Category Archives: Heroes & Heroines

Local Doctor's "Solar Suitcase" Saves Lives Daily

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In 2008, Dr. Laura Stachel went to Nigeria to find out why so many women were dying there during childbirth. She was flabbergasted to discover that in many areas, women were giving birth without electricity – sometimes in near total darkness. Doctors and midwives often helped delivered babies with only a cell phone or lantern for light. With her husband, a solar expert, she devised a way to bring light to clinics in Nigeria and other Third World countries. They did this by creating a solar kit that could fit inside a suitcase. It was small enough to sneak past customs and big enough to power 2 bright lights, as well as medical equipment. The solar suitcase has had instant and powerful results in clinics around the world. Stachel’s organization, WE CARE Solar, has distributed solar suitcases to 20 different countries, including Haiti, Afghanistan and Liberia.

Hall of Fame Astronaut Talks About His Career in Space

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Some people seem to have a destiny and that’s the case with Karol “Bo” Bobko, a member of the Astronaut Hall of Fame. A resident of Half Moon Bay, Bobko grew up in New York and was a member of the very first graduating class of the Air Force Academy in 1959. After being accepted into the NASA Astronaut program it would take 12 long years before Bobko would achieve his dreams of flying in space. Bobko was the pilot on the maiden voyage of the space shuttle Challenger (STS-6), the commander for Discovery (STS-51-D) and commander for the maiden flight of Atlantis (STS-51-J). Bobko has also seen his share of heartbreak while working with NASA. He was a close friend of the crew of the ill-fated Challenger flight that occurred on January 26, 1986.

This is Us: Working for Change

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In this episode TiU visited the Emma Prusch Farm Park not far from downtown San Jose. This was an actual working farm from 1870 until 1969. The Farm is now run by The City of San Jose and the Department of Parks and Recreation. Kids come here from all over the valley to learn about life on a farm.

Speaking of farms, we have the story of a local man who did grow up on farms here in the valley, playwright and film director Luis Valdez. He's the man behind the films Zoot Suit and La Bamba. He spent part of his childhood, not far from here, as a migrant farm worker.

You’ll also meet activist and attorney Carol Ruth Silver. During the early days of the Civil Rights Movement, she was one of the original Freedom Riders who boarded buses and traveled south to Mississippi in an attempt to end racial discrimination.

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This is Us Remembers Japanese Internment

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It's been 70 years since Japanese citizens were interned during World War II. In this episode od This is Us, we profile two local people who experienced the interment camps, Norman Mineta, the 14th U.S. Secretary of Transportation and Dr. Misako Miura who was interned with her family at Manzanar and who worked as the camp physician. On location at Hakone Estate and Gardens a traditional Japanese garden build in Saratoga in 1915.

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