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Savannah Gankiewicz of Hawaii crowned Miss USA after previous winner resigned, citing mental health

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Savannah Gankiewicz of Hawaii was crowned Miss USA 2023, more than a week after the previous titleholder resigned for mental health reasons.

Born and raised on the island of Maui, Gankiewicz is a model who leads a female empowerment nonprofit organization. Gankiewicz, who was the first runner-up at the pageant last September, accepted the title on Wednesday during a special coronation attended by Hawaii Gov. Josh Green, Hawaii News Now reported. She will hold the title until August.

MISS UNIVERSE ORGANIZATION SLAMS ‘FALSE RIGGING ALLEGATIONS’ AFTER MISS USA CROWNED WINNER: ‘ABSURD’

Miss USA 2024 is scheduled to take place from July 24 to Aug. 4.

In this image provided by the Office of Governor Josh Green, Hawaii Gov. Josh Green crowns Savannah Gankiewicz Miss USA 2023 on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, in Honolulu. Gankiewicz was crowned on Wednesday, more than a week after the previous titleholder resigned citing her mental health.  (Office of Governor Josh Green, M.D. via AP)

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Gankiewicz told KHON-TV she received backlash for deciding to take on the remainder of the title’s term. “But I wanted people to know that I’ve taken this title because I feel like it is a responsibility and an opportunity to make a positive change from within, and I can only do that from inside the organization and not standing out,” she said.

Gankiewicz replaces former Miss USA 2023 Noelia Voigt, a former Miss Utah who stepped aside May 6, citing her mental health. In a statement, Voigt thanked her fans and wrote, “Never compromise your physical and mental well-being.”

Miss Teen USA, UmaSofia Srivastava, also resigned her title within days of Voigt’s resignation, dealing a shock to the Miss Universe Organization, which runs both pageants.

Srivastava, the former Miss New Jersey Teen USA, wrote in a statement that her “personal values no longer fully align with the direction of the organization.”

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West

Grandma braves sharks, jellyfish in 17-hour swim to remote island

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A grandmother recently completed a historic, 17-hour-long swim through shark-inhabited waters off the Northern California coast – all without a wetsuit.

Swimmer extraordinaire Amy Appelhans Gubser, 55, completed the aquatic journey on May 11. She began at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge at around 3:27 a.m. and ended up at the Farallon Islands at around 8:30 p.m. that night.

According to the Marathon Swimmers Foundation, Gubser is the only swimmer to complete that specific route without a wetsuit. Two men successfully completed the swim in 2014, and there were also three documented failures between 2012 and 2015.

The Pacifica, California, resident told Fox News Digital that she swam along intense fog in the Pacific Ocean, which she described as a “sensory deprivation bubble.” 

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Amy Appelhans Gubser, 55, completed the 17-hour swimming journey on May 11.  (John Chapman)

“I had a thought bubble around me that only allowed us to see 100 meters in any direction,” she explained. “And then the water had red tide, so I couldn’t see past my fingertips.”

“⁠For 17 hours, I had no idea where I was, what was going on…I went into a meditative state.,” she explained. “There were some 30 minute time intervals that passed very quickly. Others seemed like they were 300 hours.”

The swimmer was not allowed to touch the boat on the journey, but had teammates who periodically fed her hot chocolate, chicken broth and canned peaches to keep her energy up.

Gubser also confirmed that the waters were shark-inhabited, but she kept a cool head during the trek. She suffered a few jellyfish stings, but her helpers watched out for sharks and seals.

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“I really had to be very thoughtful and careful about how I approached this swim because of the sharks,” she explained. “And April, May, June is when a very big migration of great white sharks takes place away from the Farallon Islands. That’s why the swim has to take place during that timeframe.”

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Split image of Amy in swimsuit and boat in fog

Gubser told Fox News Digital that she swam competitively in college, but took a 24-year break before picking the hobby up again. (John Chapman)

Gubser, who works as a fetal cardiology nurse at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco, told Fox News Digital that she swam competitively in college. But she didn’t pick up the hobby again until five years ago.

“I swam through college right after college, hung up my suit, and I did not touch the water for 24 years,” she said. “Ten years ago, I went back in the water with a friend of mine who challenged me to go in…it was 52 degrees, no wetsuit, in February.”

“I thought it was the craziest thing I could possibly do. I cried, I had a panic attack…[but] within 15 minutes, my body got this warmth that you generate from moving. And every cell in my body became alive.”

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Gubser sacrificed warmth and the ability to easily float by not having a wetsuit. The waters got as cold as 46 degrees Fahrenheit.

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“Wetsuits are a great piece of equipment, especially for people that are starting out in open water,” Gubser explained. “But I follow the Marathon Swim Federation rules and the open water swim world rules that, for the last 150 years, have been the same. Which is a swimsuit, a cap, some form of goggles, earplugs and a nose clip.”

Image of Amy standing with other people

Amy Gubser (second to right) had a team of helpers to feed her and watch out for sharks. (John Chapman)

“When you wear a wetsuit your skin rubs against the material,” Gubser added. “And the last thing that I really wanted was for my skin to bleed near a shark island.”

Gubser also told Fox that her newfound fame came unexpectedly. Her family is thankful that the swim is over.

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“My whole family is so relieved, because I have been talking about this thing for five years, and my husband will be the first to tell you he’s just grateful it’s done,” she said. 

 

Gubser’s grandchildren are too young to grasp the magnitude of her historic swim, but she predicts her achievement will become a piece of family lore down the line.

“My grandkids are so young…My two-year-old, she just swims in the bathtub with her goggles on and thinks she swam as far. Which is lovely, I love that,” she laughed.

Wide shot of deck of boat in Pacific Ocean

The historic May 11 swim began at around 3 a.m. and ended past 8 p.m. that night. (John Chapman)

“I’m just grateful that I can give them a good legacy in the future of, you know, ‘Your grandma did that’.”

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The nurse also said she is overjoyed at the positive response she has received, and hopes her story inspires others to achieve their fitness goals – regardless of age or physical condition.

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“I hope this story inspires somebody to not be challenged by a number [like] their age or their weight. I mean, all of my body got me across that. That’s pretty impressive,” she said.

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.

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San Francisco, CA

Travel rush begins for Memorial Day weekend

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Travel rush begins for Memorial Day weekend


Travel rush begins for Memorial Day weekend – CBS San Francisco

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CBS News Senior Transportation Correspondent Kris Van Cleave provides insight on the high travel numbers for the holiday weekend. (05-24-2024)

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Seattle, WA

Seattle artist Paul Castle, guide dog Mr. Maple kicked out of restaurant when worker didn’t believe he was blind

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Seattle artist Paul Castle, guide dog Mr. Maple kicked out of restaurant when worker didn’t believe he was blind


A blind Seattle artist and his guide dog were kicked out of a Seattle restaurant when one of the workers accused the customer of faking his blindness.

Paul Castle, who is legally blind, claimed he entered the unnamed eatery with his service dog, Mr. Maple, but was instantly met by the wary worker.

“I walked in with my guide dog, Mr. Maple, and immediately somebody rushed up to me and said ‘no pets allowed, only service dogs,’” Castle said in a TikTok post on May 7.

“I said ‘It’s ok, he’s a service dog.’” the author said. “He looked at me, he looked at Maple, he said ’emotional support dog?’”

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Paul Castle claims he and his service dog, Mr. Maple, were kicked out of a Seattle restaurant earlier this month, when a worker didn’t believe he was blind. KING5

According to WAFB, Castle has less than 10 percent of his vision.

He insisted that Mr. Maple was a “guide dog for the blind” before showing off the pooch’s designated harness to the worker.

Castle told the employee he was blind, but the man wasn’t buying the artist’s story.

“‘You don’t look blind,” the man stated before Castle explained that “a lot of people in the blind community still have some functional vision.”

“You’re looking right at me,” “Yes but it’s like I have a pinhole of vision, it is all I can see.”

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Castle tried to prove his dog was a service animal by showing off the harness Mr. Maple was wearing. @matthewandpaul /TMX / SWNS
Castle told his story to the “Matthew and Paul” TikTok account, which he shares with his husband. @matthewandpaul /TMX / SWNS

Castle described his vision as “sort of like looking through a straw. I have no peripheral vision, the rest of my visual field is full of static.”

“Listen, this isn’t my first rodeo,” the man reportedly said.

Castle offered to return to the establishment with Mr. Maple’s paperwork, but the employee threatened to call the police if they stepped “foot back in this restaurant.”

Castle and his husband Matthew run the “Matthew and Paul” TikTok account, which has garnered over 2.1 million followers, and was created to give viewers an inside look at the lives of blind people while also spreading awareness about blindness.

“I was speechless, I was shaking,” Castle told the outlet. “I was really upset and disappointed.”

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Castle described his vision as “sort of like looking through a straw. I have no peripheral vision, the rest of my visual field is full of static.” KING5

“When I encounter a situation like this where I’m fully rejected not only for my dog, but because my own disability wasn’t believed, it makes me really sad on top of all the struggles that I already kind of deal with,” Castle said.

Federal law prohibits private businesses that provide goods or services from discriminating against individuals with disabilities including those that need service animals.

The goal of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act is to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to goods and services.

The law also disallows businesses from asking for documentation, and animals do not have to wear a vest or harness that indicates they are trained for a specific service.

According to the ADA, To help separate service animals from pets, a business may ask two questions when a person with an animal enters a place of public accommodation:

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  1. Is the animal required because of a disability?
  2. What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?
Castle, who is not taking any legal action, didn’t name the restaurant where he was thrown out, because he doesn’t want them to face backlash. Paul Castle

Castle, who is not taking any legal action, didn’t name the restaurant where he was thrown out, because he doesn’t want them to face backlash.

He says he shared his experience for educational purposes and, after his video went viral, reached out to the restaurant where he talked to the manager who was sincerely apologetic and promised to better train the employees.





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