Category Archives: Community News

How to Save the Earth

by Katie Hull

Image via Zastavki.com

There are so many things we do to this planet that can only be construed as destructive. We choose to put toxic gasses into our atmosphere and dump thousands of pounds of garbage and plastic into our oceans. 100,000 marine mammals die from plastic each year. The Worldwide Health Organization estimates that 4.6 million people die from direct causes related to pollution. How long are we going to let this go on?

Rockwell students could help. We could make a difference. Some of the top ways to save the environment are ways that you wouldn’t think. They are simple, easy and cost effective.

  1. Reduce the amount of meat you eat. Scientists have found that red meat is responsible for 10 to 40 times as many emissions as greenhouses! This doesn’t mean getting completely rid of meat. But if you simply reduce the amount you eat you could start helping the environment.
  2. Reduce the amount of paper in your life. Almost everyone, if not all of us, have phone or access to a computer. 40% of the worlds trees that are being cut down is being used for paper.
  3. Reuse water bottles. Or even better, don’t use plastic bottles. Spend the money on a five dollar water bottle and reuse it. Over all you will spend less money then buying single water bottles that cost give or take a couple bucks.
  4. Don’t throw away just anything. Recycle when you can. Kitchen scraps can be used in gardens as fertilizer.
  5. Take notice of how much water you use. Try not to overuse. Turn off the water rather than leave it on when you are doing other things.

 

Basically these are a free simple things we can all do to help the environment around us. The Earth is our home and we are killing it one day at a time. We need to work on keeping it alive. Wendell Berry said, “ The Earth is one thing we all have in common.” Treat it like you would a home because it’s all of ours.

Midterms filled with historic elections, voter turnout

by Kaya Garza

Image via The Daily Herald

These midterm elections have been deemed “the most significant elections of our lifetimes,” and based on Tuesday’s events and Wednesday’s results, that title seems to be very fitting. The Democrats are projected to flip the House and the Republicans projected to keep a hold of the Senate.

First, what exactly are midterms?
Midterms are general elections that occur every four years during November, nearing the midpoint of the President‘s term. Senator, House of Representatives, and Governor positions are contested. Usually at this midpoint, the party opposite of the President‘s flips at least the House or the Senate.

This year, the House claimed a Democratic majority, and Republicans kept their Senate majority.

In Utah, Ben McAdams (D) challenged incumbent Mia Love for Utah’s 4th Congressional District. In the other three districts, Republicans won by a great amount. The Love vs McAdams race has not yet been confirmed by Utah District 4.
Mitt Romney is replacing Orrin Hatch’s seat in the Senate, winning by a strong 62.4% race against Democratic Jenny Wilson, with 31.6% of the votes.
District 1 results: Rob Bishop (R )
District 2: Chris Stewart (R )
District 3: John Curtis (R )
District 4: Unconfirmed but projected to be Ben McAdams (D) at a 51% lead.

Prop 2, concerning medical marijuana, was passed as was Prop 3 for Medicaid expansion and Prop 4 for a redistricting commission.

Constitutional Amendment A, which is military property tax exemption, was passed along with Constitutional Amendment C, Changes related to special legislative sessions.

And lastly, Nonbinding Opinion Question 1, the gas tax increase for education and roads was not passed with 66.1% against.

Utah is among the handful of states who legalized medical marijuana, and has seen an increase in Democratic voters.

Here is a list of all of the elected candidates who made history:
•Sharice Davids (D), first openly lesbian Native American congresswoman
•Ilhan Omar, first Muslim congresswoman
•Ayanna Pressley (D), first black Congresswoman from Massachusetts
•Veronica Escobar (D), first Latinx congresswoman from Texas
•Sylvia Garcia (D), Latinx congresswoman from Texas
•Rashida Tlaib (D), Muslim congresswoman
•Jared Polis (D), first openly gay man elected Governor
•Deb Haaland (D), Native American congresswoman
•Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D), youngest congresswoman ever elected
•Joe Neguse (D), first black congressman from Colorado
•Michelle Lujan Grisham (D), first Latinx woman elected Governor
•Chris Pappas (D), first openly gay congress member from New Hampshire
•Letitia “Tish” James (D), first black woman Attorney General from New York
•Jahana Hayes (D), first black congresswoman from Conneticut
•Keith Ellison (D), first Muslim statewide elected official in the U.S.
•Kalan Haywood (D), youngest state legislator
•Angie Craig (D), first lesbian mother in Congress
•Marsha Blackburn ( R), first woman senator from Tennessee

This has been the biggest historically altering midterms ever, and will certainly change the course of midterms and Presidential elections for years to come.

“It was definitely a Democratic win,” said Rockwell sophomore Jaron Winn. “I’m really glad they flipped the House.”

Fatal Shooting in California Bar, 12 Dead

by Kaya Garza

Image via Frederic J. Brown / AFP/Getty Images

Twelve people, including a sheriff, were killed late last night by an unidentified gunman at Borderline Bar & Grill. He shot himself afterwards. A dozen of people are injured. It is unclear if this attack is terrorism.

Ventura County Sheriff’s department responded to the sound of gunfire at about 11:20 p.m.

More updates to come.

One Can Can Make a Difference

by Sierra Maldonado

Rockwell Charter High School is doing a food drive for local families that need food for Thanksgiving.

There are more than 2,000 homeless people across the state of Utah. Donating even just one can of food can help someone not go hungry this holiday season.

How it works: Beginning tomorrow, November 7, there will be a box for each grade to donate their cans in the library. When you donate, the librarian will have you count your cans and fill out a can to hang up on the poster in the hallway. The grade with the most cans donated will win a pizza party!

It’s not just canned food you can donate. We accept other non-perishable food items, as well. Here are a few ideas of things you can bring:

– Canned beans
– Canned soup
– Canned fruits
– Canned vegetables
– Canned meat
– Cereal
– Rice
– Peanut Butter
– Pasta

These are things that food banks need the most, but any and all non-perishable food donations are welcome. If every student donates just 5 cans of food, we will have almost 2,500 cans of food to donate! Let’s help people in our community have a memorable Thanksgiving.

The canned food drive begins tomorrow, November 7, and ends Friday, November 16.

Terror shooting at Pittsburgh Synagogue

by Kaya Garza

Image via AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Saturday, around 10am, an anti-Semitic terrorist attack was perpetrated against a Jewish congregation at Pittsburgh Tree Of Life synagogue. 

Robert Bowers, the gunman armed with a AR-15-style assault rifle as well as a handgun, yelled “All Jews must die!” before opening fire at 9:45 a.m.. 

Eleven people died and six were wounded. Among those who died was Rose Mallinger, a Holocaust survivor.

“As of [Sunday morning], a 61-year-old woman is in stable condition, a 70-year-old man is in critical condition, a 55-year-old male police officer is in stable condition, and a 40-year-old male officer is in critical condition at UPMC Presbyterian,” the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported. “At UPMC Mercy, a 27-year-old male officer is in stable condition. Another male officer has already been released.”

Multiple police officers were injured in the effort to stop Bowers from leaving the synagogue, and were among the wounded taken to the nearest hospital.

After around twenty minutes, police asked Bowers to surrender. He is currently in police custody.

Among those who lost their lives:

Joyce Fienberg, 75
Richard Gottfried, 65
Rose Mallinger, 97
Jerry Rabinowitz, 66,
Brothers Cecil Rosenthal, 59, and David Rosenthal, 54
Married couple Bernice Simon, 84, and Sylvan Simon, 86
Daniel Stein, 71
Melvin Wax, 88
Irving Younger, 69

A vigil was held Sunday to honor them.

“Maybe if people couldn’t just get AR-15’s, things like this wouldn’t happen,” said Kat Pinheiro. “We need better gun laws. Not better security at a synagogue.”

Kavanaugh takes Supreme Court

by Kaya Garza 

Image via Consequence of Sound

Earlier this year on July 9th, President Donald Trump elected Judge Brett Kavanaugh as the new Supreme Court nominee after Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced his retirement.

This created quite a tempestuous political frenzy, as opposing parties raised their concerns over the possible rescinding of landmark case Roe v. Wade. Kavanaugh‘s nomination subsequently made America strongly polarized, brewing a harsh storm of altercations concerning the upcoming midterm elections this November.

But allegations of sexual assault against the longtime judge have made Kavanaugh not just a nominee, but America’s newest pinnacle of notoriety and scandal.

The first allegation was attested by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a Californian psychology professor, through a letter sent to democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein. She claimed that Honor Brett Kavanaugh sexually and physically assaulted her when they were in high school at a party. She requested that Senator Feinstein keep it a private letter. After a series of confirmation hearings and arguments between Republicans and Democrats, Sen. Feinstein released Dr. Ford‘s letter. The New York Times picked it up rather quickly, and soon the world began to hear about it.

Kavanaugh denied these allegations. Allegations detailed by Dr. Ford very explicitly; events that she said made her fear for her life. She precisely recalled that he pinned her down on a bed, tried to remove her clothing, and covered her mouth so no one could hear her scream.

Kavanaugh “categorically and unequivocally“ denied such events ever took place.

These weren’t the only allegations: Deborah Ramirez, a women who claimed they went to school together, said that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her despite her disdain. Another woman claiming to have known him in the 80s declared him to be unfit for the Supreme Court Justice position, detailing events of gang rape and violence. Neither of these allegations or any others have been investigated.

To any inquisitive young American, events like these appear to be critical, and that, on any other day politics never feel this urgent. Dozens of students have pre-registered/registered to vote, shared opinionated posts on nearly every social media realm, some even outraged enough to call Utah’s senators and urge others to as well. In my time researching this issue, I’ve seen careful examinations everywhere I look; precise dissections of both Ford and Kavanaugh‘s statements dominated the right and left sides of the political spectrum. A deep mistrust for the government had also began to emerge: people asked whether or not our country is prepared to uphold justice.

Although Dr. Ford‘s lawyers asked for a FBI investigation, it didn’t supervene. The Senate Judiciary Committee then requested that both Ford and Kavanaugh testify in front of the panel and quite frankly the world and its descendants.

On September 27th, the testimonies were finally commenced. Dr. Ford stood before over a dozen senators, attorneys, journalists and lawyers. She quietly described her traumatic experiences with sincere caution.

“I am here today not because I want to be,” she said, her voice shaking slightly. “I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school.”

When asked if the events at question have ‘destroyed’ her family, she timidly responded that they were just fine.

Dr. Ford also clarified psychological damage done to the brain after traumatizing events, and when given questions she could not remember exact details to, she stated that she simply could not remember. Not a mince of hesitation but was detectable in her tone. It seemed as though her confidence carried her through, filled in all the gaps.

Senators like Cory Booker (New Jersey) and Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota) diligently defended and heroicized her for her sacrifice.

“You are opening up to open air hurt and pain that goes on across this country. And for that, the word I would use, it’s nothing short of heroic,” Booker stated.

Ruffling the ever so stringent feathers of American politicians, the mood shifted once it was time for Kavanaugh’s testimony.

“Eleven days ago, Dr. Ford publicly accused me of committing a serious wrong more than 36 years ago when we were both in high school. I denied the allegation immediately, unequivocally, and categorically. The next day, I told this Committee that I wanted to testify as soon as possible, under oath, to clear my name,” he began.

Kavanaugh spoke about his childhood, his treasured memories with his dad, his hard work in high school. He got sincerely and acutely emotional; he sipped his water every chance he got, as though he couldn’t avoid crying without it. Although to him it must’ve felt like so many were opposed to him, senators like Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) fought Kavanaugh’s combatants like a soldier.

“This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics. And if you really wanted to know the truth, you sure as hell wouldn’t have done what you’ve done to this guy,“ he spat.

Some important things to note are that the testimonies were not apart of a court hearing, no one violated the Constitution, and that Kavanaugh cannot be convicted.

To support Dr. Ford, one could point out that she had told over a dozen people about the assault, roommates and friends of Kavanaugh explained he did in fact become aggressive when drunk, his cryptic yearbook references didn’t help, and she passed a polygraph test.

On the flipside: it took her a long time to come out about it, Kavanaugh‘s calendars indicated his apparent absence during the events in question, and that dozens of colleagues came forward to defend his character. How could he, after years of public service, be capable of such atrocities?

There were no bipartisan conclusions after these testimonies, and an FBI investigation was called by the President in partial thanks to Sen. Jeff Flake (Arizona) for his change of heart when facing women challenging his vote.

A woman named Ann Maria Archila cornered the cordial senator, all while being recorded, said: “On Monday, I stood in your office. I told you of my story of my sexual assault,” her voice quivering. “I was sexually assaulted, and nobody believed me. You’re telling all women that they don’t matter.”

Although the Senator didn’t say much, something shifted. He considered more carefully what was before him, and his power in the matter. Archila and another woman in the elevator, Maria Gallagher, have been fighting ever since— even after the confirmation.

I decided to sit down with both Attorney/Teacher Tim Heise, who, by a slight margin, favored Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony.

“How do you think this situation was approached?” I asked a forethoughtful Heise. He pondered on the question carefully before answering.

“Since it isn’t a court of law, it’s mostly just political theater. This isn’t a court hearing, it would be very different if so. I don’t have any trust in Congress through these proceedings. It reminds me of Clarence Thomas,” Heise said.

I nodded attentively and further asked if he thought either testimonies were credible.

“Well,” he paused. “Both have the right to be questioned in a court of law. That isn’t happening. I don’t think it was very credible.“

“Do you think an FBI investigation is necessary?“

“Yes. But I also don’t think there’s much to investigate. Although I find her to be trustworthy, I don’t think the polygraph was enough on her part.“

Heise explained that false accusations concern him, and that naturally, sexual assault should be taken seriously. But he didn’t  know how this might change sexual assault cases in the future.

“I think the media limbo is irritating. The whole world is watching. The amount of vicious political speech and divide is absurd, but I don’t think it’ll change upcoming elections much. The parties have been divided for a long time. I hope Utah’s senators take middle ground.“

“I favor Kavanaugh but only by a slight margin. Although I respect women who don’t come forward sooner, it would’ve made her more credible.“

One last question, the one I deem to be most important: “What would you hope for students? How should they approach this, and situations like it?“

“I encourage them to question everything,“ he states firmly. “They shouldn’t rely on media or politics. Know who you are because everything will always be this confusing, and government lies. No matter what happens, I don’t like the outcome. Someone’s life is ruined, both possibly.“

To counterbalance this articulation, I also sat down with someone of an opposing view, Historian Amy Holt.

“How do you think this situation was approached?“ I asked her. She answered very precisely, with all of my questions— I knew she had taken the time to formulate how she felt.

“I do think it was fair. I think both sides were taken seriously. I also think she was very credible. And to him, nothing was out of the ordinary. I think he discredited himself when he answered questions about his yearbook, he wasn’t forthcoming at all.”

“Do you think the investigations are necessary?”

“Absolutely. Everyone should think so.”

After asking her if she thinks this’ll change politics, she explained that #MeToo definitely aided this era’s confrontation with sexual assault. She’s glad that it’s inspired women to come forward, especially when it concerns important positions like the Supreme Court Justice.

She also mentioned that she’s ashamed with senators who voted without thinking, carelessly forgetting to invest time and consideration. Things like this should always be taken seriously.

And lastly, I asked: “What should students and voters do when facing such issues?”

“Vote. Get all information. Don’t rely on your parents, you’re all old enough to form your own opinions.”

In the days during the investigation leading up to the final vote, President Trump expressed his opinions to a Mississippi rally, saying: “I had one beer. Well, do you think it was — nope, it was one beer. How did you get home? I don’t remember. How’d you get there? I don’t remember. Where is the place? I don’t remember. How many years ago was it? I don’t know.”

Trump wasn’t the only person against Dr. Ford, as dozens of predominantly Republican senators and congressmen dismissed her statements because she could not recall every detail.

This has altered our view on sexual assault forever. It’s raised questions like:

“What if that were me?”

“What do we do if this happens again?”

“Since it’s so hard to prove, who do we trust?”

Every American should asked themselves and their government these questions.

On October 4th, the FBI investigation was released to the Senate Judiciary Committee. After a thorough evaluation, the final vote was held.

Two days later, the astringent partisan aggravations came to a halt, when Kavanaugh won the vote 50-48.

This pariah of a man was sworn in the day after as the United States Supreme Court Justice. His wife and daughters stood beside him as he placed a hand on the Bible and the other in air. Outside, indignant protestors bellowed their lamented sentiments with posters and fists in the air over what must’ve felt like betrayal.

Never have I seen so many people of all collars and cultures know so much about a “political“ case like this. Never have I seen so many people educate themselves on an issue of such gravity, nor have I seen such a stark divarication.

I asked some students how they felt about the whole debacle: the allegations, testimonies, and whether or not they agree with the Senate vote that confirmed Kavanaugh.

Senior Brendan Southern was among those who don’t agree with the confirmation.

“I don’t think Dr. Ford is lying. It’s difficult though, because it’s so hard to prove and it’s been so long. Despite all that, I don’t think he should’ve been confirmed, based on his demeanor and actions before the Senate.“

Another thought to consider is one coming from Junior Ethan Hadlock, stating very empathetically:

“I feel if he was guilty, he definitely shouldn’t be appointed. It’s serious. I believe Dr. Ford did experience something. But I don’t think he did it. There just wasn’t enough evidence.“

I ask you to use your newly equipped knowledge, to avail your American obligations. Consider how this case may affect the future, your descendants. Ponder on your voice, your place in democracy. Consider whether or not our senators voted in the best interest of our country. Consider every angle and ask what’s right, because this concerns the Supreme Court, the highest court of the land.

“Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.”

 

– George Washington, 1737

From Walkout to Lockdown: Rockwell Students say ‘Enough is Enough’

by Kaya Garza

Students at Rockwell Charter High School participated in a nationwide protest against gun violence Wednesday by walking out of their classrooms at exactly 10:00 am. More than 65 Rockwell students participated in the peaceful protest that lasted 17 minutes.

IMG_4992“When the walkout happened, quite a few students went to the back parking lot,” said Rockwell sophomore, Katie Hull. “During the 17 minutes, we paid respect to the victims. A couple students read the names of every victim in the Parkland shooting. It was really powerful.”

The walkout lasted for 17 minutes to honor those 17 students who lost their lives in the February 14th shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Rockwell students exercised their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and the right to form assembly as they chanted things like “enough is enough” and “17 minutes for 17 lives” while marching from the back of the school to the front. Some students also marched with signs that said things like “enough” and “17 minutes.”

But not all students felt walking out was the correct approach. Some felt the alternative “Walk Up, Not Out” movement would be more effective.

“I felt like the walkout wasn’t the right way to go about it,” said Rockwell student Mikayla Tanner. “Walk Up is approaching new people and showing them they have someone there. When you’re talking to new people they feel valued. None of those shooters felt cared about. It wouldn’t just help end gun violence, but suicide and self harm as well. But I wasn’t against it, I still support everyone who decided to walk out. Just for me personally, it wasn’t the best approach.”

Approximately 30 minutes later, after students had already gone back to their classes, Rockwell counselor Misty Madsen received a call from police about a man who showed up to the Maverik near Rockwell with a rifle strapped to his chest.

“I was just chilling and teaching when there was an announcement about a lockdown,” said Rockwell teacher Jacob Hampton. “I was already having a discussion about the walkout with my students when the announcement happened, and I also got a text that went out to all the staff. I instructed my students to go to a corner as I turned off the lights and removed the door magnet.”

The lockdown was called off about 20 minutes later when the man left Maverik property.

“The man mentioned that he heard Rockwell was participating in the walkout and he wanted to spread some kind of message about his rights as an American,” said a Maverick employee. “He wasn’t doing anything illegal, as Utah is an open-carry state.”IMG_5002

This man intended to “educate” Rockwell students who participated in the walkout about the Second Amendment, but police confirmed there was no immediate threat to the safety of students and staff at Rockwell.

“Sadly, too many people misunderstood the aims of the walkout – students and adults, alike,” said Rockwell’s Principal Darren Beck. “That was a horrible way to teach people, by scaring them.”

This lockdown taught Rockwell some important lessons about how to stay calm should a similar situation ever arise again.

“I think that we, as teachers, staff, and students, learned that we need to be more prepared if something like this were to happen again,” said Rockwell student Megan Nelson. “We should have more drills. These kinds of things could last for hours and people were freaking out after a few minutes. It really put things into perspective.”

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