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Increasing Diversity in Wilmette Real Estate

Today in class we discussed the debate over the addition of affordable living in Wilmette, IL. As a resident of Wilmette, I took it upon mys...

Monday, December 14, 2015

Final: Trump Towering Over Competitors

In the presidential campaign, the candidate who has received the most attention is Donald Trump. Trump is definitely a nonconformist when it comes to politics. A standard politician will say what the people want to hear and portray themselves in a way to increase the number of votes that they will receive. In contrast, Donald Trump seems to have no filter and says whatever he wants. Trump does not conform to the model of a typical politician. He has a different approach to the campaign, gaining as much publicity as possible even if it is negative. Is this the right way to approach a presidential campaign?

Donald Trump brings new ideas into the campaign that have caught the attention of many. His honesty distinctly separates him from his opponents. A typical politician will say anything to please a crowd whether or not it is true. Trump does not refrain from voicing his opinions and this is surprisingly appealing to voters. According to NPR Politics, "Americans' level of trust in the federal government are at nearly the lowest levels on record." Because of this distrust, Trump contrasts the rest of the politicians and portrays himself in a better light. People want to place their votes towards a candidate who is true to his word and will get stuff done in office.  

People want a politician who will tell the truth and voice their opinion, but is Trump the right candidate for the role? His non-conformist ways are calling the attention of many now, but it will be interesting to see if this trend continues. Although many disagree with his statements, they stand out against the scripted responses of other candidates. He may be honest but his statements are too extreme for a Presidential role and have offended many. His statements to block all Muslims from entering the U.S. have been defined as unconstitutional but have received the support of almost two-thirds of voters in a Bloomberg poll (NPR Politics). I personally view his racial profiling statements as unjust and unnecessarily severe. President is a crucial role in government and it's important that voters take into account who they are voting for to fill the role. 

In class we discussed how nonconformist ideals tend to be more desirable. For example, we could not think of someone we admired for being a conformist. The actions and ideas of nonconformists set them apart from others make them exciting and different. I believe this is what draws the attention to Trump. Americans want to vote for change, and Trump brings this change into the campaign. The nonconformist path he has taken during his campaign is what makes people want to vote for an "outsider." 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Frazzled For Finals

With finals approaching in a few weeks, I decided to look into the effects finals week has on students. Everyone knows that the week of finals is very stressful for students and it is commonly dreaded by students. During this time, students experience loss of sleep, have bad eating habits, and may skip their usual workouts and stress relievers.  Different students have different experiences with finals, many find it very stressful while others have no problem taking these important tests. Studies show that "cramming" all of your studying in before a final is not an effective way to learn the material and will not improve the outcomes of the test.

Students need to take action to lower the stress and anxiety they feel leading up to the tests. Researchers recommend that you try to exercise and take several breaks for your brain during the study process. Accumulating daily stress can ultimately lead to anxiety attacks so it is important for students to try to remain at ease. In 2009, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, showed that 7 percent of college students misused Adderall leading up to final exams. The Journal of American College Health found that only 11 percent of college students reported being well rested and this number decreases significantly when finals come around.

It is important to take care of your body when finals come around. Take a deep breath and try to relax.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Disaster in Paris

On the 13th ISIS launched an attack on Paris that left 129 dead and 352 wounded. These terrorist attacks took place in six different locations. The bombs were released outside of the Stade de France in a game against Germany. In addition, the attackers terrorized those in a concert hall and at least two restaurants. The police are taking the attack very seriously and have taken in many suspects for serious questioning.
Terrorism has been reaching new extremes recently and something needs to be done to end the War on Terrorism. Following the attack, France is boosting their nation's security by improving their war technology and increasing their number of soldiers, similar actions should be done all around the world to prevent similar tragic events from happening. President Holland of France said, “Terrorism will not destroy France, because France will destroy it." This is a strong statement that is hopefully truthful.
ISIS has threatened the United States following what they see as a successful attack. In a video released Monday an ISIS fighter exclaimed, “I swear to God, as we struck France in its stronghold Paris, we will strike America in its stronghold, Washington." This statement has caused large amounts of stress for the United States, and the government is taking this threat very seriously. Actions are taking place in order to handle the situation and hopefully prepare for it the best we can.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Increasing Diversity in Wilmette Real Estate

Today in class we discussed the debate over the addition of affordable living in Wilmette, IL. As a resident of Wilmette, I took it upon myself to further my knowledge on the controversy. Wilmette is full of beautiful homes, that are not affordable to many.  The Wilmette Village Board recently approved a $4.1 million dollar contract with M & R Development, and as a result the developer agreed to donate $80,000 to providing living for the lower-income residents. This kind act has sparked a debate across the town of Wilmette. Could the money be put to something more beneficial to the town than affordable housing? 

The average cost of a home in the United States is $188,900,  while the average cost of a house in Wilmette is around $800,000. This statistics show that buying a house in Wilmette is about 423% higher than the US average.

Many residents believe that the addition of affordable housing is taking away from "the image" of Wilmette and could lead to higher crime rates along with many other negative impacts. The development is being urged to contain 15% low priced units. Many believe that the donations should be put to providing housing for the elderly and disabled rather then just simply those who take in low-income. It doesn't seem fair for residents to prevent anyone from living in such a great neighborhood like Wilmette. Even those with lower than average income rates should have the access to the benefits of living in a town like Wilmette. Several hearings are planning for the next 6-8 months before a decision will be made on what to do with the $80,000. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015


       Well, another Halloweens has come and gone.    While many of the Halloweens blend together this year was a bit of a change for me.  For the first time in 18 years I did not trick or treat with the kids, so it was a little sad.    I will always treasure the memories of taking the kids from house to house, usually carrying some piece of discarded costume in one hand and a beverage in the other.   
In addition to door duty, I have, over time, evolved into the family pumpkin carver.  As the kids have lost interest this has largely become a solo project.  I put the pumpkins out at 3pm and by 3:15 the squirrels had chewed on them.                  As it turns out, it was a good thing I was there to work the door because, despite our disfigured pumpkins,  we got swamped.  I do not know the count but we had hundreds of trick or treaters.  Although it rained most of the day, by four PM the precipitation had ceased and the kids were out in force.    Now I guess you could say we brought a little of it on ourselves, we gave away both full size candy bars and little flashlights that project the image of the Chicago Cubs logo.   With respect to full size candy bars, I have seen, first hand, the news that a house is handing out full size candies spread like wildfire as kids run into each other and compare notes.  So while I was surprised that my wife chose full size candy bars to give away, I was not surprised so many kids came to our house.  Although the last few dozen trick or treaters were disappointed as we ran out of full size candies and only Callan’s run to the store saved us from being completely without candy.
It was also a good thing that I had door duty all night because I caught a handful of kids coming back to house more than once.  Full sized candy bars and Cubs flashlights will do that.  One kid complained that his friend has come twice and did not get caught.  As you might imagine, I was unsympathetic.  
         As the trick or treating wound down we continued our own Halloween tradition of having people over for a variety of soups and chili.  We had a nice little crowd of friends, relatives and neighbors.  It was festive but low key and, unlike many past Halloweens, it broke up fairly early. 

Alas, another Halloween has come and gone…

-Mr. Ricketts

Saturday, October 24, 2015

How much sleep do you get?

It seems like everyone complains about being tired these days. It is most common for teens ages 15-17 to feel fatigued. Scientists recommend that teenagers ages 15-17 get 8-10 hours a sleep each night. This is not an easy task with school work, extracurriculars, and added distractions such as technology. A study done by University of Michigan showed that in 1999 43% of teenagers report getting a maximum of seven hours each night. Whereas in 2012 an even smaller number of teens (24%) reported getting only seven hours of sleep. An even more interesting statistic is that the groups that got the least amount of sleep were girls and non-whites. This shows that the majority aren't getting enough sleep and this can impact many aspects of their lives.
Sleep deprivation can result in serious conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. The more commonly seen impacts of insufficient sleep are feelings of depression, forgetfulness, stress, and decreased alertness. It is important that teenagers are getting enough sleep so they can keep up in school and live a good life. Some say that schools need to re-asses the amount of homework they are giving to improve the health of the students. In addition, schools should consider having classes start later in the day.  I can attest to being tired and less homework would definitely benefit a large portion of students. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Cubs For The Win

The Cubs proved they are worthy of going to the postseason in their wildcard game October 7th against the Pirates. With a score of 4-0, the Cubs dominated the Pirates. Jake Arrieta succeeded in pitching all nine innings without a single run scored. Chicago fans were ecstatic after watching the exciting game. It wasn’t just a regular game, emotions were everywhere. At one point during the game, the bench was emptied, chokeholds were applied, and gatorade coolers were punched.
Anger flared between the two teams after Cubs star pitcher, Jake Arrieta,  was hit with a ball, in a situation which seemed purposeful. Both of the dugouts cleared as all of the players rushed to stand up for their teammates. It was a sight that caused a roar through all of the fans in the stadium. In a post-game interview, Jon Lester said, “ You don’t see that stuff happen in playoff baseball too much.” But it was clear that the tension was high throughout the entire game. Prior to the fight, Arieta managed to hit two of the Pirates batters with pitches, so it is clear that when he was hit with the ball it was for pay-back. At one point during the fight, David Ross actually grabbed the throat of Sean Rodriguez who threw a punch and  was eventually ejected from the game. Rodriguez attempted to release his anger with several punches at a gatorade cooler which did nothing but keep him hydrated during the game!

The Cubs will do anything for their teammates, especially Arrieta. Arrieta has proven his skills by pitching no runs in the last three weeks in addition to a four hit shut-out against the Pirates.  The Cubs overall played well and hopefully will continue the good work in their upcoming series with the Cardinals. The Cubs have the ability to beat the Cardinals, let’s see what happens!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The New Normal

In recent years, the number of mass killings have been increasing rapidly. While reading the news, you see an article about a killing almost always. What can be done to end this trend?

Scientists found that 20% - 30% of killings are set off by other killings that have taken place. These people base their actions off of the terrible actions of others. These attacks are becoming more and more common in the U.S. and something needs to be done. According to researchers at Arizona State University, mass killings occur about every two weeks and school killings once a month. Attacks such as these are more common in states with higher percentages of gun owners. The problem is how to bring these trends to an end.

The long debate over gun-control is on-going and has caused conflict nation wide. Everyone has their own opinion on what should be done and there appears to be no clear answer. A recent shooting took place at a school in Oregon and left nine dead. Police found that their were fourteen firearms legally owned by the shooter and his family members. This raises concerns that background checks are not thorough enough and that this man should not have been able to gain access to such weapons. Something needs to be done to stop tragic events like this from happening. The government needs to take action against mass shootings and find a solution to this growing problem.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Life on Mars?

Have you ever wondered about Martians? Well recent studies may lead to the belief of Alien fantasies. Mars is a neighboring planet to earth that scientists have found fascinating for years. At half the size of earth, Mars weighs 1/10 as much and contains only 15% of the volume.

In the past, scientists have viewed Mars as a dry and arid planet. Recently the views on this fascinating planet have changed. In 2008, scientists confirmed existence of frozen water on Mars. Methane has also been discovered on Mars’ surface. On Monday. scientists reported flowing rivulets of water on Mars. NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has yielded the strongest evidence of water in the liquid form trickling down slopes on Mars. The camera captured significant amounts of water. The rivulets discovered are about 12-15 feet wide and 300 ft long. The rivulets apparently consist of wet soil. Scientists are not sure of the source of the water. It is said that it could be melting ice, an underground aquifer, water vapor from the atmosphere, or a combination of all these. Three billion years ago, Mars had a huge ocean, the absence of the water remains a mystery.

Water allows for life forms. Does this mean that their are living things on Mars? The water found in the rivulets is believed to contain salts - not normal table salt, but sodium perchlorate, magnesium perchlorate, and magnesium chlorate. These salts are key factors in the existence of water. The salts believed to be in the water are similar to the salts that are poured on roads to melt ice.Mars has extreme temperatures reaching up to negative eighty-five degrees fahrenheit and without these salts the water would remain frozen. The water has led scientists to explore the possible of microscopic life forms on Mars, as well as a possible human visit. NASA’s Mars exploration program is aiming to send to send a U.S. lander to Mars to collect rocks and soil for analysis. NASA has a goal of sending humans to Mars in the 2030’s, is this goal achievable? We will find out.

To find out more about the Red Planet go to : http://mars.nasa.gov/allaboutmars/facts/#infographic

Sunday, September 20, 2015

What are you eating?

Most people don’t think about the food they are eating and its harm when they stop by one of their favorite restaurants. Recent studies have shown that the food served at fast food chains is ultimately leading to a problem surrounding antibiotic resistance in people. Meat suppliers for fast food restaurants have been misusing antibiotics for their animals. They have been using antibiotics as a preventative measure, when in reality antibiotics are not needed until a bacteria is actually present. When antibiotics are given when not necessary, bacteria develops a resistance and this resistance is then transmitted to humans through the food they eat. This overuse of antibiotics is leading to many problems in the medical industry.

A recent study was conducted on the 25 most popular food chains in the United States and the results are astonishing. Some of the most popular fast food chains have been receiving F’s in antibiotic testing recently. Those that received F’s  include, Starbucks, Subway, Wendy’s, Burger King, Dairy Queen, Taco Bell, Denny’s, and Domino’s. Panera and Chipotle are the only two fast food chains that received A’s on this exam, and have publicly announce that they do not routinely use antibiotics in the meat they serve. Antibiotics should be used responsibly to make food safer, but in recent times restaurants have been abusing their effects.

As a result of this report, officials are worried that restaurants may replace their use of antibiotics with hormones in order to phase out antibiotics. Is it better to have hormones or antibiotics in your meat? Both have negative impacts on both the animals, and human health. Health officials advise that you are aware of the food you are eating and the possible harmful effects it may have on your body.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Revenge vs. Justice

In Louise Erdrich's, The Round House, it is hard to determine whether Joe strives for justice or simply revenge. In the novel, after Linden Lark attacked Joe's mother, Joe immediately has the thought to murder him. Did the murder help the family gain justice or did it help them to get revenge? Justice is defined as, the process or result of using laws to fairly judge and punish crimes and criminals. By this definition, Joe does not achieve justice. When murdering Lark, he does not use the law system to punish him fairly. Revenge is defined as, the act of doing something to hurt someone because that person did something that hurt you. The definition of revenge directly correlates to Joe's action in the book. He decides to murder Lark because of the negative effect Lark has had on Joe and his family. Joe puts Lark through pain in revenge for all of the hurt that Lark caused.

By definition Joe may not have received justice, but in his mind I believe he thought he did. Although committing the murder was against the law, and an unconventional way of solving a problem, Joe did it out of love. His actions put his family at ease, and helped with the tremendous pain that Lark had caused. A reader, like myself, should look at Joes actions consequentially. It may not be the right thing to do, but Joe had no other options. The justice system was continuously failing him and he had no other option, "If they could prosecute Linden Lark, I would not have to lie about the ammunition or practice to do what someone has to do" (Erdrich 261). In Joe's opinion something had to be done to prosecute Linden Lark. He could not have just sat around watching Lark roam free after the horrible crime he committed and the pain he cause.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

For Labor Day weekend my family got the fun idea to go to Lincoln, Nebraska to attend the Cornhuskers vs. BYU Cougars game. This game turned out to be a major disappointment. Nebraska lost in the last second, literally. With one second left on the clock, BYU scored a touchdown to steal the game. Nothing was going well for the Cornhuskers, tight end Trey Foster said, "We were our biggest enemy." This does not seem accurate as they were actually trying to defeat the Cougars. Saying you are your own enemy contradicts the objective of playing against another team. Fans are evidently disappointed with the lost but the team is definetely not taking the loss easy. The blame is being put on several factors such as the weather or the new coach, when in reality the fault is in the lack of defense.