Saturday, May. 31, 2008

Heroine rescues blaze woman

A WOMAN was today hailed a heroine after she rescued an elderly woman from her burning home.

Fire crews were astonished by the bravery of the neighbour who carried the 76-year-old pensioner out of the house in Walmer Road, Birkdale.

The victim, who was recovering from a stroke, was asleep in a bedroom using an electric blanket.

It overheated and caught fire and the flames were spotted by the neighbour, who is in her 40s, as she walked her dog at 9.15 last night.

The woman, who has a key for the elderly woman’s house, rushed inside and found her upstairs with the bed ablaze.

She carried her downstairs and gave her emergency first aid treatment until an ambulance arrived.

Today, fire chiefs paid tribute to her actions and said they would recommend her for a commendation.

And they said the elderly woman could have been killed if the neighbour had not gone to her rescue.

The pensioner is recovering in Southport and Formby District Hospital after suffering smoke inhalation.

The fire had spread to four other rooms.

Watch manager Dave Shanahan said: “I would pay tribute to what this woman has done; it took a lot of courage.

“She was walking past and it was fortunate that because she sometimes looks after the lady, she had a key for the house.

“The occupant had recently suffered a stroke and had limited mobility. At the time she was sleeping under an electric blanket.

“It wasn’t easy to pick up that woman and bring her to safety, the house would have been full of smoke.

“When we got there, the woman was at the bottom of the stairs and we assisted getting her outside.

“If the neighbour hadn’t been there, the outcome could have been very serious.”

Thursday, May. 29, 2008

Neighbor Saves Man In San Francisco Fire

A San Francisco man remains in critical condition with severe burns after a heroic neighbor pulled him out of an apartment fire early Monday morning in the city’s Richmond District, a Fire Department spokewoman said.

The fire began at about 4:45 a.m. inside the kitchen of one unit of a four-story, six-unit building at 717 Sixth Ave., Lt. Mindy Talmadge said.

According to Talmadge, next-door neighbor Daniel Bateman heard a fire alarm going off and went to the man’s locked door, where he heard him banging inside the apartment.

The 19-year-old neighbor “basically shoulder-opened the door and actually pulled this guy out,” said Talmadge, adding that fire officials are preparing a commendation award for his heroism.

Firefighters contained the blaze to the man’s kitchen by about 5:10 a.m.

The victim, a middle-aged man, is being treated at the burn unit at St. Francis Memorial Hospital.

Talmadge said the man suffered second- and third-degree burns over 20 percent of his body.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated but is being considered accidental, Talmadge said.

A second fire early Monday morning in the city’s Excelsior neighborhood is being blamed on high-voltage wires that ignited a utility pole at about 4:30 a.m. near the intersection of Onondaga Avenue and Alemany Boulevard.

That fire was contained by about 5:40 a.m. and came close to but did not damage a building in the area, according to Talmadge.

The downed power lines caused an outage that initially affected about 6,500 Pacific Gas and Electric Co. customers nearby, according to PG&E spokesman Joe Molica.

Most of the customers received their power back by about 5:45 a.m., Molica said. The remaining few should get their power back by early Monday afternoon, he said.

This is the Oscar of teaching

Jean Murphy and her students at Long Range Academy have a lot of fun with math.

It’s a subject not usually associated with laughs and smiling, but the long-time teacher’s approach to the material which has to be covered is working well.

It’s working so well, in fact, that the Cow Head teacher has garnered national recognition. On Thursday, she was one of three teachers from Atlantic Canada and 26 across Canada to receive the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Early Childhood Education. The award was presented at a gala ceremony in Ottawa.

“I didn’t expect to receive such an award but I was honoured,” she told the Pen on Thursday. “This is the Oscar of teaching…it’s been a great week.”

The awards program recognizes Canada’s best teachers and early childhood educators and promotes what they have achieved. The program also strives to share the teachers’ innovative and successful teaching practices.

Ms. Murphy, a native of Job’s Cove, Conception Bay, was selected from among more than 200 nominations across Canada.

She said it’s difficult to put into words her thoughts on winning the distinction.

“This is an honour for the school, the parents, the students and the community,” she said. “You can’t do this on your own. The whole community has to be part of the celebration.”

Ms. Murphy has been at Long Range Academy for 13 years and said she’s continually inspired by her students and the staff members she works with.

“Math hasn’t always been successful but math can be a lot of fun,” she explained. “When they like it, they can be more successful.”

She teaches numeracy in Kindergarten to Grade 6, mathematics in Grades 7 to 9 and technology in Grade 7. Her teaching approach involves providing a flexible teaching and learning environment with lots of group work and critical discussion.

Among her achievements was bringing academic success to students. There’s been a significant rise in marks on standardized tests, which had historically been low. She was appointed as a numeracy support specialist to provide professional development support to other teachers.

One of Ms. Murphy’s colleagues said, “Jean is not only student-driven, she strives to make our physical building a welcoming and safe place. She is very involved in the spirit building of our school and Jean eagerly volunteers for many teams and does so with the same enthusiasm and dedication as her teaching.”

A former principal at the school had this to say: “Ms. Murphy has made a significant contribution to education in this province, to the lives of the children she has taught and to the communities in which she has worked and volunteered…in every conversation I have had with Ms. Murphy, she always seems to have a default position regarding education and teaching. She always goes back to the same fundamental question, ‘How will this benefit students and how will it increase achievement’.”

Humber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte MP Gerry Byrne said he was proud to attend the ceremony.

“It is a remarkable achievement for Ms. Murphy and shows the depth and talent of the people who teach at this rural school on the Northern Peninsula,” he stated. “I was proud to stand with her as she accepted her award.”

Friday, May. 16, 2008

Warsaw Ghetto hero dies

A Polish woman who saved thousands of Jewish children during World War II by smuggling them out of the Warsaw Ghetto has died in the Polish capital after a long illness, aged 98.

Irena Sendlerowa was a social worker who regularly entered the Ghetto and smuggled out about 2,500 children in boxes, suitcases and trolleys.

Israel Holocaust remembrance authority Yad Vashem says her courageous activities served as a beacon of light to the world, inspiring hope and restoring faith in the goodness of mankind.

She rescued the children between 1940 and 1943, when the Nazis burned the Ghetto, condemning its residents to death.

In October 1943 she was arrested and tortured by the Gestapo, but refused to give up the names of the children.

Family thanks firefighters for rescue

A mother and three children saved from a burning house in Oxford yesterday thanked their rescuers.

Charmaine Partlett, 25, and three of her children Travis, seven, Mimi, three, and Skye, two, were rescued by firefighters from the blaze at their three-storey house, in Lyndworth Mews, Headington, on Sunday morning.

Miss Partlett was screaming from her top-floor window that she could not find three of her children but the fire crew got them out within a few minutes. All four were unhurt, apart from suffering smoke inhalation.

But the family lost all their possessions in the fire and have been put into emergency accommodation.

Yesterday, they met Slade Park fire station manager David Heycock, who was in charge of the rescue.

He chatted with the children and gave Travis his helmet to wear.

All the children shook his hand, while Miss Partlett thanked him for the firefighters’ speedy arrival.

She said: “We were just a couple of minutes from it being a lot worse.

“I have lost lots of possessions, the kids’ clothes and toys, but I can replace them. The kids got out somehow without a scratch on their heads and I could never replace them.

“I’m just thankful they’re all alive. The firemen kept coming back in and taking my kids out. It was unbelievably brave.”

Miss Partlett was woken by her smoke alarm at about 4am. The house was on fire and the bedrooms were filled with smoke.

She tried to rescue her children but could not find her way through the smoke.

Miss Partlett added: “I woke up to find my bedroom was filled with jet-black smoke and I could barely breathe.

“I couldn’t get to the girls’ bedroom but luckily I had my mobile phone. I found it on the floor through the smoke and dialled 999.

“I still couldn’t breathe and my eyes were stinging. All I could think about was I couldn’t get to the kids and didn’t know if they were awake. I have never been so scared.”

Firefighters broke down the front door and first rescued Travis from his downstairs bedroom, then found Skye and Mimi on the second floor.

Travis said: “I didn’t know there was a fire until the fireman came through the front window and grabbed me and took me through the window so I didn’t cut myself.”

Miss Partlett’s eldest daughter Rhiannon, nine, was staying at a friend’s house.

Mr Heycock said: “This was probably a once-in-a-lifetime job.

“To rescue four people from a burning house with eight rooms, things could have been so different.

“It’s so rewarding to see these children all fine and healthy.”

The fire is believed to have started accidentally, caused by an iron.

Thursday, May. 15, 2008

Shark hero to receive recognition

A WOMAN who dived into the sea and rescued a man being attacked by a shark will be nominated for a bravery award.

Joanne Lucas, a volunteer at the Middleton Beach surf lifesaving club in Albany, WA, heard Jason Cull’s screams for help and swam out to him, pulling him to safety.

WA Premier Alan Carpenter said yesterday he would nominate Ms Lucas for an Australian Bravery Decorations Council award.

Wednesday, May. 14, 2008

Teachers honored for educational efforts

Selina Meyer, of Indian Trail Elementary School, is the 2007-08 Kentucky Special Education Teacher of the Year. She teaches the self-contained Functional Mental Disability class at Indian Trail.

Rosanna Vessels, a theology teacher at St. Xavier High School, received the Catholic Education Foundation Teacher Award. Sponsored by Dan and Helen Ulmer and their family, the award goes to a teacher who surpasses expectations, has a creative teaching style and is a positive influence on students.

Mary W. Ludwig, of the Westport Teenage Parent Program School, was named the 2008 National Teacher of the Year by the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences. She received the award for a fashion program she implemented in 2000 for pregnant and parenting teens.

Tuesday, May. 13, 2008

Teacher wins $10K award

Western & Southern Financial Group named veteran teacher Kimya Moyo this year’s winner of the Dr. Lawrence C. Hawkins Educator of the Year Award, an honor than comes along with a no-strings-attached $10,000 check.

Moyo, a math teacher at Woodward Career Technical High School, beat out 54 other teachers and administrators in Cincinnati Public Schools who were nominated by their peers.

She was selected for her innovative approach to education and ongoing commitment to students, according to the company.

It’s the second year Western & Southern has given the award, after creating it last year to inspire the district’s individual educators.

Last year, Withrow University High School Principal Sharon Johnson won the award.

Friday, May. 9, 2008

Stab victim Jessica meets her heroes

A SCHOOLGIRL repeatedly stabbed in a frenzied attack met her footballing heroes during a visit to Everton’s training ground.

Blues fan Jessica Knight, 14, was left fighting for her life after January’s attack in a Chorley park.

And while recovering in hospital watching Everton helped raise her spirits.

The club arranged a visit to the team’s Finch Farm training ground in Halewood where the teenager met first team players including captain Phil Neville.

Jessica said: “Finch Farm is really nice. It’s amazing to be here because nobody told me I was coming so it was a nice surprise.

“Phil Neville and Andy Johnson came to visit me in hospital and I was really shocked when the players arrived – nobody told me that they were coming to see me.

“When I was in hospital I watched Everton on the television lots of times.

“It was good to watch them because they kept me happy. I also watched lots of Peter Kay as well so I didn’t lose my sense of humour.

“All of my friends are so jealous and I’ve just been laughing at them because I am getting to meet all the players.

“My granddad has been trying to convert me to the red side of Liverpool and he took me for a tour round Anfield.

“But I wasn’t having any of it and wore my Everton shirt.”

Everton and England star Andy Johnson said: “Jessica has been through a terrible ordeal but she is now well on the road to recovery and getting her life back to normal.

“We were delighted to be able to have the chance to invite her to Finch Farm to watch us train and to meet the players and we hope that she enjoyed the day.

“It was a pleasure to be able to bring her down for the day. She has shown incredible bravery.”

Jessica underwent five hours of emergency surgery at hospital after the attack.

French baker Kristoffer Beddar, 21, who is thought to have moved to Chorley from Paris in May last year, was charged with attempted murder.

Thursday, May. 8, 2008

Return for hero train driver

THE hero train driver who broke his neck in the Grayrigg rail crash is set to return to work two months earlier than expected.

Iain Black, 47, of Dumbarton, was injured after the Virgin train he was driving went over a set of faulty points and derailed at Grayrigg in Cumbria in February last year.

Scottish passenger Peggy Masson, 84, died and 22 others were injured when the London to Glasgow train plunged down an embankment into a field.

Now Mr Black is to return to an office-based job and said he eventually wants to drive trains again.

He said: “It is still a possibility.

“I really enjoyed the job – it is phenomenal to drive trains through the Lake District at 120mph.”

Mr Black was praised after he stayed at the controls of the Pendolino train as it went out of control and crashed at 95mph.

He said at the time that he felt like he was on a “bucking bronco” as he battled to keep the train on the tracks.

He said: “The moment it all went wrong is still very clear.

“Suddenly the train just jumped through the air, and I knew I was in serious bother.”

Mr Black was immobilised at his post – knowing his neck was broken – with blood flowing down the side of his head. But he had a mobile phone in his pocket and contacted his partner, Jan Duff, who was originally from Carlisle.

He said: “I asked her to phone the controls because that was my main concern. If another train had come along it could have been a double tragedy.”

For several months Mr Black had to wear a head brace to keep his neck still so the bones would heal.

He was told he would be off work for 18 months, but is returning two months early because he has made such a good recovery. He will have to have a medical before being allowed to drive trains again.

Pilot hailed as an angel

Family and friends of pilot Jane Kekana were touched by an angel, because angels fly.

Kekana, 21, who died in a helicopter crash with Altech Netstar co-pilot Peter-John Winterbottom last Saturday, was laid to rest at the weekend.

Well-wishers attended the service at the Pretoria North Roman Catholic Church, were they were told how Kekana was a shining light to her family.

Friend and colleague Precious Mathebela said she had been flying with Kekana since 2006.

“There are no words to describe how I feel,” she said.

Netstar air tracker Kathleen Moonsamy said Kekana was a great pilot.

“It takes a lot of skill to be a Netstar pilot. We have lost someone really good.”

Kekana’s uncle, James Gabanakgosi, described the fatal accident.

“She landed at Rand Airport at about 10am to refuel.

“She spoke to her sister, then returned to the helicopter to take off, but something went horribly wrong.

“It got off the ground, but soon started coming down. She tried to control the machine, but it lost power.

“As it landed, it started skidding. Sparks from the skidding set fire to the refuelled helicopter; there was no way to survive.”

Kekana and Winterbottom died on the scene.

Rand Airport managing director Anton Kruger said witnesses reported that the rotor blades clipped the hangar and the helicopter then hit the tarmac.

Kekana matriculated from Clapham High School in 2004 and enlisted with the SANDF where she completed her basic military training with the SA Air Force (SAAF).

After the basic training she was channelled into air traffic control, but she wanted to join the flying wing.

When the SAAF could not offer her training, she resigned to join Eskom, which was scouting for women to train as helicopter pilots.

Her application was accepted after a national selection process conducted by Eskom and by management from 43 Air School in Port Alfred.

She completed her training in December last year.

In order for her to complete 2 000 flying hours, which are mandatory before deployment to the duty of live-wire maintenance, Eskom sent her and two colleagues on an internship with Netstar.

Wednesday, May. 7, 2008

Holocaust heroes’ acts remembered

Yom Hashoah, better known as Holocaust Remembrance Day, is a way for Jews and non-Jews to commemorate unthinkable loss and invaluable strength at the same time.

Suzanne Vromen, professor emeritus of sociology at Bard College and author of “Hidden Children of the Holocaust,” took this year’s remembrance at Vassar College Sunday to honor those who rescued people from the Holocaust and, in so doing, risked their freedom and the lives of their family members.

“Most rescuers believe they simply did what a normal person would have done,” Vromen told her audience. “By highlighting the gracious acts of this handful of individuals, we honor them.”

An estimated 6 million Jews were murdered in Europe, and Vromen said the nearest estimate of rescuers was a minute percentage of the non-Jewish population.

Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority in Israel, has recognized more than 22,000 rescuers as being “Righteous Among the Nations.”

“For nearly 10 years, Yad Vashem did nothing of that sort,” Vromen said, adding the concentration was directed toward those who perished in the concentration camps. “Eventually, they adopted the planting of trees as a symbolism to honor the righteous people who risked their lives without any reward for doing so.”

The topic of rescuers hasn’t been addressed on the same level as the victims, partly because many died following the war, and partly because many wanted to forget and move on with their lives, Vromen said.

Despite the lack of records and scarcity of information, it is possible to identify their motivation to save the Jews as the universal sense of shared humanity, Vromen said.

he cited a story where rescuer André Trocmé, a Protestant pastor in the French town of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, was approached by a Vichy official who threatened him for protecting Jews.

Trocmé told the official, “We do not know what a Jew is. We only know men,” Vromen said.

Later, during the candle-lighting ceremony, Vassar students read how the Holocaust affected them.

Sophomore Joanna Greene started by announcing she wasn’t Jewish.

“I have not been directly affected by the Holocaust,” she said. “But I am human and that’s enough.”

Monday, May. 5, 2008

Bridge jump hero policeman praised

A TRAFFIC officer has been hailed a hero after he helped stop a man throwing himself off a 100ft motorway bridge.

Highways Agency traffic officer Tony Lissett, 56, of Sefton Lane, Horwich, was patrolling the M60 with a colleague on Sunday, April 27, when they noticed what they thought was a breakdown on Barton Bridge.

But when they stopped, the driver climbed over a safety barrier and said he was going to jump.

Mr Lissett and colleague David Jary, from Liverpool, managed to keep the man safe until police arrived and talked him down.

Mr Lissett was previously awarded with a bravery medal when, in 2001 as an AA patrolman, he ran across three lanes of the M55 to direct 70mph traffic around an overturned horse box.

He said: “I don’t know if these incidents follow me around, but it’s a bit scary thinking what’s going to happen next.”

On Barton Bridge, Mr Lissett quickly radioed for help while Mr Jary talked to the man.

Mr Lissett made sure the motorway was closed and called for police backup.

The two Highways officers have now been praised by the police for keeping cool and calm in a difficult situation.

Mr Lissett said: “It was a very tense situation and it just materialised out of nowhere. He was getting more and more agitated, and it looked like he was going to jump.

“It did seem a bit surreal that I was there trying to protect him and there were people driving past, going about their normal business.

“It’s nice to think that I’ve helped save someone’s life.”

Monday, Apr. 7, 2008

Police honor the best among officers, staff

The Westminster Police Department recently announced the recipients of annual awards honoring its best officers and staff.

The recipients, who were honored at a recent awards ceremony, are:

• Police Officer of the Year for 2007: Cpl. Scott Peter, for his self-initiated activity and numerous drug arrests. He also earned the Academic Excellence Award for completing training with a 99.7 percent grade-point average.

• Civilian of the Year: Brenda Roper, communications and records supervisor, for her progressive management and ability to implement changes.

• Volunteer of the Year: Simona Mason, a volunteer in the SCORE (Stopping Crime on Residential Environments) youth program, and who assists the Community Education Officers.

• Community Service Award: Cpl. Jesse Clagett, who established relationships with the Main Street community to address and resolve quality-of-life issues.

• Firearms Award: Detective Rick Lambert, for his firearms qualifications score of 99.5 percent.

• Chief’s Award: Linda Knott, for her contributions to the United Way campaign and the Shop with a Cop program.

Wreaths will honor special father and other vets

On the second Thursday of December, Lauren Barnes plans to lay a wreath on her father’s grave at Medford’s Eagle Point National Cemetery.

But the Medford resident isn’t stopping with one wreath at the burial site of Craig Barnes, an Army veteran who served in Desert Storm.

Lauren, 16, hopes to enlist the help of others to raise funds to place a wreath on every one of the roughly 13,000 grave sites at the cemetery. The junior at South Medford High School plans the massive mission as her senior project next year to coincide with the national Wreaths Across America project, held on the second Thursday of each December to honor veterans.

“When he was alive, I never really got to show him how much I appreciated him being in the service,” she explains. “I think this is a good way to show that, and to let other veterans know that somebody cares.”

She also wants to raise an issue that is very difficult for her, her sister, Julie Barnes Pace, 24, and their mother, Marisa Garrett, but one they feel needs to be addressed: suicide in the veteran community. Craig Barnes, 46, died on Aug. 27.

“When I tell people he took his own life, I don’t want them to automatically think he was weak,” Lauren stresses. “Anyone who risked his life every day for his family and his country isn’t weak. A lot of veterans have seen things that no one should see and it’s really hard on them.”

The three describe the veteran as a good father and friend. But they also say he was deeply troubled by his war experience.

Prospect-reared Craig Barnes was a disabled veteran who served in the Army for 11 years, including as a crew chief with a medevac unit on a UH-1 helicopter. He was discharged as an E-5.

“He had a combat patch from Desert Storm,” Marisa says of the veteran who worked as a postal service employee. “He talked about it some but when he mentioned it, it wasn’t with a lot of emotion. I never knew how impacted he was from his military service.”

Until he shared with her a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ report in which he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, that is.

“I was flabbergasted by it,” she says. “It wasn’t just PTSD. He had chronic pain from degenerative discs because of the military. He was in pain every day of his life. But he never quit working. And he never complained.”

They were married for 21 years, divorcing in 2002.

“We tried very, very hard,” she says. “But I think he was overwhelmed and I was overwhelmed.”

Yet they remained good friends after the divorce, says Marisa, who later remarried.

“We had a unique relationship with our father, the kind all children would hope to have,” interjects Julie, whose husband, Jarod Pace, recently joined the Navy. “He was a very special father, very caring. He was always telling us how special we were to him.”

Lauren, who became an A-student after his death and is the news editor of the South Paw, South Medford’s student paper, echoes those sentiments.

“He was a person I could come home to with something like an A on a silly little paper and be so proud to show it to him,” she says.

“I loved that big smile he would get,” she adds. “He made the littlest thing seem special. And he made you believe it, too.”

But the sisters also saw a sad side.

“I never saw him watch the news,” says Lauren, who is also writing a book about the last summer with her father as part of the senior project. “And he never really talked about anything about the war. He always changed the subject.”

She knows she needs to get an early start on the wreath-laying project.

This past week she sent out letters to Oprah Winfrey and others who may lend a hand. She hopes a corporate sponsor or veterans groups will step forward to help both financially and physically.

Wreaths Across America began in December 1992 when Morrill Worcester, the president of Worcester Wreath Co. in Columbia Falls, Maine, began placing green wreaths decorated with big red ribbons at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

Two years ago he expanded his free effort to include national cemeteries across the nation. Since 2006, six wreaths have been placed on each of the other cemeteries, including the one in Eagle Point. The second Thursday of December has no significance. It just happens that no other major event is happening that day just before the onset of the busy holiday season.

If Lauren is successful, the beautiful Eagle Point cemetery will be the only national cemetery other than Arlington where a wreath will be placed on each grave that day.

“Everybody keeps telling me I can’t do it,” she says. “But I don’t think anything is impossible. I will find a way.”

Wednesday, Apr. 2, 2008

Honoring a young hero

At Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, Stillwater officials presented Hope Hendrix with a Citizen Commendation for her actions during a house fire during the early morning hours of Feb. 17.

Hope, 7, was at home with her mother, Angela Hendrix, her boyfriend Ben Wade, and Hope’s great-grandfather, Francis Brown, when the fire broke out. The youngster immediately woke her mother and alerted her to the blaze.

Angela and Hope exited the home, Wade went to assist Brown, and Angela dialed 911. The intensity of the fire forced Wade from the house, but Stillwater officer Leslie Wardell and Oak Park Heights Sgt. Paul Hoppe arrived on the scene and rescued Brown. The two officers received Meritorious Service Commendations for their actions.

Brown, a World War II veteran who Glaser called an “icon in Stillwater,” was unable to attend the ceremony at City Hall, as he was hospitalized after a recent accident at home.

“We wish him well,” Glaser said.

Hope seemed to blush a bit after receiving the award and a standing ovation from council members and those in attendance.

How hero Harley (4) saved his nan’s life

A YOUNG boy from Aldwick who was not expected to live has turned lifesaver.

Harley Freeman helped to ensure his nan received medical treatment after she collapsed on a footpath.

He coolly and calmly told paramedics the medical history of Sheila Taylor to help them give her the correct treatment instantly to ensure she made a complete recovery.

Mrs Taylor (70), of The Hamlet in Laburnum Grove, said: “If Harley had not been there, I would still be on the ground now. Not a lot of people walk along the path that we were going through.”

Harley’s mother, Lisa Taylor, said: “Harley is my little hero. I am very proud of him.”

Harley, who celebrated his fourth birthday on Monday, sprang into action in late March.

He was walking home to Countisbury Close with Mrs Taylor from the ABC Nursery on Aldwick Road at about 1.30pm on a Tuesday.

Mrs Taylor’s pace began to quicken for no reason as they went along a footpath which connects the two roads.

She collapsed without warning but managed to ask Harley to go to his next-door neighbour.

There was no reply and he went back to Mrs Taylor. She passed out. But Harley was seen walking along Countisbury Close on his own by another neighbour.

He took her to his nan who was still on the ground. With the help of another neighbour, they managed to get her to Harley’s home.

They contacted Lisa and her sister, Sarah, who rang 999.

The paramedics were quickly on the scene and were informed by Harley that Mrs Taylor was a diabetic who had suffered a mild stroke before Christmas. He also passed on details of his family.

This enabled them to begin testing her blood sugar level for potential problems.

She was admitted to St Richard’s Hospital for an overnight stay. Further tests showed she had suffered from a low potassium level which can cause delirium.

It is thought the range of medication she takes for her conditions, which also include high blood pressure, were the cause. She has made a full recovery.

Part-time clerical worker Lisa (33) arrived at the scene to find out Harley had taken charge.

“I couldn’t work out how the paramedics knew my mum had diabetes. But, when we got
to the hospital, they told us what Harley had said to them.

“Harley had a difficult start in life. He was born three months early.

“I went through days of being told he would never live because he had fluid leaking on his brain.

“I was then told he wouldn’t walk. He was late walking and he doesn’t run or kick a football around like other boys.

“But he makes up for his lack of physical ability with his intelligence.

“Everything sinks in with him, even when you are not talking to him. The paramedics were absolutely amazed how much knowledge he has.”

A South East Coast Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “The family of this young boy must be very proud.

“As this case clearly shows, it is very important that children are taught what to do in the case of an emergency because you never know when you may need help.

“As well as teaching children what number to call, it is also important that they know their home address and the name and address of a close relative who could be called upon by the emergency services if necessary.”

Tuesday, Apr. 1, 2008

Heroes hailed after rescue

A FILIPINO fisherman was saved from almost certain drowning when two strangers came to his rescue at the Salmon Holes on Good Friday.

Ariel Dogello was fishing at the Salmon Holes with his family and friends when a large wave washed him into the ocean. Mr Dogello, who cannot swim, tried to climb back onto rocks but was pounded by the rough seas.

Reynold Williams and Lareena Woods saw Mr Dogello washed off the rocks and rushed to his aid.

They threw Mr Dogello a lifebuoy from the Silent Sentry installed by the Nathan Drew Trust in 2004.

However, Mr Dogello could not reach the buoy, so Mr Williams dived in and swam it to him.

Mr Williams struggled to return to shore. Ms Woods then swam to Mr Dogello and tried to bring him ashore until she also got into difficulty.

A bystander alerted police, who contacted Albany Sea Rescue.

A rescue boat was launched and collected Mr Dogello after he had been floating in the water for one-and-a-half hours.

“I owe my life to them,” Mr Dogello said after his rescue.

“I will always remember Good Friday. If I ever go fishing again, it will only be on the beach, not on the rocks.”

Mr Williams and Ms Woods said they had little choice but to dive in.

“He was nearly drowning, so I had to go in,” Mr Williams said.

Mr Dogello (35) has been in Albany for almost two years. He is a maintenance worker at Fletchers International abattoir at Narrikup.

His wife and two young children arrived in Australia for a holiday only two weeks ago.

The Nathan Drew Trust was formed to promote awareness and coastal safety after the teenager drowned at the Salmon Holes in September 2003.

The device was designed by the Drew family who have also worked tirelessly with the community and local buinesses to raise funds for life vests which can be hired from local outlets.

The device was the first of its kind in Australia and had received the support of the Department of Conservation and Land Management.

Cop honored for rescue of girl hostage

Police brass recently honored an Emergency Services detective who saved the life of a 3-year-old girl in Queens in February.

Detective Michael Cook talked to an emotionally disturbed man who held his daughter hostage for more than seven hours after barricading himself in his Queensbridge apartment.

Cook, a 12-year department veteran, gradually earned the trust of the father and secured the release of the child.

“NYPD Emergency Service officers respond to tens of thousands of cases involving emotionally disturbed individuals every year,” Commissioner Ray Kelly said in a statement.

“The fact that the vast majority of them are resolved without injury to the distraught person is due to the exceptional police work exemplified by Detective Cook in this situation,” Kelly said.

“He and his colleagues are to be commended for a job well-done, which often goes unrecognized.”

The certificate presented to Detective Cook reads:

“On February 22, 2008, Detective Michael Cook, assigned to ESU No. 8, was part of a team that responded to a barricaded, emotionally disturbed male holding a three-year-old girl.

“For seven hours Detective Cook continued talking and eventually won the trust of the barricaded male. After talking with the E.D.P., and continuing to gain his trust, the E.D.P. finally surrendered. Detective Cook’s ‘never give up’ attitude was in keeping with the finest traditions of the Emergency Service Unit.”

Teacher nominated for journalism award

A SHEFFIELD (UK) schoolteacher found himself rubbing shoulders with sporting superstars when he was nominated for a top national journalism award.

Ian McNeilly, who teaches English at Brantwood School in Nether Edge, also runs a website in his spare time, BritishBoxing.net which has been up and running for the last four years.

And for his writing on the site Ian was nominated in the Internet Sports Writer of the Year category at the British Sports Journalism Awards held in London.

Although he lost out to a writer from the BBC, Ian mixed with the cream of the national sporting press as well as sporting heroes like Lord Coe and Sir Bobby Charlton who presented the awards.

Winners on the night included Fleet Street heavyweights like James Lawton and Martin Samuel, as well as Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling.

“I was one of only two minnows to be nominated, if you like – with Pete McKee, who is a Sheffield Telegraph cartoonist,” said Ian, 36.

“But to be nominated was a real shot in the arm for me – after all I run the website from my bedroom purely as a hobby, and there are now thousands of bloggers and online writers out there.

“When I became interested in boxing it was very much a poor relation of the sport, and you could easily get access to the athletes involved. Now it is booming and I think my nomination was another feather in the cap for the sport.”

Thursday, Mar. 27, 2008

Ordinary people honored as true heroes

Heroism no longer has the distinction it once did. Athletes are called heroes for tossing a ball through a hoop. Philanthropists are called heroes for signing a check.

On Wednesday, a group of real heroes — people who over the last year put their lives on the line for others they never knew — got their due at the annual American Red Cross Heroes of Mid-Fairfield County Breakfast at the Trumbull Marriott.

Among those honored was Bridgeport City Councilman Angel dePara, who on June 30, 2007, dashed into a burning tenement on Stillman Street to save an elderly woman and a young girl, and returned to the flames to save another man in his 20s. He returned a third time to make sure no one was left behind.

“I still run into him sporadically,” dePara said of the man he led to safety. “I was walking down the street a few weeks after it happened and I hear this guy call out, ‘Hey hero!’ — it turned out to be him.”

He also said that the elderly woman didn’t seem too eager to be rescued. “She thought that I was going to kidnap them or something. I literally had to drag them out.”

Another of the Heroes was Fairfield police Officer James Pauciello, who on Feb. 1, 2007, rescued a 13-year-old girl trying to take her own life by standing on the train tracks. He pulled her to safety just as a 100-mph Acela Express train was bearing down on her. As the train rushed by a few feet away, he had to fight her struggles to throw herself under its wheels. Hero honors also went to Lee Cooper, of Westport, who while vacationing in Palm Beach, Fla., over last Memorial Day weekend, rescued a 12-year-old girl and an older man who got caught in the ocean’s riptide.

“When I got out there, I realized that I could only save one at a time,” he said. “The man said, ‘Well, what about me?’ but I told him, ‘Hey she’s a girl, I have to get her first. But I promise, I’ll come back to get you.’ ” Cooper kept that promise. One of the Red Cross heroes saved a life with her voice.

On July 29, K.C. Duffy, of West Haven, an emergency medical dispatcher with the Southwestern Regional Communications Center in Bridgeport, talked a man through helping his wife deliver their baby. Twenty minutes later, his wife gave birth to a 6-pound, 2-ounce, 19-inch boy. Eleven emergency responders, a radio dispatcher from Fairfield and an American Medical Response ambulance crew were given hero awards for saving the life of bow hunter Neil Champagne, who suffered a heart attack while sitting in his tree blind platform 25 feet up.

“I owe you all venison dinners,” Champagne told his rescuers.

Trumbull lifeguards Cody Hutchinson and Matt Cellini were honored for a rescue July 11, 2007, of a young girl who was pulled, nearly lifeless, from the bottom of the town’s Beaches Pool.

After two minutes that must have seemed like an eternity, the girl coughed up pool water and began crying.

Also receiving the award were Trumbull police Officers Douglas Smith and Jay Leos, who responded to the scene of a horrific accident on the Merritt Parkway on Jan. 26, 2007, in which a Subaru split in two after striking a tree.

The driver, a young woman, is believed to have suffered among the worst injuries ever suffered in a Trumbull car crash and survived.

The two Trumbull rescues prompted Trumbull First Selectman Raymond Baldwin, the ceremony emcee, to remark: “After hearing these stories, it sounds like Trumbull’s a very dangerous place to live.”

Bridgeport Firefighters Eric Levine, John Prusak and Frank McNellis received an award for saving a woman on March 7, 2007, from a burning home, which involved setting up a 28-foot ladder to reach a second-floor porch roof, and another 14-foot ladder to access a third-floor window.

The woman, who was unconscious, had to be revived on the porch roof before she could be brought to the ground.

Also honored were Stratford sisters Caitlin and Rebecca Simon, who collected more than 1,000 Beanie Babies to send to soldiers in Iraq so they could be given to children in that war-torn nation.

The sisters also sold bookmarks to purchase defibrillators for the town of Stratford.

The students of Monroe’s Chalk Hill School were honored for a variety of charitable endeavors, such as organizing a coat drive, collecting food for the hungry, and collecting Halloween costumes for needy children.

Also, George Ciaccio, of Wilton, was cited for spearheading Wilton Commons, a reduced-cost housing complex for the elderly with 77 one- and two-bedroom apartments. It will be completed in 2010.

Monday, Mar. 24, 2008

JCB driver hailed hero of fire

A JCB driver has been hailed as a hero after helping to put out a barn fire.

Phil Gentleman was working on improvements to the high street in Wealdstone when he got a call from firefighters tackling a blaze in Harrow Weald (UK).

A barn adjacent to Grim’s Dyke Hotel, in Old Redding, had caught on fire at around 6.30pm on Sunday, March 9.

Phil was called at 9am on Tuesday to use his JCB to move bales of hay, still smouldering from the blaze.

He said: “This is one of the more unusual jobs I’ve had.

“The fire brigade thanked me afterwards, but I was happy to help.”

Phil helped moved the bales of hay for more than six hours, as firefighters tackled the blaze.

He was praised by Councillor Susan Hall for his actions. She said: “This was certainly beyond the call of normal duty.

“We’d like to thank Phil for helping out so energetically.”

Firefighters rescue disabled girl from blaze

A disabled girl around 11 years old is in hospital after firefighters rescued her from the window of a burning building in Montreal (Canada) early Monday morning.

Firefighters said the girl received non-life-threatening injuries when fire broke out around 2 a.m. at a three-storey apartment building on Fullum Street.

About 25 people fled the building, making way for about 100 firefighters who fought the flames and smoke.

The girl was left behind in a first-floor apartment, where firefighters reached her and carried her to safety.

A few firefighters remained on the scene of the charred building with smashed windows around 8:30 a.m. Monday.

Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire.

Monday, Feb. 25, 2008

Deputies to be honored for work

A number of Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Department deputies will be recognized in April for acts ranging from saving residents from a fire to solving ongoing cases to organizing charity events.

In all, 15 deputies – all of whom were awarded deputy of the month during 2007 – will be honored at the next Vanderburgh County Deputies’ Organization meeting.

The deputies of the month from 2007 who are being honored are as follows:

• January – Aaron Hunter, Rob Clark and Chad Howard – Evacuated two residents from a residential fire.

• February – Tom Wedding – Tracked, monitored and arrested numerous sex offenders while maintaining the sex offender registry/Web site.

• March – Toby Wolfe and Matt Weiss – Solved an auto theft case and later assisted an Evansville Police Officer arrest the suspect, who was fighting the police officer and trying to take his gun.

• April – Rob Clark – Pursued a suspect on foot and later recovered 1.25 pounds of cocaine from him.

• May – Nathan Sugarman and Jeff South – Evacuated residents from a residential fire.

• June – Joe Beckwith – Arrested a three-time burglary suspect and out-of-state parolee after identifying the suspect as he pumped gas at a filling station.

• July – Raymond Reason – Conducted a traffic stop that yielded 20 pounds of marijuana

• August – Mike Robinson – Climbed in an overturned glass-filled vehicle to assist the driver and passenger and prevent life threatening injuries at a traffic accident.

• September – Kelly Williams – Recognized for his off-duty work in organizing the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program.

• October – Stuart Mosby – Thoroughly investigated a stolen vehicle/hit and run/false informing case.

• November – Rob Lutz – Assisted during a residential blaze to prevent the spread of the fire and the complete destruction of the home.

• December – James Martin – Recognized for organizing the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office Shop With a Cop event.

An exact date for the April meeting has not yet been set.

Teacher in Fort Pierce gets national award

Indian River Community College adult education teacher Ed Musgrove thought he was going to hear about budget cuts when he and his adult education colleagues were called to a 9 a.m. meeting Friday. Instead, he learned he is getting a national adult education teaching award.

The room was quiet when IRCC President Ed Massey walked in. Massey then said he was there because of Musgrove.

“What did I do?” Musgrove asked from the front row.

It turns out Musgrove is getting the Edward M. Easley Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award from the Commission on Adult Basic Education at the commission’s national conference in St. Louis in April. He will get a plaque and $1,000 with the award.

“What a surprise,” Musgrove said.

He said afterward he didn’t know he had even been nominated for the award.

Musgrove, of Fort Pierce, has been teaching English as a Second Language classes at IRCC since 1992. He also developed a curriculum so his students could get take certified nursing assistant classes while learning English.

He said he enjoys his job and his students.

“I think the important thing is being able to see our second-language students develop the skills to help them be successful in the U.S.,” Musgrove said.

Musgrove credited his success to his colleagues.

“You’ve all been supportive and helpful. I do appreciate it,” he said.

Massey thanked Musgrove for his hard work.

“You don’t work for the recognition. (But) it’s great to get it,” he told Musgrove.

Suzanne Ensmann, director of adult education for IRCC, said Musgrove was selected because of his accomplishments at the college.

“The students come back and say they love him,” she said.

Thursday, Jan. 17, 2008

The world is this special teacher’s classroom

Patty Stone pulled a page out of an Atlas and began tracking the South American journey of her 25-year-old daughter, Sarah. A trail of yellow highlighter snaked through Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

A life of adventure has long appealed to Sarah Stone, and she spent most of 2007 trekking through Central and South America.

After graduating with a degree in psychology from the UNC Chapel Hill in 2005, Stone taught in Wilmington and worked with children with special needs. While she loved the area and her job, she wanted to explore the world before settling down into real life, she said.

“I wanted to do something exciting and a change of pace before becoming so career-oriented. I was able to combine teaching, which I love, with traveling,” said Stone, who spent a semester in Italy for a study-abroad program in college.

She and her boyfriend, Rhett Schools, also a teacher, enrolled in Transworld Schools in San Francisco in February 2006. It took a month to train to for certification in TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages).

By March, they had started their travels in Guatemala, meandering down to Ecuador.

For one month, Stone lived in Costa Rica with her college roommate who was living there as part of a mission trip.

In May, she returned to Kernersville before heading back to South America. She began teaching in Cuenca, Ecuador, in August.

She was paid $250 a month.

“We were paid very little, but it was enough to survive. It is very easy to live on $2 a day there,” said Stone said.

A dollar paid for lunch. That would include a meat, salad, juice, rice and beans. Rent was $50 a month in a picturesque terra cotta colored street side apartment with turquoise shutters.

When Patty and John Stone visited their youngest child in November, they stayed in an upper-story apartment, paying $75 for one week’s visit. The luxurious hotel in Cuenca had a nightly rate of $50.

Life slowed to a different pace for Stone. She walked to school where she taught adults and children to speak English. She had no car and no television. She spent her days teaching, reading, cooking, shopping for fresh vegetables and fruits in the market and traveling.

Her hair grew long and wavy. Upon return to the U.S., Stone had her hairdresser cut off 10 inches to donate to Locks of Love to make wigs for cancer patients.

While learning about the culture of South America, Stone also took time to scuba dive while living in South America and received her master-scuba certification.

Born without her right hand, the certification process took extra diligence during the skills performance.

“I had to take all of the equipment off and put it back on underwater. They gave me a little extra time,” Stone said.

Visiting the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean was amazing, she said.

“She’s been figuring things out her whole life,” Patty Stone said. “I really admired her for going on such an adventure.”

Now that Stone is back in the United States, she is teaching English as a second language part time at Konnoak Elementary School in Winston-Salem while saving for her next round of travels. She plans to get her master’s degree and hopes to teach abroad again one day.

“I’d like to go back to South America, and I’d like to go to Asia,” Stone said. “I can’t see staying in one place my whole life.”

Officers take kids on shopping spree

At the front of the Wal-Mart Supercenter in North Little Rock, the single mothers and their children lined up with their carts.

As part of the Shop With A Cop program, each family would be matched with a North Little Rock police officer for a morning of Christmas shopping. The police would pick up the tab — $ 150 for each child.

Officer Tommy Norman, the program’s organizer, offered a word of caution.

“If a police officer asks you to buy him doughnuts, don’t do it,” he said, tongue planted firmly in cheek.

Over the next two hours, a dozen children filled their shopping carts with clothes and toys. Next weekend, 10 more children will get their turn.

Norman said he and his fellow officers had been looking forward to the trip.

“I woke up at 3 o’clock this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep, I was so excited — and I’m not even shopping,” Norman said.

This is the second year for the program, which Norman started after reading about a similar initiative in Champaign, Ill. The families of single, working mothers are eligible. Some were nominated by friends or co-workers. Others went to the Police Department asking for help.

The money for the gifts was from private donations, including $ 1, 200 from a penny drive at Immaculate Conception Catholic School in North Little Rock. Members of the student government group showed up Sunday, helping load the families’ shopping carts and wrapping the gifts after they checked out.

Other money came from Wal-Mart Stores Inc., First United Methodist Church of North Little Rock, Coulson Oil Co., the Argenta Men’s Club and the Arkansas National Guard recruiting office.

Eight police officers showed up in uniform but off-duty, volunteering their time.

“This is just a way for the North Little Rock Police Department to show the children of North Little Rock that we care about them and we’re their friends,” Norman said.

Davina Kelley, a 25-year-old market research company worker, was prepared. She had taken her two children, Aayana, 5, and Amare, 4, to the store a few days earlier and made a list of gifts, making sure the prices added up to $ 150.

But as Aayana and Amare wandered the aisles Sunday, Kelley quickly gave up on the list.

“They just basically went on what they wanted,” she said.

Amare loaded up on Spider-Man toys. For Aayana, it was Bratz. She also found a My Little Pony doll that talks and wiggles when its hoof is pressed.

“She’s going to carry that everywhere, I think,” Kelley said.

Juseria Lovelace, 10, picked out a digital music player, some clothes and Pete the Repeat Parrot, that repeats whatever he hears.

Teacher Helps Students Help Others

A former South Florida teacher of the year inspired her students to help others.

Mary Jane DeShong is a science teacher at Pembroke Pines Charter School. She said she has an undying passion to help others, which is why she formed TROOP.

“TROOP started two years ago with a group of kids that wanted to make a difference in society,” DeShong said. “TROOP stands for Teens Reaching Out to Other People. We started with 24 students and it has grown to over 75.”

Over two years, the students of TROOP have sent care packages to troops in Iraq, gone to nursing homes to help the elderly, gone to Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital to spend time with sick children and mentored young students.

On Thursday, they were getting ready for an event for Locks of Love and the Make a Wish Foundation.

DeShong said that forming the group was her inspiration.

“This is something that was inspired by God, and I prayed on it,” she said. “It’s just something that has manifested into something it is now.”

While middle school students at the charter school are required to put in service hours, TROOP is not part of that. It is strictly volunteer.

“I’ve asked the kids, ‘Why? Why are you here? Why do you after school go to the nursing home or to Joe DiMaggio or spend an entire Sunday morning and afternoon down at FAU in Miami being huggers for the Special Olympics? What do you get out of it?” DeShong said. “And they said, ‘It’s a warm and fuzzy feeling. We do it because it makes us feel good, and we do it because it’s the right thing.'”

As a teacher, DeShong said she is in a position of influence.

“If I can influence the kids to give of themselves and to be compassionate, then I’ve done my job,” she said.

Knife wound hero: ‘I would do it again’

A SPLIT-second decision to protect strangers almost cost a city man his life when he came within inches of death.
Talking for the first time today, as he recovers from having his stomach slashed open by a knife, 22-year-old Nick Petruzziello said stepping into a scene of mayhem and chaos in the city centre had made him determined to become a police officer.

When fear broke out in Long Causeway after a car mowed down two people, Nick became the hero of the moment as he kept a cool head, and his Territorial Army training kicked in.

Today, Nick, who works as a painter and decorator in his family’s business, is still weak and recovering at home in Dogsthorpe after being stabbed in a melee following the crash. He knew he had a close shave when surgeons told him the blade had come close to his bowel and he had to undergo a two hour operation.

Speaking exclusively to The Evening Telegraph he told how shopping at the sales with girlfriend Jennie Westall on January 5 had probably changed his life forever. They had just picked up a takeaway when Nick heard a bang and saw a car come through a barrier and shoppers went flying.

He said: “I remember people getting knocked down. I saw a girl in the air. It was surreal. The car was coming towards me and I had to push my girlfriend out of the way.”

In the panic and jostling that followed the incident Nick tried to bring calm to the crowd and then felt a sharp pain in his abdomen.

“It felt like a punch but hurt more. Then I looked down and could see an open wound and I had to hold my stomach in. I was shouting to people that there was a knife.”

Paramedics rushed Nick to Peterborough District Hospital, where he underwent major surgery. Today he has 13 stitches and a five inch scar.

Recovery will take a little time but he is being supported by his parents Linda (42), Dario (45), brother Michael (20) and a network of friends and family.

He said: “I was really lucky. I think the gym saved me. If I wasn’t fit , I wouldn’t have got out of hospital so quickly.”

Nick said his Army cadet training at Stamford College and then time in the TA stood him in good stead.

He sent thanks to security guards and shoppers who rallied round to help.

He said: “Everyone did so well. People were helping those on the floor. We have so many different cultures here and yet everyone came together.

“I’ve gained experience of dealing with something like this, and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. I’ve always wanted to help people and I’m hoping to get into the police force. This has made me even more determined.”

Hero pilot saves plane passengers

A hero British Airway pilot saved the lives of his 136 passengers with a miraculous emergency landing at Heathrow Airport this afternoon.

His Boeing 777 is feared to have been in difficulties as it approached the airport and the pilot had radioed ahead warning that he was in trouble.

It is thought to have had undercarriage problems so it could not touch down normally on the runway without risk of sparking a major disaster.

The plane, flight BA038 from Beijing, landed on grass more than 100 yards short of the tarmac.

Witnesses told how it banked violently and came in very low before slamming onto the grass.

The pilot them managed to keep control of the massive jet and brought it to a standstill safely at the start of the runway.

One wing was almost ripped off and both engines badly damaged.

Moments later the passengers poured out of the jet on emergency chutes as fire crews laid down a carpet of foam over the plane and the landing site.

Amazingly only three of those on board were slightly injured in the drama that closed one runway and delayed scores of flights, including one taking Prime Minister Gordon Brown and business leaders to India and China.

Eye witness Neil Jones who has a pilot’s licence said: “You could see the plane was clearly in trouble as it came in to land. It turned sharply to the left and approached significantly lower than normal.

“The pilot was working extremely hard to keep control. He managed to stop very quickly without any fire. He has done a great job.”

Passenger Fernando Prado said moments after getting off the aircraft: “I feel very lucky to be alive. I feel like I’ve won the lottery.”

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