Even though winter has just begun, I think we all can’t wait to see the snow melt and finally see a sign of spring again. It has already been a tough autumn and winter, especially for Islanders. A lot of people are feeling the effects of the economic depression this winter. Construction on the Island has been a driving force of the economy on the Island. This is true especially when winter comes and tourists leave their summer homes. For preparation for next summer they hire Island construction workers to work on their houses. Now that we are in a economic depression everyone is trying to save their money. This is leaving a lot of Island construction workers struggling. We are all starting to feel the stress as we start the new year. Hopefully 2009 will solve these problems and make us all feel more comfortable with the economy.
— Kristen Parece, Editor
Did Obama Choose a Bigot to Speak?
By Tova Katzman>
As we know, the inauguration is coming up on Jan. 20. In a few days we will finally have a new President! Many will be attending the historic event, including some Islanders. But some are disappointed and confused by a decision recently made by the President-elect. Barack Obama chose Rick Warren to speak at the inauguration ceremony, a conservative pastor from California who supported Proposition 8, making gay marriage illegal in his state. After all the support and contributions Mr. Obama received from the gay community, Rick Warren must have come as a shock. I was also surprised by his choice and I hope Mr. Obama’s approval ratings will not suffer in the future.
Bringing Home History
By Samantha Billings>
Retired Oak Bluffs fire department captain Donald Billings is bringing home the town’s first fire engine, a 1929 Maxim pumper. The truck was seen on display in western Massachusetts and right away, Mr. Billings knew he wanted to bring it home. This truck was first driven by Mr. Billings’s uncle, then his father, and then by him. In October the Maxim pumper was returned to the Island, and by a couple of weeks ago, the roof and walls of the 24 by 25-foot building were up. The new home for the truck will include early fire fighting memorabilia that will create a museum-like setting for a fire truck with so much Island history.
Give Others a Chance,
Give the Gift of Life
By Alicia Oliveira>
In the United States alone, more than 100,523 people are waiting desperately for an organ. From January through October, 2008, there were only 11,801 donors, leaving thousands of people who never got that call from their organ transplant centers. I believe the lack of organ donations in this country is horrible and depressing. This is a leading health crisis in the world. Nothing should stop anyone from donating — not even religion, unfair list order, age, or lack of financial incentives. “No incentive, no donation.” This is what most people are saying. Well I believe America is very selfish. Maybe people should give and in return be a hero. In a survey, 57 per cent of people who were asked said they would not be an organ donor. When the same people were asked if an incentive would change their mind, more then half said yes. Some said they would like their funeral to be cheaper. Some even said that they would give if there was some acknowledgement on their gravestone. I think when a family member dies and the dead person’s organs are used to help someone else, the family is comforted. They know that their loved one is saving a life.
Obama could create an incentive for more people to become donors. But first we just have to spend less money on weapons. Maybe prison inmates would donate if they got a shorter sentence? When you know someone who is dying because no one else is giving organs, it’s frustrating. It’s awful watching the person wither away because Americans are so self-absorbed. Every day 32 people die waiting for an organ. Let’s cut that number down. If people were aware about this health crisis, more people would help. You don’t have to be a fireman, cop, doctor, or any kind of superman. You can be an organ donor and still live your life to the fullest. Give others a second chance and give the gift of life.
First Priority for Obama
By JESSICA KELLEHER
Osama Bin Laden, remember that guy? I would like to know what America is doing about him. When we are searching for Al Qaeda, if that’s what we are doing, why have we not captured Osama? Iraq is not a threat to us nor was it ever a threat to us. So why have we not captured and killed the man who planned and succeeded in the Sept. 11th attacks on the U.S.? Isn’t that more important to Americans than the excuses for being in Iraq? America needs to show this terrorist that we are not a resource hungry nation and that if you mess with America, you will pay the consequences. I think putting a stop to terrorism is what should come first for President Obama.
Jewish People Always Must Worry
By Rebecca Barbosa>
The Jewish people have a tragic history which compels them to worry about survival so much. Everyone knows about the war that is going on in Gaza. They know about all the tragic stuff that’s been going on there. But has anyone thought about how we are going to help fix it?
Obama said that he is determined to repair America’s image and to reach a deal in the Middle East. The new administration is going to have to be tough, much tougher than either Bill Clinton or George W. Bush if it is serious about being an Arab-Israeli peacemaker. If Obama is serious about all this, he will have to do two things. First, whatever the transgressions of the Palestinians, Obama will have to deal with Israel’s behavior in Gaza. He will have to understand that Israel has every reason to defend itself against Hamas, but does it make sense for America to support an Israeli policy of punishing Hamas by making life unbearable for lots of Palestinian people? The answer is no.
Second, Obama will have to maintain his independence so that he can play the mediator’s role. America must also not agree to every idea proposed by the Israeli prime minister.
If our new President adjusts his thinking when it comes to Israel and is prepared to be tough with the Palestinians as well, the next several years could be fascinating and productive.
Devastating Ice Storms
By Anna Sylvia>
Many people throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire struggled from the terrible ice storms that hit on Dec. 13, 2008. Homes and businesses were left without electricity, and people were forced to go to local shelters for warmth and food. A combination of low pressure moist air and cold wind produced strong ice storms that swept through the New England region. Emergency works crews were sent to clear up a disastrous mess left by the storms. Damage was done to power lines, and trees fell into roads forcing them to be closed. The ice storms caused tens of millions of dollars in damage.
Many colleges across New England were shut down completely. Family members of mine were stuck inside their houses in New Hampshire during the worst of the storm. When the storm passed, they were still without heat and electricity for 11 days. For Christmas, my aunt gave my other aunt a shirt that said “I survived the New Hampshire Ice Storm of 2008.” My sister’s college was shut down a week early and she was sent home without completing the semester finals. This was a tragic storm; everyone is thankful that it is over and hopes it will never happen again.
What We Need
By Diane Reed>
There have been some strange incidents at the high school involving teachers and students. I think we need to do something about this. We have heard about two driver’s education teachers being fired, and hearing about what they did, I know that something needs to be done. I have heard stories about inappropriate texting to students and screaming at students in a violent way. One very respected teacher was fired for inappropriate conduct with a minor.
I have been thinking about ways that would hopefully reduce the chances of getting irresponsible teachers at schools. All schools should have some kind of screening and take precautions that will help prevent this type of behavior happening.