The week's good news: February 16, 2017
It wasn't all bad!
Auschwitz survivor and Scottish soldier who saved her celebrate 71st Valentine's Day together
An Auschwitz survivor and the Scottish commando who saved her celebrated their 71st Valentine's Day together this week. John Mackay, 96, helped liberate a number of prisoners from the concentration camp — including Hungarian Jew Edith Steiner, now 92. The two met at a village dance to celebrate the prisoners' liberation and have been together ever since. They married in 1946 and eventually settled in Dundee, Scotland — where, this year, the couple rang in Feb. 14 at a party in their senior citizens' home. "It's lovely to have such a real example of true love with us," said one staff member.
New Jersey woman quits her job to take care of goats in need
She started off by adopting a few healthy baby goats, and before she knew it, Leanne Lauricella had quit her job as a corporate event planner in New York City to raise more than 40 goats, including several with disabilities. Many of the goats have been rescued from slaughterhouses, and the healthy ones cavort outside and in a barn, while the goats that need some extra care live inside Lauricella's Clinton Township, New Jersey, home, where she bottle feeds them and ensures they are comfortable. She also shares updates on her Instagram page, Goats of Anarchy, which has nearly 400,000 followers. In March, a book of Lauricella's photos will be released, and she plans on using proceeds from sales to buy a bigger place. "I haven't exactly told my husband yet," Lauricella said. "But I think he knows."
Little Caesars' founder discreetly paid Rosa Parks' rent for years
Mike Ilitch was known for being the founder of Little Caesars and owner of the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers, but he quietly made a difference in the life of civil rights icon Rosa Parks. Ilitch died last week at age 87, and in several articles eulogizing him, it was noted that in 1994, after he found out that Parks was robbed and assaulted in her central Detroit home, Ilitch approached mutual friends and said he would pay for Parks to live in a safe neighborhood, covering her rent as long as necessary. Parks, then 81, moved to a secure apartment building, where she lived until her death in 2005.
At 64, this musician is realizing his dream by learning how to read
His early life wasn't easy — as a child, Ralph Burns, now 64, was abandoned, and he had to drop out of school in the third grade — but he found his calling in music, playing the guitar at parties and bars and becoming a pastor. Burns never learned how to read, and while people tried to teach him over the years, things didn't click until he met Sydney Osborne, a volunteer with the Friends of Literacy group in Knoxville. The pair have spent the last 18 months working together for two hours a week, with Osborne teaching Burns the letters and sounds of the alphabet. Burns can now read at a first grade level, and is looking forward to improving his skills. "This opens up a whole world," he told Local 8 News. "I can go into a restaurant and almost read the menu."
UCLA students run shelter to help homeless classmates
A group at the University of California, Los Angeles, hopes that by running a shelter for their classmates who don't have a place to live, they will bring attention to the plight of homeless students. Since October, the Bruin Shelter organization has paid rent for two rooms inside the Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Santa Monica. The shelter has nine beds and a lounge, and offers toiletries, breakfast, and dinner, with a student supervisor spending the night to ensure safety. Student Imesh Samarakoon told SCPR the group picks residents "who are in the most dire circumstances," and more than 36 students from UCLA and Santa Monica College have applied to live in the Bruin Shelter. "We really want to start a discussion," Samarakoon said. "We really want to get everyone else thinking about how can we help these students."