Good News Monday 9: Haircuts, Newspapers, and a Pants Ban

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Wrestler #2 suggested I read On Tyranny (Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century) by Timothy Snyder. It only took me a couple of hours. I recommend it to everyone. But…

I got sorta depressed, and quite scared.

I wondered how I would focus on good news this morning. Lucky me, I’ve been saving the good news stories. A common theme for this week’s stories connects to one of the lessons in Timothy’s book.


….The moment you set an example, the spell of the status quo is broken, and others will follow.

On Tyranny

A Principal sets an example

Elementary school Principal Terrance Newton from Delaware noticed that one of his students got teased about his hair. The boy’s family couldn’t afford to get him haircuts. So, Principal Newton took the problem to a personal level.

Principal Newton had a little experience cutting his brother’s hair, so he decided to cut the boy’s hair himself. “He had the biggest smile on his face,” said Principal Newton. Afterwards, the boy became more interactive with the other kids.

Maybe Principal Newton knew this and maybe he didn’t: Touching someone’s hair demonstrates a deep bond or trust. I believe that Mom fixing my hair in the morning before sending me off to school set my day in the right direction. My daughters still like it when I brush their hair.

When Principal Newton transferred to the high school, he noticed that almost all of the 192 suspensions for the year were male. So, he decided to take his barbershop experience to a whole new level.

A friend of mine had a barber chair. She donated a barber chair to me – and just started fixing up a little room. I put a TV in there. And I’d bring them together. I cut their hair and then we talk. I mean, it just kind of built that bond, built that relationship, kind of using that time to tell them my expectations, just using that time to collaborate.

NPR – Morning Edition (Click the link for more information.)
This principal really inspires me to take a stand.

“Citizen Kane” inspires a 71 year-old to buy a newspaper

“The Mountain Messenger,” California’s oldest weekly newspaper can brag that Mark Twain once wrote for it. But the owner had decided it was time to call it quits.

The obituaries for the paper had already been written. Don Russell, the hard-drinking, chain-smoking editor with a blunt writing style who had owned and run the paper for nearly three decades, was retiring, and he seemed happy enough for the paper to die with his retirement.

And then one night Mr. [Carl] Butz was watching “Citizen Kane” on cable and thought, I can do that. He made the deal quickly, paying a price in the “four figures,” he said, plus the assumption of some debts, without even looking at the books.

Still, Mr. Russell, an old friend of Mr. Butz’s, was a reluctant seller. “His position was, it’s a losing proposition and someone who’d want it would be crazy,” Mr. Butz said. “He called me a romantic idealist and a nut case. And that’s not a paraphrase, but a direct quote.”

The New York Times (click to read more.)

Carl is a hero to the 300 residents of Downieville. They depend on their weekly local newspaper. Carl already told his daughter that her inheritance is shrinking. The Mountain Messenger is financed primarily through legal notices and subsidized by Carl.

More than 700 papers get printed every week. Carl and the paper’s longtime distribution manager, Scott McDermid, share coffee and breakfast each Thursday mornings before crisscrossing the county dropping off the papers.

Carl with Jill Tahija, the managing editor. Jill’s business card read, “she who does the work.” (photo by Jenna Schoenefeld for The New York Times)

For more about Carl and The Mountain Messenger go to The New York Times.

Girl takes a stand against graduation dress code

“Sometimes when you want something changed you have to be the one to do it,” [Hanna] Kozak said. “Why not be the one to push it?”

Washington Post (click the link to read more.)

Hanna didn’t mind wearing a dress to graduation. It was the principle of the thing. Girls could get permission to wear pants if they requested it in writing. But, they had to roll their pants up, so their ankles showed. Hanna pointed out that women began wearing pants at least 100 years ago.

So, Hanna went before the school board. She put together a short speech outlining her problem with the dress-code language and the discriminatory aspects of it. She also pointed out that a couple inches of fabric showing below the graduation gown would not draw undue attention to the individual wearing pants.

Several of the women on the board asked for a copy of her speech. However, she only succeeded in getting personal permission to wear pants. That wasn’t enough. Hanna contacted the local TV station.

Now the students are guided by “professional business attire,” with no reference to dresses or pants. To read more of this Washington Post article, click here.

Miss E’s graduation

Even though this article first appeared in May, I only read it this week, so I’m counting it as one of my Good News articles.

By the way, if you can purchase On Tyranny by clicking here. (I’m an Amazon Associate, so there’s a slim chance I’ll get a penny if enough people purchase it following the link.) It’s a tiny book that can easily fit in your purse or pocket.

What’s on your good news radar this week?

I really want to know.