Giant Chucky the pumpkin, all 680 demented kilograms, is ready to greet you.

Trick-or-treaters on Dunn Avenue in Saanich can get up-close to the oversized demented face of Chucky carved into a giant pumpkin. Chucky is the creepy character existing inside a doll, from the Child’s Play horror movie franchise.“I try to stay current,” grower and pumpkin carver Bryan Sloat, 57, said with a laugh. Last year, he converted a giant pumpkin into the clown from the movie It. This year’s pumpkin is displayed at the front door of Sloat’s house at 906 Dunn Ave. There’s just a small space where he can slide his hand with candy through. He used a reciprocating saw to carve through the 20-centimetre-thick shell. A light bulb is positioned inside for illumination and blue plastic lids are used for Chucky’s eyes. Sloat said the pumpkin is the largest he has grown and he has won multiple ribbons at fairs in past years. This pumpkin, which is 1.4 metres tall, hasn’t made it onto a scale but he estimates it is about 680 kilograms. Sloat has refined his growing technique in the past two decades when he started growing huge pumpkins to entertain his young children and got into a friendly competition with a friend over who could grow the largest pumpkin. In early April, he germinates seeds from the previous year’s whopper in plastic containers. He sets them outdoors during the day and brings them inside at night. He leaves a red light shining over them indoors. When the plants are large enough, they get transplanted to the pumpkin patch, which is nine metres square. It has received a year’s worth of grass clippings. Special soil with fish remains, liquid fish fertilizer and kelp go in as well. Sloat waters his plants daily, growing one extra-large pumpkin and a couple of smaller ones. The smaller sizes go to a local pub where they are filled with beer to create a pumpkin keg. When Halloween is over, it’s a neighbourhood tradition to wrap a strap around the pumpkin and haul it down the stairs where it smashes open. The goopy remains fill about 10 wheelbarrows. The corpse is moved to the pumpkin patch to help provide nutrients for the next year.

The Shocking Truth of What Causes Addiction.

Gabor avoids quick-fix thinking when he tackles things like addiction, ADHD, sickness and the human spirit overall.
What is Really Behind Addiction: Ever notice how frequently the word “addict” is used? Just do a Google News search on the word and you’ll be shocked at just how often it’s used in a headline.

Unhealthy Lifestyles And The Rise of Hypertension Among African Millennials.

You don’t need to go far to find someone you know who’s struggling with
hypertension, this is commonly known as high blood pressure. There’s a family member, friend, or colleague you know who’s been on medication for a while. Two or three decades ago, it was common among the older folks, but now it looks like the younger generation has been hit. Many times high blood pressure is hereditary, but in recent times our lifestyle is to blame. We are a generation “on the go.”As early as 4 a.m., with barely five hours of sleep, many people are up and spending lots of time on the Internet and social media. We grab a muffin and a cup of coffee and hit the road. With no regular exercise or healthy breakfast, the day goes on and we have a ham sandwich or hotdog for lunch. We claim there’s no time for a proper lunch, so we eat whatever is quick and available. Eventually, our cholesterol levels rise and our blood sugar needs some intervention. We return home after sitting at our office desks for hours with a quick meal we toss into the oven. We snack on a lot of processed junk and fizzy drinks. Many are overweight or morbidly obese. We know we should do something about it, but we continue to procrastinate. Many people set out at the beginning of the year to lose weight, eat healthily, and remain fit, but then half of the year is gone and we are yet to set foot in a gym or stop eating junk. The young African is very ambitious and with that comes a lot of anxiety to be the best and accomplish lofty goals. We set unrealistic goals and can’t sleep when we fall behind these deadlines. Just because a colleague who is forty is married with two kids, owns his house, and has a great business, it doesn’t mean that’s the path for me. We all have different strengths and weaknesses; we cope with stress differently and have different purposes in life. There’s no harm in having great goals in life for yourself, your family, or career, but as long as we continue to compare ourselves with others and compete to outdo the other person, our blood pressure will continue to rise. Society has subtly defined some milestones that make many African millennials feel like there’s a race against time to accomplish every one. Don’t keep up with the Joneses whatever you see on social media isn’t the full gist as people don’t tell you everything. They post the expensive mansions and flashy cars, but they don’t tell you they are on blood pressure medications or that they struggle with depression. Let’s be true to ourselves and live our lives according to God’s plan. Having an ambition only to be the best and make all the cash to spend on ourselves and our families is very selfish. Let’s look out for opportunities to be a blessing to those around us and in our communities. Generosity and service have been shown to be a great way to reduce stress and related illnesses. Let’s stay content and live life simply, enjoying every moment and not always living in the future. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with saving and investing for the future, but when our health is impacted, we need to stop and take a different direction. At the end of our life’s journey, it won’t be the quantity of junk we have gathered but the quality of life we’ve lived and the legacy we’ve left behind that we will be remembered and judged for.

Nigerian Bamgbopa Abayomi is Africa’s first international amputee footballer in Europe.

In the 2018 world cup, the Nigerian jersey was the most popular and beautiful jersey designed by Nike and selling out within minutes of release.

Fitness instructors Michelle D. Hare and Jackqulyn Snowden-Brown are using African dance to ensure healthy living in black communities.

African-Americans suffer from more lifestyle diseases than other races in the United States due to unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise. Diabetes, hypertension, stroke, obesity and many other lifestyle diseases are much more prevalent in the 21st century. According to 2017 statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the death rate for African-Americans decreased by 25 per cent from 1999 to 2015.

As a black parent, would you consider raising your child in Africa or the U.S.?

Issues pertaining to racial discrimination against people of colour (especially blacks) in the United States is a very delicate and volatile one. Almost day in day out in the news, we hear of several such cases with some aggravating to fatal consequences for the not-so-lucky victims.

Nigeria’s agbada challenge is a lesson on how Africa should proudly display its culture.

Nigerians were thrilled by the premiere of yet another movie, Merry Men, which features seasoned actors like Ramsey Noah, Jim Iyke and famous musician and actor, Falz.

Nigerian mythology comes alive in Tomi Adeyemi’s debut fantasy novel [Review].

 What do you do when you cannot live your life fully because the monarch has outlawed magic in your country? What would you do if you found out there was a way to change all that and bring back magic?That’s the essence of the first instalment of the Orisha Legacy series, The Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi.The story follows the life of Zelie, a maji, her brother Tzain, the princess Amari, and the prince Inan. Zelie is among many magicians living in fear after a purge saw many of her kind killed for the good of Orisha.For Princess Amari, a life-changing event opens her eyes to realities she has always accepted without question. She steals a magic scroll believed to be the origin of magic and during her escape, encounters Zelie sending the reader into an adventure as they seek to bring back magic to Orisha.Hot in pursuit is Inan, who is also dealing with his own realities and a discovery that might change the course of his life forever, to stop the return of magic. is through this journey that the richness of Nigerian mythology comes alive.  The intricacies of gods and goddesses as well as a creation of a fantasy world that transcends the usual one-setting fantasy worlds many readers are familiar with.Within the story, Adeyemi tackles heavy themes including police brutality, hair politics and death.  In a interview, Adeyemi reveals that she based part of the story on her fear of police shootings of black men in America that even her own diary entry made it to the book.I am always afraid. It’s a truth I locked away years ago, a fact I fought hard to overcome. But when it hits, I’m paralyzed. I can’t breathe. I can’t talk. All at once, I crumple to the ground, clasping my palm over my mouth to stifle the sobs. It doesn’t matter how strong I get, how much power my magic wields. They will always hate me in this world. I will always be afraid.The aspects of identity- using the discrimination and violence on the magicians- is also a vital aspect of the book. All the characters go through life-changing events that inform their existence as well as their plans of action. The more the characters accept who they are, they seem to get a sense of power and confidence. The opposite is also visible. Beside content in the book, Adeyemi uses the story to showcase heroes of colour and give others without these experiences a platform to see what the ‘other’ are going through.“Children of colour need a mirror to see themselves in. And then people who don’t have that experience, they need a window. They need a really personalized way to see what people who are different from them are going through,” she said.Some of the strong points in the story include the world-building, which is quite impressive. The richness of the setting, the tangibility of the fantasy world makes the story more palatable. The interchanging narration of the four characters provides an in-depth understanding of their motives and thought processes., some characters could be improved. Zelie, inspired by her mission, sounds a little one-dimensional until towards the end; the question in so many readers’ minds would be ‘what makes her exceptional?’. The same can be said of Tzain, who is portrayed more as Zelie’s protector than anything else. Inan sounded more complete – his internal battle between his duty as a prince and the new identity he’s forming makes him an interesting character.  It was wonderful to see how Amari drops her naivety and faces the realities that life threw at her.The romantic angle was also quite questionable: it was instant, it was distracting for the characters and the reader and considering the ending, quite unnecessary.  Like many young adult fantasy stories, the storyline is pretty straightforward and many readers of this genre would find it too predictable.That said, the book is a good read, an introduction to a mythological world in Africa explored by teens on a mission. I am looking forward to the second instalment, Children of Virtue and Vengeance to see where the adventure will take us.Children of Blood and Bone was published by Holt Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan and is set to be adapted into a film.

Nigerian visual artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby gets her works auctioned for 3.4 million dollars in the UK.

Known for creating artworks that speak to the life of Africans who find themselves in the diaspora for one reason or the other, Nigerian-born and U.S.-based artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby has made history as her art pieces Bush Babies were auctioned for a whopping 3.4 million dollars in the UK. It’s probably a good year to be Nigerian, considering the global attention the country keeps getting thanks to its controversial president, groundbreaking musician Wizkid, legendary actress now director Genevieve Nnaji and popular writer and feminist Chimamanda Adichie, the country’s name seems to pop up in the news every other day.

Up until recently, the creative industry in Africa was not as lucrative and vibrant. Ironically, despite  Africa being a land of natural creatives with its rich and diverse culture, parents have for so many years, prevented their children from venturing into the creative arts with claims that the industry always left artists poor, hungry and miserable. Young adults in the field were often referred to as rebellious misfits who had failed in a more serious career. For the lucky few who were allowed to express their creativity professionally, they were still made to pursue other respected careers as a backup plan. Njideka Akunyili Crosby was born in Enugu, Nigeria to a Surgeon father and pharmacologist mother. At the age of 16, after her mother won green card lottery, Njideka moved to the U.S. with her sister to further their education.
Njideka’s love for the arts was identified when she was very young. In the USA, she studied both arts and biology pursuing her love and still staying in the science following the footsteps of her parents.  While pursuing Arts and Biology at the Swarthmore College, Njideka became a Mellon Mays fellow. Deciding that she will focus more on the arts, she went in for a post-baccalaureate certificate from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts to be able to pursue a master’s degree in arts. After attaining her second undergraduate degree, she gained a Masters of Fine Arts degree from the Yale University School of Art.

 While the 3.4 million dollar auction of her Bush Babies art piece is a big deal for artists and Africa, the huge news for the Nigerian artist is just one of many accolades she has to her name. The ‘Bush Babies’ masterpiece was auctioned in England at the Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction where it had been part of an all-star lineup art exhibition. Much of the proceeds from the auction will go into charity. For Crosby, the significance of the million dollar auction is not much of a big deal as she chooses to stay focused and express herself through the medium she best knows.That aside, selling her works at a million dollars and more is nothing new to the prolific artist who in 2016 sold two of her works Drown and the Beautiful Ones for 1.1 million and 3.1 million dollars respectively. Njideka’s works are making a wave in the art industry because they visually represent and speak to African ethnics verses Western standards often merging the two in a balanced manner that keeps the African diaspora sane and with a unique identity. In 2015, the visual artist was named one of the 2016 Financial Times Woman of the year and won the McArthur Genius grant in 2017 to design the murals that wrap around the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Los Angeles.Njideka, despite her huge success, continues to remain humble and focused on letting her art be a true reflection of contemporary life and experiences in one way or the other. For many upcoming visual artists and creatives, Njideka continues to inspire and push them to be passionate and never lose focus on their works proving that fame and fortune do not make the artist but his or her work does.


Highlights From Inaugural Speech of Ethiopia’s Historic Female President.

In her first speech as Ethiopia’s new president, Sahle-Work Zewde highlighted the importance of peace, unity and empowering women as pillars of development.

Air Pollution Kills 600,000 Kids Annually Mostly in Africa, Asia -WHO.

Air pollution kills 7 million people each year including 600,000 children. The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday that, almost all of these children are in poor countries in Asia and Africa.

Only Skilled Migrants Will Be Allowed into UK in New Policy – Theresa May.

An immigration system based on people’s skills, not where they come from.
Prime Minister Theresa May has said that Britain is introducing a migration policy that ends free movement allowing only skilled migrants from various parts of the world. We're introducing a new skills-based immigration system that ends free movement. So that for the first time in decades, this country will control and choose who we want to come here.
A system that looks across the globe and attracts people with the skills we need the PM, has also promised that the European Union will not be given preferential treatment after #Brexit.“The new skills-based system will make sure low-skilled immigration is brought down and set the UK on the path to reducing immigration to sustainable levels, as we promised,” May was quoted as saying.


Sharmarke Dubow Former refugee casts first ballot as Canadian, then wins council seat.

A lot of politicians scored big wins in the civic elections Saturday, but it’s hard to imagine any of them had a day like Sharmarke Dubow.The former Somali refugee not only voted for the first time as a Canadian citizen, he won a seat on Victoria city council.“What was overwhelming was people putting trust in me  trusting that I would represent them,” he said Monday.“That is a powerful message not only to the city but, to the whole country and to the whole of North America.””I’m receiving them from all around the world, from Minneapolis to Mogadishu,” he said. “I’m not kidding.”Some of the messages have come from people in refugee camps like the one in Kenya, where Dubow spent part of his childhood after fleeing civil war in Somalia at the age of eight.“Internationally, it’s like they can’t believe that a former refugee, someone who has been here less than seven years,” has pulled off such a feat, he said.It’s a remarkable accomplishment for a man who spent 20 years without a country to call home.As a child, Dubow was unable to attend school in the refugee camp, but he still went on to earn a degree in business technology from Cape Breton University, which runs the Canadian International College in Cairo.In 2010, he was sponsored by a family member to move to Winnipeg and, in 2012, he arrived in Victoria where he worked with the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society and the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria, helping to link refugees with support services.On Monday, he stopped by the association’s office to celebrate his victory with friends and former colleagues.“As I opened my first email, there’s Sharmarke coming in to thank everybody, to give everybody hugs,” said Kate Longpre, the association’s community integration coordinator.The gesture, she said, spoke to Sharmarke’s caring, thoughtful nature and meant a lot to the people he worked with in the past. His victory, however, will mean even more to people with similar backgrounds to Dubow, Longpre said. “For refugees, for newcomers that come to Victoria to see that a Somalian refugee is part of Victoria city council, says a lot for people of colour, does a lot for refugees.“It’s great to see Victoria city council have more diversity and representation on it.”Dubow, who ran as part of the Together Victoria slate committed to creating more affordable housing and building an inclusive city, said he’s celebrating now, but eager to take the oath of office and get to work.“For 20 years, I was a refugee,” he said. “So no country ever gave me citizenship or the right to vote or the right to participate in democracy.“So being Canadian is being able not only to serve and make my community better, but also to cast my vote. And [to get] elected the same night is just amazing.“And that is what will motivate me to always continue. Even if I wasn’t elected, I would still have continued to work to make my community better.”Of the attention he’s receiving now, Dubow said he has no desire to be a hero, but he’s happy if his story inspires others perhaps even an eight-year-old boy in a refugee camp somewhere, wondering what life holds for him.“Maybe that kid sees, ‘One day, I’ll become something. There’s a life behind those bars of the camp. You never know.’ ”

Family of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and Leicester football players gather to pay tribute to club owner.

Leicester helicopter crash
PLAYERS HAVE ARRIVED at Leicester City Football Club to pay tribute to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the club’s owner who died in a helicopter crash outside the King Power Stadium on Saturday. The club owner’s helicopter burst into flames in the football stadium car park moments after taking off from the club’s pitch. Four other people were killed in the crash. Since news broke, family and fans have gathered to pay tribute, lay flowers, football scarves and shirts outside the ground.
Leicester helicopter crash
Vichai, a Thai billionaire, bought Leicester City in 2010 for £39 million and was instrumental in leading the club to the Premier League title in 2016. Police have named the four other victims of Saturday’s crash as Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, two members of Vichai’s staff, pilot Eric Swaffer and passenger Izabela Roza Lechowicz. A book of condolence will be opened at King Power Stadium from Tuesday. The team has postponed its Premier League fixture against Southampton that evening.
Leicester helicopter crash
Vichai (60) was the owner of Thailand’s King Power duty-free empire and was a regular at Leicester City matches. Eyewitnesses to Saturday’s crash said the helicopter appeared to develop a mechanical problem in its rear propeller shortly after takeoff. Images shortly after showed orange balls of flame engulfing the wreckage in the car park at King Power Stadium. England legend Gary Lineker, a former Leicester player who was hosting the BBC’s Match of the Day when the accident happened, tweeted: “That was the most difficult @BBCMOTD I’ve ever hosted… A terrible tragedy. Heartbreaking.”
Leicester helicopter crash
Under Vichai’s ownership, Leicester crafted one of the biggest fairy tales in English football history by winning the 2015/16 Premier League, having started the season as 5,000-1 outsiders for the title.

The Irish people have voted to remove blasphemy offence from the Constitution.

THE IRISH PEOPLE have passed a referendum to remove the offence of blasphemy from the Constitution. In a resounding result, 64.85% of people (951,650) voted Yes to change Article 40.6.1˚i of the Constitution, which read:The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law following today’s vote, the corresponding part of the Constitution will read: The publication or utterance of seditious or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law. The Oireachtas will also move to repeal Sections 36 and 37 of the Defamation Act 2009, introduced in 1999 over fears that the legislation at the time was not compatible with the Constitution. Those laws saw that a new offence of “publication or utterance of blasphemous matter” against any religion was added to the 2009 Defamation Act. All 40 constituencies voted in favour of the referendum. Turnout was 43.79%. A total of 515,808 people voted to retain the offence. See the full breakdown here.
blasphemy final

Breast ‘Cancer Was The Best Thing to Happen To Me’: Survivor Recalls Life-affirming Battle.

Image result for Breast ‘Cancer Was The Best Thing to Happen To Me’: Survivor Recalls Life-affirming Battle
“Happy birthday to me. I turned 34 today… I am documenting this to remind me that I have to take care of myself. I am just doing the small things I enjoy to celebrate the year, which is a pretty big deal.”Edo-abasi McGee, a pharmacist and professor in metro Atlanta, wrote those words in her journal in February, about four months before her doctors told her she was breast cancer-free. Another trip around the sun was especially momentous.“Cancer was probably the best thing to ever happen to me,” she said. But that wasn’t her sentiment last March when the married mother of one child received the diagnosis at 33.“It was a shock. While driving home from the clinic, I had lots of thoughts,” she remembered. “Of course I’m crying and trying to figure things out.”
Beating the odds: Her big sister had been diagnosed with the same disease while pregnant about five years before, but she beat it. The experience was so scary that McGee was encouraged to begin annual mammograms in her 20s, although the American Cancer Society recommends most should start at age 40.The stage 1 discovery was also a surprise because she and her sister had tested negative for BRCA1 and BRCA2, two human genes that increase the risk of female breast and ovarian cancers. About 72 per cent of women who inherit a BRCA 1 mutation and about 69 per cent who get the BRCA2 mutation develop breast cancer by the age of 80, according to the National Cancer Institute. However, only five to 10 per cent of breast cancers is related to an inherited gene.“It wasn’t necessarily something I thought I would get,” McGee admitted. “My mother and grandmother never had it. I have four sisters total, and only one of us had gotten it at that point.”McGee’s life was changing quickly, and she was suddenly faced with some hard choices. She needed to decide between a lumpectomy, the removal of cancerous tissue in the breast, and a double mastectomy, the removal of both breasts completely.
Fighting to win: “I asked my husband, and he didn’t feel like he could tell me what to do with my body. He said, ‘You have to be comfortable with that decision. No one can make it for you,’” she recalled. With guidance from her sibling who survived the illness, McGee followed in her footsteps and picked the latter.“It was difficult. We are all born with our breast, so you don’t want to lose it,” she said. “At the same time, I was young and didn’t want to go through this again. I didn’t want it coming back in the other breast.”After nearly four gruelling months of chemotherapy, which resulted in hair loss and constant fatigue, McGee endured the 14-hour operation. During the procedure, surgeons were also able to use the fat from her belly to reconstruct her breasts.“That was enticing. I had been receiving chemo and felt like an oompa loompa with the steroids. I thought, ‘Oh I’m going to get a tummy tuck after this? Do it,’” she joked.
October is the breast cancer Awareness Month.

All you need to Know about breast cancer and self-examination
 Women Fit (@womenfit_org) October 24, 2018

A new normal:Her recovery period was no laughing matter though. “It was tough,” she said.She had to sleep upright in a recliner for two weeks to protect her wounds. For about four weeks, she had to replace her bandages constantly to manage the usual drainage and discharge from the incisions. And by the eight-week mark, she was walking more comfortably, finally achieving a new normal.The survivor became breast cancer-free in June. She said she no longer has to go in for mammograms since she doesn’t have breast tissue, and in September, doctors took out the port in her chest, which was used during her chemotherapy treatments.In addition to having to take Tamoxifen medication daily for the next 10 years to reduce breast cancer recurrence, therapy is also now a part of her daily maintenance routine.“I started going the fifth or sixth week after surgery. I was having lots of anxiety about going back to work, and I was trying to deal with self-image issues,” she said. “The main thing I learned from therapy is self-awareness. I have to protect my time for self-care. I do various things, whether it’s working out, meditating or journaling.”
The Journey Begins: McGee laughingly said her preachy lectures about self-care annoy her sisters, but they take breast cancer prevention very seriously. They get their mammograms regularly, but their oncologists said they might not need BRCA assessments since the two breast cancer survivors in the family have already tested negative. In fact, McGee, born in Nigeria, has submitted her health information to researchers at a Chicago university for a study about breast cancer risk factors specifically associated with West African women. Their findings won’t be revealed for several years. In the meantime, McGee has vowed to share her journey with as many as possible.“Everyone’s story is so different that you can only tell yours and hope people can benefit,” she said. “I truly believe God allowed me to go through this to help other women. Sometimes we go through some battles to hold the rope for others.”For McGee, last year was about growing to a new level. This year is about applying the lessons she’s learned.“I’m believing that at 34 God will use me in the places he matured,” she ended her journal entry. “I thank God.”

No Natural Hair, No Work’: Liberia’s Finance Minister Bans Employees With ‘Unnatural’ Hair.

Liberia’s Ministry of Finance has publicly ordered its security guards to restrict any female employee with “unnatural hair” or any colour extensions from entering the office complex effect from October 1, 2018.

'We've All Just Been Crying Endlessly;'Remembering the 11 Slain in Synagogue Massacre.

Image result for Remembering the 11 Slain in Synagogue Massacre: 'We've All Just Been Crying Endlessly' 
Siblings, a husband and wife and a grandfather of three were among the 11 worshipers decent, generous and faithful-hearted slain at Saturday morning services in a Pittsburgh synagogue, authorities said.The victims’ identities were released by the medical examiner’s office after the next of kin had been notified of their deaths, allegedly at the hands of Robert Bowers, who is in custody.Six others were wounded, including four responding police officers.“All of us in the community are in a little bit of a state of shock,” says Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, who lives in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighbourhood, home to the Temple of Life synagogue where the shooting took place.“As I walk out onto the street, walk out onto the sidewalk, I see a lot of my neighbours just coming out of their houses,” Fitzgerald said, “walking around in really with just blank looks on their faces and just almost in a state of disbelief.”This post will be updated as more is known about the deceased victims, who are:

Rose Mallinger, 97.

Joyce Fienberg, 75: Fienberg was born and raised and got married in Toronto, according to a Facebook post by Rabbi Yael Splansky of Toronto’s Holy Blossom Temple. In her post, Splansky reminded congregants that Fienberg’s confirmation photo is on the Temple’s wall of honour. “I walk past her every day.”Fienberg settled in Pittsburgh with her husband, Stephen, who also was from Holy Blossom Temple. He was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and died in 2016. The Facebook page for The Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC) at the University of Pittsburgh, where Fienberg worked for more than 25 years on various research projects, said this about her: “Joyce was a cherished friend for many in LRDC. For those who knew her in LRDC, she was an engaging, elegant, and warm person.”

Richard Gottfried,65: Gottfried and his wife, Margaret Durachko, “embodied love,” says an employee at the Catholic church she attended. They were an interfaith couple who “embraced one another and our families in faith,” the employee says. “This is heartbreaking. Our hearts go out to her and all the other families. This was utterly senseless. I don’t understand none of us does.

Jerry Rabinowitz, 66: Rabinowitz worked as the personal doctor for Lawrence Claus, the former deputy district attorney in Allegheny County, for 30 years.“Dr Jerry Rabinowitz was more than just a physician for me and my family; for over three decades he was truly a trusted confidant and healer who could always be counted upon to provide sage advice whenever he was consulted on medical matters, usually providing that advice with a touch of genuine humour,”Claus said in a brief statement released by a prosecutor’s spokesman.“He had a truly uplifting demeanour, and as a practising physician he was among the very best.”

Cecil Rosenthal, 59, brother to victim David Rosenthal:Cecil and his brother, David, were remembered as “extraordinary men” by Pennsylvania’s ACHIEVA, an agency which provides services for people with disabilities and their families“Cecil and David had a love for life and for those around them,” ACHIEVA spokeswoman Lisa Razza said in a statement. “As long-standing recipients of ACHIEVA’s residential and employment services, they were as much a part of the ACHIEVA family as they were their beloved neighborhood of Squirrel Hill.”Cecil had an “infectious” laugh according to ACHIEVA executive Chris Schopf, and he was inseparable from his younger brother.

David Rosenthal, 54, brother to victim Cecil Rosenthal: David, a kind and gentle spirit, had “strong faith and respect for everyone around,” just like his brother, according to ACHIEVA. And like Cecil, David never missed a Saturday at Tree of Life.“If they were here they would tell you that is where they were supposed to be,” Schopf said. Says Raye Coffey, a neighbour to the Rosenthal brothers as they grew up: “You wonder why this is happening all this bitterness. It’s [a] very frightening time for our children and our grandchildren.”

Bernice Simon, 84, wife to victim Sylvan Simon: Bernice and her husband, Sylvan, were “were lovely, good, kind, generous, compassionate, big-hearted, selfless people,” says Jo Stepaniak, their next-door neighbour of nearly 40 years.“They gave to their community,” she says. “They would help anybody who needed it. Bernice always had a level head and was always very insightful and wise and gracious.”Stepaniak last saw Bernice only days before the shooting but says their conversation was ordinary  typical, neighbourly chit-chat.“They would help anybody in need,” she says of the Simons. “They really didn’t think about themselves. They weren’t interested in appearances and prestige. They just lived what they believed, which was being kind to everybody and looking to the good in everybody.”

Sylvan Simon, 86, husband to victim Bernice Simon:Sylvan and his wife, Bernice, wed at the Tree of Life in a candle-lit ceremony more than 60 years ago, in December 1956, according to a wedding announcement and local news report. Stepaniak says she, like others, has grieved intensely at the deaths: “It’s just a tragedy and a travesty and horrific. It’s just unbelievable that something like this would occur in this country let alone this neighbourhood. Everyone who knew Bernice and Sylvan is completely in shock and devastated.”“We’ve all just been crying,” she says. “Endlessly. It’s unbelievable.”

Daniel Stein, 71: Stein was “a simple man and did not require much,” his son wrote on Facebook Sunday. Stein had two great loves his family and his faith which his son remembered with a photo showing him after returning from the synagogue, “which he loved,”  and playing with his grandson, “which he loved even more.”

Melvin Wax, 87: Wax, soon to turn 88 and grandfather to three, “was an integral member of the congregation, an avid attendee, and part of the fabric of this community,” family friend Bill Cartiff tells PEOPLE. The grief of his death was fresh for his daughter, Jody Kart.“Yesterday was just such a whirlwind, trying to get answers,” Cartiff says. “So today it’s still setting in for her.”“Mel was a quiet, simple, honest, religious, kind, generous man,” Cartiff says. “And those are all very generic adjectives, but if you define all of those words the way Webster’s dictionary defines them, that was him.“He was a little old man who was a retired CPA. He was just a quiet man, and he was hard of hearing and soft-spoken so he couldn’t hear you well and it was hard to hear him. He was sweet and you maybe had to have a little bit of tolerance for his awful jokes, which he incessantly told.”

Irving Younger, 69: Bowers, the mass shooting suspect, is accused of attacking the Tree of Life about 9:50 a.m. Saturday, according to prosecutors, who have said he was armed with three handguns and an assault rifle.U.S. Attorney Scott Brady told reporters on Sunday that during the rampage, Bowers allegedly talked about genocide and wanting to kill Jewish people. Bowers has been charged with 29 federal crimes, most of which carry a maximum penalty of death, Brady said: He faces 11 counts of murdering victims exercising their religious beliefs and 11 counts of using a firearm to commit murder as well as seven additional charges in connection with his alleged attack on the responding police officers at the scene. Bowers will make his first court appearance on Monday afternoon, according to authorities. Authorities said Sunday morning that he remained in custody in the hospital following surgery after being wounded during the shooting.“We are going to get through this,” Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert said Sunday. “We are going to continue on and show what Pittsburgh is made of.”  

One Glove at a Time:'Mittens for Detroit' Is Warming Hearts and Hands.

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Actress Erin Cummings was helping her cousin hand out Halloween candy in Detroit when a mother and her two daughters came to the door. The entire family was really upset, Cummings recalls.“One little girl was shivering and crying and clutching her bare hand with her other mittened hand. And my cousin leaned down and said, ‘Why are you crying? You’re missing a glove? Are you cold?’ ” Cummings said. “It was very cold that night like an unusually cold Halloween night my cousin invited the girls and their mom inside to get warm.”Cummings’ cousin gave the girl a spare pair of gloves, hugged her and gave her a piece of candy. The family had been miserable and heading home but the new gloves changed their mood and they decided to continue trick-or-treating. The next morning, Cummings says she couldn’t stop thinking that she had to get more gloves and give them to people who need them. In November 2010, Cummings founded the non-profit, Mittens for Detroit, and within the first four months, she collected and distributed more than 9,000 pairs of gloves. Cummings was in town filming the cop drama Detroit 1-8-7. When she wasn’t working, Cummings went to hair salons and stores asking them to display mitten collection boxes.“I was a low woman on the totem pole in the cast so I had a lot of days off,” she says. 
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“We’d have mitten sorting and counting parties at my apartment with a pile of mittens as tall as I am. Cummings personally handed out brand new gloves at women’s shelters and to gay and lesbian teens and veterans in need.“It was during a downtime in our economy. It gave a lot of people a sense of hope,” Cummings says. “They felt like they were able to help someone else at a very low cost. They could buy gloves for not a lot of money and feel like they were making a difference in someone’s life at least for that winter.”Now, eight years later, the non-profit she started has distributed more than 200,000 pairs of gloves to those in need. This winter, they hope to distribute 50,000 pairs of brand new, never worn store bought or handmade gloves, says executive director Wendy Shepherd.“In this area, we all understand cold hands,” says Shepherd. “We all understand what it’s like to walk from your house to your car and not be able to feel your fingertips.”Chris Wilinski, a 56-year-old first-grade teacher says his students come into the classroom every day complaining about how cold they are.
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“The kids would be out at recess and they’d have no gloves,” Wilinski says. “As teachers, we’d go to the Dollar Store and buy gloves for a lot of our kids and that was, like, a lot of gloves.”Wilinski spotted a Mittens for Detroit collection box when he was attending a Weight Watchers meeting. (He’s lost 110 pounds!) He emailed Shepherd at Mittens for Detroit and asked for gloves for his students. She helped him provide gloves to every student in his entire school district in Hamtramck (a city inside Detroit) for the past four years. All 1,500 students get a new pair of gloves.“The kids really look forward to them,” Wilinski says. Mittens for Detroit provided gloves and mittens for children at 45 schools last year. As well as working with a network of shelters and agencies that help people who are down on their luck or in transition.“They’re really helping to warm the hearts and hands of kids and families,” says Holly Gorecki, director of Volunteer & Community Engagement for The Children’s Center.
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“So many families come to us not wearing coats. They aren’t dressed appropriately for kids to be standing outside in below zero weather waiting for the bus to school.”Vonna McMickel is a 55-year-old unemployed, single foster mother of three boys and a girl. She first received mittens for her foster kids and herself four years ago.“They mean a lot to me,” McMickel says. “They keep my boys’ hands warm. We didn’t have any mittens. I needed help.”Now, she volunteers at the local children’s centre giving out mittens to other families. “Keep ‘em coming because we need them. They’re something I appreciate very much,” McMickel says. Two months after her 2016 wedding, Cummings was diagnosed with breast cancer. “I wasn’t able to travel while I was undergoing chemo,” she says. “I realized I wasn’t going to be in Detroit as much as I wanted to be able to properly run the organization. 
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After seven years, I took a step back to focus on my health and my new family.”Late last summer, Cummings stepped down from working with Mittens for Detroit. But, while she and her husband were in Detroit visiting family in December, she planned to buy mittens and drop them in a collection box at Starbucks.
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“I want this organization to live on beyond me. And I want other people to continue what we started. Should the day come where I’m able to offer more of my time and be more present, I may embrace that,” says Cummings. “I look forward to the continued warmth of hearts and hands and mittens.”
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Everything you need to know to keep yourself, your kids and your pets safe this Halloween.

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IT IS ALMOST ‘trick or treat’ time and while Halloween is a fun occasion, some of the celebrations have their risks. The public has been advised by authorities who stress they are not trying to spoil anyone’s fun to be sensible this Halloween. Emergency services, in particular, have said they do not want to see a repeat of serious injuries they have seen in previous years.“It’s very sad for us when we see you injured on Halloween,” Dublin Fire Brigade district officer David Kavanagh told a group of school children earlier this week during a fire safety demonstration.
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 Fire safety
Dublin Fire Brigade issued a warning to members of the public not to put themselves in danger this Halloween. They focused in particular on the dangers of illegal fireworks and one of their firefighters demonstrated the serious harm they can do. Some of these fireworks are defective and can go off early, injuring the person who has lit them. Firefighters spoke of examples of children, in particular, losing fingers because of unsafe fireworks. They also showed schoolchildren how easily a bonfire can flare up, especially if someone adds even a small amount of petrol to it to make it bigger.
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If you are attending a bonfire, you should keep your distance if you can feel the heat strongly on your face you are too close and could get injured if the blaze flares up. Equally, if you spot stockpiles of wooden pallets or other items for use in bonfires, you are asked to contact your local council  Dublin City Council has a litter hotline, 1800 251 500. Even at home, if you or your children are in costume, make sure you stay away from any flames like on candles or in pumpkin lanterns. Most costumes are highly flammable. Speaking of costumes, the Association of Optometrists warned against the use of ‘fun’ contact lenses as they carry serious health risks and they are illegal.
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The ISPCA has also issued some advice for pet owners, including ensuring your pet is microchipped and have ID tags. It is best to keep them in a quiet, secure room, where they cannot dart out an open door. Here are some ways to help your pet deal with stress, if the noises frighten them:
Help your pet deal with stress: 
  • Leave the lights low, and play the radio or television quietly to help drown out some of the stressful sounds
  • Owners can also train their pets to become accustomed to the sounds of Halloween by playing sounds of fireworks at low volumes, and gradually increasing as the night draws nearer.
  • As difficult as it may be, not reacting to your pet showing signs of fear may be the best way to help them.
  • Licking objects such as toys filled with peanut butter may help ease your pet’s stress.
  • If they are up for it, playing with them may also be a welcome distraction, but don’t force it if your pet is too upset to play.
Keep decorations and sweets out of reach remember chocolate and raisins are highly toxic to pets, as are any sweets containing the sugar substitute xylitol. The ISPCA has also recommended against dressing pets in costumes but if you are going to do it, choose something that won’t limit their movement, vision or ability to breathe. Stray animals can fall victim to abuse or cruel Halloween pranks. If you witness animal cruelty, the ISPCA is asking you to notify your local Gardai station immediately and contact the ISPCA National Animal Cruelty Helpline on 1890 515 515.

The Irish For... Some spooky Irish words to get you in the mood for Samhain.

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EMILY DICKINSON ONCE remarked that November is the Norway of the year, a line that loses one of its beauty even when we disagree as to what she meant by it. As a resident of Dublin, my view is that she was alluding to the Norwegian invention of dynamite, given the constant bangers that punctuate the evenings of the eleventh month.In Irish, November is a month whose name reminds us the day that precedes it  Oíche Shamhna.

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Some naysayers will tell you that Hallowe’en is too commercial and tacky, but the popularity of the spooky holiday has proven to be the last line of defence against Christmas ads and songs that seem to start earlier and earlier every year  not to mention giving us all some brief respite from the inevitable think-pieces about poppy-wearing. We need Hallowe’en it’s sexier than Valentine’s Day, less anticlimactic than New Years, cheaper than Christmas and more Irish than St Patrick’s Day. So before you go bobbing for apples on Wednesday, why not bob for some spooky Irish words to get you in the mood for Samhain?
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Oidhe: Spellcheck, like alcohol, makes a fine servant but a cruel master. If you are typing oíche (meaning night) be careful you don’t type the instead it means the act of slaying.
Taibhseoir: A noun without a direct equivalent in English, this means a person who tells ghost stories. It is derived from taibhse, a phantom.
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Síofra: Now a popular name for girls, a síofra was a changeling a spooky doppelgänger child left in the place of a child stolen by the fairies. Such a child would look almost identical to the one taken. Speaking of almost identical, síofra an anagram of sioráf, which is the Irish for a giraffe.
Sí: The root of síofra is the word sí, meaning the fairy folk. However, the English word “fairy” and the image of gossamer-winged Victorian children it evokes really isn’t a fair translation of the meaning of the Irish word. Consider that the banshee (bean-sí) was a screaming herald of death and the fear, even today, of messing with the fairy fort. The sí were terrifying and often referred to as na huaisle (the gentry) or na daoine maithe (the good people) to avoid provoking them.
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Bean Ultach: While bean sí is a fairy woman/banshee, Bean Ultach (literally, Ulster woman) is one of the names in Irish for a witch.
Bibsach: This very obscure Middle Irish word means to kill (or put someone to death) twice. Academics have pointed out that while this word is recorded in some dictionaries, examples of it used in non-reference texts have been harder to come by. One can only assume that whatever hapless person had those texts was killed twice.
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Cendail: Not to be confused with the name Kendall or anyone who bears it, this is another discontinued word, a collective noun for the heads of one’s decapitated enemies.
Púca: A púca is a supernatural creature, such as a ghost or a goblin. Is púca the origin of the English word spooky? Absolutely not- spook comes from Dutch. Is there a link between it and the Japanese word Pokemon? Even more unlikely. Why do so many distinct, separate cultures have such similar-sounding words for mischievous supernatural creatures? Ask the one standing behind you.Related image

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