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MONROE TOWNSHIP HIGH SCHOOL |1629 PERRINEVILLE ROAD| MONROE TWP, NEW JERSEY 08831 | VOL. XII ISSUE III | March 7, 2011

Rioter’s effect on the United States by BRITTANY HASTABA SAMANTHA KOLAVITCH Section Editor and Staff Writer

Turmoil in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen has traveled overseas and directly disturbed the economy of the United States. As protestors partake in violent confrontations with the government of Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi, multinational oil companies have begun to curtail production in Libya. The rising

tension across the region is sending crude oil prices soaring in the United States. Although Libya produces less than two percent of the world’s oil, and exports little to the United States, the high quality of its reserves are important in world markets. Libya’s rare “sweet” crude oil cannot be replaced in the production of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. Crude oil prices reached $100 a barrel in the U.S, the highest price in more than two years. Turmoil in Libya will push the national aver-

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VICTORIES IN THE MIDDLE EAST: While citizens in Egypt celebrate an end to the rule of President Hosni Mubarak, American citizens are feeling the backlash of the events in the Middle East at home.

age price for a gallon of regular gasoline to $3.50, which may cut into consumer discretionary spending, like dining out at a restaurant. Over a year, every one-cent increase in the pump price of gasoline will take more than one billion dollars out of consumer pockets. Quickly increasing gas prices are not the only effects the protests in the Middle East have brought to the United States. The Obama administration is expected to develop a new strategy of engagement that protects America’s interests while also supporting the universal rights of people around the world to assemble and call for political reform. It is likely that the region’s monarchs will stay in power, while the presidents fall. In countries such as Bahrain, Jordan and Saudi Arabia where there are monarchies, the governments have remained considerably more stable. For the United States, it appears to be more promising to maintain contact and offer support to these monarchies. Intermittent communications with Libyan president Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi are in contrast with regular phone calls between President Obama, Secre-

tary of State Hilary Clinton and Arab monarchs. This break in communication with Libya has lead to difficulties in evacuating diplomats and other American citizens from the chaotic country. A ferry chartered by the United States government, holding 285 American citizens, remained tied up at the capital of Tripoli as of February 24. Across the street from the pier is a hotel that has been the site of gun battles between rebels and loyalists of Col. Qaddafi. This incident has furthered the Obama administration’s condemnation of the current Libyan government. Officials worry that American hostages could possibly be taken. Due to this, they agreed to support the expulsion of Libya from the United Nations Human Rights Council. The United States also relies on Egypt to cooperate on a number of other issues, including assisting with American military logistical and supply operations in the Middle East, freedom of navigation and the seas, counterterrorism, and the Arab-Israeli peace. The affect on these interests depends on the outcome of Egypt’s conflict.

government officials alike. When Mubarak announced that he would finish his term, more violent protests took place that eventually led to Mubarek’s forced resignation. On Friday, February 18, Mubarak stepped down and transferred power to the Armed Forces of Egypt, which has consistently been lifting the

tight restraints on citizens and granting more freedoms. Not only did Mubarak’s resignation instill joy and a sense of accomplishment in protesters, the success of riots against him spurred other countries in the Middle East to take similar actions. In 1969, Muammar alQaddafi became the dictator of Libya, which has led to

C h a i n by LINDSEY ZYBRICK and JULIE KELLY Staff Writer and Editor-in-Chief

The Middle East and North Africa have been in an uproar over the past few weeks due to riots and protests against dictators, as citizens fight for basic human rights and freedoms. Citizens in countries such as Libya and Egypt have begun to revolt against their leaders. These anti-government trends are now starting to spread like wildfire throughout the Middle East. It all began on December 18, 2010, the day that protests in Tunisia became prevalent, creating a chain reaction in other Middle Eastern nations. According to Wikipedia.org, “the demonstrations and riots were reported to have started over unemployment, food infla-

tion, corruption, freedom of speech and poor living conditions.” Starting with unrest over logical issues and ending with the successful fall of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Libya inspired others to take action. Tunisia has created what is infamously known as the “Tunisia Effect” or an “unprecedented revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests which have been taking place in the Middle East and North Africa,” according to Wikipedia. The forced resignation of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak followed the events in Tunisia. Mubarak dictated Egypt for over 30 years, and the recent fall of Zine el-Abidine Ali encouraged Egyptians to take similar steps beginning on January 25. For 18 days, protests continued, threatening the safety of citizens and A CURE FOR AIDS?: A small percentage of people lack the CCR5 gene and are naturally immune to HIV. Genetic engineering has sucessfully transferred the blood stem cells of those people to six HIV inflicted patients. All six paitents experienced an increase in T-cells, which HIV is known to destroy.

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re acti o n

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The Monroe Falcon Staff salutes all American soldiers

unrest and riots in the nation after over 40 years under the dictatorial regime. Protesters stormed a government office on February 16, rioting against the imprisonment of a human rights advocate. From there, it became a scene of chaos, very similar to the one taking place in Egypt. Protesters relied on social networks like Twitter and Facebook in order to organize fellow rioters to assist in the goal of the fall of al-Qaddafi. Following a timeline almost identical to Egypt’s, Libya’s protests were dampened by the governmental shut down of social networking sites; however, the determined citizens did not halt their demands. Their continued violence and demands led to protests on the capital, Tripoli, and the warning of a civil war. An opposing government

has also been put in place by those against the rule of al-Qaddafi, in an effort to take back the government for the benefit of the people. So far, Tunisia and Egypt have successfully ousted their dictators, proving to other nations that perseverance and dedication to the cause can lead them to the changes they need and deserve. The trend continues on. The first protests in Tunisia have started an unpredictable and incredible wave of countries to begin fighting for what it rightfully theirs. Wikipedia notes that “Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Oman, and Yemen have all seen major protests, and minor incidents have occurred in Kuwait, Mauritania, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan and Syria” It looks like the fight for rights will continue on.

School News............... 2-3

Op-Ed........................ 10-11

News...............................4-5

Entertainment.........12-13

Feaures..........................6-7

Health.......................14-15

Journalism I..................8-9

Sports..............................16

What’s Inside This Issue


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R e a d y

School News

f o r

March 7, 2011

b a t t l e !

A look at the annual MTHS Battle of the Bands

Photo/ Louise LoBello

ENCORE! ENCORE!: Asphodel won it all and performed a spectacular Judas Priest song for their encore. At first an underdog, Asphodel proved they had what it takes to be the winner of the Battle of the bands. Here, Brandon Gurwitz it rocking out on guitar.

by JARED HUSSEY Executive Editor Students grabbed their weapon of choice and prepared themselves for a fight they would never forget. The fight was the MTHS Battle of the Bands, which erupted at The Marasco Center Friday, February 4. Their weapons were their instruments, thrashing and letting band members display their adroit musical talent. Six bands took the stage, but only one walked away with the win and the much coveted title of Best Band. Each band wanted to be the best, and anything short of number one would be considered a disappointment. They were all in it to win it. Although the Battle of the Bands is a fun event each year, advisers work hard to assure its success. Se-

nior advisers Ms. Stacy Weinstein and Ms. Michelle Ballard prepared for the event for several months. “It is a lot of leg work, tracking people down, getting permission to use the building, and getting students to help,” says Ms. Ballard. Monroe is one of the few schools that still holds the event each year. It is considered a privilege of the students, and there has been no disruptive behavior in any previous Battle of the Bands. “It is a popular event that draws many students; so far, the participants and the audience have been great,” says Ms. Ballard. “If there are any negative incidents, then it will be the end of it. Mr. Goodall is great to permit the event every year.” Band members were given clear instruction on what was and what was not allowed. All school

rules were to be followed, such as no foul language and appropriate attire. The songs were to be approximately three minutes long, and no non-MTHS students were allowed to participate on- stage. Bands were required to pay a $20 entrance fee to play. Masters of Ceremonies for the night were seniors Madison Markulin and Sabella Lichtman, and backstage interviews were led by seniors Joey Romanczuk and Michael Walp. The first band to perform was none other than The Single Phylers, consisting of lead singer Raleigh Kane, keyboardist Josh Mason, guitarist Kyle Rinfret, and bassist Joe Vena. They played their original song “Perfectly Fine,” as ladies swooned about the stage. When not practicing, The Single Phylers enjoy bird watching, ice skating, tumbling, and counter-engineering popular soft drink beverages. Next up was Sparkle Motion, with singer Zoe Rasiewicz, guitarists Brian Spencer and Dan Benedicto, bassist Tom DiRusso, and drummer Larry Cabredo. The band name was inspired by the name of the dance-troupe in the popular indiethriller “Donnie Darko.” The band performed a riveting cover of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.” Students in the audience ran to the stage to sing along to the popular song. Asphodel walked onto the stage next, led by lead singer Zak Meiklejohn. Other members include guitarists Brandon Gurwitz and Will Kraemer, bassist/keyboardist Edward Romano, and drummer Jeremy Lipoff. They are a veteran band, formed in 2007. Before they performed, they stated, “We’re a band that plays heavy metal until our fingers bleed.” The band’s experience together proved to be beneficial. They played an original, hardcore, heavy metal song that

had the audience cheering and banging their heads up and down. Parth Shintre and Jesse Pedersen made up the band Remember. They performed an acoustic cover of “Misery” by Maroon 5. Although it was a big change from Asphodel’s previous performance, the audience was still quick to cheer for the band and sing along. Innermission was confident, as the all-girl band walked onto the stage. Singer Anna Maynard, bassist Carly Parker, guitarist Krissy Lassiter, and drummer Liv Bush played an amazing cover of Weezer’s “If You’re Wondering If I Want You to (I Want You To).” The last band to perform was Advanced Placement, with Amanda Boccardi, Sara Krull, Rishi Sharma, Gurpal Sran, Victoria Tow, and Alex Van Driesen. MC Sabella Lichtman introduced them by saying, “If you were to add up Advanced Placements members by their class rankings, the sum would be 200. If you subtracted Alex, it would be 12.” Before they performed, Van Diesen described their preparation rituals. “We’ve been doing a lot of transcendental meditation for the battle. We’ve been going into the forest for nature walks and heavy breathing exercises. Gurpal has been preparing in a hyperbaric chamber for the past few months.” Although their methods seem unorthodox, they proved to pay off. They played “Thunder Road” by Bruce Springsteen. Junior Nick Wolfson later stated, “Alex was pretty good, but no one can do it like Bruce.” Advance Placement’s song choice may have been costly. After each of the six bands finished their first song, there was a brief intermission while the judges discussed who would be moving

on. Audience members returned to their seats after a short time, eagerly awaiting the results. Each band gave it their best shot, but only three would be moving on. Sparkle Motion, Asphodel, and The Single Phylers survived the first round. First to perform in the final round was Sparkle Motion. They covered Cee Lo Green’s popular song “Forget You.” The audience loved it, and even the judges seemed delighted by the performance. The next band up was Asphodel, performing “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes. It was different from the band’s first song, but it still rocked out nonetheless. The Single Phylers were last and they brought a change of pace with another soft-acoustic original song. The fan-favorite at that point, it seemed The Single Phylers would be walking away with the win. After another brief break in the action, the night’s MCs announced the winner of the Battle of the Bands. Both the bands and the audience were anxious to see who would be crowned the best band. Sparkle Motion and The Single Phylers were announced the runner-ups. Although they were both disappointed, they still managed to keep their heads high as they walked off the stage with smiles. That meant that Asphodel was the winner and got an encore performance. They performed a heavy metal Judas Priest cover to end the night, and the crowd cheered loudly for the winner of the 2011 Battle of the Bands, who will most likely be back next year to defend their title. For the senior bands, it is important to note that they all sounded great and made it very difficult for the judges to choose a decisive winner. For the younger bands that performed- better luck next year.

F C C LA : N ot just a bunch o f l e tte rs

Club celebrates successful community efforts during FCCLA week by JULIE KELLY Editor-in-Chief No idea what FCCLA is? Well, not to worry; the week of February 2125 marked the week to publicize the club’s purposes and events. Informing the school of the different aspects of the club was the main goal that FCCLA hoped to accomplish over the week. To immediately draw students and

staff in, FCCLA members decorated the culinary classroom door. The door, complete with words describing the club and the information regarding the week, showcased the members’ spirit. Adviser of FCCLA, Chef G, says the purpose of the week is “to acquaint faculty and staff with the activities and values of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America” while en-

couraging members “to achieve knowledge and experience that will help prepare them for future responsibilities as active and concerned adult members of society.” Other festivities during the week included club participation in making posters and PowerPoint presentations with details about the club. These presentations were used on February 28, at an FCCLA sponsored event where staff mem-

The Monroe Falcon Staff Editor-in-chief Julie Kelly

Graphics Stephanie Lorenzo

Executive Editor Jared Hussey

Artists David Morris James Stochel

section Editors Sakina Hussain Jaclyn Vogel Brittany Hastaba

Layout Editor Angela Wo Layout Design Bethany Chan Jeevan Nagpal Danielle Ostrager Stephanie Wo Photographer Samantha Kolavitch

Staff Writers Aidan Barclay Brian Bautista Anupali Bewtra Andrew Dinicolo Theresa Gonzalez Matthew Gordon Jackie Heatter Stephen Kenney Katerina Martinez Mariellen Noel Kathryn Oliva Jeremy Roth Amanda Sedlmayer Lindsey Zybrick

Winners of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association 2009 & 2008 Gold Medalist certificate 2007 Bronze Medalist certificate

bers were educated about the club. Postcards were distributed to teachers throughout the district, inviting them to join the club from 2:30-4:00 for coffee and pastries, and to g a i n some knowledge about the activities of the club. At the event, F C C L A members proudly discussed their accomplishments with fundraising, raising awareness in the school and community service projects. Chef G says that the purpose of the event was “to allow faculty and staff to gain a better understanding of how FCCLA enriches these students’ high school experience by giving them

the opportunity to challenge themselves and achieve goals.” State Officer and junior Sarah Cunningham is proud of the accomplishments of the week. She says, “The benefit is making other members of our school aware of the good we do in the community… I definitely had some people come up and ask about FCCLA and they seemed interested in what we do.” FCCLA continues to accomplish incredible tasks in their service projects to the community and hopes to expand the chapter to middle school students next year, with the same purpose of helping to build a stronger and appreciative community.

“The benefit is making other members of our school aware of the good we do in the community”


School News

March 7, 2011

MTHS recognizes Black History Month Special guests ‘Let it Shine’

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Decorum delegates! Monroe earns ‘outstanding’ award at Model United Nations Conference by JULIE KELLY Editor-in-Chief

Photo/ Leaundra Lane

AUDACIOUS FREEDOM: A wall in the African American Museum in Philadelphia, PA displays prominent black figures discussed during the African American assembly.

by LEAUNDRA LANE Staff Writer The annual MTHS Black History Month assembly held on February 18 featured special guests who presented a slide show in the Marasco Auditorium accompanied by singers in honor of Black History. This year’s assembly focused more on the historical aspects of Black History than previous years. The slide show opened with prominent black figures such as Rosa Parks, Malcom X and Martin Luther King Jr., along with a brief description of their importance. During their showings, students cheered at the familiar faces. The father of Black History Month, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, founded the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), which influenced, along with other factors, his strong feelings that Black History Month should be recognized throughout the country. Originally, Black History Month was to be celebrated during a week in February, but soon decided it would be celebrated during the whole month of February. To add, two respected men that encouraged black freedom, Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglas, have birthdays in the month of February, which added to the significance of the month, according to Woodson. Another focus of the slideshow was the struggle for freedom of AfricanAmericans in the United States dur-

ing

the Civil Rights Movement. Photography and videos of AfricanAmericans being hosed down by police officers were shown. Hundreds of African-Americans marching the streets of Montgomery, Alabama, boycotting unfair bus requirements, were shown. Many of these images shocked some students, but opened their eyes to the dreadful past of racial tension that was present more than 50 years ago. Sophomore Sage Atwater says “It was a nice reminder of how our society has evolved and it shows that we can make changes as a whole [nation].” To emphasize the main ideas of the presentation, the guests sang popular songs of the black community. Songs such as “This Little Light of Mine” by Harry Dixon Loes, “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” by Steve Rouse were sung as students clapped along with the piano and swift rhythm of each song. Sophomore Anjali Parmar says, “It was a great way to show the school’s awareness of Black History Month and not just forget about the events that took place that everybody might not know about.” Concluding, the presentation showed current events and hardships that are faced today by people in America and other countries, such as poverty and hunger. This tied together the importance of working together and equality in the nation in order for the country to have fair, free, equal, and respected futures for all races in America.

S p a g h e t t i

“I reserve my right to make a motion.” Through January 7-9, over 1,500 students repeated these words as they followed Parliamentary Procedure at the Model United Nations Conference in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Model UN allows students an opportunity to participate in a mock United Nations by discussing, debating and solving world issues. Each member is assigned a country that they research and draft a paper for, including information about the country. Students are also assigned a committee where they discuss the provided topics about their country. The majority of the weekend is spent in committee sessions, where students follow basic Parliamentary Procedure and debate topics while also forming resolutions and amendments. Students must take on the role and act as representatives of their country. Although the concept may seem difficult, the club basically provides members a chance to become educated about world issues and United Nations’ procedures while also gaining public speaking skills and confidence. In attendance at the conference were 1,537 students from a variety of schools. Out of these students, 40 represented the Monroe Township High School delegation. Advisor of MUN, Mr. Joseph Romano, supervised the trip along with His-

tory teacher, Mr. Christopher Thumm. Monroe’s participation over the weekend, and skills in debate and speaking proved to be enough to win the prestigious award of Outstanding Delegation. This award requires a school to meet each deadline and follow all rules at MUN, exemplifying their notable behavior. Romano says, “It was a great feeling to have our delegation be recognized for its hard work and outstanding participation at conference.” Specific students from Monroe represented our school on a larger level. Senior Gurpal Sran served as the chair of the Council on Economic Advancement, leading the debates and keeping order. Sran was also selected as an alternate to attend the Conference of National Affairs. Senior Alex VanDreisen was awarded Premiere Delegate in the Video Press Committee. Romano says, “I believe that our students excelled in their committees. Most of our delegates took the lead in their committees… work[ing] with a wide variety of students from the tri state area in order to create resolutions that represented numerous multicultural views.  We also improved our public speaking skills.” Sran feels he has benefited greatly from his years in MUN and the experience is definitely worthwhile. He says, “Not only do you learn things about what’s going on around you, you make friends that you stay in contact with for a long time.”

Photo/ Julie Kelly

STUDIOUS SENIORS: Five of the seniors from Model UN gather around a laptop on the final day of the conference. Members participated in heated debates and resolution writing over the course of the weekend.

a n d

m u r d e r

Drama club puts on first Murder Mystery Dinner by JULIE KELLY Editor-in-Chief Over a serving of hearty spaghetti and sausages, the drama club performed an interactive murder mystery theater, “Some Show About a Murder” complete with a dinner on January 13 and 14. Beginning at six o’clock sharp, guests were greeted with dinner and time to socialize before the show. Excitement and anticipation filled the atmosphere as everyone enjoyed their pasta and chatted about what the night might entail. This year marks the first time the drama club has put on a show like this. The dinner theater has never been performed, yet the success it brought this year may ensure more in the future. Relying on crowd interaction and their own improvisation, the actors had to practice hard to learn the improvisation

style and make the show a fun and unpredictable evening for all in attendance. At seven, the lights dimmed and actors came out on the platform to introduce the talk show that the play would revolve around. To make the talk show more realistic, drama members drifted around the cafeteria, weaving in and out of the tables. They asked the audience questions and interacted. Halfway through the show, intermission began and the audience was served cake and coffee as dessert. Drama club members also passed out a paper to each person with the names of each character; they were to circle the one that they believed was the murderer. When the show began again, the murder mystery became more intense. The audience was able to question each character about their whereabouts at the time of the murder and ask any other questions they had. After all the papers were collected from audience members, the unex-

pected murderer was finally revealed. It was the cop, Buzz Beckett all along! Senior and veteran drama club member, Kayla Eisenberg says the show was “a very big success, it made a lot more money than we usually do…I don’t think this will be the last time we do [a dinner theater].” She adds that the style “was different. We never had to improv like that before; it definitely made us more comfortable on the stage.”

Senior Alexa Marshall says, “It was a really cool way to present the play this year. It was different and the cast did an excellent job playing their roles… the improv was really awesome.” The murder mystery provided the audience a chance to become involved in the play and interact with the actors, while also hopefully beginning a new tradition.

Photo/ Julie Kelly

IT IS A MYSTERY TO ME: The Drama Club successfully puts on a murder mystery dinner theater. The actors performed for the responsive audience on opening night, January 13.


March 7, 2011 News Closing the ‘achievement gap’ Seatbelts on buses …or a lack thereof

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Education officials search to fix grade disparities by SAMANTHA KOLAVITCH Staff Writer/Photographer State tests are designed to show how well students are learning curriculum. However, the results from the tests given in 2010 revealed a shocking difference in scores based on race and income level. The New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge test (NJ ASK) for grades 3-8, and the High School Proficiency Assessment test (HSPA) for 11th grade students were compared. While the gap begins to slightly narrow by 11th grade, it is strikingly apparent through elementary and middle school. In tests taken in the spring of 2010, there was a difference in passing rates as great as 38.4 points in third-grade Language Arts between African-American and Asian students. Economic circumstances also proved to hold a remarkable influence over test results. The same third grade test revealed that only 40.2 percent of economically disadvantaged students received test scores considered proficient. However, 70.5 percent of students whose families are more financially stable received passing marks. These disparities in test results have always been present and some education officials do not see reason to worry about them now. Bruce Baker, an associate professor at the Rutgers University Graduate School of Education, says, “It’s important that we consider test scores in terms of what they are supposed to mean, and what they are meant to be used for.” Baker believes that while state tests provide

“annual proficiency snapshots,” they only hold a limited value for estimating school and teacher effectiveness. He continued by pointing out that New Jersey has seen a decrease in the gap between black and white students’ scores as well as wealthy and poor. Also, New Jersey’s achievement gap tends to be smaller than those in other states. However, other people are taking the disparity less lightly. Christopher Cerf, Governor Chris Christie’s nominee for education commissioner, proclaimed the “shameful” achievement gap needed to be closed. In December, Cerf said, “There are certain communities in this state where we should all be ashamed about the gap between children who are rich and poor and black and white.” Cerf was appointed assistant commissioner, a necessary step before being appointed acting commissioner, and plans to tackle the issue of closing the achievement gap throughout New Jersey. It will prove to be a daunting task to correct the differences that have only become increasingly apparent over time. It is the responsibility of our country that offers equal opportunity in all other aspects of life to also create equal opportunities in education. To close the achievement gap, students’ needs must be prioritized over those of adults. The main focus of the educational system should be to prepare all students for their futures. Substandard conditions and low expectations for students of minority races has lead to the disparity and correcting this problem is the simplest way to close the achievement gap.

Photo/Nasaimages.org

CLOSING THE GAP: A shocking disparity in test scores is apparent among different races at ages as young as third grade students throughout New Jersey.

Photo/ Danielle Ostrager

AN INCREASING DANGER: Students on school buses are not protected by lap belts, especially if they are not worn.

by THERESA GONZALEZ and JACLYN VOGEL Staff Writer and Section Editor According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seatbelts are not required on school buses and other large passenger buses. Since many collisions occur, the NHTSA determined that compartmentalization protects against injuries. Buses rely on strong, well-padded, energy absorbing seats to divide each of the passengers that board the bus. “In a regular car seatbelts are extremely important but on the bus they feel somewhat unnecessary because of the high seats.” says Senior David Morris. On buses, compartmentalization is thought to protect passengers more as opposed to seatbelts. The lap seat belts provided on buses do more harm than good. Lap belts do not provide a sturdy restraint to the passengers they are protecting. If an accident were to occur, there is nothing stopping the passenger’s body from plummeting forward. For this reason, cars replaced lap belts with over-the-shoulder belts in order to properly guard commuters. According to the NHTSA, seven out of 23.5 billion students are killed in school bus accidents each year. Sophomore Ally Sullivan says, “The fact that seven students die each year in bus collisions partially because of the lack of seatbelts is extremely scary.” The high backed seats on buses were mandated by the federal government in 1977 to make bus rides safer. A majority of bus accidents are front or rear collision, but students are protected due to the compartmentalization of bus seats. Sophomore Erika Fidacaro says, “I think that this is a serious issue because seven young lives are taken each year.”

Although some buses do not require seatbelts and some do not enforce them, smaller buses, 10,000 pounds or less, are required to wear lap belts because smaller buses do not provide the same protection that the larger ones do. Although compartmentalization protects students riding on buses, weather conditions play a large role in causing hazardous conditions. In the winter, slush and ice on the roads are a great danger that can potentially cause bus accidents. The seats protect passengers if they fly forward, but if they are thrown to the sides, there are no secure seatbelts to protect them. Also, if buses become out of control for any reason, either by flipping or rolling over, they can harm or even kill the passengers. The NHTSA said that in the event of a rollover, they are concerned for students’ safety. Installing more seatbelts is on their list of the “Most Wanted Transportation Safety Improvements”. Installing better forms of restraints can provide many benefits, stemming from the evidence that if students remain seated during bus rides, they are better sheltered. There have been counter arguments that say there is not enough evidence that seatbelts improve bus safety significantly. However, there is more evidence provided in society that they protect students better than none at all. Another concern of transportation and bus drivers is liability. If laws are passed in the future, stating that students must wear seatbelts and an accident occurs, the bus driver would be held responsible for any injuries. The liability concerns prevent laws from passing because bus drivers may not be able to check each and every student that enters the bus. “I hope the NHTSA makes buses safer for the better of all students,” says sophomore Chelsea Richards.

Freedom of speech proves too much to handle by LINDSEY ZYBRICK Staff Writer Based out of Topeka, Kansas, the Westboro Baptist Church, founded in 1955, is an extremist group founded and run by Fred Phelps, and has definitely made their presence known around the country and the world in the past few years. The WBC is famous for its pickets, often targeting funerals of fallen soldiers. They are seen holding signs that read “Thank God for war” and “Thank God for dead soldiers.” The group claims to have participated in 41,000 protests in over 650 cities since 1991. “Some of the pickets they do are horrible. I don’t understand how they get away with saying the things that they say in public,” says junior Kailyn Duttkin. The most recent funerals that were picketed were Arizona shooting victims, nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green and Judge John M. Roll. One picket sign read “God sent the shooter.”

The WBC believes that all the evil in the United States and the world is a result of the U.S. being full of sinners, and society accepting sinful activities such as homosexuality. At first glance, the WBC’s website looks as if it was created by an angry teenager who is cursing the world, but in reality, the WBC believes that they are following the wishes and acts of God. Along with picketing using obscene signs, the WBC’s extreme methods challenged American citizen’s freedom of speech, specifically hate speech. In the Supreme Court case, Snyder vs. Phelps, American’s freedom of speech rights were questioned. Albert Snyder’s son’s funeral, an Iraqi war veteran, was picketed with the obscene signs for which the WBC is known. Mr. Snyder filed a lawsuit, claiming damages for emotional distress, due to the picketing during his son’s funeral. The WBC claimed they have the right of freedom of speech. On Wednesday, March 2, the Supreme Court ruled that under the First Amendment, the

hurtful speech of the WBC is protected. “I don’t think what the Westboro Baptist Church does is right because it upsets many people during loved ones’ funerals. Also, a lot of the things they express

to the public on signs and in their opinions are out of line. Even though what they do is wrong, I don’t think freedom of speech should be taken away from Americans,” says sophomore Mike Harrigan.

Photo/ AP Images

EXPRESSING AN OPINION: Members of the Westboro Baptist Church hold picket signs, protesting the United States Marine Corps.


News

March 7, 2011

W h a t by MATT GORDON Staff Writer If you were to see someone being brutally harassed, would you step up and do the right thing? Human behavior is a very intense subject to talk about, especially in today’s society. Racism, sexism, profiling and bullying are all hot topics in today’s debates and will remain this way until someone steps up to face the huge task at hand. “Primetime: What would you do?” a show on ABC, is answering the call and showing the problems of today’s society in a personal way. The show focuses on human behavior in certain social situations. They pick an issue in society and recreate a scene in which that issue is acted out. The show hires actors to serve both as the person or group creating the issue, and, in some situations, the person or group being affected. Hidden cameras are set around the scene and catch the reactions of random passersby, some stopping to help the victim or stop the issue, or some totally ignoring it. John Darley, a professor of psychology at Princeton University, and Bibb Latane, director of the center of human science, performed an experiment called the Bystander Apathy Experiment. The experiment consisted of university students that were put into a confrontational, The students thought they were talking to a real person via a microphone in a closed room, but was actually a previously recorded voice being played from speakers. The recorded voice told students that they are prone to seizures and suddenly begins having one.

w o u l d The point of the experiment was to see if the student would seek help, or not do anything at all. The results of the experiment showed that only 31% of the students actually looked for help. The psychologists believe that students did not help because they thought someone else would help the victim. Here at MTHS, I conducted a new experiment that supports this theory. Freshman Jacob Egierd walked into the hall during passing in between lunches. He carried a binder full of miscellaneous papers. As he was opening his locker, Jacob dropped the binder and all of the papers flew out. Approximately 50 people walked by and only four stopped and asked if he needed help. A similar experiment was conducted with Emily Fodor to test whether people would be more willing to help a female rather than a male. More people were willing to stop and help Emily than Jacob. A survey conducted amongst 25 students asked them to respond to some situations that were presented in “Primetime: What Would You Do?”. The first situation involved an interracial couple being harassed because of their different race. Seventeen people said they would stand up for them, and eight people said they would ignore the situation. The second situation involved a waiter insulting an overweight person and telling them what to eat. Again, 17 students said they would stand up for them, and eight said they would ignore the situation. The third situation involved underage teens drinking. Only two students said they would

Egypt’s terribly tumultuous transgressions Rioters pack a punch against Mubarek’s regime by DAVID MORRIS Staff Writer/Artist Chaos and violence exploded all across Egypt near the end of January. Rioters flooded the streets in uproarious protest, filled with pure, undiluted rage and vengeance. All of the hatred was directed toward Egypt’s fourth president, Hosni Mubarek, who has been in office since 1981. Egypt’s citizens were fed up with the ways of old and were ready for a revolution. The riots started on January 25, causing an unprecedented amount of destruction and turmoil. The protestors were organized through various rebel and Facebook groups. Since then, Mubarek activated an Internet killswitch so the protestors could no longer communicate via the Internet. Egyptian protestors fought a battle to turn the country into a democracy. The rioters were also up in arms about an accumulation of Egypt’s problems, including poor living conditions, corruption in Mubarek’s administration, heavy police brutality, censorship, suspended constitutional rights, a curfew, arresting citizens without reason, and extended police power. Protestors destroyed property, committed arson and looted, while police officers brutally beat citizens. Dubbed “the day of anger”, chaos erupted on January 25, which just so happened to take place on National Police Day. The riots took place in major cities such as Cairo, Suez and Alexandria. Police forces were unleashed upon the crowds in an effort to quench the uprising. As the days passed, both the protestors and police force became more violent in order to win the war, causing a combined total of about 335 deaths on both sides.

On January 28, the “Friday of anger”, cell phones were put out of commission, and police started firing rubber bullets and tear gas into the crowds. Leader of the National Association for Change, Mohamed ElBaradei, led protests into Cairo and was subsequently arrested. Troops were later deployed to fight, but even they could not stand the might of the protestors. On February 1, the “march of millions” ensued, with thousands of civilians participating. A few days later, molotov cocktails and live ammunition were used against protestors, upping the ante and making the situation even more dangerous. Other dates and events included Feb. 4, the “Friday of departure” and Feb. 6, the “Sunday of martyrs”. On Feb 1, Mubarek stated that he would not run for president in September, and on Feb. 9, announced that he would transfer his power to vice president Omar Suleiman. Mubarek was tenacious about standing against the protestors, until they finally got the better of him. On Feb 11, President Mubarek announced his resignation, ending his 29 year long, iron-fisted regime. A new era for Egypt had started. Western countries attempted to quell and soothe the flare ups of violence with peaceful solutions, but it was all to no avail. Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, also made an attempt to persuade peace on both sides. Mubarek was a tyrant to the people of Egypt, but he also happened to be a U.S. ally. There is no doubt that this was one of the most violent, dangerous and bloody events that Egypt has encountered for a while. It was a true war of the government versus the people. It was a battle of Mubarek’s presidency against a brand new democracy. In the end, the outcome worked in favor of Egypt’s people, but the upcoming future is still uncertain.

“Egyptian protestors fought a battle to turn the country into a democracy”

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confront the teens while 23 said they would ignore them. Freshman Julia Bacchetti said, “I ignored the situation because if I did say something, it would start drama. There is no point because they will keep doing it.” The fourth situation presented was a group of people who walk out of a restaurant without paying their bill. Overall, 16 students said they would tell the waiter, 5 said they would ignore the situation, and 4 said they would confront the person or group.

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The fifth and final situation involved a girl being harassed by a group of “mean girls”. Ten people would confront the group of “mean girls”, only one person would ignore the situation, and 14 would talk to the girl being harassed. As clearly shown, human behavior in social situations is quite surprising at times, either in a positive or negative way. Hopefully, we can still rely on people to do the right thing, no matter what the situation.

Photo/ Matt Gordon

WHERE’S THE HELP?: Freshman Emily Fodor sits in the hall picking up her papers during an experiment with which I wanted to test how many people would help her pick them up.


March 7, 2011 Features “Whatever happened to sitcoms, game shows and the radio?” Page 6

An onslaught of new technology leads to the decline of traditional media entertainment by STEPHANIE WO Staff Writer/Layout Touch screens, eBooks, 3D movies, Internet radio, online news, social networking and microblogging sites are all products of the technological revolution that is sweeping the world. It is easy to forget about the old days of actually listening to music on anything other than an iPod or waiting for your turn to read the newspaper, but a lot has changed in the way we access media entertainment. Technological inventions lead to the popularity decline in several types of traditional media entertainment and will eventually replace them completely. Social networking, micro-blogging sites and magazines are making newspapers obsolete. A single video clip of a breaking news story can now be blogged, shared and commented on within seconds of its uploading. Shiny, colorful magazines loaded with pictures attract the attention of readers from far

away and keep them entertained with vibrant hi-definition graphics. Traditional black and white newspapers cannot cut it in this day and age when people can access the news online easily, and for free. “All these flashy new gadgets and graphics are cutting people’s attention spans short,” says sophomore Louise Lobello. “With all this new technology, people are using the older ways of getting information around less and less.” Social networking sites have facilitated the spreading of news from person to person, and replaced the urgent need for newspapers to be distributed. There is no longer a need for people to deliver papers; the click of a button can do it all. However, the effects of new technology and trends in media entertainment do not end there. Instead of tuning into a radio station, people have the option to listen to thousands of songs that are available at their fingertips. Online radio stations such as Pandora allow users to choose stations that feature songs that relate to a specific band, artist or

Photo/AP Images CHANGING TIMES: New technological inventions revolutionize how people listen to music and read the news.

genre. New, commercial free satellite radio allows users to listen to a specific channel without interruption from advertisements. The expediency of mp3 players and online radios make traditional radio stations unappealing. The idea of adjusting the antennae of a bulky radio in the hopes of hearing a good song seems silly due to easier, faster ways to listen to music. More and more people are leaning toward personal mp3 players that have playlists tailored to their musical preferences. Now, people can easily get their

musical fix from their playlists as opposed to waiting for a favorite song to play on the radio. People are reliant on the on-demand, at-your-fingertips experience, causing them to forget the excitement of a song coming on the radio or sitting down in the morning to read the newspaper. “Technology has both positive and negative effects on people,” says sophomore Emily Ho. “For example, computers are good for communication, finding information, and leisure, but they can easily distract someone from getting their

work done, aka procrastination.” The ways people access information and listen to music morphs with each passing day, and traditional media entertainment is paying the price. The insidious effects of this revolution are leading to a dying industry, and a shorter attention span. It is harrowing to think what things will be like a couple of years from now. In the meantime, we can keep ourselves grounded by thinking back to the aspects of traditional media entertainment in the good ol’ days.

Blast from the past: music through the decades Regaining trust, not so easy Music from the 60s to the 90s are still heard all over the world today by JEEVAN NAGPAL Staff Writer/ Layout From the British invasion and good ol’ rock ‘n roll, to the decade of disco and techno, music from the 60s to the 90s is still heard all around the world today, and inspires others to pursue a career in music. While many music genres - pop, rock and roll, and rap - and artists are still widely heard, other music styles, such as disco, are not. Sophomore Namrita Singh says, “I still listen to artists from the 80s and 90s. They are still popular because they have good music, and their music is timeless. I can relate to their songs because they portray the same message.” If one were to browse iTunes, successful artists from previous decades, such as the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Cher, Dolly Parton, Stevie Wonder, and Whitney Houston, have their songs available for download because people still enjoy listening to their music. According to The People History, “Music of the 1960s was characteristic of the revolution that was going on during the decade. It was a time of rebellion and counter-culture in which younger people were questioning everything, including authority, corporations, the government, and other aspects of everyday life.” One of the movements in the 60s was the British invasion in which several bands from the United Kingdom provoked a riot in the United States. The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Animals, and The Beatles were some of these eminent bands that defined the British invasion. Among these bands, The Beatles emerged as one of the most popular bands due to their good looks and catchy tunes. Motown, the first label owned by an African-American, was another genre that originated in the 60s. It was a mix of soul music and a distinctive pop sound.

Photo/AP Images ERA OF THE BRITISH INVASION: The Beatles are one of the many bands that created a riot in the United States during the 1960s, and they are one of the many bands that are still prominent all around the world today.

Some Motown groups included The Temptations, The Four Tops, and Diana Ross and the Supremes. The 70s was the era of dance music. People sought a refuge in dance clubs and other places to enjoy a good time out. This idea led to the disco movement. Although this musical style was short-lived, many people today are still dancing to the great songs and acknowledge artists from then. Some songs include “YMCA” by the Village People, “The Hustle” by Van McCoy, and Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.” During the 80s, music became more diverse with a new wave of heavy metal, rap, techno pop, alternative rock, and “new” country sounds. Poison, Aerosmith, Tina Turner, Paula Abdul, and Madonna were some of the top artists of this decade. The music industry was introduced to television in the 80s. Music Television, or MTV, gave artists and bands more exposure for their music. The first video ever played was “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles. “The musical era of the 1990s was

one filled with a variety of pop, rap, and alternative music artists as well as a plethora of one-hit wonders,” according to The People History. Boy bands, consisting of three to six members, were also popular during this era. The Backstreet Boys, ‘N Sync, Boys II Men, New Kids on the Block, and 98 Degrees were some of the heartthrobs that girls swooned over, Sophomore Mariellen Noel says, “Sometimes I miss listening to the Backstreet Boys on my old CD player. They were probably my favorite band, and it’s great to listen to them every once in a while.” Pop music is a softer alternative to rock and roll, and is aimed at the youth market. Some of the popular pop artists of the 1990s were Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Shania Twain, and Will Smith. Dr. Dre and Jay-Z were two of the eminent musicians that kicked off the era of rap music. Music from the 90s is very similar to music of today. Although there are new artists trying new and different musical styles, they still embrace music from the past.

by KATERINA MARTINEZ Staff Writer The president of the Toyota car company, Akio Toyoda, is trying to regain trust from American consumers after two big recalls last year. Last year, Toyota recalled about seven million cars in the United States because of the sudden acceleration. Amongst all the other car companies in the U.S, it was the only major dealership whose sales declined. While sales and discounts rose 13.4 percent, Toyota fell .4 percent. The company is now known for going through the biggest crisis it has ever f aced After the heavy amount of complaints about the sudden acceleration problem, Toyoda visited an American auto show in Detroit. He stood onstage at Detroit’s Cobo Center to explain his company’s new plan. Toyoda wants America to have trust and confidence in his company again and traveling to Detroit is proof of how serious he is. In an effort to bounce back from the crisis, Toyoda says that Toyota will put their “heart and soul” into every vehicle. At the auto show, he introduced three new versions of the popular Prius. He wants consumers to pay attention to the company’s new products instead of the imperfections in its current vehicles. In order to make all the vehicles safer, the company revealed that they are planning on building a

research center in Michigan. Not only will vehicles be safer, but employees plan to make their cars and trucks “better looking”. Although these changes for the company are geared toward the media, customers are not eager to forget the past so quickly. Toyota hosted the two biggest recalls last year and, in some cases, their vehicles injured and killed passengers. Last year, Toyota’s reliance reputation dropped to third place from being first. However, problems appeared long before the recall. Since 2007, Consumer Reports from the auto testing center have stopped recommending new Toyota models. David Champion, who heads the Consumer Reports auto testing center, says, “They’re still a very good manufacturer, but they’ve really got to get back to working rather than resting on their coattails.” American consumers have put Toyota third in reliance, and putting trust in this company is not as easy. Toyoda plans to make up for all the damage that has been done, but the media questions his actions. No one knows if they can trust a company that has had problems since 2007 and caused trauma throughout the nation. Toyoda and his company aim to gain trust by taking action. Instead of executives just reporting information back to headquarters in Japan, there is now a North American quality chief. This gives American employers more authority to make their own decisions.

Photo/Flickr

TOYOTA’S REPUTATION: After the recall, Toyota makes a large effort to get back on track.


Features

March 7 , 2011

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The prince and I: A wedding story A look into the royal couple’s relationship

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LEGRAND IN HIGH SPIRITS: The Rutgers’ football player never gave up in his road to recovery. From not being able to move in the least to having movement in his shoulders, LeGrand defines what it is to have ultimate courage.

Eric LeGrand stays in high hopes Photo/Wikimedia Commons

PRINCE WILLIAM & KATE MIDDLETON: Prince William of Wales (left) and Kate Middleton (right) have been dating since late 2003 and have spent much time together, ultimately leading to their marriage on April 29, 2011 at Westminister Abbey in London, England.

by STEPHANIE WO Staff Writer/Layout Like a fairytale, Prince William of Wales proposed to his girlfriend Kate Middleton while the couple was vacationing in Kenya. The long term couple grew up quite differently; William has been in the spotlight since his birth while Kate only surfaced to the public when she began dating the Prince. Even so, both William and Kate have exceptionally colorful backgrounds that meet the requisite for the United Kingdom’s future King and Queen. Catherine Middleton was born to a flight attendant and dispatcher in Reading, Berkshire England. She is not of royal blood, but has an eclectic, rich upbringing. She is the oldest of her sister Philippa and brother James. Middleton attended elementary school at St. Andrews School while her parents developed their now highly successful party supplies business. Kate attended high school at the esteemed Marlborough College where she excelled at field hockey and cross-country running. Following high school, Middleton earned her degree in the History of Art at St. Andrews University, where she first met William. Middleton had posters in her dorm of the Prince and was interested in meeting him. In

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2002, Kate modeled in a fashion show at her school; rumors suggest that this is when she first caught the attention of William. Prince William Arthur Philip Louis is second in line to the throne. His late mother Diana made sure he and his brother Harry had normal experiences while also making sure they were aware of the less fortunate. She took them to a variety of places from McDonalds to AIDS clinics. Following high school, William took a gap year to pursue a military career. William has had several military ranks and is currently Lieutenant of the Royal Navy, Captain of the Blues and Royals, a cavalry regiment of the British Army, and Flight Lieutenant in the Royal Air Force. After training, he enrolled at St. Andrews University to study for a degree in the History of Art. “The students grew closer after moving into a shared house with two other friends and were said to have started dating in late 2003,” according to Hilary Whiteman, CNN. Kate came to the rescue and advised William to change his major from Art History to History when he considered quitting his studies at St. Andrews. “It’s good that they were able to go through this bad time so William could see that Kate was there for him,” says sophomore Kelsey Genuino “It’s also wonder-

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ful that she promotes education.” Shortly after Kate and William began dating, the tabloids took notice and spectators predicted that they would marry. Both enjoy similar hobbies such as skiing and attended several public and royal events together. Over the course of a few years, many people and tabloids began dubbing Middleton “Waity Katie” because it was believed that she was anticipating William’s marriage proposal. Instead, the couple had a fallout over William’s commitment issues and broke up in early 2007. However, the couple reconciled later that same year. When the Prince finally proposed to Kate in October 2010, the buzz about their marriage spread like wildfire. Both William and Kate attended a press conference to participate in an interview. “Obviously we both have a very fun time together, both have a very good sense of humour about things, we’re down to earth, we take the mickey out of each other a lot [tease], and she’s got plenty of habits that make me laugh that I tease her about,” says Prince William. The ups and downs of the couple’s relationship have ultimately bonded them together and created the United Kingdom’s future King and Queen. The hype over their wedding in April 2011 has made it the wedding of the century.

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The Rutgers’ football player shows positive movement and attitude by JARED HUSSEY Executive Editor In October, Rutgers’ junior Eric LeGrand suffered a severe spinal chord injury in a regular season game against Army. Some doctors said the injury would result in permanent paralysis and LeGrand would never walk again. Nearly four months later, LeGrand is showing movement throughout his body, and he is certain that he will be able to walk one day. After LeGrand was stabilized, he was sent to the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, a leading facility in the nation for rehabilitating spinal chord injuries. LeGrand spent several months at the Kessler Institute, where little information was let out to the public and his condition was unknown. Supporters and friends of LeGrand were only left to pray and hope for the best. On January 6, Rutgers announced that LeGrand regained movement in his shoulders and also developed sensation in many parts of his body. In a recent ESPN interview, LeGrand said, “As my mom, she placed her hand on me, I was like, ‘Wow! I felt that.’ And that was just a big shock and it was just like, ‘Wow! It’s coming back. It’s coming back.’” Many organizations have been

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founded in order to help LeGrand’s family pay for the rehabilitation. Most notably, the College Football Assistance Fund has been created and vows to help any players who suffer from serious neurological or spinal injuries such as LeGrand’s. The organization was founded in the light of the ESPN interview that was released in early January. Founders of the CFAF said that they want to give hope and aid to the players that need it most. LeGrand still retains hope even after his horrific injury. He wants to work hard on recovery, and he believes without a doubt in his mind that he will be able to walk again. In the ESPN interview, he stated, “God has a plan for me, and I know it’s not to be sitting here all the time. I know he has something planned bigger for me.” The injury occurred on October 16, and after four months and many painstaking visits to the hospital, LeGrand’s family and friends can finally say that they now visit Eric with a positive attitude. LeGrand has shown extreme courage, and after rehabilitation in the hospital he plans to go back to Rutgers and continue his college education. Although there is a positive outlook on the situation, LeGrand will most likely not be playing competitive football ever again.

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Even with new restrictions, the original Four Loko is still being sold by KATHRYN OLIVA Staff Writer Recently in South Plainfield, three women faced charges for allegedly selling the newly banned Four Loko drink through an ad on Craigslist. According to the Food and Drug Administration, Four Loko was banned because it is an “unsafe food addictive.” They also said that the amount of caffeine in the drink could mask the feelings some get while drunk that they would usually use to determine their level of intoxication. In the past, this has put blame on the drink for some deaths and injuries. It was thought by most that since the FDA banned the drink in November that it would no longer be a problem but even with the ban, they are still being sold il-

legally through sites like Craigslist and eBay and even in liquor stores. In Virginia, several stores were caught selling the banned caffeinated version of Four Loko. Most stores have followed the new rule and stopped selling the banned version of Four Loko. Phusion Projects have even put out a reformulated version that is exactly like the original with the exclusion of the ingredients caffeine, guarana, and taurine. The new version will still contain twelve percent alcohol, meaning that each 23.5 ounce will have about as much alcohol as a six pack of beer. A source who wishes to remain anonymous said, “Honestly, I drank Four Loko because of the high that I felt after drinking it. With these ingredients being taken out, the drink definitely will not make as much of a profit as it did be-

Photo/AP Images

STILL ON THE SHELVES The banned version of Four Loko is still being sold illegally on the shelves of some stores and through sites like Craigslist and eBay.

fore they reformulated the drink.” The old version of Four Loko has gone on to another use. MXI Environmental in Virginia has made

a contract with Phusion Projects and is buying the left over drinks from wholesalers. The company takes the alcohol out and

then sells the rest to be blended into auto fuel. They then sell the aluminum cans to a recycler so that they can be used again.


Journalism I Special

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Br e a k f a st done wrong Worries surround the Nintendo 3DS by DANA SOMERS Staff Writer

Many people have been told that a large breakfast is the key to start the day; however, a big breakfast does not always mean big weight loss, and studies show eating a massive breakfast could be a leading reason for obesity in America. People all over the country aspire to lose weight and turn to breakfast or the lack of breakfast to help. Many believe eating a big breakfast will provide an ample amount of vitamins and nutrients for the day. Conversely, some think by not consuming calories, they will lose weight. What they do not know is their weight-loss plan may actually be making them gain weight. Breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day; nutritionists say that eating breakfast gives us the nutrients and vitamins we need to carry out the rigorous daily tasks that are put on our plate. Unfortunately, some Americans take this dietary advice to the next level. By “big”, nutritionists did not mean filled with calories, but filled with vitamins. The only thing a big breakfast is doing is adding on more pounds. In contrast, some Americans do not eat breakfast at all and simply leave their stomachs growling. By not eating breakfast, the body becomes tired and fatigue takes over. Nutritionists also say that the lack of breakfast

Photo/Flickr

BREAKFAST DONE RIGHT: The low-fat and low-calorie breakfast above consisting of waffles with jelly, a strip of bacon and a lemon wedge is a healthy way to start off your day.

can also lead to weight gain. When a meal, especially breakfast, is skipped, the body takes previously consumed food and stores it as fat. A group of German researchers led by Dr. Volker Schusdziarra of the Else-Kroner-Fresenius Center of Nutritional Medicine in Munich concluded that if a person desires to lose weight, then he or she should cut back on caloric intake during breakfast. Schusdziarra and the research team followed the food intake of 280 obese and 100 normal weight subjects. The participants were asked to keep a food diary over a span of 10 and 14 days.

Research showed that eating a larger breakfast generally led to a higher caloric intake during the rest of the day. Starting off the day with a high-calorie meal set the pattern for unhealthy eating for the rest of the day. Junior Jenna Rutsky agrees, saying, “Eating an unhealthy breakfast in the morning is not beneficial because it prompts a person to continue eating unhealthy foods throughout the day.” In addition, many fast food restaurants now offer breakfast to those who claim they do not have time in the morning. These on-thego breakfast choices supply customers with a quick, easy way to consume their breakfast; however, these choices are not always healthy. A typical person should consume between 300 and 450 calories during breakfast. Various fast food breakfasts contain more than 700 calories, plus many grams of fat and grease. For example, a “Big breakfast” at McDonalds which includes scrambled eggs, sausage, a biscuit and hash browns, has 740 calories. A healthy breakfast should not include a massive amount of calories, but rather a variety of dairy, fruit and fiber to maintain energy. Junior and varsity athlete Kerriann Manziano says, “A healthy breakfast should include milk, fruit and some sort of fiber or carbohydrate such as cereal, pancakes or granola.” If a person desires to lose weight or to stay healthy, he or she should simply eat a well-balanced breakfast, such as a banana, raisin bran and a glass of milk. Skipping breakfast or saving time by eating a fast-food breakfast will not fulfill a goal weight. A way to a healthy life begins with a healthy morning.

To succeed in school, quit studying and take a test by CAMILLE RABE Staff Writer Research reveals that practice test-taking allows students to retain more information than other study methods. Taking a test is not a passive action for evaluating how much a person knows about a certain subject; it actually helps people learn more. It can be more effective than two of the most popular studying techniques. One popular method is repeatedly studying material. This is common amongst students who “cram” the night before exams. The second method is drawing diagrams to help students make personal connections with the facts. An example of this would be in world language classes, one creating certain pictures to connect to vocabulary words. Mr. Joseph Rooney, language arts teacher, says, “I find it helpful for students to connect concepts from class to their own lives. For example, if you want to memorize 20 vocabulary words, don’t just write the definition three times. ‘Personalize it’ by using the words in your own life.” However, these techniques only give students the illusion that they retained the information. One’s memory can distort data that it stores which leads to incorrect answers on tests. Researchers at Purdue University performed an experiment with 200 college students by assigning them to read several paragraphs on a specific scientific topic. Of the four groups, one did nothing but read the text for five minutes. Another group of students also studied the text; however, they did it in four consecutive five-minute sessions. The third group had to do “concept mapping”, arranging the information in front of them into hand-drawn bubbles, linking the information in an organized way. The last group took a “retrieval practice” test. They read the passage once, then immediately wrote a freeform essay for 10 minutes. Then, they reread the passage and took another retrieval practice test. Later in the week, the students were given a test that assessed their ability to remember the facts of the topic and make logical conclusions based on the facts. The students who were tested through retrieval practice performed better than those who had other studying methods. Scientists concluded that when a person struggles, it helps them remember information. After a test, the brain organizes data that it struggled to remember and makes connections to later recall the facts. “I think that the concept about struggling makes sense because I feel like the more I study, the more

Photo/AP Images

SHOWING IT OFF: Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, explains the new features of the 3DS at an event in New York on January 19.

by ANTHONY PARADISO Staff Writer Nintendo has created a lot of excitement since the announcement of the 3DS at the Electronic Entertainment Expo on June, 15 2010, but also a lot of concerns. The system offers 3D graphics without the hassle of wearing 3D glasses, but a warning has been issued by Nintendo stating that children under the age of seven should not use the system’s 3D mode because it could harm their undeveloped eyes. Nintendo’s first attempt at creating true 3D visuals was in 1995 when they released the Virtual Boy system. It used autostereoscopy, the same type of 3D viewing that the 3DS will use. Autostereoscopy uses a barrier, blocking part of the screen so that each eye sees a different image. It had an identical warning to that of the 3DS, stating that children under seven years of age should not use it. However, the Virtual Boy was discontinued a year later because it caused nausea and strain on the eyes. Corey Harrison, owner of the pawn shop on the reality show Pawn Stars was offered a Virtual Boy unit, but stated that the device could only be used

for about 20 minutes before giving someone a headache. One can assume that, since the 3DS will use the same viewing system and the Virtual Boy, it may cause the same problems and the new 3DS system will most likely not be worth the hefty $250 price tag. Nintendo’s 3D products are not the only ones causing sickness; many other forms of 3D images cause nausea as well. Samsung’s Australian site warns users that their 3D televisions can cause sickness, disorientation and eye strain. Sony also warned that the PlayStation 3’s 3D games, which use autostereoscopic 3D images as well, can cause eye strain and fatigue. Sony stated that children under six years of age should not play 3D PS3 games, but can still enjoy the 2D ones. They warned that “if you experience such discomfort, you should immediately discontinue use of your television until the discomfort subsides.” Another warning on Nintendo’s Japanese website states that the system has been shown to cause fatigue or discomfort in users above the age requirement. Attendees at Nintendo’s event in Tokyo, where the 3DS was previewed, reported feeling sick or tired after using the system, even after just minutes of use. Nintendo also stated that anyone else using the 3D mode should take breaks every 30 minutes. Freshman Kenneth Sandoval says that this might be a problem for gamers. “It’s pretty annoying. It will probably interrupt the gaming experience and immersion.” Freshman Nicholas Parr also disagrees with the warning, saying, “People should take breaks when they feel like it.” Both students stated that they play video games for over three hours at a time, which would mean six breaks during game play if they followed Nintendo’s recommendation. Despite these warnings, scientists have not found any decisive proof that the system and 3D graphics in general cause developmental issues in a person’s eyes. To dispel any problems one might have, Nintendo has added parental controls so that the 3D function can be blocked by adults, and a slider that can adjust the 3D effect. The 3D mode can also be turned completely off if the user is experiencing sickness or eye strain. Although the 3D experience is not for everyone, all games can be played in both 3D and 2D. If Nintendo’s issued warnings are heeded, even kids under seven can happily enjoy the 3DS system.

Caffine craze captures students by KIM CANGELOSI Staff Writer Photo/Flickr

TEST FOR SUCCESS: Students create elaborate diagrams to remember information for AP exams. A better strategy to remember more facts would be taking a test when the information is fresh in their minds.

stressed out I get. When the test is in front of me, I feel like I blank out,” says sophomore Alexis Cashman. “But when I think back to the questions, I remember them because I struggled with them.” “The struggle helps you learn, but it makes you feel like you’re not learning,” says Dr. Nate Kornell, a psychologist at Williams College. “You feel like: ‘I don’t know it that well. This is hard and I’m having trouble coming up with this information.’” Mr. Rooney says, “Although students may complain that [testing] causes them anxiety, stress is a factor that they must learn to cope with in the real world…Moderate stress can be a healthy force in students’ lives since it can make them focus on what really matters.” Testing is a widely debated issue in education. It draws criticism from teachers who believe it promotes more student anxiety and wastes valuable class time.

“I feel that it causes unnecessary stress for students and teachers alike,” says journalism teacher, Ms. Dana Speizer. “Standardized testing is not an accurate judge of student knowledge. Teaching to the test is not an effective method for students to learn material.” Although teachers enjoy using more stimulating approaches to memorization, such as concept mapping, the challenges of testing allow students to retain more information. It is not necessarily true that more testing is more beneficial for students, but retrieval practice testing helps expand learn opportunities. Dr. Kornell says that “even though in the short term it may seem like a waste of time,” retrieval practice looks like it may “make things stick in a way that may not be used in the classroom. It’s going to last for the rest of their schooling, and potentially for the rest of their lives.”

“Scientists concluded that when a person struggles, it helps them remember information. After a test, the brain organizes data that it struggled to remember and makes connections to recall the facts.”

The daily recommended amount of caffeine students should consume is about 52 milligrams; however, most students consume up to 109 milligrams a day. Many students are not informed about the addictive properties of caffeine, categorizing caffeine as a drug. If not consumed by addicts, caffeine can cause withdrawal symptoms. Consumers of caffeine often suffer from fatigue, depression, irritability, tremors, jumpiness, deprivation of deep sleep and headaches. Many believe that caffeine is good for students because it keeps them awake and alert in school; however, others argue that it can stunt students’ growth and affect their sleeping habits. The Journal of Pediatrics conducted a survey to study the effects of daily caffeine consumption on children. Results showed that children ages eight to 12 consume an average of three cans of caffeinated soda every day, causing children to get less sleep at night. Studies have shown that milk consumption amongst students has declined over time, while soft drink consumption has escalated. The main cause of this is due to students being exposed to caffeine more than ever in and out of school. On their way to school, many students make a trip to Dunkin Donuts. Dunkin Donuts serves drinks such as coffee coolattas, caramel lattes and cappuccinos, which contain large amounts of caffeine. For example, a medium caramel latte contains more than 100 milligrams of caffeine in just one cup.

Students are also being exposed to many foods that contain caffeine from fund raisers, school lunches, and more. For example, many fundraisers sell candy to raise money for sports teams. Candy, such as chocolate bars, contains about nine milligrams of caffeine apiece. Many schools have installed vending machines as a convenient way to get a drink “on the go.” By filling these vending machines with sugary drinks like Snapple and Vitamin Water, more students are exposed to caffeine, which can affect their health. Due to health risks of caffeine consumption at a young age, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a consumer advocacy group, is pushing the Food and Drug Association (FDA) to list the number of grams of caffeine on product labels.

“For example, a medium [Dunkin Donuts] caramel latte contains more than 100 milligrams of caffeine in just one cup.” The CSPI believes that all consumers have a right to know how much caffeine their food contains. Freshman Gabrielle Tumminia says, “I never realized how much food contains caffeine. I didn’t even know there was caffeine in a chocolate bar. I think it is a really good idea that the CSPI is pushing for the FDA to label the amount of caffeine on foods because it lets people know how much they’re eating, and if that one little extra bite of chocolate would affect them.”

Photo/ Wikimedia Commons

SERVING IT UP: Students come together on their school campus to prepare and serve a meal for those who cannot afford one.

Poverty continues to affect Americans

just to eat. Not being able to eat never crossed my mind. We throw out so much food on a regular basis without really thinking about others who cannot eat,” says an anonymous source. Many Americans living in Additionally, 2,660 children in America are born the United States face povinto poverty everyday. Of the 2,660 children, 27 die erty due to the economic because their families are financially deprived, and crisis and unemployment. therefore cannot provide them with proper nutrition. Poverty is the Poverty greatly affects children throughout state of having little or no money and their entire lives. Neuroscientists found that large only a few or little material possessions. amounts of unhealthy stress hormones are presAccording to the Organization for Economent in children who live in poor families. These ic Co-operation and Development (OECD), hormones damage both the child’s speech and the poverty rate in the United States of Amermemory. It also causes them to develop slower. ica is the third worst in a developed country. There are also many homeless people as a result More than 45 million people in the United States of poverty. About 672,000 people do not have a safe, alone live in poverty. The poverty line includes all permanent place that they can call home. Many people who are incapable of obtaining basic retry to go to homeless shelters for a place to sleep. sources such as clothing, shelter, However, 37 percent cannot and food because of an insufficient “Due to their inability to get into a shelter, turning to income. The poverty line in Amerthe streets for a place to stay. ica for a family of four is $17,050. acquire food, one out of every Contrary to the thoughts More than one out of every eight six Americans turns to anti of many students at MTHS, the Americans live below the poverty common homeless family conpoverty government proline. Of that, one in five children sists of a mother and children. lives below that line of poverty. grams, such as soup kitchens, Without money, these families The recession caused many peofor assistance. “ suffer from not having a safe, ple to lose their jobs. Adults struggle fixed and adequate residence. to support their family with basic neAccording to the National cessities due to unemployment. They Association for the Educastruggle to afford food, health care, shelter, and heat. tion of Homeless and Children and Youth, 954,914 Without money for food, some adults turn to homeless children were enrolled in public schools. food stamps. This helps them pay for food that Even though these students cannot provide proper they need, but cannot obtain on their own. Foraddresses, birth certificates, immunization records, ty-one million people currently use food stamps. or proof of guardianship, they are eligible to reHowever, with these papers in hand, many still ceive education from public schools according to struggle to feed themselves and their families. the Mc-Kinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. Due to their inability to acquire food, one out of ev“It’s unfortunate and heartbreaking that ery six Americans turns to anti poverty government these students cannot have a stable and safe programs, such as soup kitchens, for assistance. place that they could live in and just sleep,” an Although soup kitchens provide food for people anonymous “I’m just truly happy that an act who cannot afford it, they themselves are strugwas passed to allow them to attend schools. gling to obtain donations. Due to the current ecoDespite the rapidly increasing numbers of nomic crisis in America, more and more people American people in poverty, there are many ways are choosing not to donate food. This is because to help. One can donate money, food, or clothes even people who live comfortably have to monito organizations such as the Salvation Army. Adtor their budgets and cut costs in this economy. ditionally, one can volunteer to help victims of “It’s horrible to hear that people struggle poverty in places such as local soup kitchens. by MINNA KIM Staff Writer


Op-ed

Page 10

March 7, 2011

Editor-In-Chief

It only took two years

Executive Editor

A much too drawn out fight between a teacher and his school board has finally come to an end

The Falcon News Julie Kelly

Jared Hussey

by SAKINA HUSSAIN Section Editor

Executive Editor-Layout Angela Wo Editorial Policy The Monroe Falcon is a newspaper dedicated to accurate, ethical, and responsible high school journalism. Advisor Dana Speizer

DANA.SPEIZER@MONROE.K12.NJ.US

Bottom of the bowl 2011’s Super Bowl commercials don’t live up to last year’s by BRIAN BAUTISTA Staff Writer When watching the Super Bowl, the commercials that come on during the game are just as important as the game itself. It takes thousands of dollars to get a commercial to air during the Super Bowl, and if you spend that much money to get it on air, it better be good. Last year’s commercials were hilarious, including Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man could Smell Like”, which featured Isaiah Mustafa in only a towel, and was moving from a bathroom set, onto a boat, and then onto a horse. All in one take. But this year, however, the commercials could not compare to those of last year’s. There were

their point across. And if they did, they use crude jokes to do so which made me say, “Did you really just say that?” One such commercial is one for Teleflora Flowers. Faith Hill, a famous country singer, tries to help her sound engineer out, who can’t figure out what kind of message to put on the flowers he ordered for a woman he likes. Faith then tells him to write from the heart. A commercial for flowers should usually be all lovey-dovey and all that jazz. And that was what I thought it would be. But then the engineer writes, “Dear Kim, your rack is unreal”. Although it was supposed to be funny, I found it completely immature. And I usually have a high tolerance for inappropriate jokes.

Photo/AP Images

TRY AGAIN NEXT YEAR: A lot of commercials this year were not as funny as the ads that aired last year. But some, such as Eminem’s ad for Brisk Iced Tea, were still entertaining, if not funny.

still a few good ones, such as Bud Light’s “Home Makeover”, where the sole installment of a bucket of Bud Light revolutionized the entire home. But a few others came off as strange or just plain stupid. Companies from last year tried to make a comeback this year, such as Doritos. Last year’s commercials featured samurais in armor made entirely of nacho cheese chips. This year, Doritos tried to repeat their success with two more commercials. The first was moderately funny, which demonstrated exactly how powerful Doritos are. (It apparently can even resurrect cremated ancestors) But the second was borderline creepy. Two people sit in an office, enjoying their lunch break. One co-worker stares at the other, who is finishing a bag of Doritos. He then sucks the cheese off of the man’s finger, breathes in and says, “Mmmmm, cheese.” I found it kind of funny at first, but then it got really weird after this same guy rips the pants off of a different co-worker who wiped cheese on the side of his trousers. A few new companies and their commercials couldn’t really get

Not all was lost though. Although not necessarily funny, some commercials were able to capture the audience, if only for a few seconds. Volkswagen’s “The Force” commercial featured a miniature Darth Vader walking around his house trying to use the force on various objects. After his dad comes home in a new VW, he runs over and tries the force on the car as well. The car then suddenly ignites, and MiniVader jumps back in surprise. The camera then goes inside the house and shows the dad holding the keys to the VW, and then focuses on the remote start button on the key. This whole time, the famous Imperial March from the Star Wars films is playing in the background. So what do I think about this ye ar’s commercials? They were decent. Last year’s commercials had me laughing on multiple occasions. Not a single one made sense, but we could still get the point of the commercial. This year, too many commercials tried to follow the same formula, and none of them could replicate it. Forget what teams make it next year; I just want the commercials to be funnier.

John Freshwater, a middle school science teacher in Mount Vernon, Ohio, was finally fired on January 11, 2011 after being accused of burning the image of a cross onto a student’s arm. Freshwater had been having issues with the school board about his religious beliefs and rights for over two years. Of course, everyone knows that when a teacher gets tenured, it is nearly impossible to get him fired, hence the reason for the reenactment of the Cold War between Freshwater and the school board. According to christianpost. com, Freshwater’s trouble began in April 2008. His school principal informed him that the poster of the 10 Commandments and the Bible kept in his classroom would have to be removed. Although Freshwater agreed to remove the poster, he was resolute in keeping his Bible, which he said governed his values and beliefs that were protected by the Constitution. The district’s officials rebut this comment by saying that the First Amendment holds them responsible for protection against the establishing of religion in school. During his attempts at fighting back and keeping his job, Freshwater found he had his share of supporters amongst former students who said that he never once preached his beliefs or tried to sway their views. Technically, I suppose there is no case against Freshwater for directly preaching to his students; but the guy has a Bible sitting on his desk, and had the Ten Commandments posted up in his classroom. His beliefs are being made painfully obvious by those gestures alone. Children’s minds are incredibly malleable and their teachers have the power to influence them,

Photo/AP Images

CHARRED IMAGES: A student gets his arm branded with either a cross or an X by a scientific instrument from John Freshwater.

whether it’s intentional or not. Also, contrary to popular belief, children are able to deduce things like, “Oh, he has a Bible on his desk. He must be a good Christian.” It’s not exactly rocket science. The school board was basically trying to tell Freshwater to accept the responsibility as a potential role model, and refrain from inflicting religious perspectives on them. Apparently, telling him to do so violates his rights. According to Freshwater’s spokesmen, David Daubenmire, the burning of the cross images was a part of an experiment where Freshwater would draw “X marks” in order to demonstrate electrical currents and has been a part of his curriculum for years. Daubenmire also says that the experiment in question took place in December 2007, and the parents of the students neither went to the police nor filed any sort of complaint. It was not until April of the next year when problems arose. So, basically, because no one objected to it, burning crosses or “X marks” onto students’ arms without parental consent is perfectly okay. Right. The school board, however, did not exactly see it that way. Go figure. Freshwater retaliated to the ac-

cusations and consequences he received by filing a million-dollar lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for lost pay and pension, punitive damages, and said that his free speech rights were violated. After over two years of going back and forth, in October 2010, the Mt. Vernon School District finally went full speed ahead and fired Freshwater. Persistent as ever, Freshwater decided to drop his wrongful lawsuit and instead appealed his firing in front of the board and was back in school, but only for a short while. After a recommendation made by a state hearing officer to terminate Freshwater, the Mount Vernon School Board voted 4-1 and officially fired Freshwater (again) on January 11. Freshwater conveyed his utter disappointment in the school board in an email sent to The Associated Press. There is no word yet on whether or not he will utilize this disappointment and appeal, but I would not put it past him to get back in school again. Just remember students: even if a teacher “unintentionally” forces his religious beliefs on you, you’re just going to have to live with it because these people are apparently impossible to get rid of.

Why doesn’t my diet work? by LINDSEY ZYBRICK Staff Writer “I want to lose 10 pounds this year,” is often said as a new year’s resolution; however, this promise is most likely broken within weeks. At the beginning at every new year, people always say that this is the year that they are going to lose that extra weight or tone their bodies. Even though it is said with determination, it becomes very difficult to stick to these goals. “It becomes hard to stick to diets after New Year’s because my schedule gets in my way and sometimes I just don’t have time to eat the right things. Diets also can become bland after a while because you are eating the same things,” says an anonymous junior. According to psychtreatment. com, diets fail because they are artificial plans that are different from your lifestyle. A diet is a temporary solution to a permanent problem and dieting promote weight loss and not fat loss. “I don’t do diets, I see no point

to them. I eat mostly what I want. As long as you exercise, don’t eat too much junk food and you are at a healthy weight, there really is not point to a diet,” says sophomore Amanda Salvadore. The diet industry makes millions of dollars a year telling people what they should eat strictly for a period of time. Even though diets may work for the allotted amount of time, the weight is often gained back in a few weeks. This is because the behaviors and problems the dieter experienced before the weight was lost continues after the diet is over. Diets are also usually a “one-sizefits-all” form. “It’s hard when you find diets online or in magazines because there are one group of directions for so many different types of people. They usually don’t work for me or I end up giving up on that particular one because it’s pointless and I’m making no progress,” says an anonymous sophomore. Diets such as weight watchers, give you freedom to choose what you like to eat and count

points. Diets like these are a safe way to lose weight and keep it off. Diets can also be extremely dangerous, often leading to diseases like anorexia and bulimia. The desire to be thin can become infecting and take over a young person’s life. Diets are pointless if you want to become healthier. Instead of dieting, try to drink more water or do something physically challenging every day. While doing these things, your body will become more healthy and you will begin to feel better about yourself, without dieting.

Photo/AP Images

DIET SUPPLEMENTS: Diet shakes and powders like this are common in stores as a supplementary to lose weight.


Op-Ed

March 7, 2011

Page 11

M e a n e r g i r l s ? Stress is in the air

Juniors p r e p a r e f o r t h e i r f u t u r e s

ABC Family premieres“Mean Girls 2”

Photo/Flickr-PinkRocker

BETTER THAN THE ORIGINAL?: The infamous plastics from “Mean Girls” were recently replaced in ABC Family original movie “Mean Girls 2.” Disappointment accompanied the attempt to recreate the phenomenon.

by JULIE KELLY Editor in Chief The words “Mean Girls” can send millions of girls into frenzy, screaming out random quotes from the movie, recalling how many times they have seen the movie and breaking out into laughter as they realize that it is probably one of their favorite movies. The 2004 hit generated over $129 million in financial success, while also winning four Teen Choice Awards and three MTV Movie Awards. The popularity of “Mean Girls” ensured its continued success, however there may be one thing that can put a gap in the popularity streak. It is not a secret that most se-

B at t le

quels ruin movies. I mean how many people actually liked “Grease 2” or “High School Musical 2” better than the original? Sequels are usually guilty of overdoing the plot and trying too hard to make the second movie, with different actors none the less, top the first one. “Mean Girls” seems to be irreplaceable; however, ABC Family has taken on the challenge. The only returning actor from the original “Mean Girls” is Tim Meadows as Principal Ron Duvall, because he was obviously one of the favorites from the first movie. Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert, Amanda Seyfried and Lizzy Caplan, the stars of the 2004 comedic hit, are being replaced by

o f

the

popular Disney Channel actresses such as Meaghan Jette Martin and Jennifer Stone, in “Mean Girls 2”. So, these innocent Disney Channel role models are replacing an actress like Lindsay Lohan, who has been in out of rehab for years… that makes a lot of sense. This is the logic that ABC Family is following as they throw these naive actors in to replace the infamous Lohan and friends. Will parents be happy seeing their sweet Disney heroes in a movie titled “Mean Girls 2”? It is highly unlikely. Junior Sydney Brennert says, “The use of Disney Channel actresses ruins it.” January 23, the nation was introduced to this attempt to a sequel. Surprisingly, according to Nielson Media Research, “Mean Girls 2” ranked as cable’s number one movie in the 2010/11 season for viewers that are ages 12-34 and females 12-34. But then again, not many anticipated movies really premiere on TV these days. The question is: did viewers simply tune in to mock the remake? Before the premiere of the movie aired, Junior Holly Marino says, “I’m a little afraid to watch it, I’m afraid it’s going to be really bad, just because it’s an ABC Family movie.” Senior Brianne LaRocca says, “It was okay, it was predictable. The moral of the story is the same, but the first one was funnier and more interesting.” Senior Jared Warren agrees, saying, “The second one sucked, I liked the first one better because the first one had more drama.” As senior Sarah Saieva says, “You shouldn’t mess with something that is already perfect.”

s e rvi ce s

by SAKINA HUSSAIN Section Editor The stress among Monroe’s upperclassmen, particularly juniors, is prominent in the tense atmosphere at the school. Of the four years spent in high school, junior year is definitely the toughest because juniors are constantly hounded with questions from guidance counselors, parents, teachers, and a bunch of other random adults about what college we are thinking about, what career we are considering, and how we plan to get there. Basically, the pressure is on. Thinking about our futures in terms of college and exactly what we will be doing for the rest of our lives is no walk in the park. Honestly, it is more like having two 1000 pound cinder blocks dumped on our shoulders. It is a wonderful feeling, really. Of course, I understand that when the adults are asking all of those incredibly daunting questions, they only do it to help. In fact, the school’s doing everything to help make the college process easier. They have had two college fairs within this school year and held a college planning night in February. However, no matter how much help we get, the pressure that comes with making all of these seemingly life changing decisions is intense, intimidating and just plain scary. Not to mention that we will be applying to colleges in the fall, so we are basically buried in extracurricular activities so we do not have to worry about getting rejected for not getting “involved.” So, on top of being stressed, we are also always tired. “I always feel at least a little tired because of all of the activities I have to participate in,” confirms junior Brian Bautista.

There are also, of course, the all too controlling parents who make the decisions for their children. You would think that this would be more of a help rather than a hindrance. Well, you would be wrong. All parents have their hopes and dreams for their children in terms of ‘success’ and happiness. Most parents truly do want what is best for their children, and in order to be sure that their kids make the best possible decisions, they take it upon themselves to make their choices. Now, teens have got their parents telling them to become doctors, lawyers, or some sort of businessperson. These students are faced with the dilemma of wanting to make their parents happy and not having to be stuck with a job that they are going to hate for the rest of their lives. It is not easy to make that choice. Also, for those of you out there saying that they should just confront their parents, this is easier said than done. “A lot of my friends’ parents are forcing future majors on them, and I can see that they’re all really panicked and torn about what to do,” says a junior who wishes to remain anonymous. In short, it is important for juniors, when thinking about their future majors and careers, that they pick something they are truly interested in, so that they excel in it. However, at sixteen, when most kids really have pretty much no sense of self, this decision is a difficult one to make. There is no way to make this process stress-free or easy. Teens just need to keep in mind that the decisions they make right now are not permanent; if you find that the major you chose is not really for you, you can change it. Do not take too much pressure upon yourself, and do not let anyone else influence your decisions; it does more harm than good.

With Verizon ready to offer the iPhone, AT&T steps up their game by KATHRYN OLIVA Staff Writer In the technological war between Verizon Wireless and AT&T, Verizon may have just gotten the upper hand. Since 2007, AT&T had been the sole carrier of the iPhone while Verizon sat on the sidelines, watching AT&T receive the benefits of the Apple device. Recently, however, Verizon began carrying the iPhone for customers to purchase. “The iPhone coming to Verizon will give a lot more people the chance to use the phone without the inconvenience of having to switch services,” said sophomore Emily Moyes. Mark Siegal, an AT&T spokesman, said in a company statement that iPhone users will have to live in the slow lane, pointing out that Verizon has a slower network

then AT&T’s network. Burn. Later, a Verizon spokesman fired back, reasoning that AT&T is not known for their network quality. The battle has really heated up between the two companies, but what are the real differences between the two iPhones?

Both AT&T and Verizon are working on their next generation 4G networks. Verizon customers have to pay $5 more a month for their data plan. The features of the phone on both services are almost identical except for the fact that with AT&T, users can run apps and go on the Internet while on a phone call. On the other hand, Verizon users can use their iPhone as a wi-fi hotspot, and share its cellular signal with up to five other gadgets. Both AT&T and Verizon are

working on their next generation 4G networks. Neither of the iPhones work on them yet, but Apple will be coming out with a phone that will within a year. Verizon is much further along in building their network. They already have the network up and running in 38 cities, so service will be better for customers who want 4G speeds. iPhone customers are torn between staying with AT&T and switching to Verizon to experiment with their network. Verizon’s past success hints that it may have the upper hand on AT&T now. Although AT&T also has phones that give Verizon a tough competition, Verizon is already the carrier of the Android phones and many Blackberries, and now they have the iPhone to offer. They also have new features that add to the phone, like the wi-fi hotspot. The competition between the two companies will not end anytime soon, but for now, Verizon has caught up to AT&T and will continue the battle to be the best network. Photo/AP Images

VERIZON GETS THE IPHONE: On January 11, Verizon announced that they will carry the iPhone for their customers to purchase, making the battle between AT&T and Verizon much more heated.

Art/David Morris

TOO MUCH PRESSURE: The results that come from the stress and pressure of junior year are gruesome and frightening.


Entertainment

Page 12

March 7, 2011

What’s in a name? Retcons, reboots and retreads The stories behind sports team’s names by MATT GORDON Staff Writer Have you ever wondered where your favorite team’s name came from? Some team names are not surprising at all, like the Dallas Cowboys or the Philadelphia Phillies. However, what is a ‘Canuck’ and why are the Lakers called that if they live in a city that has absolutely no lakes? Team names are not just picked because they sound good, there is a history behind them. When George Halas purchased the Chicago Bears, he decided to change the name from the Decatur Staleys. This name was picked because Chicago’s baseball team was called the Cubs, and since football players are generally bigger in stature than baseball players, it was only fitting that the football team be called the Bears. Owner Arte Moreno added ‘Los Angeles’ to the name of the Anaheim Angels. While the team’s lease in the city requires the team have the city’s name of Anaheim, owner Arte Moreno added the ‘Los Angeles’ part in order to draw more interest from that fan base. Some names seem inappropriate for their city on the outside, but make complete sense when researching its origin. The Baltimore Ravens got their name from the famous poem by Edgar Allan Poe, who lived and is now buried in Baltimore. The Minnesota Twins got their

name from the two cities that claimed it when the team moved to Minnesota, St. Paul and Minneapolis, rightfully called the Twin Cities. For the Vancouver Canucks, a Canuck is actually a nickname for a Canadian and is also the name of an action hero who, in his comics, fought Adolf Hitler during World War II. The Lakers got their name from their previous location in Minnesota, which is “The Land of 10,000 Lakes”. The New York Knicks inherited their name from “Knickerbockers”, which are pants rolled just below the knee. Many Dutch immigrants wore these when they came to America and settled in and around New York. Some teams avoided humiliation by choosing an alternate name than what was originally proposed. For instance, the NY Jets were almost called the NY Borros, in honor of the five boroughs of New York City. The Washington Wizards were almost called the Washington Sea Dogs and the Boston Celtics were almost called the Boston Unicorns. The most outrageous proposal for a name was for the Orlando Magic to be called the Orlando Juice. Sports names are hard to come by and many are scratched right from the beginning. Some are so outrageous and have no meaning to the team or the city they are in, and some are just plain silly.

Hollywood and the comic industry’s recycling of stories

Photo/ Flickr

A REBOOTED MARRIAGE: “Spider-Man: One More Day” is a perfect example of a story remade for the worst, erasing years of “SpiderMan” history and changing to adapt to a modern audience.

by DAVID MORRIS and BRIAN BAUTISTA Staff Writers It appears that Hollywood is suffering from a debilitating case of writer’s block. As years go by, it seems that more and more remakes pop up to rear their ugly heads. The question on everybody’s mind is, why can’t Hollywood come up with their own original stories anymore? In the past few years, we have seen reboots or remakes of “Batman,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Friday the 13th,” in addition to the unending supply of sequels. As expected, the future contains even more recycling of old stories: “X-Men,” “Fright Night,” “Footloose,” “The Thing,” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” “21 Jump Street,” “Spider-Man”

and even possibly a remake of the animated classic “Akira” and cult television hit “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” The clear reason for all this remake hubbub is for money, to milk a little extra moolah from the decayed udder of the cash cow. A popular franchise is founded and may suffer from chronic sequelitis, or remade until the audience grows tired of it. Remakes do not always mean doom and gloom. “Batman”, for example, started out as a respectable series that quickly devolved into a bizarre caricature of its former self. Years flew by, and the once-dead series was resurrected by the magic hands of the great director, Christopher Nolan. A series like “Batman” is the perfect example of a universe that needed to be tweaked into something a tad different.

On the nasty side of things, we were recently treated with one of the worst adaptations to grace the film industry, “The Last Airbender.” Adapted from the smash-hit Nickelodeon cartoon “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” M. Night Shyamalan’s film is a prime example of what could go wrong with transferring a story to the silver screen. “The Last Airbender” managed to make every mistake in the book; it featured incredibly awful miscasting of Caucasian actors in Asian roles, below average special effects, a highly condensed storyline and even mispronunciations (Ong instead of Aang). The film was an absolute critical flop, hated by disgruntled critics and audiences alike. Other remake choices are just puzzling, such as the announcement of the new “Spider-Man” film, which will feature a fresh, new director, cast, crew and story. What’s so odd about this decision is that the “SpiderMan” story is not even 10 years old. The “Spider-Man” universe does not need to be rebooted; the Sam Raimi films were of exceptional quality and crafted their own world of web-slinging chills and thrills. Reboots such as this are enormously unnecessary and uninteresting. The comic industry also suffers from a case of rebooting, but sometimes in a different case. They utilize a strategy known as retconning, which is when an author remakes past events in order to serve the current storyline. This happens all of the time in most big-league superhero comics. A constantly rotating crew of authors and artists all leave their mark on a superhero’s ongoing story, which usually results in a

convoluted mess of a plot. The most extreme and recent retcon is “Spider-Man: One More Day” where Peter Parker makes a deal with a devil-like figure, named Mephisto, in order to save Aunt May’s life, but in return, loses his marriage and memories with Mary Jane. Within one story arc, years of Spider-Man history was erased in one fell swoop, causing heavy fan outrage. Occasionally, Marvel and DC will feel the need to completely redo a hero’s back story and craft a new series altogether. Marvel has their “Ultimate” series, while DC has the “Earth One” series. Both feature younger versions of superheroes, redesigned to fit the current trends of teenagers. In fact, Superman in “Superman: Earth One” looks like an angst-ridden and emo teenager, an image of which the entertainment industry is jam-packed full. By now, reboots and remakes are a fact of life. Most do not even seem to have a purpose, other than reeling in money. As time goes on, we’ll face a plethora of horrible remakes; some may even be ruining one of your favorite films. In this situation, the best thing to do is just ignore the terrible reboots and focus on the originals. After all, they are not going anywhere. Spread the word; show your peers that an old film does not equal a boring film. “Jaws”, “Casablanca” and “The Godfather” do not need to be made in 3-D. If you see an original idea that you like, go out and support it. Send a message out to Hollywood that they desperately need a burst of creativity, or the movie industry is doomed to be stuck in an endlessly putrid cycle of repeating itself.

Don’t hold it against Britney Britney’s new song is a predictable hit by JACLYN VOGEL Section Editor

Photo/ AP Images

LA ANGELS OF ANAHEIM?: ‘Los Angeles’ was added to the name “Anaheim Angels” to attract more attention to the team.

From “Baby One More Time” to “Womanizer”, Britney Spears never fails to top the iTunes charts with her number one hits. “Hold it Against Me,” Britney’s new pop single, is the first song from her unreleased album to top the iTunes charts within hours of its release, and was instantly added to playlists worldwide. Since mostly everyone was expecting to hear Britney’s regular-dance beats, loud bass and catchy vocal performance, they were not shocked to hear the same technique in her new song. Although it would be nice to see Britney try something different, her fans are not complaining.

Sophomore Daniela Sardella says, “When I first heard this song on the radio, I was automatically attracted to

I couldn’t wait any longer. I hope you don’t mind, but I have the best fans ever and I love you all so much!

“With a new music video and hit single, Britney has brought herself back to the top, making stardom shine upon her once again” it. It has an upbeat bass, just like every other song of hers, but I like it a lot.” Top 40 radio stations across the country have been playing the single and are getting strong reactions from fans all over the nation. “Don’t #HOLDITAGAINSTME for coming out early,

Everything I do is for you! Xoxo Brit,” said Spears on her twitter page when the song was first released. According to Billboard charts, Britney Spears is the second artist to release multiple songs at number one after Mariah Carey. “This song features some

really heavy beats that make you want to listen more. I am surprised and very happy that Britney came back with a bang!” says an anonymous source. With a new music video and hit single, Britney has brought herself back to the top, making stardom shine upon her once again. “There is no doubt that this song will be repetitively played on the radio. I was disappointed when I listened to the first few seconds of it; however, it grew on me when I heard the chorus. The beat is amazing and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear more from her,” says sophomore Chelsea Richards. Britney’s album will debut in March, leaving her fans satisfied and craving more.


Entertainment

March 7, 2011

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13

The secret life of the American flop

ABC Family brings a third season of its “hit” teen drama

Photo/ AP Images

REVEALING SECRETS: (Left to right) Ken Baumann, Greg Finley, Daren Kagasoff, India Eisley, Francia Raisa, Megan Park and Shailene Woodley. The teen cast of the show arrives at the Teen Choice Awards.

by SAKINA HUSSAIN Section Editor ABC Family’s teen drama “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” combines appalling acting, awkward and forced dialogue, and an anticlimactic storyline all for an average of three million viewers. Created by “7th Heaven’s” Brenda Hampton, the show premiered on July 1, 2008, and lived up to its high expectations with cheesy

lines and way too many viewers for a much too awful show. The writers reeled in their millions of viewers with the wonderfully original and captivating plotline of teenage pregnancy. Innocent little 15-year-old Amy Juergens (Shailene Woodley) gets pregnant by bad boy Ricky Underwood (Daren Kagasoff) at band camp. The show progresses through the first season with Amy, her friends and her family dealing with the pregnancy, and eventually, the

Admit it, “The Jersey Shore” is a must see by KATHRYN OLIVA Staff Writer The GTL-ing (Gym-TanningLaundry), fist-pumping stars of “The Jersey Shore” return to MTV’s reality TV programming for their third season. “The Jersey Shore” chronicles the eight “Guidos and Guidette’s” summer, which is packed with parties, fights and d r a m a . The third season premiered on Thursday, January 7 at 10 p.m. Cast members Mike, Pauly, Vinnie, Ronnie, Nicole, Jenni and Sammi were all back for another summer at the shore. Deena was added to the bunch to replace Angelina, who was ostracized in the second season. Many citizens of New Jersey are truly offended by the negative portrayal of NJ that the show produces. It is true, not everyone from Jersey “GTL’s” or goes clubbing every night, but that is how people from other regions view Jersey residents. “The cast of Jersey Shore makes us look stupid. They make people from other places think that we’re just like them, when we’re really not,” said sophomore Andrew Ha. The fact of the matter is that half of the stars of “The Jersey Shore” are not even from New Jersey. Jenni, Vinnie, Nicole and Ronnie all hail from New York, and Pauly comes from Rhode Island. The only cast

members who actually call NJ their home are Sammi, Mike and Deena. Many Italian-Americans are also insulted by the show. They say that the cast is a bad representation of their culture because all the characters are very proud of their heritage and regularly display it. Other shows, like the awardwinning show “The Sopranos,” portrayed Italian-Americans in almost the same negative manner as “The Jersey Shore,” but never had to take the heat for it. This could be because “The Sopranos” was a scripted HBO series while “The Jersey Shore” is part of the contemporary reality surge. Even with the “bad reputation” that the show seems to give NJ residents, it is still one of the most popular shows on television. The constant fights and drama keep people coming back for more every Thursday night. The cast members have become breakout stars from the show. Nicole, or “Snooki”, has been on countless talk shows since the first season of the show. Mike “the Situation” has created his own workout videos. You can find the whole cast at any given MTV award event because of their popularity and newfound fame. So just face it, as much as people love to hate on “The Jersey Shore” stars, they still seem to be some of the most famous people in America.

“Many citizens of New Jersey are truly offended by the negative portrayal of NJ that the show produces”

baby itself. This allows the writers to create a lot of conflict between a myriad of characters for a number of different reasons, all coming back to Amy’s pregnancy. The main attraction of the show is, without a doubt, its neverending supply of “scandals.” What is really amazing, however, is that the situations can still be considered even the slightest bit shocking after having occurred just about a million times. Clearly, the writers’ favorite

“twist” for the show is getting one of their characters pregnant. Pregnancy is a perfectly okay plotline for the first time around. It is a controversial issue, provides conflict, and it is interesting to see how the characters will deal with it, and so on and so forth. However, the show’s title, “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” implies that it will depict the average teenager’s life. While teenage pregnancy is a prominent and important issue in society, it is completely absurd to assume that it plays such a major role in every teenager’s life. The teens on the show are in high school, already proclaiming their love for each other and planning to get married. There is so much scheming going on between the teens that it makes one wonder where they got the ability to think and why on earth they are not using it for something other than how to properly use a condom. Teenagers’ lives do not consist solely of sex and pregnancy. If they did, the world would be in a shambles. The adult characters on the show are just as fickle, immature and unrealistic as the kids. It is always good to have flawed characters so that they are relatable to the audience. However, it is equally im-

portant that the characters have some actual morale and maybe the tiniest inkling of intelligence just to keep people on their toes. The parents of these heavily unstable children are so incredibly wrapped up in themselves that they let their children fall through the cracks. The parents of Amy, the girl who got pregnant at 15, have an immeasurable amount of problems, aside from having a pregnant teenage daughter. Amy’s father, George (Mark Derwin), has the brain of a five-year-old, and his wife, Anne (Molly Ringwald), simply does not possess the capability to figure out what she wants. Of course, those are just the flaws in the characters and plot. The details, such as dialogue and chemistry, only help in dragging the show as far down as possible. To see how all of these incredibly dysfunctional personalities and awkward conversations comingle “successfully” on the show, you will just have to watch. “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” comes back to ABC Family for its third season on March 28 at 8 p.m. If you find yourself that night, feeling like wasting your time and losing some of those pesky extra brain cells, this show is the way to go.

American Idol or American Idiot? AI’s repetitive return by DAVID MORRIS Staff Writer/Artist Currently, “American Idol” is like a warm, scrumptious grilled cheese sandwich, minus the cheese. It is a bland, uninteresting square of a television show, a husk of what it used to be. “American Idol” has been on the decline for quite some time, yet this season committed the ultimate sin: it lost its heart. The absence of Simon Cowell is not only noticeable, but absolutely jarring. Even Paula Abdul’s departure still has an impact on the show. Simon’s oh-so-snarky attitude and Paula’s sweet critiques are both missed, and the show suffers greatly for it. It is somewhat of a surreal moment watching “American Idol” without Simon and Paula. Ellen DeGeneres and Kara DioGuardi are also gone. With Simon, Paula, Kara and Ellen all absent, it is up to the revamped panel of judges to pick up the slack. Randy Jackson, the sole surviving member of the original trio, returns with his trademark laugh and a pair of awesome glasses as he does what he does best: being Randy Jackson. Jennifer Lopez, one of the two new additions to the crew, does a suitable job. She is actually pretty likeable and brings an air of bubbly energy to the show, one of the few positive aspects about this season. Lopez almost makes a good replacement for Abdul, but only time will tell. Lastly, Steven Tyler, lead singer of Aerosmith, has also joined the crew. He is the polar opposite of Lopez in the fact that he actu-

ally negatively affects the show. Throughout the two hour season premiere, Tyler never added anything substantial other than causing tons of awkward and creepy moments, random screaming and projecting really odd mannerisms. He also has a habit of spouting weird phrases like a leaky faucet. How was the rest of the show? Only more of the same. The 10th season’s first auditions were held in good ol’ New Jersey. As to be expected, the season premiere was chock full of weirdos and rejects, an aspect of the show that many people really seem to enjoy. However, the weirdness did not even start until the hour mark, a record for the series. With the insane people also come

the series’ requisite melodramatic stories where the contestant almost always makes it to Hollywood. In the end, “American Idol” still follows the same stale, tried and true formula. After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. There are still angry, sweaty people screaming at the camera and a plethora of socially awkward people being ridiculed by the judges. However, there is a gaping emptiness this season, devoid of anything fresh and sorely missing Simon’s sardonic wit. A few more years of “American Idol” will not be milking the franchise; it will just be using the dairy to make nasty, rancid cheese sandwiches.

Photo/ AP Images

A BRAND NEW CREW: American Idol returns for its tenth season with two fresh, new judges. The new judge’s panel consists of Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson.


Health

Page 14

Blood test may identify Alzheimer’s disease Studies report major advances involving Alzheimer’s

Rats trained to detect tuberculosis New way of testing developed to identify infectious disease by BRITTANY HASTABA Staff Writer/Section Editor

Photo/ Wikimedia Commons

BETA-AMYLOID: A simple blood test that identifies the level of beta-amyloid can help doctors to diagnose individuals with Alzheimer’s disease early on.

by JEEVAN NAGPAL Staff Writer/Layout New studies show that Alzheimer’s disease can be detected early in accurate ways with more techniques. A simple blood test can help researchers recognize Alzheimer’s early. Alzheimer’s is a brain disease and is the most common form of dementia. It causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior that interfere with everyday life. This disease worsens over time. In the early stages, memory loss is mild. As an individual continues to suffer, he loses the ability to hold a conversation and respond to his environment. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, as of 2010, over five million people are affected by this degenerative neurological condition, and it is the seventh leading cause of death. Only an autopsy can verify the presence of protein plaques in the brain that can diagnose Alzheimer’s. New research suggests that a simple blood test could identify beta-amyloid, the protein fragment that builds up in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, before the symptoms start to emerge. Dr. Kristine Yaffe, professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, led an organization of scientists that studied a group of about 1,000 elderly adults, whose average age was 74, for nine years. At the beginning of the study, scientists took blood samples from volunteers and measured the levels of beta-amyloid. The volunteers also completed a survey that tested their cognitive functions, such as memory and executive skills. After nine years, Dr. Yaffe and her team of scientists noticed that individuals with lower levels of beta-amyloid have a higher risk of developing dementia.

Lower levels of amyloid in the blood mean that more of the substance is being pulled out of circulation and deposited in the brain. This indicates one of the precursors to Alzheimer’s. According to Time Healthland, Dr. Yaffe says, “That was kind of exciting because it really looks like in our hands, the blood test did work, and we’re finding something really early – these people didn’t have dementia.” Experts are attempting to pick up the first sign of Alzheimer’s in living patients by testing the blood for beta-amyloid. Other studies show that measuring amyloid in the spinal fluid may also be useful because it has a more direct connection to the brain. Blood tests for beta-amyloid could help identify individuals who have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s before cognitive symptoms start to emerge. “These individuals could then get a head start in using interventions that could treat or even prevent their disease. At the moment, no such medical therapies exist, but there is evidence that people with denser networks of friends and family, as well as those who engage their minds by learning new skills or a new language or by playing card games, are able to hold back mental decline better than those who do not take advantage of these opportunities,” according to Time Healthland. Dr. Yaffe recognizes that a beta-amyloid blood test will not likely be the final stage in diagnosing Alzheimer’s. Problems also aroused from the experiment, such as how much of the protein in the blood signals this disease. Other conditions can also result in amyloid in the blood. Although there are some problems revolving around the blood test, it is a major step toward identifying Alzheimer’s disease.

March 7, 2011

Researchers have discovered a new technique for testing for tuberculosis that is quick, attainable and cheap- large rats. Tests for tuberculosis are expensive and quite complicated to conduct. The World Health Organization recently endorsed a new machine that, in under two hours, can give mostly accurate results. However, the device costs $17,000 and each test requires a $17 cartridge. The use of rats, however, is considerably cheaper and more reliable. Smear microscopy is a 100-yearold technique that is most commonly used for detection. This technique requires collecting sputum, matter coughed up and ejected from the mouth such as saliva, mucus, or phlegm. It is dyed with a substance that colors only Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the germ that causes Pulmonary Tuberculosis. The sample is then examined under a microscope. Although this method can be used in places with minimal facilities, it is not very sensitive and the bacilli are easy to miss. Therefore, between 60 and 80 percent

of positive cases are undiagnosed. Studies show that the Gambian pouched rats are more successful. They can smell the difference between tuberculosis bacilli and the variety of other germs contained within human phlegm. Alan Poling, a professor of psychology at Western Michigan University, is a lead author of one study on the rats. He said that although the animals had been accepted as a reasonable diagnostic tool in Tanzania, “the medical community is still skeptical.” In the December issue of “The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene”, Dr. Poling and his colleagues reported a test of the rats using samples that were confirmed as either positive or negative. The rats’ ability to detect the presence of tuberculosis was as high as 86.6 percent. Their ability to detect the absence of the germ was over 93 percent. Originating in sub-Saharan Africa in colonies of up to 20, this omnivorous rodent has the familiar body and tail of a rat and weighs around 10 to 15 pounds. They are raised in captivity and descend from animals captured in the Uluguru Mountains in Tanzania. Located in Tanzania, APOPO is an organization that trains

the African Giant Pouched Rat to identify TB samples. A specific process is followed to appropriately train the rats. At about four weeks, the newborns open their eyes and begin a habituation and socialization program. At eight weeks, the trainers put both positive and negative sputum samples for tuberculosis under “sniffing holes” in a specifically made cage. A rat is rewarded with peanuts and bananas if it spends at least five seconds at a positive sample. They learn that negative samples should be skipped over quickly and that a longer sniff at a positive sample gets a reward. When they are 26 weeks old, those that have passed the tests remain among the experts. However, some, such as Dr. Neil W. Schluger, a professor of medicine at Columbia University who specializes in lung diseases, are doubtful. “They’re a long way from demonstrating the robustness of their technique,” says Dr. Schluger. Dr. Poling argues that the research on the rats is just an introduction to the new possibilities of laboratory testing. Dr. Poling says, “We think that eventually there will be a place for them in first-line screening.”

Photo/ AP Images

READY TO TRAIN: Christopher Cox, director of a Belgian-funded program to train African pouched rats, poses with one of his trainees who is being coached to detect tuberculosis.

Watch, that couch is harmful Hours of inactivity can make an hour at the gym meaningless by ANDREW DINICOLA Staff Writer People who work in offices often sit in a chair for hours on end, and at the end of the day, try to squeeze in an hour at the gym. However, a recent post from The Journal of the American College of Cardiology states that it is not how long one works out in a day, but the amount of inactivity in a day that determines the effectiveness of a workout. Sitting for an extended period of time will make an hour of hard work at the gym worthless. In fact,

those who spend more time in ing throughout the whole day. rette smokers to cut down on front of a computer screen doubled Sitting down and watching T.V. smoking because working out the risk of having a heart attack is easy, but if one could substi- and doing rigorous activity can due to high blood pressure. alleviate cravings. This Even if one is physically “I try to work out or play some kind of also allows for the peractive, and relatively fit, to be more focused sport every day, and now that I know son it is proven a person will on sticking to their rouhave higher blood pressure that watching just an hour of T.V. can tine, which diverts their if he or she sits in front of from smoking. hurt me so much, I’m motivated to get attention a T.V. for an hour or more Next, working out can than a person who has not. moving even more.” also help lower trigIt is important to rememlycerides, lowering the ber that the person sitting on tute that for an hour of jogging risk for coronary artery disease. the couch with nothing to do outside, along with a sport, the Junior Fred Wilder, an active bascannot be compared to the per- work would definitely pay off. ketball player, says, “I try to work son working at the gym various For example, regular physical out or play some kind of sport times during the week, and mov- activity can actually help ciga- every day, and now that I know

that watching just an hour of T.V. can hurt me so much, I’m motivated to get moving even more.” In both Britain and America, the average amount of T.V. a person watches a day is about three to four hours. Not only is this excessive, in most people it creates harmful metabolic changes. Some of these changes are high blood pressure, blood fat disorders, insulin resistance, or glucose intolerance. Though it seems like a lot of hard work and time, keeping oneself moving throughout the day can keep one healthy, increase confidence and create an overall better life.


Page 15 Health Wal-Mart launches healthy foods initiative N o u s e c r y i n g o v e r s p i l l e d s a l t March 7, 2011

Retail giant plans to cut prices and reduce salt, sugar and fats in goods by BRITTANY HASTABA Section Editor

Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest retailer, announced their five-year plan to reduce the unhealthy fats, salts and sugars in thousands of its packaged foods, and abate the prices on vegetables and fruits on Thursday, January 20. First Lady Michelle Obama has prioritized healthy eating habits and minimizing childhood obesity. Mrs. Obama and Wal-Mart decided on this initiative and it was the first time she has supported the work of one company. Similar to companies such as ConAgra Foods and public health initiatives by New York City, the goal of the plan is to lower sodium, added sugars and trans fats in the company’s brand of packaged foods, Great Value. The variety of food includes rice, soups, canned beans, salad dressings and snacks. Additionally, Wal-Mart is determined to eliminate extra cost to customers for healthy foods made with whole grains. Although this will cut into its own profits, Wal-Mart hopes to make up for it in sales volume. “No family should have to choose between food that is healthier for them and food they can afford,” says Bill Simon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart U.S. “We are committed to working with suppliers, government and non-governmental organizations to provide solutions that help Americans eat healthier and live a better life.” The changes will be introduced over a period of five years so the company can get over its technical obstacles and allow time for the consumers to get acclimated to the new taste of the food. “It doesn’t do you any good to have

healthy food if people don’t eat it,” says Leslie Dach, Wal-Mart’s executive vice president for corporate affairs. Since Wal-Mart is such a large purchaser of national suppliers’ foods and sells more groceries than any other company in the country, it could have a significant impact on the health of American families and affordability of healthy food. By 2015, the company is promising to reduce sodium by 25 percent, eliminate industrially produced trans fat and hydrogenated oils, and reduce added sugars by 10 percent. Cutting the amount of sodium and artificial trans fat in packaged foods “should save thousands of lives each year that might otherwise be lost to heart disease or stroke,” says Michael Jacobsen, president of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. While lowering the prices of healthy foods, Wal-Mart plans on creating criteria and a logo to help consumers identify the healthier food options, such as unsweetened canned fruit and whole wheat pasta. Dach said Wal-Mart’s own customers motivated the lower prices and changes in food content. If this plan is successful, he says the company believes that people who shop at Wal-Mart will save approximately $1 billion a year on fruits and vegetables alone. The company also wants to tackle the problem of “food deserts”, the scarcity of grocery stores selling fresh produce in low-income neighborhoods, by building more stores in those areas. Although reformulating the food can be quite challenging since it can greatly alter the taste, Wal-Mart is steadfast in building a healthier America with every little step.

Photo/ AP Images

WAL-MART’S HEALTHY MOVE: The company hopes to make the lives of Americans healthier with its plan to reformulate packaged foods, offer more fresh fruits and vegetables, and cut costs.

NJ man tries to sue Denny’s, court dismisses case

Photo/ Wikimedia Commons

DENNY’S NOT THE MENACE: A man from Tinton Falls, NJ sued Denny’s in 2009, only to have his lawsuit dismissed this year.

by BRIAN BAUTISTA Staff Writer A breakfast sandwich made of ham, scrambled eggs, hash browns on the side, and grilled sourdough bread with cheese on top sounds like something that would undoubtedly keep one satisfied for the rest of the day, or at least the rest of the morning. However, for Nick DeBenedetto, this particular meal was the reason for a lawsuit. In July 2009, DeBenedetto sued Denny’s, claiming that it failed to notify the public about the high level of sodium present in its food. On January 11, a state appeals court dismissed the lawsuit, stating that the “victim” would need proof that the product caused him actual harm. Defending DeBenedetto was the Center for Science in the Public Interest, as well as a few local attorneys. DeBenedetto’s complaint stated that he already had hypertension, but had still chosen to eat at Denny’s. In fact, it stated that he ate there 10 times in the past year before filing said complaint. He frequently ate at the Denny’s in East Brunswick, and would travel to the one in Brick Township once in a while. His usual order was “Moon over my Hammies”, made up of the items described above. According to the lawsuit, the meal con-

tained 3,230mg of sodium, equivalent to 215 percent of the advised daily limit. The lawsuit also stated that not a single Denny’s meal contains less than 500mg of sodium. DeBenedetto released a statement, saying, “I was astonished, I mean, literally floored to find that these simple sandwiches have more salt than someone in my condition should have in a whole day. It’s as if Denny’s is stacking the deck against people like me. I never would have selected those items had I known.” Denny’s simply brushed off the lawsuit, releasing a statement of their own that described the lawsuit as “frivolous and without merit.” They also made it clear that if DeBenedetto truly wished to be conscious about his sodium intake, he should have ordered an item from the “Better for You” section of the menu, launched in June 2009, a month before the lawsuit. He would have also been able to refer to nutrition facts posted on the restaurant chain’s website. After looking at both sides of the story, the appeals court handling his case issued it a lower court’s dismissal. There was simply no proof that Denny’s had produced a harmful product, nor was there any proof that anything from Denny’s had harmed DeBenedetto at all.

Against the law to enforce the law Law enforcement agencies investigated for using anabolic steroids by JEREMY ROTH Staff Writer Two bills are in the process of being passed that will require testing law enforcement officers for anabolic steroids, and study the importance of the drug in their career. On Monday, January 10, a state assemblyman passed a bill through legislation requiring law enforcement officers who fill prescriptions for anabolic steroids to undergo fitness-for-duty evaluations. A second bill was passed by Deputy Speaker John McKeon and Assemblyman Herb Conaway to add anabolic steroids to a list of substances for which law enforcement officers would be randomly tested. Attorney General Paula Dow, along with all 21 county prosecutors and the heads of New Jersey’s largest police unions, support random testing and eventually banning the use of steroids for officers. Hundreds of law enforcement officers were obtaining these drugs from Dr. Joseph

Colao, a deceased Jersey City doctor. Officers were paying for these drugs with their government health benefits, which are paid by taxpayers. With the increase in purchases, taxpayers are left with a huge bill. Additionally, steroids result in harmful risks that can be dangerous to the public. Along w i t h strength, steroids increase a person’s anger. People do not want to be protected by overly angered officers with guns because their behavior is unpredictable. The bills will also help determine whether steroids are necessary for certain officers. If an officer is already muscular, steroids may only cause harm. A police officer, who wishes to remain anonymous, says, “Speaking from experi-

ence, being a police officer requires patience.  The mood swings alone associated with steroid use seems like a major problem.  I have worked for my police department for 19 years and I have proved time and time again that in at least 8 out of 10 scenarios, a good police officer can talk his or her way out of a bad situation without it resulting in putting hands on someone.  Sheer force may be a deterrent, but showing people respect and trying to understand what is going on in a caring manner is paramount.” In the past few years, the use of steroids in law enforcement agencies has led to many deaths. Five officers in a span of 19 months have died, and all of the deaths were linked back to Lowen’s Compounding Pharmacy.

“Steroids for performance enhancement are never beneficial to anyone. People tend to abuse them, which causes adverse effects on the body and mental state.”

The first death was the suicide of the man who started the multimillion steroid businesses, 56-year-old John Rossi. Two other deaths include a police captain and Dr. Joseph Colao. McKeon stated that the evaluations would not consist of urine or blood tests, which are the normal procedure in steroid testing. The physician would rely on his or her own opinion to determine whether or not an officer is healthy enough for or in need of steroids. Even if an officer needs to “bulk up”, steroids are never beneficial to a person’s health. Another officer who wishes to remain anonymous says, “Steroids for performance enhancement are never beneficial to anyone. People tend to abuse them, which causes adverse effects on the body and mental state. Steroids in some instances are helpful, but that should be decided by a physician, not the person.” As people continuously use steroids over a prolonged period of time, it can cause harm to major organs. Steroid use can cause severe liver damage, cardiovascular problems,


Sports

Page 16

March 7, 2011

Young Falcons are state bound Great talent gives high hopes to the Falcon hockey team by JEREMY ROTH and AIDAN BARCLAY Staff Writers Despite a less than stellar season last year, the hockey team has managed to play a great season due to young talent and strong leadership. The Monroe Falcon hockey team has overcome the loss of a few key seniors to win 10 games and qualify for the state tournament. The team is led by captain seniorNicholas Modugno and assistant captains sophomore Brandon Caccavale, junior Ed Stulak and senior John Carroll. The coaching staff includes head coach Jerry Minter as well as assistant coaches Tom Donovan and Mark Wetzel. When asked about how he feels about his young leadership role, Caccavale said, “It feels good; the fact that as a sophomore I have to help prove how successful our team could be despite age. It also helps me step up and help us achieve a better season. I could benefit from this responsibility through this season and throughout the rest of my high school career.” The 10-5-1 Falcons feature strong freshman talent from Nicholas Minerva and Kevin Morello. Minerva said, “It feels good. It’s nice to help the team qualify for states and put Monroe hockey on the map.” Both players lead the team in points with a combined total of 69 points. Morello said, “I guess my coach had a lot of faith and hope in me because I was given the chance to

Photo/ Roy DeBoer

MINTER TALKS TEAMWORK: Head Coach Jerry Minter addresses the team about key points for improvement.

play on the same line as 2 of the most influential players in Monroe hockey history. Also I feel proud to follow in my brother’s footsteps in the Monroe hockey program, and I hope to accomplish great things in the postseason this season and years to come.” Coach Minter attributes their success to teamwork. He says, “The cohesion between our team members, in my opinion, has attributed the most to our success thus far

Shooting for success by SAMANTHA KOLAVITCH and BRITTANY HASTABA Photographer/Staff Writer and Section Editor The boys’ and girls’ basketball teams had challenging seasons this year. The boys’ team has a record of 5-13 after several difficult games. However, they still practice hard and are determined to improve. With many ups and downs throughout the season, the team continues an impressive three game winning streak against tough competition. New Brunswick, Sayerville and South River were the most intense games played so far, but the team was able to defeat them all. With several wins finally under their belt, the players hope to advance to triumph. Coach Jeffrey Warner says, “The team has gotten along and played well as a team throughout the year.” They hope to use their enhanced skills and strong teamwork to overcome future games. The girls’ basketball team had a notable season. With a record of 10-9, this is the best season the Lady Falcons has seen since 1986. They made it to the state tournament for the first time as a Group Four school. Aside from these victories, there have been some struggles along the way. The most challenging games were against Cardinal McCarrick and long-time rival, Bishop Ahr.

during the season. The players all have the same expectations and are willing to work together within the system to be successful; they’re really supportive of one another.” Although they got off to a rocky start by losing their first two games, they managed to bounce back with wins in their next five games. After a tie in their next game against Old Bridge, the Falcons won their next two games, including a key win against rival South Brunswick.

With hard work and determination, the hockey has managed to end the regular season with another three game win streak within a six game span. The Falcons have been able to bounce back from last year’s disappointing season in which the team’s record was 6-11-2. Coach Minter says, “Our team this season is deeper than last. We can competitively run 3 offensive lines and 2 defensive pair-

ing in most of our games. This was not the case last season or in other past seasons. The available depth to do this in most games gives us an edge and also allows us to better develop the players.” The team unfortunately lost to Old Bridge 7-1 in the GMC semifinals, but looked to rebound strong in the state tournament. On February 28, the Moroe Falcons lost to Westfield 2-5 in the State Playoffs.

Record setting races Winter track teams run to success by SAMANTHA KOLAVITCH and BRITTANY HASTABA Photographer/Staff Writer and Section Editor

Photo/Navydad

FACE-OFF WITH MCCARRICK: Sophomore Ryan Stolte defends the basket in an extremely close, tough game against Cardinal McCarrick High School.

Coach Sandra Mascali says, “We played Bishop Ahr very well and ended the regular season against Cardinal McCarrick, keeping the game extremely close until the end and this is a team that beats teams by 30-40 points a game!” Before each game, the girls stay motivated by focusing on the strengths and advantages they have against each team. Teamwork and persistence drive the players to succeed. After an exciting season, their expectations have been met. They focused on the goal of at least 10 wins and achieved it. The team looks forward to both GMC and state tournaments in the future. Unified teamwork and perseverance guides the boys’ and girl’s basketball teams to victory.

The winter track season started off well for the boys and girls teams. Multiple records have been broken and runners are improving. Upperclassmen and underclassmen alike have been improving throughout the season and show great potential for the future. Sophomore Dmitri Mendis says, “Practices are really tough. We run a lot, either outside in the park or in the hallways at school.” Practice is apparently paying off for many runners. The boys placed third in their division and seventh overall at GMC’s. Additionally, several boys advanced to groups at sectionals. Khari Bowen placed third in the two mile race and Charles Napolitano placed third in the 55 high hurdles and sixth in the 55 meter dash. Numerous records were broken this season. For the distance medley, an impressive time of 11:05.34 minutes was set my Mezie Emelle, Arvid Pagsanjan, Nick Mazurek and Khari Bowen. In the sprint medley, Ahmed Othman, Arvid Pagsanjan, Charles Napolitano and Khari Bowen finished with a time of 3:44.83 minutes. Arvid Pagsanjan, Shawan Reyn-

Photo/ Leaundra Lane

HURDLING EVENT: Girls winter track team avoids hurdles while setting new records at the Toms River meet.

olds, Mezie Emelle and Charles Napolitano finished the shuttle hurdle with a time of 32.03 seconds. Individual records were also recently set by Nick Mazurek in the 800 meter run with a time of 2:04.89 minutes. Khari Bowen finished with a time of 4:30.10 minutes in the mile

and 9:27.39 minutes in the two mile race, the GMC meet record. The girls’ team was also successful this season. Sophomore Jessica Guo says, “We work really hard in practices. But sometimes it’s hard to run in the hallways when other people are walking around.”


March 2011