“The Titanic of the Great Lakes”

The Mystery Behind the Sinking of the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald

by Alan Cruz, age 14

The S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald was one of the largest ships to ever roam North America's Great Lakes. It is also one of the most famous, and is widely known for its mysterious disappearance. The Fitzgerald is the largest ship to sink on Lake Superior.

November is one of the most dangerous months to sail on the Great Lakes. Frequent storms and strong winds can cause the huge lake to turn deadly. One of these deadly storms caught up to the Edmund Fitzgerald on November 10, 1975.

The ship was owned by Northwestern Mutual Insurance Company and built by Great Lakes Engineering Works in 1957 at a staggering cost of 8.4 million dollars, making it the most expensive ship to be built at that time. [Read More]

Special Report by Taylor Kilgore: MMSD Responds to Civil Rights Investigation

The United States Education Department Office for Civil Rights investigated the Madison School District and found “statistically significant racial disparities in advanced placement enrollment at every district high school.”

A compliance review is ongoing.

Read Taylor's Article and More: Click Here

A Promising New Way to Power Society: Osmotic Energy

by Cristian Avila-Velazquez, age 14

For decades, humans have relied on a number of methods to harness energy including solar and power. Osmotic energy is a new way to create clean energy just by using water, salt water, and a tiny membrane. The end result is optimized power in a more resourceful way.

Osmotic energy is created when salt and fresh water collide. To harness this energy, scientists use two containers, one with fresh water and the other with salt water, with a thin barrier, called a membrane, between them. The salt in the containers tries to reach an equilibrium, which occurs when it balances itself and creates an equal amount of salt on each side of the membrane. This balancing power process is called osmosis. [Read More]

New Findings in the Race to Erase Alzheimer’s Gene

by Moises A. Hernandez, age 13

Researchers have determined the symptoms in human brain cells caused by the most common risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease: the Apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene. They also found a way to fix and erase the gene’s harmful effects.

The normal role of APOE is to provide instructions to create more proteins of the same name. With fats, APOE makes lipoproteins by binding lipids. The lipoproteins help transport and regulate the levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream. The APOE gene’s role in Alzheimer’s disease has been broadly studied. Researchers know that if a person has one copy of the 4th version of the APOE gene (APOE4), their risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease increases two to three times. Having two copies of the APOE4 gene increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease 12 times. [Read More]

Implicit Bias Spurs Gender Discrimination

by Michelle Chi, age 16

In the 21st century, many businesses and industries are taking steps to encourage girls and women to pursue careers in traditionally male-dominated fields, including science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). However, women remain severely underrepresented in STEM careers. In fact, the U.S. Department of Commerce recently reported that while women hold about half of the jobs in the U.S., they fill only one-fourth of the nation’s STEM positions.

According to the American Association of University Women, many people perceive STEM careers as “masculine.” Between 1998 and 2010, more than 500,000 people around the world took a gender-science implicit bias test. Results indicated that 70 percent of those who took the test associated science careers with men and art careers with women, even if they did not know they held this bias. [Read More]

Cookie Dough, a Safe Treat or Sickening Snack?

by Dani Williams, age 13

Eating cookie dough can be very tasty, but would you think that eating this treat could lead to health problems? Most likely not, and the majority of people don’t either.

Cookie dough is a common threat, but this common treat can also be sickening. There are many health problems that can result from eating an excessive amount of cookie dough. One consequence can be stomach pain caused by stomach flu. Cookie dough has many products that can be contaminated and lead to kidney failure or something more serious. Some people have been hospitalized due to consuming the raw ingredients inside the cookie dough, such as flour or eggs.

Eggs can be contaminated with salmonella bacteria. However, there is still no source to what’s contaminating the flour. This can be a problem because it is usually hard to detect until it is too late. [Read More]

Greenhouse at McFarland High School? Yes

by Ella Ceelen, Spartan Spotlight, McFarland High School

Due to its abundance of fertile land and natural resources, the United States was always destined to be a leading agricultural nation, and as time passes, the value of farming continues to increase. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, in the United States, about 15% of the workforce is employed in agriculture related careers and between 2010 and 2015, and an estimated 54,000 jobs for college graduates were created annually in the agriculture, food, and renewable resources sectors. Considering the importance of agriculture jobs - especially in Wisconsin, the dairy state - encouraging interest in agriculture at MHS could be a valuable and rewarding investment. [Read More]

Wetlands, Wisconsin's Natural Treasures, Are Being Destroyed by Pollution

by Leilani McNeal, age 13

Wetlands are a major factor in Wisconsin's ecology; however, we are treating our environment so badly that we are causing wetland loss at alarming rates. It has taken the state thousands of years to form approximately ten million acres of wetlands, but it has taken less than 200 years for humans to ruin these vital landforms.

What is a wetland? Wetlands are diverse in size, plants and animals but they all share three characteristics: water, special soil dependent on wet conditions, and plants adapted to wet soil. These features help to not only improve the quality of life, but they also provide great benefits to our community. [Read More]

Invasive Worms That Can Jump, Thrash, and Destroy Wisconsin's Forest Floors

by MariElena Palmer, age 14

Crazy worms are taking over our forest floors, and we’ve got to do something about them.

Amynthas agrestis, or crazy worms, are an invasive species of earthworm that was found in Wisconsin in 2013. These worms are also known as Alabama Jumpers, snake worms, or jumping worms. But no matter what you call them, these worms have a negative effect on our forests. [Read More]

Otis Redding, a True Madison Musician in Heart

by Desteny Alvarez, age 13

Otis Redding was an African-American singer who died 50 years ago in a tragic plane crash here in Madison, Wisconsin.

On December 10, 1967, 26-year-old Otis Redding and four young member of his band, the Bar-Kays, when their plane crashed into Lake Monona along with an assistant and pilot. Otis and his crew were on their way to a concert in Madison at the Factory nightclub. Sadly they never made it; fans were initially confused, disappointed and angry until learning about the accident. [Read More]