HC Wake-Up Call: Hawaii Island Disappears, Police Arrest Two Middle School Girls, & Federal Judge Blocks Georgia From Throwing Out Absentee Ballots

Good morning Her Campus! With a break-neck news cycle, there is no possible way for you to stay on top of every story that comes across your feeds — we’re all only human, after all. 

But, life comes at you fast. So grab a cup of coffee and settle in for this quick and dirty guide to stories you might’ve been sleeping on (like, literally. It’s early.) 

A Remote Hawaiian Island Completely Wiped Off From The Map

An 11-acre Hawaiian island disappeared underwater, after a powerful hurricane struck earlier this month. 

In a statement from the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument on Tuesday, East Island, which is the second-largest islet in French Frigate Shoals, “appears to be underwater” after Hurricane Walaka. 

The island was major habitat for critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal, green sea turtle, and multiple species of seabirds. 

The Honolulu Civil Beat first reported East Island’s dramatic vanishing act. The Satellite images collected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service show how the white sand is practically gone.

“I had a holy shit moment, thinking ‘Oh my God, it’s gone,” said University of Hawaii climate scientist Chip Fletcher to Honolulu Civil Beat. “It’s one more chink in the wall of the network of ecosystem diversity on this planet that is being dismantled.” 

He said that he knew the island would eventually be underwater, but he thought it would take a couple more decades. The hurricane’s pathway wasn’t a function of climate change, he said, but instead bad luck. The trajectory of the Category 4 hurricane aimed right for the island. It’s strength and timing though he said were consistent with the consequences of a warming ocean and rising temperatures, which made the storm more intense. 

Police Arrest Two Middle School Girls, Who Allegedly Planned to Kill 15 Students & Scatter Their Body Parts

Two middle school girls at Bartow Middle School, in Bartow, Florida, were arrested on Wednesday, after they were discovered in a bathroom at the school with several knives, according to Bartow Chief of Police Joe Hall in a press conference.

Authorities say that the 11 and 12-year-old girls admitted to plotting to kill roughly 15 other students and “leave body parts at the entrance” of the school. 

When teachers realized that both girls didn’t show up for class, the administrators went looking for them. The administrators found them in a bathroom stall and took them back to their offices. There they found that both girls were in possession of four knives, a pizza cutter, and a knife sharpener, according to the Orlando Sentinel

As of right now, the girls face charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, possession of weapons at school, and other charges. They were sent to a juvenile detention facility on Wednesday.

Federal Judge Stops Georgia From Throwing Out Absentee Ballots Based On Signature Mismatches

A federal judge blocked Georgia from removing absentee ballots and application due to signature mismatches on Wednesday. 

Judge Leigh Martin May, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, issued a temporary block that allows voters to challenge the states first rejection and prove their identity. 

In Georgia, there’s a law that basically allows election officials to throw out absentee ballots if they see a signature mismatch on a voters paperwork. It doesn’t happen too often, but it does mean that voters can’t contest the decision. 

May’s proposal would require officials to mark mismatched signature ballots as provisional, notify voters of the rejection, and solve the issue within three days after Election Day, according to CNN. 

Two federal lawsuits have been filed, stating that election officials have violated voters rights by rejecting hundreds of absentee ballots because of the signature mismatches. May said that both parties in the suit will have until noon Thursday to suggest changes to the judges proposed instructions, CNN reports. 

What to look out for… 

Today is National Greasy Food day, so basically it’s your perfect excuse to get a slice of pizza or a delicious burger!