Your Must-See News Headlines for Today, November 20

More blackouts are planned for northern California as another wave of dangerous wind conditions brings the threat of wildfires.

The nation is buzzing about a public service announcement from South Dakota in which participants proclaim that they are “on meth.”

And an Ohio family trying to save their infant son was stunned when a critic told them to “let the baby die” because “it’s called Darwinism.”

Here’s what you need to know in the daily roundup.


TOP STORY: Utility Plans Another Round of Widespread Power Outages In California

Hundreds of thousands of people in northern California have been bracing for another round of widespread power outages as the risk for wildfires increases. The utility company PG&E announced that it would begin shutting off the electricity to several counties early Wednesday morning on a rolling scale. Some families were expected to wake up in the dark, while other areas may not see the power go down until late afternoon. PG&E says they expect to have the electricity back on by late Thursday.

The goal is to prevent more wildfires from sparking. Dangerous high winds were forecast to return to the region amid extremely dry conditions. PG&E says it will inspect power lines once the winds die down before deciding to turn the power back on.

The utility company tried this strategy last month with mixed results. Thousands of people had to be evacuated from their homes in October due to raging flames. The Kincade Fire, for example, scorched more than 77,000 acres in Sonoma County and destroyed more than 350 structures. A broken utility line may have been the cause of the fire.

California lawmakers have also lashed out at PG&E for failing to make necessary safety upgrades and have argued that the power shutoffs were unnecessary. State Senator Bill Dodd said during a hearing this week that he felt the blackouts by PG&E had been “a big screw you: to your customers, to the Legislature, to the governor.” Senator Scott Wiener added, “This company, in my mind, has forfeited its right to operate as an investor-owned utility. We need fundamental structural change at PG&E because the status quo just isn’t working and hasn’t worked for a long time.”


WHAT’S BUZZING THAT HAS EVERYONE TALKING: South Dakota Grabbed the Nation’s Attention With a PSA About Meth

Meth. We’re on it. South Dakota Meth Prevention Full Commercial 2019Who is affected when it comes to meth addiction? Everyone. That’s why everyone in South Dakota needs to get meth out of the state. Meth. We’re on it. Learn more about treatment, prevention and resources at https://onmeth.com/2019-11-18T15:25:59.000Z

“Meth. I’m on it.” At face value, it sounds like an admission about using the drug. But the ad agency that put together this public service announcement for South Dakota created the verbiage as a way to signify that the state is serious about tackling the problem.

The ad showcases several people stating that they are “on” meth. The people featured include a young girl, an older woman sitting in a church, a high school football player, and farmers. The commercial has inspired a multitude of online jokes as viewers mocked the double entendre.

But the PSA appears to have achieved exactly what its creators intended. Governor Kristi Noem pointed out that the goal had been to raise awareness about meth use in her state. She posted on Twitter, “3,366 people were arrested last year because of meth in SD. 13 people died. These numbers are more than just statistics. They’re missing faces. Empty chairs. Meth is an epidemic in our state, and we ALL need to pay attention. Let’s get on it.”

South Dakota’s Department of Social Services Secretary, Laurie Gill, told NBC News that teens in the state use meth at a rate twice that of the national average. The vast majority of drug arrests in the state (83%) involve meth.

Meth is highly addictive and long-term effect of use include memory loss, extreme weight loss, severe dental problems, paranoia, hallucinations and an increased risk for contracting infectious diseases such as hepatitis and HIV. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are no government-approved medications to treat meth addiction.


OFF-BEAT: Parents Raising Funds For Sick Infant Stunned By a Sign That Read, ‘Let the Baby Die’

Parents KC and Angela Ahlers are doing everything they can to try to save their infant son. Randy James was born in July with two rare conditions. Baby RJ has a defect that affects his brain development, along with a chromosomal disorder that can lead to growth problems and intellectual disabilities.

His parents have been raising funds from their community to help with medical bills. The effort included putting physical signs up around the Franklin Park Mall. KC Ahlers was stunned when he later noticed that someone had put up an additional sign next to his that read, “Stop asking for money. Let the baby die. It’s called Darwinism. Happy Holidays.”

RJ ahlers

GoFundMeRJ Ahlers

Ahlers told local news outlet WTVG-TV, “It shocked me. I mean it really shocked me that somebody would have that kind of cruelty.” Ahlers took the sign down. He noted that “Good Samaritans” had taken down additional negative signs.

But the negative sign had the opposite effect. The Ahlers’ GoFundMe page has now raised more than $56,000. The family says they’ve received donations from people all over the world who saw RJ’s story. Angela Ahlers wrote on the page, ” I am so at a loss of words at the love pouring out over our son. This world of chaos that we live in needs more love. It’s time people realize that all lives matter! Our son is so incredibly rare and if this little miracle can teach us all to love more and hate less we can all change the world.”


DAILY NEWS ROUNDUP

thomas OSADZINSKI

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of IllinoisPhotos related to ISIS shared by Thomas Osadzinski.


CHECK THIS OUT

Marian Scott was crushed when she was told that she couldn’t take a yearbook photo at her school in Michigan. The 8-year-old has red and black extensions in her hair, and the principal at Paragon Charter Academy deemed the look to be too “extreme” for the school.

Scott’s parents posted about their frustration over the incident to social media, and their daughter’s story quickly went viral. Photographer Jermaine Horton was among the several professionals who reached out to the family with an offer to do a professional photoshoot with Marian. The company Rich Girl Candy also gifted Marian with a new wardrobe for the photoshoot.

Marian’s parents say the experience has been inspiring for their daughter, who had felt ashamed after being denied a family photo. They have since switched her to a public school. Her father, Doug Scott, told Yahoo News, “Now she’s got a ton of friends and she loves the new school. No uniform, no restrictions on hair. She can express herself and not have to worry about it.”

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