Grammys 2020

The 62nd annual Grammy Awards took place in Los Angeles, California in the Staples Center on Sunday, January 26th. The Grammy Awards, a show where musicians from all different genres from Country to Rap, get recognition for the work that they released within the last year.

Just 10 days before the award show was about to take place, there was a removal of a pivotal member of the Recording Academy, chief Deborah Dugan after strong allegations of misconduct at the nonprofit. The Grammy Awards took place on a rather somber and heartbreaking Sunday as hours before the awards show began, NBA and Los Angeles Laker legend, Kobe Bryant and 8 others, including his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant, tragically lost their lives in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, CA.

Due to that heartbreaking loss, hundreds of people started gathering around the Staples Center, where Kobe Bryant played for 20 years, before the Grammys started. The Grammy administration started telling people to leave the area before the award show but no one budged. Conversations started about even canceling the award show because it was “disrespectful” to host an award show at an arena that many called an arena Kobe Bryant built.

The show started off with a performance from Pop-Rap artist, Lizzo. Before her performance she stated that her performance was dedicated to Kobe, “Tonight is for Kobe!” she yelled at the start. After Lizzo’s performance, the host, Alicia Keys, who has won 15 Grammys in the past, started the show off immediately acknowledging Kobe Bryant. Boyz II Men and Alicia Keys sang to honor Kobe Bryant, and the 8 others lost in the helicopter crash. Throughout the night, Kobe Bryant was always brought up.

Many artists performed throughout the night from many genres including Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X and Ariana Grande.

The big winner of the night was 18-year-old pop singer, Billie Eilish. She won five of the six awards she was nominated for, including winning all four of the big categories: Album, Song, Record of the Year, and Best New Artist. She became the first artist to sweep these awards since Christopher Cross in 1981. At 18, she is also the youngest person to win Album of the Year.

At the end of the show, DJ Khaled, YG, and Roddy Ricch all came out to perform for a tribute to the late Los Angeles rapper, Nipsey Hussle, who was shot and killed this past March at his clothing store. Nipsey Hussle, who was nominated for his first studio album, Victory Lap attended the Grammys in 2019 but never won a Grammy. This year however, he posthumously won 2 Grammys for his song “Racks In the Middle.”

The Grammys had the lowest ratings ever in their 62 years of the shows airing but, many iconic things occurred. 

Preparing for your driver’s test

Taking your driver’s test can seem terrifying and be nerve racking, but with having preparation for it, there’s no need to feel anxious. To take your driver’s test, you must first have completed quite a list of things.

First, you have to take a driver’s ed course which you can take once you turn 15. The driver’s ed course can be taken at places in SPPS schools after school, or programs like Safeway. The cost of driver’s ed is $330, which you can pay fully at registration or, you can also pay half at registration and the other half on the last day of the course. The course usually lasts 2 weeks if it’s on weekdays, but if you play sports or have other extracurricular activities on weekdays, there are classes every week on Saturday, which last around 10 weeks.

After you finish your driver’s ed course, you will be handed a blue card which is your ticket to take your permit test. You can take this blue card to any DMV to take your permit test. There are helpful apps to study for the permit test like “DMVGenie.” There are 40 questions on the permit test and if you get more than 8 wrong, it’s a fail.

Once you pass your test, expect up to 4 weeks for your permit to come in the mail. Until then, you are given a temporary paper permit. There are rules for once you obtain your permit. You can’t drive alone and must drive with a licensed adult over the age of 21.

After you receive your permit, you must take behind the wheel in order to get your license. You drive with an instructor for 6 hours, 2 hours each day, lasting 3 days. After that, you will obtain a white card which will get you a step closer to your driver’s test.

Now, all you have to do is wait until you’re 16, and even if you have passed the age of 16, everyone still also must wait 6 months after you got your permit. During this duration, you can call to make an appointment at any DMV for your driver’s test.

Once the time comes to take the test, you will need your permit, driving log, proof of identification, and a working vehicle. During the test, you will need to able to make turns, parallel park, uphill and downhill park, and do a 90 degree backing. If you fail, you can retake the test up to 3 times before paying a fee.

Once you pass your test, you will be able to drive alone. But just like with the permit, there are restrictions. Your first 6 months, you can’t drive with more than 1 person in the car, that isn’t in your family, and you can’t drive from 12am-5am unless you’re coming from school or work.

Driver’s test can be scary, but with enough practice and preparation, you will pass.

London Bridge attack

On November 29, five people were stabbed in London, England, at around 2 P.M. The stabbing resulted in 3 injured and 2 fatalities.

The attack and stabbing occurred at a conference on offender rehabilitation that was held in Fishmongers’ Hall, which is located at the northern end of London Bridge. There was a celebration occurring to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Learning Together which is a program run by the Cambridge Institute of Criminology to help offenders transition onto the right path into society after they get released from prison. A former prisoner named Usman Khan was invited to attend and participate in the conference. He had previously attended the program before. Usman Khan was actually banned from entering London, but he was granted a one day exemption to attend the conference.

Right before 2 P.M., City of London Police were called to Fishmongers’ Hall after Usman Khan was seen wearing a fake suicide vest and was threatening to blow up the hall. He was holding two kitchen knives and shortly after he began stabbing people inside the building. A lot of people in the building fought back.

A chef working at Fishmongers’ Hall grabbed a long narwhal tusk from the wall to use as a weapon.

Usman Khan then fled the building and began stabbing people outside of the building on the north side of the London Bridge. Police later arrived and asked Usman Khan to put the knives down but he resisted, resulting in the police shooting him twice and killing him at the scene.

The two victims that lost their lives to the attack were 25-year-old, Jack Merritt and 23-year-old, Saskia Jones. 3 other people who were injured are now in stable condition. 

Santa Clarita school shooting

On November 14th, there was a school shooting that occurred in Southern California, in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, in the city of Santa Clarita. The school shooting occurred at Saugus High School and the suspect pulled out a gun from his bag and started shooting at students in the outside courtyard at around 7:40 A.M. right before classes began that morning.

The perpetrator was a 16-year-old, who was named shortly after the shooting, Nathaniel Berhow. Berhow shot 5 of his classmates and ended up killing 2 out of the 5 classmates he had shot, and wounded the other 3 before shooting himself. The shooting only lasted 16 seconds. The other 3 wounded students, whom were in critical condition were transported to nearby hospitals.

The shooter, Nathaniel Berhow, was transported to a nearby hospital as well but he was in grave condition. A day after the shooting, he was pronounced dead.

The LA sheriff, that was on scene, said that Berhow shot himself right after he began shooting the others, and that he doesn’t know what the motive was.

The Los Angeles Police Department and authorities went to Nathaniel Berhow’s home to see if there were any problems at home but there was none. It was Berhow’s 16th birthday and 2 of the other victims, that lost their lives, were were 14 and 16 years old.

The Los Angeles Police Department said that he used a .45 caliber pistol and there weren’t any bullets left. They also said that he wrote on his Instagram bio saying “Saugus have fun at school tomorrow.” It was taken down immediately after reports from students and others on Instagram that had seen it.

A 15-year-old sophomore at Saugus High School said that she kept running because she didn’t want to get hurt.

Saugus high students Katie Thanaet and Tyler Wilson look over items left at a memorial in front of the school Tuesday, November 19, 2019. Students were allowed back on campus to collect their belongings left behind after the tragic shooting last Thursday. Classes will resume at the high school on December 2nd. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

A 17-year-old student said that when he initially heard the gunshots, he used his metal water bottle that he was carrying as a weapon. Students also were hiding under their desks crying in fear. He also said that the school taught them to put a book in front of your chest.

Another high school student said that she was in the courtyard when she heard what she thought was “balloons popping” and she immediately found out that it was not balloons popping and that it was gunshots and immediately started running.

After the shooting, all the other schools in the same area of Saugus High School heard what was occurring at the high school and immediately went on lockdown and officials told others to lock their doors to stay safe.

Parents of students that attend Saugus High School and schools nearby insisted that schools to do more to insure safety in schools and have active shooter drills.

Classes at Saugus High School won’t resume until December.

This past decade, in the US, school shootings have been very common. The second most deadly school shooting, behind the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, just occurred 6 years ago, at Sandy Hook Elementary school, killing 27 people. The deadliest high school shooting occurred just last year in 2018 in Parkland, Florida, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School killing 17 people.

This shooting makes it the 373rd mass shooting in the US in 2019 alone. 

John Witherspoon passed away at the age of 77

On October 29, actor and comedian John Witherspoon, who starred in countless movies and many TV shows, for over the past 4 decades, died at his home at the age of 77 from a heart attack.

The family of John Witherspoon released a statement to the media saying:

“It is with deepest sorrow that we can confirm our beloved husband and father, John Witherspoon, one of the hardest working man in show business, died today at his home in Sherman Oaks at the age of 77.” The family continued the statement by saying, “We are all in shock, please give us a minute for a moment in privacy and we will celebrate his life and his work together. John used to say ‘I’m no big deal,’ but he was a huge deal to us.”

John Witherspoon was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1942. He later began his career as an entertainer and became a stand up comedian in the 1970’s. Just a few years after, he made his first television debut by appearing in shows including a detective series called Barnaby Jones.

Despite his roles in shows, in 1995, John Witherspoon arguably starred in his most known, and iconic role, in the comedy film, Friday starring Chris Tucker and Ice Cube. In this movie he played the role of Ice Cube’s dad. He continued to play his dad for the rest of its sequels, Next Friday and Friday After Next.

Ice Cube and many other celebrities that worked with, or were close with, John Witherspoon spoke about his death over social media. “I’m devastated over the passing of John Witherspoon, Life won’t be as funny without him.” Ice Cube wrote on Twitter.

Another huge role John Witherspoon also played was the character, John “Pops” Williams, in the hit show The Wayans Bros, where he also played a father figure. “I’m sad. Broken. Hurt… yet extremely grateful to God that I got to spend 5 years of my life working with one of the funniest sweetest wisest humblest loving men,” Marlon Wayans, who played the son of John Witherspoon on The Wayans Bros, wrote on Instagram.

Many other celebrities including Regina King, Edie Murphy, Chris Tucker, and countless others sent their condolences and reminiscing about the times they shared with John Witherspoon.

John Witherspoon is survived by his wife and two sons. 

Lori Harvey Accident

Lori Harvey, a business woman and model on Instagram, and on many other platforms, who is also the stepdaughter of the television host and comedian, Steve Harvey, recently got arrested during a car accident that turned into a hit and run incident on the 200 block of Moreno drive in Los Angeles, California, according to the Beverly Hills Police Department. Lori Harvey got a hit and run citation for hitting a parked car and for leaving the scene at around 9 p.m. on October 20th.

She was stopped and cited right after the accident, but she wasn’t at the scene so was not booked for the crime.

According to OK Magazine, a witness that saw it all happen claimed that Lori Harvey hit a parked car that caused it to flip over. The eyewitness also stated that, allegedly, Lori Harvey was texting and driving when she hit the parked car. The witness also claimed that she tried to help Lori Harvey out of her car but then she the drove off.

Steve Harvey hasn’t commented on Lori’s recent arrest at all.

Steve Harvey married Marjorie Harvey, Lori’s mother, in June of 2007, and he’s also the stepfather to 2 of Marjorie Harvey’s other kids: Jason and Morgan. According to the Beverly Hills police Department, Lori Harvey got arrested on two counts, “misdemeanor hit and run, and delaying a police investigation at 9:48pm on October 20th after she rolled her vehicle.”

Since the accident occurred on Sunday, October 20th, Lori Harvey hasn’t spoken about the incident on social media or to any news outlets since it occurred. Thankfully, this accident didn’t cause or result in any serious or terrible injuries to anyone.

ACT change

Each year, millions of high school students across the country will be in intense pressure to get a good score and do good on the ACT exam. The ACT exam is usually always mandatory to get into any college.

Luckily, for high school students, the ACT will be somewhat easier next year as students go through the college admissions process. Officials at ACT stated that starting next September, students who would want to improve their scores would be able to retake single sections of the five part test.

The ACT lasts around 3 hours and next September, instead of sitting for all of them again, if a student wants to retake it, they will not have to retake the whole five part test again and can choose which specific section they would want to improve on.

This new change could allow students to avoid doing worse on sections they had taken earlier.

A lot of colleges and universities have made test scores an optional part of applications, but still many students aspire to score highly on the ACT and SAT exams.

The five subsections on the ACT are: reading, math, science, English and writing, which is optional. All 5 are graded on a scale of 1 to 36.

As of right now, scores on the four required sections are averaged into a composite score. Also starting in September, students will get a new superscore that combines their highest scores on the subsections from each time they took the test.

Ed Colby, an ACT spokesman said, “They might think, ‘Why do I have to sit through and take all these tests again if I only need to improve my math score? We’re trying to save them time. We’re trying to save them money.”

Test experts said the changes would help many students improve their scores. This new ACT change will hopefully help students achieve a higher score on their ACT. 

Area 51 raid

People from all over the country walked, drove, and even flew to raid at a United States Air Force facility, within the testing and training range in Nevada, known as Area 51, on September 20, 2019.

The reason behind this raid started when a Facebook event page was created to raid Area 51 by Matty Roberts, on June 27, 2019. The reason for the raiding was to see if the phenomenon about extraterrestrial life is really real and potentially on earth.

Over 2 million people on Facebook responded to the event and said they would go and this started into widespread media attention and created memes.

There has been conspiracy theories since the 1950’s, about Area 51, capturing and holding many aliens within their facility. Many individuals have said to have seen UFOs within and around the radius of Area 51. All of these conspiracy theories led to the raid that happened.

10 days before the  official day of the raid, 2 Dutch tourists were caught and later arrested for trespassing. As a result of that, the two men were sentenced to a year in prison according to NPR.

The creator of the page on Facebook, Matty Roberts, stated that his page was entirely all just a joke and he was discouraging people that potentially were going to the raid.

The Lincoln County Sheriff Department thought that over 30,000 people would come to raid Area 51 on September 20th, but shockingly, only 150 people came despite over 2 million people saying on Facebook that they wanted to go, or were interested into doing so.

But throughout the weekend, there were smaller raids and festivals with over 6,000 people attending. Throughout the weekend, 5 arrests were made in connection to the raid.

Despite no one really seeing anything they expected and wanted to see, they can say this experience was all around worth it. 

Amazon Rainforest fire

The Amazon Rainforest has a big impact on the world that we live in today because of the trees and oxygen that it supplies. Tropical forests give a huge amount of water and energy into the earth..Water and energy controls one’s local climate and because of that, tropical forests like the Amazon Rainforest are a big deal.

The Amazon is spread out and located in 9 different countries throughout South America:Peru, Columbia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. The majority of the forest is located in Brazil however.

The Amazon Rainforest provides a lot of greens, and stabilizes the plants and wildlife. There are a lot of different species of animal that live in the Amazon Rainforest. One of the animals inhabiting the Amazon Rainforest is a piranha. The piranha is the most dangerous aquatic inhabitant of the Amazon River. The piranha has a strong jaw and razor sharp teeth.

As of right now, the Amazon Rainforest, mainly in Brazil, is on fire. Fires in this type of landscape are more prone to happen during the dry season which runs around July through October. According to BBC, a lot of forest fires are usually caused by a lighting strike but this year it’s been believed that it’s because of farmers clearing the land for crops.

Despite the excessive and huge fires in the Amazon Rainforest, that’s currently happening, it’s not the worst year the forest has seen. Years in the 2000s such as 2005, experienced over 142,000 fires within a time span of 8 months.

North Brazil has seen the worst of the fires that have been happening and has been the most affected by it.

Amazonas which is located in north west of Brazil has declared a state of emergency. According to CNN, Brazil is going through about 85% more forest fires in comparison to last year.

The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, has received a lot of criticism for doing many things involving his lack of care and concern for the fires including rejecting $20 million in foreign aid to help fight the fires. Jair Bolsonaro has also talked about his support of deforestation. His comments and actions have caused people like one tribal chief, of a indigenous group in Brazil, to call his actions as a form a genocide.

The fires that are still going in are burning down more than just trees but also homes and millions of species that live in this area. According to the European Space Agency, the fires burning currently can be seen from space, and since the fires are so widespread it looks like clouds.

20 percent of the Amazon Rainforest is already gone with the fires that are currently burning. The rainforest is dying at a rate of 20,000 square miles a year. The Amazon Rainforest is a vital part of the environment, and with it burning and dying it is killing and damaging the environment and the well being of the earth.

5-year-old child thrown from the third floor at Mall Of America

On Friday, April 13, a 5-year-old boy named Landon was thrown off of the 3rd floor at Mall of America. The Bloomington police got reports at 10:17 a.m. that a young child had fallen about 40 feet from the third floor balcony and had landed on the first floor. Witnesses recall seeing a woman screaming for help on the third floor, which was his mother. The child was was lying face up in between an escalator and the Michael Kors store on the first floor. The 5-year-old boy suffered life threatening injuries and has been hospitalized. According to Fox9, witnesses on the first floor described seeing the boy on his back, not breathing and fully unconscious.

A family friend set up the GoFundMe page that will help the family cover the medical costs including many surgeries. The GoFundMe has since raised $400,000.

According to NBC News, the suspect of this attack has been named a 24-year-old man from Minneapolis: Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda. He was immediately arrested after the attack and has been in custody on a suspicion of an attempted murder charge. The suspect has been banned from the mall, in the past, on misdemeanor charges. He was arrested at the Mall of America in 2015 after he threw items from the 3rd floor at the mall and broke many items at stores nearby. He has since then told police after his arrest, for throwing the child, that his motive and plan was that he had been looking for someone to kill on April 13.

According to CNN, the 5-year-old boy had been improving. Doctors said they found no brain damage and not even any swelling or nerve damage. They referred to his injured as something more like a child falling off a bike rather than falling 40 feet in the air.

The boy has suffered a good amount of broken bones and bleeding internally, but he has since been making great improvements.