Aloysius Alaiza

Aloysius Alaiza has 1144 articles published.

Man Visits Shelter Dog Every Day for 2 Months to Earn Her Trust Before Fostering Her

in Animals/People 13 views

A man in Austin has fallen head over heels for a dog that’s heels over heads. Alva the dog has wobbler syndrome, but that didn’t stop Joe Rotunda from knowing they were meant to be together.

Arriving at Austin Pets Alive! in November 2020 at just 5 months old, Alva was flea-ridden, malnourished, and in need of a helping paw. She had a hard time standing and walking on account of the syndrome.

After almost 24 months of shelter stays and foster care, the rigors of her life with wobblers and multiple owners had made her self-protective, territorial, and shy.

Mr. Rotunda had originally seen Alva on APA’s Instagram, and felt he had to do something to help her.

“I just looked at her and said, ‘I bet everyone has given up on you,’” Rotunda allegedly told APA! “‘I’m not going to do that to you.’”

Nor did he, but instead visited her at APA every single day for two months to earn her trust in the hopes he could welcome her into his home for foster care. Seeing that there was a potential end to Alva’s difficulties, APA staff worked in the shelter to provide more accommodations for her Parkinson’s-like motor instability, in addition to a kind of physical therapy.

Eventually Rotunda got what he wished for, and Alva was able to move in with him and his other dog whom she also made friends with.

He outfitted his house with various ramps and padded corners to ensure she had a safe, maneuverable environment.

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Watertown pool attendance dipped this summer; city looks ahead to new Flynn pool

in Local News/Place 14 views

With temperatures cooling off last August, attendance at the city’s two pools took a big dip this past summer.

Attendance for both the Thompson Park pool and the Alteri pool at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds totaled 17,331 people, down from 26,690 the year before, according to a memo from Parks and Recreation Superintendent Scott M. Weller.

“August was an unseasonably cool month that saw attendance decrease 62% from July, and 57% from August of 2022,” Weller wrote in the memo.

On Monday night, council members discussed the pool attendance figures at length.

The Thompson Park Pool was open for 71 days with 13,957 people swimming there from May 27 to Aug. 24, while the Alteri pool was open for 68 days with 3,374 swimming from June 26 to Sept. 4. The pools had to close for 25 days due to rain.

Attendance at both pools declined, with 21,252, or about 7,000 fewer people, swimming at the park pool, and the Alteri pool was down 2,200 people, according to the memo.

Councilman Cliff G. Olney III blamed the unusually rainy and cool August for the poor pool attendance numbers, calling it one of the coldest summers of all time in the north country.

“We were doing pretty good to that point,” Weller said.

Olney believes that attendance will turn around with better weather in the future.

Both he and Councilwoman Lisa A. Ruggiero also recommended that the city do a better job at marketing the pools to attract more swimmers.

It was the first year that the city charged people living outside of the city. Charging non-city residents $3 individually and $2 per person for groups probably had some impact on attendance but not much, Weller said.

Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith reiterated his ongoing argument that the city does not need and cannot afford three pools.

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10-Year-old Girl’s Idea for a ‘Postbox to Heaven’ is Rolled Out Nationally Across Cemeteries in UK

in People 13 views

A young girl’s idea for a ‘postbox to heaven’ so she could write to her grandparents has been realized at cemeteries across the UK.

10-year-old Matilda Handy came up with the suggestion after both her grandparents died, five years apart.

Her mother, Leanne, approached the Gedling Crematorium in Nottingham last year with the idea—and they heartily responded by erecting an old post box painted white and gold just in time for Christmas.

The emotional endeavor proved so popular that they now have been rolled out across 40 sites in England, Scotland, and Wales.

“Matilda was the first person to put a message in our first memorial post box at Gedling last December,” said her mom, who works for the company.

“We had no idea then that, one year later, there would be a memorial post box at every one of Westerleigh Group’s sites—bringing comfort to people all over the country.”

Matilda’s grandmother worked for the post office, which made the first ‘Letters to Heaven’ box even more moving.

Soon after installation, more than 100 letters were dropped in the first box, which aimed to be a comfort to relatives longing for loved ones on anniversaries and holidays.

The idea has since been adopted by UK funeral directors, too, and Leanne said other countries are doing the same.

Matilda told SWNS news, “I am so thankful that our post boxes are able to help not just me and my friends and family but people all over the UK and as far away as Australia.”

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FedEx Delivers 300,000 Free Christmas Trees to Military Families With Annual Trees for Troops Program

in People/Transportation 13 views

FedEx is rolling down the highway to deliver Christmas joy to military families throughout America in the annual Trees for Troops program.

The freight company is delivering nearly 16,000 Christmas trees this month to families at over 90 military bases across the U.S.

Partnering with the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation, FedEx has also reached a special milestone with the program, delivering tree number 300,000 during a special celebration at Fort Liberty in North Carolina.

“Every year, the FedEx Freight team puts in tireless effort to support Trees for Troops,” said Lance Moll, President and CEO, FedEx Freight. “We are honored to give back to local communities and military families whose values have always been closely tied to the core mission of our company.”

Since 2005, FedEx Freight has supported the Trees for Troops program, an initiative that delivers farm-grown Christmas trees to domestic and international U.S. military bases. This long-standing collaboration has become a cherished tradition for FedEx Freight.

And drivers have logged over 600,000 miles to deliver the holly-jolly trees during the 18 year partnership.

“This program started on a crazy idea and started small. We delivered 4,300 trees to only five bases that first year,” said Wendy Richardson, Chair of the Christmas Spirit Foundation Board of Trustees. “It’s hard to believe we’re now going to exceed 300,000 total trees since we began working with FedEx 19 years ago.”

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Old Newsboys Day raises money for meals at Salvation Army

in Charity 17 views

On Friday, you might have driven past someone waving around a copy of the Watertown Daily Times newspaper and talking to passersby.

That is because it was the 77th anniversary of the Old Newsboys Day fundraiser, where volunteers took to the streets to sell donated copies of The Watertown Daily Times newspaper for at or above its $3 cover price, to anyone wishing to support the Salvation Army — one of the region’s most uplifting organizations.

The event is now dedicated in honor of David L. Bonney, who worked in the Times circulation department and was the organizer of the annual fundraiser for four decades. He died on July 16, 2022, at the age of 76.

Although Bonney is no longer here to organize the event, his passion for working on behalf of the community continues on.

Paul A. Simmons, president of the Watertown Salvation Army Board of Directors, said that their goal for this year was to raise between $25,000 to $30,000. By 2 p.m. Friday they were already halfway there, and Simmons said they would certainly be reaching their goal.

David Dailey, an organizer of the event, said that the money will continue to “trickle in over the next few weeks,” as donations are made.

Simmons said that the Salvation Army currently provides around 250 meals a day, five days a week — and some days the number is even higher, reaching up to 540 meals.

With that many people in need of meals, the Salvation Army can use all the help it can get to keep helping the community.

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Zoo New York holding Winter Wonderlights event every Friday and Saturday in December

in Event 18 views

Zoo New York in Thompson Park was back open to visitors this weekend for its fourth annual Winter Wonderlights.

The event started in 2020.

Lights could be seen all over the zoo, illuminating animal exhibits and walkways. Santa and Mrs. Claus were in attendance.

Ryan A. Ferris, director of guest experience for Zoo New York, said that even though the zoo has not been open it wanted to keep the tradition alive.

“With a group of a bunch of volunteers coming out, putting up lights, and then helping run this we were able to actually to put this on for the community,” he said.

There were eight volunteers and another six people on the Guest Experience Committee for the zoo that helped set up and make Winter Wonderlights a possibility.

Ferris said getting help from the volunteers “says a lot” because some of those people lost their jobs when the zoo closed.

“But they care so much about the zoo that they wanted to be here to help and actually move the zoo along with the fundraiser for it,” he said. “Them volunteering their time to come, man, says a lot not just about them, but about this zoo too.”

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NASA Turns Light into Sound Frequency Creating a Milky Way Symphony (LISTEN)

in Astronomy 22 views

A collaboration between NASA and musicians has seen a photograph of the Milky Way from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory turned into a musical piece after they matched the wavelengths of light to wavelengths of sound in order to show our home galaxy in a whole different light—namely a musical one.

While astronomers working with Chandra weren’t chilling out to the lo-fi beats of the Milky Way (feat. Supermassive Black Hole) when they took the photograph of the galactic center, it did dawn on them that they were producing a pretty false image, since they were imaging X-rays that can’t be seen by the human eye.

It’s been standard practice to color code various wavelengths of light, even if those don’t correspond to light our eyes would actually perceive, in order to disseminate X-ray space photographs to the public.

This time, Kimberly Arcand, an expert in astronomy visualization at the Center for Astrophysics, Harvard & Smithsonian, collaborated with several musicians to create a musical guide to interpreting the contents of the photograph.

The galactic center is just the most recent and expressive musical track, but many other features and regions of space have been “sonified” with the help of astrophysicist and musician Matt Russo, and sound engineer Andrew Santaguida who together run a project called System-Sounds that sonifies astronomical data.

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DPAO show turns Watertown stage into winter wonderland, complete with ‘ice’

in Entertainment 19 views

The 13 troupe members of Ice Creative Entertainment’s “Christmas Celebration on Ice” trudged through the snow to the Dulles State Office Building on Wednesday, where they hit the ice.

The ice, installed on stage Monday when the troupe arrived from Nashville, is artificial. But troupe members use real skates and their excitement is crystal clear for what they have planned for their debut performance in the traveling production for two shows on Saturday in Watertown.

“We’re excited to open in New York, and it’s snowing,” Alex Wilfand, founder of Ice Creative Entertainment and who has choreographed for Olympic-level athletes as well as celebrity figure skaters, said Wednesday. “It makes it very Christmassy, especially for some of us who aren’t even from this part of the country. It’s very nice.”

The Disabled Persons Action Organization will present “Christmas Celebration on Ice” at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday.

The troupe will then head to Ohio, and then back east, which will include stops on Long Island, in Maine and North and South Carolina.

Principal skater Luke Munana was a competitive ice dancer who represented Mexico in international competition with his sister Laura Munana. They competed for the United States until 2004. After that, they competed at the Four Continents Championships and the World Figure Skating Championships for Mexico, as well as competing on the Grand Prix circuit.

Before arriving on Monday, the troupe rehearsed off ice in Nashville, Munana said.

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Jobs, Not Jail: A Judge Was Sick of Sending Kids to Prison, So He Found a Better Way

in Employment/People 24 views

By the year 2000, Judge John Phillips had long since lost count of the number of minors he had sent through the California penitentiary system for crimes committed during a violent, unguided, and hopeless adolescence.

“You send these young people to prison, and they learn to become harder criminals,” he said once.

In 2003, he set out to find a better way—to get kids in an environment of support where they could pass through these difficult years with a hand on their shoulder. Phillips started Rancho Cielo at the base of a hill in the town of Salinas, utilizing an old juvenile detention center ironically, and with a board made up mostly of county supervisors, judges, and law enforcement leaders.

Rancho Cielo is a vocational training facility, culinary academy, and private school that only works with at-risk youth or youth living below the poverty line of $19,000 a year for a family of four.

At first, the organization running it would only take in adolescent offenders, but as the 21st century marched on, Salinas took several turns for the worse, and in 2015 saw more underage murders than anywhere else in the nation.

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Couple Plants 2 Million Trees in 20 Years to Restore A Destroyed Forest and Even the Animals Have Returned

in Enviroment 18 views

In 2001, the legendary photojournalist Sebastião Salgado had a dream of restoring the forest near his home in the state of Minas Gerais. Now 20 years later, his family property is a biodiverse paradise.

His work over long years saw him, his wife Lélia, and volunteers plant 20 million trees from 290 different species across over 1,500 acres of desiccated hillsides, recreating a natural forest ecosystem into which rare animals have now come to live.

Salgado’s story is a famous one. The photojournalist documented some of the most dramatic events of human misery of the 20th century. He authored half a dozen books, exhibited his photos around the world, and was the subject of a documentary Salt of the Earth. 

When he came home in 1998 after reporting on the exodus of the Rwandans into the Congo, the land around his family home had been completely destroyed.

“The land was as sick as I was—everything was destroyed,” Salgado told the Guardian back in 2015.

“Only about 0.5% of the land was covered in trees. Then my wife had a fabulous idea to replant this forest. And when we began to do that, then all the insects and birds and fish returned and, thanks to this increase of the trees I, too, was reborn – this was the most important moment.”

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