Thursday, December 21, 2017

How Effective will the Cow Plop be?

Jennifer Abele
Features Editor

Jan. 11, the “Cow Plop”  will become a reality out on the New Hope-Solebury Football field at 2:30 p.m., where the community will find out which spot the cow will choose, and if it’s their spot.
  The spots are worth $25 each, and each student has to sell at least five to reach the goal of $33,125. After the goal is met, the spots the cow chooses will earn 15% of $33,125. The prize is almost $5,000. The catch is not only does the cow choose the spot, but the spots are randomized.
Alex DiGena, Junior, is anticipating success for Jan. 11.
  “Let’s make sure the cow  kills it,” Alex DiGena said. “Sell more squares!”
  The cow plop fundraiser was chosen this year as an alternative to several small fundraisers generating $800 at most. This large scale fundraiser is to support the Junior and Senior Prom. The individual that bought the spot does not need to show up to the event, but the student who sold the spots is required to show up. If the student does not attend, then there will be another winner selected.
  Good luck to anyone who bought squares!

Bitcoin surges, then falls dramatically

Peter Thompson
Staff Writer

After a recent surge in the value of bitcoin the prevalent cryptocurrency declined rapidly over the weekend after its peak of 19,500 USD the currency dropped to 16,000 over the course of ten hours. The volatile currency has attracted an investment frenzy in the past few weeks; however, the lack of stability has raised questions regarding its investment value. Recently, a major gaming platform Steam run by Valve corporation decided to drop the cryptocurrency as a form of payment stating that the transaction fees associated with the currency and its recent volatility made it unacceptable.
  However bitcoin’s decline doesn’t signal the end of the cryptocurrencies popularity rather a ‘healthy’ fluctuation according to Arthur Hayes, The CEO of the Hong Kong based Bitmex a bitcoin and virtual currency trading firm. A UK based market analyst echoed this stating in Reuters that the cryptocurrency frenzy is not over: “The initial bounce after this morning suggests that there is appetite for buying dips but that may not last if we don’t see the kind of rebound witnessed previously.”
  The recent surge has raised concerns that bitcoin may be a ‘bubble’ that may burst in a dramatic fashion leading big banks and hedge funds to invest reluctantly. Despite Bitcoin’s decline other cryptocurrencies such as XRP have helped the cryptocurrency market continue to experience growth.     

Another Year, Another Successful Adopt-A-Child

Another Year, Another Successful Adopt-A-Child
Kayla Paul-Koch
Staff Writer

Since 1995, members of New Hope’s Key Club have been donating their time, energy, and money to Adopt-A-Child for the holidays. In the first year of participating in this rewarding program only 50 children were sponsored and adopted, but this year that number has grown to over 240 children. 
  On Dec. 13, people in the community, including parents and students, dropped off their gifts for the children in need. Members of the Key Club helped to greet those making donations, checked-in gifts, bagged them, loaded them onto the truck, and dropped them off at Fisherman’s Mark in Lambertville, NJ. 
    “It’s extremely rewarding to see how involved the students are and how they enjoy helping children in need.” Mrs. Schwander, an adviser to the program, said. 
  In addition to Key Club helping, sports team like baseball also stepped up to help donate their time. Students worked well together to get the gifts ready with holiday music playing and cookies to snack on. 
  After the gifts were dropped off  and bagged, three full truckloads of gifts were brought to Fisherman’s Mark who deliver the gifts to the children. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Five News Stories of 2017 That Show Unparalleled Upheaval

Claudia Kolinchak
Opinions Editor

In a poll sent out to New Hope-Solebury students on Dec. 11, you were asked to vote on the biggest news of 2017, and the results were troubling. Here are the top five stories that NHS believes to be the most pressing headlines from this past year:

One of the first news events of 2017, and voted by NHS students as the top news story of the year, was Donald Trump taking presidential office on Jan. 20, 2017. The result of an extremely controversial election, the presidency of Trump and the events surrounding it, have been hot topics for almost a year now. Fifty percent of respondents of the “Biggest News of 2017” survey, believed that this was the most important event to occur this year.

2017 was filled with unprecedented weather conditions, with arguably the biggest weather story being the long string of hurricanes that plagued the atlantic from late-August to mid-October. With ten hurricanes ranking between category 1 to category 5 and seven named tropical storms, this season was the fifth most active Hurricane season since 1851. 

Preceding and following the election of the 45th president of the United States, newspaper headlines revolved around possible Russian involvement in the 2016 Election. More recently, however, the investigation regarding their interference has been a consistent news topic. The FBI is still currently investigating various parties that have potential connections to this case. 

As terrorist attacks and mass shootings have plagued the United States for several decades, 2017 was no exception. On the night of Oct. 1, 2017, our country experienced the deadliest mass shooting committed by someone in the United States. 64-year-old, Stephen Paddock open fired at a Las Vegas music festival, killing almost 60 and injuring 546 concert goers. He was later found dead, in a hotel room full of 23 firearms,from a self-inflicted gunshot.

2017 had some devastating weather conditions, and this year’s wildfire season was one for the books. With the death toll at 44 in October alone, the fires that have continued to rage through December have been some of the most destructive that California has ever seen. Fires raged through the state, leaving thousands of structures and forests destroyed.

One thing all these stories have in common is that they are either controversial or devastating to involved parties. Let’s hope that 2018 has some positive headlines hitting the press. 

Under attack, the Mueller Investigation Trudges On

Riley Brennan

It has been about over a year since speculation about Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election began. Former FBI director, James Comey, was responsible for launching an investigation into the Trump campaign and its ties to Russia in relation to the 2016 election, in July of 2016.
 However, in May of 2017, President Trump fired Comey, effectively removing him from the investigation. The official statement issued from the White House on the matter said that Trump, “acted based on the clear recommendations” of the attorney general and deputy attorney general. In an interview with Lester Holt, Trump claimed that while he had met with the attorney general and deputy attorney general, he had already decided to fire Flynn.
 The decision to fire Comey was met with much backlash from Democrats who believed this was Trump’s attempt to halt the investigation.
 Following Comey’s removal on May 17, Robert Mueller was appointed by the Department of Justice to oversee the investigation. Mueller took over Comey’s responsibilities regarding the case, and then proceeded to expand the probe, in order to look into Trump’s firing of Comey, and whether or not it was to be considered an obstruction of justice.
 In August of this year, Mueller impaneled a grand jury for the investigation; which is helpful in gathering evidence.
 It was not until October that any charges were made. Former Trump campaign officials, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates were charged with 12 counts of financial crimes in relation to work they have conducted in Ukraine over the past 10 years. The charges against them include conspiracy against the U.S., conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.
 However, Manafort and Gates pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges, and has been put on house arrest. Manafort and Gates were freed on a $10 million bond and  $5 million bond, respectively. They will not be required to pay said bonds unless they violate the terms of their house arrests. Terms include checking in with law enforcement daily via phone, and they are only allowed out of their homes for court appearances, meetings with lawyers, medical emergencies, and religious observance. Both men have surrendered their passports as they await their trial. Manafort faces up to 80 years in prison, and Gates faces up to 70. Their trials are set for May 2018.
 Manafort has requested to be released from house arrest every weekday morning and afternoon, for activities regarding bringing his children to school and then after school activities such as birthdays and other gatherings among classmates and friends. He also requested release on weekends and holidays, and for the ability to conduct his consulting business.
 Since making requests regarding his house arrest, the Justice Department Special Counselor Robert Mueller team has found that Paul Manafort wrote as a ghostwriter on an op-ed piece with a Russian who has ties to the Russian Intelligence Service. The piece relates to Manafort’s political work for Ukraine, and investigators have found him to have been working on the editorial as recent as last week. This violates the judge’s ruling in Manafort’s case, which ordered him to “refrain from making statements to the media or in public settings that pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case." A status conference has been scheduled for December 11.
 Trump’s foreign policy advisor, George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to charges of issuing false statements to the FBI, in relation to conversations he had with Russian professor, Joseph Mifsud. Papadopoulos conversed with this professor, who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton, and is the first to be charged within the investigation. Papadopoulos lied to the FBI in regards to his contacts within Russia, those which were connected to the Kremlin.
 In recent a development, Sessions can now recall a meeting that included Papadopoulos.. In a testimony to the Judiciary Committee, Sessions said, "I do now recall the March 2016 meeting at Trump Hotel that Mr. Papadopoulos attended, but I have no clear recollection of the details of what he said during that meeting."
 As reported by the Washington Post, court documents disclose that it was during this meeting in March that Papadopoulos mentioned his connections with Russia. In front of the Trump Campaign’s foreign policy advisors, Papadopoulos suggested he had the ability to orchestrate a meeting between candidate Trump and Vladimir Putin. Both Trump and Sessions were present at this meeting. Upon his recent jog of memory, Sessions has stated that reading a news report which included Papadopoulos’ plea, helped him to remember some aspects of the meeting. On recalling the meeting, Sessions has now said, "After reading his account, and to the best of my recollection, I believe that I wanted to make clear to him that he was not authorized to represent the campaign with the Russian government, or any other foreign government, for that matter.” Sessions has denied ever lying during a testimony, calling such claims themselves, a lie.
 In January of 2017 Sessions told the Senate he was not in contact with any Russians throughout the 2016 campaign. This statement contradicts information that was revealed later on, which confirmed he met with the Russian ambassador to the United States multiple times throughout 2016. In a Senate hearing this past October, Sessions admitted to meeting with the Russian ambassador, following the Republican National Convention, and a couple of times after that, but insists meetings were not related to the campaign or election.
 Former security advisor, Michael Flynn has taken steps to cooperate with Mueller. Reports have disclosed that Flynn’s lawyer met with members of Mueller’s team. These developments come a week after Flynn told White House lawyers that he would not discuss the investigation, which has hinted at the possibility of him working with prosecutors or negotiating a plea deal.
 Flynn has since has since pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I., due to statements he made regarding conversations had with a Russian Ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, last December. President Trump spoke about Flynn in a tweet, writing, “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!”.
 Mueller has also zeroed in on Trump himself, specifically his ties to Deutsche Bank AG, a German global banking and financial services company.Mueller has issued a subpoena to the bank, requesting the submission of any files relating to business with President Trump. Trump’s lawyer, John Dowd, has since denied such claims about a subpoena being issued. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has called the Mueller subpoena reports false; “We confirmed that the news reports [that] the special counsel had subpoenaed financial records related to the president are completely false,”.
 The investigation now has the potential to face an early termination, following accusations regarding obtaining unlawful emails made by republicans. Accusations have been made by Trump’s transitions lawyers, that Mueller’s team received thousands of transition emails, without any authorization. Such lawyers also claim that some of the contained documents that they believe to be protected under attorney-client privilege. The transition emails were on a government domain, and required permission to access. However, the transition team claims that despite the “.gov” addresses, they were private.
A spokesperson for the Mueller team has denied these claims, though democrats and republicans alike now fear for the future of the investigation. Speculation regarding the possibility of Trump firing Mueller has circulated the country, leaving the future of the investigation up in the air. Reporters have asked Trump himself whether he is considering firing Mueller, to which he has responded, “No, I’m not”.
Despite Trump’s denial, his team has made numerous attempt to discredit both the investigation and Mueller. More recently, the Department of Justice shared with reporters text messages exchanged between two FBI agents, which contained criticism towards Trump; though they also contained criticism for his opponent Hillary Clinton and other democrats. One of these agents was removed prior to the publication of the messages, and the other has been moved to a different job post.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who reserves the power to fire Mueller, has also dismissed the idea of firing Mueller. When asked if he’d seen good cause to fire Mueller, Rosenstein responded, “No.” As reported in CNN, Rosenstein then went as far as to praise him:  “Director Mueller has throughout his lifetime been a dedicated and respected heroic public servant and I believe he was an ideal choice for this task.” However, Rosenstein was the one who appointed Mueller to his position, and has maintained a close oversight over the special counsel. Because of Rosenstein’s proximity and influence over the investigation, Washington has started to speculate that it will be Rosenstein, not Mueller that Trump fires. This would then allow Trump to appoint a new Deputy Attorney General, which could end up benefiting him in the end.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

2k18 New Hope Solebury Mini-THON promises to do it all FTK

Justin Horak & Devon Beacham
Staff Writers

With more than 90,000 student volunteers and 265 schools in 8 states, New Hope Solebury High School is contributing to conquer cancer. Mini-THONs are bringing hope to families in need and giving back to their community. During the 2016-2017 school year, high schools and colleges raised more than $6.46 million dollars for the Four Diamonds organization. This 2018, the high school’s annual participation in the Four Diamonds Mini-THON falls on Saturday, Jan. 27, from 7pm to 7am the next day. This year’s theme is based off the phenomenal Netflix series Stranger Things. Once again the school has teamed up with the Four Diamonds organization which amps it all up FTK-- for the kids. Every year, students raise money for childhood cancer and are a part of a team. Mini-THON begins with an exciting dance from 7pm to 10pm. After the dance, the doors are officially locked and teams are checked in for the night. From there until the morning, the teams compete against each other in a series of competitions to keep the night lively. Activities include games like handball, dodgeball, karaoke, bubble soccer, movie watching and so much more. Throughout the night, prizes will be rewarded to winners of games, the top fundraisers, and more! Prizes include gift cards to favorite restaurants, apple watches, and Four Diamonds apparel! 
  Last year even after a long twelve hours of activities, too much redbull, snacks, lack of blankets, and complete exhaustion, NHS’s Mini-THON 2017 was considered a total success. Over $16,000 was raised through student donations, businesses, and from friends and family. This 2018, the goal is $18,000 but it is always great to go above and beyond! The best way to make this Mini-THON a success FTK is to start raising money now! Get creative! One day we will dance in celebration. Until then, we dance for the cure.

Australia moves to ban foreign interference in their politics

Jen Abele
Features Editor

Australia will ban foreign interference in politics through financial or espionage laws on Dec. 12, due to the 2016 election in the United States and also China influencing Australian politics through campaign donations.
   The new law states that a person involved conduct with other foreign entities that will influence a political process or government that was formed through covert or deceptive operations. The “sister” bill will be a piece on legislation on electoral reform to ban foreign political donations. The law includes providing, possessing, and obtaining information from espionage. The law also includes soliciting or acquire a person to pursue espionage. The new espionage law will lead up to the penalty of life imprisonment.
  As reported in ABC News, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull stated why this espionage bill is essential: “Foreign powers are making unprecedented and increasingly sophisticated attempts to influence the political process, both here and abroad."
  Former President, Barack Obama, weighed in on Australia’s susceptibility to Chinese political influence during his presidency. He advised Australia to ban foreign donations from China.
  US Ambassador John Berry was also astonished by the Chinese influence over Australia with foreign donations.
  “We have been surprised, quite frankly, at the extent of the involvement of the Chinese government in Australian politics,” Berry stated in ABC News article; Australia to ban foreign interference in politics. “That, to us, is of concern. We cannot conceive of a case where a foreign donation from any government, friend or foe, would be considered legitimate in terms of that democracy.”

Wildfires appear untamable in California

Jack Buckard
Staff Writer

Early Tuesday morning, on Dec. 5, a new wildfire began ravaging Santa Paula, California. The new fire, predominantly fueled by wind, had burned 31,000 acres of land and forced 27,000 people to evacuate their homes on Tuesday. At least 1,000 structures had been swallowed by the flames and the insane wildfire is still growing. On Friday, Dec. 19, the blaze, labeled “The Thomas Fire,” expanded to 271,000 acres, which is equivalent to 423 square miles. It is now California’s third largest wildfire in history,
  Officials are saying that the fire broke out on Monday, Dec. 4, east of the city of Santa Paula, which is 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles. By Tuesday morning, the fire was already a massive 48 square miles.
  “The fire growth is just absolutely exponential,” Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said to CBS News, “All that firefighters can do when we have winds like this is get out ahead, evacuate people, and protect structures.”
  One of the buildings not protected was the Hawaiian Village Apartments. Firefighters prevented that fire from spreading, as winds of up to 50 mph attempted to stop them.
  On Friday, Dec. 8, the fire headed towards San Diego County, destroying over 4,000 acres overnight. “We are nowhere near the end of this,” Rona Lane, the county’s deputy chief officer said, “There are thousands of homes that are within the path of these fires.”
  The first person unfortunately died on Thursday, Dec. 14. Cory Iverson, 32, was a fire engineer who had been fighting the east flank of the Thomas Fire. Iverson’s death was the first fatality of the wildfire.
  Three separate fires close to Los Angeles forced over 100,000 people to evacuate, which is a lot more than the 27,000 statewide Tuesday. Although most of Los Angeles hasn’t been destroyed by the flames, Mayor Eric Garcetti said that “it was still an insecure time.” Winds could pick up at any time during the day, which could threaten the city. Furthermore, the Creek Fire, the largest inferno frightening the area, has already grown to over 15,000 acres and only 20 percent of it was contained. The Creek Fire has destroyed more than 60 structures, with around half of them homes, and another 2,500 buildings are in the path of destruction. With a State of Emergency being declared, it seems that no one in Southern California is safe, as anything could happen with these fires.

Fertile Soil Found on Mars

By Colin Morton
Staff Writer

On Nov. 28, NASA hosted a study on earthworms on whether or not they can reproduce in synthetic Martian soil.  The decomposers successfully reproduced, and it told scientists something big.  This discovery is a major one because it indicated to scientists that earth on Mars could possibly be able to produce live crops. 
  Previously, soil on Mars was thought to be poisonous with toxic compounds; therefore, it was deemed inhospitable to crops.  Biologist Wieger Wamelink told National Geographic, “It's possible to sustainably grow crops on Mars, but to do this, they'll need to modify the planet's dirt. Earthworms may help.” 
  Although the test soil is not directly derived from Mars, the compound is a very close replica.  It is only missing one chemical to be an exact recreation, and that chemical is called a “perchlorate.”  Perchlorate isn’t naturally found on Earth, therefore it must be created in a lab.  The reason for perchlorate not being in the synthetic soil is because the chemical hasn’t been 100% perfected yet.  Scientists don’t want to introduce the foreign substance until they know it is a valid replica.
  Worms play a magnificent role in every possible environment.  They are known as “decomposers.”  Decomposers are the organisms that break down dead animals and plants, and turn them into nutrients for more plants to grow.  If all the decomposers were to disappear from the environment, everything would be destroyed.
  This information is important because if the worms are able to reproduce in this soil, there may be a chance that life is possible on Mars.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Record-breaking ‘Stall Day’ fights cancer and exams

Parker Miele
Staff Writers

Stall Day is a day for NHS students to raise money for mini-THON, which raises money to fight  childhood cancer. Stall Day is also a day for the students to be able to miss a minute of class for every $2 raised. Many classes raised a ton of money, one of the best being Mr. Elvey’s second period contemporary issues class. The students had a quiz on the day of Stall Day and to avoid the quiz the class gathered together all their money and raised the $82 needed to miss class.
  Jack Tocci, who is in Mr. Elvey’s second period contemporary issues class, said that he was “so happy I didn’t have to take the quiz. I was up late with EMT class the night before.”
 The final figures for this year’s Stall day were impressive! Students were able to raise over $400 more than last year. This year students raised a total of $2657 while last year they got $2251 together. The money that students raised is very impressive, especially for the small number of students in the high school.
 Not only do students love missing class, but they also enjoy raising money for a good cause. Vanessa Northrup, who is in one of Mr. Rutledge’s statistic class, said “I really enjoyed Stall Day and having Mr. Rutledge bring in pretzels for all of us, but the best part was that the money we raised went to help cure childhood cancer!”
  Amanda Horak contributed to this article

High school’s ‘First Annual Cow Plop’ to fund prom

Maggie Pfeifle
Staff Writer

New Hope-Solebury High School’s first annual Cow Plop will commence on Jan. 11 at 2:30 p.m. on the football field to raise money for the Junior/Senior Prom.
 On Jan. 11, a cow will be brought in from a local farm. In whichever square the cow plops first, the owner of the square will receive 15% of the money raised.
 Each donation slip costs $25 and buys one square on the football field. Donation slips are available in the main office and are to be dropped off Dec. 15 and Dec. 21 before homeroom at the posts that will be set up by the main office and the theater lobby.
 After the collection dates, the names of participants will be put through a random generator to decide which square belongs to who. Once the squares are randomly generated, the participants will be informed of which square they were assigned. The size of the square is dependent on the amount of squares sold and will make up the football field. The squares will be mapped out online and on the day of the event, wherever the cow plop lands will be measured by exact coordinates to determine whose assigned square it fell in.
 Once it is determined who the square is assigned to, the buyer of that square will receive 15% of the total money raised. If the fundraiser goes well, this money could equate to over 1,000 dollars. The first place junior and senior seller will receive two free tickets to prom, the second and third place junior and senior seller will receive one. A portion of the money raised by freshmen and sophomores will also go to their future prom. In addition, for every five squares a person sells, they are automatically entered into a raffle to win a grand prize.
 A precedent is hoped to be set for future grades: having a single successful prom fundraiser. If participation from all grades occur, this will achieve the successful goal of extremely low prom ticket prices.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Kevin Spacey Faces Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Maggie Pfeifle
Staff Writer
Recently, more than a dozen sexual misconduct allegations have been made against actor Kevin Spacey ranging throughout the 1980s to just last year.
 On Oct. 30, in an interview with Buzzfeed News, actor Anthony Rapp publicly alleged that Kevin Spacey made a sexual advance on him in 1986, while Rapp was a teenager. Rapp alleged that Spacey had invited him over for a party, and, at the end of the night while Spacey was inebriated, had climbed on top of Rapp in an awkward sexual advance. Rapp says that he was able to squirm away and leave the apartment. Spacey was twenty-six at the time, Rapp only fourteen. Rapp stated that he felt compelled to come forward with the information following the accusations against Harvey Weinstein.
 In response to the accusations made against him, Spacey tweeted, “I honestly do not remember the encounter. But if I did behave as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years.” In the second part of his statement, Spacey came out as a gay man, which was met with outrage from the LGBT community who believed his timing was a deflection that reflected poorly on them. According to Variety, Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD said, “This is not a coming-out story about Spacey, but a story of survivorship by Rapp and all those who bravely speak out against unwanted sexual advances. The media and public should not gloss over that.” Other backlash came from celebrities, like comedian Wanda Sykes who tweeted, “No no no no no!  You do not get to “choose” to hide under the rainbow!  Kick rocks!”
 The Boston Globe reports that journalist Heather Unruh has also accused Spacey of sexually assaulting her teenage son in July of 2016. She claims that Spacey had sexually assaulted her son in a bar where he worked as a busboy. Spacey then allegedly urged the young man to accompany him to an after-hours party to drink more, before leaving for the bathroom, which was when Unruh’s son was able to run away. Unruh’s son reported the incident to Nantucket Police. A meeting with prosecutors will occur soon and “the investigation will proceed from there,” Cape and Island’s District Attorney, Michael O’Keefe has said, as reported by the Boston Globe.
 Other incidents have been alleged to take place at the Old Vic, a theater in London, between 2004-2015. According to the BBC, an actor at the theater, Roberto Cavazos, claimed Spacey, “routinely preyed on young male actors.”
 CNN additionally reported that eight crew members anonymously described the work environment of Spacey’s Netflix show House of Cards as a toxic work environment, saying Spacey’s behavior was “predatory and included non-consensual touching and crude comments and targeted production staffers who were typically young and male.”
 In a statement provided to the New York Times, Spacey’s publicist said: “Kevin Spacey is taking the time necessary to seek evaluation and treatment. No other information is available at this time.”

 In response to the allegations, Netflix has since suspended production indefinitely on the next season of House of Cards, and has fired Spacey from the show he once starred in. Spacey’s upcoming biopic, Gore, has also been canceled, and Sony Pictures is replacing the actor with Christopher Plummer in All the Money in the World, an upcoming film that is set to release in December.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Mueller begins Indictments in the Russian Investigation

Jennifer Abele

The head of the Special Counsel investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Robert Mueller III began indicting members of the former Trump campaign beginning with Paul Manafort Jr. and Richard Gates III on Oct. 27.
 Paul Manafort pleaded not guilty to nine counts of money laundering. He used the money to fund a luxury lifestyle. He also failed to register as a foreign agent while working as a lobbyist overseas.
 Richard  Gates also pleaded not guilty to seven counts. Gates was a lobbyist and political consultant who worked with Paul Manafort with the Ukrainian political party “Party of Regions.”In the 1980’s Manafort co-founded the Washington D.C. based lobbying firm Black,Manafort, and Stone. Rick Gates had interned at that particular lobbying firm. Gates then continued to join Davis and Paul Manafort’s lobbying firm in 2006. Both men started their partnership in 2006 and ended in 2015 after generating over tens of  millions for their work on the Ukraine. Both failed to register as foreign agents, and according to the indictment also failed to report work and fees.  From 2006 to 2016 Gates and Manafort allegedly laundered their funds from the Ukraine through corporations, bank accounts, and partnerships.
 The U.S. government alleges Gates and Manafort continued the schemes by laundering money to foreign nominees, companies, and foreign countries. The money was laundered to these foreign countries that they currently work with; Cypress, Grenadines, Saint Vincent, and Seychelles. After the partners were asked by the U.S. Government about foreign bank accounts, companies, etc. the pair falsely said there weren’t any; to avoid paying taxes.Between 2008 and 2017 Gates and Manafort attempted to defraud the United States by providing false information to tax accountants, financial bookkeepers, and legal council by devising a scheme to obtain money and property.
 Michael Flynn Sr. is currently being investigated for money laundering and pleaded guilty to lying to the federal agents about his overseas contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak back in December 2016. There is a two-page list of false statements made to Mueller about his interactions and communication with  the Russian Ambassador filed on Nov. 30. Additionally, there is information that Flynn was offered a deal by Turkish officials to attempt to remove, Fethullah G├╝len, a chief rival of the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, from the U.S. to Turkey for $15 millions.
 Michael Flynn Jr. was part of the transition team staying close to his father Michael Flynn Sr. Michael Flynn Jr. could be arrested during or after Flynn Sr. is indicted.  Michael Flynn Jr. continues to be most known for the tweets he produced about the “pizzagate” conspiracy theory and defending his father on the Twitter platform.  
 George Papadopoulos pled guilty to lying to the F.B.I. about his connections to Russia. Papadopoulos knew that the Russian services were holding thousands of emails on Hillary that were promised to provide the dirt on Hillary Clinton. Papadopoulos has continued to cooperate with the FBI. Through the English-based professor, Joseph Mifsud, he then attempted to arrange a meeting with the Russians and Trump campaign to collect dirt on Hillary Clinton.
 Jared Kushner is also being investigated currently under the Russian Probe. Howard Dean, Former DNC Chairman, predicts Kushner will be charged with money laundering. He has had four undisclosed meetings with Russians and Trump campaign members, and he stated it didn’t mean he colluded with the Russians. A single source told Andrea Mitchell, that the White House Staffers and former Trump transition team members have been deleting calls and texts in attempt to prevent themselves from being subpoenaed. After debating whether or not Kushner scrubbed his Twitter account. Kushner has not yet tweeted any tweets after joining in 2009. Kushner was also aware of Donald Trump Jr being in contact with Wikileaks. Kushner gave Mueller the documents of the conversations between WikiLeaks and Donald Trump Jr.
 Donald Trump Jr. was in contact for ten month with Wikileaks. Trump Jr. passed the WikiLeak messages to Kellyanne Conway, Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon, and Brad Parscale. Trump Jr. began corresponding with WikiLeaks two weeks before Podesta’s emails were leaked. Donald Trump Jr. submitted the direct messages between himself and WikiLeaks to Mueller’s team. “Here is my entire chain of messages with wikileaks(with my whopping three responses) which is one of the congressional committees has chosen to selectively leak. How Ironic!” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted.   

 Mueller’s investigation team continues to discover new information everyday for the public. The committee describes their investigation as incomplete and continues to lay out their schedule. Mueller’s team has at least 25 interviews to go, 2 hearings; one with Trump’s lawyer, the other with social medias, and 100,000 more pages of documents. Chairman Burr and Vice Chairman Warner suggested that if there is a case against Trump’s obstruction of justice charge to fire FBI Director James Comey, that it would be more appropriate for Senate Judiciary Committee or  Department of Justice special counsel Mueller. The Mueller investigation has now topped over five million dollars since the investigation kicked off  in July 2016.

Doctors Will Perform First Head Transplant On a Human

Eric Locke and Georgia Pappas
Staff Writers

This December, a Russian man by the name of Valery Spiridonov, was going to receive the world’s first ever human head transplant. This may seem like a story out of a science fiction novel to some, but to Italian Neuroscientist Dr. Sergio Canavero it’s a reality. Dr. Canavero made headlines back in 2015 when he announced that he will perform the multimillion dollar operation.
 Valery Spiridonov, who planned to have the surgery performed this December, decided to back out after two years of planning. Spiridonov acknowledged that he lost hope for a new body free from disabilities and said his dreams will never happen.
 Spiridonov suffers from Werdnig-Hoffmann Disease, which breaks down muscles and causes the destruction of nerve cells that help mechanical functions. Spiridonov states in an interview with Daily Mail, “I cannot rely on my Italian colleague, I have to take my health into my own hands.”
 Spiridonov says that he will take his health on a different route and receive a conventional spinal surgery that will not cure his rare disease but at least improve the quality of his life.With about 12,500 spinal cord injuries occurring every year in the U.S., Dr. Canavero is not the only scientist searching for a way to fix them. In the 1960s, L.W. Freeman experimented on various animals including dogs and rats, testing whether spinal cords would ever repair themselves naturally, which was found to be possible in some cases.
 The discoveries by Freeman were quite impressive and have impacted Canavero’s research and ideas for the procedure. Canavero stated that Freeman’s work “shone light on the path,” inspiring and providing him with a better idea about less-popular spinal cord research.
 After researching, Canavero believes that the main idea to a successful procedure is polyethylene glycol, or PEG. which is a type of gel that drastically increases spinal cord fusion. By making a clean cut and applying the gel, Canavero hypothesizes that the gel will allow the cords to fuse, which would create the necessary pathway for brain signals to travel throughout other areas in the body.
 With all of these positive factors about the surgery come negatives. Many individuals, including Jerry Silver, a Case Western Reserve University professor of neurosciences, have concerns with the transplant.
 Silver worried about the pain that the patient will undergo even if the procedure is successful. "Every muscle, the bones, everything has been severed," Silver said to Newsweek. "Can you imagine the pain from all those cut things? That's the worst."
 No matter what the critics are stating, Canavero is prepared to perform this transplant and get positive results. "Let's not be stupid-this is a risky surgery. But informed consent means that whoever goes under knows full well what lies ahead and is in such a crippling condition that there is no other strategy for them." he says. Canavero has figured that if the procedure is a success, he will go down in the history of medical research as a huge impact. If it fails, he says he will try it again, believing that is the only way to move forward.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Breaking Down the Iran Deal

Graphic created by Stephen Prager

California Wildfires claim dozens of lives and leave thousands homeless

Vanessa Northrup & Charlotte Taylor
Staff Writers

The month of October was not easy for the citizens and wildlife of California. Since the middle of October, multiple wild fires have come ablaze throughout many  counties in Northern California due to the extreme dryness in the area. According to the Washington Post, as of Nov. 1 about 42 people are dead, and over 100,000 people are displaced. More than 8,400 homes and buildings have been destroyed, with more than 160,000 acres burned; and the fires aren’t all out yet. The fires in Tubbs, Sonoma, and Napa counties have now been ranked as the deadliest wildfire disaster in California history by SFGate.
 While most of the flames have been contained, firefighters are still tirelessly working to put out the remaining fires and make sure the state is in the clear. Though the next big problem for Californians will be the ash. Scientists and Americans are currently trying to figure out how badly soil and water will be contaminated because these fires burned more than just vegetation. The fires burned through the wildlife land and into parts of cities. Associate Director of environmental health for the US Geological Survey, Geoffrey Plumlee, told Mother Jones: “For how many structures that were burned in fairly small areas in these fires, I think that’s a first-of-its-kind event. The concern is, can they get it cleaned up before the heavy rains come?” There will be more updates on this as the days go on.
 There are many websites to donate to help people in California who are out of houses and jobs, such as the California Fire Relief Foundation, which is on There is also the Napa Valley Community Foundation, which is one that has been recommended to send money for families in need. Napa County officials ask for people to stop sending food and start sending money for supplies. Multiple Facebook groups are open to give updates on the survivors as well as status of the fire. The city of Santa Rosa is working with the United Way to help distribute funds for when insurance money runs out. Overall, this natural disaster has ripped across California leaving many without shelter, food, or water. With donations, the state will be able to come back together as one.

Interstellar Asteroid Zooms Into Our Solar System For the First Time Ever

Caroline Donado
Staff Writer

On Oct. 19, astronomers sighted an asteroid that they discovered to be from another solar system, its fast pace forcing researchers to scramble for any information they can get before it leaves.
 This is the first object of appreciable size that has entered this solar system from another. In a NASA news release, the manager for the Center for Near Earth Object Studies, Paul Chodas, said, “We have been waiting for this day for decades. It's long been theorized that such objects exist . . . but this is the first such detection.” This asteroid will provide scientists with a myriad of new knowledge about space and how solar systems function. Furthermore, in the future it will be easier to find more of these visiting interstellar objects.
 What was first believed to be a comet because of elongated path, is actually an asteroid as it has no tails made of gas and dust, a key characteristic of comets. Most objects follow an elliptical pattern and orbit around the sun, however this asteroid is going extremely fast at about 98,000 miles per hour, causing an altered path. It’s strange trajectory is considered a hyperbolic orbit, signifying that this asteroid has enough speed to escape the gravitational pull of the sun.
 “This is the most extreme orbit I have ever seen,” said Davide Farnocchia, a scientist at NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, in a statement. “It is going extremely fast and on such a trajectory that we can say with confidence that this object is on its way out of the solar system and not coming back.”
 Due to its high speed, scientists are trying to obtain all the information they can about the asteroid and its origins before it exits our solar system and is no longer able to be seen with telescopes. “We immediately started studying it that night with the William Herschel Telescope in the Canary Islands, then on Thursday night with the Very Large Telescope in Chile," says Alan Fitzsimmons, a professor studying the asteroid. They approximated it to be around 400 meters in diameter and are now attempting to find its rate of spin and exact shape. Moreover, researchers can get a better glimpse of its composition by examining the colors of light that are able to be absorbed and emitted by it. This will aid scientists in getting a better understanding of the makeup of other planetary systems.
 This asteroid’s assigned title, A/2017 U1, was soon changed to the Hawaiian word “'Oumuamua” since it was first spotted by the Pan-STARRS Telescope in Hawaii. Gareth Williams from the Minor Planet Center states, “Due to the unique nature of this object, there is pressure to assign a name.” The title translates roughly to “messenger” or “scout.”    
 This extrasolar asteroid is a monumental scientific discovery which will help scientists gain further knowledge about the great mystery that is space. While 'Oumuamua teaches us that we still have much to learn about our universe, this asteroid finding is substantial progress that should not be ignored.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

26 dead in Texas shooting

Victoria Siano

On Nov. 5, 2017, a gunman with a military style rifle opened fired in the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing 26 people. The gunman, who was later identified as 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley, died shortly after the attack.
 The shooting is considered to be the deadliest mass shooting the state has ever seen. The victims ranged in age from 5 to 72, and among the dead were a pregnant woman, several children, and the pastor’s 14-year-old daughter. Twenty others were wounded.
 According to reports, Kelley had first stopped at a gas station across Highway 87 from the church. He then proceeded to drive across the street, get out of his car, and begin firing from the outside of the church, moving to the right. He then made his way into the building, shooting the parishioners before fleeing the scene.
 Once he had emerged from the church he had a shooting exchange with a neighbor whom was able to hit Mr. Kelley, who fled in his vehicle shortly after. The neighbor followed him in his pursuit into the next county - Guadalupe County - where Kelley had managed to crash his car. He was found dead, but how he died still remains unclear, officials report.
 After hearing about the affair, President Trump, who was on his 10-day tour of Asia, had called the shooting a “mental health problem at the highest level,” while adding that Kelley was a “very deranged individual.” Subsequently, he ordered that the flags be flown half-staff at the White House and  all federal buildings through Nov. 9.

 As of right now a motive for the shooting has not been discovered, although the FBI is attempting to hack into his phone to see if it can gather any useful information. It is important to note, however, that he was dishonorably discharged from the military due to assault charges, according to Air Force records, and had repeatedly beat his wife and toddler stepson - fracturing the baby’s skull. The only reason he was able to obtain a gun was that the military had failed to enter this information into their databases.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Allegations Made Against Harvey Weinstein upend Hollywood

Riley Brennan
Co-Editor In Chief

Recent allegations made against Hollywood film producer, Harvey Weinstein, have shaken the media, and hopefully spurred real change within the film industry.
 Many women have come forward with claims that Weinstein had sexually assaulted/harassed them, the total number reaching over 50 women. Weinstein responded to allegations following the publication of an Op-Ed piece by Lupita Nyong’o, published in the New York Times. The allegation was addressed through a representative of Weinstein’s, saying, “Mr. Weinstein has a different recollection of the events, but believes Lupita is a brilliant actress and a major force for the industry. Last year, she sent a personal invitation to Mr. Weinstein to see her in her Broadway show Eclipsed.”
 Following the release of further accusations, Weinstein has since made a statement apologizing for his behavior. In his statement he wrote, “I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it.”  
 While the sheer number of women accusing Weinstein is alarming, it has spurred a movement, and encouraged other victims to speak out about their own perpetrators. Many of these women stepping forward have inspired the hashtag #MeToo, where both men and women come forward about their own stories and show support for others. Now more than ever, victims have been given a platform to highlight just how prevalent sexual assault and harassment is, as well as how damaging it can be.
 A common trend in many of Weinstein’s accusers stories is the fact that they chose to wait years to finally expose the perpetrator. Actress Katherine Kendall is one of Weinstein’s victims, who waited years to speak on her personal encounter. She addressed her own feelings toward her experience in a statement, saying, “I think that when people perpetrate against you, you are the one that feels the shame,” she said. “You think that it’s just you.”

 Weinstein is not alone in his status of a powerful man in Hollywood accused of sexual assault. There’s an increasing number of people coming forward with tales of abuse at the hand of other prominent figures. The range of other men accused stretch across a variety of professions, proving that this is not solely an issue in Hollywood. Rather, it’s an issue virtually everywhere.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Fake Americans Russia created

Pete Thompson
Staff Writer

As the investigation into the Kremlin’s ties with Trump continues, Facebook has revealed more information about Russia’s creation and use of fake Americans on the social media site. Facebook revealed the Kremlin worked directly with a Russian digital marketer to create fake Facebook accounts to use the platform to promote their agenda. The digital  marketing firm, while it’s unknown whether or not they were directly state sanctioned, were the direct creators of the accounts, which spread news from, a firm US Intelligence services recognized in 2016 as being part of an effort Russian intelligence to disseminate disinformation.
 The majority of cases in which the ad firm created fake personas were superficial at best, one example outlines their ideal American.
 “Melvin Redick of Harrisburg PA a friendly looking American with a backwards baseball cap and a daughter posted on Facebook a link to a brand new website,” as reported in the New York Times, NBC, and CNN.
 “These guys show the hidden truth about George Soros, Hillary Clinton and other leaders of the US “ he wrote on June 8, 2016. “Visit #DNCLeaks website. It’s really interesting!”
 However Russia’s operation turned out to be more complex than just creating fake Americans. According to Facebook, the marketing firm purchased over $100,000in political ads, which were then seen over 340 million times. The ad space purchased seldomly targeted presidential candidates; instead, they used the ad space to discuss topics in the US, such as expressing anti-immigrant sentiments and criticizing gun control and organize rallies in support of those issues.

 Facebook has since deleted pages and accounts suspected of having ties to the Russian company and the Kremlin. Pages, like the Mr. Redick of PA, and over 400 similar pages have been deleted and Facebook staff are working to continue the purge of fake accounts while they handover more information about the campaign to investigators.

The ruinous effects of Hurricane Irma

Matthew Bracco & Charles Bray
Staff Writers

As millions faced threatening forecasts, Hurricane Irma was on a path of destruction into southern Florida, creating an evacuee count of nearly 6.6 million people. After wreaking havoc in Barbuda, leaving sixty percent of the population homeless, Irma posed an extreme threat to anyone in its path. After an effortless tearing through Barbuda, leaving the island “barely habitable,” the Category 5 hurricane was on a one way path through the Keys to South Florida.
 Residents scurried away from their homes, leaving anything and everything behind, hoping for the best possible scenario. Citizens were preparing for the most powerful Atlantic Hurricane in history, creating winds up to 185 miles per hour. On Sept. 10, Irma was upgraded from a previous Category 3 downgrade, back to a Category 4. Following that day, southern Florida was put in life threatening conditions, even though they weren’t in the eye of the storm. Finally, on Sept. 11, the storm downgraded to a category one as it headed for Tampa.

 However, the damage that Hurricane Irma placed upon the islands leading to Florida, and on Florida, is catastrophic. For the Caribbean Islands, hope is slim, as their houses and lives were torn apart, making living conditions uninhabitable. As the week of terror ended, people return to their homes, some lucky, but for most, sadly, not so much. It will take months, even years for some to rebuild from the complete destruction of their homes, towns, and cities, but there is always the hope that the citizens of the locations affected, do not have to repeat this agony.

The Dangers of Trump Labelling Kim Jong Un a Rocket Man

Sydney Luff
Staff Writer

Name calling has come to play a key role in American and North Korean politics; however ridiculous these insults seem, their relevance only adds to the possible war that is rapidly approaching. Twitter is currently being used as the outlet of choice for passive aggressive insults and blatant name calling between major political figures. Specifically, words like “dotard” and “rocket man” have been used by both President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un to describe each other.
 Usually verbal slights are thought to be below the many sophisticated men and women who are involved with the government today. However, recently on Twitter the current war of words between Pres. Trump and Kim Jong Un that many characterize as childish, could possibly lead to war.
 “Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!”
 This is an example of Trump’s purposeful stabs at the North Korean dictator on Twitter, documented on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. Not only has Trump uploaded this comment to his social media account, but he has also added that Kim is on a suicide mission.
 Retaliation was not far behind when Kim described Trump as a, “mentally deranged U.S. dotard whom he would tame with fire”.  
 It is evident Kim has no patience for the president and is only getting angrier.
 The two countries aren’t the only ones who are experiencing the tension, China appears to be feeling it too. “China on Monday called for all sides in the North Korean missile crisis to show restraint and not add oil to the flames amid an exchange of increasingly bellicose rhetoric between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.”. China openly states that neither leader should be focused on insulting each other, but should be dealing with issues in a more mature manner. For example, the extremely controversial missiles that are being launched by North Korea, more precisely those that have flown over Japan. Nuclear weapons are known for being disastrous for the climate; therefore, the U.S. and the soviets signed a treaty limiting their testing back when John F. Kennedy was president, over 50 years ago. This is not the same however, for Kim who continuously tests  rockets and plans to do an atmospheric test of a hydrogen bomb. His ultimate goal is to threaten the mainland of the US. His YouTube fantasy videos feature North Korean armaments obliterating Washington D.C.

 As of now North Korea is unable to launch a missile far enough to reach the U.S mainland, but sources say this is estimated to happen in about 18 months. This does not prohibit North Korea from bombing the U.S allies for example South Korea and Japan. Hopefully, next time political matters will be discussed in a more official manner rather than on social media. If this war does break out, be sure that it will be extremely unpleasant.

Trump Administration Proposes a New Travel Ban

Victoria Siano


One Sunday, Sept. 24, it was announced that the Trump administration will be enacting a new travel ban that will permanently ban about all travel to the United States for seven specific countries, believing it to be the best way to safeguard against national security threats posed by letting citizens from these countries in.
 Starting this month, on Oct. 18, a majority of citizens from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad, and North Korea will be banned from entering the United States until they meet the minimum standards for identifying and screening potential travelers and sharing the information with US law enforcement officials. It has been described as being significantly more targeted than its predecessor, as it essentially outlines a specific set of travel restrictions for each country, although in most cases this means that people from those countries will not be permitted to permanently emigrate, study, or go on vacation in the United States.
 The new order will not apply to permanent residents of the United States who currently hold visas or are international students or employees of businesses in the US from targeted countries, however, it does not cover people seeking refuge here. Rather, the issue will be covered in a new set of separate rules that the Trump administration will release in the days to come.
 This ban functions as a continuation of President Trump’s plan to fulfill his campaign promise of addressing terrorist threats by tightening entry into the country though more specific and flexible means than before, making it more likely than his original travel ban (which set off challenges to his legal authority) to stand up to legal scrutiny. However, it has still been met with significant opposition, as critics have complained that the ban still pertains to mainly Muslim countries.
 In response to these accusations, President Trump released a statement: “We cannot afford to continue the failed policies of the past, which present an unacceptable danger to our country. My highest obligation is to ensure the safety and security of the American people, and in issuing this new travel order, I am fulfilling that sacred obligation.”