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The week's good news: July 12, 2018

Catherine Garcia
milicad/istock
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1.

First responders save man's life — and then finish his yard work

When Gene Work of Pasco County, Florida, had a heart attack on Saturday, his health was the last thing on his mind. He had been putting down sod in his front yard, trying to get it finished before his homeowner's association fined him. When first responders arrived, he kept talking about the sod as he slipped in and out of consciousness. Work's brother was helping with the project, and prepared to spend hours finishing the job, but soon a fire truck and ambulance drove up to the house, and six first responders joined him in the yard. Work's wife, Melissa, said they knew her husband was in "serious trouble," and wanted to make sure the sod didn't die. Gene is now recovering, and on Tuesday, reunited with the first responders. "We are just out of words," he said. "I can't believe you guys came back, it's amazing." [ABC News]

2.

Heatwave in Wales reveals ancient ruins

It's been unusually hot in Wales, but the high temperatures have at least one unexpected benefit: They're bringing history to life. Because fields are dry from the heat, the outlines of ancient settlements buried underneath farmland are now visible from the air. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales is snapping photos of the crop marks, which will disappear as soon as it rains, and has so far found a medieval castle mound, buried ramparts, and a prehistoric farm. There are ancient settlements across Wales, and most had drainage ditches around them, BBC News reports. When the settlements disappeared, the ditches were filled in, and now that it's farming land, the soil is deeper where the ditches once were. When it's hot and the land dries out, the old fortifications retain moisture, and the crops there are lush, making them stand out. [BBC News]

3.

Teen launches nonprofit that pampers young hospital patients

When Alanna "Lonnie" Wall was 10, she approached her mother with an idea: Why didn't she go to local hospitals and treat young patients to manicures? The Dayton, Ohio, resident ran into a problem, though: She was well below the volunteering age of 15. Wall's mom asked the Miami Valley Down Syndrome Association if her daughter could volunteer there, and they agreed. "I'm still close with the first girl I ever polished, Olivia," Wall told NBC News. Wall, now 18, was inspired to start her own nonprofit, Polished Girlz, which recruits others to take their nail polishing skills to hospitals and medical facilities. There are now more than 900 volunteers. Wall, who spends much of her free time painting nails, is heading to the University of Southern California in the fall to study business. [NBC News]

4.

104-year-old World War II vet throws first pitch at July 4 game

Frank Anderson celebrated the Fourth of July by making history, becoming the oldest person to ever throw out the first pitch in AutoZone Park. Anderson, 104, is a World War II veteran, and on the Fourth, stepped in front of home plate and threw a pitch to start off the Memphis Redbirds game with a bang. Anderson was one of the master sergeants under Gen. Walton Harris in Gen. George S. Patton's Third Army of the 20th Corps, fighting in England, Germany, and France. The Redbirds, a Triple A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, invited him to throw the first pitch in appreciation of his service. [Sports Illustrated]

5.

Scientists use LED lights to save thousands of sea birds and turtles from nets

Thousands of sea birds and sea turtles die every year after getting unintentionally netted by fishermen, stumping scientists who are trying to strike a balance between conservation and protecting people's livelihoods, The Independent reports. After observing the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's success with attaching LED lights to nets to reduce sea turtle bycatch, Dr. Jeffrey Mangel tested the technology at fisheries in Peru and found the lights reduced turtle bycatch by two-thirds. Fishermen also caught 85 percent fewer diving birds, while still collecting their same-sized catch. The finding is especially significant because it is such a cheap and simple fix. "We need to find ways for coastal peoples to fish with the least impact on the rest of the biodiversity in their seas," said one of the researchers, Professor Brendan Godley. [The Independent]

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