Melvin Carter

Melvin Carter profile by Riley Lumpkin and Gabe Mattick.

Thirty-eight year old Melvin Carter, was elected mayor of St. Paul on November 7, 2017. Carter is the first African-American mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota. He will be succeeding Chris Coleman, who has been mayor since 2006. Melvin Carter has been endorsed by various notable Minnesota politicians like Governor Mark Dayton and Minnesota Senator Al Franken. Mark Dayton, endorsed Carter, according to Twin Cities Pioneer Press by saying, “As the Director of my Children’s Cabinet, Melvin Carter has been a thoughtful, passionate, and effective leader, who has worked hard to give kids strong starts and better chances of success in school and life,” Dayton is quoted as saying. “As a resident of St. Paul, I know Melvin Carter will bring that same leadership to his work to make St. Paul a city that works for everyone,” the DFL governor said. “I look forward to calling him St. Paul’s next mayor.”

He was a member of the Saint Paul City Council from 2008 to 2013. Before he was elected mayor he accomplished many things as a city councilmember. He cofounded the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood, he also helped pass the Ban the Box legislation; to eliminate employment discrimination according to Melvin Carter.org.

He currently serves as an Executive Director of the Minnesota Children’s Cabinet, where he advocates for all children to have an education regardless of their background, race, gender, or income. According to Jessie Van Berkel, Melvin Carter said, “his goal is to address not just pain, but lingering injustice.”

As the new mayor, he would like to raise wages to ensure the economy is improving for everyone. He also would like to make sure community services are doing more to help families, and he wants to work on community-first policing.

For more information, please go to: http://www.startribune.com/st-paul-mayoral-candidate-melvin-carter-focuses-on-the-city-s-future/449084463/http://www.melvincarter.org/bio/

Bombing in Mogadishu

According to the New York Times, more than 270 people were killed, and hundreds were wounded, in a double truck bombing in Mogadishu, Somalia. This happened on October 15, 2017. Senator Abshir claimed that it is one of the most deadliest incident since the 90’s.

image taken from: ttp://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/03/somalia-mogadishu-car-bombing-160309051433825.html

Security officials believe that this was caused by a Somali terrorist group, and that they created the bomb. According to the Guardian website, one of the security officials has said that the explosives has been hidden under rice, sugar, and other goods in the truck. They were about 4 miles away from Mogadishu. The bomb then exploded near a hotel on a busy street, which caused many people to die, and wrecked buildings.

Also according to the Guardian website, a woman named Zainab Sharif lost her husband in the bombing, and she said that she lost everything they had. Another woman, named Muna Haj, said that she lost her son during the bombing, and she said that her son doesn’t deserve to die right now, and that the killer deserves to get punished. So many women lost their loved ones and want to know who started the bombing. The group killed innocent civilians and children too.

Many Somali people protested against this and want justice. Many people, including Somali people here in the U.S., are donating money to their families and to the Somali government.

The opioid crisis and President Trump’s reaction

In a speech given on October 26, President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a “nationwide public health emergency.” This is not just a description, as it may seem, but a legal act which allows the allocation of a certain number of funds towards combatting the crisis, through the Public Health Services Act (CNN). However, that number is pitifully low; only $57,000, according to the Washington Post. President Trump could have declared the crisis a national disaster, another type of national health emergency declaration which holds more weight and makes more funding available (CNN). Because of this, and other comments, Trump’s reaction to the opioid crisis has been highly controversial.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, opioids are a class of drugs including legal drugs such as common prescription painkillers such as hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (OxyContin), codeine (cough syrup), morphine, etc., and illegal street drugs such as heroin and fentanyl. Opioids are especially popular among young people, and were the cited cause of death of an estimated 62,497 Americans in 2016, according to Vox. As shown in the graph taken from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of opioid-related deaths has been rising steadily since 2000.

The opioid crisis began in the late 1990’s, according to NIDA, when pharmaceutical companies began promoting opioids as non-addictive painkillers (which was false), and doctors began prescribing them more liberally. Also, as reported by Medpage Today, during this time, popular medical philosophy changed in ways that may have exacerbated the crisis. Treating pain came to be seen as almost as important as treating illnesses themselves. Medical organizations such as the United States Department of Veteran Affairs and the Joint Commission officially recognized pain as the “fifth vital sign,” on par with body temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and respiratory rate.

Despite this, some have pointed out that prescription opioids may not be the leading cause of the crisis. According to the New York Post, most opioid-abusers (more than 75% of pill users, most heroin addicts) were never prescribed pain medication for an injury or illness, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, and emergency room records show only 13% of opioid-overdose victims began using opioids because of pain according to the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

Also controversial, has been President Trump’s promise of an aggressive anti-drug (specifically anti-opioid) campaign targeted at youth as a primary strategy against the crisis. The New York Times article “Just Say No to Opioids? Ads Could Actually Make Things Worse” explains how campaigns like these in the past were actually ineffective or even detrimental. The authors cite a study of 200,000 youth aged 9 to 18 that shows that those exposed to more anti-drug campaigns were actually more skeptical about the harmfulness of marijuana and that they should avoid it. The New York Times explains that more subtle add campaigns such as “truth.” which made drugs seem “uncool” were actually more effective than those that made them seem scary. However, the New York Post article “Deadly myths of the opioid epidemic,” provides other statistics that say otherwise. Graphic, aggressive anti-smoking ads from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “cut smoking among youth and convinced 400,000 smokers to quit for good.”

Whether or not you think prescription drugs are the primary cause of the opioid crisis, or whether anti-drug ad campaigns should be graphic or social (or should not exist at all), it is apparent that it will require more than $57,000 in allocated funding to defeat the opioid crisis. Now is the moment for all branches of the government to show with their actions, not just rhetoric, how serious they believe the opioid crisis to be.

 

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

 

 

North Korea gets U.S. and South Korea war plans

Early on morning of October 11, North Korean hackers were able to hack into the South Korean government computers and stole about 235 GB of data. The stolen data included 300-lower classified, confidential documents, and there were also classified wartime plans drawn up by the U.S. and South Korea.

Mr. Rhee Cheol-hee, a South Korean lawmaker, had stated to reporters that one of the documents that was stolen included South Korea’s military plan of removing North Korea leader, Kim Jong-Un, if war between the Korean Peninsula breaks out. The hackers had used a computer vaccine service, and South Korea had been able to trace the IP address, of the vaccine, which originated in Shenyang, China.

In 2010, the U.S. broke into North Korea’s computer system; targeting Reconnaissance General Bureau, which is North Korea’s equivalent of the US C.I.A. Last month, U.S. strategic bombers, and fighters jets, flew along the East Coast of North Korea. North Korea claimed a right to shoot any American warplanes flying near the country.

The Pentagon hasn’t yet released a statement, but spokesperson, Army Col. Rob Manning, stated that “I can assure you we are confident in our security in our operations plans and our ability to deal with any threat from North Korea.” He also added, “The operations plan that they are referring to is a bilateral plan, so the Republic of Korea-U.S. alliance remains steadfast in their commitment to make sure they safeguard that information and ensure readiness on Korean Peninsula to counter any North Korean threats.”

Trump tweeted on Monday, October 9th, “Our country had been unsuccessfully dealing with North Korea for 25 years, giving billions of dollars and getting nothing. Policy didn’t work.” He then tweeted later in the afternoon “Presidents and their administrations had been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements been made and massive amounts of money had been paid…hasn’t worked, agreements violated before the ink was dry, making fools of US negotiators. Sorry but only one thing will work!” When the reporters asked Trump what he meant by his tweets his only response was “You’ll figure it out pretty soon.”

Highland Park Senior High School Homecoming Dance

The Highland Park Homecoming Dance is a tradition at our school, and it happens every year. Some people go to the Homecoming Dance to be have fun and enjoy the music, and others think it is a good place to meet new people and hangout with friends.

I also took time to specifically ask some of the freshman what they think about the dance, and how they feel about it. Some of them told me that they were hoping to meet some cute guys and talk to people they don’t talk to doing school hours, and also to get to know more people.

Picture of the author at the dance

I also interviewed some of the seniors, and I asked them how they felt about this being their last Homecoming Dance at Highland, and what will they miss about it. Some of them told me that they will miss their friends, and the fun. They also told me that they are so ready to leave the school because they were tired of seeing the same faces every year, spending money for the same things, and that they were glad that this was their last year so they will meet new people and see new things.

I also got to ask some juniors, who were going to the Homecoming Dance for the first time, about why they never go, and they told me that they went this year because they wanted to know how it looked.

 

Gender roles

by: Ali Limback and Eddie López

The definition of gender roles (according to Google) is basically a set norm of what each gender is supposed to be/act/look like.

image taken from Twitter @Thynative

The typical norm for guys is to be fit, act very tough, and be interested in sports. Guys can also be intrested in other things besides sports, like video games, and more. Most of the time when guys find things of interest, that are typically “girly” things, they get excluded. Often, since they are not intrested in the same thing as most guys, they find the person weird, so they call them names like “fag” or “queer.”

The typical norm for girls is to be super social, very dainty, with no muscle, and very much into their looks. It’s not the usual to have short hair because that’s a “boys hairstyle.”

A good example of exposing people to non “normal” looks is through celebrities and their fashion choices. Honestly, it is more socially acceptable for a girl to wear “boys” clothes than the other way around. That is why I chose to focus on male celebrity

fashion choices.

Harry Styles has recently been wearing outfits that don’t fit into the standards of normal masculine fashion. He has been seen wearing a lot of woman’s clothing (like blouses) and colors men wouldn’t typically wear. We personally think that it’s great to see someone so high in the music industry (a lot of people look up to him) wearing what he wants to wear, and showing people that we can mix fashion, and there’s not a set gender in clothing. A lot of people are being really great about his recent change in fashion and supporting him through it all.

From Glee, the character, Kurt Hummel, was known for his fashion choices. He was bullied and called very rude things because of what he wore because he was different. He was definitely a character to look up to because even through all the bulling, he did not change his fashion choices because of what other people said. It ended up great in the end because he got such a great job in fashion, and he never gave up on himself.

NFL national anthem protests

Before every game, whether it’s for high school or the pros, the national anthem plays and we stand to face the flag. Lately, many of the pro sports players haven’t been standing for the anthem. Players in the NFL have been kneeling during the anthem. “Why?” some might ask. It’s because they are protesting against police brutality and racial injustice.

The protests began on August 26, 2016, when then 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick would not stand during the national anthem according to ProCon.org. Many people have conflicting views regarding the players’ actions, the president of the United States has given his opinion, as well as the National Football League.

President Trump has tweeted out many things about the protests, some of which say the players should be fired. He believes what they are doing in disrespectful to our country. Trump told Vice President Pence to attend a 49ers game, who then left right after the anthem, after seeing players kneel, instead of stand, says Jeremy Woo from Sports Illustrated.

The NFL has stated that they are not making any plans at the moment to make players stand during the national anthem. They are “trying to move from protest to progress, working to bring people together” states a spokesperson from the NFL. Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote to all 32 teams saying “Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem.” Mid-October, players in the league are expected to go to New York to discuss plans to solve the issue and create a positive change within the NFL and the country.

Overall, it seems everyone would like a change in some form. Players would like to see a change in society. The president would like to see a change in the NFL. And the NFL would like everyone to be positive.

 

US military crash In Syria

On early Friday, September 29, a US Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey aircraft crashed in Syria due to an unknown reason. There is still an ongoing investigation, but it is assumed to be an mechanical issue. The aircraft had around 2 dozen Marines abroad and two members were injured, but according to Operation Inherent Resolve, the injuries was considered non-life-threatening. The injured members were transported to a medical facility and examined.

According to CNN, the military official told them that the hard landing completely destroyed the plane, and that it was not due to enemy activities. The aircraft crashed early in the morning, in a combat zone at a base. The base was where the U.S. maintains Special Operations forces and artillery support. Operation Inherent Resolve released a statement confirming that the crash did happen, but did not give the location. They gave a vague response, saying it was in the Middle East. Later, the officials were able to tell the location of the crash, which was Syria.

The Pentagon will not disclose either names or series affiliation in this mishap. Right now, the U.S. has more than 1,000 troops in Syria. Ospreys are often used to transport troops within Syria. U.S. advisers are working with Syrian Democratic Forces to train them in combat and against Islamic State militants. Earlier this year, the Marines established an outpost in Syria against Islamic State forces, preventing them from retaking hold of the northern city of Raqqa. The U.S. also backed Arab and Kurdish fighters, with Syrian Democratic forces, to secure Raqqa Old City on September 4. U.S. troops had been in Syria since October 2015, to support Operation Inherent Resolve.

On Friday, the 29th, lots of reports from doctors and medical aid groups say that many of the hospitals are at risk for being targeted. Syrian troops had began targeting hospitals, which is considered violating a human rights rule. Human rights groups have protested that the Syrian troops have been violating the rule in “an egregious violation of the laws of war and a callous attempt to inflict suffering on civilians.” According to Physicians for Human Rights, the latest attacks were the most intense since April. Brice de Vingne, of Doctors Without Borders, said that the attacks had been taking place near Idlib. The United Nations has deemed attacks against hospitals a systematic attempt by the Syrian government to target health care facilities.