It was a blast from the past when Brandon Seminatore, a doctor, and nurse Vilma Wong reconnected.
Wong, 54, has worked as a neonatal nurse for 32 years at the hospital in Palo Alto, California.
One day, curiousity catapulted at her brain after she saw the name Seminatore on a young doctor’s ID badge.
Approximately, 30 years ago, there was a premature baby with the same last name Wong cared for. The baby weighed 2 pounds and 6 ounces and was born at 29 weeks on April 19, 1990.
After Seminatore settled into his job, Wong had asked Seminatore about his background.
“She asked me if I grew up in this area, he said. “I said, ‘yes I was actually born in this hospital.’”
Wong knew the name sounded familar. “I kept asking where he was from and he told me that he was from San Jose, California, and that, as a matter of fact, he was a premature baby born at our hospital,” Wong said. “I then got very suspicious because I remember being the primary nurse to a baby with the same last name.”
Seminatore’s mother told him about a nurse she and his father bonded with during his time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for 40 days.
Another nurse worked with Wong. His mother had urged him to find both nurses when he was on his month-long rotation at the hospital’s NICU. “They were wonderful nurses,” his mom, Laura Seminatore said. “They helped calm a lot of our fears.”
“My mother said, ‘look for Vilma,’ he recalled. “She was our favorite nurse. She took care of you.”
Very soon, Seminatore questioned if he knew this nurse and Wong was still suspicious.
“There was a big silence,” Wong said. “And then he asked if I was Vilma.”
Seminatore immediately texted his parents when he and Wong reunited in the NICU.
Recently, the nurse and doctor took a photo together in the NICU. Now, Seminatore is a few inches taller and wearing scrubs. Both have elated smiles on their faces.
Wong is not considering retirement any time soon because she loves her job too much.
“As a nurse, it’s kind of like your reward,” she said. Seminatore agrees. “She cares deeply for her patients, to the point that she was able to remember a patient’s name almost three decades later.”
It was such an awe-inspiring event for Seminatore and Wong that both not stop smiling.
“In the end I didn’t have to look for Vilma,” he said. “She found me. We smiled that whole day.”
Washington resident Akhil Jhaveri knew he didn’t have much longer to live. But the father of three daughters had one last wish before he passed away: he wanted to see his children get married.
However, when doctors told Jhaveri’s family he had only days left on earth, none of the daughters’ weddings were imminent. That’s when a family friend proposed an idea: Jhaveri’s children could simulate a marriage ceremony, allowing their father to walk them down the aisle.
So, with help from friends and neighbors, the Jhaveri family planned the event. Community donors provided flowers, music, wedding gowns, and access to Vintage Gardens, a wedding venue in Ridgefield, Washington.
On wedding day, as evening approached, all three Jhaveri daughters donned white dresses and veils, and walked down the aisle with their father. “The event felt like a wedding,” noted KATU news reporter Lashay Wesley.
Family and friends who witnessed the event struggled to contain their emotions. “We’ve had a lot of time to process the fact that he is going to pass away, and that it’s going to be hard,” said Jordan Jhaveri. “It’s been difficult to see my dad, who I remember as this vibrant, hilarious human, sleeping as we go down the aisle together,” added Ashley Jhaveri.
Nevertheless, all three daughters felt grateful for the chance to grant their father’s final wish. The celebration highlighted both the Jhaveri’s love for one another, and the generosity of their community.
On July 9, President Donald Trump announced his nominee to fill the vacant Supreme Court Justice slot. Brett Kavanaugh was selected from a pool of twenty-five conservative options, a list that had been narrowed down to four candidates in the last week before the announcement.
Kavanaugh has over twelve years of experience as a judge, issuing approximately 300 opinions, according to Fox News. Appointed to the federal appeals court by President George W. Bush, Kavanaugh is well-known for his dedication and admiration of the U.S. Constitution. Addressing an audience of senators and public officials, he highlighted his “reverence” for the document that the Supreme Court is tasked with upholding.
Supreme Court judges generally fall into three different philosophies. Constitutionalists believe in judging cases strictly as the Founding Fathers would have commanded them to. Precedence means that decisions should be made in reference to past cases. Finally, pragmatism is the philosophy that judges should use their own convictions and apply them to the law. Kavanaugh has exhibited strong constitutionalist qualities, with an additional respect for precedence. This yields interesting results when analyzing his stances on abortion.
The Constitution does not explicitly mention abortion, obviously, making this hot-button issue often more difficult for constitutionalists to deal with. When asked about Roe v. Wade in 2006, Kavanaugh stated that he would respect the precedent set by the ruling but refused to state a personal opinion. His relative silence on the issue has worried some Pro-Life supporters, though others have theorized that he has dodged the subject to ensure swift confirmation.
Last October, Kavanaugh commented on his first major case involving the right to life in October 2017, when an undocumented immigrant teenager in U.S. custody sought an abortion. Though the appeals court involved ultimately supported the young woman’s decision, Kavanaugh dissented, insisting that she had no such right. While Pro-Life activists applauded this decision, others were quick to say that his decision emphasized the rights of immigrants, rather than the right to life.
In the coming weeks, a spotlight will be shed surrounding the history of Kavanaugh’s decisions and convictions. Undoubtedly, the media will report on the judge with increasing scrutiny, as the deadline to confirm him looms closer. Until then, it is important for Pro-Life supporters to avail themselves of resources to learn more about this potential Supreme Court Justice.
In June, the Supreme Court ruled that California pregnancy centers which oppose abortion must no longer advertise the practice. The state of California had required all licensed pregnancy clinics to provide clients with information about low-cost abortion and contraception options—regardless of the clinics’ religious beliefs or stance on abortion.
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the majority opinion for the Court, which decided the case—National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra—on a 5-4 vote. California may publicize government-sponsored abortion programs, stated Thomas, but the state “cannot co-opt the licensed facilities to deliver its message for it.”
Justice Anthony Kennedy’s concurring opinion emphasized pregnancy clinics’ First Amendment liberties: “Governments must not be allowed to force persons to express a message contrary to their deepest convictions. Freedom of speech secures freedom of thought and belief. [California’s law] imperils those liberties,” Kennedy wrote.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch also deemed California’s law unconstitutional. Meanwhile, Justice Stephen Breyer expressed the minority’s dissenting view from the bench.
Breyer argued that the Court should honor a previous 1992 decision in which it required Pennsylvania doctors to inform their patients about adoption services. Why should states not similarly require pregnancy centers to inform clients about abortion services? Breyer asked. “As the question suggests, there is no convincing reason to distinguish between information about adoption and information about abortion in this context,” he stated.
Perhaps the First Amendment itself provides the distinguishing test Breyer seeks. The government clearly compels pregnancy centers which oppose abortion on religious or moral grounds to violate their convictions via mandatory abortion advertisements. Physicians, however, likely do not oppose adoption for religious or moral reasons; thus, the state cannot possibly infringe on their “freedom of thought or belief” by compelling them to publicize information they already endorse.
Alliance Defending Freedom lawyer Michael Farris recognizes that freedom of speech and conscience constitute the proper basis for the Court’s decision. “No one should be forced by the government to express a message that violates their convictions, especially on deeply divisive subjects such as abortion,” Farris stated. “In this case the government used its power to force pro-life pregnancy centers to provide free advertising for abortion. The Supreme Court said that the government can’t do that, and that it must respect pro-life beliefs.”
Farris’ organization represented the pregnancy centers in the case. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had previously ruled against the clinics in a unanimous verdict which upheld the entirety of California’s law. Thus, the Supreme Court’s decision represents a heartening turn of events both for pregnancy clinics in California and the national pro-life cause.
Crossing the United States by car constitutes a major undertaking. Trans-American motorists can expect to encounter inclement weather, bumpy roads, and heavy traffic on their multi-day journey from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Many cross-county travelers therefore opt to make the trip by air, rather than by road.
Not Gabriel Low. This month, the seventeen-year-old triathlete from Hawaii started a 3,000-mile road trip across the United States–on his bicycle.
Pedaling up to 90 miles a day, Low hopes to complete his ride in two months. What motivated the teen to embark on his cross-country trek? “The real inspiration, I have to say, came from my mother,” Low told KATU news.
Low’s mom suffers from Primary Periodic Paralysis, a rare disorder which causes her to occasionally lose motor function. Because the disease is genetic, Low suffers from bouts of paralysis, too. Unlike his mother, however, the teen received a diagnosis and proper treatment early in life.
“For the first 30 years [my mom] went undiagnosed,” Low explained. “All her efforts to help me grow up with the disease and not have to face the same challenges she did, that’s what I want to dedicate this ride to.”
Low hopes his ride will raise awareness not only about his own disorder, but about a host of other little-known diseases as well. According to Low, one in ten people suffer from a rare condition. Roughly 7,000 such disorders exist, and each of them “is so rare that doctors don’t learn about them a lot in med school, and they’re just not really acknowledged well,” Low said.
The teen’s cross-country cycling odyssey serves another purpose, too: transportation to the 2018 national triathlon championships in Cleveland, Ohio. That competition holds special meaning for Low. During an earlier qualifying event, an abrupt episode of paralysis tested his physical abilities to the limit.
“It was towards the second half of the triathlon, I realized that I’d forgotten to take my medication that morning,” Low explained. “As I was going, I started to feel my legs were harder to lift, and when I crossed the finish line, I collapsed.”
Low’s perseverance, however, paid off: the effort earned him a spot at the national championships in Cleveland. Thus, competing at nationals represents not only a significant athletic achievement for Low, but also a victory over his disorder.
Ultimately, Low hopes to compete in the world triathlon championships. En route to his goal, however, the teen desires to prioritize his campaign to raise awareness for rare diseases. He hopes his ride will “start a conversation and create a movement.”
Strongbridge Biopharma, a pharmaceutical firm which specializes in developing treatments for rare disorders, is sponsoring Low’s cross-country trip. “Strongbridge has given me a van and hotel rooms every night, and it’s insane what has happened,” Low said.
The teen feels grateful for the support he has received thus far, and invites fellow cyclists to join him on portions of his ride. See his Facebook page and website for updates on his journey. Additionally, well-wishers can show their support by contributing to Low’s GoFundMe account. Donations will cover Low’s trip expenses, and any leftover funds will support the Periodic Paralysis Association.
Alarms went off late Tuesday night that warned people of a “CIVIL EMERGENCY” followed by another warning stating “WATER EMERGENCY FOR THE SALEM AREA.” The following day people would learn that there was an Algal contamination in the Detroit Reservoir that put young children, the elderly, and those with weak immune systems at risk.
Many people began rushing to stores to stockpile water. As water supplies started to drop, prices began to rise leading some people to drive out of town to find water. One restaurant owner felt a big backlash after making a poorly timed joke about having “inside information” about the emergency. Luckily though the entire area wasn’t affected.
In Keiser, Oregon the water was still safe to drink. Keizer water comes from wells that are attached to the un-impacted Troutdale aquifer. Keizer made three 24-hour water distributing sites near city hall. On top of that, over 20 businesses in Keiser began distributing water to those affected but asked people to bring their own containers. Governor Kate Brown sent several trucks filled with water to help distribute water.
The water warning is still in effect, however, there are reports that it is getting better. Reports from Wilsonville say that the same type of Algae problem is occurring there but to a far less extent and that there is nothing to worry about.