The week's good news: Feb. 23, 2023
It wasn't all bad!
442 games later, college basketball fan has seen every Division I men's team play
While sitting courtside at a Bowling Green vs. Wayne State basketball game in 2008, Craig Caswell discovered his love for college hoops. After going to most of that season's home games, he had an idea — what if he went to see every team in Division I play? Since then, he's attended 442 games in 131 venues in 36 states and Washington, D.C. "I was determined to basically consume as much college basketball as I could going forward," the 32-year-old Air Force program analyst told The Washington Post. He crossed his final team off the list on Saturday, when he saw American University play at home against Lehigh. He was joined by his wife, who has gone to dozens of games with him, and his mom and brother. "This feels more like a milestone than a conclusion," Caswell said. He expects to continue to take vacations where he both sightsees and goes to games, and looks forward to one day visiting UCLA's Pauley Pavilion, Kansas' Allen Fieldhouse, and the Palestra in Philadelphia. "I'll still go to more basketball games this season and beyond, only now with a fresh air of confidence with this achievement under my belt," Caswell told the Post.
The 18-year-old mayor of Earle, Arkansas, is ready to change his community
Last year at this time, Jaylen Smith was finishing his senior year of high school. Now, he's the mayor of Earle, Arkansas. The 18-year-old is the youngest Black mayor in the country, the U.S. Conference of Mayors says, and ran on a platform of improving public safety, tearing down abandoned buildings, and reopening the town's grocery store that closed a few years ago. Before the election, he knocked on doors across Earle — population 1,800 — to share his ideas for revitalizing the town, and met with the mayors of other cities in Arkansas to learn more about what this role means. He's settled into the job, and is balancing his mayoral duties, like filling out resolutions and applying for grants, with online college classes. Smith told The Christian Science Monitor he got his start at Earle High School, where he was the student government president for three years, started a tutoring program, and served as an advocate for students in special education classes and with learning disabilities. His friends say having a young mayor gets them excited about voting and getting involved in local affairs, and that's music to Smith's ears. "I always wanted to change my community before moving on to my next phase of life," he said.
Moxie the German shepherd is on a global motorcycle adventure
If you see a woman and her German shepherd zip past you on a motorcycle, it just might be Jess Stone and Moxie. Jess, her husband Greg, and Moxie are on an epic motorcycle trip that began in March 2022 and will take them around the world. The Stones designed a motorcycle dog carrier for Moxie, who sits on the back of Jess' bike, wearing goggles, while Greg follows on his own bike with their supplies. "It's like you get to experience the adventure twice," Jess told CNN Travel. "You experience it for yourself. And then you experience it from her perspective, because she's right behind me. ... It makes me feel so happy that she's really experiencing everything. It's always new sights, sounds, and smells that she's looking at and experiencing." There are two goals for this trip: to show that a big dog can travel internationally, and to raise money for Girl Up's global empowerment projects. The Stones have been through Guatemala, Mexico, the U.S., and Canada, where they took the Dempster Highway to the Arctic Ocean. They expect to be on the road for another 2-and-a-half years, with the next leg of their journey encompassing stops in Central and South America, before flying to South Africa. It doesn't matter where they go — Moxie is a star, bringing "a smile to everyone's face," Jess told CNN Travel. "And that's what I love. She just makes everybody have a good day."
Rare all-women team successfully performs heart transplant
At the end of a successful heart transplant in December, Dr. Amy Fiedler, attending cardiac surgeon and assistant professor at the University of California San Francisco, made a stunning realization: every single person on the seven-person medical team was a woman. A 2019 report found that only 6.2 percent of adult cardiac surgeons in the United States are women, which made this team stand out. When Fiedler pointed out to Dr. Charlene Blake, attending cardiothoracic anesthesiologist and associate professor, that this was an all-women team, she was "quite surprised," Blake told Good Morning America, adding, "Dr. Fiedler is making history by being the first female cardiac surgeon at UCSF. I'm making history by being the first Black cardiac anesthesiologist at UCSF. And so for all of us to come together, we made history, but we make history by living our best lives every single day." It is "profound" to think that by doing their jobs, they can inspire women to "live what they want to do, live out their dreams, and recognize that anything is possible," Fiedler said. Blake agrees, and wants to "blaze trails so that the next generation can come in and it won't be as tough for them as it was for us. Glass ceilings better watch out."
Mom of 4 follows her dream, starts medical school in her 40s
A call from her niece was the push Shamone Gore Panter needed to enter medical school. The 43-year-old mom of four had wanted to go into medicine in 2007, but with young children, the idea of taking the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) was daunting. She took a different path, earning her doctorate and becoming an assistant lecturer at Cleveland State University and researcher of cardiovascular genetics at Cleveland Clinic. When COVID-19 vaccines were first introduced, Gore Panter's niece called her with a few questions about how they worked. After their conversation, Gore Panter thought, "'This is what I need to be doing every day. I want to go to medical school,'" she told Today.com. "I didn't know where I wanted to go. I just knew I wanted to do it." With the support of her husband and kids, Gore Panter took the MCAT and was accepted into a program that's a partnership between Ohio University and the Cleveland Clinic. Gore Panter, who plans on going into family practice, is expected to graduate with her medical degree in 2025. "The person you have a relationship with is your family doctor, your primary care provider, your pediatrician," she told Today.com. "Having that opportunity to build that relationship makes a big difference because that is the person you trust, the person whose advice you are more willing to take."