Before the surgery, the Star-Ledger reported, Ruggiero, who was 19 at the time, had a message for doctors: “I promised you I’m going to tap-dance again.”
He’s come through on that promise.
On Friday — three years after the amputation — Ruggiero appeared on ‘The Ellen Show’ to show the country just how well his recovery has gone.
Now 22, he dances on a metal post that his prosthetics craftsman made him.
He’s learned to adapt to his new circumstances.
He even has some new tricks up his sleeve.
Ellen understandably was impressed.
And when he finished his performance, Ellen had a big (OK, HUGE) surprise for him.
“I know the whole situation prolonged college, and that was expensive” Ellen said, “So our friends at Shutterfly want to help.”
Then, a $10,000 check came out.
Ruggiero will undoubtedly continue to inspire people — those with disabilities and without — to follow their dreams. Because he faced his challenge and came out on top.
“I’m a more beautiful dancer now,” Ruggiero told the Star-Ledger this past April. “I dance for life.”
Check out Ruggiero’s full performance:
The finding is part of the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health’s ongoing look into residential exposure to methyl bromide, a pesticide gas injected into the soil before planting that is being phased out under an international treaty. Some crops, namely strawberries, are still grown with the ozone-depleting pesticide.
The research found that pregnant women exposed to the pesticide in their second trimester gave birth to babies weighing an average of four ounces less than babies born to women not living near methyl bromide-treated crops.
The study looked at 442 women living within three miles of fields treated with methyl bromide in 1999 and 2000, when the pesticide was more frequently used. Nearly all of the women in the study were Latina and most had family incomes below the federal poverty level.
Fumigants like methyl bromide may drift in the air from farm fields, the study reported. The Montreal Protocol and the Clean Air Act phased out the pesticide in 2005, but exempted its use on certain crops, including strawberries.
California grows 80 percent of the nation’s strawberries. Scientists have pushed farmers to consider alternatives to the pesticide.
“This is very likely — because of its chemical structure — to be highly toxic,” John Froines, a chemist and professor of environmental health sciences at UCLA, told National Public Radio in 2010. “It is very worrisome, even frightening, to a chemist. And therefore it should be to the public as well.”
Earlier studies on rats and rabbits reached similar conclusions about methyl bromide’s effect on birth weight.
The California Department of Pesticide Regulations announced a plan in April to begin researching alternatives to fumigant use in strawberry growing in an effort to phase out methyl bromide.
“This plan is our road map to guide the research required to find production practices and tools necessary to maintain a viable strawberry industry without fumigants,” said DPR Director Brian Leahy in the statement. “It is imperative to speed up the timetable for developing more production tools in the face of tougher fumigation restrictions and increasing urban development near agricultural land.”
The California Strawberry Commission did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Wastewater authorities say wipes may go down the toilet, but even many labeled flushable aren’t breaking down as they course through the sewer system. That’s costing some municipalities millions of dollars to dispatch crews to unclog pipes and pumps and to replace and upgrade machinery. The problem got so bad in this western New York community this summer that sewer officials set up traps – basket strainers in sections of pipe leading to an oft-clogged pump – to figure out which households the wipes were coming from. They mailed letters and then pleaded in person for residents to stop flushing them.
“We could walk right up, knock on the door and say, `Listen, this problem is coming right from your house,'” said Tom Walsh, senior project coordinator at South & Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer Districts, which was dispatching crews at least once a week to clear a grinder pump that would seize up trying to shred the fibrous wipes.
The National Association of Clean Water Agencies, which represents 300 wastewater agencies, says it has been hearing complaints about wipes from sewer systems big and small for about the past four years.
That roughly coincides with the ramped-up marketing of the “flushable cleansing cloths” as a cleaner, fresher option than dry toilet paper alone. A trade group says wipes are a $6 billion-a-year industry, with sales of consumer wipes increasing nearly 5 percent a year since 2007 and expected to grow at a rate of 6 percent annually for the next five years.
One popular brand, Cottonelle, has a campaign called “Let’s talk about your bum” and ads showing people trying to wash their hair with no water. It ends with the tagline: “You can’t clean your hair without water, so why clean your bum that way?”
Manufacturers insist wipes labeled flushable aren’t the problem, pointing instead to baby and other cleaning wipes marked as nonflushable that are often being used by adults.
“My team regularly goes sewer diving” to analyze what’s causing problems, said Trina McCormick, a senior manager at Kimberly-Clark Corp., maker of Cottonelle. “We’ve seen the majority, 90 percent in fact, are items that are not supposed to be flushed, like paper towels, feminine products or baby wipes.”
Wastewater officials agree that wipes, many of which are made from plastic, aren’t the only culprits but say their problems have escalated with the wipes market.
Vancouver, Wash., sewer officials say wipes labeled as flushable are a big part of a problem that has caused that city to spend more than $1 million in the past five years replacing three large sewage pumps and eight smaller ones that were routinely clogging.
To prove their point, they dyed several kinds of wipes and sent them through the sewer for a mile to see how they would break up. They didn’t.
Those labeled flushable, engineer Frank Dick said, had “a little rips and tears but still they were intact.”
The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, which serves Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland, has also spent more than $1 million over five years installing heavy-duty grinders, while the Orange County, Calif., Sanitation District, in a single year recorded 971 “de-ragging” maintenance calls on 10 pump stations at a cost of $320,000.
Clogging problems in Waukesha, Wis., prompted the sewer authority there to create a “Keep Wipes out of Pipes” flier. And Ocean City, Md., and Sitka, Alaska, are among cities that have also publicly asked residents not to flush wipes, regardless of whether they are labeled flushable.
The problem got worldwide attention in July when London sewer officials reported removing a 15-ton “bus-sized lump” of wrongly flushed grease and wet wipes, dubbed the “fatberg.”
The complaints have prompted a renewed look at solving the problem.
The Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, the trade group known as INDA, recently revised voluntary guidelines and specified seven tests for manufacturers to use to determine which wipes to call flushable. It also recommends a universal do-not-flush logo – a crossed-out stick figure and toilet – be prominently displayed on non-dispersible products.
The wastewater industry would prefer mandatory guidelines and a say in what’s included but supports the INDA initiatives as a start. Three major wastewater associations issued a joint statement with INDA last week to signal a desire to reach a consensus on flushability standards.
“If I’m doing the test, I’m going to throw a wipe in a bucket of water and say it has to disintegrate,” said Rob Villee, executive director of the Plainfield Area Regional Sewage Authority in New Jersey.
Nicholas Arhontes, director of facilities support services in Orange County, Calif., has an even simpler rule for what should go down the toilet.
“Only flush pee, poop and toilet paper,” he said, “because those are the only things that sanitary sewers were really designed for in the old days.”
He will undergo a “routine outpatient procedure to removes [sic] single polyp from his throat,” Hamm’s rep told HuffPost Celebrity.
While the representative did not specify the exact location on the throat of Hamm’s polyp, vocal cord polyps are known to be a common condition among people who often use their voices — such as actors.
Vocal cord polyps can best be thought of as “blisters” on the vocal cords — they are part of a group of noncancerous lesions, known as vocal cord lesions. Other vocal cord lesions include vocal cord nodules (which are calluses of the vocal cord) and vocal cysts (which is when scarring occurs over a duct, and then that duct becomes filled with mucus), according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Symptoms of vocal cord polyps include neck pain, having a “rough” or “scratchy” voice, fatigue, and changes in pitch range, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association reported. Polyps are often caused by long-term vocal abuse, though they can also be caused by a single incident of severe vocal abuse.
Therapy and surgery are the most common treatments for vocal cord lesions, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
“The George W. Bush Presidential Center has demonstrated true leadership in making energy conservation a top priority,” said Boxer, a strong advocate of action to address climate change, in a statement on Monday. “It was a pleasure to see first-hand the library’s innovative and energy efficient designs and to honor these important achievements with the Climate Hero Award.”
Both the Bush library and the William J. Clinton Presidential Center received Climate Hero Awards for achieving LEED Platinum certification, which requires green building design, construction, maintenance and operation.
“It is really terrific to receive the inaugural Climate Hero Award from Senator Boxer,” said former first lady Laura Bush in a statement. “It recognizes how hard we worked to achieve LEED Platinum certification.”
But during his administration, President Bush did not work that hard on energy conservation or global warming.
In 2001, shortly after he took office, Bush rejected the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, an international pact to address climate change.
Also in 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney secretly met with oil industry executives to help put together a national energy policy. Environmentalists said they were left out of those discussions.
James Hansen, who was then NASA’s top climate scientist, said in 2005 that the Bush administration had tried to silence him when he spoke out on the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to combat man-made climate change.
And as the San Francisco Chronicle reported in 2007, Bush Transportation Secretary Mary Peters directed a lobbying campaign to persuade governors and legislators to block California’s groundbreaking law limiting greenhouse gases from cars and trucks — all with White House approval.
Picture of Sen. Boxer (center) presenting the Climate Hero Award to Laura Bush (left) and former Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, who is now president of the George W. Bush Foundation (via Flickr):
Fourteen tiny panda cubs were on full display at China’s Chengdu Research Base for Giant Panda Breeding on Monday.
In total, 20 cubs were born at the breeding base and 17 survived this year. Because of their small size and difficulty to care for at birth, about 60 to 70 per cent die within their first week. In the wild, there’s also a high chance of being accidentally squished by their mamas, so often babies have a hard time surviving on their own.
Earlier this summer, the Atlanta Zoo said hello to two new baby cubs who were the first set of pandas to born in the U.S. since 1987. And although Canada hasn’t seen any newborns in the last couple of years, the Toronto Zoo did welcome two giant pandas in May.
A closer look at these cuties!
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