The week's good news: July 21, 2022
Barber surprises longtime neighborhood street vendor with a special haircut
Growing up, Damian Villanueva would see Bartolo Huate Pacheco pushing his cart through their Santa Ana, California, neighborhood, selling popsicles to residents. Often, Villanueva could tell that Pacheco was exhausted after working all day, and "I always had in my mind, one day I'm going to do something for this guy," he told ABC 7. That day came earlier this month, when Villanueva, now a barber, approached Pacheco and asked if he could give him a haircut. He agreed, and the pair chatted about life. Villanueva learned that Pacheco had to stay home for two months after getting COVID-19, and has been robbed four times. When he was finished, Villanueva handed Pacheco a mirror so he could look at his new haircut — plus $100, for him to use on whatever he wanted. Pacheco was moved to tears. "People don't want to work forever," Villanueva said. "They want to live life after, too, so I wanted to help him." The barber said this is only the beginning, and he's started a GoFundMe to raise money for street vendors across Santa Ana.
Dog leads search and rescue team to owner who fell 70 feet while hiking
A border collie named Saul definitely earned some extra treats and back scratches last week, after he helped a search and rescue team find his owner in California's Tahoe National Forest. On July 12, Saul's 53-year-old owner tumbled 70 feet while hiking, and broke a hip and several ribs. The next day, he was able to get cell phone service and called for help. About 25 people with Nevada County Sheriff's Search & Rescue made their way to the area, and "in true Lassie fashion," Saul ran up to two members of the team and led them back to his owner, who was under a camouflage tarp. Saul was "jumping up and down and spinning around in circles," Sgt. Dennis Haack of the Nevada County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue told KCRA. "He took them right to the victim." It was about 7 p.m. by the time they found the man, who was airlifted to a local hospital, and Saul was treated to a "well-deserved dinner."
X-ray of painting reveals secret Van Gogh self-portrait
While preparing for an upcoming exhibition of impressionist art, conservators with the National Galleries of Scotland made a surprise discovery: what appears to be a self-portrait of Vincent Van Gogh, behind the back of his 1885 painting "Head of a Peasant Woman." In an interview released last week by the National Galleries of Scotland, senior paintings conservator Lesley Stevenson said paintings are routinely X-rayed, in order to gather "information about how the composition evolved, whether or not there were any changes. And lo and behold, we were quite surprised to discover a completely different painting in the X-ray image." The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has studied the X-ray image and said it is "almost certainly" a Van Gogh self-portrait. Due to financial constraints, Van Gogh regularly reused canvases, and several other self-portraits have been discovered on the backs of his paintings, particularly those done between 1883 and 1885. This was a stunning discovery, Stevenson said, but it was "extra special" because self-portraits "have a special quality — they're very enigmatic. They're giving us an insight into how [the artist is] thinking of themselves."
Cheetahs to stage a comeback in India
Cheetahs are coming back to India, and environmental officials are hopeful that they are here to stay. In 1952, due to hunting, habitat loss, and a lack of food, India's indigenous cheetah population was declared extinct. The country's supreme court ruled in 2020 that cheetahs could be reintroduced in a "carefully chosen location," and over the last two years, officials have been working with their counterparts in Namibia on a plan to safely transport eight cheetahs to India. In August, the cheetahs will be brought from Namibia to the Kuno-Palpur National Park in the state of Madhya Pradesh, which has "cheetah-friendly terrain," BBC News reports. Bhupender Yadav, India's environment minister, wrote on social media that bringing the cheetah back to India will "rekindle the ecological dynamics of the landscape." Officials said the main goal of this project is to "establish viable cheetah metapopulation in India that allows the cheetah to perform its functional role as a top predator."
Second-grader saves choking friend, thanks to technique he saw on TV
When David Diaz Jr. of Binghamton, New York, saw his friend DeAndre start to choke during lunch, the 7-year-old remembered something he learned about while watching the television show The Good Doctor: the Heimlich maneuver. Diaz raced over to DeAndre and began performing abdominal thrusts, telling Fox & Friends, "I did that because you have to save everybody in life." His quick thinking did save his friend, and earned Diaz a New York State Senate Commendation Award in June. Although he's glad to have helped his buddy, Diaz said he has no intention of growing up and becoming a doctor. "I probably want to be ... a basketball player," he said.