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It wasn't all bad
August 21, 2019

Once they saw Monte, they knew they had met their leading man.

Animal trainers scouting for dogs to appear in Disney's live-action Lady and the Tramp came to the HALO Animal Rescue in Phoenix, hoping to find a few animals that would be a good fit. Monte, a two-year-old terrier mix, immediately stood out, as he's not only handsome, but he also knows how to sit, is good on a leash, and loves attention.

The stars of Lady and the Tramp are all former rescue dogs, and Monte will be voiced by actor Justin Theroux. All of the dogs have found loving families, Disney said. The movie will premiere on Nov. 12 on Disney's new streaming service. Catherine Garcia

August 21, 2019

Had Sylvie Beckers not overwatered her family's backyard flower bed, she never would have helped her mother discover a new insect species.

In the summer of 2016, Beckers, then 2, got a little too enthusiastic with the hose, and flooded the flower bed. Her mom, biology professor Laura Sullivan-Beckers, soon could see "these bright green bugs float up to the top of the soil," she told Good Morning America. While working on her doctorate, Sullivan-Beckers studied treehoppers, and she knew these bugs were out of the ordinary. With her daughter by her side, she spent the rest of the summer taking photos and collecting species, eventually sending the specimens to the Department of Agriculture.

After three years of waiting, Sullivan-Beckers finally got the call: this was a new species, and an especially rare find as its "closest relatives are all in South America," research entomologist Stuart H. McKamey said. "We don't know how it got to Murray, Kentucky, and we don't even know where else it is found in the U.S.A. or elsewhere, but I doubt it evolved there because there's nothing similar within 1,000 miles." Without Beckers, the bugs likely would have stayed deep underground, and her mother decided to name the species Hebetica sylviae in her honor. Catherine Garcia

August 20, 2019

It was a study in contrasts: On one side, the well-maintained Alexandria National Cemetery, on the other, the overgrown and rundown Douglass Memorial Cemetery.

Three years ago, Griffin Burchard, now 16, was in Alexandria, Virginia, on a Boy Scout service trip. He was helping to remove dead wreaths at the national cemetery, but couldn't stop looking at the Douglass Memorial Cemetery, a historic black cemetery named in honor of abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Burchard saw leaves everywhere, he told The Washington Post, limbs falling off of trees, and damage caused by flooding, and wanted to do something about it.

This year for his Eagle Scout project, Burchard spearheaded a major renovation of the cemetery, assisted by other Boy and Girl Scouts. He first received a permit from the city to start the cleanup, and then conducted research on the cemetery, learning that at least 1,900 people were buried there between 1890 and 1975. Burchard earned $200 through recycling, and used that money to pay for a new sign, featuring a Douglass quote: "Without a struggle, there can be no progress."

Last Thursday, during a brief ceremony at the cemetery, Burchard said Douglass was a "great example of a citizen who impacted his community," adding that the project "made me want to be a great citizen." As there is no church or nonprofit taking care of the land, Burchard also hopes someone in the area will express interest in becoming the cemetery's regular caretaker. Catherine Garcia

August 20, 2019

Kimberly Williams saved Dan Magennis' life, from nearly 900 miles away.

Last Tuesday, Magennis called Comcast with a question about his cable. The Walker, Michigan, resident was home alone, and had the phone on speaker. Suddenly, he was unable to answer the representative's questions, and couldn't move his right leg. Magennis said he realized he was having a stroke, but couldn't communicate that to the representative, Williams.

Williams was in her office in Jackson, Mississippi, but told M Live she had "confidence in my heart, I knew something was wrong with him." Williams moved fast, and started searching online for police departments near Magennis' house. She finally reached the Walker Fire Department, and five minutes later, paramedics arrived at Magennis' house and rushed him to the hospital.

Doctors quickly determined Magennis had a blood clot on the left side of his brain, and he was in surgery within an hour. Timing is critical with stroke victims, and Williams' fast thinking helped save Magennis' life. He left the hospital two days after surgery, and said he is so grateful for Williams. "It was absolutely unexpected," he said. "But I'm still here today. It's incredible." Catherine Garcia

August 16, 2019

When planning his trip home from Kabul, Afghanistan, to Charleston, West Virginia, Sgt. Seth Craven had no idea storms in Philadelphia would almost keep him from his son's birth.

Craven's wife, Julie, was scheduled to have a caesarian section last Friday. Craven, who serves in the West Virginia National Guard, gave himself three days to make his way to Charleston. After flying from Kabul to Kuwait to Philadelphia, Craven was in the home stretch last Wednesday, until storms in Pennsylvania canceled his flight. He scored a seat on a flight out Thursday morning, but right before takeoff, a maintenance issue was detected, and everyone had to deplane.

After several more delays, passengers were told they would have to wait until Friday morning to catch a flight to Charleston. Craven realized he wouldn't make it in time for the C-section, but his other option, driving, wouldn't work because the storms caused a run on rental cars. He told his story to a few people, and one woman, Charlene Vickers, approached. Along with two colleagues, Vickers was headed to Charleston for a program that started Friday at noon, and she couldn't be late.

Her car was nearby, and Vickers was prepared to drive eight hours to Charleston. "I'm going to West Virginia tonight, come hell or high water," she told Craven. "So are you willing to join this crazy party of ours?" They jumped into her SUV and headed to West Virginia, with Vickers dropping Craven off at home around midnight — several hours before his son, Cooper, was delivered. "If it wasn't for Charlene, I never would have made it," Craven told Metro News. "All she wanted in return was pictures of the baby." Catherine Garcia

August 14, 2019

Jack Wietbrock just wants to keep all the turtles in West Lafayette, Indiana, safe.

Along with his mom and younger brother, the 8 year old recently saved a baby turtle that was stuck crossing a road called Cherry Lane. Wietbrock's mother, Michelle, told Good Morning America there are several ponds in the area, and often turtles are hit by cars. After rescuing the turtle, Jack thought it would be a good idea to send a letter to West Lafayette's mayor, John Dennis, asking him to do something to help the town's reptile population.

Jack requested that "Turtle Crossing" signs be installed on Cherry Lane, and he even drew an illustration showing how he saved the baby turtle. Dennis thought this was an excellent idea, and there are now two turtle crossing signs up on Cherry Lane — proof that kids can enact change. "We hope it encourages people to make a difference," Michelle Wietbrock said. Catherine Garcia

August 12, 2019

Preliminary results show that two new Ebola drugs appear to be highly effective when it comes to treating people with the virus.

Scientists studied four experimental drugs, and found that a compound developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and another created by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) "may be able to improve the survival of people with Ebola," Dr. Anthony Fauci of the NIH told The Associated Press.

The drugs are both antibodies that block the virus, and researchers found a mortality rate of 30 percent for those who received the treatments; the mortality rate for another drug, ZMapp, was 50 percent. When patients received the treatments earlier, mortality rates dropped to 6 percent with the Regeneron drug and 11 percent with the NIH compound, compared to 24 percent with ZMapp.

Over the last year, Ebola has killed more than 1,800 people in Congo, and all treatment centers in the country now have access to these two drugs. "Getting people into care more quickly is absolutely vital," Dr. Michael Ryan of the World Health Organization told AP. "The fact that we have very clear evidence now on the effectiveness of the drugs, we need to get that message out to communities." Catherine Garcia

August 12, 2019

After spending decades wondering about the baby he rescued 22 years ago, retiring FBI agent Troy Sowers was finally able to give Stewart Rembert — now a corporal in the Marine Corps — a hug.

In 1997, a woman pretending to be a nurse abducted a newborn Rembert from the hospital. Sowers had only been with the FBI for a few months when he was tasked with finding Rembert, and after tracking down the woman, Sowers and other law enforcement officials were able to get her to reveal that she had left Rembert in a box behind a restaurant in Tacoma, Washington. "It's crazy to think that without his efforts, I wouldn't even be here today," Rembert told NBC News. "I wouldn't be a Marine. My family wouldn't be the same."

Sowers is now based in Knoxville, Tennessee, and wanting to give him a special send-off, his colleagues found Rembert and invited him to Sowers' retirement celebration on Friday. Rembert said he was "honored" to meet Sowers, and Sowers called this "probably one of the best surprises I've ever had." They shook hands and shared a hug, with Sowers remembering that after Rembert was found, a senior agent told him, "You'll never do anything better than that." Catherine Garcia

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