1st semester 2018 news highlights


The Normal West JV Girls Basketball bus accident in December. Photo from kutv.com.

Ariana South, Staff Reporter

During the first semester of the 2018-2019 school year at West, the news world was a busy one. There wasn’t ever much of a rest both at school and in the news world. Here’s a recap of some of the important news stories throughout the first semester: 

In August, Pope Francis spoke on the death penalty. He declared it inadmissible, and hopes in the future to get rid of it worldwide. The Pope however, didn’t just stop at the death penalty.

The Pope also called upon Cardinals and bishops around the world to Vatican City to adress sexual assault in the Catholic Church. After opening with a recitation of 1 Corinthians 12:26, the Pope said, “These words of Saint Paul forcefully echo in my heart as I acknowledge once more the suffering endured by many minors due to sexual abuse, the abuse of power and the abuse of conscience perpetrated by a significant number of clerics and consecrated persons.”

Former Republican senator and presidential candidate John McCain passed away at 81 on August 25 due to complications from brain cancer treatment he had been receiving in years past.

In September, the gun control debate heated up.  There were a total of five shootings, and three occurring within two days of each other:

  • San Bernardino, California – Sept. 2nd
  • Cincinnati, Ohio –  Sept. 6th
  • Bakersfield, California – Sept. 12th
  • Middleton, Wisconsin – Sept. 19th
  • Masontown, Pennsylvania – Sept. 19th
  • Harford County, Maryland – Sept. 20th

The Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexual assault accusations continued with another accuser, Julie Swetnick, on September 26.  Eventually, Kavanaugh was deemed not guilty of the offenses and was sworn into office in early October.  

By the beginning of October, five officers were shot and killed in South Carolina, and twenty people were killed in a limo crash.

On October 15, the mega-chain store Sears filed for bankruptcy after 132 years in business. 62 cases of a rare polio-like conditions were confirmed by the CDC.

On October 21,  the floor collapsed in a student apartment during a party at Clemson University and injured thirty people.

When November came, the 2018 midterm elections were in full swing.  Democrats gained a majority in both the House and Senate.

Florida ordered a recount for their governor and senator races, when the Democratic nominee for governor Andrew Gillum conceded to his Republican rival, Ron DeSantis. DeSantis now holds the seat for governor in Florida.

November also saw shootings in a mall in Alabama, the Thousand Oaks nightclub in California, Mercy Hospital in Chicago, and a hot yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida.

By December, the country lost another big name in the political world, former Republican President George H.W. Bush. Bush  was honored for his service to the United States as both a politician and war veteran.

On December 5th, Normal West made news with the crash of a Unit 5 school bus and semi truck on I-74 near Downs, Illinois. This crash made both local and national news, with two deaths coming from the tragic accident which also left Mr. Price, a Driver’s Ed and PE teacher at West, in critical condition, but expected to make a full recovery.

There were mass protests in Paris, France over the fuel taxes that were passed. Three deaths resulted from the protests turning too violent. The police had to resort to tear gas and rubber bullets for the conflict.

At a popular and crowded Christmas Market in Strasbourg, France, there was a mass shooting that resulted in three deaths. The gunman was found and detained by police soon after the shooting.

Most of the news didn’t directly impact Normal West students until December, but for the rest of the world, August through December of 2018 was filled with memorable news stories that helped shaped the world around us.