News Updates Besides COVID-19

Beloved country singer Kenny Rogers sadly passed away of natural causes at 81 years old.

Wade Payne, Associated Press

Beloved country singer Kenny Rogers sadly passed away of natural causes at 81 years old.

Lilyann Belcher, Staff Writer

COUNTRY MUSIC LOSES ONE OF ITS FINEST

Country Music star Kenny Rogers died on March 20th in his home in Sandy Springs, Georgia.  Known for blurring the line between country and pop music, Rogers’ music career lasted 60 years beginning with his 1957 single “That Crazy Feeling.”  Rogers spent the early years of his career in a jazz band and later a folk music band, but his solo career took off in 1978 with “Lucille,” winning him the first of four Grammy Awards.  Rogers released his last song, “Once Again Its Christmas,” in 2015 and went on his final tour in three days later, visiting only five cities.

Rogers was briefly hospitalized in May of 2019 for dehydration, but afterwards said he planned on “sticking around through the years to come.”  However, Rogers passed under the care of hospice from natural causes according to a family spokesman.

Celebrities took to the internet mourning the death of the county legend, including Dolly Parton, who sang the hit duet “Islands in the Stream” with Rogers. “I love Kenny with all my heart.  My heart is broken,” she said.

Sarah Trahern, chief executive officer of the Country Music Association, spoke of his fame, saying, “He was a global superstar who helped introduce country music to audiences around the world.”

The Gambler is survived by his wife, children, grandchildren, siblings, nieces, and nephews.

TOM BRADYT AND THE TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Future NFL Hall of Famer Tom Brady, 42, signed a two-year contract worthy of up to $59 million with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 2020 season on March 20th.  After spending his first 20 years with the New England Patriots and earning six Superbowl rings, Brady comes to the Bucs “excited, humbled, and hungry,” per his official announcement of the deal on Instagram.  

Brady has made nine Superbowl appearances, but joins the Bucs, who currently have the second-longest active playoff drought and only one Superbowl win.  The Buccaneers are looking forward an added spark of the leadership as well as the postseason experience Brady can bring to the team. Following the signing, Bucs second year head coach Bruce Arians said, “Tom is the most successful quarterback in the history, but what makes special is his ability to make those around him better.”

Tampa fans have high hopes going into the 2020 season while Boston fans mourn the loss of their football star.  Codey Winters, a Buccaneers fan commented on the Twitter announcement, saying “This is the start of something special.”  Jeff Fuller, a Patriots fan, commented, saying, “From Pats fan to Bucs fan, you guys are getting the hardest working and greatest QB ever.”

FIRST LAUNCH OF THE UNITED STATES SPACE FORCE

President Trump signed legislation creating the US Space Force December 20th, 2019, thus creating the sixth branch of US armed forces.  The Space Force is the first addition to the Armed Forces since 1947, when President Truman created the Air Force.  The Space Force will maintain US dominance in space by collecting information and relaying communications around the world.  

On March 26th, the first national security mission of the USSF launched the Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite (AEHF) from Port Canaveral.  A representative for Lockheed Martin, the contractor for the AEHF satellite, released a statement saying, “The Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) system provides vastly improved global, survivable, protected communications capabilities for strategic command and tactical warfighters operating on ground, sea and air platforms. The jam-resistant system also serves international partners including Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.”  

After a short delay Thursday afternoon due to a misreading of the hydraulic equipment, the rocket was launched with the satellite from the east coast of Florida.  The information that will be communicated from the satellite should last beyond 2030, according to Lieutenant General John F Thompson, Commander of the Space and Missiles Systems Centre in California.  

DISNEY WELCOMES ZEBRA FILLY AND PORCUPETTE

Although Disney has closed its doors to humans in the wake of the Coronavirus, they are still welcoming new animal guests to their parks.  Disney’s Animal Kingdom recently welcomed a female young porcupine and zebra foal to the park, making the announcement on their Instagram page.  

The baby porcupine, or porcupette, was born on February 25th to mother Peri.  Peri was featured during her pregnancy with vet Natalie Mylniczenko on the “One Day at Disney” documentary on Disney+.  The prehensile tail porcupette will become part of the Species Survival Plan, a plan to preserve threatened or endangered species.  The Disney veterinary team tested her small, red quills to determine her gender. Peri and her mother are staying at Animal Kingdom’s Conservation Station.

Just after the birth of the young porcupine, Disney’s zebra mother, Heidi, welcomed her first offspring.  The zebra foal is yet to be named, but, according to reports, is strong and healthy. The 65-pound filly was standing within a half hour of being born.  Mark Penning, the Vice President of Animals, Science, and Environment at Disney’s parks, said the foal will take the next few weeks to bond with her mother.  The baby will have the chance to memorize her mother’s scent and unique markings before being introduced to the Kilimanjaro Safari’s Savannah.