Courtesy of Benjamin Faust via Unsplash
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After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

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Courtesy of Benjamin Faust via Unsplash
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After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

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Courtesy of Maketto

Maketto, a communal marketplace located in Washington D.C. that combines retail, restaurant and cafe experiences.

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As the cold, dark days of winter carry on, restaurants all over the country are struggling to keep patrons coming in the proverbial door. Despite expensive and elaborate upgrades to help make restaurant dining safer, the one-two punch of the pandemic and frigid temperatures has done a number on restaurants' cash flow. Already, 17% of all restaurants in the United States have permanently closed since the start of the pandemic.

The National Restaurant Association described the industry as being "in an economic free-fall" in their plea to the U.S. House of Representatives, for some economic relief. If no help is received, they expect 58% of restaurants to continue furloughs and layoffs in the first quarter of the year.

There are, however, some big businesses doing their part to support the restaurant industry in its time of need. Capital One, for example, is taking a multi-pronged approach to helping the restaurant industry. One of those initiatives is providing over 30 restaurants nationwide with funding to safely and successfully winterize their outdoor dining options so they can stay open and keep their occupancy up.

"Restaurants are anchors in the communities in which we live and work, which is why we're providing them support so they can better access the tools they need to survive these difficult winter months," says Monica Bauder, Head of Cardholder Access at Capital One. "At Capital One, the dining industry has always been an important community to us and we want to continue to find ways to help them through this difficult time."

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When Maryland Representative Jamie Raskin and his wife, Sarah Bloom, announced the death of their 25-year-old son Tommy on New Year's Eve, the whole nation mourned with them. Many also quietly wondered what had caused his death. It's not anyone's business, of course. But when a young, seemingly healthy person dies unexpectedly at home, the question lingers.

Rep. Raskin provided an honest answer to that question in a way that is both heartbreaking and perfect. In a statement published on Medium, Raskin and Bloom shared the details of Tommy's life so beautifully, it makes anyone who reads it feel like we knew him. It also exemplifies how to talk about a loved one who is taken by mental illness.

The statement opens:

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An aerial camera caught a delightful sight off the coast of St. Petersburg, Florida last week, as a small pod of dolphins swam through a huge aggregation of manatees. As the dolphins make their way through the shallow waters, we see around 170 manatees just chilling, as manatees do. Then we get to see the dolphins show off their playfulness, as dolphins do.

The marine mammal mingling is particularly meaningful knowing how the manatee has struggled for survival.

170 Manatees and Some Jumping Dolphins in St Petersburg, FL www.youtube.com

Florida manatees became protected under the Endangered Species Act in 1973, when their numbers were estimated to be between 800 and 1,000. By 1991, their population was still less than 1,300. But dedicated conservation and rehabilitation efforts in recent decades have increased that number to around 6,300. Manatees in Florida currently make up around half of the world's total manatee population.

The increase in numbers does come with a couple of caveats, however. Manatee populations are notoriously difficult to count accurately, so estimates are just that. The manatee was downgraded from "endangered" to "threatened" in 2017, but some advocates said that designation is misleading because the threats to its survival are still just as much of a problem.

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