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North Carolina Couple Wins $10 Million Scratch-Off, Largest Prize in History of State’s Education Lottery

Business Man Displaying a Spread of Cash

When most people play scratch-offs, they typically only win a few bucks. A North Carolina couple, however, recently defied the odds by winning the largest scratch-off prize in the history of the state’s Education Lottery.

According to lottery officials, Dale and Robin Summey won $10 million in the Ultimate Millions scratch-off game. Not only was it the biggest prize in the lottery’s history, but also the seventh largest overall prize won by a North Carolinian, just after a $12 million Mega Millions jackpot.

“It feels wonderful,” said Dale Summey, according to a statement provided by lottery officials. “But it is still hard to believe. It is. It’s wonderful, and it’s a blessing.”

Dale Summey, a roofer and handyman, said that he and his wife would always talk about what they’d do if they ever won the lottery. When he bought the winning scratch-off, he held on to it for four days before finally playing.

When it finally happened, he had three little words for his wife: “I’ve done it.”

“Done what?” she asked.

“I’ve won $10 million,” he answered, and showed her the ticket.

The couple chose to accept their winnings in the form of a lottery lump sum payout. Federal and state taxes will take out $4.1 million, leaving the couple with the staggering sum of $6 million.

Had the couple chosen the annuity option, they would have received $500,000 a year for 20 years.

Most excitingly, there are three other $10 million prizes out there in the Ultimate Millions game, waiting to be won. Each Ultimate Millions game costs $30 per ticket to play.

“Our new Ultimate Millions game should ultimately produce 25 new millionaires in our state,” said the North Carolina Education Lottery’s executive director Alice Garland. “Our goal is to have fun games, award prizes and raise money for education. We appreciate the players who try their luck and our retail partners who sell the tickets. Together we get to see amazing things like this happen.”

Audit Finds Uncredentialed Teachers, and Sloppy Bookkeeping at Washington’s First Charter School

Interracial primary classroom learning to use laptop with their

According to a new report from a Washington auditor, the state’s first charter school has sloppy bookkeeping, improperly certified teachers, and a myriad of other problems.

In the report, acting State Auditor Jan Jutte says First Place Scholars needs to do a better job of following state laws, and tracking how taxpayers’ dollars are being spent, issues she claims stem from inexperience in following state laws, as well as from deeper financial troubles. Though she characterizes the problems as sloppiness, she also says that they’re not unusual ones for a startup organization to have.

“I think they didn’t know a lot of the laws and rules. They had a big learning curve where I think it would have been good for somebody to step in and help,” said Jutte.

First Place Scholars Charter School opened its doors in Fall 2014 after a voter-approved law allowed charter schools to open in Washington. Since that time, the charter commission has been tracking the school’s problems. It had encountered numerous governance issues at the charter school, including a lack of special education services. Last December, it put the school on probation. The commission was also the one to request the audit.

The problems that the audit found included:

  • Teachers lacking proper certification at the start of the school year.

  • Smaller enrollment than anticipated, leading to the state overpaying the school more than $200,000, as it based the distributed amount on estimated enrollment.

  • Non-compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act.

  • Confusion over whether the school, or the nonprofit that supports it, spent money, and whether public dollars were used for nonprofit expenses.

  • Inadequate bookkeeping on expenditures and revenues.

  • Cash flow problems, which nearly left the school without enough money to cover its payroll at one time.

“Charter Schools are independently run public schools that are granted greater flexibility in its operations in return for greater accountability for performance,” says John Miller, CPA, CFP, Partner, Klein Hall CPAs LLC. “When the decision is made to start a charter school along with it comes the responsibility for understanding and complying with all of the existing laws, regulations, and expectations that exist. It appears that there is room for improvement in the charter issuance process and performing more subsequent regular monitoring.”

The school’s future is now uncertain. Not because of the audit, though, but because Washington’s Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that charters are unconstitutional, based on the fact that they’re overseen by appointed boards, rather than elected ones.

Both the State Charter Schools Association and State Attorney General Bob Ferguson have said they plan to file motions for reconsideration.

Russia to Conduct Radiation Research

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Rosatom, which is Russia’s main nuclear power concern, had signed an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency to outline practical ways to cooperate in radiation safety. A ceremony solidifying the agreement was held during the 59th session of the IAEA General Conference.

The Deputy Director-General of the IAEA, the head of Nuclear Safety and Security, and Rosatom’s Deputy CEO Vyacheslav Pershukov all have put the signatures on the document.

“By signing this arrangement Russia has reaffirmed once again its world leadership in using nuclear power,” Pershukov said. “Russia will become the world’s first country to have implemented its risk approach to assessing the radiation effects on personnel. We are determined to spread our experience to the countries which have been cooperating with us in their own civilian nuclear power programs.”

The recently signed document outlines an agreement featuring projects to evaluate and manage radiation risks for nuclear power industry personnel. The projects will extend over three years, and will be monitored by the Rosatom inspectors and specialists, coming from the Health Service Ministry of Russia. Projects and research are all being paid for by Rosatom.

These projects are expected to create new and special methodology for evaluations regarding the radiation risks for those working in the nuclear power industry in Russia. It will be based on personal exposures and research conducted on individuals.

Following this, Russia will draft a code for management of radiation risks in planned exposures. Because radiation is invisible, most people do not recognize the radiation they are regularly exposed to until it makes them sick, so the push is seen as more important than ever.

“The world appears to be waking up to the real dangers of ongoing exposure to electromagnetic radiation,” says Virginia Bonta Brown, M.S., Occupational Therapist/President, BioElectric Shield Co. “On September 5, 2015, a press release from the World Health Organization (WHO) called for the recognition of EMS (electrohypersensitivity) as well as MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity) to be recognized as two new real diseases worthy of inclusion in the ICD (International Classification of Diseases). Our reliance on radiation producing energy and electronics is producing side effects including electrohypersensitivity that have raised red flags for the entire population of this earth. It is our prediction that protecting oneself with EMF blockers will become as normal as making sure we breathe clean air and eat pesticide-free food.”

This agreement is one of many being signed around the world, as world leaders crack down on radiation risks.

Numerous recent studies have pointed out that most countries are not doing enough to protect their populations from radiation and EMF dangers, or the dangers of electromagnetic fields. Many hope that the Rosatom agreement will spur on similar studies, research, and codes around the world.

Wine Mogul Plans Historic Project to Breed 10,000 New Grape Varieties

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Randall Grahm has spent the majority of his life in the wine industry. He started sweeping the floors of the Wine Merchant in Beverly Hills when he was still a student at UC Santa Cruz and started his own vineyard in Bonny Doon soon after finishing school. The man that since became known for his work with Rhone varietals has started work on something new: Popelouchum — The Project, according to an article in Forbes and his own press release.

After his success with Rhone and helping to popularize screw caps for premium wine bottles, Grahm is attempting a new innovative strategy to influence the wine industry yet again. His latest project, which has been crowdfunded, is an attempt to breed 10,000 new wine varieties, or as he puts it a “New World grand cru.” But even that’s not the entire extent of it.

“The project potentially has a much larger utility to the world, above and beyond my needs. The problems that I have to solve — how to grow grapes in a truly sustainable fashion with constrained resources, especially water — are essentially the same problems that perhaps most of the planet will have to confront sooner or later,” Grahm said. “And how might a vineyardist do something truly unique that was not a pallid imitation of a brighter paradigm? If the methodology of super-heterodox plantation works, maybe others could adopt the methodology and arrive at their own unique style of wine.”

Along with creating a unique new wine, Grahm is attempting to answer the greater question of how future winemakers will grow grapes in California’s rapidly changing climate. He plans on using 35 parent seed varieties to start cross breeding in the hopes that he’ll find new combinations of color, flavor, texture, disease resistance, and, perhaps most importantly, drought resistance.

There’s no real significance to the 10,000 number except that “10,000 things” means something vast in Chinese. Quite fitting considering his plan is to plant 20 acres of unique varieties with a planting density of about 500 vines per acre.

“Potentially, over time, creating such a vast number of grapes might well reveal a few that are utterly brilliant. But in the shorter term, the intention is to observe what a very large set of genetically distinctive vines do when they are harvested and fermented en masse.”

Only time will tell whether or not they produce the results he’s hoping for. But for the man who’s spent his life in the wine world, this could be his greatest contribution yet.

“Innovation drives growth in every business – and today experimentation with technology drives innovation,” says Tom Ajello, Founder, Makeable. “The wine industry, with a core constituency largely made of traditionalists, has been resistant to change leaving the business starving for innovation. I’m excited to see where this goes.”

Could Ariana Grande’s Ponytail Be Hiding Something? Her Hair Stylist Weighs In

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Singer Ariana Grande was under the weather this week, but according to OK! magazine, that might not be the only trouble she’s facing. But it doesn’t have to do with her vocal cords — it’s her signature high ponytail that’s causing her problems.

According to an anonymous hair stylist who worked with Grande, the pint-sized pop star might be going bald if she keeps wearing her hair up high.

But right now, that style is the only thing that Grande has to cover up the hair loss, said OK!’s source.

The tipster, who allegedly works on Grande’s style team, said that what’s left of the 22-year-old’s hair is a mess. “It’s destroyed at the ends, and the reason she scrapes it back into a high ponytail all the time is because it’s kind of patchy on top.”

While it is possible for hair to become damaged when pulled back too tightly, is Grande’s ‘do really that dangerous?

In the event that Grande does begin losing her hair, she may be choosing a hair stylist who can help her with a new look (and maybe keep mum about her mane).

Yet Grande hasn’t exactly been quiet about the damage to her hair, either. “It looks absolutely ratchet and absurd when I let it down,” she’d posted to Twitter. She also commented on the difficulty of styling it, saying, that she has to “wear more fake hair than every drag queen on earth combined.”

Her stylist’s suggestion is to “shave it off and start again,” which Grande is reluctant to do. “Without extensions in, it’s bad,” the stylist told OK!. “Don’t expect to see her with a new ‘do anytime soon.”

As for the singer’s health, it’s A-OK, according to Grande’s Twitter. She tweeted on Labor Day, “despite being horribly sick my chords are pretty and perfectly healthy! No idea how but I’m thanking the heavens!! thank u lordtt [sic]!”

She also commented that her doctor said she was fine, despite “a week of coughing and months straight of singing.” So fans who are expecting to see Grande on her Honeymoon Tour can relax.

Forget the Porn Scholarship, Now Pornhub is Launching a Fashion Line

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Porn.

Love it or hate it, it doesn’t have a great reputation. If you fall into the latter category, Pornhub.com is trying to change your mind. On September 9, the porn company announced that they would launch a new street wear apparel line during New York Fashion Week. The next day, the site hosted a one-day pop-up store selling the “Pornhub NYC Capsule Collection,” which includes exclusive hoodies, hats, t-shirts, and tank tops for men and women alike.

Pornhub Vice President Corey Price said the company is “super psyched” to penetrate the world of fashion for the first time. Every week, 89% of Americans wears a t-shirt at least once, and the website is hardly the first company to try to brand itself with custom apparel.

Pornhub.com is one of the world’s largest pornographic websites, boasting a staggering 78.9 billion video views a year — that’s more than 11 views for every single person in the world. The fashion line is also the second time this September that the company has tried to rebrand itself outside of porn. The company’s “philanthropic arm” recently announced a $25,000 college scholarship. To win, co-eds were encouraged to submit a short video of themselves explaining how they make people happy.

“We work hard to help make millions of people feel happy every single day,” reads a statement from Pornhub Cares. “In turn, we would like to help support the recipient of the first annual Pornhub Cares Scholarship to realize their goal of doing the same.”

Many people saw the scholarship as a thinly veiled invitation for young people to send in erotic videos of themselves. Put less charitably, anti-exploitation groups say it’s a manipulative way to get poor young women to produce free pornography on the company’s behalf.

“These videos follow them the rest of their lives and affect their jobs and relationships in the future,” said Dawn Hawkins, head of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “It’s really unfortunate we’re forcing our kids to sell their bodies to get an education.”

But while anti-pornography activists rail against the negative consequences of pornography, Pornhub continues to draw 60 million visitors every single day. You can check out the company’s new apparel line at their mostly-safe-for-work website.

Extreme Flooding Throughout Western Wisconsin Causes Millions of Dollars in Damages

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The Wisconsin Emergency Operations Center has been working tirelessly for over three days to clear roads and assess damages caused by major flooding throughout the region.

According to local news affiliate WEAU, heavy rains led to destructive flooding throughout Western Wisconsin, from Osseo, to Strum, and parts of Buffalo, Clark, Jackson, and Trempealeau counties.

The Strum Dam, a popular local landmark and a major part of the city’s water supply, was breached by the flooding.

The operator of the dam, Gary Barone, said he received a call on Monday morning from Osseo informing him of high water levels there. Barone said the water had rose eight inches within 30 minutes Monday morning.

He added that the normal water level for the dam is around 480 inches. By Monday night, the dam’s water levels reached a staggering 770 inches.

Cody Rose, a witness to the flooding, told WEAU that “the water was above (my car’s) headlights and it basically looked like a big swimming pool for a while.”

An update on Thursday from local news affiliate WXOW noted just how serious the damages were. The Trempealeau County Emergency Department reported $1.955 million in total damage to homes and businesses in Osseo, Strum and Eleva.

Officials also say that 25 homes were impacted by high water, with one suffering major damage estimated at $275,000. Water damage is a common result of extensive flooding, and its consequences can be extremely serious.

“Water can cause a substantial amount of home damage in a short period of time,” says  Brian Thurston, Certified Mold Remediation Specialist, Pro-Clean Services. “Hiring a professional water restoration team right away will limit the effects caused by water damage, saving an outrageous repair bill. If moisture within the home is not mitigated properly, mold growth can rapidly develop causing a serious health hazard.”

WXOW also reports that Buffalo county is still under a state of emergency, though the Strum Dam is holding at an acceptable level.

Several roads throughout Western Wisconsin are still closed to traffic three days after the storm. Emergency Managers are advising all residents to avoid travel when possible.

Back-To-School Shopping Creating New Stress In Parents

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Back-to-school season is creating new stress for parents, according to a recent report from Fortune. With the average cost of kindergarten through 12th grade school supplies nearing $700, it’s no wonder that parents are looking for ways to alleviate the pressures of starting off the school year fully equipped. Laura Vanderkam, a mother of four children under the age of nine, writes about the stress that raised expectations inflicts on her as a parent.

“…For working parents, that means lots of late-night trips to Staples and Target, long lines and big bills,” she writes. “Add into that the challenge of managing new logistics – new schedules for the kids – and you’ve got full-on back to school stress.”

In a recent study by the National Retail Federation, it was discovered that, over the last 10 years, back-to-school spending has increased by 42%. School shopping even continued to increase despite the recession, and most of it is happening in-store, due to an emphasis on parent-child bonding during the hunt for supplies.

And purchasing school supplies isn’t the only thing stressing out parents. A new school year can bring new changes to the average family that can heap on the stress, even if it’s just a change of schedule. Scott Behson, author of The Working Dad’s Survival Guide, notes how the change effects families:

“Any transition or change to your family schedule can be a source of stress. The first weeks of school are often difficult because summer camps and other child-care arrangements are done, but lots of schools have off-days and half-days during the initial weeks. This can wreak havoc if one or both parents have inflexible work schedules or lengthy commutes.”

Finding new ways to organize your schedules, as well as minimize waste of your child’s new school supplies, can help to alleviate some of these seasonal stressors. But sometimes, it’s just a matter of waiting out the storm.

University of California Sued by Former Football Player for Medical Malpractice

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Bernard Hicks played safety for the University of California football team from 2004 to 2008. According to a lawsuit filed earlier this month and reported by the Los Angeles Times, Hicks is now seeking restitution from the school in regards to a medical malpractice claim. Hicks and his medical malpractice lawyer, Matthew Whibley, are arguing that he sustained multiple concussions in games and practice and the school did not properly educate him in prevention, treatment, and the overall risks of long-term head trauma.

“The university is the players’ caretaker,” Whibley said. “We think it would be fair for them to at least inform the players what they’re getting themselves into.”

The suit indicates that since leaving school Hicks has endured “permanent and debilitating” neurological injuries that have caused depression, suicidal thoughts, dizziness, memory loss, as well as blurred and double vision. The team physician, Cindy Chang, head athletic trainer, Ryan Cobb, and head coach at the time, Jeff Tedford, were named as defendants in the case.

The University of California could not comment directly on Hicks’ case due to legal implications, but the athletics department did release a statement reported by Yahoo! Sports, saying that its care is based on the “best and most up-to-date clinical guidelines” and that “the medical care we provide our student-athletes meets or exceeds the standards in collegiate and national sports medicine.”

The issue of head trauma and specifically concussions has been an ongoing battle in the National Football League (NFL) for the past few years. Many players suffer from serious conditions later in life that have even led to suicide. But the question remains, should the school or organization hold responsibility in making players aware of potential dangers, or is it an inherent risk associated with a violent sport that individuals should know going in?

Rest in Space? Space Company Says Lunar Burial is a Go for Launch

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For almost two decades, it’s been possible to send your remains into outer space, where they circle the planet in low-Earth orbit. In some cases, they eventually return to the atmosphere, returning to the Earth as a “shooting star.” But this August, two companies are making international headlines to take it one step further and provide the very first lunar memorial services.

Prices for the moon memorials range from $9,950 to $12,500, which is extraordinary, considering that’s roughly the same price as a traditional casket funeral service. In a press release, Elysium Space announced the opening of reservations for the first “Lunar Memorial Service,” which they hope will touch down on the lunar surface in 2016.

The San Francisco space company also told the story of U.S. Army Infantry Soldier Steven Jenks, who will send a portion of his mother’s remains on the first shuttle. When Jenks was deployed to Iraq, his mother would often sign her letters with a special message: “No matter how lonely you feel and how far you are, always look at the Moon and know I am with you. I love you to the Moon and back. Love, Mom.”

“From the first day we started Elysium Space and imagined awe-inspiring memorials, we thought that the Moon could create the quintessential commemoration,” said Thomas Civeit, Elysium Space CEO and former NASA engineer. “Offering this exceptional tribute within the reach of most families is an important part of this new chapter opening for our civilization.”

The company will collect portions of human remains in specially designed cremation urns for ashes, then deliver the capsules to the moon’s surface with the help of Astrobotic Technology, another U.S. space company. They aren’t the only companies trying to offer the lunar service; rival space companies Celestis and Moon Express have similar lunar memorial plans.

While many people have expressed enthusiasm over the possibility of resting in space, others have expressed credulity. Popular Science said that the lunar memorial capsules amounted to “space litter.”

“There are people today with a great deal of discretionary income,” says Ira Woods, CEO, OneWorld Memorials. “Considering that Virgin Galactic sold over 700 tickets for a trip to space at $250,000 a piece, this is a small price to be memorialized on the moon. It’s no secret that the luxury market is doing quite well and for the price of an ordinary funeral having something as unique and exciting as a moon memorial can be appealing to many for quite some time.”