New beach-accessible wheelchairs purchased so visitors can enjoy Cannon Beach

New beach-accessible wheelchairs purchased so visitors can enjoy Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach will soon have beach-accessible wheelchairs so visitors with mobility challenges can enjoy the sand and the surf.

“It’s making our beach, which is free for everyone, free for everyone,” said Pooka Rice, outreach coordinator for the Haystack Rock Awareness Program in Cannon Beach. “It’s very exciting.”

The Cannon Beach Police Department will oversee the checkout and return process of the wheelchairs. The chairs will be available on the east side of the city hall building and are free to use. They can be reserved and visitors can leave their regular wheelchairs at the Police Department.

“People didn’t even know something like this existed,” Dan Haag said. Haag is the manager of the visitor’s center in nearby Manzanita. “And the reaction is joy just to be able to get down to the beach.”

In Manzanita, they’ve had free beach wheelchairs available for nearly 10 years, said Haag. “We’re happy that our partners up in Cannon Beach are providing this for people so when we don’t have them available, we know where to send people.”

Court Carrier, the executive director of the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce, hopes that wheelchairs will soon be available throughout Oregon’s entire coast.

“We know there’s a lot of other people that have begun doing this,” said Carrier. “And we hope to help spread this idea up and down the entire coast so that everyone makes it their mission to have an accessible beach.”

Cannon Beach currently has two wheelchairs, valued at $2,500 each. The funds for those chairs were privately donated.

The goal is to have 4 or 5 wheelchairs and some specialized walkers available so everyone can enjoy the beach. Fundraising is currently ongoing and anyone interested in making a donation should contact the Haystack Rock Awareness Program or the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce.


Real-life Spider-Man helps pick up after Hurricane Irma

Real-life Spider-Man helps pick up after Hurricane Irma

Cheryl Hanbury saw someone she didn’t expect to see when she stepped outside to survey the damage to her Bradenton, Florida neighborhood the morning after Hurricane Irma hit. A man in a familiar red and blue suit was cutting a tree that had fallen across her road.

“I thought, OMG! Spider-Man! I was shocked,” she said. She called her family to come out and see the hero at work. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Spider-man cut the tree down, then swung off and jumped in his little black pickup with a friend and flew off!”

Due to the evacuations, no children were around to witness the appearance of the masked man.

“It was a silver lining after waiting a long weekend for the hurricane to arrive,” Hanbury said. “People were terrified and exhausted.”

Hurricane Irma was not as bad as predicted for the Bradenton area. “We still have lots of people without power, and my neighbors’ generators are running at the moment,” she said. “But for the most part, we just have high numbers of trees and power lines down with much debris, but everyone is safe!”

Hanbury hopes Spider-Man knows he is cheering up the spirits of people in Bradenton and throughout the world, since her photos of him have gone viral.

“To Spider-Man, I would like to say ‘Thank you!’ I’m glad we have real-life heroes.”



Stranded bakers make bread for fellow hurricane victims

Stranded bakers make bread for fellow hurricane victims

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.

College football team surprises teammate with service scholarship

College football team surprises teammate with service scholarship

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.”

This scholarship will help Juenemann complete his senior year.

“I am pursuing a human resources degree and I’m looking…to help people throughout the rest of my life,” he said.



YouTube Reveals New Strategy to Fight Terrorist Recruitment Videos

YouTube Reveals New Strategy to Fight Terrorist Recruitment Videos

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.