Wedding dress mix up discovered 14 years later


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Fourteen years after she wore it down the aisle, a woman in the north metro is trying to find the dress she wore on her wedding day.

WCCO dug into the mystery that Wendie Taylor is hoping social media will help solve. And like any good mystery, this one starts with the TV series “Gilmore Girls.”

“Just that good mother-daughter, you know, feel-good whatever kind of comedy to take away from the chaos that’s going on,” Taylor said.

On Saturday, Taylor and her 12-year-old daughter watched the show’s wedding episode.

Wendie Taylor on her wedding day in 2006 (credit: Wendie Taylor)

“After the episode, McKayla and I were talking and said, ‘You’ve never actually seen my dress.’ And she said, ‘No, I haven’t I’ve just seen pictures,’” Taylor said.

She went to retrieve the gown she had paid to preserve 14 years earlier.

“We open the box and … she saw the look of horror for lack of [laughs], because it wasn’t my dress,” Taylor said. “It’s a beautiful dress. It’s not my dress.”

After she was married in 2006, Taylor went to work for Evans Garment Restoration, a service that cleans clothing and other soft goods after fire or water damage. She thought it was the perfect place to have her dress properly packaged. But with new owners and new software since, Evans has so far struck out.

Wendie Taylor and the wrong dress (credit: CBS)

“My dress, it was strapless, it was two-tone, it had beadwork on it. Somebody else has the wrong dress, too,” she said.

Taylor’s Facebook post has been shared hundreds of times this week, asking anyone else from that same year to pry open their own and take a peak.

She’s hoping her “something borrowed” will be just that, in time to mark 15 years of marriage.

The dress Taylor has in her possession is a size 10 and from David’s Bridal.



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Nursing homes find ways to keep residents engaged


St. Louis-area nursing homes find creative ways to keep residents engaged amid pandemic




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Every year, the Sarah Community, a nursing home in Bridgeton, hosts its own Oktoberfest. The event usually lasts for five or six hours, with live music, carnival games, a Kona ice truck and loads of barbecue.

Despite COVID, recreation director Kelly Potter wanted to make it happen again this fall for the residents. As in normal years, they brought in performers. They laid out food. They even set up a beanbag toss and a makeshift bowling lane. There were a few differences, of course — everyone wore a mask, and workers wiped down the bean bags between each game — but Potter said it was the “closest to normal we’ve had in a while.”

Throughout the pandemic, nursing homes have scrambled to create a sense of normalcy in a non-normal situation. As of Jan. 17, nursing home residents have accounted for nearly 52% of deaths in Missouri, despite representing just 4.5% of the total COVID cases. The risk forced most nursing homes to lock their doors to outsiders early on, and confined many residents to their own facilities, and sometimes, their own rooms.

So activity staffers are trying to think outside of the box to keep residents entertained. They’re holding happy hour on roving carts instead of the dining room. They’re bringing musical performers to the window instead of the multipurpose room. And they’re interrupting bean bag competitions with a little sanitization.






40s Day at Oak Hill Senior Living and Rehabilitation Center

Bill Cowell spins the roulette wheel for a candy prize with the help of activity aides Wendy Juenger and Becky Hueslman on Wednesday outside his room at Oak Hill in Waterloo. “It’s always great when they came around,” Cowell said.




The hope, said Tara Powell, the activity director at Bethesda Southgate in Oakville, is that residents “still feel like they have some kind of a purpose, and they still have life happening around them. … We want them to feel like life and fun is still happening, no matter what’s going on.”

The activities

At the Sarah Community, staff members begin each day with one-on-ones, going room-to-room, reading books with residents, talking with residents and even giving out manicures. At 9:30 a.m., they broadcast exercise class. At 10:30 a.m., they hold rosary and mass. At 2 p.m., they play a movie. Each week, residents receive activity packets stuffed with crossword puzzles, brain teasers, word searches and coloring sheets to fill their free time.






Nursing home entertainment

Virginia Clarke participates in art class at the Sarah Community.




Like many long-term care facilities, Bethesda Southgate has supplemented these everyday activities with special events, ranging from a hippie dress-up day to an indoor light tour to food truck visits. Recently, they organized a “trip” to “Nashville,” where the staff dressed in Western attire and pushed a Nashville-themed cart down the hallways.

Some of these activities have moved to online. Vanessa Woods, the owner and founder at Vitality in Motion, teaches dance classes, like ballet and Broadway-style choreography, to seniors on a screen. Woods said dance not only allows residents to work on their balance and strength, it provides a mental “escape” from the pandemic.

But some mainstays remain.

“Oh they wanted their bingo,” said Kristi Gard, the activity director at Oak Hill in Waterloo.






Poodle skirts, Rock 'n' Roll and candy trivia for 40s day

“You can’t have my snowball,” resident Penny Chart jokes to Activity Director Kristi Gard, who was bringing root beer floats to residents at Oak Hill in Waterloo. An aide built Chart a snowman outside her window and brought her the snowball because Chart was lamenting she could not play in the snow. 




The size, the location, the makeup of the long-term care facility — it doesn’t matter. Bingo is a staple, regardless of the pandemic. Most senior living facilities have shifted to “hallway bingo,” with residents playing from their doors.

But this wide variety of events isn’t possible for many nursing facilities, said Marjorie Moore, executive director at VOYCE, a St. Louis-based nonprofit advocacy organization for long-term care communities. In actuality, most nursing homes are understaffed — 36.9% of Missouri nursing homes at one point during the summer, according to an analysis by AARP — a problem that has only been exacerbated by the pandemic. At Clinton Manor Living Center in New Baden, for example, they’ve had to move multiple activity assistants back to their original jobs in nursing.

“Unfortunately, in a lot of cases,” Moore said, “a lot of the creative things that family members may want to do, or nursing home staff want to do, get kicked to the curb because staffing in nursing homes is so low.”

Throughout the pandemic, this has often left residents cooped up in their rooms, sometimes with up to three other roommates, and sometimes without a whole activity plan.

“We’ve seen a lot of depression,” Moore said. “We’ve seen a lot of people, who went into long-term care with mild dementia get much worse because they’re not getting the sort of social interaction that they need to be able to maintain their health. … It seems like a lot of facilities are really trying. But under a lot of the current conditions, it’s really hard.”

Staying connected

Nursing homes have found that the best way to combat loneliness isn’t a fancy party or a special dress-up day. It’s pretty simple: Residents want to be connected with their loved ones.






nursing home entertainment

A resident of the Clinton Manor listens to a virtual Christmas concert in her room on the tablet.




“I think the biggest missing factor, no matter what we did to try to improve quality of life and promote activities, was family,” said Dr. Angela Sanford, an associate professor of geriatric medicine at St. Louis University and the certified medical director at a nursing home, NHC HealthCare Maryland Heights.

Before the pandemic, Teva Shirley of Glen Carbon visited her mother at Clinton Manor five to six days per week. Now, she mostly speaks to her mother through FaceTime calls, greetings at the window and the occasional face-to-face visit — when permitted.

At Oak Hill, staffers have designed their own indoor visiting area, with plexiglass separating the residents and family members.

Marilyn Kilby, 84, is one of the residents who has used the visitation area. One year ago, Kilby, moved from Carbondale to the Oak Hill nursing home so that she could be closer to her daughter. But when the pandemic hit, she had been there for just a few months. She doesn’t know many people in the facility and, for a while, she couldn’t visit with her daughter. Her glasses aren’t working and she can’t get them fixed. Naturally, she has started to feel “lonesome.”

That is, until Christmas Eve rolled around and her daughter made a reservation to visit. From across the plexiglass, they talked for 20 minutes. “It was really wonderful,” Kilby said. “It was almost like being with your family.”

As COVID cases have continued to rise in the area, regulations have continued to change, making face-to-face visits tricky and sporadic.

“A lot of people that don’t work in a nursing home or health care like this, they don’t understand the rules that change on a daily basis,” Potter said. “It’s hard to deal with. Because we don’t obviously want the residents to have to be in their room so much. We would love for them to be able to interact and get out more and things like that. But we can’t — we have rules that we have to follow that, like I said, change daily.”






Nursing home entertainment

Mike Schmidt visits her mother, Oak Hill resident Dorothy Merchant last fall during a community prayer vigil in front of the facility. 




Nursing homes have seen the negative effects of lessened social interaction in one specific area: Food consumption. Without dining halls full of residents, residents have stopped eating as much. Sanford, who is still finalizing her study results, has found that isolation has caused more weight loss than contracting the virus. “It just isn’t the same when you’re by yourself in a room eating off of a TV tray and Styrofoam plates,” she said.

The Oak Hill staff has tried to mitigate the weight loss by creating events like “12 days of ice cream,” where residents receive a different flavor of ice cream each day, from “plain old chocolate” to cinnamon crumb cake.

Flashing back with music

Most mornings, recreation director Kelly Potter returns to work at the Sarah Community with a voicemail full of movie reviews from the residents. She has found one constant: “Basically anything that has a little bit of music in it is always popular.”

Especially during COVID, music has become a source of comfort. A source of remembrance. A chance to mentally break away from the pandemic.






Nursing home entertainment

Staffers at the Clinton Manor Living Center entertain residents with Christmas carols in December.




“Music is really deeply tied to memory,” Moore said, “…even before the pandemic music is something that’s constantly brought up as a great activity because it gets people feeling good. … Usually it will bring back good memories of when folks were younger, when they were in their prime.”

Some nursing homes have set up courtyard concerts. During the summer, McKnight Place in St. Louis had musicians going window-to-window giving out performances. Clinton Manor has passed around tablets for residents to watch virtual concerts.

When asked about some of the ways she has gotten through isolation, Kilby instantly brought up the Christmas carols that the Oak Hill staff played over the PA system. It was something small, taking place for just a few days and 15 minutes at a time. But, weeks later, Kilby is still talking about the carols. “It was, well, it just raised my spirits. And I think it put us in a mood for a good lunch. … It added so much to get to hear those familiar tunes.”

Nursing homes have tried to include residents in the musical experience as well. Oak Hill, for instance, has a music therapist that travels among rooms. During residents’ sessions with the therapist, they can sing, dance and even bang on the tambourine.






40s day at Oak Hill Senior Living and Rehabilitation Center

Activity Director Kristi Gard plays waitress behind a diner cart she made to distribute root beers during 40s day at Oak Hill in Waterloo.




“Just the act of singing, you take deep breaths and it helps people with respiratory issues,” said Brian Koontz, the administrator at Oak Hill. “Folks who may be battling pneumonia, it helps to expand the lungs to be able to take a breath and sing. There are a lot of physical benefits with that. And then there are a lot of emotional benefits to having a trained music therapist, being able to lift spirits and help people find their joy. A lot of times they’re actually doing respiratory therapy through the music and don’t even know it.”

Looking ahead

On Dec. 28, long-term care facilities in Missouri received more than 120,000 vaccinations. During the first week of January, Oak Hill residents received their first dosage of vaccinations, with the next batch coming three weeks later. Koontz says he doesn’t know what the guidelines will look like in a month. In the meantime, they’ll continue the socially distanced and masked events until they know for certain that it is safe to gather again.

Moore and Chien Hung, program director of the Ombudsman Program at VOYCE, are quick to point out that the problems exemplified during the pandemic — the depression, the isolation, the understaffing — aren’t going anywhere. Even before the pandemic, Moore said, “the loneliness and isolation epidemic in long-term care, and really most all of our elderly, was not something that was new.”

Hung added: “It’s not that when residents get vaccines then — done, this isolation is gone, lockdown gone and people start to live their wonderful lives. No, things are never that fabulous. So, I think we have to look at this isolation in a kind of broader kind of context. And that is, that to live in a nursing home itself, with or without COVID, that is actually isolation.”






40s day at Oak Hill Senior Living and Rehabilitation Center

“I had gray poodle skirt in high school. I was a cheerleader,” said Loretta Castens, who admires her new hair ribbon for 40s day on Wednesday at Oak Hill in Waterloo.

Photo by Laurie Skrivan, lskrivan@post-dispatch.com


But Sanford has seen something different come out of the pandemic.

“I think there’s a message of hope and resilience,” said Sanford, “that the nursing home communities banded together and really worked as teams, without resources and with the public being so negative about what was happening behind the walls of the nursing home. Every day, we showed up to take care of patients, and tried to think outside the box and how we could best achieve those with very limited resources.”

“We want them to feel like life and fun is still happening, no matter what’s going on.”

Tara Powell, the activity director at Bethesda Southgate in Oakville

Quote

“We’ve seen a lot of depression. We’ve seen a lot of people, who went into long-term care with mild dementia get much worse because they’re not getting the sort of social interaction that they need to be able to maintain their health. … It seems like a lot of facilities are really trying. But under a lot of the current conditions, it’s really hard.”

Marjorie Moore, executive director at VOYCE

Quote



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Chicago carjacking victims surprised with free cars by good Samaritan



CHICAGO (WLS) — A good Samaritan surprised people who have been victims of carjackings with new vehicles Thursday – and it was something none of them saw coming!

“He told me, ‘Believe in God.’ And I said, ‘I believe in him.’ And he said, ‘You know what? That car is yours,'” Edward Padilla said. “I was like, ‘Wow.’ I still don’t believe it.”

They were lured to a neighborhood car dealership and car wash on Chicago’s West Side by the promise of some much need help. Upon arrival, Good Samaritan Jermaine Jordan gave the victims of recent carjacking the surprise of a lifetime.

Virginia Martinez’s car was taken this Monday.

“I’m just, I, I just want to say thank you,” she said.

Best known for his Free Hot Meals restaurant on Madison Street, Jordan owns the car lot, too. He used his own money along with donations to cover the cost and fees of giving the cars away.

SEE ALSO | Free Hot Meals restaurant distributes fresh food, clothing to hundreds on West Side

“I felt like I had to do something because I was a victim of being carjacked three times, and each time I thought that my life was over with,” Jordan said.

Working single parent Taqueria Little fought to hold back tears as she was gifted an SUV. Little was carjacked at gunpoint on December 6 on her way home from work as she waited to pick up her kids.

“Two guys approached me and take me out of my car with no shoes on or anything,” Little said. “I had just cashed my paycheck. Everything was in there. I lost everything.”
Track

Emotions ranged from elation to shock. Luxury rideshare driver Abdullah Saleem had his black Lexus taken by an armed thief posing as a passenger.

“It was very traumatizing,” Saleem said. “For one whole month, I was paranoid. I was disturbed. It’s not an easy thing to go through.”

Jordan also helped carjacking victim and rideshare driver Angel Haralson with the $1,000 insurance deductible needed to repair her recovered stolen ride.

“I’m not working right now,” she said. “My funds are being depleted off of just living and trying to make other ends meet.”

Everyone also received a gas card and free groceries – along with a renewed sense in the power of doing good.

Jordan said he hopes this isn’t the last time he will be doing this. He said he’s been contacted by at least three dozen other people who have been carjacked. He said he hopes to be able to bless them as well.

Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.



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Trash builds up on NC highways


You may have noticed a lot of litter on the highways lately. Well, you’re not alone.

Warren Lemarble, a Raleigh resident for 20 years, says it’s getting out of control. Not only is it dangerous but it’s visually distracting.

“It’s just very embarrassing for the city,” Lemarble said. “It should be a lot cleaner; it’s never been like this. The Beltway was always very neat, always taken care of​.”

The North Carolina Department of Transportation says they’ve had to cut some of the funding for trash pick up because of pandemic-related budget cuts.

“We typically do six litter sweeps a year and we had to cut that back to three,” said Marty Homan, communications officer at the NCDOT. “I don’t know that people are littering more, but I do know that we haven’t been able to pick up as much, so that’s what the issue is, and that’s what we’re out doing now in the next couple of weeks.”

Officials also respond to calls of debris piles, furniture, and appliances illegally dumped on city streets. The NCDOT says in the last few weeks they have started their first round of sweeps, but the community’s help is needed, now more than ever.

“If people aren’t using the roadside as their trashcan, we don’t have as big of an issue,” Homan said. “If people are strapping down the loads before they hop on the highway, we wouldn’t have mattresses flying off and broken furniture and that sort of thing.”

The city of Raleigh says people can call and report any trash or litter on highways or roads. If it’s a street or highway maintained by the NCDOT, city staff will forward those concerns.



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Business booms for crochet Bernie Sanders doll


BOSTON (CBS) – Crocheters around the country and here in Massachusetts are recreating Bernie Sanders’ winter fashion statement with a doll. Sanders and his hand-sewn mittens stole the show on Inauguration Day.

Memes of the Vermont senator sitting cross legged and looking unimpressed flooded the internet in the week that followed. Now, lifelong friends Donielle Broderick and Alex Borges are commemorating the winter outfit with crochet Bernie dolls.

“My phone was just blowing up nonstop with messages from so many people,” Broderick told WBZ-TV.

“He just becomes a mood. The way he’s sitting you know. Arms and legs crossed, just like un-phased, kept to himself just in his own little world,” Borges said.

It all started when Texas-based blogger Tobey King crocheted a Bernie doll last week. It’s since been auctioned off on Ebay and raised more than $40,000 for Meals on Wheels. King sells the pattern on Etsy for $5 so other crocheters like Broderick and Borges can get in on the fun.

“Somebody took a meme, something that was just funny and turned it into something really good. It’s something that I wish someday I can do,” Broderick said.

Broderick and Borges hand make every pair of Bernie glasses and a pet comb transforms white yarn into his signature messy hair-do.

But the toughest part making of the Bernie doll is the mittens.

“Bernie’s actual mittens were knitted. You can crochet a stich that looks like it’s knitted, but it’s a little harder,” Borges explained to WBZ.

It takes Broderick and Borges between 5 and 6 hours to make each doll. They cost $50 apiece.

(Photo credit: Done by Donielle)

If you’d like to purchase one, you can reach out to Broderick on Facebook, Instagram or email at donebydonielleee@gmail.com.

Borges can be reached on Facebook, Instagram or by email at the.crochetmama3@gmail.com.



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After decades of searching, son finds father


A Massachusetts man’s decades-long search for his biological father is finally over, thanks to a DNA test.Jason Campbell grew up in Worcester under difficult circumstances and never knew his father. And his dad, Mark Goujon, never knew about him.That was until the past November when the two finally met for the very first time. It was a surprise reunion organized by Jason’s wife, Jen. “I come down the stairs and I could see two people up there and I see my dad and I just embrace him, gave him a hug. It felt so good to put your arms around your dad and to know he loves you and you love him,” Campbell said. His quest to locate his biological father began when Campbell was a teenager but the breakthrough came when he took a DNA test. Goujon’s brother had taken the same test and a miracle match more than 40 years in the making was complete. “It was great I mean it was a lot of emotions ‘cause it was like — It’s been 42 years and a DNA test,” said Campbell. “I can’t really explain it other than I just knew. I just knew,” said Goujon.Since their first meeting, father and son have spent a lot of time catching up. Both said they’re grateful to have found each other. Campbell also learned he has a half-brother and Goujon found out that he’s a grandfather of two. “There’s no words to explain that feeling to know that you had a dad out there and I wasn’t just left behind. He just didn’t know about me,” said Campbell.

A Massachusetts man’s decades-long search for his biological father is finally over, thanks to a DNA test.

Jason Campbell grew up in Worcester under difficult circumstances and never knew his father. And his dad, Mark Goujon, never knew about him.

That was until the past November when the two finally met for the very first time. It was a surprise reunion organized by Jason’s wife, Jen.

“I come down the stairs and I could see two people up there and I see my dad and I just embrace him, gave him a hug. It felt so good to put your arms around your dad and to know he loves you and you love him,” Campbell said.

His quest to locate his biological father began when Campbell was a teenager but the breakthrough came when he took a DNA test.

Goujon’s brother had taken the same test and a miracle match more than 40 years in the making was complete.

“It was great I mean it was a lot of emotions ‘cause it was like — It’s been 42 years and a DNA test,” said Campbell.

“I can’t really explain it other than I just knew. I just knew,” said Goujon.

Since their first meeting, father and son have spent a lot of time catching up. Both said they’re grateful to have found each other.

Campbell also learned he has a half-brother and Goujon found out that he’s a grandfather of two.

“There’s no words to explain that feeling to know that you had a dad out there and I wasn’t just left behind. He just didn’t know about me,” said Campbell.



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MS bill would allow pay for student-athletes


State lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow for college athletes in Mississippi to profit from their name, image and likeness.House members have said that the bill would apply to student-athletes at all four-year colleges and universities in the State.The bill would allow the athlete to retain an agent and profit from the use of their name, image or likeness.Back in 2014, a federal court ruled that the NCAA can not prohibit student-athletes from selling the rights to their name image, or likeness. Now, states are introducing their own proposals regarding student-athlete compensation.California and Florida have already passed name, image and likeness legislation.Supporters of this bill in Mississippi have said that it needs to pass in order to stay competitive in recruiting.”If we do not do this and every other state around us does this, we will be at a competitive disadvantage in recruiting students and student-athletes,” state Rep. Scott Bounds said.”We want to be competitive. If we’re going against Arkansas, we don’t want that to keep a student-athlete from our institution because we don’t offer the same competitive edge. It’s something that we definitely need to pass,” JSU women’s basketball coach Tomekia Reed said.This bill has made it out of the committee and is now going to the full house for a debate. The senate will also be considering a similar bill.

State lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow for college athletes in Mississippi to profit from their name, image and likeness.

House members have said that the bill would apply to student-athletes at all four-year colleges and universities in the State.

The bill would allow the athlete to retain an agent and profit from the use of their name, image or likeness.

Back in 2014, a federal court ruled that the NCAA can not prohibit student-athletes from selling the rights to their name image, or likeness. Now, states are introducing their own proposals regarding student-athlete compensation.

California and Florida have already passed name, image and likeness legislation.

Supporters of this bill in Mississippi have said that it needs to pass in order to stay competitive in recruiting.

“If we do not do this and every other state around us does this, we will be at a competitive disadvantage in recruiting students and student-athletes,” state Rep. Scott Bounds said.

“We want to be competitive. If we’re going against Arkansas, we don’t want that to keep a student-athlete from our institution because we don’t offer the same competitive edge. It’s something that we definitely need to pass,” JSU women’s basketball coach Tomekia Reed said.

This bill has made it out of the committee and is now going to the full house for a debate. The senate will also be considering a similar bill.



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Father-daughter duo creates business


BUCKHANNON, W.Va (WDTV) – Currently, roughly 250,000 people struggle with hunger in West Virginia. One due is hoping their efforts will lower that number.

They may not be superman and superwoman, but they come close when it comes to servicing communities across the state.

“We had a couple calls from people talking about how all of the federal money that was coming into the state for students that needed food because they weren’t in school for covid, all of that money was going back out of state to out of state companies,” said Director of Operations Kayla Bailey.

Just like that, Multitude Foods was brought to life and put together in just a week. Operating from their headquarters in Buckhannon, this father-daughter duo set out to be a helping hand.

“It was a crazy whirlwind of a process but when it comes to food and nutrition, it’s not something that necessarily has a long wait period, it’s a quick turnaround,” said Bailey

So far they have served nearly 2 million meals in almost all the counties in the state.

They also cater to seniors and their employees, many of whom are looking for a second shot at life and are recovering from opioid addiction.

Rachel Garrison, who recently graduated from her drug court program, is now coaching other individuals who are actively in recovery.

“We’ve done so much in our lives that we don’t think that we can change, but it is possible. There’s people like Kayla and Russ that will give us the chance,” said Garrison.

Bailey said that Multitude Foods aims to help provide people with a purpose. They soon hope to expand and help others across the country.

Copyright 2021 WDTV. All rights reserved.



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