Category Archives: US Headlines

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CONGRESS PUTS BREAKS ON DUI

By Asa Roberts

Drunk driving is the number one cause of automobile fatalities. On average, 29 Americans die every day due to alcohol-related crashes. Since 2000, an average of 10,000 deaths have been reported each year. As a result, Congress has passed a multitude of laws in an attempt to reduce fatalities; the latest of these laws, passed on November ninth , requires automobile companies to implement technology to reduce drunk driving rates.

New technology could potentially find it’s way into new vehicles by 2026. This law comes as part of a new 1 trillion dollar infrastructure package, in an attempt to improve auto safety and quell the increase in road deaths. According to the U.S. department of transportation in a 2020 survey, road deaths are up 18.4% from 2020. The United States Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in an October press release, “Today we are announcing that we will produce the Department’s first ever National Roadway Safety Strategy to identify action steps for everyone working to save lives on the road.” The package was approved by Congress on Friday, and is expected to be signed by president Biden soon. 

How will this affect you?

The truth, at least for now, is that it won’t. Automakers aren’t being pressured to implement these technologies until at earliest 2026. However, this mandate is a big step in the fight against drunk driving. As president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Alex Otte said in  a recent interview about the new mandates, “It’s monumental,” it marks “the beginning of the end of drunk driving.” 

Many students and teachers support these new safety precautions as a form of protection for themselves and their loved ones. According to a CVU student driver’s parent, “technology for preventing drunk driving is a necessity, not only for the drunk drivers themselves, but for the drivers around them as well.” While this new mandate isn’t expected to start making changes in the auto industry for at least another four years, you can expect this to be the first of many steps towards trying to end drunk driving.

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New Nightmare Emerges for Christmas Shoppers: Sony Cuts Back Production of PlayStation 5 even more due to Chip Shortages.

By: Harrison Young-Glatz

Sony’s PlayStation 5 is now the fastest selling console in history, and doesn’t seem to be slowing down yet. According to the NPD Group (a market research company) and Sony, the PS5 is the best selling console in terms of money and units sold. There have been 13.4 million consoles sold since its release on November 12th, 2020, and no hard numbers on money released by either company.

As the console’s first year is coming to an end, it is still selling out immediately every restock at retail, and it doesn’t look like things are going to change for Sony any time soon. The units sold in its first year rivals that of the Nintendo Wii, one of the most sold consoles of all time. What makes the PS5 so special is that it is still in such high, high demand after a full year of release, and things aren’t getting any easier either.

As of November 11th, 2021, Sony has declared that they are going to cut production of the PS5s even more due to shortages of essential parts like power management chips. Toshiba Corp., the biggest producers of these chips stated that things are unlikely to normalize even in 2022. 

These shortages will make Sony’s sales goals of 16 million units by March, and 23 million by 2023 very hard, but will make Christmas the next couple of years even harder.

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Scam Call or Spam Call?

By Ian Dunkley

HINESBURG, VT – Spam calls are an unfortunately common annoyance for many Vermonters. Most of us simply write them off as just that, an annoyance, but the truth surrounding these calls is much more sinister. 

Vermont has an unusually high amount of spam calls, especially when taking into account the population being only 625,000 people. When analyzing the results from a spam call blocking app called Truecaller in 2021, it was revealed that approximately 1.1 million spam calls were directed towards Vermonters. While this number is already staggering, it becomes even more interesting when considering the total number of spam calls recorded by the app being 11 million between March and September. Despite Vermont’s relatively small population size, it received approximately 10% of all total spam calls.

https://www.pxfuel.com/en/search?q=contact
https://www.pxfuel.com/en/search?q=contact

While these numbers are quite high, they don’t show the true danger spam calls pose to Vermont as a whole. Data collected during 2020 by the Vermont Attorney General’s office showed that a total of 249 Vermonters were scammed as a result of these calls. The amount of money that was taken from these people was estimated to be 1.5 million dollars in total. That’s over 6 thousand dollars per person. In comparison with the 30 million dollars stolen nationwide, Vermont holds a large portion relative to its total population.

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As it turns out these numbers are unusual. A company called Strategic IT Partner was routing thousands of foreign scam calls directly to Vermont. This Florida-based company now faces fines of up to 67 thousand dollars if they do not screen the legitimacy of the calls they reroute. Although this company has been penalized, this doesn’t spell the end for scam calls in Vermont. In light of this, please be aware of the calls you receive as well as the information you disclose over the phone.

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/05/how-to-stop-spam-robocalls-with-stir-shaken.ht

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COP 26 Leads the Climate Concern Conversation

by Vivie Babbott

Are you concerned about our climate? Starting on October 31st and continuing through November 12th, over 100 world leaders are attending the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP 26. This year the conference is being held at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow, Scotland. The purpose of this assembly is to assess the world’s progress towards the 2015 Paris Agreement, and for world leaders to agree upon coordinated action to combat climate change.

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(Photo courtesy of Reuters.com)

Though most countries will be represented in one way or another, Chinese president Xi Jinping, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, and Russian president Vladmir Putin will not be attending the conference. Along with these three key absences, presidents of  Mexico, South Africa, and Iran will also be missing COP 26. Queen Elizabeth of Britain, who was originally attending, has pulled out of the meeting due to doctor’s orders to rest. She will continue to participate virtually.

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(Photo courtesy of The Washington Post)

COP 26 has already seen the start of climate successes so far. The European Commission President announced around 100 nations have signed a global pledge to cut methane emissions by 30% (as of 2020 levels) by 2030, which is expected to immediately slow climate change. In addition to this, the US, France, UK, Germany, and European Union have agreed to fund South Africa´s shift away from coal. This could pave the way for other developing countries, who contribute largely to pollution. The pledge to end deforestation by 2030 turned into solid budget commitments including the European Union, US, and UK. Their budgets are, respectively, $1.1 billion, $9 billion, and $2 billion (all in USD).

The Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) is a group which brings together the top 48 countries most at risk from climate change. CVF held a meeting at COP 26 on Tuesday, calling upon rich countries to assist in their transition to green economies. Ghana is one of the countries in CVF, and Ghana’s president Nana Akufo-Addo stated ¨The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows Africa is warming faster than any continent in the world even though we are the least emitters.¨ One of the CVF´s request was 500 billion in climate finance between 2020 and 2024. Half of this for mitigation through reducing carbon emissions, and half for adapting to climate impacts.

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(Photo courtesy of https://panafricanvisions.com/)

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MLB free agency is here. Who will sign where?

by River Mitchell

The 2021 MLB season has come to an end, so that means that it’s time for pending free agents to sign new contracts and find new teams. There are a lot of really big free agent names on the market this offseason, a lot of them very likely to change teams and find a new home. So today I’m going to go over who I think is going to go where, and what kind of contract they will probably get.

The first one is probably the biggest free agent we will talk about, and that’s Carlos Correa. Correa has been a premier shortstop in the MLB for the last several years, and one of most well rounded players in the MLB. Really good defensively, good arm, can run a little bit, and is a beast at the plate. He is always going to have the 2017 Astros cheating scandal over his head, but there is no doubt that this guy is one of the top players in the MLB. He finished the year with 25 homers, 96 RBI’s, and a 134 wRC+ and a .851 OPS. With all this being said, I think the Astros will let go of Correa. He was given a qualifying offer which I can’t imagine he accepts, and he was also recently given a contract offer from the Astros. 5 years, 160 million dollars. I don’t believe he is going to accept that either, because he wants a long term deal, somewhere between 8-10 years. He is only 27, and is in the prime of his career right now. I think when it’s all said and done, he will go to the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers have AJ Hinch at the helm, who is his former manager and was the manager for the 2017 world series when they won it all. They have a young and up and coming team, surprising a lot of people last season playing better than expected. They are going to have a really good rotation in Casey Mize, Tarik Scubal, Matt Manning, and Spencer Turnbull. They also have Spencer Torkelson who should come up, and potentially Riley Greene as well. I think that if Detroit offers him a 8 year 250 million dollar contract, he will more than likely accept. 

Next, let’s talk about Corey Seager.  Seager has been a really good shortstop for the last several years, especially with the bat. People have always called Seager to be a top 10 shortstop in the MLB, and has been a stalwart for the Dodgers. Last season he did deal with some injuries, but when he was on the field he was really good, with a .915 OPS and a 147 wRC+.  However, they did acquire Trea Turner at the trade deadline while Seager was injured. That put the writing of the wall for him to be gone this offseason. I think that he will end up going to the New York Yankees. They have a need at the shortstop position that they need to fill, and Seager would be the perfect guy to fill that position. His swing would work perfectly for Yankee stadium, and is a good quality left handed bat that provides a lot of value. His defense isn’t great, but it doesn’t matter as much when you hit as good as Corey Seager. I think that they will probably give him a 3 year deal, worth about 75 million dollars over the 3 years. The Yankees do have Anthony Volpe in the minors, who should be up in a few years. They just need a guy that can be a bridge shortstop for a few years before Volpe comes up. 

Another shortstop that will be finding a new home in 2022 is Trevor Story. Story got called up to the majors in 2016 with the Colorado Rockies, and immediately had a huge impact. Since Story has been in the league throughout his career, he has been one of best offensive shortstops in baseball, while having a very good glove. He wasn’t great in 2017 and had a down year in 2021, but it was still an above average season with a bang on 100 wRC+ and 24 homers. He also had an .800 OPS and 103 OPS+. He will not be returning to the Rockies next season, due to the simple fact that the Rockies are quite bad. He wants to play with a competitive team, which the Rockies aren’t. I could definitely see him going to the St Louis Cardinals. Paul Dejong is nothing more than a bench player, and Edmundo Sosa isn’t the long term answer. Story would be able to reunite with old teammate Nolan Arenado, and would have more protection around him in the lineup. I could see the Cardinals giving him a 3 or 4 year deal, worth about 20-25 million per year. I think it would be a perfect fit for him in St Louis, and he still is a very good player, just had a down year last year.

Next up is another shortstop, this one being Javier Baez. Javier Baez is a very interesting player. He strikes out a lot, recording a whopping 184 strikeouts in 2021. But, he did hit 31 homers and finished the year with a .813 OPS and a 116 wRC+. He is a wizard defensively however, being one of the best overall defensive players in baseball. Baez was traded to the Mets at the trade deadline, and actually ended up playing a lot better with the Mets than he did with the Cubs. He cut way down on the strikeouts, started walking more, had an insanely high on base which he did not give while on the cubs. Overall he is a borderline top 10 shortstop, and does provide value. He isn’t a bad player by any means, but I wouldn’t give him the same money as Correa, Seager, and maybe even Story. I think he will probably go back to the Mets, on a 2 year deal for maybe 30-40 million dollars over those 2 years. They do already have Lindor at short, but Baez could fit in very nicely at 2nd base, which he did once getting traded to the Mets. 

Nex player we will talk about is not a shortstop, but a first baseman. Freddie Freeman, who has been one of the best offensive and defensive first baseman for this past decade, is now a free agent. Freeman since 2011 has always been a guy that can hit homers, drive in runs, and doesn’t strikeout much while walking at a decent clip. This past season he had a really good year, hitting 32 homers and driving in 120 RBI’s. He also had a wRC+ at 135 and a .896 OPS. I think that the chances of him returning to the Braves are very high, as he has been a stalwart at first base for the past decade for the Braves with no signs of slowing down. If for some crazy reason he doesn’t return to the Braves, I could see the Yankees being a landing spot for him. His swing would work really well in Yankee Stadium, and he would definitely be an upgrade over Voit or Rizzo. Neither of those players are bad by any means, but they aren’t anywhere close to as good as Freeman. 

MLB free agency is a crazy time of year. A really busy part of the year where people are looking to find new teams, and MLB executives are making moves to improve their teams. Of course, anything can happen when it comes to players’ new landing spots. But these are my best predictions on what I think will happen. I will be making part 2, so keep your eyes out for that!

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Why Are Horses Dying In The West?

 By Olivia O’Rourke -

Where there once was a natural pond, there is now barely a trickle of water surrounded by the carcasses of horses decomposing on the cracked dry earth. The drought in the western United States is the worst it’s been in 100’s of years. As a result, wild horses are suffering major casualties. To stop these deaths, saving these horses is not only the right thing to do, it is also a law and the Bureau of Land Management is doing what they can to save these horses. 

 According to Climate.gov, the drought in Arizona is the worst since the 1200’s. Other western states such as Nevada and Utah are also seeing record drought.In an interview with NPR radio, Lisa Reid from the Bureau of Land Management said she is working on finding homes for more than 6000 wild horses that are living in the desert and will soon die if they are not rehomed. To make sure these horses are sent to good homes and not just to be slaughtered, there is a $1000 incentive given one year after the adoption.

 People like Lisa Reid and Suzanne Roy are doing what they can to save these horses, but for every one saved there are more that are dying. They continue to work to save more horses. Their hope is that the majority end up at small stables in other parts of the country and avoid being slaughtered.

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Most Popular Social Media Platform, Facebook, to Rebrand

By: Harrison Young-Glatz

UPDATE: As of October 28th, 2021, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook stated that Facebook’s corporate name will be changed to “meta”. This is similar to how Google’s corporate name is “Alphabet Inc.”

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook revealed, in an interview to The Verge that took place July, 2021, that he was planning to rebrand Facebook to “play into the metaverse more.”

In the interview, Zuckerberg stated that, over the next few years, “we will effectively transition from people seeing us [facebook] as primarily a social media company to being a metaverse company.” 

Now what is metaverse? Mark Zuckerberg plans to morph facebook into a metaverse company, but what does this mean? 

The metaverse is a concept that digitally combines ingredients of social media, Augmented Reality, and Virtual Reality. It’s essentially a new world that you can see, hear, taste, smell, and feel.

If the new Facebook rebrand goes best-case, this could be the future of technology as we see it today. The implications and possibilities are endless. It could use something like google’s experimental new holographic glasses, or even facebook’s own Oculus brand that makes Virtual Reality headsets.

See related story on Vox:

https://www.vox.com/recode/2021/11/17/22787191/facebook-meta-haptic-glove-metaverse

 

 

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Cryptocurrency Rug Pull Scam Makes Owner Big Bucks

By: Harrison Young-Glatz

Recently, a cryptocurrency coin called “Squid Coin ” took a one-of-a-kind journey from 40$ a coin to 2,850$ a coin in 4 hours, then 5 minutes after its peak, plummeted to 0.0008$. But how did this happen?

On October 20th, 2021, a crypto coin SQUID, which was pitched as a pay-to-earn crypto coin for an upcoming Squid Game online game (inspired by Squid Game, a Netflix show released September 17th, 2021), Climbed 310,000% in its first 10 days from investors and crypto traders going all in. 

5 minutes after SQUID’s peak of $2,856.64 USD, it sank all the way down to $0.0007926 USD. As Charlie Bilello, CEO of Capital Advisors, and an avid investor, pointed out in a tweet published on November 1st, 2021:

Squid Game Crypto Coin Today…

1:35am: $38.19

2:35am: $89.91

3:35am: $93.64

4:35am: $434.70

5:35am: $2,856.64

5:40am: $0.0007926”

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Why did nobody sell earlier? There were supposedly many red flags to deter people from buying into the coin in the first place, like the website for SQUID being filled with typos and spelling errors. CoinMarketCap, the world’s most referenced price tracking site for cryptocurrencies warned before the scandal that SQUID was a scam, and not to invest in it; yet the biggest red flag was the fact that you could never sell the token. You could only ever buy in, but never sell.

People invested regardless of all of these warning signs in hopes of earning profit from the game they were investing in, but because the founder and creator of SQUID coin set it up so that only they could sell, they banked out an estimated $2,100,000 USD on the backs of crypto investors.

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NFL Week 7 Recap

By River Mitchell

The Broncos played the Browns in Cleveland on Thursday, October 21st, 2021. The Browns came up with a big win, winning by a final score of 17-14. Case Keenum got the start in this game with Baker Mayfield being sidelined due to a MCL sprain in his left shoulder. Keenum had himself a very nice game going 21/33 with 199 yards and a touchdown. Considering that Keenum has been a backup for a lot of his career and he was going up against a great Broncos defense, I’m sure Cleveland fans are very happy with the performance.

The Tennessee Titans absolutely walloped the chiefs On Sunday, October 24th, winning by a final score of 27-3. Ryan Tannehill had a very good game going 21/27 with 270 yards, a TD, and a pick. After going out in the first round of the playoffs last season, the Titans look really good and look to make it further than they did last year. Patrick Mahomes did not have the best of days, going 20/35 for 206 yards, no TD’s, and a pick. Considering the Chiefs won SB 54 and made it to the SB last season, it might be time to hit the panic button as they are sitting at 3-4, and tied for 3rd in the AFC West. 

The Packers, who have been red hot this season winning their last 6 in a row, beat the Washington Football Team 24-10 on Sunday, October 24th. Aaron Rodgers, who has been money for the Packers, went 27/35 for 274 yards, 3 TD’s, and 0 picks.  With the Packers trying to make it to the SB after losing in the NFC championship game for the last 2 seasons, they are proving to the entire country why they are still one of the elite teams in the NFC. 

The Bengals, who have been a huge surprise team this season, get a surprise win against the Baltimore Ravens, winning 41-17 on Sunday, October 24th. Joe Burrow had a monster game, going 23/38 with a whopping 416 yards, 3 TDs, and a pick. While a lot of credit for that win goes to Joe Burrow, you got to give some credit to Rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who is also the frontrunner for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Chase went for 201 receiving yards on 8 receptions, also breaking out a 82 yards touchdown pass from Joe Burrow. While I still have faith in the Ravens and they are still a very good team, this was a brutal loss for them. 

The struggling Giants hosted the Carolina Panthers on Sunday and beat them convincingly, winning by a score of 25-3 on Sunday, October 24th. The Giants defense really carried most of the load, by allowing an opening drive field goal and then nothing after that. Daniel Jones wasn’t spectacular but was good enough, going 23/33 or 203 yards and a TD, with an unbelievable 1 handed helmet catch thrown by Dante Pettis.

The Falcons beat the dolphins in a thriller in Miami on Sunday, October 24th, beating them by a final score of 30-28. Matt Ryan had a really good game for Atlanta, going 25/40 for 336 yards, 2 TDs, and a pick. This game wasn’t put on ice until the final seconds, when the Atlanta kicker Younghoe Koo hit a game winning field goal, with 3 seconds left in regulation. With the Dolphins coming into the season with their sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and high expectations, they sit at a measly 1-6.

The Patriots absolutely romped the New York Jets on Sunday, October 24, winning by a final score of 54-13. Mac Jones had by far the best start of his career, going 24/36 for 307 yards, 2 TDs, and 0 picks. That was a big win for the Patriots with all the struggles they have had this season, and the Jets continue to fall to the basement of the NFL once again. But that’s not the biggest headline to come out of this game. Rookie QB Zach Wilson was injured on a play by the Patriots star outside linebacker Matt Judon. The official diagnosis was a PCL injury, which gave Mike White the opportunity to appear in his first ever NFL game, including his first career touchdown pass to wide receiver Corey Davis. The Jets ended up later trading with the Eagles for veteran QB and SB 47 MVP, Joe Flacco. Flacco played for the Jets last in 2020, getting occasional starts here and there. 

The raiders get a big win against the Eagles in Las Vegas, by a score of 33-22 on Sunday, October 24th. Derek Carr had another really good performance, going 31/34 for 323 yards, 2 TDs, and a pick. With the Raiders now at 5-2 and 1st in the AFC West, this has got to feel good after coming up short last season finishing at 8-8. 

The Rams got yet another win against the Bears on Sunday, October 24th, beating the 0-7 Lions by a score of 28-19. Matt Stafford went off against his former team, going 28/41 with 334 yards, and 3 TDs with 0 picks. After acquiring Matt Stafford, the Rams have taken their game to a whole new level, while the Lions are struggling out on the field after losing their former franchise quarterback. 

The Bucs walloped the Bears in Tampa on Sunday, October 24th, winning 38-3. Tom Brady is still defying the odds at 44 years old, putting up phenomenal stats year after year. This game, he went 20/36 with 211 yards, 4 TDs, and 0 picks. While the defense was nails for the bucs today and has been the last 2 years, Justin Fields has not been good. With another disappointing outing going 22/32 for 184 yards, 0 TD’s and a whopping 3 interceptions. With the Bears sending a lot of draft capital to the Giants for trading up in the 2021 NFL draft to snag Justin Fields, they have to be somewhat concerned about the future of their planned franchise quarterback.

The Cardinals romp the Houston Texans by a final score of 31-5 on Sunday, October 24th. Kyler Murray had another great outing, going 20/28 for 261 yards, 3 TDs, and a pick. With the Texans most weeks struggling to generate any offense and with their defense being absolutely awful, it’s going to be a long season for Houston. 

The Colts get a big win against the 49ers on Sunday night football on Sunday, October 24th, winning by a final score of 30-18. With the Colts before this game sitting at 2-4, this was a big win for  a team who has been really struggling this year. Carson Wentz was ok, going 17/26 for 150 yards, 2 TDs, and 0 picks. But, Jonathan Taylor was a key factor in this win for the Colts, rushing for 107 yards on 18 carries and a TD. With the 49ers now at 2-4, this looks to be the 2nd straight year not in the playoffs after making it to SB 54. 

The Saints got the win on Monday, October 25th, winning in a close matchup, with a score of 13-10. While only making 19 completions on 35 attempts for James Winston, he did manage to throw for 222 yards and a touchdown with 0 picks. Running back Alvin Kamara had a big game through the air, with 10 receptions for 128 yards yards and a TD, while also rushing for 51 yards on 20 carries. With the Seahawks now at 2-5 with Russell Wilson still being sidelined, this could be a challenging year for Seattle. 

 

 

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Will you take the PSATS/ SATS next year?

By Mazzy Ricklefs       

The PSATS were Wednesday, October 13th for all junior CVU students. The weekend before that, Saturday, October 9th, seniors had their first round of SATS, which will continue through October and can be taken in the winter as well. Many juniors take the SATS, too, which will become available this winter/ spring, although most retake it senior year. “I’m taking the SATS later this year, that way I can retake them next year in case I don’t do too well.” says Lucas, an 11th grader at CVU.

Lucas wasn’t really nervous or worried about taking the PSATS and planned to take advantage of the practice it will give him for SATS. The PSAT is just a practice test for the actual SAT. Though it doesn’t count for anything, sometimes people submit the scores received on it to colleges, to see. The SAT is the test that actually matters to most people and can be taken up to 2 times. The SAT is a standardized test for getting into college but not every school requires you to submit your score.

There are 3 parts to the PSAT test: Reading ( 47 multiple choice questions), Writing and Language (44 multiple choice questions), and math ( 40 multiple choice questions and 8 student produced response questions).

As far as the SATS, they are just a more complicated and longer version of the PSATS. Gabby, a senior who took the PSATS last year, states that she, “Didn’t want to go because it seemed slightly stressful but it ended up being pretty easy, just very long.” Megan, a junior that took the practice test this past Wednesday, seems to have a similar thought. “It was very consuming and I couldn’t get through all the questions in the amount of time required, so that was a little disappointing.” As far as what the process of taking the test was like, she says that ” The PSATS were very formal and we only got 5 minute breaks… weren’t allowed to leave the classroom.”

So are taking the PSATS or SATS worth it? This year 10 students opted out of taking the PSATS and it is unclear if they opted out due to the fact that both formal tests are optional this year because many colleges are not requiring them. “By going test-optional, institutions are making a definitive statement that they will not need test scores to make admission decisions this year,” the National Association for College Admission Counseling said earlier this year. For students with low-income families, however, opting out of testing is not an option because scholarships tied to test scores are only more in demand due to the pandemic effect on our economy.     

https://www.ft.com/content/4be47818-e889-4442-a009-1d1adda25b0d

Facebook under Fire

By Ian Dunkley

HINESBURG, VT (CVU Journalism class) – Facebook, the social media giant, has come under fire recently with an antitrust lawsuit against the potential monopoly the company poses on the social media world. This claim was brought forward by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a federal agency whose mission is to simultaneously promote competition and protect consumers. The prevention of monopolies falls under this objective. The FTC first sued Facebook in December 2020 on the grounds that purchasing competition such as Instagram and Whatsapp in 2012 and 2014 respectively, constitutes an attempted formation of a monopoly. Had this been proven, Facebook would be broken up as a penalty. 

When the lawsuit was brought to court, Facebook spokesperson Commissioner Christine S. Wilson commented, “The case is entirely without legal or factual support.” Judge James Boasberg was of the same opinion, ruling in favor of Facebook, and dismissing the complaint. Boasberg commented on the ruling of the case, and speculated as to why the FTC’s complaints were initially rejected. “The Court is aware of no case, and Plaintiffs provide none, where such a long delay in seeking such a consequential remedy has been countenanced in a case brought by a plaintiff other than the federal government.”

However, this wasn’t the end of the lawsuit. While the initial claims were dismissed, the judge granted the FTC 30 additional days to refile their complaint. In order for the complaint to be considered, the FTC had to provide sufficient evidence proving that Facebook had monopolized the industry. This would be done by presenting evidence showing Facebook’s market share to be 60% or or higher. The plaintiff’s second attempt at breaking up the company ended in failure yet again, with the court upholding its initial decision.

One implication of this ruling is the effect on social media users. With Facebook being able to stay a single company, its power and influence is kept intact. This means that the tech giant has the ability to continue purchasing other competitors just as it did in 2012 with instagram and 2014 with Whatsapp. Other social media platforms that aren’t able to compete with Facebook will end up being bought and could change from its original form. Consumers who initially used the service may see unwelcome changes after the merge. 

Original photo by Ethan Cook

Should Vermonters be required to wear masks?

By Ethan Cook

After the brief low of Covid cases over the summer, many people still haven’t gotten their masks back on. Covid cases in Vermont have actually increased since the so-called ‘peak’ of the pandemic, yet many people still aren’t covering their faces while inside.

This is because the vaccine has been thought of as preventative, when it really serves mostly as a reduction of symptoms. According to an article on NBC5 from October 12th, “just over 3,600 fully vaccinated Vermonters have contracted the virus after being fully vaccinated, also known as a ‘breakthrough’ case of COVID-19 as of Oct. 12. That represents roughly 0.8% of fully vaccinated residents.” This data tells us that vaccinations greatly reduce the severity of the virus, but do less of a good job at preventing it altogether. That is a job for masks and other precautions. 

The same article also helps by explaining when to wear masks. “The CDC’s updated mask guidance says fully vaccinated Americans do not need to wear masks or physically distance indoors or outdoors, with some exceptions. People should wear masks in crowded indoor locations like airplanes, buses, hospitals and prisons.” Vermont laws include schools as well.

However, masking is still being pushed back against by some individuals. Masks have been a crucial part of most Americans’ lives for the past year. Laws have been constantly changing in regard to whether or not masks are a necessity, and Vermont is no exception. The Vermont government has put in place regulations requiring masks in schools, and all members of the executive branch, which includes politicians, police officers, and other government workers, were to get vaccinated.

 At the end of August 2021, Twinfield Union school had already closed classrooms due to cases of Covid, and prisons in Vermont have started requiring masks again after over 20 people were diagnosed. Northern Vermont University decided it was best to switch back to online schooling when eight students got Covid in a week. Sylvia Plumb, director of marketing and communications, stated that, “with cases rising in Vermont and throughout the United States, this is not unexpected. This underscores how critically important it is for our community to be vaccinated, masked up properly while inside, and testing as appropriate.” 

Governor Scott thinks that the problem is that people are not getting vaccinated. “Vaccines are still changing the game. We need people to keep stepping up to get their shot and to get the booster when the time comes.” Covid-19 statistics showed an upcoming decrease in early September, but through those weeks, there had been increases of over 20 percent.  On September 23rd, we had a day in which 289 new cases were diagnosed in Vermont. The situation has gotten much worse since June, but taking as many precautions as possible will help to bring us back to normal.

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NYC Schools to Open in Fall 2021

Hailey Chase

NEW YORK, NY– On Monday May 24, 2021, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that New York City schools can return to in-person learning in the fall of 2021 in response to relaxed COVID guidelines and increasing vaccination rates in the city.

The mayor expects that schools will be able to accommodate all students while respecting guidelines put forth by the CDC, one concerning rule being social distancing. NYC is home to over 1 million students, and the 3 feet of social distance may become difficult to obey in the highest-populated city in the United States. In response to these concerns, the mayor noted that he expects the CDC to alter social distancing guidelines between now and September. 

The mayor expects there to be a remote option, and schools will switch to remote learning on snow days to continue teaching.

Many colleges and universities have already announced a “normal” return to school in the fall, and it is likely that other cities will follow in de Blasio’s footsteps.

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How Hannaford is Handling Food Waste

By Shayne Waite

Hannaford, one of the Eastern Regional Food Chains, is doing its part in reducing food waste.

Thousands of people shop at Hannaford daily, but almost 40% of the food on the shelf never gets sold, leading to it going into the landfill. Here in Vermont, it is more regulated than other states due to our very progressive composting law. 

During a WCAX interview with George Parmenter, sustainability manager at a Hannaford based in Maine, said, “When food gets wasted, it typically goes to a landfill. Not so much in Vermont because you guys have very progressive laws about food waste bans, but most everywhere else… it ends up in a landfill.” Parmenter continued, “last year Hannaford achieved its goal of sending no food waste to landfills, and that includes all of its 183 stores in New England and New York. Hannaford says the zero food waste program kept 65 million pounds of food waste from reaching landfills last year.”

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How this works is through inventory management and pulling food that is clearly out of date or isn’t going to sell.  Over 10,000 pounds of food cannot be sold, but it still can be eaten, which gets donated to food banks across the state to feed people in need. According to State officials, most, if not all, grocery stores are sorting food waste because it’s the law.  Brian Phelps, the Produce Manager at Hannaford in Williston, says all produce that goes bad or is damaged goes into the compost bin and none of it goes into the landfill.

People should be encouraged by local stores to do their part in making sure no food gets to a landfill and also do it in their own home by composting as well.

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Wacky Ways to Encourage Vaccination

Jagger Lehouiller  5/20/21

WILLISTON VT– With vaccines rapidly rolling out around the world, hospitals and communities are finding ways to make the vaccine fun, a little more interesting, and more enticing for those who are reluctant.  

Many US states are getting involved. Connecticut is offering a free fountain  drink at select restaurants and stores for those who can provide a vaccination record; Connecticut is now also leading 4th in vaccination rates as of 5/21/21 in the US. 

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Not only is the US finding ways to draw in the community; it’s global. Even Romania is offering vaccines at Dracula’s Castle! According to the BBC, “Medics with fang stickers on their scrubs are offering Pfizer shots to everyone who visits the 14th-century Bran Castle in central Romania.”

Also in Washington and Wisconsin,  select tap houses they are offering a free beer with proof of vaccination referred to as a “shot and chaser”.

Vermonters are getting coupons for a free ice cream with vaccination record.  According to the Vermont Department of Agriculture,  “All the participating creemee vendors have joined in this effort to help protect the public from the coronavirus by covering part of the cost of each creemee,” the agency wrote on its website. “The coupons are limited to the first 10,000 people who receive a vaccine dose on a first-come, first serve basis, until all coupons have been claimed.”

With vaccination rates on the rise, and new incentives getting people vaccinated, things are looking up for our communities.

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Bye-Bye Bitcoin…Hello Again?

Bitcoin Stocks Plummeting

Hailey Chase

NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE— On April 17, 2021, people involved with the Bitcoin stock market were sent to a frenzy when the market experienced an immense drop, as the Treasury Department was honing in on cryptocurrency as an outlet for money laundering, and a $16 billion change of ownership of Dogecoin occurred via RobinHood. 

The “inevitable” decline, beginning at 7:00pm on Saturday, April 17, was Bitcoin’s largest monetary drop in history—yet it was not the highest percentage drop. In the month of April, the highest recorded price per Bitcoin was over $64,000, and in a short nine days, that price had dropped to under $48,000 by April 25th. The $16,000 drop in price per Bitcoin brought the entire market to a panic and many people sold their shares in fear of an even further decline.

On May 10, 2021, the price per Bitcoin continued to fluctuate by the second, yet the market was steadily recovering. From mid-April to early May, the decay had leveled to only about a 4.5% decrease, and the prices for the past week have only declined .60%.

However, on May 12, Tesla Co-founder and CEO, Elon Musk announced that Tesla will no longer accept Bicoin as a viable form of currency to pay for any Tesla products. At the time of the announcement, Bitcoin was around $56,000, then it took a steep decline of nearly 25% and is hovering around $43,000 as of May 17, 2021.

What does this mean for the future of Bitcoin? Like any cryptocurrency, the market is fast-paced and has the potential to change significantly every day. However, Tesla pulling out of Bitcoin is a major change that the market may not be able to sustain. While some say this crash was to be expected, others say that an even larger price per Bitcoin can be expected in the future. 

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Vermont Mask Restrictions Blown Away?

Sawyer Thorpe

5/14/2021

MONTPELIER, VT– CDC director Rochelle P. Walensky released a statement Thursday evening that abolished mask restrictions for adults who have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Today, Governor Phil Scott released a statement saying, “The fact is, if you’re fully vaccinated, the health experts at the CDC have determined there is very little risk. It’s time to reward all the hard work you’ve done over the past 14 months to make Vermont’s pandemic response the best in the country.” 

Additionally, Governor Scott announced that people arriving from out of state no longer need to be tested for COVID-19, skipping 2 weeks forward in the restart plan. Not only do travelers from out of state no longer need to get tested, they also no longer need to quarantine for 2 weeks before beginning their adventures.

As of this press release, nothing has yet come from the CVU administration about how these developments will impact our community.

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New Virus, New Mask Mandates, New College Application Process?

Hailey Chase

HINESBURG, VT– Two words of 2020 were “new normal,” and that can even be applied to CVU’s seniors’ different college application process. From travel restrictions to different class scheduling at CVU, this “new normal” has had a significant impact on seniors’ college decisions.

CVU senior Sunny Premsankar expressed how this year’s college process was unique for her. Sunny was unable to visit any schools before sending in her applications—something most seniors can relate to. Like Sunny, most seniors utilized online resources for the majority of their college research. Many colleges and universities now offer virtual self-guided tours; prospective students can click through campus and get an idea of what schools may look like. Thankfully, Sunny was able to visit the school she committed to, but only a few days before the May 1st National Commitment Day deadline. Another obstacle she had to overcome was the final semester of junior year; the world was shutting down, school was online, but AP classes continued to teach new material. 

“End of the school year-wise, I think it was harder for AP class and for AP exams. For Chem at least, we had to do three units online before the AP exam. It was definitely harder to end with a good grade,” the student noted. Sunny’s experience in her final semester as a junior is something almost all students at CVU can relate to; when COVID hit and school was online, it was a major change that didn’t discriminate—absolutely everyone was affected. For juniors and seniors enrolled in AP classes last spring, that meant a greater challenge to learn the new material in preparation for finals and the AP exam. 

CVU Guidance Counselor Jen Bickel-Hayes weighed her opinion on the class of 2021’s college application experience as well. On the topic of new test-optional policies, she explained, “One of the biggest changes was that most schools took a test-optional approach with their testing policy. This means that applicants were able to submit test scores if they felt they would be beneficial to their application. However, if they chose not to send test scores, the schools would not view this negatively when considering a student for acceptance,” which many students were grateful for. In Vermont, SAT and ACT testing sites began canceling test sessions in March 2020, and there were little to no tests offered until September of 2020. The guidance counselor also touched on new COVID-related writing prompts on many schools’ applications as an opportunity for applicants to share how COVID has affected their life, whether it be academic or not. 

In terms of college applications for future college applicants, Bickel-Hayes believes that there are a few significant changes that are here to stay, the first one being test-optional policies at some colleges. “Many schools will remain test optional for at least next year’s application season. This is due to the fact that it is still difficult for students to take the tests or take it multiple times,” she stated. 

COVID has had an immense impact on the world—not just on CVU and its students. “New normal” policies are being implemented into every aspect of life, and the college application process is no exception. With lasting effects, from finishing junior year remotely and the inability to visit colleges, CVU’s seniors have had a much different college application process than pre-COVID classes, and now some of these changes, such as test-optional policies, are here to stay.

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Concealed Handguns

Kobey Pecor

4/29/2021

NEW YORK– The Supreme Court conservative majority decided Monday, April 26th to hear an appeal of a New York law that restricts people from carrying concealed handguns in public. This would lead to the first major Supreme Court decision on gun laws in a decade. 

New York has banned carrying a handgun openly. The state law says anyone seeking a license to carry a concealed weapon must demonstrate “a special need for self protection distinguishable from that of the general community or of persons engaged in the same profession.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo defended the law as necessary to ensure safety, also calling on the federal government to pass stricter national laws. There will be a hearing later this fall

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld a Hawaii law similar to New York’s. The appeals court had ruled earlier that individuals do not have a Second Amendment right to carry concealed weapons in public.

Vermont gun laws are the most permissive in the United States. The state does not issue permits for carrying firearms and operates on an “Unrestricted” policy. Any person 16 or older (Federal law requires the age to be 18) and who can legally possess a firearm is allowed to carry openly or concealed.