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2 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on McDonald’s Franchise Owner Pays Workers for 3 Months While Location Closed for Renovations

McDonald’s Franchise Owner Pays Workers for 3 Months While Location Closed for Renovations

A 90-year-old owner of multiple McDonald’s franchises did an extraordinary good deed for his employees, who were at risk of losing their livelihoods. Tony Philiou, needed to shut down the Mayfield Heights, OH location for renovations in March. His employees, however, had nothing to worry about.

Philiou had a meeting with his employees where he told them his plans to close, remodel and build the brand-new store. “As I’ve been in their shoes, I could sense their concern,” he said. “You’re going to sit home. You’re going to get paid,” said Philiou, recalling his words in the speech he delivered to workers. He said that he knew about a month before he closed for renovations that he would make the move to keep his workers’ jobs — and their wallets — safe under his umbrella.

Philiou flipped his first burger as an employee at this exact location 60 years ago; now he’s the boss who chose to continue paying all 90 employees, even though they would not be able to work for him during renovations.

He said of the decision “”I have people here that make a living here and go from week-to-week pay. How can I tolerate for them to not have a paycheck? “That was the thing to do.” Over his 60 years in the business he’s helped four employees become franchise owners, and some managers and employees have been around for decades.

Philiou says he values hard work and this has been the hardest time to retain employees but if you do the right thing, word gets out, and people stick around. The new building with the same old values of hard work and respect, reopened with a ribbon cutting ceremony on July 6th.

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3 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Oregon Man Walking 33 Miles to Work Given Car by Good Samaritan

Oregon Man Walking 33 Miles to Work Given Car by Good Samaritan

After local Oregon news shared a story about a Prineville man who walked 33 miles to work, a Good Samaritan gave him a car. Eric Akers walked 33 miles to his job in Bend after his car broke down. With no transportation and no means to pay for transportation, he began looking for a ride but couldn’t find one.

Akers told the news outlet “I needed to get to work no matter what. So I woke up early — about 9:00 a.m. Started around 10:00 a.m. Left for Bend and it took about 6 1/2 hours, but I made the trek.” He then worked his eight hour shift, getting off around 1:30am and made the 6 ½ hour trek back home. After his story aired the news station said emails started pouring in from people who wanted to give him a hand.

Chris Arsenault and his wife were amongst the people inspired to help Eric. Arsenault said he was on a tractor when the story came across his phone. “We decided we have more cars than we need, so we wanted to give him this little Honda,” Arsenault said. When asked if he’d have walked 33 miles to get to work he said, “There’s no way I would have done it. That’s what inspired us to do this.”

Arsenault reached out to Akers and the two met. “He just handed me the paperwork for the car and told me it’s mine,” Akers said. “The kindness and generosity of the community has been overwhelming.” Arsenault said the car used to be his aunt’s and she took good care of it but it was just sitting on their property unused. He added that he hopes more people will be inspired to help their neighbors.

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Mississippi Teen Rescues Three Girls and Officer From Drowning

Mississippi Teen Rescues Three Girls and Officer From Drowning

A Mississippi teen is being hailed a hero after saving three girls and a police officer from a river. Moss Point city officials presented Corion Evans with a certificate of commendation for his heroism and bravery in rescuing four people. One of the teens rescued said the GPS thought they were on the interstate and because the area was pitch black, they had no idea they were even near water until their car plunged in. She said she’s very grateful Corion was in the right place at the right time.

Evans was at a boat ramp in Moss Point, MS at 2:30am when the three girls, who were following their GPS, drove into the Pascagoula River. The girls managed to get on the roof of the car as it started to sink and dial 911. Evans heard them crying for help and immediately jumped into the water. The car had sunk quickly and only the roof of the vehicle with the girls on top was visible. Moss Point Police Officer Gary Mercer arrived on the scene, and he too swam out to aid in the rescue. During the rescue, Officer Mercer was pushed under water by a struggling victim and swallowed water. Mercer called out for help and Evans immediately went back to save him.

Evans said “‘They need to get out the water’. So, I just started getting them, I wasn’t even thinking about nothing else. I turned around. I see the police officer, he’s drowning. He’s going underwater, drowning, saying, ‘Help!” So, I went over there. I went and I grabbed the police officer and I’m like swimming him back until I feel I can walk. I was just like, ‘I can’t let none of these folks die.”

Evans has been a strong swimmer since the age of 3 and didn’t hesitate to jump in the river. The car had floated 25 yards from shore when Evans dove in the water but his thoughts were only on rescuing everyone. “Twenty-five yards out, it was a lot of swimming. My legs were so tired after. Anything could’ve been in that water, though. But I wasn’t thinking about it” Evans said.

Evans’ mother, Marquita, expressed relief and spoke proudly of her son in the wake of the rescue. “I’m glad nothing happened to him while he was trying to save other people’s lives. I was really proud of Corion because he wasn’t just thinking about himself. He was trying to really get all those people out of the water.”

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Tech Fairy Has Given Hundreds of Refurbished Devices Away

Tech Fairy Has Given Hundreds of Refurbished Devices Away

Craig Clark of Tara, Fl is known as the Tech Fairy. Clark uses his skills to give new life to old computers. He puts out a call on the Nextdoor website for laptops and desktop computers in need of repair. Once he’s done fixing them, Clark gives the computers away to people who need them, with the goal of “hopefully improving their lives.”

His days as the Tech Fairy began five years ago when he came across an employee at a 7-Eleven. Clark complimented her on how she dealt with a complaining customer. During their conversation, Clark learned the employee had dropped out of college because someone had stolen her laptop when she was taking online classes. The two met at a McDonald’s when the employee wasn’t working, and Clark gave her a refurbished laptop for free. She went on to get her associate’s degree in business.

Clark has distributed more than 430 repaired computers since. He has given devices to a Vietnam veteran who wasn’t able to afford a desktop computer, a Wawa employee who has two sons and needed a laptop, and a McDonald’s employee who had to study online by using her phone. Clark, 74, fixes about 6 devices per month and most of the people he’s helped he’s met by happenstance while out running errands.

“I’ve got the skill; I’ve got the time; I’ve got the resources. So who wouldn’t do it?” he said. “For me to spend my time productively to the benefit of others is my reward. I have to be doing something, and this filled a huge need in my personal psyche,” Clark said. “It keeps me busy, keeps me challenged. This is a 50-50 reward because I help others, but I’m also keeping my brain alert and keeping up to date with current technology. If I didn’t do this, I don’t know what I would do.”

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on Ohio Women Are Split-Liver Sisters After Rare Transplant Procedure

Ohio Women Are Split-Liver Sisters After Rare Transplant Procedure

Two Ohio women, who refer to themselves as “split-liver sisters,” received a liver transplant on July 1, 2020. Both were part of a rare transplant surgery called a split-liver transplantation, in which a donor’s liver is divided into two distinct portions, which are then implanted into each patient. The procedure is risky because blood clotting and other complications are more likely with split-liver transplantation, though the long-term survival rate is the same.

Koji Hashimoto, a surgeon at Cleveland Clinic, who performed the operation said it’s an extremely rare procedure for adults. The size of the patient determines the size of the liver needed,” Hashimoto said. “It’s also very important to take into consideration how sick the patient is. If you have a really sick patient, you need a bigger liver. The health of the donated liver, which grows to be a standard size about six to eight weeks after the transplant, is also crucial to consider.”

The women shared the same diagnosis of cirrhosis of the liver and had been on the transplant list. An average of 17 people die every day while awaiting their turn to receive an organ. Both women, Maria Contreras and Monica Davis, knew their odds and didn’t hesitate when they received the call that if they agreed-would be in surgery within hours.

Contreras’s operation used 40 percent of the donor liver while the remaining 60 percent went to Davis, whose surgery was performed simultaneously by a different surgeon. Both surgeries were successful and the two women were eager to meet after their operations. Contreras recalled “I was asking my nurse, ‘Do you know about my liver sister?’” “I was so excited to see her. When we met, I cried, I hugged her, I was jumping with her. I could feel the connection.”

Both women say the closeness they have with each other is hard to describe. Contreras said “I was so happy, and I said, ‘Thank you God,’ because He didn’t only give me a new life, but He gave me a new sister, too. We’re going to be friends, she’s a part of me.”

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on Las Vegas Women Find Out They’re Sisters After 48 Years Apart

Las Vegas Women Find Out They’re Sisters After 48 Years Apart

Real estate sisters Michele Dugan and Trish Morgan of ‘Sisters Selling Vegas’ for the Realty ONE Group have an amazing story to tell. They have the same father but each sister was unaware of the other’s existence, having been born to different mothers and separated through unfortunate circumstances 51 years ago.

Michele Dugan had gone to foster care and was later adopted, while her sister, Trish Morgan, remained with their father and Trish’s birth mother. Three years ago Michele decided it was time she found out where she came from and signed up for To her surprise, an Ancestry DNA match connected her to a half brother in New Jersey. “He goes, you’re in Vegas? There’s three more of us out there and I’m like what?,” Dugan said. Dugan found Tricia’s Facebook page and messaged her. She learned their father passed away in 2004 and in total, there are seven half siblings that live throughout the states.

The two women met for coffee and instantly bonded, discovering they are both the same age and have lived in the same city for over 30 years. Their kids graduated on the same day from the identical high school in Las Vegas, with each sister attending the graduation and shooting videos of the ceremony from different angles. They spent hours during the first meeting chatting about their lives, trying to catch up for lost decades. The two have an uncanny resemblance and DNA testing confirmed what they already felt.

Both agree it’s absolutely spooky how much they have in common. They were amazed not only by the fact that their sons were the same age and walking the same school hallways, but that they both had a background in real estate. Trish had enrolled in real estate school but had not yet received her certification. Michelle was something of a Las Vegas real estate legend, having worked in the industry for nearly 25 years. This shared career passion made teaming up an obvious next step.

Michele encouraged Trish to get her certification and together they soon launched ‘Sisters Selling Vegas’ for the Realty ONE Group. Michele, who was at somewhat of a low point in her life when they reunited says she believes “it was the universe talking that they met when they did. Michele said “I was so busy. I remember saying to someone, ‘I need another me. I need someone who really likes to work and cater to clients and is not just in it for the paycheck, but in it for all the right reasons.’ And there she is! We just came into each other’s life at the absolute perfect time.” Sisters Selling Vegas reportedly closed 44 transactions with $12 million in gross sales last year.

Each one of their families embraced the others with open arms, creating a larger family than any of them realized. Both women grew up with brothers which makes their new relationship that much more special because they always wondered what it was like to have a sister. “Our motto is we missed the first 48 years so we’re going to make the best of whatever we have left,” Dugan said.

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3 months ago · by · Comments Off on Snapchat Co-Founder Pays College Debt for 2022 Graduates at Otis College of Art and Design

Snapchat Co-Founder Pays College Debt for 2022 Graduates at Otis College of Art and Design

The Otis College of Art and Design graduates received the good news during their graduation ceremony. Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel and his wife Miranda Kerr will pay off the college debt for all 2022 graduates. The announcement drew both gasps and cheers from the audience as all 285 graduates heard the life-changing news. The donation is the largest single gift in the history of Otis College in Los Angeles.

Spiegel took summer classes at Otis College before entering Stanford. His creation of the popular instant messaging app with two former Stanford University classmates later made him the world’s youngest billionaire in 2015 at the age of 25. Spiegel told the graduating class
“It changed my life and made me feel at home. I felt pushed and challenged to grow surrounded by super talented artists and designers, and we were all in it together.”

Spiegel and Kerr are founders of the Spiegel Family Fund. They said in a statement that the college is “an extraordinary institution that encourages young creatives to find their artistic voices and thrive in a variety of industries and careers. It is a privilege for our family to give back and support the Class of 2022, and we hope this gift will empower graduates to pursue their passions, contribute to the world, and inspire humanity for years to come.”

Otis president Charles Hirschhorn did not disclose the size of the Spiegel family gift but said it surpassed the college’s previous largest gift of $10 million. Spiegel and Kerr offered their historic donation after Hirschhorn told them the college wanted to award the couple honorary degrees and invited them as commencement speakers this year.

The average cost of tuition is $46,500 for off campus students and $69,532 for on campus students. Rising college costs and less public funding to cover them have caused student loan debt to soar over the last few decades. More than 43 million Americans owe the federal government $1.6 trillion — an average $37,000 per person — making up the biggest share of consumer debt in the U.S. after mortgages.

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3 months ago · by · Comments Off on Chicago Neighborhood to Become Energy Efficient with Microgrid

Chicago Neighborhood to Become Energy Efficient with Microgrid

A Chicago neighborhood has created a microgrid to become energy efficient. The Bronzeville Community Microgrid combines rooftop solar, natural gas-fired generators and batteries to produce and store energy at a local level. Once fully operational, it will render the entire neighborhood “energy independent,” giving it the ability to disconnect from and reconnect to Chicago’s citywide grid at will.

The microgrid is part of a $25 million initiative, including $5 million in Department of Energy grants and is the first neighborhood microgrid in the US. ComEd plans to have the system up and running by early 2023, not just for emergencies but also to balance and optimize the interplay of distributed energy resources with the larger grid.

The microgrid also has become a blueprint for reducing communities’ contribution to climate change. This is due to the fact that the system gives its operators the ability, at scale, to introduce more renewables into its energy mix while reducing “line loss,” the electricity lost as it travels across power lines.

Along with the microgrid, ComEd has sponsored community-related activities, off-grid and solar-powered streetlights and free Wi-Fi throughout the service area. The community will also have freestanding digital kiosks providing community-related news and energy-related information.

The neighborhood also has an advisory council, The Bronzeville Community of the Future, which is composed of approximately two dozen individuals and organization leaders from a broad range of organizations. They have formal sessions quarterly and frequent informal meetings to keep stakeholders and residents informed about the initiative. The initiative has been years in the making and ComEd also hosted an Ideathon in 2018, 2019 and a virtual format in 2020 for Bronzeville-area high school students to design smart city and smart grid projects using STEM skills.

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3 months ago · by · Comments Off on Cape Town Bartender Hailed Hero For Saving People Swept Out to Sea

Cape Town Bartender Hailed Hero For Saving People Swept Out to Sea

Tongai Matandirotya, a bartender turned hero, who works at Brass Bell Restaurant near Cape Town South Africa left behind any thoughts of his own safety to dive into the cold Atlantic ocean to rescue a mother and daughter swept off the pier by a rogue wave. It was a relatively calm day and several people were walking by the window of Brass Bells looking out to the water when a huge wave came over the harbor and pulled them into the ocean.

Clair Gardiner and her 8-year-old daughter Arya van Hilten were two of the people swept away. Gardiner knew they were being pulled into the water as soon as the wave rushed over them, and she managed to wrap her arms around little Arya. Matandirotya saw it happen and dropped the drink he was pouring, ran outside and dove into the cold Atlantic Ocean.

The ferocity of the waves had pulled Gardiner and Arya apart. Matandirotya used his belt to rescue Arya who wasn’t able to stay afloat by herself. Gardiner said she went back to the restaurant to thank him “I didn’t know who saved us but my daughter recognized him immediately, and we all embraced each other. We are so thankful to Tongai and the tourist man who risked their lives to save ours; we’ll forever be grateful to them.”

Matandirotya, along with another man, also saved Angela Campbell, 75, who was also swept away that day while taking a stroll with her family. “I looked around and realized I was in the water. I panicked! Eventually, I managed to turn over, but I then started sinking. I remember talking to myself, saying ‘God make it quick, I’m scared’. Campbell said that besides her life being saved, she was more thankful that her grandson was not in the buggy that she was pushing when the wave hit her.

Matandirotya told news outlets he dove in because he saw a child (Aryna) go in and he has a very soft spot for kids and his instinct to help just kicked in. Brass Bell restaurant spokesperson Ethan Govender said the staff and management team were impressed by Matandirotya’s bravery. “We applaud him for his braveness in jumping into action to save those that fell into the ocean. Tongai is a wonderful, loveable, fun human being. His character speaks volumes, and we are immensely proud of the risk he took in saving lives.”

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3 months ago · by · Comments Off on California Community Composting Program’s Success Spurs Other States To Follow

California Community Composting Program’s Success Spurs Other States To Follow

California leads the nation in food production, which requires a lot of water and new water restrictions issued for millions of residents of Southern California highlighted the need to make agriculture more efficient.  A new statewide composting mandate is providing the solution.  They became the second state in the nation after Vermont to make large-scale composting required by law.

Food waste makes up nearly 20% of the stuff in our landfills. When that food decomposes, it releases methane; tens of times more potent than carbon dioxide, it’s one of the main greenhouse gasses fueling the climate crisis, and landfills are the third-largest source of methane emissions in the U.S.

More than 200 cities across the country, and many universities, have followed San Francisco’s lead and implemented curbside collection of food scraps for composting. In compliance with the new law—(SB 1383) requiring California cities to reduce landfilling of compostable materials by 75 percent by 2025—cities up and down California are establishing curbside programs that provide bins for food scraps, sticks, and leaves, so they can be turned into ‘black gold’ compost for farmers.

City composting programs produce thousands of truckloads of finished compost that go onto farms, orchards, and vineyards, creating a natural sponge that attracts and retains moisture. When citizens dump their coffee grounds and banana peels into a bin for pick up, they are feeding the soil, while guarding against water shortages and farms can grow up to 40 percent more food in times of drought when they use compost.  

San Francisco’s pioneering food scrap collection program, which was labeled as something that would never work, created momentum for the statewide program.  That citywide green-bin program has diverted 2.5 million tons of compostable material from the landfill, which not only saved landfill space and eliminated thousands of tons of methane emissions, but also helped local farms grow more healthy food, using less water and less fertilizer.

Delegations from 135 counties have traveled to San Francisco to view this program firsthand, which was implemented later at UC Berkeley and UC Davis, in Marin County and 11 cities in San Mateo County. Other cities adopting the trend—Portland, Seattle, Denver and Boulder, St. Paul and Minneapolis, Baltimore, Anchorage, Eugene, Cambridge, and Ann Arbor, Michigan—proving the program is a WIN for landfills, farmers, and the planet.

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