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Girl almost turned away from prom because of dress length

A Florida woman is calling on school leaders to clarify guidelines for what students can wear to prom after confusion and controversy arose over the dress that her daughter wore to the dance.

>> Read more trending news 

Leaders at Sandalwood High School in Jacksonville, Florida, told  Action News Jax that the teenager's dress was too short in the front.

“She’s crying, she’s like, ‘Mom, just come and get me.’ I said, ‘No, you’re going to the prom.’ We spent all of this money, and it doesn’t make any sense for them to say it’s inappropriate,” Nydia Allen said.

>> Related: Florida student wears Black Lives Matter-inspired prom dress

Allen said her daughter called her an hour after she took a picture of her in her dress before prom. Most of the dress touches the ground. The skirt touches her knees in the front.

“She was saying that they said her skirt was too short,” Allen said.

Allen said she bought the dress based on the guidelines outlined in a letter that she said the school sent home.

>> Related: Teen takes 93-year-old grandmother to prom

The letter said dresses must be an appropriate length, but Allen said that when her daughter got to the prom, school leaders told her a different story.

“I asked them to show me what’s inappropriate, and they continued to say, ‘It says it here, it has to be to the ankle,’ and I said, ‘That’s not the paperwork you guys sent home.’ They need to change the way they’re writing these contracts for the students let it be known and make it clear, on what you expect at the prom. She can wear the skirt to school, but she can’t wear it to prom? What’s the difference?” Allen said.

A spokesperson for Duval County Public Schools sent Action News Jax this statement: “For Sandalwood High School, students were made aware in advance that prom dresses must be floor length. To resolve the issue, additional fabric was added to the front of the dress.”

Allen said they tried to add more material to the dress to make it longer, but eventually allowed her daughter in after she put on black tights. 

>> Related: Jacksonville high school apologizes for 'good girl' prom dress flyers posted in hallways

Giant 3-foot rabbit found dead on United Airlines flight

While still dealing with legal action and negative public relations after a man was forcibly dragged from a flight, United Airlines is now investigating an incident in which a giant rabbit was found dead aboard one of the airline’s international flights.  

>> Read more trending news 

According to the BBC, a nearly 3-foot-long giant rabbit named Simon was traveling from London’s Heathrow airport to Chicago’s O'Hare airport in the cargo space of a United plane on April 19.

The rabbit was being shipped to a new owner in the U.S.

Simon’s breeder, Annette Edwards, from Worcestershire, England, said the rabbit had been seen by a veterinarian hours before the flight. 

“Simon had a vet’s checkup three hours before the flight and was fit as a fiddle,” Edwards told The Sun. “I’ve sent rabbits all around the world and nothing like this has happened before.”

Edwards said the unidentified American buyer is upset.

“I haven’t got a clue who’s to blame, but it’s certainly very weird when Simon was so healthy,” Edwards told CNN.

Simon, a 10-month-old Continental Giant rabbit, was poised to grow to be the world’s largest rabbit, according to NBC News. The largest rabbit on record, as noted by the Guinness World Records, is Simon’s father, a 4-foot-4-inch and 50-pound animal named Darius.

“We were saddened to hear this news. The safety and well-being of all the animals that travel with us is of the utmost importance to United Airlines and our PetSafe team,” the airline said in a statement. “We have been in contact with our customer and have offered assistance. We are reviewing this matter.”

Earlier this month, United Airlines made headlines when a passenger, David Dao, was forcibly removed from a flight after refusing to give up his seat for a United employee on a fully booked flight. United CEO Oscar Munoz said no one would be fired for the incident.

Dry conditions could mean more venomous snake sightings, experts say

The ongoing drought could bring danger slithering right into Floridians' yards.

The dry conditions mean the most venomous snakes in Central Florida are on the move.

>> Watch the news report here

Herpetologist Bob Cross said low water levels in many lakes and swamps means snake sightings are more likely to happen in neighborhoods.

“It’s very frightening to think that they’re that they’re that close to a house,” said Longwood resident Candy Bauer. "I don't feel the same about my backyard."

>> Snakes dumped in Walmart parking lot

She found a cottonmouth in her backyard this week and called Cross to relocate the animal.

“Usually when people saw that, it’s a harmless water snake," Cross said. "But in this case, the lady was right."

>> Read more trending news

He said the dry weather is forcing the cottonmouths and other snakes to seek water elsewhere.

"He’s going to be traveling like the gators,” Cross said.

>> 'Firefighters saved my life,' rattlesnake victim says

He said a bite from a cottonmouth would cause severe pain and swelling.

"We'd be calling 911 and a helicopter for you," Cross said.

The snake found in Bauer’s yard will be sent to a facility in DeLand which will use it to produce anti-venom.

12 Boxing-Inspired Core Exercises for Rock-Solid Abs

You might find it surprising that boxing is one of the most complete, full-body workouts you can do. Your aerobic, anaerobic, and nervous system have to work together, and as a result, your musculature and mental sharpness, or reaction time, improves, explains Noah Neiman, cofounder and head trainer at Rumble Boxing in New York City. 

You might also like {{displayTitle}} READ

“A common misconception most people have is that launch power for a punch comes from strong arms,” he says. “But it’s actually the ability to generate power from your legs, from the speed and power of rotation through your hips and core, and then ultimately the extension of your arms that creates a strong punch.” 

Translation: Core strength is integral to generating the force necessary for boxing (whether you're a casual kickboxer or a serious competitor). And a strong core isn’t just beneficial in the ring; it's important outside of it too. “Poor core strength can lead to back, lower back, neck, and even knee pain,” Neiman says. So to keep you in top shape on and off the ropes, we collected 12 abs exercises borrowed from boxers that'll help you build serious core strength. How to use this list: Start by performing each exercise below for 30 seconds. Use the modifications or progressions listed, if applicable, to better suit your personal strength. Build up to 60 seconds each. Perform each move with no rest in between for a killer 12-minute workout or scroll down to try our 12-minute, 4-move sample workout below. You can substitute any exercise in this list for another in the workout. Grab an exercise mat to get started.

Inchworm Push-Up Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Hinge at hips to bend over and touch floor with hands, then walk hands out to high plank position. Keeping elbows close to sides, bend elbows and lower chest to floor. Push back up, then walk hands back toward feet. Repeat. Make it easier: Drop to knees for the push-up then return to plank.  Sit-Up With One-Two Punch Lie faceup on mat, knees bent, feet flat on the floor in front of you. Keeping feet planted, engage core and use abdominal muscles to sit up while keeping hands in fists in guard in front of face. At the top, throw a right and left punch, then slowly lower back down one vertebrae at a time to return to starting position. Repeat. Make it harder: Add 16-ounce gloves or a light set of hand weights.   Walking Plank Start in high plank position, hands directly under shoulders, legs extended out behind you, core engaged to keep body in straight line from head to toe. Lift up right hand and lower right forearm to the floor. Do the same with left hand and forearm. Then lift right forearm and place right hand back on ground, followed by the left hand. Continue repeating. Make it harder: Place a BOSU ball underneath your forearms to challenge your stability.  V-Up Lie faceup on mat, legs extended straight, arms extended overhead. Keeping core engaged, sit up, lifting arms and legs simultaneously toward each other, so body forms a V shape. Slowly lower back down until arms and legs are two inches above ground. Repeat. Plank Jack Start in a forearm plank, elbows directly under shoulders, core engaged so body forms a straight line from head to toe. Without moving upper body, jump feet apart, then back together. Continue jumping.Make it harder: Increase your speed.  Sprinter Crunch Lie faceup on mat, legs extended out in front of you, hands up in guard. Keeping core tight, sit up and twist toward left while simultaneously bringing left knee to right elbow. Lower back down to starting position. Repeat on other side. Continue alternating.  Straight Leg Scissor Sit on mat, legs extended straight out in front of you. Lean torso back and place fingertips on floor next to hips for support. Keeping legs straight NS core engaged, lift right leg toward ceiling. Lower, then lift left leg toward ceiling. Continue alternating. Make it harder: Add ankle weights.  Push-Up to Superman Start in high plank position, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, body in straight line from head to toe. Bend at elbows to lower chest to floor to perform a push-up. Release hands, pull shoulder blades together, and lift chest, arms, and legs off mat. Lower down, place hands on ground, and push back up to plank position. Repeat. Russian Twist  Sit on mat with knees bent, feet on floor in front of you about hip-width apart. Engage core, lean back about 45 degrees, and bring fists up to chest with elbows out. Twist at waist to tap right elbow to the mat on right side, then left elbow to mat on left side. Continue alternating. Make it harder: Grab a medicine ball or kettlebell in the weight of your choice and hold at chest.  Shoulder Tap Start in high plank position, hands directly under shoulders, body in straight line from head to toe. Without shifting weight and keeping body still, lift right hand and tap left shoulder, then lift left hand and tap right shoulder. Continue alternating as fast as possible.   Reverse Oblique Crunch  Start sitting on mat, legs extended out in front of you, hands on mat behind you. Lean back slightly onto fingertips for balance and lift legs two inches off floor. Keeping core tight, twist at the waist and bring bent knees toward chest, then extend back out (don't drop legs to mat). Twist to the other side and repeat. Continue alternating. Sit-Up to Stand Up  You might also like {{displayTitle}} READ This is a classic Mayweather move that'll challenge your entire body. Grab a partner (or just use the base of a couch, dresser, or heavy object to lock down your feet). Start lying faceup on mat, knees bent, feet flat on the floor in front of you with partner anchoring feet. Engage core, perform a sit-up, and continue to come all the way up to standing, reaching arms overhead. Slowly reverse the movement back down to return to starting position. Repeat. Make it harder: Add a set of dumbbells. 

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Photography: Julia Hembree Special thanks to Gotham Gym NYC and our model, Tatiana Firpo, Gotham group fitness manager and trainer. 

Severe Shortage Of Home Health Workers Robs Thousands Of Proper Care

Acute shortages of home health aides and nursing assistants are cropping up across the country, threatening care for people with serious disabilities and vulnerable older adults.

In Minnesota and Wisconsin, nursing homes have denied admission to thousands of patients over the past year because they lack essential staff, according to local long-term care associations.

In New York, patients living in rural areas have been injured, soiled themselves and gone without meals because paid caregivers aren’t available, according to testimony provided to the state Assembly’s health committee in February.

In Illinois, the independence of people with severe developmental disabilities is being compromised, as agencies experience staff shortages of up to 30 percent, according to a court monitor overseeing a federal consent decree.

[caption id="attachment_723078" align="alignright" width="370"] Renzo Viscardi (center), pictured with his parents Anthony Viscardi and Cheryl Dougan, relies on round-the-clock care from home health aides. (Courtesy of Cheryl Dougan)[/caption]

The emerging crisis is driven by low wages — around $10 an hour, mostly funded by state Medicaid programs — and a shrinking pool of workers willing to perform this physically and emotionally demanding work: helping people get in and out of bed, go to the bathroom, shower, eat, participate in activities, and often dealing with challenging behaviors.

It portends even worse difficulties to come, as America’s senior citizen population swells to 88 million people in 2050, up from 48 million currently, and requires more assistance with chronic health conditions and disabilities, experts warn.

“If we don’t turn this around, things are only going to get worse” said Dr. David Gifford, senior vice president of quality and regulatory affairs for the American Health Care Association, which represents nursing homes across the U.S.

“For me, as a parent, the instability of this system is terrifying,” said Cheryl Dougan of Bethlehem, Pa., whose profoundly disabled son, Renzo, suffered cardiac arrest nearly 19 years ago at age 14 and receives round-the-clock care from paid caregivers.

Rising Demand, Stagnant Wages

For years, experts have predicted that demand for services from a rapidly aging population would outstrip the capacity of the “direct care” workforce: personal care aides, home health aides and nursing assistants.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates an additional 1.1 million workers of this kind will be needed by 2024 — a 26 percent increase over 2014. Yet, the population of potential workers who tend to fill these jobs, overwhelmingly women ages 25 to 64, will increase at a much slower rate.

After the recession of 2008-09, positions in Medicaid-funded home health agencies, nursing homes and community service agencies were relatively easy to fill for several years. But the improving economy has led workers to pursue other higher-paying alternatives, in retail services for example, and turnover rates have soared.

At the same time, wages for nursing assistants, home health aides and personal care aides have stagnated, making recruitment difficult. The average hourly rate nationally is $10.11 — a few cents lower than a decade ago, according to PHI, an organization that studies the direct-care workforce. There is a push on now in a handful of states to raise the minimum to $15 an hour.

Even for-profit franchises that offer services such as light housekeeping and companionship to seniors who pay out-of-pocket are having problems with staffing.

“All the experienced workers are already placed with families. They’re off the market,” said Carrie Bianco, owner of Always Best Care Senior Services, which is based in Torrance, Calif., with franchises in 30 states.

Finding new employees was so difficult that Bianco started her own 14-week training program for caregivers nine months ago. To attract recruits, she ran ads targeting women who had left the workforce or been close to their grandparents. In exchange for free tuition, graduates must agree to start working for her agency.

“There’s much more competition now — a lot of franchises have opened and people will approach our workers outside our building or in the lobby and ask if they want to come work for them,” said Karen Kulp, president of Home Care Associates of Philadelphia.

Hardest to cover in Kulp’s area are people with disabilities or older adults who live at some distance from the city center and need only one to two hours of help a day.  Workers prefer longer shifts and less time traveling between clients, so they gravitate to other opportunities and “these people are not necessarily getting service,” she said.

It isn’t possible to document exactly how common these problems are nationally. Neither states nor the federal government routinely collect information about staff vacancy rates in home care agencies or nursing homes, turnover rates or people going without services.

“If we really want to understand what’s needed to address workforce shortages, we need better data,” said Robert Espinoza, vice president of policy at PHI.

Hard Times In Wisconsin

Some of the best data available come from Wisconsin, where long-term care facilities and agencies serving seniors and people with disabilities have surveyed their members over the past year.

The findings are startling. One of seven caregiving positions in Wisconsin nursing homes and group homes remained unfilled, one survey discovered; 70 percent of administrators reported a lack of qualified job applicants. As a result, 18 percent of long-term facilities in Wisconsin have had to limit resident admissions, declining care for more than 5,300 vulnerable residents.

“The words ‘unprecedented’ and ‘desperate’ come to mind,” said John Sauer, president and chief executive of LeadingAge Wisconsin, which represents not-for-profit long-term care institutions. “In my 28 years in the business, this is the most challenging workforce situation I’ve seen.”

Sauer and others blame inadequate payments from Medicaid — which funds about two-thirds of nursing homes’ business — for the bind. In rural areas, especially, operators are at the breaking point.

“We are very seriously considering closing our nursing facility so it doesn’t drive the whole corporation out of business,” said Greg Loeser, chief executive of Iola Living Assistance, which offers skilled nursing, assisted living and independent living services in a rural area about 70 miles west of Green Bay.

Like other short-staffed operators, he’s had to ask employees to work overtime and use agency staff, increasing labor costs substantially. A nearby state veterans home, the largest in Wisconsin, pays higher wages, making it hard for him to find employees. Last year, Iola’s losses on Medicaid-funded residents skyrocketed to $631,000 — an “unsustainable amount,” Loeser said.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has proposed a 2 percent Medicaid increase for long-term care facilities and personal care agencies for each of the next two years, but that won’t be enough to make a substantial difference, Loeser and other experts say.

The situation is equally grim for Wisconsin agencies that send personal care workers into people’s homes. According to a separate survey in 2016, 85 percent of agencies said they didn’t have enough staff to cover all shifts, and 43 percent reported not filling shifts at least seven times a month.

Barbara Vedder, 67, of Madison, paralyzed from her chest down since a spinal cord injury in 1981, has witnessed the impact firsthand. Currently, she qualifies for 8.75 hours of help a day, while her husband tends to her in the evening.

“It’s getting much, much, much more difficult to find willing, capable people to help me,” she said. “It’s a revolving door: People come for a couple of months, maybe, then they find a better job or they get pregnant or they move out of state. It’s an endless state of not knowing what’s going to happen next — will somebody be around to help me tomorrow? Next month?”

When caregivers don’t show up or shifts are cut back or canceled, “I don’t get proper cleaning around my catheter or in my groin area,” Vedder continued. “I’ll skip a meal or wait later several hours to take a pill. I won’t get my range-of-motion exercises, or my wheelchair cushion might slip out of place and I’ll start getting sore. Basically, I start losing my health.”

[caption id="attachment_723079" align="alignright" width="370"] Debra Ramacher is executive director of Wisconsin Family Ties, an organization for families of children with emotional, behavioral and mental disorders. Her daughter Maya, 20, pictured in 2015, has cerebral palsy, epilepsy and other significant disabilities. (Courtesy of the Ramacher family)[/caption]

Debra Ramacher and her husband have been unable to find paid caregivers since June 2015 for daughter Maya, 20, and son Michael, 19, both of whom have cerebral palsy, epilepsy and other significant disabilities. The family lives in New Richmond in western Wisconsin, about 45 minutes from the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area.

“At least three agencies told me they’ve stopped trying to hire personal care aides. They can’t find anybody and it costs them money to advertise,” said Ramacher, executive director of Wisconsin Family Ties, an organization for families with children with emotional, behavioral and mental disorders.

“It’s incredibly stressful on all of us, living with this kind of uncertainty,” she said.

Every few months, Ramacher tries to find caregivers on her own by putting ads up on Craigslist, in local newspapers and on job boards.

“We get a few bites,” she said. “Most recently, two people came and interviewed. One never got back to us; the other got a better job that paid more.”

In the meantime, she and her husband are being paid by Medicaid to look after Maya and Michael.

“We don’t want to be the caregivers; we want to have our own life,” Ramacher said. “But we don’t have any option.”

KHN’s coverage related to aging & improving care of older adults is supported by The John A. Hartford Foundation.

Pre-Obamacare, Preexisting Conditions Long Vexed States And Insurers

[protected-iframe id="690f23738f50439eb49861e5a5968240-7618883-97277977" info="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/523577871/524076592" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"]

For most of his life, Carl Goulden had near-perfect health. He and his wife, Wanda, say that changed 10 years ago. Carl remembered feeling “a lot of pain in the back, tired, fatigue, yellow eyes — a lot of jaundice.”

“Gray-like skin,” Wanda added. His liver wasn’t working, she explained. “It wasn’t filtering.”

Carl was diagnosed with hepatitis B. He is now 65 and on Medicare, but back then he had a flower shop in Littlestown, Pa., so he had been buying health insurance for his family on the market for small businesses and the self-employed.

The medications to manage Carl’s hepatitis cost more than $10,000 a year — and if he ever needed a liver transplant, as some people with hepatitis eventually do, the costs could be formidable. Thank goodness they had health insurance, the couple thought.

But then, Carl said, “the insurance renewals went way up.”

After a few years, he could no longer afford to buy the coverage — more than $1,000 a month — and maintain his business. So he dropped the insurance.

“I was devastated,” he said, “because I didn’t know when my liver might fail.”

Teresa Miller, Pennsylvania’s insurance commissioner, said that steep increase in insurance rates was legal. And before the Affordable Care Act became law, a patient like Goulden might have had a hard time buying another policy. He likely would have been turned down by private insurers because he had a “preexisting” medical condition.

A family like the Gouldens would “just have been out of luck,” Miller said.

Pennsylvania: The Wild, Wild West 

Before the ACA, states had differing approaches to handling preexisting conditions.

Pennsylvania was typical. Until the ACA mandated that insurers treat sick and healthy people equally, buying insurance seemed as lawless as the Wild West.

Insurers couldn’t overtly kick people off a plan if they got sick, but they could find ways to charge them much more, even those whose chronic condition wasn’t that serious — such as acne. For individuals looking to sign up in the first place, “an insurance company could simply decline to offer you insurance at all because of your preexisting condition,” Miller said.

Insurers who did offer a policy to someone with a preexisting condition might have done so with a catch — the plan could require a waiting period or might exclude treatment for that condition.

“So, let’s say you had diabetes, for example,” Miller said. “You might have been able to get coverage for an unexpected health care need that arose, but you’d still be on your own for any treatment and management of your diabetes.”

From the perspective of an insurance company, these practices were intended to prevent the sick from signing up for a health plan only when they needed costly care.

Pennsylvania tried to partially solve this problem by creating a scaled-back health plan, called adultBasic, for those with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid who didn’t have any coverage. Household incomes had to be less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level, which at that time would have been $21,660 for an individual. More than 40,000 people were signed up in 2011, and nearly half a million were on the waiting list,  but the plans didn’t include coverage for mental health care, prescription drugs or more than two nights in a hospital. Even so, Miller said, the strategy proved too expensive for the state.

“That program was spending $13 million to $14 million a month when it was shut down,” she said.

High-Risk Pools

More than 30 other states dealt with preexisting conditions by setting up what are called high-risk pools, a separate insurance plan for individuals who couldn’t get health coverage in the private market.

These plans could be lifesavers for some people with conditions like cancer — which can cost tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars to treat.

The experiences with high-risk pools varied, but states faced challenges, said John Bertko, an insurance actuary with the state of California. And the main problem was the high cost.

“The one in California, which I was associated with, limited annual services to no more than $75,000, and they had a waiting list. There was not enough money,” Bertko said. “The 20,000 people who got into it were the lucky ones. At one point in time, there were another 10,000 people on a waiting list.”

The pools also had catches: Premiums were expensive, as were out-of-pocket costs. And plans often excluded the coverage of preexisting conditions for six months to a year after the patient bought the policy.

New Jersey: Preexisting Conditions Covered, With A Catch

Around that same time, across the Delaware River, the state of New Jersey was trying something different.

“Insurers could not take health status into account,” said Joel Cantor, director of Rutgers’ Center for State Health Policy who has been analyzing the New Jersey experience.

Before the ACA, New Jersey was one of just a handful of states that prohibited insurers from denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions. Insurers also weren’t allowed to charge people significantly more for having a health issue, and the plans had to offer robust coverage of services.

There was a one-year waiting period for coverage of a preexisting condition, but a larger issue became cost. The entire individual market in New Jersey became expensive for everyone, regardless of their health status, Cantor said. Because there was no mandate to have health insurance coverage, those who signed up tended to need it, and healthy people did not enroll.

And so, “the prices went up and up,” he said. And the premiums and enrollment “went down and down.”

The state tried to address this in the early 2000s by introducing a “skinny” health plan, Cantor said.

“By that I mean very few benefits,” he explains. “It covered very, very limited services.”

The plan was affordable and really popular, especially among the young and healthy people, and about 100,000 people signed up. But if a person had a health need, many costs shifted to the individual.

“It left people with huge financial exposure,” he said.

That’s, in part, why the ACA included a rule that insurance plans now must offer good benefits and be available to everybody. In exchange, insurers have the mandate and subsidies — so that everybody will buy in.

Cantor said these experiences point to an ongoing quandary: A small portion of people consume a big chunk of health care costs. It’s hard to predict who will cost a lot — or when.

This story is part of a partnership that includes The Pulse, NPR and Kaiser Health News.

Firefighters teach honest 5-year-old an important lesson in good karma

A fire department is teaching a 5-year-old boy that good things happen to people who do the right thing.

Earlier this year, Dave Starzec lost his wallet. He was finishing a trip to a Lowe's hardware store in Greer, S.C., when he set his alligator-skin wallet down on the bumper of his car. Inside the wallet was $2,000.

>> Watch the video here

“I was carrying my wallet so close to my heart, and I put it down for one second on my bumper to pick up a bale of mulch,” Starzec told ABC News. “I normally don’t leave things like that so important lying around.”

He didn’t realize his mistake until he got home. He immediately retraced his steps but had no luck.

“I had everything but my wife in my wallet,” Starzec told Greenville Online. “This wallet meant more to me than just the money.”

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

On his way home, he stopped by a fire station to make sure no one had turned in his lost wallet.

Capt. Benjamin Farmer took Starzec’s card and told him he would follow up if he found out any new information about his missing wallet.

“I was in the middle of cancelling my American Express when my phone rang, and it was the fire department,” said Starzec.

A family had found Starzec’s wallet in a parking lot. Farmer saw the family’s post in a local Facebook group and quickly connected the two.

>> Read more trending news

Miranda Clayton; her 5-year-old son, Dylan; and her mother-in-law, Peggy Lynn, found the wallet together.

Starzec was relieved to have the wallet back in his hands

To thank them for their honesty, Starzec organized a luncheon for the firefighters and the family.

The family received good citizen plaques. Starzec even gave them a $200 reward.

“They did the right thing, and we figured they needed an award for it,” he added. “We wanted to show the child, too, that if you’re going to be honest in the world, there’s good things that come to you.”

FaceApp transforms selfies via neural network

For better or for worse, a lot of us have gotten used to selfie face filters in apps such as Snapchat and Facebook Messenger that can add silly extremes to our photos and videos, such as sticking a unicorn horn on our head or turning us into superheroes. But FaceApp, an increasingly popular app that debuted in February for iOS and Android, is different; depending on the photo, it can convincingly and quickly show what a person might look like years from now, as a child or even as the opposite gender.

>> Read more trending news

Leaving aside all questions about gender politics and, for the age filter, whether it’s actually a good idea to take a peek into the future that may be too accurate, the technology sounds interesting. As with the Prisma app, it apparently uses an online network to quickly apply artificial intelligence to a photo filter.

The app has already gotten some criticism for how it handles darker faces and there are concerns that its ability to turn frowns into smiles make it a natural for spreading fake, out-of-context photos. But its eerily uncanny technology means it’s not likely to go away anytime soon. Here are some examples:

How to Meet Your Protein Needs without Meat

Eating a vegetarian diet can be very healthful and rewarding. However, most vegetarians—including soon-to-be vegetarians and their meat-eating loved ones—are concerned about getting adequate protein. Most people are accustomed to getting protein from meat, but what else contains protein? Aren't plant-based proteins "incomplete" or lower quality? Fortunately, with a bit of extra attention, you won't have any trouble meeting your protein needs just because you give up meat. There are so many protein-packed vegetarian options! Did you know that most foods, including vegetables, have some of the essential muscle-building nutrient? Without looking closely, it is easy to miss some great sources. (Who knew a cup of broccoli had 3 grams!) Nuts, seeds, soy products, cereal, eggs and dairy are all good meatless protein choices. These groups of food each contain different amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) and different levels of protein quality. There is no need to consume certain foods in special combinations as nutritionists once thought! When your diet includes a variety of each of these types of foods, you can rest assured that you're consuming all the amino acids you need for muscle growth and cell repair.  Pin this graphic for easy reference and scroll down for more details. Nuts Nuts provide a good dose of protein along with some heart-healthy fatty acids and antioxidants (vitamins A and E). They are also packed full of fiber. Take your pick! Many nuts have a significant source of protein ready to work for your body. Peanuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, and pine nuts are among the highest in protein, while chestnuts and hazelnuts, although they do still have some protein, are the lowest. Think out of the box when you’re adding nuts to your diet. They can be grated, toasted, ground or eaten raw and are great when combined with salads, wraps, soups and stews and baked goods. But pay special attention to portion size! Nuts are a great source of many nutrients, but do come with a hefty dose of calories, thanks to the healthy fats they contain. A single serving is just 1 oz! Many nuts are best when stored in a refrigerator, which helps keep their fats from going rancid (for up to 6 months).   Nuts, 1/4 cup Protein Calories Fat Peanuts, raw 9 g 207 18 g Almonds, dry roasted 8 g 206 18 g Pistachios 6 g 171 14 g Hazelnuts 5 g 212 21 g Pine nuts 5 g 229 23 g Cashews, raw 5 g 197 16 g Walnuts 4 g 164 16 g Seeds Seeds are another great way to grab a few grams of protein and many other nutrients. Healthful unsaturated fats, as well as phytochemicals, make seeds a powerhouse for heart disease and cancer prevention. Just a quarter cup of pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas) has 8.5 grams of protein. Add this amount to a salad or eat them plain for a quick snack. Sunflower seeds are easy to add to pasta or salads, or sandwich wraps, while sesame seeds are easily ground and sprinkled onto steamed veggies for a protein dusting.   Seeds (1/4 cup) Protein Calories Fat Hemp seeds 15 g 232 18 g Pumpkin seeds, roasted 9 g 187 16 g Flaxseed 8 g 191 13 g Sunflower seeds, roasted 8 g 205 18 g Sesame seeds, roasted 6 g 206 18 g Legumes Dried peas, beans and lentils belong to a group of food known as "pulses" or "legumes." Aside from soybeans, these plants have a very similar nutrient content, which includes a good dose of protein. On average, they have about 15 grams of protein per cup, and tagging along with the essentials protein are fiber and iron. Adding beans, lentils and dried peas to your meals is a great way to replace meat (a beef burrito can easily become a black bean burrito, for example) while still getting your much needed protein. Add pulses to soups, salads, omelets, burritos, casseroles, pasta dishes, and more! Make bean dips (such as hummus, which is made from garbanzo beans, or black bean dip) to spread on sandwiches and use as protein-packed dips for veggies or snack foods.   Legumes, 1 cup cooked Protein Calories Fiber Soybeans 29 g 298 10 g Lentils 18 g 230 16 g Split peas 16 g 231 16 g Navy beans 16 g 258 12 g Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) 15 g 269 12 g Black beans 15 g 227 15 g Kidney beans 15 g 225 11 g Lima beans 15 g 216 13 g Pinto beans 14 g 234 15 g Soy Soybeans are a complete protein that is comparable in quality with animal proteins. Eating soybeans (and foods made from soybeans) has been growing trend in America for only five decades, but this protein-rich bean has been a staple in Asia for nearly 4,000 years! This plant powerhouse is used to create a variety of soy-based foods that are rich in protein: tofu, tempeh, textured vegetable protein (TVP, a convincing replacement for ground meat in recipes), soymilk and "meat analogs," such as vegetarian "chicken" or faux "ribs" are all becoming more popular as more Americans practice vegetarianism. To learn more about using tofu, read Tofu 101. To learn how soy may impact your health, click here.   Soy Foods Protein Calories Fat Soybeans, 1 cup cooked 29 g 298 10 g Tempeh, 4 oz cooked 21 g 223 13 g Edamame, 1 cup shelled 20 g 240 10 g TVP, 1/4 cup dry 12 g 80 0 g Soy nuts, 1/4 cup roasted 11 g 200 1 g Tofu, 4 oz raw 9 g 86 5 g Soy nut butter, 2 tablespoons 7 g 170 11 g Soymilk, 1 cup sweetened 7 g 100 0.5 g Soymilk, 1 cup unsweetened 7 g 80 0.5 g Grains In a culture that focuses largely on wheat, it's easy to overlook the many types of other grains available to us. Some of these grains are very high in protein and can be included in your diet for both whole-grain carbohydrates and muscle-building protein. Quinoa is unusually close to animal products in protein quality, making it an excellent grain to replace white rice or couscous. It can also be cooked and mixed with honey, berries and almonds in the morning for a protein-packed breakfast. Other grains high in protein include spelt, amaranth, oats and buckwheat. Choose whole-grain varieties of cereals, pastas, breads and rice for a more nutritious meal.   Grains Protein Calories Fiber Amaranth, 1 cup cooked 9 g 238 9 g Quinoa, 1 cup cooked 9 g 254 4 g Whole wheat pasta, 1 cup cooked 8 g 174 6 g Barley, 1 cup cooked 7 g 270 14 g Spelt, 4 oz cooked 6 g 144 4 g Oats, 1 cup cooked 6 g 147 4 g Bulgur, 1 cup cooked 6 g 151 8 g Buckwheat, 1 cup cooked 6 g 155 5 g Brown rice, 1 cup cooked 5 g 216 4 g Whole wheat bread, 1 slice 4 g 128 3 g Sprouted grain bread, 1 slice 4 g 80 3 g Dairy If you consume milk products, dairy is a great way to add some extra grams of protein to your day. Low-fat milk, cheese and yogurt are easily accessible, quick to pack and fun to incorporate into many meals and snacks. Whether you’re drinking a cup of skim milk with your dinner or grabbing some string cheese before you run errands, you can pack about 8 grams of protein into most servings of dairy. You’re also getting some bone-building calcium while you’re at it! Keep in mind that low-fat varieties of milk products are lower in calories and fat, but equal in calcium to the full-fat versions; low-fat varieties may also be higher in protein.   Dairy Protein Calories Fat Fat-free cottage cheese, 1 cup 31 g 160 1 g 2% cottage cheese, 1 cup 30 g 203 4 g 1% cottage cheese, 1 cup 28 g 163 2 g Fat-free plain yogurt, 1 cup 14 g 137 0 g Low-fat plain yogurt, 1 cup 13 g 155 4 g Parmesan cheese, 1 oz grated 12 g 129 9 g Whole milk yogurt, 1 cup 9 g 150 8 g Goat's milk, 1 cup 9 g 168 10 g 1% milk, 1 cup 8 g 102 2 g Swiss cheese, 1 oz 8 g 106 8 g 2% milk, 1 cup 8 g 121 7 g 3.25% (whole) milk, 1 cup 8 g 146 8 g Low-fat cheddar/Colby cheese, 1 oz 7 g 49 2 g Part-skim mozzarella cheese, 1 oz 7 g 72 5 g Provolone cheese, 1 oz 7 g 100 8 g Cheddar cheese, 1 oz 7 g 114 9 g Blue cheese, 1 oz 6 g 100 8 g American cheese, 1 oz 6 g 106 9 g Goat cheese, 1 oz 5 g 76 6 g Feta cheese, 1 oz 4 g 75 6 g Part-skim ricotta cheese, 1 oz 3 g 39 2 g Eggs Eggs contain the highest biologic value protein available. What this means is that an egg has a near perfect combination of amino acids within its shell; when assessing protein quality of all other foods (including meat), nutrition experts compare them to the egg. This doesn’t mean that all other sources of protein are less healthful or less important but does mean that an egg is an awesome way to get a few grams of protein. At 6 grams for one large egg, there are endless ways to add it to your diet. Salads, sandwiches, breakfasts or snack—an egg can fit in anytime!   Eggs Protein Calories Fat Egg, 1 boiled 6 g 68 5 g Egg white, 1 cooked 5 g 17 0 g Liquid egg substitute, 1.5 fl oz 5 g 23 0 g As you can see, protein is EVERYWHERE in our diet, and even without meat you can get enough every day; you just have to look in the right places! For more ideas for using these various plant-based proteins, check out our dailySpark series, Meat-Free Fridays for recipe and cooking ideas! Selected Sources Information Sheet: Protein from The Vegetarian Society (VegSoc.org) Various nutrient profiles from The World's Healthiest Foods (WHFoods.com) Want to learn more about going meatless? Check out SparkPeople's first e-book! It's packed with over 120 delicious meat-free recipes, plus tips and tricks for going meatless. Get it on Amazon for $2.99 and start cooking easy, wholesome veg-centric meals the whole family will love!Article Source: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=158

Best and Worst Salad Toppings

A few years back I typed up a list of New Year’s resolutions on a small piece of cardstock, laminated it, and put it in my wallet. On that list was the resolution to eat a salad every day, simply because eating salad always made me feel like I was doing something good for myself. After all, salad provides several vitamins and can fill you up while reducing your caloric intake. What could be healthier than a big, fresh salad? Unfortunately, many things, as I later found out. Salads can run the gamut of healthiness, depending on what is in them. Although that big bowl of greens may be packed full of antioxidants and fiber, it can also be laden with fat, cholesterol, and sodium—not to mention an overabundance of calories. Some restaurant salads can even contain more calories than a cheeseburger! Luckily, like most things in life, a salad is the outcome of several small decisions. To make sure you don't sabotage your healthy diet unintentionally, choose wisely the next time you order a salad from a restaurant or visit the salad bar. When dining out, don't be afraid to ask questions, make special requests (extra veggies, dressing on the side, light cheese) and ask about substitutions (like grilled chicken for breaded). Most restaurants will be happy to accommodate you as long as their kitchen is stocked with the ingredients you want. Here’s how to choose wisely next time you're making a salad at home or choosing one from a menu. Lettuce The foundation of most salads, lettuce adds substance, crunch, water, and fiber for very few calories—only about 10 per cup. But if you want all that and vitamins, too, toss out the iceberg and toss in the romaine, mixed baby greens and spinach. While iceberg lettuce is lower in nutrients (and still makes a decent choice if it's the only thing available), these other greens are rich in vitamins A, C and K, manganese, and folate. Protein Adding protein, such as lean meat, tofu, eggs or beans, will help bulk up your salad and keep you full longer. Unfortunately, many protein toppings are deep-fried, breaded and greasy, which adds unnecessary calories plus cholesterol, sodium and fat to your salad. Skimp on fattier toppings such as bacon and fried (breaded) chicken strips, and go for lean proteins instead. Grilled chicken, canned beans of all kinds, chickpeas, tofu, hardboiled eggs (especially whites), or water-packed tuna are leaner choices. Nuts and seeds are popular in salads, too, and while they’re a healthy source of good fats and some protein, they’re not exactly low-cal. If you choose to add them, watch your portions (1/2 ounce contains more than 80 calories). Cheese Restaurants know that people love cheese, so they tend to pile on multiple servings of it on their salads. It might be tasty, but it sends the calorie counts sky high! While cheese is a nutritious food that adds flavor, calcium, and protein to a salad, enjoy it in moderation due to its high fat content. Just a half-cup of cheddar cheese (the amount on many large restaurant salads) contains 18 grams of fat and 225 calories. To keep calories in check, use a single serving of cheese (approximately 2 tablespoons). Choose low-fat varieties as much as possible to save on saturated fat and calories. A smaller amount of a stronger-flavored cheese, such as Brie, feta, chevre, gorgonzola, sharp cheddar or bleu cheese will go a long way in helping you cut down on your portions. Pile on the Veggies Vegetables like bell peppers, grated carrots, sugar snap peas, and tomatoes provide flavor, fiber, and vitamins for few calories. Grated carrots, for example, have only 45 calories in a whole cup, and there are only about 20 calories in an entire red bell pepper. When building your best salad, use as many veggies as possible for extra filling power—and a nice crunch! Practice moderation when it comes to starchy vegetable toppings like corn and potatoes, which are higher in calories. And remember to go for a variety of colors to ensure you're getting several different nutrients and antioxidants in your salad bowl. Don't Forget the Fruit Don't leave fruit on the sidelines! Fresh, canned and dried fruits add a sweetness that can help temper the slightly bitter taste of greens and veggies. They also provide color and texture (not to mention nutrition) to your salad bowl. Chopped apples, pears, grapes, or mandarin oranges (canned in juice—not syrup—and drained) are excellent salad toppers. Chewy dried fruits (cranberries, raisins) work well, too, but they are also high in calories (so only use a sprinkle!). Avocados (and the guacamole made from them) are creamy and nutritious thanks to their heart-healthy fats, but they're also a concentrated sources of calories. Keep your use of avocado to a minimum if you're watching your weight. Crunchy Toppings Sesame sticks, crispy noodles and croutons are salty and crunchy but conceal lot of hidden fat. Better options include water chestnuts, apple slivers, a small serving of nuts, crumbled whole-grain crackers, and homemade croutons. To make your own low-fat croutons, just slice a large clove of garlic and rub it over both sides of a piece of whole-grain bread. Cut the bread into cubes and then brown it in the toaster or conventional oven. Dressing A very healthy salad could go very wrong with one too many shakes of oil or dressing. The main issue with dressing is its fat and sodium content—and the fact that people have trouble controlling their portions. Two tablespoons is an appropriate serving of dressing, but most restaurants serve much more than that, whether mixed in to your salad or served on the side. Those calories add up fast. When dining out, always ask for dressing on the side and dip your fork into the dressing before picking up your bite of salad. Caesar, ranch and other cream-based dressings (when not specified as low-fat) are calorie bombs worth avoiding. Look for dressings specified as "low-fat" that contain no more than 60 calories per serving. You can also add flavor for minimal calories by using salsa, vinegar or lemon juice. Salad may be the symbol of healthy eating, but not every salad is healthful—or diet-friendly. The healthfulness of your next salad depends on the simple choices you make when topping or dressing it. Perhaps my greatest discovery about salads was that because you can customize them so easily, you could make a huge main-course salad for a very small amount of calories. Pile in the lettuce and veggies, add a moderate amount of lean protein, sprinkling some cheese and a little something crunchy and measure a portion-controlled side of dressing, and you’ve got a dinner that won’t leave you feeling hungry.Article Source: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1388

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