There were plenty of good news stories in Virginia in 2013. Sure, the good news was also pummeled by bitter politics and violence but bad news didn’t clog all the headlines.
Here are some Central Virginia good news stories of 2013, not in any particular order although these are selected from our most viewed stories of the year.
1. KUNG FU GRANDPA
It was a zany story with a positive message. Tom Bell is the star of the viral Youtube video titled “Kung FU Grandpa in the Food Lion parking lot!” that showcased one of his high-flying workouts, filmed by a local pastor who provided humorous and spontaneous commentary that helped the video soar through cyber space.
We helped arrange a meeting between the pastor and his viral video star.
“His mom passed away,” the pastor told CBS 6 news reporter Mark Holmberg, as they stood watching the Kung Fu Grandpa have another workout on the Food Lion parking lot.
“He was down. So he needed something to pick himself up. And he found it in this activity. And the whole thing of dropping the chuck . . . In life, we’re going to drop all kinds of things. But the key is not to stay down with the thing that you dropped. Pick it up and get back to what you are doing.”
2. HELP TUCKER BREATHE
We love when a community gets together to help save someone’s life.
The Richmond-based “#Help Tucker Breathe” social media campaign raised nearly $40,000 from around the world in six days, but the fight isn’t over.
Tucker Gordon Gordon, 25, has cystic fibrosis. The Deep Run High School graduate had a successful lung transplant in May, at Duke University, but he still faces health challenges. The GO FUND ME established in his honor has to date raised $75,000, with a goal of $100,000.
His last post in the Help Tucker Breathe Facebook group was Dec. 16, and he said that before coming down with a serious blood infection he had been able to take a four and a half hour bike ride. That’s amazing Tucker!
3. LONGEST LEGS IN THE WORLD BELONG TO A VIRGINIA COACH
Svetlana Pankratova isn’t the tallest person in the world but she has the longest legs.
She used to play basketball at VCU in Richmond, and now she is an assistant coach for the George Mason High School girls basketball team.
Her height adds up to six foot, five inches, and her legs measure in at four foot, four inches.
4. CHANGE IN POWER, CAMPAIGN ADS ARE OVER
No matter what political side of the fence you are on, we could all celebrate the end of a particularly vicious, drama-filled gubernatorial campaign; one which wound up as a mockery under the scrutiny of the Daily Show.
The end results represented a big shake-up in Commonwealth politics. This is the first time that Democrats have won all three statewide races–governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general–since 1989.
Additionally, it’s the first time in four decades that Democrats hold those three positions in addition to two Democractic senators.
5. NEAR RECORD-LENGTH COPPERHEAD THWARTED BY BLACK LAB, DAD WITH A HOE
The largest copperhead on record in Virginia was 48-inches long.
Draper Carlton of West Point knew the one he saw coiled up by his four-year-old daughter’s bare leg Tuesday had to be close to that.
He was also thinking how he could get to his daughter, who was cornered by the snake in their garage. That’s where the family’s black lab, Bailey, comes in to the story.
Click the video to watch and click here to read more.
6. ACTS OF KINDNESS LIGHT UP THE BUS DEPOT
The old GRTC bus depot has been dark for going on four years. Despite the violent attack near the property a few weeks ago, the site became a source of light for those who believe kindness can chase away the darkness.
A lot of Richmonders got together to show a less familiar tender side with the Light of Human Kindness project led by Patience Salgaldo.
The depot’s long W. Cary Street wall was transformed into an interactive, fluid mural made up of stories about acts of kindness, portions of it lit by 1,000 LED light pods representing individual stories.
The mural led the RVA Street Art Festival that transformed the inside of the old bus depot property with murals painted by local artists.
7. LOCAL FOOTBALL CHAMPION KEVIN GRAYSON HELPS BREAK BARRIERS
Kevin Grayson has won championships at every level of competition–high school, college and professionally–and he has carried a secret each step of the way.
He is one of the most decorated football players Central Virginia has ever seen, and he happens to be gay. He’s considered the first openly gay player in the professional football league.
Grayson said he shared his story with CBS-6 to be something of an inspiration to others in similar situations, so they could seek out their own support systems and put away the masks.
Read more and watch the video below.
8. LAMB OF GOD SINGER RANDY BLYTHE FOUND NOT GUILTY OF MANSLAUGHTER
Richmond rocker Randy Blythe, 42, was charged with manslaughter, accused of pushing Lamb of God fan Daniel Nosek, 19, off stage during a 2010 show in Prague. Blythe was arrested and jailed in the Czech Republic when he and his band arrived there for a concert in 2012.
“I have been found not guilty and acquitted of all charges against me. I am a free man,” Blythe posted on his Instagram account following the verdict. “Please remember the family of Daniel Nosek in your thoughts and prayers in this difficult time. I only wish for them peace. Thank you for your support.”
9. MAKE THAT FIRST CLASS
A Fredericksburg man purchased a $217 million Powerball winning ticket at Richmond International Airport. One of his first plans was to buy a new car to replace his 13-year-old car with 170,000 miles.
10. ROADTRIP TO RICHMOND
Ground was broken on Valentine’s Day 2013 for the Redskins Training Camp. Then on July 25 hordes of fan showed up to hail the Redskins.
It remains to be seen if the camp increased city revenues on par with the projections given by the city-hired consulting firm. City officials told CBS 6 to expect those numbers Jan. 6.
Mayor Dwight Jones had previously said the city could enjoy a benefit of $8.5 million dollars annually for hosting the camp in exchange for providing funds to help build an $11 million facility.
Greenback aside, the burgundy and gold brought an element of pep and circumstance to the city. And made for fun stories like RG III spotted at Krispy Kreme, or our meme of the day Instagram photos.
Did we miss any? Share your vote in the comments!