The week's good news: February 25, 2021
Michigan man builds an ice rink in his yard to bring neighbors together
Whether they want to skate or play hockey, everyone is welcome at Steve Chittle's backyard ice rink. Chittle lives in Manton, Michigan, and wanted to do something that would lift spirits amid the pandemic. His children don't skate, but that didn't stop Chittle from going through with his idea of building a small ice rink on his property. Once he was finished, he knocked on doors to spread the word, and soon there were neighborhood kids darting around on the ice. The parents, thrilled that their kids are having fun outside and not on their phones, have chipped in to buy skates and hockey sticks so everyone can enjoy the rink. "We all know that you've got to provide for your kids, but somehow you've got to give them some magic every now and again," Chittle told CBS News. "Just give a kid some magic. It doesn't get any better than that."
Baker launches company that mixes cookies with charity
Amanda Palomino has spent the last several months baking cookies while fostering dogs, and found a way to combine both of these interests through a new charitable company: Batter that Matters. Palomino, 27, lives in Bedford, New York, and told The Journal News that she began baking more during quarantine as a way to "de-stress." Her desserts were a hit with friends and family, which inspired Palomino. "I've been thinking about starting my own business for a while so I figured why not bake, spread joy, and give back," she said. In early January, Palomino started Batter that Matters, an online bakery specializing in cookies — her favorite treat to make. A portion of her profits will always be donated to charity, with the organizations changing every few months. Palomino's first charity is the SPCA of Westchester, and she picked this no-kill animal shelter in honor of the pups she's helped rescue over the last year.
Wisconsin restaurant owner uses advertising budget to help his fellow small business owners
Adolfo Melendez is looking out for his fellow small business owners in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Using $2,000 he had set aside to buy ads for his restaurant, El Mezcal, Melendez purchased gift cards from seven other dining establishments in town, to be raffled off online. "If you help one person and that person will help another business, that will help a lot," Melendez told WSAW. Melendez knows how hard it is right now to run a restaurant, and since small businesses are the backbone of Stevens Point, that prompted him to buy the gift cards. Pete Ananiadis, who owns Olympia Family Restaurant in Stevens Point, said he appreciates Melendez and his community spirit. "In these COVID times it's very important to eat local, small mom and pop shops," he told WSAW. "He understands that, and for all of us right now it's a tough time."
Texas couple invites stranded delivery driver to stay with them during storm
It's a delivery Chelsea Timmons won't ever forget. On Valentine's Day, while dropping off a grocery order at the Austin, Texas, home of Nina Richardson and Doug Condon, Timmons' car got stuck on the icy driveway. Because of the winter storm that was battering the state, there were no tow trucks to help her. Richardson and Condon invited Timmons to spend the night in their guest room, and she ended up staying through the 19th. The trio ate meals together, and the family's dogs also befriended Timmons, even sleeping in the guest room with her. Before heading home once the weather cleared up, Timmons baked Richardson and Condon a coconut cake to show her gratitude. Timmons wrote on Facebook that she was "blessed" to have been able to ride out the storm with Richardson and Condon, and called them her "guardian angels."
Volunteers in Texas rescue thousands of sea turtles from frigid waters
Thousands of sea turtles in coastal Texas were rescued by volunteers who plucked them out of cold waters to safety. "The love and support of people who just want to help things that can't help themselves is overwhelming," Sea Turtle Inc. Executive Director Wendy Knight told NPR. The severe winter storm system that hit the region last week caused water temperatures to drop. This put sea turtles in danger, as extremely low water temperatures can trigger a cold stun, meaning the turtle can't move or keep its head above water. To keep turtles from drowning, they must be removed quickly from the water. Volunteers on foot and by boat looked for stranded turtles, and Sea Turtle Inc, a conservation group on South Padre Island, took in almost 5,000 of the creatures. Once turtles get warmer, they begin to "move their flippers" and "raise their head," Knight said, and that's when they are released back into the Gulf of Mexico.