Durant High School Journalism

Legal Buying Age of Tobacco Increases

Similarly to smoking, vaping has proven to produce dangerous side effects, causing legislators to take action.

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Similarly to smoking, vaping has proven to produce dangerous side effects, causing legislators to take action.

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In September of 2019, President Trump stated that the Food and Drug Administration planned to take any e-cigarette that were not designed to taste like tobacco off the market. Vaping products are marketed towards teens. Companies like Juul and R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co., make a variety flavors to make it seem like teens are not smoking dangerous chemicals rather just a flavorful smoke.

These products are much worse than cigarettes. The different flavors that the vaping companies offer are derived from Vitamin E which is not safe to inhale. These kind of oils in the lungs can cause a sticky honey like substance in the lungs. Some may say that Vitamin E can be good for the body because there are creams and supplements, but when it is heated and inhaled it creates a bubbling effect in the lungs that burns the lungs and could cause an explosion in the lungs.

On January 1, 2020, a new bill named, Tobacco to 21 Act, was passed. This new bill raised the minimum buying age of tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21.

Over the past two years, teen vaping has increased drastically. In 2017, nine percent of seniors in high school were vaping, while in 2019, the percentage went up to 37. Federal legislation has been making it harder for teens to buy cigarettes and vaping products.

19 states and 500 cities had already raised the minimum buying age of these tobacco products to 21. Raising the minimum buying age could lead to a reduction of potentially 223,000 deaths. Approximately 1,300 of teens are killed every day due tobacco products.  

On the other hand, some say that raising the age limit on tobacco is pointless. They argue smoking has been on a decline already because of the extra taxes that are put on cigarettes and vaping products as well as, an increase in non-smoking areas. Already the percent of smokers has gone down from 25 percent in 1997 to 18 percent in 2013. The rate of smoking has gone down, but that doesn’t mean the smoking epidemic that is going among the youth is going down. 

Raising the age will cause the vaping and tobacco among teens to significantly go down because students do not have easy access to these products, like before. When the legal age was at 18, it was easy for teens under 18 to gain access to these products because older friends would buy vaping and tobacco products for them. This means that high school students would be safer because with this restricted access. 

Tobacco and vaping products effect the blood, throat, colon, kidney, stomach, lung, bladder, mouth, and liver. There are about 7,000 chemicals in tobacco and vaping products, and about 4,000 chemicals in smokeless tobacco. The raising of the age limit on tobacco and vaping products will reduce death and lung issues. The buying age for tobacco has gone up and that means that the new generation would be safer from all of the health problems caused by vaping and tobacco products. 

About the Writer
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Jayleen Nunez, Staff Writer

Jayleen Nunez is a junior at Durant High School and is a Staff Writer for the PawPrint. When she isn't writing for the PawPrint, she participates in Mindfulness...

MLB faces major scandal

Owner of the team Jim Crane, was dissapointed, and had higher expectations for the members of his organization.

Yi-Chin Lee

Owner of the team Jim Crane, was dissapointed, and had higher expectations for the members of his organization.

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On Monday, January 14th the Houston Astros were handed one of the harshest penalties in baseball history since the Black Sox Scandal of 1919. Eight White Sox players were given life bans for throwing a World Series for money from gamblers, who were betting against the White Sox in the Fall Classic.

The Astros, who were being investigated for cheating electronically using a centerfield camera to decode signs given by the opposing catchers, then banging on a trash can to tell the Houston batters that an off-speed pitch was coming.

Commissioner Rob Manfred caught the Red Sox in 2017 using a smart watch to get signs from the Yankees and were given a light suspension and fine. Manfred declared that if he caught a team cheating electronically again the penalty would be massive.

On Monday night he didn’t disappoint as Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were both suspended a year from baseball, the Astros lost all their first and second round draft picks for 2020 and 2021 and were fined 5 million dollars, the most a team can be fined under the MLB constitution. 

The report released by Major League Baseball Investigation Unit, stated that the main perpetrators included but were not limited to current managers Alex Cora of the Red Sox, who was the bench coach at the time, Carlos Beltran of the Mets, who was the designated hitter for Houston, as well as Hinch and Luhnow.

Cora and Beltran both actively participated and relayed signs to the dugout and batter, while no evidence linked Hinch and Luhnow to participating in the cheating, the two still made no efforts to stop the activity. No players were suspended by MLB for the scandal, thus Beltran was not penalized.

Once Manfred announced the penalty the Astros immediately fired both Hinch and Luhnow as owner Jim Crane had “higher standards for the city and the fans.”

The Boston Red Sox, who were also being investigated for electronically cheating, followed suit as they fired their manager Alex Cora on Tuesday, before MLB released Cora’s punishment.

According to Major League Baseball’s report Cora ran the cheating operation in Houston, as he relayed the signs from the monitor in the clubhouse to a player or coach in the dugout, who would then proceed to bang on a trash can to inform the batter of the incoming pitch.

After leaving Houston to manage the Red Sox in 2018 he continued to cheat in Boston using a similar system, and proceeded to win the World Series. 

After the Astros and Red Sox both let go of their respective managers for a clean slate the Mets were feeling pressure from their fans to fire their manager Carlos Beltran, who had just been hired this offseason and hadn’t even managed a single game.

Finally, on Thursday, January 16, Beltran reportedly “stepped down” from being the manager of the New York Mets, ending the fallout of this cheating scandal which took three managers and a general manager who may never work in baseball again.

It’s very obvious this wasn’t an accident, this was a refined system used for cheating electronically and directly influenced the outcome and the integrity of the game. Reaction from the baseball world was split, reporters such as Ken Rosenthal and Jayson Stark felt the penalty was plenty harsh. “The goal of this punishment was to prevent teams from doing this again, I think this accomplished that,” Stark said on MLB Network.

However former players such as David Freese felt MLB needed to go further as on Twitter he simply said, “Should’ve taken the ring,” referring to the 2017 World Series title the Astros won, their only title in franchise history and it will forever be tainted by this scandal. 

It was a momentous day for baseball, one we had never seen the likes of and hopefully never have to see again. When the integrity of the game comes into question it’s the commissioner’s job to restore it, and the punishment handed out to Houston will hopefully deter other teams from trying to cheat electronically and never force fans to question whether the game was played fairly again.

Scandals like these don’t just make the Houston Astros or the Boston Red Sox look bad, it’s much bigger than that. It makes the game of baseball look bad, its reputation tarnished. Yes it was a sad day for baseball, the Astros, A.J. Hinch and Jeff Luhnow, but most of all it was a sad day for the fans. A day that made them question the fairness and integrity of this great game, the game they love. It was hopefully a day we never have to experience again.

About the Writer
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David Fackson, Staff Writer

David is a junior and is a Staff Writer for the Durant PawPrint Newspaper. He is a huge baseball fan, specifically a Rays fan who loves writing about the...

A Very Gary Christmas! Check out this special edition PawPrint Holiday news magazine for 2019 featuring Mr. Graham!

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A Very Gary Christmas! Check out this special edition PawPrint Holiday news magazine for 2019 featuring Mr. Graham!

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“A Very Gary Christmas”

Check out this special edition PawPrint Holiday news magazine for 2019 featuring Mr. Graham!

 

 

Sabina Khan increases diversity in teen literature

Khan modeled the story after her own culture.

Khan modeled the story after her own culture.

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Literature over the last decade has become more diverse as the world becomes accepting. An increasing number of LGBTQ+ books have been published in the last decade; in a study by Marinda Lo, the number of LGBTQ+ young adult novels rose from 54 novels published in 2015, to 79 novels in 2016. While the increase may seem insignificant, but when compared to 2010 when less than 20 LGBTQ+ young adult novels were published, progress is evident.

The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan is about teenage girl who is a Bengali lesbian. She struggles to gain the acceptance of her family as a result of their cultural beliefs. This book is more unique than others as the main character is a minority, as well as LGBTQ+, which is even rarer. Despite an interesting concept, there were also some things that made the book hard to get through.

There are unique aspects of this book that really serve to further the central ideas. In addition to having an LGBTQ+ focus, the novel is centered around a Bengali family. There are about 250 million Bengali citizens, but there are very few novels about Bengali people and their culture. The majority of books that portray Bengal’s culture are written in Bangla, the language of Bengal, limiting Western civilization’s exposure to these people.

In addition to portraying Bengali culture, the novel explains and shows the differences between Bengali, Urdu and Hindi. Bengali is a nationality, and is used to describe the language spoken and the culture in West Bengal. Hindi is a description of people and the culture  surrounding the religion Hinduism. Urdu is a language. It is the official language spoken in Pakistan but is also widely spoken in India.

These concepts are often times confused and interchanged within Western societies, as American students learn very little about geography and foreign governments so Pakistan, India and West Bengal are not clear and distinct. In addition to that, the majority of students in the U.S. are not taught in depth about Asian countries and their cultures, besides China, India and Japan. Thus Khan ensuring that readers understand the difference between the three concepts makes the book more powerful in regards to religious and ethnic representation as the main character is Hindi and Bengali.

Also making this book unique were all the real world scenarios that exist. Having a teenager who struggles with her family’s beliefs, some problems with the arranged marriage system often seen in Indian culture and interracial relationships. While arranged marriages impact less people, the other problems this book faces are universal, making it easier for more people beyond the LGBTQ+ and Eastern and South Asian audiences.

One of the things Khan does well is not overloading the novel with side-plots. While a lot of people are introduced, the majority of them are insignificant. There are three storylines which is a perfect number, one to deal with each problem the novel faces.

By organizing the plot structure this way, Khan ensures that the audience comprehends the purpose of the story. Plus the side-plots are not all happening simultaneously, making the story easy to follow and allows people to remain engaged with each side-plot.

Despite adoring what this book represents, there are some elements that if written differently would have made the plot more realistic, therefore more enjoyable. For example, throughout the book characters who have been best friends for years suddenly do not understand the situation she’s in with her family.

Truly good friends that have been around since elementary school would never suddenly think strict parents are going to change. These friends would be understanding and sympathetic. It is clear that Khan uses the characters’ shift to judgemental of her situation is to drive Rukhsana’s loneliness but this really does nothing for the novel, therefore making it seem unnecessary.

The novel also promotes unhealthy romantic behaviors. For example, Rukhsana and Ariana, her girlfriend, base their college plans off of their current relationship. This is not an idea Khan should portray to teenagers. Choosing a college should be for reasons beyond a current partner, the school has to be truly great because according to Brandon Gaille Marketing, only two percent of marriages are from a high school relationship, and the divorce rate during the first ten years for these couples is 54 percent.

The last major thing was that running from problems was a tragic flaw of Rukhsana’s. Khan established Rukhsana as a strong willed and passionate person who fights for what she believes in, but when it comes to dealing with familial issues, she runs away at the first sign of trouble.

There are other little things that are slightly irksome. I don’t regret reading the book, but I don’t think I would reread the book given the opportunity. I do think others should read this even if just to learn about another culture. The book is 326 pages, so it is not too long.

About the Writer
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Angelique Robinson, Web Editor

Angelique Robinson is a senior at Durant and is Web Editor for the PawPrint newspaper. She loves writing creative pieces, as well as more serious articles...

Australia fires continue despite relief efforts

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Australia fires continue despite relief efforts

The Austrailian fires burned violently for several days, although the conditions have improved, more work needs to be done.

The Austrailian fires burned violently for several days, although the conditions have improved, more work needs to be done.

Rick Rycraft

The Austrailian fires burned violently for several days, although the conditions have improved, more work needs to be done.

Rick Rycraft

Rick Rycraft

The Austrailian fires burned violently for several days, although the conditions have improved, more work needs to be done.

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After the recent rain and decrease in temperature, attention towards Australia has died down, but it is still an important issue. These fires are still burning and continue to harm the animals and the people who live there. Almost half a billion animals have died and according to the Wall Street Journal, 26 people have died in the fires and many more have had to be relocated. However, many people and organizations, are pooling their resources to try and help as much as possible.

The Australian Red Cross is one of these organizations. The organization has sent teams across the country to help with evacuation and relief. Some of these stations include New South Wales, Victoria, and many more throughout South and Western Australia providing food, water, hygiene products, pet supplies, and much more. In some areas, mainly South Australia, the are psychological first aid for those who need it.

The Red Cross has also set up a way to provide grants to families whose main place of residence has been destroyed. The donations to the organization, are being used for helping people who have been affected. The website declares that all money and funds donated to Disaster Relief and Recovery from July 2019 solely be used towards the work to help those in Australia.

Some ways to help are happening right here in the states. Owen Colley is a 6 year-old boy who uses his connection to Australia to inspire him to help.  Colley is from Hingham, Massachusetts and when he heard about the fires that were happening, it hit home for him. His father, Simon Colley, is from Australia. According to CNN, Colley and his parents worked together to come up with a way to raise money for those affected. Owen began making clay koalas to give to people who would donate to the cause. People who donate $50 or more receive a little clay koala Colley made himself.

All proceeds go towards Wildlife Rescue South Coast, a wildlife rescue in New South Wales. They began with a fundraising goal of 1,000. However, as of Thursday, January 16th, they have raised 100,000 dollars. The family is looking into more ways to donate to other organizations in the country of Australia.

Many people are also coming together to try and rescue the animals still in harms way. One group put their effort towards Kangaroo Island. According to the Los Angeles Times, the 1,700-square-mile island is not only a popular tourist attraction, but also a wildlife preserve to multiple species.

It is run by Sam Mitchell and his wife Dana. With the fires overrunning almost half of the island, they are trying to save as many animals as possible. According to BBC, Mitchell and his team have set up makeshift clinics on a area of the outside grounds with volunteers trying to save as many animals as possible.

The injured koalas are brought in daily, some too badly injured to be saved. The park is running entirely on generators because the fires have destroyed the power lines. The clinic has run out of space for all the animals they are trying to treat so they are having to create alternative housing, like laundry baskets, to hold the koalas. Mitchell and his family have also started a GoFundMe campaign to help their efforts in saving the animals that live here. “[We want] to get them back to where they want to be – and that’s back in the trees.”

Many volunteers are still trying to do the best possible for these koalas.

Even though it has began to rain, many more fires are still happening. There are multiple places online to donate to organizations trying to make a positive impact on a bad situation. The dry season isn’t over and many worry there is worse to come. For more information on how to make an impact please contact the Durant Pawprint.

About the Writer
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Faith Miller, Staff Writer

Faith Miller is a senior at Durant High School and is a Staff Writer for the Durant PawPrint. This year will be her fourth season on the varsity Durant...

Selena Gomez ends musical hiatus with new album

The album has 13 songs, each song averaging about three minutes.

The album has 13 songs, each song averaging about three minutes.

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On January 10, 2020, singer Selena Gomez released her new album Rare. Back in 2015, with her album Revival she expressed that she would take better care of herself and she has come back stronger and putting her words into action with her new album.

Gomez took some years on silent as she was going through a rough time, but has found a new version of herself in which she has more self love and expresses this energy in her new songs. Gomez released her saddest energy before dropping the full album.

On October 23, 2019, Gomez released her lead single, “Lose You to Love Me”, that expresses her emotions with heartbreak and pain and getting through hard times as a way of cleansing herself from a relationship that didn’t work out. It deals with the singer’s journey to wellness and about learning to stand up for yourself to reach happiness. The song references , Sorry, by Justin Bieber and ended up becoming Gomez’s first number-one single in the United States. She earned her first Billboard Hot 100 chart topper and a spot on Vulture’s list of best songs of the year.

The last few years have not been eay for Gomez. The singer fought a battle with lupus which led to intensive therapy, kidney transplant surgery, and cruel internet speculations regarding her weight. Not to mention her high-profile breakups. She spent some time in rehab to work through her depression and anxiety.

In the album she wants to “Dance Again”, throwing a party for her new and happier self and being ready to let love back into her life. In some of her songs “Kinda Crazy” and “Fun” the artist is allowing herself to a little bit of danger and trouble into her life because she wants to feel strong enough to handle it and see everything with a positive mind. Her voice is assertive and soft and she delivers her lyrics with strong messages she trys to covey to her audience.

Rare celebrates Gomez peace and independence that she found in herself. “You don’t do the same for me, that’s not fair”. She talks about how she knows that she is special and doesn’t need anyone to treat her as if she is not rare. Although her songs celebrate the new version of herself, they don’t really go into depth about the war she went through to get to where she is now.

In an interview with Zane Lowe and Apple music Gomez talks about her struggles to speak up for herself and some of the setbacks she went through that prevented her to keep working. She explains that she was hurting and trying to take out the toxic in her life.

She says that when she released her single, Lose You to Love me, she felt like that was a special moment for her emotionally. Gomez says how the people she surrounded herself with challenged her and motivated her to speak up.

“I just needed to let my old self go. I was purging multiple different things but it was specifically who I was then I would like to say that this is a fresh start and I started with this album but I’m going to continue to just do better.” 

The artist is continuing to heal and embracing the progress she is making. 

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Adamari Jaimez, Staff Writer

Adamari Jaimez is a junior at Durant High School. She was a staffer for the Durant yearbook and then became a Staff Writer for the Pawprint newspaper to...

Baby Yoda takes over the world

The+adorable+%22Baby+Yoda%22+captured+the+hearts+of+Disney%2B+users%2C+as+well+as+the+rest+of+the+Internet.+Social+Media+exploded+with+memes+showing+admiration+for+the+creature
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Baby Yoda takes over the world

The adorable

The adorable "Baby Yoda" captured the hearts of Disney+ users, as well as the rest of the Internet. Social Media exploded with memes showing admiration for the creature

Oprah Magazine

The adorable "Baby Yoda" captured the hearts of Disney+ users, as well as the rest of the Internet. Social Media exploded with memes showing admiration for the creature

Oprah Magazine

Oprah Magazine

The adorable "Baby Yoda" captured the hearts of Disney+ users, as well as the rest of the Internet. Social Media exploded with memes showing admiration for the creature

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Disney Plus, the latest streaming service, has and continues to come out with many of its own original TV shows and movies, including High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, Diary of a Future President, Stargirl, and many more.

One of Disney Plus’s more popular shows, The Mandalorian, has had a more attention than all of the other shows. The reason for all of this attention toward the show is because of one tiny aspect, a little character that Star Wars fans indicate as “Baby Yoda.”

The Mandalorian is the first live action Star Wars television show that takes place on the official Star Wars timeline between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, and it is inspired by the classic Star Wars character, Boba Fett. This television show stars prior Game of Thrones actor Pedro Pasco, former mixed martial artist Gina Carano, and successful actor Carl Weathers. They all play such important roles in the television show, but the one character to pay attention to is Baby Yoda.

“Baby Yoda” refers to a character in the Star Wars series named Yoda, who was a wise master in the Star Wars franchise. In The Mandalorian, “Baby Yoda” is not the actual name of the character, it is officially called “The Child,” but with its resemblance to Yoda from Star Wars the Internet has taken the liberty to give it the name “Baby Yoda.”  From this television show, Baby Yoda has gone viral throughout the Internet creating videos, art, memes, and even merchandise. 

ShopDisney has taken this opportunity to create merchandise that is exclusively dedicated to Baby Yoda. On their website, shopdisney.com, when “Baby Yoda” is typed into the search bar, Baby Yoda shirts, water bottles, phone cases, plushes, bags, and even mugs will pop up for anyone to shop until their heart’s content.

Along with ShopDisney, big companies like Build-A-Bear Workshop are getting in on all the action. The CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop, Sharon Price John, has recently announced that Baby Yoda will soon be available at Build-A-Bear Workshops nationwide. Baby Yoda is inspiring almost every audience, whether it is someone making a meme, outfit, or baked good, everyone is able to be enthused by Baby Yoda.

Baby Yoda has taken over the Internet since The Mandalorian introduced this character to the world. This popularity for Baby Yoda has definitely made a big impact not only for the television show itself, but also the Internet. There are multiple things that make Baby Yoda wildly popular; he has power within him, a sense of mystery about him, and most importantly, he is a very adorable creature. All of this draws the viewer’s attention to Baby Yoda, thus outlining his fame. 

Baby Yoda has stolen the hearts of all of its viewers and has gone viral because of his lovable persona. With The Mandalorian exceeding the crowd’s expectations with Baby Yoda, there should be much more to anticipate out of the popular television show.

About the Writer
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Mattie Powers, Staff Writer

Mattie Powers is a senior at Durant High School and a Staff Writer for the PawPrint newspaper. Not only is Mattie Powers involved in the PawPrint, but...

Continous conflict between Iran and the United States

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Continous conflict between Iran and the United States

As he U.S. and Iran continue to fight, they will inevitably end in an intensive battle, leading to a multitude of casualties.

As he U.S. and Iran continue to fight, they will inevitably end in an intensive battle, leading to a multitude of casualties.

Mani Mehrabi

As he U.S. and Iran continue to fight, they will inevitably end in an intensive battle, leading to a multitude of casualties.

Mani Mehrabi

Mani Mehrabi

As he U.S. and Iran continue to fight, they will inevitably end in an intensive battle, leading to a multitude of casualties.

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On December 27, 2019, Nawres Hamid, an Iraqi-American contractor, was killed in a rocket attack on a US military base in Iraq while working as a translator for US troops.  The US blamed Iran for the fatal attack that killed the father of two from California and resulted in injuries to other US troops.

In retaliation, the US launched “precision defensive strikes,” as they were described by the US Department of Defense, in areas of Iraq and Syria killing 25 Iranian backed militias.  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said this strike was to warn Iran that the US would not sit idly by while Iran attacked the US or its allies, echoing former National Security Advisor John Bolton.  Bolton previously had said, “any attack on United States interests or those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force” foreshadowing the efforts taken to squash the violent attacks from Iran.

This strike was met with threats of retaliation from the Iranian government the following day.

Militia backed protests ensued in Iraq and dozens stormed the US embassy in Baghdad.  Although there were no fatalities, President Trump tweeted, “[Iran] will be held fully responsible” for the storming of the US embassy.

On January 2, President Trump ordered a drone strike near Baghdad’s International Airport which targeted and killed a known terrorist, General Qasem Soleimani of the Iraqi Republican Guard.

The Pentagon said in a statement, “General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more…”  

President Trump ordered the attack based on intelligence that placed Soleimani at the airport while planning extensive terrorist attacks against US interests.  Presidents Obama and Bush used military forces against known US threats, such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda respectively, based on similar intelligence gathered. While Congresses since the 1973 War Powers Resolution’s inception have argued such use of the military isn’t Constitutional, no Congress has done more than pass resolutions condemning the use of such force.

Six days later, Iran launched 16 ballistic missiles on US forces.  President Trump said, “No Americans were harmed,” but recent reports have refuted this assessment. 

Eleven service members were reportedly brought to hospitals in Kuwait and Germany with concussion symptoms. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said, “[The attack] was a blow to the U.S image as a superpower.” 

 This was seemingly a veiled threat of the power Iran holds over the U.S., but no counter strike has been conducted against Iran.

These recent events have merely added onto the preexisting conflicts between the US and the country formerly known as Persia before the 1950s. Prior to 1953, US-Iran relations were beneficial to both countries; the US provided military resources to Iran, who supplied oil and natural goods to the US.  

The strained relationship is a result of a series of diplomatic missteps and post WW2 alliances.  The US and Britain supported the overthrow of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh and replaced the Iranian leader with the Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi.  Essentially, the US replaced the leader the Iranian people chose with the leader America wanted. The total disregard for the will and culture of the Iranian people laid the foundation for a lasting conflict.

The US also sided against Iran in the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980’s.  Iran fought back by taking a number of US hostages and bombing US ally ships.  These events have built the wall higher and solidified the wedge between the two countries.  

Since 1953, the US has failed to acknowledge the Iranian government’s rich culture and the US’s ignorance has become more prominent throughout generations.  One CIA agent has even been quoted asking about the Iranian religious leader saying, “What is an Ayatollah?”  

If the US’s own intelligence agents do not know the title of the Iranian leader, how can they decide what is best for Iran?  The combination of America’s painful ignorance and forcing themselves into a foreign country’s domestic affairs has proved the US is pressing its boot on the neck of the Iranian government.  

However, the US has been trying for years to deescalate the situation with Iran.  American diplomats have tried to use diplomacy or nonviolent sanctions to control the situation with Iran, but Iranian officials have continued to resort to violent measures to demand respect from the US.  The Iranian out-dated negotiation tactics of Iran cannot be changed by the US or any external force. But the US does have a responsibility to protect its citizens and foreign interests. So, until Iran recognizes the benefits of peaceful negotiation, the US will continue to fight fire with fire to protect its people and allies.

About the Writer
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Lilyann Belcher, Staff Writer

Lily Belcher is a sophomore at Durant High School and she is a Staff Writer for the PawPrint newspaper. She is also part of Durant’s Flag Football team,...

Researchers use ancient DNA to examine life during the Stone Age

An artist created an interpretation of what

Tom Björklund

An artist created an interpretation of what "Lola" may have looked like.

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In recent weeks, researchers were able to design a face to match the human DNA found in a 5,700-year-old piece of “gum”.

“Lola”, researchers call her, was an ancient human-gatherer that lived on a small island in the Baltic Sea around 3,700 B.C. Using the DNA found in a small piece of tar, researchers were able to construct a picture of what this human may have looked like. Because their findings are based solely off what her DNA provides, researchers cannot confirm some specific pieces of information, such as how, when, or why she died. However, the DNA of the girl provides majority of her biological footprint; therefore, this discovery is groundbreaking, and provides an abundance of new information as to what human life may have been like during the Stone Age. In this case, Lola’s DNA was found in blobs of birch pitch (tar) after human teeth-marks had been discovered on the ancient “gum”.

While the birch pitch is not the same gum in today’s world, excavated artifacts show that ancient hunters and gatherers put together spears or arrows by heating the birch and using it to hold together stone blades and handles. “Due to the antiseptic nature of birch bark, it may have also had medicinal properties,” (National Geographic).

Like several popular ancestry-tracing companies, DNA found in saliva provides an array of information about a person and their genome. From the specimen, researchers used her DNA to utilize her oral microbiome, and determine some characteristics of her health, including her diet and some of her physical features. Her DNA suggests the ancient European girl had a diet that consisted of ducks and hazelnuts, and that she was likely to have physical characteristics that resembled many of that time, such as blue eyes and dark skin.

The girl’s DNA also provides insight that she may have been lactose-intolerant, and possibly suffered from gum disease. From National Geographic: “Her genome also reveals that she was lactose intolerant, which supports the theory that European populations developed the ability to digest lactose as they began to consume milk product from domesticated animals.”

While these artifacts had been long discovered, never had they been used to provide information about a specific person. “Non-human material” has never been used to construct the face of an ancient person, so this discovery is particularly remarkable, and suggests that this method of research can be used to visualize other ancient specimens.

“This is the first time we have the complete ancient human genome from anything other than [human] bone, and that in itself is quite remarkable,” says Hannes Schroeder, an associate professor of evolutionary genomics at the University of Copenhagen’s Globe Institute and a co-author of the study published in Nature Communications.

“They would look at this crummy little piece of fiber, and I would say the museum has curated this for over a hundred years. And nobody could figure out why we had bothered to save this little thing. Then I’d say we got human DNA out of it, and their eyes would just go wow”, says archaeologist Steven LeBlanc, former director of collections at Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.

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Meghan Dulay, Editor-in-Chief of Design

Meghan Dulay is a senior at Durant High School and she is Editor-in-Chief of Design for the PawPrint newspaper. Meghan is part of many other clubs at Durant,...

Stars

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Every night I go outside and look at the stars

I hope that I can see you in the constellations

I remember that we would sneak out

And go to the park 

I would draw the sky on your back 

And you would put the moon on my head 

But tonight I go to outside 

And I don’t see you

I just see the stars 

And the little pictures they leave

Every night I go outside and look at the stars 

But this time I hope I don’t see you

About the Writer
Photo of Jayleen Nunez
Jayleen Nunez, Staff Writer

Jayleen Nunez is a junior at Durant High School and is a Staff Writer for the PawPrint. When she isn't writing for the PawPrint, she participates in Mindfulness...

Cell phones have a variety of potential dangers

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Cell phones have a variety of potential dangers

X-Ray showing bone spur growing on back of head, one of the negative effects of excessive cellphone usage.

X-Ray showing bone spur growing on back of head, one of the negative effects of excessive cellphone usage.

Washington Post

X-Ray showing bone spur growing on back of head, one of the negative effects of excessive cellphone usage.

Washington Post

Washington Post

X-Ray showing bone spur growing on back of head, one of the negative effects of excessive cellphone usage.

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Each day people across the world consistently check their cell phones, looking at a variety of notifications. Many may not realize how much their cell phones affect them. Recent studies are beginning to show how bone spur development can be an effect of cell phone use.

According to the Washington Post, research done by the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia proposes a new hypothesis that due to the constant use of cell phones and other hand-held devices, a new bone spur, or “horn”, is developing from the skull of young people. The researchers in charge of the study are David Shahar, a chiropractor who recently completed a PhD in biomechanics at Sunshine Coast, and his supervisor, Mark Sayers, an associate professor of biomechanics at Sunshine Coast.

The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports. Bone spurs are caused by when inflammation damages cartilage that is used to cushion joints and the body attempts to rebuild by growing more bone. One main cause is when humans perform repetitive motions, like consistently looking down at a phone. By doing this for multiple hours a day, bone spurs begin to grow.

This is not the first physical effect of cell phone use on the body. According to ABC News, Margot Miller, a physical therapist and president of Occupational Health Section of the Orthopedic Section of the American Physical Therapy Association, states that the reason for “texting thumb” is  “they are really repetitive stress injuries – pain, numbness, discomfort in the base of the thumbs from overuse.”

By consistently using thumbs to send messages and control a phone, symptoms like “texting thumb” may occur.

Another negative aspect of cell phone use is the constant distraction that they cause. According to NBC News’ article “Cell phone-related head and neck injuries on the rise,” a study published by JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery observed reports from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, looking for injuries and reports related to cell phones.

The authors estimated that based on the reports these kinds of issues were rare until 2007, when the first iPhone was released to the public and injury reports began to rise. The article states that users ages 13 to 29 were about 40 percent of those whose injuries were caused by cell phone distraction. The injuries caused ranged from people falling due to texting while walking, to being hit in the face when their device slipped. The author Dr. Boris Paskhover suggest that a way to help this problem is for people to stop allowing phones to be a distraction and focus on what they are doing.

The harmful effects of cell phone use while driving goes past looking at text. According to ABC News, research at Carnegie Mellon University showed that by studying brain waves, they were able to find that listening to a conversation while driving reduces brain activity designated to driving by 37 percent.

The article suggests that in May 2008 a survey done by Nationwide Insurance Poll displayed that over 40 percent of people surveyed stated they have either been hit or almost hit by another driver talking on a cell phone. This is part of the reason many states, including Florida, have required Hands-Free drivers. As of January 1, Florida officers are to issue tickets to any drivers using their phone, without a warning. The fee is $30, but is doubled in school zones.

People spend hours on end each day looking at cell phones, but don’t realize what effects it could be causing on their bodies. As people become more aware, they will be able to protect themselves from these and many more issues.

About the Writer
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Faith Miller, Staff Writer

Faith Miller is a senior at Durant High School and is a Staff Writer for the Durant PawPrint. This year will be her fourth season on the varsity Durant...

Durant Theatre Company shines with Brainstorm

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Durant Theatre Company shines with Brainstorm

The entire theatre company poses proudly with the trophy representing their Superior for Brainstorm.

The entire theatre company poses proudly with the trophy representing their Superior for Brainstorm.

The entire theatre company poses proudly with the trophy representing their Superior for Brainstorm.

The entire theatre company poses proudly with the trophy representing their Superior for Brainstorm.

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Before Thanksgiving Break, the Durant Theatre Company performed “Brainstorm: A Journey Inside the Teenage Mind” for Durant students, family, and faculty.

“Brainstorm”, a one act play, was written by Mr. Arment and his students, making the show personal and unique to Durant’s production.  Sydni Burge, a sophomore and actress for the Durant Theatre Company, said, “Every production of “Brainstorm” is different, because we play ourselves and our parents.  Everyone has a unique relationship with their parents and the show highlights that.”

The script, originally formulated by Ned Glasier, allows the school using the idea to fill in their own characters, based off the students of their drama club, and personalize it with interesting facts about their unique cast.  Mr. Arment commented on the development of the script, saying, “We had to do a lot of initial work on the background of each of the cast members. We really had to dive in through worksheets and conversations and collaboration to discover what has gone on in the lives of these kids.”

The play explained the teenage mind to the audience through comical and interactive scenes.  “Brainstorm” portrayed each student’s fears of growing up and the struggles they face as a teenager, such as those that come with homework, chores, and extracurriculars, all while trying to maintain healthy relationships with their parents. 

Jordan Maddock, a stagehand for “Brainstorm”, said, “The [on stage] survey [with the cast] shows how the teenage brain functions.” It also showed how many of the cast’s teenagers struggle with the challenges that come with being a young adult. 

Each student had the opportunity to portray one of their parents, resulting in laughs from the audience, but also showing how teenagers view their parents.  Isabelle Hoofnagle, an actress for the Durant Theatre Company, said, “[The portrayal] actually took a fair bit of preparation too. I had to watch my dad and study his mannerisms and his voice.” 

Burge said, “Our portrayals of our parents are a way to lighten up the show, but also to say things we’ve never gotten to say [about our parents] before.”

The cast then played Never Have I Ever with the audience to show them that they are just like the cast of teenagers.  Never Have I Ever also allowed the adults in the gallery to remember parts of their teenage years and reminded them of the similar struggles they faced.

The show concluded with the cast showing letters they had written to their parents on poster boards.  Mr. Arment said, “The cast was coming from a place of such honesty and bravery that it really just set the play apart from other plays that I have done.”

On December 4, the Durant Theatre company took their One-Act to the District 9 One-Act Festival at USF.  The cast performed a revised version of “Brainstorm” in order to fit the 40-minute time limit. The Durant Theatre Company received a “Superior”, the highest score achievable.  “Brainstorm” proved to be another successful production of the Durant Theatre Company.

About the Writer
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Lilyann Belcher, Staff Writer

Lily Belcher is a sophomore at Durant High School and she is a Staff Writer for the PawPrint newspaper. She is also part of Durant’s Flag Football team,...

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