•For decades, Irena Sendler, a Polish
Catholic social worker who helped save
2,500 Jewish children from the Nazis, was
almost unknown among Holocaust historians.
But ever since four Protestant teenage
girls in Kansas wrote a play about her
eight years ago, Sendler’s reputation has
grown. Angelina Jolie will portray her in an
upcoming movie, and last month she was
nominated as a possible recipient of the
Nobel Peace Prize. Sendler, now 97, lives
in Warsaw, where she keeps in close touch
with the young Kansas women who have
been dubbed “the rescuer’s rescuers.” Each
of her letters starts the same way: “My dear
beloved girls, so close to my heart.”
•When Karen and Mark
Cline of Mansfield, Ohio, were
married in 1980, they hired
photographer Jim Wagner
to record the happy day. But
when the ceremony was over,
they couldn’t afford to pay him,
and they were left with just one
photo of Karen coming down
the aisle, snapped by a guest.
But last week, Wagner surprised
the Clines with the wedding
album, which he found
while doing some cleaning. In
tears, Karen paid him his long
overdue fee of $150. “I kept hugging and thanking him,” she
said, “but how do you thank someone enough when they
hand you something you never dreamed about getting?”
•In 1996, the city of Vaxjo,
Sweden, resolved to wean itself
off fossil fuels. Today, its greenhouse
gas emissions are down
30 percent and Vaxjo is on track
to cut them 50 percent by 2010.
Most of the reduction has been
achieved by replacing oil with
wood chips at the main heating
and power plant; the ashes are
dumped in the forest as nutrients.
“People used to ask, ‘Isn’t
it better to do this at a national
or international level?’” said
Henrik Johansson, Vaxjo’s environmental
controller. “We want to
show everyone else that you can
accomplish a lot on a local level.”