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NEWS ALERT: Las Lomas Varsity Football Wins Battle of the Creek, 34-7.

The Knights begin the start of what will be a winning game, facing off against Northgate’s defense.

WALNUT CREEK, CA- The annual “Battle of the Creek” rivalry game between the Las Lomas Knights and the Northgate Broncos ended in victory, as the Knights dominated 34-7.

Success started early as senior quarterback Michael Wood rushed into the endzone for a quick two-yard touchdown, pushing the momentum towards the Knights. Wood ran in for another two-yard touchdown during the fourth quarter, adding more yards to his successful night.

“We just had to shake off last week,” Wood said in an interview, while discussing their disappointing loss to Acalanes last Friday, 0-42. “We wanted it more and we came out to play and, you know, the [team] was just great.”

Wood scores his first of two rushing touchdowns, both of which contributed significantly to the Knights’ win.

A recovered fumble, numerous sacks and Wood’s ability to connect with his receivers proved to be the key in stomping the Broncos. The Knights hold the title of “Owning the Creek” for the fourth consecutive year in a row.

Stats will be reported below.

Senior running back Adam Towell rushes in another Knights’ touchdown in the second quarter.

WRITTEN BY BROOKE KILLGORE

PHOTOS BY ROWAN SHEA

M. Wood: 16/22, 242yds (pass), 50yds (rush), 2 TDs

A. Lisi: 7/8 receptions, 115yds

A. Towell: 12 attempts, 47yds, 1 TD

K. Lagaya: 10 attempts, 1/1 reception, 35yds, 1 TD

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Issue 5 Magazine News

Pipeline Leak at South Broadway

By Eric Wickboldt

On November 9, 2004, an explosion erupted in Walnut Creek. Energy company Kinder Morgan neglected to mark a bend in one of its gasoline pipelines, killing five workers and injuring four others attempting to install a water main in the same location. 

Sixteen years later, on November 20, 2020, a leak emerged on the same pipeline at South Broadway near Las Lomas. Officials had detected a pressure drop, prompting them to shut down specific segments of the pipeline. Workers repaired the leak later in November, but not before tens of thousands of gallons of gasoline escaped into the gravel bed backfill underneath the San Ramon Bypass flood channel. The gasoline found a preferential pathway and traveled slowly north down the channel until it met up with the Walnut Creek channel near Civic Park, where it escaped from below the concrete through a crack in an expansion joint. When Kinder Morgan found out on December 2, it sent workers to deal with the issue and establish a cleanup operation. 

The leak did not result in the same devastation as the 2004 explosion, and the situation is now under control. However, the leak disappointed many residents nearby, irritated at the way that Kinder Morgan and the city of Walnut Creek have been handling the situation. 

“[In] the short term, the noise and the construction activity and the smell of gasoline has affected us in our home,” said Jeff Thomas, a resident of Greenway Drive whose house borders the Walnut Creek channel and who lives one street away from where the operation is taking place. “It has kept us up at night and really bothered our pets, our dogs and our chickens and our bees.” He went on to state, “Long term, this could [have] a potential effect, one [on] my property value, but also environmentally…does it affect my ground water…[and] the trees in my yard?”

Bob Lindfors, whose residence is less than 50 yards from where the cleanup is taking place and whose street served as an access area for the intersection between the channels, echoed similar concerns about disturbances and soil contamination: “I advise anyone with property along the channel to ask for soil borings and testing of soil and groundwater samples to assess whether fuel products have migrated.” Lindfors also expressed discontent towards Kinder Morgan as well as the city of Walnut Creek’s job of communicating the issue to nearby residents: “City officials seem distanced from the problem. As far as I can tell, there has been ZERO outreach from the city of Walnut Creek.”

Thomas reaffirmed this concern about a lack of communication, stating, “There was this kind of quagmire of misinformation…or no information for nearly two weeks.”

In addition to disturbances, environmental worries and lack of communication, both Thomas and Lindfors expressed concerns about the safety of the situation, concerns that a perceived lack of effective communication from Kinder Morgan or the city of Walnut Creek amplified. Lindfors mentioned, “At first there was palpable fear in the neighborhood about possible ongoing leaks and explosions (remembering the 2004 explosion).”

Thomas stated, “I’d like for this to be resolved as quickly as possible and for minimal harm to our community and our environment. I realize that the pipeline is a vital artery to supply safe gasoline and fuel to our community, but that we have to be vigilant about maintaining it safely and preventing any environmental emergencies or disasters.”

The cleanup is still ongoing. As of January 11, Kinder Morgan has recovered 17,409 of the estimated 31,500 to 42,000 gallons of gasoline.

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Features Issue 6 Magazine

Winter Break: Wishes and Takeaways

By Yasmeen Anwar

Graphic by Abby Halverstadt

Winter break is a time many spend with family and friends, and numerous students look forward to the holiday season to get a break from school after finals. However, many also end up feeling unfulfilled after break, and some students wish they could have spent their time in other places.

Lydia Cayer, a freshman at Las Lomas, commented, “I wish I had used the computer less and gone out for a hike or something.” She also mentioned that she didn’t do too much during break, but she was grateful for the extra sleep she had gotten. “One thing about break that was good was that I was able to sleep in a lot. I wouldn’t have been able to do this otherwise.” 

Senior Raishma Anwar expressed a similar experience, saying, “I definitely slept a lot more, which I couldn’t [do] otherwise because of school, so that was probably my favorite part.” Anwar also mentions that she had to deal with college applications and said, “Personally, I pushed my college applications off until the very end of winter break, and I kind of regret doing that. I wish I would have just done it during the beginning [of winter break] and then relaxed for the rest of the time because I came back to school sort of burnt out.”

Both women agreed that break was at least a little beneficial, and would help them during this semester. Anwar said, “[Break] definitely [helped] because I felt really burnt out at the end of the first semester and I don’t think I would have finished my college applications if it wasn’t for break.” Cayer also expressed, “I think having the break is helping a little this semester.”

Break can be beneficial, so long as you make it so. Some students will utilize this time to catch up or even get ahead on their studies, while other students will spend the time relaxing and getting time to finally unwind. Many students are waiting for spring break in only a few months.

Many studies have shown that students who get more sleep are more likely to do better in school, as sleep helps with memory retention. Catching up on sleep is something that many students use break for, and it will often help them succeed in the new semester.

Break is what you make it, but maybe don’t go to bed at 3 a.m. every night.

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Features Issue 6 Magazine

Da Capo

By Christina Chen

Graphic by Ron Boegel

Since the start of quarantine in March of 2020, classes at Las Lomas have had to adjust so they could be taught online. Due to this, many teachers have had to change the way they teach or alter their lesson plans so they could be executed through a screen. Band classes, being a class that largely relies on group work and teamwork, had to figure out how to host band online.

With the implementation of distance learning some inconveniences and downsides arose. For many, it meant missing out on integral events: “Having participated actively in band activities, I’ve definitely been a little sad to miss out on in person rehearsals and performances.” said Senior Isabel Shic. When asked what some pros and cons of online band were, she said “I’m not really sure if there are any pros to online band – ensemble music is intended to be enjoyed by multiple people.”

Practice has also become difficult for students. Some have found that their time spent practicing has stayed consistent while others have found their practice time decreasing, “As much as I would like to say I still practice consistently, there’s really not much of an incentive to practice, such as a performance or being judged by everyone in class. So no, I don’t practice as much as I used to.” Shic said.

However, despite the difficulties presented, band teachers have found ways to host band class over Zoom and make learning interesting: “We’re still working on a few pieces using a platform called Smart Music, where we’ll play with a recording of the piece and eventually submit our own recordings. We’ve also done virtual chamber groups, where members of a group record separately, then assemble the recordings on a platform similar to GarageBand.” said Shic. “In jazz band, Ms. Shankle (our teacher) invited Director John Maltester to teach a clinic over Zoom, which was fun.” 

With hope for the future, band teachers have made preparations for students returning for Hybrid. “I know that Ms. Shankle has purchased special masks for instrumental purposes, as well as bell covers for brass players like me, so I believe students who do go back to hybrid will be protected as much as possible.” Shic said

“Nevertheless, I think Ms. Shankle is doing a great job pulling together different activities – she makes class as interesting as it can be, given our current situation.” said Shic.

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Entertainment Issue 6 Magazine

A Record Breaking Anime

By Kylie Deng

Graphic by Vhia David

Kimetsu No Yaiba, also known as the popular anime Demon Slayer, has exploded in popularity since its premiere in April 2019. In October 2020, a two hour animated movie, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train was released, continuing the story. Worldwide, it grossed 374.5 million US Dollars. As of now the English dubbed version will be released in early 2021. Because of all this I was curious to see if Demon Slayer really lived up to its reputation and wanted to take note on why the anime and movie were so popular. 

Another large part of Demon Slayer and Demon Slayer: Mugen Train’s success, is that Mugen Train, unlike the average anime, is not a stand alone or side story of the anime. Mugen Train is a contribution to the main storyline, adding to the canonical story of the anime. The movie’s sales easily surpassed records made by older movies in the first week of its release.

“A youth begins a quest to fight demons and save his sister after finding his family slaughtered and his sister turned into a demon.” (The movie description within Xfinity.) The first few episodes bring the watcher through a rush of emotions as the main character, Tanjiro, returns to his home and finds tragedy has struck: his sister is on the brink of death. As I continued watching, I originally thought Demon Slayer was a regular Shonen anime that shows the protagonist struggle in the beginning of the story and become extremely overpowered as time goes on or early in the story. Other Shonen titles usually include young male protagonists whose stories revolve around fighting, adventure and action.
Overall Demon Slayer may look like the average Shonen title, but everything about the characters and world building is beautiful. Characters are well crafted and well developed as the anime focuses solely on the plot without leading away from the main story. The cast of characters are relatable in one way or another to many fans of the anime. Tanjiro’s path to get stronger to protect his sister is reasonable with regards to the amount of time and improvement shown. Compared to other protagonists, Tanjiro doesn’t just reach his goal in a flash; the viewers are shown a steady progression of his strength as the episodes and time within the story goes on. The anime may seem a bit plain but the story is well crafted and speckled with the smallest details to put the watcher more into the story. The release of season 2 of the anime, either this spring or summer, is highly anticipated. I am excited as well for the upcoming release of Demon Slayer Season 2 and hope the second season continues the line of intricately crafted characters and world-building.

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Entertainment Issue 6 Magazine

Jeopardy! Season 37 Continues Amidst Major Changes

By Andrew C. Francois

“And now, here is the host of ‘Jeopardy!’ … Alex Trebek!” Since 1984, television announcer Johnny Gilbert has used these words to usher in each new episode of Jeopardy!, which is, by most accounts, the most beloved and popular game show in television history (Jeopardy!’s 39 Daytime Emmy Awards would certainly point to this). 

Sadly, Trebek, the longtime host of the show, had been battling pancreatic cancer since early 2019. As his chemotherapy dragged on over the past year-and-a-half, it became clear to fans that Trebek would soon pass away. That happened on November 8th, 2020, and while predictable, Trebek’s death was still a profound loss felt deeply by the millions of Jeopardy! fans worldwide. It was quickly decided by Jeopardy! producers that the show would go on and debate quickly began amongst fans about who should succeed Trebek. 

Early on, Ken Jennings was seen as a natural pick. Jennings achieved some degree of fame in 2004, when he won 74 consecutive games of Jeopardy!, picking up more money than anyone else had in the show’s history. Sure enough, on November 23rd, Jeopardy! producers announced that Jennings would be interim host of Jeopardy!, the first in what will be a series of guest hosts, now including personalities such as journalist Katie Couric, Bill Whitaker of 60 Minutes, and even Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers. 

While I initially had my doubts about Jennings’ hosting abilities, after a week of seeing him as the Jeopardy! host, I can safely say that the show is in good hands with him, and certainly will be in the future given the roster of upcoming guest hosts. It’s clear from his episodes so far that, though Jennings lacks some of the cadence and rhythm in reading clues that Trebek was so well known for, he is certainly a suitable replacement. One thing that has stood out to me about his on-screen personality compared to Trebek’s is that he seems much more engaged and personable than Trebek, with all his strengths, when it comes to interviewing contestants.

Meanwhile, the quality of the show remains top-tier. The questions still cover an ever-changing range of topics, and continue to be fun and engaging for families all over the world. I can certainly say as much for my family. 
Overall, despite Trebek’s tragic passing, I was very pleased with how the producers of Jeopardy! worked to honor his legacy through the show he loved, which he spent nearly half of his life hosting. No number of guest hosts will ever replace Trebek’s wit, nuance, and compassion on the show, but they can certainly help keep the Jeopardy! flame alive, and Ken Jennings has been doing an excellent job of that so far.

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Issue 6 Magazine Sport

Sports In The New Year

By Adam Tarr

On December 17th, 2020, the California Department of Health and the California Interscholastic Federation released modifications and guidelines regarding the 2020-2021 high school sports season. When playing a high school sport, some of the things that make being on a team so special are competing against other teams and playing with your peers. Athletes in 2021 will have had to adapt to new norms to ensure that students can safely participate in sports without contracting the virus. Across all levels of sports, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused uncertainty and drama as well as opportunities for growth and learning.

The new guidelines state which sports are allowed to be played in each COVID-19 tier. Contra Costa is currently in the red tier which only allows for sports such as cross-country, track and field and golf to be played, sports that are easy to play using social distancing and which have a lower COVID-19 threat. “I think that right now some sports are riskier than others, like for example, football. If you’re really close to people and you’re having physical contact with people that’s more of a threat because you can’t have that distancing…” said Megan Sechle, a senior on the cross-country team at Las Lomas. The CIF regularly updates their guidelines and the status of each county in returning to sports on their website. 

“I’m pretty eager [to return]. I think that the safety of our community right now is more important than returning back to our normal sports,” Sechle added. Students will not be able to compete against other teams until at least January 25th at the current time of this article being written.

During the pandemic, sports have not been anywhere close to normal. At all levels, athletes have had to change routines and make sacrifices just to have the chance to play the sports they love. “Some of the challenges that we’ve had to adjust and get used to, is [high fiving] a lot, and the stretching groups, and circles [when normally], [you’d] be breathing on each other and of course you can’t do that now.” Sechle added. 

It’s hard to say when high school sports will return to normalcy. With the COVID-19 vaccine finally being distributed to people 16 and over, it’s possible we could see some ease in restrictions. Unfortunately, this likely won’t be any time soon because people in the high school age levels are not prioritized.

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Issue 6 Magazine News

Crisis at the Capitol

By Sienna Lapointe

Graphic By Veronica Genkin

On January 6, 2021, supporters of former president Donald Trump gathered in front of the Washington, D.C. Capitol, which first began as a peaceful protest to dispute the results of the electoral college votes in the 2020 presidential election. Before noon, large crowds of Trump supporters gathered in front of the Capitol as Trump prepared to go onstage to deliver his speech. Soon after, Trump told his supporters to walk to the Capitol, so they followed. “You have to show your strength,” he said. 

Capitol Police arrived to help control the crowd. According to The New York Times, “About 20 minutes before Trump’s speech ended, some people in the Capitol crowd harassed officers posted at the barricades and started to get physical. Others followed suit, until they violently overwhelmed the police and breached the building’s outer perimeter.”

Rioters on the west side broke into the building around 2:15 p.m. Two minutes later, as they reached the stairs next to the Senate chamber, the Senate was called into recess. Rioters continued to enter the building by breaking a window and entering through the door, on the northwest side. More than five minutes after the first rioters broke into the building, the House also went into recess. All of Congress was evacuated. 

The mob became very violent and started dragging and beating officers. Rioters chased an officer to the top of a staircase where there are entrances to the Senate chamber in both directions. The officer only had a baton. Explosives were found. 

Five people died from the events that took place at the Capitol, while dozens more were injured. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick was beaten, a rioter was shot, and three others died during the rampage. 

Three Las Lomas freshmen expressed their opinions on this attack. “The people storming the capitol had no reason to, other than the fact that their candidate did not win. It was inhumane, disgusting, and this definitely proves white supremacy to be true,” says Natalie Puttavon.

Lily Doherty said, “The people who chose to do that put a lot of people’s health at risk and put some political leaders in scary situations.” 

“The storming of the capitol has changed my mindset on America and its citizens,” says Sydney Liao. The storming of the capitol was a horrific moment in history that left many Americans shocked and disturbed. 

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Features Magazine Volume 70, Issue 4

Mask Up, and Hit the Slopes

By Caroline Johnston

Graphic By Jane Wilson

The days of drinking hot chocolate in the lodge and making friends with strangers on the lift are seemingly over for this snowboarding and skiing season. Nearly every aspect of life has been affected in some way by COVID-19, and snow sports such as skiing and snowboarding are not the exception. On a typical day at a ski resort, there may be hundreds, if not thousands, of people participating in a variety of activities ranging from sitting by a fireplace in the lodge, to taking continuous laps on their favorite runs. Now, due to the pandemic, things are looking different at the resorts due to a variety of different safety precautions. In March of 2020, resorts had to shut down prematurely due to the virus, but will remain open this winter. Thankfully, skiing and snowboarding are activities that can be executed quite well in terms of coronavirus safeness, since they occur outdoors and can follow social distancing guidelines with relative ease. 

Since public health is the main concern of the resorts, there are many safety precautions that resorts are taking to protect everyone. One requirement is that everyone must wear a mask, or face covering, especially while near other people such as in lift lines, and when walking around the lodge. Some resorts, such as Boreal, are requiring everyone to wear gloves, which isn’t too much of an inconvenience since most people already wear gloves while skiing or snowboarding. Resorts such as Squaw Valley are also not grouping together parties on the chair lifts, so there will no longer be a “singles line,” where one can usually cut the long lines and join a random group on the lift. Other resorts, such as Boreal, are putting together singles on their four person chairs, with one person sitting on each end of the chair and both wearing masks. 

In addition to enforcing safety precautions for the guests at the resorts, most resorts are also limiting the amount of people who can go ride each day and requiring visitors to buy their tickets online beforehand; this is the most inconvenient safety measure in place for many. In December, Squaw Valley is only allowing people to ride who are: lodging in the village, have a season pass, are renting equipment, or are taking a lesson. Other resorts are limiting the occupancy to a smaller percent or capping the amount of visitors each day at a certain number. Homewood employee, Billy Fletcher said that they are only allowing 1600 visitors each day, and that all tickets have to be bought beforehand and picked up at a kiosk at the resort. Other resorts such as Donner Ski Ranch are allowing season pass holders to go whenever they want, while people who are buying day tickets have to purchase them in advance. Junior Megan Lewis, who went to Mt. Rose over Thanksgiving break, said, “People are only allowed to do half days,” and, “They only had two lifts open so that made the lines really long.” Other resorts, such as Donner Ski Ranch, only had the lifts on the front side of their mountain open as well, during the month of December. People who have Epic Passes, (a combo season pass to over 20 resorts in North America, including Heavenly, Kirkwood, and North Star) can only make reservations for seven days in each new batch of released dates. With all of the reservation requirements that have been put in place this year, all trips must be planned in advance which leaves no room for spontaneity. 

This will most certainly be the year where the diehard skiers and snowboarders will be weeded out from the people just there to hang in the lodge. At nearly all resorts, the lodges are not open for indoor seating. Boreal has defined one’s car as their “new lodge.” Fletcher said that at Homewood, one can order food online and pick it up at a kiosk, but there is no indoor dining. Senior skier Jakob Lapping said, “People that like nice restaurants, hotels, shopping, and clubs in ski resort villages will be disappointed this year.” Those who truly love the sports may not be that bothered by all the safety precautions, because in the end, they still get to ski and snowboard. Lapping said, “The sport of skiing and snowboarding felt essentially the same and was equally as fun as previous years.” Although things may not be the same as previous seasons, it’s really special that people can still go skiing and snowboarding at all, since so many other sports and activities have been completely shut down due to COVID-19.

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Features Magazine Volume 70, Issue 4

Painting through the pandemic

By Ally Hoogs

Graphic By Emma Cypressi

Mother/daughter duo Mindy and Audrey Ellison started a new uplifting painting project on their garage in Walnut Creek. They made their first appearance on October 11th on an Instagram account, showcasing a painting that they had made in April. This first appearance helped to boost their followers, who were inspired by their uplifting message and creative design. Using Tempera paint, they design and paint positive messages, thanking health workers, giving helpful COVID safety steps, and uplifting phrases about inclusivity. Their work can be found on their Instagram account, @garagedoorwc, where they post new projects and updates.

The duo came up with the idea nine months ago when Mindy Ellison needed a creative outlet to substitute some of the free time she had off work. Her daughter Audrey soon joined, and together they started a weekly garage painting that is now going nine months strong. Audrey added that painting with bright colors brings fun and an interactive way to stay motivated during the stay at home order. 

“I started doing this as an outlet,” Mindy mentioned. “I don’t consider myself an artistic person, but I love doing this [for the community].” 

Over nine months, a small hobby turned into a community-wide project, bringing bright and motivating illustrations to Walnut Creek. Some of their most collaborative projects include a Thanksgiving painting with a local preschool, writing some of the things they are thankful for, even during the pandemic. The Ellison’s have since then created drawings with uplifting words to associate camaraderie with the struggles of the year.

  Mindy and Audrey both agreed that they weren’t expecting the newfound popularity when they first began. Audrey commented, “I love the connections we’ve made with our neighbors and community. We never thought we would grow such a fanbase out of it and meet so many wonderful people.”

The Ellisons hope that their colorful work brings people together and gives a dose of happiness during the pandemic.