- 1. A whale tail sculpture saved a Dutch subway train from plummeting to the ground
- 2. Iowa boy makes baseball bats out of wood brought down by storm, raising money for community
- 3. After man saves girl from drowning, family helps pay for his wedding
- 4. Elusive chameleon found in the wild for the 1st time in a century
- 5. Chicago restaurateur volunteers to fly rescue animals to their new homes
1. A whale tail sculpture saved a Dutch subway train from plummeting to the ground
A Dutch subway driver had a whale of a tale to share when he got off work on Monday. Early in the morning, a train at the De Akkers station near Rotterdam crashed through barriers at the end of the tracks, but instead of plummeting down more than 30 feet to the ground, the train landed on a large piece of art in the shape of a whale tail, which was installed at the station two decades ago. There are two whale tail sculptures, both made of plastic, and the local transportation authority is trying to figure out how to remove the train, since it's difficult to get cranes into the area. There were no passengers on the train when the incident occurred, and the driver was not hurt.
2. Iowa boy makes baseball bats out of wood brought down by storm, raising money for community
Tommy Rhomberg wanted to do something nice for a friend, and this act of kindness ended up benefiting his entire community. The 12-year-old lives in Iowa, which was hit hard in August by a derecho. The storm brought winds of up to 140 mph, destroying homes and bringing down trees. To cheer up a friend whose birthday took place amid the derecho, Rhomberg took a tree branch that came down on his lawn and whittled it into a baseball bat to give to his pal. It took 10 hours to create the bat, which Rhomberg named The Great Derecho. His mom asked him if he would make her a bat, and that's when an idea took shape: Rhomberg would create bats and donate the money earned to help people who needed to rebuild after the derecho. Using wood that came down during the storm, Rhomberg has so far made about 115 bats, raising more than $2,500.
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3. After man saves girl from drowning, family helps pay for his wedding
Samantha Whiting wanted to show her appreciation for the man who saved her daughter this summer when she was caught in a riptide, and although she only knew his first name and where he lived, Whiting was determined to track him down. The incident occurred in August, when Whiting and her 10-year-old daughter, Hayley, were at the beach in Monterey, California. Bystander Kevin Cozzi heard their screams, and raced into the waves to save Hayley. Weeks later, the Whitings wanted to find Cozzi and again let him know how grateful they were. "He's one of the biggest heroes I've ever met," Hayley told ABC30. Samantha posted on a Facebook group and within hours was talking to Cozzi. Cozzi and his fiancée postponed getting married because of the pandemic, and the Whitings launched a GoFundMe to help them have the wedding of their dreams. He is thankful, but told ABC30, "That girl being saved was enough for me."
4. Elusive chameleon found in the wild for the 1st time in a century
For the first time in 100 years, researchers spotted the Voeltzkow's chameleon in northwestern Madagascar, its natural habitat. In a paper published Friday in the Salamandra journal, researchers from Germany and Madagascar wrote that they saw several living Voeltzkow's chameleons during a recent expedition, including, for the first time, the female of the species. Females, The Associated Press reports, display "particularly colorful patterns during pregnancy, when encountering males, and when stressed." It's believed that Voeltzkow's chameleons live only for a few months, during the rainy season. This, and the fact that their habitats are threatened by fires and deforestation, made it difficult for researchers to find and study them. It was a major accomplishment to track down the chameleons, the scientists wrote in their paper, adding, "Rediscoveries of 'lost' species are very important as they provide crucial data for conservation measures and also bring some hope amidst the biodiversity crisis."
5. Chicago restaurateur volunteers to fly rescue animals to their new homes
As a restaurateur, life during the coronavirus pandemic is stressful, but Eduard Seitan has found something that relieves tension: flying rescue animals to their new homes, all across the United States. He is a volunteer with Pilots N Paws, a nonprofit that moves shelter cats and dogs at risk of being euthanized to foster families and no-kill rescues. Seitan owns an old airplane, and over the last two years has flown more than 40 animals to their new lives. Seitan is in awe of how resilient the animals he meets are and their ability to trust, and recommends others get involved with volunteering because it "does so much to your soul," adding, "for me, because of my love for animals, it makes me feel so good and so complete and so happy at the end of the mission knowing that I helped an animal to get to a better life."
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