Sunday, June 30, 2013

Today's Good Newsz Quote of the Day...

Best friends Anne Moyer and Diane Ritchie go on a mission to lose some weight - together they lose almost 300 lbs...

(CNN) -- When Anne Moyer told her best friend, Diane Ritchie, she was going to lose weight a few years ago, Ritchie politely replied, "Good for you. You'll have to let me know how it works out."
Clearly, Ritchie had heard this before. In fact, she could look in the mirror herself and see that her friend's history of starting and stopping diets with little success was similar to her own.
The stay-at-home moms had been close since meeting in 2006 when their husbands were stationed in the Navy in Chesapeake, Virginia. Ritchie's family was transferred to Chicago in 2009, and that fateful phone conversation about losing weight took place shortly before Christmas 2010.
Ritchie hung up and thought about her friend's pledge. She picked up the phone and called Moyer back.
"I'm doing it with you," Ritchie remembers telling Moyer. "I'm going to start the same day you do, and I'm going to start to figure this out."
They began January 6, 2011. Moyer weighed 336 pounds and squeezed into size 30 pants. Ritchie was 260 pounds and wore a size 24.
Leaning on each other as long-distance weight-loss "sponsors," the women would go on to lose more than 200 pounds the first year.
Big and beautiful
Their husbands always told them they were beautiful, no matter how big they got.
Both women loved to eat and didn't think about exercise. Before they knew it, they were obese.
Ritchie, 38, says she was chunky in high school, while Moyer, 42, was average size until she was about 20. Both women said their weight ballooned after their first pregnancies.
"I'd like to say it was some traumatic event," Ritchie says. "I had a lot of fun in my 20s and 30s and just didn't pay attention. Before I knew it, I was way up."
Moyer tells a similar story.
"I gained some, then I'd lose some, but I wouldn't lose all of it, and then I'd gain more than I lost. It just kept creeping up and up ... and then I just decided, "Well, this is me. I'm plus size."
Ritchie cooked healthy meals for her children but indulged on her own. Chicken without the skin removed, heavy pastas, wings and beer were all in frequent rotation. Moyer would make two 9-by-13 pans of white chocolate bread pudding at Christmas -- one for the family and one for herself.
Physical and emotional difficulties
Being obese took a physical toll on both women and their families.
For Moyer, just walking to the car from her front door caused her to break out into a sweat. If she went to one of her kids' sports games, she would watch from the car because the field was too far to walk.
"Say you go to Walmart -- I couldn't do both the grocery side and the regular side. I had to choose one side one day and the other side another day because I couldn't do the whole store and then get back out to the car, too." begins distributing $61,000,000 to victims today...

The One Fund Boston, a nonprofit created to benefit the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, has begun distributing nearly $61 million to 232 eligible claimants, the fund said in a news release Saturday.
Payments will be issued beginning June 30 and represent 100% of all the money that was collected by the fund through June 26, the release said
At least 264 people were wounded and 3 were killed in the double bombings, which took place near the Boston marathon finish line on April 15.
To be considered for payment, those injured had to file claims. While it was not specified in the release, failure to do so could explain why about 30 of those injured are not included among the claimants.
Payments will be made to claimants in each of the four classifications of claims (categories A through D), according to the release.
Six people in Category A will each receive $2,195,000. This category includes loss of life and those who sustained double amputations of limbs or permanent brain damage.
Fourteen people in Category B will each receive $1,195,000. This category includes those who sustained a single amputation of a limb.
Sixty-nine people in Category C will each receive between $125,000 and $948,300. This category includes those who were physically injured and hospitalized for one or more nights and they will receive their payments determined by length of hospital stay.
The final category, D, will give 143 people $8,000 each. This category includes those who were physically injured but released without an overnight hospital stay.
"No amount of money can replace what has been lost," One Fund Boston Administrator Kenneth Feinberg said, "But (the tragedy) was made lighter by the unprecedented generosity of Bostonians, of Americans, and of people around the world."
The One Fund Boston was established by Boston Mayor Tom Menino and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.
The release states that the One Fund will use donations received after June 26 to continue to support the survivors and victims' families who have been most affected by the tragedy. No deadline has been established for donations.

Injured Boston Marathon victim Roseann Sdoia learns to walk again...

BOSTON (AP) — Roseann Sdoia still thinks about how all the shrapnel flew. How some people were hit and some weren't, all just inches away from one another. She would love to understand it, because not a day has gone by since the Boston Marathon bombings when she hasn’t had to cope with the aftermath.
More than two months later, the 45-year-old amputee is learning how to walk on the artificial limb that has replaced part of her right leg after an above-the-knee amputation.
The physical therapy is something that other marathon amputees have either already undergone or will experience in the future. While some bombing survivors have had their artificial limbs for a while, others have yet to get to the stage Sdoia has reached.
‘‘In all honesty, do I wish I had it? Of course, no,’’ Sdoia said on a recent afternoon after physical therapy. ‘‘But I think I like it better with the leg on than without the leg. Looking in the mirror, yeah, it’s difficult. And if anybody says it isn't, they’re lying."

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Today's Good Newsz Quote of the Day...

Inspirational kids Spark the Wave of Service in their communities and around the world...

Ian Brennan wasn’t satisfied.
Even after delivering over 2,500 pounds of food to his local food bank, and helping them setup their computer database, he wanted to do more. That’s why he and some friends created an annual food drive for the center.
Ian’s efforts have helped feed thousands of families.
By the way, Ian did this when he was only 16.
Service is so important to Ian that he and his friend Ibrahim Souadda (16 at the time) came up with the idea of setting up community service clubs in their high schools. Even though they didn’t go to the same school, they decided that they could simultaneously set up clubs in their high schools.
I loved that when Ian and Ibrahim were talking to other high school students about their experience with service projects, they advised students to “keep your goals reasonable.”
Ian and Ibrahim originally wanted to build a homeless shelter but determined that a food drive, book drive and setting up community service clubs was more doable. Most people would consider the 2,500+ pounds of food and 2,000+ books they collected pretty ambitious and not the result of a “fallback goal.”

To 87 year old Dr, Granville Coggs life is a series of he celebrates his 60 year reunion with his 1953 Harvard Medical School classmates

One by one they came to the microphone, sharing fond memories and opinions on the state of health care. Sixty years earlier, the speakers had graduated from Harvard Medical School, and tonight, in suits and tuxedoes, the Class of 1953 gathered at the Longwood campus, in Gordon Hall, for a reunion dinner.
And then up stepped Dr. Granville Coggs, the only African-American in his class. Wearing a burgundy sports coat, a bright yellow T-shirt, and a baseball cap, when it was his turn at the mike, he spoke not about medicine — he specialized for decades in radiology — but about his love of the gutbucket, a stringed instrument made from a broomstick and a tin wash tub. Coggs even brought a gutbucket with him, made with a single string and a fair amount of duct tape.
The initial reaction, perhaps not surprisingly, was confusion. But by the time Coggs launched into Louis Jordan’s “Let the Good Times Roll,” his old classmates and their spouses were chuckling and applauding. Some recalled his sense of humor from their school days; others said he’d always marched to his own beat.
Coggs, 87, had to agree. “Life is a series of rhythms,” he mused, explaining his unorthodox reunion speech.

Homeless preschool in Hawaii graduates 35 students...

HONOLULU (AP) — Homeless and living on a Hawaii beach, Sarah Kanuha never imagined being able to provide preschool for her youngest daughter.
But on Thursday, the mother of five watched 4-year-old Aulii Malia Kanuha receive a preschool diploma. She was one of 35 students to graduate from Ka Paalana Traveling Preschool, which educates about 700 homeless children each year.
Kanuha found out about the program last year while living at Keaau Beach Park, on Oahu's Waianae Coast. The family has since moved to a shelter.
"Socially, she has grown so much," she said. "They blossomed her into this social little butterfly."
Kanuha's oldest child, now 18, received free preschool in Michigan. But when the family moved back to the islands, her three other children never got any preschool. Hawaii, one of the country's most expensive places to live, is one of 10 states with no state-funded pre-kindergarten program, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Today's Good Newsz Quote of the Day...

A Story of Life and Hope...

Late one spring night, my daughter Elizabeth woke us up with screams of "Fire! The house in on fire!" My wife and I got up and walked into the hallway, which was filled with smoke. We got our youngest son Erich from his bedroom and the four of us descended through the thick smoke and out of the house. But when we got there Elizabeth was missing. I was told that Elizabeth had gone back inside to get her cat. I went back into the house, calling her name, and went to her room. I couldn’t see anything so I felt around and kept calling out her name. She didn’t answer and I couldn’t find her. I had to crawl down the stairs and back out of the house. To my surprise, there she was with the others on the sidewalk. Still one missing!
Our oldest son had a bedroom on the first floor in the back of the house. I sent the family to our neighbor’s house and went to find him. I ran to the back of the house and to the outside of the missing son’s room screaming his name. I smashed out a window with my fist and tried to climb in, but the heat and smoke drove me back. I broke through another window, thinking that the smoke would go out the other window, and tried to climb in again but was driven back. All I could do was stand there screaming his name. At that time someone found me and told me that he had been at a friend’s house and was heading home. I then went to the front of the house and just stood looking, wanting to do something. A neighbor pulled me away and brought me to his house where I found my family being cared for. They were covered with soot and looked awful. An ambulance took us to the hospital and we were given oxygen. We were told that the Red Cross had arranged a motel room for us for the night, so we found our way there. We showered and didn’t sleep, but sat around trying to grasp what had happened.
The next morning at dawn, I went back to the house. One cat had died in the fire and one was unaccounted for. The house, garage, and the two cars that were parked next to the house were in ruins. I was able to salvage a pair of jumper cables.

Ice breaks ice for Arab and Jewish teens in Israel

METULLA, Israel — An Arab-Jewish hockey team has become an unlikely icebreaker in a remote corner of northern Israel, overcoming barriers of language, culture and conflict.
A few years ago, a mixed team in these parts was unthinkable. In the arid Middle East, hockey is virtually unheard of, and relations between Arabs and Jews in this combustible area, next to the tense borders of Lebanon and Syria, are generally downright chilly.
Thanks to an accidental combination of generous philanthropy, a local hockey enthusiast and a sports-mad Arab mayor, the mixed team of teens and preteens is thriving.
“When you play together, you forget that you are Arabs and Jews,” said Mayyas Sabag, 12, a forward from the Druze village of Majdal Shams. He is one of five Arab athletes on the 14-member team, which is traveling to Canada this month.
The team is the product of Metulla’s Canada Center, a sprawling sports complex donated to this rural border town in the 1990s by Canadian Jews. The building houses Israel’s only Olympic-size hockey rink.
And when the hockey players get skating, the only tension they feel is the thrill of competition.

Photographer Jade Beall launches the "Beautiful Body" project celebrating real mother's in her new book...

When Jade Beall published a series of self-portraits of her semi-nude postpartum body online -- and a followup semi-nude photo of a friend that got thousands of "likes" and shares from her photography studio's Facebook page -- she realized she’d struck a nerve. Hundreds of mothers wrote to her, hoping Beall would be willing to take portraits of them "just as they were" as well. The photographer, and mother of one, was so moved by these intense reactions that she complied, in a big way.
Now, these women’s photos (Beall has captured more than 50 moms and counting), and written accounts of their journeys from self-doubt to body confidence, will appear in "A Beautiful Body," a book that Beall is bringing to fruition via crowd-funding and help from volunteers. Put together, these images are meant to show mothers as theyreally look, imperfect but no less beautiful for what society might consider their physical "flaws."
The photographer, whose baby boy Sequoia is now 16 months old, says the concept has roots in doubts that have haunted her throughout her life -- and hit her particularly hard after she gave birth. She explained to HuffPost over email:
As a teenager I suffered from feelings of deep unworthiness. I had acne and I was unable to look in a mirror for nearly three years, unless it was by candlelight. ... I gained 50 pounds with my pregnancy and that added to my personal history of oppressive self-loathing in a culture that praises mostly photoshopped images of women in media.
The project is volunteer-driven, and Beall does each photoshoot for free. She writes on Kickstarter that she plans to use some of the extra money she has raised to help people travel to her studio in Tucson, Arizona.

Charles Keller makes sick kids feel like superheroes with his Batmobile and real life BatCave...

With just a week to go before Christmas, everyone in the Cowell family was thrilled to see Santa Claus drive up.
But what really grabbed 3-year-old Colten’s attention was St. Nick’s ride — a sleek black Batmobile, decked out with orange trim. It was spotless, looking as if it left the Batcave no more than a few minutes earlier.
Colten could have used a superhero about then. He had been battling leukemia for several months and also had Down syndrome. He was unable to speak. Over the past few weeks, it was clear leukemia was going to win.
But that night, when Colten saw the Batmobile, he could not take his eyes off the car.
A charity group had arranged the Santa-Batmobile visit. As the evening wound down, Charles Keller, the car’s owner, did something he had never done before. He handed the key to Colten’s father, urging him to take his son for a spin.
Erika Cowell remembers this scene even now, years later. She remembers how the light that had been missing in her son’s eyes returned.
Earl Cowell fired up the engine and the two took off. For the moment, as Earl drove around the block, he and Colten were Batman and Robin, the Dynamic Duo, afraid of nothing.
When they returned, the child in the passenger seat beamed as Keller asked him how he liked the ride. Colten, who signed because he was unable to talk, touched his fingertips together as if in quiet applause.
Keller remembers being puzzled.
“What is he saying?” he asked Earl.
“He wants to go again,” Earl replied, tears in his eyes.
The Batmobile rocketed away once more.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Today's Good Newsz Quote of the Day...

Inspiration: High school golfer Drew Miller donates to children with cancer every time he gets a birdie on his high school golf team...

For the past three years, Allen High School senior Drew Miller has found a way to make his golf game raise money for charity.
"I just wanted to help them and give back to their charity, and help their family and all the other families who are struggling with children with cancer," Miller said.
Through his website,, Miller found sponsors to donate money for every birdie he recorded during an official round of high school golf.
"This is a rare boy right here. He's a special gem," said Kimberly Richardson.
So far, Miller has raised more than $8,600, which he donates to the Carson's Crusaders Foundation, a charity set up for Carson Richardson, who died of cancer at the age of seven in 2010.
"He had hepatoblastoma, which is a very rare solid tumor for children," said Kimberly Richardson, Carson's mother.
"Drew came to us and stepped forward, and said, 'I'd like to do this to help with your mission,'" said George Richardson, Carson's grandfather.
"He literally contacts us after the season and says, 'This is what I’ve raised,'" Kimberly Richardson said. "That's huge for a foundation that runs solely on volunteers."
The money that Miller raises goes to the foundation, which provides support to families of patients in the form of gas cards, parking vouchers, and other travel assistance.
"I just love helping everyone else," Miller said. "That's what makes me happiest."
At his current pace, Miller should top the $10,000 mark next season at Allen High School, one birdie at a time.

8 year old Olivia Schweitzer, who has Cerebral Palsy, is training for a triathlon with her dad...

An 8 year-old girl with cerebral palsy is determined to finish a full triathalon with help from her dad.
The two are training for the Sacramento International Triathlon on June 30 at Discovery Park. This is father-daughter time that is beyond special.
Dane Schweitzer and his daughter Olivia are hitting the road to prove both physical and mental limitations are no obstacles.
To start the race, Dane will complete the one-mile swim while pulling Olivia along in a kayak. He will then carry her from the kayak, up the river embankment, and into the bike transition area. Olivia will pedal her way for a quarter-mile before hopping into a cart pulled by her dad.
At the end of the race, Olivia will walk across that finish line.

Hero fisherman saves the life of his mate after their boat sinks...hauls his injured friend 3 miles in freezing water.

A freak wave struck the men's dinghy as they returned from a fishing trip late on Tuesday afternoon, leaving one of them with two dislocated shoulders and a dislocated hip.

They had just enough time to grab their lifejackets before the boat went under.
In a heroic act of endurance, the injured man's mate hauled him across 3 miles of freezing open ocean, battling strong currents and big waves.
Three hours later the pair came to ashore on South Stradbroke Island, but were still in danger as they hadn't set off their distress beacon and had no shelter as temperatures plunged into the single digits.
The men were able to gather branches, which they used to make a crude shelter while they awaited rescue.
Relatives of the men contacted police on Tuesday night when the men failed to return from the trip and the search area was narrowed, based on where the men usually fished.
At one point, the freezing men could see a search helicopter on a beach on the island, but they weren't able to signal the crew.
Sergeant Tony Nelson said the pair knew the chopper would be back and resigned themselves to wait in the cold.
"Once the boat capsized, they were able to adapt quite quickly," he told reporters.
"They were always confident that they would make it to the shore. I think they were fortunate."
The men are both in a stable condition in hospital.
The man who towed his mate to shore is being treated for hypothermia.

Marge Bishop, long time Boston Bruins season ticket holder gets tickets for life after she could no longer afford them...

A 77-year-old Boston Bruins fan has revealed that the team gave her tickets for life when she said she couldn't afford them anymore.
According to The Boston Globe, Marge Bishop of Gloucester, Mass., has had front-row seats for the Bruins since the late 1960s. Bishop, who worked in customer service for Tupperware for years, and her husband, who works in construction, decided they couldn't afford their tickets when prices of their seats went from $73 to $90 in 2004.
Because Bishop was known around the rink -- Zamboni drivers knew her by name because she gave them chocolates between periods -- the Bruins asked whether she would be willing to move to cheaper seats, but she declined.
Then she received a call from the son of owner Jeremy Jacobs, Charlie Jacobs. 
According to The Globe, he invited her to a Jimmy Fund event at Fenway Park, then asked her to join the season-ticket advisory board. Even though the renewal window had closed, he also made sure her tickets weren't released to the public. So the Bishops stuck with them.
When the 2006-07 season came around and the tickets went from $90 to $150, however, that was it. Bishop said they were done. Again Jacobs stepped in, inviting her to a behind-the-scenes tour of TD Garden. He showed her his plastic card that allowed him access to all games and areas of the arena.
"He could go to any game he wanted at any time," Bishop said, according to the Globe. "At first I didn't know why he was showing me it."
Then Jacobs gave her her own card.
"It was the most unbelievable gesture," Bishop said, according to the newspaper. "People just don't do things like that."
She kept the gesture to herself for years but finally decided she wanted the world to know about Jacobs' generosity.
"I'm just a regular person," Bishop said, according to The Globe. "And I've been given this remarkable once-in-a-lifetime gift. It's incredible. It's the most remarkable story."

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Today's Good Newsz Quote of the Day...

Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson anonymously gave up his seat on a flight so mom Jessie Frank could go see her 12 year old daughter at diabetes camp...

Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson is in the travel spotlight today after he gave up his seat on an oversold Delta flight so that a mother could make it home to Atlanta, WXIA TV of Atlanta reports.
The mother – Jessie Frank – was flying from Washington Reagan National Airport to Atlanta on June 13. Unbeknownst to Delta employees, Frank was anxious to make it home to Atlanta in time to pick up her 12-year old daughter, who was at a Georgia summer camp for kids with Type I diabetes.
But Frank's travels didn't go smoothly once she got to the airport. Her two-hour flight turned into an entire day at the airport after a series of delays and cancellations, and she began to fear she'd not make it back in time to meet her daughter.
By the time Frank was ready to board her now late-day flight, she says she was No. 8 on the stand-by list – with zero seats available. So Frank was surprised when the gate agents called her and told her to board.
Frank says she and her luggage were escorted to her seat by a man with a "vaguely familiar" face, but she initially didn't think much of else of it and settled in.
It was only as her flight prepared to land in Atlanta that the pilots announced the Delta CEO was riding in the cockpit jump seat as "a special guest." Frank says that's when it hit her about who that man with the familiar face was.

16 year old high school student Kevin Chung wins $1000 in chess tournament and donates it to the Renown Institute for Cancer...

What would you do if you won $1,000? Would you go on a shopping spree, plan a vacation? How about give it away? That’s what 16-year-old Kevin Chung did.

The junior from Reed High School in Sparks recently took first place in the D/under section at the local Larry Evans Memorial chess tournament in March.

He then donated his prize money to the Renown Institute for Cancer and was on-site on Tuesday to present the funds in person.

“I think that everyone should donate something to help people in need, whether it is the homeless or those with cancer,” Chung said. “It is important to give to people if you can afford it.”

Chung started out playing chess with friends but quickly moved on to more professional play as he gained experience. He enjoys the challenging and competitive aspects of chess and has plans to play in upcoming tournaments.

The teen said he enjoyed the rewarding feeling that came from making a difference in someone’s life and felt good about his contribution.

“I was just trying to do the right thing,” he said. “I didn’t expect to get any recognition for what I did.”

Chung said he will not stop with this display of generosity. He hopes to continue to contribute any winnings he might receive in the future to those who are in need of help.

“I don’t need the money, so why not give it to a good cause?” he said.

Citizen's across the United States have not forgotten the victims of the Boston Marathon tragedy as donations approach $60,000,000!!

Victim Relief Fund

The One Fund established a Victim Relief Fund to provide financial assistance directly to the individuals who were most seriously injured and to the families of those who were killed.  To facilitate the distribution of these funds, Attorney Kenneth Feinberg agreed to serve on a volunteer basis as the administrator of the Victim Relief Fund of One Fund Boston.  Mr. Feinberg is considered the world’s foremost expert on victim compensation.  Distributions will be made to victims and families on July 1, 2013.  One hundred percent of the donations received prior to June 27, 2013, will be apportioned among victims and families through the Victim Relief Fund.  In order to be part of the July 1 distributions from the Victim Relief Fund, donations must be received prior to June 27, 2013.
Ongoing Family Support
In addition to distributions from the Victim Relief Fund, One Fund Boston will continue to provide support to meet the ongoing needs of the victims and families, and the broader community, after June 30, 2013.  Plans for the future of the One Fund Boston are currently being developed by the Board and the City of Boston, in consultation with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the victims and the community.  The One Fund Boston will serve as a centralized resource for victims and families to provide long-term support.
Important Note to Victims:  June 15, 2013 is the deadline to submit your claim to the Fund Administrator to be considered for financial assistance from the Victim Relief Fund.  If you have not yet filed your claim and need assistance, please call the Fund Administrator at 866-298-2951.

"Sugar Heaven" candy company, a business victim of the Boston Marathon tragedy, pays it forward...

When Sugar Heaven was closed for nearly two weeks after the Boston Marathon bombings, a caring stranger donated $8,000 to help owner David Sapers get his Boylston Street business back on its feet.
Now, Sapers is paying it forward to the first responders who showed such courage on that awful day in April.
Tomorrow and Friday, the first 320 police officers, firefighters and EMTs who come to Sugar Heaven will receive a $25 gift certificate.
“I decided to use the money for this,” Sapers said. “It was money that was meant to help people. Now, it’s my turn to help out. We’re celebrating their bravery.”
The April 15 bombings killed three people and injured more than 260 people.
Like many other Back Bay businesses, Sugar Heaven was closed for 11 days after the bombings, costing Sapers an estimated $40,000 to $50,000 in lost products and sales.
Sapers said he will never forget the stranger who donated the $8,000 after he was interviewed by local media. And he’ll never forget the men and women who rushed in to help those who couldn’t help themselves after the twin blasts went off only feet from Sugar Heaven.
People outside sought shelter in the store that day, Sapers said, and he and his manager rushed them out the back door to safety.
One woman came in covered in blood and collapsed on the floor, he said, and EMTs came and took her to the hospital.
“A lot of people were helping other people,” Sapers said. “That’s the amazing thing.”

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Today's Good Newsz Quote of the Day...

Better late than never as 3 "senior" grandmothers aged 76, 80 and 89 graduate high school...

Maureen Baker has waited 56 years to get her high school diploma, and has now finally crossed that dream off her bucket list.
Baker has attended several high school reunions with her classmates from the 1950s, but felt like an outsider because she never finished school.
On Wednesday, the 76-yearold Agassiz resident finally walked across a stage with two other seniors who enrolled at the same alternate school as part of a pilot project for seniors, alongside a group of at-risk teens.
"I'm thinking I must be a late bloomer," Baker said before the ceremony. "It's taken me 56 years to do it."
Baker quit school in 1956, when she was in Grade 11, to work as a phone operator for BC Tel, which was later bought by Telus. Going back to class at the Agassiz Centre for Education after more than five decades wasn't all peachy for Baker, whose biggest challenge was "the dreaded math."
Her husband, Leonard Baker, tried to encourage her, in his own unique way.
"When he saw me struggling with trigonometry and algebra he said, 'Moe, why are you doing this?' And I said, 'Because I can.'"
Baker got her kicks in English class, however, because of her lifelong love of reading. And the other two women in the class inspired her to keep chugging along because they had a bit more patience under their belts - at ages 80 and 89.
"They called me the youngster, and I was the oldest of six children so I loved it," said Baker.
Being called "Grandma" by the 20 teens at the alternate school was all the motivation she needed. Baker, whose blended family includes eight children, 15 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, got extra inspiration from her 17-year-old granddaughter, who graduated from the same alternate school last year.
"She said, 'Grandma, if I can do it, you can do it.'"

War veteran and Purple Heart recipient Jake Carlson receives a new and clear from Patricia Thomas whose late husband had served in the Persian Gulf War.

Woman Donates Home to Young War Veteran in Edwardsville, Kan.

Jake Carlson received a Purple Heart after a roadside bomb in Afghanistan injured his brain. This month the 22-year-old Army veteran got another tribute for his sacrifice -- a place of his own, thanks to the generosity of an acquaintance.
According to TV station KMBC, Patricia Thomas gave Carlson her mobile home in Edwardsville, Kan., free and clear. Appliances included.
"Here's the key and thank you for serving our country," she said in an impromptu ceremony this month, captured by the outlet. Thomas said her late husband served in the Persian Gulf War and that the plight of veterans was dear to her heart.
Carlson and his girlfriend, Sidni Sprenkle, have been busy fixing up the house, Sprenkle's mother, Vicki, told The Huffington Post on Thursday. They redid the kitchen and are now working on the bedroom.
The young vet owes nothing on the dwelling but must pay approximately $400 a month for the lot, she added.
Carlson, who had been staying with friends and the Sprenkles until he was given the gift of a home, welled with thanks in an interview with Fox 4: “I would be lost without people like this. It has really given me faith in society that there are people out there with a heart that are willing to extend their hand to somebody in need.”
Carlson recently got a warehouse job and plans to enroll in Johnson County Community College in the fall, Vicki Sprenkle said.

8 year old Michael Diamond Jr. sets up a Kool-Aid stand to help pitch in for his grandma's funeral expenses...

Business was so brisk at his 8-year-old son's Kool-Aid stand, Michael Diamond, Sr., had to stock up on cups Friday near his Garfield Heights, Ohio, home.
The elder Diamond appreciates his son's enterprise -- but admires his heart even more. Michael Diamond, Jr., opened the stand on Tuesday to raise money for his grandmother's funeral.
Bobbie Diamond passed away Father's Day at age 52 from cancer. The lad heard his mom and dad, both on disability, discussing the $5,000 ceremony cost and he wanted to pitch in.
This is one Kool kid.
"I'm very proud," the father told The Huffington Post. "Words cannot express how I feel right now."
As for how his deceased mother -- and Michael Jr.'s grandmother -- would feel, the elder Diamond said, "My mom would probably sit back and cry and say 'Thank you, Jesus.' My mother was very spiritual."

Dave Nazaroff is biking 900 miles for Tripp Halstead a two year old he has never met who is suffering from extensive brain damage...

Dave Nazaroff is cycling 900 miles from New York to Atlanta to raise money for a boy he has never met. But Tripp Halstead isn't just any boy.
The 2-year-old suffered extensive brain damage when a tree branch fell on his head at daycare in Winder, Ga., on Oct. 29, CNN reports. He spent months in a hospital fighting his way back and is finally home. He can't talk and must use a wheelchair, but he shows glimmers of recovery.
Tripp's mother, Stacy, chronicles his path on a Facebook page now followed by hundreds of thousands of people.
That's where Nazaroff comes in.
His wife, Kaete, was mesmerized by the hope and despair expressed by Tripp's mom. The Nazaroffs, too, have a towheaded 2-year-old, making Stacy's daily accounts hit even closer to home, she explained.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Today's Good Newsz Quote of the Day...

83 year old Helen Fahey, who is legally blind, retires after spending 53 years at the National Braille Press in Boston..."Now, I think it’s time to take it easy"

In 1949, Helen Fahey had just graduated from the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown when she applied for a job at the National Braille Press in Boston, and was told no.
Fahey, who is legally blind, had been working summers and school vacations at the publishing operation, but founder Francis B. Ierardi, who was also blind, told her he wouldn’t hire her until she had more experience in the wider community.
“He said: ‘No, you’ve been with blind people all of your life,’ ” Fahey recalled recently, sitting on the front porch of her longtime Arlington home. “ ‘Now, you have to learn to live with people who can see. You get out in the world . . . get a job and do well, and then I will give you a job.’ ”
Fahey landed on her feet. She married, had three children, and worked as an inspector of M1 rifles during the Korean War. In 1960, she went back to the National Braille Press, and this time got hired.
Last month, after 53 years on a job that included assembling and binding books, and required countless bus rides with a seeing-eye dog to and from work at the St. Stephen Street operation, Fahey retired, just shy of her 84th birthday.

73 year old Irv Gordon has nearly 3 million miles on his 1966 Volvo well on his way to another Guiness World Record.

Irv Gordon’s 1966 Volvo 1800S has already made the Guinness Book of World Records twice; once for eclipsing all other cars on the road when it hit 1.69 million miles in 1998, and again in 2002, when the the car’s odometer rolled past 2 million miles. Mr. Gordon, a retired science teacher from Patchogue, N.Y., reached 2.9 million miles in the car this month, and is now about 30,000 miles shy of 3 million miles, and a third nod from Guinness.
Mr. Gordon, 73, bought the car in 1966, after having bad experiences with two Chevrolet Corvairs. The first decade he owned the Volvo, he drove the car 500,000 miles. So far, he has driven his 1800S through every one of the Lower 48 states, and even had it shipped to Europe once and drove it around the continent. He’s done all that on the original engine, although Mr. Gordon has had it overhauled twice, at the 680,000-mile mark and again at nearly 2 million miles. Mr. Gordon has been telling everyone for years that the first rebuild wasn’t even necessary.
Volvo has certainly recognized Mr. Gordon’s car as the public relations boon that it is, casting the durable red coupe in a commercial comparing other Volvos to the one that’s been snagging records for the last decade and a half.
Volvo introduced the P1800 in 1960, and it is arguably one of the prettier Volvos ever made. When it came out, Volvos were known for having more of a utilitarian look. But the 1800’s body was Italian, coming from Ghia’s coachworks. While still often referred to as the P1800, the model’s name was changed by Volvo to 1800S in 1964, and again to 1800E/1800ES in 1970, although it was essentially the same car throughout its run.
According to a 2007 post on the Volvo Owners’ Club Web site, Mr. Gordon had toyed with the idea of selling his car after it hit 3 million miles – asking one dollar for each mile he has driven. Unrealistic asking prices aside, it looks like he and his 1800S are in it for the (really) long haul. Perhaps we’ll hear from him again at 4 million miles.

Bullied New York bus monitor Karen Klein hasn't changed as she goes about teaching kindness in her retirement...

GREECE, N.Y. (AP) — No new carpet or furniture for the home she’s lived in for 46 years. No fancy car in the driveway.
After being gifted a life-changing sum following a school bus bullying episode seen around the world a year ago, former bus monitor Karen Klein says she really hasn’t changed all that much.
Sure, the ‘‘Today’’ show mug she drinks coffee from reminds her of the widespread media attention her story brought, and the occasional stranger wants to snap her picture.
She’s also retired, something the 69-year-old widow couldn’t afford before.
But Klein, who drove a school bus for 20 years before spending three years as a monitor, remains as unassuming as she was before learning firsthand how the kindness of strangers can trump the cruelty of four adolescent boys.
‘‘It’s really amazing,’’ Klein said at her suburban Rochester home, still perplexed at the outpouring unleashed by a 10-minute cellphone video of her being ridiculed, sworn at and threatened by a group of seventh-graders last June. They poke at her hearing aid and call her names as she tries to ignore them.
‘‘Unless you have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all,’’ Klein says calmly a few minutes in.
One boy taunts: ‘‘You don’t have a family because they all killed themselves because they don’t want to be near you.’’ Klein’s oldest son committed suicide more than a decade ago.
The video, recorded by a fellow student, was posted online and viewed more than 1.4 million times on YouTube.

10 year old Sarah Murnaghan is up and awake after undergoing lung transplant....

(CNN) -- Sarah Murnaghan, the Philadelphia girl who underwent a lung transplant last week following a court battle, is out of a coma and responsive.
The 10-year-old woke up Friday night, said Tracy Simon, a family spokeswoman.
Although she remains on a ventilator and is unable to talk, she is nodding and shaking her head in response to questions, Simon said.
Prior to her surgery, Sarah, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, was put in a medically induced coma to allow her body needed rest prior to the transplant surgery.
Her family fought to allow children to compete with adults waiting for lungs based on sickness in a case that has sparked a public debate. She received new lungs on June 12 after a six-hour surgery that included resizing lungs from a grownup.
"We expect it will be a long road, but we're not going for easy, we're going for possible. And an organ donor has made this possible for her," the family said in a statement.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Today's Good Newsz Quote of the Day...

Richard Browne has helped put smiles back on many faces - he's returned over 100 rings in 30 years of searching with his metal detector...

Since 1982, Richard Browne has been finding and returning precious belongings to Cape Cod beachgoers.
"They give me a call and I go out anywhere on the Cape and find it for them and return it to them for nothing," Browne told the Cape Cod Times. "Two years ago, I returned 22 rings and this past year, 10."
Browne is a member of the Ring Finders, a world-wide network of metal detector specialists whose mission is to reunite people with their lost items.
Browne's heroics came to the fore recently when Reddit user abuaf shared the below story:
I lost a gold ring with sapphires & diamonds at the beach in Cape Cod. I gave my contact info to neighbors & lifeguards, posted a craigslist ad, but left the beach realizing my ring would be lost forever. Within 3 days I was reunited with my ring thanks to Rick Browne, Metal detector extraordinaire.
Browne told the Cape Cod Times that he has found a couple hundred rings during his 30 year career, and he's returned roughly 100, including one that possibly helped save a marriage.
Several of his success stories are documented on his Ring Finders blog. Check them out here.