Violence worries many in Kansas City

broken-mirror-1-1426513Jenni Vejar-Robles, Aztec Voice

Imagine you are having a good time when all the sudden you hear something like a gun or firework. You don’t know if you should be scared of what you heard or if you were the only one who heard. Then someone walks in through the door and ask if they heard the gunshot, and at this point you feel scared that something like that happened. You have no idea how to react.

Violence can happen anywhere at any time. According to the Kansas City Star, when it comes to the homicide rate from 2010-2014, Kansas City was in seventh place on the list of cities with more than 250,000 people in the United States. 

Many people worry about the violence within their communities, and some people fear going out for some time. Silvia Vejar, 37, lives in a neighborhood around the Northeast neighborhood of Kansas City; she experienced violence when she heard gunshots close to her house while she had guests there. Vejar’s sister-in-law, Leticia Robles, was there.

“I heard the gunshots from the backyard. I thought it was just a firework, but next thing you know, the cops cars speeding through the night. It was something that I saw coming,” Robles said.

Some people don’t really know when or if they ever are going to experience violence before something really happens and make an impact in people’s lives. Sometimes violence like gun shooting happens, but there is nothing you can do when is happens.

“Nobody wants to experience violence in their lives, so when it comes to it you don’t know how to react,” said middle school student Ruby.

Violence is everywhere, and there are so many people who want to stop the violence from happening. Many people want to keep their communicates safe for all.

“I think that when it comes violence, people want to make a change and do something different about within their community,” said Robles.


Election reactions

Alex Guzman, Aztec Voice


AV held an assembly celebrating students’ identities and heritage on Nov. 10 after the 2016 election.

You could hear a pin drop. FOX 4 News announced the newly elected President of the United States: Donald Trump. Students’ jaws dropped in dismay. Social media was in an uproar with protesters and other families in the nation expressing their feelings.

On Nov. 8, our new President of the United States was elected – Donald Trump. Even though Trump did not win the popularity vote, he won based on the electoral college.

Students from Alta Vista were in disbelief.

Junior Aaron Ramirez stated, “I can’t believe a person like Trump even had a opportunity to be able to run for president. It just shows how America has come to.”

According to the Huffington Post, the electoral college is a system in which there are 538 electors who cast votes to decide the president. Voters will not necessarily only be voting for the president, but they will also be voting for which candidate will receive their state electors. The candidate who receives the most electoral votes will win the presidency. If the candidate wins 270 electoral votes, then they will automatically win.

After the presidential election, there was a hectic crowd of protesters in the nation. Recently in Kansas City at City Hall, hundreds of citizens came together to peacefully protest the presidency. Protesters rioted: “That’s not my President!”

Students in Alta Vista felt the same way.

“He’s the going to be the president, and I get that, but that doesn’t mean I have to respect him,” said freshman Ryan Ruano.

Families in the nation were not only outraged but also fearful, mainly due to intentions of Donald Trump wanting to deport undocumented citizens from the country.

Senior Eyborit Esquivel said, “I’m afraid that he and other people have the justification for being hateful towards others.”

Students react to Plaza shooting

Angie Rutiaga, Aztec Voice

On Oct. 15, there was a shooting at the Plaza. Dozens of people ran for cover in stores after someone opened fire. There were only two people shot. The two were rushed to the hospital with no threatening injuries, according to The Kansas City Star.

Witnesses said that they heard about five shots fired near the corner of 47th and Broadway Streets. That day the Plaza was packed by a lot of people, but nothing happened to them. There were only two injured, but they were brought to the hospital, and they said there weren’t any major injuries except that they were shot.

Some of the people who live in Plaza said they did not hear the gunshots and didn’t really know what was going on.

Cindy Vega, a junior at Alta Vista Charter School, said she did not hear the gunshots, but some of her family did.

“No, I did not hear the gunshots, but my mom did, and I was scared for a little, but then she didn’t hear any more, just the sound of police sirens, so she knew it was over. I was in my house when this happened so I was like two blocks away when this occurred,” Cindy said.

Wendy Vega, a sophomore at AV, was not home when this happened. Wendy thinks they shoot just for fun now.

“I think there was a shooting because now people think it’s cool to shoot or to have a gun, and I think they just want to show it off. I feel safe living around the Plaza because not many things happen around here,” Wendy said.

Cindy thinks they shoot because they want to.

“I think there was a shooting because people be pulling guns out for no reason just to be cool and stand out, but never to have an actual reason. I feel safe living by the Plaza because it’s not like Northeast and East where you hear gunshots and all that stuff often, so it’s safe around here, just the people who come and do dumb stuff,” Cindy said.

Biridiana Espinoza, a junior at AV, thinks there are a lot of many people who don’t know what they’re doing.

“I think there was a shooting because there are so many stupid people who don’t have things to do. I do not feel safe [anywhere] because they always are having shootings everywhere. This world is getting worse and worse each day, where now we can’t trust anyone anymore,” Espinoza said.

The mayor of Kansas City, Sly James, is upset about what’s been going on with the shootings. He issued a statement about the shooting.

“Tonight I have mixed emotions,” James wrote. “I’m thankful that the victims from tonight’s shootings are not suffering from life-threatening injuries and that no additional bystanders were hurt. However, I’m angry that gun violence continues to shatter lives in all parts of our city, whether it be on the Plaza or at 44th and Montgall, where I grew up.”

Prepare for flu season

img_5848Isabelle Bohlken, Aztec Voice

As winter approaches, there’s a good chance you’ll witness flu around.

“Influenza activity often begins to increase in October and November. Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and March and can last as late as May,” the Centers for Disease Control reports.

“Some people do die from flu, about nine thousand people a year do get the complications from flu and it’s not just adults. Usually it’s the babies or the older people that get sick and die from flu,” Karen Rubio, the lead technician of the Blood Bank department of Children’s Mercy Hospital says.

According to the CDC, everyone must get a flu shot by the end of October, if possible. Children may need a flu shot and a booster shot to protect themselves from the long flu season.

Rubio believes most employers or insurance will cover your flu shot. She is required to get one or else she’s fired. The hospital offers all patients and their families flu shots for free without any documentation.

“If you’re in a job where one week of lost work time is disastrous, I’d recommend getting your flu shot. Flu shots are no guarantee you won’t get flu though,” Rubio advised.  

Most clinics will carry the flu shot. It’s very accessible this year, according to experts. The estimated price of the flu shot this year seems to be $50, but under insurance, the price is to be definitely dropped. Numbers of vaccines can be tracked on the CDC website.

“And now you can get it anywhere from the doctor’s office to the pharmacy,” Rubio added, explaining there’s no real reason to not get one other than personal preference.

“The emphasis is on reaching the underinsured and uninsured, including fast food workers. They show up for work healthy or sick, and if they show with flu, then that’s not good for public health,” said Regina Weir of the Mid America Immunization Coalition.

According to FOX 4 News, a free flu shot clinics will be held on Friday, Nov. 3, 2016, from  4:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Walgreens Pharmacy, 3845 Broadway, Kansas City MO 64111 (ages 12 and up).

Not clowning around


Oscar Borjas, Aztec Voice

What happened to clowns that made children smile? The clowns that made children balloon animals at fairs? Now people are terrified of them, and all they want is for clowns to stay safe – and their children to stay safe, as well.

In the year of 201,6 now that halloween is right around the corner, families are worried and want their children home. Police officers have recommended that children stay away from wooded areas.

“I honestly feel paranoid,” sophomore Alexeah Morton said. “I’m scared to walk around at night. I also don’t feel like going trick-or-treating because I won’t know who is a creepy clown or just a regular clown.”

“I never saw clowns being creepy,” sophomore Jaylene Botello said. “I always just saw them as entertainment.”

Many people feel the same way as both of these girls. Police have issued a warning that children should not be out at night and they should not play around or walk around wooded areas, as those are known to have been where the creepy clowns first appeared.

This topic is rather abrupt in the sense that no one really fears clowns. Some people do have a phobia of them, but others do not. When someone sees a clown, they do get shocked, but then they take it as a joke. All this about the clowns is seen as a joke, and two “jokers” are in police custody.

The clown sightings first started in late August as the Halloween season is right around the corner.

“It is stupid that people find this as something they should use as a prank,” said junior Selena Aguilera.

Clown sightings are growing all around the U.S. This a pretty bad prank that can result in people getting hurt. Twelve people have been involved in the clown incidents. Some have been found to have made false claims about clown sightings, and they are in police custody.

Schools in Kansas City are now telling parents about this and that they should be careful of what’s going on around them now very close to home.

“I feel like the little prank went too far, and it is affecting the police force in the manner that they don’t know whether they should take it [as] real or not,” said sophomore Jessica Caro.

This prank went over the edge, and now that Halloween is in a couple of days, there might be many incidents because of this whole clown business.

KU basketball kicks off the season

Brandon Bowman, Aztec Voicefull-basketball-1500287

As University of Kansas sophomore Carlton Bragg, Jr., goes up for the dunk, the crowd gets silent. It seems like he is in the air for hours and hours. When he finishes the dunk the crowd goes in an uproar!!! It was a sight to be seen.

On Oct. 1 the Jayhawks put on a full performance for the KU fans. This event was filled with fans’ favorites, such as dunks, half-court shots and a full court scrimmage, as well as a performance by Kansas City rapper Tech N9ne.

Late Night in the Phog ended with a scrimmage. Both KU teams played against each other. Four of the Jayhawks ended up in double figures by the end of the game.

Bragg said, “We’re going to keep going at it, everyday, every practice.”

Most fans had their eyes on the top prospects such as freshman Josh Jackson, Bragg and the other players. But what shocked the whole arena was the fact that walk-on junior Tucker Vang would score a basket before Jackson.

The crowd was into the event, the players were into the event, and the coaches were into the event. Some of the players on the team were just happy to be there with the supportive team and the loving fans.

Other players said it was great to start out the season on the court in front of their fans.

KU will take a couple of days off by just playing pickup games before starting the actual first practice, allowing injured players such as Udoka Azubuike to rest and return to the action with the team.

Discovering an entrepreneurial spirit

img_8076Jessica Caro, Aztec Voice

Last month, 15 students from Katie Kimbrell’s community leadership class took a trip to Techweek Kansas City to learn about different entrepreneurs. They got to learn about many different companies, apps and other businesses.

Students were given a bingo card to complete with questions to ask or things to look for while there. The questions were made specifically to get more information from the entrepreneurs and to learn more about what it takes to start a company.

Students were able to use a gaming headset that turns video games into virtual reality and also try out new things.

Students walked around, exploring and learning about how companies started and how they plan on expanding.

“It was nice to get to know about new companies and how they started,” said junior Damian Lopez.

Students were also able to ask questions of whatever they wanted to know about and learned about new things.

“I liked being able to experience being around a lot of business people and getting to know what they do with their businesses,” sophomore Jacqueline Perez said.

In the end, students left the event with more knowledge about entrepreneurs and companies.

MINDDRIVE guides students

minddrive_logo_blackDaniel Espitia Cuellar, Aztec Voice

MINDDRIVE is a program that works to “inspire students to learn through mentoring and project based learning,” according to its mission statement.

From what language arts teacher Emma Hall says, they are focused are two sides: a communications side and a technological side.

AV has encouraged the idea of joining by letting MINDDRIVE show and inform what MINDDRIVE is about. Meetings were held in the week of Sept. 19.

We have a few students who have been members and more who are going to enter.

Sophomore Kevin Castillo is one of the many wanting to join. He wants to join because of the “experience” he will get in photography.

He thinks it’ll help students by “giving them experience and letting them meet more people,” he said.

Hall also thinks MINDDRIVE is a good idea.

“It gives real world experience to students, with professional guidance,” she said.

Sophomore Jesus Gomez was member of MINDDRIVE last year. He joined to become more responsible.

“I think MINDDRIVE is a good idea. Before, I was nervous around dangerous and new things, but now I’m easy going with them,” Gomez said.

He advises students to join as it could “help with your resume later in the future, especially with engineering.”

If you are interested, or want more information, visit Hall at the bottom floor by the teachers lounge.

‘I feel the earth move under my feet’

earthquake-trail-1538428Anthony Alonzo, Aztec Voice

(story title courtesy of Carole King)

Did you feel that? Yes, we had tremors last week in the Kansas City area. For many it was a shock, and others were completely unaware about what had happened.

Now, many may be wondering what was the caused the tremors here in Kansas City. According to a statement released on the Fox 4 website, the tremors where the aftermath of a 5.6 magnitude earthquake that happened in Pawnee, Oklahoma.

To put things into perspective, Pawnee, Oklahoma, is located approximately 200 miles from the downtown Kansas City area. This means that the tremors not only reached Kansas City, but they reached a vast amount of other locations within the 200-mile radius.

For the residents in Pawnee, there should be some concern. According to the USGS (United States Geological Survey), there was an estimated of fewer than 10 fatalities, compared to the total population of 2,000. Aside form the fatalities, there is also an estimated of $10 million in damages that will need to covered by the state of Oklahoma.

Having only experienced the small tremors in Kansas City, it is expected that there be minor damages to buildings, but for individuals this will be one of the most memorable events in Kansas City (until the Royals become world champions once again).

For senior Maylen Hernandez, it was a wake-up call:

“I was asleep, and I felt the ground shake, and that woke me up,” she said. “I was scared because I didn’t know what was happening.”

Senior Rocio Alonzo also had a similar experience.

“I was in the car waiting for my mom, and I then felt the ground moving,” Alonzo said. “I thought it the old man next to the car because he was mad for some reason.”

After having experience such a shocking event, should there still be concern among the Kansas City residents? Despite being one of the first tremors to have occurred in over a decade, there should not be much concern. Some now are considering to prepare for more tremors in the upcoming future.

“I think that there should be some sort of preparation for the future,” said senior Monica Lagunes. “It’s better to prepare now and not regret not having done anything.”

Kansas City now just has to wait to see what the future has in store for itself.

Trip reveals eighth grader’s immigration status


KANSAS CITY, MO — As years pass by, being a legal citizen is becoming more important to have a productive life. Thousands of people cross the border from Mexico to the United States to get a better life for themselves and their families. In rare cases, some people are not aware of their legal statues until they are older. Juan Garcia, 18 year old from Guanajuato, Michoacán grew up not really knowing he had come to the United States illegally.

Garcia has been in the United States since he was a 2-year-old. He took the long bus drive from Guanajuato to Texas, were his mom picked him up. Unlike other undocumented people, Garcia traveled with his aunt half way and then with someone he didn’t know the rest. “The only reason I’m here now is because I used someone else’s papers” Garcia said.

Garcia started pre-school like any other child his age. All throughout eight-grade he thought he was born here. When his eight-grade class was going to go on a trip to Washington, he asked his parents if he could go along. When his parents said he couldn’t he was disappointed, he asked why not. His dad broke the news; he didn’t have a passport because he wasn’t from the United States. He went years without knowing he wasn’t born in the United States.

“Finding out, it hurt me inside, it made me feel different from everyone else,” he said. Yet, Garcia pushed himself to work hard. When he got to high school his first three years he worked hard for his straight A’s. “I wanted to have a high GPA so colleges can actually accept me, maybe I could have even got a scholarship” Garcia said.

When he started senior year it reality hit him, he wasn’t going to be able to get into a good collage if he had no social. He gave up hope on going to college; he stopped trying to get good grades. “It wasn’t worth it, having a good GPA, if the most I was going to get was 100 dollars. That’s why my senior year I slacked off.”

Garcia graduated with his class of 2010. With a high school diploma he is working at a factory. Garcia doesn’t think the immigration reform will help him any, he also had the chance to apply for the dream act, yet Garcia didn’t do it. “The papers aren’t going to be working I am. I’m happy how I am,” Garcia said. “I’m not getting a lot of money but I’m not starving, my stomach is never empty.”

Garcia has been out of school for two years now; he has no hope on returning either. The only way he thinks the reform will help him is by him not getting put in jail when the police stop stops him.

Garcia has a 12 year old brother he hopes takes a turn for the best. “He has a social, he has many great opportunities in front of him, and he’s an intelligent boy. I hope he becomes someone productive in society” Garcia said.

Like his brother he also had the intelligence and the skills to get far in life. He looks back and thinks if he actually had a social he would have gone to college and made something so his brother can follow. He Is still a good role model and is pushing his brother to his full potential.

“People say it’s never too hard to go back to college, to me it is too late,” Garcia said. “Everything I had learned in all my years of school is out of my head.” He would rather look for a better job that pays more than go back to school.