Animals

Disabled Puppy Rescued

A disabled puppy got a new lease on life after an attack.

Stitch, who is 9 months old, was set to be put down by his owner after an attack by another dog left him brain damaged and unable to see or walk straight.

Word of the Maryland puppy’s future some how made it on to the Internet and a good Samaritan in New Jersey flew down to pick up the puppy and then flew him to the Tri-County Humane Society in Boca Raton.

The organization said they are optimistic that with the right care and attention Stich will be OK and could be availabe for adoption in a few months.

Whale rescue team removes rope from humpback calf

A team of rescuers successfully removed a 150-foot length of rope that was tangled around the tail of a humpback whale calf.

A spokeswoman for the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies says the calf was first spotted early Sunday afternoon by a whale watching vessel.

The center’s disentangledment team immediately deployed and reached the whale at about 3:30 p.m., 26 miles east of Boston.

The team determined that the rope was wrapped around the fluke, or tail, with 70 to 80 feet of rope trailing, and that it needed to be removed because of its position, the nature of the calf’s wounds and the age of the whale.

The team used a grappling hook and buoy to remove the line while the calf and its mother swam at high speeds and with quick changes in direction.

Rescue underway for 100 stranded whales

A rescue mission is taking place in Madagascar to save more than 100 whales stranded on the north of the island.

About 30 of the mammals have already died.

The stranding took place near an area where a major oil company, Exxon Mobil, was carrying out seismic surveys.

The company has denied any link between its operation and the stranding, but has halted its surveying program for the time being.

Rescued cat returns the favor

Joey was a stray cat with asthma when Vanessa Hill rescued him from a colony of feral cats two years ago.

In early April, Hill says, Joey returned the favor by repeatedly waking her when she lost consciousness in a life-threatening ordeal with a blood infection that would hospitalize her for more than a month.

“He saved my life,” Hill said. “I love him to death.”

Felicia Cross, founder-president of Forgotten Cats, the nonprofit program that traps, neuters and releases cats living in feral colonies, gave Joey the title of Forgotten Cats Hero. Hill, a retired operating room technician, is a volunteer with the group.

She was caring for about 600 cats a month that the group trapped, then neutered or spayed. Most are returned to their colonies but Joey, then about 6 months old, was affectionate. It’s a sign he had lived with people, Cross said, “like many throwaway cats we find.”

His asthma didn’t deter Hill, who is also asthmatic. “He has his own little inhaler with a little mask and, once, he had to spend a couple of days in the hospital because his attack was so bad,” she said.

Cross said, “I think Joey knows Vanessa saved his life when he was a kitten. “He saw that she was in distress and kept resuscitating her. I think it’s a real miracle.”

In early April, Hill, 49, said she felt worn out, but blamed it on her asthma, which forced her into disability retirement and hospitalized her the month before. “I started sleeping a lot, although I didn’t notice that I was at the time,” she said.

Hill said it became an effort to feed Joey and her other rescue cats — Beans, Angel, Chief and Angus. But that day, Hill felt too weak get up and kept falling asleep.

“Joey kept jumping up on the bed trying to wake me up,” she said. “He kept standing on my stomach and it hurt real bad — that’s what made me get up.”

But Hill didn’t get far.

“I had to sit at the side of the bed for half an hour before I could even stand up,” Hill recalled. She made it to a kitchen chair.

“I went to feed the cat then call the doctor,” Hill said, but, “I went out like a light.”

The next thing Hill remembered, “I came to with him (Joey) nudging me to wake up.” The other pets were “just peeking around the corner at me, but Joey, he was the one who was just staying with me there, lying on the floor with me, nudging me.

“I still couldn’t get up so I had to scoot along the kitchen floor back to my bedroom to the phone and Joey scooted along with me.”

It was a struggle for Hill to get to the phone: “I started at 10 in the morning and got to the phone about 7 that night,” she said.

Hill called her sister, Cheryl Lewis, 51, who lived around the corner, and her uncle, Ernie Willitt, who lived next door. They found out that her ordeal had lasted not one day, but two.

“When I got to Vanessa’s, I noticed at least two newspapers there, so I knew she was out for at least two days,” Lewis said.

Lewis and Willitt took Hill to Christiana Hospital. She was admitted in critical condition, they said.

As Hill was treated with antibiotics and underwent tests, she said doctors told her she had a severe staph infection in her blood, “the kind that attacks the valves of your heart … and can kill you.”

Her kidneys were failing, she said, “and my blood pressure was like 80 over 50 and it was dropping; that’s why I was passing out.”

Later, she said, doctors found the infection had affected her heart.

Hill spent four weeks in at Christiana Care Health System’s Riverside Transitional Care in Wilmington.

Lewis said she has heard of dog heroics and rescues. “But you don’t hear about cats doing this kind of thing,” she said. And while Lewis is more a dog-lover, she said, “Joey’s something special.”

And the hero cat?

“Joey’s good,” Hill said. “My uncle brought him some turkey and I got him some treats. He loves treats — and he earned plenty of them.”

Zoo artificially fertilises rhino egg

An Australian zoo on Friday said it had artificially fertilised a rhinoceros egg in a breakthrough that could be used in the future to ensure the critically endangered animal’s survival.

Biologists succeeded in fertilising the egg of a female black rhinoceros with sperm from a male after several failed attempts. The procedure was carried out at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in the New South Wales town of Dubbo, about 300 kilometres (186 miles) west of Sydney, with the help of experts from Berlin’s Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Biologist Tamara Keeley said despite the team’s success, the technology to implant the egg into a female to carry it for the 14-month gestation period did not yet exist. Instead, any viable embryos created would be preserved in liquid nitrogen until the technology to carry out rhino in-vitro fertilisation catches up. “This embryo, we’re hoping, will continue to develop and if it develops enough, we’ll actually freeze it and keep it frozen until we’ve developed the technology that we need to transfer it back into a rhino and possibly produce a rhino calf,” Keeley told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Scientists said the breakthrough could keep genetic diversity alive in the animals, of which only 3,725 survive in the wild, and help assisted reproduction in other rhino species.

Stolen Puppy Returned Due to News Story

Good news, the puppy stolen from Pets Discount a few days ago has been returned to the store.

Employees said the dog was returned because of the attention from a story we aired on KGMB9.

A friend reportedly threatened to turn the thieves into police if they did not return the dog. Management says it got a call Sunday asking what would happen if they brought the pup back.

“I just told them all we need is the puppy, we don’t want to press charges if we get the puppy. We don’t want to know who brought it back,” said Kip Koshei.

Employees said about two hours later the puppy was found sitting in the store’s show case. They said the puppy appears to be okay and it already has a new owner and will be heading to its new home Monday.

Angel Food Ministries

Angel Food Helps With Rising Food Costs

Churches across the state will be delivering 37 tons of food tomorrow to help Virginians with rising grocery costs.

One local church is participating in the angel food ministries program. The Orange Baptist church will provide forty five families with a box a meat, vegetables and other essentials

“It is approximately 20 pounds of food that will last a family of four about a week and a senior citizen up to a month,” said Melinda Clark of the Orange Baptist Church

The box costs thirty dollars but is valued at more than twice that. Angle food is hoping more Central Virginia churches will take part in the program.

Rescues

Family rescued from toy dinghy

A WOMAN and three children were rescued yesterday after they were blown out to sea in a toy dinghy.
Clyde coastguard said the family did not have a paddle and were not wearing lifejackets when they were caught out by a strong offshore wind.

The woman and children were rescued after a member of the public spotted them floating out to sea and called 999.

Peter Stewart, the Clyde Coastguard watch manager, said: “A potential disaster was averted today. These people were ill-prepared for taking to sea, with no lifejackets and no paddles and wearing beachwear.

“Once the offshore wind picked them up, they had absolutely no control over their fate and, as the beach disappeared into the distance, their only hope could be that someone would notice and make the right decision to call 999 and ask for the coastguard.

“Inflatable toys and boats are far more suitable for swimming pools and the like.”

Workers Rescued After Crane Collapses

Fire crews worked to rescue two men trapped inside a crane that collapsed in Baltimore County Wednesday afternoon.

The crane collapsed at a shipyard in Sparrows Point around 4:15 p.m. Wednesday after severe storms passed through the area, according to Sky Team 11 Capt. Roy Taylor.

Taylor reported that two men were trapped inside the twisting metal, but both were able to make contact with fire crews to let them know they were OK.

At about 4:45 p.m., fire crews used a ladder truck to reach one of the men, who was able to make his way down a fire ladder by himself. He walked away from the wreck on his own and refused treatment, video from Sky Team 11 showed.

Crews rescued the other man by 5 p.m. He also refused treatment, Taylor reported.

Sparrows Point is the site of a steel mill owned by Russian steelmaker OAO Severstal.

Climber rescued after falling 2,000 feet on Mount McKinley

Mountaineers performed a complicated rope rescue Tuesday night on Mount McKinley to reach a climber after the man tumbled 2,000 feet down the mountain.

Denali National Park and Preserve officials said the climber, 44-year-old Claude Ratte, of Montreal, Candada, missed a step while descending the well-traveled West Buttress ridge and fell down a snow- and ice-covered stretch of the mountain with slopes between 35 and 40 degrees. His face and leg were badly injured. They said he used a satellite phone to call rescuers shortly before noon Tuesday.

A park spokeswoman said two teams reached Ratte within a few hours and joined for an elaborate, technical rope rescue that involved 14 ground rescuers and included the longest raising operation — Ratte was hoisted 2,000 feet by rope — in the history of mountaineering in Denali National Park.

Ratte was in serious but stable,\ condition at a camp at 14,200 feet on Mount McKinley this morning as park officials waited for the weather to clear so he can be flown to Anchorage for further medical care.

“It’s amazing the things that people live through,” said park spokeswoman Maureen McLaughlin.

Science & Technology

Study: Alligator Blood May Cure Humans

Proteins in alligator blood could lead to new drugs that fight the super infections that plague humans, Louisiana researchers say. Mark Merchant of McNeese State University in Lake Charles, La., noticed that alligators often get banged up in battles over territory or food, but they never seem to get infected, despite slimy living conditions in bacteria-filled swamps.

“These alligators tend to get into tussles and fights,” says Lancia Darville, a researcher at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and a study co-author. “They have torn limbs and scratches that are exposed to all of this bacteria in the water, yet they are never infected.”

In a study, presented last week at the American Chemical Society meeting in New Orleans, Merchant and other experts explained why.

When researchers exposed 23 species of bacteria to the serum from alligator blood, all of the bugs were destroyed. Humans typically can defeat only eight of the bacteria.

“That was a good indication that alligators must have some other additional proteins or some proteins that are overly expressed in their system that are either not present in ours or not overexpressed in ours,” Darville says.

The study was the first to explore the anti-microbial activity of alligator blood in detail, according to the American Chemical Society. Previous studies by Merchant found that alligators, unlike humans, who need to be exposed to a bug for their immune system to gear up to fight it, are born with what is called an innate immune system.

“They don’t need to be exposed to any microorganism such as bacteria, viruses, fungi for their bodies to respond against them,” Danville says.

The findings may lead scientists to new drugs that can fight some of the most stubborn infections in humans, such as the “superbugs” that resist antibiotics.

If scientists can identify and then mimic the alligator’s microscopic defenders, Darville says, they might be able to make stronger bug-fighting pills or creams that could be applied to burns to fight infections.

“Ultimately, we would like to determine what the chemical structure is,” Darville says. “Once we can do that, we could eventually develop these into different anti-bacterial and anti-fungal drugs.”

Earthquake prediction breakthrough close

Scientists at the United States space agency NASA say they could be on the verge of a breakthrough in their efforts to forecast earthquakes.

Researchers say some of the biggest earthquakes, such as the recent one in China, seem to be preceded by disturbances high up in the earth’s atmosphere.

They think rocks which are about to break become positively charged with electricity at the earth’s surface.

The electrical effect is then transferred 100 kilometres into the ionosphere, where it can be picked up by satellites.

Alzheimer

Alzheimer’s breakthrough is welcomed

A breakthrough in research into Alzheimer’s Disease has been welcomed by those dealing with the condition.

Dr Calum Sutherland and colleagues at Dundee University’s Ninewells Medical School identified an enzyme which partially reverses the development of nerve clumps and tangles in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s.

The enzyme acts on a protein called CRMP2 which plays a key role in the formation of the clumps.

Drugs developed from the discovery could slow down their growth.

Dr Sutherland said: “One of the hardest tasks in Alz-heimer’s research is finding the abnormal biochemical pathways among the cascade of reactions taking place in the healthy brain, and working out how to repair them without causing unwanted side-effects.

“The new work highlights part of the natural process that could be harnessed to fully reverse the abnormal CRMP2 structure.”

Rebecca Wood, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Research Trust which funded Dr Sutherland’s work, said such findings are crucial to understanding the condition.

“A better understanding of the changes that occur in the brain at the onset of Alzheim-er’s, and how the disease progresses, could enable scientists to develop effective treatments for slowing or stopp-ing the disease,” she said.

“With 700,000 people in the UK living with Alzheim-er’s and other dementias, we desperately need to find an effective treatment to help these people.”

The discovery has been welcomed by Alzheimer’s Scotland which supports sufferers and their families.

Gabrielle Colston-Taylor, service manager for the charity in Dundee, said there is some pride that the discovery has been made in the city.

“It’s really exciting that this has happened in Scotland and more so that it’s in Dundee,” she said.

“But with all these things it will take time for it to be turned into a usable medicine for treatment.”

Life

A hero without the paperwork

It was a day of minor miseries. There was a new eight-page form that replaced an old one-page form. Two pharmacies called about patients whose medications had run out but could not be renewed without prior authorization. A social security application required more documentation. We live in a mad land where helping people rests on faxing paperwork.

That night I went to the shelter. I have always thought of it as the last outpost where forms have not taken hold yet. But they had introduced a new form there, too. It involved arrows, decision trees, and subparagraphs. It was dispiriting.

The staff members were in their usual perpetual motion. They work long shifts, turnover is high, and many of them also work second jobs in other shelters, other outposts. The evening supervisor is African and tall as a tree. He wears loose cotton shirts, bone dry in the absence of the African sun, a gold wedding band, a baseball cap. Drunken clients misunderstand his accent, and he has experienced the casual racism of those who, with nothing else to their names, feel entitled to claim the United States as their exclusive property.

The shelter wheels turn smoothly under him. But that night the wheels were falling off. Plumbing had broken in the men’s dorm, there was a fight in the dinner line, something was going on with the ventilation, someone was being taken away to detox. The supervisor was running like a madman with his notebook in his hand.

In the middle of the shift, a woman arrived, in tears, but not for psychiatric reasons. She had been living in the shelter a few months, valiantly sober, managing a full-time job. She was slogging through the necessary steps to self-financing and getting an apartment: paycheck, bank account, first and last month’s rent.

A few days earlier, she thought she had found a place outside of the shelter to stay while accomplishing all this. She had handed in her notice, returned her locker key, and packed her stuff. This meant giving her bed up to someone else.

But her housing situation fell through. Now she had lost her bed and locker. Without a locker, she had no place to keep her uniform; without a uniform, she could not keep her job; without her job, she could not keep her bank account. Entropy was rising all around her.

We clucked helplessly and passed tissues. The bed belonged to someone else now; the shelter was full. At this hour of the night, other shelters were probably also full. She held up her hands in defeat.

The case manager decided to consult the evening supervisor. There was not much anyone could do – numbers were numbers – but it seemed like a supervisor should know the situation. Besides, productive feelings come from sharing a problem without a solution, even though the feelings are usually illusory. As a former boss once said, never suffer alone, and always kick it upstairs. The case manager left, and we sat in silence, listening to noise from the other side of the door.

There was nothing therapeutic to say.

It took a long time to track the supervisor down. That tall, treelike man was in Heisenbergian motion, disappearing between plumbing repairs and ambulances. At last he was located.

His response was prompt. No problem, he said. He would find a bed for her on the floor. This was an executive decision. He would use his authority and arrange the details.

The whole sobriety-saving, future-saving transaction occurred quickly, efficiently, and without a single fax (though there must have been some form to fill out afterward – if it wasn’t recorded, how could it exist?).

Comparisons are irresistible. Paper is self-important and often unhelpful. The supervisor was humble and promptly able to accomplish the necessary. I regret I know nothing of the details of this man’s life – what country in Africa he is from, how many children he has, what second or third job he works. I only know he is flesh instead of paginated sheets or self-addressed stamped envelopes, an unsung hero of whom I sing.

100-year-old man attends his 80th reunion at Bates

There were no classmates to share memories with, but 100-year-old Alfred Webber found plenty of admirers when he returned to Bates College to mark his 80th class reunion this weekend.

“They really make a lot of it,” said the Chadds Ford, Pa., resident, who flew to Maine for the gathering of about 1,000 Bates alumni from classes spanning several decades. Webber is the only member of any of the classes of the 1920s who attended the reunion, the college said. A Lisbon Falls, Maine, native, Webber majored in physics and math at Bates before launching a three-decade career with DuPont Co. that took him to southeastern Pennsylvania.

He stays active and involved in his hobbies, which include astronomy, and drives a car. “My license expires in 2011,” he said during a telephone interview yesterday.

Born on Oct. 10, 1907, when Theodore Roosevelt was president, Webber graduated from high school in his hometown before enrolling at Bates. The private, liberal arts school’s 1928 yearbook makes reference to Webber’s interest in French and music.

His first job after graduation was orchestra director at Franklin High School in Franklin, Mass. Webber became principal at Brookline High School in Brookline, Mass., in 1937, but returned to school for graduate work in physics.

Asked what he credits for his many years, Webber said: “If a woman asks me that, I say I had a good wife.”

Heroes

Hero loco driver returns to his roots

The longest-serving Toll train driver in New Zealand is finishing his career the way he started, with a nostalgic last shift driving a steam train.

Fred Hamer, 69, made headlines 13 years ago when he had the presence of mind to switch off the engine of a diesel passenger train carrying 400 people to a Martinborough Fair when it burst into flames as the train sped through the eight-kilometre Rimutaka Tunnel.

Mr Hamer kept the motor running till the train nearly reached the high point on the track.

“When I saw the flames encircle the engine I thought, `Bloody hell, this fire will be coming into the cabin’.

“As luck would have it, I managed to get hold of the guard on the RT and asked him to move everyone from the two front carriages further back. I knew if I stopped people would suffocate from the fumes.”

After gliding to the top of the hill, he shut the engine down and the train free-wheeled to Featherston.

The fire chief at the time said the tunnel could have become an inferno and nothing could have been done to save the passengers or train because no tunnel-clearing equipment was available.

The incident prompted authorities to put contingency emergency procedures in place.

Mr Hamer’s final shift, on Saturday, will be driving steam locomotive Ja1271 – which was built one year after he joined the railways in 1955 – on a nostalgic Woodville to Paekakariki trip.

Starting his rail career in Dunedin, he moved to Wellington and rose the ranks through a wide range of positions, including cleaner, fireman, locomotive assistant, locomotive engineer (driver) and instructor.

“There is a wonderful thing peculiar to rail – despite the bantering, there is a special bond. I have made golden friendships with people from Whangarei to the Bluff.

“I will miss the chats.”

Neighbours hailed as heroes by firefighters

FIREFIGHTERS today praised the actions of two hero neighbours who saved people’s lives in separate rescues.
Alan Coates sprung into action to save a family of three after a fire broke out at the side of their home in the early hours.

Wife Brenda spotted the blaze in the garden of the house in Stirling Avenue, Brockley Whins, South Shields.

Mr Coates, 50, raced across the road and banged on the door, waking the sleeping family, as the fire took hold.

Today Lucy Smith, 68, who was in the property with her disabled husband Robert, 73, and their son Alan, 40 thanked her quick-thinking neighbours.

She said: “We just thank him for getting us out in time. When we looked at it, it didn’t seem that much, but it was later when it registered it could have been a lot worse.

“We didn’t even know there was a fire. The first we knew was when someone was banging on the door.

“We had to get my husband down, as he is in a wheelchair. The man asked if he could help, but my son was already getting him ready.”

“We might not have been here today if it wasn’t for him across the road. I was glad he was there.”

The family had been asleep when the blaze broke out at the side of their home at about 3.20am yesterday.

It was spotted by Mrs Coates, 50, as she made a cup of tea in her kitchen after the couple had returned from a friend’s barbecue.

Mrs Coates said today: “I just saw the orange glow through the window, and when I looked out I saw there was a blaze at the side of the house.

“I phoned the fire brigade and told my husband to wake them up.

“The flames were licking the roof of the house. My husband said when he opened the door there was smoke in the house.”

Investigations are continuing into what caused the blaze.

Yesterday afternoon, another fire victim was rescued by his neighbour.

At around 4.05pm a woman jumped into action after hearing her neighbour’s smoke alarm sounding.

After going to investigate she found the back door of the property in Sycamore Avenue, Cleadon Park, South Shields, open, and the kitchen filled with smoke by a pan left on the hob.

Firefighters were called, and inside they discovered a man who had slipped into a diabetic coma.

Paramedics were alerted and managed to bring the man around.

Lee James, crew manager of blue watch at South Shields fire station, today praised both neighbours for their actions.

He said: “In the first incident two alarms had been fitted, but had been taken down.

“Luckily the fire was spotted by a neighbour who banged on the door and managed to wake the family up.

“If it wasn’t for him, it could have easily developed and been a lot worse.

“At the second incident the smoke alarm saved the man’s life because the neighbour heard it and phoned the fire brigade. It could have been a different story.

“Smoke alarms are vitally important as it is the smoke which kills.”

Grandfather Hailed as Hero

A little boy has a grandfather to thank for his life.

Raul Banasco saw a child in the waters of Lake Eola in Downtown Orlando during an event at the park Friday.

“I saw a little girl over on the deck sort of pointing into the water and she was like ‘oh he can’t swim’”, Banasco said. “At this point I saw some other adults on the edge along the line saying ‘look he can’t swim he’s going under’.”

With no regard for his safety or his own life Banasco jumped in and swam out to the little boy

“I didn’t think anything of it,” Banasco said. “I just threw my phones on the grass and jumped in.”

Banasco grabbed the little boy and pulled him in to safety.

“He was relieved,” Banasco said. “He knew he was in trouble and I guess someone grabbed him and that’s all he wanted to know that he was going to be safe”

Somehow the boy got away from his mother in the crowd. It’s believed she was in another part of the park looking for him when she saw the commotion and ran over.

The grandfather most are calling a hero is a supervisor at the Orange County Jail and said he’s trained to respond to emergencies.

Banasco didn’t get the little boy’s name or the name of his mother. He just hopes they can all meet one day under calmer and dryer conditions.

“I’m not a hero I’m a humble kind of person,” Banasco said. “I just did what I hope somebody else would’ve done for my own children or my grandchildren I was just doing what was the right thing to do.”

Always a volunteer, now a hero

DONALD Thompson is apprehensive about the attention he will get from the close-knit Rochester community when his Medal of the Order of Australia is announced this morning.

A long-term local, Mr Thompson received his OAM for services to the Rochester community.

“I’m a bit embarrassed about the whole thing,” he said.

“I don’t do these things for a reason.”

Mr Thompson has spent most of his adult life helping others and has been recognised previously, including the 2004 Australia Day Campaspe Shire Citizen of the Year.

He began voluntary work in the 1950s at Rochester Apex Club, where he worked for 25 years in various roles.

Since then, he has been at the hub of community life in many ways, including operating a 24-7 RACV agency for 14 years employing and training apprentices and providing work for about 30 locals at the garage he has owned for the past 36 years.

Mr Thompson has contributed more than 150 hours of his own time improving the Rochester cemetery and in 1988 was elected chairman of the cemetery trust, a position he still holds.

The father of four and grandfather of six said having a supportive family was vital when people take an active role in their community.

“It makes it easy to do this work when you’ve got an understanding family. Without that, it wouldn’t work.”

Although embarrassed, Mr Thompson is touched by his OAM nomination.

“You know you’re doing quite a service to the community, and the community wouldn’t exist without volunteers.

“Rochester is a wonderful community and a wonderful town.”

Heroes save two from burning

A HERO mum and son pulled an elderly woman and a man from a blazing house in Rhos on Sea.

Janet Hurd and her son David put fears for their own safety behind them when they spotted smoke billowing out of a neighbour’s house on Bodnant Road.

They ran into the smoke logged house to rescue a frail elderly woman and a man who was upstairs near the flames.

Janet said: “I could see something coming out of the window upstairs and I didn’t know if it was smoke or steam.”

She went over and shouted to her neighbours if there was anything wrong.

Then David came to help out.

He thought about using ladders he had but they were too short.

So without fear for his own safety David went into the house, the 81-year-old lady didn’t want to come out at first because she was not clothed properly.

But between them David and Janet persuaded her to come out.

“I went upstairs and the man was just sitting on the floor.

“I could see the smoke pouring off the bed and I was trying not to cough.

“I put a wet cloth over my mouth and went back upstairs and tried to put the fire out with water.

“The man said he was all right, I tried to grab his hand but I couldn’t get him to move.

“Then I could see the flames coming out of the bed I could feel the heat from the stairs and I shouted to everyone to get out of the house.”

Eventually the man, aged in his 50s, came down the stairs.

Firefighters from Colwyn Bay were on the scene soon after and extinguished the blaze, on Sunday morning.

The fire started in an upstairs bedroom and was thought to have been caused by discarded smoking materials shortly before 9am.

Although smoke detectors were fitted they were not working properly.

Janet said: “It just shows it doesn’t matter what you are wearing call the fire brigade out and stay out – you can replace clothes or objects, but not lives.”

Yesterday fire chiefs underlined the importance of having working smoking alarms and the dangers of smoking in bed.

Paul Whybro, North Wales Fire & Rescue Service Group Manager said: “The importance of having working smoke alarms in the home cannot be stressed enough.

“They are an invaluable early warning system against fire. I’m urging every householder in North Wales to ensure that they not only have smoke alarms fitted to their property but they regularly check them to ensure they are working properly and that batteries are fitted to them.”

Yesterday fire chiefs thanked David for his sterling efforts – but warned other people not to go into burning houses and to stay out until the fire brigade arrives.

Mr Whybro said: “It was a quick thinking neighbour who saw thick smoke coming from the property and went to investigate.

“On seeing the smoke coming from the first floor he immediately took action in getting the man and the elderly woman out safely.

“I want to commend him for his excellent work and that of another neighbour who alerted us.”

Charity

Sergeant pounds the streets for charity

A POLICE sergeant from the Caister and coastal villages safer neighbourhood team is set to pound the streets as he prepares for his first ever charity run.

Andy Brown has just started an intensive three month training programme in preparation for the Great North Run which is being held on Sunday October 5. The run is 13 miles long, starting in Newcastle and ending in South Shields and incorporates heights of up to 90 metres.

The 33-year-old policeman currently bikes from his home in Hemsby to his workplace at Caister police station and will soon be ditching the cycle in favour of foot power as he steps up his training regime closer to the event.

He decided to take part in the run because of a history of heart problems in his family. His father was diagnosed with angina 15 years ago and suffered a near fatal heart attack. His grandfather died of heart failure and Andy’s wife has also lost members of her family to heart related illness.

Andy said: “One of the great myths about heart related problems is that they mainly only affect the elderly or people who don’t look after their bodies particularly well. I want to help raise awareness that it is a condition that can impact on people of any age and fitness.”

He added: “I have only just started training. I live in Hemsby and will be undertaking some practice runs around the village. It’s going to be a bit of an uphill struggle but I am looking forward to the challenge.”

So far, Andy has pledged to raise £550 pounds for the charity and is well on his way to achieving that target.

Thousands of bike riders climb Tahoe hills for charity

Thousands of bicycle riders endured the steep inclines of the Sierra Nevada to enjoy the views of Lake Tahoe and raise money for cancer research.

More than 3,300 cyclists climbed about 2,600 vertical feet during Sunday’s 17th annual America’s most Beautiful Bike Ride.

The 100-mile route around Lake Tahoe is a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Some riders covered the distance in four to five hours.

Others took up to 12 hours, and were just happy to finish the grueling but scenic journey.

Children’s Miracle Network to celebrate 20 years

Children’s Miracle Network at Hendrick Children’s Hospital will celebrate its 20th anniversary during its broadcast Saturday and Sunday on KTXS-TV, with the goal of raising more than $750,000 to support children’s services at Hendrick Children’s Hospital, Hendrick Center for Rehabilitation and throughout Hendrick.

The funds raised through Children’s Miracle Network help local children by purchasing the latest in medical equipment and a variety of special programs to treat these special patients. All the funds raised stay in the Abilene community to help local children without regard to the way they are able to pay.

The Children’s Miracle Network began in 1988 through the influence of Dr. Jake Barron, longtime pediatrician. At the first broadcast, members of the Texas Midwest community celebrated raising $153,000. Last year, the total pledged was $718,827, and since its inception the total pledged is $6,901,192.

On an international level, Children’s Miracle Network is an alliance of 170 not-for-profit children’s hospitals. Every year, Children’s Miracle Network hospitals treat 17 million children in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

$1.6M-Plus Raised In Children’s Miracle Network Telethon

More than $1.6 million was raised during the 26th annual Children’s Miracle Network Telethon Saturday and Sunday on NewsChannel 5.

The telethon benefits the programs and families of the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

NewsChannel on-air personalities hosted the broadcast, which also featured stories from patients, doctors, nurses and other supporters of the Children’s Miracle Network. The teelthon raised $1,650,394.

A nonprofit organization that raises money for children’s hospitals, the Children’s Miracle Network consists of Tennessee facilities such as the T.C. Thompson Children’s Hospital in Chattanooga; East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville; Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center in Memphis and Wellmont Health System in Kingsport.

The telethon last year raised $1.65 million.

Sudden Wealth

Four mates share in $60m win

FOUR Melbourne workmates have shared a powerball jackpot of almost $60 million after a spur-of-the moment decision over coffee to buy a ticket.

A member of the syndicate, who was not named, said he did not give his ticket a second thought the morning after the draw, but bought a newspaper after he heard his local suburb, Reservoir, mentioned on the radio.

“Although we don’t know yet what we are going to do with all this money, we aren’t going to be silly about it,” he said. “Two of us are single and two are married. I think we’ll invest most of the money and we’ll help some charities.”

They’ll share $58,737,207.41 – the biggest lottery win in Australian history.

Dean Schultz, the owner of the Lakeside Newsagency, where the winning ticket was sold, said he was stunned. “I got a call from Gerry Devine from Tattersall’s – and I know who he is – and I said: ‘I didn’t’, and he said, ‘You did’.”

Mr Schultz said he took personal delight in selling the ticket. “It’s not as good as winning the money, obviously, but it’s the next best thing. Just to think what it will do for them – I’m rapt.”

NSW Lottery’s spokesman, John Vineburg, said there was “usually a long pause” when people heard they’d won. “Many people will say they’re going to pay off their house, and we’ll say: ‘OK, that will put a hole in a few hundred thousand, what about the other X million dollars?”

Tim Sanderson, from financial advice firm Count Financial, said the lucky winner could easily earn $3 million a year after investing the money.

“But the key is to prevent yourself spending all that money first. A lot of people will put the money into a 30-day term deposit so they can’t spend the money until they’ve seen an adviser,” he said.

Kids & Teens

Bungalow toddlers rescued from fire

TWO toddlers and their grandmother were rescued from their smoke-filled bungalow after arsonists set fire to a caravan in its driveway.

Police were today hunting the arsonists who set fire to the caravan in the driveway of the property in Dobbins Road, Barry, shortly before 11pm last night.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus had to negotiate their way along the side of the burning caravan, which contained gas cylinders, then in through the front door of the bungalow and help the woman, 59, and her grandchildren out through the window.

The woman and her two grandchildren, aged two and 18 months, were treated for smoke inhalation by paramedics but did not require hospital treatment.

A fire service spokesman said: “The caravan was well alight when we got there and since it was parked in the driveway close to the front door it made it difficult for firefighters to get into the property.

“The alarm was raised by two boys who were passing by. If it had not been for the swift action of the firefighters this could have been considerably more serious.”

He said the owner of the bungalow, who was not in the property at the time, had recently been subjected to verbal threats.

Miracles

Miracle of baby girl born twice

A baby was last night hailed a miracle by her mum and dad – after being born TWICE.

The child was first taken out of the womb after a scan showed she had a giant tumour on her lower back six months into the pregnancy.

Surgeons removed the growth, put the foetus back inside her mum and she was born again through normal delivery 10 weeks later.

Macie Hope is now a healthy baby and mum Keri McCarthy, 40, and dad Chad were due to take her home from hospital today to their four other children in Texas.

Head surgeon Dr Darrell Cass said the tumour had been as large as a grapefruit.

He added: “This is incredibly rare. We were lucky.”

Chad, 39, said: “We had been told that there was less than a 10 per cent chance that she was going to make it.”

Mother and child have remained in hospital since the premature birth on May 3 as the baby girl gained strength.

Our Miracle Baby Boy

A Baby boy who contracted killer disease meningitis at just one month old will celebrate his first birthday tomorrow.

Jake Crabtree is a little miracle to his family who were devastated to find he had the deadly infection so soon after he was born at Scunthorpe General Hospital.

Now, on the eve of his first birthday, three generations of his family have spoken about the frightening trauma.

They hope Jake has not suffered any permanent damage from the attack – and the signs are good.

Mum Victoria Crabtree (17), of Queen’s Crescent, Keadby, said: “When he was four to five weeks old, he had bacterial meningitis. It was awful, I cried.

“He had fluid taken from his spine and was put on antibiotics.

“The staff at Scunthorpe General Hospital were absolutely fantastic.

“It took him about 14 days to get back to himself.

“He’s been for further check-ups, he had a hearing test recently and that was fine.”

He has taken his first steps and started saying his first words.

When he fell ill, Jake did not immediately display the distinctive meningitis rash, but his family noticed he was not well.

Grandma Michelle Crabtree (33) said: “He hadn’t been his usual self and wouldn’t settle.

“It was my husband who said ‘take him to the hospital because there’s something not right’.

“He didn’t get the rash until two days after he was in hospital

“It’s not always the rash that comes first. They did tests on him and had him wired up to machines for two to three days.

“Doctors said he could have learning disabilities when he gets older, and at the moment his immune system has completely gone.

“I don’t think he will have learning difficulties because he picks things up quickly.”

Victoria, who is expecting her second child this Christmas, stayed in hospital with her baby for 10 days and the family’s experience of both the birth and the illness has been written down to help anyone else going through the same situation.

Michelle said: “When Victoria gave birth to him I made an information website about teenage pregnancies and put a meningitis advice section on there when he was diagnosed.”

Great-grandma Norma Eaton (53) said: “It was devastating news at the time. Worry, stress you name it, it was there.

“It started off when he was poorly, while he was really ill for three to four days, we didn’t know what was going to happen.

“We wouldn’t like to put him through that again or see anybody else go through it because it’s not nice.

“When a friend of mine celebrated her 65th birthday, instead of having presents she organised a charity night and raised £500 for Disney Ward at Scunthorpe General Hospital where Jake was treated.”

Reunited

Long-lost cousins reunited after decades

A SEARCH for the past unearthed a future of friendship for these long-lost cousins.

When Yvonne Anderson enrolled on an evening class to trace her family tree she was hoping to delve into the past and discover her ancestors.

What she was not expecting to find was a cousin she never knew existed – sitting across the table from her on the very same course.

And she discovered that she and cousin Joyce Bell had grown up just a few miles away from each other in Newcastle’s East End, but their paths had never crossed.

And as the pair chatted they realised they’d both grown up in the East End and now live just a few miles away from each other.

Mrs Anderson, a 61-year-old widow and grandma-of-two, said: “I started the ‘trace your family tree for beginners’ course at Fenham Library in January.

“At our first class we introduced ourselves and said which family name we were going to research. I was looking into the name Greenall, from Cumbria, and the lady sitting opposite me said she was looking for that name too.

“At the time we just laughed and said ‘I wonder if we’re related’, but we were amazed to find our grandfathers were brothers, making us second cousins.

“We were about six weeks into the course before we found out we were related, but the more I saw Joyce the more I thought she resembled my auntie.”

Mrs Anderson now meets up with her new-found relation every Saturday morning at the library where they are working to produce an online family tree.

And after discovering just how similar their lives have been, they are surprised their paths had not crossed sooner.

Mrs Bell, a 68-year-old widow and mum to Glenn, 41, and Joyce, 43, was born and grew up in Walker, while Mrs Anderson spent the first part of her childhood a stone’s throw away in Byker, before her family moved to Fawdon when she was nine.

Mrs Anderson now lives on Etal Park Estate and Mrs Bell lives just a few miles away in Blakelaw – just one street away from Mrs Anderson’s only child, Kelly, and her two children, Keelan, three, and baby Kaila.

Mrs Bell said: “It’s just incredible we found each other; lovely really, and we will definitely keep in touch.

“We have started a more advanced family history course and we’re going through library archives, army and war records and lots of books.

“It can be quite tricky, but I think I’ve found my great-grandparents and I’ve gone back as far as 1840. In those days not everyone could write properly, so the records we’ve found are not always that clear.

“It’s been so interesting and I’m very pleased I started the course. I joined out of sheer curiosity. I’ve always liked looking at local history.

“It would be great if our story could inspire other people to look into their family history. It’s been a lot of fun and some people may find relatives they never knew they had, just like us.”

Mrs Anderson has now started to produce the family tree on the website Genes Reunited and hopes to keep adding to it.

The women’s story has delighted the staff at Fenham Library.

Caroline Miller, head of adult learning for Newcastle City Council, added: “There are all sorts of benefits to be gained from an adult learning course.

“They can help you catch up on skills not learnt at school, to improve your job prospects or they could just be for a bit of fun.

“Joyce and Yvonne’s story is the first time I’ve heard of someone uncovering unknown family members.”

Locks of Love

Kind heart, short hair

Unlike most high school seniors, Lukas Garrison waited until after graduation to cut his hair.

The young man from Solon Springs has become known for his long auburn ponytail, which he has been growing since he was a freshman.

“At first I didn’t like it,” said his sister Haylee, 14, because everybody kept asking her about her brother’s lengthening hair. “Now I like it; it’s unique.”

Thursday, the 18-year-old donated his 20-inch long ponytail to Locks of Love. The nonprofit organization uses donated hair to provide hairpieces for children suffering from long-term hair loss, often due to cancer.

“Somebody’s going to appreciate that hair,” said Garrison’s mother, Traci. She said her son took a lot of teasing while growing his locks, but he didn’t let it bother him.

“He’s just got a very kind heart,” she said.

The hardest part of the process was going from a crew cut to bangs at the very start.

“As soon as I could get it back in a ponytail, it was in a ponytail permanently,” he said.

Garrison, a clarinet player, wore his ponytail to band concerts. He traveled to France, Italy and England with classmates as part of their AP English trip with his long hair held back.

It hasn’t kept Garrison from landing jobs. The teen currently monitors the boat landing for St. Croix Inn. One summer, his mother said, he held down three different jobs.

When asked why he grew his hair so long, Garrison said it was a combination of “sheer laziness” and a chance to help others.

He decided to try a “surfer” style for the next month and a half before it becomes a military buzz cut. He leaves for U.S. Marine Corps basic training in July.

“I’ve been interested in the military since I was 3,” he said. “I believe in serving my country.”

In a way, said his mother, he’s following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Ernie Garrison, who served in World War II.

Kids at school used to think Garrison’s long hair was “weird,” Haylee said, but “I think they learned to appreciate it.”

As stylist Meredith Johnson gathered and clipped Garrison’s hair Thursday at Regis Salon in the Mariner Mall, his mother and sister looked on.

“I like it,” Haylee said.

“What a difference,” said her mother.

For the first time in years, she said, it won’t take two days for her son’s hair to dry.

Garrison knows he will miss the hair, but he was glad to see it go. He smiled as he looked in the mirror.

“My head is really light now,” he said.

Johnson said Regis is one of many salons that collect hair for Locks of Love. It must be at least 10 inches long to donate, she said. While the customer still pays for the hair cut, Johnson said, the salon ships the hair out.

Inside Good News Blog