(TMU) — Let’s face it—ever since painter and television host Bob Ross passed away in 1995, America hasn’t been the same place it once was.
Now we’re not 100 percent certain that the social fabric of the United States began to fray when the public television star disappeared from the airwaves, but the case could be made that as Ross disappeared from our lives, things got much more complicated.
But now, the state of Michigan is hoping to bring a bit of soothing comfort happiness into people’s lives with a “Happy Little Trees” program meant to celebrate Bob Ross’ 100th birthday and help inmates plant 1,000 trees throughout public parks every year.
The program is the result of a partnership between the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Bob Ross Inc., and also coincides with the centennial of Michigan’s own state parks.
The program is a revamped version of the Department of Corrections’ “prison grow” career and education program which grants inmates the opportunity to gain job skills, in this case by learning horticultural practices and helping to grow trees for reforestation efforts.
The program should be of particular benefit for state parks, where trees felled by invasive species will be replaced by native varieties such as sugar maple, paper birch, and white cedar trees, among others.
Because Bob Ross is known by all, including those born after his death, for his love of painting happy images of greenery, the name “Happy Little Trees” became irresistible.
Michelle Coss, a volunteer and donor coordinator for the DNR’s Parks and Recreation division, told MLive:
“We were talking about the prison grow program, and somehow ‘happy little trees’ came up.
I said, ‘Well, wouldn’t it be cool if we reached out to Bob Ross Inc. and asked if we could use that moniker for the program?’ So we did, and they loved it.”
Inmates from across Michigan’s jails help to grow the 1,000 new trees from native seeds collected by volunteers. Once they mature into saplings, these are then used to replace damaged or destroyed foliage at state parks.
The addition of Bob Ross’ likeness and branding to the program has proven successful. When announced in April, over 500 people quickly volunteered to plant trees. The offer of a free “Happy Little Trees” t-shirt no doubt sweetened the deal.
And to the delight of Michigan residents, “Happy Little Trees Ahead” signs have also been installed across state parks including Port Crescent State Park, Orchard Beach State Park and Yankee Springs Recreation Area. Additional signs portraying the curly-haired artist are also slated to be installed at other parks across the state.
Keanu Reeves Praised As Video of Him Offering Seat to Lady in Subway Resurfaces
Keanu Reeves is an actor who has long been loved by audiences —and not necessarily due to his acting skills, but due to how nice the John Wick star is.
And now, Reeves is once again earning praise as a “true gentleman” after resurfaced video footage shows Reeves giving up his seat on the subway.
The clip was shared by Instagram film fan account Cinemonkeys where it has since earned nearly 45,000 likes.
The video footage dates back to 2011, when it was shared on YouTube by a user of the video-sharing platform.
At the time, Reeves was already a superstar riding on the fame he earned from the Matrix, Speed, and a number of other blockbuster hits.
When Reeves notices a woman carrying a heavy bag, he quickly points to his seat and asks if she would like to sit. The woman accepts and Reeves gets up without hesitating to let her take his seat.
Reeves, ever the model citizen, then stands and holds onto a subway pole while carrying his bag.
The video has since been watched over 27 million times and was even cited in a 2019 Time magazine profile of the actor describing Reeves as the “soul mate” of the internet.
The resurfacing of the clip on Instagram once again impressed users of the platform.
“This human being’s soul honestly shines so bright,” wrote one user.
“OMG I love him in every single way,” another person commented.
“His kindness knows no bounds,” commented someone else.
Keanu is set to reprise his role as Neo in the upcoming fourth Matrix film directed and written by Lana Wachowski, who co-directed the earlier trilogy with her sister Lilly. He will also return to the silver screen in John Wick: Chapter 4, which will be released in 2022.
Drunk Man Rescues Injured Baby Bird By Sending It To Animal Shelter… In An Uber
An injured baby bird received a new lease on life after a young man who was inebriated had the good sense to send the little creature to an animal shelter because he and his friends were too drunk to drive.
In the Summer of 2019, a small lesser goldfinch suddenly appeared by itself at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah. The center’s chairman, Buz Marthaler, was notified by a volunteer who sent him a photo.
“It was a picture of this bird, and it had come by Uber,” Marthaler told FOX13. “It was just crazy.”
As it turns out, the tiny bird – which was only two weeks old – indeed rolled up to the site by its lonesome, the sole passenger in an Uber vehicle called by concerned citizens who found the injured creature.
Among those good Samaritans was Tim Crowley, who had been “day drinking” on that Saturday before he and his buddies witnessed the little bird fall from the sky.
“Impromptu, sitting in some camp chairs, hanging out, having a few drinks when we had a visitor fall out of the sky,” he explained.
Crowley then snapped a photo of the bird and sent it to the WRCNU, which instructed him to immediately bring the bird in. However, the group obviously couldn’t drive since they had been guzzling booze all day.
So Crowley decided he’d hail a cab for the creature.
“At first it was a joke, like, ‘Hey, maybe we should just call Uber!’” he said. “Then we were like, ‘No, really. Why not? We’re paying them.’”
As it turns out, the bird – since named “Petey Uber” by staff at the rescue center – likely would have perished if not for Crowley’s quick thinking.
Marthaler remains impressed by Crowley’s move and shared the news on its Facebook page.
“While we feel we’ve seen it all and can’t be amazed by anything, there is always someone out there to prove us wrong,” the shelter’s post read. “Thank you to the rescuer who helped this little one get the care it needed in a timely manner and thank you for keeping yourself safe and others on the road safe as well.”
Binx the Cat, Who Survived Florida Condo Collapse, Found and Reunited With Family
Amid the tragedy of last month’s collapse of a South Florida condo building, there was a tiny bit of good news when a cat named Binx, who lived on the ninth floor of the Surfside building, was found safe and returned to his family.
“I’m glad that this small miracle could bring some light into the lives of a hurting family today and provide a bright spot for our whole community in the midst of this terrible tragedy,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava in a Friday press conference, reports NPR.
Levine Cava explained that a volunteer who feeds street cats in the area recognized the cat near the building before bringing him to an animal shelter, where it was then identified.
Gina Nicole Vlasek, the co-founder of the The Kitty Campus rescue group, posted on Facebook that a black cat had been found near the rubble of the group before it was brought to the shelter on Thursday night.
“We are so grateful to be able to help in any small way,” Vlasek said.
“All we needed was a ray of hope in this tragedy,” she continued. “Today was one of the most amazing days.. one of the survivors came to see the cat and to determine if it was her families cat and IT WAS!”
The mayor said that animal control workers are continuing to work to recover any pets that may have survived the horrible collapse.
The 12-story Surfside condo collapsed on June 24. At least 79 people have been confirmed dead, with 61 additional residents remaining unaccounted for.