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It wasn't all bad...

The week's good news: May 10, 2018

Catherine Garcia
Shizuoka, Japan.
Sean Pavone/Alamy Stock Photo
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1.

American man reunited with birth mother discovers she named her restaurant in Japan after him

Air Force Col. Bruce Hollywood always knew he was adopted, but it wasn't until he had a heart attack in 2005 that it became urgent he meet his birth mother. Hollywood told The Washington Post he wanted to thank her for placing him with an American family in 1960, but struggled to find her, until an admiral contacted the Japanese Embassy. They found Hollywood's birth mother, Nobue Ouchi, and had her call him. Through an interpreter, he learned it was the day before Ouchi's 65th birthday, and she had dreamed of seeing her son again so she could show him her restaurant and bar, named Bruce. She knew his name because before Hollywood and his adoptive family left Japan, the mothers met, and Ouchi was given a photo of baby Bruce. Their relationship blossomed, Hollywood said, and before Ouchi died in 2009, he made several visits to her home in Japan. [The Washington Post]

2.

On his birthday, Vancouver man celebrating his retirement wins $1.5 million

The stars aligned for Ping Kuen Shum on April 28, when the Vancouver man, celebrating his birthday and retirement, purchased a winning lottery ticket that netted him $1.5 million. Now that he's a millionaire, the first thing on his agenda is to take a trip to China. "It's unbelievable that all three events happened on the same day," he said in a statement. "I have worked hard for so many years and I'm looking forward to sharing this fortune with my family." The British Columbia Lottery Corporation did not disclose his age or occupation, but did say the odds of picking all six numbers is 1 in 13,983,816. [BBC News]

3.

Biology major works to ensure school's commencement ends with zero waste

It's one of the college's biggest events of the year, but if all goes according to plan, there won't be much evidence that it ever took place. Abby Lewis is a junior biology major at Pomona College in Southern California, and works in the university's Office of Sustainability. She saw that waste goes up on campus significantly every May, due to graduation celebrations, and she came up with an idea: What if the 2018 commencement ceremony was a zero-waste event? In order for an event to be zero-waste, at least 90 percent of waste needs to be diverted from landfills. Lewis focused on the catered food that will be served, and worked to ensure that everything is recyclable or compostable — instead of sugar packets and creamer containers for coffee, reusable shakers and pitchers will be used, and disposable products like plates and cups will be made from corn starch or recycled paper. [The Week]

4.

Legal secretary who kept her wealth a secret donates millions to college scholarship funds

To the surprise of her family and friends, Sylvia Bloom spent decades making wise investments, leaving her with a $9 million fortune by the time she died at 96 in 2016. The Brooklyn resident had only recently retired from her job as a legal secretary, spending 67 years with Clearly Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. Her niece, Jane Lockshin, told The New York Times her aunt was "a secretary in an era when they ran their boss' lives, including their personal investments. So when the boss would buy a stock, she would make the purchase for him, and then buy the same stock for herself, but in a smaller amount because she was on a secretary's salary." Lockshin, executor of her aunt's will, was told that a bulk of the inheritance was to go toward scholarships, and she donated $6.24 million to the Henry Street Settlement's Expanded Horizons College Success Program, and $2 million more to Hunter College. [The New York Times]

5.

After learning about childbirth in class, 16-year-old delivers aunt's baby

It's a good thing Morlie Hayes wasn't absent the day her child development class learned about giving birth. Last month, the 16-year-old from Utah was surprised when her cousin knocked on the door and said her mom was outside, about to have her baby. Laura Creager's due date was days away, but while driving, she realized the baby's arrival was imminent, and stopped at Hayes' house. While Hayes was calling 911, Creager's water broke, and Hayes, remembering what she learned in class, quickly got her situated on pillows and towels and guided her through the birth. "It was an amazing experience," Hayes told The Deseret News. When Creager's baby was born just minutes later, Hayes made sure the umbilical cord wasn't tangled, and was washing the infant when paramedics arrived. Creager named the baby Kayla Faith, because "all of us had so much faith and work to get through this." [The Deseret News]