The LeSabre

Doctors urge the end of lockdown

The+Capitol+Building%2C+located+in+Washington%2C+DC.

photo via Wikimedia under the creative commons license

The Capitol Building, located in Washington, DC.

On May 19th, President Trump received a letter signed by over 600 doctors from all 50 states, urging him to end all coronavirus restrictions and reopen the country completely. These doctors urge Trump to issue an executive order to undo all restrictions immediately, or face a “mass casualty incident.”

The group of doctors urge that stay at home orders as well as the shuttering of businesses around the country already has done harm to Americans, and if continued will lead to “exponentially growing health consequences.”

In the letter, which was obtained by Fox News, doctors claim that during the lockdown, massive amounts of people have health problems that at this time are unable to be treated. They cite very concerning statistics, such as that during the lockdown, 150,000 Americans per month would have had early cancer diagnoses, millions more are unable to receive dental treatment that will cause problems later in life, and hundreds of thousands of people suffering from substance abuse as well as child abuse. Suicide hotlines are receiving 600% increases in phone calls.

Many Americans are not receiving medical treatment that could save their lives. These deaths will be added to COVID death statistics, although inadvertently. The doctors argue that “the indirect consequences of the lockdown outweigh the direct consequences of lifting them.”

Many states around the country are already exploring their options in regard to the crisis. 

About the Writer
Photo of Josh Harrington
Josh Harrington, Journalist

Josh Harrington is a senior at Sartell High School. After high school his plan is to go to the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities and obtain his Bachelor's...

NYC reopening in June

New+York+City+skyline+in+Manhattan.

photo via Pixabay under the creative commons license

New York City skyline in Manhattan.

Bill de Blasio, mayor of NYC. (Wikimedia)

Last Thursday, Mayor of New York City Bill DeBlasio spoke at a press conference that the city could be reopening earlier than previously expected. DeBlasio said that New York City could reopen as early as June 1st, but anywhere from the 1st to the 15th is the range the mayor is predicting.

DeBlasio said the city possibly reopening earlier than expected is due to the city hitting or exceeding the targets set by the city for hospitalizations, ICU patients, and confirmed cases in the city. The city is currently tracking seven different statistics to stay on top of the pandemic in the city.

However, this is merely hypothetical, as the pandemic has thrown the city a lot of “curveballs” according to Mayor DeBlasio. Phase I of reopening the city includes construction, manufacturing, and supply chains. Businesses will be allowed curbside pickup to generate revenue.

Public transportation in NYC has seen increased ridership since the outbreak, with more New Yorkers venturing out to carry out their daily lives. As it stands, 9 percent of the city population is confirmed to be infected, amounting to nearly 750,000 people. However, Cuomo and DeBlasio have both stated that the state is making “remarkable progress.”

Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York. (Wikimedia)

Governor Cuomo of New York stated in an interview that this is about “balancing between financial ruin and death” and that “a spike in cases is the worst possible scenario.” 8.3 million people live in New York City, and the state of New York has 19.5 million residents in total.

About the Writer
Photo of Josh Harrington
Josh Harrington, Journalist

Josh Harrington is a senior at Sartell High School. After high school his plan is to go to the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities and obtain his Bachelor's...

Quarry Park closing swimming areas

Quarry+%232%2C+the+most+popular+among+residents+for+swimming+and+cliff+jumping.

photo via Wikimedia under the creative commons license

Quarry #2, the most popular among residents for swimming and cliff jumping.

On Thursday, a joint commission of the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office as well as the County Parks Commission formally announced the indefinite closure of Quarry 2 and 11, the most popular amongst visitors. The closure was cited by the Sheriff’s Office as being required due to “limited space for park users to properly social distance.”

Quarry 2 is extremely popular among residents, as its 100+ foot water depth and 40 foot cliffs allow for jumping and swimming during the summer. Quarry Park is normally busiest Memorial Day through Labor Day during the summer, and Stearns County estimates 150,000 people visit during the year. 

While these two quarries are closed, the rest of the park remains open to visitors. The two swimming quarries will be closed “until further notice” and will reopen “as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Quarry Park is located in Waite Park, near Menards on Stearns County Road 137.

About the Writer
Photo of Josh Harrington
Josh Harrington, Journalist

Josh Harrington is a senior at Sartell High School. After high school his plan is to go to the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities and obtain his Bachelor's...

Five year old goes on joyride

This+is+what+a+Lamborghini+Hurricane+looks+like.+

photo via Wikimedia under the creative commons license

This is what a Lamborghini Hurricane looks like.

On May 4th, 2020, a five year old hailing from Ogden, Utah had a dream. He aspired to buy a Lamborghini, an incredibly expensive Italian car. While his mom was sleeping, Adrian Zamarripa grabbed the keys to her Dodge Durango and hit the road.

Adrian made it less than ten miles from his house before his journey came to an end. An officer of the Utah Highway Patrol observed Adrian driving on Interstate 15, traveling 32 miles per hour in a 70 mile per hour zone. Adrian also had trouble keeping the Durango in one lane, causing other cars to swerve to avoid a collision. A traffic stop was initiated for what the patrol officer believed was a drunk driver, but encountered Adrian instead. After hearing of his plan, the officer made a phone call to his mother, who quickly came and picked up Adrian and her Durango. 

There were two fatal flaws in Adrian’s plan. First, Adrian was five years old. Adrian did not have a driver’s license, and he is not eligible for a Utah driver’s license until 2031, eleven years from now. Because of this, Adrian has never operated a car before, and certainly could not make it to California safely. According to Google Maps, there are 744 miles between Adrian’s house in Ogden and Lamborghini Beverly Hills, the dealership that was his intended destination. He would also have to battle traffic in the second most populous metropolitan area in the country, something experienced drivers struggle with. 

Second, Adrian was only five years old, making him ineligible for any employment. Adrian left his house in Ogden with $3 dollars in his pocket, most likely part of an allowance given to him by his mother. Looking at the website for Lamborghini Beverly Hills, the cheapest available Lamborghini is a 2017 Lamborghini Huracan, coming in at $178,990. Adrian would obviously not qualify for a loan from any bank, so even if he had made it all the way to the 90210, he would have been turned down for insufficient funds.

After receiving significant media coverage all around the country, Adrian caught a lucky break. A local entrepreneur from Provo, Utah named Jeremy Neves drove to Adrian’s house – in his Lamborghini Huracan. Adrian was ecstatic, and Jeremy drove Adrian around, showing him what it’s like to own and ride in a car that costs as much as a house. Later in the week, Adrian received more good news – the Weber County Attorney’s Office chose not to file charges against Adrian for his various traffic violations, but his mom still says he’s grounded.

About the Writer
Photo of Josh Harrington
Josh Harrington, Journalist

Josh Harrington is a senior at Sartell High School. After high school his plan is to go to the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities and obtain his Bachelor's...

Edited video of VP debunked

Doctored+videos+of+the+VP+were+posted+to+Twitter+and+are+now+marked+manipulated+media.

photo via Wikimedia under the creative commons license

Doctored videos of the VP were posted to Twitter and are now marked manipulated media.

On May 7, Vice President of the United States Mike Pence was taking part in handing out boxes of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at a public event hosted at the Woodbine Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Alexandria, Virginia, just south of Washington, DC.

Shortly after, a video taken at the event by Matt McDermott, who was also present at the event, was posted to Twitter. In the video, Vice President Pence is seen saying “Can I just carry the empty ones? Just for the camera?”

Twitter immediately responded with angry responses to the video. Many believed that Pence was just there as a publicity stunt while Americans are trying to limit the spread and treat those who are very ill, as well as the many Americans who have passed away as a result of the coronavirus. 

However, things do not always pan out as expected. Later that day, C-SPAN released the full video of the interaction. When viewed in its entirety, the earlier Tweet was proven to be edited down and took Vice President Pence’s remarks out of context.

The video released by C-SPAN showed Pence talking to one of his staff members at the event, who told him that “Those are empty, sir” and that “We are good to go.” After this, the comments previously posted on Twitter about Pence only carrying empty boxes for the camera were stated, then Pence and the staffer laughed with one another, clearly joking.

Even after the true story regarding the video was revealed, Matt McDermott has not removed the inflammatory, and now revealed to be edited, video from Twitter. Twitter has since marked the post as “manipulated media,” signifying that the video deliberately misrepresented Vice President Mike Pence.

About the Writer
Photo of Josh Harrington
Josh Harrington, Journalist

Josh Harrington is a senior at Sartell High School. After high school his plan is to go to the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities and obtain his Bachelor's...

Elon Musk taking Tesla out of California

Elon+Musk%2C+creator+of+Space+X+and+Tesla%2C+may+take+his+car+producing+factory+out+of+CA+because+the+county+he+is+in+has+strict+COVID+restrictions.+

photo via Wikimedia under the creative commons license

Elon Musk, creator of Space X and Tesla, may take his car producing factory out of CA because the county he is in has strict COVID restrictions.

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Inc. and SpaceX, as well as a few other tech companies, announced on May 9th that he is moving Tesla operations away from California, stating the reason for the sudden move as being due to “oppressive coronavirus restrictions.” Musk stated that he wants to move out of the main Tesla manufacturing plant located in Fremont, California, located about forty miles outside of San Francisco, in the Bay Area. 

Musk stated two possible locations for new Tesla operations include another facility in Nevada (Tesla batteries are already manufactured outside of Reno, NV), and a not yet known location in Texas, both of which are described by Elon as “more freedom friendly.”

Elon Musk did not stop there, he also filed a lawsuit against Alameda County which governs Fremont, where Tesla is currently located. Elon stated on Twitter that the Interim Health Officer for Alameda County, Erica Pan,  is “unelected” and “incompetent,” and that “She is acting contrary to our governor, the President, our Constitutional freedoms, and just plain common sense.”

Elon Musk also pointed out that the neighboring county, San Joaquin County, has acted “sensible” and “reasonable,” as manufacturers across the state were allowed to resume operations on Friday, after an announcement from Governor Gavin Newsom. However, Alameda County has chosen to still enforce the manufacturing moratorium, which they can do at the county level. 

This leaves Tesla in a state of limbo, being allowed by the state to reopen and resume manufacturing and shipping cars again, while strict enforcement of county ordinances prevent any work from being done, until Alameda County decides to retract the county ordinance and let manufacturers get back to work again.

About the Writer
Photo of Josh Harrington
Josh Harrington, Journalist

Josh Harrington is a senior at Sartell High School. After high school his plan is to go to the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities and obtain his Bachelor's...

WHO releases guidelines for easing restrictions

This+is+the+WHO+Logo.+

Screen shot from the World Health Organization website

This is the WHO Logo.

On Tuesday last week, the World Health Organization released their six guidelines for determining when society is ready to get back to normal after the coronavirus epidemic. Their six guidelines are as follows:

  1. Disease transmission is under control. This is somewhat subjective as under control can have different meanings for different people. In any case, we are not there at this time. 
  2. Health systems are able to detect, test, isolate, and treat every case and trace every contact. While large strides have been made, the healthcare industry has not come up with a test that has been deemed sufficient for widespread use. Tests currently being used are not very accurate, with many presumed cases of COVID-19 coming back negative despite showing all of the symptoms. 
  3. Hot spot risks are minimized in vulnerable places. These places can include places like nursing homes where the population is more at risk than the general population. Another hot spot would be places like schools and convention centers, where large numbers of people gather together and are also in relatively close proximity to one another. 
  4. Schools, workplaces, and other essential places have established preventative measures. Many businesses that have gone to working from home as well as schools doing distance learning do not currently have preventative measures in place to bring students and employees back together, however, these procedures are being discussed. 
  5. The risk of importing new cases can be managed. This echoes #2 in that an accurate test must be developed with results that can be acquired in a shorter period of time. 
  6. Communities are fully educated, engaged, and empowered to live under a new normal. This will take time. Society as a whole is not ready for restrictions to be eased. Many are afraid of loved ones who are at risk of contracting the virus, and many more are afraid of catching it themselves. While many are somewhat educated on the virus many more are either uninformed or misinformed. 

The future of society after the pandemic is subject to speculation. However, we first need to lessen the spread and once these guidelines are met, maybe we can finally get back to normal.

About the Writer
Photo of Josh Harrington
Josh Harrington, Journalist

Josh Harrington is a senior at Sartell High School. After high school his plan is to go to the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities and obtain his Bachelor's...

Michigan residents up in arms over shelter in place order

The+Michigan+governor+has+issued+a+much+stricter+stay+at+home+order.+

photo via Wikimedia under the creative commons license

The Michigan governor has issued a much stricter stay at home order.

On Wednesday this week, angry residents of Michigan descended upon the state capital of Lansing to protest Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s new and much stricter stay at home order. The order was issued on Thursday of last week and closed home improvement stores, limited the use of motorboats, closed public golf courses, and curbed most interstate travel, limiting the movement of citizens of Michigan. 

Residents opposing this order defied the order and drove to downtown Lansing and purposely created complete gridlock in the center of the city, which extended for miles and backed up interstate highways. These citizens then marched to the lawn of the state capitol building with signs protesting the order. According to Business Insider, the protest has been dubbed “Operation Gridlock” and is still ongoing as of the writing of this article.

They’re being respectful and not causing any issues at all.”

— Lt. Darren Green, Michigan State Police

Many of the protesting citizens took to social media to voice their disdain for the strict shelter in place order. Many citizens identify themselves with the Michigan Conservative Coalition as well as the Michigan Freedom Fund. In a video filmed on YouTube Live, a cacophony of car horns as well as chanting protesters can be heard. 

Police have taken a step back and are mostly ensuring chaos does not break out in the city. According to an interview of Lieutenant Darren Green of the Michigan State Police by USA Today, he estimates there are several thousand cars backing up traffic for several miles in every direction from the capital, and several hundred are standing on the capitol lawn.

Lt. Green stated, “They’re doing a pretty good job of maintaining social distance…They’re being respectful and not causing any issues at all.”

No arrests have been reported by either the Michigan State Police or the Lansing Police Department as of the writing of this article.

They’re doing a pretty good job of maintaining social distance.”

— Lt. Darren Green, Michigan State Police

About the Writer
Photo of Josh Harrington
Josh Harrington, Journalist

Josh Harrington is a senior at Sartell High School. After high school his plan is to go to the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities and obtain his Bachelor's...

Economic relief for Americans

The+United+States+government+is+sending+money+to+people+in+order+to+stimulate+the+economy.+

photo via Wikimedia under the creative commons license

The United States government is sending money to people in order to stimulate the economy.

Americans across the country have started to receive economic relief payments starting this week. These are meant to inject money into the economy, which has dramatically sunk in recent months due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Those who received IRS tax refunds and have filed their 2019 tax return will see the payments faster, although everyone who qualifies will receive the cash injection shortly.

In order to qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen with a Social Security number and not be claimed as a dependent. This would include almost all high school students, and a large portion of college students as well. This has caused much controversy, with college students who live independently of their parents but still are claimed on their parents’ taxes receiving nothing. Another stimulus bill is currently being debated in Congress to address this issue.

Single filers will receive a base pay of $1,200, with $500 extra per dependent. The cap on income to receive a payment for single filers is $99,000. After $75,000 in income, $5 is deducted from the payment for every $100 in income over $75,000.

Married families receive double the single payment at $2,400 base. Just like single filers, $500 is added to the payment per dependent. The cap for married filers is $198,000, with the same deduction as single filers occurring at income exceeding $150,000.

These payments are said to just be the first wave. According to Business Insider, a new bill titled the “Emergency Money for the People Act,” any US citizen over the age of 16 making less than $130,000 per year may be eligible for direct payments from the federal government of up to $2,000 per month. Whether or not this includes dependent high school and college age students has not been disclosed. These payments will help those who have recently become unemployed gain a hold of their finances in this troubling time.

About the Writer
Photo of Josh Harrington
Josh Harrington, Journalist

Josh Harrington is a senior at Sartell High School. After high school his plan is to go to the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities and obtain his Bachelor's...

Zoom faces user privacy scandal

Zoom+prompt+before+online+class.

Josh Harrington

Zoom prompt before online class.

Zoom, the company responsible for the video conferencing program used by both professionals working from home and students who use the tool for distance learning in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic, has just been sued in New York District Court in Manhattan for violating privacy laws concerning user information. 

Zoom is alleged to have sold off personal data from their users whenever they log on to a video conference. Zoom sold this data to the tech giant Facebook, who used the data to generate targeted advertisements towards these users. There is no opt-out to the collection and sale of your information, and it is done without so much as an acknowledgment.

In an interview with Vice Media, CEO of Zoom Communications Eric Yuan stated that “Our customers’ privacy is incredibly important to us, and therefore we decided to remove the Facebook SDK in our [Apple-based] client and have reconfigured the feature so that users will still be able to log in with Facebook via their browser.”

This is troublesome on many fronts. While the information collected did not include information about the users themselves, and just information about the device they were using to log onto Zoom, this was done with absolutely no input from the end user, who remains blissfully unaware of this practice.

Advertising is a multi-billion dollar industry, and Zoom is not the first nor will they be the last company to be caught selling user data to companies for use in targeted advertising. Going forward, consumers should be given an opportunity to opt out completely from the collection of their data and prevent this from happening again.

About the Contributor
Photo of Josh Harrington
Josh Harrington, Journalist

Josh Harrington is a senior at Sartell High School. After high school his plan is to go to the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities and obtain his Bachelor's...

Grocery stores face unprecedented demand

Grocery+stores+face+unprecedented+demand

In the past few weeks, the general public has been flocking to grocery stores across the country in search of staple goods and to prepare for the shelter-in-place which is now set in place. Students both young and old are also now learning online. Many of the working class are either laid off or working from home and, in return, are consuming more goods from grocery stores and not going out to eat or do other activities.

The flip side of this is that grocery stores cannot keep up with the sudden, extreme increase in demand. Shelves are empty. Things you take for granted are going to leave you waiting for the next shipment to come in, and even then you hope you get there before other people buy it all and leave you waiting for the next one, hoping you are luckier that time.

As a grocery store employee, we sympathize with these people. We are doing the best we can, working around the clock to get the goods out on the shelf and into people’s hands. Where six pallets in one shipment seemed like a lot before this all started, we now get closer to 20 pallets per shipment because the shelves are empty. 

A lot of citizens have switched to ordering online, where you pay by credit card and an employee shops your list for you. This is great because it reduces the amount of interaction we must have with one another, and therefore reduces the risk of transmission of the corona virus plaguing our society for the foreseeable future. The not so great part is having to explain to each and every customer why they did not receive half their order. 

While things are going to get better as manufacturers ramp up production and society slows down their consumption (and let’s be fair, panic buying), for now we must learn that this might be the new way of life for a while.

We live in unprecedented times. Just remember, we are all in this together.

About the Contributor
Photo of Josh Harrington
Josh Harrington, Journalist

Josh Harrington is a senior at Sartell High School. After high school his plan is to go to the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities and obtain his Bachelor's...

Fire at Metal Recycling Facility

Fire+at+Metal+Recycling+Facility

Since Tuesday morning last week, the Becker Fire Department has been battling an out of control fire at the Northern Metal Recycling facility. The fire started in a pile of crushed cars at the facility and was reported to authorities by a passerby at around 2:30 AM on Tuesday.

Over the course of the 24 hours, firefighters from 18 different fire departments were all on scene trying to battle the blaze. School was cancelled for all students on Wednesday and Thursday of last week due to air quality concerns. James Kelly, a representative from the Minnesota Department of Health, said that some of the materials that were burning could be considered “problematic or hazardous” and advised residents with breathing trouble to stay indoors.

Residents of Becker are also weighing in on the fire. WCCO reported that resident Trisha Reiling said, “It just smelled kind of like, I don’t know, burning tires here for a few days.” Her husband Scott also said that “It actually blocked out the sun on I-94.”

It just smelled kind of like, I don’t know, burning tires here for a few days”

— Trisha Reiling

On Thursday, the decision was made to contain the fire instead of continuing to fight it, as it was causing serious strain on the water supply in Becker. Firefighters moved all other objects out of the area and then they monitored the fire until it burned out.

As of Saturday, February 22nd, the fire has officially been put out.  The State Fire Marshall’s office is still investigating what started the fire.

About the Writer
Photo of Josh Harrington
Josh Harrington, Journalist

Josh Harrington is a senior at Sartell High School. After high school his plan is to go to the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities and obtain his Bachelor's...

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