The week's good news: November 25, 2021
Grandmother and teen who met accidentally by text will celebrate Thanksgiving together again
Five years after an accidental text brought them together, the friendship between Jamal Hinton and Wanda Dench is still going strong. In 2016, Dench sent a text to Hinton about Thanksgiving dinner, thinking she was messaging her grandson. Hinton responded that while she wasn't his grandmother, he'd love to "still get a plate." Dench quickly replied, "Of course you can. That's what grandmas do ... feed everyone." That year — and each one since — Hinton and Dench have celebrated Thanksgiving together, with various members of their families and Hinton's girlfriend Mikaela also joining in. They meet outside of November as well, grabbing dinner and spending hours chatting. Dench's husband, Lonnie, died of COVID-19 complications last year, and Dench told Today she's grateful for the time they all spent together and the lesson she's learned from Hinton. "It dawned on me that there doesn't have to be a generation gap to have friendships," she said.
For 51 years, this former grocer has hosted a free Thanksgiving feast for his community
There's always room at Bob Vogelbaugh's table. Vogelbaugh is known around Moline, Illinois, as "Mr. Thanksgiving," and for good reason — since 1970, he has organized community dinners on Thanksgiving for anyone who wants to break bread and celebrate the holiday. Initially, he thought it would be a one-time deal, but "I didn't want people to be alone," Vogelbaugh told The Washington Post. For the last 30 years, Vogelbaugh and several volunteers have been holding the feast at SouthPark Mall, with thousands of people showing up. "We've served millionaires, we've served families in need, and everyone in between," Vogelbaugh said. "Anyone — and I do mean anyone — is welcome." He's retired from the grocery business, and focuses on fundraising throughout the year to pay for the dinner. Two Hy-Vee stores cook all of the food, which this year will be distributed in to-go containers because of COVID. "It makes me feel good to know that anyone who wants one can get a good Thanksgiving dinner," Vogelbaugh told the Post.
California School for the Deaf football team has undefeated season: 'We're showing the world we can play'
The California School for the Deaf varsity football team started the season ready to make history — and that's exactly what they did. The school was established 68 years ago in Riverside, California, and for the first time ever, the football team had an undefeated season. To top things off, the Cubs won the division championship game on Friday, and on Saturday, they'll compete in the state championship. "We have one more," running back Enos Zornoza told ABC 7 Los Angeles through an American Sign Language interpreter. "We are not done, we have unfinished business, championship is on the way." The players use ASL to communicate with each other and their coaches, and have proven that "we can do anything," Zornoza stated. "Deaf people can do anything. We're not this stereotype that's out there." Wide receiver Jory Valencia agrees, telling ABC 7 that knowing the school never had a good season "fired us up. And now we're destroying every game. We're showing the world we can play."
Scientists thrilled by 'stunning' discovery of mammoth tusk at bottom of the ocean
A mammoth tusk found in the deep sea off the central California coast will provide scientists with a rare opportunity to learn more about the animal and its habitat. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institution (MBARI) announced on Monday that during a 2019 expedition, researchers spotted what appeared to be an elephant's tusk. They were only able to take back a small piece of the specimen, and returned this July to collect the entire thing. It's been confirmed that the tusk is from a Columbian mammoth, preserved in a way that makes it easier for researchers to study. MBARI researcher Steven Haddock said scientists "start to expect the unexpected when exploring the deep sea, but I'm still stunned that we came up on the ancient tusk of a mammoth," adding, "our work examining this exciting discovery is just beginning and we look forward to sharing more information in the future." Researchers will sequence DNA from the specimen, which they believe is more than 100,000 years old.
Man stumbles upon brother's 30-year-old letterman jacket in thrift store
Jed Mottley will be keeping warm this winter in a jacket he never thought he'd get to wear. Jed graduated from Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 1994. He was a member of the football team, and wanting to display his varsity letter, Jed ordered a letterman jacket. It cost around $400, but when his mom said the family wasn't able to afford it, he never picked the jacket up. Recently, while perusing the racks at the Veterans Village thrift shop in Pinetop, Arizona, Jed's brother Josh came across a jacket with a familiar name on it. He took a photo and texted it to Jed, who "couldn't believe" he was looking at the item he ordered so long ago. Josh bought the jacket for $25, and delivered it to Jed. "If I had this the whole time, it would probably be all beat up and sit in the back of my closet," Jed told AZFamily. "Now I'm going to wear this thing with pride."