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A Funny-Named Bat Gets Australian Top Honors

When winning an election, it helps be popular. That was the case for one particular mammal. Over the period of a month and a half, or six weeks, a massive voting event occurred. Some 50,000 animals were included on the ballot. And only one of them was going to be the winner. If selected, the particular animal would be voted as the Australian Mammal of the Year, and the 2022 selection would be the first one of the event in history, a pretty hefty title even if that particular mammal had no clue about its significance.

As it turned out, with a whole lot of voting and wondering and finally a selection, the winner turned out to be, hold tight, the Southern Bent-Wing Bat. Yes, a flying animal won the honors for being the inaugural mammal chosen for the title above.

The dingo was assumed to be a favorite, but that contender fell by the wayside pretty quickly in the early weeks. Day after day, week after week, the Bat just kept climbing the ranks and holding on, almost as if playing out a voting version of what it’s been doing in nature, surviving as a microbat and an endangered species.

In real life, the Southern Bent-wing Bat doesn’t live in such a glamorous hallway or venue as the voting podium online. Instead, it’s a cave-dweller, making a home in the stretch between the southeast part of South Australia as well as Victoria. Sizewise, the Bat is extremely small too, only measuring some 5 centimeters in terms of body length. It’s practically a feather in terms of weight.

Like other bats, the Southern Bent-wing Bat uses its ears and echo-location to find its way while flying, as well as to hunt. The Bat can definitely see, but all of its primary sensory work happens with ears and listening. It’s also a long-distance flyer, usually traveling well over 70 kilometers at night to find insects for dinner.

While they are extremely proficient at using body heat and consolidation of numbers to create the perfect breeding and maternity environments in caves, easily boosting the humidity and heat for new pups, the Bat species in general has been significantly harmed by encroachment of development and the loss of viable cave systems for homes. The population is at serious risk of decline, with a 97 percent collapse expected over the next two or three decades without serious protection.

The goal of the contest is to boost awareness of the most endangered animals worldwide, an Australia has a significant share of them, found nowhere else and in short number where they are. As a result, by boosting people’s awareness through the contest, the hope is that it will also increase conservation efforts for the species that are endangered, ideally reversing the trend if possible.

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Bus Driver’s Heartwarming Act: Helping a Boy on Pajama Day

Kevin Wells

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In Louisville, Kentucky, a heartwarming story unfolded on a school day that was meant to be special for young Levi, a first-grader at Engelhard Elementary School. It was Pajama Day, and all the kids were excited to wear their cozy pajamas to school. But Levi didn’t have any pajamas, and this made him very sad.

Levi’s usual cheerful demeanor caught the attention of his bus driver, Larry Farrish Jr., known for his kindness and caring nature. Larry noticed Levi sitting on the ground with a jacket over his head instead of his usual spot waiting with a big smile. Concerned, Larry asked Levi what was wrong.

Through tears, Levi explained that he didn’t have pajamas for Pajama Day. This touched Larry’s heart, and he knew he had to help. After finishing his morning routes, Larry went to a nearby store and bought two pairs of pajamas for Levi. He then went to Levi’s school to deliver them.

When Levi saw the pajamas, his face lit up with excitement. He hugged them tightly, grateful for Larry’s kindness. Levi even said, “I can tell Mr. Larry is nice and his heart is filled with joy,” and “When he got me the pajamas, I did a happy cry.”

Larry, who has worked in various professions before finding his passion for bus driving, says he loves building bonds with the children. After the school district shared the story on Facebook, many people praised Larry for his kindness and shared their own positive experiences with him.

Larry Farrish Jr.’s act of kindness not only made Levi’s day but also inspired many others. It’s a reminder that small gestures of kindness can make a big difference in someone’s life.

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“More More More”: A Grandson’s Gift of a Lifetime

Jess

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Fifty years ago, Barbara, a loving grandmother, penned a children’s book titled “More More More”. Little did she know that half a century later, her dream of seeing it published would come true, thanks to her grandson, Chad.

“More More More” is a heartwarming story about two little girls from different economic backgrounds – one rich and one poor. The book beautifully illustrates how friendship transcends material wealth, a lesson as relevant today as it was when Barbara first wrote it.

Barbara’s journey to getting her book published was not easy. Despite her efforts and dedication, her manuscript was met with rejection after rejection. She kept all these letters, perhaps as a reminder of her dream, in a folder that symbolized both hope and disappointment.

Understanding the significance of his grandmother’s book, Chad decided to take matters into his own hands. He navigated the world of self-publishing to bring “More More More” to life. The moment Barbara opened her gift and saw her book finally published, she was speechless and overcome with emotion. This wasn’t just a book; it was a fulfillment of a lifelong dream, made possible by the love and dedication of her grandson.

The book’s publication was just the beginning. To the family’s surprise, “More More More” quickly climbed the charts, becoming a bestseller. The response from readers was overwhelming, with many praising its timeless message and charming story.

Barbara’s story inspires us to hold onto our dreams, no matter how long it takes for them to come true. And for Chad, it’s a reminder that sometimes, the most meaningful gifts we can give are those that realize the dreams of the ones we love.

“More More More” is now available for a new generation of children and parents to enjoy, serving as a beacon of hope for aspiring authors everywhere. It proves that sometimes, all a dream needs to become reality is a little help from someone who believes in it.

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Lost Letter Finds Its Way Home After 80 Years!

Kelly Taylor

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Imagine discovering a message from the past, tucked away in the dusty corners of a post office. That’s exactly what happened in DeKalb, Illinois, where an 80-year-old postcard finally completed its journey, thanks to the dedication of a kind postal worker and the power of social media.

The postcard, written in 1943, was addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Louis George, residents of South 6th Street in DeKalb. It had somehow gone astray for eight long decades, gathering dust amongst forgotten packages and misdirected mail. But its story wasn’t over yet.

Sarah, a sharp-eyed employee at the DeKalb post office was determined to reunite the letter with its rightful recipient, she scoured records and tapped into the magic of social media. With a heartfelt post online, she spread the word about the lost letter, hoping to find any living members of the George family.

And guess what? Social media worked its magic! The online sleuthing led Sarah to Jeannette Salazar, Grace’s daughter and the granddaughter of Louis and Lavena George. Turns out, the Georges had relocated from DeKalb decades ago, and Grace had recently moved to Portland, Oregon.

The reunion was emotional, to say the least. The postcard held a message of condolence from Louis’s cousin, offering comfort after the heartbreaking loss of their daughter, Evelyn, to Cystic Fibrosis. “It got me emotional,” Jeannette shared. “Losing a child is always horrific, and it just put me in touch with my parents’ grief.”

For Jeannette, the letter wasn’t just about the past; it was a bridge to the present. “As I get older,” she said, “I appreciate family more and more. This letter connects me to my family’s history and makes me feel part of something bigger.”

This heartwarming story shows that even in the age of instant messaging and online communication, old-fashioned snail mail can still hold surprises. Thanks to Sarah’s diligence and the power of social media, a long-lost message found its way home, bringing peace and a touch of magic to a family across the miles. Now, that’s something worth writing about!

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A Special Surprise: 7-Year-Old Girl Throws Unforgettable 100th Birthday Bash for Longtime Friend

Jess

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In a cute celebration in Pennsylvania, a 7-year-old girl named Layla Peck pulled off an incredible surprise for her “best friend” Joe Gagliardi, who was turning 100 years old. The surprise involved a fire truck, jokes about their shared age, and a thoughtful gesture that left everyone touched.

Layla made quite the entrance at Joe’s house, arriving in a fire truck with sirens blaring, creating an exciting and memorable moment for the birthday celebration. The playful banter between Layla and Joe about their shared age added a touch of humor to the festivities.

“We’re both the same age,” joked Gagliardi. “Give or take 93 years.”

Curious about the remarkable friendship between Layla and Joe, reporters asked, “How long have you guys been friends?” Layla responded with a smile, “Since I was a baby.” The unique connection between them goes beyond their age difference. Layla’s dad, Sean Peck, grew up just two houses down from Joe.

“I grew up two houses down. I always listened to Joe’s stories as a veteran, and that encouraged me to join the Army,” shared Peck, highlighting the influence of Joe’s experiences on his own life choices.

The highlight of Layla’s surprise was the 100 handmade cards she brought from her friends at St. Andrew’s Catholic School in Newtown. Layla explained the thoughtful gesture, saying, “I thought, ‘Since he’s turning 100, maybe we should make him 100 cards, ’cause he’s a good person!’ We made 100 cards, the whole first grade did.”

The touching display of affection from Layla and her classmates demonstrated the impact that Joe has had on the community and the deep appreciation they feel for his presence in their lives. The handmade cards, filled with love and good wishes, added a personal and heartwarming touch to the birthday celebration.

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Lost Pigeon Found Outside Florida Hair Salon

Kelly Taylor

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A lost pigeon was reunited with its owner after being missing for over 15 months. The story unfolded outside Eva’s Hair and Skin Salon in Cape Coral, Florida, where the pigeon captured the attention of salon staff and customers alike.

The pigeon’s journey began during Hurricane Ian, when it got separated from its owner. Somehow, it found its way to the vicinity of Eva’s Hair and Skin Salon, where fate had a different plan in store.

It was a regular day at the salon when people started to notice the bird outside. Unusually friendly and approachable, the pigeon caught the eye of Elizabeth Merriken, a customer at the salon who had a soft spot for stray animals. Elizabeth decided to approach the bird and was surprised to find a phone number attached to its foot.

“I’m always finding homeless stray animals. So it was typical for me,” Elizabeth shared, describing her initial encounter with the pigeon.

Tammy Pangburn, a massage therapist at the salon, was the first to observe the bird’s friendly behavior. She noticed the pigeon attempting to drink water dripping down from a recently watered plant. Little did they know that this seemingly ordinary bird was someone’s missing pet.

Upon discovering the phone number on the pigeon’s foot, Elizabeth and the salon staff decided to call it, hoping to reunite the bird with its owner. To their delight, the person on the other end of the line revealed that the pigeon had gone missing during Hurricane Ian more than 15 months ago.

“We called him to see if he was missing a bird, and he says it’d been missing since the hurricane,” recounted Merriken, describing the unexpected phone call that led to a heartwarming reunion.

The owner, overwhelmed with joy at the news, expressed gratitude for the unexpected turn of events. The reunion, which took place just in time for Christmas, was dubbed a “little Christmas miracle” by Tammy Pangburn.

The touching moment was captured by the salon staff, showcasing the special bond between the pigeon and its owner. Elizabeth reflected on the emotional connection between the two, noting how the bird clearly recognized and responded to its owner.

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