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Little Rock Offers Homeless a Job Cleaning the City

Shannon Jackson

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Many people have realized that homelessness is a serious problem across the entire country. For years, lawmakers have been struggling to find a way to deal with this issue. Now, Arkansas might have found a way to do exactly that. In April of this year, Little Rock decided to launch a pilot program that would help the homeless go back to work while also cleaning up the city. The program is called Bridge to Work and the individuals who participated in the program earn $9.25 per hour. This is more than $2 more than the current federal minimum wage. It turned out that the program was so successful, in multiple ways, the program was then extended for another year. Now, it will run through September of 2020.

The program is run by a local religious organization called Canvas Community Church. The program employs eight people every day for pick up trash. In addition to this, they also perform cleaning tasks and clear weeds. During the time that they participate in the program, the employees are paid (as above) and are also fed a meal. Overall, the reviews of this program have been overwhelmingly positive. The program has received an extensive amount of news coverage and the local population is extremely excited about how the program is going.

In addition to a solid paycheck, the program also provides homeless individuals with access to a variety of other services. Some of these include mental health counseling, regular medical care, job interviews, and even temporary housing. The goal of this program is to help homeless individuals build on this first step and become self-sufficient, contributing members of society. The program recognizes that there are a lot of barriers that might prevent someone who is homeless from getting out of the endless cycle. Without a doubt, there are a lot of steps that need to be completed; however, this program believes that these individuals deserve assistance. That is why it has been established to both better the city of Little Rock while helping individuals who are homeless improve their lives. 

In September of 2019, close to 400 people had joined the work crews, working hard to pick up trash, remove weeds, and clean the city. In total, the group worked close to 2,000 hours at more than 130 locations around the city. In total, in the first six months alone, the group collected more than 2,000 bags of trash. This is an impressive haul for a relatively small crew; however, the group knows they are working for something more than just a paycheck. They are working hard to improve their current living situation. Many of the individuals interviewed have stated exactly this. They know that they have had a rough life for a long time; however, they want to be models for everyone else around the country who is struggling with homelessness. With access to the right people and the right assistance, they can get their lives back on track.

Many of the individuals who are participating in this program also have kids that they want to help. They want to set an example for the future generation that with hard work, anything is possible. Many of the local citizens are impressed with how hard these individuals are working. Unfortunately, there is a stigma surrounding homelessness that can be difficult to shake. This program is the first step in showing that individuals who are homeless can still be productive members of society. In a way, this program shows that they only need to be given an opportunity.

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Amazing

A teenager shocked to find a giant tarantula on the kitchen cabinet

Kevin Wells

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A 19-year-old Hannah Dafferner was looking for a late-night snack in her kitchen when she saw a small creepy-looking figure on the kitchen cabinet. Hannah was frozen in shock. It was black colored and looked like some type of giant spider. It was near the handle of the cupboard and wasn’t moving much. At first, Hannah thought it was one of her younger sister’s toys or Halloween decorations. Then to her astonishment, it moved enough for Hannah to know it was not a toy. Hannah screamed as loud as she could. Her dad came rushing downstairs to a lot of screaming going on. What Hannah had seen on the kitchen cabinet was a huge tarantula. It was at least 4 inches in size and had eight legs. It would have scared most people. If the dad had not rushed downstairs, Hannah was about to call 911 for help. 

The dad tried to say calm during the commotion. He grabbed an empty pitcher to try to catch the tarantula. He put the pitcher on the cupboard and waited for the tarantula to move in to. He made sure to be gentle and hurt the tarantula. The tarantula was very cooperative. He was probably more of the people. By this time the entire family was in the kitchen area. Once the tarantula was in the pitcher, everyone wanted to have a look at the amazing creature.

Tarantulas are hairy versions of a spider family. Typically, they are harmless to humans but their appearance seems to make a lot of people scared of them. On very rare occasions, they can bite humans and it can be painful. Their venom is very mild, usually less than a typical bee’s. Some people suffer from a phobia of spiders or tarantula. This phobia is called arachnophobia. 

The family posted photos of the tarantula on social media in an attempt to check if anyone in the neighborhood had lost a tarantula. They got a lot of comments and reactions. The next day, they got a message saying “Can we have it?” The family was more than happy to hand it over. The tarantula now belongs to a 9-year-old girl how is ecstatic to have it. The family feels glad that the episode is over but are a bit concerned about how the tarantula was allowed to intrude into their home.  

Tarantulas are mostly found in tropical, subtropical or arid regions. Most people don’t know this, but tarantulas are burrowers and mostly look to live underground. They are also nocturnal creatures and only venture out during night time unless it is mating season. They try to conserve as much energy as possible and only move when needed to. Insects are their main prey but occasionally they go for larger targets such as frogs or mice.

The family that found the tarantula believe it came inside from their backyard. It came into the house through the back door. They find it quite unbelievable that the tarantula was able to cover so much distance. The family was also shocked that their dogs were not able to stop the intruder. The house is located in San Diego, California. This region is known to have tarantulas and is often located inside the homes. This particular tarantula was a male spider. Male spiders require 7-10 years to mature before they can venture out their burrows and look for females. They only live a few months once they reach maturity. Females have a much longer life span and tend to live up to 25 years.

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Amazing

Mom Uses CPR To Revive Lizard Found in Pool

Shannon Jackson

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The annals of history are filled with stories describing how people’s lives have been saved. These acts of heroism are always amazing and show the resilience of life on Earth. One of the most important lifesaving maneuvers is called cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). This is a maneuver that is typically used to save the lives of people in the event that they stop breathing or their heart stops breathing. Even in hospitals, CPR forms the foundation of emergency codes where medical personnel rush in to try to save someone’s life. Indeed, CPR has been seen on TV shows and movies as well, often referred to as Hollywood codes.

Over the years, CPR has saved countless lives. Now, there are classes where both children and adults can go in order to learn how to save lives. For example, even kids in classrooms have used CPR before, saving the lives of their fellow classmates. There are other certifications such as BLS and ACLS where people can learn about some of the other lifesaving techniques that people can use.

Some people might be surprised to hear that CPR can even be used to save the lives of animals! Even though animals have differently shaped hearts, all animals still require blood and oxygen to be pumped to their various tissues in order to survive. In this fashion, CPR can be used to do exactly that. It turns out that even small creatures can be revived and saved using CPR. That is exactly what happened in one fascinating story involving a mom, a pool, and a lizard.

Recently, a video was posted of a family that was just enjoying their day at the pool when all of a sudden they spotted a lizard. They were watching the lizard and couldn’t quite figure out what was going on. Then, all of a sudden, the lizard started to sink. It turns out that not all lizards are able to swim. The mother decided that she needed to do something about the situation. She immediately lept into action and jumped into the pool. She swims to the bottom of the pool in search of the poor lizard and eventually found him. She dragged him from the bottom of the pool and moved him to safety. 

All of a sudden, she starts to perform chest compressions on the pool lizard in an event to revive him. The lizard doesn’t appear to be breathing and is clearly in distress. It’s unclear exactly what is happening; however, she is is using her finger to put pressure on what should be his rib cage. The family believes that this is it for the poor lizard. But the mom decides not to give up. The video goes on for several suspenseful minutes. At the end of the video, the lizard finally starts to breathe once again! The lizard rights himself and gets back on his feet! The mom actually used CPR to save the life of a lizard. 

This video simply shows that peopel can use CPR to do amazing things. While it is critical for peopel to know how to use CPR to save the lives of humans, it is just as important for people to do eveything they can to save the lives of animals as well. The applications of CPR are important and there are classes people can take to improve their certifications This video went viral and simply serves as a testament to what peopel can do when they are inspired by simple acts of heroism. CPR can save countless lives.

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Amazing

Too Shallow for Swimming With Sharks

Shannon Jackson

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University of Florida student Stefani Luke loved the ocean. She lived to be on the water. She was given a surfboard when she was in high school, but growing up in Ft. Lauderdale didn’t offer her much opportunity to ride any exciting waves. Going to college in Gainesville, Florida would provide her with a chance to take weekend trips to the popular beach town, St. Augustine to check out some waves. 

One stormy Tuesday, Stefani and some friends heard the news about coastal swells reaching up to five feet. They loaded up their boards and began a caravan. There were 11 kids but only 8 surfboards. She was excited to finally have the chance to use her board on some real waves, but she was also very aware of sharks. She was a biology major, recently working as an intern at the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Most of her work there was done in a lab or in area rivers. The biggest risk at her job had been alligators. 

Stefani’s love of the ocean and interest in fisheries compelled her to stay abreast of shark activity along the east coast. She knew that in 2019, reports of shark attacks, either provoked or unprovoked, reached nearly 150. 

The kids arrived at the beach, ready for some refreshing water and salty air. Today was a day to enjoy a day out of school. They unloaded the boards from their roof racks. Stefani waxed her beloved board alongside her good friends. Since there were more kids there than boards, Stefani offered her board up to a friend to try first. She figured she’d just do a little body surfing to warm up her muscles before fully engaging on her board. 

The waves were slightly disappointing. The stories they’d heard about giant waves were exaggerated, topping out at maybe three feet. She swam into the surf and waited. She thought she was a good distance from the surfers with boards. The water was a little colder than expected, and she hadn’t brought her wet suit. She swam parallel to the shore for a bit, to warm up. She ended up swimming close to her friend who’d borrowed her board. She waited in the line up, just beyond the breaking point of the waves. She was ready to body surf and catch some waves. 

The waves were coming in sets of four. She took the first in a set. It picked her up and she swam with it. As she glided in toward the shore she saw the dark shadow of what she knew was a shark. Everyone knows that you don’t panic when you see a shark. You don’t thrash around in the water. You don’t show signs of distress that signal to a shark that you’re easy prey. She forgot all that. All Stefani could think was “I don’t want to get eaten by a shark today!” She swam for her life. She swam fast, and probably a little crazy. 

The realization of her frenzy made her calm down slightly. She dropped the panicky swimming. She stopped swimming to realize that she was only in about a foot of water! She felt very silly, probably looking like a fool to anyone who might’ve seen this spectacle. 

She stood in the water to see her friend that had borrowed her board. Her friend asked with excitement, “Did you see that shark?!” Stefani acknowledged that she had in fact seen it. Her friend offered her the board back. Stefani declined, “No thanks. I like my legs. I like walking”. It was at that moment that Stefani gave her board away. She was done surfing and never tried it again. 

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Culture

Cat Takes a Ride Among the Boxes

Kevin Wells

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If you’ve ever owned a cat, you’ve observed the peculiar affinity cats have toward boxes.  There are several reasons people love cats. They’re affectionate, cute, soft and generally low-maintenance. For an average family cat, the monthly expense is approximately $100. You could lower that expense by replacing fancy cat toys and play-houses with empty cardboard boxes.

The comfort and security cats find from lounging in cardboard boxes went a little too far for Millie McMahon’s adventurous cat Trixie. Trixie, like most cats, loves empty boxes. This worked out great for Millie when she was preparing to move from Boston to San Francisco. All the empty cardboard boxes around the house kept Trixie entertained and out from under foot while Millie packed her house.

As the moving truck retreated from Millie’s driveway, Millie let out a deep sigh of relief. Only a few essential items remained, which Millie would pack in her car for her own trip across the country. Trixie was one of those “items”, except Trixie was nowhere to be found. Millie waved it off as Trixie just being skittish about the packing and the movers, and her world being in disarray.

Trixie didn’t show up the next day either. Or the next. Millie began feeling worried. She couldn’t leave for California without her cat.

Meanwhile, traveling across the country in a moving truck, was Eddie. Eddie was no stranger to driving trucks. He found comfort in the humming of the wheels on the highway as he ambled along his route. He found it meditative. 

Eddie lost his meditative mood on the second day of his drive. On day two he woke from his motel, showered, ate breakfast and settled into the driver’s seat. Shortly after, as he rolled down the highway, he started to hear an odd squeaking noise. At first, he thought he was imagining the occasional soft mewing. By the end of the day he found it maddening. He ruled out engine issues after checking under the hood. He decided it had to be something in one of the boxes. The boxes, however, were too tightly and perfectly packed to unload and investigate. He’d have to just live with the unnerving noise.

Eddie finally arrived at Millie’s new house and began unpacking his truck. At the back of the moving truck, among a shelf of blankets, shone a pair of glowing yellow eyes. Eddie was startled to see the eyes.He was even more shocked when the cat to whom the eyes belonged jumped from the blankets and onto Eddie’s chest. Instinctively Eddie caught the cat and held him. This is the source of the three days’ noise!

He held the cat as he walked to the cab of his truck, not knowing where the cat came from or what he was going to do. He just sat and looked at the cat, as the cat stared back at him, purring. He poured water into his coffee cup and thought how hungry this cat must be. He made a short trip to the corner market for some kitty food. As he opened the truck door, Trixie jumped out and ran quickly behind the building. Eddie couldn’t see where the cat went.

Eddie returned to Millie’s house to be sure it was secured, knowing Millie wouldn’t be arriving for a few days. It was there that he spotted Trixie, sitting inside, in a sunny window! 

Eddie called the number that Millie had given him, for use in the event of an emergency. Millie was relieved to hear that Trixie had been found. Eddie left enough food and water for Trixie. Millie could now embark on her own trip to California knowing that her cat was safe “at home”.

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Culture

My Hero Mango

Shannon Jackson

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In 2019 Shawn and Rita Fitzgerald settled into the realization that they were never going to be parents. Rita had suffered multiple miscarriages. She found it difficult to spend time with friends who had children. It was painful for her to mingle among neighbors with children. 

Their neighbors across the street, Martin and Leslie had a young son, Owen. Rita had heard through the grapevine that Leslie was now expecting another child. Rita was devastated to hear this news, which for most women would bring excitement and job. Shawn was worried about Rita. 

On his way home from work one afternoon, Shawn stopped at the local animal shelter and met Mango. She was a sweet, quiet, caramel colored pit bull. Despite the negative stereotype pit bulls are known to have, Shawn filled out the application to adopt Mango. A week later, Shawn was driving home with Mango to surprise Rita. He was sure Rita would absolutely fall in love with her. 

He was right. Rita and Mango became inseparable. Rita’s melancholy demeanor dissolved slowly, despite having to watch Leslie’s belly grow through her pregnancy. By the time Leslie’s new baby, Aiden, was born, Rita was happy. Mango was exactly what Rita needed. As it turned out, Mango was exactly what Leslie needed, too. 

Leslie was a bit of a neat freak. She liked a clean house. She was a big fan of candles to enhance the fragrance of cleanliness. 

One quiet afternoon, after a long walk in the woods, Rita and Mango took a nap on Rita’s couch. Rita was startled awake when Mango jumped from his slumber and raced to the front door. Rita followed, looking out. Mango was whining uncontrollably. Rita started to open the door when Mango pushed her aside and raced out and across the street to Leslie’s house.

Mango nosed open the screen door of Leslie’s house and disappeared inside. Rita wasn’t sure what was happening. Then she saw the smoke billowing from the second story of Leslie’s house. Leslie’s car was in the driveway, so Rita assumed Leslie was home with the kids. She instantly called the fire rescue.

Rita let herself into the smoke-filled house, finding Leslie and the baby asleep on the couch. Owen was nowhere in sight. Rita was shouting waking Leslie. She ushered them outside to find the fire truck approaching. The firefighters disappeared for what seemed an eternity. They brought Owen out of the house, but not Mango.

Her fear about Mango turned into panic. She knew Mango was still in the house. The entire second floor was now entirely engulfed in flames. The firemen eventually retreated, without Mango and they continued working to extinguish the fire.

Hours later Rita sat in shock, knowing her beloved Mango was gone. She sat on her porch staring at the ruins of Leslie’s house, too stunned to cry. In too much of a shock to hear Leslie’s husband and toddler approach. The three of them sat in silence as Owen climbed into Rita’s lap. He rested his head on Rita’s chest and after a while he said softly, “Mango is my best friend”.  

It took Leslie and Martin more than a year to completely restore their home. During that time, Owen came to visit Leslie every day. He insisted on taking walks with Rita, asking questions about Mango. He got Rita to laugh, talking about her caramel colored hero.

On the anniversary of the perilous fire, Leslie and Martin accompanied Owen on his visit to see Rita. They brought a box which held a framed photo of Rita and Mango, Mango’s collar that had been found among the ashes, and a check for $25,000 that Leslie and Martin were giving to the animal shelter.

It didn’t bring Mango back to Rita, but it did make her happy that Mango saved this sweet boy Owen and that many animals would benefit from Martin and Leslie’s gift of charity.

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