Opinion Piece and Editorials

Vaping causes illness, death

By Craig Reese

Reporter

Vaping is a dangerous habit to develop as it can be harmful to the body’s vital organs such as the brain and lungs. This fact is even more important to users who are under the age of 25 because they are still under development. The use of electronic cigarettes can increase the risk of further addiction to other drugs that are even more dangerous.

Unfortunately, some of my friends whom I have known for years and ones I have known for only a couple of months use the product. Some even use chewing tobacco, drink alcohol and smoke marijuana. Sometimes I wonder if their choices were based on their surroundings, curiosity, family members who use the products or peer pressure. 

E-cigarettes have been commonly used since 2014, and dual use of conventional cigarettes and e-cigarettes is common among people ages 18 to 24 as stated by the U.S. Surgeon General’s government website. The website also indicates the trend of usage of e-cigarettes leading consumers to also become addicted to nicotine when they smoke conventional cigarettes at the same time.

Additionally, users may not even realize what is within the liquid solutions that are smoked in e-cigarettes. The solution includes various flavorings (such as coconut, cotton candy, chocolate and more), nicotine and sometimes even marijuana.  An article published by the Drug Enforcement Administration on its website stated, “Vaping marijuana (THC oil) can be more dangerous than smoking the drug.” This shows that breathing in the intensified vapor can be risky to consumers, and that means to me that e-cigarettes should be avoided. 

Usage of the concentrated drug may even create higher chances of becoming addicted and even medical consequences to a person’s body.

Moreover, I also fear that one day my friends who use e-cigarettes will not be there to talk to or have fun with. I have no desire to use e-cigarettes myself but I also appreciate people’s right to choose for themselves even if they are my friends, especially ones who have been in my life even longer.

If they wish to use e-cigarettes then I will not try to stop them, in return, when I am in their presence, I will ask for them to refrain from using them.

Road to education filled with potholes

By Craig Reese

Reporter

Education at a higher level is powerful and is a road to success. But what if the road is filled with potholes, impossible distances, broken-down vehicles or a lack of public transportation and other various roadblocks? 

Getting into school for students is much easier than expected, but what about traveling to the school. Schools need to make sure every student attending has some way that is reliable to get to where they will need go. 

This problem is often overlooked, and transportation can cause students issues with achieving the knowledge needed to succeed, as well as in life, without some solutions that may help make the route to a higher education simpler to travel.

First, students often live in dorms, which might make it easier to attend class; however, many undergraduate students are considered nontraditional and instead live off-campus, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. This is one obvious issue that is commonly overlooked. 

A few students may be lucky enough to live close for an easy walk to the campus while many others live at a distance that makes walking to campus impossible. 

Maybe a student has no problem with reaching school or maybe he or she lives in a dorm or is lucky enough to have great public transportation to the campus. 

The issue with transportation does not stop at the parking lot; in some cases, trying to get around the campus alone can be difficult, especially when a campus may cover dozens of acres and have a multitude of buildings to travel past.

Furthermore, students who choose to live on campus, may have to spend more money than those living off-campus. Financial aid or work study jobs may fill in the gaps enough to make it possible to afford. 

Living on campus and walking to classes will save expenses on vehicles, including maintenance and especially gas, which can improve affordability for living on campus. 

Maybe the use of a bicycle would be a better option for traveling to class for students on campus and those off-campus who live nearby if the campus is large. 

Not only does it provide exercise, it will also help to lessen congestion on the roads. 

Also, a bicycle can allow for the freedom of going to classes on the student’s own schedule, but it is not one that is based on routes like the public transits. Many colleges even support bike use as a means of transportation by providing spaces to park and lock the bike, or they have dedicated bike lanes at buildings around the campus.

Additionally, carpooling for students who live in the same area and are heading to the college on the same day might be another perfect solution. This will involve a set schedule to balance the decision of who drives on the days that the students attend and how much money gas will cost if splitting it, but it can work out quite well if developed properly. 

Currently, no service is set exactly like this, but creating a carpool program might be an idea to bring to the school. It could work like Uber without the exorbitant prices. This can help students learn more about the economy through sharing.

Overall, students have options to choose from, especially those who do not live within walking distance and lack a car to travel to campus. Whether by foot, bike, car or bus, students should have some options. 

Help give students an opportunity to reach the road to success in their educational route by providing transportation options. Students can also do their part by asking if any students in their classes live close to them and forming carpools. 

Getting serious about recycling

By Craig Reese

Reporter

Being clean by taking out the garbage can lead to a healthy environment but sometimes we should stop and think about some of the items inside the trash bags and separate them, maybe even eventually reuse them or just transfer them into a different compartment like a blue recycling bin instead of the regular garbage bin.

A couple of ideas to think of may include “How do I get a blue recycling bin?” or “How do I get a larger one to use?” Call either the local city waste department or City Hall to make the request and ask for the size that will fit the load of material to be recycled. Maybe the city will have certain materials allowed or not allowed for recycling such as corrugated cardboard or pasteboard boxes, newspapers, magazines, personal mail, tires, paint, office or shredded paper, aluminum or steel cans and plastic bottles or jugs. A city may even take limbs, bushes or yard waste. Some departments also have a special electronic recycling day. Maybe the facilities are open for certain times or always open as that might be an additional question that will linger if wanting to take materials to them.

One must be careful to not include material that is not listed in the city’s accepted items as some cities may implement a “zero tolerance” policy toward contaminating the recycling stream, and blue bins will be removed immediately from households or businesses that taint it.

Overall, recycling is important not only for individuals but also for the community as a whole. Always know a better and cleaner way exists to meet our needs, especially for material laying on the ground nearby that could be reused more than once.

Too early for Christmas

By Kendall Cole

Reporter

October and November are a time for hayrides, pumpkin patches and other fun fall activities, along with holidays such as Halloween and Thanksgiving. These months are not a time for winter activities just yet and are especially not a time for Christmas decorations.

I love Christmas just as much as the next guy, but October and November just are not the time for it. Halloween has not even happened yet by the time big stores like Walmart, Lowe’s and Hobby Lobby have their Christmas decorations out and ready for purchase. That is way too early to be thinking about Christmas. 

November is worse when it comes to Christmas taking over everything. 

Movie channels like Hallmark have already started Christmas movie marathons; the cooking channels are teaching everyone new and fun recipes for Christmas dinner; and people are already beginning to decorate for the winter season as if they have completely forgotten there is another, and just as important holiday, that comes between now and Christmas.

Decorating way before Christmas is not a bad thing; it is just slightly annoying when there are other big holidays that occur before December even starts. 

To me, winter does not really start until December does, so decorating before November ends still seems a bit early to be busting out the Christmas tree and lights and playing carols on the radio. 

I can understand decorating a few days after Thanksgiving, but decorating before the holiday is just a little extreme since Thanksgiving is a fall holiday and having Christmas decorations out does not fit very well with the fall feeling of the holiday.

Decorating for a holiday during a different holiday season makes no sense. I understand being excited for a holiday, but there is no reason to not be just as excited for Thanksgiving and to decorate for that or for fall just in general. 

Premature decorating is not cool, and it is honestly time to put a stop to it and to just enjoy the turkey and the pie, as well as to plan out your Black Friday shopping to prepare for Christmas instead of going through the hassle of untangling the Christmas lights while it is still the fall season. 

“Grease” performance, pleasure to watch

By Kendall Cole

Reporter

The Angelina College departments of theatre and music performed “Grease” the musical, and it was fun, upbeat, and a pleasure to watch.

I have not seen the original “Grease” movie, but I loved the AC version of the play. I am very glad I had the opportunity to see it opening night on Nov. 14. The audience, which was a full house, also seemed to enjoy the whole performance. I heard much laughter and applause throughout the show with cheering when it was over. I could hear people raving in the crowds about everyone’s performances as I was leaving the building.

Everyone’s acting in the play was great, and it was nice to see a few familiar faces again, especially when I knew they would put on a wonderful performance just as they had previous times when performing. Everyone put on unique performances that I would have loved seeing again had I been able to make it to another performance. 

Each main cast member had good dynamics with each other even if the characters were not supposed to get along in a certain scene. The characters put much emotion and feeling into their parts and I applaud each cast member for their performances. 

The set was one of my favorite parts of the play. It was not too extravagant, and it seemed easy to take down for scene changes because the audience did not have to wait long for the next scene to start. The production crew did reuse a few parts for other moments in the play, but it worked out because the audience did not have too many props to focus on and the audience was not distracted by big, flashy set pieces. 

One could easily tell what the setting was supposed to be. The backdrop that they used for the diner was beautiful and was my favorite set piece. The design was well done and really reminded me of the 1950s. 

The transitions between scenes were smooth and quick but also pleasant because the orchestra continued playing music while we waited. 

The opening number of the play immediately had me excited for the rest of the play. It was full of excitement and energy, and everyone had great voices that I loved hearing throughout the play. 

The music was beautiful, and I loved the fact that it was live music and not recordings. It was a nice touch, and the orchestra did an amazing job during the entire play. 

My favorite musical number was “Summer Nights,” performed by Raquel Rothschild as Sandy Dumbrowski, Jordan Dietz as Danny Zuko along with the Pink Ladies and the Burger Palace Boys. There was so much emotion put into the performance, and it was upbeat and beautiful to listen to. 

My favorite character from the play was Doody, played by Colin Wise, a recruiter for AC and former AC singer. He was hilarious, upbeat and had a wonderful singing voice that I wish I could have heard more of. It was fun watching him interact with the other characters, especially when he was in the background or leaving the scene with the rest of the Burger Palace Boys. Colin had so much energy, and it was easy to tell he was having a good time on stage. I would love to see him perform again if given the opportunity.

The only issue I had with anything regarding the play would be having issues hearing some of the actors a few times, even sitting in the third row, but it was not too bad. Aside from that, I loved everything else about the play.

I would highly recommend seeing any AC theatre performance. I have yet to be disappointed by one, and anyone who goes to see one is in for a good time. 

Raquel Rothschild, left, and Jordan Dietz, right, dance the night away during the AC theatre department’s production of “Grease” the musical.