Tag: Maddie Wirebach

One-on-One With Editor-in-Chief: Maddie Wirebach 2018-19

Words: Julia Stitely

In this video, Maddie Wirebach, Wingspan’s Editor-in-Chief for 2018-19, is interviewed by her successor, Piper Berry, about her passion for journalism and what it took to become Editor-in-Chief.

To find all of our videos, click the link below!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDAPq5X7zp8GN4ThdL_9FQw

ks/pb/js/dt/zg

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

Junior Interview Photos

Words: Maddie Wirebach

Photos: Noorie Kazmi

On Thursday and Friday of last week, the  junior class took part in junior interviews.

Dressed in their business attire and prepared with resumes, students sat down with volunteer interviewers to answer their questions.

The interviews, a Howard County graduation requirement, are meant to help students exercise real-world skills; they allow juniors to practice and prepare for future job and college situations as they near the end of their high school careers.

Every year, students often feel nervous going into the interview, however, junior Sydney Vigderhouse advises rising juniors to “just be themselves and be confident.”

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

On Thin Ice: We Can Do Better

Words: Maddie Wirebach

To put it simply: last Tuesday, I, as well as my teachers and classmates, endured an unimaginably dangerous commute to school. What normally takes me at most, 15 minutes, to get to school, took me about 45.

Overnight, freezing rain and sleet covered the roads, trees and powerlines. I woke up to a two-hour delay, waiting for the tweet from Howard County that schools would be cancelled. I mean– closing schools was the logical thing considering the amount of ice and the condition of the roads. 7:30 came around and I was still refreshing the page. Once I had come to terms with the fact that I did have to get up, I started to get ready for the day.

Heeding my mother’s advice, I opted to take the bus rather than drive. All was going well on the bus ride– at first. On the radio, I heard bus drivers chatter about not being able to get up hills, trees sagging from the weight of last night’s ice, and roads that seemed virtually impassable.

I didn’t think much of it and put my headphones back in. It all started to go downhill- or, in this case, uphill- when the bus turned on to a street with a hill that’s hard to get up on a normal day.

I was convinced we were going to slide because no matter how hard he tried, the driver couldn’t make it up the hill. Eventually, we did, but not without a struggle. I let out a sigh of relief and hoped that was the end of the mayhem.

As I should’ve learned when I thought school would be cancelled, I was wrong. We had made it to Centennial Lane, right before the elementary school. Traffic was at a standstill. After about five minutes of stop-and-go traffic, blue and red lights came into vision. Police surrounded the scene of a downed tree that had fallen onto someone’s car. That’s when everything clicked for me: why on earth was I on my way to school?

According to an article from the Washington Post, at the peak of the icy conditions, there were around 15,000 power outages across the entire state of Maryland. Aside from the power outages, CBS Baltimore reported that the Maryland State Police acted on 226 accidents from Sunday, February 10, at midnight to Tuesday, February 12, at 5am.

I couldn’t believe the statistics. It’s baffling to me that so many people were put at risk, and at what cost? Just to save us from an extra day or two at the end of the year? What made all of this worse was the tweet from the Howard County Police Department advising people to be careful of the trees blocking the road and the ice covering the streets. Ironically, the tweet fell right around the same time that an announcement at school was made about ARL buses being sent out. So after all of these awful conditions were reported, they were going to send out more kids and buses? And afterwards go pick up middle school and elementary school kids?

Last week’s weather conditions combined with HCPSS’ poor judgement put thousands of children and staff at risk. The right call would’ve been to have the two-hour delay, take note of the terribly hazardous state of the roads, and then close schools.

These dangerous conditions may make a return. A winter storm warning has been issued by the National Weather Service from 1am to 7pm for tomorrow, Wednesday, February 20. Snow, ice, and sleet are all that can be expected from the storm, and predictions call for 4-6 inches of accumulation.

There’s no doubt that judging when schools should close is a tough call. There are lots of variables to take into account like snow on tree branches, ice on the roads, and power outages. My hope is that HCPSS learns from their previous decision last Tuesday to ensure the safety of the Howard County community tomorrow and always.

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

Centennial Celebrates National Writing Day

Words: Serena Paul

Photos: Ellie Zoller-Gritz & Maddie Wirebach

On Friday, October 25, 2018, Centennial’s advanced composition class hosted National Writing Day. The different activities that took place ranged from contests to cafeteria games. Students were able to participate in contests like the haiku contest, guess the teacher haiku contest, and caption the meme. Upon entering the building, students were greeted by quotes about writing written on the sidewalk by the advanced composition students who stayed after school on Thursday. During lunch, advanced composition students walked around the cafeteria engaging students in writing activities, in their black shirts decorated with their responses to the question, “Why write?” The contests were just one part of the day, as many advanced composition students taught classes with prepared activities involving writing. Both students and staff came together to celebrate writing.

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

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.