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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is eager to get on with business amid a scandal over traffic jams in Fort Lee, New Jersey that appear to have been manufactured by his aides. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is eager to get on with business amid a scandal over traffic jams in Fort Lee, New Jersey that appear to have been manufactured by his aides. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is eager to get on with business amid a scandal over traffic jams in Fort Lee, New Jersey that appear to have been manufactured by his aides. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

A look at what’s happened in the world over winter break

On behalf of The Stute, welcome back to Stevens Institute of Technology!

As we all know, the academic year is eventful, abound with scholastic pursuits and interactions with our like-minded peers; educational, social, and otherwise. When winter break comes around, it seems that all of these things wind down for a relaxed and quiet three weeks.
This year, however, proved quite the contrary. While visions of sugarplums danced in our heads, the rest of the country saw a myriad of changes within this short duration:
Soon after the Stute staff stopped publishing for the semester to prepare for finals, River Terrace 600 suffered a small bout of flooding from a burst pipe. No one was injured, but reports indicated that there was some property damage.
Residents were asked to leave River 600 temporarily so that the leak could be repaired.
During Winter Break, a storm brewed in the Midwest that traveled east and pounded the Tri-state area with dangerously low temperatures.
In Chicago, it was said that the temperature had nose-dived to subzero conditions, plummeting to as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit. It was so incisively cold that locks were iced over from the inside of houses, and such cold was so immobilizing that flights were canceled because the anti-freezing agent used to thaw airplanes had itself frozen.
The “Polar Vortex,” as it was called, swept towards New York, and roads were left in terrible conditions which led to a few deaths scattered across the eastern half of the country.
In political news, Federal Work Study students will be pleased to hear that the State of New Jersey has raised the minimum wage to $8.25, which, for most, means a $0.25 increase on their respective jobs.
Such a move was based off of the incentive to ease the transition into a higher cost of living within the country.
Other states to increase the minimum wage were Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.
Also on the political front, evidence finally surfaced about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s involvement with shutting down two lanes of the George Washington Bridge in September 2013, deterring New Jersey students – particularly those from the town of Fort Lee – from attending the first day of classes in a timely manner.
The mayor of Fort Lee, Democrat Mark Sokolich, had voiced dissent towards Christie’s gubernatorial reelection and plans for presidential campaign, which clearly did not bode well with the Christie administration.
It thusly appears that a top aide did in fact have some knowledge and influence in the shutting down of the two lanes, which caused massive traffic build-ups on the busiest bridge in the United States.
In other political news, three-term Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City retired after 12 years of service to the City of New York. On January 1, 2014, the popular Democrat Bill de Blasio succeeded Bloomberg as mayor of New York City, having struck a positive note with voters across the socioeconomic demographics of the city of 8.9 million.
However, a scandal has already arisen within his administration: newspaper headlines are ablaze with talk of Pizzagate, during which de Blasio committed the unforgivable abomination of pizza consumption with a fork instead of positioning the slice in a prayerful half-fold by hand, as is the sacred local custom. Nevertheless, de Blasio has exhibited acknowledgement and sensitivity towards other aspects of the lives of his citizens, and shows great promise for progress in New York City.
New York isn’t the only place fond of pizza these days, however. Also occurring on New Year’s Day was the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado for citizens over 21 years of age. Merchandise from government-licensed dispensaries are said to be priced much higher than its reported “street value;” however, within a week the state had generated significant revenue from sales, inspiring the state of New Hampshire to deliberate over a similar bill in an attempt to eventually follow suit.
It is expected that other states will also be subjected to a contact high as avid smokers from other states petition for legalization moves.
Though one might feel removed from the world while they’re holed in at home for the break, in less than a month, an academic hiatus had disguised the possibility of publication-worthy news.
Though things have been slow in the microcosm of our campus, one must not forget to keep tabs on the ever-changing world around us. After all, when we graduate from The Innovation University and into the messed-up affairs of the planet, we might just be the ones who have to fix it.