It wasn't all bad!

The week's good news: Dec. 22, 2022

Doctor saves 2 lives during half-marathon, a Santa uses ASL to connect with children who are deaf, and more

1

Doctor saves 2 lives during half-marathon

In the 12 years he's been a cardiologist, Dr. Steve Lome said he's never had to give anyone CPR outside of his shift, and he's certainly never had to do it twice. That all changed in November, when Lome was running the Monterey Bay Half Marathon in California. Around the third mile, Gregory Gonzalez, a judge from Washington, fell down in front of Lome, hitting his head on the pavement. Lome immediately began to give him CPR, and after several minutes, he was transferred to an ambulance. Lome jumped back into the race, but not long after crossing the finish line, the same thing happened again — this time, it was Michael Heilemann who fell to the ground, hitting his head. Lome, who rushed to give him CPR as well, later learned that both men had blockages that led to cardiac arrests, and they received stents in their coronary arteries. Lome, Gonzalez, and Heilemann plan to race the half-marathon together in 2023. "There's not a day that goes by that I don't have tears of joy," Gonzales told USA Today. "Absolute joy. I'm here with a second chance at this life."

2

This Santa uses ASL to connect with children who are deaf

Charles Graves is the Santa he would have loved to meet as a kid. Graves is deaf, and told The Associated Press that "as a child, I was very excited to receive a gift, but then you just kind of go away and you're like, there's no connection there. Children look at me now and they're like wow ... there's a connection there with the deaf culture. And I can always connect with the hearing kids as well." The 52-year-old from Texas is one of just a few professional deaf Santas in the United States, and has been spending the winter going to malls, parades, and events to meet with kids and chat with them through American Sign Language. During a recent visit to Maryland, Graves met with several kids who are deaf, including Kevon Woodard, who asked Santa for a dirt bike. His mom, April Jackson Woodard, is also deaf, and said it was "beautiful" to see her son interacting with Graves. "This is exactly what it's supposed to be," she told NBC News. "To see him laugh and make those expressions with Santa Claus was the best."

3

Mother and son graduate from college together, fulfilling a 20-year promise

When he was in kindergarten, Immanuel Patton shared with his mother his dream: for the two of them to go to college together. "I said, 'Mom, you know what? I'm going to make sure you get this degree at the same time that I do,'" Immanuel, a Baltimore resident, told 11 News. "I made sure I stuck to that promise regardless of all the hardships and everything like that. I wanted to make sure that I be a man of my word." He was — on Friday, two decades after he made his promise, Immanuel and his mother, Carolyn Patton, received their bachelor's degrees from the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC). Carolyn had wanted to finish her coursework years ago, after earning two associate degrees, but as a single mom raising two kids, it was hard to find the time. Both Immanuel and Carolyn work at Anne Arundel Community College, and after Immanuel earned two associate degrees, they were ready to enroll at UMGC. They encouraged each other to keep going, Carolyn said, leaning on one another when classes got tough. Immanuel earned his bachelor's degree in public safety administration, while Carolyn earned hers in humanities. "I'm just happy we were able to get this accomplished as a family," Carolyn said.

4

Woman reunites with cat who escaped during road trip

Following an adventure in Tennessee, Tucker the cat is back where he belongs: with his owner, Jamie McCall. Several weeks ago, McCall was moving from Florida to Waterford Township, Michigan, and stopped one night in Cleveland, Tennessee. While she was out having a meal, Tucker got out of their hotel room. McCall was devastated — Tucker was her late husband's cat, and had been there for her during recent hard times, including the deaths of her grandson, brother, and father. A friend suggested McCall post about Tucker on Facebook, and soon, McCall heard from a Cleveland resident named Holly Lea, who had found Tucker and was taking care of him. Lea's grandfather, Hurricane Heathfield, is a truck driver, and agreed to load up Tucker and drive him to Michigan. "It's Christmas time and with the way the world is, to see something like this, it warms my heart," Heathfield told WXYZ. McCall was elated to be reunited with Tucker, and grateful for Lea and Heathfield. "I got my family back," she said. "This is overwhelming. Good people, really good people. I mean, who would take in a cat and return it hundreds of miles away. It's just overwhelming for me."

5

U.S. Fish and Wildlife celebrates reintroduction of rare West Virginia fish

A dedicated team of biologists at the White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery in West Virginia just took a big step in ensuring the candy darter's survival. The candy darter (Etheostoma osburni), listed as a federally protected endangered species in 2018, is a festive-looking fish, with its orange and teal coloration. Its habitat is under threat from rival species, pollution, and other habitat degradation, and since candy darters are delicate fish, biologists have had a hard time raising them in hatcheries. Over the past two years, the White Sulphur Springs biologists have created a viable habitat, and this fall they tagged and released 21 healthy, hatchery-raised candy darters into a "suitable, high quality habitat" where they "can thrive while isolated from variegate darter invasion by a dam," U.S. Fish and Wildlife said. "This release marks the start of restoring this vibrant species back across Virginia and West Virginia streams and landscapes." Hatchery biologist Andrew Phipps said it was "a long time and a lot of hard work by so many people. To finally get to release these animals after watching them hatch and grow for the past six months is so rewarding." 

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