Granola Bar Drive Postponed

Chabot’s Classified Senate collected hundreds of granola bar donations in February and had planned to give them to students before the midterms in March; unfortunately, the distribution had to be postponed due to the campus closure.

The drive is being run by The Classified Senate Gives Back (CSGB), a workgroup of the Classified Senate that was created in August 2019.

“Our goal was to help combat hunger on campus and improve student success,” says CSGB co-chair Heather Hernandez.

The workgroup’s previous activities include co-hosting the Winter Gear Drive, participating in Laney College’s Basic Needs Summit, and recognizing classified professionals’ work anniversaries by launching the Anniversary Project.

As the college prepares for online-only summer classes, the granola bar distribution may be put on hold until the fall semester.

Hernandez suggests the project could resume during the first week of classes, “so we can help direct students, answer any questions and also hand out the bars.”

In the fall, the CSGB will participate in the Caring Campus Initiative by the Institute for Evidence-Based Change (IEBC).

Classified Senate Secretary Nicole Albrecht describes the goal of the initiative as “Simple efforts – including warmly greeting students with a smile, making a commitment to learning students’ names, or wearing a sticker/button saying ‘Ask Me.’”

Albrecht says these methods are proven to help students feel welcomed and are “cost effective; smiles do not cost anything.”

Try TikTok!

Social distancing has allowed for a lot more downtime. TikTok is blowing up with more users and views joining the platform.

TikTok originally came out in 2016. It is an app where users can upload short videos for entertainment.

Musical.ly was a similar app that came out in 2014, the two apps were direct competitors.  Musical.ly was originally the more preferred until TikTok’s creators announced that they had over 500 million users a month in 2017.

The two apps merged under one name, TikTok. In 2018 Musical.ly officially shut down with its content being transferred to TikTok.

When first downloading you may find it a little boring or repetitive. But since you start liking and skipping over what you don’t like, it can become pretty addicting. With a wide variety of content, there’s a little bit of something for everyone. 

Tips for TikTok:

  • Like Posts!: Millions of people may view a video, but only thousands may actually like the post. The app recommends similar videos to the ones you’ve liked under the “For You” page.
  • TikTok highlights its top creators, leaving its smaller creators in the dark. Liking the content of the smaller guys helps them get noticed.
  • If you want to upload videos to TikTok, there really isn’t much work to it. People post videos about everyday things. All that matters is what you want to post.
  • For editing TikToks, many users would recommend using apps or another platform outside of TikTok for the best edits.

Jera Foster-Fell, a social media influencer, uploads tips on how to make TikToks. She shares tips on how to catch more attention and make videos more appealing. Her page is @jera.bean with 238.3k followers.

Many smaller creators have been uploading their talents on the app to show what they’ve been doing since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Sarah, who goes by @officalhambly is currently at 1.8 million followers and growing. She’s been making short videos on her latest project, Elsa’s dress from Frozen 2

Koalipops is run by @johndenim who makes cake videos. Some of his most famous uploads are of the Baby Yoda cake or the KFC bucket chicken. One of their most recent videos was of a cake modeling the COVID-19 Virus. 

TikTok has created large opportunities for its creators, who are now gaining attention from mainstream media. Charlie D’Amelio is only 15 years old and has acquired over 40 million followers within a year. She has gotten to know big celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and been invited to speak on various talk shows.

D’Amelio had received criticism in February for not crediting a popular dance, the Renegade, to its original creator Jalaiah Harmon. D’Amelio had received enormous amounts of fame for this dance, but Harmon had received her credit after D’Amelio’s backlash.  

Harmon was welcomed onto The Ellen DeGeneres Show and performed the Renegade in front of millions of viewers.

TikTok is simple and fun. While the world is going through this pandemic, there are still little outlets people can look towards for some pass time.

Sony Free Games

With the shelter in place and quarantine in place, a few gaming related companies are giving away a few free games to try and keep people home.

One of the companies giving away some free stuff is Sony. On the Playstation 4 if you go to the store you can download a digital copy of Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection and Journey.

They are calling it the Play At Home Initiative which has two parts to it. The first part is the two free games to download.

“Playstation will try to make those occasionally dull moments more exciting by offering Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection and Journey available for free* for a limited time through digital downloads…” says Sony President and CEO, Jim Ryan.

These will be available for free from April 15 to May 5, 2020. The big question here is are they going to remain on your account after the May 5 deadline or do they just get locked until you buy them after the deadline.

Interestingly enough in both China and Germany they are not receiving Uncharted but instead they are getting Knack 2.

The second part of the Play At Home Initiative is funding for independent developers.

“Independent developers are vital to the heart and soul of the gaming community…” Ryan said in an official statement. “We have earmarked $10 Million to support our independent development partners.” 

The Epic games store is also keeping up with its regularly rotating free games. Right now you can grab For The King until April 30 and the next one is Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Previously they had games like Just Cause 4, World War Z, Watch Dogs and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.

Unemployment Changes

Many people have lost their jobs or have been laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With that, there has been a massive influx of people applying for unemployment. 

What has been the governments response?

With the passing of the CARES Act, there has expanded the benefits of unemployment. Normally you would only get a portion of what you make back but now with the CARES Act you will receive an additional $600 weekly.

If you currently had unemployment benefits and they were going to expire now you can request an expansion due to the pandemic.

As a part of the CARES Act, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program has been established. The goal of this program is to help those who don’t usually qualify for unemployment such as “…business owners, self-employed, independent contractors, have limited work history, and others not usually eligible…”

“I had to help everyone in my family apply and some people at work. It’s not too hard. It only takes me about 20 minutes,” says Luis Lara, an unemployed college student. “The turn around feels like it’s been a lot longer, but I get why it is.”

Amazon Strikes!

With growing rates of COVID-19, Amazon employees are demanding the company have stricter regulations regarding the virus. 

Strikes across the US have emerged as workers have said that Amazon hasn’t met their demands:

  • Stricter health regulations
  • Closing facilities with confirmed cases of COVID-19 
  • Expansion in health benefits
  • Clearer transparency on the state of current virus cases 

On March 30, Chris Smalls, an Amazon employee, had led a protest and was fired. This, in turn, led to more strikes emerging. 

Some Amazon corporate employees are planning a walk-out on April 24 to protest against the layoffs of workers who have spoken out on the company’s failure to ensure safety to workers. Amazon has stated that layoffs were due to “internal policies,” as reported by CNBC.

Emily Cunningham was one out of two tech employees for Amazon that was also fired for criticizing the company on how they’ve dealt with COVID-19. Cunningham had stated on Twitter that Amazon has put themselves and the public at risk. 

On April 13, Amazon stated to CNBC that they would begin to allow third parties to ship nonessential materials to their warehouses again. Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a service that allows third parties to store their products in Amazon warehouses that then would be sent out to consumers.  

Amazon had always allowed nonessential items for sale throughout the pandemic but faced shipment delays in order to get out essential goods first. 

Since the epidemic, Amazon has hired thousands of new employees. The company stated in their COVID-19 update, “We continue to see increased demand as our teams support their communities, and are going to continue to hire, creating an additional 75,000 jobs to help serve customers during this unprecedented time,”

“Now they’re hiring new employees to add. I’m seeing a lot of new faces.” David Rosario, an Amazon warehouse worker from Skokie, Illinois stated.  Rosario went to the Amazon warehouse in Chicago to show support for their protest. 

On April 3, Chicago workers stepped outside chanting, “Clean it up! Shut it down!” Local news, South Side Weekly was on the scene speaking with employees. 

Employee safety concern has also been an increasing factor among the business.

Rosario added that they don’t have masks to work with. Amazon sent out emails to the Skokie warehouse employees that they would have a limited quantity of masks to hand out. 

The Chicago and Skokie employees felt that they didn’t properly receive information on the COVID-19 cases in their facilities. Tomas Uriostegui, an Amazon associate at Skokie stated that he had only heard about the first case of the virus from other workers.  

Amazon associate from the Chicago warehouse Laccoma Scott stated, “How can we be essential workers, but our lives aren’t essential?”

Amazon posts to their blog on how they’re ensuring safety and help to their workers. The last post was made on April 13 stating, “We continue to evaluate all options to ensure the support of our teams during this unprecedented time.”

The company has begun temperature checks on its employees, as well as conducting daily audits of the new health and safety measures, and increasing measures of social distancing within the workplace. 

Workers diagnosed or in close contact with COVID-19 will have time off for 14 days with pay. 

Amazon employees are still encouraging their coworkers for the strike on April 24. 

The Health of Small Businesses: Frodo Joe’s

Small businesses across the country are experiencing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Local San Lorenzo cafe, Frodo Joe’s has also had to readjust.

Frodo Joes is a family-owned cafe, with a second location in Fremont. They offer breakfast, lunch, and dessert. Frodo Joe’s is known for their delicious crepes and the adorable pug on their logo.

Though coffee and tea are advertised on their logo, crepes are the main attraction. From sweet strawberry and banana crepes to a savory chicken pesto crepe, there’s something for everyone to try out.

The San Lorenzo location is the original cafe. Emily, the manager, is the daughter of the owner. Her father opened the location in 1999.

Since the shelter in place regulations have taken into action, Frodo Joe’s can no longer allow dine-in customers. All their food and drinks are available for take out.

Frodo Joe’s in Fremont is temporarily closed. Emily stated that because that location depends heavily on the dine-in customers, they couldn’t remain open. The San Lorenzo location is a smaller location and has a good flow of to-go orders.

“There is not much we can do,” Emily stated, “We do have a  community here who supports us and helps us.” Emily feels really grateful for the customers. 

Unfortunately, employee hours have been cut down due to the smaller revenue. However, the staff tried to remain positive.

Frodo Joe’s is heavily complying with all safety and health regulations. Their employees all have masks and gloves. When first walking into the cafe, you see that there are tables and chairs blocking the counter so customers aren’t anywhere near food preparation.

They even set up a station for signing your receipt. One bin holds sanitized pens, and the other holds the used ones to be cleaned later.

When asked if she was aware of grants that were being given to small businesses in Hayward, Emily replied that she wasn’t aware until after they were distributed. “If you don’t tell me about it, I wouldn’t know about it.” Emily referred to how information about grants and loans is being reached out.

She isn’t too sure about where to look for information, since San Lorenzo is under Alameda County, but borders Hayward.

She also is concerned about whether or not the money is in a grant or a loan. She doesn’t believe small businesses should be looking into loans because there is no guarantee when the business will be at the same revenue it was before the pandemic.

“You’re just digging yourself deeper in the hole.”

Emily stated that the cafe feels lucky they can remain in business and hopes for the day when everything goes back to normal.

Frodo Joe’s location and contact:

17665 Hesperian Blvd.

San Lorenzo, CA 94580

510-481-1844

What to Know About Face Masks

There has been a lot of talk about who should be using masks and which ones.

According to the CDC, everyone should be wearing a mask because you could possibly be pre-symptomatic and not even know it. The important thing is to know which mask you need to be wearing. 

The CDC recommends cloth face coverings for general use. Masks like surgical masks and N-95 respirators are a necessity for first responders and healthcare workers.

A cloth face covering can be made at home out of ordinary household items, such as bandanas or vacuum filters.

The most important thing is to follow the 6-foot social distancing when going out to minimize all contact with others, as well as washing/sanitizing your hands as often as possible.

Now that we know who should be wearing a mask it is important to know how to clean and reuse your face mask so that we aren’t being wasteful.

According to the CDC, simply washing your face mask in the washing machine will suffice. 

It is important to note, when removing a face mask one should be careful to not touch one’s eyes, face or nose.

By following these two steps it will make a great difference when trying to help halt the spread of COVID-19.

Self Quarantine

The term ‘self-quarantine’ has been popping up a lot lately with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. So what does it mean to self-quarantine?

According to Merriam-Webster.com, self-quarantine means to minimize any form of physical contact with others during an outbreak.

The significance of practicing self-quarantine is to prevent the potential spread of the virus. Health officials are asking 

Health officials are asking the masses to self-quarantine to reduce the speed that the virus is spreading at. If everyone keeps getting sick at the same time there won’t be enough doctors and hospital beds for those with severe cases.

What are some Chabot students doing during this shelter in place?

Paul Mussack, a Chabot student said, “I’ve got a garden going in my backyard, and some sprouts have been growing.”

The Mass Communications department held a game night where they all got together on Zoom where they played some Jackbox games.

Some prospective students have been keeping up with their studies and picking up new things like cooking and learning a new language.

Other students have just been taking this time to relax and play games like the new Animal Crossing.

There are still plenty of things to do inside and ways to connect with others. You’re not alone, we are all in this together. Do your part and stay inside.

Katherine Johnson: Among the Stars

Known for her work in trajectory and flight analysis for NASA, Katherine Johnson’s story was made mainstream in the movie Hidden Figures. Johnson made immense strides for not only space travel, but additionally racial integration as an African-American woman in the 50s.

Born Aug. 26, 1918 in White Sulphur Springs, WV, Johnson died on Feb. 24, 2020 in Newport News, VA from natural causes in her retirement home at the age of 101. 

A member of NACA (now NASA)’s Space Task Group, Johnson was tasked with trajectory analysis for Mission Freedom 7 in 1961; the U.S.’s first manned spaceflight. Shortly after, Johnson and fellow engineer Ted Skopinski co-wrote, “Determination of Azimuth Angle at Burnout for Placing a Satellite Over a Selected Earth Position”, which detailed the equations in which the landing position of an orbital spacecraft is specified.

Chosen as one of three black women to integrate West Virginia’s graduate schools, Johnson was a gifted child early in life, attending the local high school for classes at just 13 years old. She graduated from West Virginia State with a Ph.D. in mathematics with the highest honors; the third African-American to do so.

Johnson was married to and raised her three daughters with James Goble from 1939 to 1956, until he passed away from cancer. In 1959, she remarried Jim Johnson and remained married until his death in 2019.

In 2015, Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President Barack Obama for her work in space and flight, and NASA recognized her “historical role as one of the first African-American women to work as a NASA scientist.” 

Multiple facilities at NASA have also been established in Johnson’s name, and in 2016 during the dedication of the “Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility”, she was also awarded NASA’s coveted Silver Snoopy award for her “outstanding contributions to flight safety and mission success.”

Johnson is survived by two of her daughters Katherine and Joylette Goble, her six grandchildren, and her 11 great-grandchildren.

Johnson’s memorial service was held on Mar. 7, at Hampton University Convocation Center in Hampton, VA.

Iowa Caucus Fiasco

The 2020 Iowa Caucuses was held on Feb. 3 and for the first time ever, a mobile app was used for the voting process. Privately run by political parties themselves rather than state/local governments, the caucuses are most often associated with the decision of a presidential nominee.

While intentions were good, the app created several major issues, leading to a conversation on the way caucuses should be run — or if they should exist in the first place.

The app was created by a company called Shadow Inc. The young startup had a history in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, as well as developing several apps for current Democratic Presidential candidates. 

The app boasted that it would give precinct leaders the ability to report results, as well as keep poll data updated for voters. On the day of the caucuses, only certain districts’ apps were functioning, and many encountered multiple issues.

Many voters had waited until the day of the caucus to download the app, leading to error messages and problems with instructions. Most were unaware that they should bring their phones in the first place.

These issues led to a larger discussion of what the caucuses offer us as a nation, and if they should exist in the first place.

As Chabot College political science professor Jamilya Ukudeeva explains, caucuses are a very divisive concept for Americans. “On one side, we have people who love caucuses because of how engaging they are and how involved people get.”

While they can be perceived as a democratic necessity, they can also be extremely complex and time-consuming. “There has been a movement for many years in the Democratic National Committee (DNC)” says Professor Ukudeeva. “They’ve been trying to push states to give up caucuses and move to the primary elections, the way we do in California.” 

The DNC will be using Iowa as another argument for the elimination. Now, there’s talk of eliminating the caucuses altogether. 

Professor Ukudeeva also touched on the ramifications of Iowa, stating that the main election has to be “transparent” and “reliable” — two words that don’t describe the recent caucus. 

“We already have a problem with nonparticipation and low voter turnout. When voters see mishandling at this level, the trust goes lower and people are even less likely to vote.” Damage is done to the entire electoral system, not just the caucus.

The possibility of hacking and tampering in our elections, another issue arises in the use of digital mediums in politics. When asked about the plausibility of foreign interference, Professor Ukudeeva admitted that “Russia’s interference is very likely, and that’s actually my number one fear. You can call me paranoid, but I’m watching out for that.” 

Furthermore, with the recent situation and death of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, another threat is just as possible.

It’s clear that change has already occurred; with digital election processes and Americans’ reliance on the internet, our democracy is changing. The Iowa caucus showed us that progress is possible — but returning to older methods may not be such a bad choice for the nation.