Feb. 3, 2005, midnight | By Ravi Umarji | 15 years, 11 months ago

Rape suspect apprehended

Police arrested and charged a 37-year-old man on Monday, Jan. 17 for the recent spree of burglaries and sexual assaults near Blair and for other crimes dating back to two years ago, according to a Jan. 19 article in The Washington Post.

Jorge A. Rivera-Aleman, who reportedly has lived on Kodiak Drive in Silver Spring for the last two months, was charged with first-degree rape and burglary for an attack on a 13-year-old girl when she came home from school in November. He was also charged with two other cases of first-degree burglary and attempted burglary of two homes in White Oak.

At a hearing in the Rockville District Court on Jan. 18, Rivera-Aleman confessed to rape, according to Assistant State's Attorney Donna Fenton, who said that Rivera-Aleman was a "danger to the community.” If Rivera-Aleman is convicted, he will face a life sentence for rape and a 20-year sentence for burglary.

Authorities said that DNA samples from Rivera-Aleman will be tested for a link to four other attacks against women and teenage girls since March 2003.

SGA revokes Frisbee Club's sponsorship

The SGA revoked the Frisbee Club's sponsorship on Jan. 7 after finding the club in violation of a Montgomery County policy prohibiting athletic clubs that compete with other organizations from being sponsored, according to SGA President Sebastian Johnson. The lack of sponsorship excludes the club from receiving funding from the SGA, selling pizza after school and being featured in the yearbook.

The SGA initially banned the Frisbee Club from using the fields at Blair without paying for them, but the team regained use of the fields on Jan. 10 after junior co-captains Emily May and Lily Jaffie-Shupe met with Principal Phillip Gainous and Blair Athletic Director Dale Miller. Miller, May and Jaffie-Shupe agreed that the Frisbee Club would yield to Blair teams' use of the fields.

Superintendent proposes new budget

Superintendent Jerry Weast recommended a $1.7 billion operating budget for the 2006 fiscal year (FY) to the MCPS Board of Education on Dec. 15 that focuses on reducing class sizes, expanding full-day kindergarten, improving technology in schools and enhancing special education programs. The budget increased by $109.2 million from FY 2005.

Young Republicans collect mail for soldiers

The Young Republicans Club (YRC) sponsored a letter drive in order to collect appreciation letters and cards for soldiers in Iraq from late November to Feb. 2. The letters were delivered to A Million Thanks, an organization that began as a service project by Lutheran High School in California and has sent over one million letters. The club sends the letters to A Million Thanks, which then screens the letters to make sure they are appropriate before sending them to Iraq.

According to YRC sponsor and social studies teacher Kevin Shindel, (see "Leftist sponsor meets...” page 21) the club developed the idea to have the letter drive to branch out from its normal political focus. However, Shindel said that the response has been disappointing, which he acknowledged may be due to the fact that the overwhelmingly liberal population at Blair was hesitant to donate to a drive run by a Republican club.

Amnesty International petitions senators

The Blair chapter of Amnesty International collected signatures on Dec. 10 in the SAC petitioning Maryland Senators Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski to raise questions regarding Attorney General Nominee Alberto Gonzales's record on human rights and positions on torture and the Geneva Conventions. Gonzales wrote a White House memo advising that the Geneva Conventions be forgone in the War on Terror and that torture be redefined to allow for certain currently outlawed practices.

Area Democrats look to involve students

Students from Montgomery County's Future (MCF), a local political-awareness organization, launched a program in mid-January for 30 to 40 current freshmen across the county to increase youth involvement in future elections. The program aims to teach students about grassroots organization, civic engagement and community leadership by involving them in community service activities, according to Adam Luecking, the leader of MCF.


-Blair had 13 semifinalists in the Intel Science Talent Search (see "Blair has most...” page 1), the most of any high school in the nation. Seniors Ameer Abutaleb, Peter Bullen, Patrick Detzner, Jeffrey Dunn, Michael Forbes, Abigail Fraeman, Sherri Geng, Justin Kovac, Tencia Lee, Renee Park, Prasanna Vasudevan, Samuel Wight and Kenhui Yin were among the 300 semifinalists selected nationwide and will each receive $1,000 for their achievements. Blair will also receive $1,000 per semifinalist.

-Blair's "It's Academic!” team of seniors Martino Choi and Saul Kinter and junior Armin Rosen won its first match of the season against Fairfax and Thomas S. Wootton High Schools with a score of 620 points, winning $375 for Blair.

-Seniors Greg Jukes (percussion) and Adedeji Ogunfolu (French horn) performed at Carnegie Hall on Jan. 16.

-Seniors Kate Johnston, Gloria Dowery, Hannah Fegley, Sheri Lawal and Amelia Sagoff placed first, second, third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Martin Luther King, Jr., Essay Contest on Feb. 2, hosted by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Respondents had to answer to the question, "If time and money were not an issue, what would you do to make the world a better place?”


Resource Counselor Karen Hunt reminds students to think about what classes they want to take next year. Counselors will visit social studies classes on Feb. 7 to discuss course registration.

Important Dates

-Report cards are distributed today.
-Feb. 7 - Registration deadline for March 12 SAT I
-Feb. 11 - Magnet Arts Night will take place at 7:30 p.m in the auditorium. Admission is free.
-Feb. 21 - No school: President's Day
-March 4 - Registration deadline for April 9 ACT
-March 4-6 - Blair's spring musical, "Once Upon a Mattress,” premiers

Newsbriefs compiled by Ravi Umarji with additional reporting by Caitlin Garlow, Alexander Gold, Jeremy Goodman, Seema Kacker, Feza Kikaya, Luke McQueen, Adedeji Ogunfolu, Sheila Rajagopal and Danny Scheer.

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Ravi Umarji. Ravi is finally a senior in the Magnet. All you need to know about Ravi is that he's a huge Redskins fan (which, until last year, wasn't exactly pleasant). Of course, he's predicting a Super Bowl season next year. His favorite athlete is Lance Armstrong, … More »

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