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Fire department surprises 3-year-old with birthday party after guests cancel at last minute

The Harrisburg Fire Department in North Carolina surprised a 3-year-old with a birthday party after several of his classmates canceled Sunday. 

>> Watch the news report here

Melissa Reid said she received several text messages the morning of her son's birthday party from parents, letting her know her son's classmates couldn't make it. 

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

"Around 7 in the morning, I started getting text messages that children are sick, that they weren't going to be able to go,” she said. “Out of the eight families we invited, we had seven that canceled.” 

Reid said she didn’t know what to do. She wanted her son to have a special birthday bash.

So she called the Harrisburg Fire Department, which is about a mile away from her house, and asked for a quick tour to entertain her son, Jackson, who loves fire trucks.

"I said, ‘Would you mind just a couple minutes, just pop in,'” Reid said. “I told them what happened with his birthday party."

Harrisburg Fire Capt. Joe Yowler said he called all three crews to surprise the family.

He said he quickly grabbed birthday balloons and cupcakes and waited, along with other firefighters, for Jackson's arrival.

>> Read more trending news 

"As a parent, I was thinking about how devastating it was on both sides,” Yowler said. “Like, a 3-year-old is thinking all week about it being their birthday and having this big party and then not having it. So how could we make this better for the parent and the kid, and I think it worked out pretty well."

Reid said she's thankful the firefighters went out of their way to show Jackson love.

"There's just no words for how much I appreciate them making my son’s day as special as they did. This is definitely the best party he's ever had."

Yowler said his team is thankful they got the opportunity to make Jackson's third birthday a memorable one.

"It was definitely emotional for her and uplifting for all of us just to see the appreciation,” Yowler said. “That they appreciated it and he had a heck of a time going through the ladder trucks and the engines and just climbing all over."

Which personality type are you? New study reveals 4 core groupings

You may be familiar with Myers-Briggs’ 16 different personality types, but new research published this week in the journal Nature Human Behavior shows there are four distinct personality clusters most individuals around the globe adhere to best.

>> On AJC.com: Hate those job personality tests? Here's how to hack them

Psychologists and engineers at Northwestern University in Illinois sought to “develop an alternative approach to the identification of personality types” from the existing methods, many of which have led to inconclusive results. 

Their research included 1.5 million participants around the globe who answered 44 to 300-question surveys over a span of several decades.

>> On AJC.com: 7 ways introverts can succeed on their strengths in the workplace

Using participant responses and computer-generated algorithms, the researchers grouped together buckets of people with matching Big Five OCEAN traits: extroversion, neuroticism, openness, conscientiousness and agreeableness — traits first endorsed and then widely accepted by the scientific community in the 1990s.

Here’s how the scientists defined each trait:
  • Neuroticism: The tendency to frequently experience negative emotions such as anger, worry and sadness, as well as being interpersonally sensitive. 
  • Extraversion: The tendency to be talkative, sociable and enjoy others; the tendency to have a dominant style.
  • Openness: The tendency to appreciate new art, ideas, values, feelings and behaviors.
  • Agreeableness: The tendency to agree and go along with others, rather than assert one's own opinions and choices.
  • Conscientiousness: The tendency to be careful, on time for appointments, to follow rules and to be hard working.

>> On AJC.com: 7 struggles every extrovert understands

At first, the researchers noticed 16 personality clusters overall, but after additional constraints, they narrowed them down to four: average, reserved, role model and self-centered.

The results suggested an individual’s personality type could also shift as they aged. For example, older people tend to lose the neuroticism and gain conscientiousness and agreeableness.

Things to know about each personality type

Average

  • High scores in neuroticism and extraversion
  • Low scores on openness
  • Most common personality type

Reserved

  • Have some of the least socially desirable traits
  • Typically score low when it comes to openness and neuroticism
  • Only cluster with little dependence on age and gender
  • Typically extroverted, but agreeable

Role model

  • Tend to be among the most stable
  • Good leaders, dependable and open to new ideas
  • Have high scores in all traits but neuroticism 
  • Strongly overrepresented group: Age 40 and older
  • Slightly underrepresented group: Age 21 and younger

Self-centered

  • Have some of the least socially desirable traits
  • Typically score low when it comes to openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness
  • Score high in extraversion
  • Strongly overrepresented group: Young males
  • Underrepresented: Women age 15 and up

You can take this online quiz to contribute to the research.

Don’t feel like you fit into one single cluster? No big deal. All the researchers are suggesting is “you can group more people in these four clusters than you’d expect by chance,” study co-author William Revelle wrote in a university article.

>> On AJC.com: Character traits you wouldn't believe give you an edge in your career

Study limitations

While the data is robust, researchers note their samples are not representative of the population. The research also doesn’t conclusively answer the minimum number of items needed to reliably assess personality types.

Still, the data, researchers said, showed there are certainly higher densities of certain personality types.

>> Read more trending news 

“People have tried to classify personality types since Hippocrates’s time, but previous scientific literature has found that to be nonsense,” Revelle said. “The data came back, and they kept coming up with the same four clusters at higher densities than you'd expect by chance, and you can show by replication that this is statistically unlikely. The methodology is the main part of the paper's contribution to science.”

Researchers hope their findings can benefit mental health professionals, hiring managers or even folks looking for a partner in life.

Read the full study at nature.com.

Nordstrom's taped-up, $530 'distressed' shoes sell out

Update 11:11 a.m. EDT Sept. 23:  They looked like trash, but they sold like gold.Nordstrom's "Golden Goose Superstar Taped Sneaker" has sold out, according to the department store's website. The shoes sold for $530 online and were manufactured to look worn out and scuffed with duct tape across the wearer's toes.

Original report: If you're looking to buy a pair of trashed sneakers with duct tape across the toe, Seattle-based Nordstrom has you covered. 

For $530, Nordstrom is selling the Superstar Taped Sneaker made by Golden Goose. 

>> See the shoes here

"Crumply, hold-it-all-together tape details a distressed leather sneaker in a retro low profile with a signature sidewall star and a grungy rubber cupsole," a description for the shoe reads

>> Read more trending news 

Not “distressed” enough for you? Nordstrom shoppers also can buy the Maison Margiela Fusion Sneaker for $1,645.

"With style pieced together from an array of options, this eye-catching Italian sneaker offers an edgy twist on a classic look,” the description reads.

>> See the shoe here

Customers with questions are asked to chat with Nordstrom representatives here or call 1-877-543-7463.

Click here for more information on shipping and returns. 

Hurricane Safety: 6 scary, infectious illnesses you can catch from floodwater

Hurricanes can leave behind tons of damage, including flooding. But did you know that treading through the wrong kind of water can cause illnesses or even death?

Floodwaters and standing water are often contaminated, posing several risks, such as infectious diseases, chemical hazards and injuries.

Here are six sicknesses you should beware of in the aftermath:

Diarrheal diseases

Drinking or eating anything that has come in contact with floodwaters can lead to cryptosporidiosis, E. coli or giardiasis. While cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis are brought on by parasites, E. coli is caused by bacteria.

Symptoms from each include diarrhea, gas, nausea and vomiting. Cryptosporidiosis, however, can even be fatal for those with weakened immune systems, such as AIDS or cancer. 

Wound infections

Open wounds and rashes that are exposed to floodwater can cause tetanus or Vibrio vulnificus. Tetanus is a bacterial infection, and it can enter the body through breaks in the skin like a cut.

>> 10 tips to stay safe when returning home after a natural disaster

Vibrio vulnificus, another bacteria, can be contracted the same way. Many people become infected by consuming undercooked shellfish or exposing an injury to brackish or salt water.

Other illnesses 

People affected by flooded areas can also get trench foot. It occurs when your feet are wet for long periods of time. It can cause pain, swelling and numbness.

>> Read more trending news 

You should also be aware of chemical hazards from materials that may have spilled into the water. And be cautious of electrical hazards, since there are puddles that may be electrified due to fallen power lines.

Curious about other diseases you can catch? Take a look at the full list at CDC’s official website

Orlando Melbourne International Airport reopens after security breach; man arrested

Florida’s Orlando Melbourne International Airport has reopened after an early morning security breach Thursday morning, and a 22-year-old college student is now in police custody, authorities said.

Here are the latest updates:

Update 1:25 p.m. EDT Sept. 20: Airport officials said the suspect was a 22-year-old part-time college student from Trinidad and Tobago who had a pilot’s license. Authorities had earlier said the suspect was 26.

The man parked his car outside the terminal and left it running, police said. He then ran through the grass and jumped the barbed-wired fence to gain access, officials said.

"This is a first for me. I fly out of here two to three times a year. This is an odd incident," traveler Lenny Rife said.

An airport employee saw the man enter the Airbus 321, and called airport police, who then called the Melbourne Police Department, MIA representative Lori Booker said.

The man was confronted by two airport maintenance workers inside the cockpit, but he managed to get away. The man was later tackled by the workers and held on the ground near the maintenance hangar until police arrived, officials said.

Florida Institute of Technology released this statement: “Florida Institute of Technology has monitored this morning’s incident at Orlando Melbourne International Airport. The university has confirmed that the suspect from Trinidad & Tobago is a part-time Florida Tech student studying aviation management who had completed some flight training in the past. It would be inappropriate for the university to release the suspect’s name, and law enforcement is continuing its investigation. University officials will collaborate with authorities to further review this matter. No additional information is available at this time.”

Update 7:59 a.m. EDT Sept. 20: Airport officials said a college student with a pilot’s license breached airport security and boarded a full-size passenger jet that was undergoing maintenance.

The student jumped the fence to gain access, officials said. An airport employee saw the man enter the Airbus 321, and called airport police, MIA representative Lori Booker said.

Airport police apprehended the man and called Melbourne police.

>> On WFTV.com: Check your flight status

"Melbourne Police Department responded within two minutes, " Booker said.

The student's car, which was parked outside the terminal, was towed after a robotic device searched it, Booker said. 

The FBI and the Terrorist Task Force also assisted in the investigation. 

The man, whose name has not been released, was born in Trinidad and entered the U.S. through Canada, Booker said. 

Booker also said the man had a Florida driver's license.

Update 7:08 a.m. EDT Sept. 20: The airport has reopened, Melbourne police tweeted just before 7 a.m. EDT Thursday. Travelers should check with their air carriers to see whether their flight was delayed, police said.

Original report: Florida’s Orlando Melbourne International Airport is closed due to police activity, officials said Thursday morning.

>> Read more trending news 

All flights have been suspended, officials said.

Police are asking people to avoid the area.

The airport will be closed until further notice, police said.

Melbourne officials said that a college student with a pilot’s license breached airport security and boarded a full-size passenger jet that was undergoing maintenance.

The student jumped the fence to gain access, officials said.

The student was apprehended by airport police.

The airport is being secured, and the student’s car that is parked outside the terminal is being investigated. 

The student’s name has not been released.

 – Visit WFTV.com for the latest on this developing story.

National Public Lands Day 2018: Get free admission to national parks Saturday

Want to experience the great outdoors this weekend? You're in luck: Hundreds of parks across the country are offering free admission Saturday, Sept. 22, for National Public Lands Day.

According to the National Park Service, the event, held each year on September's fourth Saturday, "celebrates the connection between people and green space in their community, inspires environmental stewardship, and encourages use of open space for education, recreation and general health." The event is marking its 25th anniversary this year.

>> See a list of participating parks here

Although participating parks will waive admission fees Saturday, they may still charge for concessions, camping, tours or other services, KGUN reported.

Several parks also will be holding volunteer projects. If you'd like to participate, "you will receive a fee-free day coupon to be used on a future date," the National Park Service said.

>> Read more trending news 

Park-goers are encouraged to share photos on social media with the hashtags #NPLD, #FindYourPark and #NPSVolunteer.

Read more here or here.

Museum Day 2018: 1,500 museums offering free admission Saturday

Smithsonian magazine would like you to be their guest at a museum this weekend.

Museum Day is an annual “celebration of boundless curiosity,” according to Smithsonian.com. The organization will provide free admission for two people at nearly 1,500 museums across the country on Saturday, Sept. 22. 

>> Read more trending news 

Participating cultural institutions can be found on the website, and participants can download one ticket per email address.

For more information about Smithsonian magazine Museum Day, click here

Sugar content of most yogurts above recommended limits, study says

Yogurt has long been touted as a healthy alternative to candy or other sweets. 

Studies have found yogurt is a good source of probiotics, protein, calcium, iodine and vitamin B.

>> Read more trending news 

new study in BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal), however, has determined most supermarket yogurt is not as healthy as people think, because of its sugar content. 

Dietary guidelines in the United States and United Kingdom recommend low-fat, low-sugar dairy products, and researchers wanted to test how well yogurt products adhered to those standards. BMJ especially wanted to look at yogurts marketed to children, because children under age 3 in the U.K. consume more yogurt than any other age group.

To determine “low fat” and “low sugar,” BMJ researchers used European Union regulations: 3 grams of fat per 100 grams or less of yogurt, 1.5 grams or less for drinks, and a maximum of 5 grams of total sugars per 100 grams.

For this study, researchers looked at the nutritional content of 921 supermarket yogurts and yogurt products. The products were then divided in to eight categories: children's; dairy alternatives, such as soy; desserts; drinks; flavored; fruit; natural/Greek; and organic.

The worst offenders were products in the flavored, fruit, organic and children’s categories, which had a median sugar content between 10.8 and 13.1 grams per 100 grams. As Popular Science pointed out, “100 grams is about 3.5 ounces, and a standard yogurt cup in the U.S. is 5 or 5.3 ounces.”

That means one of those tiny yogurt cups is giving you about half your recommended sugar intake for the day. The recommended daily sugar intake is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men.

The unsweetened, plain yogurts — Greek and natural — contained only 5 grams of sugar per 100 grams of product, which is healthy.

BMJ researchers found that "while yogurt may be less of a concern than soft drinks and fruit juices, the chief sources of free sugars in both children and adults' diets, what is worrisome is that yogurt, as a perceived 'healthy food,' may be an unrecognised source of free/added sugars in the diet."

They concluded that "not all yogurts are as healthy as perhaps consumers perceive them, and reformulation for the reduction of free sugars is warranted."

Popular Science compiled data from U.S. markets as a comparison. The healthiest yogurts in its study were Chobani whole milk plain and Chobani nonfat strawberry, with 5.0 and 5.3 grams of sugar, respectively.

The worst offenders were Brown Cow whole milk strawberry and Dannon lowfat strawberry on the bottom yogurts. Each contained 22 grams of sugar, or nearly an entire day’s recommended intake.

NBA star Russell Westbrook, wife Nina expecting twin girls

NBA star Russell Westbrook and his wife, Nina, announced Tuesday they are expecting twin girls in a YouTube video produced by the Oklahoma City Thunder.

>> Watch the news report here

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

The video is called "The Westbrook Family." Nina lets out the news they're having twins 2:12 into the video. Russell mentions they will be girls at the 2:28 mark.

> Watch the video here

The couple already have a 1-year-old son named Noah.

>> Read more trending news 

Russell had arthroscopic knee surgery last week. The seven-time All-Star and former MVP is expected to miss preseason and may not be ready for the start of the regular season. The Thunder's first game is Oct. 16 at Golden State.

Hurricane Florence: Trucker driving school bus rescues 64 dogs, cats from South Carolina

A Tennessee truck driver is being hailed as a hero after he rescued 64 shelter dogs and cats ahead of Hurricane Florence.

>> On WSOCTV.com: Florence’s aftermath: The latest news from the Carolinas

According to the Greenvale News, Tony Alsup, 51, from Greenback, Tennessee, drove a school bus to South Carolina last week as the deadly storm strengthened in the Atlantic. Once there, he stopped in Orangeburg, Georgetown, Dillon and North Myrtle Beach, picking up 53 dogs and 11 cats from area animal shelters.

>> Read more trending news 

“It’s so easy for people to adopt the small pets and the cuties and the cuddly,” Alsup, of Tony's Emergency Animal Rescue and Shelter, told the Greenvale News. “We take on the ones that deserve a chance even though they are big and a little ugly. But I love big dogs, and we find places for them.”

Related: Hurricane Florence: Coast Guard rescues beagles by boatful in floodwater

He drove them to a shelter in Foley, Alabama, which will distribute the animals to other shelters across the nation, the newspaper reported

Saint Frances Animal Center in Georgetown praised Alsup in a Facebook post Tuesday.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

"It's all true," the post said of Alsup, who also has saved animals from hurricane-hit Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida. "Tony swooped in at 4 a.m. Wednesday morning to pick up our 'leftovers' – the dogs with blocky heads, the ones with heartworm. The ones no one else will ever take. And he got them to safety. Not the most conventional evacuation, but surely the one with the most heart."

>> See the post here

Read more here.

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