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Surprising Story: Wild Horses of the Missouri Ozarks

Shannon Jackson

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Did you know that eight herds of wild horses live in a mountain range in the middle of America? Most people don’t know about the mountains–and even fewer know about the wild horses! Read on to find out about the curious little colts that get adopted from these herds.

America’s Midwest Mountain Range–Sort Of

Everybody spends time learning about the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains in school. But most of us don’t learn about the Ozarks–at least, not very much.

The Ozarks are actually the most ancient mountains in the continental United States. They were once as grand and tall as the Colorado Rockies.

But after centuries of erosion, the Ozarks aren’t as big as they used to be. While almost everybody refers to them as mountains, geologists call them the Ozark Foothills instead. They are gentle, rolling, and misty-green in the mornings. They also hide eight herds of wild horses!

Where Did The Ozarks’ Wild Horses Come From?

The wild horses of the Ozarks weren’t always wild. Before the 1930s, there were plenty of Ozark farmers who kept the horses on their farms.

But the Ozark Foothills aren’t great for farming. The rocky soil is good for oak trees, elm trees, and blackberry bushes–but not so good for crops. That’s why many farmers who moved to the Ozarks, had to move out during The Great Depression: They couldn’t grow enough crops to sell and make money on. In fact, they could barely grow enough for themselves!

That’s why many farmers in the region moved away during the Great Depression. And when they did, they had to leave most of their animals and possessions behind. That’s when the horses became wild!

Curious Colts of the Ozarks

Today, the horses still roam free around Echo Bluff State Park. When they were left behind, they learned to live off berries, grass, and other vegetation. They get their water from a collection of brooks and streams known as the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Thousands of people come to the park every year to float or walk along these rivers–and to see the horses!

But not every horse that is born wild, gets to stay wild. A handful are adopted by the people of the area every year. If it hadn’t been for one brave soul, the horses wouldn’t be there at all!

The Man Who Saved the Wild River Horses

In 1992, the National Park Service decided to take all of the horses out of Echo Bluff Park. They were worried that the horses were damaging the natural environment.

Many of the locals didn’t want the horses to go, however. One of them–a man named Jim Smith–even went to Washington, D.C., to testify in front of Congress. Smith told Congress how much the local residents loved the horses. They admired the herds for their grace, beauty, and strength. Congress agreed on a compromise.

The horses could stay, they said–but only 50 of them. To keep this number right, a handful of young horses–colts–are adopted every year.

Every year since 1992, caring citizens like Mr. Smith have adopted young horses from the wild herd. Smith called the one he adopted, the “gentlest animal you’ve ever seen.” These colts have also been called exceptionally smart, good-natured, and beautiful. If you ever get to see them, we think you’ll agree!

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Doctors Debate a New Study That Puts Kids’ Screen TIme in a Positive Light

Kelly Taylor

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Is Screen Time A Common Sense Issue, Or Is There More To Learn From A Recent Study?

Children glued to their phones and tablets may give parents a break, but is the overall, long-term effect of “screen time” actually positive? On TV, the show “The Doctors” took on this question in response to a controversial study that seemed to claim that kids benefit from screen time more than they are harmed. Ironically, parents can go online and spend some screen time of their own catching up on this segment of “The Doctors” along with videos from well-known medical sources such as Kaiser Permanente and even the U.S. Government‘s NIH. Why did these doctors get heated about the results of the study?

The Potential Dangers of Children Spending Significant Screen Time

Mental development of children involves diverse sensory inputs, problem-solving, interaction with others and managing of emotions. Screen time may help educate and entertain kids, but overall the brain and personality development of the child could be at risk if they spend too much time face-to-screen.

Is Erosion of Family Life Another Concern?

While studies often focus on screen time as a negative factor in children’s school and developmental progress, the effect on family life as a whole is sometimes omitted. Kids who spend so many hours alone, not interacting with their families when they are at home, would in the past have been cause for concern. They might be depressed, have a developmental issue, or be holding in feelings about some difficult issue in their lives. Screen time is a distraction that could serve to mask these and other concerns. When kids participate in the family, physicians note, they not only grow but they have better access to interactive parenting.

Dr. Judy Ho And Her Analysis Of A Controversial “Study”

On “The Doctors,” the team considered the positive spin on kids and screen time of a new but controversial study. Clinical psychologist Dr. Judy Ho, who had strong opinions on the subject, played the “bad guy” and asked tough questions, offering her own well-developed views. She noted that the study they were discussing was missing several key elements of a well-designed piece of research, and so the conclusions were unlikely to be useful as information for parents. The data simply served as an informal survey of interested parents, and the results were a compilation of general comments about kids’ characteristics. There wasn’t really any direct and scientific way to see cause and effect.

Boiling Down The Issue Of Screen Time For Kids

Parents may use decisions about gadget use as a teachable moment in their children’s lives, but as always peer pressure is going to be a powerful force. Kids who aren’t connected tend to miss out, as previous generations of TV-watching kids did, on social interactions with other kids which revolve around common media experiences.

Teaching Your Children to Grow into Adulthood

Parents have to weigh social “coolness” against developmental, family, and educational concerns. In the end, though it may be difficult for some parents, Dr. Patty’s suggestions are a great starting point: have no-screen zones like the dining room with a basket by the door, have concrete limits for screen time — typically less than two hours a day — and try to make screen time a parent-child experience rather than a media consumption moment. Talk about screen-based experiences, think about them together, laugh at the funny stuff and ask questions about the serious stuff. Use screen time to help your child’s mind grow.

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Stella the Dog Can Talk!

Renee Yates

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Christina Hunger is a speech pathologist who works with young children around two years old to enhance their ability to communicate with adults. Christina has always wondered if she could teach a puppy to use the word buttons, too. Several years ago, Christina adopted a dog named Stella.  She decided to try and see if the same methods she uses for her therapy would also help her puppy to learn to communicate.  Many dog owners would like to really understand what their pets are thinking about.  Stella uses buttons to communicate her wishes to her owners.  Christina can talk with her dog.

Christina set up a group of buttons for Stella to push with her paws.  Each button was introduced singularly, and over time Stella learned the meaning of a variety of buttons. The buttons were also grouped by color.  Each color represents a particular group of words.  Stella can press “walk” or “beach” with her paws to indicate what she wants to do.  She can also press buttons for Christina or Jake, her other owner.  Stella will walk on the board of 26 buttons as she looks for the one she wants.  Stella took the longest to learn her first button.  After that, it was much easier to introduce more buttons to the dog.

When Stella began to learn to use the buttons, she would only use one paw.  Over time, Stella began using both paws to press the buttons. Using both paws makes it easier for Stella to put more than one button together.  At this point, she can put a series of five or less words together such as “Christina walk”  or “Want Jake Come.”  Christina feels that the dog showed relief when she finally learned how to punch the buttons for her needs.  Stella barks when she hits the buttons, and is able to repeat requests if Christina does not understand her or does not see the dog punch all of her buttons.

Christina has started a blog entitled Hunger for Words where visitors can see the progress of Stella and her buttons. The blog has a number of cool videos of Stella’s day.  Christina is hoping to teach this method to other dogs and hopes that this method will improve the communication between owners and pets.  She also feels that having the board made a recent move easier for Stella to understand.  Moves often make pets anxious, but Stella was very calm about their recent move to the beach.  Stella intends to introduce more words for Stella to learn.

Stella has been featured in People magazine, which is following the story of Stella from time to time for its readers.  For more on Stella, go here to reach Christina’s blog.  Christina is currently looking for another dog that can learn to push buttons.  She is hoping to organize a class of animals and show their owners how to make both of their lives easier.

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Gallant Helps Pet Owners Plan Ahead By Banking Dogs’ Stem Cells When They Get Spayed Or Neutered

Shannon Jackson

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If you’re wondering what you can do to make your pet’s life as long and healthy as possible, it’s a good idea to consider banking your dog’s stem cells. Gallant is a new startup devoted to pet health that can help you do just that.

Human health care has benefited enormously from stem cell technology in the recent past. Now with the help of Gallant, pet health can benefit too. Gallant’s mission is to make it so that dogs can benefit from regenerative therapies. The company now has collected $11 million in funding and is based in Los Angeles. 

The founders of Gallant have made note of the fact that we plan ahead for our children, but we rarely plan ahead for the lives of our pets. However, harvesting stem cells when dogs are young and healthy creates a huge asset to pet health care in the future. 

The stem cell banking service offered by Gallant has just recently launched. Yet it is already stirring up a lot of attention in pet care. The company has grown to acquire part of the previously existing company Cook Regentec. This acquisition has included possession of stem cell banking services that were already being offered by Cook Regentec. It has also included acquisition of various cell therapy products that involved harvesting reproductive tissues. 

The strength of the operations of this company lie in the fact that it involves harvesting stem cells when neutering and spaying is being performed. This maximizes the efficiency of the harvesting and also makes it so that stem cells are harvested when the animal is young. At this time, the stem cells are healthiest and best for regenerative cell therapies.

The founder of the startup enterprise is Aaron Hirschhorn. Hirschhorn initially founded DogVacay. He founded this company after suffering from back pain himself. After suffering from back pain, Hirschhorn also saw his dog suffer through arthritis pain. While Hirschhorn noted that he was able to benefit from regenerative therapies, no such therapies were available for his dog. 

Another leading figure at the company is Linda Black. Linda Black is an entrepreneur with experience with other ventures in the past involving the life sciences. Other companies Black has worked for have included SciStem and Medicus Biosciences. These two ventures were also focused on regenerative therapies. 

Thanks to the $11 million in initial funding available to Gallant, the company made the purchase of the Cook-Regentec division. Now Gallant is able to offer pet owners the option to have stem cells collected any time they take a pet to have a spay or neuter surgery performed. 

In the future, regenerative therapies will be more widely available for pet owners, but it’s important to have the young stem cells available to provide these therapies. With the services of Gallant, it’s easy to ensure that effective treatments will be available for your dog for chronic conditions like arthritis down the road. 

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Routine Traffic Stop Turns into Heartwarming Occasion Thanks to Officer’s Kind Gesture

Shannon Jackson

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Getting pulled over can be a stressful situation. You may not know right away why you were asked to stop, but you probably have a good hunch that it’s not for a good reason.

More often than not, that premonition we have about being pulled over turns out to be accurate and we have to be involved in a less than ideal situation. It’s why many of us dread stopping to talk to an officer so much.

Andrella Jackson may now have different thoughts about being asked to stop by an officer though.

Not too long ago, Jackson was spotted by Milwaukee police officer Kevin Zimmerman and was asked to pull over. Officer Zimmerman requested that Jackson stop because she had the wrong registration for her car.

As he approached the vehicle though, something else caught the eye of Officer Zimmerman. To be more specific, he saw that there were three kids in the backseat of Jackson’s car and two of them were still very small, WTMJ-TV reported. He also noticed that the two small children in question were not in car seats.

Officer Zimmerman then asked Jackson why the small kids were not placed in car seats and she said that she did not have the money to pay for those essential pieces of safety equipment at that time. Jackson mentioned that with winter on the way, she was saving up to buy her children new coats and boots.

A shortage of money is the same reason why Jackson had failed to get her vehicle registered properly.

Per the American Automobile Association (AAA), there are laws in every state dictating that children should be in car seats or restraints.

It would have been easy for Officer Zimmerman to issue Jackson tickets for her violations, but he opted to handle things a different way. Instead of adding to her problems, he went about solving one of them.

Officer Zimmerman soon made his way to a nearby Walmart, and after learning how much the kids weighed from Jackson, he went ahead and purchased two car seats using money out of his own pocket. He even stuck around to install the car seats himself.

By the way, the police officer did more than just give Jackson and her kids new car seats. According to this report from CNN, Officer Zimmerman also made a stop at the police department to pick up a few things – children’s books and stickers – that he also gifted to Jackson’s kids.

The police officer explained why he went the extra mile to help out Jackson. Officer Zimmerman shared that he has kids of his own. He hinted at how frightening the thought is of his own kids moving around in a vehicle with no car seats and how they can be placed in grave danger if an accident occurs.

Officer Zimmerman also said that he was always taught to “do the right thing even if no one is looking.” In this case, both Jackson and the Milwaukee Police Department wanted to make sure that Officer Zimmerman would receive the recognition he deserved even if he wasn’t looking for that.

The generous act touched Jackson, prompting her to shower Officer Zimmerman with numerous “thank yous.” Her kids got in on the chorus of generosity as well.

Jackson called Officer Zimmerman “awesome” and that she is appreciative of the kindness he showed. She added that with the car seats now purchased and installed, she will be able to allocate a bigger budget that will then be used to buy those new coats and boots that her kids need.

What could have turned into an even more trying situation for Jackson and her kids became a shining example of humanity at its best and that is thanks to the generosity exhibited by Officer Zimmerman.

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On The Way To The Last Chemotherapy Treatment, Man Wins $200,000

Shannon Jackson

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Most people understand that life is full of its ups and downs. There are times of happiness and there are times of sadness. Sometimes, life throws all of these feelings at someone at the same time. Perhaps nobody knows this better than a retired transportation worker from the state of North Carolina. This gentleman had been diagnosed with colon cancer. He had faithfully gone to all of his doctors’ appointments and was on his way to his last chemotherapy treatment. After this, his cancer would be followed closely to ensure it was totally eradicated; however, along the way, he stopped by a local convenience store. There, he paid one dollar for a scratch-off and realize he had won five dollars. Then, he decided to purchase two more tickets in an effort to double-down on his five-dollar winnings. As he scratched the second ticket, he could see a bunch of trailing zeros appear. He didn’t believe it at first; however, the ticket was reading $200,000. The gentleman thought that there was no way he had won that kind of money. The store clerk did verify his winnings. He was instructed to proceed to the headquarters of the lottery system to claim his winnings.

The gentleman says that this only served to make a great day even better. He was already excited. After all, he had been being treated for cancer for a while and was excited that he was finally nearly done with his course of treatment. At the same time, winning this kind of money only made his day even better. He decided that his must have been his lucky day. He completed his cancer treatment and then proceeded to the headquarters of the local lottery system to verify and claim his winnings. Of course, he isn’t going to take home every penny of that $200,000.

The gentleman stated that after the state and federal taxes on the winnings, he will still take home more than $140,000. Not a bad payday for an individual who just spent a couple bucks on some scratch-off tickets. He says that he is going to use the money to cover his medical expenses and add to his savings account in case of other emergencies. He does concede that he has good insurance that is going to cover most of the expenses related to his cancer treatment. At the same time, no insurance is perfect. He still has a deductible to pay and many policies have coinsurance as well. For someone who has spent his life working for the local Department of Transportation, these costs can be difficult to bear. The lottery winnings are certainly going to help him out. He is happy to have experienced such fantastic luck on a big day.

According to information from the lottery for North Carolina Education, this system has raised more than $700 million for the local system. Life has a strange way of helping people and this gentleman is the perfect example. He concedes that, had he not been diagnosed with cancer, he probably wouldn’t have purchased that lottery ticket. Even though he has been struggling with colon cancer, he decided to take a chance. In a sense, this might have been life rewarding him for sticking it out during a difficult time. He says that this is a chance to learn a valuable life lesson. Even when times appear dark, it is important to remain optimistic. People never know when their luck is going to turn around. For this gentleman, this is exactly what happened. 

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