St. Paul Winter Carnival

~b339324One of the most important events in St. Paul during the winter season, is the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, starting this weekend (1/29-1/31) and continuing the following weekend (1/5-1/7). Some of the events include; ice carvings and an ice palace in Rice Park, a snow sculpting competition at the State Fairgrounds, and of course, the Winter Carnival parades.

This year’s festival has three parades, each ending in Rice Park. The first, the Moon Glow Pedestrian Parade, will be on Thursday, beginning at 6 P.M., at 401 Robert St. The next, the King Boreas Grande Day Parade, will be Saturday, beginning at 2 P.M., along West 7th. The last, the Vulcan Victory Torchlight Parade, will be Saturday, Feb. 6, beginning at 5:30 p.m. in Lowertown.

If you’re looking for a way to challenge yourself to get out in the cold, the Securian Winter Run may be for you. It features 3 races; a 5k, 10k, and half marathon. The starting time is 9 A.M., beginning this Saturday, January 30, 2016.

Whether it’s going to a parade, ice skating in Rice Park, appreciating the snow and ice sculptures, or running in the cold, the St. Paul Winter Carnival has an event for any winter-lover. More information on the Winter Carnival can be found at https://www.wintercarnival.com.

Most influential people of 2015

There are many different people influencing and changing the world for the better, through their compassionate, advocating, and fearless efforts. Here are the top 3 that have made their mark on 2015:

Malala Yousafzai 635818446043317487-1207666941_Malala-Quote-10.10-Twitterthe youngest-ever Nobel Prize winner. On October 9, 2012, a gunman shot Malala when she was traveling home from school. She survived, and has continued to speak out on the importance of education. In 2015, a documentary of Malala’s life was released called, ‘He named me Malala’. She continues to raise money and stand strong as a Pakistani activist for female education.

130919_FG_PopeFrancisLiberal.jpg.CROP.article568-largePope Francis Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church in March 2013, becoming Pope Francis. He is the first Pope from the Americas. His views are more open than your average pope, according to The New York Times, he told the press: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” He continues to be a very important spiritual  leader, and presenting new values and opinions in the Catholic church, as well as the world.

25022_04082015_bauerleffler_6fLaverne Cox is a dancer and actress, as well as one of the stars of Orange Is the New Black, and the first openly transgender person in history to receive an Emmy nomination. Cox is also the producer behind the documentaries The T Word (2014), which follows the lives of several trans youth, and Free CeCe, which tells the story of an imprisoned trans woman. She has continued to be an important advocate for trans and LGBT rights.

Shocking facts about racism in America today

~b722243If you ever wondered what you would do or what side you would be on during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s, just realize that you are living in a similar time right now. The Charleston shooting, which happened a few months ago, where a gunman killed nine people during a church service, was the deadliest hate crime committed against black people in the past 75 years. It seems like every week brings a new tragedy connected to race.

Social media has helped to spread awareness to racial injustice, with videos showing police assaulting black students in school, protestors being abused by militarized police, and many other shocking reports that make us think; is this really America today? The riots in the past couple years started in Ferguson, with the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18 year old; then in Baltimore with the death of Freddie Gray, who died of a spinal cord injury while in police custody; and now the riots are in our own backyards in Minneapolis with the death of Jamar Clark on November 14.

Clark was shot and killed, although it’s under investigation whether he was handcuffed when he was shot. A witness who saw the incident said that, “The young man was just laying there, he was not resisting arrest.” On the other hand, the Minneapolis police department claims that he tried to take hold of another policeman’s firearm.

Black Lives Matter protesters staged a demonstration on Interstate-94, and more than 50 people were arrested before highways opened. While it may not be clear what happened in this situation until the public gets to view the video footage of the incident, it is clear that these protesters are standing up against the oppression black people face every day, and that they are finally starting to receive the attention and awareness they deserve.

Cracking down on texting and driving

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 10.31.15 AMThe Minnesota Department of Public Safety said that most accidents are caused by drivers being distracted, and using a phone is the most common way to be distracted while driving.

While it’s legal for most drivers to talk on the phone while driving (for example, drivers with a provisional license are barred from talking while driving), texting and driving, along with tweeting, instagramming, facebooking, and snapchatting, are illegal even at a stop light. Just in Minnesota last year, more than 3,200 citations were given for texting and driving. Of those citations, 70 result in accidents, and 350 serious injuries.

On August 1, a new law was put into place that raises the fine of texting and driving from $50 to $275. Law enforcement has also increased to try and control the number of fatal accidents. Brad Norland, a Minnesota State Patrol Officer, thinks that law enforcement alone won’t fix this problem, however, and that soon every generation will use phones.

Already, there is a downward trend in serious car accidents due to distracted driving because of the new laws put into place, but the problem isn’t solved yet. The Minnesotans for Safe Driving organization is encouraging drivers to break their addiction to phones, and to have another person in the car take control of their calls, texts, and anything else that would take their eyes off the road for even a second.

Sharks vs. Selfies

It sounds like a joke, but unfortunately it isn’t: The deaths are a tragic reminder to travelers that focusing on their phone screens instead of paying attention to potentially dangerous surroundings. The BBC reported that a Japanese tourist reportedly died of a heart attack after falling down a staircase at the Taj Mahal’s Royal Gate while attempting to take a selfie. Another man recently shot himself while posing for a selfie, and in 2014, a couple fell off a cliff while trying to snap a picture of themselves. It got to the point where Russia had so many people being injured or killed while taking selfies, that the Russian police published a guide on how to take selfies without killing yourself.

A trend in selfie deaths was noticed, and it was found by the website ‘Mashable’ that more people died while trying to take a selfie this year than were killed by sharks. In 2015, 12 people died while attempting to take a selfie and eight people died from shark attacks. This is a scary fact because being afraid of sharks is a very common and widespread fear, but the reality is that being distracted by something as everyday as a phone is more of threat to us in this technologically advanced age. The bottom line is that your life is more important than some daredevil selfie in front of a train to post on Instagram.

Fall music highlights in the Twin Cities

Looking to take advantage of all the great headliners coming to the Twin cities this Fall? You’re in luck because this concert season is packed with the best. Here are some of the highlights that just can’t be missed.

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Dem Atlas- This local rapper is coming to 7th St. Entry at First Avenue on September 25th, tickets are $15.

Of Monsters and Men- This rising indie/folk band is coming to the Roy Wilkins auditorium on October 1st, tickets are $37.50

Madonna- The “Queen of pop” is playing at the Xcel Energy Center on October 8th, tickets range from $42.50-$357.50

Franz Ferdinand and Sparks (FFS)- Just officially formed last March, this indie rock/pop supergroup is touring together for the first time, and playing at First Avenue on October 9th, tickets range from $35-$40

Tove love- After having a breakout year with the song “Habits (Stay High)”, this Swedish singer is coming on October 10th to  First Avenue, tickets are $25.

Pouya and The Underachievers- Pouya, a solo rapper from Miami is teaming up with the rap duo The Underachievers, to play at First Avenue on October 14th, tickets are $18.

Chance the Rapper- This acid rapper is coming to Myth on October 15th, tickets are $39.95 in advance, $45 on the day of the show.

Bad suns and the Neighborhood- These alternative rock bands are teaming up and coming to First Avenue on October 16th, tickets range from $30-35

Mac Miller- Fresh off releasing his new album titled GO:OD AM, this rapper is playing at Mill City Nights on October 18th, tickets range from $35-38

Twenty-one Pilots- This alternative duo from Ohio is coming to Myth on October 29th, tickets are $26.75

Marina and the Diamonds- After releasing her new album this past year, ‘FROOT’, this electro-pop babe is ready to bring it at the Northrop Auditorium on October 30th, tickets range from $30-39.50