Category Archives: News

Devestating Amtrak Train Crashes Near Tacoma

by Jillian Felker – Entertainment Editor

“It felt like the end of the world, and I was standing amid the wreckage,” Said Emma Shafer, a 20-year-old modern-dance student who was aboard the train, which carried approximately 77 people and 7 crew members. Amtrak Train No. 501 began its new route on Monday Dec. 18, 2017 from Seattle down to Portland, but this ride took an extreme turn of events.

While turning over an overpass at 7:30 a.m. south of Tacoma, about halfway to Olympia, when a passenger train jumped the tracks landing onto busy southbound lanes along I-5, two passenger coaches also fell partly onto the lanes, killing six and injuring at least 100 others. All 12 of the train’s coaches and one of its engines derailed on the turn. The train carried approximately 77 people and 7 crew members

The National Transportation Safety Board said in a report that the train was traveling at a speed of over three times its regulated limit, 80 MPH, far over its regulated limit of 30 MPH on the turn. It was reportedly unclear as to of why the train was traveling at this speed during the time. The tracks on which the train had derailed were practically brand new, constructed from a recent investment program, which Wa. State approximately $180 mil. to pay for.

Following the crash, attorneys for one of the conductors, who was aboard the train to observe the new faster bypass track on Dec. 18th when it crashed in Pierce County, have filed a suit against Amtrak. This suit filed on Jan. 3rd, which claimed that he has suffered from emotional shock, rib and hip injuries, as well as severe pain, is only one of the man claims and lawsuits to come following the crash, and was the second one filed on the same day.

Young Iranians Dissatisfied with Government

by Alicea Alford – Staff Writer

Since Dec. 28, the people of Iran have been protesting the lack of economic opportunity, high prices of food and fuel, Iranian involvement in the Middle East, and the government as a whole.

President Hassan Rouhani outlined a plan during his election bid to boost the economy. However, with average Iranians not feeling the benefits of his economic agenda because they deal with growing inflation, unemployment, and restriction of their freedoms, they arranged protests.

Alireza Nader, an international policy analyst, said to CNN why the people are protesting, “The government is viewed as highly corrupt, increasing inequality is seen by the population as really a form of injustice.”

Most protesters that were arrested had been from low income families and were between 18 and 35 years old.

A South Asia and Middle East expert for the Washington-based Middle East Institute said to RadioFreeEurope, “Young Iranians hold higher expectations…and aspire to more freedoms and opportunities…they are deeply frustrated with economic and political stagnation in the country, and do not see the ruling political establishment as capable of addressing their needs.”

The protests spread to more than 80 cities and towns around Iran. They were the largest protests in Iran since 2009. More than 42,000 people took part in the protests. Around 3,700 people were arrested for their participation in the anti-government protests.

The Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafaari Dolatabadi said to the Mehr news agency, “More than 440 people who were arrested in Tehran riots have been released.”

The protests resulted in at least 25 deaths. Most killed were protestors, however some were security guards trying to keep control during the protests. At least 2 deaths occurred while in police custody.

Although the protests have ended, Siavush Randjbar-Daemi, a lecturer in Iranian history at Britain’s University of Manchester said to NBC news, “I do not think the feeling of dissent toward the regime and level of disgust for the political and economic situation has gone away.”

New KSD Technology Aims to Promote Learning

by Symantha Edwards – Staff Writer

As our world progresses each day, the push for new technology is affecting the way we travel, the way we communicate and now, the way we learn. Schools all over America are pushing for technology advances, and schools right here in Kent are no different. 14 million computers are already available at different school across the countries, but Patrick Regnart, former principal at Neely O’brien and current director of technology for the Kent school district, disagrees that computers are as essential as we make them seem.

While an advocate for technology being available to students, Regnart noticed the effect typing had on the overall thinking process of his students. He watched younger students struggle with keyboards so much that they could barely articulate the thoughts they were trying to express. “Technology allows us to do more in less time, but it does not always foster learning,” said Regnart. “If we want students to synthesize material, draw inferences, see new connections, evaluate evidence and apply concepts, we need fewer gigs — more brain power.”

The solution to this dilemma? Convertible laptops, similar to tablets. With these devices, students can still type, but are also enabled to draw directly on the screen with a stylus or make handwritten notes in the margins of articles. Many studies have shown that writing further helps students to retain and understand information more than typing ever has.

Along with all of the above-mentioned benefits, the tablets will reduce sheets of paper getting lost and mangled in students backpacks.

About 900 tablets were distributed to Kent elementary schools this past November and plans to distribute more in the next couple years are in place.

As new technology advances, school wills try to keep up to better our leaning experience, and that is positive change.

Iceland Takes Action Against Pay Inequality

by Megan Monahan – Staff Writer

Iceland’s taking a leap forward for women’s equality by making it illegal to underpay woman with a possible fine of five hundred dollars to any company who does.

Worldwide many are applauding Iceland for becoming the First Country in the World to require equal pay for women. This plan has been coming to action since March of 2017 with Iceland’s Prime Minister Bjarni Bendeiktsson stating on last years International Women’s Day that, “Gender quality benefits all of us.” The law is the first of its kind at the National level and applies to all countries with more than 25 employees. Companies must undergo certification every three years to ensure that their pay policies follow the rules. “There is a standard which we have already taken up,” said Bendeiktsson, “but not all are following it.”

Many are speaking up about the new legislation praising Iceland for its step toward women’s equality. American tennis player Billie Jean King stated that, “Iceland again leading in the quality movement. A new Female Prime Minister, and a Parliament where nearly half of its members are women. Equal representation benefits everyone!” King is not the only one praising Iceland’s efforts. CEO Sam Smethers, a women’s rights supporter said that equal pay “isn’t just about women’s interests.” She emphasized that “Holding women back holds our economy back. Tackling gender inequality and discrimination is good for business and for all of us.”

The United States is trying to follow in Iceland’s footsteps and is attempting to close the wage gap. Some of these attempts have been successful, however the wage gap still remains wide. In January 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the most recent date showed that women were still earning “83 percent of men’s median weekly earnings,” which is a point two percent increase from 2012. The only state that is taking strong effort in trying to close the wage gap is Minnesota. Minnesota has its own gender pay equity law that has been in place since December 31, 2012, however it is yet to prove a major difference in the wage gap.

Pro Versus Cons: Donald Trump’s First Year

by Nicholas Shepard – Staff Writer

Month Achievement Failure

January Trump nominates Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court to replace the late Antonin Scalia, who would be seated with a vote of 54-45 on April 7th. The highly anticipated travel ban, which barred entry to the U.S. from immigrants from seven Muslim majority countries, was blocked by a federal judge in Washington state.

February Trump spoke to a joint session of congress on February 28th, which some saw as a successful attempt to unite the country while also pushing his own agenda. Michael Flynn, the shortest-serving National Security advisor in the post’s history, resigned after 24 days following reports he had lied to Vice President Pence about meetings with Russians he’d had.

March Officially proclaimed March, 2017, as Women’s History Month The doomed GOP healthcare plan is revealed by House Republicans on March 6th.

April Trump’s supreme court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, is confirmed following a vicious fight and rule change by Senate Republicans. A PR failure more than anything else, Trump launched a missile strike in Syria in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by Assad, prompting outrage from not just liberal doves but also conservatives who claimed it was against Trump’s America First message.

May On the flip side, those in Trump’s loyal 35% base saw Comey’s firing as an important step towards shutting down the false and phony Democratic hoax of the Russia investigation. On May 9th, Trump orders the firing of FBI Director James Comey, which only darkened the cloud of possible collusion with Russia over his administration, prompting accusations of obstruction of justice and the appointment of Robert Mueller as a special counsel in the Russia investigation.

June Fulfilling a big campaign promise, Trump begins the process of pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement, which he touted as a waste of trillions of American taxpayer dollars towards a fake cause. Comey testified before the Senate on June 7th, calling out the White House for “lies, plain and simple”, and saying he was fired with the intention of obstructing the investigation.

July Trump’s appearance at the G20 summit in Germany is widely Information on the now-infamous June 2016 meeting

seen as a successful first meeting for him with many world leaders. with Russians and Donald Trump Jr. came to light, wherein Trump Jr. was to find dirt on Hillary Clinton from the Russians. In July also came the killing of the GOP healthcare plan at the hands of loyal Republican John McCain, and a mass exodus of White House staff.

August Trump, in visiting hurricane-ravaged Texas, is seen as more presidential than he had yet, and his approval ratings saw a bump. Trump fails to condemn the neo-Nazis responsible for the death of a counter-protestor in Charlottesville, prompting bipartisan outrage and rebuke of him.

September Fulfilling to his base some of his rhetoric against immigrants, Trump announces that he will end DACA in six months unless congress comes up with a solution. Again on the flip side, Trump gets backlash for his decision on DACA by many prominent Democrats and Republicans, such as Arizona Senator Jeff Flake.

October Trump begins the fulfillment of another campaign promise, the “ripping up” of the Iran Deal, by not re-certifying the deal and, once again, kicking the can to congress. On October 30th, former Trump aides Paul Manafort and Rick Gates are indicted by Russia investigation special counsel Robert Mueller, appearing to bring the revelation of collusion one step closer.

November Trump visits multiple Asian nations in a 12-day trip, intending to raise pressure against North Korea’s nuclear program and push for more intense sanctions from all countries. On the election off-year, state legislatures and governorships are swept up in the “Blue Wave”, which many saw as a rebuke against Trump’s first year to date.

December On December 15th, Trump signs the GOP tax plan into law, which passed in the senate 51-48, with no Democratic support. This is the first major legislative victory in Trump’s first year, and the first major change in the U.S. tax code since the Reagan administration. On December 12th, Trump-backed Senate candidate and accused child molester Roy Moore loses to Democrat Doug Jones in an Alabama special election, due to massive Democratic turnout in another stunning rebuke of the President.

Annual Tree Lighting Strengthens Sense of Community

by Joshua Manning – Staff Writer

The tradition of lighting the tree at the Don Henning roundabout in downtown Covington is an annual occurrence which seeks to bring together to the community of Covington through the topic of the Christmas Season. The event started at 4 PM with live music and a few scenes from “Scrooge, The Musical” as well as live caroling shortly after. Many Covington service clubs, as well as our very own Kentlake Key Club were present at the event to serve hot beverages such as cider and cocoa as well as cookies and other refreshments. In addition to the food, the City of Covington also had arts and crafts stations set up for ornament making.

The tree lighting itself took place around 6 PM which is when attendance to the event swelled the most. The big tree on the roundabout that the lighting used to happen on was notably cut down years ago but it has since been replaced with a smaller one for the lighting ceremony since the lighting is a tradition and it is the thing that the most people show up to on the day of the event. Many people when asked why they showed up to the lighting just simply said “out of tradition”, while others tended to expand on the ideas of community and how the event can fortify ties with other people you may not have met otherwise.

Although the event officially started at 4 PM, the Covington Kiwanis Club held a pancake breakfast, ran a craft bazaar, and facilitated a 5k event. These events were part of the Hollydaze Saturdays in December, which is also a tradition of Covington in which every Saturday before Christmas, special holiday events for the family are held. These events took place over the course of the whole day whereas the tree lighting started at 4 PM and ended at 6 PM. The Kiwanis Club also had their own booth and sold goods at the tree lighting as well to raise money for future events they will be holding as well as to raise money for the Kiwanis Children’s Cancer Program for pediatric oncology.

Open hearts Big Dreams Fund Raises money for Education

by Madison Marko – Head Photographer

Nine-year-old Leyla Angelidis, daughter of math teacher Michael Angelidis, has inspired Open Hearts Big Dreams Fund—a fund that has raised about half a million dollars to benefit education in Ethiopia.

“We would have no other connection to Ethiopia if it wasn’t for Leyla. When we brought Leyla into our lives, we wanted to connect to her native country. We want her to have a sense of who she is and where she came from. This is all because of her,” Mr. Angelidis said.

The fund, a nonprofit, was founded by Michael’s wife, Ellenore Angelidis. It held its sixth fundraising gala on Dec. 9 at Hangar 30 in Magnusson Park. The gala featured silent and live auctions, a wine wall, and a raffle. Ethiopian food, art, and poetry were celebrated throughout the event. The Ethiopian Community Center Dancers performed a traditional Ethiopian dance. In total, the gala raised around $100,000.

The money will be divided to support the Early Reader Books Project, Technology and Coding Project, and Art Education Project. The Early Reader Books Project will continue to create Ready Set Go Books that have been translated into four Ethiopian languages. The books will be shipped by Open Hearts Big Dreams Fund to different libraries in Ethiopia.

For the Technology and Coding Project, the fund will work with another nonprofit, UCodeGirl, and support them as they bring more technology and coding to Ethiopia. Mrs. Angelidis is on the advisory board for UCodeGirl, and has been working on locating partners to collaborate with for the project.

The Art Education Project will work with artists and teachers to create curriculum for students to learn to create art that can be used for Ready Set Go Books. The artist will create art while they are in Ethiopia. The fund will sell this art to raise money to be able to provide classrooms with supplies to continue the programs throughout the year.

“The goal of the Open Hearts Big Dreams Fund is to continue to empower people through education. We believe that education is not a privilege, it is a right. You should be able to get educated no matter where you were born— whether that is in Ethiopia, or Kent, Washington, or Athens, Greece. Education is the most empowering thing for people,” Mr. Angelidis said.

Some of Mr. Angelidis’s students, as well as many Key Club members, stepped up to volunteer at the event. Leizllyn Nicolas (11), Key Club member and one of Mr. Angelidis’s calculus students, said, “Mr. Angelidis told our class about the fund, his adopted daughter, and how Open Hearts Big Dreams Fund has helped kids in Ethiopia. I knew I wanted to be a part of that. It was a new experience for me, and I loved seeing so many people come together to help raise money for the cause.”

Mr. Angelidis said, “I am Greek, my wife is Dutch, our boys are American, and our daughter is Ethiopian. We feel like we are more of a ‘world family’. It humbles us to see where we are and what other people are dealing with. Even in our worst days, there is a lot more suffering in the world. If we can make a small difference in somebody’s life, then we are grateful for that. We are all citizens of the world, and if we can help somebody, let’s help somebody.”

Cult Leader Charles Manson Dies at Age 83

by Jillian Felker – Entertainment Editor

Cult leader and notorious murderer of the 1960’s who frightened the entire U.S nation, Charles Manson, died on Nov. 19. Manson died while in a hospital in Kern County, Cal. from natural causes, after having been admitted several days beforehand.

After marrying several times and having one child, all resulting in divorce, and after being imprisoned due to petty crimes (soon released in 1967), Manson formed the cult known as the Manson Family, which later evolved to more than 100 members.

Cult formed due to a similar liking for hallucinogenic drugs, and non-conventional lifestyle, especially during The Summer of Love (1967). Within the cult was a small group of hard-core believers, very young women, who believed he was Jesus and his prophecies of a race war

After the formation of the cult, the particularly hard-core followers were those who were believed to have carried out about 35 killings, mostly led by Manson. The most famous one beginning with Roman Polanski, acclaimed movie director, and his wife, Sharon Tate, an actress well-known for her roles in films such as Valley of the Dolls, and modeling during the 1960’s.

On Aug. 9, 1969, the murder of Polanski and all of those staying in the house that Polanski was renting north of Beverly Hills, which included his eight-month pregnant wife, Tate, took place. While Manson was not directly present during the killings, he directed four of his most devoted followers to the address of the home and instructed them to kill everyone.

After murdering those in the Polanski home, the following night the followers went out to the home of a wealthy supermarket executive and his wife, in which they also murdered the couple in a similarly tragic fashion.

During the trials for the murders, which were started on suspicion of vandalism and evolved into a murder trial upon evidence, members of the Manson Family came forward to testify against Manson, and spoke on how he used them emotionally, mentally, and physically over time. During the trials, it was revealed that they had planned to also murder Elizabeth Taylor and husband Richard Burton, Frank Sinatra, Steve McQueen and Tom Jones. The celebrities chosen so that the murders committed would shock the world and make people take notice.

In Jan. of 1971, Manson was convicted of first degree murder for the direction of the past murders, taken place during the 1960’s, in which Manson was initially given the death sentence. Although Cal. supreme court repealed the death sentence in 1972, his sentence was then converted to life in prison. Within the past decades, Manson has been denied parole 12 times.

Senate Bill Aims to Expand Student Press Protections

by Nicholas Shepard – Web Editor

A new bill concerning our journalistic rights and continued excellence in the Falcon Flyer, WA Senate Bill 5604, is designed to protect and expand on the rights of school newspapers throughout the state. The bill was introduced by Democratic Floor Leader Senator Marko Liias of the 21rd legislative district on January 26, 2015 – yes, almost two years ago – and still, regardless of the benefits the bill would provide if signed into law, has stalled yet again.

The bill seeks to increase the power – but with it, the responsibility – of the students in charge of the paper. Under 5604, officials are permitted only to prohibit media that is considered libel or slander, as defined by the bill; an unwarranted invasion of privacy; obscene or indecent as defined by the federal communications act; or incites students to commit unlawful acts, violate school regulations, or cause material or substantial disruption of the operation of the school.

Political expression of students in their school papers is also clearly defined as not a use of public funds for political interests, in the bill, and any student or their parents can file complaints due to perceived violation of the aforementioned rights.

While 5604 did reach a vote and pass with a majority in the Washington State Senate on February 20, 2015, less than a month after introduction, but stalled at the caucus stage after a hearing before the House Education Committee. It has been repeatedly re-introduced and retained by resolution but so far hasn’t made significant progress.

Keystone Pipeline Causes Major Controversy

by Nolan James – Staff Writer

The construction of the Keystone Pipeline XL has caused much controversy in recent times. The Keystone Pipeline already has three major constructions, built by TransCanada, and a fourth has been in the works for many years now. The plans, passed by the House and Senate in 2015, was later vetoed by President Obama, and the Senate failed to override him. However, during his first few days of presidency, Donald Trump decided to go forward with the plans to build the fourth phase, the Keystone Pipeline XL.

The Keystone Pipeline XL is a proposed project for a 36-inch diameter crude oil pipeline extending from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska, according to TransCanada’s main website. There are many who oppose and many who support the construction of the pipeline, with arguments on both sides. The major group upset with the construction of the pipeline are environmentalists, who believe that the pipeline could potentially lead to much environmental damage and increased climate change.

The first issue environmentalists have is the potential spills of the pipeline. There are many different estimations for the potential spills, which include Dr. John Stanbury of the University of Nebraska, who estimates that the pipeline will have “91 significant spills over the pipeline’s operational lifetime” as opposed to TransCanada’s estimate of “11 significant spills […] over 50 years.”

Dr. Stanbury also claims that the potential damage on the surrounding areas could be devastating. “Contaminants from a release at the Missouri or Yellowstone River crossing would enter Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota where they would adversely affect drinking water intakes, aquatic wildlife, and recreation. Contaminants from a spill at the Platte River crossing would travel downstream unabated into the Missouri River for several hundred miles affecting drinking water intakes for hundreds of thousands of people […] as well as aquatic habitats and recreational activities.”

The second point of contention is global warming. Many environmentalists believe that the pipeline could potentially contribute to climate change and pollution. While even the existence of global warming and humans’ contributions are heavily debated topics, the government has concluded that the pipeline will have “carbon emissions (equal to) less than 1 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States,” according to the New York Times. However, when President Obama was considering the construction of the pipeline, the EPA concluded that “construction of the pipeline is projected to change the economics of oil sands development and result in increased oil sands production, and the accompanying greenhouse gas emissions, over what would otherwise occur.”

Environmentalists aren’t the only people upset by the potential construction of the pipeline, however. Many Native Americans protest the construction of the pipeline for its potential to leak into sacred territory. A few Native Americans have actively protested the construction of the pipeline. A story by the Huffington Post detailed the story of a group of Native Americans who set up teepees near the planned construction sites. They interviewed archaeological monitor Keith Fielder, who claimed that “the pipeline threatens culturally sacred lands.”

One of the major draws of the construction of Keystone Pipeline XL was the jobs it would create. TransCanada predicted that the construction of the pipeline would create 20,000 jobs – 13,000 in construction and 7,000 in manufacturing. However, the State Department has

estimated that only 3,900 jobs in manufacturing would be created, and that only 35 permanent jobs would ultimately be created, according to the New York Times.

Another obstacle has arisen in the construction of the pipeline. One of the other three constructions spilled, according to CNN, a total of 210 thousand gallons of oil. The pipeline was shut down immediately. Brian Walsh, who spoke on behalf of South Dakota’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources, claimed that “there were no initial reports of the oil spill affecting waterways, water systems, or wildlife.”

The pipeline has generally been positively received by the public. Polls such as that of Washington Post, CBS, the Pew Center, and USA Today show that the public generally approves of the construction of the pipeline. However, the most recent survey by the Pew Center, taken in February of 2017, showed that its popularity has dropped, with 42% for and 48% against. The Keystone Pipeline XL has had a lot of obstacles preventing its construction, and much controversy surrounding it, so it still is undeterminable whether it will be built or not.