The LEGO movie earns an A

by Harmony Takhar

The LEGO movie arrived in theaters on February 7, 2014. It is a 3D animated film that is based off the toy LEGOs with a story. It has quickly reached #1 in box office and still is currently after two weeks, even after the movies that arrived Valentine’s Day weekend. This movie isn’t just for children; people from all age groups have been going to the movies to see it. It’s got enough jokes to appeal to all age groups.

After only 10 days, the movie managed to gain $48,810,000. The movie gets some very highly praised reviews about its animation, action, and comedy. With a grade of an A, all viewers seem to enjoy this movie.

Keystone XL Pipeline Waits for Kerry

by Megan Haymond

On Wednesday, February 26, a State Department investigation decided that the appointment of a contractor to carry out an environmental impact study on the Keystone Pipeline who had previously worked for TransCanada was not a conflict of interest. TransCanada is the company interested in building the pipeline that the environmentalists and conservatives have been fighting over for years. The results of the environmental impact study showed that the line would have little to no effect on climate change, sending uproar through environmentalist groups. 

Secretary of State John Kerry will likely promote the project because of the positive report. However, climate change is a key issue he hoped to address as Secretary of State. Kerry is currently studying the plans to develop a national position stating whether or not it is in the country’s best interest. Some environmentalists are planning a march on Washington on Sunday to protest the pipeline and handcuff themselves to the gates of the White House to demonstrate their willingness to be arrested for the cause of preventing the pipeline.

The construction of the pipeline has four phases, three of which are already in action. The last stage, Keystone XL Expansion, would extend from Hardsity, Alberta into Steele City. Phase three, the Gulf Coast Pipeline Project, was only recently begun on January 22, 2014. The fourth phase has not only caused controversy because of environmental concerns, but because it crosses country lines from Canada to the United States requiring a State Permit.

While the environmental report proved to be more extensive than necessary in many ways to demonstrate there is no conflict of interest, many are still worried it is incomplete. California Senator Boxer and chairwoman of the Environmental Committee stated the report lacked sufficient evidence for the impact of the pipeline on human health. However, the impact of the pipeline on health is difficult to conjure, except that if it would truly not increase further climate change and has sound plans to avoid oil spills, not much other research can be done.

Fundraiser to Help Leukemia Lymphoma Society Ends

by Emily Bunsold

There’s a plethora of different fundraisers during the course of the school year at Bellbrook High that help toward many great causes. One in particular would be Bellbrook’s Pasta for Pennies. This amazing organization gives money to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, helping patients who struggle with the disease. Bellbrook asks that its students get involved by donating whatever they can to help raise money. Whether it be bringing money from home, or just donating the loose change that they have in their pockets, even if it IS just a penny, any amount helps.  And whichever mentor donates the most money by the end of the given deadline are rewarded with a delicious lunch from the Olive Garden! With the fundraiser ended as of February 25, the total came to $149.66. And the winning mentor, who will be receiving the Olive Garden lunch, is Mr.Lambright’s class, whose total donation came to $37.87. 

Mitch Powers, a senior in key club, has made the Pasta for Pennies fundraiser his own personal project through his high school career. At first, he was quite optimistic while collecting the boxes, but after counting up all the money, discovered the ending total was significantly less than previous years. Powers, suspecting that this was due to too many fundraisers going on at the same time and the lack of promotion for the organization, hopes that next year the fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society will be able to get a little more attention than it did this year.

Ten Things I Wish I was Told Before My Senior Year

by Emily Caruso

1. Choose classes carefully

Fill your senior year with classes that fit your individual interests.  Only take AP classes if they interest you and you know that you can do well in them all while still challenging yourself. Colleges receive a copy of your senior year schedule, and the last thing they want to see is that you’re spending tax dollars on blow off courses.

2.Yes, grades still matter

Don’t flunk out. It’s an urban legend that once you’re accepted into college that your grades don’t matter.  Once you’re accepted, colleges want you to maintain your GPA until graduation. Meaning it does not need raised or lowered but kept at the same point it was when you were accepted, so basically keep doing what you’re doing. Once you’ve graduated the school sends your final transcripts to your college for them to see and to confirm your admission. So yes, grades do still matter.

3. Clear your schedule; you’re going to be busy

Between college applications, applying for housing and scholarships, and searching for a roommate,  its hard to find room to breathe. Don’t expect senior year to be a walk in the park, because in reality it’s deadline after deadline–and if you miss those deadlines, colleges will not take your excuses. Keep track of everything that’s due by keeping a planner or marking your calendar!

4. The early bird catches the worm

If at all possible, do everything as soon as you can. Avoid waiting till the last minute. I sent in my applications into schools by the beginning of October and heard back in about a month, while the majority of seniors waited till late November/early December and freaked out because of how last-minute they were. Avoid the freak out and beat the rush by applying early.

5. Get involved

As cliché as it sounds, getting involved can make your senior year much better.  Go to everything: basketball games, football games, the homecoming, the prom, do it all! On top of all of that, join everything that you’ve ever wanted to do throughout high school but didn’t because you were too lazy or thought you weren’t good enough.  No one wants to look back through old photos 10 years down the line and realize that there was nothing memorable enough to photograph all four years of high school. So get involved because this is your last year to make it count. Take a risk.

6. Keep your friends close

Just because you think that next year holds bigger things doesn’t mean that you should neglect your friends. Cherish your time with them because before you know it, the people who you’ve know since you were in kindergarten will be gone.

7. Shake off the haters

Forget the people who don’t like you. In a year you’ll be gone and so will they.  Don’t dwell on the people who don’t like you because it’s only going to hold you back. Simply ignore them because they aren’t worth your time.

8. Make amends

Remember that one girl that you used to be best friends with but haven’t spoken to in years? Give her a call. There’s nothing more rewarding than reconnecting before everyone goes their separate ways.  It’s always a good idea to end high school on a positive note.

9. It’s ok to not know what you’re going to do with the rest of your life

We’re eighteen years old; we can barely decide what we want to order at a restaurant, let alone pick a career for the rest of our lives. It’s ok to be indecisive. You can always switch majors in college. Just keep in mind that you need to switch majors by your sophomore year in college to graduate in four years, so pay attention to what interests you and go from there.

10. There’s no such thing as “too much information” when looking at colleges

For some people, they visit a college and just know it’s meant to be. Others, not so much.  Either way eventually you’ll know. Just remember to become well-educated on schools you’re looking into attending.  You should know where they are, how much they cost, and so much more. Become an expert on your school. All of this can easily be found online, but a web page will never be the same as an actual visit to the campus.  If you’re uncertain of where you want to go, take as many college visits as you can and go through the process of elimination to narrow down your choices.  This will make your senior year much less stressful.  To get an inside look at schools from an a student’s point of view, check out http://colleges.niche.com

Jay Leno says his last goodbye

by Bailey Dixon

Jay Leno’s last episode of the “Tonight Show” on Thursday, February 6 was filled with laughter, memories, and tears.  This show concluded his 22-year run hosting the “Tonight Show” as he gave comedian, Jimmy Fallon, the reins.  His special guests included his long-time friend Billy Crystal and country artist Garth Brooks who performed two of his hit singles during the show.  Some of Leno’s good friends also surprised him with a video telling him what he could do as a career after the show.  The advice givers included Steve Carell, President Obama, and Miley Cyrus.  Towards the end of the show, Jay gave a tearful goodbye and thank you to his coworkers and audiences, saying, “I am the luckiest guy in the world,” referring to his long career and faithful viewers.  The show ended with Garth Brooks performing his song, “Friends in Low Places,” and Jay giving a final wave goodbye.  The new era began with Jimmy Fallon on February 17, 2014.

Ukrainian President Ousted, Protests Rise Amid Chaos

by Dru Hunsaker

While Ukraine’s former president, Viktor Yanukovych, remains in hiding following the coup that ousted him from power and led to an arrest warrant for his person, protests in the Ukraine are mounting and the Russian government is reaching out to suppress the unrest.

Viktor Yanukovych, now wanted for mass murder of civilians, is rumored to be hiding somewhere inside the Ukrainian border. Although he originally fled to the pro-Russian city of Kharkiv, the mayor of the city denies rumors that Yanukovych is seeking asylum there. In his last public appearance, he insisted, “I don’t plan to leave the country. I don’t plan to resign. I am the legitimate President,” indicating that he will not be removed from power without a struggle. Yanukovych was forcibly removed from office by the Ukrainian parliament in response to massive, violent protests throughout the country. Original protests centered around Yanukovych’s decision to pursue a financial connection between Russia and the Ukraine rather than a European agreement. Protests continue even after his removal, as pro- and anti-Russian  citizens face off in a civil war of affiliation and independence.

The continuing protests are spurred primarily by a growing unrest in the country as to whether or not the Ukrainian region of Crimea is rightfully a part of Russia, and whether or not the city should formally secede from Ukraine. While the Russian foreign minister declared that Russia would not intervene in the conflict with any show of military force, Russian president Vladimir Putin authorized military exercises that leave many questioning whether Russia is capable of distancing themselves from the issue.

As the country scrambles for control in a politically tenuous climate, Ukrainian citizens may be facing some serious divisions as parts of the country turn toward Europe, while other parts turn to Russia. The discovery that former president Yanukovych had accumulated a fortune at the expense of his struggling countrymen also throws the economic state of Ukraine into the unknown. While Russia offered financial support, the offer is likely to be withdrawn if the country truly does turn toward western European countries. In any event, the people of Ukraine will have some difficult decisions to make in the coming months, and there is no telling whether these protests will fade or grow in power.

Bellbrook Boys’ Basketball Playing4Payne 

by Maria Gerbic

Bellbrook Boys’ Basketball ended their season in the first tournament round to Ponitz, a tough way to end a great season. The team  finished 2nd in the league, with a record of 14-6 and 9-3 in the SWBL division. The notable victories were to Xenia’s D1 team and Oakwood, league rivals who were twice defeated by Bellbrook. Many didn’t have great expectations for the team except for the players and coaches, but the dedicated team came together to prove themselves. The standout game was against Franklin, where a packed student section cheered as Bellbrook took on the top team of the division.

The team had a strong group of leaders and great team chemistry that helped them overcome adversity. Senior captains Tommy Krohn, Austin Hall, and Josh Schumacher led the team along with junior varsity player Josh Rogers. Varisty junior player Payne Sigman was seriously injured in a car accident during the season, which launched the #Play4Payne and #Pray4Payne movements. Word traveled fast, and soon all of Bellbrook and their opponents were wearing Play4Payne t-shirts, bracelets, and even his name on their shoes to give support for the injured player. Coach Perry Cadwell commented on the way the team handled the situation, saying, “I was really impressed by how the boys were able to come together as a team and handle that adversity. It really taught us what was important, which was not basketball but supporting our injured teammate.”  The team won the majority of their games after the accident, which demonstrated the hope they had for Payne and their resiliency to finish up the season strong. Next season is something to look forward to, since the team will lose 7 senior players this year, leaving the opportunity for many JV players to step up to varsity next season.