Bald Eales Return to Long Island

A bald eagle (not on Long Island)

For a long time, bald eagles were a rare sight on Long Island. But recently, more and more of these majestic birds have been showing up here, mirroring an increased eagle populations all over the country.

Bald Eagles used to be common all over the country, but by the 1950s there were only 412 nesting pairs left in the lower 48 states. This was due to the pesticide DDT, which caused eagle’s eggs to become extremely brittle and make them break easily, making it almost impossible for eagles to reproduce. DDT was banned in 1972, which has led to a massive recovery of the bald eagle population. Now there are well over 10,000 nesting pairs of bald eagles in America’s lower 48!

In 1972, there was only one nesting pair of bald eagles left in NY state. In 1975, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation introduced nearly 200 bald eagles from Alaska and other states to New York, but all of these either nested upstate or left New York entirely.It was only in the last decade or so that bald eagles began to nest on Long Island again.

During last year’s breeding season, there were several bald eagle nests on Long Island, including on Gardiner’s Island, in Shirley, Centerport, and Hempstead Lake State Park. There was even one in Great Neck!

Next time you’re outside and find yourself near a river or lake, keep an eye out for an eagle, because you might just see one!

The Festival of the Arts – A Very Fun Day At Village

On the last day of classes before spring break, Village School had its annual Festival of the Arts. Festival of the Arts is special because students get to showcase their talents and interests for peers and teachers. The day is organized by students and made possible by student enthusiasm and participation. 

The day was divided up into 25-45 minutes sessions for workshops and performances, with two- three different workshops running per session; students had a choice as to  which workshop they wanted to attend. For performances, the entire school would join together; no other sessions went on during a performance. 

Two teachers, Lauren and Megan, attempting- and failing- at origami!

One workshop was an  introduction to origami, led by Margaret. In this workshop, the students were taught how to fold an origami rose. They were given the choice of what color they wanted their roses to be as Margaret brought in a large variety of colors. Although some projects didn’t turn out as well as others, the students in this workshop enjoyed and introduction to the precision needed for origami folds. 

David demonstrates a drill as Adrien, Fen, and Nathan look on.

Another workshop was a soccer workshop held on the front lawn. David taught different soccer drills to students including learning the proper way to dribble and pass the ball. The students in this workshop also did different stretches and warmups before doing any drills. David could not teach shooting drills, as the space on the front lawn did not permit. Despite this, the Village School students in this workshop had fun and got in a quick workout!

The adorable Cogsworth.

A third workshop was a presentation by Rose. Rose brought in Cogsworth, a rat from her animal care program at BOCES. Her presentation was full of interesting facts about rats and was very detailed. The students in this workshop learned things about rats that they never knew before. Some of these facts included the lifespans rats, the maximum weight rats can weigh, and how to properly care for an adult rat. Rose’s goal was to debunk fears and myths people have about rats and in the end, she seemed to do just that with many students lining up to meet and pet Cogsworth after her presentation. 

A fourth workshop was cooking, led by Alexia and Ronni. The students made pizza in the kitchen during this workshop. It took teamwork to cook the pizza and was an excellent experience. While a student blended the tomatoes to make sauce, other students floured and stretched the dough. Then some students poured on the sauce while others put cheese on the dough. Then it was spread out in pans and baked in the oven. The pizza came out delicious and everyone at Village was invited to try it.

Kayleigh with her Paper Marbling project in Megan’s room.

Other workshops included paper marbling in Megan’s room, board games with Emma and Danielle, and beading with Margaret later in the day, both in Ronni’s room. Ryan gave two presentations entitled, “Intro to Documentary Theory,” and “Art Movements in Film.”

There were also some student performances in the gym. Amanda sang “Creep,” and was accompanied by Max on the guitar.  Kayleigh then sang “Landslide,” and then paired with Max in a performance of “December, 1963.” Afterwards, Matt performed “Chasing Cars.” Later on in the day, the author of this article, Britt, played guitar and sang an original song. 

Max and Kayleigh performing “The Four Seasons” classic.

Festival of the Arts was a really fun day at Village and everyone is already looking forward to what’s in store next year!

Trump orders missile strike on Syria in response to the chemical weapons attack earlier this month.

On Saturday April 7th, dozens of people died in a chemical weapons attack on the city of Douma, Syria. Blood and urine samples from the attack tested positive for the use of chemical weapons.

The samples collected indicated the use of both chlorine gas and an unnamed nerve agent. Although U.S. officials weren’t 100% certain, they said they were confident with these findings as the Assad regime is known to have stocks of the nerve agent sarin, and has in the past used both sarin and chlorine gas in their attacks. Despite all of these findings, Russia and Syria both have denied any involvement in the attacks.

U.S. missile viewed from the Syrian capital, Damascus.

In response to the attacks, U.S. President, Donald Trump, alongside France and the United Kingdom, ordered the U.S. military to launch missile strikes on Syria, intending to hit sites “associated with the chemical weapons capabilities”.

On Saturday at the emergency meeting held by the U.N. Security Council, President Putin reiterated Russia’s belief that the chemical attack in Syria was a fake. Putin criticized the U.S. and its allies for launching the missile strike too soon after the attack without the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) sending their inspectors to verify the facts around the attack.

General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the U.S. and its allies struck multiple targets involved with Syria’s chemical weapons program. Dunford explained that the U.S. identified specific targets to limit civilian casualties, damage to unrelated structures, and “the risk of Russian forces being involved.”

In a series of tweets, Trump criticized both Russia and Iran, saying “[They] are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to pay.”

Trump’s decision to launch a military strike on Syria after a chemical attack is nothing new. Last year on April 6th, Trump launched multiple military strikes on Syrian airfields in response to attacks allegedly containing chlorine gas, as well as the nerve agent sarin.

Hicksville Middle School Students Face Possibility of Consequences After Walk Out

It does not seem that the Hicksville Public School District is very supportive of the nation-wide walk out that took place on March 14th. For example, there was an event that went on in Hicksville Middle School.

Students nation-wide walked out in protest of gun violence.

Because of the tragic events that ocurred in Parkland, Florida, on March 14th, students across the country walked walked out of their schools at 10 am and spent 17 minutes memorializing the lives lost in Parkland.

Here on Long Island, this included students at Hicksville Middle School, who walked in protest of what is considered a nation-wide epidemic. The students had seemingly good intentions; they were however prevented from going outside by their assistant principals. It was said that both assistant principals Barbara Morzik and Todd Wallace were pulling them by their clothes.  

Superintendent Carl Bonuso stated,“To [walkout] would not only interrupt the educational program but also miss an opportunity to engage students in lessons about what it means to unify as a school family and effectively communicate our opinions and ideas”.

The proof is in social media videos that students posted. The students recited the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by 17 minutes of silence for each of the 17 victims, and then went back to class. Also captured on video was the assistant principal physically preventing some students from going outside. The 47 students that did walk out and protested are receiving punishments as the school administrator said that they broke school rules. The assistant principal didn’t believe it was right for the students to walk out of their classes.

Sherly Castaneda, a parent in the school district claimed, “My husband received a phone call from the assistant principal, stating that the number of children who did walk out would have to have some kind of consequences because they broke the school rules for walking out.”

According to Gabrielle Drapeylo, a student at the school,“He was pulling all the kids by their shirts and their hoodies and also there was people by the stairwell, like the teachers and the monitors blocking the stairways and blocking all the doors”. Student Anaya Raymond said, “One of the assistant principals stopped me and he said that if I went outside I would get suspended.”

A student named Keylla Torres said, “I have lunch detention on Friday, but she said to me that she’s being generous by not giving me anything more.”

The students had good intentions, as stated by student Julie Castaneda who said, “We wanted to honor their lives because their lives matter- they deserve it.” Castaneda also said, “They said that I was going to be suspended which later changed to in- school suspension and now it’s a detention which is outrageous because I’m here protesting because this is something I believe in.”

John Rodriguez, another parent, thought it was unfair that these students are being punished. He says, “Exercise her right to be heard, exercise her right to protest. She did so and to punish her seems to be teaching a bad lesson.”

On Wednesday night, a public spokesperson said that no students will be facing any sort of consequence for their actions and it was decided that the students who participated will instead be invited to a special lunch to have an open dialogue about social activism. 

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.

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.

 

Valentine’s Day Shooting

Parkland students participate in a candlelight vigil on February 15, the day after the shooting.

On Valentine’s day, Nikolas Cruz, a former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, entered the school armed with an AR-15. Cruz was wearing a gas mask and threw smoke grenades before pulling the fire alarm. This caused students to exit their classrooms into the hallway, where Cruz opened fire. He shot at least 31 students and staff before he was captured by police. The death toll is 17, and students who were in critical condition have stabilized, since the writing of this article. Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

Unfair Punishment for Disciplined Student In Anti-Bullying Video

A junior at Lebanon High School felt that she should make an anti-bullying video after her classmate committed suicide as a result of bullying. Emily Gipson, the creator of this video, posted it to YouTube and it went viral. The video was recorded in a classroom at the high school after school hours. Because she was not authorized to use this classroom after school hours and didn’t have permission, Gipson got into trouble. It was not the video’s content itself that got her into trouble. 

The content of this video was asking for people to be respectful of each other. In the video, Gipson says, “Welcome to Lebanon High School, where you come to be

Emily Gipson speaking in the aforementioned video in an attempt to help bullying victims and promote positivity.

analyzed from head-to-toe every day by people you don’t even know.”

Gipson had said in response to News 4, a local Lebanon news station, “I’ve seen problems with bullying, problem with bullying not being dealt with, and I feel like some things are just put aside.” Gipson also had said that the video is for anyone who feels like they are getting bullied and also spoke about how she recognizes that bullying occurs in every school. “Anywhere I can make a difference I’d love to,” said Gipson.

Gipson has indeed made a difference in people’s lives with this video – she says she’s received numerous messages from people who watched her video, and that these were all extremely supportive messages. One girl even said the video saved her life.

The punishment Gipson received for recording this video in a classroom at school was two days of in-school suspension.

I understand that the school had to take some sort of action as Gipson did not receive consent to use the classroom and anything that is filmed on campus can be interpreted as school district endorsement, which is why students’ need to get approval first.  And, most likely, the school district did not disagree with what Gipson’s message was at all.  However, I still do not feel that this punishment was fair. Although Gipson should have asked to use this classroom first, I feel like her video was such a good deed that she should have been given a lesser punishment and actually given some praise for what she did!

I think that they should have done a one period or week’s detention, but not in-school suspension. Gipson deserved to see the video her effects have had in her school and how good her deed was. At the same time, however, she does need a little bit of a gentle reminder that she cannot film videos in classrooms without permission. Therefore, I think detention is a better idea than two days of in-school suspension. The school administrators should also talk to her, and perhaps the entire school, about why students cannot film videos in classrooms.

The idea behind the video was to help her peers and teens in general think of themselves in an increasingly positive matter. Because she wasn’t screaming into the void like thousands of other anti-bullying videos and notably saved lives, I feel that they should have recognized her good deed in some way.  

As a student who has been bullied a lot in the past, I know that I would’ve heavily benefitted from a teen my age making this video. It’s people who witness bullying and other forms of hate but don’t do anything who seem, to me at least, the most harmful – these are the bystanders who could have helped, but did not. And when a bystander steps forward and stands up to a bully, through any means possible and in an effective way, it really makes a difference. This video made a huge difference in people’s lives and I feel that that matters more than whether or not Gipson had gotten prior consent to use a school classroom as a backdrop to her powerful and positive message.

Trump vs FBI

 

Sean Hannity (seen on left) has apparently advised President Trump on how to handle the Nunes Memo situation.

Donald Trump was known as an extremely wealthy businessman just a little over a year ago. Today, he is the known as the most important man in the world as leader of the United States of America.

In 2015 he started the Trump and Pence: Make America Great Again campaign and ran for office and in early 2017 was sworn in as President.  Since then, he’s been notorious for his poor decisions as the leader of the free world, has been under investigation, and has been accused of firing anyone who undermines his position or fails to pledge allegiance to him.

Early this year, the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and the DOJ (Department of Justice) have been under heat after the release of the Nunes Memo: a 4- page memo incriminating the Bureau and Department of abuse of their surveillance systems against Trump/Carter Page and their ties to Russia. The 4- page long memo was created by Devin Nunes early 2018 to discard Democratic officials. Then, on Monday, February 5th, 2018, another memo was released. Adam Schiff, a democratic congressman created a 10-page memo that is to serve as the Democrat’s ‘side’ of the story. Many officials say that with this political battle against major surveillance agencies and Donald Trump, things don’t look good for Trump or the Republican party.

On February 5th, 2018 a White House official claimed that they, too believe that these things do not look good for POTUS and the Republican Party. “I think it’s going to be very hard for The White House, like it was hard for the Republicans on the committee, to block the release of this,” Mr. Schiff told reporters after the vote. “I am more concerned that they would make political redactions.”

The whole memo conflict has taken its tolls on both parties with both sides claiming that the other is lying, almost as if it’s a game of “she said/he said.” We still do not know whether or not or how the whole fallout will be solved. The end of the fallout could potentially lead to a solution where one party is more pleased with the outcome. A hypothetical solution would be POTUS firing major FBI officials, again, however this time he’d fill their spots with people that would not be as opposed to him. We aren’t sure what’ll happen next, however we know something major will happen, maybe to one party or both.

Lady Liberty’s Lights Go Out. On Purpose Or Just A Coincidence?

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Lady Liberty’s normal, beaming appearance

On Tuesday, March 7th, the Statue of Liberty temporarily went dark from 10:00 PM to 11:30 PM. With her entire body and robe completely covered in darkness, only her crown and torch was left glowing on the New York Harbor. Ironically, the incident took place on International Women’s Day, making timing of Lady Liberty’s blackout appear all too coincidental to some. Although the official twitter account of the Statue of Liberty National Monument posted the morning after the incident, “Some lights on the Statue were temporarily off tonight. Likely related to new emergency generator/Hurricane Sandy recovery project work,” some viewed the glitch as intentional. Organizers of the Women’s March called on thousands to strike on “A Day Without a Woman.” Some believe that perhaps America’s most illustrious woman took the opportunity to be the very first to speak and protest on the special day. According to the Women’s March website, their group’s strike intended to acknowledge, “the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system, while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment and job insecurity.” Lady Liberty making her presence known during the effort was not gone unrecognized by the group, and the official Twitter account of the Women’s March posted, “Thank you Lady Liberty for standing with the resistance and going dark for #DayWithoutAWoman.” Others who also saw deeper meaning in Lady Liberty’s break from her normal illuminating self also took advantage and went to Twitter to post their opinions. Raymond Braun posted, “CNN has just reported that the Statue of Liberty has gone dark tonight. Power failure or social commentary?” Aparna Nancherla posted, “Apparently the Statue of Liberty lights went out due to a power failure. But I would argue women are also protesting due to a power failure.” Unfortunately, the activists were shut down to the idea that the recent happenings were purposely caused. Jerry Willis from the National Parks Service provided an explanation as to why everything happened the way it did, “ The temporary, unplanned outage occurred after a lighting system controller was switched off to change out faulty lighting equipment. When the repair was completed, the lighting system controller wasn’t properly reset, leading to the outage.” Deeper meaning and symbolism can still be found, for everything does happen for a reason, and Lady Liberty could not have picked a more perfect time to draw attention to herself. Fortunately, she has now gone back to her usual, shining self.