Guess we could all use some good news this week, right? Plus an extra helping of good local news. Our first one is especially timely, methinks. Enjoy:
• Sir Paul McCartney was presented with the Legion of Honour, France’s highest award, for his services to music. The award was created by Napoleon Bonaparte. Cool.
• A Wisconsin judge has struck down key provisions of Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-union law.
• New poll of likely voters shows Obama leading Romney by 7 points.
• McDonald’s will start posting calorie information on all of its menus and drive-throughs around the country.
• New species of monkey discovered and it’s the cutest thing ever. (Note: the link loaded really slowly for me because there are a ton of big photo files on it but it’s worth the wait.)
• The NIST Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility — a 2,700 sq-ft, four bedroom, three bath high-tech test home — produces more energy than it uses. Okay my next house is gonna be one of these.
• Concordia University in St. Paul, MN has lowered its tuition by $10,000, a move education experts say is being followed by many private colleges all across the country.
• Sexual assault victims can now access a variety of help services via a free smartphone app.
• Health insurance premiums increased a modest 4% this year, far below last year’s 9% increase and miniscule compared to the astonishing 39% increase insurers like WellPoint tried to foist on some customers in 2010. Still, it’s higher than wage increases and inflation.
• This story of a North Korean man who escaped to South Korea made my day.
• Looks like a woman bought a Renoir for less than $60 at a Virginia flea market.
Good News, Tennessee Edition:
• Tennessee’s obesity rates have fallen for the second year in a row. Even better, we’re no longer in the top 10 for fattest states in the country (we peaked at #3).
• Outside Magazine named Nashville one of the country’s top 10 river towns. Yay us. I find that weird, I really don’t think of us as a “river town,” it’s not like we have a huge amount of activity on our riverfront, we’re no San Antonio with its gorgeous RiverWalk or even Owensboro KY with its new riverfront development. Oh well.
I guess it helps to know that the finalists were picked from a Facebook contest, which explains entrants like Nevada City, CA and Asheville, NC — two cities I’ve been to and find lovely in a lot of ways but consider more mountain towns than river towns. I guess there’s no rule saying you can’t be both.
• Metro Nashville’s Transit Authority has received a $3 million federal grant to purchase electric buses.
• You’ll never guess what book Nashville Mayor Karl Dean selected for our first “citywide read”: Margaret Atwood’s “A Handmaid’s Tale.” Do we have the coolest freaking mayor EVER or what?
This week’s cool video: W. Brett Wilson, minority owner of my beloved Nashville Predators of the NHL, has made a really cool video for the “You Can Play” initiative, which promotes tolerance of GLBT athletes. Back in the spring Preds defenseman Shea Weber joined the You Can Play project, too. So proud to be a Predators fan!