Shirley Radecki, age 90, wins gold in the National Senior Games

Shirley Radecki, age 90, wins gold in the National Senior Games

Do you see yourself skydiving, bungee jumping, or hiking 14,000 feet up Mount Kilimanjaro when you are 90 years old? That’s exactly what Shirley Radecki has done.

Radecki, who lives in Eugene, most recently traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico. There she participated in the 90-94 age group as a swimmer in the 2019 National Senior Games. She won a gold medal in the women’s 50-yard backstroke and a silver medal in the women’s 100-yard backstroke.

“It was pretty nice,” Radecki said, as reported by The Register-Guard. “Pretty impressive.”

Her only competition in her age group was Sara Sievert from Texas. Because of this, they took turns taking the win. Sievert won the gold in the 100-yard backstroke and silver in the 50-yard backstroke.

“We were just a few seconds apart really,” Radecki said. “She was pretty good competition.”

The event was Radecki’s second time competing, and her first time receiving a medal, save the state qualifiers in 2018.

She competed in the 100-yard breaststroke as well. However, she was disqualified because she did not touch both hands on the wall or use proper leg form.

It all started for Radecki at the 2018 Oregon Senior Games in Bend. It was there that she qualified for the national games. In the beginning, Radecki was uncertain if she wanted to compete. But her daughter, Shaundele Leatherberry, convinced her that it would be a good thing to do.

Last year, Radecki spent her time training and preparing for the competition. She trained at the River Road Park and Recreation pool with the help of her coach. She ate peanut butter and banana toast, and practiced swims and water aerobics two times every week.

Her daughter said it was important for her mother to be around more people her age that could keep up with her.

“She’s around a lot of people her age that don’t do anything,” Leatherberry said. “I wanted her to be around more active seniors and really have something to work toward.”

Even though she has tight competition in the pool, Radecki said she’s not a competitive person, she just keeps an extremely active lifestyle.

“I guess I do my best,” said Radecki, who also has two sons. “But I’m not gung-ho or anything like that.”

Leatherberry said her mother tends to downplay her abilities. Participating in the games showed her that even at 90 years old she could still be an athlete.

“There were signs that said, ‘welcome athletes,’” Leatherberry said. “I think people at that age have an image of themselves and things like this help them work toward something, and better themselves.”

Radecki acknowledged that credit goes to her daughter for getting her involved in the games. She said that most of her adventures have happened because her daughter did them first. In the last five years, Radecki went skydiving at 85 and climbed 14,000 feet up Mount Kilimanjaro at 87. To top it all off, she’s also been bungee jumping in New Zealand.

She already got the gold, but Radecki has no plans for slowing down. Her goal is to skydive again when she turns 95. Currently, she swims often and golfs twice a week.

“I mean, what else am I going to do?” Radecki said. She has been married two times, widowed once and reconnected in her late 70s with a childhood sweetheart who later passed away. “I don’t want to go out to lunches, that’s too boring. It’s just good to have things to do.”

When it comes to living a long and happy life, Radecki said she’s been lucky to have her health and a supportive family.

“You know it’s important to eat healthy, stay active and do what you do best,” Radecki said. “But having a good relationship with my family has been really special.”

Leatherberry said that while she is her mother’s biggest cheerleader, she wants people to know what a great person she is.

“She’s always lived a really healthy lifestyle and has really taken care of herself,” Leatherberry said. “She really deserves her day in the sun.”

The 2021 National Senior Games are projected to take place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Radecki said she’s not sure if she’ll compete again. She plans to focus on things one day at a time at this point.

“I don’t want to make predictions, so we’ll have to see,” Radecki said. “But if my daughter is at it and wants to, then I’d do it, too.”

Read The Register-Guard’s story here.

Mount Kilimanjaro

 

 

 

 

 

17-year-old hero saves toddler who fell from second-floor window in Turkey

17-year-old hero saves toddler who fell from second-floor window in Turkey

A 17-year-old Algerian citizen, Feuzi Zabaat, is being pronounced a hero. Footage has gone viral that shows him catching a young girl when she fell from the second-floor window of a Turkish building.

Zabaat was walking on a street in the Fatih district of Istanbul last week. That is when he noticed a little girl playing near an open window, as reported by the Saudi Gazette.  

The CCTV videotape shows Zabaat in a yellow shirt looking up as he stood in the street, aware that the girl’s safety was in jeopardy. He stretched out his hands, anticipating her fall, and astonishingly catches the toddler, who was identified as a 2-year-old Syrian girl, Doha Muhammed.

“I was just walking in the road when I saw the little girl at the window,” Zabaat said. “She fell, and thanks to God, I caught her before she hit the ground,” he told AFP in an interview, as reported by Fox News.

The little girl tripped and fell out of the window when her mother was cooking. She was not injured. Her family was thankful for Zabaat’s amazing catch, and gave him 200 Liras or $35 USD, as reported by USA Today.

Watch the viral video and read the story here.

House votes in support of continued funding for 9/11 worker compensation fund

House votes in support of continued funding for 9/11 worker compensation fund

The House of Representatives voted by a large margin on July 12 to put billions of dollars into a waning compensation fund for 9/11 workers. The legislation honored a former New York City police detective who had urged Congress to aid those sick or dying after working in toxic debris locations.

The House voted 402 to 12 in support of the legislation, which was modified a few days earlier to honor Luis Alvarez. As reported by The Bend Bulletin, Alvarez, a New York Police Department first responder, told lawmakers on June 11: “You all said you would never forget. Well, I’m here to make sure that you don’t.”

He died just a few weeks later.

Backed by all House Democrats and nearly all Republicans, the legislation now moves to the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he aims to hold a vote by August. This commitment stemmed from Jon Stewart’s public attack on McConnell. Stewart, the previous host of “The Daily Show,” attacked lawmakers for being hesitant to add to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

Stewart has become the celebrity support for the struggle to make the 9/11 fund permanent. He was in Congress July 12 for the vote. He called it the “semifinals” and promised to return for the Senate vote, which could happen in two weeks.

“This is necessary, it is urgent, and it is morally right,” Stewart said, among a throng of first responders and lawmakers.

In a statement, McConnell said the Senate “has never forgotten the Victim Compensation Fund and we aren’t about to start now. We will consider this important legislation soon.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., instigated a quick Senate vote. “We need to let these men and women get back to their lives and families. We need to show with our actions — not just our words — that we will never forget what these heroes did for our nation. We owe them nothing less.”

The fund provides money to people who have contracted diseases tied with exposure to toxic debris after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The fund was brought to fruition by lawmakers in 2011 to recompense deaths and illnesses brought about by toxic exposure at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, in the aftermath of terrorists crashing four hijacked airliners that day in 2001. The $7.3 billion fund has provided about $5 billion to approximately 21,000 claimants. Almost 700 were for deaths that occurred long after the attacks.

The fund is running low on money. It has over 19,000 additional unpaid claims. Rupa Bhattacharyya, who is the special master that is supervising the funds, declared that pending claims, including those that were received before Feb. 1, will be paid at 50% of their prior value. Following claims are being paid at just 30%.

According to the law, the fund is planned to stop accepting claims in December 2020. The new legislation would prolong the program for seven decades, with the cost being approximately $10.2 billion for the first decade.

An intense congressional hearing last month grabbed the public’s focus, drawing them to the demise of the sick workers and the waning fund.

Alvarez had persevered through 68 rounds of chemotherapy when he testified to lawmakers. He had been preparing for another round. His words brought many in the hearing to tears.

His testimony was followed by a fuming denunciation of Congress by Stewart, who disparaged what he called Congress’ lack of inaction on such an important issue.

“It’s shameful. It’s an embarrassment to the country,” Stewart said, pushing back tears.

Read the The Bend Bulletin’s story here.

Watch an interview by MSNBC with Jon Stewart and 9/11 first responder John Feal here.

Pampers and Koala Kare to install 5,000 changing tables in men’s restrooms

Pampers and Koala Kare to install 5,000 changing tables in men’s restrooms

Pampers has decided to aide dads all over the U.S. who have found themselves unable to find a baby changing station in men’s restrooms.

Multiple dads have posted photos depicting their babies on the floor of men’s restrooms because there was no changing table. Several of the pictures have gone viral.

Pampers wants to create change. They have jump started the “Love the Change” campaign in collaboration with Koala Kare to provide 5,000 changing tables in public restrooms across the U.S. and Canada by 2021.

The changing tables will be placed in the restrooms where they are most needed, such as parks, recreation centers, community centers and libraries. Pampers said in a release that the tables will appear in cities such as Cincinnati, Dallas, Philadelphia and more.

Musician and singer John Legend has played a part in supporting this change. He has joined the combined efforts of many dads in sharing the unique ways they’ve had to find somewhere to change their child.

“I call this the piano solo,” Legend said as his baby was on a piano, as reported by ABC 7. Other dad’s created makeshift changing stations using the driver’s seat or the trunk.

The campaign was brought to light in part because of a Florida dad, Donte Palmer, who was at the center of the countless stories in 2018. One of his children took a photo of him squatting in a restaurant restroom in Jacksonville to change his child. The photo gathered support from folks from coast-to-coast, including celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher.

Kutcher initiated a Change.org petition a couple years ago to rally for changing tables in men’s bathrooms in retail stores.

“Fathers, we aren’t highlighted like we should be,” Palmer told WJXT at the time. “And I just want to bring that view and that light to us fathers, because we do matter and we do exist, and we are willing to do more than just provide and protect.”

Palmer and fathers in his same situation have begun a movement called Squat For Change.

Nine out of 10 dads have gone into a public restroom that had no changing table, according to Pampers.

Read the full story and watch videos on the subject here.

For more background and to see more photos related to this story, click here.

Donte Palmer

Donte Palmer changing his child.

 

Loggers, farmers and ranchers protest HB 2020 at the Capital, show support for the ‘Oregon Eleven’

Loggers, farmers and ranchers protest HB 2020 at the Capital, show support for the ‘Oregon Eleven’

Eleven Republican senators have continued their walkout protest that is in its eight-consecutive day. Meanwhile, hundreds of loggers, farmers and ranchers assembled on the Capital steps on June 27. They were protesting a greenhouse gas emissions cap-and-trade bill and showing their support for the missing Republican senators.

It was one of the biggest rallies of the 2019 legislative session. There were flags, signs and songs, along with a continuous flow of semi-trucks, pickups and farm equipment that surrounded the Capital for several hours.

Traffic blocked many streets as several large rigs from throughout the state showed up during the morning commute.

Inside the capital, 18 Democrats met once again for a floor session, not expecting their Republican colleagues to arrive.

The Democrats have the supermajority, with 18 members, but they must have two Republican senators in order to reach a quorum of 20. A two-thirds quorum is necessary to do any business.

Even if the Senate acquires enough members before adornment on June 30, they will still have to come up with a solution about House Bill 2020, the greenhouse gas emissions bill. This is true regardless of what Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, said on Tuesday. He said that the bill lacked the votes to pass the Senate, and “that will not change,” as reported by the Statesman Journal.

Nevertheless, because of where HB 2020 is in the legislative process, it is essential that the Senate has an up-or-down vote on the bill. It’s either that or have a vote to send it back to committee.

Republicans want it to be guaranteed that the bill really doesn’t have the votes to pass. Senate Republican Leader Herman Baertschiger Jr., R-Grants Pass, trusts Courtney, according to legislative staff, but there is prevalent suspicion in his caucus of Democrats, now that the end of the contentious session is nearing.

Not all Democrats in the caucus are agreed on how they want to continue. Some have declared that they are not letting go of HB 2020, causing anxiety among Republicans.

Citizens from across Oregon rallied in support of the Republican senators. Some of them trekked nearly three hours Thursday morning. They stood in the rain, some wearing hard hats or holding American flags. Almost all of them had signs with phrases on them such as “rural lives matter,” “make Oregon ours again” and “they walked for me,” referencing the Senate Republicans.

Hunter Nash said that he came to Salem because, as a 6th-generation logger, he believes HB 2020 would wipe out his livelihood. Every one of his vehicles run on diesel.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the Oregon Eleven,” Nash told the Statesman Journal, referring to the absent Republican senators. “They are definitely representing me and all of the people here.”

Speakers spoke to the crowd, saying that HB 2020 would not help alleviate climate change at all, and that it would take away their jobs. Those that promote the bill admit that by itself it would have an insignificant impact on global carbon emissions.

“Those of us who make a living from the land are the best environmental stewards there are,” Marie Bowers, a 5th-generation farmer, said. She got a loud response from the crowd. “Those who work outside are more in touch with the climate that those who legislate the climate.”

Many House Republicans said that after trying and failing to amend the bill to support rural Oregonians, they were pleased that Republican senators took action to stop it.

After six hours of debate on the floor on June 17, the HB 2020 bill passed the House of Representatives. The bill has acquired more than 120 suggested amendments.

“Both chambers fought this in different ways,” House Republican Leader Carl Wilson, R-Grants Pass, said during the rally. “There are people who have a greatly different vision of how Oregon should look. Their vision would take away your jobs. It already has and it will.”

If the Republican senators fail to return, about 125 budget and policy bills will die after June 30.

Negotiations to convince the Republicans to return to the capital are still in progress between Baertschiger, Courtney and Gov. Kate Brown.

Read the full story here.

Hunter Nash sits in front of the Oregon State Capital.

 

 

Re-introduced bill strives to make adoption more feasible for families

Re-introduced bill strives to make adoption more feasible for families

A bi-partisan bill has been reincarnated by lawmakers that would make adoption more affordable for families throughout the country.

The bill would revive the refundable portion of the present adoption tax credit, Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) announced in a press release on June 10.

“Over 100,000 children are waiting for adoption into a family who can give them the loving home they deserve,” Blunt said, as reported by Fox 12 Oregon. “I urge my colleagues to join me in this effort to make adoption a more viable option for parents who are eager to welcome a child into their home.”

Blunt combined his efforts with Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) to compose the legislation, dubbed the Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act of 2019.

“My family knows firsthand the joys and blessings adoption brings,” Inhofe said. “But adoption is not without its difficulties and, too often, can be a costly process. Making the adoption tax credit fully refundable will ease that financial burden so more families can choose to adopt and welcome children into their homes.”

Almost one-third of all adopted children reside with families that have an annual income at or below 200 percent of the poverty level, according to Blunt, who cited the Department of Health. He reasoned that several of these families’ income taxes are so low that they don’t benefit from the adoption tax credit in any form. It only assists them if it is refundable.

“It is a common misconception that only wealthy families adopt,” Casey added. “We must do all we can do to ensure that all children are afforded the opportunity to grow up in a permanent, loving home.”

Previous versions of the legislation were brought up in 2013, 2015 and 2017. The bill is supported by the Adoption Tax Credit Working Group Executive Committee, which includes 150 organizations.

Read Fox 12 Oregon’s article here.

James Inhofe worked together with Senators Roy Blunt and Bob Casey to re-introduce the adoption bill.