called friends and strangers. The music director at Scituate High got her the school’s stage.
And after a whirlwind six days of planning, Calle, joined by the rest of her kindergarten dance class and some of Hayes’ other dancers, took the stage for “Calle’s Big Show.”
“It was incredible,” said Calle’s mother, Rachel.
Though Calle has been having trouble walking, the recital was “a good day” for her and she was able to dance, her mother said.
“Calle loved it,” her mother said. “It was nice to have a simple night based around her.”
For the finale, Calle bopped and sang along to a medley by Taylor Swift — her favorite singer.
“All of a sudden, even though I knew she was tired, she just rallied,” Hayes said. “She just lit up.”
“She just danced it up and had a good time,” Calle’s mom said.
“I want them to keep that memory of her,” Hayes said. “I really wanted them to have that moment.”
On June 7, there will be an auction at Granite Links Golf Club in Quincy, with proceeds going to help Calle.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Today's Good Newsz Quote of the Day...

Veteran Alex Hrebin fulfills a promise to his lost friend Dustin Merunka

"If my feet weren't sore, I'd totally bowl," tweeted Alex Hrebin, 29, a few days ago, when he was about 250 miles and three weeks into a year-long trek across the country. Hrebin set out on April 21st from Sea Bright, Jersey to walk more than 3000 miles coast to coast in memory of his best friend, Dustin Merunka, who died in a car crash nine years ago.
The two men attended high school together and then went to a local community college. "During our first year in college, around Thanksgiving, we spent 24 hours in a diner in northwest New Jersey," Hrebin told Yahoo! Shine by phone from Altoona, Pennsylvania where he was resting in a Motel 6. The two friends talked all night, hatching crazy plans. "Dustin suggested we walk across the country. I joked that maybe we should try walking across New Jersey first." A year later, Merunka was gone.
Hrebin enlisted in the Army and was sent to Iraq and later Afghanistan. In between deployments, he returned to the United States and received a bachelor's degree in writing from Rowan University. He never forgot about Merunka's dream of traversing the nation on foot. "At the risk of sounding campy, he was like Peter Pan," described Hrebin. "He had the purest nature of any person I've ever met in my life."
Although he only returned back from Afghanistan in October, Hrebin was determined to begin his journey. He embarked with light camping supplies, one pair of sneakers and one pair of hiking boots. He is also carrying a pair of Merunka's shoes in his backpack.
Hrebin doesn't have a set route, which is how his friend would have liked it. "If I see a sign for the world's largest ball of string, I'm not going to miss that," he laughed. "We believed any adventure was a good adventure and a good story to tell," Hrebin said in an interview with Altoona local WTAJ News.
He says one of the hardest things about the journey was leaving his girlfriend behind. "It's hell on the relationship because we love each other," he said. "But at least we can be in touch, unlike in Afghanistan."
Hrebin hopes to get to the Colorado Rockies before the weather turns cold, and if not, he'll head south. He's scattering his friend's ashes along the route at places he thinks he would have loved to visit. "I passed by Delgrosso Amusement Park last week," he says. "Dustin would have been upset that I didn't stop and ride the go carts."
Hrebin hopes to eventually write a book about his travels. You can follow his journey on twitter @McHrebin.

Charles Ramsey the hero who helped rescue three kidnapped woman in Cleveland gets free burgers for life...

Cleveland’s most camera-ready hero may now also be its best fed.
More than a dozen Ohio restaurants and at least one in Pennsylvania have pledged free burgers for life to Charles Ramsey, the Big Mac-munching man who was credited with helping a woman escape from the home where she had been held captive, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
Ramsey mentioned in numerous interviews earlier this month that he had been chowing down on a McDonald's burger when he heard screams from the house across the street, spurring the fast-food giant to tweet they would “be in touch.”
The hometown hamburger homages began with an 8-ounce Angus beef patty with a secret sauce devised by Chris Hodgson, chef at the downtown restaurant where Ramsey works as a dishwasher.
“He’s calm in the face of crazy and hectic things going on,” Hodgson told the Cleveland Plain Dealer after police rescued Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight from the house where they were allegedly held captive and raped for a decade. “He always steps up to do anything you ask.”
The “Ramsey Burger” started out as a temporary menu item, but has since become permanent and the idea has spread to other restaurants, according to the Plain Dealer.
“We want to honor our local hero with local food,” Cleveland restaurateur Scott Kuhn told the paper. “He stopped his meal midway through to help those women. We’re now making sure he has other opportunities to go out and fully enjoy his burger.”
Ramsey gained instant celebrity with his candid and profanity-flecked retellings of how he kicked in the door of suspect Ariel Castro’s home so Amanda Berry and her child could climb out.
But the man, who has been traveling on paid leave according to the Plain Dealer, said he didn’t have any choice but to help.
“My father would have whupped the hell out of me if I cowered out,” Ramsey told a reporter after the rescue.

"Friends" producer Kevin Bright takes on a new role - this time it's teaching kids at Perkins School for the Blind how to become filmmakers - and the students abilities and creativity blow him away.

WATERTOWN — Kevin Bright was going around the table telling each of his film students what he thought of their work on the homework assignment, which was to get comfortable using their new video cameras. He turned to 19-year-old Laurie Cherry-White, whose clip had a serious technical glitch.
“When you woke up at 2:30 in the morning and started shooting, I thought that was really cool,’’ Bright told her. But, he added, “What was the one thing you didn’t do?’’
“Turn the light on!’’
“That’s right, baby!’’ The students burst out laughing.
Here’s why they laughed: They’re all blind.
Bright, the Emmy-winning producer of the smash sitcom “Friends,’’ is involved in a groundbreaking partnership with the Perkins School for the Blind. An executive artist in residence at Emerson College, Bright has developed a filmmaking course for blind students, teaching them how to shoot, light, direct, and produce. His students just completed their first short film, “Seeing Through the Lens,’’ about the friendship between three teenage girls at Perkins.
“Just because they can’t see the final product doesn’t mean they can’t express their feelings or write a script,’’ said Bright, 55, who is thinking about producing a reality TV show by and about Perkins students. “It just came to me: Film and television are unique art forms because they require collaboration. A blind person needs a sighted collaborator. But there’s no reason for there to be any limit to their potential.’’
It was serendipity that brought Bright not just to Perkins, but to Boston. Three years ago he was living in Los Angeles — weary, discouraged, and looking for a way to recharge himself after more than 30 years of producing and directing comedy shows such as “In Living Color,’’ “Dream On,’’ and “Friends.’’ In 2006, around the time that his “Friends’’ spinoff, “Joey,’’ bombed, Jacqueline Liebergott, Emerson president, invited him to spend a semester teaching at his alma mater. One semester has stretched into three years.
Bright, who divides his time between LA and Boston, was at a Celtics-Lakers game at TD Garden a year ago when the choir from the Perkins School sang the national anthem. He was so moved he slipped a $1,000 check into a donation envelope, which led to a thank you call from Perkins and an invitation to tour the school.