Hannah Simpson, a farm worker from New Zealand’s Southland, enjoys riding her cow Leila, after being refused a horse as an 11-year-old. Photograph: Hannah Simpson

Uplifting News – Weekend Roundup


Need some positivity to start 2017? Here is a collection of headlines from the week to start your new year out well.


Michigan Firefighters Rescue Dog That Fell Through Thin Ice


Julia Jacobo reported that White Lake, MI firefighters rescued a dog from freezing water after the pup fell through ice. The firefighters hope to return the Gold Retriever to his family.


(Source: http://abcnews.go.com/US/michigan-firefighters-rescue-dog-fell-thin-ice/story?id=44454879)


Scottish baby box pilot scheme launched


Mothers-to-be in Scotland will receive a gift box containing baby supplies and clothing beginning this summer. The boxes are a nationwide effort to assure that all its young citizens get a healthy start.

The boxes include clothing, bedding and toys and are based on a project that has been running in Finland since 1938 to give all children an equal start.

The Scottish government scheme will cost an estimated £6m per year.

The boxes contain about 40 different items including a play mat, a changing mat, a digital thermometer, a fleece jacket, several babygrows, a hooded bath towel, a reusable nappy and liners, a baby book and an organic sponge.

The box also contains cot sheets, a mattress and a blanket, making it suitable for a baby to sleep in.

It comes with a poem specially written by Scotland’s Makar, Jackie Kay, called Welcome Wee One.

(Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-38470905)


Cops Say Uber Driver Saved 16-Year-Old Passenger From Human Trafficking



Keith Avila, an astute Uber driver, noticed something was wrong when he picked up three passengers (2 women and a teen) in Sacramento CA. The conversation spoken between his passengers raised red flags. Avila called police to report the encounter. The teen was only 16 years old. The two adults were arrested. As they got into the car, Avila noticed the girl looked young.

“She looked like she was about 12, but she was wearing a short skirt that showed off her legs.”

Almost immediately, Avila says, the conversation began to raise red flags. “The lady in the back started getting really upset,” he recalls. “She was yelling at the girl, ‘You need to get your priorities straight. We need to make this money.’ ”

He says the situation soon became more clear:

“The woman in the back started coaching the girl. She said, ‘before you go in, check for weapons. When you hug them and touch them, pat them down.’”

The conversation turned to talk about payment. “The woman told the girl to get the donation first. She said, ‘Ask if they have your donation before you go into the room.’ ”

Avila, a 34-year-old married dad, then believed that the woman was a pimp and that the girl was a victim of sex trafficking. And he was driving them to a hotel.

As they drove up to the hotel, one of the women got out of the car with the girl, Avila says. The other woman stayed in the car and made one more phone call.

“It was very professional. She sounded like a dentist’s secretary. I just want to make sure there’s no law enforcement there.’ And then she said, ‘Room 110.’ ”

As soon as the second woman got out of the car, Avila drove a few hundred feet down the road and called the police, who arrived within minutes. With Avila’s descriptions, they went straight to Room 110.

Authorities have arrested Destiny Pettway, 25, and Maria Westley, 31, and charged them both with pimping and threatening a minor. They are being held without bond. It’s unclear whether they have retained attorneys or entered pleas.

Police also arrested the suspected john, 20-year-old Disney Vang. He was arrested and charged with soliciting a prostitute and sexual contact with a minor.

(Source: http://fortune.com/2016/12/31/uber-saves-girl-sex-trafficking/)


Valor Home can be like family to homeless veterans


Valor Homes in the Cleveland, OH area offers accommodations for disabled veterans, provides meals, offers job training, and counseling with the goal of self-sufficiency. Residents , aged 23-75, stay in Valor Home for 6-9 months, allowing them to get on their feet.

The homes not only offer shelter and meals, but programs enabling homeless vets to find jobs, education, physical and mental rehabilitation, resolve legal issues and ultimately move into their own residences. The goal is self-sufficiency.

Matthew Slater, director of veterans services, said Family and Community Services has handled about 5,000 homeless veterans (now roughly 500 annually) since the first facility opened in 2005.

He said most of the facilities are routinely about 90 percent full, offering 110 beds. “We know there’s a need out there,” Slater said.

 



(Source: http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2017/01/valor_home_can_be_like_family.html)


80-year-old twins complete Appalachian Trail


Twin sisters Sue Hollinger, in pink shirt, and Elrose Couric, seen here on a hike in the Green River Gorge, completed hiking all 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail. (Photo: Photo courtesy of David Doucette)

Twin sisters Sue Hollinger, in pink shirt, and Elrose Couric, seen here on a hike in the Green River Gorge, completed hiking all 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail. (Photo: Photo courtesy of David Doucette)

Identical twin sisters Elrose Couric and Sue Hollinger completed the 2,190 mile Appalachian Trail after 14 years of section hiking. During the sisters’ hikes they encountered bears, near-drowning, and met some suspicious folks!

It took the twins 14 years to hike the entire Appalachian Trail, which they completed July 7. They hiked it in sections, rather than in one shot, which takes the average hiker about six months.

According to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the non-profit that manages the footpath, some 3 million people hike the trail each year. About 3,000 attempt a thru-hike and one in four completes it.

The section-hiked journey was no less difficult. Besides sore muscles, bruises and broken bones, the sisters had bear encounters, a near-drowning experience, yellow jacket attacks and a near brush with a murderer.

But overall, they said in unison, “It was such a fun time.”


Girl Denied a horse is udderly charmed by bareback cow jumping instead


Hannah Simpson, a farm worker from New Zealand’s Southland, enjoys riding her cow Leila, after being refused a horse as an 11-year-old. Photograph: Hannah Simpson

Hannah Simpson, a farm worker from New Zealand’s Southland, enjoys riding her cow Leila, after being refused a horse as an 11-year-old. Photograph: Hannah Simpson

When 11-year-old Hannah Simpson was told she couldn’t have a horse because it was too expensive, she decided to jump on the next best thing instead – a dairy cow.

Now 18, Simpson and her seven-year-old Swiss Brown “best friend” Lilac have become a regular sight on their daily rides on the outskirts of the South Island town of Invercargill, in New Zealand’s deep south.

She said: “Lilac was only six months then and I was just a midget. It was a dare from my brother to jump on and she seemed OK with it so we kept going. Before then I’d only ridden a pony twice, and a sheep.”

Recently, Simpson taught the heifer to jump, and said Lilac could now scale obstacles up to 1.4 metres high – although only when she feels like it. “She is a cow and I can’t expect her to ride like a horse. Without a bit of prodding she wouldn’t really do anything, she has a very chilled-out nature.”

Lilac doesn’t like cantering, said Simpson, or going up or down hills. But bush-walks, long river swims and jumping she seems to find fun. “I have always loved jumping, I always wanted to do show-jumping on a horse,” said Simpson. “And Lilac was always jumping out of the cow shed when she was young so I think she likes it, too. We started her off with stepping over logs and it just got bigger and bigger.”

Simpson tried Lilac with a horse saddle once but she didn’t take to it, so now she rides bareback with a halter and a small stick to give the old girl a nudge when she needs it. She said Lilac had bucked her off “countless times” ever since Simpson first climbed up.

(Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/29/girl-denied-a-horse-is-udderly-charmed-by-bareback-cow-jumping-instead)