• And Minnesota says you betcha.
• New principal takes over violent, failing high school, fires the security guards and hires art and music teachers. School starts to turn around. It seems kids do better in school when the school seems more like a school and less like a militarized prison.
• One Voice for Change is amplifying the voices of women in the Churches of Christ. It seems like an important, potentially history-making, movement in a denomination that has long been denying women a voice and denying itself the contribution of women’s voices.
I’m not closely familiar with the CofC, and I can’t judge how effective this movement for change may be, but anything that has the support of James McCarty and Richard Beck strikes me as a Good Thing.
• Gold mining and recovery uses lots of cyanide. You know, the deadly poison. Cyanide salts have been the main way of extracting gold from ore — often resulting in cyanide waste poisoning the environment and leaching into groundwater. Now scientists at Northwestern University have figured out a way to extract gold using cornstarch instead. Cheaper, non-toxic, and it seems to work better than cyanide did.
• The endangered — and adorable — dwarf foxes of California’s Channel Islands have “made one of the fastest recoveries of any animal in the history of the Endangered Species Act.”
US teen births have dropped to a record low, but the country still has one of the highest rates among developed nations, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
“The overall rate declined 25 percent from 41.5 per 1,000 teenagers aged 15-19 in 2007 to 31.3 in 2011 — a record low,” the CDC report said.
“The number of births to teenagers aged 15-19 also fell from 2007 to 2011, by 26 percent to 329,797.”
… According to the most recent National Survey of Family Growth, teens are increasingly using contraception during their first sexual encounter, and sexually active females and males are using dual measures — mainly condoms and hormonal methods.
• Philadelphia sets a new standard for protecting the legal equality and civil rights of LGBT Americans.
• Someone spray-painted graffiti on Grace Episcopal Church in rural Randolph, N.Y. “Can I still get to heaven if I kill myself?” appeared on the wall of the church in two-foot letters.
Rather than approaching the tagging as a criminal act, however, church leaders decided to take the graffiti seriously as an expression of something spiritually meaningful — a cry for help, perhaps; even a mocking expression of religious skepticism. They approached it relationally, using the church building itself as a social media platform, and responding with their own message of hope.
Instead of calling the cops or setting up security cameras, the pastor spray-painted this reply next to the original message: “God loves you with no exceptions!”