Couple rebuilding family after losing 7 kids in fire, welcomes child No. 13

Published: Sunday, March 20, 2016 @ 11:44 AM
Updated: Sunday, March 20, 2016 @ 3:41 PM

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A Pennsylvania couple was devastated when seven of their eight children were killed in a fire five years ago

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Janelle and Ted Clouse lost Christina, 11, Isabelle, 9, Brady, 7, Hannah, 6, Heidi 4, Miranda, 18 months and Samantha, 9 months, on March 8, 2011. Their daughter Leah survived; she was 3.

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Since then, the Clouses have welcomed four more children, and Janelle Clouse is pregnant with another.

"Time heals our pain, but we always remember, and we would never want to forget our babies," Janelle told People magazine. "All we can do is just keep looking forward. All we have is the future."

The family keeps a collage of photos of the seven children who died propped up on a fireplace mantel. Janelle and Ted said seeing the faces of their lost children reminds them that "every single moment" is precious and that nothing should be taken for granted.

"You have to move ahead, if you live in the past you're not really living," Ted told People. "But they will be with us, always."

The fire that killed the Clouses' children blazed in the family's farmhouse while Ted was out working and Janelle was tending to cows in a barn 100ft away from the family's home. While Janelle was milking the cows, Leah ran into the barn and told her mother that her baby sister, Miranda, was "playing with smoke."

"I went to the house and opened the door and the smoke knocked me down," Janelle said. "I knew if the fire was that strong, there was no one alive in my house."

The seven children died from a mix of carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation.

Fire officials think 18-month-old Miranda was probably holding a blanket too close to the space heater in the kitchen. They think she dragged the burning blanket into the living room, where it ignited couch cushions and spread.

Four months after the fire, Janelle gave birth to Gabriel.

"I was happy, but I had this terrible sense of guilt because it seemed like he replaced my dead children," Janelle said. "It was a bittersweet moment. Time healed that pain, though. I realized that he was an innocent baby that needed love."

She later gave birth to Yvonne, 3, Gordon, 2, and Jedidiah, 11 months. She's expected to give birth to another son in April.

But the Clouses will never forget the children they lost five years ago. Their new additions are just that -- additions, not replacements.

"We have 13 children," Ted said. "When people ask how many kids we have, we say 13."

"We talk about them all the time," Janelle said. "When the time is right, when the kids are a little older, we will tell them about the brave siblings they never go to meet." 

Janelle and Ted Clouse have learned to "live but never forget" about the tragic accident.

Posted by People on Friday, March 18, 2016

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Private vs. public: 6 ways private and public school differ 

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 2:30 PM

A Georgia private school of 800 students plants to start drug-testing its oldest students. According to the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, Brookstone School in Columbus announced that the drug-testing of students in grades 8-12 will be voluntary next school year, and then mandatory in succeeding years. The school currently has about 370 students in grades 8-12. Brookstone plans to use students' hair samples to conduct the testing. The samples are sent to Psychemedics Corp., where they are examined for 18 types

For parents of preschoolers right on up to those with high schoolers eyeing the all-important college admissions game, the decision to attend private versus public school can be a weighty one.

And you can't even rely on long-held assumptions about the merits of each. A recent Time piece asserted that sending a kid to private school could actually save you $53,000 if you opted for a less expensive neighborhood as a result. Representing the other point of view, the Brookings Institution's non-resident senior fellow Mark Dynarski also concluded that parents will always have to pay double for private schools.

But whether your concerns are financial, disciplinary or even faith-based, it pays to have a firm grasp on the differences between public schools (including charter) and private schools.

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Here are six critical distinctions between private and public school:

1. Funding sources

A private school acts autonomously, generating its own funding from such sources as tuition, private grants and endowments. The government funds public schools and all students attend free of cost (except for fees for certain teams and activities). Charter schools are also taxpayer-funded education, free of charge and open to students without regard to family income.

A group of students at the Portfolio School, which emphasizes experiential learning and uses technology to reduce administrative costs, play violins to create music for a film project, in the TriBeCa neighborhood of New York, Nov. 9, 2017. A rash of start-ups say they can offer more 21st-century alternatives to curriculums at established private private schools — and make a profit in the process.(Elizabeth D. Herman/The New York Times)

2. Curriculum

A private school's board has final say-so over the curriculum, while public school curriculum is mandated by the state curriculum. These days 41 states, the District of Columbia, four territories and the Department of Defense Education Activity have adopted the Common Core State Standards InitiativeEach state may choose to change or add to the standards to best meet the needs of their students.

3. Accreditation and compliance

Private accreditation agencies, like the National Association of Independent Schools, provide oversight for private schools while the State Board of Education is responsible for accrediting public schools. In addition, according to ThoughtCo., public schools must comply with a host of federal, state and local laws and regulations including No Child Left Behind, Title I and so forth. Both public and private schools must observe state and local building, fire and safety codes and federal, state and local laws such as annual reports to the IRS and maintenance of state-required attendance.

4. Admission

Admission for public schools is determined by each student's home address and school zoning. This is not the case for private schools, which reserve the right to deny admission based on eligibility criteria as decided by the school. A public school cannot deny admission to any student within the designated geographical area of the school.

BERLIN - SEPTEMBER 18: Second-grade children attend class in the elementary school at the John F. Kennedy Schule dual-language public school on September 18, 2008 in Berlin, Germany. The German government will host a summit on education in Germany scheduled for mid-October in Dresden. Germany has consistantly fallen behind in recent years in comparison to other European countries in the Pisa education surveys, and Education Minister Annette Schavan is pushing for an 8 percent increase in the national educaiton budget for 2009. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)(Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

5. Class size

Class size separates public schools and private schools distinctly. Urban public school classes may average 25-30 students per class or more, while most private schools keep their class sizes closer to an average of 10-15 students.

"It's important to note that some schools will publicize a student to teacher ratio, in addition to, or sometimes in place of, an average classroom size," ThoughtCo. noted. "The student to teacher ratio is not the same as the average classroom size, as the ratio often includes part-time teachers who may serve as tutors or substitutes, and sometimes the ratio even includes non-teaching faculty (administrators, coaches, dorm parents) who are part of students' daily lives outside the classroom."

6. Teacher prep

While public school teachers must always be certified, many private schools don't require teachers to have formal certification. Nevertheless, many are experts in their fields or have master's or even doctoral degrees.

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Fake kidnappers target mom after daughter posts about vacation

Published: Wednesday, April 05, 2017 @ 6:32 AM

Patricia Hebner
Fox25Boston.com
Patricia Hebner(Fox25Boston.com)

A Massachusetts mother thought her worst nightmare had come true when she was told that her daughter had been kidnapped while on vacation.

The caller told Patricia Hebner that she needed to pay a ransom or else her daughter would be killed.

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It was all a scam, but a very elaborate one that had Hebner very worried about her daughter in Mexico.

“A man came on and said, 'I have your daughter; she's in the back of the van. I'm going to kill her unless you get me some money,'” Hebner said. “There was the screaming crying. It was like, 'Mom, help me, Mom, help me, Mom.’ I said, ‘Victoria, is that you?’”

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Hebner kept the scammers on the phone while she went to a neighbor’s home and had them call for police.

“She's claiming that she got a phone number. She wants traced, that somebody may have taken her daughter,” a dispatcher said on a 911 recording of that phone call.

Wrentham police are warning that scammers are now tracking people on social media. An Instagram post from Victoria about going away may have tipped them off.

“I think they got into her phone and saw my number. I was her mom; they knew they can get money from me,” she said.

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Man delivers own baby on side of highway after wife goes into labor

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 8:05 AM

Father Delivers Own Daughter on Side of Highway

A Lowell, Massachusetts, man had a special delivery to deal with on the highway: his own baby.

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Samuel Beyene's wife Rahel Estifanos called him at work Wednesday morning, saying she was having contractions.

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"We start driving, and all of a sudden, she says, 'Oh my God, something is pushing. Something is coming out,'" Beyene said. "I say, 'OK, we’re almost there. We have 10 minutes to go.' She says, 'No, no, no, Sammy, you don’t know there's something coming out.' And I look down and I see the head."

Before they could make it to the hospital, Beyene pulled over on the side of Route 93.

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Wilmington police dispatchers told Beyene on the phone that they were on their way, but their new baby, Lidya, was impatient.

"Slowly but surely, I pull the baby up," Beyene said. "All of a sudden, the baby is in my hand."

The mother and baby are happy and healthy, resting at Winchester Hospital. 

Now that the stress is over, Beyene can joke about the situation.

>> On Boston25News.com: FDA warns some teething medicines are unsafe for babies

"We're gonna give her a little nickname, 93, at the bottom," Beyene said. "Lidya 93, since she was on the highway."

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WATCH: Adoptive mom's heartwarming video shows older boys including shy son in basketball game

Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 @ 8:25 AM

WATCH: Adoptive Mom Shares Heartwarming Moment Between Her Kids, Local Boys

A video and message posted by a Green County, Oklahoma, mom is spreading quickly on social media.

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Christy Rowden posted the video Monday afternoon after a heartwarming moment at a park.

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Rowden said she was at the park with her two children that afternoon when a bus of students from Oologah Upper Elementary pulled up and started playing on the basketball court.

Rowden’s 7-year-old son was adopted from Uganda. Rowden said he can be shy and, as a result, stood back as the older boys played basketball.

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https://www.facebook.com/christyleerowden/posts/10216587561621532

Posted by Christy Lee Rowden on Monday, May 21, 2018

Soon after, the fifth-grade boys reportedly came up to her son, Asher, introduced themselves and invited him to play.

The boys quickly welcomed him into their game, cheering him on and giving high-fives.

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Rowden said the moment brought a tear to her eye, especially since she is the mom of a black boy in a mostly white community.

Rowden shared the post to remind people that there is still good in the world and to thank the children who were so kind to her son.

>> See the Facebook post here

There is good in this world! I need reminders of it sometimes. I took Asher & Mercy to the park this morning and for...

Posted by Christy Lee Rowden on Monday, May 21, 2018

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