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A Welcome Like No Other

Sherry Rucherman

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“It takes a village.”
When Merideth Celine Mike was born on October 24, 2016 at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, Tennessee, she weighed in at a mere two pounds. Her mother, Nicole Mike, was given countless scenarios as to what could go wrong with their new baby, as to prepare the parents for the worst. Immediately after her three-months premature birth, Meredith was brought to neonatal intensive care. The tiny baby was put in a ventilator and had tubes attached to her little body.

a.abcnews.com

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Nicole Mike and her husband Blaine stayed with their daughter as much as they could and Meredith had nurses caring for her at all times at the hospital, two hours from the couple’s home in Middlesboro, Kentucky.

Quickly, the folks in the Mikes’ hometown aimed to help as best they could. Nicole, a teacher, was gifted her co-workers sick days so she could stay with her daughter after her premature birth. Blaine was also granted an extended leave from his employer. As Mrs. Mike said, “No matter what all else was going on in the world there was one thing they could agree on, to pray for Meredith.”

The Mikes had long been trying for a baby, a decade be exact. They experienced infertility, endured an ectopic pregnancy, and had an unfortunate failed adoption. They had given up hope. Nicole says, “I had stopped using any fertility medication and then without any help except for God, we found out I was pregnant on the day after Mother’s Day.” In fact their faith kept them strong during the heartbreaking days that followed Meredith’s birth.

In the days right after her birth, Meredith was diagnosed with pneumonia, then collapsed lungs. She had her surgery, and was almost blinded. The prognosis didn’t look good, yet the Mikes continued to have faith.  It seems that miracles do exist, because not ten minutes later the parents were called in and told that baby Meredith’s levels were back up to normal.

When the parents were finally granted permission to take their baby home after three months in the NICU, they were given a police escort. into Middlesboro. Pink balloons lined the street, and there were signs welcoming them home. Friend, neighbors, and even strangers cheered as the new family of three made their way through to their house. Once home, they saw even more decorations-including a 12-foot teddy bear-ornamented their front lawn. Pink fireworks were set off in baby Meredith’s honor.

Of the nurses, Nicole says,“They are her forever aunties.”

Both the community where the Mikes reside and the community at Tennessee Medical Center surely impacted the Mikes’ lives forever.

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NYPD Solves a High-Profile Turtlenapping

Mackenzie Freeman

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The New York City Police Department makes headlines every day, but it is not every day that the NYPD makes headlines for solving a turtle kidnapping case. But kudos go to the NYPD for solving the disappearance of a beloved resident of Alley Pond Environmental Center in Queens, 100-year-old African spurred tortoise, Millennium.

A Century of Millennium at Alley Pond

Millennium could have been a youthful, 11-year-old turtle when the 655-acre Alley Pond Park was acquired by the City of New York in 1929. When Millennium found his, her, or its way to the park, the Alley Pond was the source of water that the town of Flushing used for, well, flushing. Millennium survived the construction of the Long Island Expressway across the park, the creation of a golf course, and the founding of the Alley Pond Environmental Center at 228-06 Northern Boulevard in Queens in 1972.

Or maybe Millennium wasn’t around for any of those events. Although Millennium undoubtedly weighs about 100 pounds, and is larger than many of the children who come to visit him every day the park is open, the turtle rescuers who found the intrepid animal believe he could be a mere 17 years old or possibly as much as 100 years old. Either way, visitors to the park regularly ask to see him. And that is how they learned he was missing.

A Shocking Tortoise Disappearance

When visitors asked to see Millennium on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 18, 2017, Millennium was nowhere to be found. The attendants had no difficulty locating Millennium’s companion turtle Mini-Me, but even checks of video surveillance cameras showed no sign of the celebrity turtle. We think of tortoises as moving slowly, but actually they can move quickly, blending in with trees and grasses, so the park staff held out hope that Millennium might just be taking a little vacation looking for a different source of grass and grubs. But when there was no trace of Millennium the next day, they had no choice but to call the police. They were afraid they had a Code 597, abuse of an animal.

Millennium Returns from Connecticut

Fortunately, a Connecticut resident with a conscience made the reunion of Millennium with his young fans possible. And helped the police nab the turtlenappers’ accomplice Shawn Waters in the process.

Thirty-seven year old Shawn Waters loves turtles. He kept small turtles and other animals in the apartment he shared with his mother in Queens. On the afternoon of July 18, Waters was approached by two men who had cut a hole in the back of Millennium’s enclosure and absconded with the famous reptile. They made a deal with Waters to sell him the stolen turtle, and Waters started to take Millennium home in a stolen shopping cart. But no sooner did he have Millennium in his clutches than he realized his mother would never let him keep Millennium at home.

Waters hatched a plan to cover up his crime and get a smaller turtle his mother would approve. A man in Stamford, Connecticut had placed an ad on Craigslist to sell his musck turte. Waters struck a deal to swap reptiles and get $300 cash in the process. (Ordinarily, a turtle of Millennium’s 2 foot by 2-1/2 foot size and gentle watermelon-eating habits would have fetched about $2500, according to park officials.) Waters, who does not own a car, took a commuter train with Millennium to Connecticut, where he sealed the deal.

But by this time the police were checking turtle transactions on Craigslist. They located the buyer, who surrendered the turtle, which was returned safely to Alley Pond Park.

Waters was arrested and later sentenced to six months in jail at Rikers Island. His mother reports that he hopes to get his license to work as a security guard back when he gets out of jail.

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Strange Sounds Coming From the Walls Reveal a HAUNTING Surprise to New Homeowners!

Mackenzie Freeman

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No matter where you are in the country, every town has a story about that house. You know the one. The house that looms above all, lending urban legends and stories to people in the community. Well, today, we are going to introduce you to a home in Germantown, Tennessee, as well as the mysterious sounds that emanated from its walls. Let’s dig in because this story is going to make you want to check your own walls!

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Airline Passengers Attention Please: Avoid Wearing These Items While You Fly!

Leslie Tander

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With the state that the airline industry is currently in, flying comfortably can be a challenging quest to undertake. Despite how uncomfortable flying can be, air travel has become the beating heart that connects every nation on our planet. Knowing that air travel is so important, we felt that it was vital to understand what best to wear during our travels. Today, we are going to highlight everything that airline passengers should avoid wearing while flying!

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