HP Tailgating 2017

October 7th, was Highland Park’s big homecoming game, and of course, comes the fun filled and food filled tailgating (which comes before every homecoming game)! This year, at Highland Park’s tailgating, things such as temporary tattoos, pins, an awesome photo booth, and of course food, were being sold to those who showed up to show some school spirit.

Though this particular day was very cloudy and rainy, and many booths lost their electricity, it didn’t stop many students and their family members from showing up to help  support the school. Many different school clubs participated in this event including, Union Latina, FFA, Student Council, and many more. Each brought their own great items, especially the food, things like taquitos, popcorn, fresh lemonade, and horchata were being sold. Many people showed up and enjoyed this event, and so I went around and asked some students how their experience was and what some of their favorite things were:

“This was my first ever tailgate, and I loved it. All of the people and the food there was great. Definitely a memory to add on to for my freshman year.”

“I had a good time with my friends and that awesome photo booth really made the day so much more fun, plus the food there was so good.”

“Since this is my last year here, I am super happy with the experience I had. I was able to hang out with friends, eat good food and even get good Highland merch to remember the great experience.”

Even through the rain and the cold, everyone who showed up seemed to have a great time, and for many, it was their last high school tailgating. Many seniors showed up to help lend their support, and I believe that many great memories were made. This year’s tailgating was one to be remembered!

The origin and brief history of Halloween

It’s that time of year again! That’s right, it’s almost Halloween, my personal favorite. Halloween is a holiday that, in modern times, celebrates ghosts, ghouls, zombies and anything spooky really. And of course, free candy! Who doesn’t love the free candy? However, Halloween is a very old holiday with a rich history that not many know about, including myself. So I researched the origin and history of my favorite holiday and here’s what I found.

Halloween originated in Celtic tradition with a festival called Samhain (pronounced sow-in), which was celebrated on the same day as modern Halloween. During Samhain people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. During this day, Pagans believed that the worlds between the afterlife and the living aligned, allowing ghosts to walk freely around the living world. They believed the ghosts would wreak havoc on their crops and spread illness.

In the 7th century, Pope Gregory III dedicated May 13th as a time to honor the saints, which included some aspects of Samhain, and during this time they would commemorate the dead.

In the 9th century it was changed to November 1st. Many historians believe it was changed to overshadow the Pagan festival. It was called All Saints Day, and the night before that was called All Hallows’ Eve which was later called Halloween.

By 1550s, Allhallowtide – a three day event, was recognized and almost obligatory in most of Europe. During these three days people would mourn the dead, dressed in black, and treat on soul cakes which were given out to remember the dead.

The 1700s is when some of the modern practices of Halloween come into play. People celebrating Samhain, would go door-to-door exchanging sung songs for food, and doing so while in costume, of course. Some would play pranks on people and hold lanterns made of gourds to imitate the malicious spirits that come out during Samhain. Even bobbing for apples was recorded in Scotland, but it was called “dooking.”

During the 1800s an influx of Scottish and Irish immigrants came to the U.S. bringing along their Halloween traditions.

Which brings us back to the present. Now, Halloween’s humble beginnings are but a tale lost, mostly, to time. And possibly bad record keeping.

For more information about the origins of Halloween, please check out the following websites:

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/timeline-origin-halloween-article-1.2406149

http://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween

The 2017 wildfire crisis

Image: Damage in Coffey Park, Santa Rosa after wildfire (NBC News, https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/western-wildfires/one-killed-major-wildfires-ignite-overnight-across-northern-california-n809206)

Since October 8, firefighters in California have responded to 250 new wildfires. In 2017, 7980 fires have burned 1,046,995 acres of land in California, according to CAL FIRE. One wildfire, the Tubbs Fire, has broken the record for most destructive wildfire in the history of California, burning 36,793 acres, destroying 5300 structures, and killing 22 civilians as also reported by CAL FIRE. In total, the wildfires have killed 42 civilians, according to CNBC. These wildfires pose serious questions about the nature of climate change and how we should treat our environment, as well as questions about how the government should respond to natural disasters.

In an article by Scientific American entitled “Scientists See Climate Change in California’s Wildfires,” UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain explains how climate change exacerbated the California wildfire crisis. The summer of 2017 was the warmest in more than 100 years, which dried out vegetation which in turn acted as fuel for the fires. This drying out of vegetation is also related to California’s recent historic drought, also linked to climate change. Additionally, strong winds blew the fires farther and into urban areas.

In the same article, climate scientist LeRoy Westerling says that climate models predict California to have continuing cycles of drought and rainfall due to climate change, a deadly combination when it comes to wildfires.

On October 19, a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation to combat wildfires in California and elsewhere, according to The Hill. Among other things, the bill would include a program for the U.S. Forest Service and Interior Department agencies to treat the most potentially dangerous areas for wildfires by removing dried vegetation, which might drastically decrease wildfire destruction for reasons previously explained. It would also provide $100 million to prepare against wildfires for communities most threatened by potential wildfires. This would be in addition to $576.5 million in disaster relief funds for wildfire recovery recently approved by The House.

The wildfire crisis is not just a Californian phenomenon. So far this year, The Hill has reported that over 50,000 wildfires have burned over 8.8 million acres in the United States, a massive increase over the average number of acres burned per year over the last 10 years, which is only 6 million. As well as wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters have also been occurring at an alarming rate in the United States. We must work as a country with our government to respond to these situations and aim to prevent them in the future by addressing their root causes, including climate change.

You can donate here to help two of the counties most affected by the California wildfire crisis: https://www.gofundme.com/napa-sonoma-fires

For information on how to contact Minnesota senators to discuss wildfire prevention and relief, click here: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/senators_cfm.cfm?State=MN