On November 7, 1918, a hero was born. On February 21, 2018, Billy Graham sadly passed away at the age of 99 due to natural causes.
According to Slate.com, he was nicknamed “America’s Pastor,” Billy Graham was known for his preaching. His preaching attracted thousands of people and he gained popularity quickly. He had a “Crusade” in New York in 1957, and that attracted an estimated 18,000 people each day over the course of a 90 day period. By 2018, he had done 400 crusades in over 185 countries. Graham is also the founder of Christianity Today, the most respected evangelical magazine in the US today. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including the best seller How to Be Born Again. He also launched many organizations such as Youth for Christ, and Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. Graham identified an issue early in his career: racism. In 1954, he vowed to never hold a segregated get-together again. He was also known to meet with every single president starting from the Harry Truman days.
He once wrote: “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. … I will have gone into the presence of God.”
Billy Graham will forever be remembered as America’s Pastor. May he rest in peace, knowing that he made a huge impact on millions.
Story by Ryan Oast
On February 24th, 2018 Delta cut ties with the NRA (National Rifle Association). Delta is a very popular airline company. Their main headquarters are in Atlanta, Georgia. Delta is one of Georgia's biggest employers so it would only be right to make sure everything is good at the company.
Delta was asking for a 50 million dollar tax exemption on jet fuel. The Georgia senate approved a bill that took away the 50 million dollar tax exemption. This happened simply because Delta cut ties with the NRA. Georgia’s Lt Gov., Casey Cagle, was super mad about it. Cagle is very supportive of the NRA and earned an “A+” rating for the last couple years. Since Delta is one of the biggest employers they need all the help they can get. This bill is just hurting the company for no reason. Just because people are members of a organization that advocates gun rights doesn't mean they should get discounted tickets. It should actually be the other way around, in my opinion.
Story by Winston Sloan
Sources photo and text:
The Obama’s recently got their official portraits painted and put in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC. Barack’s was done by Kehinde Wiley and Michelle’s was done by Amy Sherald. Both of these artists are African American, and that is the first time an African American artist has painted the President and first lady's official portraits. The portraits were revealed at the national portrait gallery on February 12th. The portraits are located in 2 different locations in the gallery, Obama’s is located on the second floor in the America’s president’s gallery, and Michelle’s is located on the first floor in the ‘recent acquisitions’ section.
Michelle’s portrait is getting a lot of attention from the country, especially from one little girl named Parker Curry. Parker is a two year who became Instagram famous because of a picture her mom posted. The picture was of her staring in front of Michelle’s Portrait looking mesmerized by it. CNN reached out to the Obama’s and the Curry’s and planned a meeting turned dance party. Michelle says "Parker, I'm so glad I had the chance to meet you today (and for the dance party)! Keep on dreaming big for yourself...and maybe one day I'll proudly look up at a portrait of you".
Barack’s portrait has a lot of meaning behind it. It features him sitting in a chair in front of greenery, which is supposed to represent his past. The painting seems to have a modern pop-art feel. Obama says "I tried to negotiate less gray hair, and Kehinde's artistic integrity would not allow him to do what I asked. I tried to negotiate smaller ears, struck out on that as well." Kehinde apparently took thousands of pictures of Barack before he actually started the painting.
These portraits are possibly the most anticipated presidential and first lady portraits ever. They were commissioned in October of 2017 and were just unveiled. The Obama’s looked through more than 24 artists before they decided on Wiley and Sherald. The portraits both seem to really embody the spirit of the Obama’s. They are full of stunning colors and are iconic in so many ways.
Story by Ginger Hanlon
On February 14th, a school shooting in Florida took the lives of 17 people. The gunman used an AR-15 rifle, a semi-automatic made for military use and the choice of weapon for other mass shootings. The aftermath of this shooting sparked debate over a controversial topic: arming teachers. According to newsELA, during a listening session in the White House, President Donald Trump revealed that he is in support of the idea of teachers carrying a concealed firearm.
“A teacher would have a concealed gun on them. They’d go for special training and they would be there and you would no longer be a gun-free zone,” Trump suggested. People have also agreed that armed school staff could respond quicker than the police force.
Others do not share the same views. The president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, said that an educator’s handgun would be no match for the assault-style weapons attackers often use. “The solution is to ban these military weapons from people who shouldn't have them," Weingarten said. Some think it’s too risky to have a firearm in a classroom since it could be potentially accessible by the wrong people.
What do the teachers here at Asheville Middle think? Would any teachers step up and fire a gun in a serious situation?
Chelsea Barolet, an AVID teacher here that teaches grades sixth through eighth, strongly disagrees with guns in school. “I have no interest in firing a gun, and in fact, do not want to touch one at all (in or out of school). I do not believe that I would be able to act quickly and defend my students with a gun. My first priority would be to assure and maintain safety of all students in my classroom. Safety in this situation would include keeping them as calm as possible and making all attempts to comfort them. I, nor any other teacher, could do this with a gun in my hand,” Barolet said. As an alternative option to guns, she suggested using steps listed in the Department of Homeland Security publication, "Active Shooter; How to Respond", which included remaining silent, hiding, locking the doors, calling for law enforcement, and, as a last resort, fighting back using objects in sight.
“Allow me to be clear in pointing out that it does not suggest the use of a gun at ANY point in this outline,” Barolet further wrote. What do you think? Should teachers be armed?
Story by Erin Chen
Photo from: http://triblive.com/usworld/world/13340177-74/arming-teachers-pros-and-cons
In the 2018 race for congress, an intense democratic primary is coming to an end. In the Texas 7th district, Laura Moser is running a tight race against 4 other democratic candidates as the anti-establishment candidate. This year's races for congress are a big deal for the DNC due to the potential of flipping the house to the democrats control. The DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) has made it clear that it will not have any fighting. The DCCC has warned for months that it will interfere in crowded primary fields, which is what it has done in Texas's 7th congressional district. Calling Laura Moser on their website “a journalist and activist who grew up in Houston, then moved home from Washington in the last year — a carpet-bagging opportunist who "begrudgingly moved" back to run for office.”
Laura Moser is the clear underdog in this primary, especially now that the DCCC has come out against her. When we asked her campaign for comment they did not respond. Laura Moser is now begging her potential constituents for votes, asking them to bring a friend to the polls. She does seem to have hope joking, “I would usually ask for money, but the DCCC has set us up for a while”. The 7th district is currently held by Rep. John Culberson, a republican who is a staple of congress.
Update March 7th 2018: Laura Mosser and her rival have both failed to reach the required 50% of the vote win, meaning both will advance to a runoff on May 22nd.
Story by Franklin Bester-Sproul
Source for picture: https://www.texastribune.org/series/texas-elections-2018/?page=2
On Wednesday, February 21st, at 7:33 am; Billy Graham passed away peacefully. Billy was 99 years old and was going to turn 100 in November.
Billy was born on November 7th, 1918 in Charlotte, NC. His real name was William Franklin Graham, Jr. and his parents were William and Morrow Graham. He was raised on a dairy farm with his three other siblings. At the age of 16, he was already going to evangelist meetings.
For education, Billy went to Bob Jones College in Tennessee after high school. He felt he didn't really connect with Bob Jones College, so he transferred to Florida Bible Institute. Billy then joined a Southern Baptist Convention Church and got ordained in 1939. He then graduated from Florida with a bachelor's in theology, and moved to famous Wheaton College in Illinois. There he met his wife Ruth McCue Bell, and they got married on August 13, 1943. Ruth and Billy had five children and 19 grandchildren.
Billy pastored the First Baptist Church in Western Springs, Illinois, and then left to join Youth for Christ (teaching young people about God). In 1947, Billy Graham became president of Northwestern Schools, Minnesota. In 1948, he resigned from Youth for Christ. He stayed with Northwestern Schools until 1952, which then he resigned to solely focus on preaching.
In 1992, Billy announced that he was diagnosed with hydrocephalus (similar to Parkinson's Disease). William Franklin Graham III was chosen to take over BGEA after his dad's retirement. In 2005, Billy and Ruth retired to their home in Montreat, North Carolina. In 2007, Ruth passed away from pneumonia and degenerative osteoarthritis.
Billy was awarded the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Freedom Award, the Congressional Gold Medal, the Templeton Foundation Prize for Progress in Religion, the Big Brother Award, the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, the Speaker of the Year Award, and was given the Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Billy Graham will always be remembered.
Story by Margaret Derry
The amazing activist who has been living in Cuba for the past 34 years is still on the most wanted terrorist list!
On May 2nd, 1973, Assata Shakur and two of her close friends (also part of the black liberation army), were stopped by two police officers. A few years later, Shakur was convicted on a murder charge of Trooper Forrester; one of the cops that died on the turnpike. According to the Guardian, she escaped from prison in 1979, and was given political asylum in Cuba. She was born in Queens, NY and grew up with her grandparents in Wilmington, North Carolina. She was constantly taught to maintain her pride and to remember that she was just as good as anybody else. She dropped out of high school to get a job. In 1964, her interest in civil rights really took off. Assata was accused of a number of alleged crimes, none of which had any value or truth. There is a collection of evidence that proves that Assata had not received a fair trial when she was convicted, and that the people involved were previously influenced. Before her conviction, Assata was part of the Black Panther Party and wanted to become a revolutionary. She traveled all over the country to escape the constant surveillance it seemed that she was under.
Assata Shakur is an incredible individual who has faced years of political persecution, physical and mental abuse, torture, unimaginable living circumstances, and extreme racism. She was targeted by COINTELPRO for years before her conviction, and it is extremely obvious that she did not commit the crimes she was accused of. It is clear that the only reason she was charged was due to the extremities of the racist culture in the U.S.
In 2013, Assata Shakur was added onto the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list. She is the first female who has been added. Because of the lack of evidence in her case, the severely bias judge and jury, and the progression this country has supposedly had since the 60’s and 70’s, it seems that she would be welcomed back into America with open arms and apologies. However, this is not the case and the government refuses to remove Assata from this list. On top of this, there is a 2 million dollar reward for her. It is hard to believe that Assata is in her 60’s, and still is thought of as a criminal instead of an inspiration. Hopefully within the next few years she will get the recognition that she deserves and this country will recognize how incredible she is and that the way she was treated was beyond horrible.
Story by Willow Schenk
Many teenagers all around the United states are ditching traditional cigarettes, and switching over to Juul. A Juul is a small vape that contains the addictive Nicotine chemical. The devices have things called ¨pods¨ aka the juice that produces the smoke and have many appealing flavors like mango, creme brulee, and chocolate. Although this product sounds harmless and was made to help people quit smoking, the Juul is not all that good. Studies have shown that regular exposure to Nicotine from these vapes can cause your body to be resistant to insulin, and that can cause type 2 Diabetes. Nicotine can also damage brain development in teens, and make it possible to develop bad impulse control and ADD.
Given the size of the Juul it makes it very easy for teens to sneak them into schools and other public places. Many high schools all around america have confiscated hundreds of these vapes, but many are still out there. The slick design can be confused with a USB flash drive, and can even be plugged into a computer to be charged. Juuls and pods cane bought on their website where you have to confirm your age and ID information when buying. Many teens are using prepaid cards and lying about their age in order to buy them.
Story by Callie Judson