Need in the News, Vol. IV, Issue 2

Oil refinery coastal Texas (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)
Oil refinery coastal Texas (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)

At the end of every month, I summarize local, national and international “stories of need” from news sites, blogs, press releases and editorials. The following are some of February’s most need-in-the-news-worthy stories:

UNITED STATES — The largest oil refinery workers’ strike since 1980 continued and expanded through the end of February.

IRAQ — The self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) is now destroying cultural artifacts within territory it controls in Iraq, and making advances in Libya.

UKRAINE — A tenuous ceasefire is in effect between Ukrainian government forces and ethnic Russian rebels.

At times, what gets lost in the concern and clamor over major local, national and international events and issues, are ordinary people, communities, businesses and other groups doing extraordinary things. Here are a few I’ve heard about recently:

WASHINGTON D.C. — A book club is helping turn inmates into poets.

FOREST GROVE (Oregon)Dawson Riverman, 13, was born without fingers on his left hand, but now he has the hand of a superhero.

TRIPOLI (Libya)Bishop Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli decided to stay in war-torn Libya despite increased violence against Christians by militants associated with the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS).

ST. LOUIS (Missouri) — After decades serving as a homeless shelter, the New Life Evangelistic Center, in a former garment district of St. Louis, is fighting a city council requirement that it limit the number of people it helps.

ROCHESTER (Minnesota) — After 10 years of blindness, Allen Zderad regained his vision.

FREETOWN (Sierra Leone) Augustine Baker helped children orphaned by Ebola, before contracting and dying from the disease himself.

WASHINGTON D.C. — Social justice icon Rev. Theodore Hesburgh passed away on Feb. 26.

CINCINNATI (Ohio)Downtown Cincinnati is thriving as memories of riots there have faded.

Stories worth reflection:

BAYLOR ATHLETE INELIGIBLE BECAUSE OF HOMELESSNESS — The NCAA ruled walk-on running back Silas Nacita ineligible for accepting a place to stay while homeless.

A MUSLIM IN MILAN — This is what happened when Hamdy Mahisen walked around the city of Milan, Italy, for five hours while holding a Quran.

2014 “CATASTROPHIC” FOR VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE — Amnesty International criticized the U.N. Security Council for its reluctance to protect victims in Syria, Iraq, Gaza, Israel and Ukraine.

MINING VOLCANOES IN INDONESIA — How would you like for this to be your job?

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