Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Professional athletes announce homosexuality

By:  Baylee VanKirk
  In recent weeks WNBA star Brittney Griner admitted to being gay. On April 29, Jason Collins, a current NBA player, announced that he is gay and had been afraid to announce for awhile now.  This sparked a debate in the sports world: how do other players feel about playing with gay people?
   Although the first professional athlete to come out was Sherryl Swoops on 2005, the media feels that with these recent announcements, a domino effect will be created.  Collins was the first major male sports player to come out while still playing.  There have been players admit that they were gay, but it was sometime after they had retired from sports.
   Collins and Griner have received nothing but good reactions from everybody including the President of the United States.  People may not speak out in fear that their disagreement could hurt their own reputations.  If they do say something against the LGBT community, then they could have lawsuits against them, their team, and the league.
   Griner and Collins have set the standard now, so other gay athletes should not be afraid.  The intimidation factor is not completely gone, but it is certainly lessened.  The fear of a team, coach, or players not accepting them onto their team is still a great possibility.  Some players do not feel comfortable being in the same locker room, shower, or even playing field with a gay athlete.
   Mike Wallace, a wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins, tweeted hours after Jason Collins announced he was gay: “All these beautiful women in the world and guys wanna mess with other guys SMH (shakin' my head) …”
   He got a lot of scrutiny just for saying his opinion.  When the 49ers organization found out about this they made him do a public apology and say he did not mean any of it.  Many people think this is not right because he was saying his personal feelings.  He is one of the only people to come out against gays. 
   The fact that athletes are gay does not hurt their ability to play, but it might hurt their ability to get on a team.  The fact that people are announcing it now is going to create an uproar if a team does not accept it. Take Collins for example, his contract ran out with the Washington Wizards.   If he does not sign with somebody else, then the whole league will be torn down by media.  This just creates problems because the teams’ decisions to hire and fire will always be in question now.
   I’m not saying that being gay is wrong and they should not be proud of it, but it could cause problems for athletes and sports in the future.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Newest "Gatsby" film set to debut May 10

Expectations for the newest "Great Gatsby" movie are high and mighty, and by the looks of the movie's trailer, most of those will be fulfilled. The Great Gatsby is a book written by F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1925.
     The story follows the main character, Nick Carraway, as he begins his life alone in New York. He visits the Buchanan’s, some friends of his, and hears about a man named Gatsby and the extraordinary parties he throws. Shortly later, Nick meets Jay Gatsby and soon becomes his closest friend. As Nick begins trying to decipher the life of Gatsby, its revealed to him that his second cousin, Daisy Buchanan, was a previous flame of Gatsby's and that he was still in love with her. The plot falls together intricately as unrequited love, tragedy, and mysteriousness play their parts in this timeless American story.
     It was first made into a movie in 1926, and there have been three remakes following it, not including the newest one coming out May 10. In the previous movies, reviews stated more cons than pros. The first adaptation came out in 1926. It was reviewed by The New York Times and was said to have lacked imaginative direction, character development, and plot focus. When the second version made its debut in 1949, reviews were harsh, the only real compliment being the great performance given by Alan Ladd, who was cast as Jay Gatsby. The third adaptation that was released in 1974 was welcomed with open arms, but judging eyes. Purists appreciated how closely the plot followed the book, but many felt this caused a lack of suspense on the silver screen.
     In the year 2000 a made-for-television version of the movie came out on A&E. Reviews were more gracious and praising then those for previous adaptations. It was described to be close to the book, but not quite on point. Most of the actors were appealing in their roles, but they still fell slightly flat.
      As years and remakes roll by, it’s obvious to devoted Great Gatsby fans that the book can be interpreted in many different ways. They hope that the newest version's release will do the book justice. It will feature Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Isla Fisher, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgarton, Jason Clarke, and Elizabeth Debicki as the main characters. It's expected to highlight the Roaring Twenties at its best, and feature the extravagance and wistfulness the previous versions failed to capture.  
     In my personal opinion, it seems as the years go by, the more understanding there is to the book's meaning and detail. You would think that the earliest versions would capture the book better; after all, they premiered closer to the book's setting date. I think on May 10, 2013,  both "Great Gatsby" and movie fans alike will fall in love with the story for the first time or maybe even all over again. 

Plan for new school security system underway

     As school shootings happen more and more often, schools everywhere are looking to up their security, including Ripley and Ravenswood high schools. A new security system will be installed into the school during summer break.  The school has a security system now, though it is not as advanced compared to other schools. Identification cards are required on your person and there are cameras all over campus and inside the building. But, the high school has potential for a more secure environment; administrators have taken notice and are making a safer change.
     A company called Mason and Berry did a security audit giving recommendations to the Board of Education. They will install the system, costing close to $100,000. It will affect nearly every inch of the school grounds, and its purpose will be solely to keep students safe.
     The biggest changes planned consist of automatically locking exterior doors, a waiting lobby for visitors, and gates that are constantly closed on each entrance to campus. All exterior entrances to buildings will have monitoring systems on them. There will be five minute delays during class changes before the doors are set to lock again. If a student is tardy and stuck outside, they must first go back to the main office by being buzzed in through the senior doors, get a tardy slip and then go to class. If they go to the annex for class, they must also be buzzed in through a door down there.
     “It will be a big change. It’s a logistical nightmare; we have five separate buildings on campus and the students, teachers, and community will all have to be retrained,” said Principal William Hosaflook.

Failed gun control bill should have passed

April 17, 2013. The day that America decided that political differences were more important than the safety of the citizens the country consists of. On April 17, the Democratically-proposed Manchin-Toomey Bill was voted on in the senate…with unsuccessful results. Many people misunderstood the concept of the bill, thinking that its purpose was to begin the gradual eradication of guns in America. But, in actuality, it focused more on universal background checks when purchasing a gun, which really has no downsides unless you happen to be a criminal. But, as usual, this Manchin-Toomey was proposed by Democrats and it’s pretty common knowledge amongst everyone that Democrats and Republicans don’t really care about anything that doesn’t benefit their own political party. Since the Manchin-Toomey Bill showed the first signs of gun control (a Democratic idea), Republicans were of course against it and nobody benefitted from what should have been viewed as a ridiculously reasonable bill.
                I want to stress that when people are dying, politics shouldn’t matter. Everyone should be able to momentarily put aside their political affiliation in hopes to make America a safer and better country for current and future citizens. Since 1999, there have been 31 school shootings which is already a shocking number before you realize that’s only school shootings. After each major shooting such as Columbine, Virginia Tech, or, most recently, Sandy Hook there has been a call for reform concerning fire arms. But it’s simply never happened. The Manchin-Toomey Bill was the first step and a baby step at that; a simple bill that made the process of getting guns slightly more intelligent than it had been previously. So why didn’t it pass if it wasn’t really that radical? Mostly due to political turmoil and the idea that it could eventually turn into complete gun law reform which is something that even some Democrats don’t want. However, even if could result in something that members in both parties don’t want to deal with, it still presented an extremely good idea on how to decrease the amount of illegal firearms being purchased in the United States.
                Apparently the main Republican argument against laws similar to the Manchin-Toomey Bill is that criminals will break the law to find a way to get guns illegally even if there is a law forbidding it. And this sounds slightly convincing until you recognize that criminals break any law regardless of its focus. So if there’s no point in making any gun-based laws, what’s the point in making any laws at all? Criminals are just going to break them anyway, right?
                Currently, Senators Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin have expressed no immediate plans to bring the Manchin-Toomey Bill to the Senate again. Nevertheless, there is much hope that in the future there will be more support behind such a bill. Until then it’s suggested that everyone who sees this as a reasonable bill educates those who are unaware of what it’s actually trying to achieve.

Friday, May 3, 2013


Boys’ and girls’ track runs to finish season    

By: Danielle Vealey
   The boys and girls track teams have been doing very well this season. Under new coach, Mike Bright the team has had a much better season this year than several of the previous years.

   With six meets down, the boys have taken four first place spots, while the girls have taken two. The season is in full swing as the school year is slowly dwindling. The boys and girls practice hard every single day, and it is evident in their recent competitions.

   Bright was previously a track coach for Roane County, Braxton, and Greenbrier East. In his six years of coaching high school track he has had 80 percent of his boys and girls successfully make their way to states, with one athlete placing first in two events.

  “I love coaching here, it’s great. It’s a great group of hard working kids,” Bright said.

   Coach Bright has high expectations of this year’s team, expecting nine of his athletes to compete in states. Freshman, Zane Griffith, recently cleared 12 feet in pole volt in recent competition and is hoping to also attend states.

   “I got my goal of 12 feet, beating it by six inches actually. So I feel very good about it,” Griffith said.

   Only being in his first year of high school, he has high hopes of going very far, potentially even attending college one day on a track scholarship.

   States will take place at Laidley Field in Charleston on May blank and blank. Go out to the field to support your Viking runners.

No text message is worth dying for

By: Leah Johnson
   Cell phones are increasing danger while driving. West Virginia passed a law making it illegal to use cell phones while driving. Penalties got harder over the past year. West Virginia will enforce the second part of the law July 2013. This is banning talking on the phone while driving without a hands-free device.
   At this time, talking on the phone while driving is a secondary offence. Secondary offence means an officer can only issue a ticket if a driver has been pulled over for another violation, such as not wearing a seatbelt. The primary offence isn’t enacted until July 1, 2013.The primary law means an officer can ticket the driver for the offense without any other violations like speeding. The ban on texting for all drivers was effective July 1, 2012. If you are caught, you will get a ticket.
   The West Virginia cell phone law is important because you can die from texting, talking on the phone, or other distracted driving. More than 100,000 times each year an automobile crashes and people are injured or they die. According to AT&T, if you text and drive, you’re 23 times more likely to cause a car crash. The National Safety Council announced April 25, that it estimates at least 28 percent of all traffic crashes and more than 1.6 million crashes each year involve drivers using cell phones and texting.
   “No one should have their cell phones out. I see people eating food, putting make-up on, or even reading the newspaper while driving,” PRO Clyde Armstead said.
   Don’t answer a text or phone call if it’s worth losing your life. Possible solutions are hands-free Bluetooth units like those at phone stores or Wal-Mart. AT&T employees say to take the no-texting-and-driving pledge. All the workers there take the pledge to help. Some cars now have the Bluetooth system in the cars. It connects it and you can call and talk to someone through the car. If you take the pledge, then don’t text. Pull over to answer your phone!
   “Our goal is to save lives,” Randall Stephenson said. “I hear from far too many people whose lives have been forever changed by a texting-while-driving accident, and together, we want to spread the word about how deadly a single text can be.


Students in hairy situation

By Megan Mobley
   Some students believe that the dress code at Ripley High is too harsh. Recent news stories from across the country have proven we are quit lenient. Some schools, along with their rules of dress, have rules for hair. We, thankfully, do not have any such rules.
   Recently, a 5-year-old kindergartener from Reid Primary and Middle School in Springfield, Ohio was suspended for his new haircut. The parents of Ethan Clos finally let their son get a mohawk after he had been begging for it all of Spring Break. When he went to school the next day, all of his classmates were running their hands through it. When the students failed to listen to their teacher’s reprimand, she went to the principal. Seeing what was going on, he took Ethan to his office and suspended him. Ethan was told not to come back to school until he “adopted a tamer style”. In this particular school’s rule, policy states that hair is not to be disruptive or distracting to the class.
   Rylee MacKay, a Hurricane Middle School student from Utah, was suspended after dying her brown hair auburn. Rylee was new to the school and didn’t have much confidence. After she dyed her hair, everything changed. Six months after the new ‘do her Vice Principal, Jan Goodwin, spotted her in the halls February 4th. In the school rules it says that all hair must be a natural color. To Goodwin, it looked “pinkish-purplish” in the light. Rylee was not permitted to return to school until she changed her hair back. Her mother refused to make her change it back.
   Federal law gives students freedom of speech, including dress and hair style. Only if the students’ style becomes detrimental to education or poses a hazard to safety are schools allowed to restrict it by law. For example, many schools have the rules that bra straps are not allowed to show and skirts must be a certain length above the knee to discourage distractions. While some students may see it as stupid, it really isn’t. If a girl’s bra strap is showing boys might not pay attention as to what is going on in class. Short skirts are never good around boys with raging hormones. Boys are not allowed to wear shirts without sleeves because girls might find them distracting.
   However, schools that have stricter rules and warn students ahead of time are within their rights. As long as they provide the school policy in advance to the students and the parents, beforehand, they are allowed to tell their students to change hair and more.
   Students at Ripley High may do anything with their hair as long as it is not a hazard. We have had students dye their hair red, blue, and pink. We have had many colors in this school and have never been made to change them. Students here believe that the rules are too strict, but clearly they’re not.
   We need to give our school some slack. They could enforce rules like Hurricane Middle and make us have a natural hair color. We can do pretty much whatever we want with our hair. We just can’t wear hats because they would be too much of a distraction. Most schools don’t allow that anyway. All in all, we can get away with a lot, to show individuality. We need to give our school more slack, we could be a lot worse.

R.I.P Shain Gandee

By: Leah Johnson
    Shain Gandee had a special quote for his introduction on “Buckwild.” It showed his goofy personality.
   “I’m Shain Gandee and they call me Gandee Candy, because it’s trick or treat all year round,” Gandee said.
   Gandee was a guy from Wolfpen, Sissonville, West Virginia. He was twenty-one years old and was one of favorite cast members on the show because he was fun and outgoing. Gandee died on March 31.His personality was very interesting. He was a guy that loved to try to do new things.He was adventurous, funny, and just loved life. He knew how to have a good time and make you laugh. Shain was a true country boy that loved to go mudding, party and hang out with his friends.
   Unfortunately, Shain died March 31. His Uncle David Gandee, 48, and family friend Robert Myers, 27. After visiting Larry’s Bar in Sissonville Shain, David and Robert were going mudding.They became stuck in the mud and appear to have waited till morning to get help. In the Bronco was in the mud with the exhaust pipe. The guys were passed out and they died from the in their sleep. A family friend, Joey Mulchy realized they were missing more than a day, so Joey went to look for them. Some people saw a car over a hill then he went to look and were in their Bronco dead from carbon monoxide poisoning.
   Shain’s viewing was Sunday, April 7 with the funeral right after. “Buckwild” had a tribute to Shain which aired Sunday, April 14. MTV and “Buckwild” decided to pay for the funeral arrangements for Shain. Although the show was popular the first airing with 2.5 million viewers it has not been renewed for a second season. Gandee Candy was a life-loving guy, who loved to have fun.

New Ryan Lochte show a bust?

By: Emily Goode
   A great majority of people in the world have watched, or heard of the Olympics. Anyone who has seen the swimming portion of the summer Olympics should know who Ryan Lochte is. Lochte is now the star of his very own reality TV show, “What Would Ryan Lochte Do?”
   The premiere of this new show was April 22. The reviews were just about as bad as the show was expected to be. Lochte is known for being a one-night-stand lover, and just a plain out, dumb person, and that’s just what he comes off as in the first week. In the first episide, the 28-year-old swimmer talked about his reputation as a romantic player. He added that he doesn't really have to go out and look for a date, they always come to him.
   Olympic swimming fans got a chance to see how Ryan Lochte's body performs in the pool during the summer games, as he took home gold medal after gold medal. On the latest episode of "What Would Ryan Lochte Do?" they got an opportunity to go inside his mind and see how his brain works as well. He was in the middle of telling a story when he just froze and went blank. "I just blanked out again," he said after a moment.
   Lochte explains, "All of a sudden, I have, like, a jumping banana in my head. Like, I don’t know what’s going on up there.”
   No one seems to know, and not many appear all that interested in figuring it out either. Less than a million viewers tuned in for the premiere of Lochte's new reality show. The Washington Post pointed out that twice as many people tuned in to the rerun of “Real Housewives of Atlanta” that was going up against his show.
   Many people are wondering how much longer Ryan Lochte will get to do this. For now, "What Would Ryan Lochte Do?" airs on Sundays at 10 p.m. on E!.

Boston marathon bombed

By:  Seth Wilson   

   Monday April 15 tragedy struck the city of Boston, Mass. when two bombs exploded at the finish line of the 117th annual Boston Marathon.  Three people were killed and over 140 were injured in this horrific act.  Police and paramedics rushed to the scene, trying to help everyone they could.  Some runners in the marathon also helped out by running straight to the nearest hospital to donate blood for those who were injured. 
   The suspected bombers, brothers Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzohkhar Tsarnaev, were apparently planning to bomb Time Square in New York City as well, but ran out of gas and had to stop at a gas station in Watertown, Mass. at 1 a.m. on Friday, April 19.  The police were alerted and a gun fight ensued outside, leaving suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev dead before Dzohkhar fled the scene.
   During the manhunt for Dzohkhar Tsarnaev, the suburbs of Boston were put on lockdown as policemen and SWAT teams scoured the area for the bombing suspect.  The search lasted until 8:45 p.m. on Friday when authorities finally found the suspect hiding in a boat.  Another gun fight started, but Tsarnaev was finally captured and taken to the hospital for serious gun wounds.  Tsarnaev will now more than likely receive the death penalty after being charged with detonating a weapon of mass destruction and maliciously destroying public property.
   Since the bombing, many Americans have stepped up across the nation to try and help the families who are dealing with the aftermath of this act of terrorism.  The One Fund - Boston has received over $20,000,000 in donations, with all proceeds going those affected by the bombing.

Young Writers' workshop

By: Faythe Maston
    Within our blossoming state, we are nurturing some of the greatest young writers of tomorrow. To help discover these writers, the West Virginia Young Writers’ Contest is held. Writers from every corner of the state compete for a chance of fame and fortune and the ability to showcase their talent. After the county winners were announced, they are invited to a workshop to improve their writing. These workshops include lectures from several famous West Virginia authors.
   The day of recognition will be held at the University of Charleston May 24. Starting at nine o’clock, participants will be welcomed to the event in Riggleman Hall, followed by a keynote address by Ron Sowell, a prominent WV musician. Workshops will begin around ten o’clock with teachers such as Sowell for grades 7-9, and Marc Harshman for grades 10-12.
   “I’m looking forward to the writing workshop because, before, I was shone many writing techniques that have helped my writing style,” said Jared Casto, the eleventh grade winner.
   An awards ceremony will end the day to present trophies to all state-level winners and allow them to read their stories. The first place winners will be awarded $100, followed by 2nd with $50, and 3rd place with $25.
   The winners of the contest were decided through a long, grueling review process to find the best of the best writers throughout West Virginia. This year, the Jackson County winners are Faythe Maston in the 9th-10th grade division and Jared Casto in the 11th-12th grade division. These winners were first decided by a school- wide competition, then through a county and a regional contest, with the finalists competing to become the winner in the state division. Writers were judged on multiple factors such as punctuation, imagery, and overall plot.
   “I was very hopeful that I was going to win and was very happy when I won,” said Casto.
   So far, the workshop promises to be an interesting and wonderful opportunity to help increase the writing parameters and help teach many values and tricks to writing an excellent story or paper.  

Rutgers coach fired

By: Toran Cook
April 3, the Rutgers University head basketball coach Mike Rice was fired due to physical and verbal harassment against his players. Mike Rice began coaching for Rutgers in 2010, and after just three short seasons, he is out of there.
            Mike Rice was caught on video calling his players, “fairies, explicit term for gays and using the f word a lot” according to the graduate assistant coach. More of the video sessions recorded during practice showed Rice heaving basketballs at his players, and physically pushing or slapping them.
            In December of 2012, Rice was suspended by the Athletic Director for three games for the unethical conduct, yet the president of Rutgers University was not made aware of this problem until April of 2013, after the graduate assistant coach to Rice turned in the practice video.
            Eddie Jordan was hired and now coaches the Rutgers Scarlet Knights basketball team. He used to be a basketball player for the university, which probably accounts for why they picked him. He also is experienced, he was most recently known as the used to be assistant coach to the Los Angeles Lakers as well as head coaches of the Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards. He will be paid a guaranteed $6.25 million over five years. Let’s just hope under this new head coach there are more knights, than there are fights. 

Juniors not taking chemistry part of WESTTEST

By: Lexi Martin

      It has been said that junior who did not take chemistry do not have to take the science portion of the WESTEST. Students who do have to take it will go somewhere like the cafeteria to take it. Others will stay in their homerooms and play games and such to pass the time.
      Assistant principal Bev Shatto commented on the matter, “Chemistry is the standard test for juniors and it would be unfair to those not taking the class to take the test.”
      Junior Cassie Toole is “Extremely happy” that she doesn’t have to take the test. She then went on to say “it’s less stress on us during the week.”
      Other students are not as pleased about this. Junior Braxton Morrison went on to say that “It’s unfair that we have to take it and others don’t.”
      WESTEST week will is May 13-16 and the science test for juniors will be on May 16. Those taking the test will be in the cafeteria while others will stay in their homeroom and do productive things like study for finals or the ACT. Some teachers allow their students to play games during this time as well.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Main Street brings annual “Ripley on Sale”

By: Tabitha Hudnall
   Spring is here! Which means it is the time of year for everyone to do some spring cleaning and have yard sales. Every year, the Ripley Main Street hosts Ripley on Sale, which takes place on the Jackson County Courthouse lawn and surrounding neighborhoods. This gives people the opportunity to get rid of some unwanted belongings, and make a little cash while doing it. This year’s sale will take place May 24-25.
   Venues on the Courthouse lawn are still available, but are going fast. To snag a spot, vendors must purchase a license to sell merchandise from the Ripley Courthouse, which costs a mere $15. There is also a small venue fee of $15 to sell things on the Courthouse lawn.  Everyone in the surrounding neighborhoods of Ripley are encouraged to have their own yard sales to bring in more customers. All of the downtown shops are also having sales. Ripley on Sale always brings lots of customers, so everyone should make sure they have plenty of things to sell. There will be a plethora of items for everyone to enjoy, so be sure to bring the whole family for a day of thrift shopping and fun.
   “Ripley on Sale is an annual Main Street event. There will be so many things there that people are selling. Everything from basic yard sale items, while others sell specific things like handmade jewelry, knitted and crocheted goods, woodworking pieces, and also knick knacks and custom made flip flops,” stated Main Street Teens director Tabatha Craddock.
    Even though we live in a small town, Ripley can become very busy this time of year with Spring fever in the air and school ending next month. These events are a great chance for everyone to get out and enjoy our lovely community while making a few extra bucks, and maybe even finding some nice deals among the sales. As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.