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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Older Couple Caught With 60 Pounds Of Pot Said It Was For Holiday Gifts: Police

A routine traffic stop in York County, Nebraska, on Tuesday turned out to be anything but routine.

That's because officers found 60 pounds of pot in the vehicle, which was occupied by an older couple traveling on Interstate 80, according to the York News-Times.

Deputies in York County stopped a Toyota Tacoma after it crossed the center line and the driver failed to signal. Deputies said they immediately smelled what appeared to be raw marijuana.

When drug-sniffing dogs confirmed their suspicion, officers searched the pickup and found the weed in boxes inside the pickup topper, the newspaper reported.

York County Sheriff's Department
Deputies in York County, Nebraska, stack evidence that they say came from inside the pickup they stopped on I-80.

York County sheriff's Lt. Paul Vrbka told the paper he estimated the confiscated cannabis to be worth about $336,000.

Patrick Jiron, 80, was arrested on charges of possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver and having no drug tax stamp, both felonies.

York County Sheriff's Department
Patrick Jiron, 80, was arrested in Nebraska.

Jiron was released after he posted 10 percent of his $100,000 bond, according to the York News-Times.

His wife, 70-year-old Barbara Jiron, was cited but not jailed due to what Vrbka described as "some medical issues."

Vrbka said the couple told police they were traveling to Vermont from Clearlake Oaks, California, and intended to give out the weed as Christmas presents, according to

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Friday, December 22, 2017

Will Pets Feel The Winter Solstice? Here's What You May Expect From Your Fur Bae

The shortest day of the year is almost here. Yes, that's right - The Winter Solstice is happening on Thursday, Dec. 21. It's the one day of the year where the Northern Hemisphere is most distant from the sun, which means it receives the least amount of daylight hours. Say hello to the darkness, because it'll be here before you know it. The Winter Solstice marks the astrological first day of winter. If you happen to have a pet at home, you know how a change in weather can affect them, so will pets feel The Winter Solstice?

You might not see a drastic change in your pet's behavior, but there will be a slight difference. Though, it's nothing you wouldn't see happening in yourself. For instance, if you've been noticing that you need that extra afternoon coffee during the winter, it can all lead back to the season. Daylight matters to us as humans, and it also matters to other mammals. According to Live Science, we rely on light to let our internal clocks know what time of day it is. If there is less light out, our internal clocks are thrown way off. It's like when someone wakes you up before your alarm clock goes off, and you have no idea what time it is.

It's Officially Time To Take A Cat Nap


Just as you will be needing more naps in the winter, you will be finding that your cat or dog will also be needing more naps. For any cat owner, you can't imagine your feline friend needing sleep time. Domesticated cats already sleep up to 16 hours a day.

The Winter Solstice will provide us with a little less than 10 hours of daylight, depending on where you are in the Northern Hemisphere. So, on average, your cat may very well be sleeping more hours in the day than there are hours of daylight.

You might even notice your pup is a little less active than normal, but who can blame them? It's cold and dark. I would want to curl up in my cozy bed and sleep, too. The winter is when you really notice your pet acting a little less peppy than usual.

Will The Longest Night Of The Year Make Your Pet Sad?


According to Live Science, people who have seasonal affective disorder, aka SAD, harbor melatonin for longer amounts of time throughout the winter. Melatonin is the sleep hormone that clues your body in on when it's time to head to sleep. Your body produces more of it at night, so you can blame the longest night of the year for why you'll be feeling a little sleepier on Winter Solstice day.

If you have SAD, your pet can actually suffer from it as well. According to Psychology Today, The People's Dispensary for Sick Animals conducted a survey that discovered about 40 percent of dog parents noticed their pets were a little more sad in the winter time. So, if you notice your pet needing to sleep more, this could be why.

What You Can Do With Your Pet For The Winter Solstice?


You can totally cheer your pup up if he's dealing with any wintertime blues. Spending more time with your dog or cat during The Winter Solstice will definitely make them happier. With the darkness outside, it's an easy excuse to stay at home and relax with your pet.

The Winter Solstice is a great night for watching a movie at home. Pick out something you know your dog or cat will enjoy watching as well. You can even make some festive winter treats for your pet that you know they will love.

If your pooch wants some fresh air, take him outside for a walk if it's not too cold out, and enjoy all of the holiday decorations. The Winter Solstice is signifying that winter is here, and you wouldn't want to spend it with anyone else but your furry best friend.

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Foster Mom Refuses To Put Her Tiny Pit Bull To Sleep After It Was Born A Little Bit Different

When a nurse practitioner in Westchester County, New York, welcomed a tiny newborn pit bull just barely clinging to life into her home, she knew there was an uphill struggle ahead of her. Marie DeMarco loved little Sasha all the same, though, and that love is what's pulling both of them through.

Born in early September with an obvious cleft lip and palette, Sasha was unable to nurse, and was already at risk of death on her very first day of life. Animal rescuer Courtney Bellew was called, and after recognizing Sasha's need for urgent care, she brought the poor thing to DeMarco, who had extensive experience nursing ill kittens. It was then discovered that Sasha also suffered from hydrocephalus (fluid buildup in the skull), an upper respiratory infection, a urinary tract infection, and orthopedic issues.

"She has an amazing will and determination," DeMarco told The Dodo. "Through all this, she really shouldn't be here."

Despite Sasha's harrowing first 3 and a half months, she's getting stronger every day, and even gets to wear adorable dresses and sweaters to stay warm. Scroll down to learn more about Sasha's story, and keep track of her progress on the official Facebook pages for FURRR 911 (Marie DeMarco's rescue agency) and SNARR Animal Rescue Northeast.

Meet Sasha, a 3-month-old pit bull who is defying all odds in her struggle to stay alive

Image credits: furrr911

Little Sasha's life got off to a rough start, as she was born with cleft lip and palette, making her unable to nurse

Image credits: S.N.A.R.R Animal Rescue Northeast

Animal rescuer Courtney Bellew saw her need for urgent care, and placed her with nurse Marie DeMarco

Image credits: S.N.A.R.R Animal Rescue Northeast

The bad news? Sasha also had fluid in her brain, as well as respiratory, urinary and orthopedic issues

Image credits: Penny The Peanut Pibble

The good news? DeMarco, who was experienced in caring for ill kittens, was prepared to help

Image credits: Penny The Peanut Pibble

3 and a half months into her life, Sasha is getting stronger by day, and has even gained weight

Image credits: furrr911

She even gets to wear fabulous dresses and sweaters to keep her warm!

Image credits: furrr911

"She has an amazing will and determination," DeMarco said. "Through all this, she really shouldn't be here"

Image credits: furrr911

Perhaps the most important element in Sasha's recovery has been the unconditional love surrounding her

Image credits: furrr911

"When I hold her and I'm kissing her, if I hold her near my face, she licks my nose"

Image credits: furrr911

Though Sasha has a long road ahead of her, she has all the support she needs to live as happily as other dogs

Image credits: furrr911

"She was dealt some bad cards in life… Boy, is she loved"

Image credits: furrr911

Some people left less-than-sensitive comments…

But DeMarco was quick to defend the bond between her and Sasha

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Woman Rescues And Bathes The 'Cat' She Found…But It's Definitely A Mountain Lion

Sometimes I think I've reached the limit of people's stupidity, but something always proves me wrong.

It's admirable to help lost or stray animals you find while going about your daily business, but it's pretty important to know the difference between the domestic and wild critters wandering around outside. One woman on Facebook recently claimed she had taken in a "cat," and the internet was stunned when she posted the picture.

"Found Lost cat Panhandle near Hudson Trail," she writes. "He was a little dirty so we are cleaning him up." And that's cute and all, BUT IT'S A MOUNTAIN LION.

She kept up the ruse, posting a picture of the cat "looking sad outside" in the comments section of her post. Not all is as it appears, though. This is a prank that's become common to copy and paste in areas where mountain lions live. The real one can be seen in this video from Russia.

This is iconic. At least I can maintain my belief that people are usually not stupid enough to bring dangerous big cats into their houses at night. This prank is getting big laughs. Would you post it to see what your friends and family would say? Let us know in the comments.

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Monday, November 27, 2017

Royal Staff Reportedly Called For A “Big Meeting” To Discuss Prince Harry And Meghan Markle's Engagement

In 1936, King Edward VIII became the first monarch in British history to abdicate. His decision to abandon his royal duty was influenced by his romance with divorced American socialite, Wallis Simpson, who he married a year later.

The scandal shocked the British people and the Royal Family, and they shunned the eldest son of King George V and Queen Elizabeth's uncle, forcing him to live as a relatively ordinary citizen. Had he not abdicated, Elizabeth would have never become Queen. So when Prince Harry's secret relationship with American actress, Meghan Markle, was exposed last year, it left a bad taste in the mouths of the British people. The 33-year-old, it appeared, was repeating history with his divorced beau as royals are not supposed to marry divorcĂ©es. But Prince Harry has never been one to toe the gilded gold line laid out for him by his royal status. How could we forget that Nazi fancy dress costume? Or that wild weekend of partying in Las Vegas? If anything, given Harry's reputation, dating an actress who'd been a briefcase girl on Deal or No Deal seems quite tame by comparison. Royal correspondents predicted the couple would quickly go their separate ways, with Harry returning to Kensington Palace and 36-year-old Markle going back to the set of Suits, where she played para-legal Rachel Zane who has featured in a number of raunchy scenes. Despite this bleak prediction, the couple appears to be stronger than ever a year later. So strong that engagement rumors are a daily occurrence. At first, the rumors were predominantly based upon speculation, and the majority of them were fuelled by an interview that Markle gave to Vanity Fair this summer in which she said that she and her royal beau were "really happy." However, today is apparently the day according to The Daily Star who reported that a "big meeting" had been called with all staff at Buckingham Palace. A similar event occurred earlier this year, prompting the world to panic under the assumption that the 91-year-old Queen had passed away. It later transpired that the meeting was called to brief staff on 96-year-old Prince Philip's retirement from public duties. According to The Daily Star, the household staff at Buckingham Palace were called to a meeting this morning, which was alleged to alert them to the fact that the Queen would be spending more time at Windsor Castle. Then a second meeting was arranged which The Daily Star's source said was "unbelievable as we have never had two big meetings in one day". "They are set to release a statement from Kensington Palace later on, but if it is not released today it will be on Monday," the source said. "I think the announcement will be about Harry and Meghan's engagement, but we will have to wait and see." However, Kensington Palace declined to comment on the news when approached by the paper. The rumors were intensified earlier this week when it was reported that Markle and her two beloved dogs were moving to England after the actress quit the legal drama Suits. Her stand-in for the show, Nicky Bursic, posted a particularly revealing Instagram post which seemed to suggest this was true when she wrote "wishing you all the happiness in the world Bella" before hashtagging "#YouDeserveItAll". If the rumors are true, it will be confirmed by an official announcement from Kensington Palace, as is custom with royal announcements regarding Prince William and Harry. Although if Prince Harry did indeed take Markle for tea with his grandmother, then it is safe to assume that the couple are certainly on their way to marriage. This video details everything currently known about their blossoming relationship:

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The night Barbuda died: how Hurricane Irma created a Caribbean ghost town

Two and a half months after Barbuda was battered by 185mph winds, the island remains ruined and largely uninhabitated. Now locals are questioning if people will ever return

Walking the streets of the small Caribbean island of Barbuda on a Friday afternoon, you are likely to see more goats than humans.

Dogs, cats and horses, all of which roam freely about the island now that fences are down, also seem to outnumber people. The streets are empty and the houses at least the ones still standing are abandoned. The island is like a ghost town.

Barbuda, which covers only 62 square miles, was the first to feel the force of Hurricane Irma. When the storm made landfall on the night of 6 September, it hit Barbuda at about 185mph. A two-year-old boy died and an estimated 90% of properties were damaged.

Two days later, fearing Barbuda would be hit again, this time by Hurricane Jose, the prime minister ordered an evacuation. All 1,800 residents were ferried to Antigua, Barbudas much larger sister island, which suffered only minor damage.

Jose passed without incident, but the government warned that diseases caused by stagnant water and issues with vermin had rendered it unsafe for habitation, and it was three weeks before residents were allowed to return. Even now, weeks after the evacuation order was lifted, this island is eerily deserted.

Debris in the Codrington lagoon, Barbuda. Photograph: Jose Jimenez/Getty Images

Barbuda is quiet, quiet, quiet. Its dead, says Kendra Beazer, 24, the youngest member of the Barbuda council, the islands ruling body.

Another councillor, Wayde Burton, 38, says that Fridays – when I visited the island – through to Sundays were the quietest times for the island as people come over from Antigua early in the week and stay a few days to clean up before going back to Antigua for the weekend.

Burton says life is slowly returning to the island, although little more than a tenth of its population has returned. Two months after the hurricane hit, a restaurant, a bakery and a supermarket have opened their doors, though, as electricity is yet to be restored, the businesses are running off generators. But even at its most occupied, Burton estimates there are 250 people on the island.

Kendra Beazer, a councillor on Barbuda, has called the governments attempts to change land tenure laws on Barbuda disaster capitalism. Photograph: Kate Lyons for the Guardian

Beazer and Burton travel back and forth between the islands. In Antigua, Beazer stays in a rundown hotel, paid for by the government. Some Barbudans are staying with friends and family in Antigua or abroad, others in impromptu shelters.

One shelter, at the Sir Vivian Richards cricket stadium, is run by stadium staff and overseen by Denise Harris, the arenas HR and accounts manager. She recalls how her boss was called by a government minister on the day of the evacuation. They said: We are sending you 80 Barbudans. We had 197. We thought it was just for two weeks or so, but now its two months. They were just brought here, nothing was in place for them.

Harris says the stadium has remained largely functional despite the continued presence of 142 people, but is adamant the situation cannot continue. Honestly, I dont think they can be here past the end of December, says Harris. We have England coming in February.

Denise Harris works at the Sir Vivian Richards cricket stadium, where 142 Barbudans are still sheltering after Hurricane Irma. Photograph: Kate Lyons for the Guardian

She says the large number of supporters accompanying the England team can sometimes be a handful, with weeks of preparation necessary. That would be impossible with the locker rooms full of people on camp beds.

Some aid agencies are operating on Barbuda. Samaritans Purse, housed in a large white tent, is among those on the island, and has been providing equipment and water treatment units. The Red Cross has brought medical kit, enabling the consulting and emergency rooms at the Thomas Hanna hospital to reopen.

Yet the rebuilding efforts seem piecemeal. Burton cleans and repairs houses with a group of friends. They scrounge plywood and corrugated iron from the wreckage to patch up roofs.

On Dominica, a nearby island devastated by Hurricane Maria, aid organisations are out in force and each night the military clears debris from the streets. Barbuda feels almost abandoned in comparison.

The recovery effort has been challenging. Few people on the island have house insurance, while many rent their homes; neither group is clear about its role in the rebuilding process. But Barbudans agree the evacuation has made rebuilding far slower.

Knacynthar Nedd, leader of the Barbuda council, sits on the doorstep of a house that lost two walls and its roof. Photograph: Kate Lyons for the Guardian

Lots of homeowners refuse to come back home because they say theres nothing for me to come back to, says council leader Knacyntar Nedd as she cleans out a building. We had to leave the next day [after the hurricane], so people didnt have time to process the damage to their homes. Now people are seeing the magnitude of the damage. They get here, they walk around their house, they pick up a few things and then they go back to the boat.

In some cases, property damage that was initially minor has been compounded by the prolonged absence from the island. Beazers house, which has a concrete roof, survived the storm in reasonable shape. But the shutters were blown off and the windows broke. The evacuation order meant he had to leave the island before he could repair the windows, and rain got into his property, ruining most of his belongings.

We had to stay in Antigua, and so much of the stuff started to grow mould and smell, so I just had to throw everything away, he says.

Burton and Beazer are both members of the Barbudan Peoples Movement, which sits in opposition on the Barbuda council and in the federal legislature. They blame the government for the slow recovery. They think Gaston Brownes Antigua Labour party government is using the hurricane to consolidate power in Barbuda, particularly over land, which is held through a complicated tenure system.

A few days after the hurricane, the prime minister proposed revising the system to allow Barbudans to buy their title deeds for $1. Beazer, who finds the announcements timing suspicious, calls the policy disaster capitalism.

He and Burton are also angry that work on building a large commercial airport on Barbuda, part of the deal for the Paradise Found resort funded by Robert De Niro and James Packer, resumed quickly after the hurricane, well before the small airport was refenced and made operational again.

When you hear that theyre already clearing land to build the new airport, yet you havent put up the fence at the old airport to allow for regular travel, it makes you question, says Beazer.

Devon Warner and his daughter Che Niesha work on the roof of a home in Codrington, Barbuda. Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Interviewed in his office in Antigua, Browne acknowledges rebuilding had been slow. Its been about six weeks and weve not made significant progress, says the prime minister. We just dont have the resources.

He says this is because the government wants to build more climate-resilient homes, which requires financial resources Antigua and Barbuda doesnt have. If we do not raise the necessary resources well be forced to do patchwork, to rebuild existing properties with the same galvanised roofs and so on, and next hurricane well be back to square one.

Eli Fuller, an Antiguan businessman who runs a boat tour company, says some of the blame for the delays has to be shouldered by Barbudans themselves. Theyre not going over to clean their own homes, says Fuller. Its their culture from birth that everything is done for them. I dont know how Antigua is going to get them out of the shelters.

Fuller has made more than 40 trips and counting to Barbuda since the hurricane, transporting people and supplies. He is scornful of Antiguans he knows who, he says, sent money and aid to Dominica after Hurricane Maria, but didnt send anything to Barbuda out of resentment.

This reflects the mistrust between the two islands. Barbudans say Antiguans look down on them and want to control their island; Antiguans say Barbudans sponge off their tax dollars and use the complicated land system to deny access to Antiguans wanting to start businesses there.

Barbudas Codrington lagoon after Hurricane Irma. The storm inflicted catastrophic damage. Photograph: Jose Jimenez/Getty Images

Honestly, we were never close, says Harris, the woman running the shelter at the cricket stadium. We say we are brothers and sisters, but were not. I used to think, the further away the better. I think the hurricane was needed to bring us closer. Ive never been so close to so many Barbudans.

No one knows if or when Barbuda will return to normal. Estimates range from one to three years.

Fuller has the bleakest prognosis. The Barbuda as we know it died with that evacuation order, he says. They dont want to go back. How can they go back? Why would they go back?

On that issue, all are agreed: if Barbuda is to have a chance of recovery, it needs to be reinhabited. The more we stay away the more were going to lose, says Burton.

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Woman Finds Her Two Mischievous Cats Stoned After They Ate Her Cannabis Plants

Did you know that animals can get high too? There are plenty of cases of pets and livestock dancing with Mary Jane. Unfortunately, many don't enjoy the feeling as much as some humans, and, in large doses, cannabis can be harmful to animals.

But two cats in Massachusetts got totally spaced out, man! The woman who owned the cats had been growing several marijuana plants in pots inside her house. After a problem with her grow lights, she moved the plants onto her porch so they could still soak up some sun for a little while. However, the porch was accessible to her cats, and she soon discovered that they had a penchant for the ganja. She returned to find some of her pots tipped over, soil spilled everywhere, and multiple half-eaten marijuana plants strewed across the floor. Like any good social media user, she filmed what had happened to her beloved marijuana plants. Her two cats were lazily sprawled out under a couple of deck chairs, not moving too much and looking totally stoned. While it can't be said for sure if the two cats were actually high, they appeared to be in no pain and were quite happy and relaxed. According to Ronald K. Siegel, who wrote the book Intoxication: The Universal Drive for Mind-Altering Substances, many animals are fully aware that certain plants offer different ways to get high. He has observed that many different species return to specific plants to experience their mind-altering properties again and again. Pictured below is one of the naughty cats who got a lot more than they bargained eating their mom's plants! However, when you see what these cats looked like close up, I think you'll agree that this will be their first and last dance with Mary Jane! There are many more well-known instances of animals getting high. Just last year, a herd of stoned sheep terrorized a village in Wales. The sheep wreaked havoc after chowing down on a bunch of marijuana plants. According to witnesses, the sheep began to roam the streets in a daze, ran in front of traffic, and they were even breaking into villagers' back yards. This cat is so stoned that it doesn't even care about getting its beautiful fur covered in soil! This is exactly what Siegel had to say about animal drug use, "After sampling the numbing nectar of certain orchids, bees drop to the ground in a temporary stupor, then weave back for more. Birds gorge themselves on inebriating berries, then fly with reckless abandon. Cats eagerly sniff aromatic 'pleasure' plants, then play with imaginary objects. "Cows that browse special range weeds will twitch, shake, and stumble back to the plants for more," he added, while "elephants purposely get drunk off fermented fruits." However, as you can tell, the woman's other cat didn't fare much better. Although, admittedly, it is still able to keep its eyes open! So it's no surprise, that upon finding several unattended cannabis plants, that the two cats decided to have a munch. After all, cats are no strangers to using recreational substances – including catnip! I imagine this is what these cats looks like in the act of getting stoned… Cats go crazy for a little catnip, but did you know that the substance is actually used as a relaxant or sleep aid for humans? Yes, the magical treat that perks your cat up and makes him more playful will probably put you right to sleep. You can watch the two cats living the high life here: Despite its effects, roughly 33% of cats are strangely unaffected by catnip. This appears to be the result of genetics, but those unfortunate few could give cannabis a try. After all, those two cats in Massachusetts sure seemed to enjoy themselves! However, it turns out that it's not just cats that enjoy catnip. This dachshund went wild the first time he tried it: But on a serious note, it's probably not a good idea to let your pet have access to recreational drugs!

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