Feb. 4 Weekly News Digest: Black History Month, winter storms and Spotify misinformation scandal 


Credit: James Hauke

A look inside room M1, Rostam Ahmad Daud’s Information Technology classroom. The Cyberknights practice and compete here with their awards shown on the back wall.

News Team

COVID Updates

According to The New York Times COVID dashboard, there have been over 385 thousand new cases of COVID-19 in the United States each day as of February 3. Around 11 thousand cases are concentrated in Michigan and out of the new daily Michigan cases, roughly 263 being in Kalamazoo County. These new numbers showcase a drastic decrease from the peak of the omicron variant in late January. 


Local News

At last week’s KPS school board meeting on January 27, the KPS Board of Education has announced that the current mask mandate in schools will continue throughout the third trimester. It was also announced at the school board meeting that the spectator restriction on 100 or fewer individuals for sports games and concerts has been lifted after its institution throughout January. 

On January 30, a building in downtown Kalamazoo that was used for residents and businesses caught fire. It lasted around 10 minutes and authorities are still unsure what caused it. The building is located on East Michigan Avenue. 

Earlier this week marked the start of Black History month in the United States. The Loy Norrix Black History Month Committee, which began in late January and is led by junior Nadia Abbott has begun meeting and discussing ways to celebrate Black history at Norrix. The most recent demonstration, which occured at the end of second period on February 4, was a school sanctioned walkout in which students came together at Norrix’s four corners and spoke out for the Black Lives Matter movement.  

Throughout February, The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts will be presenting the “Africa, Imagined” exhibit to celebrate Black history month. According to MLive reporter Isis Simpson-Mersha, “The exhibit features mostly West African works of art spanning the 20th and 21st centuries, and hones in on three main themes—escapism, social inquiry and cultural reclamation.”

State News

On the podcast “Face the Facts,” Republican governor candidate in the upcoming primaries, Garrett Soldano, expressed his opinions on abortion and claimed that he was pro-life even in cases of rape victims. He said on the podcast that, “They don’t know. That little baby inside them may be the next president, may be the next person who changes humanity.” Soldano’s full feature on the right-wing podcast is here.

According to the National Weather Service, southwest Michigan and parts of northern Indiana were placed under a winter storm warning from 2 a.m. on February 2 to 7 p.m. on February 3. Areas affected received around 16 inches of snow and experienced gusting winds as high as 35 mph. Many school districts and local governments such as Kalamazoo County closed over the couple of days. 

National News

On January 28, the Fern Hollow Bridge in Pittsburg collapsed due to the poor infrastructural state of the bridge and snowy conditions. Ten people were injured, but there were no fatalities. This collapse came on the same day President Joe Biden was set to visit Pittsburgh to speak about the city’s infrastructure, which includes over 400 bridges.

On January 29, a blizzard dropped two feet of snow on the northeast. Hazardous weather conditions prevailed throughout the day and into January 30. Some states, like  Massachusetts, received a record breaking 30 inches of snow.

Beginning earlier this week, the first week of Black History Month, a series of bomb threats were sent to administations of over a dozen historically black colleges. Several of the colleges canceled in-person classes and locked down their buildings. The FBI are currently investigating and believe that they have found six possible suspects for these threats. 

International News

Following backlash from users and artists on the platform, Spotify has announced that they plan on adding COVID-19 related information to their user interface to combat the misinformation being spread from musicians and podcasts such as the “Joe Rogan Experience.” Artists such as Neil Young and Joni Mitchell have removed their music from the platform and many users have begun to cancel their subscriptions following what they see as an underwhelming response from Spotify. 

On Febuary 3rd, John Kirby, the US press secretary, said that they have received intelligence that Russia will release a propaganda video of Ukrainian military attacking Russia in order to create “false rationale for an invasion,” according to CNN. Vladimir Putin publicly spoke on the issue with Ukraine for the first time, saying Russia and the US were not on the same page and felt that the West was not listening to his security demands. Russia would like NATO to stop expanding east-ward and sending weapons near Russia. They also want fewer troops in Eastern Europe. The Russian President is still advocating for diplomacy. Putin will meet with China’s leader, Xi Jinping, Friday night.

The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics will officially start Friday, February 4. There will be 15 disciplines, including bobsleigh, figure skating, and alpine skiing. The end ceremony will be on February 20. You can watch live on NBC and find the Olympic schedule here.