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As pointed out in this space before, the bad news is so plentiful -- and often, so horrific -- that more than a few of us have probably concluded that the horror and disaster movies we once watched for entertainment were flat-out prophetic.

Any good news coming through via TV broadcast, email inbox or news-app alert is like that all-too-elusive breath of fresh air, that tiny point of light, that sip of water after hours in the desert.

The good thing is that entities dedicated to bringing forth positive news seem to be rising in number. I get a couple of "good news" newsletters in my inbox that help me to hang on to my sanity and know that the world hasn't, at least yet, turned into The Road Warrior meets The Book of Eli.

So I've decided to do my part to let folks know about a few random uplifting things happening, without and within the Natural State. And, throw in the mention of an occasional good-news product that could be flying under the radar. After gathering a mix of website stories, news releases and tips, I welcome you, readers, to the first edition of the recurring

LET'S TALK GOOD NEWS

Yes, Virginia ... there are positive Arkansas statistics. According to a news release, SafeWise, which just released its 2019 Guide to Kids Internet Safety, says that Arkansas is among the top 10 states that has the most supportive laws protecting children from online predators, cyberbullying, and exposure to content that's not exactly child-friendly. Arkansas gets the letter grade A in such categories as "laws [that] address cyberbullying or online harassment," "legal consequences for online harassment" and "schools [that] discipline cyberbullying." In light of sobering statistics about what children are exposed to via the Internet, this indeed good news. The link to SafeWise's Internet Safety Guide for Kids: safewise.com/resources/internet-safety-kids.

Human bridges over troubled waters. Even those of us who weren't directly affected by the horrific flooding in Arkansas have looked in disbelief at the images on TV news shows and our social-media feeds. One good thing: Arkansans have shown their generosity when it comes to helping our fellows. KATV reports that the telethon it hosted with The American Red Cross drew about $30,000 for flood victims. And there have been several touching news stories about groups -- some of whom themselves have been threatened or affected by floodwaters -- helping to sandbag neighbors' property, helping to relocate neighbors, helping to clean up. Thanks to you guys too.

Candy that brings a sweet cause with it. National Candy Month might not generate excitement for those who must avoid sweets for health reasons. But those who choose to take advantage of the month have the option of trying chocolate bars from a company billed as the only fair-trade chocolate company in the world that's run by cocoa farmers. I tried a few nibbles of Divine Chocolate, which originates with Kuapa Kokoo, a cooperative of more than 85,000 cocoa farmers in Ghana. The co-op benefits from the Fair Trade price and premium earned from the sale of cocoa beans, and also receives a 44-percent share of the brand's distributable profits. And this line has 15 flavors ... 10 dark, three milk and two white chocolate, $3.99 per bar. The taste? After all the other stuff Divine Chocolate has going for it, it's not going to mess that up. A tip: Try the Milk Chocolate with Toffee & Sea Salt. You can find Divine at various retail outlets in Arkansas, including The Fresh Market, Whole Foods, Ozark Natural Foods, Michaels, The Eureka Market in Eureka Springs, The Truck Patch in Jonesboro and Mountain Home and Akins Natural Foods in Rogers. Visit DivineChocolate.com.

Some awesome high school and college graduates. To Athena Capo-Battaglia and Richard Jenkins, the homeless students who went on to Harvard ... and to Deontae and Deontrae Wright and Tommy and Jimmy Dilwith, the sets of twins who went on to become valedictorian and salutatorian of their 2019 high-school graduating classes ... Congratulations.

Congratulations also to our own Vivian D. Littrell, who recently graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock at the age of 71 with a bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice. Littrell is a mother of two, grandmother of four, caretaker for her own mother, and a 1965 graduate of the former Horace Mann High School. She "has persevered despite many obstacles and remained resilient in her pursuit of obtaining her college degree," says her son, Corey Littrell, in an email. His mother, who was divorced, left college 35 years ago to make sure her children were provided for, according to a story at the university website, ualr.edu.

Got some good news of your own to share as a candidate for the next edition of Let's Talk Good News: Email:

hwilliams@arkansasonline.com

Style on 06/16/2019

Print Headline: LET'S TALK: Welcome to the Good News edition!

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