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Chicago Family Loses Everything in Tragic Fire Amid Winter Storm

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A Chicago family lost everything they own in a fire on Dec. 30, 2020. No one was seriously injured in the blaze — two adults and two children were taken to local hospitals and released after treatment.

Chicago Sun-Times reports indicate the Chicago Fire Department responded to the blaze on the 6800 block of South Perry Avenue, at 8:40 p.m. CT. The flames were extinguished by 9:30.

fireIt was a cold night; the National Weather Service in Chicago posted a photo of the forecast on December 29. The Tweet indicates temperatures on the night of the fire was expected to be a brisk 18-29 degrees with a wintry mix of freezing rain, freezing drizzle, or sleet.

Tawanda Sterling, an intern at Saint Agatha’s News School, reports she was in her bedroom when her youngest son came running in yelling, “the house is on fire, the house is on fire.” She quickly grabbed her sons and fled.

A neighbor offered her assistance and took the boys while she banged on doors in the building, letting everyone know there was a fire.

She ran back into her apartment to rescue her cat and suffered smoke damage. Sterling, one of the adults taken to the hospital, was not released until late the following day.

Fortunately, since she has family members in the Chicago area, Sterling and her children are displaced but safe, “we are staying at my mom’s,” she explained during a phone interview on Jan. 2, 2021.

A GoFundMe page was set up to assist the family with restarting their lives:

My family lost their home on Wednesday, December 30th due to a fire that broke out. Several families were displaced. We lost everything. I have 3 sons-2 toddlers and one teen. We’ll need to replace everything. Please help us if you can. Thank you.

St. Agatha’s News School staff and fellow interns pray Sterling, her family, others displaced in the fire remain safe and can quickly regain some normalcy in their lives.

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware

Interview: Tawanda Sterling by phone, Jan. 2, 2021
GoFundMe: Tawanda Sterling Fire Restoration
Chicago Sun-Times: 2 children among 4 hurt in Englewood fire

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of C. Holmes’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Paul Morgan’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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‘Grand Dame of Television’ Betty White Celebrates 99th Birthday [Video]

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When Betty White says she “doesn’t need anyone’s permission,” she is not joking. At 99 years old, she has earned that privilege. On her birthday, Jan. 17, 2021, this tiny little powerhouse says she will be staying up as late as she wants.

She is looking forward to a quiet day in her Los Angeles home. White’s longtime friend and agent, Jeff Witjas, will be bringing her flowers and her birthday meal —  a hot dog and french fries.

WhiteAt 5-foot-four, the diminutive comedienne has been honing her craft since the 1930s. Her sparkling blue eyes light up when she packs a punchline or zings someone with her saucy one-liners.

White, also known as The Grand Dame of Television, has had the longest TV career of any performer on their list, explains the writers of Oldest.org in their updated 2020 compilation.

On May 8, 2010, at the tender age of 88, White hosted “Saturday Night Live.” To date, she holds the title of being the oldest person ever to host the comedy/variety program currently in its 46th season.

In an interview with “Parade,” she claims to hold no secrets to her longevity. However, the iconic actress says she does not plan on retiring. White says:

I just love to work, so I’ll keep working until they stop asking.

Watching clips of her on YouTube is an entertaining activity — especially watching her bloopers and any skit with sexual undertones.

She responds with grace when placed in awkward positions, such as the “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” clip when she and Jason Momoa are guests. Momoa shows off his muscular Men’s Health cover during the program, and White responds in her sassy fashion. Ken Saclo commented:

Dude, I know Conan is hilarious, but cmon you gotta give it up to Betty White, who at age 92, is still so sharp, witty, and funny as hell. I highly doubt I will make it to 92, much less be that cool!! She is awesome!

Happy birthday, Queen of Comedy!

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

AP: Betty White To Mark 99th Birthday By Feeding Ducks, Staying Up Late; by Lynn Elber
IMDb: Betty White Biography
Oldest.org: 10 Oldest Living Actors in the World (Updated 2020)
History: Betty White becomes oldest “Saturday Night Live” host

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Alan Light’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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Western Lowland Gorillas Positive for COVID-19 at San Diego Zoo Safari

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Members of a lowland gorilla troop tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Earlier this month, two of them began coughing. Since California is experiencing the highest daily rate of infections right, the vet decided it prudent to have them tested. In the Jan. 11, 2021 press release, the USDA and National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed the primates were positive for the virus.

Even though three gorillas tested positive for COVID-19, the vet has not ruled out the virus’s presence in other members of the troop. Lisa Peterson, the park’s executive director, explained the primates were doing well. They have some congestion and coughing. The troop is quarantined together. “We are hoping for a full recovery,” she added.

COVIDPeterson said they believe the primates contracted COVID-19 from an asymptomatic staff member even though the park follows the recommended precautions as detailed by the CDC and S.D. Health Department. Staff members always wear PPE when near the gorillas.

Studies have shown that some non-human primates are susceptible to COVID-19 —however, this the first known case of natural transmission to gorillas. Vets do not know if they will experience any serious reaction to the virus.

The park has been closed to the public since Dec. 6, 2020. Since the gorillas are kept a safe distance from visitors at all times, there is no public health risk.

In addition to the gorillas, natural infections have been confirmed in six other animal species, tigers, lions, mink, snow leopards, dogs, and domestic cats. Even though there are verified cases of mink to human COVID-19 transmission in Denmark and the Netherland, there is no evidence that other species can infect humans.

Unfortunately, the news of the COVID-19 infections at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park confirms earlier research that western lowland gorillas and several other rare or endangered species facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2.

“The potential for COVID-like disease outbreak in either captive or wild populations of endangered primates is pretty high,” states Harris Lewin, professor of ecology and evolution at the University of California Davis.

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

AP: Gorillas test positive for coronavirus at San Diego park; by Julie Watson
National Geographic: Several gorillas test positive for COVID-19 at California zoo—first in the world; by Natasha Daly
San Diego Zoo Global: GORILLA TROOP AT THE SAN DIEGO ZOO SAFARI PARK TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19: THE GREAT APES CONTINUE TO BE OBSERVED CLOSELY BY THE SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL VETERINARY TEAM

Images Courtesy of Ernie Tyler’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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House Votes to Impeach Donald Trump for Inciting the Jan. 6th Insurrection

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In a historic move, the House of Representatives will hold President Trump accountable for inciting the insurrection on January 6th using the power of impeachment — for the second time during his four-year term. On Jan. 13, they voted to impeach Donald Trump.

ImpeachDuring three hours of debate, many Republicans and Democrats spoke from their fear. Several GOP House members spoke about the anguish of speaking out against the president; they are afraid of attacks on their families.

When the verbal vote was called, it was not clear which group was louder. As a result, they moved to electronic voting.

At 4:36 p.m. ET., there were 10 Republicans who voted in favor of impeaching the president who joined 232 Democrats — five House members did not cast votes; one Democrat and four Republicans.

McConnell sent a letter to the Senators stating he would not be calling them back before January 19. Therefore, Trump will remain in office no matter what the outcome is today. If Trump is convicted, it will be after he leaves office.

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

CNN: Live
CNN: READ: The House of Representatives’ article of impeachment against Donald Trump
The New York Times: House poised to impeach Trump for second time: ‘Incitement of insurrection;’ by Rebecca Shabad

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Michael Vandon’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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