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  • Bosnian War Criminal Drinks Poison On Camera During Appeals Hearing And Dies

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    In 2013, six former Bosnian Croat officials were given prison sentences after being convicted for war crimes against Bosnian Muslims, including rape and murder, that took place during the Croat-Bosniak War in the early 1990s.

    Slobodan Praljak, former assistant defense minister of Croatia and commander of the Croatian Defense Council, had helped secure weapons and ammunition for the Croatian Defense Council army. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

    In an appeal hearing for the six convicted war criminals on November 29, Praljak stood before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the Netherlands. When the judge upheld his sentence, the 72-year-old pulled out a small vial he’d sneaked in and drank from it, stating the liquid inside was poison.

    After yelling he wasn’t a war criminal and that he rejected the verdict, Praljak swallowed the unidentified liquid. Watch the courtroom footage below.

    video-player-present

    (via Huffington Post and CNN)

    The judge immediately suspended the hearings, with authorities declaring the courtroom a crime scene. Praljak was taken by ambulance to a hospital in The Hague, but he died shortly after.

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  • Some Say Andy Griffith Ruined More Careers Than Any Other TV Show.

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    Aunt Bea Was A Tough Bird

    "The Andy Griffith Show" ran from 1960 to 1968. Over the course of eight seasons, it helped make stars out of Andy Griffith and Don Knotts, while introducing Hollywood to future director, Ron Howard. But not every actor had the same luck as these three. In fact, some actors learned too late that being on the show was a career ender. And this was not the only dark secret in Mayberry.

    Aunt Bea Was A Tough Bird

    Netlore Archives/Getty Images

    Just ask Frances Bavier, aka Aunt Bee, who was highly-trained and sophisticated, but felt her character didn't show off her dramatic side. This caused tension with star Andy Griffith. But it didn't help that Griffith was a serial prankster and she had no sense of humor. But Bavier wasn't the only star whose talents had been seriously neglected.

    They Employed A Communist?

    They Employed A Communist?

    Getty Images

    During the "Red Scare," a time where Hollywood folks were being falsely accused of sympathizing with communists, several directors got blacklisted. Among those was Coby Ruskin, who lived in exile in the U.K. for some time before returning. Shortly after coming back to the U.S., "The Andy Griffith Show" defied Hollywood and hired him. Ruskin was pretty lucky, but others didn't have the same luck.

    Andy Griffith Had A Temper

    Andy Griffith Had A Temper

    CBS Television Distribution

    Andy Griffith wasn't as mild-mannered as he seemed on the show. In fact, he had anger issues, which he proved during the second season when he punched a wall and broke his hand. The writers had to add his injury into the show's storyline, by claiming his character broke his hand while capturing criminals. His bad temper also ended up affecting people in his personal life, as you can imagine.

    Andy's TV Girlfriend Was Addicted

    Andy's TV Girlfriend Was Addicted

    CBS Television Distribution

    Joanna Moore played Peggy, Andy's girlfriend, during the show's 3rd season. What viewers didn't realize was the Moore had alcohol and drug problems, which led to her divorcing hubby Ryan O'Neal. In 1971, Moore lost custody of her kids after being arrested for drunk driving. And sadly, as it often happens with famous actors, she wasn't the only member of the crew with substance abuse problems either.

    Griffith's Marriage Woes

    Griffith's Marriage Woes

    Getty Images

    Andy Griffith had been married to Barbara Edwards for 23 years. They also had two kids together. But their relationship ended badly. Rumors suggested that adultery, alcohol abuse, and domestic violence were to blame for their divorce. But it appeared that Griffith's real-life soul mate was one of his lovely co-stars.

    He Slept With His Co-Star

    He Slept With His Co-Star

    CBS Television Distribution

    Aneta Corsaut played Helen Crump, who was Sheriff Taylor's love interest on the show. But their chemistry onscreen trickled into the real world, because he and Corsaut had been having an affair throughout most of the show. Griffith eventually married two more times, but rumor has it he kept sleeping with Corsaut until she died in 1995. The only other cast member he could apparently stand was this actor.

    The Day Don Knotts Quit

    Don Knotts had played Barney Fife for five seasons, but didn't think the show would remain popular in season 6. So, he decided to leave the show after he tried and failed to negotiate an ownership stake in the show's production. Griffith had seen this as an affront to him, so Knotts went on to star in other movies for Universal. But this didn't stop Knotts and Griffith from remaining good friends over the years.

    Griffith Was A Total Prankster

    Griffith Was A Total Prankster

    CBS Television Distribution

    Andy Griffith could push anyone's buttons with his pranks, which he was notoriously known for. But he didn't know when to quit, like when he called Knotts by his first name, "Jess," which the actor didn't like. Fortunately, Knotts was BFFs with Griffith so he forgave him, but other members of the cast weren't quite as forgiving with Griffith's pranks.

    He Was Awful With Love Scenes

    He Was Awful With Love Scenes

    CBS Television Distribution

    During the first season, Elinor Donahue played Sheriff Taylor's girlfriend, Ellie Walker. The character was seen in the opening credits and was supposed to be a regular, but Donahue quit before the 2nd season, stating she and Griffith lacked chemistry. But Griffith also admitted that it was tough for him to show affection while being on camera. Fortunately, there was work after Griffith for Donahue. But these actresses weren't so lucky.

    Some Careers Never Took Off

    Some Careers Never Took Off

    CBS Television Distribution

    After the show ended, some cast members couldn't get a lot of work. Maggie Peterson, who played Charle Darling, only landed commercial gigs. Meanwhile, Betty Lynn, who played Thelma Lou, only landed small TV roles that were hardly worth mentioning. And Frances Bavier simply retired after the show ended. Ironically, other actors from the show were actually poached for other projects.

    Knotts Was A Poacher

    Knotts Was A Poacher

    Universal Pictures

    After Don Knotts left the show, tried recreating the chemistry that had made him famous. So, for his 1st film, "The Ghost And Mr. Chicken," he poached actors, directors, and screenwriters from "The Andy Griffith Show." Also, the movie was loosely based on the show's "The Haunted House" episode. But we can't judge Knotts for what he did, given that his childhood was a real nightmare.

    Knotts Had A Tough Childhood

    Knotts Had A Tough Childhood

    CBS Television Distribution

    Unlike the oh-so funny character, Barney Fife, Don Knots had a horrible past. He grew up poor in Morgantown, West Virginia. He also had a father who suffered from alcoholism and schizophrenia. He even held a knife to Knott's throat once. But by the time Knotts was 13, his old man passed away. Unfortunately, one actor faced death while filming the next show.

    Floyd The Barber Almost Died

    Floyd The Barber Almost Died

    CBS Television Distribution

    Actor Howard McNear played Floyd the Barber, but suffered a stroke that paralyzed the entire left side of his body. By the time he returned to the show, he couldn't stand for very long, and he certainly couldn't walk either. Eventually, he left the show in 1967, and died two years later in 1969 when he suffered a second stroke. But unlike him, some actors didn't even get to appear in the series.

    Black People Didn't Talk

    Black People Didn't Talk

    CBS Television Distribution

    Throughout all eight seasons, viewers saw other African-American extras in the background, but only Rockne Tarkington, who appeared in the episode "Opie's Piano Lesson," got the chance to say a few words. This was a huge milestone as Tarkington became the first black actor to get credited. But a darker chapter in the series occurred twenty years after "The Andy Griffith Show" ended its run.

    Nirvana Wrote A Song About It

    In 1989, Nirvana released the album, "Bleach," which contained the song "Floyd the Barber." But it was no coincidence. It turns out that Kurt Cobain had written the song based on the show's character, but with a twist. In the song, Cobain walks into the barbershop and gets molested and murdered by Aunt Bee, Barney, and Andy Griffith. Yikes!

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  • Wild West Photos That Depict What Life Was Really Like.

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    A Native Life For Me

    We can thank comic strips, pop culture depictions, and hundreds of western films for giving us an idea as to what life was like in the Old West. But most of those things are inspired by legends. If you really want to see what the Old West was like, you need proof like these photos.

    A Native Life For Me

    Benjamin Powelson/Public Domain

    In 1851, Olive Oatman's family was traveling to California when a tribe of Native Americans attacked them. Olive was captured along with her seven-year-old sister, who eventually starved to death. Olive was then traded to the Mohave people and spent five years among them. Over time, she became a part of the tribe, as you can tell from her chin tattoos. Now, if you have a fear of germs, you might not have enjoyed the Old West as much.

    Cowboys Reeked

    Cowboys Reeked

    Arizona Rangers Fredrikstad/Public Domain

    In the 19th century, bathing involved filling a tub up with boiling water and then scrubbing your body using a flannel and some soap. But the Cowboys were so nomadic that they rarely had access to tubs. So, instead, they took a dip in a river or lake to clean the stench and dirt off. You might know Buffalo Bill by name, but do you know what made him so famous?

    Wild West Circus

    Wild West Circus

    Royale Photographie/Public Domain

    Former Union Soldier William Cody founded "Buffalo Bill's Wild West," which was a circus-type attraction that toured the country and became an American icon at the time. It even toured Europe. The acts included sharpshooter demonstrations, gunfight reenactments, Native grass dancers and more. But when you think of the Old West, we doubt Chinese immigrants even cross your mind. But this next slide might make you change your tune.

    East Meets The Old West

    East Meets The Old West

    In the 19th century, Chinese immigrants first arrived on the East coast to trade. But during the California Gold Rush, the immigrants headed west. At the time, Southern China was dealing with economic issues, prompting folks from Guangdong province to journey to California to dig in the gold mines. Did you know that the world's oldest profession was? Apparently, they were quite popular in the mighty Old West.

    The Old West Working Girls

    The Old West Working Girls

    Public Domain

    Prostitution wasn't just common in the Old West, it thrived. These two women traveled to Dawson City and Ketchikan in Alaska. Although the journey was tricky, most prostitutes traveled to the mining camps to offer their services to the men who were desperate for some TLC and had plenty of money to pay for it. This next photography suggests you're seeing a young boy being a tough guy. But you'd be wrong, at least about the tough guy part.

    Women Were Crooks Too

    Women Were Crooks Too

    Public Domain

    Canadian Pearl Hart immigrated to a mining town in Arizona. But when the mine shut down, she also lost her job as a cook. Then she met an outlaw and the two embarked on a life of crime, which included stagecoach robberies. In her case, it was the last stagecoach robbery in recorded U.S. history. If you thought a road trip by car took forever, try taking one using a wagon.

    The Roadless Road Trip

    The Roadless Road Trip

    Kansas State Historical Society/Public Domain

    There weren't many roads in the 19th century, so thousands of Americans traveled from colony to colony from the East Coast and Midwest towards the west in search of other opportunities. In those days, families didn't have a lot, so they packed their belongings in a wagon and took off across the Great Plains. This family was photographed taking a lunch break before continuing to travel. Did you ever stop to think who photographed people in the Old West?

    Photographing The Old West

    Photographing The Old West

    John C.H. Grabill/Public Domain

    John C.H. Grabill was a former miner and prospector who went on a journey to the Northwest to document the lives of those in the American frontier with his camera. Grabill took 188 photographs between 1887 and 1892, which he submitted to the Library of Congress, and became the most prominent photographer in the Old West. If you love wolves, be grateful these settlers didn't succeed in making them go extinct.

    Who Hunts The Hunters

    Who Hunts The Hunters

    John C.H. Grabill/Public Domain

    From Central Mexico to the Greenland of North America, the gray wolf dominated this region. But when the European colonists got fed up with wolves attacking villagers and killing livestock, the colonists put bounties out on these creatures. The bounties continued until the 1930s, where wolves became more like big game trophies and less of a threat. Can you figure out when people from the Middle East first started migrating to the U.S.?

    America's Melting Pot

    America's Melting Pot

    Public Domain

    Throughout the 19th century, North America saw the infiltration of several celebrations and events that didn't come from European cultures. Among them was the art of belly dancing, which came from Egypt. In fact, belly dancers performed at the 1876 Centennial in Philadelphia, but gained even more publicity during the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. If you went back to the Old West and wanted a drink, you'd probably feel super welcomed at their bars.

    Drinking In The Old West

    Drinking In The Old West

    Public Domain

    This photo shoes Kramer's Saloon in Monroe Country, Michigan. Ironically, most saloons were designed to look the same in those days. But the alcohol was priced 30 to 50 percent higher than retail. Also, ladies were charged the same as men, but were actually given shots made of cold tea and tinted sugar. Now, what would happen if someone forced you out of your home and made you walk several miles into the desert?

    The Native Exodus

    The Native Exodus

    Timothy O'Sullivan/Public Domain

    In 1864, the Navajo were forced from their tribal lands in Arizona and forced to relocate to Eastern New Mexico by the U.S. government. This journey became known as the Long Walk, and took two years to complete. But the trip was horrible and resulted in disease, hunger, and violence. This reduced the Navajo's population from 25,000 to 2,000. Want to see how photography has evolved since the Old West?

    The Mobile Dark Room

    The Mobile Dark Room

    Timothy O'Sullivan/Public Domain

    Prolific photographer Timothy O'Sullivan is known for taking 44 images of the Battle of Gettysburg, which included the first Civil War photos ever snapped. Employed as an expedition photographer in order to attract settlers, he used mules and a wagon, seen here, to travel with a mobile darkroom across places like the Carson Sink in Nevada. Now, you might be familiar with this group from various pop culture references.

    The Origins Of The Texas Rangers

    The Origins Of The Texas Rangers

    Public Domain

    In 1823, the Texas Rangers were founded to protect families who had just arrived in Texas. Their reputation for being brave, fearless, and duty bound preceded them. In the Old West, they were known for capturing and killing famous Wild West outlaws like Sam Bass and John Wesley Hardin. But can you imagine living in the Old West and getting lost in one of the hottest places on the planet?

    The Valley Of Death

    The Valley Of Death

    Public Domain

    Death Valley is located in eastern California and its name is well deserved. Travelers crossed through here during the California Gold Rush. But the journey wasn't easy. In fact, the "Lost 49ers" were pioneers who became famous because they got lost and nearly starved to death in 1849. They arrived at Death Valley a day before Christmas and were rescued just in time by Mexican cowboys near the area we know today as the Santa Clarita Valley.

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  • She Got Mad When Her Son’s Teacher Took His Lunch Item Away. Can You Blame Her?

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    Teaching Parents About Healthy Choices

    Obesity among children is a rising epidemic. These days there are a lot more unhealthy food choices. Children need to be educated on the benefits of healthy eating, and it’s up to parents and teachers to show them the way. But only the parents have the right to say what their child eats. One teacher took a student’s diet into her own hands when she took the kindergartner's lunch away. The teacher replaced it with something healthier, but you’d never guess what the “unhealthy” food was. This story has gone viral and soon you’ll understand why.

    Teaching Parents About Healthy Choices

    Desert News

    There is an obvious health kick that is on the rise around the planet. It’s not unwelcome considering that childhood obesity is at an all-time high. In order to maintain consistent health it’s important to eat natural foods that are full of vitamins and nutrients. It’s the parent's responsibility to make sure that their children are eating the right foods. But that doesn’t mean that the government and school officials can’t intervene with knowledge about proper diet.

    Get Moving!

    Get Moving!

    obamawhitehouse.archives.gov

    When Obama was president, the First Lady Michelle Obama made it her mission to tackle the ever-growing issue of unhealthy eating. Speaking of her Let’s Move! campaign, the former First Lady said, "I am determined to work with folks across this country to change the way a generation of kids thinks about food and nutrition." But one teacher in Canada believes that this isn’t a recommendation.

    The Battle Of Chips vs Carrots

    The Battle Of Chips vs Carrots

    Living Well Spending Less

    It’s quite typical for any given child to be a picky eater. Most children would choose junk food over more healthy choices if they were given the option. Some kids even absolutely refuse any kind of fruit or vegetable. The student we’re speaking about is one of those picky eaters. The teacher found an item in his lunchbox that they considered to be quite unhealthy and frowned upon, but certainly not illegal to have.

    Giving Them Better Food Choices

    Giving Them Better Food Choices

    Huffington Post

    Since 2010, the United States government has been taking steps to get rid of childhood obesity. Guidelines have been set by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 to offer access to healthier food options. The key word there is “offer." Even the Canadian government clarified their regulations. “There is nowhere in our policy or procedures that say our staff is allowed to take food away from a student," explained learning consultant James MacKinnon. So, you can probably assume how the kindergartner’s mother felt.

    Teaching The Proper Way To Eat

    Teaching The Proper Way To Eat

    Shareably

    The mother of the child, Elaina Daoust, became “infuriated” with the actions of the teacher and the note that went home with the the child. “He came home with a [healthy food] chart and told me he and the teacher talked about it and healthy choices," she frustratingly explained. "I was really, really, really mad for several reasons." The intentions of the teacher were in the right place, but could she have approached it differently?

    Dangerous Food Items

    Dangerous Food Items

    compliancesigns.com

    Teaching children about healthy eating and giving information to the parents is extremely important. The superintendent of the school issued a statement which read, “food preferences and choice remain with students and parents unless they pose an adverse allergic danger to other students.” The food item that was taken away must have been a threat to the rest of the school.

    Going Bananas Over Bananas

    Going Bananas Over Bananas

    lovethispic.com

    So, what was the food that caused this uproar? Banana bread! But the banana bread must have contained nuts, which is harmful to those allergic, right? Wrong. It only had a few chocolate chips in it. Daoust even said that she purchased it because it said “nut free” and safe for kids in school. She has claimed that her son is a picky eater. “It's not like he had chips or a chocolate bar." After taking the banana bread, the school gave the child a healthier option.

    Picky Eater Reporting To Duty

    Picky Eater Reporting To Duty

    Once the teacher took away the child’s banana bread, she replaced it with a healthier option. Instead of that evil chocolate chip banana bread, he was given some grapes! The teacher didn’t know that the student was a picky eater and was just attempting to help him make healthy choices. The grapes are definitely a healthier option, but that only works if the child actually eats it.

    It's The Parent's Responsibility

    It's The Parent's Responsibility

    Even though the student ate a small part of his lunch, he was hungry for the rest of the day. What the teacher should have done was discuss food options with the parents, instead she discussed it with the student, took away his food, and quite honestly, overstepped her bounds. It would be different if this only happened once, but many school districts have forced their hand on the lunch choices of students.

    Communicate With The Parents First

    Communicate With The Parents First

    Shareably

    This is a rising problem with schools, according to the Associated Press. One mother, Janae Brangman, said her son’s raisins were taken from him because apparently they had too much sugar in them! She was furious when she stated, "it was more unhealthy for a child not to eat at all." Teachers need to make it their mission to take these issues up with the parent, and not the child.

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  • You’re Going To Be Mad That An Animal This Cute Exists And You’ve Never Heard Of It

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    Just when I think I know all there is to know about cute animals, the world continues to amaze me.

    I’ve been writing on the internet for a long time — I know all about the potto, the pangolin, and the dik-dik. Add to that your run of the mill kittens and puppers, and I’m drowning in almost too much adorable to handle. Almost.

    Enter the aardwolf, the cutest animal I never knew existed.

    Aardwolves are like a cross between a hyena, an aardvark, and a cat, and they’re honestly so cool. Look at that mohawk!

    Native to east and southern Africa, they chow down on termites, not meat like their hyena cousins. They can eat about 300,000 termites in one night!

    Aardwolves are monogamous, only mating with one partner for life. They’re also very family oriented, and who wouldn’t be with these cute babies running around?

    They live in underground burrows, but they don’t like to get all dirty digging the holes. They usually find an abandoned burrow and take up residence there.

    Aardwolves are shy, and they usually only come out at night, unless they’re trying to conserve energy in the winter months.

    And did I mention they’re adorable AF? LOOK AT THEM!

    (via BoredPanda)

    Aardwolves go to the top of the list of weird-but-cute animals to look at when I’m feeling blue. It really is a wild world out there.

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  • One Program Could Save Red Wolves, But Republicans Are Secretly Working To Defund It

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    One of the rarest and most endangered species of wolf in the world is the red wolf, or Canis rufus.

    In fact, the species is so critically endangered that it was declared extinct in the wild in 1980 after predator control programs and habitat destruction nearly wiped them out completely. Thanks to recovery efforts and a captive breeding program that released red wolves back into the wild between 1987 and 1994, their numbers went back up to 100-120 individuals. But because of illegal shootings and killings, there are now around 45 to 60 of them living in five counties in North Carolina.

    One of the threats to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency’s Red Wolf Recovery Program is the possibility of interbreeding with coyotes, but the agency states that “currently, adaptive management efforts are making good progress in reducing the threat of coyotes while building the wild red wolf population in northeastern North Carolina.” A more pressing and recent threat, however, is that a U.S. Senate committee is quietly working to end the program altogether.

    On page 17 of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s $32 billion spending bill for the Department of Interior and environmental agencies, which was released last week, is a request to end the decades-long effort to save red wolves. Republican Senator Thom Tillis, who wrote the provision, had been the one to recommend the program be cut.

    “The Committee acknowledges the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s request that the Service end the Red Wolf recovery program and declare the Red Wolf extinct. The program has failed to meet population goals for the Red Wolf and has impacted North Carolina landowners and the populations of several other native species,” the statement reads.

    “The Committee encourages the Service to consider ending the program in fiscal year 2018 and expects the Service to work closely with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission during fiscal year 2018 as it determines further actions on this matter. “

    Many private landowners in North Carolina support ending the program, which would effectively push red wolves in extinction. While the bill states the recovery program has failed to meet the population goal of 220 in the wild, scientists say there’s still hope for the red wolf with time and an updated plan.

    “Senate Republicans are trying to hammer a final nail in the coffin of the struggling red wolf recovery program,” said Perrin de Jong, staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Instead of giving up on the red wolf, Congress should fund recovery efforts, something lawmakers have cynically blocked time and time again.”

    (via IFL Science and The Charlotte Observer)

    According to the Center for Biological Diversity, almost all public comments submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about red wolves are supportive of recovery efforts, including 98.6 percent of those from North Carolina residents. They haven’t turned their backs on this beautiful species, and Senate Republicans shouldn’t either.

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  • Chilling New Information Shows Who’s Really The Shark-Killing Boss Of The Sea

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    Most people think of Great White sharks as the rulers of the sea.

    They’re the apex predators, and they’re feared by beachgoers everywhere. Generally speaking, those fears are pretty unfounded, but no one will deny that Great Whites are powerful, intelligent hunters whose size would intimidate almost anything out there in the ocean.

    That’s why scientists found it curious that they were finding more and more Great White carcasses washed up on shore in South Africa, all with the same injury. What could be causing these deaths? It turns out the real king of the sea is the orca.

    Killer whales off the coast of South Africa have been hunting Great Whites, choosing only to bite out their livers, which are oil-rich and full of energy.

    The orcas appear to be capitalizing on tonic immobility, a quirk among sharks and rays. When they are turned upside down, they go into a trance-like state, essentially paralyzed and helpless.

    That’s when the orcas bite out the liver and leave the carcass to float to shore. Researchers are still looking into why this pair of killer whales has left so many bodies in their wake this year.

    Orcas, like the one in the video below, have been known to hunt Great Whites in particular, but the increased activity suggests something else is going on.

    video-player-present

    (via IFL Science)

    This is so gruesome, but it’s kind of amazing. We never stop learning things about the natural world. Thank goodness for the scientists studying these fascinating creatures.

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  • Woman With Down Syndrome Is 1st To Compete In Miss USA State Pageant.

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    If there's one thing that people with Down Syndrome have proven over the years, it's that they're just as capable of doing the same things everybody else does. Just ask Jamie Brewer, an actress who has appeared on "American Horror Story" and on "Glee." Then there's Madeline Stuart, the Australian model who appeared in New York Fashion week twice. So, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that a young woman with Down Syndrome has become the first person with this disability to become a contestant in the Miss USA state pageant, and she's such a standout too!

    Meet 22-year-old Mikayla Holmgren, who recently appeared as a contestant in Miss Minnesota.

    Mikayla is a very beautiful young woman. Fortunately, she had someone getting her hair all ready to go, so she looked her best and was ready to compete. You can easily see star quality in those eyes!

    You could say that Mikayla has a bit of competitiveness in her heart, which has helped her excel.

    She's practiced ballet in her off time, which helped her to tackle other challenges like becoming a dancer and a gymnast. Competing has been incredible for her, claims her parents Sandi and Craig Holmgren, who are really proud of her.

    For Mikayla, it's not necessarily about winning as much as it about participating in these pageants.

    She claims that they're really fun, and the more pageants she does, the prouder she is of herself because this is her dream. In fact, she competed in the Miss Minnesota Junior Miss Amazing in 2015, and took home a crown.

    The competition's executive director, Denise Wallace Heitkamp, is pretty impressed with Mikayla too.

    She claims that you only need to really spend five minutes with her to know that she's the perfect candidate to represent her community. Having other people with Down syndrome see Mikayla following her dreams will serve as an inspiration.

    The Holmgrens have never allowed their daughter's condition to lower their expectations of her.

    "She goes after what she wants," says Sandi. So, when Mikayla sets her mind on something, they're behind her all the way, which undoubtedly gives her that boost of confidence she needs to get ahead.

    The audience was always wonderful and even gave her a standing ovation when she took her awards.

    So, even when she competes in a pageant, and doesn't actually get the crown, she comes home feeling like a real winner. Then again, it's not much of a shock given how resilient and confidence this young woman is.

    The audience was always wonderful and even gave her a standing ovation when she took her awards.

    Associated Press

    Being the first Miss Minnesota to represent people with Down syndrome was quite an achievement.

    Naturally, the directors and judges of the pageant wanted to recognize her many accomplishments by giving her the Spirit of Miss USA award and the Director's Award, which recognized any young woman who can stand out above the rest.

    Mikayla, who's from Marine on St. Croix, killed it by wearing a royal-blue Jovani gown with a train.

    She actually shrieked with happiness when she accepted the awards. But of course, she was humbled by competition's executive director Heitkamp's words which reminded the audience that Mikayla is selfless, humbled, and has excitement in her heart and a smile on her face.

    Mikayla, who's from Marine on St. Croix, killed it by wearing a royal-blue Jovani gown with a train.

    Mikayla Holmgren / Future Productions, LLC

    Unfortunately, Mikayla didn't win the crown, but she was still a winner in everyone's eyes.

    Getting to share the stage with Miss Minnesota USA 2018 Kalie Wright, and runner-up, Melisa Paahk has given her the boost of confidence she needed to keep on going, and we can't wait to see what she's going to come up with next, but our curiosity is peeked.

    Unfortunately, Mikayla didn't win the crown, but she was still a winner in everyone's eyes.

    Future Productions, LLC

    Source:
    Twin Cities

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  • She Won $188 Million Lottery. But Why Did Her Pastor Sue Her?

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    Marie Holmes Thought Her Life Was On Track

    Winning the lottery would be a dream come true for most of us. It would be a comforting feeling to be financially secure for the rest of our lives. Unfortunately, falling into a large sum of money like that has its downfalls. People that you’ve trusted all your life suddenly turn into golddiggers. Money changes everyone, for better or worse. When Marie Holmes won $188 million dollars, she thought her life was finally on track. But Marie got to see first-hand what money can do to people.

    Marie Holmes Thought Her Life Was On Track

    Flickr

    We all know that the chances of winning a lottery jackpot are pretty slim. There are over 175,223,510 different combinations, which makes your chances around 1 in 175 million! Regardless of the odds, people still take the risk and of those people, a few of them reap the reward. Some people make a financial plan and others blow it all on expensive things and end up worse off than before. We’ve been told that the lottery is random, but is it really? One man doesn’t think so. He thinks he’s found the secret to winning it big.

    The Lottery Man

    The Lottery Man

    Forbes

    Could there really be a way to increase your chances of winning the lottery? Richard Lustig says that he’s spent a lot of money playing quick picks with no plan of action. He began keeping a record of when things would work right. He also let go of old lottery habits that had no logical reasoning.“When the lottery came to Florida, I was like everybody else: ‘Wow, buy lottery tickets, win a lot of money, retire, buy a big fancy yacht, whatever, blah, blah, blah,’” explains Lustig. He figured knowledge was power, so he began to educate himself

    Beating The Odds

    Beating The Odds

    Huffington Post

    “Like everybody else, I was running out and buying haphazardly, buying quick picks, I mean buying tickets with no plan, or no method, or whatever. Like everybody else, I was losing all the time.” So he created a new system which led to an increase in successful picks. His system seemed to be working! Lustig has won a total of seven jackpots and became the author of an appropriately entitled book “Learn How To Increase Your Chances of Winning the Lottery.”

    The Luck Of The Draw

    The Luck Of The Draw

    Vibe.com

    There are a few rules to follow. Don’t use birthdays, or dates in general, because your numbers are limited to 1-31 and you’ll most likely share the pot with 10-20 people. Lustig also suggests spreading your numbers across the board and playing the same numbers every time. Always know your odds and play consistently. Marie Holmes didn’t go by Lustig’s system but she gained her success through luck. Unfortunately, Marie would soon find out the downfall of being a millionaire.

    Never Ending Struggle

    Never Ending Struggle

    WTVR.com

    Living in Shollette, North Carolina, Marie was a single mother to her children, which was a continuous struggle. The cost of rent, food, and clothes was too high. Marie was doing her best. She had a couple of jobs, but we all know how hard it is to make decent money without the privilege of a college degree. How was she going to afford a brighter future for her children? College tuition was creeping up, but who has the money for all that?

    The Risk vs Reward

    The Risk vs Reward

    NY Daily News

    One day Marie thought about using a few dollars to buy a lottery ticket. Maybe her luck would be written in the stars. But the chances of winning enough money to even pay for the ticket were pretty low. When you’re living week-to-week the risk was too high to play. Marie attends church. She provides for her children. It’s just a few dollars. She never thought her life would change when she bought those five quick picks.

    The Winning Numbers

    The Winning Numbers

    NY Daily News

    That night was like any other night, except for one thing. Marie would become an extremely wealthy woman. The quick picks she played won her the $188 million jackpot. Only a handful of people know how Marie felt that night. Marie had two choices. Take installments leading to the most cash over 30 years or receive less money in one lump sum. Lottery experts believe taking it in one lump sum is better so you can invest in your own plans. What would Marie choose?

    Remain Anonymous and Stay Humble

    Remain Anonymous and Stay Humble

    NBC News

    Marie chose to get her money in one lump sum. She would just have to learn to get by with the $127 million she would be getting. Lottery experts also recommend remaining humble while attempting to keep anonymous, which is almost impossible these days. Knowing the power of money, Marie swore she wouldn’t let it change her. Her uncle had said that she was "very grounded and she will know what to do with all that money," but that’s not how it went.

    Thou Shalt Donate Money

    Thou Shalt Donate Money

    Huffington Post

    Some of the money was put aside for college for Marie’s children. Marie had also wanted to donate a large sum to her local church. The pastor, Kevin Matthews, wasn’t just a pastor, he was her friend. He had been there for her through some pretty rough times, so she wanted to give back. Marie offered 10% of her lottery winnings to the church, or $1.2 million. She ended up deciding on an even $1 million, the biggest donation ever to any church. You would think that would be enough!

    Sign It Over

    Sign It Over

    phmbchurch.com

    Pastor Kevin Matthews, of the Pleasant Hill Missionary, should have been ecstatic about the tithe of $1 million. Marie had already donated $700,000 when she was sued by the pastor for $10 million. What could possibly be his reasoning? He said he was promised more money than he got. In their agreement, Marie had promised 10% of her earnings. It turned out to be $10 million! Marie couldn’t believe that a trusted friend, who happens to be a servant of the church, would do that to her. But could he even win?

    It's All Legally Binding

    It's All Legally Binding

    YouTube

    Pastor Matthews had claimed that he already made legal binding contributions with the $10 million that Marie had promised him. He considered the deal he made with Marie to be a legally binding verbal contract. He's also suing for "the emotional distress and mental stress they put me through, I had to start taking more medicine for anxiety and depression due to this situation… I didn’t see this coming and I think it was a third party that came along and told her not to do this.”

    Christ's Mighty Warrior

    Christ's Mighty Warrior

    Pinterest

    The pastor went on, "The bottom line… I just want her to do what she said she was going to do. I want peace and to do what God told me to do. I want her to do what she said she was going to do. I really feel like a warrior for Christ and people need to be accountable." Due to the actions of this “Warrior for Christ” a lot of his churchgoers questioned his motives. He quickly went from a trusted pastor to a slimy snake.

    Fix My Life

    Fix My Life

    YouTube

    Marie attempted to move on after the incredible drama that winning the jackpot caused her. She bought a brand new home and even appeared on an episode of “Iyanla: Fix My Life." The host ended up telling Marie to sell her newly purchased home because it was a former slave plantation in the Civil War. She claimed the house stored a lot of negative energy. An interview on the show ends up leading to a bit more confusion to all of the lottery drama.

    Well, Which Is It?

    Well, Which Is It?

    NY Daily News

    While interviewing on the television show, Marie and her mother explained that the numbers they picked actually weren’t random at all. They had said that Marie had given her mother the money for the ticket, but her mother was the one who picked the numbers. Even though in all of the photos of Marie holding the ticket, there are “QP’s” printed on the ticket, which mean the numbers are quick picks. If they weren’t random, that area would have been blank. Regardless, you won’t believe what she did with the money.

    All Downhill From Here

    All Downhill From Here

    Port City Daily

    Marie ended up investing some of the money into her own foundation, a smart move on her part. But some of her other decisions weren’t so bright. Marie was still involved with the father of her youngest daughter, Lamar “Hot Sauce” McDow. He is a convicted drug trafficker who spent a lot of time in jail. Marie ended up bailing him out quite a bit. In fact, she spent $21 million bailing him out. She also got the felon a new car and a Rolex that cost $15,000. She even ended up facing her own drug charges. Did Marie’s life have a fairytale ending, or did the lottery just ruin her life altogether?

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  • This Newlywed’s Husband Mysteriously Disappeared. 70 Years Later, She Discovered The Truth.

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    Romantic Love Notes

    In 1943, Billie and Peggy Harris were happily married. At that point, they thought they'd get to spend a lifetime together. But then, one day, he vanished. So, for the next 70 years, she searched for clues as to what happened. Now, 7 decades later, Peggy finally learned what happened to Billie, and it's actually quite heartbreaking.

    Romantic Love Notes

    Pinterest

    Peggy was years ahead of her time. After high school, she had gotten a job as an electrical mechanic at the Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma. It was there that she met Billie's dad, who decided to match her with his son. Billie's dad suggested that she send him a letter to Texas, where he was stationed. At first, things started out slow, but it became serious in less than no time. Eventually, Billie asked Peggy to marry him after they first met face to face.

    The Newly Weds

    The Newly Weds

    CBS News

    It had only been a few weeks since they had seen each other, but that's all it took and in 1943, Billie and Peggy got married. Since the two were broke, they used their high school class rings as wedding bands. But six weeks after they said their "I dos," Billie graduated from the Brooks Air Force Base, earning the rank of second lieutenant. Unfortunately, this meant he was going to war. So, Peggy and Billie were about to get separated by the horrible events of World War II.

    Without A Trace

    Without A Trace

    San Francisco Globe

    Billie went off to fight in the European Theatre against the Axis, and Peggy wasn't sure if she'd see her husband again. But she prayed that Billie would return someday. Unfortunately, the news of the war had her very concerned. When Billie arrived in Europe, she wrote a letter to his wife to let her know she was okay and sent it. But while the letter put Peggy's mind at ease, it was also the last letter she would ever get from Billie.

    Was He Alive?

    Was He Alive?

    Angel Fire

    Peggy tried to keep her hopes up after the first and only letter. But days became weeks, which eventually became months, and she couldn't stand the suspense. So, she reached out to everyone in the military who would listen, from the Navy to the Army, and the Air Force and the Supreme Allied Commanders. Ironically, it was the latter who had an answer for her. Much to her surprise, the commanders told her that Billie had already come back to the United States.

    She Tried To Find Him

    She Tried To Find Him

    YouTube

    Peggy was puzzled by the commanders' claim that Billie was back. She figured that if her husband had returned, he would have contacted her. So, she visited Billie's parents, who didn't know anything about Billie's alleged return. When Peggy went back to the Supreme Allied Commanders, they explained to her that he was wounded and was being treated in a military hospital. That's when Peggy went off to investigate and her world came crashing down on her.

    The Military Cover Up

    The Military Cover Up

    Wikipedia

    Peggy searched everywhere for her husband, but eventually, one lead squashed any hope she had. It was a file that suggested that Billie was killed in the line of duty. But somehow, Peggy couldn't accept it. And that's when she discovered a different file that suggested her husband was, in fact, missing in action. But which report was the right one and why did they contradict each other? The only thing she knew for sure was that the military was lying to her about Billie.

    Missing In Action

    Missing In Action

    Pinterest

    Peggy explained that when she found Billie's MIA report, “A telegram came," and she opened it. "The moment I opened it, I went into pieces. After a while, I looked at it again, then I went down to the telegraph office and brought with me letters from Billie that were written after the date of the telegram. The telegram said, 'missing: July 7th,' and I had letters, hand-written letters, dated after that. Later, they came up with ‘missing in action: July 17’.” This made Peggy question everything about the military's report. So, she went in search of the truth.

    Appealing To The Red Cross

    Appealing To The Red Cross

    Minnesota Red Cross

    The war had finally ended and Billie was still missing. Peggy worried that her husband might be a prisoner of war, so she turned to the International Red Cross for help. Unfortunately, they didn't help Peggy in the least. In fact, they refused to investigate her husband's disappearance altogether. According to Peggy, this was the horrible response they gave her: "We cannot afford to look into this because he will come home before we can get an answer."

    A Congressional Mistake

    A Congressional Mistake

    Breaking Defense

    By 1945, Peggy was forced to accept that Billie was gone, but she still wanted to know what had happened to him. Jump several decades later to 2005, where Congressional Representative Mac Thornberry claimed that Billie was still MIA. Obviously, this made Peggy feel worse than she already did and Thornberry used social media to publicly apologize. But his statement wasn't the worst thing Peggy was forced to face recently.

    The Truth Revealed

    The Truth Revealed

    KATC

    It had been 68 years before Billy was eventually found. It turns out that a woman discovered the grave belonging to a French-Canadian soldier in France, which actually belonged to Billie Harris. According to reports, Billie had been stationed in the UK as a fighter pilot. But during a run, his plane was shot down and he crashed. Although the news was anything but ideal, at least Peggy finally knew that he was gone, which gave this whole mystery some hope and possibly some closure.

    He Almost Made It

    He Almost Made It

    ABC

    After a year in the war, Billie had been given permission to come home in July 1944, and he'd earned it too. He had completed 100 missions for the Air Force, but fate prevented him from coming home to his wife. The ship he was supposed to board was loaded with wounded soldiers. So, Billie had to wait for the next ship days later. To kill some time, he was sent one more mission which, unfortunately, became the very last one he would ever go on.

    A Heroic Sacrifice

    A Heroic Sacrifice

    Military Wikia

    While flying over the town of Les Ventes, Billie's plane was hit by Nazi anti-artillery, causing his plane to come crashing down. But he had plenty of time to eject from the plane, and decided not to. Why you ask? If he had ejected, the plane would have crashed into Les Ventes itself, killing everyone there. So, instead, he stayed aboard and managed to guide the aircraft towards the woods, sacrificing his own life, while saving everyone else in town.

    The Unknown Soldier

    The Unknown Soldier

    Commercial News

    By the time the wreckage was discovered, everyone in Les Ventes assumed that the pilot belonged to the French-Canadian Air Force. After all, American pilots rarely flew over this area. So, the citizens of Les Ventes buried Billie's remains in a cemetery and decorated his grave with letters and flowers to show gratitude for his sacrifice. Decades later, the French woman reached out to Peggy about Billie's grave, and the 90-year-old woman couldn't contain her emotions.

    Visiting Billie

    Visiting Billie

    Alamy

    Peggy hopped on a flight to Les Ventes to finally reunite with her husband. That's when she met the French woman, who told her all about Billie's selfless sacrifice, which had saved her grandfather's life. In fact, without Billie, the French woman wouldn't be standing here. This brought Peggy a great deal of joy, but also plenty of sorrow when she visited Billie's grave. After decades of not knowing, she finally learned that her husband had died a hero. But the news led to something even more incredible for loving Peggy.

    Honoring Billie

    Honoring Billie

    Alamy

    When news of Billie's heroic deed became news, the United States Air Force decided to honor the fallen hero. They invited Peggy to Vernon High School in Vernon, TX, her hometown, to attend a ceremony. That's where they presented Peggy with a flag commemorating her husband's death, and it brought her to tears. But although Peggy and Billie didn't have a lifetime together, their brief moment was special. In fact, their love was so strong that even death couldn't separate them. We only wish Billie was still alive to know how much Peggy misses him.

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