Fox News 2024-02-04 16:06:40


Former NFL player identifies this epidemic as America’s modern civil rights challenge

Distracted by controversial political debates and foreign affairs, most Americans are unaware of the fatherlessness epidemic permeating our nation – a serious problem we have neglected at our doorstep.

It’s now six decades since the Civil Rights Movement, where icons fought for a better America and marched to ensure that families could leave their children with a better country than the one they inherited. Just as millions joined the fight for equality then, today we must recognize and address the civil rights epidemic of fatherlessness plaguing our nation.

In honor of our forebears and the future, it’s our responsibility to take up the mantle, battling fatherlessness and leaving our children with a better country to inherit.

While it’s largely overlooked, the fatherlessness epidemic is the civil rights issue of our time. Recent data by the U.S. Census Bureau on the number of two-parent households illustrate just how severe the problem has become. 

AMERICA’S CRISIS IS A LACK OF FATHERS

For example, in 2022, roughly 18.3 million American children – or one out of four children – were raised without a father in the home. Moreover, 80% of all single-parent homes are led by single mothers. Unfortunately, the effects of these startling statistics are even more devastating.

Children without fathers in the home are more likely to suffer from mental and behavioral health issues. For example, according to the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, children who grow up without a father in the home are 63% more likely to commit suicide and 85% more likely to exhibit behavioral disorders. 

However, the issues with fatherless children are not simply confined to the home. These children are also more likely to underperform their peers in their educational achievements as well. For example, children with a father in the home are 33% less likely to repeat a class and 43% more likely to get A’s in class.

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For the children without a father in the home – given the unfortunate behavioral problems and poor performance in school, the criminal justice system becomes the paternal figure in their lives. 

It is no wonder that fatherless kids are 20 times more likely to be incarcerated, with one group of scholars remarking that “the strong link between adolescent family structure and delinquent behavior is not accounted for by the income differentials associated with father’s absence. 

Our results suggest that the presence of a father figure during adolescence is likely to have protective effects, particularly for males, in both adolescence and young adulthood.”

So, what are we to do about this crisis? The first is recognizing that while similar in magnitude to the issues of 60 years ago – jobs, freedom and equality – today, our generation’s civil rights issues start in our homes and with our families. 

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We first must realize that while the objectives of the Civil Rights Movement could be met with tangible solutions, many of the problems associated with our current epidemic are cultural in nature. As our society began to remove Christ from all aspects of society – most especially our nation’s schools – we have seen many of the results.

Yet, the problem is not confined to education. From the music flooding our ears to the values being championed by post-modernists and anti-Christian influencers, there must be a change. More importantly, we can be the change our country so desperately needs. 

At The Jack Brewer Foundation, we believe that a national revival of biblical truths will help reground our nation. This necessitates a comprehensive approach involving other faith-based institutions, nonprofits and legislatures across the country advocating for policies that empower fathers, support families and guide the fatherless. 

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With programs like these, we can galvanize a national reawakening that both puts a spotlight on this often overlooked epidemic and turns our country toward a nation worthy in Christ’s eyes.

As we push forward in this new year, let us not neglect this crisis and continue to live as Christ compels us.

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Defense chief drops hint as Middle East tensions reach fever pitch

DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE — British Secretary of State for Defense Grant Shapps lamented the delicate state of the international security landscape as more voters than ever head to the polls in a potentially defining year for the world. 

“I just think that we need to wake up to the risks that exist,” Shapps said. “So, we’ve lived in a kind of a post-Cold War era in which we’ve taken the peace dividend. Fine. But you can’t carry on taking that same peace dividend whilst at the same time you’ve got a very aggressive Russia right now. You see what Iran are doing and how they’re increasing the tensions in the Middle East.

“You’ve got a very assertive North Korea with nuclear weapons,” he added. “What happens when China is looking at all of this to see how the West responds? So, it seems obvious to me that what we need to do is make sure that we do not carry on trying to take a peace dividend that no longer exists.”

Shapps warned in his first major speech as defense minister the world might see conflict between the West and rival nations, including China, Russia, North Korea and Iran within the next five years, as tensions continue to ramp up in various regions, particularly and most recently the Middle East. 

BRITISH DEFENSE CHIEF WARNS WAR POSSIBLE WITHIN 5 YEARS WITH RIVALS CHINA, RUSSIA, IRAN: ‘INFLECTION POINT’

But Shapps noted that the state of the world remains in flux as more voters than ever head to the polls in a rare alignment of elections in dozens of major countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, the European Union, India, Mexico, Pakistan and many others. 

Taiwan kicked off the election year with a historic third consecutive term for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, beating China’s implied favorite, the Kuomintang party. The shocks started the year before with an upset victory for Holland’s Geert Wilders, who will become prime minister if he is able to form a cabinet. 

“It’s obviously critical that we make sure that the world order in which billions of people actually get a good vote this year, 2024, 2 billion people will go and vote is the greatest Democratic year in history in that sense,” Shapps said in an interview before the U.S. initiated retaliatory airstrikes in the Middle East. 

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The potential to reshape the political balance of the majority of big players on the international scene will set the direction for many issues, including support for Ukraine in the third year of Russia’s invasion, China’s regional aggression and, most pressing, the escalation of violence in the Middle East. 

The U.S. initiated airstrikes against Iranian targets in Syria and Iraq following an attack in Jordan that killed three American service members. U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin revealed the strikes hit 85 targets at six locations in the first wave. 

In his interview with Fox News Digital, Shapps offered his condolences for the U.S. deaths and stressed that the U.K. wants to see “restraint” from Iran and de-escalation. He cited the ongoing attacks on commercial shipping vessels in the Red Sea and the attacks against American military personnel and assets as unacceptable actions Tehran has continued to endorse. 

“You cannot go about infringing on international waterways, freedom of navigation, and we call on Iran to step in there, but also with these militant groups,” Shapps said, noting that his stance follows continued joint statements between Washington, London and their allies. 

“It is in no one’s interest to see this grow as a regional conflict. So, of course, we are calling on everyone to show restraint.

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“I want to see Lebanese Hezbollah stop,” he added. “I want to see these Iran-backed militant groups stop, and, of course, most of all, we want to see an end to the conflict in Israel and Gaza as well, for which we need a bunch of preconditions like the hostages released, for example.” 

Shapps reiterated the British position seeking a two-state solution, which necessitates recognition of a Palestinian state, an option the Biden administration has reportedly started to explore as the president plans for the aftermath of the conflict. 

“We’re going to have recognition of a Palestinian state, and that requires security guarantees to Israel as well, so that has to be the end state,” Shapps explained. 

“I don’t think we could jump to that conclusion,” he warned. “We have to see a bunch of things happening. First, a large number of agreements would need to go in place. That’s where we want to end up getting. … Of course, it’s said, much harder to do, but a good start would be for those hostages to be released and a sustainable cease-fire off the back of that.” 

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Shapps highlighted 2024 as a pivotal year not just for the upcoming elections but the fragile state of conflicts such as Ukraine’s defense against Russia. He suspected that Russian President Vladimir Putin aims to play “the long game” and wait out the West, hoping it will “get bored.” 

“Will we turn our backs? Perhaps because of what’s happening in the Middle East … maybe just because he thinks we won’t have the stomach to support Ukraine until the end. So, I think 2024 is a really pivotal year,” he said. 

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“We have to essentially make the conscious decision. Are we in this for Ukraine to establish total sovereignty across all of Ukraine … or are we just going to say it’s OK for a democratic neighbor to be invaded with all that read across to China and others will be looking at this,” he argued.

“North Korea, Iran and the situation we’re seeing right now in the Middle East … China will draw their own conclusions when they’re thinking about Taiwan and elsewhere,” Shapps stressed. “We must wake up to the real threat that is posed, which is not just about Russia or Putin, but is about the entire world order.” 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Machete-wielding teacher who was caught threatening reporter gets new wake up call

A New York professor notoriously caught on camera holding a machete to a reporter’s neck last year has reportedly been fired from her latest teaching gig after espousing anti-Israel views. 

Shellyne Rodriguez, who was terminated last year from her position at New York City’s Hunter College, was fired again – this time from her most recent role at Cooper Union in Manhattan. 

“Cooper Union has fired me because of a social media post I made about ‘Zionists’… effective immediately,” Rodriguez, 47, wrote in a Jan. 23 email to students, according to the New York Post. Cooper Union Students for Justice in Palestine shared the email on Instagram the next day. 

“This is fascism. Ya’ll are learning about it in real time,” Rodriguez wrote. “Stay strong, [stay] brave, stay defiant, don’t bite your tongue, and drink plenty of water! Pa-lante!” 

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“This firing represents an intense escalation of McCarthyist repression meant to intimidate and punish those in support of a Free Palestine, and must be resisted to prevent its further normalization and the ongoing genocide in Gaza,” the student group wrote, calling on followers to email the art school dean. 

The Post said a spokesperson for the college declined to comment, but the outlet noted how Rodriguez is no longer listed as an adjunct on Cooper Union’s faculty page. 

The reasoning for her latest termination was not immediately clear but came after Rodriguez participated earlier last month in a CUNY for Palestine virtual panel in which she spoke about the possibility of a Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement rent strike in New York involving not making rent payments to Jewish landlords or landlords who support Israel. 

Her remarks, widely condemned online as antisemitic, also included Rodriguez explaining, “the idea that we could be a Trojan horse, that we are inside empire, and you’re here to upend it.” Of others supporting Israel, she told those on the panel, “You probably wait tables where they go to brunch. Find them, go to their offices, don’t let them sleep.” 

According to the Post, Rodriguez also torched former Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. as a “roach” and “Zionist lapdog” in one post on her own Instagram account. 

“Jewish students at Cooper Union are very relieved that they fired her,” Jeffrey Lax, a CUNY law professor and co-founder of Students and Faculty for Equality at CUNY, which advocates for Jewish students on campus, told the Post. “Her comments were really despicable.” 

NYC PROFESSOR WHO THREATENED REPORTER WITH MACHETE PLEADS GUILTY TO MENACING

“Normally, I would say I commend the university for taking action against this professor but in this case, how can I possibly say that she did something far worse before they hired her? I mean, she held a knife to a reporter’s neck,” Lax told the outlet. “They’re not to be commended, they should be ashamed of themselves.”

Last May, Rodriguez, an adjunct professor at Hunter College at the time, was caught on camera cursing at students who set up a pro-life table, claiming they were “triggering” others. 

“You’re not educating s—. This is f—ing propaganda,” Rodriguez said in the video shared online by Students for Life of America. “What are you going to do like anti-trans next?”

When a New York Post reporter arrived at her apartment seeking comment about the incident, she was caught on video again – this time holding a blade to the reporter’s neck. 

She pleaded guilty to harassment and menacing in connection to the attack on the reporter, the Post reported, citing the Bronx District Attorney’s Office. If she completes a therapy program, she would be permitted to withdraw the misdemeanor plea under the terms of her plea agreement and would be sentenced on the violation to a conditional discharge. 

Rodriguez was sentenced in October to 13 months of behavioral therapy for menacing.

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Her termination from Cooper Union also comes months after pro-Palestinian protesters there banged on the windows of the school library while Jewish students were inside. 

Rodriguez also notably organized “f— police” demonstrations in 2020 after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. 

Test scores plummet after ‘Woke Kindergarten’ program blows through $250K

Students at a San Francisco Bay-area elementary school — where officials hired a for-profit company called “Woke Kindergarten” to train teachers — are continuing to struggle with some of the lowest math and reading scores in the state, according to a report. 

The school spent $250,000 in federal funds provided by a program meant to help boost test scores for some of the country’s lowest-performing schools, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, but after two years with “Woke Kindergarten,” students’ scores are reportedly worse. 

In a 4% drop in both areas in the last two years, less than 12% of the students at Glassbrook Elementary in Hayward, California, can read at their grade level and under 4% are proficient in math, according to the Chronicle. 

Hayward Unified School District Superintendent Jason Reimann told the Chronicle that hiring “Woke Kindergarten,” which he said was supported by the parents and teachers after it was approved by the board, was more about boosting attendance than test scores. He said attendance has gone up almost 20%. 

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He said, “helping students feel safe and whole is part and parcel of academic achievement. I get that it’s more money than we would have liked to have spent.”

He added, “We are in favor 100% of abolishing systems of oppression where they hold our students back. What I do believe is we should pick providers based on their work and how effective they are.”

“Woke Kindergarten” describes itself on its website as “supporting children, families, educators and organizations in their commitment to abolitionist early education and pro-black and queer and trans liberation.”

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The organization also has “Woke” words of the day like “ceasefire” “abolish” and “Woke Wonderings” about challenging the “legitimacy of the Supreme Court” and abolishing the police, money and the military. 

Another “wondering” asked, “If the United States defunded the Israeli military, how could this money be used to rebuild Palestine?”

“Our reading scores are low,” a Glassbrook teacher, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Chronicle. The funds “could have gotten us a reading interventionist.”

The teacher added of the “Woke Kindergarten” training, “It slowly became very apparent if you were a dissenting voice that it’s not what they wanted to hear.” 

Tiger Craven-Neeley, another teacher at the school, told the Chronicle that “Woke Kindergarten” trainers told him he should focus on “disrupt[ing] Whiteness” in the classroom.

“What does that mean?” he said to the Chronicle. “I just want to know, what does that mean for a third-grade classroom?”

Craven-Neeley, who said he supports discussing racism in the classroom, said his requests for clarifications got him temporarily banned from training sessions.

He added that one of the trainers referred to the “so-called United States” in one of the sessions. 

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The school district didn’t immediately return Fox News Digital’s Saturday evening request for comment. 

An email to “Woke Kindergarten” received an automatic reply that the founder was recovering from surgery. 

Cancel culture does an about-face on a comedian known for conservative-friendly content

Comedian Shane Gillis will host “Saturday Night Live” in February after being fired in 2019 shortly after his initial hiring that year over controversial remarks he made during a podcast. 

NBC announced in 2019 that they would be hiring Gillis and shortly after, a video of the comedian resurfaced. SNL creator Lorne Michaels said at the time that they were “not aware” of his past remarks and said they were “offensive, hurtful and unacceptable.”

“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL,” the show stated at the time. “We were not aware of his prior remarks that have surfaced over the past few days. The language he used is offensive, hurtful and unacceptable. We are sorry that we did not see these clips earlier, and that our vetting process was not up to our standard.”

Gillis and fellow comedian Matt McCusker were discussing an unidentified city’s Chinatown neighborhood during a podcast. 

Gillis, during the resurfaced clip, used the f-word followed by an ethnic slur to describe the Chinese residents, before complaining about his experience at Chinatown restaurants with specific reference to the “hassle” he described in trying to translate his order with servers. 

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Gillis is scheduled to host “SNL” on Feb. 24, alongside musical guest 21 Savage. 

The comedian also just recently announced his partnership with Bud Light on social media.

Bud Light posted a photo of Gillis and said in the caption, “excited to be part of your 2024 tour.” Gillis also posted a photo to social media announcing the partnership.

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Bud Light’s sales plummeted in 2023 after the brand partnered with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. Gillis recently appeared on the “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast, where he and host Joe Rogan discussed the company’s partnership with Mulvaney.

“It became a joke,” Gillis told Rogan. “That’s tough to overcome, marketing-wise. It’s tough to get people to order a Bud Light publicly. You’re gonna get made fun of.”

“There’s never been a brand that has been hit like this before,” Rogan added. 

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Todd Allen, Vice President of Marketing for Bud Light, told Fox News Digital: “Humor has always been at the heart of the Bud Light brand and central to our ‘Easy Enjoyment’ platform. We’re excited to partner with longtime fan of Bud Light, Shane Gillis, for his 2024 Live Comedy Tour where a good time with friends is always easy to enjoy.”

Fox News’ Kendall Tietz contributed to this report.

Elmo’s 9-word question online goes viral, ignites intense reaction

“Elmo is just checking in! How is everybody doing?”

Those simple words from Elmo have blown up on social media — and users are not holding back on how they’re really feeling.

The iconic red puppet from Sesame Street took to “X” to see how everyone was handling 2024 so far and the responses attracted by the seemingly innocent tweet were not so innocent.

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The various responses ranged from disappointment with the latest football results and the economic crisis to a sharing of brand endorsements and even marital problems.

The wellness check-type tweet turned into a therapy session as thousands of social media users “trauma-dumped” on the character’s “X” page.

While some users seem to be doing well, the vast majority appear to be reaching their limit, at least according to their posts.

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“Not feeling too tickled about life rn, Elmo,” one user added to the conversation.

“Elmo, I’m suffering from existential dread over here,” another “X” user commented.

“Elmo I’m gonna be real, I am at my f—ing limit,” one user wrote, garnering over half a million likes on the platform for that comment. 

“Not gonna lie … I’m tired, Elmo. A lot’s going on, Little Red,” another user added.

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The viral moment even attracted the attention of big brands and celebrities hoping to promote a new deal or product.

Dr. Phil took the opportunity to give his book, “We’ve Got Issues,” a shout-out in light of the responses to the original message.

Restaurants from Buffalo Wild Wings to Chipotle chimed in on the viral moment.

Following the explosive tweet, Elmo returned to “X” to encourage everyone in response to the heavy messages.

The rather depressive responses made many users realize the importance of sharing feelings with others around them.

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“We need to start checking in on our friends. Thousands of people are telling Elmo that they’re depressed. Our friends are out here venting their sadness to an emotionally attentive Muppet,” one user wrote.

The sorrowful response from Americans apparently also caught the attention of President Joe Biden — who shared a message on the social media platform.

“I know how hard it is some days to sweep the clouds away and get to sunnier days,” POTUS wrote.

“Our friend Elmo is right: We have to be there for each other, offer our help to a neighbor in need, and above all else, ask for help when we need it. Even though it’s hard, you’re never alone.”

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The tweet has been viewed by almost 200 million users and over 140,000 likes.

Sesame Street joined in to remind everyone of the importance of tuning into their emotions — and promoting the importance of mental health by linking to its mental health program. 

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“Thank you, @Elmo, for checking in with a reminder for us to pause and take a mindful moment to focus on how we’re feeling.”

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Fox News Digital reached out to Christina Vittas, Elmo’s social media manager, for comment.

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Ravens player hit with hefty fine for controversial taunt at AFC Championship game

The NFL has fined Baltimore Ravens receiver Zay Flowers for taunting Kansas City Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed in last weekend’s AFC championship game. 

After he was tackled on a 54-yard pass play late in the third quarter, the Ravens receiver pushed Sneed’s shoulders to the ground and spun the ball near Sneed’s face. 

Referees called a taunting penalty on Flowers, a pivotal 15-yard infraction that pushed the Ravens backward.

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Flowers later kept the drive alive with a clutch first down, but things turned badly quickly.

Flowers was the target of the first play of the fourth quarter. He caught a pass and tried to get into the end zone, but Sneed got his revenge by punching the ball away just before Flowers crossed the goal line.

The Chiefs recovered the ball in the end zone and eventually won 17-10 to advance to their second straight Super Bowl.

The penalty cost much more than 15 yards in a big game. Flowers was fined $10,927, the NFL announced Saturday.

Flowers also cut his hand after banging it in frustration when he reached the sideline after the fumble. The TV broadcast showed his hand bloodied.

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The rookie, drafted 22nd overall last year, led the Ravens with five receptions for 115 yards in the game.

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He caught 77 passes for 858 yards in his first NFL season out of Boston College.

Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.

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Is your sleep interrupted by leg cramps? Some of the most surprising causes

If painful leg cramps have woken you up in the middle of the night, the condition can be both scary and confusing.

You may think it’s due to the position you’re sleeping in — but there’s more to know about nighttime leg cramps than that. 

In original interviews, two physicians gave a “leg up” on the causes and treatments of nighttime leg cramps.

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Here’s what to know.

What are nighttime leg cramps? 

More commonly known as a charley horse, a nighttime leg cramp is when the muscles in a leg quickly tighten up.

A charley horse is a sudden, painful and involuntary muscle spasm or cramp, noted health.com. While it usually happens in your leg, especially the calf, it can actually happen in any muscle.

A person can be woken up as a result of painful leg cramp symptoms, said Mike Sevilla, M.D., a family physician with Family Practice Center of Salem in Salem, Ohio. 

“Sometimes the cramps last a few minutes, but I have had patients whose leg cramps lasted longer than that,” he said.

Who gets nighttime leg cramps? 

Nighttime cramps become more common as people get older and unfortunately, can become more frequent, Sara Austin, M.D., an associate professor of neurology at the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin, told Fox News Digital. 

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She is also a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology.

If you experience frequent leg cramps, your primary care doctor should test to make sure your thyroid hormone level is normal.

Most of the time, nighttime leg cramps just happen — but there are some causes, she said.

Being human. “That’s the most common cause. We all get them sometimes,” she said.

Hypothyroidism. If you experience frequent cramps, she said, your primary care doctor should test to make sure your thyroid hormone level is normal.

Dehydration or very intense exercise. “Make sure if you sweat excessively or are dehydrated that you drink more fluids, preferably with some electrolytes,” she cautioned.

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Restless leg syndrome. Those who have restless leg syndrome seem to describe some of their symptoms as cramps, she said. 

“If you consistently feel like you wake up after being asleep for several hours and you feel symptoms in your leg — cramping, tingling, burning, aching — that are relieved by getting up and walking around, you might have restless leg syndrome,” Austin said. 

“If you find that you’re having two to three cramps every night for weeks to months, you should check in with a neurologist.”

Speak with your doctor for further evaluation.

Can leg cramps be a sign of serious conditions?

Some neuromuscular diseases are associated with more frequent muscle cramps, but this is not common, said Dr. Austin. 

“They are very rare,” she said.

“But if you find that you are having two to three cramps every night for weeks to months, you should check in with a neurologist,” she advised. 

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“Or, if you notice that the cramps are associated with weakness in the extremity, or if they consistently interfere with the way you walk, you should bring that to your doctor’s attention.”

How can someone treat leg cramps?

When leg cramps begin, start with a gentle stretching of the muscles, said Sevilla of the Family Practice Center of Salem. 

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“In addition, what may help symptoms include massage of the area and application of a heating pad.”

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Also, he said, “consider over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.”

There are also prescription medication options, “but patients should check with their family physician before considering prescription meds.”

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Couple who has taken in 17 children adopts baby boy left with note in safe haven box

A couple who have fostered a total of 17 children are celebrating the adoption of their beautiful baby boy, Samuel, two years after he was surrendered in a safe haven baby box. 

The baby boy was dropped off at a Kentucky firehouse with a little note that read, “I love you.” 

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“There was a news article that was posted online the day that he was surrendered, and I read that article and I told Chris about it and prayed all weekend that we would be the foster home called to take him in and so that was a Thursday,” mom Brittany Tyler told “The Story.” “On Monday afternoon I got the call asking if we would be available to take him, and we said yes, and we were able to start visiting him in hospital the very next day.” 

The couple expressed love and gratitude to Samuel’s birth mother. 

“We think the world of her,” Chris Tyler said. “I mean, we may never know her. We may never have a chance to meet her, but we have a place in our hearts, where we just truly cherish and love her for what she’s done for Sam and if she happens to see this or ever anything else that you know might show his picture because he is adorable, we just hope that she sees how healthy and happy he is and I hope that she knows that we truly do love her.” 

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The Tylers have adopted two other children and said it was “really special” to have friends and family at the courthouse witnessing their joyous occasion. 

“There is a good deal of work and time commitment that goes into (foster care), but the idea that we’re able to help these children and to love them and take care of them,” Chris Tyler said. “It truly is worth it.”