It wasn't all bad...

The week's good news: February 21, 2019

Catherine Garcia
An owl.
Michael Morse/iStock
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Deaf groom receives cochlear implant in time for his wedding

The clinking of glasses, the well-wishes from his guests, his new wife saying "I do" — David Alianiello was able to hear all of this during his wedding last weekend. Alianiello, a 34-year-old teacher from Baltimore, was born with congenital hearing loss. A week before his wedding, he received a cochlear implant, an electronic device that partially restores hearing. On the big day, Alianiello could "hear the clapping," he told People. "It was the first time I had ever heard clapping. It was fun to be able to experience the different sounds." Right after getting the implant, Alianiello heard his daughter, Skyli, singing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." Now, Alianiello and his new wife are expecting their second child, and he's looking forward to hearing "the first words my new baby speaks." [People]


91-year-old mailman retires with perfect record

Sleet, snow, rain, heat — nothing got in the way of Jack Lund during his nearly 70 years as a mailman. Lund, 91, joined the U.S. Postal Service in 1949. He spent his career in Richfield, Utah, and retired last week with a perfect record, never missing a delivery even when facing bad weather or having his mail truck break down. His co-workers told ABC 4 Lund is more than just dependable — he's also honest and friendly. During his retirement ceremony, Lund was honored with a U.S. flag and special postal artwork. [ABC 4]


D.C. restaurant owner offers a free meal to anyone in need

Kazi Mannan remembers what it was like when he arrived in the United States 23 years ago, with $5 to his name. An immigrant from Pakistan, Mannan told WJLA that in those early days, he never had enough money to eat inside a restaurant. Years later, when he opened his own dining establishment, the Sakina Halal Grill, in Washington, D.C., he decided that everyone would be able to eat his delicious Pakistani and Indian food, whether or not they could pay. Since 2013, he's been feeding the homeless and hungry, with some coming in to eat twice a day. Mannan estimates that in 2018, the restaurant served at least 16,000 free meals. "I don't want any donation, but if you're coming in to eat, that's your support of helping a community restaurant that is offering kindness and love to others," he told WJLA. [WJLA]


Rare owls are thriving in an unlikely spot in Los Angeles

Scientists were thrilled to discover 10 rare burrowing owls earlier this month in an unexpected location: the edge of Los Angeles International Airport. Several decades ago, the airport bought a development called Surfridge and demolished all of the houses. The empty land became the 302-acre LAX Dunes Preserve, which is now home to 900 plant and animal species, many of them endangered. Scientists say the owls — the most seen there in 40 years — are a sign that a restoration project that began in the 1990s is a success. "This is very exciting — a real stunner," biologist Pete Bloom told the Los Angeles Times. In addition to the burrowing owls, researchers recently spotted El Segundo blue butterflies, as well as California gnatcatchers, and several rare lizards. [Los Angeles Times]


Great-great-grandmother becomes the Grand Canyon's newest junior ranger

She arrived at the Grand Canyon as a regular visitor, and left as a junior ranger. Rose Torphy, 103, went to the national park while vacationing in Arizona last month. Inside the gift shop, she started talking with an employee about the junior ranger program, which educates kids about the Grand Canyon and nature. Before long, she was taking the junior ranger oath to take care of the park and signing her certificate. "I'm happy to protect it for my great-grandchildren to visit one day," she said. The Grand Canyon will celebrate its 100th anniversary of being a national park on Feb. 26, making Torphy three years older. "She's a spokesperson for the park now," her daughter, Cheri Stoneburner, told Good Morning America. "Everywhere we go, people ask her about her junior ranger pin and she says, 'You're never too old to see the Grand Canyon.'" [Good Morning America]