Monthly Archives: April 2017

Cherry Blossom Festival

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by Nicholas Runyon – Staff Reporter

The Kent School District’s 20th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival is a KSD tradition celebrating our connection with Japan, and Japanese culture. This year it’s being held at Kentlake, and 20 years ago when we started the exchange program, the Cherry Blossom Festival was held at Kentlake for the first few years before the district decided to rotate which High School it is held at. The festival includes things like booths, Martial Arts, Demonstrators, Children’s Activities, Talent Show, and Japanese Food for Sale.
The opening ceremony introduced all of the exchange students from all of the KSD’s Sister schools in japan, and talked about the history of the Cherry blossom Festival, and our history with japan the past 20 years. All of the people that were involved (teachers, students, parents, volunteers, etc.) were thanked for their help, and all four of the Japanese Teachers in the district were thanked.
After the opening ceremony was the Talent Show. The Talent Show Had either groups, or single people preforming a Japanese/ Asian related song or dance in the PAC. Students from three of the sister schools also preformed their own songs or dances.
Some specific activities the festival included were Karaoke sponsored by Kentridge, SASUKE (Ninja Warrior) obstacle course, Smash Bros Tournament, and a tea ceremony from Kentlake. Grass Lake elementary had a booth coloring Koinobori (fish-shaped wind socks). from Kentwood; Kendama games, and PuriKura Photo booth. Lastly was a Kentlake, and Kent-Meridian Sponsored a Manga Workshop, teaching people to draw Manga and learn about the manga industry in japan. In the commons, the activities were Calligraphy, Origami, Pottery Demonstrations, and goldfish fishing.
The four exchange students visiting from Kentlake’s sister school Abuno High School in Osaka Japan are all girls, Arisa Aso, Juri Omura, Karen Miyazono, Yuri Yoshida, and their teacher chaperone is Ms. Yasuko Yoshimichi. They will be staying from Thursday March 23 – Thursday March 30.
At the very end of the festival there was a Seattle Matsuri Drum Demonstration. Taiko is Japanese drumming. The group rehearses at the temple, attends area workshops, and performs at the summer Bon Odori festival and at selected events throughout the year. Afterwards, they let anyone come up on stage and try drumming

Archaeologists Uncover Egyptian King Psamtik I Statue

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by Lauren Killgrove – Photo Editor

Recently, archaeologists have discovered a statue of what was believed to be Pharaoh Ramses II that measures to be 26 feet in height. However, the assumed identity of who the statue portrayed had changed as archaeologists then human beings is Phyrgian.came to the realization that the statue actually portrays none other than King Wahibre Psamtik I, or King Psammetchus I, as named by the Greeks. .
Though, only parts of the statue have been found. The only pieces that had been found and studied were the torso as well as a portion of the head. Archaeologists have calculated that the rest of the body of the statue would be about 30 feet in length. The enormous statue was discovered in Cairo, engulfed in mud. German and Egyptian archeologists have done extensive research on the statue and have estimated that it is 3,000 years old. The mix up with the identification of the statue could have very easily related to the age of it, as well as the fact that the statue was found near a temple of Ramses II.
Pharaoh Ramses II’s reign ended in 1213 B.C., making the statue around 3,200 years ago, making it a perfect fit for the statue’s age. However, King Psamtik I’s reign ended in 610 B.C., which would make the statue around 2,600 years ago, an age that is also fit for the statue to be identified as it had been. The ending factor that had influenced the agreement that King Psamtik I was the rightful portrayal was a message encrypted onto the statue that had read ‘Nebaa,’ another name for the king.
King Psamtik I reigned from 664 B.C. to 610 B.C. Psamtik I had closely worked with the Greeks as he hired Greek mercenaries who’s helped him conquer his throne and the areas he’d ruled, which gives reason to the Greek name, which is what Psamtik I is more often referred to. Psamtik I is also known for his experiment, named the Psammetichus Experiment, where he had a natural concept of speech, which concluded that the inherent language of humang beings is Phyrgian, the language of an ancient kingdom that had once thrived in the area in what is now Turkey.
The discovery of this statue is both shocking and alluring. The find was an unexpected event that can now help navigate the past of Ancient Egypt, as well as spread light to interesting history and culture of it for people to learn.

People March for Black Lives Matter Movement

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by Grace Frunk – Ad Manager

Thousands of people came together to march in support of the Black Lives Matter movement On March 4th, at Seattle Central College. Immigration, Juvenile justice, President Trump, White privilege, white supremacy and several other topics were talked about. All ages, all races, anyone who was willing to support the cause, joined together and marched. People saw the march pass by their homes, and shuffled in to join while others just walked outside their doors to show support towards the movement.
Marching and chanting through the streets, constantly sitting down in the roads to explain in details the topics people marched for, this protest remained peaceful and lawful as it traveled through the city of Seattle. Police followed alongside the whole march with bikes, blocking off streets and remaining calm as marchers chanted against the police system.
An important topic that people marched for was to oppose the new youth jail in Seattle. In 2012, voters approved the plan to replace an already existing youth courthouse and detention center. “The design calls for more courtrooms (10, up from seven) and fewer detention beds (112, down from 212) than the existing complex,” said Daniel Beekman, The Seattle Times. The major issue revolved around the youth jail is the concept that black are the most likely to be incarcerated. The idea of a youth jail, through the eyes of an activist, it is negative because youth should be more involved in the arts, sports and education rather than locked away.
As the crowd passed through historic black areas of the City, it lead to the Umojafest Peace center. Omari Tahir-Gerrett spoke to the crowd a little about his life being a civil rights activist and mainly revolved around gentrification (he process of improving an areas so that fits the new middle-class residents’ taste) in Seattle. He elaborated on his belief that Seattle is pricing out long-term residents becoming a form ethnic cleansing. Gerrett talked about his years of work to reverse this “ethnic cleasing.” For example, he is going through the process of establishing an Africatown Seattle Cultural Center.
Uncle Ike’s marijuana dispensary is located behind Mt. Calvary Christian Center. Protestors seek the closure of this shop. Uncle Ike’s shows the injustice that the black community grieves within the criminal justice system. “Millions of Black men and women have been arrested and imprisoned for marijuana related crimes as a part of the war of drugs. Now that legalization is spreading throughout the nation, white owned dispensaries are profiting off business that imprisoned Blacks. Uncle Ike’s location adds insult to injury, nestled right next to Mt. Calvary Church, the shop is in violation of the law which forbids dispensaries to be within a thousand feet of a school, playground, library or church.” Said Amani Seawari from Sawarimi.org. “Take a hike, Uncle Ike” Chanted hundreds as this BLM march brought this is important issue to life.
This march was one big step in the movement of BLM in Washington State. This event was educational to those who watched at home and those who experienced it. This movement was supportive to those who witnessed it and heard about it. This march, might not have comparable to the previous Womxn’s march, though it was just as meaningful and crucial. This movement happened to show the redeveloping USA that Black lives matter.

Trump’s New Healthcare Plan: Pulled Before Vote

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by Nick Shepard – Web Editor

The World’s Greatest Health Care Plan, introduced by Texas U.S. Representative Pete Sessions on March 1, is the GOP health care plan that President Trump and many congressional Republicans touted over the course of the 2016 campaign, but in weeks following it’s release it has encountered its share of hurdles. As of now, it has been officially pulled and is unlikely to be revived in any form.
The plan has been dubbed ‘Obamacare Lite’ by some conservatives, because of its great number of similar aspects to the Affordable Care Act. While the bill does restrict the expansion of Medicaid, health care for those impoverished, much more than Obamacare did, it is extremely close to Obamacare in its actual content; how it’s paid for is where it differs.
As soon as it came out, the bill was endorsed by the president, who said on the 17 that “We are going to have a health care plan that’s second to none… These folks were ‘no’s’ yesterday, and now every single one is a ‘yes.'”, speaking of several GOP legislators who he spoke with that week.
For a majority in the House, Speaker Paul Ryan needed 215 votes. The republicans enjoy a 237-198 seat lead, so assuming no democrats would vote for the bill they could only afford to lose 22 republican votes – so the 30 member hard line conservative off-shoot of the GOP, the Freedom Caucus, threw a wrench in the plan.
After numerous talks with the Trump, Ryan, and Vice President Pence, none of the members of the Freedom Caucus would sway from their views, so the votes just weren’t there.
The bill was originally intended to have its vote held on March 23rd, the seventh anniversary of the Affordable Care Act being signed into law, but in an attempt to garner more votes it was pushed until the 24th. The time for the vote rolled around, but rather than be embarrassed by having his bill fail, Paul Ryan made the decision to pull the plan and hold no vote at all.
Ryan was decried by many conservatives and democrats alike in the wake of the failure, for failing to come up with a good enough bill in the seven years he had. Trump was quick to shift the blame from he and Ryan to the democrats, of whom he said: “We had no Democrat support. They weren’t going to give us a single vote, so it’s a very difficult thing to do.”
The day after the bill’s failure, on ABC’s This Week, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said “You cannot run the presidency like you run a real estate deal. You can’t tweet your way through it. You can’t threaten and intimidate and say I’ll walk away. It’s more complicated… But I would say this, we Democrats, provided our Republican colleagues drop replace and stop undermining the ACA, are willing to work with our Republican friends.”
One of the big problems the left had with the bill is that it cancels tax penalties for those who opt not to have health insurance at all – this would result in millions simply not signing up for insurance in order to save money, at the possible cost of their own wellbeing.
The Congressional Budget Office looked at the World’s Greatest Health Care Plan in its current form and predicted that, if it were to be enacted, 14 million more people would be without health insurance by 2018. By 24, the number would reach 24 million.

School End Date Adjustments Destroy Schedules

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by Emma Hartvickson – Staff Reporter

It is official; our 2017 school year has been extended from June 22 to June 27—two school days longer with a weekend to fill the gap. I would much rather have longer summer than have days continuously subtracted, as I am sure many students can agree.
For me, the extended school year not only affects my mental state, but also my vacations. I have to sit through an extra two days of school, and miss my flight. For athletes with competitions and kids who have already made plans for their summer, the effects of this adjustment are harmful.
Many may wonder where these extra days came from, and the answer is in week of Feb. 6 to 9 when we had no school, due to snow. The school district gave us three whole days off during a couple of snowy days.
The first day off was understandable, but the more days they took off, the longer our school year became. If we had taken late start, or even just tried to go to school, we would not be in this situation. The roads were not even that bad on the last days—, my mom even drove my friend and I to the mall and back without any problem.
Now compared to most other schools in the country, we get out very late in the month of June with the average school days. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average secondary school has about 183.3 days in their school year, but regionally we have the highest amount of school days compared to the Northeast, Midwest, and South. Coming to a total of 182.2 days per year. I thought the best solution would be not giving us mid-winter break and going to school that week to have our school year stay on schedule.
Athletes, like myself have big tournaments towards the end of school. As a club athlete, I travel around the country to play in national tournaments. Many kids are club athletes have these types of tournaments. But this year because of the extended school year, I am unable to attend one.
Since the school year was extended the extra two days, that means that finals will be pushed as well. I cannot leave and miss my final exams of freshman year. My coach who is a teacher at Kentwood cannot leave; she has to give her final to her students. Therefore, we may not even go at all because they decided to give us that extra day off.
The school district should look at the calendar and realize that the district has only one whole month of summer , we are just adding pointless days to the end of our year over time. It is affecting our finals, athletes, summer, and even their work schedule.

Government Responsible for the Flint Water Crisis

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by Lauren Killgrove – Photo Editor

For the past three years, the water in Flint, Michigan, has been toxic. It began when the city, to save money, switched their water source in Lake Huron to the Flint River. Around eight months later, residents started noticing their good water turn brown. Caused by iron in the river, the discolored water is toxic and is dangerous for people to drink. The government should have never put their citizens at risk like this.
Although this is a crisis, the water was not immediately treated and with anti-corrosion materials. This is evidence of the neglect from the Michigan government because not using any anti-corrosive material for contaminated water goes against federal law. Not only is the government forsaking the situation and the community’s health, but also has been violating the law.
The government did not react soon enough to this unsafe hazard and their actions have shown irresponsibility and possible prejudice.
The city of Flint is dominantly African American, with a rate of 56.6 percent according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Many say neglecting the water is a racist statement. The Michigan Civil Rights Commission has made a 129 page report for the crisis and explains that the predicament “is the result of systematic racism that was built into the foundation and growth of Flint, its industry and suburban area.”
Not only could this be a case of racism, but also a case of classism. Flint is a city that has a population that is 41.2 percent below the poverty line, another rate from the U.S. Census Bureau. The NAACP has even released a statement saying, “Would more have been done, and at a much faster pace, if nearly 40 percent of Flint residents were not living below the poverty line? The answer is unequivocally yes.”
Of course, this situation is mostly the fault of Michigan governor Rick Snyder, who has been in office since 2011, and has done nothing but help raise the profits of the bottled water industry. Snyder’s ignorance and lack of care for his community, as well as congress’s since they haven’t helped until late last year, has forced the people of Flint to bathe, cook, and clean with bottled water because the other option of tap water could be harmful or potentially life threatening.
In the case of Flint, our country has shoved aside people in true need of assistance and have lived on throughout our lives, while the citizens of this city have had their lives changed drastically by the switch of a water supply.
According to CNBC, an estimated $55 million dollars would be needed to fix the water crisis with new pipes. However, over time that cost was estimated to be around $100 million dollars. In December of 2016, congress issued a payment of $180 million to the city of Flint to fix the water, but the problem will not be truly fixed for another three years. It took congress 20 months to even decide to finally fix the water crisis, which is unacceptable.
Water is vital to human existence and should be given to people without a second thought. No one should be able to pick and choose who should safely and easily get this necessity to life. With the city of Flint, water is not being treated with as much care as it is needed. The government is putting their citizens at risk and it is unfair, because water is not given so much as a need as it is a luxury.
Money should have been given since the beginning. In other emergencies, such as forest fires and other natural disasters, money was sent right away. This makes sense, because those disasters were dangerous and injured or killed people, but it does not make sense that people who have been struggling to get edible and non-dangerous water have been neglected for several years. The government’s actions have been inexcusable. They have been failing at taking care of their citizens from the moment they willingly put their people at risk.
The government gave out its money the way hospitals give donor body parts—whoever needs something more urgently, they get it more urgently. Now, this would be okay, if there weren’t people who have needed urgent help for the last three years.
The government should be more willing to give their people what they need, and treat every state of emergency equally, and should ever delay help for this long.

Locker Distribution Does Not Help Students

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by Abril Serrano – Staff Reporter

School lockers are useful in many ways by giving students a chance to store their personal items as well as school supplies, such as heavy textbooks and laptop chargers. Unfortunately, the way the lockers organized, combined with low passing period times and physical restrictions, make it nearly impossible to use a locker during school.
Personally, I went through the struggle of maintaining a locker during my sophomore year. Having my locker on the other side of the school from my 6th period made it almost impossible to get to my locker. Every day I rushed to my locker, weaving my way through other students to get into my locker, and then running to get to the bus mere seconds before it took off.
The locker location is determined by the student’s grade level. For example, the senior’s lockers are located upstairs on the left wing of the school and the juniors lockers are located upstairs the right wing of the school. Freshmen and sophomores are located down stairs freshmen on the right, and sophomores on the left.
If the locker layout situation is not already bad enough, the short passing period time only makes it an even bigger minefield. Compromising the student stress levels, the school offers students under five minutes to get from point A to point B, giving us students barely enough time as to get where we need to be.
As students, we are only allowed to go to our lockers during certain time. Students would think that one of those times would be during lunch, right?
Wrong—not if your locker is located upstairs. The school would prefer if students would not walk or head upstairs during lunch if the students fourth period is not upstairs. This means students are given even fewer opportunities to be able to use lockers and this prevents students from having to carry large and heavy items like bags or school projects.
The current locker situation simply is not working—what we need is change.
School lockers could be useful if the school would change the rules and give us an opportunity to pick the lockers that better fit our class schedule. We could be given the opportunity request a specific locker if you wanted one at the beginning of the year, after we had time to analyze our schedules, and older students would be given priority if two students wanted the same locker. We would be able to make one simple, quick stop between classes, instead of having to go out of our way to relieve ourselves of a few pounds of student burden.

Phones Steal the Spotlight From Drugs as Stimulant

by Justice Etafo – Staff Reporter

Over the years, the Average American man or woman has grown to spend a total of 8 hours on their phone each day. However, Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse has found that currently there has been a decline in teenage drug use. A correlation between the rise in technological use and the decrease in drug and alcohol use is possible, but correlation does not mean that these two things are directly affecting each other.
Technology is becoming ever so apparent in our everyday lives, and because of this I think that teenagers not using drugs because their mobile entertaining devices are constantly stimulating them.
As people we are constantly trying to use our surroundings or personal interests to drown out the mundanity of everyday life. It is not surprising that we depend on such things, phones continue to offer us distracting bliss which is beneficial and a determining factor on what people choose to do in their free time.
Dr. Silvia Martins a substance abuse expert at Columbia University, said that, “playing video games, using social media, fulfills the necessity of sensation seeking, their need to seek novel activity.” This “sensation seeking” is prioritized in the form of phones rather than drugs as people often weigh their options and find that phones can offer more as they hold less negative effects. This decreased use of drugs could also be attributed to the constant ads updated with the technological period and informational campaigns run by antidrug companies, who know the harmful effects that drugs pose to both your health and society as a whole and aim to stop use.
Phones have simply almost become an absolute necessity for everyday life, but according to Dr. Volkow teens can literally get high when playing these games.
Not everyone who spends large amounts of time on their phone is considered an addict, but those that have an unusual dependency on their device are at risk. Not to say that this is a bad thing, I think it is quite beneficial in the least. The use of technology in everyday life recently become an inevitability, but this increased use of technology with the downfall in the use of drugs has led me to believe that technological use is replacing drug use in addiction.

Legacy of Big Time Rush Deserves Global Recognition

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by Cooper Lewis – Staff Reporter

The boys of Big Time Rush are our gods. In 2009, Nickelodeon brought to the world a masterpiece. Four boys: Kendall Schmidt, Logan Henderson, James Maslow, and Carlos Pena. Together they created Big Time Rush, the best boy band to have come out of their generation. The television debut began with them being discovered by a selfish manager and brought to L.A. to produce an EP and potentially more.
Before they completely formed a band, Gustavo Rocque, their manager, had to whip the boys in shape. Kendall became the leader of the group, Logan the smart one, James the handsome one and Carlos the goofy one.
When asked who his favorite member was, Noah Reitan (9), said, “Carlos because he has a helmet”. Carlos, unpopular with the girls was very favorited amongst male fans due to his child-like attitude and helmet he always wore. But, for many choosing a favorite has been proven impossible. Britany Torres (9) said, “I do not have one. That is like making me choose between my children.”
The show “Big Time Rush” was a hit. Kids around the world loved it. The television show was nominated for ten Kids’ Choice Awards and ended up winning four. To this day, the kids that have grown up watching “Big Time Rush” are still passionate about them.
Not only was their TV show so great, but they created amazing music and released four albums. They have made collaborations with some of America’s biggest artists such as Snoop Dogg, in their song “Boyfriend.” This song was an especially great hit and continues to make its mark on our everyday lives as you may often find yourself humming, “Your boy, boy, b-b-b-b-b-boyfriend.”
Then came the downfall of America entertainment. The television show ended. Marley Hattori (9) went as far as death to express her emotions. Hattori said, “I wanted to kill myself.”
As for the band itself, in an interview for CelebSecrets4U, Schmidt said, “Big Time Rush hasn’t ever broken up, so I suppose whenever a good tour comes around we will be there.”
It has been 4 years and the boys have not made a public performance. “I thought it was really sad but I mean you know all good things come to an end,” Charlie Zentner (9) said.
The four boys still keep in touch, but continue with their own life. As depressing as it might be, we should keep on supporting them and carry on their legacy by continuing to listen to their music and re-watch the episodes.
Big Time Rush has done many important things with their music career and television show. We look back at all their music, episodes and even The Beatles covers they did, trying hard to put it from our minds that nothing great will probably ever come from them again.

Submitted Texas Bill Proposes Outrageous Ideas

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by Justice Etafo – Staff Reporter

Jessica Farrar, politician, submitted Bill 4260, defending women’s rights against restrictive abortion laws. This bill is outrageous, because if passed it would require males to pay a 100 dollar fine each time they masturbated.
The decision to target men with Bill 4260 is a direct result of the restrictive abortion laws placed on women. In this case, she is attacking male masturbation with the intent of protecting what she deems to be “unborn children.” Farrar knows that the bill will not make it far, but through this attention grabbing bill, Farrar said, she “hopes to wake people up” and allow men to experience for themselves the type of degenerative restrictions they so often try to place on women.
I see that Farrar is trying to make a point, but that does not excuse the fact that this bill is ridiculous. Recent bills have essentially undermined and chipped at women’s rights when it comes to their genitalia. Farrar said, “I am taking these measures because of the sanctity of life.”
Farrar also talked about women and their say in the matter of abortion. New proposed restrictions in Texas would force women to get permission from their sexual partner to allow them to have an abortion. The proposed bill described women as a “host” for the child, and Farrar found that insulting and said that such actions “treat the woman as an incubator.”
Such a bill is not plausible as it is almost incapable of being monitored.
Farrar’s argument that this would protect “unborn children” is invalid as well, women menstruate essentially getting rid of a chance at the cultivation of life but they do not have to cough up 100 dollars because of it.
The purpose of bill 4260 was to make people pay attention to the matter at hand, which was the restrictions on women’s rights. However, the attempt ultimately failed as Farrar received more backlash than anything. Next time, it would serve Ferrer well to write a bill with something more thought provoking that could actually be considered as a reasonable argument.