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Published: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 8:35 AM
KENNESAW, Ga. — The slogan for purchasing a DNA test kit on the genealogy website Ancestry.com is "Open a world of possibilities."
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For a Georgia college junior, a DNA test earlier this week opened up his family history and helped him connect to a long-lost sibling and his birth parents.
Kieron Christian Graham, 20, is majoring in political science at Kennesaw State University, which is located northwest of Atlanta. He was adopted in 1997 when he was 3 months old. Growing up, he knew the first names of his birth mother and father and that his birth mother had another child named "Vincent," who was nine years older, BuzzFeed reported.
"I periodically would look for them and check on Facebook, but I never knew their last name so it was always hard," Graham said.
His adoptive parents gave him an AncestryDNA test kit as an early Christmas present. On Tuesday he received the results in an email, BuzzFeed reported. Out of the 100 loose matches was a strong match to a 29-year-old man named Vincent Ghant, who also had taken a DNA test.
Received my DNA results today. Not very many surprises, but still very cool nonetheless! I reached out to a second cousin of mine and we have begun conversing. I’m ecstatic because I’ve never met or talked to anyone I’m biologically related to. Here’s to new adventures! pic.twitter.com/7ub4eUvEVn— kieron (@kc_graham) December 12, 2017
When Graham checked on Facebook, he found a Vincent Ghant whose birthday matched the documents his adoptive parents had. He sent Ghant a friend request, and as they chatted on Tuesday, Graham mentioned the name of his birth mother, Shawn.
“My heart stopped,” Ghant told BuzzFeed. “I asked my mother about him throughout my life, but the pain was so heavy on her that it was hard for her to drum up the words to explain it to me. ... So it just got to the point where I was, like, I'll just wait for her when she's ready.”
y’all I just found my birth brother. I don’t know what to think. I’m about to go meet him. Turns out we go to the same college and have the same major. I can’t make this s--- up pic.twitter.com/9xbQ9jx3hE— kieron (@kc_graham) December 12, 2017
The two men learned they were not only brothers, but they also were attending the same college, were both majoring in political science and lived only 15 minutes apart, BuzzFeed reported. Oddly enough, they also attended a class together.
The brothers finally met at a local bar this week, BuzzFeed reported. Graham recalled Ghant telling him, "I've been thinking about you for 20 years."
Ghant said the meeting was “very emotional.”
“I was excited but a little bit scared if he had any resentment towards my family,” Ghant said.
Graham had no hard feelings, understanding that his birth mother was a single parent and chose adoption to give him a better life.
"When I realized he didn't [have resentment] and that he had a great life, I was amazed," Ghant said.
I’m meeting my birth mother on Sunday— kieron (@kc_graham) December 13, 2017
Graham has since contacted his birth mother and plans to meet with her this weekend. He said he also plans to meet with his birth father, BuzzFeed reported.
"My birth father broke down in tears," he said.
Graham also met Ghant’s 17-year-old brother, Christian,
Graham told BuzzFeed that his adoptive parents have been wholly supportive of his journey of discovery. They also plan to meet Graham's birth mother and that entire side of the family, he said.
All three of us ☺️ pic.twitter.com/6e6ceLCyP7— kieron (@kc_graham) December 15, 2017
My birth mom in the middle. My older brother is showing me pictures of her pic.twitter.com/crC30CClX5— kieron (@kc_graham) December 14, 2017
Another update: I found my dads side of the family and my brother on his side. He’s also ecstatic that I found him. Life is truly amazing. pic.twitter.com/rw3kqs8qI3— kieron (@kc_graham) December 13, 2017
Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 8:46 AM
COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ore. — An Oregon man is behind bars after sheriff’s deputies said he put his wife’s hand in hot frying oil.
Jeremiah Crothers is also accused of nearly suffocating his baby son, KATU reported.
Police said Crothers covered his 7-month-old son’s mouth and nose until the baby’s legs turned blue, Oregon Live reported.
According to police, Crothers’ wife hit her husband in the head with a frying pan to get him to let go of their child, KATU reported.
Later, police said, Crothers complained that his wife didn’t season the chicken she was preparing for dinner and then grabbed her hand and put it in the oil she was using to fry the chicken, KATU reported.
When police arrived, they said Crothers was not there, but they saw what they said were burns on the victim and the baby had signs of strangulation and a bruise on his head, Oregon Live reported. Crothers was arrested the next day in St. Helens. Crothers has been charged with attempted murder, strangulation, assault, coercion and attempted assault.
A judge set bail at $217,750.
Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 7:17 PM
— Jim Rodford, bassist for popular rock band The Kinks from 1978 to 1996, has died at 76, according to the band.
The Kinks, whose hits include “You Really Got Me,” “Lola,” “I’m Not Like Everybody Else,” “A Well-Respected Man,” “Victoria” and “Waterloo Sunset,” made the announcement Saturday on its official social media accounts.
“It is with deep sadness that we have learned that Jim Rodford passed away – he toured and recorded with the Kinks for many years and will be greatly missed. He was much loved by all of us #JimRodford,” the band said on Twitter.
It is with deep sadness that we have learned that Jim Rodford passed away - he toured and recorded with the Kinks for many years and will be greatly missed. He was much loved by all of us #JimRodford https://t.co/LmWFGd9ZRV— TheKinksOfficial (@TheKinks) January 20, 2018
Founding member Dave Davies also expressed his sorrow over Rodford’s “sudden loss.”
“I’m devastated Jim’s sudden loss I’m too broken up to put words together it’s such a shock I always thought Jim would live forever in true rock and roll fashion – strange – great friend great musician great man – he was an integral part of the Kinks later years RIP,” he wrote on Twitter.
I’m devastated Jim’s sudden loss I’m too broken up to put words together it’s such a shock i always thought Jim would live forever in true rock and roll fashion - strange - great friend great musician great man - he was an integral part of theKinks later years RIP #JimRodford pic.twitter.com/rL5vAuuVwp— Dave Davies (@davedavieskinks) January 20, 2018
Although Rodford did not play for the band when they burst onto the scene in the ’60s, he was credited by Davies as being an integral part of “The Kinks” in their later years. Rodford would later return to the band The Zombies.
Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 6:39 PM
— For the third time in the week since the Brightline train started its service from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale, a person has been hit by the passenger train, according to Fort Lauderdale police.
Detective Tracy Figone, public information officer for the police department, said a pedestrian attempted to cross the train tracks at Northeast Third Avenue and North Flagler Drive when the gates were down. The person’s injuries are not life-threatening, according to Figone.
Four people have been hit and killed by Brightline trains since it started testing service.
Friday night, a Brightline spokesperson reiterated the message from a press conference earlier that day: Safety.
“Today, we joined with partners in South Florida to stress our top priority - safety. Incidents like these can be avoided and train warnings need to be treated exactly like red lights, stop signs and crosswalks,” the spokesperson said.
On Friday, Brightline officials announced newly planned safety and public education initiatives in the wake of two fatal accidents in the last week.
On Wednesday, 51-year-old Jeffrey King was hit and killed by a northbound Brightline train when he pedaled his bicycle around the gates near the Florida East Coast Railway crossing about 4:30 p.m. on Ocean Avenue. Last Friday, 32-year-old Melissa Lavell was hit and killed near the intersection of Northeast Sixth Avenue in Boynton Beach. Witnesses told police she attempted to beat the train when the gates were down.
An 18-year-old who jumped in front of the train while it was making a test run in July was ruled a suicide, officials said. The November death of a woman on the tracks was ruled an accident.
During the press conference, Brightline’s President and Chief Operating Officer Patrick Goddard said they plan to implement electronic signs as well as put employees at busy intersections as extra warnings of passing trains.
“We offer our deepest sympathy to those affected by the recent incidents,” Goddard said at a news conference to announce the new safety measures. “The fact that these incidents are completely avoidable is what makes them so tragic.”
Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 9:09 PM
— Deer across North America are dying from a mysterious disease that gradually destroys the animals’ nervous systems.
And scientists are concerned that the infection could make its way to humans.
Chronic wasting disease — or “zombie deer disease” — was first observed in 1967 in Fort Collins, Colorado, and has since infected wild herds in 24 states and Canada, as well as in South Korea and Norway, NPR reported.
“CWD passes from animal to animal through prions, misfolded proteins that cause other proteins to misfold around them,” NPR reported. “Different prion diseases tend to only harm certain species, but can evolve to overcome those limitations.”
In some herds, as many as half of the animals carry prions.
But direct contact isn’t the only way prions are transmitted. According to The New York Times, sick animals and cadavers can spread prions through plants and soil, which could be coated with deformed proteins for years, perhaps even decades.
An animal infected with the disease can live two years before signs of symptoms -- such as a vacant stare, thick saliva, exposed ribs or drooping heads -- become visible.
There have been no reported human illnesses due to the disease, and scientists don’t have conclusive evidence that infected meat has ever harmed people, suggesting there is a “species barrier” between humans and deer.
Researchers led by Mark Zabel, associate director at Colorado State University’s Prion Research Center, found that macaque monkeys who ate infected deer contracted the disease, the first time the disease was shown to spread to a primate through meat.
"While most research shows there's a robust species barrier, this recent study showed that barrier might not be quite as robust as we once thought," Matt Dunfee, head of the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliancein Fort Collins, Colorado, told NPR.
Zabel and his team also found that the prions involved in the “zombie disease,” which scientists have only known about for 50 years, are probably still evolving, “which leads us to believe it's only a matter of time before a prion emerges that can spread to humans,” NPR reported.
Mad cow disease, for example, is a prion disease that evolved from scrapie, a deadly disease that afflicts sheep. Once the prions were passed to cows, the cows developed a prion disease of their own (mad cow disease). And when humans ate the beef from those sick cows, they developed prions in their own brains. As of 2016, according to the Food and Drug Administration, 231 people had died from the condition.
Zabel believes the only way to get rid of CWD prions is to set controlled fires. But “there’s a lot that we still don’t know and don’t understand about the disease,” Zabel said in an interview with The New York Times.
According to Michael Miller, senior wildlife veterinarian for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, mule deer transmission more than tripled toward the end of 2017, and CWD continues to be prevalent in Colorado.
Public health officials in the area have been monitoring for CWD and human brain-wasting diseases, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
But over the past 21 years, rising rates of both diseases haven’t impacted human health.
Still, as a precaution, Dunfee told NPR, "if you are hunting in an area where CWD is found, have your animal tested. If it comes back positive, don't eat the meat."