The week's good news: April 27, 2017
It wasn't all bad!
Miniature horses help anxious travelers in Kentucky
Twice a month, Wendy and Harley, two miniature therapy horses, clop their way through the terminals of Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, greeting travelers and easing any fears they may have about flying. "Airports are traditionally full of anxiety," Wendi Orlando, senior manager of customer relations at the airport, told The Cincinnati Enquirer. "[Seeing animals] helps to ease those anxieties, to put smiles on faces, to just put people in a better place." Studies have shown that petting an animal can lower blood pressure and stress levels, and some airports have therapy dogs on hand to help scared travelers. Orlando wanted to try something different, and was open to bringing in the horses, who live at Seven Oaks Farm in Ohio. Right off the bat, the horses were extremely popular with travelers. "They really are like celebrities," Orlando said.
University students use 3D printer to make prosthetic arm for young violin player
It took a year to get it right, but now Isabella Nicola, a 10-year-old from Fairfax County, Virginia, can comfortably play the violin, using her new pink prosthetic arm. When she was born, Nicola's left arm was only partially developed. A year ago, five George Mason University students started to design a prosthetic for her, and they have spent the last 12 months working together on the perfect fit; she provided feedback for the students, who then tweaked the prosthetic — made with a 3D printer — to make it more comfortable. "I am very grateful," she told NBC Washington. "Without these people, I don't think I'd be able to play the violin. I don't think I'd be able to play any instrument."
Girl Scouts start first-ever troop for homeless girls in New York City
Wanting to instill girls with "courage, confidence, and character," a New York City mom helped create a Girl Scout troop for homeless scouts. Giselle Burgess, who lost her home last year, worked with the Department of Homeless Services to launch Troop 6000 in February. The 20 scouts live with their families in the Sleep Inn motel in Queens, and are among the estimated 62,000 homeless people living in New York City shelters. They do all of the same activities as other troops, with the Girl Scouts of Greater New York covering each girl's $25 membership fee, $20 dues, and $75 starter kit. This is the first troop in New York City exclusively for homeless girls, and troop members say they have already formed a tight bond. "It kind of feels like you're not alone," a scout named Sinai told Today.
Strangers raise $31,000 for Connecticut man who takes care of stray cats
The stray cats of Hartford, Connecticut, have a hero in Willie Ortiz. The 76-year-old grandfather and retired welder has spent the last two decades feeding and taking care of cats who call the streets home. He drives 22 miles a day to drop off food at 16 locations, feeding about 68 cats. "The cats come out when they hear the sound of my engine," Ortiz told People. He pays for the food, plus spaying and neutering and medication for any sick cats, by selling scrap metal he collects. A friend set up a GoFundMe page to assist Ortiz with his costs, and after the story spread, donations came pouring in from as far away as India. As of Wednesday night, more than $32,500 had been raised for Ortiz, who has never let weather or illness keep him from caring for his cats.
Firefighters make a 97-year-old retired teacher's dream come true
For his 97th birthday on Monday, Bill Grun lived out his childhood dream of becoming a firefighter. The Doylestown, Pennsylvania, resident spent 70 rewarding years as a teacher, but always admired firefighters. "I'll say one thing about firemen — they are really gutsy," he told Fox 29. "We get choked up on candle smoke, and those fellas have to face all that stuff. It's tough." He was surprised by the all-volunteer crew of the Doylestown Fire Company, who picked him up from his retirement home in a ladder truck. While there weren't any fires to fight that day, Grun did have a very important job: He was in charge of the siren.