Students: This Is Ms. Erlandson's Seventh-Grade Current Events Classfrom the Small Town

Students: This Is Ms. Erlandson's Seventh-Grade Current Events Classfrom the Small Town

Students: This is Ms. Erlandson's seventh-grade current events classfrom the small town of Aitkin, Minnesota, and Channel One News starts right now!

Azia: Thanks to Aitkin High School for kicking us off this Friday,and hope no one was harmed in the making of that video. Hey guys, I am Azia Celestino; here we go.

First up, the pictures are out of a Hollywood blockbuster movie, but they are actually real-life images that can be seen fromHollywood. The California wildfiresare out of control, and there is no end in sight.

It is Day 5 for these firefighters struggling to get an upper hand on the flames in Southern California. This one is the largest of the four fires ripping through Ventura Countyand now threatening the city of Ojai.

Winds are expected to hit 80 miles per hour, creating an extremely dangerous and never-before-seen situation.

Thom Porter: Today is the first time a purple rating has shown up. And it indicates that any spark can and will start a fire, and fires that start will be almost impossible to contain.

Azia: Some fires are moving so fast, they are scorching a football-field size of land every second.Yes,every second. The fires have already forced 250,000 people to move out.At least 200 homes have burned to the ground, and more than 100,000 acres has been scorched.

As the flames inched toward Santa Barbara County, one man pulled over to rescue an animal. Several highways near mountains were closed for hours as flames got close to traffic.

Ben Onkin: I got over here — the whole mountain is on fire.

Azia: And with smoke drifting for miles, dozens of schools have been shutdown all week.

And you just heard today's Word in the News: scorched, which means to be destroyed or damaged by fire or heat.

All right, President Trump has been throwing shade at the FBI recently, saying the agency is the worst in history. The new FBI director was grilled by lawmakers yesterday about what is going on with the agency after a tweet by President Trump.

Representative Jerrold Nadler: Will you respond to this tweet by the president?Is the FBI's reputation in tatters?

Christopher Wray: The FBIthat I see is tens of thousands of agents and analysts and staff working their tails off to keep Americans safe.

Azia: The president's tweet comes as the investigation into any ties between the Trump campaign and Russia is heating up.Top agent Peter Strzok was recently removed from the Russia investigation after sending anti-Trump text messages to another FBI employee.Strzok has now been reassigned to the agency's human resources department.

Republicans say the actions of this agent call into question if investigators are being fair when looking into possible connections between Trump associates and Russian officials.

Representative Jim Jordan: There has got to be something more here; it can’t just be some text messages.

Azia: The FBI director also said he had not seen any effort from the White House to interfere in the Russia investigation.

The list of men accused of harassing women seems to just keep growing, and nowa popular senator who was once a comedian is calling it quits. Minnesota Democratic Senator Al Franken says he will be stepping down in the next few weeks after several women accused him of inappropriate behavior.

Senator Al Franken announced his resignation from the Senate floor, where he has served since 2008.

Senator Al Franken: Even on the worst day of my political life, I feel like it's all been worth it.

Azia: Multiple women have come forward, accusing Senator Franken of bad behavior.

Franken: Some of the allegations against me are simply not true. Others I remember very differently.

Azia: Franken apologized, but onWednesday, 35 of his Democratic colleagues announced they had seen enough and called for Franken to resign.

Senator Mazie Hirono: It was really difficult for each of us to come to this point.

Azia: Many of Senator Franken's colleagues say they hope this case can spark a cultural change in America.

All right, coming up, a football teamshouting in silencewith a powerful message.

Azia: If you are not already behind the wheel, then you are probably looking forward to getting your driver's license. And one of the biggest things to keep in mind? Staying safe on the road. The good news is cars are getting safer every year. It comes down to better materials and technology. Tom Hanson breaks down this year's list of safest cars on the road.

Tom: So which cars got top scores for safety?Well, it was a lot more difficult this year to get a good grade because the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety set new standards. And spoiler alert: No minivans, pickup trucks or minicars got an A.

Crash tests have been a main way that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates vehicles. Side impactand hits to the front on the driver's side are studied, but this year, the group added a new test: crashes to the front on the passenger side. Because of the higher standards, only 15 vehicles earned the group's best award of Top Safety Pick Plus. Hyundai, which owns Kia and Genesis, had six models make the list. Subaru had four.

And the new crash test is not the only reason why fewer vehicles made the grade. The IIHS is also changing its standards for headlights.

Adrian Lund is the president of IIHS.

Adrian Lund: We are rating headlamps because when we look at how well they’re lighting up the road, many of them just aren't doing a very good job.The difference between a headlamp that we rate as good in terms of how far down the road you can see and one that we rate as poor — it literally is night and day.

Tom: Vehicles that come with autobraking also earn high marks. Automakers want to make it a standard feature by 2022.

Lund: Cars are safer now than they ever have been.

Tom: Lund believes with even more improvements in crash test performance and headlights, vehicles will be even safer down the road.

Tom Hanson,Channel One News.

Azia: Thanks, Tom.

Okay, next up, football games are really loud events.Arielle,I mean, you have bands blasting music, there are plays being called — and not to mention the cheering from the stands, right?

Arielle: Oh, that is for sure, but one college football team is turning down the noiseand bridging cultures and language on and off the field. It is today's Feel-Good Friday.

ChuckGoldstein: Whatever happens, you don't stop believing today.

Arielle: Football is equal parts passion, dedication and teamwork. But this game day feels different and quieter than most. The cheerleaders perform the national anthem,but with no music and no singing, just hand gestures signaling that "our flag was still there."

And with that, the Gallaudet University Bison, America's DeafTeam, as they call themselves, take on the Anna Maria Amcats.

Goldstein: It doesn't matter, you know, you're deaf, hard of hearing, hearing. The other team — they're showing up to play a game.

Arielle: Coach Chuck Goldstein has the challenge of leading the team without yelling or blowing a whistle.

Goldstein: Sometimes you'll see the whistle will go early, but our player doesn't hear it, and he runs like 90 yards.

Arielle: The Bison communicate using ASL, or American Sign Language.

L. J. Watson: We just, like, watch the football. The quarterback, he taps the center, and we just go when the football snaps.

Arielle: Wide receiver L. J. Watson speaks and signs, a technique called SimCom. At first, he and his hard-of-hearing teammates Daequan Taylor and Rashard Witherspoon had a tough time seeing eyeto eye.

Watson: I'm not gonna lie; team chemistry was hard. It's, like, hard to communicate with each other because some players on the team don't know sign.

Arielle: Half of the players are deaf; others are hard of hearing.And to have enough players to compete each year, Coach Goldstein integrates into the team a few mainstream hearing athletes.

Goldstein: Our recruiting pool is limited.It's limited, so it's kind of a struggle. We have people who are looking online every day for a deaf, hard-of-hearing athlete. Go and Google. Try.

Arielle: That is how they find players like Daequan, a defensive standout from Hampton,Virginia, where sports are a religion. ButDaequan thought he had blown his chance to play college ball.

Daequan Taylor: It didn't work out. Like, no scholarships after senior year. Dumb mistakes, partying, distracted, girls, grades.

Arielle: Then he got the opportunity to join the Bison.

Taylor: So how I fell in love on my visit? It was, like, deaf people, they knew I couldn't sign, but they still accepted me.

Arielle: It was an unfamiliar feeling for Daequan. His mother died when he was in the seventh grade, and he spent his senior year bouncing around different homes. Now a junior, sign language comes as easily to Daequan as football.

Taylor: Really, it helped me become a man. Where I'm from, it's like a bad area. Jail, dead;they sell drugs, honestly. So when Gallaudet, like, gave me a chance to, like, play football, Iwas like,“I'm not, like, risking it again. I’m not.”

Arielle: One college sport creating the bond of a lifetime.

Taylor: We just became close, became brothers. Like, we was brothers on the football team, but, like, now,us three is just different. We can understand each other without, like, not saying nothing.

Arielle: Arielle Hixson,Channel One News.

Azia: Such a great story. Thanks,Arielle.

And we have got more teen athletes overcoming extraordinary obstacles. Check those out on

All right, guys, have a great weekend, and we will see you back here on Monday.

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