Friday, Jun. 29, 2007
A family in Kamas tonight has reason to celebrate. Two little girls recently adopted from Russia are now U.S. citizens. More than that, they are part of a family they had dreamed and prayed for. The family has adopted four siblings and reunited sisters who were separated for years.
Fifteen-year-old Emily and her 14-year-old sister Annie have new American names and certificates of citizenship.
John Simmons, their adoptive father, said, “Nobody can lead a life unchanged after watching kids leave an orphanage and come into a family and to watch them appreciate a family like nobody else can.”
The two girls were reunited with their two younger sisters last October. The Simmons had three biological sons before they adopted Jack, who has Down Syndrome. Then, in 2005, the Simmons adopted three orphaned children from Russia, little Celeste and Sarah who are sisters, and a boy, Denny, who was not related.
They were completing the adoption for the younger children when they learned of the two older girls, and though they did not plan to adopt more, were haunted by the thought of the two sisters still living in a Russian orphanage.
“Is this something we can do? Something we can do to help out because the odds of their survival is very bleak in Russia for them,” Amy Simmons wondered.
In Russia the girls were taken from their biological parents because of abuse and neglect, but now they’re reunited and are part of loving family, and they are flourishing.
The Simmons says international adoption is an emotional rollercoaster, but seeing their happy family makes it all the more worthwhile.
John said, “You go through the extremes in frustration, the extremes in anger, sadness and happiness, and it’s just incredible.”
“And for them to be able to be with their sisters and to have the opportunity to have a very full productive life, is wonderful to see,” Amy said.
Now this family of 11 shares a life of hope, happiness and most of all, love. The Simmons hope that others will consider international adoption, and they have just completed a book about their experiences, called “The Marvelous Journey Home.”
Every community wants something to benefit its citizens help them grow. That is just what Angel Food Ministries at First Baptist Church of Trumann is doing.
Angel Food Ministries has existed for about 11 years. The ministry started with a husband and wife team in Good Hope, Ga. The couple just wanted to create a type of supplement grocery program to help families. Since that time, it has become nationwide. Trumann’s First Baptist Church has been doing this program since December of last year.
“The only requirement you must have is that you eat,” said Peggy Rathbun, one of the coordinators of the ministry in Trumann. “You eat, you qualify!”
Rathbun said the program is non-denominational and everyone is welcome to participate. Things such as income and number of children are not considered. Participants are not required to attend a church to join either.
The program is simple. Participants order a box of food for $25. Each box is filled with a variety of foods valued at $50 – $75. All orders are pre-paid.
“You are not locked in,” Rathbun said. “You can come in and order every month or just do it ever so often.”
A sample menu includes one package of chicken nuggets, four eight-ounce hamburger steaks, four six-ounce pork chops, one and half pound of thick bacon, one dozen eggs, two pound bag of frozen French fries, five bagels, two pound bag of onions, four apples, five bananas and one gourmet pie.
In addition to help families save on grocery costs, participants are also able to bless others. For every 50 boxes of food the ministry sells, one box of foods is given away free to someone in need. This is what they call a “Blessing Box.” The volunteers ask different churches to see what families are in need at that time, and the families in need receive a “Blessing Box.”
Because the ministry utilizes volunteers, Trumann First Baptist is always looking for more people to join the 30 volunteers already in place. Volunteers go to Jonesboro pick up food and then help sort it out to the families.
“All volunteers are welcomed,” Rathbun said. “You do not have to be a member of the church or of the Trumann community.”
Since it began, Angel Food Ministries ahs reached over one million families nationwide. Now, it is reaching residents of Trumann and Poinsett County who will benefit from the program in great ways.
“We are just hoping to bless the county and allow them to see God working through us,” said Rathbun.
Karen Pusey’s vision for a field of dreams will finally become a reality this weekend when she and others break ground on a new baseball field specially designed for children with physical handicaps.
Through a partnership with Chesterfield Youth Softball Association (CYSA), Chesterfield County Department of Parks and Recreation, the Richmond Braves, dozens of local business and hundreds of contributors, the Miracle League field has been fast-tracked with a fall completion date.
Construction on the cushioned, synthetic turf, water-permeable field with painted lines and bases will begin at the end of May. Pusey and Gregory Curtis, CYSA president and now Miracle League president, are optimistic handicapped youngsters will play “fall ball” on the new field in September.
Currently, standard grass and clay Little League fields with raised bases are available for children with special needs through the Challenger League program. However, standard fields are not suitable for wheelchairs, walkers or crutches, and wet conditions make them virtually unusable for handicapped youngsters. The new Miracle League field will eliminate those barriers.
The national Miracle League Association provided the basic design for the field, but funds had to be raised – a responsibility Pusey took on herself. Starting with the Miracle Live Auction and Gala last February, the Miracle League’s funds have grown to $160,000.
The original cost estimate for the field of $300,000 has now been revised downward to $209,000. In order to get the project up and running to have the needs of this special group of children served as quickly as possible, some amenities have been delayed. Permanent restroom facilities and brickwork around both the dugouts and score board were put on hold.
“We cut some things back in order to get it up and going. We’ll add those other things later,” Pusey said.
There are more than 7,000 special needs kids in Chesterfield County who could enjoy and benefit from the Miracle League field, and businesses and civic groups as well as private citizens have recognized and responded to that need.
With Chesterfield’s parks and recreation department on board as a co-sponsor, the Miracle League will be included in the department’s course catalogues and other marketing efforts.
Nicole Gorski of Chesterfield, 16, received an award from the Chesterfield Township Fire Department on April 12 for being a quick thinking hero during a time of crisis.
Gorski was at her home on Harrisburg Lane while her mother Melissa Malinwoski was at work March 28.
Gorski was keeping a watchful eye over her two younger brothers, six-year-old Ryan and four-year-old Andrew at the home. Gorski said she was setting some water to boil and since it was chilly, she bumped up the thermostat to get the furnace to warm up the house.
She took her brothers outside for a brief moment but, when Andrew got dirty, and she had to bring them inside.
That is when she noticed the smoke pouring from the air vents into the home.
“She noticed smoke in the rear of the home, told her brothers to get out and made sure no one re-entered the home,” said Antrikin.
Gorski said she held tissue over her nose as she turned down the thermostat and turned off the stove in the home before running out.
She also saved the family’s dog.
Firefighter Tracy Antrikin presented the award as Gorski’s mom watched with pride.
“We are very proud of Nicole. The actions she performed during this emergency were perfect,” said Antrikin.
“The house was filled with smoke but there was no fire. It looks like the furnace overheated but without her quick call to 911 and the fire department’s response, this furnace could have gotten hot enough to catch fire,” said Antrikin.
Antrikin said Gorski showed a presence of mind that many adults would not have shown during such as emergency.
“She acted in the way that we teach at local schools,” said Antrikin.
Malinwoski said the furnace has been replaced.
Gorski is a student at L’Anse Creuse High School North in Macomb Township and hopes to go to college to study journalism.
She also contributes to her school’s student-run newspaper.
A QUICK-THINKING mother rescued her two young children from a house fire minutes before it engulfed their home.
Jayne Willis, of Windermere Drive, Warndon, Worcester, said: “”I’ve lost everything, but I haven’t lost my babies.”
She was at home with one-year-old Mckenzi and four-year-old Jordan when a smoke alarm alerted her to the fire, which started in the television set in the lounge at about 10.30am yesterday.
The 41-year-old, who was in another room, rushed into the room, and ran outside.
Minutes later, the house was engulfed by flames.
Speaking outside as firefighters investigated, she said tearfully: “I walked in the front room and saw the smoke so grabbed the little ones and ran out of the house.
“There was a small lot of smoke and by the time I came out to get the fire extinguisher and come back in it was everywhere and I couldn’t see. There was black smoke everywhere.
“Everything was so fast. All I know is it went up and went up fast.
“I’m angry and shocked.”
Miss Wallis said her three other children, 10-year-old Reece, nine-year-old Tammi and seven-year-old Conni were thankfully at school when the fire happened.
Firefighters extinguished the fire within an hour, but it caused severe damage to the house.
Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Alec Mackie said the family was lucky to escape.
“The fire spread to other combustible materials that burn very quickly and caused a lot of smoke and fire,” he said.
“Had it happened at night it might have been a different tale.
“Thankfully the smoke alarms worked and it alerted her.
“She did very well to do what she did.”
However, Mr Mackie said the service did not recommend people going back into a burning building.
Police were on hand to divert traffic and Red Cross victim support volunteers were also there to assist Miss Wallis.
A fox trapped 80 feet up on a shopping centre ledge has a new name – Vertigo.
The vixen was spotted on Wednesday on a ledge behind Leatherhead’s Swan shopping centre, sparking a dramatic rescue.
Volunteers from Leatherhead’s animal hospital found the fox tangled in pigeon netting and facing another problem – a loud fire alarm that could frighten her in to jumping.
The animal experts were joined by a film crew, Wildlife SOS producer Simon Cowell and Surrey photographer Andy Newbold, who said the only plan was to try and open a window and get the fox back in to the centre.
“Somehow Vertigo, as she was later nicknamed, had leapt from the service desk through a small hole in netting designed to deter pigeons and onto the small ledge with a sheer drop either side,” Mr Newbold said.
“She needed calm to avoid the worse case scenario but we soon learned that within minutes a scheduled test evacuation of the shopping centre, which could not be changed, was due to happen.
“This would not only involve alarms making it the noisiest that particular spot would have been in years but large amount of people coming through the fire doors just yards from the terrified animal.
“The alarms sounded and seconds later people started filing out.
“They must have wondered what was going on when we shepherded them away from the area asking them to hush and when they saw the fox, many asked if that was why the alarms were sounding.
“Thankfully the fox stayed put and was not too disturbed by the alarms.”
Volunteer Sara Cowan got a nearby window open, which Vertigo climbed through.
After a brief struggle, Vertigo was caught and caged and taken back to the Wildlife Aid hospital where she was examined and treated for a mild case of mange.
She is expected to be released soon, while the footage of the rescue will be included in the next series of Wildlife SOS.
A school district lawyer from an Atlanta suburb might seem like an unlikely hero in San Francisco’s crime-fighting world, but that’s what police are calling a tourist who stopped a downtown bank robbery suspect Friday.
“I didn’t know I was in the game, so I wasn’t prepared for that play,” said Jack Lance, a former football player, from his bed at St. Francis Memorial Hospital, where he was recovering from knee surgery Monday. “But you rely on instinct.”
At about 1:30 p.m. Friday, the 58-year-old attorney was walking through downtown during a break from the National School Board Association conference, which was being held at Moscone Center. The general counsel for the Rockdale County School District in Conyers, Ga., Lance had given a presentation the previous day on school law.
“I saw, over to the right, a man and a woman — something going on. They kind of bolted through the crowd,” near Powell and Market streets where Lance was walking. “I didn’t know she was a police officer. All I knew was that she was trying to stop him.”
The man turned in Lance’s direction, Lance said. “I got in his way and hit him with my forearm in the chest. It was kind of a glancing blow.
“Unfortunately, I went down to the pavement and all my weight went down on my knee. I knew I had shattered my knee.”
Officer Irene Michaud, who undertook the chase, was patrolling in plain clothes with her husband and partner, Brian Michaud, near Cyril Magnin and Eddy streets when they saw a man who matched the description of a bank robber they were looking for.
“We pull out our stars and call him over to us,” she said.
The guy yelled “hell, no,” Irene Michaud said, and took off running toward the cable car turnaround at Powell and Market streets.
“As he’s running, I see him dump a gun in the garbage can. My concern is the gun but I have to catch him too,” she said.
When the suspect, whom police identified as 26-year-old Ricardo Martinez, saw a foot beat officer near the turnaround, he turned and ran north on Powell Street, Michaud said. That’s when Lance stopped his progress.
“I stunned him and I slowed him down,” Lance said. “Unfortunately, I
didn’t knock him down, but I hit him pretty hard in the chest. I also got in his way.” His quick reaction was enough to slow the suspect down and allow Michaud to apprehend him.
After undergoing surgery Saturday morning, Lance received a letter of commendation from the officers at the Tenderloin station. Inside was a gift certificate for two nights at the Hilton, to make up for the time he spent in the hospital.
“It was the least we could do,” Michaud said. “He saw somebody in distress. He risked his safety and he tried to help me stop him. … He’s the true hero of this story.”
Martinez was booked on charges of assault, resisting a public officer, weapons violations and possession of stolen property, police spokesman Sgt. Steve Mannina said Friday.
In our current environment, when we read weekly about underage drinking and illegal drug usage, it is rare to read about unheralded good deeds of everyday, neighborhood teenagers.
This letter is to recognize two such teenagers: Peter Schiller and EJ Schiller, teenage sons of Gene and Maureen Schiller of Bloomington.
The Schillers found out that I had fallen and broken my shoulder and foot, and that my husband had gone out of town. On the freezing Saturday afternoon before Easter, I looked out my window to see these boys mowing our lawn!
Instead of watching games on TV, listening to music or being with friends, they, instead, were out mowing their neighbor’s yard!
There are some great teenagers out there – and parents! Thank you to EJ and Peter, and all the other good kids who are daily performing good deeds – under the radar!
To commemorate Holocaust Martyrs’ Remembrance Day, or Yom HaShoah, a retired Glen Burnie physician who survived the Nazi and Soviet occupations of Poland will speak tomorrow at Temple Beth Shalom in Arnold.
The tale that Dr. Joseph Taler, 84, plans to tell began when Germany invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, and one group thought it had the right to dominate the others.
Though the number of Holocaust survivors is dwindling fast, the message is still needed, said Ellyn Becker Kaufman, Temple Beth Shalom’s education director.
“If you don’t remember it, it could happen again, and not necessarily to Jewish people, but people anywhere in the world,” she said. “If we allow ourselves to go into such a prejudiced mode as happened in World War II, it could happen again.”
Dr. Taler said earlier this week that another holocaust is taking place today, this time in Darfur, where government-backed militia is exterminating Africans. Dr. Taler, 84, retired in 1991 after practicing medicine in Glen Burnie for 37 years. The Annapolis resident estimated that fewer than 10 Holocaust survivors live in Anne Arundel County now.
“I am the only one who speaks on the subject,” he said.
Dr. Taler’s tale is not only about cruelty, death and destruction, but also about human decency. It is as much about life as it is death, he said.
When German troops marched into Poland, Dr. Taler was a 16-year-old boy living in the comfortable town of Rozwadow, the only child of a pharmacist mother and a lawyer father. He was a straight-A student with lots of friends and a bright future.
Dr. Taler and a small handful of relatives were able to avoid extermination for one simple reason – a few Christians risked everything to save them.
“In my case, I was helped by six different Polish Christians, people who didn’t know each other,” Dr. Taler said of the people who forged documents, smuggled food and hid the Jewish boy.
“They saved my life; they would have been shot or taken to a concentration camp – it was at the discretion of the person who caught them,” Dr. Taler said. “There was no penalty for killing a Jew or a Pole.”
In this strange and dangerous world, even the slightest turn of events could prove deadly, Dr. Taler said.
The Christian underground forged work papers that allowed Dr. Taler to walk the streets and hold a job, instead of being rounded up and taken to a death camp.
“I told them to keep my first name, Joseph, so that I would know to answer when anyone spoke to me,” Dr. Taler said.
Dr. Taler said he quickly realized a deadly possibility: If the forged papers showed his actual age, he likely would be put into the youth labor corps, the junakis. Joining this group would require a physical, and a physical would reveal that Dr. Taler had been circumcised, in a society where only Jews underwent the procedure.
“The man who took me up in the middle of the night told me to step into the courtyard of (a particular) apartment house, and take off my armband that bore the Star of David and showed that I was a Jew,” Dr. Taler said. “He gave me my false identity papers and we crossed the street and were in the Aryan section.”
Dr. Taler disappeared into the darkness as Josef Skwarczynski, a Polish Catholic who was born six years before Joseph Taler the Jew. With these papers, Dr. Taler found work in a train yard, where he shoveled coal and stoked train boilers.
One day, he saw an engineer, a young man who had gone to school with him. The man knew that Dr. Taler was a Jew, and all he had to do was shout out, and Dr. Taler was as good as dead. Each time Dr. Taler saw the man, he would bury his face in a handkerchief as if wiping away sweat, until one day he didn’t see the engineer in time. “He smiled at me and walked on,” Dr. Taler said.
World gone mad
Life under the Nazis was marked by one bit of insanity after another, Dr. Taler said.
Anyone who liked onions “too much” could be revealed as a Jew and carted off, since “everyone knew” that Jews liked onions, Dr. Taler said.
Dr. Taler’s wife, Bronka, whom he met at the end of the war, used fake papers and worked as a maid, all the while hiding her true identity.
Fortunately, she said, she had attended a public school where Catholicism was taught.
“There were 10 Jewish kids,” she said of her childhood. “We were put in the back of the class, but we had to stay (for religious training). We learned a lot about the Catholic religion and Jesus.”
“I had papers during the war that showed me as a Christian,” she said. “They (Nazis) were forever asking me questions about Christianity.”
Then, one day, Mrs. Taler uttered a Yiddish word, and her mistress quickly admonished her to never say that again.
The mistress no doubt knew that Mrs. Taler was a Jew, but chose to look the other way.
Never underestimate the role that luck can play when surviving underground, Dr. Taler advised. While a lot of families were scattered to the four corners of the earth and never reunited, Dr. Taler and his mother ended up in the same town, but she couldn’t acknowledge him as her son. Also by blind luck, Dr. Taler’s father ended up hiding in the same town, and Dr. Taler took him into his room. The father stayed in the son’s 21-foot by 21-foot room day and night for two years, even though there was no toilet or hot water. There was a trap door, where Dr. Taler and his father dug out a place under the floor in case they needed a hiding place.
A strong message
Jews who weren’t fortunate enough to come under the wing of a guardian angle did not fare well. Dr. Taler estimates that as many as 50 of his relatives died at the hands of Nazis.
Bronka Taler said she lost about 20 close family members.
She survived because she was able to escape from a transport train, bound for the Auschwitz extermination camp.
“I had a large family; my mother had eight siblings and I had a lot of cousins,” Mrs. Taler said this week. “Except for my brother and two cousins, nobody survived.”
Mrs. Taler rarely speaks of the Holocaust, and tears ran down her cheek as she talked.
“I have two wonderful children, and for the first 20 years, we didn’t even talk about it,” Mrs. Taler said. “My children didn’t even know; we didn’t want them to know.”
Every little boy wants to be a fire fighter. Maybe its that hero com plex we fantasize about. Certainly there’s no one more dashing than the helmeted man in the reflective yellow coat who saves the family home . . . and rescues Mrs. McGillicuddy’s kitty on the way back to the station.
But there’s a different aspect to being a firefighter, one thats just flat ugly. Firefighters also are the ones who head to car wrecks, and they cut you and me out of the mangled wreckage. Forget the Nash, save my . . . life.
Gary Klauss, a Warrensville Heights firefighter, and Terry Salvi, of the Bedford department, are experts in that field. In addition to their day jobs, they are field reps for Howell Rescue Systems, which makes tools used to get victims out of car wrecks.
One recent Friday, I joined Klauss, Salvi and a dozen firefighters from various local departments for a crash course on how to extricate people trapped in what’s left of their cars.
We spent two hours in the classroom going over the basics. Make sure you have your equipment before you leave the station. Know where it is on the truck. Know your assignment. Think about what you need, what you might need and how you might get what you might need. As you roll up to the scene, keep your eyes busy, especially if it’s a rollover, in which case victims are likely to have been ejected. Get plenty of light on the job. Be aware of the situation.
That last is critical. As we stepped outside for the first car, Klauss had one of our number do a walk-around. What did he see?
All the windows up. One airbag deployed. One (imaginary) unconscious victim in the driver’s side. Omigosh! A car seat in the back! But where’s the baby?!
The first step in any extrication is to assess the victim’s condition. So how do we get in?
Try the door. Sometimes the obvious is the easiest. If that doesn’t work, move on to the tools of the trade: cutters, spreaders and rams.
Cutters look like giant crab pincers. Spreaders look like the Jolly Green Giant’s pliers and are even heavier. Both treat steel like spaghetti noodles. Rams are telescoping rods that can exert 30,000 pounds of pressure – enough to get a dashboard off a victim. Anything strong enough to do the job these tools do has to be pretty solid, so it’s no surprise that the 29-pound cutters are among the lightest tools a firefighter uses in a rescue.
You know those sculpted bodies you see on firefighter calendars? Now you know how they get them. And it’s equally obvious why you never see feature reporters calendars. “Bunkered up” in full firefighter regalia – helmet, boots, jacket, pants, Nomex, goggles, gloves – I used every one of those tools at some course during the day. And by the time we finished cutting up that Mazda RX-7 with the caved-in roof, I was sweating like a hooker in church.
One of the first things a firefighter does is break the windows with a snap punch, or a Halligan bar (like a huge crowbar, with a punch on one end and the claw of a hammer on the other). That’s because once they get to work on the steel, it’s going to explode anyway. Make sure the victim knows what’s going on, Klauss said.
After flattening the tires or bracing the car to keep it stable and killing the batteries to make sure undeployed airbags don’t go off, firefighters tackle the different “posts” that create a steel cage for the vehicle occupants.
The A post is the front where the door hinges, the B post is where the back door hinges and so forth. Which gets cut first depends on the situation. Sometimes, no posts get cut, as in a Grand Prix we demolished. It was a simulated rollover that had ended up on its roof. We tunneled through the trunk.
Be careful what you carry in your car. I’m not sure where they got these vehicles, but I know they were real accidents. That would explain why we had to move a copier, some tools and even underwear to get to the driver’s compartment in that Grand Prix. The RX-7 had a glove box of shards that used to be Bone Thugs-N-Harmony CDs.
There is some humor in all this: Klauss said in one class a firefighter was too genteel when breaking windows. He didn’t want to scratch the paint.
Klauss said he’s never heard someone trapped in what used to be a car hollering about scratched paint.
Then there was the guy pinned by his car when the jack slipped. Firefighters got him out, and he was full of gratitude. So you have to wonder whose idea it was to send his saviors a bill for the gas tank they ruptured when they saved his bacon.
Ah, the life of a hero.
TYKE the Lakeland terrier has been reunited with his owner after the dog spent six days buried in a badger sett.
The dog’s owner and a team of helpers moved in with a digger today and searched through a maze of tunnels for several hours to free the animal.
Owner Steve Walling, of Moorside, near Consett, County Durham, remained confident throughout the day that Tyke would be found.
He said: “I’ve heard him barking and whining a number of times. He is down there, it’s just a matter of time before we get to him.”
Tyke’s ordeal began last Thursday when he ran off and disappeared while Mr Walling was taking him for a walk on a cycle path near Castleside, Consett.
He put up flyers on the footpath and on Sunday evening he was contacted by some youngsters who told him they had heard a dog barking near a badger sett.
Mr Walling called the Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, which told him it was unable to dig without official permission.
On Tuesday, Mr Walling was given permission to start digging by a representative of Natural England, but the dog remained underground.
Mechplant North East, which provides equipment for contractors, today offered Mr Walling the free use of a digger, following his appeal for help.
The rescuers started digging again at 1.30pm and, during the course of the day, dug three deep trenches in an effort to find the dog.
Their efforts were rewarded when Mr Walling found Tyke as the light was beginning to fade.
Thursday, Jun. 28, 2007
Johns Hopkins University researchers have cured malaria-infected mice with single shots of a new series of potent, long lasting synthetic drugs modeled on an ancient Chinese herbal folk remedy.
The team also has developed several other compounds which defeated the febrile disease in rodents after three oral doses.
These peroxide compounds, containing a crucial oxygen-oxygen unit, promise not only to be more effective than today’s best malaria remedies, but also potentially safer and more efficient, said research team leader Gary Posner, Scowe Professor of Chemistry in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins.
An article about the team’s work is slated to appear on the Web on April 17, 2007 in the ASAP section of The Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. (Go to this page.)
“We are disclosing, for the first time, the curative activity of a new generation of compounds that are long- lasting and therapeutic, even when used by themselves,” Posner said. “Older drugs in this family of peroxide antimalarials also are known to be fast-acting, but they are unfortunately short-lived and not curative when used by themselves.”
Though they say their results are very promising, the researchers caution that the new compounds must be thoroughly tested for safety and for how they are absorbed, distributed and metabolized in, and eliminated from, rodents’ bodies before human tests begin.
Malaria afflicts between 300 million and 500 million people a year, killing between 1.5 million and 3 million, mostly children and mostly in developing nations. The parasite that causes the disease is spread by female mosquitoes feeding on human blood. The most commonly fatal species of the malaria parasite now shows strong resistance to most current treatments, making the development of effective new drugs a worldwide priority.
Since 1992, Posner and his team, which includes collaborator Theresa Shapiro, professor and chair of clinical pharmacology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, have been tackling that challenge by designing a series of peroxide compounds, called trioxanes.
“As a class, these compounds have proven to be unusually valuable in several ways, from their brisk and potent antimalarial activity to their lack of resistance and cross-resistance with other antimalarial agents,” Shapiro said.
The Johns Hopkins trioxanes mimic artemisinin, the active agent in a Chinese herbal drug used to treat malaria and other fevers for thousands of years. Artemisinin comes from the Artemisia annua plant, an herb also known by a variety of names including sweet wormwood.
The oxygen-oxygen unit in the peroxides causes malaria parasites essentially to self-destruct. The parasites digest hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying pigment of red blood cells, and, in the process, release a substance called heme, a deep-red iron-containing blood pigment. When the heme encounters peroxides, a powerful chemical reaction occurs, releasing carbon-free radicals and oxidizing agents that eventually kill the parasites.
But the first generation of trioxane drugs also had a number of shortcomings, including a half-life of less than one hour. (A drug’s half-life is the amount of time it takes for half of it to be metabolized.) Posner and team believe that their new compounds address those disadvantages.
“Our semi-synthetic artemisinin-derived compounds successfully overcome the disadvantages of their first- generation predecessors,” he said. “Most important is their curative activity after a single, low dose, which is distinctly unusual. But based on our intentional design, they may also have a longer half-life in animals. We also designed them to be more lipophilic, meaning they have an enhanced ability to dissolve in fats and thus to arrive inside malaria-infected red blood cells.” In addition, the new compounds are far less likely to break down into toxic substances when they are metabolized in the test animals’ bodies, making them potentially safer than their predecessors.
Although inexpensive by Western standards, the widespread use of artemisinins in the developing world remains limited, in part by availability and the cost of separating the active ingredient from the Artemisia annua plant. Posner and his team contend that the potency and curative activity of their compounds provide “a substantially more efficient and economical use of the price-setting natural product.”
The team’s research was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Johns Hopkins University Malaria Research Institute.
An 89-year-old great-grandmother shed tears of joy this afternoon when she met the mystery woman who saved her life.
Winifred Lindsay, on her way to a medical appointment on her motorized scooter yesterday afternoon, fell on the tracks and into the path on an oncoming CN Rail train Tuesday.
This afternoon, she hugged 52-year-old Deborah Chiborak, the Good Samaritan who pulled her off the tracks with the train only seconds away.
Chiborak’s mother, Agnes Rosmus, called the Free Press this morning after she read about her unidentified daughter’s heroic.
Chiborak, a restaurant owner and mother of two grown daughters, said any bystander would have done the same brave act.
“I knew I only had a few seconds to do what I had to do,” she said, wiping away tears.
When asked if she would do the same thing again, Chiborak replied: “Who wouldn’t?”
Our sons and their families gave me a Mother’s ring for Mother’s Day ‘way back about 1990. The ring was yellow gold and had three stones: a garnet for Ralph’s January birthday; an amethyst for Paul’s birthday in February and an aquamarine for Tim’s birthday in March.
Unlike most women, I don’t care for a lot of jewelry, but I loved my Mother’s ring. I lost it twice during the time I had it. The first time occurred when I was helping turn a queen size mattress, but I found it under the bed within a few days. The second time I lost it, I had no earthly idea as to where or when I’d lost it. I was embarrassed and ashamed of losing it, and I never mentioned my loss to anyone except my husband.
This month, much to my surprise, my ring was returned to me. I was thrilled to regain it, but I was amazed at the memories it brought back to me — memories of Alice Ann, the orange cat who made her home with us, of the way I identified with her during one of the saddest times in my life and of all the mixed feelings I had during this time. If all this sounds confusing, let me start at the beginning.
On April 1, 1992, our youngest son, Paul, was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. He and his wife, Abby, had returned to Oklahoma in 1990 after having lived in Baton Rouge, La., for 14 years. They made their home with us until they could build a house on our land. Until that diagnosis, we all had a marvelous time together. I’ll always remember those two years as among the happiest times in our lives.
The younger Milligan family brought with them two small dogs and one large orange cat called Alice Ann. Alice Ann had been a veritable kitten factory until her owners decided she had contributed enough to the feline population expansion and they had her spayed. Physically, I’m sure Alice Ann accepted the fact that she no longer had the job of providing for a litter of kittens, but on a more primitive level, she still thought of herself as a matriarch with hungry babies waiting to be fed. She had always been a tremendous hunter, and once or twice daily, she would come bounding through the doggy doors from the back steps to our deck, then on through a second doggy door from the deck into our den.
She always brought with her the latest catch from the fields or woods. She might come carrying a huge field rat, a mole or a gopher. She’d lay down her catch (Sometimes the prey was still alive.) and begin calling her non-existent kittens. In a low, throaty voice, she told her babies, “Come and see what Mama has for you. You’ll really like this.”
I’d watch Alice Ann for a moment or two and empathize with her, thinking “Once a mother, always a mother.” Then common sense would catch up with me, and I’d firmly pick her up, together with her prey, and put her outside, explaining that though her game offerings were very nice, I just didn’t want them in the house. Nobody was here to share. She’d have to eat all of it by herself.
I’m sure Alice Ann had always tried bringing inside her spoils from hunting expeditions, but I hadn’t identified with her so strongly in the past. Now, I knew exactly how she felt. She was mourning for the kittens that were grown and gone, and she was doing her motherly duty by bringing in food for them to share.
Mothers ought to be able to protect their offspring, I’d think. There ought to be some way that I, as a mother, could at least help Paul feel better. His cancer had metastasized in painful tumors all over his body. I couldn’t even hug him any more. It hurt him too much.
Paul died on Father’s Day, June 21, 1992 — two and a half months after he was diagnosed. Some time that spring or early summer, I lost my Mother’s ring. I didn’t mention my loss to Tim or Ralph. I did tell George and he commiserated with me, but we had no idea where to look for it. I think on an unconscious level, I figured I hadn’t done a very good job of mothering and that it was only fair that I lose my ring that identified me as a mother.
If enough time passes, we learn to live with loss, and though I still think about Paul a great deal, I could not honestly say I’d thought about my lost ring until last week. Then Ralph called to say, “Mom, did you lose your Mother’s ring?” I admitted that I had indeed lost it, and he brought it back to me on Easter.
What caused the missing ring to turn up after being gone 15 years?
It is a Milligan trait that we never get rid of anything so long as there is someone else in the family who can use it. In 1996, we bought a new car and asked Ralph if he’d like to have the1990 Pontiac Grand Prix that was still in good shape. He agreed to take it off our hands, and he kept it until this spring when he finally sold it.
The fellow who bought it lost his pocket knife under the car seats and he recruited his young daughter to help him look for it. It was she who unearthed my ring. He called Ralph who said, “Well, yes, my mom had a ring with three stones like that. I’ll ask her if she lost it.”
My Mother’s ring is back on my finger, held there firmly by a silver band made by my grandson. I’ve told my sons that now that I have my motherly identification back, I can revert to my former habits of being bossy, attempting to help them run their lives, and dispensing unsought advice. They grin in reply, indicating they hadn’t noticed that I’d ever stopped such behavior even for 15 years. I think again about Alice Ann and murmur, “Once a mother, always a mother.”
GODMANCHESTER carpenter and joiner Bob Goodman has been reunited with film of his wedding in Ramsey nearly 40 years ago – but not with his bride, who ran off with another man more than 30 years back.
The film was unearthed by a man from Bedale in North Yorkshire when he was sorting through his attic last Christmas. Following his letter appearing in The Hunts Post in January, Bob Goodman made contact with the finder, Laurie Graham, and last month retrieved the footage of the happy day at Thomas a Becket Church in March 1969.
“I don’t have particularly happy memories of her, of course,” Bob told The Hunts Post. “She cleared off when our son was five. He’s now 37 and lives in America. But I want the grandchildren to see the family. There are lots of aunts, uncles and cousins in the film, and my mother, who died in 1971 on her 49th birthday.”
Bob, 60, who was born in Edinburgh, moved to Huntingdon at the age of six weeks. Before moving to Godmanchester, he lived for many years in Great Northern Street, Huntingdon.
He now works for Bailey Burgashell, in Sutton, making sculling boats. He has not re-married.
Mr Graham believes the film came into his possession when he was stationed at RAF Upwood and bought a projector. Some airport footage at the start of the reel was used to demonstrate the machine. It was only when he came to transfer old cine film to DVD that he discovered the wedding footage.
“It’s very important to me that people recognize what he did,” Jim Wade said Thursday night from Wishard Hospital. “There is no way I’ll ever be able to express the gratitude I have to this guy. Words just don’t do him justice.
“He literally risked his life. If it wouldn’t have been for him, none of my kids would have survived.”
“He” is Greg Bugher, the passer-by who pulled Wade’s three children — Branden, Courtney and Kristin — and their friends Alex Stang and Chase Parker from a burning minivan in a horrific wreck that killed Joy Edwards, his former wife and the children’s mother, Easter morning.
“I can see him trying to downplay exactly what he did,” a grateful Wade said. “I feel a debt of gratitude to Greg Bugher that I can’t even express.”
Edwards and her children lived in Kokomo, with Courtney and Kristin attending Western High School and, ironically, the Bughers — Greg, Dianna, Gavin and Parker — live a little more than a mile west of the school. All were returning from spring break trips: the Edwards group from Gulf Shores, Ala.; the Bughers and Cody Jansen, Gavin’s best friend, from Fort Myers, Fla.
The Bughers nearly became the victims of Nicole King.
For a reason yet to be determined, the 25-year-old Noblesville woman drove the wrong way on Interstate 465 for 16 miles before colliding head-on with Edwards’ Pontiac minivan at 3 a.m. last Sunday.
The Bughers switched drivers shortly after crossing the Ohio River at Louisville, Ky., but by Indianapolis, they were in need of gasoline.
“I’m in the passenger seat and was just starting to fall asleep,” said Greg, a supervisor in Delphi’s Kokomo operations. “[Dianna] asked if I wanted to get gas at this exit. I said, ‘no, go to the next one.’”
Greg laid back and closed his eyes again. They wouldn’t be closed long.
“I was driving. It was just me and everybody else was behind me,” Dianna went on. “There were no taillights in front of me. There was no one for a long way. I was driving in the center lane and I saw what looked like headlights heading at me. A little farther and I said, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s a car coming at me.’ I got over into the right lane.”
Awake after his wife’s exclamation, Greg said the “car flew right past us.” He estimated that King’s vehicle was going around 80 to 85 mph.
“That’s just a guess, but you can tell when they fly past you,” he said.
“When something like that happens, you think ‘this can’t be.’ A car doesn’t just come against the traffic like that on the interstate,” he continued. “You want to put a net around it to stop it. You want to let the people behind you know and there is just nothing you can do.”
Dianna looked into her side mirror and saw the wreck happen as she stopped.
“[King] didn’t even try to swerve. She rammed the van head-on and I saw that it flipped up and over,” she said. “It caught fire immediately. I’d already stopped. I got out the cell phone and called 911. I couldn’t even tell them where we were I was so nervous.”
She gave her husband the phone and he saw a sign and was able to tell the 911 operator the nearest exit number.
“They wanted more information and I said, ‘I can’t. They’re screaming and need us now,’” he recalled.
Edwards swerved to the right at the last instant, and Wade fully believes she did it to take the brunt of the crash because “she always put the kids first.”
“I’m convinced that was why she swerved the way she did. It was her attempt to shield the kids,” said Wade, who also lives in Russiaville. “It was just a natural instinct to protect them.
“If she hadn’t turned that little bit, Courtney wouldn’t have survived. Fortunately, all the kids had their seat belts on and that saved them, I’m sure.”
The van was on its passenger side with fire coming out of the engine.
“We both ran toward it and I turned and yelled, ‘Stay there, don’t come any closer’ at Dianna,” Greg said. “I got up on it and I could hear everyone screaming and then I could see Courtney pushing on the windshield with her feet, trying to get out. I reached down and grabbed at the windshield where it had rolled up. It was heavy and then she crawled out through there.
“She stood up. Her feet were a mess and she fell. I grabbed hold of her and carried her back to my wife. Dianna got her up on the guardrail and sat with her there.”
Courtney had been sitting in the front, talking to her mother, with her feet on the dashboard. Her father said she hit the windshield, but because of her seat belt, she didn’t go through.
“Before I ever talked to Greg, one of the first things Courtney told me was that this man came running up as she was trying to crawl out. He came up, pulled her out and scooped her up,” Wade said. “It meant so much to her that someone was willing to do that.”
As he ran back toward the burning van, Greg stopped.
“It hit me at that moment. I could see the fire and hear the screaming,” he said. “You see things on TV and you think you know what it’s like. You don’t. It’s horrifying.”
He looked back at his van and saw his own children watching.
“I looked over at my wife and Courtney and, at that moment, I realized I might not be coming back,” Greg said. “My family, I knew they were safe and God was going to protect them. But, if I don’t go do something to help the kids in the van, they weren’t going to live.”
At that point, Greg was the only chance those in the van had.
“No one else got out to help,” Dianna said.
When he got back to the van, the fire was spreading. He tried to look inside but had to climb up on the van to see inside. That was when Kristin was able to get out, so he got her out of danger.
“I was scared for him,” Dianna admitted. “He climbed up on the van and I felt it could blow up at any point.”
Returning to the van, he saw one of the boys who couldn’t get out on his own. Greg couldn’t reach him and climbed onto the guard rail to get on top of the van.
“The flames were growing, so I ran back to the van and grabbed a gallon of water,” he said. “I jumped up and grabbed the boy. By then, another person was there. I said ‘I’ll have to roll him out over the top of the van and hand him to you.’”
Courtney was going into shock, and Dianna got her into their van.
“Courtney was shivering and shaking. Her pupils were enormous. The fire truck and ambulance got there. The [medics] worked on her while the boys were sitting there,” Dianna said. “Parker was talking to her, trying to calm her down and rubbing her as they worked on her.”
Greg and the other Samaritan got the second boy out and to safety, but the fire was back and moving underneath the van.
“The flames were to the point where they were burning my shoes. I was standing with one foot on the guard rail and the other on the luggage rack,” he said. “I could see the fuel cell and the flames were coming up on it.
“I reached down and grabbed Branden, but he couldn’t move at all. He was pinned and still partially had his seat belt on. I looked at the other guy and said, ‘We have to get the fire out.’ I told Branden I’d be back.”
He remembered the cooler in the van and retrieved it.
“We threw the water and ice on the flames. We poured Coke and juice and whatever other liquid there was on the flames and slowed it down,” he said. “Someone [possibly a state trooper who had arrived] had busted out the back window. I saw I had a clear view of him. I stepped in and grabbed his right arm. The other guy grabbed his left arm. I said, ‘We’re going to get you out’ and we began pulling him out. We had to carry him out.
“When Branden came out, the flames were at the second seat. Thirty or 40 more seconds and he would have been burning. By the time we got him away and turned back, it was engulfed and there was nothing anyone could do to stop it.”
Seeing everything transpire, the boys got scared for Greg, his wife said.
“Parker was crying. He thought his dad was going to get killed, and Gavin was telling me to tell Greg to get off the van,” Dianna said.
Courtney had been telling her there were six people in the minivan.
“There were five people out and I asked Greg if he got six out. He said he’d lost track,” Dianna said.
By this time, Greg was having problems breathing from the smoke he’d inhaled.
“The firemen and ambulance attendants decided he needed to go to the hospital. Parker kept saying he couldn’t leave him. They came back and took Parker with him in the ambulance to the hospital,” Dianna said.
After receiving an oxygen treatment, Greg was released and the family made it home.
Monday, Dianna heard someone had died so she called Wishard Hospital, afraid it was one of the children.
“I found out it was their mother. I told Greg, and he got upset.”
“I took it hard because I thought I had missed her,” he said.
Wade has seen the van and “it was literally pulverized.”
“It doesn’t seem possible anybody could have come out of that alive,” he said. “Everything burned, the seats, the carpet. It was all gone, just black.”
Tuesday, the Bughers went to Wishard to see the children and met their father at that point.
Seeing the children has helped immensely.
“They immediately reached out for us and said thank you,” Dianna said.
Wade reassured Greg there was nothing he could have done to save Joy.
“Jim told us you couldn’t have seen her,” Greg said. “That really helped because I kept closing my eyes and thinking what I should or could have done differently.
“That was the true blessing. I know it wasn’t possible to save Joy. That is what I struggled with most. The second was being able to see the kids. Looking at them, there were still three in the van when the flames were getting worse, I thought ‘are we going to make it?’ Going and touching them was the best recovery there was.”
There is one unsung hero, all agree.
“If anyone knows who that man was, the families would like to thank him. At the end, there he was and he was a big help,” Greg said.
Wade will be eternally grateful to Bugher.
“He’s the kind of person who is going to be humble and not want to emphasize what he did. It really is important to me that everyone knows what he did. He’s a hero. There is no other word to describe what he did.”