The week's good news: July 9, 2020

It wasn't all bad!

A condor.
(Image credit: rticknor/iStock)

1. 12-year-old invents device that helps prevent hot car deaths

Lydia Denton, 12, has developed a device that could save lives. Her Beat The Heat Car Seat measures the temperature inside a car, sending an alert when it reaches 102 degrees. Denton designed the portable device after learning about children who have died after accidentally being left inside hot cars. "I got really emotional about it because it's something that's happening in the real world that I knew could be fixed," the North Carolina resident told Good Morning America. Denton's invention won the CITGO Fueling Education Student Challenge, and she is using the $20,000 grand prize to get her device, which would likely cost $50, on the market. Denton's siblings worked with her on it — her brother did some coding, while her sister helped with the design — and their mom, science teacher Covey Denton, told GMA she loved seeing them come together for the project. "Kids don't know what impossible is," she said. "They dream so big."

Good Morning America

2. Endangered California condors spotted in Sequoia National Park for 1st time in 50 years

Once on the brink of extinction, California condors were seen soaring over Sequoia National Park in May, the first time the endangered bird has been spotted there in five decades. The California condor is North America's largest land bird, with a 9.5-foot wingspan. At least six condors were seen at the park, wildlife officials said Tuesday — four in the Giant Forest and two near Moro Rock. California condors are known to nest in sequoia tree cavities, and biologist Dave Meyer told the Los Angeles Times he was excited to see them in an "important historic habitat." Following a breeding program in captivity, condors were released into the wild in Southern California in 1992, and researchers use GPS transmitters to track their movements. The condor sighting is "evidence of continued recovery of the species," Tyler Coleman, a wildlife biologist with Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, told the Times, and "an important milestone."

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The Los Angeles Times

3. Endurance athlete runs 218 miles to support grandmother recovering from COVID-19

One thing kept Corey Cappelloni motivated during his 218-mile run from Washington, D.C., to Scranton, Pennsylvania: knowing that his grandmother would be waiting at the end. In early June, Cappelloni's 98-year-old grandmother, Ruth Andres, tested positive for COVID-19. Cappelloni had been training for an ultramarathon, and his girlfriend suggested he run to see Andres. He turned the trek into a fundraiser called Run for Ruth, earning $24,000 to buy smartphones and tablets to help elderly adults who are isolated because of the virus connect to the outside world. Cappelloni told The Associated Press he wanted to show Andres "that I'm here for her and that I really care for her, because she has always been there for me from when I was born." He arrived at her nursing home on June 19, not long after receiving word that she had made a full recovery. Cappelloni remained outside, but Andres was able to see him from her window.

The Associated Press

4. Pilot with diabetes makes commercial aviation history

After nearly a decade, Southwest Airlines Captain Bob Halicky was back in the cockpit, and this time, he was making history. In July 2011, Halicky, 59, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. At the time, Federal Aviation Administration rules prohibited pilots with insulin-treated diabetes from flying commercial airliners, saying it was too high risk. The American Diabetes Association and other organizations urged the FAA to reconsider, and they did, deciding in November that due to "the advancement of medical technology," pilots with insulin-treated diabetes could apply for the first-class medical certificate needed to fly commercially. Halicky received his certificate in April, and quickly completed a requalification course. On June 22, he became the first U.S. airline pilot with type 1 diabetes to captain a commercial flight, traveling from Las Vegas to Seattle. Halicky told CNN he was "super pumped" about flying again, and called his accomplishment "a huge uplift to the diabetes community."


5. Red panda cubs, giraffe calf born during Columbus Zoo baby boom

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium welcomed several adorable baby animals over the course of a month, with two red panda cubs, a Masai giraffe calf, two sea lion pups, and a siamang arriving between May 29 and June 30. With the exception of the sea lion, all of the species are endangered, Doug Warmolts, vice president of animal care at the zoo, told Today, and his team is "optimistic" over the births. The siamang, a species of gibbon, was born on May 29, and the red panda cubs came next on June 13. There are fewer than 10,000 red pandas in the wild, and Warmolts told Today they're "a challenging species to breed in human care, so we're just thrilled that they were successful." On June 25, a sea lion named Lovell welcomed a pup — the first ever born at the Columbus Zoo — and on June 30, a sea lion named Baby also gave birth. Between those arrivals, a Masai giraffe calf was born on June 28.


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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.