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Samoan fire crew helping in NorCal performs fantastic thank-you dance

Published: Monday, August 24, 2015 @ 6:39 PM
Updated: Monday, August 24, 2015 @ 6:39 PM

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Firefighters from American Samoa who are helping fight 35 Northern California wildfires performed a traditional Haka dance to thank the crews shuttling them to the fire lines.

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The crew of five veterans and 11 rookie firefighters from the National Park of American Samoa joined the Northern California wildfire force as part of their training

The Samoans were equipped with gear when they arrived in Redding, Calif., and they, in turn, said thanks with celebratory songs and dances.

Scroll down to watch the video.

The video was posted to Facebook with this description: "The American Samoa crew showing their appreciation for the crew shuttles to the Horse Fire from C-101 & 102 by showing us their Haka. Great group of men and women helping us out in NorCal."- Drew Rhoads

The American Samoa crew showing their appreciation for the crew shuttles to the Horse Fire from C-101 & 102 by showing us their Haka. Great group of men and women helping us out in NorCal.

Posted by Drew Rhoads on Sunday, August 23, 2015

Read more about the Chaka dance here. 


The South Carolina Forestry Commission has sent 13 employees to help fight wildfires in four states.

The commission announced Monday it is sending eight people to Texas, three to Idaho and one each to California and Washington state. Their varying roles include wildland firefighter, heavy equipment boss and public spokesman.

The 13 left as six of their colleagues returned from fighting fires in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest near Redding, California. The six spent two weeks there.

Last month, a Forest Commission employee spent a week helping out with a fire in Tok, Alaska.

The employees are working under a cooperative agreement the state agency has with three federal firefighting agencies: the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Park Service.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Georgia mom's post about 5-year-old paying rent sparks viral Facebook conversation

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 4:53 PM

Alex Wong/Getty Images
(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

At the age of 5, most kids are still learning the basics of counting, but one Georgia mom has tasked her 5-year-old with not only counting but learning the art of financial planning.

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Essence Evans has received international attention for her recent Facebook post, about requiring her 5-year-old daughter to pay toward the family’s rent, water, electricity, cable and food. Evans, who says she lives in Georgia, said in a Facebook post Jan. 14, that she gives her daughter a $7 allowance each week, so paying rent is a way to teach her some “real world” concepts.

“I explained to her that in the real world most people spend most of their paycheck on bills with little to spend on themselves,” Evans wrote. “So, I make her give me $5 dollars back. $1 for rent $1 for water $1 for electricity $1 for cable and $1 for food.”

Her daughter gets to keep $2 for herself or for saving.

I MAKE MY 5 YEAR OLD PAY RENT. Every week she gets $7 dollars in allowance. But I explained to her that in the real...

Posted by Essence Evans on Sunday, January 14, 2018

The post has since been shared more than 314,000 times, and there are more than 44,000 comments, mainly praising Evans’ efforts to teach her daughter responsibility. 

“I think this is absolutely amazing! It is a great way to teach her how the real world works and to get her a little savings account of her own so she has a good start when she moves out or goes to college or whatever she chooses to do,” Jennifer Barfield wrote in response to the post.

Cathy White Stark agreed, writing that Evans is “a fantastic parent! Kids are clueless how things work and yes,they have this sense of entitlement. ... Good job.”

Some supporters even told personal stories of how similar tactics served them well.

“My father did that with me. I never complained. But when he died. He left me close to $28,000.00 I was shocked,” wrote Jim Koloski.

While the chorus of praise resonates throughout most of social media, there have been some who call her methods a bit much for a 5-year-old.

Some applauded the general idea but critiqued Evans for charging her child for necessities, even if just a small fee.

Evans’ Facebook post and the conversation around it have been featured on “Loose Women,” a television program in the United Kingdom, and several online news sites.

Evans did not immediately return The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s request for comment.

Momentum behind temporary fix to avert shutdown

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 4:43 PM

            House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 18, 2018. President Donald Trump blew up Republican strategies to keep the government open past Friday when on Thursday morning he said a long-term extension of the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program should not be part of a stopgap spending bill pending before the House. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times)
            ERIN SCHAFF
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 18, 2018. President Donald Trump blew up Republican strategies to keep the government open past Friday when on Thursday morning he said a long-term extension of the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program should not be part of a stopgap spending bill pending before the House. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times)(ERIN SCHAFF)

House Republican leaders today were hopeful they could summon enough votes to approve a bill to keep the federal government open for the next four weeks while extending a program that provides health coverage to 220,000 low-income children in Ohio.

With the government scheduled to run out money at midnight Friday because lawmakers have failed to agree on a year–long spending package, the temporary spending bill would give Congress until Feb. 16 to design a budget to last until the end of the 2018 federal spending year in October.

The temporary bill included a six-year extension of the 1997 Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP, which provides millions of children with health insurance.

RELATED: Collision likely on child insurance bill

At a news conference on Capitol Hill, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said he had “confidence we’ll pass this because I think members understand, ‘Why on earth would we want a government shutdown?’ ”

Ryan and his top lieutenants tentatively scheduled a floor vote for later today. But once again, Ryan was trying to escape from a familiar vice imposed on him by the House’s most conservative Republicans who often break with party leadership.

Although defense hawks such as Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, have agreed to support the bill because Ryan has promised to include more military spending in a final budget, conservatives such as Rep. Jim Jordan of Urbana and Warren Davidson of Troy want more defense dollars in the temporary spending bill.

The Republican split could cripple Ryan because House Democrats have said they will oppose a temporary spending bill without new legal guarantees for the children of undocumented immigrants, a program known as the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals, or DACA.

RELATED: Area ‘dreamer’ rallies to support DACA

That means Ryan can only lose the support of roughly 22 House Republicans unless some Democrats support the measure.

“It’s not clear whether we have the votes,” Davidson said on MSNBC Thursday, adding that he was leaning against the measure. “I know a large number of folks that are solidly a ‘no.’ ”

He predicted it would not pass with Republican votes and expressed frustration at Democrats’ insistence on a deal for the children of illegal immigrants — known as Dreamers. He said Democrats were choosing “800,000 people whose parents brought them here illegally over funding our defense.”

Turner said the lack of a long-term budget solution “shortchanges our men and women in uniform.” But he said Ryan has “a strong commitment for a two–year funding package for our military that is in the best interest of our military.”

The shutdown showdown highlighted what has become a recurring drama in Washington, confirming once again voters’ fears that the federal government seems to lurch from one budgetary crisis to the next.

RELATED: Five things to know about a government shutdown

Both parties have used the threat of government closures as leverage to win passage of measures that have little or no impact on the budget. Both sides essentially are waiting for the other side to fold, which tends to increase the power of the far right and far left to prevent government from remaining open.

House Democrats expected to vote against the bill include Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles and Joyce Beatty of Columbus. Beatty said while she supports extending the Children’s Health Insurance Program, she said she could not “vote in favor of another temporary funding bill loaded with a ‘wish list’ of Republican partisan priorities that only kicks the can down the road for another four weeks.”

In a floor speech Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D–N.Y., complained that the spending bill “leaves out so many priorities that the American people want and demand,” citing opioid addiction and legal guarantees for the children of undocumented immigrants.

“It doesn’t include an increase in military funding that members from both sides of the aisle would support,” Schumer said. “It’s just another kick of the can down the road because the Republicans in both the Senate and the House and the White House can’t get their act together.”

After a confusing presidential tweet created doubts about whether the White House backed the bill, White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah Thursday said President Donald Trump “supports the continuing resolution introduced in the House.”

“Congress needs to do its job and provide full funding of our troops and military with a two-year budget caps deal.” Shah said. “However, as the deal is negotiated, the President wants to ensure our military and national security are funded. He will not let it be held hostage by Democrats.”

Typically in a partial shutdown, the mail gets delivered, post offices remain open, the Army, Navy and Air Force operates with critical personnel reporting as usual, and Americans receive their Social Security checks. Medicare and Medicaid departments will also continue to function.

Ohio in 2016 had 77,400 federal employees, of which 5,250 were on active duty with the Air Force. Air Force civilian employment was 13,838, almost all at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

In the past, furloughed civilian workers were paid when the government re-opened. In the 2013 shutdown, 50 workers at the Defense Supply Center were furloughed.

Wright-Patterson is the largest single-site employer in Ohio with more than 27,000 employees — the vast majority of whom are civilians. It touts a regional economic impact greater than $4 billion.

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, one of the state’s biggest tourist attractions, would close until a funding deal is reached, a spokesman has said.

Staff Writer Barrie Barber contributed to this report

Nestle Japan launches ruby chocolate KitKat ahead of Valentine's Day

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 3:57 PM
Updated: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 3:58 PM

Nestle Japan
(Nestle Japan)

Nestle Japan on Thursday unveiled a new, pink KitKat var, which is to be sold ahead of Valentine’s Day in a handful of stores in Japan and South Korea, as well as online.

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Dubbed the KitKat Chocolatory Sublime Ruby, the chocolate is made using ruby cacao beans, which give the treat a naturally pink color. The beans also give the chocolate “a fruity flavor reminiscent of berries,” according to Nestle Japan.

The pink chocolate variety made its debut in September by Swiss chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut. It was touted as an alternative to the traditional chocolate varieties of white, milk and dark chocolates.

The new KitKat flavor was created by chef Yasumasa Takagi, the owner of Tokyo’s Le Patissier Takagi. In a news release, he said his creation “allows you to enjoy the characteristic fruity fragrance and subtle acidity of the ruby cacao to the fullest.”

The flavors “have never been experienced before,” Takagi said.

The KitKat bars will be sold at KitKat Chocolatory stores in Japan and South Korea starting Friday. Chocolate fans in the U.S. and other countries can purchase the chocolate online.

Nestle Japan employees said 5,000 bars of the chocolate treat will be available for sale from Jan. 19 to Jan. 25. Each bar costs ¥400, or $3.60.

The variety will also be part of the KitKat Chocolatory Sublime Valentine’s Assortment, alongside bars of KitKat Sublime’s Bitter, Milk and White flavors for ¥1,800, or $16.20. A larger assortment also includes the KitKat Sublime Matcha and Raw flavors as well for ¥2,400, or $21.60.

The boxes of assorted chocolate bars will go on sale starting Feb. 1. 

Polar bears enjoy snow day at North Carolina Zoo

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 4:09 PM

Nikita (front) and Anana enjoy the snow day at the North Carolina Zoo. (Photo: North Carolina Zoo)
Nikita (front) and Anana enjoy the snow day at the North Carolina Zoo. (Photo: North Carolina Zoo)

Polar bears at the North Carolina Zoo got to enjoy the blanket of snow that covered the park Wednesday.

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Nikita, 11, and Anana, 18, were fed whole fish as a special snow day treat, the zoo said

The zoo was closed Thursday and will remain closed Friday because of the heavy snowfall.