Florida Passes Gun Bill

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On March 7th, Florida lawmakers passed a bill that would put some restrictions on firearms and also allow some school staff to be armed. The bill raises the age to buy a firearm from 18 to 21, and requires gun sales to have a 3 day waiting period. Other provisions of the bill are an increase in funding for school security and an expansion of mental health services. People who have been deemed mentally incompetent by a judge or have institutionalized will be unable to buy a gun. Under the new laws, police would be able to bar a person deemed dangerous by a court from owning firearms for up to a year. It would also ban bump stocks, a kind of device that allows guns to fire extremely fast. The bill still needs to be signed by governor Rick Scott before it goes into effect.

Academy Awards 2018

Guillermo del Toro, winner of the awards for best director and best picture for “The Shape of Water,” poses in the press room at the Oscars on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

This year’s Oscar winners were  interesting, but not surprising, as many of this year’s winners had already won in their categories at shows leading up to the Academy Awards. This year’s Oscars were held in Dolby Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. All Academy Awards have been hosted there since 2002. The winner for Best Picture was “The Shape of Water,” a film about a mute woman who falls in love with a government laboratory specimen. The Director of the film, Guillermo del Toro, won the Director award.

See complete list of Academy Award winners below:

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Logic’s Brings New Perspectives to Rap and Music Industry

Rapper and singer Robert Bryson, also known as “Bobby,” or his stage name, “Logic,”

Logic’s 2017 VMAs performance speech.

recently rose to popularity after the hit song, “1-800-273-8255.” This song, released early in 2017, gained a lot of attention after the meaning behind the song was revealed and

when the music video was dropped later that year. The song was named after the national suicide prevention hotline, and revealed Logic’s own experiences in life before he discovered music.

Logic performing at VMAs with suicide survivors.

Logic was raised in Montgomery County, MD. His parents both suffered with a form of addiction; his mother was an alcoholic and his father was addicted to cocaine. Logic suffered with anxiety, depression, and addiction. Despite these things, he began creating music, but even after gaining some financial stability after the release of his second album, he still worried about not being relevant or being able to ‘make it’ in the industry.  In his mind, he thought that he had to work constantly and never stop in order to ensure success. This pressure led to anxiety attacks and a stay in the hospital. He says now that he was having all these bad thoughts but nothing like,”Im going to kill myself.” But he did have an existential crisis and wondered why he was alive and felt he lost his purpose. But instead of dropping into a downward spiral, he put the negative energy and dark thoughts into his music. Through it all, he maintained a small but loyal fanbase called, “The Rattpack.”

Today, Logic continues to pour his feelings into his songs, allowing others who listen to not feel like they’re alone. After the release of “1800”  and his performance at the VMAS, the actual suicide hotline reported almost 50% more calls. Logic lives by the mantra, “Peace, love, positivity, and equality for all.” He performed at the VMAS in 2017 and the Grammy’s in January 2018, giving incredible speeches while standing with suicide survivors wearing shirts that read, “You’re not alone.” Because of his message of positivity and support, Logic has a fanbase stronger than ever now as he releases new music, goes on tours, and quickly becomes one of the most influential artists of his generation.

Teacher Walk-Out In West Virginia Over Pay Raise and Insurance Benefits

As of today, teachers in West Virginia are continuing their strike, making it nine days since school has been opened.  In response, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has proposed a bill that would give a 5% pay raise to state teachers, school staff and police.

Signs such as “Will Teach For Insurance” were seen during the protest in West Virginia.

After talking to a sixth grader named Gideon Titus-Glover about the issue, Justice says he changed his opinion on this issue. Reporters were told that Justice spoke to both the House and the Senate. The governor is “‘very, very hopeful’” that a bill would be passed soon to replace the small raise that will formulate over time.

The governor said that the issue of insurance will take both a task force and time. This upset the teachers that there was no immediate fix, and visibly the ones at the state Capitol. After being told to go back to school on Thursday and with the potential of another upcoming strike, the teachers were chanting phrases like “Fix it now!” and “Back to the table!” 

Teachers in West Virginia taking to the streets during the ongoing protest.

As of the writing of this article, there is no agreement In order to defend his role, Justice stated “I’m trying. What else can I do?” He also says, “I’m not king. I’m doing what all I can possibly do, ” in regards to his attempt to resolve the strike.

Senator Mitch Carmichael says in response to the governor’s opinion, “We cannot continue to spend money we do not have or write checks we cannot cash.”

**UPDATE: After the writing of this article, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed a bill that gives a 5% pay raise to state teachers, school staff and police.**

Science Fiction Series: Down & Out by Ken Wharton

These are chromatophores.

Each week, Ryan Harvey will be posting about science fiction stories and highlighting the science behind the storylines. This week’s feature is Down & Out, by Ken Wharton. 

Down & Out is a Science Fiction Story by Ken Wharton. It tells the story of a woman named Ogby doing scientific research on the ocean, competing with someone named Roov. Ogby in several ways. First, she discovers that “outside” is real. Second, she correctly determines the structure of her world (she literally turns their understanding upside down). And finally, she communicates this back to her people before she dies. Her struggle to get a message back to her team adds a lot of tension to the final scene.

Her character is very well developed, by the end of the story, we know that she would consider this knowledge well worth dying for. Even though she dies, it’s a story of her victory, not her defeat.

The science in the story is wonderful, and when you realize their world is upside down, though there have already been countless hints in that direction. This especially reveals itself in the scene where Ogby works inside the bubble tells us that she’s used to pretending the world is upside down, so when she’s confronted by the reality of it, she’s ready. The story also touches up upon chromatophores, which are a pigment in the skin of squids, cuttlefish, and Octopuses that allows them to camouflage. The skin can do this on its own. When researchers at Stanford snipped a nerve that connects the brain to the chromatophores, they were still blinking.

Ken Wharton is a writer professor of Physics at UCLA, so he absolutely has the credentials and experience needed to write a story like this. He also does research on physics and experiments on his own time. Down & Out is a great scientifically accurate story that should be read by anyone.

Fortnite Battle Royale: An Intro and Review

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A typical battle scene from Fortnite Battle Royale.

Fortnite Battle Royale is made by Epic Games and is a online multiplayer game with 100 players fighting to the death. The map on Fortnite is 3 x 3km. In the game, players go to different spots of the map armed only with a pickaxe that breaks through walls. The pickaxe helps collect resources such as wood, brick, and metal. Players run around the map collecting weapons from pistols to rocket launchers, as well as resources to help win the game. There is also an eye of a storm that slowly shrinks in and kills players stuck  in it for to long. The goal is the be the last player standing– this can be achieved by killing off the other players.  This doesn’t have to happen through violence– a player can hoard resources, leaving other players without, which leads to their demise.

The logo and title screen.

My opinion, Fortnite is an ‘okay’ game– it’s not the most fun and action- packed game I had hoped for. Each match is around an hour long. Depending on where a player lands, he or she could just spend 30 minutes on  collecting resources and weapons or running from the storm until getting into a fight. A player may or may not win the fight, and afterwards his or her health may be low, so when she runs into another fight, she’s done for. But if the player is lucky, she may win the next one, she better have a med kit!

So, overall, while I find Fortnite pretty boring, I can’t deny that it’s addictive.

Village School Students Honored By Board of Education

Each year, the Great Neck Board of Education acknowledges several Village students for their contributions to our school. At the February 12, 2018 Board of Ed. meeting this year’s winners were honored. Students who recognized were Brianna Kohler for Most Improved, Ben Reiss for Quintessential Student, Emma Strassberg for Community Service, Danielle Gruber for Academic Achiever, and Britney Trachtenberg for Rookie of the Year.  

When asked about why this evening is special, Steve Goldberg said, “First of all, it is validating to have the Board of Education recognize Village School, because sometimes we fly under the radar, and we forget how appreciated we are. Secondly, as an ungraded school, there are few opportunities to recognize special, individual student achievement.”  

Also, Steve said that such an award looks great on a college application, and since we at Village don’t have a lot of extracurricular options, the awards becomes valuable when creating a college resume. 

Lastly, Steve commented that, “the annual awards are also when we get the opportunity to show the Board what Village School is about, which allows for a greater appreciation of our school.”

Congrats to the students who won this year!

Express Delivery — Baby Delivered in the HOV Lane on the LIE

On Tuesday, February 27th, at around 5:35pm, Sergeant Pete Scheuerer, who was on HOV duty cruising eastbound on the LIE in Dix Hills, heard on his radio that a baby was being born on the side of the road, just one exit away from him. Thirty seconds and a mile later, Scheuerer found the Hauppauge couple, Janine and Edward Livote, pulled over in the westbound HOV lane.

Suffolk Police Sgt. Pete Scheuerer (left), and Janine Presley-Livote with husband Edward Livote and baby Charlotte (right).

After a jump over the four-foot-tall median, the sergeant found newborn baby girl, Charlotte, being held in the father’s arms. The 911 dispatcher, Jon Hallock, had coached the couple on what to do. They were on their way to NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola, but the baby, who was already four days ‘overdue’, balked at crossing the county line.

Scheuerer recalls telling Mrs. Livote, “I don’t think you’re going to make it [to Mineola].” “She started to laugh…” he said. “I’ve never seen a mother like this. She was really controlled, calm, talking to me.”

This was Scheuerer’s third time delivering a baby as an NYPD officer, so he was able to notice that Charlotte was having a little trouble taking her first few breaths. He and the father laid the baby on the mother’s stomach, and Scheuerer dislodged a little clot of mucus from her throat.

As Mr. Livote was removing his shoelace to tie off the umbilical cord, highway Officer Brian Baumeister arrived on the scene and rushed over with his medical bag. They tied the umbilical cord off with the string from a surgical mask.

An ambulance from Dix Hills Fire Department took the parents and their newborn baby to Huntington Hospital, where both were in stable condition by Tuesday night.

As for Scheuerer, he said he tells people it’s not only skill, but also luck that makes a job well done: “Half this job is being in the right place at the right time.”

Earthquake Strikes Southeastern Mexico, Many Homes Destroyed

On Friday, February 16th, an earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter Magnitude scale struck southeastern Mexico. The epicenter was in Oaxaca. No deaths or injuries were reported from this earthquake, but many homes were damaged.

13 people were later killed when a helicopter carrying Interior Minister Alfonso Navarrete Prida crashed in a town near the earthquake epicenter.

A building that was destroyed by the earthquake.

Mexico is a frequent hotspot of earthquakes due to its location – the country sits right on top of Earth’s three largest tectonic plates. During seismic activity, multiple areas are affected – especially Mexico City, due to its foundation being a lakebed.

Many in Mexico fear the earthquakes after the 2009 quake that struck in September killing over 200 people and leaving buildings in disarray.

New Restaurant Opened In Great Neck

Looking for a place to satisfy your craving for falafel or savory kabobs? The new Greek restaurant, Greek Xpress, can fulfill your desire for Greek food for sure! Located conveniently at 37 Great Neck Road, it’s accessible after a busy day of shopping in town or quick bite to eat on your way to the library.

The sign inside the aforementioned restaurant that is making its debut in Great Neck.

You can reach them at (516) 570-6814 and can order directly from their website (www.greekxpress.com) or from sites like GrubHub or Seamless. Upon clicking on their site itself, you’re given the choice of delivery or pick-up, and can also contact them through their Facebook page (www.facebook/gxgreatneck) as well. Some menu features are fresh dips made-to- order, garden salads, appetizers, specialty entrees, dinner specials, and even burgers. Additionally, they have an ice cream bar, kid-friendly entrees, and healthy smoothies.

I went to the restaurant in an attempt to try to speak with the owner, and he politely declined, saying that he was too busy and had to help his customers. Even though I was disappointed, the trip still paid off – I was able to witness the movement vibe of the restaurant. Customers seemed very happy and delighted with their meals. I saw that the restaurant seemed to have a lot of business as well. The staff were polite when dealing with

The inside of the restaurant.

hungry customers and also allowed me to take pictures of the restaurant. They seem interested in serving this town Greek food efficiently and at an affordable price, as well as motivated to serve their customers.

The menu boasts that their food is “fresh”, “Greek,” and “delicious,” that their 

Sample of Greek Xpress menu. 

lunch specials, available Monday through Friday are “amazing.”  The restaurant is environmentally-friendly and only includes napkins, utensils, and other single-use items on take-out orders by request only, as stated on the bottom of the menu on the last page. They also offer vegetarian options such as spinach pie, zucchini fritters, and falafel. It is a casual eatery with affordable dishes that makes this a place for everyone. 

There is not a set column for entrees on the menu and instead they sort it by what types of food. For example, all the different types of burgers are grouped together and all the different dinner specials are grouped together. They have many different foods to offer and they really seem to want to get as many different groups of people through the door as they can.