It wasn't all bad...

The week's good news: February 13, 2020

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Catherine Garcia
Siba the poodle.
Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

1.

104-year-old World War II vet receives more than 70,000 valentines

This will be William White's 104th Valentine's Day, and it's shaping up to be the best one yet. White is a World War II veteran who lives in an assisted living facility in Stockton, California. A retired major, he received a Purple Heart after being injured at Iwo Jima. One of White's neighbors wanted to honor his service, and put up a request on social media, asking people to send White valentines. The goal was to hit 100, but with one day to go before Valentine's Day, White has received more than 70,000 cards. "It's just too fantastic," White told Reuters. Cards have come in from all 50 states, as well as abroad. Because there are so many letters, White's family and several volunteers are taking turns opening the cards and reading the messages to him. White never really celebrated Valentine's Day before, and said this experience has left him "sort of speechless." [Reuters]

2.

New York City deli gives customers free food when they solve math problems

Ahmed Alwan of the Lucky Candy deli in New York City is making math sweeter. Alwan is a cashier at his father's Bronx deli, and two weeks ago, the 20-year-old college student began quizzing customers, telling them if they solved a simple math problem, he would give them five seconds to grab anything they wanted from the store, free of charge. He knows that many of his customers struggle to afford their rent and utilities, and told CNN, "All l I wanted to do was help people, but I wanted to make it fun." Alwan shares videos of his customers on TikTok and Instagram, and says it's "a way to entertain and educate people in need while putting a smile on their face, too." Alwan pays for all of the items he gives away, as well as the fruit, muffins, and coffee he distributes to homeless people in the area. [CNN]

3.

Siba becomes the 1st standard poodle in nearly 30 years to win Best in Show at Westminster Dog Show

Siba, a 3-year-old standard poodle, was the big winner Tuesday night at the 144th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, with the judges naming her Best in Show. A whippet named Bourbon came in second. "She's just a great dog," Siba's co-owner, Connie Unger, told USA Today. "She loves the showing, she's in her element when she's being shown. She's really an all-around great dog." It was a major night for the breed, as this was just the fifth time a standard poodle has been crowned Best in Show, with the previous wins in 1935, 1958, 1973, and 1991. Siba's handler, Chrystal Clas, said the poodle would celebrate by eating some chicken. [USA Today]

4.

Rome's 'Chef of the Poor' feeds the homeless across the city

A homeless man approached Dino Impagliazzo at a train station in Rome 15 years ago, asking for money to buy a sandwich. While standing there, Impagliazzo had an epiphany. "I realized that perhaps instead of buying one sandwich, making some sandwiches for him and for the friends who were there would be better, and thus began our adventure," he told Reuters. Impagliazzo, 90, started a group called RomAmoR, with the goal of feeding as many homeless people as possible. They started by making sandwiches out of his house, and now use a professional kitchen to prepare hot meals. Three days a week, Impagliazzo and 300 volunteers distribute food outside of train stations and in St. Peter's Square, and on the other four days, they cook. Impagliazzo, known across Italy as the "Chef of the Poor," said he strives to "involve more and more people so that Rome becomes a city where people can love each other." [Reuters]

5.

Conservationists discover descendants of tortoise species thought to be extinct

While on an expedition in the Galápagos Islands, conservationists made several incredible discoveries — including finding descendants of a tortoise species believed to be extinct. In 2012, a tortoise named Lonesome George, estimated to be 100 years old, died. He was the last known member of the Chelonoidis abingdonii subspecies, which inhabited Pinta Island. On a recent journey around the Galápagos Islands, researchers from Galapagos Conservancy found a female tortoise at Isabela Island's Wolf Volcano who is a partial relative of Lonesome George. This is "a story of hope," Galapagos Conservancy President Johannah Barry told NBC News. Humans have moved tortoises from different islands, and there could be additional hybrid tortoises with Pinta Island lineage in other areas of the Galápagos. The researchers also found 18 additional females and 11 male tortoises from Wolf Volcano that are partially related to another species from Floreana Island thought to be extinct. They are now being evaluated at a breeding center. [NBC News]