Spyglass: Volume LI | Issue I | September 2010


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Joplin High School Newspaper 2104 Indiana, Joplin, Missouri September 2010 Volume LI Issue 1 Spyglass


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2 September 2010 PAGE what’s inside SPYGLASS SPYGLASS feature 3September 2010 PAGE Budget Cuts By Taylor Camden and Sarah Sticklen Spyglass is a student publication of the Newspaper class at Joplin High School in Joplin, Missouri. All articles are studentproduced, and all opinions are those of the newspaper staff. Spyglass is produced approximately monthly and is delivered to all students, faculty, and staff of Joplin High School. Spyglass Staff Sarah Sticklen, Editor Taylor Camden, Assistant Editor Colin Hughes Lydia McAllister Caravana Randall Shelby Hass Lyndsay Cobb Elisabeth Heimberg Emma Meek Dylan Prauser Cartoonist: Gus Oberg All students write stories, take photographs, sell advertisements and design pages. Please direct all correspondence, letters to the editor, news ideas, and other material for the staff to Mrs, Crane give to any staff member, or email to: mwcrane@joplin.k12.mo.us. What’s Inside... Page 4 Summer in Africa Page 5 Art Feeds Page 6 Nathan Fisher Photo by Taylor Camden Since 2003, Joplin High School has been operating on a less than ideal student to teacher ratio. Due to a stagnant economy, this school year seems to be no different, now impacting support staff as well. The 2010-2011 school year at JHS has seen the elimination of two secretarial positions, a librarian, and some custodial help. “We’re spread thin in some areas,” said Dr. Kerry Sachetta. “We all have to help Page 10 Teacher Feature each other more than we have in the past.” An example of the adjusted staff after cuts is last year’s sophomore secretary, Mary Vanfleet, who now has the role of both Front Page Photo By Lauren Thompson the junior class and the senior class secretarial work. Vanfleet said it would be “spectacular” Stevan Freeborn, #7, tackles Zizzer Taylor Tidwell at the Joplin vs. West Plains game, helping to bring a 42-6 victory to have another secretary in the future. to the Eagles. Inside Photo By Sarah Sticklen Though the budget cuts have affected some faculty and staff positions, administration has tried to keep the loss Eagle fans and cheerleaders do push-ups to support the team after a touchdown. of funds as far away from the students as “The number onepossible. No extra curricular programs being taught at Franklin Tech because there are priorityistoprotecthave been cut. Also, Joplin has not adopted the “pay- not enough classrooms in the main building to accommodate student theto-play” policy, in which students must classroom.” enrollment. Bringing back -Paul Barr, Chiefpay an initial fee to participate in a school the cut staff positions and furthering the Financial Officersport, said Sachetta. “I’m just development of the Joplin R8 school system of the Joplin R-8happy that we as a district did the best relies heavily on both local taxpayers, and School Districtwe could to keep the budget cuts away from the students,” the national economy, Sachetta said. When revenue said Sachetta. from sales and property numbers fall short, Along with staff and teachers, the the amount of money that the district main building is running out of classrooms receives to fund schools goes down. Sachetta also. There are seven Joplin High School is hopeful that in the next 2-3 years the classes only offered to JHS students that are economy will turn around. “If the economy is better, people will feel like they can afford to continue paying taxes for schools,” said Sachetta. A common misconception is that the bonds on Joplin High School and the three new middle schools are at fault for the budget cuts JHS has been experiencing for years. Chief Financial Officer of the R-8 School District, Paul Barr, confirms that the 2001 and 2007 bond issues are in no way connected to the budget cuts. The operating levy ($2.75 per $100 of assessed evaluation) is what pays for the lights, the staff, and everything else required to keep the schools up and running. The debt service levy ($0.56 per $100 of assessed evaluation) does not increase or decrease the amount of money for school operation he said. said Barr.


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4 September 2010 PAGE features SPYGLASS SPYGLASS arts 5September 2010 PAGE JHS student spends 33 days volunteering for orphanage in Kitale, Kenya Art Feeds the future By Shelby Hass “There’s 104 days of summer vacation and school comes along just to end it, but the annual problem for our generation, is finding a good way to spend it.” These words from Disney’s “Phineas and Ferb” theme song can apply to many JHS students. But for senior Alicia Shofner, deciding to spend 33 days in Africa over the summer was no problem at all. Shofner arrived in Kitale, Kenya, on June 17th this past summer with two other girls from the U.S., Julianne and Betsy. The three stayed at the Mattaw Children’s Orphanage where they helped with everything from enrolling children in school to handing out letters from the children’s monthly sponsors. Shofner recalls many fond memories from the trip, but one seems to stand out in particular. “My favorite part was when we got to save kids from abused situations and place them in school,” says Shofner. Not only did Shofner help at the orphanage, but she also personally sponsors one of the children, John. According to the Mattaw website, this money goes to provide good nutrition, quality education, and healthcare each month. We have all heard that it takes a village to raise a child, but in Shofner’s case her whole family has been helping to raise children in villages all over the world. “My dad had gone ever since I was really little to Brazil,” says Shofner. “I’ve wanted to help the way he did ever since then.” Traveling to the orphanage last spring break, as well as over the summer, has allowed Shofner to learn the ropes of operating an orphanage. “I’ve seen all the troubles and hardships that go into it,” she says. Shofner returned to the U.S. on July 19th, but hopes to share the rewarding experience by returning to Mattaw with a group of more volunteers next summer. Eventually, with her accumulated knowledge and growing hunger to help those in need, Shofner hopes to one day open her own orphanage outside of the U.S. Those interested in sponsoring a child or getting involved with this cause can learn more by visiting http://www. mattawchildren.com “My favorite part was when we got to save kids from abused situations and place them in school.” -Alicia Shofner Mattaw volunteer, JHS Senior Photo and Story “We work with By Emma Meek them (art- Love naively. Give generously. ists) to make a program so Be foolishly compassionate. that the kids The non-profit organization, Art can create. We Feeds, makes it their make goal to empower children through really close creativity. Art Feeds bonds and is a “for youth, by youth” program have a better understanding in which art of all types is brought into an elementary Two of the young children at Mattaw laugh and play of their lives.” school setting. “It was totally - Meg Bourne on accident,” 2007 together during Shofner’s stay at the orphanage. Founder, Art Feeds JHS graduate 2007 JHS Graduate Meg Bourne said how she started - All photos on this page, courtesy of Alicia Shofner the organization in 2009. After being involved in an elementary behavior disorders class, she found art was an outlet of expression for some of the kids. Bourne then used her own money to continuously provide art supplies for the classroom, and eventually decided to get monetary donations to continue the craft by selling t-shirts and bracelets. There are four core staff members who have gotten to know the kids and their personalities as well as their home situations and special needs. Artists are then brought in to meet the kids and teach their craft. “We work with them (artists) to make a program so that the kids can create. We make really close bonds and have a better understanding of their lives,” said Bourne. Since 2009, Art Feeds has turned into a national organization with campus representatives and street team members in multiple states. However, there are no current members of the team at JHS. “I’m really interested in having some here (JHS),” Bourne said. If any student or teacher would like to get involved, there are multiple options. Dance World dance ~ gymnastics ~ cheer “It could be as simple as buying a t-shirt,” said Bourne. Street team and campus representative programs, which consist of hosting two events or fundraisers for Art Feeds throughout the year, are constantly growing. The Art Feeds Creative Collaborative Mural is a growing piece consisting of art from all over the country. Interested supporters can send a .jpeg or an original image to mural@artfeeds.org or an original work to Art Feeds 2416 E. 11th, Joplin MO, 64801. This mural is shown to all the kids whose lives are touched by Art Feeds. Will Norton, JHS senior, recently became connected with the program. “It’s easy to contact Meg, and very easy to get involved,” he said. Norton recently put his talents to use for the program, devoting 28 hours to make a promotional video that has been promoting the organization through his YouTube channel. Pictured above are two of the older boys from Mattaw Children’s Orphanage. Alicia Shofner, seen above, stands outside of the orphanage, surrounded by some of the Mattaw girls with whom she stayed. *NEW STORE HOURS* Monday - Thursday 2 to 7 pm Friday 2 to 6 pm * or by appointment CLOSED SATURDAY, SUNDAY AND HOLIDAYS www.danceworldofjoplin.com DANCE WORLD 1203 East 20th Street Joplin MO 417- 782-3448 Art Feeds not only has a website, but Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and YouTube accounts available to keep informed about the latest news. Currently, Art Feeds is sustained by t-shirt sales, and money from fundraisers. There are no huge investors. The organization is at a halt for how much it can grow until more monetary support is provided. The Pepsi Refresh Project is giving non profit organizations an opportunity to compete for the money they need to take the next step toward their goal. For Art Feeds, the $250,000 would be spent building a community art center complete with cameras, art supplies, and transportation. To show support, people are encouraged to visit http://www. refresheverything.com/artfeeds or text 101784 to 73774 to vote. To win the grant, Art Feeds must finish in the top two after one month. If they are close to the top, they are carried over into the next month. “It’s something Joplin doesn’t have. It will brighten our future through artistic expression,” Norton said. “I wish there would have been something like this when I was a kid,” he said. As of right now there is no place for kids who latch on to art to connect and have a niche. The community center would provide an after school safe haven for kids to create. “Kids have shown us how to give back,” Bourne said. “It’s time for us to start giving back as well.” JHS students demonstrate their support for the newly formed Art Feeds. The bracelets, shown at the left, were purchased by the students and all the funds went to the program.


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6 September 2010 PAGE students Joplin’s newest cadet: Nathan Fisher SPYGLASS SPYGLASS By Sarah Sticklen “Applicants must also pass a were other appealing aspects, he said. Each year, approximately 10,000 physical test of strength and endurance, and “The Academy puts one in a position young men and women apply to the highly pass a medical eye exam before they are to see the world and experience things only a prestigious United States Military Academy considered for acceptance,” he said. few will ever get to experience,” said Fisher. at West Point. Of these 10,000 applicants, Fisher began strongly considering “I am excited to do something different and only an estimated 1,200 are admitted. This applying to West Point the summer before exciting with my life.” year, one of Joplin High’s own students, his junior year. After graduating from West Point, senior Nathan Fisher, is among one of the “I had contemplated joining the Fisher will be commissioned as a Second select cadets for the West Point graduating military for a while as a way to serve our Lieutenant in the United States Army. class of 2015. country and to protect our freedoms,” said Because students at West Point are not Candidates are evaluated for Fisher. “I knew I wanted to be in a leadership required to pay tuition, graduates are required admission on the basis of academic position and wanted to attend college before to serve five years active duty and three years performance, demonstrated leadership I joined.” in the reserves. potential, physical aptitude, and medical Fisher was also drawn to West Fisher plans on serving in the Army qualification. They also must obtain a Point’s strong engineering program. He plans as long as he enjoys it, but would also like to nomination from a member of Congress or to major in civil engineering and said that attend the Airborne School and the Ranger from the Department of the Army. West Point’s emphasis on military leadership, School. The Academy required essays, coupled with its focus on engineering, were “Those schools are very challenging transcripts, letters of recommendation, and the final factors contributing to his decision. and only the best make it through,” he said. standardized test scores before they would West Point’s track team (which “I don’t know if I have what it takes to even consider him as an applicant, Fisher competes at the NCAA Division I level), survive, but I like to challenge myself and Photo courtesy of said. along with their many study abroad programs, push myself to my limits.” Freshmen Tips Nathan Fisher TSA Nationals By Dylan Prauser Five students from Franklin Technology By Lyndsay Cobb and Elisabeth Heimberg Center left for Baltimore, Maryland, to compete at the 32nd Annual Technology Student Association (TSA) National Championships that were held the week of June 28-July 2. Nathan Hoagland, Julia Lewis, Stewart Pence, Kevin Poor and Ethan Putman competed in a variety of events, each hoping to take home a first place award. During the time leading up to competitions, the students spent weeks preparing themselves for competitions. “We did not know what to expect and did not know if we would do well, but we gave Brendon Thomas Q-Has there ever been a school shooting at the high school? A-No. Tiffany Alender Q- Are finals every quarter or every semester? A- Finals are every semester. Sarah Heimberg Q-Do some classes request finals and which ones? A-The weighted classes have a required final. If the classes are it our all and it was well worth it to go and compete,” said Ethan Putman, senior. Because of the students’ long hours in preparation and their hard work, the students from FTC took home two first place awards and a third place award. Ethan Putman and Stewart Pence took first place in debating technological not weighted you don’t have to take it, but if you miss more then 4 class periods you have to take issues and Stewart Pence took first in essays in technology and third place in extemporaneous presentation. “Baltimore was really enjoyable. I finals in that classes. didn’t leave Joplin thinking I’d win two national championships and another finals appearance,” said Stewart Pence, senior. Brooklyn Vickers Q-Do we have a sprit week? Elizabeth Crowl Q-Why do people flock in C hall? A-‘C’ hall is wider and it’s close to Any further questions go to the freshmen principal. Another benefit of TSA is the connections that these students make while at nationals. Both Putman and Pence had positive comments about meeting students from major universities such as Harvard, Brown, Stanford and other colleges as well as how good this event A-Yes. It is the week of Sep. 27- Oct. 2 Eagle Alley. looks on a college application. “The skills I learned about technological components of everyday life will be a great advantage in college and it’s a program I think more people should get involved with,” said Pence. Photos by: Victoria Smith, Sarah Sticklen, Lauren Thompson, Emilee Wills students 7September 2010 PAGE


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8 September 2010 PAGE sports SPYGLASS SPYGLASS sports 9September 2010 PAGE HAZING JHS has a no tolerance policy By Colin Hughes Hazing is a topic with which many at JHS are familiar. been one incident, a few years ago, and it was resolved. The At some point each person in this school has probably been the subject of hazing. It probably happened when they were “For purposes of this policy, hazing a freshman, as most upperclassmen consider themselves to be may be defined as any activity, on or off superior to the students in lower grades. school grounds, that a reasonable person When Athletic Director Jeff Starkweather was in high believes would negatively impact the mental school and college, he said hazing was not an issue. or physical health or safety of a student or “It wasn’t a problem on any team I was involved with. put the student in a ridiculous, humiliating, Hazing was really more prevalent in fraternities,” he said. stressful or disconcerting position for the Though hazing is often thought of as an initiation into a group or club, it is actually more complex than that. A summary of the Joplin School District’s definition of hazing says: hazing is any activity that would negatively impact the mental or physical health or safety of a student. The incident with the Seneca football team this past summer was an example of hazing, Starkweather said. mpuermpboesersshoifpionritimaatiionnte, naaffnilciaetoiofnm, eamdmbeisrssihoinp, ainthalnetyicgrteoaump, icnlcalsusd, ionrgg,abnuiztantoiot nli,mciltuebdotor, a grade level, student organization or school sponsored activity.” low number of problems could be because of the precautions taken to prevent hazing on sports teams at JHS, he said. “I have a meeting with all of the coaches and tell them what to do about preventing it,” said Starkweather. “But each coach handles the problem individually.” Since hazing is a form of bullying, there are definite consequences. “It usually depends on the situation, but usually the person is suspended from athletics or potentially kicked off the team,” he said. If a student at JHS feels they are the subject of hazing, Photo by: Marylin Lopez Starkweather recommends the person report the incident to a coach or teacher. However, if that person feels that the situation was not handled correctly, they can report the A at Lady Twin Eagle Hills. golfer practices her swing during a meet problem to him or to a principal. “It was an eye opener. You feel sorry for all of the students, parents and coaches involved. Nobody should have to go through that,” he said. In Starkweather’s time as AD at Joplin, there has only ~Coaches District Handbook Definition for hazing Girls’ Tennis The Lady Eagles tennis team began their season on August 23rd with a match against Webb City. The team has a busy schedule, with somewhere be- tween two to three matches a week, most of them out of town. Lexi Willcoxon, junior and varsity player since her freshman year said, “The goals for this year are to improve as Volleyball a team and create stronger players that will show good leadership for the new players on the team.” On Tuesday, August 31, the Joplin volleyball team had their first game against Carl Junction. Willcoxon said Siri Ancha is the new number one Win or lose, the team is still in tact and looking forward to the season. ranked player on the team and, “is carrying the team well.” “We play good together because we are all good friends so it makes it more fun.” Said junior “Megan McCreary is new to this year and is already Audrey Lawellin. ranked in the top six. She’s pretty incredible,” Willcoxon This year’s varsity team consists of seniors Jessie McMullen, Beth Cox, and Allison Cox. adds. Juniors are Chloe Hadley, Audrey Lawellin, Bayley Strella, Kellie Stringer, Danielle Walker, Madi Changes that have occured on the team are two new Lieurance. Olivia Hampton is the only sophomore on varsity. varsity players, an increase in the number of JV girls, and a The team has a record of 3 wins and 3 losses. Eagle fans can look forward to the next 10 new assistant coach, McGregor. games. “McGregor was a previous head coach for Joplin “Thank you to everyone who has come and cheered us on because it makes it more fun to Eagle’s girls and guys teams.” play and gets us pumped up” said Lawellin. Next up for the girls’ tennis team will be the Spring- field Invitational, held in Springfield September 21. Girls’ Golf The Lady Eagles golf team began their season on August 27 with the Nevada Golf Tournament, followed by a match against Carl Junction, Girard, and Pittsburgh, hosted by the Lady Eagles at Twin Hills. This year’s team has only one returning player, senior captain Autumn Reynolds, is comprised of six players. “We have four girls that have never played golf until this year,” says Coach Shannon Neill. “Our goal is to continue to improve each day.” Reynolds said she sees a lot of potential in the younger players and has high hopes for them this season. “I’d like them to get out, get the experience, and try their best,” she said. Reynolds added that she sees strong potential in freshman Kylie Davis. “She’s picking it [golf] up quicker and quicker every day. I really see her going somewhere,” she said. Currently, Cassidy Grooms, a junior transfer from McAuley Catholic High School, holds the number one position on the team. She has the lowest average on the team, according to Neill. Next up for the girls’ golf team will be the Ozark Conference Tournament held Tuesday, September 21, at Horton Smith Golf Course. Boys’ Soccer The 2010 boys’ soccer team is “looking forward to the upcoming season,” said head coach Ed Miller. The team is led by four captains, seniors, Austin Bolt, Zach Cox, Nathan Fisher and junior, Parker Maher. The four team leaders hope to unite the team and achieve conference and district wins, as well as win both of the tournaments the team will enter. Two outstanding freshman, according to Miller are, Luis Santillan, forward, and Brock Renken, goalkeeper. The team is also helped by captain, Maher, who has been starting varsity since his freshman year. Miller said Maher is, “doing some good stuff.” Changes that have occurred on the team this year include a new formation and a new Joplin Eagles Covenant. The team has a record of 3 wins and 1 loss as of Tuesday, September 14. The next home game will be Tuesday, September 28, against Camdenton. JV will play at 4:30, followed by the varsity game at 6. Photo by: Lauren Thompson Joplin Eagle stands his ground against a Nixa opponent. Softball Softball kicked off this year on Monday, August 23 in Bartlesville, OK. With a loss at their first game, the team is still hopeful for a good season. “We’ve been working really hard, and we have girls that have good knowledge of the game,” said coach Kirk Harryman The team relies heavily on Sarah Sticklen, Taylor Costly, Shantel Jewitt Mikaila Craig and Kim Campbell, said Harryman. Three freshmen this year have also joined varsity; Leanne Craig, Krysten Tyler and Jessica Greninger. These freshmen hold great potential for future years Harryman said. “I believe we have the potential to have a really good season,” Harryman said. Cross Country The Joplin High School cross country team will be participating in the Stampede at Missouri Southern State University on September 18, and will finish their season with meets at Nixa, Pittsburg and Springfield. Coach Jason Riddle says that his goal for the team is to qualify for the sectional meet as a team on the girls and boys side. This year the team has two standout runners. “Ryan Davidson and Vivian Moreno as of right now, although I expect quite a few more especially from the freshman group,” said Riddle. Davidson, a sophomore, along with senior Josh Fox are team leaders for the boys. Moreno and Amber Gower, both seniors, are the girl’s team leaders. Riddle says that the large amount of freshman on the team is a good thing for the future of the program. “We have a couple on the girls side and a big group on the boys side who I think can really do some impressive things in the near future if they stick with it and put in the work that is needed,” he said of the freshman. Photo by: Colton Brandenberg Clare Davis, junior, runs her heart out at the practice meet held at Missouri Southern. Football Joplin Eagles Head Football Coach Doug Buckmaster has two goals for the year: win Ozark Conference, and make the playoffs. “We have a good senior class with several players who have the chance to further their education and possibly their athletic careers,” said Buck. Team captains Keegan Tinney, Aaron Frost, Griffin Sonaty, and Stevan Freeborn lead the Eagles. Like last year, the eagles wont their first three games. “We will see how we fare the rest of the season,” Buck said. A change in this season is the two-patooning approach: which means players either play offense or defense during games, as well as practice, Buck said. This gives more players the opportunity to play. There are 95 players in grades 10 through 12 on the team this year, more than JHS has had in years, he said.


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10September 2010 PAGE teacher feature SPYGLASS SPYGLASS editorial 11September 2010 PAGE Run, Hallmark, run Gulf devastation blown out of proportion Photo and story By Caravana Hallmark’s main motivation Randall for competing in this marathon is to honor the life of her friend Mrs. Connie Mrs. Ashley Hallmark, Robson, a former JHS teacher who died By Sarah Sticklen to expedite communication arts teacher at JHS, is of cancer in December of 2009. On April 20, claim payments not only working hard being the best “When it’s 110 degrees and I’m 2010, an explosion to affected teacher she can be, but also working on my 15th mile and thinking, ‘Why am aboard the offshore businesses. hard at a meaningful hobby. I doing this?’ I can remember ‘It’s to British Petroleum (BP) Within the three Hallmark began running long honor her life’,” said Hallmark. drilling rig, Deepwater days after the distance in March of 2009. She started Not surprisingly, Hallmark said Horizon, reportedly sent BP Immediate training for an upcoming marathon in she prepares for marathons by lots and more than two million Action Claims June and will have trained to run up to lots of long runs. gallons of oil into the Team was 21 miles before the marathon in October. Shorter distances are run two to ocean, devastating established, As a teenager Hallmark had three times a week, Hallmark said, and the Gulf Coast. This about 2,600 not always thought running could be long distance runs are on the weekend. spill was not only business claims considered “fun.” For long runs every weekend she adds detrimental to the Gulf were processed, “When I was in high school another mile. wild life and the fishing and claims I really hated running. I thought it “Last Sunday I ran 16 miles so industries along the totaling $9 was pointless unless I was chasing this coming Monday I’ll run 17 miles,” coast, but it was also an million were something,” said Hallmark. said Hallmark. economic disaster for approved. Interestingly, she began running Another training strategy many businesses of the Again, the after high school. Hallmark uses is yoga, which helps with coast, whose revenues media refrains This won’t be her first run; she her flexibility and strength; she says that are largely based upon from focusing has participated in many other events. it’s also very calming. tourism percentages. on the positive. Because she enjoys racing for a cause, For those who would be My family has Instead, Hallmark has participated in many 5 K’s interested in running Hallmark offers visited Gulf Shores, an article all of which were for cancer. She ran advice. “Be patient with yourself, Alabama, seven times written in June her first half marathon at Boom Town because I got very frustrated early on, during the past nine by David Walsh, Days on June 19, 2009. Hallmark also but just like anything else in life, you years. When we published participated in another half marathon have to learn what works and what initially heard about the on the World in October of 2009 for the American doesn’t,” said Hallmark. spill, we were worried Socialist Web Diabetes Association. She hasn’t done So what does Hallmark hope to we might not be able Site, states that any racing recently due to her hurting her ankle last March. gain from this marathon? “Just the accomplishment to say I ran 26.2 miles and didn’t croak.” to make the trip this year. However, my dad decided to contact a Photo by Sarah Sticklen Another beautiful day in Gulf Shores during August 2010, just after the oil leak was capped. “BP, however, has no intention of paying for a “When it’s 110 degrees and I’m on my 15th mile and thinking, ‘Why am I doing this?’ I can remember ‘ It’s to honor her life.’ ” ~ Ashley Hallmark Marathon participant Mrs. Hallmark converses with one of her students during Eagle Time. few people throughout we’ve met our many trips to the Gulf and see what the coast was really like. They all said the same thing: the oil hadn’t hit the beaches yet, they were still as pristine as ever. Then, when the oil did hit the beach, my dad called again. The response this time was slightly different, but not much. Yes, there are some tar balls and a few oil spots in the distance, but the beaches are still beautiful. The main difference was the steadily declining tourism. After this, we’d get calls from my grandma wondering why on earth we still wanted to go to the beach after everything that had been on the news. She was truly worried for our health. Still, my family decided that we were keeping our trip reservations no matter what. We weren’t scheduled to arrive until the end of July, so we thought the oil might be cleaned up by then. We were right. On July 15, BP successfully contained the oil leak. Though the pictures on the mainstream news channels were still of devastation, the Gulf Shores website began showing pictures of a near-empty beach with white sand and clear water. When my family arrived at our beach house on July 31, the beaches were just as clean as they’ve always been. Actually, this year the beach was even nicer than some of the previous years. After Hurricane Ivan, a massive pipe stretched across the beach and tractors could be seen frequently driving by, leaving residue. In just a matter of weeks, BP and government officials, along with environmentalists and other workers, stopped the oil leak and cleared the oil to restore some of the world’s prettiest beaches. The media doesn’t mention this though, do they? An article from NorthEscambia. com, a local Pensacola online newspaper, describes the beaches of Pensacola (only an hour east of Gulf Shores) as “stained black with oil.” Such descriptions sent tourists running from the Gulf. The week I spent in Gulf Shores this year was by far the quietest week I’ve experienced. Restaurants that usually have two-hour waits seated us almost immediately, and all of the souvenir shops were running sales like I’d never seen before. It was obvious to us that the tourism numbers really were below average. The main reason for this devastation, I believe, isn’t the oil spill at all; instead the tourism decline began when the media took hold of the situation and turned it into more of a calamity than it already was. The media is the reason why thousands of tourists cancelled their trips to the Gulf Coast this year. According to an analysis conducted in August by Oxford Economics for the U.S. Travel Association, visitors had spent more than $34 million dollars along the Gulf Coast, providing around 400,000 jobs. The recent loss of tourism along the coast could take a three-year recovery period for their travel industry and cost up to $22.7 billion. A report issued in June by the University of West Florida said that roughly 45, 000 jobs associated with tourism in the Florida panhandle were at risk. Another analysis conducted by the University of Central Florida stated that the spill would put nearly 200,000 Floridians out of work and cost the state of Florida around $11 billion. What most people don’t know is that BP and the government have already taken steps toward rehabilitating many local businesses. The Small Business Association (SBA) is currently making low-interest loans available to small businesses affected along the Gulf Coast regions of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida. In August, BP instituted a series of actions fraction of the damage…Not only does it have lawyers, accountants and other highly paid experts working around the clock to come up with means, legal and otherwise, of avoiding such payouts, it can rely on the full complicity of the federal, state and local governments, and the judicial system, to connive in its efforts.” Popular media networks need to cease reporting to entertain or voice their opinion; they need to reach back to their roots and report to inform. With the media feeding such negative news out into the public, it’s no wonder that the Gulf Coast tourism industries took a rapid decline this summer. The biggest relief that can be provided to the Gulf is a steady flow of tourism, which needs to begin with the media promoting the Gulf beaches and reporting accurately about the spill, including progress made. As President Obama said during a family vacation to Panama City, Florida this August, “To the people here in the Gulf, we are going to be standing by your side. And to Americans all across the country, come on down and visit.” JHS Communication Arts Teacher Have an opinion? Letters to the Editor can be submitted by emailing sarahsticklen@gmail.com or by dropping off a letter to D105.


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12September 2010 PAGE staff SPYGLASS Spyglass Staff Shelby Hoss From left to right Lyndsay Cobb, Shelby Hass, Taylor Camden (Assistant Editor), Sarah Sticklen (Editor), Colin Hughes, Lydia McAllister, Elisabeth Heimberg, Caravana Randall. By Gus Oberg



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