Waste Reduction at Morningside University

Sustainability around the world is important for the sake of our planet, and students at Morningside University believe their school should do its part to tackle the war on plastic.

Alli Madden is from St. Peter, Minnesota, and is a sophomore at Morningside. She is the secretary of the photography club and is a triple jumper for the track. She is a second-year biology major and minors in environmental science. 

When asked about the challenges she faces with being more eco-friendly on campus she said there is a “lack of availability and convince” of eco-friendly methods on campus.

Her main issue is that the dining halls use Styrofoam and plastic dishware, cups, and to-go boxes. She said, “When serving food to people, they should have it on a plate, or even on small food baskets, with real silverware.”

Alli expressed that she limits her use of plastic and Styrofoam in general and “rarely ever” uses the products. Her methods include using reusable shopping and grocery bags, using a reusable water bottle rather than plastic water bottles, and air drying most of her laundry. “A lot of problems could be fixed, but the covid has made everything more challenging for people find more methods of being more eco-friendly and reducing plastic waste.” Alli expressed.

Explore the other side

Under rocks around campus, you will find little creepy crawlers scrambling into the wet dirt that they find a home. If you dig a little deeper, you will find squiggly worms and composed dirt that has been there since before the campus was built.

Beneath trees, you can find fallen crunchy leaves, walnuts hidden by sneaky squirrels, and an unfathomable number of creepy crawlers. You will see thick roots that are getting their first breath of real fresh air.

Under just about everything, there is something deeper that can be explored. Under the Christmas tree, under a vacant car, or under the luscious leaves of a berry bush. There’s always something more to discover, you just have to really look deep enough.

John Gonsler’s encounters with the Unabomber

John Gensler a former police officer and now college professor was penpals with the Unabomber during his time studying for his master’s degree.

The Unabomber was a lone wolf bomber who sent bombs through the mail. He killed three people and severely injured twenty-three others. His purpose for the bombings was to destroy technology and overthrow the government.

When Gonsler was studying for his Master’s degree he mainly studied serial killers. He sent many letters to numerous serial killers, but only Ted Kaczynski responded. Kaczynski is known for being the infamous Unabomber.

Gonsler intended on interviewing Kaczynski on who he is for research, but Kaczynski only wrote about the corrupt government and destroy technology. Gonsler received a letter from the Unabomber’s followers saying they needed to “overthrow the technological government”.

In the 8 months of being penpals with the Unabomber, Gonsler has five handwritten and signed letters from Kaczynski. He said, “He (Kaczynski) had the neatest handwriting I have ever seen in my entire life.” and that all the letters were signed “Sincerely Yours” from Kaczynski.

Monster Buddies

As soon as I open my Monster Buddies fruit snacks an overwhelming fruit smell exploded from the pack. All of the monsters are squishy and have different features.

The pale red, almost pink, mosters with square faces and big mouths taste like sweet, strawberry, and raspberry magic.

The googly-eyed golden yellow gummies are a mixture of sweet and sour, and the grossest of them all in my opinion.

The booger-green monster had eyes in its mouth and three antennas on top of its head like a fat squished cell tower. The odd green monster tasted like a delicious, top-notch, tropical drink that you would buy in Miami Beach.

The dark blue monster looks like it has afro-like hair with a big smile and is crosseyed. The blue one tasted like nothing to me, it was like a tasteless glutinous snack.

Overall, the Monster Buddies are nothing like the great Scooby-Doo fruit snacks, but they are pretty tasty.

Cold case team identifies the Zodiac Killer

A team of more than 40 former law enforcement investigators, The Case Breakers, say they identified the Zodiac Killer and linked him to another murder.

The Zodiac has been connected to at least five murders in the San Francisco area between 1968 and 1969. Since the first murder, multiple potential suspects have been investigated. 

The killer gave himself the name in ciphers that were sent to the San Francisco Chronicle and other newspaper publishers. To this day only two ciphers have been cracked. The Zodiac claimed to have murdered over 37 victims because he wanted to “collect slaves for the afterlife”.

In one of his ciphers, he said, “I hope you are having lots of fun in trying to catch me. … I am not afraid of the gas chamber because it will send me to paradise all the sooner because I now have enough slaves to work for me,”

The Case Breakers believe that Gary F. Poste was the Zodiac Killer. Although he died in 2018, the team has compiled potential evidence to link him to the murders.

The first clue was when the team deciphered letters sent by the Zodiac that revealed Poste as the killer. The ciphers quite literally had his full name in it. Another clue that linked him was the scars on his forehead that are also present in the police sketch done in 1969.

The police sketch from 1969 compared to a photo of Poste with visible scars on his forehead. (Credit to Fox News and The Case Breakers)

Most recently, the Case Breakers connected Poste to the Cheri Jo Bates murder that occurred on October 31, 1966, in Riverside California. This murder took place two years before the first murder and is over 100 miles from San Francisco.

The Riverside Police do not believe that Cheri Bates was murdered by the Zodiac. There was a letter sent to them the year following her murder, but in 2016 someone came forward to admit it was fake. Investigators confirmed the author was not the Zodiac Killer and did not murder Cheri Bates.

One link between Poste and Bates is that at the time of her murder Poste was going to check-ups at a hospital only 15 minutes from the Bates murder scene. Another link was a watch was found at the murder scene with pain platters on it as well. Poste was a house painter for more than forty years. Detectives discovered a military boot footprint at the Bate’s murder scene and it matches the size and style of the footprints found at the Zodiac crime scenes.

Since there is a significant amount of evidence for Poste being the Zodiac Killer, Poste’s former neighbor has come forward and said she believes he was the Zodiac Killer. Poste and his wife babysat her, and she claims he “lived a double life” and that it never hit her until she was older and “it hit me full-blown that Gary’s the Zodiac.”


The U.S. will no longer deport people solely because they are undocumented, Homeland Security secretary says

On Thursday, Homeland Security Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, said immigration officers are no longer able to detain and deport individuals from the U.S. exclusively because they are undocumented. 

People who cause a threat to the public, national, and or security safety are the focus for Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. This includes people who are suspected of terrorism or spying.

ICE officers are prohibited from arresting or deporting undocumented immigrants who have been contributing members of the U.S. community, including healthcare workers, farmworkers, or individuals in the service industry. New guidelines also permit ICE officers from detaining individuals whose documentation was revealed by corrupt businesses.

The new guidelines should alleviate the stress of undocumented immigrants who had a great possibility of expulsion from the Trump administration.

New guidelines will begin on November 29.

I think this is a great change for the United States Homeland Security. I always wondered why our leaders would leave the old guidelines in place since they separated innocent families and caused more harm than good. The fact that the process of documentation takes an extensive amount of time to complete and ICE officers were removing immigrants before they could even get a chance to be documented also never made any sense to me. People come to our country either to cause harm or to have a better life. It is extremely unfair to the people who are only looking for a better life to be deported for simply living. However, I believe ICE officers should continue to do their jobs by removing dangerous immigrants who want to cause harm.  


California Governor Signs Privacy Laws for Abortion Patients

On Wednesday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed two laws that focus on protecting the privacy of abortions providers and their patients.

Governor Newsom approved and signed two laws intending to protect the privacy of abortion providers and patients. Newsom declared California to be a “reproductive freedom state” and brought up points that disagree with Texas and the efforts to limit abortion procedures.

The first law made it illegal to film people, with intentions of humiliation or intimidation, within 100 feet of an abortion clinic. The second law makes it so individuals on their parent’s insurance policies can keep their complex medical information confidential. 

America’s two largest populated states, Texas and California, are on opposite ends of the spectrum when abortion is a topic. With Texas passing a law that makes abortions illegal after a heartbeat is detected (before 6 weeks), the conflict between the two states has escalated. 

Personally, I am on the same end of the spectrum as California. I believe that what the lawmakers in Texas are doing is wrong because most of the time a woman does not know she is pregnant until after the sixth week. When safe abortions are not an option after six weeks, women could choose to take the abortion into their own hands, literally. Unsafe abortions cause complications to the woman’s psychological and physical health, such as bleeding out, severe trauma, or in the worst cases death to the fetus and the woman. There is an even smaller number of women who do not know they are pregnant until they miss their next menstrual period, so four weeks after their last one. Say a woman knows she is pregnant at five weeks. She has one week to decide if she is financially, physically, and mentally able to carry the fetus to term, and that’s only if she finds out before the sixth week. This is not politics; it is a war on women.


Gabby Petito’s Disappearance

Gabby Petito’s story has been taking over news stations around the country. The 22-year-old woman loved adventure, social media, and spending time with her family and fiancé. On July 2, 2021, Gabby Petito and her fiancé Brian Laundrie began their cross-country road trip. The last time anyone saw Gabby was on August 25 around the Grand Tenton National Park is in Wyoming.

The couple traveled through Kansas, Colorado, and Utah. During most of the road trip, Gabby was recording moments for her YouTube channel. 

In Utah on August 12, the couple was stopped by officers. The Moab City Police Department claims they had “engaged in some sort of altercation” The police had received multiple reports of disorderly conduct. The couple had gotten into a physical fight. Gabby had slapped Brian after an argument and were both adamant that he did not hit her. The couple agreed to not press charges.

Gabby loved adventure, but she also loved her family. She would always go off the grid and explore, but as soon as she got a WIFI connection again she would call or message her family. On August 30, Gabby’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, received the last text message from her daughter. Nichole claims that the message was “odd” and is suspicious as to if it was Gabby.

On September 1, Brian had returned the van they were traveling into his parents’ home in North Port, FL without Gabby. 

On September 11, Gabby’s family reported Gabby missing with the state of New York, where she and her family are from. Soon after on September 15, Laundrie was named the person of interest for Gabby’s disappearance. Laundrie has not been cooperative with the police and refuses to speak with them. 

On September 17, Laundrie’s family reports him missing. Laundrie is still a person of interest in the investigation, but the police claimed they are “not currently working on a crime investigation”. Both Gabby and Laundrie are considered missing persons.

On September 19, Gabby’s body was found. An autopsy confirmed the manner of her death was a homicide, but there is no final cause of death. 

There is no update on the whereabouts of Laundrie, but many search teams, police, and his family are looking for him.

My suspicions are high when reading this case. I believe Laundire had a part in his fiancé’s disappearance and murder. I believe he, just like anyone else, can carry out a murder. The number of young Native women who go missing in that same area Gabby disappeared in is unfathomable. I am not sure if it is just a place where murders can hide their victims, or if there is something else going on there. There are rumors of supernatural creatures being known in this area, such as demons or skinwalkers. There are endless possibilities to this case since it is all-new, but there are many questions from Laundrie that should have been answered. When Laundrie went missing only a few days after he became a person of interest, it only raised more suspicions against him. 


Global Warming: Bringing Certainty and Clarity to what was once a theory.

In 2021, climate change, or global warming, has become more prominent in everyday life. From flash floods to extreme drought, global warming has caused different dramatic weather patterns all over the world.

The summer of 2021 had a dramatic increase in temperatures, specifically at night. In cities, the temperatures are increasingly worse compared to small towns or farmhouses. A study conducted by the Global Historical Climatology Network found from 1960 until 2021 temperatures now are immensely hotter.

Many cities in the United States have been taken over by concrete buildings and streets with very little room to grow trees. This is detrimental to climate change since trees bring in shade and moisture. 

Concrete buildings and streets attract heat from the sun in the daytime, then release it at night. This is the suspected to be the cause of cities becoming hotter at night, according to the Global Historical Climatology Network. 

“It’s the extremes – that is, the number of abnormally hot nights – that are rising the fastest. A small shift in the average can mean a large change in the frequency of extreme events, with big consequences for climate change.”, said Aatish Bhatia and Josh Katz reported in the New York Times.

The Pacific Northwest experienced a record-breaking heatwave in June of 2021, and the west coast is in the midst of a historic drought. An analysis from an international team of climate researchers said it would have been “virtually impossible without climate change” for the heatwave to occur.

The average global temperatures have risen by 2-degrees Fahrenheit, according to the same study done by the Global Historical Climatology Network, and if the temperature increases by another 1.4-degrees we would see a “drastic drop in greenhouse gas emissions.” 

Another factor in global warming is precipitation. In the United States, one-half of the country is experiencing flash floods, hurricanes, and thunderstorms while the other half is in an extreme drought. 

Global warming has been affecting every continent on Earth. According to an article by Aatish Bhatia and Nadja Popovich in the New York Times, since 1950 Northern and Central Europe and Asia have had an increase in precipitation, whilst the Mediterranean, eastern Australia, and Africa have become drier.

Since the Industrial Revolution, humans have been emitting even more greenhouse gases into our atmosphere, which causes more heat and water to get trapped. It is important to know, greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide are gases trapped in our atmosphere. 

An article from the New York Times written by Julia Rosen says, “We know this is true thanks to an overwhelming body of evidence that begins with temperature measurements taken at weather stations and on ships starting in the mid-1800s. Later, scientists began tracking surface temperatures with satellites and looking for clues about climate change in geologic records. Together, these data all tell the same story: Earth is getting hotter.”

In the last sixty years, the Arctic’s temperature has risen by 4-degrees Fahrenheit, causing animal extinctions and ocean levels to rise. 

There is an overwhelmingly high number of meteorologists who believe the cause of Earth heating is due to human activity. The main cause is due to humans burning fossil fuels since the late 1880s. The likelihood of global warming occurring without humans emitting greenhouse gas is less than one in one-hundred thousand. 

President Biden is mandating vaccines for American Workers

On Thursday, President Biden mandated COVID-19 vaccinations for two-thirds of workers. If workers are not willing to get vaccinated, they will need to follow-up with weekly testing for the infection. Healthcare workers and most federal workers will be disciplined if they refuse the vaccine.

The president expressed his feelings toward the nearly 80 million Americans who are eligible for the vaccine but refuse to get it. “We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us.” Said the President.

Biden has promised to “protect vaccinated workers from the unvaccinated” 

Many companies in the country were hesitant about mandates before the Pfizer vaccine was approved by the FDA, but now that it is approved many of them are beginning the process of mandating vaccines. 

Mr. Biden also expressed his thoughts toward governors who are refusing mandates by saying, “If those governors won’t help us beat the pandemic, I’ll use my power as president to get them out of the way.”

My comment:

I believe that what the president is doing is right. There are millions of people who have contracted the disease and were hospitalized, and thousands of people have lost their lives. In January, the death rate peaked, and I am worried that it will only repeat itself if people are not vaccinated. There are too many lives at stake. I understand the people who will not get vaccinated for religious beliefs, but I do not believe or understand the people who simply refuse for other reasons, such as the government trying to track or control us. There is a way to prevent COVID-19, and it may not be easy to get 80 million people to change their minds, but I hope they will soon.