Single Mom wins state’s largest ever lotto prize and starts a charitable organization

Single Mom wins state’s largest ever lotto prize and starts a charitable organization

A single mom just won the largest lottery prize in her home state and announced she will be sharing the fortune with those who need it most.

Last month, 51-year-old Lerynne West was celebrating the purchase of her first home. After she moved into the house in Nedfield, Iowa, she and her sister stopped at a convenience store for pizza and coffee. While she was there, she picked up a Powerball ticket.

“I got my lottery tickets and we went back out to her trunk,” West told Cnbc. “I kind of just set those down at the foot in my purse — or so I thought — and didn’t think of them again until Sunday morning.”

West played lotto regularly but the most she has ever received was $150. After she checked her Powerball ticket numbers, she realized she won the $343.9 million jackpot — the largest lottery prize ever won in Iowa.

West chose to use the money to make an impact. She set up the Callum foundation, a charitable organization which will offer grants to initiatives that will alleviate poverty and hunger and improve education, animal welfare and veteran affairs.

She grew up in a working class family in Earlham, Iowa a small town of 1,450. Her father was a Vietnam veteran and a welder and her mother was a stay-at-home mom.

When she was 14, she worked on farms to “earn money to buy school clothes and help with the family. At 17, I left high school. At 19, I earned my GED. Soon after that, I started my family. I have three awesome, beautiful daughters.”

Aside from the Callum Foundation, which was named after her late premature grandson, she will give money to friends and family and set aside money for her grandchildren’s college tuition.

“I realize this is a life-changing moment,” West said as she claimed her prize at the Iowa lottery headquarters. “I’m excited to share my winnings with family and friends… I also plan to give to the causes and organizations important to my family through our newly-established Callum Foundation.”

“I want you to know that as I stand here today and I know the responsibility that I have to do good with this money,” she said, fighting back tears. “My life changed forever.”

Filmaker sits with Neo-Nazis and gets the experience of a lifetime

Filmaker sits with Neo-Nazis and gets the experience of a lifetime

Emmy Award- winning filmmaker Deeyah Khan was scared for her life when she met with Neo-Nazis for the first time.

Her fear perpetuated her. As Khan filmed members of the group, some of them followed her around, threatening to kill her if she made one wrong move.

“In my mind, I was just thinking if anything happens right now, which it probably will, they could just bury me right here and nobody would ever know,” Khan said.

Despite her fear and distrust and dislike from the neo-Nazis, she wanted to know why men could hate so much.

“I decided to pick up my camera and go and see if I could sit down with people who feel this intense dislike, or even hatred, towards people like me,” Khan told Peace News.

The question of why men could hate so much, inspired her to release her film “White Right: meeting the Enemy.”

“For me it’s about primarily getting in touch with our common humanity,” Khan told Peace News. “To see if it’s possible for us to break down the prejudices that exist between groups.”

Her first interview was with Ken Parker, a member of the National Socialist Movement, the biggest white supremacist organization in America.

Parker’s bare torso was adorned with a swastika tattoo on the right of his chest and a Klan tattoo on the left.

Khan asked him, “Does it matter to you that I think what you are doing is wrong?” 

Parker answered with a “no” and became increasingly frustrated and nervous as the questions rolled on. He admitted he was “not responsible for other people’s feelings.” 

Khan went on to describe the experience. First describing it as awkward without the anticipated context of angry mobs shouting — but then conveyed  a dynamic shift. She continued to be a listening ear.

Overtime, Khan interviewed other white supermarkets and neo-nazis, trying to figure out their motivations.

She figured out that most of the hate stemmed from the stories of their past rooted in abandonment, not fitting in, hopelessness, shame and humiliation, and longing to belong.

“They’re rejected for various reasons in other aspects of their lives,” she explained. “So whether it is feeling rejected by women, or by the job market, by society at large, or feeling as if you don’t measure up, not feeling good enough, shame, feeling humiliated, feeling emasculated.”

Khan added on stating that while there are hate groups — a lot of their actions are driven by love — a love for fellow members of the group who have given them a sense of family and a sense of purpose.

After Khan interviewed Parker and others like him, she felt a sense of liberation.

“It reminded me that they are just people, they are just human beings,” she said. “I have spent my entire life being stereotyped, I am not going to turn around and do that to somebody else.”

The Norwegian born filmmaker, who now resides in the UK recently earned an International Emmy award for her film and was previously nominated for BAFTA awards. Her film was released to Netflix in June and is streaming in America and the UK.

Parker eventually became touched by Khan’s actions. So touched, he removed all his hateful tattoos and renounced his membership in these organizations.

“He turned his back on the entire community,” Khan said. “He left them behind based on a principle he no longer wants to subscribe to.”

Overall, in reflecting on her documentary, Khan realized her project’s main aspect. 

“We all have the capacity to effect change,” she said. “Just being human beings with each other, threatening each other with respect and dignity. You know how we feel when someone smiles at us or says something nice, it makes us feel great. The same if someone gives us a dirty look, it shifts how we feel.”



A Millenial Rescues a Famous Missing Pup

A Millenial Rescues a Famous Missing Pup

There have been several alerts right after a Youtube-famous-kiteboarding dog went missing from his family last week.

16-year-old Cameroon Maramendies began posting videos of Zeus, a seven-year-old Jack Russell Terrier kateboarding.

Maramendies, a kiteboarder who will compete for team USA in the 2020 Olympics was at a Kiteboarding event in St.Petersburg, Florida when his dog was kidnapped by an older gentleman in a gray Sedan.

Zeus accompanied the family to the event, but stayed behind in the car. When the family returned from the competition, Zeus was already gone.

The family contacted police, hired a pet detective and even offered a $3,500 reward for the return of Zeus; no questions asked. The family simply wanted their dog back.

Maramendies was overcome with worry until an individual helped out.

This individual was Miguel Camacho, an electrian’s apprentice who was studying in West Tampa Park, when he heard about the missing Jack Terrier.

During his study break, a friend of his shared the missing dog article on Facebook. Sparked by curiosity, he read through the article. Seconds later he saw the missing dog.

“I was sitting there reading the article,” Camacho told Tampa Bay Times. “The guy pulls up, gets out of the car, grabs the dog, and I’m thinking ‘man this looks just like that dog.”

After seeing the man in the gray Sedan get out — he snapped a picture of the pup and sent it to Maramendies’ phone, which was listed in a newspaper. The Olympian responded quickly, claiming the dog with the familiar black spots over his eyes, was Zeus.

Camacho did not know whether the man was armed or dangerous and police were not allowed to intervene unless the owner was present.

Maramendies asked Camacho if he could keep an eye on Zeus and his supposed abductor. Camacho heard the despair in the families voices.

Camacho only wanted to help the Maramendies family in any way he could.

When Camacho saw the abductor leave, he got into his car and followed the gray Sedan for a few miles. The abductor stopped, got out of the car and questioned why Camacho was following him.

“I believe the dog isn’t yours,” Camacho told the Tampa Bay Times. “I’m on the phone with his owner right now.”

Camacho then walked to the gray Sedan and shouted “Zesus.” The Jack Terrier jumped and ran to him. Later that afternoon, Camacho brought the dog to the car and left the scene. He then met with the Maramendies family in the Westshore Plaza parking lot.

Camacho learned about the reward when he met the family. He picked up the reward money and told Tampa Bay Times as to how he was going to spend the money.

“I have two kids,” he said. “I’m gonna do some Christmas shopping for them and put the rest in their savings accounts.”

Helen Trotman, Maramendies’ mom, was grateful for Camacho’s heroic and kind-hearted act.

“We are feeling completely exhausted, yet elated, and we are still pinching ourselves to see if we are dreaming,” Helen Trotman told Tampa Bay Times. “We are so fortunate Miguel was there and was willing to put himself into a possible dangerous situation to get their dog back.”





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.




Four sports professionals who stand for pro-life

Four sports professionals who stand for pro-life

As the political landscape gets more heated, several people turn to sports to get away from the stresses of politics. Now though, it seems that politics has infiltrated that arena as well. Whether it is through protest on police brutality, feelings over the president, or some other stance on issue politics, sports professionals and teams have begun to voice their opinion.  When it comes to sport professional opinions about abortion there are four athletes who have been vocal about their pro-life position. First up, Matt Birk.

Matt Birk

Matt Birk most recently played for the Ravens as an offensive lineman. He won the Super Bowl with the Eagles and retired afterward. To congratulate the team on winning the super bowl, President Barrak Obama invited them to the white house.  Birk respectfully declined the meeting because he did not agree with President Obama’s position on Planned Parenthood. When askeabout it Birk said,

“I’m very confused by (Obama’s) statement. For God to bless a place where they’re ending 330,000 lives a year? I just chose not to attend.” He has since been very vocal in his support for the National March for Life, evening speaking at the 2016 march.

Sal Bando 

Sal played for the Oakland A’s from 1966 to 1976 and the Milwaukee Brewers from 1977 until his retirement in 1981. It wasn’t until after his baseball career was over that Bando began to fundraise for the pro-life cause. He, along with other former and current players and coaches, endorsed the Battin’ 1000 campaign. The goal was to raise funds to create a baseball-themed fundraiser to draw more attention to the American Life League. The American Life League’s plan was to build a pro-life educational center in Virginia that would offer media-training, bioethics workshops and other resources. Bando helped draw in several endorsements, and eventually became the chair of the program. “What most of us see are the liberal media and celebrities standing out on this issue,” Bando said. “It’s time for those of us who are the silent majority to say,’ Hey, we’re pro-life!”

Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow is an obvious pick because what’s not to love about this guy. He is a polite, hardworking, down to earth guy who helps others as much as possible. After health complications abroad, Tim’s mom was advised to abort her baby, Tim’s parents refused to abort. From that moment, Tim has strived to live a modest, yet giving life. Tebow has been dedicated to building churches in foreign countries, just one example of his commitment to give to others.  In 2010, Tim Tebow and his mother Pam Tebow ran a 30 sec Super Bowl Commercial explaining his birth. The add explained the complications and the incredible joy they both shared because of her choice to not abort Tim. Tim Tebow has always received hate based on his beliefs in Jesus and abortion issues. The criticism towards Tebow came forward in an interview with Former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Jake Plummer when he said, “I wish he would just shut up about it.” The ad was described by several people from CBS reporters to sports fans alike calling it a “divisive ad” that is ruining the big game. Tim responded perfectly to their hate by saying, “I know some people won’t agree with it, but I think they can at least respect that I stand up for what I believe.”

 

John Stephens

Stephens is a Special Olympics athlete who fights for equal treatment for people with special needs, specifically Down syndrome. He criticised Ann Coulter after she ridiculed Obama following his second presidential debate with Mitt Romney. He made his way on this list after his speech at the UN regarding selective abortions targeting babies with Down syndrome. In his speech, Stephens asked, “How would the world react if a nation proclaimed that it would use genomic testing to make itself ‘Unpopular ethnic minority free’ by 2030?” Stephens hypothetical is not totally untrue, and his point was to shed light on the population control happening in Iceland.  In Iceland, 100% of the babies who are pre-diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted.

In a nation divided by politics, businessmen need to remember to stay neutral politically so they can sell their product to a larger group of people. Professional Athletes are no exception to this. That is why it is remarkable that these four men are willing to take the heat and voice their opinion and stand up for life.