Monthly Archives: February 2022

Avocado Ban Lifted

Millennials are no longer in distress as the U.S. has once again allowed the import of Mexican Avocados as of Feb. 18. 

The initial ban was announced on Feb. 12 after a call to a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspector was threatened by voicemail while in Michoacan, Mexico. 

The USDA worker had been concerned over what looked like “suspicious crops.” The Washington Post reported that these crops were possibly being brought in from another Mexican state, not grown in Michoacan, and sold as if they were. 

The state of Michoacan is widely known for having areas that fall under the control of cartels. Many farmers and ranchers have to do their business under the eyes of these cartels. 

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced in their statement, “Mexico and the United States will continue working together to fortify the strong bilateral supply chains that promote economic growth and prosperity in both countries.”

Avocados have gone beyond a food trend among hipsters and bloggers. They are an international empire. 

During the U.S.’s winter crop season, Mexico thrives, they recorded in the “2020/2021 season imports at 2.4 billion pounds of avocados,” as reported by the Cision PR Newswire.

However, California is the top avocado-producing state. In 2020 over 188,000 tons of avocados came out of California, as reported by Statista.

Florida is the next state with the largest avocado production. However, their exports reach just below 10% of California’s production in the same year.

Production for avocados is believed to spike back up. The Haas Avocado Board estimated over 61,000,000 lbs. of their fruit by week nine of the year (Feb. 20) in comparison to their actual production of over 24,000,000 lbs. in week seven (Mar. 6).

Welcome Back, Students!

Chabot College’s in-person classes were officially back on Feb. 7. Changes on campus have been to help keep students, staff, and faculty safe. 

The campus originally closed back on Mar. 19, 2020. While most believed the stay-at-home orders would be lifted in a short time, it’s safe to say most couldn’t have imagined the toll that COVID-19 took on the world. 

“I’m Excited!” Juan Pablo Mercado Ph.D. and history professor at Chabot expressed ecstatically, “Just in the classroom you can feel the difference in the energy compared to the zoom sessions” 

When asked if he felt safe, “Safer than last year.” Professor Mercado did mention that if mask mandates were removed right now, then he would be concerned. 

To be eligible for in-person classes, your COVID-19 vaccines must have already been cleared with the school. Emails were sent out last semester to students through Zonemail, although not everyone may have noticed. 

If students still need assistance they can find “How to Submit COVID Vaccination for Students” on the school’s website. These requirements will continue into the Fall 2022 semester until further notice. 

Everyone is still required to wear a mask on campus, the KN95 masks are recommended. Most classes have extras available for students. 

Before entering the building students and all faculty needed to provide proof of vaccination and ID, a sticker is placed on the ID that can be shown at the entryways to staff.

Locations to acquire this sticker include, the cafeteria (2300), the library, (100), and student services (700).

For Nashita Ishaque, this is her first face-to-face semester at Chabot. She’s been to the campus a few times before January, but only to pick up some equipment. 

Ishaque was very excited for this semester as she is working on one of the vaccine confirmation table setups at the bookstore in building 3800. She is paid as a student assistant through student services, positions are still available and more information is under Chabot’s “Student Life” page. 

“This is my first job ever!” Ishaque was excited to get an opportunity that works with her schedule and doesn’t require any experience. She has her school work with her and is still able to check vaccination proof quite easily, all while keeping a safe distance and always wearing the mask. 

The bookstore tries to accommodate everyone and staff members will even step outside if needed and assist you from there. 

Other changes include the number of entrances and exits in a building. The 100 building only has one entrance that students must go through to get to the library located on the second floor. 

The cafeteria has two entry points, both require vaccination proof before entering. The service hours of the cafeteria have been shortened too. What used to be 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. is now 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The staff is technically hired through Pacific Dining and their hours are based on what that company can afford to pay them. 

Maria Rodriquez, Pacific Dining staff member, is trying her best to adjust to the changes. “We don’t have the Mexican food options or the salad bar,” Rodriquez explained how the menu options are still limited.

“I don’t know when we will be able to open fully again.”

While the Mexican food bar, the salad bar, and Starbucks cafe are currently closed, there are a few upsides. 

Free handcrafted lunch bowls were offered for the spring semester every Thursday until Mar. 31, However free breakfast is still available every morning. Rodriquez also notes that she doesn’t know if this offer will be taken off the table anytime soon, but encourages everyone to come and enjoy it while they can. 

“Try coming in at 11 a.m.!” Rodriguez emphasizes that most of their best food items tend to run out quickly. “After 12 to 12:30, it’s just leftovers.”

While most classes are back on campus there are still plenty of classes available online. For some students, there’s nothing like face-to-face education. 

“Everyone learns differently” Andrew Chavez, a soon-to-be graduating Chabot student stated. “I’m a hands-on type of learner.”

Chavez explains that having the ability to use on campus facilities is extremely helpful. Being able to come to school, use a computer, and have a space for students to focus on themselves is important to him. 

If students need COVID-19 testing the Student Health Center is located in building 2300 on the second floor. They also have a table set up outside the center. COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots are also available but appointments might be needed. More information can be located on the school’s website under “Student Health Center”

There will still be a continuation of school events on Zoom. (mixers, guest speakers, meetings, etc.) However, in person events have already started to pop up and more will continue as regulations change.

Mask Mandate Continues for Students

This week the indoor mask mandate was lifted in California and 12 Bay Area Counties. However, Chabot Las Positas Colleges Chancellor Ronald Gerhard confirmed that wearing masks indoors will still be required for everyone at both colleges and district offices. 

On Feb. 7, in-person instruction returned for thousands of Chabot and Las Positas College students. Chancellor Gerhard took a lot into consideration before making this decision, but the main reason was “..[for students] to again experience face-to-face instruction in a safe and supportive manner.”

In-person learning adds a degree of normalcy for many students and staff. Although wearing a mask at all times is an oddity, it’s currently one of our best options to protect everyone. It is also important to note that the chancellor can change this decision around mask-wearing in the future. 

Many students, their families, and counterparts rightfully have anxiety around the issue of COVID-19 since it’s something that could be spread to their loved ones. 

Safety is the priority, and Chancellor Gerhard cited a news release from Bay Area health officers detailing how the restrictions of unvaccinated people will continue. This news release also went on to list the instances where indoor masking is still required for all regardless of vaccination status: “ public transportation; health care settings; congregate settings like correctional facilities and homeless shelters; long term care facilities; and in K-12 schools and child care settings.” 

The decision from the state to lift the mask mandate comes at a time where COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have been rapidly declining over the past month. 

With things improving, the California Department of Public Health still urges everyone to wear a mask in public settings and get vaccinated in order to reduce the spread. For the utmost protection, it is recommended to get a booster shot when eligible. 

As a college student, no one really wants to be told what to do but wearing a mask is also required in K-12 schools and in most jobs. This is a confusing time for many, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Chabot Gladiators Baseball Steamroll Los Medanos Mustangs 8-2

The Chabot Gladiators destroyed the Los Medanos Mustangs on Feb. 15 at home by a score of 8-2.

The Chabot College baseball team came out hot with a total of four runs in the first three innings as Los Medanos quickly fell behind. Fernando Sansone scored in the bottom of the second as Jonathan Gazdar hit a double. Gazdar would go on to score later that inning. At the bottom of the second, Matt Sugden homered at the bottom of the third to send himself and Fred Ramos home, making the score 4-0.

The Gladiators were in a back and forth competition in innings 5 and 6 with the Mustangs. The Mustangs would have two runs in the two innings while the Gladiators attempted to match them with one run of their own made by Quinn Ayres with a grounder by Brian Duroff.

The flood gates opened in the bottom of the eighth, where Chabot would score three unanswered runs to send Los Medanos packing. Fernando Sansone scored, and Jonathan Gazdar scored again on an error. Finally, JT Noble also scored on the same error. 

During the game, I interviewed Dan Miller: head athletic trainer at Chabot, serving Chabot since 1991.

Miller stated that. “I think the coaching staff has done a great job with the new team, and I really think they’ve gelled well.”

After not playing last year and with a fresh new roster, the coaching staff had challenges coming into this season. The Gladiators dropped their first two games of the season in January with close scores of 5-3 and 8-7. Then they went on a three-game winning streak from Feb. 1 through Feb. 5, including a shutout of Laney College. They then went 10 innings with Marin in the ninth, ending with a loss. The team, unfortunately, got obliterated by the Fresno City Rams 10-4 on Feb. 11.

The team moved into Steve Friend Stadium this season here at Chabot. It’s been a project that Chabot has been really excited about, calling it “one of the top facilities in the state” on the Chabot College Instagram.

I asked Miller what he thought about the new park. He responded with, “I love it, it’s something that we’re really proud of, and there’s a lot of cool stuff we have going on here.”

The new ballpark features batting cages, new bleachers with seats, great audio systems, and a whole new fresh looking field. Miller added, “My favorite part of the new park is the dugout. They’re very clean and modern.”

Chabot is now 4-4 in the season with a winning record in their inaugural season at Steve Friend stadium but is 2-3 on the road. Their next game is Thursday, Feb. 17, at Diablo Valley vs the Vikings.

Tom Brady, NFL Superstar Retires

After 22 seasons of playing in the NFL, Tom Brady officially retired on Feb. 1.

After a week full of rumors after NFL reporter Adam Schefter reported that Brady would retire. Brady made it official and followed that up with:

“This is difficult for me to write, but here it goes: I am not going to make that competitive commitment (to football) anymore. I have loved my NFL career, and now it is time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention.”

Brady went on to also thank his Buccaneer teammates and the whole Buccaneers organization, the city of Tampa, his wife: Giselle, and the rest of his family. Interestingly, Brady didn’t mention anything about the New England Patriots, the team who drafted him way back in 2000.

The San Mateo-born quarterback retires from the league with a ridiculous amount of accolades and achievements. However, Brady’s career did gain him some enemies, specifically, from teams he dominated during his career.

“Screw Tom Brady,” Indianapolis Colts fan Tanner Cummings said to me when I asked him his opinion on Tom Brady. 

It’s worth noting that Brady’s Patriots were often the team that eliminated the Colts from the playoffs during the 2000s, including five separate times that the Patriots eliminated the Colts to move on and win the Super Bowl.

However, even those who aren’t huge football fans are still amazed at what the 44-year-old QB has done in his lengthy career.

“It’s impressive what he’s done,” Sandy Lopez, a friend of mine, told me. Lopez, not a big fan of football, still knows the legacy the QB has made in the NFL.

Brady won seven Super Bowl titles in total. Six of those championships were with the New England Patriots, with whom he played 20 seasons for. 

Patriots owner Robert Kraft put out a statement the day after Brady announced his retirement.

“Words cannot describe the feelings I have for Tom Brady, nor adequately express the gratitude my family, the New England Patriots, and our fans have for Tom for all he did during his career. … You didn’t have to be a Patriots fan to respect and appreciate his competitiveness, determination, and will to win that fueled his success. As a fan of football, it was a privilege to watch. As a Patriots fan, it was a dream come true.”

Kraft also thanked Brady, adding that he considered Brady a part of his immediate family.

Brady replied, “Thank you, Patriots nation. I’m beyond grateful. Love you all.”

Many believe that Brady didn’t mention the Patriots due to the apparent ongoing cold war with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. Belichick put out a statement congratulating Brady on his retirement as well.

“I am privileged to have drafted and coached Tom Brady, the ultimate competitor and winner. Tom’s humble beginning in professional football ultimately ended with him becoming the best player in NFL history,” Belichick stated.

Belichick continued to say that Brady was always on the top of his game, was always a professional, and ended his statement thanking Brady for his impact on the Patriots organization and himself.

Brady put out a video on his social media two days after his retirement announcement that included highlights throughout his career, most of them with the Patriots. 

Brady left the Patriots in 2020 during free agency to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he won his final championship.

The Glazer Family, who are the Buccaneers owners, said in a statement Tuesday morning:

“Tom arrived in Tampa Bay with an unprecedented level of expectations and delivered some of the most memorable moments in our franchise history. His impact on our team and community was immediate and profound … Saying goodbye to a legend is never easy, but we wish him continued success in retirement.”

Brady was born in San Mateo, California, in 1977. As a Bay Area resident, he often went to San Francisco 49ers games. He looked up to Niners QB Joe Montana, whom he called his idol. Brady attended Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, where he played football, basketball, and baseball. Brady was excellent at all those sports and was even drafted by the Montreal Expos in the MLB. Brady, however, committed to football and the University of Michigan. Brady’s parents still live in San Mateo, and Junipero Serra High School later renamed their football stadium after Brady.

Brady’s path to the NFL couldn’t have been any more challenging. Coming into the University of Michigan’s training camp, he was seventh on the depth chart. He saw a sports psychologist for anxiety and even debated going back to the Bay Area to play for the University of Berkeley’s football team. He slowly rose to be the starting QB. After graduating from the university, Brady went into the draft with an unimpressive NFL training combine. He was selected 199th overall in the draft and was the seventh QB taken. Brady began his NFL career as the fourth-string QB on the Patriots, and within a season, he worked his way to be the organization’s top QB, later winning his first championship in his second season.

Brady only missed the playoffs once in his 22 seasons of playing as a starting QB and never had a losing record as the starter. He has won the most championships as a player. More than any other player and has won more championships than any NFL franchise. The former Patriot and Buccaneer is a five-time Super Bowl MVP winner. He’s started 363 games which is the most of any QB in history. Brady and his teams that he quarterbacked made the Super Bowl ten times. The future hall of famer is the oldest player to win the Super Bowl, and has 35 playoff wins. Brady owns most of the NFL’s QB records, having 97,569 total passing yards in his whole career.

Brady says now he’s planning on spending more time with his family. However, a return to the NFL isn’t completely out of the question as he leaves the NFL with this quote.

“You know, I’m just gonna take things as they come,” Brady said. “I think that’s the best way to put it, and I don’t think anything, you know, you never say never.”