Every year, students are chosen from around the United States to compete in the nation’s top tier science and math contest. This year, 30 students were chosen from only 14 states, and Washington County’s own high school student in Beaverton is one of them.
Pratik Vangal is a freshmen at Sunset High, but in the eighth-grade at Stoller Middle School, he invented a solution for poor air quality after observing in Bangalore, India at his grandparent’s home the difficult situations many families undergo due to poor ventilation and fires created from wood and trash.
The ventilation system is made out of solar wafers and small desktop computer fans and costs merely $5 per system. When it is wired to the sides of the home, it can clear the air in as short as a minute. Vangal won first place for his fan at the Intel Northwest Science Expo at Portland State University, and it was at this expo that he learned about the prestigious competition.
The competition runs from last Friday through Tuesday and will take into consideration the students’ projects that they will present as well as various scientific and mathematical challenges to test their reasoning and leadership. Winners will be announced this Wednesday.
Read more about Vangal’s project as well as the competition here.
“This case is about a doctor who killed babies and endangered women. What we mean is that he regularly and illegally delivered live, viable babies in the third trimester of pregnancy — and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors. The medical practice by which he carried out this business was a filthy fraud in which he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels — and, on at least two occasions, caused their deaths. Over the years, many people came to know that something was going on here. But no one put a stop to it.”
This excerpt is from the grand jury report for the trial of Gosnell and his constituents, who were found guilty of first-degree murder of newborns as well as two mothers. In what could characterize a serial killer documentary, the report describes how the police walked into a horror site: cat urine, trash scattered everywhere, unsanitized instruments, and most shockingly, newborn feet kept in jars. The trial, in 2011, should have received national coverage, but due to its controversial nature on abortion, it was ignored by many in the press.
Fast foward to October 12, 2018, when the new movie, Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer, will be released to the public. The movie is based on the research and book of Ann McElhinney, who also drafted the script for the movie along with fellow producer, Phelim McAleer. Both were moved to change their positions on abortion after uncovering the details of Gosnell’s abortion clinic and case. Ann McElhinney states this clearly in her book:
“Reading the testimony and sifting through the evidence in Gosnell’s case, in the research for my book and for writing the script of the movie, has been brutal. I have at times wept at my computer. I have found myself praying the Our Father sitting at my desk when I hadn’t prayed in years. At times when I was confronted with the worst of this story I didn’t know what else to do. I have had a profound sense of the presence of evil in the actions of Gosnell and his staff, and their complete lack of conscience.”
After being released on October 12th, it is receiving widespread attention from conservative and liberal media alike, giving it the attention it deserved seven years ago at the trial. Reviewers are applauding its portrayal of Gosnell’s horror house, describing the movie’s banal depiction of evil as chilling and incredibly moving. One reviewer, Rebecca Hagelin, with the Washington Times stated in her review, “The filmmakers created a brilliant work that shows no graphic details or gore, but simply presents the powerful reality of abortion as described by abortion providers and crime investigators in their actual court testimony.”
Another reviewer, Mike McGranaghan, stated in his review, “On the whole, Gosnell is a well-acted and compelling courtroom drama. Women suffered greatly under Kermit Gosnell’s “care,” as did babies who emerged alive. The story of what he did is, irrespective of the national debate on abortion, important to have told. The film tells that story passionately and with feeling.”
Go see Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer in select theaters October 12th. Check out the official Gosnell movie website for more information.
Annually, TriMet uses an estimated 6 million gallons of diesel fuel every year in the Portland area, resulting in around 57,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air, and while riders who opt for transit instead of cars do help lower the amount of pollution, the agency admits this is still far from ideal.
TriMet’s executive director of public affairs, Bernie Bottomly, commented in an interview with The Oregonion, “We want to make an effort to move in this direction and address what is a gigantic issue around climate change.”
As such, the plan to cut back on diesel fuel was suggested as a long-term solution. The agency stated that new single battery-electric buses are being tested with a 2016 federal grant, and they are hoping to order 80 new battery-electric buses over the course of five years using $53 million allotted to TriMet in the 2017 statewide transportation package. But with battery-electric buses still in testing, TriMet is not sure if battery power is the long-term solution and is still searching for other alternative fuels, like hydrogen.
This year, the agency will discuss future sources of funds for the project, one possible proposal is to introduce a carbon-pricing bill in 2019.
Local veteran, Charles Patrick, is a Purple Heart recipient who served in the Oregon Army National Guard for nearly six years. While deployed in Afghanistan in 2010, Charles hit an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) and suffered severe back problems that would lead to several surgeries and rehabilitation.
This Saturday, Charles received a special gift from the “Military Warriors Support Foundation” for his service: a new home in Jefferson that was mortgage-free along with a financial advisor for the next three years, all to help him adjust to civilian life and thrive as a honored veteran. Patrick aspires to attend Oregon State University to learn engineering.
In an interview with KATU2, Patrick stated, “Not only do I get a chance to have a house, but to really have a home. It’s crazy, and it’s just such an honor and it’s amazing. Luckily I don’t have to worry about buying the house, it’s just able to be provided. And like I said, it’s going to be life-alerting in a massively great way.”
Lear more about Patrick’s gift by watching the interview on KATU2.
Multnomah County has been taking multiple measures this past year to challenge the stigma of mental health, and they recently introduced a new initiative that will involve TriMet.
Ads will be placed on the backs of buses, on benches, and at bus stops to share the stories of those struggling with mental illnesses. Leticia Sainz, in an interview with KATU2, explained their reasoning for sharing stories rather than statistics and facts. “Storytelling and stories is the way to change people’s hearts and minds around stigma. . . Our goal is to really tell just a small story about people in our community who have mental health challenges. These are people we all know and love, come from different walks of life.”
While not real people are used in the advertisements, the program made sure to pick images that would relate to the majority of diverse communities in Multnomah County, whether it is different ethnicities, ages, or gender.
Sainz concluded by stating, “We definitely hope that people get another insight into the people around them in our community and how prevalent it is to have people who are struggling with mental health concerns. . .That’s the story we’re telling because that’s the story of mental health in our community.”
Ads are already appearing on the back of buses and more will be revealed in the upcoming months.