PETA targets Blair Spanish teacher
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) targeted Blair Spanish teacher Maria Yordan-Torres in a letter sent to Montgomery County State's Attorney Douglas Gansler on Jan. 30 concerning her trial for animal cruelty, which is scheduled to begin tomorrow. If Yordan-Torres is convicted, PETA requested that she be "prohibited from owning, possessing or caring for animals" and undergo "a thorough psychological evaluation followed by mandatory counseling at her own expense," according to The Gazette. PETA noted that animalbreeders tend to receive more lenient punishments than do violent animal abusers.John McLane, communications director for the State's Attorney, said that Gansler will consider the letter from PETA and takes the "crime of animal cruelty very seriously." The letter said that, in the event of a conviction, Yordan-Torres could face up to a year in prison, but it asserted that "a year in jail for neglecting animals is a bargain."
Montgomery County implements speed cameras
Montgomery County began using speed cameras to monitor drivers, becoming the first jurisdiction in Maryland to do so, according to The Washington Post. The Maryland General Assembly voted on Jan. 25 to override Governor Bob Ehrlich's veto on a bill that approved the use of speed cameras for limited locations, including some in Montgomery County.
"Simply trying to cross the street in Montgomery County has become a death-defying act," said Delegate William Bronrott (D-16), one of the bill's main supporters. "This was about saving lives and restoring safety and civility on the streets closest to our schools and homes."
Same-sex marriage debate begins in State Assembly
Proponents of a state-wide constitutional ban on same-sex marriage are attempting to pass a constitutional amendment in the Maryland General Assembly and place the measure on the ballot in November, according to The Gazette. On Jan. 20, a Baltimore City Circuit Court judge ruled that a 1973 Maryland statute defining marriage as between one man and one woman is unconstitutional. The judge ruled that same-sex couples still cannot marry in Maryland until appeals have been heard.
Blair SGA holds winter spirit week, pep rally
Blair's Student Government Association (SGA) held a second-semester spirit week from Feb. 14 to Feb. 17 featuring four themed spirit days and culminating in a winter sports pep rally. The spirit week included a Culture Day, for which students were asked to dress in a manner representative of their culture, with a "Mix it Up" event during both lunch periods that encouraged students to sit with different people. The other spirit days were Formal Day, Superhero and Hat Day and Class Spirit Day. According to SGA Chief of Staff Eric Hysen, Blair had not held a winter spirit week or pep rally in over two years.
Creator of Peace Studies class visits Blair
Coleman McCarthy, a former Washington Post columnist, a nationally acclaimed peace advocate and the creator of Peace Studies classes, visited Blair on Feb. 7 to discuss the importance of nonviolence and peace education. McCarthy visited several classes to encourage students to sign up for Peace Studies. He also visited current Peace Studies classes, where he talked about the importance of free thinking and discussion among students, offered historical insight regarding the importance of peace and urged students to pursue political and social action.
State Delegate candidate speaks to Blair club
Local politician and 1994 Blair graduate Aaron Klein spoke on Feb. 7 to the Blair Young Democrats about his candidacy for the Maryland House of Delegates, as well as his intended policies as a potential representative of District 20.
Klein, who has worked for Senator Paul Sarbanes for five years as the Chief Economist on the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, named smart growth and the establishment of the Metro Inner Purple Line as top priorities in his campaign. "We need to make [the Purple Line] happen," he said. "The money that has been going toward the Intercounty Connector should be going to the Purple Line."
Klein distinguished himself from other candidates in the District 20 race with his background as a former MCPS student. "I grew up here," he said. "I'm the only candidate in the area that went to MCPS, and it's a little bit different when [candidates] talk about Blair and it's your school."
Newsbriefs compiled by Adam Yalowitz with additional reporting by Lois Bangiolo, Christopher Consolino, Eve Gleichman, Alex Hyder and Natasha Prados.
Resource counselor Marcia Johnson reminds interested students to fill out their applications for classes at Thomas Edison. Applications are available in the Guidance Office. The Media Center will hold a used book sale during the Blair Fair in April and is asking for donations of gently used books. Please see Ilene Catzva in the Media Center or call (301) 649-2831 for more information.
• March 3-4 and 10-11 - Spring Musical, "Crazy for You," 7:30 p.m., auditorium
• March 5 - Musical, "Crazy for You," 2 p.m., auditorium
• March 9 - CAP Showcase Night, 7:30 p.m., rooms 162 and 164
• March 14 - Instrumental Music Concert, 7 p.m., auditorium
• March 21 - College planning meeting, 7:30 p.m., the SAC
• March 23 - Magnet Research Convention, 6:30 p.m., the SAC
• March 30 - Third marking period ends
• March 31 - No school for students, report card preparation
• Two Blair students were named 2006 Intel Science Talent Search (STS) finalists. Seniors Minh-Phuong Huynh-Le and Chelsea Zhang were among 40 students nationwide to advance to the final round of STS, a competition open to high-school students interested in scientific research.
• English teacher Jeanette Simmons was selected as a winner of the Haywood All-Star Teacher Award, sponsored by the Washington Wizards. Simmons was one of only 10 area teachers selected to receive the award.
• Thirty-five Blair seniors have been chosen as 2006 National Merit Scholarship Award finalists: Seniors Elizabeth Albert, Alexander Alm, Michael Arbit, Rachel Bell, Jahnavi Bhaskar, Kiran Bhat, Lu Chen, Abhishek Dhar, Gregory Donaldson, Katrina Emery, Frederick Esch, Rose Feinberg, Daniel Gillen, Alexander Gold, Jordan Goldstein, Jeremy Goodman, Robert Hendryx, Gregory Howard, Ravi Joseph, Rachel Kirsch, Erik Li, Yueyang Li, Joseph Lorenz, Maksym Morawski, Sean O'Brien, Margot Pass, Samir Paul, John Silberholz, Will Tao, Eddie Wang, David White, Avi Wolfman-Arent, Sarah Wolk, Chelsea Zhang and Yuning Zhang.
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