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Hope for female ex-cons, and more

Female ex-cons are getting a second chance to build a life for themselves at a restaurant in North Carolina.

Hope for female ex-cons
Female ex-cons are getting a second chance to build a life for themselves at a North Carolina restaurant that hires them as cooks, servers, and managers. “Second Helping” opened this week in Charlotte with seven former prisoners dishing out shrimp and grits, braised pork, and fried chicken to customers. The restaurant is the brainchild of Melissa Mummert, who also runs a nonprofit organization that offers support to women released from jail. “Employers just weren’t hiring people with criminal records,” she said. “So we decided we’ll just create a business and create the jobs ourselves.”

Blind man wins race at Bonneville Salt Flats
A former racing driver blinded in an accident last year became the first sightless man to race at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah this week. Dan Parker, 43, completed a 2-mile run on a custom-built motorcycle, reaching speeds of over 55 mph. He was guided by a GPS system that gave him audible cues to steer left or right. Parker, an experienced racer who lost his sight after a crash in Steele, Ala., in April 2012, said getting back on his bike was necessary after the accident robbed him of his livelihood. “I had to have another goal in life,” he said.

Overland Park's “gnome homes”
Mysterious tiny “houses” fit for a gnome or an elf have been appearing all over Overland Park, Kan. City officials have found miniature wooden doors set into tree trunks, complete with welcome mats, gravel driveways, and wooden mailboxes. So far, four “gnome homes” have been discovered. Although the city has no idea who is behind the stunt, it welcomed the latest additions to the urban environment. “It’s bringing smiles and laughter to those who are finding out about it,” said spokesperson Sean Reilly. “That’s exactly what we need sometimes in our lives.”

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