Good News Blog

April, 2007

Monday, Apr. 30, 2007

Sword of Honor returned to Marine 17 years later

When Bill Brickey Junior of Jonesboro was in the Marine Corps long ago, he failed to lock his truck on one occasion and a thief took his ceremonial sword from the vehicle.

Seventeen years later, Brickey has his sword back because of the determination of another former Marine and a Florida woman.

Brickey lost the sword to a thief when he made an overnight stop in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1990.

Later, Donna Lewis of Osage, Florida, found the sword in a ditch and realized its importance. But she had no luck finding Brickey, whose name was engraved on the weapon.

Not long ago, she mentioned the sword to Bill Hanson, a former Marine who lives in Jacksonville. Hanson began a search for the sword’s owner with the name and serial number on the sword, and that led him to Brickey.

Last week, Brickey received the sword in an express shipment. Brickey said he is so grateful and feels like a family heirloom has been returned.

Brickey served 20 years in the Marines, and his father and three of his brothers also were Marines.

Modest kid helps people escape fire

It’s hard to predict how someone will react in an emergency situation.

John and Kelly Cooper of Rifle now know how their 14-year-old son, Jeremy, will act in the face of danger. Jeremy warned residents of the Winchester Garden Apartments on Railroad Avenue that the building was burning and to get out, according to John.

Jeremy assisted his aunt, Christina Cooper, from the third-floor window because flames had blocked the doorway of the apartment. According to John, his son told him that he went to find another way out with no success and by the time he reached the window from which his aunt had exited, the apartment was filled with smoke.

Jeremy then jumped from the same window and began notifying residents of the danger that lurked, John said.

“He’s a very modest kid,” John said of his son. “I’m very proud of what he did and how brave he was.”

On Wednesday evening, Jeremy was helping his aunt, John’s sister, move into a new apartment at the complex and had planned to go to bed, but instead stayed up late searching for a television cable, John said.

That’s when he noticed smoke and ash filtering in from under the front door of the apartment.

Christina, 40, sustained a broken back when she landed on the ground. She was later transported by Rifle Fire Protection District (RFPD) medics to Grand Valley Medical Center in Rifle, then by helicopter to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction where it was determined that she fractured the L-1 vertebrae of her spine.

“Doctors told me that it was like dropping a bowl,” John said. “She shattered the bone in her back but the fragments didn’t damage the nerve column.”

RFPD fire marshal Kevin Whelan stated in a press release that “It appears a cigarette was the probable ignition source and empty cardboard boxes contributed to the fire size and intensity.”

Four of the six apartments affected by the fire have been reoccupied and damage to the building was estimated at around $45,000.

Fire crews arrived on the scene to find Christina on the ground and another woman resident sitting in the window of another apartment. Fire crews rescued the lady by ladder and she was uninjured.

John, a retired police officer from Arkansas, said he was impressed by the collective efforts of all services involved.

“Having been in law enforcement for a long time, the response was just incredible from the different agencies and even the Red Cross.”

Missing class ring finds way back to owner

Nearly 30 years after her time as a student drew to a close, memories of Lynne Everhart’s time at Hedgesville High School came flooding back to her this week in a rush of purple and gold.

A series of coincidences and the honesty of an anonymous man brought the lost class ring of the 1979 graduate back to her hand this week.

“Of course, I cried,” said Everhart, still in a state of disbelief.

It was about 25 years ago that she lost the piece of jewelry, a gold ring adorned with the Hedgesville Eagle mascot and her birthstone — an amethyst — and her name engraved in script lettering inside the band.

Everhart believes it was about 1982 that the ring likely slipped off the pinky finger of her husband, who worked part-time at the former Texaco station in Marlowe.

Since it went missing, Everhart would joke that her husband had hawked her ring long ago any time the subject of the traditional piece of jewelry was broached.

Now employed as a secretary at her alma mater, Everhart left work early on Wednesday, leaving a substitute secretary in her place. Before the day was over, a gentleman stopped by the school with a class ring in a box — placed there for safe keeping when he found the ring more than 20 years ago.

Everhart said that it’s not uncommon for missing rings to be returned to the school, but those that come in are usually only two to three years old, at the most.

The returned ring was passed on to Hedgesville Principal Don Dellinger, who solicited the help of some keen-eyed students to read the inscription inside the band. Though the inscription included Everhart’s maiden name, Dellinger instantly knew it was hers, having grown up in the same area and around the same time as she had.

“It fell in the right person’s hands,” Everhart said.

Dellinger was excited to return the long-lost ring to its rightful owner, she said, and brought it out to her before 8 a.m. Thursday.

No one in the office knew the name of the man who returned it.

In 2006, Everhart purchased a class ring for one of her sons, a senior in high school. It, too, was lost, but is protected under a new replacement program offered by the jeweler.

“After finding this ring, I’m probably going to turn around and order my son’s,” she said. “You don’t think it means much to you, but it really does.”

Having graduated from Hedgesville and now working there each day, Everhart said her ring has even more sentimental value. “I still look down,” she said. “I can’t believe it.”

Girl, two, comes to the rescue after mother passes out

A two-year-old girl saved her mother after she collapsed by telling the emergency operator their name and address and tending to the woman as they waited for an ambulance.

The girl’s mother, Carla Imbrenea, managed to dial 999 before suffering severe chest pains and shortness of breath. As she drifted in and out of consciousness, she heard her daughter, Gabriella, calmly telling the operator her mother’s name and address.

Gabriella even followed the operator’s instructions and placed a wet flannel on her mother’s head and fetched her a drink.

When the ambulance arrived at the house in Bournemouth, Dorset, the girl carried her stool to the front door but could not reach the handle. She went back to her mother and helped to pull her up that she could let the paramedics in.

Lisa White, an ambulance technician for the South Western ambulance service, said: “Gabriella was fantastic. She was so calm and just said that mummy needed help as she was feeling poorly. Normally children get very upset when their parents are ill, but she coped very well. When we arrived, Gabriella was at the door with the phone in her hand and was saying, ‘I helped mummy’.”

Ms Imbrenea said she had managed to dial 999. “But I just couldn’t talk because I was hyperventilating.

“All I can remember next is hearing Gabriella tell the operator my name. She told them my address and kept telling them I was awake.

“It was so frightening as I was there on my own with her. I was terrified I was going to pass out cold and she was going to be left on her own.

“Gabriella told them I was hot, and then got a wet flannel to put on my head. Then she rummaged through a bag before coming back with an old bottle of juice.

“I could hear Gabriella telling the operator about her dolly, called Molly, and all about her friend from pre-school.

“I was so lucky to have her there as she completely took control even though she is so young. Afterwards she didn’t seem at all fazed about it. She is fantastic and I am so proud of her.”

Ms Imbrenea, who recovered after being treated for a severe panic attack, added: “I have never spoken to Gabriella about what to do in an emergency, but she was so calm. Perhaps she will grow up to be a nurse.”

Cops rescue man from burning car

Three Chicago police officers rescued a man who was trapped in his car this morning shortly after it collided with a sport-utility vehicle and caught fire on Chicago’s West Side.

“In about two seconds, he would have gone up (in flames) with us if we didn’t get him out,” said one of the rescuers, Harrison District Sgt. Michael Spagnola. “I have soot marks on my shirt so this one’s going in the garbage.”

Spagnola was on patrol shortly before 1 a.m. when he was flagged down by the driver of the SUV at Chicago and Homan Avenues. The sergeant said he then saw flames erupt from under the hood of the car, and rushed over to try and get the man, who was unconscious, out through the driver’s side door.

But Spagnola was unable to open it becuase “it was creased and smashed in.”

Shortly thereafter, Harrison District Officers John Dulcason and Oscar Serrano arrived to assist Spagnola, and the three broke through the window of the front passenger’s side door to unlock it. By then, “flames were shooting out from the engine compartment through the dashboard from underneath the windshield,” the sergeant said.

The officers got a hold of the man’s waist and arms, and managed to wriggle him free from under the steering column, where he was pinned. Spagnola said the man regained consciousness once he was out of the car.

“I think the cold from the pavement woke him up. (Before that) he was limp as could be,” Spagnola said.

The man was taken via ambulance to Mt. Sinai Hospital, where he was reported in critical condition this morning. He “was all banged up,” Spagnola said, adding the victim suffered cuts to his face and arms.

The three officers suffered minor cuts and smoke inhalation, and did not require hospitalization. The driver of the SUV was not hurt.

One or two citizens helped the officers break through glass. One of them even tried to douse the flames with a bucket of water, the sergeant said, but the flames proved too intense.

When asked if he feared for his life during the rescue effort, Spagnola said, “There’s always a little bit of fear, but you’re not thinking about it.”

Farm Rescue Helps Heart Patient

This non-profit organization was created to help the family farmer temporarily sidelined by injury or other disaster by planting up to one thousand acres of crops free of charge.

It`s in its second year now but Farm Rescue experienced a first in Turtle Lake yesterday.

The volunteers helped a couple in which the wife is the one who is recovering.

Spend just a few minutes with Sharon Weible, and you`ll have no doubts that she`s got a big heart.

Even if it isn`t hers.

“Her heart was turning bad, there was nothing to do to fix it, says Wes Weible. “It was just going bad. Eventually she would have just passed away.”

That was one possible ending to the Weible`s story but Wes and Sharon like this one much better.

“I was excited, never scared,” says Sharon. “I just thought I got a second chance.”

Sharon was on a transplant list for nine months before she was flown to Rochester, Minnesota for surgery last November.

“You never knew when you`d get called. We had our suitcase packed, ready to go every night.”

The Weible`s made 13 trips to the hospital before the operation, and they`ve spent the majority of their time commuting between Turtle Lake and Rodchester since.

That means Wes concentrated more on being a support system and less on being a farmer.

The Weible`s received gifts like this prayer blanket from friends and family, but it was an organization of strangers who stepped in and gave the gift of livelihood.

“She has to go, you can`t not go,” says Wes. “You went through all that to get a heart, you can`t give up now.”

You can`t give up, so farm rescue stepped up, and volunteered to plant 600 acres of wheat for the Weible`s so Wes could focus on the more important things in life.

His heart was in the right place. And now so is Sharon`s.

Sharon`s recovery is going very well.

They`ve made the ten hour drive to Rochester seven out of the last eight weeks, but it looks like they`ll be making that trip less and less.

Farm Rescue is planting about six hundred acres of wheat for the Weibles.

Saturday, Apr. 28, 2007

Twin brothers rescue malnourished eagle in Michigan

A malnourished eagle that was spotted hopping around in a wooded area of Monroe County has been rescued, thanks to the efforts of 51-year-old atwin brothers who work for CN railroad.

About a week ago, Joe Barbara and his brother, Jon, learned from co-workers that the eagle was in the area. Joe Barbara, an engineer, and Jon Barbara, a conductor who lives in Toledo, Ohio, spotted the bird from their trains.

They reported the bird to authorities.
“We thought it was taken care of,” Joe Barbara, of Erie Township, told The Monroe Evening News for a Saturday story. “I figured it’s the national bird, they won’t horse around they’ll get someone out there.”

When the bird was spotted again last week, the brothers decided to help on their own.

“We couldn’t let it out there to die,” Joe Barbara said.

They set out Friday with Joe Barbara’s wife, Helenne, 46, and managed to find the eagle. It took about 15 minutes to capture.

“It spread its wings to make itself look twice as big and opened its beak. It was very intimidating,” Joe Barbara said. “It couldn’t fly, but it could run. … It wasn’t like it was standing still for us.”

After notifying police, the brothers called Dave Hogan, a raptor handler and rescuer from Monroe. The eagle didn’t appear to have any broken bones, but was abnormally small and found to be malnourished.

A veterinarian was to examine the bird and Hogan planned to seek permission to help the bird regain its health.

Friday, Apr. 27, 2007

Girl donating hair for fundraiser

The last time Valerie Koutsoulis cut her hair, she was 4.

“I found her in the bathroom with a set of scissors, hacking away,” said her mother, Katie Koutsoulis.

The next time Valerie, a third-grader at Kohl Open School, gets her hair cut will be at an April 21 fundraiser benefiting Locks of Love. Valerie said she hopes to donate her hair and raise money for the nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces to disadvantaged children experiencing medical hair loss.

“I’m a kid, and so it’s really easy for me to imagine someone in school walking around bald,” said Valerie, 8. “And they probably would get picked on by a lot of the kids. I thought, if they got wigs, then that would help them get their self-esteem back.”

The Spa at Southern Exposure, 2323 Pacific Ave., is donating haircuts to Valerie and as many as 24 other people who want to donate their long hair April 21.

Donated hair should be at least 10 inches long.

Valerie also is seeking checks to send to the nonprofit. They should be made out to Locks of Love.

Saluting everyday heroes

In a single day they could play the role of weatherperson, parent, counselor, doctor, pastor, reporter and more. They work behind the scene – away from the flashing lights, sirens, cameras and caution tape.

One of the few and biggest rewards they receive is the satisfaction they feel at the end of their shift. They might have contributed to saving a life or a house, finding a child or a criminal, or provide comfort as the last voice someone hears before they die.

They are dispatchers and this is their week.

Every year, the second full week of April is proclaimed as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week in honor of the men and women who serve as public safety telecommunicators, or more commonly known as dispatchers.

The titles of telecommunicator or communications officer are being increasingly used because these officers do more than dispatch the right people to the right place. They are required to serve the public wearing many hats.

At the Van Wert City Police Department (VWCPD) and the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office (VWCSO), dispatchers have to monitor several radio bands, from the one their own law enforcement officers use to other department radios, answer 9-1-1 calls, answer business calls, dispatch ambulances, officers, firefighters, and talk to people walking in the door.

“We are the first contact when someone is upset or has a problem,” said Cheryl Bowen, 11 year dispatcher at the VWCPD. “We are the first contact and we have the potential for being the last voice a person hears. They may go unconscious and not come back.”

In a week, and sometimes a single day, dispatchers can take complaints of barking dogs, reports of missing children, power and cable outages, and automobile crashes, and a call from someone with a gun saying they want to kill themselves.

“One night I had three people that died on me,” said nearly two decade VWCPD dispatcher Rick Spoor. “But you go on to the next call.”

Bowen added that keeping humor in the better parts of their days and going and having a “good cry” if you lose someone are important coping mechanisms.

“Our job can also be fun though, it’s not boring. Everyday is different,” said six year VWCPD dispatcher Shelly Smith.

A dispatcher must be at the phones and radios 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. There are no holidays off, no leaving the office early on Fridays and no long lunches. There is always someone in the communication room at each location.

Simple daily tasks other people take for granted, like going to the bathroom or taking a few moments for a mental break, can be hard to come by when the radio and phones require constant monitoring.

“On a hectic day, you can’t get out of this room,” said Bowen.

There have been many changes that aid dispatchers in their job and allow the public to receive help faster, but some have also raised new problems and concerns. Many more people have cell phones and are using them to not only call from the road, but from home also.

All cell phone calls to 9-1-1 in the area are patched through to the sheriff’s office, regardless of the location of the caller. There is a GPS tracking system in place, but it’s intermittent. The technology is constantly being refined, but it’s far from those that are shown in popular TV shows.

“You never know when you answer the phone what’s going to be on the other end or if it’s going to be our county,” said Vicky Huebner, dispatcher at the VWCSO.

Huebner said because the cell phone calls can come from various towers from a single location, someone in Allen County might get routed to Van Wert. No matter where the person is calling from, it can still be hard to pinpoint their location. Sometimes, the GPS system might show them in a field when they are in a house or on a road.

Spoor said before, all they did was receive a call and had no idea where the caller was. Now, a landline call can be pinpointed and there is a chance to know where a cell phone caller is located.

“Cell phone callers many times don’t know where they are at, they don’t realize a lot of times that you have to be able to give that information out,” said Huebner. “We’ve went out looking for accidents, sometimes you just can’t find it.”

In such cases, dispatchers have to put on the hat of interviewer and ask as many questions so they can to try and figure out where the caller is. Asking for road signs and landmarks are common questions.

The Van Wert County Ohio State Highway Patrol Post doesn’t receive 9-1-1 calls but that doesn’t mean days are any slower. Troopers out on the road frequently come across emergencies and radio in to dispatch to request medical assistance or backup. OSHP dispatchers also have business lines and additionally, a non-emergency number (877-7-PATROL) for motorists in Ohio they monitor.

“Dispatchers have to be able to think on their feet and handle situations in a calm manner,” said Van Wert Post Commander Gene Smith. “You never know what’s on the other end of the phone.”

The top situations dispatchers said they will never forget were the tornado in 2002, talking a man that was threatening to kill himself with a gun into letting his grandchildren out of the house and putting the gun down, delivering a baby over the phone and getting medical assistance to a kid who had nearly cut his finger off with a metal Slinky.

And favorite parts of the job?

“Catching the bad guys,” said Bowen. “And making sure people are safe.”

Huebner added that one of a dispatcher’s main goals is “to make sure everyone goes home to their families at night.”


Several local dispatchers have been honored this year for their service. Three were nominated for awards at the Eighth Annual Gold Star Awards Luncheon for their part in two different calls.

The luncheon is a joint effort of the Ohio Chapters of the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International (APCO) to “publicly honor the outstanding individual achievements and contributions of the men and women who are the backbone of Ohio’s 9-1-1 system.”

A fourth earned the title of Dispatcher of the Year from the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP). Jean Myers, who has over 30 years of service with the Van Wert post, was honored in February of this year at the Patrol’s Annual Awards Luncheon for her 2006 title.

“She’s also retiring at the end of this month,” said Van Wert Post Commander Gene Smith. “It’s going to be tough to replace her.”

Cathy Evans of the Wert County Sheriff’s Office (VWCSO) and Rachel Sullivan of the Van Wert City Police Department (VWCPD) were nominated in the Double Gold category for their part in a call reporting a 10-foot python was wrapped around the waist and attached to the hand of its owner, who was beginning to panic. Evans had the role of keeping the caller calm, getting important information and dispatching emergency medical personnel.

Sullivan, who is studying to become a veterinarian, had been listening to the radio traffic on the VWCSO’s band and called Evans to lend a hand educated in dealing with animals. Evans relayed the information to the deputy at the scene, Colleen Wiley, who was able to get the python off of the person and into its cage, all without harming the animal.

Nominated in the Gold Star category was Rod Smith of the VWSO. Smith was recognized for his part in a call reporting a Thomas Edison school bus rollover. A 9-1-1 caller reported that the bus had rolled over and contained around 20 passengers who were possibly handicapped. Smith had to quickly dispatch several different emergency responders to the scene.

Even though they didn’t receive awards in the categories they were nominated for, 9-1-1 coordinator Kim Brandt said they and all dispatchers should be honored for the excellent work they do.

This is what I was born to do

Wendy Gallegos stands before her class and writes “concer” on the board.

One of her students raises her hand.

“Ms. Gallegos, you should have written ‘concocer’ instead,” she said, referring to the Spanish verb for “to know.”

Gallegos looks at the board, smiles and quickly erases her mistake.

“You see, I have taught you so well, you pick up on my mistakes,” she said with a laugh.

To Gallegos, the scene in her classroom is typical of the children she teaches. They are the bright students of Immokalee Middle School.

To her students, Gallegos is the teacher who they think is most deserving of one of Collier County’s Golden Apple Awards.

Gallegos teaches high school Spanish 1 and 2 to Immokalee Middle School students. But she is quick to dismiss any assumptions one might make about her students.

“The assumption, because the majority of my students are Hispanic, is that they speak Spanish. I have a lot of second-, third- and fourth-generation students who don’t know any Spanish at all,” she said. “And for those who do, sometimes it is harder to unteach any bad language habits.”

It is not easy to be in Gallegos’ class. Students must be in the top of their class and have to pass the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). They must sign a contract, saying they will be committed to the program for three years, taking Spanish 1 over their sixth- and seventh-grade years, and Spanish 2 in eighth grade. They also must earn a B or higher in the class.

“I become part of their lives for three years. I become part of their families. If they forget their homework, by the end of that period, that child will call home,” she said.

Gallegos said she is willing to go out of her comfort zone to help her children succeed.

“I pay my mortgage in Naples, I sleep in Naples, but this is my home,” she said. “Why shouldn’t I do that?”

Maria Plata, 14, said after a couple of years, Gallegos’ class becomes like home.

“You learn a lot, but there is also some pressure to do well,” she said.

Gallegos’ Spanish class is taught mostly in English in sixth grade. By the time the students are eighth-graders, they are speaking fewer words of English and more of Spanish during the 50-minute classes.

“My goal is to get my kids to say something in Spanish every day,” she said. “I want them to be able to talk to me. That’s why I help them, I praise them, I recognize them when they do good work. And we have fun. The day I stop having fun is the day I am going to consider a different job.”

If a student needs help, Gallegos offers the student a “lifesaver,” which is help from a classmate. The lifesaver gets a piece of candy as a reward.

She also offers a 50-cent question of the day for a student in her class. One of her students asks if the question could be the $1 of the day.

“No, it can’t be a dollar,” she said with a laugh. “Gas prices are up!”

Sixth-grader Cheyenne Green, 12, said Gallegos’ class is anything but boring.

“She’s not like regular teachers,” she said. “She elaborates a lot. She makes sure we learn something. My sister had her, so I was really excited for her to be my teacher, too.”

Gallegos also doesn’t let her students get away with much. She reminds them that, no matter what their circumstances are, there is someone out there who has it worse. Her eighth-grade class sponsors a Colombian girl through the World Vision Program, which is a humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to tackle issues of poverty and injustice.

The students do not get extra credit for their participation in World Vision, nor do they have to participate. Gallegos has the students take home permission slips explaining the financial commitment — $2.50 a month for students — and the parents agree.

“I want to impact my kids in a positive way,” Gallegos said. “I don’t teach a subject. I teach kids. This is what I was born to do.”

Gallegos also knows where the kids are coming from. She grew up in the projects in the Bronx, N.Y. She is the first person in her family to graduate from college, to own her own home, to get her master’s degree. Her husband, Israel, grew up in Immokalee and she has heard about his experiences, leaving school early to go to the fields and pick.

“There was one way out and that was through education. I tell them that no one can take their education away from them. It’s how you break the cycle of poverty,” she said. “I have the authority to tell them that because I have been there.”

Gallegos, 35, met Israel, a physical education teacher at Immokalee High School, while working for the district. The couple have four children: Juan, Lissette, Tony and Ariana. Gallegos proudly says that her children attend Immokalee schools by choice.

“It is in the best interest of my family,” she said.

Gallegos said she is glad that her Golden Apple Award, which is the first for Immokalee Middle School, is bringing attention to Immokalee.

“People need to know good things happen in Immokalee and that good things happen at Immokalee Middle School,” she said. “They need to see we have awesome kids.”

We married 35 years after we split up

The course of true love never did run smooth – and that’s certainly true of one couple who have just celebrated their first wedding anniversary, 36 years after they split up.

Nigel Postle and Diana Gascoigne fell in love in 1969 when they worked at May & Baker in Norwich.

The relationship did not work out and they married other people -but three decades after they split, they made contact through popular website Friends Reunited and fell in love all over again.

Now they have just celebrated their first wedding anniversary and looking forward to returning to their home city to build a new life.

Nigel said: “I am so looking forward to coming home. Over the 34 years we were apart, there was hardly a time when I didn’t think of her, wonder where she was or what she was doing.”

When the pair met, former Thorpe Grammar School pupil Nigel was 19, and Diana, who grew up in Heacham, was 17.

The couple lived happily together for two years in Cyprus Street, until a row shortly after Nigel’s 21st birthday saw them split up. Nigel went to London to study law while Diana trained as a PE teacher in Leicester. Both married and had children – but neither was happy. Diana and her husband split up and she brought up her daughters as a single parent, while father-of-two Nigel had two unsuccessful marriages.

Nigel, 55, said: “Breaking up with Diana was the most painful experience I have ever endured and I never really got over her. The pain subsided but the memory and love for her carried on.”

The feeling was mutual and in 2002, Diana, who had moved to Yorkshire, put her details on Friends Reunited in the hope Nigel might get in touch.

Diana, 54, said: “I was on there for a year and I hadn’t heard anything from him so I stopped looking. In 2004, my mother died and I went on there again because I needed to get in touch with some cousins.

“Nigel’s email was sat there and had been for 18 months. We talked and arranged to meet each other in Norwich in 2005.

“I realised that the man I had loved was still there and he said I was the same girl he had known back then. We got engaged in September 2005 and were married in March the following year. I really have found the perfect husband.”

The couple, who live in Leeds, have now found a home in Knowsley Road, Norwich, and will move in next month.

A date in 1969

· Dance to Sugar Sugar by The Archies, Get Back by The Beatles or Je T’aime … Moi Mon Plus by Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg at the Samson and Hercules

· Enjoy a beer and a Babycham at The Talk.

· Visit the London Steakhouse in Tombland for prawn cocktail, steak and black forest gateaux.

· See Paul Newman and Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid at the Gaumont cinema, now Mecca bingo opposite John Lewis.

A date in 2007

· Catch a hot new band such as The Sunshine Underground or the Maccabees at The Waterfront.

· Go to Mercy or Lava/Ignite for the latest club hits.

· Relax with a Budweiser or vodka and Red Bull.

· Eat at Pizza Express in The Forum.

· Head for the cinema to watch Hot Fuzz or Ghost Rider.

Pig cell success stirs cure hope

Being injected with pig cells is not everyone’s idea of a health kick, but a Kiwi has stunned researchers seeking a cure for diabetes.

Ten years ago, Michael Helyer, of Auckland, was implanted with pancreatic cells from pigs in a hope that they would help balance his blood glucose levels.Today, not only are the pig cells still alive, they seem to be producing steady levels of insulin.

The findings, reported in New Scientist, have given researchers hope that xenotransplantation, or the use of animal cells in humans, could spell an end to some diseases.

Mr Helyer, now 51, was found to have type 1 diabetes when he was 22, but in 1996 was injected with microscopic capsules containing about 500 million insulin-producing cells derived from the pancreas of newly born pigs.

A recent sample of the capsules showed that many were still alive and some produced insulin. Mr Helyer has had to continue injecting insulin throughout the trial, but at much lower levels than before the transplant.

Because there was a slight chance of infection from the cells, the pigs used were taken from a population on the Auckland Islands, which had remained in isolation for about 200 years.The Auckland-based company that pioneered the treatment is hoping to follow up the success with further trials in coming months.

Because xenotransplantation is banned in New Zealand, the pig cells for future transplants will likely be injected in the United States.

It was not clear where Mr Helyer had his procedure, though New Scientist referred to labs in the US and Melbourne.

75-year-old man plans to walk 720 miles to fight breast cancer

Moved into action by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, George Nummer signed up for his first breast cancer walk at age 70.

Now 75, the ambitious Clawson resident plans to take part in all 12 Breast Cancer 3-Day walks this year, criss-crossing the nation and hoofing it across 720 miles.

“My life has so very much more meaning now than it did before I started doing the walks. The main reason I’m doing all 12, 60-mile walks this year is because I want to get the attention of not only women, but also of men,” Nummer said. “If I can raise awareness enough to save just one life, then it is worth the little pain I suffer doing the walks, which is nothing compared to the suffering a breast cancer survivor goes through.”

The first breast cancer walk Nummer joined was sponsored by Avon in 2002. There wasn’t another breast cancer support walk in Detroit until 2004, when the Susan G. Komen Foundation held a 3-Day here. Since then, he’s been in five other walks and trains new walkers.

“The people you walk with, you experience their stories,” he said. “The time really goes fast when you’re walking. It’s a great support group.”

Nummer retired in 2001 after working as an electrician for 30 years. He said a speech by President George W. Bush after 9/11 inspired him to help others throughout the country, which he decided to do by raising money to fight breast cancer.

After joining the walks, he started taking on electrician jobs to raise money for the walks. Everything he makes, he said, he puts toward the $2,200 he has to raise for each walk.

This year, he’ll need $26,400 (he has $5,000 so far) for the 12 walks, which take place from August to November in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Seattle, Michigan, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Dallas, Arizona and San Diego. The Breast Cancer 3-Day walks benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which funds research and community outreach programs, and the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure has invested almost $1 billion to fight breast cancer worldwide. More than 200,000 women and men are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and more than 40,000 will die as a result of breast cancer, according to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Boy Thanks Homeless Hero

A little boy gave a homeless man everything he’s got, in gratitude for saving his father’s life in Delray Beach.

Milton Pendleton has been praised in the news for saving two men who were injured in a small plane crash in Delray Beach last week, and even though he’s seen better times, his heart was filled with emotion when a10-year-old boy gave him his life savings of $100 cash.

Joshua Swerdlow says it took him eight months to save up the cash, but he was inspired after seeing the story on TV.

“He’s homeless and he helped those two pilots, and he shouldn’t be living in there,” said 10-year-old Joshua. “It’s just amazing that he’s living like that.”

His parents accompanied him in the trip they made from Miami to thank Pendleton.

“You don’t want me to cry,” said Pendleton. “You know the kid has got a heart. That’s very sweet.”

Pendleton says he wasn’t always homeless, and had a roofing job, but eventually fell on hard times when he could no longer pay for a roof over his head. He still works washing cars everyday, but it’s not enough to pay for a place to live, so he must continue ‘camping out’ as he calls it.

After CBS4 News cameras captured the moment, Pendleton had to be on his way to work, washing more cars.

Thursday, Apr. 26, 2007

Fire rescue hero praised

A YOUNG dad was hailed a hero after fighting back flames and smoke to rescue a two-year-old boy.

Darren Miller, aged 18, leapt into action when he discovered a neighbour’s house in Fortune Street, Great Lever, was on fire.

Mr Miller found toddler Keanu Joyce semi-conscious on the first floor hallway of the house after running to his aid.

The boy’s distraught mum, Terri, aged 23, had already rescued her other son, three-month-old, Brandon, from the blaze, but burned her arm and face in the process.

Firefighters believe the blaze was sparked by the toddler playing with a lighter in his bedroom.

Bolton Central watch manager Kevin O’Connor said: “This was a very close call and I think it’s a miracle no one died.

“Darren saved the child’s life and for someone so young and inexperienced his actions were truly exceptional.

“From what we understand, Keanu managed to get his hands on a cigarette lighter and set fire to his play pen.

“I only hope this incident will drive home the necessity of having a working smoke alarm, which we will provide and install free of charge.”

Keanu’s mother and grandmother Wendy Bogart, aged 42, were sleeping when the fire broke out at 8am yesterday in a back bedroom shared by Keanu and Brandon.

The young mum managed to rescue her baby son, who was sleeping in a Moses basket by the bedroom door but was unable to find Keanu.

Beaten back by the flames and suffering from burns to her face and arms, she fled the house.

She alerted neighbour Mr Miller to the blaze and he raced across the road to carry out the dramatic rescue.

Mr Miller, who hopes to become a firefighter, said: “Terri was hysterical. It all happened very quickly.

“There was thick black smoke and I could just about see Keanu at the top of the stairs. I covered my face with a cloth, ran in, grabbed him and brought him outside.”

The brave teenager then went back into the house, closed the bedroom door and put towels down to contain the fire.

All four family members were taken by ambulance to The Royal Bolton Hospital suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation.

Brandon was admitted to hospital and was last night said to be in a stable condition. The other family members were released.

Mr Miller, who is currently working as a painter and decorator, and has a five-month-old daughter, Nicha, said: “It was instinctive to go in, it just had to be done. They are like family to me.”

Grandad scoops mega Lotto win

Grandad Quentin Waite celebrated quite modestly after winning £263,783 on the National Lottery by buying a new pair of work boots – and a £19,000 Ford Focus car.

The 52-year-old from All Cannings scooped the cash after matching five balls and the bonus ball in the Lotto draw on March 31.

He plans to carry on working full time as a shot blaster with nephew Martin Wild at MDN Shot Blasting Service and Powder Coating Company on A361 Beckhampton Road near Devizes, although he has vowed to blow some money opn buyinh his own home.

“I wouldn’t be happy to be staying home, I would get bored,” he said, of his decision not to take a career sabatical. “I’m still shaking, I still can’t believe I’ve won this amount of money.”

Money has always been tight for Mr Waite, who is divorced. When he and his ex-wife parted he brought up their three children alone and relied on benefits. He now has five grandchildren.

After buying what would become his extremely lucky ticket, he kept it on the front seat of his car all through the weekend of the draw and only found out he’d won when he took it into Tesco in Devizes on the Monday morning.

Having been given the good news he went straight to work, where Mr Wild checked it for him again after waiting an agonising 45 minutes until Camelot telephone lines were open.

Heroes Honored for Saving Children

They say it’s something anyone would do, but Monday night, two young men were honored for their extraordinary actions. The Balcones Heights City council honored Hector Cabello and Nathanial Cervera for saving two children caught in a drainage ditch, full of water.

Cabello says he didn’t even think twice when he saw the kids in danger.

“We went down there and there were two kids in there,” he told the council. “Just right off the bat, I threw my hat off took of my shoes and jumped to get them out.”

The council presented the young men with plaques for their bravery.

Girl who donates bears nominated for award

One day about six months ago, Victoria Layton was sitting in her room looking at her many stuffed animals, wondering what to do with all of them.

“I was thinking, ‘some kids don’t have any,’ ” she said. “I was thinking, ‘I’ve got a lot I don’t want anymore, people at school have bears they don’t want anymore, so we should donate them.’ ”

Victoria, 11, took up a collection at Pitts School Road Elementary, where she is a fifth-grader, and at the workplace of her mom, Cindy. Victoria then took them to local firemen and police officers to give to children in traumatic situations.

Because of Victoria’s Bears of Hope, and other activities, Layton is one of 119 semifinalists out of 1,300 entrants all over the country in the Huggable Heroes contest, sponsored by Build-A-Bear Workshop.

Huggable Heroes is for children who do community service, said Kate Werkheiser, chief workshop manager at the Concord Mills Build-A-Bear Workshop.

There will be 30 finalists announced around April 17, and 10 Huggable Heroes will then be selected to be honored at a July ceremony in St. Louis.

Because this is the 10th anniversary of the company, each Huggable Hero gets $10,000 from the Build-A-Bear Workshop Foundation.

Of the money, $7,500 is for an educational scholarship, and $2,500 goes to the child’s community service organization.

Layton is the only one in the Charlotte area who was selected this year, Werkheiser said. Two years ago, there was a finalist from Gastonia, she said.

“She does also get $50 gift card to the store for being a semifinalist,” Werkheiser said.

Layton said she will probably use the gift card to make a bear to donate and buy some extra bear clothes so the child who receives the furry friend can change its outfits.

“She’s always had a giving heart,” Cindy said.

Victoria started giving at a young age, her mother said, when they lived near the Church of God Children’s Home. One day, Victoria asked her mother why there were so many children there.

Cindy explained the situation, and since then, Victoria has organized giving Christmas and Easter basket for the children, and even asked her friends to give her birthday gifts to the children’s home.

They have donated between 500 and 600 bears in the six months since Victoria started the program, Cindy estimates.

“I’ve always loved to give to people and see how happy it makes them when they get stuff,” Victoria said. “I have so much, and some kids don’t have anything.”

Her mother and grandmother were always volunteering, which inspired Victoria, but one of the major reasons she volunteers is because of her adopted grandmother, the late Miss Becky, Victoria said.

For two or three years, Victoria would visit a woman she called Miss Becky in a local retirement home who didn’t have any family in the area.

“I learned a lot from her, about how things were in the old days. She would tell me stories,” Victoria said.

Miss Becky always encouraged Victoria to contribute to others, because it helped leave a mark on the world.

Victoria was nominated by her brother, Jason, 22, after he saw something about Huggable Heroes in a calendar they had gotten at her birthday party, which she had at Build-A-Bear Workshop.

He mentioned to Cindy that she should nominate Victoria, but she told him it would be “cheesy” because of course a mother would nominate and be proud of her daughter.

Jason then decided to nominate his little sister himself, writing about her activities. They had almost forgotten about the nomination when they got a letter in the mail saying Victoria was a semi-finalist a few weeks ago.

They plan to hold another bear drive soon, and are trying to expand the drives into some of Victoria’s other activities, which include cheerleading, singing, and playing the concert harp.

Faith can help people cope with stress

My 81-year-old grandmother taught me the verse, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God which transcends us all, understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” from Philippians 4:6.

She told me to escape to a quiet place and softly recite it followed by a prayer, if I ever feel “anxious about anything.” Since then, I have always done so.

Whether it is taking a moment to count slowly to 10 or relaxing in a secluded area to hear nothing but your own breathing pattern, every individual has a tactic they rely on to help relieve stress.

In the South, it is often religion or a chosen faith that we rely on to relieve stress.

When asked if she believed faith can relieve stress, Debra M. Bass, pastor of Trinity African Methodist Church, said, “I believe in prayer and communication with God, because he is in control. It’s just like going to therapy and leaving it there. Trusting that the problem will be worked out no matter how it turns out, and trusting that He will take care of it is the most important thing one can accept.”

Exercise mixed with spirituality is also a great way to relieve stress. Bass suggests, “yoga and meditation on God’s word, especially Psalms, because they provide a lot of stress-related statements, is the most powerful stress reducer.”

Bass also said her church provides aerobics classes, which are a combination Bible lesson and workout in one.

In her article “How to Use Spirituality for Stress Relief,” writer Elizabeth Scott says, “while there are many paths people use to find God, research shows that those who have made the journey find greater relief from stress and enjoy better health and happier lives.”

Not only does becoming involved and well-acquainted with a church help reduce mental stress, but it can also lead to a healthier and more energetic life.

# Scott’s article includes six spiritually based stress reduction techniques:Pray. Leaving your stress with God, and the feelings of a connection with him, can leave you more collected and calm, not to mention decrease blood pressure and improve your health.
# Be thankful. One way to approach it is to keep a daily “gratitude journal” to record all the things you feel thankful for. Adding to and going back over the journal can provide a sense of purpose a quick “pick-me-up.”
# Explore your faith. There are two ways to approach religion: intrinsically, a more personal approach, and extrinsically, meeting others needs to help your own. An intrinsic approach can offer more benefits to you and your experience.
# Be optimistic. Research shows that having optimism, the knowledge that there is always an alternative, can increase your ability to positively attribute things in your life.
# See the situation as test of faith. Those who see stressful situations as a test of their faith are less likely to feel physically and mentally overthrown by stress.
# Use the law of attraction. “What you focus on is what you attract.” If you focus of the good things in life, you will look for or focus on these ideals in every situation.

Teenager’s sleepy fundraisers

THIS teenager is spending all week in her PJs – but not because she’s lazy.

In fact 16-year-old Marie Nolan is only slobbing to raise money for an international relief charity.

So for seven days from next Monday Marie will go to school in her pyjamas, play guitar for her band in her pyjamas, eat in her pyjamas, and cycle in her pyjamas.

In fact she’ll only take them off to switch into a new pair each day.

Marie, of Kensington Road, in the Dales area of Ipswich, said: “People will think I’m a little bit crazy, but my thinking is that is you do something for charity you might as well make it a little crazy.

“It started off as a bit of a joke when I was thinking how I don’t really like getting out of bed and putting on clothes in the morning.

“So I thought why not just stay in my pyjamas.

“I’m really looking forward to it now, though I imagine I will be nervous when I start and people start looking at me.

“Everyone has told me it is a really random idea – hopefully that will mean they’ll sponsor me.”

And the Claydon High School student is hoping to raise as much money as possible for a cause that has become really close to her heart – Samaritan’s Purse.

She first helped the Christian charity when she took part in its shoebox appeal through her church and has stayed a supporter ever since.

She said: “I think it’s a really important charity and I’m glad I’ll be able to raise money for them by doing something a bit quirky.

“Hopefully I’ll enjoy myself too.

“I have already checked with school that it is okay to come in pyjamas, and as I don’t normally wear a uniform it will be fine.

“Now I just want to get started.”

Man picks up tabs for charity

After they get their can of beer or pop open, most people don’t give a second thought to that little tab they had to pull.

But Chuck Hoagland does. He has around half a million of them at his Girard home, along with several hundred thousand canceled stamps. All of them will go to charity.

The pull tabs, for example, benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Four States in Joplin, Mo.

The home provides housing for parents with newborns in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, mothers who have developed illnesses during pregnancy requiring continuous rest and/or monitoring, and families of children with illnesses requiring extended hospitalization or observation or lengthy outpatient treatment.

The idea of collecting pop tabs for Ronald McDonald Houses started in 1987 in Minneapolis, and the Joplin house began its collection program in 1997.

“I collect the tabs all over town, and sometimes people just give them to me,” Hoagland said. “I get quite a few tabs at church and from the American Legion.”

He said he started collecting in 2002 after he broke his back. “The doctor told me I needed to walk, and I walked up and down the roads,” he said. “I started picking things up.”

He said that many types of cat food cans, as well as canned goods for humans, now have pull tabs. “I wish more people would get involved in collecting them,” he said. “A lot of tabs are going into the trash each day that could be put to good use helping others.”

Hoagland takes other recyclables he finds to Southeast Kansas Recycling Inc. in Pittsburg.

For 25 years he collected canceled stamps for American Legion Post No. 408, St. Paul, Minn. “The man in charge of that project died, so they canceled the project,” Hoagland said.

Now he sends the stamps to the Mosaic program at Bethphage Village, a facility for those with developmental disabilities near Axtell, Neb. Stamps are sold to a collector, with the income shared equally among the clients at the facility.

Hoagland was born in Whindham, N.Y. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on April 2, 1954. “I was just 17 and my mother didn’t want me to go, but she finally let me enlist,” he said. “I spent three years with the army, got out and was home four months, then I joined the Air Force.”

He served in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969.

Hoagland discovered Girard through a friend he met stationed in Wichita. “I came home with him to Girard, and when I met Judy, that was it,” he said. “She graduated from Girard High School in May 1960, and we were married in June 1960. We have two children and six grandchildren.”

He said he worked in printing at Girard for 23 years.

Puzzle solved, butterflies returned to San Mateo County preserve

The butterflies of Edgewood County Park have made a glorious return to the scene of the crime.

After inspiring activists to save the 467-acre natural preserve from becoming a golf course 15 years ago, the rare bay checkerspot butterfly died a slow death – the exquisite victim of an ecological whodunit.

But this is a murder mystery with a happy ending, as a dozen transplanted checkerspots were released Thursday to a habitat rescued and restored by dozens of park advocates and one scientific sleuth.

“This is one giant leap for the bay checkerspot,” said Bay Area biologist Stu Weiss, the Stanford-trained Sherlock Holmes who traced its disappearance from Edgewood to automobile pollution from nearby Interstate 280. “But it’s only a baby-step on a long road for Homo sapiens.”

With that, Weiss opened a small plastic bag full of orange-and-white, federally threatened butterflies and summed up what most in the 100-plus crowd were probably feeling:

“Wooooo hoo!”

It was a grand day for Weiss, who had first watched as the population of the butterfly, found only in the Bay Area, started crashing from 5,000 in the late 1990s. It was then that he began devoting his non-working hours to figuring out what went wrong.

“I’d watched other species go extinct, and I said, `I’m tired of this,'” he said before the ceremony, staged close to the 15-acre test site where it is hoped the checkerspots will now re-colonize.

With grant money from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and other sources, Weiss and others zeroed in on Interstate 280. Air samples revealed that the 100,000 vehicles passing by each day were spewing nitrogen oxides on the adjacent parkland, essentially fertilizing the invasive ryegrass that elbowed out the wildflowers the checkerspots needed to survive. While the species had already been in decline, this could have been the last straw.

By 2003, the last checkerspot at Edgewood was history, leaving the world’s only surviving population down on grazing lands south of San Jose.

To make matters worse, said Julia Bott of the San Mateo County Parks and Recreation Foundation, “the catalytic converters on the cars are converting nitrogen-oxides into ammonia, which is a fertilizer like we put on our lawns.”

What to do? Bott said “we tried goats, burning, weeding – then we discovered that if we mowed at carefully timed cycles, we could beat back the ryegrass while still allowing the natives to come back. We’ve been mowing since 2003, restoring the habitat. Now it was time to bring the checkerspot back home.”

Thursday’s celebration was much more than a simple homecoming. As the checkerspots from Weiss’ bag settled atop nearby flower blooms, then warmed themselves in the late-morning sunlight, a few of them took to the air, flitting about the group of grass-roots warriors who had made their recovery possible: The scientists monitoring the habitat, representatives from local governments and non-profits, and self-described Weed Warriors like 80-year-old Elly Hess, who has been hacking away at invasive weeds for nearly 20 years.

“In the early days, I kept trying to recruit people to help pull weeds and they’d say `Are you crazy?”‘ Hess said. “But I can’t walk past a weed without getting mad. Killing them, for me, is like going to see a psychiatrist – it lets me get all my frustrations out.”

This was a true love fest for the checkerspot.

“This species is the real hero of Edgewood, because it kept it from becoming a golf course in the early 1990s,” said Kathy Korbholz, a past president of the Friends of Edgewood who helped get Edgewood designated as a natural preserve. “The checkerspot endeared everyone to this park and made it easier to tell our story.”

Now it’s back, even though the pollution will continue to fertilize the ryegrass. But the Weed Warriors know their job doesn’t end with the return of the checkerspot.

“This release is a milestone for all of us,” said Peter Ingram, sporting a Friends of Edgewood T-shirt with a photo of Edward I, the first butterfly transplanted here from South San Jose. “We’re walking a fine line between preserving and protecting species, and then carefully intervening as we are today.

“You want Mother Nature to do her thing,” he said. “But sometimes, you have to step in and do something. The pollution source on 280 will never change, so we’ll constantly have to monitor the habitat. So we’re committed – forever.”

Hero pulls victim from burning car

A MOTHER has told how her son was pulled from his blazing car just hours after they discussed the Lancashire Telegraph’s Wasted Lives campaign.

Ellen Byker said the accident involving Jason McKenzie, 21, highlighted just how easily young drivers could get killed or injured on the roads.

And she said the accident, when his 1,600cc S-reg silver Citroen Saxo flipped over, proved just how important it was for the campaign to educate youngsters about dangers on the roads.

Jason, of Sutherland Street, Colne, was taken to Burnley General Hospital with a broken right leg and head injuries after his car crashed into a house on the A59 at Sawley, as it was heading towards Clitheroe at 7.30am yesterday.

He had only bought the car two days earlier and passed his test two months ago.

Police said that car had mounted a grass bank, hit a dry stone wall, flipped upside down, hit the house and ended up in the garden. The cause of the accident is not yet known but police said speed could not be ruled out.

Farm labourer Richard Barnes, 22, of Gisburn, climbed into the car and cut Jason’s seat belt and pulled him out of the flames while three of his colleagues who happened upon the accident put out the fire.

Jason’s mother, 39, praised the quick thinking of the farmer and her son’s colleagues and said: “It is a miracle that he wasn’t more badly hurt.”

She backed the Wasted Lives campaign, saying: “This incident highlights the dangers that there are on the roads for young drivers.

“Only the night before we were sitting down talking about the Telegraph’s front page.

“We were both horrified by the picture of the crash which it showed.

“He has only just passed his test and I warned him to beware of the dangers that there are on the road.

“It was terrifying going to see him at the hospital but he was OK. I managed to speak to him a little bit but I couldn’t get much out of him because he had been given a lot of pain-killing drugs.

“He has got bolts in his leg holding it together and staples in his head where he has got a huge cut.

“He is a sensible lad and hard working. He works seven days a week and wouldn’t speed.”

The man who saved Jason were working at the farm across from the house where the car crashed.

The woman who owns the farm along with her husband, but asked not to be named, said Richard had cut Jason’s seatbelt with his penknife and dragged him from the car.

She said: “He, along with his friend Christopher Dugdale, got water from the yard and diced with death as they dashed across the road. They put the flames out.

“They are heroes for what they did.”

Jason is one of 13 children, the eldest boy, and was working as a bricklayer in Clitheroe.

His mum said that he had set off for work from their home in Colne at just after 7am.

Sergeant Mick Young, of Accrington Road Policing Unit, said it had been a foggy morning and speed could not be ruled out as an explanation for the crash that involved no other vehicles or people.

Police are currently awaiting the results of a blood test.

Sgt Young said the incident had been particularly traumatising for Mr Barnes as he recently lost his friends Samuel Lund, 19, and James Dewhurst, 16, from Rimington, who died in a road accident in January.

He said that Mr Barnes had been at work, at the farm opposite the accident, for about an hour when the crash happened.

Three building labourer colleagues of Jason’s had been travelling separately to work in a van used buckets of water to put out the fire in the car’s engine bay.

Sgt Young said: “He was traumatised by the accident but he was still keen to help.

“He has done a magnificent job, and we would like to thank him for that.

“We cannot rule out that speed was a factor, it was a foggy morning, and this is something we are investigating.”

Wednesday, Apr. 25, 2007

Memory gene discovery may help cure Alzheimer’s

For those who struggle to remember birthdays and the location of car keys, hopes of a cure have arrived.

Scientists announced on Monday that the world’s first memory pill could be developed after they identified a gene mutation that affected the memory of mice.

The discovery was made when researchers suppressed the activity of the gene in mice before they swam around a water maze, noting that the altered mice performed better.

But when the gene’s activity was increased, the performance of the mice’s memory was worse.

Regulatory protein

The scientists hope to find molecules that target and inhibit the gene, which is also thought to exist in humans.

Ultimately this could lead to a memory-enhancing pill. Dr Mauro Costa-Mattioli, from McGill University, Montreal, said: “If such a pill could be generated, it might provide a new method for treating people with memory-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

“While a drug that worked in this way wouldn’t cure the disease itself, it might rescue the symptoms of memory loss.”

The identified gene makes a regulatory protein called eIF2a, which normally keeps a check on memory.

Mice that were genetically engineered to carry a defective version of the gene showed an improved talent for spatial learning.


In the maze, the mice were trained to swim to a hidden platform.

After several days the mutant mice were able to find the platform significantly faster than normal mice.

“If a person were reading a page of a textbook, it might take several times to memorise it,” said Dr Costa-Mattioli, who published his findings in the journal Cell.

“A human equivalent of these mice would get the information right away.”

Family finds miracles abound

Michelle and Jamie Gray, childhood sweethearts married for 10 years, are both only 33 years old but have already had to make a lifetime’s worth of heart-wrenching decisions.

First, in January 2004, they had to decide whether doctors should continue trying to save their son, born at home at 1 lb. 11 ounces after 23 weeks of pregnancy, just on the cusp of viability. Doctors said if the boy survived by some miracle, he likely would have any of a host of disabilities, including severe mental retardation, cerebral palsy or paralysis.

Then, in the winter of 2006, the Grays, expecting twins, lost one at 16 weeks gestation and had to decide whether to let doctors terminate the other twin because Michelle’s body was in active labor and it seemed certain the surviving twin would be born too soon to live. Waiting meant an increased risk of infection to Michelle.

In both cases, the Grays gave Mother Nature a chance and today they thank God that they did.

Mom, Dad, Zachary, 3, and Hannah, 14 months, on April 29 will serve as an ambassador family for the New Haven area in WalkAmerica, the March of Dimes fundraiser being held throughout the country.

The Grays have participated in the walk since Zachary was born, going it without him that first year because he was in the hospital. Last year, they walked with Zachary and a friend, Tate, also born premature. They called themselves the Miracle Men.

This year, Hannah will join them on their newly-named team, “Three Miracles and an Angel,” after Hannah’s twin, Angel, a boy. To find out more or donate to the team, log onto:

Today Zachary, 3, is a thriving preschool student. He was deaf in both ears, but that was corrected before age 2 with cochlear implants. Jamie Gray, a computer software manager, believes the hearing loss was caused by all the antibiotics Zachary was given for infection.

“I believe everything happens for a reason,” Michelle Gray said. “Maybe he’s supposed to be here to touch the lives of other people. … He’s a blessing to us.”

Hannah also defied the odds and stayed put in her mom’s womb for eight weeks longer than Angel. Although a miracle in that she wasn’t born right after Angel, Hannah was born at 24 weeks weighing 1 lb. 8 ounces and didn’t have Zach’s complications.

Today she’s a plump 14 month old with a few expected developmental delays, and like most kids her age, a penchant for throwing items from her high chair tray for adults to retrieve.

Jamie Gray forged a special bond with his son before they even got to the hospital. Luckily, he had stayed home with his wife the day of Zachary’s birth because she didn’t feel well. So when she gave birth in the bathroom, Jamie Gray was there to hold the baby, who was breathing on his own. Dad said he looked at his son’s closed eyes and Zachary connected with him through a wimper.

On the way to the hospital, the boy stopped breathing in the ambulance when they reached the Q-bridge and his condition declined steadily at the hospital. A few hours into working on the baby, doctors told the Grays the bad news: The child was in critical condition with what they would learn was only a 23 percent chance of survival.

Then, from the doctors, came the most difficult question the Grays have ever faced: Did they want the hospital to just let the baby go or continue life-saving efforts likely to be futile?

Once they got over the shock, their answer rolled easily.

Michelle Gray told doctors she wanted to give her son a chance to keep fighting, although she wondered if it was fair to him.

Jamie Gray couldn’t shake the powerful connection he had with Zachary, a name he chose over the name that was intended because it sounded strong.

“I want my son,” Jamie Gray told doctors. “I knew when I held him and he gave me a little cry, that he was going to be OK.”

There were months of hospitalization, complications and close calls to follow. Among the toughest were severe infections that nearly took his life.

In those early times, he fought a brain hemorrhage, fluid on the brain and a double hernia requiring surgery, and had a respirator to assist with breathing.

The Grays decided they could never go through such an agonizing ordeal again, and when they brought Zachary home with oxygen and a slew of medications, figured he’d be their only child. But 18 months passed and he was such a joy, they decided they wanted another.

But first they consulted a doctor at Yale-New Haven Hospital’s high risk pregnancy department.

Everything checked out fine and doctors, still not sure why Zach was premature, believed the chance for complications were slim.

A few months later, the Grays learned they were having twins. Then Michelle’s water broke at 16 weeks. Angel was born and doctors told her the other twin was sure to follow and couldn’t survive. They suggested termination, but the Grays decided to go for another miracle instead.

Michelle remained in the hospital for two weeks, and as if by a miracle, her labor pains disappeared. She then went home and remained on bed rest for eight weeks.

Hannah didn’t wait as long as they hoped, but it was long enough.

The Grays don’t plan on having any more children.

Herb May Cure Bladder Infections

Forskolin, an herbal medicine made from the Asiatic coleus plant, may help treat urinary tract infection.

That’s according to preliminary tests done in mice.

The researchers who conducted those tests included Duke University microbiologist Soman Abraham, Ph.D.

They note that forskolin has been used for centuries in traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine to treat various ailments, including painful urination.

The scientists tested forskolin in female mice with bladder infections caused by E. coli bacteria, which cause most urinary tract

Twenty-four hours after the mice were infected with E. coli, the researchers injected forskolin directly into the mice’s bladders or their belly.

For comparison, the scientists injected saltwater into the bladders of other
female mice with E. coli bladder infections.

One day after treatment, the mice in the forskolin group had less E.
coli bacteria in their bladders than the mice that got the saltwater

The forskolin group also had lower levels of inflammatory chemicals in their
urine, the study shows.

“This type of treatment strategy may prove beneficial for patients with recurrent urinary tract infections,” Abraham says in a Duke University news release.

He notes that antibiotics get rid of most bacteria that cause urinary tract infections, but some bacteria may hide in the bladder’s lining. Forskolin may force those hidden bacteria out of the bladder’s lining, where they could be targeted by antibiotics.

“Ideally, use of this herb would expel the bacteria, where it would then be hit with antibiotics. With the reservoir of hiding bacteria cleared out, the infection should not occur,” Abraham says.

The researchers didn’t test forskolin on people.

The study appears online in Nature Medicine.

Runaway carriage reined in by hero

William Basler didn’t stop to think when he saw a runaway carriage careening through Downtown Indianapolis on Sunday afternoon.

He took off, bolting after the driverless carriage. When he couldn’t catch up, a cab driver offered him a ride. That got the 19-year-old close enough to leap onto the carriage, sweep the reins off the ground and bring the horse to a halt, about four blocks from where the adventure began.

The two young female passengers, visiting Indianapolis from Louisville, Ky., were shaken and sore but not seriously hurt.
After the late-afternoon excitement, Basler was hailed as a hero and besieged by reporters.

“It was just instinct,” he said later. “I was just worried about the people inside of it.”

The incident began about 4:40 p.m. near the intersection of Illinois and Washington streets, when a suspected drunken driver hit the Yellow Rose Carriage buggy.

Basler had stepped out of a restaurant at Circle Centre mall for a smoke when he heard the crash, turned and saw carriage driver Kathleen Moriarty, 53, fall to the ground from her perch.

“The carriage driver lady just flew off the carriage,” he said.

Police reported she was briefly unconscious but not seriously hurt.

Then, a rail on the side of the carriage snapped and the horse took off, Basler said.

He ran after the carriage as fast as he could, Basler said, but wasn’t catching up. A taxi driver saw what was going on, slowed and told Basler to jump in. The cab sped up and passed the carriage, northbound on Illinois, and Basler jumped out of the cab and onto the carriage near Ohio Street.

That’s when he realized the reins were dragging the ground. He wrapped a leg around something to secure himself and bent down to pick up the reins. Once he had them, he leaned back and began yelling “Whoa!” A motorist pulled alongside and also was yelling “Whoa!” to help out, he recalled.

The horse stopped so quickly the carriage slammed into it, which spooked the animal all over again, Basler said. He tried again to rein it in, and this time the horse gradually came to a stop near New York Street.

Basler, a Northeastside resident, said the women in the carriage were clearly shaken up by the wild ride.

Sgt. Matthew Mount, spokesman for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, said the passengers, Christie Dudley, 26, and Stacey Taylor, 28, both from Louisville, complained of some pain. Mount said they and Moriarty were checked out at Methodist Hospital and did not have any broken bones or major injuries.

The driver of the van that hit the buggy was taken to Wishard Memorial Hospital and faces several preliminary charges. Timothy D. Carlson, 46, 1400 block of Central Avenue, was arrested on preliminary charges of felony possession of a controlled substance, misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence, public intoxication and operating a vehicle while never having received a license.

Carlson has a prior DUI conviction from 1999, police said. It was unclear how much damage the carriage sustained, but it still seemed to move pretty well. The horse was not injured.

Basler, who dropped out of Broad Ripple High School when he was 16, is now working on his high school equivalency, is looking for a job and hopes to save up enough to go to college.

Experienced with horses? Not so much.

“When I was 15, I rode a horse once, and before I rode it, they trained me how to stop it,” he said. “When I went through that training, I never thought it would come in handy, but it did.”

Crews use air bags, shovels to rescue man under backhoe

A man in his 60s was injured Saturday afternoon when a 10-ton backhoe he was maneuvering up a dirt pile tipped over on its side, pinning him in the cab and driving his right leg into the ground.

The accident occurred shortly after 2 p.m. Saturday at 2727 N. Kerr Ave., in a sloped, debris-filled field being cleared for a garden.

Rescue teams from Wrightsboro Fire and Rescue and New Hanover Fire and Rescue responded to the 2:19 p.m. rescue call and arrived on the scene within 10 minutes. The accident scene was down a narrow, unpaved dirt lane separating small houses in a wooded area.

The injured man, identified as Charles “Champ” Bealon by neighbors living nearby, was freed from the cab of the tractor about 30 minutes after fire and rescue workers arrived, said Wrightsboro Deputy Chief Alex Stanland.

Rescue workers used shovels and then inflatable industrial air bags to get under the frame of the backhoe and lift it slightly off the ground to begin the rescue, then used wood chock blocks to stabilize the massive machine so it wouldn’t roll over on rescuers, Stanland said.

After Bealon’s lower right leg was freed from the dirt by digging under it with shovels, he was gingerly removed from the cab by a squad of rescuers and placed on a stretcher.

He appeared shaken but animated and alert to onlookers. He moved his arms and legs after an oxygen intake mask was strapped below his nostrils.

Bealon was taken to the emergency room at New Hanover Regional Medical Center where he was treated and released Saturday.

Alphonza Southerland, whose 3/4-acre garden patch Bealon had offered to clear Saturday, was an eyewitness to the accident involving his friend, known by most as “Champ.”

“I can’t believe it. It’s a good thing that there was a cab on that thing or he’d be dead otherwise,” Southerland said after Bealon was removed from the scene by rescuers.

Southerland said Bealon, who lives in Castle Hayne, came by early Saturday offering backhoe services to anyone needing any ground cleared.

Southerland said he’d been removing trash and other debris from the plot of land by himself and wanted to clear the land to plant a field of okra.

He said the accident happened when Bealon backed one side of the backhoe partly on a dirt pile. The machine teetered, its balance tipped, and then it went over in a rush, Southerland said.

Inside the cab, Bealon had instinctively thrust out his leg, pushing it through the glass window at the bottom of the door, with the force of the fall driving the limb into the cleared ground.

He remained conscious throughout the ordeal, Southerland said.

“He wasn’t no rookie at driving a backhoe; he’s got about 30 years of it. I can’t believe it,” Southerland said again.

As the accident scene cleared, Stanland called the incident a “freak accident” and said luck played a part in the nonfatal injury Bealon appeared to sustain to his right leg.

Because of their uneven weight distribution, heavy machinery can lead to accidents anytime it’s used on uneven ground, he said.

“He’ll be a little bruised up, but I think he learned a lesson on this one,” Stanland said.

Hero motorist braves flames to save two

As roaring flames threatened to ignite hundreds of litres of spilt petrol, motorist Jason Tripe dived into the back of a burning car in a desperate bid to free the trapped driver.

Credited with saving two lives at the scene of a horrific Easter weekend accident, Tripe had already pulled 18-year-old Jordan Craig, who was unconscious, from the backseat of a crumpled Hilux.

With 3m-high flames threatening to engulf the car and petrol pouring from a boat behind the ute, the Blenheim winemaker braved flames and choking smoke to free Jordan’s father, 55-year-old Bruce Craig. The driver’s door was jammed shut, so Tripe went in through the back of the car, wrenching the driver’s seat away to pull Craig from the burning wreckage.

But yesterday, Tripe shrugged off his role in the drama, telling the Herald on Sunday he was “no hero” and that he hadn’t stopped to think before putting his own life in danger.

“The driver was stuck in there, and the fire was quite close to him. It was very smoky, and they were very badly injured. That was a bit of drama. The car was so badly damaged that I had to break the seat down to get him through the back. I don’t really know how I did that, I just pushed it around.

“It’s not a conscious decision, when you just want to help someone. I didn’t notice the flames, but it was really urgent, and the smoke was more of a problem. It was burning plastic.”

Bruce and Barbara Craig, from Christchurch, and their son Jordan were driving the ute to Blenheim with their boat in tow when a campervan hit them shortly before 9am on Good Friday – the first Easter fatality on our roads.

One of the occupants of the campervan, Adam Birdsey, a 23-year-old English tourist, died at the scene, and four fellow travellers – David McCallum, 23, Ian Mills, 22, Dean Clark, 22, and Samuel Barber – are recovering from serious injuries in Wellington and Blenheim hospitals.

Jordan and Bruce Craig are still in critical condition after being airlifted to Wellington hospital.

Tripe was one of the first at the crash site and tried to douse the flames in the ute’s engine with a small fire extinguisher, with the help of two locals.

As his attempts to control the blaze became futile, Tripe opened the back passenger door and pulled out the unconscious Jordan.

Sergeant Mike Irving, of Blenheim police, said more people would have died without the quick actions of Tripe and others, including former nurse Debbie Matthews.

Kitten Rescued From Drain Will Be OK, Doctors Say

A kitten that was rescued from a Miami storm drain Thursday night will make a full recovery, veterinarians say.

A Miami-Dade police officer, Louis Rojas, heard the kitten’s howls.

“When I arrived, I heard a lot of noise from the sewer,” said Rojas.

He called for firefighters. A few moments later, a large fire truck pulled up to the scene.

When they arrived, they found the kitten treading water in the storm drain and fighting to stay alive, police said.

One of the firefighters was lowered down the sewer drain and scooped the young cat to safety. Unfortunately, another kitten did not survive.

The kitten was taken to the Humane Society of Greater Miami to be checked out.

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