Friday, March 27, 2015

Review: Jamberry Nails

Jamberry Nails are gorgeous vinyl nail strips.They come in many different designs, colors, and sizes. They even have ones for sports teams, hobbies, and you can also design your own. Jamberries were created in 2010 by three sisters: Lyndsey, Christy, and Keri.

I have tried Jamberry nail wraps for myself and I love them. They are very simple to apply; all you need is a mini heater (or blow dryer), some rubbing alcohol, scissors, nail file, orange stick, and a cuticle pusher. Just apply lots of heat and pressure and you've got it! My only complaint is that when I am fixing my hair, occasionally some strands of hair get caught in the back of the nail strip, but they do not pull off; it just feels weird. 

Overall, Jamberries are amazing and are great for any occasion. If you are interested, feel free to use this link to shop!

                                                                         - Kaylee Patrick

Editorial: Heating in Rural Retreat High School

"I'm sick of it," says Brooklynne Mullins. 

"They need to let us control it, like the schools control it," says Collin Aker. 

"I agree with Collin; some kids can't concentrate when they are that hot. They need to let the office control the heating and cooling," says Karlee Daniel about the heating and air conditioning in Rural Retreat High School. 

In the winter it's a game of burn out; it's too hot. Kids have dressed warmly for winter, but they come to school to find their classrooms feeling warmer than they are in the summer time. In the spring/summer months it's all a game of freeze out. The school is so cold that kids should dress like it's winter. Kids become more focused on being cold/hot than focusing on their school work. It becomes a great distraction.  

On the plus side of having the temperature controlled in Wytheville, the supervisors know how much money is going towards controlling the school's temperature. 

One way to fix the problem, but still allow the supervisors to know the temperatures, would be to set limits on the thermostats. In the winter they could set them between 66-72 degrees and let the teachers control it for their own classrooms, and in the summer they could be set between 70-78. This keeps the temperature cost-friendly, and makes for a student-friendly environment. 

-Haley Vannatter

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Literary Spotlight-- Life Through Faded Eyes: Part 7

The next day, a Thursday, I continued to see Theodore in class and Haley in the hall. Theodore would joke: “Why don’t you play chess with Haley this Saturday?” Haley would say: “You better win your chess match Saturday!” I was getting sick of it. When I would see Lewis, he would try to ignore my “situation” as he called it, but Theodore would always butt in and change the subject.

I couldn’t take it anymore. I was going to go tell Haley the truth about the chess match this Saturday, even though it was obvious she already knew. I don’t think anyone told her, but if anyone did, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Theodore. Ever since my dad made me sign up for sports and clubs, my whole life has been screwed up. I have less time to just do nothing. Life was normal, and I had Skyrim to keep me company. Now I’m in a mess.

Thursday after school, I waited outside at the buses hoping to stop Haley. I saw her, she caught my gaze, and she waved with a smile before speeding off in the direction of her bus. I followed after her. We weaved through people walking slowly to the buses. Why did I get the feeling she was running away from me?

I finally caught up to her just as she was getting to her bus. I reached out and put my hand on her shoulder, and she was already stepping up onto the first step of the bus.

“Wait, just a minute,” I panted. I doubt she heard me over the chugging of the bus’s engine. She didn’t turn around, but she stood waiting on the first step.

“I don’t really have a chess match this Saturday. I didn’t want to lie though, and tried to get Theodore to schedule one, but he won’t do it. I don’t know if he’s told you,"  I explained. Haley stood there for a couple seconds. She didn’t move. We waited long enough for the bus driver to start watching us, and a crowd to congregate behind me.

“Why would you lie?” Haley turned around, threw her hands up. She didn’t step off the bus, so I was looking up at her face. “I know you only joined the club because of some dare you had with your dad. Mrs. Brandywine told me when I suggested she sign you up for Interact.”

“You signed me up for Interact?” I said. I could hear the crowd behind me start snickering.

“Yes.” Haley said, throwing her hands to her side. “We needed one more person to sign up in order to have an Interact Club. You literally saved the club. I know I shouldn’t ask you to actually do anything since you were forced, but what will it take to get you to do anything?” Her cheeks were getting red.

“I don’t know,” I said. I put my head down. The buses in front of us took off, but this bus driver was forced to wait on us. He didn’t ask us to hurry up. He just watched attentively.

“What about a date?” she said laughing. “I bet you don’t get any of those?” I could hear people laughing. The bus driver made a face like he had just tasted something sour.

“I do now.” I said looking directly into Haley’s eyes. Her eyes widened, and she shook her head.

“No, I didn’t mean that. I was only joking. Please, Charlie.” She begged.

“Too late.” I said. “It was your idea.” I walked away. The crowd just watched. Haley stood still on the first step of the bus, speechless.

"To Be or Not to Be" a Good Trip?

On March 25, the seniors (a joke: seniors come first because they’re more important) and sophomores went on a field trip to the Barter Theatre. They watched the Shakespearean play Hamlet, and also had a brief workshop afterwards to explain the use of iambic pentameter. It was an entertaining and educational trip, and many of the students enjoyed it.

Hamlet, like most Shakespearean plays, is a tragedy, and even though it might be viewed as a spoiler alert (!), a lot of people die. The play was performed at the smaller stage, Stage II, where the people sitting in the front row could have literally reached out and touch the actors. There were only six actors to play a wide cast of characters, but this was hardly a problem due to changes in costume and personality. The workshop afterwards explained that all of Shakespeare’s plays were written in iambic pentameter: a form of verse in which each line has five pairs of stressed and unstressed syllables to form a “heartbeat" rhythm.  Shakespeare would often break the iambic pentameter in certain aspects to bring emphasis on the line. It is the actor’s job to decide why the iambic pentameter wasn't used for that line, and choose how s/he will portray it.

Not only did the play entertain its audience, but the workshop afterwards gave students an inside look at acting in a Shakespearean play. Personally, Hamlet has become my favorite Shakespearean play, topping Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar. The abundance of Barter Theatre trips recently has been great for the student body as a whole to experience theatre, and I hope these trips continue in the future.

-Dylan Crigger

Way Too Early College Football Predictions

The 2014-2015 NCAA College Football season was one of the most exciting that we have had in decades. This was the inaugural year of the College Football Playoffs (CFP), replacing the BCS National Championship, and it played out to where Ohio State would take home the trophy, beating the number one (Alabama Crimson Tide) and two seeds (Oregon Ducks) in the playoff. This doesn't mean we can't look forward and predict next season already. Many different teams came out with big signing day classes. In this article, I will predict my four big teams, two teams that will have a break-out year, and my underachieving team for next season.

Of course, one of my number one teams is the Alabama Crimson Tide. They are never not good in football, and with another big recruiting class, they won't be backing down. They do lose big name Amari Cooper in the receiving corps, but this team is still capable of putting up National Championship numbers next season. My next team is the Texas Christian Horned Frogs (TCU). With superstar QB Trevone Boykin returning, get ready for this team to take the NCAA by storm. At the end of the season, when it came time for the number four team for the CFP, TCU was beaten out by Ohio State. They won't let that happen next year. Another team with a strong chance will be the Kansas State Wildcats. This team was great for a while, before dropping down to the number 11 team in the nation, which is still not bad at all. I expect them to be at least within the top six next season. The last team I will review is Arizona Wildcats. A lot of Wildcats, huh? Well this team can really back up whatever they need to. This team is one of the only teams to beat Marcus Mariota when he played for Oregon. That is extremely impressive, and don't think they won't come back next year with that much intensity.

My first team that will have a breakout season next year is the Tennessee Volunteers. Call me biased, but everything they have done is leading to the old Volunteer team it used to be. They are incredibly young, but talented. They only lost three starters last year, not just defensive or offensive, but total. They even found their new QB to lead them, a true sophomore named Joshua Dobbs. Don't be surprised if you see Tennessee in Atlanta for the SEC Championship next year. The next team in store for a bigger year is the Minnesota Golden Gophers. They didn't have a terrible year last year, finishing as the number 25 team in the nation. However, there is always room to improve if you are in the Big Ten. According to ESPN, their QB Mitch Leidner threw for 1798 yards and eleven touchdowns. That's pretty good for a College quarterback, especially in the Big Ten. With this team, the only direction I believe they will go is up, because they don't lose Leidner, so they have person to build on. I predict that Minnesota will finish at least in the top 15.

Finally, my team to underachieve next season. I hate to say this after a team had a great year like last, but the fact that they lost one of the greatest players to ever play in their uniform is going to hurt them badly. That's right, my team to underachieve is the Oregon Ducks. When I say this, I don't mean that they won't be ranked. They will still be great in the league, but just won't come close to replicating last year's season. With the loss of maybe the greatest Oregon player ever, Marcus Mariota, they simply cannot be as great. Give them another two years to train their new QB, and they will be right back where they were.

The 2015-16 season isn't coming around for a long time, but that doesn't mean that it's too early to be talking about it. I personally believe that my champion will be the Alabama Crimson Tide, because they are always the favorite to win it all going into the season. Many situations and questions will unfold next season; will you be watching?


-Blake Holmes

Feature: Miss Universe Controversey

Credits to E! Online for the picture.

Pageant contestants may be beautiful, but the outcome of one Miss Universe crowning is not so pretty. According to Japan Today, Ariana Miyamoto has been chosen to represent Japan in the Miss Universe pageants. However, MSNBC confirms, Miyamoto has gained backlash and some rather controversial commentary.

Miss Miyamoto caused this backlash due to being the child of a Japanese woman and African-American man. In her homeland of Japan, she is referred to as a haafu, the term used in that country to describe one whose heritage is half-Japanese. Dozens of online users disagree with the decision to crown Miyamoto. 

"Is it okay to choose a haafu to represent Japan?" an anonymous commenter questioned, as translated on Washington Post

Contrarily, other online users express positivity for Miyamoto's crowning, such as Akino Sakoaka on Twitter, as mentioned by Washington Post as well. 
"The coolest thing happened in Japan! She is from Nagasaki, my hometown," the commenter expressed. 

Ariana Miyamoto, despite all the drama, keeps up a positive attitude. “The world competition is going to be tough, but I’ll believe in myself and continue doing me best!” she said, according to Japan Today.

-Catherine Cober

Rural Retreat Soccer: A Slow Start

    Last Tuesday at Narrows was the opening game for the Rural Retreat soccer team. Disappointingly after not having a team last year, the program wanted this game to be more of a learning experience. When the first whistle blew, Narrows had first possession. Our defense would hold strong until Narrows slipped one past us after ten minutes, but not long after their first goal Narrows scored again. All was not lost, thanks to a mistake by Narrows's defense, which allowed us to score for the first time. The final minutes of the first half came to a close with the score being 2-1 in favor of Narrows. During halftime, Coach Midkiff gave the team some helpful advice. After five minutes in the second half Narrows collapsed our defense, allowing them to score their third goal. Not long after, a Narrows players' pass turned into a goal. With a strong retaliation, we earned another goal. The game remained at a stalemate until 15 minutes left in regulation with a potential clear out for us turned into a Narrows goal. Taking advantage of Narrows's surprise, we scored our third and final goal. With the final five minutes ticking away Narrows, sneaked their sixth and final goal. At the end of regulation, the final score was RR three, Narrows six. With our heads high, we look forward to our next game.     

-Thomas Brown        

Opening Day Draws Near!

Baseball season is back and in full swing. Spring Training is happening, with the regular season and Opening Day coming closer as well. According to SportingNews, the official first MLB regular season game is being played on April 5th, a Sunday night, in Chicago. There we will see the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs go at it. The Cubs are relieved as superstar ace Jon Lester (acquired in free agency) is on track to start against the Cards. He missed a game in Spring Training due to arm fatigue, but nonetheless he will shoot for his Opening Day start. According to ESPN, however, he could very well be limited to a pitch count. Due to this, don't be shocked if the Cardinals do not start scoring until late, when Lester needs to come out of the game. Other games being showcased the next day are:

Home Team

Away Team
Chicago Cubs
St. Louis Cardinals
New York Yankees
Toronto Blue Jays
Detroit Tigers
Minnesota Twins
Milwaukee Brewers
Colorado Rockies
Philadelphia Phillies
Boston Red Sox
Tampa Bay Rays
Baltimore Orioles
Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Atlanta Braves
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Seattle Mariners
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Cincinnati Reds
Pittsburgh Pirates
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego Padres
Houston Astros
Cleveland Indians
Oakland Athletics
Texas Rangers
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Francisco Giants

Baseball season finally returns, and it brings questions with it. An example is, who will win it all? Many questions and more will come with the beginning of the season, so make sure to tune into Opening Night on Sunday, April 5th!

-Blake Holmes

NCAA Championship Nears!

We have reached the Sweet Sixteen, and the Championship is only four rounds away. There are eight games being played in this round, winners advance to the Elite Eight. The following table lists all of the games being played in the Sweet Sixteen, and my prediction, along with a short description.


Kentucky vs. West Virginia
Kentucky-this team is the best team in the country right now, I see them winning by at least eight over the very competitive Mountaineers.

Notre Dame vs. Wichita State

Notre Dame-the Fighting Irish barely got away with a win over Butler in overtime last round. They won’t let the Shockers beat them now.

Wisconsin vs. North Carolina

Wisconsin-Honestly speaking, I believe that this is the only team in the country that can compete with Kentucky. The Badgers win by at least five.

Xavier vs. Arizona

Arizona-these guys are an underdog in this year’s tourney, and I believe they make a statement against Xavier. Arizona by at least ten.

North Carolina State vs. Louisville

Louisville-they will make the next round by handling the hot NC State, Montrezl Harrell will shine in this game. Louisville by at least seven.

Oklahoma vs. Michigan State

Michigan St.-it feels weird to say this, but the Spartans are an underdog in this tournament, but they continue to impress. Michigan St in a thriller.

Duke vs. Utah

Duke-it will be closer than people think, but Duke just has too many weapons to lose at this point. Utah will give them a scare, but Duke squeaks by.

UCLA vs. Gonzaga

Gonzaga-one more team that hasn’t gotten enough credit, as they have really impressed me this year. The Bulldogs win by at least ten.

So many things can still happen to completely shock us all in this tourney; I personally see Kentucky winning it all this year. I think they will finish the year undefeated. Will they get beaten this year? Or will John Calipari and his Wildcats be on top of the NCAA world? We can only watch and find out!

-Blake Holmes

Source: NCAA

Editorial: 18 Year-Olds: Are They Still Children?

I am going to be writing about something that really bothers me in today's society. Why is it that as soon as a person gets out of high school, s/he can be shipped overseas, given a gun, and told to go shoot other human beings for our country? I respect each and every person who does that, but I feel that the legal age to join the military should be pushed back to 21, because in my eyes, some 18 year-olds are not ready to make such a big step. Another point: why can a person go get shot and die for their country at 18, but can't even have a drink? These people who go to war for us are heroes, and deserve to be treated as such; if they come home at age 20 after going in at 18, they can't have any alcoholic drink. Now I don't believe that the drinking age should be lowered to 18, because young adults at 18 are not able to handle it and its effects then, too. I am saying that 21 is a good age for both to be legal; it gives time for a man or woman to fully mature. Think about it, this country can take people who just went from having their parents make their food, do their laundry, clean their rooms, do everything for them, and then ship them out in the middle of a war in a foreign country! The final point in this rant is, 18 years old is too young to send somebody into combat. Drinking alcohol and going into the military are actually very similar if you think about it: a person can die from both, both can take over someone's life, and both can cause major stress in someone's family. The only difference? One is legal at 18 while the other is legal at 21.

-Blake Holmes

Monday, March 23, 2015

Studying Tips

Are you tired from rushing a 3 AM cram session every night? Or do you have to go back and reread what you just read? Then you need some studying tips as we head into SOL-testing season.

1. Try to study at least 10 minutes a night.

  • Long-Term memory always comes in handy for a test.
2. Make an agenda for your 10 minutes every night.

  • You'll feel less rushed and more focused. 

    3. Ask the teacher or professor what are some things he/she wants you to review.

    • You never know; any little thing could be on the test.
    4.Gather a study group.

    • Have a debate or a discussion on certain topics.
    5. No electronic devices out or on during study time.

  • We all love our cells, laptops, and TVs but when it comes to studying they are a lot of the time a distraction. 

    With these tips you should be to an A in no time!
    -Karlee Daniel

    Student Art Feature: Kierra Gertz

    I drew this for my mom after she had a miscarriage. I myself am not good with words so I drew her a picture to show that I am sorry for her loss...

    -Kierra Gertz

    Indians Fall in the Hogoheegee District Tourney

    The varsity baseball team went to Holston Saturday to try to win it all in the district tournament. Sadly, that was not accomplished. Their first matchup, and sadly, what would be their last, was against the Patrick Henry Rebels. Sophomore Trent O'Neil started on the mound for the Indians, and started off well, but eventually, the Rebels started getting to him. They put two runs on the board while O'Neil was pitching, and he was replaced. The new pitcher was Senior W.K Dalton, but sadly he didn't have much more of an impact either. PH also got two runs across on Dalton, and we finally made our final pitching change, when Senior Austin Akers came to the mound. He pitched a little bit better, only allowing one run, but unfortunately, we could not get our bats going this game. It seemed that every ball we hit to the outfield would be caught, sometimes in spectacular fashion. Junior Wyatt Sowers hit two balls to the outfield Saturday, both were incredible diving catches by the outfield. Plus, three fly balls were hit that almost were home runs this game, two falling just before the fence, another going over the fence, but foul. Austin Akers hit the foul ball, as W.K and Junior Trevor Tidwell hit fly balls that were caught at the warning track. This caused the Indians to go down 5-0 by the time the 5th inning hit. The saddest thing about this game is that since so many games were being played that day, there was a two hour limit, so the game only had five innings, as opposed to the normal seven, so we had to get runs in the fifth, in order to win. Five runs is hard to come back from, especially in one inning, so the Indians fell to the Rebels, 5-0. The next game the Indians play is on Monday, March 23, 2015, against the Narrows Green Wave, here. We shut out Narrows the first time we played them, 3-0, but this is a brand new game.

    -Blake Holmes

    Review: Winterplace Ski Resort

    Winterplace is a great place for getting together with friends and family and to enjoy yourself. I went a few weeks ago with my church group. There were approximately 40 of us, and most of us went snow tubing, but a few people went skiing and snowboarding.  The snow-tubing tickets were about $25, but we didn't have to wait very long for the tickets. The trolley took our group up to the lodge. We happened to pick a pretty cold day, so the majority of us would come in after we went down the slopes two or three times to warm up in the lodge.

    The concessions had a variety of food to eat, ranging from salads to chicken tenders. The prices were a little high, but that's what you expect at a resort. The slopes weren't too slick, but really fast and fun! I recommend Winterplace for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors and loves snow and family time!

    -Faith Hamman

    Friday, March 20, 2015

    Varsity Baseball Blanks Narrows

    Good news came for the varsity baseball team Monday, as the Indians traveled to Narrows for their season opener and got out of it with a 3-0 victory. Ryan Chandler started on the mound for the Indians, and he shut the Wave down. Jackson Sowers then came in for relief, and he as well did not give up a run, with the two of them combining for a three hit shutout. The game went really fast, faster than usual, as nobody seemed to be able to outmatch the other in this game . . . That is, until the top of the seventh inning. Dallas Shumate got it going for the Indians when he got on first to start then inning. Wyatt Sowers came up and got walked, with Shumate advancing to second. Trent O'Neil then hit out, but still advanced both runners, so the situation was one out with runners on second and third when Ryan Chandler came up to the plate. He was having a great day at the plate, hitting twice before that AB. Chandler came up, and then hit a single out to centerfield, which scored both Shumate and Sowers. All of a sudden, the Indians were beating the Green Wave 2-0. It wouldn't stop there, as later on we would get another man in, making it 3-0. Jackson Sowers then came on in the bottom of the seventh to close it out, and the Indians would walk away with a season opening win. The Indians play in the district tournament at Holston this upcoming weekend; hopefully they can bring it home.
    Source: RRHS

    -Blake Holmes

    Editorial: Kill Shelters Aren't Helping the Animals!

    People have always been told that "killing is helping" when it comes to animals. Dogs and cats can overpopulate if you do not get them spayed or neutered when they are young. It is our responsibility to take care of our pets and do what is right for them. Have you ever thought that when breeding your dog/cat, you are taking the life of other animals? Buying a thousand dollar animal is not right when you could go to the shelter and get one for less than a hundred. You may think that the animals euthanized in shelters are sick and need to be put down, but most of the time that is not true. Kill shelters euthanize healthy, sweet animals without giving them a chance in a good home. 

    According to the ASPCA, there are approximately 7.6 million animals nationwide that enter shelters every year (approximately 3.9 million dogs and 3.4 million cats). Out of the animals that enter the shelter, about 2.7 million are euthanized, and about 2.7 million are adopted. About 649,000 animals are returned to owners. In the end, about 8 million cats and dogs enter kill shelters a year and 1/2 won't make it out alive. Please go adopt from shelters so we can save every life we can. 

    -Cailie Pollard

    Creative: Don't Ring THIS Bell!

    Original drawing of my self-made character, Bell. Biography of her series, Pondovadia, below as well as character description:

    Pondovadia: In a world where there are no humans, animals have taken over Planet Earth and made it their own planet. Many talking animals reside across the Earth. Pondovadia is a large New York City-esque city in Southwestern Virginia, and Bell is our main protagonist.


    Name: Isabella Jane Capiara
    Nicknames: Bell
    Age: 12
    Species: North American beaver
    Personality: feisty, confident, active, distant, defensive
    Likes: playing hockey, 70s/80s music, hanging out with friends, wearing bandannas and bows, serving justice, cartoons, the color orange, eating seafood, role-playing video games
    Dislikes: excessive cold weather, doing splits, burning smells, anybody touching her hair, salads, suckups, heights

    History: Bell was born in a small town called Rural Woods, Virginia. She lived there for most of her childhood with her mother, father, and older sister. Clara, her sister, graduated from high school when Bell was 5. Mr. and Mrs. Capiara decided to test Clara’s maturity by having her raise Bell while she was in college. Not only were they testing her maturity, but they were about to divorce and decided Bell was too little to deal with the drama of a divorce. Clara bought a small apartment in the east side of the large city of Pondovadia, Virginia and has lived there for a while. Lucky for Bell, the apartment building she lives in, Lagomorph Apartments, has a lot of animals her age in there.

    -Catherine Cober

    Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Glazed Fudge

    Recipe from Hershey's Holiday Collection
     What you will need
    •  3 cups of Hershey's semi sweet chocolate chips
    • I can of sweetened condensed milk
    • dash of salt
    • 1 and 2 thirds of Reese's peanut butter chips
    • 1 and 1 half teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 half cup of whipping cream
    1. Line 8 or 9 inch square pan with wax paper
    2. Melt chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk and salt in heavy saucepan over low heat.
    3.  Remove from heat, stir in only two thirds cup of Reese's peanut butter chips, and vanilla.
    4. Spread onto pan
    5. Melt the other one cup of Reese's chips with one half cup of whipping cream
    6.  Stir until it is thick and smooth
    7. Spread over fudge
    ( this recipe makes about 2 pounds)

    -Kierra Gertz

    Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota

    Much speculation is building around the National Football League as to who will one day be the better NFL quarterback: "Famous Jameis" Winston or Marcus "Super Mariota"?  Most analysts and so-called experts say Winston is a more pro-ready player while Mariota has a higher ceiling of potential.  The reasoning behind this is Winston played in a "Pro-Style" offense under Jimbo Fischer at Florida State University  while Mariota played in a no-huddle, fast-paced spread attack at Oregon, utilizing his athletic ability while compiling completions on high percentage throws.
    As no one will know the futures of these two talented players, we will all have to wait and see.  Something to think about, on the other hand, is the career touchdown to interception ratios of these players in their college days, according to ESPN:

    Marcus Mariota-  105 passing touchdowns, 14 interceptions (15:2)
    Jameis Winston-  65 passing touchdowns, 28 interceptions (65:28)

    - Isaiah Addair, Freelance Writer

    A Future in the Past?

    Everyone who lives in Rural Retreat knows a little bit about the Rural Retreat Depot. Or do they? The town of Rural Retreat was built around the railroad, and one of Rural Retreat’s most famous icons is the Rural Retreat Depot. Really, the entire town has the railroad and depot to thank for having a town, period. Without them, we would not have a town here today, and some of the town’s leaders are beginning to see that.

    Rural Retreat has a rich heritage, and it’s been somewhat lost in our current generation where larger towns with things to do take top priority, like how Wytheville has become a more popular spot for younger groups due to its many restaurant options and movie theatre. Rural Retreat’s heritage is something to respect and understand. We should not forget it, but rather embrace it, and the depot is a good start for that.

    According to the Rural Retreat Depot Foundation’s website, the Rural Retreat Depot was built by the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad in the 1850’s. The town since then has grown up around it. Today, there are only two other depots made by the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad with the same style of architecture. Our depot is one of three, and for a while it was being neglected until 2011.

    In 2011, the Rural Retreat Depot Foundation was formed to acquire the depot, and later restore it so that it can be used to preserve the culture of our region. Last year, the depot being freshly restored, it was used as a farmer’s market in the late spring and summer, a haunted house in October, and a Christmas Bazaar in December. The depot is making quite a comeback, but the Rural Retreat Depot Foundation is not stopping there.

    There is still more restoration to be done to the Depot, interior and exterior, and the foundation would also like to create a true farmers market across the tracks from the depot. Personally, I think the depot would be an excellent gathering place in Rural Retreat, and annual events will help increase the cultural heritage of Rural Retreat. Again personally, it would also be great to see the rest of downtown Rural Retreat to be renovated and restored. The old shops across the street from parkway could use some renovation too, and they would be great places to start local businesses. This might all be wishing on stars, but this could be the future of Rural Retreat. We can build a better future by treasuring the past.

    If you would like to find out more about the Rural Retreat Depot both historically and presently, feel free to visit the Rural Retreat Depot Foundation’s website at:

    -Dylan Crigger

    Is This a Disgrace?

    According to the Tech Times, Vanessa Hick who served in the military and has a husband who is currently serving in the military, is accused of being disgraceful to an American flag because she took a photo of her husband holding her sleeping baby lying on a draped American flag. 

    "I am very well aware of our U.S. Flag Code," she says. "I also know exactly what desecration of a flag is. It's when you pull into ports and you see protesters with our flag and have spray painted horrible things on it. It's when you watch the news and you see other countries burning our flags, and you are a young Quartermaster scared because you know you are just a few nautical miles from that exact country."

    It has been said that the photo is "disrespectful, rude, tacky, disgusting, and against the U.S. Flag Code."

    "This flag is a symbol of everything my son died for many years ago," says an anonymous commenter.  "It was of the utmost honor to have a flag laid upon your coffin as my son did. That honor is taken away when disrespectful photographers throw our flag code out the window."

    Yet some people have agreed with hicks that all the comments on the flag could be considered cyber bulling. Hicks owns the picture and people need to respect that.

    I personal think the picture is respectful and sends a beautiful message, however we do have to follow the flag code which states that the flag should never touch anything beneath it, it should never be used as apparel, bedding, or drapery, and should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.

    To me, this also means that American flag bikinis can be seen as a disgrace to the flag. But the fact that the code states that the flag shouldn't be used to carry or hold anything does mean that Venessa Hick did go against the flag code.

    -Haley Vannatter

    Father Refuses to Give up Newborn Baby

    According to Christian Post, a New Zealand father's (Samuel Forrest) American wife (Ruzan Badalyan) left him because he refuses to give up his newborn son diagnosed with down syndrome. 

    Their son (Leo) was born on January 21st in America. He was diagnosed shortly after his birth. 

    "This pediatrician walks out of the room with a little bundle — that was Leo," said Forrest. "She had his face covered up and hospital authorities wouldn't let me see him or my wife. When the doctor came out, he said 'there's a real problem with your son.'"

    Samuel says his wife said this to him when they got the news. "She told me if I kept him then we would get a divorce."

    Last Thursday Badalyan confirmed she gave birth to the child and that she left her husband, but no further details were shared. 

    Badalyan posted this on Facebook: "The first thing that came to my mind after the diagnosis was that I don't want my child to live in a country where certain stereotypes dominate the lives of people with DS and no opportunities at all. I want him to be involved and well-received in society, an integration that will require years and years for our society to adjust to. I saw the evasive looks of the doctors, my relatives' tear-stained faces, received calls of condolences and realised [sic] that only a move to a country with such standards as New Zealand would entitle my son to a decent life."

    She has said that she is the one supporting her family with a $180 salary (and some help from her family members) right now and she didn't see how they could raise a special needs child. 

    -Haley Vannatter

    Wednesday, March 18, 2015

    Dancing with the Stars

    Finally, the 20th season of Dancing with the Stars is back! This year is exceptionally special, because this is the tenth straight season with the same professional dance team. The new celebrity dancers include: Patti La Belle (musician), Michael Sams (football), Suzanne Somers (actress), Nastia Liukin (Olympian), Robert Herjavec (Shark Tank), Willow Shields (singer), Rumer Willis (artist/actress), RedFoo (singer), Riker Lynch (singer/songwriter), Noah Galloway (U.S. Army Veteran), Charlotte McKinney (Super Bowl Commercial), and Chris Soules (the most recent season of The Bachelor). 

    Dancing with the Stars is a very exciting show, and always leaves you wanting more. So clear your calenders, because Season 20 is going to be exceptional. 

                                                                             -Kaylee Patrick

    Photo Essay: Paw-fect Dogs

    Petunia is blossoming into our hearts

    Andy just needs a friend!

    Dulce: A not-so-rotten rottweiler. Also Spanish for sweet

    All bark and no bite!

    Maggie sure won't drive you crazy! Or will she?

    Proper lab photos require border-line kindness

    Please do NOT put ketchup on this weenie!

    Sir, this dog is mutt-in but trouble

    Watch out we got a fur-ocious duo!

    Get along, little doggy! (Not Molly here, she already has an owner.)

    Ridley's got a bone to pick with you!

    -Catherine Cober

    Editorial: Sweet Home Alabama

    A fact and an opinion are two different matters. A fact is that Alabama recently legalized same-sex marriage after Judge Callie Granade voted over Chief Justice Roy More, according to Bloomberg. A rather controversial opinion would be whether to allow same-sex marriage or not in the state where the skies are so blue.

    Judge Callie Granade, in this blogger's opinion, made a very brave decision to legalize same-sex marriage. The statistics below confirm that Alabama is one of the lowest-ranking states when it comes to marriage support, making Judge Granade's nullification rather controversial. (image source: Public Religion )

    PRRI Same sex marriage by state CHART State of the States on Same sex Marriage

    The graph below with the red-pink colored states, courtesy of Huffington Post , confirms evidence of a high Christian population in states like Alabama. This was NOT meant to attack said religion, but brings up the fact that many anti-gay marriage states have a high Christian population. A common Christian stereotype is being homophobic and quoting the Bible. But, homophobia CAN be expressed by anybody, religious or not.

    most least christian state

    In my honest opinion, same-sex marriage should be legalized throughout the United States. The majority of the States may be heterosexual, but that doesn't mean marriage should be limited to one man and one woman. As many of us know, the United States is not a religion-based government, so whether one identifies as Muslim, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, or non-religious, their beliefs should not control our republic government. Another factor is the Bill of Rights should guarantee equal rights for all, including the right for someone who is LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) to marry one of the same sex.

    Feel free to discuss your opinion, respectfully, in the comment section below!

    - Catherine Cober

    How-To: Waterfall Twist

    Brush and part the hair to one side.

    Pick-up small section in the front.

    Divide the bigger section into two equal sections.

    Twist the two sections.

    After you twist, grab a small section of hair on the top of the part.

    Place the small section over one of the sections that you are twisting.

    Pull the other section that you are twisting over.


    Repeat the steps above until you like.

    Secure the twist.

    Finished look.

    And have fun!!

    -Faith Hamman

    FBLA state

    FBLA Competition 

    On Tuesday, March 3rd, the FBLA competed in different categories at the technology center in Wytheville. The competition lasted about an hour and a half. Each person/group went into a room and presented in front of three judges.  

    First place winners:
    Lucas Nester, Cyber Security
    Cassidy Bear, Job Interview
    Gabrielle Justus, Personal Finance 
    Allie Pertee, Brooklynne Mullins, and Haley Vannatter, Social Media Challenge  

    -Haley Vannatter

    VHSL Indoor Track

    VHSL indoor track 1A/2A  State Championships were held at Liberty University on Wednesday, March 4th, which was a major success for Rural Retreat. Senior Dylan Crigger, who placed 7th in the state, undertook the Triple Jump and received a personal record of 38'8. Freshman Colin Crigger competed in the 500 meter dash (a whole lap and a straight stretch) and received a final time of  1:15:03.  Class of 2014 Alum Matthew Farmer still holds the state record of 4:23.83 in the 1600m.

    -Karlee Daniels

    It's Spring Fever

    That is what, The name of
    It is, and when you've got
    It, you want - oh you don't
    Quite know what it is you
    Want, but it just fairly
    Makes your heart ache,
    You want it so!
                             - poem adapted from the writings of Mark Twain

    -Kaylee Patrick

    Tuesday, March 17, 2015

    Editorial: A Spark of Potential

    Wednesday, March 4th, I participated in the State Indoor Track meet. I competed in the triple jump, and placed 7th in state. You would think this was a great accomplishment, but how many people in the student body knew I even went to state? Not many, to say the least. Also recently, the wrestling team won 1st in state. I want to congratulate the wrestlers on yet another great season, and I’m proud to hear they've done well. However, how many people in the student body knew the wrestlers won state? Everyone who attended the celebratory assembly the day we got back. Don’t get me wrong, I think the wrestlers deserve that praise. They not only made it to state, but they won state. That is an accomplishment worthy of recognition.

    On the school website, you can find congratulatory messages to band members who are going to the Tri-State Honors Chamber Wind Festival, and of course to the wrestlers for winning the 1A State Championship, but where is indoor track? The reason I have found is because indoor track isn't considered a sport here at Rural Retreat High School, and this is the idea I want to confront.

    For years, Coach Hadaway, the coach for indoor track, has been recruiting whoever he can to participate in the sport, and he used to drive the athletes around in his own vehicle. Only this year has Coach Hadaway been able to drive a county vehicle. All these years, it has been completely voluntary, and hasn't received much support through the school because it isn't a sport. I would like to change that.

    Indoor track has potential. For years, only a select few have had the opportunity to participate in it, but also in those few years, several have gone to state to participate. Last year, Matthew Farmer and Brian Crockett both participated in state, and Matthew Farmer won his event and broke a record. This year, I placed 7th in state for the triple jump, and Colin Crigger placed 10th in the 500 meter dash, and he is only a freshman. This is a spark that could catch on to be a bonfire.

    I believe that if indoor track were a sport, then perhaps it would be easier for students to participate. Rural Retreat has the potential to have an excellent track team, but no one will come out. Being that Rural Retreat is a small school, a lot of the school athletes participate in many sports, but I would like to point out that track can be great complementary sport. It builds endurance, and endurance is useful in any sport, from football to tennis.

    I feel indoor track has not been given the praise it deserves. Coach Marty Hadaway hasn't received all the appreciation he deserves for being such a dedicated coach to a sport that isn't a sport. I feel indoor track has potential if only some students could give it a try. I hope that in leaving this year, I can leave behind a spark that continues to grow. Perhaps this will be the spark that starts the bonfire that I know indoor track could become. It’s possible, but it needs initiative both from students and the school. I've done my part; now, you can make it happen.

    Dylan Crigger