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INSIDE THIS ISSUE Panino’s 03/ Politicians Online 04/ Election Results 06-07



MV switches back to distance

by Josie Fenske student reporter

This school year presents a challenge for both students and teachers as Mounds View explores various learning models. After starting the school year with distance and then switching to blended learning, Mounds View moved to full distance learning on Nov. 11, due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases across the district. The previous guidelines for opening schools stated that if a county reaches 30 cases per 10,000 people over a 14-day period, high schools in that county should switch to full distance learning. Ramsey County announced it had crossed that threshold on Oct. 29 for the 14-day period of Oct. 4 through Oct. 17, but Mounds View made the decision to switch to full distance on Nov. 5, implementing the change on Nov. 11. The reason for the later switch is the Minnesota Department of Education’s change in guidelines on what data schools should look at when considering learning models. Instead of just county cases, the MDE advised schools to look at more local data that would have a greater impact on transmission rates within school districts. Until the announcement of the change in learning model, the school community believed that the Mounds View School District was doing better than the rest of Ramsey County because of strict mask wearing and social distancing. Despite these measures, transmission of COVID-19 increased in the district, and the learning model switched to distance for high schools. On Nov. 5, an email from the district reported 12 COVID-19 cases in the staff, with 49 in quarantine, and 27 cases in students, with 205 in quarantine throughout the district. Middle schools will switch to distance learning on Nov. 20, and elementary schools will switch to distance learning on Dec. 1.

Another reason for the switch to distance cited by the Mounds View School District is that they may face legal challenges if they do not follow the guidelines provided by the MDE. Alex Hinseth, Mounds View’s COVID coordinator, said the decision to switch was not made lightly by the district board. “I know there is a lot of pressure from both sides, wanting to open the schools more, wanting to close the schools more,” he said. Some Mounds View students did not expect the change in learning model, including Maddie Hanson, 11. “It never really crossed my mind, to be honest. I kind of just thought we would stay hybrid all year,” Hanson said.

“I didn’t expect it to go this way, which is a really big bummer. But it’s for the people’s safety and health, so I am absolutely fine with it.” -Anthony Willier, 10

Anthony Willier, 10, had similar thoughts. “I didn’t expect it to go this way, which is a really big bummer. But it’s for the people’s safety and health, so I am absolutely fine with it,” he said. Willier, however, felt that hybrid was not much of a step up from full distance learning. “Some teachers are too focused on Zoom classes instead of the actual real-life classes; some teachers are focused on real-life classes and then don’t focus on the Zoom classes,” he

said. “I’m ready to go back to full distance just because hybrid was so much of a hassle.” Both Hanson and Willier say they can handle a switch back to full distance, but understand that the full online model could be challenging for other students. Meanwhile, teachers are still trying to adjust and find the most effective ways to teach in difficult circumstances. For social studies teacher Justin Benolkin, there are upsides and downsides that come with switching to full distance learning. “I don’t want to lose the contact I have with some of my students with seeing them in person every day, but at the same time I would welcome the ability to have all my students corralled in the same place,” he said. “If I don’t have to look at two different places, I can maybe get more creative in my teaching.” Both Benolkin and Hinseth have suggestions for students struggling with distance learning and the workload. Benolkin knows there are a few students in each of his classes who have not been engaging online, and therefore are weeks behind in work. “I would encourage those students who are that far behind to just look forward and what they can do to do well in the rest of the school year,” he said. Hinseth said he can relate to the students struggling with homework, as he, too, sometimes stresses over a large workload. His suggestion is to talk it out with a teacher or trusted adult as a way to develop a better organization system. “A lot of times we make up a narrative in our head, and then when we talk it through with someone else, it helps us get a better grasp on it,” Hinseth said. With COVID-19 cases on the rise in Ramsey County, Mounds View will be in distance learning until Dec. 4.

COVID’s third wave hits MV

by Shivam Vashishtha student reporter

According to a TIME magazine article compiling data from Johns Hopkins University, the global daily tally for new COVID-19 cases has jumped by more than 30% in just the last two weeks. In the past few months, the nation has gone through the first and second waves of COVID-19. Now, the third wave of this virus has arrived, continuing to break the record number of cases per day. Across the United States, the CDC predicts that between 630,000 to 1,700,000 new cases will likely be reported during the week ending Dec. 5. Ramsey County is also experiencing an increase, with confirmed cases reaching nearly 50 out of 10,000 residents for the 14-day period Oct. 18 through Oct. 31, according to Mounds View’s Learning Model Tracker. “[The thirdwave] has been an issue, and it’s going to be an issue,” said Matteo Meyer, 10, before the school confirmed the switch to distance learning. “We are seeing an increase in the number of COVID cases per day; we’ve set new records, so I would consider switching to distance learning just to be safe.” Many high school sports teams have been adversely impacted since the onset of the third wave. “School isn’t the main spread of the virus, but still, there should be some precautions,” Meyer said. “Sports should be

removed. I get that a lot of athletes depend on sports for scholarships, but still, they are one of the main reasons why COVID-19 cases are increasing.” However, a study from the University of Wisconsin published on Oct. 22 found that sports have not caused an increase in COVID-19 cases among high school athletes in the state. The report does, though, call for a more in-depth look at the impact of high school sports on athletes’ risk of contracting the virus, suggesting its conclusion is far from definitive. With the end of the fall season, the focus on how the pandemic will affect high school athletics turns to winter sports. “Swimming is a sport in which people are in close proximity with others because we are in the pool,” said Matthew Shen, 11. “So, there has to be a certain level of trust between everyone. The biggest thing during the third wave is that we’re not sure whether we will have a high school season. We also don’t know whether we will have practices.” Even though the school is moving forward with winter sports for now, some athletes are still concerned about the possibility of their season being cancelled. Every team at Mounds View, including the swim team, takes many preventative measures, like social distancing in the pool. Apart from schools, workplaces are also adversely impacted by increasing COVID-19 cases. “[I think] jobs are being affected because people are getting reduced hours of work,” said Sandesh Jha, 11. “I don’t

think [the COVID-19 pandemic] has affected me that much since I am still getting my hours. Due to the third wave, half of the labor [force] is getting laid-off from their jobs because they aren’t coming to their job, and the company isn’t able to pay them.” Many people with jobs continue to face challenges, like reduced hours, and have to take numerous preventive measures to protect themselves and others from the spread of disease within their workplaces. Since COVID-19 cases have been increasing in the Mounds View School District, the school board has decided to go to full distance learning for all Mounds View schools, starting with the high schools. “We miss students when they aren’t in the building, but we need to make sure that everybody is safe, and so we make these adjustments, in accordance to the Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Department of Education,” said Associate Principal Benjamin Chiri. “We will always prefer to have students in the building, whenever it is safe to do that.” The pandemic has affected the activities and livelihoods of many Mounds View students. The school is transitioning to distance learning during this time to prioritize the safety of its students; meanwhile, athletes are worried about the future of their winter season, and students with jobs are seeing the effects of COVID-19 on the workforce in their local communities.



A key player

by Marie Diffley staff reporter Mounds View has a successful athletic department, with many different sports teams that have achieved great accomplishments over the years. Cindy McCallum, Mounds View’s activities secretary, is a key component in making sure that the athletic department runs smoothly. Without McCallum, many student athletes would not be able to play. Although many see her checking in fans at games or watching

This job is a lot of fun. There can be a lot of pressure, but I truly enjoy it.” - Cindy McCallum

over after-school activities, few realize the significant impact McCallum has on organizing athletics. McCallum has many different responsibilities at Mounds View. “I process the activity and athletic registrations and track and enter [the] sports physicals of student athletes,” McCallum said. Due to health guidelines set in place by most states in the U.S., high school athletes are required to pass a sports physical to play

on their high school team. McCallum collects and files those physicals for future reference so that athletes are allowed to play. In addition, McCallum arranges the transportation for all activities, works with officials who schedule games, is in charge of contacting all coaches and giving them information regarding busing and game times, schedules referees for games, completes materials needed for the Minnesota State High School League and more. The school has been lucky to have McCallum for the past seven years. “I love the school atmosphere and working with and helping students,” McCallum said. “This job is a lot of fun. There can be a lot of pressure, but I truly enjoy it.” Outside of her hard work at Mounds View, McCallum loves to stay active and spend time on other hobbies. “I love to go on walks, read, go to my cabin, garden and spend time outside,” McCallum said. As a mother of four student athletes herself, McCallum understands the excitement of high school athletics, including exhilarating game nights and the constant trips from school to home to practice and back. This understanding helps her to do her job and help other student athletes play the sports they enjoy. McCallum is an important member of the Mounds View athletic community. With her guidance, the athletic department is able to thrive under her strong leadership and her ability to organize information to better the program. Without McCallum, many students would not be able to participate in the sports they love.

Panino’s perseveres by Olivia Sperbeck staff reporter Panino’s, a casual Italian restaurant in North Oaks known for having a great atmosphere as well as excellent service and food, was a popular gathering spot for the local community before the pandemic. When COVID-19 hit, the business had to make many changes in order to keep it that way.

The increase in the number of takeout orders changed how the Panino’s kitchen functions. “There have been logistical challenges in the kitchen,” O’Brien said. “People are ordering more takeout, so we have to move lots of things around.” For instance, the business rearranged operations so that employees can pack takeout in a way that keeps orders warm. Faced with a shift in the way people order, Panino’s made the necessary adjustments to keep the business alive. While several customers are choosing the takeout option, Panino’s has typical COVID-19 restrictions for dine-in service, as well. Their website says that the mask mandate applies; customers are expected to wear one while they are not eating. Panino’s also requires social distancing from the staff and customers. Additionally, the restaurant

People haven’t forgotten about us.”

Panino’s Restaurant, located in North Oaks, Minnesota. photo courtesy of Panino’s North Oaks

Joe O’Brien, the owner of Panino’s, believes his restaurant is well-off right now. “People haven’t forgotten about us,” O’Brien said. Since small businesses are vulnerable to closing due to COVID-19, the community has been making an effort to give Panino’s business, usually in the form of takeout. Takeout became a popular option among restaurant-goers during the pandemic, with customers preferring to eat at home. This dramatic shift to takeout orders was not easy for the restaurant. “It’s pretty challenging to adjust [to the increase in takeout orders],” O’Brien said.

Cindy McCallum (right) pictured with her grandson (left) at after a baseball practice. photo courtesy of Cindy McCallum

Wonder why we don’t go there more often!” said local food guide Sue Jones on Google Reviews. The unfamiliar situation that the pandemic presents has taught businesses a lot. O’Brien’s advice to any small business owners during this time is to support one another. “Lean on your neighbors,” O’Brien said. In his experience, people have done just that. The community has supported his restaurant by giving it business, making it so that Panino’s can stay open. According to a report from the Compass Lexecon and the Independent Restaurant Coalition, 85% of independent restaurants are predicted to go out of business during the pandemic. In contrast to those eateries, Panino’s has maintained around 70% of its pre-pandemic business. Panino’s is likely to recover from this pandemic considering how well it has adapted to the community support it has received. “It is important to reach out to others [during this time],” O’Brien said. “People are willing to help.” Panino’s has proved that coming together as a community can help small businesses get through the pandemic.

- Joe O’Brien

has gone above and beyond the basic precautions that businesses normally take when dealing with COVID-19. In the fall, Panino’s upgraded its outdoor seating, encouraging people to dine outside while it was still warm. This is not a COVID-19 guideline, but Panino’s hoped that this would decrease the spread of the disease, as it is less likely to spread outdoors. Their efforts to make customers as comfortable as possible have not gone unnoticed. Even during the pandemic, the restaurant’s online reviews remain positive. “Good food! Service was good! Safety protocols in place.

The outdoor seating at Panino’s Restaurant, pictured on a sunny day. photo courtesy of Panino’s North Oaks

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Google’s internet reign

by Namitha Narayan student reporter

Search engines have become the backbone of society due to their ability to instantly provide all kinds of information with the click of a few buttons. However, there is a specific search engine giant that stands out from the rest: Google. Used by almost everyone, Google’s search engine along with its expansions into other aspects of the internet is now monopolizing the online sphere and drowning out other viable alternatives. After years of developing an obvious monopoly, Google’s violations of antitrust acts have finally been noticed by the government. The claim that Google has maintained monopoly power through unfair conduct has led to an antitrust lawsuit from the Department of Justice arguing that Google is disrupting healthy competition through its domination of the internet. An example of this is how Google has many exclusive agreements and contracts with big companies such as Apple. One such agreement is that their search engine is set as the default option on all Apple products, hindering opportunities for smaller search engines, which fits the very definition of a monopoly. There is no doubt that Google has many underthe-table deals with other huge partners to keep their crown; Apple is just one of many. Google’s overarching dominance is applicable to the Mounds View community as well, with Google being the main source of online education materials such as Chromebooks, Google Classroom, Google Docs, Google Slides and Google Meets, which are all vital for day-to-day learning. As online learning has become the norm due to current circumstances, Mounds View’s

dependency on Google has increased. In fact, Google is expected to argue in court that the government is defining its market too narrowly since it is so active in other industries, namely education. Our district should not be this dependent on one company when there are many other resources that surpass the abilities of Google. A significant change between last year and this year is that many teachers made the switch from Google Meets to Zoom because the interface is more user-friendly and has functions

clip art courtesy of Icons8 under Fair Use at https://icons8.com/

that Google Meets does not have. Another example of a better learning management system for high school students is Canvas rather than Google Classroom. Canvas is designed for higher education and therefore would familiarize students with platforms used in college, and it excels in document creation and assignment manage-

ment. Canvas enhances the features Google Classroom has and offers a more robust learning experience. This shows that looking at other options for learning platforms and unique ways of organization would definitely benefit students. But without a doubt, even with such a heavy reign in markets like education, Google is bending over backwards to maintain its monopoly of search engines. When it comes to business, being at the top in every possible market is motivation to monopolize whatever is possible. Moreover, Google is single-handedly making it increasingly difficult for smaller search engines to grow, which is a prime indication of a monopoly. There are other alternative search engines, like Ecosia, with an ethical incentive for users to feel good about each search. Not only do they plant a tree with each search, but they also donate their profits to many nonprofit organizations. With such efforts, Google’s inhibition of the growth of search engines like Ecosia shows us that our opportunity to make the world a better place is also being inhibited. One would expect that such a search engine would surely surpass Google with time, but the current control Google has over so many important aspects of modern life makes this nearly impossible. However, this lawsuit will expose what Google really has to hide about how they are able to maintain its reign as the top search engine used around the world and hopefully usher in a new era of development for the internet.

A new kind of politician

by Madeline Edgar editorials editor

Since the beginnings of American government, the divide between the political elite and the general populace has been apparent. Despite the anti-aristocratic morals of the founders, an inevitable chasm has since separated our leaders and representatives from the rest of the country, contributing to distrust and animosity between the average American and those chosen to speak for them in Congress. However, with new forms of communication and culture pioneered by the internet and social media, the possibility of bridging that chasm becomes more possible. Politicians connecting with younger and wider demographics through the internet is an extraordinarily beneficial phenomenon.

image courtesy of Pixabay.com

Social media is an obvious goldmine for politicians. Through the ability to run ads anywhere and everywhere, the quantitative assessment of attention and approval and the potential to go viral, politicians are able to spread their face and message for free. This nostrings-attached connection to the masses is a new aspect of the political playing field that no one could have predicted. Of course, such an accessible way to promote thoughts and opinions has led to backlash from everyday consumers and political colleagues alike,

with Congressional veterans turning their noses up at the idea of politicizing memes and young people cringing at often out-of-touch politicians trying and failing to connect with youth. The overwhelming amount of political content online has many casual internet users feeling swamped, with 66% of American adults feeling worn out by the sheer amount of news coverage and 55% of adults getting news coverage from social media, according to Pew Research. The ever-growing mountain of political content online and the unbecoming conduct of overconfident politicians on sites like Twitter often leads to the assumption that all internet activity from our representatives and leaders is unprofessional. However, several accounts and recent events have proven that the internet offers a world of benefits when it comes to young people’s connection with our government. Many younger government officials and other professionals in the political sphere have taken advantage of youth-dominated platforms such as TikTok, YouTube and Twitch. While each of these sites still serves primarily as an entertainment and cultural center for young people around the world, the direct connection to emerging voters that they offer is undeniable. While TikTok has been used as a political discussion and organization ground for months, the presence of accounts such as @littlesenator, run by Senator Matt Little of Minnesota Senate District 58, and the Washington Post page, give policymakers and major journalism entities direct contact with the potential powerhouse that is Gen Z. Using memes, popular audios and trends to tie social media culture into local and international issues, these accounts defy traditional professionalism to establish stronger relationships with an often underrepresented demographic. Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar’s recent record-breaking livestream on the gaming and streaming platform Twitch is yet another example of the power that unconventional publicity can garner. With live viewership highs of 439,000, according to The Guardian, and total views of over 5.5 million, Ocasio-Cortez and Omar managed to connect with a significant percentage of the electorate that is gener-

ally ignored in politics by simply playing a game. Despite snide commentary from older politicians and accusations of unprofessionalism, these new methods of reaching young people in a time when the country desperately needs their votes and voices prove that alternative, “unprofessional” politics are not only beneficial now, but are the key to political participation and advocacy going forward.

image courtesy of Pixabay.com



Cost of MV: Then vs Now

How much does it cost to be a Mustang? 1974 by Joanne Lerner 1974 staff reporter A popular prescription given parents and counselors for such ailments as “down-in-the-dumps,” a broken heart or common boredom is the suggestion to “get involved.” But if they realized how expensive this is, they might recommend aspirin instead. Do you know how much it costs to go to MVHS; a public school supported by your parent’s taxes for one year? I hope you’re sitting down because according to figures it comes to around $472.00 per year. I took ap-

proximate numbers for what I figured the average student (AS) would spend and here’s how I broke it down: GAMES FB - 50 cents each, 9 games, AS attends 7 - $3.50 -: Soccer - 75 cents each, 6 games - $4.50. BB – 50 cents each, 14 games, AS attends 10 - $5.00 plus tournaments -


by Yatharth Sharma news editor Founded in 1955, Mounds View has housed many generations of students and staff. As a result, many of the goods and opportunities available to Mounds View students have changed in regards to their quality and prices given the school’s lengthy history. For example, the general structure of the yearbook has remained unchanged;

$2.00 - $7.00. Hockey - 50 cents each, 24 games, AS attends 20 - $10.00. Misc. Athletic Events: (track, tennis gymnastics, swimming wrestling, vol-

leyball, CC, skiing), total about - $5.00 DANCES — according to last year’s schedule. Regular – $1.00 each, 3 dances - $3.00. Special — (Snow Daze, Sadie, 50’s) $1.25 per couple - $3.75 plus outto-eat after about - $4.00 each night, total $11.75. Homecoming - total evening (dance, corsage, meal) - $20.00. Prom – AS student spends around $50.00. LUNCHES (not incl. salads or bag lunches) If AS ate hot lunch every day of school (and if he was still alive) - $2.25 per week, 38 weeks of school - $85.00. CLASS RINGS: Between $40.00 and $50.00 - $45.00. YEARBOOK: $8.50 GRAIN OF SAND: 75 cents PICTURES: $3.00 or $4.00 - $3.50. PLAYS, CONCERTS, TALENT SHOW: AS attends 6, $1.00 each -

however, the notable changes are in the aesthetics of the overall yearbook. “[The current yearbook] has a lot more color in the designs, pictures and the cover,” said Marielle Denning, 12, co-editor-in-chief of the Vista. SPORTS PARTICIPATION FEE: average fee is $197.37 per student for each sport LETTERMAN JACKET: $219 DANCES (Pre-COVID): -Homecoming: $10 per person -Silverbelle: $10 per person -Mustang Knight Out: $10 per person -Prom: $47.50 THEATER PERFORMANCES: $9 per ticket DRIVERS ED: $265 PARKING PERMIT (PRE-COVID): $225 per year GRADUATION ROBES: $23 LUNCH: Regular School Lunch with Milk (Pre-COVID): $3.30 (times approximately 163 days of school is equal

“[H]ow many times have you said, ‘I’m not going to the game, I’m broke because I bought lunch tickets this week?’” $6.00. SUPPLIES (at very, very minimum) Notebooks: 50 cents each - $1.50 or $13.50 per year. Pencils: AS buys 1 every 11/2 weeks, 5 cents each (not incl. the number your friends “borrow” and you never see again) - $1.25. SNACKS Lifesavers, Cookies — AS buys 3 packs lifesavers and 6 cookies per week (which sounds like a lot but if you walk all the way down to the commons you usually will buy 2 cookies instead of just 1 and how many times have you bought lifesavers to get rid of pizzaburgerbreath?) OR

Rolls - Many AS athletes get 4 a week (2 at a time, 2 days a week) 75 cents a week or $28.50 (many kids don’t get anything except an apple or milk once in a while but they’re all part of the average). HOMECOMING BUTTONS: $1.00

to $537.90 for lunch for the entire school year) YEARBOOK (EARLY BIRD PRICING): $70 MISSING OR DAMAGED BOOKS: fees depend on original price of book;

overdue fees are nonexistent FOOTBALL GAMES (pre-COVID): $6 per ticket SCHOOL SUPPLIES: -Pencils: $0.60 (6 pencils) -Notebooks: $24.18 (6 notebooks) -Folders: $15 (6 folders) Since 1974, the inflation rate in the United States has increased by 421.27%. The total cost for all of the goods and services in 2020 is $1,649.55, assuming students only attend one football game, theater performance and school dance

ART CARDS: $1.50 FIELD TRIPS: 50 cents

CLUBS: Some have membership dues once a year-50 cents DONATIONS: AS gives to March of Dimes, AFS, etc. - 25 cents. INSURANCE: $3.50 LIBRARY FINES: 10 cents each, AS has 5 fines - 50 cents. SENIOR PORTRAITS: $25.00 GRADUATION ROBE RENTAL: $4.00 GRADUATION CARDS: 15 cents per announcement, AS gets 100 cards $15.00. DRIVERS ED: $55.00 (You can take it somewhere else but it’s the same price). LETTER JACKETS: $55.00. TOWEL FEES: $5.00 This comes to a grand total of $472.00 for one year at MV. Three years is $771.50 because things like senior portraits and a class ring you only buy once. Remember: all these things are provided to make your stay here more enjoyable and you have your option for most of them, but how many times have you said, “I’m not going to the game; I’m broke because I bought lunch tickets this week?” High school only happens once and it can be a lot of fun. MV has many opportunities for you to make the most of but maybe you better warn your little brother so he can start saving up now.

besides prom. By accounting for the inflation since 1974, the total cost would have been $326.25 in 1974, according to a CPI Inflation Calculator from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. One possible confounding error for such a large difference in costs between 1974 and 2020, however, is that some of the services and products included in the 1974 calculation, like senior portraits and the cost of going out to eat on school dance nights, are not included in today’s estimated cost.

illustrations by Sienna Wood

Everything Presidential

D.C. in Am

by Maya Betti and Meghan Stryker staff reporters

Biden’s policies Around the world, many welcomed the nation’s newest president-elect on Nov. 7, as people danced with crowds in the streets of Philadelphia, watched fireworks in London and listened to celebratory church bells in Paris. With Biden as president, many citizens wonder about the future of the nation, especially with topics like education, COVID-19 and police reform becoming more prevalent questions than ever before. Posted in bold on Joe Biden’s website is the statement, “Joe Biden will provide educators the support and respect they need and deserve and invest in all children from birth, so that regardless of their zip code, parents’ income, race, or disability, they are prepared to succeed in tomorrow’s economy.” Firstly, Biden plans on raising teacher salaries to a livable wage through means of tripling funding for public education. The administration will also work to eliminate the funding gap between schools in wealthy areas and poorer areas, as well as the funding gap between majority-white and majoritynonwhite schools. Making sure every child has access to preschool is another plan that Biden wants to put in place when he is in the Oval Office, along with helping students with mental health challenges. His plan is to double the amount of social workers, school psychologists and counselors. Although this imperative provides students with more mental health resources, some believe it is just as important that students respond to these actions. “The big change I think will be in our mental health resources,” said Mayumi Morgan, 12. “[If] students aren’t doing something from their end, this new initiative will flop, in my opinion.” Finding ways for students to receive a higher education was an important topic in this year’s election. Biden believes in investing in community colleges to help students acquire more skills that they will eventually need for future jobs. While the U.S. constitutes approximately 4% of the world’s population, it has had approximately 22% of all COVID-19 cases, according to The New York Times. With the help of the Infectious Diseases of America, Biden’s plan to address the global pandemic involves a reportedly comprehensive response rooted in the best available scientific data. Biden has promised to update the public regularly to share information about the data collected. Biden’s plan would soon nationalize mask wearing, COVID-19 testing, PPE procurement, reopening guidelines and vaccine distribution. As of Nov. 9, Biden named his official COVID-19 task force, consisting of some of the country’s top scientists. “The advisory board will help shape my approach to managing the surge in reported infections; ensuring vaccines are safe, effective and distributed efficiently, equitably and free; and protecting at-risk populations,” Biden said. According to his website, Biden also plans to actively cut down the rates of incarceration, therefore reducing federal spending and freeing savings to be reinvested in communities affected by mass incarceration. Additionally, he also wants to further government oversight of local police and prosecutors, holding police accountable in the judicial system. “I think that it will benefit the nation because it will lower the amount of people killed by the police.” said Addy Kluz, 9. Biden will continue to advocate for increasing the rights and resources for formerly incarcerated people, giving them a second chance in society. With over 78 million votes counted as of Nov. 14, Biden received the most votes in this presidential election in American history. With setting a new record, many Americans are anticipating Biden’s ambitions and plans for this country, including the students at Mounds View.

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Was President Trump’s Covid-19 Response Effective?

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Yes (11)

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65 students polled information compiled by Maya Betti

illustration by Sienna Wood

Voting disputes

Wisconsin recounts

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On Nov. 3, Election Day, Americans watched as states flickered back and forth between red and blue. Wisconsin, whose electoral votes went to President Donald Trump in 2016, ended up blue this year for Joe Biden. Trump released a statement asking for a recount in the state almost immediately, as the margin between the two political opponents was about 20,000 votes, less than 1% of a difference. Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, cited “irregularities in several Wisconsin counties.” However, as pointed out by Wisconsin Public Radio, historically recounts have not altered the outcomes of elections. “I think that it was needed just to make it more official,” said Taylor Schmidt, 10. “[If] they didn’t recount, one side would still think it’s rigged. But after they recount, it will bring the people who are skeptical about the ballots to peace and reassure them that there isn’t fraud.” illustration by Sienna Wood

Voting by mail

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All of the Above (4)

Freedom Dividend (1) America First Trade (4) Military/Police Spending (1)

VP-Elect Kamala Harris With the announcement of Joe Biden winning the 46th presidency, Kamala Harris became the first Black, South Asian and female vice president in American history. This is the highest office a woman has ever held in American government. However, it is not the first time Vice President-Elect Harris has broken down barriers. When she was elected Senator of California in 2010, she became the second black woman to serve in the United States Senate. Many South Asian and Black women and girls have been celebrating Harris’s win and what it means for their communities. “Kamala’s position as the first female and [person of color] vice president, to me, is a symbol of the direction towards representation the country is taking,” said Celine Sackih, 11. “Although we still have such a long way to go, she’s opened the gates of possibility of more women of color gaining access to these high seats.” Harris acknowledged the road she is paving for women in her victory speech, saying, “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last, because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”

Due to the pandemic, many Americans opted to vote by mail this election. Voting by mail is not a new concept; according to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, during the 2016 election, around 33 million people voted by mail. However, the number of mail-in voters has risen substantially this year due to COVID-19. President Donald Trump had expressed his negative feelings toward mail-in voting and believed that Democrats and supporters of President-elect Joe Biden were using mail-in votes to suppress his base. He claimed that ballots with his name were being thrown out and told his supporters to vote in person. “I do think that maybe the voting could be fraud,” said Sarafina Dilion, 10. “[I] was thinking that maybe they should do a recount just to make sure and to make the American people more confident about the presidency.” Additionally, Trump claimed his observers were not given proper access to watch the counting. As a result, he filed lawsuits in Michigan, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, Texas and Pennsylvania to give better access to observers to watch the ballots being counted. It is unlikely these lawsuits will overturn the results of this election.

Lawsuits On Nov. 4, President Donald Trump’s campaign filed lawsuits against Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia, saying that campaign observers needed better access to where ballots were counted and processed, as well as raising absentee ballot concerns.These filings joined existing Republican legal challenges in Nevada. These claims were perceived as difficult to uphold as the campaign must show systemic fraud on a large scale. Judges in Michigan, Nevada and Georgia have collectively rejected three cases, and the campaign dropped a challenge in Arizona. A judge in Philadelphia ruled that campaign observers could be within 6 feet of watching the canvassing process, but at the time it was passed, there were marginally few votes left. “ [Trump] is outright attacking these states with wild accusations and with no proof of the massive amounts of voter fraud,” said Hudson Hirsch, 10.

Debate debacle Many Americans regard the first presidential debate on Sept. 29 as a disaster, since it was filled with interruptions and cross-talk, disregard for the moderator and name calling. Both candidates were also not truthful in their assertions. “I watched a fact-checker, and they both had a consistent amount of lies, but Trump definitely had more,” said Sarah Bassas, 10. As the second presidential debate approached on Oct. 22, new rules imposed by the Commission on Presidential Debates ensured a smoother debate. A mute button was included on each candidate’s microphone. Moderator Krtisten Welker of NBC News was generally commended for keeping the conversation stable and holding the candidates to task. “The second one was definitely much better,” Bassas said. “It was an actual debate. The first was just interruptions. We were able to learn more about the candidates in the second debate.”



Winter sports wrestle with changes by Julia Berens staff reporter With COVID-19 cases spiking in Ramsey County, there has been a great deal of uncertainty about the state of winter sports at Mounds View. First, in accordance with MSHSL guidelines, winter sport start dates were pushed back. Then, the community feared that these sports would be completely cancelled as cases increased and students transitioned to distance learning. To many athletes’ relief, the MSHSL determined that, despite these challenges, the season’s sports could proceed with the implementation of numerous changes that attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19. But on the day of this article’s publication, Nov. 18, Governor Tim Walz is expected to give an address announcing a “pause” in winter sports, although the exact details are still unclear. If athletes are at all allowed to play winter sports, the most impactful changes for teams and coaches are the new team member and competition limits. The MSHSL has reduced the number of players that can be included on winter team rosters, but the number allowed is different for each sport. For example, sports teams could previously have as many players as they wanted, but now

basketball is limited to pods of 25 players per team including coaches and managers and the dance team to 25 students for both practices and performances. In addition, the MSHSL instituted limits on the number of games or competitions for each sport. It de-

Personally, I’d be thrilled if basketball gets pushed to the spring after the vaccine, then we might have a full season.”

-Evan Kim, 12 termined that hockey teams can only have 18 games this season (compared to a usual number of 25, excluding the games played in the state tournament), while gymnastics can have 11 meets (compared to 16 pre-pandemic). In addition to these restrictions, the MSHSL also changed regulations that apply to the fan section. Just like the many fall sports that allowed for only two spectators per player, it seems in-

door winter sports players will also be limited to two fans. Though this news may discourage many fans, winter sports may live stream their games like volleyball and football did, giving everyone a chance to cheer on Mustangs from their own homes. “Dance team competitions usually have live streams, but this year more people will probably watch them because of COVID-19. It’s a safer option for at-risk people who can’t come and watch,” said dance captain Maya Sampson, 12. Even with MSHSL’s required changes, as of Nov. 17 (prior to Walz’s update), unlike fall sports, winter athletes were able to participate in their regular state, conference and section tournaments. In comparison, fall sports had conference and section matches, but they did not get to compete at a state tournament. Hockey and soccer athlete Eva Anderson, 12, was looking forward to the possibility of a winter state championship after not getting one for soccer. “I am excited that I would have the chance to play at state because it was definitely a disappointment when I didn’t get one for soccer,” she said. Although there are multiple precautions in place allowing winter sports to occur, some still suspected that Walz would push back the winter season even

further due to COVID-19. Multiple team outbreaks have caused many schools to delay or cancel games this fall, and this will likely become more prevalent as cases continue to rise. Even if their season gets delayed, players interviewed before the announcement were holding on to the hope that they would still be able to play this year. “I would be extremely disappointed if [the season] was cancelled, but as long as we get to play, I’m okay with it being pushed back,” said Luke Koehn, 12. Anderson has similar thoughts. “I’m still excited to play because it’s my senior season. Even though there’s restrictions this season, I’m still happy I get to play,” she said. Some players would even prefer their sports to be delayed. “Personally, I’d be thrilled if basketball gets pushed to the spring after the vaccine, then we might have a full season,” said Evan Kim, 12. Even though MSHSL has given winter sports the green light, the future of winter sports is still up in the air, especially with Walz’s pending address on Nov. 18.

Inside the boys soccer team’s success by Joseph Hoffman staff reporter Going undefeated this season and winning the section finals, the boys varsity soccer team had an outstanding season. The team agrees a perfect storm resulted in this success. While they did have a particularly strong set of players who worked well together, other factors such as great coaching and the effects of COVID-19 that benefitted the team gave the players an edge. Many attribute the success of the Mounds View team to having not only impressive individual skills, but also having particularly good chemistry and working well together. Even teams from other schools noticed this teamwork. “You could just tell they all loved playing, loved playing with each other, you know?” said Parker Bryan, 12, a player

for the Woodbury Royals. “The chemistry was honestly intimidating.” Some Mounds View players, however, accredit part of the success to the coaches, not only the players. “Credit where credit is due, the coaching this season was absolutely a big part of our success,” said player Jude Houle, 12. “From pushing us in practice to the excellent motivational speeches at halftime, Coach Warren and Coach Stevens were on top of their game this season.” COVID-19 impacted the season greatly, and many coaches felt the effects on their teams. “Not only did it delay the season and cut the time we had in half, but our team was definitely stunted this year because of COVID,” said Eric Anderson, varsity assistant coach at Grand Rapids High School. “I know a couple of our best players who weren’t able to play this year, just so they don’t

put a family member at risk.”

The chemistry was honestly intimidating.”

-Parker Bryan, 12, a player for the Woodbury Royals

This issue may not have been such a problem at Mounds View, however. “I don’t think coronavirus hurt us very much this year,” said Gustavo Durruty, Mounds View’s JV coach. “We had just about as many players as last year.” That contrast between how COVID-19 held

back other teams, and how the pandemic did not affect Mounds View as much, may have been one of the factors that led to the success of the team this season. Although there were various factors contributing to the boys soccer team’s success this year, both coaches and athletes agree that the set of players this year formed a particularly solid varsity team. Players think the coaches had just as strong of a season as them, and coaches think the effects of COVID-19 on other teams may have been a factor. Overall, a combination of talented soccer players, good coaching and an unpredictable environment led Mounds View to one of the best seasons in recent years for the varsity soccer team.

photos courtesy of Brian Franz



Isabel races toward the finish line by Alissa Zhao online editor-in-chief

The camaraderie on a sports team, even in an individual sport like cross-country, is a powerful force that draws in many high school athletes. Laurin Isabel, 10, is a dedicated teammate and student-athlete who started running in eighth grade due to pressure from her family and initially hated the sport. However, she decided to continue running when she found that “the [Mounds View girls] cross-country team is like one big family and it’s a lot of fun,” Isabel said. In addition, the team’s many bonding activities have provided her with countless happy memories. “My favorite cross-country memory is all the pancake breakfasts we have as a team after a long run,” Isabel said.

Isabel is currently one of the top runners on the girls cross-country team, running a 5K in 19 minutes and 27 seconds. She has also earned a spot on the state qualifying team since her freshman year and hopes to continue running in college. Already a successful cross-country athlete, Isabel does not stop there. She is also on the Mounds View girls basketball and track and field teams. “In the off-season, I normally play basketball and run when I can, but this year, I am planning on running five to six days a week and doing strength training,” Isabel said. She hopes that this additional training will ensure her return to state next year and help her improve her best time.

A runner who Isabel looks up to is Eliud Kipchoge because “he was the first person to ever break two hours in the marathon and he showed the world that no human is limited,” Isabel said. Isabel’s strong work ethic and dedication are also evident in her advice to young runners. She advises them to “stick with the sport. It’s hard work, but it’s totally worth it in the end.”

Fun Facts About Laurin Isabel » Favorite Food: Mac and Cheese » Favorite TV Show: “The Office” or “Friends” » Favorite Running Shoe Brand: Brooks

photos courtesy of Laurin Isabel



Where do you log on? by Josie Mackenthun photographer

photo courtesy of Olivia Chen (above)



A Great British Baking Thanksgiving

by Namitha Narayan student reporter

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means many tables will soon be filled with various appetizers, entrees and desserts. A conventional Thanksgiving meal includes desserts such as pumpkin pies and cheesecake. However, these classics can get boring over time; switching up the final course could make the whole meal more exciting. A great way to do so this year is with a s’mores panna cotta. Courtesy of Steven Carter-Bailey, a finalist on

photo courtesy of Namitha Narayan

“The Great British Baking Show,” this recipe makes six servings of a three-layered dessert, stacking elements of biscuits, marshmallow and chocolate. The simplicity of the recipe made it easy to put together a classy dessert without a strenuous amount of effort, which is optimal for novice bakers like myself. During the construction process, I came across a

few minor difficulties. I first had to swap out some of the original ingredients with whatever I had available in my house. For example, I used vanilla extract instead of vanilla paste and rather than caster sugar, I used powdered sugar. On the show, the bakers measured using the metric system instead of cups since they were in Great Britain. This means I needed to convert the grams into cups to make do with the measuring objects I had in my kitchen. This part was a little bit frustrating, and to be honest, I estimated a few measurements because I did not want to convert every little thing. Another downside to this recipe is that I had to wait about 15 minutes before adding each layer atop the other because the layers required time to set. The wait was not too long, however, and it only took about an hour to put together six servings. One of the integral and interesting parts of making this panna cotta was allowing the gelatin to “bloom.” Gelatin is crucial in allowing both the chocolate layer and the marshmallow layer to set. The gelatin has to sit in cold water for about five to six minutes until it becomes a rubbery texture, as opposed to just adding it in like a regular ingredient. When it came time to try out the creation, I topped it off with some mini marshmallows and dug in. The top layer reminded me a lot of chocolate pudding and the smooth texture of the top two layers created a neat juxtaposition with the rougher texture of the biscuit layer at the bottom, which felt amazing on the tongue. For the amount of sugar the recipe called for, this actually had the perfect level of sweetness and satisfied my sweet tooth. I think this recipe suits the Thanksgiving holiday and even Christmas because the incorporation of chocolate and marshmallow is a lot like hot chocolate, a staple during the winter months. This s’mores panna cotta really reminds me of snuggling up on a cold winter night near a fireplace. The recipe is great for any beginner because the multiple layers makes the dish look sophisticated, but requires little effort and tastes fantastic. I really enjoyed this dessert and will definitely be making it again.


Biscuit layer 150 g digestive buiscuits 180 g unsalted butter 1 tsp salt Marshmallow layer 7 g powdered sugar 250 mL double cream 250 mL whole milk 30 g caster sugar 150 g mini marshmallows Chocolate layer 7 g powdered gelatin 250 mL double cream 250 mL whole milk 1 tsp vanilla paste 30 g caster sugar 120 g 70% dark chocolate, chopped Decoration 50 g mini marshmallows

The Verdict: 9/10

Inside “The Mandalorian” season two

“ “

by Olivia Hutchinson student reporter Season two of “The Mandalorian” premiered recently on Oct. 30 which excited both new and old Star Wars fans. I, for one, was stoked to see the new episode, and I was exceptionally surprised. The show is a popular series exclusive to Disney+ that follows a lone gunfighter who travels around the lawless galaxy with

...the characters have complexity in their own individual ways and overall, the wellrounded setup of the plot creates an experience that is hard to pass up.”

“The Child,” commonly known amongst fans as “Baby Yoda,” although it is believed to just be of the same species as Yoda. The Mandalorian, the stoic gunfighter, does not have a true name that is revealed, and just goes

by “Mandalorian” or “Mando” for short. The first episode of this season is called “Chapter 9: The Marshal.” In this episode, the Man-

It makes me want to know more about [Mando] and what he’s truly like.”

dalorian is drawn to the Outer Rim in search of others of his kind. To avoid any major spoilers, a character in the first episode reveals that there is another Mandalorian that they know about besides Mando, adding excitement to the plot. I mean, the odds are insanely small that two people on an underpopulated planet would wear such ultra-rare armor. This revelation gives a sense of hope to Mando; he had believed most or all of his fellow Mandalorians were scattered to the winds. So far, Mando has his usual stoic demeanor, but it is obvious he is becoming more motivated to find other Mandalorians and the family of “The Child.” Seeing him more driven is truly exciting. Even though I have only watched the first episode, I hope to see his character development progress even further. I like how he is seemingly loosening up; it makes him all the more interesting and I find it exciting to watch. It makes me want to know more about him and what he is truly like. As the season moves along, new characters will be revealed, some from the novels, cartoons or movies of the Star Wars franchise. This will surely

make fans thrilled to see returning characters, even if it is a simple reference to familiar names. I love the show because it is honestly far more stimulating than most of the other series and films the franchise has to offer; the characters have complexity in their own individual ways, and overall, the balanced and well-crafted setup of the plot creates an experience that is hard to pass up.

illustration by Sienna Wood

The Verdict: 7/10



Vibrantly simplistic information compiled by Madeline Edgar photos courtesy of Margaret Xiao

Margaret Xiao Xiao utilizes a wide array of mediums to bring still lifes and portraits to life.

Almost 10 years after taking her first art class, Margaret Xiao, 11, has grown into a wonderfully creative and sophisticated artist. Specializing in everything from charcoal to digital illustration to Chinese ink painting, Xiao takes her work to the next level by connecting with the local art community, branching into graphic design and entering pieces into competitions. Despite the achievements she has obtained after so many years of active participation in prestigious contests both locally and nationally, there is an aspect of simplicity and humility to Xiao’s art. Whether it is a watercolor of crushed soda cans or a digitally painted portrait, the clean lines, vibrant colors and muted lighting of Xiao’s pieces breathe life and personality into every picture. “I think what makes art special is that everyone interprets art differently, as a piece that does not resonate with someone can be very meaningful to someone else,” Xiao said. This philosophy is clear in the intimate but reserved atmosphere surrounding each piece, as if they are a snapshot of the viewer’s memory. For beginners, Xiao offers advice as beautifully definite as her art itself: “Unrestrained experimentation has allowed me to develop an artistic sense and understand early on that learning comes with failure.”

All art featured is by Margaret Xiao. For more information on her work, she can be contacted at @mxiao on Instagram.

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