Every year the U.S. Mint produces about 13 billion coins! That’s a lot, right? It recently announced that there will be a new picture on the quarter! The first woman on the quarter is…Maya Angelou! Angelou is a poet who read “On the Pulse of the Morning” when President Bill Clinton was being inaugurated. She is also known for many of her books like: “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” and “And Still I Rise.” She will be the first African American printed on a coin. Each year for the next five years, they’ll print a new trailblazer.

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 Have you ever wondered why we have two trash cans? That is because there is one for trash and one for recycling. Why is there a recycling bin?

Recycling bins are for things like paper, cardboard, glass bottles and especially anything that contains plastic. Global News says that a human consumes about 126–142 particles of plastic every day.

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 We talk a lot about space exploration, but did you know that we have not even explored 80% of the ocean on Earth? Thanks to companies like Seeop and their partnership with ASU on the Research Sailing Vessel Argo, students and researchers have new opportunities to access the ocean. I had the opportunity to interview some of the team about using drones and ROVs to learn more about the ocean and marine life. 

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 Recently I interviewed a mineral collector, Lauren Megaw, from the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show. She had just returned from a geology work trip in Chihuahua, Mexico.

Megaw said she had a lot of opportunities to go to mineral shows when she was young and see some great rocks and minerals because her father was a geologist. She seriously started collecting minerals when she was six years old. Since then, she has continued collecting minerals. It’s been 22 years! It is surprising that her fun hobby turned into her profession.

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 In 2015 the Mandarin program started at Tarwater Elementary with two classes. Now there are over 300 students learning Mandarin and Chinese. These Tarwater students are Pre-K to 6th grade.

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 In August a new system was put to work to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The new technology—System 002, nickname Jenny—collected over 20,000 pounds of plastic and trash. The trash is then hauled aboard the ship and it is sorted with much of the plastic becoming recycled.

Even if Jenny is successful at cleaning up, there is still much more garbage that needs to be removed. With 10 Jennys about half of the trash in the ocean could be removed in about five years. The Ocean Project hopes to have the ocean cleared of plastic and trash by the year 2040.

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 Do you like collecting rocks? I have a rock collection. It has a lot of rocks.

There are many blue stones and calcite. They are common where I live. I have a whole garden of them, but I found only one clear one. It is very unique. I think it is a clear quartz. I also found a rock that is black and has little yellow spots. Rocks are very cool to me.

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 Heidi Carman raised puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. Carman had a puppy named, Kerith, a golden Retriever, and noticed that she would not be good as a guide dog because she wanted lots of people’s attention. Carman decided to make Kerith a therapy dog.

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 On Aug. 10, the Senate passed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill. The House passed the bill on Nov. 12 and President Joe Biden signed the bill on Nov. 15.

This bill is special because it was a bipartisan bill. (That means both Republicans and Democrats voted to pass it). They agreed to give money to different states to help transit, build and fix roadways, and help clean up carbon emissions (reduce pollution). It will also help people who live in rural areas and  also help people who live in rural areas and those with low income by giving them access to internet and clean water.

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You’ve seen them around. They’re long, tall, and full of passengers. They are the Valley Metro buses! While you may have seen them, have you ever wondered what makes them run so smoothly? As it turns out, there’s a lot more to it, than meets the eye! We interviewed Valley Metro’s finest bus fleet maintenance specialist, Joey Templeton, to find out how it all works behind the scenes. “We have 209 buses here” Templeton says as we start our tour, “The first bus leaves here at about 3:30 a.m.; the last bus comes in at about 3 a.m.

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