Tuesday, December 25, 2007

When is Christmas, Christmas

When is Christmas, Christmas? It isn’t always easy to find the joy in the season. Many things can overshadow our hearts. Enjoyment of the Christmas season can be replaced with stress, hurried schedules and fatigue.

But Christmas has a way of becoming Christmas for us if we give it a chance. It is a holiday we share but it is also uniquely celebrated in the heart; different traditions, memories, special friends embrace… and missed.

We all bring something different to the holiday. Christmas first became Christmas for me this year when I watched the movie The Nativity. It was a story behind the familiar story. Fleshing out the struggle behind the Chritsmas story made the movie unique and different from the often sanitized version we carry from childhood. It brought a pathos to a fairy tale, a Christmas that almost didn’t happen. It gave weight to the words, The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

Christmas became Christmas for me when I attended the Plano Civic Chorus production of Handel’s Messiah. The beauty of the sanctuary, the music and decoration of the season brought grandeur to this time of year.

I am thankful that Christmas is not just a one day affair but a season as complex and wonderful as the people who embrace it; the lights on the houses, homemade fudge, visits from friends and relatives give the holiday meaning.
Good News Now is about the heart’s response to life. We celebrate the good in life all year long.
Here are some of the highlights that made Christmas, Christmas.

The Dogs

The mandatory family group photo that everyone hates.

Almost Perfect

Trixie Claus

The News That Made Christmas, Christmas.

Renewed peace brings pilgrims to Bethlehem

Iraqi, Coalition Soldiers Celebrate Christmas with Assyrian Christians in Kirkuk

Christmas tree survives war, Hiroshima bomb

Pastor's Challenge Shocks Congregation

New Secret Santa takes over mission of helping strangers

A casserole for Christmas

Some of the Photos from around the world.

Weihnachtsbeleuchtung / Christmas lighting

laterne .. und sterne

Merry Christmas from Good News Now.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Rice is Nice

I like words. I look them up all the time to see what they mean. It is fascinating. There is a game online that plays on those of us who love the meaning of language and also helps feed the poor by donating rice to the WFP; The World Food Programme. The WFP is the frontline United Nations organization whose aim is to eradicate world hunger. And for a short time they were winning the war on hunger and reducing the number of people who daily go without enough food to function normally. Today one in seven people do not get enough to eat.

The WFP goes into counties in crisis and meets the demands for emergency food distribution. After the crisis it helps the people improve their quality of life with the aim of self sufficiency. They concentrate on the needs of children and those who are most vulnerable. They believe helping women is the best way to fight hunger.

Rice is a basic component of the food that the WFP distributes. They purchase the food from developing nation thus promoting these nations.

The website Free Rice has two goals to help improve people’s vocabulary and to help raise money to buy rice for the WFP to distribute. The rice is paid for by the advertisers on the site. For each correct answer 20 grains of rice are donated. So far since the site went on line in October of 2007 they have raised money for 7,536,669,470 grains of rice.

Warning: the game is addictive. The site is awesome and the response to it has been phenomenal.

World Food Programme in the News...

WFP food provides daily meals to Moghadishu's hungry -- first time in 15 years

Free Rice in the News...

Web game provides rice for hungry

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Good Morning Iraq!

I wake up in the morning several time a week to an email, sometimes two from Iraq. Good News Now is on a short list of sites that run news drectly from the miltarty journalist who cover the war day in and day out. We post stories that RARELY get into the mainstream media, not because they are not accessible. The one I recevied this a.m. is an worthy of an action hero. Good Stuff. IF you want a glimpse of the war, for real, read this.

Here is a note from the journalist who wrote it. " Attached is a story with photos of an operation in Iraq that resulted in several enemy killed in action. The operation also happened to be the first time I’ve ever had to switch from the camera to the rifle, but hopefully there are still some good pics in there for you to use in your publications and Web sites. "

Ultra Magnus clears al-Qaeda from former Diyala province stronghold

Multi-National Division – North PAO By Staff Sgt. Russell Bassett, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division

HUSSEIN HAMADI, Iraq – Partnering with the Iraqi Army, Coalition Forces killed five al-Qaeda in Iraq operatives, wounded three and detained seven individuals during Operation Ultra Magnus in and around Hussein Hamadi village, Iraq, Oct. 28-30.

Soldiers from Troop C, 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment along with Iraqi soldiers from 3rd Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Division swept through the town in southern Diyala province which had previously been an AQI stronghold.

“AQI used the area as a headquarters,” said Capt. Al Bangor, Troop C, 2-1 Cav. Commander. “They stored their weapons there, lived on the fringes of the town and from there, they would push their fighters out to conduct attacks. (The local people) have lost contact with the Iraqi government for the last two years due to AQI sealing off the area.”

AQI had taken over Hussein Hamadi, an affluent village located 15 miles south of Baqouba and six miles northeast of Khan Bani Sa’ad. AQI had forced all the Shia population to flee, and the remaining villagers were forced to abide by the insurgents extremist laws.

“AQI had setup very strict, fundamentalist Islamic rules,” Bangor said. “The rules were so strict that you couldn’t even smoke in the town. It’s a crime punishable by death. One farmer was arrested for selling his products to a Shia. That was his crime.”

To fund their operations, AQI kidnapped village members and held them for ransom, effectively holding the whole town hostage.

On day one of the operation, the troops conducted an air assault into two villages directly south of Hussein Hamadi causing AQI to flee north to their stronghold were they thought they would be safe.

During the first day, in the villages of Sayyid Awwad and Abu Seyah, the troops discovered a hut that AQI was using as a prison and torture chamber. They liberated one individual who was chained and had been beaten severally.

The man was kidnapped on Oct. 25 in Baqouba “at a shop by five men in a car, because of my brother who is in the Iraqi Army,” the man said through a translator. “They wanted information and for my brother and me to work for al-Qaeda.”

The young man refused to give AQI the information or his allegiance. He stated that he was to stand a trial held by an insurgent leader for refusing to help the AQI, a crime punishable by death.

“They beat me with cables while holding a gun to my head, but I would not work for them because I would not betray my brother.” he stated. “These are very bad guys, they do bad things, I would never support them.”

“When we found him he had been beaten severely,” Bangor said. “He had been beaten with ropes and cords, to the point where he couldn’t even get his muscles to move. It took three hours before he were even able to move him.”

Also on the first day, the Soldiers detained an individual suspected of conducting successful sniper attacks against Iraqi Security Forces.

They also brought in a medical team to treat the villagers. Since AQI had effectively shut the area off from the outside, the local populace was unable to provide for their basic sanitation and medical needs.

“We brought in a lot of medicine, focusing on the illnesses caused by the lack of clean water,” Bangor said, noting that the troops treated 78 local Iraqis.

On the second day of Ultra Magnus, the U.S. and Iraqi troops air assaulted in to Hussein Hamadi in the early morning hours, clearing house by house.

Apache helicopters working with the Soldiers engaged three individuals they spotted fleeing the village with weapons. The attack wounded all three and the ground troops were able to detain them, after treating their wounds.

An unmanned aircraft in the area, spotted two more armed individuals also fleeing the village, and the ground troops fired on them, killing one. The UAC continued to track the second individual, following it to a hut several kilometers south of the village.

With the sun coming up, Charlie Battery’s 1st Platoon moved tactically to the hut. When they arrived at what turned out to be an AQI safehouse, at least five armed individuals fled the home. The troops immediately killed two individuals and then engaged in a 20-minute firefight with the remaining AQI operatives who had fled into the trees. Using rifles and grenades, the troops killed two more and wounded a fifth.

“It was definitely a situation of kill or be killed, and that’s exactly what happened; it was either them or us,” explained Sgt. David Boor, team leader with 1st Platoon, Troop C, 2-1 Cav. “It was a very high-risk operation. We knew we were going into a hornet’s nest.”

“It sounds weird but, that’s the mission,” agreed 1st Platoon leader 1st Lt. Ron Vineyard. “If we hadn’t killed them, they would have killed us.”

Inside the hut and on the dead enemy, the troops found several weapons, including three AK-47s, 15 full AK-47 magazines, 1 RPK rifle, two pistols, several grenades and three tubes possibly used for making explosively formed projectiles.

Also found in the hut was a guard roster. U.S. intelligence analysts accompanying the mission believe AQI had setup a 24-hour guard to keep Shia out of the area.

Al-Qaeda definitely had a hold on the area,” said Sgt. 1st Class James Tembrock, 1st Platoon sergeant. “The guard roster proved a lot, not just in this town (Hussein Hamadi) but the two southern towns as well. This whole area is a staging area for attacks into the western area and all of Diyala province for that matter.”

On day three of the operation, the joint forces went back through the town tactically questioning the remaining villagers, trying to gain additional intelligence on AQI activity in the area. They also cleared the palm groves surrounding the area looking for weapon caches.

“With us working with the Iraq army, I think (the villagers) understand that we are trying to help,” Tembrock said. “We came here and got rid of the bad guys pretty quick. It didn’t take us more than six hours to do it.”

The final tally from the three-day operation included five enemy killed in action, three enemy wounded in action, seven detainees, six improvised rocket launchers, eight AK-47s, one rocket launcher and various other assorted weapons and ammunition.

Security has improved for the town,” concluded 1st Sgt. Ghafil Mahdy of 3rd Company, 3-2-5 Iraqi Army, through a translator. “We captured lots of weapons and detained several insurgents and improved security for the village. We showed that we are working hard to finish off the terrorists and make the area more secure.”

No U.S. Soldiers, Iraqi troops or Iraqi civilians were harmed during Operation Ultra Magnus.

U.S. Army Soldiers from 1st Platoon, Troop C, 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Task Force Iron, from Fort Lewis, Wash., along with Iraqi army soldiers from 3rd Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Division run by a burning vehicle in Hussein Hamadi village, Diyala Province, Iraq, Oct. 29 during Operation Ultra Magnus. The joint operation was designed to clear the village, a former terrorist stronghold, of al-Qaeda (AQI). Five AQI operatives were killed, three wounded and seven individuals detained in the three-day operation. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Russell Bassett)

First Lt. Ron Vinyard, platoon leader, 1st Platoon, Troop C, 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Task Force Iron, from Fort Lewis, Wash., and an Iraqi army soldier advance up stairs in a home in Hussein Hamadi village, Diyala Province, Iraq, Oct. 29 during Operation Ultra Magnus. During the three-day operation, five AQI operatives were killed, three wounded and seven individuals detained, including a suspect AQI sniper. In addition, the troops liberated a kidnapped Iraqi who had been tortured.

Cpl. Adam Margio and Spc. Randy Stevens from 1st Platoon, Troop C, 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Task Force Iron, from Fort Lewis, Wash., engage al-Qaeda in Iraq operatives who fired on them from trees near an insurgent safehouse south of Hussein Hamadi village, Diyala Province, Iraq, Oct. 29 during Operation Ultra Magnus. The Soldiers killed four al-Qaeda members (AQI) and wounded another during the safehouse raid. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Russell Bassett)

Sgt. David Bokor, Alpha Section team leader, 1st Platoon, Troop C, 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Task Force Iron, from Fort Lewis, Wash., fires at al-Qaeda in Iraq operatives near an insurgent safehouse south of Hussein Hamadi village, Diyala Province, Iraq, Oct. 29 during Operation Ultra Magnus. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Russell Bassett)

First Lt. Ron Vinyard, platoon leader, 1st Platoon, Troop C, 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Task Force Iron, from Fort Lewis, Wash., throws a grenade at an enemy position south of Hussein Hamadi village, Diyala Province, Iraq, Oct. 29 during Operation Ultra Magnus. A 20-minute firefight ensued when Coalition Forces raided the al-Qaeda in Iraq safehouse. Coalition Forces killed four enemy insurgents and wounded a fifth. No Coalition Forces were hurt. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Russell Bassett)

Spc. Billy Cassis, Sgt. Brandon Dean and other Soldiers from 1st Platoon, Troop C, 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 4thStryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Task Force Iron, walk away from vehicle they destroyed near an insurgent safehouse south of Hussein Hamadi village, Diyala Province, Iraq, Oct. 29 during Operation Ultra Magnus. The vehicle was used by al-Qaeda in Iraq operatives to conduct missions in southern Diyala Province. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Russell Bassett)


I Work in a print shop. Today a man picked up an order of business cards. The cards read:

Thank you for protecting us.

He got them to hand out to police officers and miltary personel.

In light of that and Veterans Day... we at Good News Now want to say

Thank you for protecting us.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

It Must Be October

A couple years back a friend of mine and her sister started a little company making dog clothes. It didn’t really take off and I know why now, they were ahead of their time. I guess because I spend a lot of time online looking at photo and particularly humorous photos that I have notice a trend. It seems that more and more people dress their pets up and photograph them. I don’t see too many on the streets in attire, but one can assume that as this trend continues we will see more cats and dogs dressed in style and of course fun fashions.

The month of October has been devoted to dog in particular who are ready for Halloween. So just in case you missed some I am making this a dog blog. Tastefully done I hope.
And to prove my point and show that I have correctly perceived this trend Good News Now www.goodnewsnow.com the website to whom this blog belongs posted a story this week on this very subject. We like to be up to date and tendy and give tons of how to and what not to do advice. Just so you will know…

Take care when costuming your pets

Without further ado, whatever that means I would like to present the dogs of October so far...

School Bus
May the Force be with you
Killer Bee

Dog Parade

Too cute.

I love these dogs.



My younger sister sent this story in. Was she directing this at me?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I Love Space and Science!!!

I was in grade school when the space program began. It was the first time we actually watched TV in school. I knew it must be important to be on TV. Picture a little black and white portable TV with 25 kids all watching a tiny little blob of light streak across the screen. It left a lot for the imagination.

I will always love space and science. I lived on the Space coast when the Shuttle program was in its infancy. I could watch the launches from my front yard. Much better view, full color with sonic booms that followed 5 minutes after the launch. I saw the first Shuttle go off at the Cape. Night launches are to die for. I lived there when the shuttle exploded and watch all morning as the debris slowly made its way back to earth. When I was a draftsman I worked on a communication systems project for the shuttle and I had friends who worked at the Cape. I will always be interested in the space programs.

People who ask why we are in space really bug me. But it is the question that was raised in my mind when I first saw a Mercury rocket go off. So many technological advancements have come from the space program , you will never be able to calculate them, from the computer to telemetry to Tang. It is all because we have gone into space.

So I had to laugh when I read.

Astronauts 'Home' Again on Space Station

The first woman Space Station commander arrived this week at the Space station and the reporter wrote about WHAT SHE PACKED.

And I thought it was fascinating and just like when I first saw a rocket go off it cause me to ask questions… what would I pack for space? Well I know how I pack for vacations and I know I WOULD EXCEED THE LIMIT. I would probably ask one of my male companions to put a few of my shoes in their luggage.

And I would take my dog.

So if you are like our Flicker friend Daita who lives in Japan and likes to take photos of the stars Keep Looking Up and read Good News Now.

Or as the Trekkies would say Beam Me Up.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

How I Choose "Shot of the Day "

There is a man behind Good News Now his name is James. He is my boss. I have friend Carolen who cuts my hair and she likes to hear me talk about the website. She thinks James is like Charlie as in Charlie’s Angels. She knows he is there, but we never see him. I just get my orders from him and I carry them out.

When the site was first started Charlie, I mean James told me he wanted lots of photos that changed often. I am thinking, “where do I get them?” After some internet exploration I discovered Flicker and I used the public posted photos to go with stories and I started Shot of the Day. I noticed a lot of on-line papers have something like that. I also found out the photos on the government sites can be used and most non-profits. I try to give credit and a link back. I beg forgiveness, instead of asking permission. Only one person in 18 months has been upset with me. And even she asked me to please you her photos after we went back and forth with a few emails. Most people are very happy to have their work on the site.

We would like more submissions.

At first Shot of the Day was chosen by me just picking a word and doing a search. Like the word “blue.” I just surfed until I found a photo that delighted me with the tag "blue." That is the random method of choosing Shot of the Day.

After being the webmaster for about 9 months I began to developed relationships online and figured out there were online communities. I joined several. My favorite is Gather. I got the idea to start a group on gather for people to submit photos for Shot of the Day. We have about 24 members. It is called Good News Now Photos.

I decided to do the same on Flickr. That group is also called Good News Now Photos too. I am not very original with my group names. We have 19 members who regularly submit.

I tell you this because…. I want you to join us. We really would like to grow those groups and get more people submitting photos. To do that I am committed the month of October to doing more random photo searches. See, that is how I make photo friends online. I have joined a few other online groups and I need to develop those connections. If you are in a photo group that I need to know about invite me to join. Email me at ruthieonart@ruthieonart.com.

Today’s Shot of the Day was randomness at its best. I chose the word “pear”. I have no reason why except that it is late and I am hungry and a pear sounds good to me. Too bad for me I only have bananas.

Chosen at random "Pear" by Flickr member S Baker

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Food News… Good News

I was quite relieved this morning when I read there was a tofu recall. Now some of you rejoiced over the spinach fiasco that cause the dark green leafy vegetable full of nutrients to vanish from the shelf for a month last year, but I did not. Spinach is good food. Tufo will forever remain under a cloud of suspicion with me.

I confess I accidently eat tofu when I fix a certain packaged Fried Rice product packaged and presented to tempt working woman who are too tired to cook. I usually have a conversation with myself. Me, “What is this in the fried rice?” Me answering myself, “tofu, pretend it isn’t there. You are very hungry.”
Food is a great subject for Good News Now and MSN does a good job of keeping us up to date.

And I rediscovered fish this week

Now out of curiosity I wanted see what Miss Martha Stewart has to offer, since presentation is king . At least that is what I heard this week on a TV show that teaches non cooks to cook like a chef by a chef. I don't rember the name... so I did a quick Google searach and didn't find it, but I found 55 other cooking show. WoW. Food must be a hot topic!

55 TV Cooking Shows

Maybe I can learn something new.

The Martha Stewart Update

Yes, she is on top of her game with today’s headline recipe

Fig Pizzas

Three words for Martha...
You go girl.

And now forThe Shot of the Day and I am not making this up. This great Photo is by Gather member Janet "Jax" B.

The Spam Museum in Austin, Minnesota!
1937 SPAM BoulevardAustin, Minnesota 55912
Call: 1-800-LUV-SPAM (1-800-588-7726)
Home of Hormel Foods.

and of course Last but not least our favorite Spam spoof...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Conflict in Our World

I watched the movie Blood Diamonds last night late. I couldn’t go to sleep right away. When I woke up this morning it was on my mind. Yes, it was an action movie with Leonardo DiCaprio, one of the reasons I wanted to watch it. If you take the almost unbelievable action fantasy out of it and look at the backdrop of the movie you see the scenes for which the World Relief and Humanitarian Aid section of Good News Now exists. The war torn nations of the world are not the works of the imagination of a Hollywood script writer nor the journalist type that the Maddy Bowen represented. This is our world.

There are questions the movie raises. Will it make the news, the blood baths? Will seeing the city of a million refugees make anyone care about what is happening in Africa? Will the western world care? The answer was probably not. I think that is why these movies are made. We won’t watch the news and care, but we might listen to a story if well produced. This was a highly effective well produced story. It brought to our attention problems in Africa, the history, the motive for the conflicts. It introduced us to the people who suffer and those who try to make a difference. There was a side story about a man who rescues children soldiers. It showed us the refugee cities and the unimaginable task of rescuing and sustaining a million people. It brought me to a closer understanding about the work of the people behind the NGOs that respond to world conflict that we like to post on Good New Now. It makes me more grateful to them.

When I post a World Relief and Humanitarian Aid story, it is the success stories that make the cut. For every success story there are ten pleas for more help in conflict regions. There are more attempts to expose the problems so people will care and at the very least as Maddy Bowen says in the movie, they may write a check. Or maybe they will write their congressman and ask what we are doing.

This leads me to my email this morning from Iraq. I have not received one for a month or so, but from time to time I am sent article from the field. This morning it had a very powerful effect on me because I woke up with a real sense of the heaviness and horror of war and conflict.

Iraq is a difficult situation. But the reality is our nation committed to help. Right or wrong, popular or not. There in the desert our troops risk their lives to make a difference. This is not indifference. This is action, thought out, supported with the goal of leaving one day and leaving behind a legacy of peace. There is a lot of cynicism among us. Can there ever be peace? Should we even be there? Whatever your persuasion the reality is we are there. This is a story about people trying to make a difference at the risk of their own lives. The stories of our men in Iraq need to be told.

Most dangerous job; 38th Engineers clear routes of IEDs for Stryker Brigade

By Staff Sgt. Russell Bassett, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division Public Affairs Office

TAJI, Iraq – Improvised explosive devices are the enemy’s deadliest weapon in Iraq, accounting for a large percentage of all coalition fatalities.

The weighty task of clearing IEDs from all the routes in the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division’s area of operations falls on the shoulders of the 38th Engineer Company. On a daily basis, the engineer Soldiers are out on the roads working to ensure they are safe for the rest of the brigade to travel on.

“My whole company and I take it very personally every time the brigade loses a Soldier to an IED,” said Capt. Adam Harless, commander of the 38th Eng. Co. “A lot of my guys would like to be on the roads 24-7, because it seems like the times a unit gets hit is when we haven’t been on that road.”

Harless is a testament to the dangerous nature of the 38th Engineers’ work.
On Thursday, the commander traveled back to the United States to receive further treatment of a leg injury obtained when an IED went off near him.

“The blast got me pretty good,” Harless said, referring to the Aug. 7 incident. “I felt like I got blown up, but I felt okay. I was able to walk. It was the adrenaline, I guess.”

The full extent of his injuries are unknown at this time, but the commander said he had a bad concussion and he may have a torn his Anterior Curciate Ligament (ACL).

“I just want to get it fixed and then come back,” the Chester, Va., resident said adjusting the knee brace that barely conceals the bruising on his leg. “Me and my guys will never quit.”

Harless’ attitude is typical of his engineer Soldiers. They seem to understand the importance of their work, and despite its dangerous nature, morale remains high.

“We are able to keep our morale up.” said Sgt. 1st Class Wade Lawson, platoon sergeant with the 38th Engineers’ 2nd Platoon. “The most rewarding part of the job is knowing that Soldiers in the brigade are able to travel up and down these routes safely. I have a lot of guys that don’t really know me, but they know that I am part of the route clearing team, and they have come up and thanked me for keeping the roads safe.”

While the engineers don’t always find an IED on their patrols, many times they do. Lawson, a resident of Pittsburg, Pa., told the story of finding four IEDs in one day, all of which were spaced 100 meters apart from each other.

“It’s a good feeling knowing that we have saved some Soldiers lives,” he said.

Brigade commander Col. Jon Lehr said the 38th Engineers are the Stryker brigade’s “unsung heroes.”

“Those guys go out there everyday and put their lives on the line clearing routes, and I will tell you they are having an impact,” said Lehr, a resident of Dover, Pa. “If it wasn’t for them, we would have a lot more successful enemy attacks against us. I am amazed everyday with their bravery. I wish I had nine 38th Engineer Companies.”

In order to do their mission, the 38th uses a wide variety of specialized vehicles. These vehicles include: the RG-31 and Cougar reconnaissance vehicles, the Husky rolling mine detector, and the Buffalo route clearance vehicle.

The engineers travel slowly along the routes, stopping to check out any suspicious object.
“We spend a lot of hours in the truck,” said Sgt. Joshua Brown, 2nd Platoon team leader. “Sometimes it’s five or six hours, but some have lasted 19 hours. We’ve taken a few hits, but by the grace of God no one has been killed.”

Brown, of Cincinnati, Ohio, said the toughest part of the job is knowing that “we go out and hunt for the most dangerous thing in country. We are a small piece of the big picture, but we are a key element. It’s good knowing that other elements in the task force can get down their routes safely and accomplish their mission.”

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ruthieonart’s Top Articles List for August 22, 2007

Here are this week’s articles that are just plain ole fum (fun). Or as Mary one of our new webettes would say, hysterical. Mary is easily amused. She is the person posting all the “odd” stories officially on Good News Now. There are some new changes on the website (www.goodnewsnow.com)! We have helpers… Mary, Mary Beth and Margaret. I am still the webmaster. Yikes! We are hoping to bring in a broader ranges of stories from different parts of the country.

I am posting stories from Texas, Mary from Alabama, Margaret from Ohio and Mary Beth from Chicagoland. Welcome ladies and thank you for your selections this week.

Next, add to this article to my new exercise routine for my inner dancer list!

2. Hula hoopla: Hula hooping to good health

Some articles need no comments. I will put this on the why I am just proud to be from Ohio list.

3. Ohio Market Wins Nation's 'Best Restroom' Award

For the who doesn’t love Weird Al list?

4. Weird Al's Imitation: A Funky Form of Flattery

Ending on a more serious note, an article for the serious blogger in me list.

5. Bloggers to the Ramparts! (Stop First at the Registration Booth)

This is about a Blogger Convention in Las Vegas. What does that mean for bloggers? It means blogging is business and business is good.

And last but not least the picture I won’t put on the homepage award because it belong on my even the most intolerant of us need an editor list.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Favorites and Fun...what I won't post on the main site

This was my favorite article today. I wish I could find more articles like this.

This could be sock-monkey heaven

Sock Monkey Ministry is alive and well. I am personally excited to see people doing what they love and reaching out to people. And who doesn’t love and cherish sock-monkeys? I think it was my Aunt Margaret who made one for us. I think there was just one… so my question is, who has the sock-monkey? Come on sisters fess up!

I knew if I searched Flickr for photos I would come up with a creative person who makes sock-monkeys and sells them on the internet. YES. My search paid off.


And our Sockmonkey maker has a web business. Please visit both her sites for a good time.

From Tamara the sock-monkey creator extraordinaire's website:

“Tamara has dedicated her life to international bible education and she often finds herself in far off countries doing just that. Yet regardless of where she is, she spreads her enjoyment of knitting, crocheting and making Sock Monkeys to those around her. Her knitting seminars are usually attended by 10-20 people and her "Sock Monkey School" is world famous.”

Thank you Tamara the Sock-monkey maker for making it such a good news day. And helping spread Sock-monkey Ministry.

And just to prove there is a God... I am not making this up.

Airline asks, 'Is that a monkey in your ponytail?'

And now for what I would not post on the main website but wanted to share with our blog readers… that actually turned out to be good news!

Woman's ashes back after accidental sale

This morning when the Boston Globe arrived in my mailbox the ashes were still missing. I want you to read this for yourself. We always love a happy ending at Good News Now!

OK here are the humor photos I rejected for the humor section of Good News Now.

Why I don't surf!

Original sock-monkey.


Friday, August 3, 2007

From the Heart

There are several stories out there in the news on the internet that have spoken to the issues of the heart. They are about human relationships, people seeing others in need and responding. People overcoming struggles.

The first is a story within the story about the bridge collapse. Jeremy Hernandez is a worker for the Waite House. He is the gym coordinator for the group. He was on the bus when the 35W bridge collapsed and he and 6o others plunged towards the river below. They were returning from a Waite House sponsored trip to a local water park.

Hernandez sprung into action and broke out the back of the bus and helped all the children in the bus escape. The story is from the NY Times and is an excellent read.

Stunned Victim Turns Hero

The second story is about an artist who as the result of her struggle with breast cancer and in the midst the loss of loved ones thrives.

For artist, dire prognosis was creative push

Jeanne Bonine a watercolor painter returns to her home town of St. Paul Minnesota for the Uptown Art Fair, which runs today through Sunday in Uptown Minneapolis at Lake Street and Hennepin Avenue. Jeanne is among 350 artists who will exhibit work this weekend.

Last and not least from the Orange County Register…

Quiksilver co-founder niece finds her "sister" in the jungle

This is a very interesting tale. It is about how two young women came together from very different backgrounds, making the same life changing decision and having their lives become intertwined with the common goal to help the people of the island of Sumba, a primitive Indonesian island.

Finding and posting the Shot of the Day is one of my favorite assignemts as webmaster for Good News Now. I find most of the photography from two sites; Flickr and Gather. Good News Now hosts groups on both sites where member submit photography for Shot of the Day. I want to thank all our members for their contributions.

Shot of the Day for August 3, 2007 is called Colorful Fruit by Flickr Member ninjaneil902.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Health and Beauty

Health and Beauty at Good News Now is a sort of “catch all” category. Today’s catch was just that sort of all over the place kind of day.

The first story is about a cat at a nursing home that has the sense of knowing when a patient is going to die and the sense of duty to comfort the person with its presence. The staff began to notice this activity and have documented it 25 times. The cat will come into a patience's room and stay and within 4 hours the patient passes away. The staff puts a positive spins on it for the cat allows them to accurately notify the family of the upcoming event.

Cat with a knack

Story number 2 is fashion news about trendy new grocery bags made from cloth that are reusable and thus if we indulge this fashion madness will save the planet from those plastic bags we hate and are not very biodegradable. What were they thinking when all the grocery stores switched to them. Dare I say it, I liked paper sacks. I always reused them in all sorts of ways, not just as bags. I have, I am not making this up, used paper bags to cut patterns to make cloth bags like the above mentioned bags that I should make again and sell now that they are wildly fashionable.

Saving the planet (One trendy bag at a time)

This story is a positive spin on the new research that says if you hang around overweight people you gain weight. It talks about women who have lost weight and the effect on those around them. This phenomenon works the same way for weight loss. I held out on posting that story until I found this positive spin because that is what Good News Now is all about.

From bad example to good

And Last but not least: The Shot of the Day is By Flickr Member audreyjm52

She takes awesome pictures of flowers.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Today was a good Day for Science News

The first story caught me off guard. You will have to read it to get the twist in the story and the thought behind it. I don’t want to spoil it. A well written piece by Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe.

A teacher with faith and reason

I always love these stories about space. This one asks the age old questions; is there life out there? The discovery of water on Saturn’s moon Enceladus is prompting a lot of discussion in the scientific community about future space exploration missions. Enceladus, Europa and Mars are so far the best bets.

Saturn holds a tiny secret

Last and not least are the weird science articles. This is weird science at its best.

And this photo set is priceless. I have no idea what these creatures are but they sure look like a lot of fun, I mean trouble. (look at the kid's faces)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Art News at Good News Now is...

more than a Museum opening. Art with heart.

There are three articles I want to bring to your attention that deal with art. Art is something that I love so as I am reading through the news it gets my attention. I also love blown glass, so when I saw an article on the Toledo Museum of Art and its glass collection I not only wanted to post the story I now want to see the Museum… too bad it is in Toledo. I can say that having grown up in Ohio. It sounds like a good day trip when I get my way back home for a visit. Toledo is known for glass factories so the thought that the city has invested in serious glass art is really exciting.

House of glass

And even more exciting is you are able to watch craftsmen blow the glass in a state-of-the-art "hot shops" and lampworking studio. I always enjoy watching glass being created.

The next story is about artists.

Art passes to good hands

This is from the Orange County Register, the best Good News paper in the US. When I lived in Orange County I loved to read the paper. It is because they make effort to print a lot human interest stories about the people of Orange County. This is one. A retired Navy captain-turned-artist finally begins to sell his art. Then he discovers he has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease. When he could no longer paint his 13 year old daughter begins to paint for him. Read it.

Last and just as interesting a California artist who visited Antartica 10 years ago began to paint from his photos of his trip. He gets picked up by James Monosmith, director of Acme Archives, official licensee of Lucasfilm. The artist Cliff Wassmann is then commissioned to paint Star War scenes that are sold online and at conventions.

May the paint be with you

These photos were submitted by Gather Member Lisa M. of Rochester, NY. What can I say...

It must be in the genes.

or in the water...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

7-11 Celebrates 80 years with Free Slurpee Drinks July 11

DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A loaf of bread cost 9 cents, a gallon of milk 56 cents, a dozen eggs was 46 cents, and ice was sold in blocks rather than bags. That’s when convenience retailing got its start in 1927 with a little ice dock providing customers with what they wanted and expanding hours to fit their lifestyle. That small business evolved into what is now 7-Eleven, Inc., the world’s largest convenience retailer with more than 32,400 stores. 7-Eleven celebrates its 80th birthday on – when else? – July 11, 7/11/07, also known as 7-Eleven® Day.

As has been the tradition for many years, the company will celebrate July 11 with free 7.11-ounce Slurpee® drinks for customers visiting its U.S. stores. Special birthday cups will be available while supplies last.

“7-Eleven has been providing convenience-oriented and time-pressed customers with products and services they need while keeping up with their ever-changing preferences,” said Joe DePinto, 7-Eleven president and CEO. “The changes the company has made over the decades have been amazing, yet our stores continue to play a relevant role in the lives of busy people. It’s at this time of year when we take a look back at all we’ve accomplished and anticipate the many great things ahead for our company, our customers, franchisees and employees. And we want to thank the 6 million customers who come through our doors each day in the USA by giving them a birthday gift synonymous with 7-Eleven – a refreshing and free Slurpee beverage on July 11.”

Read more Good News at www.goodnewsnow.com.


I just thought it would be fun to pass along this free offer I found today for coffee. There wasn't any good news I found about coffee today, but for me somehow coffee and the news go together.

Folgers Gourmet Selections. Get A Free Sample

To go along with that coffee send away for your free* Senseo® Barista Blends™ Caramel Macchiato flavor packet

So while you drink up here are a few stories I found that I thought were excellent.

...to go with your coffee I recipe for Sour cream blueberry cake from the Boston Globe.

This story was sent in my one of our readers. There is an article and a video clip.

Artist Kaziah Hancock: Heroism and Patriotism

and last but not least a love story from the Dallas Morning News. They post these every Monday morning. A good way to start the day.

True Romance: Love flew in unexpectedly

See, Today was Good News Day.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Defining Good News

Over a year ago before Good News Now was designed and launched the definition of “good news” was discussed. I was given the job to make the site cheery and bright. We wanted upbeat. I was given the job to post content. I was told that to gauge if a story was good news or not, I should ask myself when I am done reading the article, do I feel better?

That is a subjective assessment. So there is a tendency for me, of course, to choose articles with topics that make me happy. We want to broaden our scope by allowing readers to submit stories. We would welcome suggestions. We do not cover much of the entertainment news because so people can read that kind of news many place on the web. We do not cover a lot of sports because I am not interested in sports and there many outlets for sports on the internet. But if people would submit them I would gladly post them. I love space and science. I read a lot of science news and we always cover the shuttle launches. I am an artist so I cover the arts. So you can see how reader submissions could help rounds us out.

I search major news sources for most of what I post because I cannot possible read all the local papers, but our readers are from all over and they do. We would love to mine the treasure of “good news” from local papers but we can’t do it without help. What is going on in your neck of the woods? I live in Plano Texas, here is what I found in our paper today that I want to share with you.

McKinney youths go on mission to help Katrina victims

This is a great example of what we would like to see more of, what your church, club, school or organization is doing to impact your community, nation or world. Tell us your good news, we want to tell the world about it.

Here is our Shot of the Day it is from Gather http://www.gather.com/ , an online community.

By Gather Member Angela M.

If you would like to submit a photo for Shot of the Day email it to goodnewsnow@goodnewsnow.com.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

More Humor Photo Rejects

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

This is too cute, but not quite fit to the Good News Now website. I DO NOT, I repeat NO NOT want to promote cruelty to animals. But whoever thought up this advertising was brilliant.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Once again, Good News Now has strict no bullying policy......... but man can't you think of at least one person would love to do this too. Well deserved I am SURE!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Once again this is against policy. We DO NOT promote cults. These kids are the offspring of the "I would like to teach the world to sing" singers from the 1974 coke ads. They are now known as "the Family."

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

A serious Sly Stone wantta be.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Good New Now does encouarge fitness and health, but......... how "healthy" can this be, I am with the little guy, he looks rediculous.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Last but not least we have your general weirdness, which I am not opposed to and I have always secretly wanted to make something out of the CD's I recieved from AOL. I just never did. Obviously this guy has something in mind.