City News
Traveler’s Guide to the Orange Line
Have you ever asked yourself: what is Oak Grove? What’s at Forest Hills besides more trains? Questions like these probably surround young travelers who are just trying to go from Point A to Point B. What if we told you, you could slow down and take in the area around each stop?
Yes that’s right, there is actually stuff around Forest Hills besides countless bus stops and train tracks. Please continue reading to get ‘The Traveler's Guide to the Orange Line’, one of the MBTA’s most traveled lines.
1. Forest Hills to Roxbury Crossing
Let’s start with the southernmost stops which includes: Forest Hills, Green Street, Stony Brook, Jackson Square and Roxbury Crossing. Honestly the best thing Forest Hills has to offer is its connections. Forest Hills has more bus connections than any other Orange Line stop and it also connects to the Commuter Rail. Forest Hills is also directly connected to the Arnold Arboretum, a beautiful park that is home to various types of plants and a great place to visit with friends or family. If you are looking for something to eat around Forest Hills, Mike’s Donut Shop sells breakfast and is located right in the station. On the street, the Oriental House provides Chinese food and Achilito’s Taqueria provides Mexican food. 
Green Street and Stony Brook are only a short trip away from Forest Hills and much of the same pros and cons apply in terms of connections. The Green Street stop leaves you within walking distance of Centre Street which is home to good ol’ J.P. Licks. 
Jackson Square is at the intersection of Centre Street and Columbus Ave, making it a traffic hellzone. Despite this, Jackson Square not only provides access to il Panino Cafe and Grill, but also a shopping center further down Centre Street. 
2. Ruggles to Tufts Medical Center
Jumping over to Ruggles, you can expect to see a Forest Hills-looking station, with Ruggles also being surrounded by large new developments and a whole bunch of bus connections. If you are really hungry and find yourself at Ruggles or Back Bay all hope isn’t completely lost. Back Bay is in the heart of Boston’s South End, which is highly populated by restaurants and tiny shops. My personal favorite coffee shop, Pavement Cafe, has a location on Newbury Street. The rest of the businesses are really nice restaurants and bakeries. Your wallet might hurt a bit after but at least your stomach won’t.
Just looking to have fun? Ruggles is right near the Emerald Necklace, a large, expansive, skinny strip of green that is a pretty nice bike ride or walk. If you're in the Tufts area, the Boston Public Gardens and Boston Common are only a short walk away. Weekends can be hectic with an influx of tourists but generally these places are definitely on the bucket list of places to go in Boston.
3. Chinatown to North Station
Our third section brings us from Chinatown all the way to North Station, the heart of Boston. This is a pretty expansive area, teeming with history, fashion, culture, cuisine, shops and entertainment. From Chinatown, not only can you explore the Chinese-owned and inspired restaurants and shops, but you can also easily access the Boston Common, including Frog Pond, the Swan Boats and the Public Garden. 
Next up is Downtown Crossing, which immediately surrounds you with mega stores such as Macy’s, Primark, T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Old Navy. It also connects to the Red Line, the only stop on the Orange Line to do so. Downtown Crossing is super close to Escape the Room Boston, which is self explanatory so check it out! 
Right after Downtown Crossing is State Street which is close to the Old South Meeting House, a staple in Boston's history. State is the only Orange Line stop that connects to the Blue Line. Haymarket is situated right across the street from City Hall and also right next to, you guessed it, the Boston Public Market. The Public Market is chock full of organic, local individual businesses that put great care into their work. From seafood to apple cider, there is something for everyone at the BPM. 
Our last stop in this section is North Station. While Haymarket makes room for plenty of bus lines, North Station houses four Commuter Rail lines and just like Haymarket, it houses two Green Line tracks. North Station has what scientists call “superior position” as it is on the edge of the city, making it a great place to start any commute. Of course one of the biggest draws of North Station has to be TD Garden, the home of the Bruins and Celtics. If you can snag a ticket, go! Finally, North Station is located in the North End, obviously well known for its Italian influence and the delicious food!
4. Community College to Oak Grove
What lies beyond North Station is a mystery to many Bostonian travelers. Few riders of the Orange Line have ever been to Oak Grove, and if so, definitely not frequently. Well, we decided to take the plunge and go all the way from Forest Hills to Oak Grove. Having gone the whole way we can say for a fact that there is very little to do at Oak Grove. If you want to head in that direction looking for something to do, definitely stop at Malden Center instead where there is a lot to do. Before we get to our experience in Malden, the stops in between need to be covered.
Wellington and Assembly are on opposite sides of the Mystic River. Wellington is an important station as it is the repair hub of the Orange Line, making it one of the larger stations. Assembly is home to the noteworthy Assembly Row, sprawling across 45 acres of shops, restaurants, and other entertainment locations. Some notable mentions include the AMC, Legoland, Mike’s Pastry, Banana Republic and Lucky Strike Social, a cool arcade and bowling alley. Sullivan Square is another stop worth mentioning due to its proximity to Assembly Row and its own row of local shops. 
Going north into Malden there is lots more to do. We encountered the Wanyoo eSports Center, a gaming cafe funded by a Chinese gaming company. You pay a certain amount of dollars per hour of play. We had lots of fun with the racing simulator and the virtual reality setup. We were also given a quick tour of the facilities. The cafe is equipped with high quality gaming equipment and has multiple private rooms for private parties. There is also a menu of Asian imported cuisine. Speaking of which, Asian cuisine dominates downtown Malden, giving you plenty of delicious options. 
The Orange Line is one of the busiest lines in Boston and rightfully so. There are tons of great places to check out and you are truly missing out of what makes this city so great if you're not getting out there. 
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National News
Caucus Conundrum: The Ballad of the Iowa Ballot
On a drab winter day in the 56,000-square-mile cornfield colloquially known as the state of Iowa, the Democratic Party took its biggest “L” since that time they lost to George W. Bush twice. The Iowa Caucus, the first in a long line of mini-elections staged by the Democratic Party to select a candidate for president, would end with intense scrutiny on the Hawkeye state (yes, like the worst Avenger). 
The Iowa caucus works by having residents report to their assigned voter precinct. In the same manner of voting used to decide the prize pig of the county fair, voters are sent to sections of the room meant to represent their preferred candidate. A headcount is taken and the candidates with less than 15% of the vote are removed from that poll site. The process repeats until a winner is decided. In between rounds, supporters of other candidates are allowed to run over and try to persuade losing sides to their own. 

This year, in an effort to modernize the proceeding,s an app was brought on to streamline the vote. Rather than the glorified game of red rover that's been historically played, the app would count votes automatically. However, the app did not modernize a tradition as old as the state itself; instead, the country was collectively reminded why we vote on paper ballots.
The cause of Iowa's fiasco is mainly attributed to the voting software. The developer of the app, Shadow, is a for-profit tech start-up hired by the Democratic National Committee to produce the app. And yes it’s called Shadow and it’s not suspicious in any way whatsoever. Either:
A) The pollsters were unable to work the app 
B) Shadow made an app that fundamentally did not work
C) Both
If you're too cynical, too invested or just inclined to pick C in all cases, you would be correct. Thanks to a slew of coding errors, a lack of stress testing and poll officials who were both uninformed of the change and unfamiliar with the tech, interpreting the data quickly became impossible.
As Shadow’s CEO Gerard Niemira put it in a statement: “As the Iowa Democratic Party has confirmed, the underlying data and collection process via Shadow’s mobile caucus app was sound and accurate, but our process to transmit that caucus results data generated via the app to the IDP was not.” Essentially, he suggested that the app worked fine but the results got lost in the mail.
This point is contrasted by takes from critics. “I would say this company failed, not technology failed, Jason Erickson, chief operating officer at ThinkSpace IT, told CNN. “Everything had a single point of failure … our phone solution is not only on redundant servers but at redundant data centers across the U.S.”
In case you’re not big on tech, Erickson is saying that this was not a glitch in the matrix but willing incompetence on behalf of Shadow which has drawn scrutiny and even talk of a rigged system from critics.
It wouldn’t be until February 20, more than two weeks after the caucus, that CNN dropped the final results with former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg taking a slight .1% lead over Bernie Sanders. However, Buttigieg’s team, which has since dropped out from the race, shot out an ever ominous tweet that “Tonight, Iowa chose a new path. #IowaCaucuses,” when only three percent of polls were reporting back mere hours after the caucuses started.
A 2020 candidate saying something out of turn is hardly news, but what makes things especially interesting is Buttigieg’s established relationship to Shadow.  Last September, the Buttigieg campaign paid $21,250 to Shadow for “software rights and subscriptions.” What does that mean? Great question! One we do not and probably will not get a satisfactory answer to.
So what does any of this mean? For Iowa, its 2020 elections should not be done via red rover. For the Democratic Party, maybe make sure your tech actually works before you kick off the most important election of the century with a strong reminder of both how inept our elected officials can be and the ever-present shadow of big tech completely fumbling our information. 
It is imperative that we continue to hold accountable the people we’re relying on to bring about much-needed change. If the Dems can't even count votes without a state’s worth of infrastructure falling apart, how are they going to win in November? Furthermore, we need to take a closer look as to how votes are counted as, while it does seem more efficient, events have proven that maybe pen and paper is the way to go.
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National News
Immigrants don’t ‘steal jobs’ and that rhetoric is dangerous
Immigration in the United States has a long history. Most immigrants come to the U.S. for the “American dream” because they think they’ll have more opportunities here than they did in their own country. However, it's very hard to be an immigrant in the U.S. because you are constantly being treated horribly. Some racist Americans call immigrants lazy and say that they steal their jobs`, and they should go back to their country. But that’s not actually true.
Americans have been more openly stating their opinion on this starting back in 2016 when Donald Trump was elected into office. Trump seems to really hate immigrants and has called them rapists, drug dealers and other hurtful insults. These insults and accusations are especially directed at immigrants from Latin America. This is relevant because in Boston there are a lot of immigrants. According to a City of Boston demographic report, Massachusetts has the 7th largest immigrant population with a total of 772,983 immigrants that make up 12.2% of the state’s population. 
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, immigrants do not take away jobs from American workers. Instead, they create new jobs by forming businesses. In Boston, there are a lot of Dominican, Puerto Rican, Cuban and Jamaican restaurants. Everywhere I turn, I see a restaurant run by an immigrant family. Immigrants put their blood, sweat and tears into businesses to share their culture and work hard so that they are able to feed their families. Instead of blaming other people for your nation's problems, focus on fixing the problems.
Immigrants come to the U.S. for better lives. They don’t have as many opportunities in their home country to help their family, so they come to the U.S. and try to build new lives here. As Brookings Senior Fellow Vanda Felbab-Brown explains, “Undocumented workers often work the unpleasant, back-breaking jobs that native-born workers are not willing to do.” 
Immigrants will take any opportunity they can to better their lives. If Americans aren’t taking the jobs, who will? Immigrants usually take jobs that Americans are too lazy to do like working in factories, or in construction.  
Everyday immigrants are treated poorly because of their race, class and citizenship status. They are treated poorly for being a normal human being. Americans should not be putting down other people who are different from them. Immigrants are just trying to live a regular life like you. Should they be dragged down and blamed for your problems because they’re different?
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National News
Americans should celebrate Indigenous culture in October instead of Christopher Colombus
We are all homo sapiens right? Correct! We, as human beings, have evolved all over the world with our own many cultures and manners of speaking over many thousands of years. The United States has been a country for almost 250 years, but the people and land that we live on has been around for much longer. No single culture or person deserves complete credit for “discovering” the United States as we know it, because people have been living here for thousands of years. Christopher Columbus had no right to try to “give” indigenous people culture — they already had one. 

Columbus was an Italian explorer who set sail in 1492, looking to find a shorter route to India. Instead, he accidentally landed in North America, which he began to colonize. Since the local culture did not perfectly align with European ideas of advancement, Columbus and other colonists thought they were doing indigenous people a favor by forcing their own ideas upon them. This, in effect, destroyed the local culture that already existed. Columbus had no right to invade someone else’s land, take advantage of people and resources and force his own culture onto others. If he really wanted to help, he could have found a way to do so that didn’t completely dehumanize everyone living there already.
Given that Christopher Columbus was a greedy abuser who used inhumane treatment to extend his power, we should not honor him with a holiday. It makes no sense to celebrate a man who forced people into physical and sexual slavery and separated families. Instead, the second Monday in October should be recognized as Indigenous Peoples’ Day to honor and commemorate the Native American peoples and cultures who existed in the U.S. long before Columbus. 
Although Columbus initially sought trade with local populations, he quickly began to take advantage. He saw that the indigenous people worked hard, and they were knowledgeable about the local environment. As a result, Columbus maliciously decided to use and exploit them for personal gain. Noted Spanish historian and Catholic priest, Bartoleme de las Casas, transcribed his accounts of inhumane acts committed by Columbus in his “History of the Indies” writings. His writings have resurfaced in recent articles that condemned the celebration of Columbus Day in the United States.
According to the Huffington Post, Columbus abused local people physically and emotionally, ultimately enslaving many of them. Girls as young as nine were forced into sexual slavery and were considered desireable by European colonists. Philadelphia Magazine reports that Columbus brought weaponry and attack dogs in his travels to the “New World.” If Native Americans tried to escape captivity, he would send his dogs after them. If the dogs were hungry and they ran out of meat, he would reportedly use stolen Arawak babies as food.
These committed atrocities were not widely known by much of society when Columbus Day began to take hold as a national holiday. According to CNN, Tammany Hall first recognized Columbus as a heroic figure in 1792, 300 years after Columbus landed in North America. President Benjamin Harrison suggested the idea for a Columbus Day holiday a century later in 1892 and Columbus Day ultimately became a legal federal holiday in 1971. 
Those who decided to implement the holiday wanted someone for their children to look up to, and apparently Columbus was the only person they could come up with. Even though he is often credited for discovering America, Columbus was only one of many explorers to “discover” North America. Leif Erikson, a Norse explorer from Iceland is the first non-native person to have arrived in North America around 500 years before the time of Columbus. Not only that, Columbus never set foot in America, he landed in what he called the “West Indies,” known today as the Bahamas.

Around the country, advocacy groups are working to see Indigenous Peoples’ Day officially recognized as a holiday instead of Columbus Day. Since 2016, the cities of Cambridge and Somerville have officially celebrated Indigenous Peoples Day according to their websites. The holiday allows for the local Indigenous communities to not only celebrate their culture together, but also to hold events where they can educate the public about the actual history of their community and gather with other Native Americans. People in these communities can share perspectives with each other, mourn the tragedies and celebrate their shared progress and successes with people who understand their collective experience. 
The Indigenous Peoples’ holiday itself can act as a celebration and a safe haven for a deserving community that has been marginalized for hundreds of years. I support Indigenous Peoples’ Day because I believe Columbus deserves no recognition as a hero after treating Native Americans so poorly, and a holiday for him degrades their worth. I hope others spread the word and take a stand to reject Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
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National News
Renting vs. Buying: a guide to understanding how to pay for a home
When considering housing, there are two different routes people can take: renting or  buying. Many people will argue that buying is better than renting because it's a good investment and that buying allows for more financial freedom. Similarly, for people who rent, they'll say that there's more mobility with renting than buying, because depending on the lease, you may be able to leave if you need to. These are all very important considerations to take when deciding on a new home, but there's more you and your parents should know about renting and buying before choosing which option is best for you. 
When you rent, the landlord has to make sure the property is safe and sanitary. But, if you break or damage anything in the property the landlord has to fix it, but you have to deal with the bill for that broken object. On the plus side, you can distribute your money to other investments like in stocks or in anything else because you won't be wasting all of your money on a mortgage from your house. But, a problem with renting is the cost. According to Rent Jungle, in Boston the average rent in 2020 is $3,472 for a 2 bedroom apartment, while, in Manchester, NH in 2020, the average rent is $1,317 for a 2 bedroom apartment. Where you rent also depends on the city. Some people might say to renters that you’re throwing away money on rent to some landlord. But isn’t that better than paying a mortgage to some bank?
Owning a house comes with a lot of responsibilities, because you have to deal with whatever breaks or gets damaged in the house. And if you don't pay your bills on time, the bank could foreclose on you, and you could eventually get kicked out of your house and be on the streets. On the plus side, you'll have a mortgage deduction. In Boston a mortgage is 100% tax deductible, and Mass Real Estate says that you can exclude up to $250,000 as a single flier and if you're married, you can exclude up to $500,000.  
What this means is that whatever extra money you paid on your house you can take out to put into your pocket. 
At the end of the day, you should make sure you know all the considerations before making your final decision, because this will be the biggest financial decision of your life. And you have to make sure if you plan to move to larger cities to do a lot of research to know which option works best for you and your budget so you won't end up in financial debt and unhappy with your living conditions. You should also talk to a banker not a real estate agent because they know the amount of money you have and they can give you all the information you need to make the best choice.  
In the end, it’s your choice whether to rent or buy, but make sure to see if it's in your budget and it’s in a location that works for you. 
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