Saturday, May. 31, 2008
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.”