This Month’s Good News

February 26, 2019 by John Harrington

Source: Courtesy of Galapagos National Park
This month, we were encouraged by positive actions regarding the environment; touched by heroic deeds of people and animals; drew hope from developments in medical research; cheered the good works of celebrities and church groups; and were pleased by heartwarming stories that reminded us of the humanity in us all.

Click here to see this month’s good news.
Click here to read our methodology.

Source: Courtesy of Cheryl Stoneburner

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.

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Source: Courtesy of Positive Tomorrows

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.

Source: Courtesy of Animal Clinic of Kalispell via Facebook

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.

Source: Courtesy of North Polk Community School District

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.

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Source: Getty Images / Getty Images

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.

Source: Chef Roberto Mendoza / YouTube

6. Good thing he listened to mom
> Date: Feb. 2
> Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

Roberto Mendoza, who used to prepare meals for presidents in the White House, now oversees a restaurant and serves food to the homeless in Charlotte, North Carolina. Recently his mother visited him from Guatemala. She told her son she had a lucky feeling and advised him to buy a lottery ticket. Mendoza typically doesn’t participate in the lottery, but he listened to his mother and bought a ticket. He won $250,000 and plans to use the winnings to complete construction of a kitchen that will feed the homeless in the Dominican Republic.

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Source: Mike Baird / Wikimedia Commons

7. Seal of approval
> Date: Feb. 2
> Location: Drake Beach, California

During the recent partial government shutdown there were not as many park rangers to patrol beach and park areas such as Drake Beach at Point Reyes national seashore, about 30 miles north of San Francisco. With fewer humans around, elephant seals swarmed over the beach and at times occupied the parking lot and picnic areas. The shutdown coincided with the nesting season of the seals, which were nearly hunted to extinction in the 19th century. With the shutdown over, the park service has closed the beaches until April, when the seals are expected to leave the beach.

Source: Brendan Hoffman / Getty Images

8. Fasting to help in-debt students
> Date: Feb. 3
> Location: Alexandria, Virginia

To raise money, members of the Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia, fasted during the month of January by giving up using social media, eating junk food, or drinking alcohol. The money was raised to help pay down the debt of 34 students planning to graduate Howard University in Washington, D.C. They raised more than $100,000. The church has asked members of its congregation for the last several years to participate in a fast to help college students pay student loan debt.

Source: Theo Wargo / Getty Images

9. Tyler makes dreams come true
> Date: Feb. 4
> Location: Memphis, Tennessee

Janie’s Fund, a foundation started by Aerosmith vocalist Steven Tyler, contributed $500,000 toward the establishment of Janie’s House, a facility in Memphis, Tennessee, for girls who have been abused or neglected. The foundation was created to raise awareness of abuse of children and to provide medical and therapeutic care and other services to help them overcome their trauma. The facility can accommodate up to 30 girls between ages 12 and 18. The goal is to reunite them with their families or find them a stable home. The house and foundation name come from Aerosmith’s song “Janie’s Got a Gun” about a girl abused by her father.

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Source: Courtesy of Seabin Project

10. Vacuuming ocean’s garbage
> Date: February
> Location: Oceans

Two Australian surfers have come up with a solution to clean up the world’s oceans. They’ve developed a floating vacuum cleaner called a seabin that operates near marinas and docks and moves with the tide to collect floating garbage. Water is sucked into a bag with a pump that is connected to an outlet and the water is pumped back out trapping the garbage in a bag. The surfers raised $250,000 to create their device on their Indiegogo page to finance manufacturing.

Source: Courtesy of Keller Hayes Sutherland via Facebook

11. Teacher helps student’s dad
> Date: Feb. 6
> Location: Greenville, South Carolina

Second-grader Cameron Simoncic headed home to his father’s house after school and found his dad, who has diabetes, unconscious. He couldn’t call for help because he didn’t know the passcode on his dad’s cell phone. There were no neighbors around, so he jumped on his bike and headed for his grandmother’s house five miles away, dodging traffic on Highway 25. Driving in the same direction was Keller Sutherland, a teacher at Cameron’s school who taught Cameron the previous year. She stopped him on the road and then other motorists pulled over and called 911. Cameron was able to give first responders his address and his father received the injection he needed.

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Source: Courtesy of Sarah Costello via Facebook

12. Pit bull helps avert gas tragedy
> Date: Feb. 6
> Location: Tuckahoe, New York

A pit bull named Sadie may have helped prevent a tragedy in Tuckahoe, New York. The animal was outside on the afternoon of Feb. 6 unleashed and barking nonstop. When police responded to a loose, barking dog in the neighborhood, the pit bull led them to her house. The officers saw that the home’s sliding door was open and the fence was broken. As the officers neared the house, which was not occupied, they detected gas odor emanating from an open basement window. Fire and utility crews confirmed there was a gas leak. Closer inspection of the house showed claw marks and blood on the back of the door, and the family thinks Sadie sensed danger and clawed her out of the house to seek help.

Source: Getty Images / Getty Images

13. Hopeful cancer treatment
> Date: Feb. 7
> Location: London, England

Researchers in England have developed a “Trojan horse” cancer treatment that gets inside tumor cells. The drug is called tisotumab vedotin, or TV, and it releases a toxic substance that eradicates cancer cells from within. The results have been encouraging and the drug has moved forward to phase II trials in cervical cancer and will be tested in other cancers. A team at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust led a clinical trial of about 150 patients with various cancers who had stopped responding to standard treatments.

Source: Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory

14. A greener Earth
> Date: Feb. 11
> Location: World

Data from NASA satellites showed Earth is a greener planet than it was 20 years ago, and the lion’s share of the credit for the increased foliage goes to China and India, the two most populous nations in the world. The reason for the increased green is because of robust tree planting programs in China and India. In 2017, India broke its own world record for tree plantings when volunteers planted 66 million saplings in 12 hours. Researchers using satellite data first noticed the greening change in the mid-1990s but were not sure whether human activity was causing the phenomenon.

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Source: Courtesy of Greater Clark County Schools

15. Purse found after 65 years
> Date: Feb. 11
> Location: Jeffersonville, Indiana

Construction crews demolishing a building to make way for a new school in Jeffersonville, Indiana, found a purse belonging to Martha Ina Ingham, who left it there 65 years ago while attending high school. The former building had been a high school and the purse was found in late January when workers were removing cabinets in a science classroom. The purse served as something of a time capsule. It contained a 1953-54 Jeffersonville High School basketball schedule, lipstick, identification cards, and a letter asking Ingham to prom. The school district posted a picture of the purse online and a family member saw it and got the purse to Ingham.

Source: Chuck Abbe / Wikimedia Commons

16. Land measure passed
> Date: Feb. 12
> Location: Washington, D.C.

Members of both parties put partisanship aside to pass a major public lands measure, the biggest such package in a decade. By a vote of 92-8, the Senate passed a 662-page bill that designates more than 1.3 million acres as nationally protected wilderness and creates four national monuments. The bill also expands the boundaries of six national parks, including Death Valley and the Mojave. The bill is expected to pass the House and be signed into law by President Donald Trump.

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Source: Courtesy of Will Burrard-Lucas

17. Black leopard photographed
> Date: Feb. 13
> Location: Africa

The elusive black leopard was photographed in Kenya by British wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas. The images were taken with a Camtraptions Camera Trap and were taken at Laikipia Wilderness Camp in Kenya. Burrard-Lucas said that though his were not the first photos taken of a black leopard in the last century, his images, along with footage taken by the San Diego Zoo, are the first confirmed scientific documentation of the leopard in more than 100 years.

Source: Courtesy of US Postal Service

18. Mailman delivers-for 69 years
> Date: Feb. 13
> Location: Richfield, Utah

Ninety-one-year-old mailman Jack Lund has retired after 69 years of service. He started delivering mail in 1949 and forged a reputation for reliability. Over the years, Lund delivered the mail, overcoming severe mountain weather, vehicle mechanical failures, and other problems. A ceremony was held in his honor, where he was given an American flag, some postal service art, and, and a letter of commendation and thanks.

Source: Courtesy of Ryan Belcher

19. Powerful friends
> Date: Feb. 14
> Location: Ypsilanti, Michigan

Powerlifter Ryan Belcher, 29, got the nickname “Hulk” for using his tremendous strength to move a vehicle that was damaged in a traffic accident and free a man from inside the vehicle. Belcher came upon a car accident near his workplace on the afternoon of Feb. 14. The driver, Montrell Tinsley, was pinned in an overturned, damaged Jeep. Bystanders tried shifting the vehicle so they could drag him out, but the vehicle wouldn’t move. Belcher, who said he’s dead-lifted 800 pounds in competition, said he grabbed the back of the vehicle where the window had been smashed, lifted up, and started pushing. Belcher said the Jeep rotated enough for the bystanders to free Tinsley, who was pulled out. Tinsley, who named Belcher “Hulk,” is recovering.

Source: Photo by Gregory Shamus / Getty Images

20. Ultimate multi-tasker
> Date: Feb. 15
> Location: Sterling, Virginia

Tori Nelson might be the ultimate multitasker. The single mom of two children has held jobs as a waitress at IHOP, a cafeteria worker and a school bus driver; she’s a grandmother; and Nelson is a professional boxer. Nelson, 42, has a professional record of 17 wins, one loss, and three draws. She got into boxing in 2007 as a way to lose weight between pregnancies. It was from her exposure to the “sweet science” that she realized she was a fighter. Nelson had been undefeated until she lost to two-time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields in January for the WBC and IBF super middleweight titles.

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Source: AscentXmedia / Getty Images

21. Uniting against climate change
> Date: Feb. 15
> Location: United States

Several different outdoor recreational groups have united to create a coalition that will take action to combat climate change in order to save the nation’s ski areas from rising temperatures. What is at stake for these groups is the threat climate change poses to the multi-billion dollar outdoor recreation industry. The coalition, called the Outdoor Business Climate Partnership, is the first such collaboration among these trade groups. The group advocates the passage of bipartisan climate legislation in Congress, adopting market-based solutions to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and supporting state and utility initiatives to remove carbon from the energy grid.

Source: Courtesy of David Alianiello

22. A joyful noise
> Date: Feb. 16
> Location: Baltimore, Maryland

For the first time in his life, David Alianiello heard applause, and he heard it was on his wedding day. Alianiello, born with congenital hearing loss, received a cochlear implant in his ear and was able to hear the response from the guests at his wedding. The 34-year-old Baltimore teacher got his implant at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

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Source: Courtesy of Shadow Landry via Facebook

23. Inmates rescue 1-year-old
> Date: Feb. 17
> Location: New Port Richey, Florida

After a father accidentally locked his keys in his car with his 1-year-old daughter in it, a group of inmates doing road work volunteered to help. Five non-violent offenders got permission from their supervisor to try and open the door. While the father comforted his daughter on the other side of the car window, the inmates forced open the SUV’s door just enough for another inmate to slip in a coat hanger that he was used to activate the electronic lock and open the door.

Source: Screenshot via CBS News

24. Sign of a good neighborhood
> Date: Feb. 18
> Location: Newton, Massachusetts

Samantha Savitz is an outgoing 2-year-old, who is also deaf. This has been obstacle for her neighbors trying to get to know her better, so they did something about it. Samantha’s neighbors in Newton, Massachusetts, started attending sign language classes so they could communicate with her.

Source: Courtesy of Galapagos National Park

25. Tortoise no longer extinct
> Date: Feb. 21
> Location: Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

A living member of a tortoise species that had not been seen for more than 112 years and was considered extinct has been found on the Galápagos island of Fernandina. The giant tortoise, also known as Chelonoidis phantasticus, was seen by an expedition of the Galápagos National Park and the Galapagos Conservancy, according to Ecuador’s environment ministry. Researchers think more tortoises of this species will be found because of tracks and fecal evidence. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the Fernandina giant tortoise as critically endangered and possibly extinct. The group said the only other living specimen was found in 1906.

Methodology

To compile a list of good news stories, 24/7 Wall St. used information from media outlets such as CNN.com, theweek.com, as well as websites that focus on reporting inspiring news like positive.news and goodnewsnetwork.org.