Category Archives: What’s Up

Dollywood’s “World’s Fastest Wooden Coaster” is Slowed due to Recall


*Country music legend Dolly Parton is hoping that lightning WILL in fact strike twice.

Lightning Rod, which was billed as the world’s fastest wooden roller coaster, recently opened to worldwide acclaim at Parton’s Dollywood amusement park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. USA Today named it one of the most anticipated thrill rides of 2016.

Not many people got to test those claims, as in less than a week, the coaster was shut down due to a recall by the ride’s manufacturer, Rocky Mountain Construction. Today, the park announced on its website that the ride will reopen to the public, albeit in a reduced capacity.

The suits — or overalls? — at Dollywood are hoping that the public’s high level of interest in Lightning Rod has been sustained. Continue reading

Homeless Woman and Millionaire Brought Together By a (Wait for it) Dog

Lasharn Francis Harvey, Sahara ,and Steve Witkoff
Lasharn Francis Harvey, Sahara ,and Steve Witkoff

*Change is said to happen once timing meets opportunity. I’d like to add that this opportunity must be recognized. All kinds of opportunities lay in our midst, but they are often missed because we don’t see them. We don’t “recognize”  them because they don’t always look like what we expect. For example, a business person is generally looking for business opportunities; or “prospecting” with a mindset of how someone might be useful to them in the future.

No telling how long Lasharn Francis Harvey, a homeless woman, and her beautiful golden retriever-poodle mix, Sahara, had been calling the outside of wealthy developer Steve Witkoff’s office building home. But her sleeping bag had become a standard part of the exterior and each morning the businessman would hear Harvey’s hearty “have a blessed day!” as he entered the building.

Think about it: This is a sight many see regularly in any big city. A homeless person or persons crouched outside of an office building; where people of every status come and go everyday. Generally, people will place a few coins or even a bill into a cup and keep moving. This is not a judgement. People are busy.

But these can also be seen as missed opportunities to alter someone’s life.

Everyone has a story.

But you are only going to tap into it if something in your life inspires you to dig deeper.

This was the case with Steve Witkoff. As busy as he is, he is a father who still grieved the death of Andrew, his 22-year-old son who passed five years earlier from an Oxycontin overdose.

And although Witkoff led a blessed existence, where his millions of square footage offices and condos in New York, Miami and London served him well, he knew that no amount of wealth will ease the pain of a parent who has buried his child.

This fact was Witkoff’s “something.” 

And it was this that most likely made him notice Harvey and dig deeper.

An opportunity that was recognized and had met its time. Continue reading

Father of Orlando Shooting Victim Refuses to Claim Son’s Body

These photo combination shows victims of the mass shooting that occurred early Sunday, June 12, 2016, at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. Top row from left are: Amanda Alvear, Angel L. Candelario-Padro, Anthony Luis Laureano Disla, Antonio Davon Brown, Christopher Leinonen, Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, Darryl Roman Burt II, Edward Sotomayor Jr., Enrique L. Rios Jr., Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera and Frank Hernandez. Second row from left are: Franky Jimmy De Jesus Velazquez, Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, Jason Benjamin Josaphat, Javier Jorge-Reyes, Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, Joel Rayon Paniagua, Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, Juan Ramon Guerrero, Kimberly Morris and Leroy Valentin Fernandez. Third row from left are: Luis D. Conde, Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, Luis S. Vielma, Martin Benitez Torres, Mercedez Marisol Flores, Miguel Angel Honorato, Oscar A Aracena-Montero, Paul Terrell Henry, Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz and Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala. Bottom row from left are: Shane Evan Tomlinson, Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, Stanley Almodovar III, Tevin Eugene Crosby, Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, Yilmary Rodriguez Sulivan, Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, Geraldo Ortiz-Jimenez and Juan Chavez Martinez. (AP Photo)

*This sad news serves up a big dish of heartbreak. We are all still terribly shaken by the horrific event in Orlando last month at the Pulse nightclub that claimed 49 lives. Now we learn that although family members have claimed the bodies of 48 of the victims, there is still one body that remains unclaimed. The father of the victim refuses to step up.

All we can gather from reports is that it is the body of a male, presumably Latino.

So as to not further victimize the deceased, the men’s names are being withheld. Continue reading

Woman who Loathed Gun Control, Shoots Two Daughters to Death (Video)

Christy Sheats
Christy Sheats

*Damn, she doesn’t look crazy! Can we be honest for a sec? I already know that after looking at Christy Sheats (above), a beautiful blonde green-eyed woman from an area in Fort Bend County, Texas, who shot her two adult daughters dead before police took her life, that this was no doubt the first thought that entered your head.

It was the first thought that entered mine.

Police say Sheats had a history of mental illness, and they had been to her home on several occasions.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Caitilin Espinosa didn’t provide any details, but did tell PEOPLE, the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office had been to Christy Sheats’ home “for previous altercations” involving Sheats’ “mental crisis.”

But last Friday had to be the worst mental crisis ever! Continue reading

Downs Syndrome Child Wasn’t Invited to Party, Moms ‘Open Letter’ Goes Viral

Downs Syndrome kid

*I worked in the special needs industry for seven years, and I know that the children and young adults afflicted with conditions such as Autism, Down Syndrome and the entire spectrum, have the same wants and needs as any individual when it comes to love and acceptance. Which is why it hurts my heart so badly to hear about a child being excluded from anything because of a disability. In this particular case, Sawyer, who has Down Syndrome, was the only kid in his class who did not get an invite to a classmate’s birthday party. His mother chose to deal with this hurt by penning an open letter to the birthday boy’s family.

In “An open letter to the parent that thought it was OK to invite the entire class to their child’s birthday except my son,” Jennifer Kiss-Engele begins by clarifying why she feels it is so important for her to write it. I am “sharing this because I think it’s a valuable lesson for all and I’m trying to educate & advocate more…” Continue reading

Drunken Denver Diner Leaves $1000 Tip…and Comes Back For It The Next Day


*I always wanted to be a waiter.  Yes, I’ve heard how hard the job can be, and I don’t dispute that, but I’m always looking for a good side hustle, and I have been told repeatedly over the years that I’d make a killing on tips.

So I can’t imagine having to give a tip back.

That’s the gist of the story from a restaurant in the Denver area. One of the waiters there recently received a tip of $1,088 for a dinner of around $60.

(I once left a 100% tip for a meal, but I was hitting on the waiter and more than got my money back later that night. But that’s a tale — and a tail — for another time.) 

The restaurant’s owners were thrilled to receive the big tip…but skeptical, so they held on to the money for fear that it was a mistake.

It was. Continue reading

A Cure for Cancer: Physicist Hadiyah-Nicole Green May Be on to Something

Hadijah Nicole Green, Physicist
Hadijah Nicole Green, Physicist

*As far as this writer is concerned, this news should be sung from the highest mountain tops. I can confidently say that we all have lost too many friends, known and unknown, to cancer. Now, “WE MAY BE ON THE VERGE OF A POSSIBLE CURE FOR CANCER!” And further, it gives me great pleasure to know that the breakthrough comes via a beautiful black female physicist named Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green.

Green is currently working to advance a cancer treatment involving lasers and nano-particles that will target cancer cells. Thanks to being awarded a grant valued at $1.1 million dollars through the Veterans Affairs Historically Black Colleges and Universities Research Scientist Training Program, she is now free to continue her work on this groundbreaking procedure.

Green, 35, is only one of less than 100 black women physicists in the United States. She is the first in her family to attend college and in 2012, she became the second African American woman to receive a PhD in physics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Continue reading

Gun Shop Owner Fatally Shot In His Own Shop…By One Of His Own Gun Safety Students


*With the recent massacre in Orlando, discussions about gun control are at an all-time high.  People are fairly passionate, I have friends who are polarized on the issue, and I lean towards the “there’s no place for guns in a modern, civilized society” camp. Others say that responsible gun owners have a place in modern society.

I’m sure members of James Baker’s family are having second thoughts about that.

Baker used to own a gun shop in Amelia, Ohio. His former shop used to hold regular firearm safely classes.

The classes will probably continue, but Baker won’t be a part of them. He doesn’t own the shop anymore because he was fatally shot by a student during one of the gun safety classes. Continue reading