News Cues: Outside the Halls of New Trier


AP Images

Anti-government protesters jump over fence during a rally

Winnetka Area:

Students at Winnetka’s Crow Island School strive to make a difference one sandwich at time by preparing hundreds of sandwiches to feed to the homeless. Children in kindergarten through fourth grade spent the days before their winter break putting together lunch bags for a shelter in Garfield Park called the Franciscan House of Mary and Joseph. According to the Chicago Tribune, the idea came at a PTA meeting when the members were discussing and planning the holiday party for the day before break. Parents and teachers agreed that the day could also be spent doing some good for others and decided to turn it into a service project. They wanted to show students of how fortunate they are and that it is important to help others. Students got involved with the project in various ways. Some helped by assembling brown paper bags to pack the sandwiches and drew some illustrations on them. While others packed ham and cheese sandwiches, the bags with chips, juice boxes and carrots. The kids seemed to really enjoy this project according to their teachers. The school in total donated 450 lunches to the shelter and the kids got an important lesson in helping those who are less fortunate.


The record-breaking cold that Chicago experienced on January 6 and 7 created a high demand for with people needing to heat their homes. Electric companies to requested that citizens should try to conserve energy. The temperatures on Monday and Tuesday dipped well in to the negatives with dangerous windchill temperatures in affect as well. Many citizens to stayed bundled up inside their homes, while the cold outside meant their homes required extra energy for heat. The demand was so great that, according to the Chicago Tribune, major electric companies asked customers to scale back their energy usage for a couple of days. PJM Interconnection, a major electricity distribution company for Illinois, asked their customers to avoid using large appliances during peak hours of demand on Wednesday, January 8. They also recommended that customers refrain from using appliances such as the washer, dryer, dishwasher, and stove during the hours between 6:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. that day.


A chemical spill in West Virginia’s Elk River left 300,000 residents without access to clean tap water. Residents were told that they had to clean their hands with peroxide if they were to touch the water. Residents tell the New York Times that the fault is not solely blamed on the company that caused it, but also on the poorly enforced rules and regulations of West Virginia. The Times also says that the site of the accident has not been inspected since 1991 because West Virginia regulations do not require inspection of storage facilities, only production facilities. In August 2008, after a gas explosion killed two workers, a team from the United States Safety Board asked West Virginia to create a new program that would prevent accidents, said the Charleston Gazette-Mail. However, there were no new programs. Critics say that the little change in laws and regulations is due to the fact that West Virginia is very dependent on its coal mines for its economy. “The numbers look good, and like last night, they are very encouraging,” Governor Tomblin said in a news conference on Sunday, referring to the contamination of resident’s tap water. “I believe we’re at a point where we can say we’re seeing light at the end of the tunnel.”


The Peoples Democratic Reform Committee Protest group launched its “Shutdown Bangkok” anti-government protest on Monday, January 6th in retaliation to their Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra. They intended to close seven main intersections and surround the houses of the Prime Minister and some of his associates and cut off electricity and water supplies to achieve their goals. Authorities told CNN that since protests  began in November, eight people have died and 470 are injured. The Thailand government sent out 15,000 military troops and police to Bangkok in anticipation of the so-called shutdown. In December, Yingluck made a decision to phase out the old government and hold new elections on February second, but that did not please the protesters. They wanted all possible influence of the former Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, who happens to be the older brother of Yingluck. Since 2001, parties in relation to the Shinawatra name have won all elections in Thailand. CNN states that most opposition to the Shinawatra families are from the urban elites and the middle class, who populate much of Bangkok. The family’s traditional supporters are from the more populated areas of north and northeast Thailand.