The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper


Newsbytes: Student Information Release, Obama to Visit Cuba, Pope and Russian Patriarch Meet, & Snow Rollers in Idaho

By: Staff Writers Anu Asokan,  Anthony Chen and Amber Lee



local news

By court order, school districts in CA must release student information to Concerned Parents Association and Morgan Hill Concerned Parent Association. In 2012, the two parent organizations filed a lawsuit against the CA Department of Education, claiming that local school agencies didn’t ensure fair treatment and adequate education for special needs students. The Department may have to release personal information like addresses, demographics, disciplinary history, medical records, attendance records, and social security numbers. FUSD does not collect social security numbers, but many other Californian districts do. Parents have until April 1 to formally object to releasing information.



national newsbyte

President Barack Obama announced on February 18 that he will be visiting Cuba next month to meet with Cuban President Raúl Castro to discuss opening up Cuba’s mostly state-run economy and promoting human rights. This trip will make Obama the first US president in 88 years to visit Cuba since President Calvin Coolidge’s visit in 1928. The outcome of Obama’s visit will determine whether the two nations are on the right track in mending their hostile relationship. This visit, however, has been met with skepticism from both Democrats and Republicans, who think that such a visit could be counterproductive and send the wrong message that the US stands with Cuban oppressors.




Pope Francis of the Catholic Church and Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church met in Havana, Cuba, on February 12. Francis and Kirill jointly issued a request for countries around the world to protect Christians suffering persecution in the Middle East and offer humanitarian aid to refugees. The meeting marked the first time that a pope had come together with a Russian Orthodox patriarch, promoting unity between the Catholic and Orthodox branches of Christianity.



This Jan. 30, 2016 photo provided by The Nature Conservancy shows a rare weather event that caused spontaneous snowballs at The Nature Conservancy’s Silver Creek Preserve and surrounding fields near the tiny town of Picabo, Idaho. The National Weather Service says snow rollers are caused by an unusual combination of snowfall around a couple inches with the right water density and temperatures near freezing followed by strong winds. (Sunny Healey/The Nature Conservancy via AP)

Winds naturally created thousands of snow rollers on the snowy fields of the Silver Creek Preserve near Picabo, Idaho. Snow rollers look like snowballs rolled up on the snowy ground, except they are not manmade and require specific weather conditions. Snow too dry would create snowdrifts instead of snow rollers, and winds too strong would damage the rollers’ formation. Even though meteorologists know how these snow rollers are formed, they do not yet know the specific conditions required for this phenomenon to occur.


Photos Courtesy of The New York Times, CNN, and Associated Press

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