Month: January 2013

Early Dismissal

snowflakeearly

Due to predicted severe weather conditions, all Howard County Public Schools will close 1.5 hours early today, January 25.

All aftercare programs, sponsored by the Columbia Association and the Department of Recreation & Parks in Howard County public schools, are canceled. All school-sponsored and community-sponsored events, including high school athletic practices and games scheduled for this evening, are canceled.

Obama Reigns in 2nd Term: Presidential Inauguration

Inauguration-1.24

Words: Charles Regnante, Political Correspondent

On January 21st, President Barack Obama took the ceremonial oath office to begin his second term as the United States President. January 21st also happened to be Martin Luther King Day. The inauguration went as planned with a number of singers such as Kelly Clarkson and Beyoncé performing traditional American songs. Afterwards, the crowds went wild as the president stepped out of his vehicle lined up on Pennsylvania Avenue and waved to the public for a short period of the inaugural parade. The parade didn’t exactly attract the same amount of viewers as it did when Obama was first inaugurated but there was a decent amount. The highlight of the day was the President’s inaugural address, which focused mostly on themes of unity and progress.

President Obama began by reverting back to the nation’s founding, saying that what binds the nation together is not the “colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origin of our names,” but instead the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Coming back to the theme of unity, Obama said that “together” the country has modernized its economy and educational system. He then rearticulated that “together” we discovered that the free market only works when there are “rules to ensure competition and fair play.”

At the end of his speech, Obama stated what he believes is needed to further America’s journey towards its highest ideals. The President stressed equal pay for women, gay rights, voting rights, immigration reform, and higher employment as the keys to the country’s progress. Remarking on the Newtown shootings, Obama stated that, “Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.” The president pledged to further the American journey as part of his oath, and urged all Americans to strive to fulfill the same oath to the flag that is “not so different” from the oath he just took.

Road to the HarBOWL

Harbowl

Words: Kyle Simpson

You know that numb feeling? The one of sheer disbelief? Well that feeling was strong with me on Sunday night as I watched the Baltimore Ravens clinch their first Super Bowl berth in 12 years. Once again, the Ravens pulled off the impossible. They are heading to the Big Easy for one last stop on the final ride of Ray Lewis, thanks to a 28-15 victory over the New England Patriots, logging yet another chapter of this story book season.

The game itself was very entertaining (less intense after the second half, unlike the last outing). Flacco and the offense continued their hot streak notching 28 points (21 of which where in the second half) and picking apart the Patriots offense. Anquan Boldin enjoyed two touchdowns, while Ray Rice and Dennis Pitta both got one a piece. Turns out Justin Tucker’s leg was not needed in the clutch like last week against the Broncos, which I am okay with.

What did this game prove? Flacco has arrived. Let me show you some numbers:

29/54, 320 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions

21/36, 240 yards, 3 touchdowns

The top numbers are the product of future Hall of Famer Tom Brady. The bottom were produced by Joe Flacco.

Would you believe me if I said in week 15 that the Joe Flacco that was laying face-down in the end zone after throwing a pick six would be the same Joe Flacco to out-duel two of football’s best quarterbacks of all time? I would not believe me. I would tell me that I am crazy. So what has happened to turn Joe around? Quite a few things.

First, The Ravens have finally found an offensive line that works, with Bryant McKinnie at left tackle and Michael Oher at right tackle (where he belongs, might I add), giving Flacco much more time to stretch plays and air the ball out more with his strong arm. Second, Joe is a MUCH better post-season quarterback. His levelheaded attitude really pays off in high intensity games when a team needs a level head under the center. And finally: Ray. Lewis.

Lewis told Joe something before the game in Denver. Something that, I think, will change Joe Flacco for good. Ray Lewis told Joe Flacco that he, Joe Flacco, was the general of the Ravens now, and Flacco had to lead the Ravens to victory. A position that Lewis has held for 17 years now rested squarely on the shoulders of the fifth-year player out of Delaware. Lewis commented after the game that he saw something different in Joe’s eyes during the game in Denver. A fire. I saw it too. I saw the same fire Sunday, as he picked apart New England and proved every pundit, analyst, hater and Skip Bayless wrong. He is Baltimore’s quarterback. He deserves a top five spot, and if it takes a Super Bowl ring to prove that that spot is his, then I’m inclined to believe he will get it.

He got the job done last year. He’s getting the job done this year. He has one game left between him, and what he has always deserved: respect.

This brings me back to number 52, Ray Lewis. The last game in his career will be the Super Bowl. Nobody could write a better ending to his storybook career. On his last playoff ride, he has participated in some of the best moments in Raven’s history: A double overtime playoff win and the vengeance upon New England to send the Ravens to their second Super Bowl. He will also never forget the last time he came out dancing into M&T Bank Stadium to the thunderous roar of 70,000 people. Hopefully he will add a Super Bowl win to his list of unbelievable moments on his last playoff ride in two weeks.

We are just under two weeks away from the Super Bowl, and I will have more coverage coming over the next two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl.