Silver Chips Online

National News for April 25 - May 8

By Jenna Bushnell, Online Features and Humor Editor
May 11, 2009
This is not original reporting. All information has been compiled from The Washington Post, CNN and The New York Times. Silver Chips Online posts this news summary to provide readers with a forum for discussion.

Washington, D.C.
April 29 - Senator Arlen Specter (R - Pa.) switched political parties after concluding that his reelection chances as a member of the GOP were slim. This switch could give the Democrats a 60th vote in the Senate, making Obama's administrative agendas potentially filibuster-proof. Vice President Joe Biden was heavily involved in persuading Specter to switch, helping to convince the senator that his views were more in line with the Democratic Party. The change does not come with guarantees, though, as Specter will likely have to face another Democrat in the 2010 Senatorial Primary.

May 5 - After numerous school closings throughout the country due to the swine flu outbreak, U.S. health officials retracted their recommendation to shut down schools if students catch the virus. This change came after reports that the strain of the flu was not as dangerous as initially believed. More than 726 schools were closed nationwide because of the feared pandemic and are now free to open again as soon as possible. Officials recommend that parents and teachers keep an eye out for signs of the flu and keep those afflicted at home until they have recovered. It was also discovered that the two U.S. citizens who died because of the flu had unrelated health issues.

Churchill Downs, Ky.
May 2 - In an unanticipated win, long shot Mine That Bird won the 135th Kentucky Derby. The horse's odds were 50-1 and few believed that it would make such a heroic finish. In the final stretch of the race, Mine That Bird sprinted from the middle of the pack to beat out favorite Friesan Fire and win by several lengths. The horse's jockey, Calvin Borel, took home his second Kentucky Derby trophy.

Santa Barbara, Calif.
May 7 - More than 5,000 homes have been evacuated due to a rapidly spreading wildfire that continues to threaten parts of southern California. Wind has spread the blaze across 1,300 acres of land in Santa Barbara County, destroying 20 homes and causing huge problems for local residents. High temperatures and low humidity have made it difficult for the 1,400 area firefighters to combat the fire since it began on Tuesday. Additional challenges are the fire's fast movement and unpredictable changes in direction.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/9209