Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Drowning in phones: A buyer’s guide for the technologically confused

   For the past few years, spring has been the traditional time period of the release of Android flagship phones. If you’re a fan of Apple’s iPhone, you’ll have to wait until early fall for the next release. However, if this year’s output from Android OEM’s is any indication, the wait may not be worth it. With the likes of Samsung, HTC, Sony releasing phones this spring, it might be time for you to ditch your old device. With so many options, the choice can be overwhelming and making the wrong decision can result in you being locked to a device for two years if you follow a carrier’s contract model. Here are the devices you should be considering.

Samsung Galaxy S5

   Three years ago when Samsung released the Galaxy SII, they were only a blip on the Android radar of underwhelming smartphones. What no one expected was their eventual rise to the top-selling smartphone manufacturer in the entire world. Yes, Apple’s iPhone tends to sell more than any specific Samsung phone, but with the plethora of Samsung devices out there, they’ve begun a takeover of the smartphone world. The Galaxy S5 is just another notch on their belt of great smartphones but, in 2014, is it as great as it should be?
   The answer to that question is a resounding “No.” The Galaxy S5, while a great smartphone, is only “pretty good” for the current year. Samsung’s smartphones run a skinned version of Android known as TouchWiz, which makes the phone look different than other manufacturer’s skins. But there are more negatives to Samsung’s TouchWiz than there are positives. If you’re looking for an aesthetically pleasing, smooth experience, you never want to buy a Galaxy phone. TouchWiz can be described as “bloated,” with too many Samsung apps that people simply don’t use, such as S-Voice, S-Health, S-Planner, My Magazine, and Samsung Apps (which just shouldn’t exist due to Google’s much more mature and universally used Play Store). The disuse of these apps isn’t just a claim, though. Recent studies from Strategy Analytics indicate only 1.2% of Galaxy owners actually use Samsung’s apps.
   At the same time, the Galaxy S5 isn’t all that bad. It has a beautiful screen due to its accurate, vivid, colors and increased brightness in direct sunlight. The S5 is also IP54 water resistant (note: not completely waterproof), making it comfortable to use around water if for some reason you need to do that. The added Finger Scanner (not “Fingerprint Scanner” for legal reasons) is nice even if most who have used the phone find it only works about half of the time.
   Is the S5 ready for the commitment of a two-year contract or a $650 outright purchase? Probably not, but it wouldn’t be unreasonable to weigh your options and eventually come out with the S5 on top.

HTC One (M8)

   The HTC One (M8) might have the most confusing name of any phone and HTC isn’t a very popular manufacturer in the smartphone department. However, none of that matters because HTC is making the best Android devices out there today. For the current year, HTC improved upon a few aspects of the original One by adding on screen buttons, an even sleeker design, and a five inch screen while keeping the impressive BoomSound audio and aluminum design introduced in the previous device. The result is a larger, yet more ergonomic device that is easier to use.
   There are downsides to the new One (M8), however. The camera is basically the same as last year’s which wasn’t a high-performing smartphone shooters on the market. This year HTC added a second camera sensor to improve depth and create blurred effects for the background of images. However, if you rely on your smartphone to take great photos, the One isn’t going to be the best performer in that area.
   The One (M8), though, improves upon its prior model with some fantastic software tricks. For instance, double tapping a sleeping screen results in unlocking the phone. They also make wielding a five-inch device easier since you reaching for the power button on the top of the device isn’t easy for those without large hands.
   Is the HTC One (M8) a phone that you should attach your time or money to? It depends. If you rely on the photography of your phone, you will be better off with a Galaxy S5 which includes a 16 MP shooter or the Xperia Z2 which sports a 21 MP camera. But if you’re more focused on audio quality, experience, looks, and feel of your phone, the One (M8) is the perfect device for you.

Sony Xperia Z2

   The Xperia Z2 hasn’t received much press because Sony is notorious for never actually releasing their phones in the United States or most of Europe. The Z2 looks to have a similar release model and the odds of it ever being available to purchase on contract at a carrier isn’t looking promising. However, if you have the money, you can always buy one directly from Sony. But since most people won’t do that, a brief overview of the phone is just in order.
   The Sony Xperia Z2 is a beautifully-designed device with an all glass front and back surrounded by an aluminum edge that really puts you in the mind of a better looking iPhone 4. Included on the front is an improved IPS display, upgraded from the lackluster Z and Z1 devices. Another upgrade are the front-facing stereo speakers. Although they aren’t as impressive as the front facing speakers on HTC’s One phones, they’re certainly better than most of the competition. Topping everything off is a 21 MP shooter which produces quality shots if you’re shooting in the right environment.
   If the Z2 does come to a carrier or becomes readily available for a reasonable price off contract, you might find yourself considering. As of right now no information has been released.

The Underdogs

   Although the three phones mentioned above are the top-contenders in the spring flagship race, phones released in the fall of 2013 are worth taking a look at. The Nexus 5, running Google’s stock version of Android on LG’s great hardware, is a steal at $349 (16gb) and $399 (32gb) off-contract. The hardware is nearly on par with this year’s flagships and, unlike other manufacturers’ devices, you’ll receive Android updates directly from Google as soon as they’re released.
   The Moto X is also a wonderful choice for an off-contract, affordable phone starting at $399 (16gb) and $449 (32gb) with an infinite amount of customizable options that no other phone offers. The Moto X has received accolades for its innovative Always Listening feature that allows you to make voice commands without ever touching your phone, along with Active Display which ensures you’re always update on your latest notifications.
   On contract, the best deal is going to be the LG G2, a criminally unnoticed device that excels in camera, display, and functionality. The G2 can be grabbed for under $100 on a contract, making it the best deal if you’re willing to commit to a carrier for a couple of years.
   Last, but certainly not least, is the Galaxy Note 3. The Note 3, while too large for most general consumers, is a niche “phablet” that performs unlike any others with its S-Pen features and Waccom digitizer that allow you to take notes and multitask in ways you would be unable to do with any other Android device. The Note 3 can be bought for around $200 on-contract depending on which carrier you send your check to each month.

   In a flooded market of phones, phones, and more phones, the choice can often be overwhelming. Breaking it down reveals that there isn’t one perfect phone for everyone, but there certainly is one out there for you. It is recommended to assess your needs in a phone, research excessively online, and play with a display model in-store before making commitment. There’s nothing worse than buyer’s remorse, especially when you’re stuck looking at your mistake for two years.

Katie Long wins River Sweep Contest


   Senior Katie Long was the overall winner of the 25th Anniversary of the River Sweep poster contest.  She won a $500 check to use however she pleases, and her poster will be sent to six states.

   “Her poster beautifully captured the idea we wanted to convey this year,” said Lisa Cochran, the coordinator of the contest.  “I order 1,200 copies of the poster, and everyone who will go to Cincinnati will see it.”

   The contest received slightly less than 2,000 entries among 72 counties.  All posters were judged on how well the idea of River Sweep is captured.

   Ripley High School has had students won the grand prize in 2010 and in 2012.  This year we also had a 10th grade winner, the exchange student Hae Min Cho, and an 11th grade winner, Hannah Faber.

   The River Sweep will be held on June 21st.  To find out more information visit the website:  ohioriversweep.org.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Hop across the finish line


By: Kelsey Shamblin
   April 13 the Student Council organized the Viking Bunny Hop Field Day. The Jackson County Health Department sponsored the event. The Bunny Hop was used as a fundraiser to raise money to create the memorial for the senior garden in the courtyard between the main building and Ag building. The event raised over $500 to help create the memorial garden.

   The Bunny Hop consisted of a one mile Jelly Bean Run, 5k, Frisbee toss, sweep the eggs, egg relay, tunnel walk, hula-hoops, bean bag toss, bad mitten, and many other events. The Jelly Bean Run ran the same course as the 5k, only a mile though. The event was for all ages 2 and up. All children received participation ribbons for the events. The 5k began at 1:30, and the one mile run began at 1:45

   “There were so many kids at the Easter gathering. They were all smiles, and laughter,” said junior Hannah Johnson.
   Placers in the one mile Jelly Bean run were: 5-6-year-olds: 1st Ellie Hosaflook; 2nd Carter Neal. 7-9-year-olds: 1st Carter Hall; 2nd Kaycee McCoy. 10-11-year-olds: 1st Morgan Jarvis; 2nd Cole Neal. The placers in the 5k were: 8-10-year-olds: 1st Ellie Hosaflook; 2nd Maggie Malessa. 11-14-year-olds: 1st Emily Matessa; 2nd- Laney Harper. The category for 15-29-year-olds included: 1st Stephanie Methias. In the 30-40 year-old division: 1st place Michael Thomas; 2nd Jason Ward. In the 41-50-year-old division: 1st Krista Ranson; 2nd Patty Haught. Congratulations to all these runners!

   Advisor Becky Neal said, “We had a wonderful turnout. We had over 100 participants.”

   The next Viking run will be the Graduation Run held May 22 at 6:00 p.m. This is an annual event the student council started last year. Previously there were three categories to run in but, this year there will be four; Staff and Students, Alumni, Friends of Vikings, and, new this year, Teams.

   Mrs. Neal said, “The Team category will sort of be like a relay.”
   They are also thinking about giving out an award to the team with the most original uniform, so be unique! The Graduation Run will run the same course as the Bunny Hop. Come out and support your classmates, and have fun!

Should marijuana be allowed in Mountain State?

By: Jacob Bailes

   For decades, cannabis use has been the center of debate across the country. Misled beliefs and perceptions have created a negative atmosphere around marijuana and its possibilities.
   In the early 70s, states began to reduce penalties for possession of marijuana. Many cities have also have moved forward to decriminalizing pot. Even though restriction has decreased over the years, arrests have gone up from 188,682 in 1970 to 755,000 in 2003 (via NORML.org). The U.S. Department of Justice says that alcohol abuse leads to around five million violent crimes per year. Marijuana abuse isn’t even tracked because it is not associated with violence other than what becomes of prohibition. If you ask me, a non-violent person engaging in non-violent behavior doesn’t make a criminal. Initiating force and throwing them in prison does.
   Opinions aside, let’s look at the facts: decriminalizing marijuana will save a ton of money that the government wastes daily enforcing this battle in the war on drugs. For instance, states spend millions of dollars each year enforcing drug laws. However, since there’s no link between marijuana use and criminal behavior, legalization would have no increasing impact on the crime rate. Since Colorado legalized marijuana on January 1, statistics show that crime has actually gone down. Also, if it were taxed as a commodity, revenues would increase by the tens of millions. It is projected to bring in around 184 million dollars within the first year and a half. This money could be used to benefit our nation and the world.
   One worry is that if marijuana were decriminalized or legalized, it would lead to an increase of crime. Due to the fact that most criminals have used drugs one time or another, the correlation is made that it must be the cause of the crime. There is no evidence proving this claim. Marijuana is neither a gateway drug nor an enabler of violence by itself. The only exception to this is possession and distribution of it, which would correct itself upon legalization. The argument that drugs cause crime because criminals use drugs is no more valid than saying that drinking water causes crime because at some point in their lives criminals have ingested it.
   The only way that marijuana could lead to additional drug use by users is because of its criminalization. If dispensaries could sell it as they do coffee, for example, customers could come in, buy a product they know was regulated safely, and leave it at that. Where as with it being illegal, most users must obtain it from questionable sources. This raises the possibility of it being contaminated or a number of other dangers. Also, being around that criminal atmosphere could lead to further criminal activity that the person would have never been around if it were legal. Pot smokers are not threatening anyone’s safety.
   There are many benefits to having marijuana around and a lot of myths surrounding it. In comparison, alcohol overdose leads to thousands of deaths per year, but it’s still legal. For example, marijuana provides a number of natural medical fixes without the harmful side effects that pharmaceuticals do. It kills cancer cells, treats seizures, and prevents the deposits in the brain that causes Alzheimer’s. It has been used all throughout history and there’s a lot of information about it. The drugs that the FDA approves regularly are not nearly as known about and cause a plethora of health issues and even death.

   Maybe there’s a corrupt economic reason criminalization exists. Legalization would knock many pills off the market. Hemp and its many uses would surely put plastic and fuel companies down. We have to come together as a nation and agree that freedom is unconditional. We’re not truly free until we all have the right to do with our lives as we wish. It doesn’t matter if your beliefs align with others’ or not, as long as they’re not endangering you. It’s time to step away from misconceptions and stand for what this country was built on.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Elizabeth Knox wins fair and equal housing art contest

   Senior Elizabeth Knox won 1st place in the Fair and Equal Housing poster contest.  This contest, sponsored by the West Virginia Human Rights Commission, has been held annually since 2012.

   April is Fair Housing Month in West Virginia, celebrating the laws established in the state to prevent discrimination in the selling and renting of houses.  For example, someone cannot refuse to rent an apartment or sell a house to a person because they are of a different race or because they are blind and have a service dog.

   Students were asked to design a poster that promoted fair and equal housing for people of all races, genders, religions, and disabilities.  Debbie Sisson, art teacher at Ripley High, has given her students opportunities for multiple art contests this year, but the students still made the time to enter this one.

   Sisson commented, “I am very proud of my students who participated and did so well.”

   Posters were submitted from all over West Virginia, but the first three prizes were all presented to students in Ripley High School.  First place went to senior Elizabeth Knox, 2nd place went to freshman Kiana Lanham, and 3rd place went to senior Katherine Simmons.  The 1st place winner’s school also received $125 for art supplies.

   “I drew an architectural structure with wooden panels,” Knox said about her poster.  “Each panel was a different color, which represented different races, religions, genders, and other groups.”         

   Knox attended a luncheon at the Charleston Civic Center to receive her prize of $100.  It was presented to her by representatives of the Human Rights Commission.

   “I feel very honored to be able to represent the WV Fair Housing Association,” said Knox.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

8th annual Chocolate Festival excites

By: Alyssa Ballard
 Ripley is known for its Fourth of July parade. People come from all directions of West Virginia to see it. But something that not everyone knows about is our Chocolate Festival that’s been going on for eight years.
   The event’s festivities include a parade which features Ripley High’s marching band, pageant queens, church groups, and political campaigners. Mayor of Ripley, Carolyn Rader, wasn’t exactly campaigning, but more or less having fun and enjoying herself by leading the parade with friends in M&M costumes.
   When the parade comes to an end, the crowd swells at McCoy’s conference center. The crowd this year was very large. Church groups such as L.I.K.E were handing out free small chocolate ice cream cones. This helped relieve the crankiness some people were experiencing from the heat and the impatience of waiting outside for the doors to open.
   Once inside, the aroma of chocolate was overwhelming. The kitchen offered hot dogs, soda, and chips, all for minimal prices. Other venders who all had a variety of goods to sell. All were selling some sort of chocolate whether it is chocolate bars, fudge or drinks.
   Sophomore Samantha Border said, “The chocolate festival is always fun because I get to walk in the parade for previous fair titles I’ve won and after the parade I always go buy some chocolate.”
   The RHS concert choir also sang at the festival. The set list included “Chocoholics Round,” which was the choirs favorite, “Chocolate Carol”, “I love Chocolate,” “Chocolate!” And the crowd loved “Chocolate” so much, that they requested an encore in which the choir gave them.   Junior Triston Lanham said, “After we finished our last song everyone started cheering us on to do another and it was so much fun.”
   The band and choir performances are usually two of the crowd favorites.
   Choir director Annie Hancock said, “Every year the choir crams to learn music for the chocolate Festival because it’s in between Martinsburg and other things which makes it hard to find time to learn the music.”
   Hancock also said,” Chocolate Carol is my favorite piece because it has classical sounds infused into the song and it’s very indicative to the occasion.”
   Overall it was a very fun event for all those who attended as it has been in years before

Music in 2014:

What to listen, look forward to, and enjoy


By: Lexi Martin

   2014 is going to be a big year in music. In fact, it has already had a killer start.The albums being released and those that have already been released this year are some to remember. There are many genres, but here are a few to whet your whistle.

   Indie:

   Bad Things’ self-titled debut album was released January 21, 2014. The band is made up of lead singer, Davis LeDuke, rhythm guitarist, Anthony Sanudo, bassist, Jared Palomar, and drummer, Lena Zawaideh. You all must be thinking, “Who cares about this band?” Well, a lot of people, actually. The lead guitarist may sound familiar to you, it’s Shaun White! Yes, the snowboarder. This is not just another project for the gold-winning Olympian. He’s completely serious about it.

Most people, myself included, first checked out the band because they’re Shaun White fans and, were completely blown away by the band’s talent. The lyrics and talent of all the members together is what gives the band the breath of fresh air that I have been craving. The band itself has a serious indie-rock feel with heavy guitars, drums, soaring vocals from LeDuke, and joyous melodies from Zawaideh.

   Prior to the release of the full album, Bad Things released the digitaland only single “Anybody” which is also the opening track from the album. The band also released a music video for their song “Caught Inside.” You can buy the album on Amazon, Google Play, and iTunes. The iTunes version of it comes with two extra songs that are iTunes exclusive.

   If you enjoy Bad Things and Indie-rock music, some other albums you may be interested in include: The Black Keys’ “Turn Blue,” being released May 13, Beck’s “Morning Phase” was released February 25, St. Vincent’ self-titled album was released February 24, and Lily Allen’s “Sheezus” on May 5.

   Rock:

   John Frusciante is most known for being the lead guitarist in the rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers. After leaving the band for the second time in 2009, he recorded with numerous artists including The Mars Volta and Ataxia. On April 8, Frusciante released his latest LP called “Enclosure.” What makes this album unique is that Frusciante played all the instruments on this album including guitar, bass, vocals, keyboards, synthesizers, drum machine, sequencer, and samples on a system called GarageBand also used by Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails.

Frusciante’s sound is very melodic and guitar heavy. His music is very relaxing to listen to. If you are planning on listening to his album with hopes of hearing something like the RHCP, then you better think again because it is completely different. The sound is almost psychedelic. If you like listening to music with long guitar solos, then this is the sound you want to listen to. His voice is melodious and blends well with the background sounds.

   Although, Frusciante’s sound is soft, the heavy guitar still considers him rock. His soft psychedelic sound actually puts us in the mind of bands such as Pink Floyd with long guitar solos and mind-blowing lyrics.

   If you enjoy rock and hard rock music, some other albums you might want to check out are Bruce Springsteen’s “High Hopes,” released January 14, Jack White’s “Lazaretto,” being released June 10, Sebastian Bach’s “Give ‘Em Hell” being released April 22, The Pixies’ “Indie Cindy,” their first album since 1991, being released April 29.

   Of course, that is only a few genres and a few albums. There are many more coming out this year. If you are curious as to others that are coming out, the internet is always your best friend.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

21st Century Manners: Defining date night

By:  BryAna Stearns

   With prom right around the corner, the “Do’s and Don’ts” of acting in a restaurant need a crucial reminder.  Many people are confused on picking up vs. meeting there, social interactions, paying, and many other things besides which fork to use.  Hopefully after reading you will find some clarification.   Let’s start from the beginning of the meal.
   First, you need to get to your dinner.  If you know your date, then it should be proper for them to pick you up, but if it’s a blind date, you might want to meet them there to avoid an awkward car ride or to escape your date.  Plan ahead to avoid confusion.
   Once at the restaurant you will most likely order your drinks first.  Anytime you are ordering, please say, “I would like (insert beverage/meal), please.” and also say “Thank you.”  When ordering, do try to pronounce your meal correctly.  Some restaurants perceive mispronunciation as a sign of disrespect, especially if the restaurant takes its culture seriously.  For example, if you are at a Mexican restaurant “tortilla” is pronounced: “tor-tee-ya” not “tor-til-a.”  If you truly do not know, order in a questioning tone, and the waiter will most likely pronounce the name right.
   After ordering, begin to talk with your date.  This means you must refrain from all phone use.  Constantly checking your phone can make you come off as bored and rude (if you are bored, at least fake being interested).  If you are at dinner with just some friends and not a date, some phone use is acceptable, but keep it at a minimum.  A common complaint at restaurants is people being obnoxiously loud.  If the noise level of the room is loud, then speaking loudly is unavoidable, but do not deliberately force the whole restaurant into listening to your conversation.
   Once you get your food (side note: the smaller or outside fork is your salad fork), proceed to eat.  Continue conversation, this will avoid an awkward silence.  Do not obnoxiously slurp.  Be sure to thank the waiter.  If your order is wrong, politely tell the waiter.  If it is only a minor issue, it is polite to just go ahead and eat the meal.  If it is the completely wrong meal, and if you like it, eat it; if not then ask for your correct order.
   The most confusing topic of meals is who pays.  If you are with a group of friends, it is easier for everyone to pay for their own meal.  If it is a date, then in the past tradition says the man pays.  Lately though, the man still pays, but it is ok for the girl to pay the tip.  If you are in a situation where the checks are split, tell the waiter ahead of time to avoid confusion.

   The main points to take from this are to always be polite and communicate with the waiter.  Follow these rules and there should be no confusion during your date.

Students win Duck Stamp Art Competition


Ripley High School students made quite an impression on this year’s West Virginia Junior Duck Stamp Art Competition. Freshman Madison Greathouse won first place, Senior Rachel Stanley was awarded third place, and Sophomores Schuyler Stover and Brooke King both received honorable mentions.
   This year’s first place winner Madison Greathouse said, “I was really excited when my mom told me that I had won. We were making spaghetti at the time and I started jumping up and down. Sauce flew everywhere!”
   Greathouse’s artwork will be sent in to be judged nationally. Her subject was a female American Black Duck.
   The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service created the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design program (JDS) in 1989 to spread awareness on wetlands and waterfowl conservation to students in kindergarten through high school. In 1993, the program began the national art and stamp contest to get students involved, allowing them to learn as they create. More than 27,000 students enter the competition each year. The winning design from the national contest is used to create the year’s Junior Duck Stamps which are sold by the U.S. Postal Service and Amplex Corporation consignees for $5 per stamp. All the proceeds from the stamps support conservation education, and provide scholarships and awards for the students, teachers, and schools that participate in the program.  The new stamps are released on July 1 of each year.

   Ripley High School has been participating in the competition for at least ten years and has a modest list of past winners including Zeke Freshour who was a two-time winner. Congratulations to the honorees!

Divergent: movie diverged too far from book

By: Alyssa Ballard
   Based on the best-selling novel “Divergent” by Veronica Roth, the movie came to theatres on March 26.
   The story is about a 16 year old Beatrice Prior or “Tris” (Shailene Woodley,) and her struggles in a life where society is divided into five factions: Dauntless, Erudite, Amity, Abnegation, and Candor, based on human virtues. Other characters include “Four”/Tobias Eaton (Theo James), also known as the love interest and sidekick of Tris. Other key characters include Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet ) the antagonist. Eric (Jai Courtney) a traitor to his faction, Caleb Prior (Ansel Elgort) who plays the brother of the protagonist.
    I’m torn about the film. As usual, someone who reads a book and watches the movie always find the differences and knit picks the likes and dislikes.
   The book was absolutely fantastic, actually the whole series was, but there were some things in the film that filled me with angst. The director left out some very serious pieces of the book in the film.
   I’ll start with the good. Neil Burger, the director, did an overall really good job with the film with the music, actors, and screenplay. However, it makes me very mad that he left out some really important parts of the book in the film such as characters and scenes. The casting crew, Venus Kanani and Mary Venieu also did a quality job, I think a giant factor that makes the movie pretty good  is the chemistry between not only Theo and Shailene, but the whole cast over all.
   Now for the bad.  There were chunks left out of the movie such as the time where Beatrice is almost thrown over the chasm, a river in her headquarters. A character they failed to mention in the movie is Edward, who is a semi-important character in the first and second books because he Tris meets him first thing first in the second book of the series.
   I would recommend seeing the movie, and reading the book, but a fair warning, they have their differences. Even though the movie isn’t all that I was hoping it would be, it was still a very good movie, and I definitely recommend seeing it.
   Overall I would give it about a 7.0 out of 10.0 which is around what a lot of online reviews gave it.  
   

   

Sluggers break slump


By:  Baylee VanKirk

   After getting off to a steaming hot start going 7-3 in their first ten games, the baseball team has since cooled off.  The record now is 8-9 while playing some stiff competition.  While facing Cabell Midland, they had a five-run lead going into the last inning. The Vikings ended up losing 9-7.

   In this stretch they have played 3 teams in the top ten in the state including Cabell Midland, George Washington, and Fairmont Senior.  While keeping close in all games, they just can’t seem to pull it off in the end.

   “That was definitely the toughest part of our schedule,” said junior Easton Berry.

   After losing six straight games they ended that streak on March 16, beating Shady Springs 10-0.

   “It felt really good to win again,” said Sophomore Chris Jordan, “I was getting really tired of losing.”

   With only 10 games left in the regular season, the team hopes to use this win as a momentum-gainer.

   Freshman Anthony Jarvis is hopeful for the rest of the season.

   “If we can come together and play as a team, I really do think that we could make a run into states,” said Jarvis

Monday, April 21, 2014

Rhodes aiming for perfect score


   Nick Rhodes, sophomore, is taking the expression “shoot straight” to heart. In the West Virginia State Archery tournament at Shady Spring, Rhodes set a world record for the highest archery score for a sophomore. Rhodes beat the previous record of 297, shooting one “9” and 29 “10’s” in a row, increasing the record to 299 out of a perfect 300.

   “I didn’t think it was real,” said Rhodes.

   Rhodes, no novice with the bow and arrow, has been shooting on school archery teams since sixth grade. His father shoots for sport and introduced him to archery when he was three years old, so the sport has never been unfamiliar to him. In the off-season, Rhodes practices on his own shooting range equipped with targets in the form of bag targets, deer, turkeys, and wild boars in order to prepare for competition season.

   Practicing on a team that has always performed so well could put many people under a significant amount of pressure, but Rhodes describes practices as “cool and laid back.” Rhodes and his fellow Ripley High archers try to bring this demeanor to meets, even those as important as the state, national, and world events.

   “I’m just relaxed because I’m used to it,” said Rhodes.

   At the state tournament March 29, Rhodes was aware of the 297 world record and knew immediately that his score of 299 had surpassed it. Still, Rhodes was pleasantly surprised with his impressive feat. All the same, his fellow teammates and coaches were thrilled to have a world record holder on their team.

   Even though the Ripley High archery team has already had a major accomplishment in winning States, they aren’t finished yet. The national tournament will be held in Louisville, Kentucky May 9-10. If 2013’s results are any indication, Ripley should be a top contender at the tournament, having scored a combined score of 3412 and ranking 5th out of 156. Rhodes’s score at the 2013 national tournament was an already impressive 292, which he is looking to top this year. It remains to be seen what the results will be in 2014, but Rhodes’s personal goal is one that every talented archer hopes to achieve one day.

   “I want to shoot a perfect score,” said Rhodes.

And with a score of 299 on his shoulders, there is a strong possibility that he someday will.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Archers shoot for gold

By: Audra Thomas
   The Ripley High Archery Team recently won yet another state championship.  The tournament was held March 29 at the Charleston Civic Center.  This year makes the fourth consecutive championship for the team.
     “It was very honoring and surreal to be able to have won it four years in a row,” said senior Jenny Gibbs.
    Gibbs and sophomore Nick Rhodes led the team to their first place victory with Gibbs shooting a 292, and Rhodes a 299 both placing first in the girls and boys division.  Ripley girls and boys archers shot a combined team score of 3418, beating the six other schools from around the state competing. 
   Other archers that placed from the team were freshman, Jeffery Sheppard, sophomores, Corey Hill, Matt Caruthers, juniors, Andrea Weese and Sarah Welling, seniors, Carter Fisher and Cayla Goodson.  This was another very successful year for the team placing second at only one tournament. 

   The team will travel to Louisville, Kentucky for nationals on May 10.    

Thursday, April 17, 2014

‘Winter Soldier’ challenges viewers to question national surveillance

By: Jacob Bailes

   “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is without a doubt the most politically-charged movie released by Marvel. Besides Stark Industries’ weapons manufacturing for the military in the Iron Man movies, this is the first to blatantly touch on real life issues. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) returns to present day after being frozen for decades in ice at the end of “The First Avenger.” “The Winter Soldier” resumes from that with him getting accompanied to the modern world. Rogers is struggling to adapt to the modern era while working for S.H.I.E.L.D. While fighting terror, things heat up due to the mysterious Winter Soldier threatening citizens’ lives and American beliefs. The Winter Soldier is a brainwashed assassin who executes without thought.
   While Captain America is battling the Winter Soldier, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) helps bring them down by leaking classified information that shows HYDRA’s sinister plans. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) secretly gives her missions that Rogers wouldn’t be comfortable with.
   Rogers’ classically liberal beliefs and sticking to his old school ways shows his doubt in national surveillance, a prevalent theme throughout the movie.
   Distrust in national surveillance and power being in the hands of just a few are two ways the movie coincides with Edward Snowden providing information that the NSA is spying on us and whether we should sacrifice our freedom for security. Ultimately, the message is that putting trust in an overpowered, centralized government is dangerous and we can prevail without giving up our freedom.
   The movie is filled with plenty of action and deep, thought provoking storyline. If you haven’t seen it already, I strongly recommend you do. It has an excellent plot and provides a good transition from the first Captain America movie and “The Avengers.” It’s also worth watching because it provides a look into actual problems we face as a nation. Be sure to stay after the credits too for a sneak peek into an “Avengers” sequel.

Lapping the competition: Track team breaking records

   Expectations for this track season are higher than normal due to many broken records and many runners on the verge of breaking them.
   “So many runners are dangerously close to breaking records,” said Coach Michael Bright.  “Our girls’ shuttle team broke the record last year, and now has broken their record twice this season.  The boys’ shuttle team is three seconds off the record.”
   Besides the girls’ shuttle team, the boys’ 4x800 and shuttle team are doing extremely well this year.
   “The girl’s 4x200 is first in the state, and also on the edge of breaking that record as well,” Bright and Coach Justin Johnson added.
   Some star athletes this season so far are seniors Molli Cunningham, Jake Casto, and Cody Harris; juniors Holly Farkosh, Antonio Jones, D.J. Cummings, and Levi Phillips; sophomores Caylee Painter and Zane Griffith; and freshmen Haley Carson, Laurel Miller, and Hope King.
   Sophomore Zane Griffith broke the middle school pole vaulting record by jumping 10 foot 7 inches.
   “Having gone to many pole vaulting camps have helped me succeed in track.  I also did gymnastics for many years, so pole vaulting was just a great fit for me.”
   Freshman Hope King is running her first season of track.  Her events are the open 100 and 200, and the 4x100.
   “I have been waiting to run track for quite awhile now, and it is making me more in love with running.”
   “We are in a tough region, but our biggest competition this is Greenbrier East.  They are on our top priority to beat,” said Bright.  “Our main goal this year is to keep PR-ing (Personal Record) and send as many runners to States as possible.”

   The track team’s home meets are on April 18, May 1, and May 2.

Stabbing in Pennsylvania high school

    April 9, 2014 in the small town of Murrysville, 20 miles east of Pittsburgh, sophomore Alex Hribal from Franklin Regional Senior High School was convicted of stabbing and slashing 20 fellow students and a 60-year-old security guard. The knives used were two eight or ten inch steak knives. Hibral violently ran through the hallways, stabbing students and then the security guard, starting in the science wing of the school. He was tackled by the schools assistant principal, Sam King, and the school’s resource officer hand cuffed him by the main entrance of the school.
   The first 911 call was received at 7:13 on that Wednesday morning. The doors had just opened for the students. Students were just arriving at the school, and some walked in on the incident. Students said they saw blood all over the walls and floor and could hear people screaming. The entire incident only lasted five minutes. The incident may have been limited because at some point student Nate Scimio pulled the fire alarm to give a warning to students to evacuate the school. Scimio is now known as a hero to some students and staff. It is unknown what lead to the violent attack.
   “Hibral wasn’t one you would expect this from. He had good grades, friends, and he wasn’t bullied much,” said classmates, according to ABC news.
   Murrysville is a small suburban city with a low crime rate. It is rated in the top 50 highest performing schools in Pennsylvania, with 98% of their students graduating. The school has been updating its security system, although they did not have metal detectors, which might have found the knives.
   It is still unknown what led to this violent attack. One thread that police are looking towards is a phone call the night before the incident with another student that could have been an argument, but it is still yet to be confirmed. Parents of Hibral say that they never heard him arguing on the phone during the evening or night and that he was home all evening.
   Hibral has been charged with four counts of attempted homicide and 21 counts of aggravated assault. Four students still remain in critical condition.  One student was stabbed, puncturing his lung, barely missing his heart.
   Many schools in the United States are updating security systems to prevent crime in their school. Metal detectors are being installed in schools. Also, it is becoming harder to even get into a school. You must present ID and get buzzed in and, in some schools, you are not even allowed in the schools during the time students are present.