14 Years Later: Larry Nance Jr., Soldier Pen Pal Reconnect

larry-nance-jr-110516-getty-ftrjpg_g1r4pko5dnhs1gqxjusiwtnai

(Credit: sportingnews.com)

from NBA.com

http://www.nba.com/lakers/news/170724-larry-nance-jr-pen-pal

When serving in the United States military in 2003, Bianca Snow couldn’t have predicted that her 10-year-old pen pal would grow up to become a Los Angeles Laker.

Then again, with the way little Larry Nance Jr. wrote about his NBA-player father and his fandom of the Lakers, maybe she could have.

On Sunday, Snow reached out to Nance on Twitter, posting two letters that the now-24-year-old wrote to her while she was overseas.

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(Credit: @yonkbz on Twitter)

Snow told Nance that she kept the letters he sent and that she is glad his dream of playing in the NBA came true.

In a 2014 Facebook status that she also tweeted, she wrote about how the letters helped her and that she intended to thank the person who sent them.

Three years later she did, and Nance responded with an invitation to watch him play.

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(Credit: @Larrydn22 @yonkbz on Twitter)

Snow accepted her pen pal’s offer.

Later she tweeted her thanks from support that poured in from those that saw her exchange with Nance.

Below are the contents of Nance’s letters.

Dear U.S. Soldier,

My name is Larry Nance. I have 1 sister, 1 brother that annoy me all the time. My dad played in the N.B.A.

Thank you for fighting for us in the war. You must be brave and miss your family.

I hope you get home soon and see your family soon.

Good luck.

Sincerly [sic],
Larry Nance


Dear U.S. Soldier,

Is the war almost over? Where is Saddam? How are you? I’m fine. Thank you for writing back. Where are you?

Are you good at basketball? I like the Lakers too they are wining there [sic] series with the Timberwolves. Who is your favorite player? Mine is Shaq. Who do you want to get LeBron James? I want the Cavs to get LeBron, that is because my dad played for the Cavs. His number is retired in the Gund Arena.

And Again Thank you!!

from,
Larry Nance

 

Good Samaritans Jump In Canal To Rescue Elderly Man Trapped In Truck

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(Credit: sunnyskyz.com)

sunnyskyz.com: July 21, 2017

http://www.sunnyskyz.com/good-news/2311/Good-Samaritans-Jump-In-Canal-To-Rescue-Elderly-Man-Trapped-In-Truck#GkOgvxfSSQ5aZW8c.99

Norman LaBarge, 79, of Tremonton, Utah, is grateful for the three good Samaritans that came to his aid Wednesday after he drove his truck into a canal on state Route 30.

LaBarge is diabetic and said his blood sugar had gotten a little low, which caused him to lose control of his vehicle.

“I remember bouncing off the guard rails, and I remember going over toward the canal, and then the next thing I knew is there was water coming in,” LaBarge said.

Several people stopped to help, including Adam Blanchard, a Fire Department volunteer who was about a mile away when he heard there was a vehicle that had gone off the road into the canal. He, along with Utah Highway Patrol trooper Justin Zilles and a third man ran into the canal.

The good Samaritans were able to pull him out of the truck through the passenger side.

“As soon as we got him out, the vehicle went submerged and went up against the bank into the bridge,” Blanchard said.

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(Credit: sunnyskyz.com)

Blanchard and Zilles walked LaBarge to an ambulance, where he was treated for minor injuries.

Had the good Samaritans arrived a few seconds later, LaBarge said he could have drowned.

“It could have been much, much worse, yes, especially if when the truck went under, I was still in the truck,” he said. “Of course, it would have been catastrophically worse, but they got me out before that happened, so those good Samaritans really saved the day.”

 

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‘Just you wait’: Man keeps promise to marry preschool sweetheart, 20 years later

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by Brianna Bernath, TODAY: June 30, 2017

http://www.today.com/news/20-years-later-these-preschool-sweethearts-got-married-t113358

Nearly 20 years ago, a 3-year-old Matt Grodsky stood up in front of his entire preschool class, declaring that he would one day marry classmate Laura Scheel.

And then on December 30, 2016, he did.

The two, both now 23 years old, met in preschool in Phoenix, Arizona, and Grodsky was immediately drawn to Scheel.

“I don’t remember the first time I saw her, but she was always a girl who let me follow her around,” Grodsky recalled, “I’d always try to impress her by reciting lines from movies like ‘The Lion King’ and stuff like that.”

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Grodsky often tried to impress Scheel by quoting “The Lion King.” (Credit: Matt Grodsky and Laura Scheel)

Some of Grodsky’s and Scheel’s earliest memories are about each other – play dates and trips to the movies (obviously with parent chaperones for the two little lovebirds).

Grodsky was infatuated and Scheel felt the same way.

“When you like someone, you just kind of stand up and say it,” he explained, which is exactly what he did.

He declared his love for Scheel before all of his 3- and 4-year-old peers, who burst into laughter. Grodsky’s response? “Just you wait.

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Grodsky knew early on that he would marry Scheel one day. (Credit: Matt Grodsky and Laura Scheel)

It ended up taking quite a bit of waiting. The young couple went to two different elementary schools and lost touch, only watching each other grow up through the annual Christmas cards the two families would send to one another.

Then in the fall of their freshman year of high school, once again at two different schools, Scheel was looking through a friend’s phone and saw Grodsky’s name. It turns out Scheel’s friend had gone to middle school with Grodsky, and when the friend found out that they had been quite the item in preschool, she offered to reconnect them.

“I was a freshman in high school so I was like, ‘I don’t think so!'” Scheel said. “But then she ended up giving him my number and he texted me and we hit it off ever since.”

Two weeks later, Scheel and Grodsky were dating. Four years and 15 school dances (their high school dances combined) later, it was time for college – again at two separate schools, but this time in two separate states.

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Grodsky and Scheel had play dates all the time when they were in preschool. (Credit: Matt Grodsky and Laura Scheel)

“Right after we graduated from high school, we were pretty hesitant. We were like, ‘Do we stay together? Do we try to make it work?'” Scheel explained.

They made it work. Scheel went to Northern Arizona University, while Grodsky went to Columbia College Chicago, more than 1,600 miles away. It wasn’t easy, but after some trial and error freshman year, they got a system down, figuring out a schedule for when they would visit each other and watching “Friends” on Netflix together when they were apart.

Grodsky didn’t wait until they finished college to pop the question. On May 23, 2015, as the couple prepared to start their senior year, he brought her back to the place where it all began: their preschool.

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Scheel did not see it coming when Grodsky got down on one knee. (Credit: Matt Grodsky and Laura Scheel)

Grodsky had bought an engagement ring two months before this day and had already received her dad’s blessing. He had even stationed his brother at the school before their arrival so he could position himself in the perfect location to capture a photo of the moment.

On the way there, Grodsky repeatedly checked his pockets for the ring. When they arrived, he got down on one knee.

“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, is this happening?'” Scheel said. “I saw the ring and was like, “This is gorgeous. I’m so happy with it.'”

The answer – a resounding yes! And Grodsky’s brother brought out a picnic basket (the very same one that Grodsky’s dad used when he proposed to his mom) full of bridal magazines and sparkling cider, then bowed out to give the newly-engaged couple a private picnic to celebrate.

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After 20 years, the couple finally said “I do.” (Credit: Matt Grodsky and Laura Scheel)

On December 30, 2016, the preschool sweethearts said “I do.”

Grodsky’s uncle, who officiated the marriage, put it best during their ceremony: “For most kids in preschool, it’s about finding your snacks and your sleeping mats, but for them it was about finding their soulmates.”

VIDEO: Man spreads positivity across the U.S.

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“Big Dave” Sylvester hugs a woman on his tour across America. (Credit: Brittainy Hall and Brianna Rohlehr)

by Sheeka Sanahori, USA Today: July 21, 2017

 

FOLLOW LINK FOR VIDEO: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/humankind/2017/07/19/traveler-determined-spread-positivity-across-america/489522001/ 

JACKSON, Miss. — His sign says, “Hi my name is Big Dave.” He scours coffee shops, beaches, and anywhere else there will likely be a crowd. He’s looking for three things: A hug, a high five, or small talk.

This is Dave Sylvester’s mission in America: to spread positivity through simple interactions.

“I’m just here to make people smile,” Sylvester said. “I think if we can at least have a base of communication via a smile and a hug and high 5 then we can communicate on other issues, and maybe make a difference in the world.”

Sylvester began spreading love worldwide after his friend died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. He biked across three continents, volunteering at charities along the way.

Now he’s driving across the United States. “Big Dave” started in Delaware, then drove south, making stops in North Carolina, Georgia, and more. He’s now heading west through Texas.

He keeps track of every person he hugs and high fives with a counter. He’s met interacted with thousands of people.

When Dave Sylvester was getting ready to leave his hotel in Jackson, Mississippi to head to New Orleans, he heard that an airplane crashed in Leflore County, Mississippi. He knew a detour was in order.

“I figured why go hug a bunch of people that probably are drunk, and come here and embrace some people that probably really really need it.”

Going to the scene of a plane crash was one of the more somber stops on “Big Dave’s” trek across America. But he’s willing to make an impact on anyone, no matter what they may be going through.

‘I missed my nap for this’: 101-year-old sprinter breaks 100-meter dash record

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Credit: @usatf on Instagram

 July 15, 2017

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2017/07/15/i-missed-my-nap-for-this-101-year-old-sprinter-breaks-100-meter-dash-record/?utm_term=.d26dbd8b7a57

 

Watch your back, Usain Bolt — there’s a new 100-meter dash superstar and she looks unstoppable.

Meet 101-year-old Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins, who on Saturday became the oldest female athlete to ever compete in the USA Track and Field Outdoors Masters Championships. Not only that, but by running the 100 meters in 40.12 seconds, she shaved more than six seconds off the current certified world record for women aged 100 or older.

Astonishingly, that wasn’t even a personal best. This month, at the National Senior Games in Birmingham, Ala., Hawkins ran the dash in 39.62 seconds. If either of those times get certified in December, she will become the official world-record holder.

And to think, she may have missed her shot at making track and field history if she opted to follow her original plans for the day.

“[I] missed my nap for this,” she said (via USATF) on Saturday at the event at Louisiana State University, not far from where Hawkins lives in Baton Rouge.

View image on Twitter
Hawkins is a natural talent. An avid bicyclist,
she said she only began training for track
and field last year.
“I’m always outside and the phone always rings, and I come running in is how I knew I could run,” she told The Post last month:

Hawkins, who was born in Wisconsin in 1916, said she likes “the feeling of being independent,” as well as the challenge. She also likes impressing her family, which includes the four children she had with her late husband, Murray, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

“Having a momma that can do this pleases them, and it pleases me to please them,” the former schoolteacher said.

Today, Hawkins spends most of her waking hours being active (no surprise). Along with running and cycling, she’s an avid gardener.

She’s also humble.

Asked about how she thought her race went on Saturday, she told the Advocate, “This time I wasn’t feeling like I was going that fast.”

Strangers step up after man with Down syndrome loses home, movie collection

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Strangers from across the country are donating movies to Mark Orsillo, a 34-year-old with Down syndrome, who lost his collection in a California wildfire. (Credit: DANIELLE DEVINE)

By JENNIFER EARL, CBS NEWS: July 12, 2017

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/strangers-step-up-after-man-with-down-syndrome-loses-home-movie-collection/

As a raging wildfire closed in on their Oroville, California, home on Saturday, Steve and Vicki Orsillo knew they only had about 20 minutes to evacuate.

They quickly gathered their valuables — photographs, important documents and a small suitcase full of clothes. But Mark Orsillo, their 34-year-old son with Down syndrome, was only concerned about saving one thing: his movie collection.

Mark’s sister, Danielle Devine, grabbed two garbage bags and began stuffing them full of movies. She only ended up saving about 20 DVDs out of his collection of about 300.

“He has all the movies from the ’90s. He’s been collecting them for years,” Devine told CBS News. “That’s Mark’s life. He’s a movie guy.”

One Monday, Devine broke the news to Mark that the wildfire burned down around 100 buildings in their neighborhood. When she explained that their childhood home was “incinerated” and nothing was salvageable — not even a single movie — Mark began to cry.

“He was really struggling,” Devine explained. “He’s usually so happy all the time. I felt bad I didn’t grab more.”

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Danielle Devine and her brother, Mark Orsillo. (Credit: DANIELLE DEVINE)

So, Devine took to Facebook, where she asked friends and family members if they would consider donating a movie or two. Within hours, her post went viral with more than 1,300 shares and 200 comments.

“I have a box of close to 500 DVDs in my basement,” one Facebook user replied. “I’ll try and look through for these tonight.”

“Little Mermaid, Madagascar 2 and Spy Kids 2 coming your way! They will be shipped from Amazon,” another added.

Twenty-four hours later, Devine received about 400 videos addressed to her brother.

“He’s probably going to have more movies than he had before,” Devine joked.

On Tuesday, Devine told her brother what strangers from across the country had done for him, and he couldn’t help but smile.

“Are you kidding me? Are you serious?” Mark repeated.

But the generosity doesn’t end there.

Dozens of people have also chipped in, raising $10,000 to help the family rebuild their house.

“[My parents] are not going to be able to build a house for 6 to 7 months. They’re rebuilding on that same lot,” Devine explained. “After all, it’s Mark’s forever home.”

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Things Aren’t As Bad As They Seem – An Optimist’s View of the World

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Picture credit: Huffington Post

A WONDERFUL piece from Kaia Roman from the Huffington Post about rising above the bad news in today’s world! This is what Some Positive Space is all about.

By Kaia Roman, Huffington Post

Bad news abounds these days. Violence. Hate. War. Terrorism. Environmental destruction. Political insanity. It all seems so…bad. And I don’t know about you, but when my social media feed is filled with the news it has been of late, each story more disturbing than the last, I start to lose hope.

I start to wonder if we’re going to make it as a civilization, or if we’ll soon be handing the planet over to the cockroaches and mosquitoes (nothing seems to wipe them out).

But what if things aren’t actually as bad as they seem? What if our view about what’s happening in the world is distorted by the very means by which we learn about it? In fact, violence of all types has been on the decline for thousands of years.

According to Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, we’re actually living in the most peaceful era since the existence of our species. Pinker crunched the numbers in his book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, and displayed the facts in cold, hard diagrams.

Homicide, war-related deaths, genocide, rape, violence against children, direct deaths from political violence (including terrorism)—have all been steadily declining for decades. Seems inconceivable, right? The thing is, we usually don’t see it this way because of both the nature of news and the function of our brains.

As Pinker says,

“News is about things that happen, not about things that don’t happen. If you base your beliefs about the state of the world on what you read in the news, your beliefs will be incorrect. You never see a reporter standing on the streets of Angola, Sri Lanka, or Vietnam saying ‘I’m here reporting that a war has not broken out today.’ It’s only by looking at data on the world as a whole that you get an accurate picture of the trends.”

Don’t get me wrong, I love social media. Our ability to be in constant contact with each other has created a web of support, connection, informed action, and entertainment that I truly appreciate. But our capacity to hear about atrocities in real-time, coupled with our frequent exposure to bad news, activates an inborn cognitive bias in our brains that predisposes us to remember negative input more readily than positive.

This can quickly create a formula for hopelessness.

Our brains have a built in “negativity bias,” which means we pay far more attention to and are much more strongly influenced by negative than by positive information. Our brains are set up this way on purpose—being cautious keeps us safe.

But this negativity bias can override our perception of reality to the point that we see the world as much worse than it really is. And the sooner we realize that, the faster we can turn our attention toward solutions rather than problems.

We’re more empowered to make a difference for positive change when we’re feeling hopeful rather than fearful. In a state of fear, our brain’s amygdala is activated—triggering the instincts of fight, flight, or freeze—which hinders the ability of the prefrontal cortex to do its best thinking.

Look, I’m not suggesting that we all go bury our heads in the sand. But each act of optimism, each morsel of good news, in this day and age, is a powerful act to help to turn the tide.

There is violence, there is hatred, there is darkness in the world, to be sure. But there is also immeasurable love, incalculable kindness, and infinite light. Look for small ways to spread optimism where you can—this can be as simple as a smile.

Every act of love, kindness, and hope—even each positive thought—counterbalances the opposite forces that are also present in the world.

As the song goes, Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.

Check out Kaia’s blog at TheJoyPlan.com and connect with her on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. She loves to hear from readers!

Welcome to Some Positive Space!

Hello, everyone!

I’m incredibly excited to announce the launch of a brand new, different kind of news blog: Some Positive Space.

I think I first decided I wanted to become a journalist when I was watching the nightly news with my family. Watching it, I was just very disappointed at the fact that they seemingly ran bad news stories like a shooting or a tax issue, right after another, and then finished with a positive story to end the night on.

To me, that seemed a little wrong and disingenuous; why aren’t there more positive stories throughout than some just tacked on to the end to make it seem like there’s nothing bad going on in the first place?

I decided right then and there that as a journalist, my goal would be to change the landscape of how news is presented. This site is my action on that goal.

In our world, right now, I believe that we are more divided than ever, and there is so much distrust and negativity being spread throughout the media.

However, even though it sometimes seems like there’s nothing good in the world, there is always news of people doing good, genuine things that are sometimes covered up by the latest tragedy or political pointer.

That’s what the goal of this site is: highlight the good in the world, which there is still plenty of.

In addition to sourcing and archiving stories from around the internet from different sizes of publications, I have also opened up a Community section. This gives a chance to smaller stories that may not get picked up by big news companies a chance to shine. In the link, there is a Google Form with more information on how to submit your small positive story.

IT IS UNWISE to pretend like there is no negativity in the world. However, I think it’s always nice to have a reminder that there is ALWAYS….

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Give the blog a follow and Like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

I’m incredibly excited to begin this journey. I hope you are too!

Michael Sneff, somepositivespace.com