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Drones, COVID-19, and Girl Scout Cookies: How One Virginia Troop Made It All Work

Nestled in the heart of Montgomery County is Christiansburg, VA. A small town with just over 20,000 within its city limits, Christiansburg was first founded in 1671. Hundreds of years later, the city continues to thrive despite the COVID-19 pandemic that has been wrecking so much of our day-to-day life.

One particular group of Christiansburg locals made it their goal to deliver Girl Scout Cookies no matter what during the pandemic and Google’s parental company, Alphabet Inc., decided to help them out.

Cookies From the Sky

During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, it seemed unlikely that there would ever be a time when the pandemic would end. As economies shuttered and businesses quarantined, people had to get creative to continue working their trade. A team of Girl Scouts in Virginia was determined to deliver their famous cookies this past year, but due to COVID restrictions, they knew that this would bed difficult.

Lia Reich is a global communications lead at Wing, a subsidiary of the company Alphabet Inc.. Wing develops drones for Google, and it was through their futuristic work that Thin Mints would rain down from the sky. Lia says of COVID restrictions impacting the Scouts, “Selling cookies outside (grocery stores or shops) is difficult this year.”

According to Lia, sales within the Girl Scouts have dropped more than 50%. Lia would go on to tell the team at USA TODAY during an interview, “It was a natural fit to partner with the Girl Scouts.”

Despite soaring vaccination rates and loosening COVID restrictions, the drone program would get launched through the Wing App and its corresponding website. According to Reich, the plan at Wing is to help deliver more than 3,000 total boxes of cookies via its drone delivery service, if not even more.

For the Girl Scouts, cookie season typically begins in January though flavor availability and onset will vary based upon the region. For the longest time, Girl Scouts have prioritized selling their goods in residential neighborhoods, outside of grocery stores, and even through company programs at local businesses.

Unfortunately for the Girl Scouts, the COVID-19 pandemic would put an end to convention. In March 2020, the Scouts would suspend all of their traditional cookie booths and door-to-door sales campaigns. To make up for this loss in action, the Girl Scouts of Virginia would prepare virtual cookie booths through their online social media campaigns to partner with their drone-delivery methods.

Considered one of the largest girl-led programs for entrepreneurs on the planet, the Girl Scout Cookie drive is immensely important for multiple reasons. Not just an important institution, the Girl Scouts are a defining one.

Take Flight With Wing

While the Girl Scouts of Virginia will enjoy drone flying assistance with their cookie deliveries, they won’t have to worry about running the controls themselves. As the first drone delivery company in the country to earn Air Operators Certification from the FAA in 2019, Wing has used the Scouts delivery service as a way to showcase just how far drone flights have come.

According to Reich, “COVID gave people who might not have a reason to try drone delivery, and we saw deliveries increase by more than 500% in 2020.”

Reich’s assertion was backed by a local survey released by Virginia Tech. The survey found that Christiansburg locals enjoyed the idea of a residential drone delivery company with support coming in at 87% in favor of the idea.

Are you ready to start ordering your Girl Scout Cookies through drone delivery services? How about your next grocery order? As it turns out, the sky might be the limit!

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Getting Bumped By a Stranger Usually Means Being Pickpocketed….. But Not In This Story!

Renee Yates

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If you get bumped by a stranger in public, it usually means you were pickpocketed. The rude distraction is an age-old technique to distract the victim from paying attention to their valuables. While everyone is recovering from the “accidental” impact, the thief is intentionally using the split second to pull a wallet or valuable from the victim without him or her knowing it. Once the thief is away, the job is done and the valuables are stolen. It’s a common problem in big cities and tourist spots.

However, for one California lady, getting bumped may have been the best thing that ever happened to her. While she was busy working on a lottery machine at a grocery store in Tarzana, she focused on spending her $40 dollars on lottery scratchers. Normally, LaQuedra Edwards buys a number of smaller value tickets with one purchase, hoping to increase her odds with more scratchers than just one big one. However, when she was bumped, it caused her to put her hand forward and hit the $30 scratcher option. Money spent, the accident committed Edwards to the higher value ticket. Upset at first, Edwards turned to see who bumped her, but the fellow was out the door without even apologizing.

Figuring there wasn’t much she could do about the situation, and the person was gone, Edwards re-focused on her tickets. Now she had a $30 single scratcher and $10 left for other tickets. She finished her purchase and then pulled her tickets out of the machine. Going through them, she realized one of them was a winner. It was the accidental $30 ticket. However, what Edwards one was a far better return on investment. She had just scored a $10 million winning ticket.

At first, she got on the highway and drove home. The whole time, Edwards kept looking back at the ticket and confirming in her mind that her life had just dramatically changed. It didn’t feel real. But, sure enough, the ticket was indeed a winner. Even the grocery store got a share of the winnings. $50,000 went to the store for hosting the machine. Unfortunately, it was a chain store, so the bonus simply went into a corporate bank account instead of a small business owner’s business. However, that’s how the system works for retailers.

For LaQuedra Edwards, however, her share is going into a home purchase and helping out start a non-profit organization to help her community. Both moves make a whole lot of sense as well as have long-term benefits.

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Father Decides to Set Up Cameras After His Daughter Wakes Up With Strange Marks

Kelly Taylor

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Weird Occurrences

What happened inside the house of an Ohio couple couldn’t have been predicted. Troublesome commotions could be heard in the wee hours while everyone slept. No one thought much of it until something strange occurred.

Darren’s suspicions were initially directed at his fiancé, who suspected of playing a practical joke on him. They staged a camera to sort things out after she denied it ultimately. The unsettling footage, on the other hand, would rock their world.

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Father Takes Action After Daughter was Expelled for Appearance

Kevin Wells

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Enough Is Enough

This father’s jaws fell open as he listened to the scathing remarks from his daughter’s school administrator, stating the reason for his daughter being booted from a prom event. He was at boiling point and had enough.

He thought enough was enough after only a few seconds and was ready to address the situation head-on.

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40 Unforgivable Movie Bloopers

Shannon Jackson

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With that goes with making a movie, especially one for the big cinema screen, it’s not surprising when mistakes occur or edits are need. That’s what the editing room is for to go through the draft film and tighten up all the problems or loose spots in the film as well as to get it within the acceptable viewing time allowed. However, once in a while even the best of movies, including Oscar-winning films, have bloopers in them that just can’t be forgiven. They are such clear violations of quality film-making, people wonder how the blooper got through to the public viewing, and yet it does anyways. Here are 25 examples of film bloopers that never should have been allowed or the detail missed, but in the fictional world of movies they occur regardless.

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Homeless Man Who Helped a Woman Turned Out to be a Hoax

Kevin Wells

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The story of the homeless man who helped out a woman needing gas for her car by donating his few dollars went viral on the Internet and had hundreds of people wanting to reach out and help. They did so through a GoFundMe site that ended up generating a sizable amount of charity and gifts. For those who gave money, it made them feel better instantly. There was only one problem. The story was made up. The man was not homeless, and the woman had never run out of gas.

Instead, the two were involved in an online scam that ended up defrauding folks out of approximately $400,000 in online money gifts. It was not only enough to trigger a serious crime, the pair got themselves charged with a federal conspiracy case and ultimately pled guilty in a New Jersey federal court. Johnny Bobbitt and Katelyn McClure both separately admitted their crime of wire fraud. Given their involvement and degree of actions, Bobbitt is looking at a potential 10 years in federal prison and $250,000 in fines. McClure for her part faces a bigger sentence of 20 years and a similar financial penalty. Both will find out for sure when they are sentenced. In addition to the federal charges, the pair also have a second round of trials to go through with state charges as well. It was a blunt, cold ending to a story and scam that started in 2017 and took off like wildfire, far better than Hobbitt and McClure thought it would.

The story was plausible and reasonable enough. A couple told their story online about how they wanted to help a homeless man who helped them. McClure and her partner posted that Bobbitt realized McClure was in trouble, stuck in Philadelphia without gas. She needed to get home, and Bobbitt, who was nearby, realized the problem. He then gave her his only $20 to buy gas so she could travel again. To show their gratitude, McClure and her boyfriend were trying to raise $10,000 to help Bobbitt out as a thank you. The story took off.

Unfortunately, the media got involved. Loving a story out of the norm with a good newsworthy ending, they showcased the story on TV, and it got big attention. All of a sudden, what was supposed to be a little scam turned into a big one, raising some $402,706 with the added attention in a short three weeks. While Bobbitt did get $25,000 set aside by McClure and her partner, the rest of it was burned like kerosene on fire via clothing, trips, a car, vacations, gambling and more. However, Bobbitt didn’t appreciate the small share, and sued the pair for more, arguing he should have gotten $75,000 at least. GoFundMe got involved by trying to avoid bad press and making sure Bobbitt, the alleged homeless person, got his fair shake.

All of the financial attention caught the eye of the Feds who started investigating McClure. They seized well over 60,000 digital messages between the couple, which included admissions that the whole story was made up – a smoking gun text in the fraud conspiracy. Interestingly, McClure’s partner, although he enjoyed the spending of the money with McClure, was not charged or seen as involved in the conspiracy. The Feds went after McClure and the alleged homeless partner, Bobbitt, for the fraud. And GoFundMe yet again found itself in the middle of a crazy criminal scheme gone public and bad, stealing money from people who wanted to help others online. It turned out to be an odd, miserable ending to what many had hoped would have been a story of human charity done right.

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