Martin Luther KICs

Well, we are still yet to be in the building a whole week to begin the semester, but who is complaining about that? We started the week by thanking Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for all he did to merit a national holiday and a day off from school, so now catch up on recent events by reading this week’s KICs. This week we have robots that are programmed to kill weeds, a SWAT standoff, first grade students honoring MLK day, a brother’s plea to end a hostage situation, and potential impacts of Congress not renewing the expanded child tax credit.

January 17 – Robots programmed to kill weeds

Three farming robots in England are using electric pulses to remove weeds. These robots, named Tom, Harry, and Dick, are designed to remove pestering weeds without the excessive use of unwanted chemicals. These environmentally-friendly machines were created by the Small Robot Company.

Each robot is programmed for a different job. Data is collected from Tom, which is given to Dick, who uses this data to locate and eliminate the weeds. The last robot, Harry, plants seeds in the clean, weed-free soil. 

This organic idea has raised about $9.9 million dollars, and the company hopes that by 2023, the system of robots will be fully launched. The use of environmentally-friendly robots over deadly chemicals is a giant step toward safer agriculture. 

January 18 – SWAT standoff in Norcross ends with gunman’s arrest – 

An 18-hour standoff occurred at a Gwinnett County apartment complex. The SWAT team was able to take 33-year-old Terrell Andrews into custody.

The standoff began at around 5:30 a.m. Monday morning. An unknown person called the police requesting assistance. Officials later discovered that the man in the house had a weapon. 

The police department and SWAT team spent the entire day trying to get the armed man to surrender. Officials had said that the gunman had taken multiple shots at the officers. After hours of trying to get Andrews to surrender, the SWAT entered his apartment and arrested him. He is charged with reckless conduct, aggravated assault, and false imprisonment.

January 19 – First grade students honor MLK day

At Sara Harp Minter Elementary School, Kristi Soong’s first grade class created a big presentation about Martin Luther King Jr. They studied about what he did for the world and the benefits and work he has done. 

For the picture creation, every kid had a piece of paper and a pencil to lead them to color, so at the end when they are all finished they put the pieces of the puzzle together to combine and complete the big masterpiece of Martin Luther King Jr. 

Soong stated that every little detail the students did symbolizes Dr. King’s work. When finished with their masterpieces, the students got to display their work as a memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. 

January 20 – Phone call reveals brother pleading with Texas hostage taker

A newly released phone call shows the brother of the Texas hostage taker begging that he release the hostages and turn himself in. After a British man took four people hostage in a Texas synagogue on Sunday, a phone call during the 10-hour standoff reveals the brother of the hostage taker pleading with him. 

In the phone call, Malik Akram indicated that he was armed and had a bomb. His brother, Gulbar Akram, urged that he lay down his weapons and return to his children alive. Akram only grew more frustrated and insisted that U.S. authorities release Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani man convicted of trying to kill U.S. soldiers. 

Malik said that he had prayed for two years about the attack, and that he would return in a body bag. The 10-hour standoff ended after the final hostage ran out of the synagogue, while FBI agents and SWAT members rushed in and killed Akram. The FBI stated that the incident was terror related and targeted against the Jewish Community. 

January 21 – Non-renewal in expanded child tax credit causes fallout

The end of 2021 saw the United States Congress choose not to renew the expanded child tax credit, a choice that is now directly affecting families. As inflation rises, families are forced to look in other places for financial support. 

To help relieve the situation, President Biden has suggested breaking up his social spending program in order to easier pass it through Congress. While this may work, he faces much opposition from members of the Senate, raising concerns that passing the program might move to raise inflation even more. 

It is noted that 1 in 4 families used the money to cover childcare costs, as seen by results from the Census. Some politicians continue to oppose renewing the act or bringing in others, such as President Biden’s social spending program, under the concern that people may use the money not for their family but for drugs or other illicit recreational activities. It remains to be seen whether or not aid is released in the form of a future bill.