Invictus in Orlando

Archery_at_Invictus_Games

Archery at the Invictus Games,  September 12, 2014  London
Picture credit: Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark Logico,  US Navy

 

There was a joyful announcement on our local News station here this morning that needs to be shared with all of you.

This year’s Invictus Games will be here in Orlando from May 8-12,  at the ESPN Disney Worldwide Complex.

This will hopefully allow those of you who may be farther away, a chance to make plans to attend.

The first one was organized/begun by Prince Harry in London in 2014,  with over 300 competitors from 13 Countries.

Now we here in Central Florida have the extreme pleasure and take great pride in hosting the second one in Orlando in May.

All the details are below.

My interest in these games is three fold:  my son is a paraplegic and he participated in many different kinds of sports in a wheel chair,  which was at once, exciting and terrifying as his mother, but I adjusted quickly, after seeing how much it meant to him.

Watching my son crash onto the floor head first in a basketball game, was really hard for me, thank God,  he has a hard head.  Must be his Genes!

Basketball would be only one of many sports he played, many of the same ones listed for these games, all were when he was much younger and thankfully, he survived!

My second reason is due to my lifelong, family related, support of Military Veterans, especially those who have been wounded while serving.

And by the way, not all wounds are visible.

As a treatment Nurse in a California Rehab Center, I had 4 years to learn and understand this fact quite well.

For any one not familiar with this exciting event, it is a multi-sport competition and celebration for wounded veterans from around the world.

This year more than 15 Countries and over 500 athletes have been invited and will be represented here in Orlando.

This year’s various sports will include: track and field, wheel chair basketball, archery, wheel chair tennis, indoor rowing, sitting volleyball, swimming, wheelchair rugby and a Triathlon.

If you have the time and/or the funds, I truly hope that you can come here to Orlando in May, to witness, to experience, this glorious celebration and event.

What better way to say thank you to these men and women, not only for their service, but also for their great sacrifices to their Countries.

God Bless them all.

They are some of the bravest people you and I will ever know and perhaps meet.

My third reason, is the movie Invictus, which is one of my all time favorite’s, with Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon and a story about Nelson Mandela, what is not to love!

Did I mention that Prince Harry will be here?

 

 

Places to learn more:

The Invictus Games in Orlando

Invictus Games – Wikipedia

ESPN Disney Wide World of Sports Complex

Schedule set for Invictus Games at Walt Disney World

Prince Harry to attend Invictus Games in Orlando as 100-day countdown begins

The Invictus Games Foundation

 

Hiding the Hunters

Dead_Florida_Black_Bear

A beautiful 300 pound Florida Black Bear hit and killed near our home here in the Ocala Forest.
Picture credit: USFS Carrie Sekerak

 

So much for transparency from the King of backroom deals and hidden agendas, or the Governor of what is now known as the sad state of Florida for all wild animals.

Here is the who and what of this deed yesterday:  The Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee  backed a measure (SB 1364)

Florida’s Governor Scott, who was apparently, although the proof of this has now somehow disappeared,  outed last fall for buying a Bear Hunting Permit, before the murderous rampage began,  surely must have had his hands all over this bill that was just passed yesterday, that will now keep the names of any/all Black Bear Hunters who buy a permit to kill them, out of sight, out of mind!

Just finding information about this was VERY difficult, although the story was on our local ABC NEWS Station in Orlando, this morning. It was not on their web site, nor any other local one here.

I finally found the story in the Gainesville Sun and on Fox 13 in Tampa Bay.

It was no accident that last Fall that the names of 103 persons, who were kept off of Florida’s public bear hunt licensee list included:  police, judges and public officials.

Now the Governor wants to up the stakes, by hiding everybody’s names.

It was no surprise that the Hunt last fall brought Bear lovers and Animals Activists out of the woodworks, and some idiots even emailed and/or called people on the Permit List.

Two of those well known on the List included, musician Ted Nugent and newly appointed by Scott, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission member and Rancher, Liesa Priddy, who voted to approve the new hunts.

Yes, those protestors were stupid and did nothing to help the already volatile situation.

Of course, the outcry from hunters and gun owners went all the way to Tallahassee into Scott’s loving, attentive ears.

Oh my we can’t have the public knowing who is going to be doing any Bear killing, why those people could be dangerous, a gun owner might be hurt, or worse.

Now armed with these tasty facts, the Governor and his Mounties say, no more to transparency in Tallahassee, like we have ever had any anyway.

No more public records for gun owners or Bear Hunters in Florida.

Don’t worry, those of you who want to kill Bears again in the fall, if the Hunt is repeated, and I guarantee you it will be, because it was a huge money maker for Scott and Florida, with over 3,778  permits sold at $100 or $300 each,  for a grand total of $376,900, your name will be kept secret.

Remember that just a short time ago, this same group of intellectuals in Tallahassee passed a silencer bill that now allows Hunters on any road in Florida to sit on, or in, their trucks and fire at will, into the woods, using riles now legally armed with silencers.

Sadly, their poor innocent victims will never know that they are about to die.

Heads up Snow Birds, Visitors, or families, while walking in any Woods in Florida!

This Governor  has become notorious for the secrets he keeps, so it was not much of a stretch for him to encourage his puppets in Tallahassee, to Hide the Hunters.

 

Places to learn more:


Senators pursue public-records exemption to shield to hunters


Senators target records about hunters


Anti-hunting Protesters Obtain List of Florida Bear Hunters’ Emails


103 names kept off Florida’s public bear hunt licensee list


Florida bear hunt foes use hunting license list to email individuals


Gov. Rick Scott: CANCEL the Florida Bear Trophy-Hunt

A River Otter Rescue

otter

River otters,  (not the ones in the story):  Lontra Canadensis
Picture credit: Dmitry Azovtsev

 

This morning there was a sweet story on our local TV news about three tiny river otter babies who were rescued recently and right now are fighting for their lives.

It was disappointing that after spending  most of the day calling and searching, not one picture of a baby otter was available, or a person to approve their picture being used.
But, thankfully, they are in the stories below for you to enjoy.

The wee ones are being tenderly tended to and nursed by kindly volunteers at the Florida Wildlife Hospital/Rehab and Sanctuary in Palm Shores Florida, which is located between Melbourne and Cocoa Beach on the Atlantic Coast.

Please make sure to look at their Wish list to see exactly what they want and need, to allow them to continue doing their good work.

This non profit organization is very dependent on volunteers and donations from the public, to continue their work with injured and abandoned wildlife here in Central Florida.

Seeing these tiny babies today, brought back happy memories of the many seen in Monterey Bay years ago.

The otters ongoing frolicking delighted the visitors to the waters all around the Monterey Bay Aquarium who would stand and watch them play for hours.

The river otter is a small to medium sized fur bearing mammal found widely across the Country, usually near food and water sources of their liking, and they usually live in Dens near their chosen food and water sources.

The most common food of choice will be fish or amphibians, yet they can also be omnivores eating a wide variety of available foods.

Attention to water quality in America has helped the river otter stay out of trouble, it is fairly adaptable to many types of water, from rivers and ponds, to lakes and coastal fresh water estuaries.

In the early discovery years of this country and the encroaching civilization that accompanied it,  this sleek beautiful animal had been mercilessly hunted by trappers for their fur, nearly to complete decimation, but at this time, for many reasons, their numbers are a bit more stable.

Their greatest threat today, is their habitat and/or ecological destruction, basically the things that bothers us, bothers them as well.

After learning more about these beautiful, delightful creatures, perhaps, like me, you will believe that they were indeed quite lucky to be rescued as they were.

 

Places to learn more:

Three baby otters rescued in Palm Shores

River otters are playful inhabitants of Florida’s watersheds

Wildlife officials rescue otter pups found at Titusville construction site

Three baby otters rescued

Wildlife officials rescue otter pups found at Florida construction site

Florida Wildlife Hospital

 

Creeping Indigo

creepingindigo

Creeping Indigo
Picture credit: Habitat for Horses

 

If this name means nothing to you, and you own horses, be thankful.

You are lucky!

This is the name of a local weed that is quite toxic and has been killing horses and other grazing animals all over Florida for years.

First the story was on our local News and then later  I saw it again on Twitter in a story written by Dinah Voyles Pulver of the Daytona Beach News Journal.

After reading and hearing about these deadly incidences, I was concerned enough to immediately call our Vet for either a confirmation,  or at the very least an educated opinion on the issue.

Then I spent the rest of the day gathering other reference stories for today’s Blog post.

This has been to say the least, an unsettling 24 hours.

My fear, of course, was that consuming the weed might be fatal for dogs as well, as it looked like plants we have on our property.

The plant was brought to Florida in 1925, by the University of Florida for a series of experiments, but after an animal died, the work stopped.

Sadly, even though they ditched the project, apparently the plant lived on and thrived and spread in different directions around the state.

Not only horses, are affected, but cows, sheep, goats, rabbits, chickens and other animals that have eaten it and died.

Pigs it is said, seem to avoid it.

Giving me once again, fodder for my confirmed opinion that pigs are exceptionally intelligent.

It may also kill local deer who eat it.

creepingindigowesh

Creeping Indigo
Picture credit: WESH TV

 

This toxic weed, owners of deceased animals say, is something like catnip or candy, to the victim.

They seem to be unable to stop eating it, even when the can barely walk anymore.

This is heartbreaking for all involved.

But, what really bothers me the most, is that this plant should never have been brought here to begin with.

Like so many other dangerous Global disasters, in the past, it just all got out of control.

Two things can help you to identify this weed in your own yard or pasture, after a night of cold weather,  the weed will likely have tiny salmon/orangish colored flowers on it and most telling, the plant can have a massive tap root.
This huge root is what makes the plant so very difficult to get rid of.

The plant also has long runners which enable it to hide or disappear in a field of grass.

Here is what disturbs me and many others including those who have lost their animals. There is no known treatment, or cure for this and a nearly complete lack of support by UF, who brought it here in the first place.

Recently they have started a program for educating the public, but it has been allowed to become so wide spread, control is not likely, ever, across the state.

Please do take the time to learn more about this very toxic weed if you have animals that graze, it may save their lives.

Please educate yourself and Google Creeping Indigo.

 

Places to learn more:

Creeping Indigo Toxicity

Deadly weed kills Ruskin Horse

Habitat for Horses

Deadly weed dooms horses

Creeping Indigo

 

No Limits!

arm

Alvin Garcia Flores from Nebraska getting a very personal delivery
Picture credit: UCF Today

 

As the mother of a physically challenged son, you have to know how special sharing this story with you is for me.

Until you have walked, or rode/wheeled,  in their lives, it would be nearly impossible to understand just how hard their lives can be at times and how gifts like this can make a huge, if not life changing difference to them.

So let me begin by saying God Bless these students at UCF and Limbitless Solutions, for the joy that they bring and give to all.

It has been a busy two or so years for the creative crew at this local University, the University of Central Florida here in Orlando.

Always giving us a reason to be proud, this week’s newest recipient was another child born missing a limb, specifically an arm, and was presented by the group, a creation that would make like any child  and I’m sure many adults as well, completely over joyed.

The child was nine year old, Alvin Garcia Flores from Nebraska, who  was the exited and delighted recipient of a new bionic arm,  personally delivered by none other than ” Darth Vader. ”

Over the past few years locals have watched in awe and admiration, and sometimes even overwhelmed with the level of work that these students at UCF  do for those with physical challenges using 3D printing technology.

Recently this Christmas,  the group gave new bionic arms to 12 very grateful children.

But, the presentation that generated the most excitement had to be the one that brought Robert Downey, Jr.  to  meet with 7 yr old Alex Pring to present him with his ” Iron Man “ bionic arm in Atlanta in 2014.

This meeting was part of the Collective Project which was arranged/supported by Microsoft, which brings students and technology together to ” change the world.”

Oh,  did I mention that there is no cost to the children or their families for this unbelievable gift of mobility?

The group is a 501 c non profit and gladly accepts  any and all donations to support their work, please  take a look a their web site or Twitter page for more on how you can get involved and lend a  ” hand.”

This genius team at UCF,  is lead by Executive Director and founder, Albert Manero who says: ” Let’s show students that engineering is a tool to help change the world. “

” We engineer hope! “

Yes, for these awesome students, there simply are no limits!

 

Places to learn more:

Darth Vader Helps Fulfill Child’s Dream – Delivers Bionic Arm to 9-Year-Old

Boy gets prosthetic ‘Stormtrooper’ arm from non-profit group

Limbitless Solutions

The Collective Project

Robert Downey Jr. and Alex meet

Robert Downey Jr. presents child with his own ‘Iron Man’ robotic arm

12 great kids get robotic arms for Christmas

The Clearwater Aquarium and Anni

 

Packing Up the Pachyderms~

Circuselephant1930

A Circus elephant in 1930, a life spent in silent suffering and servitude!

 

It has been painful not being here, but the reasons were clearly out of my control.

2014 was a difficult year for me, but my issues were nothing compared to Breanna’s.

As of right this moment, we are both mended and well.

So, with a clear head, heart and body, today begins a new year and an eagerly awaited return to writing about the animals I care so deeply for on our Planet.

A story on our local news last night, was the best news I have heard about any animals in over a year, so I knew I would be writing this morning.

As with the ongoing clashes against Sea World and the toxic bread additives at Sub Way, once again, you, the dedicated Global Bloggers and Tweeters, have not only influenced, but absolutely crushed a source of wrong and helped to make it right.

Let this latest success be an inspiration for all those who care and want to make changes, be your positive reward for continuing to push on, even when it appears to be either a lost cause, or a battle that simply cannot be won against powerful businesses who harm or kill animals.

This time the Ringling Bros. Circus is claiming, or should we say shouting, “Uncle” at those who have relentlessly pursued them over their mistreatment, or down right cruelty to Elephants for years.

And as of last night, they have publicly announced that they will be retiring all of their Elephants this May, or a year and half earlier than planned, it is  hard to believe they admitted this, but said it was a direct result of the endless petitions, blogging and just plain hostile media blitzes against them, that “encouraged” them do this now.

The Circus Community has had Elephants in their shows since at least 1882, but the recent intense and ongoing  global outcry for them to be removed has, much like the movie Black Fish, been a huge causal factor in their decision to retire all of their Elephants to the Center for Elephant Conservation, near Tampa in Central Florida, which is NOT open to the public.

This Center has not been completely trouble-free and has had watch dog groups like the Humane Society and other always looking over their shoulders for any abuse or other.

This  retirement home for Elephants is fairly near us and we would like to take a trip soon, to see just how they are truly being treated and cared for there, only, of course, if this is permitted.

Hopefully, a report and/or pictures might also accompany the trip.

The millions who have worked so hard for so long to see this come to fruition, can at last know that these magnificent creatures will finally be allowed, after so many years of ill-treatment and suffering at the hands of humans, live in peace and safety in their well-earned retirement here in Central Florida.

Time to pack up the Pachyderms~

 

Places to learn more:

AP News Break: Ringling circus elephants to retire in May

Circus elephants to retire at secluded Florida preserve

Public Announcement from Ringling Brothers

Ringling Brothers Center for Elephant Conservation

Center for Elephant Conservation

 

They Are My Reason

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Breanna, Walkingfox and their PT Cruiser

 

Yes it has been a long time.

The reason is simple, I am not well…

I was sitting here this morning feeling a bit sorry for myself because tomorrow I will have a second blast to get a quite large kidney stone blasted out of a very run down body from over six weeks of endless pain.

For those of you who are mothers, it is like being in labor 24/7 and NOT giving birth!

The procedure is called,  Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy.

This same procedure last month failed to break the stone up, so a re-do was scheduled.

This morning, while only thinking of my selfish self, a beautiful story came on our local news.

Can I say that my selfish thoughts all disappeared in an instant and were replaced with overwhelming sorrow for this precious innocent child.

This child who lost her entire family in an arson fire and who was herself quite badly burned over 75% of her body,  was shown on the news today, asking for ONE simple thing for Christmas.

She wants to receive a Card from you.

Here is her address and if you have a moment, please do consider sending her a card?

Stories about her are below as usual~

Safyre
P.O. Box 6126
Schenectady, NY 12306
USA

 

And by the way she has already received cards and gifts from all over the world.

Regardless of your religion or attitude towards the Holidays and all that goes with them, this is a child who through no fault of her own, has lost all that she loved.

Her father saved her life by covering her body with his.

And even though her father and siblings all died in the fire, she survived and her simple request reminds me, perhaps you as well, that this season is meant to be about others, is it not?

Please cross your fingers for my procedure tomorrow, because if I am lucky the second time will do it and the bugger will be blown away!

I wish you all a Happy Christmas filled with joy and everything that is dear to you.

Everything that I need and love are here with me right now.

Yes, Walkingfox and Breanna are my reason~

 

Places to learn more:

Orphaned Burn Victim

Christmas Comes Early

Christmas Cards for Sayfre

 

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