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Denebola » Jeremiah Davis http://www.denebolaonline.net The Award-Winning, Official School Newspaper of Newton South High School, Newton, MA Fri, 17 Jun 2011 02:00:19 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.0.2 Setti and Ruth win prelims http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/09/30/setti-and-ruth-win-prelims/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/09/30/setti-and-ruth-win-prelims/#comments Wed, 30 Sep 2009 05:58:58 +0000 Jeremiah Davis http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/09/setti-and-ruth-win-prelims/ State Representative Ruth Balser and Setti Warren won Newton’s preliminary mayoral election on September 21. Five candidates were on the ballot: Warren, Balser, Alderman Ken Parker, William Heck, and Alderman Paul Coletti.

The election results showed State Representative Balser as the frontrunner with 36 percent of the vote, and Warren as a strong second with 31 percent. The other candidates fell behind, Alderman Parker securing 15 percent, Heck with 10 percent, and Alderman Coletti trailing the group with 8 percent.

The two leaders, Balser and Warren, are both politically-active Democrats who have varied experience within the Newton community. Balser has served as a Newton Alderman and is currently in her sixth term as a Massachusetts State Representative. Throughout her political career, she helped create and maintain many influential institutions within the city government, including the Newton Child Care Commission and the Public Safety and Transportation Committee. In addition, she is environmentally conscious and was named the 2001 “Environmentalist of the Year by the Newton Conservators.

Warren, a Newton native, has been politically active since he was elected class president all four years that he attended Newton North High School. In Newton politics, Warren helped found the Community Preservation Committee, and he worked on the Newton Economic Development Commission. In addition, he has held many prominent positions in national politics, such as New England Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) by President Clinton in 1999 and the Deputy State Director for Senator John Kerry. Warren has had firsthand experience in the White House, working with the Department of the Treasury, FEMA, and the Small Business Administration during Clinton’s presidency.

For the next few months, the two candidates will face off in public forum debates and continue campaigning until the general election on November 2.

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Swine flu spreads anxiety in Newton http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/05/13/swine-flu-spreads-anxiety-in-newton/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/05/13/swine-flu-spreads-anxiety-in-newton/#comments Wed, 13 May 2009 08:01:44 +0000 Jeremiah Davis http://www.sandbox.denebolaonline.net/?p=2289 Over the past month, the Swine Flu, an infectious new strain of influenza (H1N1) officially spread to 36 states and 17 countries. A total of 43 countries suspect cases of the virus. The pandemic alert level of the Swine Flu was raised to five, the second-highest level, on April 29.

Three eighth graders at Oak Hill Middle School have confirmed cases of the Swine Flu. According to Oak Hill principal Hank Van Putten, however, the students, who have been recommended to stay home for seven days, are making good recoveries.

Despite the fears of public health officials, Newton South remains relatively unaffected by the virus. No cases have involving members of the students or faculty been reported.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially recognized the Swine Flu on March 30 in an infected patient in San Diego, California. Soon after, this virus was identified to be the same disease that had killed over 100 people in Mexico in March. Over the past month, the disease has continued to spread worldwide.

At the moment, prominent medical organizations in the area, such as the Boston Public Health Commission, have issued statements regarding the virus and have advised citizens to stay vigilant and careful.

In response to the warnings, however, the PTSO as well as school nurse Gail Kramer sent out information regarding the swine flu in emails that outlined the information that the Newton Public Schools recently received from the Massachusetts Department of Health.

“People are really worried. There’s a hysteria around it, Kramer said. “We haven’t seen anything at all [at South].

According to Kramer, even those who traveled to Mexico over April vacation and are thought to be the most susceptible have not shown any flu-like symptoms. 

Kramer advises frequent hand washing and “cough etiquette in order to ensure that no viruses are spread but remains largely neutral when assessing the threat of the illness.

South’s teachers generally feel that the Swine Flu is not as serious as the media portrays it to be.

“I’m not worried at all, Principal Brian Salzer said. “There have always been outbreaks of illnesses. We should react with concern, but not with panic.

Salzer said that he is willing and able to close the school if the situation worsens or if a student contracts the disease.

South wellness teacher Joanna Norton also sees little reason to be worried.

“I view it as a flu, Norton said. “I have only heard kids making jokes. No one is saying ‘ËœI’m changing my lifestyle to avoid getting swine flu.

Norton suggested that one of the possible reasons there has been such a strong reaction to the virus is the fact that it is not currently flu season.

Still, many members of the South community display concern about the Swine flu.

“My friend went to Mexico over April break and now nobody will talk to her, freshman Julia Share said. 

There is still a feeling of uneasiness about the virus, especially because of its domination of the media.

“[The World Health Organization] wouldn’t rate it a five out of a scale of six if it wasn’t serious, photography teacher Bob Bouchal said. 

“People just have to be careful, just like any other time of the year, Kramer said.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially recognized the Swine Flu on March 30 in an infected patient in San Diego, California. Soon after, this virus was identified as the same disease that had killed over 100 people in Mexico during March. Over the past month, the disease has continued to spread worldwide.

At the moment, prominent medical organizations in the area such as the Boston Public Health Commission have issued statements regarding the virus and have advised citizens to stay vigilant and careful.  So far, however, there have not been any recorded cases in Boston and no serious action has been taken.

Despite the fears of public health officials, Newton South remains relatively unaffected by the virus. No cases have been reported involving members of the students or faculty.

In response to the warnings, however, the PTSO, as well as school nurse Gail Kramer sent out information regarding the swine flu in emails that outlined the information that the Newton Public Schools recently received from the Massachusetts Department of Health.

“People are really worried. There’s a hysteria around it, Kramer said. “We haven’t seen anything at all [at South].
According to Kramer, even those who traveled to Mexico over April vacation and are thought to be the most susceptible have not shown any flu-like symptoms. 

Kramer advises frequent hand washing and “cough etiquette in order to ensure that no viruses are spread but remains largely neutral when assessing the threat of the illness.

South’s teachers generally feel that the Swine Flu is not as serious as the media portrays it to be.

“I’m not worried at all, Principal Brian Salzer said. “There have always been outbreaks of illnesses. We should react with concern, but not with panic.

Salzer said that he is willing and able to close the school if the situation worsens or if a student contracts the disease.

South wellness teacher Joanna Norton also sees little reason to be worried.

“I view it as a flu, Norton said. “I have only heard kids making jokes. No one is saying ‘ËœI’m changing my lifestyle to avoid getting swine flu.

Norton suggested that one of the possible reasons there has been such a strong reaction to the virus is the fact that it is not currently flu season.

Still, many members of the South community display concern about the Swine flu.

“My friend went to Mexico over April break and now nobody will talk to her, freshman Julia Share said. 
There is still a feeling of uneasiness about the virus, especially because of its domination of the media. 

“[The World Health Organization] wouldn’t rate it a five out of a scale of six if it wasn’t serious, photography teacher Bob Bouchal said. 

“People just have to be careful, just like any other time of the year, Kramer said.

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South responds to Obama http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/02/11/south-responds-to-obama/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/02/11/south-responds-to-obama/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2009 00:09:59 +0000 Jeremiah Davis http://denebolaonline.net/?p=769 Much like the rest of the country, students and teachers at South are expressing awe, excitement, and both the optimism and the disappointment of high expectations following the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

“It was something the country needed, history teacher Eugene Stein said. “It was invigorating.

In his first weeks in office, Obama has begun to work on many of the promises that he made during his campaign, but some feel that Obama will not be able to keep all of them.

According to junior Mika Braginsky, founder of South’s Conservative Student Union, Obama’s campaign promises “aren’t related to reality.

“I am concerned with the success of his economic stimulus package, she said. “I am also concerned with the people he’s appointing.

Several obstacles, most notably resistance from Congressional Republicans, have slowed Obama’s progress.

“The only mistake he has made so far is not getting enough Republican support, sophomore Justin Kieran, who debates political issues on the Speech Team, said.

“People have to be realistic with how much he can do, seeing as the country is in such a difficult state, Stein said. “Still, he is already setting that tone [of success].

Others, however, are confident with Obama’s abilities to deal with the nation’s problems.

“He keeps reminding us that it may take years, but things will improve and I completely trust him to make the right choices, junior Maddie Willert said. “He will do the best job possible.

METCO counselor Katani Sumner feels that it is unfair for one to expect Obama to live up to all his promises.

“Promises are often made before the reality of the position is fully grasped, she said.

Although not all students at South preferred the outcome of the election, they still have confidence in Obama.

“I felt mostly disappointment that my candidate didn’t win, though not much else, sophomore and Conservative Student Union member Nathan Braginsky, Mika’s younger brother, said.

“I would have preferred McCain, Mika said. “But since [Obama] is president, I support him and hope he does a good job.

The historical significance of the election elicited strong reactions from South students.

“The reason Obama was elected is because so many Americans, especially the youth, worked really hard and got involved even though many of them can’t vote yet, Willert said. “This is, as he says, ‘Ëœour victory’ because we’re the ones who made it for ourselves.

For Kieran and Sumner, the fact that a black man became president made the election especially significant.

“It was the day we got our first black president, as well as former-President Bush leaving office. It was amazing, Kieran said.

“I felt a new sense of hope and pride in my fellow Americans that set aside issues of race and difference and elected the person that clearly seemed qualified for the job, Sumner said.

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Shrinking the city’s growing budget gap http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/12/17/shrinking-the-city%e2%80%99s-growing-budget-gap/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/12/17/shrinking-the-city%e2%80%99s-growing-budget-gap/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2008 04:48:01 +0000 Jeremiah Davis http://denebolaonline.net/denebola/?p=513 news1

In efforts to shrink the city of Newton’s expanding budget deficit, the Citizen Advisory Group presented a report that highlights the city’s financial problems and presents a list of possible solutions to the crisis on November 19.

“Expenses are rising faster than the amount of revenue we can bring in as a city, Alderman Amy Sangiolo said.

Alderman Jay Harney points to Newton North as one of the main contributing factors.

“In the long run, Newton North is definitely having an effect on this. A lot more money [went into North] than we ever should have paid, he said.

In addition, there have been major issues with the city property tax, one of the leading sources of municipal income.  The city gains only seven percent of its revenue from what are deemed “controllable local fees such as parking meter tolls and building permits.

The majority of the remaining revenue comes from property taxes, which are hindered from rising quickly by Proposition 2 1/2. With city expenses constantly rising, this does not provide enough revenue to meet needs.

This budget plan is part of a set of recommendations that has been made to help diminish the gap. First is a price for each unit of trash thrown out by a household’s residents, which will be paid directly to the waste disposal services.

Parking meters are also predicted to help by increasing the rates by 25 cents per hour, increasing the number of meters, lengthening the operating hours, and changing employee/commuter parking policies.

The third recommendation is putting more effort into making sure construction costs are reported correctly and raising building permit fees.

Recreational, community education, and cultural programs will be condensed into one department,and user fees are increased.

An increase in leasing municipal properties will also lead to a greater income via cell tower rental. The sixth recommendation is using a grant writer to increase private donations to the public school system and the city. Municipal properties that are not being used adequately will be sold or leased. The last recommendation is to work out payments and services in lieu of taxes from colleges and hospitals.

“The plan is to have programs with increasing budgets pay for themselves and their staff, Sangiolo said

Even with such drastic changes to minimize costs and raise revenue implemented, the gap between costs and revenue will not be fully closed. This will affect education and Salzer expects more cuts this year at South

He believes the city should pay off the budget issues because it is too much to ask parents to give any more.

“We’ve really maxed out what people can spend to send kids to free public schools¦We can’t put more burden on families, Salzer said.

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South meets West, expands horizons http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/11/26/south-meets-west-expands-horizons/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/11/26/south-meets-west-expands-horizons/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2008 14:22:52 +0000 Jeremiah Davis http://denebolaonline.net/wordpress/?p=427 In efforts to create a bond between their two schools, 40 Newton South and Urban Science Academy (USA) students of varied race, age, and gender participated in a two-day exchange. 20 students from USA visited South on October 29, and 20 students from South visited USA on November 3.

After visiting each school, the students met to discuss the experience. South students found USA, a small urban school in West Roxbury, very different from South. USA students do not have open campus and are not allowed any free blocks during the day. Their schedule is the same everyday, contrasting with the weekly block schedule at South.

USA students cannot wear hats during school and must address their teachers as “miss or “mister, without any last names.

According to Sumner, “[South] students were really impressed by how much more community-oriented USA felt.

The USA students were struck by the size of South’s campus and the amount of freedom available to students.

No one participating in the program said that they would be willing to switch schools, given the chance.

Junior Ross McDonald, a participant in the project, found the exchange to be a rewarding experience.

“It was worth having the experience and useful to gauge [my shadow's] experience versus mine. I found that [South students] are more privileged because we have the freedom to go anywhere and do almost anything, he said.

According to Sumner, the exchange was largely successful.

“The response was overwhelming. We are hoping to replicate it in the spring, she said.

The program was also set up in part by the Black Student Union (BSU), which funded the lunches bought by the South students at USA, and in part by the PTSO.

“The PTSO generously supported the project, South METCO Counselor Katani Sumner said.

Participants from South were chosen based on a questionnaire designed to determine interest in the project. Each student was paired with a USA student, who they shadowed throughout the visit, in hopes of experiencing school in an environment different from that which they are used to.

Salzer hopes that the program will become an annual event.

“As kids exchange from year to year, the teachers and the administrators get to know each other and learn from each other. The kids also develop friendships and can bring the best of both schools together, he said. “We hope for the same outcomes that we hope for from an international exchange, to build relationships with people from a different culture and a different community, but of the same age group.  We hope to learn from each other, and to build from it so it’s not just a one time experience but a long term friendship, Salzer said.

The next exchange is planned to take place in March 2009.

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South Club Banks for Poor http://www.denebolaonline.net/2007/11/21/south-club-banks-for-poor/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2007/11/21/south-club-banks-for-poor/#comments Thu, 22 Nov 2007 06:00:43 +0000 Jeremiah Davis http://denebolaonline.net/wordpress/?p=154 Although American banks loan billions of dollars everyday to entrepreneurs, in poorer countries, businesses do not have the same opportunity.

A group of South students, however, have joined the Youth MicroCredit International (YMCI), an organization that aims to remedy that problem.

Newton North senior Alex Simon started YMCI to educate students about microcredit and developing economies. South sophomores Ben Chesler and Naveen Sridhar started a local chapter at South. They hope to convince people to donate money that can be lent to poor people in the third world.

Economics professor of Chittagong University Muhammad Yunus invented microcredit in the early 1970′s. Private investors give “microloans,” loans ranging from $600 to $1,200, to citizens of developing nations.

This money helps them start businesses, spurring the local economy and creating jobs. Over 90 percent of entrepreneurs eventually pay back the loan.
After 30 years the concept grew into an international effort that today brings millions of families in third world countries out of poverty and began numerous organizations committed to the cause. This feat earned Yunus the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.

“It is not just giving money to poor people,” Chesler said. “Because the people have to repay the loans, it fosters a sense of pride and responsibility. They use the small loans to stimulate their own economy, which will eventually bring the country out of poverty.”

Chesler has high hopes for the club and feels that it will help not only needy people in other countries, but educate people here in the United States as well.

“I want the club to raise money for microcredit, but I also want the club to educate people about microcredit,” he said. “Even though Muhammad Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize last year for founding the Grameen Bank, a microfinance institution, nobody has heard of microcredit. I want to change that.”

YMCI is partnered with Kiva, an organization that allows investors to support and loan money to a private business through microfinance institutions in the area. All the money raised by the club will be loaned through Kiva.

“Microcredit is an incredible way to help people sustain themselves and other people around them,” co-founder Naveen Sridhar said.

YMCI hopes that South students will consider using their money to help alleviate poverty in developing instead of buying something for themselves. As Naveen points out, the money will eventually be repaid, allowing students to spend money on themselves anyway.

YMCI meets Wednesday J Blocks starting November 28.

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