A Sprinkle of Optimism: Positive News Recap

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Mia Cabrera

From award winning rats to an increase in bee populations, this is the top four positive news recap

Mia Cabrera, Staff Writer

During these distressing times, sometimes just a single piece of good news can be enough to lift someone’s mood. Although it seems that every day a new piece of negative information is brought to light, there are also many positive things happening each day that often go unnoticed. From award-winning rats to hope for possible new treatments, this past week has been one full of hopeful stories.

Homeless Woman Completely Changes her Life Around

LaShenda Williams, a homeless woman from Tennessee, slept in her car every night in the parking lot of her local Kroger supermarket. She eventually became a regular at the store, making friends and becoming a familiar face to the staff. After Williams expressed her desire to become an employee of the location, store manager Jackie Vandal told Williams about an opening in one of their positions. Vandal made sure to hire Williams, knowing she would be a great fit. Williams soon received a promotion and was finally able to get her very first apartment. Although she could afford the apartment, she could not cover the cost of furnishings. After a regular Kroger customer heard of William’s situation, he turned to Facebook and received over 200 responses from do-gooders willing to help Williams get all of the furniture she would need. Williams, a positive, upbeat and warm woman, was able to completely turn her life around with the help of the many kind friends she made at Kroger.

“I feel that positive news is very important, especially in 2020. There’s so much devastating news that can really take a toll on people. More positive news would bring in more hope and boost the spirits of many,” sophomore Sofia Rodriguez said.

This bee story made me feel cheerful during these rough times with Covid-19. It really gave me more hope.”

— sophomore Alejandra Jaraba

A New Buzz Around Increasing Bee Populations

An issue frequently brought up has been the decline of bee populations, worrying many, as bees are to thank for approximately one out of every three bites of food people eat. Studies have shown that honey bee hives have declined 60 percent from 1947 to 2008. This is extremely worrisome because bees are essential in the pollination of commercial crops as bees are responsible for about 80 percent of the pollination of the crops in the United States. However, positive statistics have recently come to light, showing that bee populations have been increasing all over the country. Honey bee colonies have increased more than 14 percent from January 2019 to January 2020. In addition to this, both Maine and Michigan have seen the number of colonies increase from 50 percent to even 73 percent since 2018. Overall, the United States has seen the rise over 420 thousand colonies in only the first half of this year.

Hero Rat is Awarded for his Brave Work

Cambodia is estimated to have anywhere between four and eleven million mines, making it one of the most heavily mined areas in the world. Since 1979, there have been over 64 thousand deaths and more than 25 thousand amputees. Involved in the effort to reduce mine deaths, a giant rat by the name of Magawa has been named a hero. Magawa has been trained to sniff out landmines in the Asian country, saving the lives of countless local people. Through clicker training, Magawa was trained to recognize the scent of a chemical compound in explosives, being able to search an area as large as a tennis court in only 30 minutes, significantly faster than humans. In addition to this, Magawa has been able to clear over 1.5 million square feet of land, making it safe for the locals. He has found 28 pieces of unexploded artillery and 39 landmines so far. Because of his life-saving work, The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals charity has awarded Magawa a gold medal, making him the first rat in PDSA’s 77 year history of awarding animal heroes.

Hope for Possible Multiple Sclerosis Treatment in the Near Future

It is estimated that about one million people in the United States are affected by Multiple Sclerosis, an autoimmune disease for which no cure has been found yet. However, in a recent clinical trial, the drug bexarotene was able to regenerate the myelin sheath, the target of the disease’s attacks. Bexarotene, a cancer drug, has had promising results, leading scientists to have hope for possible treatment. From the University of Cambridge, Professor Coles has said that this new discovery makes researchers confident that they will find a treatment for MS. Although bexarotene itself cannot be used as a treatment due to its very serious side effects, the confirmation that myelin sheath regeneration is possible is a huge step forward, as researchers can now study bexarotene’s characteristics and go from there. Both the drugs metformin and clemastine also repaired the myelin sheath, leading to even further confidence that a treatment can be found. A new trial will be conducted for metformin and clemastine, hopefully leading to a treatment for MS by the year 2025 as experts have projected.

Negative information is often seen as more pressing so positive news tends to be overlooked, especially during a rocky year like 2020. It is often said that good news travels fast but bad news travels faster, and this certainly is true. Since negative news can become consuming and ultimately add unwanted stress to daily lives, reading positive stories every once in a while is a good way to uplift oneself. In times like these, one should take the time to look at positive news, as even one small story just might be enough to put a smile on someone’s face.