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U.S. Events 2011

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Presidential Coins Fall Under Budget Axe
December 14, 2011
The U.S. Treasury has called a halt to the automatic production of large numbers of $1 coins bearing the image of former presidents, saying that the savings will be $50 million a year.

YouTube Goes School-friendly
December 13, 2011
YouTube has made a large portion of its site school-friendly. The video site giants has created YouTube EDU, which houses hundreds of thousands of educational videos. It is also contained behind a network setting that allows school users access to the educational content but not to other, more distracting content, such as the latest viral video showing pets doing tricks.

Wisconsin Governor Target of Recall over Union Law
November 22, 2011
Recall fever is gripping Wisconsin, with a crowd of several thousand people gathering in the capital, Madison, to demand a recall election for Gov. Scott Walker.

Outlook for College Grads Slightly Better, Survey Says
November 19, 2011
A recent survey predicts that hiring of college graduates will improve in 2012. That would be welcome news to many who have struggled to transfer their education into a working salary in the past 12 months.

Geography Proficiency of U.S. Students: 25 Percent
July 20, 2011
Yet another survey has reported a decline in proficiency of U.S. students. According to the latest installment of the Nation's Report Card, no more than one in four students scored high enough on a geography evaluation to be at or above the Proficient level of an assessment conducted by the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Lawmakers Meet to End Minnesota Shutdown
July 5, 2011
Pressure is mounting on Minnesota's state lawmakers to come up with a budget agreement to avoid any more lost state services.

Minnesota Zoo Opens Despite Shutdown
July 3, 2011
In the wake of the shutdown of the Minnesota state government because of an inability to agree on budget cuts, one state-funded part of Minneapolis was particularly busy: the zoo.

USDA Serves Up Food Guidelines on a Plate
June 9, 2011
The Food Pyramid is now MyPlate. The U.S. guide to eating healthy now looks like a dinner plate, with recommendations for how much of which each food group people should eat.

Tornado Upgraded to Highest Level as Death Toll Reaches 125
May 25, 2011
Search and rescue workers in Joplin, Mo., have confirmed that 125 people were killed by the deadly tornado that ripped through the city a few days ago. Meanwhile, officials upgraded the tornado's damage-scale rating to the highest level possible.

Barge Traffic Resumes on Mississippi River
May 23, 2011


Crews began cautiously moving barges and small ships down the Mississippi River near Baton Rouge, after Coast Guard officials reopened the river there.

Tornado Death Toll Reaches 115
May 23, 2011
The death toll from the huge tornado that ripped through Joplin, Mo., has topped 115, and officials say grimly that they expect that number to rise.

Mississippi River Closed to Forestall Flooding
May 18, 2011
The Coast Guard has taken the extraordinary step of closing the Mississippi River at one stage in order to prevent flooding further downstream.

Microsoft Buys Skype for $8.5 Billion
May 10, 2011
The voice-over-Internet software program Skype is once again earning lots of money but not from users. This time, Microsoft is buying the Scandinavian company, for $8.5 billion.

Memphis Dodges Soggy Bullet as River Recedes
May 10, 2011
The Mississippi River near Memphis has begun to recede, but that is small consolation to the hundreds of people who have lost their homes, farms, and livelihoods because of the intense flooding, the worst in several generations along America's longest river.

Army Engineers Still Blasting Levee to Stave Off Historic Flooding
May 6, 2011
It's not often that the government blows up private and public property, but that's exactly what's happening along the Mississippi River in a couple of states, as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has blasted through a two-mile section of a levee to try to ease flooding in Ilinois and Kentucky.

Stamp, Award Commemorate Shepard, 1st American in Space
May 3, 2011
Alan Shepard, the first American in space, is getting twin honors posthumously: an astronauts achievement award and his name and face on a U.S. stamp.

Nissan Wins Sole Delivery of NYC Taxi Fleet
May 3, 2011
Nissan will provide New York City's taxicabs for the foreseeable, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced. And they will look suspiciously like minivans.

Southern Survivors Buoyed by Aid in Wake of Killer Storms
April 30, 2011
Aid has come pouring in to the southern states hit hard by the once-in-a-century combination of tornadoes and thunderstorms, with the latest feel-good story coming in the form of an unemployed woman leaving a Birmingham, Ala., Red Cross shelter barefoot, after she gave up the shoes on her feet.

Torrent of Storms Knocks Out Power at U.S. Nuclear Plant
April 28, 2011
The powerhouse storms that ripped through the southern United States recently knocked out power to the country's second-biggest nuclear power plant, but no Fukushima-like meltdown occurred.

New Face Leads Iditarod Dog Sled Race
March 10, 2011
Halfway through the annual 1,049-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, an unfamiliar name is leading the race.

Wisconsin Passes Anti-union Bill
March 9, 2011
In the end, it didn't matter how many Senate Democrats were around to vote on Gov. Scott Walker's union rights bill: It passed anyway.

Wisconsin Governor Issues Layoff Notices
March 4, 2011
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has followed through on a vow to issue layoff warning notices to hundreds of state workers, as part of an overall strategy to ensure passage of legislation that he and his fellow Republicans consider vital to the financial well-being of their state in the wake of a recent report setting the budget deficit at $3.6 billion.

Wisconsin Capitol Empty of Protesters; Governor to Issue Layoffs
March 3, 2011
The protesters have now left Madison for the most part, as Wisconsin's governor, Scott Walker, presses on with his plan to lay off more than a thousand state workers in a gambit designed to get Senate Democrats to return to the capital.

Wisconsin Sends State Troopers After Absent Senators
February 24, 2011
The legislative impasse in Wisconsin over proposed legislation that would limit the power of labor unions has escalated, with state troopers being dispatched to the homes of Democratic state senators in an effort to bring them back to the capitol for a vote on the bills.

Labor Bills Inflame Political Protests, Debate in Rust Belt
February 23, 2011
The Middle East and Africa are not the only flashpoints for governmental protests. Three states in the U.S. are the scene of fierce debate over legislation aimed at curtailing the power of labor unions.

Computer Dominates in Jeopardy! Challenge
Watson the IBM computer ran away with the first of a three-day challenge against two of the most famous human Jeopardy! champions.

N.Y. Toy Fair: What's Old Is New Again, and Vice Versa
The second of the world's largest toy fairs (after the Nuremberg Fair) opened in New York, with retailers hopeful that their wide array of new products can continue a slight upward trend in sales evidence in 2010, after two years of decline.

Long Spells at Screen Create Health Risk
A new study asserts that sitting in front of a computer or TV for even two hours at a time can be harmful to your health.

JFK Library Goes Online
The first presidential library to go online is that of John F. Kennedy.

Computer to Challenge Champions on Jeopardy!
IBM has designed deepQA, a computer that will challenge two Jeopardy! champions at their own game.

Christmas Trees Made of Lobster Traps
This time of the year, some people in New England are busy spending time at work or with family and friends, other people are busily buying holiday gifts, and still others are building Christmas trees out of lobster traps.

Making Troops Fit Keeps Army Happy
The recruits at one Army training facility are now expected to be confronted and challenged about their eating habits, their exercise routines, and their knowledge of health and fitness.

Students on Buses Keep on Learning

For many students in rural Arkansas, the learning doesn't stop when they leave school for the day.

Sun Power on the Rise over Parking Lots
That shiny roof over the neighborhood parking lot could be doing more than just protecting cars' paint from damage. In California, New Jersey, Florida, and other states around the U.S., companies are installing solar panels in public carports, turning the long, sunny days in some of these states into renewable energy that can be piped back into the electricity grid.

Toy Hall of Fame Expands Membership
The game of Life® and playing cards are now enshrined in the National Toy Hall of Fame.

Halloween Candy Doesn't Last Forever
Don't hang on to that Halloween candy too long, a food safety expert says, because it might go bad.

Study: Americans Still Lagging in Fruit, Vegetables Consumption
Despite considerable advice to the contrary, Americans still aren't eating enough fruits or vegetables every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A new study has found that only 32 percent of Americans surveyed reported eating fruit at least twice a day. An even lower 26 percent reported eating at least three vegetables a day.

Illinois Cuts Writing Exams for Most Students
The Illinois State Board of Education has written out of schools' yearly requirements one of what many people believe is a fundamental skill: the writing exam.

California Bill Would Ban Plastic Bags for Shopping
Many California shoppers will no doubt move to bringing their own bags with them when they shop, in the wake of a bill passed by the California Assembly to ban pharmacies and grocery, liquor and convenience stores from giving out plastic bags.

Happy Couple First Met When They Were Born
Amy Singley and Steven Smith were born on the same day (along with Steven's twin brother, Scott) in the same hospital. Now, 24 years later, they are to be married.

Women's Baseball Pioneer Dies
Dorothy "Dottie" Kamenshek, the inspiration for the lead character in the popular movie A League of Their Own, has died. She was 84.

Mount Rushmore Goes 3-D
Scientists are scanning Mount Rushmore with 3-D lasers, to make a virtual "backup" of the famous massive granite presidential heads.

Teen, 13, Youngest Atop Mount Everest
A boy from California stood on top of the world and called his mother on a satellite phone.

Lewis & Clark Twin Towers to Finally Open
An observation tower opening soon in Hartford, Ill., has been named for Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, the intrepid explorers who helped map the newly purchased Louisiana Territory in the early 19th Century.

Rare Baseball Feat Nets Computer Gamer $1 Million
The odds are against you in most promotions, which is why businesses offer such things as $1 million for a seemingly impossible feat. But some people play anyway, just for the thrill of the chase. That was certainly the case with Wade McGilberry, who bought a computer baseball game when it first came out and, within a few hours, had scored a million-dollar prize.

Palestinian Teens' Invention Helps the Blind
An obstacle-finding walking stick that will be on display at the world's largest science fair in San Jose, Calif., is the brainchild of three teenage Palestinian girls.

Post-it Notes Have Stuck Around for 30 Years
Before the 1980s, Post-it Notes didn't exist. Now, they're everywhere.

Museums Bring Field Trips to Schools
In this time of unsure funding, museums have begun bringing the field trips to schools, so students don't miss out on the artistic and scientific wonders that complement their school studies.

$100 Bill Goes High-tech
In a new attempt to outwit counterfeiters, the U.S. Government has redesigned the $100 bill to include several high-tech foils.

Wayward Cat Gets Free Flight Home
Charles the cat is a bit of a wanderer, it would seem. Or did he have help traveling the 1,300 miles from Albuquerque for Chicago? No person knows, and Charles isn't talking (at least in language that humans can understand).

Creativity Driving College Tours
It's all about the presentation for many universities in America these days, with recruitment efforts embracing creativity: bus tours, GPS devices, iPhone apps, you name it.

Jamaican Completes Iditarod Dog Sled Race
Newton Marshall has done it. The young 26-year-old from Jamaica (a country not exactly known for its cold weather) has become the first nonwhite musher to complete the 1,100-mile Iditarod sled dog race.

Babies Found to Dance to Music
Dancing comes naturally to babies, a new study has found. Whether that translates into ability remains to be seen, for some.

Boy, 7, Saves Family by Calling 911
A 7-year-old boy calmly phoned 911 from a locked bathroom to report that armed robbers were in his house and threatening his parents and his 6-year-old sister.

Jamaican Racing Iditarod Dog Sled Race
Jamaica is a long way from Alaska, but that's the journey that Newton Marshall has made. Marshall, from Jamaica, is competing in the Iditarod.

Pilot Who Landed Plane in Hudson River Retiring
The pilot considered a hero for landing a plane in the Hudson River and saving everyone onboard is retiring.

Hollywood Sign Neighborhood Saved from Developers
A nature conservation group has put down an option to save the land surrounding the fabled Hollywood sign from being turned into luxury homes.

Boy, 10, Enrolls in College
Of the students attending classes at Pittsburg (Kan.) State University this year, just one is 10 years old. That would be Alex Jaeger, who recently scored a 23 on the ACT college entrance exam and enrolled for a full schedule of classes.

Math, Science Study Gets High-profile Boost
Big Bird, famous CEOs, and the White House are teaming up to launch an initiative to improve American students' knowledge of math and science.

Flying Car to Take Bookings
It's a car. It's a plane. It's both. It's the Transition Roadable Aircraft, what is being called the "flying car."

Graphics courtesy of ClipArt.com
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