Give to the Max Day 2018

Give to The Max Day (GTTMD) is a day across Minnesota where people are encouraged to donate to non-profits and schools all over MN.

This year, Give to The Max Day is on November 15th.

GTTMD was first started in 2009. When Give MN, a group dedicated to making Minnesota a better place to live, launched in 2009, GTTMD was an idea they came up with to promote their launch. In the first 24 hours of their first GTTMD they raised $14 million dollars. Ever since then, GTTMD had been an annual tradition.

People interested in donating can visit GiveMN.org.  They can search for the non-profit of their choice, or look for different causes to find a non-profit or school doing work they want to support. The minimum donation amount is $10.

The site is up and available for organizations and donors to use all year long, but on November 15th, Give to the Max Day, people are encouraged to make their annual donation to help their favorite non-profits or schools win prizes. The 24-hour giving period also serves to raise awareness of the benefits of charity and raise the spirit of community giving.

One way you, or your family, can support Highland Park Senior High, is to look up “Highland Park Senior High School” on GiveMN.org and donate directly to Highland.

Another way for students to donate, is through the school directly. Here at Highland, the PTSA is trying to get students involved in GTTMD by hosting a fundraiser in all first period classes. Students are encouraged to donate money, and whichever class donates the most by Monday, November 20th, will receive bagels the following Monday.

On November 15th, to help remind people about the event, people are encouraged to wear the color green.

If you or anyone you know is interested in participating, visit the GiveMN website to make a donation.

 

 

St. Thomas racial slur on freshman door

School leaders at St. Thomas say the university is actively investigating a racist message allegedly left on a student’s door, in a dormitory, on Friday, October 19. The racist act happened when a first-year, African-American student, living in Brady Hall, found a message spray-painted on his door. The message included a racial slur and told him to “go home.”

“I was so mad I walked inside, grabbed an all-purpose cleaner, and just scrubbed it off,” he [said]. “I thought later I did not even take a picture of it. What a dummy. But I was so pissed off.”

This of course caused conflict around the entire school, and also in the neighborhood. The president of the university created a plan to counter racism on campus as hundreds of students and faculty members staged a sit in.

He said he has received an outpouring of support from students and faculty in recent days. After he considered transferring to another campus, he said, “I decided I am not going anywhere.”


The president’s “Action to suppress the racism” includes

  • Encouraging faculty to address race in the classroom

  • Launching an anti-hate campaign

  • Offering trauma resources focusing on students of color

  • Increasing the diversity of campus counselors

  • Providing anti bias training to all students, staff, and faculty this academic year

  • Bringing in an outside organization to assess the campus’ climate and diversity efforts

St. Thomas is still investigating the Brady Hall incident and is trying to address a problem that is happening all too often across the United States, in recent years.

SPPS school budget referendum

By: Vivian S

This year, the St. Paul Public School District has placed on the ballot a referendum on raising the property tax levy to increase the district’s budget. The referendum will increase the amount of money the district receives per pupil from $704.52 to $1179.52. The estimated tax impact on an average homeowner would be $11 more per month.

If voters approve the referendum, the money will be used to: boost achievement, improve mental health, foster social-emotional learning, and help middle schools better prepare kids for high school. It will limit additional budget cuts. The district has already cut more than $50 million over the past three years.

If voters do not pass the referendum, the district might have to: cut programs for students that need help with basic academic skills, cut staff and other programs, and cut support staff (custodial, clerical, etc.). Most likely, they would start by cutting the electives and after-school programs.

SPPS has a strategic plan they wish to implement: they want to help English Language Learners more, assist students receiving special education, improve kindergarten readiness, help students grow academically in reading and math, and prepare everyone for college and life. They also wish to decrease the disparity of achievement based on race, culture, ethnicity, and identity.

SPPS is currently facing a $17.2 million budget shortfall, and they are not alone in their budget troubles. Minneapolis Public Schools are also trying to push through their own referendum for similar reasons. Up to now, no agreement has been made on how to handle the shortfall. One thing is clear, though: our schools need more money to operate.

SPPS, although the second largest school district in Minnesota, receives about $320 per student less than the metro district average. SPPS says they need this referendum because the state, which provides the majority of school funding, has not kept up with inflation and the needs of schools, which has put strain on the operating budget and caused the school system to rely on operating levies for many critical functions. The second largest amount of money that schools receive is from local communities, through operating levies like this one.

SPPS maintains they spend money wisely: they spend less on district administration and more on classrooms. Schools are an important part of many childrens’ lives, and the school system needs more money to give them the best education.

For more information about this topic, please visit:

https://www.spps.org/referendum2018

Eileen Viveros-Vargas: A loved one lost too soon

photo courtesy Karla Alarcon

On March 9th, police arrived at a home in Hayden Heights to discover the body of 18-year-old Eileen Viveros-Vargas. Officers had found Viveros-Vargas shot in the head and her unborn child had died with her as well. Viveros-Vargas was apparently five months pregnant at the time of her death.

Eileen’s boyfriend, Luis Isaac Chacon-Villeda, was arrested on suspicion of murder, as well as a charge of fifth-degree drug possession. Police had found several bags of marijuana, a handgun, as well as 2,000 dollars in cash in the bedroom that Eileen Vargas was found.

The family confirmed that the couple had been together for two years.

Luis Isaac Chacon-Villeda, with no previous criminal record, made his first court appearance on the drug charges. Chacon-Villeda had confessed to owning the marijuana, and .22 caliber handgun, that was found at the scene. He also admitted to dealing marijuana in his neighborhood.

Chacon-Villeda is being held at Ramsey County jail as police are further investigating the death of Viveros-Vargas, with another court hearing scheduled on March 27th.

Eileen Viveros-Vargas was a student at Highland Middle school, and was a former associate of many of our students.

“I met Eileen when we were in middle school; it was 7th or 8th grade. I remember her as an outgoing and caring person; she was nice to everyone,” said Aricela Rueda, a current senior. Although she did not keep in contact with Eileen after their transition to high school, she explained how shocked she was to hear about the tragedy of Eileen’s death, saying, “I couldn’t believe it, she was gone. What shocked me the most was finding out that her boyfriend could be responsible for it.”

The emotional and difficult response received from Aricela was not the only one. Many students took to social media to express their shock, over the death of Eileen Viveros-Vargas, over the last couple of days.

In an interview, Karla Alarcon, a current junior, and cousin to Eileen, in response to the news of Eileen’s death said, “I was very shocked, and I felt like it was a dream I would wake up from and it would be over, but soon realized it was not and it was like I had been stabbed in the heart.”

 

Minnesota firefighters die from an unexpected heart attack

In a small town in Minnesota, a firefighter died on a Tuesday morning from a unexpected heart attack after his training session. Captain Jeff Vollmer died hours after the Mayor Fire Department was practicing a scenario. He was only 40 years old, and he leaves behind his wife and two children. According to Maetzold, a Channel 9 reporter, Jeff seemed fine and he was fit, from what they could see, meaning he wasn’t sick.

Apparently, Vollmer isn’t the only firefighter who has died from an undiagnosed condition. The last four firefighters, in Minnesota, all died from heart attacks in their late 30s to early 40s. Half of the time, firefighters die from falling off ladders, smoke inhalation or burns, but heart attacks happen most of the time after their shift.

Shane Clifton, a firefighter in Minnesota, died of cardiac arrest at a station house when he was 38 years old. Also, 42-year old Matt Frantz, who was Fire Chief in Rice Lake, died a few hours after a late night fire call.

 

Vollmer died 6 hours after his training, and it is still considered a in the line of duty death under the Survivor Benefit Act of 2003. The act recognized heart attacks as being a in the line of duty event if they are within 24-hours of the shift.

 

Teachers vote to possibly go on strike

The teachers of St. Paul have spoken. The St. Paul school district will be attempting to prevent, or potentially endure a teacher strike. The teachers are asking for a 2.5 percent pay raise, along with more non-teacher staff, and smaller class sizes. SPPS (St. Paul Public School District) has had a hard time coming to meet the needs of our teachers.

On Wednesday, Jan 31st, our teachers voted to authorize a strike. This means that we have ten days before the strike possibly begins. This “cooling off” period ends Monday the 12th, and the potential strike will begin on Tuesday the 13th. If the strike has not ended after four school days, then we will have to add more days to the end of the school year.

Some teachers and non-teacher staff in the district do not believe that this argument will result in a strike; however, their opinion is becoming less and less likely every second that ticks by. The clock has started, and it seems to most that this clock will run out well before the teachers and school district come to an agreement. The thought of adding more days to the end of the year could be difficult for students and families, as some may have vacation plans, or plans for their children to work over the summer. It could be time consuming and potentially expensive for some families to shift their plans back farther into the summer.

One thing is for sure, the teachers, staff, and (most) students do not want to take a couple weeks off, and push their plans back into summer. This strike could shorten our summer break, were most of us relax, enjoy some free time, and work to make some money. With any luck, our teachers and school board can come to an agreement that would make a strike unnecessary. We all know how bad a strike could be for our students and staff.

*UPDATE: It was announced Monday morning, Feb 12th, that the union and district had come to a tentative agreement, thus preventing a strike.

Flu spreads across MN

The flu is spreading all over Minnesota according to WCCO news. According to Doctor Bjorn Peterson, people are coming to the hospital with body aches, headaches, high fevers, and sore throats. Emergency rooms are dealing with many people with these symptoms.

The doctors from Regions hospital, in St. Paul, are saying that they see 30 people a day who have the flu. The high numbers are why the Minnesota Department of Health is declaring influenza and respiratory illness, which means hospitals are putting restrictions on visitors to protect other patients and staff.

Dr. Frank Rhame, a disease doctor, from Allina Health, suggests that you should stay at home if you can. Rhame also suggests to keep kids under the age of five altogether. He also said they may look healthy but they could actually be infected. To prevent the spread of the flu, Dr. Rhame suggests to wash your hands thoroughly and cover your coughs.

These past weeks, Allina Health has admitted 120 people and 870 people have tested positive for influenza. Laboratory tests show that this year, the flu has hit the elderly and younger people hard.

According to the Star Tribune, the best way to prevent the flu is to be vaccinated, but it can’t provide protection against all possible disease. If you experience any flu symptoms like high fevers, chills, muscle aches, continuous coughs, sore throat, headaches, or fatigue, make sure to go see a doctor. The flu is very contagious and can infect you without you even knowing, so make sure to keep clean and make sure to not make physical contact with someone who is already infected.

The renovation of Rosedale Mall

Rosedale Mall is in a 2 year process of being renovated and will be officially completed sometime next year. According to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, the Rosedale project will bring a new anchor tenant and 10 to 12 smaller retailers to the fleet of roughly 140 stores that lease space at Rosedale. High end fashion will be added to already existing stores such as JC Penney, Macy’s, and Herberger’s. The department stores will fill up the 150,000-square-foot, two story addition being built onto the shopping center.

The renovation will also update the mall’s interior by adding more comfortable spaces for shoppers to relax. New charging stations will be included for checking emails and charging cellphones and other devices.

The mall will be open during the construction, and much of the work will take place at night. Construction of the addition will start next year, in 2018, and the parking deck will hopefully be completed by November. The interior of the mall will bring 11 new stores, filling 21,000 square feet by Thanksgiving of 2018.

Streetcars

Back in the early 1900s to 1950s there wasn’t uber or Lyft, instead there was this popular transportation called: streetcars. Yes, that lovely mode of transportation cost only a nickel to ride and it, and it would take you all around St. Paul and Minneapolis. The streetcars date back to 1867, when rails were built in downtown Minneapolis. During the beginning, horses used to drive the streetcars, but that cost the Twin City Rapid Transit (TCRT) a lot of money (because they had to feed the horses). Later they decided to run the streetcars with electricity, which cost less, and was eco friendly, but people had concerns and questioned the streetcars. People feared that the electro cables would attract lightning if there was a thunderstorm.

City buses and automobiles are what took the streetcars out of business. Buses took the place of the streetcars, because streetcars charged more money for each fare, so more money would be made. And automobiles became popular, so people started buying them, and stopped riding the streetcars.

For a lot of years though, the streetcars were great for people who didn’t own any cars; they could get to work, school, library, movies, or anywhere the streetcar went. The company of the streetcars made 2.5 billion dollars in just 5 years, but there were some cons with the streetcars. They didn’t run really fast, and got caught up in traffic.

In St. Paul, they were thinking about bring streetcars back, and putting them right by the airport, by 7th street. This would be really convenient for people who don’t want to rely on somebody else taking them to the airport.

Overall, the streetcars were a success for the many long years they were running. If they ever brought back the streetcars (hopefully), we want every one of you reading this article to ride one.

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/