The week's good news: August 12, 2021
It wasn't all bad!
Texas boy on a 'race to kindness' is getting books to kids across the state
Orion Jean says he's part of the race to kindness — and this is a marathon, not a sprint. Jean, 10, lives in Fort Worth, Texas. Last year, he participated in a student kindness contest, where he pitched a campaign of compassion. He won, and used his $500 prize to buy toys for a children's hospital in Dallas. After that, he partnered with a relief group to organize food drives, and helped distribute 100,000 meals. An avid reader, Jean has moved on to his next effort: collecting books to give to children who might not have any at home. So far, he has 120,000 books, and would like to have 500,000 to pass out by the end of August. Jean told CBS News he's learned that doing good and giving back is "not a one-time thing, it's not a three-time thing. It's something that can hopefully be continued on for years and years to come."
Mother and daughter serve side by side on Navy ship
Racquel McCray and her mother, Tonya McCray, formed an even closer bond while spending four weeks working alongside one another on board the Navy's USS Gerald R. Ford. Racquel's parents are both in the Navy, but she told Good Morning America they never pressured her to enlist, and she wanted to "follow in their footsteps" due to how "successful they were and what they were able to provide for my sister and I." Racquel was interested in pursuing the same logistics specialty as Tonya, and both spoke with their chain of command to see if Racquel could join Tonya on the Gerald R. Ford. The request was approved in May, and Tonya spent a month showing Racquel the ropes. Tonya told GMA her daughter saw "what respect that someone of my pay grade gets on a day to day, how they look up to me, and it just felt great to be able to share that experience with her, and also, just to see her hard work."
Dog missing for 2 years reunited with family after they saw him on TV
A Wisconsin man who fell asleep with the television on wasn't dreaming when he woke up and saw his missing dog on the morning news. The Milwaukee man, identified as Dwight, was stirred awake last month during a segment on WITI-TV about dogs available for adoption. He immediately knew that the small brown dog with an underbite on the television screen was Payday, his dog that went missing about two years ago. Payday was his daughter's best friend, and the family never gave up hope that the dog would find its way back to them. Dwight called the TV station, which put him in touch with the Wisconsin Humane Society. Payday was at one of their locations not far from Dwight's home, and later that day, Dwight's mom Melissa went to the facility to pick up the pup. As soon as Payday saw her, he jumped into her arms and covered her with kisses.
Sanitation workers find envelope containing $25,000 that was accidentally thrown away
A team of sanitation workers managed to do what seemed impossible: They reunited an Ohio family with an envelope containing $25,000 that had been hidden in a freezer and accidentally thrown away. Late last month, a woman called Republic Services, a solid waste collection agency in Oberlin, and told operations supervisor Gary Capan that while cleaning out her grandmother's house, she tossed everything in the refrigerator and freezer — including the envelope filled with cash. Capan told News 5 Cleveland his team intercepted the driver who collected the family's trash, and he dropped off six tons of garbage at a recycling center instead of the landfill. The operations manager at the recycling facility, Dan Schoewe, and 10 other workers immediately started digging through the trash, and after just 10 minutes, Schoewe spotted the thick envelope. When the family learned the money had been found, they were relieved and appreciative. "We're just glad to help," Schoewe said.
NASA's new telescope praised as being 'potentially revolutionary'
NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, described by The New Yorker as a "potentially revolutionary instrument," is set to launch into orbit a million miles from Earth later this year. If all goes according to plan, it should give scientists a clearer glimpse into the universe's past than ever before, but it may also reveal more about things a little closer to home. Astronomer David Helfland told The New Yorker that the J.W.S.T will be able to examine both the "'very far away' and 'very close.'" The latter, he said, "in some ways may be the most exciting" because "it's about looking at planets [beyond the Solar System] that are not too different from Earth." Though they don't emit light, when those exoplanets "pass in front of a star they leave a sort of fingerprint," Helfland said, which can be read for clues. There's hope that the J.W.S.T will study atmospheres of these planets and see if there are signs of life.