Pati Mattrick is still without her Miracle Bird. But some wonderful things have happened to her since the Pennsylvania Game Commission grabbed her finch, saying it belonged in the wild.
Mike Gallagher is back home, after walking and biking to San Francisco, couch-surfing at friends' pads while working on a book and a movie about the people he met along the way. His girlfriend still loves him.
Rob Quigley and Jenn Friberg are still living with his mom, and the house they bought in Bristol Borough still bears enough traces of methamphetamine that they're unwilling to move back.
For those of you who've wondered about some of the people I've chronicled in this space, here are a few epilogues:
Some of my subjects have little news to report: The former Lombard Central Presbyterian Church - turned by an Israeli builder into a one-of-a-kind home in Center City - is still for sale.
The Pennsylvania legislature failed to act on the bill to outlaw texting while driving, so its backers will have to redial next year.
And the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging's emergency fund is still dangerously low: $4,100.74 as of last week. With heating oil averaging $3.04 a gallon, the fund is giving out money for the needy as fast as it takes it in.
What's happened to Mattrick, the bird lady of Lancaster, strikes her as a flight of good fortune. The Elizabethtown woman was featured in her local paper in the spring: The finch she'd rescued from a storm had managed to lift her depression.
But the game commission promptly seized the bird, outraging many readers as well as the county prosecutor. Though the state still will not tell Mattrick where authorities took Stormy Girl, Mattrick has found comfort volunteering at a Harrisburg bird-rescue wildlife shelter. "So many wonderful people," she said. She's wound up adopting a special-needs macaw named Sarge. He's had a stroke.
One more good thing happened: A man in England read the story and recognized the name Mattrick. He and her husband were boyhood pals and had been searching for each other for 40 years.
Gallagher, a former IT guy at St. Joseph's University, is freelancing as a production assistant and gaffer while writing and editing video from his cross-country trek.
"The transition for me initially was tough, going from between 70 and 100 miles a day to not going anywhere," he said. "I felt lazy and unaccomplished. I also had a newfound appreciation with the things that I have or have had."
The couple whose house turned out to have been a meth lab have raised $10,000 toward mitigation of their Bristol Superfund site. They fielded many offers of help, one from a reality TV show taping a pilot about home disasters.
"But they wanted us to pay to have it cleaned up," Quigley said.
Some of what happened to people I've written about has been heartbreaking. Tom Schafer, the former West Chester football star who wanted to help people quarterback their medical care, lost his battle with cancer a few weeks after I wrote about him.
And Clifford Roberts, a violin maker who fought to make his city more accessible to those in wheelchairs, passed away in September. He had muscular dystrophy.
Last December I told you about the death of another young man with muscular dystrophy, Josh Winheld, who wrote a book and finished his master's degree before his body failed. A scholarship at Temple now bears his name.
His aunt and uncle donated $100,000 in his honor, an amount matched by the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation. The scholarships, expected to begin in fall 2012, will help disabled students.
Sue Gordon, a food blogger from West Windsor Township, N.J., called her nephew an inspiration. "He never used his physical disability as an excuse. He used it as a call to action. Everything he did was just a million times more difficult for him. We wanted to acknowledge that, and make it a little bit easier for others."