Monday, July 31, 2017

Can China's smog be turned into diamonds?

The shimmering, 23-foot tall park tower shown below is more than architecture. It's the largest air purifier in the world, able to filter 75% of harmful particles from the surrounding air, and producing 30,000 cubic meters of clean air per hour. This creates a bubble of clean air around the tower, offering smog-free solace to urban dwellers in Beijing, where breathing untreated air is equivalent to smoking 17 cigarettes each day.

The tower uses very little electricity, about as much as an electric kettle, and the electricity that it does use comes from wind power. Best of all, the filter sucks tiny particles of carbon from the air and turns the substance into diamonds which are used to make jewelry that is sold to help finance construction of new towers.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Summer camps cure phone addiction

Most summer camps ban cell phones. The long driveway into Cape Cod Sea Camps in Brewster, Massachusetts, is lined with signs welcoming campers and warning, "Send your last Snapchat" and "Last chance to text!" But many campers say it takes them two or three weeks to detox from social media. One teen said it gave him the shakes, sort of.  He felt phantom vibrations from his empty pockets! Parents are sometimes the biggest offenders, giving Junior a dead phone to turn in at camp, but hiding a charged phone in carved out pages of a book, or inside a stuffed animal like this.

But teens are finding detox from social media can be healthy. "I haven't read a book for five years," said one, "and I just started reading one. I forgot how much I love reading." Another camper, after six weeks without selfies, says she's able to be more herself. Being phone free has led her to make friends with teens she would never talk to at home. Some campers have come so far that when they get their phones back after camp and are free to check social media, they don't. One camper explained, "You have this slew of texts, and it just doesn't matter. My brain just isn't there."

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Kindness may actually improve health

Kindness is a language the deaf can hear and the blind can see. And Stephen G. Post, Ph.D. director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care and Bioethics at Stony Brook University in New York, has found that helping others in meaningful ways (i.e., creating crumbs of comfort) generally results in a happier, healthier and even longer life for the giver. For example: A study in Science Daily finds helpful behaviors like opening doors or giving directions may buffer the negative impacts of stress.


A study published in Psychology and Aging finds people who volunteer 200 or more hours each year are less likely to develop hypertension. Finally, biological chemist David R. Hamilton, author of The Five Side Effects of Kindness, explains that the emotional warmth associated with kindness may lead to the release of oxytocin, the so-called "love hormone" which is good for the heart. So let's create some crumbs of comfort today.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Boomer Loomers reach out to all 50 states

The Villages is a retirement community in central Florida. It has over 100,000 residents and hundreds of clubs to join. Retirees who like to knit can join a club called the Boomer Loomers, which meets every Saturday at one of the many Villages recreation centers. This year, Boomer Loomers agreed on a new idea called "Project America," making mittens, hats and blankets for needy people in all 50 states. Members adopted states, sometimes focusing on their former hometowns, and reached out to natal intensive care units and homeless shelters to determine needs. Then they started knitting, using donated yarn.

                                                                                               Mike Johnson / Daily Sun
By the end of June, Loomers had created 4,144 items which were shipped to all 50 states. Most Project America items, 2,311 of them, were donated to NICU's across the country. Another 1,478 were sent to homeless shelters, and 355 were dropped off at cancer treatment centers. "It just goes on an on," says retiree Any Donato. "The need is always there. No matter where you go, back up north or locally, it's always there."

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Brits help 5-year-old turn a lemon into lemonade

There was a music festival recently in Victoria Park in London, England. As crowds approached the park on foot. a 5-year-old girl set up a lemonade stand and offered a small cup for 65 cents or a big cup for $1.30. She was doing a brisk business, and was almost sold out when four local law enforcement officials stormed up to her table. One officer switched on his body camera and then read the child a lengthy statement saying she would be fined $195 because she had no trading permit.

                                                                                           Courtesy Professor Andre Spicer
The girl burst into tears, asking her Dad, professor Andre Spicer, again and again, "Have I done a bad thing?" The pair packed up the lemonade and walked home, with the young girl sobbing all the way. After Spicer wrote of the incident in The Telegraph, local authorities cancelled the fine and apologized. "We expect our officers to show common sense," they said. "This clearly did not happen." But that's not all. Borough Market invited Spicer's daughter to sell lemonade there. The Spicer family tweeted, "Dozens of festivals, markets and businesses offered her an opportunity to set up a lemonade stand."  Meanwhile, Redhead Day UK 2018 (see photo above) has offered to make her a guest of honor.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Some Kroger employees and shoppers are angels

Home care nurse Lisa Jackson was shopping at a Kroger in Rome, Georgia, recently when she exchanged glances with an elderly man shopping in a motorized cart. He smiled and she smiled back, but from experience, she saw behind his smile a call for help. So she returned and asked if he needed anything. His name was Elmer, and tears welled up in the old man's eyes as he said, "I have had a really bad accident and if I get out this cart, everyone will know. What should I do?" He was concerned that he get home to his sick wife as soon as possible.

Jackson said the loss of dignity in Elmer's eyes left a lump in her throat. At her request, Kroger staff soon came over with wipes and undergarments. They took Elmer to the employee's rest room  where he was given new clothes. When he returned, what he saw made him cry. He arrived at the register to find his groceries bagged and paid for. A Kroger employee walked out with him and helped load them into his car. Elmer later told Jackson he'd fought in both Korea and Vietnam, but thought his country had forgotten him -- until this day." Jackson knows "faith" and "humanity" describe many heartwarming stories, but she hopes we'll remember they are more than words. They are traits to have as we travel through life.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

This video is truly astonishing

Darci Lynne Farmer lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She's only 12 years old, and she was very shy growing up. She says she was "not good at eye contact and things like that." After seeing a ventriloquist act at a local church, she asked to learn it. When she turned 10, her parents bought her a puppet, and it helped cure her shyness. "Ventriloquism kind of helped me find my voice," she says. "It helped me come out of my shell."

Recently, the TV show "America's Got Talent" held auditions in Oklahoma City, and Darci decided to try out.  Even if she didn't win anything, she'd learn a lot from the experience. The video linked below is her audition, and so far, it has been seen several million times on social media. If you watch to the very end, be prepared to wipe away a tear. Spoiler Alert: she received the Golden Buzzer, which means she advances automatically to the finals on live TV. Prepare to be astonished.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Is it really the happiest place on earth?

Disney World makes that claim, and many agree, including Janielle, 12, and Elijah, 10. For the past three years, these foster children have lived with Courtney and Tom Gilmore. "We quickly knew we wanted to adopt them," says Courtney, "but sometimes the system doesn't work as fast as your heart." Finally the new parents finalized the paperwork. The official adaption day would be May 24, 2017, and they wanted to make it unforgettable, so they took the kids to Disney World. When they arrived, Courtney tweeted a photo of her family and her plans for the children. Disney immediately reached out, setting up a dinner for the family. But they never expect to meet Mickey Mouse in person.

                                                                                                   Courtney Gilmore / Facebook
After dinner, Mickey appeared. For a few moments,  he joked with Janielle and Elijah. Then, as they all posed for pictures with Mickey, another Disney employee held up a sign announcing their official adoption date. Both children were so thrilled that they cried as Mickey hugged them. Courtney, a former foster child herself, knows how important it is to remember kids who need help. She uploaded a video of the special moment which has been viewed 1.5 million times so far.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Good Samaritan insists on anonymity

This month, a squad of firefighters spent six hours containing a wildfire near San Bernardino, about 60 miles east of Los Angeles, California. The flames moved fast, and the thermometer read 108 degrees. But luckily the fire only burned about 70 acres before they got it under control. As California wildfires go, that's pretty small. After the fire was contained, about 25 firefighters went to a nearby Denny's for dinner. They were all pretty hungry.

When they went to pay for their meals, they found someone else already had! A woman who insisted to remaining anonymous had approached the cashier and said she wanted to pay for all 25 firefighters. Their tab came to $355 and she tacked on a $50 tip. Then she added another $100 to pre-pay desserts for the NEXT round of firefighters who came in. A spokesman for the fire department said they were all exhausted, and this was a huge morale boost.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The genuine leather chair

The rough, clean smell of saddle soap blended with the odor of aged leather on my father's old chair. The creases in the leather were like wrinkles of a loved face -- memories of smiles.

The smell of new leather remained on that chair for weeks. When it first came to our house, its brass tacks shown brightly against the green cowhide upholstery. Now they're rubbed to a mottled brown and yellow.

Dad taught me the special care a leather chair needed. Never jump into it thoughtlessly, or put dirty shoes on the handsome ottoman that stood before it. "Always remember it's a genuine leather chair," he said.

The chair, in my off-campus Boston apartment.

But it was really his special chair. Returning home from work each day, he'd sink into it with his paper, and return to it again after supper for a quiet evening. If he read me story before I went to bed, the chair could hold both of us.

One summer, when I'd grown a little bigger, I flopped into the chair too heavily and split a cushion seam wide open. Dad used a special needle to make firm stitches in the worn leather, securing the seam with a new thread.

When I left home for college, my student budget was too small to include much furniture so Dad offered a remedy, claiming, "we really don't need that old chair around the house anymore." When I protested it was "his chair," he told me I'd love it just as much as he did. "Remember, it demands care in exchange for the comfort it gives," he said. "If you take care of it, it will seem ageless, because it's genuine."

When I showed the old chair to my new wife a few years later, we looked at its tired upholstery as we thought about our new home. "How much longer shall we keep it?" she asked.

"As long as we need it, I guess. Dad said it's almost ageless, because it's genuine."

"What a lovely thought," she reflected. "That's just the way Dads are too."
                                         Samuel Henry Horn   1905-1970

Friday, July 21, 2017

"It's a game changer for sure."

Staff Sgt. Eric Myers was serving in the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan in 2012 when he stepped on an improvised explosive device and lost both of his legs.  He came home to his family in Linden, North Carolina, confined to a wheelchair. "The home we live in now," he said, "I can't go to half the house, "since upstairs was off limits. This month, all that changed.

A special home was built for Myers and his family by the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, a New York-based organization which has built more than 50 so-called "smart homes" for disabled veterans. Myers is the third North Carolina veteran to receive one of their homes.

The Myers family was escorted to the home by veterans, firefighters and police. The road outside the home was lined with American flags. Local emergency personnel and soldiers from the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg also attended. One inside his new house, Myers was at a loss for words. The one-floor home features a bathroom and kitchen designed to accommodate a wheelchair; appliances that can be raised or lowered, and window blinds that are controlled remotely. "I still don't believe it, to be honest with you," he said. "I can go to 100% of this home and do whatever I want. It's a game changer for sure."

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Golden retriever rescues drowning baby deer

Mark Freeley was walking his dogs, Storm and Sara, by the Long Island Sound in New York state recently when Storm, an English golden retriever, suddenly jumped in the water and swam out into the sound before grabbing something by the neck and pulling it back to shore. It was a baby deer. Freeley captured the rescue on video which he posted to Facebook.  "What a morning," he wrote. "I can't believe this. Storm just saved a baby deer. When he laid down next to it and started nudging it and pawing it, that was really special."

Freeley then called the animal rescue league. When Frank Floridia (shown above) and Erica Kutzing arrived on the scene and got close to the deer, it ran into the water again, swimming farther than before. Floridia jumped in and rescued the animal. He and Kutzing transported the deer to the Star Foundation, a Long Island nonprofit animal rescue organization, where it is expected to make a full recovery and be released back into the wild in a few months. "I think we could all learn from Storm," rescuer Kutzing said. "If we just learn to treat each other nicely, despite our differences, the world would be a better place."

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Youth circus builds character and friendships

This week is the annual Amateur Youth Circus in Peru, Indiana, open to Miami County kids ages 6 thru 21. The top photo shows a young teen walking on a wire, and below it is a time-lapse photo of two other teens on the flying trapeze. Of course there are safety nets, but performers still learn skills that last a lifetime -- skills like trusting your friends, self-confidence, practice-makes-perfect, teamwork, and for the kids on the flying trapeze, FAITH AND COURAGE to release the bar at exactly the right moment; reach out both arms into space while flying, and know your partner to be there to catch your wrists in mid-air. When this happens, the audience explodes with joy, and it happens OFTEN. To learn more, visit

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

"I'm changing my life."

Aaron Tucker, 32, of Bridgeport, Connecticut, went to prison three weeks before his son was born. After the birth, Tucker got a call from the hospital, and heard his son crying in the background. That's when he decided, "I'm changing my life." While on prison, Tucker earned his GED and became a tutor to other inmates, hoping to be a role model for his son, who is now 21 months old. This month he was released from prison, and actually lined up a job interview at Dinosaur Bar-B-Cue. He put on the one white shirt he'd been given by the halfway house, and was riding a bus to the interview when he saw a car hit a tree and flip over.

Tucker jumped off the bus and sprinted toward the car, which was upside down and spewing smoke. He saw the driver inside, covered with blood. He unbuckled the driver's seatbelt and dragged him away from the car as it started to catch fire. He kept telling the man, "Keep your eyes open. Your family wants to see you." Then he pulled off his only white shirt, and used it to help stop the man's head from bleeding. Within minutes EMTs arrived. Tucker skipped his job interview to stay with the man until the ambulance arrived and took him to Norwalk Hospital. "I feel like a job can come and go, but a life is a one-time thing," he said. Community members who read about Tucker's rescue set up a GoFundMe page which raised more than $16,000 in 24 hours. A Westport community activist organized donation drives, collecting clothing and non-perishable items for Tucker. A business owner offered him a tailored suit for his future job.  And best of all? "I've been given a lot of job offers," Tucker said.

Monday, July 17, 2017

A crumb from summer camp

Back in the 1960's, I was counselor for the youngest boys (ages six and seven) at Camp Elektor in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Our cabin is shown below, on the left. Since nobody had email, each camper was required to write a letter home once-a-week. The letter was an "admission ticket" for supper on Sunday evening. My campers would spend half-an-hour carefully printing, DEAR MOM AND DAD, I AM HAVING FUN. LOVE. It wasn't easy for them to print this, laying on their bunks during rest hour, and it didn't seem fair for their parents to receive so little information.

One of the things I brought to camp that summer was a Smith-Corona portable. You can Google it to find out what is is. After seeing their cryptic messages for a few weeks, I offered to be their "secretary." They could come into my part of the cabin during rest hour and dictate a letter home. At first, most had no idea what to say. But when reminded of their swimming test or hike, they became VERY talkative and I typed everything they said until we had a full page, single spaced. Parents were ecstatic to receive such a long letter in their son's very own words. At Elektor, counselors were not supposed to accept tips at the end of summer, but I made some exceptions that summer, since my campers' parents insisted on giving tokens of gratitude for these letters.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

"Only my husband would do that."

It happened this month at the Fish Camp restaurant on the shore of Lake Eustis in Tavares, Florida. Joe Phillips and his wife Kathy had a table by the window facing Highway 441, with a great view of the lake. It was thundering outside, and raining hard. The food was delicious, but before they ordered dessert, they saw a vehicle break through a fence and a pylon along 441 and plunge into the lake. The driver was Tiffany Legros of Leesburg, a counselor for at-risk youth. She had over-corrected after a near accident, and lost control of her vehicle. What Joe Phillips did next may surprise you.

He recently retired after 24 years in the Army. "When you've been in the military as long as I have, you just react," he said later. "I was happy to do it." He bolted from the table, removed his shirt and shoes, and was beside the vehicle before the water stopped rippling. "I thank God for him," said Legros. "A lot of people are quick to pull out their phone to get the live action, but he went into action. When I hit the water he jumped in and was right there. He kept me calm and never left me. I think he's a great man, because not too many people would do that, especially in a lightening storm."
The ride back to the Phillips' home to The Villages (Village of Glenbrook) was soggy, but he told his wife he had a lot of fun. She hit him on the arm and said "Don't ever do that again." But he added, "If it was my wife, I hope someone would go in to help her."

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A crumb from Harvard University

Professor Joe Blatt has spent much of his career at Harvard working with the Sesame Workshop, a "Sesame Street"-based nonprofit dedicated to helping children learn and grow. As a thank-you for his inspiring work, his students at the Harvard Graduate School of Education reached out to Sesame Workshop CEO Jeffrey Dunn and commissioned the creation of a Muppet in Blatt's likeness. Perhaps you'll agree the resemblance is striking.

His students presented Blatt with the replica in a ceremony at the end of June, and as you can see, he was delighted. "I'll try to find some powerful and motivating way to use it in classes," he said. "I'm also thinking seriously about never going to another faculty meeting and just propping this up in a chair so they think I'm there."

Friday, July 14, 2017

School bus driver crochets the extra mile

Trudy Serres drives a school bus for Summit Elementary School in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. When children are on her bus, she is their second mom. She also likes to crochet, and one day a 10-year-old passenger, Vincent Lamon, asked her to crochet him a taco, his favorite food. Two days later it was finished, and she gave it to him. He was so proud he showed it to everyone else on the bus, telling them, "Look what Mrs. Trudy made." Then everyone on the bus wanted a crocheted toy, so she went down the aisle and took orders.

Now that school is out for the summer, parents tell Serres their kids are sleeping with their crocheted toys. Some take them on vacation. Others bring them to church. John Londt's three children each received toys. He wrote to the principal, "Throughout the year, Trudy has made each of the students on her bus a crocheted stuffed animal. I cannot imagine how much time this would have taken her, but I know she has made each child feel very special and loved."

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Gardening for her community

Debbra Ardnt lives in O'Fallon, Missouri, not far from St. Louis. Her mother abandoned her and her siblings at an orphange when Debbra was four years old. She grew up in and out of foster homes, and was on her own by age 16. She has never forgotten how it feels to be hungry, So about 20 years ago, she and her husband started a garden to feed the hungry. After he died, she continued their mission.

"It give me a burst of energy inside my heart," she says. "It gives me a purpose." She delivers free food to about 40 different people every week, along with hot meals. And she brings more than just food to her elderly friends. "I let them know that someone cares," she says, "because a lot of these people don't have anyone. Some don't have any other food, but our elders are very proud. They are not going to tell you that they don't have food." Ardnt also makes pickles and jams from her harvest, and sells those to make money for the garden. She also sells paintings, and hopes her work will inspire others.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Paramedics pause to do the right thing

Paramedic Kent Haney and EMT Matt Linda of the East Texas Medical Center in Waco were driving down a street recently when they noticed a senior citizen mowing her lawn despite debilitating heat. Knowing what they had to do, they parked the ambulance in front of her house. She was Margaret Durham, and even though she is 98, she mows her lawn regularly. After chatting with her, Haney and Linda finished mowing the lawn for her.

Durham's neighbor, Dashlin James, who took this picture, saw the ambulance in front of her house and became concerned for her health. He kept an eye on the scene until he saw the paramedics mowing her lawn. "Definitely and act of kindness," he said. "When they're not saving lives, they're out helping the community."

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Strangers form human chain to save others from rip tide

Today's crumb was spotted by an alert reader in Peru, Indiana. It happened Saturday, July 8, at Panama City Beach, Florida. Roberta Ursrey and her family were enjoying fun in the sun when she heard her children screaming that they were stuck far out in the water. Roberta and her family swam out to save the children, but the rip current was strong and now eight were trapped. "Oh, God," she thought, "this is how I'm going." And she might have been right, except for Jessica Simmons.

                                                                                                            Jessica Simmons/Facebook
"These people are not drowning today," Jessica decided. "We're going to get them out," so she and her husband Derek started a chain gang in an effort to reach the Ursrey family and pull them to safety. The chain started with only five beachgoers. Then it grew to 15, and finally it expanded until 80 strangers extended it 100 yards and reached stranded family. "Without them, we would not be here," said Ursrey. "It was the human chain that pulled us out of the water. God's good grace, and them, is the reason we're here today"

Monday, July 10, 2017

A summer vacation destination crumb

Elis F. Stenman created a machine to manufacture paper clips. He was an amateur inventor, and in 1922 he wondered if an entire house could be built using only newspaper for insulation. Owning a plot of land in the seaside resort of Rockport, Massachusetts, Stenman had his new cottage framed with wood. The floor and roof are also wood. But he used rolled-up newspapers to insulate the walls, and then forgot to cover them with shingles.

When the house was finished in 1924, Stenman and his wife, shown here, lived there each summer until 1930. It had electricity and running water, but no bathroom. (There was an outhouse in back, and it was not made of paper.) After the couple settled in, Stenman wondered how much furniture he could build by nailing together varnished rolls of newspaper. Today all the furniture is made of paper. In the photo above, Mrs. Stenman is sitting at a desk made entirely of rolled up, varnished copies of The Christian Science Monitor. Here's a close up.

Ninety-three cold winters and hot summers have not damaged Stenman's paper house, which is still open for tours. "There's lots of varnish on the walls," says Stenman's great niece, Edna Beaudoin, "but we don't varnish the inside of the house because the more you put on, the darker it gets, and we like to leave it so you can still read the papers."

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A professor who teaches by example

Morgan King, shown below, is 21. When she attends classes at the University of Tennessee Department of Child and Family studies, her grandparents look after her three-year-old daughter Korbyn. But one day they were unable to help, and Morgan couldn't find a sitter. So she emailed her professor, Sally Hunter, explaining why she missed class. Many educators would reply curtly to an excuse like hers, but Hunter was different.

"I'm sorry that childcare issues caused you to miss class today," she emailed Morgan. "In the future, please feel free to bring her with you to class. I would be delighted to hold her while I teach, so you can pay attention and take notes." She added, "How terrible would it be if I was unwilling to have a child visit our class! I'm very serious about this offer -- just bring Korbyn with you!" Her offer was republished thousands of times on social media, earning Professor Hunter an A+ for kindness.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Mom feared her family would drift apart

Sonja Woods' mom passed away a year ago. Before her death, she worried that her family might someday drift apart.  So Sonja and her sisters try to do things once each month that their children and grandchildren will never forget. Sonja's sister-in-law, Sherry Pratt of Ohio, may have created the most memorable nights of all. She recalls, "I was scrolling on Amazon and saw these movie projectors, and it hit me. Would't it be fun to have an outdoor movie night?"

                                                                                                                    Jessie Woods/Twitter
Outdoor movies are fun, but Sherry made them unforgettable by converting cardboard boxes into little "cars" so the kids could enjoy an old fashioned drive-in. Her son made license plates for each "car" with the name of a child on it. Sherry also supplied personalized candy cups, popcorn, corn dogs and juices for the children to enjoy as they sat in their "cars" watching the movie. "I just like to build memories for them so they can remember as we get older," she said. her niece, Jessie Woods, posted drive-in photos on Twitter and they were an instant hit.

Friday, July 7, 2017

From a reader in Raleigh, North Carolina

Santa Claus is a small town in Indiana where Will Seaton, 25, recently proposed marriage to Ashley Schaus, 23. Ashley has a 15-year-old sister named Hannah who has Down syndrome, and Ashley told Will that if they became engaged, he'd have to marry two girls, because Hannah will likely be dependent on her. Can you guess what he did?

                                                                                 Bret and Brandie Photography
During a photoshoot near Ashley's home, Will got down on one knee and asked her to marry him. Of course she said yes. Then he got down on one knee for a second time, and asked Hannah to be his Best Friend Forever. As you can see, Hannah started laughing, and then she cried happy tears along with everyone else. The wedding will be on Oct. 7. Hannah will be "Best Sister." During the ceremony, Will and Hannah will share best friend vows, and at the reception they will dance to Harry Nilsson's song, "Best Friend." So yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus, Indiana.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

She taught him the right way to eat string cheese

Matt Groesky first met Laura Scheeler in pre-school when they were three. "One of my first memories is standing up in front of my pre-school class and declaring that I would marry her someday. Laura taught me how to ride swings and eat string cheese. We played hide-and-go-seek and stayed awake mischievously during nap time." They lost touch in elementary school, and for seven years their families exchanged Christmas cards -- nothing more, until they reconnected in high school and stuck it out even though they went to different colleges.

Finally, in 2015, Matt invited Laura to picnic in front of the pre-school where they first met. "Then he got down on his knee to keep the promise he made 20 years ago," she said, and they were soon married. "I was enamored with Laura as a child," says Matt, "and I still am to this day."

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Crumb from a faithful reader in North Carolina

Courtney Bailey expected to get a ticket or two when she was pulled over recently on Roxboro Street in Durham, North Carolina. She was speeding and not wearing a seatbelt, and her car registration had expired. When Durham police officer Dan Strandh asked why, she told him she had a young son and "money goes toward him, and not the car." (She had six cents in her bank account and $1 in her glove compartment.) Officer Strandh told her to follow him to an automative repair shop, where her car failed inspection because one tire was almost bald.

At the repair shop, officer Strandh paid $200 out of his own pocket to have a new tire put on Bailey's car so it would pass inspection. "This cop, who I had never met, was really going out of the goodness of his heart," Bailey said. "Not only did he pay all that money for my car, but he didn't give me the three tickets that he owed me. I boohooed my face off." Then she added, "All black people ain't criminals. All police ain't looking to kill us. Something has to give, and especially after today, I'm willing to give it a chance."

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

An encouraging crumb from Detroit

As reported recently in the Detroit News, Cass Community Social Services had acquired $1.5 million from donations and grants to create a neighborhood of up to 25 unique tiny homes. Costing about $45,000 to build, each home is different from all the others. Six homes have been finished so far, and more than 120 people have applied to live in them.

                                                                                                                                  Detroit News
The first six tenants have been selected from a pool of formerly homeless individuals, low-income seniors and students. (They are not intended for families.) The homes range in size from 200 to 360 square feet. Each has a full kitchen, bathroom and hook-up for washer and dryer. Each house will be rent-to-own, based on square footage. New tenants will receive furniture for their home. Touring the homes recently, Marti Simms of suburban Plymouth likes this new form of low-income housing. "I think it gives you dignity," she said.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Abused boy adopted by police officer

It happened in Poteau, Oklahoma. In April, 2015, Patrolman Jody Thompson responded to a 911 call about child abuse. According to the Poteau Police Department Facebook page, an 8-year-old boy named John had been bound by his hands and feet with rope and had been submerged in a trash can and held in the shower. "(His parents) weren't feeding him. He was covered in bruises from head to toe," said Patrolman Thompson, who took John to the hospital and stayed with him in the ICU while he recovered.
                                                                                         Poteau Police Department
Thompson and his wife then adopted John, who is now ten years old. He has become a straight-A student in the gifted and talented program at his school. Asked what his new dad means to him, John answers quickly, "He's the reason why I'm here right now."

Sunday, July 2, 2017

LSU baseball dad saves the day

Jared Poche, a 22-year-old senior at Louisiana State University, pitched the final game of the College World Series last week. LSU ended up losing to Florida, but Jared now has other things on his mind. He was recently drafted by the Oakland A's.  Jared's dad, Jerry who is a family physician, was at game one of the series to watch his son pitch,when another LSU fan came to him and said, "Doc, we've got somebody in trouble over here."

An 86-year-old LSU fan in the stands collapsed during the sixth inning. He had suffered a heart attack. Jerry Poche found the man had no pulse and was not breathing, so he instinctively started administering chest compressions. Meanwhile, another LSU dad named Jimmy Roy did mouth-to-mouth. They kept it up for about five minutes, and brought the man back to life. By the time paramedics got there, the man was stable. A few days later, he was in the hospital in fair condition, and expected to recover. So it was a win for LSU, despite the score.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Are professional football players worth what they earn?

After he became the highest-paid quarterback in NFL history, at $125 million over five years, Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders proved he's worth every cent of it. Asked how he'll spend the fortune, he first joked about going to Chick-fil-A, but then turned serious. "The first thing I'll do is pay my tithe, as I have since college," he said. His tithe will be $12.5 million over five years.

And what about his family? He said the cash will not change how his family lives, and his wife will still collect coupons. The fortune will be used to help others. "The exciting thing for me money-wise, honestly, is that this money is going to help a lot of people. I'm grateful it's in our hands, because it's going to help people not only in this country but in a lot of countries around the world," he said.