Category: News

Working in a Pandemic: Columbia Employees Share Their Stories

By Jordan Rodriguez 

Staff Writer

By Ella Koeze. Employment rates are seasonally adjusted. | Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Unemployment: Prior to Covid-19, the unemployment rate was 3.5% to 4.0% from 2018 to 2019. But since then, over 20.5 million people have lost their job and the unemployment rates have jumped to 14.7% in April of 2020, which is the highest rate of unemployment since The Great Depression. 

Covid-19, the pandemic that took everyone by storm. It has impacted many over the past year and has taken away millions of jobs. For many, this led to returning to work with greater responsibility in the same job title, but with cut hours and cut pay. Some people stated that because of Covid-19, they fear for their financial and physical safety. Some people say that they would rather take the unemployment benefits than go to work everyday. Wages were cut due to the lack of business that was coming in and caused them to lose tons of money. Driving apps such as Uber and Lyft have been declining rides due to too little or no one wanting to be in the car with a stranger and risking the safety of both rider and driver. 

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Climate Change: Texas Snowstorms and the Polar Vortex

By Lydia Jensen

Staff Writer

Montinique Monroe-Getty Images

Though the Texas snowstorms are over, there are lasting effects from the event. The timeline for the storm varies from area to area, but massive power outages were experienced all throughout the state during the event, and for some time after.

Specifically, about 4.3 million power outages were experienced throughout the state, with 14.9 million residents in counties that reported weather-related operational disruptions, as reported by ABC 13.

Regular Texan citizens were not prepared for heavy snowfall, but neither was the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, who operate 90% of Texas’s deregulated power grid, as their internal meeting only discussed the storm for 40 seconds prior to the event. Many later resigned (KSAT 12 San Antonio).

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The 2020 Maryland Census Delay

And how this impacts funding for the Hammond Community 

By Lizzy Hughes

Staff Writer

Image Source: CNN

The Hammond community is represented by the Maryland State Governor, as well as the state representatives in Congress. The population of Hammond students is largely impacted by the state census that is collected once every decade, as the census determines how billions of dollars in federal funds are distributed to the public school systems in Maryland. If the data is inaccurate, communities with large populations of minorities might not be represented and the public schools in those districts would not receive the resources they need. 

The US Census Bureau planned to get the results of the 2020 census data by the end of March, but in the last few weeks, officials said they would not release the data until the end of September. This decision delay means that Maryland lawmakers will not be able to redraw the state’s political boundaries before 2022. The Bureau stated that the delay was because they had a difficult time surveying every household in the nation face to face due to COVID-19. 

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Vaccine Rollout for Teachers in Howard County

By Bella Kaguyutan

Staff Writer

HCEA Protest
Image Source: Baltimore Sun 

As the return to school has fallen upon us, teachers across Howard County have expressed concern and discontent with the hybrid model. On January 21st, Governor Larry Hogan made a call to action for all Maryland schools to return by March 1st. Following this announcement, Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) created a hybrid plan in which all students who want to return to in-person learning will be in the classroom by April. As the reopening of schools approached, more and more questions of safety came to light. 

Maryland is one of 28 states where educators are listed as a specific group to receive the COVID-19  vaccine if they choose to do so. Educators were a part of Maryland’s 1B Phase of vaccine rollout, but according to an unnamed member of Hammond High School staff, receiving the vaccine was, “Extremely challenging for teachers where for a while it was like a poorly run lottery system, where it was first come first served in who could claim the vaccines the fastest.”

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NASA’s “Perseverance” Mission Success

The First Step to Finding Life on Mars

By Morgan Lane

Staff Writer

Image Source: The New York Times. The first picture NASA received of the Perseverance on Mars

February 18, 2021 was a big day at NASA. The mars rover, “Perseverance” successfully landed on the red planet after a 6 month and 300 million mile journey. Perseverance began its journey on July 30, 2020 as it launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Half a year later at 3:55 P.M, cheers could be heard from NASA as footage from the surface of Mars was seen. The accomplishments from the project would be made historic, and will continue to if all goes well. 

Weighing 2000 pounds and costing 2.8 billion dollars, it was challenging to get Perseverance to safely land on Mars. Many things had to be taken into account in order for the landing to be achieved. The mission had a scare called the “Seven minutes of terror:” the seven minutes the rover was falling from Mars’ atmosphere to the ground (the entry, descent, and landing, also known as “EDL”). Since it takes 11 minutes for a radio signal to reach from Mars to Earth, the fear of the unknown was apparent. Sophomore Maya Woodson shared her opinion on this obstacle that NASA faced, “you wouldn’t know whether it safely touched down or was broken into a million pieces until it was landed.”

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Ball Seeking Student Board Member for Parks and Rec Board

By Kevin Barry

Staff Writer

Image Source: The Baltimore Sun

As reported by Howard Counties official website, Calvin Ball (our County Executive) in addition to the counties parks and recreation Advisory Board are at this time looking to add a student member to their Board. The county’s Advisory Board for Parks and Recreation includes seven adult members and a soon to be 1 student member. 

The student on the Boards term will be different from the rest of the Board as they will only serve a one year term which this year will be from July 1st of 2021 to June 30th of 2022. This schedule is presumed to be repeated each year by future student members of the Board.

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Attention Hammond Class of 2022: Ten Days Left To Win the “Buy-A-Day” Fundraiser Against Oakland Mills High School

By Uma Ribeiro


Image Source: @hahs2022 on Instagram 

Attention Hammond High School class of 2022! There are ten days left for the Golden Bears to beat out Oakland Mills High School class of 2022 in raising money for Grassroots through the “Buy-A-Day” Fundraiser. 

The fundraiser helps to support the Grassroots hotline, which provides mental health support and counseling for suicide prevention to anyone in need of assistance. The last day of the fundraiser is Thursday, February 18th and the winner will be announced on February 19th. 

Whichever school raises the most money will be declared the winner. In addition to supporting our local Grassroots Crisis Center during these difficult times, the students of the winning school will have the opportunity to vote on an option for a TikTok dance for the principal to perform. 

Keep reading to find out how to participate!

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Second Semester, The Return to School, COVID Safety and More: An Interview with Dr. DiPaula

By Marissa Yelenik

News Editor

As many changes have occurred recently and there is much uncertainty regarding the end of the school year, The Bear Press sat down with the principal of Hammond, Dr. John DiPaula, through a virtual call on January 19. This interview took place prior to Governor Hogan’s announcement which stated he wishes for schools to return by March.

Online Learning: Semester One Takeaways

Throughout the semester, Dr. DiPaula has stopped into different classes to observe how each one works. He shared his views on how he believes teachers have grown throughout the year, and what he believes to be one of the most helpful tools to promote engagement in this online world, saying “I think that when we started the year, it started a little bit slower.”

“But when we started to function with breakout rooms, it really improved our engagement.”

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Donald Trump: His Last 800 Days

By Leah Russell

Sports Editor

Image Source: Vox

Over 159 million Americans voted in the U.S. General Election. On November 7th, almost all main news sources called the election for Biden. On December 14th, Joe Biden’s victory in the November Presidential Election was solidified by a 306 to 232 in the Electoral College. And on January 20th, he was sworn into office to begin his first term as the 46th president of the United States. With a new president now in office, it’s time to reflect on the actions of our 45th president during his four years in office.

Trump misses Biden’s Inauguration (January 20th, 2021): On the morning of Biden’s Inauguration, Trump flew to Florida instead of staying for the commencement. He instead gave a speech to his supporters from the plane before Biden’s Oath of Office. For the first time since 1869, the former president was not there for his successor’s inauguration. 

2nd Impeachment of Donald Trump in the House of Representatives (January 13th, 2021): One week before Trump was due to leave office, the House of Representatives decided to go forward with the trial citing Trump’s attempts to overthrow a U.S. Election, his phone call to Georgie’s Secretary of State, and incitement of insurrection. There were 232 votes in favor and 197 votes against the impeachment of Trump on the accusation of “Incitement of Insurrection.”

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Stimulus Checks: Who Gets Them?

By Kyle Anderson

Staff Writer

Via: USAToday

In the wake of Covid-19, many people were left either dead or jobless. If you are reading this, chances are you’re one of the two. If you are a zombie, go away. I am not writing this for you. Go find some poor kid to chomp on or something. If you are jobless, then you can stay because I am writing this for you. Let’s discuss how to discover your stimulus check eligibility, and how to go about acquiring one.

How do I get a stimulus check? 

If you filed your taxes last year, you are signed up for the check. Does that mean you will actually get one? Not necessarily (we’ll dive into that later). You must also have a social security number so the government knows you are a real person and not a fake one. Basically, as long as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) knows you exist, you will get a check. It’s that simple. The IRS also has a toll-free stimulus check information resource which can be accessed by calling (800) 919-9835.

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