The week's good news: January 20, 2022
This 6-year-old is Georgia's youngest certified farmer
Sweet potatoes, strawberries, collard greens, bell peppers — if it can grow in the Georgia soil, you'll find it at Kendall Rae Johnson's urban farm. At just 6 years old, Kendall is the youngest certified farmer in the state. Her interest in gardening began three years ago, when she learned about planting vegetables from her great-grandmother, and she's been digging in the Atlanta dirt ever since. "Kendall leads us, and wherever she wants to, we're there to back her up," mom Ursula Kendall Johnson told CNN. Through farming, Kendall has not only learned how to plant seeds, but also what makes fruit and vegetables grow, how to compost, and facts about the different crops. The Johnson family invites members of the community to visit their farm, and friends, local students, and Girl Scouts regularly stop by to see what's new and help with harvesting.
Missing cat reunited with family after owner hears his meowing over the phone
During a call with her cat's vet, Rachael Lawrence heard a noise in the background that made her almost drop the phone. It was meowing that sounded just like her family's other cat Barnaby, who went missing eight months ago from their home in Essex, England. Lawrence asked about the cat, and was told it was a stray that had been brought in. After hanging up, Lawrence couldn't stop thinking about the distinctive meow, and called back to ask more questions. "It was bugging me," she told BBC News. Lawrence inquired if the cat had black fur with a white patch by one of its back feet, and after being told yes, she raced to the vet, with photos of Barnaby to show as proof that it was her feline. As soon as Barnaby was brought in the room, "I knew it was him," Lawrence said. Her three children are delighted to have Barnaby home, and Lawrence said he's "more than happy to be picked up and cuddled."
Mobile bookstore spreads the joy of reading across the Bronx
Bronx Bound Books makes it so that even if it's just for a few hours, every neighborhood in the borough can have its own bookstore. Bronx native Latanya Devaughn grew up wanting to own a bookstore, and it didn't make sense to her that Manhattan had more than 70 brick-and-mortar bookstores, while the Bronx had just one. She changed that by buying a bus and converting it into a mobile bookstore, Bronx Bound Books, which she parks outside of markets, schools, and parks in the borough. The bookstore "shows people in the Bronx that you're not forgotten," Devaughn told Good Morning America. When she brings her bus to schools, she works with educators to offer books that go with the themes they are teaching. At some of her stops, the books are sponsored by local businesses and organizations, so she can give them away for free. Knowing kids can take books home to read whenever they want "is priceless to me," Devaughn said.
Fans raise thousands of dollars for animal shelters as part of the Betty White Challenge
Animal shelters and charities across the United States saw an influx in donations on Monday, thanks to the late, great Betty White. The actress, who died on New Year's Eve, was an advocate for creatures great and small. In her honor, fans on social media started the Betty White Challenge, encouraging people to donate $5 to animal rescue organizations on Monday in celebration of what would have been White's 100th birthday. Denver's 9 News reports that animal groups in the region saw a massive increase in donations on Monday — the Humane Society of Boulder Valley raised at least $15,000 and the Denver Dumb Friends League brought in $23,000 from over 700 donors. At Foothills Animal Shelter, the facility received $16,300 from 529 donors; when there isn't a campaign going on, the organization said it typically gets less than $500 in donations.
Endangered coho salmon returning to California streams
There has been a welcome sight in several Northern California streams over the last few months: endangered coho salmon. The salmon's spawning season runs from November to January. Last year, California saw more precipitation between October and December than in the previous 12 months, and this substantial increase in rain and snow helped more fish make it this spawning season from the Tomales Bay watershed to tributaries of the Lagunitas Creek. "We've seen fish in places that they haven't been for almost 25 years," Preston Brown, the Salmon Protection and Watershed Network's director of watershed conservation, told Reuters. California has been experiencing a long drought, and the rain and snow has been beneficial for agriculture and other industries that rely on water. Todd Steiner, executive director of Turtle Island Restoration Network, told Reuters that coho salmon "like these really tiny small streams, and that's where their survival is the highest. If we give the fish a fighting chance at survival, they will come back."