But the 89-year-old World War II veteran may have outdone himself this week.
Carasella, of Jeannette, Pa., made 150 pounds of gnocchi by hand for Sacred Heart Church to host a fund-raising dinner on Saturday. That’s 8,000 of the potato-and-flour dumplings.
Producing them at about 10 pounds per hour in his basement, Carasella understandably had his five children and their families help him. Recent hospital visits for a bleeding incident and a broken thigh slowed him down, as well.
“I was going to make sauce but I don’t have time,” he told The Huffington Post.
Asked why he chose to donate gnocchi, he answered simply, “Because I’m a full-blooded Italian.”
Carasella is no stranger to cooking on a large scale. While working as a firefighter in the 1960s, he founded Maria’s Products, a regional purveyor of pasta sauce and noodles. At its peak, Maria’s distributed to 22 stores, he said.
Even while running the business and climbing to the rank of fire chief, Carasella still found time to give back to the community through his culinary skills, passed down from his mother.
He cooked pasta dinners and donated sauces for the Kiwanis Club, Salvation Army, American Legion and churches. He cooked for those who had nothing.
Now he’s helping his church gather funds to celebrate its 125th anniversary next year.
He’s thrilled to pitch in and happy to discuss his charity work. But when HuffPost asked him for his gnocchi recipe, he clammed up. “It’s registered with the Department of Agriculture,” he said.
(Hat tip, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
This 5-year-old boy from the UK may have found a way.
Story continues after photo.
Toby Little, of Sheffield, England, is reaching out to every country in the world through a campaign of handwritten letters. He’s determined to contact at least one person from each of the UN’s 193 nations — and get a response back.
Toby’s mission began earlier this year with a reading assignment from school. His mother, Sabine Little, told The Huffington Post via email:
In the UK, children bring books from school to read at home. Back in May, he chose a book called “A Letter to New Zealand,” which describes the journey a letter takes. After reading it, he asked, “Mummy, can I write a letter to New Zealand?” –- and while I was still trying to work out how I might wing that, he said, “Can I write a letter to the whole world?”
At first she thought his enthusiasm for the project would wane, but 239 letters later, Toby is still going strong.
So far he’s written to 187 countries and heard back from 66 of his contacts. He now has a website called “Writing to the World” where he and his mother track his progress.
“Every country we find is celebrated as a success -– more so, the further along we get -– there are only six missing now!” Sabine Little wrote.
But Toby’s project won’t end there. The 5-year-old also wants to find a way to help the people he’s connected with.
“When we started writing letters, we kicked off with easily accessible, first-world countries,” his mother added. “Suddenly, we got an address for Somalia. When we researched the country, Toby was sad and asked what he could do to help. Together, we looked for a charity whose work was accessible to children.”
Toby chose ShelterBox, a charity that provides for families and children who have lost everything due to disasters. Just today, Toby met his goal of raising $950 (£590) for a shelter box containing all the resources a hard-hit family might need. And his fundraising won’t stop there.
“I want the world to be a better place,” Toby told Good Morning America.
What’s the next goal for a boy who’s already reached almost every country in the world?
“If you ask Toby, he’ll tell you that it is to visit all the countries!” Sabine Little wrote.
Carry on, Toby!
H/T: Yahoo! News
Trooper, a pit bull, has 35 staples in his head from where he was stabbed. He was taken in by Marley’s Mutts, based in Bakersfield, California, where he had to work to recover from the stab wounds and a severe respiratory infection.
Marley’s Mutts described Trooper’s wounds on their Facebook page:
His wound was so severe, so deplorable, that I wondered, very honestly, whether he’d have the resolve to forgive and forget. Remember that it wasn’t a paper cut he was recovering from but 10inch, muscle deep gash that ran half the circumference of his head!! The injury is clean, a straight cut which our vets believe was human inflicted, most likely with a knife.
But when it came time for him for to be adopted by his new family, who live in a ranch north of Denver and reportedly love pit bulls, disastrous floods slammed Colorado and delayed the meeting.
“The flooding situation effected everyone in that area. They live just north of Denver but I know it directly effected them to a great degree not to mention their vehicle so it’s a positive story obviously for Trooper because this is a kind of dog we could have had for years,” Zach Skow, executive director of Marley’s Mutts told 7News.
A last minute addition to the happy ending is that another pit bull named Tanner will be going to a new home too.
Tanner’s adoptive family lives in Wisconsin but will be meeting their new pooch in Colorado.
It may seem like you are a superhero, and to your child, you probably are. People may share your words on Reddit — not once, but several times — and you’ll go viral because love like this is too beautiful not to share.
Some people may even call you the “best dad EVER,” but as anyone with kids knows, this is what parenting is all about.
At the very center of this unprecedented crisis are our nation’s amphibians and reptiles, with 1 in every 4 now considered at risk of extinction.
It was only 30 to 40 short years ago that hikers reaching many high-mountain lakes in the Sierras were greeted by the raspy croaks of hundreds of yellow-legged frogs.
Now these frogs have declined by about 90 percent and you’d count yourself lucky to hear one.
How could that possibly have happened — way up there — in such a short period of time?
The answer: A combination of toxic pesticides wafting up from agricultural fields below, a killer disease brought from another continent, introduced fish and habitat loss.
Yellow-legged frogs are hardly alone. The boreal toad has been reduced to less than 1 percent of its historic breeding areas in the southern Rockies. The Western pond turtle, once common from Washington to Baja California, now occurs in just a handful of locations.
And those kinds of alarming declines are hitting amphibians and reptiles across the nation in all 50 states. That’s why I analyzed the nation’s most imperiled amphibians and reptiles for a report released this week titled “Dying for Protection: The 10 Most Vulnerable, Least Protected Amphibians and Reptiles in the United States.”
The report details the population declines and ongoing threats that have left once-common species like a 2-foot-long eastern salamander, a colorful northeastern turtle and a Florida lizard now threatened by sea level rise all spiraling toward extinction.
The challenge of recovering imperiled populations of animals, along with restoring the health of the environments we share with them, is daunting. But with the help of the Endangered Species Act, which has prevented the extinction of 99 percent of the plants and animals it protects, we can begin the work of turning things around.
And there’s much work to be done. Despite their dire condition, amphibians and reptiles make up only 61 of the approximately 1,400 U.S. species protected under the Endangered Species Act.
To help correct that imbalance, the Center for Biological Diversity and several internationally renowned conservation scientists, including E.O. Wilson and Thomas Lovejoy, filed a petition last year seeking Endangered Species Act protection for 53 of the nation’s most threatened species of amphibians and reptiles. In 2011 the Center signed a landmark settlement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that is speeding protection decisions for 757 species, including dozens of amphibians and reptiles.
The 10 species included in this new report are among the neediest of the many reptiles and amphibians still waiting for the lifesaving protection of the Act. They need our help now if they’re going to survive.
Early this year Endangered Species Act protection was proposed for two species of yellow-legged frogs, along with more than a million acres of critical habitat essential for their protection and recovery. But despite the dire state of the frog’s population and ecosystem, radically conservative congressmen in California are leading a short-sighted push to limit the frog’s critical habitat.
Contrary to their fictional, fear-mongering claims that protecting the frog could close down large stretches of the California federal lands to public use, quite the opposite is true: Protecting our amphibians and reptiles will always be a good way not only to protect these animals but to protect the environments we share with them, and the jobs, of all kinds, provided by their delicate, irreplaceable ecosystems.
Over the long term, one of the strongest jobs protection programs we’ve got is the Endangered Species Act.
All we have to do is use it.
A pet pig affectionately nicknamed Kevin Bacon is still on the loose more than two weeks after it first escaped from its teenage owners in New Jersey.
The 2-month-old porker had been adopted by a group of seniors at Kingsway Regional High School in Woolwich Township, according to CBS Philly. Kingsway student Angel Ekpo, as well as a handful of kids from the class of 2014, had hoped to make the pig the school’s unofficial mascot. (The official mascot is a dragon.)
“We figure the school’s principal and assistant principals would eventually be like ‘oh this is a cute idea,’” classmate Cassandra Hagstoz told CBS Philly.
Perhaps to sweeten the deal, the group had planned to name the piglet Dubbs, after assistant principal Edward Dubbs, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The friends adopted the pig on Sept. 3, according to the Inquirer. The trouble began when Dubbs was brought to a temporary pen at the home of student Shane Murray.
“[The farmer] warned us,” Hagstoz told the Inquirer. “He said, ‘Watch out. The pig’s pretty fast.'”
Murray noted that Dubbs easily ran circles around his hapless human owners.
“We tried cornering it in my backyard, but it goes out into Locke Avenue in Swedesboro and then it just darts into the woods,” Murray told the South Jersey Times. “We tried chasing it multiple times and, darn that thing is fast. I never knew how fast a pig could be.”
Since then, Dubbs has been spotted repeatedly in the area, and as his fame has grown so has his fan base. One particularly enthusiastic group of admirers even created a Facebook page for the pig, renaming him “Kevin Bacon” and posting updates on his known whereabouts.
Owen Sturm, the assistant manager of Gloucester County Animal Control, told the Inquirer that catching Kevin “Dubbs” Bacon may not be easy.
“It can be tricky,” Sturm told the South Jersey Times. “It all depends on the pig.”
Tiny, frail Jordan is almost 20 years old, has no teeth or a lower jaw, and is blind in one eye. She was dumped at a shelter in 2012 and scheduled to be euthanized.
Minnie, who is between 12 and 14 years old, was surrendered to a shelter in 2013 with a tumor in her belly that weighed as much as she did: three pounds. The little Chihuahua also had mammary cancer, likely from being overbred.
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And while Chance may not be a senior dog, the young shepherd suffers from advanced cerebellar hypoplasia; he’s missing 95 to 98 percent of his cerebellum. When he was left at a shelter in Fort Worth, Chance was unable to eat or drink on his own, couldn’t walk, and his little bobble head would knock into the metal walls of his cage from his lack of coordination.
All three dogs were deemed unadoptable and were going to be put down.
But then a miracle happened.
And that miracle was Dawn Enriquez, founder of Bark-N-Rest retirement center and hospice for senior, special needs, and terminally ill dogs. She rescued Chance, Minnie, and Jordan from death row and brought them to Bark-N-Rest to be cared for, and most importantly, loved.
Since 2009, Enriquez and her small team of volunteers (including a volunteer groomer) have rescued 36 death row dogs, three of which were later adopted out as healthy seniors. Twenty-two dogs have passed, and the remaining 11 are being cared for at one of Bark-N-Rest’s three foster homes in Texas.
Story continues after photo.
Bark-N-Rest was started after Enriquez’s dog, Gidget, died from cancer. Gidget, who was adopted by the Enriquez family from a shelter in 2007, had been listed as young and healthy. Unfortunately Gidget was actually neither young nor healthy; she was riddled with disease and very fragile.
Enriquez did everything she could to give her ailing senior dog a good quality of life, and when Gidget passed in 2009, the idea for Bark-N-Rest was born. “I decided from this point on, I would only take in the terminally ill, deaf, blind, senior, and all-age special-needs dogs with life-altering disabilities that one one else wants,” she says.
Unlike other rescue groups that often deal with younger, healthier, and adoptable dogs, Enriquez is regularly faced with the decision to send her “residents” to the Rainbow Bridge when it becomes the most humane thing to do. She can never really know how long she’ll have with each dog, but believes that for most, the time they spend at Bark-N-Rest is often the only time in their lives that they’ve ever felt loved and secure.
“For me, it is much sadder for them to die alone, scared, confused and suffering in a shelter as just part of another day-to-day process. It’s worse than me having to make the call to send them peacefully with care and love to the Rainbow Bridge,” she explains.
The dogs all come from high-kill shelters as owner surrenders or strays with conditions that would make most of them unadoptable. But thanks to Bark-N-Rest — whose priority is to rescue the oldest and most disabled, and those who are terminally ill — dogs like Minnie and Chance do not have to die alone and unloved. “We take those who won’t recover but still need and deserve quality of life for what time they have,” Enriquez says, but she also makes sure to always choose quality of life over longevity. “I won’t allow dogs to suffer or go through painful procedures if the prognosis is too poor. It’s not fair.”
And while in the care of the foster families ready and willing to go the extra mile for Bark-N-Rest’s special residents, the dogs are made to be as comfortable and safe as possible. In Enriquez’s home where she fosters some of the dogs with neurological issues and arthritis, there are carpets with thicker padding, baby gates to block off stairs and thick, industrial nonskid fatigue mats for dogs like Chance (who requires round-the-clock, hands-on care).
Thanks to the care and unconditional love they receive at Bark-N-Rest, the residents often blossom from sad and depressed dogs into happy, thriving ones with a new lease on life.
Since arriving at Bark-N-Rest (following a short stay at Texas Star Rescue), sassy senior Jordan now has an appetite as big as her diva personality. Enriquez says she loves to lay around in the sun and walk around in the yard.
“Miss” Minnie underwent surgery to remove the mass in her tiny belly and it bought her some time and a better quality of life. She has terminal cancer, but will never have to worry about passing away alone, scared, and unloved. According to Enriquez, Minnie hates being left by herself for even a minute and her cry sounds like a newborn baby. She likes getting her way!
And despite missing almost all of his cerebellum (a case so severe it’s the first time documented in a live dog), Chance is defying medical odds and thriving in his new home. He must be fed and watered by hand, as well as be kept on soft surfaces because of his floppy head, but the young dog is expected to have a normal lifespan. He goes to swim therapy in a canine rehabilitation and conditioning center, and Enriquez reports that he’s happy and he wags his tail. Chance even has his own Facebook page, where fans can read his story and follow his progress.
But when it comes to taking care of multiple special needs and terminally ill dogs, funding is always a challenge. “Our average costs are around $800 per month, and many grants are only for healthy and adoptable animals,” Enriquez says. “So few funding sources, other than private fundraising, are available for the forgotten ones.”
Most of Bark-N-Rest’s residents will never be adopted out, but none ever have to worry about going back to a shelter. No matter their age or medical condition, all the dogs have a forever home at Bark-N-Rest.
“Any amount of time we have with them is a success, and a second chance to feel they matter and are loved.”
If you’d like to learn more about Bark-N-Rest and its residents, please visit its website and Facebook page. In addition to monetary donations (including an option to sponsor a specific resident), Enriquez says that food, supplies and beds are always needed and welcomed.
All photos via Bark-N-Rest’s Facebook page and courtesy of Dawn Enriquez.
About Crystal Gibson: A child-sized Canadian expat in France who is fluent in French and sarcasm. Owned by a neurotic Doxie mix, a Garfield look-alike, and two needy Sphynx cats. An aspiring writer and pet photographer with a love of coffee and distaste for French administration, she can be found blogging over at Crystal Goes to Europe.
The proposal would help reshape where Americans get electricity, away from a coal-dependent past into a future fired by cleaner sources of energy. It’s also a key step in President Barack Obama’s global warming plans, because it would help end what he called “the limitless dumping of carbon pollution” from power plants. Although the proposed rule won’t immediatedly affect plants already operating, it eventually would force the government to limit emissions from the existing power plant fleet, which accounts for a third of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Obama has given the Environmental Protection Agency until next summer to propose those regulations.
The EPA provided The Associated Press with details of the proposal prior to the official announcement, which was expected Friday morning. The public will have a chance to comment on the rule before it becomes final.
Despite some tweaks, the rule packs the same punch as one announced last year, which was widely criticized by industry and Republicans as effectively banning any new coal projects in the U.S.
That’s because to meet the standard, new coal-fired power plants would need to install expensive technology to capture carbon dioxide and bury it underground. No coal-fired power plant has done that yet, in large part because of the cost. And those plants that the EPA points to as potential models, such as a coal plant being built in Kemper County, Miss., by Southern Co., have received hundreds of millions of dollars in federal grants and tax credits.
Coal, which is already struggling to compete with cheap natural gas, accounts for 40 percent of U.S. electricity, a share that was already shrinking. And natural gas would need no additional pollution controls to comply.
“For power producers and coal mining companies that reject these standards, they have no reason to complain, and every excuse to innovate,” said Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., the author of a 2009 bill to limit global warming. The legislation, backed by the White House, passed the House, but died in the Senate.
The regulations have been in the works since 2011 and stem from a 1970 law passed by Congress to control air pollution. In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that that law, the Clean Air Act, could be applied to heat-trapping pollution. The EPA already has issued rules aimed at curbing global warming pollution from automobiles and the largest industrial sources.
An EPA official told the AP that the rule doesn’t specify any particular technology. But the official acknowledged that carbon capture was the only current technology available for a company to meet the threshold of 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per megawatt hour of electricity. To put that in perspective, a modern coal plant without carbon controls would release about 1,800 pounds per megawatt hour.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement of the rule had not been made.
The administration went back to the drawing board after receiving more than 2 million comments on its first proposal, which was legally vulnerable because it required coal and natural gas to meet the same limit. Coal and natural gas now have separate standards, but the latest proposal will almost certainly to be litigated once it becomes final, which the law requires the EPA to do in a year.
The legal argument likely will be based around whether carbon capture and storage is a demonstrated technology.
“EPA has set a dangerous and far-reaching precedent for the broader economy by failing to base environmental standards on reliable technology,” said Hall Quinn, president and CEO of the National Mining Association. The EPA regulation “effectively bans coal from America’s power portfolio,” he said.
The EPA will seek comments on whether to subject three coal plants in various stages of the development to the new standard, or treat them as existing sources. They are the Sunflower Electric Power Corp.’s facility near Holcomb, Kan., Power4Georgian’s planned Washington County, Ga., facility, and Wolverine Power Cooperative’s plans for a new power plant near Rogers City, Mich.
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On Monday, the body of a recently born calf was found dead in the pasture of the Kirschbaum family farm just outside Jamieson, Ore.
“In all my family’s time on the farm and from all the stories i’ve heard, we’ve never had anything like this before.” Heidi Kirschbaum, 31, who lives on the farm along with her four kids, parents, and siblings, told The Huffington Post.
“I just can’t believe it happened on our farm, we don’t have a lot of cows anymore,” Kirschbaum said, adding that the family currently has 15-20 cows on the farm.
Kirschbaum’s sister-in-law was the first to discover the rare cow on the farm’s grassy pasture. The two women then decided to preserve the animal’s body and hauled it back to their freezer via a four-wheeler to wait and decide what to do with its body.
A local veterinarian interviewed by KTVB said this finding is definitely rare, and most likely a genetic mutation.
“They do happen, and usually it’s a twin that kind of formed together,” veterinarian Katrina Abbott, of the nearby Vale Veterinary Clinic, told KTVB.
An image of the two-headed calf proved good fodder for Heidi’s 5-year-old daughter’s kindergarten class show-and-tell on Wednesday.
The calf’s mother is reportedly doing fine after the fatal birth.
This isn’t the first sighting of a two-headed animal in the U.S. In 2011, a cow in Georgia also gave birth to a two-headed calf, and earlier this year, a two-headed turtle named Thelma and Louise was born at the San Antonio Zoo.
For years, skeptics have touted what looks like a slowdown in surface warming since 1998 to cast doubt on the scientific consensus that humans are cooking the planet by burning coal, oil and natural gas. Scientists and statisticians have dismissed the purported slowdown as a statistical mirage, arguing among other things that it reflects random climate fluctuations and an unusually hot year picked as the starting point for charting temperatures. They also say the data suggests the “missing” heat is simply settling – temporarily – in the ocean.
But as scientists study the issue, the notion of a slowdown has gained more mainstream attention, putting pressure on the authors of the new U.N. report to deal with it.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report is expected to assert that global warming is continuing. It is also expected to affirm with greater certainty than ever before the link between global warming and human activity.
Leaked documents obtained by The Associated Press show there are deep concerns among governments over how to address the purported slowdown ahead of next week’s meeting of the IPCC.
“I think to not address it would be a problem because then you basically have the denialists saying, `Look, the IPCC is silent on this issue,'” said Alden Meyer of the Washington-based advocacy group Union of Concerned Scientists.
In a leaked June draft of the report’s summary for policymakers, the IPCC said that while the rate of warming between 1998 and 2012 was about half the average rate since 1951, the globe is still heating up. As for the apparent slowdown, it cited natural variability in the climate system, as well as cooling effects from volcanic eruptions and a downward phase in solar activity.
But in comments to the IPCC obtained by the AP, several governments that reviewed the draft objected to how the issue was tackled.
Germany called for the reference to the slowdown to be deleted, saying a time span of 10 to 15 years was misleading in the context of climate change, which is measured over decades and centuries.
The U.S. also urged the authors to include the “leading hypothesis” that the reduction in warming is linked to more heat being transferred to the deep ocean.
Belgium objected to using 1998 as a starting year for any statistics. That year was exceptionally warm, so any graph showing global temperatures starting with 1998 looks flat. Using 1999 or 2000 as a starting year would yield a more upward-pointing curve. In fact, every year after 2000 has been warmer than the year 2000.
Hungary worried the report would provide ammunition for skeptics.
Many skeptics claim that the rise in global average temperatures stopped in the late 1990s, and their argument has gained momentum among some media and politicians, even though the scientific evidence of climate change is piling up: The previous decade was the warmest on record and, so far, this decade is even warmer, albeit slightly. Meanwhile, Arctic sea ice shrank to a record low last year, and the IPCC draft said sea levels have risen by 7.5 inches (19 centimeters) since 1901.
Many researchers say the slowdown in warming is related to the natural ocean warming and cooling cycles known as El Nino and La Nina. Also, a 2013 study by Kevin Trenberth at the National Center for Atmospheric Research found dramatic recent warming in the deeper oceans, between 2,300 and 6,500 feet.
“The heat is not missing,” said University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver, who is also a Green Party member of the British Columbia parliament. “The heat is there. The heat is in the ocean.”
The idea is that the energy trapped by carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases has to go somewhere on Earth, said Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer. But that heat energy will eventually make its way to the ocean surface and the air, putting surface warming back on the increasing track, he said.
“Energy will hide out in the ocean for a while before it pops out into the atmosphere,” Oppenheimer said.
For scientists studying the last 10 years, what’s been happening “is a cool question,” said U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist Gabriel Vecchi. But “anybody who tries to use the past 10 years to argue about the reality of global warming – which is based upon century-scale data – is just being distracting.”
Jonathan Lynn, a spokesman for the IPCC, declined to comment on the content of the report because it hasn’t been made final, but said it would provide “a comprehensive picture of all the science relevant to climate change.”
The IPCC draft report says it is “extremely likely” that human influence caused more than half of the warming observed since the 1950s, an upgrade from “very likely” in the last IPCC report in 2007.
A final version will be presented at the end of the panel’s meeting in Stockholm next week.
The IPCC’s conclusions are important because they serve as the scientific basis for U.N. negotiations on curbing emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. A global climate treaty is supposed to be adopted in 2015.
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