Get the Homecoming Dress YOU Ordered

by Alyssa Rogers

Bellbrook High School Homecoming is October 18, and ladies, we know how important getting that perfect dress is. Formal gown designers consider their work art, and how could you not when you see those beautiful dresses? But unfortunately for these designers there are now dozens of scam websites claiming to be selling you those same designer dresses for much lower prices. These websites are using the copyright-protected images of the designer gowns without permission or giving credit where it is due.

How do you know it’s a knock-off? There are many signs. The most obvious one: receiving a dress that doesn’t match the picture. And it isn’t minor details. It’s a completely different design, with different beading, material, and sometimes even color. These scam sites are illegal and many of the dresses are made using child labor in sweat shops.

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Thankfully, if you plan to order online, there is a website that works with the designers to list verified websites that sell authentic dresses. This website also lists scam sites, so make sure you double-check before you order!

5 Useful Apps for Safety

by Caroline Wong

Hannah Graham, a second year student at the University of Virginia has been missing as of September 13. Today, suspect Jesse Matthew, Jr. appeared in court and was questioned regarding Graham’s abduction. Her disappearance has had a huge impact within the Charlottesville area and has even resulted in a nationwide search. In hopes of preventing another unfortunate event like this from happening, five personal safety apps for iOS and Android have been specially recognized.

Watch Over Me, bSafe, React Mobile, Stay Safe and On Watch are apps with no or minimal monthly subscription fees that have features which include abilities to send SOS alerts to designated contacts, pre-set speed dials of emergency numbers, such as the local police, and permission for assigned contacts to track your current location. Below is a link with further descriptions of features for these five useful apps.

Liberating Literature: Banned Books Week

by Rachel Stewart

This week, September 21-27, is “Banned Books Week,” hosted by The American Library Association.  It’s an annual event which celebrates the freedom to read, freedom of speech, and highlights the value of free and open access to information. The event hopes to draw attention to the harms of censorship, to encourage readers to pick up books that have been banned in the past, and to read about subjects that may be considered unorthodox or unpopular.

A challenge to a book is defined by the American Library Association as “an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group,” whereas banning is defined as “the removal of those materials.”  The most common reasons for a challenge is that a book contains one of the following: sexually explicit material, offensive language, materials deemed to be “unsuited to age group,” violence, homosexuality, occult or Satanic themes, material that goes against a religion, and “anti-family” material.  The most common environment for a book to be challenged is in a classroom, with school libraries not far behind, and the most common initiators of the challenge are parents.  The most challenged book of 2013 and 2012 was Captain Underpants (series), written by Dav Pilkey, for offensive language, unsuited for age group, and violence.

When asked for her opinion on book banning, junior Samantha Wick responded, “I think it’s ridiculous, because it’s the student’s decision if they want to read something or not.”

Not everybody feels the way Wick does, however, and books are still being challenged and banned across the country. In the past decade, over 5,000 challenges were reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom, a part of the American Library Association.  If you would look to join in on Banned Books Week and read some banned or challenged books yourself, a list of books will be provided below, and the reasons that they have been challenged.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie.

Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age       group.

The Hunger Games, by Suzanna Collins.

Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, violence, anti-ethnic, anti-family,        offensive language, occult/satanic themes.

Looking for Alaska, by John Green.

Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky.

Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group.

Harry Potter (series), by J.K Rowling.

Reasons: occult/Satanic themes, violence, anti-family, religious viewpoint.

1984, by George Orwell.

Reasons: communist content, sexually explicit, immoral content, offensive language.

Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury. (Ironically, this book is about the consequences of book banning.)

Reasons: offensive language and content, “questionable themes,” religious viewpoint.

Women’s Volleyball set to take the league

by Dan Yokajty

The women’s volleyball team is on the path to the league title this year. So far this year they are 6-1 in the league and 10-3 overall. The girls had a shaky start to the season when they lost to both Tecumseh and Troy, which were not league games. After the first two games they pulled it together and won the next 6 games. Their rival and biggest contender for the title this year is Monroe. Monroe is also 6-1 in the league and 13-4 overall. If they beat Monroe Tuesday, September 30 at Bellbrook High School at 6:30 they will most likely win the league.

The girls have been preparing for this game for the past two weeks. According to Leanna Crockett, junior setter, the team has been preparing for the game by watching film, conditioning, defensive drills and fixing mistakes. She says, “We’ll be fired up because of the home crowd backing us to watch us get our revenge and take the league.”

Men’s Soccer Aimed at 23rd Straight League Title

by Mitch Hughes

This year’s men’s soccer team, coached by Kevin Terrell and led by Captains Payne Sigman, Ryan Remaly, Josh Mauser, and Peter Cinibulk, has a record currently at 10-0-1, with their only tie being to a very tough Alter team. That record is especially noteworthy with a number of those victories being shut-outs, thanks to a solid defense and talented goalkeeper, Peter Cinibulk. The team only has six games remaining in the regular season before they move on to the tournament in which they hope to place well.

Bellbrook has a long history of excellence in the sport of soccer. In fact our men’s team has won 1st in the SWBL for soccer 22 consecutive years, which they hope to continue this year. It’s always an accomplishment for a team to win SWBL one year, let alone more than two decades. The team has also won districts the last two years, a feat that is inconceivably difficult to achieve.

The team has yet to be defeated this season, and defender Tony Ulring says, “I’d say we have a pretty good chance at remaining undefeated, as long as we play consistently no matter who we play.” This mindset suits the team well, because they still have two tough teams, Oakwood and Monroe, left to play this season. When asked what the team will have to work on to maintain their level of play, Ulring responded, “We have to play well as a team, and if we don’t work on all cylinders, we won’t be able to beat the elite teams.”

Journalist Beheaded

by Casey Murphy

Steven Sotloff, an American journalist, kidnapped by Islamic State (ISIS) in March 2013, was beheaded the first week of September and video was posted of the beheading.  The violent act was a “second message” to the U.S. In the video posted online, Sotloff says in a message scripted by his captors that he is “paying the price” for U.S. military intervention.

Sotloff, 31, was just starting out his journalism career, although did contribute to Time Magazine. In a recent message to Genean Giovanni, News Editor of the Middle East Newsweek magazine and former friend and colleague of Sotloff, “He’s concerned he was on a list and felt he had angered some of the rebels by taking footage of a hospital that had been bombed. He was paranoid but had the desire to tell the stories of the people in the Islamic State.”

The ISIS plan is to scare civilians so that they do not report on how people live and are treated in the Islamic State. The Islamic State has grown during the civil war in Syria. It swept into Iraq in June, seizing large parts of the country’s Sunni-dominated northern and western provinces. Obama ordered airstrikes on Iraq after ISIS fighters began targeting ethnic Yazidis and launching attacks on the Kurdish regional capital of Irbil. Obama says, “ We do not have a plan yet and is too soon to give steps on handling future threats,” as of September 9.

On September 10, Obama proposed his strategy of attacking ISIS but not putting troops on the ground. David Haines of Britain is said to be the next threat if the airstrikes in Iraq keep occurring. “Just as your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people,” says masked ISIS figure.  ISIS still have small numbers of American hostages, according to WGNtv.

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s a Man Jumping the White House Fence!

by Casey Murphy

     Friday night, September 19, an armed 42-year-old man jumped the White House fence and welcomed himself in.  Omar Gonzalez of Copperas Cove, Texas, was the suspect.  Gonzalez ignored warnings signs from Secret Service and entered the front portico. Once he entered the building, people inside the White House had to evacuate. At the time of the incident, Obama and his family were not home. The family had left just 4 minutes earlier from the South Lawn in a helicopter to visit Camp David.

      How can a man jump a guarded fence and run across a secured front yard then enter the highly secured White House? That’s the question on many minds. A Bellbrook High School junior Calla Hemelgarn responds, “The security did not attack the man because they probably did not see the knife and so did not feel he was a threat at the time. If one of the security guards would have shot the intruder then it would be a false fire and in return a bad image for American protection, also possible lawsuit.”

     The incentive of the intruder to storm the White House with such persistence is understood to be an attempt to inform the President that “the atmosphere was collapsing” and needed to contact the president “so he could get word out to the people.” Gonzalez was shortly after transported to a nearby hospital for evaluation. Gonzalez will appear in federal court Monday, September 22, to face charges of unlawfully entering a restricted building and grounds while carrying a deadly weapon.

 A Secret Service police officer stands near an entrance to the White House complex during an evacuation, minutes after President Barack Obama departed Washington for Camp David aboard Marine One. A man scaled a fence and reached the residence last night.

A Secret Service police officer stands near an entrance to the White House complex during an evacuation.