The Festivities of Spring

by Jaimie Franz

Spring is finally here in full bloom and the 2016 festivals that celebrate the much-anticipated good weather are on their way.

The season starts off on April 30 with the Wildflower Festival, located in Addyston, Ohio. This festival celebrates flowers, horticulture and has a variety of arts and crafts, highlighting everything that grows and brings beauty to the landscape of Ohio. You are also able to purchase native wild flowers of Ohio.

Getting back to the roots of Ohio is the Appalachian Festival. On May 6-8 in Cincinnati, Ohio, this educational festival celebrates “old ways of life” with Appalachian folk music, museums, artists displays and showing the age-old way of doing things, giving the public a glimpse back into 1840.

A mouth-watering, flavorful festival in Cincinnati, Ohio, known as the Asian Food Festival takes place on May 14-15. Celebrating Asian cuisine, local Asian restaurants boast different elements of Asian Culture. Live music and craft stations are also incorporated into the festival for entertainment.

Rocking out, Nelsonville, Ohio, celebrates with a Music Festival in May. There are camping locations to fully enjoy the four day festival. All kinds of live music with a local feel and good food and drink accompanying the entertainment.

Less is More

By Kate Barton

The saying “less is more” is available in most people’s memory, but taking it to heart can change one’s life. Having too many objects and not enough organization can clutter the mind and create stress, whether we realize it or not. Even when a person gets up the energy and motivation to clean, the space seems to inevitably become a mess again. The solution? Less stuff. With less in a room, it is always a level cleaner and easier to clean. So how can one achieve this goal?

  1. Motivation-Going through belongings is time-consuming and can be mentally draining. The outcome definitely is worth it, though. Look at different pictures of minimalist rooms or even read different blogs or books to inspire yourself and get in the mood to do some much-needed cleaning. A fairly new and popular book pertaining to such things is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.Image result for clean bedroomImage result for clean bedroom
  2. Ask yourself: does this item bring joy or serve a necessary purpose? If this question is honestly asked it can become very easy to get rid of boxes of clothes or furniture or other items.
  3. Donate! Just as important as deciding to get rid of an item is actually getting rid of it. Do not let boxes and bags sit around in a room. Immediately transfer them to your car and make sure to plan a time to drop them off at a donation center in the near future. Goodwill and Salvation Army are great options.             Image result for goodwill donate
  4. Organize your remaining items. Everything should have a place, and it is important to make sure each item soon returns to its place once moved so that disorder does not pile up. Many like to organize their items in a pleasing way, so symmetry and color coordination helps.                                             Image result for bedroom organizationImage result for relaxing bedroom
  5. Enjoy! Relax and breath in the pleasing and clean atmosphere you have created.Image result for relaxing bedroom

Kong Fu, Oh, and a Panda

by Jaimie Franz

Kong Fu Panda Three!! has hit the streets with a fight, bringing back all the original characters to the film and adding some new faces. Po, The Dragon Warrior, is finally able to meet his biological father. He also travels to the secret village where all the pandas live and learns the reason why the pandas went into hiding in the first place. Po is able to see the importance of family and using his own individual differences to his advantage. In doing this, Po is able to make the transition from student to master.

This adorable creative family film is rated PG and is now playing in theaters. It received eight out of ten stars on IMDb. Over

Overall, I personally enjoyed this movie’s spunk and the conclusion it brought to the story. While watching, it was very easy to figure out the gist of the ending since it was the third film in the series, but the creators, in my opinion, did add an extra element of love and self-acceptance. It was fun to watch and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to see a good family film.

Super Model Shares How to Eat Sweets

by Jaimie Franz

Karlie Kloss is a Victoria Secret Angel, a famous fashion model, one of Taylor Swift’s besties and now a You-Tuber. Named Klossy, her YouTube channel is all about her life through her eyes, showing the world behind-the-scenes footage at Fashion Week, answering questions and sharing some of her favorite recipes including healthier ways of cooking sweet treats.

I decided to test her recipes for myself to see if these healthy alternatives really amount to Kloss’s high ratings.

Banana Ice Cream, one of Kloss’s favorite summertime treats.

Ingredients:

2 Bananas (Brown and Speckled)

Chia seeds

Cacao Nibs

Directions: Peel and cut the bananas into chunks, put the banana in a pan or in a bowl and place in the freezer for at least two hours. When the bananas are frozen, put them in a food processor and blend. When the bananas are completely blended, they should be smooth and creamy gently falling off the spoon. Serve and add chia seeds and cacao nibs, if desired, and enjoy.

I really enjoyed this recipe. The bananas were creamy and adding the chia seeds and the cacao nibs on top really added flavor. This could also go for a great breakfast, light and refreshing. I also really love the healthy alternative to actual ice cream.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ cup oil (of your choosing! my suggestions, go for: coconut, grape seed, olive)

½ cup maple syrup

½ tsp sea salt

1-½ teff flour (aka gluten-free flour)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Combine all wet ingredients in a food processor and blend. When the wet ingredients are well blended, start to add in the dry ingredients and blend. When the mixture is completely blended, it will be loose but solid when smushed together. Bake for 13-15 minutes, let cool before eating.

I enjoyed the peanut butter cookies, too. They were very fragile, so letting them cool is key. I tried eating one right when it came out of the oven and it fell apart right away. I would also suggest using fresh peanut butter. I did this and I found the flavor to be very good and I cut back on sugars. When I eat a cookie, to be honest, I am expecting a little more sugar and butter, but this recipe was very good and reasonably healthy. Karlie really did hit these two healthy sweet treats out of the park.

 

Senior Legacy Blocks

by Jackie Thompson

curved hallway

Walk down the curved art hallway at Bellbrook High School and you’ll find yourself surrounded by the colorful “legacy blocks” of this year’s seniors and those of seniors past. Leaving behind these beautiful murals is a tradition for the graduating art students here at BHS. It gives them the opportunity to express themselves, leave something behind for the future classes, and frankly, make some really amazing art.

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This piece, painted by senior Rachel Greider, a student of Art 4, depicts a scene from one of her favorite movies, Disney’s Tangled. “[That scene with the gondola] really stuck with me,” she says. “I remember being awed by the lighting and the animation…it was stunning. I wanted to try and capture it myself.” Greider plans to attend the University of Cincinnati and pursue a degree in Communication Design.

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Senior Gabi Zapata, also in the Art 3/4 class, is taking a different approach to her legacy block with zentangling. Zentangle is almost like meditative doodling; the artist draws structured patterns, one after the other, with little prior planning involved. This technique is known for producing striking, intricate images and having calming effects. An avid zentangler herself, Zapata agrees: “It’s a great way to express myself and de-stress.” Zapata says she’s undecided as to where she’ll be attending college next year, but she’s certain she will continue taking art classes in the future.

Anna Starkey, another senior in the Art 3/4 class, chose to use her legacy block to pay homage to one of her favorite songs: “Lucy in the Sky,” by the Beatles. Although it’s still in the works, Starkey’s plan includes colorful, psychedelic patterns surrounding a girl leaping through the sky. “[That song] has always resonated with me since I was little,” Starkey says. “I feel like it’s a really good representation of myself and that’s what I wanted to leave behind.”

These three are only a few of the many blocks will decorate the curved hallway in the coming weeks as senior art students choose their blocks and claim them with borders of scotch tape. Keep your eyes peeled for these masterpieces in the making!

State and City Officials Allow Residents to be Poisoned by Lead in Water Supply

By: Mitch Hughes

Water. You may have heard of it. It is the foundation of life on earth and subsequently a daily necessity for us humans. It is recommended that each person drink at least eight cups of the stuff a day, if not more. Of course water is good for plenty of other things such as growing food, personal hygiene, generating electricity, putting out fires, and swimming pools. Water’s importance to life cannot be understated, so it makes sense that clean, usable water is should be made available to everyone, right? Well, it isn’t always so, as numerous cases of municipalities neglecting their citizens’ safety concerning public water have emerged.

The most widely known case as of late is in Flint, Michigan. The issue began when the city council decided to save money in Flint by drawing water from the polluted Flint River instead of Lake Huron where they usually derived the city’s water. The water from the Flint River is very high in corrosive iron. As if the brown water wasn’t bad enough, the corrosive water from the Flint River caused lead from the city’s transport pipes to seep into the public water supply. Citizens of Flint were unaware of the situation for over eighteen months. This could have been mitigated by putting an anti-corrosive agent into the water, but such action was never taken. Because of the negligence of state and city officials, blood lead levels in toddlers were more than twice normal levels. This is especially concerning because according to the World Health Organization, “Lead interferes with the metabolism of calcium and Vitamin D. High blood lead levels in children can cause consequences which may be irreversible including learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and mental retardation. At very high levels, lead can cause convulsions, coma and death.”

It’s bad enough that an incident like that in Flint happens singularly, but another has already emerged, this time in Sebring, Ohio. In Sebring, over 8000 water customers are at risk by lead water levels that exceed the action level according to the Ohio EPA. Though Sebring residents haven’t been exposed to the lead leached water for as long as those in Flint, city officials failed to inform their residents of the first occurrence in November, 2015.

The common thread between the two instances of lead contaminated water is complete negligence by officials on the city and state levels. People are suffering lead poisoning and children are facing a vast array of complications in the development of their brains because it was too inconvenient for an elected official to simply tell people the truth about what is going on with the water that they depend on. One can only hope that municipalities facing similar issues will learn from the mistakes of Flint and Sebring and inform their residents of the problem and actually take legitimate measures to solve it.

Coldplay vs. Beyonce

by Kasen Stephensen

Coldplay’s Super Bowl 50 halftime show featured the artists Beyoncé and  Bruno Mars and the themes revolution and love.

It began with Coldplay’s vocalist Chris Martin singing remixed versions of iconic songs such as “Yellow,” “Viva La Vida,” and “Paradise” while fans and musicians danced around the stage.  Flowers twirled, musicians danced, and Martin bounced around as the stage, doubling as a screen, displayed swirling colored designs.

The energy of the audience rose as Bruno Mars and his dancers, all clad in black leather and gold jewelry, took the stage to a rendition of Uptown Funk.  Mars threw back with some old-school dance moves before Beyoncé took the field with her recently released single “Formation” and her army of beret-clad dancers.

Beyonce’s “Formation” music video, released the day prior to the performance, has sparked some interest over the #blacklivesmatter group.  Some footage from the video shows a young black man in a hoodie standing before a line of policemen while “Stop Shooting Us” is graffitied on a wall.  Even her dancers wore revolutionary-style berets and posted pictures of the group posing with the famous black power fist.

Despite Beyonce’s controversial feature, Coldplay’s halftime was a success, paying homage to the past, present, and future of music.