The Saturday Six: Red tide and seaweed blob could threaten Florida’s beaches, a man is free after a 400-year prison sentence and more
The weekend is finally here.
During another busy news week, a storm in the northeast knocked out power to thousands and shut hundreds of schools, egg prices began to fall after months of hikes, Oprah revealed the 100th pick for her book club and the world mourned the loss of singer Bobby Caldwell, who died at the age of 71.
Meanwhile, actor Billy Crystal recreated his iconic “When Harry Met Sally” look for his 75th birthday, a Florida amusement park dismantled a ride where a teen fell to his death last year, USA Today put out its Women of the Year list, which includes Sandra Day O’Connor and Michelle Obama, and House Republicans launched their own version of the Jan. 6 committee.
But that’s not nearly all.
Below is our weekly Saturday Six, a recap of half a dozen news stories — in no particular order — ranging from the heartfelt to the weird to the tragic, and everything in between.
- A physics professor’s viral videos have helped inspire women to pursue careers in science. From the story: Women account for only a quarter of U.S. graduates who earn bachelor’s degrees in physics, according to the American Physical Society, a Maryland-based nonprofit organization. But Dr. Tatiana Erukhimova, a physics professor at Texas A&M University, is looking to change that with the help of social media. Watch the video above.
- A Florida man serving a 400-year prison sentence is free after being exonerated. From the story: Sidney Holmes, 57, was convicted in April of 1989 for a 1988 robbery in which he was accused of being the getaway driver. Holmes was greeted by his family as he walked free Monday, and said the first thing he wanted to do was get something to eat.
More Americans are unable to pay their bills, and some states are worse than others. From the story: A growing number of Americans say they are struggling to pay their bills, battered by inflation and the loss of federal pandemic aid. About 36% of consumers say it has been “somewhat” to “very difficult” for them to pay their usual bills, according to the Census Bureau’s most recent Household Pulse survey, which gathered responses during the first two weeks of February.
An Arkansas man found a 3.29-carat “big, ugly diamond” at a state park. From the story: An Arkansas man found a 3.29-carat brown diamond at the Crater of Diamonds State Park earlier this month. It is the largest diamond found in the park since September 2021, the park said in a statement.
A woman who posed as a sick, wounded Marine was given a six-year prison sentence. From the story: A Rhode Island woman who posed as an ailing military veteran to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in benefits and charitable contributions has been sentenced to nearly six years in federal prison, the Department of Justice said Tuesday. Sarah Jane Cavanaugh — who never served in the U.S. military — claimed that she was a Purple Heart and Bronze Star-decorated Marine who had been wounded by an IED in Iraq. Cavanaugh, 32, also claimed that she had developed service-related cancer.
Finally, Florida beaches could be dealt a one-two punch of red tide and seaweed blob as spring break approaches. From the story: A toxic algae bloom known as red tide is already killing fish along the Gulf Coast, causing a stench. Now, a massive blob of seaweed twice as wide as the United States is drifting across the Atlantic and could wash ashore in the coming weeks, creating an even bigger mess. “It could be two problems turning into a bigger one,” said Mike Parsons, a marine science professor at Florida Gulf Coast University.
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