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Inspiring News Stories
Excerpts of Highly Inspiring News Stories in Major Media



Below are one-paragraph excerpts of highly inspiring news stories reported in the major media. Links are provided to the original stories on their major media websites. If any link fails to function, click here. These inspiring news stories are listed with the stories most recently posted to the website listed first. For the same list with the most inspiring stories listed first, click here. For a concise list providing headlines and links to a number of highly inspiring articles and stories, click here. May these articles inspire us to find ever more ways to love and support each other and all around us to be the very best we can be.


Note: This comprehensive list of inspiring news stories is usually updated once a week. For an index to revealing excerpts of news stories on several dozen engaging topics, click here.

Report: US Abortion Rate at Lowest Since 1973
2014-02-02, ABC News/Associated Press
Posted: 2014-02-11 08:35:08
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/report-us-abortion-rate-lowest-1973-22...

The U.S. abortion rate declined to its lowest level since 1973, and the number of abortions fell by 13 percent between 2008 and 2011, according to the latest national survey of abortion providers conducted by a prominent research institute. The Guttmacher Institute, which supports legal access to abortion, said in a report issued [on February 3] that there were about 1.06 million abortions in 2011 — down from about 1.2 million in 2008. Guttmacher's figures are of interest on both sides of the abortion debate because they are more up-to-date and in some ways more comprehensive than abortion statistics compiled by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the report, the abortion rate dropped to 16.9 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-44 in 2011, well below the peak of 29.3 in 1981 and the lowest since a rate of 16.3 in 1973. Guttmacher and other groups supporting abortion rights have been apprehensive about the recent wave of laws restricting abortion access that have been passed in Republican-controlled legislatures. However, the report's authors said the period that they studied — 2008 to 2011 — predates the major surge of such laws starting with the 2011 legislative session. The lead author, Rachel Jones, also said there appeared to be no link to a decline in the number of abortion providers. According to Jones, the drop in abortions was likely linked to a steep national decline in overall pregnancy and birth rates. "Contraceptive use improved during this period, as more women and couples were using highly effective long-acting reversible contraceptive methods," she said.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Vivienne Harr's lemonade stand story a movie
2014-01-27, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2014-02-03 10:24:05
http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/article/Vivienne-Harr-s-lemonade-stand-st...

When Eric Harr was a kid, he made $9 one day from selling lemonade. He thought that was totally cool. Thirty years later, his daughter Vivienne set up a lemonade stand ... and did considerably better. Over 173 consecutive days, she took in $101,320. Vivienne, a 10-year-old with a penchant for bouncy princess dresses and the color pink, had a motive. Alarmed by photos she'd seen of Nepalese children hauling enormous rocks down a mountain, she decided in May 2012 to raise money to stop child slavery. When people stopped at her lemonade stand to ask how much she was charging, Vivienne said, "Whatever's in your heart." She donated the $101,320 to Not for Sale, a nonprofit that works to eradicate human trafficking around the world. But she wasn't finished. During the last year and a half, her campaign morphed into a corporation. Make a Stand Lemon-Aid, which her father oversees, sells fair-trade, organic lemonade at 137 stores and is expected to gross $2 million this year. Along the way, Vivienne became a bit of a celebrity. In November, she joined "Star Trek" actor Patrick Stewart to ring the opening bell for Twitter's IPO at the New York Stock Exchange - a distinction bestowed because she and her dad, a social-media professional, had made extensive use of the microblogging service. In a new documentary, "#Standwithme," Portland, Ore., filmmakers Patrick Moreau and Grant Peelle show how Vivienne and her parents were drawn to their cause and set their story in a larger context of global efforts to halt human trafficking.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Solar industry job growth jumped 20% in 2013
2014-01-27, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2014-02-03 10:22:42
http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Solar-industry-job-growth-jumped-20-in...

Job growth in 2013 stayed sluggish for much of the American economy. But for solar companies, it was a banner year. Employment in the U.S. solar industry jumped 20 percent in 2013 to hit 142,698. The number of solar jobs across the country has grown 53 percent since 2010. Last year, the industry added 56 U.S. jobs per day, on average. "That growth is putting people back to work and helping local economies," said Andrea Luecke, executive director of the Solar Foundation. Her research and advocacy group has issued its National Solar Jobs Census every year since 2010. Nearly half of all U.S. solar workers counted in the most recent survey install systems, rather than make the equipment. Installation employed 69,658 people across the country last year, up from 57,177 in 2012. Solar manufacturing, in contrast, employed 29,851 people in the United States, a slight increase from 29,742 the previous year. In 2012, California had 43,700 solar jobs, 37 percent of the nationwide total. The Golden State is the nation's largest solar market, and many of the country's biggest solar companies - including SolarCity, SunPower and Sunrun - call it home. The survey found that the average installer earned about $20 per hour in 2013.

Note: For more on exciting energy developments, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




School ditches rules and loses bullies
2014-01-26, TVNZ (New Zealand's national broadcasting company)
Posted: 2014-02-03 10:21:19
http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/school-ditches-rules-and-loses-bullies-5807957

Ripping up the playground rulebook is having incredible effects on children at an Auckland school. Chaos may reign at Swanson Primary School with children climbing trees, riding skateboards and playing bullrush during playtime, but surprisingly the students don't cause bedlam, the principal says. The school is actually seeing a drop in bullying, serious injuries and vandalism, while concentration levels in class are increasing. Principal Bruce McLachlan rid the school of playtime rules as part of a successful university experiment. "We want kids to be safe and to look after them, but we end up wrapping them in cotton wool when in fact they should be able to fall over." Letting children test themselves on a scooter during playtime could make them more aware of the dangers when getting behind the wheel of a car in high school, he said. "When you look at our playground it looks chaotic. From an adult's perspective, it looks like kids might get hurt, but they don't." Swanson School signed up to the study by AUT and Otago University just over two years ago, with the aim of encouraging active play. However, the school took the experiment a step further by abandoning the rules completely, much to the horror of some teachers at the time. When the university study wrapped up at the end of last year the school and researchers were amazed by the results. Mudslides, skateboarding, bullrush and tree climbing kept the children so occupied the school no longer needed a timeout area or as many teachers on patrol. "The kids were motivated, busy and engaged. In my experience, the time children get into trouble is when they are not busy, motivated and engaged. It's during that time they bully other kids, graffiti or wreck things around the school."

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




The Elders of Organic Farming
2014-01-25, New York Times
Posted: 2014-02-03 10:20:09
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/25/business/the-elders-of-organic-farming.html

For nearly a week, two dozen organic farmers from the United States and Canada shared decades’ worth of stories, secrets and anxieties [at California's Esalen Institute]. During their meetings, some of the farmers worried that their children would not want to continue their businesses and that they might have to sell their homes and land to retire. [Conference organizer Michael] Ableman, the author of Fields of Plenty, is writing a book about the gathering. Deborah Garcia, the widow of Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead and a filmmaker whose previous films include “The Future of Food” and “The Symphony of the Soil,” is making a documentary. The grandfathers and grandmothers of organic farming should be joyous, but they are not. Some of today’s organic farmers have thousands of acres of single crops, which are flown to supermarket shelves, where they are sold at lower prices than many small organic farmers can afford to sell their produce. Generally, the farmers at Esalen have less acreage and sell dozens or hundreds of varieties of fruits and vegetables at local farmers’ markets, to upscale restaurants and through so-called community-supported agriculture. C.S.A.’s, as these arrangements are known, consist of consumers who pay before the harvest for weekly deliveries of seasonal fruits and vegetables. The sustainable agriculture these farmers practice goes beyond farming without synthetic fertilizer and pesticides. They adhere to a broader political and ecological ethos that includes attention to wildlife, soil, education and community. For most of them, the bottom line has never been their bottom line.

Note: Don't miss the eye-opening documentary "Future of Food" at this link. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Researchers developing communication app for children with autism
2013-08-01, CBS News/Associated Press
Posted: 2014-01-28 10:00:54
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/researchers-developing-communication-app-for-chil...

University of Kansas researchers have received a $1.2 million grant to test whether an iPad voice output application can help children with autism. Similar apps have previously been developed for adults with autism. In June 2012, 60 Minutes interviewed a 27-year-old man with autism who uses the keypad on the iPad to type out letters, words and phrases. A robotic voice then reads the words on the screen, giving a voice to an intelligent young man who previously struggled to communicate. Other researchers have developed apps to test vocabulary and math skills of autistic children. They are finding that the apps reveal a greater level of intelligence than previously expected in many of the children. Lead researcher Kathy Thiemann-Bourque says many young children with autism have complex communication needs but do not develop functional speech. In previous research, she has examined both peer training and direct teaching strategies to increase social communication between children with autism and their classmates without disabilities.

Note: For an amazing eight-minute clip showing how a non-verbal autistic woman uses her computer to eloquently invite people into her world, click here. The amazing writing starts at 3:15. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




New species of river dolphin identified in Brazilian Amazon
2014-01-25, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2014-01-28 09:59:05
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/25/new-species-of-river-dolphin-ide...

Scientists have made the first discovery in 100 years of a new river dolphin species in the waters of the Araguaia river in Brazil's vast Amazon rainforest. The discovery of the Inia araguaiaensis was officially announced earlier this week in a study posted online by the Plos One scientific journal. The study's lead author, biologist Tomas Hrbek, of the Federal University of Amazonas in the city of Manaus, said the new species is the third ever found in the Amazon region. "It was an unexpected discovery that shows just how incipient our knowledge is of the region's biodiversity," Hrbek said by telephone. "River dolphins are among the rarest and most endangered of all vertebrates, so discovering a new species is something that is very rare and exciting." He said: "people always saw them in the river but no one ever took a close up look at them." Hrbek added that scientists concluded the large dolphin was a new species by analysing and comparing DNA samples of several types of dolphins from the Amazon and Araguaia river basins. There [are] about 1,000 Inia araguaiaensis dolphins living in the 2,627km-long (1,630 miles) river.

Note: For more on the amazing world of marine mammals, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Explosive growth for state's surviving solar firms
2014-01-19, San Francisco Chronicle SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2014-01-28 09:57:48
http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Explosive-growth-for-state-s-surviving-sol...

Many California and Bay Area [solar] companies are in a period of explosive growth. Companies such as SolarCity, Sungevity, SunPower and Sunrun are installing panels at a heady pace, and adding jobs along the way. Their expansion has been fueled by ... a worldwide plunge in the price of solar cells. Companies that design and install solar systems for homes, businesses or utilities have seen their sales rise. "They're not just survivors - they're strong survivors," said Lyndon Rive, chief executive officer of SolarCity in San Mateo. "And it's not just us. It's the industry. ... The notion that it's a failure is so outrageous." The number of solar installations - both large and small-scale - is booming. In 2013, the United States added enough new photovoltaic panels to generate a maximum of 4.2 gigawatts of electricity, roughly the output of four nuclear reactors. Over the past five years, the number of residential installations has grown at an average annual rate of 70 percent, according to the NPD Solarbuzz market information firm. "The demand today is coming from the fact that someone can put solar on their house and save money," said Paul Nahi, CEO of Enphase Energy, a Petaluma company that makes microinverters for solar arrays. "It is true that they may also be saving the planet. But that's not their main consideration." The drop in prices isn't their only reason for growth. Companies including SolarCity, SunEdison and Sunrun began offering solar leases or power purchase agreements to homeowners and businesses. Rather than buy the panels, customers could just buy the energy. That financial innovation revolutionized the industry.

Note: For more on exciting new developments in alternative energy technologies, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




'Solar suitcase' saving moms, babies during childbirth
2013-10-13, CNN
Posted: 2014-01-28 09:55:51
http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/28/health/cnnheroes-stachel-solar-power/index.html

Dr. Laura Stachel watched as physicians performed an emergency cesarean section. What happened next stunned her. "The lights went out," Stachel recalled, "and I said, 'How are they going to finish?' " Fortunately, Stachel had a flashlight with her, and the doctors were able to use it to complete the surgery. But during that two-week trip in 2008, she witnessed countless other times when the lives of mothers and babies were at risk simply because of a lack of reliable electricity. With the help of Hal Aronson, her husband and a solar energy educator, Stachel worked to find a solution. He drew up designs for a solar electric system to provide a free source of power to the state hospital in northern Nigeria where Stachel had conducted her research. Each time Stachel would return to Africa, she came with one or two new "solar suitcases" assembled by her husband. Today, the solar suitcase includes two solar panels that are mounted on a clinic's roof and connected to high-quality LED lights. Once fully charged, it can provide light for up to 20 hours. The kit also contains headlamps, a fetal Doppler to monitor a baby's heart rate and a cell phone charging unit. "We got to something that was really rugged, simple to use, portable and that we knew would really work in harsh environments," Stachel said. It also spread to other countries after Stachel and Aronson started a nonprofit, We Care Solar. Since 2009, the kits have been helping health-care workers save lives not only in Nigeria but in facilities throughout Africa, Asia and Central America.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Doctor's street medicine helps cure homelessness
2011-10-21, CBS News
Posted: 2014-01-20 10:19:44
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/doctors-street-medicine-helps-cure-homelessness/

Dr. Jim Withers has been caring exclusively for [Pittsburgh, PA's] homeless since 1992. Night after night, he and his team make their rounds at homeless camps. They treat everything, head to toe -- from mental illness to frostbitten feet. What little money Withers makes comes mostly from grants and teaching at a medical school. But he doesn't think about money. In fact, he doesn't think at all like a typical doctor. "The essence of healthcare is going to where people are. Either physically or even more importantly spiritually, emotionally," he said. "When they're shown that they matter," Withers said, ... "then hope grows. And amazing things happen. That's why we've been able to house well over 700 people. You know, if I could I'd write a prescription for a house for all the street people because it is immensely important for health." Jim Ellis, 49, was on the streets for eight years until he met Withers, who first treated his back pain and then helped cure his homelessness. Through a non-profit Withers started called Operation Safety Net, he and his staff have been remarkably successful at finding apartments for people like Jim. Over the years, Operation Safety Net has been able to help so many that today homelessness in Pittsburgh is literally half the problem it used to be - half as many people on the streets. About a dozen cites in America are now trying to copy the program, in firm belief that this doctor definitely knows best.

Note: For a great video on this man and his inspiring work, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Zach Sobiech, 17, Inspires Millions in Cancer Fight With Farewell Song
2013-03-07, People Magazine
Posted: 2014-01-20 10:17:51
http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20679770,00.html

After doctors told cancer patient Zach Sobiech, 17, he only had a year to live, the Minnesota high school senior turned to music – and inspired millions. His emotional farewell song, "Clouds" was posted on YouTube ... and went viral with over [nine] million views and climbing, [and] created interest from music industry insiders. "I didn't make 'Clouds' to get famous," says Zach, who now has a songwriting contract from BMI, performed two concerts and just completed a new album titled Fix Me Up with his duo group A Firm Handshake, with singer and best friend Sammy Brown. "It's pretty crazy now … but it's worth it." Back in 2009, then-14-year-old Zach, the third of four children, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a kind of bone cancer. Despite countless surgeries and rounds of radiation, the cancer continued to spread. Last May, doctors gave a grim prognosis: Zach had up to a year to live. "We're approaching that year mark," says Zach, whose high school class graduates in June. "It's scary to think about, but the key is to not feel bad for yourself." Zach is using his remaining time and newfound fame to raise awareness and money for kids suffering from his rare form of cancer, teaming with the Children's Cancer Research Fund to launch the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund. He's already raised almost $80,000 to help fund research into a cure. "My [type of] cancer hardly gets any funding," says Zach. "Our goal is to give other kids with osteosarcoma a chance." Though Zach has good days and bad, his mother says he's doing his best to live each day to its fullest.

Note: For a most beautiful and touching 22 minute video showing how Zach Sobiech faced his impending death by living life to its absolute fullest, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Creating an oasis in a Southern 'food desert'
2013-09-12, CNN
Posted: 2014-01-20 10:13:06
http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/12/living/cnnheroes-emmons-food-deserts

For more than a decade, Robin Emmons felt helpless as her older brother lived on the streets, eating out of garbage cans. She tried repeatedly to get him help for his mental illness, but authorities told her there was nothing they could do. After he was arrested in 2008 for damaging someone's car during a schizophrenic outburst, she was finally able to become his legal guardian and get him into a halfway house with psychiatric services. But as she watched his mental health improve, she noticed his physical health getting worse. "I learned that he was becoming borderline diabetic," she said. "He wasn't like that even when he was homeless." She investigated and found out that the nonprofit facility was mainly feeding him packaged and canned foods because it couldn't afford fresh fruits and vegetables. "I had a small garden, so I thought, 'Well, I'll just put in some extra rows,' " Emmons said. "I began making weekly deliveries of whatever was coming up." She soon realized, however, that the problem extended well beyond her brother's transitional home. While farmers markets were springing up across the city, she noticed that low-income and working-class neighborhoods had few grocery stores or places to buy fresh produce. "If you don't live in an affluent part of the city ... your easiest options are the dollar menu or the convenience store attached to a gas station," said Emmons, 45. Today, Emmons has 200 volunteers helping her tend 9 acres of crops on three sites. Since 2008, she says, her nonprofit, Sow Much Good, has grown more than 26,000 pounds of fresh produce for underserved communities in Charlotte.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Glaxo Says It Will Stop Paying Doctors to Promote Drugs
2013-12-17, New York Times
Posted: 2014-01-13 16:04:29
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/17/business/glaxo-says-it-will-stop-paying-doc...

The British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline will no longer pay doctors to promote its products and will stop tying compensation of sales representatives to the number of prescriptions doctors write, its chief executive said ..., effectively ending two common industry practices that critics have long assailed as troublesome conflicts of interest. The announcement appears to be a first for a major drug company — although others may be considering similar moves — and it comes at a particularly sensitive time for Glaxo. It is the subject of a bribery investigation in China, where authorities contend the company funneled illegal payments to doctors and government officials in an effort to lift drug sales. For decades, pharmaceutical companies have paid doctors to speak on their behalf at conferences and other meetings of medical professionals, on the assumption that the doctors are most likely to value the advice of trusted peers. But the practice has also been criticized by those who question whether it unduly influences the information doctors give each other and can lead them to prescribe drugs inappropriately to patients. Under the plan, which Glaxo said would be completed worldwide by 2016, the company will no longer pay health care professionals to speak on its behalf about its products or the diseases they treat “to audiences who can prescribe or influence prescribing.” It will also stop providing financial support directly to doctors to attend medical conferences, a practice that is prohibited in the United States through an industry-imposed ethics code but that still occurs in other countries.

Note: For more on this, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Mama Hope eases, lifts lives in African villages
2014-01-05, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2014-01-13 16:02:55
http://www.sfgate.com/living/article/Mama-Hope-eases-lifts-lives-in-African-v...

[Nyla] Rodgers discovered that her mother had lifted an entire village by giving $1,500 to 10 women to start an entrepreneurial collective. Rodgers knew right then that she would dedicate her life to picking up where her mother left off. Rodgers spent hours talking with Kenyan elders about the needs of Kisumu, and came back to the United States determined to get them the running water, health clinics and schools they asked for. She wrote a letter to everyone she knew, and collected $30,000 to build a clinic in her mother's name. Two years later, in 2009, she started a nonprofit, Mama Hope, with the motto "Stop the Pity." She structured Mama Hope along a "Batman model," where the hero is unknown. Once she finds out what a certain neighborhood needs, she flies home, gets on the computer, puts on the gala cocktail dress and drums up the money. Then she sends it to an African nonprofit that manages the project, using all locally supplied materials and labor. She shows up with Mama Hope members and helps build the hospital, school or poultry farm. "People think we are just really nice volunteers," she said. "And that's how it should be. It's not about us; we are catalysts, we don't need applause and cheers." Since then, Mama Hope (www.mamahope.org) has completed 34 projects in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania that benefit 150,000 people, everything from installing drip irrigation to building schools and bringing water into people's homes that they can access with faucets.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Trekking through mud, rivers and jungle to provide free medical care
2013-11-03, CNN
Posted: 2014-01-13 16:01:38
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/01/world/africa/cnnheroes-bwelle-cameroon-doct...

For 21 years, Georges Bwelle watched his ill father slip in and out of consciousness, traveling to hospitals that weren't equipped to help him. In Cameroon, there is only one doctor for every 5,000 people, according to the World Health Organization. And even if they could see a physician, many Cameroonians couldn't afford it. Two out of five people in the country live below the poverty line, and nearly three-quarters of the country's health-care spending is private. Seeing his father and so many of his countrymen suffer, Bwelle was determined to do something about it. He became a doctor himself, working as a vascular surgeon in Yaounde's Central Hospital. And he started a nonprofit, ASCOVIME, that travels into rural areas on weekends to provide free medical care. Since 2008, he and his group of volunteers have helped nearly 32,000 people. Almost every Friday, he and up to 30 people jam into vans, tie medical supplies to the roofs and travel across rough terrain to visit villages in need. "We are receiving 500 people in each trip," Bwelle said. "They are coming from 60 kilometers (37 miles) around the village, and they're coming on foot." Each of these weekend clinics provides a variety of medical care. Many people are treated for malaria, tuberculosis, malnutrition, diabetes, parasites and sexually transmitted diseases. Others might receive crutches, a pair of donated eyeglasses or free birth certificates -- documentation that's required for school but that many impoverished families simply can't afford. In the evenings, the team will do simple surgeries with local anesthesia.

Note: For more on this inspiring man and how you can help his great cause, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Modern Pied Piper Cheats Death
2009-05-01, CBS News
Posted: 2014-01-13 16:00:21
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/modern-pied-piper-cheats-death/

Every time 70-year-old Andy Mackie draws a breath, it's music to his ears - whether there's a harmonica there or not. Mackie's just glad to be alive. Mackie jokes, "I guess they don't need a harmonica player in heaven yet." Mackie, a Scottish-born retired horse trainer, lives in a camper in northwest Washington state - he lives there, even though technically -- medically -- he should have died long ago. After his ninth heart surgery, Mackie's doctors had him on 15 different medicines. But the side effects made life miserable. So one day he quit taking all 15 and decided to spend his final days doing something he always wanted to do. He used the money he would have spent on the prescriptions to give away 300 harmonicas, with lessons included. "I really thought it was the last thing I could ever do," he says. And when he didn't die the next month, he bought a few hundred more. Harmonicas in hand, he explains, "I just started going from school to school." It's now 11 years and 13,000 harmonicas later. Today there's nary a kid in the county who hasn't gotten a free harmonica from Mackie, or played one of his strum sticks. To keep the kids interested in music as they get older, Mackie now spends the bulk of his Social Security check making them beginner string instruments. He also buys store-made instruments for kids that show a special interest. He provides free lessons to everyone by getting the older kids to teach the younger kids. Mackie says, "I tell them music is a gift, you give it away - you give it away and you get to keep it forever." The end result is something truly unique to his corner of Washington. It seems everywhere you look, everyplace you go, every kid you meet has the same genuine passion for fiddle music.

Note: Don't miss the inspiring video of this story at the link above. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




2013: Fewest Police Deaths by Firearms Since 1887
2013-12-30, ABC News/Associated Press
Posted: 2014-01-06 15:56:45
http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/2013-fewest-police-deaths-firearms-1887-21...

The number of law-enforcement officers killed by firearms in 2013 fell to levels not seen since the 19th century, according to a [new] report. The annual report from the nonprofit National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund also found that deaths in the line of duty generally fell by 8 percent and were the fewest since 1959. According to the report, 111 federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officers were killed in the line of duty nationwide this past year, compared to 121 in 2012. Forty-six officers were killed in traffic related accidents, and 33 were killed by firearms. The number of firearms deaths fell 33 percent in 2013 and was the lowest since 1887. The report credits an increased culture of safety among law-enforcement agencies, including increased use of bulletproof vests, that followed a spike in law-enforcement deaths in 2011. Since 2011, officer fatalities across all categories have decreased by 34 percent, and firearms deaths have dropped by 54 percent. Fourteen officers died from heart attacks that occurred while performing their duties.

Note: Violent crime rates have dropped dramatically in the last 20 years, which is one of the least reported good news stories. For more on this, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




What Would You Do? Interracial Couple Faces Criticism
2013-12-10, ABC News
Posted: 2014-01-06 15:53:10
http://abcnews.go.com/WhatWouldYouDo/video/interracial-couple-faces-criticism...

It was a simple idea, an interracial couple ridiculed at a barber shop ... in the heart of Harlem. It resonated throughout the internet with millions of hits and comments like, "there may be hope for us yet" and "everyone should watch this!" Rachel is an actor playing a hairdresser who has her eye on a new customer. Gabriel [also an actor] has a girlfriend and when she shows up, it's a rude awakening for Rachel. "Wait, what? You're with a white girl?" If you saw this woman berating an interracial couple, what would you do? [Unsuspecting customer] Denise is so upset there is nothing holding her back. "She's ignorant. I'm letting you know, black girl to another black girl. You sound stupid. As much criticism we went through as a people you're going to do it to the next person. Who gives you that right?" But nothing prepared us for this last woman. Marcia, an HR executive and diversity trainer cannot believe what she's hearing. She tries to get to the bottom of Rachel's intolerance. "Where is your caring and loving heart. If she was laying in the street bleeding would you help her? Let's try to rise together. She wants Rachel to apologize. "Yes, you should, while it's still on your spirit so you can sleep better tonight. Come on. Go up to her. ... That's what works for us. HUGS, Helping Us Grow Spiritually." Why did [Marcia] get involved? "Sometimes you have to step up so that you don't fall back. It hurt me because that's not what I'm about." So many people stepped forward against hatred and bigotry, a sermon at the barber shop now ringing through the streets of harlem and beyond.

Note: Don't miss the great video of this awesomely inspiring episode of "What Would You Do?" which restores hope in human nature. You can find it at the link above. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Prison Gardens Grow New Lives for Inmates
2013-10-23, ABC News blog
Posted: 2014-01-06 15:51:54
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2013/10/prison-gardens-grow-new-lives-f...

From Enfield, Conn., to New York City and the San Francisco Bay, lush gardens filled with ripe fruits, vegetables and flowers are growing in unexpected places — prison yards. Prisons use them to rehabilitate inmates and to teach them basic landscaping skills that they can use to get jobs. For the last three years, all 18 state prisons in Connecticut have had garden programs. None cost taxpayers money. Last year, Connecticut prisons produced more than 35,000 pounds of produce – saving taxpayers $20,000 a year by putting produce back into the prison system. “We believe that everybody has a heart and everybody has a chance for transformation,” said Beth Waitkus, the director of the Insight Garden Program that started 10 years ago at San Quentin prison. “What happens with gardening is … they reconnect to themselves. They reconnect to their feelings. They reconnect to each other as a community, a small community in the prison, and they really reconnect to nature. And, I think that offers a huge opportunity for transformation when we reconnect to ourselves and to the natural world. While Waitkus spends her time in San Quentin teaching inmates how to plant flowers, take care of soil and prune plants, she also keeps the connection strong once they leave prison. Nationally, the recidivism rate is more than 60 percent, according to the 2011 Annual Recidivism Report. For garden prisoners at San Quentin, Waitkus said the return rate is less than 10 percent, and most other prison gardens report return rates in the single digits. In Connecticut, officials say not one of the garden graduates has returned.

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An Early Eco-City Faces the Future
2012-02-16, New York Times
Posted: 2014-01-06 15:50:20
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/16/garden/an-early-eco-city-faces-the-future.h...

Occupying the middle of nowhere must have appealed to the students, architects and seekers of the 1970s who founded Arcosanti, an “urban laboratory” in the desert 70 miles north of Phoenix. Above all, they were able to join an ongoing colloquy with the city’s visionary designer, Paolo Soleri. In a cosmic language of his own invention..., Mr. Soleri proselytized for a carless society in harmony with the natural world. Over the course of 40 years, some 7,000 souls would come and go. For the most part, though, they left. And last fall, Mr. Soleri joined this group himself, retiring at age 92 as the president of the parent Cosanti Foundation. The foundation’s new president, Jeff Stein, 60, [was] formerly dean of the Boston Architectural College. But if Mr. Stein can’t miraculously transform Arcosanti into a dense eco-city for 5,000 residents — and that was always Mr. Soleri’s plan — what should it become instead? Whatever Mr. Stein may wish to do, for now it will have to be accomplished with an operating budget of less than $1 million. His first job, perhaps, is to become an ambassador: to remind the world that Arcosanti exists as a going concern. Some 25,000 [visitors] stop here each year. 56 inspired souls ... continue to live and work and dream in the Arcosanti that exists today.

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