Carrie Fisher: A Farewell to Star Wars’ Iconic Princess

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by Rachel Giffin

Carrie Fisher died in the early morning hours of on Tuesday, December 27, following four days of intensive care after a heart attack. Millions mourn the loss of this iconic actress.

While Fisher played in many successful films, her most remembered and probably most adored role was in George Lucas’ space adventure saga, Star Wars, where she portrayed the character of the fiery Princess Leia. Leia’s strong character served as a positive role model for many girls following the release of Star Wars, and her funny, sarcastic personality put an end to the stereotype of the damsel in distress. While the original mission requires the knight in shining armor (Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill) and his reluctant companion (Han Solo, played by Harrison Ford) to rescue the trapped princess, she is by no means helpless, as her part in the Star Wars saga proves.

Carrie Fisher was loved both on and off screen.  Following her death, celebrities all over the nation show their support through interviews and social media. Their remarks regarding Fisher’s life are relatively the same: she was a witty, can-do type of woman who others wanted to see win. In spite of her struggles–Fisher suffered from bipolar disorder and alcohol addiction–Fisher still won the hearts of many, and will continue to charm generations long after her death.

The Smoky Mountains Blaze

By Ally Keefer

A raging fire started on Sunday, November 27, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, causing more than 14,000 people to evacuate the area. As of December 5, 14 people were killed in this tragedy in the Smoky Mountains (CBS News). This fire wiped out many buildings and cabins.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is a tourist destination in the Appalachian Mountains. The fire was started at the top of one of the mountains, and due to the wind, moved down the mountain. While people were fleeing the area, they could barely breathe due to the smoke, according to Mike Gill, an evacuee (Washington Post). The smoke became visible in other cities and later started affecting the citizens. Residents of Pigeon Forge began wondering if they should evacuate due to the amount of smoke they were seeing, according to Katie Brittain (Washington Post).

Many people were affected by this disaster. Jon and Janet Summers were separated from their family during the flame. This elderly couple’s three sons were lost. Later, the young men were found, trapped. They were sent to the hospital, but were in stable condition (USA Today).

Some residents do not have much hope for their homes. One lady, Carol Lilleaas, stated in an interview with the Washington Post when asked about what she would return to, “It will be there, or it won’t.” Many other residents of this area have experienced a similar experience of not knowing if their house still exists.

At the beginning of the fire, no one knew how it had started. People began believing that it started at a campsite from a fire in the mountains. However, on Wednesday, December 7, officials accused two juveniles for arson. The charges may be extended due to the deaths of 14 people (CNN).

According to USA Today, Kroger stores across Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky and the American Red Cross are working together to help the people affected by this disaster. Kroger is helping raise the money needed from their customers to help these devastated people.

Festivities begin with Christmas in the Park

by Connor Robinson

Every year Bellbrock Park is wonderfully decorated for the upcoming holiday season, complete with Christmas lights, garland, light-up snowflakes, and more. The decorations that span the entire one and a half acre space are put up by both Bellbrook Park District employees and members of Partnerships for Success. Bellbrook High School students who are a part of PfS volunteer to help decorate the space as part of the club’s mission to create community- driven projects that help those in and around the city.

Partnering with the Bellbrook Park District allows for these spirited events to be held for residents to see and enjoy. The festivities began on Saturday, December 10, starting with a park lighting ceremony, illuminating the entire park with festive cheer. Local bands and music groups played holiday-themed music for everyone to listen to while children can see Santa. To top off the night, the 8th annual Gingerbread House Contest was held to determine who had the best, most creative design. Proceeds from a bake sale and winter clothing donated by generous guests will be given to local families in need of something warm to bundle up in as the holidays commence.

Movies Coming This Holiday Season

By: Carter Caldwell

This holiday break is promising to be a worthy close to a successful year for the film industry.  On 16 December, Rogue One, Collateral Beauty, Fences, and Solace are set to premiere.  Rogue One, the much-anticipated Star Wars anthology film, will likely be number one at the box office that weekend, and could potentially break records.  Collateral Beauty, on the other hand, a drama film headlined by Will Smith and Edward Norton, focuses on a suffering businessman who finds the meaning of life by writing letters to Love, Death, and Time.  Fences, based on August Wilson’s 1983 play with which it shares its name, stars Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, with Denzel playing Troy Maxson, a former baseball player now working as a waste collector, as he attempts to provide for his family.  The fourth film premiering on 16 December is Solace, which was originally envisioned as a sequel to Se7en, follows a doctor who works in tandem with the FBI to find a psychic serial killer.

On 21 December, another four films will premiere.  For those familiar with video games, Michael Fassbender’s Assassin’s Creed is among those four.  In the film, Callum Lynch, a criminal, is saved from execution by Abstergo Industries, who make him a participant in the Animus Project, causing him to experience his ancestor, assassin Aguilar de Nerha.  For younger audiences, Illumination Entertainment’s Sing also comes out that day.  Sing follows Buster Moon, a struggling theater owner who loves show-business.  In effort to save his theater, Buster puts on a singing competition, which results in an incredible show.  Additionally, science-fiction romance film Passengers stars Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence as two people sent on a 120-year-journey to Homestead II.  Conflict arises when Pratt and Lawrence’s characters, who are awakened 90 years prematurely, attempt to find the origin of the malfunction that woke them up and discover that something much bigger is afoot, all the while falling in love.  Finally, Patriot’s Day, a biopic centering on Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis as he tracks the terrorists responsible for the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.  The film’s wide release will be on 13 January 2017.

December 23 brings a comedy (Why Him?) and two dramas (A Monster Calls and Silence).  From 21 Laps Entertainment (the studio responsible for Stranger Things on Netflix), Why Him? is about a father who disapproves of his daughters flamboyant boyfriend, who only seeks his approval.  For those who prefer drama, A Monster Calls is about a boy trying to deal with his mother’s terminal cancer and bullying at school.  In the night, the boy is visited by a humanoid yew tree, the monster, who tells him stories.  For those looking for a more realistic film, Martin Scorsese brings Silence, the story of two Jesuit priests who evade persecution on their journey to Japan in search of their mentor.  Scorsese described the film as a ‘passion project.’

Lastly, on Christmas Day, along with many presents, four dramas will premiere.  Gold, a crime adventure film featuring a businessman and geologist who attempt to find gold in Indonesia, is one of these films, but its holiday release is limited.  Wide release will be on 27 January 2017.  20th Century Women, a comedy drama, also gets a limited release on Christmas.  It will not have a wide release.  Another film getting a limited release will be Live by Night, Ben Affleck’s 1920s-1930s crime film, follows a Florida gangster and bootlegger.  The last film to be released this year will be Hidden Figures, a biographical film about Katherine Johnson, who calculated flight trajectories for NASA’s Project Mercury and Apollo 11.  Starring Taraji P. Henson, the film also features a portrayal of the late John Glenn.

PSA: Procrastination is Inevitable

By Bergen Eppers and Sarah Rovinsky

The dreaded exam week is approaching closer and closer. The procrastination is almost inevitable. (I can already feel it). Everyone procrastinates, whether you’re willing to admit it or not. It is, if you will, an art, varying in degree and style. If you’re going to do it (be honest: you probably are), why not do it to your best ability and truly enjoy your time away from a textbook? If you need convincing, all of these things can, technically, be justified as emotional preparation for the mental chaos studying will invite. If done properly, this distraction will lower your stress levels and increase mental focus. We, however, are NOT endorsing pushing your studies in the far back corner of your mind while you enjoy yourself and indulge. PROCRASTINATE AT YOUR OWN RISK.

  • Make food- Whether your goal is to study on a fully belly, or to completely avoid the action by preparing a 5 course meal by Gordon Ramsey, comfort food is necessary for exam week survival.
  • Make yourself comfortable- How can you apply yourself in school if you’re not comfortable? You can’t. To get cozy before “studying,” wrap yourself up in a blanket and pretend you’re a burrito. Burritos do not do homework, and neither are you at the moment.
  • Naps- Studying, and even procrastinating, are surprisingly exhausting activities. It is incredibly easy to fall asleep after becoming comfortable in a nest of blankets and worksheets on your bed. We highly recommend this sweet escape from stress. Afterwards, you may even feel so refreshed that you could dare to be productive…or not.
  • Binge on Netflix- There’s probably a great series that cannot wait to be started. Once you start, why stop?
  • Christmas shopping- ‘Tis the season to procrastinate and also buy anything impulsively for family, friends, and yourself.
  • Social media- Social media is always reliable. It is your social crutch when you’re in public trying to not to look like a loner, it’s entertaining, you can analyze other people’s more-interesting lives, and spend countless hours on all that nothing.
  • Cry- Avoid crying directly over penned notes. They tend to smear and become difficult to read.
  • Talk- Vent about how stressed to are to your friend and get completely distracted. Take turns. This may lead to crying or prevent it.
  • Physical exercise- Take a hike in hopes of getting lost so you never have to actually start study.  It’s a healthy alternative that can take your mind off of any worries and shift that energy towards strength or the outdoors. Instead of actually crying from your eyes, your whole body will if you work up enough of a sweat.

We hope that procrastinating pushes you to the point of being so stressed that you’re actually focused and efficient in your studies, because you’ve realized that if you don’t study, an exam will be like 10 rounds with Mike Tyson or worse, sudden death. We hope you find the motivation rather than never studying because of our “encouraged” procrastination recommendations. We, the writers, are not liable for any poor grades this article may be blamed on and wish you the best of luck during the possible doom of exam week.

College Football Regular Season Comes to a Close

by Joey Derrico

The college football regular season has just concluded and the final rankings, along with bowl game schedules, have been released. The College Football Playoff Committee, a group of 12 experts who rank the top 25  teams weekly, selected the top 4 teams on Sunday to participate in the end-of-year playoffs. The top four teams included undefeated SEC champions Alabama, one-loss Ohio State, ACC champion Clemson, and PAC-12 champion Washington.

Top ranked Alabama will face the 4th ranked Washington Huskies on December 31 in Atlanta while 3rd seeded Ohio State will meet with second ranked Clemson in Arizona, also on New Year’s Eve. Ohio State alum and ESPN College Football analyst Kirk Herbstreit believes that the national championship game will come down to Alabama and Clemson with Clemson winning the championship and spoiling the hopes of a second title for the Buckeyes in the process.

There was much debate about who should be the 4th seeded team in the playoffs, with names like Michigan and Big Ten champion Penn State being thrown around as possible contenders. After much debate, the committee decided on Washington, most likely because they only had one loss while Michigan and Penn State had two. The ranked teams that didn’t make the playoffs will participate in bowl games of their own. Highly anticipated games include the Rose Bowl featuring USC and Penn State and also the Sugar Bowl pitting Auburn against Oklahoma.

Opposition to North Dakota Pipeline Grows, Officials React with Force

By: Meghan Malas

The installation of the North Dakota Pipeline has continued to raise controversy over the final months of 2016. The project itself is estimated to cost over 3.7 billion dollars, and result in the transporting of nearly 470,000 barrels of oil a day across four states, including North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois. The hope is to sell this oil to markets and refineries all around the United States, boosting the domestic economy and lowering the dependency on foreign oil. The developer of the project estimates that the pipeline will bring 156 million dollars in taxes to state and local governments and supply as many as 12,000 jobs (CNN).

At first glance, this looks like a project that could be beneficial for the communities surrounding it, but instead the project has met with great controversy. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe began their fight back in July, after the project was first granted its final permits. They argued the pipeline was a threat to their economic and environmental well-being, and that the US government had no right to pursue the project in the first place on the grounds that the area that the pipeline will be constructed is part of a Native American reservation, and thus will destroy sacred burial grounds and historical artifacts. The location of the pipeline is actually 38 miles north of the Sioux tribe’s camp, but many of the tribe’s leaders state that the land was granted to them by a land treaty in 1851.

Since July, the anti-pipeline movement has spread beyond members of the Native American tribe. Hundreds of protesters from all around the country have gathered in opposition to the project. Veteran groups recently joined the protest in defense of the Native Americans, and Senator Bernie Sanders has openly denounced the pipeline as an environmental threat and a disrespectful action towards the Native American tribe. But as we move into the colder months of the year, problems have risen involving the protestors’ ability to handle the harsh winters in North Dakota. As weather conditions intensify, along with the tension between police and protesters, the possibility of ending the construction of the pipeline** is diminishing. However, over two thousand veterans have vowed to protect the protesters if there is violence. With regards to the weather, one protester states, “The weather hasn’t stopped anyone. Everyone is adapting because they know we have to win this fight and save our land.” (NBC)

Whether the pipeline or the protest will prevail is unclear at this point in time, but more legal action is expected to take place. If those siding with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe succeed, a new precedent may be set for the way the national government treats Native American groups and their land.

**At time of publication, the US Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit to DAPL easement.