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Texas high school spends $60 million on new football stadium, feeds rivalry

Two rival schools in Texas have taken their rivalry to a new level.

Allen High School in Allen, Texas, built a $60 million stadium, complete with a high-definition video screen, a three-tier press box and a capacity of 18,000 seats that nearly matches the Staples Center.

Could a high school football stadium really be any bigger?

Yes. The answer in Texas is always yes. 

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The Los Angeles Times reported that Allen's neighboring school district in McKinney, Texas, plans to outdo the Eagles' stadium with a nearly $63 million facility -- what could be the nation's most expensive high school stadium. It will be outfitted with a 55-foot-wide, high-definition video screen, an artificial grass field, seating for 12,000 and an adjacent 500-seat event center.

"Oh, it's a rivalry," said Adam Blanchet, a junior at one of the three high schools in the McKinney Independent School District that will use the new stadium. "I have pride knowing my district is going to have the most expensive stadium in the country."

The median household income in McKinney is $83,000. School taxes for property owners amount to $1.63 per $100 of assessed valuation, the Times reported.

To read more on how McKinney is funding the stadium and what students have to say about it, click here.

U.S. no longer the leader in coffee consumption, study finds

Despite Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and Caribou Coffee shops dotting thousands of corners in America, the United States doesn't drink nearly as much as some countries.

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The U.S. ranks ninth in coffee consumption internationally.

The Netherlands is the nation that drinks the most of the hot beverage, CBC News reported. The rest of the top 10 includes Finland, Canada, Sweden, Germany, Slovenia, Dominican Republic, Norway and Slovakia.

According to the news outlet, the data was compiled by combining the "volume of coffee per capita that retail stores sold to consumers and that food services outlets purchased to brew." CBC News said it found that colder weather usually equals more coffee being consumed.

"With the colder temperatures, long winters, what have you, waking up in the morning to a nice warm cup of coffee, oh, my God, it's tranquility,” Paul Stewart told CBC News.

Mark Strobel, a Euromonitor research analyst, told CBC News that the United States ranks ninth because while it does have its share of cold winters, hot drinks aren't being consumed as much in the warmer southern states. Robert Carter of the NPD Group in Toronto said people in the South usually choose to drink soft drinks instead.

"You can tell an American in Canada when they have Diet Coke for breakfast," he told CBC News.

Read more at CBC News.

'Sit With Us' app finds lunch buddies for lonely children

A new app created by a 16-year-old California girl aims to make sure no child eats his or her school lunch alone.

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Natalie Hampton developed the idea for the Sit With Us app, which launched Sept. 9, to help students find kindness and welcoming groups with whom to eat in school lunchrooms across the country.

"Lunch might seem really small, but I think these are the small steps that make a school more inclusive," Hampton told the Washington Post. "It doesn't seem like you're asking that much, but once you get people in the mindset, it starts to change the way students think about each other. It makes a huge difference in how they treat each other."

The now-high school junior told the Los Angeles Daily News that she was inspired to create the app after she ate lunch alone for her entire seventh-grade school year. She said the experience made her feel lonely and vulnerable and made her a target for bullying, which lasted into her eight-grade year.

Hampton told the Daily News that she suffered from nightmares, stress and depression as a result of the bullying, and at one point, she was hospitalized for health issues.

>>Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  

"I was a shell of the person I was. When I walked into a classroom, I was planning an escape route," Hampton said.

The app allows students to connect with other students at their schools, chat with other users to coordinate a lunch, post featured lunches for others to join and search for lunches nearby.

Users create a profile, add friends and describe their interests. Users have the option to designate themselves as "ambassadors" who create "open lunch" events and invite others to join them. The open lunch events serve as go-aheads for all interested students to join the ambassadors' table.

"Sit With Us was born because I am committed to making sure that other kids don't suffer as I did. I believe that seemingly small, incremental changes in the overall dynamic of a school community can bring about change, so that everyone feels welcome and included, " Hampton wrote on the app's official website. "I believe that every school has upstanders like me, who are happy and willing to invite anyone to join the lunch table. It is my hope, with people pledging to be ambassadors at their schools, that no one will feel left out."

Hampton said the new app is especially helpful because the electronic process prevents children from being publicly rejected and being considered social outcasts by their peers. 

"This way it's very private. It's through the phone. No one else has to know," Hampton told Audie Cornish on NPR's "All Things Considered." "And you know that you're not going to be rejected once you get to the table."

The Sit With Us app is free and recommended for children of middle school age and older.

UNC football player accused of raping fellow student

A student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is speaking out after she said she was raped in February, but the university took no action.

"My life has changed forever, while the person who assaulted me remains as a student and a football player on this campus," Delaney Robinson said Tuesday. 

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Robinson said her attacker is Allen Artis, a linebacker on their school's football team. The 19-year-old sophomore told the media that she was taking the incident public because she was dissatisfied with how the college was handling the alleged rape.

"I did everything a rape victim is supposed to do. I reported it. I allowed the rape kit to be taken. I gave a statement. I cooperated with law enforcement and the Title IX office," Robinson said in a statement. "But six months later, the university has done nothing. I'm taking this public stand not for me but for the other students on campus who are not protected, despite what the university tells us."

Robinson and her attorney spent six months pushing for Artis' expulsion, The Daily Mail reported.

According to Robinson, the assault occurred at on-campus housing on Valentine's Day. She told authorities that Artis, 21, laid on top of her, pinning her down with his weight while raping her. 

A photo taken by Robinson shows purple marks on her neck that are said to be bruises inflicted by Artis on the night of the rape.

"Yes, I was drinking that night on Valentine's Day," Robinson said. "I'm underage, and I take responsibility for that, but that doesn't give anyone the right to violate me. I did not deserve to be raped."

Robinson said she went to a hospital after the incident and told a sexual-assault nurse what she could remember of the incident. She had a rape kit completed and was later questioned by the university's Department of Public Safety investigators, who filed an incident report. The rape kit documented "blunt force trauma" and "bruising consistent with a physical assault."

But Robinson, originally from Apex, North Carolina, said she was "quizzed" with "humiliating" and accusatory" questions.

"Did I lead him on? Have I hooked up with him before? Do I often have one-night stands? Did I even say no? What is my sexual history? How many men have I slept with? I was treated like a suspect," she said she was asked.

Robinson said she later heard a recording of Artis' interview with the DPS.

"They told him, 'Don't sweat it, just keep on living your life and playing football,'" she said. "They even laughed with him when he told them how many girls' phone numbers he had managed to get on the same night he raped me."

According to Robinson's lawyer, Denise Branch UNC Chapel Hill’s Title IX office, the unit that examines sexual discrimination at universities, has been investigating the case. 

Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said a felony investigation is still underway.  

"There is no question that there was physical contact, but what the circumstances are surrounding the contact are what investigators are trying to determine."

"The Hunting Ground," a CNN documentary that spotlighted sexual assaults on college campuses in the country, reported that UNC Chapel Hill received 136 sexual assault reports between 2001 and 2013, but that none of the reports resulted in expulsions.

In a statement, the university said it "is deeply committed to the safety and well-being of ... students and takes all allegations about sexual violence or sexual misconduct extremely seriously."

Artis was charged Tuesday with sexual battery and assault on a female after Robinson requested a misdemeanor warrant, allowable under North Carolina law. Artis turned himself in at a magistrate's court Wednesday morning.

He was released on a $5,000 unsecured bond, and his next court date is Sept. 29.

Artis, originally from Marietta, Georgia, was suspended from the football team pending the outcome of the case.

Robinson and her father, Stacey Robinson, have both released statements. 

'Free the thigh' protest planned at Washington high school to resist dress code

A student has organized a protest at Aberdeen High School in Aberdeen, Washington, to challenge the school's dress code.

A Facebook page titled "Free the Thigh" created an online event scheduling the protest for Wednesday.

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The Facebook page was allegedly started by a student who got into trouble for wearing jeans that were "too ripped."

"I got dress coded today for wearing these jeans because of the rip on the very top of my leg," Stephanie Ann Stopsen wrote in the caption of a photo of ripped jeans. "This is the first time I have ever had this happen to me, and I was told never to wear these jeans to school again because they're 'inappropriate.'"

Stopsen said she wasn't the only student who was addressed for the same reason by school officials. One post on the page said "at least 40 people along with me (got reprimanded) too for ripped jeans."

"Something needs to change," Stopsen wrote.

If you haven't already seen this, this is why this has all started. It hasn't just been me that has gotten dress coded...Posted by Free The Thigh on Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Aberdeen High School dress code currently states that "Pants shall be worn at the waist and must not have excessive holes or holes located above mid-thigh." Read the code here.

One local mother, Angela Asbury, shared an image of her daughter's ripped jeans on the protest's Facebook page.

"My daughter got dress coded today at the Jr high. I refuse to make her change," Asbury wrote. "We (are) behind this protest 100%."

My daughter got dress coded today at the Jr high..I refuse to make her change...we r behind this protest 100%Posted by Angela Asbury on Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Great Barrier Reef is dying

The Great Barrier Reef is dying, and tourists from all over the world are rushing to see it while there's still time.

Nearly 70 percent of people who visited the reef in 2015 said they made the trip to Australia to witness its beauty before it's gone.

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Almost half of the reef's coral has vanished over the past three decades, thanks to warming ocean temperatures, invasive species and coastal development.

This year, the reef suffered the worst coral bleaching in recorded history. One study estimated over 90 percent of the reef has been affected. 

The Australian government thought the reef's dire state would drive tourists away, but it's done the opposite. That's great news for the multibillion-dollar tourism industry, but it could be bad news for the reef itself.

This phenomenon is called last-chance tourism, and it happens all the time at vanishing destinations, like the Maldives and Galapagos Islands.

Researchers fear it could make the reef's plight even worse. 

One of the study's authors wrote in The Conversation, "There's a vicious cycle at play here: tourists travel to see a destination before it disappears, but in so doing they contribute to its demise, either directly through on-site pressures or ... through greenhouse gas emissions."

But a reef scientist told Motherboard the impacts of tourism are actually "overwhelmingly positive."

"The greater the value of Great Barrier Reef tourism, the easier it is to justify government investment in reef management," said reef scientist Peter Mumby.

And the reef might already be seeing those positive effects. A new video from early September showed at least part of the reef has almost fully recovered from coral bleaching.

Here's why Chipotle doesn't sell queso

Moe's, Willy's, Barberito's, Chipotle and Qdoba all offer similar items -- menus laden with burrito products and other Tex-Mex options.

But one of those is not like the other. 

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Chipotle differs from the other restaurants in that it does not sell cheese dip. 

And many customers aren't happy about it.

So why not sell the liquid gold?

A video released by the fast food chain says that the company stands by producing "food with integrity" and that queso, which has to be made with "artificial stabilizers" to keep the cheese in liquid form, does not fall under the chain's quality standards.

"Ever head of all natural liquid goopey cheese?" a faux marketing representative asks in the video. "Do you think there's a cow that squirts queso out of its udders?"

link at the end of the video offers viewers to read more information about Chipotle's dairy standards.

Chemical stabilizers are needed to keep cheese at a semi-liquid state for queso and to prevent it from becoming too thin or too thick. Artificial colors are often added as well. 

"Queso is something that we do get requests for from time to time, but it's very difficult to do it in a way that is consistent with our food philosophy," Chris Arnold, Chipotle's communications director, told MUNCHIES in June. "To make queso in a way that is stable on the service line pretty much requires artificial ingredients (such as stabilizers to keep its consistency). That's just not what we do."

Georgetown University to make reparations for past ties to slavery

Georgetown University is taking steps to atone for its historical ties to slavery. 

The plan includes giving the descendants of slaves the same admissions advantages that children of alumni receive. Two buildings on campus will also be renamed.

One will honor Anne Marie Becraft, an African-American woman who opened a school for black girls in the Georgetown area, and the other will commemorate one of the slaves sold to help pay off the university's debt.

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In 1838, Georgetown University sold 272 slaves to pay off some of the school's debt. The slaves were uprooted from Maryland and sent to Louisiana.

The university has addressed its history with slavery before, but recently, a committee appointed to determine how the university should address its history found that slavery was deeply rooted in Georgetown's founding. 

Profits from the sale of slaves and from plantations run by slaves were a planned source of funding for the school, and many of the campus' early buildings were built, at least in part, by slaves.

Georgetown's investigation started in August, and the student body began putting pressure on the university last year to open a dialogue about its history with slavery.

The steps announced this week stopped short of calls for scholarships for the descendants of slaves, but the university claims its efforts won't end with Thursday's announcement. 

Chipotle offering freebies to win back customers

In an effort to regain customers after declining sales and a hard hit to the company's reputation, Chipotle is offering deals that appeal to students and families.

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The first deal appeals to parents, who can receive a free kids' meal with the purchase of an adult entree. The deal is only valid on Sundays in September.

A second promotion allows high school and college students to receive a free drink with the purchase of an entree if they show a valid school ID.

"It's back to school time and students -- particularly high school and college students -- have always been such loyal customers, so we thought a promotion directed specifically to them would be a great way to help them ring in a new school year," a Chipotle spokesman said.

The company's Chiptopia loyalty program promotion, which awards free food and merchandise when customers achieve a certain amount of points, lasts until Sept. 30.

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