PHOENIX (KGUN) — Over 10,000 attendees from around the country participated in a virtual conference Saturday to learn tips and techniques for remote learning.
The event hosted by Arizona State University was free to those looking to learn more about K-12 remote education.
"The year 2020 has provided, or showed, that education will look different for the rest of our lives," says Alison Hernandez, a professional development manager at ASU Prep Digital.
Hernandez, who lives in Tucson, began teaching virtually since 2018, a few years ahead of many of her colleagues, who transitioned at the beginning of the pandemic.
She says there are some advantages that come along with a virtual classroom.
"A lot of teachers are saying, 'Gosh, I can meet with my students whole group, give an introductory lesson, but then most of that time is really freed up for personalized learning," says Hernandez.
Another advantage: the quick jump to remote learning, has made many educators learn to expand their digital toolbox. According to Jackie Krieg, a library media specialist at Sahuaro High School, those skills aren't just beneficial during the pandemic.
"When we go back, there are going to be so many other opportunities or things that we've learned through this process that we can say, 'Hey I can teach this way,' even when we're in person," says Krieg.
Hernandez, expands on that, saying that many Arizona schools, are looking to continue online learning aspects in their classrooms.
"When talking with a lot of district leaders and school leaders throughout the state, they are planning for continuing some branch of an online, digital program for the future," says Hernandez.
Krieg says her fellow Tucson Unified School District teachers have helped each other get up to speed with the technology required remote learning.
"There is definitely a learning curve if you're not comfortable with the technology," says Krieg. "And that's the case, then find a colleague partner who can help walk you through that."
She adds, one of the main things teachers need right now is validation.
"If you don't have it down 100%, that's okay. What's really most important is flexibility and really the relationship building with students," says Krieg. "I'm looking forward to this whole learning process."
You can find out more and register for upcoming events put on by ASU Prep Digital on its website.
Originally posted to KGUN9 January 10, 2020.
TUCSON, Ariz. — "We love you Tucson. Thank you for all the years of support."
That's the message Mike Gura, the owner of Public Brewhouse, wants to leave with his community.
After five years of serving beers at its location near Historic Fourth Avenue, this weekend was Public Brewhouse's last.
Gura says closing the location is bittersweet, but he's grateful to the Tucson community for its support over the years.
"One thing that's really struck me, as I've reflected over this COVID time is we didn't just share a space, we shared time and space," says Gura. "The original intention of this space was to build a community and create a place where anybody feels welcome."
Regulars say with its live music, trivia nights and friendly environment, Public Brewhouse succeed in doing just that.
"Bar being packed, standing room only, getting beers and just enjoying time with friends," are some of the memories Andrew Washburn says hes has from frequenting the brewery on Wednesdays.
The brewery's closing, is due largely to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gura says Public Brewhouse is a small brewery, and it wasn't able to change it's distribution model to stay profitable once having in-person patrons became a health risk. He adds that the location's lack of outdoor patio space provided another obstacle.
"When COVID hit, without the capacity to can or make money for a distribution model, it really hit us hard," says Gura. "Our whole model is based on over-the-counter sales. You take the over the counter part away, and it's just struggling to stay afloat."
But despite having to close its doors, Gura says, he's proud of the impact Public Brewhouse has had in Tucson over the past five years.
"What I've always told the bartenders and the staff is it's not about the beer we sell. It's about the experiences we create," says Gura.
That's a lesson he passed down to Ayla Katahi, who began her career at Public Brewhouse and is now Head Director of Brewing at Borderlands.
"He [Gura] said, this is part of what happens. We have these great employees and provide mentorships, and the next step is you move on and you give back to the community," says Katahi. "Leaving Public meant that I was leaving family and community. I have a deep respect and a deep love for Public Brewhouse."
While he's sad that the brewery has to close, Gura says Public Brewhouse was able to contribute to the community and history of Tucson.
"I think about the weddings that were held here, the receptions, the wakes, the people who maybe met here and are happily married, the connections people made," says Gura. "Hopefully that lead to something fruitful and positive in the world. That's all I could ask for."
There's still a chance this won't be the last you hear about Public Brewhouse. Gura says they are looking into ways to continue to share their brews with the Tucson community, and he hopes they're able to reopen again one day.
Originally posted by KGUN9 October 11, 2020
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Arizona is widely viewed as a battleground state in the 2020 election, and Jo Jorgensen is hoping voters who are unsure about supporting President Trump or Vice President Biden will support a third-party candidate.
"There are so many people who don't know they don't have to vote for Trump or Biden," says Jorgensen. "After the presidential debate our website slowed to a stop because so many people were checking it out."
Jorgensen, a Clemson University professor and former Libertarian vice presidential nominee, says she wants to participate in the presidential debates and is willing to do so either virtually or in person.
"I just think it's wrong that they're keeping me off the stage," says Jorgensen. "I do understand that they are their own private entity, I get that. However, presidential debate commission just sounds so official and impartial, like it's part of the Government, but it's not. It's basically the Democrats and Republicans wanting to have their own debate and not wanting any other alternative voice heard."
According to The Commission on Presidential Debates' website, there are three requirements for a candidate to be included in the debates. Since she is legally able to run for president and will be on the ballot in all 50 states, Jorgensen meets the first two; however, she does not "have a level of support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate," which is the third requirement listed.
The Libertarian nominee for President is polling at about 4% nationally, according to Pew Research Center. The most recent poll from The New York Times/Siena College has her at 3% in Arizona.
Jorgensen also responded to a frequent criticism of third-party nominees: being accused of pulling votes from Democratic or Republican candidates. In 2016, Libertarian Gary Johnson won just over 4% of the vote in Arizona, and Trump won the state by 3.5%.
"It's not my fault he [Trump] didn't follow through on his promises. The only way I can be a so-called spoiler is if the people running didn't do their job. And I would say the same thing for Joe Biden," says Jorgensen.
Jorgensen is also the first female Libertarian presidential candidate, but she tells KGUN9 that doesn't play a role in her campaign.
"I don't think it makes a difference at all," says Jorgensen. "I think what's important is the message, and I would rather vote for a man who has my message, which is allowing us to make our own decision, than a woman who thinks bureaucrats in Washington should have control of our lives."
Saturday, Jorgensen made her first, and so far only, scheduled campaign stop in Arizona. She hosted an outdoor rally in Scottsdale where she spoke with supporters and answered questions from attendees.
At the rally, she talked about a variety of topics including decriminalization of drugs, protection of data and her vision for smaller government.
Her running mate, Spike Cohen, visited Phoenix in August.
Originally posted on KGUN9 October 11, 2020.
"If you have a good sense and you’re moving into an area where people are really, really against you, you’re afraid while you’re doing it, but you still do it. And that’s what she did," says Judge Margaret Houghton.
That's how she remembers the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The two met in Washington, D.C. through National Association of Women Judges, shortly after Ginsburg's 1993 appointment to the Supreme Court of The United States.
"It was a reception to honor the two women justices, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Ginsberg. And we knew some things about them and some things that had happened," says Houghton. "It was fabulous to get together because we respected each other."
During the reception, Houghton remembers the Solicitor General along with other male lawyers in attendance kept confusing Ginsburg and O'Connor, adding that the mix-up was something that had happened many times before.
"Have you ever seen Justice Ginsburg? Have you ever seen Justice O’Connor? Justice O’Connor is twice as big as Justice Ginsburg, She's a big horse riding western woman with blonde hair," says Houghton. "It was a big joke, but we knew about it in advance. So, we gave them a pair of T-shirts: one that said I am Sandra and one said that I am Ruth."
Houghton says another highlight of the event was seeing Ginsburg twirl a baton.
"In her youth she had been a Baton twirler," says Houghton, "We gave her a baton, and she twirled it for us. She had a wonderful sense of humor."
According to Houghton, Ginsburg was known for her tireless work ethic. Adding that both men and women who clerked for Ginsburg say wonderful things about her.
"Placing another woman on the court to take her place, does not take her place. Her place is a special place she worked out for herself," says Houghton. "She was strong and honest and just never quit."
Originally posed by KNXV September 27, 2020
TUCSON, Ariz. — Getting a flu shot could help protect you from COVID-19.
"We know that if you're sick with one viral illness, your immune system is more susceptible to the next thing that comes at you," says Dr. Sandy Herron of Tanque Verde Pediatrics.
She says we could see more cases of both COVID-19 and influenza popping up, as kids return to school; however, there could be a way to reduce the risk.
"As more kids get into school together and we have more children interacting with each other, we're anticipating a burst of both COVID diagnoses as well as the spread of other viral illnesses," says Herron."We're really hoping that mask wearing and social distancing does its job for the flu, as well as it does for COVID."
While her office hasn't seen a burst of COVID-19 cases in children, they have seen an increase of other illnesses as some schools begin hybrid and in-person learning.
"When a couple of the community schools went back, we saw a swift increase in viral illnesses," says Herron."By definition you kids together they're going to spread viral illness. So we're anticipating that happening, but we're prepared."
Herron says symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms are very similar, which can make it hard for parents with sick children to know what their child has.
"When a child comes in with a fever of a cough, it's going to very difficult to tell which one they have," says Harron. "In general, COVID is a little more slower onset of symptoms. Flu, in general, is you're sick one minute and sick the next."
The pediatrician recommends getting your flu shot early this year, since it takes a couple of weeks for your immune system to boost after getting the shot. Adding that any child six months old or older can, and should, get a flu shot.
"Any chance we have to decrease the frequency of influenza in our community, will be a win-win for everybody," says Harron. "We'll see less COVID if we can keep the flu under control."
According to Herron, last year Tanque Verde Pediatrics gave over 3,600 flu vaccines. She says this year, they're planning to give many more. To accommodate all of the patients, the clinic has begun drive-thru flu shots. The doctor says this helps reduce the flow of patients in the waiting room.
Tanque Verde Pediatrics gave about 50 flu shots during a trial round Saturday. Herron says, they're planning on giving 100-200 flu shots at each of the drive-thru events for the rest of flu season season.
"The more we can do to reduce viral illnesses in our community, the more forward progress we can make in terms of school openings and businesses openings," says Harron. "So we wanna encourage everyone to get their flu vaccines."
Originally posted by KGUN September 20,2020.
To celebrate the Jewish New Year, one Southern Arizona congregation held "the very first drive-in Rosh Hashanah celebration in Jewish History."
Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the High Holidays. It's a time of reflection, growth new beginnings.
"Jews celebrate it by looking at ourselves," said Congregation Beit Simcha's Rabbi Samuel Cohon. "Seeing how we can make next year a better year than the past year, how we can live to the best that's within us."
The socially-distanced event included lots of music, singing and a light evening service. It also included the blowing of the shofar, which is a signal calling for acting in a way to better the world.
That call to action, was something he says, followed by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was the first Jewish woman on the Supreme Court.
"Ruth Bader Ginsburg meant something more," said Rabbi Cohon. "She managed to do the most important judicial work in the country and some of the most important political work in the country, and to do so respectfully honoring people across the aisle. That's something we need more than ever in this country right now. Her legacy is really in both the ways she made it possible for women to be treated as full human beings in America ... but also the way she understood America is about respectful disagreement."
Rabbi Cohon says his Synagogue, and others around the nation, had been praying for Justice Ginsburg's recovery since learning she was sick.
"Losing her at this moment should bring us to the realization that life is so fragile, and after this very strange year we've all had, it's a reminder it's all in God's hands," said Rabbi Conon. "It's up to us to live our lives in the way that Ruth Bader Ginsburg did, to a very high standard, because that's what we can control. That's what we have the ability to change."
Rosh Hashanah ends this Sunday at sundown, and the Jewish High Holy Days continue with Yom Kippur next Sunday evening.
Originally posted by KNXV September 20, 2020
GREEN VALLEY, Ariz. — Edith Upson Smith learned how to drive at 30, but she learned how to fly when she was just 18 years old.
She was one of just over two thousand women who served in the Women Airforce Service Pilots program, also known as WASP, during World War II.
The WASP were the first women to fly America's military aircraft, according to the National WASP WWII Museum.
At Frederick Army Airfield in Oklahoma, Smith flew planes from the factory out to the field, transported officers across bases, did test-piloting and taught some of the men how to fly.
"Some of them liked like that, some of them didn't," says Smith's daughter, Keith Rubin. "This was back in the forties."
Despite serving in the armed forces, the women in the program weren't granted military status until 1977.
"It was sort of under the radar. Nobody knew about it, and nobody appreciated it," says Rubin. "It was a pretty amazing program. It freed up the men to go overseas and fly. Otherwise, they wouldn't have been able to."
In 2010, the WASP were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.
Smith's daughter says, her mother's bravery is part of what makes her story so special.
"She did this after she became a widow. Her husband had been a bomber pilot and was killed, but she went on," says Rubin. "She was so passionate about flying, that she still went out and did this."
To honor Smith and celebrate her turning 99, a group of female pilots, known as The Ninety-Nines, did a flyover in Green Valley Sunday morning.
"This a chance to honor women who wanted to serve their country. Because of the WASP members, we now have women fighter pilots, astronauts, commercial airline pilots and instructors. These women paved the way for women pilots today," says Pamela Rudolph of The Rio Colorado 99's Chapter. "Edith is an aviation pioneer, and we want to honor her on her 99th birthday. These women are a national treasure. Edith is one of them, and we want to celebrate her by performing a flyover."
The pilots met in Tucson, before flying over I-19 to Green Valley where Smith lives.
Originally posted on KGUN9 August 21, 2020.
A sorority house at The University of Arizona is under quarantine after six live-in members tested positive for COVID-19, according to an email sent out to the Alpha Phi Beta Epsilon chapter.
The email says, in compliance with the Pima County Health Department and The University of Arizona asking Alpha Phi to limit contact, members who don't live in the house will not be allowed inside until September 7.
It goes on to say, "The UA SAFER team is working with the Pima County Health Department and will be attempting to reach out to anyone testing positive and people whom they have had contact."
In the email, members are asked to answer calls from UA SAFER and Pima County Health Department regarding contact tracing. That request is followed by the statement, "They know it is an inconvenience and a lot to ask, but also trust you to act as leaders and examples for others on campus."
When asked about UA SAFER's involvement with tracking these cases, officials from The University of Arizona shared the following statement:
"The University of Arizona assists students, including those living off campus, who have concerns about COVID-19 infections by offering antigen testing, which provides results within 2 hours. We also assist with mitigation efforts for students."
When asked about the outbreak at the Alpha Phi house, campus officials told us, "As you know our sororities and fraternities are only affiliates of the University. All questions about their houses should be sent to them directly."
We have reached out to Alpha Phi Beta Epsilon and members of the sorority's executive board for comment. They have not responded.
Originally posted on KNXV August 30, 2020.
Red Cross of Southern Arizona volunteers head to Louisiana to help people affected by Hurricane Laura
TUCSON, Ariz. — Sixteen Southern Arizona American Red Cross volunteers are already on the ground, helping people in the Gulf Coast affected by Hurricane Laura. At least five more are headed to Louisiana to join them in their efforts.
Those volunteers will focus on logistics and shelter relief, which means making sure the thousands of people who are displaced, have a safe place to stay.
"If you can imagine yourself being removed from your home unexpectedly, you would want the help of as many people you could get," says MaRico Tippett, a board member with The Red Cross of Southern Arizona. "If people want to volunteer, we highly encourage it."
Usually, individual Red Cross volunteers will spend about two weeks in disaster areas, focusing on sheltering, feeding and providing emotional support to victims. According to Tippett, the Red Cross will stay in the disaster area for as long as they are needed there.
Tippett says the Red Cross can use all the support it can get, through monetary donations, volunteering and blood drives.
Before going to disaster areas, volunteers participate in an extensive training to assist in the disaster area, as well as additional training to make sure they are 'COVID compliant.'
"Our volunteers have been training for this type of response and are ready to help those affected by Hurricane Laura," says Kara Egbert, Board Chair of the Southern Arizona Chapter.
The Red Cross says it has mobilized almost 1,000 trained disaster workers to support relief efforts both on the ground and virtually.
If people are looking for a lower-commitment way to help, the Red Cross is also asking for blood donations.
"We need more people to step up. We need people to go and donate blood," says Tippet. "The Red Cross is responsible for about 40 percent of the nation's blood supply."
Blood donations organized from the Red Cross, were sent to hospitals near areas impacted by Hurricane Laura ahead of time, so they were prepared for higher demand during the hurricane.
People can make a monetary donation at the American Red Cross' website, or text 'LAURA' to 90999 to donate $10.
Originally posted on KGUN9 August 30, 2020.
TUCSON, Ariz. — Emma Sinex was in the middle of sound editing her short film, 'Barren,' when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
"We were all a little bit frustrated and worried about being able to record the sound that we needed and get things edited exactly the way we wanted," says Sinex.
With support from the University of Arizona, Sinex's short film and 13 others from recent UArizona grads were completed and premiered at the 'I Dream In Widescreen' film festival.
Even though the event was virtual this year, instead of at Fox Tucson Theatre where it was supposed to be held, Sinex is staying positive about the experience.
"I was looking forward to this much more than commencement.This is kind of like our graduation. But the opportunities that we have to reach a much bigger audience, because this is virtual, is something we all appreciate," says Sinex."I think this has given us first hand experience of how the industry is changing and adapting to new circumstances, and I think that makes us an asset."
The 22-year-old from Tucson wrote, directed and produced the short film 'Barren.'
"I put so much of myself into this project, and worked so hard to tell the story I wanted to tell, while being both accurate and respectful to those who have dealt with this issue," says Sinex. "In the end, I feel like the story has come to life exactly as I intended."
'Barren' tells the story of a couple adjusts to life postpartum. Sinex's inspiration to make the film came from her family's own experiences.
"I was meant to have an older sister," says Sinex. "I heard a lot about her growing up, so it’s a topic that I know very well and was surprised to not see it covered very often."
The filmmaker is currently still in Tucson, where she's working as a freelance editor. She plans to eventually make her way west and work in Los Angeles.
You can watch 'Barren' and the other films showcased at this year's 'I Dream In Widescreen" online.
Originally posted on KGUN9 August 9, 2020.
NOGALES, Ariz. — The Arizona Department of Health Services reported negative two new COVID-19 cases in Santa Cruz County Sunday.
Santa Cruz County Manager Jennifer St. John says there are a couple of reasons why the county would report a negative number. Most commonly, it happens if someone is put in the system twice or if someone moved to a new county and not updated their address yet.
"The usual answers are that there are duplicate entries or a case that was originally assigned to Santa Cruz County, turns out to belong to another county," says St. John. "Our health department checks the added cases each day and reports any errors to the State. I’m sure there could be other reasons that a county has negative cases but in my experience, those are the two top reasons."
St. John adds that Santa Cruz County is working to make testing more accessible. Last week, the county launched its testing blitz.
This weekend, the testing blitz continued. St. John tells KGUN9 that between two sites, one in Rio Rico and one in Patagonia, a total of 985 tests were completed Friday and Saturday.
According to St. John, those tests will most likely be included on the state website by Thursday or Friday.
"At the earliest, we could start putting in the results tomorrow," says St. John. "We put them in over the next three or four days as we receive the results, download them, verify them, and our priority is calling the individuals that got tested."
As of Sunday, Santa Cruz County has reported a total of 2,608 COVID-19 cases out of 8,741 tests. About a quarter of tests in the county have come back positive.
Originally posted on KGUN9 August 2, 2020.
TUCSON, Ariz. — In less than two days, over 1,400 people have signed an online petition for The University of Arizona to establish a "George Floyd Memorial Scholarship."
Dorthea Stephenson, a sophomore at the school, says she started the petition after watching Thursday's memorial service for George Floyd. During the service, the president of North Central University in Minneapolis challenged every university in the nation to set up a scholarship fund in memory of Floyd.
"I think the University of Arizona has a long history of saying they'll implement change, but no one holds them accountable," says Stephenson.
She says setting up this scholarship would give the university a way to support Black students. Adding that she hopes it would be used to help cover tuition for Black students.
Wednesday, UArizona President Robert Robbins released a statement in response to Floyd's death.
"This difficult period will not define who we are, but our collective response to it will. I remain committed to advancing equity and justice on our campus and in our community," says Robbins in the statement.
Stephenson says starting this scholarship fund, would show the university putting action behind those words.
She set a personal goal of getting 5,000 signatures on the online petition.
Protests, marches and celebrations supporting Black Lives Matter and following the death of Floyd have been taking place on the UArizona campus all week.
Floyd was a Black man who was killed by police officers in Minneapolis. His death has sparked protests and discussions about police accountability and racism across the nation.
Originally posted to KGUN9 June 6, 2020.
TUCSON, Ariz. — Nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd have made their way to Tucson.
The night began with about 100 protesters gathered downtown Friday evening, and could be heard chanting "George Floyd" and "F--- the police" while knocking down street signs. Passers-by were spotted yelling from their cars.
As the night wore on, the crowd grew in size and so did the number of police officers present. Protesters in masks could be seen spraying graffiti on downtown buildings, and a dumpster was lit on fire along Congress Street.
Dozens of police officers in riot gear came to calm the crowd, declaring the gathering an "unlawful assembly." Most protesters ignored police orders to disperse.
Floyd was an unarmed black man who was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis. The officer, Derek Chauvin, was charged with murder and was fired from the Minneapolis Police Department. Floyd was heard on video saying that he could not breathe. Three other officers who were involved in the incident while Chauvin held Floyd down for almost nine minutes have not been arrested or charged. They were removed from the police department.
A march and protest took place in Phoenix Thursday night.
Another protest and a wake for Floyd are set to happen in Tucson Saturday.
Originally posted to KGUN9 May 29, 2020.
TUCSON, Ariz. — Pima Animal Care Center is encouraging people who are stuck at home to try fostering a pet.
Fostering is when people provide a temporary home for an animal while it waits to be adopted.
It can be just overnight or extend for months and gives shelter animals a chance to get out of the shelter and experience life in a home.
According to PACC, even short-term fostering has a positive impact on pets looking to be adopted.
"It doesn't matter how short or how long, it's really good for the pets to get out, and it's really good for them to get a chance to breathe and to stretch and feel the comfort of being in an area where they're loved by a human," says PACC's Nikki Reck.
Reck adds that taking care of a foster pet is just like taking care of any animal, and PACC will provide foster-owners with support and necessary resources.
She says fostering is so important right now because if PACC volunteers and employees get sick or quarantined, it will be a lot harder to look after animals in the shelter, especially as an influx of kittens and puppies is expected this season.
Adoptions at PACC have also slowed down due to the impacts of COVID-19.
Researchers at the University of Arizona say having a dog during self-quarantine may help protect mental health and help with feelings of social isolation.
To maintain social distancing, PACC is also offering curbside service for adoptions and fostering.
That means a staff member can bring the pet and supplies to your car or deliver them to your home.
If you're interested in fostering an animal, email email@example.com. In the email, you can specify which types of animals you'd be willing to foster.
Originally posted by KGUN9 March 21, 2020.
TUCSON, Ariz. — Union Pacific's Big Boy No. 4014 is visiting Tucson on October 17th and 18th.
The steam locomotive will arrive at Tucson Historic Train Depot on Toole Ave. Thursday from 10:10 - 10:40 a.m.
Friday, it will be on display at E Silverlake Road & E Fairland Stravenue from 9 a.m. - 3p.m.
During the display, visitors can interact with the locomotive and participate in a free multimedia walk-through exhibition called, "Experience the Union Pacific Rail Car."
Twenty-five Big Boys were built in 1941, and only eight are still in existence today.
No. 4014 is the only Big Boy that is still operating, according to Union Pacific, who owns the train.
The train's journey across the Southwest began on October 2nd in Utah. After its stop in Tucson, it'll be continuing to El Paso, Texas. The final stop will be in Kansas City, Missouri on November 18th.
According to Union Pacific, the event will not be ADA accessible, due to the historic nature of the equipment.
Originally posted on KGUN9 October 14, 2019.
Final boarding call for Mars!
NASA is giving you a chance to put your name on the red planet, but there's not much time left.
The deadline to sign up is Sept. 30 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern.
When you sign up on NASA's webpage, your name will be stenciled on a chip using an electron beam. That chip will then be put on the Mars 2020 rover.
Plus, you'll be able to download a souvenir boarding pass.
More 10 million names have been submitted.
The Mars 2020 rover mission is part of NASA's exploration of the planet.
Scientists are hoping the rover will help them answer questions about potential for life on Mars.
It takes off next July.
Originally posted to WPTV September 30, 2019
By Aubrey Violeta Gelpieryn, The New Boundaries*
It’s Friday night, and you’re at your local bar. As soon as you order, there’s someone standing behind you offering to buy your drink and trying to talk to you. No matter how many times you insist that you’re fine and want to be alone, this person doesn’t leave. What are you supposed to do next?
“What’s surprising is the persistence of men,” said Jordan Clarke Halsey, 23, a bartender at Barcelona Wine Bar in Washington, D.C.’s Cathedral Heights neighborhood. “When you’re watching behind the bar it’s so obvious that women aren’t interested.”
Halsey says that despite this, bartenders don’t always know when or how to step in.
Safe Bars, a D.C.-based organization that took off in 2016, holds two-hour bystander intervention trainings for bar staff and management with the goal of creating a safer and more welcoming nightlife culture.
“A safe bar is a place where the staff have been trained to have your back,” said Lauren Taylor, the co-founder and director of Safe Bars. Her training sessions focus on fostering discussion and communication among restaurant and bar staff.
Safe Bars has led trainings in nine cities and counties around the country. Taylor has close to 100 requests for trainings. She says the #MeToo movement sparked an increased interest, both by individuals and by groups, to take part in the training.
Miguel Brajas, the co-manager and event coordinator at Ten Tigers Parlour in the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, D.C., completed the Collective Action Safe Space training through Safe Bars with his staff in August.
Brajas says that even before the training, they made efforts to be all-inclusive with the events held at his bar. As a gay hispanic man, Brajas says his staff have always known that diversity and inclusion is one of his top priorities.
Most of what they were taught at the training were already being implemented by his staff, said Brajas, but the Safe Bars training helped reinforce what they should do and gave them more options.
Taylor says this is usually the case.
“We walk in knowing that in most establishments people who work there are already doing things,” said Taylor. “I have found that among the staff there hasn’t been a sharing of techniques.”
Most Safe Bars trainings turn into a conversation and skills session where everyone learns from everyone else. A large part of this is focused on knowing what signs of escalation look like, so that bartenders can prevent things from getting worse.
Every training is experiential and participatory. Staff take part in simulations and act out what they would do in different situations before kicking someone out of the venue. The trainings are all a variation on “direct, distract or delegate,” according to Taylor.
An important part of the training is making sure the staff knows the owners or managers have their back and that their job won’t be in jeopardy for taking steps against sexual misconduct.
For Brajas, this is one of the most important parts of keeping his bar safe.
“Our bar staff is really close knit,” said Brajas.
“We have a zero tolerance policy.”
According to Brajas, this policy means security will remove anyone who is engaging in questionable behavior from the bar. This, along with constant communication between staff, is what Brajas says prevents sexual misconduct at his venue.
“Any little thing that happens or is brought up to my attention, if I talk to the person that doesn’t seem comfortable and they bring it up, the person who is making them uncomfortable is asked to leave,” said Brajas.
Not every bar has a security team to handle issues of misconduct. According to Leah Waynberg, 40, a bartender at Fado Irish Pub in the district’s Chinatown, she typically will have to ask a male who is working with her to remove someone from the pub if they are doing things that are making customers uncomfortable.
In Safe Bars trainings, Taylor puts emphasis on looking at the whole range of sexual harassment and gender-based violence. She has noticed that bystander intervention training is most effective when bar staff communicates about and is aware of all behaviors.
An example that Taylor has seen participants act out in Safe Bars trainings is if a man who didn’t take no for an answer was hitting on a woman at the bar. In this situation, the bartender just moved a drink a few seats over to separate the man from the woman.
“It’s a spectrum. You can’t ignore the lower things,” said Taylor. “That’s when bystanders can prevent things from getting worse.”
The Role of Alcohol
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, alcohol is a reoccurring excuse used by perpetrators of sexual misconduct; however, according to Taylor, this excuse isn’t valid.
“Alcohol does not cause sexual assault,” said Taylor. “However, it is the most commonly used date-rape drug.”
As Safe Bars expands into more cities and states, Taylor is learning that not all locations have the same issues and needs. In Juneau, Alaska, a prominent issue is cruise ships dropping people off to drink and shop in the city for a day or two. In Colorado, more concerns were raised by bar staff about tourists, as opposed to locals.
These trainings don’t just help guests at the venues, they are also used to help create techniques to keep people safe and comfortable in the workplace.
It’s not just establishments that sell alcohol that are worried about drunk behavior creating a dangerous environment for staff and patrons.
Her most surprising client? A chain of coffee shops.
Peregrine Espresso requested a training, even though they don’t serve alcohol, because they were having problems with drunk people coming to their coffee shops after a night of drinking.
From Behind The Bar
Sexual misconduct at bars can become a workplace issue when the person being harassed is taking orders or serving drinks.
Halsey says he struggles drawing the line of what is acceptable behavior from patrons towards him when he’s trying to ensure he gets paid.
“Tips are essentially my entire income,” said Halsey. “You get in this strange mindset where it’s like let them have their fun, it’s for a tip.”
While other industries are noticing changes in the wake of the #MeToo movement, Waynberg, who has been serving and bartending for 21 years, hasn’t noticed any difference in her place of work.
“I’ve seen zero change in how they [male patrons] act towards women,” said Waynberg. “They’re still flirty, they still think that they can reach across the bar and touch you, lots of sexual innuendo.”
This is something that Taylor has tried to change with Safe Bars trainings.
“We trained an upscale restaurant/cocktail place and the staff kept saying that because it’s so expensive the people coming there feel so entitled to everything — including the staff,” said Taylor.
Staff often rely on their managers to support them in situations where patrons make them uncomfortable. This is why clear communication is so important.
At Ten Tigers, Brajas says his bartenders have had instances where they have served a customer and then took the drink away after something inappropriate was said.
“At the end of the day us being comfortable is more important than the dollars they would give us,” said Brajas.
“I will say as opposed to serving the bar does offer you a little bit of protection, at least physically,” said Halsey. “When you’re on the floor serving, people can touch and grab you and stuff.”
Waynberg has had similar experiences. She says being a bartender makes her feel like she has more power and control, than she had as a server.
“When I was on the floor it was different because they felt like they could touch,” she said. “But fortunately there is a bar between me now, so they can only leer and say things.”
She says she doesn’t know a single woman who works as a server who hasn’t had a man try to touch or grab her in her place of work. And it’s not just men.
“Women who sit at the bar do a lot of the same things that men do,” said Waynberg, when talking about how people have reached across the bar to touch her male colleagues.
Halsey has noticed that his female co-workers tend to opt for one of two directions when choosing their “personality behind the bar.” They will either dress more sexually to appeal to customers, or dress in baggier clothes in the hope of being ignored by the men behind the bar.
While Waynberg, doesn’t think the #MeToo movement has had an impact on behavior at bars, she thinks there’s been a change in the attitudes of women bartenders.
“I noticed a shift in how female servers and bartenders feel more empowered,” said Waynberg. “I really think it started before #MeToo though. I think it was something coming and #MeToo gave a name to it.”
*This story was originally shared on The New Boundaries and has been re-posted here by the author.
Online news publications often choose to fill a niche. For STAT, this niche is the medical industry.
The thing that made STAT different from its competitors, according to an article in the Columbia Journalism Review, is that it intends to appeal to mass audiences- not just readers in the medical and science industries.
Boston Globe Media produces STAT, which was launched in 2015, according to their website. In 2017, it won the “General Excellence in Online Journalism, Small Newsroom” award from the Online News Association.
Jennifer Keefe, the product designer at STAT, says she was brought into the company about six months after it officially launched.
“Before I came on board, STAT had worked with a design agency to develop the design and aesthetic of the site” said Keefe. “About six months after the site launched, I was hired to replace the agency.”
This wasn’t necessarily an easy switch. Keefe had to take some previously completed tasks and change them.
“Taking over for the agency with the assumption that the STAT brand had already been defined and established was a challenge,” said Keefe. I ended up revamping it, which lead to the site redesign
When she joined, Keefe thought there hadn’t been enough done to enhance the personal brand of STAT.
“Defining the brand is, in my opinion, the most important thing to consider when launching a new product,” said Keefe. “Establishing the brand identity ensures visual consistency, across your site, but also within any marketing materials that are produced. And with a consistent brand, you start to develop trust and loyalty with your customers.”
Keefe said developing a relationship with these customers is one of the hardest parts of having a new organization, even with connections to an already well-known publication.
“Most of your users don't know you yet. This is where brand consistency really plays a role in developing brand recognition,” said Keefe. “Being affiliated with the Boston Globe has helped get our name out there, so we do have that to our advantage.”
The main architect of STAT is Rick Berke, the executive editor. Before taking on this project, he was the Executive Editor of Politico, according to his LinkedIn page.
Since its start, STAT has expanded to include correspondents and reporters in cities around the US.
Erin Mershon, STAT’s senior Washington correspondent, didn’t join the team until after it was already established.
“I'm relatively new to STAT and I won't be able to speak to the creation, development or growth of STAT,” said Mershon in an email.
Even with the creation of these new roles, there’s still some departments that are lacking.
“Another challenge I face is working with a limited number of developers. There are a lot of things on the site that I'd like to improve, for example, but I'm restricted by our developer resources,” said Keefe.
But that doesn’t stop Keefe from trying to find creative ways to keep innovating the site.
“To overcome this, I started getting more involved in the development process myself,” said Keefe. “I started taking on smaller projects that I could code on my own.”
Keefe has played a key role in the growth and development of STAT. Her experiences are an example of how important product design and branding are in establishing a new digital publication.
“What you see today on www.statnews.com is not the same design and aesthetic that STAT originally launched with,” said Keefe. “Establishing the STAT brand continues to be a challenge- a fun one though.”
Which came first: the media coverage or the trending topic? It’s getting harder to determine the answer.
“One can’t exist without the other,” said Jeremiah Patterson, a Digital Manager at the Online News Association and Professor in the American University School of Communication.
This is because trending topics are news topics that spoke to people, according to Patterson. The reason certain topics popular and trending is because people want to know more.
However, Patterson is skeptical about reporters always covering trending topics on social media, especially in regards to President Donald Trump’s tweets.
“I’ve never seen the news cover every little thing so much,” said Patterson. “That’s a huge example of social media determining the news cycle.”
One tool that is used to sort through these trending topics are hashtags, which classify social media posts.
Hashtags can connect a tweet to larger news story, according to a Pew Research Center Report. This makes it so that the journalist can use shorter language and be more colloquial.
According to Katie O’Gorman, a former Marketing & Outreach Coordinator at Double Exposure: Investigative Film Festival, hashtags can help make newsworthy quotes and events easier for the public to understand.
“Hashtags helped give understanding and context to the tweets because then people could click on the hashtag and have a better idea of what the quote I tweeted described,” said O’ Gorman.
News organizations can expand their audience to potential new followers through hashtags. This can also help them target a specific audience.
A Pew Research Center Study concluded that politically polarized groups on Twitter responded specifically to certain hashtags. If an online news outlet wanted to reach a more conservative base, they would use different hashtags than if they were attempting to reach a more liberal base.
Scott Talan, a professor in the American University School of Communication, thinks that hashtags and trending topics make journalists jobs easier.
“A big problem in journalism today is not finding out your own stories but recovering stories that have been done elsewhere; which is easier and quicker,” said Talan. “What value is that reporter or news outlet adding if they’re simply going to social sources?”
But easier doesn’t have to mean worse, according to Lauren Lumpkin, Editor-In-Chief of The Blackprint, a student-run online news publication at American University. Lumpkin said that what’s trending on social media can spark a reporter’s interest to cover a story.
“We are all very connected on social media,” said Lumpkin. “A lot of pitches are ‘I saw this thing on Twitter’ or ‘I saw this thing on Instagram.”
Lumpkin believes that social media popularity precedes news coverage. Hashtags for social movements, such as #BlackLivesMatter or #OscarsSoWhite make it easier for reporters to track events and coverage of them.
“I really like hashtags,” said Lumpkin. “I think starting things on social media make it move so much faster and gain a bigger following.”
It’s not just growing a story, hashtags themselves can be used to explain or tell a story. A study in local news conducted by Pew Research Center concluded that people were more likely to use hashtags than hyperlinks in their tweets, and local news outlets used hashtags for both local and national areas of interest.
A survey conducted by Pew Research Center when comparing users interaction with photos, URLs and hashtags, determined that hashtags were the only one where the average percent of a users tweets contained the same amount for “all tweets” and “news tweets.”
In the context of news, a hashtag can be beneficial for an organization to understand what stories and topics are gaining traction. According to the same Pew study, 86 percent of tweets that included “#Ferguson” related to the events in Ferguson, Missouri.
According to O’ Gorman, there are certain times when hashtags are most effective.
“For a public and live conference it helped when people were discussing the topics online and wanted to see the latest conversations surrounding them,” said O’ Gorman.
As important as they can be to connect readers with newsworthy stories, it’s equally important to not overuse hashtags in a news piece and risk them lessening their impact.
“In terms of the way they actually work, they’re very important,” said Patterson. “In terms of the way that we socially talk about them, they are starting to feel a little tired."
While Talan describes himself as a supporter of social media and using it in a classroom setting, he doesn’t always favor its use in news.
“I think there are limits,” said Talan. “People automatically assume we should do the hashtag and that the hashtag is going to do something, but that’s not always it.”
There’s still a lot to learn about social media and it’s impact on the news, according to Patterson, but he predicts that people will continue to watch them both grow together.
by Aubrey Gelpieryn
WASHINGTON – There’s a rustling as Quincey Tickner shuffles through a crate of records she’s discovered in the radio studio. Excitedly, she picks each one up, commenting on the collection.
“It [vinyl] is important to get people more in touch with the artists themselves and to really know what an album is,” says Tickner, a senior at American University and the host of “Vinyl Richie,” an exclusively vinyl music show on the No. 1 student-run, internet-only station in the nation, WVAU. “We live in an era where music is released online and you don’t even have to go to a record store. People take music for granted in a way because it’s so easily accessible,”
Like Tickner, a lot of young people are starting to collect vinyl music. Trends show an influx in vinyl sales, especially with people between the ages of 13-24, who represent 24 percent of vinyl listeners, according to surveys conducted by MusicWatch Inc.
Suah Cheong, a sophomore at American, decided to buy her turntable after finding a new Foster the People record at T.J. Maxx for $9.
“I was already planning on getting a record player,” says Cheong. “Then I saw that cheap record and was like, it’s time now.”
Nationally, vinyl sales are on the rise. BuzzAngle Music’s industry numbers show that vinyl sales increased by 22.5 percent from 2016 to 2017, reaching a 25-year high.
Cheong says she first became interested in vinyl because of “peer pressure.”
“All my friends in high school had record players,” says Cheong. “It was a social activity to go to my friends’ houses and sit around listening to records.”
Though it’s a growing trend, not all vinyl fans are new to the scene.
“For some people they [records] never left,” says Ambrose Nzams, a manager at the Washington-based vintage clothing and record store Joint Custody.
Nzams has been collecting records since he was 14 years old.
“I started listening because when you get into punk and hardcore, it’s a medium that never went out of style,” says Nzams. “If you want something, it’s only available on a seven-inch, so you have to buy it on a seven-inch.”
Listening to music on vinyl isn’t just a new fad for Tickner either. She thinks that records help people connect with the artist more than digital streaming.
“I grew up listening to records, so when I switched to digital music it didn’t sound as genuine and realistic,” says Tickner. “I put on The Supremes records in the morning, and they’re like they’re performing in my room.”
James Gianello, another manager at Joint Custody, says his main way of listening to music is on vinyl.
“You can have really high quality digital, but it hasn’t quite caught up yet,” Gianello says. “With the stuff you’re streaming, you lose a lot.”
Although the warm audio quality is a popular reason for people to say they like listening to vinyl, not everyone can tell the difference.
“Not gonna lie, I’m not enough of an audiophile to be able to say the sound quality is better,” says Cheong. “It’s all the same to me, but there’s something more personal or intimate about putting a piece of plastic on the record player and sound coming from the plastic. It’s like a toy.”
And there are more components to records than the sounds they produce.
“With vinyl you get the full package,” says Gianello. “You get the art. You know you can really sit down and you’re kind of forced to focus on it more than you are with digital, where you can skip a track very easily.”
Nana Gongadze, a freshman at American, shares the sentiment.
“When I have my records it’s about the tactile experience,” says Gongadze. “Holding it, putting it on the player, just enjoying it and looking at the artwork – it’s much more about the physical experience of putting it on to listen to it.”
However, not everyone is sold on the Vinyl trend. Brianna Ryan, a sophomore at American, prefers to listen to her music with Apple Music, a digital streaming application.
“I wouldn’t even know where to buy that stuff and it’s expensive,” Ryan says, when talking about why she doesn’t listen to vinyl records.
Her style of listening to music differs from Tickner’s, who believes that albums should play in their entirety in order to best respect the artists’ layouts of their music.
“I choose songs,” says Ryan. “I only listen to full albums if it’s an artist I really love. Otherwise, I only listen to the popular songs.”
While it’s undeniable that record players aren’t as convenient as other formats for quick listening to music, there’s still a loyal base of people who shop at record stores regularly.
“I really value physical space and I think physical space is really valuable for communities,” says Nzams. “I like having the store as a place where people can be comfortable and come in and talk about music.”
Joint Custody, which is located on Washington’s U Street, is a store that prides itself on being a place where people from all walks of life can come together to appreciate music. The staff keeps the bins stocked with a variety of records in all genres to make sure they have something that appeals to everyone who comes in. Across the speakers, the music pauses momentarily, as the turntable stops and record flips to the B-side.
As the vinyl trend continues to grow, stores like Joint Custody help develop a community of people who listen to records by connecting the new fans with those who have been collecting for years.
“Some people buy it for the art, some people buy it because they prefer the sound quality and other people like collecting,” says Nzams. “I think it’s all about having the physical, and that’s what it comes down to.”
By Aubrey Gelpieryn
WASHINGTON – Jennifer Lawless spent her younger years planning a run for political office. When that didn’t pan out, she decided to dedicate her life to helping other women achieve that dream.
Lawless said she had an interest in politics from a young age and always knew that she would run for office; in 2006, she did.
She lost the primary campaign for the House of Representatives, but still did much better than local media outlet anticipated. A popular incumbent in Rhode Island ran against her, and while estimates claimed she’d only win 10 percent of the vote, she won almost four times that.
“I spoke to people that I wouldn’t normally speak to,” said Lawless. “I heard about peoples’ problems and concerns, and I was able to, I think, really become a more empathetic, compassionate person because you understand the struggles that people are going through on a day-to-day basis.”
It was Lawless’ real-life political campaign experience that really opened her eyes to how women are treated in politics and put her in a role where she could bridge the practical with the academic aspects of political leadership.
Since the fall of 2009, Lawless has served as the director for the Women and Politics Institute at American University, a role that allows her to work with a bi-partisan team to encourage women to develop and follow their own political ambitiond.
“The two research questions that I’m most interested in are why don’t women run, and what happens when they do,” said Lawless, who added that the answers to those questions are the same on both sides of the political aisle. “It’s nice to be in the rare position … of being able to talk to people, whether they’re Democrats or Republicans, and share research findings that resonate with them and apply.”
Her research has found that the main inhibitor of women running for political office is that they believe they had to be twice as qualified as men in order to run, which studies have proven to be untrue.
Along with being the director for the Women and Politics Institute, Lawless teaches classes on the subject at American. These classes tend to attract a variety of students, with ranging political views, genders and beliefs.
Ryan Guerra, a junior at American, is one of Lawless’ students. He said he’s learned a lot about how political ideology is a more prevailing factor than gender in politics. He decided to sign up for her class this semester because he was curious to know more about the roles of women in politics following the 2016 presidential election.
“I think it’s interesting, and I like when she talks about her running,” said Guerra. “She talks about it with a lot of passion.”
Lawless is in the process of publishing her next book with Richard L. Fox, “Women and Men in U.S. Politics: 10 Big Questions,” which will be released in the fall and discusses how gender and politics plays a role in the everyday lives of people as well as in politics.
Lawless has published five books so far. Her most recent is “Women on the Run: Gender, Media, and Political Campaigns in a Polarized Era,” which is co-authored by Danny Hayes, an associate professor of political science at The George Washington University.
“The book is an attempt to figure out whether women really do have to be twice as good, and the good news is they face a pretty level playing field from the moment they announce until the votes are counted,” said Lawless.
Hayes and Lawless met when he worked at American. They both were interested in women and politics, and after having some conversations on the topic, decided to co-author a book.
“Anyone who has worked with Jen would describe her as a force of nature. She has a capacity to get more things done in a day than most people can accomplish in a week,” said Hayes.
Hayes said that before their collaboration, there hadn’t been research conducted on what it looks like when women run for office for a few decades, and the two of them were excited to update it.
Even though she stays busy inspiring other women to recognize their political ambition, don’t discount Lawless’ own potential for a return to politics.
“Like I always say, I have no plans to run, but I hope to at some point in the future,” she said.
By Aubrey Gelpieryn
WASHINGTON – As part of the multi-million dollar project to amp up the Washington Metro, new escalators were opened to the public on Wednesday at the Bethesda station.
According to Bethesda Station Manager S. Kelly, before the three new escalators were installed, there were only two that worked- one that went up, and one that went down. The newly installed escalators also featured speakers that projected safety instructions.
Kelly said that she’s noticed a big difference since the new escalators have been installed, and that it’s quicker for people who commute using the Metro now that they have two elevators that go up.
“It’s much better now– very much better,” said Kelly.
Kelly also said that it sometimes got “really busy” when the construction was taking place to put the new ones in.
According to Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s website, the Bethesda’s entrance escalators, which are are 212 feet long, are the second longest in the Metrorail system and among the longest in the Western Hemisphere. It cost $8.4 million to replace the three escalators at the entrance; the previous ones had been in use since the station opened in 1984.
For some of the Bethesda Metro commuters, however, the new installment didn’t seem too important.
Lily Asrat, who said she rides the Metro to and from the Bethesda station every day, wasn’t even aware of the change. While she said she noticed the construction while it was happening it never really impacted her commute; she didn’t take note that the escalators had been replaced until it was specifically pointed out to her.
“I didn’t notice it, so that says something,” said Asrat, She added, however, that she thinks it’s important for the city to continue to invest in improving transportation and the Metro in order to maintain reliable public transportation.
Another metro rider, Leigh Rieder, said this was actually the first time since 2010, when she moved away from Washington, that she was riding on the Metro again.
While she noted that the new escalators were “worth it to so many people who live in the area,” the first thing she noticed when she arrived at the station was actually that the station seemed more confusing than she remembered.
“I’ve been using the Metro system for many, many years now, and I yet I couldn’t quite figure out where I was going,” said Rieder.
Rieder said that the most confusing part was all of the signage around the station, most of which related to shutdowns and restricted access across the different Metro stations. These shutdowns are part of a greater effort to improve the public transportation system across Washington.
According to a statement made by the agency, “Metro is in the middle of a $151 million plan to replace more than 130 escalators by the end of the decade.”
The next stations where riders can expect to see new escalators are Friendship Heights and Medical Center, according to WTOP.
By Aubrey Gelpieryn
WASHINGTON – Michael Phelps sat before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Tuesday morning and told the Representatives that he didn’t think he’d ever participated in a “clean” Olympic Games.
Phelps, who retired from swimming after winning his 28th medal in the Rio de Janeiro Games this past summer, shared a personal testimony of his experiences having known other athletes were using drugs to gain a competitive advantage.
Though he had previously avoided talking about the subject, Phelps said that his newborn son is what inspired him to finally step forward and share his criticism of performance-enhancing drugs and why he never felt the need to partake in doping.
“I put my body through pain that I’ll never see again, trust me. But it just needs to be fair,” said Phelps. For me, having a son, I want him to enjoy clean, fair sport.”
A panel of witnesses, that included shot-putter and Olympic gold medalist Adam Nelson, United States Anti-Doping Agency Chief Executive Officer Travis Tygart, World Anti-Doping Agency Deputy Director General Rob Koehler and IOC Medical and Scientific Director Dr. Richard Budgett, joined Phelps as witnesses.
The subject of anti-doping was particularly personal for Nelson. He was awarded his gold medal nine years after competing in the Olympics, when it was revealed that the competitor who had bested him did so with the assistance of performance-enhancing drugs. His gold medal, which he showed to the members of congress, was not given to him on the Olympic podium, but in an airport food court.
After talking to congress, Nelson was ready for action to take place.
“I think the first next step is for the IOC and WADA to actually follow up on what they talked about today. The fact that the IOC representative said that they’re going to consider separating sport from this particular element is a really big step,” said Nelson. “I’ve had the opportunity to represent my country in competitions all over the world, but to have the opportunity to come and represent clean sports in this particular venue is an element that you just don’t get to do very often.”
Nelson said he hopes that “major changes” will result from this hearing.
Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Tim Murphy. R-PA., said the hearing was important because it sent a message to American youths.
“Sports should be a place where your determination and your skill, your focus, your psychosocial makeup are things that are the difference between a champion and just a competer,” said Murphy “Drugs should not be a part of it.”
The topic of anti-dopoing is especially relevant after this past summer’s Olympics, during which time 68 Russian athletes were banned from competing due to positive tests, according to the BBC. Phelps described this incident as “frustrating.”
He said that while he was tested 13 times in the six months leading up to the 2016 Games, sometimes being woken up at 6 a.m. on his off days to complete a test, athletes from other countries were allowed to participate even after testing positive twice.
Aubrey Gelpieryn is a journalist currently in New York. She enjoys writing about music, politics and current events.