2014 in Review

 

Here is a flashback of 2014 using terms that many Americans probably never hear of prior to that year: Ebola, ISIS, Boko Haram – or couldn't point to on a map: Gaza, Israel, Syria, Ukraine, Java Sea, North Korea, Sochi, Malaysia.

The year 2014 saw the XXII Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, and the FIFA World Cup soccer match won by Germany. Malaysian Airlines passenger flight MH370 disappeared in March, and no trace of the plane or its 12 crew members or 227 passengers has yet to be found.

Malaysian flight MH17 was shot down by a Ukrainian missile. Ferguson, Mo., was a town most had never heard of before 2014 when in August a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black teenager. The shooting prompted protests, then when a grand jury decided not to indict the police officer, there was civil unrest in metropolitan areas across the country and a social media campaign was born: #BlackLivesMatter.

Celebrity deaths included Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Williams, and Joan Rivers. The Ice Bucket Challenge went viral onb social media, raising awareness and research funds for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).

Immigration and, in particular, child immigration made headlines. The GM recalls placed a spotlight on vehicle safety and the responsibilities of auto manufacturers.

There were huge retail data breaches (Target, Home Depot, Marriott hotels). And the U.S. Secret Service has lots of explaining to do.

During the lackluster midterm elections – where the lowest percentage of voters in 70 years took the time to cast a ballot – Republicans gained control of the Senate. Stocks soared while the income gap continued to widen. 

Although there is cynicism in politics and lots of controversy surrounding the landmark Affordable Care Act, more Americans have health insurance than ever before.

The Keystone XL pipeline, a cross-country (from Canada to Texas) oil pipeline system, had its current phase halted by Congress… for now. 

Oscar Pistorius had his day in court. And the U.S. and Cuba have patched up some of their differences.

Thirty-six states and Washington, D.C., now allow same-sex marriage. Pot is legal in four states. Maine and Connecticut's legislatures passed GMO labeling bills, and similar legislation has been introduced in about 30 states.

And on New Year's Day 2015, 2.4 million workers in 20 states received a pay raise as the minimum wage increased by up to $1 to an avery of $8 per hour and a high of $9.15. More states will bump pay later this year. California is not included in the recent tally. Currently, California's minimum wage is $9 per hour (effective July 1, 2014) and will increase to $10 per hour on January 1, 2016, however, San Francisco raised its minimum wage on January 1 to $11.05.

Governor Jerry Brown stayed busy signing 930 bills into law while vetoing 143 others.

While all this was happening around the state, nation, and world, Three Rivers and the encompassing area collectively called Kaweah Country was making its own news. To view the first six months of 2014 in review, see the January 23 e-Edition.

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