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Golden Bears collect food for Billings’ hungry


A Look Inside This Issue



Valerie Colwell junior staffwriter

FCCLA makes stockings for soldiers page 9

Billings West High School’s Student Council held a Food Drive to support the Billings Food Bank for the Christmas Season. Before the drive began, Food Drive Committee Chair Kiah Abbey commented, “I hope that all the students


This drive took place December 9 through December 19. Student Council collected food in students’ fourth period classes. Items collected included non-perishable foods such as canned vegetables, household items like detergent, dish soap and laundry sheets and

FOOD! History and English teacher Dr. Bruce Wendt united his fourth perod class to make a difference in the community this holiday season. He said, “I didn’t have to do a lot to get my students motivated. They took the challenge to prove they could do great things. They reflected their personalities by showing a greater sense of community.” Wendt is proud that his students are willing to help and is looking forward to possibly winning again this year. photo by Jenna Hennings

household staples such as flour, salt and baking soda. The fourth period class that collected the most food and household items won a

Lady Bear Hoops page 12

The Food Drive is a tradition that the school has continued for many years that Student Council does not intend on discontinuing. Students Council chose to hold this food drive as a chance to help out others at Christmas time and as a chance for Billings West High School to give back to the community. Mrs. Errin Schmitz, head advisor of Student Council, KODIAK











Billings West High School 2201 St. John's Avenue Billings, MT 59102

MORE FOOD! English teacher Shawna Goodman encouraged her students to make a difference with the food drive this year. When one of her students inquired how much food to buy, she simply answered, “Buy as much as you can.” She also explained, “We like to help the community.” Goodman’s fourth period hopes that they all have done will make a difference. photo by Jenna Hennings

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free luncheon from Outback Steakhouse to be eaten on December 23. The winning class will be determined by the number of food pieces and household items collected. Food and household items collected will be taken to the Billings Food Bank on December 19 after school.

Latest Ender book reviewed page 11

really go all out this year. We’ve got a great prize and it offers an even greater prize for the community

Volume 49

MUCHA COMIDA! Spanish teacher Jenny Polkowske put a great effort into getting her class to donate food to the West High food drive this year. She commented, “It is a great way to help the community. Donating to help can do a lot of good, and it is important that my students know that.” She added, jokingly, “Plus, we wanted to put a little competition out there against last year’s winner [Wendt]. You’re going DOWN!” Polkowske’s fourth period class pulled together to donate as much food as they could carry to help out in the holidays. photo by Jenna Hennings

stated, “It is important to help out within our community wherever we can. It’s especially important for us to learn how important this is, and we hope that by doing something like this in school that the message will spread quickly. Besides, it just feels good to help others!” Christmas is the time for giving and serving others, an example that Student Council is continuing year after year.

Non-Profit Org. US Postage PAID Billings, MT Permit #88


West High Gains Success in Annual Science Bowl West wins second and third in two competitions Nate Weinand News Editor

The Science Club met on November 24 to journey to Bozeman for the Science Olympiad. The group included 10 students: sophomores Reese Christensen and Sally Weinand, juniors Christie McIver, Nicole Ficek, Porter Hanna, Kyle Schneider, Michael Silvernagel, Jordan Stevens and senior Nate Weinand. The Science Olympiad is a series of competitions for both individuals and teams. These events include many scientific disciplines, such as

Terror in India

biology, earth science, chemistry, physics, computers and technology. Upon arrival in Bozeman, the team engaged in Science Fun Night. This included a show called Time Stalkers (about the perfection of the keeping of time) in the planetarium and a selfguided tour of the Museum of the Rockies. One could also go outside to look at the stars and the planets through two telescopes. The next day, the team attended the main event, the Science Olympiad. The day started with the opening ceremony in the ballroom. The Montana Science Olympiad includes all students in

The Political Situation After Mumbai Revealed Kyle Halstvedt senior staffwriter

In the bloody aftermath of the well-televised terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, fingers are being pointed before the dust has settled and the rubble has been cleared. Accusations have been directed at groups both inside and outside India, and there is potential for significant political upheaval in the wake of the attacks. Unsurprisingly, much of the blame has landed squarely on Pakistan, India’s neighbor and bitter rival. The historical precedent for tension between the two nations is very distinct, focused on the raging territorial conflict over the Kashmir region. According to an article published in the New York Times, an anonymous US Defense Department official said, “American intelligence agencies had determined that former officers from Pakistan’s Army and its powerful InterServices Intelligence agency helped train the Mumbai attackers.” Furthermore, both Indian and American intelligence agencies attribute the attacks to the Pakistani organization Lashkar-e-Taiba, or “Army of the Pure.” The terrorists also appear to have entered India illegally by boat from Pakistan, and the sole survivor who was captured grew up in the Punjab province of Pakistan. The ultimate political

implications of the global consensus that Pakistan is somehow linked to the attacks in Mumbai are yet to be seen, but tensions have already increased politically and militarily, threatening to reverse improving relations between the two nations. “It was conveyed to the Pakistan high commissioner that Pakistan’s actions needed to match the sentiments expressed by its leadership that it wishes to have a qualitatively new relationship with India,” a foreign ministry statement said. Indian officials have demanded that Pakistan “take decisive action” to investigate the groups held responsible, and India’s confrontational attitude has resulted in visits to New Delhi by both Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa in an attempt to ease tension. In addition to their tough talk, Indian officials have “not ruled out” the possibility of military strikes against terrorist training camps in Pakistan. Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee even went so far as to say that, “As to when it takes place, people will come to know, it’s not publicized.” The strong stance of the Indian government in both the political and military arenas, while understandable, can only serve to increase tensions in an already unstable region. Although Pakistan is bearing the brunt of the

responsibility, the Indian government has not escaped criticism for the attacks. Several Indian newspapers featured scathing articles criticizing the government’s response to the attacks. “Our politicians fiddle as innocents die. ... As heaps of bodies lie in morgues ... it is time to ask our politicians, are you going back to playing politics with our lives? Or are you going to do something worthwhile with yours?” a frontpage critique asked in the Times of India. Political disenchantment in the Indian subcontinent is growing as a response to these attacks, and evidence that the Indian government had the resources and intelligence to prevent the catastrophe only fuels the fire. The global implications of Mumbai are yet unfelt, but difficulties in maintaining stability in the Indian nation and surrounding region appear to be on the horizon. Perhaps this event will eventually sink into the past, but some sort of change appears imminent; whether it will be violent or peaceful, however, remains to be seen.

middle school and high school in Montana and northern Wyoming. Division C includes all students in high school. Division B includes all students in middle school. The events that occurred over the course of the day included Cell Biology, Disease Detectives (population growth of bacteria), Ecology, Health Science, Herpetology (the study of amphibians and reptiles), Astronomy, Dynamic Planet (Volcanoes, Earthquakes), Trajectory, Environmental Chemistry, Forensics, Elevated Bridge (where competitors built a bridge and saw how much weight it could hold before it breaks),

Picture This (Pictionary with science terms) and Write It, Do It (one student writes an experiment and the other performs the experiment via the instructions). Helena High School took the day taking first place overall in the tournament. Second place went to Fergus High School. Third place went to Sidney High School. But how did West High’s team do? Nate and Sally Weinand received second place in Fossils and Kyle Schneider and Michael Silvernagel received third place in Astronomy. West did not place in the other competitions.

And The Flag Is Still There The National Anthem turns 194 Nate Weinand News Editor

From where did the “National Anthem,” “The Star Spangled Banner,” which is sung at every sporting event and many other events, come? The Anthem was written towards the end of the War of 1812 at the Battle of Fort McHenry, as the British were attempting to take over Baltimore. On the way toward Baltimore by water, the British encountered Fort McHenry and opened fire on the fort with sixteen ships. Colonel John Skinner and a poet\lawyer named Francis Scott Key had earlier gone aboard one of the British ships to negotiate the release of Dr. William Beanes, who had been seized during the September 11, 1814 attack on Washington. The three were immediately detained because the British believed they would tell too much of their battle plans to the Americans. During the Battle of Fort McHenry, on September 14, 1814, Key watched from the deck of the ship. He noticed the giant flag that had been woven before the battle to fly over Fort McHenry and knew that if the flag were lowered, the battle was lost. Towards the end of that

September evening, Key noticed “that our flag was still there” and began to write a poem known as “The Defense of Fort McHenry.” “The Defense of Fort McHenry” was sung to the tune of a British drinking song (according to literary scholars) “To Anacreon in Heaven.” The poem would eventually become known as “The Star-Spangled Banner.“ Over the course of the remainder of the 19th Century, the song gained popularity. It was played at many celebrations, July 4th in particular. On July 27, 1889, Benjamin F. Tracy, the Secretary of the Navy, signed General Order 374, which required “The StarSpangled Banner” to be played whenever the flag was raised. In 1897, “The Star-Spangled Banner” was first played at a baseball game, and in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson ordered the flag to be raised at all military occasions. Finally, by means of a law signed by President Herbert Hoover on March 3, 1931, “The Star-Spangled Banner” was adopted as the official national anthem of the United States. September 14, 2008 was the th 194 anniversary of that fateful day when Key wrote the StarSpangled Banner and celebrated the victory of his country.

Banned! NEWS

West High students baned from Village Inn Pizza Karly South

Senior Columnist

Recently, rumors have been flying about that West High students were being banned from eating at Village Inn Pizza. The rumor went that the Village Inn management decided to ban all students from West High from eating at their restaurant, due to inappropriate behavior and stealing by other West High students. According to the management team from Village Inn it wasn’t just a rumor, two or three groups of students entered their establishment, purchase one plate for the buffet and shared it among four or five students. This is stealing food. The students who ate did not pay for their food, thus, the management began to refuse service to West High students. According to West High seniors Luke Woods and Marcus Drange, they were refused service when they reported that they attended West High School. Drange explained he and Woods went to Village Inn a few weeks ago to eat lunch.

Golden bear writers take trifecta in Edith Gronhovd Peace Essay


When they arrived, they saw two groups of teens from Senior High already eating lunch. When Drange and Woods went to the counter to order a pizza, the employee asked them what high school they attended, and when they replied that they went to West, the employee said, “I can’t serve you.” “I was speechless, I didn’t know what to say,” Drange said. The employee then explained that West High students had been stealing from the salad bar and buffet so they were banned. “I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know that they could ask us where we go to school and then refuse us service,” said Drange. “My mom called them, and she was really upset. They told her they had a list of students who had stolen from them, so they were temporarily banning all students from West High to send a message. I don’t know what message they were trying to get across,” claimed Drange. “It’s good cheap pizza,” commented Woods in response to Drange’s story. Village Inn temporarily banned West High students from their restaurant.

Kyle Halstvedt senior staffwriter

While college essays have reached top priority for many seniors, some of West High’s highest-achieving students have found time to write a different sort of essay. Contenders for the Edith Gronhovd Peace Essay Awards put their writing skills to work advocating the importance of peace in a growing and changing world. The contest, sponsored by The Institute for Peace Studies at Rocky Mountain College, is an annual event which provides awards to the authors of essays which demonstrate “originality, insight, and organization,” according to an informational brochure from the Institute. The funding for the awards is provided by the Edith P. Gronhovd Endowment for Peace. Unlike most essay competitions, the Peace Essay contest did not specify a narrow topic for contenders to address. Students could choose from a range of suggestions, from submitting papers which had already been written for a particular class with some connection to international peace

to composing “a work of fiction focusing on problem situations in the world, with possible solutions.” The deadline for submission to this year’s competition was October 20. Contest winners were notified by November 3, and an awards ceremony was held in their honor at the Alberta Bair Theater on November 14. The first place winner received $200, second place $100, and the third place winner was awarded $50. Despite the contest’s being open to all high school students across Billings, West High students walked away with the top four places. Senior Sara Weller was awarded first place, senior Kiah Abbey took second, sophomore Alison Long took third and sophomore Ashlyn Young received fourth place. Weller submitted her junior term paper on the genocide in Darfur, with some improvements, to the contest. She looks at the program as an excellent educational opportunity, and initially wrote the paper on Darfur because she wanted to learn more about it. “I got to learn a lot about a


topic I was really interested in, and it made me want to get more involved in my community helping people,” said Weller. Abbey, the president of Amnesty International, drew inspiration from the theme of diversity. She wrote her essays about connections between various people waiting in an airport. “I think we need to embrace our connections; it would lead to a world of much more peace and tolerance,” Abbey commented. As these West High students have shown, the pen certainly is a formidable weapon in the worldwide fight for peace and justice. The Edith Gronhovd Peace Essay contest is just one step in achieving the goals of peace addressed in the Peace Institute’s mission statement, which provides that it “shall seek through education to explore and promote alternatives to violence in the behavior of individuals, groups, communities, and nations.” However, this step has revealed the exceptional writing talent of the West High contestants and their deep concern for pressing issues in the world around us.

Homeless teens an issue in Billings NEWS

Rachel Nielsen junior staff writer

Among the homeless population in Billings, 48 percent are males and 52 percent are females. Of these percentages, a startling 48 percent are homeless teens who have dropped out of school and not received their G.E.D. These numbers are not only disturbing to the community and the Billings School System, but also to Billings’ teens. “It’s awful that such a large number of teens are uneducated. For personal reasons, some cannot receive education, and some just lack the drive. Its sad” stated junior Susan Bullock.


In fact, there are many reasons for the dropout and homeless rates of the community. In extensive interviews with 50 homeless adolescents in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties in California last year, only 48 percent said they used shelters or drop-in centers. The remaining 52 percent were a hidden population, so afraid they would be sent home or placed in foster care that they shunned all contact with service providers and what they viewed as the authoritarian adult world. “I would rather be homeless,” one homeless teen said. “It is cold and miserable on the streets, but it is better than being beaten up by parents who don’t care.” These street teens lived in

HEAR OUR VOCES! Homeless teens in Billings stage a public display to pronounce the dire situation that they face. Startling amounts of teenagers find themselves on the brink of poverty on their own. Many of these people are high school dropouts that have a negative outlook on the world. Demonstrators are spreading the word that, “This is our generation.”

“families” of as many as 20 adolescents, huddling under bridges, in woods, on beaches or in abandoned buildings. Most were forced to support themselves by panhandling, theft, drug sales or prostitution. The homeless teenager study was part of a broader Stanford Studies of Homeless Families, Children and Youth, headed by Stanford sociologist Sanford Dornbusch. The interviews were conducted by Todd Rubin, a Stanford junior who took a year off from his regular academic work to complete the project. Homeless teens who used shelters and those who did not shared similar levels of psychological distress and troubled family backgrounds. Out of those surveyed, 92 percent came from broken homes. Half reported family alcoholism and 40 percent reported drug abuse. In addition, 56 percent of the teens reported physical abuse, and

Trent Dugger

junior staffwriter

“Save the stinkin’ polar bears!” West High’s chemistry teacher Maureen Ladd has an interesting way to express her opinion on the issue of global warming. On average, the temperature

West English teacher spends time in New York, meets TV cooking sensation Features Editor

Who knows anything about TV host and chef Rachael Ray? News editor and senior Nate Weinand asked, “Isn’t she the lady on the Ritz Box?” While for many, Ray’s fame only extends to the Ritz Box, English teacher Linda Maio knows different. She received a special invitation by the Rachael Ray Show to join for a filming of the cooking show. In November, her presence was requested to be a guest on the chef’s cooking show. Original word as to why Maio was invited was unclear, but rumors circulated that her “classically decorated” room was the starting point for her recognition. Maio was flown to New York City in later November compliments of the Rachael

Ray Show, and enjoyed a luxurious three days in the city that never sleeps. Her visit included filming for an appearance on her show and she also personally met the star chef herself. Sophomore Cobey Guy commented, “I was very surprised that Miss Maio was invited to be on Rachael Ray’s cooking show. [Her students] were all impressed that a high school teacher from Montana could be recognized nationally.” Maio elated, “It was such an honor to be considered a special guest on [Ray’s] show. It was crazy fun and I learned a lot while I was away. New York was awesome, but it is nothing compared to back home. I missed my kids.” The reason Maio was asked to the show is for a reason completely different from the rumor, but is exciting none the less. Ray heard about Maio from her website,

38 percent reported sexual abuse in their families. The teens also mentioned frequent conflict with parents, lack of money or room and teenage pregnancy and homosexuality. Most teenage homeless were not wanted or well cared for. “There needs to be a type of program implemented to foster these teens into the care and love they deserve. If we all gave up one room in each of our homes, the homeless problem in Billings would be solved,” says counselor Kevin Brooke. There are a number of organizations in Billings working to improve life for homeless teens. Most prominent among them is the Tumbleweed Runaway Program which is a non-profit, community based agency founded in 1976. It provides emergency services to runaway, homeless and otherwise at-risk youth and their families. Tumbleweed’s Basic Center Program services are free of

charge and include crisis intervention, emergency shelter, family mediation, short-term individual and family counseling, adolescent support groups; information advocacy, and referral to other community services; parenting courses, aftercare; and assistance with locating runaway youth and reuniting them with their parent/legal guardians. Tumbleweed’s crisis counseling and youth shelter services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Though an effort is being made to decrease rates of homeless teens, the current percentages continue to fluctuate and West High students can reach out into these teens to improve their conditions. Junior Nikki Mosure states, “Stay in school. Take every opportunity available to immerse yourself in the education you have the privileged to receive.”

of Earth is increasing by 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit each year. Arctic ice is disappearing at a faster rate than ever recorded in history. The region’s first ice-free summer could be as early as 2040. Polar bears and indigenous cultures are suffering from the loss of the sea ice. In 1910, Montana’s Glacier National Park had a total of 150 glaciers, but now, in 2008, the park only has 27. Land features and animals are not the only ones who suffer while the Earth’s climate rapidly changes. The coral reefs are highly sensitive to water temperature change and have already seen the worst bleaching (die-off in response to stress). The Indian Ocean has seen 70 percent increase in bleaching. Storm intensity is one factor involved in global warming. As the temperature of the planet is increasing, the severity of storms

and natural disasters also increases. Tropical storms and hurricanes are heat engines. The storms are fueled by the difference in temperature between the Earth’s surface, and the top of the tropopause. In 2005, the United States was hit with the most damaging hurricane in Gulf Coast history. Hurricane Katrina took a $100 billion blow to the United States economy. Since 1970, there has been a 100 percent increase in the intensity and duration of tropical storms and hurricanes. The ecosystem of the planet is at a great risk due to the warming of the planet. The plant and animal species could be wiped out 37 to 50 percent by 2050 due to the significant increase in climate change. Junior Anna Peterson says, “Global warming is real, and you’d be stupid to deny it and do nothing about it because it’s caused by us!”

Global Warming issues explained: 1.4 degrees makes a world of difference

Maio on Rachel Ray Jenna Hennings

4, and thought of an idea to bring the infamous Billings West High School teacher to the national scene. Apparently, Ray requested that Maio take part in a new segment for her show; something to the effect of an “Ask Miss Maio” segment. Maio has not promised anything to add to Ray’s show, but is seriously considering the prospect of having air time across the country to voice her opinions of various subjects ranging from teaching to food to the fashion scene. “I have thought about what [the people on the show] offered me, but I just don’t know. It sounds exciting, but I don’t think I could balance a spot on the TV show as well as teaching.” The exact air date of Maio’s first episode is unknown, but it will air sometime before Christmas on the KULR 8 news station.

FEATURES Recycled Gift Wrap? Jess Nobil

junior staffwriter

Christmas time is always a time of giving and making people happy. It is a time to spend money, be with family, eat wonderful food and put smiles on other people’s faces. West High’s Amesty International group is sponsoring an alternative wrapping project at Global Village and Off the Leaf. This “convention” promotes more environmentally-conscious ways of wrapping the many gifts given out during the holiday season. To promote this environmentally-friendly gift wrapping, students are using recycled newspaper as wrapping paper and yarn for ribbon. “It’s great to hear that Amnesty International can give back to the community and accomplish club goals of encouraging the responsible use of resources,” stated senior Kyle Halstvedt. Funded by donations, Amnesty International will accept contributions. Senior Kiah Abbey, president of West high’s Amnesty International group, stated, “The environmental crisis of today will be the

12-minute mile

West High student overcomes adversity Erin Kusek Copy Editor

On August 29, Mason Lemm ran the mile in 12 minutes and 41 seconds in physical education class [P.E.]. Here is the catch: Lemm is a victim of cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a diagnosis that signifies a group of neurological diseases that appear in infancy or early childhood; these disorders can permanently affect movement and muscle coordination. Cerebral palsy just affects Lemm’s legs, making him reliable on crutches for movement. How exactly did he achieve running the mile? “I just kept my head up,” commented Lemm. Lemm continues to inspire his classmates everyday through participating in normal activities as if he did not have a disability. “He does everything. It’s

just amazing he’s able to do all he does,” said freshman Danny Robison. “He’s strong-willed and very competitive,” admitted freshman Cody Mack. “Mason tries really hard, and he’s just a cool person,” said freshman Trey Roadifer. Through persevering in difficult classes like P.E., Lemm encourages other students to give the extra effort. “When students see Mason working, it motivates them to also work hard,” noted health teacher Krista Blomquist. “He doesn’t separate himself; he is just really like everyone else.” Despite his crutches, Lemm is able to move around the school without too much complication. “Getting around takes a lot longer, but that’s about the only [difficulty],” said Lemm. As for high school, Lemm commented, “I like it a lot better than middle school. It’s really fun.” Just like a normal

teenager, Lemm enjoys hanging out with friends, playing bass guitar and even hunting. By accomplishing perhaps the unthinkable,

“It feels like such an accomplishment to be able to make top eight with two different people. For the next tournament, I will be competing in Policy debate, and I hope to have as good results. The team is very supportive, and all the work put into debate seems worth it when I’m on stage,” Frisk explained. The debate team is not the

only team celebrating. Speech boasts seven different events, and the team is able to stand tall and say they had people break to semifinals, top sixteen, in every event. Junior Colin McRae and sophomore Alex Bush took a consecutive second place and senior Cassandra King took 5 in original oratory. The speech team and public forum team took fifth

Forensics Continues Season Trent Dugger

junior staffwritter

“After a disappointing performance in Great Falls and with new people on the team, hopes are high for Helena,” stated head coach Melinda Middleton. On December 5, the forensics team hit the road to compete in Helena. Policy debate and Lincoln Douglas [L.D.] debate were held at Carroll College. Senior Andy Burton not only took sixth place in varsity L.D. but also received an award for the third highest L.D. speaker points. Kendra Schaff, sophomore, took third place in Novice L.D. “I shouldn’t have placed third. My opponent took apart my entire case, and I thought I was done in quarter [finals]. I guess I got third, though. If I wouldn’t have dropped in the semi [finals], I think I could have beaten the kid who was in the final round,” explained Schaff. Junior Kyra Nelson and her partner sophomore Megan Frisk took eighth place in public forum, making this Frisk’s second time in top eight this season.

Mason Lemm is certainly an inspiration to everyone at West through his bright spirit and constant courage.

place over all, beating cross town rival Senior Boncs. The forensics team did not perform as well in Missoula as they did in Great Falls. The team head one finalist, sophomore Christa Bailey took 5 in varsity L.D. Bailey stated, “I’m thrilled I broke top 8; that was my goal, and accomplishing it feels good.”

If I make a good stocking, Santa will bring me good presents...

CAREFUL! Betti Brewer’s fifth period language class carefully sews their personal Christmas stockings during their end-of-class reading time. Brewer reads to the students daily to reward them for hard work during the rest of the class.Most students are making the stockings for themselves or a family member. photo by Betti Brewer

Ecology Club Travels to Yellowstone FEATURES

Nate Weinand News Editor

On Thursday, December 11, 2008, at around 4:30 p.m., 28 Ecology Club members set out on a trip to Yellowstone National Park. The whole trip was scheduled to take a little less than two days. The students chose to ride to the only open entrance into the Park at this time, through Gardiner, with any of the four group leaders: biology teachers Chuck Swarm and Joe Catron, Dr. Russell Lord, and Environmental Science teacher, John Miller, or they chose to ride with a parent. Upon arrival in Gardiner, the group first ate pizza at Outlaw Pizza. Then, the group departed for their rooms for the

He shot WHAT? HOW far?


cold students awaited dinner and the prospect of a night hike along the travertine-covered terraces of Mammoth Hot

was encouraging to see how much they enjoyed the wilds of Yellowstone.” Senior Steve Wells stated,

BRRR! Above, the picturesque Lamar valley. Behind the trees lives extensive wildlife. submitted photo

Springs. A few hardier individuals

TREES! Another view of the Lamar Valley with two lone pine trees leaning together for warmth. submitted photo

night. On Friday, the group journeyed to Lamar Valley in order to look for wolves. Many were able to see wolves from the highly territorial Druid Peak pack (which a ranger told us much about). At the next stop, the group either snow shoed or crosscountry skied for about three miles through a highly-forested region of the park near Baronette Peak. It was a long, strenuous process, but the entire group made it. A prepared lunch was eaten halfway through the trek. It was a six-hour trek through seven or eight-inch deep snow. Returning to the hotel, the

decided to go on this final quest into the park while the rest stayed behind. The adventuresome group walked the two-mile terrace loop and part of the lower terrace boardwalk, viewing a few thermal features, including Liberty Cap. Saturday brought the return journey from Gardiner back to Billings (because of a blizzard). Catron said of the hastened return, “There was a lot of snow. We made it back in the nick of time.” Swarm also spoke of the blizzard, “Wind and snow don’t mix.” Miller said of the entire experience, ”I appreciated the behavior of the students, and it

Karly South

complications, they also can have quite a few benefits, which is good if you’re trying to justify your tanning addiction, as I frequently am. Recent studies, according to, show that exposure to UV lights helps the human body produce a natural supply of Vitamin D, which does all kinds of great things like strengthen bones and help prevent many types of cancer. So I suppose that’s

“It was fun. I haven’t had more fun my entire senior year.” The twenty-eight students who went on the trip are as follows: freshman Ryan DeMars and Lauren Molin; sophomores Colter Eaton, Ben Gleason, Tess Hamzen, Catherine Lewis and Ksenia Lynch; juniors Izzy Archilla, Megan Beam, Leah Davis, Austin Gee, Porter Hanna, Ryan Hawk, Tressa Langford, Alison Molin, Kyle Schneider, Jordan Stevens and Megan Stevenson; seniors Lauren Bomar, Iris Elbelt, Ben Hargrove, Nicole Knudson,

Evan Nigh

senior staffwriter

While some of us struggle with engineering and problem solving, freshman Gage Aisenbrey finds that it comes easy. His method in inventing his hydraulically controlled rubber band launcher is simply, “It looked like it would work.” Dr. Jeff Meide’s Tech Education 1 class hosted a class competition to develop an effective rubber band gun that could hit a target up to six feet away. After envisioning his design, Aisenbrey got to work on his launcher which consists of two cylinders of water used to fire the rubber band. While the majority of his design worked with ease, he did find that the launcher was shooting a little high. To correct this problem, he had to recalculate the angle at which it was being shot but quickly fixed the problem.


Competition day, his invention not only was highly accurate at hitting targets within six feet, but Aisenbrey projected, “It was powerful enough to propel the rubber band at least 15 feet.” He easily won first place in the competition. Meide acknowledges that Aisenbrey had “demonstrat[ed] superior problem solving skills.” Aisenbrey’s enrollment in Tech Ed. was quite unexpected in the first place. After a scheduling complication, he signed up for the class on a whim. It was not a mistake. Only a freshman, Aisenbrey has shown incredible insight and engineering skills. Even senior Tyler Schmechel wishes that he had that ability, and said, “Rubber bands guns are cool, but only if the rubber bands are latex free!” For the future, he is unsure on whether he will continue with Tech Ed. throughout high school, but it has been clearly shown that he possesses a unique ability.

A solitary fox looks back as it wanders around the frigid Yellowstone winter wilderness. submitted photo

Henry Kornegay, Emily Meick, Evan Nigh, Ossi Tianen, Nate Weinand and Steve Wells. FIRE! Gage Aisenbrey poses with his award-winning design. submitted photo

Tanning: Despite negatives, positives exist Senior Columnist

Despite their popularity, tanning beds are bad for you. As someone who really enjoys them, I have just accepted the fact that they are terrible for me, and I will probably have dreadful skin when I’m older because I still continue to use them. But it turns out that although they can be a cause of skin cancer and other

probably an even trade off: skin cancer instead of breast cancer. Along with the benefits of Vitamin D, tanning beds also have a tendency to improve moods, especially during the winter. Tanning beds are a cozy and extremely warm environment, which can be incredibly peaceful and relaxing to its users. Since many people experience what we call the “winter blues,” tanning beds

can be a quick and easy solution as our bodies react to the UV radiation which is given off. As there is a decrease in our sun exposure, which causes people winter depression, tanning beds offer a simple solution to that issue. Tanning beds are also built to filter out UVB rays that burn the skin while projecting UVA rays that tan the skin. The sun does not have this natural ability, so it tends to be more

damaging. Although tanning beds offer medical benefits, risks are also involved in their use, including damage to the eyes and the ever-feared skin cancer. So, excessive use of a tanning bed is not recommended by anyone, even those operating them. Above all of this, most do find it aesthetically appealing to have a golden glow all year round, tanning beds make this simple and easy.



Library expands technology to serve students Tyler Schmechel senior staffwriter

Sherry Neill is no stranger to the Billings West High library. She is, in fact, the Library Secretary. However, while Neill has remained an ever-present constant amidst the West High bookshelves, the library itself has changed drastically over the years. When Neill first began at the library nine years ago, there were still mountains of books and reading materials for students to sift through, but only a handful of outdated computers. Things have obviously changed. Recalling her earliest years on the job, Neill pointed out that not only did the West library lack computers, but that the computers they did have were also inconveniently, “located in the back corner of the library” making student access to the computers difficult to come by. The first major change that Neill remembers, however, is not a computer updating process but carpet renovation. This

seemingly anticlimactic change was the catalyst for many more to come. Since the carpet renovation, Neill and the West library have seen the installment of better, more tech-savy computers, which also happen to be much more plentiful and much more accessible. These very same computers are now home to a plethora of impressive software including the widely-known InfoTrac, a program that has been forced upon students time and time again since their library initiation freshmen year. InfoTrac, a “full-text database,” is home to a variety of academic journals and general magazines targeted at assisting students in high school libraries across the country. It was a program that senior Bryce Worthington found handy throughout his stressful junior term paper experience. “InfoTrac provided me with a lot of useful information,” commented Worthington. Also relatively new to the library are the programs “CQ

Researcher” and the “World and I,“ internet databases that allow students access to previously hard-to-find educational documents. However, while the West High library has continually found ways to incorporate new technology for student and teacher research, it has also sought to continue providing the most original of library elements, books. Head librarian Katherine Fields stressed that the library would always “emphasize print as well as non-print sources.” “We’re always trying to keep up with popular fiction. We want the students to have a good selection,” accentuated Fields. The most pressing issue on Fields’ mind, however, is not keeping up to date with ever expanding technology or keeping the library stocked with popular novels (particularly Manga). She, instead, expresses that she wishes students would not be afraid to ask for help from the librarians. “We’re here to help,” insists

Fields, “It’s a part of our profession to make sure students have an easier time accessing needed reading materials.” And that is exactly what the librarians have been doing: updating computers, restocking the library shelves with popular literature, and assisting students with school research projects. In short, the librarians are as Fields insists, “… here to help.”

for household and sanitation needs. Global water consumption rose almost tenfold in the last century, and many parts of the world are now reaching the limits of their supply. The Yellowstone River’s eight year drought has left scores of ponds and wetlands dry and thirsty in Yellowstone. It has also forced shifts in wildlife, increased the frequency of wildfires and changed the timing of mountain snowmelt and the growth of nutritious vegetation. Populations continue to increase while water supplies dwindle. To highlight this growing problem, the United Nations [UN] declared 2003 to be The International Year of Freshwater.

According to the U.N., if current trends continue, “Two out of every three people on earth will suffer moderate to severe water shortages in little more than two decades from now. Globally, one in six people still have no regular access to safe drinking water, and more than twice that number (2.4 billion people) lack access to adequate sanitation facilities.” The problem is local as well as global. In the desert southwest, drought combined with depleted stores of groundwater and burgeoning Sunbelt populations are putting unprecedented strains on the water supply. Water is in demand for a myriad of uses: recreational, mining and industry, fishing, irrigation and riparian habitat preservation, among others. In the U.S., almost 100 gallons of drinking water are used per day per person. In 2003, the U.S.

Department of the Interior [DOI] acknowledged that the semi-arid West faces particular challenges. In its report Water 2025: Preventing Crises and Conflict in the West, DOI concedes that “today, in some areas of the West, existing water supplies are, or will be, inadequate to meet the water demands of people, cities, farms and the environment even under normal water supply conditions.” Excessive use of water has the following adverse effects on our society, economy, and environment: * More dams must be built, destroying wilderness areas and reducing stream flow. * The water infrastructure requires increased maintenance for pipes, sewers and treatment facilities. * Agricultural uses can contribute to erosion, salinity and increased desertification. * Water bodies such as rivers, wetlands and bays are degraded from the high levels of water extracted and from the polluted runoff that feeds into them. It is possible to reduce the risk of running out of water by taking shorter showers, turning the water off when brushing teeth and even going to the Yellowstone River to clean up litter that has cluttered its banks. This will reduce pollution and reduce the cost of water treatment. Considering the lack of fresh water available to the Yellowstone County and globally, water conservation is absolutely vital if people intend to go on living in the environment.

Water Conservation: Global consumption of water exceeds supplies Rachel Nielsen junior staffwriter

Although almost 80 percent of Earth is covered with water, only three percent of the planet’s water resources represent fresh water. Less than one percent of all water is available for human consumption; the rest is salty ocean water, or freshwater that is bound up in glaciers and polar ice caps. Of the water available to humans, animals and plants, only a tiny fraction is used as drinking water. Most of what is consumed is used to create electricity, grow crops and run factories. Other water is used

7 ACT and SAT: Is studying necessary? Tyler Schmechel senior staffwriter Junior year, consistently ranked as one of the most rigorous at West High, is home to the “dreaded” term paper and increasingly difficult branches of mathematics and science, and as the year rolls to an end, the beginning of college applications. Undoubtedly, getting into many colleges today simplifies into paperwork, paperwork and standardized testing (by no means a student favorite) often times in the form of the American College Test [ACT] or the Scholastic Assessment Test [SAT]. As many selective colleges require the two tests for admissions into their schools, one would reasonably infer that “test day” comes only after students have put in laborious amounts of study and hours upon hours of perusing through test guides. But according to students interviewed at West High, the opposite seemed to be true. “I didn’t prepare at all,” commented senior Kiah Abbey. Following in Abbey’s suit, seniors Kyle and Scott Halstevdt, who scored perfect and near-perfect scores on their ACT’s, respectively remarked that the tests did not even cross their minds until the day they sat down to take them. Furthermore, some seniors feel that studying for the ACT’s and SAT’s was almost taboo. “Studying for the tests just seems wrong. Not only is it a waste of time, but high school should have prepared you for them anyways,” said senior Jase Muri. Abbey seemed to concur with Muri’s feelings, claiming, “My public education prepared me for the tests. There just wasn’t any point in studying for them.” Whether studying helps students perform better on the ACT and SAT may be a person-by-person case. Muri, the Halstevdts and Abbey however, all seemed to agree one thing. As Muri noted, “I would definitely suggest taking the test earlier as opposed to later; that way, if you don’t do so well the first time, you can always take it again.”

Mentors make the school a better place FEATURES



Golden Bear mentors work with new students to help them adapt to life at West, to being part of the West High family Jess Nobil

junior staffwriter

Billings West High is home to a unique yet exciting activity: the Mentor Program. However, many students do not really know the purpose. They tend to ask questions like “Why does West have it?” “Do other schools have it?” and “What are the benefits and purpose

of this program other then getting kids out of class a few minuets early?” This program is designed to provide a type of transition service to the incoming freshman and new students entering West. To help the students adjust to the schedule and how this school works, “mentor” students work with the new West High Bears. Senior Alex Hartford

stated, “Helping the freshmen out is righteous; it gives you a good feeling.” The senior, junior and sophomore mentors are assigned two to three new freshmen each year. They call the freshmen sometime in the summer to explain to them what the program is for, how it works and when they will be seeing them next. Junior Bryce Pedersen said, “I love my

[freshmen]. I’m just glad I could do my part to help out with making them feel more comfortable in school; we are all big family; we gots to stick together!” This program is also considered a public service and embellishes college resumes and transcripts. Therefore, it is a good thing for seniors and juniors especially to participate in. “I like helping the

freshmen adjust to West,” mentioned junior Halee Ibach. “I remember how intimidated I was coming to a bigger school, and so I wanted to help these freshmen feel welcome here.” There are many other benefits that students can acquire form this program other then having something good to put on a résumé. The advantages include being able and capable of helping someone else to feel better about being in a new school; the program looks good on work resumes, and it also gives students another chance to be able to participate in their school. This year the program has been slightly altered because there is a new person in charge of the program. Program adviser Gloria Morgan has some changes in mind for next year. First, she would like to change how the mentors interact with the new students. Morgan said that if the upper-classmen got their list of kids in the spring and met with them then to give them a tour and get to know them over the summer, she feels the program would go much smoother. She would also like fewer mentors, a certain amount public service outside of school required of the older mentors, more rigorous requirements and meeting with the freshman more often; however, all of these changes depend of the funding for the program.

Obama cabinet appointments turns heads FEATURES

Kyle Halstvedt senior staffwriter

It is a historical trend in American politics that the interest level in the presidential race plummets after Election Day. For President-elect Obama, however, the pressure is still firm. The cabinet appointments made during this transition period will have a profound effect on Obama’s term as US president. The executive cabinet is more extensive that it initially appears. Although the President is certainly the face of the executive branch, he does not personally deal with the constant slew of paperwork and issues and problems that his office deals with. It is therefore vital that he appoint cabinet members who he can trust to perform vital functions within his administration. Perhaps the most powerful of the appointees is the Chief of Staff, who essentially oversees the interaction of the President with his various advisors and cabinet members. Obama selected Illinois representative Rahm Emanuel almost immediately after the election to fill this post in his administration. Emanuel served as Senior Advisor to the President for Policy and Strategy in former President Bill Clinton’s administration, and has since assumed the position of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman. Obama also nominated Jim Messina, the director of personnel for the presidential transition team and Montana Senator Max Baucus’ former Chief of Staff, as Deputy Chief of Staff. Other in the White House staff nominees include Chris Lu, who was nominated for Cabinet Secretary; Greg Craig, White House Counsel; and Robert Gibbs, who was tapped for Press Secretary. Although important, White


House staffers make up only a small fraction of a President’s team. Generally a president appoints cabinet members and top advisors in every area of government which requires oversight, including economic, environmental, and foreign policy experts. Obama is certainly no exception, and has built a strong team of picks from the obvious to the controversial. One of the more groundbreaking of Obama’s choices is that of Eric Holder for Attorney General. Besides being the Deputy Attorney General under former President Clinton and serving as legal advisor to Obama during his campaign, Holder is AfricanAmerican. If all goes well, he will become the first African-American to hold the office, a symbolic and somewhat controversial trend in the Obama camp. Other important domestic appointments include Secretary of Agriculture, which went to former Iowa governor and Clinton advisor Tom Vilsack, and Secretary of Health and Human Services, which was given to former South Dakota Senator and majority leader Tom Daschle. Although most of the appointees are affiliated with the Democratic Party, Obama did not appoint exclusively Democrats. Two party outsiders have been appointed so far, Republican Ray LaHood and current Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who also describes himself as a Republican despite being a registered independent. It was announced that LaHood, a Republican member of the US House of Representatives, was would be nominated for the position of Obama’s Transportation Secretary on December 17. The Obama team also announced in early December that Obama was willing to offer a continuation of Gates’ current position as Defense Secretary.

The Republican appointees were not the only causes for raised eyebrows. Perhaps the most talkedabout appointment was that of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Obama’s opponent for the Democratic presidential nomination, as Secretary of State. Many who supported Obama over Clinton see this as a negative move, but the Obama team maintains that they are attempting to build a Lincolnesque “team of rivals” to run the country. Other key appointments were made in the economic sector of the executive branch. Timothy Geithner, current president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, was named Treasury Secretary. Bill Richardson, the current governor of New Mexico, will assume the post of Commerce Secretary. Another important presence is Lawrence Summers, an economist who has worked in transition with Obama as well as served as Clinton’s Treasury Secretary and is slated to become the head of the White House’s National Economic Council. The most high-profile appointment to an environmental post was that of physicist Steven Chu, a Nobel Laureate in physics and a renowned researcher at the University of California, Berkely. He was named as the next Secretary of Energy, and his impressive scientific credentials could mean that he will take a strong stance on global warming in the years to come. The final important area of executive appointments is national security. Besides Clinton and Gates, who will both hold national defense posts, the Obama team has announced the choice of Arizona governor Janet Napolitano as Secretary of Homeland Security. Retired General James L. Jones will round out the defense team as the US National Security Advisor. Jones’ extensive military record makes him a far different pick for the post than


Controversial Reverend to speak at Inauguration Tyler Schmechel senior staffwriter

Since before his election on November 4, President-elect Barack Obama has sought to reach across party lines and overcome personal vendetta in order to establish a more efficient Washington. In accordance with this philosophy, President-elect Obama recently set aside his own stance on gay and lesbian rights, an extremely controversial issue, when he defended “his choice of a popular evangelical minister to deliver the invocation at his inauguration,” according to the Associated Press. Pastor Rick Warren, a leader of an evangelical sect in Southern California and a best-selling author, is known for advocating for a ballot initiative banning gay marriage in California. In response to President-elect decision, The Human Rights Campaign, a gay and lesbian rights sponsor, wrote to the Presidentelect declaring, “We feel a deep level of disrespect when one of the architects and promoters of an antigay agenda is given the prominence and the pulpit of your historic nomination.” The President-elect responded to reporters in Chicago, his political birthplace, saying, “[America needs to] come together,” and that reaching across lines on controversial issues (such as gay and lesbian rights) is

Condoleezza Rice or current National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley. Obama has come out of the gate

“…part of what [his] campaign is all about.” According to the Associated Press, President-elect Obama also reasserted that he is a “fierce advocate for equality” and “will remain so.” Some gay rights advocates are not convinced. The Human Rights Campaign letter further reinstated its resentment to Pastor Rick Warren’s inauguration speech explaining, “By inviting Rick Warren to your inauguration, you have tarnished the view that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans have a place at your table.” The vice-president of The Human Rights Campaign, David Smith, expanded on the controversy saying, “The inauguration represents the dawn of his presidency, so the symbolism is unmistakable.” The campaign is afraid that having a Pastor, who is “intolerant” of LGBT rights, give an inauguration speech will send a message to America, that these views are “tolerable or acceptable.” An Obama spokeswoman, however, responded, “[The] decision was based on Presidentelect Obama’s commitment to finding [a] common ground with people…“ Whether the Presidentelect is really making a comment on hot-button political issues or just finding a common ground amidst the American people, only time will tell.

running with a strong list of picks for his cabinet; the impact of these often unique choices will certainly be seen in the next four years.

Stockings all hung by the chimney with care... FCCLA students make stockings and send them to soldiers in Iraq Valerie Colwell junior staffwriter

On November 15, a box filled with decorated stockings and disposable cameras left Jillian Miller’s sewing classroom headed for Iraq. Family Career and Community Leaders of America [FCCLA] members in Miller’s first period textiles class handmade stockings for soldiers in Iraq to bring them a little holiday cheer. Club member and junior Callie Farrar said, “It felt good to do something for the soldiers during the holiday season.” FCCLA president Eva Pickett commented, “We got to learn new stitches and lots of other exciting things.” The stockings were on the small side but made with love. Students

decorated the stockings with various holiday designs such as candy canes, Christmas trees and stars. FCCLA students also put a disposable camera in each stocking. Pickett explained, “We wanted to show the soldiers who made the stockings for them, so we took pictures of ourselves on disposable cameras and put them in the stockings. This way soldiers can also take pictures while they are in Iraq.” Twenty stockings were made overall. The total cost of this project came to $10. Students each chipped in about $1 and had enough to get material, disposable cameras and pay for shipping. These stockings were mailed to Salt Lake City, Utah. From there the stockings will be sent on to soldiers serving in Iraq. Packages were mailed on November 15 so the gifts would reach soldiers in time for Christmas.

LOOK AT WHAT WE MADE! Junior FCCLA members Callie Farrar, Megan Nauman and Eva Pickett show off their amazing stocking creations that they later sent to soldiers in the Middle East. submitted photo


Singers rise to the occasion Rachel Nielsen

The West High Meistersingers traveled to Senior High to participate in the 2008 AA Choir Festival last week. Choirs from all over the state were able to perform under the direction of guest conductor, Dr. Anderson. Anderson is the chairman of the department of performing arts and Director of Choral and Vocal Studies. He has conducted, lectured and adjudicated choirs across the United States, in Sweden, France, Hong Kong, Israel, China, Japan, Korea, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. As first vice president of the International Federation for

Choral Music [IFCM], Anderson is the principal administrator for North America. He is a member of the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors of IFCM and sits on the Board of Directors of the International Center for Choral Music in Namur, Belgium. He also serves on the Board of Advisors for the School of Music and Georgia State University. “He was extremely nice [and] hard working. [He] obviously had a great amount of wisdom and experience in the vocal field,” states West High choir director David Green. The students represented schools from all over the state including Senior High, Skyview High, Bozeman High, CM Russell High, Great Falls High

and West High. The choirs were performed as individual schools and also as a mass choir. “Meistersingers performed very well; everyone brought their absolute best,” said Green. The AA Festival also hosted the Big Sky Chorus under the direction of David Barnett. It was chartered in 1956 as the Billings chapter of “Barbershop Harmony Society.” Since its inception, the group’s have been committed to providing members an entertaining, yet challenging singing experience. The mass choir’s repertoire of music included The Last Words of David by Randall Thompson, Go Lovely Rose by Mark Henderson, The Snow by Edward Elgar, Fergus an’ Molly by Vijay Singh, Amor de mi Alma by Z. Randall Stroope,

Soldier Soldier Won’t You Marry Me by Robert DeDormier and I Want to Be Ready by Ted Hunter. “My favorite piece was The Last Words of David. It was a great piece of music, and the choir sounded awesome singing it,” stated junior Holly Suchy. “Fergus an’ Molly was my favorite because it was a blast for the men to be able to sing in an Irish brogue,” said junior Colin McRae. “The sound was so forceful; it blew your hair back, but it was so beautiful and definitely worth the two days of rehearsal,” said Green. The students were able to receive direction at a professional and more concentrated level and enjoy the fruits of higher and more challenging music.

love with him. Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Sound of Music is just one of their many-loved musicals, and this is the third time BST has presented this production. Opening night was Dec 5, and the show will run through Dec 21. “I think everyone is doing a wonderful job! I still [am] moved by it, so that really says something,” director Gerry Roe’s acknowledges his actors

and actresses. Music Director Bobbi Hawk casted the part of Liesl with Rebekah Kellison; Kellison hit every note perfectly, and she is just one of the many memorable actresses in the show. West High’s senior Pat Stockdale plays the role of Herr Zeller, a Nazi. New to the stage, only in one other production, Stockdale started his acting career last year in BST’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Stockdale says, “It’s fun to yell at people, and Gerry Roe is a funny guy. Kind of crazy, but cool.” Janice Jahr, Supporting Cast Volunteer, says “I thought the music was very well done. It’s one of the better musicals I’ve seen at BST. Although not a typical ‘Christmas musical,’ it’s one of the best selections they have made for this time of year.” Being a community theatre, it can be difficult to find a perfect cast, but Roe and his assis-

tants have done a great job with their selection. Taking an Oscar winning musical and putting on a stage causes difficulty for some directors, but this is not Roe’s first time directing such a demanding musical. With 45 cast member with ages ranging from grade school children to adults, the production end BST’s 2008 year successfully and on a positive note.

with this group. Also only touring for one year, Hero is being played by Northwest University alumni Allison Sanchez. Returning for his fifth tour, David Chrzanowski plays the part of the villain, Don Pedro. Chrzanowski says, “He loves the Montana audience.” After the performance, the SIS troupe sat for a question-andanswer session, and one of the questions asked was, “What is the best advice you could give to someone wanting to make a living out of acting?”

Sean Hazarian, on his first tour, stated, “Get involved and study theatre as much as possible.” Instead of using the original setting, the group modernized the scenery to an Italian restaurant in Messina, New York. Junior Christa Bigelow is involved in West High drama and attended the performance. “I liked the way the group modernized the play, and even though they used original language, it made sense.”

junior staffwriter

BST produces The Sound of Music

Trent Dugger junior staffwritter

The beloved musical Sound of Music is being featured at Billings Studio Theatre [BST]. The Sound of Music tells the story of Frauline Maria, a nun having a personal conflict in choosing either to remain a nun or following her heart and marrying Captain Von Trapp. Maria starts off as a governess for Von Trapp’s seven children and eventually falls in

Students educated about Shakespeare Trent Dugger junior staffwritter

Shakespeare in the Schools [SIS], ended its sixteenth season with a performance at West High. The professional actors from the University of Montana start their season in the beginning of October, and shows run through the middle of December. This will mark the fifth year in a row Montana’s SIS has been selected by the National Endowment for the Arts to receive a grant that is given by Shakespeare in American Communities: Shakespeare for a New Generation. This grant is given to a select few theatre companies throughout the nation, allowing them to tour and to continue offering quality theatre experiences nationwide. The cast performed the comedy Much Ado About Nothing. It is considered to be one of his best comedies because of the hilarious situations with some intermissions of honor, shame and court politics. Much Ado About Nothing is a romantic comedy that is centered around the wedding of the characters Claudio and Hero. The touring groups’ director of the performance is James Houton. Claudio is played by James Dolson, who is on his first tour

Twilight Movie is a box office success Kyra Nelson Copy Editor

On June 2, 2003 Stephanie Myer woke up from a dream she had about vampires. Later that day she began working on a book based on the dream she had. Six months later, Myer published Twilight. On November 21, 2008 Twilight, the movie based on Myer’s book, opened in theaters across the country. In this film adaptation, Kristen Stewart starred as Bella Swan alongside Robert Pattison who portrayed Edward Cullen. Catherine Harwicke directed the film, which had the highest opening for a female director and drew in $70 million in ticket sales. The plot of the film fairly closely follows Meyer’s book. It is the tale of a high school junior who moves from sunny Phoenix, Arizona to the small, rainy town of Forks, Washington to live with her dad after her mom remarries. While in Forks, Bella discovers the Cullens, a strange, adopted family; several members of this family go to Bella’s school. Later Bella discovers that the Cullens are actually vampires, a race of beautiful, super strong people with cold

skin who survive on blood. Unlike most vampires, the Cullens do not drink human blood, but prey on animals. Edward jokes that they are “vegetarian vampires.” The plot heightens as Bella falls in love with Edward, endangering herself and the other mortals around her. Student opinion on the movie has been varied, with some praising it and others less pleased with it. “I loved both [the movie and the book],” commented junior Alicia Pavey. “I thought most of the actors were really good, except for Kristen Stewart.” Junior Leah Davis, on the other hand disagreed, “I just didn’t like the movie. I think they made a romance into a comedy. It was corny.” In the middle of these two opinions is junior Hilary Jones who said, “I’ve seen the movie twice. I’m still undecided on what I think about it. I just don’t know what to think!” Some people loved it, some people hated it. But regardless, the movie Twilight has impacted this season of movies.

Orson Scott Card writes sequel to hit novel Ender’s Game ARTS



Reveiw of Ender in Exile Pat Bush

junior staffwriter

Orson Scott Card, award winning science fiction and fantasy author, recently released a direct sequel to his international best seller Ender’s Game. Ender’s Game, which was first published 23 years ago, takes place in the future after Earth has been attacked by an alien species known as the Buggers or the Formics and tells the story of genius children who are taken into space for military command training. After Ender wins the war against the Buggers, commanding troops who are mil-

lions of light-years away, politicians, fearing their positions as leaders, decide that he cannot return back to Earth because they are afraid he will take over. He is given the job of governing a colony on one of the new worlds that humankind won during the war. Because of the way space travel works in this series, it takes him over 40 years of real time, which seems like two years to the passengers on the space freighter due to relativity, to reach his destination. Ender’s Game ends after Ender has been on the colony world, Shakespeare, for two years. After the novel was released, Card released three sequels that takes place thousands of years a f t e r E n d e r ’s Game, and four “companion novels” that take place at the same time as the original book. T h e new book, Ender in Exile, takes place mainly between the fourteenth and fifteenth

chapters of Ender’s Game while Ender is still traveling to Shakespeare. The first half of Card’s newest novel tells the story of Ender’s power struggle with Admiral Quincy Morgan over who should govern the colony. His relationship with Alessandra, a girl his age who signed up to travel to said colony is also included. Admiral Morgan feels that Ender does not deserve either the title admiral which he received after defeating the Buggers or the position of governor. Morgan claims Ender, who is still 13, is not responsible or mature enough to effectively govern an entire colony. Alessandra is brought on the colony ship by her mother Dorabella, who hopes that she can get Ender to fall in

love with her daughter. Dorabella teachers Alessandra how to seduce Ender into thinking he is in love with her and, eventually, asking her hand in marriage. Card presents his latest novel with amazing wit and beautiful poetry. Some of the best lines from Ender in Exile show how funny Card can be when he wants to. Yet he can switch to extremely serious and philosophical subjects as well. His wit is showcased in dialogue between Ender and his sister Valentine. Valentine approaches Ender about his inappropriate flirtation with Alessandra and says, “Has anyone ever mentioned that when you smile, it would melt steel?” Ender responds with, “Inconvenient on a spaceship,

I’ll smile less.” On the next page Card switches to a much more serious topic and writes, “Don’t we all manipulate people? Even if we openly ask them to make a choice, don’t we try to frame it so they’ll choose as we think they should?” Fans of the Enderverse books, will not be disappointed, Ender in Exile stays true to the values they have loved in Card’s former books, while adding a story that many felt was missing. Before reading Ender In Exile, readers should first read Ender’s Game, Ender’s Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets and Shadow of the Giant.

Quantum of Solace continues 007 legacy

Even without gadgets, Bond still kicks butt Evan Nigh

senior staffwriter If one goes to the James Bond movies expecting to be blown away by action, they will not be disappointed in the new James Bond, Quantum of Solace. The sequel to Daniel Craig’s first Bond movie, Casino Royale, features an array of action scenes, including a car chase through a quarry, a foot chase on rooftops, a boat chase through the harbor and a plane pursuit over the desert, not to mention multiple hand to hand combat scenes.

It seems to be the recipe for the perfect Bond movie. However, despite the action-packed scenes, the movie lacked the elements that make a Bond movie a Bond movie: namely Bond girls, an effective plot and new gadgets. As far as Bond girls, “Olga Kurylenko didn’t impress me as a Bond girl,” senior Scott Halstvedt commented. “Her back was peeling.” Halstvedt is not alone in his opinion. Many others believe that the Ukrainian actress and model who plays the part of

Bond girl Camille fails to meet the Bond standards of seductiveness and, of course, the tradition of sleeping with Bond. Also the plot, driven by Bond’s revenge, lacks coherence, and the audience is left wondering what in the world Bond will do next. “It seems as if he’s running around like a chicken with its head cut off half the time,” said long time James Bond fan Kiah Abbey. Furthermore, the only new inventive gadgets that always seem to save Bond in a tight spot was an interactive touch screen at MI6 headquarters. Consequently, due to the lack of gadgets, Bond had to depend on himself to escape sticky situations. Many contend that this is one of the main differences between Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig’s characters; Brosnan often depended on the use of his gadgets to survive while Craig is able to perform without them. Quantum of Solace ended in a way in which it could become a trilogy or start fresh with a new plot.


Lady Bears Hit the Ground Running

West appears focused and dangerous in early season action Greg Heidner Sports Editor

After a long break, the season has finally kicked off for the Lady Bears basketball program. West began the season on a two-game road trip to Missoula, where they were tested early against the Lady Spartans of Missoula Sentinel and the reigning AA champion Big Sky Lady Eagles. West’s speedy offense looked impressive in the season debut. After being tied at halftime to Sentinel, the Lady Bears flew up and down the court in the third as they busted the game open with a 16 – 6 run. The Lady Spartans never recovered as West coasted to a 46 – 37 win. Senior guard Lauryn McKay led all scorers with 14 points. The Lady Bears dominance on the boards also helped them get the road victory. “I thought we came out playing really well,” said McKay. “First games are always a little choppy, but I feel like this was the best season opening game that I’ve ever been a part of.” West would need a strong rebounding effort again to win

against Big Sky and the Tinkle sisters. Senior Joslyn Tinkle (6’3”) and freshman sister Elleson (6’0”) help give the defending AA champions one of the tallest lineups in the state. The game was a hard-fought affair that was not decided until the final five minutes. West proved to the state that they were for real as they gave the Lady Eagles everything they could handle in this one. The Lady Bears pressured Big Sky all night, forcing 17 turnovers that helped make up for Joslyn Tinkle’s 34 point performance. “We tried to guard her the best we could, but she’s really an all-around great athlete,” explained Lady Bears junior guard Mikensi Romersa. “She played a great game.” “She’s an amazing athlete and a very skilled basketball player,” added McKay. “Her size makes her hard to stop, but we played great defense with our zone and pressed the whole game. We kept it tight.” Only one point separated the two teams at the start of the fourth. Despite a great effort, Big Sky would pull away with free throws in the game’s waning moments to win 56 – 45. Sophomore Danielle Muri

Making a splash

WAIT FOR IT.... Senior guard Alex Black reads the defense and waits for a teammate to cut to the basket. The Lady Bears program looks strong this season as they try to better last year’s effort, which saw a state tournament berth. Using tenacious defense as their foundation, the speedy group looked confident in early season action as they won their season opener against Missoula Sentinel before losing a very close game to the defending AA champions Missoula Big Sky. Kodiak file photo

played a spectacular game, scoring 13 points. Perhaps more impressive were her six rebounds considering she drew the assignment of guarding the older of the Tinkle sisters, giving up half a foot of size in the process. “Danielle did a great job guarding her,” recalled Romersa. “She’s tough to guard, but [Muri] was right there all game.” The Lady Bears definitely appear to be a team that can con-

tend for a state title this season. The scrappy team made a statement in their first two games aimed at the rest of the state: West can play with the best. McKay and Romersa both agreed in saying, “We’re a better team then last year, and we will definitely be a contender for the title.” With the Lady Bears’ great defense and solid depth, they have a great shot at making that statement become a reality.

Lady Bears continue to dominate in the pool Greg Heidner Sports Editor

The Golden and Lady Bear swimmers started their season on Dec. 6 with the Billings Public Schools Invitational at Rocky Mountain College. The Golden Bears placed fifth behind Bozeman, Hardin, Skyview and Senior Highs. Despite falling behind in the overall scores, the Golden Bears boasted some standout swimmers. Seniors Derek Yampradit and Kenton Smith both took first place in the 200 free and 200 IM, respectively. Smith also took first in the 100 breaststroke. The Lady Bears dominated in the pool, winning by more than 40 points, showing their continued supremacy under the water’s surface. Unlike most other sports, the Billings school district has one swimming coach for both boys and girls at all three schools, Matt Santala. “I thought it went really well for a season opener,” said Santala. To add to the Lady Bear point totals, the West High girls won and placed in several different events. One standout was sophomore Jordan Denny who won both the 200 IM and 100 backstroke. In fact, Denny beat Senior’s

Lindsey Flemming in the 200 IM by over 5 seconds and Senior’s Brenna Boese by nearly 2 seconds in the 100 backstroke. With continuing performances like her first performance at Rocky, Denny will continue to prove Lady Bear swimming authority for the next three years. Senior Sarah Weller beat the field in the 100 butterfly, shutting out Skyview’s Erica Fischer by over 5 seconds, and freshman Sam Gee beat all other contenders in the 500 freestyle by over three seconds. The Lady Bears also beat all opposition by over 5 seconds in the 200 freestyle relay, but the Senior Lady Broncs only lost the 400 freestyle relay by a little over a second. The season continued with the Hardin invitational in Hardin on Dec. 13. The Golden Bears improved in their second matchup against essentially the same teams from the Billings Invitational, placing third overall, beating Skyview but losing to meet-winner Senior. The West High “A” team won the 200 medley relay by nearly 5 seconds. Yampradit continued to dominate in the 200 freestyle, beating Skyview’s Stephen Brosum by over 15 seconds. Junior Zach Rivera nosed a

win, beating Hardin’s Damon Eastman by only 0:01. Despite losing to the Hardin “A” team in the 200 freestyle relay, the Golden Bear “A” team relay beat both of its crosstown rivals, placing second. Smith won the 100 breaststroke again, beating out the competition by over 5 seconds. The Lady Bears’ control of the waves continued as they beat

all other schools by 60 points. The West “A” and “B” 200 medley relay teams beat out all competitors, placing first and second. In the 200 freestyle, the Lady Bears scored their first trifecta of the season with Denny beating all competitors by over 8 seconds and juniors April Kuck placing second and Sam Sticka placing third.

Freshman Samantha Hodgeson and Weller took first and second in the 100 butterfly, and Gee once again showed her authority in the 500 freestyle, winning by over 30 seconds. Denny once again beat all competition in the 100 backstroke, and the “A” won the 200 freestyle relay by over 5 seconds.

Wrestlers, Mats, and Meets West High wrestling squad begins competing Evan Nigh

senior staffwriter

With a season of over six months, wrestling could be the longest and most grueling sport West has to offer. Starting in the first week of September with preseason training of running and lifting, wrestlers do not let up until mid-February. As any wrestler says, practices do not come easy. Nevertheless, first year wrestling head coach Jeremy Hernandez said, “There have been no pukers yet, but we’ve had plenty of bloody noses and black eyes. They have been the hardest practices that these kids have had.”

First-time wrestler and senior Nick Wiens agrees. “Hernandez is doing a great job and is really helping out the new kids get into shape,” Wiens said with a black eye and sheepish grin. Evident in how hard the team has been working, Hernandez is, “really excited and extremely optimistic” as far as how this season will turn out. Last year, the Bears finished in tenth place overall at the state tournament, with several individual placements. This year, lead by a group of strong seniors including PJ Neary, Brian Ostler, Obdulio Salizar, David Schmidt, Patrick Webster and Wiens, the squad

hopes to improve. Kalispell, as well as wrestling stronghold Skyview, will provide the toughest competition for the Bears. However, Hernandez remains confident that, “We will beat some teams this year that we haven’t beaten before.” December 3 marked the official junior varsity and varsity try-outs; 40 kids are out to seize positions with one open position in each of the 15 weight classes on the JV and varsity teams. To learn more information about approaching wrestling meets, please visit Hernandez in room 127 throughout the season.

Bears Deep Bench Leads to Wins in Missoula


Connor McCauley senior staffwriter

Last year’s boys basketball season ended with what most team set their sights on at the beginning of the season: a state title. But what made last year even more special is the fact that the boys were able to repeat while having underclassman that could return for this year’s threepeat title run. With returning all-state forward senior Eric Halverson, returning senior forward Ben King and the returning of three guards in seniors Peter Stordahl, Stan Duke and Jase Muri this team is a promising squad with athleticism and size that includes 6’ 7” senior Jake Ness and all state track athletes in Muri, King and Josh Swain. This year’s season started out where last season ended with a mathup against the runners up from last year’s state title: the Missoula Sentinel Spartans. The game started how


everyome thought it would. The two teams were tied with a score of 12-12 at the end of the first but going into halftime the Golden Bears started to run away with the game, outscoring the Spartans by a score of 22-11 in the quarter and a score of 3423 going into the half. “We came out a little sluggish for the first quarter, then we went on a run in the second,” commented Duke. Sentinel out scored the Golden Bears in the third quarter 11-13 but this was not enough to beat the number one ranked Golden Bears who ended up winning the game 62-45. “We didn’t exactly play as well as we could have but anytime you get a win on a AA’s home court it’s a positive,” said Duke. The next game for the Golden Bears was across town against the Missoula Big Sky Eagles. Big Sky came into the game looking for an upset but by the end of the game the Eagles were


SEE YA! Golden Bear senior guard Stanton Duke blows by a Great Falls C.M.R. defender in last year’s AA state tournament. The Golden Bears will have targets on their backs again this season as they look to win their third consecutive championship. West opened the season with two wins over Missoula Big Sky and Missoula Sentinel. Photo by Greg Heidner

just looking to go home. Throughout the game the Golden Bears outscored their opponent in every quarter by ten except for the second quarter where they only outscored their opponent by three. The final score of the game

was 70-35 with the games top scoring award going to Eric Halverson with 12 points. With two big victories in the season openers, many people might be wondering if the Golden Bears will face any competition this year that will put up

Intramural Volleyball Comes to a Close

a challenge for them. “Both C.M.R. and Skyview have good teams coming back this year and should be good games. Our trip down to Casper to play Natrona should be tough as well,” commented Duke.

Team Brush wraps up season as intramural champions Tyler Schmechel senior staffwriter

Intramural Volleyball came to a close on Monday, December 15, as Team Brush overcame Team Hanna to capture the intramural title for the second consecutive year. As the team is largely comprised of graduating

seniors, the victory was especially fulfilling. Senior Ben King, a contributing member of the championship team, echoed this idea saying, “We all just play to have fun, and I think it’s a lot more fun to win than to lose. It was great that we could do it one last time.”

Although the season ended with just two teams, it was a process that began with the involvement of 20 teams, a number that has grown each year as students choose to keep participating. Junior Marissa Michelottti jokingly remarked that the reason for her continuing participa-

Cheating the System

tion was not only “watching [teammates] David Orger and Jake Hedge spike the ball in their opponents’ faces,” but also “just getting to hang out with her friends on school nights.” Similarly, Junior Kaycee McLaughling commented, “I like playing just because it’s a more relaxed way of being

involved in sports.” She then concluded saying, “I thought it was funny when teams would get all worked up over an intramural volleyball game. It is supposed to be just for fun.” Both girls certainly agreed that they would be participating again next year.

Teams feel cheated by computer formulas Alex Hartford senior staffwriter

Every season, college football teams try their best to win every game of the season, fearing that if they lose they will not be able to play in the BCS National Championship game in January. The BCS stands for the Bowl Championship Series; teams play weekly to try to get the number one ranking, which is based on computer formulas and coach’s rankings, in the BCS hoping to receive a bid to play in the big game. The point of the BCS is to allow the top two teams in the nation a chance to play each other in a title game. This is done by gathering information from a media poll and a coach’s poll. Teams are ranked weekly by coaches and members of the media, and a system of computer formulas uses the difficulty of the teams schedule to determine the top two college teams. The computer formulas can create an unfair result in the

game. “The BCS is not fair because it doesn’t allow the little schools a shot at the title,” says senior college football enthusiast Landry Brockel. Senior Mitch Hatlestad thinks it is unfair as well. “College football has too many good teams, and there shouldn’t be a computer deciding who gets into the championship.” Most times, schools from major conferences such as the South Eastern Conference [SEC], the Big XII, the Atlantic Coast Conference [ACC], the Big East, the Pacific Ten Conference and the Big Ten Conference are the only schools to make the four major BCS games. Arguments to not change from the computer-based ranking center around the revenue each school makes after competing in a BCS bowl game; there is a lot of publicity and wealth that comes with playing in a BCS game. “I know schools make money off [the BCS], but they need to stop and think about the

fairest way to crown a champion, and that is an eight team playoff,” said Hatlestad. Many people do not like the current system, and PresidentElect Barak Obama has even been quoted saying he wants a traditional eight-team playoff once he is inaugurated in January. Currently the Football Bowl Subdivision [FBS], the teams in the BCS, is the only division of NCAA football that does not use a playoff system, and some do not see a change to this. “Unfortunately, I think we are stuck with it [the bowl system] for many years to come,” says Hatlestad. Brockel does not see a happy ending in sight either, “It won’t change, but it should.” Many members of the media and so called “experts” have revised playoff systems that most likely would work, but BCS officials and NCAA officials just do not seem to listen. “I would run a 16 team playoff, with each major conference champion getting into the playoffs, and from there the next

highest ranked teams would get in, just like the FCS playoffs. The public interest would go up,” says Lance Edward, West High teacher and college football fan. Scott Palin, a West High math teacher, has his own playoff thoughts as well, “I would

definitely make a playoff system. The top 16 teams would play, the games would be played at the sight of all the less popular bowl games, and come quarter final times, the games would be played at the sight of the BCS games; this way all the bowl games are still making money.”



The Official Kodiak Ski Report The run-down on Montana’s best ski spots Jessica Nobil

junior staffwriter How exciting is it to see the very first snow fall of the year? For any big time skier or snowboarder, it can be the highlight of the entire year. As the big, white, fluffy flakes of frozen water fall from the sky gently onto the ground, many people just want to head straight up to the mountain. “Snowboarding is the greatest sport ever!” stated senior Jake Kelly. “It’s fun because it’s a good way to get out of the city and enjoy being outdoors.” Lucky for Montana residents, they have many different mountains in the state to explore throughout the winter. Big Sky Location: Lone Mountain Trail in Big Sky Montana, about 45 minutes from Bozeman Open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and early season tickets range from $48 to $53 dollars. Ticket prices (full day): Kids 10 and under ski free, age 70 and over: $68, junior (ages 11 to 17): $48 to $58, adult ticket: $78 half day (12:30pm to 4pm): $68 Number of lifts: 21 Number of trails: 150 Ski-able acres of land: 3,812 Annual snow fall: 400 inches Summit Elevation: 11,150 feet Vertical Drop: 4,350 feet Terrain Park: Yes If people like downhill skiing and lots of other skiers, Big Sky is the place to go. It is a huge tourist attraction to people from across the country and globe. There is even a possibility to meet famous people and those from other countries too. Senior Derek Fritz said, “Snowboarding is a great way to have fun and chill with the guys on the mountain.” Bear Paw Ski Bowl Location: 29 miles south of Harve, Montana Number of lifts: 2 Number of trails: 25 Ski-able acres of land: 103 Trail Classification: More expert trails than beginner or intermediate Average snow fall: 12 feet Vertical Drop: 900 feet Described as the “Last Best Ski Hill,” Bear Paw provides an inexpensive, old-fashioned, friendly ski hill experience. The mountain is managed

and operated by an all-volunteer group of local skiers and boarders. Everyone at the hill is friendly and experiences a great day or vacation. Bohart Ranch Location: 16 miles northeast of Bozeman, Montana and 90 miles north of Yellowstone National Park Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week Day ticket: Adult- $15 Youth (ages 712) - $8 6 years and under ski free Adult (age 70 and over) - Free Season Pass: Adult- $185 Junior (ages 13-18) - $75 Youth (ages 7-12) - $50 Family pass- $385 Type of Skiing: Cross Country Ski-able Trails: 29 Km scenic trail system Bohart is a combination of ungroomed and groomed terrain: a cross country skier’s paradise. They also have snow-shoeing as alternative activities. They provide all levels of skiing challenges from beginner to expert and have lessons and different trails to suit each level. Bridger Bowl Location: 16 miles north of Bozeman, Montana Ticket Prices: Adult $45, half day $37, Seniors (ages 65-71) $37, Disabled $37, Child (ages 6-12) $16, Seniors (ages 72+) Free, Children (age 5 and under) Free Season Pass Prices: Adult $545-$645, Junior $320-$420, Preschool & Senior Comp $5, 10 time pass $340 Number of lifts: 8 Number of Trails: 71 Longest Trail: 3 miles Trail Classification: 20% beginner, 30% intermediate, 20% advanced, 30% extreme Ski-able acres: 2,000 feet Average Annual snowfall: 350 inches Top Elevation: 8,800 feet Vertical Rise: 2,700 feet Base Elevation: 6,100 feet Terrain Parks: Yes Bridger Bowl is a great mountain to learn and test different abilities. The mountain consists of a variety of different levels of trails ranging from beginner to expert. The ridge is for more of the experienced skiers while the Quad lift is great for adults and kids who are just learning. They provide lessons and training for all different styles of skiing also. Discovery Basin Location: 90 miles east of Missoula and 23 miles west of Anaconda on the

historic Pintlar Scenic Route Open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Ticket Prices: Adult full day $35, half day $27, Child (age 12 & under) $18, Seniors (age 65+) $18, Child (age 5 & under) Free Season Pass Prices: Adult $510, College undergraduate $360, Teen (age 13-18) $360, Child (age 5-12) $180 Number of lifts: 6 Number of trails: 67 Longest trail: 1.5 miles Trail Classification: 20% beginner, 25% intermediate, 25% advanced, 30% expert Cross Country: 5 km groomed Ski-able acres: 380 acres Annual snowfall: 200 inches Summit elevation: 8,150 feet Vertical Drop: 1,670 feet Base elevation: 6,480 feet Terrain Park: yes, 2.5 acres “Discovery has some pretty sick runs,” mentioned sophomore Zach Wilson. “Pretty much every run on the mountain has a bench of the fresh powder all of the time. All of the people that work on the mountain are pretty chill as well as most of the people that go up to ski or board. On the mountain, there is a pretty good variety of runs for people with different experience levels.” Maverick Mountain Number of lifts: 2 Number of trails: 24 Longest Trail: 2.5 miles Trail classification: 20% beginner, 35% intermediate, 35% advanced, 10% expert Ski-able acres: 210 Average snowfall: 200 inches Summit elevation: 8,820 feet Vertical Drop: 2,020 feet Base elevation: 6,800 feet Known as one of Montana’s “best kept secrets,” Maverick Mountain is a big mountain with un-crowded trails and excellent snow. Great for family skiing and get togethers with friends, this mountain provides amazing runs, a sweet fall-line, pure air and magnificent scenery. Moonlight Basin Ticket Prices (full day): Adult $55, Senior (age 70+) $45, College with I.D. $45, Active Military $45, Junior (age 11-17) $45, Children 10 and under Free. Ticket Prices (half day): Adult $45, Senior (age 70+) $40, College with I.D. $40, Junior (age 11-17) $40, Children 10 and under Free Season Pass Prices: Adult $555, Senior (age 70+) $495, College with I.D. $495, Junior (age 11-17) $495, Children 10 and under Free Number of trails: 92 Longest Trail: 2.8 miles Ski-able acres: 1,900 acres Average snowfall: 400 inches Summit elevation: 11,166 feet Vertical drop: 4,150 feet Base elevation: 7,000 feet Moonlight is an extremely fun mountain built more to test skills and explore new trails that skiers and boarders can make themselves. They allow their guests to go off trail and play in the fluffy powder as they please. The slopes are steeper than “cat tracks,” and it never seems crowded because the trails are so widespread. Red Lodge Mountain Open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Ticket Prices (full day): Adult (age 1964) $47, Junior (age 13-18) $40, Child (age 6-12) $17 Ticket Prices (half day): Adult (age 1964) $37, Junior (age 13-18) $34, Child (age 6-12) $14 Season Pass Prices: Adult (age 19-64) $680, Junior (age 13-18) $460, Child

The Hotseat


Eric Halverson

Sport: Basketball Position: Center Halverson returns for his 3rd season of varsity basketball as one of the most dangerous players in the state. The two year starter was a first team all-state player last year. He will look to build off that strong campaign when he was third in the state in field goal percentage. With two championship rings already to his name, the senior center figures to play a large role in the team’s quest for a third straight AA championship. Favorite basketball player? - Danny Granger (Indiana Pacers) Favorite coaches comment? - “Eric Halverson, are you grouchy today?” Favorite team moment? - Winning state last year Favorite roommate? - Stanton Duke Worst roommate? - Coach Carlson Pairs of shoes? - Four Favorite flavor of ice cream? - Triple chocolate fudge The Heisman race was… - Exhilarating Favorite song - “Take Me Home Tonight’ by Eddie Money Abercrombie or American Eagle? - Neither (Target is much cheaper and much more convenient)

(age 6-12) $235 Number of lifts: 8 Number of trails: 73 Longest Trail: 2.5 miles Trail classifications: 14% beginner, 29% intermediate, 34% advanced, 23% expert Average annual snowfall: 250 inches Summit elevation: 9,416 feet Vertical Drop: 2,400 feet Base elevation: 7,016 feet Terrain Park: Yes Red Lodge is one of the smaller mountains in Montana. Although it does have a backside, it is almost never open because of the lack of snowfall around Billings and Red Lodge Montana. “Just a good way to hangout and chill, but don’t knock your teeth out,” recommended senior Tanner Bishop. Showdown Mountain Location: 8 miles south of Neihart, Montana on US highway 89 in the Lewis and Clark National Forrest Open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week Ticket Prices (full day): Adult (age 1369) $35, College ID $30, Senior (age 70+) $25, Junior (age 6-12) $20, Beginner chair only (age 6+) $20, Children age 5 and under Free Ticket Prices (half day): Adult (age 1369) $29, College ID $30, Senior (age 70+) $21, Junior (age 6-12) $17, Beginner chair only (age 6+) $20, Children age 5 and under Free Season Pass Prices: Adult (age 13-69) $450, Junior (age 11-12) $275, Student (ID required) $325, Senior (age 70+) $325, Kids (age 6-10) $100, Kids 5 and under $5 Number of lifts: 4 Number of trails: 34 Trail Classification: 30% beginner, 40% intermediate, 30% expert

Ski-able acres: 640 acres Average annual snowfall: 20 feet Summit elevation: 8,200 feet Vertical drop: 1,400 feet Base elevation: 6,800 feet Terrain Park: Yes Known for its family friendly atmosphere and all-natural snow, Showdown is one of the greatest mountains in Montana. This fantastic mountain has been open for over 70 years and is located in a great spot for snow storms and also a place that allows them to keep the snow for a longer period of time. Teton Pass Ski Mountain Location: Choteau, Montana Ticket Prices: Adult $29, Student $23, Child $18, senior $18 Season Pass Prices: Senior $150, Adult $275, Student $225, Child $150, Couple $500, Family (4) $700, additional $50 for each family member, children 5 ½ and under $50, corporate pass $700 Number of lifts: 2 Number of runs: 26 Trail Classification: 5 beginner runs, 9 intermediate runs, and 12 advanced runs Ski-able acres: 114 acres Annual Snowfall: 250 inches Summit elevation: 8488 feet Vertical Drop: 1010 feet Base Elevation: 6,190 feet Teton Pass has two runs with completely natural half-pipes, and lessons are available for all levels. They also have available an exercise track located next to the lower parking lot and ski shopping, schools and lodging all within 30 minutes of the mountain.


The Hotseat

A Change for the Worse?


Obdulio Salazar

Sport: Wrestling Position: Senior Wrestler

New FCS Playoff plan could hurt more than help Alex Hartford senior staffwriter

Salazar is entering his third year as a varsity wrestler. The versatile senior has wrestled in various weight classes throughout his career. This season, in one of his proudest moments at West, he moved up to 215 pounds for a match weighing in at only 180. Salazar still won. One of only six seniors, Salazar’s leadership and experience are extremely valuable. Favorite wrestler? - Big John Hundtofte Favorite coaches comment? - “¡No quejes!” (spanish for “Don’t complain”) Favorite team moment? - Eating after weigh-ins Favorite roommate? -Nate Kobalt Worst roommate? - Pat Webster Pairs of shoes? - Five Favorite flavor of ice cream? - Moosetracks The Heisman race was… - Not interesting Favorite song - “Heartless” by Kanye West Abercrombie or American Eagle? - Neither


Some people fear change, but the NCAA Football Championship Series [FCS] committee, formally known as 1AA, is accepting change starting in 2010. In 2010, the FCS playoffs will expand from 16 teams to 20 teams, with a possible expansion to 24 teams in the next four years. This will give 20 out of 125 college football teams an opportunity to make the playoffs starting in November of that year. As of now, the playoffs start in November and end with a championship game in Chattanooga, Tennessee in the middle of December. Now, ESPN wants to move the national championship game to January 5, 2011, almost three weeks after the national semi final game. The FCS game would be aired the night before the Bowl Championship Series [BCS] championship. The hype of the BCS national championship could get in the way of the FCS national championship, and the FCS title game has even been called the “JV” game of college football. Jim O’Day, Athletic Director at the University of Montana, believes that the ESPN hype of the game will not matter for the FCS. “If we think we’re going to get more national exposure for our playoff championship the night before the BCS

Championship game, we’re dreaming,” O’Day explained. “ESPN and the other networks will broadcast live from the location of the BCS Championship, and we’ll be nothing more than a blip on the radar screen… a brief mention.” While students and athletes are away for Christmas break, all facilities and dorm rooms are closed, thus making it hard to feed and house players during Christmas break while they practice. O’Day has many beliefs and views on the playoff change as he continued, “I do not believe we are financially stable enough to hold student-athletes through December and into January. Dorms and dining services are closed during the Christmas break, and we will have to provide lodging, meals, etc., for not only the football team, but also for the bands, cheerleaders, etc. We estimate this will be at least $70,000 – and the NCAA won’t be footing this bill.” The cold conditions of states like Montana or New York will also create problems for teams practicing in late December and early January, and Montana State Athletic Director Peter Fields agrees. “The climate could very well have a great effect in the team’s preparation in late December or early January,” said Fields. “The need for an indoor facility will come forward.” In the three weeks between the semi-final and the championship games, it is very probable that national interest will be lost

outside of the community. “I think there could be some down turn in interest as a whole. The interest will remain high in the community of fans that are participating,” Fields said. Despite all the difficulties that come with this playoff change, O’Day and Fields do see some improvement in the system. “The expansion of the bracket by four more teams will allow for more student-athletes to appear in post-season competition… and that is positive. Right now, football players at the FCS level have the fewest opportunities in all the championships to appear in post-season opportunities.” O’Day said. Fields added, “I think more people may take the time to view if it is the only game on the night before the BCS championship, and that game is for a National Championship.” There are other positives to come out of this; players will not have to practice during final weeks, they will get some time to heal injuries that come from the result of a long season, which is now made longer, and the preparation for the national championship will be increased. It is clear that in this part of the United States, the change is not welcomed, but two athletic directors do not speak for the entire FCS committee. Only O’Day and Charlie Cobb, the athletic director of Appalachian State University, voted against the change; Peter Fields is not yet a part of the committee.

and arrogance led Burress to believe he was indestructible, which is clearly not the case. According to, Burress has been fined by the team at least 40 times, yet he still continued to receive obscene amounts of money and positive attention from the press. Players are making more and more money, becoming increas-

ingly more famous in the public eye and more reckless with their behaviors. There have been many pro athletes who have had run ins with the law, most notably Falcons player Michael Vick, who was convicted of federal dog-fighting charges.

N.Y. Giants’ Star Burress Charged With Felonies Karly South senior columnist To the dismay of New York Giants fans, wide receiver Plaxico Burress was indicted on two felony charges of illegal weapons possession on Tuesday December 2, 2008. According to authorities, Burress had a Glock semiautomatic pistol tucked in the waist band of his sweat pants loaded and ready to fire at the Latin Quarter nightclub on Saturday, November 29. Apparently, the gun slipped from his waistband and fired a bullet into his leg when he tried to stop it from falling. As if the embarrassment of shooting himself in the leg was not enough, Burress is now involved in a weighty legal battle over the situation. He was charged with two felony counts of criminal possession of a weapon. He was released from jail on a bail of $100,000 but also has the chance of serving a minimum of three and a half years in a state prison for the unregistered weapon, if convicted.

It seems that the biggest issue in this case is not the fact that Burress had a loaded and unregistered weapon with him in a New York nightclub. Instead, a majority of the public concern is over whether or not the state of New York should make an example out of him because he is a celebrity, and it seems they just get away with everything these days. Although most cases of this type are not given the maximum penalty for this crime assigned, it seems many New Yorkers are hoping that Burress will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, Giants fans probably being the only exception to that category. Although many people would like for Burress to be pros-

ecuted to the highest degree of the law, many people have to take in to consideration cases just like his and what kind of punishment the offender was given then. So what is different about Plaxico Burress? Perhaps the public has had it with celebrities running about doing what they want and receiving no consequences for their actions. Another point is that prosecution is focusing on the fact that Burress was carrying a loaded weapon in a public area and was lucky that he only accidentally shot himself. According to the Giants, Burress had been suspended earlier in the season for repeatedly breaking team rules. It seems that his multi-million dollar contract


Student offended by grinding at dances Kyra Nelson

West High has been in an uproar ever since the announcement that the dance policy was changing. For the most part, students seem appalled that they are being expected to demonstrate appropriate behavior. First of all, I say appropriate, meaning what should be acceptable for the setting. In this case, the setting is a school function, and acceptable behavior does not include the kind of dancing that has characterized the dances. But apparently it is now considered outrageous that students are being held to a standard of acceptable behavior. I do not care if you’re “expressing yourself.” Go express yourself somewhere else. I do not care if that’s “just how our generation dances.” If that is our generation’s style of dance,

I am a little ashamed to be a part of the generation. If you are going to dance that way, do not do it at a school event. There are just some things that are not appropriate for school functions, regardless of the preferences or trends of the time. Bikinis could become the fashion trend for a generation, but that would not make them school appropriate. Likewise, grinding may be the way our generation dances, but that does not mean it should be allowed at school functions. Critics of the new regulations say that the students’ voice is not being heard since most of the students disagree with the rules. But here’s a newsflash: the students aren’t always right. Seriously, what would happen if we always listened to the students? I do not even want to think about what the results would be. Truth be told, teenagers have a tendency to be stupid.

games and 17 weeks of regular season play, with one bye week, a week where teams have no scheduled game. If a team is fortunate enough to make it into the Super Bowl, that is another five weeks of practice and preparation. Preseason games are a joke because the practices and games are not played as hard as a regular season game or practices. Goodell wants to eliminate two preseason games and substitute two additional regular season games, where the practices are harder and the games are more physical and intense. Having 19 weeks (one bye week) of regular season competition would create four and a half months of physical, grueling, painful practice and play, raising the chance for injury and loss of play time, which

would eventually lead to no paycheck for many athletes. The job of an NFL player is football, which means he is training year round in order to be at a peak physical level to play from August to February. Training in and of itself is physically hard. Throw in 20 – 24 weeks of competition into that mix, and the extra contract could be detrimental to a player’s career and p a y c h e c k . Some players right now are already unable to make it through an entire season without getting hurt. Every year a plethora of players injure themselves and become unable to do their job due to work related injuries. For the safety of these players, let’s keep the regular season length where it is; these guys are athletes, not robots.

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Another argument that I have heard is that the more restrictions that are placed on students, the more they will want to rebel. So? That leaves two options. Let them fight against rules or just let them get away with doing inappropriate things. Rules to uphold respectable behavior need to be set in place, even if students are going to rebel against them. As much as grinding disgusts me, in my mind people, who want to grind should be able to. Just not at school functions. There are places students can grind, for instance the Lockdown. But the people who do not want to grind, or even to see people grinding, should have a place where all the dancing is appropriate. People who do not mind the grinding have lots of places to go where they can grind away. People who do not want to see grinding, however, are pretty limited in their

options. For the record, there are species of monkey that can rub their butts together. It looks like our so-called dancing. I would like to think my peers are a little more evolved than that, but I guess not. Now somebody who can waltz, jitterbug or foxtrot: that is what I call dancing. People act as though these dance regulations have forever destroyed their ability to have fun at the dances. This is only true for those who wish to wallow in self pity because they are now expected to behave appropriately. There is absolutely no reason that people cannot still have fun while hanging out at the dances and following the rules. Just have a good attitude about it. For those who support the changes in dance policy, you may be the minority, but you are not alone.

NFL wants to EXTEND its schedule? Alex Hartford senior staffwriter

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wants to expand the NFL’s regular season schedule to a 19week schedule. Sounds like a terrible idea to me. The NFL includes one of the most grueling seasons in any major sport. Players are paid to hit their opponents as hard as they can in order to advance the ball or stop the opponent from getting into the end zone. That is simply what they are paid to do. Running into teammates and opponents at a very high speed for 21 weeks of competition can cause wear and tear on the body, and that does not even account for the extra weeks for the players who appear in the playoffs. The current season consists of four preseason











Jenna Hennings Nate Weinand Greg Heidner

COPY EDITORS Erin Kusek Kyra Nelson



Caaren Cerise Dave Cobb

Pat Bush Valerie Colwell Trent Dugger Kyle Halstvedt Alex Hartford Colin McRae Nikky Mosure Kelsey Munsell Rachel Nielsen Evan Nigh Jessica Nobil Tyler Schmechel Angel Shandy Cassandra Tristan

The Billings West High Kodiak is an open forum for student expression that aims to publish information suitable for West High students of all ages.

Letters to the editor must be signed; the Editorial Board reserves the right to edit letters for length, accuracy and repetition.

December 23, 2008  

Volume 49, Issue 3