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46th Inauguration To Welcome President Biden Is Looking A Little Different

On Wednesday, January 20th the United States of America hosted a traditional ceremony for the newly elected 46th president, Joe Biden.

 

While massive crowds usually attend the event due to the current Covid-19 conditions and the recent unauthorized entering of the Capitol by a group of rowdy pro-Trump supporters protesting the legitimacy of the election, this year’s audience was limited. However, several former presidents including Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama attended the event with their respective first ladies. The celebration was minimal compared to previous ceremonies. Americans and the rest of the world watched the inauguration in the comfort of their home on major news networks.

 

The inauguration began with Lady Gaga singing the National Anthem. Followed by Garth Brooks and Jennifer Lopez.

 

At the beginning of President Biden’s inaugural speech, he stated that his “…whole soul is in this, bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation, and [he] asks every American to join [him] in this cause”. He further spoke about the current violence, destructiveness, and separation in the country. President Biden believes that when Americans are all united, they will be able to overcome Covid-19, make healthcare available to all, make the middle class stronger, and, finally, ensure racial justice. Overall, his speech focused on unity between all Americans. According to him, Americans have allowed themselves to become divided for our opinions and beliefs.

 

One other major event of the inauguration was Kamala Harris being sworn in as the first African American and Woman vice president of the United States of America.

 

A recent poll of 162 randomly selected Durant students showed 47% watched the Biden inauguration. “I think it’s incredibly exciting that we have our first female Vice President. It’s so important for young boys and girls to see the possibilities for their future reflected in their government,” said senior Laura Newman.

 

Others really felt like the new president’s message of unity was spot on. Freshman Destiny Dean said “I see the United States as one. I can say probably by the end of his term there won’t be as much hate in the United States as [there] was in the last four years. Everyone can love each other for who they are and respect each other’s opinions and racism wouldn’t be as big [of] a problem as it is today.”

 

Americans overall are looking for something to make 2021 a better year than 2020.

About the Writer
Photo of Ayla Yebba
Ayla Yebba, Staff Writer

Ayla Yebba is a sophomore at Durant High School. She enjoys writing political articles so she can share the truth and facts with her school and community....

Sabrina Carpenter Releases A Song, Seemingly In Response to Olivia Rodrigo

After Olivia Rodrigo’s debut song “Driver’s License” broke countless records in its first days of streaming, fans took to TikTok sharing their theories on who the song was about.

Singer, song writer, and actress Sabrina Carpenter has seemingly responded to Olivia Rodrigo’s accusations that Carpenter and Bassett are dating with her new song “Skin”

The clear and direct response is apparent in the first verse. Rodrigo had written about a blonde girl that had stolen Bassett’s heart in her song “Driver’s License”. In a teaser posted on her Instagram, Rodrigo originally said “you’re probably with that brunette girl,” but changed it to blonde before the formal song release.

In “Skin,” Carpenter addressed the lyric with one of her own: “maybe blonde was the only rhyme.” Later in the song, she claimed that “Skin” is her telling her side of the story.

Carpenter’s song is just shy of a confirmation that Rodrigo’s “Driver’s License” is about her and further confirms Carpenter’s and Bassett’s relationship.

“You can try/to get under my, under my, under my skin/while he’s on mine,” Carpenter sang.

Carpenter is clearly trying to show that she is taking the high road, singing, “I just hope that one day/We both can laugh about it,” even though she is taking the opportunity to present her side of the story that “some people will believe.”

Carpenter, who had only been in the news for Mean Girl’s performance on Broadway recently, had been out of the immediate pop culture spotlight. However, with Rodrigo’s new song, the actress’ name had been in an increasing number of headlines.

“You’re putting me in the spotlight/but I’ve been under it my whole life,” Carpenter sang referencing her early fame on Girl Meets World.

Since the song has not been followed by a direct confirmation about the Disney love triangle, Carpenter’s new song could simply be a reminder to block out inevitable hate.

About the Writer
Photo of Lily Belcher
Lily Belcher, Editor in Chief

Lily Belcher is a junior at Durant High School and is the Editor in Chief for the PawPrint. She is freelancing for the Osprey Observer this year and hopes...

Why The Heartbreaking Loss Of Blake Snell Might Be A Good Choice For The Rays

Why The Heartbreaking Loss Of Blake Snell Might Be A Good Choice For The Rays

On December 28, Rays fan woke up to the notification that pitching star Blake Snell would no longer be part of the Rays’ pitching rotation. The southpaw, who had been with the Rays since his major league debut in 2016, was traded to the San Diego Padres for two right handed pitchers, Luis Patino and Cole Wilcox, and two catchers, Francisco Mejia and Blake Hunt.

While the trade of their ace felt like betrayal to Tampa Bay fans, the loss of a fan favorite is not a new situation, as the Rays are notorious for their heartbreaking trades (remember when they traded Chris Archer to the Pirates in 2018?) While fans in Tampa Bay may feel blindsided by the trade (which is exacerbated by the loss of Charlie Morton) there may be a glimmer of hope when looking at the players obtained in the trade.

It’s no secret that the Rays are desperate for a catcher. They lost Michael Perez at the end of the season, forcing them to sign Mike Zunino, whose 2020 season batting average was a disappointing .147 (for those discounting the abbreviated 60 game season, his 2018 and 2019 batting averages were .201 and .165 respectively). The trade with the Padres gives the Rays two catchers, one prospect and one big-leaguer.

The Rays acquired 22 year old prospect Blake Hunt in the trade, who may provide the Rays versatility on the field with minor league experience behind the plate and as a first baseman. Since Hunt has only played in single A, he may serve his 2021 season in the minors, but gives the Rays the option of another catcher if Zunino faces injuries or slumps during the season.

Francisco Mejia, a top prospect in 2018, had an impressive rookie season the following year, boasting a .265 batting average over his 79 games, but his 2020 campaign was cut short by a hand contusion and slump, allowing him only 17 games to post a .322 OPS. Despite his slow start in the majors, Mejia is predicted to bat .236 in Tampa Bay during the 2021 season (Baseball Reference’s projections for Mike Zunino have him falling short of the Mendoza line once again, with a projected .194 average).

Without Charlie Morton and Blake Snell on the mound, the Rays hand the ball to Tyler Glasnow and Yonny Chirinos, who spent his 2020 season on the injured list. With only two starters filling the spots on the rotation, the Rays will turn to their unconventional bullpen and opener days if they fail to find consistent hurlers to take the mound.

With this trade, the Rays may look to employ Luis Patino to fill middle innings. Patino tossed a 5.19 ERA throughout his limited pitching time during his 2020 rookie season, but gave up only three homeruns over 17.1 innings.

The fourth player acquired in the Snell trade is right hander Cole Wilcox, who played for the NCAA Georgia Bulldogs. Wilcox was signed as San Diego’s third round draft pick this year and, according to evaluators, has a promising slider that may earn him a spot in the Major League’s bullpen. However, Rays fans may have to wait for Wilcox’s debut until the 21 year old works his way up the minor leagues.

Although the San Diego Padres have added an experienced pitcher to their ranks, the addition of Snell comes at a cost. Snell is set to earn $10.5 million in the 2021 season despite his rapid slump since 2018 (In 2018, he had 21 wins and an ERA below 2.00, but struggled to find half the number of wins in the 2019 and 2020 seasons combined and doubled his ERA), which increases to $13 million and $16 million for his final two years before free agency. And the Rays are known for holding one of the lowest payrolls in baseball.

“[The trade of Snell] takes a meaningful piece away from our 21 club, but the return itself, the proximity of two of the four players in this deal, gives us a lot of confidence along with the talent we have in house and the amount of time we have this winter that we’re going to be really good this year,” assured Erik Neander.

About the Writer
Photo of Lily Belcher
Lily Belcher, Editor in Chief

Lily Belcher is a junior at Durant High School and is the Editor in Chief for the PawPrint. She is freelancing for the Osprey Observer this year and hopes...

This Is A Test by Durant Theatre Company

This+Is+A+Test+by+Durant+Theatre+Company

The dread and trepidations of test-taking are not one to be taken lightly, and the ability to accurately portray those feelings is commendable. Stephen Gregg’s one-act play, “This is a Test,” performed by Durant’s Theatre Company, illustrates the feelings of test anxiety close to the original.

The play starts with the main character, Ally, played by senior Lisiane DaCosta, talking to her friend Lois, played by Carissa Rodriguez, in the hallway about the upcoming test.

“I was really shocked and excited once I found out [I got the lead role], but I was also very nervous because I have never really ‘acted’ before,” DaCosta said.

Despite never acting, DaCosta had an outstanding performance throughout the play. Once her character, Ally, begins to take the test, she quickly realizes she does not remember anything from when she “studied” the night before – a feeling that might be familiar to the audience.

The play continues as Ally’s peers around her begin to cheat in obvious ways (flags, airplanes, posters, Morse code), unbeknownst to their teacher, played by Jackson Hamilton.

Hamilton is often seen with a baguette in hand as he berates Ally for not knowing any of the questions. He has several memorable one-liners throughout the production as he continually reminds the students of the tests’ gravity.

One of the most notable parts of the play is the Greek chorus inside Ally’s head, played by Natalie Doucette, Madison Tolley, and Bailey Zapata, which depicts her anxiety throughout the test.

“The Voice” inside Ally’s head is played by Josh Faircloth and is often heard reading the test’s questions.

The production continues as Ally attempts to make her way through the test, skipping all the questions she does not know; spoiler, it is all of them.

Because of Coronavirus restrictions, the Theater Company could not perform their play in front of a live audience. In place of this, Stephen Arment, the director, decided to produce Durant’s first recorded production.

Arment’s ability to record the play gave the cast more creative freedom, allowing the ability to add different camera angles, settings, and, of course, bloopers, which were seen in the end credits of the production.

The various camera angles helped portray the story as it allowed audiences to better grasp the cast’s emotions and actions throughout the play.

“The experience was very different in a good way and some in a blah way,” DaCosta said. “We did not get to do a live production, and at times, we would kind of lack motivation. In a way we were working for something but not like last year knowing we had this huge pressure of people watching.”

Despite these feelings, recording the production allowed the company to focus on the minor details and make sure everything was perfect, which was seen in the show’s final product.

“If we wanted something in particular for the audience to notice, [or] if anyone forgot a line, we could stop and go back and do it again. It gave us room to be detailed and creative,” DaCosta said.

Durant Theatre Company’s next production will be in spring. While many hope they will be back to a live audience, the future of the events are still being decided.

About the Writer
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Allie Sigl, Design and Social Media Editor

Allie Sigl is a junior at Durant High School and the Design and Social Media Editor for the PawPrint Newspaper. Around school, Allie is the community service...

Rays Make Another Interesting Swap With Padres

Hunter Renfroe joins the 2020 Tamoa Bay Rays season lineup.

Hunter Renfroe joins the 2020 Tamoa Bay Rays season lineup.

If you got déjà vu from the Rays recent trade, it’s understandable considering how similar this deal is to another trade the two teams made only a month before. In January Tampa Bay made a shocking deal to trade outfielder Tommy Pham to San Diego in exchange for outfielder Hunter Renfroe and second base prospect Xavier Edwards. Just a couple weeks later the Rays traded another established Major League player to the Pads in relief pitcher Emilio Pagan for another Padres outfielder in Manuel Margot. Also headed to the Bay is catching and outfield prospect Logan Driscoll who had a slash line of .340/.458/.797 in the Northwest league. He’ll start the 2020 season in Class-A Bowling Green for Tampa Bay. 

Why did the Rays make this trade?

Fans may be curious as to why the Rays traded Pagan, the team’s leader in saves with twenty. For starters, Tampa Bay felt confident in their many bullpen arms, including Nick Anderson, Colin Poche, Diego Castillo, and Oliver Drake. They’re also counting on a rebound year from Jose Alvarado, who struggled after a scorching start last season. On top of that if guys like Brent Honeywell and Anthony Banda can fully recover from Tommy John surgery and be effective, it’s safe to say Tampa Bay will have a deep enough bullpen. 

The fact the Rays had four outfielders before this trade occurred also makes it interesting. Margot is a defensive outfielder, primarily in centerfield, with a very similar profile to Kevin Kiermaier but from the right side of the plate. However, Margot is coming off a year in which he hit .330/.420/.466 clip against lefties, making him an ideal platoon with Kiermaier, who struggles against left handers. Outfielder Randy Arozarena, acquired from St. Louis this offseason, is affected the most by this deal as instead of having a chance to be the fourth outfielder on the Opening Day roster, Margot will take that spot. Chances are Arozarena will start the year in Triple-A Durham.

General Manager of the Rays Erik Neander told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that they had been on Margot for a while, and had tried to acquire him with prospects. When that didn’t work the Rays resorted to trading from a place of depth to acquire a needed position player. Neander also told Topkin, “We feel really good about where we stand right now.” At the end of the day this trade sends a message to Tampa Bay: We want to win now. 

Why did the Padres make this deal?

This one’s a little easier to explain. The main reason for San Diego agreeing to this is they wanted to bolster an already solid bullpen. MLB Network rated Padres closer Kirby Yates as the top relief pitcher in baseball and now they can throw Pagan into that mix, which should be lethal. Having a strong bullpen will be crucial for San Diego as they will need to eat up innings to back a very young and inexperienced starting rotation.

However there are negatives to this deal for San Diego as centerfield is wide open for the Pads. Without the rangy Margot in center the outfield defense takes a significant hit. Newcomers such as Trent Grisham and former Ray Tommy Pham may have to plug that hole for the Friars, both of which are used to playing the corner outfield positions. The Padres took a risk in the outfield to strengthen the ‘pen, and only time will tell if it was worth it.

What’s next for Tampa Bay?

That’s a tough question with the always innovative Rays’ front office. After the Jose Martinez trade most Rays’ fans, including me, felt the Rays were pretty much set with their roster heading into Spring Training other than a few minor league signings. Clearly we were wrong as the Rays made another significant trade only days before pitchers and catchers reported. 

However, with only about two weeks before the Rays’ Spring Training opener, I just don’t see the Rays making another big trade, especially one that removes current players from the 25-man roster. Although Tampa Bay’s front office has a knack of making surprising trades so I wouldn’t completely rule it out. One thing is for certain, the Rays want to win, and now. If they can make another trade to improve the roster significantly for the right cost, they’ll do it.

About the Writer
Photo of David Fackson
David Fackson, Staff Writer

David is a junior and is a Staff Writer for the Durant PawPrint Newspaper. He is a huge baseball fan, specifically a Rays fan who loves writing about the...

Climate Change Threatens the Monarch Butterflies’ Survival

Humans have to realisee that maltreatment on the environment affects every species on the planet. Endangering one, endangers them all.

Humans have to realisee that maltreatment on the environment affects every species on the planet. Endangering one, endangers them all.

Monarch butterflies are the first thing people imagine when picturing a butterfly. The number of monarch butterflies is dwindling rapidly. According to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, “a decline of approximately 80 [percent]has been seen in central Mexico and a decline of approximately 99 [percent] has been seen in coastal California.”

The population of butterflies went from hundreds of millions to a few thousand in the last 20 years. This threatens to destroy the balance in the ecosystem as these butterflies pollinate numerous flowers around the world and act as food to several small animals.

The cause of the demise of the monarch butterflies is climate change, urbanization and their effects on the environment monarch butterflies depend on for survival. 

Urbanization has destroyed the majority of the milkweed plants that monarch butterflies lay their eggs on. Urbanization has taken over areas where this plant typically grows, posing a threat to the butterflies as it limits their reproductive capabilities. 

Urbanization has also limited the butterflies’ migration routes. This is especially true in Mexico, an increase in deforestation and development has limited available migration locations for the butterflies during the winter.

Climate change is also affecting the habitats of these animals. According to National Geographic, in addition to urbanization reducing the availability of milkweeds, the increased levels of carbon dioxide are making the plants too toxic for monarch consumption.

Additionally the rising temperatures caused as a result are also affecting the migration patterns of monarch butterflies. As the temperatures increase, the monarchs have to fly farther North during the summer months  otherwise they would molt and inevitably die.

Thus far, the conservation of National Parks has been a saving grace for these butterflies. These parks ensure the butterflies will have a habitat. Conservationists have tagged the monarchs spotted in these parks to allow further studies of the migration patterns. Monarchs have been tagged from a variety of national parks in a variety of parks to collect as much information as possible.

A primary agent in the monarch butterfly conservation movement has been Wildlife Without Borders, a grant program from Mexico which works to protect and replenish the habitats of the monarch butterflies. This program has existed since the mid-1990s, when the numbers of the monarch butterflies began to decline.

This was not Mexico’s first attempt to preserve the existence of monarch butterflies. In 1986, Mexicocreated the Mariposa Monarca, or in English the Monarch Butterfly, Biosphere Reserve. This protects forest land within four distinct butterfly sanctuaries.There are several agencies in Mexico and the U.S that contribute to the conservation effort, despite the public’s lack of knowledge on the subject.

Despite the drastic decrease in the monarch population, the butterflies are not officially listed on the endangered species list. Currently they do have the protection of the Endangered Species Act. This is the temporary status given to the butterflies, a permanent decision will be made by the end of the year.

The programs and agencies cannot save the butterflies on their own, the public needs to be aware that the environmental decisions of humanity, affect the the other animals in the ecosystem. Human perseverance should not be at the expense of the defenseless.

About the Writer
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Angelique Robinson, Web Editor

Angelique Robinson is a senior at Durant and is Web Editor for the PawPrint newspaper. She loves writing creative pieces, as well as more serious articles...

PETA Wants to Replace Punxsutawney Phil

After 133 years of Punxsutawney redicting the seasonal change, PETA wants to replace the groundhog with artificial inteligence.

Gene J. Puskar

After 133 years of Punxsutawney redicting the seasonal change, PETA wants to replace the groundhog with artificial inteligence.

Okay campers, rise and shine and don’t forget your booties because PETA is at it again demanding retirement of America’s favorite rodent prognosticator, Punxsutawney Phil. The seemingly immortal groundhog has been predicting the seasons and the onset of spring since 1887, but, according to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, now is the time to retire Pennsylvania’s most famous groundhog. 

The PETA organization is set on banning animals from every aspect of American entertainment, dinner plates, and cable weather services and has recently suggested replacing the seer with an artificial intelligence weather woodland badger who will be more accurate in predicting the changing of the seasons. 

PETA’s demand to The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club came less than a week before the 2020 Groundhog’s Day, but their effort was too little too late as Phil woke to the sounds of more than 20,000 cold Americans demanding a weather prediction from the large weather wise woodchuck.  Not to mention the thousands that receive text message alerts in regards to Phil’s prediction or stream the event to household TVs and phones. But as Phil Connors, a reporter for WPBH-TV Pittsburgh noted, “Television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather.”

PETA’s Ingrid Newkirk’s request said being around the thicket of climate enthusiasts causes these poor creatures “great stress,” explaining the effects the tradition has on the sages’ mental health. 

PETA’s concern for animals’ mental health shouldn’t stop with the greenhouse guru of gophers. What about the number of times we’ve sent dogs to retrieve a neon green ball only to repeatedly toss it away from them again and again.  

PETA should be demanding an end to a classic game of fetch with man’s best friend. What about giving the number of times we’ve drugged our feline friends with every kitty’s favorite herbal opioid? Then again, PETA is against pet ownership all together, calling the domestication of our furry friends “an abysmal situation.”

Perhaps, Phil should be replaced with a robot as PETA is suggesting. If sports team mascots can no longer be real animals, such as the University of Georgia’ Uga the bulldog, let’s just replace Phil with a college student in an oversized animal costume with a weather app on his iPhone.

Chick-fil-A can’t use real cows and have turned to illustrations of the iconic illiterate cows. Let’s just make a cartoon prognosticator see his shadow.   Disney can’t use real bouncing tigers to portray the best friend of crop top wearing bear, let’s just replace the ridiculous tradition with an animated weather profit extraordinary. 

The Groundhog Club’s President has said he hasn’t read PETA’s letter, telling the Punxsutawney Spirit, a Pennsylvania publication, Phil “lives better than the average child in Western Pennsylvania.”  He explains that the people don’t want to see an animatronic, but a live climate celebrity.

The change won’t come anytime soon, however. Punxsutawney has no immediate plans to replace Phil, so the absurd and terribly inaccurate climate custom will continue on.

About the Writer
Photo of Lily Belcher
Lily Belcher, Editor in Chief

Lily Belcher is a junior at Durant High School and is the Editor in Chief for the PawPrint. She is freelancing for the Osprey Observer this year and hopes...

Twitter Q&A: 2020-2021 Rays Season

Fans are rallying with excitement for the upcoming baseball season. Tickets are already on sale, more information is provided at mlb.com.

Tampa Bay Rays

Fans are rallying with excitement for the upcoming baseball season. Tickets are already on sale, more information is provided at mlb.com.

The baseball season is almost upon us, so what better way to get ready than to answer your fan questions? I asked fellow fans on twitter and many students at Durant High School to send me any questions you have regarding the upcoming Rays season, and as the old saying goes, “Ask and you shall receive.”

Do you foresee anymore trades being done before opening day?

[email protected] on Twitter

I’d be shocked if the Rays made a major trade that really shakes up the clubhouse in the next month or so. After the Martinez trade it seems like the 25- man roster is set and ready to rock. Other than a few minor league signings and invitations to Spring Training I don’t see the Rays making anymore moves leading up to March 26th.


Do you think the Rays have a good starting rotation for this upcoming season?

[email protected] on Twitter

I’d be willing to argue Tampa Bay has the best starting rotation in baseball led by the three-headed monster of Charlie Morton, Tyler Glasnow, and Blake Snell. They also have a very solid back of the rotation including Ryan Yarbrough, Yonny Chirinos, Brendan McKay and possibly Brent Honeywell, depending on his progression from Tommy John surgery. What’s going to determine if the rotation lives up to its potential will be health. If the Rays can avoid the avalanche of injuries they experienced last season with the starting rotation they have a real shot of doing some serious damage this season. Expect there to be managed workloads on both Glasnow and Snell to avoid injury in 2020.


What do you think the Rays fallback plan is if Mike Zunino doesn’t work out?

[email protected] on Twitter

There’s no getting around it, Mike Zunino had a horrendous year on offense in 2019. However his defense was still spectacular, possibly being the reason why the Rays re-signed him this offseason. Tampa Bay has faith in him rebounding, but if he continues to struggle with the bat the Rays could opt to give Michael Perez the primary catching job and make Zunino the backup. If Perez struggles to produce at the big-league level Tampa Bay could give Kevan Smith or Chris Herrmann a shot, both of which recently signed minor league contracts with an invite to spring training. Another route they could go down is acquiring a catcher from another team, like they did last season stealing Travis d’Arnaud from the Dodgers. If the Rays want to hoist the World Series trophy, they are going to have to figure out the catching position one way or another.


Do you think Nate Lowe has a future on the team with Choi and Martinez?

[email protected] on Twitter

After acquiring Jose Martinez from St. Louis, the first base position is extremely crowded with Choi, Lowe, and now Martinez all needing playing time. Martinez can play outfield but his defense is shaky and could fit better at first base. If he struggles with the glove in the outfield but is effective at 1st then Lowe will be in trouble as both Choi and Martinez are under control for a few more years. On top of that they make the perfect platoon as Choi hits righties and Martinez rakes lefties. If this is the case then I don’t see how Lowe could fit on the current roster and could be dangled as trade bait for a midseason need the Rays have, such as a catcher.


Will Brent Honeywell be worth the wait? 

[email protected]_ on Twitter

Absolutely, yes, he will. Not only does he provide depth to an already deep pitching staff, the guy throws a screwball, which is unheard-of nowadays.  He’s been rated highly on every prospect list for years now and is rated as the 91st overall best prospect according to MLB Pipeline. He’s going to be fun to watch, that I can assure you.


Do you think we’ll see an opener being used as often as we saw it last season?

[email protected] on Twitter

Assuming the health of the rotation, I just don’t see the Rays using as many openers as last season. The opener was born out of necessity and now that the Rays have a full and healthy (hopefully) rotation the opener won’t be as necessary as it was in previous seasons. It may make an appearance here and there but don’t expect one or two per week like 2019.


Do you think Wander Franco will be called up this year?

[email protected] on Twitter

I’d be very surprised if we see him in a Rays uniform this year. Keep in mind the kid is only 18, going to be 19, and hasn’t played in Double-A yet. It’s very unlike the Rays to rush a prospect, even one of Franco’s caliber, to the big leagues. He’ll start the year in Class-A Advanced, play a few games and be promoted to Double-A very early in the year. I don’t think it’s outlandish to say he’ll be in Triple-A by year’s end and be on the Rays’ Opening Day lineup card in 2021.


Who will be the most surprising player to watch this season?

-Zander Fisk, Junior at Durant High School

The easy or more popular choices would be Hunter Renfroe or Jose Martinez but I’m going to go out of the box a little here with Randy Arozarena. In the trade that sent Liberatore to the Cards the Rays got Martinez, but they also got the less talked about Arozarena. He’s pegged to be the fourth outfielder on the Opening Day roster if he impresses during Spring Training. First of all, the kid can flat out fly, automatically making him a fun guy to watch. He can also hit for average, he’s got a cannon and Gold Glove caliber defense. The power is still developing but the tools he has right now makes him a very intriguing player for 2020.


Will the Rays win the A.L. East?

[email protected] on Twitter

Looking at the roster right now, if the Rays can stay healthy, I truly believe the Rays can and will win this division. They have a top three starting rotation in all of baseball and the best bullpen, both of which led the league in ERA last season. In addition they have a newly revamped lineup with more power and a young core of guys who are hungry to win. If Tampa Bay can figure out how to win at Yankee Stadium and bury the Red Sox like they did last year, nothing is stopping them from claiming their first A.L. East title since 2010.

About the Writer
Photo of David Fackson
David Fackson, Staff Writer

David is a junior and is a Staff Writer for the Durant PawPrint Newspaper. He is a huge baseball fan, specifically a Rays fan who loves writing about the...

Aladdin The Musical comes to Tampa

Aladdin the musical is a Braoday musical that tours the world, showcasing their talent acoss the globe.

Broadway.org

Aladdin the musical is a Braoday musical that tours the world, showcasing their talent acoss the globe.

The iconic 1992 Disney classic, Aladdin, became an on-stage production to bring the mystical city of Agrabar to audiences across the country in 2011.  In December, the 2019 Aladdin Tour brought the story of a “street rat’s” efforts to win Princess Jasmine’s heart to Morsani Hall in Tampa’s Straz Center.  

The magical experience began at the doors when guests were met by enthusiastic greeters to be directed to their seats and to various locations inside the center for commemorative pictures.  The adaptation included 11 more songs than the original Tim Rice animated screenplay.

The new songs developed Aladdin’s character, played by Jonah Ho’okano, and motivation to become more than a “street rat” in a rendition of “Proud of Your Boy” which Aladdin emotionally dedicated to his mother. The emotional new songs not only gave the actors more solos but provided insight and back story of the characters that the animated version did not.  

Kaenaon Alani Kekoa’s powerful, yet fluid voice filled the stage in her first song as Jasmine with “These Palace Walls.”  While her solos stood out, her voice was overshadowed and lost in her duets with childhood friend Ho’okano, whose seven years of experience showed in his flawless performance. 

The on-stage adaptation included three friends for Aladdin to fill in for Abu, Aladdin’s monkey sidekick in the animated movie.  However, Babkak (Zach Bencal), Omar (Ben Chavez), and Kassim (Colt Prattes) were irrelevant and seemed to be randomly tossed in throughout the duration of the play.  Prattes’s emphatic voice, however, emerged in his solos of the songs the trio sang and saved the scenes the friends were in, but their roles seemed incongruous and mistimed to the storyline.

Korie Lee Blossey, who played Genie, and Ho’okano had indisputable chemistry.  Their dialogue seemed genuine and flowed naturally as their jokes bounced off each other, like a veteran comedy team.  In one of his scenes with Genie, Ho’okano broke character and laughed at a few of Genie’s jokes before regaining his composure.  The natural friendship between the actors made Aladdin’s scenes with Genie the best part of the play.  

Iago (Reggie De Leon), Jafar’s sidekick, was overly dramatic and his performance took away from what should have been more serious scenes.  His part, like Aladdin’s friends, could have been left out of the show entirely. Genie begged for applause and laughs at the beginning by trying to rally the crowd, seemingly sitting on their hands, after some of his jokes didn’t land.  Although his performance was not comparable to Robin William’s (but then again, whose could be?), he played the part well and tied the scenes together seamlessly.

The sets designed for the play were terribly underdone.  The marketplace was far too simple and the small ensemble didn’t compensate for the lacking backdrop.  The same was true for the scenes in the palace.  

     The palace should have been elegant, as it was the palace of a sultan, but instead was disappointing and simple.  By comparison, however, the scene in the Cave of Wonders was exaggerated, a stark contrast to the rest of the play.  The Cave of Wonders shouldn’t have been the scene to have the large set since it was only used for one scene. The simple sets allowed the elegant and colorful costumes to stand out but was ultimately disappointing.

Nichole Sullivan saw the performance for the second time on December 26th and said, “I like it better than the first time I saw it…I saw it the first time and I think I expected it to be amazing, but I was a little disappointed.”  She said her expectations were lower this time, which made this performance more enjoyable.

“The tour will be coming to a close in April, and the reason being is that this show itself is just too big to fit other stages,” said Matthew Watson, a member of the orchestra.  Michelle West, an ensemble member of the production, explained that the show can only fit a few stages which limits the tour to a few cities in the country. 

Overall, the Broadway adaptation of Aladdin, in true Disney fashion, fulfilled all expectations, providing a unique on-stage Disney experience for Aladdin and Disney fans.

About the Writer
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Lily Belcher, Editor in Chief

Lily Belcher is a junior at Durant High School and is the Editor in Chief for the PawPrint. She is freelancing for the Osprey Observer this year and hopes...

Coronavirus Poses A Major Threat

The most important festival on the Chinese calendar, Lunar New year, was January 25, but in the Chinese city of Wuhan there were few reasons to celebrate. A deadly outbreak of coronavirus entered the city in the last month, endangering the 11 million inhabitants.

Within weeks of the outbreak the virus has spread killing 170 people and there are more than 7,000 cases that have been confirmed in mainland China. The Wuhan coronavirus continues to spread across Asia and the rest of the world.

People are taking the incident very seriously and have been seen walking around with face masks for their safety and the safety of others. Police and security officers have also been seen in face masks standing outside of the city’s center market, Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.

The coronavirus was traced back to the Wuhan market where live wild animals such as bats, rats, snakes, dogs, and monkeys were being sold. Scientists believe that the animals that were sold at the market might have contained the coronavirus. People consumed these wild animals in unhygienic conditions which created the spark for the coronavirus outbreak.

The sale of live animals has been temporarily banned, but should be completely banned because of the threat to human survival posed by the disease within these animals. The market is being guarded and civilians are prohibited from entering the area.

People are starting to fear and speculate that it may turn into a possible epidemic. The Wuhan government has tried to contain the outbreak, but their efforts were too late, as the virus was able to spread to several provinces across the country. China has gone on lockdown in attempt to prevent further spreading. Other countries have taken preventive measures to avoid outbreaks by shuting down flights to China.

Tour agencies have banned Wuhan from allowing anyone out of the city,placing the city under quarantine. Passengers are provided with masks, gloves, and are having thermometer checks on their heads for fevers.

President Trump has 20 US airports checking passengers for symptoms of coronavirus since there has been six confirmed cases, two in California, one in Arizona, one in Washington, one in Illinois and the first person to person transmission in Chicago. U.S health officials say the risk in the U.S remains low.

There are more than 1,000 Americans stuck in Wuhan. The Trump administration was considering a complete travel ban on China to prevent spreading. Scientists across the US are trying to create a vaccine for the coronavirus but are struggling to make the vaccine available.

People are encouraged to watch out for the symptoms the virus may cause as it is becoming a huge threat to humans. Washing hands, covering coughs, and making smart choices when purchasing meats should be considered. The virus continues to spread across the globe and has reached 17 countries including Thailand, Hong Kong, France, Germany and the United States. The coronavirus has called for a global emergency and countries are trying their best to help the situation and prevent spreading. Could this be the start of a worldwide deadly epidemic?

About the Writer
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Adamari Jaimez, Staff Writer

Adamari Jaimez is a senior at Durant High School. She has been part of journalism since her freshman year, involved in both the yearbook and newspaper...

Super Bowl 54 Approaching Quickly

This could be the first win for the Kansas City Chiefs at the Super Bowl. In addition to the game J-Lo and Shakira are the halftime performance.

Forbes

This could be the first win for the Kansas City Chiefs at the Super Bowl. In addition to the game J-Lo and Shakira are the halftime performance.

Super Bowl LIV or Super Bowl 54 will take place Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020 at Hardrock stadium in Miami, Fla. This years’ Super Bowl will feature the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers. The Kansas City Chiefs look to win their first Super Bowl as a franchise and the San Francisco 49ers look to win their sixth Super Bowl championship. 

The Chiefs are led by star quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Since joining the Chiefs roster and being named their quarterback, Mahomes has led the Chiefs to a total of 27 wins and 8 losses. Although the Chiefs are favored to win the Super Bowl, there is hope for the 49ers. 

The 49ers have a great defense and offensive line and are led by quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo. Garoppolo and Mahomes are two great quarterbacks, but this Super Bowl will make history as both quarterbacks have a combined winning percentage of .794, the highest combined winning percentage between two Super Bowl starting quarterbacks. The record was previously held by Tom Brady of the New England Patriots and Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks from Super Bowl 49 with a combined winning percentage of .766. 

Kansas City Chiefs head coach, Andy Reid has the sixth most wins as a coach in NFL coach with 221 wins during the regular season. This is Reid’s’ second trip to a Super Bowl with the last one time was in 2005. If he were to win this year’s Super Bowl, it would most likely put him in contention for a Hall of Fame spot and make him one of the best NFL coaches in history. For the other team is the 49ers head coach, Kyle Shanahan. He and his team started the 2018 season with a record of 0-9. Despite the slow start, the 49ers had a big bounce back season in 2019, ending with a record of 13-3. 

The 49ers defeated the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship game with the final score being 37-20, putting them in this years’ Super Bowl. The Chiefs sealed the deal in the AFC championship game by defeating the Tennessee Titans with a final score of 35-24. Both the Titans and Packers played their hearts out, but the 49ers and the Chiefs were the better teams this season. With all the hype this year’s Super Bowl, it should be an amazing game with it being predicted to have a high score between the two teams. You don’t want to miss this big event at the very end of the NFL season. 

About the Writer
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Jordan Dabbour, Business Manager

Jordan Dabbour is a junior at Durant High School and is Advertising Business Manager for the PawPrint newspaper. He is an avid sports fan, and loves to...

Legal Buying Age of Tobacco Increases

Similarly to smoking, vaping has proven to produce dangerous side effects, causing legislators to take action.

heart.org

Similarly to smoking, vaping has proven to produce dangerous side effects, causing legislators to take action.

In September of 2019, President Trump stated that the Food and Drug Administration planned to take any e-cigarette that were not designed to taste like tobacco off the market. Vaping products are marketed towards teens. Companies like Juul and R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co., make a variety flavors to make it seem like teens are not smoking dangerous chemicals rather just a flavorful smoke.

These products are much worse than cigarettes. The different flavors that the vaping companies offer are derived from Vitamin E which is not safe to inhale. These kind of oils in the lungs can cause a sticky honey like substance in the lungs. Some may say that Vitamin E can be good for the body because there are creams and supplements, but when it is heated and inhaled it creates a bubbling effect in the lungs that burns the lungs and could cause an explosion in the lungs.

On January 1, 2020, a new bill named, Tobacco to 21 Act, was passed. This new bill raised the minimum buying age of tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21.

Over the past two years, teen vaping has increased drastically. In 2017, nine percent of seniors in high school were vaping, while in 2019, the percentage went up to 37. Federal legislation has been making it harder for teens to buy cigarettes and vaping products.

19 states and 500 cities had already raised the minimum buying age of these tobacco products to 21. Raising the minimum buying age could lead to a reduction of potentially 223,000 deaths. Approximately 1,300 of teens are killed every day due tobacco products.  

On the other hand, some say that raising the age limit on tobacco is pointless. They argue smoking has been on a decline already because of the extra taxes that are put on cigarettes and vaping products as well as, an increase in non-smoking areas. Already the percent of smokers has gone down from 25 percent in 1997 to 18 percent in 2013. The rate of smoking has gone down, but that doesn’t mean the smoking epidemic that is going among the youth is going down. 

Raising the age will cause the vaping and tobacco among teens to significantly go down because students do not have easy access to these products, like before. When the legal age was at 18, it was easy for teens under 18 to gain access to these products because older friends would buy vaping and tobacco products for them. This means that high school students would be safer because with this restricted access. 

Tobacco and vaping products effect the blood, throat, colon, kidney, stomach, lung, bladder, mouth, and liver. There are about 7,000 chemicals in tobacco and vaping products, and about 4,000 chemicals in smokeless tobacco. The raising of the age limit on tobacco and vaping products will reduce death and lung issues. The buying age for tobacco has gone up and that means that the new generation would be safer from all of the health problems caused by vaping and tobacco products. 

About the Writer
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Jayleen Nunez, Staff Writer

Jayleen Nunez is a junior at Durant High School and is a Staff Writer for the PawPrint. When she isn't writing for the PawPrint, she participates in Mindfulness...

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