The week's good news: July 11, 2019

It wasn't all bad!

A bald eagle.
(Image credit: MorningDewPhotography/iStock)

1. Kansas boy delivers 15,000 flowers to nursing home residents in a year

Oliver Davis greets every person he meets the same way: with a flower and a great big hug. The 7-year-old from Kansas City, Kansas, visits two nursing homes a week, spending up to three hours chatting with the residents and giving them flowers. His mom, Brandi Davis, told Inside Edition her son "believes he's a real police officer. One day we were discussing what a policeman's job is, and I explained how they are there to help people." Oliver's grandmother is in a nursing home, and he told his mom he'd like to do something nice for the people who live there. That's how he got started handing out flowers, and his mother estimates that over the last year, he's passed out 15,000. Oliver shows up at the nursing homes dressed like a police officer, and also likes to give tickets to people for being "too cute."

Inside Edition

2. Bald eagles make a major comeback in Pennsylvania

There are now so many bald eagles in Pennsylvania that state officials can't count them all on their own, and are enlisting residents to help track the birds. In 1983, bald eagles were considered threatened in Pennsylvania, as there were only three nesting pairs in the whole state. That number has increased steadily — there are at least 300 today — meaning "the population has expanded to a point where tracking individual nests is not feasible," ornithologist Sean Murphy of the Pennsylvania Game Commission told Trib Live. Eagles nest between January and August, and Pennsylvania residents can report activity to the game commission online. There has been a lot of nesting activity in Allegheny County, Jim Bonner, executive director of the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania, told Trib Live. "It's a wonderful success story," he said.

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Trib Live

3. Deaf woman launches her own pizza empire after culinary school rejection

Growing up, Melody Stein watched her parents run their own restaurant in San Francisco, and she dreamed of following in their footsteps. She wanted to attend the California Culinary Academy, but her application was rejected, Stein told The Washington Post through a sign language interpreter, because she is deaf. They were concerned she wouldn't hear shouting in a kitchen, she said, and "they viewed me as a liability." This was more than 20 years ago, and today, Stein not only operates her own pizzeria, Mozzeria, in San Francisco, but she's getting ready to open a second location in Washington, D.C. She runs her empire alongside her husband, Russ Stein, who is also deaf. They hire only deaf individuals, and diners can order their meals in sign language; otherwise, they point at the menu or write down what they want.

The Washington Post

4. Senior dogs and senior citizens find companionship through the Cuddle Club

Through the Cuddle Club, senior dogs and senior citizens connect. The club was started by the Muttville Senior Dog Rescue in San Francisco as a way to ensure that older dogs get love and attention. Several times a month, the group holds events where senior citizens pet and play with the pups for about an hour, then walk the elderly canines, getting them all out into the fresh air for exercise. "The seniors are giving love to the dogs that they need so much," volunteer Beth Hofer told Today. "The dogs are giving love to the seniors that they need so much." She has seen some dogs who start out nervous and shaking, but after 20 minutes, they are so relaxed they've fallen asleep on their new friend's lap. "You can just see how happy and fulfilled that person is that they were able to help that dog," she said.


5. Innovative nerve surgery reverses hand and arm paralysis

Using a new type of nerve transfer surgery, an Australian surgeon has been able to restore the hand and arm movement in 13 adult patients who were paralyzed in sports and traffic accidents. Now that the patients are able to use their hands and extend their arms from the elbow, they can feed themselves and write, surgeon Natasha van Zyl told The Guardian. "Extending your elbow allows you to push a wheelchair better, helps you to transfer in and out of a car, reach out and do something in space in front of you, shake someone's hand," she said. The surgery involves removing a working donor nerve from the shoulder, which is used to bypass the damaged section of nerve. It is connected back up to the spinal cord, restoring signals to the muscle that straightens the elbow. Patient Paul Robinson told The Guardian the surgery is "really a life-changing thing."

The Guardian The Lancet

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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.