Tag Archives: Local & World

Rising Epidemic of Opioid Addicted Babies

Kennedi Jackson | Staff Writer

 

The number of opium-addicted babies continues to rise, with the rate of children being born into addiction quadrupling over the past 15 years. Babies with desperate, high-pitched wails and shaking bodies reside in hospitals all over the U.S.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome is the condition of symptoms babies go through when they are exposed to drugs in the womb. When a birthing mother has suffered from abuse of drugs and has a baby, the newborn’s nervous system can trigger symptoms of withdrawal. Up to 94 percent of babies exposed to opioids end up experiencing withdrawal.

Freshman Skylar Buck spends a lot of time around young children, and the thought of this happening across the nation is unsettling to her.

“Children are meant to be cared for and loved. If a parent can’t control themselves then they shouldn’t risk bringing a baby into the world who will only suffer because of them.”

The Center for Disease Control estimates that around six out of 1,000 babies are born with neonatal abstinence syndrome. The increasing amount of children being affected is also damaging to the pocket. Treating one child can cost up to $60,000.

Lawsuits against opioid manufactures, drug dealers, and even pain clinics are one of the steps being taken to try and limit the amount of prescription opioids being placed on the market. Large manufacturers have been charged with fines and paid settlements over the years to avoid scandal with releasing of these drugs, but no one is willing to take responsibility for the ongoing crisis.

According to National Geographic research, there are things being done to more effectively to treat the addiction. Researchers are straying away from the traditional hospital and medication approach and attempting to create a strong bond between mothers and the babies.

Sophomore nursing major Key agrees with researchers and said “Medication may not always be the best remedy, sometimes all a baby needs is proper attention.” According to National Geographic, 86 percent of babies with the syndrome used to rely on medication, whereas now only about 30 percent are. Forming this bond has been proven to combat some of the negative effects that can be controlled, such as behavioral issues. Children with NAS are considered more likely to end up in the foster care system, and although there is not clear research done on the effects of this disease on the brain, there is still the possibilities of cognitive and behavioral problems. “There’s still a lot of work to be done”, says Key, “but hopefully something can be done to help prevent crises like this in the future.”

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HU student involved in Planned Parenthood action

Kyra Robinson | Staff Writer

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Michyah Thomas

Hampton University’s Planned Parenthood: Generation Action (PPGA) president Michyah Thomas was in New Orleans for a reproductive justice conference when the news broke that President Trump would roll back the birth control mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

She was among other women passionate about political change, mingling and enjoying good food when an official of the SisterSong Inc. conference delivered the news. Thomas said immediately, the mood in the room changed.

“Everyone in this room is here for a reason,” the sophomore Political Science major recalled what the official expressed, “You are here because you are going to fight back.”

Thomas got involved with Planned Parenthood in 2016 after falling ill, having to visit one of their facilities.

During that time, she was in so much pain she often could not go to class.

Later, she was invited to the Youth Organizing Summit where she met a national official for Planned Parenthood who sought HBCU representation and saw potential in Thomas to spread the message of the organization.

Now, Thomas works for Planned Parenthood and leads a Generation Action chapter on this campus. With the Virginia gubernatorial election approaching, Thomas is worried on how elected officials will play a role in Trump’s alteration of healthcare policy.

On Oct. 6, national news networks reported that the Trump administration had altered the mandate requiring contraceptives to be covered. This new policy allows employers, nonprofit organizations, schools and universities to decide whether or not they want to cover contraceptives based on religious or moral grounds. The Obama administration projected that more than 55 million women had access to contraception without copayments with this mandate. However, this policy will not affect a majority of women in the United States according to the Health and Human Services Department.

While some universities might face conflict with this policy change, Hampton University’s current student health insurance plan covers contraceptives. Director of the Hampton University health center, Dr. Karen T. Williams considers birth control to be “beneficial medication and recognizes the multiple functions of it including: managing acne, endometriosis, a chronic disorder when tissue grows outside the uterus, and regulating menstrual cycles.”

Thomas became very familiar with the importance of birth control while she was ill. While she does not believe that most institutions will outright deny women contraceptive care, she worries that the decision could set a precedent for people to stop providing a wide-range of services on the basis of religion.

Since being politically involved since the age of 12, she stressed communicating grievances with elected officials. When asked about how to combat legislation that one found displeasing, Thomas said, “It goes beyond electing figures who show concern during their campaign.”

“The most important thing is to make noise after the fact. The conversation does not stop on election day. It’s important to use your voice because everyone has more power than they recognize,” said Thomas.

Republican lawmakers wave the white flag yet again on health care

Zoe Griffin | Contributing Writer

The GOP’s latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, has not fared well with Republican lawmakers.

The goal of Republican lawmakers was to meet the Oct. 1 deadline of passing the American Health Care Act before the current fiscal year ended, but they were unsuccessful yet again.

Now that the deadline passed, the bill can’t be passed with a simple majority.

It now requires the cooperation of the Democratic Party.

On Jan. 10, just days before President Trump’s inauguration, he told The New York Times that Republicans would have Obamacare repealed “probably sometime next week.”

Now, as October starts, Obamacare is still the law of the land, and Republicans are no closer to overhauling their health care law than they were when Trump took office.

“I try to look at both sides and kind of create a parallel between Obamacare and the GOP plan,” Hampton University sophomore journalism major Jordyn Brown said. “It’s important to be aware of the extreme differences and goals of each health care plan. These plans are both targeted to affect specific groups of people. Watching the attempts at altering health care is scary but necessary.”

Approximately 18 million Americans would be without health care coverage in the first year if the GOP Healthcare bill passed, replacing the Affordable Care Act. By the year of 2026, approximately 32 million Americans would lose health care coverage.

“We haven’t given up on changing the American health care system. We are not going to be able to do that this week, but it still lies ahead of us, and we haven’t given up on that,” Senator McConnell told CNN reporters Tuesday.

Democrats and Republicans that voted against the GOP healthcare bill can exhale and wait for the next attempts at repealing Obama Care.

“Republicans are ignoring the problems that Congress found within the bill,” second-year political science major Corei Flowers said. “The best thing for us is for both sides to throw away their pride and come up with a compromise. Republicans are never going to agree with Obamacare, and Democrats are never going to agree with the GOP bill.”

One Hampton University student was relieved when news reports revealed that the GOP bill failed.

“I feel like people don’t really understand how important Obamacare is for some people,” sophomore journalism major Brandi Hutchinson said. “There are people of all ethnicities and backgrounds [who] are only alive and well because of Obamacare. How is taking this away humane at all? I don’t understand how someone’s life and well-being can mean absolutely nothing to certain individuals.”

NSU President set to retire

Odyssey Fields | Staff Writer

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Courtesy of Norfolk State University

After serving as Norfolk State University president for a year, Eddie N. Moore Jr. is retiring.

The university’s sixth president fulfilled the promise he made when he first took office: to clean up Norfolk State’s academic slate.

NSU had been on academic probation. Its accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, cited administrative shortcomings and shoddy bookkeeping when it put Norfolk State on warning in 2013 and probation a year later.

After two years of patient work by Moore and others in the administration, SACS restored Norfolk State to good standing.

Moore released his retirement statement to faculty, staff and students Sept. 25.

He previously served NSU as an interim president for three years. After signing his two-year contract, President Moore swiftly tackled the issues the university faced.

With more than 40 years of experience, Moore has conquered a variety of challenges that stood in the path of his journey at NSU.

After gaining back its accreditation, Moore worked on Norfolk’s “institutional integrity.” His three goals were improving graduation rates, increasing the amount of enrollment for students and flourishing the culture of accountability at NSU.

“NSU is a great institution that will come back greater. Whomever takes over for Mr. Moore will hopefully fulfill the legacy of NSU,” said Victoria Balogun, an NSU sophomore mass communications major.

Since 2013, the university’s rankings have greatly increased, leaving NSU ranked at No. 27 for HBCU listings. In the 2016-2017 enrollment year, admitted students increased to almost 5,000 students.

Moore also has increased funding for the Cybersecurity Workforce. On Jan. 16, 2015, Norfolk State University received a $25 million grant from U.S National Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

The grant allows students majoring in cybersecurity to be properly trained and help develop the university’s cybersecurity workforce. The $25 million grant was only the start to strengthening NSU’s financial support.

In July 2016, NSU received $5 million in grant money for renewable research. Leading into March of 2017, Norfolk raises an additional $1 million from the National Science Department, toward the STEM program.

A portion of the money went toward upgrading the laboratory and experiment equipment used throughout the science department. The grant also helped to support tuition for four undergraduate students attending NSU. In addition to the grant, the number of students within the STEM program increased.

“NSU will continue to prosper as a university,” NSU freshman marketing major Tatyanna Taylor said, “but President Moore will be missed.”

Hampton student’s family survives close call in Las Vegas

Zoe Griffin | Contributing Writer

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The Peterson Family | Courtesy of Carrington Peterson

Las Vegas native Carrington Peterson was awakened Mon- day by 59 messages and notifications from family members.

“My parents decided to go on a ‘staycation’ [Sunday] night and got a hotel room,” Peterson said.

They stayed at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, where a gunman on the 32nd oor that night would kill 59 people, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old man from Mesquite, Nevada, was identified as the

sniper suspect by police. His room contained 16 ri es, one handgun, 18 rearms, explosives and thousands of rounds of bullets, according to law enforcement personnel.

Shots red Sunday night from the Mandalay Bay down to the Route 91 Harvest country music festival sent thousands frantically scrambling for cover. As of Wednesday, the injured total was 527 people.

Not only were Peterson’s parents in the hotel Sunday night, her sibling was in the vicinity.

“It was also my brother’s birthday, so he was out celebrating on the strip,” she said.

Peterson was one of thousands of concerned family members unsure Monday about the whereabouts of their loved ones in Vegas. Her racing thoughts worsened as she worried about the well-being of her family.

 

“I cried, and I’m not one to show emotion immediately or at all, honestly,” Peterson said. “But waking up to those notifications was nerve-racking.”

Peterson’s parents, fortunately, were safe.

“By the grace of God, they checked out of the Mandalay room an hour before the shoot-

ing occurred,” she said. Peterson was relieved when she discovered her brother also had not been harmed.

However, despite her family members not being physically affected by the tragedy, the massacre has taken a toll on them mentally.

Peterson had always been aware of terrible tragedies that occur in America, but this tragedy in particular affected her in a different way because the area was all too familiar.

“Things have been happening so much in this country lately, and it has gotten to be the norm,” Peterson said. “But to have something happen in your town, where you come from, is an entirely different feeling.”

The motive behind the shooting remains unknown. Paddock reportedly committed suicide moments before police entered his hotel room.

Peterson is among those who suspected mental illness played a big role. She thinks this disaster should bring awareness to the issue.

“I hope that this tragedy raises awareness of mental illness because it does not get enough recognition,” Peterson said. “It is a life-challenging disease that isn’t taken seriously.”

City of Hampton’s 5K race helps West African Orphans

Ya-Marie Essay | Campus Editor

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Courtesy of Ya-Marie Essay

Share Heart Africa raises awareness of West African orphans and widows in the Hampton Roads area during their 5K Race for Hope.

The organization hosted their 5 th annual 5k Race for Hope at the end of September near Warwick High School in Newport News, Virginia. The race is dedicated to raising funds for Sierra Leonean children in need, proceeds will directly impact the education of Sierra Leonean children and microfinancing for caregivers to assist their financial need.

The race began with an 8 a.m. 1-mile run followed by a 5K and 8K race at 8:30 a.m. The cost of participation began at $18 for one mile, $30 for 5K and $45 for 8K.

Saffiatu Harper, founder of Share Heart Africa, also a Sierra Leonean native said she was
inspired to host a 5k run to raise proceeds for Sierra Leonean girls that suffer to get access to an education. Last year the race took place during the August heat and had a greater turn-out than this year. With it being the 5th year the Share Heart Africa’s team had a stress-free planning process.

“It was really good to get a late September date this year, the early morning Autumn breeze felt good especially to our runners,” said Harper. “The event was a success but we definitely need more participants to make a major impact in children’s lives in Sierra Leone.”

Rapheal Kamanga came in first place during the 5K race. The Kenyan native was extremely excited to give back to Africa. He hopes to encourage people to participate in fundraising races to not only live a healthy lifestyle, but to also impact the lives of others through a great cause.

“When you’re doing something for Africa, I feel like you’re doing it for me and doing it for my people,” said Kamanga.

Share Heart in Africa focuses on families in the village of Sierra Leone, and main cities like Freetown, Makeni, Kenema, Gloucester, Waterloo and Grafton.

“Our hope is that each child will fully grow up, take what they have learned, and become an agent of change in their community,” said Harper.

Harper believes the Lord called on her to give back to her country. “My heart’s desire is to fulfill the calling God has placed in my heart by promoting the welfare of children in Africa,” said Harper on Share Heart in Africa website.

The organization was founded in and focuses on seven core values that include family and community, accountability, faith, quality, stewardship, integrity and individualized care. The organization also ensures that each child has basic holistic care through their physical, mental social and spiritual needs for a healthy and well-rounded life.

In mid-August Sierra Leone faced a drastic mudslide killing over 300 people, and destroying many homes leaving over 2,000 people homeless. Many organizations including Share Heart in Africa are currently accepting donations to provide medical, sanitary and food supplies for those affected.

“We look forward to impacting more lives in Sierra Leone, West Africa with other future
events,” said Harper.

Share Heart in Africa is currently looking for hardworking and dedicated volunteers. For more information, please visit their website at http://www.shareheartafrica.org

TRUMP’S DECISION ON DACA RATTLES THE COUNTRY

Kyra Robinson | Contributing Writer

Americans were reminded of the President’s zealous opposition to illegal immigration when President Trump ended the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals, also known as DACA.

Immigration reform was a major focus during Trump’s campaign as he introduced various plans to prohibit non-Americans from migrating to the country including the wall on the Mexican border and defunding sanctuary cities.

In 2012, DACA was executively created by the former president Barack Obama to protect undocumented children who immigrated to this country with their parents.

To be eligible, the immigrants had to be under the age of 16 and had to have lived in the country since 2007. Those who applied had to have no criminal history and attend school.

Currently, there are about 800,000 dreamers in this country.

According to the Trump administration, the program is unconstitutional because it allowed non-citizens to live with the same rights and responsibilities as Americans without proper naturalization.

Trump has received much criticism from impactful figures including minority leader Nancy Pelosi and Pope Francis.

He has also received backlash from prominent universities who have a significant amount of enrolled dreamers. Representatives from Columbia University, University of California and University of Texas have spoken in favor of DACA.

The end of the program also had impact at Hampton University.

Political science professor, Dr. Joy Hendrickson a New York ntive who raised her kids in Nigeria with her husband, deemed Trump’s actions an injustice.

“It is breaking more promises, just as America has done so many times to so many people.”

Hendrickson sympathized with immigrant mothers who brought their kids from bad countries because, despite being an American citizen, she found it difficult to relocate from Nigeria for safety purposes because it felt like her home.

“People do not leave unless the situation is really difficult. They would rather stay in their own country, speak their own language, be with their family.”

Sophomore Emajja Bowen was also impassioned by Trump’s decision, for she has a friend who is a dreamer.

Her friend had not known she was undocumented until she applied for college.

“She has been here all her life and knows nothing but America,” Bowen explained, “He makes decisions off fear rather than logic.”

Reportedly, Trump has been negotiating with democrats in Congress to make a deal on the program. However, the future of DACA is still unknown.

NASA Langley dedicates new building to former “Human Computer”

Ya’marie Sesay | Campus Editor

Katherine Johnson at Hamptonhamptonu.edu

The legacy of Katherine Johnson, whose historical work was celebrated in the book-turned-movie “Hidden Figures,” continues at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton as the new Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility (CRF) opens Sept. 22.

“It was kind of a perfect storm that led to naming the building after Katherine. The book came out, then the movie, and suddenly it was everywhere,” NASA Langley spokesman Michael Finneran said. “It seemed like the right thing to do given her background and the significance of her work here.”
The Katherine G. Johnson CRF will be a lab dedicated to innovative research and development focused on NASA’s air mobility and space exploration missions. This will be the third new building under NASA Langley Research Center’s 20-year revitalization plan.
The 20-year revitalization plan is focused on building six new energy efficient research and development facilities due to their average 45 years of aging structures.

“Its success is critical to being able to modernize the buildings and infrastructure at Langley and bringing the operations and maintenance budgets into balance,” Cathy Mangum, director of Langley’s Center Operations Directorate, said in a news release.

The $23 million building will include energy-saving features, five Langley data centers and more than 30 server rooms. Funding for construction was provided by the Norfolk District of the U.S Army Corps of Engineers. The 37,000-square foot facility includes a data center and an office area for the chief information officer, the Atmospheric Flight Entry System Branch of the Engineering Directorate, and the Computational AeroSciences Branch of the Research Directorate. The building also will increase the advancement of modeling and simulation capabilities.

“Much of the work now performed in wind tunnels will one day be handled by powerful computers such as those in this new facility,” Finneran said.
The book “Hidden Figures” written by Margot Lee Shetterly, and subsequent movie showcased Johnson’s dedication and time as a “human computer” at NASA Langley Research Center from 1953 until 1986. In 1957 the West Virginia native calculated by hand the trajectories for America’s first space flights of Alan Shepard.

The Project Apollo’s Lunar Lander with the moon-orbiting Command and Service Module calculations were one of the greatest contributions to space exploration. Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The opening ceremony is expected to be attended by Johnson, Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Sen. Mark Warner, Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck, and Shetterly, the featured speaker.

“It’s very important that the legacy of not only Katherine Johnson lives on, but that of her colleagues as well,” Finneran said. “People from all ages and backgrounds have been inspired and encouraged by the story, particularly because it is real.”