A group of bakers decided to help their community when they saw that they were stranded due to the waters of hurricane Harvey.
Four bakers of the El Bolillo Bakery in Houston, Texas, were about to head home from a late shift when they saw they couldn’t leave safely due to flooded streets. Rather than worry, the bakers decided to keep the ovens going and bake hundreds of loaves for the hurricane victims.
The bakery’s electricity lasted through the day and night, as they baked Mexican pastries and breads particular to the shop’s specialty. The bakers used over four thousand pounds of flour by the time rescue workers arrived.
After baking all that bread, the El Bolillo distributed the bread to emergency shelters all around Houston.
Justin Juenemann, a backup kicker for the University of Minnesota’s football team, recently received an unexpected gift from an equally unexpected source. The 23 year-old has diligently worked as a volunteer at Masonic Children’s Hospital throughout his college years. His coaches and teammates were inspired to do something for him.
“Our goal was to create a moment of memory for Justin and his family forever because that’s what he earned,” said P.J. Fleck, head coach of the Minnesota Gophers.
Kyle Tanner, a teen patient at the hospital, spoke in front of the team and singled out Juenemann as his favorite player. Coach Fleck handed Tanner a t-shirt and told him to put it into a t-shirt cannon and fire it directly at Juenemann. He did so. Juenemann caught the white shirt, unraveled it and read the message on the front.
“Justin, congrats you have earned a scholarship,” it read. Justin and his teammates celebrated afterward and he FaceTimed his mother to show her the shirt.
“It was an amazing feeling,” Juenemann said. “It is something that I will never forget.”
“I’ve never seen anybody serve and give more than that guy who is not a star player,” Fleck said. “He could easily just not do it and nobody would ever say anything, and he does is continue to keep his oar in the water and live that holistic life academically, athletically, socially, and spiritually. His life is not about him. His life is about serving and giving to other people.”
YouTube recently announced how it intends to combat terrorist propaganda and rhetoric on their website: they will redirect the users looking for those things. Users who search for such content will be shown to videos that depict clerics refuting violent religious narratives. They will also be directed to videos that show victims of terrorists.
“When people search for certain keywords on YouTube, we will display a playlist of videos debunking violent extremist recruiting narratives,” YouTube said in its blog post last week that explains this new change. “This early product integration of the Redirect Method on YouTube is our latest effort to provide more resources and more content that can help change minds of people at risk of being radicalized.”
Multiple social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google have been eager in their response to the deluge of propaganda that has been surfacing on their platforms, where it can be accessed by anyone, including those with a habit of violent behavior. YouTube already prohibits its users from uploading videos that are comprised of violent or racist content; however, users can get around the website’s sharing rules by posting hundreds of links. Propaganda videos are often uploaded as “unlisted,” which means that users can’t find them through a search but the videos can still be posted on social media or shared with direct links.
The Redirect Method was conceived and developed by Jigsaw, a company owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet. The Method is intended to target ISIS-focused videos and was constructed with research partners who had explored the major avenues and narratives the group used for recruiting.
YouTube, aside from announcing the Redirect Method, also stated that it would be expanding product functionality to a wider set of search queries in languages other than English and would be using machine learning to update search query terms. It also intends to work with expert NGOs on creating new video content to counter violent extremist messages and to collaborate with Jigsaw to expand the Redirect Method in Europe.
“As we develop this model of the Redirect Method on YouTube, we’ll measure success by how much this content is engaged. Stay tuned for more,” YouTube said.
Over 800 teenagers have been participating in a work camp and have been working on 104 different projects throughout northern and central Virginia this summer. The Diocese of Arlington is sponsoring this camp.
“I didn’t even think we had people like this in the world anymore,” said Kevin Curtis. Curtis, 59, has been the beneficiary of the teenagers’ hard work. They’ve built him a deck extension and a ramp so he can get out of the house. Due to his disability, he has been unable to leave without being carried by two strong men for the past 15 years.
“It’s so wonderful to have somebody come to you and help you. I’ve never reached out for any kind of help in my life,” Curtis said. He has multiple health issues stemming from a car accident he suffered in 2003. “I crushed every bone in my body, in my chest. Both collarbones were broken. All my ribs were broken. My back was broken. My leg was broken in several places.”
Contractors oversee all the teens’ projects but the teenagers do the majority of the work.
“We have to dig the holes first, put the posts in, then the concrete,” said Monica Castro. It is her third summer participating in the work camp. “All three years I’ve been building decks. So I’ve gotten pretty good at the whole ‘dig the holes, mix the concrete, pour the cement and let it set.’ And then the measurements that come afterwards.”
“I’m so excited! I’ve got a doctor’s appointment…that I won’t miss because I will be able to get out of the house,” said Curtis. He recalled that after he met the kids, he bent his head. “And I prayed. I asked God to bless them all, deeply and fully.”
The deck and ramp were completed in time for Curtis’s appointment.
The Missouri House of Representatives has extended their support to a pro-life bill that is currently being debated in the state’s Legislature. This bill would help prevent the trafficking of the body parts of aborted children.
The Missouri state government is currently in the midst of a special session called by Governor Eric Greitens to discuss multiple issues involving abortion regulation, conscience rights, and the inspection of abortion clinics. Previous pro-life legislation had been approved by the state’s Senate but failed to address the issue of the handling and disposal of fetal tissue from aborted children. Missouri currently has no laws concerning this issue. The state requires that abortion clinics submit “a representative sample” of fetal tissue to a pathologist after an abortion. This allows Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers to dispose of most of the child’s body following an abortion.
Pro-life advocates are concerned about this legal open door that permits Planned Parenthood to market the body parts of aborted children. In the videos about Planned Parenthood’s trafficking of body parts, which were released by the Center for Medical Progress, Saint Louis, Missouri was singled out as an “untapped supplier” for fetal tissue that includes intact vital organs. The Missouri House voted to close this legal loophole and to adopt a substitute for the previous Senate bill. In this substitute, all fetal tissue removed during an abortion must be submitted to a board-certified pathologist within five days of the procedure. The pathologist must examine the tissue for any evidence of an incomplete abortion then file a tissue report to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
The special session has also been looking into the issues of protections for crisis pregnancy centers and whether or not crisis pregnancy centers should be required to promote abortion as an option for an unintended pregnancy.
Missouri Governor Greitens praised both the House and the Senate for their work during this special session. “We always want to make sure we find a way to protect life.”