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One Person’s Love of Street Art Changes Cleveland Forever Through Non-Profit and Advocacy Work.

Shannon Jackson

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Have you ever been walking down the street when you noticed a bit of graffiti? Graffiti is a form of art that has been ingrained into our society since it first began. With that being said, our concept of modern graffiti can probably be traced back to a young student from Philadelphia named nicknamed Cornbread, way back in 1967. Even though graffiti can be used to wreck public spaces and cause business owners serious headaches, the art can also be used for good. Stamy Paul is a citizen of Cleveland, OH, who fell in love with graffiti. Wanting to have a custom mural painted for her home, Stamy began to reach out to graffiti artists in the city. Despite having a town covered in the art, she couldn’t find anyone to take up her commission. This is what led Stamy to establish the nonprofit foundation, Graffiti HeArt.

As a fan of graffiti, Stamy wanted to create a situation where these street artists could flourish without fear of repercussions. Stamy decided to establish Graffiti HeArt in 2013 with the goal of helping to revitalize Cleveland and the surrounding areas. Stamy’s work with Graffiti HeArt has helped to put a spotlight on the hard work of talented artists in the area. The funds gained through the nonprofit are given to children from underserved communities who have had an interest in graffiti. Stamy, like many others, believes that graffiti can translate to a real-world career with a variety of similar professional tracks available. Through Graffiti HeArt, Stamy is able to give these talented artists an outlet and a road map to future opportunities. 

Along with her work on the streets, the team at Graffiti HeArt has partnered with the Cleveland Institute of Art and their pre-college program. The course lasts for two weeks and is designed around helping the aforementioned underserved artists to improve their skills while establishing a professional portfolio. Rather than simply allowing these children to get punished for their love of art, they now have a safe and legal place to practice it with a potential career just around the corner. Graffiti HeArt is also accepting of interns through their volunteer internship program. Through this program, chosen artists get the opportunity to create murals that will be promoted and elevated by the city as well as the Graffiti HeArt non-profit. One example of such a mural is the Welcome to Cleveland piece that was created by Victor Ving, an artist from Brooklyn. 

Thanks to Stamy’s continued efforts with the non-profit, more people than ever are being introduced to graffiti as a valid art form rather than a public nuisance. The kids practicing the art are being afforded new opportunities while Stamy helps the city of Cleveland to nurture and reinvigorate aspects of the urban area. All told, Stamy Paul is doing her best to bring Cleveland together through art and communal collaboration. We could always use more stories like this!

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Amazing

Three Week Pet and House Sitting Turns Into a Year Long Mystery

Kevin Wells

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Any responsible pet owner knows that if you cannot bring the animals with you then you need to make arrangements to ensure they are taken care of. If you are going to be gone for any length of time it is also a good idea to have someone check in on the house once in a while to make sure everything is ok. Last year one Canadian man agreed to watch his neighbor’s home while they were away.

The neighbors were going to be traveling for a few weeks visiting family overseas. They asked the man and his wife to watch the house and their pets and check on the house for three weeks while they went to Taiwan as his mother was dying and they wanted to see her and spend time with the family. They left the man $500 dollars for food for their 2 German Sheppards and their cat. The man agreed and went over daily to feed the pets and would walk through the house to check on things every week.

On July 1, he got an email asking if the man and his wife could watch things for a little longer. It was taking more time than they expected to take care of everything after his mother had died. They agreed and expected the man to return in 2 week’s time. They never arrived and no other communications were received. On July 21, the man sent an email but never got a reply. By the end of the month the neighbor’s cell phone had been disconnected and he was not responding to any email messages at all now. At some point in the following weeks a pipe had burst and ended up flooding the basement causing massive water damage. The man did not know what to do now since he still could not get in touch with the family.

He ended up paying someone out of his own pocket to have the leak fixed, and he also paid for one of their dogs to have surgery. This was quickly becoming a real nightmare situation, and worst of all, he had no idea how long it was going to last. He thought about trying to track them down via social media but they had a very common last name and he had no address or name for contact on who they were staying with in Taiwan so it seemed a search on his own was going to be fruitless.

The electricity was still running in the house, which the man credited to an autopayment. The internet was also still working. There was no way to track down a place of employment or other contact ins Canada who might know the couple and be able to help track them down. So, after waiting nearly a year, the man filed a missing person report with the police to try and get some help finding out what happened to the couple.  Eventually, they got a response- there was good news and bad news.

The good news was that the couple were alive and well and not dead or in prison as the man had feared. The bad news was that they seemed to be very irresponsible and privileged people. They said they had asked a relative to come to get the pets and deal with the house but had never checked in with him to see if any of it had been done. They said the man and his wife could keep the pets if they wanted or he could find some way to take them off their hands. He also seemed to care little about the house and made a statement along the lines of – if we ever come back we can pay to fix it or just buy a new house.  

The man said that he and his wife would keep the pets as they couldn’t bear to give them up after a year of caring for them. They were also very worried about what this couple may do with animals they seemed to truly care so little about. It is one of the most bizarre stories ever, but at least it ends on a happy not and those pets are still in good hands and are being loved and cared for. But let this be a warning before anyone agrees to house sit or pet sit for something- get all the details and contact information before you ever say yes!

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Cute

Handicapped Puppy Befriends Flightless Pigeon

Renee Yates

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In Rochester, NY, Sue Rogers runs a non-profit called the Mia Foundation. The rescue organization rescues and rehabilitates animals who have birth defects or deformities and tries to find them a loving home. About a year ago, a pigeon was found unable to move in the parking lot of a car dealership. The pigeon was huddled and cowering on the ground. When a local wildlife rescue was called, they said the bird had neurological damage that caused him not to be able to fly. They thought that euthanization would be the best option for him.

Sue was having none of that. She stepped in and took the bird, who she named Herman, under her wing, so to speak. She made space for him in her shelter and kept him close where she could keep an eye on him. He liked to sit on a furry dog pillow and watch her work.

A couple months ago, a tiny Chihuahua was brought to the Mia Foundation. He was an infant, maybe a few months old, when his South Carolina breeders sent him to Sue. He’s a teacup sized Chihuahua they named Little Lundy and he was born with spinal cord damage. Sue also determined that he was suffering from swimmers syndrome. Swimmers syndrome is a developmental deformity that causes the front and hind legs to be splayed out. This makes it almost impossible for Little Lundy to walk.

Although swimmers syndrome is thought to be untreatable, according to a few studies and an article in a veterinary journal, it can be treatable. With some physical therapy and at-home treatment, Little Lundy could live a long and happy life, which is exactly what Sue plans for him.

When Little Lundy arrived at the Mia Foundation he decided to get acquainted with his new surroundings and the other animals at the shelter. One particular encounter, created a friendship that has gone viral. Herman and Little Lundy, a puppy and a pigeon, are the unlikeliest of friends, but they have a lot in common. They both have trouble walking, or flying in Hermans case, and they were living in the same place. You could say, they were in the right place at the right time to become instant friends. 

In the six weeks they have been together, Herman and Little Lundy have become inseparable. They do everything together, which is a lot of sleeping and snuggling. Mostly, with Herman sitting on top of Little Lundy, which doesn’t bother him in the slightest. This friendship was so out of the ordinary that Sue had to document it. The viral sensation of the puppy and pigeon has brought attention to the Mia Foundation that was much needed. The rescue organization runs solely on donations to help cover the costs of taking care of the animals and for needed surgeries. So far, about $6000 was donated because of this unlikely friendship and over 100 adoption inquiries. Hopefully when they are adopted, they are able to stay together.  

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Entertainment

Wild Canadian Horse’s Dramatic Rescue

Kelly Taylor

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Canada is known for many things, including its beautiful scenery, friendly people, diverse animal life, and frigid winters. All of these things came together in a powerful and moving way one day as fate played out a hand that involved a matter of life or death. A small group from the Help Alberta Wildies Society (HAWS) was patrolling the beautiful countryside one day. HAWS is a group of volunteers committed to helping and protecting the rich lineage of Canada’s wild horses. They help support the preservation of native wilderness that the horses call home and also work to protect the animals and catalog their populations. On a chilly winter day, a small group of HAWS volunteers ventured out to search for newborn foals in Alberta, Canada, so they could document the new additions to the local herd. As they were out searching, they came upon a heartbreaking sight.

They spotted a young foal stuck in a muddy bog. The wild foal was desperately struggling to drag itself out of a muddy hole. There was no telling how long the young horse had been trapped but it had more than half of its body sunk into the 6-foot-deep hole that as filling with sticky mud and near-freezing water. The horse lovers knew what they had to do. If anyone was meant to find this helpless creature, it was the HAWS heroes and so they quickly got to work. As they worked to figure out how to rescue the foal, they kept an eye out for any of the wild horses that might still be in the near vicinity. They quickly concluded that the young filly likely had been abandoned by the herd when she fell into the hole and was unable to get out.

The small filly just did not have the strength to pull herself out of the hole against the viscous muds and numbing water that was surrounding her. To make things even more difficult for her, and her new rescuers, was the rim of ice that was forming all around the hold. The young foal was unable to get her bearing or get a good foothold and it made getting to her more of a challenge. They knew they were the foal’s only chance of getting out alive, but time was running out, and she was growing more exhausted by the minute. They had to act fast!

For over an hour, the group worked, desperately and tirelessly striving to save the horse before she would succumb to exhaustion and the elements. Using their ATVs and a bunch of ropes, they finally managed to break the muddy suction seal that trapped the young wild hose and they pulled her out of her freezing prison. When they finally pulled her out, they quickly undid the ropes they had used to free her, expecting her to bolt for the hills. They could tell she was exhausted and starving and knew she had to have been trapped for quite some time. However, instead of running away in fear and confusion, the young filly stuck around and showed her rescuers her gratitude and let them know she knew they were friends and that they could be trusted.

It just goes to show how smart these wild animals are and how important it is to protect them and all the other creatures that make up the diverse ecosystem of the Canadian wilderness!

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Culture

Man’s Best Friend, Except When It’s Time for the Weather

Shannon Jackson

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Working from home these days comes with a number of new challenges and risks that most never expected to deal with in their careers. But when the computer camera or conference video is placed in one’s private accommodations, all sorts of issues can pop up that folks normally don’t deal with in the office setting. Everything from what kind of photos, art or prints one has in the background to their furniture in a personal room to everything else the home is shared with becomes potentially exposed. And in the case of a particular weatherman trying to provide his meteorologist work online, man’s best friend can be a notable interruption.

Paul Dellegato regularly works as meteorologist for Fox 13 based in Florida. However, like many others, Paul had to figure out in short notice how to relocate his work and his broadcast to his home to maintain social distance and health safety. While the access to his work networks and computer setups wasn’t too hard, the readjustment to a home office and presentation place for his work took a bit of additional thinking. He had to pick a place in the house that would be free of distractions, walk-in surprises, problematic backgrounds, and not be invasive to his own home as well. What Paul didn’t count on was that his own extended family might end up being the real disruption to Paul’s broadcast.

In the clip provided, Paul is working as usual on his life TV broadcast and covering the weather for the day and the next few days’ expectation. As he’s going through the details and the changes in high and low pressures as well as the temperature predictions, someone doesn’t want to let the weatherman continue. Paul’s golden retriever, Brody, has decided to be a gate crasher and literally jump up in Paul’s face and personal space. No matter how much Paul tries, his dog just keeps being persistent for his master’s attention. Chances are the dog is probably hungry for dinner and is making a point about it. Doing so, however, Paul’s dog is not only making a presence on the screen, the canine is goofing up the weather graphics on the nearby computer, making a ton of noise, and showing how useless it is for Paul to try to and stop the chaos. The audience loves it and Brody, and Paul’s dog became the new digital mascot for Fox 13.

The weatherman’s crisis resonates with all of us. We’re all going through a big disruption, trying to reconstruct our professional work lives from home all over the country. So, to find a bit of humor in Paul’s online dilemma with Brody provides a cathartic effect, helping us all find some humor and a bit of lightness in watching. Once you watch the show clip, you’ll understand why Paul’s situation went viral so fast.  

Things didn’t turn out bad for Paul. He earned big commendations for how patient he was able to stay under duress from Brody and the dog’s insistent interruptions of his weather show. And it was clear Paul loves his furry buddy. So, the feeling now is the heck with the weather maps. How Brody behaves on camera will indicate if tomorrow will be a good weather day or otherwise.  

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Cute

Xbox Tears Marriage Apart After Family Dog Runs Away

Shannon Jackson

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When welcoming a new member into your family, whether a dog or a child, both parents should discuss and agree upon how to teach their children. Families who aren’t on the same page are sure to endure much stress and many challenges. As a warning to others, a Facebook user recently shared the experience that tore her family apart. 

While pregnant with their second child, their son begged for a puppy. With the advent of a child approaching, she was concerned about adding more to the household, but her husband reasoned that it would teach their son responsibility. After many fights, she relented and they adopted a puppy, Scrupples.

As a busy nurse and caring partner, she trusted her husband to take care of their son and dog while she was gone. However, she was accosted with the obvious difference in parenting styles one day. 

Their son approached her husband after accidentally leaving the back door open, allowing Scrupples to run out of the house. Without taking his eyes off the Xbox he was playing, he told their son to look for Scrupples himself.

After five days of no luck finding Scrupples, the mother found her son weeping on the couch. He told her what happened to Scrupples and how his dad wouldn’t help find the dog. 

Recalling the many fights over not wanting to get a puppy, she stormed into the basement. He brushed off the situation, not concerned for either his son or the dog as he continued to play his Xbox. In a fit of rage from his abrasive and heartless response, she pulled the Xbox out of the wall and threw it into the TV screen. 

Walking out of the basement, she took their son outside to look for Scrupples. They posted signs up around town and knocked on doors to see if any of their neighbors had seen their dog. 

After a few days of searching, they came back home empty handed. The woman’s husband wasn’t home, his car gone in the driveway and his suitcase missing from their closet. There was no note and no indication as to where he had gone. 

Then, the phone rang. A woman talked to the mother and told her she had found Scrupples a few days ago, digging up the dirt in her garden, and had been taking care of the dog since. She thanked the woman repeatedly and rushed over to get the dog a few neighborhoods away. 

A few weeks later the woman shared an update on Facebook.

The father had not returned and she had not heard from him since he left. She had been struggling through her days, calling on family and friends to help take care of her family while she worked. However, with one hand holding her son and the other petting Scrupples, she knew she had all she needed right there and that she would make it through. 

Parenting is hard enough. When two people aren’t in agreement as how to share care and take care of a child or pet, life can get a whole lot tougher, but things always have a way of working themselves out.

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