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New petition aims to expand food stamps to include pet food

Published: Sunday, January 28, 2018 @ 7:55 AM

What Your Dog Is Really Trying To Tell You With Those Heart-Melting Eyes

new petition aims to convince the federal government to modify food stamp rules so that low-income people are allowed to use them to purchase food for their pets, WGN-TV reports.

So far, the petition has garnered the signatures of more than 80,000 people and has gained the support of several animal welfare organizations, according to the Sacramento Bee. Advocates say expanding food stamps in such a way could keep thousands of animals out of shelters and make them the only government program that helps low-income people care for their pets.

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“It’s potentially game-changing,” Matt Bershadker, the president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, told the Bee. “I think we should get behind this in a big way.”

Once the petition reaches 90,000 signatures, it will be presented to the USDA. However, it appears to have little chance of succeeding given the political and logistical challenges of changing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Since 1964, the program has specifically excluded pet food by defining “food” as “any food or food product for human consumption.” Altering that definition would require Congressional action. Additionally, there are several administrative challenges to overcome in actually implementing such a policy.

“I can’t imagine how the government would decide on, say, how much more money a family should get if they have a Bernese mountain dog,” Craig Gundersen, an agricultural economist at the University of Illinois and an expert on the food-stamp program, told the Bee. “Would this be more than for, say, a Sheltie?”

In the meantime, several charities and nonprofit organizations are attempting to fill the void by launching programs that distribute donated pet food to those in need. While their efforts are truly appreciated, these organizations are not currently able to provide for all families struggling to feed their pets.

“Being poor is hard enough without being expected to give up your companion,” said Edward Johnston Jr., the creator of the petition.

Maryland police officer killed; 1 suspect arrested, authorities say

Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 8:03 AM
Updated: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 8:03 AM



Larry W. Smith/Getty Images
(Larry W. Smith/Getty Images)

Police are searching for multiple suspects after a Maryland police officer was killed during a traffic stop in Baltimore County.

Here is the latest on this developing story:

Update 7:57 a.m. EDT Tuesday: A 16-year-old suspect has been arrested in connection with the death of a Baltimore County police officer, authorities said early Tuesday.

The suspect was not immediately identified. 

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According to WBAL, police were seeking three more suspects.

>> See the tweet here

ORIGINAL STORY: A Maryland police officer was killed Monday during a traffic stop in a neighborhood in Baltimore County, Maryland, according to news reports.

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The four-year female veteran of the force was responding to reports of a “suspicious vehicle” Monday afternoon when she was fatally injured,” WJZ-TV reported.

It’s unclear whether she was shot or run over or both, but police are searching for those responsible, who they consider “armed and dangerous.”

Authorities said they won’t know for sure how the officer died until an autopsy is performed, but she was wearing a body camera and police are reviewing the tape, according to WJZ-TV.  

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan did say in a tweet the officer was shot.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of a Baltimore County police officer after she was shot in the the line of duty,” Hogan said on Twitter.

“Our prayers got out to this brave officer’s family, Baltimore County police and fire and the Baltimore County community,” he said. 

Baltimore County Councilman David Marks wrote in a Twitter post that the officer was shot in Perry Hall, near Belair and Lausmier roads.

 

Police had warned residents to shelter in place as a manhunt got underway Monday afternoon. 

 

CDC warns pools, hot tubs, water parks are hotbed for disease outbreaks

Published: Monday, May 21, 2018 @ 10:45 PM

VIDEO: CDC Warns Pools, Hot Tubs, Water Parks Are Hotbed For Disease Outbreaks

You may want to think twice about jumping in that hotel pool or taking the kids to a popular water park nearby. 

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According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, contaminated recreational waters led to 493 reported disease outbreaks between 2000 and 2014.

These outbreaks, commonly caused by pathogens or chemicals, resulted in at least 27,219 cases and eight deaths. About half of the outbreaks started between June and August.

Public health officials examined data from 46 states and Puerto Rico for the report and found that hotel pools and hot tubs contributed to about one-third (32 percent) of the outbreaks. Public parks came in second (23 percent), then club/rec facilities (14 percent) and water parks (11 percent).

While no significant trend was observed after 2007, the CDC said outbreaks caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium, also known as crypto, increased 25 percent per year between 2000 and 2006.

>> Related: 11 water safety tips all parents need to know

Of the 363 outbreaks with a microorganism as the culprit, 58 percent were classified as Crypto.

Crypto can spread when people swallow something that’s come into contact with an ill person’s feces, such as pool water contaminated with diarrhea, according to the CDC.

Swallowing just a mouthful of water contaminated with Crypto can make otherwise healthy people sick for up to three weeks with watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, or vomiting, and can lead to dehydration,” the CDC states on its website.

The parasite is highly resistant to pool chemicals aimed at cleaning the waters, including chlorine and bromine.

The CDC recommends anyone, adults or children, who has experienced diarrhea should wait two weeks before getting in pools, hot tubs or other public water containers and parks. 

Additionally, avoid swallowing water when swimming, rinse off in the shower before entering the water and take children on bathroom breaks often.

>> Related: 9 swimming holes that'll make you forget the pools are closed

Unlike Crypto, parasites Legionella and Pseudomonas can both be effectively controlled by halogens (chlorine, bromine) if the water is properly dosed. Unfortunately, 20 percent of public pools and hot tubs aren’t properly dosed with disinfectant.

Legionella can lead to a pneumonia-like condition known as Legionnaire’s disease or a flu-like condition called Pontiac fever. Legionella is transmitted when aerosolized water droplets often produced by hot tubs and spa jets are inhaled.

The number of outbreaks caused by Legionella increased 14 percent per year, according to the CDC report, but only accounted for 3 percent of the 363 identified microorganism outbreaks.

Pseudomonas, transmitted when skin comes in contact with contaminated water, may lead to rashes near the ear canal and otitis externa (or swimmer’s ear). Pseudomonas accounted for about 4 percent of the 363 outbreaks.

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Mother threatens children, punches son in eye, police say

Published: Monday, May 21, 2018 @ 1:09 PM

Mother Allegedly Threatens Children, Punches Son In Eye

An Ohio mother threatened her children and punched one of them in the eye, police said. 

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Zipporah Thompson, 27, was recorded in a video Sunday threatening her children ages 2 and 1, according to WFMJ

“Your father don't want y'all and don't care about y’all,” Thompson said in the video handed over by the father to police. “I'll punch you in the face. Do you want me to punch you in the face?”

Thompson is seen in the video turning around the camera to punch the 2-year-old boy in the eye, making the child cry, according to WFMJ.

When officers arrived at her home no one answered the door, according to WFMJ. Shortly later, Thompson arrived and got out of a Jeep. When officers tried to arrest her, she banged her head on the police cruiser and tried to blame the officer, according to WFMJ. She then tried hitting her head against the inside of the car once put inside it.

Thompson was arrested and charged with child endangerment.

Medics examined the children who were not seriously injured, according to WFMJ.

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Jada Pinkett Smith talks hair loss: ‘I was literally shaking in fear’

Published: Monday, May 21, 2018 @ 9:59 PM

Jada Pinkett Smith revealed she struggles with hair loss in a new episode of her Facebook Watch show
Jada Pinkett Smith revealed she struggles with hair loss in a new episode of her Facebook Watch show "Red Table Talk." (Photo by Sonia Recchia/Getty Images)(Sonia Recchia/Getty Images/Getty Images)

Jada Pinkett Smith typically comes across as confident and fearless, but she recently opened up about her experience with hair loss as a woman, one that left her covering her hair with turbans.

“A lot of people have been asking why I’ve been wearing turbans,” Pinkett Smith, 46, said on an episode of her Facebook Watch show “Red Table Talk.” “Well, I haven’t talked about it. It’s not easy to talk about, but I am going to talk about it.”

In the Facebook Watch show, Pinkett Smith speaks with her daughter, Willow, and her mother, Adrienne, and they have candid conversation about their life experiences.

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People reported that, in the latest episode, Pinkett Smith said that one day she saw handfuls of hair in her hand.

“It was terrifying when it first started. I was in the shower one day and had just handfuls of hair in my hands and I was just like, ‘Oh my God, am I going bald?’” she said.

“It was one of those times in my life where I was literally shaking in fear. That’s why I cut my hair, and why I continue to cut it.”

Pinkett Smith has recently been photographed with an asymmetrical bob that covers most of her hair line and a scarf around her head with hair poking out on top, or covering her hair altogether with a scarf.

She admitted that the process of dealing with hair loss was a challenge, and although she’s seen multiple specialists, a cause for her hair loss has not been determined.

“My hair has been a big part of me,” Pinkett Smith said. “Taking care of my hair has been a beautiful ritual, and having the choice to have hair or not. And then one day to be, like, ‘Oh my God, I might not have that choice anymore.’”

“I’ve gotten every kind of test there is to have,” she said. “They don’t know why.”

Pinkett Smith said she took a spiritual approach to come to terms with her hair loss.

“I really had to put it into a spiritual perspective, like the higher power takes so much from people. People are out here with cancer. People have sick children. I watch the higher power take things every day,” she said.

“When my hair is wrapped, I feel like a queen,” she said.

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