(WOWK) — 13 News has been working hard to bring you the latest breaking and local news. But, we’ve also have been working to bring you some good news during these uncertain times. This week, we are bringing you 13 different ‘good news with 13’ stories.
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1.) Man who lost job during COVID-19 crisis plans to open pro-wrestling themed burger shop
Unemployment rates have spiked in West Virginia leaving many people wondering where their next paycheck will come from. But after finding out his temporary layoff is now a permanent layoff one local man is looking to reinvent himself.
“I’ve already gone to college. I have a Bachelor’s in Information Technology and I was working in an automotive plant and that is gone now. So I might as well live up one of my other dreams and open up a restaurant,” said JL Kyle founder of Squared Circle Burgers.
Kyle was one of many people in our area and across the country who lost their job during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a position he’s been in before.
“This isn’t my first rodeo getting let go. I used to be a coal miner. It might be a little rough patch from here on out maybe to start but it will eventually work itself out as long as you stay positive,” he said.
Rather than focus on the negative, Kyle immediately dusted himself off and set his sights on a dream he’d been keeping in his back pocket. He’s now working on the launch of Squared Circle Burgers, a pro-wrestling themed burger restaurant specializing in smash style cheeseburgers.
2.) Community welcomes local liver transplant survivor back home
One Kanawha County man had a special homecoming this weekend after conquering his life-long battle with liver disease, a story 13 News first brought you in April.
62-year-old Jimmy Staats underwent a liver transplant surgery in Pittsburgh on April 26. A few weeks later, he was released from the hospital to continue his recovery at home.
One month ago family, friends, and community members held a small drive-by parade to show support and wish him luck before he underwent a liver transplant. The surgery was a success and his community welcomed him back home.
3.) Elementary students make sleeping mats for homeless community out of recyclables
The students of Ms. Noble’s third and fourth-grade ’empathy rocks’ class were not letting online school stop them from completing their end-of-the-year project.
“People who live on the streets might not have enough money to buy blankets and pillows and all sorts of stuff like that,” said Lucho Valdivia, a third-grade student in the class.
This was when the ‘plarn’ project” was born. ‘Plarn’ is plastic yarn made of recycled grocery bags.
4.) Dance studio makes video to raise money for local businesses
Many sporting events have been canceled due to COVID-19, but there are other events falling victim to the virus as well. One dance studio which had to cancel a recital is now trying to give back to the community while showcasing their talents.
This is not your typical dance recital, but due to the virus, it is the recital for Academy of Arts at January’s.
5.) From the farm to your plate: Local farmers take different approach
Many of the nation’s largest meat processors — like Tyson, and Smithfield — have stopped processing their products at some of their plants because their workers are sick with the Coronavirus. So local farmers and ranchers are stepping up to fill the gap.
Joshua and Brittany Nelson are the owners of the Nelson Family Farm. Joshua is also an Iraq veteran and a member of the Farmer Veteran Coalition.
I was serving in Iraq and Syria and on a particular mission, flying along, and looked down, and watching the Kurdish people farm right in the middle of the war and I just thought that was the most powerful thing, and so when I decided to get home I decided to get serious about farming.Josh Nelson, owner of Nelson Family Farm
And so in Ripley, he got serious. Acres of land used for what Nelson calls “regenerative agriculture” – using nature itself for growing food and other farming practices. He explains to 13 News Reporter Erin Noon, “manure concentrate builds the soil, the goal here is to increase the organic matter in the soil, which helps the grass grow, which sequesters carbon out of the atmosphere, good for the environment, and good for the cows.”
6.) Hair and nail salons re-opening in the Mountain State
7.) 11-year-old girl crafts homemade masks for essential workers
One Mason County girl has a lot to be proud of. She’s “Young Miss 4-H”, a singer and now working on a project that’s helping keep essential workers safe.
Miss Riley is 11 years old and has many passions – one being a goat breeder and another to help people in need.
8.) Boy once featured on WOWK-TV for his love of NASCAR set to graduate high school
It has been over a decade since 13 News reporter Nicky Walters interviewed Justin Winland and his family. When they first met, he was a 3-year-old NASCAR fanatic with a sharp memory. Now he is all grown up and set to graduate from Wirt County High School.
“I just like how careless I was at the time,” Justin said, sitting at a picnic table in Ravenswood. “Like even though there was a camera crew in my house I’m just doing my own thing.”
Even though he was too young to remember the original interview they’ve watched the story several times over the years. His parents recorded the story on VHS and passed out copies to the family.
“I showed it to a lot of my classes for show and tell and stuff from the time I was on the news,” Justin said.
9.) West Virginia Air National Guard: Fly-overs to honor state frontline workers
The 130th Air Wing Flight started at their base in Charleston and flew over more than 20 state hospitals. While the flight honored the front-line hospital workers it did not cost taxpayers any money because it was scheduled during routine training.
“The community in and around Charleston and throughout the state of West Virginia has always been supportive of the National Guard and we just want to be able to reciprocate that support. Be able to demonstrate how much we care about the great state of West Virginia and unfortunately in a time of crisis we get to do that,” Switzer said.
10.) City of Huntington holds ‘salute to healthcare workers’ parade
Across the nation, doctors, nurses, and other medical staff have been working long hours without time off. Every now and then they need something to bring a smile to their faces.
There are two words that we learn from when we’re growing up that are important for everything that we do … thank you.Huntington Mayor Steve Williams
11.) Health department gets help from celebrities to spread message
It’s a weird question to ask, but what if scrolling through social media helped save lives? The Lawrence County Health Department is trying to do just that.
If you hop on their Facebook page, you’ll see a lot of press releases, but you’ll also see something a little different.
“People get tired of hearing the health department say ‘just stay home,’” said Nurse Debbie Fisher. Fisher is the Accreditation Coordinator and Public Information Officer for the Lawrence County Health Department. She wanted to think of a new way to get people to listen to the CDC guidelines amid COVID-19, so she enlisted the help of her social media savvy children.
12.) Schools provide meals to students while classes are on hiatus
They’re the unsung heroes at every school, and now in ‘Lunch Lady Land,’ cafeteria workers are making sure no kid in the city goes hungry.
The sounds in the cafeteria at Ironton Elementary and Middle School are not those of kids socializing.
More than 700 kids are served at Ironton Elementary and Middle School each day, but right now, there’s nothing except empty seats at the lunch tables. This school, and others across the region, is closed to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
“We don’t know how long it’s going to be, but right now we intend on doing it until they tell us that we can’t, or school ends,” said Mark LaFon, Director of Student Services at Ironton City Schools.
The closure of schools has not stopped a special group of ladies from waking up Wednesday morning, putting on a new plastic glove, and serving breakfast and lunch with a little slice of love.
13.) West Virginia store designs special t-shirt to raise money for local businesses
Many small businesses across the country are struggling to stay open during this time and the push to shop local is greater now, more than ever.
The Kin Ship Goods storefront is located on Charleston’s West Side and many of their clothes are inspired by West Virginia. So when the pandemic started taking a toll on small businesses the owners decided to do what they do best and make another West Virginia t-shirt, but this purchase directly helps small businesses, and not just theirs.
The shirt reads “West Virginia is for kindness” and it is a little pricier than normal. The shirt is selling for $36 but $12 goes to keeping Kin Ship operating, $12 goes to making the shirt and the other $12 goes to one of fifteen local businesses that you can choose from when you purchase the shirt online.
We hope you enjoy some of our ‘Good News with 13’ stories, and we will continue to bring them to you every day with our broadcast newscasts at 6 p.m!
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