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San Bernardino experiences more misfortune

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  Tragedy struck in San Bernardino, California on Monday when shots were fired inside North Park Elementary School, during what many believe to be a murder-suicide. At approximately 10:30 a.m., Cedric Anderson entered a special-education classroom and shot multiple people, ultimately killing three, including himself.

  The classroom belonged to Karen Elaine Smith, the former wife of Anderson. San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said, “I’m told that their marriage was relatively short. They’ve only been married for a few months and they’ve been separated for about the last month, month-and-a-half, roughly, when this incident took place.”

  It was due to this union that Anderson was able to enter the classroom so easily; he apparently knew people throughout the school, and claimed he was just giving something to his former wife when he signed in. He then went into Smith’s room and shot at her. He inadvertently hit two students, as they were adjacent to Smith, killing one, Jonathan Martinez, and hospitalizing the other.

  Martinez was an eight year-old boy with Williams syndrome, “a rare disorder characterized by learning delays, mild intellectual disability and heart problems,” said Dale Marsden, superintendent. A boy who seemed altruistic and jovial, Martinez passed away while at the hospital.

  However, there were more present during the shooting, including two aides and nearly a dozen students. In addition, there were the hundreds of students attending North Park at the time, who were ushered to California State University and Cajon High School, or put on lockdown, to ensure their safety.

  The south California community will be losing a helpful teacher who strived to improve the lives of all she teached.

  According to Marie Cabreras, the parent of a student who worked with Smith, she “had the patience and understanding to handle special-needs students.”

  This shooting, however, is just a sign of the epidemic that has been occurring throughout the city of San Bernardino since it declared bankruptcy in 2012, which was also “the site of a December 2015 terror attack that killed 14 people and wounded 22 others at a meeting of San Bernardino County employees,” said Fox News.

  Although, this has not just become a local problem, but one for the entire United States. These school shootings have been increasing exponentially in the past few years, and it seems that action is necessary before more lives are lost.

 Cedric Anderson was responsible for the death of three people, including a special-ed teacher, an eight year-old boy, and himself. Photo courtesy of abcnews.go.com.
Cedric Anderson was responsible for the death of three people, including a special-ed teacher, an eight year-old boy, and himself. Photo courtesy of abcnews.go.com.

Tragedy strikes in St. Petersburg

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    On Monday, at least 11 people were killed in a blast on the St. Petersburg metro located in Russia’s second largest city. European news agencies said that the explosion occurred in a train as it was traveling between two stations, and a larger device was found and defused at another station. The blast occurred just after 2:30 p.m. as the train was traveling in a tunnel from Sennaya Ploshchad to Tekhnologichesky Institute stations in the city center. Investigators are seizing items relative to the investigation, questioning witnesses and metro employees and working to confirm the number of dead and injured.

  In the confusion, initial reports suggested there were two blasts.  Alongside the dead, 51 people were injured in the incident, according to CNN affiliate RBC. Four of the injured are in critical condition. Many of the wounded are being treated at the Dzhanelidze Research Institute of Emergency Medicine.

  US President Donald Trump spoke briefly with Putin on Monday, according to a senior administration official. Trump expressed his sympathy for the Russian people.

Photo courtesy of cnn.com. A woman pays her respects at a memorial at the Tekhnologichesky Institute metro station in St.Petersburg.
Photo courtesy of cnn.com.
A woman pays her respects at a memorial at the Tekhnologichesky Institute metro station in St.Petersburg.

President Vladimir Putin, who had been in St. Petersburg earlier in the day, laid roses at a memorial outside the bombed metro station. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev described the attack as a “terrorist act,” although no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

  The train conductor possibly saved lives. Rather than stopping the train after the blast, he continued on to the next station, which allowed passengers to evacuate and rescuers to help victims. Photographs taken during the event show the cars in rubble and passengers running from the station as it filled with smoke. Bodies were laid across a station platform. Rescuers carried bandaged and bloodied victims out of the station. Victims said they also helped each other escape the train.

 

Bill O’Reilly facing sexual harassment allegations

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    Bill O'Rielly posing for a picture on front of his office in the Fox News headquarters. Photo courtesy of The New York Times.

 In the summer of 2016, former Fox News chairman, Roger Ailes, was accused of sexual harassment. In the midst of the scandal, Fox News said, “that it did not tolerate behavior that disrespects women or contributes to an uncomfortable work environment.” According to an investigation by the New York Times, however, it seems that the network has been giving payments to women to stay quiet about their experiences of sexual harassment by the network’s most valuable individual, William James O’Reilly, Jr.

   William James O’Reilly, Jr., or as he is famously known, Bill O’Reilly, joined the Fox News channel in 1996. His show The O’Reilly Factor is “the most watched cable news show for the past 14 years,” according to his bio on the official Fox News website. In the article by the New York Times, it states that, “The women who made allegations against Mr. O’Reilly either worked for him or appeared on his show.” The women who claimed to be sexually harassed received settlement. The allegation started back in 2002 with Rachel Witlieb Bernstein, a junior producer at Fox News, and the latest being Juliet Huddy, an On-air personality at Fox News in 2016.  

 The president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, voiced his opinion on the matter on an interview by the New York Times. He stated, “I think he’s a person I know well — he is a good person, I think he shouldn’t have settled; personally I think he shouldn’t have settled. Because you should have taken it all the way. I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.”

  It is no secret that the president favors Fox News as his news outlet, as he has often promoted their shows on his Twitter account.

Although O’Reilly had been hit with these allegations, he is still a big asset of the network. His news show averaged 2.8 million viewers in 2015 according to The Hollywood Reporter. But as of late a multitude of advertisers pulled their ads from airing during his show.

 

Women fighting for equal pay

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  For a long time, women have been fighting a battle against discrimination. Women have been fighting to be looked at as equals to men, not less superior than them. Women have been making progress in recent years, but we still have a long way to go. The battle women are currently fighting is for equal pay.

  According to Senior Research Associate Julie Anderson, “Women can catch up with men in Florida pretty quickly because men’s earnings are relatively low compared to men in other states.” She continues, “So, it’s not hard to catch up to the lower bar.”

  Recently the U.S Women’s Soccer Team was able to get a higher pay after a lengthy “Equal Play, Equal pay” campaign. Along with a 200,000 to 300,000 dollar pay increase, they also gained other things they needed. They were able to improve travel accommodations and working conditions, get union control over some of the USWNT licensing and marketing rights, greater support the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), with a continued commitment to pay NWSL salaries for allocated USWNT players, additional field and stadium oversight, and greater bonuses for players who don’t have a USWNT contract, per diems that are equal to the ones the men’s national team receives, and  more support for players who are pregnant or adopting a child.

    Even though women have been trying to get equal wage for a while, women still have a long time ahead of them. According to Terry Sanders, the head of the Florida National Organization for Women, “Women are 51 percent of the population now, and yet when it comes to Legislature, there’s another example of where it’s really disproportionate.” This means women are a majority of the population, doing most of the work, so why are they not getting paid equally? The battle has been long, but women have been making some progress. Equal pay is still a few years away for women, but a least now it is actually achievable in the close future.

People in Utah gather together to rally for equal pay for women Source: www.theintellectualist.com
People in Utah gather together to rally for equal pay for women
Source: www.theintellectualist.com

Millennials are abusing drugs

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Teens abuse drugs
Teens abuse drugs

   As teenagers grow up, they tend to “experiment” and try new things, such as drugs. Unfortunately, this experimentation can lead to substance abuse and addiction. Studies show that drug abuse is a growing problem among teens. In addition to cocaine, ecstasy and other club drugs, a recent Monitoring the Future Study showed that the six most abused drugs by teens are marijuana, Vicodin, amphetamines, cough medicine, sedatives and tranquilizers. The effects of drug abuse on teens can lead to serious consequences now and well into adulthood.

   Although different drugs have different physical effects, the symptoms of addiction are similar. Some common ones are problems with the law (stealing, not following rules, breaking curfew, etc.),  problems at school (bad grades, suspension), mood swings, loss of interest in activities, drug paraphernalia, violent behavior, withdrawal, depression, poor hygiene, and missing money.

  Drug abuse at any age can cause serious health effects, but teens who abuse drugs are at particular risk for negative consequences. Teens who use drugs are more likely to struggle with addiction later in life and have permanent and irreversible brain damage. Taking action early in the teens life can help prevent future abuse. 

Getting accepted into all eight Ivy League schools

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Many students dream of going to an Ivy League university, but for Ifemo White-Thorpe it’s a reality. White-Thorpe, a senior at Morris Hill High school in New Jersey (NJ), has the dream of a lifetime. She got accepted into all eight Ivy League schools: Harvard, Yale, Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Cornell, Princeton, and Brown.

  White-Thorpe was astonished when she got the eighth acceptance letter; she was shaking full of surprise. “I was like oh my gosh oh my gosh this is maybe like the eight out of eight and I clicked it and it said ‘Congratulations’ and I was like oh my goodness!” White-Thorpe told CNN affiliate WABC-TV.

Ifeoma White-Thorpe is a senior at Morris Hill. She got accepted into all eight Ivy League schools. Photo Courtesy: www.CNN.com
Ifeoma White-Thorpe is a senior at Morris Hill. She got accepted into all eight Ivy League schools.
Photo Courtesy: www.CNN.com

  White-Thorpe wants to study biology and pursue a career in global health. She chose to apply to all eight Ivy League schools because they “have great research facilities.” She has to make a hard decision before this fall.

  Although, this is a great achievement, other teens like Kwasi Enin in 2014, Harold Ekeh in 2015, Augusta Uwamanzu-Nna in 2016 and Kelly Hyles last year have also got accepted into all eight Ivy League schools.

  White-Thorpe is a lucky teen because she has a once-in-a-lifetime decision to attend one of the greatest universities in the United States. Her parents are ultimately leaving the choice up to her, but White-Thorpe is still undecided on which school would suit her best.

Richard Simmons goes missing

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    MOUNT POCONO, PA - JANUARY 08: Richard Simmons attends An Evening with Richard Simmons at the Mount Airy Casino Resort on January 8, 2010 in Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage)

 

  Richard Simmons is one of the most beloved celebrities in Hollywood, and he is a star who loved the limelight. He is a fitness guru who has made over 20 fitness videos and published many books. He was also the owner of the famous workout studio “Slimmons.”  He would always take pictures with fans and was constantly open to have a conversation with people about anything.  To many people Richard was considered a therapist; he would call many people weekly to discuss their issues regarding weight loss and self-esteem.

  This left many people worried when Simmons left the public eye in Feb. of 2014; he stopped showing up to his workout classes, calling his closest friends and being available to his fans. Simmons left the limelight without leaving a trace. Many people called and e-mailed Simmons, but to no avail. People would even go to his house in some attempt to make sure he was okay, but anytime someone arrived, they were just met by his longtime maid, Teresa Reveles.

  Teresa Reveles has been working for SImmons for over 30 years, and many believe that she is the one behind Simmons’s absences from the public eye. They had developed a rather strange relationship. When Simmons would have people over for dinner, it was not uncommon for Reveles to sit and relax while Simmons would cook and clean. This left many suspicious when Reveles was the only one who had seen Simmons in almost 3 years.

  A Los Angeles Police Department officer was sent to Simmon‘s house in late Feb. of this year. Ken Becker was sent as a result of increasing public worry on Simmon’s behalf, as people just wanted to know that the beloved celebrity was doing well. The officer put the suspicions to rest after he commented on the situation by saying, “The fact of the matter is we went out and talked to him [sic] he is fine, nobody is holding him hostage. He is doing exactly what he wants to do. If he wants to go out in public or see anybody he will do that.”

   Simmons recently posted a short video of him at the beach on his Facebook account. Although his account has been active with the recycling of old photos, this one seemed to have been posted by Simmons himself because the video was simply two seconds long and showed nothing but the ground. Although the video was brief, it gave his fans even more hope that the celebrity is not being held captive by his maid or severely depressed, but rather is living out the rest of his days the way he wants to – a way that makes him happy.

More Federal funds should go to education, less to defense

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    American solider oversees. Photo Courtesy of Heritage.org

 On March 16, 2017, the Trump administration made public its budget cut for the entire year. With these budget cuts the president hopes to enforce the country’s defenses. The money will go towards the military and aid in the building of the border wall that will separate the United States and Mexico. Although this might sound like a good idea, since it is deemed to protect americans, is too much? Since 54% of the United States’ annual budget goes to the military, spending the money on things such as education and space travel will be a far better use for government funds.

   The main reason for increasing the defense budget, according to president Trump himself, is because, “We never win a war. We never win. And we don’t fight to win. We don’t fight to win. So we either got to win or don’t fight it at all.” The main reason why Donald Trump wants to fund the military, is because fight are not being won.

Although it makes sense to keep on spending more on the United States’ defenses, when looking at how much the United States already spends on the military it seems excessive to raise the amount. According to nationalpriorities.org, “In fiscal year 2015, military spending [was] projected to account for 54 percent of all federal discretionary spending, a total of $598.5 billion.” This is more than China ($146 billion), Russia ($90.7 billion), and North Korea (estimated to be around $8.77 billion), and Trump still sees a need to increase the figure.

The United States, despite being the country in the world with one of the most thriving economies and the strongest military, “the U.S ranks 14th in the world in the percentage of 25-34 year-olds with higher education (42%),” according a study by OECD. Being a world leading country and not having a great (at least top 5 ranking) education system is embarrassing for the country.

  President Trump thinks that his motto of “making America great again” would be fully realized if the army won more wars, but that isn’t necessarily true. Funding education can help grow the economy even more, because according to an article by Bloomberg,the more industries can use United States workers instead of Chinese workers, the more industries will base their production in the U.S. This will feed local economies, boosting the profits of stores and other service businesses. That also feeds into your stock portfolio.” So not only will bring back jobs, funding education will bring in more money to the country.

So rather than spend more on the military the United States should spend more on programs that would be help us the American people in the future, thing such as education or another good alternative: space travel or NASA.  the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is especially important for the American population because they were the first to take to the moon during the space race (1957-1975).

   Now, with even more technology and more planets being discovered, space is closer than ever. This can help us learn more about our universe and again educate us more. According to Universe Today, “NASA’s annual budget for fiscal year 2009 [was] $17.2 billion.” They also added that, “NASA’s cut of the US budget [was] less than 1%.” Imagine what NASA will able to do if it had only a quarter of the Military’s budget or if it got another 18.7 billion added to its annual budget. There’s no need to dream too far because privately funded programs such as SpaceX program by Elon Musk have already beaten NASA to put humans on Mars, expecting to do start doing this in 2018 while NASA remains years behind. These departments (department of education and NASA), would be help President Trump’s motto of “making America great again.”

Girl plans Columbine-style attack

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         This country has suffered from multiple mass shootings. The Orlando nightclub, Sandy Hook and the Fort Lauderdale Airport shooting have sparked an interest in the American people about gun violence. Nichole Cevario, an 18 year old from Maryland, planned a Columbine-style attack on her high school. The Columbine attack was a massive shooting that happened April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School.  

   Cevario kept the plan in detail in her diary. If her father wouldn’t have given a tip to authorities, the attack probably would still be motion.

        Cevario planned for the attack to take place on April 5. She talked to resource officers at her school, Catoctin High, about safety procedures for shooting incidents. She was removed from her school last Thursday, and there were reportedly no others involved in the planning.

Shotgun with ammunition photo courtesy: www.cnnnews.com
Shotgun with ammunition
Photo Courtesy: www.cnnnews.com

       The police searched her home and found a shotgun rifle, ammunition, and explosive materials. Cevario has not been arrested, but she does have a warrant for her arrest. She is currently facing charges for possession of explosive materials and incendiary material with an intent to create a destructive device. She could face up to 25 years in prison.

Explosive material found in Cevario home Photo Courtsey: www.cnnnews.com
Explosive material found in Cevario home
Photo Courtesy: www.cnnnews.com

       Fortunately, no explosive materials ever made it to school grounds. This investigation is ongoing. “Right now this investigation is very much focused on her diary and the detail in her diary that planned a mass shooting at her high school,” Sheriff Charles Jenkins said.

       Police say they do not believe she had the “will” to carry out this attack, but she planned to die on April 5, as seen in her diary. “The fact that a young woman could have this in her mind, this way of thinking and planning out and carrying out an attack much like Columbine or Sandy Hook,” Jenkins said. “It shocks the conscience to see that someone that age could be thinking like that.” We have to be more aware of people. Anyone may have the notion to harm others, so it’s in our best interest to be more cautious of others

 

Governor Scott signs new law for 2017/2018 school year

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    Florida governor Rich Scott signed a new law in April that lets students cross county borders to go to different schools. Picture from: floridapolitics.com

   In April, Governor Rick Scott signed a law that allows students in one county to attend school in a different county. This is not a good idea because it could potentially have a negative impact on the school.

  While some people see it as a good thing because it is beneficial for athletes, there are going to be negative impacts that may outweigh the good. One of the main concerns is from the teachers because it will affect their salaries. It is also concerning to the schools because it could affect their scores. Another bad thing about this law is it hurts schools that lose students by affecting their scores. In an article from the Orlando Sentinel, the author says that it may “dilute the value of local schools taxes and disrupt school districts’ efforts to plan for projected growth.”

  There are stipulations to this law though. One stipulation is that the school can have a max of 90% capacity before it can accept out of district students. This eliminates some of the popular schools like Park Vista High School, Don Estridge Middle School and Calusa Elementary School from being eligible. Another stipulation is that the parent must provide transportation, the students are not allowed to ride the bus.

  While this can have a negative impact, it is still enticing to athletes. A mom, named Juyle Pierre Louis, in an interview with WPTV said that, “I’ve always taught them, you have to get the grades.”   

  Meanwhile her son Joshua has his eye set on playing high school football. He said in the same interview, “Some schools, they do have better coaches than others.” All the people can do now is wait and see how it is going to work in the next school year and how it impacts the schools.

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