Issue 2 October 2010


Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Issue 2 October 2010

  1. 1. theECHOES Scottsbluff High School | October 2010 | Volume 94| Issue 2 Scottsbluff High School Wall Info Photos Notes What’s on your profile? Share 500 million membersWith over on Facebook alone,[ ] the time has come to ask: Will employers/colleges ‘like’ your profile? Three years after the brutal murder of her father, senior Dani Vesper How your online behavior may affect your future | pg. 12 tells her story | pg. 2 New Advanced Placement awardprofitable for students, teachers | pg. 6 Privacy settings: do you know yours? “The mosque near Ground Zero”: the great debate | pgs. 10 & 11 Why you shouldn’t post private information online | pg. 13
  2. 2. The 2008 homicide of Jason Vesper left his daughter Dani with just memories. He may be... gone, but he won’t beREMEMBERED MOMENT FORGOTTEN Jason Vesper holds his daughter Dani, now a senior at SHS, at home in an old family photo. Although there are currently no suspects Scottsbluff Chief-of-Police Alex Moreno says the investiga- tion continues. Courtesy photo together. She said her dad was always part of most of her favorite childhood Jason left to get a soda at the West- ern Travel Terminal (WTT) around memories. 12:30 a.m. “He was always there for every- After leaving WTT, Jason’s vehiclestory by a full scholarship to Louisiana State thing I did, even little school plays was spotted on a surveillance videoASHLEIGH SMITH | feature writer University for both golf and academ- in elementary school; and I loved the from Community Christian Elementa- ics. He was then offered the Head Pro vacations we went on as a family, like ry School in an area between Avenue position at Oro Valley Country Club to Disney World,” Dani said. E and Avenue F. “Go Bearcats, Go!” “Let’s go, and Resort in Tucson, AZ.Bearcats!” Dani had a special relationship The video shows Jason driving up After studying and golfing, Jason with her father throughout her child- Avenue E with another vehicle, either The gymnasium resonated with came back to Scottsbluff where hethe pandemonium of the crowd sup- hood. a Cadillac or Buick, following shortly married and started his family: two “We were very close,” Dani said. “I behind. The following vehicle flashedporting their Bearcat volleyball team. children, Joshua and Danielle.The Lady Cats were dominating their was definitely a daddy’s girl.” its headlights, indicating Jason to He worked for Z & M Lumber in stop.arch nemesis, Gering High School, 1989 where he was appointed man-and nothing could make their fans *** Both vehicles come to a stop “ ager once the business was sold to No one could have guessed that between West 14th Street and Avenuehappier. UBC (United Senior cheerleader Dani Vesperpranced onto the volleyball court with Building He was always there for F, where a tree and a house block the camera’s view. Forty-nine seconds everything I did, even Center). later, Jason’s vehicle drives into view.a smile plastered upon her face, ready UBC He traveled west toward his home, ”to further excite the crowd. little school plays in el- closed later, while the other vehicle headed north, Dani gazed out into the stands, but Jason stillscanning the crowd for her family and away from the scene. ementary school. stuck with the It is believed that in that forty-ninefriends. Everything seemed complete: business asthe Bearcats were winning, the stu- second time frame, Jason Vesper was it became Zdents were ecstatic, and parents were & M Lumber -Dani Vesper, 12 stabbed. Earlier back at home, the familyproud. once again. There was just one thing missing: began to worry about how much time Everyone such a happy childhood could take Jason was taking to get his soda.her dad. that worked with Jason remembers such a sharp turn for the worse. Right before the incident Mrs. Ves- him as a top notch salesman, hard It was Jan. 1, 2008, day one of the per called to check on her husband. *** worker, and a respected business Jason Vesper was born on April New Year. Everyone usually plans He was still at WTT. man. what changes they will make for their Moments later the family noticed3, 1967 in Scottsbluff. He graduated Jason had a great enthusiasm forfrom Loveland High School in Love- future and it never crosses one’s mind an unusual light coming from the sports, but his true passion and talent those plans could be altered by a third neighbor’s, CO with a 4.0 GPA and four was golf.years of golf under his belt. party with a dark motive. As they walked outside, the awful Golfing was one of the many2 | FEATURE He was granted This night seemed like any normal sounds and glaring lights of Jason’s things that Dani and her dad did evening. running pickup were screeching in the
  3. 3. night, stuck in the snow. “I don’t know what else they could Dani said. person that worked for my family “Oh, my God. What is going on?” do, but if other murders can be solved so my mom is trying to go back toDani said. then this one can too. There has to be *** school.” Dani said. “She has way She was in shock. something,” Dani said. Today Dani has a more positive bigger expectations for me than she “He was losing consciousness, but The police have questioned many outlook on life. Although she is still had for my brother, who doesn’t livehe was still there. You could tell he people, including Dani. When a haunted by the reality of the crime, with us anymore. I’m basically stuckwas starting to fade out. I just kept murder occurs, the first suspects are she has somewhat accepted the situa- with ten times more responsibility.telling him that I loved him.” usually the family, so the police asked tion and grown from it. The stress puts a lot of pressure on the The police were called to the scene. her questions to eliminate family “I realized that things happen for a way we treat each other.”Jason died just an hour later at Re- members as suspects. reason, and it kind of helped me grow Even though things are stressfulgional West Medical Center. “They kept asking if I knew any- and develop,” Dani said. with her mother, she tries to look at The funeral was held a week body who did it, as if I didn’t under- It’s still hard for Dani to discuss the happier things when it comes tolater at the Dugan Kramer Funeral stand, but I knew what they were the subject about what happened her father.Chapel. So many people attended the getting at,” Dani said. to her father, but now she is brave Every year the family holds a golfceremony that more chairs had to be While the police were quick to pry, enough to talk about it with a few tournament for Jason, the Jason Ves-brought in. others kept quiet. Not many people people, mostly her family. per Memorial Golf classic. Tears streamed down Dani’s face. asked her about it at first. Small reminders constantly haunt As each year passes, the realityShe didn’t know how to feel or act. Dani avoided the public in the be- Dani every day. won’t fully set in. Dani will always “ “At first I just couldn’t believe ginning. The murder happened dur- “It’s just the little things you take miss her dad, and the shock of losingit. I was in such shock that nothing her father will always remain.seemed real,” Dani said. If I could tell him one “I miss that he was always there ” Although Dani cannot vouch for for me, no matter what, and if I couldher family’s feelings exactly, she says thing now, it would tell him one thing now, it would be be that I love him.they were just as freaked out as she that I love him,” she said.was. After experiencing what most kids For the first year following her could simply not imagine or endure,father’s death, Dani claims the con- -Dani Vesper, 12 Dani has maintained an admirablefusion she felt shown through her composure and grown into a personpoor choices. As time went on things ing Christmas with wisdom and an un-teachablebecame clearer and she could better break, and she waited a couple weeks for granted, like when you want perspective on life.sort her thoughts. to go back to school after the incident. to call your parents,” Dani said. “I “I would really love to go back and But the reasoning behind Jason’s “I didn’t want to be in public at always think ‘Oh, I want to call my have it not happen, but I know that itmurder is still unknown. all,” Dani said. dad,’ but I can’t.” won’t, and it’s made me into a stron- The police are still attempting When she first returned to school, Dani’s relationship with her mom ger person. It’s made me see thingsto solve the case, but no leads on classmates and teachers didn’t know has also changed since her dad was differently and changes my outlooksuspects have been made. Dani how to act. removed from the picture. on life,” Dani said. “A lot of peopledoesn’t exactly feel that investigators “I think they realized that I didn’t “There’s a lot of pressure on our re- change for the worse when things likehave done all that they can to find the want to be treated any differently lationship since things have changed this happens, but it’s made me changeculprit. because I didn’t change who I was,” so much. Plus, my dad was the only for the better.” TODAY’S What’s happening on the investigation said. “Every inter- view with people charged with drug distribution has been asked about this case,” Moreno Jason’s playing card was distribut- “We often get judged that we don’t do the job we’re supposed to do because we’re a small town. I disagree totally,” Moreno said. “I think we got one of the more veteran investigative service units in this entire part of the state, if not ed in the prisons of Nebraska. Playing the entire state.” Vesper case today? cards contain the pictures of unsolved homicides. Unfortunately, there are people in this community who would “This was just another way to gen- commit this crime.story by They were able to produce two erate more talk,” Moreno said. “There are some pretty ruthless,MEGHAN PRITCHARD | feature editor separate videos that showed two cars: Besides not knowing who is re- non-caring people who live for Jason’s and the today and not tomorrow and who The case of Jason Vesper is still culprit’s. “It’s important that the family knows care less what you have to say and unsolved, but the Scottsbluff Police “We con- what I have to say,” Moreno said. Department are still working hard tinue to look that we’re going to keep working on Every effort has been put into to solve that. for vehicles this case. While the police have no idea that fit that this to the best of our abilities.” “We’re doing everything we who committed the crime, they’ve profile in terms can. There’s only so much evi- done the best they can to make this of the type of - Chief-of-Police Alex Moreno dence and information we can act homicide public in the community vehicle it is,” upon. It’s important that the family to get more information. Moreno said. “We submitted those knows that we’re going to keep “We sent a plea to the commu- videos to agencies that specialize in sponsible, the most frustrating thing working on this to the best of our nity for anyone who had any kind video enhancement.” to the police department is being abilities.” of video for any activity between They also went to their drug task questioned about the police depart- WTT and Jason’s home,” Chief-of- force, predicting someone under the ment’s efficiency and abilities to 3 Police Alex Moreno said. influence was responsible. investigate a case of this magnitude. FEATURE |
  4. 4. School on eve of Scottsbluff/Gering game story by Although Lopez said they do have RYAN MEISTER | news writer a lead on the suspects, he cannot Students arriving at school last Fri- release any further details at this time. day were greeted with graffiti painted He approximates the time of the van- on the walls of the Splash Arena, the dalism to be at midnight. school’s west entrance and the east “The next plan of action is to fol- side of the school’s auditorium. low up on the names that have been Phrases like “G-town, Gering, brought up and otherwise be open to Dawgs, and Bulldogz” stained the student tips,” Lopez said. walls on the day of the Scottsbluff/ From what could be seen on video, Gering football game. there were two white males wearing Several groups worked for almost black sweatshirts with hoods up and ten hours to remove as much graffiti jeans. The vandals didn’t try to avoid as possible. Remnants can still be seen cameras or keep their faces from be- on some walls. ing exposed. Principal Rick Porter said e-mails The consequences the vandals were sent to all teachers informing face in terms of law enforcement is them of the situation, and he encour- destruction of property, but the school aged students via the intercom after will decide if charges will be pressed the morning announcements not to after suspects are identified. Some retaliate. penalties could include fines, manda- School Resource Officer Steve tory community service, probation, Lopez reviewed surveillance video and expulsion. VANDALISM Friday morning to assess the situation Lopez estimated the graffiti re- Terry Brown with Gary’s Cleaning and Restoration Services uses a power washer to blast graffiti CLEAN UP early Friday morning from the east side of the Splash Arena. Photo by Terry Pitkin and to identify the culprits. moval cost at $600-700. State reading results show room for improvementstory by scale score ranging from 0 to 200, with problem leading to lower scores. meet the standard. The state thenSCOUT WILSON | news editor 85 being the standard score to strive Many students aren’t reading as takes the bottom 15 schools on the to meet. Grades three through eight much due to a variety of societal fac- AYP and puts them on the Persistently Linda* stared at the computer were also tested, their scores were tors; entertainment systems have also Low Achieving Schools (PLAS) list.screen in the library during the state also over the standard, but not by a created competition with books since Those schools will receive morereading assessment last spring. big margin. their invention. money from the state to improve on After a while, all the stories The standardized testing results Things like the Wii, the X-Box, the the things they need to. The PLAS listmerged into one. are not comparable to previous assess- Playstation, and the Internet are being is basically used to target schools that She was tired of reading and ments since in the past, districts built chosen over reading a book when it are in need of improvement.certainly not concerned about the test their own assessments. comes to using leisure time. Porter said the time frame for theresults. Last year was the first time a stan- In addition, Porter said many stu- Scottsbluff district to raise test scores Soon, her only goal was to get dardized test was used to assess all dents aren’t involved in face-to-face is the sooner the better.through the multiple choice tests as districts in the state. conversation in this cell phone and “We need to take a look at thequickly as possible. Prior to last year’s tests, districts internet-dominated culture. Texting, individual students, the individual Although students in the district administered their own tests. email, and facebook have become groups, the demographics and givelast year may have scored more than This allowed the district to mea- the means of communication, which students the proper interventions soproficient overall, it is easy to see sure how students were doing in could be affecting teens’ vocabulary. that they are successful,” Porter said.why there is still room to improve alignment with the curriculum, then “Out-of-school reading habits of A useful tool principals and teach-and grow, according to the Nebraska if students weren’t proficient, the dis- students have shown that even 15 ers are using on the high school levelDepartment of Education. trict could re-teach and re-assess. minutes a day of independent reading to encourage students to do well on On Aug. 25, the Department of Those scores looked better because can expose students to more than a the test, is competition.Education released results of its first with the new testing students are million words of text in a year.” (An- When students know their scoresstatewide-standardized reading test. taught all year long and then given a derson, Wilson, and Fielding, 1988) are going to be compared to Chadron, Nearly a third of the state’s one-shot assessment in the spring. Other factors affecting low stu- Mitchell, or Gering, they are going tostudents failed to meet reading Sandy Porter, director of Curricu- dents scores include: poverty, if there want to do better because students arestandards, and only about 20 percent lum and Technology for the school is a significant adult in a student’s life, proud of their schools Porter said.exceeded standards. district, saw some positives in the and whether English was their first Conveying the importance of Last spring’s standardized testing results for the Scottsbluff district. language. reading outside of school is the mostcovered only reading, but next spring “Now we know where we stand So what ramifications will the helpful key to improving addition to reading, there will be a in comparison to other districts, we Scottsbluff district face if scores aren’t “I think to encourage students tomath test. The following year will be know what we need to do and will raised? read more outside of school, teachersstandardized testing in reading, math, plan accordingly. It seems the longer Test scores, as well as graduation should talk about the reading they doand science. students were in the district, the better rate, dropout rate, and participation because they are more experienced Juniors scored a 101 in an average they did,” Porter said. rate all factored into an Adequate and can help open up students to Porter went on to say that getting Yearly Progress (AYP) decision. different reading materials,” Peter4| NEWS students to read outside of school is a A district either meets or doesn’t Johnson, SHS English Department Chairperson, said.
  5. 5. Cat CalendarOctober Events15th- End of SHS 1st Quarter15th- FB VAR. vs. SIdney- 7pm15th-BTN State @ Lincoln- TBA15th-SB State-TBA16th- PSAT/NMSQT Testing16th-VB VAR @ Ogallala vs. McCook-Noon16th- 28th Annual Old West Weekend Parade-10:30 am Field Competition-1pm18th- 9-12 NO SCHOOL, Teacher In Service19th VB 9th/JV/VAR vs Alliance- 5/6/7pm22nd- FB VAR vs. Alliance-7 pm23rd- ACT Testing26th- SHS Fall Vocal Concert- 7pm30th- VB VAR GNAC @ Scottsbluff- 10am31st- HalloweenNovember Events4th- VB Districts @ Gering-TBA6th- SAT Testing6th- Old West Show Choir Competition7th Daylight Savings Time Ends11th Veterans Day11th SHS & BMS Bands Veterans Day Parade- 11 am11th- VB State @ GI/Hastings-TBA The CAT CALENDAR is brought to you by the SCOTTSBLUFF BOOSTER CLUBJoey BetzoldScottsbluff High SchoolClass of 2011 Career AcademiesCriminal Justice • Health Aide • Health Informatics • EMT • Phlebotomy • Criminal Justice • Early Childhood Development • Information Technology • EducationA Western Nebraska Community College Career Academy is aprogram designed to give Panhandle high school students theopportunity to explore and enroll in a pathway sequence of collegecourses pertaining to a particular eld or elds while in high school. e place to ... explore!wncc.edu308.630.6542
  6. 6. GET PAID to make the grade New Advanced Placement award offers the monetary compensation for high achievement BREAK downstory byKARIN SHEDD | editor-in-chief for students who achieve a passing score (3, 4, or 5) on any AP exam, and Aaberg on every one of the teacher awards. We wanted to acknowledge A sk eight in ten Americans what they think of theeconomy, and, according to the CBS for the recently graduated senior with the highest cumulative score over his/her four years of high school. AP that.” “I was deeply touched and utterly speechless because, in over 20 years STUDENTS Students who take an AP examEvening News, they will sum it up in teachers compete for three awards: of teaching, no one has ever done Highest Mean Score for a Class, High- that for me. It’s nothing I would ever and receive a passing grade will beone word: bad. This news is particularly grim for est Number of Passers, and Greatest expect,” Menghini said. rewarded by the following scale:high school students, most of whomhave no time to work their way to the Improvement. The inaugural awards were Called the ‘RIP’ (Really Impressive Performance) award, it is entirely up 3-$20 4-$50 presented at the AP parent’s meeting to the discretion of the Shedds - if they “big bucks because of the 7.5 hours aday, five days a week they spend at on Sep. 22. Fifteen current students notice something unusually remark-school. received envelopes with cash inside, able about a teacher’s performance for Wouldn’t it a school year, 5-$100be nice to con-solidate these We’ve been using bribery to encourage they will rec- ognize it with Senior Award: the senior who, after graduation, has the highesttwo activities, our children since their potty-training the RIP award. cumulative AP exam score will ”learning and If not, themaking money,into one ef- days. Back then it was cheaper - just award will re- main dormant receive $1000. Seniors MUST TAKE and pass at least one AP exam atficient andprosperous some M & M’s. Now it’s money. and “we’ll just rename it ‘Rest the end of their senior year to be considered for this award.endeavor? Is it in Peace’ forpossible to getpaid to learn? -Michael and Gina Shedd that year.” Further- TEACHERS It is now. and 2010 graduate Chris Johnson more, the Shedds hope to guarantee All teachers of AP classes compete Drs. Michael and Gina Shedd of won $1000 as the first recipient of the that all students have the opportunity for four different $1000 awards:Scottsbluff recently established a new senior award. to take AP exams, which cost $87award that compensates students andteachers for exceptional performances “I was really surprised,” Johnson, who is currently attending the United each. “In conjunction with the coun- 1. Highest Mean Score for a subject - Average score of all test takersin the Advanced Placement (AP) States Naval Academy, said. “Taking selor’s office, we will work to ensure in a single class taught by a singleprogram. the AP classes was definitely worth that all students wishing to take an it because it prepared me for college exam are financially capable of taking teacher (all students in class who “We believe that the AP program isan amazing educational opportunity courses, but getting paid was a nice the exam,” they said. didn’t take test are included infor the kids of Scottsbluff, and we benefit.” The counselor’s office also handled calculation).want to encourage participation andsuccess,” the Shedds said. Math teacher Shelby Aaberg swept the teacher competition, winning all the mechanics of the new awards. Counselor and AP coordinator Julie 2. Highest number of passing scores as percentage of how many The surest way to encourage suc- three awards, a total of $3000. Newman obtained consent from kids took the class - Total number ofcess? Cash bribes, of course! “I was pleasantly surprised,” each student who received a passing Aaberg said. “It’s nice to see a family score(s) to have said score(s) released passing scores divided by number “We’ve been using bribery to en-courage our children since their potty putting money toward education.” to the Shedds for the purpose of of students enrolled in days,” the Shedds, who cur-rently have two kids in the Scottsbluff However, Aaberg wasn’t the only teacher to see the benefits of the pro- calculating the prize money of each student. 3. Most improved - Difference between number of passing scorespublic school system, said. “Back then gram. The Shedds surprised English “Anytime that I can help students teacher Todd Menghini with his own get cash for what they’ve done is a from current year and previousit was cheaper - just some M&M’s.Now it’s money.” $1000 award. fun part of my job, so I enjoyed doing year in same subject. The AP M&M’s, so to speak, areallotted according to exam scores for “When we were calculating the re- sults for the teacher awards, we were it,” Newman said. The new AP award program may 4. Really Impressive Performance or Rest in Peace award - Up toindividual students, and, for teach- struck by the impressive performance not be the solution to the nationwide discretion of the Shedds. If theyers, the scores received by students of Mr. Menghini in his inaugural AP economy, but it does grant the wish English Language class,” the Shedds of many high school students: getting notice something impressive, theyin his/her AP class. There are prizes said. “He came in second to Mr. paid to make the grade. will reward it.6 | NEWS
  7. 7. At the Candlelight Inn & Lounge we offer: -Seasonal Specials -Low Rates -Family & Friends Candlelight Inn & Lounge -All Welcome “ Your Home Away From Home”Located @ 1822 E 20th Place Bus:(308) 635-3751 Fax:(308) 635-1105 Scottsbluff NE 69361 All School Year Long Every 10th student gets a free lunch Student Specials Available 2201 Broadway Scotsbluff 632-3644 Club Zone Entertainment Anne Talbot, PsyD Psychological & Neuropsychological Mark Hald, PhD Assessments Nicole Vidlak, PhD Forensic Psychology All Age Groups308-632-8547 Individual, Marital, Family
  8. 8. With close to 24 million kids in the USA growing up PICTURE American radio and television comedy series, Father Knows Best. PERFECT without their fathers, somone needs to ask... WHERE’S YOUR ?story bygabRIEllE CaRlIn |center section editor Laura Bell* sat anxiously in her grand-mother’s living room, head racing with athousand thoughts. “What is he going to be like?” Da d d y? Smith’s parents separated when he was arise when a father is absent in a child’s life is was younger. I never really related it with my father’s absence, but now that I think about it, I suppose it could be. Maybe if I had a father to look up to I wouldn’t have gotten into that stuff,” Smith said. “ What should I say to him?” eight years old. that child’s behavior around men. While Bell and Smith have been divided on “ Am I going to cry? No, don’t cry!” “When my parents divorced, I sort of knew “I feel so weird when I’m around older a few issues, one thing is certain. The respect Suddenly the front door opened. In walked what was going on, but I didn’t totally com- men. I usually know how to act when I’m in they feel for their mothers is unquestionable.a man wearing a farmer’s shirt and blue jeans prehend what was happening. My parents a school or business setting, but if I’m at a “My mother and I don’t have an amaz-with boots. tried not to fight in front of my siblings and friend’s house and their dad walks in I feel so ingly close-knit relationship, but she’s always Laura couldn’t believe what she was see- me, so it wasn’t a messy divorce,” Smith said. awkward. It’s hard to explain, it’s just a weird worked hard to make sure my siblings and I “ing. She had waited her whole life to meet her While Smith’s father doesn’t play a huge feeling,” Bell said. have had the things we need. That definitelyfather, and it was finally happening. role in his son’s life, he still makes an effort. Another common issue that arises is rebel- makes me respect her more,” Smith said. As the two met in the middle of the room “I talk to Bell harbors the same feelings toward herLaura desperately fought back the tears build-ing up in her eyes. my dad on the phone every I wish my father thought of me as his mother. “When my mom and I get along it’s amaz- This strange man, her father, slowlywrapped his arms around her and held her once and a while. I usually daughter and not just some child support ing, but when we fight it’s terrible. Even though we fight I still have respect for her. Atight. A sudden feeling of security spread have to ask him check in the mail. lot of the times I just bite my tongue becausethrough Laura’s body, and all she wanted was where he’s -Laura Bell I think about all the things she’s sacrificed for Life Without Dadto keep that feeling inside forever. at because he me,” Bell said. Every year, stories like these have become moves around Whether or not a father’s absence altersmore and more familiar: couple has kids, a lot. He also comes around for the major lion. Studies show that kids who have grown the lives of boys and girls differently is a littlefather bails out, mother raises children. holidays,” Smith said. up in single-parent homes are more likely to up in the air, but it is apparent that it affects a It’s undeniable that both boys and girls Bell’s life with an absent father is dramati- participate in sexual activities and drug and child’s life somehow.need some sort of male role model in their cally different. alcohol abuse. “When I met my father for the first time welife. The question is how a father’s absence “I actually just met my father for the first “I was pretty young when I first started didn’t really talk about anything important. Iaffects each gender differently. time this past summer. I had to take the initia- having sex, but I never really got into drug think that if I saw him now I would ask him “For me, I feel like I’ve missed out on hav- tive and find him, which hurt a lot. I just don’t abuse or anything like that,” Bell said. why he never wanted to be a part of my life. Why aren’t men stepping up to the plate and fullfilling their roles as fathers?ing a male role model. As a guy I’ve mainly understand why he never came to me,” Bell For Smith, drugs and alcohol became a I wish he thought of me as his daughter and story bymissed having someone to talk to,” Jason said. problem. not just some child support check in the mail. EThan hUghEs | center section writer cents throughout her career, many without become a wonderful relationship for senior “I think the high percentage of absent fa-Smith* said. One of the major problems that tends to “I did get into drugs and alcohol when I It hurts a lot,” Bell said. fathers. Sidnie Stabnow. thers is due to our society. Our society doesn’t * Names have been changed. As our world turns we have seen nu- “Being a school counselor, I have worked Around the age of 11, Stabnow was intro- hold people accountable. We’re seeing a gen- merous changes throughout the history of with many kids who lack a father figure duced to her step father, Craig. eration of fathers without good role models Daddy Facts: “ mankind, but one inescapable fact has always in their lives. I have seen kids fall into the “We’re really close. He’s really understand- and a lack of understanding,” Newman said. remained and is now on the rise, fatherless statistics and I have seen kids rise above their ing. I can have a conversation with him and “Before Craig, my mom and I were lost. I homes. circum- feel like a father is like a security blanket. I Taking a look at the statistics surrounding absent fathers Statistics show there are dramatic risks involved when a child grows up in a father- stances. I think The kids I worry about are the kids who feel the personally feel that I have a protector at my house. I think a positive male role model is less home. the more very important in the life of an adolescent,” longing, unrest and feeling of abandonment.” 1 2 3 4 5 According to a study conducted by the support Stabnow said. U.S. Department of Health and Human Ser- kids The million dollar question is what we as vices, National Center for Health Statistics, fa- therless children are at a dramatically greater have -Julia Newman, Counselor a society needs to do in order to get fathers to from step up to the plate. risk of drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, positive and healthy adults, the more those he won’t put in his input until I’m finished “In order for our society to see a rise suicide, poor educational performance, teen kids are set up for success,” Newman said. talking, but what really brought us closer in positive male role models, we need to pregnancy and criminality when compared Newman praises the kids who do well together was his kids (Taylor, 10, and Tre, 11). rally around men. We can pass all the laws Approximately Compared to liv- Young men who grow Students living in Being raised by a to their peers who live in two parent house- despite circumstances beyond their control. At first I was stand-offish, I felt like he was we want, but until we begin to model the 84% of custodial ing with both parents, up in houses without absent father homes are single mother raises holds. “I have seen a lot of kids just do the right taking my mom away from me. It was hard behavior we want, we won’t see a change. parents are moth- living in a single-par- fathers are twice as likely to twice as likely to drop the risk of teen preg- The research also showed that young men thing, even though they lack parental supervi- at first, but Taylor was my best friend from We should expect fathers to be in their child’s ers, while a smaller ent home doubles the end up in jail as those who out of school or repeat nancy, marrying with growing up in homes without fathers are sion. Some kids are really adaptable, some the beginning. I feel like she’s my actual sister lives and we need to give more support emo- percentage of 16 of risk that a child will come from traditional two a grade. Parent in- less than a high school twice as likely to end up in jail as those who kids find other outlets, and some kids don’t that I’ve known since birth. I think she is why tionally and in the court,” Newman said. custodial parents suffer physcial, emo- parent families regardless volvement in school is degree,and forming a come from traditional two parent families miss it. The kids who I worry about are the I’ve grown close to Craig,” Stabnow said. Maybe in the future fatherless homes are fathers. tional, or educational of race, income, parent edu- significanly lowered in marriage where both regardless of race, income, parent education kids who feel the longing, unrest and feeling Although we see kids who grow and won’t be an issue, but until we see this neglect. cation and urban residence. single-parent homes. partners have less than or urban residence. of abandonment,” Newman said. adapt, with all the statistics and facts, why are problem alleviated, we must understand that a high school degree. Scottsbluff High School senior counselor What is commonly portrayed as a seem- there still so many single parent families out everyone needs support and love to make the Julia Newman has dealt with many adoles- ingly difficult adjustment for many has there? most out of themselves despite their circum-8 | CENTER SECTION stances. CENTER SECTION | 9
  9. 9. To build... The phrase “Mosque at Ground Zero” is a misnomer that encourages ignorance and prejudice in America ethanhughes New York City. Wednesday, March 4th, 1789. Europeans rarely bathed. Once again, ignorance). Americans have been a free people for twelve years Our similarly ignorant view of Islam comes from and eight months. Congress has met to begin writing the the extreme crimes that a miniscule portion of Muslims first ten amendments to our Constitution. committed. If the only exposure you had to a certain The First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law subject was negative, then, naturally, your view of it will respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the be negative. If a child grows up hearing bees are danger- free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, ous and is constantly told to avoid them, that person or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to will develop a fear of bees. assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of If the same kid grows up around bee farmers and grievances.” is constantly exposed to the science of and good that In other words, freedom of religion, speech, press and comes from bees, that person will not develop an ir- right to assembly. It’s the reason you can pray in school, rational fear. the reason you can identify yourself with a certain party, Point is: we only see Islam in one context that is not the reason you can peacefully meet or protest. true for the vast majority. Islamic terrorists are people And it’s the reason I am writing this column. who pervert their religion the same way the Christians Recently, all forms of media have been dominated by did during the Crusades, the same way the Spanish one topic: the “Mosque Christians did during at Ground Zero.” their “Gold, Glory, and From websites to politicians to news Why is an act of evil committed by God” expeditions in South America and the stations, everyone is putting in their two one of our own more tolerable than same way Reverend Terry Jones did during cents. So here’s mine: We’ve got it all one committed by strangers? his recent Quran-burning stunt. wrong. April 19, 1995, in Oklahoma City. Army veteran Firstly, we were mistaken by using the term ‘mosque.’ Timothy McVeigh detonated a truck bomb with 5,000 The proposed building is a not merely a mosque, but a pounds of ammonium nitrate and nitromethan outside public community center including a food court, swim- an office building and day care center, killing 168 people ming pool, and basketball court. There will be a place to and injuring 450. Of these victims, 19 were small chil- pray inside of it, but no one is constructing an elaborate, dren and babies in the day care. 100 story temple in honor of Allah. Is St. Mary’s Hospital McVeigh expressed no remorse, referring to the a church because there is a chapel in it? deaths of the children as “collateral damage.” Secondly, this building is not “at Ground Zero.” McVeigh identified himself as a Christian. I’m sure I went on Google maps to research for this column the community of Oklahoma City would have no prob- and found that the proposed construction site is two lem building a church near the site of the bombings. blocks away from Ground Zero, in the shadow (literally) Why is an act of evil committed by one of our own of numerous office buildings. It is tucked away between citizens more tolerable than an act of evil committed by an Amish Market and an apartment complex. strangers? In fact, the ‘mosque’ blends in so well with the sur- I constantly hear the term “building this mosque at rounding structures that one could very well mistake the Ground Zero is a slap in the face of America,” I identify whole block for the same building. myself as a Christian - one of my favorite Bible verses is The only way they could have picked a more incon- Proverbs 31:8-9: “Speak up for those who cannot speak spicuous spot in the entire city would be to find a ran- for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. dom back alley in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. I don’t think a ray Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor of sun has even hit the roof of this building. At Ground and needy.” Zero? Not Quite. I know not every Muslim is poor and needy, but the But the thing that Americans have mistaken the most verse can still be applied here: we need to speak up is our view of Islam. We are uneducated in Islam, which for the rights of the religiously oppressed American makes it part of the terrifying ‘unknown.’ In short, we are Muslims. ignorant. If radical Christians like Reverend Terry Jones and Emma Goldman once said, “The most violent element Timothy McVeigh are guaranteed these rights, but aver- in our society is ignorance.” I have to agree. age, peaceful Islamic citizens are not, we not only spit in Ignorance is the reason Europeans enslaved blacks. the faces of our founding fathers, but we shred and torch They viewed black as the color of the devil, so the darker the Constitution; we desecrate everything this country the skin the more evil the person (ignorance). Also, stands for. If “building the mosque at Ground Zero is a Europeans knew little about the African way of life, so slap in the face of America,” then denying human rights they viewed them as dirty savages (in a time when most based on religion must be a slap in the face of God.10 | OPINION
  10. 10. ...or not to build?The “Mosque at Ground Zero” is a slap in the faces of the victims of September 11th and America at large Think back to September 11, 2001. this mosque didn’t cause their religion to be continu- Can you recall how your parents may have acted ally identified with ground zero. meghanpritchardto the news? The point is that there is such a thing as right and I remember sitting on a chair at age eight, plunk- wrong, appropriate and inappropriate. People shoulding notes on the piano for fun. My mom sternly start worrying less about being politically correct andasked me to stop as she watched two planes plunge more about what impact their position will have.into the twin towers on the television. The devasta- It’s not unusual for something to be completelytion and horror on her face shocked me into silence. legal but also completely improper. For instance, I My elementary school paid respect to the victims have the legal right to burn a copy of the Koran, but Iby having moments of silence. People mourned over would never do so because it’s offensive to Muslims.their losses, memorials were built. Everything pos- I disagree with the Christian Pastor in Floridasible was done to repair the damages of the city and who was planning to burn a pile of Korans to make athe hearts of the wounded families. statement. “Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, On East Overland in Scottsbluff, David Marezdespicable acts of terror. The pictures of airplanes owns a tattoo business that is located a block awayflying into buildings, fires burning, huge structures from Roosevelt Elementary School. Marez has paint-collapsing, have filled us with disbelief, terrible sad- ed a disturbing and grotesque mural of devil-likeness and a quiet, unyielding anger,” then-President creatures on his alleyway wall to make a statementGeorge W. Bush said. against graffiti in the city. The elementary kids have America was stabbed right in the heart. And now, to walk by the wall everyday on their way to school.nine years later, we He may have the rightagain face an issuethat has the entire Are we really going to let them to paint this on his wall, but I think mostcountry into anuproar. win again right where it all began? people of Scottsbluff would agree this is I want to make absolutely clear from the very start that Imam Raul On Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearlhas the legal right to build a mosque wherever he Harbor. My great, great uncle was onboard the U.S.S.likes unless there are zoning laws against it. Arizona when it was attacked and was one of the few With that said, I believe it’s inappropriate to build survivors. Franklin D. Roosevelt described that dayright near Ground Zero in New York City. It gives the as one that will “live in infamy.” I’m sure that myappearance of slapping America in the face, of giving great, great uncle, President Roosevelt, and most allradical Muslim terrorists another reason to rejoice. Americans would find it completely inappropriate if This is particularly offensive to most Americans someone wanted to build a Japanese-style Buddhistbecause Imam Raul has made some startling anti- temple on the shores of Pearl Harbor near the U.S.S.American remarks in the past. For instance, he once Arizona memorial.said, “America has more blood on its hands than Each of these three examples clearly shows thatAlQuida,” and “America is an accessory to 9/11.” something that is legal is not necessarily appropriate, To me it sounds like this man only wants to make and the mosque issue falls in the same category.fools of us and we should feel ashamed if we just In fact, most Americans agree with me. In a CBSstand by and let him do it. poll conducted in late August 2010, 72% of Ameri- I know there are many peace loving Muslims that cans said the mosque should be built in a differenthave never meant our country harm and in no way I taking this position with intent to condemn the I believe allowing the mosque to be built rightMuslim religion. I have no problem with the mosque near ground zero is offensive and disrespectful to thebeing built, but it should be in a different location so victims of 9/11, their families, and America itself.that it is in no way identified with Ground Zero. It is certainly not unreasonable to ask Imam Radical Islamic terrorists killed over 3,000 Ameri- to build it elsewhere. In fact, he has been offeredcans that day. It was the largest terrorist attack with property for free at another location by the city ofthe most casualties on American soil, ever. It has had New York, but he refuses to budge, which makes mea lasting effect on the American people, especially feel like Imam is trying to make a statement with histhose living in New York. choice of location. The last thing New Yorkers need is a constant re- With everything that America has been through inminder of how radical Muslims executed this attack. the war against terror, are we really going to let themI would think peace-loving Muslims would prefer win again right where it all began? OPINION | 11