Tag: Maddie Wirebach

The Aftermath of the 2018 Ellicott City Flood: Could More Have Been Done?

Words: Maddie Wirebach

It was the one-in-a-thousand event no one expected to happen twice in under two years: the devastating flooding of Old Ellicott City on May 27, 2018 almost exactly 22 months after the July 30, 2016 storm. Stores, memories, history, lives- these were just a few of the things swept away in hours during the powerful storm that Sunday afternoon.

The storm in May brought 7.5” of rain in about five hours, the majority of the rain falling in just 3 hours. It wiped out businesses, destroyed cars, and even washed away 25 feet of Ellicott Mills Drive.

What made this second flood so much more heartbreaking was the fact that dozens of business owners had picked themselves up after the 2016 flood, brushed their hands off, and rebuilt, stronger than ever. Although it was a struggle, they opened up their doors for business and came out not as victims, but survivors, only for the unthinkable to happen a second time.

But when you look a little bit closer, was this second flood really all that unimaginable?

Since the 1800s, Ellicott City has endured six tributary-based floods mainly because of its location at the meeting point of the Tiber-Hudson watershed, where four tributary streams contribute to the Patapsco River. This location, though once ideal for Ellicott City’s original purpose as a mill town, and the development over stream channels has spelled disaster for the 246-year-old town.

Ellicott City lacks a natural floodplain, an area for flood water to run, meaning that man-made channels were created. Over the years, the channels have grown narrower as buildings and facilities have been established on top. At some points the channels make 90-degree turns, which are impossible for rushing flood water to flow through, and ultimately result in the water jumping the turn and flowing down the main street.

On that fateful day in May, the ravaging water ripped through storefronts, destroying anything in sight.

Jeff Braswell, owner of Primitive Beginnings, recounted the terrifying phone call he received about the flooding. At the time of the flood, Braswell was at his children’s swim practice, and rushed downtown when his employee and two customers were stuck in the store.

Primitive Beginnings owner Jeff Braswell carries employee, Samantha Kelley, who was trapped in the flood-wrecked store through rushing water. Photo contributed by Jeff Braswell.

“I actually couldn’t believe it,” Braswell recalled. “No way there would be a 1000 year flood again.”

The 2016 flood caused major setbacks for Braswell’s other company, halting the process of moving into Main Street.

“We were 8 days from moving our other company into town in the Taylor’s building, so the [2016 flood] delayed us from moving in,” described Braswell.

“This time we actually had a retail store completely wrecked. It’s shocking to see everything you worked hard for taken from you.”

Beyond the emotional distress, financial issues surfaced immediately. The most recent flood left Braswell with no choice but to close down Primitive Beginnings’ other location in Fells Point.

Now, county officials have proposed a five-year plan which would see the demolishment of ten buildings on lower Main Street (the area most damaged), the addition of two culverts to redirect water flow, the expansion of the Ellicott Mills culvert, construction of open space on lower Main Street, and the creation of two water retention facilities.

With all of these new plans coming to fruition soon, it’s natural to wonder, was enough done after the 2016 flood?

That question is hard to answer. Efforts were made, undoubtedly, prior to the 2018 flood; however, no one really expected a second “1-in-a-1000” flood to happen in just 22 months after the 2016 storm.

Leading up to the most recent storm, recovery and prevention projects were in progress, including the construction of water retention ponds, according to a statement made by Allan Kittleman, county executive for Howard County, to the Associated Press.

It was clear to Braswell that progress, though slow, was being made.

“I’ve seen a lot of work done in town. [The county] literally just got funding to work on new projects two weeks before this past flood,” commented Braswell.

With weather patterns constantly changing, and the unpredictability of flash flooding in general, it is difficult to judge whether or not enough was done to prevent this most recent flood.

“Change takes time,” said Braswell. “It was changing. We just didn’t move fast enough.”

For more breaking news and photos, follow The Wingspan on Instagram and Twitter @CHSWingspan.

East Coast Prepares for the Wrath of Hurricane Florence

Words: Eliza Andrew

This story has been revised and updated September 14, 2018, 7:04 a.m. to correct the strength of the storm as it makes landfall on the Carolina coast.

After a long summer of record-breaking heat, the east coast prepares to take on Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 storm originating from the lower Atlantic Ocean, just south of Bermuda. Residents of southern states like Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina are strongly advised to evacuate and brace themselves and their homes.

The northern east coast can anticipate heavy rainfall around Tuesday as the storm takes a sharp turn. With the storm expected to make landfall first in North Carolina on Friday, September 14, meteorologists predict the storm will then transition into a Category 1 storm.

As Florence approaches quicker everyday, states in the storm’s direct path like North Carolina and South Carolina, prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.

INTERVIEW: One-on-One with Editor in Chief Meghan Moore

Words: Julia Stitely

As the school year comes to a close, the Journalism team says goodbye to many faces including the Editor-In-Chief, Meghan Moore. The torch is being passed to junior Maddie Wirebach. In this video, Wirebach asks Moore about her experiences in Journalism and her hopes when she leaves.

For more breaking news and photos, follow The Wingspan on Instagram and Twitter @CHSWingspan.

Juniors Suit Up for Practice Interviews

Words: Maddie Wirebach

Photos: Harshitha Sayini

For weeks, juniors have been preparing for a rite of passage: junior interviews. Every year the junior class drafts resumes and dresses up for the mock interviews, a requirement to graduate, in order to prepare for real life interview situations. Originally, the interviews were supposed to be during the last week of March, however due to snow days, they took place this week on April 9 and 10.

The interviewers, typically various community members, sit down with each student and ask them interview-style questions. These questions range from goals and aspirations to favorite books or movies.

During the interview, the interviewer records notes on a feedback paper which is later handed back to the student. The paper covers criteria such as eye contact, sociability, and the quality of the resume.

Many students go into the interviews nervous, so the sense of relief once finished is like no other. To all future juniors: a firm handshake and a smile goes a long way!

For more breaking news and photos, follow The Wingspan on Instagram and Twitter @CHSWingspan.

Centennial Welcomes First Ever Student-Run One Centennial

Words: Maddie Wirebach

 

Last Thursday, Centennial students had the opportunity to participate in the first-ever One Centennial event. The theme, Unity in Diversity, was aimed at helping students better understand the differences among them to ultimately unite Centennial as a school. With 28 workshops, the topics ranging from human trafficking to school safety, students were able to choose the workshop that interested them most.

The other element to One Centennial was the speaker portion in the auditorium, featuring TED Talks from students, as well as guest speaker Dr. Gina Massella.

Sophomore Hibah Khan delivered an uplifting talk about the importance of kindness, Junior Nicole Attram discussed unity in the face of adversity, and senior Samyukta Rao delivered  a humorous and humbling monologue about empathy.

In the future, Centennial hopes to absorb the lessons and messages shared and establish One Centennial as tradition.

For more breaking news and photos, follow The Wingspan on Instagram and Twitter @CHSWingspan.

The Impact of March for Our Lives and the Students of Parkland

Words: Maddie Wirebach

I don’t think I can adequately express the sheer power and passion that radiated through every single inch of Pennsylvania Avenue. There are just no words to describe the feelings I felt as I stood in solidarity with hundreds of thousands of people, proudly and peacefully demonstrating our desire for change. I felt empowered, yet enraged standing in the shadow of the Capitol building, the very building in which so little action is being taken to end this senseless violence. I was so happy to be a part of the march, but my heart sank every time the cause of the movement crossed my mind.

I watched as performers I love took the stage and sang beautiful songs. It was hard to fight back tears as I listened to the heartbreaking stories of kids who have been directly affected by gun violence.

The most powerful moment for me was when Parkland survivor Emma Gonzalez stepped onto the stage. Her statements echoed down the avenue, the crowd totally enamored and hanging on her every last word. And she left us hanging: in utter silence for minutes. The stillness lingered as the crowd watched and waited for Gonzalez’s next word. But she just stood, eyes burning into the lens of the camera, her face stone cold, yet filled with passion, rage, and unrest.

Gonzalez’s silence, in retrospect, is quite symbolic of my lack of words. In some cases, there are moments that simply cannot be recreated with words.

For me, her silence said more than anything words could say. Those minutes of silence allowed my mind to be flooded with a million thoughts, but at the same time, none. In that time, I genuinely understood why I was at the march. I knew I was there because I am tired of seeing kids like me being senselessly killed. I was there because not a day goes by where I don’t think “Am I next? Is Centennial next?”

If you think about it, our school is no different than Marjory Stoneman Douglas. In fact, we are extremely similar, right down to the exact same mascot. We are as much the home of the eagles as MSD is, making this even closer to home. The impact and courage of our fellow eagles has spread and inspired students at Centennial, including juniors Jen Solan and Matt Sorak.

Solan applauds the students for displaying the strength our generation holds.

“The actions of the students are a demonstration of the power and potential of our generation,” Solan noted.

“[They] are actively sharing their voices in a mature and effective way that emphasizes the validity and importance of their opinion,” continued Solan.

Sorak admired the opportunity the MSD students have created for our voices to be heard.

“I think high schoolers across the country finally feel like there’s a chance to change; that maybe we won’t have to be scared anymore.”

The march is something I will never forget, especially Gonzalez’s parting words: “Fight for your life before it’s someone else’s job.”

That’s why it is so important to do all that you can right now. Register to vote, write to your representatives, because something needs to change.

For more breaking news and photos, follow The Wingspan on Instagram and Twitter @CHSWingspan.

Centennial Students Participate in Nationwide Walkout

Words: Maddie Wirebach / Photos: Laila Abu-Ghaida

This morning at 10:00 am, Centennial students participated in the nationwide walkout for gun reform.

Braving the bitter temperatures, students held up homemade signs with cries for policy change for seventeen minutes, one minute for each victim in the shooting in Parkland, FL. Sophomore Julia Stitely displayed her support for gun reform with her sign, reading “How many lives have to be lost for you to listen?”

Another sign read, “Fear has no place in our schools.”

Senior Sophie Lovering, who helped make the walkout possible for Centennial students, was very pleased with how things worked out.

“I was pleasantly surprised by the turnout. All of the students who decided to participate were respectful, understood the purpose of the walkout, and returned to class in a timely manner,” said Lovering.

Lovering encouraged the students participating to utilize the power of social media to show their support.

“I know that the pictures/videos taken and conversations started will effectively communicate our pro gun-control message to the local, and hopefully national, community.”

Harshitha Sayini, a junior, admired the power in each poster.

“It was nice to see all the posters made by students encouraging gun reform.”

Sophomore Yousif Omer led a powerful chant, reassuring students that they matter, and so do their opinions.

Flyers were handed out detailing the student-organized trip to the March for Our Lives on Saturday, March 24, in Washington D.C.

 

For more information about the planning of the event, read here: https://chswingspan.com/2018/03/12/lovering-plans-chs-backed-walkout/

For more breaking news and photos, follow The Wingspan on Instagram and Twitter @CHSWingspan.