News in Brief (11.24.2010)

A cup of coffee sitting on a newspaper opened to the crossword puzzle.

Photo courtesy of user randya38 via flickr.

Homeless Man Finds $3,300 in Backpack and Returns It  

Arizona’s Dave Talley is being hailed as a hero, the Daily Mail reports. The recovering alcoholic who has been homeless for more than 11 years found a backpack in Tempe with around $3,300. Though he said he was tempted to keep it, Talley decided against it, instead reporting the backpack to a nearby homeless shelter, which helped him find the owner.  

“I don’t think anybody would not be tempted by that,” Talley, 49, said in an interview with the Associated Press. Inside the backpack was a flash drive with the owner’s resume stored on it, leading Talley to the rightful owner, Arizona State University student Bryan Belanger.  

“This is the greatest thing I’ve ever experienced,” Belanger said. “I think it is really is a lesson to keep your faith in people. Character exists no matter what your circumstances are.” Belanger said he gave Talley an unspecified reward for returning the backpack.  

Debate Over Church’s Warming Station Heats Up  

A church is Central Point, Ore., is trying to work with its community after drawing harsh criticism for letting homeless individuals sleep over night at the church, KTVL reports.  

Calvary Temple said it’s working toward making the warming stations comply with city ordinances. Last year, city officials were unhappy that the church was supplying cots for the homeless to spend the night. But this year, the pastor, Marilynn Tucker, said they’re working to alleviate the concern.  

We made some mistakes but I hope we’ve learned from them and we hope the community will support us in this,” Tucker said to KTVL. Among changes, Tucker says there won’t be cots available but there will be food, drinks and movies.  

Circulation Boosts for Homeless Publications 

Publications designed to help homeless individuals, such as The Big Issue, have seen a 10 percent boost in global circulation during the past year, Independent Television News reports. In Europe specifically, sales of homeless-geared publications rose 6.4 percent, according to the International Network of Street Papers. Sales of 115 papers in September were at 1.51 million, compared with 1.37 million a year earlier.  

This is a stark contrast with the drop in global daily newspaper circulation reported for August by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers.  

N.Y. Pastor Goes Homeless to Help Needy  

Buffalo, N.Y., Pastor Eric Johns and his wife, Michelle, decided 12 years ago to help five needy families by delivering food and toys during the Christmas season, WBEN reports.  

“When we first started the Boxes of Love program, we didn’t really have anybody helping us, and somehow or another, we needed to draw attention to the need that was in the community, so I had the idea to live with the homeless for a week,” Johns told WBEN. “I had no idea that it would take on the life of its own that it really did.  

Since that first year, Johns has continued to spend one week during the holiday season on the streets. This year, he’ll spend Thanksgiving, traveling from shelter to shelter and eating at soup kitchens.  

“I just leave my home and spend five-and-a-half days eating in soup kitchens, sleeping in shelters, sometimes outside. Wherever the homeless are, I’m there,” Johns said. “I spend a week really living in another man’s world, walking in another man’s shoes, and drawing attention to the need that’s really out there, especially this time of year.” The “Boxes of Love program continues; this year it’s set to bring food to 3,500 families and toys to 5,000 children, a figure that’s more than they’ve ever achieved before.  

Homeless in India  

Scores of residents of New Delhi were left homeless after city officials evacuated dozens of buildings near the place where an overcrowded apartment building collapsed and killed 67 people, highlighting the dangerous housing conditions among the poor in India’s capital.  

Officials said the collapsed building had been weakened by heavy rains, and have since determined at least 38 other structures in the same Lalita Park neighborhood are damaged by water and in danger of falling, according to the Associated Press.  

“We have issued them notice to vacate their houses immediately for their safety,” Municipal Corporation of Delhi spokesman Deep Mathur told Press Trust of India.  

But those forced to leave their homes said they had nowhere to go.  

The newly homeless were milling around a nearby park, receiving food from neighbors and local non-governmental organizations.  

Compiled by Dianna Heitz, from previously published reports. 

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