Tag Archives: families

Kurds in Syria extradite 20 Russian orphans from Islamic State families

The Syrian Kurds handed over 20 orphaned children born to parents associated with the terrorist group Daesh (Islamic State) to a Russian delegation for repatriation today, AFP reports.

Kurdish authorities in northeastern Syria are holding thousands of foreigners in prison with alleged links to the jihadist group after leading a US-backed battle against Daesh, which recaptured the last stretch of their territory in early 2019.

The alleged foreign fighters are being held in prisons while women and children associated with the group live in IDP camps in northeastern Syria.

“Twenty Russian children who were in the Roy camp were handed over,” a statement from Kurdish authorities said, adding: “They are between the ages of three and 16 and are all in good health orphans.”

It is added that the recent repatriations have led to 205 people sent home to Russia so far.

In April, 34 orphans returned to Russia from the Kurdish-controlled region.

The Kurds in Syria have repeatedly called on the international community to repatriate foreign nationals held in crowded camps.

But their appeals were largely unheard, and so far only a limited number, mostly children, have been given the right to return home.

The latest repatriations come after the International Committee of the Red Cross this week raised concerns that Kurdish authorities are holding “hundreds of children” in adult prisons.

Yesterday, Kurdish Foreign Affairs Officer Abdelkarim Omar called for international assistance in setting up rehabilitation centers for minors in the region, which currently has only one such institution and another in preparation.

Read more
This post originally posted here The European Times News

New Mexico Popular Painter/Publisher Urges Families To Reconnect With Local Museums And Support Cultural Forums

Popular Painter/Publisher Lori Faye Bock At Home With Genteel Teddyroo, A Jacob Ram

When? …. An Abiquiú 6 Pack by Popular Painter/Publisher Lori Faye Bock Featured at the Museum Store Association Summer Atlanta Market – July 13 to 19

Taking A Breather …. An Abiquiú 6 Pack by Popular Painter/Publisher Lori Faye Bock Featured at the Museum Store Association Summer Atlanta Market – July 13 to 19

Popular Painter/Publisher Lori Faye Bock Featured at Museum Store Association Atlanta Summer Market – July 13 to 19

Museums are an integral part of every community which help us all discover the past and peer into the future.”

— Lori Faye Bock

ABIQUIU, NEW MEXICO, UNITED STATES, July 13, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — With the pandemic seemingly under control in America, long time Abiquiu, New Mexico popular painter/publisher Lori Faye Bock urges families once again to venture safely out and rediscover cultural institutions such as local museums to reconnect with the past and peer into the future.

As a little girl growing up in Michigan, frequent visits to museums and other cultural institutions, life both at home and abroad, has contributed to a happy, informative and well-rounded life.

She invites everyone to discover the past and explore the future by visiting museums.

RICHARD F BOCK
Lori Faye Bock
email us here

Read more
This post originally posted here usnews

Vanessa Bryant, other families settle suit over helicopter crash that killed Kobe, others

helicopter crash that killed Kobe

LOS ANGELES — Vanessa Bryant and the other plaintiffs have reached a confidential settlement agreement with the company that operated the helicopter involved in the crash that killed Kobe and Gianna Bryant and seven others in 2020.

The parties filed “joint notice of settlement and joint request to vacate discovery deadlines” documents with the court on Tuesday.

“Plaintiffs and Defendants jointly report that they have agreed to settle their claims in the above-entitled action,” the documents state.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. The agreement still needs court approval.

Vanessa Bryant had filed a lawsuit against Island Express Helicopters over the Jan. 26, 2020 crash in Calabasas that killed Kobe and Gianna Bryant, as well as Alyssa Altobelli, John Altobelli, and Keri Altobelli; Payton Chester and Sarah Chester; Christina Mauser, and helicopter pilot Ara Zobayan.

The pilot’s estate was also named as a defendant in the wrongful-death suit.

The Altobelli, Chester and Mauser families were also involved in legal actions against the company. The documents filed by Vanessa Bryant’s legal team indicate the other families were also part of the settlement.

DEVELOPING: This story will be updated.

Copyright © 2021 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.

Author: KABC

This post originally appeared on ABC13 RSS Feed

Families hold rally calling for justice for men shot dead in Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The families and friends of two men shot dead in Austin in the last year held a rally Saturday to call for justice.

They gathered at the memorial site for Alex Gonzales in southeast Austin as investigations continue into the deaths of Gonzales and Garrett Foster.

Gonzales died in January after being shot by Luis Serrato, an Austin Police Department officer.

Travis County District Attorney José Garza previously said he expects an investigation into Serrato and his colleague Gabriel Gutierrez to be completed this year.

  • (KXAN Photo/Kaitlyn Karmout)
  • (KXAN Photo/Kaitlyn Karmout)
  • (KXAN Photo/Kaitlyn Karmout)
  • (KXAN Photo/Kaitlyn Karmout)

Foster was killed last July by Daniel Perry, an active duty sergeant with the U.S. Army, at a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Austin where Foster was protesting.

A grand jury will convene this year to consider whether Perry should face criminal charges over the shooting, Garza said.

Police at the time said a car turned into a group of protesters in the roadway near 4th Street and Congress Avenue, and the driver told them he was approached by a man, later identified as Foster, who was carrying a gun.

A few days after the Foster shooting, an attorney representing the man who said he shot and killed Foster told KXAN it happened “in self defense.” The attorney identified his client as Daniel Perry, adding he’s from north Texas and has served a tour in Afghanistan.

26-page presentation from Perry’s attorney

KXAN received a 26-page presentation from Perry’s attorney Saturday detailing why he believes Perry was acting out of self defense.

The attorney claimed Foster raised his rifle toward Perry’s car before the fatal shots and said protestors were beating on Perry’s car when he tried driving through.

The presentation also disputed claims that Perry was purposely driving through the crowd to injure protestors.

“It was not immediately apparent to Sgt. Perry what group was demonstrating and, prior to turning down Congress Avenue, Sgt. Perry had been unaware that a demonstration was taking place,” wrote Perry’s attorney.

The presentation also said Perry had met a woman while he was driving for Uber earlier that day, and through texts, it shows Perry was making plans to meet up with her that evening.

“I simply ask that anybody who might want to engage in a hindsight review of this incident, picture themselves trapped in a car as a masked stranger raises an AK-47 in their direction and reflect upon what they might have done when faced with the split-second faced by Sgt. Perry that evening,” wrote Perry’s attorney.

The presentation has been sent to the district attorney’s office for review.

Supporters of the two men held a rally and press conference at the site of Gonzales’ memorial on Wickersham Lane where they demanded justice.

“It’s a struggle for us every day still, for me it is, and I can say that for all of us too, this struggle is hard. Not seeing him every day, not talking to him, not laughing with him…” Gonzales’ mother, Elizabeth, said at the rally Saturday.

Author: Harley Tamplin
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

The Pandemic in the U.S. Has Vastly Improved. For These Families, the Worst Has Just Begun.

For families of those who are dying now, the entire issue of vaccination has created a new layer of discomfort — and a set of difficult questions no one was asking in the early months of the crisis, before vaccines.

Hollie Rivers has been devastated in the weeks since her husband, Antwone, died in Michigan. Mr. Rivers had helped raise their blended family of five children, Ms. Rivers said, and had worked his way up to the manager level at his job at a vehicle logistics company. She said he became her life partner — the “Charlie,” as she called him, to her “Angel.” At his funeral in May, she helped carry the coffin.

“I wanted to hold him until the very end, until I couldn’t hold him any longer,” Ms. Rivers, 28, said.

But after Ms. Rivers gave an interview to a Detroit-area television station and disclosed that her husband had not been vaccinated, she said she faced critical comments online. She and her husband had been initially hesitant, she said, but were considering getting the vaccine. Then Mr. Rivers, 40, got sick in early April, his wife said, before Michigan opened up vaccination to people his age.

Ms. Rivers described some online comments, including on a family GoFundMe page, as plainly hostile: “He refused the shot, how could you dare ask for money?” she recalled the tone of one message suggesting.

“Now I just feel like I want to cancel it. It’s not about money,” said Ms. Rivers, who is on short-term leave from her job installing car door panels. “I would live in a cardboard box if it meant my husband coming back to me and his kids.”

Dr. Miles, the epidemiologist who studies grief, said she had seen such dynamics play out in deaths from diseases like lung cancer or diabetes.

Author: Sarah Mervosh
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News

Holiday nightmare: Families face four hour airport waiting times when arriving back in UK

Britons can now travel abroad to the UK’s green list countries, including Portugal, Gibraltar, Iceland and more. However, long waiting times at airports during the coming weeks and months could throw summer holidays into chaos.

Travel experts had previously warned of possible long queues and waiting times at airports during the summer holidays, but this is the first time the Government has confirmed it could happen.

Last month, the Border Force union warned that holidaymakers arriving at UK airports could face queues of up to 10 hours.

The ISU, the union for borders, immigration and customs workers, also predicted long queues at the British border due to increased coronavirus checks.

In early May, Lucy Moreton, professional officer at the ISU, said: “We saw delays for seven or eight hours last summer, and with all the additional checks then we could see people waiting as long as 10 hours.

DON’T MISS: 
Britain’s most expensive seaside town  [INSIGHT]
Is Australia going back into lockdown? [REPORT]
Ireland: International flights to return from mid-July [ANALYSIS]

“There’s no way around the delays at the border because Border Force officers will have to check the Covid status of all arrivals and that takes around 15 minutes per person.

“So, people from all over the world will be mixing inside for a long time.”

The UK’s travel ban was lifted on May 17, meaning that Britons can now travel to certain countries quarantine free.

These countries are listed “green” and are Australia, Brunei, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Iceland, Israel and Jerusalem, New Zealand, Portugal (including the Azores and Madeira), Singapore, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, and St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.

Britons can also travel to countries on the UK’s amber and red lists, but they will have to take additional coronavirus measures and quarantine for 10 days.

However, travel industry bosses have called for more clarity on when more destinations will be added to the green list amid criticisms the Government has been too cautious in unlocking international travel.

EasyJet boss Johan Lundgren said: “The decision to put so few European countries into the green tier is simply not justified by the data or the science and is inconsistent with the approach to reopen the domestic economy.

“So we call on the Government to provide transparency on decision-making and clarity on when we can expect other European countries to join the green list so that consumers and airlines alike can plan for this summer.”

Additionally, Airlines UK, an industry body that represents British flight carriers, urged Mr Johnson and his Government to make “major additions” to the list during the next review tomorrow, June 3.

Chief executive Tim Aldersdale said: “This is a missed opportunity and, with so few countries making it onto the green list, represents a reopening of air travel in name only.

“By contrast, the EU has said vaccinated people will be able to travel without restrictions, which leaves the UK at risk of falling behind and not opening up International travel to key markets across Europe as well as the United States.”

The traffic light system will be reviewed every three weeks, with four key tests to determine which category a country will fall into.

These are the percentage of the population that has been vaccinated, the rate of infection, the prevalence of variants of concern, and the access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing.

Author:
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed

Life after death: Hospice patient tells of bedside 'visit' by dead families members

Dr Christopher Kerr has been the chief medical officer at the Center for Hospice and Palliative care in Buffalo, New York since 1999. He has conducted more than 1,400 interviews with dying patients to learn about their experiences. Speaking at a TEDx event in Buffalo back in 2015, Dr Kerr shared some of the conversations with patients which offer unique insight.
He explained: “If there’s light within the darkness of dying then it’s in the experience not in the observing.”

He added: “I learned that end-of-life experiences are the subjective experiences of the dying and often refer to pre-death dreams and visions.”

Such experiences have been reported throughout history and across cultures.

Dr Kerr explained that, although end-of-life experiences can easily be dismissed as confusion, those who experience pre-death visions are not so detached.

Dr Kerr said: “When I was present at the bedside of the dying… I saw dying patients reaching and calling out to mothers, and to fathers, and to children, many of whom hadn’t been seen for many years.”

Although the experience sounds traumatic, Dr Kerr described the patients as seeming “at peace”.

Dr Kerr showed a video of one patient, named Jeanne, who described a vision she had before she passed.

Jeanne said: “I was lying in bed, and people were walking very slowly by me.

READ MORE: Life after death: Hospice patients reach for deceased loved-ones

Dr Kerr went on to analyse Jeanne’s testimony suggesting that “dying is a paradox”.

“She’s physically declining, yet, emotionally and spiritually, she’s vivid,” said Dr Kerr.

“She’s alive and she’s present.”

Looking at his data, Dr Kerr discovered that around 80 percent of his patients experienced at least one pre-death dream or vision.

He found the frequency of pre-death visions increased as the time of death approaches, with more patients seeing deceased friends and relatives than living ones.

Dr Kerr added: “End-of-life experiences are not only tied to our personal meanings but they are tied to some of our greatest needs: the need to love, to be loved, nurtured, forgiven.”

Author:
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Weird Feed

'Slap in the face:' State spends $350K on accused Santa Fe shooter while families wait

SANTA FE, Texas (KTRK) — Joe Tisdale doesn’t understand why the man accused of shooting and killing his mother is still at a mental health facility three years later instead of in jail awaiting trial.”It’s a slap in my face. I got to go visit my mother at the gravesite. He shot and killed her, cold-blooded,” Tisdale said. “I don’t have a choice to see if my mom could come visit me anymore, but his family can come visit him while he’s supposedly sick in the head. It’s not right. I don’t want another year added to it again.”

Tisdale’s mom, Cynthia, was a substitute art teacher at Santa Fe High School on May 18, 2018, when Dimitrios Pagourtzis allegedly killed 10 people and injured 13 others.Video evidence from the mass shooting hasn’t been released and will likely remain confidential until the case goes to trial. Tisdale is worried that may never happen.

Pagourtzis was charged with capital murder and faces life in prison if convicted. In February, after Pagourtzis was deemed not fit for trial, a judge ruled the 19-year-old could stay at North Texas State Hospital in Vernon for up to 12 more months.

“If he wasn’t fit to stand trial, why didn’t it happen within the first month? Why was it an issue six weeks after the shooting?” asked John , a Santa Fe Independent School District police officer who was injured in the shooting. “It looks like, from our standpoint, or from mine anyway, that this is relaxed.”

Since December 2019, Pagourtzis has been committed to the state mental health facility that treats incompetent patients who are so mentally ill they can’t understand the charges against them or effectively communicate with their lawyer ahead of trial. Until Pagourtzis is deemed competent, the case can’t move forward to a trial.

13 Investigates recently met with three of the Santa Fe families who are eager to pressure the judge, doctors and the district attorney to make sure everything is being done to release Pagourtzis for trial.

“This is the only way we have to add pressure,” Barnes said. “We’ve contacted our congressmen and we’ve done everything we can do on that end. There should be pressure put on them to say, ‘Look, why is this guy still here?'”

Scot Rice, whose wife Flo survived after being shot five times at the school, said every time there’s another mass shooting, it brings him back to that day and his frustration with the delayed trial continues.

“You can work this system to your advantage and this could last forever,” Rice said. “We’ve seen him in court and him joking around with his lawyers and cutting up. He can turn it on or turn it off, I’m sure.”

Pagourtzis’ defense attorney, Nick Poehl, said that’s not the case. He said on the outside, it might look like Pagourtzis is competent, but the actual conversations between the two of them indicate he is not.

“This is a young man that, because of his mental health problems, he lives in a different world than the rest of us. He perceives reality in a different way and that’s about the best way I can put it,” Poehl said. “He sees things that aren’t there. He hears things that aren’t there. That impacts the way he perceives reality.”

Galveston County District Attorney Jack Roady, who is prosecuting the case, said as psychologists and psychiatrists work to restore his competency, his office is monitoring Pagourtzis’ progress periodically. But, he said, they can’t push the hospital to hurry treatment or demand doctors report back more frequently.

“The frustration with the criminal justice system is that the rights of crime victims often are placed second to the rights of the accused,” Roady said. “I get it. I get that they seem to be constantly being told no, or not yet. And I understand their frustration and we share it with them.”

For victims like John Barnes, a school security officer who was shot during the incident, it feels like every update they’ve received in the three-year-old case is delayed justice.

“We’re sick of it. We just want it to be done. I want this guy to go to prison and I want it to be over with. Period,” Barnes said. “I would love for my phone never to ring again about any of this.”

‘Very disheartening’

Rice said in the first year after the shooting, he thought things were moving forward. Now, he said every time there’s another setback in the case, he wonders why Pagourtzis is able to continue living in a treatment facility, without facing the consequences of the alleged attack.

“This whole thing is very disheartening,” Rice said. “While you’re having Thanksgiving and there’s an empty chair, an empty plate, you’re just wondering what he’s doing. What’s his family doing? Are they visiting? Are they talking? Is he having turkey and dressing out on the picnic table under a tree?”

Poehl said, and the hospital confirmed, that Pagourtzis spends his time in group and individual therapy as well as classes designed to help restore his competency.

Poehl said he, too, thought a trial would have already been underway, but says that cannot happen until Pagourtzis is able to communicate with him and understand the charges against him.

“I’m confident that they’re giving it their very best efforts, but this isn’t repairing a car. This is a human brain. It’s a human personality,” Poehl said. “They try different things, different medications, different types of therapies to try to get him back to competency and at some point they may, or at some point they may not be able to.”

Victims said they worry the state-run psychiatric hospital where Pagourtzis has been for the last year and a half offers the alleged mass shooter too much freedom, and an opportunity to avoid a harsher punishment than if he were confined at a county jail or state prison.

RELATED: ABC13 goes inside the facility where violent, mentally ill accused killers and rapists are treatedFive years ago, 13 Investigates went inside the maximum security mental health facility where Pagourtzis and hundreds of Texas’ most violent accused killers, rapists and otherwise criminally charged defendants wander the campus of a renovated geriatric treatment center.

Back then, the hospital told us that once patients are admitted, the handcuffs and shackles come off. The dormitory doors are locked only at shift changes and guards are out of sight in a “calculated effort to not make it oppressive,” the hospital told us in 2016. Actively violent patients are kept in a more secure, locked unit where staff work behind fortified glass and locked doors.

Pagourtzis was transferred to that facility in December 2019, delaying the trial that was set for February 2020. His stay there keeps getting extended.

“The intensity of the efforts to restore him to competency has not slacked off. It may seem that way with the passage of time, but the urgency of the issue is still the same,” Roady said. “The frustrating fact that it has taken this long does not mean that we have lost confidence in the efforts of the state hospital to get him restored.”

Still, Tisdale said he’s worried the mental health treatment is a delay tactic and that the case will never go to trial.

“He’s got an open (area), roaming around, eating good, sleeping good,” Tisdale said. “He’s not dealing with the true justice system right now.”

Poehl said Pagourtzis didn’t have any mental illness treatment or diagnosis prior to the shooting, but he did “hear” things that weren’t there on the day of the shooting and that was a contributing factor.

“There’s no doubt in my mind and there’s no doubt in any of the multitude of experts that have examined him, not just the ones that work for me, the ones that worked for the prosecution too,” Poehl said. “TV dramas aside, you can’t coach a person to effectively fake mental illness. It’s not rational. People are just too rational and you can only turn it off a certain amount.”

Roady said the Galveston County DA’s office has sent other defendants to the state-run hospital whose competency was restored much quicker.

The state said the cost of care per person is $ 673 a day, meaning it would cost the state $ 245,645 to treat Pagourtzis for another year. State taxpayers have already spent close to $ 350,000 on his treatment.

“The danger with waiting, in addition to the pain that our families are still going through, and the frustration in our office, is that time works against you. Witnesses move away, memories can fade,” Roady said. “Fortunately, we’re able to refresh those memories because the investigation into this was extraordinarily extensive and well done … but time passing is never a good thing.”

In 2016, the hospital said about 85% of patients treated for competency prior to trial were referred back to the court within 95 days. The discharge time is slightly down during the pandemic. Now, the state says 55% of patients are ready for trial within a year – or on average, within 52 days.

The average length of stay for 61% of patients is 110 days. About 39% of patients are at the facility an average of 410 days, according to the Texas Health and Human Services, which oversees the facility.

The turnaround has families of Santa Fe victims questioning why Pagourtzis is still at the facility and not at trial.

“If you’re that good, then move him on out. I mean, he should be good to go, right?” Rice said.

A hospital official told 13 Investigates that after two years, the effectiveness of being able to restore someone’s competency dramatically decreases to where they start considering long-term options for people who may never go to a trial.

There are 55 people who have been there five years or more and 28 more people who have been there at least 10 years, according to the state.

Poehl said Pagourtzis is in an age group where, because of his mental health concerns, it could be hard to restore competency, which means he doesn’t really have a timeline of when – or if – the case will ever go to trial.

“He either gets restored to competency or he doesn’t,” Poehl said. “At the end of the day, he’s locked up. He’s going to be locked up kind of one way or the other, and so how big a difference that makes to some people, that’s for them to decide.”

If his competency is never restored, Poehl said the suspect could be sent to a civil commitment facility for the rest of his life.

Roady said he can keep the case open for as long as a possible sentence would run, and he intends to keep fighting for it to go before a jury trial.”If the story ends with him dying in custody, undergoing restoration to competency, then that’s not the right ending,” Roady said. “The right ending is for him to be restored to competency and brought back to this county so he can face trial for what he’s accused of.”

‘Uncertainty is difficult’

Tisdale tries to imagine what it looked like inside Santa Fe High when his mom was gunned down and killed, but doesn’t know for sure if he’s right.

“I know who my mother was and I know what type of protection she’d be trying to give to the kids and things like that, so it’s always played out in my mind,” Tisdale said. “I want to know how he was acting that day. … What was his demeanor? How was he moving forward? What was happening? And I want to know if there was any thing that maybe could have been changed also for public safety reasons, too.”

Even though he knows it’ll be painful to watch, he is tired of waiting for video evidence — showing the alleged shooter moments before his mom’s final breath — to be released.

He wants to know exactly what happened.

RELATED: Upcoming Santa Fe High School documentary tells stories of survivors and victims

Current state law allows agencies to withhold releasing video evidence in open investigations. Agencies can choose to release information, but if they give it to the family members of victims, they’ll also have to apply that decision to anyone else who requests the video, including news outlets.

For now, Roady said he’s still hopeful the case will go to trial so he is withholding the evidence.

“The law doesn’t give those families special right of access,” Roady said. “If we share it with them then anyone else with a morbid sense of curiosity has the right to go into that and put it on social media.”

Since Barnes was a law enforcement officer at the school, he had access to some of the evidence that is currently being withheld. Since he’s no longer an officer, he was able to share what he could with Tisdale, Rice and other victim’s families, but he said it doesn’t offer the same closure as viewing the footage in person.

“I was as honest as I can be with what happened, but the truth of it is until you see that video. … it is not the same,” Barnes said. “With anything, if you see pictures or videos the video really tells you a lot more than I can talk about what happened, so I would really like that to happen with the victims seeing it.”

Poehl supports the decision to withhold releasing any evidence to families. He said that’s because he still is hopeful the case will go to a trial, in which case he’ll want any potential jurors to come in with an open mind about the case.

Still, Rice said parents of the victims deserve to know exactly how their children died that day.

“We don’t care if (Pagourtzis) can talk to his lawyer or not because he could take the fifth and never (testify) anyway, so we want the evidence to speak,” Rice said. “If he doesn’t want to go to trial and speak for himself, we really don’t care. We want to see him tried and convicted and in prison.”

Poehl said if it looks like Pagourtzis’ competency won’t be restored in a reasonable time frame – or ever – that should be factored into the decision to release information.

“The uncertainty is difficult, just like it is for the victims and their families, the uncertainty of when is this going to end? When do you reach a point where not every day, all day is about this for the rest of our lives?” Poehl said. “That’s difficult for anybody to go through, and it’s especially difficult for the victims. It’s no easier on his family at this point. I can assure you of that.”

While doctors work to restore Pagourtzis’ competency for trial, Tisdale said he spends every day searching for distractions to keep him from getting angry about it all over again.

He said a chapter of his life was closed when his mom was killed. Now, he just wishes he could get a glimpse into one chapter, one day of Pagourtzis’ life to get one step closer to closure.

“It’s the loss. We all have it, in different ways, but we’re all connected through that loss and pain and suffering and we want some answers,” Tisdale said. “Our loved-ones need answers. The children need answers.”

Follow Ted Oberg on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.

Author: Ted Oberg

This post originally appeared on ABC13 RSS Feed

Texas families warn of possible bed-in-the-box mattress risks; class action lawsuit filed

Texas families warn of possible bed-in-the-box mattress risks

AUSTIN (KXAN) – A new class action lawsuit filed against a mattress company is pushing for changes across the industry.

Attorney Lloyd Cueto, with Cueto Law from near St. Louis and lawyers with the Environmental Litigation Group from Birmingham refiled an amended version of the lawsuit in April against mattress manufacturer Zinus.

The mattresses are sold online and at big box retail stores.

“It really is dangerous, not only the property damage to people, but the health issues,” Cueto explained. “We have over 200 plaintiffs in all 50 states and people are realizing they’re not alone on this.”

He explained that families have had trouble breathing, skin irritation and were forced to toss belongings after removing the cover to wash it.

Cases across Texas

Cueto Law said clients have had itchy/irritated skin and trouble breathing (Courtesy Cueto Law)

Cueto said close to 30 of cases included in the lawsuit are from across Texas.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) explained to KXAN investigator Arezow Doost that fiberglass is used in a variety of products generally for adding strength and fire-resistance.

Cueto said the problem is that Zinus has a removable outer cover with a zipper.

“The very existence of a zipper invites the owner to unzip it, or certainly makes you think that it’s safe to do so,” explained Cueto. “And there’s not nearly appropriate enough warning about the exposure to the glass fibers once you open it.”

‘Leave the cover on’

A statement from Zinus explained the company provides quality products and takes all customer feedback very seriously.

“The material that we use to comply with fire safety regulations is standard in the mattress industry, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission has found that this material is not considered hazardous,” continued the statement.

A spokesperson did not respond to questions about whether the company would remove the zipper or stop using fiberglass.

“All Zinus product owners should refer to the FAQ page on our company website, which addresses many common questions, including proper care and handling of mattress covers,” said the statement.

The frequently asked questions page explained, “The mattress cover isn’t washable, and removing it could inhibit the fire safety barrier, so please always leave the cover on.”

Industry wide problem

“They need to pull these mattresses as they exist off the market now. And we don’t believe that they should have to wait until they’re forced by some kind of federal recall,” explained Cueto.

He said the lawsuit will also mean compensation for the families impacted. Cueto explained that on average the families have spent $ 15,000 to remove all the fiberglass.

He said that this is an industry wide problem and he’s now looking at other manufacturers.

Michelle Cantrell spent thousands of dollars removing all the fiberglass in her home.

Michelle Cantrell said a professional cleaning crew was called to remove fiberglass in her home (Courtesy Michelle Cantrell)

“It was literally like dust settles everywhere, it was exactly like that, only it was glass,” explained Cantrell.

The family from Round Rock shared a warning about their daughter’s memory foam mattress right before the pandemic last year.

They said they bought their mattress from a different company online which ended up reimbursing them, but they explained their home was covered with what looked like glitter.

After some research, Cantrell said it turned out to be fiberglass. They had unzipped the cover to wash it and noticed a tear. Several days later she said they were feeling itchy and coughing.

“There was no warning label anywhere near the zipper or the cover or anything,” explained Cantrell.

What’s being done federally?

Doost asked CPSC why there hasn’t been a recall. A spokesperson with the agency responded with the exact same statement as last year.

“CPSC has mandatory requirements for mattresses and mattress pads. The regulations are performance standards, not design standards. So they do not specify the use of specific materials or individual components,” said Nychelle Fleming, Public Affairs Specialist with the agency.

She added: “It is recommended to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for washing and drying of any textile product, including mattress pads. Many textile products shed fibers through normal wear and refurbishment.  It would be difficult to determine the type of fiber without scientific analysis.”

Fleming said concerns should be reported to www.SaferProducts.gov, but it’s unclear what those reports do since hundreds have already been made online. She said, however, that the company looks at all complaints made online.

Author: Arezow Doost
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

The chaos and fun of Britain's biggest families juggling 31 kids

Small families may think that they spend a lot of money of food every week, but imagine if you had to budget for a super-sized brood?

One of Britain’s biggest families, the Sullivans, spend around four times the average family spend of £80 on their weekly food shop.

Britain’s biggest families are letting us see into their lives and what is it really like to live with a family the size of a school class.

A conveyor belt of birthdays must also be planned, along with huge energy bills and clothes for growing children, the Mirror reports.

As for holidays, sleep or an empty washing basket? Forget about it.

Follow three bumper-pack families in an ITV documentary tomorrow evening (Thursday, May 13) that captures the chaos, and fun.

To sign up for the Hull Live newsletter, click here.

Nicole and Joseph Sutton and their 11 children are on a food budget of up to £200-a-week, Ben and Zoe Sullivan and their 11 offspring spend £300, while Fran and Layden Seymour and their brood of nine have no limit.

Each child on average in Britain costs £150,000 to raise, so what motivates these families to keep on growing?

“Bigger is better,” says Fran. “There’s never a dull moment!”

Here the three families talk about what it’s like to live in heaving homes…

The Suttons: Tight budget doesn’t stop the laughter

The Sutton family

11 Children

Weekly shop: £80-200

“Big families have more fun than little families,” grins 11-year-old McKenzie Sutton, who lives in a very noisy home in Cumbria with mum Nicole, dad Joseph and 10 siblings – Rhiannon, 14, Lacey, 12, Skylar, nine, Henley, seven, twins Cobi and Parker, six, Hadley, four, River, three, Ocean, two, and six-month-old Navy.

As the 11 youngsters wrap each other up in reams of toilet roll on Halloween, they are all having an absolute blast, which is all Nicole really wants.

Having had a tough childhood, 30-year-old supermum Nicole just wants to have fun with the kids and be there for them. “If you can’t have a laugh with your mum, what have we got?” she chuckles.

She says they survive paycheck to paycheck on Joseph’s £400-a-week coach driver salary. But the savvy mum counts every penny. “That will last at least a week,” she says, as the massive weekly food shop arrives, containing four loaves of sliced bread and five boxes of cereal.

Video Loading

The food shop costs her between £100 and £200, but if they’re having a tough month, she can do it for £80.

“I go round the supermarket and add everything up, I know exactly what I’m spending,” she says, scolding 35-year-old Joseph for buying unnecessary cake bars.

“If something is twice the price it normally is, I’m not buying it. Meals depend on what food is on offer.”

On Sunday, she works at a chocolate shop in Keswick. Working in the week isn’t possible as childcare is too costly.

Joseph is on daddy day care. “It’s hard because Dad just can’t handle us all by himself can he!” says McKenzie.

Each £95 shift Nicole earns goes in the present kitty – they spend £100 on birthdays and she does all the baking.

Family days out are rare, but Nicole prides herself on being able to budget with next to nothing.

Nicole says: “We embrace everything – the mess, fun, laughter, crying, arguing, I’d never change it.”

The Seymours: Power couple admit a large wallet is help

The Seymours

Nine children

Weekly shop: No limit!

A barbecue at the Seymour house includes around 30 sausages and a couple of dozen burgers.

Layden and Fran Seymour live in a lavish home in Suffolk with their nine children – Taylor, 21, Oliver, 19, Morgan, 17, Ashton, 15, Jenson, 13, Tristan, 11, Gemma, nine, Xavier, five, and three-year-old Radley.

The “power couple” set up a string of businesses, including a soft play centre and a planned boutique B&B pub, and don’t spend too much time counting the pennies.

Mum Frances and Dad Layden with their nine children

Layden, 50, who has a Rolex collection worth £70,000, says: “We work hard to give our children some luxuries in life. We are not ones to analyse what we need, but it’s a phenomenal amount of money, so I prefer not to think about it.”

They have spent £30,000 on tech for the family, and Oliver shows off his sneaker collection, including a £450 pair he’s worn once or twice.

“Currently I think I’ve got more cars than children,” says Layden.

Fran, 48, spends £800 buying all the school uniforms.

“When you have a big family, you have to have a big wallet,” says Layden.

But it hasn’t always been easy for the family, who fell on hard times and were forced to live in a friend’s caravan.

“We couldn’t afford to feed all of us, so Fran and I went without,” says Layden.

They opened the play centre business leaving pennies in their account, but it changed their luck. For Fran’s birthday, after she’s done five washes and three dishwasher loads before lunch, Layden splurges £2,300 on a helicopter ride and a couple’s massage.

Taylor, left to babysit her siblings, says: “If I had to do this every day I’d be exhausted. I can appreciate why they need a break.”

But Fran says without a big family, they’d be bored. “Bigger is better,” she says.

Layden adds: “To be a dad and to see my children follow their dreams, it’s the best thing in life.”

The Sullivans: We need our own cow the milk we use

The Sullivans are one of Britain’s biggest families

11 children

Weekly shop: £300

In the Sullivan household, the alarm goes off at 5am and Ben and Zoe begin their non-stop routine of breakfast-making, teeth-brushing and getting their children dressed.

“You have to literally be on it from the minute you open your eyes,” says Ben.

By 7.30am, Ben heads off to work as an RAF aircraft engineer, while Zoe makes sure Elizabeth, 15, Olivia, 13, twins Isabelle and Charlotte, 12, Noah, 10, Eva, eight and twins Leah and Erin, four, all get to school and nursery.

Then she heads home to look after three-year-old Agnes May and Joseph, two – and to clean up their house with one bathroom.

“It wasn’t a conscious decision to have this many children, we just did,” says 45-year-old Ben.

The couple and their 11 children live in Lossiemouth, Scotland. “Life in a big family is fun, but pretty crazy and noisy,” says Eva.

Charlotte agrees: “It’s never too quiet. That’s a bad thing if it’s quiet, it means one of the little ones has escaped or something.”

With an income of around £600 a week, they spend £300 a week on food.

“It’s like a Travelodge,” says Ben, glancing at 15 boxes of cereal. “The milk we get through, we need our own cow!” says 42-year-old Zoe.

She adds: “There are things that we don’t do. We don’t really have holidays.”

The couple save all year for Christmas, budgeting for £3,000 (three times the average family spend).

“Seeing their faces is magical,” says Zoe, who would like another baby.

Author: [email protected] (Sara Wallis, Lucy Marshall)
This post originally appeared on Hull Live – Celebs & TV