Deadly earthquake takes aim at Turkey and Syria

By Aeden Evenson-McDermott

In the early hours of February 6th, the 7.8 magnitude quake occurred making it one of the deadliest earthquakes in the history of the region, and worldwide, while being the deadliest in years since the 1939 one.

Many aftershocks occurred after, with the deadliest one to be a 7.5 magnitude aftershock. The main concern of this is that despite the damage already caused, the aftershock occurs with quite a large force which also cripples buildings and poses great structural damages.

With one of the deadliest quakes to strike, it posed many humanitarian calls for aid and support from around the world.

With the event occurring in southern Turkey and northern Syria, it decimated large cities and made matters worse with the countries already experiencing a refugee crisis. Furthermore, it was an overall wide ranging event that would lead to an all out search and rescue with teams scouring through the rubble for many hours.

As of February 24, the death toll neared 49,000 according to the United Nations. With much of city’s and town’s infrastructures destroyed, it left many homeless and exposed to the elements in the night time.

Much of the rescue operations resulted in many of thousands saved from being pulled from the rubble but it left many stranded and in the evenings, folks had bonfires in order to stay warm.

As the quake spanded 200 miles, the desperation was wide ranging with Turkey declaring a national emergency for the near future; the health care system is crippled and overwhelmed with the influx of patients receiving aid. Syria is currently grappling with the recurring civil war, divisions within territories, and tense relations between president Bashar Al-Assad and much of the West.

The United Nations’ Secretary General, led by António Guterres, proposed near $400 million in aid to help with the humanitarian crisis in Syria as well.

With much work to do in both countries, it will take awhile until cities can try to be rebuilt and aid comes more free flowing to help with the devastating crisis of circumstances.

The spirit and history of FFA week

By: Truman Vang

What is FFA week? For those who don’t know, FFA week is a holiday that happens on the last week of February annually. During this year, the event occured from February 18th to the 25th. This is the time where local FFA chapters help celebrate their pride with the National FFA Organization. Often, students will hold events for the community to indulge in. Whether it be having an Ag Olympics, or doing some community service, FFA members are always at work during this week.

FFA stands for Future Farmers of America, or rather being known as the National FFA Organization. The organization puts students through an immersive experience to learn about agriculture and develop leadership, communication and critical thinking skills. First founded in 1928, the organization has been pushing these values ever since.

Within its youth, FFA decided to create a day for itself, known as the “National FFA Day.” Through its existence, members celebrated their chapters and the organization as a whole. Eventually, in 1947, the day became the week we know it as today.

Its placement within the year also followed George Washington’s Birthday, after the organization had purchased land from him that he owned. In 1948, FFA week officially started, giving us the holiday we know today.

Image taken from: Image found from. .

Through its many years of existence, FFA members have pushed themselves to have wonderful FFA weeks throughout. Our own Highland Park FFA Chapter has been doing many things for this week. For instance, through the past few weeks, members have held an appreciation breakfast for hard working teachers and staff alike. Along with this, we’ve been providing prizes to anyone that’s been able to properly answer trivia questions, as well as being able to find our scavenger hunt emblems.

FFA week stands as a certain period of time that we can celebrate FFA for what it is, whilst promoting it to new students. It’s also a time within the year, just to have fun whilst celebrating something we’re a part of.

Fun facts about gophers

By: Daniel Kendle

Here are some fun facts you probably didn’t know about gophers (Geomys Bursarius). Gophers are animals within the family Rodentia, and are mammals. They are small, prairie dog-sized creatures that are primarily herbivores, living in long complex tunnels. But now, here are some more interesting facts.

  1. Gophers generally go about their tunnels backwards, not forwards. This is because they can then use their small tails to help find their way throughout their tunnels, mainly because they live solitary lives most of the time. Their tails are only 3-4 inches in length.
  2. Gophers have poor eyesight and hearing. They instead have an acute sense of touch, using both their paws and whiskers in tandem in order to navigate their way around.
  3. Gophers can operate human technology with relative ease. Gophers are secretly possessive of 2 thumbs, one on each of their hands. This allows them to be able to hold various objects, such as a knife, doughnut, or stolen wallet. When one sees a gopher holding something with an opposable thumb, alerting a SWAT team is important.
  4. Gophers can smell blood from up to 200 miles away. It is common knowledge that some sharks can smell blood in the water from a good distance away. But gophers also have this trait, and they have a much more refined sense of smell. Whenever trekking in a place known to have gophers, it is common sense to bandage-up any cuts.
  5. Gophers are known to use their lips to clear out dirt. More specifically, their lips have evolved to close behind their incisors in order to prevent dirt from entering their throat and mouth.
  6. Gophers have the ability to understand human speech. Specifically, English. Through hearing many a talk from passing humans whilst they reside in their tunnels, they’ve begun the process to speak to humans. Of course, the only language they’ve been able to master is Klingon.
  7. Gophers love playing video games. Specifically, their 3 favorite games are ‘God of War: Ragnarok,’ ‘Halo ODST,’ and ‘Jeopardy!’ for the Wii.
  8. Gophers can be milked. The act of doing so is quite complicated, almost deserving of its own article (I will never write this), but to summarize, holding 2 fingers to its back and gently petting it will cause it to regurgitate Gopher MilkTM, which can be made into various dairy products. While this is an endangered practice nowadays, those who’ve taken part in consuming some cheese of this substance remark that it tastes much like Whale MilkTM. This is because, obviously, gophers and whales are very close cousins on the evolutionary tree.
  9. Gophers are incapable of digesting Taco Bell. While some may think this is a disadvantage, the trait proves to be beneficial to them. In fact, it is proven that this is a case of convergent evolution alongside humans.
  10. Gophers are incapable of doing the laundry. Hey, I think my mom wrote this…
  11. Gophers are rumored to exist on another plane of reality than us. This is a likely theory due to the fact that gophers often exercise the practice of dark magic, what with drinking goat blood and whatever.
  12. Gophers are mammals. If you didn’t know this before, then I’m concerned for your wellbeing.

Well, I hope you’ve learned something new about gophers! Tune in next week where we talk about the world’s hottest, most attractive mammal around, the naked mole rat.


*Note: If you didn’t pick up on the sarcasm in this article, we need to inform you that yes, this was a satirical article.