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Heroes

Two days after a firefighter's death, hundreds of colleagues attended his daughter's graduation

Two days after a firefighter's death, hundreds of colleagues attended his daughter's graduation
via KTLA 5

Tragedy struck in Agua Caliente, California Tuesday morning when Tory Carlon, a more than 20-year member of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, was gunned down by a coworker at Fire Station 81.

The assailant, Jonathan Tatone, died of a self-inflicted gunshot in his home later that day.

"We do believe there was some disagreement over work performance and work-related issues," Lt. Brandon Dean said Wednesday. "How long it has been going on we don't know yet." The two men worked at the station on different shifts and had been clashing over operations and other issues.


L.A. County Fire Chief Daryl Osby described Carlon as "truly dedicated, one of our better firefighters, amazing, and a true loss to our department."

Carlon leaves behind his wife, Heidi, and three young daughters.

The tragedy happened just two days before Carlon's oldest daughter Joslyn was set to graduate from Saugus High School. One can only imagine the pain she felt knowing that her father couldn't be at the ceremony.

However, even though her father couldn't be in attendance, her extended "fire family" had her back and they made an impressive display.

On Wednesday night an email chain was sent among L.A. County Firefighters asking them to show up to show their support for the daughter of their fallen brother.

The next day, over 300 firefighters from L.A. county and neighboring departments showed up at Josyln's ceremony at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita. The parking lot was filled with fire engines from all over the area and the firefighters lined up and stood at attention as Joslyn entered the ceremony.

"I haven't had a chance to look at where all of our brothers and sisters have come from," Battalion Chief Nick Berkuta Berkuta told The Santa Clarita Valley Signal. "But I can see that we have quite an outpouring of support that is truly appreciated."

"We're here to make sure that she knows we're all thinking about her," said Fire Department Capt. Chris Reade. "We found out last night, email goes fast, and we all dropped everything we were doing in our personal lives and came down here to show our support."

When Joslyn walked up to the stage to accept her diploma, she did so wearing her father's fire jacket draped across her shoulders. She was greeted by a chorus of cheers from the firefighters and a standing ovation from fellow classmates.

When she left the stage she was escorted by a firefighter who is a close friend of the Carlon family.

When asked what the gesture meant, Reade gave a simple explanation that sums up the meaning of "fire family."

"It means that we're always going to be with them," said Reade. "The Fire Department family is huge and strong, and they can come to us anytime for anything they need."

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up for the Carlon family. It has already eclipsed its goal of $200,000.





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3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

The grandmother was suspicious.

A grandmother always felt her middle granddaughter Lindsay, 15, looked slightly different from the rest of the family because she had blonde, curly hair, while the rest of her siblings’ hair was dark “I thought genetics was being weird and I love her,” she wrote on Reddit’s AITA forum.

But things became serious after Linday’s parents “banned” her from taking things a step further and getting a DNA test. If the family was sure their daughter was theirs, why would they forbid her from seeking clarity in the situation? After the parents laid down the law, the situation started to seem a little suspicious.

“I told my son and [daughter-in-law] that there was something fishy around her birth she needed to know. They denied it and told me to leave it alone,” the grandma wrote.


Lindsay wouldn’t give up her quest. She approached her biology teacher, who admitted that it was “odd” for her to have such different traits. This confusion was too much for Lindsay, so she went to her grandmother for help. “She came to me distressed, asking me to buy a DNA test since she needs to know,” the grandmother wrote.

dna tests, paternity tests, grandmothers

She had blonde, curly hair. But her siblings all had black hair.

via Allef Vinicius/Unsplash

The grandmother purchased a DNA test and it proved their suspicions. “Long story short, she is not her mother's kid,” the grandmother wrote. “My son got someone else pregnant and her bio mom gave her up.”

The interesting thing was that Lindsay was a middle child. So, the dad had a baby with another woman while he was with his wife. This revelation begs the question: How did the family suddenly have a baby out of nowhere without people being suspicious?

“They were on the other side of the country when she was born, and I met Lindsey when she was about 6 months old. Really not hard to hide the whole thing,” the grandmother wrote. “Our family has a history of miscarriages, so it’s common to drop news about a baby late in the pregnancy. They did the same with their oldest and didn't think anything about it.”

The big revelation has caused friction in the family. The family no longer talks to the grandmother, which makes Lindsay even more furious about the situation.

Should the grandmother have taken such drastic steps if she knew what could happen if her suspicions were true? The commenters on Reddit overwhelmingly supported the grandmother’s decision. The big reason was that Lindsay needed to know her family history for medical reasons.

"Your son and his wife suck for lying to her until she is 15 about something so important and trying to keep lying to her even after she obviously started to question things. There are medical reasons a person might need to know what their genetics are/are not, and if you hadn’t helped her, she would have found out some other way," Shake_Speare423 wrote.

Another commenter noted that protecting the parents’ lie wasn’t nearly as important as Lindsay’s mental health.

"People have a right to know their genetic heritage. Lying about adoption is linked to increased suicidal ideation, anxiety, and depression. You put her safety and comfort ahead of your son’s preferences. Parental rights do not have greater value than a child’s right to access comprehensive medical care, and hiding an adoption does precisely that. Maybe some things, like a child staying healthy, should matter more than a parent's right to lie, gaslight and manipulate their child as they see fit," RemembrancerLirael added.

The commenters overwhelmingly supported the grandma for putting herself into an uncomfortable situation to protect her granddaughter’s mental and physical health. However, one commenter noted that she could have gone about it in a less polarizing way.

“Bit out of the norm for the responses here, but you should have gone through your son [and daughter-in-law] and convinced them. Told them that the biology teacher had highlighted that she had traits that didn't make sense, etc. and convinced them that Lindsey would find out either way,” PhilMcGraw wrote. “It would have allowed them to find a way to tell her without it being forced on them angrily. A DNA test is the absolute worst way to be told. I'm sure they would have much rather told her than let her find out by a DNA test if that is what was coming.”


This article originally appeared on 11.29.23

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Joy

Texas family takes a $40 million hit to turn their massive ranch into a public park

They chose conservation and the public good over a lucrative private development deal.

RGK Ranch will become a 1500-acre public park outside of Austin, Texas.

Most people will never see a million dollars in their lifetime, much less tens of millions of dollars. Even fewer would pass up an easy opportunity to become $40 million richer, regardless of how wealthy they already are.

That's what a family in Central Texas did when private real estate developers from around the world offered upwards of $130 for their sprawling 1507-acre ranch. Instead of taking one of those huge real estate deals, they chose to sell RGK Ranch to Travis County, Texas, for a reduced purchase price of $90 million—$30 million below its appraised value—so the land could be preserved as a public park.

Nadya Scott and her brother Gregory Kozmetsky inherited the ranch from their parents, George and Ronya Kozmetsky, who purchased the land in 1970. The elder Kozmetsky was a technology innovator and co-founder of Teledyne Inc. who passed away in 2003. He was also an educator and philanthropist who gave away millions of dollars through the RGK Foundation. Now his descendants are donating tens of millions of dollars worth of their family's land rights for the public good.


The ranch sits outside of Austin, which has seen record growth over the past decade as America's fastest-growing metro area. The family credits Nadya Scott, Kozmetsky's daughter, with the vision to make the ranch into a public park.

“I want to preserve the land for future generations because I have seen what happens when the land around a city becomes so valuable that it is sold, and little wild area is preserved,” said Nadya Scott in a press release. “I believe in protecting unique land for the future and I am glad that people before me also wanted to protect land so that I can explore beautiful areas in my travels. The RGK Ranch is a beautiful and unique part of Texas.”

Scott's son, Jordan, told Texas Monthly that she had been inspired by picnicking and hiking at Will Rogers State Historic Park in Los Angeles, on land that had once belonged to the film star’s ranch, when they lived in California. “Those experiences truly planted a seed for [my mother] to see she could create a similar experience for people in Austin,” he said.

Jordan Scott also said in a press release, “Austin and Central Texas are beloved by the Scott and Kozmetsky families. The cherished memories our family created on this land will now be shared with our community. I am honored by my mother’s decision to preserve and protect this land.”

In the U.S. around 40% of land is publicly owned, while 60% is private. But state by state, the percentages vary widely. In Alaska, for instance, nearly 90% of land is public and the rest privately owned. In Texas, less than 5% of land is public while over 95% is privately owned. Public land is a big part of conservation efforts as it can be protected by law. Natural areas that are preserved for the public, such as our National and State Parks, serve to absorb harmful carbon in our atmosphere as well as keep ecosystems healthy. In states like Texas where very little land is protected, public lands are even more important.

The park will play a vital role in protecting the environment, acting as a natural filter, absorbing rainwater to contribute to the aquifer, and contributing excess run-off water directly to Lake Travis—a huge benefit since Travis County faces water scarcity concerns. The park will also serve the wildlife of the area, creating corridors for animals to wander from habitat to habitat.

“Due to the families’ generosity and the foresight of Travis County, a large and very valuable property with significant conservation value will become parkland, benefiting wildlife, water quality, and future park goers in our community,” said Jeff Francell, associate director of land protection for The Nature Conservancy in Texas, an environmental nonprofit organization that helped facilitate the transaction.

County Judge Andy Brown, who helped lead the efforts to acquire the land for the county, added, “The Scott family's generosity also ensures that future generations will have the chance to experience the beauty and ecological value of this land. We look forward to collaborating with the community to develop a park that reflects the diverse needs and interests of our residents.”

The county will create a master plan for the land, but according to Texas Monthly, a home on the ranch is already slated to be turned an events center. The Scott family will retain ownership of 90 acres of land adjacent to what, but Travis County will have right of first refusal to buy that land if the family decides to sell in the future.

The park is expected to open to the public in late 2025.

@tabathalynnk/TikTok, Photo credit: Canva

They've still got the moves

Ready to get transported back to the Decade of Decadence? Cause this wholesome new TikTok trend is gonna put you right back in the attitude-filled, neon colored post-disco era otherwise known as the 80s.

Specifically, it’s going to take you back to an 80s dance club.

In the trend, kids ask their parents to “dance like it’s the 80s,” as the 1984 track “Smalltown Boy” by the British pop band Bronski Beat plays in the background. The song's high energy tempo mixed with heartbreaking, anguish-ridden lyrics make it a fitting choice to bring us back to the time period.

As for the parents—let's just say that muscle memory kicks in the minute the tune begins to play, and it’s a whole vibe.


Check out Tabatha Lynn's video of her mom, Leanne Lynn, which currently has over 8 million views.

@tabathalynnk My moms 80s dance moves, I wanna be her when I grow up 😍 our kids better not ask us this in 30 years 😂 #80s #momsoftiktok #dancemoves ♬ original sound - Tiktok / IG strategy 🚀

Leanne and Tabatha told TODAY that since going viral, the dance is now a common “topic of conversation in the family text group.”

There are two factors here that folks really seem to connect with.

One: 80s dancing was simple. Just moving to the rhythm, maybe a head bob for some flair or a robot if you’re feeling adventurous. Of course, the 80s had ambitious moves like the worm and the moonwalk, but for the most part it was just about groovin’ to beat.

@marynepi One thing about Ms. Suzanne, shes gonna slay. #fypage #dance #slay #80s #yasqueen #trending #trend ♬ original sound - Tiktok / IG strategy 🚀

Then there’s seeing the parents light up at the chance to go back to the days of their youth.

“I can literally see the young women in these women spring out in fluidity. Love this trend,” one person commented.

@lavaleritaaa Love her 😭 “Se me espeluco el moño” 😂 #80s #momdancechallenge ♬ original sound - Tiktok / IG strategy 🚀

Another seconded, “I love seeing moms remember when they were just themselves.”

Of course, dads are totally rocking this trend too. Check it out:

@chrisbrown711 I dont normally do trends but i got in on this one. How did I do? #fyp #blessed #80sdancechallenge #80smusic #80s ♬ original sound - Tiktok / IG strategy 🚀

The 80s was a time of rapid expansion for music. Much of this we have the birth of MTV to thank for, which subsequently dropped music videos, CDs and a vast array of sub genres straight into the heart of pop culture.

Plus, the 80s brought us the synthesizer, which remains a strangely satisfying sound even in 2024. So while the era might have brought some things that most of us would prefer not to revisit—like acid washed denim and awful, awful hairstyles—some of its gems are truly timeless.

The trend also shows how, even though the weekly outing to a dance hall might be a thing of the past, people inherently want to bust a move. Luckily, there’s no shortage of clubs that cater to someone’s music tastes, no matter the era.

Speaking for 00s teens everywhere…just play the Cha Cha slide and we’ll come a-runnin.

@southwestair/TikTok

Watch this and infuse some joy into your day.

A bride-to-be was recently en route to Austin with a few of her gal pals to celebrate her bachelorette party. But little did she know that she’d be getting a cherished memory long before she reached her destination.

A flight attendant for their Southwest flight announced over the PA system “we have royalty onboard,” and that this woman, Bri Kunkle, would soon be married.

“She is quite the princess,” the attendant said before asking the other passengers for a favor.

“I need a little help from every lady on the plane that is married or has been married. I’m going to walk up and down the aisle, and I’m going to give out a napkin,” she instructed.

“Get out a pen or something to write with, share amongst yourselves, if you would take a moment to write a little note of encouragement or piece of advice. What was something you would like to have known before you became a bride? If you could write that down so that I can pass that off to her, and she can hold on to those for a long time to remember this specific trip.”

In the clip, we see an emotional Bri receive her stack of sweet paper notes, along with a crown and snack sash.

@southwestair Its giving ✨princess bride✨ @bri kunk #feelgood #goodnews #bride #bridetok #bachelorette #southwest #celebrate ♬ Positive background music such as play and games(1251730) - earbrojp

Then the video ends with a look at the insightful messages she received.

“Before you say ‘I do’ make sure you know who you are as an individual, so you can grow together as patterns in life, in a healthy way. Congrats and enjoy the ride,” one note read.

Someone else wrote, “Marrying your best friend is such a special moment. Congrats! Remember to enjoy the little things with your partner! It’s you both against anything, and as long as you attack life together with kindness and honesty you’ll succeed. I wish you a lifetime of happiness. Now go have fun!”

Many spoke to the importance of appreciating the little things and communicating openly…but also remembering to avoid difficult conversations until hunger, anger, loneliness, or tiredness have subsided. As one person put it, “it’s okay to go to bed angry.”

There were even a few bits of pragmatic advice for the big wedding day, like this one:

“Have you MOH hold a tissue for you during the ceremony so you can gesture for it if you need to wipe away tears. And plan all you can beforehand, but on the day, just relax, enjoy, and bask in marrying your person! Congrats!”

The wholesome video was originally posted to Southwest Airlines TikTok account, and reposted by Kunk herself, who wrote in her caption “my heart is full and now I have to go make a scrapbook of these.” Over in the comments section of her accounts, many viewers swooned over how this special moment encapsulated the magic of “girlhood.”

“Something about all these women's handwriting makes me feel so emotional. The young, the old, the way the old women all added the date. I love women. What a special moment with a bunch of strangers,” one person shared.

Well said. Kudos to the flight attendant who gave this future bride a memory she’ll cherish forever.

A Yorkie and a guy with a mullet.

The mullet is a hairstyle that became prominent in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s and was popular among hockey players, country singers and anyone who drove a Camaro. But over the years, the look has become a hallmark of tackiness that few wear seriously.

However, even though the mullet is passé among humans, a dog in Canada makes the case that it looks pretty stylish on canines.

Jeff Cole, a voiceover actor and podcaster, recently shared the mullet he gave to his 5-year-old Yorkie mix, Biggie, on TikTok. The video was a huge hit, with over 7.2 million views. "Who just got a haircut? Who just got a fresh new mullet?!" Cole asks in the video.


Overjoyed, Cole lifts Biggie in the air and proclaims: "Is it Biggie, boy? Yay!"

#mullet #yorkie #dogmullet

@thevoicevendor

#mullet #yorkie #dogmullet

Cole rescued BIggie in 2021 and the little Yorkie has had the business-in-the-front-party-in-the-back look for some time. "He's been rocking the mullet for about two years. I used to have the same cut and Biggie thought we should match," Cole told Newsweek. "We were twinsies for a while and people loved it! After a while, I started to look like a creep, so I cut mine, but Biggie did not have it, so he kept it."

The comment section is ablaze with adoration for Biggie’s mullet. "Business in the front, PAWTY in the back," gushed JBode1205. "What in the Tiger King is that?" exclaimed Krysta.

Although the short-on-top, long-in-the-back hairstyle can be traced back to the 6th century BCE, the name “mullet” is believed to have been coined by the hip-hop/punk artists Beastie Boys. They released an ode to the haircut, “Mullet Head,” as a B-Side to their 1994 single “Sure Shot.”