New legislation regulates drone use

With new drone regulation, the sky is no longer the limit.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems, more commonly known as drones, are aerial vehicles without a human aboard. Drones, originally used in military operations, have widely expanding applications in commercial, scientific, and recreational fields. But with this proliferation of uses, comes concern over safety and aerial ethics.

For this reason, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has released a series of new regulations, which came into effect on August 29, that limit drone activity and place several prerequisites on remotely piloting an unmanned aircraft.

The new regulations are designed to minimize risks to other aircrafts, as well as people and property on the ground. They require the pilot to be at least sixteen years of age and have a remote pilot certificate by passing an aeronautical knowledge test.

Acccopy-of-img_4703ording to junior Joey Wood, the process of obtaining a license is relatively simple, and requires no physical test.

“They made it recently that you have to get registered, so everyone is supposed to have that,” Wood said. “It’s really easy.  You go online to the website and there’s a code.  It costs five dollars, and it lasts two years. There’s no flying test, but you can’t use (the drone) for commercial licensing. You have to get a different license for that.”

The regulations also set operational limits such as height and speed restrictions. Drones are only allowed to be operated during the day, and must be kept within a visual line of sight without the aid of any device.The rules also state that drones may not fly over anyone not directly involved in the operation. They set a maximum altitude of 400 feet above ground level and a maximum speed on 100 mph. These measures have been put in place primarily for safety reasons.

According to senior Peyton Krell, the agency’s new regulations are logical and should be followed.

“The people who created the new regulations are very smart people,” Krell said. “Anyone who gets appointed to be in charge of deciding the rules behind drones definitely knows what they are talking about. I respect the new rules. I wouldn’t want to walk outside and see a thirteen year old kid flying a 30 lbs machine with four carbon fiber blades above a large group of people.”

Wood said that he happy with the newest addition to the bylaws, but is not sure how the agency will enforce them.

“I’m glad they put them in place,” Wood said. “But I feel like it’s going to be difficult them to follow through. It’s out in the open. It’s going to be hard to control.”

According to the agency’s initial estimates, the new regulations could generate over 82 billion dollars for the U.S economy over the next ten years. These rules are also set to mobilize new innovations safely, stimulate job growth (an estimated 100,000 new jobs over the next decade), and advance discoveries in research and science.

In a press release on August 29, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx commented on the potential of drones to shape the economy.

“People are captivated by the limitless possibilities unmanned aircraft offer, and they are already creating business opportunities in this exciting new field,” Foxx said. “These new rules are our latest step toward transforming aviation and society with this technology in very profound ways.”

The FAA has currently registered 20,000 drones for commercial use and expects nearly 600,000 to be registered within a year.

Athletic Director Scott Stemple said that the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) has banned drones at Greater Miami Conference (GMC) events due to this safety hazard.

“We’ve made the choice as a district and as the GMC to follow this policy based on the OHSAA recommendation,” Stemple said. “We’re not going to allow them in our regular venues. The GMC has taken it a step further; all the schools in the conference have agreed to not allow drones. And it’s really just about safety.”

Although the OHSAA had banned drones from tournaments, Mason Lacrosse coach Paul Limpert said that drones can be very practical during home practices.

“It is very useful because you can gain a perspective on player positioning that you otherwise could not get,” Limpert said. “Using the football stadium stands and filming down on practice and games is pretty good, but the direct overhead gives you exact movement angles and positioning that you just cannot get from an oblique angle.”

The FAA’s latest regulations exempt only news organizations due to protection under the First Amendment right to to press. The agency is also offering a process to waive some of the restrictions if it is demonstrated that the flight will be conducted safely under a waiver.

In addition to laws concerning operational hazards, Krell said there is much debate over the legality and ethics of flying drones.

“Most of the (FAA) laws are about who can fly it and where you can fly it, but there’s still a lot of gray area,” Krell said. “Like if I own my house, I own the land, but I don’t own the air above it. So can I fly there or can I not? So that’s what they’re still trying to figure out one hundred percent.”

According to the agency’s initial estimates, the new regulations could generate over 82 billion dollars for the U.S economy over the next ten years. These rules are also set to mobilize new innovations safely, stimulate job growth (an estimated 100,000 new jobs over the next decade), and advance discoveries in research and science.

In a press release on August 29, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx commented on the potential of drones to shape the economy.

“People are captivated by the limitless possibilities unmanned aircraft offer, and they are already creating business opportunities in this exciting new field,” Foxx said. “These new rules are our latest step toward transforming aviation and society with this technology in very profound ways.”

Krell said that despite the concern over safety, ultimately, drones pose no threat provided the pilot is skilled enough to fly it.
“Drones are designed to be safe,” Krell Said. “Yes, they look very intimidating. Yes, they do crash into trees and buildings, but these are all user errors. If the battery gets too low, it will fly back to the exact sport it took off from. If it is getting out of range, it will tell you. It would never fall out of the sky for no reason. Someone who knows what they are doing should have no trouble whatsoever.”

Photo by Ryan D’Souza 

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Conceptual Hyperloop transportation technology becomes a reality 

From the wheel to the cell phone, new advancements in technology are continually revolutionizing the way society operates. And now, there’s another one for the books: the hyperloop.

First put into theory by Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, the hyperloop is a high-speed transportation system aimed at eliminating travel complications due to cost, time, and weather conditions. While the idea of such a system may be attractive, hyperloop technology has yet to be perfected. Musk intends to change that.

In June 2015, the SpaceX CEO announced a competition to create the best hyperloop pod, open to any university or independent engineering team willing to take up the challenge. Teams participating in the competition were asked to design and build a safe, scalable, and feasible hyperloop pod, which will then be tested on a mile long track at the California headquarters.

A hyperloop would theoretically break the sound barrier, travelling at a speed of 760+ mph, almost four times faster than a train. Pods move in evacuated tubes above the ground using a magnetic levitation system. The dynamics of a hyperloop diminish external influences, like the drag force of air and friction, allowing for supersonic speed at low energy consumption.  

The final round of the SpaceX competition is set to take place this summer, when participants will demonstrate their human-scale pods on the track. There are  30 teams advancing to the final round including  the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Cincinnati, University of California Santa Barbara, and Carnegie Mellon University.

University of Cincinnati’s team, titled Hyperloop UC, was founded by graduate engineering student Dhaval Shiyani. The team boasts over 60 members from various fields such as engineering, business, and design.

Tim Allen, a member of Hyperloop UC’s Operations team, said that the team has achieved a great amount in these past few months, winning multiple awards for their work.

“We are the only team from Ohio to have been selected in the final round beating out other notable universities,” Allen said. “The group has won several awards for their accomplishments including the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Design Competition finalist award which is a sample of the actual steel material that will be used in the first ever Hyperloop test track in the world.”

The allure of a hyperloop comes from its many economic advantages, such as lower construction costs, affordable travel, and self-sufficiency. Strategically placed solar panels along the tracks will produce a surplus of energy needed to fuel the system.  

Mason Physics teacher Joseph Schnell said that a hyperloop system exhibits proficiency in a number of ways.

“I think it has the potential to be much more of an efficient system for transport than the things we have now,” Schnell said. “It’s not necessarily going to require fossil fuels to work. The track itself has less potential for danger. It could have a reduced need for constant maintenance because there aren’t moving parts that are going to wear and tear against each other. It could definitely, especially in the U.S. where we’re so spread out geographically, be an excellent way to cover large areas of distance.”

According to Hyperloop UC Aerodynamicist Karthik Vigneshwar, transportation of humans using this technology is not only feasible, but closer to reality than many might think.

“The biggest challenge for transporting humans through the Hyperloop is safety,” Vigneshwar said. “An obvious first step is to implement a working full scale Hyperloop system for cargo capsules. This would help in demonstrating the feasibility, safety and reliability of the system paving the way for human travel. The potential benefits of such a transportation system greatly outweigh the hurdles to be overcome.”

The participants in the SpaceX competition are not the only ones looking to revolutionize the world with this technology. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, a company dedicated to developing a fully-functional hyperloop, has negotiated an agreement with the Slovakian government to implement their designs and later connect to Austria and Hungary.

The hyperloop can solve many environmental problems the world is currently facing, such as global warming and depletion of natural resources,Vigneshwar said.

“It can jump current transportation methods where we can directly move to a cleaner system than going through the motley of non-renewable, polluting means of transportation,” Vigneshwar said. “In a world where clean, efficient, and fast transportation solutions are paramount to the success of rapidly changing environment, the Hyperloop provides the perfect solution.”

 

Connecting Little and Great Miami bike trail excites local cyclists

Plans are underway to connect the Little and Great Miami Bike trial to Mason.

The Great Miami River Trail already runs from Miami township to Washington township, but a new, multi-state initiative aims at completing and extending the network to Cincinnati. Eventually it is scheduled to connect with the Little Miami Scenic Trail in Warren County. The project is being conducted by Tri-State Trails and will also be connecting Warren and Butler counties.

The project, which was proposed in 2001, has yet to begin. Recently, the Mason City Council met to discuss supporting and funding the project since the extension of the trail would move it closer to home.

Senior Austin Woodruff, who trains in competitive cycling, said that a trail’s long terrain, such as those of the Little and Great Miami, is important for cyclists.

“If I’m not on trail, the best places in Mason to ride are difficult for me to access, just because there are a lot of areas in Mason where you don’t have sidewalk access outside of a neighborhood,” Woodruff said. “A runner can take a side walk, other athletes can use fields, but because when you’re cycling and you’re travelling at great distances the terrain in which you are riding can change greatly within just one or two miles that the accessibility of the area can completely diminish you. Having that long path is amazing because it allows you to have such versatility in how you cycle.”            

Such an extension appeals not only to bikers and athletes, but to health advocates and economic development officials. The extension of the trail into Mason will also expand fitness and exercise opportunities, said Woodruff.

“(The trail extension) would drastically change the way people in Mason see cycling as a physical activity or interest,” Woodruff said. “For many people who are just starting up with cycling or biking, or just want to do it for fun, it can be really difficult to bring themselves to drive that large a distance just to ride. But by bringing the trail into Mason, that would offer a really great opportunity for people to begin getting interested in cycling.”

Preceding the Tri-State Trails project, is an extension of the Little Miami Scenic Trail through the Village of Newtown and Anderson Township in Hamilton County. The project will add 3.15 miles to an existing 78 mile trail, already one of the longest paved trails in the United States.

Studies in 2008 and 2011 assessing the impact of the Little Miami Trail on single family residential properties also found retail price to go up by over seven dollars for every foot closer to the trail. According to Kimberly Whitton, the Marketing Communication Coordinator for Great Parks of Hamilton County, the extension project aims to accentuate the many benefits the trail provides.

“This trail offers enhanced transportation and recreation opportunities for multiple communities in the Cincinnati region,” Whitton said. “Besides being great places to walk, run or bike, studies are showing that multi-use trails and other greenways improve air quality, health, reduce crime, improve property values, spur tourism revenue, prompt economic growth, increase worker productivity and job satisfaction. A trail can even boost community pride and appeal.”

After receiving $1 million from Ohio’s capital budget for the project and $1.94 million in federal funding, the Great Parks of Hamilton County began construction on the Little Miami trail mid 2015 and is looking forward to completion in spring.

Whitton said that the extension project aims to supplement resources and connect the communities through which the trail passes.

“The project will enhance the existing trail system serving Hamilton County and improve the transportation and recreational opportunities for area communities,” Whitton said. “The continuation of the trail is a significant milestone for the Cincinnati tri-state region as we continue to connect communities together through amazing trail systems.”

SIBs promote “No One Eats Alone” campaign

United we stand, divided we fall.

This is the stance that Beyond Differences—a nationwide organization that empowers students to end social isolation—has taken with national ‘No One Eats Alone’ day. The daughter campaign is a student-led initiative that aims to put an end to lunch-time student isolation.

According to Beyond Differences’ National Program Director Jenny Karl, the dangers of social isolation extend beyond what meets the eye.

“Social isolation has been linked to serious health consequences such as cardiovascular disease, eating disorders, and substance abuse,” Karl said. “The organization zeroed in on lunch for this program, because it can be the longest hour of the day for students who feel alone and socially isolated at school.”

As part of Beyond Differences’ campaign to end social isolation, MHS Students Involving and Befriending Students have taken on the task of creating awareness for ‘No One Eats Alone’. SIBS sponsored activities at the Middle School in which students signed a pledge, were introduced to new people, and celebrated social inclusion.

Senior Lauren Grace, coordinator of the ‘No One Eats Alone Campaign’ at Mason, said the project is another step towards ensuring that students enjoy their school experience.

“My goal is just to get kids to start talking to each other and be a little more aware of the people around them,” Grace said. “It’s not even about completely ending social isolation, but just moving a couple steps forward in making sure that they enjoy school and aren’t feeling alone.”

February 11 may have marked ‘No One Eats Alone Day’, but according to high school psychologist Jeff Schlaeger, MHS students are constantly on the lookout for signs of social isolation.

“This is not just a one week movement,” Schlaeger said. “People still have their eyes out for kids in need. We may be this huge school, but we’re always looking out for each other.”

A recent study, led by researcher Kevin Kniffin of Cornell University, has shown that eating is such a basic human need that it can be extraordinarily meaningful. For this reason, results have proven a certain affinity between people sharing a meal.

Compared to that of a classroom, the environment of the lunchroom is also more ideal for students to relax and socialize, said Schlaeger.

“Lunch is where people let their guard down,” Schlaeger said. “It’s not as structured. In classrooms, more often than not, you’re forced to interact with who you’re next to. They may not necessarily be your friend.”

Karl said that encouraging students to eat together is a step forward in the campaign to end social isolation in schools.

“Eating lunch together is a way to build community,” Karl said. “At Beyond Differences, we hear students share that lunchtime can be the most difficult time of the day. We hope that at the end of lunch, someone will be one step closer to building a lasting friendship and we will be one step closer to ending social isolation.”

90s show revivals hit the small screen

The one with the television revival is here.

Early on, 2016 is looking to be a promising step in the world of television. Not only does the year bring its own onslaught of new TV programs in every genre, but it also marks the return of several iconic television shows that premiered in the late 80s and 90s.

After a 13-plus year hiatus, the original cast members of the FOX drama “The X-Files” will be joined by additional new members for a six-episode miniseries. Also coming to Netflix is a 13-initial-episode revival to the popular ABC sitcom “Full House” that will feature most of the original cast members.

Situational comedies, in particular, have been the most successful and culturally significant. Since the premiere of “I Love Lucy” in 1951, sitcoms have evolved while maintaining several defining features; they primarily focus on depicting relatable characters in humorous situations as realistically as possible.

English teacher Amanda Bross said that the familial appeal of 90s sitcoms also contributes to their increasingly large and diverse fanbase.

“The 90s were just a time for family sitcoms like “Full House”, “Family Matters”, “Growing Pains”,” Bross said. “You just saw these families that had some of the same problems and dealt with some of the same things that people my age did. It’s kind of comforting to go back to them. Its real people dealing with semi-real situations, which is why people keep watching them.”

Also this year, director and producer James Burrows–arguably TV’s most accomplished comedy director–will be recognized for his 1,000th episode in comedy television with a two-hour tribute special. Titled “Must See TV: A Tribute to James Burrows”, the special is set to air on February 21. The cast of “Friends” will reunite at the special, as will cast members from other projects of Burrows’ like “Cheers”, “Will & Grace”, “Taxi”, “Wings”, and several other popular television comedies.

Junior Sharanya Vojjala, an avid fan of 90s sitcoms, especially “Friends”, said that there has been a noticeable change in television comedy over the years.

“Sitcoms today have a lot of inappropriate jokes.The level of maturity has gone down. When you watch shows today, the funny ones are always the dumb ones. But like Ross, from “Friends”, he was a doctor, but he could still be funny. Or Chandler, he was an accountant, he was the sarcastic one. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the dumb one who’s funny.”

With the tribute to James Burrows coming up, fans are gearing towards seeing their favorite characters on screen, together again. Sophomore Yana Artemov, also a dedicated fan of “Friends”, said this special will appeal to viewers and fans of several generations.

“This is targeting both people who are watching them on Netflix now, and the people that grew up watching them on TV,” Artemov said. “There’s a lot of pressure for them to be great. I hope they really put time into it and make sure it’s as good as it can be, and that it stays true to what it was back when it was on TV.”

Chapter 2: Sit at the table

Recently, I was asked to read a chapter from Sheryl Sandberg’s best selling book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for feminism, but I made the mistake of judging a book by its cover. I thought, ‘what will I read that I haven’t already heard before?’ Turns out, quite a bit.

Sheryl begins the chapter with an anecdote. As the COO of Facebook, she was charged with hosting a meeting of fifteen Silicon Valley executives to talk about the economy. One secretary arrived with his staff consisting
of four women. In the room of nearly all men, despite Sheryl’s attempts to include them, the women took their food last and sat off to the side of the room. The lesson here? “In addition to facing institutional obstacles, women face a battle from within.”

She then proceeds to another anecdote, this time revolving around a Harvard speech she attended, given by Dr. Peggy McIntosh. Here’s what she, and ultimately I, ended up learning:

“…many people, but especially women feel fraudulent when they are praised for their accomplishments. Instead of feeling worth of recognition, they feel undeserving and guilty, as if a mistake has been made.”

According to Sheryl, a man is more likely to attribute success to “his own innate qualities and skills”, whereas women (as well as their colleagues and the media) are quick to credit external factors to their achievements.

Anecdote #3 starts like this: “My insecurity began, as most insecurities do, in high school.”  Amen. You can probably guess how that goes. So I’ll skip to the end of the chapter to the actual life lessons like, “fake it till you feel it” (‘it’ being confidence) or “You have to take opportunities and make an opportunity fit for you, rather than the other way around.”

One of Sheryl’s concluding anecdotes recounts the time she gave a talk on gender issues to Facebook employees. Towards the end, she said she would only take two more questions. She ended up taking a lot more– but only from men. Why? When told the
y would be wrapping up, all the women put their hands down. Sheryl says, “Even though I was giving a speech on gender issues, I had been blind to one myself.”

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According to Sheryl, “If we want a world with greater equality, we need to acknowledge that women are less likely to keep their hands up. We need institutions and individuals to notice and correct for this behavior by encouraging, promoting, and championing more women.” The truth in this statement revolves around the key words ‘institutions and individuals’. We can’t keep hoping that a few influential women like Sheryl Sandberg or Emma Watson (with her #HeForShe campaign) are enough to make a change.

You’d be surprised how many girls and women yearn to see themselves  “sitting at the table”. I know I do. So does Sheryl Sandberg.

“…now I know how to take a deep breath and keep my hand up. I have learned to sit at the table.” 

 

Effects of climate change felt on slopes of Perfect North

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Statistics from USA Climate Change. Infographic by  Madison Krell.

Recent anomalies in global climate levels have caught the attention of world leaders.

Beginning on November 30, 2015, the United Nations held Climate Change Conferences in Paris to discuss global climate change and course of action over the next few years to reduce the world’s pollution output and prevent catastrophic climate change.

The Paris Agreement includes a commitment to keep global temperatures below 2 degrees C (35.6 F). Countries are also expected to create greenhouse gas reduction targets, renewed every five years. The deal requires developed nations to give $100 billion annually to developing countries to combat climate change and promote greener economies.

The UN has high hopes for the Paris Agreement, but with the goal of a carbon-neutral world, Geology teacher Cody Kreager said global participation is necessary.

“If you really want to see a difference you need as many people on board as possible,” Kreager said. “If you’ve got five or six countries that are trying to do everything and then you’ve got five or six countries that aren’t doing anything, it’s going to cancel out. There would be no movement forward.”

Advanced Placement Human Geography teacher Caryn Jenkins said participation from all countries may not be feasible. As countries are developing, Jenkins said a debate has risen between nations on the need for fossil fuels.

“There’s a great point that India made,” Jenkins said. “India keeps saying ‘U.S., you had your chance. Britain you had your chance. You’re the ones who made the climate that we’re in. You need to give us the opportunity to develop. How are we going to do that without fossil fuels or carbon dioxide producing energy sources?’ I think that’s a great point.”

The United States as a whole has experienced warmer temperatures. Every state east of the 100th Meridian West is experiencing temperatures above average, and the rapid warming of Great Lakes have exemplified the problem.

Kreager said effects of global warming can been seen minutes away from Mason. The Ohio River Valley Sanitation Commission said the Ohio River continues to be the most polluted body of water in the United States for the seventh year.

“Global warming is not just emissions, it’s also the other pollutants as well,” Kreager said. “The number one polluted place in the United States is the Ohio River. There’s a steel mill down there, and they pump all these toxins and stuff into the Ohio river.”

The Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) for the Ohio River recorded increasing mercury levels. In 2007, there were 61 pounds of mercury in the water. That number has risen over 500 percent, and as of 2013 there are 380 pounds in the river. Despite such a large amount, mercury is only the 48th most heavily concentrated pollutant in the Ohio River. The TRI has recorded more than 23 million chemicals that have been emptied into the Ohio River.

U.S Climate Data said Mason’s average temperature in December is 34 degrees F and 30.5 degrees F in January. Record high temperatures were recorded on December 23 when temperature rose to 69 degrees F.

While Perfect North’s season usually begins in November, this season the ski resort remained closed until late December. Marketing Director Ellen Perfect said recent warmer temperatures have prevented them from making enough snow to open the resort.

“This season, we opened on December 22 and 23 but had to close because of extremely warm temperatures and rain that melted the snow,” Perfect said. “This warm weather has had a negative effect on our business. We can’t make snow until the temperatures hit around 28 degrees, so the El Nino weather pattern has interrupted our snowmaking schedule.”

Junior Elijah Kelly has been recreationally skiing at Perfect North and said this winter’s unusually grassy hills have made skiing an impossible task.

“I knew it was going to be a risk when buying a pass in the summer it might not snow,” Kelly said. “By this time last year I’d have already gone three or four times, but obviously this year.”

A season pass at Perfect North costs $525 with daily admission costing $47. With the additional cost of ski or snowboard rentals, one would have to venture to the slopes 7 times to get their money’s worth. For Kelly and other adventurists, the possibility of getting this many trips in is becoming increasingly unlikely.

Record high temperatures and increasing levels of pollution across the globe have signaled to world leaders the dangers of the situation. Even so, the Paris Agreement won’t likely be implemented for several more years. Kreager said the further the situation is prolonged, the more negative its impact becomes.

“The earth’s still going to be here long after us,” Kreager said. “The only thing that we need to worry about is our perseverance in human beings. It’s not the earth that we’re hurting, it’s ourselves.”

In collaboration with Asia Porter.

Seniors work polls as part of ‘Youth in the Booth’ program

Since 2006, the Warren County Board of Election’s Youth in the Booth program has aimed to help high school seniors gain a better understanding of the election process with a unique behind-the-scenes look at electoral activity.

With Mason being the only high school in the county yet to get involved with the program, Senior Leah Metzger thinks that it is important for students to have an understanding of how the system works.

“We’re growing up and we’re eventually going to be that next generation voting,” Metzger said. “I think it’s really important for youth to get out and have a say in who our next president is going to be, in any election.”

According to Warren County election administrator Dee Hudson, the program has some eligibility requirements.

“Students need to be in good standing with their school and also be able to represent their school and Warren County Board of Elections well to the public,” Hudson said. “They must be a resident of Warren County and a United States citizen, a high school senior, have their own transportation, willing to commit to an all day assignment anywhere in the county and also to be able to attend a 3 hour training class.”

According to Metzger, Mason seniors will represent the school and assist in processing voters.

“Because I’m a Mason student, they’ll put me in a Mason facility,” Metzger said. “That way, we can see people we know come in. We’ll have an iPad for people to type their name in and register to vote, and pass out the little ‘I Voted’ stickers, etcetera.”

Students involved with the program have much to gain. Aside from the $136.50 earned for the day or credit received for fourteen or more service hours, seniors benefit from a learning experience that benefits seniors when it comes to college applications.

“There will always be a need for the brightest and the best to step forward and make a difference,” Hudson said. “The program is beneficial to high school seniors because it demonstrates community service and helps them to present to colleges as a well rounded applicant for continuing education or in the private sector as a job experience that involves leadership.”

Mason’s first steps will be with the upcoming primary and presidential elections. The Board hopes to build a new generation of poll workers by including a vital part of our community, the youth. Voters are likely to see an influx of younger voters participating in a reformed election experience. Hudson said this will also be a good way for seniors to get exposed to the ins and outs of democracy.

“The Youth in the Booth program allows students a front row seat in a democracy that is known worldwide as progressive and inclusive to all.” Hudson said. “ ‘We the people’ includes the youth who will someday change the lives of many.”

Allen secures another term on MCS Board after second recount

It’s official—incumbent Mason City Schools Board members Kevin Wise and Courtney Allen will serve on the board for another four years.

As of this month, the Warren County Board of Elections has issued not one, but two recounts to decide which two candidates will be elected to the Mason City Schools Board of Education to represent the district over the next four years.

Since the primary provisional count revealed a margin of less than .5 percent between incumbent President Courtney Allen and newcomer Erin Schmidt, a mandatory recount took place on November 24. With a sudden turn of events, Allen secured the second spot, but the difference between Schmidt and Allen still amounted to less than .5 percent. Consequently, on Thursday, December 3, a second recount took place, rendering the votes 4,543 to 4,527 in favor of Allen.

Incumbent Kevin Wise, who came out on top during the first provisional count, retained the favor of the majority of voters with 6,776 out of 15,846 votes in the second recount.

Schmidt, who won the first provisional count, said that running against an incumbent can be difficult but is proud of her dedication and the support she received.

“Running against an incumbent is an uphill battle, especially since we have a school board that stays relatively quiet,” Schmidt said. “In cases where a board member is controversial or ineffective, a campaign against that individual may be easier. That was not the case in this election. Although I wish the outcome had been different, I am proud of the campaign I ran and of the support I received.”

Allen said that the board needs to focus on supporting work within the district that makes current mandates beneficial to educators.

“We all recognize that there is change necessary in the roles that the state and federal governments play in education today,” Allen said. “As a school board, I believe we need to push back on these mandates and help our legislators better understand how their decisions are affecting our district. Concurrently, we should support work within the district that takes these mandates and turns them into something of value for our educators.”

Schmidt’s short term plans include continued support for Mason City Schools and its board. In the long run, she said she is considering running again.

“My plans for the future are to continue to support Mason City Schools,” Schmidt said. “ I will support the current board and Dr. Kist-Kline in any way I am able. The next school board election will be held in two years, when three seats will be up for vote. I am considering another attempt in 2017, but only time will tell.”