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A Couple on Their Honeymoon in Sri Lanka Ended up Buying Their Hotel

Renee Yates

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Couples on their honeymoon are relaxed and often spending some time lounging on beaches with drinks in their hand. For one London couple, the power of making decisions while under the influence of some rum-filled cocktails proved real. Gina Lyons and Mark Lee were married in June last year and were backpacking through Sir Lanka for three weeks on their honeymoon in December. While most couples would come back with some souvenirs from their travels, such as market trinkets or even just some pictures at different famous landmarks, this couple came back from their travels with much more.

After a series of events, Gina and Mark become the owners of the hotel where they were staying. The newlyweds decided to spend the night at a slightly rundown, but still cozy hotel in Tangalle, a beach town. The couple quickly fell in love with the views of the water and the hotel that gave off a tree house vibe. The couple went out for drinks one night and discovered from locals that the lease was coming up on the property. What happened next may be a blur for the couple, since they consumed 12 glasses of rum that night while chatting. When they woke up, while still hungover, Mark and Gina learned that they had offered 30,000 pounds and that their offer for the hotel had been accepted. While the couple may have had a chance to get out of their hotel deal, then went through with it and sealed the deal wearing their beachwear and quickly started preparing for the rewards and challenges that owning a hotel can bring.

Many other people will do a lot of stupid things under the influence, such as get into fights or send texts that will get them in trouble. Some do more permanent things, like Mark and Gina, and elope. For many, these decisions don’t pan out. However, for Gina and Mark, their decision to buy the hotel has worked out for them. Shortly after their purchase, they found out that Gina was pregnant, so they worked hard to refurbish and fix up the property and started immediately promoting it to travelers. The couple later welcomed their daughter in December 2018, according to an Instagram post.

The hotel, named The Lucky Beach Tangalle, is now advertised as a destination for flashpackers. It has great reviews from guests. There is a dedicated staff and Mark and Gina balance running the hotel along with careers they have built up in London. The hotel features a bar and restaurant, although there is no word if any deals are being made by guests getting a little too drunk off of cocktails there. Reviewers state the hotel is in a great location and that the rooms have sea views and are nicely done. Guests rave about the staff and say that they feel welcome and would recommend the property to others. The location is not far away from Tangalle Lagoon and Mulkirigla Rock Monastery. Guests who want to stay at the hotel can book through booking.com and see some gorgeous pictures from the hotel’s Instagram account. The Instagram account also shows the changes the couple made to the hotel in the story highlights. The account also features photos of food and drink, likely from the hotel bar and restaurant. Just be careful with some of those drinks, since you never know where those drunken nights are going to take you. For Gina and Mark, it turns out some drunken decisions do pay off.

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“Homeless Hero” Saves Multiple People from Fiery Highway Crash

Shannon Jackson

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Just two short days ago a man named Darin Barton, who the people and news are calling the “Homeless Hero,” saved multiple people from a fiery car crash on Colorado’s Interstate 70. 

Reports say the late April crash was caused by a truck driver that had lost control of his vehicle and collided with oncoming traffic. The same company has a bad history of problems with their vehicles. There are multiple reports letting trucks in need of repair on the road—including vehicles with break problems. 

Luckily for the survivors of the crash, Darin Barton just happened to be passing by. Barton, a local homeless man, saw the crash happen and immediately sprang into action. He was able to pull several victims from the wreckage before emergency services arrived on the scene. The survivors of the crash are all lucky to have had the “Homeless Hero” passing by in their time of need. 

Interestingly, this isn’t the first time Barton has been a hero to the victims of a traffic accident. Two years ago, Barton saved a woman named Valerie Blease from a flaming car wreck. Blease describes how the collision left her confused and unable to escape her burning car when the “Homeless Hero” arrived and pulled her from the fire. She recalls that in the moment, she didn’t know what was happening, only that someone was telling her there was a fire and she needed to get out. 

Barton has become something of a local celebrity in Colorado despite his homelessness. He has appeared several times on the local news. Each of these appearances have been stories covering his heroics and even interviews with the “Homeless Hero” and the people he has saved. One of the victims of April’s pileup said she “wasn’t surprised” to learn that Barton had saved people from these kinds of wrecks before. 

Not to leave this selfless hero unrewarded, the local community has banded together and raised thousands of dollars to help Barton in his time of need. Just like he has helped save people from car crashes on multiple occasions, the people of Colorado have come together to help Barton. Local news agencies have started a fundraising effort that has, so far, raised thousands of dollars to help cover Barton’s costs as he finds work and a place to live. There have been some concerns that Barton may be the target of robbery given his insecure living situation and sudden rush to local fame, but a few local news agencies said they are working with local authorities to help ensure Barton’s safety. 

Darin Barton, the “Homeless Hero,” is an inspiration reminder that even those of us with the least to give can still help people in the time of need. When interviewed, Barton said he was just helping people in need and hopes that others will be inspired to do the same.

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A Natural Wonder: The Incredible Termite Mounds of Brazil

Renee Yates

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Visible from space, the eastern section of Brazil holds a dramatic count of 200 million massive mounds of earth, all created by creatures that barely measure ½ of an inch long. Created solely by termites, these mysterious cones of earth measure 30 feet wide at the base and stand 6-13 feet tall.

When contemplating the size of these mounds, it becomes staggeringly hard to grasp that an insect is capable of creating something this large. Known as the murundus, these mounds are fashioned in a honeycomb pattern, separated by about 60 feet from each other.

No one has studied the structure of these mounds more carefully than environmentalist Roy Funch, who has researched the murundus of Brazil for the past 30 years. Funch has no doubt that these mounds are created by termites. He explains, “I’ve seen termites building the mounds with my own eyes.”

Through his extensive research with colleagues, Funch has provided us with a glimpse into how termites create these vast mounds of earth, which cover an area as large as Great Britain.

He explains that as the termite workers are foraging leaves, they excavate their nest by building a vertical tube rising upward. He notes that this tube doesn’t have an opening at the top like a chimney does. Instead it has a few small side-holes around its rim. By simply excavating their nest, they throw soil out of these holes, which leads to a cone shape being created.

With such a vast amount of these massive mounds, one might assume that each mound houses its own large termite colony. However, Funch’s research has shown differently.

He collected soldiers from beneath different mounds to see if they would fight with each other. What he found was that a single colony can make their home beneath many different mounds.

In their search for fallen foliage, these termites need to expand their territory to cover a large amount of forested land. To accomplish this, they build a network of tunnels, with the intention of traveling from one mound to the next.

Paul Hanson, a colleague of Funch performed an experiment to determine the age of the murundus. He analyzed grains of sand from the center of 11 different mounds. The method he used was able to determine when the grains were last exposed to sunlight. This allowed him to determine when the first grains were buried, to identify when construction on the mound began.

Here is what his research found. The youngest mound was 690 years old, and the oldest was 3,820 years old! Obviously, termites don’t have this long of a lifespan. Researchers have yet to determine whether succeeding generations of termites take over these mounds, or if the mounds lay unused for hundreds of years.

Need another comparison to grasp the sheer size of these termite colonies? Through satellite imagery, the murundus of eastern Brazil have been proven to occupy 4,000 times the amount of space as the Great Pyramid of Giza. Who would have known that such a little creature could pack such a punch?

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Giraffes May Become An Endangered Species

Kelly Taylor

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The US Fish and Wildlife Service will begin a 12-month review of the giraffe’s status as an endangered species. The global population of the giraffe has decreased 40 percent since 1965. These statistics are provided by the International  Union of Conservation for Nature. Several non-profit groups filed a petition with the  government to suggest a study be conducted. There are only about 68,000 adult giraffes left in the world.

US Fish and Wildlife Service  will study the giraffe for 12 months to determine whether it should be listed as an endangered species. During this time, the study will listen to public comments. The review process often takes longer that 1 year. The International Humane Society says that the governments frequently misses deadlines.

Some programs that support giraffes will be funded if they become listed as an endangered species. The importing of giraffe body parts that is unregulated will be under scrunity. Their parts are used for bone carvings, clothing, pillows, boot, knife handles and more. Legal hunting has little impact on the giraffe population, it is poaching that has diminished the global population.  Pro hunting organizations like the Safari Club International claim  that even in countries where hunting is banned giraffe populations are declining. They say that  a lack of hunting is responsible for the decrease in the giraffe population.

Sometimes hunting groups fund anti poaching projects in African countries . These groups say that making giraffes an endangered species would hurt the funds that US hunters pay for giraffe hunts. The new label could reduce funding for habitat  protect and anti poaching projects funded by hunters. The  US would have to change the laws concerning hunter importing giraffe parts for commercial gain.

In countries that have giraffes the animal is hunted for meat. Now, they are being hunted by residents of other countries and used for meat. One of the biggest causes of the decline in the giraffe population is loss of habitat. This is due to building roads, construction, drilling for oil, and mining. A solution might be to relocate these creatures to  protected locations. Poachers kill the giraffe for its tail because it is a status symbol in some countries and, the skin is used in fashion.

The giraffe is known as the world’s tallest animal. Orange colored  patches cover their body that are separated by white lines.. Tanya Serarib from the Center for Biological Diversity says that the biggest obstacle will be getting the giraffes on the endangered species list due to the many other species threatened. She is the legal director and senior attorney for this organization.

Giraffes should be listed on the endangered species because they are a uniqe and historical animal. Some interesting facts about giraffes are they only have seven bones in their long neck. Giraffes get water from the plants they eat. There are four different species of giraffes. Today giraffe are only found in sub-Saharan Africa. Their hooves are the size of a normal dinner plate. Often their horns are used by the males for fighting. Female giraffes give birth standing up.

Overall the fate of the giraffe surviving depends on conservation groups, consumers, the government, and hunting organizations working together to  change the laws to protect them from extinction.

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Nurses Unite to Bail Out Father In Trouble

Renee Yates

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A near tragedy in an Illinois town was almost compounded by a police overreaction, but the quick thinking of a group of nurses saved the day and made everything turn out alright.

The story began in Centreville, a small town in the St. Louis metropolitan area.  On the evening of April 7, 2019, a one-year-old girl named Demani began to choke on a penny. She had put a penny inside her mouth, as children are wont to do, but accidentally swallowed it. The penny became lodged in her throat.  Her father, Darius Hinkle, and her mother, Donecia Pittman, who were with her at the time of the incident, were terrified for their daughter’s safety.  They put her in the car, and began to drive to the hospital. Naturally the mother comforted the choking child while the father drove.  Time was of the essence, so they drove very quickly.

Unfortunately, a police officer saw them driving towards the hospital. Unaware of their destination or the situation, the police officer went into pursuit of the speeding vehicle. Obviously the father did not stop to waste time explaining the situation, but  instead proceeded with all possible haste towards the medical center.  Before they had gone many miles the speeding car was being followed buy a long line of police cars with sirens flashing.  The father disregarded them and continued to the hospital, sometimes at speeds exceeding a hundred miles an hour.  The police kept pursuit.

Very little time passed until they reached their destination, Touchette Regional Hospital. The distressed parents tried to make contact with medical personnel and to inform them of their child’s dire predicament, but witnesses to the incident say that the police were almost entirely unconcerned with the well-being of the baby. Instead, the police forced the distressed parents to the ground, treating them with harshness and severity as they disregarded the choking infant. The father was arrested and taken away. The mother went in to see to her child.

The obstruction was removed from the child’s trachea without the necessity of surgical intervention. Once Demani was out of danger, Ms. Pittman went to bond out her partner. When she arrived she encountered the biggest surprise in an evening filled with surprises.   When Ms. Pittman stepped forward to speak to the desk clerk about paying the bail for Mr. Rucker, she was informed that the person immediately before her had already paid for it. That person was a nurse from the Touchette Regional. The nurses had seen the entire incident, including the man’s overwhelming concern for his daughter and the police officers’ complete indifference to the circumstances. They were moved to action by what they had witnessed.  The nurses took up a collection among themselves and volunteered to pay the man’s bond.

Although Mr. Rucker still faces criminal charges for this incident, and he will still have to appear in court and plead his case, the touching faith that the nurses showed in him has gathered national attention. The story has become an example of how human beings can support each other in the face of injustice. Contributions have been made to the man’s legal defense and to reimburse the nurses for their time and trouble. One can only hope that the police have read this story as well and found in it an example for better behavior.

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Blind Dog Gets Seeing Eye Dog

Kelly Taylor

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Charlie is 11 years old and his age officially makes him a senior pup. A few years ago, Charlie had to have both of his eyes removed because of glaucoma. He managed life and was able to cope with the blindness from day to day, but he did become less excitable and began to slow down. That is all changing now because of a new friend.

Charlie’s owners, Chelsea Stipe and her husband, could tell that the dog could benefit form a friend, even if he was still showing signs that he was a happy dog. They were right. They brought home a puppy named Maverick and things began to change. The two dogs soon became inseparable and Maverick’s puppy energy and enthusiasm seemed to inspire Charlie. Stipe told the media that Charlie had become more puppy like and playful since Maverick was brought home. Stipe used to buy Charlie toys and he would never play with them, but now the two dogs are constantly playing with each other and a handful of toys.

Maverick is only a few months old but has already picked up on the fact that Charlie can’t see and is experiencing the world much differently. Maverick has adapted to help Charlie with his blindness. Stipe said that Maverick seems to know Charlie is different than him and so he’s aware when Charlie begins to move and is always on the lookout for him. He even puts toys in front of him so Charlie can play, and when they are walking together Maverick will help keep Charlie in line. When Charlie is resting, Maverick will too, just to reassure him that he’s always there and he’s not alone.

While Charlie and Maverick are different, nothing has hindered their friendship. In fact, Stipe thinks it has made the two dogs closer. While nothing can make Charlie’s eyesight better or turn back the clock on his life, Maverick gives hope that there is happiness for them both now that they are together. Stipe is confident that if Charlie had eyes, then she would be able to see a twinkle in them. Stipe and her husband used to think they could lose Charlie at any time because he’s an older dog. While they know Charlie won’t live forever, they know he has a new zest for life and he doesn’t have to spend his remaining years gloomy and it’s almost like he is a puppy again. Those who want to keep up with Maverick and Charlie can do so on Instagram.

Glaucoma is more common in certain dog breeds since they are genetically predisposed. About 40% of dogs with glaucoma can become blind in the eye that is affected within the first year, regardless of if they get any surgical or medical treatment, which was the case for Charlie. The condition can be managed if caught early enough and the pressure in the eye will have to be checked by a veterinarian often. Half of dogs that develop glaucoma in one eye will also develop conditions in their other eye within eight months. Veterinarians say that most dogs will adjust over time to the loss of an eye or both eyes, especially since with glaucoma they could have been losing their vision over a longer time period. A veterinarian can suggest ways in helping a dog transition to vision loss and how you can make your home and outdoor life easier for the dog without sight. Many times you will have to pay more attention to your dog when he or she loses sight, since it can be more vulnerable to other animals. While it may not be a guaranteed suggestion, getting another dog may just be the ticket.

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