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Joke of the Issue: How do you make a tissue dance? Put a little boogie in it. (Provided by Hunter Flamm)

Wacky Pets!

By Sara S.

February, 2021

 

There are all manners of different pets around the globe, no matter how common or uncommon. There is everything from alligators to pigeons, all beloved by their owners. Each animal is certainly unique and interesting- if not a little strange! But here are three wacky pets from around the globe that might surprise you. 

The Capybara 

Capybaras are originally from Australia and are the physically largest species of rodent in the world, weighing up to 140 lbs.  They look like excessively large guinea pigs, and many people find them cute.  

Capybaras are very social animals. In the wild, they live in packs and communicate with squeaks, the same way guinea pigs do. Because they are very social animals, they do not do well on their own. As a result, owners usually make sure they have at least two capybaras to keep each other company.    

They are also semi-aquatic and enjoy to swim, so owners also usually make sure to have a place where they can swim.  

Even though they are fun and unique pets, there’s a lot of disagreement over whether they should even be pets. For example, it is legal to own a Capybara in some states, like Texas and Pennsylvania.  Yet, it is illegal to own one in other states, such as Georgia and California. In the United Kingdom, it is legal, but owners must have a special permit. Luckily for us, we live in New York, where capybaras are legal.  So, if you want a fun new petconsider getting a capybara! (Although you probably won’t find them in Petco!) 

 

The Alpaca 

Having a pet alpaca is a trend from Peru. In fact, 90% of the world’s alpacas live there! Most people keep them as pets but can profit from them as well. The fur on an alpaca can be made into wool, similar to what you get from a sheep. Alpacas are intelligent and easy to train. One dog trainer even taught his alpaca to surf! 

People who keep alpacas usually keep them in a barn, not in their house. The alpacas like to be able to roam during the day, and they also enjoy having another species member for company.  

Alpacas are herbivores, meaning that they only eat plants. Their diet consists of mainly grasses. You can have two to eight alpacas on one acre of land depending on the terrain and resources available to them. So, they are relatively easy to keep if you live in a rural area. In fact there are people in this school district who own one!  

In conclusion, alpacas are smart, easy to train pets. They are easy to keep if you have the proper space and resources. So next time you’re in the mood for an exotic pet, find some alpacas. 

 

Servals 

Of all the exotic pets, the serval is one of the coolest because it seems the most wild and dangerous. 

A serval is a wild cat from Africa that resembles a small cheetah but can be kept as a house pet. As servals are technically a wild species, owning one is definitely not for just any pet owner. Servals are intelligent, but can be difficult to train because of their wild instincts. In fact, it is so wild that it is only legal to own a serval in half of the states in the United States. Sorry, this doesn’t include New York. 

In the wild, servals eat rodents, frogs, insects, birds and reptiles. Servals at home still prefer live meat, but most owners feed them a mixture of raw meat and cat food. Diets vary as the serval grows and gets older, but it certainly is unique! 

Like regular cats, servals can be trained to use a litter box, but they do need special habitats to live in. They need a place where they can climb and have space to run around in.  

Owning a serval is very expensive due to its dietary and habitat needs. If you are thinking about getting one, be sure to save up and be careful (also move out of New York)! 

 

All three of these pets are very unique and are beloved by their owners. The capybara is large and affectionate, the alpaca can generate income and is highly intelligent, and servals are the most exotic wild cats you can own. Which is your favorite? Would you consider getting one? 

REVIEW: Laura Marx Fitzgerald’s The Gallery

By Miriam W.

February, 2021

 

One of the most enjoyable things about reading a book, besides enjoying a great story, is that it can engage the reader in topic about which they do not already know a lot. Throughout Laura Marx Fitzgerald’s The Gallery, readers will be kept on the edge of their seats as they are taken into a mysterious world of wealth and art But it also becomes a great opportunity for readers to learn about art and art history.   

Martha is a 12-year-old girl who has taken a job at the Sewell Mansiona giant estate filled with many works of art and where she will work alongside her mother as a domestic servant Martha assumes that it will be a regular job, but soon realizes something is not quite right about the mansion owner and the rest of the staff One of the scenes that gets Martha thinking is when she learns about a member of the Sewell family named Rose.  Rose never leaves her room, and Martha is told that she is not allowed to enter the bedroom, herself, even though her mother is.  Martha ponders over why Rose stays in her room. Is she being forced to? Is she afraid of the outside world? Both? Or is Martha letting her imagination get the best of her? Throughout the novel, Martha spends time snooping around trying to find out what is going on and also begins to wonder if her mother might be withholding crucial information from her. 

The mansion is filled with artwork, and the artwork plays a prominent role in the telling of the novel, both in the narrative and as a metaphor for the characters. Like paintings have both a text (what you see) and a subtext (its connotational meaning) so do the character and the circumstances of the story.  And trying to interpret what is really going on in this household is very much like trying to figure out what is going on in a painting. 

Though this novel takes place mostly in 1928, the story is still very much alive and engaging, and it will sweep readers into Martha’s exciting adventure. So, if you are looking for a new book to read and want something that will keep you thinking long after you have finished, it this is a great option to consider.                                       

Vice President Kamala Harris

By Nonie W.

February, 2021

 

On January 20, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were inaugurated into the presidency and vice presidency, making Kamala Harris the first mixed-raced, female vice president in U.S. history. The Purple Press decided to learn some of the details about her.  How was she raised? What did she do before becoming our new vice president?  And how will her rolas vice president be a unique one 

Kamala Harris grew up in Oakland California, the daughter of immigrants, a Jamaican father and Indian mother.  Her mother had a great influence on her, saying things like, “Don’t sit around and complain about things, do something,” and “You may be the first to do many things, but make sure you’re not the last.”  Her mother's words inspired her to be the activist she becameFurthermore, after her parents divorced when she was seven years old, the experience of being raised by a single mother gave her the confidence as a woman to keep trying her hardest and thbelief that she could do anything put her mind to 

Before being elected, she had very impressive career.  In 2010, she became attorney general of California, where she fought for marriage equality and helped more than 84,000 families in California with housing.  In 2016, she became the second Black woman and the first South-Asian American ever elected to the United States Senate.   As senator for California, Harris supported the Affordable Care Act and the Black Lives Matter campaign, as well as worked to curb climate change.   

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of 2019, she announced that she was running for president of the United States.  Although she lost the race to become the Democratic candidate to former vice president Joe Biden, she was eventually picked by Biden to be his vice-presidential running mate, and in November of 2020, they both won. 

But her role as vice president will be a unique one.  First, because the vice president is the constitutional tiebreaker if the Senate is ever deadlocked, and because the Senate is currently split 50/50 between Democrats and Republicansshe may often be the deciding vote in the Senate.   Also, being a woman of Jamaican and Indian heritage is a very special part of her being elected.  Every other vice-president has been a white man.  Her election broke both a gender and race barrier, and for the first time Americans will see a non-White woman in this powerful government position.   Furthermore, she very well could be the Democratic presidential candidate in 2024, and if she wins, that will break yet another barrier! 

We welcome Kamala Harris as the new Vice President of the United States of America! 

Procrastination

By Nonie Whelan

February, 2021

 

I was going to write an article about procrastination

Scams and How to Avoid Them

By Chloe Z.

June, 2020

In the early 1900s, an ad appeared in an American newspaper, saying that Prince Bil Morrison of Nigeria wanted some American pen pals. Many people thought, “Why not?” and began to send letters to the prince.  One day, however, the prince asked for four dollars and a pair of pants from each of his pen pals in exchange for ivory, diamonds, and emeralds. People immediately started shipping these materials to the prince, hoping to become rich.  But no one ever received any of the promised wealth.  Complaints were sent to the post office, and the police eventually were able to track down the “prince,” only to discover that Bil Morrison was just a fourteen-year-old American boy.  

What this kid did is called a scam. A scam is something that people set up in hopes of earning someone’s trust in order to trick them into giving away something of value, usually money. In the 1800s and early 1900s, most scammers used newspapers to find victims.  But more recently they have been relying more on new technologies, particularly the Internet.  In fact, 98% of scams nowadays are attempted on the Internet. 

 

So, how do these scams work?  There are many different types of scams lurking around on the Internet, but among them, these are the some of the most common ones.  

 

Ransomware 

In this case scammers hack into your device or account and load a program on to your computer that takes away your access to your own files.  The hackers then demand that you send them money if you want them to give you the password that lets you get access to your files again. 

 

Impersonator Scams 

This when the scammers set up a fake on-line profile and try to meet you and become your friend. Once they have gained your trust, they pretend that something has happened to them and ask to “borrow” money from you.  For example, they might say that they are stuck in a foreign country and cannot afford a ticket home until you’ve sent them some money.  Since they have been able to get you to care about them, they are hoping you will help them in the hour of need. 

 

Phishing 

In this case you might get contacted by a scammer that pretends to be from a reputable organization requesting sensitive personal information that they can then use to rob you.  For example, you might receive an email from a "Microsoft employee" warning you that your computer has been hacked and that they are reaching out to help.  They then try to convince you to download an “anti-virus software” that is really a hacking virus that allows them to steal your sensitive personal information.   

 

How To Avoid Scams

The best way to avoid being scammed is to be skeptical – assume it’s a scam until you’ve proven it is not.  Ask yourself, “Who sent this message?” If you know the person who sent you an e-mail requesting money, contact that person in real life so that you can verify it was them.  If, in fact, this person that you know and trust in real life is asking you for your personal information through the Internet rather than asking you in person, give them the information they need in real life. If they didn’t send it, then someone has probably hacked into their account, and they will be grateful that you have made them aware of it. 

Likewise, if it’s an organization that emails you, and you are suspicious that it is a scam, you should only respond to them through the official customer service email address or phone number found on their official webpage.  If you can confirm it was them that requested the information, you can give them the information over the official e-mail or their official phone number.   

If you’re suspicious that something is a scam, you should report the scam to the company so that they can resolve the issue. However, if the situation worsens, you should report it to a local police department or federal enforcement agencies. 

 

Although scams are scary, you can stay safe if you know how to recognize them. In the early 1900s, people did not know much about scams, and scams like the Nigerian prince scam flourished. Now that we know more about scams, it is easier to recognize and avoid them. The next time you find a suspicious email, make sure you don’t send anything to a “prince” of Nigeria.  

The Online Shopping Takeover

By Sara S.

June, 2020

Have you noticed that recently more and more businesses have closed? Have you ever guessed why businesses are closing? One factor is online shopping. It has taken over much of modern-day shopping and is rapidly growing.  

Online shopping popularity has been rising ever since it began in the early 1990’s, when people started getting access to the Internet. But because Internet speeds were very slow, nobody really used it then.  As Internet speeds increased, however, and more people gained access to the Internet, online shopping really started to take off.  

Of all the early online businesses the most popular two were Amazon and eBay.  Amazon, though it started as only an online bookstore, has become one of the largest online retailers in the world. It is so successful that the founder of Amazon makes $78,500,000,000 a year. On the other hand, eBay really got online person-to-person selling going with its auction services. This was especially beloved by collectors of items that one seldom saw in stores.  

At first people were afraid of online shopping because people were afraid of their accounts getting hacked or getting their credit card information stolen. But as new security has been put into place, people have embraced online shopping. E-commerce has significantly grown over the past twenty years, starting at 0.8% of retail sales in 2000 and reaching 10.5% in present day 2020.   

This growth in E-commerce, however, is not benefitting brick-and-mortar stores and is causing some of these stores to go out of business.  And it’s getting worse every year.   According to businessinsider.com, in 2019 alone, about 9,300 retail stores have closed, an increase from the 5,994 businesses that had already closed in 2018. This is an unusual jump to occur in the period of just one year, and one obvious factor in this increase is the growing use of online shopping.    

E-commerce is also affecting us socially, particularly kids and teens everywhere, who are no longer getting the same experiences as their parents did. For example, if you ask your parents if they ever went to the mall with friends when they were young, they will most likely say "Yes." This is one experience that most adults once experienced, but most of today's kids will not. Because of online shopping, kids just buy anything they want online. This means kids are not having the same fun experiences as their parents did when they actually went shopping to get things.  

In conclusion, online shopping was unpopular to begin with, but is now spreading and endangering the future of brick-and-mortar stores.  Unfortunately, brick-and-mortar stores have become even more susceptible as the 2020 pandemic has shifted even more commerce away to online retailers.  So, if people still want to have downtowns with cute little shops, like Katonah, then they are going to have to go out of their way to support them.  Because if no one buys from them, they will go out of business, and towns like Katonah will no longer be the same.

 

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