3 times Fiona the baby hippo stole our hearts

Published: Wednesday, May 31, 2017 @ 10:38 AM

Fiona goes for a swim

Fiona, the first Nile hippo born at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical garden in 75 years, was born Jan. 24 and weighed just 29 pounds. The normal birth weight for the species is 55-120 pounds. 

Four months after she was prematurely born, the media will be able to watch Fiona in her outside habitat and pool later today.

» RELATED: Baby hippo Fiona to make media appearance today 

Here are some of Fiona’s cutest moments:

Fiona’s first steps

In early February, Fiona was able to take her first steps, which her handlers called “encouraging” news because the calf had been exhibiting low energy and weak suckling response.

A premature hippo born 6 weeks early took it's first walk at the Cincinnati Zoo over the weekend.

Teething

A few weeks later, Fiona, in addition to bottle feeding and upgrading to a “big kid” pool, began teething. The animal care team provided gum pain relief with topical numbing solution in frozen clothes to help with the discomfort. 

» PHOTOS: Fiona the baby hippo is teething

Catches a glimpse of her parents

On March 28, Fiona was able to take a peek at her parents in their outdoor habitat. 

Fiona takes a peek at her parents in their outdoor habitat. (PHOTO: Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden)(Staff Writer)

MORE COVERAGE: 

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Fairborn man (and his maroon hat) in new Emilio Estevez movie

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 10:00 AM

Former U.S. Marshal and Huber Height police officer “Hickory” William Taylor is taking the film industry by storm. Video by Amelia Robinson

When “Hickory” William Taylor was done with law enforcement, he was done with law enforcement. 

“I didn’t want to arrest people anymore,” the former U.S. Marshal and Huber Heights police officer said. “I had 38 years of that, and I was done.”

Instead of tracking down suspects, Taylor now owns Cape House Collectibles in Beavercreek with his wife Kathy. He also dabbles in the film industry as an extra. 

Taylor has appeared in about a dozen films since retiring in 2014. 

His knit, maroon hat has appeared in about five films, including  “Shoes” from Jamestown- based filmmaker Ramsey Stoneburner and Emilio Estevez’s “The Public,” which is set to open Jan. 31 at the  33rd annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

>> Retired local police officer plays really ‘bad cop’ in Matthew McConaughey’s upcoming movie

“I was on the set for 14 days, which is a long time for an extra,” Taylor said of Estevez’s film. “We did things in that movie that I never thought I’d do at 60 years old.” 

He didn’t elaborate to prevent spoilers.  

The son of Dayton native Martin Sheen, Estevez filmed “The Public” in Cincinnati. 

Fairborn area resident "Hickory " William Taylor was an extra in the Emilio Estevez film "The Public" filmed and set in Cincinnati.

>> RELATED: Martin Sheen receives honorary degree from UD

The film is set in Cincinnati and stars Estevez, Alec BaldwinJena MaloneJeffrey WrightTaylor SchillingMichael Kenneth Williams and Che "Rhymefest" Smith.

The movie centers around a police standoff  with homeless library patrons who have staged a sit-in during a life-threatening cold snap. 

>>  LEARN MORE: Estevez dramedy about library standoff to film in Cincinnati

“I am one of the homeless guys. The movie is about us,” Taylor said about his role in “The Public. “There is no place to go and they are throwing us out of the library.”

The Fairborn area resident, one of a several local actors picked as extras in the movie, said he loved hearing stories from Williams, who joined the extras as they ate. He also said he enjoyed working with Estevez, who called him “Doc” during filming.

“He is just like a neighborhood guy. There was not a bit of pompousness in him,” Taylor said of Estevez.

Taylor said he enjoys the small, but important part he has played in “The Public” and other movies.

Most of the time extras are like furniture. We are the background crowd or a guy eating a hamburger,” he said. “The guys appreciate us because they wouldn’t have a movie without us. It would just be actors talking to each other.”  

Taylor has long been interested in acting.

Before joining the Huber Heights police department at age 20, he was an extra in the “Blue Brothers” when he was 19. 

His son and namesake is now studying theater.

An undercover detective for part of his career, Taylor said law enforcement was not always an easy job.  

He recalled the day he was shot at 23 times by a suspect. 

Fairborn area resident "Hickory " William Taylor was an extra in the Jametown filmmaker Ramsey Stoneburner's "The Shoes. He is in the maroon hat. The movie was filmed in Xenia.

Taylor said he helped following the Oklahoma City bombing and a list of hurricanes that include Katrina and Irma. 

On the set of the upcoming John Travolta film “Gotti,” a biopic about crime boss John Gotti, Taylor said he met John Gotti Jr. and actors playing people he helped transport during his time as a U.S. Marshal. 

After ending a law enforcement career started in 1990, Taylor said he decided he wanted to spend the rest of his life doing things he enjoyed. 

“I’ve seen so much ick in my life. I just decided I didn’t want to see that anymore,” he said. 

>> James Franco movies finish filming in Hamilton

Taylor played a moonshiner in James Franco’s yet-to-be released “The Long Home” and a chef in a scene shot in this region for the Robert Redford movie “The Old Man and the Gun” with Redford, Casey Affleck and Sissy Spacey. 

>> RELATED: Downtown Dayton has been taken over by Danny Glover, Robert Redford movie

Dayton filming has begun for "The Old Man and The Gun.The movie stars Robert Redford, Danny Glover, Casey Affleck and Sissy Spacek. Video by Amelia Robinson and Lisa Powell.

Taylor said tons of opportunities have opened up for Dayton actors since Ohio started offering the Motion Picture Tax Credit in recent years.

Everyday people are seizing the opportunity to appear in movies as supporting actors and work behind the camera, he said.

>> 7 movies with unusual connections to Dayton

>>  RELATED: 'BOY BAND' MOVIE TO BE FILMED IN DAYTON

“There are some super talented people,” he said. “They go work a movie and then they go back to their beauty salon and do hair.”

As for himself, Taylor said the maroon hat helps. 

“My buddies give me crap about it. They say the hat needs an agent,” Taylor said. “You have to stand out and you have to be fearless, too.”

Fairborn area resident "Hickory " William Taylor was an extra in the Emilio Estevez film "The Public" filmed and set in Cincinnati.

Fairborn area resident "Hickory" William Taylor was an extra in "Donnybrook," a Tim Sutton movie film in the Cincinnati area.

This local woman dropped 243 pounds. But she said real beauty didn’t come until her life crumbled.

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 6:00 AM

Kelley Gunter (the author of "You Have Such a Pretty Face") she didn't learn the real meaning of beauty until she lost nearly everything. Video by Amelia Robinson.

Based on what she’s done in this life, Kelley Gunter guesses she probably barked and walked on all fours in the last one. 

“I must have been a dog in a past life because I am so loyal,” the Troy resident joked during our meeting at Ghostlight Coffee in Dayton’s South Park neighborhood. 

In flawless makeup and straightened hair, Kelley sat across from me with a big mug of hot chocolate. 

>> 10 things to look forward to when the weather warms up

She’d later email me the hot chocolate recipe her spunky grandmother used to make. 

Striking at 5-feet, 9-inches tall, Kelley and her visual beauty are hard to miss. 

But her face and body were frequent topics of conversation when she weighed 391 pounds, too. 

“People would constantly say to me, ‘Kelley, it is a shame; you have such a pretty face’,” Kelley said. “My entire existence was a shame because I was packed into a body that was unacceptable (to them). People think that is a compliment, but it is so not a compliment.”

‘YOU HAVE SUCH A PRETTY FACE ‘

Troy resident Kelley Gunter, the author of the new book "You Have Such a Pretty Face," loss 243 with the help of weight loss surgery in 2002. She says true transformation came when he sought help for her destructive behavior. She lives with her son Alec and three Rottweilers.

Kelley outlines the emotional journey that took her through bariatric surgery, loose skin removal, losing almost everything, and finally recognizing true beauty in her new self-published book, “You Have Such a Pretty Face.” 

>> Best way to lose weight with the most minimal effort

The paperback book is $16.99 and available for purchase on kelleygunter.comAmazon and other online booksellers. 

Even after her weight loss surgery 16 years ago and losing and keeping off 243 pounds, Kelley said she felt like true happiness eluded her.  

“I always looked to feel pretty for someone else,” she told me. “My whole life I was fighting for people who didn’t have a voice. I didn’t realize in all of it, I was losing my own voice because I couldn’t fight for myself.” 

It took a fast crash and a hard fall for her to achieve that self-awareness. 

EARTH SHAKING

Kelley, a Pleasant Hill native, said she was an achiever even before her days as a cheerleader and member of the Newton High School homecoming court. 

Kelley, a prom princess, continued achieving in college. 

She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Wright State University and a master’s in clinical, counseling and applied psychology from the University of Dayton. 

She founded and led Isaiah’s Place, a Christian-based foster care agency launched in 2003 and based at 1100 Wayne St. in Troy. 

She lived in a four bedroom house last valued at $340,600 by the Miami County Auditor’s Office. 

Though called “Tree Truck” and “Richter” in high school by bullies who said she shook the Earth when she jumped, Kelley said she actually started packing on the weight during her college days. 

Troy resident Kelley Gunter, the author of the new book "You Have Such a Pretty Face," loss 243 with the help of weight loss surgery in 2002. She says true transformation came when he sought help for her destructive behavior. She lives with her son Alec and three Rottweilers.

Miserable and labeled morbidly obese, she had weight loss surgery in August 2002 at age 37. 

Life wasn’t a fairy tale.  

After the skin surgeries that removed 11 pounds of skin from her stomach alone, Kelley said she continued to hide and suppress truth about her traumatic childhood. Self-destruction was always around the corner. 

In November of 2016, Kelley was forced to resign from Isaiah’s Place on the heels of a public scandal involving what authorities said was more than $100,000 in missing funds. Her nice big house is now in foreclosure, according to Miami County court records. 

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Foster care agency funds may have been used for gambling, vacations 

Kelley and her 22-year-old son, Alec, now live with their three rottweilers in a two-bedroom home she had once rented out. 

“I lost everything and everyone except my son,” she told me. 

It was a hard pill, but Kelley says it is one she had to shallow. 

“God had to break me. I would not have broke if people were cushioning my fall,” she told me. “I didn’t take care of what God blessed me with, which is why God took it away. I was just out of control. You run from yourself, but it is not a race you can win.”

LIARS, WOMANIZERS AND THE SHOPPER

Troy resident Kelley Gunter, the author of the new book "You Have Such a Pretty Face," loss 243 with the help of weight loss surgery in 2002. She says true transformation came when he sought help for her destructive behavior. She lives with her son Alec and three Rottweilers.

What followed was intense treatment in Sedona, Ariz., where Kelley says she addressed the sexual abuse she faced between ages 5 and 12 and had buried deep in her soul.

Through therapy, she said she learned that ignored pain contributed to a life of poor decision-making (she says she takes responsibility for the financial mismanagement of Isaiah’s Place) and bad relationships. 

“I was just destroying myself, really. I never had a grasp of the destructive factors in my life. If I wasn’t dating the wrong man, I was dating a worse man,” she said. 

There were liars, womanizers and a long line of general users, Kelley says. When she wasn’t focused on them, she says she was shopping. 

In her book, she writes: 

“I shopped more than anyone should ever shop. I couldn’t overeat anymore, but I could shop. It felt good to be able to buy anything I wanted.... I would buy more than I needed and then not even wear half of it. I would charge my credit cards until the were maxed and then stress out over how I was going to pay them off. I would shop for gifts for people who didn’t deserve gifts from me. I would give and give and give. I suppose I thought that if I gave enough, those people would love me. I never for one second thought that just giving myself was plenty.” 

TIME IN THE LIGHT 

Troy resident Kelley Gunter, the author of the new book "You Have Such a Pretty Face," loss 243 with the help of weight loss surgery in 2002. She says true transformation came when he sought help for her destructive behavior. She lives with her son Alec and three Rottweilers.

Kelley said she didn’t tell anyone — not even her best friend — about the sexual abuse. After coming forward, she’s heard from others with similar stories. 

“It’s a beautiful thing to stand in the light of the truth,” she said. “Why did I have to carry shame?” 

>> Oregon District fixture fighting back following devastating illness

Kelley says she now recognizes that even her social work efforts were a mask of sorts. 

“I am that much healthier for allowing that out of my soul. My soul was just screaming, ‘I want to be hurt’,” she said. “I knew kids and I knew hurting kids. It meant the world to me. I knew how they felt, and I knew how to work for those kids.” 

Kelley has always had a passion for writing, and has in the past penned words published by the Troy Daily News and the Dayton Daily News, where she was a freelance writer. 

Now, Kelley says she hopes to help people by telling her stories. 

“I was willing to do all the work I needed to do to come out a better me,” she said. “Every one of us is so much more than what’s been done to us.” 

She is penning her second book, “The Homecoming Queen of Crazy Town,” and plans to write “Any Color as Long as it is Red,” a book based on the outlandish and wise sayings her grandmother made up.

Before her life changed forever 15 months ago, Kelley said she was loyal to everyone but herself. 

“I feel very beautiful now,” she said. “What I know is who I am created to be, and no one else can define that for me.”

>>  Troy man on Steve Austin’s show: “It was intense, but we knew it was going to be intense”

Troy resident Kelley Gunter, the author of the new book "You Have Such a Pretty Face," loss 243 with the help of weight loss surgery in 2002. She says true transformation came when he sought help for her destructive behavior. She lives with her son Alec and three Rottweilers.

Troy resident Kelley Gunter, the author of the new book "You Have Such a Pretty Face," loss 243 with the help of weight loss surgery in 2002. She says true transformation came when he sought help for her destructive behavior. She lives with her son Alec and three Rottweilers.

Troy resident Kelley Gunter, the author of the new book "You Have Such a Pretty Face," loss 243 with the help of weight loss surgery in 2002. She says true transformation came when he sought help for her destructive behavior. She lives with her son Alec and three Rottweilers.

Troy resident Kelley Gunter, the author of the new book "You Have Such a Pretty Face," loss 243 with the help of weight loss surgery in 2002. She says true transformation came when he sought help for her destructive behavior. She lives with her son Alec and three Rottweilers.

Troy resident Kelley Gunter, the author of the new book "You Have Such a Pretty Face," loss 243 with the help of weight loss surgery in 2002. She says true transformation came when he sought help for her destructive behavior. She lives with her son Alec and three Rottweilers.

5 questions every man in his 40s should ask his doctor

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 2:28 PM

Here are 5 health questions every man in his 30s should ask his doctor Do I need any immunizations? Should I be worried about this blemish on my skin? Should I be concerned about heart disease? Is my back pain normal? What are the main signs of depression and other mental health conditions?

Men are notorious for not wanting to go to the doctor unless they're desperate. But routine doctor's visits – especially when you hit your 40s and beyond – can help you be as healthy as possible. Getting regular care and screenings can help your doctor catch and treat issues while they're in their earliest stages.

»RELATED: 4 health questions every man in his 30s should ask his doctor

The following are five questions every man in his 40s should ask at his next doctor's exam:

What screenings do I need?

After age 40, family history plays a greater role in what your particular health concerns may be, according to Men's Journal. For example, if you have a family history of colon or prostate cancer, you'll want to start getting screened every five years in your 40s rather than waiting until the usually-recommended age of 50.

You'll also want to monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol by getting a full lipid panel every three years – or more often if there's an issue. You should also have your blood glucose level checked, particularly if you're overweight.

Could I be depressed?

Middle-aged men can be at risk for depression or even suicide, but they're often less likely to seek help than women are. Suicide rates for men ages 45 to 64 increased by 43 percent in the years from 1999 to 2014, according to Men's Health.

Many men who are suffering from depression may not experience the typical sadness that's associated with this disorder. They may have a change in sleep patterns, fatigue, a diminished interest in sex or feeling a lack of purpose and connection to life. Increased substance abuse is also a common indication that you may be depressed.

Should I be tested for sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that causes repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. This deprives your brain and the rest of your body of the oxygen it needs to function at your best and increases your risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, depression and type 2 diabetes, WebMD says.

If you're a man over 40, you're at an increased risk of developing sleep apnea, especially if you're overweight. Other risk factors include having a neck size of 17 inches or greater, a family history of sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and nasal obstruction due to allergies or sinus issues.

If your doctor thinks you may have sleep apnea, he or she can refer you to a sleep specialist. A sleep study, which measures and records what happens to your body as you sleep, can help confirm or rule out the presence of sleep apnea.

Should I be taking a statin?

Statins are cholesterol-busting drugs, and they're now recommended for people ages 40 to 75 who have one or more risk factors that make them have a 10 percent or greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke within 10 years. The Washington Post says that with these new guidelines, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force has greatly expanded the number of people who should take statins.

Risk factors that could cause your doctor to recommend statins include smoking or having high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes.

How can I reduce or prevent a "spare tire?"

As men hit middle age, many tend to gain weight around the middle, which is commonly known as a "spare tire," WebMD says. Studies show that gaining weight in this area is a predictor of heart disease and diabetes, even more so than overall obesity is.

Talk to your doctor about what you can do to lose weight and target extra weight around the middle. He or she can point you to a weight loss and fitness plan that's appropriate for your age, weight and any health considerations you may have.

Related

High-salt diet could cause dementia, study finds

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 11:49 AM

Research Shows High-Salt Diet May Cause Dementia

Consuming too much salt can be dangerous for your health. It can cause your blood pressure and cholesterol to skyrocket, but it might also cause memory loss, according to a new report

>> Read more trending news

Researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine in New York recently conducted an experiment, published in the Nature Neuroscience journal, to determine if salt was linked with memory loss.

To do so, the researchers observed mice, which were split into two groups. One group was given food containing 4 percent salt, and the other was fed food with 8 percent salt. The amounts represented an “8- to 16-fold increase in salt compared to a normal mouse diet” and was comparable to a high-salt diet for humans, scientists noted. 

>> On AJC.com: These 5 'healthy' foods may have more salt than you think 

After eight weeks, they examined the animals using magnetic resonance imaging, which captured photos of the anatomy and physiology of the brain. 

They discovered the high-salt diet reduced resting blood flow to the brain, causing dementia. They saw a 28 percent decrease in the blood flow in cortex and a 25 percent decrease in the hippocampus, which are two areas of the brain associated with learning and memory. 

Analysts also administered a recognition test, and the mice that consumed more salt performed significantly worse, compared to the mice on a regular diet. Mice with salty diets spent less time building nests and gathering materials. This was the case even for mice that had healthy blood pressure levels. 

>> Related: These are the best diets for 2018

“We discovered that mice fed a high-salt diet developed dementia even when blood pressure did not rise,” senior author Costantino Iadecola said in a statement. “This was surprising since, in humans, the deleterious effects of salt on cognition were attributed to hypertension.”

Why is that?

The researchers discovered that the high-salt diet prompted an immune response in the gut, which increased a protein called interleukin 17. Its job is to regulate immune and inflammatory responses. But high levels of interleukin 17 can cause a reduction in the production of nitric oxide, which affects brain functions. 

>> On AJC.com: Here’s what we always get wrong about salt 

Luckily, the scientists revealed they were able to reverse the immune signals by discontinuing the high-salt diets and prescribing drugs to lower the interleukin 17 levels.

Scientists now hope to continue their investigations by further exploring interleukin 17 and other ailments associated with it.

They said their findings may be able to “benefit people with diseases and conditions associated with elevated IL-17 levels, such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and other autoimmune diseases.”