KICs for a four-day weekend

Here comes another break from school! This four-day weekend is nice, although we are not sure what it is for. Perhaps the cold temperatures this weekend can make up for the heat that occupied the real winter break a few weeks ago. This week’s coverage includes migrants drowning on the way to a French island, the Georgia senate passing a tax rebate, a fire in Fairburn destroying a church and home, and a mother and grandfather charged with first-degree murder.

March 13 – Migrants drown trying to reach French Island Mayotte

Over the weekend, 47 people from Madagascar crossed by boat to the French Indian Ocean island of Mayotte. Madagascar maritime authorities said that at least 22 bodies were found, and 23 migrants were rescued. 

Most of the migrants are said to be from northern Madagascar, and the crossings are often aided by smugglers. French officials said more than 6,500 people in 2021 who were caught trying to enter Mayotte were detained. 

The French Senate has said there are an estimated 1,000 fatalities each year. Search and rescue operations are ongoing to find those still missing.

March 14 – Georgia Senate passes tax rebate

The Georgia Senate just passed a bill which will provide a rebate to Georgia taxpayers. It is included as part of a $1 billion income tax refund package, alongside untaxed gasoline. 

The bill would provide up to $250 to single filers, $375 to unmarried adults with dependents, and $500 to married couples. Georgia ended its budget last year with $6.6 billion in surplus revenue. The bill passed with little opposition in both chambers of the Georgia Congress. 

It is likely to be approved by Governor Brian Kemp since one of his campaign promises was to provide tax rebates. Only people who paid taxes in 2021 and 2022 will reap the benefits of the bill.

March 15 – Massive fire in Fairburn destroys church and homes

On Wednesday, an abandoned church was destroyed by a massive fire overnight. The fire was reported to have started at 1 a.m. inside the church. This fire was so powerful that a neighboring house also caught on fire.

Although the house was occupied, the firefighters got everyone out safely. One person was taken to the hospital, though it has not been confirmed whether he was inside the church or just nearby. 

Police are continuing to investigate what happened. No arrests have been made regarding the cause of the fire.

March 16 – Mother, grandfather charged with first-degree murder

In Iowa, a baby was found dead inside a trash bag in a ditch. Mother Megan Staude and grandfather Rodney Staude have been charged with first-degree murder.

Initially, both the Staudes told the authorities that the baby had died on the way to the hospital after he was born and buried in a cemetery. After finding no evidence of a new grave as well as a tip from Megan Staude’s co-workers, the police found the body in a ditch near Norwalk. Both Staudes confessed to providing no care for the child, and Rodney Staude also admitted to helping his daughter put the child into a bag and leave him in a ditch. 

Authorities are unsure of who the baby’s father is. Both Staudes are facing charges of first-degree murder.