California wildfires

In Southern California, many are being forced to flee because of the wildfires. Officials refer to the wildfires as the “Thomas Fire.” The “Thomas Fire” started on Dec. 4th, about 69 miles from Los Angeles. According to Fox News, about 50,000 people have been forced to evacuate.

Officials had not yet figure out what caused the “Thomas Fire” to start in the first place. On Dec. 6th, another wildfire erupted known as the “Skirball Fire.” It burned about 422 acres and was around in the area of Bel-Air neighborhood. The “Skirball Fire” started because of an illegal cooking fire under the San Diego Freeway.

Scott McLean, an information officer at the California Department Of Forestry and Fire explained that the wildfires have been so destructive recently because of the drought that California has had for the last 5 years, which created a lot of dead vegetation. This year, California had a good amount of rainfall during the spring, but the summer heat dried out the growth of the vegetation.

Firefighters monitor the Thomas fire as it burns through Los Padres National Forest near Ojai, Calif., on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

The autumn winds is also something to worry about. It is fueling the wildfires, causing the wildfires to spread faster and cover more area. This year, primarily, it is the Santa Ana winds that are fueling a lot of the wildfires. Usually, most winds will blow off to the Pacific Ocean, but the Santa Ana winds blow off into the desert of Arizona, then move west toward California. The millions of dead trees also allows wildfires to move quicker, scorching more land.

On Dec. 11th, the Santa Ana winds begin cooperating by pushing the fire away from the nearby communities, which allowed firefighters to see and help people. The “Thomas Fire” has destroyed around 1,000 structures. There has been only one death so far, 70-year-old Virginia Pesola died in a car crash while trying to evacuate from the “Thomas Fire.” A firefighter was injured while 3 other people were burned trying to retrieve the woman’s body.

Later, a firefighter was killed by the “Thomas Fire.” According to CNN, Lynne Tolmachoff, the spokesperson for The California Department Of Forestry and Fire Protection, the firefighter was driving on a fire engine on the east flank of the “Thomas Fire.” The man had not been identified at the time of this article, but he was pronounced dead on the scene by a medical team.

CNN meteorologist, Brandon Miller, reported that the winds had been picking up again and would make the job tougher for the 8,000 firefighters. CalFire had reported that about 1,000 fire engines, and 27 helicopters are involved in dealing with the “Thomas Fire” alone. The winds continue to be fierce, with the wind going 60 mph in the mountains, and about 35-50 mph in the valley-coastal areas.



Ball family takes another L

Starting 2 years ago, in Chino Hills, California, 3 young basketball players by the names of LaMelo, LiAngelo, and Lonzo Ball became famous for dominating in their state high school league. The oldest, at the time, was Lonzo Ball, who was in his senior year of high school, and was planning to attend UCLA to play basketball before heading off to the NBA. LiAngelo (Gelo) is the middle child, who was a junior, and was also planning on going to UCLA like his older brother Lonzo. The youngest of the three Ball brothers, is LaMelo (Melo), who has been playing 16u basketball since he was in the 6th grade. LaMelo’s being a freshman at the time, put a large spotlight onto the Ball brothers, and it definitely stuck with them after the season.

CHINO, CA – SEPTEMBER 02: (L-R) Lonzo Ball, LaMelo Ball, Tina Ball, LaVar Ball and LiAngelo Ball attend Melo Ball’s 16th Birthday on September 2, 2017 in Chino, California. (Photo by Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for Crosswalk Productions )

Lonzo Anderson Ball is the oldest of the three Ball brothers and is currently playing for the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA. Lonzo played at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) for a year before heading to the 2017 NBA draft, where he was picked second overall by the Lakers. LiAngelo Robert Ball is a 19 year old freshman, who was a former basketball player at UCLA before an incident in China  caused LiAngelo, and three two other teammates, to be suspended from the team. The youngest brother, LaMelo, was a junior at Chino Hills High School, but was pulled out by his father Lavar Ball, and is now being homeschooled. Both LiAngelo and LaMelo are to begin playing overseas soon.

Recently, a lot of negative attention has been falling on the Ball family. The family recently started their own reality show call Ball In The Family. The show had gone well, but interfered with their personal lives and caused drama between some of the boys and their female partners. The show has given the Ball family a lot of success lately and has been good for more exposure. Lonzo has been playing somewhat okay in the NBA and until a few months ago both Melo and LiAngelo had been playing well in their seasons as well.

LiAngelo and 2 of his teammates were arrested in China at a Louis Vuitton store. They were accused of stealing sunglasses and were put into detention. President Trump had talked to the president of China and was able to get LiAngelo and his teammates released from the Chinese police force.

The head of UCLA basketball said that he didn’t want people like LiAngelo and his 2 other teammates to be playing at UCLA anymore, so he, and the other two young men, were suspended permanently from the UCLA basketball program, and UCLA itself.

LaMelo was pulled out of his high school because his father thought it would be better for him to be homeschooled to help him work on his “NBA progress.” We all know what happens when LaVar says something big like this. Most likely, Melo won’t be going to the NBA anytime soon because of his current situation in Lithuania.

Russia banned from the Winter Olympics

By: Gabe Mattick and Riley Lumpkin

On Tuesday, December 5th, 2017, Russia was banned from the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea because of allegations of heavy doping. Russia’s athletes accused of doping will not be able to attend the Olympic Games, and government officials from Russia are also banned. The athletes who passed drug tests cleanly will be able to declare as independents, and will wear neutral uniforms. Russia’s anthem will not play during the Opening Ceremony, and their flag will not be displayed. According the the New York Times, “In barring Russia’s team, Olympic officials left the door open for some Russian athletes. Those with histories of rigorous drug testing may petition for permission to compete in neutral uniforms. A panel appointed by the International Olympic Committee will rule on each athlete’s eligibility.” Winter sports that Russia has excelled at, such as biathlon and cross-country skiing, could be completely wiped out because of the large amount of drug violations.

These drug violations are not a new occurrence though, according to a New York Times article written in 2015, “an elaborate overnight operation at the 2014 Sochi Games, a team assembled by Russia’s sports ministry tampered with more than 100 urine samples to conceal evidence of top athletes’ steroid use throughout the course of competition. More than two dozen Russian athletes have been disqualified from the Sochi standings as a result, and Olympic officials are still sorting through the tainted results and rescinding medals.” This was all run through the nation’s deputy prime minister, Vitaly Mutko, who was Russia’s top sports official during the 2014 Sochi Games. He has now been banned for life from the Olympic Games. Russia will also be competing in the 2018 World Cup in June. They have not yet been banned from the World Cup; FIFA still has to make a decision.

Stocking stuffer ideas

Seeing what’s inside your stocking is equally as exciting as opening your gifts on Christmas morning. But sometimes it’s hard to know what to put inside someone’s stocking especially because some items costs as much as the regular gift. It might be especially hard if the person is picky. Here are some fun and easy stocking stuffer ideas that won’t hurt your wallet and that anyone would love.


Who doesn’t like music? Putting earbuds in someone’s stocking would be great, especially if you know that they’re always losing theirs like I am. You can find earbuds for as little as $5.00.

(image taken from:


Skincare/Gift sets

Many brands come out with gift/holiday sets around this time. Again, depending on how much you’re willing to spend, you can get gift sets like this for an affordable price, or you can always get a more luxurious gift set from Sephora or Ulta. If you have a lot of stockings to fill you can also open it and put one in each stocking.

(image taken from:

PopSocket/phone grips

These are everywhere now-a-days, and they’re pretty inexpensive. You can always go the extra mile and customize it for whoever it’s for.

(image taken from:

Funny Keychains

From Crocs keychains to Sriracha keychains, you’ll find a keychain for anyone.

(image taken from:

Hand sanitizer

Something that is simple and easy to get, you never know when you might need hand sanitizer!

(image taken from:

Gift cards

Gift cards are easy and quick to get, and something you can never go wrong with.

(image taken from:


And if you still have a lot of room left to fill, just add a bunch of their favorite candy and snacks!

(image taken from:

These are not the only things you can put inside stockings, but these are a few ideas if you’re a little stuck. Happy holidays! 🙂