At least 17 dead after Santa Barbara mudslides

On Tuesday morning, Santa Barbara County in California was afflicted by devastating mudslides caused by intense rainfall. The area was unfortunately susceptible to this disaster due to the environment surrounding it, which included many hills and mountains, making flood water extremely fast and dangerous. At the time this article was written, 17 people have been reported dead and 43 have been reported missing.

The beginning of the devastation started early Tuesday morning, at around 4 a.m. The catastrophe was caused by heavy, consistent rain that was measured to fall, at one point, half an inch in just 5 minutes. Debris and mud rushed through the streets of Santa Barbara, ravaging the once lush and beautiful area. Houses and expensive properties were decimated as thick mud, boulders, branches, and other products of the storm crashed into them. It is estimated that at least 65 homes were demolished in the mudslides and over 400 were damaged. Besides homes, other important structures were afflicted by the mudslide. Large infernos were caused by the surge damaging a gas line, which subsequently tacked on more damage to the community.

The lethal storm claimed the lives of at least 17 people while also being responsible for the disappearance of 43 others. With ages ranging from as young as 3 years old to the most elderly with an age of 89, these citizens were killed in one of the most horrible ways imaginable. With the toll of those missing raising rapidly, we will most likely see an increase in the death toll, unfortunately.

Right now, the state of a California is doing all they can to supply aid to the damaged area. With nearly 700 professionals on the ground assisting with recovery, and citizens of the area actively offering help, the area will hopefully return to the way it was and more people will be discovered in time for possible rescue. In the meantime, the rest of the country will hold its breath as more details are released on this horrible natural disaster.




Groundbreaking Junior League announced by Lavar Ball

It has been debated for years about whether or not players should have the ability to skip college and go to the NBA. Legends like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Garnett skipped the collegiate level to play professionally, proving that college is not always needed for development. In 2005, however, the NBA incorporated a new rule into the draft. A player had to be of 19 years of age at least to qualify for the draft. The commissioner of the league at the time, David Stern, stated that the reason for this change was to discourage urban Americans from looking past college and relying on making the NBA for a stable source of income. Most top players now go to college for just one year and then go to the draft, arguably making the age requirement redundant. An alternative for players that don’t want to play in college is going overseas to earn money while playing ball. But never has there been the idea of adding another league to transition players into the NBA, until this week by none other than Lavar Ball.

We all know about the controversy surrounding the Ball family. Whether it’s Lavar saying that his son can defeat Stephen Curry in a one-on-one or LiAngelo shoplifting in China, people are aware of the Ball family shenanigans. But the newest installment to the drama surrounding the Ball family is Lavar’s announcement of establishing the Junior Basketball Association. This new league directly combats the NCAA’s ability to acquire top-ranked high school ballers by offering contracts to its players. Contracts for lower ranked players are estimated to be worth around $3,000 whereas top ranked players can earn up to $10,000. Lavar hopes to form ten teams in this association, with each having eight players on a roster.

In a statement made by JBA, it said, “The JBA league is for basketball players who intend to pursue the sport professionally. With the introduction of the JBA, allowing the NCAA to regulate and control the eligibility status of top basketball prospects will no longer be an issue. There is no need to partake in an institution that claims its purpose is not to help you prepare for your professional career.”

While this move is very risky, it is undeniable that it has serious potential. Players have protested for years about the age requirement, and while this new league may not eliminate the rule, it will allow the best NBA prospects to earn money and play with the best of the best in their age group. But the real question is whether or not the JBA will be able to survive and compete with the NCAA.

“It ultimately depends on whether or not Lavar is able to provide these contracts and follow through on his promises to these athletes,” Prep junior and basketball fan Andrew Olds says, “If these players are paid appropriately, big name players will definitely join because of the guaranteed money and good coverage because of the concentrated talent in this league.”

The JBA has said that their league will be up and running in the summer of 2018. This incredibly quick startup is a prime example of a high risk, high reward scenario. If the league is ready to start by this time and contains little to no flaws, the JBA will skyrocket. But if it fails in a significant matter, the very existence of this junior league could cease in an instant. Hopefully this new organization is able to take off this summer, because if one thing is for certain, nothing is going to be more entertaining than seeing these alpha NBA prospects bringing the best out of each other in high action and fast-paced games.




Meet Trae Young, a.k.a Stephen Curry 2.0

Yes, calling a player “Steph Curry 2.0” may be going a bit overboard, especially when he hasn’t graduated college. But collegiate superstar Trae Young is already a top-5 projected draft pick and is on track to becoming the NCAA player of the year. The 19-year-old Oklahoma Sooner point guard has been balling out this season, averaging 28.5 points (leads NCAA), and 10.5 assists (also 1st in the NCAA) per game. He accomplishes these averages by shooting 48 percent from the field as well as 38 percent from three. While these stats are impressive, you cannot say that he is the next Curry just based off of averages. Luckily, he backs up the comparisons to the two-time MVP with his fearless mentality.

Young is a phenomenal shooter from beyond the arc, with a strong emphasis on “beyond.” Just like Stephen Curry, Trae Young is able to shoot from 30 feet out and consistently make shots. Not only is he able to make threes and space the floor, he is also able to drive to the basket with elite ball handling and agility to secure his team two points. One particular aspect of Young’s game is absorbing contact and drawing the foul while driving into the lane. And because he shoots around 86 percent from the line, it makes it virtually impossible to stop him when he decides to B-line it for the hoop.

At this point in Trae Young’s college career, he is statistically playing better than Curry did in his first year of college at Davidson. On Tuesday, Young tied the NCAA men’s basketball assist record with 22. Curry’s highest for his freshman season at Davidson was a meager (in comparison to Young’s) 6 assists. With only ten games in the season, Trae has already scored 43 points in a game against Oregon. Curry had his highest scoring game as a freshman in a game against Michigan, when he scored 32 points. The competition Trae has faced this season so far has not been easy either. He was able to conquer the former number 3 team in the country (Wichita State), along with Oregon, who pretty much has a great basketball team every single season and is a perennial PAC-12 program. Curry, on the other hand, played in a much weaker conference than Young, which would arguably make it easier for him to score more and be more efficient on the court.

While it does seem the Sooner superstar guard does have the upper hand on Stephen Curry at this point in his career, it is truly impossible to predict what he will be like in the future. Last year, this type of treatment was given to Lonzo Ball. He is currently performing at a sub par level in the NBA, which does not live up to the hype that surrounded him in college. Similarly to Lonzo, Curry also had a rough rookie season, so for people to make these extremely early predictions is not necessarily naive, but premeditated. Who knows, maybe Young will come into the NBA as an immediate threat at the point guard position. But until then, basketball fans will just have to wait and see if Trae Young is the real deal.




Student Profile: Ryan Rzepecki

Junior Ryan Rzepecki is one of the writers for The Rambler and a dedicated student at Cathedral Prep. Ryan also happens to work at Sara’s Restaurant in the summer time. One of the reasons why Ryan chose to work at Sara’s was his love for the restaurant and its food. His favorite food from Sara’s is the hot dog. Ryan also loves desserts from Sara’s, particularly the hot fudge sundae. Although he does love dessert, he only eats it in moderation, not after every meal.

Ryan describes his job as being moderately difficult. Although he does work with friends such as junior students Robert Wierbinski and Isaac Holder, the restaurant is often busy and the workload can be borderline overwhelming. But this doesn’t stop him from enjoying his job.

“It’s a good job. It’s close to my house and gives me some money. It keeps me out of the house during the summer,” Ryan said.

Ryan believes, however, that the restaurant should only be open in the summer. In his opinion, if Sara’s was open the whole year, the diner would lose its special vibe that comes with it being open only in the summer.

When asked where Sara’s gets their ingredients from, Ryan said that the food was bought locally. Ryan also said that during the work season, the workplace is perfectly staffed and the work is divided equally. Finally, his final opinion on Sara’s is that it is the best restaurant in Erie.

“It’s a family friendly environment,” Ryan said, “You want to go there; you want to feel like family. It should feel like home; it should be a good time. You’re there for the family. You’re cooking for people. You know your friends are there, showing people hospitality.”




Review of Fortnite: Battle Royale

For the past couple of years, battle royale games have taken the video game industry by storm. In 2016, H1Z1 pioneered this style of gaming by incorporating the “King of the Kill” game mode into their product. In this mode, players were put in a hunger games-esque situation where their character would be spawned onto a large map and try to survive until they were the last ones living. Grabbing weapons and supplies in areas of the map are necessities to winning the game. Other games followed suit, such as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, (also known as “PUBG”). This game, instead of H1Z1, focused solely on making a battle royale game. With refined combat mechanics, better graphics, and an overall better player experience, PUBG has overthrown H1Z1 as the king of this genre of games. However, this glory may be short lived by PUBG, because the new third person shooter game Fortnite has introduced their own twist on battle royale, and it has players by the millions already calling it the next big thing. 

So what is Fortnite? Fortnite is a PvE (player vs enemy AI) game that allows gamers to co-op with friends and try to survive against hordes of enemies using a unique building system and weapon system. However, most players are not downloading this title for this aspect of the game. Fortnite also has a separate game mode called “Battle Royale.” In this game mode, you are hoisted into a lobby of 99 other players either by yourself, with a friend, or with a squad of up to four people. Once everyone has loaded into a game and the lobby is full, the countdown to begin a game begins. Usually match wait times don’t exceed five minutes. 

To start the game, you are flown over a gigantic island filled with unique landscapes, abandoned neighborhoods, and a plethora of other environments in a flying bus. Once you are over the island, a timer begins, signaling you to exit the bus and descend into the island. Once you abort the vehicle, you rapidly plummet to the ground. Using a hanglider, you can maneuver yourself better while falling, allowing pinpoint accuracy for a designated landing spot. 

Like other battle royale games, finding supplies when you first land in Fortnite is paramount. Depending on the location you land, you can either find really good loot or absolutely nothing. For example, if you land in an abandoned neighborhood, your chances of finding weapons and first aid is a lot more likely than you landing in a shed at the very edge of a map. However, players recognize this so more people will be at the neighborhood than at the shed, so being decisive on where you want to land is crucial to surfing the game. 

When it comes to combat, Fortnite is unique in its approach. Each gun has a possibility to be in five tiers. Common (Gray), Uncommon (Green), Rare (Blue), Epic (Purple), and Legendary (Orange). The power of the weapon is higher corresponding to its tier, (Legendary being the strongest and Common being the weakest). There are also many different types of guns, such as assault rifles, pistols, grenade launchers, rocket launchers, and shotguns. Although your weapon may help determine the winner of a gunfight, a player’s skill is crucial for victory in a battle, regardless of equipment. If you defeat an opponent in a firefight, you can loot his person of the material they had on them while fighting you. 

What makes Fortnite‘s battle royale game mode so unique is its addition of building and destroying structures during a match. In Fortnite‘s regular game mode, building is used almost always to defend players from the monsters attacking them. But by adding this function into Battle Royale, players are able to gather material and build to protect themselves from other players. There are three materials used for building in Fortnite. Wood, (weakest), brick (sturdy, in the middle) and metal (strongest). Building is usually done at the climax of a game, where there are likely less than 20 players alive. In games like H1Z1 and PUBG, this never was an option. The environment in the game was set and could not be altered. But in Fortnite, structures in the map can be destroyed to give the player materials to build their own forts. The options for building includes four different options. A wall, a floor, stairs, and lastly a triangular roof. These can modified also to include doorways, openings, etc., allowing for tactical positioning by the fort dweller. But be careful, because your structure can also be destroyed, so building comes at it’s own risk.

Fortnite, in conclusion, has all the tools to be one of the best games on the market today. 

“I haven’t played a game this good since… I can’t even remember!” exclaimed Prep junior Andrew Angelini. 

By already amassing 10 million players in its first two weeks of being on shelves, Fortnite is prepared to leave its mark on the video game industry. With some minor tweaks and combat balancing, this game will certainly rival PUBG and other battle royale games to come.




Top Three Winners of the 2017 NBA Offseason

If one word was used to describe the 2017 offseason, it would be “historic.” The fluctuation of talent that occurred on each team this season is nothing short of remarkable. While some teams may have missed out on great opportunities, other franchises took full advantage of the occurrences this offseason. The following teams are the top performers of this year’s offseason. 

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers
    When it was reported that general manager David Griffin was being let go by the Cavaliers organization, the media was quick to criticize owner Dan Gilbert. These criticisms were intensified when Cavaliers star point guard Kyrie Irving stated that he wanted to be traded. But the new general mananger, Koby Altman, stepped up and completely reloaded the Cavs’ roster.To start the offseason, Altman was able to pick up a former MVP, Derrick Rose, who most recently played point guard for the New York Knicks. Rose averaged 18 points last season, while finishing first in the league last season for step back jump shot field goal percentage. Following this move, Altman was also able to sign a versatile defender in Jeff Green, along with Jose Calderon, a solid player to come off the bench.

    Eventually, Altman was able to find a very beneficial trade offer for Kyrie Irving. In exchange for Irving, the Boston Celtics would send Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Žižić, and the Brooklyn Nets’ first round pick to Cleveland. This trade was a complete steal for the Cavs. Not only did Cleveland gain Isaiah Thomas, who averaged 28.9 points per game and finished fifth in last year’s MVP voting), but they also gained a great shooter and defender in Jae Crowder. While Žižić isn’t much of a pickup, he is only 20 and has potential to be a solid player. And because Brooklyn is projected to only win about 30 games this season, the Cavaliers can potentially get a great player in next season’s draft.

    If you thought the Cavalier’s offseason couldn’t get any better, you are wrong. To cap off this amazing turnaround, Cleveland was able to sign Dwyane Wade. Although Wade is aging and is no longer a superstar, he is still able to average 18 points and shoot the ball. Not only that, but he is best friends with Lebron James. This combination may not be the same as it was in Miami, but it is undeniable that this chemistry will be deadly for any team facing the Cavaliers.

  2. Oklahoma City Thunder
    If there was any team in the NBA that knew how to rebound from losing it’s best player, it would be OKC. When future Hall of Famer and former MVP Kevin Durant announced his decision to go to the Golden State Warriors, Thunder fans were devasted. But OKC point guard Russell Westbrook proved to be unfazed by this decision, responding by averaging a triple double and winning MVP the following season. Although the Thunder lost in the first round of the playoffs, it did not stop them from rebuilding.To start, they drafted a sleeper pick in Terrance Ferguson. Ferguson played in Australia last season, and although he had a poor season there, he still shows glimpses of becoming a great player in the NBA. After the draft, the Thunder desperately looked for a way to surround Westbrook with stars. Out of nowhere, Oklahoma City made a blockbuster trade with the Indiana Pacers. In exchange for Victor Oladipo and Damontas Sabonis, the Thunder would receive superstar forward Paul George. George averaged 24 points last season while shooting 46% from the field, and he is considered a top ten player in the NBA.

    To add to this rapidly growing roster, the Thunder replaced Taj Gibson with Patrick Patterson, who came with a cheaper contract and performed better on the court. And by also replacing a disappointing player in Cameron Payne, the Thunder added Raymond Felton, a veteran player to come off the bench for Russell Westbrook. To conclude the off season, OKC acquired none other than Carmelo Anthony. In exchange for just Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a second round pick, the Thunder were able to get a top-five forward in Anthony. While Carmelo may have had a lack luster performance in New York, this was due to him being placed in a horrible system. Imagine being Carmelo, wasting your prime in a broken offense setting and not even making the playoffs. We will definitely see him play with a chip on his shoulder this year, proving that he still has what it takes to be an all-star.

  3. Houston Rockets
    With the potential to be the second seed in the West, Houston continues to show significant improvement. Although the Rockets lost Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, and Lou Williams, they were able to add all-star point guard Chris Paul along with P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute. If you were to look up the textbook definition of a point guard, you would find Chris Paul’s picture right over the word. Paul averaged about 20 points last season, but more importantly he averaged 10 assists per game. His ability to involve other players on the court offensively is deadly, especially on a team whose success is literally predicated on its offensive performance. Also, the Rockets picked up P.J. Tucker, who is a good rebounder, something the Rockets have been needing for quite some time. Luc Mbah a Moute may not be a major pickup for the Rockets, but he may be able to provide a larger defensive presence on the Rockets, who are lacking obviously in that department. 



New iPad cases already causing discontent among student body

As the first quarter of school progresses, students begin to grow accustomed to the new changes and tweaks that have been implemented this year. But one change that has many students upset is the new cases for the iPads provided by Prep and Villa. While many people could not be more excited to receive a newer model of the iPad, their excitement began to fade when they viewed the new case.

Right off the bat, people were confused about how to access the stand feature for the new case. It took some time for Prep and Villa students to realize that they had to firmly press down on each end of an obnoxiously snapping, wristband shaped stand to prop their devices. Once students and faculty understood this feature, they were confronted with another issue. The stand doesn’t allow students and faculty to operate the iPad vertically without the user’s interference. While many people prefer accessing the tablet horizontally, this new stand almost forces people to type, read, etc. horizontally even if they usually use an iPad vertically. Another problem the case stand presents is that it is very annoying to type on. The predecessor of this years iPad case came with a firm, versatile stand that would hold your iPad in place while typing. In contrast, this year’s case sways left and right as you type.

Prep junior Jared Heidt voiced his concerns about typing on the new case as well, stating “It is very frustrating to write papers and type out answers for virtual assignments. The stand doesn’t allow you to type without it moving”.

Even though it is still September, some students have reported on their stands beginning to fall apart without any interference whatsoever. Just today, I clicked the stand to activate it, but as soon as I did, the base of the stand partially detached from the outer portion, leaving it hanging. This is not only annoying, but very angering. How can people efficiently do their work when their stand doesn’t function properly?

Moving away from the stand, there is the issue of the screen protector. To start, the screen cover this year is a major downgrade from last year’s. Unlike last year’s screen protector being physically attached to the iPad screen, this year’s is connected to the case. Because of this, air bubbles are riddled throughout the interface of the iPad. So when you try to type flat because of the mediocre stand, it is impossible to see what you are pressing because light is reflecting off of the bubbles. Only if you completely lean over your iPad while it’s flat to type is it possible to efficiently work.

Sophomore Thomas Francoeur also feels the same way about the new screen protector. “The new case seems very destructible and cheap. The screen cover keeps coming off at the corner, making it difficult to type.”

Possibly the only thing that is not entirely negative about the new iPad cases is the base itself. The new case doesn’t defer significantly in density and protection compared to it’s predecessor. However, a very troublesome issue the case has is its vulnerability to fall apart. While walking to seventh period last Thursday, a student’s iPad fell apart spontaneously without any interaction right in front of me. Apparently this is not rare, due to many students reporting this same issue.

Prep student Bobby Boland said, “I was unloading my book bag when I got home from Cross Country. All of a sudden, my iPad case literally fell apart while I picked it up to remove it from my bag.”

So if this new case has all these issues, how did we end up with it? In the spring of last year, there was a vote for new iPad cases. As it turns out, this was the case we voted for. To be fair, this case looked perfectly fine when we looked at a preview for it. But after using it for a month, it’s easy to recognize the various issues that comes with this new case.

When I spoke with Mrs. Amy Cambra in the technology department, she said the reason for choosing this case as an option was “that with a built-in stand, there would be fewer options of the stand going missing.” She added, “OtterBox designed this case for the educational environment.”

In conclusion, the new iPad cases provided this year are far from what we expected. An idea I’ve presented to the technology department is to allow students to purchase new cases through the school. In response, Technology Department employee Amy Camera stated, “Students are required to use the case that the school purchased for them. Different cases are not an option.” However, Mrs. Cambra also stated that they are aware some front covers are falling off, and they have discussed the issue with OtterBox, who is working on shipping redesigned replacement front covers that should stay on better.”

If students have any additional concerns with the new cases, they are more than welcome to discuss their issues with Mrs. Cambra or any member of the technology department. 




Preview for Week 2 of the NFL

Last night Week 2 of the NFL season began, as the Texans defeated the Bengals 13-9. The next game on Sunday will be the classic rivalry between the Browns and Ravens. While the Browns have had a very poor record for as long as anyone can remember, one can be optimistic by noticing that they have the youngest roster in the NFL. Playing at the same time are the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This game will surely mean a lot to the players and fans of Tampa, seeing as they are rebounding from Hurricane Irma.

Up in Pittsburgh, the Vikings will be taking on the Steelers. This clash between the best offense and one of the best defenses in the league will surely be a highlight of the weekend. In New Orleans, the Patriots will be battling with the Saints. After an embarrassing loss against the Chiefs, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are hoping to assert their wrath on the struggling Saints. Speaking of the Chiefs, their next matchup will be against the promising roster found in the Philadelphia Eagles. As Carson Wentz enters his second year in the NFL, fans can already see that he has the potential to become a phenomenal quarterback in the league.

In Jacksonville, Florida, the Jags will be hosting the Tennessee Titans. With one of the worst offenses in the league after losing their star receiver Allen Robinson, the Jaguars will definitely struggle not only this weekend, but for the whole season. While this is happening, the Arizona Cardinals will be playing against the Colts. Hoping to come back after an unexpected loss at the hands of Matt Stafford and the Lions, Arizona will be jumping out the gate to defeat their opponent. In North Carolina, the Bills will be playing against the Panthers. After a very outlandish, lackluster season last year, Cam Newton hopes to lead his team back to where they were two years ago. All of these games will be played at 1 p.m. Eastern.

Starting at 4:05 p.m. Eastern, the Jets will be playing the Raiders. Somehow taking the Browns’ spot as the worst team in the NFL, the Jets will most likely get carved up by Derek Carr and returning NFL legend Marshawn Lynch. Traveling all the way from Florida to California, the Miami Dolphins will be facing off against the Chargers. Before this game, there has been chatter from Chargers player Melvin Ingram stating that new Miami addition Jay Cutler is “not a problem for us.” Hopefully this fire will continue onto Sunday and provide an intense game between the teams.

Simultaneously, the 49ers will be playing against the Seahawks. Already in talks for MVP, Russell Wilson has the potential to have a star-studded performance against a sub-par team found in California. Another team from California playing on Sunday is the Rams. They will be hosting the Redskins, which will produce a most likely low-scoring game between two defensive minded teams. Also on Sunday, the Cowboys will be going toe-to-toe with the Denver Broncos.

With the Cowboys already being surrounded in controversy with Ezekiel Elliott, this game will definitely be watched by most Americans. To wrap up Sunday, there are exciting matchup between two elite quarterbacks. With Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers already being mentioned for the title of league MVP, the game will be projected to be a high scoring face-off. To finish Week 2 on Monday, the Lions will be playing against their NFC North rival in New York. While the Giants have a very potent offense, the Lions are coming off a surprising season last year and are looking like they will continue this success after their win against the Cardinals.




Prep, Villa, and Mother Teresa Academy celebrate All School Mass at Prep and Villa Events Center

On Wednesday, Sept. 6, Prep and Villa celebrated their third shared mass in the Joann Mullen Gymnasium. Along with the two sibling schools, the brand new Erie Diocese elementary school Mother Teresa Academy joined for the mass. The homily was given by Cathedral Prep and Villa Maria president Father Scott Jabo. Other priests present for the service were Father Feigh, Father McCormick, and Father DeMartinis.

Many of the participants in Wednesday’s mass were students from Prep and Villa. Readers in the mass were Prep students John Hagerty, Christian Colontonio, and Simon Peter Mizner. Reading participants from Villa were Alexandra Karlinchak, Mary Katherine McGovern, and Brooke Kimet. Besides the readers, other high school student participants in the mass were servers Patrick Kelly, John MacKenzie, Allie Dugan, and Abbie Stubenbort.

Later in the mass, Cathedral Prep and Villa Maria students Thomas Uht and Tori Purchase presented the gifts of the Eucharist. The Eucharist was presented during communion by students, faculty, and priests from the Cathedrel Prep and Villa Maria community. After communion was finished, an amazing, flabbergasting performance of Amazing Grace was sung by Mother Teresa Academy seventh grader Jyleek Evans.

Jyleek Evans singing Amazing Grace

7th grader, Jyleek Evans, a new member of our Prep, Villa & Mother Teresa Academy family closes Mass with a beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace. #Prep #Villa

Posted by Prep-Villa on Wednesday, September 6, 2017

This mass not only showed the strong relationship shared between the two sibling schools, but also the readiness for these two high schools to accept Mother Teresa Academy as a member of the Erie Diocese school system and community.