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ZOOMIN’ ON UP A SPECIAL ISSUE

THE LUMBER JACK

NOV. 19, 2020 – JAN. 13, 2021


Online at JackCentral.org

From the Editor

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hey say college is the best time of your life. I always had my doubts. When I transferred to NAU in 2018, it was a whole new world I honestly had never imagined myself being a part of. University life was always portrayed on TV as for rich kids and frat boys and sorority girls. I never saw myself in that setting, but there I was, moving into my on-campus housing at a four-year university. I had always thought I would go to a lowkey community college and never pictured myself at university, but the beautiful NAU campus swayed me. I’ve come to realize that college is what you make of it. If you’d like to be in a sorority or fraternity, it can be that for you. If you want to join a million clubs and be on the student council, it could be that for you too. There are a million and one versions of the college experience because everyone’s is different. The one lesson I have learned, though, is that it can only be what you make it. If you put no effort into it, and you stay in your dorm room every day and don’t put yourself out there, that’s what your experience will be. You have to step out of your comfort zone, go join the club, go to the event, introduce yourself to the guy across the hall, talk to other kids who are in your class. Make your experience what you want it to be. SABRINA In my three years at NAU, I have made some of the most amazing friends, PROFFITT I have created some of the most memorable moments of my life and I am happy FORMER to be an alumna of NAU. After I graduate this weekend, I will never forget DIRECTOR OF everything I learned at this school and all of the amazing people I have met. DIGITAL CONTENT College really can be the best days of your life, so use them wisely.

Continuous local and campus covid-19 coverage available at jackcentral.org

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Thank you for reading.

Social media THE LUMBERJACK VOL. 110 ISSUE 15

Phone: (928) 523-4921 Fax: (928) 523-9313 Lumberjack@nau.edu P.O. Box 6000 Flagstaff, AZ 86011

Editor-in-Chief Scout Ehrler

Managing Editor Nathan Manni

Copy Chief Nayomi Garcia

Faculty Adviser David Harpster

Print Chief Jacob Meyer

Director of Digital Content Ash Lohmann

Media Innovation Center Editorial Board Director of Social Media Maddie Cohen

News Editor Camille Sipple

Op-Ed Editor Ryan Dixon

Asst. Sports Editor Brenden Martin

Online News Editor Kylie Soto

Asst. News Editor Mark Fabery

Asst. Op-Ed Editor Trinity Archie

Director of Illustration Aleah Green

Features Editor Olivia Charlson

Culture Editor Katelyn Rodriguez

Sports Adviser Rory Faust

Asst. Dir. of Illustration Blake Fernandez

Asst. Features Editor Emily Gerdes

Asst. Culture Editor Kyler Edsitty

Sports Editor Cameron Richardson

Director of Multimedia Shawn Patti

Senior Reporter Brady Wheeler

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Senior Photographer Michael Patacsil

Senior Photographer Brian Burke

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On the cover Illustration By Aleah Green

Corrections & Clarifications The Lumberjack is committed to factual correctness and accuracy. If you find an error in our publication, please email Scout Ehrler at see86@nau.edu.


PoliceBeat Nov. 9 At 11:55 a.m., an anonymous subject reported a vehicle in an athletic field. An officer responded and found the vehicle was there to clear snow.

At 1:53 p.m., a student at the Observatory Field Complex reported subjects throwing snowballs into the road. NAUPD responded, contacted the students and provided information. At 7:02 p.m., a student at University Union reported falling off their bike. An officer responded and the subject was transported to Flagstaff Medical Center (FMC).

Compiled by Trevor Skeen

case remains open pending At 4:43 a.m., a student at further investigation. Reilly Hall reported another student as missing. NAUPD At 11:00 p.m., students responded and located the at McConnell Hall reported subject, who was found in a suspicious person. Officers good health. A report was responded, contacted the taken for information only. subject and provided a public assist ride to Flagstaff Shelter At 3:51 p.m., a student Services. at Gabaldon Hall reported a subject who was attempting Nov. 12 to hitchhike. An officer At 9:15 a.m., an officer responded and no criminal at Knoles Parking Garage activity was witnessed. requested that FFD recheck the vehicle that burned Nov. At 7:50 p.m., a resident at 10. The department advised Allen Hall reported suspicious that everything was fine. notes on their door. An officer responded and took a report. At 1:57 p.m., staff at Campus Heights reported the At 10:28 p.m., an RA odor of gas in two unoccupied at Cowden Hall reported the rooms. NAUPD and FFD odor of marijuana. Officers responded, found a leak responded and deferred and determined the stove one student for possession was the source. Staff advised of marijuana and drug maintenance. paraphernalia.

Nov. 10 At 1:33 p.m., staff at the Health and Learning Center reported someone stuck in the elevator. NAUPD and Flagstaff Fire Department (FFD) Nov. 13 responded, and the student At 8:04 a.m., NAUPD was able to exit. reported contacting a motorist at the intersection of Knoles At 3:42 p.m., NAUPD Drive and West University reported assisting FPD with Avenue. The driver was an armed robbery on South provided information about Woodlands Village Boulevard. parking in a more appropriate place. At 7:24 p.m., FFD reported a vehicle fire outside At 7:51 p.m., staff at Ardrey Auditorium. Officers Wilson Hall reported the and firefighters responded and odor of marijuana. Officers extinguished the fire. A report responded and determined was taken for information only. the odor was present, but no contact was made. Nov. 11 At 5:06 a.m., a student Nov. 14 at Gateway Student Success At 2:20 a.m., staff at Center reported a suspicious Cowden Hall reported a person. Officers responded resident seizing. NAUPD, and contacted the subject, FFD and Guardian Medical who was deferred for minor in Transport (GMT) responded, consumption of alcohol. transported the student to FMC and deferred them for At 12:18 p.m., staff minor in consumption of at Reilly Hall reported an alcohol and use of marijuana. incident of harassment and assault that occurred between a nonstudent and three students. An officer responded and the

Nov. 15 At 12:04 a.m., a student at Gabaldon Hall called to request assistance with an intoxicated student. NAUPD responded and transferred the patient to FMC. They will be criminally deferred for minor in consumption of alcohol. At 4:05 a.m., a student at Pine Ridge Village reported they were sexually assaulted. NAUPD responded and took a report. At 10:24 a.m., an officer reported contacting a suspicious vehicle near the intersection of Knoles and McCreary drives. They were advised to park elsewhere. At 8:53 p.m., a student at The Honors College reported having trouble breathing. NAUPD, FFD and GMT responded, and the patient was transported to FMC.

Coconino County COVID-19 Dashboard data

Community transmission Case rate

Moderate 361.7 per 100,000 pop.

Positivity percentage

11.2%

Cumulative cases

6,520

Flagstaff Medical Center COVID-19 Resources

In-house COVID-19 patients Hospital capacity Critical care capacity

Positive: 28 | Pending: 12

197/300 42/55

NAU Student Cases

Total on- and off-campus cases

46

Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans selected for Mark Kelly’s transition team Mary Goldmeer

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n Nov. 9, senator-elect Mark Kelly announced his 13-member transition team. It was declared Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans will be part of the band of experts that will guide Kelly for his first 100 days in office, according to AZFamily. The bipartisan transition team is comprised of Arizona leaders who are experts in their field, and Sharon Harper and Luis Heredia will serve as co-chairs. “Excited and honored to be a member of Arizona senator-elect Mark Kelly’s transition team,” Evans said in a tweet Nov. 9. Participating in Kelly’s team is Evans’ second time being a part of a senator’s transition team. According to the Arizona Daily Sun, Evans was a member of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s transition team in 2018. “This team of community leaders, Republicans and Democrats, will help ensure we are successful in this next mission, serving and getting results for Arizonans,” Kelly said in a statement, as reported by The Associated Press. In a statement on Nov. 13, incumbent Sen. Martha McSally conceded to Kelly and offered her support as he begins his transition into office, according to Fox News. “After fighting for our country for more than three decades—the last nine in the political arena — I trust God will lead me to my next mission to make a difference after I get a little rest,” McSally said in her statement. “Thank you, Arizona! It’s been an honor to serve you, and I know our future is bright and blessed.” Read more online at jackcentral.org

NOVEMBER 19, 2020 – JANUARY 13, 2021 | THE LUMBERJACK

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NEWS

Airports across the nation have been affected by COVID-19, including Flagstaff Pulliam Airport. The city of Flagstaff’s rent freeze will conclude soon, leaving the future of the airport uncertain, Nov. 14. Ben Akers | The Lumberjack

An uncertain future for Flagstaff Pulliam Airport Mark Fabery

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s COVID-19 continues to affect everyday life, the airline industry is still coping with the effects of decreased profits and less frequent travel. At the beginning of the pandemic, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released a memo stating the decision to abate rent, including minimum annual guarantees is a local decision. Rent abatement is an agreement between tenants and landlords that permits tenants not to pay rent to occupy their space. The memo also stressed that any rent abatement should be tied to the changing circumstances of tenants as they attempt to recover from the operational impacts of COVID-19. “Where abatement results in shifting costs between various classes of airport tenants and users, the airport sponsor is encouraged to consult with all affected parties and implement a consensus approach if possible,” the FAA memo stated. At the onset of the pandemic, airlines received financial assistance in the form of grants and loans from the Payroll Support Program created through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

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However, these funds were intended to support employee salaries and benefits only. Through CARES Act funds, airlines were not able to use these funds to cover other operational expenses, debt or rent payments. In June, Flagstaff City Council approved the first of two rent abatement measures for Flagstaff Pulliam Airport’s two airlines, with the second expiring in December. In total, the city experienced roughly $930,000 in lost revenue due to the institution of rent abatement. Flagstaff Pulliam Airport director Barney Helmick said earlier this year, the city received $18 million from the CARES Act specifically for the airport. In large part, this allocation was intended to provide the airport rent abatement without letting it fall into debt. “City staff proposed to amend our leases with American Airlines and United Airlines, along with car rental agencies, our fixed base fuel operator and a concessionaire to provide rent relief,” Helmick said. “The city’s goal in assisting our airlines is to sustain our two carriers that we have worked years to obtain for Flagstaff business and leisure travelers. In order to have our smaller airport continue receiving airline service, we need to be the best partners we can be so they will

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continue to invest in Flagstaff by offering routes.” According to a press release from Luis Felipe de Oliveira, Airports Council International World director general, the airport industry is anticipating a 58.4% decrease in passengers compared to 2019. Moreover, the business is anticipating a 60% decrease in revenue, which translates to a $104.5 billion deficit for 2020. “Airports are key drivers of economic development, but without any support from governments and with $104 billion in losses because of the devastating impact of the pandemic on aviation, it is now the time to come together to support recovery,” de Oliveira said. The airline industry is based on the interdependence of all parts that keep the industry afloat, but the pandemic devastated the industry’s stakeholders, which includes aircraft manufacturers, travel agents and airport retailers. This process led to job losses, business shutdowns, bankruptcies and other instances of economic devastation. Helmick said Flagstaff Pulliam Airport experienced near economic devastation due to the airport seeing only about 58% of the travel it would have expected this year. Additionally,

the national average for air travel is currently hovering around 38%. “Airport enplanements for September were the best since March and numbers are higher than 2018, but substantially lower than they were in 2019,” Helmick said. “We are at a 58% load factor — our goal is to be at 75% or higher — although we are at about 20% above the national average.” This large drop in enplanements, or the number of passengers, comes after the airport experienced a record number of passengers in 2019. Of these enplanements, Helmick said 123,957 were due to the addition of an American Airlines service to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and a United Airlines service to Denver International Airport. The pandemic gutted the airline industry’s profits, and the industry is expected to lose $84 billion as COVID-19 worsened, according to the International Air Transport Association. Flagstaff’s two airlines already stopped servicing certain cities in response to the lack of demand for air travel. In an August press release, American Airlines announced its plans to drop service to 15 markets starting in October. Additionally, United Airlines also announced

its intentions to limit service to 11 markets, according to Reuters. Heidi Hansen, city of Flagstaff economic vitality director, said the lack of passengers and pilots, in combination with more layoffs and international restraints, led to the airline industry making necessary changes to keep its businesses afloat. “We are lucky that Flagstaff was not one of the 15 markets to see American Airlines dropping service,” Hansen said. “The industry is suffering and we have had our commercial tenants, rental car tenants and a few of our hangar tenants who have expressed gratitude in continuing rent abatement.” However, the Flagstaff Pulliam Airport is still facing difficulties with rising COVID-19 figures around the United States. Despite the challenging conditions, rent abatement for the airport’s tenants may remain a constant occurrence in the coming months. In September, when Flagstaff City Council approved a threemonth extension of rent abatement, councilmembers left the possibility of continued abatement on the table, but the airport’s future is currently unknown.


NEWS

Election allegations continue unrest in the US tess spinker

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rotests rose across the United States in the weeks following the election as President Donald Trump filed lawsuits claiming voter fraud and requested audits in battleground

states. The president, his administration and congressional Republicans claimed false votes prevented the incumbent candidate from winning the election, according to The New York Times. However, election officials from both parties said there was no sign of any irregularities that contested the final results. With controversies continuing, this year’s polls hit recordbreaking numbers as Biden collected the highest number of votes ever — over 75 million — according to The Associated Press (AP). Arizona was a part of this process as a new battleground state in the presidential run. Allan Gerston, vice chair of Coconino County Democrats, reflected his personal thoughts on the allegations supported by some Republicans. “In any election, [and] at any time, there is always an opportunity to defraud the vote,” Gerston said. “Trump and his enablers are completely responsible for ‘setting the table’ some months back as he began his assault on mail-in ballots.” Gerston said he believes Trump invented rumors of mishandling the ballots, and he coincidentally appointed U.S. Postmaster General Louis Dejoy a few months prior to the election to help further these claims. “It will forever be the mantra of Trump enablers that the election was stolen based on alleged voter fraud, poll worker fraud and anything else that can be manufactured by the losing candidate, all of course presented so far without a shred of credible evidence,” Gerston said. In light of the president’s arguments, protests during

the election led to law enforcement officials arresting dozens, according to AP. Some are continuing as Trump files more lawsuits against states like Arizona. As referenced by AP, at least two dozen people surrounded Phoenix City Hall and chanted “protect our vote” Nov. 3, which led to a Republican-supported rally the following day. “Protests on behalf of Trump have been a daily occurrence around various parts of our country, including Phoenix,” Gerston said. “I would expect this will increase by Jan. 20 when Joe Biden takes official command of the White House.” Roughly a week after the election, the Office of the Arizona Secretary of State filed reports with no inconsistencies or evidence of systemic voter fraud. Regardless of Trump’s claims being ruled false, many still believe there is a problem with this democratic process. The president maintained the momentum with ongoing posts via his Twitter account, while the media outlet continued to dispute claims that were publicized on its platform. “THE OBSERVERS WERE NOT ALLOWED INTO THE COUNTING ROOMS,” Trump tweeted in all caps Nov. 7. “I WON THE ELECTION, GOT 71,000,000 LEGAL VOTES. BAD THINGS HAPPENED WHICH OUR OBSERVERS WERE NOT ALLOWED TO SEE. NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE. MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WERE SENT TO PEOPLE WHO NEVER ASKED FOR THEM!” As of Wednesday afternoon, Twitter flagged Trump’s message — “this claim about election fraud is disputed” —and also redirected users to a link explaining the “exceedingly rare” nature of illegal votes. According to The New York Times, Google, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter all worked to limit misinformation months before the election. Coconino County Republicans Chairman Joan Harris advised people to consider the possibility of voter fraud, while

also emphasizing the unfairness many people feel. “Judging from the phone calls I have been getting, there is a lot of doubt about the results,” Harris said. “They would like to have the vote verified [because] there’s always some amount of voter fraud attempted.” Harris said her fellow chairman planned the rally that was held Nov. 14, while they hope to continue them until justice may be served. As Inauguration Day approaches for Biden, Jan. 20 is still largely unpredictable. “I would assume they [Trump and his supporters] aren’t going to like it [the inauguration],” Harris said. “However, I also assume there will be a peaceful transfer of power as there always has been in this country.” In August, Time magazine described the inevitable challenges this year would bring to the election, calling COVID-19 restrictions a potential adversary for disastrous results. The popularity of mail-in ballots grew this year after the pandemic’s spread, while reduced funding left many states scrambling to give voters their ballots on time. According to The Washington Post, at least 101.9 million people voted early nationwide, equivalent to 73% of the total number recorded in 2016. NAU sophomore Bailey Carl said 2020 carried significant challenges, but that mail-in ballots and record voter turnout showed the strength of the country’s democracy. “At the end of the day, we are all doing our best with what we have to handle and whoever wins, wins,” Carl said. “I think if people start to think that someone cheated the way democracy is supposed to run, then there is never truly going to be a happy ending.” As 2020 concludes, it raises questions about how people will react to the results of this election and what it means for democracy in the years to come.

“It will forever be the mantra of Trump enablers that the election was stolen based on alleged voter fraud, poll worker fraud and anything else that can be manufactured by the losing candidate, all of course presented so far without a shred of credible evidence.” – Allan Gerston, coconino county democrats vice chair Left: A car bumper near J. Lawrence Walkup Skydome references the importance of voting on election day, Nov. 3. Right: A car outside a polling location at Flagstaff Mall reads “Every Vote Matters,” Nov. 3. Madison Easton| The Lumberjack

NOVEMBER 19, 2020 – JANUARY 13, 2021 | THE LUMBERJACK

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NEWS

The 2020 census: A year of challenges, a decade of consequences jacob meyer

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he census is a once-adecade process of counting every person living in the United States, and it has been a regular occurrence since the nation’s beginning. While it may seem like an antiquated and even unnecessary process in a modern world where demographic data and predictive models are commonplace, the census continues to play an important role in politics and governing in the country. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the first count occurred in 1790, only a year after the adoption of the current Constitution and the beginning of George Washington’s presidency. As mandated by the Constitution, the census was ordered to occur every 10 years for the purpose of apportioning each state’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. It called for counting all “free Persons,” all tax-paying Native Americans and “three-fifths of all other Persons,” meaning enslaved people. According to the Census Bureau, it was made into a permanent office in 1902, operating even in the years between census counts. It is important to note, however, that the scope of the census gathering operations and the use of data has expanded significantly from counting people for just the purpose of congressional representation in the nearly two and a half centuries since the original count. Now, census data helps officials determine where to distribute billions, and even trillions, of dollars in federal funding, in addition to various private and public sector uses. However, as the census has played a greater role in governing, the importance placed on the count and the challenges related to it have likewise increased. While issues like the counting of minorities, students and rural residents have long raised concerns from census to census, the encroachment of politics and the all-encompassing COVID-19 pandemic made this year’s count particularly challenging and led to

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fears of a significant undercount. Representation and federal funds Today, census data factors into a wide range of demographic-related considerations for policymakers and other officials. While the most visible purpose of the census remains democratic representation, it has expanded beyond just the seats apportioned in the U.S. House of Representatives. Alec Thomson, director of the Arizona Complete Count Committee, explained census data is used to apportion seats and draw districts for a range of elected offices. “Arizona’s representation in Congress depends on the census count, and also our redistricting process is guided by 2020 census counts,” Thomson said. “So those local political boundaries, both at the city level, state legislative level and then congressional districts, all of those are guided by census numbers.”

“Arizona’s representation in Congress depends on the census count.” – Alex Thomson, Arizona Complete Count Committee Director However, representation is far from the only way census statistics are applied. In addition to issues like redistricting and apportionment, census data is used by the federal government to distribute federal funds. A study by Andrew Reamer of the George Washington Institute of Public Policy examined the ways in which census data is utilized by the federal government to apportion these important federal dollars to localities. For context, the study explained that in 2017 alone, $1.5 trillion

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was distributed to state and local governments, as well as other private organizations and individuals through 316 federal spending programs. According to the study, the federal government uses census data for funding in four main ways: eligibility criteria, geographical allocation, selection preferences and interest rates. Eligibility criteria is how the data is used to identify who can receive funds in line with laws and program guidance. For instance, the data is used to determine the recipients of program funds intended to benefit “rural” or “low-income” households. For geographical allocation, the information derived from the count is used to determine how many people live in each household, certain characteristics about them and as a result, how much money should be given to local programs to support the population. Selection preferences are the use of census data to help the federal government make funding decisions for specific projects. The information helps guide decisions regarding the necessity of projects and their extent of need. Lastly, the data is also used for setting the interest rates of federal loans. Data on the residents of various states and regions may serve as a basis for rates in different ways, such as a resident’s average or median income. State and local budgets Due to the massive amount of federal dollars handed out each year, a significant portion of the funds that make up state and local government budgets do not come directly from local residents’ tax dollars. Thomson explained that based on census population figures, states receive about $3,000 per resident, per year. This means tens, and even hundreds, of billions of dollars are at stake for each state until the next count in 2030. It also means the stakes of an accurate count are incredibly high for states. In the case of Arizona, an undercount of as little as 1% could

lead the state to lose out on well over $2 billion over the next decade. Because it is such a large amount of money, many programs and functions of local government have come to depend on federal dollars and would be affected by an undercount. Thomson described the types of programs affected and the importance of an accurate count to state officials. “Programs ranging from education to health care, even transportation infrastructure, all of those tie back to the census count and the amount of money that goes to support those things in each state,” Thomson said. “We want to make sure our population count is accurately

“That federal funding is huge. For the state of Arizona, it works out to just shy of $20 billion per year in funding.” – Greg Webb, Coconino county Census coordinator reflected so we’re getting the funds we need to support the services for every Arizonan.” Greg Webb, the Coconino County Census event and volunteer coordinator, further explained the extent of the funding Arizona is entitled to and what the funds can be directed toward is based on census results. “They look at decennial census data and say ‘this is a baseline for how much money we think should go to this state, this community, this program or to this grant,’” Webb said. “That federal funding is huge. For the state of Arizona, it works out to just shy of $20 billion per year in funding.” In addition to the state government, federal dollars also go directly to support city governments

and local communities. Jessica Drum, public affairs director for the city of Flagstaff, said the implications make the census incredibly important for communities like Flagstaff. “It’s so, so phenomenally important for a document that took me five minutes to fill out for my entire family,” Drum said. “Those counts determine everything from the type of funding that our community, or any community, gets … everything from assistance for community development block grants that do funding for housing permanency, eviction prevention. I can’t overstate the importance and the widespread of programs that are impacted by census counts — impacted not just for a year but for a decade.” Flagstaff gets millions of dollars in funding from the federal government. While it receives a smaller percentage of its funding from the federal government than the state, Flagstaff still received over $17 million in grants for the 2018-2019 fiscal year alone. For comparison, that same year, Flagstaff raised $23.5 million in sales and franchise taxes and $13.4 million in property taxes. This money went toward programs including Flagstaff’s General Fund, which funds emergency services, governmental administrative costs, public works and more; the Housing and Community Services Fund, mainly for community development; the Metropolitan Planning Organization Fund; the Library Fund; and many more. Additional data uses In addition to representation and federal funds, census data is also used for a variety of public and private sector purposes. Thomson explained that among many uses, census statistics are especially important in urban planning. “I could go on for hours about the way census data is used,” Thomson said. “Knowing where we need things like new roads, new hospitals, all of those critical, essential infrastructure.”


NEWS As an example of how census figures are relied on, Thomson brought up the city of Maricopa, a community south of Phoenix not to be confused with Maricopa County. Located in Pinal County, it was only formally incorporated as a city in the last 20 years and has undergone significant population growth since. U.S. Census Bureau statistics from the 2000 count show the city had less than 2,000 residents, but by the 2010 census, there were nearly 45,000. Additionally, the population is estimated to have grown by several thousand more in the decade since. In order to properly account for the community’s development, Thomson explained the importance of census data to properly accommodate new infrastructure projects. “Knowing the population in that city has increased so dramatically over the last decade, we need to build new roads, we need broadband infrastructure, we need potentially a new hospital out there, maybe a new fire station,” Thomson said. “All of those planning decisions, both from an infrastructure perspective and also from a policy perspective, are guided by the number of people living in a specific location.” While governmental planning may arguably be one of the most important uses of census data, it is far from the only application. Thomson said the data is also used for a range of private sector considerations. Thomson explained that businesses have access to census data and are able to use it to make decisions, such as where to pursue ventures like building a grocery store, how many people to hire, the availability of the workforce in a community and many more. Although the main goal of the census is to provide an official tally of how many people are living in a given place at the turn of each decade, Thomson expressed his view that it can truly play a role in shaping communities and have significant implications for years to come. “The breadth of what this data is used for really determines what a state looks like for the next decade and how it evolves, the services that are provided immediately, but also the way a state is going to grow over the next decade until the next census occurs,” Thomson said. Completing the count amid COVID-19 Because of how high the stakes of the census are for Flagstaff, Coconino County and other locations across Arizona, local governments are working in coordination with the state to ensure high response and overall enumeration rates, the census term for counting. Together they have formed the Arizona Complete Count Committee in order to assist the U.S. Census Bureau in awareness efforts and other operations related to the count.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau

Thomson explained it was formed back in 2019 by Gov. Doug Ducey with the goal of, as the name implies, ensuring a complete and accurate count in Arizona. Thomson discussed the work of the committee in accomplishing this goal and how it leads the state’s census outreach efforts. “I lead a group of 23 individuals from across the state working to build a grassroots campaign with community driven tactics to encourage Arizonans to respond,” Thomson said. “We’re also leading a paid media effort to get the word out to Arizonans about how important and safe it is to respond to the census.” Committee coordinators, like Webb, follow similar goals and practices, just on a more local level. Webb’s main line of work involves outreach operations, advertising and census events. However, despite the best efforts of various groups and years of preparation, the 2020 census is currently one of the more challenging counts in the long history of the census. Drum explained that just like most parts of society, the census experienced significant disruptions beginning in late March and early April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a regular year, outreach personnel would have worked to spread awareness and encourage participation, while enumerators, the census

employees working in the field, went from door to door to follow up on households that had yet to answer a census questionnaire. This year, however, most census outreach and on-the-ground enumeration efforts were about to start, or had barely just begun, when the U.S. Census Bureau was forced to officially shut down in-person operations on April 1. The bureau was only able to begin a “phased restart” plan in June. Drum stressed that this negatively affected the census in significant ways. “When I say this is a worst-case scenario, it’s an absolute [worst-case scenario],” Drum said. “It’s been a really, really challenging situation.” A statement from the U.S. Census Bureau regarding its health and safety guidelines explained efforts were made to bolster counting practices that do not require human contact, including surveys conducted via phone, mail and online. When in-person counting was inevitably necessary, census workers were required to follow health and safety practices like wearing face coverings and social distancing. In addition to the most immediate COVID-19 disruptions, challenges to on-theground efforts came from the employment of census workers themselves. Each census, the bureau employs a large

“The breadth of what this data is used for really determines what a state looks like for the next decade and how it evolves.” – Alex Thomson, Arizona Complete Count Committee Director

number of temporary workers — its target goal for 2020 was 57,000 hirees in Arizona and 500,000 nationwide — in order to complete the count. But Drum said many of the people who had previously been hired before the pandemic were no longer available or willing to work when the census was ready to resume operations. “They’ve struggled significantly with even getting staff; hiring has been a huge challenge,” Drum said. “And then people are not super excited about going door to door in the middle of a pandemic.” In addition to struggles with in-person enumeration, outreach and awareness operations, like what Webb and Thomson work on, have also been severely impacted. Webb explained the earliest and most immediate impact on his work was the cancellation of all in-person events. Events that involved tabling and giving away promotional items in order to spread information and awareness about the census, a major part of local coordinators’ strategies, could not continue due to the pandemic. “We were ready to get on the ground to communicate with people, have fliers, have events, have volunteers and literally the week after the census went live, everything went into shutdown,” Webb said. However, more than just in-person events were affected. Webb explained that another major component of the outreach strategy, social media, was also disrupted. Before the census fully got underway and the pandemic had become an issue locally, the outreach team planned to use established social media channels, such as the Coconino County and city of Flagstaff social media pages to spread information. However, Webb said due to the pandemic, those social media accounts needed to shift focus. “When COVID-19 hit, our organizations were like, ‘We need to focus on COVID-19 messaging,’” Webb said. “There was a little bit of a debate internally, but there was the sense this is important enough that we need to basically focus all of our messaging that’s coming out of city and county social media on COVID-19.” Webb said that having a major part of their strategy effectively sidelined significantly impacted their efforts in the early days of the pandemic. “The bandwidth was gone and I think that impacted us, so from our end there were just these immediate things where it’s like, ‘Well what do we even do?’” Webb said. “We also actually suspended a lot of our census efforts for a month.” Outreach and enumeration challenges Even without the coronavirus, Webb

NOVEMBER 19, 2020 – JANUARY 13, 2021 | THE LUMBERJACK

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NEWS said that advertising and media-based outreach can be a great challenge in Coconino County. Northern Arizona lacks local TV broadcasters and is instead dependent on stations located in Phoenix. Webb said this has limited media messaging specifically intended for a northern Arizona audience, however, they have still been able to utilize print, radio and social media advertising. Outreach challenges aside, the fact that much of the county is quite rural and spread out makes the enumeration process difficult even in the best of years. Webb explained how a combination of rural spread and a lack of home mailing services adds to enumerators’ challenges in the county. “The area of the county is roughly the size of New Jersey and very spread out,” Webb said. “We have very isolated rural areas throughout the county, many of which don’t even get mail directly at their homes. One of the major ways the Census Bureau delivers information is through the mail. You don’t get anything from the Census Bureau in the mail if you don’t have a standard mailing address at your home.” For residences that lack mail addresses, census workers must perform a significant amount of extra work in order to establish contact, mainly through distributing packages containing the census materials that would ordinarily be mailed out. Webb explained that isolated communities and a significant lack of mailing addresses also makes it difficult to count many people living in the Navajo Nation. “On the other side of the county, we have areas that overlap with the Navajo Nation where the obstacle is even things like having a phone, having cell service and poverty,” Webb said. “There’s no standard addresses whatsoever and there’s a whole different set of challenges in trying to count those areas.” The extra effort involved is not the only challenge in enumerating people without home mailing addresses. Webb explained there have been issues in distributing the census packages. Although many homes without addresses exist together in

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small communities or on a single property, the census still identifies them as separate households and a packet is supposed to be given to each. However, Webb said there have been reports of those being improperly distributed, further complicating the enumeration process. “There’s really supposed to be an individual package for each household,” Webb said. “We were hearing stories that basically they would go out and find six or seven packages just hung on a tree. The Census Bureau people on the ground hadn’t bothered to go to every single door and drop off the individual packages to the individual doors. That made things confusing for those folks because there’s supposed to be a specific ID number with each package, but whose number was whose, they were just hung on a tree.” However, even when census workers follow protocol and properly distribute materials, Webb explained that environmental factors like wind have caused packets to get blown away and lost. He described an incident where a packet was blown from one household to a neighboring home where residents mistakenly filled it out. The combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and longstanding challenges unique to northern Arizona unsurprisingly led to a rocky restart of operations. Restarting the census As for the specific experiences of local workers currently enumerating during the pandemic, officials at the Flagstaff Census Bureau office have been less than forthcoming. When attempting to interview enumerators about their experiences, officials first intervened to limit the scope of the discussion and then prevented interviewees from participating altogether, less than a day before a scheduled interview. On the topic of how the enumeration process has gone since resuming after the initial COVID-19 induced pause, Webb and Thomson’s views diverge significantly. Webb pointed to the aforementioned issues and several others as evidence the census’ return to operations has been problematic.

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He succinctly summarized his thoughts on the matter. “I guess I would say poorly,” Webb said. “That is the one word answer.” Thomson, on the other hand, expressed a great amount of optimism related to the state’s high level of households that have been enumerated and pointed to as successes in the face of many challenges. “I think we’re doing well,” Thomson said. “Arizona has the best response rate this year compared to the last two decades, and I think we achieved that in a year where there was a global pandemic speaks very highly of both the work of the Census Bureau and our local partners … cumulatively and collaboratively we were able to build a really strong campaign that drove response.”

“Right now, what’s top of the mind for our community, oftentimes is being able to have food on the table, a roof over their heads, having access to a good-paying job, so the census is not necessarily a priority.” – Adan Chavez, NALEO deputy Director Webb’s worries are directed toward Coconino County in particular. Both he and Drum’s concerns about a potential undercount are serious enough that they both suggested a special enumeration may be necessary. Drum explained that a special enumeration is where the Census Bureau can return to a community to perform a recount after the regular census has concluded. Communities may request a special enumeration if a significant undercount occurred. However, Drum also explained there are challenges associated with actually performing a special

enumeration. Recounts can be expensive, and it falls on the community to prove an undercount occurred and that it was the fault of the Census Bureau for those costs to be subsidized. Otherwise, the community must front the costs itself, which Drum explained can cost tens of thousands of dollars for a community the size of Flagstaff. An undercount among minorities Adan Chavez, deputy director for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials National Census Program (NALEO), explained that many minorities, such as Native Americans in northern Arizona and Latinx folks in various parts of the state, are at a particularly high risk of being undercounted. Chavez said his organization is focused on ensuring higher rates of Latinx participation in the census, with a particular focus on Latinx children. “We’re known for the work we do around the census every 10 years to make sure there’s a complete and accurate count of our community nationwide,” Chavez said. “I have been supporting and co-leading both of our national campaigns, one that gets a full and complete count of Latinos and the other that gets to making sure we have a full and complete count of Latino children. This is because in 2010 there were about one million who were completely missed on their census forms and about 40% of those, four hundred thousand, were Latino children.” In the current census, Chavez said he has serious concerns about lagging response rates among minority communities nationwide. “We do know it just happens to be that counties that are majority Latinos are lagging and have been lagging behind from anything between 10 and 12 points compared to non-Latino counties,” Chavez said. “And Black majority counties have also been lagging behind.” Chavez said Arizona is no different and has in fact been a state of particular concern. He said internal research at the NALEO found Arizona to be one of the states with the lowest levels of census participation nationwide. Official census data also

shows Arizona lagged behind the majority of states, ranking No. 32 out of 50 in terms of response rates. Chavez also explained that certain census response rate figures can be somewhat misleading. While high rates may accurately show that a certain state or region is performing well overall, it may obscure significant undercounting within certain communities. This same idea applies to response rates in the Navajo Nation. Webb explained that when Arizona households were estimated to be 99% enumerated, the Navajo Nation had not quite reached 80%. As for Arizona’s Latinx community and Chavez’s concerns that they are at risk of being undercounted, even Latinx folks in urban areas, he pointed to the impact of COVID-19 as a significant factor. “I would be remiss to not mention that our community has been hardest hit by COVID,” Chavez said. “Many of them are getting sick at much faster rates and it just so happens to be that many of them are essential workers, and they are on the front lines of providing services and other relief during this moment. Right now, what’s top of the mind for our community, oftentimes is being able to have food on the table, a roof over their heads, having access to a good-paying job, so the census is not necessarily a priority.” Chavez also pointed to the controversy surrounding a citizenship question on the census as a major factor behind lagging Latinx participation. He explained that the question originally pushed by the Trump administration would have inquired about respondents’ citizenship status. This created a significant political controversy in terms of whether or not such a question would be necessary, what the information would be used for and the impact on individuals who fear harassment and/or legal action concerning their citizenship or immigration status. While the question was ultimately never included within the census, Chavez said the damage had already been done. Continue reading on jackcentral.org


SENIOR GOODBYE

Senior Goodbye: Sabrina Proffitt Sabrina ProffitT

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Illustration By Aleah Green

owe so much to this paper. I truly can’t state enough how terrified I was my first day writing for The Lumberjack. I sat in that second-floor Communication building classroom, staring at the board of story pitches I had to choose from for my first-ever story. Sebastian Moore, who later became a friend and mentor, was my highly intimidating editor. I remember telling my boyfriend I might drop the class because it seemed like it would be way too hard, but he encouraged me to continue just a little longer to see if I would like it. Turns out, I liked it. Soon after, I was hired to be on Editorial Board and my knowledge of journalism grew and grew. Paired with my journalism classes, the editing and management duties I took on changed my perspective on journalism as a whole. Those next few semesters, I took over the Culture section, was promoted to my dream role of Managing Editor and then switched routes to be Director of Digital Content in my last semester. The versatility this publication has given me is more than enough. Though, on top of the mounds of experience I get to fill my resume with, I also experienced what it was like to work in a real newsroom. Friendships, drama, late nights staying up to get breaking news out, chattering around the conference table when we were supposed to be listening and so much more came out of my time with The Lumberjack. I was very lucky to serve under three very different, but equally talented editors-in-chief (EIC) during my time at the paper. To Matthew Strissel, who told me I was going to do great things at our paper, I hope I proved you right. To Bailey Helton, who showed me what it meant to work hard, but still be on top of virtually everything, I hope I can take your organization skills and leadership with me. To Brady Wheeler, who was the first to tell me congratulations when I became Managing Editor and who navigated a very difficult semester during a pandemic, I hope I have even a fragment of your passion. To our new EIC, Scout Ehrler, I know you’re going to kill it as you do with everything you take on. To Nathan Manni, who was my assistant only a year ago, but feels like a lifetime ago, I’m going to miss you and I know you’re going to bring so much to the role of managing next semester. To Nayomi, to Ash, to Jacob, to Trevor, to Sebastian, to Aleah, to Maddie, to Shawn, to David Church, to Cam, to Ryan, to Kyler, thank you all for showing me that it is possible to love what you do and to come into work every day with a smile. To everyone who has worked on The Lumberjack these past three years, thank you for teaching me we can do anything no matter how many obstacles come our way. To our adviser David Harpster, thank you for writing me a recommendation letter whenever I asked, thank you for being a mentor and shaping me into the journalist I am today and for keeping us all afloat. This paper has taught me so much and everyone I have ever been graced to meet will leave lasting impressions on my life. So, the moral of this super sappy story is that if something feels hard or terrifying, don’t run away from it. Run straight to it. I promise you’ll learn so much.

NOVEMBER 19, 2020 – JANUARY 13, 2021 | THE LUMBERJACK

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OPINION-EDITORIAL

All I want for Christmas is confrontation Kylie Soto

Interracial relationships can get complicated

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s society becomes more accepting of racial and ethnic diversity, dating trends shift to reflect this growth. Interracial couples are prominent on social media and account for some of the most popular YouTube channels and Instagram accounts. Interracial dating has somehow become a social media trend. According to the United States Census Bureau, interracial or interethnic married households increased by 7.4% to 10.2% from 2000-2016. Society often views these pairings as an aesthetic, with no concern for the social implications of the dynamic. However, interracial relationships come with added responsibilities. One of those obligations TRINITY is making a mutual effort to understand ARCHIE your partner’s experiences and how their life differs from your own. ASSISTANT OP-ED While it is imperative all interracial EDITOR couples grasp their partner’s experience, studies suggest social differences between white and nonwhite partners have the most severe impact on a relationship. In 2007, the University of North Texas conducted a study that explored the impact of interracial relationships on white partners. Results concluded interracial marriages between Black people and majority group members face higher social sanctions than other interracial pairings. This study speaks to experiences I have had in the past. Although cultural integration is always helpful for partners of a different race, there is a level of understanding that already exists between me and other minorities when pursuing a relationship. Healthy communication between white and nonwhite partners requires even more effort. As a Black woman, I struggle to understand why and how someone would pursue me with no intentions to understand my experience. My race dictates society’s perception of me. I have to approach new interactions aware that I have been attributed an attitude until I prove otherwise. I enter certain spaces knowing I am automatically designated as the least intelligent person in the room until I prove everyone wrong. I am so conditioned by these experiences I often forget about the culture shock that accompanies dating me. Interracial dating is often eye-opening in this way. I do not realize how numb I have become to these things until someone of a different race is shocked by the way I am treated. Alternatively, nonminorities are often unaware of this experience until they form a close relationship with someone who lives it on a daily basis. I am not asking prospective partners to be experts on race and racial injustice. However, my relationships require a mutual effort toward understanding our contrasting perspectives.

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he holidays are a great opportunity for family and friends to spend quality time together. However, this year has been extremely rough for social interaction. While some have found safe ways to visit family and friends, politics and COVID-19 have made life much more difficult for most. Specifically in the United States, the 2020 election held high stakes. The further polarizing ideals the candidates touted have split families and torn friendships apart. As a Democrat in an entirely Republican family, I cannot deny the results of the election have put a damper on the strength of my relationship with some family members. While I recognize the importance for everyone to move past the time of seeing other political positions as enemies, it is nonetheless entertaining to see their often hyperbolic raw reactions. Call me what you will — an antagonizer or even a troll — but I find entertainment in their fury. I am not the only one enjoying the drama, though. Pop culture media site PopSugar published an article about election TikTok that explores the election-related content people have made since the start of 2020. Many different trends started because of the ridiculous reactions many Republicans uploaded to TikTok. It doesn’t stop there. President Donald Trump made a laughingstock of himself as well. His stern refusal to concede, and instead sue and lose, has also been fueling young Democrats on and off the internet. When Trump took to Twitter to cry “Stop the count!” young voters formed protests across the nation, chanting “Count every vote!” According to VOA News, which cites the National Election Poll and The Associated Press, young People of Color in most states supported president-elect Joe Biden.

Some Generation Zers have uploaded videos confronting their Republican family members, with a bit of confidence because of the results, and denounced them for voting for another four years under Trump. Personally, I chose to remove my conservative family members from social media long before the election so I could avoid the misinformation they spread and any possible conflict. Whether or not some would agree, social media is now a way for people to spark social change, display activism and support charity. The entertainment value of these political discourses and videos is priceless as well. In 2018, Forbes published an article about this very idea. The article cites a report that stated, “26% of Gen Zers have recently raised money for a cause and 32% of that number donated their own money. What’s more is 39% say that giving time and money to charity is a ‘measure of success.’” Older generations discredit Gen Z for their attachment to social media and technology. It is important to understand the time spent online is not always just for pure entertainment. Still, the holidays will present challenges for Gen Z Democrats who are around family and friends with opposing views, especially since the misinformation being spread about voter fraud seems to be echoed by Trump supporters more than anyone else. As president-elect Joe Biden stated in his Nov. 9 victory speech, “It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric, to lower the temperature, to see each other again, to listen to each other again. To make progress, we must stop treating our opponents as our enemy. We are not enemies. We are Americans.” This will take time. As the nation heals from the events that happened under the Trump administration, destroyed family bonds will mend themselves as well. However, until the wound is fully healed, let the political arguments fly at dinner and the results speak for themselves. Merry confrontation, everyone. Illustration By Diana Ortega


OPINION-EDITORIAL

Let’s celebrate Biden’s ascent to the Oval Office Trinity Archie

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he Associated Press declared Joe Biden president-elect following his electoral win in Pennsylvania Nov. 7. For many, this was cause for celebration and was the first time in four years we were able to exhale. With Biden’s declared victory, I was once again hopeful for my future as a citizen of the United States. Celebrating Biden’s win was met with criticism from both parties. As much as the country united with a positive outlook on the future, some labeled the celebrations as ignorant. Debate began regarding the idolization of politicians. Those who pretentiously pride themselves on social awareness ironically often lack just that. The criticism of our celebration is one of many instances where performative social activists contradict the causes they aim to support. We are not idolizing politicians by celebrating a victory that represents progression toward a goal. Biden’s win is so much more than an election result. According to CNBC, the projected vote total for the 2020 presidential election is at least 159.8 million. This is the highest voter turnout rate since 1900. Exit poll data suggests the increase in voter turnout is partially responsible for Biden’s win. According to Tufts University’s Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), over 25 million of this year’s votes were cast by Generation Z and Millennials, with most of this demographic being left-leaning. A CIRCLE poll reported 95% of young people who voted for president-elect Biden said racism and racism in policing are very serious issues. Young People of Color are realizing the importance of voting. They have seemingly developed a passion for political involvement based on the hope Biden will advocate for them. This passion may not have existed otherwise because Biden was the motivator. This alone called for celebration. The influx of young voters of color is monumental and has the power to alter our democracy for the better. The CIRCLE poll results also give insight into why Democrats in general are so passionate about this year’s election. Youth and minorities showed up in record numbers to cast their votes for Biden not because they idolize him, but because they want to see change. Biden’s win is representative of the country’s progress toward racial equality. For the past four years, we have had to sit back and observe one racial injustice after the next, knowing our president does not care to change this cycle. This is why underrepresented communities united for this election. We came out to vote in numbers higher than anyone projected. Many first-time voters learned how impactful their voices can be and succeeded in electing a candidate they support. Our communities rarely see direct change from our

political actions, which is often the barrier that prevents young minorities from voting. We are rarely acknowledged or advocated for, so it is difficult to believe our votes matter as much as those more valued by society. This is why the Biden victory was so impactful. It is necessary these communities understand how powerful their votes actually are. Through Biden’s victory, we were able to see our actions create change in the most significant way possible. Beyond progression toward equality, Biden’s win is also representative of the shift toward Democratic policies, since the U.S. has been under Republican leadership for the past four years. Trump’s Republican policies left many fearful they would lose basic rights. Trump has made efforts to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and repeal the Affordable Care Act during his time in office. When we celebrate Biden’s win, we are celebrating the hope that these lifesaving policies will not be completely abandoned. Yes, idolization of politicians is a problem. We are not

trying to convince skeptics that Biden is perfect and should be worshipped. However, we should be able to celebrate Biden’s win and everything it represents for many of us. The Biden-Harris victory reignited faith in U.S. democracy. For a few days, citizens across all demographics united to celebrate the bigger picture: a fresh start. We have been given the opportunity to move forward. On Nov. 7, Biden took the stage to deliver a victory speech that focused on the future. “I sought this office to restore the soul of America,” Biden said. “To rebuild the backbone of the nation — the middle class. To make America respected around the world again and to unite us here at home.” This is why we celebrate. We are hopeful for what the future holds. We are ready to heal.

Illustration By Tonesha Yazzie

NOVEMBER 19, 2020 – JANUARY 13, 2021 | THE LUMBERJACK

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FEATURES

Trail Faeries work magic f Joey Wright

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lagstaff Trail Faeries are a small group of dedicated individuals who work year-round to make the outdoors more enjoyable for recreation. Hiking trails may seem like they are built and maintained by an unseen force, but these volunteers are real people who work to improve the city’s trail system every week for nine to 10 months out of the year. Flagstaff Trail Faeries work to build new trails, as well as improve existing trails. Crew leader Brian Marshall said there is no shortage of trail work that needs to be done in the city. “In Flagstaff, we’re almost two decades behind in trail maintenance, design and implementation,” Marshall said. “There’s a lot to be done, a lot of trails that need our love.” As the population continues to grow, the trails have not been updated to accommodate the increasing use they experience. Marshall said the situation is comparable to a city that has an increasing population, but nothing is done to the roads or infrastructure to meet the demands of the growing community. Joe Hazel is an avid mountain biker, as well as a Trail Faerie

and trail coordinator for the Flagstaff Biking Organization (FBO). Hazel said he noticed the same problem as Marshall and decided to work toward making a difference. “Over the years I noticed that as Flagstaff grew, the trails and trail infrastructure in town didn’t match the population growth,” Hazel said. “I finally decided to get involved instead of complaining as a form of community outreach.” Before Trail Faeries existed, Hazel said he got involved with trail maintenance by putting on volunteer events through FBO. These public events allow people who want to give back to their local trail system the chance to donate their time and physical labor to make improvements. Realigning the Heart and Little Elden Trails was one project that was done entirely through volunteer labor, according to FBO’s website. The volunteers built four miles of trail in under two years. “It’s helping allow access to the outdoors,” Hazel said. “I think if you can help put humans on a controlled and predictable path, or in other words, give them a trail they like and want to use, then you can also meet the desired recreational experience people

are looking for while also minimizing impact to the environment and wildlife.” Hazel said the organization looks forward to providing more volunteer opportunities in 2021 that they were unable to in 2020 due to COVID-19. Trail Faeries stemmed from the FBO volunteer events, Hazel explained. He and a group of other dedicated trail builders decided to create this group so they could continue the work outside of the volunteer events and outside of United States Forest Service supervision. However, Trail Faeries were not allowed to work independently until they built a relationship with the U.S. Forest Service and could prove they had the skills and knowledge to take on projects that could have significant impacts on the landscape, Marshall said. Now, each member has their own volunteer agreement with the forest service. Marshall said the Trail Faeries are focused on using advanced trail building techniques to make trails sustainable and enjoyable for the public’s use. People might think the hardest part of trail building is the physical aspect, but Marshall said planning is actually the most complicated step.

Trail Faeries’ latest project involved a complete renovation of the Little Elden Trail which had been decommissioned due to erosion, Nov. 14. Madison Easton| The Lumberjack

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FEATURES

for Flagstaff environment “You have to get it right,” Marshall said. “You’re altering the landscape and that has long-lasting effects. That long-lasting effect could be people recreating in the woods for decades after you’re not even around anymore.” Hazel said it can be argued that any trail has a resource impact because it is a disturbance to the planet. A sustainable trail, he explained, is a trail that is designed to have the lowest possible impact on the environment and wildlife in the area. Sustainable trails are designed so frequent maintenance is not necessary. Some issues the group has to keep in mind when planning is how the trail will shed water, the grade of the trail and how to make the trail work for a variety of people. On top of making trails sustainable and functional, another focus of Trail Faeries is making trails interesting and visually appealing for users. Marshall said when they remove organic elements from the trail, they try to incorporate them back into the path in a way that adds to the overall ambiance of the trail. “[We] try to be artistic with what we do,” Marshall said. “That’s important in how you design trails so you’re providing a really nice experience, and it’s not just a means to move bodies

from one point to another. Each trail offers a unique experience.” The Trail Faeries’ latest project of realigning a section of the Arizona Trail at Schultz Pass was finished recently. Now that winter is coming, the group is done with all physical labor for the season. Marshall said they will decide on what projects to work on next season within the next month or two. “There’s always something to do,” Marshall said. “Even if we don’t get a big, new trail construction project for next season then we’ll apply the same level of dedication to maintaining existing trails, and there’s plenty of that to be done.” Marshall explained members of Trail Faeries are passionate about the work they do. Two Trail Faeries now work as professional trail builders — one works for American Conservation Experience and the other owns Flagline Trails. Some members have even attended seminars and training events to improve their trail building abilities. Community service is a concept that is valued by the Trail Faeries. Marshall said he encourages people to get involved locally, even if it is not related to trail building. “Figure out what makes you happy in community service

and get after it,” Marshall said. “More people should get involved with what they’re passionate about. I think they’ll find it’s a pretty enjoyable thing.” There are many aspects of trail building that appeal to Marshall and Hazel that make them want to continue their work. Marshall said trail building checked many boxes for him. He said he enjoys the physical labor and creativity the job requires, and it is mentally and physically rewarding. He also said the Trail Faeries are an extremely fun group to work with, which makes the work that much more enjoyable. “The work’s rewarding,” Hazel said. “It’s hard, but you get to see a product, and the end product is worth it because [the trail is] fun to use and ride and is also always an improvement on what was there originally. One of the biggest satisfactions I get is building something that will last for generations and is still fun to use and recreate on.”

The Trail Faeries are a group of autonomous volunteers who work to both clean and renew local hiking trails, Nov. 14. Madison Easton | The Lumberjack

NOVEMBER 19, 2020 – JANUARY 13, 2021 | THE LUMBERJACK

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FEATURES

Alcohol use looks different with stay-at-home procedures Tess Spinker

“The only reason I have not gone completely nuts is because alcohol helps me forget about the situation we are all in.”

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any turned to their own objects of comfort during the pandemic and self-medicating became a habit during uncertain times. Daily routines have shifted due to social distancing and isolation, and many experienced changes in what alcohol use looks like at home. While some feel there is no point in drinking because of a lack of parties, others are struggling and using alcohol to cope. According to NPR, Nielsen’s market data reported that alcohol sales outside of bars and restaurants surged 24% during the pandemic. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey urged mask-wearing and social distancing. Ducey emphasized in a briefing Oct. 29 for people to continue effective precautions as cases rise, according to USA Today. Ducey issued the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” policy at the end of March, allowing only essential businesses like grocery stores and medical corporations to stay open. Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans issued and signed a proclamation in early March prohibiting restaurants, dining areas, cafes, bars and similar businesses from serving food and drinks for consumption on the premises. Closure of all nonessential establishments also took effect. Going out does not look like it used to. For some, quarantine has made it undesirable to drink alcohol anymore. Senior Lindsey Wilson said when clubs and bars closed downtown, she did not have an urge to partake in drinking. “Drinking alcohol is only fun to me when there are people to be around,” Wilson said. “So since quarantine, I really don’t want to drink alone.” However, those who are responsible for the well-being of students are concerned about the misuse of alcohol due to the pandemic. Hannah Nunez, a behavioral health counselor at Campus Health Services, said concerns for mental health problems and bad habits will increase. “[The idea of students struggling with the pandemic] worries me the most because this age demographic on campus is mostly used to social interaction and are able to have access for help,” Nunez said. “We have been trying to offer phone calls and virtual seminars for students having trouble coping

– Nau graduate K’lynn Garbo with the pandemic.” Over the course of the stay-at-home order and with general social distancing guidelines still in place, alcohol sales have seen an intense increase as takeout alcohol has become more popular, according to Cornerstone of Recovery, a rehab facility in Louisville, Tennessee. According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control COVID Data Tracker, there have been over 245,000 total deaths as a result of COVID-19 in the United States. These numbers have been tracked since Jan. 21 and the website is updated daily with new cases coming in continuously. An estimated 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the third-leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., according to Cornerstone of Recovery. COVID-19 has led to many deaths, many not related to getting sick from the virus. Realizing these bad habits are becoming a new lifestyle, NAU graduate K’lynn Garbo said she thinks drinking alcohol is something she needs to quit, but does not know how to stop. “When there is nothing else to do anymore, I sit and think way too much about life and my struggle with depression,” Garbo said. “The only reason I have not gone completely nuts is because alcohol helps me forget about the situation we are all in.” Garbo said she has easy access to alcohol since she lives next to the liquor store Majestic Marketplace. She said she tends to walk to the market buying more alcohol each week, which has caused other issues to arise. “Now that I have been binge drinking more, I have started to wake up hungover and I’m too lazy to do anything productive during the day,” Garbo said. “I have stopped working out and I don’t really cook much anymore because I’m starting to lose my appetite.” Many are facing situations similar to Garbo’s and NAU Behavioral Health Services is providing methods to cope with alcohol abuse and other problems in response. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism also provides a list of options for physical distancing service that allows young demographics to stay connected with one another. Despite the struggles created by quarantine, Cornerstone of Recovery stated it is best for people not to panic. Most people are on edge with COVID-19 and during these times, it is important to remember that even trivial matters can be seen as a crisis.

“[The idea of students struggling with the pandemic] worries me the most because this age demographic on campus is mostly used to social interaction and are able to have access for help.” – NAU Counselor Hannah Nunez Illustration By Blake Fernandez

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CULTURE

Are Flagstaff birds real? A new NAU club says no Jorja hEINKEL

‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’: A story of true justice

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ar, race, class struggle and justice. These are some of the key themes that accompany Emmy and Academy Award-winning filmmaker Aaron Sorkin’s new project: “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” The film is based on a true story of seven men who went to court and were charged with conspiracy and crossing state lines with the intention of inciting riots during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in protest of the Vietnam War. The film consists of an ensemble cast, including stars such as Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, John Carroll Lynch, Alex Sharp, Jeremy Strong, Noah Robbins and Daniel Flaherty, all of whom play the DAVID CHURCH roles of the seven men convicted. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II also stars in the film as Bobby Seale, a former leader FORMER SPORTS of the Black Panther Party. EDITOR The film follows the Chicago 7 and their actions during the protests and trial. With an increasingly biased and unfair judge, played by Frank Langella, the movie is a triggering, rage-inducing tale of unfairness in the criminal justice system. Langella does an excellent job at making the audience hate him. The way he treats the defendants, the way he handles outbursts and interruptions and the not-so-subtle racism he conveys all lead to being the perfect villain the film needs. I found myself rooting for the Chicago 7. Like in real life, they become the heroes of the story, the leaders of the ragtag group of people who want and demand change. Even through all the unfairness, corruption and maliciousness these men had to go through, their confidence and beliefs never wavered. The performances of the group easily show that. Baron Cohen, who plays the loud and outspoken Abbie Hoffman, shines in the film in a complete redirect from his normal comedic roles. While all the main actors’ performances are delivered in exceptional fashion, Cohen’s ability to be funny, serious, angry and passionate stands out. Not only is the movie great for its writing, portrayals and storytelling, but the film’s direct comparisons and parallels of the 1968 Democratic National Convention riots to the current Black Lives Matter protests are perfect. Examples of police brutality, police officers removing their badges and name tags and other instances that happened over 50 years ago are still relevant today. With “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Sorkin again shows his storytelling genius. The film stacks up with Sorkin’s other projects like “The Social Network,” “The West Wing” and “Moneyball.” This film should be discussed and talked about for years to come.

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walk around downtown Flagstaff may lead to the chance discovery of a nondescript sticker with a bold statement: birds aren’t real. The presence of these stickers can be traced to the Birds Aren’t Real movement, an internet sensation. Vice identified this movement as a parody and stated it “is so well crafted that it feels like a joke on ourselves that’s arisen to manifest and claim its position in our absurd reality. According to its website, the movement started as a protest to stop the alleged genocide of birds in 1976. Since then, the movement’s goals have shifted from preventing a bird genocide to bringing the public eye to the eradication of birds. Eugene Price, a retired member of the CIA, said in an interview with Birds Aren’t Real that he was part of a secret CIA operation codenamed “Water the Country.” This operation aimed to remove all living birds in the United States. “They used a poison gas dropped from airplanes,” Price said in an interview. “They were replaced with fake birds. They were electronic decoys.” Price, who claimed he was in charge of destroying evidence of the operation, said these bird drones were intended to be surveillance equipment to watch people without anyone knowing it. In recent years, the movement has been popularized on platforms like TikTok and YouTube, where videos such as the infamous, “The birds work for the bourgeoisie,” TikTok have caught the attention of young people worldwide. In the last few weeks, the Birds Aren’t Real movement reached Flagstaff. This year, sophomore Brendan Trachsel founded the NAU Birds Aren’t Real club to spread awareness around the university and Flagstaff. Trachsel is the club’s president and was first introduced to the movement through an Instagram advertisement two years ago. Now a selfproclaimed bird truther, Trachsel brought the grassroots movement to Flagstaff, adding to the 300 Birds Aren’t Real subgroups Trachsel said have started across the country. In addition to spreading awareness, Trachsel said there are hopes of restoring the bird population through advocacy and lobbying. However, Trachsel said the movement still has a long way to go before achieving bigger goals. “To really bring the birds back, we would need the government to admit to the atrocities they have done,” Trachsel said.

He said these atrocities include killing nearly all birds in the U.S. and replacing them with biomechanical drones, which are able to easily pass as real birds. The biomechanical drones, designed to look and act like birds, also follow the habits of their natural predecessors. Vultures, Trachsel said, are drones focused on public sanitation in rural areas. Hummingbirds, Trachsel said, are attack drones for the government that use their small beaks to attack government targets. Though he has not seen footage of these attacks himself, Trachsel said he is confident the footage is out there, under the careful censorship of the government. Though biomechanical bird surveillance equipment and attack drones may seem far-fetched, Trachsel points to similar operations in China. South China Morning Post, The New York Post, Business Insider and other outlets report on bird drones beginning patrols in at least five Chinese provinces in recent years. According to Business Insider, the highly realistic drones are decked out with cameras, GPS, realistic flight patterns and satellite communication. The U.S. also has a history of dabbling in similar surveillance equipment disguised as birds or designed to replicate birds. Project Aquiline, a canceled surveillance program recently declassified by the CIA, is one example of surveillance equipment designed to replicate an eagle. The Aquiline drone was described in declassified documents as an extremely high potential project with low risk due to a small design, much less provocative than any other and having no military equipment. Continue reading on jackcentral.org

Illustration By Blake Fernandez

NOVEMBER 19, 2020 – JANUARY 13, 2021 | THE LUMBERJACK

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A powerful month for pancreatic cancer patients and survivors Sophia Salazar

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ovember is not only a month filled with seasonal changes and appreciation for the holidays, but it also serves as Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. This month provides resources for pancreatic cancer patients and fundraisers for those who are interested in raising awareness. According to Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, more than 57,000 United States citizens are expected to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer by the end of 2020. Pancreatic cancer has affected some of the most influential and well-known figures this year, such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, former associate justice of the United States Supreme Court who died Sept. 18, and “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek, who died Nov. 8. American Cancer Society communications director Brittany Conklin said pancreatic cancer is hard to find early and can be deadly if not treated in time. “The pancreas is deep inside the body, so early tumors can’t be seen or felt by health care providers during routine physical exams,” Conklin said in an email interview. “Early pancreatic cancers often do not cause any signs or symptoms. By the time they do cause symptoms, they have often already spread outside the pancreas.” Conklin said an estimated 1,190 Arizonans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year, and roughly 1,070 will die from the disease. She said the American Cancer Society encourages young people to visit its website to learn about the types of pancreatic cancer, what risk factors are, how to prevent a diagnosis and what signs and symptoms are so pancreatic cancer can potentially be caught in early stages. According to the American Cancer Society’s website, exocrine cancers are the most common type of pancreatic cancer. Exocrine cancer is an illness in which cancer cells are found in the tissues of the pancreas. Although adolescents are the least likely to develop pancreatic cancer, NAU students can stay informed on how to reduce their chances of being diagnosed. Risk factors that have been linked to pancreatic cancer studies include drinking alcohol, smoking and excessive consumption of red meats and sugary drinks. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network website has a section that covers the signs and symptoms one might have from pancreatic cancer. Richard Posner, lecturer in the NAU Department of Biological Sciences, said pancreatic cancer symptoms aren’t always clearly defined. “Symptoms for pancreatic [cancer] generally do not appear until after the cancer has spread and are not specific,” Posner said in an email interview. “They include abdominal and back pain, weight loss, diabetes, nausea and vomiting.” American Cancer Society lists additional risk factors that can cause pancreatic cancer, which include a person’s family history, diet, gender and age. Additional signs that could be indicative of pancreatic cancer include blood clots and loss of appetite. According to health care company UnityPoint Health, pancreatic cancer is fourth on the top five most dangerous cancers list for both men and women.

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NAU students can get involved in spreading awareness this month by wearing purple and donating to Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Donations will be used to improve lives impacted by pancreatic cancer by advocating for patients and advancing research in hope of finding a cure. Another way to get involved is by participating in the yearround fundraising event, PurpleStride. Though this event is on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one can still register and participate online for free. PurpleStride has a virtual event in almost every state and Virtual PurpleStride Phoenix 2021 will be held April 10. Everyone who registers for the event will have the opportunity to create a team, fundraise and donate, while those who raise $25 or more will receive a PurpleStride T-shirt. Pancreatic cancer survivors who are registered for PurpleStride are eligible to receive a special survivor T-shirt. PurpleStride caters to all families and friends when a person registers to participate in the event. When registering through

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PurpleStride’s website, it asks participants why they are interested in being involved with the movement. The PurpleStride movement funds programs and services for patients who have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Nicolette Teufel-Shone, NAU’s associate director of the Center for Health Equity Research, said oftentimes families of patients help fundraise and donate to these types of research funds and charities. “Patients’ families often raise money and their families will sometimes remain involved even after their loved ones pass away,” Teufel-Shone said in an email interview. Pancreatic cancer has taken the lives of family members and friends. This month gives NAU students the opportunity to learn about pancreatic cancer and the signs and symptoms that might come with it. Everyone can get involved by wearing purple, donating to charity organizations and participating in virtual events like PurpleStride Phoenix.

Illustration By Aleah Green


CULTURE

Black Friday: A new danger amid COVID-19 Cole Stewart

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lack Friday is one of the biggest shopping events of the year. In 2020, it comes at the worst possible time. COVID-19 rates are rising around the country at an alarming rate, and USA Today highlighted the state of the country as the virus continues to soar with 100,000 new cases per day. So, what does this mean for holiday shoppers? Angel Huggins, administrative assistant at Flagstaff Mall, said the mall plans on moving forward as scheduled. Since reopening May 15, it has been implementing many new regulations for staff and shoppers. “Since we have opened back up, we have increased our touch point cleaning throughout the common areas of the mall, including the food court and the children’s play area,” Huggins said. “We are also requiring face masks to be worn inside. Not only that, but we have discouraged loitering to reduce the amount of shoppers we have at a time.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, decreasing the number of people in an area is one of the best ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and social distancing is the best proven practice to protect one another from infection. Shopper CJ Tompkins said he is not worried about shopping this holiday season. From his experience, he said he has felt very comfortable shopping at the mall. “The staff has been doing a fantastic job keeping everyone safe,” Tompkins said. “I see them cleaning and disinfecting surfaces all over the mall, and they are also very strict about the mask mandate.” Many stores have decided to begin Black Friday sales early this holiday season. Walmart has recently changed store hours to better accommodate shoppers during the large flux leading up to Christmas and many other winter holidays. However, these hours vary depending on the store. According to Walmart’s website, it has also begun to slowly implement Black Friday prices throughout November. This way, everyone can access deals. The Flagstaff Mall began putting these safety measures in place upon its reopening. Its regulations will remain throughout the holiday season. “Our intention is to make everyone feel safe,” Huggins said. “We hope the hand sanitizing stations around the mall, the signage and the increased presence of security and housekeeping will help our shoppers feel that this is a safe place to shop and to bring their families.” With many stores to manage within the mall, it is a grand task to keep everyone safe and maintain an orderly shopping experience. “There are many markings throughout the mall directing shoppers to keep distance,” Tompkins said. “There are also a number of hand sanitizer stations I used. This definitely helped with the anxiety that goes along with being out in public, especially in crowds.” NAU Senior and Home Depot employee Brianna Junior said she feels safe working at the home improvement store this

year. She said Home Depot has done a great job creating a safe shopping experience. The store only allows a limited number of shoppers inside at a time to guarantee everyone can shop while social distancing, therefore lowering the probability of infection. “I have never felt unsafe at work. Of course, we have the anti-maskers as does everyone else,” Junior said. “These situations are handled in the most professional manner possible and we take this rule very seriously. The city of Flagstaff has a mask mandate in place, and we adhere to that.” Home Depot has already begun offering many Black Friday deals such as a 40%-off sale on select appliances, discounted prices on power tools and lawn and garden supplies, to name a few. It has done this for the same reason as Walmart — to lower the number of holiday shoppers in its stores at one time. This allows for better social distancing and gives all shoppers the opportunity and time to get the products they desire at a discounted price. This holiday season will be something new to all shoppers. Junior said the best thing anyone can do is to simply follow the rules of the stores while shopping. They are in place for a very specific reason: to keep everyone safe. “We understand that these challenging and unpredictable times have greatly increased the need to shop online,” Huggins said. “We want to remind everyone to please shop local and support business in our community when you can. They need our

support now more than ever. Let’s take care of them like they have taken care of us.” Tompkins also said it is more important than ever to support the local community. This Black Friday is going to be much different from the past because new rules and regulations have made shopping more unorthodox. Many businesses in town count on local shoppers for income. With the spike in online shopping this season, it is going to make it difficult for many businesses. At the same time, it has also made shopping safer for those who feel comfortable enough to go into stores.

“OUR INTENTION IS TO MAKE EVERYONE FEEL SAFE.” – Flagstaff Mall administrative assistant angel huggins

IllustratioN BY DOMINIC DAVIES

NOVEMBER 19, 2020 – JANUARY 13, 2021 | THE LUMBERJACK

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NASCAR’s future is bright

n Nov. 8, 24-year-old Chase Elliott won his first career NASCAR Cup Series championship at Phoenix Raceway. The final race for seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson also took place that day. After the race, the two exchanged a high-five on the track that signaled the changing of the guard as the longtime Hendrick Motorsports driver handed the leadership role of the team to the new champion. The high-five didn’t just represent a new era for Hendrick Motorsports, but with Johnson’s retirement, the Cup Series will now see a plethora of young drivers trying to make their name in NASCAR’s top series. At the moment, 16 drivers under the age of 30 are set to compete in the Cup CAMERON RICHARDSON Series full time for the 2021 season. This wave of young drivers will be highlighted SPORTS EDITOR by Hendrick Motorsports. Elliott is already a champion, and his teammates, 27-year-old Alex Bowman and 22-year-old William Byron, both have wins in their Cup Series careers. The next goal for them is to compete for series titles. Joining the three at Hendrick next year will be 28-year-old Kyle Larson, who has won six races in his Cup Series career. Bubba Wallace, 27, will leave the historic No. 43 car and join a brand-new team co-owned by driver Denny Hamlin and NBA Hall-of-Famer Michael Jordan. Wallace remains the lone full-time African American driver in NASCAR. Since his time in the Cup Series, 26-year-old Ryan Blaney has grown into a fan favorite in the racing community. The Team Penske driver has won four career races and advanced to every postseason since 2017. In the coming years, these drivers will be joined by a crop of youth from lower divisions like the Xfinity Series, Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series and ARCA Menards Series. Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric dominated the Xfinity Series in 2020, winning a combined 15 races. Cindric won this season’s Xfinity championship and will join the Cup Series in 2022. Meanwhile, Briscoe will join the Cup Series next season after winning nine Xfinity races this year. Women will play a vital role in shaping NASCAR’s future. 19-year-old Hailie Deegan will join the truck series full time in 2021. She is already building a strong resume with a third place finish in this season’s ARCA standings. 19-year-old Gracie Trotter became a breakout star in 2020 after becoming the first woman to win under the ARCA banner. While NASCAR will most likely never see the same popularity it had when Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon were around, they have a vast array of talented, young drivers who can fill the void left by them and start rebuilding a brand that used to be one of the most popular in the United States.

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Chase Elliott celebrates in victory lane after winning the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway, Nov. 8. Photo courtesy of Chris Graythen, Getty Images

What it Took to be a champion in 2020 Cameron Richardson

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o say the least, 2020 has been a difficult year. Days are filled with anxiety instead of anticipation as people try to combat a pandemic and avoid contracting COVID-19. One of the biggest aspects of life that has been affected by the pandemic is sports. In March, professional athletes were questioning whether or not they would be able to compete after every major league was shut down. Two months later, NASCAR resumed and became the first United States major sports league to complete a full season during the pandemic. NASCAR president Steve Phelps praised the drivers’ perseverance and acknowledged the adversity everyone in the sport overcame to get through the season. “I believe this industry does adversity better than any sport,” Phelps said. “If you think about it, we are at a competitive disadvantage. We don’t own ourselves. We’re not franchised. We have independent contractors who come to race as one.” NASCAR made significant changes to its race weekends due to financial concerns and the potential of spreading the virus with numerous crew members at the track.

Aside from the Coca-Cola 600 in May, practices and qualifying were eliminated for the season. Instead, the organization drew numbers to determine the starting lineup for races at the resumption of the season. Later on, the lineups were set by a performance-emphasized formula that awarded the best drivers of the previous week a high position in the lineup for the following race. “I think what we’ve proven this year is that you can do things differently and they can work,” Phelps said. NASCAR also added midweek races to the pandemicaltered schedule that had only 18 weeks to complete 22 races before the playoffs began. By late August, the organization was back on schedule with the Cup Series regular-season finale at Daytona International Speedway. However, the twists and turns of the 2020 season did not end during the playoffs. According to sports betting and news platform Sports Insider, Kevin Harvick came into the playoffs as the favorite to win the Cup Series championship after winning seven races in the regular season. Due to the playoff format, Harvick was eliminated at Martinsville Speedway prior to the Championship 4 race.


SPORTS The current postseason format for the Cup Series consists of 16 drivers and 10 races. The playoffs are divided into three rounds with every third race cutting off four drivers before the next round. The playoffs culminate in a single race for the championship that is contested among four drivers. Once championship weekend rolled around Nov. 6, it was a sigh of relief for NASCAR as it was able to see the season wrap up despite all the unforeseen circumstances that came with the pandemic. GMS Racing driver Sheldon Creed won the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series championship and credited his fitness for getting him through the season. “I’ve done three-day fasts,” Creed said. “It has nothing to do with driving, but it helped on the physical side of things with how crazy this season was.” Creed won five races in 2020 and cruised into the championship race after winning in the previous round at Texas Motor Speedway. During the championship race, he only led 27 laps and his title hopes were decided by an overtime restart. “It’s way more nerve-wracking,” Creed said. “Man, it makes everyone feel the pressure, which is something I like.” Xfinity Series champion Austin Cindric won five races prior to the season finale, but during the pandemic, his team owner Roger Penske thought about shutting the Xfinity team down. “I had a very good idea that it was a possibility,” Cindric said. “It added a lot of motivation for myself and everyone at the shop. All the work and preparation we put in this season, and to have the success we had mattered even more with everything the sport dealt with when we resumed the season.” The 2020 NASCAR season wrapped up with Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott earning his first career Cup Series championship. After starting the race last due to failing pre-race inspection twice, Elliott went on to lead 153 of the 312 laps to dominate his way to the title. Elliott emphasized what matters most in life on his path to the championship. “There’s just so much distraction in the world,” Elliott said. “Everybody is tied to their phones and there’s just so many things from the outside that can reach someone. I feel like I was mentally locked in better than I’ve ever been, and the results showed.” When it came to obstacles faced from this year compared to previous years, Elliott said it came down to performing in big moments. In previous years, the 24-year-old failed to reach the Championship 4 due to mistakes at Phoenix Raceway. In 2018, Elliott suffered a speeding penalty on a pit road that forced him to restart at the back of the field. As he was making his way back to the front, he was caught up in a multi-car accident that dashed his title hopes. Last year, Elliott was among those in the battle for the lead, but crashed, once again. “For me, it’s been about getting over the hump in those big moments, which is something we haven’t been able to do with authority,” Elliott said. “Performing like we did today was a really big deal because we finally found a groove and comfort in those big moments.” Like many people in 2020, the NASCAR community learned to adapt with the pandemic and overcame all the obstacles thrown at them. NASCAR will look to start anew and take what it learned in 2020 into the start of next season, which begins in February 2021.

Top: Austin Cindric celebrates after winning the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway, Nov. 7. Bottom: Sheldon Creed celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series championship at Phoenix Raceway, Nov. 6. Photo courtesy of Brian Lawdermilk & Jared C. Tilton, Getty Images

NOVEMBER 19, 2020 – JANUARY 13, 2021 | THE LUMBERJACK

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Profile for The Lumberjack

The Lumberjack -- November 19, 2020  

The Lumberjack -- Vol. 110, Issue 15 -- November 19, 2020 – January 13, 2021 -- Zoomin' on Up: A Special Issue, Letter from Graduating Direc...

The Lumberjack -- November 19, 2020  

The Lumberjack -- Vol. 110, Issue 15 -- November 19, 2020 – January 13, 2021 -- Zoomin' on Up: A Special Issue, Letter from Graduating Direc...

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