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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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Cute

Zookeepers Set Up Camera And Capture Pregnant Rhino Giving Birth Without Any Assistance

Renee Yates

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For a whopping sixteen months, Asha carried her baby in her womb. Asha, a rare greater one-horned rhinoceros, lives at the Chester Zoo in Cheshire, England. Luckily, her labor and delivery were much quicker than the gestational period was for her baby Rhino to come into the world.

After only about 20 minutes of labor, Asha successfully delivered a healthy male calf in the early morning hours on May 3, 2018, at her home at the Chester Zoo. The staff at the zoo were able to capture Asha’s labor and delivery on video. The mama had an easy delivery on the floor of her enclosure and did not require assistance from the staff as she labored and brought her 132-pound baby boy. Once he is fully grown, Asha’s son will balloon to an eye-popping two tons plus in weight!

Guests of the Chester Zoo were excited to visit the little rhino and his mama in their exhibit. Asha’s baby is named Akeno which means “beautiful sunrise.” Along with his birth, Akeno’s first steps were also caught on tape along with snuggles with his 11-year-old mother Asha. They are a hit at the zoo and seem to be getting along well.

The staff at the well-visited zoo have been working towards keeping beautiful animals like Asha and baby Akeno together and better protected. One-horned rhinos are one-horned rhinos that are endangered at this point in a critical way and the staff is hoping the miraculous birth will not only attract visitors to the zoo but will draw attention to their work on this front. Animals like Asha and baby Akeno are the object of hunters who illegally poach them to be able to obtain their horns and sell them. There is a market for them as they are used in traditional Chinese medicine. A hunter can sell a single horn on the Asian black market for around $65,000 United States dollars. Even more offensive is the fact that wealthy hunters simply want the horns to hang on their walls and show off to friends as a status symbol of wealth and popularity.

According to a staff member of the Chester Zoo, not long ago there were less than 200 greater one-horned rhinoceros in the wild.

“They were hunted almost to extinction. Just in time steps were taken to protect them. Now there are about 2,600, but they still face threats in India and Nepal… it’s important we do all we can to stop their numbers going down to critical levels again.”

As the staff and many others work hard to fight against the illegally poaching of these beautiful animals, Asha and Akeno, who appears like he is dressed in a dark gray suit of armor, are enjoying their stay at the zoo and the many delighted visitors they come into contact with each day. The birth of Akeno on video has drawn more new visitors to the Chester Zoo and everyone seems to be happy with this new situation.

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Cute

Firefighters do not give up on horse stuck in mud

Renee Yates

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It was a warm summer night in August of 2018 when Chris and Tiffany Flynn of Castle Rock, Colorado, noticed the neighing of their horses out in the pasture.

The beautiful 1,200-pound Tennessee walking horse named Partner had vanished and they knew something was wrong and they needed to find him quickly. The couple made their way down to a nearby pond and found their missing horse.

Partner had somehow managed to slide down a 10-foot embankment into a giant mud pit, where he had become stuck. He simply could not get his ample body loose from the thick, sticky ground that had seemed to swallow him.

At first, Chris and Tiffany could only stand there and look at their poor horse while frozen in shock. As panic and confusion set in, they tried to form a plan of action to save the life of their much-loved yet giant horse.

The couple worked at desperately trying to free Partner but he began to sink even deeper into the thick, sticky mud pit that had consumed him and it seemed like an impossible feat to achieve.

Tiffany made her way into the mud, walking waist-deep in it, as her feet began to sink. The realization that she may not be able to escape the muddy hole herself was not lost on her. As Partner continued to struggle to free himself, the deeper he sank.

Chris phoned 911 for help and by 11 p.m., Castle Rock firefighters and other first-responders were on the scene of the Flynn home in the beautiful suburb of Denver. They had to lug their equipment to the area where Partner was stuck which was complicated by the large distance it was from the main road to the farm.

Hiking with their equipment in tow for about a half of a mile to Partner’s location, the firefighter began digging. The continued into the night for about three hours before they were able to use a sling, which required webbing and a pulley to create, to secure Partner and drag him back up the 10-foot embankment to safety. A local veterinarian was on the scene to treat and hydrate the horse after he was freed.

She specializes in large animals and said it was the most technically difficult rescues she has ever seen.

Lt. Jay Allen, a firefighter with the Castle Rock Police Department, told a local news station that he and the other firefighters would attempt to remove the mud and water from the area in which the horse was stuck to no avail at first.

“We would try to remove the mud and the water from him, but he was just stuck in there, that vacuum that was created from it. And so it took finally breaking that vacuum, that seal that was there for us to pop him up and out,” said Allen.

After hours of working diligently, the firefighters were able to free the beautiful horse from his pit of mud.

“It’s amazing to see Partner out of the pit. We are so grateful to the Castle Rock Fire Department and others for working to free Partner,” said Chris as he put his arms around Partner’s neck to reassure him that he was not in trouble for the freak accident.

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Culture

Think About the Science of the Mind Can Lead to a Happier Life

Shannon Jackson

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There are people who say that the mind is a place unto itself. It can be formed into heaven, hell, or anything in between. The brain is one of the most powerful machines. Given that no other intelligent life has been found anywhere else, many people believe the brain to be the most powerful, interesting, creative, and awesome machine that has ever been created. The brain is an incredibly complex thing and is responsible for everything that man has ever created, both concrete and abstract. In a sense, the brain is also amazing because it is completely organic. No matter how hard people try, they cannot make anything that compares to the human brain.

The brain gives rise to a host of impressive cognitive abilities and feats. It allows humans to think and feel. It gives rise to the imagination. It gives rise to perception. People can respond to emotions with concrete actions, weigh the options, and make the correct decision. Along with the feats of speaking and memorizing, the brain is incredibly powerful. Perhaps the most impressive part of the brain is the ability to process emotions and translate them into visible reactions.

There are lots of viewpoints when it comes to the mind and the brain. Some people think they are the same. Other people think they are different. Today, most people think that the brain contributes to the power of the mind. There are older views who believe the mind is totally different and is not connected to the physical body in any way. Therefore, the brain has also given rise to some of the most impressive debates in human history.

Now, there are people asking whether or not the mind is the sole property of humans. Does anyone (or anything) else out there have a mind? On this planet, there are millions of species. There have been millions of species in the past. Undoubtedly, there will be millions of species in the future as well. Throughout the entire time, people are the only species that appear to show any evidence of intelligence.

Scientists and engineers are working hard to come up with a way to mimic the human mind. Right now, they have settled on the development of AI. Many people have hailed this as a breakthrough. Some are afraid that something similar to Terminator or I Robot is going to come out of the development of AI. The development of AI is far more than just a fancy video game. It is more than automation technology. In reality, AI is the first technology to even attempt to replicate the human mind. It will be interesting to see where this research goes.

On the other hand, the development of AI has spurred the human research of the central nervous system. Neuroscience is the study of the physical nervous system and how it impacts the mind and body. It is the natural foil for the study of the physical motor system. There are plenty of ancillary fields such as psychology and psychiatry that study how people respond to a variety of situations and their emotions. Some of these extend into the clinical field. Now, people are pushing for the development of mindfulness and meditation as their own field. Evidence is starting to show that the study of the mind itself can lead to a happier life. Some people feel that when people study the mind, they study themselves. This can lead to the fulfillment of individual identity, making people feel fulfilled. Regardless, mindfulness is going to be important in the future.

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Living

Don’t Blame The World For Your Problems. Instead, It Is Time to Look in the Mirror

Kevin Wells

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Yes, this world is tough. It is filled with chaos. It is hard for people to take responsibility for their actions. Yes, it is easier to blame others, circumstances, or dumb old bad luck. You might even start to blame your past. You blame your past for your present. You blame the people in your past who you believe pushed you off of your path to destiny. You might even find a way to convince yourself that the world is to blame for both your outer appearance and your inner ugliness. Regardless, you are not responsible for the person you are, the challenges you’ve faced, and the failures you’ve suffered. Instead, it is someone else’s fault. It is the fault of others that you have not flourished to reach your full potential. You genuinely believe that it is not your fault. It is not your fault that you haven’t achieved your hopes, goals, dreams, and aspirations. You’ve been too busy working hard to fail. Therefore, it must be the fault of someone else.

In reality, you have been too busy blaming the world to realize that it is actually is your own fault. You have been too focused on pointing fingers to improve yourself. As you were busy trying to pin the blame on someone else, the rest of the world has passed you by. Instead, it is time to look inward. You don’t need to blame the world for everything that has happened to you. In fact, you also don’t need to blame yourself. Blaming yourself is not the same as taking responsibility. Don’t place blame. Blame doesn’t get anyone anywhere. Instead, it is time to look in the mirror. Turn the focus inward and find a way to improve yourself. If you don’t do this, you are simply going to spread the disease. Blame is a disease. It is contagious. It will cut you down before you can ever get up again. Do you really want to spend your life blaming others for the mistakes you have made in the past? Or, instead, do you want to focus on ways to make your life better? Don’t blame the world, or anyone, for the failures of the past. Instead, find a way to pick yourself up off of the mat and keep going.

Sit back for a moment and reflect on your life. It is nobody’s fault. You are responsible for your actions. Sure, you can make the decision to keep blaming someone. Maybe, eventually, someone will admit that they hurt you along the way. Where does this get you? Will it help you find closure? No. Instead, you need to make the decision to open yourself up to the world once again. When you open yourself up, you will be able to laugh. You can cry. You can experience the present and live in the moment. This will allow you to move forward with your life. If you don’t want your life to be a stagnant place of misery, then you need to move forward. 

In reality, there is only one truth in life. There is only one truth for why you can’t move forward. The only one who is keeping you from being you is you. Instead of trying to place blame constantly, you need to look inward. There are choices that you need to make for yourself. You are in control, not the world. It is time to look in the mirror. Only then can you truly find the way forward.

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Living

You Need to Listen to the Call of Your Soul

Kelly Taylor

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All anyone wants to do is follow their heart. Sometimes, people are unsure of what their heart is telling them. In other cases, people might not want to listen to what the heart wants. Sometimes, it can take a while for people to accept that their heart and soul are calling out to them. Maybe they don’t want to listen. Maybe they don’t believe it. 

What many people don’t understand is that even if the heart is calling, it still takes a lot of self-determination to move its direction. Along the journey that we call life, there are going to be tremendous challenges along the way. There is going to be heartbreak. There will be failure. There is also going to be dismay. Some people might even feel despair. It is important not to listen to any of this.

There is a lot of uncertainty that people face as they go through life. This uncertainty lingers at the edges of our hearts and souls. This is often exemplified by those who seek to tear us down. This is shown by those who desire to live within life’s convenient boxes. This is demonstrated by those who are not willing to take the necessary risks to pick themselves up and start over once again.

In many ways, people are happy with this. They are fine living in this tiny space. They do not want to step outside of their comfort zones, despite their hearts telling them that this is necessary. On the other hand, what would it feel like to listen to the heart and soul? What sort of wonder would people feel? What kind of self-live would enter into the picture? The creativity required to make this happen can be messy; however, this is also the beauty of the situation. All along the way, the mind might be resisting this situation; however, the heart knows that this is the right thing to do.

The truth is always present. It is always waiting. It always wants to be reclaimed. No matter how many times people may have forgotten about these truths, they will always be there. Sometimes, people have to do a double-take. Sometimes, people need to turn around. Sometimes, there are distractions that are going to arise. These might even lead to failures. All of this is fine. It is a natural part of life.

People don’t come with maps or manuals. They also don’t come with instructions. Nor do their hearts. This can make it hard for people to figure out who to listen to and what to believe. Eventually, people need to adopt a different attitude when it comes to life. There was a poet who once said that people need to use their ears to listen to their souls. This is the perfect advice that people need to follow, particularly when someone feels lost or confused.

In times of doubt, it is helpful to read. Take a look at stories and poets. Read through tales of people who have survived some of life’s hardest lessons and come out fine on the other side. This is a great source of inspiration. Follow their examples. These stories are designed to love us back. Even though this might be mundane and sensible, they can reveal majesty where we once saw ugliness. They can show us the way in an area that once looked like a maze. They can inspire us even in our darkest times. They can encourage us to follow our hearts and souls even when we would rather do otherwise.

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