Why Good News Matters In 2013


By Kelly Jadon--News matters. We live at an unprecedented time in the history of mankind: Our thoughts, our knowledge, cross the earth instantaneously, thanks to modern technology.

Bad news can be life-saving: A hurricane is spinning itself together in the Atlantic.

Bad news can also be a constant barrage of information overload, which carries emotion and sensationalism.  Graham C.L. Davey, Professor of Psychology at the University of Sussex, UK, writes that during the past 20-30 years, negative sensationalism has been increasing. He focuses specifically on television news bulletins, which speak of war, rumors of war, famine, disease, crime, and poverty.  These programs cause sadness and anxiety, which “will affect how you interpret events in your own life, what types of memories you recall, and how much you will worry about events in your own life.”

Negative thoughts can lead to depression.  Hara Estroff Marano, Editor at Large at Psychology Today, writes that “we have anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 thoughts a day. If your cast of mind is predominantly negative, imagine how many negative thoughts you are generating daily – thousands upon thousands. That is precisely the case with depression.”

Depression affects more than 21 million Americans, both children and adults.  It is the leading cause of disability among Americans aged 15 to 44.

What can be done?

Defeating negative thinking begins with eliminating repetitious negative news and replacing it with good news.

But what’s the good news?  Is there any?

Good news is not just the touchy-feely eat-a-roasted-marshmallow-from-the-campfire type of story.  Nor is it only positive thinking.  Instead, it is knowledge – overtly good knowledge, which can create satisfying work, enable forward thinking in communities, heal, and even save life.  Good news is word in print that is powerful.

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Good news is also tested news.  It has been refined by labs, experience, and time.

Pew Research Internet study found that 72% of Americans follow local news closely.  This is a majority of our population.

The same study also found 44% of Americans want more science-related news, and 39% are asking for more health and medical news.  Regarding the government, 39% want more state information and 38% want more coverage of their neighborhood and local affairs.

“61% say they often find information in the news that helps them improve their lives,” according to Pew.

What good-news researchers are telling us now:

The emergency room in any hospital is an emotional place.  Did you know that a recent study has shown that when children are being treated there, music will decrease their perceived pain?  Shouldn’t local hospitals consider adding this inexpensive help?

Molecular biologists at USC (2013) have shown that the absence of a specific brain protein might be behind extreme over-worry – fear that continues even when there isn’t anything to fear. This study is important for those with learning disabilities and even autism.  Wouldn’t parents of children with disabilities wish to know about this new finding?

It’s important to keep working, even into your later years.  This lowers dementia risk.  Though this idea may be new to you, it has been recently studied by the Alzheimer’s Association and is a time-tested living style for the Okinawans.  Heart disease, cancer and strokes are practically non-existent; most natives expect to live to be 100.  Simple physical living is key.  They are farmers and fishermen through age 90.  This is an important consideration for aging baby-boomers.

Good news is often already in use in our community.  Professionals, businessmen, doctors, and the like are experts in their fields – they already practice innovative testing, implement recent technology, etc.. These, and researchers, are the people to look to.

Remember World Boxing Champ Donny Poole?  A good Samaritan, he’s changing lives outside the ring too.

Do you know Coach Mike Sawtelle?  He’s a dedicated teacher who has helped kids stay in school, get to state competitions and receive college scholarships – all of this while taking a cut in coaching pay.  He’s truly an inspiration to others.

Have you heard that there’s a free typeface for those with dyslexia developed by Abelardo Gonzalez?  OpenDyslexic is already changing how books are printed and kids are reading.

Did you know that school music programs are in danger of being cut?  Probably.  More importantly, did you know that the effects of music programs on the brains of children make them worth keeping?  Ask Dr. John Enyart.  He has influenced thousands of kids for the better with his orchestra program.

Almost every community in the country has youth with disabilities.  How many of them are working?  Did you know that there’s a program developed by award-winning teacher Conney Dahn, that will develop skills and enable these youth to find jobs?

Good news.  That’s what we need today.  We need solutions to problems, not the continuous shelling of bad news on our minds.  Americans: many of you are the source of good news.  Begin to participate on your local news websites.  Many online local newspapers offer a page for you to submit your own content.   Write about your good news.  Tell your fellow citizens what you’ve done that has created a solution to a problem.  See your own name in print.

  © 2013 "Good News" Kelly Jadon

Hometown Heroes: Boxer Donny Poole And His Wife Allison


BackLook: The solitary 40-ish woman trudged one very cold night down Indian River Drive in Jensen Beach, only a few miles inland from the Atlantic. In one hand that extended downward, she lugged two water jugs; with the other she carried a four-month-old baby. Alone. That’s what she was, until a neighborhood couple pulled over and offered help.

That afternoon, Donny Poole climbed into the backseat of his car so that his wife could drive the wary woman and her nursing baby home.

Donny and Allison Poole; Photo Credit: Kelly Jadon

Donny and Allison Poole; Photo Credit: Kelly Jadon

Moving away from an abusive boyfriend, Sheila* had arrived in Florida expecting shelter in her aunt’s empty apartment and use of her car. But the homeowners’ association did not allow anyone under 50 to reside within their gates.

Sheila managed to find a room to rent, but still had no car. No car, no work. And no work meant a government agency crawling down her neck threatening to take away little Joey*.

Donny and his wife Allison continued to give Sheila lifts when they found her traveling by foot. Eventually, the couple fronted the single mother the price of a used car. Today, Sheila’s baby is still safely residing with her.

Homeless families are a rising problem in the United States.   Homeless Children America (an affiliate of American Institutes for Research) reports that during the course of a year, 1.6 million children are homeless. In Florida, where the Pooles reside, the number of homeless children is 83,900. Causes of homelessness include poverty, domestic violence, unemployment, low-paying jobs, lack of affordable housing, mental illness and the lack of needed services, substance abuse, and prisoner re-entry. The Pooles have demonstrated through their act of love that it doesn’t always take much to make a difference.

Donny Poole is a welcome name inside the boxing ring. A welterweight, Donny took Gold in the 1979 Canadian Winter Games. Afterward in 1980, representing his native Canada, he was chosen to participate in the Olympics (USSR) as an amateur, until all free countries chose to boycott the Games. So instead, Donny turned pro. For 16 years he fought all over the world, achieving a rank of #2 in the world. Donny Poole is a member of the Boxing Hall of Fame. His gloves and belts hang proudly on a trophy wall in his home.

Allison Poole is a former art and creative director at New York City ad agencies. She met Donny when he came to NYC to fight. As he was unable to negotiate his way around the subway system quickly, Allison was appointed his ambassador. Twenty-nine days later Donny asked Allison to marry him. They have been married 30 years.

Together they have helped many hard-up people in need: purchasing clothing, shoes and sunglasses for a homeless man; paying the vet bills for an indigent man’s dog; and one time Donny gave the coat he was wearing to a man without one in the cold NYC winter.

Allison states, “I would like people to know they can do what we do; if they see something that needs attention, do not assume the person, or family, or child, or dog, will be taken care of by someone else. It is a chance for them to do something. Step up and make a difference in another person’s life. If they see someone at the grocery store and they are short some money, forced to pick items out to bring the tally down – step up and pay the person’s bill. If an old person can’t dig up any more change from the bottom of their bag at the pharmacy – stand up and pay the price difference – or all of it for that matter. It is common decency. A pure act of selflessness. The kindness you provide will make you feel great and bring pure joy to the person you have helped. Let’s all remember, ‘There but for the grace of God, go I,’ and do something about it.”

To many, Donny and Allison Poole are a very unusual couple. They have given money, furniture, their time, and their love to those in need. It isn’t fame that makes a difference, nor is it money. It is the heart. Today in Florida, a child was saved. Truly those who help another in need are our Hometown Heroes.

*Names changed to protect the mother and child

HAVE A HERO TIP? Hometown Heroes are in every town and city. They are regular people who have made a positive difference in their community impacting others for the better. Send your Hometown Hero tip to Kelly Jadon  kfjadon@gmail.com

Coach Mike Sawtelle: A Hometown Hero

Hometown Hero: OpenDyslexic Now At Wikipedia

Hometown Heroes: Enabling Youth With Disabilities To Job Carve


© 2013 "Hometown Heroes" Kelly Jadon