Archive for U.S. News

‘Fast and Furious’ star’s Fatal Crash under Investigation

Paul Walker

(Santa Clarita, CA)- Investigators are still trying to piece together a fiery, single-car accident that involved celebrity Paul Walker and friend Roger Rodas. Walker, star of the ‘Fast and Furious’ movie saga, was killed along with Rodas Saturday afternoon while driving a red 2005 Porsche Carrera GT for a charity event for Walker’s charity, Reach Out Worldwide.

According to the Los Angeles Times, speed may have been a factor in the crash, but it will take time to find out what happened. Hercules Street, the four lane road on which the crash occurred, has a 45 mph speed limit and warns drivers of the of the uphill curve that is near the accident scene. “Looping” tire tracks can be seen on the asphalt nearby, but it is unclear on whether or not they are related to the accident.

Witness and friend Jim Torp said he heard a loud boom and knew it was his friends. Torp said that Rodas’ young son and a childhood friend of Walker had to be held back from the scene as they tried to save their loved ones.

“They just didn’t want to believe this happened,” Torp told fans and media at the crash site on Sunday. “It was ‘Fast and the Furious,’ that’s what it is. Both race car enthusiasts, both loved speed, both knew how to handle cars, and this had to happen.”

The fire could be seen from Always Evolving Performance Motors, which Rodas owns. Rodas, 38, raced in 10 Pirelli World Challenge GTS races in 2013, according to the racing organization.

“They died doing what they enjoy doing,” he said. “Two close friends died together right next to a church. They’re both with God.”

Dental records will help identify the badly burned bodies, along with autopsies, which are yet to be scheduled.

Walker was in the middle of making the seventh “Fast and Furious” movie at the time of the crash.

Story by: Caitlin Nearhood

President Kennedy to be Remembered 50 Years after Assassination

(Washington, D.C.)- A wreath-laying ceremony will be held Wednesday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination at Kennedy’s gravesite in Arlington National Cemetery. The Obama family as well as Bill and Hilary Clinton will attend the ceremony and other events during the week to honor Kennedy. On Friday, President Obama will privately meet with leaders from the Peace Corps, a program Kennedy also initiated.

According to an Associated Press article on Businessweek’s website, one of Kennedy’s final initiatives, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, will be remembered, and the 2013 recipients of the award will be honored Wednesday, including Oprah Winfrey, country singer Loretta Lynn, women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem, Bill Clinton, and others. Former medal winners like Aretha Franklin, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and other former winners are said to be attending, too.

Kennedy died two weeks before the first-ever ceremony for this initiative. On the same day that Jacqueline Kennedy and children moved out of the White House, newly-appointed President Lyndon B. Johnson directed the ceremony and honored the late Kennedy with a medal. His brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, accepted it on this brother’s behalf.

“In the shattering sequence of events that began 14 days ago, we encountered in its full horror man’s capacity for hatred and destruction,” Johnson said at the ceremony. “There is little we do not know of evil, but it is time to turn once more to the pursuits of honor and excellence and of achievement that have always marked the true direction of the American people.”

President Kennedy instituted today’s Presidential Medal of Freedom as “the highest honor given to civilians” in February 1963. It was originally “a presidential privilege” and it “expanded its scope to honor contributions to world peace, culture and other public interests”.

The medal ceremony and dinner will take place at the Smithsonian American History Museum, where Kennedy’s grandson Jack Schlossberg will introduce President Obama. Obama plans on speaking about Kennedy’s “legacy of service”, as Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Robert Kennedy’s daughter, and JFK’s surviving sibling and medal winner Jean Kennedy Smith will also be in attendance.

Story by: Caitlin Nearhood

13 Dead, 8 Injured In Navy Yard Shooting Rampage

(Washington, DC)- Twelve people were killed while 8 were injured Monday when a gunman began his shooting rampage at 8:15am that morning at the Washington Navy Yard, the oldest in the nation. The gunman was later shot by police, raising the total number of deaths to thirteen.

According to ABC News, the gunman was identified as 34-year-old Aaron Alexis, a former navy reservist,that was honorably discharged in 2011. He is reported to have “heard voices” causing him to shoot at anyone that he saw that day, although this is still under investigation. He had a few run-ins with the law in 2004 and 2010 where he fired shots in anger. He was not prosecuted.
This semester, several Bluffton students are in Washington DC with the Washington Community Scholar’s Center program. During this tragedy, many students here in Bluffton have probably been wondering if everyone is alright, how close our fellow students are to the Washington Naval Yard, and so on.

One student, junior Meghan Hirn, posted a message to Facebook:
​”For those of you that are worried about me and the shootings…. I am ok… I am about 7 miles away from the chaos in an area where there is not much traffic and or business so everything is quiet here….. The offices that I work in are secure so I am safe here.
We hope that all of our students remain safe during their time in Washington DC.”

Story by Caitlin Nearhood