November news update

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National

California pushes back start times

California Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed a law made to benefit the sleep of students. By 2022, the school day  can begin no earlier than 8 a.m. for middle schools and 8:30 a.m. for high schools. Other states around the country are starting to pick up on the idea as well, including Ohio, where the legislature has also pushed back times, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, where lawmakers have made a case for schools to start later as well. Locally, since the 2016-2017 school year, the Seattle School District has had 8:45 a.m. as the earliest start time at each of its 16 high schools.

Wildfires rage in the Golden State

During the current wildfire season in California more than 6,402 fires have been recorded so far, according to the California Department of Forestry. As of Nov. 3, these fires have resulted in the burning of a total of 250,349 acres of land throughout the state. However, this is not the only wildfire-related difficulty. Recently there have been massive power shutoffs in the interest of public safety. The Pacific Gas and Electric Company and other power utilities have preemptively severed power to over one million residents due to a risk of wildfires from the interactions between high winds and high-voltage power lines.

Cattle mysteriously mutilated in Oregon

It started when one bull was found dead at the end of July in a timbered ravine in eastern Oregon, drained of all blood and missing their sex organs and tongue. Then two days later at Silvies Valley Ranch, 1.5 miles away, four more bulls were found in the same condition. With no wound marks or signs of struggle, it is suspected that this is the work of a human perpetrator, especially due to the precise incisions that were made on the cattle. With no footprints or any other possible leads, the case remains unsolved with a $25,000 reward for any information.

Chicago teachers negotiate new contract

On Thursday, Oct. 31, after an 11-day strike, the Chicago Teachers’ Union reached an agreement with city officials. The strike began on Oct. 17 when teachers across Chicago participated in a walkout, ending classes for over 300,000 students. The most important accomplishment of the deal was a $35 million increase in district funds used to reduce oversized classes, as well as a 16 percent increase in teacher salaries over the next five years. The deal also increased funding for school nurses and special education staff. Though some teachers still felt unsatisfied, school resumed on Friday, November 1.

State

Progressives triumphant in Seattle elections

The 2019 Seattle City Council election was the most expensive in the city’s history, as both corporations and progressive groups poured millions into the campaigns of candidates in all districts. Amazon alone contributed over $1.5 million to the political action committee of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, which sought to elect moderate candidates who would end the council’s progressive composition. The massive corporate spending failed to achieve its purpose, however, as candidates backed by Amazon were defeated in five of the seven districts. Amazon’s primary target, socialist council member Kshama Sawant, defeated her opponent with nearly 52 percent of the vote.