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Deaf dog transforms into comic book superhero to promote acceptance

Mennies Elementary School witnessed the debut of Vineland, an interesting canine fable, which interestingly coincides with the Read Across America festivities. Vineland is not just an ordinary story. It is one filled with passion, and it touched the hearts of all who took their time to savor its special moments.  

As the school’s music teacher, Chris Hannah was saddled with the task of getting a dog for the story, and he didn’t disappoint. During his search, he perused the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter’s online selection where he spotted a cute puppy labeled “Special Needs.”

For him, it was like love at first sight. 

“I instantly fell in love,” he said.

The poor canine had been neglected by other parties, but Hannah developed a special interest in him, and booked an appointment to meet the pup. 

Many people saw the puppy as defective, deformed, and abnormal, but he only saw uniqueness. 

According to him, he adopted the dog because of the same reason other people ignored him- deafness. 

He had a special attachment to the deaf nature of the dog because his 10-year-old nephew, Kevin Guinan was also deaf. 

“Some things just happen for a reason,” Hannah said.

After successfully adopting the dog, which he named Cole, Hannah introduced him to his nephew. Kevin was quick to collate a list of American Sign Language commands to train and teach the little canine. Hannah made sure he sparked some inspiration during his Mennies music classes by sharing details of life with his new pet, Cole.  

Cole and Kevin collaborated to star in the superhero story with the tag “Captain Cochlear and Maestro Mutt.” Making the story a success was no easy feat, and it took about 250 students to make perfect every aspect of the story. These students were given the freedom to allow their imaginations run wild, and in the process they came up with interesting characters and realistic storylines. 

In the final version of the story, the spotlight focuses on Annie and her phobia for singing in front of a crowd or in any public place for that matter. 

Captain Cochlear, Maestro Mutt and alter egos of other Hannah pets swing into action to, help the young singer defeat “Dr. Fear’s Forcefield of Fright.”

In his successful attempt to inspire Annie, Maestro Mutt tells her, “It’s OK to make mistakes, but it’s a mistake not to try.” Those words helped her find her voice to cap the story with a happy ending. 

“The best thing you learn is accepting those who may be a little different,” Hannah said.

He further explained that Cole was perfectly healthy and capable of doing what other “normal” dogs could do, only difference is that he had to do it in an unconventional way. He could understand basic hand signs that order him to sit, rollover, and obey other basic instructions. 

Cole’s ability to feel vibrations substitutes his lack of hearing, so in a way, he can still listen for Hannah. 

Despite his success in the school story, Cole is showing no signs of slowing down. He is spreading his message of acceptance and it is growing like wildfire on YouTube and Instagram.  

Bev Greco, Executive Director of the ASPCA was full of praises of the young pup during his interview with The Daily Journal. “This is an amazing outcome for a pup that had the odds stacked against him,” “Deaf dogs are hard to place and rarely end up with a family that really taps into their potential — we’re thrilled for him.”

Cole will take a test that will see him become a certified therapy dog and he hopes to be able to visit hearing-impaired students throughout the district to share his “bestselling” comic book.

“The project went so much better than I thought,” Hannah said. 

Cole rolled over, four feet up, in the middle of a circle of adoration.

Tap the polka dot on Cole’s nose and he’ll jump in the air. That’s called a “nose beep.”

According to Hannah, the young pup loves to learn new things, and he, alongside his brother will continue to teach him. 



After a year of sleeping in a grocery store’s parking lot, homeless woman gets hired by the same grocery store.

Renee Yates



A Nashville Kroger grocery store hired a homeless woman who had been sleeping in its parking lot for about a year. 

In her interview with USA Today, LaShenda Williams admitted that she had been battling drug addiction and had been spending the nights in her car at the Nashville Kroger grocery store after a day of driving around different locations. 

“I would lean my seat all the way back so no one would see me because, you know, I knew I wasn’t supposed to be there,” Williams told Today.

Towards the end of the year, Williams was noticed by Jackie Vandal, a manager at Krogers, and with some words of inspiration, she was able to encourage her to attend an upcoming job fair.

The day of the job fair came, and Williams was one of the first applicants. Vandal asked Williams to fill an online application, which she did after a couple of hours on her old laptop. After seeing the message indicating that Williams was done with the application, she hired her almost immediately.  

Months have passed since Williams was hired, and she now has an apartment to call her own. She has been working tirelessly with community leaders and other store staff, so she really deserved this big win. 

Everyone working with her had only good things to say about her. 

“She’s a fantastic worker, I wish I had 120 of her,” said Vandal.

“We are so lucky to have Lashenda as part of our Kroger family. Her uplifting spirit is contagious. She has made such a positive impact on her fellow team members, and so many customers as well,” said Melissa Eads, a corporate affairs manager for Kroger Nashville Division.

Williams is super happy for her job and the people that came with it. After everything that she has faced, there was no way she could’ve lost enthusiasm and passion, and that has kept her going.  

“I was sleeping in a parking lot and looking for something to eat. Now, all my babies here love on me. No one abuses me, and no one calls me dumb and stupid. For the first time in my life, I finally got peace,” Williams told USA Today.

Her story is a success story, and it should serve as motivation to never give up even in testing circumstances. 

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Kind couple reunite homeless man with his family after 20 years apart

Kevin Wells



“Everyone just stares at me. I’m an educated man, but all they see is a person who doesn’t have a home and doesn’t have anyone to call.”

These were the sad, heartbreaking words Randi Emmans heard as she stepped outside her apartment in Los Angeles to take her dog on a walk. 54-year-old Petro Reid was the man Emmans had just heard talking to himself, and he was in a bad place mentally. 

She called up her boyfriend, John Suazo to jointly hold a conversation with Reid. He was quite surprised at first, because according to him, no one had ever taken interest in him, and he poured out his mind to them. 

For a homeless man, the person they had just held a conversation with was very fluent in expressing himself. 

“He was so impressive,” said Suazo. 

“The whole conversation really touched us.”

From the conversation, they found out that Reid had left his family home in Charleston, S.C., and moved to L.A. in 1999 to live with an aunt. Barely a year later, he found himself going off the rails and homeless due to drug and alcohol addiction. 

He became a popular figure in jail, from where he’d occasionally call home and send letters to his grandmother’s house in Charleston. 

“It was always for petty crimes, usually shoplifting to support my habits, food and things of that nature,” he said. “That cycle continued for years, and whenever I got released, I was right back on the streets.”

For more than two decades, Reid wandered the streets of L.A. in search of his family or some beacon of hope, and for those two decades he didn’t find anything- until Emmans heard him. 

He had lost all hope of living a decent life. He always thought of his family, but the chances of setting eyes on them once again were pretty dim, so he gave up. 

He found Emmans and her boyfriend non-judgmental. They genuinely cared about his situation and that was why he opened up to them. 

“John and Randi saw me as more than what everyone else saw me as — just a homeless person living on the streets,” he said. “They believed in me, despite the situation they found me in.”

After giving him food, water, and other basic human needs, the couple felt they hadn’t done enough to truly take him out of misery and ridicule. Emmans made a post on Facebook, a public plea asking for donations to help cover the costs of a night or two at a hotel, so Reid could get rest up, recuperate, and have decent hot meals. 

Her post received a lot of engagements, and in only 3 days, they were able to raise about $6,500 for Reid. The funds were used to lodge him in a hotel, get him a new mobile phone, and buy him some new clothes. 

Although grateful for all Emmans and Suazo had done, Reid still wanted to find his family. He asked the couple for help and they decided to help him. 

Reid took on the name Franklin Mitchell after an encounter with the police in L.A. He didn’t have his identity card, so the name stood- that was why his family members could never reach him. 

In the search for his family, Reid gave Emmans and Suazo some names he could remember, as well as his grandmother’s address, without knowing if she was still living there or alive at all. 

“Randi and I started plugging away on the Internet, and we were able to find his grandmother’s name associated with the address,” Suazo said. “We called wrong numbers until, finally, we got someone who was his uncle’s ex-wife.” 

This was when all the dominoes started falling in place. 

Reid’s uncle, Pierre Grant was informed by his ex-wife of a certain contact about his nephew and he immediately called the couple to set up a meeting. 

Grant said “For over 20 years, we had been praying and believing that one day we would find him, and the day finally came. This is a miracle.”

He took a flight paid for by Emmans and Suazo to L.A. to link up with his nephew. The amazing couple were also able to pay for a covid-19 test for Reid, Grant, and themselves- all which came back negative. 

The long awaited family reunion came on Friday, August 7. Mia Green, Reid’s cousin was also present for the reunion. It was a touching and soulful moment for Reid as he tightly embraced his cousin and uncle after 20 years of wandering the streets of L.A. 

Now that Reid has finally reunited with his family, he plans to get his life together and back on track. 

“I believe I can help a lot of people that are still in the position that I was in,” said Reid.

He plans to start the next chapter of his education and find himself a stable, paying job.  

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Rhode Island local boy finds enormous 2.5-pound mollusk

Kevin Wells



11-year-old Cooper Monaco discovered a huge quahog while clamming with his grandfather- and his discovery is arguably one of the largest ever mollusks recorded in the state. 

The young lad dug up the colossal mollusk weighing about 2-1/2 pounds, and 5.75 inches across on Monday in the Weekapaug region of Westerly, and has since given it to the University of Rhode Island’s Marine Science Research Facility in Narragansett. The discovery is a special one, because according to the university, typical quahogs grow to only about 4 inches across. 

Cooper’s discovery, just like majority of all discoveries, was purely accidental. In his statement, he said, “I was down on my hands and knees in the water looking for clams, and I touched this huge rock thing.” According to his statement, he knew he had touched a clam just by feeling its edge, and his words “holy moly, this is a clam!” describe his excitement at the discovery. 

Cooper knew just enough about clams to know that his discovery was phenomenal, so he asked his mom not to cook it as she would have for ordinary clams. 

Manager of the URI Marine Research Facility, Ed Baker, is making plans to put the unusually gigantic mollusk on display for public viewing. 

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Identical Twin Sisters Married To Identical Twin Brothers Both Announce Pregnancies

Shannon Jackson



No one knows if this was planned, but identical twins Brittany and Briana Salyers, married to Josh and Jeremy Salyers – also identical twins are both expecting at the same time. They broke the news via a Baywatch-themed Instagram post on Friday, and the story has made headlines since then. 

In the Instagram post captioned “Guess what!!?? BOTH couples are pregnant!,” Josh and Jeremy wore lifeguard costumes while their brides, now to be mothers, dressed up in one-piece bathing suits that read “Baby Watch,” and struck poses that clearly gave off their baby bumps. The rest of the caption also states the fact that their children will be cousins, genetic siblings, and quaternary multiples! Isn’t that amazing? 

The twin couples hit the spotlight when they appeared on TLC’s Our Twinsane Wedding, and this wonderful news only two years after shows how well their journeys as wedded couples has gone. Their joint marriage was officiated by identical twin ministers at the 2018 Twins Days Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio – exactly where they had met only one year ago. The marriage ceremony was themed “Twice Upon a Time” and now they are expecting to add at least two more members to their happy twin family. 

Brittany revealed at the marriage ceremony that the idea of living in the same house to raise their children together in harmony made them really happy, and now they get to bring their imaginations into reality. Brittany said, “When we have children, my and Josh’s children will be genetic siblings to Briana and Jeremy’s Children. We imagine it will be like two moms and two dads all raising our families together.”

The sisters share a special bond typical of twins. Before their double pregnancy revelation, Brittany and Briana have always shared the urge to do things the same way- matching outfits, and double dating, which eventually led to their marriage to Josh and Jeremy. Each one of the sisters sees herself as incomplete without the other- something like being two halves of a whole. 

From the joint wedding to the joint pregnancies, everything has felt like a fairytale. According to Briana, getting married to identical twins has always been the goal, and they had already foreseen it since their kindergarten days. 

They knew the chances of having such a perfect future were really slim. For their dreams to come true, the stars had to align in quintessential harmony, and it seems like they did. 

In Brittany’s own words, “I get to marry the man of my dreams and at the same time I get to look over next to me and see my twin sister marrying the man of her dreams.” 

Their fairytale story can get a lot better if they both give birth to twins. Yes, the chances of that happening are like a googolplex to one, but who knows? It just might happen. 

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Man Learns How To Cook On YouTube And Opens A Restaurant As A Tribute To His Late Father

Kevin Wells



The city of South Carolina has seen the rise of an exciting new restaurant established by Octavius “Tay” Nelson, a man who learned how to cook by watching videos on Youtube, and he has become quite good at it. In fact, his new found knowledge motivated him into opening a new restaurant that now has 60 people in its employ. Amazing!

His father used to work as a cook at different restaurants, and as a child, Tay would tag along to help with washing dishes to support his Dad.  This gave him a first-hand experience of the restaurant business and how much joy people derived from eating his father’s top-notch meals.

Unfortunately, his father and brother passed away and he sought a grand way to pay tribute to them. He decided to open a restaurant and run its affairs just like his Dad used to back in the days. Sounds like a great plan, right? Definitely. But there was a teeny-tiny problem- he didn’t know to cook. Actually, it was a major stumbling block, since he wanted to be in charge of the cooking and other affairs of the restaurant. 

Instead of giving up, Tay decided to start learning how to cook. He started watching a plethora of cooking videos on YouTube to learn cooking techniques.

“I watched every video I could find,” Octavius says in an interview with CNN. After some time and headstrong determination, he said that he learned the complete dynamics of cooking different cuts of meat and tips on how to successfully run a restaurant business.

In the wake of his light cooking skills, Nelson headed back home in Fountain Inn, South Carolina, Nelson to launch a set of all-natural seasonings inspired by his father’s old, but tasty recipes. However, this wasn’t enough. Launching a bunch of seasonings was great, but it didn’t match with his dreams to open a restaurant. In light of this, he went back to the drawing board, and decided to learn everything he could about running a restaurant. 

After fully harnessing his cooking skills through YouTube, Nelson launched a food catering business, and in 2018, he took it up a notch by establishing his restaurant. 

He named his new restaurant “Bobby’s BBQ,” after his late father and brother. Since the restaurant opened up, scores of individuals in his community have been employed and thousands have come around to have a taste of his barbecue seasoned with home-made spices and condiments. 

Nelson’s story is quite touching and inspiring. His lack of knowledge and technical know-how did not stop him or cloud his dreams, instead he dared to learn the unknown. This is a story of pure motivation and dedication, and everyone should be able to learn a couple of things from it. 

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