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Here's how to keep your pets safe during a hurricane

Published: Friday, August 25, 2017 @ 4:23 PM
Updated: Friday, August 25, 2017 @ 4:23 PM

(OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images
(OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)(OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Hurricane season begins every year on June 1. Here are some simple tips to keep your pets safe if you are in the path of a storm.

Prepare ahead for safety and comfort of your pet

Do not leave pets at home, especially if you live in an evacuation area. Even if they survive the storm, they might flee a damaged home and be lost in the chaos.

It might be difficult, if not impossible, to find shelter for your animals in the midst of a disaster, so plan ahead. Here are some options:

Hotels: Contact hotels and motels outside your area in advance to check policies on accepting pets and restrictions on number, size and species. Ask whether “no pet” policies could be waived. Keep a list of “pet-friendly” places, including phone numbers, with other disaster information. For an impending storm, call ahead for reservations. The Humane Society of the United States recommends the following websites to find pet-friendly lodgings.

Friends and relatives: Ask friends, relatives or others outside the area if they can shelter your animals. Make arrangements with neighbors to help evacuate pets in the event you can’t get home.

Pet-friendly shelters: Find out if pets will be permitted at an evacuation shelter.

If you haven’t already done so, get those shots now. Infectious diseases can become a big threat after a disaster.

If a pet becomes lost or escapes during the confusion of an evacuation, proper identification will increase the chances of a safe return home. Tag should include your cell number and, if space allows, the number of an out-of-town contact. Consider having your pet tattooed or having an ID microchip implanted.

You will need a pet carrier or cage for each dog, cat, bird or small animal. Make sure it is large enough for each pet to stand up and turn around comfortably.

Take clear, color photos (frontal, left and right sides) of you with your pet, and store these with your pet’s license, medical records and ownership papers in a waterproof carrier to take with you. Include pictures of the pet with you to help with any challenge to your ownership. Take photos with your cellphone so they’re stored there as well.

Set up a pet disaster kit

Put together a pet disaster kit with medications and medical records in a waterproof container, a leash and collar or harness for each pet, non-spill food and water dishes, a 14-day supply of food, water in non-breakable containers, a manual can opener, grooming supplies, your pet’s blanket and a favorite toy, cleanser and disinfectant to handle waste, newspapers or litter, paper towels and plastic bags.

Tips to Keep Your Dog Calm During a Storm

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5-year-old claims teacher taped mouth, tossed lunch

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 8:17 AM

FILE PHOTO (PenMac/Morguefile.com license: https://morguefile.com/license)
PenMac/Morguefile.com
FILE PHOTO (PenMac/Morguefile.com license: https://morguefile.com/license)(PenMac/Morguefile.com)

A little boy from Michigan says his teachers put tape over his mouth and threw away his lunch and he says he was told not to tell anyone about what happened.

Abdul Dannaoui said it happened back on March 26 at Highview Elementary School, WXYZ reported.

He said it didn’t happen only once either. Abdul told his parents and WXYZ that he has been prevented from eating lunch and his snack up to 10 times. 

>> Read more trending news 

“I’m emotionally heartbroken. Disappointed. That’s his second home. That’s how they treat a child with asthma?” his mother Hoda said to WXYZ.

School officials told WXYZ that the taping incident happened at Great Start Readiness Program at Cherry Hill Baptist Church and that it was a substitute teacher assistant who scotch-taped Abdul’s mouth shut. The person no longer works at the school.

The Dannaouis have filed a police report and are considering legal action against the district, WXYZ reported.

They say a second adult was in the room at the time. That teacher is still working for the district. The family’s attorney, Nabih Ayad, told WXYZ, “One of the teachers was discharged. But, they kept the other teacher who said don’t tell your mom or dad, and even gave him a bracelet to entice him not to tell anyone.”

Abdul is changing schools after the incident.

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Victim pays IRS impostor $4,000 in iTunes gift cards

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 7:23 AM



WSOCTV.com
(WSOCTV.com)

A victim of a common scam was too embarrassed to go on camera, but his mother, Lisa Thomas, was not. She wanted others to know his story.

Like usual with this con, an alleged scammer called, said he was an IRS official, told the victim he owed money, and threatened to arrest him if he didn’t pay right away.

“They wanted him to go to Target and purchase iTunes gift cards. $4,000 worth. $100 each,” Thomas told WSOC.

And he did. “Because he heard jail. I’m going to jail,” she said. “He has learned a valuable, costly, very expensive lesson.”

>> Read more trending news 

Viewers tell WSOC almost daily that an IRS imposter calls. WSOC called the alleged scammer back. Here are excerpts from the conversation:

Jason Stoogenke: “Obviously you’re not with the IRS.”

Stoogenke: “How much money are you trying to scam out of people?”

Caller: “Just $8,000 sir.”

Stoogenke: “So you’re trying to scam $8,000? You’re admitting that to me right now?”

Caller: “uh huh. Uh huh.”

Stoogenke: “I’m a TV news reporter and I’m going to put you on the air.”

Stoogenke: “Do you have anything to say for yourself?”

Caller: “Go [expletive] yourself.”

Stoogenke: “Maybe you should stop scamming people.”

Caller: “No. Why should I?” 

Stoogenke: “Honestly, how often does this work?” 

Caller hangs up.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein says victims in the state lost $85,930 to this scam since this time last year. 

The IRS will not call you, threaten to arrest you, and ask you to pay over the phone using any kind of gift card or prepaid debit card.

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Amazon now offers in-car package delivery

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 7:42 AM

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Amazon

Can’t wait until you get home to open that package you ordered? You’re in luck: Amazon announced Tuesday that it is now offering in-car package delivery.

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Atlanta a hot spot for sugar daddies willing to pay college tuition

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 2:51 PM

Stephanie, a junior in college, says she is empowered by the relationships she’s forged on the dating site SeekingArrangement.com. She says her sugar daddy helps pay her tuition and affords her the opportunity to experience the finer things of life she could not otherwise afford.
Photo: Contributed via The Atlanta-Journal Constitution
Stephanie, a junior in college, says she is empowered by the relationships she’s forged on the dating site SeekingArrangement.com. She says her sugar daddy helps pay her tuition and affords her the opportunity to experience the finer things of life she could not otherwise afford.(Photo: Contributed via The Atlanta-Journal Constitution)

We’ve known for some time that Atlanta is considered a hub for sex trafficking.

But who knew metro Atlanta is also known for having an abundant number of, ahem, sugar daddies — older men seeking the companionship of college-age women?

>> Read more trending news 

According to SeekingArrangement.com, Georgia ranks sixth in the country, behind places like Arizona, Philadelphia and New York. Over the past few years, the website has touted its growing numbers to news publications around the country.

In Georgia, according to folks at the website, the vast majority of these young women providing companionship to older men attend big state colleges such as Georgia State, the University of Georgia and Georgia Southern (in that precise order), with a few at Spelman College and elsewhere.

“Students are tired of being told by the government that secondary education is important, and then being slapped with outrageous student loans and staggering interest rates,” said Brandon Wade, founder and CEO of SeekingArrangement.com. “The value of a degree is undeniable, but students can’t leave their futures in the hands of officials any longer.”

Today more than 2 million students across the country — 3 million worldwide — have signed up to find wealthy benefactors who can help offset college costs, said Wade.

RELATED | Many Georgia students feel overburdened by rising college costs

Each year, almost 44 million Americans rack up student loan debt or they graduate with no full-time jobs in their chosen careers.

>> Read more trending news 

Among them are Jessica and Stephanie, local college students introduced to me through an email exchange arranged by SeekingArrangement.com. Both agreed to talk about their experience, but neither wanted to use her last name because their parents are not aware of the arrangement. I met Jessica in person. Stephanie and I spoke by phone.

I found them both to be articulate, ambitious young women. Neither saw their arrangement as anything out of the ordinary — just an agreement between two consenting adults. There was a line, however, that both said they were unwilling to cross: marital infidelity.

Stephanie, 21, was working at a popular sports bar when a colleague told her about Seeking Arrangement, and they posted their profiles to the site.

“I really didn’t think I was going to follow through, but I actually met someone,” said Stephanie, who is enrolled in an online program at the University of South Carolina. She eventually matched with a 46-year-old cybersecurity expert, who takes her on vacation trips and shopping sprees and makes weekly deposits to her bank account.

“I know a lot of people think it’s prostitution, but it’s totally different,” she said. “This is a real relationship. We communicate every single day. I care about him. He takes care of me like men are supposed to. He thinks I’m funny. He tells me I’m beautiful. What girl wouldn’t want that?

“I’m going to college, and I’m making money,” she added.

RELATED | Why Women’s March hat moniker strikes me wrong

Ironically, Jessica, a 22-year-old theater major who had her pick of six colleges, including the University of Pennsylvania, Florida A&M, and Spelman, first heard about the site while overhearing her mom tell a friend about a magazine article she’d read about Seeking Arrangement. But the concept itself, Jessica said, came to her in a song titled “Suga Mama” by R&B singer Beyonce.

When she isn’t studying or in class, Jessica makes time for her sugar daddy, a 45-year-old Atlanta business consultant, who pays her tuition and gives her a biweekly allowance.(GRACIE BONDS STAPLES / GSTAPLES@AJC.COM)

“That you could have a mutually beneficial relationship with someone of high status that would help with expenses intrigued me,” Jessica said.

In the scheme of things, that hardly matters. Language and naming have power and are symbolic.

“Even the terms sugar daddies and sugar babies have an incestuous and infantilizing echo,” said Deborah Cohan, a professor of sociology at the University of South Carolina-Beaufort. “Young women can try to convince themselves that they are calling the shots in these situations, but is this the way women want to become empowered?”

It’s unfortunate, Cohan said, when women perceive few options for economic freedom.

“The owners and operators of these sites and the participants want to make the case that this is a choice, and a viable one, but it strikes me as the epitome of a choiceless decision,” she said.

RELATED | Prosecutors: Backpage.com made millions in prostitution ads

As a professor at the University of South Carolina-Beaufort, Cohan sees this firsthand. USC’s main campus is near Hilton Head, home to the annual Heritage golf tournament. “Every year I have students who tell me that as exotic dancers this is their big week to make money to pay for tuition and that as a result they want to be excused from classes,” she said. “Is this the way we want young women to have to exist in their earliest employment and earliest intimate relationships and connections?

Each week, Gracie Bonds Staples will bring you a perspective on life in the Atlanta area. Life with Gracie runs online Tuesday, Thursday and alternating Fridays.(The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

“And moreover, what does this mean for men, for how they think about power, control, and sexuality and women in general?”

Jessica went on a half-dozen dates before she settled on an arrangement with a 45-year-old Atlanta business consultant, who pays her tuition and gives her a biweekly allowance of $2,000.

She says they dated six months before they ever touched. One of those dates was to get the results of an HIV test before beginning a sexual relationship.

On average, Jessica sees her benefactor three times a week, mostly on weekends. In that time, she’s discovered she likes the fact that he grew up in a two-parent home like herself and attends church.

“He’s kind of an introvert,” Jessica said. “He really treats me like a lady.”

Find Gracie on Facebook (www.facebook.com/graciestaplesajc/) and Twitter (@GStaples_AJC) or email her at gstaples@ajc.com.

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