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At 81 a Japanese Skateboarder Still Shreds

There’s an old saying about old pets being unable to learn new things after a while. It’s a phrase often applied to humans as well. At a certain point, people are assumed as being unable to learn, adjust, adapt and change. While there is truth that the brain slows down with age, and cannot learn things as quickly such as new languages, there is no rule or biological wall that stops learning altogether. Yoshio Kinoshita would be the first to argue that point in a very interesting way.

At 81 years of age, Kinoshita can arguably hold the title as one of the world’s oldest skateboarders. And, as anyone knows with the cement-loving sport, skateboarding involves a ton of learning, adjusting, changing and learning. And he’s not too proud to let a 10-year-old or a 13-year-old show him something new everyday at the Osaka skate park he enjoys visiting with friends daily. While most seniors Kinoshita’s age would focus on walks, cooking, gardening and enjoying a bench in a park, the 81-year-old spend his mornings navigating skate ramps and staying on his board in motion without falling off or worse, down on the hard cement.

Many would assume that Kinoshita had been skateboarding for years, simply holding on irrationally to a sport he likely picked up in the 1970s with heavy American influence in Japan. The truth is, Kinoshita just started learning skateboarding only two years prior. He literally started learning a new, physical sport requiring mind, body and balance coordination in his late 70s. He saw his first skateboard, the one he still uses today, at a market selling second-hand goods people lost or left behind at the local train station.

Kinoshita doesn’t skateboard in obscurity either. He’s often targeted for local press stories or onlookers amazed at his versatility and capability at a senior age. Kinoshita takes it in strike. He often refers to his younger teachers as well for the senior’s inspiration. And, Kinoshita also believes the 800 yen he spent on the skateboard as a sudden urge was one of the biggest changes in his life. Instead of being relegated to slowly moving to a chair or bed in old age, Kinoshita focuses on maintaining his strength, avoiding dementia, and staying flexible enough to keep skateboarding another day.

Kinoshita knows his learning process is very different from the kids zipping around him at the skate park, younger by anywhere from 60 to 90 years at least. Instead, his learning process for a new trick or movement is incremental, practiced, repeated and reinforced. Otherwise, it seems to slip quickly from memory at his age. So, Kinoshita makes a point to practice everything he has learned to date methodically, like a carpenter laying on another sheet of wood to a construct, getting stronger with each seemingly weak ply but together incredibly permanent and solid.

The senior skateboarder today enjoys a long family line, as well as grandkids, and he was among the audience watching skateboarding compete at the Olympics recently for the first time. It awed him with the contestant’s ability to deny gravity. And, he admitted with a bit of comical ego, he didn’t think he could quite compete with them either.

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Twin Hero Receives Royal Award for Bravery

Kevin Wells

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Three years ago, an ordinary vacation in Mexico turned into a scene from a movie when a crocodile attacked two sisters while swimming in a river. Georgia and Melissa, twins who were enjoying their time in the water, suddenly found themselves in a terrifying situation. Georgia reached safety, but as Melissa was being helped onto the bank, the crocodile struck again, pulling her underwater.

In a brave and daring move, Georgia, who is now 31 years old, didn’t hesitate. She jumped back into the water, not once but twice, to fight off the massive reptile and save her sister. This incredible act of courage has earned Georgia the King’s Gallantry Medal, a prestigious award given by King Charles III. This medal is a tribute to civilians who risk their own lives to save others.

Georgia shared with the UK’s PA Media news agency that receiving this award brings a “silver lining” to their horrifying experience. She said it somewhat eases the trauma they went through.

Melissa’s ordeal was severe. She suffered from multiple injuries including a complicated wrist fracture, deep puncture wounds to her stomach, and bites on her leg, foot, and glutes. She had to undergo emergency surgery and was even placed in a medically induced coma to fight off a life-threatening infection known as sepsis. Thankfully, she fully recovered after a tough battle in the hospital.

Now, with the nightmare behind them, Georgia and Melissa are channeling their experience into something positive. They are planning to swim 13 kilometers in the Thames Marathon this August. Their goal is to raise money for PTSD UK and Compañeros En Salud, a charity in Mexico that helps provide medical training and aid to communities in need.

Reflecting on the incident, Georgia admits that it sometimes feels like a distant, unreal memory. “It sounds like something out of a horror movie,” she says. But for them, it’s a part of their life story, a dramatic chapter in their personal tapestry.

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A Lifesaving Donation: 91-Year-Old Contributes $500,000 to Rural Missouri Fire Department

Jess

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In Calhoun, Missouri, a heartfelt gesture from a 91-year-old resident has brought new life to the local volunteer fire department. Sam Sloan, a long-time community supporter, has donated a staggering $500,000 to the Calhoun Volunteer Fire Department, a gift that will transform the small but dedicated team of firefighters.

When Chief Hardin first took over the department, it was a struggle to keep things running. “It needed a lot of work,” he said. The department had only one functioning fire truck, and most of the equipment was outdated, dating back to the 1980s. Despite these challenges, Hardin saw potential and opened the doors wide to the community for support. Through Facebook posts and frequent training sessions, he expanded the team from a one-man operation to 28 devoted volunteers.

Today, the department prides itself on being “very active and very aggressive,” not standing back but diving into the challenges of firefighting head-on. The department has made significant repairs to the old trucks and takes great pride in their work, embodying a sense of community and resilience.

Sam Sloan, who has been a pillar of the Henry County community since 1960, decided it was time to make a significant contribution. “I’ve been planning to for several years,” Sloan said about his donation. “It’s half a million dollars and a half a million dollars is a pretty good donation.”

The department plans to use Sloan’s generous donation to purchase three new fire trucks and update all the necessary equipment and gear for the volunteers. “The first thing that we’re going to replace is our tanker pumper,” Hardin explained. This vital piece of equipment had been patched up multiple times over the past year and was desperately in need of replacement.

This donation comes at a crucial time, as just before the donation, the department had only $169 left in their bank account. Now, with Sloan’s contribution, every firefighter will soon be fitted with brand new, state-of-the-art gear. “Every one of our firefighters, from head to toe, we’re going to be fitted next Monday for new gear,” Hardin announced.

While Sloan humbly downplays his role, saying he knows more about making money than fixing fire trucks, his impact on the community is undeniable. “We’re going to help our neighbors. We’re going to pass that along,” Hardin affirmed, grateful for the donation.

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Teen Math Whizzes Solve Ancient Problem

Shannon Jackson

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In a remarkable display of intellectual prowess, two high school seniors, Ne’Kiya Jackson and Calcea Johnson, have achieved what many thought was impossible: they’ve provided a new trigonometry-based proof of the Pythagorean Theorem, solving a mathematical challenge that has puzzled scholars for two millennia.

Studying at St. Mary’s Academy, an all-girls Catholic school in New Orleans, these bright students have been encouraged to reach for the stars. The school, founded just after the Civil War by an African American nun, aims to empower young Black women with the belief that anything is possible. According to junior Christina Blazio, “That is kind of a standard here. So we aim very high – like, our aim is excellence for all students.”

In December 2022, a school-wide math contest promising a $500 prize challenged students to come up with a new proof for the Pythagorean Theorem—a fundamental principle in geometry that states that in a right triangle, the square of the length of the hypotenuse (the side opposite the right angle) is equal to the sum of the squares of the lengths of the other two sides.

Despite the daunting task and knowing full well that math was not easy, Ne’Kiya and Calcea dove into the challenge. What they didn’t know was that their quest involved solving a problem using trigonometry, something that was considered impossible since no known proofs using this branch of mathematics had succeeded in 2,000 years.

After two months of dedicated effort, the seniors developed a proof they titled “The Waffle Cone.” Calcea explains, “We start with a regular right triangle, and then we draw a second congruent triangle. We continue creating similar but smaller right triangles in a pattern that eventually forms a larger waffle cone shape.”

Their achievement is not just a personal victory but a monumental contribution to the field of mathematics, placing them alongside a very exclusive list of intellectuals who have managed to provide a documented proof using trigonometry. Before them, the last such achievement was in 2009 by mathematician Jason Zimba.

The news of their success spread quickly around the globe, earning them accolades from numerous dignitaries, including a shout-out from former First Lady Michelle Obama and keys to the city of New Orleans.

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Quick-Acting Barbers Save Toddler from Busy Street

Kevin Wells

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Two barbers from East Hartford are being hailed as heroes after they sprinted into action to prevent a little girl from running into traffic. Osvaldo Lugo, the owner of Look Sharp Barbershop, and his employee, Rafael Santana, noticed the child when she dashed past their shop.

The incident, caught on the shop’s surveillance camera, shows the barbers interrupting their work to chase after the girl who was heading towards a busy intersection. Lugo, a father of three, managed to catch her just in time at a crosswalk. He recalls his urgent thoughts during the chase, focusing solely on reaching the girl safely.

After rescuing her, Lugo found the toddler’s mother nearby at a bus stop, visibly confused and shocked but also thankful. Santana, who is also a father and expecting another child, emphasized the importance of vigilance, especially with children.

Following their heroic act, the city’s mayor awarded Santana and Lugo with certificates recognizing their bravery. The local police also praised the duo for their quick response, which prevented a potential disaster. Despite the accolades, Santana humbly attributes their success to simply being attentive dads with fortunate timing.

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Rare Blue Rock Thrush Spotted in Oregon for the First Time

Kelly Taylor

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In an exciting development for birdwatchers, a “mega-rare” blue rock thrush was spotted for the first time in U.S. history at Oregon’s Hug Point State Recreation Site. The sighting occurred on April 21 and has since caused quite a stir in the birding community.

Michael Sanchez, a resident of Vancouver, was at Hug Point photographing the falls at sunrise when he noticed a small bird near the shoreline. Initially appearing as a little black bird in the dim light, it wasn’t until Sanchez reviewed his photos at home that he realized the bird was actually a vivid blue and chestnut-colored. He shared the images on social media, seeking help to identify it, which led to the revelation of its rarity.

Nolan Clements, a PhD student and member of the Oregon Birding Association, confirmed that the bird is a blue rock thrush, native to Europe and Asia and typically not found in North America. This sighting is considered only the second unofficial sighting in North America, with the first being a controversial observation in British Columbia in 1997, which many believed to be an escaped captive bird or one accidentally transported on a cargo ship.

The recent sighting at Hug Point has attracted many birders to the area hoping for a glimpse of the thrush, though no further sightings have been reported. While Sanchez’s discovery is still under review by bird records committees, experts are intrigued about how the thrush may have arrived in the U.S. There is speculation that, like other rare birds, it might have traveled aboard a ship, although the exact means remain uncertain.

Sanchez is collaborating with the Oregon Bird Records Committee to provide detailed information about his sighting. He expressed regret for not taking more photos but remains pleased with the ones he captured, hopeful that his experience will inspire increased interest in birdwatching.

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