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The Vox Box

Archive for April 2009

Charity-A-Day: Cell Phones for Soldiers

American soldiers are detached each day from the lives they once led, but teenagers Robbie and Brittany Bergquist are striving to reach out to these troops with an organization all their own known as Cell Phones for Soldiers.

Through this unique program, soldiers are reconnected with their homes, families, friends, neighbors, and communities, even if only for minutes at a time.  Cell Phones for Soldiers was established in 2004 to provide American troops with means of calling home; five years and millions of dollars later, the program has succeeded in reuniting loved ones all across the United States.

By recycling used cell phones, the program raises money to purchase prepaid calling cards for American soldiers.  Getting involved with this remarkarble program is simple.  Donate any used cell phone today, and contribute to the cause that is reuniting families everywhere.

Be sure to check out www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com for more information.

“Your Mission: Help Our Troops Call Home”

Video of the Week


Not fond of swearing, but not sure that “gosh darnit” aptly expresses the pain of a stubbed toe? Try some wizard swears on for size!

Raising the bar on pandemic protection

The swine flu? (I just heard about this on today’s morning news…) 

The World Health Organization, (WHO), reports Mexico’s infection-count at 26 cases with 7 death while the U.S. Government having a count of 91 confirmed cases with no deaths: until now. 

Having traveled to Texas from his home in Mexico for following medical treatment, Reuters.com describes the 23-month-old child as “the first [death] outside Mexico and the first in U.S.”

“This is obviously a serious situation.  Serious enough to take the utmost precautions,” President Obama said while speaking at the White House before a short trip to Missouri. 

“Every American should know that the federal government is prepared to do whatever is necessary to control the impact of this virus,” Obama said. 

Follow the current standings on the swine influenza with WHO. Updated daily.

If only her name was Toto…

A six-pound, eight-month-old Chihuahua named Tinker Bell was reunited with her owners recently after a 70-mph gust of wind blew her nearly a mile away. The owners credited a pet psychic with Tinker Bell’s rescue. “The brown long-haired dog was dirty and hungry but otherwise OK,” according to this article.

Where’s Dorothy when you need her, hm? Any amusing pet stories of your own?

Lights, Camera, Community Action!

Spring is a time of renewal, reinvention, and reinspiration.  So my question is this: What have you done recently to serve your community?

It’s easy to forget about volunteerism as the weather warms up, school draws to a close, and spring sports seasons get fired up, but are those truly acceptable excuses?  Our communities, neighborhoods, and cities are crying out for help.  Let’s face it: There’s a ton of hurt in the world today.

Muhammad Ali once said, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth,” and I can’t help but agree with him.  What are we contributing to if not to our own backyards—our sources of education, entertainment, empowerment, and VOICE?

Check out this other amazing quote from Charles F. Kettering, an inventor.  “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover.”

Get inspired! Get out there and use your voice, talent, and heart to make those memorable changes you seek in the world, for the world has been waiting for you.

Encore for 17 Again

Just imagine what would happen if your dad returned to age seventeen and attended your high school for a week.  Just imagine if he guided you through an unexpected breakup.  Just imagine if he gave you the courage to stand up for yourself, your dreams, and your ideas.  Just imagine if 17 Again were playing in a theater near you.

Matthew Perry and Zac Efron play Mike, a middle-aged man whose hectic life and ongoing divorce troubles have him wishing for the “good ol’ days” of his senior year in high school, when he was the basketball team’s leading star with the brightest future ahead of him.  His skills in basketball attracted several colleges’ attention, but he threw away that dream in order to marry his high school sweetheart Scarlet.  …So when Mike wakes up to find himself at age seventeen once again, will he make the same decision?

Mike goes back to high school with his daughter and his son, ”undercover” as their long-lost cousin.  He realizes how detached he has become from his kids as he watches his teen daughter (played by Michelle Trachtenburg) throw away her future for her psychotic jock boyfriend and his son get tormented day in and day out by the same basketball team Mike himself was once apart of.  But can he measure up to be who his kids need?  Will his detachment from them as a father impair his ability to connect with them as a fellow teenager?  And will Scarlet, his almost ex-wife, give Mike the second chance that fate granted him?

17 Again is the fun-loving, spirited, and original family comedy everyone has been waiting for.  Its star cast truly delivers in this sensational film about life, love, family, growing up, and appreciating life’s simply breathtaking moments.

Defendant’s Mouth Taped Shut in Court

In Pocatello, Idaho, a judge ordered a defendant’s mouth taped shut after he lost patience with the man’s interruptions.

The move was ordered by 6th District Judge Peter D. McDermott during a probation violation hearing for Nicklas Frasure, 23, who was convicted of felony theft in 2008. The judge retained jurisdiction for sentencing depending on Frasure’s response to treatment, where Frasure had violated his probation, not taking his prescribed medication at his state mental hospital in Blackfoot.

Frasure interrupted with verbal outbursts and unusual behavior. After more outbursts, McDermott told bailiffs to silence him.

The bailiffs then found a roll of duct tape, tore off a piece, and put it over Frasure’s mouth, according to the Idaho State Journal.

What do you think? Isn’t this freaking hilarious?

Culminating Projects

For this year’s and last year’s graduating senior classes, a new graduation requirement has been added among the class and credit prerequisites: the culminating project. In this assignment, senior students are supposed to spend at least 20 hours in creating this project as well as writing a proposal letter and researched paper on the topic they chose. The project is very open to whatever students may choose to present on, but the main goal of the task is to make students experience “a learning stretch,”  which essentially means that they should be able to take away something from the work.

As a senior in the graduating class of 2009, I, myself, had to undertake the culminating project. In all honesty, it was burdensome and added already to the large amount of work I already had. For my project I had created a music video to a song my friend, Casey Ager, had written himself. The song he wrote happened to be his finalized culminating project. Here is the finished product.

But what I am really trying to get at is this: how do you feel about the requirement of the culminating project? Is it a good thing for students or another pointless graduation assignment? If you did a culminating project, what did you do it on? (Just out of curiousity)

The Glow:Spokane (high)lights

It’s been quite a while since a good ol’ ‘Glow’ article has hit the Vox, but never fear! My adventures will continue! With the first day of Spring Break comes the absolute need to get out of the house: my sister and I were ready and rarin’ to go. So where do you go on a springy day in the city of Spokane? (Yes…sushi, my friends, sushi….)

We headed down to 1st Avenue and hit up RAW, Sushi and Island Grill. It’s a great atmosphere, (and this sounds pretty cheesy,) yet you find yourself immersed in the ‘island feeling’ from the moment you walk in. High ceilings, majorly cool artwork (all ocean inspired, a really great octopus painting that I will steal one day…) and comfy bar-style seating throughout the resturant.

Well-known throughout the city of Spokane for their high-style cuisine, RAW isn’t just cooking up the seafood.  Craving some sushi on a Monday or Thursday? Stop in at RAW and you’ll also be able satisfy your craving for some karaoke! Mondays and Thursdays are marked by the ‘Karaoke on da Kouch’ when the resturant utilizes a little stage-area surrounding one of the most comfortable couches I’ve ever been blessed to sit on. (No joke…)

My Tried-And-True-FAVORITE: Winner of the ‘Best Sushi’ award by The Inlander’s “People’s choice” vote, RAW is always serving up something good. The first time I went I got one of the “New School Rolls”. The ‘Vegan Roll’, simply made of tempura, asparagus, avacado, cucumber, sesame seeds, and a crazy-good oishi sauce, is fantastic.  Another good sushi-choice is the Mexi-Cali: You’ve got some spicy crab mix blended with cream cheese and jalpenos and rolled up in fried tempura…amazing.  (Check out their website here…)

How does sushi stack up against your favorite foods? Any other good sushi places I should visit?

Video of the Week

Flight of the Conchords - “The Humans are Dead”

A hilarious look at the music of the post-robotic revolution world. Disclaimer: a not-so-nice word or two for those of you with virgin ears.

College Road Trip

We are quickly approaching summer, and with it, college tours and/or visits. Incoming juniors might just be looking at colleges they are interested in, or even just looking at colleges in cities they are visiting anyway. Incoming seniors have probably narrowed it down, and are visiting colleges they are planning to apply to. As College Confidential says,

Consider the advantage of visiting schools over the summer. If your senior-to-be has a list of, say, five or six candidate schools, a summer visit might help him or her refine the list to three or four before the new school year begins. College campuses are always lovely during the summer.

 Are you planning to visit any colleges over the summer? Have any seniors already visited colleges? Any tips?

Travel Spot of the Week

I missed last week due to circumstances beyond control of anyone but my AP US History teachher, but I’m back at it this week. This week, however, thinking ahead to summer, list a few places, that, if you had the time, resources and money, you would visit, in the continental US, Canada and Mexico.

 

 Where are places you love to go? Any oddball places you would HAVE to visit? Why would you visit the places you visit?

 

Charity-A-Day: Environment

Everyone seems to be going green these days, so here are some great ways to join in on the fun and help the planet out.

The Trust for Public Land: TPL is a nation-wide, nonprofit charity that seeks to conserve land for people. They are dedicated to ensuring the preservation and creation of parks, farmlands, natural lands, historical sites, costal areas, and waterways. There aren’t many volunteer opportunities, but donations are always welcome. They also offer a handful of “Shop&Support” options for those who would rather help by buying clothes or CDs.
www.tpl.org

Rainforest Action National:  RAN is an international organization bent on preserving our remaining rainforests and making the world safe and secure for future generations. They focus primarily on breaking our addictions to oil and coal by encouraging companies and corporations to go green. The closest chapter is in Seattle, but forming your own school-wide or community-wide chapter is happily offered as an option for those looking to offer a hand.
www.ran.org

Conservation International: CI is a high-ranking charity that promotes global respect, both for other people and for nature. Like RAN, they want to secure an environmentally safe future for us all. Their main strategies include saving species to preserve biological diversity, conserving landscapes and seascapes, empowering local communities with the knowledge and ability to help save the planet, and promoting awareness of “conservation ethic.” There are a number of campaigns you can get involved in, though as with TPL actuall volunteer options are limitied.
www.conservation.org

The Student Conservation Association: SCA is “America’s conservation corps,” specifically providing jobs and volunteer opportunities to high school and college students. This hands-on organization focuses on building trails, cleaning rivers, and restoring habitats in state and national parks. Weekend and summer programs are available for high school students, and internships and corps memberships are available for those 18 and older.
www.thesca.org

This site also has an extensive list of other top-ranked charities: www.charitywatch.org/toprated.html#enviro

Now get out there and go green!

Charity-A-Day: Education

As you may have seen in the Our Kids; Our Business section of today’s Spokesman-Review,  kicking off another week of charity-focus here at the Vox Box! We’ve investigated a huge range of topics; everything from Health, Animal Shelters, Food Banks, and more. Get ready and geared up for week two of ‘Charity-A-Day’!  Today we’ll tackle a big one: Education! (Yeah…the mention of that whole ‘school’ things usually inspires some groans and whining, but hold on - this is the good stuff…)

“Start with Trust”
The Better Busines Bureau is making education their main business with the BBB Education Foundation.  Found in Eastern Washington, North Idaho, and Montana, the BBB works toward their goal to “promote and foster ethical relationships within our community” by inviting high school sophomores to discuss ethics and preparing our generation for what lies ahead. 

“…Raising a high bar for all students benefits all students.”
That’s the core belief of Seattle-based education charity, Alliance for Education.  Raising capital, creating challenging courses, and inspiring students within Washington, are just a few of the things Alliance does to “champion change and help drive effective strategies that will increase student achievement.” The Alliance for Education also rewards teachers: Two scholarship-awards are given out to remarkable educators and one award is granted to a notable principal. You can help this unique charity by donation or by volunteering at their annual October fundraising-breakfast…(and yes - by volunteering you get part of the breakfast…yummm, helping students can be delicious!)

“…Prepare students from underserved communities for success in universities.”
Accra, Mamprobi, Chorkor, and Dansoman: These are the areas of Ghana, West Africa that are being helped by the Darkwa Foundation.  With a branch in Bellevue, WA, Darkwa’s goal is to promote education in nurseries, pre-school’s, kindergartens, Middle schools, and primary school’s in Ghana - thus limiting poverty. The charity accepts donations as well as ‘In-Kind’ gifts, such as text books, curriculum guides, computers, and toys all to ”enable [the kids] to contribute to the development of their own country.”

I’m Going to Exercise on the COLBERT!

My friend was browsing Yahoo the other day, when she found a story about how Stephen Colbert, of Comedy Central fame, pretty much rigged the vote for the name of the new space module. NASA held a vote for what the name of the module should be, with a space for write-in votes. Colbert, on his show, asked his viewers to vote for ‘The Colbert.’ Overwhelmingly, they did, and it won the vote, with 230,000 votes. NASA decided to name the module the Tranquility instead.

However, they will be calling the treadmill that astronauts exercise on the “‘Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill.” The COLBERT. Yeah. Stephen Colbert has a treadmill named after him. You can find more about this here.

Do you think that the majority vote should have won?

Bring on Boston!

Their hearts beat rapidly.  Their fingers rest on the “start/stop” button on their watches.  Their minds are whizzing all over the place.  Their double-knotted running shoes toe the line.  Bang!  The gun is shot, and their legs power through the beginning strides.  Their shorts swish.  Their feet pound the ground.  A sea of committed runners set into motion a tsunami of history.

They are the heroes of the running world.  They are the runners who have beat the odds in order the chase their dreams.They are the selected runners whose achievements, times, and performances in previous marathons have qualified them for perhaps the biggest moment in their lives: running in the Boston Marathon. 

For Kara Goucher, a track-and-field champ gone marathon pro, there’s a goal much larger than herself associated with winning gold in Boston.  For the former NCAA champ, winning gold at this epic race will mean becoming the first American woman since 1985 to do so.  Although this will be only her second marathon, Kara has the heart of a champion that will take her straight to the top.  In 2007, she placed third in the 10,000 meters at the World Outdoor Championships and also beat world-renowned British runner Paula Radcliffe in a half-marathon.  Just last year, Kara competed in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters at the Olympic Games and qualified for the Boston Marathon by placing third at the New York City with the fastest time ever posted by a debut marathoner.

Stay tuned in for more Boston Marathon news—the long-awaited, anticipated running of the 113th annual Boston Marathon will begin tomorrow!

A Charity-a-Day: Health

American Cancer Society

The American Canccer Society is committed to  ”providing programs aimed at reducing the risk of cancer, detecting cancer as early as possible, ensuring proper treatment, and empowering people facing cancer to cope and maintain the highest possible quality of life.” according to the website, here.

The Relay For LIfe is the epitome of medical fundraising walks. The Relay for LIfe website, here, describes it as “Teams of people camp out at a local high school, park, or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event. Relays are an overnight event, up to 24 hours in length.” I’ve heard it’s pretty much amazing.

Make A Wish Foundation

Make-A-Wish is an incredible foundation. It grants “wishes” to children with life-threatening medical conditions. The wishes fall from “I want a playhouse,” to “I want to meet Miley Cyrus and see her concert.” I personally have experience with Make A Wish, and I only have good things to say. Our “Wish Granter,” Mitch, was amazing. He came out to the airport to wish us goodbye. He lived way out in the country, and our flight left at 6 AM. He met us at abut 4:30 AM. Amazing.

However, if you want to volunteer, the Ways to Help page on the site is very informative.

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disease. According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation site, “Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide).”

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation holds various events throughout the year, but the one that’s most widely known is Great Strides, the fundraising walk. Spokane’s walk is held at the Jundt Art Museum on the Gonzaga campus. More information is here.

 

Studying Society

It starts about sophomore year - your mailbox gets bombarded daily with letters, newsletters, posters, and coursebooks featuring all the colleges within a hundred-mile radius.  Sometimes a three hundred-mile radius…sometimes they’re across the country! I’ve got a stack with my name on it at least four times a week…

I got an interesting one recently, blazened with large orange letters reading “Study Abroad”. (The only thing saving it from the recycle bin.)  The School of Field Studies, (SFS) has an amazingly organized, (and beautiful!) program, offering trips to Costa Rica, Turks & Caicos, Kenya, Mexico, and Australia. The SFS takes pride in the steps they’re taking to protect our environment and educate our generation:

“We believe that everyone has a valuable role to play in helping to protect our environment for future generations. As environmental problems become increasingly more urgent, so must our commitment to finding solutions.”

 SFS is just one of the many programs geared toward getting our peers to experience life outside of their comfort zone. (You really will learn more than to apply sunscreen when you study abroad.) According to Mary M. Dwyer and Ph.D. Courtney K. Peters and a survey conducted by the Institute for the International Education of Students, studying abroad “is usually a defining moment in a young person’s life…regardless of where students studied.”

In The Benefits of Studying Abroad, Dwyer and Peters found that, when asked about personal growth, 97% said that the experience inspired higher maturity, while 96% reported higher self-confidence, and 95% stated that it has had a lasting impact on their world view. But the real question is; Where do you want life to take you?

Where would you be interested in studying abroad? Based on it’s positive influences over a participant’s life, should studying abroad be a requirement in your college-years?

 

A Charity-a-Day: Military

Continuing with our Charity-a-Day thing… here is a wonderful list of organizations that aid or assist Military Personnel, their families, and Veterans. So as not to make a huge post, I created a pdf document for you all to look at.

Military Support Organizations

What are some of your favorite ways to “Support the Troops”? Do you have anyone in your family currently serving in the military?

Video of the Week

We’re all familiar with the name Robert Pattinson by now, whether he registers as a sparkly vampire or a doomed wizard. But what has he been doing besides playing hunky dead guys? Enter “How to Be,” Pattinson’s latest movie, an independent film about a dead-beat, twenty-something, would-be singer/songwriter who hires a famous self-help author to help him “be more normal.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaJHF_UNpx0

Pattinson also stars as Saldavor Dali in the movie ”Little Ashes,” set to release in the US next month. Unfortunately it’s rated R, so I’m not sure it’s legal for me to post the trailer here. A quick YouTube search brings up a slew of videos, if you’re interested.

Question: With three “Twilight” movies left to go, do you think Pattinson will be able to break away from this “perfect guy” role? Or will he forever be the hot vampire of every girl’s dreams?

Happy news: What a change…

It really does seem that all of today’s headlines have been slightly depressing…”Stock market crashes”…”economy has no future”…ect.

Willie the Parrot
This definitely is one of those classic, feel-good stories. As a Denver child choked on her breakfast of Wheaties, (pictured above), while her mom was out of the room. As if watching the child himself, Willie the parrot began to repetedly sqawk “Mama, baby,” making her mom’s attention come to the baby. (Who was turning blue at that point.)

Willie recieved a Denver Red Cross chapter’s Animal Lifesaver Award. 

Read here at MSN for more ‘feel-good’ stories.

What’s some ‘good news’ that you’ve heard recently? Does this happiness seem somewhat out of place in the media of today?

Approaching the AP Test: Essays

Here has been my thought process everytime I look at my planner for the past 6 days: “Oh gosh, I still haven’t done that practice test. Jeez, only twenty-something days. How many days is it again? Oh, yeah, 23.”

That somewhat nonsensical string of thoughts is, I’m afraid, what will be my life for the next 23 (23!) days. Because in about 23 days, more specifically 22 days, 13 hours, and 43 minutes, I am going to be taking my AP US History test. I’m not freaking out, because I know I’m going to be prepared, if I ever crack down and do a couple practice tests. However, I know some of my classmates are already talking about getting 3 hours of sleep in the nights preceding the test. I’d rather be awake then know every candidate from every election since 1780.

In the next couple of weeks, I’m going to be spotlighting a few of the parts of the test, and prep in general. The first is going to be the essays. For AP US, at least, there is 2 FRQs and a DBQ. For those of you who aren’t intimately familiar with the inner workings of AP classes, an FRQ is a free response question. It is an essay that you are expected to write in 35 minutes. It doesn’t have any supporting information, just a prompt. A DBQ is another essay, with a writing time of 45 minutes . However, this one has 6-8 documents included that you should use to strengthen your paper. Here are some sample prompts.

Anybody good at writing quick essays? If you’ve taken an AP class, were you good at the essays? Any other comments?

Stunning Performance on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’

No offense, but it’s obvious that this woman is not the prettiest gal on earth, but she has a voice to die for. Susan Boyle wowed everyone, audience, judges, and crew alike, of the show Britain’s Got Talent by her amazing and absolutely stunning performance of “I dreamed a dream” from Les Miserables. Coming from her, no one expected such a performance. In fact, everyone was laughing when she said she wanted to be like Elaine Paige, a famous actress and singer, best known for her work in Musical Theatre. Well, I won’t keep you in suspense much longer. (You Tube isn’t allowing anyone to embed this video, so I’m posting a link instead.) Susan Boyle, singing “I Dreamed a Dream”

What is the big deal? Why do they act so surprised? People like her can’t have talent? …I don’t know? What do you all think?

The Slam

So three cheers for another rendezvous through Spokane’s world of entertainment! Here at The Slam we’re going through all the shows, concerts, events, movies, (everything!), that Spokane has to offer! Here we go….Let’s investigate another week…

Local Music Nite @ The Inlander - Wed. April 15
The hard workers down at The Inlander are getting ready for the big, bad Local Music issue, (quite a big deal.) So this Wednesday, the day before the issue hits the city, they’re hosting a first-ever ‘Release Party’ at the Knitting Factory. Described by the Bomb Garden as an “evening of local rock, pop, folk, blues and electronica-ish-ness.” Hit this show up to see the one and only ‘People’s Choice’ champ. Cost is $5 and doors open at 6, music at 7.

Devil Wears Prada - Thur. April 16
Whew! This is going to be quite a party at The Knitting Factory. Not only do we have headliners Devil Wears Prada, but we’ll also be hearing from A Day to Remember, Sky Eats Airplane, Emarosa, and WE ARE DEVASTATION. Doors open at 6, but show starts at 7.

2009 Woman’s Show (ft. Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure) - Sat. April 18
This is a great cause to support, and what better way of showing your love to the breast cancer fund than participating in the 5k or 1 mile? Act fast: Online registration ends at noon this Thursday, while Team registration closes at midnight tomorrow.

Charity-A-Day: National/International Relief

For those interested in lending a helping hand to people hundreds or even thousands of miles away, here are some awesome charities to get involved with.

The United Way

In 2005, the United Way began a 10-year project to achieve three primary goals: cut the high school drop-out rate in half, cut the number of financially-unstable working families in half, and increase the percentage of healthy Americans by one-third. Almost half-way through this period, they are making astounding leaps towards these goals. You can help by donating to a specific area (education, income, health, or all three) or by volunteering at the local branch in Spokane.

United Way: http://www.liveunited.org/index.cfm
Spokane Branch: http://www.unitedwayspokane.org/

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity is an international charity whose members and volunteers build houses for those in need. Though the homes are small and simple, they are often more shelter than their residents have ever had. Habitat for Humanity welcomes volunteer groups as well as individual help (hint hint for those youth groups or clubs in need of something to do).

Habitat for Humanity: http://www.habitat.org/default.aspx
Spokane Branch: http://www.habitat.org/cd/frame/frameset.aspx?url=www.habitat-spokane.org

International Rescue Committee

The International Rescue Committee is a wonderful all-purpose sort of relief charity. They provide food and water, medical aid, education, and shelters to areas of the world torn apart by war or violence. In addition, they help refugees make a new life for themselves in the US. Though the closest branch is in Seattle, you can still help by donating, advocating, or simply staying informed.

IRC: http://www.theirc.org/

For those looking to do even more, here is an excellent list of the top-rated international relief charities in the country: http://www.charitywatch.org/toprated.html#intrelief

Charity-A-Day: Animal Charities

In honor of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, here are some animal charities you may want to consider:  

 

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is a conservation organization that you’ve probably heard of. They work to conserve both endangered lands and animals. To help the WWF, you are given the opportunity to “adopt” an animal of a certain species, for $25, $50, or $100 (in return, you are given “gifts” such as a certificate, photo, or stuffed animal, depending on the amount of donation).

 

What would Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month be without The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)? The ASPCA is an organization dedicated to helping abused, unwanted, or neglected animals, and helping educate people on proper pet care.

 

Many of you have heard of SCRAPS animal shelter in Spokane. Since this is a local charity, you not only have the choice of donating money, but volunteering at the shelter as well (which I highly recommend, if you haven’t done it). SCRAPS often receives injured animals, but does not have a veterinarian on staff, so it relies completely on donations to treat the animals in its care. SCRAPS is also holding a Chocolate Festival & Auction on Friday the 17th, at at

Center Place
at
Mirabeau Point Place
. Tickets cost $20 (see the website for more information).    
 

 

Cat Tales is a local organization that takes in large cats (such as tigers and lions), as well as some bears. As far as I know, Cat Tales does not have volunteer opportunities (it’s not hard to figure out why they don’t want you walking the tigers), but they do offer opportunities to donate or “adopt” an animal of your choice.  

 

If you are interested in volunteering with animals, most of the local animal shelters, and many vet offices, offer volunteer opportunities. A simple phone call will be able to tell you whether they have openings available.  

 

 

Before you go out and donate, I really have to stress the importance of learning about the organization you plan to support. Sadly, there are some “charities” out there more focused on money than on helping out, and other organizations may support something you are passionate about, but may execute demonstrations, etc., in a way that you do not agree with. For instance, PETA supports ending cruelty to animals, but it also disagrees with the keeping of animals as pets, and would prefer to see an animal put to sleep rather than “enslaved.” Read this article to help you chose an animal charity.

 

Here is a list of more animal charities and organizations.

Dead Man Re-Elected as Mayor

About 50 miles from St.Louis, a small town called Winfield recently re-elected their mayor Harry Stonebraker in a landslide election. The problem, you see, is that Harry died on March 11th of a heart attack, about a month ago.

Lincoln County Clerk Elaine Luck wasn’t surprised by Stonebraker’s win saying she’d, “figured he’d win because he seemed to get even more popular after he died, just like Carnahan,” Democrat Mel Carnahan died in a plane crash weeks before the November election, but still defeated his opponent. In the end his wife was appointed a special senate seat until a special election could be held.

In place of Harry, a mayor will serve until a special election in April 2010 to pick a mayor for the remainder of the two-year term.

Is Miley A Role Model?

Some criticism of Miley’s new movie certainly makes sense, after all, it’s about a character named Miley Stewart who’s on-screen dad is actually her real dad, and let’s not forget that it’s about a pop star acting like a diva. And remember news earlier this year about one death on the set of the movie? (Which Miley didn’t have anything to say about.)

But in this MSN article, author Martha Brockenbrough counts the amount of ways Miley has, essentially, screwed up and proven herself to NOT be a good role model. Such as:

-That time she was spotted parking in a handicap spot when buying milkshakes

-That other time she posed nude in her underwear and took pictures on her cell phone (I’ve found that when you Google ImageSearch her name the first 4 results are of her in her underwear and one in her bathtub with her friends.)

-And remember that time she made slanted eyes with her Asian friend in a photograph

-And that one picture with her friend and the lollipop. (Okay, I added that one in there. But I’m pretty disgusted by that.)

In the end Martha criticizes the ”she’s just a kid” excuse, because “The idea that all kids do this sort of thing is absurd.”

What do you think? Is Miley ever a good role model? How do you think Miley will turn out when she’s (Ugh…) older? Was Martha too quick to criticize Miley’s Movie?

The Glow: Moscow (high)Lights

So off on another adventure! -  This one took me to the great state of Idaho! While checking out a local band’s MySpace. (it was The Shoves, for your information. You can check their MySpace by using that lil’ link.)  So I saw a little show taking place in the Palouse Mall’s Hot Topic store on Friday, April 3. This was the perfect opportunity for a grand night on the town: It was a Friday night and the sad end of Spring Break. But the best reason? - It was free. To me, that is a trifecta of greatness.

So two friends and I headed on up to the show. The Shoves didn’t play, but we did get to see a newer band called M.Y.O.D, (Make Your Own Dreams.)

I wasn’t sure what to expect. The Hot Topic store is pretty small, not to mention usually stuffed to the brim with skinny jeans, graphic tees, and amazingy cool sunglasses galore. How was a BAND going to fit in here? Well - these M.Y.O.D guys worked it out pretty well. They only needed about half the store for their set-up of two acoustic guitar players, lead singer, and their three metal folding chairs, the rest was available for the crowd. (And let me tell ya’, there was standing room only.)

My Favorites!: So the show, overall, was good! (Especially the fact that it was in a Hot Topic, one of my favorite stores. (Shopping AND music, great combination.) (The lovely photo here taken by the lovely Nick Wright…- I was not tall enough to reach over the crowd…:D)

Oddly enough, I especially loved their acoustic rendition of “Whatever You Like” by rapper T.I. They also did a great job of covering “I Will Follow You Into the Dark”, which totally granted some squeals from me, (I’m a hopeless Death Cab fan…) These guys did do some original songs, and based on this show, I’m thinking that Make Your Own Dreams could definitely have a future in our generations music scene.

What have been your favorite acoustic shows? Any concert comments? Anyone heard of this M.Y.O.D?

 

A Great Week

Kicking off your ‘Easter-Week’ (finally, It’s Spring!), your lovely bloggers here at the Vox Box will be starting a great new iniative: Say hello to ‘Charity-A-Day’.  Every day this week, you’ll be able to read up on a different branch of charities. We’ll be giving you the inside info, the locations…everything! Comment up! - Got any ideas for more charities? Have we missed any blog-worthy ‘establishments serving for the greater good’? Keep us updated as we give you the latest…But here’s the first charity-focus for the week: Food Banks.

“Feeding Hunger, Feeding Hope”

“Second Harvest, founded in 1971 leads a network of more than 300 neighborhood food banks and meal centers throughout Eastern Washington and North Idaho. Second Harvest provides more than 1 millon pounds of donated food each month to help feed hungry people.”

 This Inland Northwest food bank ensures the donation process is a breeze when it comes to supporting our neighbors. While openly allowing gifts of any amount, Second Harvest also gives humanitarians numerous options when it comes to helping out. You can give classic gifts of money and food-donations, or you can organize a food drive or volunteer with office support and food sorting.

Six pounds of food is given to families in need with every $1 donated to Second Harvest,  while $35 will feed a family of four for a week and $100 can help the area’s children for up to a month.

“Help Your Own Student Body”
Spokane Falls Community College is also doing it’s part to serve the community - the student-community, that is.  The A.S. Food Bank, located in the SFCC Student Union Building, is now open and needing donations. 

This food bank uses donations to serve approximately 140 student families a month. Donations to the A.S. Food Bank can be made directly to the bank or left in Donation Boxes located in every campus building. 

By helping out this food bank, not only will you be supporting your fellow student, you’ll be helping yourself.  Volunteers are greatly needed, as the Food Bank’s usual MON-FRI, 9:30 am-3:30 pm hours are dependent on availibility of volunteers.

To contact SFCC’s A.S. Food Bank, call 533-3140, or stop by to the Room 139 of the Student Union Building, (the SUB.)

Have you ever organized or participated in a Food Drive at your school, youthgroup, ect.? What are the qualities of a good Food Bank?

 

The Best Cure for a Bad Day

My friend recently told me about a website, called FMyLife. She promised that it was halarious, and that I wouldn’t regret getting on it. Out of boredom, I decided to check it out. FMyLife is basically a blogspot, where anyone who had a bad day can post about it. Some of them are a bit shocking, or otherwise completely idiotic, but most of them are halarious (who knew others misfortune could be so amusing?).

Have you heard of FMyLife? What’s your favorite story (or the PG version of your favorite story)? Have you had an FMyLife worthy day?

He’s Back!!!

Many of you have seen the Charlie the Unicorn videos on youtube. Up until recently there were two of them. Now Charlie’s back in his third epic adventure! Enjoy…

If you haven’t seen the first two, I’d recommend watching them before you watch this. Charlie the Unicorn 1 Charlie the Unicorn 2

Kids Incorporated: The VOX!

Local TV Channel, KSPS, has a periodic show that features various teen jobs in the area. The Vox was recently featured. Check it out!

Check out the ‘Zine Scene’

ZINE: “An abbreviation of the word ‘fanzine’, or magazine…the term encompasses any self-published work of minority interest…”

Ha! I must say - this particular article on Wikipedia is wrong - dead wrong - about zines being “of minority interest”. The ‘world of the zine’ is expanding faster than a toddler’s diaper in the ocean…(so in other words, it’s expanding really really fast…)

Let’s cover the lingo first: Zines are independently produced, (often simply Xeroxed) booklets that can contain everything under the sun. These mini-magazines are created not only to kill boredom, but to express your thoughts, share ideas, post artwork, and contain writing of every kind. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, songs, journal entries, even book/movie/song/CD/resturant reviews are crucial ingredients to make a great zine.

Want to express yourself? Are you artsy-fartsy? A zine is the perfect way to have fun while putting your talents toward something worthwhile. It’s your creation; but how do you decide what to put in it? Photography - drawings - fiction - nonfiction - poetry - songs - journal entries - even book/movie/CD/resturant reviews are great additions to your homemade zine.

 

“Zines should have the kind of material that whacks you upside the head with a cinder block, shoves a spider up your spinal column, or makes you fly backwards around the room like a deflating balloon (with appropriate sound effects).” says Mike Halchin, author of Driver’s Side Airbag, (a prime example of a zine.)

TeenInk is a really good example of a ‘zine-style’ publication.  It’s rockin’ the poetry, book reviews, and teen-art up the wa-zoo

(Ok, this is a ‘girl-site’, but it rocks! Check out  the gURL guide to zine-making for some inspiration and tips.)

Have you ever tried making a zine? What would be your go-to topics for a zine publication of your own?

Earth Day - The Vox Way

The day to celebrate our Mother Earth really is right around the corner: April 22! Mark your calendars! As for now, the April edition of THE VOX has taken on the vast world of green living…here are some tips author of front-pager ‘Earth Day Inspires Green Ways of Living’, Emily Jones, has to share…

“Instead of: Using dozens of plastic bags every week for groceries and other items”…
Yes - there are LOTS of alternatives. (Seattle is even nearing the ‘Anti-Baggies’ decision…) MY Go-To solution for saving the planet, one bag-full of groceries at a time: CUTE BAGS! All you accessory-addicts beware, they are making some really cool/cute/functional reusable grocery bags with every personality in mind. You could even take the recycling further and toss your shopping into last year’s school bag! Simply head over to GreenDaily.com to see some crazy-adorable examples…

“Instead of: Accepting your morning coffee in a disposable cup”…
Well, I for one really really live for that morning cup of ‘joe. Filling up a reusable thermos makes me AND Mother Earth happy! Another way to help the environment while getting your all-important caffine-kick?: Fair-Trade coffee. Ensuring that your coffee sports a ‘Fair Trade’ label also ensures that farm co-operatives are getting at least $1.21 per pound of beans. By switching to a ‘Fair Trade’ brand you are doing your part to give farmers safe conditions and a living wage. Check out The Environment Report, by Julie Grant, for some more coffee-filled info…

“Instead of: Taking a luxuriously long shower”…
Want to clean up and help the planet? There’s really only one answer to this one: lawn sprinklers….and a really tall fence

Week 4: Obama, Japan

I remember earlier in the year, around election time, there were stories of Obama, Japan. It’s a Japanese village located about 4 hours by train from Tokyo. Obama means little beach in Japanese. I found the town interesting not only for it’s name, but for the fact that it is incredibly modern. It’s town hall looks like something from the future.

Short post this week, I’m heading to a Vox meeting. Have you ever visited Japan? Do you want to?

Note: I’ll get the map in later. I can’t figure out how to crop it.

Eau De Guy

In yesterday’s paper, there was a story about Axe- you know, the stuff 10-15 year old boys slather all over themselves? It was written by an adult; however, I figured it might be interesting to get teenager’s opinions on this product.

Even the makers of Axe are embarking on an education campaign. “We believe most everything is best in moderation, application of grooming products included,” said Jay Mathew, U.S. marketing director for Axe deodorants. “One of our newest ad campaigns for Axe focuses on the best application of our deodorant body sprays. The ads focus on the tagline ‘Double Pits to Chesty’ and refer to the places where guys should apply the deodorant spray.” Mathew says the target audience is young men 18 to 24 – even though the mothers of every 15-year-old in America have memorized the smell of Axe (and its 10 types of body spray, eight deodorant sticks and 14 shower gels).

 I’m biased. I have a 13 year old brother who is quite fond of his Dark Temptations Axe. It’s supposed to smell like chocolate. It doesn’t.

Guys: Do you like Axe? Did you used to like Axe? Why!?

Girls: Do you like the smell of Axe? Would you get it for a boyfriend/brother?

Disney: Selling Sex?

Disney has been around for what seems like forever.  Disney is often thought of as a family entertainment industry with good moral values. 

Most parents and people are comfortable with their children watching anything that is Disney because the majority of the content is free of profanity and the content is often thought ot be appropriate.

However, with the emergence of a new shows like Hannah Montana and artists like the Jonas Brothers that have older content, are things still kept clean or do they just appear that way because of the Mickey Mouse ears tagged along with them?

Using the Jonas Brothers as an example, are the purity rings and imposed christian angle only implied to blind parents to what their children are really watching?  The creators of South Park pose the question of what Disney is really selling to children and their parents, and as you’ll see in the video, they believe is sex.  (Fair warning:  It’s South Park…  Language/suggestive content/violence/etc…)

Do you think Disney is as pure as the driven snow, or are they guilty of selling sex to kids?

Feed the Hungry!

I recently discovered this awesome website called Free Rice. Its pretty straightforward really. On the home page, you will see what looks like a quiz box. It will have a word, and then you have to pick the definition for that word from the four choices below the word. If you’d like to answer questions for different subject matter, there is a toolbar on the top right of the page, and one of the links is “Subjects.” (The default subject is English Vocabulary.) Just click on that and a list of other subjects (like math, chemistry, etc.) will come up. The best part is that for every question you get right, 10 grains of rice will be donated to aid in the relief of hunger!

So what are you waiting for?! Go feed the hungry right now.

Metallica and Run-DMC: The Big Dogs

“Dream big and dare to fail, because this is living proof that it is possible to make a dream come true.”  - James Hetfield, frontman-guitarist of Metallica.

Cleveland got an earful April 4 as old-school musicians Metallica and Run-DMC worked their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Playing some of their greatest hits such as “Enter Sandman” and “Master of Puppets”, Metallica revamped their hard-core reputation. According to Entertainment Weekly, they set out to “wake things up”, and were definitely successful.

Rapper Eminem presented the honor to hip-hop masters Run-DMC, calling them “the baddest of the bad and the coolest of the cool.” (Not a bad compliment at all from one of today’s most popular musicians…)

Did you watch the ceremony? Which bands to YOU want to see recieve this honor in the future?

One Day Without Shoes

On April 16th, 2009, don’t wear shoes.

April 16th is the second annual One Day Without Shoes. This event, sponsored by Toms Shoes, is meant to raise awareness about the issue that millions of people in developing countries do not have shoes to wear, and that this negatively affects their life. For those of you that don’t know, Toms Shoes is a company that makes shoes. For every pair that a consumer in North America or Europe buys, Toms will donate a pair of shoes to a child in a developing country. The Toms Shoes are super comfy… I would love to be able to wear mine more often, but they say Vote Democrat on them, so they don’t quite work in the 8 months of the year it’s not election season.

However, this event is really interesting. It’s supported really widely on college campuses (The local college with an organized event is Whitworth University). The video for One Day Without Shoes is really well made, and I would love to post it, but the encoding isn’t working very well for me. It’s here, though.

Are you going to participate? Do you have any Toms? After looking at the shoes, would you get a pair?

Toothpaste?! Why Toothpaste?

(Sheesh. What is it with Germany lately?…)


A thief in Germany almost got out of a supermarket with 68 tubes of toothpaste, before a female employee noticed him, and grabbed him in an attempt to stop him. The guy hit her across the face, and ran off, leaving the 68 tubes of toothpaste scattered across the floor. Police are unsure of his motives, and whether or not he had bad teeth.

Toothpaste?! Seriously…

Road-smart Pigs

A farmer living in Taiwan stumbled across a dozen piglets several months ago, and has kept them and trained them.
The pigs, all less than a year old, fall into line whenever Lee Tung-cheng lets them out of his rural Pingtung county yard and starts up his scooter. They go out together almost every day and know the rules of the road, he told Reuters on Wednesday.
Supposedly they all behave rather well and are highly intelligent.

All I can say is… weird.

What’s the weirdest animal you’ve ever had as a pet? What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever trained one of your pets to do?

Guys: Take Heed

Alright gentleman. This one’s for you. When you are married, DO NOT overly clean your house… or really just don’t mess wit your wives things period. Here’s why: A german woman divorced her husband because he cleaned too much. They were married for 15 years, and during that time the woman just dealt with her husband cleaning the house, rearranging the furniture, and so one. Apparently this was the final straw though:
“…she ran out of patience when he knocked down and rebuilt a wall at their home when it got dirty, Christian Kropp, court judge in the central town of Sondershausen, said on Thursday.”

Uh… does the term ‘Obsessive-Compulsive’ come to mind for anyone else?

Man attacks neighbor with crossbow

Nebraska resident Carlos Lupercio has been sentenced to 2-4 years in prison after firing a crossbow at a neighbor following an argument between the two men. Why, you might ask? Lupercio insisted his neighbor’s dog was a labrador, while the neighbor said it was a pit bull. After the disagreement Lupercio went home, only to return a few minutes later with a crossbow. The shot just missed his neighbor, according to reports. Police say alcohol was likely involved in the incident.

Question: Even though he could have killed the guy, am I the only one who finds it amusing that crossbows are apparently still in use? Perhaps Lupercio was studying the consequences of Higgs Exication (http://www.xkcd.com/564/).

Video of the Week

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQGtucrJ8hM

“Your Printer is a Brat” -When technology doesn’t get along as well as we would like.

Week 3: Hawaiian Islands

Aloha! For this week’s travels, we are heading to a place without snow. A place where it’s currently 72 degrees and partly cloudy. We’re heading to the Hawaiian Islands!

Hawaii was made a US State in 1959 after being annexed in 1898. Hawaii was ruled before annexation by a royal family. The ruler at the time of annexation was Queen Liliuokalani. Hawaii is the only US state that grows coffee and has a royal palace, Iolani Palace, among other things. It’s a beautiful state, made up of 8 islands, the largest being the Island of Hawaii. Tourism is a booming industry on the island, not surprisingly.

One of the most enjoyable things to do is visit the beaches of Hawaii. The most famous would have to be Waikiki Beach, in Honolulu, but there are plenty of beautiful and less busy beaches on the other islands. The one in the photo is Poipu Beach on Kauai.

Have you been to Hawaii? What’s your favorite way to escape and/or ignore the weather outside?

Spring is in the Air (Well, Kinda)

Despite the Inland Northwest’s notorious tempermental weather, spring break has arrived, and it’s about time!  Local schools have let out for a chilly, frosty spring break that officially started Monday for some school districts, including those from Northern Idaho.

So my question is this: How will YOU be spending your spring break? Or has your break already come and gone (*tear tear*)? What does the spring vacation of your dreams look like?

An Unknown Population…(of 6,000?!?)

Scientists stumbled upon a surprise lurking in the waters of Bangladesh, but according to National Geographic’s Christine Dell’Amore, the surprise certainly wasn’t little.  Researchers discovered a group of nearly “6,000 Irrawaddy dolphins [living] in the country’s Sundarbans mangrove forests and nearby waters of the Bay of Bengal.”

Nat. Geo. also reports that this group of 6,000 is the largest ever found. “That’s why this is so exciting…” said Howard Rosenbaum, head of the research program at the Wildlife Conservation Society, (WCS).

The waters surrounding Bangladesh are relatively new to researchers and marine biologists. Only small groups of ’Irrawaddys’ have been found along the Bay and into Indonesia, usually found in groups of 100. 

“Here you have this area where we found nearly 6,000 animals-it gives us hope for protecting the entire species and this really important habitat,” Rosenbaum continues.

Now THAT is a dolphin-sighting… 

April Fool!

Today’s the day. That entertaining, love-it-or-hate-it “holiday” is here once more. So, who got pranked and who pulled a prank? Anything worth sharing?

My Japanese teacher scared one girl half to death with the typical, “Oh my gosh! A cockroach!” gag. Funny thing is, this was the second time she had pulled it in the space of fifteen minutes or so, and it freaked my poor friend out all the same (both times, I should add).

Anything interesting happen to you?

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About this blog

In 2006, then-editor Steve Smith of The Spokesman-Review had the idea of starting a publication for an often forgotten audience: teenagers. The Vox Box was a continuation of the Vox, an all-student staffed newspaper published by The Spokesman-Review. High school student journalists who staffed the Vox made all content decisions as they learn about the trade of journalism. This blog's mission was to give students an opportunity to publish their voices. The Vox Box and the Vox wrapped up in June 2009, but you can follow former staffers' new blog at http://voxxiez.blogspot.com.

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