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5 days ago · by · Comments Off on Maine Boy Turns Farming Into Business

Maine Boy Turns Farming Into Business

A 12 year old boy in Auburn, Maine opened a farmstand in hopes of taking over the family farm one day. Brayden Nadeau said he’s been farming his whole life and now he essentially runs the family farm himself and has opened a farm stand to help feed his community. Nadeau started his first farmstand two years ago and earned enough money to buy a new one.

He sells homemade zucchini bread and zucchini relish made by his family and other community members with vegetables straight from his garden. He also raises livestock and turkeys for meat, chickens for meat and eggs, and pigs for meat and breeding. Nadeau works 12 hours a day, seven days a week in the summer. During the school year, he picks vegetables in the morning and sets up the farm stand before heading to school.

Nadeau says he always wanted to be behind the wheel of a tractor. “I’ve been farming my whole life. As long as I could remember, I’ve been on his lap, steering the tractor, running the bucket,” Nadeau said, pointing to his grandfather, Dan Herrick. Herrick always had a farm at his home but until now, it didn’t serve as more than just a way to feed his family.

Herrick said “There ought to be more 12-year-olds like him. The farmstand teaches him business, it teaches him how to work, it teaches him to stay out of trouble, it teaches him where food comes from, and it teaches him that without farmers, there’s no food.” Nadeau said he’s learning a lot more out in the fields than he would have sitting in front of a TV playing video games.

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Texas Bartender Given $4K Tip From Stranger

Texas Bartender Given $4K Tip From Stranger

A Texas bartender got a shock on a typical Tuesday night shift at Chances Dance Hall in Cleburne, Texas. Chelsea Lantrip, a single mom, received a $4000 tip. Lantrip said that two girls she had not seen at the bar before came in among the crowd of regulars. One of the women ordered a round of drinks for everyone at the dance hall. Bell said that their bill came to $179.50.

When it came time to pay the tab, the woman tipped Lantrip $1000. When Lantrip started to cry, the woman said ‘No, that’s not good enough,’ and raised it to $2,000,” Bell recalled. By the time that Bell ultimately picked up the receipt, the woman had increased the tip to $4,000. “I didn’t believe it until it went through the credit card machine, I still didn’t believe it until it hit the bank,” Bell said.

The owner of Chances Dance Hall said the tip was crucial because Lantrip is a single mom living paycheck to paycheck, tip to tip, without money to spare. “Her son will be heading off to Texas A&M University in the fall and while he has a scholarship and a grant to attend the college, it’s not quite enough to cover the full cost of tuition,” Senese said.

Lantrip said she’s going to take her family to dinner, pay some bills and help her son. Senese said all she knew about the two was that the woman who gave the tip received an inheritance recently and felt compelled to “tithe it to a stranger.” She expressed how grateful she was to the good Samaritan who shared her good fortune with her during what would have been a regular Tuesday shift. “I believe in guardian angels, I believe in people coming into your life at the right time that you need them. And she was definitely one of them” Lantrip said.

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on New York Public Library Giving Away 500,000 Books

New York Public Library Giving Away 500,000 Books

The New York Public Library launched a Summer at the Library initiative that includes a slew of free programs to entice readers. A full list of free programs and offerings—ranging from baby lapsit programs to arts and crafts for teens—can be found at their website. The library, which serves the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island-is highlighting the centerpiece of the program, a large scale book giveaway.

They are giving away 500,000 books for free to kids, teens and families at all of its branch locations. The initiative is an effort to help folks build their at-home libraries and “strengthen the city’s ecosystem of learning,” according to an official press release. Some libraries will even offer Spanish, Chinese and large print titles to keep.

The program started June 9th and anyone 18 and under can go to one of the branches with their library card or sign up for one and select a free book. The Summer at the Library project offers a list of over 100 summer reading recommendations from expert librarians. It also offers programs like storytimes and podcasting workshops; outdoor pop-ups that include library card sign-up events and others involving the NYPL’s famous bookmobiles; and a number of other initiatives targeted directly to adults.

Educators agree that reading over the summer is critical to helping kids maintain learning while school is out and also for fostering social-emotional development. Eighty-three-percent of educators say reading helps students understand people that are different from them, 81% say reading helps students develop empathy, and 81% say reading helps students see themselves in characters and stories.

Multiple studies have shown that owning books is a big boost to children’s literacy. Chidlren growing up in a home with at least 80 books are associated with higher literacy levels. Teens who grew up with a library of books at home “become as literate, numerate and technologically apt in adulthood as university graduates who grew up with only a few books.” A child who owns just one book of their own is six times more likely to read above grade level and three times as likely to enjoy reading.

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on Long Island Teen Hailed Hero For Saving Woman from Patchogue Bay

Long Island Teen Hailed Hero For Saving Woman from Patchogue Bay

A Long Island teen is being hailed a hero for diving in to save a woman who accidentally drove into Patchogue Bay. Mia Samolinski, 18, stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake when pulling her Subaru Outback out of a parking spot along the docks of Long Island’s Patchogue Bay. Anthony Zhongor, 17, immediately dove into the water as her car sank.

Zhongor said “She went pretty deep in there and was banging on the door, banging on the window, trying to break the window, of course, and that kind of got me nervous, scared for her, so I just went into the water.” The door wouldn’t open from the outside either. Zhongor realized that the weight of his body tilted the nose of the car down, bringing the back of the car above water level so he kept his weight on the car, allowing Samolinski to escape through the back.

Together they swam to shore. “She just came up to me and said, ‘Oh my God, thank you’ and was crying,” Zhongor said. “It doesn’t matter who it was, they were suffering. I couldn’t watch anybody suffer in front of me.” Mia managed to make it out unscathed but was shaken up by the experience and is thankful was there at that moment.

Mia’s father Charles Samolinski visited the dock where it happened to reunite with and thank 17-year-old Anthony Zhongor for saving his daughter’s life. “The reason I’m here is because he’s really the hero of the day” Mia said. The Samolinskis expressed their their gratitude for Zhongor’s bravery. “He jumped out of his car and jumped in, and because of that, my daughter is alive and not really harmed,” said Mia’s father Charles. “It’s a miracle.”

The pair who went to the same high school live less than a mile away but never crossed paths until that night. Zhongor is set to graduate this year and will be heading off to South Carolina for Marines boot camp. Staff Sgt. Christian Erazo with the U.S. Marine Corps said “It shows that our training and mentorship has gone to the right place and I’m happy he acted because it could’ve ended somewhere very differently.”

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on California Woman Returns $36,000 Found In Couch From Craigslist

California Woman Returns $36,000 Found In Couch From Craigslist

A California woman got the shock of her life after bringing home a set of sofas and a chair that she found on Craigslist for free. Vicki Umodu of Colton, California said she just moved in and was excited to get the first pieces of furniture in her new home. A lump in the cushion of a chair she initially thought might be a heating pad but said it felt like a bunch of paper.

When she unzipped the cover, she pulled out envelopes stuffed with thousands of dollars in cash. It turned out to be more than $36,000 stashed inside the cushion. “I was just telling my son, come, come, come! I was screaming, this is money! I need to call the guy” she said. When Umodu called she learned that a family member had recently died and the family was selling furniture as they were clearing out the house. .

The man’s family said they believe it was hidden away by the deceased as part of a saving strategy. Vicki said it never once occurred to her to keep the money. “God has been kind to me and my children,” Umodu said. “They are all alive and well, I have three beautiful grandchildren, so what can I ever ask of God?”

Umodu said she was not expecting a dime from them but the owners were so grateful for her honesty that they gave Umodu $2,200 to buy a new refrigerator for herself. They also said they later found money hidden in other places in the house and are now checking all the furniture they were planning to sell-all thanks to Umodu’s honesty.

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3 months ago · by · Comments Off on Good Samaritans Recognized for Saving Florida Woman Having Medical Emergency In Her Car

Good Samaritans Recognized for Saving Florida Woman Having Medical Emergency In Her Car

A video of Good Samaritans in Florida rushing to help a driver experiencing a medical emergency in her car went viral. The rescue happened on May 5th and the video shows several people springing into action after witnessing a gray car slowly roll into an intersection with its driver, Laurie Rabyor, unconscious at the steering wheel.

A press conference was held where Florida’s Boynton Beach Police Department recognized Jannette Rivera, Juan Chavez Jr., Michael Edelstein, David Formica, DaVida Peele, Marko Bartolone, Muriel Vaughns and Robin Fox for their quick thinking and courage. The press conference was the culmination of tracking down those who had helped. Each person was awarded a Royal Caribbean cruise and a $2,000 gift card, plus flowers.

Jannette Rivera, a co-worker of Rabyor’s had seen Rabyor slumped over her steering wheel, jumped into the street and began waving her arms to attract the attention of other motorists.
Several individuals, including Edelstein, leaped into action to find a way to stop the car, put it into park and then push it into a nearby 7-Eleven parking lot. A nurse there helped Rabyor until the fire department arrived.

Marko Bartolone said “I saw a lady chasing a car through an intersection in South Florida … and I thought, ‘Wow, she’s really mad at that other lady!. I figured out what was happening and thought, ‘I really can’t stop a car.’ But then I see Chavez … and I thought, well, with a couple of people, we could probably stop the car. I feel like I just did what anyone would do.” Michael Edelstein said “I’m stunned to be standing here. I was in the right place at the right time. … I was the fool that jumped in front of the car and then tried to punch the window out.”

Rabynor says she doesn’t remember any of it. “They all just came together to help a little old lady and I appreciate it so, so much. … It is so wonderful to see something nice today instead of all this crap that’s going on in the world and even in our community. … It’s so nice to see something nice” she said.

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3 months ago · by · Comments Off on Call of Duty Endowment Reaches Goal of Putting 100K Vets Back to Work 2 Years Early

Call of Duty Endowment Reaches Goal of Putting 100K Vets Back to Work 2 Years Early

Since the first release of the Call of Duty video game in 2003, the game series has received universal acclaim. The ongoing series holds the Guinness World Record as the best-selling games of their kind. In 2009, the game’s publisher Activision Blizzard launched Call of Duty Endowment, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to getting unemployed veterans back to work. They have intensely supported veteran employment efforts and committed to funding the placement of 100,000 vets into high-quality jobs by 2024 through the Call of Duty Endowment.

The Endowment also expanded its support internationally to the United Kingdom in 2017, attempting to help more of those who have served their nation in uniform to find meaningful careers. In addition to supporting its grantees, they committed to highlighting high performance in the veteran employment through its Seal of Distinction program, which provides both a $30,000 prize and national recognition to winners of the award.

Last month the nonprofit reached its goal of placing 100,000 vets two years ahead of schedule. To mark the occasion—and the start of Military Appreciation Month—Activision Blizzard has committed an additional $30 million in funding to support the program moving forward. Over the last twelve years, the Call of Duty Endowment says it has partnered with the most effective nonprofit veterans organizations in both the US and UK to deliver high value job placements, a service most requested by veterans.

They use a performance-driven approach to fund organizations delivering the highest standards of quality and cost-efficient veteran job placement services. Activision Blizzard pays for all the Endowment’s overhead costs and 100% of all donations received go directly to Endowment grantees. Co-chairman General James Jones, a former National Security Advisor and retired US Marine Corps commander said “To put 100,000 placements in perspective, the entire active-duty Marine Corps is made up of more than 178,000 people. While reaching 100,000 placements two years earlier than our goal is an accomplishment to be proud of, there is much more we can and should be doing to support our veterans as they transition to civilian employment.”

Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard and Co-Founder of the Endowment said “To date, we have invested over $60 million in support of veterans employment initiatives. With our even more efficient programs we expect to generate another 50,000 job placements through Call of Duty Endowment grants.” One of the leading charities supported by the grants is VetJobs. Their mission has received funding that led to more than 48,000 of its 77,000 placements. VetJobs CEO Rear Admiral Dan Kloeppel, U.S. Navy (retired) said “There is no better, more supportive resource for veteran job placement than the Call of Duty Endowment,”

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4 months ago · by · Comments Off on Gaming Industry Raising Millions for Ukraine Relief

Gaming Industry Raising Millions for Ukraine Relief

Gamers and the video game industry are renowned for being extraordinarily generous with fundraisers for many charities. Several game companies have been raising funds and pitching in millions for Ukrainian relief programs. Epic Games, the developer of the hugely successful video game Fortnite, has revealed it’s raised $144 million.

On March 20th, in conjunction with Microsoft’s Xbox, the firm pledged to donate all of its proceeds from the game to Ukraine relief efforts for two weeks. The charities receiving the funds include UNICEF, Direct Relief, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Food Program.

Epic Games, headquartered in Cary, North Carolina, announced the fundraising effort on the same day it released a new season of Fortnite Battle Royale and raised $36 million in the first 24 hours. The fundraising window closed on April 3, shortly before they announced the grand total of donations raised.

Epic’s fund raising campaign follows Humble Bundle – a firm that sells video game bundles online – raising $20 million for Ukraine relief efforts last month. Humble Bundle’s pay-what-you-want model for their game, book, and course bundles have raised more than $200 million through 12 million purchases. Their donations have benefitted charities such as Make a Wish, One Tree Planted, the ACLU, Girls Who Code, and Charity: Water.

Microsoft, the makers of Xbox, committed over $35 million to support humanitarian assistance and relief efforts for Ukraine. Microsoft is also matching employee donations by 2:1, resulting in more than $13.5 million raised to date in support of organizations working both within Ukraine and supporting refugees who have fled to neighboring countries.

From March 5 to March 12, League of Legends developer Riot Games donated all proceeds from battle pass sales for VALORANT, Legends of Runeterra, Teamfight Tactics, and Wild Rift, as well as the new Bee skin line in League of Legends, will be donated to support humanitarian relief efforts in the region. They raised over $5.4 Million and in addition to the player supported fundraiser, donated $1M across three humanitarian nonprofits; International Medical Corps, Doctors Without Borders and Polish Red Cross.

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6 months ago · by · Comments Off on Mark Cuban Launches Cost Plus Drugs

Mark Cuban Launches Cost Plus Drugs

Mark Cuban has officially launched his newest venture—the online pharmacy Cost Plus Drugs. The new online pharmacy backed by the Dallas Mavericks owner promises to make prescriptions more affordable. Cuban says Cost Plus Drugs will buy more than 100 medications directly from their manufacturers and then sell them at lower prices, cutting out the middleman.

Many of these are commonly prescribed generic medicines with prices just a few dollars lower than at the local pharmacy. But a handful are offered at savings of hundreds to thousands of dollars. Notable medications that epitomize the pharmacy’s savings include Imatinib, a life saving leukemia treatment that has a retail price of $9,657 per month but with MCCPDC costs $47 per month; Mesalamine, an ulcerative colitis treatment that retails at $940 per month costs $32.40 per month with MCCPDC; the gout treatment Colchicine retails at $182 month, the lowest price with a common voucher is $32 per month, and with MCCPDC it costs $8.70 per month.

As a registered pharmaceutical wholesaler, MCCPDC can bypass inflated markups. The pharmacy’s prices reflect actual manufacturer prices plus a flat 15% margin and pharmacist fee. Cost Plus Drugs does not accept insurance and asks customers to pay out of pocket. According to a September 2021 poll, 18 million Americans were recently unable to pay for at least one prescription medication for their household due to ever-rising costs. The pharmacy’s launch represents the first milestone in bringing affordable medications to millions.

Cuban’s involvement began when Texas radiologist Dr. Alex Oshymansky, who started a public benefit company to provide cheap pharmaceutical drugs, pitched the idea to Cuban while seeking more funding. The idea had already attracted $1 million in funding and Cuban said he was intrigued but encouraged Oshymansky to think bigger. Cuban said “Oshmyansky didn’t sell me. I sold him on doing more and thinking bigger.” Over the course of months, the two hammered out details of the venture.

Alex Oshmyansky, CEO of Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug said “We will do whatever it takes to get affordable pharmaceuticals to patients. The markup on potentially lifesaving drugs that people depend on is a problem that can’t be ignored. It is imperative that we take action and help expand access to these medications for those who need them most.”

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7 months ago · by · Comments Off on WWII POW Presented With High School Diploma

WWII POW Presented With High School Diploma

A WWII POW was presented with a high school diploma, fulfilling a wish 80 years in the making. Kevin Litterer, principal of East Sac High School in Lake View, Iowa said it all started when he received a phone call on November 18, 2021. He recalls his assistant answering it and jumping up. “Kevin, you need to speak to this person right now,” she told him.

Tess Gooding, a medical social worker at the San Angelo Veterans Affairs Clinicin in Texas was on the line. Gooding explained that during her initial assessment, a new patient of hers, Donald J. Huisenga. The 98-year-old WWII veteran had said that he hadn’t graduated high school. He was supposed to receive a diploma from Auburn High School (now East Sac High School) in 1943. Three months before he was set to walk across the stage, however, he was drafted into the Army.

Huisenga was injured in artillery fire during the Normandy Invasion and two weeks later, he found himself in a German prisoner of war camp where he was held for six months. Huisenga left the Army in 1945, got married, had children and eventually moved to Texas. He had told Gooding that he was always haunted by the high school diploma he never got. Gooding said “He was telling me about his time as a prisoner of war, at which point he mentioned that he had never graduated high school. I thought, ‘You know, I’ll just reach out to the high school back in Iowa.’ I’m originally from the area. Worst case scenario, they’ll say no.”

Litterer immediately reached out to the company that provides East Sac High School with yearbooks, diplomas, class rings, and other memorabilia. With help from school officials, he was able to locate old copies of Auburn High School graduation materials to help them replicate a Class of 1943 diploma. In two hours, he had everything he needed and four days later, trustees with the East Sac County School Board of Education voted unanimously to name Huisenga a graduate of Auburn High School.

Litterer and his wife drove from Iowa to San Angelo so he could award Huisenga the diploma himself during a special ceremony at the San Angelo Veterans Affairs Clinic on January 5. After the ceremony, Huisenga said “I made it. I always hoped that I would get a diploma. I am pleased as punch. I’m so pleased, I couldn’t be any more pleased.” Huisenga invited Litterer to his home to show him where he planned to display the diploma: in a bookcase right next to the television.

Huisenga even invited Litterer and his wife to celebrate his 100th birthday on September 20, 2023. Litterer says of his new friend “He is just so amazing to me. His outlook on life is incredible. And for me, as a high school principal, next time a kid says they’re thinking about dropping out of high school I will show them a picture of Donald so they can see how much it means.”

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