Spooktacular stories wanted

BY GABI ISENBERG – The Crimson Arrow is holding a Scary Story contest again this year. Entries must be submitted by Saturday, October 31; . To submit, email your entry to rbaileyorchard@iasd.cc.

The rules are:

  1. 5 page MAXIMUM
  2. Submit your name with your entry, but your name will not be shown to the judges.
  3. You must submit your entry by October 31, 2020.
  4. Please make sure your story is school-appropriate. ANY NON SCHOOL-APPROPRIATE ENTRIES WILL BE DELETED AND REFERRED TO THE OFFICE FOR DISCIPLINE. 

The winner will be announced the week of November 2. The entry will be posted on the Crimson Arrow website and the author will receive a $20 Amazon Gift Certificate. Have fun and good luck!

Hurricanes add to difficult times

BY JEANICE HILL – This summer, COVID-19 wasn’t the only thing that interrupted plans. There were two hurricanes that not only disrupted our summer but also took lives. Hurricane Laura killed 26 people in Louisiana as of September 9, 2020. There were a large number of people who became sick, injured, or even suffered mental health effects because of the storm. Laura added to the complexity of COVID-19. Due to the debris and destruction caused by hurricanes, people flee to different states, which can mean the carrying of disease. Like the spreading of the Spanish flu, the same thing can happen with COVID-19. Laura ended up making a complicated time even more complicated. 8 of the 26 deaths in Louisiana were because of the heat. The power was out for an extended period of time, meaning the HVAC systems were also out. The houses were very hot, causing people to perish. Some people were hesitant to leave the state due to COVID-19, causing these awful ends.

Hurricane Laura tied the record of quickest to be named with Hurricane Luis in 1955. Laura was a wave that originated from the coast of West Africa, becoming a tropical storm a day later. Soon, it was a raging category 4 hurricane, destroying everything in its wake. Laura killed at least 23 people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and 26 in Louisiana, bringing the death total to 49. Early on August 27, Laura hit her peak in Cameron, Louisiana. She was the tenth-strongest U.S. hurricane landfall by wind speed on record.

  Hurricane Sally was not as deadly, but she is believed to have claimed 8 lives. The number of sick, injured, and traumatized are higher. Sally started on September 10th, 2020 and it was first designated as a tropical storm, but later a Category 2 hurricane. Because it was slow-moving, Sally  affected people in the same spot for a longer period of time than the average hurricane. Hurricanes can continue to affect pedestrians and states years after they occur due to destruction, but this hurricane hadn’t physically moved significantly for a whole month. From starting on the 10th to continuing to the 18th of September, it stayed in almost the exact same place – Florida. Many Floridians had to evacuate because of the hurricane, which also spreads the virus we are currently battling. Although Sally may not be nearly as strong as Laura was, she is traumatizing citizens even longer than Laura did.

The intermingling of two hurricanes and the virus had made the current state of the world even worse than it would’ve been. All people could do was hope no one else got killed because of Sally, whether it be during or after. With COVID-19 around, and on top of that, hurricanes, tropical storms, and tsunamis in the other part of the world, we remain wondering if life will ever go back to normal.  We may not have a cure for COVID yet, but we can help those affected by the hurricanes. You can wear gloves and masks, and even hazmat suits if you like, but we need to do our part for the community, after several back-to-back destructions. We may not be able to prevent hurricanes or stop COVID just yet, but we can help and pray. After all, with COVID-19, all we can do is hope.

Is it better to mask or shield?

BY GABI ISENBERG –  All of IJHS knows the struggle to keep masks on all day. The fabric makes faces hot and breathing more difficult. On the other hand, face shields can fog up and make foreheads sweaty and uncomfortable. 

“I like face shields, but I feel like they don’t cover your mouth completely. There is the space at the bottom where, obviously, things can come out. I think they are nice, but not in a setting where there are a lot of people gathered. Maybe if it were the teachers in the front of the room, it would be okay,” said Lily Adams (7). 

“I think that a mask reduces the airflow of your and other’s breath more than a shield does because a well-fitting mask does not have space around it to let air in/out,” said Lilli Fleming (7).

“I personally prefer masks over face shields due to face masks being less substantially large and less clunky feeling…I also prefer mask over face shields because mask can normally keep my glass from fogging up and also face masks can also be annoying if you get something on the shield you have to go through cleaning it.” said Ean Wiggins (7).

Although comfort is a consideration, what offers the most protection from COVID-19? A recent research study from Loma Linda University found that there is no simple answer to this. Since some people are wearing homemade masks that don’t filter as much as an N95 mask does, the variables are not consistent, and therefore not allowing an accurate experiment to be conducted. However, this study also shows that face shields can also offer protection, but not as well as masks. The study states that, 

“If someone coughs 18 inches from you while you are wearing a face shield, the immediate viral exposure is reduced by 96%…If the person remains coughing and talking with you for 30 minutes, then the face shield blocks 68% of the small air particles.”

Although the face shield will protect someone from the virus, the more time they spend with someone that has COVID-19, the more the face shield’s protection decreases. The virus makes its way around the shield with time. The chief of infectious diseases at Loma Linda says that masks are still better for protecting you from the virus. Masks cover both a person’s nose and mouth tightly whereas a face shield has openings at the chin and sides. The CDC and FDA recommend masks as well as many other professionals. Although any face covering can prevent COVID-19, the best option is a mask.

Why did the country close over COVID-19 and not the flu?

By CONNOR ROHLF –  It’s impossible not to notice the effects that COVID-19 has had on our community, our state, our country, and even the world.

COVID-19, however, is not as widespread as the flu.

According to the Center for Disease Control, its estimate for flu illnesses in the United States from October 1, 2019 through April 4, 2020, is between 39 million to 59 million cases.  As of 18 June, 2020, the CDC reports that the coronavirus, which shut down the country, has been confirmed in 2.2 million cases.

So why did Pennsylvania shut down?

The flu has a much higher infection rate than COVID-19.  However, there were many unknowns about COVID-19 and concerns that hospitals would be overwhelmed with patients needing ventilators.  Since there wasn’t a vaccine, the only way to “flatten the curve” was essentially quarantine.

Since Governor Tom Wolf issued the executive order shutting down schools and non-essential business as of March 13, accurate testing for COVID-19 has expanded.  More testing naturally results in more diagnoses, but the number of fatalities has held steady except in long-term care facilities.  As of June 18, Indiana County has had 89 confirmed cases and 8 probable cases with only 5 deaths.

Indiana just entered green on June 5.  After almost two months of shutdown, businesses are finally able to reopen with some restrictions and after spiking unemployment, many are able to return to work.  However, many annual activities and festivals, including the Indiana County Fair, have had to be canceled.

This has never happened for the flu.

 

Quarantine led to home-styled hair

BY ETHAN COLEMAN – With outbreaks of COVID-19, or coronavirus, spreading around the country, Governor Wolf  issued a series of proclamations. One of these was when he decreed that all “nonessential businesses” would be closed.

This included hair salons.

This means that kids couldn’t get their hair cut, at least not by a professional. Kids had a choice: they could wait until Indian went “Green,” likely ending up with long, wild hair, or they cold get a family member to cut their hair for them– which in some cases turned out a bit differently than they expected.  The results are often not quite picture perfect

The internet features hundred  of videos and pictures of failed haircuts by a loved one, from being a bit uneven on one side, to accidentally cutting a huge chunk of hair out.  One example of an online fail is where a 7 year old  ended up having to shave part of his head because his dad accidentally shaved a random strip of his hair bald.

However, some people are quite satisfied with their new look. My sister, for example, had her hair cut by our mom (who is definitely NOT a hair stylist)  just a few days ago, wanting to try out bangs, and is very pleased with the new look.  When I asked how she felt about her haircut she said, “I really like my new haircut and think it’s very beautiful.” 

Now that Indiana’s salons have reopened, even though with some restrictions, students are no longer limited to “quarantine haircuts.”  Even if they did suffer a  “Epic Hair Fail,” at least their hair will grow back before school begins again.

Be fit to survive

By ETHAN COLEMAN – As you may know,  six main things that a person needs to survive are clean air, water, food/nutrients, warmth, shelter, and sleep. Here are some tips on three of these that may help if the coronavirus truly is THE END. 

Most of Pennsylvania, including our area of it, is very hilly and forested. These tips will be most useful in the woods around our area. 

Air –  Currently, air shouldn’t be too much of a problem, if you are in the woods, the plants should definitely provide enough oxygen for you. However, remember that if you are in a closed space with no air holes, the oxygen will not last. Also note that a fire will suck up oxygen quickly, and be sure there is a way for the smoke to escape, and oxygen to come in. 

Shelter – Shelter is another basic need. A good shelter will help you keep more warm and more dry, as well as being a place for you to sleep. There are many kinds of shelters. I am going to go over one simple but effective one sometimes known as a leaf hut. The leaf hut is a two-sided, wedge-shaped lean-to with better weather-proofing and insulating qualities. To build it, select a long, sturdy pole or branch 9 to 12 feet long. Prop it up in the fork of a tree; or set it on a rock, stump, or two forked prop sticks. Then, cover the sides of the pole with tree branches to act as ribs. These are placed at an angle along both sides of the pole. Place the ribs close together so that your covering won’t fall through. Next, place vegetation over the framework ( grass, ferns, moss, pine needles, brush, or pine boughs, etc.). 2 to 3 feet of vegetation covering all sides is enough to keep you dry inside. I would also advise to put lots of soft, thick vegetation as bedding. 

Sleep – It is very important that when in a survival situation, you get lots of sleep. If you are not well rested, you will not have as not much energy and you will not be as ready to face any problems to arise. The best way to sleep more comfortably is to create a bed. One example is a bough bed. First, roll two logs near each other to create a frame. Then, pile boughs, leaves, grass, or other plant materials on it. Although fir boughs are probably the most comfortable, others will work. 

Course of Truth

By ABIGAIL DESALVO

Chapter One

It’s a Saturday afternoon and I am still in bed staring at the ceiling as if I don’t have to be out of the house in 10 minutes for my first interview.

Hi, my name is Milagra.  My parents moved here from Columbia to get away from the crime and look for better lives.  My life contains no adventure, excitement, or good fortune.  I am just a girl who lives in a small town where nothing exciting happens to anyone from here.  My parents work 12 hours a day just to make ends meet.  We aren’t living anywhere near comfortable, and once I turned 16 it was time for me to get a job.  So, here I am laying in bed, with 5 minutes to be out the door for an interview.

Creaking and banging fills the hallway.  A piercing screech echoes around the halls, bouncing and reflecting off every surface. “Sonrisa, ¡despierta! You need this job.  We need you to get this job.  Papa y I can not support this family alone!” 

It is a stinging reminder of how our life is far from perfect.  All of the other kids at school never have to help pay bills.  None of them have to get jobs because they can barely afford to live.  A knot bulges at the back of my throat and my eyes sting of remorse and self pity.  I push through the pain and words scrape from my vocal chords.  “Ok, mama. I am going.”  They are hoarse and broken.

I hear a sigh of discontent and a mummer of laziness.  I want to be angry, but I can’t.  I have been 16 for nearly four months now.  The bills have gone up, and we already had trouble before.  The feeling of pity forms a tight, sour feeling in my mouth and the burning of strain in my eyes returns.

I look over at my clock.  I have 3 minutes to leave.  My actual interview starts in half an hour, but the store is on Bixon Street, nearly half ways across town.  I throw on my best pants and shirt and leave.  Papa wishes me luck as I step out the door.  

The pay is low, but this was the only job that would hire me since I didn’t have experience.  I watch my feet pass by each cracked and contorted block of the sidewalk. It may be childish, but I still gracefully hop over each crack and line.  I recited the song that we used to sing when we were children.

Step on a crack, you’ll break your mama’s back

Step on a line, you’ll break you papa’s spine

It made me happy.  It reminded me of a time when everything was simpler.  The only thing that mattered was who won a game of hopscotch, who had the coolest toys, and just enjoying life.  Everyday was filled with games and laughter.  The only thing we would cry about was when we fell or had to leave.  We were so confident back then.  We didn’t care about how we looked, how much money we had, or who we were friends with.  It was bliss.  

Just like everything else, it didn’t last.  We grew up and realized the lives we had, and with that also came the realization of our differences.  Now we are judged on what we wear.  If you cover up, you’re prude.  If you show skin, you’re a tramp, if you dress comfortably, you’re a slob.  There is no happy middle.  There’s no more true laughter or joy.  Why did everything have to come crashing down when we were so happy?

My foot grabs  a crack and I feel for a second the wind blow in my hair and my stomach drop.  I had not realized how stared off I was.  I had walked for nearly 20 minutes until I snapped out of it.

I arrive at the store I hope to work at.  The cashier looks at me, detached, with dark circles under his eyes.  He seems to be in his early twenties, so maybe he’s in college and had to study the previous night.  An older man enters the room.  He tells me he is the one interviewing me.  We enter the room and the interview commences.  As he speaks, he stumbles over his words and can’t seem to keep focus.  His eyes seem swollen and blank.  Circles of purple skin hang below his eyes.

Our interview ends and he tells me he’ll call if I get the job.  I leave the room after thanking him.  As I turn to close the office door, I see him doze off into a light sleep.  The cashier has slumped against the counter, looking as if he could pass out any minute now.  It’s just a coincidence.  I walk outside and I begin to realize that everyone is acting like mindless zombies, walking around yawning, on the brink of collapse, and wandering around with no sense of reality.  It’s just a coincidence.  Right?

Chapter Two

 Their feet drag behind them, reminiscing of bodies dragging.  They release long cries for sleep.  Their hollow, empty eyes drift shut causing them to crash towards the ground.  What is happening?

My feet stumble over each other as I chase home.  Something is not right.  The wind stings my face, my nose runs to ice, and my feet begin to turn to stone.  My breath escapes my body and my view goes dark.  I wake up to someone stumbling over me.  Their icey eyes never meet mine; they just continue walking.  I sit up and everyone’s faces hold expressionless cries.  Their faces hold no smiles, no tears, and no furrowed brows.  Their faces are blank pages of what used to be tempestuous lifes.  

I pull myself up.  My leg falls, reaching their arms for the ground.  My ankle pounds and balloons.  It hurts so bad.  My throat is tight and my eyes sting.  It just hurts so bad.  I grasp a sign in an attempt to pull myself up again.  An agonised scream swells from my throat and expands from my mouth.  Across the street, the mindless zombie looks over at me.  His eyes show an attempt of sympathy and he almost gives me a pity filled half smile.  He looks like he is on the brink of death, but he still takes the time to show a twinge of remorse for me.  My feet begin to stabilize under me.  It feels like my muscles are being slowly ripped from my body.  My joints and ligaments are being torn and scattered.  My breath is being sucked from my lungs.  A person in my head bangs on my skull, screaming for help.  It all throbs.  I push through the acute pain that courses through my body.

Betweens panting and gasping, I limp home.  My feet stumbling over each crack, caressing each beautifully intricate, broken piece of cement.  I find myself at my door, my mom opens the door.  Her brows furrow and her nose scrunches.  Her red lips form a displeasing scowl.  I see her mouth move, but I hear nothing.  My eyes feel heavy, like I haven’t slept in years.  My head pulses, stinging with every budump.  My legs feel like rocks . My arms hang lifelessly from my slumped shoulders.  Everything begins to feel like the round up, spinning mercilessly around looking as if it would never stop.  My stomach rises and my head goes hot.  My mom continues to talk.  Her face is no longer a scowl, but instead a concerned look.  It leaves a distasteful twinge in my throat.   My vision goes blurry.  Mom screams some faint echo, but I don’t understand it.  Her arms are held out to catch me.  She embraces me as everything goes black.

Chapter Three

 Dim flickers of light floods through my closed eyes, disrupting my solitude of darkness. The fiery light strains my eyes, forcing them to squint to block out all light.  I try to open my eyes, but now I see nothing.  I can not see anything but my fortress of darkness.  The smell of sterilized alcohol invades my senses.  The sound of my mother’s weeps echoes through my head.  Cold needles pierce through my skin leaving a cold liquid coursing through my veins.  The taste of iron swarms my mouth.  

I try to open my eyes, but it is too difficult to do.  All I want is to run into my mother’s arms and console her weeps.  I want to march to a doctor and demand to know what’s happening, but I can’t.  I try to move my arms, but they won’t budge.  I try to scream, but no sound escapes me.  I need to do something.  I need to say something.

“Hello there, sunshine!” remarks a soothing voice.

I turn around to follow the voice that distracts me from my own defeating thoughts.  I look around, but I see nothing but a deep, dark abyss.  My body feels stable, but I can not tell if there is any support I am standing on.  

“Well, aren’t you going to say hello back, little thorn?” Inquiries another voice.  This voice is a higher pitched voice that reminds me of a nagging, old, rich lady.

I look around, but this time I see two figures.  The one voice that just spoke is a tall, brooding rose.  Her face is scrunched into a displeased scowl.  My eyes linger to her nose.  It is absurdly large, distracting from her beady eyes and unpleasant frown.  To her side, is an old tree that twists and turns to sharp branches with a short, wide stump.  His leaves are none and his bark is of an old rawhide.  His face is old and worn.  His eyes droop and his plump cheeks sink past his chin.  His mouth holds a jolly grin.  He is a happy fellow.   His looks are displeasing, but the Rose is very beautiful and delicate.  

“Look at this little, ugly thorn!  Does she not speak?!  Is already horrible being ugly, but being mute too…this is absolutely horrendous!”

“Rosa, quit being rude.  It is obvious she is in shock.”

“You’re an ugly bloke who is a pushover. Well, I guess not everyone can be as beautifully elegant as me.”

My eyes kept following them and their conversation.  This can’t be happening.  I’ve lost it.  My breath had escaped my lungs.  My head begins to pound and my vision blurs.  The cold, hard ground greets my head with a familiar, rough blanket of dark.

“Well, look what you did now, Bristle!”

to be continued

 

New “Animal Crossing” on the horizon

By IZZT YUHA – Animal Crossing is now a daily name for many families across the world.

The new game called “Animal Crossing New Horizons” was released on Nintendo Switch on March 20th. This relaxing game has calmed many people down with the pandemic in full swing. 

Animal Crossing is about helping the player’s villagers in a town. Sometimes, they will ask the player to do certain tasks so the island will be in better shape. The game also teaches  about debt, the stock market, and many other things. The game also teached to be kind to the villagers, or they will leave the island. 

Another unique thing about Animal Crossing is that the game is set in real time! Creatures and certain tree types come out in different seasons to simulate real time. Indiana may be stuck inside, but at least a game knows it’s spring time!

Also, this game has many people working together to make each other’s islands great! Many computer programmers have made websites to help others get what they want on their islands by selling their items for in game currency. 

On the other hand, however, many people are upset that they cannot get some of their favorite characters in the game anymore. There are only a select few who are not in the game anymore. Luckily, there are hundreds of villagers to offer.

The game has also released an update on April 23. Many characters have come back into the game and many more features were added. On many social media sites, people were very excited for this new update to drop. 

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Isolation Vacation?

By MORGAN ADAMSON – Ah, summer, beautiful, beautiful, summer. The time where we get to have fun, there’s no school, the weather’s nice, we get to be outside.

That might all come to a screeching halt because of the global condition happening right now.

Will we even have a summer? The question we’re all asking is–will we even have a summer?  To everyone’s relief, Indiana enters the Green Zone today.

As basically everyone knows at this point, Social Distancing is still in effect. We stay 6 feet apart at all times, and wear a mask everywhere when we’re in public. The summer is a time to hang out with your friends and have a good time, but the COVID-19 epidemic may have ruined that. All of this has gone on for much longer than anyone has anticipated, but no one expected it to go through our summer.

How can we stay connected if this is a social distancing summer?

We can always see our friends while maintaining the mandatory 6 feet distance away from each other and wearing masks to prevent any disease transfer. We can also spend time with our families by taking walks, swimming  and overall just enjoying each other’s company. As always, you can also Facetime, text, and call your friends, as well as doing many other technology related activities.

The coronavirus epidemic may have cancelled school and took the whole world by surprise, but that doesn’t mean this can’t be a fun and exciting summer. Though it may be hard, make sure to make the most of it, and have as much fun as possible.