Trekking through some of the country’s most beautiful terrain just got cheaper.
Thanks to the Department of the Interior’s Every Kid in a Park program, fourth-grade students can enter any of more than 2,000 of the nation’s national parks and other federally managed lands and waters for free for one year.
Fourth-grade students can sign up for the free pass at everykidinapark.gov.
The first three members in a group with a visiting fourth-grader will be granted free entry as well at sites that charge per person. For those that grant payment and entry by car, any accompanying passengers in a private, non-commercial vehicle with a fourth-grader will be allowed to enter at no charge. Educators can also obtain free passes.
The Every Kid in a Park program encourages children to be active and explore nature at a time when more than 80 percent of American families live in urban areas and young people are more tethered to electronic devices than ever.
According to the program, the goal of the promotion is to “inspire fourth graders nationwide to visit our federal lands and waters, whether it is a backyard city park or a national forest, seashore, or marine sanctuary. By targeting fourth graders year after year, the program works to ensure every child in the U.S. has the opportunity to visit and enjoy their federal lands and waters by the time he or she is 11 years old.”
In June, the inter-agency program announced that Every Kid in a Park has been renewed for the 2018-2019 school year. Passes will be available Sept. 1.
Learn more and get a pass at everykidinapark.gov.
With the national fireworks holiday here, it’s a good time to review safety guidelines that will keep everyone safe and enjoying the show.
Here are 10 tips to keep in mind:
1. Keep water nearby
When you light fireworks, you are literally playing with fire. Keep a bucket of water, a fire extinguisher or a working hose within easy reach just in case your clothes, the pile of dry leaves you didn’t notice, or any other flammable object gets one too many sparks.
2. Don’t let children use fireworks unattended
Children and fireworks are both miniature explosives, so putting them together is a bad idea. Even seemingly harmless sparklers can burn tiny hands and arms. If it’s hot enough to melt metal, it’s hot enough to burn your child.
3. Designate an official lighter
Choose one responsible adult to light the fuses. You avoid potential accidents with only one person in charge.
It should go without saying, but the designated lighter should not be under the influence. Alcohol, fire, and explosions are not a good mix.
4. If it’s a dud, it’s still dangerous
A dud can still explode even after it appears to have gone out. Your best bet is to soak it with water and leave it alone for at least 20 minutes.
In the case of bottle rockets that don’t ignite, DO NOT look into the opening. People have reportedly died from fireworks to the eye while making that exact move.
5. Fireworks are not throwing toys
It sounds like a story that starts with “Hold my beer and watch this,” but every year there are stories of injuries caused by people throwing fireworks.
Would you want someone throwing a lit cherry bomb at you? No, so don’t play around, even in a joking manner, with any fireworks.
6. Keep a safe space
What kind of fireworks you are using will determine how far is a safe distance for onlookers. In most cases, a distance of about 20 feet will work, but practice good judgment. Larger explosions require more distance.
7. Wear safety glasses
Safety glasses can save your eyes when sparks shoot around and jumping jacks fly into the air.
While it might not be possible for everyone to have safety glasses, the lighter should definitely have them.
8. Obey the law
Another somewhat self-explanatory tip, but obey the local laws when using fireworks. It is easy for stray fireworks to end up on a neighbor’s roof or to hit a passing car.
Check your local ordinances to find out what rules your town or city has for personal fireworks.
9. Listen to fire safety reports
If there’s a drought, it’s not a good idea to blast off fireworks. Dry leaves, trees, and grass can easily ignite if a spark from a firework lands in the right place. If those dry leaves are on the roof of your house or a neighbor’s house, you could have a fireworks display that will ruin your day.
If your local fire department prohibits fireworks until after a good rain, listen to them.
10. Only buy legal fireworks
Don’t buy explosives from an unknown vendor.
Legal consumer fireworks will have labels and instructions on them. If they don’t, then they are either for professionals or manufactured illegally. In either case, those aren’t the fireworks you want to set off around your friends and family.
A combined senior day center and preschool is bringing joy to both the young and old.
The center has two wings, one for the elderly and one for children. Every day, workers plan activities the kids and adults can do together. They also build in time for small group activities.
“I know the little kids love having grandma or grandpa figures around, and they love having the grandchildren around,” said Rebecca Lopez, a nurse’s aide at the center. “It’s a wonderful program, and I see it going far.”
“This program is about engagement and relationship and sense of purpose and having a safe place to bring your loved one during the day,” Sue Davidson, the center’s director, told WXMI.
According to WXMI, a half day at the center costs $49, and a full day costs $78.
Read more at WXMI.
Megan Garth, an all-area soccer player at Prince Avenue Christian School in Bogart, Georgia, discovered things she didn’t know about football this summer.
The first was that she’s a pretty good field-goal kicker. With some help from Prince Avenue football coaches, Garth learned in just a couple of weeks to make extra points reliably and to kick field goals of 30 yards. Coaches told her that she might be the best kicker in the school. Garth was eager to join the team.
But Garth then discovered that her school would not allow it. As do many private schools, Prince Avenue has a policy that prevents girls from joining boys’ teams or boys from joining girls’ teams. Garth’s final appeal to the school’s board of directors was denied late last week.
“We’re obviously disappointed and we disagree, but we love Prince Avenue Christian and the people there, and we respect the decision and the deliberation,” said Branham Garth, Megan’s father.
Students have supported Garth, a senior who scored a team-leading 25 goals last season on the soccer pitch. A petition with some 300 student signatures was given to the administration in support of her cause. The high school enrollment is 275. Petitions also made their way to other local schools.
“I know that is probably not the politically correct answer, but we have boys sports and girls sports, and I believe we should stick with that,” football coach Wayne Brantley at Georgia’s Landmark Christian school said, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We would not allow a boy to play girls basketball. Think of what might happen if that can of worms was opened -- a 6’7, 255-pound boy dominating in girls basketball.”
Brantley also cited concerns of safety and privacy.
“One big reason for me is the possibility of severe injury for the young lady,” he said. “Also, there is no way she could dress or shower in the same locker room. If I were to really take a little time, I could probably write you a book on why it’s not a good idea. Our main goal at Landmark in football is to build strong men who are warriors. We have other programs designed to build women of character.”
According to the Georgia High School Association’s 2016-17 participation survey, there were 49 girls playing football in Georgia last season. One of them, Lauren Pearson of Thomas County Central, made her all-region team as a kicker.
There were 1,992 girls playing football nationwide, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. That’s about one girl for every 532 boys among the 1.06 million who played the game last year.
Prince Avenue Christian head of school Col. Seth Hathaway provided The Atlanta Journal-Constitution with a lengthy statement explaining his school’s position. It cited the school’s religious tenets, the covenant between the school and its Christian parents and a commitment to “uphold its community standards and the conservative temperament of the school.”
Hathaway expressed concern over precedents. He noted that a previous request by a male student to be on the cheerleading squad had been denied. He particularly stressed the need to establish guidelines that applied sensibly to a school that has students from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade.
“While the school recognizes the changing roles of girls in organized sports, its covenantal partnership does not support the belief that mixed athletic contact sports should traverse a spectrum from high school varsity all the way down to the second grade,” Hathaway said in the statement. “This is a challenge unique to a Pre-K to 12 school that is not a factor in traditional ninth to 12th grade high schools.”
According to Hathaway, Prince Avenue Christian is not subject to Title IX provisions regarding mixed-athletic competition because the school does not accept federal funding.
Many other private schools do allow girls to play. This year, Hebron Christian, a Gwinnett County school, has a female kicker, Payton Johnson. Hebron Christian head of school Dr. Tracey Pritchard said her school allows mixed-gender participation, although it requires permission.
“We are always open to at least a ‘discussion’ and ‘evaluation’ of whether it is prudent and appropriate to allow mixed-gender participation for a particular sport at any given time,” Dr. Pritchard said in an e-mail. “We consider it on a case-by-case basis and within the guidelines of GHSA. Also, typically, participation consideration of a female on a male team is based on the needs of the team.”
Georgia High School Association rules state that girls may play boys sports if the school has no equivalent girls sport. For example, a girl could not play on the boys basketball team unless there was no girls basketball team. But the GHSA does not compel its members to allow mixed athletic participation.
Read more here.
According to new data released Thursday by Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates among 15- to 19-year-old girls doubled between 2007 and 2015, reaching a 40-year high.
That means for every 100,000 American girls in 2015, 5 died by suicide.
Additionally, the suicide rate among teen boys in the same age group and year range rose by more than 30 percent.
The analysis mirrors a rising national trend in suicide rates across all age groups, CDC suicide expert Thomas Simon told CNN.
So, what’s going on?
Experts such as Simon and Carl Tishler, adjunct associate professor of psychology and psychiatry at the Ohio State University, said there are a lot of possible factors.
Some factors include substance abuse, relationship conflicts, lack of emotional support, the stigma associated with mental health, exposure to violence and economic instability.
Tishler specifically cited the rise of the opioid epidemic as a possible factor.
“Some of the opiate or heroin overdoses in adolescents may be interpreted by emergency departments as suicides. There may be more internet suicides,” Tishler told CNN.
What about social media?
While some public health studies have shown negative effects of social media on young people’s mental health and well-being, Simon said social media isn’t always negative.
“Social media can help increase connections between people, and it's an opportunity to correct myths about suicide and to allow people to access prevention resources and materials,” he told CNN.
Still, he acknowledges that cyberbullying can greatly impact vulnerable youth.
Additionally, cyberbullying in social media may negatively influence teenage girls more than boys, according to Emory University School of Medicine professor Dorian Lamis.
“Some research has suggested that the timing of puberty in girls is a contributing factor for the increased suicide rate,” Lamis told CNN.
Lamis said the hormonal, mental and physical changes associated with puberty may leave teen girls “vulnerable to depression, anxiety and other psychiatric disorders earlier on in life.”
“The message for parents, teachers, coaches and religious leaders is to not be afraid to talk to a young person when they are concerned,” Simon said.
If you or anyone you know is contemplating suicide, or if you are concerned for someone else, here are some helpful resources:
A 3-year-old boy in Tampa, Florida, suffered broken bones and will be in a body cast for the next six weeks from jumping at a trampoline park promoted for toddlers.
The mother of the boy, Kaitlin Hill, posted on Facebook Friday warning other parents about the dangers of indoor trampoline parks.
“Colton fell and broke his femur, the strongest bone in his body, while innocently jumping alongside his dad and I,” Hill wrote.
The facility where her son was injured “specifically advertised ‘Toddler Time’” on trampolines, according to Hill.
Hill said according to America Academy of Pediatrics and the America Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, children who are under 6 years old “should never use a trampoline.” She wrote the reason is because children still have “fragile bones” that cannot handle the pressure from repetitive jumping.
“We had no idea and were shocked to find this out from our pediatric orthopedic surgeon during Colton's hospital stay,” Hill wrote on Facebook.
So far, Hill’s Facebook post has received more than 200,000 shares and over 50,000 comments. Some Facebook users have canceled their plans to take their children to trampoline parks or have reconsidered buying their kids a trampoline.
“Without knowing, we were about to schedule a birthday party for our grandchild at one of these trampoline indoor facilities. Thanks to you it's been canceled,” one Facebook user, John Guerrero, wrote on Hill’s post.
Online retailer Amazon, accused of unlawfully billing parents for more than $70 million in purchases by game-playing children, has settled a case with federal regulators, and refunds are available.
The deadline for submitting refund requests is May 28, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday.
The charges were made between November 2011 and May 2016, officials said.
Amazon has offered many children’s apps for download to mobile devices such as the Kindle Fire, the FTC said. Children playing games such as “Ice Age Village” could spend unlimited amounts of money to pay for virtual items such as “coins,” “stars” and “acorns” without sufficient parental consent, federal officials said in a 2014 complaint.
“Even Amazon’s own employees recognized the serious problem its process created,” FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in 2014.
The FTC and Amazon agreed last month to end their litigation.
“Since the launch of the Appstore in 2011, Amazon has helped parents prevent purchases made without their permission by offering access to parental controls, clear notice of in-app purchasing, real-time notification for every in-app purchase and refund assistance for unauthorized purchases,” an Amazon spokesman said Tuesday. “The court here affirmed our commitment to customers when it ruled no changes to current Appstore practices were required.
“To continue ensuring a great customer experience, we are happy to provide our customers what we have always provided: refunds for purchases they did not approve. We have contacted all eligible customers who have not already received a refund for unauthorized charges to help ensure their refunds are confirmed quickly.”
The FTC said refund requests can be completed online at https://www.amazon.com/gp/mas/refund-orders/in-apprefund.
Customers can go to their Amazon.com accounts and go to the Message Center to find information about requesting a refund under Important Messages. Questions about individual refunds should be directed to Amazon at 866-216-1072, the FTC said.
A video shared online shows an adorable toddler trying to squeeze into an old pair of jeans.
The video, shared by Alyssa Price, shows the child standing on a bed trying to button the pants.
The woman behind the camera can’t help but chuckle at the little one's attempts.
The video has been viewed more than 38 million times on Facebook.
An Ohio Brownie made a video to promote Girl Scouts cookie selling season.
But Yula Douglas of Beavercreek didn't want to make just any video. She wanted the full suite of green screen effects, multiple settings, and even animal actors (it includes pet rats).
>> Read more trending stories
Yula scripted and directed the video with a little help from her parents, and learned video editing and production in the process, her mother, N'Lou Figueras said.
She shares how Girl Scouts can learn more about science, surviving in the wild and building.
"It helps girls like me have new life experiences in community service and helps us become better leaders. My name is Yula and I'm proud to be a Girl Scout."
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