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June 10, 2011

There is an elementary school in Vegas where 85% of the students are homeless

Homeless students find hope in their principal - CBS News
LAS VEGAS - Charlee Morrow, 10, is described by her principal as an old soul with modest dreams. What is it like to be homeless at just ten years old? "It felt really sad, because I thought we were going to be homeless for the rest of my life. All I want is to have a big house with my family." Inside Whitney Elementary School in East Las Vegas, nearly 85 percent of the children are homeless. That's 518 kids out of 610. Learn more about the Whitney Elementary School Principal Sherrie Gahn says, "I thought that I saw the ultimate poverty when I got here eight years ago and every year it has gotten worse and the recession made it ten times worse." Gahn knew she had a problem that a traditional public school could not fix. "When I saw the children eating ketchup for lunch, and wanting to take it home," she says, "it just crushed me." So Gahn came up with a plan involving the kids, their parents and the community. "I told the parents that I would give them whatever they need," Gahn says. "All I need them to do is give me their children and let me teach them. In turn I will give you food and clothes and we will take them to the eye doctor. I will pay your rent, pay your utilities, but keep your child here." The children get free clothes, free bread to bring home and even free haircuts. Almost all of it given by 500 donors and local businesses who drop off donations daily. Gahn creates a wish list, and her army of volunteers makes it happen. . . .

Bizarre deadly fungus hits Joplin tornado survivors

The fungus has a 50% mortality rate. Aggressive fungus strikes Joplin tornado victims - Yahoo! News
JOPLIN, Mo. – A Joplin doctor said Thursday his hospital treated five Joplin tornado victims for a rare, aggressive fungal infection sometimes found in survivors of other natural disasters. Dr. Uwe Schmidt, an infectious disease specialist at Freeman Health System in Joplin, said three of those patients who contracted zygomycosis have since died, but he stopped short of blaming their deaths specifically on the infections. "These people had multiple traumas, pneumonia, all kinds of problems," Schmidt said. "It's difficult to say how much the fungal infections contributed to their demise." Jacqueline Lapine, a spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said the department has received reports of eight suspected deep-skin fungal infections among victims of the tornado. She said all of the victims had sustained trauma from the tornado with multiple injuries and secondary wound infections. Zygomycosis, now known as mucormycosis, is a fungal infection that spreads rapidly and can be caused by soil or vegetative material becoming embedded under the skin. It's more prevalent in people with weakened immune systems or untreated diabetes but can affect healthy people who suffer trauma and are injected with contaminated soil. . . .

June 08, 2011

An etiquette guide for riding the MUNI

I can't even tell you how many times I have seen people cutting their toenails on MUNI. Dozens. Hundreds maybe. I even once an old woman cut her toenail with such force that the toenail sailed through the MUNI air and landed on some poor guy's face. The woman didn't apologize. She met his horrified expression with a steely gaze and switched to the other foot. The Bus Stops Here, An Etiquette Guide For San Francisco Muni

June 07, 2011

Well, this is today's most depressing story

It's a seven page expose on the embedded culture of abuse at homes that care for developmentally disabled kids in New York. And it's way worse than you think. Boy's Death Highlights Crisis in Homes for Disabled - NYTimes.com
New York State and the federal government provided $1.4 million annually per person to care for Jonathan and the other residents of the Oswald D. Heck Developmental Center, a warren of low-rise concrete and brick buildings near Albany. Yet on a February afternoon in 2007, Jonathan, a skinny, autistic 13-year-old, was asphyxiated, slowly crushed to death in the back seat of a van by a state employee who had worked nearly 200 hours without a day off over 15 days. The employee, a ninth-grade dropout with a criminal conviction for selling marijuana, had been on duty during at least one previous episode of alleged abuse involving Jonathan. “I could be a good king or a bad king,” he told the dying boy beneath him, according to court documents. In the front seat of the van, the driver, another state worker at O. D. Heck, watched through the rear-view mirror but said little. He had been fired from four different private providers of services to the developmentally disabled before the state hired him to care for the same vulnerable population. O. D. Heck is one of nine large institutions in New York that house the developmentally disabled, those with cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome and other conditions. . . .