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98-year-old receives high school degree, and more

A 98-year-old nursing home resident fulfilled her wish of receiving a diploma from the Adult High School in Perth Amboy, N.J.

98-year-old receives high school degree
If she had one regret, Ida Ruth Hayes Greene used to say, it was not having graduated from high school. But the 98-year-old nursing home resident has fulfilled her wish, receiving her diploma last week from the Adult High School in Perth Amboy, N.J. Greene, who was raised on a Georgia farm, attended school until 10th grade. But after her mother died, she dropped out to help raise 10 younger siblings. After passing an oral test to gain her diploma, she thanked staff at her nursing home “for making my dream come true.”

Worldwide rate of deforestation declines for first time
For the first time on record, the worldwide rate of deforestation has declined, reflecting efforts in many countries to plant trees and restore forests. Although the planet lost 13 million hectares of forest (out of a worldwide total of 4 billion hectares) from 2000 to 2010, that marks a decline from the 16 million hectares lost from 1990 to 2000. The lower deforestation rate and newly planted forests “have helped bring down the rate of carbon emissions,” said Mette Loyche Wilkie of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. Asia was the biggest gainer, adding 2.2 million hectares a year in the past decade.

Shopper donates kidney to favorite grocery store clerk
Dan Coyne, 52, has donated a kidney to the grocery store clerk whose line he always chose because she was so cheerful. Coyne, a school social worker in Evanston, Ill., noticed one day that Myra de la Vega, 49, was looking unwell. The Filipino mother of two, who’d been diagnosed with renal failure, explained that undergoing dialysis every night for eight hours left her weak and exhausted. Coyne immediately offered her one of his kidneys. Testing showed he was a match, and the subsequent surgery was a success. They used to be strangers, but “she’s family now,” said Coyne. “I am so privileged,” de la Vega said after the procedure. “It gives me chills.”

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