World rejoices as April the giraffe finally gives birth

Published: Saturday, April 15, 2017 @ 8:56 AM
Updated: Saturday, April 15, 2017 @ 3:00 PM

Fast Facts About Giraffes

Rejoice, April the giraffe has finally given birth.

Animal Adventure Park in New York announced Saturday morning that April was in active labor. Over 1.2 million people were watching the live stream during the birth.

Fans have been following the pregnant giraffe since February, when Animal Adventure Park announced that April should be giving birth soon.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

And so the wait began. Fans watched the YouTube live stream and shared their anticipation on Facebook. April the giraffe merchandise was sold. Toys R Us sponsored the livestream. Mazuri, a feed company, donated food. As the days and weeks dragged on and no sign of the calf, April became late night talk show fodder and inspired countless memes. Some people even thought that the whole thing was a clever April Fools' Day joke.

But April 1 passed, and no calf. It wasn't until April 15 that the calf, a male, made his much-anticipated appearance. 

Now everyone is obsessed with watching the calf bond with his famous mother April.

10 tips on shipping packages during the holiday season

Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 @ 3:12 AM

Deadlines For Sending Christmas Gifts To Military Members

Braving the crowds on Black Friday may be the easiest part of holiday shopping. Shipping packages to gift receivers around the country can be a huge challenge – both in getting the gifts there in one piece and in keeping your budget under control.

Here are 10 tips to help you ship your gifts:

>> Read more trending news

1. Buy something you can mail easily

This seems like you’re buying for you and not them, but odds are there is something on your recipient’s list that is easy to ship through the mail.

Even with the right packing precautions, it’s always safer to buy items you know can survive a bumpy trip through the mail. Apparel, shoes and most toys are a safe bet.

>> Start planning now for military holiday shipping deadlines

2. Know the rules

The United States Postal Service has restrictions on what can be shipped, both internationally and domestically. Some things, such as ammunition, are completely prohibited, while other things, such as nail polish and perfumes, have restrictions.

Find out more at usps.com/ship/shipping-restrictions.htm.

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3. Pay attention to the box

Make sure to use a new, sturdy box that’s a few inches larger than your gift on all sides to allow for plenty of packing materials. Using that box that’s been in the basement all year can result in your gifts cascading out at the wrong moment.

The Postal Service estimates that a crease can reduce a box’s strength by as much as 70 percent.

>> 10 tips for Black Friday shopping

4. Buy good packing material

The Postal Service suggests using higher-performing cushioning materials made of polyethylene or polyurethane. Basic polystyrene cushioning can endure only one impact.

Using stronger, but thinner cushioning is better because you can use a smaller box and save on shipping costs if the price is based on the package’s dimensions and weight.

Newspaper is not a great choice because it flattens, but it’s good for wrapping fragile items and separating them from other items in the box.

>> Oprah’s 2017 favorite things list is the ultimate holiday gift guide — Here are our 11 top picks

5. Shake it

You want your packing job to result in a tight fit. Use at least 1 inch of cushioning around the item—top, bottom and all four sides — to fill in any air spaces. There should be very little movement when you shake the box.

The key point is to keep the gift items as far away from the box’s walls as possible. When you have a very fragile item, use two boxes, and cushion around the inner box with at least 3 inches of packing peanuts.

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6. Know your deadlines

The holiday season is the busiest time of year for the Postal Service. These are the dates they recommend shipping items in the contiguous United States to make sure they arrive on time.

  • USPS Retail Ground: Dec. 14
  • First Class Mail: Dec. 19 (Alaska Dec. 20; Hawaii Dec. 15)
  • Priority Mail: Dec. 20 (Alaska Dec. 20; Hawaii Dec. 15)
  • Priority Mail Express: Dec. 22 (Alaska Dec. 21; Hawaii Dec. 20)

For more information on shipping to the rest of the world, visit www.usps.com/holiday.

>> 7 tips for buying the best artificial Christmas tree this season

7. Flat-rate is your friend

FedEx, UPS and the Postal Service all offer flat-rate boxes, meaning that you can pack as much as you can into a box and ship it for one price. However, these do come with some limits – for example, UPS and the USPS only allows up to 70 pounds, while FedEx only allows 50 pounds.

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8. Look for deals

Do a little shopping around before you ship. Some places, such as PostNet stores, will help you compare shipping prices. You can also do this online at sites such as Shipgooder.com.

USPS, FedEx and UPS also have tools on their websites to estimate shipping costs.

>> 10 ways to save money during the holidays

9. Avoid missed packages

If you want to help your recipient avoid unwanted snooping from neighbors or children, consider sending the gift to their workplace. If it’s meant for kids, that’ll help keep it away from prying eyes. It will also help people from missing deliveries at home.

Keep your tracking numbers handy so you can pinpoint the package’s destination and lets its recipients know when to look out for it.

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

10. Consider insurance

Santa’s delivery service isn’t always perfect, so it’s worth considering insurance on whatever you’re shipping.

Ask your shipper about insurance or a declared-value option. The post office includes $100 of insurance in its Priority Mail Express shipping and offers options for declaring a higher value, for a fee.

If your package ends up being damaged in transit, but the shipping company determines that you packed it improperly, or did not follow proper packing procedures, they may have grounds to deny your claim.

Website seeks Pilgrim descendants to post their stories

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 1:41 PM

PLYMOUTH, MA - NOVEMBER 20: A boy dressed as a pilgrim rides on a float during the annual Thanksgiving Parade November 20, 2004 in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Michael Springer/Getty Images
PLYMOUTH, MA - NOVEMBER 20: A boy dressed as a pilgrim rides on a float during the annual Thanksgiving Parade November 20, 2004 in Plymouth, Massachusetts.(Michael Springer/Getty Images)

A genealogical organization in New England has announced the launch of the world's first online gallery of Mayflower passenger descendants.

The New England Historic Genealogical Society told The Associated Press that the goal is to document the approximately 30 million living descendants of Mayflower passengers and crew.

>> Read more trending news

MORE: New bill takes on Native American mascots in Mass. schools

The website identifies 108 passengers and crew members known to have left descendants, allowing participants to locate their Pilgrim relative. Those who are a known descendant of a Pilgrim can post their story on the website.

The new project will help mark the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower's passage, which takes place in 2020, The Associated Press reported.

MORE: Native Americans mark Thanksgiving with day of mourning

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Top Thanksgiving food safety tips

Published: Wednesday, November 08, 2017 @ 5:59 PM

Does Turkey Really Make You Sleepy?

Thanksgiving is one of the most anticipated meals of the year, so make it memorable for the right reasons. Thanksgiving food safety guidelines include tips on proper storage, food preparation and temperature recommendations and will prevent your guests from ending up with food poisoning.

Follow these Thanksgiving food safety tips from the United States Department of Agriculture from the first trip to the grocery store to the final serving of leftovers. 

Buying a turkey: If you are going to serve a fresh turkey, buy it no more than two days before Thanksgiving. Keep it in the refrigerator until you're ready to cook it, on a tray that can catch any juices that may leak.

Thawing the turkey: The USDA recommends thawing the turkey in the refrigerator, but you'll need plenty of time since refrigerator thawing requires 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds. You can also resort to the microwave, following the manual's instructions very carefully, or the cold water method, which takes 30 minutes per pound.

"Never thaw your turkey by leaving it out on the counter," the CDC warns. "A frozen turkey is safe indefinitely, but a thawing turkey must defrost at a safe temperature.”

Be sure to remove the giblets after thawing and before cooking, and to cook the thawed turkey immediately if you defrost it using the microwave.

Cooking a turkey: Wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before touching any food you’re preparing to prevent infection or illness spread. But don't wash the turkey! That only spreads pathogens onto kitchen surfaces. Keep raw turkey separated from all other foods and use separate cutting boards, plates and utensils to handle raw turkey.

Cook the turkey until it reaches 165 °F, using a food thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast, the innermost part of the thigh and the innermost part of the wing.

Practice safe stuffing: Even if a stuffed bird is a family tradition, the safest way to avoid food poisoning is to cook stuffing outside of the turkey in a separate casserole dish, where you can make sure it is cooked to a temperature of 165°F at its center (use a meat thermometer to check.)

If you choose to stuff your turkey, noted the USDA, you can still prepare the ingredients ahead of time, but you should keep wet and dry ingredients separate and chill the wet ones. Add the wet ingredients to the dry right before filling the turkey cavities and cook the turkey immediately. Use a food thermometer to assure the center of the stuffing cooks to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F.
 
The right way to handle Thanksgiving leftovers

For many foodies, Thanksgiving leftovers are the best part of the meal. They'll make gourmet renditions like crispy mashed potato and stuffing patties. But even if you just microwave green bean casserole and put together turkey sandwiches, the proper handling of leftovers is an important part of Thanksgiving food safety.

"Clostridium perfringens are bacteria that grow in cooked foods left at room temperature," the CDC notes. "It is the second most common bacterial cause of food poisoning. Symptoms can include vomiting and abdominal cramps within six to 24 hours after eating."

To prevent food poisoning from leftovers, follow this advice from the USDA :

  • Get leftovers into a refrigerator within two hours to keep bacteria from growing on the food.
  • Store leftovers in shallow pans or containers so they'll cool faster and spend less time at the unsafe temperatures between 40 °F to 140 °F.
  • Never store stuffing inside a leftover turkey; store meat and stuffing separately.
  • Don't eat leftovers that have been in the refrigerator more than three or four days. Consider Tuesday as the toss date. Freeze leftover turkey up to four months, the USDA recommends.
  • Discard turkey, stuffing or gravy that has been left out at room temperature for more than two hours, or more than an hour in temperatures above 90 °F.
  • Reheat turkey to an internal temperature of 165 °F. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature.


For more information about food safety (in English and Spanish), call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-674-6854. It's available 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday.

 

5-year-old seriously injured in restaurant bounce house

Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 @ 1:54 AM

Children jumping in inflatable bouncy castle.
kali9/Getty Images
Children jumping in inflatable bouncy castle.(kali9/Getty Images)

An Oklahoma boy is recovering after suffering a serious injury in a restaurant bounce house. 

>> Click here to watch the news report (WARNING: Linked video includes graphic images.)

A trip to an Incredible Pizza location in Warr Acres on Nov. 5 ended with the Lambert family’s 5-year-old son Bentley, who had been playing in a bounce house, asking if he was going to die.

>> Bounce house takes flight with children inside it

Incredible Pizza, known fully as America’s Incredible Pizza Co., shows on its website that it offers both food and entertainment at its restaurants, listing a bounce house among the number of attractions.

Shali Lambert spoke to KFOR about her son’s condition and said that, while he is on a long road to recovery, it was immediately clear to her and doctors how serious it was when a hook inside the bounce house came loose and tore into the child’s arm.

>> Read more trending news 

A hook inside of a padded wrecking ball came loose and seriously injured Bentley.

“He was screaming, ‘I’m stuck!' I just remember picking him up, and I had to unhook the clip and slide it out of his arm,” Lambert said. “He was asking if he was going to die. He saw all the blood in his arm, and so he was asking if he was going to die.”

>> 5 children hurt after bounce house goes airborne at church carnival

The child had to be rushed from the pizza place to the hospital, where doctors performed an emergency surgery. The boy’s arm has since been sewed up, but he may have to undergo physical therapy and additional surgeries in the future.

“No kid should have to go through that,” Bentley’s mother said.

It’s not clear at this time if the cost of the child’s surgery will be covered by the company, but its insurance company is involved.

On its website, Incredible Pizza says its mission is “to bring families and friends together through great food and fun,” adding that it operate its business “by Christian principles, delivering a positive family experience and a fair return to our company.”