ACROSS AMERICA — “Be the bridge,” Bethany Bernhard and like-minded people the Milwaukee area say in their racial reconciliation group by the same name.
The mantra isn’t just words. It’s action.
Bernhard was horrified when she saw racially charged graffiti spray painted over a sign advertising his boat for sale. She thought about her Black friends and how the message of hate would hurt their hearts.
She and her neighbor, Stephanie Kosidowski, got their own spray paint cans.
“Be kind,” the new sign instructs. By Karen Pilarski for Waukesha Patch
Below are 14 more stories from Patch editors that will make you smile.
Stephanie Hongo loves to talk trash. She’s kind of entitled because, after all, she’s turned it into an art form. The Connecticut artist often met with questions about what it means to be a trash sculptor. Basically, the artist who goes by “Sugarfox” turns things people no longer want into art. By Chris Dehnel for Southington Patch
Bluesman Turns In His Keys
For 28 years, Toronzo Cannon lived the double life of mild-mannered Chicago bus driver and world-touring blues musician. Last week, the internationally acclaimed purveyor of Chicago Blues left the driver’s seat for the last time. “That last ride was slow, man,” Cannon told Patch. “I was working the No. 37 route that goes from Lincoln Park to downtown to the Blue Line on Clinton Street. Drove a 10-hour shift, and had less than 10 people on the bus. I just glided out and went missing. Those who know, well, they know.” By Mark Konkol for Chicago Patch
The Truths Of Truth
It’s been more than 150 years since Sojourner Truth earned a place in history fighting for women’s rights and abolition. But her messages of hope and justice are still as relevant today as they were in the 18th and 19th century. Now, the many truths of Truth will live on in a huge, 30-foot piece of public art installed in Newark, New Jersey. By Eric Kiefer for Newark Patch
What’s the proper way to refer to the abduction of “Shultzy” from a Virginia homeowner’s yard? A robot-napping? Shultzy is the name the family has given their automatic lawnmower, which usually returns to its charging station after cutting the grass. But for some reason, Schultzy stopped near the garbage barrels. The person who absconded with the robot may have thought it was trash, the homeowner said. By Michael O’Connell for Arlington Patch
In A Flash, He Proposed
Josh Buckler set the bar high when he asked Nicole Asaban to marry him. As they strolled around downtown Annapolis, Maryland, a seemingly-random man broke into dance set to “Higher Love” by Kygo and Whitney Houston. Soon, more dancers joined the flash mob and drew Buckler in. The music quieted to Jonny Craig’s “Rhythm in My Soul,” and Buckler dropped to one knee. By Jacob Baumgart for Annapolis Patch
Marathon Canceled, But She Still Runs
Laura Brown was upset when she heard the Chicago Marathon had been canceled because of the pandemic. She runs it every year to raise awareness of a rare condition that affects only 1,200 people in the world — two of them her children. So she created her own marathon through the streets and along the trails of Tinley Park. By Yasmeen Sheikah for Tinley Park Patch
So, what exactly is a spherical omnidirectional motor for electric vehicles? Ask Lucas Katz. The California 13-year-old designed one in a national STEM competition, and he’s up for a $25,000 prize. By Bea Karnes for Lamorinda Patch
How To Save A Candy Store
It isn’t a common tale — a former microbiologist for Novartis turned-candy store owner — but it is perhaps that unique background that allowed Steve Jones and Black River Candy Shoppe to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. Closing his store, which could have remained open as an essential business, was a conscious decision made in the best interests of public health. By Russ Crespolini for Mendham-Chester Patch
Standing more than 16 feet tall and weighing close to 2,000 pounds, Pongo the giraffe can now walk tall again thanks to a risky procedure at ZooMiami that saved his life. The giraffe fractured his foot, and veterinarians, technicians, zookeepers and farriers all went to work get him walking around sure-footed again. The procedure was dangerous for Pongo and unwieldy for the team of experts. By Paul Scicchitano for Miami Patch
Big Brother Was Watching
Dylan Hoffman is only 6, but when he saw the care his 7-month-old baby brother received after he was diagnosed with the congenital heart defect, it made a big impression. He wanted to give back to the children’s hospital at New York University that had cared for his brother, and so far has raised $2,000 to help care for his brother through the sale of hand-painted shells. By Michael DeSantis for Farmingdale Patch
Oldest Living Marine Turns 107
The oldest living Marine in America is a she. Ret. Sgt. Dorothy Schmidt Cole, who enlisted in the Marine Corps after the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor, turned 107 in Kannapolis, North Carolina, last weekend. “Everyone was out doing something,” she said of her decision to enter the male-dominated field of military service. By Kimberly Johnson for Across North Carolina Patch
Happy Birthday, Mr. President
If you ever wanted to wish a former president happy birthday, now is your chance. Former President Jimmy Carter will turn 96 years old on Oct. 1, making him the oldest living former president. The Carter Center has created a way for the public to share their memories online with the former president from Georgia. Anyone may add a personal message to Carter’s birthday wishes wall and will be included with the many others already online. By Kathleen Sturgeon for Sandy Springs Patch
What A Play!
The day started normally — or for what passes for normal during a pandemic — for Illinois preschool teacher Nancy Hildreth. The devoted Bears fan was talking sports with other teachers over a Zoom call when an unexpected visitor dialed in. “Oh my God,” she thought when the legendary former Bears coach joined the chat. “Are you kidding me? By Lisa Marie Farver for Downer’s Grove Patch
The Art Of The Escape
Artist Mark Johnson got too close to a future subject — an 8-foot, 6-inch alligator — and has dozens of stitches to prove it. The gator was close enough for Johnson to look into his green eyes. His teeth, clenched between powerful jaws, were pearly white. The beast chomped down on Johnson’s leg, but he seems unfazed. He can already see the picture in his mind. By Paul Scicchitano for Miami Patch
This article originally appeared on the Across America Patch