December 14

Astronaut Gene Cernan became the last person to walk on the moon in 1972. He was part of the Apollo 17 moon mission. Cernan and Harrison Schmitt conducted EVA (extra-vehicular activity) on the surface while Ronald Evans piloted the command module. Interest in space seemed to decline until the space shuttle program got off the ground in 1981.

 

Construction began on the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River in China in 1994. The dam is part of a hydroelectric project in Hubei Province and is the world’s largest power station in terms of capacity. The project was fully functional in 2012 when the last of the turbines began production. The dam also expanded the shipping capacity of the Yangtze and reduced the potential for flooding. The project displaced about 1.3 million people and created many ecological changes.

 

The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting took place in 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. The twenty-year-old shooter fatally shot 20 children and six staff members at the school, after killing his mother. The killer, Adam Lanza committed suicide with a shot to his head. The incident was the deadliest mass shooting at an elementary or high school. Immediately debate over gun control ensued, but few such laws gained any ground. A report by the Connecticut State Attorney’s Office concluded that Lanza acted alone, but could not find any evidence as to why he targeted the elementary school.

 

Birthdays Today

 

1897Margaret Chase Smith, American educator and politician (d. 1995)

1908Morey Amsterdam, American actor, singer, and screenwriter (d. 1996)

1916Shirley Jackson, American author (d. 1965)

1932Abbe Lane, American actress, singer, and dancer

1935Lee Remick, American actress (d. 1991)

1946Patty Duke, American actress and singer

1946Stan Smith, American tennis player and coach

Larry Moskal began his career as a Social Studies teacher in 1971. He graduated from the University of Buffalo with degrees in history and education. Larry taught Social Studies for the Ken-Ton School system, a suburban school system north of Buffalo, New York until 2005, and then taught and was the Dean of Students at San Miguel High School in Tucson. At Ken-Ton, he pioneered several online courses for high school students. In the 1980s, he spent three years teaching in Colombia, South America and spent four years at Lewiston-Porter High School. He currently is the PowerSchool Administrator for San Miguel accomplishing his work over the Internet.