1. Grand Canyon guardian
> Date: Jan. 14
> Location: Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Rose Torphy became a junior ranger at Grand Canyon National Park in mid-January when she visited the park for the second time. Torphy was in the park’s gift shop and asked an employee about the junior ranger program. Her inquisitiveness led to her taking the oath as a junior ranger. Torphy said she wants to help preserve the park for her great and great-great grandchildren. The 103-year-old great-great-grandmother is older than the park itself, which celebrates its centennial on Feb. 26. Torphy is a mother of three, grandmother of nine, great-grandmother of 18, and great-great grandmother of 10.
2. Homeless kids help design their school
> Date: Jan. 28
> Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City-based nonprofit Positive Tomorrows has been helping educate homeless children since 1989. When the nonprofit considered constructing a building to accommodate the needs of its students, it sought the design services of MA+ Architecture. The architect also got input from the school’s students. The firm worked with staff and students to develop a design plan to meet the challenges homeless students face. The new building is scheduled to open in September and will serve children from infants to eighth grade with a capacity for 210 children — nearly triple its current capacity.
3. Frozen cat revives
> Date: Jan. 31
> Location: Kalispell, Montana
A cat named Fluffy used one of her nine lives after her owners in Montana found her frozen in a snowbank in 8 degree weather. They took Fluffy to an animal clinic and after several hours of applying warm water and blankets, the feline’s temperature was still low, so they took her to the emergency room, where Fluffy eventually made a full recovery. There is a change in her lifestyle, however. Fluffy in now an indoor cat.
4. A basket to remember
> Date: Feb. 1
> Location: Alleman, Iowa
Eighteen-year-old Clay Warner, who is legally blind and has cerebral palsy, is known as “Heart and Soul of North Polk High School.” Warner plays for the school’s basketball team and has suited up for every game this year though he had not played. Earlier this month, he got his chance to get in a basketball game. With a minute left, Warner got the ball in the corner and sunk a basket, and fans from rival Roland-Story as well as North Polk broke into cheers.
5. Stem cell hope for diabetes
> Date: Feb. 1
> Location: San Francisco, California
In what is being called a medical breakthrough, researchers for the first time have converted human stem cells into insulin-generating cells in an effort to create a cure for type 1 (T1) diabetes. Scientists from the University of California at San Francisco have long sought the ability to replace these cells through regenerative medicine.
T1 diabetes wipes out the cells that produce insulin from the pancreas. This type of diabetes occurs usually in childhood. Destruction of these cells inhibits the ability of insulin to regulate glucose levels in the blood, leading to surges in blood sugar that can damage organs.