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Published: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 @ 3:43 PM
Updated: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 @ 3:42 PM
ST. LOUIS — A cheetah named Bingwa at the St. Louis Zoo is a proud mother — eight times over.
The zoo announced Wednesday that the 4-year-old cheetah gave birth Nov. 26 to eight cubs — three male and five female. It's the largest litter of cheetah cubs ever delivered at the zoo. The average litter size is three to four cubs.
In fact, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums has documented 430 litters and said this is the first time a cheetah mom has given birth to and reared on her own a litter of eight cubs at a zoo.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Bingwa means "champion" in Swahili.
All eight cubs and the mom are doing well. They'll remain indoors, away from the public and under close scrutiny from staff, for several months.
Bingwa is proving to be an "exemplary" mom, zoo officials said.
"She has quickly become adept at caring for her very large litter of cubs — grooming, nursing and caring for them attentively," Steve Bircher, the zoo's curator of mammals/carnivores, said in a news release.
The cubs were born at the zoo's River's Edge Cheetah Breeding Center as part of a program to manage genetically healthy population of cheetahs at North American zoos. More than 50 cheetah cubs have been born at the breeding center since 1974, the zoo said.
Bingwa is at the zoo on loan from Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon. The father, 9-year-old Jason, is on loan from White Oak Conservation in Yulee, Florida.
Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 12:51 PM
SEGUIN, Texas — Police in Texas used social media to offer a helping hand to a man who was trying to get off work as roads across the region began to ice over earlier this week.
Police posted a warning on their Facebook page at 6:37 a.m. Tuesday telling citizens that all city offices would be closed. They urged area residents to stay inside and do their best to keep warm.
All City of Seguin offices will be closed today. Yep, the roads are really icy and will only keep getting worse today....Posted by Seguin Police Department on Tuesday, January 16, 2018
One man needed more help and turned to the Seguin Police Department. Justin Garcia, who is listed on Facebook as a resident of San Marcos, asked police for a note for work.
Deputy Chief Bruce Ure delivered:
“Dear Justin’s Boss,” Ure wrote, “The roads are bad and are going to get worse. Much worse. Please let him stay home, warm and safe and enjoy some Hulu or some cool shows on Netflix. And, he needs a raise. He rocks. Respectfully ~ Deputy Chief Ure.”
Garcia left a comment on the police Facebook page the next day, saying he had gotten the day off.
Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 12:35 PM
— The fight over a border wall, the fate of nearly 800,000 DACA recipients, and the wrangling over the funding of an insurance program for children could force a U.S. government shutdown after midnight on Friday if Congress does not pass legislation that would keep the government up and running.
While negotiations on a temporary spending bill, called a continuing resolution, are ongoing, House Republican leaders said late Wednesday that they lacked the votes to prevent a shutdown, but that they are pressing members to back Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, (R-Wisconsin), on the temporary spending bill.
“I think it passes,” Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker, (R-North Carolina), told reporters on Wednesday. I"I don’t think it’s overwhelming, but I think it passes.”
What would happen if no bill is passed and the government “shuts down?” Here’s what to expect:
First, a government shutdown doesn’t mean the government completely shuts down. Employees and services deemed “essential” would remain in place. About half of the federal employee workforce, however, could be furloughed – sent home without pay.
Government agencies would shut down because of the lack of a bill that funds services those agencies provide. What Congress will be considering Thursday night and Friday is a continuing resolution, a way to temporarily fund the government.
What is a continuing resolution?
A continuing resolution, or “CR,” is legislation that funds government operations at the current spending level. In normal years, a bill that funds government operations is signed by Oct. 1, which is the end of the fiscal year. That didn’t happen this year.
CRs can fund the government for days, weeks or months. The CR that could be considered Thursday would fund the government through Feb. 16.
Here is a list of services and how they would be affected if a CR is not passed by Friday night:
Air travel would not be affected as federal air traffic controllers would remain on the job and Transportation Security Administration screeners would remain in place.
For about two weeks, federal courts would continue operating normally. After that time, the judiciary would have to furlough employees not considered essential.
The Food and Drug Administration would handle high-risk recalls. Most routine safety inspections would be halted.
Patients in the National Institutes of Health would continue to be treated. New patients would not be accepted until a funding bill is in place.
You could still get a passport and visa applications would still be processed by the State Department. Fees collected when someone applies for a visa or a passport fund those services.
The Federal Housing Administration, the agency that guarantees about 30 percent of all American home mortgages, wouldn't be able to underwrite or approve any new loans during a shutdown, causing a delay for those using one of those loans to purchase a home.
You would still get mail, as the U.S. Postal Service is not funded by taxpayer dollars for everyday operations.
Active-duty military personnel would stay on duty, but their paychecks would be delayed.
All national parks would be closed, as would the Smithsonian museums. Visitors in overnight campgrounds in national parks would be given 48 hours to make alternate arrangements and leave the park.
School lunches, SNAP and WIC
School breakfasts and lunches funded by the federal government would not be affected. The Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC, could be affected. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, which used to be called the Food Stamp Program, would continue to be funded and SNAP benefits would continue to be distributed. But several smaller feeding programs would not have the money to operate.
The National Weather Service would keep forecasting weather.
Social Security, Medicare and unemployment benefits would be paid, but new applications for those payments could be delayed.
Most services offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs would continue.
Sources: The Associated Press; Politico; the Congressional Research Service
Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 11:11 AM
— Firefighters in Colorado recently rescued a German shepherd from a freezing river.
The Pueblo Fire Department posted the now-viral rescue on its Facebook page.
The 1-year-old pup, named Bill, was pulled from the Arkansas River by the department’s Ice Rescue team on Jan. 17.
The department is reportedly unsure how Bill ended up in the river, but he was reported as OK and reunited with his owner.
Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 11:23 AM
NEW ROADS, La. — An elderly Louisiana man whose home had no heat was found dead Wednesday morning, and his wife was hospitalized, after temperatures dropped into the teens overnight.
Paul Maker, 84, of New Roads, was found lying on the floor of his home by sheriff’s deputies, the Baton Rouge Advocate reported. Both Maker and his wife were disabled and wheelchair-bound.
The house had no heat, and the couple was afraid to run their space heaters because of the fire hazard, law enforcement officials said. Deputies went to their home Wednesday morning after a neighbor who often checked on the Makers called 911 to request a welfare check.
“He was in the house with his wife, and they were deathly afraid of running their space heaters overnight,” Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff Bud Torres told the newspaper. “This is just a sad situation.”
The couple’s children live in New Orleans and, upon learning of their father’s death and their mother’s hospitalization, could not travel the more than 100 miles to New Roads because most roads in south Louisiana were shut down due to the weather.
“I tried to call them all day yesterday to check on them and never got an answer,” Wanda Curly, the couple’s daughter, told the Advocate. “I knew the weather was bad, and I knew they couldn’t do a lot for themselves.”
The temperature in the house was about 20 degrees when deputies got there, Pointe Coupee Chief Deputy Coroner Joe Gannon said. Maker died of hypothermia.
Gannon said he believes Maker’s wife would have succumbed to the cold if the couple’s neighbor had not sought help.
“She would have been next, I think,” Gannon said.
Maker’s wife told deputies that she heard her husband fall in their living room around midnight, but could not check on him because she could not get out of bed on her own, the newspaper reported.
Curly said her parents moved to New Roads after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. She and her siblings tried in vain to get them to relocate to New Orleans over the years, but the couple, who were together for more than 60 years, valued their independence.
She said her mother would have to move to the city under this week’s tragic circumstances.