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...

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...

Online shopping overtakes local malls

The online shopping phenomenon is the new dircetion of holiday shopping. This could lead to a decrease in comercial malls.

The online shopping phenomenon is the new dircetion of holiday shopping. This could lead to a decrease in comercial malls.

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In an era of convenience, it’s not shocking that people prefer sitting on the couch eating lunch while they order their loved ones’ Christmas gifts. This is especially ture after a long Thanksgiving Day, for many it is easier to take advantage of Black Friday deals without waiting in lines, getting ran over by rabid shoppers, or even camping out fir the hottest items of the season. Simply click a button and your gifts are on their way to your house. 

So when the news broke that online shopping overtook a major part of retail for the first time ever, unless people were living under a rock, no one was surprised. The main disadvantage of online shopping is waiting for items to be shipped. Amazon eliminated this issue when they introduced Amazon Prime, a service provided where if you pay a small yearly fee you get  quick shipping.

Malls have too many obstacles to climb for the short attention span of this new generation. There’s the ridiculous traffic to fight through, the insane walking patterns, the people and of course the infamously rude shop clerks, one of the few stereotypes in this world that holds up. Why deal with that when you can just click a button in between games of Call of Duty? There’s a reason Amazon has been so profitable, it really doesn’t give the malls a chance. 

It’s the same reason why platforms like Netflix and Hulu profit so much and take customers away from cable and the movie theaters. It’s just, you guessed it, convenience. Why deal with the ridiculously priced popcorn or cable bills when you can pay a monthly fee and watch all the movies and shows you want. You can watch as much as your heart desires, making it easier to enjoy your favorite TV shows.

Even Black Friday, which ropes in shoppers from all around to get those ridiculous deals, online is beating out retail stores. What used to be a crazy day for stores like Walmart and Target have turned into massive amounts of clicks for websites like Amazon. Do not not be concerned, as retail stores like Walmart aren’t going out of business anytime soon. However, to say that online shopping can’t compete with those same stores would be a blatant lie. 

Simply put, online shopping is the future for shoppers looking for the maximum amount of convenience. No lines, no people, no hassle. Just a click and your holiday shopping is done. This is just the beginning, sites like Amazon will only grow bigger and slowly but surely beat out stores such as Target. It’s all about convenience and Amazon has it.

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...

Yearly debate on the shift from Merry Christmas to Happy Holidays

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Yearly debate on the shift from Merry Christmas to Happy Holidays

The 2013 survey identifies how particular groups align themselves.

The 2013 survey identifies how particular groups align themselves.

Public Religion Research Institute

The 2013 survey identifies how particular groups align themselves.

Public Religion Research Institute

Public Religion Research Institute

The 2013 survey identifies how particular groups align themselves.

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As society becomes more accepting of diversity, it has adapted to acknowledging the different holidays celebrated by the myriad of religions and identities present in the U.S. In the past, the U.S., schools and department stores were allowed to tell people “Merry Christmas” without being certain that the individual celebrates Christmas.

Independent, an online news publisher, traces the acknowledgment of holidays beyond Christmas began in the 1930s and 1940s as advertisers wanted all readers to feel included. These ads began to say, “Happy Holidays” and “Seasons Greetings” to ensure inclusiveness, this also served as a way to please consumers to increase sales.

According to History.com, this terminology shifted to businesses in the mid-2000s as the term “War on Christmas” was coined by conservatives in response to ex-President George W. Bush leaving Christmas out of the White House holiday card. Businesses decided that it was more professional to make the holiday season secular.

This meme illustrates the negative view of some customers about the saying.

According to Education World, there are at least ten other major holidays celebrated in December. These include Three Kings Day, Saint Nicholas Day, Fiesta of Our Lady Guadalupe, Kwanzaa, Saint Lucia Day, Hanukkah, Boxing Day, Omisoka, Yule, and Saturnalia, celebrated by identities all over the year. No matter what the majority celebrates, you cannot assume everyone celebrates the same holiday given all the options.

Many Christians believe that not saying Merry Christmas is personal, as if people not saying “Merry Christmas” shames the idea of the celebration. However, the intention is not to disrespect anyone with the shift in the language.

According to the Chicago Tribune, in 2016 as President Trump campaigned, he said, “If I’m president, you’re going to see ‘Merry Christmas’ in department stores, believe me, believe me.”

This insistence of “Merry Christmas,” used exclusively as a holiday greeting goes against the First Amendment right of freedom of religion. This element dictates that the U.S. cannot establish a national religion and therefore cannot enforce celebration. Therefore, despite the increased emphasis on consumerism as a part of Christmas, the holiday is Christian in origin, thus whether he likes it or not, President Trump cannot force businesses to shift their seasonal greeting back to only acknowledging Christmas.

As society becomes increasingly aware of labels, it is appropriate that seasonal greetings shift as well. It shows that Americans overall are not ignorant to the alternatives. This does not mean that people are never allowed to say, “Merry Christmas”, but it should be limited to situations where it is absolutely certain that the recipient celebrates Christmas.

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...

The rap industry loses another artist

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The rap industry loses another artist

Juice Wrld gained immense popularity from his single

Juice Wrld gained immense popularity from his single "Lucid Dreams."

TMZ

Juice Wrld gained immense popularity from his single "Lucid Dreams."

TMZ

TMZ

Juice Wrld gained immense popularity from his single "Lucid Dreams."

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In the rap industry, it is difficult for upcoming rappers to gain fame. Nowadays, rappers are coming from small apps like SoundCloud or Spotify, expecting to become legends, although reaching legend status takes time, dedication, and effort. Many rappers now are writing more emotional lyrics to prove a point or be inspirational.  

For example, XXXtencion is known by young adults and teens for being more relatable and emotional. Sadly, there is a more twisted side in being a rapper. Many rappers involve themselves in salacious activities, ranging from drugs to gang affiliation. Even though XXXtencion was young, fresh, and on the verge of becoming one of the best rappers of the time, he was shot because of being involved in salacious activities.

But more recently, Juice Wrld, a young rapper as well, who had just recently signed with the major record label Interscope Records, died on Dec. 8 after suffering cardiac arrest at a private hangar at Midway Airport. 

Around 2 a.m., according to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said, “Paramedics were called to hanger operated by Atlantic Aviation.” 

Juice Wrld‘s real name is Jarad Higgins, passing away just six days after turning 21. Higgins died just after he arrived at Midway on a private jet. Higgins was immediately taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center where they announced his death at 3:14 a.m.

It was determined that Higgins died after having a seizure. Many of his fans believed that he was faking his death. Not to long before his unexpected death, he posted on Instagram that his lifetime goal was to successfully fake his death. Juice Wrld’s younger audience believes that this was his doing to shine brighter and become famous, but he suffered a seizure and began bleeding from his mouth. The cause of his seizure is not yet known. The medical experts who examined the body, did find traces of drugs but more tests are required to confirm.

When Higgins was still in school, he left a huge mark in the schools he attended. The teachers and staffs always knew him to be highly creative and talented in what he does best, make music. Higgins was a very caring person even before he was famous, he would make sure someone was okay if he noticed something was wrong with them. His former teachers, staff, and classmates always thought he was a generous and hardworking; they are very devasted that Higgins is gone now, and he will be remembered by many people who looked up to him. 

About the Writer
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Rodnasha Williams, Business Manager

Rodnasha Williams is a junior at Durant High School and is Business Manager of Fundraising for the PawPrint Newspaper. When she is not taking pictures...

Swinging for the fences: 2019 Rays season Overview

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Swinging for the fences: 2019 Rays season Overview

The Rays celebrate their valiant efforts throughout the eason.

The Rays celebrate their valiant efforts throughout the eason.

The Rays celebrate their valiant efforts throughout the eason.

The Rays celebrate their valiant efforts throughout the eason.

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The 2019 MLB season found the Rays in a familiar spot: a few new faces, a few returning players, and fewer fans in the stands in St. Pete’s Tropicana Field. Little did 2019 AL Manager of the Year Kevin Cash know that 2019 would be the first time the 22-year-old Rays would make it to the postseason since 2013.

The Rays season began on an optimistic note with a series win against eventual 2019 World Series runner up, the Houston Astros.  However, a rash of injuries swept through the Rays’ clubhouse mid-April, sending Blake Snell (fractured right toe), Austin Meadows (right thumb sprain), Joey Wendle (hamstring sprain), fan-favorite Ji-Man Choi (calf tightness), and veteran Matt Duffy (pulled hamstring) to the Injured List (IL). Surprisingly, Kevin Kiermaier, known for his extended annual stints on the IL, avoided getting injured, but did miss games in the middle of the season with a variety of injuries. The Rays ended April with a 19-12 record, including a sweep against the Red Sox.

The Rays won 16 of their 27 games in May, including two series against the New York Yankees and a series against the Cleveland Indians.  Riley Brown, a sophomore at Durant High School, says that the Yankees were the toughest opponent for the Rays to face this year, alluding to the few games the Rays won against their division opponents.  Tampa Bay also led sweeps against cross-state rivals, the Miami Marlins, and international opponents, the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Rays avoided their common summer slump, winning more than half of their games in June.  However, behind the scenes, Rays’ ownership was exploring a future deal with Montreal (who lost their MLB Franchise when the Expos became the current Washington Nationals), due to low profit from low attendance at Tropicana Field.  Stadium deal rumors, such as this, have become a common headline in Tampa for many years, so much that Rays’ fans are accustomed to the threats to draw baseball away from the west coast of Florida.  The rumors have yet to amount to any action. 

Grant Greenwell, a sophomore at Durant says “[the Rays] are probably gonna move pretty soon or are gonna be a two-city team at least.”  Rays fans have mixed opinions on the matter.  Austin Haley, a Durant Chemistry teacher, says that he hopes the rumors will result in reopening talks to keep the Rays in Florida, but at a better location.  However, the Rays need a lot more than a few passionate fans to keep them in Tampa Bay.

Despite the stadium drama, Rays’ players remained focused on the game and managed to get three players elected to the AL All-Star game on July 9: utility player, Brandon Lowe, Charlie Morton, and rookie sensation, Austin Meadows.  Lowe and Morton were unable to play in the game due to an injury and the pitching schedule, but Meadows represented the Ray, entering the game in the 4th inning playing outfield for three innings and an at bat. 

Facing the second half of the season, the Rays had one thing in mind: the playoffs.  Rays ended July playing the Red Sox for the fourth time in 2019.  Tampa Bay swept the Olde Towne Team at Fenway Park in four games, leading them into August on another high note, being the first team to win eight games at Boston in one season since 1966.  Catcher Travis D’Arnaud had an outstanding July, batting .304 and hitting 25 RBIs.

With a pitching staff largely on the IL, the Rays managed an impressive performance in the post season push.  The Rays relied on an innovative pitching approach with an “opener”, but without many of their starters, their approach was limited.  The offense managed to drive the Rays to 17 wins in 27 games.  Rays’ shortstop Willy Adames continued his stellar sophomore year, hitting .304 with 28 hits. 

Rays’ fans, players, and coaches were watching the Wild Card standings, knowing their performance in September would control their post season fate.  Their pitchers were finally getting healthy and batters were swinging for the fences.  September began by completing a sweep against the Cleveland Indians, followed by 15 more wins.  Left fielder Tommy Pham closed out the season setting five 2019 team records, including 25 stolen bases and 33 doubles.  The last win in the regular season came against the Toronto Blue Jays on September 27.  Not only did the Rays beat the Blue Jays 6-2, they clinched one of the two Wild Card spots, followed by an extensive champagne celebration in Toronto’s visitor’s locker room.  The Rays would be playing in October for the first time since 2013. 

Austin Haley, “[the Rays’] run differential was great this year,” and contributes that to their offensive success.  Throughout regular season, the Rays were only outscored in the month of August and outscored opponents 796-656 overall.

The Rays faced the Oakland Athletics in the Wild Card game on October 2nd, sending Charlie Morton to lead the defense for the first five innings, but they didn’t have to rely on their pitching and defense alone.  Yandy Diaz, returning third baseman, had an excellent performance hitting two back to back homers.  Avisail Garcia and Tommy Pham contributed to the offensive assault leading the Rays to a 5-1 victory over the Athletics, taking them to the American League Divisional Series.

After one day off, the Rays flew to Houston for the first two games of the series.  Rays fans weren’t giving up hope, even after dropping the first two games to Houston, being outscored 9-3.  Back on their home turf, the Rays challenged the Astros in a spectacular offensive show.  Kevin Kiermaier, who had had a rather quiet bat in the regular season, matched Altuve’s solo homerun with a three-run homer in the bottom of the second.  Aces Ji-Man Choi, Austin Meadows, Tommy Pham, Brandon Lowe, and Willy Adames contributed seven more runs bring the final score to 10-3.  The Rays were making a comeback. 

The fourth game was just as exciting for Rays’ fans.  Justin Verlander would be pitching on three days’ rest for the first time in his career-a major mistake by Astro’s management.  Started by Diego Castillo, the Rays pitched a shutout through eight innings spoiled by a solo homerun by Houston catcher Robinson Chirinos.

Unfortunately, a sharp eye from the Astros’ dug out ended the Rays’ post season battle.  The Astros decoded Tyler Glasnow’s pitching positions, allowing them to read the pitch before it was thrown.  The Astros’ beat the Rays 6-1 in the decisive game 5 of the ALDS.  The Rays would be heading home after an impressive and unexpected fight with the Houston Astros.

Nevertheless, the Rays saw their regular and post season performance as a team victory.  In an interview with ABC, Eric Sogard voiced his praise for the 2019 Rays saying, “I think we surprised a lot of people. We believed in ourselves the whole way, we believed we could have done it. We went up against the best team, we gave them a fight in five games.” 

The Rays performance this year was not about winning the World Series; it was about perseverance, fighting, and impressing every baseball fan. 

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,...

MLB Predictions for the 2020 season

While the performance of teams can be unpredictable, based on performance this season, these are the most likely outcomes of the 2020 season.

Steel Maiden

While the performance of teams can be unpredictable, based on performance this season, these are the most likely outcomes of the 2020 season.

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The 2019 MLB season was full of surprises, from break out teams such as the Rays, A’s, and Twins, to teams failing to meet expectations like the Mets, Phillies, Cubs, and Red Sox. Of course, the most unpredictable of all, the Nats going from 19-31 to 2019 World Champions. Some say baseball is unpredictable, something you shouldn’t bet on. Well, it’s worth a shot!

A.L. East:

1) Rays

 2) Yankees

3) Blue Jays

4)  Red Sox

5) Orioles

A bold prediction to say the least, but the Rays will win the East. Before an injury crisis struck Tampa Bay, sitting down two of their three best pitchers in Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow, and two of their best hitters in Brandon Lowe and Yandy Diaz, the Rays led the East through June before succumbing to the Yankees and settling for the second Wild Card. If they can manage to stay healthy they are a superpower in the American League. The Yankees are no slouch and should make for a good race atop the standings. The Blue Jays, with their new young core of Vlad Guerrero Jr, Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio, could be on the rise and be a sneaky playoff team. The Red Sox, in the opposite direction of Toronto, are looking to cut payroll, which could also cut wins putting them in fourth. The Os, in the midst of a massive rebuild, are staring another disappointing year in the face, which is saying a lot considering they’ve lost 219 games in the last two years combined.

 A.L. Central:

1) Twins

2) White Sox

3) Indians

4) Royals

5) Tigers

The A.L. Central, home to two of the three worst teams in the A.L. in Detroit and KC, might find a way to look worse in 2019. The Twins, who slugged their way to their first division title since 2010 leading all of baseball in homeruns, will repeat their success in 2020. The White Sox, led by their rising core of Yoan Moncada, Tim Anderson, and Lucas Giolito, will be the break out team of 2020. The Indians, who, similarly to Boston, are looking to slim payroll, will trade away valuable pieces such as Francisco Lindor and Corey Kluber, causing them to slide to third place after just missing the playoffs in 2019. The Royals and Tigers could be interchangeable due to their equal incompetency to win games but Detroit will be the worse of the two, possibly snagging the number one pick.

A.L. West:

1) Astros

2) A’s

3) Angels

4) Rangers

5) Mariners

The Astros dominance of the West, winning their fourth straight division title behind the seemingly unstoppable core of Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, and Justin Verlander. Despite losing Geritt Cole to free agency they will ride the arms of JV and Zack Greinke to victory. The A’s will finish just short of a division but will put up a good fight, winning 90+ games yet again in a tough American League. The Angels and Rangers will both add this offseason possibly making some big splashes such as Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon but will still manage to be mediocore due to lack of pitching depth, causing Mike Trout to miss yet another October. The Mariners, with their always creative General Manager Jerry Dipoto will improve through trades but they are the last dog at the bowl in a tough division, finishing last for the second straight year. Expect this race to go down to the wire come late September.

N.L. East:

1) Braves

2) Phillies

3) Nationals

4) Mets

5) Marlins

In 2019, the N.L. East probably the most disappointing. What was expected to be a strong four team race between everyone but the Marlins, turned into Atlanta running away with the division whilst the Mets and Phillies failed to win 90 games. However, the Nationals snuck into October and made the most of it, winning the whole thing for the first time in franchise history. The Braves, however, will reign supreme again, behind the strong rotation led by Mike Soroka and Mike Foltynewicz, and a powerful lineup including the likes of Ronald Acuna Jr and Freddie Freeman, who both hit over .290 with 30 bombs. The Phillies will manage to snag second place just behind the Bravos but ahead of the reigning champs in the Nationals riding the bat of Bryce Harper. The Nationals, losing Rendon, Stephen Strasburg and Ryan Zimmerman to free agency will struggle to fill the gaps, missing October. The Mets continue to be a mess, burning through another manager and somehow losing with a rotation that stars Jacob Degrom and Noah Syndergaard. They will follow that trend in 2020, not even making the top three in the division. The Marlins will carry on their rebuild, remaining one of the worst teams in baseball again in 2020.

N.L. Central:

1) Cardinals

2) Cubs

3) Brewers

4) Reds

5) Pirates

This division might be the most competitive in all of baseball. For three months of the 2019 season all five teams were within six games of each other, something simply non-existent in today’s baseball world of tanking and super teams. However, in 2020 the Cardinals will come out as division champs for the second straight year, edging out their hated rivals from Chi-town. The Cubs, with their new manager David Ross, will continue to be good, but not good enough as they will miss out on October again in 2020, due to an aging core that isn’t cutting the mustard anymore. The Brewers, who are losing Yasmani Grandal and Mike Moustakas to free agency will regress from 2019 and also miss October. Their heavily used and taxed bullpen and thin starting pitching they refuse to address will be their undoing. The Reds are the opposite, lacking hitting with plenty of pitching in the form of Sonny Gray, Luis Castillo, and Trevor Bauer. The Pirates will begin their rebuild with a new president, general manager, and manager causing a new ideology to take over, which will result in a rough year for the black and yellows.

N.L. West:

1) Dodgers

2) Padres

3) D-Backs

4) Rockies

5) Giants

The Dodgers, who have mauled the West for the past seven years, will continue their dominance, winning their eighth straight division title but will be meet with more resistance in the form of the up and coming Padres, who will utilize their deep farm system, which is second best in Major League Baseball. Youngsters such as Chris Paddack and Fernando Tatis Jr will lead the squad to a wild card berth, breaking their 13-year playoff drought. The Diamondbacks surprised fans last year, sneakily winning 85 games on a low budget payroll, but still missed the playoffs. They will improve but not enough to win a Wild Card spot in a very competitive National League. The Rockies will continue to falter due to a lack of starting pitching, who pitched to a staggering 5.87 ERA last season. The Giants will lose franchise icon Madison Bumgarner and with their aging core, they will have a rough season, possibly being the worst team in the national league.

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...

Cash Snubbed for Manager of the Year

Kevn Cash, a native to the Tampa Bay, has managed the Tampa Bay Rays for five years.

ESPN

Kevn Cash, a native to the Tampa Bay, has managed the Tampa Bay Rays for five years.

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On November 13th MLB announced that Rocco Baldelli had won A.L. Manager of the Year. He was one of the 3 finalists, including Aaron Boone, manager of the Yankees, and Kevin Cash, skipper of the Rays. The final vote totals were 106 for Baldelli, 96 for Boone, and a staggeringly low 33 for Cash. After reports from Ken Rosenthal that it would be close between Boone and Cash it came as a surprise that not only that Baldelli won, but also that Kevin Cash got beaten so badly.

Not only should it have been at least close between Cash and Boone, but Cash was truly the most deserving candidate, not Baldelli or Boone. Kevin Cash led the Rays to 96 wins, the second straight year of 90+ wins with him at the helm. That’s impressive for any team in the majors, but when you have the lowest payroll in the sport it makes it that much more amazing. On top of all that, the Rays used 57 players, 30 pitchers, and Kevin Cash trotted out to change the pitcher an incredible 603 times, 2nd most in baseball. And if that wasn’t enough, the Rays won those 96 games while residing in the A.L. East, the toughest division in baseball including juggernauts like the Yankees and Red Sox. 

Aaron Boone was deserving as he had injury problems of his own, dealing with 30 players being injured 39 times. However, lets face it, Boone was given a Ferrari and told not to crash it, and even if he somehow did, he had 200 million dollars to repair it. Cash had to deal with a 60-million-dollar payroll, while talented, he did not have a whole lot of resources to back it up in case of mass injury. The Rays not only had more injuries, they had less than a third of the Yankees’ payroll to fill the gaps. 

Rocco, who was the least deserving to win, but somehow came away with the award. While it was his 1st year managing and he did win 101 games, his team plays in the A.L. Comedy Central, the weakest division in baseball, and feasted off the weak teams such as the Royals, White Sox, and Tigers. He basically had no adversity to face as injuries were limited, they had the 2nd fewest in MLB history and cruised to the division, with the second-best team finishing 8 games behind them. Yet he was voted on as the winner, taking votes away from the more deserving managers such as Cash and Boone. 

The thing that seems to be the real problem is how Cash got so little amount of recognition only receiving 33 votes, finishing 66 votes behind Rocco. The manager with less payroll, more injuries, and more overall adversity not only lost but lost in a landslide. Looking at the postseason provides a great example of Cash’s leadership. The Rays and Twins both were down 2-0 heading into Game 3 of their respective series. The Rays, facing Houston, rallied back at home to tie the series 2-2 and bring the series back to Houston, while the Twins didn’t even put up a fight, losing in front of the disappointed home crowd 5-1 and failing to even win a game in October for the 19th straight year. 

Kevin Cash was the most deserving manager to win this award and he was robbed blind by the Writer’s Association who voted. At the very least he deserved more recognition for his incredible accomplishments this season than the meager 33 votes he received. Kevin Cash didn’t win the A.L. Manager of the Year, but he was the most deserving candidate and it’s a disgrace he wasn’t the winner.

About the Writer
Photo of David Fackson
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...

Legislation is not improving climate change

The graphic explains the projections of the sea level and which areas of the United States will be directly impacted.

earth911.com

The graphic explains the projections of the sea level and which areas of the United States will be directly impacted.

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There are several different beliefs as to why the implemented laws aren’t making a significant impact on climate change. To start, while there has been an increase on the quantity of laws, many question the effectiveness of them. The issue is not the laws themselves, but enforcing them. From Vice.com, the “…shortcomings of environmental policies [are broken] into four categories: institutions responsible for the laws, civic engagement, environmental rights, and justice for those who break the law.”

In other words, while the amount of countries that have implemented environmental laws in their governments, each country has its own struggles when it comes to enforcing the set laws. It was uncovered  by Vice.com in the mid-2000s that some Asian countries “…lacked clear or sufficiently comprehensive mechanisms to limit and require monitoring of pollution discharges, file criminal or civil cases, take emergency response actions (such as closing a facility), impose penalties, or order corrective measures.” 

This is very concerning; if those in power don’t have the ability to enforce their own laws, then it’s almost impossible to say that the laws will have a significant impact in stopping the rise of temperatures, and will inevitably cause irreversible damage to the climate and environment.

In the U.S., the issue concerning the effectiveness of climate change laws and agreements previously made have become a burning topic between Democrats and Republicans. Since President Trump’s election in 2016, Democrats argue that he has contradicted himself several times throughout his presidency when discussing he position on climate change. In the past, Trump has referred to climate change as a “hoax”; NewReupublic.com, mentions that Trump has “…begun dismantling environmental protections against dirty coal, and installed cabinet heads whose ‘meh’ stance on climate science is a new form of denial.”

In 2015, the U.S. was one of 196 countries that signed the Paris Climate Agreement, promising to significantly cut emissions- the U.S. alone promised to cut emissions by 26-28 percent.

One year into Trump’s Presidency, he announced to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord. In his speech on June 1, 2017, Trump explains that the previous agreement was harmful and limited growth of the American economy. When discussing the coal industry, he explains that the agreement is flawed in the sense that it puts the United States in a financial disadvantage. “In short, the agreement doesn’t eliminate coal jobs- it just transfers those jobs out of America and the United States, and ships them to foreign countries. This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States.”

Since his election in 2016, the growth of the economy has been at the top of his list of priorities; however, many argue that his notions in making that happen will ultimately lead to severe damage to the climate. “Withdrawing from the deal could result in an additional 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere each year, speeding up the rate of rising sea levels and melting ice sheets,” (CBSNews.com).

Trump claims that he cares very much about the environment, and by making his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord, he is open to working out a new agreement with the Democrats- one that benefits both the environment as well as the American economy. But for now, while trillions of people argue for or against Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, one thing is for certain: if the world can’t come together to solve this worldwide issue, then the planet may face irreversible damage.

About the Writer
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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,...

Florida students try to petition school after Halloween

The+petion+ultimately+gained+about+70%2C000+signatures.
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Florida students try to petition school after Halloween

The petion ultimately gained about 70,000 signatures.

The petion ultimately gained about 70,000 signatures.

Change.org

The petion ultimately gained about 70,000 signatures.

Change.org

Change.org

The petion ultimately gained about 70,000 signatures.

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The Hillsborough County School Board has responded to a petition created online by students regarding school on the day after Halloween, November 1st

Students from Hillsborough, Polk, and Pasco county each began a petition on change.org proposing that students should not have to go to school after Halloween and a night of Trick-or-Treating. The Hillsborough county petition has nearly 60,000 signatures to, as the petition states, “Get no school after [H]alloween so we can turn up with our homies.”

The Polk County petition, begun by Moises Rodriguez, had more formal phrasing, explaining that holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving each have weeks off, and asking for one day off for Halloween isn’t too much to ask. 

Ja-Leo Boswell, a sophomore at Durant who signed the petition said, “Nobody’s gonna be feeling good cause they eat a lot of candy or are gonna get themselves sick or are gonna party and stay up late until like 3 o’clock in the morning.”

Many students agreed with Boswell explaining they can’t function at school if they are “hung over on candy.”  Another student signed the petition because the school board has already cancelled early release days for the rest of the first semester due to Hurricane Dorian. 

Emily Daugherty commented in favor of the petition saying, “I’m signing this petition because I believe that Halloween is a night to live it up! And how we gonna do that when we have school the next day and homework to do that night also[?] This petition is great [because] I really think that we should have the day after Halloween off!”

However, the school boards from each county have responded to the student led petitions.  

The post from the Polk County School Board reads “We respect the spirit of grassroots activism behind the petition…Unfortunately, our yearly school calendar is set well in advance, and barring an emergency, we cannot close schools on short notice.”  

Christine Lybbert, one of the Spanish teachers at Durant, says the school board’s response was “absolutely” appropriate because of the required time students need to come to school. 

The school board responded to another student comment claiming that students will be sick from eating candy saying, “Our school nurses will be ready to assist you with any candy-related ailments when you return… on Friday.”

Principle Gary Graham says he does not support the petition but says “I don’t think [the petition] was inappropriate. I think there is a form for student voice all the time.”

Mrs. Lybbert agreed with Mr. Graham, saying “We have a right to ask. I learned a long time ago that if you never ask the answer is always going to be no.”

The students’ efforts are applauded, however, some issues-such as school attendance-are not negotiable. But, echoing Mrs. Lybbert’s take on the matter, it never hurts to ask.

About the Contributors
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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,...

Tampa Bay Lightning looks to make statements this upcoming season

Fans+rally+behind+the+team%2C+in+hopes+for+victory+in+the+2020+Stanley+Cup.
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Tampa Bay Lightning looks to make statements this upcoming season

Fans rally behind the team, in hopes for victory in the 2020 Stanley Cup.

Fans rally behind the team, in hopes for victory in the 2020 Stanley Cup.

Luis Santana

Fans rally behind the team, in hopes for victory in the 2020 Stanley Cup.

Luis Santana

Luis Santana

Fans rally behind the team, in hopes for victory in the 2020 Stanley Cup.

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The Tampa Bay Lightning is looking to win its second Stanley Cup in the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs. The last time the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup was in the 2003-04 NHL season. The Lightning look to dominate and make a statement this upcoming season. 

With new additions for the Lightning for the 2019-20 season, the Tampa Bay Lightning look to add more physical players to the roster. The Tampa Bay Lightning added Stanley Cup Champion, Patrick Maroon, 31, for this season. Last season, Maroon played and won the Stanley Cup with the St. Louis Blues and is a hard working player who can score and can add depth to the Lightning. Maroon will not back down from a fight and had sixty-four penalty minutes during the regular season. This shows that Maroon will stick up for his teammates and will provide depth for the team.

 The Lightning also added Luke Witkowski, 29, a free agent who the Lightning inked for 2 years from the Detroit Red Wings can provide the team with his ability to hit and fight. Witkowski is not a big goal scorer, but can support his team with body checks and hits. 

The Lightning had to trade some of their stars this offseason and make some tough choices and decisions. Ryan Callahan, 34, who was traded to the Ottawa Senators, spent five seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning and will likely retire from playing hockey due to his severe back injury that doctors recommended he should stop playing hockey. In exchange for Callahan, the Lightning got goalie Mike Condon and a draft pick.

The Lightning also traded forward, J.T. Miller, 26, to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for two first round draft picks. The Lightning also gave up forward, Adam Erne, 24, to the Detroit Red Wings, in exchange for a 2020 fourth round draft pick. 

The biggest news is that the Lightning haven’t made a deal to extend one of their top stars, Brayden Point. Point, 23, is a restricted free agent who scored a total of 92 points in the 2018-19 NHL season. Point said in an interview “I would like to stay in Tampa,” but the season is very close to starting and he has yet to sign a contract with any team. This has made Lightning fans worry about a fan favorite player, not resigning with the Lightning. 

This year, Tampa Bay Lightning Captain, Steven Stamkos, 29, will play in his twelfth NHL season looking to win his first career Stanley Cup. Stamkos has led the team since 2014 since the departure of Martin St. Louis, who is now in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Stamkos also led the Lightning to a Stanley Cup Final in 2015, when the Lightning took on the Chicago Blackhawks. The Lightning lost the series, 4-2. After their historical season in the 2018-19 NHL season ending with the best record in the league, they lost in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, 4-0, to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Stamkos said “it was a fluke.” The Lightning plan to come out aggressive, strong, and end that way, but this time with a Stanley Cup. 

The Lightning have many star players such as Nikita Kucherov, 26, Victor Hedman, 28, Tyler Johnson, 29, Andrei Vasilevskiy, 25, and many more, as they have a stacked lineup filled with top scorers. Kucherov, is coming off a historical season ending with 128 points winning the Hart 

Memorial Trophy as NHL Most Valuable Player, Arts Ross Trophy for most points in the NHL, and Ted Lindsay Award for most outstanding player for the season. Kucherov set the NHL record for most points in a single season by a Russian-born player. Hedman, came off a season of injuries, but is ready to go for this upcoming season and is feels like he is healthier than ever. Johnson tied his own record for most goals in his career during a single season with 29. Vasilevskiy won the Vezina Trophy for the best NHL goaltender. 

This shows that the Lightning can be one of the greatest teams with their style of playing and having great coaches and players. The Lightning plan to win the Stanley Cup and they plan to be one of the greatest teams for a long time.

About the Contributors
Photo of Jordan Dabbour
Jordan Dabbour, Business Manager

Jordan Dabbour is a junior at Durant High School and is Advertising Business Manager for the PawPrint newspaper. He is an avid sports fan, and loves to...

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