Times are Changing…Story by FBCHS Journalism Class

America is Changing... I came across the dead mall phenomenon in the United States and question the class on some of the radical changes I am seeing just in my lifetime in the culture. This article is a reflection on what they see.
America is Changing… I came across the dead mall phenomenon in the United States and questioned the class on some of the radical changes I am seeing during my lifetime in the American culture. This article is a reflection of what they see.

What’s Next?

We live in what is called the Y generation. This generation is one that invokes the questions of; ‘why work?’, ‘why earn money’, and ‘why wear decent clothes’. These questions then form new ones, and it becomes a total domino effect as time passes. People in my generation don’t view as getting their first car as a freedom, a ticket to getting away from their suffocating parents. No, now kids are seeing cars as a standard, a name tag, a label, and stereotype. The more expensive, the cooler your car is, the more you are paid attention to and people will notice you more. We have drifted into a generation of being lazy, addicted to electronics, buying whatever we want, and really not caring about a lot of things.

Being detached from people and addicted to things such as the newest iPhone. People becoming so dependent on nonliving things is worsening health, personal relationships, mental health, and people’s abilities to survive in this world. It’s as if everyone is like a child. They still need to be coddled by their mother, protected by their father, have their family’s money to support them, and the comfort of an electronic. It’s quite a depressing things to me that we have turned into this rather shameful generation. Of course I can’t say that I’m not on an electronic a lot, or having my phone on me all the time, but I do understand how it’s unhealthy to be addicted to them. To me, fighting with your parents is better than being on an electronic because at least you’re able to verbally express yourself, feel human emotions, and are able to see and hear the person quite clearly.

Since my generation is the future of this world, I’m quite worried to be honest. I mean, who will be able to succeed in life if all they care about is having the best of the best, being able to hack into electronics, or do things related to electronics only? People who lack real life experience flounder as they get older. Soon they will turn to someone who has supported them before. Then they will become dependent on that person or people. Being dependent on someone whenever you meet a challenge in life shows how weak and vulnerable the human race is. We are able to adapt, to form to our environment. We as properly functioning people can handle things differently than animals or infants. As adults, or even young adults, we are able to get in touch with our emotional side and deal with things, grow from experiences, and learn how to survive in this world properly.

We won’t have people to protect us for our whole life. We need to learn to look up from the computer screen, go outside, breathe fresh air, have fun, hang out with friends, and get a job, an education. I truly believe that we need to ditch the title of ‘Generation Y’ because the longer we have that title, the more people will adapt to it. Turning around this generation will be hard. After all nothing is really easy in this world. Having less addictive electronics in life can help people learn from hands on experience, become healthy, happy, and live better lives. Sure, people will trip and fall, maybe scrape a knee or hand, but that pain will help shape them into a person they can be proud of. Hey, you never know. Maybe the first person who truly begins to try and turn our generation around might end up as our president. Anything is possible, as long as you look up from the screen long enough to imagine it.

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Is Our Culture Changing?

Is our culture changing? Between the dead malls and shift in technology, I would say yes. While our culture hasn’t changed drastically, it has changed; technology’s advances, age norms, and the open mindedness of my generation are great examples of how our culture is changing.

I’ve been inside a mall a grand total of 15 times. In the past, the mall is where you went to meet friends and find a date. Over two dozen malls have been shut down in the past two years, and it is estimated that 10-15% of malls in the US will be shut down within ten years. This is due to the advancements in technology, we no longer need to drive to the mall to meet our friends, or to even shop. We used to be more social creatures, technology has taken out the face-to-face aspect of many teens lives. In the 1800’s women would be married very young, around the age of 13 or 14, and begin having children shortly after. In the 21st century 25 is the average age for, first, marriage and pregnancy. 10 years is a huge difference, so is the openness we have around the LGBT community. Most of my friends are gay or Trans, and in our world today they are accepted.

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Times are Changing

The times are changing in a way unlike ever before. It is the truth, we are turning into a society that is based on innovation and technology. The question is, is this a turn for the worse or not?

If you peel back the appealing top layer of luxury that comes with the innovation and technology, I believe you find an uglier result. Although it is non-intentional, I think our culture is becoming a place where you as a person do not matter as much, it is all about what you can offer.

Now of course, people like employers don’t care so much about you as a person as they do your capability to get the job done correctly. That is how it has always been, and always will be. What I am saying is that perhaps these innovations will slowly take away some of our basic social capabilities. Things like understanding, judgment, and some character could easily be taken away by our dependence not on each other, but our technology.

Already ethics have changed. More and more people are taking the easy way out. From online shopping to broken relationships, people are making every shortcut to make things more comfortable and easy.

The effects of this are showing even in newspapers. Reporters go for hype and yellow journalism just to make their stuff more appealing, they use an “anything for another five readers” type philosophy. News is their own personal shortcut to fame.

The next question we must ask now is: What do we do about it? Or how could we do anything about it? After all, if the world is changing, is there really anything we can do about it?  Should we revert from the old ways and simply become the next generation? Or can we take a stand for what used to be?

For now all we as a newspaper can do is supply a genuine feed of solid news and do our best to be our best.

The “Holiday” Epidemic in America… Story by Sherman Peabody

What is this tree called? Holiday, Friendship, Appreciations, but definitely not a Christmas Tree.
What is this tree called? Holiday, Friendship, or Appreciation, but definitely not a Christmas Tree.

In the past, our county has proudly called winter break a “holiday break”, sometimes even “Christmas break”. Now in most public schools in America, teachers cannot refer to this December break as a holiday break because they are afraid of violating the separation of church and state.

But would it violate the Constitution?

The exact wording of the First Amendment is ”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

This is the “Separation of Church and State” part of the bill of rights. It talks about Congress not making laws concerning religion, not that it cannot represent any religion. Plus, by disregarding America’s most widely celebrated holiday, we start undermining what it represents.

Christmas and Hanukkah, even if you are not religious, are symbols of peace, family values, and rest. If we stop promoting these holidays on which the break is based on, we slowly dismantle those values.

In 1914, six months after WWI started, solders on both sides of the battle field called out a truce in the name of Christmas, laying down their weapons to celebrate this holiday. By forbidding our schools to acknowledge this holiday by name, we are not supporting the values those solders represented on Christmas 1914.

I hope you take these arguments into consideration before deciding if you support Christmas in school.

Merry Christmas Forrest Bird Charter School! Have a wonderful break!

Preventing the Holiday Blues… Story by Miranda Paddack

Creative ways to hang-out with Friends... Martin Chilcott sets up his gaming system at school on the 1st day of Christmas Break. Kubuntu was the place to be to enjoy gaming, conversation, and coffee. Photo by Mr. Webber
Creative ways to hang-out with Friends… Martin Chilcott sets up his gaming system at school on the 1st day of Christmas Break. Kubuntu was the place to be to enjoy gaming, conversation, and coffee. Photo by Mr. Webber

The lack of sunshine and motivation, winter break tends to be a very difficult time for people, especially people with depression or other mental disorders.  How do you combat these holiday blues? Better yet, how do you improve motivation during this break?

A winter break bucket list is a great way to beat the blues. Have a minimum of six activities; some could be going up to Schweitzer, window-shopping downtown, bowling at Huckleberry Lanes, or a coffee break with friends at Cones & Coffee or Evan’s Brothers Coffee. I know what you are thinking, “I don’t have time for that stuff.” Wrong, all of those attending the Forrest Bird Charter Schools have roughly three weeks, plenty of time to finish your winter bucket list. To those with depression, having an hour of fun can be the difference between self-destruction and an almost great day.

Cancellation is a huge probability, people struggling tend to wake up the morning of the event with no motivation and cancel their plans. Try to get to sleep before midnight, and set an alarm. This will enable you to get a decent amount of sleep, and have you awake in time to get ready for your day out. Never cancel plans with friends, impossible, I know; however, canceling plans so you can do something else, or nothing at all. Creating this bucket list for winter break is important, see how many you can check off. Don’t have one, or can’t think of anything? Call a friend and create one together. Have a great break!

1% Sales Tax Pro… Story by Charlie Harrison

1% Sales Tax Pro… Story by Charlie Harrison

The memorial field grandstands are falling down. The structure was built in 1946, so it has been serving the community for almost seventy years. In the past ten years however, the grandstands have failed numerous health and safety tests, with the score dropping every year. Now, the grandstands are set for demolition with no way to stop it. The only question now is what should replace them.  A 1% sales tax increase has been voted on and approved by 60% of voters to fix memorial field. If the sales tax was not approved, the structure would be replaced with nothing but cold aluminum bleachers. The bulk of the money from the tax will be going towards the grandstands, but a lot of the money will also be going into fixing the field itself, including completely replacing the old drainage system and repairing the infrastructure. Any extra funding will go into the

Out with the old... the 1% sales tax will raise money for new bleachers.
Out with the old… the 1% sales tax will raise money for new bleachers.

other city parks such as Sandpoint ‘City Beach and Travis Park.

There are several exemptions to limit the tax on low income and vulnerable households. For instance, gas and diesel are exempt, along with prescriptions and many medical devices. Food stamps are also exempt, and out of state shipments. Utilities will also not be taxed. It is worth noting that the increase will raise Sandpoint’s sales tax to 7%. While it sounds like a lot, it is actually well below the national average of almost 10%. The tax cannot be used for anything but the parks, and can’t last for more than five years without voter approval.

The next Stadium will be designed to be very low maintenance and cheap to run. It is also designed to last for at least another fifty years (and probably longer). The reason people failed to produce the money before was because most of the money came from corporate sponsors, who had to back out for financial reasons. The old stadium was built in 1948 and it has seating capacity for 900 people. However, town population has tripled since then. The new stadium will have capacity for 1500 people. This means the grandstands will be less overcrowded during games and we will be able to sell more tickets. The same goes for the festival at Sandpoint, a major music festival in the pacific North West. The University of Idaho stated that festival has an estimated $2 million direct impact on our community.

And in with the new... Sketch of what the new bleachers will look like.
And in with the new… Sketch of what the new bleachers will look like.

The grandstands will be able to seat more people so the festival will be able to sell more tickets. More tickets will bring more out of town and out of state money into Sandpoint for festival season. Instead of overbooking our field, leading to overcrowded conditions, which we have done in the past, we can provide Sandpoint residents and out of towners alike with a larger, more comfortable stadium for everybody to use. Memorial field brings economic activity into Sandpoint during games such as baseball, football, soccer, and other community sports events. It brings in tourist money for our massive festival that routinely sells out. I think it’s about time we rebuilt it to make sure future generations get to use it too.

What does an extra 1% sales tax in Sandpoint really mean?.. Story by Marcus O’Cyrus

What does an extra 1% sales tax in Sandpoint really mean?.. Story by Marcus O’Cyrus

An extra sales tax for Sandpoint, Idaho was recently passed by the city, but why?  After listening to the commercials, I was deeply moved toward a community effort to rebuild the grand stands at Memorial Field and that everyone could afford to pay an extra 1% sales tax to make it happen over the next 5 years.

Investopedia Breaks Down the Regressive Tax... Sales Tax is a regressive tax that negatively impacts the poor and lower middle class compared to the upper middle class and the wealthy.
Investopedia Breaks Down the Regressive Tax… Sales Tax is a regressive tax that negatively impacts the poor and lower middle class compared to the upper middle class and the wealthy.

But, what is a sales tax anyways?  A sales tax is a tax on all purchases. A sales tax is also known as a regressive tax.  It actually harms more people economically, especially those of lower economic status.  A regressive tax takes a larger percentage of a person’s income if they are poor or lower middle class compared to the wealthy.  It is not a tax the wealthy care about since it doesn’t impact them as much as someone living from paycheck to paycheck.  Just looking at the signage in front yards while driving into work each morning, I noticed the more affluent neighborhoods were sporting their support of an extra sales tax while the more economically depressed neighborhoods did not.  It is also a known fact that people of more affluent lifestyles participate more in politics than those who struggle to get by.

What will this increase in sales tax do? Well, most people not in support of the sales tax will move their shopping to Ponderay for the next 5 years.  The economically depressed part of Sandpoint will most likely move the rest of their shopping requirements to Ponderay as well.  How will that affect the businesses of Sandpoint if the majority of the community of local patrons takes their shopping to Ponderay? It’s unfortunate that the wealthy in this case have passed the buck on paying for their dream grand stand onto everyone else in Sandpoint as a community effort.  If this was truly a passion of the 1% supporters, why didn’t each of them donate 1% of their yearly income each year to pay for a new stadium?

I find it ironic that many of the people who are paying for the grand stands will be sitting outside the fenced area to hear the Sandpoint Music Festival.  While those wealthy, cultural elite enjoy the new grand stands from those who can’t afford to even attend the concerts.

The majority of the argument for the one percent increase was trying to play off the idea that the grand stand is not about the music festival, but for the football games played there.  One commercial went so far as to talk about the muskrat bowl.  The argument is also flawed when looking at the value of the grand stand.  Many people in the Sandpoint area do not attend football games, which is a school sanctioned event from the same school district that bullied Bonners County into a property tax increase of 14 million dollars over the next two years and has done this more than once.

Many people say the sales tax will be supported by the tourists, which is false.  The majority of tourists who come to Sandpoint may stay for a week or two at most.  While the locals remain here week after week footing the bill for the tourists who come here to enjoy the facilities the locals are paying for with their grocery purchases.

Something has gone horribly wrong here in Sandpoint when a minority can become a washed in tax generated funding without any fiscal responsibility to the people they are deriving their funding from.  Instead they use that same funding to pay for signage to convince or guilt the community to pass the next tax upon themselves, and yet, we fall for it every time.

Check out this website for some great information:  http://www.investopedia.com/terms/r/regressivetax.asp

What Really Happened?… Article by Mack Jastle

What Really Happnened? Story by Mack Jastle

In light of the recent memorial service held for the victims of the Paris terror attacks that took place two weeks ago, I think that now is as good a time as any to look back on the attacks and what they mean for the world at large.

First, an overview of the attacks.

On November 13, 2015, in a nearly simultaneous attack involving three teams of extremists, Paris was hit by multiple attacks, shootings, and suicide bombings leaving 130 dead and hundreds injured.  It was the worst terror attack Europe had faced in over a decade.  Some of the targets hit included the Bataclan concert hall, where dozens were cut down by gunmen wielding Kalashnikov-type assault rifles.  Eighty-nine people were reported to have died there, with another 99 in critical condition.

The second deadliest attack of the night occurred at the La Belle Equipe bar in the 11th district.  Witnesses reported a black Seat pulling up to the terrace of the café, and two men then opening fire on the terrace.  Nineteen died in that shooting, with another nine people critically injured.

A map displaying times and locations of the attacks. Diagram by bbc.co.uk.
A map displaying times and locations of the attacks. Diagram by bbc.co.uk.

French president Francois Hollande promised vengeance against ISIS for the attacks, stating that “we will be ruthless.” Many nations around the world have echoed this sentiment, pledging support to help destroy ISIS and their extremist agenda.

However, France wasn’t the only one attacked that week.  The day previous, the city of Beirut in Lebanon was attacked by two suicide bombers who killed 43 people and injured hundreds more.  A surviving member of the extremist force claimed to have been recruited by ISIS, and ISIS later publically took credit for the attacks.

All this violence and bloodshed follows in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shooting in January, which left eleven dead and more injured.

In the wake of such bloodshed, it’s obvious something has to be done.  But what?  For many, the solution seems to be denying Syrian refugees asylum, on the grounds that there could be terrorists moving among them and thus into these countries.  This includes our state of Idaho.

While at first this might seem like a logical stance to take, the scariest part of it all is that it might just be exactly what ISIS wants.  In a ten page editorial published on the Islamic State’s online magazine, the author describes the grey zone most Muslims inhabit between “the caliphate and the infidel.”

By orchestrating these attacks and pushing the world into chaos, ISIS is causing many countries to seriously debate whether it’s worth harboring these refugees.  The more stringent our vetting processes become, the more hostile we become towards these hapless refugees, the more ISIS wins.

Despite the attacks’ relative disconnectedness from the refugee crisis, what many nations and individuals have taken away from these attacks is that the refugees should be turned elsewhere, that they should be someone else’s problem.  The more this happens, the easier it becomes for these people to look at ISIS and say “You know….these guys don’t seem all that bad.”

ISIS is not a threat we can just bomb out of existence.  It’s not all one nationality or one religion’s fault.  We need to be aware that these refugees are innocent, and that denying them asylum or treating them poorly will only hurt us.

Surprisingly, France seems to acknowledge this point.  President Hollande stated that France would continue to accept thousands of refugees, as it was their ‘humanitarian duty” to shelter them.

The world was ready to stand with France when they got hit by the attacks.  Will it support this viewpoint even after the attacks cast doubt on the refugees?

Only time will tell.