Teacher of the Year: Mrs. Bast

By: Victoria Chavez

Mrs. Callie Bast, who is known as one of PHS best mathematics teachers , was selected as the 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year. With her bright attitude and her passion for teaching it is no surprise that she was given this award. “My favorite part about teaching is when  you see a student, who probably hated math, not hate math anymore and they realize they can do the work…” 

When asked how she felt receiving this award Mrs. Bast commented, “ I was thrilled and honored… made me feel appreciated for what I do and for all the extra hours that I spend after school working with kids” It is no question that her dedication to her students shines through the dark times of the school year. Even with the obstacles that the pandemic has given us, she continues to educate students and help them reach their goals. “It’s the worst when you see a student sitting between friends and they’re not able to do the work but by the end they can…”  

Her reasoning to return to teach at PHS was because, “I graduated in 1982… it feels like coming home from a long trip… it’s like if you cut me, I bleed green” 

Mrs. Bast’s love for teaching has grown over the years and with this growth came advice for the new teachers of the world, “You chose this profession because you love teaching. It’s not the money or the fame, you do it because you feel called to do it. Even when you have those rough days or years, weather the storms and remember why you came in the first place. You’re going to be glad you followed the passion instead of the dollar bill… might drive an old Chevy like I do but that’s okay” 

Congratulations Mrs. Bast and thank you for all of your hard work!

True Crime Vol. XX: The Soap-Maker of Correggio

By: Victoria Chavez

Mugshot of Leonarda Cinanciulli

Born in 1894 in Montella, Italy, Leonarda Cianciull lived as an only child to parents, Serafina Marano and Mariano Cinanciull. At the age of twenty-three she married a registry clerk in 1917, but her marriage was against her family’s wishes. Her family hated their relationship so much that her own mother cursed Leonarda and her husband. Some believed that the curse affected Leonarda’s pregnancies since it was reported that she had seventeen: three were miscarriages, while ten of her children died at a very young age. The surviving four were heavily protected by Leonarda. Leonarda said the reason for the over protection was that a gypsy fortune-teller, who many years earlier, had predicted a terrible fate for her: “You will marry and have children, but all your children will die.” Later she got her palm read by another gypsy, who told her, “In your right hand I see prison, in your left a criminal asylum.”

In 1939, Leonarda’s eldest, and most favorable, son was joining the Army. During this time Italy was entering World War II which scared Leonarda because she feared her son would die. So she decided to do the only thing she believed would help: she had to make human sacrifices to save her son’s life. Leonarda, at this time, had three, lonely, middle-aged friends that were in desperate need to get away from their current lives. Each friend asked Leonarda for her help to fix their living situations. They would have never thought a simple call for help would be the most dangerous thing to ask from Leonarda.

Leonarda Cianciulli’s first victim was a local spinster woman named Faustina Setti. Inviting Faustina to her home under the guise of setting her up with a husband in 1939, Cianciulli instructed her to write letters to her family members, telling them that she would be visiting a man she met. But Leonarda drugged Faustina with spiked wine before murdering her with an ax. Leonarda also stole Faustina’s life savings that she had brought along. She then cut Setti into nine pieces, drained all the blood, boiled her body, made it into a mush black mixture and poured the continents into a septic tank.  She then took the blood and made it into “crunchy tea cakes”, which she fed to visitors, her son, as well as herself. 

Leonarda’s third victim, Francesca Soavi was invited into her home on Sept. 5, 1940. Just like her first murder, Leonarda convinced Francesca that she had organized a teaching job for her up north of Italy and made her write letters to her friends detailing her trip. Leonarda followed her M.O. and drugged Francesca’s wine, killed her with an ax, baked her into teacakes, and stole her money.

Her last and final victim was a woman named Virginia Cacioppo. Virginia was a noted soprano who once sang at the famed La Scala opera house in Milan. Leonarda had promised her a job working with an impresario in Florence, which prompted Virginia to pay her a visit on Sept. 30, 1940. As with her previous two victims, Leonarda fed Virginia spiked wine and killed her with an ax. This time, however, she melted her flesh, made soap with it, and gave away her human tea cakes and human bars of soap to the unsuspecting neighbours. 

Although Leonarda Cianciulli thought she had committed the perfect murders, she could not have been more wrong. Her first two victims who had few concerned relatives, Virginia had a very worried sister-in-law. She didn’t believe Virginia’s letters detailing her quick departure, and had, in fact, seen her entering Leonarda’s home the night she had “left.” Almost immediately, she reported her sister’s disappearance to the Reggio Emilia police, who quickly investigated Leonarda.

At first, Leonarda Cianciulli defended herself. It was only when the police shifted the blame toward her beloved son Giuseppe that she finally broke down and admitted to everything. Leonarda’s trial lasted only a few days. She was found guilty of her crimes and granted a 33-year sentence that echoed the Romani woman’s prophecy with eerie accuracy: 30 years in a prison and three years in a criminal asylum.

On Oct. 15, 1970, Leonarda Cianciulli died of cerebral apoplexy, a type of hemorrhage, while she was still in the asylum. She was 79 years old.

April Horoscopes

Aries (March 21-April 19)- This April, Aries should listen to the signs of the universe and be alert to the tasks set. It’s crucial that you not forget your quality, instead display them to those you come in contact with. Self-confidence will give you the courage to influence others. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion to those around. 

Taurus (April 20-May 20)- Mars has a strong influence on Taurus this month. It will cause a bit of emotional stress, however, remember to hold tight to loved ones during this time. It’s also advised to plan a vacation as well as spend some quality time with friends and family.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)- April can either be a successful time or it could be dangerous for some and their careers. Geminis may feel the need to communicate with people, get to know others, and build relationships with acquaintances. The sign is advised to take control of emotions and channel the emotions into their career.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)- Cancer claims that intuition will not fail in April. No one can fool you, which can put you ahead in both career and school. This month is great for starting a life together with loved ones. Your friendliness, manners, and thoughtfulness will not go unnoticed by those around you. 

Leo (July 23- August 22)- This month is a positive time for Leos, with good communication between friends and family. You will succeed in almost everything you attempt. April is a great time to move ahead in your job and education. Leos need to be flexible, but also defend their interests. 

Virgo (August 23- September 22)- April is bringing good luck to Virgos with showing leadership qualities and acting boldly, but without forgetting honesty and decency in relationships. Also take a closer look at your well-being, making sure not to overextend yourself and your time. This month brings pleasant surprises and unusual coincidences.

Libra (September 23- October 22)- The spring months bring challenge to Libras, but your intrinsic warmth and flexibility will prove no obstacle too large for you to tackle. The focus will fall primarily on your love life, career, or family. Stay safe and composed, you may prove to be stronger than you think.

Scorpio – This month’s horoscope predicts that your natural abilities will be on display. You should be cautious of family affairs, and tread lightly with sensitive topics both in your own life and the lives of your peers. Things may get chaotic in this sector, so be aware.

Sagittarius – April is going to be a fabulous month for you. With energy concentrated on the relationship sector, expect a change in your love life for the better. This change may happen within your friend circle, family affairs, or romantic relationship, assuming there is one present. Try to enjoy yourself, the flowers are blooming for you.

Capricorn (December 22- January 19)- Pick up the phone, send a message, arrange a masked meetup or virtual coffee date. This month is all about making connections. So often we get caught up in “doing” and results, and forget to nurture the ties we have, much less make new ones. This month, put people ahead of tasks and prioritize high-quality conversations that build long-term loyalty. It really IS who you know, Capricorn!

Aquarius (January 20- February 18)-  Easy on the spending! Big purchases could leave you with even bigger regrets today, so think twice before sliding your card into any readers. Take a look at your bank balance before springing for a pricey item. Do you really have the funds to blow on this extravagance? Don’t decimate your checking account for an impulse buy. Instead, devise a savings plan so you can afford it down the line. Patience pays off, Aquarius! 

Pisces (February 19- March 20)- Spilling the tea could get you burned, Pisces! Don’t spread gossip today! Rather than circulating secondhand rumors about a certain someone, confront them about the issue directly. It’s possible that the whole thing was blown out of proportion. Reach out to clear the air. Once you sit down for a talk, you could be surprised at how easy it is to resolve the issue.

Batter, Batter, Swing!

By: Victoria Chavez

The Pleasanton Eagles’ Baseball Team

Tryouts for the mighty Eagle Baseball team were held on the 22nd and 23rd of January. In total, 30 team members made the team, 15 on JV and 15 on Varsity. They kicked off the season strong by hosting a 13 hour practice on January 30th. Soon after, both teams competed in their first scrimmage of the season that took place on February 6th against Sinton High School and Brackenridge High School. The team is very hopeful for a great season and plans on making it last. On February 23, the Pleasanton Eagles traveled to McCollum High School and faced the McCollum Cowboys for their very first game of the season. After a long fight, the varsity Eagles pulled through with an 8-5 win.

“This season I’m really excited… because our team has improved this year and we’ve learned a lot.” said senior Roman Cuevas. Coach Standley commented on his predictions that he has this year saying, ”They’re really bonding right now and they want to be great…we have a great senior leadership and they will lead us to our goal for district championship.” We can all agree that this years’ baseball team has high hopes and is determined to hit some home runs. Pride! Pride! Eagle Pride!

True Crime Vol. XIX: The Dating Game Killer

By: Victoria Chavez

Photo shows Alcala from the 70s to now

For most people September 13, 1978 was just another day, but for Cherly Bradshaw, a bachelorette on the then famous TV show, The Dating Game, that day would be remembered for the rest of her life. During the 60’s and 70’s The Dating Game was notoriously known for matching couples together and sending these couples on ‘dream dates’. That episode Bradshaw had chosen what she thought was her perfect match, bachelor number one, Rodney Alcala.

Rodney Alcala was originally born in San Antonio, Texas in 1943 and became a serial killer that terrorized the woman between 1977 and 1979. Bradshaw, who knew nothing of his past, luckily had an ill feeling about Alcala once the show was off the air. She reported that he gave her the “creeps” and she never wanted to see him again. If the popular dating show performed background checks on their bachelors, they would have discovered that this “creepy” guy had already spent three years in prison for unspeakable crimes against two minors. This had landed him on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List. The rejection of Bradshaw only put fuel to Alcala’s fire, which he then committed a killing spree of at least 50 women within the following months. 

The total number of victims that Rodney Alcala has is unknown, but what officials found in his possessions is photo albums of all the women and children he could have possibly killed while he was posing as a professional photographer. They have already identified at least 30 women but are still holding out hope for the rest of the unclaimed identities. Alcala is now sitting on death row in a California prison after he was found guilty of murder for only 5 of his victims. 

If you want to help spread the word and find the identities of these women and children visit: https://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/crime/slideshow/Rodney-Alcala-photos-117804.php

Hirschi Huskies Virtual PT Meet Follow-Up

By: Victoria Chavez and River Reyes

In December 2020, the Eagle Battalion competed in the Hirschi Huskies Virtual PT Meet. In total we had 44 males enter the competition and 12 females, combined that equaled 14 teams. Although each cadet did an outstanding job, some of our cadets had an amazing outcome. The following placed:

Male Results

5 cadets finished in the top 10 out of 44 cadets

10- Steven Escalante (from Poteet High School) 

9- Logan Alexander 

6- Mitchell Alexander 

5- Edward Uhl 

2- Aries Uhl

Team Results– Aries Uhl, Braxton Springer, Wilbanks, and Zachary Salmeron: 2nd place overall 

Female Results:

2 Cadets finished in the top 3 out of 12 Cadets

3- Ashley Mahavier

1- Guadalupe Quintana

Team Results– Guadalupe Quintana, Ashley Mahavier, Alania Nethken, and Alyssa Castelar: 1st place overall.

True Crime Vol. XVIII: The Tragic Murders of the Browning Family. 

By: Victoria Chavez

Nicholas (left) and The Browning family (right)

On February 2, 2009 a tragedy was discovered early in the morning. John Browning, 45, along with his wife Tamara, 44, and two young boys, Gregory, 14, and Benjamin, 11, were found dead in their home. Though the community was shocked by such a wicked crime, there was one surviving member of the family who could live to tell the tale. 

Nicholas Waggoner Browning was a 15-year-old sophomore who was an honors student attending Dulaney High School. During the time that his family could have been murdered he was away at a friend’s house playing video games. When he finally came home he found the bodies of his beloved family. He then quickly ran outside and urged for his friend’s mom to call 911. The Baltimore County Police Department showed up and immediately secured the scene and questioned Nicholas on what he witnessed. Nicholas opened up and blamed the crime on a robbery gone wrong. Police were suspicious about his story since he had no way of knowing if it was a robbery due to lack of evidence. This is when his story unfolded. 

Detectives decided to take Nicholas Browning to the station to further the investigation. Once they began to turn up the heat it only took 6 hours to get the truth out of him. In the videotaped confession, Nicholas Waggoner Browning told investigators that in the early hours of February 2, 2008, he grabbed his father’s gun and shot him in the head while he was sleeping on the couch. He then realized he had already “gone so far” so he continued to murder the rest of his family. 

After the murders he walked down a road and tossed the gun in some bushes and walked towards his friends house where he stayed for the rest of the day. Before leaving this friend’s home, Nicholas apparently told both the friends and others that he was going to throw a party that night. When police asked why even murder them in the first place, Nicholas told them that he just wanted the inheritance money. However, police found out that Nicholas actually had a bad relationship with his father. Other students that knew him said he would make jokes about murdering his dad yet no one believed him. They also said Nicholas had a problem following his dad’s rules, which led to many arguments between the two.

Nicholas Waggoner Browning was formally arrested at Baltimore County Police Department around 1 a.m. on February 3, 2008 and charged as an adult with four counts of first degree murder. He pleaded guilty to all charges in January 2009 and was sentenced to four life sentences but will be eligible for parole after serving 23 years with good behavior. 

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Hirschi Huskies PT Team Match

By: Victoria Chavez

When the devastating COVID-19 hit occurred, many of us were left uncertain about the future. In the JROTC Eagle Battalion, limited contact meant the cancellation of any and all drill meets. Though this year we are unable to compete face to face, we are still given the opportunity to compete virtually. This month we had the chance to compete in a virtual PT (Physical Training) competition. A total of 32 cadets participated, 5 male teams, 2 female teams, and one mixed team.

These cadets competed in a basketball throw, 400 meter dash, a standing long jump, and a one minute curl up category. 

When asked about the status behind the team, COL Wynder responded, “Opportunities for our physical fitness team gave a purpose and a focus for practices…” At first, many cadets worried about this new experience, but like the strong team we are, it was no contest. “[It was] easy and different [because] I wasn’t in a competitive environment… ,” said Senior, Guadalupe Quintana. Without the praise and encouragement from the side lines, the cadets had to depend on one another to keep the team going, “There were no fans but however they cheered each other on..” said COL Wynder. The unfortunate side of this event was the loss of rivalry, Senior, Edward Uhl commented on this saying , “I really didn’t [feel] like I competed with other people… I miss going to the comps…” but for others, they made the most out of it, “It was very different but very fun” said anonymous. Whether the competition is away or at home, our battalion PT team will continue to strive for excellence. 

The results will not be posted until next week but the top results between our cadets are in:

Long Jump- 106 inches Braxton Springer (11th Grade) 

400 Meter Dash- 63 seconds Timothy Miller (From Jourdanton High School)

Sit-ups- 64 Guadalupe Quintana (12th Grade)

Basketball throw- 66 feet Edward Uhl (12th Grade) 

True Crime Vol. XVI: The Byron David Smith Killings

By: Victoria Chavez 

17-year-old Nicholas Brady Schaeffel and 18-year-old Haile Kifer.

On October 3, 1789, George Washington issued his Thanksgiving proclamation, designating for “the People of the United States a day of public thanks-giving” to be held on “Thursday the 26th day of November,” Since then, Americans have celebrated every Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November. Most citizens spend the day eating and enjoying the company of their loved ones, but for the families of two Little Fall teens, their day was spent in disbelief and sadness. 

The Byron David Smith killings occurred on Thanksgiving Day of 2012, when Haile Kifer, 18,  and Nick Brady, 17, broke into the home of Bryon Smith, 64, in Little Falls, Minnesota. Smith was retired from the U.S. State Department, was never married, and had always lived alone. Prior to the murders of the teens, Smith’s home had been burglarized at least half a dozen times over the last few months. He had only reported one previous burglary to the police, and investigators only found evidence of two previous burglaries. These burglaries sparked anxiety in Smith and led him to begin wearing a holster with a loaded gun in his home, as well as stashing water bottles and granola bars in the basement. 

On November 22, 2012, Smith drove his vehicle down the road, parking it in front of a neighbor’s home. Later that day, Kifer and Brady broke into Smith’s home. Video surveillance captured the teens looking around the property prior to the break-in. From Smith’s own account he told police when he saw Kifer, who he suspected was responsible for the burglaries, driving towards his home, Smith turned on a recording device he owned. When he returned to his home, Smith removed the lightbulbs from the ceiling lights and positioned himself in a chair that was obscured from view. He then waited 12 minutes until he heard Nick Brady break into his basement. Smith shot Brady twice on the stairs, and once in the head after he fell to the bottom of the stairs. Smith then made taunting remarks to Brady’s body, wrapped it in a tarp and dragged him into another room. 

Smith then went upstairs, and 10–15 minutes later, he ran back down into the basement, reloaded his weapon and took up his previous position in the obscured chair. Minutes later, Kifer entered the home and could be heard calling her cousin’s name. As she made her way down the stairs, Smith shot her. She fell down the stairs and Smith can be heard on the recording saying “Oh, sorry about that” after his gun jams, followed by Kifer saying “Oh, my God” very quickly; Smith shoots her again, multiple times in the torso, in the midst of which she screams “Oh, my god!” He repeatedly called her derogatory names and then dragged her into the other room, tossing her body on top of her cousin’s, and shot her one final time under the chin, killing her. Audio and video of the events were recorded by Smith’s security system.  The deaths were not immediately reported to police. Smith waited until the next day to notify police of the shootings, claiming he “didn’t want to bother the police on Thanksgiving.”

 This case sparked the debate about the Castle Doctrine. Legal analysts have stated that the initial shootings most likely would have been justified under Minnesota’s laws, but that the extra shots were not justified once any threat had been removed. A number of aspects of the case were noted by police as being inconsistent with self-defense. Smith had moved his truck earlier in the day, claiming he had done so in order to clean his garage. Prosecutors argued at his trial that it was an attempt to make the house look abandoned in order to lure the burglars into his home. In addition to his home surveillance system, Smith also recorded at least 6 hours of audio on a digital recorder in the basement of the residence.  Prior to the break-in, he is heard saying “In your left eye.” and “I realize I don’t have an appointment but I would like to see one of the lawyers here.” These comments raised suspicion due to the fact that Kifer was shot in the left eye and he later did request a lawyer. On April 29, 2014, Smith was found guilty on two counts of first-degree murder with premeditation and on two counts of second-degree murder after three hours of jury deliberations.

Many still defend Byron Smith and believe it was his right to shoot the trespassers. Others think justice was served to a cold hearted man that did not see past his evil. One thing is for sure though, two young souls were lost that day, and with them went the love and joy of those who got the chance to know them. 


By: Victoria Chavez

Students and family supporting the cause

  This month the JROTC program will participate in a 5K run to help fight against Alzheimers. Alzheimers is a brain disease that slowly shows its symptoms around age 60. The disease progressively gets worse and worse as the years go by, first affecting your memory, thinking skills, and then ultimately your abilities to lead a simple life. Sadly this disease is very common among elders and affects over three million people. The Eagle Battalion thought this was the perfect opportunity to raise awareness for this medical condition. They have donated five hundred dollars to the cause and the battalion is running a 5K (3.1 miles). Due to COVID-19 and the need for social distancing, the run is a virtual one,  meaning they can submit videos or pictures of their participation. Each cadet will be allowed to run alone or with a group of 8 people. “It was a really good experience for us to be active while helping the community…” said by Christan Gutierrez. “My family has been affected by this disease… I’m glad that I can help make a difference…” said by an anonymous source. The run was a great turn out and the battalion was eager to see so many cadets participate in the event to help find a cure for Alzheimers.

True Crime Vol. XV: The Murder of Peter Fabiano

By: Victoria Chavez 

Smoke Bomb Jack-O’-Lantern

The Crime 

Joan Rabel and Goldyne Pizer sat quietly parked outside a home located in Sun Valley. The pair waited in silence as they watched the lights go out. It was time to strike. 

Rabel whispered under her breath to Goldyn, “Alright, do it” Goldyn then exited the car  dressed in jeans, a khaki coat, red gloves, and heavy makeup that she covered up with a domino mask. She walked directly to the home and stood there for a few seconds before ringing the doorbell. 

Peter Fabiano awoken when the doorbell rang. He looked at the clock and questioned why someone would be here at this time of night. As he walked down the stairs it occurred to him that it might be a late trick-or-treater, so he grabbed the bowl of candy on the table and opened the door. He looked at the mysterious black figure and asked, “It’s a little late for this, isn’t it?” 

“No,” was the last word Peter Fabiano ever heard as Pizer lifted a brown paper bag and shot Fabiano. Pizer didn’t wait to see if Peter was dead, or if anyone had seen her. She ran back to the car where Rabel was waiting. 

As Pizer got in, Rabel leaned over and kissed her, saying, “Thank you.” The two women left and quickly burned the clothes they were wearing in case they contained any trace evidence. Afterwards, they returned the getaway car to the friend they had borrowed from earlier that day. When the two women had completed their mission, Rabel said to Pizer. “Forget you ever knew me.” Then they went their separate ways.

The next day Pizer realized she still had the gun, so she rented a locker at a Downtown LA department store and kept it there where she thought it would be safest. 

The Investigation 

The loud boom woke his sleeping wife, Betty Fabiano, she quickly ran downstairs only to find her husband barely breathing.

Betty ran to her police officer neighbour’s home, who called in the Valley police department. Peter was taken to Sun Valley hospital, where he was pronounced dead from the gunshot to his chest. 

It took a few days for Betty to compose herself but soon she did and was able to speak with the police. She told them that she heard two voices coming from downstairs, a man, and someone that sounded like a man pretending to be a woman.

Police initial thought was that this was the work of a gang. It was not uncommon for a random gang killing to occur during those hours of the night, although they didn’t think Peter Fabiano had relations with any gangs since he was just an owner of a successful salon. 

When questioned about who would want to harm Mr. Fabiano, Betty knew exactly who was responsible. She told police she believed it was an “ex-friend” Joan Rabel.

After weeks of no leads and a cold trail, law enforcement finally caught a break when a gun had been found in a locker at a department store. A ballistics test confirmed a match to the gun found to the bullet fired into Peter Fabiano. The police soon learned that this gun belonged to Goldyne Pizer. 

On November 12, Pizer was arrested in connection to Peter Fabiano’s death.  In the interrogation room, she confessed to everything, telling police that it was all Rabel’s idea. Rabel had coerced her into killing Peter; she didn’t even know the man. They then interrogated Rabel, but she refused to tell the truth and insisted that she knew nothing about the crime. The police got a warrant after hours of interviewing her and getting nowhere. 

The murder weapon, she said, had been bought with money Rabel had given her. Pizer told how they had been planning the murder for weeks. The two of them had driven by Fabiano’s home before, and Rabel had pointed out Peter to her, so she would recognize him when the time came. 

What was The Reasoning Behind The Murder?

Peter and Betty Fabiano met in the late 1940’s while living in New York. Peter left the Marines and began trucking when he first laid eyes on Betty, a new divorcee with two kids. They quickly married soon after. 

The four of them then moved to LA and opened up two beauty salons; at one of these salons Joan Rabel was hired. This is how she came into the picture. 

As the business began to grow, Betty and Peter’s marriage fell apart. It soon was a loveless marriage. This turmoil caused Betty to move into Rabel’s home. 

When they moved in together people started to make note of the close relationship of the two girls; but this was the 50s, so no one would have thought the two were a couple. 

Word eventually got around to Peter which turned out to be enough fuel to motivate him to fix his marriage. Betty vowed that she would never see Rabel again. 

Soon after Betty went back to Peter, Rabel realized that her girlfriend was serious about fixing her marriage. Soon after she had lost Betty, Rabel found Pizer and started telling her how horrible of a man Peter Fabiano was and that he had to die.

The Trials 

Before their trial started in December, both women had to meet with three psychiatrists. The courts seemed to believe that due to their relationship with each other, the trials could be corrupt. Pizer was very open with the psychiatrist as she had been with the police. She was quoted saying, “I had no motive, personally. Whatever motive I had was to please Joan. I was always easily influenced. I have been impressionable and always trusting.” Rabel on the other hand never spoke a word and declined to testify. 

Pizer got on the stand and told the events of what happened that night. Rabel refused to tell the truth, but was seen smiling when Pizer was giving her tearful testimony. Both women were charged with first-degree murder, but through a plea deal, it was reduced to second-degree murder. Each woman was sentenced to 5 years to life in prison though they were eventually released. Afterwards, Rabel and Pizer changed their names and were never heard of again. A short crime for the cold murder of an innocent man. 

True Crime Vol. XlV: Remembering 9/11

Two first responders comfort each other as they look at the chaos.

By: Victoria Chavez

At 5:45 A.M. Hijackers Mohamed Atta and Abdul Aziz al-Omari pass through security at Portland International jetport in Maine. The pair aboard a commuter flight to Boston Logan International Airport, where they would then connect to American Airlines Flight 11. 

7:35 A.M. Passengers, including five hijackers, board Flight 11 at Gate B32 in Logan International Airport, Boston. 

8:14 and 8:15 A.M. The terrorist attack and kill pilot Captain John Ogonowski and First Officer Thomas McGuinness of Flight 11 and take control of the aircraft. At this time 51 passengers and 5 hijackers (Marwan al-Shehhi, Fayez Banihammad, Mohand al-Shehri, Hamza al-Ghamdi and Ahmed al-Ghamdi) board another flight. 

8:20 A.M. American Airlines Flight 77 takes off from Washington Dulles International Airport for Los Angeles. The aircraft carried 65 people, including six crew members, 53 passengers and five hijackers. 

8:46 A.M. The first plane crashes. American Airlines Flight 11 strikes the North Tower of the World Trade Center, traveling at hundreds of miles per hour and carrying around 10,000 gallons of jet fuel. The flight crashes into floors 93-99 and severs all three emergency stairwells, trapping hundreds of people above the 91st floor. 

9:03 A.M. The second plane crashes. United Flight 175 strikes the South Tower on floors 77-85. Two of the three emergency stairwells are rendered impassable and most elevator cables in the area are severed by the crash, trapping many on floors above the impact and in elevators.

9:37 A.M. American Airlines Flight 77 hits the Pentagon. 

9:59 A.M. The south tower of the World Trade Center collapses from top to bottom. It had been covered with flames for about 56 minutes. Over 800 workers, including first responders, died during this time. 

10:03 A.M. Passengers on Flight 93 take down the four hijackers in the cockpit and crash land it into a field near Shanksville, Somerset County, Pennsylvania, killing all 33 passengers and seven crew members on board. 

10:28 A.M. The North Tower of the World Trade Center collapses. Over 1,600 are killed. 

It has been 19 years since this tragedy has occurred. While it forever left America scarred with a taunting message, we still continue to honor those who died and those who gave their lives. We will never forget 9/11.

Ready for Anything

By: Victoria Chavez 

As the school year of 2019-2020 comes to an end, the seniors of 2020 will begin to ready themselves to enter the world right through their bedroom doors. Most have plans for college, some hope to enter the workforce with their dream jobs swirling in their minds, but what about the seniors that wish to enlist and serve the country? Is the military taking numbers on the high school students across the nation and telling them to have a seat? Has the outbreak stopped them from starting their lives? 

The recent pandemic has caused a lot of hysteria for not only the people across the world but it has deeply impacted the military as well. For those that did not know all MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Stations) was shut down due to COVID-19. This meant that many people graduating high school and the people enlisted could not be shipped off to BMT (Basic Military Training) at the initial date given. The thought of never being able to start their journey scared many seniors. “ I haven’t even been to MEP in and I’ll have to 2-4 weeks before I can go in…” said Hannah Van Auken. Most recruiters are doing the best they can to help anyone who wishes to join by keeping them updated on the situation. “As far as I know MEPS opened again and I’ll be [shipped] off some time next month” stated an anonymous source. Hope still shines through for the 2020 seniors as they continue to reach their objectives.

Many students here at PHS are determined to pursue a career in the armed forces. “The military can provide a great foundation for my career and education”, said AJ Paez. AJ is among the countless seniors throughout the states that are dependent on the military’s advantages to help them achieve their set goals. “I want to go to college and afterward have a family on my own, the Air Force seemed like the best option for me…” stated by Hannah Van Auken. Hannah’s hope for a normal nuclear family after serving is shared commonly in not only the military lifestyle but for others as well. “ [I want] to set myself up [up] for the future….to get my independent,” a comment made by Caryna Ochoa. 

Although the year of 2020 has not been the greatest, everyone is making their efforts to help bring the light back into society. This virus has not stopped the seniors from becoming future defenders for the frontlines of America. I, as well as many others, am proud to see what will become of these strong, courageous, and daring young adults. Congratulations to the class of 2020!

The Disappearance of Don Lewis

By Victoria Chavez

Don lewisIn the wild world of the new Netflix’s new docuseries, The Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, Madness, lies a mystery of a missing man named Jack Donald Lewis. Jack Lewis, otherwise known as “Don” Lewis, was a native of Dade City, Florida. By 1981, he was a self-made millionaire through his real estate and used car businesses. Lewis was married to his first wife, Gladys Lewis Cross, and had three daughters and an adopted son. In January 1981, Lewis met Carole Murdock on Nebraska Avenue in Tampa, on a night when she fled her house after being attacked by her abusive first husband, Michael Murdock. Carole and Don began having an affair while both were still married. She became one of his many girlfriends and substantially grew his wealth by helping him buy and sell real estate in 1984. Lewis and Murdock divorced each of their spouses and married in 1991. The following year, the couple co-founded Wildlife on Easy Street, which is now called Big Cat Rescue, an animal sanctuary for big cats in Tampa. Don and Carole clashed over how to run Wildlife on Easy Street. He wanted to breed the cats and operate it as a business, while she wanted it to be a charity. 

Don became unsatisfied with Carole as the fighting was more frequent during the time he would spend with her. Don would fly to Costa Rica very often to not only escape the bitter relationship at home but to also participate in the many affairs he had with the women in Costa Rica. Carole knew of this affair and wrote about her feelings about them in a journal she kept. She would also write about Don’s deteriorating mental state of mind. She claimed many workers would approach her and tell her that Don would say strange things that indicated he may have had Alzheimer’s disease. However, Don’s former personal attorney and a former business associate have claimed that the accusation was false. Then, in July of 1997, Don filled out a request for a restraining order against Carole, claiming she had threatened to kill him and had hidden his gun to prevent him from protecting himself; this request was rejected. He told Carole multiple times that he wanted a divorce but never went through with the idea. 

On August 18, 1997, Don Lewis disappeared after leaving his home to make an early-morning delivery around 6:00 a.m. Then, on August 20, his white 1989 Dodge Ram Van was found at the Pilot Country Airport in Springhill, Florida, 40 miles away from the sanctuary. At the time of his disappearance, Lewis owned several planes and was known to sometimes fly them even though his private pilot license was suspended. The keys to the van were found on the floorboard and the van had been parked for a couple of days. No evidence was found within the van.

 Although there are many theories surrounding this odd case and most of these cases point to only one person, Carole Baskin. The former owner of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, who goes by the nickname Joe Exotic, has promoted an unsubstantiated theory that Carole was involved in the disappearance of Don. He believes that Carole killed him and fed his remains to their tigers. Exotic created a music video entitled “Here Kitty Kitty” that featured a Carole-lookalike acting out this widely believed theory. Through all of the confusion and suspense, one thing still remains sure: Don has not been seen for 22 years and his family is still hopeful that they can finally put this cold case to rest. 


Raiders Ready

By Victoria Chavez

raidersOn February 22, 2020, the Zodiac and Eaglettes teams competed in yet another raiders meet. This was the first meet the Eaglettes participated in for the season. “I’m proud that our team competed that day and especially because we didn’t give up…it was a team effort,” said cadet Staff Sergeant Faith Bernie. The fear and anxiety were plenty to go around between the teams but thankfully everyone pulled through safely and soundly. “I was really proud of both the males and females… they put in a lot of work, and it paid off.”, said cadet Captain Edward Uhl.

That day each team had to complete a rope bridge construction/crossing, cross country rescue, an obstacle course, a 5k run, and another small obstacle course. “I was nervous at first, but everyone gave me the motivation that I can do it…” said cadet Staff Sergeant Christian Gutierrez. The following cadets competed: Brendon Esquival, Jared Griego, Jessie John Guel, Simon Karsky, AJ Paez, Zachary Salmeron, Lorenzo Samaniego, Braxton Springer, Aries Uhl, Edward Uhl, Zander Zamora. Faith Bernie, Victoria Chavez, Jeanie Gomez, Natalia Jones, Ashley Mahavier, Yolanda Miranda, Guadalupe Quintana, Ashley Steed, and finally Hailey Woodson. 

The results are as follows: the males came in 4 out of 10 in the 5k run, they also came in 2 out of 10 in the rope bridge, and in total the team placed 5th out of the 10 schools who competed. The females did their best for their first time experience coming in 4th out of 5 schools.