My Writing for The Scarlet & Black

I work as the News Editor for the Scarlet & Black online and print newspaper. 

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Steven Vogel convicted of first-degree murder of Grinnell resident Michael Williams

Steven Vogel, 32, was found guilty on Tuesday, Nov. 16, of the first-degree murder of Grinnell resident Michael Williams and of abuse of a corpse. Williams’ body was found burned in a ditch near Kellogg, Iowa on Sept. 16, 2020. Officials identified strangulation as the cause of death and believe that he died four days prior. The trial began Friday, Nov. 10. The prosecution presented evidence that Vogel had allegedly admitted to murdering Williams out of anger involving a “love triangle” with V

Michael Williams’ friends and family gather to celebrate his life as Steven Vogel’s trial begins

A vigil for Michael Williams, a Grinnell man who was killed on Sept. 12, 2021, was held in Central Park on Saturday, Nov. 13. Friends and family of Williams wanted to honor his life in light of the trial of 32-year-old Steven Vogel, who is charged with Williams’ murder. Williams, who was 44 at the time of his death, had lived in Grinnell since 2003. His murder as a Black man living in Grinnell (a city reported as 3.7 percent Black and 90.0 percent white in the 2020/21 census) came on the heels

Victoria Jones, winner of the 2021 Grinnell Prize, talks Memphis, empowerment, and Black joy

If you listen closely, you will hear her voice quicken when she talks about the city. If you watch closely, you will notice her shoulders rise with excitement when she talks about the people there. And so, when Victoria Jones accepted the 2021 Grinnell College Innovator for Social Justice Prize of $50,000 for her work as executive director and founder of TONE, she chose to speak about Memphis instead of herself. TONE, located in the majority-Black Orange Mound neighborhood, is dedicated to emp

How does 2020 redistricting affect Grinnell?

The Iowa state legislature approved new legislative and congressional district borders on Thursday, Oct. 28, in a continuation of redistricting after the 2020 Census. Poweshiek County and neighboring Tama County will merge into one Iowa House district. Poweshiek County Rep. Dave Maxwell (R) will face current Tama County incumbent Rep. Dean Fisher (R) in 2022 to compete for the district seat. In the Iowa Senate, all of Poweshiek County is represented by Sen. Dawn Driscoll (R) of neighboring Iow

Starrett and Belcher elected as at-large directors to the school board in a close race

Challengers Chris Starrett and Roger Belcher were narrowly elected as at-large directors to the Grinnell-Newburg School Board (GNSD) on Nov. 2, 2021, over incumbents Meg Jones Bair and Barbara Brown. Challenger Tyler Harter also defeated District One incumbent Helen Redmond. Each new director will serve four-year-terms. In the four-person at-large race, less than 3 percent of the vote in a pool of 5,000 votes separates the first and fourth place finishers. The top two candidates are elected to

Grinnell-Newburg School Board candidates on mask mandates, Critical Race Theory and their five-year-plans for the district

Candidates for the Grinnell-Newburg School Board (GNSD) clashed over mask mandates, CDC guidelines and culturally responsive curricula at a town hall hosted by the Grinnell League of Women Voters on Thursday, Oct. 28. The seven-member board has two at-large director positions up for re-election this year. Incumbents Barbara Brown and Meg Jones Bair hold the seats currently and are running for re-election against challengers Roger Belsher and Chris Starrett. Helen Redmond, director of District

Liberal Arts in Prison back in-person after COVID-19 lockdown

A student body without internet access. A student body in confined quarters. A student body where the possibility of solitary confinement for COVID-19 outbreaks was ever-present. These were the conditions for students at Newton Correctional Facility (NCF) enrolled in Grinnell College’s Liberal Arts in Prison Program (LAPP). After a year of remote coursework through paper handouts, videoconferencing and closed-circuit TV channels, the Liberal Arts in Prison Program has shifted back to in-person i

Women’s soccer looks to build off strong conference start

Grinnell women’s soccer scored a huge 8-0 victory against Illinois College at the conference-opener on Sept. 25. The goal total is the highest since Grinnell faced Rockford University in 2014. “We took a little while to get settled in, but once we did, we were able to get some goals up,” said Alyssa Radakovich `22, center forward. Grinnell scored two goals in the first half and six in the second half, tied for the sixth-most goals in a half in Grinnell’s women’s soccer history. In total, Grinne

Breaking: College will now provide PCR COVID-19 tests to any student who requests one, regardless of exposure or symptoms

COVID-19 PCR tests will be available for any Grinnell College student, employee or family member to request, the College announced in an all-campus email on Tuesday, Sept. 21. The tests will be self-administered, but will not return results until sent to the State Hygienic Lab in Coralville, IA. Students will now be able to access a test without presenting symptoms or having been exposed. Tests will be free for Iowa residents. The email did not specify whether tests would be free for non-Iowa r

Record number of students living on campus leaves Department of Residence life struggling to find space

A record-high enrollment for the class of 2025 and few students abroad has left the department of residence life at Grinnell College struggling to secure housing for all 1,470 students living on campus this semester. “The numbers of first years have grown, and they have constantly grown … This year was just overwhelming for us,” said Dennis Perkins, assistant dean of residence life and student conduct. The class of 2025 has 472 students compared to 370 in the class of 2024. And international b

Ray Martinez

Ray Martinez ’21 is a self-described “school-aholic” – he adores learning, and his academic passions span many disciplines, from chemistry to art to videography and more. And, like most school-aholics, he’s headed to graduate school. This fall, Martinez will pursue a PhD in chemistry, ideally with a specialization in organic chemistry, at Purdue University. Martinez has loved learning ever since he was a child growing up in Lakeville, Minn. In looking for a college to attend, he was drawn to a

Amid global COVID-19 surge, fear and anxiety escalate for many international students

As vaccines become readily available and COVID-19 cases fall across the United States, a return to pre-pandemic life is approaching for many domestic Grinnell College students. But many international students face a different, more brutal reality: exploding COVID-19 surges in their home countries, strict visa regulations and insufficient vaccine access for them and their families. “Things here feel like we’re sort of back to normal. For most of our international students, it doesn’t feel that w

As COVID-19 case counts plummet, some residents are still wary of a vaccine

COVID-19 cases in Poweshiek County have dropped from a weekly average of 27.9 cases per day between November and January to an average of just one case per day as of late April. Despite the drop in cases being largely the result of residents getting vaccinated against the virus, vaccination rates across Poweshiek County have stagnated in recent weeks, due to some residents’ hesitancy to get the vaccine. Poweshiek County was one of 80 Iowa counties that declined some or all of their COVID-19 vac

Quick Cold Cases: The mysterious enigma of D.B. Cooper

Quick Cold Cases is a column in which various S&B staff members briefly dive into cold cases from across the globe. Each writer provides a brief summary of the case before using their best investigative skills to describe what they believe happened. On Nov. 24, 1971, a nondescript man calling himself Dan Cooper carried a slick, black briefcase into Portland International Airport in Oregon, and bought a one-way ticket for a 30-minute flight northwards to Seattle, Washington. A half-hour later, C

Spring sports kick off with new COVID-19 rules

The return of competition on April 17 for Pioneer Athletics during the COVID-19 pandemic brings a host of new rules and regulations for spectating games, adequately testing student-athletes and conducting overnight travel. Student-athletes during Spring Term 2 – regardless of if they are fully-vaccinated or not – are required to be tested for COVID-19 each Thursday prior to competitions, most of which occur on Saturdays. Because the NCAA mandates that competitors receive a negative COVID-19 tes

Breaking: College to require COVID-19 vaccination for enrollment next year

Grinnell College will require students enrolled in the 2021-22 academic year to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the school announced in an all-campus email on April 14. This news comes after the College announced that students will return to in-person learning for the 2021-22 school year. With this announcement, the College joins a growing list of institutions who will be requiring vaccinations in the fall. “The efficacy of vaccines, as well as expanded vaccine eligibility and availability, al

Cribz: A maximalist abode on Broad Street

The first hint that the green, two-story house off the corner of Broad Street and Seventh Avenue isn’t quite what it seems is the light that radiates from the house at night. Not just the twinkling Christmas lights hanging from the porch, still left up from December, but also the purple lights from inside. Most rooms in the house have fairy lights draped along the ceiling. If not, the overhead light fixtures shine blue or purple rather than white. “Very few rooms have overhead lights because w

COVID safety rules loosen on campus, but for whom?

Low COVID-19 positivity rates at Grinnell College have driven the administration to relax previously strict pandemic precautions, but after close to a year of the College’s highly restrictive safety policy, some students are questioning the changes – as well as what they may reveal about the College’s priorities. The College’s decision to invite back all first-year students for Spring Term 1 and to invite second- and fourth-year students for Spring Term 2, as well as the gradual relaxation of C

How are people getting vaccinated in Poweshiek County?

Grinnell residents eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine are slowly but surely completing their vaccination series, but some residents are still struggling to get their first dose. An unruly phone system, which has left many callers unable to schedule an appointment even after hours of redialing, has even forced some people to travel outside of the county to get vaccinated. As of March 27, 3,109 Poweshiek County residents (out of approximately 18,899 total) have completed their vaccination series,

Professor Kesho Scott to give commencement speech

The results are in: Professor Kesho Scott, sociology, will address students at the 2021 Grinnell College commencement ceremony after a class-wide vote by the class of 2021. The baccalaureate ceremony will feature two faculty speakers: Professor John Garrison, English, and Professor Monessa Cummins, classics. The news comes after the announcement that the 2021 graduation ceremony will be held in-person for all fourth-year students. Families of the graduating students, first- through third-years
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