The week's good news: August 17, 2023

It wasn't all bad!

A diner counter with a coffee pot and cup
A classic diner counter
(Image credit: Terry Vine via Getty Images)

1. New Jersey couple aims to visit every diner in the state

Jon and Karri Ricklin set out on a culinary quest in 2015: to eat at every single diner in New Jersey. "We have more diners in New Jersey than any other state," Jon told "Today" host Al Roker. "We just thought it would be cool to drive around the state and sample and eat at every one of them." The Ricklins, who have been married 39 years, determined there are around 415 diners in New Jersey, and as of early August have been to 212. Jon owns a dry cleaning pickup and delivery service and Karri is a nurse, so when their schedules allow them to be together for dinner at a diner, it's "like a treat," Jon said, noting that they get a kick out of the old school waitresses who call them "hon." For Karri, being able to visit different cities and try diner specialties is an adventure, and feels like "a vacation ... without the suitcase."


2. 'Food prescriptions' are a fresh way to help patients facing chronic health conditions

Every two weeks, people participating in a "food prescription" program in Stockton, California, receive a special delivery: a box filled with fruit, vegetables, and other essentials. The boxes are distributed as part of the Stockton Food Bank's Healthy Food RX Program, so that residents with conditions like diabetes, kidney disease and high cholesterol can have access to fresh and healthy ingredients. Twice a month, the food bank offers cooking classes in English and in Spanish so recipients can learn new ways to prepare meals. Another successful program is in Solano County, where a "mobile food pharmacy" delivers crates filled with fruits and vegetables to health clinics. People who have diet-related conditions or food insecurity can turn in their food prescription for produce. Advocates want to expand programs like these across the state, saying they not only will improve chronic health conditions, but also lower health care costs and reduce hunger, CalMatters reported.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up


3. Minnesota lawyer uses second chance to turn her life around

Sarah Gad has come a long way. In 2012, while in medical school, Gad became addicted to opioids prescribed after a car accident. Over the next three years, she had seven non-violent felony drug convictions. While incarcerated, Gad met attorney Kathleen Zellner, and began working at her law firm. Gad helped exonerate a client who had been wrongfully convicted of murder, and "found the work to be very rewarding," she told Fox 9. After being accepted to the University of Chicago Law School, Gad found herself before a Hennepin County judge due to mandatory minimum sentencing for repeat drug offenders. The judge could have sent Gad to prison, but instead let her go to law school. She's been practicing since 2022, and has run into judges who are happy to see how far she has come. Gad "has transformed herself from a criminal defendant into a champion for the legally oppressed," Zellner told Fox 9. "All she needed was a second chance."

Fox 9

4. Scientists determine cells key to cartilage regeneration in lizards

Researchers have identified the cells that allow lizards to regenerate their tails, and are hopeful that this new knowledge will help in the development of arthritis treatments. When a lizard sheds its tail, it regrows in about two months, with softer cartilage replacing the original bone. In a study published August 10 in Nature Communications, researchers from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California wrote that they discovered fibroblasts, which help build tissue, are the cell type that builds cartilage in the regenerated tail. They also determined that septoclast immune cells play a key role in preventing scarring. "The dream is to find a way to translate that process in humans because they cannot repair cartilage," Keck School of Medicine Prof. Thomas Lozito said in a statement. His team's discoveries represent "an important step because we need to understand the process in great detail before we can try to recreate it in mammals."

Keck School of Medicine

5. New pack of endangered gray wolves found in California

In a victory for California's conservation initiatives, a new pack of gray wolves was discovered in July in the Sequoia National Forest, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced. The pack was found in Tulare County, roughly 200 miles away from any other known pack. Researchers collected samples and confirmed that all of the pack members were gray wolves, including five individuals that hadn't previously been detected. This is the farthest south that a pack of gray wolves has been seen in California in a century. The species was hunted to extinction in the state in the 1920s, and sightings remain fairly rare.


Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.