It wasn't all bad
July 15, 2019

It's been a good summer for the giant loggerhead sea turtle.

Scientists say that the turtles have been laying eggs left and right in Georgia and the Carolinas, making over 12,200 nests — that's more than the previous high of 11,321 nests in 2016. The rare turtles make their way out of the Atlantic, crawl up the sand, and then dig their nests, laying about 100 eggs at a time. Their nesting season runs from May through August, and volunteers cover the nests with screens to keep predators away.

The giant loggerhead sea turtle has been a threatened species since 1978, and scientists believe that two measures have been critical to their survival: states monitor the nests more than before, and since 1987, shrimp boats have had to use nets that include escape hatches for sea turtles. Female loggerheads don't lay eggs until they reach full maturity at 30 years old, and it's a big deal that so many have been able to survive and start digging nests. "It's been a long haul, but I think we're finally seeing it pay off," Michelle Pate of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources told The Associated Press. Catherine Garcia

July 15, 2019

Darius Brown hopes that by helping shelter dogs and cats look their best, he's improving their chances of starting life over again with a new family.

The 12-year-old from Newark, New Jersey, makes snazzy bow ties that he donates to rescue organizations and shelters across the country. "It helps the dog look noticeable, very attractive," Brown told Today. "It helps them find a forever, loving home." Diagnosed with developmental delays as a toddler, Brown struggled with his fine motor skills until four years ago, when his sister, Dazhai Brown-Shearz, started making hair ribbons. "My mother and I came up with the idea that if he helped us with things like prepping the ribbon or cutting it, and sewing fabric together, it would help him," she said. "And it did — it worked."

He started making bow ties and wearing them out, and was often asked by strangers where he bought them. He started a company called Beaux & Paws, and for every bow tie he sells, Brown makes a donation to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. He enjoys delivering his bow ties in person to different shelters, and plans on visiting several out of state this summer. "We're definitely very proud of Darius," his mother, Joy Brown, told Today. "He's overcome a lot and he's still on his journey of overcoming a lot of things. He just keeps going for what he believes in." Catherine Garcia

July 12, 2019

People aren't the only ones all abuzz over the new bus stops in Utrecht.

In this Dutch city, 316 bus stops have been transformed into urban oases for bumblebees and honeybees. The roofs are covered with sedum plants, which attract the bees, and they are also able to capture fine dust and store rainwater, The Independent reports. To make the bus stops even more green, the benches are made of bamboo and the lighting is energy-efficient.

Utrecht is taking major steps in order to improve its air quality. The city plans on having 55 new electric buses — powered by windmills — in operation by the end of the year, with its public transportation system "completely clean" by 2028. For residents who want to join the cause, Utrecht also has a program where people can request funding in order to turn their own roofs green. Catherine Garcia

July 12, 2019

Deborah Price turned to strangers on the internet for help, and they delivered.

Price's friend, Kate Bell, was trying to find a specific dress for her daughter, Elise. Elise has autism, and will only wear a gray dress with a rainbow heart on the front. It was purchased three years ago, and Kate wanted to find a new one before Elise outgrows her current dress. Thinking someone might have an old dress in their closet they would be willing to sell, Price tweeted a photo and hoped for the best.

It didn't take long before people started responding. Some told her they found the dress on eBay but in the wrong size, and others offered to sew a replica. Even the clothing company, Next Official, chimed in, saying while the dress was no longer being made, they would see what they could do. Finally, one girl said she owned the right size, and wanted to send it to Elise. Price was "absolutely bowled over by the kindness of strangers," she tweeted. She thanked everyone for their support, saying it "restores your faith in human nature." Catherine Garcia

July 10, 2019

Oliver Davis greets every person he meets the same way: with a flower and a great big hug.

The 7-year-old from Kansas City, Kansas, visits two nursing homes a week, spending up to three hours chatting with the residents and giving them flowers. His mom, Brandi Davis, told Inside Edition her son "believes he's a real police officer. One day we were discussing what a policeman's job is, and I explained how they are there to help people."

Oliver's grandmother is in a nursing home, and he told his mom he'd like to do something nice for the people who live there. That's how he got started handing out flowers, and his mother estimates that over the last year, he's passed out 15,000. He shows up dressed like a police officer, and likes to give tickets to people for being "too cute." "We have people cry when they hug him and not want to let him go," Brandi Davis said. Catherine Garcia

July 10, 2019

There are now so many bald eagles in Pennsylvania that state officials can't count them all on their own, and are enlisting residents to help them track the birds.

In 1983, bald eagles were considered threatened in the state, as there were only three nesting pairs in all of Pennsylvania. That number has increased steadily — there are at least 300 today — meaning "the population has expanded to a point where tracking individual nests is not feasible," ornithologist Sean Murphy of the Pennsylvania Game Commission told Trib Live.

Eagles nest between January and August, and Pennsylvania residents can report activity to the game commission online. In 2014, bald eagles were delisted as threatened in the state, although they are still protected under the U.S. Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. There has been a lot of nesting activity in Allegheny County, and bald eagles passing through from upstate New York and Canada also like the Pittsburgh area, Jim Bonner, executive director of the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania, told Trib Live. "They like to fish in our rivers, particularly around the dams with open water," he said. "It's a wonderful success story." Catherine Garcia

July 9, 2019

Growing up, Melody Stein watched her parents run their own restaurant in San Francisco, and she dreamed of following in their footsteps.

She wanted to attend the California Culinary Academy, but her application was rejected, Stein told The Washington Post through a sign language interpreter, because she is deaf. They were concerned she wouldn't hear shouting in a kitchen, she said, and "they viewed me as a liability." This was more than 20 years ago, and today, Stein not only operates her own pizzeria, Mozzeria, in San Francisco, but she's getting ready to open a second location next year in Washington, D.C.

She runs her empire alongside her husband, Russ Stein, who is also deaf. They hire only deaf individuals for their restaurant and food trucks, and if diners know sign language, they can order their meals that way; otherwise, they can point at the menu or write down what they want. It's important to the Steins that they offer job opportunities to deaf people; a study from the National Deaf Center and University of Texas at Austin found that 48 percent of deaf people are employed, compared with 72 percent of the hearing population. "We're good at making sure our customer experience is a good one, because we're excellent at reading their body language," Russ Stein told the Post. Catherine Garcia

July 8, 2019

Through the Cuddle Club, senior dogs and senior citizens connect.

The club was started by the Muttville Senior Dog Rescue in San Francisco as a way to ensure that older dogs get love and attention. Several times a month, the group holds events where senior citizens gather in a room filled with dogs that are 7 or older. After petting and playing with the dogs for about an hour, visitors can then walk the elderly canines, getting them all out into the fresh air for exercise.

"The seniors are giving love to the dogs that they need so much," volunteer Beth Hofer told Today. "The dogs are giving love to the seniors that they need so much." She has seen some dogs who start out nervous and shaking, but after 20 minutes, they are so relaxed they've fallen asleep on their new friend's lap. "You can just see how happy and fulfilled that person is that they were able to help that dog," she said. Catherine Garcia

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