Top news stories around the U.S. — What you missed while you were checking Facebook and Twitter

Grain belt drought

Grain belt drought (Photo by U.S. Department of Agriculture)

I know, I know, it may seem hard to believe that there is much more going on in the country than what your friends post in your Facebook and Twitter feeds. To keep you in the know, check out these top news stories from around the U.S. that you may have missed while reading what your ex is doing over the weekend.

Higher Ed degrees: Worth their weight?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. employs “115,000 janitors, 83,000 bartenders, 323,000 restaurant servers and 80,000 heavy-duty truck drivers with bachelor’s degrees.” This may be pretty disheartening to us, but what the numbers don’t present is how long college grads stay in the aforementioned areas. Sure, being a server with a college degree isn’t much fun when you’d rather be working elsewhere; however, it’s a stepping stone that can provide valuable experience. So, don’t let these statistics discourage you from finishing your education and reaching for your dream career.

President Obama creates elite STEM Master Teacher Corps

On July 18, 2012, President Obama announced a plan to create a new national science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) Master Teacher Corps whose members will be some of the “nation’s finest educators in the STEM subjects,” according an article from the AJC Get Schooled Blog article by Maureen Downey titled “Obama creates elite science, math teaching corps and seeks a billion to fund it.” Downey says, “The STEM Master Teacher Corps will begin with 50 exceptional STEM teachers established in 50 sites and will be expanded over 4 years to reach 10,000 Master Teachers.” Those chosen will work to ensure U.S. students receive the best education, making them competitive in the job market. Chosen Master Teachers will receive a $20,000 annual stipend on top of their base salary.

“Physical inactivity just as deadly as smoking, report says.”

Reread that heading again. Yeah, it’s enough to scare me off the couch today, too.

A study published in the Lancet and reported by Fox News in their July 18, 2012, post “Physical inactivity just as deadly as smoking, report says,” explains that about 5.3 million adult deaths worldwide each year were caused by inactivity. The decline in physical activity needs to be “viewed and treated as a pandemic.” In an effort to explain why being physical is a necessity, researchers are turning the tables to help the public understand the dangers of being inactive, rather than “continually telling them of the health benefits of being active.”

Drought in the grain belt

Being deemed one of the worst droughts of the U.S. in centuries, the lack of rain combined with the scorching summer temps is sending the cost of produce, meat and other products that rely on corn higher and higher. More than half of the 48 continental states were in moderate to extreme drought in June. According to the report, “Facing Drought, Farmers’ Crops Taking Heat,” on PBS NewsHour, it takes droughts like this one to shed light on where consumers’ food is coming from. Consumers will see a rise in the cost of products that contain or feed off corn and other grains such as oils and sweeteners.

AT&T data rates to soar by end of summer

AT&T customers will be allowed to have a single combined plan with up to 10 devices connected that will include unlimited calls and text messages. However, the data plan will be about four times what it is now ($40 per 1GB, as opposed to $30 for 3GB). AT&T is attempting to stay in the race with a similar Verizon plan. If you’re in need of an upgrade, the combined plan may be worth checking out. Existing plans will still be available, so don’t worry about being forced into a larger, more expensive plan, says Reuters in their July 18, 2012, post “AT&T set to sharply increase data service fee.”

Well, there you have it: this week’s top news stories. Remember to never give up on your education and dream job. Now please, take a break from the computer and get active!

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