A Human Chain of Volunteers Offer to Move Thousands of Books

A Human Chain of Volunteers Offer to Move Thousands of Books

“Can you lend a hand?” was a question formulated by October Books, an independent bookstore, located in Southhampton, England.

Volunteers were needed for “heavy manual work.” It was crucial for volunteers to lift and carry boxes and office supplies.

Among the supplies included thousands of books.

This question came from October Books after they struggled to afford the rising rent prices of the store they occupied since 1970.

Aside from the price issue, the bookstore had to figure out how to move their stock without having to pay for expensive moving services.

This was when October Books pleaded for volunteers to form a chain between the old store and the new location.

At first only a few showed up, but to their astonishment — over 200 people lined up on the pavement to pass out 2,000 books.

“It was very moving,” Ms. Hynes, a bookstore employee told The New York Times, adding all employees “got choked up” over the community’s help.

Amy Brown, one of the store’s employees told NPR her stunned reaction to the turnout.

“I was handing books to people without actually seeing the entirety of it,” Brown said. “So it was only after about 20 minutes I actually went out to the road and saw the extent of the people.”

“We wanted something that was accessible for the whole family, for children and people who were older who wouldn’t necessarily be able to paint or move heavy pieces, to help out,” Ms. Hynes said.

Even passing pedestrians would jump in to help. Nearby cafe’s even brought teas and coffees for the volunteers.

“It was really sort of surprising and positive and just a really moving experience to see people chipping in because they wanted to help. And they wanted to be part of something bigger,” Brown told NPR.

Overall, the bookstore has bigger plans as well.

“The shop plans to sell the second floor of the former back building to a charity in Southampton to create supportive housing for homeless people and to create a community hub in the back,” Ms. Hynes said.




Support for abortion has declined, new poll shows

Support for abortion has declined, new poll shows

According to a recent poll sponsored by Ligonier Ministries, more than half of Americans believe abortion is a sin, reports PR Newswire. Fifty-two percent of respondents considered abortion to be sinful, up from 49% just two years ago.

LifeWay Research interviewed 3,000 American adults from a variety of demographic backgrounds for the 2018 State of Theology survey, an annual poll which tracks public opinion on topics such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and gender identity.

Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, offered his assessment of the study’s results. “These survey results may surprise some people, but pro-life beliefs have definitely been gaining ground in recent years. . . . With a majority agreeing that abortion is a sin, we have a clear indication that many Americans want the state to restore protection for the unborn child.”

The survey not only considered Americans’ aggregate views on abortion, but also tracked the responses of various age groups. In a heartening result for pro-life advocates, the survey revealed that millenial Americans (those aged 18-34) expressed stronger opposition to abortion than any other age group.

Fully 57% of millenials believed abortion was a sin, while only 48% deemed abortion morally acceptable. Millenials’ opposition to abortion has increased by seven percentage points since 2016, according to the study.

In light of the survey’s results, Mohler expressed hope for future pro-life political gains. “There would be considerable support for a Supreme Court decision reversing Roe v. Wade. There is clear support for protecting the life of the unborn, which explains overwhelming opposition to abortion on demand.”

 

Beaverton Student Invents Contraption for Poor Air Quality

Beaverton Student Invents Contraption for Poor Air Quality

Every year, students are chosen from around the United States to compete in the nation’s top tier science and math contest. This year, 30 students were chosen from only 14 states, and Washington County’s own high school student in Beaverton is one of them.

Pratik Vangal is a freshmen at Sunset High, but in the eighth-grade at Stoller Middle School, he invented a solution for poor air quality after observing in Bangalore, India at his grandparent’s home the difficult situations many families undergo due to poor ventilation and fires created from wood and trash.

The ventilation system is made out of solar wafers and small desktop computer fans and costs merely $5 per system. When it is wired to the sides of the home, it can clear the air in as short as a minute. Vangal won first place for his fan at the Intel Northwest Science Expo at Portland State University, and it was at this expo that he learned about the prestigious competition.

The competition runs from last Friday through Tuesday and will take into consideration the students’ projects that they will present as well as various scientific and mathematical challenges to test their reasoning and leadership. Winners will be announced this Wednesday.

Read more about Vangal’s project as well as the competition here.

TriMet plans $500 million project to end diesal buses

TriMet plans $500 million project to end diesal buses

Annually, TriMet uses an estimated 6 million gallons of diesel fuel every year in the Portland area, resulting in around 57,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air, and while riders who opt for transit instead of cars do help lower the amount of pollution, the agency admits this is still far from ideal.

TriMet’s executive director of public affairs, Bernie Bottomly, commented in an interview with The Oregonion, “We want to make an effort to move in this direction and address what is a gigantic issue around climate change.”

As such, the plan to cut back on diesel fuel was suggested as a long-term solution. The agency stated that new single battery-electric buses are being tested with a 2016 federal grant, and they are hoping to order 80 new battery-electric buses over the course of five years using $53 million allotted to TriMet in the 2017 statewide transportation package. But with battery-electric buses still in testing, TriMet is not sure if battery power is the long-term solution and is still searching for other alternative fuels, like hydrogen.

This year, the agency will discuss future sources of funds for the project, one possible proposal is to introduce a carbon-pricing bill in 2019.

Read The Oregonian article for more information on the TriMet project.

 

 

Non-profit camp welcomes youth affected by autism

Non-profit camp welcomes youth affected by autism

Like many other summer camps, Oregon’s Camp Odakoda features a swimming hole, a fire pit, and canoes. The camp’s culture, however, is unique.

“Here, no one judges you, not even a tiny bit,” explains Zander Cloud, a 16-year-old camper. “There can be people who you have the same common interests with, and it just makes you feel connected in some way, and more involved than you would sometimes do in school.”

Zander is one of 85 young adults affected by autism spectrum disorder who gathered at Camp Odakoda for a week of fun and fellowship. The camp is the only facility in the Pacific Northwest which caters specifically to youth on the autism spectrum.

Misti and Ian Moxley founded the camp in 2010 to provide more opportunities for their autistic son. “That’s what we were looking for is–where can we take our son where he can find friends that really get him, and he can understand that maybe he’s different, but he’s not less important, that he’s not less of a person, that he just has to find his people,” Misti told KATU news.

Camp Odakoda staff members work to connect campers who have similar interests. Two kids who both enjoy fishing, for example, may share a room.

The camp strives to create a stress-free environment for all youth by maintaining a high counselor-to-camper ratio, and by eliminating surprises from the daily schedule. Camp staff also enforce a no-tolerance policy with regard to teasing.

“They do not tolerate bullies at all here, so you can be whoever you want to be,” explains 14-year-old Alex Witzens. “It’s really important, ’cause I’ve been bullied a lot and it’s nice to go somewhere, for one week you won’t be bullied and you can just let loose, have fun and be yourself.”

Staff member Jonathan Chase understands the challenges faced by young adults such as Alex. Jonathan himself was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at age 14. “We didn’t have camps like this when I was growing up,” he told KATU. “When I became an adult, I looked back and I thought how different it would’ve been if there was somebody there who understood me, who is standing up for people who are different.”

Now, Jonathan helps teens enjoy the relationships he lacked as a child. Youth at Camp Odakoda look up to Jonathan, who has successfully navigated the transition to adulthood, and lives independently. Zander and Alex plan to follow in his footsteps by becoming camp counselors after graduation: “you get to help people and you can be really friendly,” Zander explains.

Jonathan sums up his message to youth affected by autism. “I’m here as a reminder for the kids and for the adults that where we start isn’t where we finish,” he says. “Autism isn’t a ceiling, it’s just a hurdle.”

 

Oregon Veteran Surprised with Gift

Oregon Veteran Surprised with Gift

Local veteran, Charles Patrick, is a Purple Heart recipient who served in the Oregon Army National Guard for nearly six years.  While deployed in Afghanistan in 2010, Charles hit an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) and suffered severe back problems that would lead to several surgeries and rehabilitation.

This Saturday, Charles received a special gift from the “Military Warriors Support Foundation” for his service: a new home in Jefferson that was mortgage-free along with a financial advisor for the next three years, all to help him adjust to civilian life and thrive as a honored veteran. Patrick aspires to attend Oregon State University to learn engineering.

In an interview with KATU2, Patrick stated, “Not only do I get a chance to have a house, but to really have a home. It’s crazy, and it’s just such an honor and it’s amazing. Luckily I don’t have to worry about buying the house, it’s just able to be provided. And like I said, it’s going to be life-alerting in a massively great way.”

Lear more about Patrick’s gift by watching the interview on KATU2.