Top 10 moments defining our winter break


Here are some of the snapshots from the 10 moments of our winter break.

Ekroop Kaur, Lead Copy Editor

As schools closed for the winter break, the events around us continued. There were many major moments, such as the storms across the U.S and the Damar Hamlin injury, that occurred during our winter break. So here are the top 10 events that you might have missed. 

Winter storms across the U.S 

From Dec. 22 to Dec. 25, an Arctic cold front swept through the Midwest and the Northeast, bringing bitterly freezing temperatures, blizzards and high-speed wind gusts. 

The damage the storm inflicted on many Americans was tremendous: more than 12,000 flights were canceled, more than 10,000 were delayed, 260,000 people had power outages and the death toll rose to 61 due to the storms.

As temperatures reached as low as -40 Farenheit, 325 million Americans were placed under weather advisories for frigid conditions and other weather hazards. 

The drastic change of climate also made it harder for animals to survive even for those that are generally adapted to the cold. Despite the conditions, animals still required energy through food and were at risk for death. Also for aquatic animals, abrupt changes to the water temperature made it difficult for marine animals to retreat to warmer temperatures in the depths of the water. 

Though the Arctic blast wasn’t the only storm occurring in the U.S. 

On Dec. 31, much of the Bay Area and Northern California experienced powerful winds and heavy rainfall that caused flooding, landslides and even sinkholes in areas such as San Francisco and Santa Cruz. 

San Francisco had one of their wettest days with rainfall over 5 inches, prompting closures of Highway 101 due to flooding from rainfall and high tides. 

Capitola Wharf also experienced 30-foot waves, strong tides and winds that led to part of the wharf collapsing into the ocean. 

Santa Cruz County officials tweeted, “The storm has caused significant damage throughout the county and along the coast, including heavy damage to piers in Capitola.” 

Not only did residents have to endure the flooding in their area, but 10,000 of them had to go through power outages as well.

The California Bay was hit again with storm surges during the week of Jan. 1. South San Francisco experienced hurricane-like wind gusts climaxing at 101 mph, with trees toppling over power lines and buildings.

The California Bay was hit again with storm surges during the week of Jan. 1. South San Francisco experienced hurricane-like wind gusts climaxing at 101 mph, with trees toppling over power lines and buildings. 

With the record precipitation and flooding, it alleviated the severity of the drought that California was facing. According to the National Integrated Drought Information System, 71% of California was facing severe drought and now the number has dropped to 43%. Even with this trajectory, the state will still be considered to be in a moderate drought. 

Brazilian soccer player, Pelé, dies at 82

At the age of 82, the famous Brazilian soccer player, Pelé died on Dec. 29 due to multiple organ failure from the progression of his colon cancer. 

Following his death, there was an outpour of tributes from the soccer community and beyond; Pelé was in the hearts of many as he was known for revolutionizing soccer by uniting countries through the love of the sport, becoming one of the greatest soccer players of all time. 

Pelé became the first soccer player  

People admired the way he played, what he accomplished throughout his soccer career and his ability to turn soccer to a form of art. 

Andrew Tate gets detained in Romania

Andrew Tate, an American-British social media personality and former kickboxer, was arrested in Romania on Dec. 29 on charges of rape and human trafficking. 

Tate moved to Romania because according to him “rape laws are more lenient there” and also after facing scrutiny five years ago over his conduct, leading to him leaving the U.K. 

Romania’s Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) had taken Tate and his brother Tristain into custody for suspicions of recruiting victims to be in p*rn videos. DIICOT stated that the women who were “recruited” were sexually exploited were also under constant surveillance and were subjected to “acts of violence and mental coercion.” 

Tate’s neighbors even mentioned that they could see “women inside working on the video cameras,” referring to the production of p*rnographic content that would be uploaded. 

After their arrest, the court ruled that the brothers will stay in the detention center for another 30 days.  

Suspect of the University of Idaho stabbings arrested

Bryan Kohberger, a 28 year old, was arrested on Dec. 30, for the murders of four University of Idaho students – Ethan Chapin, Madison Mogen, Kaylee Gonclaves and Xana Kernodle. 

The murder occurred in Moscow, Idaho on Nov. 13 shortly after 4 a.m. There were six people living in the house and had arrived back at around 2 a.m after a night out. An hour later, the suspect’s car started circling the area, passing by the house multiple times. 

It became known that Kernodle had received a DoorDash delivery at 4 a.m and phone records had shown that she was on TikTok until 4:12 a.m. One of the surviving roommates had told the police that a male voice came from her room around that time saying “It’s ok, I’m going to help you.” 

According to an affidavit released by the court, the roommate had opened her bedroom door and noticed a man in black clothes walking past her to the sliding glass door from where he escaped. 

The 911 call was placed at 11:58 a.m that day reporting that two victims were found on the second floor and the other two were found on the third floor. The surviving roommates remained unharmed from the crime, and the police do not believe that they were involved. 

A nationwide effort was placed to arrest the suspect and on Jan. 4, Kohberger was arrested for four counts of first degree murder and a count burglary and was extradited to Idaho from his home in Pennsylvania.

26 states announce higher minimum wages in 2023

As the new year began, 26 states increased the minimum wage for workers. At least 23 states will implement their policy starting Jan. 1 and this will impact around 8 million workers. 

20 states have chosen to keep their minimum wage the same as the federal’s rate of $7.25, but states do have the authority to set the minimum wage higher than the federal level and local governments can also set theirs higher than the state’s. 

As the U.S. economy continues to be burdened with inflation, families are struggling to keep up with the rapid increase in costs for essential items. 

In a CNBC article, the CEO of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, Holly Sklar, said, “Putting needed raises in minimum wage workers’ pockets [is] really the most efficient way you can boost the economy.” 

She also stated how this can increase the “consumer demand” to fuel money back into the economy. 

As costs and wages increased, the wage offers have increased as well from employers seeking more workers. 

Tesla driver intentionally drives off a cliff

On Jan. 2, Dharmesh Patel drove off a cliff with his wife and two children, a 4-year-old girl and 9-year-old boy, at Devil’s Side in San Mateo. The Tesla dropped more than 250 feet from the highway and had flipped multiple times before landing against the cliff and near the shore. 

All four family members were rescued from the efforts of firefighters who worked for several hours in the heavy rain and wind. The adults faced non-threatening but traumatic injuries, and the children came out uninjured.

Based upon the California Highway Patrol’s initial investigation, it is believed that the Autopilot or Full Self-Driving mode were not active on the Tesla, and that the road conditions did not play a role in the crash.  

Though the safety features included in the Tesla are believed to have helped the family survive this incident. The vehicle has a side sill, large empty spaces in front and the rear of the car that absorbs the impact energy and softens the impact while the airbags inflate. Tesla also claims that their battery packs rarely undergo severe damage and if it does, the design is so that fire is shielded away from the passenger cabin and battery pack.  

Brian Pottenger, the battalion chief for Coastside Fire Protection District/Cal Fire, said, “We go there all the time for cars over the cliff and they never live. This was an absolute miracle.” 

Football player Damar Hamlin suffers a cardiac arrest 

During the football game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 2, the Buffalo Bills’ defensive player, Damar Hamlin, suffered a cardiac arrest after being tackled. His heartbeat was restored on the field as he received CPR and an AED, and he was later hospitalized under critical condition. 

Following his injury, the NFL called off the Buffalo Bills’ game against the Cincinnati Bulls, which at first was suspended. 

In the Hollywood Reporter, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “We continue to focus on the recovery of Damar Hamlin and are encouraged by the improvement in his condition … We are also incredibly appreciative of the amazing work of the medical personnel and commend each and every one of them.”  

A 6-year-old boy shoots his teacher in Virginia

On Jan. 6, a 6-year-old boy shot his first grade teacher, Abigail Zwerner, at Richneck Elementary School in Virginia. He fired a single round where the teacher was shot in the hand and chest, and no students were injured. 

During an online town hall meeting, the school’s superintendent George Parker told parents that an administrator was notified of a “possible weapon” and that there was a possibility that the student had a weapon on campus. Even though his backpack was searched, he used his mother’s handgun after getting in an argument with the teacher. 

Since then, the school has remained closed and will be installing metal detectors, and the police chief Steve Drew announced that this incident was an intentional shooting.

Kevin McCarthy becomes Speaker of the House

GOP leader Kevin McCarthy clinched the position of House Speaker after the 15th round of voting on Jan. 7. After four days of voting, McCarthy won the 216 votes he needed, making this the longest voting period in 100 years.

Several members of the Republican party, such as Matt Gaetz of Florida and Lauren Boebert of Colorado, decided to hold off on voting for the Speaker since he was closely aligned with the “broken system” in Congress and wanted to change the status quo.

Biden visits the US-Mexico border wall

On Jan. 8, President Joe Biden visited the U.S-Mexico border wall in El Paso, Texas for the first time in his presidency. 

Many Republicans such as Governor Greg Abbott criticized Biden stating how the trip was long overdue and this was a mere form of “political theater.” Democrats have even commented about the failure on Biden’s part for not addressing the amount of migrant border crossings. 

El Paso’s mayor had even declared a state of emergency for the many migrants that were out in the cold and also for the hundreds being arrested every day. Border officials recorded a record of 2.2 million migrants being arrested at the border just in the 2022 fiscal year which ended in September. 

Upon his arrival, the President met with Border Patrol officers, who showed him some equipment that officers use to detect any smuggled people or illegal drugs when migrants come across the border. Biden stated how he hopes to be in contact with the Border Patrol Agents more. 

His office stated the goal of this trip was to “assess border enforcement operations and meet with local elected officials and community leaders who have been important partners in managing the historic number of migrants fleeing political oppression and gang violence.”