Strike Hard: A Review of Cobra Kai Season 3

It was only a few years back when the YouTube Red series Cobra Kai premiered to an eager base of fans ready to experience an action-comedy drama that brought back fond memories of the blockbuster film, Karate Kid. Despite a great fan following on YouTube Red, Cobra Kai only felt its giant boost when it finally debuted on Netflix in the summer of 2019, reaching the #1 spot on Netflix’s top ten most watched shows, and #1 in Nielsen Ratings nationally (Nielsen ratings measure audience viewership and ratings nationwide).

Cobra Kai builds on the legacy of the Karate Kid movie series, while also exploring the full story of what happened then and what has happened since.The two enemies from the first movie, Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) are now middle-aged men. Still their lives seem to be rooted by the consequences of the original film’s ending, where Daniel kicks Johnny in the head and wins the All-Valley Under 18 Tournament, all thanks to his wise and great mentor, Mr. Miyagi (played by late Pat Morita). 

The show released its third season on January 1, 2021. So without further ado, we’re going to strike first, strike hard, and show no mercy with this review of Cobra Kai’s third season.

– – – – Warning: Potential Spoilers Ahead! – – – –

Season 3, much like the previous seasons, has received a lot of critical and audience acclaim. We start the season revealing the consequences of what happened at the end of Season 2: Johnny Lawrence is broken and giving up on life again, Miguel Diaz is in a coma, Johnny’s son Robby is hiding from the law enforcement, and Kreese is operating Cobra Kai.

The Plot

By far, the plot of the series is brutally compact with a lot of poetic throwbacks to the film trilogy. However, I believe the third season’s plot sells us short. We see a semi-repeat of Season 2 with Miguel helping Johnny impress girls and Johnny growing his relationship with Carmen Diaz, Miguel’s mother. Even the season finale depicts a rematch of the fight that literally happened in season 2. Among many others, an interesting one is the rehashing of the whole love triangle with Robby getting angry at Miguel and Sam “falling in love again.” The season seems to be reiteration of what already has happened, which is a key recurring theme in the series. Hopefully the creators of the franchise take the lessons they bring to the table: to their hearts as well.

The Narrative

The plot isn’t so great, but there is a plus side to that: the season becomes redeemed by the narrative. A narrative is often binding, no matter how expansive. Like Star Wars. The third season follows the Miyagi-Do and Cobra Kai dynamic, but it isn’t the teachers fighting it out this time. It’s the students. Sam LaRusso is willing to take things into her own hands, Hawk won’t stop bullying Demetri. Robby is willing to live by the Cobra Kai creed, you have a lot of the key character arcs of Season 2 culminating to their greatest peak. You can tell the story is being a little lazy, but essentially it just ends up like the Return of the Jedi from the Saga of Star Wars. The story has way fewer risks, but the result is somewhat more appealing: This season brings a renewed focus to the new characters — building their relationships, building their motivations for future seasons.

The Layering: Shading it together

What Cobra Kai’s third season does, is what movies and television series are constantly trying to do right. The layering. Adding motivations to characters, so you know it isn’t some white-headed nose-less wizard just trying to do stuff because evil is something to enjoy (if you didn’t get that reference, please search up “JK Rowling”). There is a composite and uniform slate of ideologies that make Cobra Kai so compelling to watch. This is why I believe the show has broken so many records to achieve ultimate success.

In season 3, we see the story delve into John Kreese’s background. A bullied teenager, with a mother suffering from mental problems on the verge of committing suicide, who then ends up enlisting to go to Vietnam. He fights in the war, loses his best friend to Vietnamese soldiers after failing to learn the “no mercy” lesson taught by his military superior (NOT EVEN REALIZING that his military superior actually withheld information about his girlfriend’s fatal car accident). As this storyline develops, Cobra Kai becomes dark very quickly. Kreese then ends up being forced to fight with his military superior. In this scene, you see the brutality that has formed the man we saw in Karate Kid and learn more about this season.

And here’s the bigger theme of Cobra Kai: everyone, in their own way, makes sense. Kreese failed to learn “strike first, strike hard, no mercy!” And when he did, he lost people he cared about, he suffered mentally and physically, but most of all: the regrets of those failures create the “monstrosity” which exists in the founder of the Karate Dojo: Cobra Kai. But we’re only skimming Kreese here, when we explore Daniel LaRusso, we explore Johnny Lawrence: you realize their fighting isn’t even over ideologies, of whose karate teachings make more sense. It’s about the people they care about: Daniel cares about Robby, he’s learned to accept Miguel-Sam’s relationship. Johnny has begun to care more about Miguel’s mother: he isn’t shy of who he WAS, when he talks to Ali; returns to the Karate spotlight by launching his dojo.

Is Nostalgia Getting too Much?

Let’s face it, the nostalgia on Cobra Kai makes you laugh, cry, scream, and take the show even more seriously. The past is what makes Cobra Kai’s present all the more endearing. It’s the basis of Cobra Kai’s success. The return of the old characters, and settings, and more importantly the dividing attitudes of society on survival in the real world. Cobra Kai, using this very nostalgia, has transformed this show into one about the hard route with a slate of moral values, and the shortcuts without an exact slate of moral values.

But we reach a point eventually in season 3 and ask ourselves: has the nostalgia reached its peak? Season 1 and 2 masterfully depict the continuation and evolution of what once was, while keeping core ideas intact. Season 3, meanwhile, is reminiscent of the post-Lucas Star Wars films. We see Daniel finding out about a whole new karate technique (Luke projecting himself across the galaxy), old villains who are now supposed heroes like Chozen (Boba Fett saving Baby Yoda), and a bit of copy-paste from Season 2 (Force Awakens copying A New Hope).

There’s very little at stake in Season 3, but….

There’s a Very Good Setup
Sam LaRusso, Miguel Diaz, Robby Lawrence, Tory Nichols, Daniel, Johnny, Demetri, Kreese and his gang … everyone has something to look forward to in the next season. Everything is suddenly at stake. The All-Valley Tournament next time isn’t some beef-bashing on love triangles: A dojo will close, a set of values will triumph, characters reach the peak of their arcs. No matter the shortcomings and great moments from Season 3, the fourth season will be worth the watch. 

Written by Yousaf Quereshi

Greater Clark School Board Will Vote on Cost Reduction Plan Tomorrow

Superintendent Mark Laughner says changes are crucial to making GCCS more financially stable

On Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, the Greater Clark County School Board will vote on the Cost Reduction Plan proposed by Superintendent Mark Laughner and his cabinet. If passed, the plan will cut the budget by over six million dollars in an effort to move the district away from deficit spending and restore cash balances, two things Laughner believes are crucial to making GCCS a more financially stable district. Laughner believes this plan uses money more efficiently, allowing for what he said is the ultimate goal, “Getting all the resources you can possibly get back into the classroom.”

One of the primary concerns for Laughner was the possibility of the Distressed Unit Appeals Board (DUAB) action. This board, created in 2012 by the Indiana Legislature, is meant to address school boards and other institutions in need of relief. According to Laughner, DUAB first looks to see whether a district has a plan in place to correct its financial state. At that point, they will often take action. That is a process Laughner hopes to avoid with the passage of the Cost Reduction Plan. 

Greater Clark County will cut about 3 million dollars from both the Educational Budget and the Operational Budget. Here is a closer look at the changes in the Cost Reduction Plan:

Education Budget

Bridgepoint Closing (Savings – $800,000 per year)

Under the proposal, Bridgepoint Elementary in Jeffersonville will close, and its students will be sent to either Franklin Square or Riverside Elementary. Bridgepoint staff will be moved to the new schools proportionally, and certain staff will be reassigned to different positions. For Laughner, the decision is an efficiency issue, “It’s not financially efficient to have small elementary schools anymore,” he says. However, he also highlighted the benefits of the larger and newer elementary schools for students, saying, “it’s just a better environment.” 

Corden Porter Site Changes (Savings – $500,000 per year)

The Reduction Plan will also seek to shift the Corden Porter program out of its centralized location in Downtown Jeffersonville to different locations. The high school portion of the program will be moved back into the Jeffersonville High School building, and the middle school program would be moved to Parkview Middle School. For Laughner, the goal for Corden Porter students is “to get them back to their home school” by allowing students to slowly immerse back into the school community, while still maintaining a separate area of the school for the students.

Elementary School Related Arts Staffing Change (Savings – $600,000)

In this plan, most related arts education would be taught by Related Arts Specialists supervised by four Related Arts Coordinators at the district level, who will be tasked with designing a consistent curriculum for the Related Arts Specialists. The plan also retains 1 certified teacher for related arts in each Elementary School. To attain this goal, the district will hire around 19 Related Arts Specialists and reassign 10 Media Clerks as Media/Tech Related Arts Specialists. Laughner believes this change, similar to one proposed last year, will “help us have a strong related arts program at the elementary level.” Laughner made sure to clear up some confusion, asserting that this plan in no way eliminates any related arts programs for elementary students and clarifying that it would not lead to the firing of any teachers.

Paraeducation Position Changes (Savings – $300,000)

The proposed Reduction Plan would reduce the number of paraeducation positions in the district. It would also usher in a hybrid approach in which some para-educators would be full-time while others would be part-time (29 hours). According to Laughner, the district would not take away benefits from any current paraeducators. On his decision, Laughner cited efficiency and the district’s difficulty acquiring paraprofessionals.“For years we’ve had a hard time filling para positions,” he says. He also said the district would be strategic to make sure this cut didn’t affect the classroom. 

Other Reductions within the Education Budget

  • Reducing 5 classified positions (Savings – $174,000)
  • Reducing 5 certified (full-time) positions through attrition  (Savings – $347,000)
  • Reducing early childhood education (ECA) positions (Saving – $140,000)
  • Contract Reductions for Administrators (Savings – $62,000)
  • Readjusting grant spending to offset educational spending (Savings – $30,000)
  • Attrition of other certified positions (Savings – $150,000)

Operational Budget

Custodial Service Outsourcing (Savings – Estimated $800,000, but will depend on provider)

If the Cost Reduction Plan is approved, Greater Clark will advertise for an outsourced provider of all maintenance and custodial services. While Laughner can’t guarantee that all current custodial staff will keep their jobs, he does guarantee that they will be able to apply to the new provider. He believes the outsourced provider will be able to pay workers more and provide a solid benefits plan. Acknowledging that this plan may leave current employees feeling uncertain, he said, “One thing I can assure you is that we are going to treat our employees fairly.”

Two-Tiered Busing for Jeffersonville Schools (Savings – $495,000)

Under the proposed plan, Greater Clark will implement a two-tiered busing system for Jeffersonville Schools. Currently, Jeffersonville operates with a three-tiered bus model (different buses for each age group: high school, middle school, and elementary.) If approved,  Jeffersonville schools will shift to a two-tiered system in which middle and high schoolers will ride the same buses. However, the policy could result in 10-15 minute longer bus drives for students, and bus drivers will now be tasked with dividing middle and high school students on the bus. Like many of the changes, Laughner believes the policy will, “allow us (GCCS) to be more efficient.”

Other Reductions within the Operations budget

  • Guaranteed Energy Savings Contract (Savings – $ 524,000, but will expand over time)
  • Reassign 2 permanent subs as bus drivers, and 1 permanent sub as an administrative office assistant (Savings – $135,000 per year)
  • Eliminate two New Washington Routes (Savings – $91,000 per year)
  • Estimated Reduction in the price of Service Contracts (Savings – $385,000)
  • Reduction of Maintenance positions through attrition ($50,000)
  • Moving bus drivers from collective bargaining agreement (CBA) leave to 2-day emergency leave (Savings – $236,000)
  • Other operational adjustments (Saving – $323,000)

Outlook for the Board Vote

Going into the meeting, Laughner expressed confidence in the board. “I’m fairly confident that they see the issue at hand and that they see that we have to do something,” Laughner said. Laughner also said that if the board doesn’t approve the budget, he would be forced to “go back and look at cutting teaching positions.” For him the choice is simple: “Essentially … we have to do something with our budget. You can’t spend more money than you’re bringing in for very long.”

The GCCS board will vote on the Budget Reduction at their 6 p.m. meeting on Jan. 26, 2020. The public can comment on the plan via a Google Form and watch the meeting at https://livestream.com/gccschools

*All price saving values are based on GCCS estimates

Story by Max Fisher

What Will Biden Do?

Today, Jan. 20, 2020, as Joe Biden is inaugurated as the 46th President, many Americans are asking, “What is Biden going to do as president?” The main concern for Biden is the COVID-19 pandemic, but what about other things? What about improving healthcare, immigration, criminal justice, and education? Well, here are some things that might answer your questions.

On his official campaign website (joebiden.com), Biden addresses the challenges ahead saying, “The battle to control the virus. The battle to build prosperity. The battle to secure your family’s health care. The battle to achieve racial justice and root out systemic racism in this country. The battle to save the climate. The battle to restore decency, defend democracy and give everybody in this country a fair shot. Our work begins with getting COVID under control.” So how and when will these statements become reality? 

According to buildbackbetter.com (Biden’s official transition website), Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris plan on doubling the drive-through testing sites. They also plan on free testing for all Americans and investing in next-generation testing, including home testing and instant testing. The Biden-Harris administration will support spending 25 billion dollars on vaccine manufacturing and distribution to get a vaccine to every American without cost. On the vaccine during the campaign Biden said, “This isn’t about politics. It’s about saving lives.” 

Following up on the topic of health is Biden’s plan for healthcare. The program will be similar to Medicare. With this, Americans would have the option for a Medicare-like government healthcare plan or choose their own private insurance. Biden’s plan also includes lowering the prices of prescription drugs, which Biden claims are “abusively priced generic drugs.” Buyers would also be able to purchase cheaper medications from other countries in hopes to mobilize competition. According to NBC News, undocumented immigrants will be a part of the public option. 

On the issue of immigration, Biden plans to take a much different approach to the United States immigration policy than outgoing President Donald Trump. Biden is planning on admitting 125,000 refugees per year and plans to raise that number over time, according to NPR. Biden also plans to immediately reverse the Trump administration policies that separate children from their parents at the border. There will also be an end to prolonged detention and asylum policies. Federal dollars will also be removed from funding the border wall, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will be held accountable for inhumane treatment. Trump’s Travel Ban, which Democrats have attacked as a Muslim ban, will also be rescinded. Biden also has the ambitious goal of giving citizenship for the United States’ 10.5 million undocumented immigrants, according to Forbes.

After many social justice movements protested police brutality last summer. Biden, who has been a long time supporter of our police system, is now pushing for reformation. Biden also hopes to adopt a national use of force standard, purchase body cameras, and recruit more diverse police officers to start police reform. The Biden administration is also expected to investigate local police departments for possible constitutional violations, says The Washington Post.

Educators will be happy to hear that Biden aims to raise educator pay, and plans to invest in more resources to help students emotionally and physically prepare for their future. Biden’s policy hopes to ensure that no students’ future will be determined by where they live, income, disability, or race. The Biden administration acknowledges the fact that class sizes are growing, but the pay is not. Democrats hope this policy will reduce the number of teachers who have to work second jobs to support their families. 

After two surprising Democratic wins in the Georgia senate runoff, Biden will enter office with majorities in both houses of Congress and hopes to unify the country. Democrats have high hopes for Biden; Jeffersonville High School junior Kyndia Motley says, “The one thing I want Biden to do is to stand on his word. People hustled and fought for his position in office because he convinced us he was real and passionate. All I ask of him is to stand on his promise.” For Motley and other Americans, the main question is, what will Biden do?

Story by Marni Scholl

There’s a First Time for Everything: Jeff High Seniors Experience This Election from a New Perspective

Amidst an election season that never seemed to end and a dramatic lead-up to tomorrow’s inauguration, it’s easy to forget the most important part of elections: the voters. Many new voters, including some Jeffersonville High School seniors, cast their first presidential ballot in this unprecedented election.

2020 was a year full of all sorts of chaos and confusion, especially since the world was hit with a global pandemic and civil unrest all in the same year as an election. These events occurring during an election year can make for some tough decisions on the candidates. Another thing candidates are dealing with are citizens who have never voted before. Jeff High, being a bridge between childhood and adulthood, has students who experienced voting for the first time.

Some of Jeff’s seniors decided to vote before the actual day. Senior Kaelin Elsner decided to go early, despite having planned to vote on election day, because she had to work the day of. Leading up to the election, Elsner said she felt a sense of “impending doom,” but now that the results are in she feels thankful. Senior Jynn Yoo also chose to vote early, as she had heard mail-in voting “is not a good option for an accurate count” (While this is Yoo’s opinion there is no credible evidence that voting by mail results in a less accurate count.)  Jynn was very anxious about the election before voting, as she did not feel her candidate of choice had a strong chance of winning. “Voting in such an important year made me feel like me or the younger generation had the power to make a difference.”

Other first time voters at Jeff decided to vote on Election day, such as Cameron Sanders. “I decided to vote in-person on Election Day due to how my voting area wasn’t that populated and I wasn’t worried about having to wait in a long line. On top of that, I was worried of marking my ballot wrong or mailing it in wrong, so I did it in person for the extra closure.” In regards to the voting process, Sanders said it felt “very underwhelming, yet overwhelming at the same time.” It was underwhelming because “there wasn’t much to do except bubble in who you wanted to vote for,” but he was nervous because voting is taught to be an extremely important thing.

Some voters decided to go on election day purely because the mail-in voting system is “untrustworthy” (While this is some people’s opinion, there is no credible evidence that mail-in voting is “untrustworthy.”)  Colin Brian, while not having cared about the results more than the other years, says the results are about what he expected. Brian also claims to have felt poorly leading up to the big day, as he feels both candidates have bad intentions in the end.

Other seniors, like Brian Klein, Evan Bealer and Mattie Blanton, went because of family. Klein didn’t know where to go until instructed by his aunt. He says he didn’t know anything about the process, but he was eager to learn. In the end, he felt like he had contributed to a major election. Blanton’s parents wanted her to go in-person so she could experience going in for her first election. Because of this, she was able to feel important in this election. Meanwhile, Bealer tagged along with his family. He says the opportunity to vote made him feel excited.

Some seniors who voted on Election day had the opportunity to have Jeff High as their voting area. Jordan Wagner, who voted at Jeff, said he was nervous because he had no idea how the process went. After voting, however, he said he felt good and as if he had suddenly grown up.

Seeing as she didn’t have time to vote earlier than Election day, Laura Gillenwater was forced to vote the day of. “[Voting for the first time] felt really empowering because I felt very strongly about this election and I was glad that I was able to vote.” Before the feeling of empowerment hit her, she felt nervous about her candidate not winning. “I had a clear candidate I wanted to win. I knew this election was going to be super close and that it could end up going either way.” Gillenwater was very happy with not only the results but the fact that this election year was able to give a lot of people who wouldn’t normally vote the chance to voice their concerns and opinions.

Unfortunately, some of Jeff’s seniors were not old enough to vote. Josiah Jackson was only 17 by Nov. 3. While not being old enough, he was still nervous. ”Being a person of color, it feels like either way things would be bad after.” Not being able to participate in the process, Jackson waited anxiously for the results. After a winner was announced, he said he is glad, and that we needed the change.

In a contentious and divided election, we often lose sight of those who the election is about, the voters, and for many, high school is the time where people first exercise their right to vote.

Story by Chloey Trinkle

Jeff High to Move Homecoming to Spring due to COVID-19 Restrictions

On Thursday, Jan. 14, Jeffersonville High School announced the decision to postpone Homecoming until Spring. The decision was made based on the results of a survey to seniors on when they prefer to have Homecoming. Natalie Bronson, a Jeff High science teacher who was in charge of the survey, said she and Principal Pam Hall were surprised by the survey results being in favor of moving Homecoming. 

They presented the option of moving Homecoming to the spring based on restrictions from COVID-19. Currently, Clark County is in the “red zone” – a label the Indiana Department of Health gives to counties most affected by COVID-19, because of the circumstances, Homecoming would have been very different than during football season. “The difference is we were outside. We didn’t have to worry about all that stuff,” says Bronson. 

Because of the circumstances, seniors opted to have Homecoming during baseball season, in hopes COVID restrictions will be eased by then. Bronson had some concern with the spring Homecoming citing that there are no sports in the Spring with a half-time.

Senior Kyle Guepe was indifferent to the choice, saying, “It’s not a big deal, when it happens doesn’t matter as long as it happens.” 

Junior Justus Bowman, who was planning to run for homecoming in the Winter, still plans to do so despite the change. She believes it was the right decision to push Homecoming to Spring saying, “hopefully our cases will go down, and it will be safer for us all to participate and enjoy ourselves.”

While most students and teachers seem indifferent or supportive of the change as long as they are able to have a homecoming, it is just another example of how COVID-19 has changed people’s lives.

Story by The Hyphen staff

QAnon: What is it, and is it Dangerous?

According to several news sources such as CNN, many of the people who stormed the U.S. Capitol building yesterday were part of extreme factions including QAnon. So what, exactly, is QAnon?

QAnon is a group of conspiracy theorists that are reaching hundreds of followers every day. This is happening because people spend immense amounts of time on the internet due to boredom from the pandemic. It is estimated QAnon has at least 100,000 followers, according to Julia Carrie Wong from Theguardian.com. The FBI has even labeled the group as domestic terrorism. QAnon didn’t just show up entirely out of the blue, however. It has its origin and history. The popularity of this conspiracy theory has skyrocketed over the past few months. Though QAnon is primarily concerned with North American politics, some other countries like Latin America and Europe believe in it. 

QAnon followers believe an anonymous online figure called Q posts clues and information about a large-scale conspiracy where Donald Trump is in a battle with secret democrats, Hollywood elites, and billionaires such as Bill Gates.

QAnon had its start on the 4Chan and 8Chan subculture websites where people can post anonymously. 4-Chan has an alt-right user base often spreading doctored images and misinformation, says Oscar Gonzalez from Cnet.com. QAnon believers will gravitate to particular anonymous posts on 4Chan and other alt-right websites where they interpret the post as relevant to their grand conspiracy. Supposedly Q has a trip code that makes his posts recognizable from other anonymous users. Most of these conspiracies fade away, but according to Theguardian.com, QAnon had help. Three unnamed conspiracy theorists dug deep to supposedly translate Q’s posts to make it more digestible for a typical audience. 

The prime concern of QAnon followers is that they think the types of people listed above have links to pedophilia, child trafficking, and even satanism. They also believe these people drain the blood from abused children to harvest a life-extending chemical from the blood called Adrenochrome supposedly. This is derived from the anti-Semitic belief that Jewish people would murder Christian children and use their blood for drinking and baking. All of this has been debunked many, many years ago, as reported by Theguardian.com. 

Megan Cutter is the acting director of the US National Human Trafficking Hotline operated by Polaris. Polaris is a nonprofit organization that works to fight human trafficking and modern-day slavery says, NationalPublicRadio.org. Cutter states that “So far, these (conspiracies) are unproven and are taking away from the discourse around how trafficking happens.” QAnon is creating more of a roadblock for helping trafficked children. It is spreading incorrect information about how trafficking works. Megan Cutter said that QAnon believers see child trafficking as violently stealing children out on the streets and taking them away, which can be the case but is rarer. The most common child trafficking strategy is when the child knows their trafficker before they know their intentions. They build trust with the person. Traffickers will also go for more vulnerable children like children that have been abused, have poverty issues, or have faced systemic racism.  

So why should we be concerned about any of this? Unfortunately, conspiracy theories like this can have real-life implications and consequences. With the popularity of QAnon on the rise, believers can vote in candidates that have QAnon beliefs or similar beliefs. This could affect state governments, the national government, and even the presidency. In this last election, there were candidates for important government offices who do believe in this conspiracy. 

Majorie Taylor Greene, the 2020 winner of a House seat in Georgia, is a firm believer in the QAnon conspiracies. She is now recognized as QAnon’s first political victory, as reported by Kevin Roose from the NewYorkTimes.com. While Greene is a firm believer, some candidates only believe in certain aspects of the conspiracy theory. Republican candidate Lauren Boebert says she doesn’t engage with conspiracy theories. Still, she has openly stated that she hopes Q is real, according to Em Steck, Nathan McDermott, and Christopher Hickey on CNN.com. Another Republican candidate Mike Cargile says, “I started checking into it. And a lot of it I agree with. There’s are some fringe elements I don’t agree with,” An independent candidate, KW Miller, has posted numerous QAnon hashtags, engages in the conspiracies, and has promoted QAnon through Facebook ads. He claims that he does not endorse QAnon, but his followers do. Catherine Purcell, an Independent Party of Delaware candidate, has reposted many QAnon hashtags and content and claimed that not all of the posts are her beliefs, says CNN.com.

A doctor by the name of Hadi Halazun tells NBC News that on his Facebook page, a man left messages saying that, “No one’s dying” (of COVID19) and that it is all “Fake news.” Halazun tried to tell his first-hand experience with dealing with the virus. In a reply, he was told by another user that he wasn’t a real doctor because he attended concerts and music festivals. They even asked for his credentials, and once Hadi Halazun did so, he was kicked off their wall. Dr. Duncan Maru, a physician, and epidemiologist in Queens, New York, heard from his colleagues that a young man went into the emergency room. It turns out it was from drinking bleach that damaged his intestinal tract. President Trump did suggest injecting disinfectants into our bodies as a possible treatment for Covid-19.

Some think that QAnon will fizzle away now that President Trump has lost the 2020 election, but others feel that QAnon may stick around for a long time or at least awhile. What do you think?

Story by Marni Scholl
Image licensed from Vectorstock.com

Alex Trebek, Legendary Host of “Jeopardy!” Has Died From Cancer Complications

This TV show host holds the Guinness World Record for “most game show episodes hosted by the same presenter.” Who is Alex Trebek (1940 – 2020)?

Trebek, an international icon and entertainer, was the host of “Jeopardy!” from 1984 till the end of 2020. Trebek passed away in his home on the morning of Nov. 8, 2020 at the age of 80. He had been battling pancreatic cancer for over a year, first announcing it to the public in March of 2019. While his death was a surprise to most, it had been expected to come soon. To celebrate his life, here are some of his many achievements throughout his life.

On July 22, 1940, he was born to his French Canadian Mother Lucille Lagacé and Ukranian Immigrant George Edward Trebek. His heritage as a French Canadian, allowed him to be fluent in both French and English. Before Jeopardy! Trebek hosted other TV programs, such as “Music Hop” (1963-64) and “Reach for the Top” (1966-73). In 1973, he and fellow Canadian Alan Thicke travelled to the United States to host the NBC game show “The Wizard of Odds” (1973-74). This led to Trebek hosting more shows in America, such as CBS’s “Double Dare” (1976-77), “The $128,000 Question” (1977-78) and NBC’s “The New High Rollers” (1979-80). In 1984, Trebek assumed his most memorable role as the host of the trivia show “Jeopardy!” a show that tested the average person’s intelligence for a large sum of money. 

In his lifetime, he won six Daytime Emmy Awards, the Gold Medal in 2010, the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Daytime Emmys in 2011, the Alexander Graham Bell Medal from the National Geographic Society in 2013 and the Burpee Medal in 2015 from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

Trebek was an important part of many peoples’ lives, including students and staff here at Jeff High. “It was tragic. I was devastated. I grew up watching that show,”  says Patrick Wentworth, an AP English and English 11 teacher at Jeff. 

Trebek’s final recording day was Oct. 29, and the final new episode featuring him will air on Dec. 25, 2020. He hosted more than 8,200 episodes of “Jeopardy!”, and he finished his final episodes just two weeks after having cancer-related surgery. Trebek will always be remembered for the colorful humor, quick wit, and love of knowledge he brought to the television night after night.

Written by Chloey Trinkle

GCCS, Jeff High Teachers Keep an Eye on Safety

The school district and teachers have implemented many rules for student safety during COVID-19

Fear, panic and anxiety are just a few of the many feelings students could have about going to school during a global pandemic. For many this can cause worry and doubt about attending school, and can even drive some students to enroll into the online schooling. While other students continue to attend in person school with precautions. To reduce the risk of students catching COVID, many schools have mandatory procedures and precautions such as wearing masks. Some teachers have started to make rules of their own to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the classroom. 

Jeffersonville High School students have chosen from three options for learning during the 2020-2021 school year. The first of these options is the traditional learning provided by GCCS, in which students go to school five days a week for in-person classes. The second option provided is My School Online. In this option, students remain at home and continue to interact with Jeff High teachers via the internet. The third and final option provided by GCCS is their Virtual Academy program. This program costs $50 a semester and allows students to learn at their own pace via online communications with non- Jeffersonville High School teachers. On the GCCS website it states, “Whether students are attending school virtually or in person, Greater Clark has created challenging curriculum that will prepare them for tomorrow’s jobs and opportunities.” There are also some “hybrid” students, who attend some classes in person and other classes through My School Online.

Greater Clark County Schools, like many other school districts, has made the wearing of face masks mandatory in areas of the school in which it is difficult or impossible to social distance. Jeff High has also changed their cafeteria to allow for more distance between students while they eat by opening up hallways and areas of the gym so traditional students can enjoy a safe eating environment while they enjoy their lunch with friends.

The mandatory school rules aren’t the only thing changing, though. Justin Linde, a Jeff High English teacher, has also made changes. “The main thing that I’ve implemented in my classroom is to convert the classroom into a completely digital environment,¨ he says.

English teacher Justin Linde (photo by Paige Moore)

Jeff High science teacher Jessica Lacobee has digitized all of her work in an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect both the students and herself from the virus. ¨I find that if students have a specific point in which they are all to walk to and turn something in it creates an unnecessary gathering,¨ she says.  Lacobee also does not want the risk of an assignment turned in from a student to make its way home and spread to people outside of school grounds. ¨I want to avoid any contamination as far as me bringing it home to grade papers and the potential of anything being in my home,¨ she says.

Science teacher Jessica Lacobee (photo by Lydia Church)

Lacobee believes that running her class digitally is also easier as it partially negates the trouble of trying to run a digital and traditional classroom at the same time. “A lot of teachers were starting the school year with the idea that you could run a traditional classroom and an online classroom at the same time efficiently and I have found that that has not worked,” she says.  While the experience has been a tough obstacle, Lacobee and many other teachers are finding ways around the problems COVID brings and teaching their students in a safe and efficient environment.

While teachers are doing their best to contain the pandemic, students appear to be trying to stop the spread rate of the virus as well. “I will say that by and large, the majority of students are adhering to the social distances rules pretty well,” Lacobee says. She also says that students have even taken to advocating and regulating mask wearing among their peers. “They [students] take it off or they pull it down to talk and then someone immediately jumps on them,” she says. She believes this is because students worry a lot about being quarantined and are ensuring their own safety. Linde says that he has noticed students keeping themselves safe. ¨I have observed students being very mindful of students using hand sanitizer, being safe, keeping their masks on, and being aware and taking the situation very seriously, even more so than their adult counterparts.¨

Written by Lily Hughes

Teachers and Students Pivot and Adjust to a New Way of Learning

Coronavirus forces sacrifice and leads to innovation

Teachers have always been subject to a certain societal pressure to succeed: they are accountable for educating the next generation, after all. They are having to face new challenges teaching in the global pandemic. Crucial to academic development, teachers are given little leniency amid this global crisis, especially when the safety concerns are, now more than ever, absolute. For example, teachers must enforce the mask mandate and are expected to correct misbehavior regarding it. Jeffersonville High School is a school that relied on traditional means of education, the norm was physically going to school. However, which path is the right way is no longer clear, and the traditional method no longer stands alone.

Ahnya Evinger, a grade 9 English teacher, is balancing the needs of both traditional and online students. “It is important to understand that different students have different needs, and different families have different needs,” she said. Teachers must now cater to two different student bodies in the same classroom atmosphere. “It’s like everything else at the beginning of the year: getting into the swing of things, and starting to adjust to having students simultaneously in both methods.”

Ahnya Evinger, grade 9 English teacher

Teachers must familiarize themselves with new online systems and can no longer rely on physical work alone. Traditional schooling presents challenges, and they are expected to adhere to safety regulations as well as enforce them. Since going back, they must follow a new protocol, which includes wearing a mask, frequently washing hands, and cleaning desks between classes. With this new year, despite its massive shifts, they are prepared.

“I appreciate that Greater Clark County Schools is on the cutting edge as far as technology goes,” said Evinger. “When we had to shut down in March, we were prepared for E-Learning. We had already practiced that.” They had insight into what the future may look like despite COVID developments, which gave them leverage when it came to schooling online.

Students are also learning how to navigate this new online system and adjust to other changes. For example, block scheduling was implemented this year. Evinger says the block schedule allows for more time to interact with students. “It also gives me that time to really get to know my students right off the bat,” Evinger said. “I’m spending more than an hour with them everytime I’m with them.” A large influx of collaborative effort has also poured into the new year as well. Teachers are relying on one another a lot more and depending on their students to continue doing their part whether they are in the classroom or not.

Learning to prioritize certain matters and procedures has been instrumental in establishing these new grounds. There are times where safety takes precedence, even if that means taking the last few minutes of class to sanitize the room. 

Essentially, the current circumstances have required trade-offs and sacrifices, while also revealing opportunities to make learning more effective for everyone. “There are teachers all over the building who are pivoting what they’re doing. They’ve realized that what they’ve worked on and done in the past might not work this year, and so they’ve had to pivot in a new direction […] and finding new ways to reach their audience,” Evinger stated. This new year has proved the resilience among staff and students, and we can only hope it will continue to expand.

Written by Amber Walker

So … What Happened Election Night?

So, what’s going on? First, we do not have a winner at the presidential level. Despite what either candidate says, there is no winner. Second, the Senate is also still up for grabs as many close elections go uncalled. Finally, Democrats early in the night did claim a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, per multiple sources. 

So here are some answers to many of your lingering questions about this election.

Why is this election taking longer to count than past elections?

This election broke records for early voting (both in-person or mail-in), in most cases, these ballots take more time to count. This is also complicated as some states allow mail-in ballots to be counted after election day if they are postmarked by election day. This is why it is taking much longer to count.

When will we know the results?

Each state is different, so it is difficult to know when the election results from each state will be final. For example, North Carolina can accept mail-in ballots until November 12, so it is difficult to predict an outcome especially if the outstanding ballots could change the results. But one thing is for sure, election results are final when, and only when, all the votes are counted, despite what either candidate claims.

At the presidential level what states are still up for grabs?

As of 7 a.m., based on ABC News projections, there are still nine states uncalled. While some of these (such as Arizona) have been called on other broadcasts, ABC News has not called the state. The states that are still uncalled are: Nevada, Arizona, Alaska, Wisconsin, Michigan, Maine, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Georgia. 

Why did President Donald Trump claim victory?

While most candidates often speak in optimistic hyperbole, this claim is verifiably false at this point. He has not won the election. 

Will this election be decided in the courts?

There is no definitive answer to this question at the moment. Elections have always been litigated and argued over (think Bush v. Gore). And even in this election there were many legal suits brought over election law. However, what the president is suggesting would be a challenge to election law after the election. While this wouldn’t be unprecedented, courts are much less likely to alter results after the election. 

Who’s up, who’s down?

At the moment, Joe Biden is in a better place than the president, at 7 a.m. based on ABC News projections, Biden has an electoral vote lead of 225 to 213. However, this race is far from over; while Biden is favored, Trump still has a chance. In this election each state is different, and each state has different votes left.

One thing that complicates the results is the stark divide between early votes and in person votes. Election data and polling numbers indicate that early voting across the country was much more advantageous for Democrats, while election day voting was much more positive for Republicans. This means that what kind of votes are left to count is key to predicting the results. So let’s look at the states.

  • Alaska – With about 36% reporting, Trump is leading big (61%-35%). However, with such a small amount of votes, it is hard to extrapolate from the data. Despite this, Trump was predicted to win the state.
  • Arizona – While ABC has not called the state, many other outlets such as Fox News have called the race for Joe Biden. This is because with over 80% reporting Biden is leading by 5 points. 
  • Georgia – Early in the night, Georgia looked like it was going to go into Trump’s column, but now with 92% reporting, Trump leads by 2 percentage points (50%-48%). The reason this race has not been called is because of where the outstanding ballots are from. For example, in heavily democratic leaning areas such as Atlanta, there are many votes left to count. 
  • Maine – Maine has been a surprise, not because of the results, but because of how slow they have been when it comes to counting. Despite this, most news outlets have called Maine for Joe Biden. As of right now with over 70% reporting, Biden leads by 13 points.
  • Michigan – Michigan is tight with Trump in a narrow lead with 86% reporting. The state has not been called because the remaining votes are primarily early votes which favor the challenger, Biden.
  • Nevada – With 86% reporting, the state is virtually tied. The remaining votes are expected to be early votes, which is expected to favor Biden. 
  • North Carolina – North Carolina stands with a 1 point lead for Trump with 95% of votes reported. The reason for the state not being called is that ballots can still be received until November 12.
  • Pennsylvania – In the state that was expected to decide it all Trump is leading by a 9 point lead with 75% of the votes reported. While this seems like a large lead, there are still tons of votes to count in left leaning counties such as Alleghany and Philadelphia. 
  • Wisconsin – Joe Biden holds a narrow lead with 97% of vote reported. The remaining vote is expected to favor Biden, but the results will be close.

As of right now, Biden definitely has an easier path to victory than Trump, but it is not over, and Trump has come from behind before.

What is next?

Ahead there is a lot of uncertainty and a lot of counting. It’s important to remember that despite ensuing chaos and false claims, it’s not over until the last vote is counted.

Editor’s notes:

  • ABC News predictions were chosen for this article because of their tendency to make calls conservatively and wait until there is overwhelming evidence of a victory.
  • The data and results in this article are constantly changing, The Hyphen recommends following major news outlets for the latest results.

Written by Max Fisher

Election 2020: Where the Presidential Candidates Stand on the Issues

In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, one other news story has been a constant this year: the presidential election. Although many people have already voted by mail or in early in-person voting, still many more are going to the polls today. Current President Donald Trump and former Vice president Joe Biden are leading the charge for the major parties. Howie Hawkins and Jo Jorgensen are running for the Green and Libertarian parties. 

With only two presidential debates leading up to election day, voters had fewer opportunities than usual to hear directly from the candidates side-by-side. However, the debates and campaign speeches do reveal a lot about where the candidates stand on some of the major issues of interest to Jeff High students:

COVID-19

COVID-19 has been a major topic through all debates and campaign events. During a rally in Wisconsin, Trump said,” We are rounding a corner. We got the vaccines …. but even without it, we’re rounding the corner.” Biden struck a different note in the final Presidential debate, saying “We’re not learning to live with it. We’re learning to die with it.” He has advocated for stronger mask mandates and vowed to make the vaccine free for everyone once it is cleared by the FDA.

Taxes

At many campaign events, Biden has spoken about a new tax proposal. Biden wants to increase income and payroll taxes on high earners (defined as those earning more than $400,000 a year), while expanding tax credits for lower-income and middle class Americans. Trump has spoken out against the plan, calling it a tax hike. His running mate, Vice President Mike Pence, said at the vice presidential debate that Biden’s plan would end up raising taxes “on every American.” 

Unemployment and Job Creation

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 7.9 percent of Americans are unemployed in September of this year. At a rally in Michigan, Trump spoke out about how his administration has helped create jobs, citing the number of car plants that have been developed since his first term and will continue to grow during his second term. Biden, meanwhile, has touted his plan to “modernize American manufacturing and technology, to ensure that the future is made in America.” One part of that plan is to “impose a tax penalty on companies that avoid paying U.S. taxes by offshoring jobs and manufacturing, only to sell those goods back to the American people.” 

Race Relations

Protests and rallies have been held all throughout the nation following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Jacob Blake. Both Trump and Biden have spoken about these events. Trump has said many times that he wants to stop the protests. “Think of the smoldering ruins in Minneapolis, the violent anarchy of Portland, the bloodstained sidewalks of Chicago, and imagine the mayhem coming to your town and every single town in America,” he said. On the other hand, Biden said he believes there is a difference between protests and riots. “I want a safe America,” he said, and then added, “Safe from COVID, safe from crime and looting, safe from racially motivated violence, safe from bad cops.”

Although there are many more issues at play in this election, these are some of the key topics. Although their plans look different and they stand for different things, Biden and Trump both have one thing in common: they want the best for this country. 

Written by Rachel Lowe

Election Day By the Numbers: 2020 Features High-Stakes Races and High Voter Turnout

Heading into election day, over 95 million Americans have already voted according to the U.S. Elections Project. This record level of early voting is indicative of one of the most hotly contested and divisive elections in U.S. history. 

The election has also been complicated by COVID-19. States and localities have had to scramble to find the resources, money, and people needed to hold a high-turnout election safely. In many states, the solution was to expand mail-in and early, in-person. This adds a new level uncertainty as the different levels of government attempt to deal with the unprecedented levels of early voting. This could also lead to delayed election results, as certain states allow ballots to be received after election day. 

In America, election administration is given as a state duty by the constitution. This results in many different systems and rules based on the location. Also, as the election is playing out, many lawsuits have been decided or are being litigated to decide which ballots will count. This uncertainty has many on the left worried that the president will use this uncertainty to claim victory with a lack of any evidence. 

What is clear is what’s at stake on this election day: Democrats are on offense with a chance to claim a trifecta (Control of the House, Senate, and Presidency) at the federal level. Starting with the House, FiveThirtyEight (a data-focused news outlet that predicts election results based on polling and other variables) gives the Democrats a 98 percent chance of keeping control of the chamber. The Senate is a little tougher but still has Democrats optimistic. FiveThirtyEight gives Democrats a 76 percent chance of holding on to the chamber. And finally, at the presidential level, the site says Joe Biden has a 90 percent chance of winning the presidency. It should be noted that the forecasts do not factor in judicial challenges to the results. 

Presidency

At the presidential level, Joe Biden is squarely in the lead, and unless there is an unprecedented polling error, President Donald Trump will have to run the tables in all the battleground states. 

How Trump Could Win: To win, Trump will have to make up a large deficit in the polls to Biden, and he will have to rely on key demographics in swing states to reach 270. First Trump has to hold onto the states that he didn’t think he’d have to defend. Most major pollsters show races in Texas, Georgia, Iowa, and Ohio are close to a dead heat in polling; Trump carried these states handily last time. If Trump doesn’t hold on to all four of these toss-ups, the race is over for him. On top of that Trump will also have to win in three swing states in the South, as well as North Carolina, Arizona and Florida. Without these three states the president has little chance of prevailing. And finally, on top of all of that he would have to come from behind to win in Pennsylvania where the most recent New York Times poll has Biden leading by six points. While it may be easy to count the president out, it was only four years ago when the political outsider shocked the world by crushing his predictions and winning the White House.

How Biden Could Win: Biden’s path to 270 electoral votes isn’t complicated or nearly as hard as Trump’s. Simply put, out of the eight competitive states (Pennsylvania, Ohio, Arizona, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Iowa and Texas), Biden needs to win one. If he is able to capture just one of these states he will win the presidency. Despite what seems like an easy task, the left is still haunted by their false optimism four years ago.

Senate 

The outcome of the senate will have a large effect on the governing success of whomever wins the White House. Right now, the Senate is composed of 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats. And Democrat Doug Jones of Alabama is very unlikely to win reelection. This means that to control the senate, the Democrats will need to gain four seats if Biden wins and five seats if he doesn’t win. (The reason for this difference: the Vice President would cast the deciding vote in a tie, meaning that Democrat Kamala Harris would add another vote if Biden wins). 

Democrats are favored to take back seats in Colorado, Maine, North Carolina and Arizona. They also have a nearly 50-50 chance of taking two seats, in Georgia and Iowa. They also have an outside shot of picking up seats in Montana, South Carolina, Alaska and Kansas. There will also most likely be a runoff in Georgia for its second Senate senate seat later this year (a runoff occurs when no candidate reaches 50 percent in the first election, then the top two candidates face off.)

House

For the Republicans to even have a chance to win the House, there would need to be a massive polling error, in which the news media dramatically misrepresented the views of the American public. The Democrats are almost certain to retain a majority in the house.

The Bottom Line

While each individual race is local and has many issues that depend on the state, the stakes at the national level are clear: if Biden wins on election night and Democrats retake the Senate while holding on the House, the Democratic Party will have a trifecta for the first time since Barack Obama’s first term. 

Written by Max Fisher