Cleveland kidnapping hero flatly rejects free burgers

Published: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 @ 10:12 AM
Updated: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 @ 1:47 PM

A love for the Big Mac and quick actions to help rescue three kidnapping victims and a child from a Cleveland home gained Charles Ramsey a place in the national spotlight earlier this month.

But the 43-year-old straight-talker credited with helping rescue Amanda Berry, her daughter, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight on May 6 doesn’t want a free meal and in no uncertain words has told restaurants to hold the lettuce, tomato and nonsense.

Through his attorney, Ramsey said he wants help for the women allegedly held captive by Ariel Castro and no undue publicity, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

“I want everyone to know that I have nothing to do with this trash,” Ramsey said in a written statement released by attorney Patricia Walker. His comments were in response to a burger named in his honor and an offer for free burgers for life.

Police say Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight had been held captive in the Castro’s house for at least nine years.

Read: Commentary: 7 creepy things you didn’t know about accused Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro

The trio disappeared separately.

Ramsey and his neighbor Angel Cordero helped kidnapping victim Berry and her young daughter. The other two young women were freed soon after.

Walker told the PD Ramsey was disgusted by an online video game that depicts him and Ariel Castro in a hamburger food fight.

Ramsey famous stopped eating his Big Mac to help Berry.

More than a dozen restaurants have offered Ramsey free burgers for life. A “Chuck Card” was being developed.

The dishwasher’s employer, Cleveland’s Hodges, released the Ramsey Burger, an an 8-ounce Angus Beef burger with a secret sauce.

The restaurant has removed the burger from its menu, the Plain Dealer reports.

“The Ramsey burger was named to honor an employee at a time he indicated he would be returning to his job at Hodge’s. It was not developed to generate additional revenue for the restaurant — nor has it,” the business said in a statement. “We are saddened to hear that Chuck did not take this — or the offer of so many Cleveland restaurants to give him free meals — in the spirit we intended.”

What do you think about Ramsey turning down the burgers?

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How to have your say in's Best of 2017 poll

Published: Thursday, October 15, 2015 @ 10:44 AM
Updated: Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 3:10 PM Best of 2017 contest starts on Nov. 14, 2017. Categories include best bartender, so make sure to nominate your favorite! FILE PHOTO Best of 2017 contest starts on Nov. 14, 2017. Categories include best bartender, so make sure to nominate your favorite! FILE PHOTO

There’s so much to love about Dayton. 

And you get the chance to tell us what you love most about the Gem City. 

The Best of 2017 poll is about to launch, and here is what you need to know to be part of the vote. 

>> PHOTOS: Best of 2016 party


The Best of Dayton poll gives you the chance to help us determine the best of the best in the Gem City.

We will have more than 100 categories in the areas of:

• Outdoors, Active Lifestyle and Recreation
• Food and Dining
• Bars and Nightlife
• Shopping
• Services
• Culture, Music and Entertainment

Now we’re not just talking best burger, best pizza, best beer and best wings. Those tried-and-true favorites are on the list, but you'll find new (and new-ish) categories like Best Dayton Drag Queen, Best Bartender, Best Bar Bathroom, Best Dayton-Centric Gift and Best Trivia Night.

This is your chance to celebrate your favorites in just about every aspect of Dayton life and possibly even settle some longstanding arguments amongst family and friends.

>> NOMINATE NOW: Best of 2017 does the process work?


Beginning Tuesday, Nov. 14, you can submit nominations in all categories here. We encourage you to nominate all of your favorites so they have a chance to make the final ballot.

Nominations will be accepted from Nov. 14-26.

The team will take all of your nominations into consideration before assembling the final ballot.

No nominations will be accepted after Nov. 26, so don’t miss your chance to get involved.


After the general election has passed, it will be time to cast your vote in the Best of Dayton poll.

Voting opens Dec. 4 and closes on Dec. 22. During this time frame, you can cast your vote in all categories, or as many categories as you’d like.

The poll is interactive, customizable and easy to use. It even makes social media sharing a piece of cake.


Winners will be announced at a special party on January 17, 2018. Mark your calendars now, and join us in celebrating our 2017 winners!

It will be held January 17, 2018. Time and location TBD.

Stay tuned -- we’ll have information on how to get your tickets very soon. Further questions? Email

Mulch, leaf mold, compost: How to put autumn leaves to good use

Published: Monday, November 20, 2017 @ 3:19 PM

Why Do Leaves Change Color?

Leaves of red, yellow, orange and green color the autumn landscape with their vibrant, dramatic hues, compelling us to pull on soft, warm sweaters, pour a mug of hot cider and curl up with a good book. But when they leave their branchy homes and gently sway to the ground, the compulsion to grab a rake and head outdoors for hours of back-breaking labor erases the tranquility almost immediately. Why not just let them be?

For starters, if left in place until spring, those leaves will smother your lawn, depriving it of sunlight and air. And when the soggy, matted debris is cleared away, you’ll be left with dead patches that will require reseeding. And that’s the best-case scenario: Diseases like snow mold and brown patch, and all sorts of fungi thrive between leaf and lawn, and you’ll find dealing with the aftermath is even more burdensome than raking would have been.

But there is one way you can leave your leaves and have your lawn, too: Mulch them. This is easier than it sounds, as it simply requires running your lawn mower over the leaves to shred them into little bits. Those bits will work their way between grass blades to the soil line, where they’ll gradually decompose and even add nutrients to improve the health of your turf. If there are too many to leave on the lawn, you can run the mower over them and move the resulting mulch to your garden beds, where they’ll serve the same function.

» 7 ways to save money on Thanksgiving dinner

Mulching leaves isn’t only easier than raking — it’s more environmentally sound. Bagged-up yard debris adds nearly 33 million tons of solid waste to U.S. landfills each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. And its decomposition under those conditions (without adequate oxygen) can result in a release of methane gas, which tends to heat up when exposed to sunlight and can result in a too-warm atmosphere — and that’s not good for plants, wildlife or us.

Another problem caused by ignoring your leaves is that many of them would be carried by wind to our waterways, where they’d release excess nutrients and can throw the whole ecosystem out of balance.

If you aren’t inclined to chop up leaves with your lawn mower, you might consider making leaf mold, an organic soil amendment and mulch that’s especially useful in sandy soils due to its high moisture content. Simply create a pile of leaves, water it lightly and cover loosely with a tarp. Visit it once or twice over winter, stirring it up a bit. Come spring, you’ll have partially decomposed nutrient-rich matter to add to garden beds and borders, or to sieve through steel mesh and add to potting mix. True leaf mold takes at least a year to develop, but this quick version will continue to break down after it’s applied. It’s almost like a shortcut to compost.

» 10 holiday activities that don't have to involve eating

Cooking up compost

Speaking of compost, that’s another lovely use for autumn leaves. Compost is the single best additive available for improving any type of soil. It improves the water-retention of sandy soil, improves the drainage of clay and imparts a bounty of nutrients. It’s no wonder gardeners call it black gold.

There are two components that make up compost: nitrogen-rich “greens,” such as fresh grass clippings, coffee grounds and fruit and vegetable scraps, and carbon-rich “browns,” such as newspapers, twigs, dryer lint and all those autumn leaves. The best compost is composed of a ratio of three parts “browns” to one part “greens.” (Never include fats, like meat or fish table scraps, dairy products, oils, etc., diseased plants or weeds that have gone to seed in your pile. And never add materials that don’t decompose, such as plastic or glass. Bird and rabbit droppings, and horse manure are OK, but kitty litter and dog poop are not. As a rule of thumb, excrement from carnivores is off-limits.)

» 15 must-know things we’ve learned about holiday shopping

To “cook” up a batch of compost, you’ll need a place to do it. Options range from just piling up compost ingredients in a far corner of the backyard, to homemade contraptions that can be as utilitarian as a circular chicken-wire pen staked into the ground, to purchased bins or tumblers that can cost anywhere from $50 to $500, depending on how fancy you want to get.

Add your brown and green ingredients, and keep the pile slightly moist, sprinkling lightly with a hose whenever you add to it or notice it drying out. You can add to it all year long.

As ingredients break down, bacteria will heat the center of the pile first, so it’s important to mix or turn the heap regularly to ensure even decomposition. This can be done with a pitchfork or garden spade on an open pile. Tumblers have a crank or weighted design that requires less exertion, but depending on the size and design of the unit, it still might require some muscle.

Finished compost can be added to new garden beds or vegetable plots about a month before planting, sprinkled over the lawn and gently raked in, added by the handful to planting holes or used as a top dressing around established plants, trees and shrubs.

5 unique Christmas facts and traditions from around the world

Published: Monday, November 20, 2017 @ 4:09 AM

Christmas decorations in Beirut, Lebanon
Christmas decorations in Beirut, Lebanon

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! With decorations popping up and cooler temperatures, the season is definitely upon us.

While you prepare for the holiday, with last minute shopping, finding the right tree and coordinating with family and friends, billions of others around the world will also be prepping for the season. Find out some interesting Christmas facts and how other nations around the world celebrate the season.

1. Lebanon

Home to 18 recognized religious groups, including several major Christian sects, Lebanon actually marks Christmas twice each year. Maronites, Protestants and Catholics celebrate the holiday on Dec. 25, as in the U.S. However, Lebanese Orthodox and much of the country's sizable Armenian population mark the day according to the Gregorian calendar, meaning the day is celebrated on Jan. 6. Both dates are official holidays in the country.

While the country also has a large Muslim population, the entire country lights up for the holiday. Beirut, the capital, annually features a prominent Christmas tree in the city center, next to a large mosque and cathedral, which stand side by side. Colorful lights illuminate neighborhoods throughout the country, and Christians and many Muslims mark the holiday by spending time with their families.

2. Venezuela

While it may be normal for Christians around the world to attend church on Christmas Day, residents of Caracas have decided to add a special twist. Each Christmas Eve, Venezuelans in the capital head to church ... on roller skates. Streets are shut down, just to make way for the mass of roller skaters making their way through the city.

Throughout the country, Venezuelans begin celebrating on Dec. 16, with special programs and church services happening each day until Christmas Day.

3. Philippines

The Giant Lantern Festival (Ligligan Parul Sampernandu) in San Fernando, Philippines(WikiMedia)

Each year, on the Saturday before Christmas Eve, the city of San Fernando hosts The Giant Lantern Festival (Ligligan Parul Sampernandu). The festival has led to the city being dubbed the "Christmas Capital of the Philippines." Visitors from throughout the country and around the world come to take part in the festivities. As it's also a fierce competition, 11 barangays (villages) work tirelessly to build the most elaborate lanterns, attempting to outdo their neighbors.

The tradition comes from simple paper Japanese lanterns, no bigger than half a meter in diameter. Now, due to the competition, the lanterns can be made from a variety of materials and are up to six meters in size. Instead of candles, electric bulbs are used, sparkling in colorful designs.

4. Ghana

In Ghana, where more than 30 languages are spoken, each group has its own unique traditions associated with Christmas. However, overall, the population celebrates from Dec. 20 through the first week of January. What kid wouldn't love two weeks of Christmas?

Although there are celebrations during the entire Christmas season, the biggest parties take place on Christmas Eve. Church services, which people attend wearing their colorful traditional clothing, feature drumming and dancing, as well as nativity plays and singing in languages understood by most people.

5. Sweden

The giant Yule Goat of Gävle, Sweden(WikiMedia)

Ever since 1966, the Swedish city of Gävle has erected a massive 40-foot-tall Yule Goat in Castle Square to prepare for Christmas. But the goat doesn't always survive until the holiday.

The bizarre tradition has led to a related one, where city residents attempt to burn the goat. These efforts have been successful 29 times, with the most recent success being last year. 

Will the goat survive the 2017 season? When it goes up on Dec. 1, there will be a live stream so you can keep tabs for yourself.

Struggling to get abs? Maybe you need to change your diet

Published: Monday, November 06, 2017 @ 5:37 AM

Crunches aren't enough to achieve that perfect six pack
Crunches aren't enough to achieve that perfect six pack

So, you've been doing "8-Minute Abs" daily for months, but you're still struggling to see the six-pack you've always dreamed of.

If you're frustrated that your crunches and other exercises haven't managed to remove that persistent layer of flab, you definitely need to reconsider what you're eating. As California-based nutritionist and dietitian Kimberly Slater, MS, RD explained to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, neglecting your diet when trying to achieve results is the same as skipping leg day in your work-out routine.

"Here's the deal, have you ever seen someone walking down the street that obviously skipped leg day a few too many times? They have super buff arms, a thick neck, but scrawny legs. Neglecting any area results in lagging performance. If you are truly dedicated to developing a fit body, you wouldn't skip leg day, would you?" Slater said.

"Then why is it that in general we treat our diet differently? When you neglect your nutrition you neglect your workout.”

You can do all the crunches you want, but if you eat too many calories, the fat won't go anywhere.

"The best remedy is to eat healthier," she said.

How should your diet change?

Slater said nutritionally rich foods are ideal, as they also help you recover quickly following a workout.

"Eat an adequate amount of protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats such as avocados, nuts and seeds," she said.

You should replace your normal meal with "nutritionally dense foods that are lower in calories."

"A sample dinner might be having brown rice, black beans, a cabbage salad with salsa and avocado. That meal will give you fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy plant protein. Skip the fatty meat, cheese, and dessert," Slater said, suggesting that meats and other fatty foods should be limited to "treats a few times a week instead of daily staples."

Fiber is key

A high fiber diet is key(Pxhere)

When you work-out, you often hear that you should worry about how much protein you're consuming. But Slater says focusing on fiber is actually more important.

"Fiber is only found in plant foods like beans, lentils, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa. All of these foods – except fruit – contain protein," she said.

"If you focus on eating more fiber, you will not only get enough fiber, vitamins and minerals (which help keep you energized through your workout) and antioxidants (which help fight inflammation post workout), but you'll also get enough protein without getting too many calories or too much fat."

Chiseled abs don't come from drinking additional protein shakes.

"The secret to abs is eating more fiber," Slater explained.

Are there other ways of working out?

In addition to diet, Slater explained that crunches alone are not usually enough.

"You want to change up your routine, try different exercises, target different muscles and start incorporating some high intensity interval training for fat burn," she said.

But again, she stressed that a combination of diet and different exercises are vital.

"When you eat too much, or don't regularly change up your routine, you won't see the results you desire," Slater said.

So, keep doing your ab work-outs, but if you want to finally see those chiseled ab lines poking through the flab, it's time to take a hard look at your diet.