2 weeks ago ·
by Health Insurance 4 Everyone ·
Comments Off on Couple Loans Cottage To Single Dad During Pandemic
Families around the globe have had to adjust to the stresses of the pandemic and it’s always comforting to hear of instances of people helping one another during this unprecedented time. When a single dad in England, Sam Smith, appeared on the BBC Breakfast Show to talk about what it’s like to be confined in a very small living area during the pandemic, Ken and Sheila Sims decided to help.
Everyone has faced challenges during the pandemic but many don’t realize there are families with children out there who are living in small spaces with little to no space to run around. Since lockdown began in England, Sam Smith, 6-year-old Lysander and 3-year-old Zenduel, have been confined to their one-bed apartment on the 15th floor of a high-rise in East London. During the interview, Smith described what it was like sometimes being confined in the apartment 23 hours a day with just 12 steps from one side of the main room to the other—and with local parks closed.
Ken and Sheila Sims were watching the interview from their home on the Devon coast. Ken grew up in a high-rise apartment building as a young boy, and felt especially saddened seeing the difficulties the Smiths were going through. Ken knew all too well the challenges of growing up in a small apartment but he didn’t have to live through a pandemic. Luckily, he knew just how to help and he wasted no time in offering the Smiths a week at their cottage on the English seaside so the family would have some space to play, explore and run.
Sam immediately said yes to the offer and he was touched by the kindness of strangers. “I can’t find the words… ” Sam said at the beach on his family’s Devon vacation. Motioning at the sky and water all around him, at his young sons making sandcastles, he exclaimed, “It’s beautiful!”
2 weeks ago ·
by Health Insurance 4 Everyone ·
Comments Off on Single Foster Dad Adopts 5 Siblings To Keep Them Together
Single foster dad Robert Carter decided to adopt an entire brood of five siblings to keep them together. Carter, 29, spent years in the Ohio foster care system himself so he knew only too well what it was like to lose touch with loved ones. He entered the system at age 12 and wasn’t reunited with his younger sister and brother until years later when they were teens. Carter was emancipated and granted custody of a younger sister and guardianship of a younger brother, he said. The emotional trauma of the experience fueled his desire to shield other kids from similar distress and provide them with a safe home.
Prior to the adoption, Carter was already fostering the three brothers and the two sisters were each being fostered in separate homes. When he arranged for the girls and their foster moms to meet up so the children wouldn’t lose touch with one another, he realized how distressed they all were at the end of the visit and he knew there was only one course of action. The children Carter adopted are Marionna, 10, Robert, 9, Makayla, 8, Giovanni, 5, and Kiontae, 4.
Carter became a licensed foster parent in 2017 and the three boys, Robert, Giovanni and Kiontae were placed with him in December 2018. The siblings, who he said came from a neglectful home, were reunited after not seeing each other for six months. “Once I did find out they had sisters, that’s when I started to advocate to set up visitations.” Carter said. Marionna and Makayla were later placed in Carter’s home with their brothers.
Caseworker Stacey Barton said “Mr. Carter was the only foster parent willing and able to adopt all of the children and his childhood background has made him aware of the importance of keeping siblings together. He says that he enjoys being their father and that parenting them is easier than he could have ever imagined. His life is busy, with a lot of love, laughter and loudness. I have enjoyed working with him and witnessing the children bond as siblings.”
Carter said he was the third oldest of the nine kids in his own family and he took on a parenting role before he entered foster care. “I was the parent figure and was the one trying to feed my siblings and going out trying to find food to eat.” Carter said he sees a lot of himself in Marionna, the oldest, “She’s the mother figure to the kids,” he explained. “But I won’t even let her make them a bowl of cereal now because that’s not her responsibility. She’s done it for too long when she shouldn’t have had to in the first place.”
With all the attention his family’s story is getting, he wants people to know how important fostering and adoption are. “Just the fact that they’re together, the fact that they have something that will help them remember their past… It’s beautiful to watch them grow up together and make memories together. As long as you have the means and love to give to kids, then anybody can do it,” he said. Right now, Carter is concentrating on earning his children’s trust and assuring them. “Every night, I talk to them and let them know, ‘I’m your dad forever. I know what it’s like, and I’m always here for you.’”
3 weeks ago ·
by Health Insurance 4 Everyone ·
Comments Off on Iconic Strand Bookstore Sounds Call For Help
Like many independent businesses across the country, the beloved NYC book store the Strand is in trouble. A Greenwich Village fixture since 1927, known worldwide for its “18 miles of books,” the Strand is the single remaining establishment out of 48 bookstores that once ran the length of 4th Avenue’s famous Book Row. Unfortunately, with the Covid-19 pandemic reducing crucial foot-traffic, store proprietor Nancy Bass Wyden, granddaughter of the store’s original owner, posted a cry for help on Twitter.
In a last-ditch effort to save her beloved family business, Bass Wyden reached out to her customer base with a plea for help. “I’m going to pull out all the stops,” she tweeted, “to keep sharing our mutual love of the printed word. But for the first time in the Strand’s 93-year history, we need to mobilize the community to buy from us so we can keep our doors open until there’s a vaccine.”
The response from the Strand’s loyal clientele came in the form of an avalanche of 25,000 orders over the course of a single weekend that crashed the store’s website and brought in approximately $200,000 in sales. One patron ordered 197 books. That was followed up by round-the-block lines at the store’s flagship location on Broadway and East 12th Street in lower Manhattan when the store opened.
Having suffered heavy financial losses earlier in the year, even with the amazing outpouring of love and a much-needed boost in revenue, the Strand isn’t out of the woods just yet, but Bass Wyden is determined not to give up. Revenue was down 70% since this time last year, the business’ cash reserves had depleted, and the $1 million to $2 million loan the Strand received in government emergency relief in April is running dry.
Bass Wyden started working at the Strand in the mid-’70s, when she was 16, and inherited full ownership of the business, including the building at 828 Broadway, from her father, Fred Bass, after his death in 2017. The bookstore has withstood the Great Depression, two World Wars, and the 9/11 terror attacks, but the pandemic could be its downfall. “As the 3rd generation owner,” she said, “I have tried to imagine what my dad and grandfather would do right now after they spent their entire lives—6 days a week—working at the store. I don’t believe they would want me to give up without a fight.” Bass Wyden said.
“Never did I imagine that the store’s financial situation would become so dire that I would have to write friends and devoted customers for help,” owner Nancy Bass Wyden said in an open letter. “It hurts to write this, but that is the predicament that we are in now.” For the first time since her grandfather founded the store 93 years ago, Bass Wyden said, the time had come to ask customers for help. She’s asking all loyal lovers of the written word to start the holidays early and Shop the Strand to save the Strand.
1 month ago ·
by Health Insurance 4 Everyone ·
Comments Off on Recovered Addict Donates Kidney To Officer Who Arrested Her 8 Years Ago
Los Angeles woman, Jocelynn James-a recovered drug addict, donated one of her kidneys to save the life of Officer Terrell Potter, who had arrested her nearly a decade ago. James said Potter saved her life by arresting her and leading her to turn her life around. Potter learned that his kidney was only functioning at 5% last November. Doctors told Potter that he would face a 7 to 8 year waiting period for a kidney.
Potter said they began praying and looking all over the Southeast, little did he know the perfect match was just two miles away. “If you asked me 100 names of who may give me a kidney, her name would have not been on the list,” Potter said. “It’s just unbelievable that she was willing to do that.”
After scrolling on her phone on Facebook, James learned that Potter needed a kidney. After a series of hospital tests, James learned that they were a perfect match. On July 21, Potter received a successful kidney transplant. “All the numbers were great. It started working from the time it was put in,” Potter said. Potter now considers James like another daughter. “It’s made a great relationship and a bond between us that can go forever. There’s no doubt about that,” Potter said. “Her giving me a kidney, it extended my life.
No one knew that when their paths crossed several times between 2007 and 2012, that they would end up saving each other’s lives. Jocelynn fell into opioid addiction after being prescribed pain medication. James was arrested 16 times for theft and drug charges, landing a spot on the Franklin County’s Most Wanted List. It was a time she describes as being in a very dark place and not knowing if she would survive. “I was just living a really bad life, doing a lot of really bad things that I had no business doing and I was just a really lost person,” James said.
Terrell Potter, a former officer with Phil Campbell Police Department, said James was going through a difficult place in her life. “She was out running crazy, stealing and doing drugs and things she shouldn’t be doing,” Potter said. “I locked her up a couple of times.”
James said she reached a point where she lost all she had and finally decided she wanted help. She turned herself in to local law enforcement and was incarcerated and in rehab for a year. It was then that she was finally able to get her life straightened out, and on Nov. 5, she will celebrate eight years being sober. “I was sick of living that life, and I wanted to do something different,” James said.
James currently runs a non-profit organization called The Place of Grace, where she helps get women treatment. “I want people to realize that there is help out there for them,” James said. “It doesn’t matter what happens in your life. You can always turn it around.” She also has an active jail ministry at the Franklin County Jail in Franklin County, Alabama that she started 5 years ago.
1 month ago ·
by Health Insurance 4 Everyone ·
Comments Off on Mazda To Gift Fifty 100th Anniversary Edition Miatas to Hometown Heroes
Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) is giving away the 100th Anniversary Special Edition Mazda MX-5 Miata cars to 50 hometown heroes who have made a lasting impact on their respective communities. MNAO’s “Mazda Heroes-Honoring the Human Spirit spotlights first responders and others across the country who have selflessly uplifted those around them throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Mazda is taking submissions now through October 25.
To nominate someone you know, visit the Mazda Heroes website, where you’ll be asked to make a short 1 minute video explaining how your nominee has selflessly uplifted the community. Upload the video to YouTube and set it to public or unlisted. Complete the entry form and provide a link to the video to enter. Mazda will choose the 50 most outstanding examples and the honorees will be announced starting Dec. 2. All nominees must be 18 years or older.
“From teachers going the extra mile to enhance distance learning, to community activists sourcing PPE for others, there are countless examples of people across the country going above and beyond to support others without expecting anything in return. Mazda wants to honor these important acts of kindness, resilience and empathy,” Mazda’s announcement said.
In April, the car maker launched their Essential Car Care Program to give free oil changes and car cleaning to healthcare workers across the U.S. The program ran from April through June 2020. Throughout the initiative their dealers and employees were grateful to be a part of giving back to those selflessly giving back every day. The feedback that received inspired them to develop the Mazda Heroes program, which will honor individuals supporting communities and share their stories in a moment when people desire inspiration in their lives. Mazda North America President Jeff Guyton said he hopes the Miata giveaway will lift spirits during a time when good news seems scarce.
“We had hoped this time would be filled with moments of celebration and appreciation for our fans, employees and partners for the 100th Year Anniversary. But given the many tragic events of 2020, we decided to express, in another way, our brand’s unique heritage of trying to make things better” he said. “Mazda is looking for people who have demonstrated “selfless acts, creative approaches, and contributions to community.”
The Miata 100th Anniversary Special Edition features many cosmetic upgrades including a white paint job paired with red accents, including a red interior. Special badging can be found on the front fenders, key fob, floor mats, and headrests. Normally, starting prices for this special edition are a good deal higher than the top Grand Touring trim. Buyers can choose between a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic, as well as the soft top and RF variants.
2 months ago ·
by Health Insurance 4 Everyone ·
Comments Off on Neighbors Rally To Help Farmer
When 57-year-old Lane Unhjem suffered a heart attack while trying to put out a fire on his farm, he never imagined how quickly his rural community would rally to help him. One of his combines, which harvest crops, caught fire while he was working his farm in Crosby, North Dakota. Unjjem had a heart attack while working to put it out and was airlifted to Trinity Medical Center in Minot, North Dakota where he is in critical condition.
Close family friend, Jenna Binde, wanted to organize a group to help out on the farm while Unhjem was recovering. Binde and two local farmers began to organize a harvesting event, but she actually had to do very little to rally the troops. Farmers started calling and asking if they could help,” she said. “Within two hours of him being flown out of Crosby, I had over half the equipment and people already lined up.”
Binde said locals who knew she was close to the Unhjem family reached out to her — she never had to call anyone herself. On September 12, 60 volunteers showed up to the Unhjem farm, bringing 11 combines, six grain carts and 15 semis with them. “We live in a pretty rural area, so anyone within 10 miles can be considered a neighbor. Most were within 10 miles but others traveled farther than that because they are good friends with the Unhjems and wanted to pitch in.”
Most of the volunteers were farmers or their farm hands, she said. Unhjem already had his peas harvested before his heart attack but the group spent over seven hours on his durum wheat and canola crops. “The volunteers that came that day did more than just volunteer their time. They all had their own fields to still harvest but they selflessly put that behind them and made the Unhjems a priority that day.” Binde said. “The family is super thankful and it saved them a lot of headache and frustration of trying to figure out how they would get their crops off without Lane or a combine,” she said. “It was a pretty remarkable day and I was so happy to be a part of it.”
Binde said she didn’t think the gesture was a big deal. “This is just what we do around here when someone in our community is in need of help. What seems completely normal and natural to us here, unfortunately isn’t the case across the nation. I hope others read this story and forget about all the turmoil going on currently and just remember to lend a hand when needed and expect nothing in return. If we could all just do that, we’d be in a better place.”
2 months ago ·
by Health Insurance 4 Everyone ·
Comments Off on Dreamweaver Foundation Donates Facebook Portals to Hundreds of Omaha Seniors
Seniors who are social distancing to stay healthy during the pandemic are now gaining much-needed companionship, thanks to the Dreamweaver Foundation which has provided ultra-loud, easy-to-use devices that connect them directly to loved ones using Facebook Portals. Most seniors who received a Portal were connected to loved ones with a clear picture and sound for the first time in months and the grateful reactions have ranged from “tears of joy” to an overwhelming sense of relief.
Founded in 2012, the eight-year-old nonprofit organization usually grants wishes to seniors with chronic or terminal illnesses, like hot-air balloon rides or race car driving. “We still wanted to serve seniors in a special way” said Cheri Mastny, Dreamweaver Foundation executive director. “Many families had been resorting to window visits or calls on smartphones which can be both expensive and difficult for seniors to operate.”
Staying connected has been difficult for everyone during the pandemic, but especially for seniors. The Dreamweaver Foundation’s donations are changing that for hundreds of seniors in the greater Omaha area. “It looks like an 8×10 picture frame,” Mastny said. “The apps come on it and they are super large, so it is very easy to touch, easy to use. It has a big speaker-subwoofer in the back, so the sound that is produced from the Facebook portal makes it easy for someone that is hard of hearing.”
With a Portal, the buttons are super large, so it’s very easy to touch and use. It has a big subwoofer speaker in the back, so the sound is much better for someone who is hard of hearing. Calls can be made seamlessly to and from smartphones and tablets. Staff and families have continued to see the positive impact on seniors that have received Portals. The portals are giving seniors back their independence and family time.
Since seniors began using them, Dreamweaver has been overwhelmed with requests for more, so they launched a fundraising campaign to purchase more of the Portals. The CONNECTING HOPE CAMPAIGN hopes to continue to spread joy to seniors. They are trying to make Portals possible for seniors and their families to create shared memories, despite the distance. Each Portal is $179 and is purchased through donations.
There are other ways to help by making lower donations which help the “Dream Team” deliver tubs full of fun to care facilities during the pandemic. Playing cards, coloring books, crayons, nail polish, building blocks, board games and more have been delivered throughout the pandemic. The organization is also asking for volunteers who can send postcards, make phone calls and letters of love to seniors.
Their mission is made possible with the help and dedication of Dreamweaver Volunteers and they are always looking for more volunteers. You can make a dream come true and enrich the life of a senior in our community simply by giving of your time. Opportunities to volunteer may include being a Greeter, Personal Shopper, Fundraiser, or Dream Maker. The Dreamweaver organization trains all volunteers to provide the best experience possible. Due to their work involving seniors and sensitive information, they require all potential volunteers to complete orientation and training as well as pass a background check.
3 months ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Michigan Reaches $600 Million Settlement in Flint Water Crisis
The state of Michigan has reportedly reached a deal to pay out about $600 million to victims of the water crisis in Flint. The crisis began in 2014 when Flint’s unelected emergency manager, appointed by then-Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, switched the source of the city’s drinking water in order to save money. In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency said it had found dangerous levels of lead — which can affect the heart, kidneys and nerves — in the water flowing into residents’ homes.
The water source move has been linked to at least 12 deaths from an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, as well as widespread lead poisoning in residents, including 12,000 children. Dozens of lawsuits, including class-action cases, filed against Michigan and the city of Flint followed. Many cases emphasize the youngest victims — the children whose exposure to lead and toxins could lead to neurological disorders and learning disabilities, among other conditions.
The Supreme Court this year said it wouldn’t block a lawsuit by Flint residents seeking to hold city officials accountable. Lawyers for the city had asked justices to step in, saying their clients had immunity from such lawsuits. A previous ruling from a federal appeals court also sided with the residents. “Knowing the Flint River water was unsafe for public use, distributing it without taking steps to counter its problems, and assuring the public in the meantime that it was safe is conduct that would alert a reasonable person to the likelihood of personal liability,” the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals held.
In March 2017, nearly three years after the incident first came to light, the Environmental Protection Agency awarded $100 million to fund water infrastructure upgrades in Flint. A few weeks later, city officials declared the city’s drinking water was safe to drink. Six years later, the city has inspected more than 25,000 service lines and has replaced 85 percent of the pipes. However, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has put work on hold. Residents are still scared to drink the water after city, state and federal officials have been accused of ignoring, denying or covering up complaints that started immediately after the switch.
Tens of thousands of Flint residents are expected to be eligible to receive money from the settlement. The settlement will establish a court-monitored victim’s compensation fund that will provide the direct payments to Flint residents. Nearly 80% of the money will go to those who were younger than 18 at the time of the crisis. Besides the state of Michigan, the settlement includes the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the individual defendants, including former Gov. Rick Snyder, according to a news release. Litigation will continue against other defendants, including two private engineering firms charged with professional negligence.
4 months ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Research On Long-Term Effects On Covid 19 Begin As Cases Surge
The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic has topped 156,000 as the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 soared in July by nearly 50%. There are now over 5 million confirmed cases in the US with California, Florida and Texas each reaching over 500,000 confirmed cases, nearly double the cases reported in New York City, the former leading epicenter of the pandemic in the US. Nearly half of the US confirmed cases have recovered.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that a significant number of COVID-19 patients do not recover quickly, and instead experience ongoing symptoms, such as fatigue and cough. Eight months into the global pandemic, we’re still measuring its effects only in deaths. Non-hospitalized cases are termed ‘mild’ and are largely not followed up. Recovery is implied by discharge from hospital or testing negative for the virus so ongoing ill health in those classed as ‘recovered’ is going largely unmeasured as the focused has mainly been on slowing the infection rate.
Research that follows COVID patients after discharge from hospital is starting but there is still a gap in quantifying and characterizing COVID-related illness in those not hospitalized. The few studies on those who have recovered indicate that previously healthy people with persistent symptoms such as chest heaviness, breathlessness, muscle pains, palpitations and fatigue, which prevent them from resuming work or physical or caring activities, are still classed under the umbrella of ‘mild COVID’. As many as a third of patients who were never sick enough to be hospitalized are not back to their usual health up to three weeks after their diagnosis. Many with long-term symptoms are otherwise young and healthy. Among those surveyed between ages 18 and 34, about 20 percent experienced lasting symptoms.
Among the patients who experienced lasting symptoms in a CDC report, 71 percent reported fatigue, 61 percent had lasting cough, and 61 percent reported ongoing headaches. Although clinicians and researchers have an idea of who is at increased risk of dying from COVID, we don’t know who is more likely to experience prolonged ill health following symptomatic, or even asymptomatic, infection. The CDC still states that preventative measures, such as physical distancing, face masks and frequent hand-washing, continue to be important to slow the spread of COVID-19. They warn that worldwide, millions of those still alive who got ill without being tested or hospitalized are simply not being counted.
The World Health Organization reports cases are now doubling every six weeks. The United States, Brazil, and the United Kingdom have been among the countries hardest hit by the pandemic. The global death toll from the coronavirus has surpassed 700,000, with nearly 19 million confirmed cases, as the pandemic continues to accelerate. During the month of July, more than 8 million people tested positive — almost as many as in the first six months of the pandemic combined. Nearly 12 million of those confirmed cases have recovered.
The top White House coronavirus adviser Deborah Birx has warned the country has entered a new phase in its fight against the pandemic. A new model by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation suggests the U.S. coronavirus death toll is on pace to reach nearly 300,000 by December. The institute projects 66,000 lives could be saved if 95% of people in the United States wear face coverings. The U.S. death toll currently stands at the highest total in the world.
4 months ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Protests Over Eviction Proceedings Spread Across US
Housing activists across the country are demanding local protections against evictions during the pandemic. Many states have faced criticism for resuming evictions as millions of people are still out of work, many who still have children at home until the school year starts. Many companies have closed their doors indefinitely, taking jobs with them across the US. While some states and counties issued eviction moratoriums, they have expired and thousands face homelessness.
In New Orleans, members of the Renters Rights Assembly surrounded a courthouse that handles evictions, chaining themselves together under a banner reading “Evictions = Death,” and blocking several landlords from entering the building. In Maryland, more than 100 protesters marched through Mayor Tom Barrett’s neighborhood demanding a moratorium on evictions and other forms of housing protections. Beyond standard legal protections, tenants in Maryland have an extra layer of protection against eviction during the pandemic: an executive order from Governor Larry Hogan prohibits eviction so long as the state remains under the state of emergency — and so long as the tenants can prove that their income has been significantly impacted by COVID-19. A second layer of protection, a pause on eviction-related hearings in Maryland courts, expired on July 25.
In Missouri, protests brought proceedings to a halt at a Kansas City eviction court. All spring KC Tenants demanded relief for Kansas City renters left vulnerable by the coronavirus pandemic. They organized — virtually and in person — to shut down the state eviction court proceedings at the Jackson County Courthouse. KC Tenants leaders pledged to keep shutting down the eviction docket until they see action to protect vulnerable residents. “If our so-called leaders continue to lead our tenants into death digitally, online, via phone or even in person, we are going to continue to shut it down until we get what we want,” Mason Andrew Kilpatrick said in front of the courthouse. In St. Louis, protestors gather outside city hall for an “anti-eviction rally” heavily criticizing the court’s decision to restart evictions. “People aren’t working. People don’t have money,” said Sarah Watkins, a rally organizer with Action STL. “People haven’t paid rent since the pandemic began in April. People will be on the street.”
In Milwaukee, a march was organized by the Milwaukee Autonomous Tenants Union to demand help for the many families still out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide ban on evictions expired two months ago and now, between 150 and 170 people are being evicted from their homes in Milwaukee every week. The state ($25 million), Milwaukee County ($10 million) and City of Milwaukee ($15 million) have poured millions into rental assistance programs, but advocates say vulnerable tenants need added protections. “The rental assistance is good, but it’s not enough,” said protest organizer Robert Penner. “It’s very slow, the systems are backlogged, and they’re over-saturated with cases. A lot of people lose their home before they can even get in contact” with such programs, he said.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced a second round of $15 million in rental assistance for people financially struggling during the COVID-19 recession Friday, one day after he declined to support a city-mandated eviction grace period for tenants to catch up on past-due payments. More than 3 million Texans have applied for unemployment benefits since the pandemic began. They have also relied on federal benefits from a congressional pandemic relief package, eviction moratoriums and rent assistance programs to remain housed.