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FBCMS New Student… Story by Tyler Halik

Welcome to FBCMS... New Student Merrell Cunningham joins us from Texas.
Welcome to FBCMS… New Student Merrell Cunningham joins us from Texas. Photo byTyler Halik

Forrest Bird Charter School welcomes our new student, Merrell Cunningham. Merrell Cunningham is in sixth grade. She came from Amarillo, Texas (wow – that’s far away from here). Merrell came to Sandpoint on June 17, 2017. She likes movie theaters and play theaters. Sadly, she does miss her old home.

The reason Merrell came to Sandpoint is because her parents want to start a church. She loves our school. The reason she likes it here is because she feels normal here. Now that you know Merrell, make sure to make her feel welcome to our school.

French Elections: A Test for the EU… Story by Isaac Solly

French Elections: A Test for the EU

On April 23, France will hold the first round of their presidential election. The current leader from the Socialist Party, President Hollande, has chosen not to run due to low popularity averaging around 20%. This is the first French president not to run for reelection in modern times, and a power vacuum has led to no clear front runner. Main candidates include the moderate-liberal Emmanuel Macron, the right-wing nationalist Marine Le Pen, and the conservative Francios Fillion.

The French electoral system is different from a simple popular vote—there are two rounds of voting, where presidential-hopefuls will be filtered out to two candidates. Such a process favors more radical groups in the first stage, but works against them in the second as coalition groups often form to appose hard-liners.

French Election: From April 23 to May 7, Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron will likely face off for the Presidency. Photo by: Getty Images

So far, Marine le Pen is poised to win the first round with around 28%, but Macron is close behind with 25%. Because these two candidates would be the only to make it to the second round, the votes of the less popular candidates would be split between them—polls suggest Macron would end up with 62% to Le Pen’s 38%.

Fillion’s bid was looking as probable up until the last few weeks, when a payment scandal emerged revealing that his wife had a government salary for doing no work. While the Republican Party did not abandon him completely, his popularity sunk, and his many notable figures inside his campaign resigned. Such shows the unpredictability in presidential races—a similar scandal could severely hurt Macron. Le Pen is already under investigation for mismanagement of EU funds, but her base has remained loyal to her.

Round Two Matchups: The three top candidates in a hypothetical second round election. Photo by:
Round Two Matchups: The three top candidates in a hypothetical second round election. Photo by:

Le Pen seems to be trying to ride a wave of nationalist sentiment that elected Donald Trump and voted for Brexit. Her policies are anti-Islamic and xenophobic, but are also in the wake of many major terrorist attacks on French soil. This is not her first time running either—her Popular Front has been running in every election as a fringe group, only recently gaining a chance at the French Presidency. Despite this success, Le Pen would struggle to create a Parliamentary majority, and would likely be in the center of a deadlock in politics.

Macron is winning in the polls, but such predictions have failed en mass in the last world elections. Some French voters believe that his moderate tone resonations too much with the previous president and President Hollande’s failed promises. The French recovery from the 2008 financial crisis has been slow and unemployment remains high at 9%. France’s final results on May 7th will prove to be a crucial testing ground in the EU from center-left leaders. Germany’s Angela Merkel is up for reelection soon as well and faces similar opposition from nationalist parties. France’s upcoming election will give hints on whether or not nationalism is indeed tearing Europe apart.

Works cited:

“France Presidential Election 2017.” BBC News. BBC, n.d. Web. 11 Mar. 2017.

Featured Photo by Kamil Zihnioglu

Premier: Life with Harry Smith

Harry Smith is an average man bored with life and seeking comfort from his television.  Living on the edge of habitual boredom, his life is forever transformed when he decides to develop a friendship with his last french fry.

A metaphorical jaunt into the constant cliches students face every day in which they have been chillingly desensitized.

Return to Planet Earth by… Leah Roth

Our video production editor, Leah Roth, created a futuristic, science fiction, micro-documentary about the repercussions of a nuclear winter for Mr. Bigley’s Science Fiction in Literature class at Forrest Bird Charter School.

Inexorable by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license ( Source: Artist:

Solar Roadways Fact or Fiction?

Our Reporter explores the Solar Roadways project in Sandpoint, Idaho after many errors on their install.  The day the student journalism class went to test the panels, it led to a city police investigation. Unfortunately, the panels were not working on the day of Bird Eye News’ test. To this day, as of March 21, 2017, the panels are not producing any power that can be used by the city’s power grid.

Are the Solar Roadways fact or fiction?

A Series of Unfortunate Events: How Uber Story By Mack Jastle

Controversy….Uber is once again in the public crosshairs after a recent account describes rampant favoritism and sexism within the management structure. Photo-by: Telhelka
Controversy….Uber is once again in the public crosshairs after a recent account describes rampant favoritism and sexism within the management structure. Photo-by: Telhelka

It’s been a rough few months for Uber.  From the #DeleteUber that went trending January in response to a perceived strike break, to mounting concerns over invasive privacy settings and user tracking, to perceived support for President Trump’s travel ban forcing CEO Travis Kalanick to resign from the President’s security council, the company has faced near constant anger and outrage from both users of the app and the media itself.

Recent allegations of sexism and sexual harassment within the company’s upper echelons have revitalized the growing discontent with Uber and its business practices, and prompted several other former software engineers from Uber to speak out.  Suddenly, just as #DeleteUber was on death’s door, it was given new life.0o

The genesis for these new accusations is an account by a former software engineer for the company, Susan Fowler, who worked in Uber’s software engineering department as a software reliability engineer from November 2015 to December 2016.  Titled: “Reflecting On One Very, Very Strange Year At Uber,” and written on Fowler’s personal blog, the post describes widespread sexism and chaos within the organization, and outlines a meritocracy where managers and supervisors routinely undermined their superiors in an attempt to take their job and curry favor with the organization.

Rough Year…Uber’s 2017 has been very tough, with the hashtag #DeleteUber permeating the company for the last several weeks. Photo-by: Cato Institute
Rough Year…Uber’s 2017 has been very tough, with the hashtag #DeleteUber permeating the company for the last several weeks. Photo-by: Cato Institute

Fowler writes that on her first official day working for the company, she was propositioned by her manager for sex over the company chat.  When she screen-shotted the messages and reported him to the human resources department, she was told that he was a “high performer” on his performance reviews, and they didn’t ‘feel comfortable punishing him for what was probably just an innocent mistake on his part.’  Fowler was told that since it was the manager’s first offense, they didn’t want to ruin his career by putting it on his record.    HR then gave Fowler an ultimatum; either she transfer teams and never see the manager again, or stay on the team and likely receive a poor performance review from the manager.  When Fowler tried to talk with HR or escalate the situation, she was given the same decision, and was told that it would not be retaliation if she received a negative review because she had been given a choice.

Fowler then transferred to a different team, where she came into contact with other women engineers, some of whom had also encountered the same manager propositioning them, well before Fowler was part of the company.  In short, the HR department had lied to Fowler and the other women, and had allowed this harassment to continue.  Meetings with HR were scheduled by Fowler and a few other women in an attempt to do something about the situation.

In the meeting, the HR representative maintained that the only offense on record was Fowler’s, and that none of the other women had any complaints about him, and thus nothing would change.

Fowler was berated for keeping a record of all the sexist emails and remarks she had received, and was told that sending emails to HR about these issues was unprofessional.

At the time of Fowler joining the company, about 25% of the company’s engineers were female.  Re-calculating the numbers on the day she left reveals that only 3% of the engineers in the company were female.

Uber and its CEO Travis Kalanick have denounced the behavior described in the account, and have launched investigations into the matter.

However, these investigations may be too little, too late.  Uber is still recovering from losing 200,000 users over the perceived strike break, and just when the effects of that calamity have started to fade, these recent allegations make #DeleteUber trend again.

If Uber wants to stay #1 in the rideshare business, it’s going to have a make a real and concentrated effort to distance itself from this kind of behavior, and it has to make it fast.

Otherwise, people will have no trouble catching a Lyft instead.




Uber is Going Automatic Story by Travis Tuttle

Want a ride?.. Uber’s driver-less car prototype. Photo by Business Insider
Want a ride?.. Uber’s driver-less car prototype. Photo by Business Insider

Uber is a successful and well known transportation company that has thousands of drivers that are ready to drive you to wherever you would like to go with a simple app. Although this system is wildly used and generally appreciated, Uber is making transportation more efficient with automatic cars. Because Uber does not know how to build cars, they are starting to design equipment that is compatible with Volvo cars. This equipment includes laser detecting systems, and cameras among other technologies processed by a powerful computer in the trunk. Uber has a small test fleet of driverless cars that are operating as normal Uber cars and driving passengers to their destinations, but they have safety drivers that take notes of the car’s performance as well as being able to take control of the care in an emergency as well as conditions in which the car has trouble processing.

Uber does have competition for the best driverless cars. Google has also been designing automatic cars, although they are still a work in progress as well as all of the other driverless car prototypes. Googles prototypes are limited to 25 miles per hour to avoid serious crashes (they have had minor incidents), and their detecting system can be off by somewhat wide margins. Uber has hired many engineers to design software and technology to guide their cars safely, and efficiently, eventually possibly to the point of a manual car. They map all of the obstacles in their test area including buildings, potholes, and other obstacles, then when the car is driving it uses GPS location to find its location and compare the location view to the corresponding maps to find differences such as pedestrians and other cars to stop for or avoid.

Although this system works fairly well, it has difficulty rendering terrain in some situations. At the moment, with technology being at the level that it is, cars with drivers are probably safer and more efficient, but technology is catching up quickly, and soon driverless cars may replace manual cars altogether. Despite the current technology, Uber wants to get an early start with this promising adaptation, and likely be a major driverless car company perhaps not so far in the future. Driverless cars are probably not quite as safe as normal cars. There have been multiple accidents from all of the driverless car companies except for Uber, likely because they just released their first cars. The most notable incident killed one person.

Even if Driverless cars have lots of glitches and problems, they will likely soon be a new reality despite skepticism from many people. Technology is advancing at a fast rate, and driverless cars may come before people might think.

Super Bowl LI Predictions by Bill Morton

Super Bowl 51 was this last Sunday, February 5th and was televised at 3:30pm of FOX. Lady Gaga performed at this year’s halftime show. The question everyone was thinking about was who will be the MVP? Who will get the 2k17 crown? Well, looking back at several websites and their predictions, here were their odds.

Quarterbacks Matt Ryan and Tom Brady. Photo by Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News
Quarterbacks Matt Ryan and Tom Brady. Photo by Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News

Looking at the Super Bowl Nation’s NFL Experts, they predicted that the Atlanta Falcons will win the game. With a 5-4 pick, the Falcons were considered by the experts to win their first Super Bowl. Those same experts also didn’t predict the Patriots to get that far in the season, let alone go to the Super Bowl. Looking at their past, the Falcons and Patriots had a hauntingly disappointing score for the Falcons, with a loss of 0-4, but what really made them the most considered was both Matt Ryan and their new Defense Coordinator they got for the season, alongside their somewhat new head coach, Dan Quinn. Matt Ryan had a very good run the past season, having considered an MVP of the season, with his highest of a 750-yard toss and five non-intercepted touchdowns.

USA Today asked 6 of their NFL Sports’ Staff what their predictions were for the game, and four of them chose Patriots while the other two chose Falcons. All the people that chose Patriots unanimously chose #12 Quarterback Tom Brady as the MVP, while #2 Quarterback, Matt Ryan, was only chosen as the MVP for one of the two votes for who’d win, with the other being #24 running back Devonta Freeman. Everyone’s main argument for the Patriots was by the numbers, and their wins. The Patriots has appeared in 7 times (not including 2017) and has won four times. The Falcons (again, 2017 not included) only went to the Super Bowl one time in January 17th, 1999, and lost to the Denver Broncos 34-19.

Well, the National NFL Experts’ “Predictions” didn’t turn out as well as they originally predicted. The New England Patriots won the 51st Super Bowl, with one of the most outstanding comebacks in Super Bowl History, even NFL History, that it’s crazy. The game in general made history, as this’s now the New England Patriot’s 5th Super Bowl win, and Tom Brady’s Fifth win as Quarterback and Coach Belichick’s 5th win as well, making them the ultimate Quarterback-Coach combo.

New England Patriots vs. the Atlanta Falcons, a defining picture of the 51st Super Bowl as a whole. Photo by Ed King, NFL.
New England Patriots vs. the Atlanta Falcons, a defining picture of the 51st Super Bowl as a whole. Photo by Ed King, NFL.

By the end of the first half, the Falcons were in the lead with a prominent 21-3, looking as if the Patriots were not in the lead, but whatever sentient being Tom Brady was praying to sure must’ve been the support, as the second half, the Patriots gained all the way up to the Falcons, having been tied right at the end of the 4th quarter. After that, the game went into its very first overtime in Super Bowl history. Many fans on both teams were shocked by the outcome, almost accepting the fact that the Atlanta Falcons had this one in the bag. Matt Ryan was made the MVP of the season, while Tom Brady was made MVP of the game, though being sacked 4 times.