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Recently, Carol Thebarge lost her job as a long-time substitute teacher.  She refused to unfriend her students from her Facebook account.  The school policy of Stevens High School in Claremont, NH has a very strict policy against communicating with students via social media.  Read the story by clicking here.

I have to say I disagree with the school’s policy.  I am the proud parent of 6 children.  When social media first came about I was really concerned for my children and whether I would be able to keep them safe.  The truth is, like everything else in life, you have to use safety measures. Be strict about your child’s usage of the internet and educate them as to its proper use and what is allowed and what isn’t allowed.  Then be sure that you check what your children are doing.  Let them know that you are not spying on them, and be clear about the fact that you are just trying to keep them safe.  Let them know up front exactly what you are doing and why.  I find that being up front about what is going on builds trust between parent and child.  Making them feel a part of the situation is key. But just as important is letting them know you trust them and that you are watching out for them is important. Kids are less likely to make mistakes or allow others to mistreat them if they know that they have support from an adult that they trust.

Technology is a blessing, but it can also be a curse.  But not allowing our children to use it when it benefits them would be a waste of valuable resources.   I think it’s great that a student could potentially be on Facebook and chat with their teacher if they get on their homework.  If a student missed the homework assignment for the day, they can see the tweet on twitter.  There are so many ways social media can help our children. It is our job as parents to keep our children safe.  It’s not easy and we are not perfect, mistakes will be made.  Whether it be social media, the phone, or an event outside of the house things will occur that we as parents aren’t always able to handle.  Mistakes will be made but realistically, no one is perfect all the time. We can continue to be vigilant, at least then we know we are trying, and we are working on whatever needs to be worked on.

One last note: Just as all parents should be offered every possible resource to help them raise their children, every teacher should have access to every resource that will make their job easier in teaching our children.


Carol Thebarge worked more than 30 years in school system

Stevens High School

CLAREMONT, N,H, — A popular teacher said she was dismissed Thursday from Stevens High School in Claremont after she refused to unfriend her students on Facebook.

Carol Thebarge, who taught for more than 30 years in the Claremont school system, said a school administrator gave her an ultimatum to remove all students she was friends with on Facebook or be dismissed.

Those of you who know me and my philosophy in life, that of marching to the beat of my own drummer, would assume I would choose the latter of the two choices.
And I did,” Thebarge said in a Facebook post Thursday.

Thebarge said administrators first approached her four years ago about deleting her students as friends on Facebook before issuing what Thebarge called an ultimatum recently after a fellow teacher, 29-year-old Christopher LeBlanc, was accused of sexually assaulting a student in a classroom.

Thebarge vowed to keep in touch with her students despite her dismissal.

I will continue to stay in touch with all of them here. No man or institution will dictate my relationships here, or otherwise that are within the range of my own consciousness. This is not rebellion. It is standing up for my beliefs… for silence and compliance is agreement,” Thebarge wrote in the Facebook post.

WMUR-TV has attempted to contact Claremont school administrators but they have not responded.


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4. Netflix speeds lag for Verizon users amid dispute

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6. Don’t expect more WhatsApp-like deals

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By Jim Morrison, The Patriot Ledger

Ben Johnston of Quincy, and his son, Oliver,at home.

QUINCY, Mass. — When a new father from Quincy read that his college buddy’s next-door neighbor in Brookline was ill and in desperate need of a kidney, he did what few people would even consider.

He volunteered to be tested to see if he was a match, our news partners at the Patriot Ledger reported.

He was.

Ben Johnston, a 32-year-old songwriting student at Berklee College of Music, decided he would donate a major organ to a total stranger.

The man who needed the kidney was Dr. Ferenc “Frank” Jolesz, 67, who was suffering from kidney failure for the second time. His daughter Marta Jolesz donated a kidney to him about seven years earlier.

“There’s a huge shortage of available organs and people are dying every day” Marta Jolesz, 37, said. “The average person is on the waiting list for five to 10 years. Most people don’t have that kind of time. My dad didn’t have that kind of time.”

The Brookline TAB profiled Jolesz and his efforts to find a donor via a website and Facebook last August.

“If the TAB wouldn’t have run the article, I wouldn’t have found out about it,” Johnston said.

“Basically, when I first read about it, I thought, ‘Oh, he’ll have no problem finding a donor,’” Johnston said. “Then, I thought if this person was my father or my father-in-law or someone I cared about, and he didn’t find a donor, I’d probably be angry.”

The idea got lodged in his mind and didn’t go away, and Johnston said he’s not sure why.

“I even waited a few days to tell (my wife),” said Johnston. “I thought it would go away, and it didn’t.”

Johnston’s wife, Heidi, is the pastor of the Faith Lutheran Church in Quincy. She had just started a new job and given birth to the couple’s son, Oliver, two months before. She was not enthusiastic about her husband undergoing a major elective surgery, so she spent about a week contemplating the decision, spiritually.

“Every week I stand up in the pulpit and ask people to step outside their comfort zone and care for people in need,” Heidi Johnston said. “I thought, ‘This is the opportunity that we’ve been given to do that,’ and I thought I should support Ben.”

Ben Johnston did some research and learned that most donors are back on their feet in a couple of months. Also, the hospital staff emphasized that he was free to change his mind at any stage of the testing, which took about two months.

Ben Johnston is composing a song about his organ-donation experience. This is the first verse of what is tentatively titled “Goodbye, Dear Kidney.”

After a third of a century, you up

and left me

Jumped right in to some other man

All my scars are still healing, and

I’ve got the feeling

I won’t be seeing you again

You left a hole deep within in me,

and I’m just beginning

To fill up the space the best that I can

And though sometimes I miss you,

the truth is I wish you

A long happy life with him

So goodbye, goodbye dear kidney

If I start to cry, if my tears don’t dry, forgive me

It’s hard to let you go, but in my heart I know

You’re better off without me

So goodbye, goodbye dear kidney

Heidi said she was with the Jolesz family while Ben and Frank were in the operating room, which was a great comfort. Ben’s surgery went very quickly.

“The kidney started perfusing (taking in blood) instantly,” said Heidi. “We were hugging and crying at Brigham and Women’s. That was incredible. That certainly bonds you. The daughters were in Ben’s hospital (room) rubbing his head and feet.

Jolesz wasn’t able to do a face-to-face interview because of the drugs he is taking to suppress his immune system, but he wrote in an email that he’s feeling much better.

“Ben gave me the gift of life, something that I almost lost,” Jolesz wrote. “Words are not enough to express my gratitude for Ben and Heidi’s selfless act of helping me. My hope is that what they did for me will motivate others to help those in need.”

Ben served two tours of duty in Iraq when he was an officer in the Army. His job was building bridges and other kinds of road construction. He said that he felt ambivalent about his work and the war in general, but donating a kidney was something he’d do again if he could.

It’s now just over two months after the operation and Ben said that except for the occasional pain at the incision, “I’m pretty much back to normal, and to me, that’s such a small amount of time to give someone a new lease on life. I would do it again.

“It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever done. Heidi made me a scrapbook for Christmas, and I get emotional looking at the pictures and reading what his daughters wrote.”

Everybody interviewed for this story said that they hope it encourages more people to donate kidneys.

“Everything aligned for Ben and he was able to give the gift of life to my father and help our family,” said Marta Jolesz. “This journey has been truly unbelievable, and we feel so fortunate to find not only a donor, but a donor like Ben and his family.”


NBC News has obtained documents Edward Snowden leaked before he came to Russia showing how British intelligence agencies analyze YouTube videos, Facebook ‘likes’ and tweets

By Richard Esposito, Matthew Cole and Mark Schone, with Glenn Greenwald,
Special Contributor

Watch this video: British Spies Can Snoop on Social Media, Documents Reveal

The British government can tap into the cables carrying the world’s web traffic at will and spy on what people are doing on some of the world’s most popular social media sites, including YouTube, all without the knowledge or consent of the companies.

Documents taken from the National Security Agency by Edward Snowden and obtained by NBC News detail how British cyber spies demonstrated a pilot program to their U.S. partners in 2012 in which they were able to monitor YouTube in real time and collect addresses from the billions of videos watched daily, as well as some user information, for analysis. At the time the documents were printed, they were also able to spy on Facebook and Twitter.

Documents taken from the NSA by Edward Snowden and obtained by NBC News detail how British cyber spies demonstrated a pilot program to their U.S. partners in which they were able to monitor YouTube in real time. Click on the image to read the documents in pdf form

Called “Psychology A New Kind of SIGDEV” (Signals Development), the presentation includes a section that spells out “Broad real-time monitoring of online activity” of YouTube videos, URLs “liked” on Facebook, and Blogspot/Blogger visits. The monitoring program is called “Squeaky Dolphin.”

Experts told NBC News the documents show the British had to have been either physically able to tap the cables carrying the world’s web traffic or able to use a third party to gain physical access to the massive stream of data, and would be able to extract some key data about specific users as well.

Representatives of Facebook and Google, which owns YouTube, said they hadn’t given the British government permission to access data and were unaware the collection had occurred. A source close to Google who asked not to be identified when discussing company policy said the company was “shocked” to learn the U.K. could have been “grabbing” its data.

In connection with this report, NBC is publishing documents that Edward Snowden took from the NSA before fleeing the U.S., which can be viewed by clicking here. The documents are being published with minimal redactions. 

One of the people who helped prepare the demonstration was an official from the British signals intelligence agency General Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) who worked for a division of the agency called GTE, or Global Telecoms Exploitation. GTE has already been shown in other documents released by Snowden to be tapping fiber optic cables around the world.

In 2013, the Guardian reported that Snowden documents showed GCHQ was able to tap fiber optic cables and store huge amounts of data for 30 days, and that the government was placing intercept probes on transatlantic cables when they landed on British territory. Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported that another Snowden document indicated major telecom firms, including BT, Verizon and Vodafone, were cooperating.

The British cyber spies sometimes share their intercepted raw data and their analyses with their American counterparts. In October, the Washington Post revealed that a Snowden document dated Jan. 9, 2013, described a joint NSA/GCHQ program called MUSCULAR, in which the U.S. and British agencies shared intercepted data from fiber optic cables and copied “entire data flows” from Yahoo and Google.
The Guardian via Getty Images

Edward Snowden speaks during an interview in Hong Kong. Snowden revealed details of top-secret surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency.

According to a source knowledgeable about the agency’s operations, the NSA does analysis of social media similar to that in the GCHQ demonstration.

National security experts say that both the U.S. and British operations are within the scope of their respective national laws. When the Washington Post reported on the MUSCULAR program, the NSA said in a statement that it is “focused on discovering and developing intelligence about valid foreign intelligence targets only” and that it uses “Attorney General-approved processes to protect the privacy of U.S. persons.”

But privacy experts and former government officials say the lack of disclosure by the intelligence agencies inspires public fear that rights of privacy, free speech and dissent have been infringed.

“Governments have no business knowing which YouTube videos everyone in the world is watching,” said Chris Soghoian, chief technologist for the ACLU. “It’s one thing to spy on a particular person who has done something to warrant a government investigation but governments have no business monitoring the Facebook likes or YouTube views of hundreds of millions of people.”

It might also have a chilling effect on companies like Google. Jason Healey, former White House cyber czar under George W. Bush, says U.S. and British intelligence encroachment on the internet is a threat to everyone, including social media companies.

“We want our security services to be out there and keeping us safe,” said Healey, “but we can also look for balance, we can look for limits, especially if we’re putting at risk this most transformative technology since Gutenberg.”
According to the documents obtained by NBC News, intelligence officers from GCHQ gave a demonstration in August 2012 that spelled out to their U.S. colleagues how the agency’s “Squeaky Dolphin” program could collect, analyze and utilize YouTube, Facebook and Blogger data in specific situations in real time.

The demonstration showed that by using tools including a version of commercially available analytic software called Splunk, GCHQ could extract information from the torrent of electronic data that moves across fiber optic cable and display it graphically on a computer dashboard. The presentation showed that analysts could determine which videos were popular among residents of specific cities, but did not provide information on individual social media users.

The presenters gave an example of their real-time monitoring capability, showing the Americans how they pulled trend information from YouTube, Facebook and blog posts on Feb. 13, 2012, in advance of an anti-government protest in Bahrain the following day.

More than a year prior to the demonstration, in a 2012 annual report, members of Parliament had complained that the U.K.’s intelligence agencies had missed the warning signs of the uprisings that became the Arab Spring of 2011, and had expressed the wish to improve “global” intelligence collection.

During the presentation, according to a note on the documents, the presenters noted for their audience that “Squeaky Dolphin” was not intended for spying on specific people and their internet behavior. The note reads, “Not interested in individuals just broad trends!”

But cyber-security experts told NBC News that once the information has been collected, intelligence agencies have the ability to extract some user information as well. In 2010, according to other Snowden documents obtained by NBC News, GCHQ exploited unencrypted data from Twitter to identify specific users around the world and target them with propaganda.

The experts also said that the only way that GCHQ would be able to do real-time analysis of trends would be to tap the cables directly and store the data or use a third party, like a private company, to extract and collect the raw data. As much as 11 percent of global internet bandwidth travels through U.K. internet exchanges, according to Bill Woodcock, president of PCH, a non-profit internet organization that tracks and measures and documents fiber infrastructure around the world.

In the case of the YouTube video information, the surveillance of the unencrypted material was done not only without the knowledge of the public but without the knowledge or permission of Google, the U.S. company that owns the video sharing service.

“We have long been concerned about the possibility of this kind of snooping, which is why we have continued to extend encryption across more and more Google services and links,” said a Google spokesperson. “We do not provide any government, including the UK government, with access to our systems. These allegations underscore the urgent need for reform of government surveillance practices.”

A source close to Google added that Google was “shocked” because the company had pushed back against British legislation that would have required Google to store its metadata and other information for U.K. government use. The legislation, introduced by Home Secretary Theresa May in 2012, was publicly repudiated by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in 2013 and has never become law. May hopes to reintroduce a modified version this spring.

“It’s extremely surprising,” said the source, “that while they were pushing for the data via the law, they might have simultaneously been using their capability to grab it anyway.”

Encryption would prevent simple collection of the data by an outside entity like the government. Google has not yet encrypted YouTube or Blogger. Facebook and Twitter have now fully encrypted all their data.

Facebook confirmed to NBC News that while its “like” data was unencrypted, the company never gave it to the U.K. government and was unaware that GCHQ might have been siphoning the data. The company assumes the data was taken somewhere outside its networks and data centers.

“Network security is an important part of the way we protect user information,” said Facebook spokesman Jay Nancarrow, “which is why we finished moving our site traffic to HTTPS by default last year, implemented Perfect Forward Secrecy, and continue to strengthen all aspects of our network.”

GCHQ would not confirm or deny the existence of the Squeaky Dolphin program or anything else connected with this report. The agency declined to answer questions about the scope of its data collection or how it accessed the datastream.

In a statement, a GCHQ spokesperson emphasized that that the agency operated within the law.

“All of GCHQ’s work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework,” said the statement, “which ensure[s] that our activities are authorized, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight, including from the Secretary of State, the Interception and Intelligence Services Commissioners and the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee. All of our operational processes rigorously support this position.”

A spokesperson for the NSA said in a statement that the U.S. agency is not interested in “the communications of people who are not valid foreign intelligence targets.”

“Any implication that NSA’s foreign intelligence collection is focused on the social media communications of everyday Americans is not true,” said the statement. “We collect only those communications that we are authorized by law to collect for valid foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes – regardless of the technical means used by the targets. Because some data of U.S. persons may at times be incidentally collected in NSA’s lawful foreign intelligence mission, privacy protections for U.S. persons exist across the entire process concerning the use, handling, retention, and dissemination of data.”

The spokesperson also said that working with foreign intelligence services “strengthens the national security of both nations,” but that NSA can’t “use those relationships to circumvent U.S. legal restrictions.”

Both U.S. and British officials assert that while their passive collection of electronic communications might have great breadth, the actual use of the data collected is very targeted, and is dictated by specific missions. Sources familiar with GCHQ operations state firmly that this is the case in each of the agency’s operations.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald was formerly a columnist at Salon and the Guardian. In late 2012 he was contacted by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who later provided him with thousands of sensitive documents, and he was the first to report on Snowden’s documents in June 2013 while on the staff of the Guardian. Greenwald has since reported on the documents with multiple media outlets around the world, and has won several journalism awards for his NSA reporting both in the U.S. and abroad. He is now helping launch, and will write for, a new, non-profit media outlet known as First Look Media that will “encourage, support and empower … independent, adversarial journalists.”


This so called life ©

◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊

Life, it takes all prisoners,

good or bad,

often it throws back the deserving to start all over again

There is no rhyme nor reason for life’s directions

We are all obstacles in the illusion called life

We decide upon the road to take

We control not all that will occur

Gifts and rewards are given for our sacrifices when deemed deserving

However, there is not always a reason for the tragedies of this so called life

We work hard to exist and do things right

But will forever remain powerless to control our own destiny

So buckle up and continue to do right

At some point in life good things will happen

So just hang on tight

Grin and bare it and just keep up the good fight

◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊

This so called life

Was written by

Felina Silver Robinson

on January 1, 2014

 


Maine mom uses social media to scatter son’s ashes

Hallie Twomey uses Facebook page

This Dec. 17, 2013, photo shows an urn containing the ashes of C.J. Twomey on a shelf at his parent’s home in Auburn, Maine. C.J.’s mother, Hallie Twomey, is asking people to help scatter his ashes throughout the world so he can become part of the world he never got to see.

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

AUBURN, Maine —For 3 ½ years, a black stone urn of C.J. Twomey’s ashes has sat on a shelf in his parents’ Maine home, not far from the door he walked out of one beautiful April day shortly before shooting himself.

Now, his mother is using social media to enlist the help of strangers to scatter his ashes from Massachusetts to Japan in the hope that her adventure-loving son can become part of the world he left behind.

“I don’t want him to have to sit in an urn for my benefit for whatever rest of time that we have,” Hallie Twomey said. “I wanted to give him something. I’m trying to give him a journey.”

It started with a simple request on Facebook to help C.J. – who was only 20 when he died – “see the mountains that he never got to climb, see the vast oceans that he would have loved, see tropical beaches and lands far and away.”

The post was shared by nearly 100 of her friends, and soon even strangers started offering to scatter C.J.’s ashes in their hometowns, on family vacations or just somewhere beautiful. She started a separate Facebook page called “Scattering C.J.,” which now has more than 1,000 likes.

The pictures and videos on Facebook tell the story of where C.J. has been. A man scatters C.J’s ashes on a beach in Massachusetts. One sprinkles them in the forest in Jamaica, and another off a rocky cliff in Hawaii.

Along with his ashes, Twomey sends a note and a small photo of smiling C.J., wearing a Boston Red Sox shirt with sunglasses propped up on his head. She asks the recipient to do four things: Think about C.J., think about the people he gave life to through organ donation, tell him that his mom and dad loved him and tell him that his mom is sorry.

Twomey regrets rolling her eyes at her son instead of hugging him as he stormed out of their home after an argument. A few minutes later, C.J. shot himself in his car in front of the home, she said.

C.J., who thrived on adventure like jumping out of airplanes, was upset about not making a special forces team with the Air Force, she said. After being honorably discharged, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life, she said. But she never thought he would do what he did that day.

Last week, C.J. was sent to Haiti and India and soon someone plans to take him to the top of Mount Everest, Twomey said. About 150 packets of his ashes have traveled so far and 300 other people have offered to share in CJ’s journey. When most of C.J.’s ashes have been scattered, Twomey hopes to put together a book with all the notes and photos people have sent her. The proceeds would go to the New England Organ Bank, she said.

Many of those offering to help scatter C.J.’s ashes have also been affected by suicide or lost children. The kindness has been overwhelming, she said.

“Really, why would a complete stranger want to help us?” she said. “I really think people are doing whatever they can, even if it’s a small thing, to ease our burden or to embrace life.”

Jessica Hale, who lives in Juneau, Alaska, heard about C.J.’s mom’s idea from her sister, one of Twomey’s neighbors. She was struck by how much she had in common with C.J. Hale is also a veteran and says she has contemplated suicide.

Seeing the impact C.J.’s death has had on Twomey’s family opened her eyes to the immense hurt suicide leaves to those who are left behind, said Hale, a 37-year-old security guard.

“It made me realize that I couldn’t do that, and it made me make a promise to myself that I would never do that.”

Hale scattered C.J.’s ashes near a rocky beach in Juneau that reminded her of a picture she saw on Facebook of Twomey’s family when C.J. was still alive.

“I feel like I had closure … some inner peace after that,” she said.

For Twomey, finding peace has proved more difficult.

“I want to find peace in this. I want to feel better, but my guilt is so intense so I haven’t yet. I don’t know if it will,” she said. “I hope. I just have hope that maybe this will help in some way, because for 3 1/2 years, nothing has.”


Claire Davis dies from injuries in Arapahoe High School shooting

Hundreds of Arapahoe High School students gathered for a candlelight vigil on Dec. 14 night to share their prayers for Claire Davis who was shot inside the

Hundreds of Arapahoe High School students gathered for a candlelight vigil on Dec. 14 night to share their prayers for Claire Davis who was shot inside the school Friday, December 13, 2013. (Karl Gehring, The Denver Post)

Claire Davis, the 17-year-old who was shot in the head during the Dec. 13 shooting at Arapahoe High School, died Saturday afternoon with her family at her side.

The high school senior died at 4:29 p.m. at Littleton Adventist Hospital after eight days on life support.

As the news of her death spread, the memorial at the school glowed from freshly lit candles, and more and more visitors gathered in subfreezing temperatures and light snow to say goodbye to Claire.

Allison Bruhn, a junior at Arapahoe, arrived Saturday evening just as she had the previous eight days. This time she carried a poster from the school’s dance team, expressing the members’ love for Claire. Tears welled up in her eyes as she lit candles and hugged friends.

“I’ve been coming every night and praying for an hour, praying that Claire would be OK, that she would get better,” she said. “Our school loves Claire. She was such a nice and giving person.”

Shannon Wilhelm, her husband and her 5-year-old son, Deagan, placed flowers at the foot of the fence as snow flurries covered its crush of poster boards, photographs and written messages left by the community.

The Wilhelms did not know Claire, but Shannon cried and held her son tightly in her arms.

“Being a parent, the fact that you have to lose your child around the holidays or any time, it’s just not something you want anyone to go through,” she said.

When Camille Nyls and her daughter Kendall, a sophomore at Arapahoe, learned that Claire had died, they purchased a bouquet of flowers and brought it to the memorial.

“She had such a pretty smile, and you know she had a big heart because she loved animals,” Nyls said. “The thing that bothers me the most is that we have kids killing kids for no reason.”

Claire Davis

Claire Davis (Provided by Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office)

The hospital had announced the teenager’s death in a Facebook posting at 5:15 p.m.: “Despite the best efforts of our physicians and nursing staff, and Claire’s fighting spirit, her injuries were too severe and the most advanced medical treatments could not prevent this tragic loss of life. Claire’s death is immensely heartbreaking for our entire community, our staff and our families.

“The Davis family would like to thank everyone who have sent their best wishes and prayers, and are grateful for the kindness and support of the community. They know that you all are mourning with them, and again request privacy during this time of grief.”

The hospital said that information regarding a public celebration of Claire’s life would be announced later and said the public could continue to leave cards for the Davis family in the “Cards for Claire” box, located in the main entrance of the hospital.

About 6:30 p.m., the family also posted a statement.

“Although we have lost our precious daughter,” the family said, “we will always be grateful for the indelible journey she took us on over the last 17 years — we were truly blessed to be Claire’s parents. The grace, laughter and light she brought to this world will not be extinguished by her death; to the contrary, it will only get stronger.”

While asking for privacy, the family thanked the first-responders, school, sheriff’s office and others for their “extraordinary work” on Claire’s behalf.

Claire Davis was shot at point-blank range with a shotgun after a gunman stormed into the school’s north entrance in the noon hour of Dec. 13. She was sitting in the hallway and had no time to react before the 18-year-old Arapahoe student shot her and moved into the library, where he took his own life.

Authorities believe she was a random victim. Although she and the gunman were acquainted, they were not friends, officials said last week.

Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said investigators believe the gunman’s main target was a librarian who was also the debate coach.

Claire was taken to the hospital, where she remained in critical condition. On Dec. 15, her family announced that the girl was stable but in a coma.

Classmates and community members immediately rallied around the teenager, raising thousands of dollars for her care and asking the community and nation to keep her in their thoughts and prayers. They sold T-shirts and started funds to help pay for her medical expenses. The hashtag #PrayForClaire trended on Twitter and social media.

Neighbors called her the best babysitter in the community, and classmates and friends talked of her love for horses.

On Thursday, the band One Direction, one of Claire’s favorite musical groups, uploaded a get-well video to her on YouTube.

On Friday night, about 100 people gathered at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Centennial, just a few blocks south of the school, to pray for Claire at a candlelight vigil.

 


Paul Norden, Jacqui Webb to be married

STONEHAM, Mass. —Paul Norden, who lost a leg in the Boston Marathon bombings, said his greatest fear was that his longtime girlfriend, Jacqui Webb, would not stick with him.

“Paul looked over at me and said ‘Mom, Jacqui isn’t going to want me with one leg,’” wrote his mother, Liz Norden, in remembering the moments after Paul woke up from a coma in the hospital.

Norden, 31, and his brother JP, 33, both of Stoneham, were at the finish line with friends waiting for another friend to finish the race when the first explosion went off. Both brothers lost a leg in the blast.

“I remember fighting back tears and feeling so awful for him and saying ‘Paul are you kidding me?’” Liz Norden said.

She was right.  Thursday night, Liz Norden shared the happy news that Paul and Jacqui, who also suffered shrapnel wounds in the blast, were engaged.

“Paul asked Jacqui to marry him tonight in front of a wedding themed Christmas tree!!!,” Liz Norden wrote in a Facebook post.

The proposal came after three months of planning by both families.

“I will be so PROUD to see my son WALK down the aisle with the girl of his dreams,” she wrote.


Madyson Figueroa, Janessa Figueroa-Reim are OK, family says

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. —Two Springfield sisters who were reported missing this weekend have been found, according to the family.

Watch report

Madyson “Mady” Figueroa, 6, and her 14-year-old sister, Janessa Figueroa-Reim were reported missing Sunday.  They were found Monday and are said to be OK.

The family said the girls were with the 14-year-old’s boyfriend.

Police officers, including a K-9 unit, searched the neighborhood Sunday into Monday as temperatures plunged below freezing. A group of volunteers resumed the search Monday.

 

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