The Wonderful Education System of America
Teresa Danks is a 3rd grade teacher in Tulsa, Oklahoma and was spotted standing on a street corner - begging for money - for school supplies. Danks says she spends between $2,000 and $3,000 of her $35,000 annual salary on supplies for her students in a state that's notorious for low teacher pay. But while she brought in $55 in just over five minutes on the streets, the cash itself isn't the only goal. Danks wants to raise awareness about the strapped financial situation that educational workers in her state find themselves in. She says, "We don't want to call it [begging], but this kind of shows it is." Supplies she's looking to acquire to stock her classroom for the fall, among others: beads, egg cartons, yarn, and board games, as well as bigger-ticket items such as a microwave and dorm fridge. (KRMG)
Student Code of Conduct?
It seems like 21-year-old Nick Lutz's ex-girlfriend was trying to be nice. She wrote him a four-page apology letter and left it on his car. But rather than accept the apology, Nic, a senior, graded the letter - giving it a D- but stating his ex could revise it for "half credit." Then he tweeted a photo of the edited letter with the caption: "When your ex writes you an apology letter so you grade it to send it back." The tweet went viral, with more than 121,000 retweets, and Lutz's story was picked up around the world. Lutz never mentioned his girlfriend's name in the tweet or the subsequent interviews, and that seemed like the end of it. But on July 8, Lutz received word from the University of Central Florida that he was suspended for two semesters for violating the student code of conduct! Apparently, his ex-girlfriend felt she was being cyberbullied. After first trying to take her case to the sheriff's office, she then went to UCF, where she isn't a student. Lutz's lawyer, Jacob Stuart, says the school is violating his client's First Amendment rights. "There was nothing derogatory about it," Stuart tells the Herald. "It was obvious he was making fun of her, but that's the beauty of the constitution." In addition to the suspension, Lutz was put on probation until graduation, assigned a mentor, and told to create a presentation and write a paper on the "impact" of what he did. Lutz is appealing the punishment and stands by his tweet. (Miami Herald)
Still Wanna Go to the Petting Zoo?
Tragedy in Minnesota when shortly after visiting a petting zoo, 5-year-old Kade Maresh and his 3-year-old sister, Kallan, began vomiting and had nonstop diarrhea. After several emergency room visits, they were rushed by ambulance to the University of Minnesota's children's hospital, where they both fought for their lives. They had contracted an especially dangerous strain of the E. coli bacterium, which led to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) after shiga toxins targeted tiny blood vessels and hampered their bodies' ability to transfer oxygen in red blood cells. Kallan, who would have turned 4 next month, soon died of multi-organ system failure, and her brother remains in critical condition, struggling to survive. Most kids exposed to this strain of E. coli get better, but 10% to 15% don't, even after seeking medical care. Authorities are still investigating to determine where the siblings contracted the bacterium, which lives on cow feces and tends to be transmitted through food or in contaminated pools or lakes. In an "abundance of precaution," the petting zoo they visited took the animals off display. (Star Tribune)
And You Thought Game of Thrones Was Out There
When you're the creators of a show as successful as Game of Thrones - the network usually will hit you up for another show. David Benioff and DB Weiss say they've got their next HBO project already figured out and will start work on it after the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones (season seven just started). The new show will potentially be even more controversial. It's called Confederate, and is based on the premise of what would have happened had the South successfully seceded during the Civil War, allowing slavery to exist in modern-day America. Much of the action will revolve around the Mason-Dixon Demilitarized Zone and the Third American Civil War. Immediate reaction is all over the map, but most are willing to at least take a wait and see approach. (Rolling Stone)
We Call As Our First Witness, the Parrot?
A jury has convicted a western Michigan woman of first-degree murder in the shooting death of her husband in a crime apparently witnessed by the man's pet parrot. The Newaygo County jury deliberated about eight hours before finding 49-year-old Glenna Duram guilty of killing 46-year-old Martin Duram. He was shot five times in May 2015. Glenna Duram suffered a head wound in what prosecutors said was a suicide attempt, but survived. Martin Duram's ex-wife, Christina Keller, has said that after the slaying, the African grey parrot, Bud, repeated "don't (expletive) shoot" in Martin Duram's voice. Keller took ownership of the bird after Martin Duram's death and the pet was not "used" in court. Duram is due to be sentenced Aug. 28 on the murder and a felony firearm charge. (WOOD)
T-Rex: Suddenly Not So Tough
Just maybe Jurassic Park had us all fooled. Apparently outrunning a Tyrannosaurus Rex in a Jeep would've been easy as pie because, well, T. Rex couldn't run. While previous estimates suggested T-Rex could move up to 45 miles per hour - scientists at the University of Manchester used advanced computer simulations to come up with the most accurate assessment yet. Taking into account the beast's muscles and skeleton, they discovered running would've been "impossible" without a T. Rex's legs buckling under its 7-ton weight. Study author William Sellers says T. rex instead walked at a pace of up to 12 miles per hour - a fast jog for humans and less than half of Usain Bolt's top speed of 27.8mph. As a researcher not involved in the study tells National Geographic, there's "no way T. Rex could have chased down that Jeep in Jurassic Park if it was going at highway speeds. Maybe if it was in first gear, but even that's a big if." (BBC)
The Fix is In? At Wimbledon?
A report last year rocked the tennis world say that match-fixing was a real problem in the sport. But at Wimbledon? The sport's independent watchdog group believes that three matches during this year's event seemed a little fishy and are being investigated. The Tennis Integrity Unit didn't name names, but it said two of the matches took place during qualifying rounds and the third in the main round. In a release, it stressed that this doesn't mean the matches were fixed, only that it had received alerts about strange betting behavior that warranted a closer look. In addition to the Wimbledon matches, one at the French Open also is under investigation. (USA Today)
What the What?
A Pennsylvania judge has sentenced Daniel and Savilla Stoltzfus to up to seven years in prison each for giving their oldest daughter to a cult-like figure who sexually assaulted the girl and her five sisters. Bucks County Judge Jeffrey L. Finley called the Stoltzfus' actions were unimaginable adding, "The idea, again, that an individual in any community would hand off their children into the bed of another person is just incomprehensible." Authorities said the couple "gifted" their oldest girl to Lee Donald Kaplan, 52, because he helped them out of financial trouble when they broke with their Amish faith. Kaplan fathered two children with the girl, the first when she was 14. She is now in her late teens. Jurors convicted Kaplan on all 17 counts of rape of a child, statutory sexual assault, and other offenses last month, a year after a neighbor's tip prompted authorities to search Kaplan's Feasterville home. Prosecutors said Kaplan brainwashed the family, casting himself as a prophet, and created a world in which "child rape was the norm." He will be sentenced later this year. (Newser)