Finally some good news
July 12, 2018

Thousands of seabirds and sea turtles die every year after getting unintentionally netted by fishermen, stumping scientists who are trying to strike a balance between conservation and protecting people's livelihoods, The Independent reports. After observing the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's success with attaching LED lights to nets to reduce sea turtle bycatch, Dr. Jeffrey Mangel tested the technology at fisheries in Peru.

"We started to look at the data in more detail and we realized it looked like the bycatch of seabids was also going down," said Mangel. The lights on the nets reduced turtle bycatch by two thirds, and fishermen also caught 85 percent fewer diving birds while still collecting their same-sized catch.

The finding is especially significant because it is such a cheap and simple fix. "We need to find ways for coastal peoples to fish with the least impact on the rest of the biodiversity in their seas," said another of the study's authors, Professor Brendan Godley. Jeva Lange

November 23, 2017

While driving to Philadelphia in October, Kate McClure ran out of gas. The 27-year-old was stranded and alone on the side of I-95 when a homeless man approached her. The man, whose name was Johnny, told her to get back in the car and lock the doors while he went to get help.

Johnny returned with a can of gas he bought with his last $20, according to The Associated Press.

McClure got to her destination safely but couldn't stop thinking about her savior. So she launched a GoFundMe campaign with a $10,000 goal to get Johnny set up with an apartment, a reliable car, and a few months worth of expenses.

As of Thanksgiving, McClure's campaign has reached more than $200,000. "It just blew up," McClure told AP.

Johnny, 34, who has been without a home in the Philadelphia area for about a year, says he hopes to get a job at the nearby Amazon warehouse in Robinson, New Jersey. Lauren Hansen

August 31, 2017

Hold up: Beyoncé just launched her own fundraising initiative to help out the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

On Thursday, the pop icon revealed that her BeyGOOD Foundation is working with Bread of Life and the Greater Houston Community Foundation to raise funds for relief efforts. The Houston native's website encourages fans to donate to both organizations as the BeyGOOD team "heads to Houston to continue our relief efforts on the ground." Beyoncé herself has reportedly already donated a "significant" amount.

Queen Bey isn't the only celebrity getting in formation post-Harvey: Drake also announced Thursday that he's donating $200,000 to a Hurricane Harvey relief fundraiser being held by Houston Texans player J.J. Watt. Becca Stanek

April 3, 2017

On Wednesday, Seattle will open a village of 40 tiny homes to provide shelter for approximately 70 homeless people, Think Progress reports. The houses, which are just 12 feet by 8 feet, were constructed by high school and college students through a vocational training program and are planted on land owned by the Low Income Housing Institute, an advocacy group. The village provides a communal kitchen and shower and will be staffed by two full-time employees who will provide security.

“It's a big step up from tent cities, one piece of the puzzle in solving this huge problem, so I think it's a good thing,” one volunteer who worked on the houses, Tim Brincefield, told King 5.

LIHI executive director Sharon Lee explained to MyNorthwest that the village has a "low barrier philosophy" and that people are invited to "come as you are."

"So if you have a drinking problem, it's not required that you be sober in order to live here," Lee said. "But you have to be on your good behavior. You have to be cooperative and you can't do harm to anybody. So everybody will have to check in, sign in. There will be chores. People will be assigned, like, kitchen duty, clean-up duty, maybe doing litter pickup in the community. We expect everyone to participate just like any household."

Seattle has an estimated 3,000 homeless people, with the city's mayor Ed Murray declaring a state of emergency in late 2015. At least 69 people died in 2016 as a result of living on the streets. Seattle officials have proposed as many as 1,000 tiny homes throughout Seattle to shelter the homeless. Jeva Lange

January 12, 2017

There's an upside to inclement winter weather, northern California is realizing: It can end historic, punishing droughts.

On Thursday, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration meteorologist David Miskus declared that "the drought is over in northern California," as this week's U.S. Drought Monitor showed less than 60 percent of California was experiencing drought. Currently, 42 percent of the state is classified as not experiencing drought conditions, a huge improvement from the just 3 percent that was drought-less this time last year. This is the first time since 2013 that so little of the state is experiencing an active drought.

The progress comes thanks to "a series of relentless storms this winter," The Mercury News reports, which helped return "nearly all of northern California from the Santa Cruz Mountains to the Oregon border ... to normal water conditions." Northern California experienced heavy storms this past week, and has been deluged with wet weather throughout the winter.

Still, the Golden State is not out of the woods yet: Drought conditions are still severe in southern California, with Ventura County, Santa Barbara County, and parts of Los Angeles County in the most dire straits. Officials say the state's future hinges on snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains, which provides water to the state during the warmer seasons; this winter's storms boosted the snowpack "to 158 percent of normal," the Los Angeles Times reports, making a "significant dent" in the state's years-long drought, though there are still "serious water woes to the south." Kimberly Alters

July 8, 2016

The federal nonfarm payrolls report released today showed that U.S. employers added 287,000 jobs in June, far exceeding economists' expectations and suggesting the economy had rebounded after May's disappointing employment numbers. Economists had predicted an increase of 170,000 jobs, with the gains partly due to Verizon employees returning to work after being out on strike in May. The unemployment rate increased to 4.9 percent from 4.7 percent, because more Americans returned to the labor force to look for work. U.S. stock futures surged on the news. Harold Maass

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