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The little boy shares a special moment with a police officer during a protest rally for George Floyd

The ruthless killing of George Floyd has caused a thunderous uproar and rage throughout the world. In Winston-Salem, NC, hundreds of people gathered to protest against the killing of Floyd. They took to one knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds that is the exact length of time former police officer Derek Chauvin had shoved his knee onto Floyd’s neck which resulted in Floyd’s death. The killing of George Floyd has become a symbol of injustice not only in American society but throughout the world. “Say no to racism” has been the most trending topic in all regions of the globe. In this particular incident, it was a black man who was the victim and this is not the only time it has happened. Several cases have occurred which demonstrated the lack of compassion and justice in the way law enforcement has dealt with individuals from minority racial groups.

Yolanda Williams Dickey, a resident of Winston-Salem, NC, was driving by the protest when she decided she wanted her family to be part of this protest as a sign of solidarity against discrimination against the minority groups. She went home to pick up her husband and son, who were glad they got a chance to be part of this historic protest. For her little son, Kamari it was quite the experience. He had never seen a protest rally before this. He saw a lot of anger and pain in the faces of the protestors. He could also see his parents being very emotional too. His parents had told him what the protest was about and how Floyd had been murdered. Kamari couldn’t understand why the former police officer did what he did to George Floyd.

Kamari’s attention went to the police officers on the sidelines. He watched them very closely as they stood by making sure there was no violence at the protest. Kamari had always wanted to a police officer himself but now his mother was concerned that after this incident, maybe he would not want to be one. Most of the toys that Kamari had were related to the police and he spent most of his days playing with them. He often told his parents that when he grows up he wanted to be a police officer so he could catch the bad guys. This unfortunate killing of George Floyd might have shattered the dreams of the little boy. At the protest, as the family moved closer to the police officers, Kamari approached Sgt. Dan Battjes, who was sitting on his motorcycle.

Kamari formally introduced himself to the police officer, who was very kind and friendly to the boy. After a few minutes of talking, Kamari said goodbye to the officer by a friendly fist pump. While the citizens of the country are demonstrating against the police and there is an unbelievable level of anger toward law enforcement, this little boy kept no hatred in his heart. The innocence of the little boy showed the resilience of the American community. One incident cannot dismantle years of peaceful coexistence. Yes, there have been cases where the minority communities have been discriminated and there should be strict actions and reforms against such incident but Americans still need to live together. The dream of Kamari to become a police officer might still be alive. The question remains, is the dream of a multi-racial America living with each other with love, compassion, and tolerance still alive? Only time will tell if this dream is alive.

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N.C. Zoo Announces The Rare Birth of A Sand Cat Kitten

Renee Yates

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Small, fierce, and daring- words that describe the feline species known as Sand cats. 

In the wild, they are mostly found in the desert where they live off insects, small rodents and even venomous snakes. They are extremely rare due to their quiet and reserved nature, which is why there is a lot of celebration over the birth of a Sand Cat on Monday, Aug. 10. The kitten is the first of the mother Najma and father, Cosmo aged 3 and 5 respectively. 

The mother and kitten are currently in a secluded area of the N.C. Zoo and have minimal human contact. They live in the Desert habitat, which is currently closed to the public in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions.

The birth of a sand cat under human care is a rare occurrence. There are only 13 facilities affiliated with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in possession of sand cats, and only about six of them have breeding pairs. In 2019, there were only 33 sand cats in all AZA zoos. 

They are petite in size- just like domestic cats, but there is nothing domestic about these desert cats. They are ferocious wild animals that should never be kept as pets, especially in the presence of kids so don’t let their small sizes fool you. Their big ears and relatively large eyes distinguish them from domestic cats, but they can be a lot smaller in size. For Sand Cats under human care, life expectancy is about 10-12 years. 

Sand Cats are native to the deserts of North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. They are nocturnal creatures that can adapt to the hot and cold extremes of their desert environments, primarily because of their thick fur. Their large ears help them pick up low sound frequencies, and this comes in handy when searching for prey or looking for mates. They are solitary creatures by nature, and are only found in pairs for mating purposes. The large span of the desert, however, makes it difficult for two separate Sand Cats to meet, so it takes a long time for that to ever happen. 

Sand Cats keep a low profile by being active at night, staying close to the ground, and leave zero footprints in the sand, making it difficult for humans to see or track them in the wild. All these factors make it a Herculean task to study them and get an accurate number of sand cats living in the wild. 

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After a year of sleeping in a grocery store’s parking lot, homeless woman gets hired by the same grocery store.

Renee Yates

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A Nashville Kroger grocery store hired a homeless woman who had been sleeping in its parking lot for about a year. 

In her interview with USA Today, LaShenda Williams admitted that she had been battling drug addiction and had been spending the nights in her car at the Nashville Kroger grocery store after a day of driving around different locations. 

“I would lean my seat all the way back so no one would see me because, you know, I knew I wasn’t supposed to be there,” Williams told Today.

Towards the end of the year, Williams was noticed by Jackie Vandal, a manager at Krogers, and with some words of inspiration, she was able to encourage her to attend an upcoming job fair.

The day of the job fair came, and Williams was one of the first applicants. Vandal asked Williams to fill an online application, which she did after a couple of hours on her old laptop. After seeing the message indicating that Williams was done with the application, she hired her almost immediately.  

Months have passed since Williams was hired, and she now has an apartment to call her own. She has been working tirelessly with community leaders and other store staff, so she really deserved this big win. 

Everyone working with her had only good things to say about her. 

“She’s a fantastic worker, I wish I had 120 of her,” said Vandal.

“We are so lucky to have Lashenda as part of our Kroger family. Her uplifting spirit is contagious. She has made such a positive impact on her fellow team members, and so many customers as well,” said Melissa Eads, a corporate affairs manager for Kroger Nashville Division.

Williams is super happy for her job and the people that came with it. After everything that she has faced, there was no way she could’ve lost enthusiasm and passion, and that has kept her going.  

“I was sleeping in a parking lot and looking for something to eat. Now, all my babies here love on me. No one abuses me, and no one calls me dumb and stupid. For the first time in my life, I finally got peace,” Williams told USA Today.

Her story is a success story, and it should serve as motivation to never give up even in testing circumstances. 

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Kind couple reunite homeless man with his family after 20 years apart

Kevin Wells

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“Everyone just stares at me. I’m an educated man, but all they see is a person who doesn’t have a home and doesn’t have anyone to call.”

These were the sad, heartbreaking words Randi Emmans heard as she stepped outside her apartment in Los Angeles to take her dog on a walk. 54-year-old Petro Reid was the man Emmans had just heard talking to himself, and he was in a bad place mentally. 

She called up her boyfriend, John Suazo to jointly hold a conversation with Reid. He was quite surprised at first, because according to him, no one had ever taken interest in him, and he poured out his mind to them. 

For a homeless man, the person they had just held a conversation with was very fluent in expressing himself. 

“He was so impressive,” said Suazo. 

“The whole conversation really touched us.”

From the conversation, they found out that Reid had left his family home in Charleston, S.C., and moved to L.A. in 1999 to live with an aunt. Barely a year later, he found himself going off the rails and homeless due to drug and alcohol addiction. 

He became a popular figure in jail, from where he’d occasionally call home and send letters to his grandmother’s house in Charleston. 

“It was always for petty crimes, usually shoplifting to support my habits, food and things of that nature,” he said. “That cycle continued for years, and whenever I got released, I was right back on the streets.”

For more than two decades, Reid wandered the streets of L.A. in search of his family or some beacon of hope, and for those two decades he didn’t find anything- until Emmans heard him. 

He had lost all hope of living a decent life. He always thought of his family, but the chances of setting eyes on them once again were pretty dim, so he gave up. 

He found Emmans and her boyfriend non-judgmental. They genuinely cared about his situation and that was why he opened up to them. 

“John and Randi saw me as more than what everyone else saw me as — just a homeless person living on the streets,” he said. “They believed in me, despite the situation they found me in.”

After giving him food, water, and other basic human needs, the couple felt they hadn’t done enough to truly take him out of misery and ridicule. Emmans made a post on Facebook, a public plea asking for donations to help cover the costs of a night or two at a hotel, so Reid could get rest up, recuperate, and have decent hot meals. 

Her post received a lot of engagements, and in only 3 days, they were able to raise about $6,500 for Reid. The funds were used to lodge him in a hotel, get him a new mobile phone, and buy him some new clothes. 

Although grateful for all Emmans and Suazo had done, Reid still wanted to find his family. He asked the couple for help and they decided to help him. 

Reid took on the name Franklin Mitchell after an encounter with the police in L.A. He didn’t have his identity card, so the name stood- that was why his family members could never reach him. 

In the search for his family, Reid gave Emmans and Suazo some names he could remember, as well as his grandmother’s address, without knowing if she was still living there or alive at all. 

“Randi and I started plugging away on the Internet, and we were able to find his grandmother’s name associated with the address,” Suazo said. “We called wrong numbers until, finally, we got someone who was his uncle’s ex-wife.” 

This was when all the dominoes started falling in place. 

Reid’s uncle, Pierre Grant was informed by his ex-wife of a certain contact about his nephew and he immediately called the couple to set up a meeting. 

Grant said “For over 20 years, we had been praying and believing that one day we would find him, and the day finally came. This is a miracle.”

He took a flight paid for by Emmans and Suazo to L.A. to link up with his nephew. The amazing couple were also able to pay for a covid-19 test for Reid, Grant, and themselves- all which came back negative. 

The long awaited family reunion came on Friday, August 7. Mia Green, Reid’s cousin was also present for the reunion. It was a touching and soulful moment for Reid as he tightly embraced his cousin and uncle after 20 years of wandering the streets of L.A. 

Now that Reid has finally reunited with his family, he plans to get his life together and back on track. 

“I believe I can help a lot of people that are still in the position that I was in,” said Reid.

He plans to start the next chapter of his education and find himself a stable, paying job.  

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Rhode Island local boy finds enormous 2.5-pound mollusk

Kevin Wells

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11-year-old Cooper Monaco discovered a huge quahog while clamming with his grandfather- and his discovery is arguably one of the largest ever mollusks recorded in the state. 

The young lad dug up the colossal mollusk weighing about 2-1/2 pounds, and 5.75 inches across on Monday in the Weekapaug region of Westerly, and has since given it to the University of Rhode Island’s Marine Science Research Facility in Narragansett. The discovery is a special one, because according to the university, typical quahogs grow to only about 4 inches across. 

Cooper’s discovery, just like majority of all discoveries, was purely accidental. In his statement, he said, “I was down on my hands and knees in the water looking for clams, and I touched this huge rock thing.” According to his statement, he knew he had touched a clam just by feeling its edge, and his words “holy moly, this is a clam!” describe his excitement at the discovery. 

Cooper knew just enough about clams to know that his discovery was phenomenal, so he asked his mom not to cook it as she would have for ordinary clams. 

Manager of the URI Marine Research Facility, Ed Baker, is making plans to put the unusually gigantic mollusk on display for public viewing. 

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Identical Twin Sisters Married To Identical Twin Brothers Both Announce Pregnancies

Shannon Jackson

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No one knows if this was planned, but identical twins Brittany and Briana Salyers, married to Josh and Jeremy Salyers – also identical twins are both expecting at the same time. They broke the news via a Baywatch-themed Instagram post on Friday, and the story has made headlines since then. 

In the Instagram post captioned “Guess what!!?? BOTH couples are pregnant!,” Josh and Jeremy wore lifeguard costumes while their brides, now to be mothers, dressed up in one-piece bathing suits that read “Baby Watch,” and struck poses that clearly gave off their baby bumps. The rest of the caption also states the fact that their children will be cousins, genetic siblings, and quaternary multiples! Isn’t that amazing? 

The twin couples hit the spotlight when they appeared on TLC’s Our Twinsane Wedding, and this wonderful news only two years after shows how well their journeys as wedded couples has gone. Their joint marriage was officiated by identical twin ministers at the 2018 Twins Days Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio – exactly where they had met only one year ago. The marriage ceremony was themed “Twice Upon a Time” and now they are expecting to add at least two more members to their happy twin family. 

Brittany revealed at the marriage ceremony that the idea of living in the same house to raise their children together in harmony made them really happy, and now they get to bring their imaginations into reality. Brittany said, “When we have children, my and Josh’s children will be genetic siblings to Briana and Jeremy’s Children. We imagine it will be like two moms and two dads all raising our families together.”

The sisters share a special bond typical of twins. Before their double pregnancy revelation, Brittany and Briana have always shared the urge to do things the same way- matching outfits, and double dating, which eventually led to their marriage to Josh and Jeremy. Each one of the sisters sees herself as incomplete without the other- something like being two halves of a whole. 

From the joint wedding to the joint pregnancies, everything has felt like a fairytale. According to Briana, getting married to identical twins has always been the goal, and they had already foreseen it since their kindergarten days. 

They knew the chances of having such a perfect future were really slim. For their dreams to come true, the stars had to align in quintessential harmony, and it seems like they did. 

In Brittany’s own words, “I get to marry the man of my dreams and at the same time I get to look over next to me and see my twin sister marrying the man of her dreams.” 

Their fairytale story can get a lot better if they both give birth to twins. Yes, the chances of that happening are like a googolplex to one, but who knows? It just might happen. 

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