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. 

Black Friday

By: Vivian S

As the great day of destroying and devouring a turkey approached, so did another holiday that I feared much more. Black Friday is came on November 29th. 

I remember as a child hating Black Friday, when my mom would drag me around the overcrowded stores for hours. I still do hold a distaste for it, but it also intrigues me. 

Why do we have a holiday for a day that is just stores selling all their items on sale? The day after Christmas isn’t a public holiday of this much renown. So why does Black Friday exist?

My research for this immediately became complicated with all the different origin stories I was inundated with.

I first found a History.com article that listed 4 different origins of Black Friday, though only one was listed as the “true” beginning of the holiday. The holiday apparently comes from Philadelphia, “Black Friday” being a term the police would use to describe the chaos of the day after Thanksgiving, when everyone would go out shopping in advance of the Army-Navy football game. None of the cops were allowed to take the day off, they would have to work extended shifts, and shoplifters would take this opportunity to do as shoplifters do. 

The term eventually spread, and retailers found a way to spin it in a positive light for them with all the sales.

However, the term Black Friday wasn’t even used in the beginning to describe the holiday. Instead, it was first used to describe the collapse of the gold market in the 1800s because two stock-brokers tried to make themselves rich and it didn’t work. 

The article listed other stories of how Black Friday originated, but says the one I repeated above was the correct one.

Yet, that still didn’t answer to me why Black Friday is such a popular holiday.

Wikipedia says that Black Friday marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, and that many employees are given the day off as part of Thanksgiving, which could be reasons for its popularity.

In the end, I don’t think the endurance of Black Friday will ever make sense to me, and I will just have to live with it, and the shopping my mom will drag me around for.

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. 

The benefits of planting trees

Trees provide many things for humans and are very important to the world. They produce oxygen from CO2 for us to breathe in, they provide shade, and they provide materials that we use every day, like wood.

As time goes on, the climate crisis is more of a threat than ever before, and we need to do something about it. Here are some ways that planting trees can affect the world.

Trees make life nicer. Studies have shown that spending more time around trees and other environmental spaces can affect a person’s mood and reduce the stress in our daily lives. Other research shows that children have less issues in school if they spend time outdoors and in green spaces and areas with trees. Hospital patients have also been shown to recover faster when the window in their room is facing trees.

Trees also have many environmental benefits. Planting more trees not only means more oxygen will be released into the world, but less CO2 emissions in the world. CO2 emissions released from the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and gas, will be stopped by trees, which will transform it into oxygen. Trees are crucial and are one of the frontrunners in the battle against climate change. Trees improve our air quality which can prevent diseases and toxic gases that can be transferred through the air, such as carbon monoxide and sulfur.

Believe it or not, planting more trees can also have some economic benefits as well. Planting trees near businesses and buildings can reduce cooling costs, like the costs of AC units. Studies have shown that cities with well planted trees near buildings are cooler than cities without trees. Trees can help to combat the hot summer heat, and can reduce temperatures by 11°. Trees can also increase the retail value of houses or properties.

Planting trees can have a great effect on the world. Whether it’s just for your neighborhood or for your city, every little bit matters. Planting trees can provide economical, environmental, and health benefits, and, overall, can make the world a better place. 

Homicides in St. Paul

In the city of St. Paul, there have been 28 homicides in only one year. This is the most homicides in a decade. The two shooters on Sunday evening, November 10th, brought the tally up by 2. During the month of September, there were only 9 shootings. 

The mayor of St. Paul has had enough and called a public meeting to discuss public safety.

Recently, there has been a shooting that happened the 2nd week of November, on Maryland Ave and Hazelwood St. A person was shot and it was reported at around 5pm. When the police came to the scene, one of the men was dead and the other one was injured badly, 

Another shooting happened in the Highland neighborhood, which is St. Paul’s 27th case. A man was shot in a car and the woman with him was injured as well. It happened on a Friday morning and is being investigated immediately.

There were 2 shootings that happened this past Wednesday, November 6th. The first one involved a senior football player from Henry Sibley. The second one was a gas station situation that involved a U.S Marshal.

The first guy, Da’Qwan Jones-Morris, was accidentally shot by his friend and one person said that it didn’t look like they were fighting. The police were questioning people but there were no arrests made.

The second one happened on 7th St and Kittson St when a U.S. Marshall shot an armed man who was trying to kill a car full of people. 

The Star Tribune recorded another recent shooting that just happened this past weekend as well, which is St. Paul’s 30th shooting. This happened on Rice St and Wayzata St at around 5pm. 

The city of St. Paul is planning on having a meeting to talk about the shootings and the violence. If this continues it may beat the 1992 record which saw 34 shootings.

‘Trail of Terror’

Well this is it, the spooky season. Now we’ve got to think about costumes and candy for the neighbors. But some of us like to go all out. Like haunted houses and mazes, and dressing up for this spooky time. Halloween is very festive, but my favorite thing to do is go to the “Trail Of Terror!”

On Friday, October 18th, I went there. If any of you don’t know, the “Trail Of Terror” is multiple different set ups of mazes. They have different people that dress up in scary costumes and makeup. The whole thing is near where the “Renaissance Festival” usually is.

During my visit I went through “The Maze Of Mayhem.” It has many people hidden throughout the maze. They jump out and scare! I think they did a wonderful job with this, but I feel that it was more suspense than anything and I think on my visit they were a bit understaffed but it was still fun. 

I also went through the mini versions of “The Maze Of Mayhem” which are the trailers. They were a bit disappointing, they didn’t have many people to scare you. 

The wait time gets longer and longer, about an hour after it opens. I arrived at 7:15pm and the line for “The Maze Of Mayhem” was not bad but after we left the maze it had almost twice as many people as it did when we were in line. 

I got in touch with the marketing team and asked them a few questions about “Trail Of Terror” so here it is: 

How many staff do you have return year after year?

About 70% of our staff returns each year and the rest are new people who want to get involved!

Are there emergency exits for the people that are too scared?

There are emergency exits for people who decide to leave the haunted houses before the end. In “The Maze of Mayhem,” there’s somewhere to exit around almost every turn.

Do they ever open an art contest for scary art, or other contests for new ideas?

Some years there are “Trail of Terror” mural competitions where people can submit murals and earn a free ticket.

What is the average age of people that go?

Teenagers and adults are the main demographics that we see, we don’t see young children here very often.

Do staff do their own makeup or is there a makeup team? 

We have a team of one professional makeup artist and some volunteers that do makeup for the entertainers.

How long does the prep, dress/makeup take each day?

It can take anywhere between 1-2 hours for full hair, makeup, and costume preparation.           

What requirements do you need for the job?

You must be over 14, have the desire to act and be scary, and the ability to stay in character!

How long have you been hosting this?

This is our 26th year of “Trail of Terror!”

Who started this tradition? 

“Trail of Terror” is hosted by an events company, Mid America Festival, that also puts on the “MN Renaissance Festival.”

Were there any challenges in starting this?

The biggest part is transitioning from “Renaissance Festival” to “Trail of Terror.”  While they are in different areas of our grounds, there is a lot of work to be done with closing down the “Renaissance Festival” and beginning “Trail of Terror.”

Anything else you want to say?

We have other fun promotions going on this year as well.  

This is the last weekend that you can attend! So, have a great Halloween, don’t get too spooked. 

If you plan on going:

Location: 3525 145th St W, Shakopee, MN 55379   

Prices are Online Tickets: $18.95

Box Office Tickets: $23.95

Times: it opens at 7pm and closes at 12:30am.

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. 

Justin Trudeau blackface

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Prime Minister, decided to wear brownface to a party held at a private school. Justin once taught at that private school in 2001.

There’s a photograph that has been leaked of the incident, and the photograph was taken at an “Arabian Nights” themed party.

Trudeau apologized saying, “I shouldn’t have done that and should’ve known better but I didn’t. I’m really sorry.”

Trudeau also wore blackface when he was singing a Jamaican folk song by a African American civil rights activist. That photo shows Trudeau at a school talent show wearing a wig.

Recently, there was a video showing Trudeau in blackface with his hands in the air and the photo was taken in the early 90s.

This is a big problem for him because he recently began his re-election and the citizens may not want to re-elect him because of his scandals. 

Trudeau was gaining media attention from the global press for what he was wearing. Last year, he wore Indian garb when he went to India with his family.

He was also denounced by Robert Davidson, who is a part of the indigenous people, because of a tattoo. Davidson said that Trudeau’s government’s approval of a gas facility showed that he was not sensitive towards the indigenous people.

TIME spoke to different people who attended the spring gala in 2001, especially the women in the photos with him. One of them refused to speak about the situation and the other two forgot about Trudeau and the picture.

Trudeau was the only person who darkened his skin while everyone else had costumes.

Trudeau is not the only public figure who darkened his skin for a costume. The U.S. has a bad history of people darkening their skin. People would just darken their skin to mock African Americans in the 19th century and it continued on into the 20th century for movies and shows.

The first person to apologize for this cruel action was Governor Ralph Northam, but he denied that he was in a yearbook photo with a KKK hood.

Also, Governor Kay Ivey apologized for wearing a black face. 

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.