Teen saves friend's life with her final act, completing bucket list

Published: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 @ 7:49 AM
Updated: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 @ 7:49 AM

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Rebecca Townsend put together a bucket list for a high school project. She eventually checked off things like “kissing in the rain” and traveling to Spain. She even founded her high school's chapter of She’s the First, a charity for girls in developing nations.

Also on her list was “save a life.” She did just that in her final moment.

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Townsend was walking across a road with a friend when a car came barreling toward them. Rebecca used her last breath to push 17-year-old Benjamin Arne away from the vehicle. Both were hit by the car, but Townsend took the brunt of the collision and was killed.

Newser reports that Arne said the “last thing he can remember is Rebecca pushing him out of the way.” Arne remains in the hospital in serious but stable condition.

“She was a wonderful, wonderful person,” Immaculate High School Principal Joe Carmen told newstimes.com.

Buzzfeed reports that it wasn't until after her death that Rebecca's family found the bucket list in her room. They say the list brought them some comfort knowing she'd fulfilled her final wish.

“It was a little sign that she was OK,” her sister, Victoria, said.

Her friends and family "set up a Facebook page called Remembering Rebecca to encourage people to 'remember Rebecca by going out and doing something that matters.'"

Read more here.

Rebecca Draper Townsend was a beautiful, caring, brilliant 17 year old girl who tragically died on July 2, 2015 while...

Posted by Remembering Rebecca on Sunday, July 5, 2015

A great example of continuing Rebecca's dedication to helping others.

Posted by Remembering Rebecca on Sunday, July 5, 2015

Disney handing out $1,000 bonuses to 125,000 US employees

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 8:16 PM

Disney’s Chairman and CEO Bob Igor stands next to Minnie Mouse during a star ceremony in celebration of the 90th anniversary of Disney's Minnie Mouse at the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 22, 2018 in Hollywood, California.  
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images
Disney’s Chairman and CEO Bob Igor stands next to Minnie Mouse during a star ceremony in celebration of the 90th anniversary of Disney's Minnie Mouse at the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 22, 2018 in Hollywood, California.  (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

The Walt Disney Company is handing out $1,000 bonuses to all U.S. employees and creating a new $50 million education fund for its hourly workers, according to a statement released Tuesday.

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The Burbank, Calif.-based entertainment giant announced all U.S.-based hourly and part-time employees with the company since Jan. 1, 2018 are eligible for the one-time payouts.

Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger said the bonuses are a result of the new tax cuts enacted late last year.

“I am proud we are directing approximately $125 million to our cast members and employees across the country and making higher education more accessible with the launch of this new program,” Iger said.

The company already has an education reimbursement program for full-time employees and that will remain unchanged.

“I have always believed that education is the key to opportunity; it opens doors and creates new possibilities. Matched with the $1,000 cash bonus, these initiatives will have both an immediate and long-term positive impact,” Iger said.

Almost 88,000 hourly Disney workers will be eligible for the new education program and can pursue classes unrelated to their Disney jobs, company officials said.

Disney will provide $25 million a year for the new program after the first $50 million investment this year.

>> Related: AT&T announces $1,000 tax bill bonuses to 200,000 employees, Trump approves

Verizon and AT&T also announced bonuses for their employees after President Donald Trump signed the new tax-cut measure into law just before Christmas.

14-year-old accidentally shot, killed by older sister

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 2:53 PM

Teen Accidentally Shoots, Kills 14-Year-Old Brother

A 14-year-old Indiana boy was accidentally shot and killed by his older sister Sunday as they and their father prepared to go target shooting.

Rex William Pruett was shot at his father’s home in Campbellsburg, a small Indiana town located about 50 miles northwest of Louisville, Kentucky. Rex, a seventh-grader at Orleans Junior-Senior High School, died a short time after his father rushed him to a hospital. 

“The father received a phone call and, while he was on the phone, the daughter, in what appeared to be unintentional, shot her brother with a .22-caliber revolver,” Indiana State Police spokesman Chad Dick told The Times-Mail in Bedford.

Officials at the boy’s school, where his sister is a ninth-grader, said that extra counselors were brought in Monday to help students cope with the tragedy. Police investigators waited to release the boy’s name until those measures were in place. 

“The first-period teachers had a written statement to read about the incident and then, for any students that need additional help, we have counselors standing by,” Orleans Community Schools Superintendent Gary McClintic told the newspaper.  

Chris Stevens, principal of the siblings’ school, showed a news crew from WAVE 3 News in Louisville Rex’s locker, which was adorned Monday with photos and letters from his classmates. 

“This does remind you quite a bit of Rex,” Stevens told the station. “There were a lot of tears and a lot of smiles today.”

Stevens said that faculty members and administrators have made it clear to students that the shooting was accidental. When Rex’s sister returns to class, they will offer her their support, he said. 

Family and friends also offered the girl their support on Facebook, where she described her younger brother as “such a sweet little boy.”

“Much love, Rexy, much love. We will all keep you in our hearts,” the girl wrote. 

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Stevens described the rural community as one in which guns are part of everyday life.

“In our elementary, at the sixth-grade level, we have a gun safety course that all of our students are allowed to go through,” Stevens told the news station

McClintic, who said he taught Rex’s father when he was a teacher, described the boy’s family as a good one that had been involved with Orleans’ public schools for multiple generations. 

“It’s hard on the community, just as much as it is on the school,” McClintic told The Times-Mail

Johnny Henderson, pastor of Lost River Missionary Baptist Church in Claysville, said that Rex and his family attended services there the morning of the shooting.

“He was an outstanding young man,” Henderson said.

The pastor said the Pruett family needs support, not criticism over the shooting.

“They need support and people to pray for them for peace and comfort,” Henderson said. “They still have a hard time going forward. They still have a funeral to go to.

“They are going to be living without this young man.”

12 camels booted from beauty contest at Middle East festival over Botox use

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 6:16 PM


Camels were once prized across the Middle East for transportation, for use in war, for food and even as companions, as guides and partners. Now they’re prized for a whole different set of reasons, including their beauty and racing abilities, and are celebrated at annual camel festivals across the region.

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But it was a little surprising when news reports began surfacing that at least 12 camels have been disqualified from a camel beauty pageant in Saudi Arabia after their handlers were caught using Botox on them.

The camels were among 30,000 of the desert beasts competing in the annual King Abdulaziz Camel Festival, according to The National, a United Arab Emirate-based news service.

Because a “perfect pout” is so valuable, camel owners will go to great lengths to ensure their camel has the proper assets, including “a full, droopy lip and large features,” The National reported.

“They use Botox for the lips, the nose, the upper lips, the lower lips and even the jaw,” Ali Al Mazrouei, 31, a regular at Gulf camel festivals and the son of a top Emirati breeder told the online site.

“It makes the head more inflated so when the camel comes it’s like, ‘Oh look at how big is that head is. It has big lips, a big nose,’” features the camels are prized for. They’re also prized for small ears and some handlers have been known to take matters into their own hands and perform plastic surgery on the ears to achieve a perfect ear.

It’s no wonder camel handlers are so serious about the appearance of their beasts and willing to risk disqualification to enhance their features: $57 million is at stake in prize money at this year’s festival.

>> Related: Giant burning spider spreads flames in apartment, after torched by tenants

Some 300,000 visitors have attended the second annual festival since it started in early January. It runs through the end of the month.


Portman warns Trump: killing NAFTA will kill jobs in Ohio

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 5:25 PM

            Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
            Mark Wilson
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)(Mark Wilson)

With President Donald Trump threatening to scrap a trade deal with Canada and Mexico, Sen. Rob Portman Tuesday said it would be “a mistake” to terminate a pact that allows manufactured goods and agriculture products to cross the borders of those countries largely free of tariffs.

In a conference call with Ohio reporters Tuesday, Portman said killing the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement “would have a negative impact on auto workers, farmers and service providers in Ohio,” adding “we should improve the agreement,” not scrap it.

“Most of our exports from Ohio go to Canada and Mexico,” said Portman, who served as U.S. Trade Representative under President George W. Bush.

RELATED: Ohio farmers fear disruption if NAFTA is retooled

As trade negotiators from the United States, Canada and Mexico gathered Tuesday in Montreal for a key round of talks on whether to renew NAFTA, Trump told reporters that the talks were going “pretty well.”

But in an interview last week with Reuters, Trump said he may “terminate NAFTA.”

The agreement has long provoked intense opposition from organized labor, which contends the lure of cheap labor in Mexico encouraged American manufacturers to shift production there and cost tens of thousands of jobs in the U.S.

RELATED: Whirlpool celebrates new Trump tariffs; plans to add 200 jobs in Ohio

Trump’s tough anti-NAFTA stance resonated with blue-collar workers in the key manufacturing states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Trump’s victories in those four states allowed him to capture the presidency in 2016.

The Business Roundtable, an organization in Washington that represents many of the nation’s largest companies, warned that scrapping NAFTA would cost 1.8 million jobs in the United States.

In particular, the major automakers claim they would be badly hurt because NAFTA essentially integrated the North American automotive market.

RELATED: Mexico slams U.S. decision on solar panel tariffs

According to the Ohio Department of Development, Ohio companies and farmers exported $49 billion worth of goods in 2016 to Canada and Mexico, a slight dip from 2015. The state will release the 2017 statistics next month.

Portman and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, both approved of Trump’s decision Monday to slap tariffs on imports of washing machines from South Korea, a move designed to help Whirlpool’s production facility in Clyde, Ohio.

Portman said he backed the tariffs because if “other countries are not following the rules of trade, they have to be held accountable.”