Candy canes are going to have a cheesy twist this Christmas.
The company’s website says the treat “will be a favorite of picky eaters.”
The candy cane will measure 5 ¼ inches in height and have yellow and white stripes.
"Macaroni and cheese has become a holiday family tradition in many parts of the country, so why not let our holiday candy reflect that?" the product description claims. “It’s like comfort food-flavored comfort food.”
A box of six canes sells for $4.95.
A volunteer firefighter didn’t let his own wedding stop him from doing his job.
KARE reported that Jeremy Bourasa, an on-call firefighter in St. Paul Park, Minnesota, had his ceremony with his bride, Krista Bourasa, at his fire station. They lost their previous venue weeks before their ceremony date.
“We talked about it, ‘What if there’s a call?’” Krista Bourasa told KARE. “I was like, ‘You can let the other guys go; you’re not leaving our wedding.’”
The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that the couple wasn’t married for an our before an alarm sounded. There was a house fire a few miles away.
“Without hesitation, I took off my wedding clothes, put on my turnout gear and stepped on the first truck that was heading out,” Jeremy Bourasa said.
The couple was in the middle of taking photos after the ceremony. The dispatcher was calling for mutual aid, which is an agreement among emergency responders to lend assistance across area boundaries.
“When they call for mutual aid, you just kind of know,” Jeremy Bourasa told the Paul Pioneer Press. “You just know that they’re short men. They have guys there, but it’s a very draining thing. Hoses are heavy. Tensions are high. The adrenaline push that you get, it can be exhausting.”
“I kept hearing how bad it was and they needed more men,” Krista Bourasa told KARE. “I couldn’t just keep him. I looked at him and I just said, ‘Go ahead and go babe, you’re fine. Just go help them and come back when you can.’”
Three hours later, the groom returned and the couple had their first dance together as husband and wife.
“I had an experience that no one has had,” Jeremy Bourasa told the Paul Pioneer Press. “You get married at your fire hall, you get called to an active structure fire and put it out and still get to go to your reception.”
At Children's Hospital of Atlanta, a baby boy is breathing a lot easier, thanks to a life-saving procedure involving a 3D printing machine.
Eight-month-old Amir is sleeping peacefully and breathing easy now, something he couldn't do when he was born.
"He was just a baby that, he would always cry," said his mom, Linda Long. "So we knew something was wrong with him, but we didn't know exactly what was wrong with him."
What Linda and Quantavious didn't know is that their son was born with flimsy airways and two holes in his heart. One day, at just 2 months old, Amir stopped breathing.
"That's my baby," said Long. "Don't know what to do but, I wanted to help him but I couldn't."
Amir was rushed to Children's Hospital of Atlanta, to a team that knew they needed to work fast.
"The child at the time was about as sick as you possibly can be," said Dr. Kevin Maher, a pediatric cardiologist. "He was on a ventilator, sedated, medication to keep him paralyzed."
Maher, a team of doctors, technicians and even engineers from Georgia Tech got involved, and came up with a big plan to help their tiny patient. They used a 3D printer to make small custom splints to repair his airways.
"They were able to use sutures to pull the airway open and then attach it to this custom made splint to hold the airway open," Maher said.
Then, they patched the holes in his heart.
"The difference from the morning to the night was one of the most dramatic things I've seen in medicine," Maher said.
Doctors had to get rush FDA approval, as it was the first time this type of technology and surgery have ever been used in Georgia.
"It was really one of the more stunning things I've seen in my career," Maher said, "to take a child that was that sick and to really provide a treatment that otherwise did not exist."
A treatment that has mom and dad looking forward to Amir's future.
"Hopefully we can get him home and eating and just like a regular baby," said Long.
Doctors say Amir's prognosis looks good. The splints will stay in until the airways are strong enough to stay open on their own. Even though they had to get rush FDA approval for this surgery, Maher hopes one day it will be widely available.
There have been many rousing renditions of the national anthem, but a 7-year-old girl who calls herself an “actor, model and anthem girl” turned in a memorable version Sunday.
Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja of Los Angeles won an anthem contest sponsored by Major League Soccer’s LA Galaxy. That allowed Malea Emma to sing before the Galaxy’s match Sunday against the Seattle Sounders.
She has her own Twitter account, which is run by her parents, and Malea Emma already has more than 1,000 followers.
What she produced before the StubHub Center crowd Sunday impressed players like the Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who tweeted that she was “the MVP of the game.”
Malea Emma’s reaction on Twitter? “OMG!”
You might have to turn the sound up, but the passion Malea Emma projected is worth it.
Perhaps inspired by the song, Zlatan scored his 501st career goal as the Galaxy won 3-0.
The Harrisburg Fire Department in North Carolina surprised a 3-year-old with a birthday party after several of his classmates canceled Sunday.
Melissa Reid said she received several text messages the morning of her son's birthday party from parents, letting her know her son's classmates couldn't make it.
"Around 7 in the morning, I started getting text messages that children are sick, that they weren't going to be able to go,” she said. “Out of the eight families we invited, we had seven that canceled.”
Reid said she didn’t know what to do. She wanted her son to have a special birthday bash.
So she called the Harrisburg Fire Department, which is about a mile away from her house, and asked for a quick tour to entertain her son, Jackson, who loves fire trucks.
"I said, ‘Would you mind just a couple minutes, just pop in,'” Reid said. “I told them what happened with his birthday party."
Harrisburg Fire Capt. Joe Yowler said he called all three crews to surprise the family.
He said he quickly grabbed birthday balloons and cupcakes and waited, along with other firefighters, for Jackson's arrival.
"As a parent, I was thinking about how devastating it was on both sides,” Yowler said. “Like, a 3-year-old is thinking all week about it being their birthday and having this big party and then not having it. So how could we make this better for the parent and the kid, and I think it worked out pretty well."
Reid said she's thankful the firefighters went out of their way to show Jackson love.
"There's just no words for how much I appreciate them making my son’s day as special as they did. This is definitely the best party he's ever had."
Yowler said his team is thankful they got the opportunity to make Jackson's third birthday a memorable one.
"It was definitely emotional for her and uplifting for all of us just to see the appreciation,” Yowler said. “That they appreciated it and he had a heck of a time going through the ladder trucks and the engines and just climbing all over."
An Indonesian teenager survived 49 days adrift in the Pacific Ocean on a timber hut, surviving a 1,676-mile trip on limited supplies and a blue Bible, The Guardian reported.
In mid-July, Aldi Novel Adilang, 19, was working as a lamp keeper on a floating fish trap -- known as a rompong -- anchored 80 miles off the coast of North Sulawesi. Strong winds dislodged his anchor and sent his hut drifting aimlessly for seven weeks, according to 9 News Australia.
Aldi was rescued Aug. 31 when MV Arpeggio, a vessel from Panama, rescued him near Guam, the Jakarta Post reported. Ten ships had sailed past the teen, failing to see him as he waved for help, the newspaper reported.
“Every time he saw a large ship, he said he was hopeful, but more than 10 ships had sailed past him, none of them stopped or saw Aldi,” Indonesian Fajar Firdaus told the Post.
Aldi said he had only a few days worth of supplies when his boat swept out to the open ocean. He survived by catching fish and burning wood from his hut to cook them. He drank seawater through his clothes to minimize the salt, the Post reported. He also read from his blue Bible, The Guardian reported.
When he spotted the Arpeggio, Aldi waved a cloth, but when the ship did not acknowledge him he sent an emergency radio signal, The Guardian reported.
Because the boat was headed to Japan, Aldi was taken there first and arrived on Sept. 6. After a day of being quarantined, Aldi flew from Osaka, Japan, to Jarkarta. He arrived in Wori, Manado, and was reunited with his family on Sept. 8, the Post reported.
“Aldi’s story is indeed dramatic, and we are thankful to all -- the ship’s captain and the Japanese authorities -- that have been very helpful in ensuring Aldi’s return, Mirza Nurhidaya, the Indonesian consul general in Osaka, told the Post.
Florida's Brevard Zoo will release a 200-pound sea turtle named “Guacamole” into the ocean Monday.
The green sea turtle was found in February at Lori Wilson Park in Cocoa Beach. Guacamole had several cuts and was missing most of one of her flippers.
She was treated at the Brevard Zoo for seven months.
The zoo’s website said Guacamole is the first adult green sea turtle zoo employees have released.
Visitors can attend the release at 3 p.m. at Lori Wilson Park. Zoo officials said attendees are encouraged to wear green to show their support.
Amanda Reallan was waiting in the parking lot to pick up her children from school when she saw an act of patriotism she had to capture a photo of.
Three fifth-grade boys were struggling as they removed and worked to fold the American flag when one of them lay under it to make sure it did not touch the ground.
“We’ve had a bunch of close calls,” Jack LeBreck, the boy on the sidewalk, told KREM. “But I thought it would happen because it was kind of a windy day. So I just thought of lying down and seeing what would happen.”
The boys, who have all been involved in Cub Scouts, credited school custodian “Mr. Mac” for their reverence of the flag.
“What they did yesterday was obviously all them,” Mac McCarty told KREM. “And I’m very proud.”
McCarty, a veteran, helps select the children who raise and lower the flag.
“It’s really a great privilege,” Casey Dolan, one of the other selected, told KREM. “I feel really lucky I was chosen for it.”
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is spending $30 million to house 94 homeless and low-income families in south Seattle.
The Seattle Times reports that Allen’s donation to the Mount Baker Family Housing development is the largest funding piece for the project. Allen has been partnered with the project throughout its design process. Mercy Housing Northwest and Mary’s Place will help run the eight-story complex a block away from the Mount Baker Link light rail station. Half of the units are reserved for homeless families. The other half will be for low-income families of three.
The bottom floor will be a resource center for families who need help finding day care services, after-school programs or homeless diversion.
The construction project will cost $46 million in total. The Paul G. Allen Philanthropies donated the $30 million. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office is also providing $5 million to the project. Another $10 million is coming from a housing tax credit.
It’s the largest in a series of donations Allen has made in recent months which have drawn attention. His investment firm Vulcan donated $25,000 to help defeat the Seattle City Council’s head tax. Allen has also donated $100,000 to help Republicans keep control of the House. He is also helping to fund Blokable, a Seattle startup aiming to revolutionize affordable housing.
Allen’s donation comes nearly one week after another Seattle tech giant announced he is providing funds to tackle homelessness. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is targeting $2 million at organizations serving homeless communities, such as Mary’s Place. He is also using the money to fund “Montessori inspired” early childhood education centers in low-income areas.
A man wanted to celebrate his 91st birthday in high style. Very high.
Dr. Bill Weber, of Florida, is now the oldest known person to have climbed the summit of Devils Tower in Wyoming, the Casper Star-Tribune reported. Rob Kelman, 87, held the previous title, CBS4 reported.
The journey to the summit of Devils Tower took Weber 16 hours, the Casper Star-Tribune reported. Weber's two sons joined him on the epic adventure.
Weber was a veterinarian for 30 years before retiring and taking up a successful hobby in wildlife photography, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.
Weber said the climb was tougher than he expected. At points, he wondered if he would make it and thought, "If I croak while I’m doing this, at least I’ll die doing something I wanted to do, and I’ve had a good and long run,” Weber told the Casper Star-Tribune.
A 75-year-old Wisconsin man is giving new meaning to catnaps.
Terry Lauerman, of De Pere, has been volunteering at Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary in Green Bay for the last six months, and photographs of him fast asleep while several of the shelter’s cats snuggle up to him on couches have gone viral, the Green Bay Press Gazette reported.
Since then, Lauerman has been nicknamed “The Cat Grandpa.”
"I've always liked cats and I always had cats when I was kid, and I loved them," Lauerman told the Press Gazette. "In many ways, I see my old cats in these cats here."
Since posting the photos on its Facebook page, the shelter’s website has received more visitors and more than $20,000 in donations, Safe Haven founder Elizabeth Feldhausen told the Press Gazette.
Lauerman was shocked to hear the Facebook post had so many views -- more than 56,000 as of Friday morning, WITI reported.
"Now if all of those people would just donate $5 to help the kitties, that would make such a big difference," Lauerman said.
A 94-year-old Iowa native has been sweet to residents in his small town for more than 15 years. Bob Williams is known as the “Candy Bar Man” in Long Grove, and his kindness has been a sweet story to many residents.
Williams, who taught psychology in nearby Davenport for 39 years, stocks his refrigerator with 500 candy bars, the Des Moines Register reported. He makes a weekly trip to a Dollar General store, where he buys two cases for $45 on $5 discount days.
“Some wise people say you can’t take it with you. Do you believe that?” said Williams, who turned 94 on Sunday.
Williams got the idea to hand out candy bars after reading several newspaper stories about people who would “pay it forward,” the Register reported. Daily, he’d eat half a bar along with a banana and a glass of milk.
On one occasion, he bought three chocolate bars, so he handed out the others to random people in Long Grove, a town of 850 people. That was 6,000 Hershey bars ago, the Register reported.
“You’d think I’d given them keys to a new car,” Williams told the newspaper. “Honest to God, these people were thunderstruck.
“It made me feel warm.”
Williams played football at the Iowa State Teachers College (now known as the University of Northern Iowa) during the 1940s but went into the military during World War II, the Register reported.
Williams was wounded in western Czechoslovakia and got “40 percent disability, though my wife says I was closer to 80 percent.”
He married Mary Elizabeth Blazer on Sept. 9, 1944, in Ottumwa, Iowa, and delighted in giving her chocolate. They were married 68 years before she died in DeWitt, Iowa, on Sept. 18, 2012. She was 88. He visits her daily at a memorial bench along a bike trail in Long Grove, the Register reported.
Every Saturday, Williams buys some Hershey’s milk chocolate bars. He hands two to the cashiers, one to the person behind him in line, and then heads out to pass out the rest, CNN reported.
Williams said people are grateful to receive them.
“I’ve only had three people decline in 15 years,” Williams told the Register. “One was a little girl in the store with her dad. On the way out, I complimented her father for training her right — to suspect old men.”
“It puts a smile on their face,” Williams says in a video that Hershey’s made about him. “It just makes me feel good.”Hershey’s also gave Williams $1,500 so he could keep buying the chocolate bars, the Register reported, and a company official joined him for his birthday party last weekend.
“I came out smelling like a rose,” he told the newspaper. “And I get a lot of hugs. I’m 94. So those hugs are welcome.”
Hershey’s chief marketing officer, Jill Baskin, told Ad Age that Williams’ example of kindness “sort of became our North Star.”
Jan Hartwig-Heggen, a retired second-grade teacher, loves the idea of Williams’ acts of kindness.
“I just think there is no barrier then,” Hartwig-Heggen told the Register. “It just takes that smile on his face to radiate on another person’s face. It doesn’t stop with chocolate. It opens the door to establishing friendships.”
Williams is a major part of that sweet story.
“A lot of people have said we need more sharing and smiling and patting people on the back,” Williams told the Register. “I hope everybody picks up on that. We need to lighten up and smile a bit more. Share whatever you can with people. There is no charge for that last bit of advice.”
Two people who fought one of life’s hardest battles together are now celebrating one of life’s most wonderful gifts: love.
Joel Alsup and Lindsey Wilkerson Alsup met 25 years ago at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
The pair became fast friends and comforted each other while undergoing months of treatment.
Fast forward several years: their bond became even stronger when they accepted positions at the hospital where they’d met.
Joel works in the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities communications department, while Lindsey works as a patient liaison assistant.
The couple exchanged vows on Sept.1, 2018, at the very place they say saved their lives.
The video is called "The Westbrook Family." Nina lets out the news they're having twins 2:12 into the video. Russell mentions they will be girls at the 2:28 mark.
The couple already have a 1-year-old son named Noah.
Russell had arthroscopic knee surgery last week. The seven-time All-Star and former MVP is expected to miss preseason and may not be ready for the start of the regular season. The Thunder's first game is Oct. 16 at Golden State.
Members of the United States Coast Guard rescued 10 furry friends from floodwaters that came during Hurricane Florence.
USA Today reported that beagles were in cages as a trailer was underwater in Riegelwood, North Carolina.
The dogs’ owners, Josephine Horne and her husband, Jackie Horne, were rescued first, brought on board a 16-foot Coast Guard punt boat. Another boat came by and Coast Guard member Mitchell Moretti rushed to rescue a beagle.
“If we would have gotten here just a few minutes later, I don’t know if these guys would have made it,” Moretti said.
Soon the boat was filled with the dogs.
“We got a boat full of beagles!” crew member Tyler Elliott said. “This is the best day of my life!”
Horne told USA Today she and her husband initially evacuated to a relative's home, but went back to their trailer once it looked like the storm died down.
“It looked like everything was fine. It was fine,” she said. “It’s like this came out of nowhere all at once.”
A neighbor’s four pit bulls were also rescued.
A Tennessee truck driver is being hailed as a hero after he rescued 64 shelter dogs and cats ahead of Hurricane Florence.
According to the Greenvale News, Tony Alsup, 51, from Greenback, Tennessee, drove a school bus to South Carolina last week as the deadly storm strengthened in the Atlantic. Once there, he stopped in Orangeburg, Georgetown, Dillon and North Myrtle Beach, picking up 53 dogs and 11 cats from area animal shelters.
“It’s so easy for people to adopt the small pets and the cuties and the cuddly,” Alsup, of Tony's Emergency Animal Rescue and Shelter, told the Greenvale News. “We take on the ones that deserve a chance even though they are big and a little ugly. But I love big dogs, and we find places for them.”
He drove them to a shelter in Foley, Alabama, which will distribute the animals to other shelters across the nation, the newspaper reported.
Saint Frances Animal Center in Georgetown praised Alsup in a Facebook post Tuesday.
"It's all true," the post said of Alsup, who also has saved animals from hurricane-hit Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida. "Tony swooped in at 4 a.m. Wednesday morning to pick up our 'leftovers' – the dogs with blocky heads, the ones with heartworm. The ones no one else will ever take. And he got them to safety. Not the most conventional evacuation, but surely the one with the most heart."
A California teen is being lauded for doing the right thing.
Rhami Zeini, 16, was going home after school last week when he saw a black purse in the middle of a road, KCOY reported.
Instead of ignoring the purse, he grabbed it and looked for any identification that would tell him who owned the bag. He also found it stuffed with cash to the tune of $10,000.
He took the purse to police after speaking with his parents.
“To me, I figured this is the right thing to do if I take it and find whoever’s purse it was because if the roles were reversed and I had lost something with a significant sum of money inside, I know I would want it back for sure,” Zeini told KCOY.
Police were able to track down the owner of the purse.
For Zeini’s troubles and honesty, she gave him a $100 reward, KCOY reported.
Sheriff’s deputies say that the woman was going on a hike and left her purse on the roof of her car and drove away, KCOY reported.
While a Lawrence police officer was making sure his community was safe on Thursday as gas explosions were happening throughout the area, his own home went up in flames.
Officer Ivan Soto saw his own home get engulfed in the fire but said once he knew his family was safe, he went right back to work.
"We didn’t know how many more houses were gonna blow up," Soto told Boston 25 News. "I knew my family was OK, so as long as they were OK, I wanted to make sure everyone else’s family was OK."
One of Soto's daughters was home from school when she heard the explosion and saw smoke filling the basement.
"While I'm on the phone with her, she panicked because she felt the explosion," Veronica Soto, Ivan Soto's wife, said.
The daughter escaped the fire, but sadly, the family lost their two cats.
"We lost everything material, which can be replaced," Veronica Soto said. "We did lose our fur babies, which that, that’s the hardest part."
Neighbors created a GoFundMe for the Soto family, raising more than $55,000.
While Ivan Soto's house was burning to the ground, he was out trying to help other families.
He was one of the first responders who tried to save 18-year-old victim Leonel Rondon, who died after getting stuck under a chimney when a house exploded.
"We jumped on the car, and we were trying to pull the chimney," Ivan Soto said. "We just want to get it off of him, you know. We wanted to save him."
The teen died at the hospital, and while Ivan Soto appreciates the donations and support coming in for his family after losing their home, he hopes the community shares the love and helps the teen's family after the tragic death.
"I just wanna make sure that Leo's family is taken care of, too, and people can donate," he said.
Soto said he's going to share a GoFundMe for the Rondon family after the death.
A North Carolina couple whose wedding was rescheduled due to Hurricane Florence have made sure their flowers won’t go to waste.
The couple, along with their florist, donated the floral arrangements to patients at Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute in Concord, WSOC reported.
As each patient finished their chemotherapy or infusion treatment, they were given their pick of the arrangements.
“Anytime anyone does anything nice for someone who’s going through cancer, it’s wonderful,” said patient Patricia Riser. “And flowers, of course, are just great. And everybody, everybody loves flowers, and I love flowers, too.”
Riser sent her thanks to the couple.
“I think it’s wonderful that you thought enough of someone else, especially during this time that you’re going through because you had to cancel your wedding, that you were thoughtful enough to think of someone else. It’s just amazing that people can do that when they’re going through things too, and we learned that not only are we going through something but other people go through things, too,” Riser said.
Atrium Health’s Laura Blackwell called it a bright spot for patients, WSOC reported.
“The patients were thrilled when they saw all the beautiful flowers being brought in. We’re happy to know that they were going to (be) able to get those flowers when they left today from their infusion,” she said.
While North Carolina remains under the cloud of now-Tropical Storm Florence, the patients who took home those fresh flowers will have a reminder that there are good things in the world.
“To think they would be so generous that they would want to contribute to the community and be so concerned about the joy of people they didn’t know is pretty special,” Blackwell said. “That doesn’t happen very often and it’s always a blessing to be able to see that.”
A reporter for a North Carolina television station interrupted a Facebook Live video to rescue a dog in knee-deep floodwaters, CNN reported.
Wilson can be heard asking the woman, who said her name was Tasha, “"Do you think that is safe?"
"It's my daughter's therapy dog. I have no choice," the woman said.
Wilson continued to report during her live feed but stopped when she saw Tasha having trouble moving the dog, WTVD reported.
"Can we pick this one up?" Wilson asks in the video, handing the camera to Tasha while picking up the dog.
"You are OK baby girl," Wilson said to the dog as she carried her to safety, WTVD reported. "Nobody is leaving the dog in this mess. That's what we are doing out here."
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