Las Vegas mass shooting: How you can help victims, survivors

As news spread of the mass shooting in Las Vegas Sunday night that left 58 victims dead and hundreds more injured, people across the globe banded together to do what they could to help.

The shooting at Route 91 Harvest festival is now the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, surpassing the attack at Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12, 2016.

In the hours after the massacre at the strip, a throng of people wrapped around the United Blood Services location in Las Vegas to donate blood in hopes of helping the survivors.

For those not in Nevada, there are still ways to help.

Below is a list of organizations accepting donations and resources available for survivors and the families of victims.

Blood donations
-OneBlood in Orlando plans to send blood and platelets to Las Vegas. Click here to find a donation center or Big Red Bus where donations can be made.
-United Blood Services is accepting donations at its clinics in Las Vegas and across the country. Click here for a map of locations.
-America’s Blood Centers accepts blood donations at dozens of centers across the country, see a list of them here.

Monetary donations
– The National Compassion Fund Las Vegas will give 100 percent of donated funds to the victims of the mass shooting. Click here to donate.
– Clark County Commission Chair Steve Sisolak established a GoFundMe page with a $2 million goal. So far, more than $980,000 has been collected. Click here to donate.
-The Southern Nevada chapter of the American Red Cross accepts donations by phone at 702-369-3674, by mail at 1771 E. Flamingo Rd., #206B Las Vegas, NV 89119 and online.
– Zappos will match donations made on its CrowdRise page up to $1 million. Click here to donate.

Help available for those impacted
– A hotline has been established for anyone who has been unable to contact a loved one and fears they could have been affected by the tragedy. That number is 1-866-535-5654.
-The Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, where authorities say shooter Stephen Paddock was when he fired an onslaught of bullets on the crowd below, has established a hotline for victims, guests and loved ones involved in Sunday night’s shooting. That number is 888-634-7111.
– Facebook has turned on its safety check feature for those in the Las Vegas area. Social media users in that region have made posts offering goods and services to those affected, click here to see more.
– The FBI is asking anyone with photos or videos of the mass shooting to call 1-800-255-5324.
– For those people in Orlando who were affected by the Pulse tragedy and are having difficulties processing the events in Las Vegas are encouraged to call the Orlando United Assistance Center at 407-500-HOPE.

Vigils in Central Florida
– The One Orlando Alliance is hosting Dr. Phillips Center’s Seneff Arts Plaza from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Sherri Absher, Board Member of One Orlando Alliance,  said there will be a moment of silence and a bell will be rung 59 times to honor each victim. Click here for more details.

Contact your local representatives
– Specific details on the gun or guns Paddock used in the shooting were not immediately available, although it is believed that 10 or more guns found in the hotel room were purchased legally and one might have been altered to function as an automatic weapon. The shooting has stirred up a debate on gun control and what kind of weapons should be available to the public, as it did in the wake of the tragedy at Pulse. To find out how to contact your local elected officials regarding gun laws across the country, click here.

This list will be updated as more resources become available.

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The ultimate solar eclipse playlist

On August 21 parts of America will experience a total solar eclipse. For those who don’t know, this means the moon’s orbit will line up perfect with the Earth and the sun, creating a “hole in the sky” that will turn day to night.

This experience is likely once in a lifetime, so we made a once in a lifetime to playlist to go along with it.  Yes, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” was obviously on it. 

Get your headphones ready:

“Steal My Sunshine” – Len 

This one speaks for itself. The moon is quite literally going to steal our sunshine, so that’s a no brainer.

“Ain’t No Sunshine” – Bill Withers

Bill Withers says there “Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone.” Unconfirmed if his lady leaving is the reason for this solar eclipse, but thankfully since the total eclipse will only last two minutes she will probably be back soon.

“Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” – George Michael and Elton John

I don’t believe that George Michael and Elton John collaborated on this song with this eclipse in mind, but I guess you never know.

“Ring of Fire” – Johnny Cash

When the moon covers the sun in the totality, it will essentially create a “burning ring of fire” just like this classic Johnny Cash tune.

“Back in Black” – AC/DC

The solar eclipse is quite literally back in black, having not been seen in America since 1979.

“Aquarius (Let the Sunshine in)” –Hair Cast 

You always need a classic Broadway musical tune in a playlist (right?), and none better than “Aquarius.” After the total solar eclipse, we’ll all be letting the sunshine in. 

“Can’t Fight the Moonlight” – LeAnn Rimes

The sun physically can’t fight being seemingly covered up by moon, that’s why this entire phenomena is happening. Duh.

“Dark Side of the Moon” – Pink Floyd

“I’ll see you on the dark side moon,” Pink Floyd says. Us lunatics will see you there, Pink Floyd.

“Fly Me to the Moon” -Frank Sinatra 

We’ll all be playing among the stars come August 21st.

“A Sky Full of Stars” -Coldplay

This one is just a feel good tune, about skies…and stars. 

“It’s The End Of The World As We Know It” – R.E.M

So, it’s not really the end of the world, but back before people knew what solar eclipses were it sure felt like it! Emperor Louis of Bavaria witnessed an eclipse in 840 and was so terrified he died shortly afterward. The fight between his three sons over his succession then lead to the division of Europe into France, Italy and Germany.

“Here Comes The Sun” – The Beatles

Little darlin’, it’s been a long, cold, lonely…..two minutes since the sun went behind the moon. That’s how it goes, right?

“Starman” – David Bowie

Because you can’t have a playlist about a space phenomena without Ziggy Stardust himself.

“Diamonds” – Rihanna

Let’s face it, Rihanna has a song for every occasion and this eclipse is no exception. 

“One in a Million (Remix)” – Bosson

The lyrics in this one just speak for itself: “You’re one in a million/You’re once in a lifetime/You made me discover one of the stars above us.” The eclipse is a once in a lifetime event that centers around a star. Also, this song was the greatest one on the “Miss Congeniality” soundtrack (shout out to Sandra Bullock.) 

“Manic Monday” – The Bangles

So this one is a bit of a stretch, but the eclipse DOES happen on a Monday, and a full moon is known to make people a little crazy. Manic, even?

Last, but certainly not least….

“Total Eclipse of the Heart” – Bonnie Tyler

This is a Grammy Award-winning song that has the word ECLIPSE right in the title. Boom. Done.

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8 moms, 8 months pregnant thanks to Hurricane Matthew

A South Carolina photographer known for capturing beautiful pictures of newborn babies might have eight more clients thanks to Hurricane Matthew.

Cassie Clayshulte of Cassie Clayshulte Photography took photos of eight expectant mothers who are all eight months pregnant after Hurricane Matthew swept the East Coast last October. 

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Clayshulte said when the storm hit the small town of Bluffton, she was inspired to do something for parents who gave birth during the mandatory evacuation.

“I felt the call to show those in our area that something beautiful could come from something devastating,” Clayshulte said.

Clayshulte’s photography business is the official newborn photographer for Coastal Carolina Hospital and she noticed that after major events, like a hurricane or power outages, she sees a surge in newborn clients, so she knew nine months after Hurricane Matthew would be busy.

That’s when Clayshulte got the idea for a special project.

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“I wanted to show everyone that the storm gave some Bluffton, Beaufort, and Hilton Head couples a special miracle,” Clayshulte said. “If it weren’t for Matthew, these eight couples wouldn’t be expecting these little miracles.”

Clayshulte’s photos of the eight expectant mothers incorporated the hurricane damage that existed in the area to illustrate that beautiful things can come from disaster. She also featured the beaches of Hilton Head to show how the area is still a great place to visit.

“This storm destroyed trees and property and our area’s tourism industry took a big hit, but the storm helped these couples create something even more beautiful and these stunning mommies-to-be are living proof,” Clayshulte said.

The mothers, who were the stars of the photo shoot, can’t wait for their little miracles to be brought into the world.

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“I feel babies always come at a time when they are most needed,” Bluffton mother Danielle said. “When he is born, I feel he will fill a hole in our lives we didn’t even know was missing. I’m so eager and excited to meet him.”

One of the mothers was excited to add another addition to her family.

“We decided to go ahead and try for another great kid. I do call our first Hurricane Porter, so it will be interesting to see if little sister is just as wild, especially since she was conceived during an actual hurricane,” Bluffton mother Molly said.

Clayshulte she wants to use her talent to make the world a better place one photo at a time, but also hopes to show everyone that world is already full of beauty. They just have to choose to see it.

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