The Weekly Grind: March 11-17
Drink in the week’s most important stories — all in one place. In the time it takes to drink your first cup of coffee, we’ll help you get caught up.
Every March, 64 women’s teams and 68 men’s teams compete for the title of NCAA National Champion. Games began March 14. Kansas State and Mount St. Mary’s took the first wins in the First Four tournament. The first day was unusually normal; the exception being ninth-ranked Vanderbilt got cut out of the tournament by a last-minute foul. This let eighth-ranked Northwestern score game-clinching free throws.
In other March Madness news, vasectomies skyrocket. This could be due to the popular basketball tournament happening around the same time. The University of Utah hosts a “U Vas Madness” that includes a free recovery kit with a basketball-shaped ice pack. Although there are no official stats on the phenomenon, the Cleveland Vasectomy Clinic says it saw a 10 percent increase during March Madness over the last two years. Some believe men do this to get time off from work during games.
The Daily Nebraskan’s budget has been in limbo since it requested a budget increase last month. ASUN passed an amendment approving The DN’s budget last week, but student body president Spencer Hartman vetoed the amendment. Hartman says he wants to keep student fees low. Student fees would decrease 51 cents, from $3.04 to $2.53.
It’s possible Hartman’s veto is unconstitutional. The DN is filing for a restraining order that would hold off decisions until the validity of the veto is decided. The decision should be made at the March 28 Student Court hearing. (The Daily Nebraskan) (Omaha World Herald)
In January 2015 and May 2016, the Obama administration issued letters of guidance to states that directed schools to allow students to use restrooms and locker rooms that fit their expressed gender. Schools would risk losing federal funding if they did not abide the letters. Nebraska led 10 other states in a lawsuit fighting the letters’ content.
Thursday, the agencies that had issued the letters under the Obama administration withdrew those letters, making the suits unnecessary. Transgender students and their allies continue to battle the bathroom issue. (Lincoln Journal Star)
Last week, Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes appealed U.S. District Judge James Boasberg’s decision to allow construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline to finish. The tribes requested to discontinue oil flow upon their appeal. Boasberg denied the request. In his ruling Tuesday Boasberg said the “plaintiff does not have a strong case on appeal.” (Associated Press)
U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson put the Trump administration’s revised travel ban on hold Wednesday. Watson does not believe the travel ban is about national security despite government claims. The judge said Hawaii would suffer financially as a result of the ban. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who succeeded in blocking the first ban with a lawsuit, praised Watson’s decision. “It’s very exciting. At this point it’s a team effort—multiple lawsuits and multiple states,” Ferguson said.
A judge in Maryland issued a similar order later in the week.
Senate Intelligence leaders say no evidence of Trump Tower wiretapping
Two weeks ago, President Trump took to Twitter…again. Trump’s tweets claimed President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower just before Trump’s victory. “Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016,” Sen. Richard Burr and Sen. Mark Warner said in a joint statement.
Locally owned coffee shops Cottonwood and Meadowlark closed down unexpectedly last month due to unpaid sales taxes. Nathan Simpson, co-owner of both businesses would not say why the taxes went unpaid. The newer of the two locations, Cottonwood Café on 11th and K streets, re-opened quickly. But Meadowlark Coffee & Espresso remained closed until Mississippi native and musician Joey Plunkett and his wife Andi Barker, a vascular surgeon, bought the coffee shop. “Meadowlark was our place,” said Plunkett who had played at Meadowlark’s open mic nights. Plunkett and Barker bought Meadowlark on March 10 and reopened it on the March 15. Customers should expect to see pretty much the same Meadowlark they saw under the old ownership, maybe with more live music. (Lincoln Journal Star)
Forty-seven deaf and hearing impaired students from four academic institutions went on a whale-watching tour in Samana, Dominican Republic. The students wore high-tech backpacks that translated the whales’ songs and sounds into vibrations. “When I first felt the vibration, I felt it in my heart. It reminded me of a heartbeat,” Nicole Duran, a student at the St. Rose Institute for Deaf Assistance in Santo Domingo, said. (AP)
In the mid-1800s, seaweed kept people alive during the Great Famine in Ireland. Today, it’s often used to fertilize fields. But people in Ireland and around the world are taking their seaweed game to a whole new level. It’s becoming a popular, healthy snack and not just for humans. (NPR)
Researchers in Queensland found that adding seaweed to a cow’s diet can reduce the amount of methane it produces by up to 99 percent. According to the EPA, livestock will account for 21 percent of non-CO2 emissions in 2030. (ABC Australia)
Round two of March Madness begins March 18-19, Sweet Sixteen tournaments on the 23-24. (CBS)
Billy Joel will be at Pinnacle Bank Arena on March 24. (Pinnacle Bank Arena)
For those of you who are 21 and over, enjoy your spring break: (Spring Break Anthem)