A 12-year-old boy who was doing odd jobs to raise money for a gravestone for his best friend achieved his goal after an outpouring of support and the donation of a headstone.
Kaleb Klakulak started raising $2,500 for a headstone to honor his best friend Kenneth “K.J.” Gross, who died in May. K.J.’s mother, LaSondra Singleton, had to quit her job to take care of her son and couldn’t afford a marker.
Funeral home owner David Techner was touched by the story and decided to donate a headstone, the Detroit News reported.
“Here’s this 12-year-old kid who saw a need and did what needed to be done,” Techner told the Detroit News. “So I’m just following this young man’s lead.”
The marker was finished Tuesday and was scheduled to be installed Wednesday.
“I’m glad,” Kaleb told the Detroit News. He also said all the money that was raised will go to Singleton.
Singleton has been overwhelmed and inspired by the support, which has caused her to relive some difficult moments.
"It's a double-edged sword because it's sad, but at the same time, it's so wonderful to see so much compassion," she said.
The headstone features an angel holding a heart with the inscription:
“KJ Gross cherished son, brother & friend.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
A puppy inside a stolen vehicle was found safe Wednesday morning in Colorado, and two suspects were arrested, KDVR reported.
Ciri, a 10-month-old puppy, was found and returned to its owners by Westminster police. The animal was inside the vehicle at 5 a.m. Sunday when it was stolen, KDVR reported.
Cheliesa Anderson said her family was moving from Texas to Oregon and stopped at a relative’s house in Arvada, Colorado, KMGH reported. As the family packed to leave Sunday, the fob to operate the push-to-start vehicle was left inside the car, and someone jumped into the car and drove away, the television station reported.
"A lot of the stuff in there was expensive and irreplaceable, like my mom's ashes and her jewelry, her pearls and stuff like that," Anderson told KMGH.
Early Wednesday, Arvada police said the vehicle was spotted and a chase ensued, KDVR reported. The vehicle was stopped and the suspects were arrested, the television station reported.
“Around 4 a.m. is when they called us. It was involved in a high-speed chase," Anderson told KDVR.
Police did not release any information about the suspects, the television station reported.
A Florida International University student, a quadriplegic after a diving accident three years ago, walked across the stage Sunday to receive his diploma with the help of an exoskeleton, WLPG reported.
Aldo Amenta, 28, an international student from Venezuela, severed his spinal cord in a diving accident when he jumped into the shallow end of a pool in November 2015, WTVJ reported. He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and plans to pursue a master’s degree, WPLG reported.
"It was an amazing experience," said Amenta, who normally uses a wheelchair. "For me it was a milestone to accomplish. Being able to cross the stage walking is something that's really meaningful."
Amenta said his walk across the stage took many hours of practice with the exoskeleton, and was the culmination of taking classes while undergoing three years of aggressive therapy, WTVJ reported.
"Even if you find yourself in a really dark place, there's always a little light that will shine your way through to succeed,” Amenta told CBS News. “So just follow that."
A Wisconsin woman is gaining viral fame after she rescued a frightened child from an unlikely foe – a turkey.
According to WBAY, Vanessa Miramontes was driving in Green Bay on Monday when she spotted the angry bird chasing the youngster down the street.
"As we got closer, you just saw this kid's eyes completely bugged out and this turkey running full speed at this child," Miramontes told WBAY. "I knew I had to do something to help in the slightest."
So Miramontes "instinctively turned in front of it," she told the news station.
"No intentions were there to hit the turkey or hurt it by any means, but it was awfully close to the kid where I knew something needed to happen or it would hurt the kid," she added.
Meanwhile, another driver swooped in to give the child a ride home.
The moment was caught on camera by Evan Skaletski, who shared his video with WBAY. The clip quickly made the rounds on social media.
Alex Gabriel of Massachusetts was grocery shopping at the Market Basket in Haverhill when a car in the parking lot burst into flames.
The 17-year-old's adrenaline kicked in when he saw a dog trapped inside.
"As the smoke started to get thicker, was when I thought, 'This isn’t right,'" he said Tuesday.
Flames started shooting right into the front seats.
Alex sprang into action. He used his elbow to smash through the back seat window, pulling the frightened dog to safety.
"I was trying to keep smoke out of my eyes and just grabbed the dog by the scruff and just kind of lifted it out," he said.
He said he knew it was only a matter of seconds left until the entire vehicle went up in flames.
"Me being a car guy, I know tempered glass is really hard to break and so in the moment, I didn’t really think to grab anything else, so I had nothing in my hands, I just used what I got," he said.
His quick actions and strong arm saved the dog's life, and the owner is grateful.
"She gave me a big hug, she said, 'I don’t really care about the car right now.' She's like, 'You saved my dog,'" Alex said.
Alex said he'd do it all over again, cuts, bruises and all.
"When it happened, I just did what had to be done. I just had to get things rolling," he said.
Haverhill firefighters who responded to the scene called Alex's high school to let them know of his heroic actions. And Alex said that the dog's owner is stopping by his home to thank him again in person.
Jake Owen was in Vero Beach, Florida, over the weekend to perform at his annual Jake Owen Foundation Benefit Concert, but his daughter, Olive Pearl Owen, stole the show for some.
TCPalm reported that Jenna Cocorullo was at the Saturday show and got video of Pearl strumming what appeared to be a toy guitar offstage while her dad was onstage.
The 6-year-old also sang along as Owen performed his 2013 song “Anywhere With You.”
“I doubt Jake will see this but I really hope he does,” Cocorullo said in her tweet the next day. “Most adorable video of his daughter playing along and (singing) his song!”
Owen saw the post and said, “Wow. This just made my life. Ha. Thanks for this..”
Pearl is Owen’s first child from his marriage to Lacey Buchanan. The two divorced in 2015 after three years of marriage.
Pearl will soon be a big sister: Owen is expecting his second child with his girlfriend, Erica Hartlein, in 2019. It will be their first child together.
A Florida man used a cast on his arm to break a window to save an elderly woman who was trapped in her house when it caught fire from a candle, WSVN reported.
Altavious Powell was able to remove 93-year-old Maria Cabral from her Miami Gardens home, the television station reported.
Cabral usually lights a candle each night in the corner of her home. When she lit a candle Monday night, the flame caught onto a wall and setting the home on fire, WSVN reported.
Powell, 27, who lives across the street from Cabral, saw the flames and broke the window with his cast and a plastic chair to enter the home, the television station reported. He found Cabral standing in a hallway and hustled her out of harm’s way.
“I broke this window right here. I just hit it with my cast,” Powell told WSVN. “Yeah, I smashed a window with it.
“I said, ‘Mommy, mommy, where you at?’ And she said, ‘I’m right here.’ She was right here, like standing on the wall, so I just grabbed her with one arm. She looked up at me, she just said, ‘Thank you.'”
Cabral was taken to a hospital for smoke inhalation and continues to recover. Her family said she is going to be all right, WSVN reported.
A Michigan-based restaurant chain announced it is changing the name of a popular menu item next year.
Detroit Free Press reported that HopCat is renaming its Crack Fries at all 17 of the gastropub’s locations, which are mostly in Michigan, but are also in Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, Nebraska, Kentucky and Florida.
Mark Gray, CEO of BarFly Ventures, the restaurant's parent company, made the announcement Monday.
“Today we are announcing plans to change the name of our Crack Fries. Rest assured, the recipe and ingredients are not changing, only the name,” Gray said in a statement.
“Our vision for creating an inclusive company that supports our communities, shows love for our team and best serves our guests is not compatible with the continued use of the Crack Fries name.
“We chose the name more than 11 years ago as a reference to the addictive quality of the fries and their cracked pepper seasoning, without consideration for those the drug negatively affected. We were wrong.
“The crack epidemic and the lasting impact on those it affects is not funny and never was.
“As we grow as a company we have come to realize that to make light of this drug and of addiction contradicts our values of inclusion and community. We want to thank our guests, employees and community members who have helped us come to this realization and apologize for the pain the name brought to others.
“Transitioning to a new name will not happen overnight. A companywide menu reprint in mid-January will reflect the change. We will also need time to update all other materials, including online menus, training documents and promotions.
“We are grateful for the support we’ve received over the years and your love of our fries. While we know it will take time to get used to this change, we are confident in our decision. It is not only the right thing to do, it reflects who we are.”
Gray also delivered the statement in a video on HopCat’s YouTube page.
BarFly Ventures spokesman Chris Knape told Freep the change was something he’s considered for a while.
“People love Crack Fries, a lot of people love the name, but we thought it was time to make a change,” he said. “Frankly, I’ve been thinking about it for years and getting different feedback through the years — including through some of our partners in Detroit.”
HopCat’s fries are beer-battered and seasoned and have been one of the most popular menu items for the chain.
An exact date for the change has not been announced, but the change will be made before the annual fry-eating contest, which has been held at all locations in celebration of the restaurant’s anniversary.
A town in Pennsylvania came up with a creative way to draw attention to a gaping pothole that grew worse as weeks went by.
WNEP reported that neighbors in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, said the hole was not getting fixed despite complaints, so Marietta Spak decided to fill it with an artificial Christmas tree over the weekend.
“I was upstairs in the attic and was looking for more Christmas decorations and I came upon the tree and I thought, ‘That’d look nice in the hole,’” Spak said.
She put the tree in her car and placed it in the hole as a way to keep drivers from hitting it.
“It can cause so many problems with these holes,” she said. “And that’s not just a pothole. That’s sinkage, and it’s starting to spider web.”
Another neighbor, Gary Muchler, also got in on the fun, posing with a watering can with the tree and a Santa that was stuck next to the tree.
The hole has since been remedied with a metal slab, but WPVI reported the hole may be fixed as early as Tuesday. City officials said there has been a delay in fixing the hole because the paving company has a number of other projects ahead of it.
New Jersey police officers blended their voices together to raise the spirits of a fellow officer battling cancer, News12 New Jersey reported.
Julia Caseres, 28, was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in April and has been on leave from the Piscataway Police Department since then.
Officers drove to Caseres’ home and surprised her by singing Christmas carols.
“I hope we really touched her down deep inside and that she feels the love from all of us,” Michael Nol, president of Piscataway’s Police Benevolent Association, told News12 New Jersey.
Caseres said the performance surprised her.
“It’s a really nice present,” Caseres told the television station. “It makes me feel very loved.”
Travelers at the Nashville International Airport came to a standstill Saturday and sang the national anthem to a group of children whose parents had died in combat.
Jen Tringale, who was passing through the airport that day, posted a video to Facebook of the moving scene. A man can be heard singing as each person in the terminal is stopped with a hand on their heart. Members of the military can be seen saluting.
"@americanairlines was flying a plane full of children who had lost a parent in combat to Disneyworld on an all expenses paid trip and they threw a party for them at the gate❤️" Tringale wrote. "But when they announced them over the loud speaker and they lined up to board the plane the whole airport literally stopped and sang the national anthem with military present in salute."
Many passersby teared up at the song, Tringale said.
As of Tuesday morning, the video had more than 452,000 views and 8,000 shares.
The annual "Baby It's Cold Outside" controversy didn’t last for too long at a Bay Area radio station.
KGO reported that adult contemporary radio station 96.5 KOIT in the San Francisco Bay Area removed the 1944 song from its rotation on Dec. 4. Written by the late “Guys and Dolls” writer Frank Loesser, the duet, typically performed by a male and female singer, contains lyrics like, “Say, what’s in this drink?” and “I simply must go,” followed by the woman singing “The answer is no.”
The decision followed that of WDOK in Cleveland, which announced Nov. 27 it was no longer playing the song.
“I do realize that when the song was written in 1944, it was a different time, but now while reading it, it seems very manipulative and wrong,” station host Glenn Anderson said in a blog post. “The world we live in is extra sensitive now, and people get easily offended, but in a world where #MeToo has finally given women the voice they deserve, the song has no place.”
KOIT’s decision wasn’t final, however. The same day the song was pulled, the station invited listeners to weigh in on the change via a poll on its website.
“We received more complaints on the song than any other song ever played in the history of the radio station,” KOIT program director Brian Figula told KGO Dec. 4.
Listener response led the station to put “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” back in rotation.
“KOIT’s listeners have spoken, and the overwhelming message is they do want to hear ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ on our station, as they have throughout the years,” Figula said in a statement Monday. “More than seven out of every 10 listeners who responded said although some lyrics of the song may reflect a different era and a different sensibility than today, still they love the tradition and history of the song, and want to hear it as part of their holiday season.
“At KOIT, we always listen carefully when our listeners take time to comment. In this case, it was very obvious what they wanted us to do.”
According to Loesser’s daughter Susan Loesser, the song, taken in the context of the time it was written, does not imply date rape.
“I think my father would be furious at that,” she told NBC News. “People used to say, ‘What’s in this drink?’ as a joke. You know, this drink is going straight to my head so what’s in this drink? Back then it didn’t mean, ‘You drugged me.’”
“Fearless Girl” has a new home.
The 4-foot bronze statue of a girl defiantly posed with her hands on her hips was unveiled outside the New York Stock Exchange on Monday, WABC reported.
Sculptor Kristen Visbal’s statue was removed Wednesday night from its Bowling Green location, the New York Daily News reported.
A marker at the old location, where Fearless Girl had stood since March 2017 as a tribute to International Women’s Day, invited visitors to plant their feet and face Wall Street’s iconic Charging Bull monument, the newspaper reported.
State Street Global Advisors of Boston installed the Fearless Girl statue to encourage corporations to put more women on their boards, WABC reported.
The installation was meant to be temporary, but the statue was so popular it became a permanent fixture, the television station reported.
The bull will follow Fearless Girl to her new location at a later date, WABC reported.
A single mother in New York, whose vehicle containing her disabled son’s wheelchair was stolen last month, received a nice Christmas gift Sunday.
Roxanne Drayton chose a sangria-colored 2011 Kia Sorrento EX, given to her by the owner of the Generation Kia dealership in Bohemia, Newsday reported.
"It was a fairy tale," Drayton, 60, told the newspaper. "It was so nice. It was so, so nice."
Drayton's 2002 Ford Explorer was stolen from the driveway of her Suffolk County home Nov. 8, News12 Long Island reported. Inside the SUV was an $8,000 custom wheelchair for her son, Todd, 28, who has Down syndrome and epilepsy, the television station reported.
"I just wanted to make sure she was taken care of, on the car front," Catalanotto told the newspaper. “She really needed an SUV. Whenever we have the opportunity to help someone like that, to change their lives if we can, we always want to do that."
Drayton is now concentrating her efforts toward buying a new custom wheelchair. She set up a GoFundMe page for her son, and nearly $20,000 has been raised.
"I'm thankful for every single person who donated online that helped me, thankful for giving me my faith in humanity," Drayton told News12 Long Island.
The motorcyclists, some of whom wore Santa suits and elf costumes, rode 24 miles on a rainy morning to help raise money for patients at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, WSVN reported. They also handed out toys to thousands of children, the television station reported.
Money also will go to the James Junior Fund in Davie, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
Sections of I-95 and I-595 in Broward County were closed for a few hours to accommodate the bikers, the newspaper reported.
“It’s a fun ride,” Bruce Sonnenblick, a police officer who has been riding in the parade since 2003, told the Sun-Sentinel. “There’s no other time you can ride on 95 and 595 and not have to deal with vehicle traffic. All along the route, you have hundreds of people cheering us on. People get out of their cars to watch us go by.”
Rick Case, whose business sponsored the event, said the parade helps benefit the community.
“There’s thousands and thousands of motorcycles out here, bringing thousands and thousands of toys for kids in South Florida who may not have gotten one for this holiday season,” Case told WSVN. “It’s a wonderful thing.”
Kelsey Rae Zwick has been overwhelmed the past few years.
She and her husband have twin daughters, Lucy and Eva, who had complications at birth and were born at 29 weeks, Yahoo News reported. The infants spent their first few months in the neonatal intensive care unit, followed by months of treatments.
Lucy and Eva suffer chronic lung disease from the intubation period. Because she had other complications, Lucy had also started treatment at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Zwick was on an American Airlines flight from Orlando to Philadelphia on Thursday with Lucy, who was yelling and yakking away, when a flight attendant came over and told her a man in first class wanted to switch seats with her, Yahoo News reported.
Zwick was stunned. She was not able to thank the stranger when they arrived, so she posted on social media, hoping to pay the act of kindness forward.
“I guess it was his birthday, and he did reach out to us,” Zwick told Yahoo News. “He was thanking me for a birthday to remember. It was the best day. He said it made him and his wife cry, and he said, ‘I am so glad we were on the same flight.’”
Zwick appreciated not only the additional space for Lucy’s oxygen machine and the first class accoutrements, like the cheese plate, but also the gesture.
“Sooo... thank you. Not just for the seat itself but for noticing. For seeing us and realizing that maybe things are not always easy,” she wrote. “For deciding you wanted to show a random act of kindness to US. It reminded me how much good there is in this world. I can’t wait to tell Lucy someday. In the meantime... we will pay it forward.”
Cold weather doesn’t just affect humans, but pets and other animals, too. One police department in South Dakota shared the steps it’s taking to protect its K-9s from the snow.
The Witchita Eagle reported that the Rapid City Police Department posted video of one K-9 trying on new snow boots on its Facebook page Friday.
“It's cold out there, which means making sure all our officers are equipped for the chilly weather; even the furry ones!” the department said in the Facebook post. “Looks like K9 Jary’s new snow boots are going to take some getting-used-to...”
After some encouragement from other officers and some play time, the German shepherd appeared to get more comfortable.
Watch Jary try on the boots below.
A 12-year-old Michigan boy is raking leaves, collecting bottles and doing odd jobs to raise money for a headstone for his best friend, who died earlier this year.
Kenneth “K.J.” Gross, 12, was diagnosed with leukemia as an infant. He endured multiple surgeries and treatments before he died May 1 of congestive heart failure.
Kaleb Klakulak, 12, was by his bedside up until the end. The pair had been friends since second grade. Instead of watching TV and playing PlayStation games at home, they did so in a hospital.
K.J. was buried in a family plot, but LaSondra “San” Singleton, his mother, is unable to pay for a headstone, which costs about $2,500.
“I love Ms. San,” Kaleb told the Detroit News. “I was sad she couldn’t afford it. I wanted people to be able to find (K.J.’s grave) when they went to see him.”
So Kaleb’s mother, Kristy Hall, helped him set up a PayPal account and posted on social media.
"I really think this is a great thing for Kaleb to focus on and help him with his healing as well as K.J.'s mom, who misses her baby and has to visit an unmarked grave," Hall wrote.
Singleton appreciates the support.
"He and K.J. were so much alike. They were kindred spirits; they were like brothers,” Singleton told the Detroit News. "My son’s not here, but (Kaleb) still loves my son enough to (do) this. It just speaks volumes to the type of people that they are, and it speaks to the type of person that K.J. was -- he impacted people to where they want to do this for him."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Shelly Botcher has never found a Christmas tree she didn’t like, and she has never thrown one away.
This year, she has more than 400 trees set up throughout her house.
"I never get rid of (any). I just add," she told WDAF. "I have burgundy, cream and white. I have my fruit motif, my reds and bronze, purple, black and silver, safari, pink, teal, seashells. So it’s sort of fun to see the new things that come out each year and add it to my collection."
Some trees are upside down in order to make space for others. One room has 72 trees in it.
"To me, it can be just a stress reliever with the busy time of year," Botcher told WDAF. "Just looking at it … (it) takes you away from your everyday life for just a minute (or) two."
Not everyone at the house feels the same about the trees.
"This is my husband’s room, and he hates this. But as long as he sees the TV, he's OK," Botcher told WDAF.
A month after losing their house in the Camp Fire, the homeowners were brought to tears when Madison, an Anatolian shepherd, was found alive and well -- protecting “what was left of his home.”
Over a month ago, Madison’s owner, Andrea Gaylord, was not able to get back the home after the Camp Fire forced evacuations and she had to leave him and his brother Miguel at the house.
Gaylord told KXTV that she believed that Madison had survived the fire.
Shayla Sullivan located Miguel earlier in neighboring Citrus Heights and asked to use an article of clothing belonging to Gaylord to leave on the now burned out property hoping that Madison would pick up the scent. She said the dog was apprehensive and kept his distance.
“I had the idea of placing an article of clothing that would smell like her to keep Madison's hope alive until his people could return,” Sullivan wrote on Facebook.
When Gaylord was finally able to return to where her home once stood, she found Madison there waiting for her.
"Imagine the loyalty of hanging in in the worst of circumstances and being here waiting. It was so emotional," Gaylord told KXTV.
Though Gaylord lost her home in the fire, Miguel and Madision are back at her side.
"He had stayed to protect what was left of his home, and NEVER gave up on his people!" Sullivan wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday.
At least 1,643 buildings, most of them homes, were destroyed in the Camp Fire, the worst wildfire in the history of California.
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