What happened to the school lunches for SPPS?

By: Elsie Olive

Most students have already noticed, but if you hadn’t already, the lunches served at St. Paul Public Schools have severely gone downhill between the 2018-2019 school year and this one.

In the years prior to the 2019-2020 school year, SPPS had provided a variety of nutritional foods. In fact, in 2013, TwinCities.com said SPPS lunches had gotten national attention for the incredible and healthy foods the schools were providing.

However if you look at the lunches served now, almost always the options are either some variant of chicken, hamburgers, gyros, or Italian dunkers, and every lunch is served with a side of fries.

So, what changed in the few months between these two school years?

Unfortunately, there is hardly any information that explains exactly what happened, but, by checking some of the links on the SPPS lunch menus page, there is one that takes us to Nutrislice.com. Here, at spps.nutrislice.com, it gives us a message which suggests that SPPS no longer uses Nutrislice as a means of supplying their lunches. The newest and working links on the SPPS page take us to SchoolCafé.com, where you can view current school lunch menus.

It could be that this is the only reason school lunches have decreased in value this much, but it is hard to believe that such a small change could completely offset the school’s menu. It is likely that there were some staff changes in the Nutritional Services and Wellness department of SPPS.

At this point, there isn’t much other information available, and the lack of information provided on the SPPS website about it’s staff members or exactly what changed between this school year and the last one doesn’t help with that.

However, it probably has much more to do with the relaxing of regulations for school-provided meals by the Trump Administration according to BusinessInsider.com. This particular article also mentions that the billions of dollars cut from the education budget has deeply affected the ability for schools to provide enough nutritional food for all of their students.

Things to do this summer 

By: La Dafia Dehaney

Summer is here and we have spent almost four months locked up inside the house. If you are looking for something to do, here are a few ideas: 

1. Go to a lake – Minnesota has the most lakes of any state. Some lakes you can visit are: Lake of the Isles (in Minneapolis), Mille Lacs Lake, Lake Minnetonka, Lake of the Woods, Leech Lake, Gull Lake, Rainy Lake, and Lake Vermilion (in Saint Louis County).

Lake of the Isles, in Minneapolis, is the quietest of all of the Minneapolis lakes, and also the most beautiful. Lake Vermilion, in Saint Louis County, is the fifth largest lake in northeastern Minnesota.

2. Take a road trip – Choose some states that are close to each other and tour them. Visit museums, tour buildings, and find good food to eat.

3. Get a job – You can always get a job to make some money to buy new things.

4. Try new foods – To make the best of the summer, you can drive around to new restaurants and try the food and write about them.

5. Volunteer work – Minnesota has a lot of volunteer work. You can volunteer at: the Lead Global Affairs discussions, drive cancer patients to treatment, serve meals, become a JA volunteer, or volunteer for Music Teachers for Underprivileged Children.

6. Watch movies – Netflix and Disney+ have a lot of great new movies coming this summer so you can binge watch a couple of them.

7. Re-Decorate your room – Keep yourself busy by redecorating your room by adding new furniture, re-painting it, organizing your closet, or adding new carpets.

8. Have a sleepover – Nothing better than having friends by your side, so invite friends over, watch a couple of movies, eat snacks, and gossip a little.

“Unturned” the free steam game, is it worth the download?

By: Courtney Smith

I would definitely recommend this game for people looking for adventure and combat. Anyone
familiar with the game DayZ will find this similar but not as difficult. It can also be compared to a
game on Roblox named Apocalypse Rising.

The game modes are easy, medium, and hard. Those determine how many zombies there will be, how strong they are, how much supplies there will be, and other commodities. This game can be played in multiplayer or single player.

This review is based on the single player gameplay experience.

This game’s scene is set post zombie apocalypse, where NPCs are the main predators. These
coded zombies attack you and deal damage to your in-game character. There are many types
of zombies. There are firemen, police officers, farmers, mafia members, lumberjacks, campers,
and chefs.

Those zombies can also come in different forms. Sprinter zombies run on all fours, they are extremely fast, super difficult, and my least favorite! Some zombies crawl and some walk.

When a zombie is killed it may drop supplies, for example if it’s a farmer zombie, it can drop a straw hat or pitchfork.

There are multiple maps in which you can play on, this includes: Washington (home to the
Seattle Space Needle), Russia, Hawaii, and many more regions. This scene diversity makes the
game more interesting; you can find different structures and supplies. For example, in the
Russia map there are mafia houses and in Washington, the famous Space Needle.

Defeating a zombie will give you skill points. You can use skill points to upgrade your characters
expertise. The upgrades include: stamina/speed, attack speed/damage, agricultural skills, and
many more! I enjoy this because if you don’t have the equipment to protect yourself, you can
upgrade the character to fight, farm, and run better.

The object of the game is to explore and collect supplies to aid you in your travels. There is
clothing and backpacks which can be salvaged for their components, or used to increase the
player’s inventory. Weapons, camping gear, hunting equipment, and many more items are
found all over the areas.

You have a radiation bar on your screen, if it reaches zero your character slowly loses health, same with your thirst and hunger bars. To maintain health, you need to search for food! Food can lower your radiation bar if it’s damaged. Finding medicine is key to keep your radiation and health safe.

Structures can include houses, barns, stables, warehouses, apartments, pharmacies, hospitals,
fire departments, police stations, jails, military bases, and many more.

There is a lot to find in this game and to experience; you can even craft, repair, and build items.

My favorite part about this game is the diversity you find all around, it’s extremely creative with the environment.

‘Community’ review

By Oliver Kelly

Community is a 2009 sitcom available on Netflix that centers around a group of college students in a study group in community college. It’s quite funny, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes to laugh.

Community starts out as cliche as it gets. You have predictable character arcs, like the handsome jerk, the rebel, and the cooky old man, but through time, their character development becomes unique and interesting to watch. The quote on quote “handsome jerk,” a character called Jeff Winger, is a former lawyer who doesn’t care about anyone, but over the course of the show he slowly comes to care for the people around him.

This show was created by Dan Harmon, so naturally it is pretty wacky. Nothing is off the table for the students at Greendale Community College. Weird events happen all the time, and on multiple occasions the main characters play paintball on school grounds. There’s even a side plot about Troy Barnes, one of the main characters, deciding if he should attend the evil air conditioning repair school, which goes on and off for multiple seasons.

I think my favorite character would have to be Abed, whose dream is to make movies, and who spends all of his time making movie references and being weird. One of the running jokes of the series is how Abed pretends his entire life is a movie, so he does all sorts of fourth wall breaking and calls out setups for cliches.

However, this show is not without its flaws. It’s supposed to last four seasons because that’s how many years it takes to complete college, but for some reason it returns for two more simply because the writers thought it should be longer. They do this by making Jeff a law teacher after his lawyer business failed, which makes enough sense, but the last two seasons are a severe drop in quality. Trust me, if you want to watch this series, you are not missing anything if you just don’t watch the final two seasons. They are really not worth it.

My final rating for this show is an 8/10.

Phase Four of Marvel

By: Zhara Christopher

Ever since Endgame many Marvel fans have wondered what’s in store for Marvel. Lucky for us, Disney has provided us with a loose timeline for phase four.

In 2019, Disney released Disney+, a streaming service for all things Disney, National Geographic, Star Wars, Pixar, and of course Marvel.

During that time, Disney has released their plans for multiple Marvel TV series that will come out in the next three years. This will include:

  • The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, a mini-series bringing back Captain America: Civil War villain, Helmut Zemo. This will be released in fall 2020.
  • A Loki mini-series, which will pick up after the events of Endgame, coming out in 2021.
  • Scarlet Witch will also be getting a show called WandaVision where Wanda and Vision live in a typical classic sitcom where everything is not what it seems. This will be released sometime in 2020.
  • Next title is, Marvels What If… a show about the alternate universe of the MCU; coming in summer 2021.
  • Other titles with dates not conferenced are Hawkeye, She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, and Moon Knight.

On the movie side of Marvel, they have released many tiles of movies coming out in Phase Four.

To start is, Black Widow, a movie about Natasha Romanoff confronting her history of being a spy and working to fix broken relationships she left in the past. This will be released November 6, 2020, or a different date due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Next year we will be seeing Shang-Chi and the Legends of the Ten Rings, our first leading Asian superhero in the MCU. This will be released May 7, 2021.

We will also see The Eternals, a new group of Marvel superheroes following the events of Avengers Endgame. It follows a secret race of aliens that have to step out of the shadows and defeat their enemies “The Deviants.” This will be released February 12, 2020.

In 2022, Thor Love and Thunder is scheduled. Few details have been released, but we know it will come out February 12th of that year. The second movie coming out in 2022 will be Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness. Again not many details about the movie itself, but it will be coming out on March 25.

For more information, please go to: https://www.ocolly.com/lifestyle/turner-s-take-marvel-studio-s-phase-thoughts-and-predictions/article_9583e8b0-b2e6-11e9-a8e2-bbde93a8e44c.html

‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’ versus real life Ted Bundy

By: Yanyoua Xiong

In 2019, the film Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile came out about the famous serial killer from the 1970s, Ted Bundy. Ted Bundy was famous for killing young women he either seduced or lured in by playing inured. He was later convicted for several things which led to the death penalty. 

The film uses real life quotes and basically re-enacts Bundy’s whole life starting from when he gets caught the very first time for running a stop sign, twice. Obviously, there are details that can’t be thrown into the film, but it holds a lot of facts that were caught on camera.

Things like Bundy’s personal thoughts, his plans, and even his feelings were all put into the film. After my own personal research, I found that Bundy’s friends, attorneys, and prosecutors released recordings of Bundy explaining how and why he did things. They also released information about personal meetings they had with him that unfortunately couldn’t be recorded. The film captures these emotions well and it sometimes even feels like it’s truly Ted Bundy himself.

Something that interested me was during Bundy’s trials, women were stacked in the audience watching. They were scared, yet found an attraction to him. Every one of them watched his trials knowing he attacked only women, especially young women, yet they still went hoping to catch his attention.

Bundy’s attorney even noted that some women would even sneak her some notes and ask her to give them to Bundy. Bundy’s attorney wasn’t in the film but they put in the interviews of women that explained how they felt about Bundy. 

I personally enjoyed this movie even though there were some unsightly images, but it added to the realism of the film. I recommend this film to people who like thriller and mystery films. It was accurate and interesting, and really showcased Ted Bundy’s trials. 

Shanghai Disneyland reopen

By La Dafia Dehaney

Disneyland, in Shanghai, reopened back to the public on May 11, 2020. The SVP of Operations for Shanghai Disney Resorts, Andrew Bilstein, reported that “We have a very dedicated team of custodial cleaners that we’ve increased the number of those throughout the park that are constantly wiping down all the surfaces.”

To stay open, Disneyland is required to have only 24,000 people daily, the visitors are required to wear face masks (only costumed workers are the only ones not required to wear masks), the visitors should also practice social distancing, have their temperatures taken and have disinfectants. The park is covered with garbage cans dedicated solely for used face masks. 

Shanghai Disneyland parades have been canceled due to people always crowded at the sidewalk to watch them. The theatres there have also remained close.

To go on rides at Disney, they have placed purple social-distancing mats on the ground. To practice more social distancing Disney has decided to leave rows of seats empty on the rides, and the employees have been instructed to constantly disinfect ride vehicles and lap bars.

People who attend so far have been very respectful about the social distancing rules.

Due to the travel restrictions, only Shanghai residents, and the surrounding provinces, were allowed to go, but guests must book entry tickets online to avoid a large crowd. Also, they must show a green QR Shanghai health code, this helps the government track them if they are exposed and who they have been in contact with.

Shanghai Disneyland is the only one of the company’s parks to reopen, Disney is uncertain when they will reopen the other theme parks. But, Disney has signaled that Disneyworld in Florida might reopen next. The mall there, Disney Springs, will begin phased reopening on May 20.

For more information please visit:

 

A quick list of how to stay positive during quarantine

Here are some suggestions on how to stay positive during quarantine:

  • Make sure to let sunlight in: Sunlight is shown to increase the brain’s release of serotonin a hormone. Serotonin can boost moods and helps a person feel calm and focused.
  • Listen to music: Music can cause your brain to release dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical that makes you feel good and is often associated with why we use our phones so much. The dopamine is addicting and your brain gets used to it.
  • Talk to someone: We may be separated but we are not alone in these times. We all are going through the same thing so we all have something to talk to each other about. You should also ask your family how they are doing and how they are holding up, it could just make there day better.
  • Exercise: Exercise is good for your body and your mind. Some of us may being doing this already but I know a lot of us are just inside sitting around and that can’t be healthy. So get a move on and get some exercise even if it’s once a week
  • Eat healthy: Eating healthy has always been a good way to stay positive and it shown to have good effects in your life. Junk food can make you groggy and lazy if you eat it more then healthy food. So eat your greens and veggies, oh and don’t forget the fruits

2011 film ‘Contagion’ compared to COVID-19

In 2011, the film Contagion was released. The film is about a virus that, started in China, and spread rapidly throughout the world causing people to get sick and die.

This description is eerily close to the current 2020 pandemic that’s caused by COVID-19.

Starting off, both the viruses attack the respiratory system and have extremely close symptoms. According to cdc.gov, the COVID-19 symptoms are: cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and/or new loss of taste or smell. 

In the film, Dr. Mears, a doctor from Minnesota, is given the job to investigate the virus but ends up catching the virus. Her symptoms were that she couldn’t breathe very well and had a tight chest. She was coughing a lot and she had fever along with chills. She didn’t go into more depth, but in the film, you can see other people that caught the virus shared the same symptoms and died usually by seizure.

Next, both viruses came from bats. There is no clear answer as to how COVID-19 started, but most scientists say, and believe, it started from a virus that bats carried and then transferred to someone from Wuhan, China. This then developed into something more dangerous that was passed onto other humans. 

In the film, a fruit had fallen from a bat’s mouth into a pig pen. The pig then ate the fruit and there, the virus started developing. The pig was then slaughtered and brought to a casino in Hong Kong, China where the cook touched the pig and didn’t stop to wash his hands before holding someone else’s.

The pandemic in the film and in reality both put the whole world in chaos and had extremely close similarities, but there were also things the film did differently. Beth Emhoff, the first case of the virus in the movie, went home to Minnesota and gave her family the virus. Her son passed shortly after she did, but we learned that her husband was immune. Currently there isn’t a known person that’s immune to the Coronavirus.

Also, in the film, people died within a day to 3 days of getting the virus, whereas COVID-19 seems to have a 2 week incubation period. People would get seizures and their mouths would start to foam as they die in the movie, but there hasn’t been any reports of seizures due to COVID-19.

Contagion and COVID-19 are extremely similar, but thankfully it’s not exactly the same. The film had it much worse, but the things leading up to the chaos were eerily close. 

Desserts to make during the quarantine

By: La Dafia Dehaney

Looking for something to do or bake while under quarantine? Try these eight different desserts that will keep you busy and have you baking them over and over again.

  • Oreo Cake It’s a moist cake that is covered with Oreo whip cream frosting and is made up of chocolate layers with crushed Oreos in them.
  • Cheesecake is made of a mixture of Philadelphia Cream Cheese combined with eggs, flour, sugar, and water. The bottom layer of the cake is crushed crackers or cookies that you combine with butter and sugar. The toppings are usually strawberries or any type of berries. 
  • Trifle is an English dessert that came from England in the 18th century. This dessert is made with any type of fruit you want, and it has a layer of sponge fingers soaked in cherry.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies originated in the United States. This dessert will include a dough that is made with butter and both brown and white sugar. You top it off with your pick of chocolate chips.
  • Ice Cream Cake is filled with ice cream and layers of sponge cake or cookie crumble in between them.
  • Apple Pie is just filled with apples that you combine with brown sugar and cinnamon and toss it up. It also includes a crust that you can make with water, butter, flour, and sugar.
  • Cinnamon Rolls are made up of a dough that is rolled into small portions and in between are sugar and cinnamon. You then bake it and top it off with some cream cheese and powdered sugar mixed together. 
  • A Banana Split is an ice cream dessert, it usually has a sauce of chocolate, strawberry, or caramel that you drizzle over the ice cream. You finish up this dessert by topping it off with some whipped cream and a maraschino cherry on top.