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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Free ride in med school?

Medical students at the University of Houston won't have to worry about paying tuition. Thanks to an anonymous gift of $3 million, 30 students in the fall of 2020 inaugural class at UH's College of Medicine will have their tuition paid in advance.

"Debt is the biggest challenge for almost all students who apply to medical school,"says Renu Khator, University of Houston president. "This generous gift will allow such students an opportunity to attend medical school and eventually lead the medical workforce." The gift marks a scholarship milestone for the university.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

An avalanche of kindness

Their names are being withheld, but we know this husband and wife are old enough to be grandparents. She asked him to move their travel trailer, so he did. But a tire on the trailer went flat, and sparks from the rim rubbing the pavement started California's deadly Carr Fire, which burned over 224,000 acres and killed three firefighters. The couple's story appeared on the Carr Fire Facebook page. which said in part, "Many have been praying for this man, and his wife is blaming herself because she asked him to take the trailer. She has been crying day and night on her couch. Do you think we could show some grace and even forgiveness for the shame and despair she is feeling?"

                                                                                                                       Noah Berger / AP
In less than two days, the Facebook page received over 700 comments. One came from Diane Woodley, who said she is the daughter of Ed Bledsoe, the man who lost his wife and two great-grandchildren when the fire burned their home before they could escape. Woodley wrote, "It is not your fault, Please don't beat yourself up. Accidents happen every day so please forgive yourself. You are loved and I have thought about you every day. God loves you too." A comment also came from Jeanine Coffee, who wrote, "The fire took the homes of my parents, my grandmother and myself, but not once have I blamed you! Please do not torment yourself further. God bless you. Be at peace." Because of high winds, the blaze has been called a "fire tornado," and the response of victims has been described as "an avalanche of kindness."

Friday, August 17, 2018

A crumb from Minnesota

Climax, Minnesota, population 267, is even smaller than Garrison Keillor's mythical hometown of Lake Wobegon. There's no Side Track Tap at the railroad station, and no Powdermilk Biscuit Company on the edge of town. But Climax has two things in common with Lake Wobegon. All the men are strong, and all the women are good looking. And the children? Well, you decide.

Greater downtown Climax, MN.

Since 2011, the Lady Knights basketball team of Climax-Fisher High School had strung together 84 straight losses. That was four years of ridicule. But coach Jonathan Vonesh never lost faith in the girls. A few quit, but most remained determined to turn the team around. It finally happened, and you won't believe how.

In 2015, the Knights were one point ahead of Bagley High at halftime, and "the crowd was getting into it," remembers player Grace Bowling. Then the Knights got in major foul trouble. First, all the seniors fouled out. Then all the juniors fouled out! There were only three Knights left, two sophomores and a freshman -- the least experienced players on the losingest team in the state. Coach didn't tell them to win. He just told them to keep working 'til the end. You can't win three against five.

They didn't score once from the field, but they played stellar defense. When they got the ball, they drew fouls and made free throws, one after another. When the buzzer sounded, the Lady Knights won! What happened next? "We were all hugging and crying and screaming our heads off," said Heather Grove. "It was probably the best moment of my life," added Adrianna Vasek. "You kind of learn that no matter what people say about you, if you keep putting in the time and effort, it will pay off," said Michaela Burstad. That's a lesson the team will never forget.

When Coach Vonesh was contacted by ABC News affiliate WDAZ, he credited the victory to "survival, and a lot of prayers," adding "it was like they won a championship." Thanks to the Lady Knights, Climax now has one more thing in common with Lake Wobegon. All the children are above average.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The cat who wouldn't let go

Erin Merryn lives in Illinois where she has a cat named Bailey. She adopted him 13 years ago while she was in college. Why? Because he literally jumped into her lap and would not let go. Thirteen years later, he's sweeter than ever. Just ask Merryn's daughter Abby.

In a heart-melting video recently uploaded to Twitter, four-year-old Abby reads a bedtime story to Bailey. According to her mom, she regularly curls up with the cat so she can read to him, and he's always a good audience. But if it's a bedtime story, Bailey mostly snoozes, sleepily raising his head to look at Abby before falling asleep again.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A crumb from two gangs in Chicago

Eight months ago, two rival gangs in the North Pullman neighborhood of southwest Chicago decided to call a cease-fire. They realized gang violence prevented their kids from playing outside, so they decided to achieve peace. The successful cease-fire has brought relief to the community. Now kids can play outside again, but where?

Working with Chicago CRED, an organization to reduce violence in the city, young men in the two rival gangs banded together so they could build a community playground. "They didn't ask for anything for themselves," said CRED spokesman Amy Duncan. "They just said, 'Our kids have no place to play. Can you help us build a playground?'" The two gangs worked side-by-side on the project, and when they saw the finished playground, no one could hide their smiles.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Walmart cashier has a heart

It happened at the Burton Walmart on Court Street in Flint, Michigan. Angela Peters visited the nail salon, but was turned away because she has cerebral palsy. Walmart cashier Ebony Harris saw the incident and decided to do something about it. So she skipped her break and helped Peters select her favorite polish. Then the two relaxed in the seating area of Subway (in Walmart) for a manicure.

Harris said, "she moved her hands a little bit and kept saying she was sorry, and I told her, 'don't say that, you're fine.'" Harris has no qualms with the nail salon, but she hopes her actions inspire otehrs to treat people with disabilities the same way they would like to treated themselves.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Remember singing "Sweet Caroline?"

Musical legend Neil Diamond cancelled the final third of his 50th anniversary World Tour last January, after he was diagnosed with Parkinson's. But he came out of retirement recently to sing for hundreds of Colorado fire fighters.

Diamond, who is a Colorado resident, insisted on returning to the stage to give an impromptu performance for firefighters and their families as a show of gratitude for their hard work. Before he launched into a rousing rendition of "Sweet Caroline," he praised the fire fighters. "I just want to thank you from the people of this area. I've been here 20 years, and you made everybody happy."