The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper


Newsbytes: FUSD STEM Charter School, Solitary Confinement, Zika Virus, and Thermoplastic Gowns

By: Staff Writers Ashley Chang and Mallika Gupta


FUSD Board of Education’s meeting on January 27 discussed Magnolia Science Academy’s petition to open a school in the district. The statewide charter organization established its first school in southern CA in 2002 and has since opened 11 schools offering specifically STEM-based courses. The Board concluded that the petition had insufficient signatures, failed to provide comprehensive explanations for important charter aspects, and implied that the school is unlikely to successfully implement the measures presented in the petition. As a result, the Board members recommended the petition to be denied.


President Barack Obama said on January 25 he was moving to ban solitary confinement for juveniles and low-level offenders in federal prisons, a change long sought by advocates of prison reform who argue the punishment exacts a lasting mental toll. The White House’s statement also said he planned to divert inmates with serious mental illness to alternative forms of housing and to limit the use of “punitive segregation.” He said that the use of solitary confinement  should “be limited, applied with constraints and used only as a measure of last resort.” This move has come after a Justice Department inquiry that began last summer and examined the overuse of solitary confinement in American prisons.


The outbreak of the Zika virus, a mosquito-borne disease, in Latin America has caused Brazilian authorities to take measures to prevent the disease’s spread during the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games in August. The Rio 2016 organizing committee, guided by the Brazilian Ministry of Health and the Municipal Health Department, will start inspections in April to rid the Olympic facilities of mosquito breeding grounds. There will also be daily inspections during the Games. The Brazilian Ministry of Health hopes the Games will benefit from taking place in a cooler and drier month when mosquitos are less prevalent and therefore cause fewer cases of mosquito-borne diseases.


Inteva Products LLC commissioned fashion designer Janna Coumoundouros to produce four gowns using the same thermoplastic material, Inteather, used in the instrument panel surface of a number of General Motors Co. vehicles. To promote the new car models, the material generally used to replace traditional leather in vehicles was featured on four models at the pop-up fashion show at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

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