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iewer V

Cooties Editorials p. 2 Youth in Government convenes Features p. 5


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Volume 53

Eric Thompson’s biking career Sports p. 10

Issue 2


District to request additional funds from voters By Kathleen Gormley staff writer

On the day of the November 7 election, voters within Mounds View School District will determine the outcome of the 2006 School District Levy. The district has requested another referendum levy to replace a 1986 levy expiring in 2008. According to www.mounds, the district website, the 2005 Legislative Session provided the school district with a 4 percent budget increase, equaling $2.5 million; however, as Mounds View receives state funding on a perpupil basis, declining enrollment has decreased those funds roughly 75 percent to $600,000. Combined with inflation and increasing transportation and student materials costs, the district will face a $7 million deficit if the levy doesn’t pass. “Districts that experience declining enrollment are often not able to reduce expenditures at the same rate,” wrote State Auditor Pat Anderson in the 2006 edition of Financial Trends of Minnesota School Districts and Charter Schools. Thus, schools cannot reduce expenses at the

same rate that state funding is decreasing. Mounds View is not alone in requesting more funding. This year, nearly 90 percent of school districts in Minnesota rely on levies to fund basic core programs, according to the district website. The property tax increase will cost residents $76 per $100,000 property value in 2007-2008, which will reduce to $58 by 2010-2011. According to Your Property Taxes and Schools, a pamphlet issued by the school district, the 2006 median value of a home in Arden Hills is $274,200. This translates to about $4 a week for homeowners. The failure of this levy would have an immediate negative impact on all students in the district. At least 47 classes would be cut at MVHS, including all Family and Consumer Science courses and almost all Career Education courses. Other operations would be affected as well. “Unfortunately, the closing of all district swimming pools is not a rumor. It is one of the budget reductions slated for the 20072008 school year if the levy does not pass,” said Superintendent Dr. Jan Witthuhn. “In addition,

funding for co-curricular programs will either be reduced or student fees be increased to offset that budget reduction.” Some do not believe the levy is the right way to solve these problems. “[District officials] continue to threaten the taxpayer with cuts and increases if they do not get their way,” said MV parent Brad Mateer. “As a taxpayer in this state I want to see more responsibility for the money that is being spent.” A failed levy would be marked by increased class sizes throughout the district, with 30 to 35 students in most elementary classrooms and numbers approaching 40 in high school core classes. Higher class sizes would not only affect students, but also detriment teachers’ ability to perform. “As a teacher, of course, I want my job to be easier, and if the levy passes my job will be easier. As a fiscal conservative, education funding needs to be reworked, with more of the responsibility for educational funding on the federal and state governments, instead of local taxpayers,” said Oberg. Many parents are working to ensure the passage of this levy.

If the levy fails, the following are among 47 or more classes to be cut at MV: •All Career Education ..except Senior Experience •All Family and Consumer ..Science •Advanced 2D and 3D art •VISTA •Viewer •Film Creation and ..Production •Speech •CIS Literature •Honors Humanities •Introduction to Statistics •Anatomy and Physiology •Advanced CAD •Any foreign language ..lacking sufficient enrollment

The School Board approved on Oct. 10 the reductions in course offerings at Mounds View and Irondale, as proposed by respective principals Julie Wikelius and Colleen Wambach, in the case that the levy should fail. MV parent Wendy Benson is the tions to the students,” said chair of Neighbors United, an Benson. “If anybody is 18, get organization which disseminates registered and vote. Get politicalinformation to voters by distrib- ly savvy and get involved.” uting literature and making No matter the outcome of the phone calls. levy vote on November 7, stu“Good schools are an impor- dents, says Wikelius, “are the tant part of a good community. ones that will be impacted for We are talking about the implica- better or for worse.”

Demonstration raises awareness toward ongoing crisis in Darfur

By Alex Johnson staff writer

In order to bring students’ attention to the crisis in Darfur, HUG Club, a humanitarian group at MV, organized “Darfur Day” Monday, Oct. 2. “We just wanted to raise awareness on what is happening in Darfur and how we can stop it,” said HUG Club founder Nikhil Gupta, 12. They believed it would be a small way to help the people suffering from the current genocide. Students spread the word photo by Nick Cairl with T-shirts displaying statistics Demonstrators used outlines of on the death tolls so far, the numbodies to represent the victims of ber of displaced persons, and the genocide in Darfur. other facts about the crisis. In the



School Board report September 26, 2006 meeting

• The Board approved the Principal Contract for 2005-2007. Board Member Bob Sundberg argued against a provision for longevity pay. “I see longevity pay as being more appropriate for factory or assembly line workers,” he said. “I’d rather see that put into the leadership incentive.” The contract was ratified over his dissent by a 6-1 vote. • Under the Minnesota School Boards Association, the Board approved a resolution to suggest to the state legislature a means of alleviating funding cuts in districts with declining enrollment. Currently, these districts receive funding based on a weighted average of 77 percent of the pupil count of the current year and 23 percent of the previous year. Under the proposed resolution, these districts would receive funding based on the average pupil count of the current year and the last four years. • After several years of development, a “success system” was adopted by the Board to evaluate the district’s performance in various areas such as communication with the public, implementation of technology, and academic achievement.

main commons, there were also ten taped outlines of bodies on the floor. Each body represented 40,000 deaths, a chilling reminder of the scale of this genocide. However, the message didn’t get across to everyone. “I saw people wearing the shirts and stuff, but they never really told people what they were all about,” said Dahren Yen, 12. Darfur is a region in western Sudan. Running the Sudanese goverment is Arab Muslim fundamentalist Omar al-Bashir, who arms militias, which in turn attack tribes of non-Arabs, massacring them by the thousands. The Sudanese government denies backing these militia groups, but

photo by Nick Cairl

the African Union has reported the Sudanese air force providing air support for the raiding militia groups. So far there have been anywhere from 200,000 to 400,000 deaths, and nearly 2.5 million people of the region have been displaced. The only group currently fighting the militias is the African Union, an undermanned and underfinanced group of 7,000 individuals from countries within Africa. The UN has offered to send a substantial peacekeeping force under Resolution 1706, but the Sudanese government has so far prevented them from being deployed.

October 10, 2006 meeting • The Community Usage Cost Study Task Force will begin work this November to assess current usage of the district’s facilities and determine how usage may be made more efficient. Composed of Park and Rec Personnel, school principals, and other representatives, the Task Force will report findings back to the superintendent. • Julie Wikelius and Colleen Wambach, principals of MVHS and Irondale HS respectively, presented to the Board the classes which will be cut from the course offerings at each high school if the levy does not pass. • Bob Madison and Doug Austin, activities directors of MVHS and Irondale HS respectively, reported their plan for upholding standards for coaches of sports teams. One practice to be implemented is an online system through which team participants may submit confidential evaluations of their coaches. • Director of Finance Carole Nielsen and Deputy Superintentent Dan Hoverman reported that enrollment in the district declined from the previous year by 39 students; enrollment was nonetheless 304 students greater than original projections.

MV parking lot not exempt from police patrol By Alice Liu staff writer

On Sep. 25, Sarah Sparby, 12, walked to her car in the Mounds View High School parking lot after tennis practice. As Sparby approached her car, she noticed something sticking to the windshield. “It was raining hard that day… I thought it was garbage,” she said. At first, the writing upon the paper was blurry, but following careful inspection, Sparby realized that she had received a ticket: $168 for the expired license tabs on her Saturn. “I bought a new car this year and the dealer didn’t give us the tabs in time,” Sparby said. According to Sparby, her mother had called the car dealership to discuss this dilemma, but the dealership has yet to respond. “It’s annoying because there are a lot of cars out there, so why did [the police] come here? It seems like they should have better things to do,” said Sparby. “Of all places, I got it in the Mounds View parking lot.” However, according to Deputy Glen Pothen, officers do periodically drive through parking lots just as they drive through other lots and parks as part of their normal duties. Pothen did not issue this ticket. “What I recommend everybody is that they check their tire pressure and their tabs,” said Pothen. “Take some responsibility that your registration is current and for the safety inspection of your car.”


OCTOBER 18, 2006

Burn Editorials, burn! Cooties:

By Joe Hennen staff writer

Worst proposals if the levy fails Computers come from boxes of Froot Loops Lunches open... for a price 3 tardies now result in capital punishment

New sponsor means our mascot is “The Mounds View Fudge ‘Em”

Teachers just cardboard cut-outs

Your mom made Vice Principal

Mr. Wright made Principal Your mom made Mr. Wright

Pickleball now “imagination ball” “Lunches” half price!

Pixie sticks of the newspaper world. That’s all they are. You enjoy them for the brief moment you read them, but they have no lasting value. They are opinions, rants, and a wee bit of glucose—nothing more. And, if you snort too many of them in a short period of time, you will be officially voted in as “Mr/Mrs I-feel-likecrap” 2007. The following is the irrefutable, inarguable, indubitable, and indelible truth about why editorials suck. Opinions — opinions, opinions, opinions. That’s all editorials are. From time to time, they might give “proof” to back up their assertions, but you can twist a statistic to say anything. I’m pretty sure lots of “evidence” is just plain made up. Heck, a recent Gallup poll showed that 87% of Americans thought polls were “D: Retarded.” Editorials use parts of facts, facts that don’t tell the whole story, or ones that just sound cool. And since it’s an editorial, writers are allowed to say whatever they want, and no one is actually going to look up the data and prove them wrong. That would take work, and everyone knows that people who read newspapers are just too lazy to get internet access. I could say that pandas actually have a secret deathgland on their left hip that, Hennen, 10, gets a taste of his own medicine. when activated by extreme fur-

raising angriness or cold, turns them into ruthless killing machines that will stop at nothing to achieve world domination. Do they? Look it up, bookworm. Editorials lack substance. For every five paragraphs of rambling, drifting wisps of thought there is one paragraph containing cohesive notions or ideas, and the writer still manages to make it through the entire thing without mentioning a legitimate way to fix the thing they whine about. I mean, they just ramble, drift for paragraphs without mentioning a legitimate way to fix the thing they whine about. Where’s the beef, America? No doubt tucked into your bloated, editorializing gut. However, today I will end this injustice. To rid us of this plague, I propose one simple thing. Jettison all editorials in giant-paper-ball form into outer space—including this one. That way, we won’t have to worry about them ever again...or at least until the death ball comes crashing back to Earth in a fiery blaze one hundred years from now due to the elliptical orbit of the galaxy. Why these drastic measures? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: because editorials suck.

photos by Nick Cairl

2006-2007 Viewer Editors Editor-in-Chief Emilie Wei Managing Editor Eddy Kwon News Michael Bonin Editorials Graham Clark Commentary Ryan McGrath Features Anna Brockway Ben Messerly Spread Laura Linder-Scholer Lauren Thornton Variety Christina Florey Reviews Megan Wang Sports Lauren Bennett Alex Bonemeyer Gallery Liz Roemer Business Manager Kaitlin Ostlie Photographers/Artists Nick Cairl Emma Turnquist Advisor Martha Rush Assistant Advisor David Weinberg Staff - Ashley Aram, Alice Liu, Kathleen Gormley, Josh Bornstein, Stu Batten, Zach Bell, Audrey Benkemoun, Patrick Burt, Nikhil Gupta, Erin Hagen, Joe Hennen, Alicia Hilgers, Abby House, Sarah Hupperts, Alex Johnson, Victoria Kelberer, Andrew Larkin, Belle Lin, Sam Louwagie, Andrew Madsen, Cara Morphew, Amelia Narigon, Lauren Peake, Mark Petersen, TT Phan, Julia Renner, Chris Rykken, Anton Safonov, Jordan Salo, Jackie Schwerm, Katelyn Schwieters

The Viewer is published by the student editors at: Mounds View High School 1900 Lake Valentine Road Arden Hills, Minnesota The Viewer is printed by: Crow Wing Press

All art by Graham Clark

Roneryman Strikes Back By Graham Clark

editorials editor

This week, North Korea announced it had successfully tested a nuclear weapon. This incredibly bold decision went against stern warnings from the United States, France, Japan, China and other world powers. In response to threats from these countries and the UN, North Korea has stated that further sanctions will result in an immediate response on their part. Successfully destabilizing an entire region in less than a long weekend? That’s something to be awfully proud of,

even if the low blast radius has lead investigators to question the validity of North Korea’s announcement. While North Korea’s disgruntled activity can be labeled anti-American, anti-capitalist, anti-south Korea, or just antipeace, the consequences are the same— global security setbacks, and more Fox News alerts than ever before. Outcasts in most world events, and completely swept in the Olympics, movie buff Kim Jong-il seems to have viewed Revenge Of The Nerds one too many times. By splitting one

atom too many, he’s managed to get America and France on the same side since Vietnam. To review: despite massive setbacks in economic activity, and world standing, this bottom of the barrel country keeps trying to get its reputation as lofty as its name. Obviously, detonating millions of dollars worth of labor is the best way to be loved—just look at the Oklahoma City Bomber. The burning effigies of Kim Jong-il will be a light to illuminate the future of our world for years to come— unless he turns it all into glowing nuclear rubble.

the silent killer

By Jordan Salo staff writer

Cooties: the small non-medical germs, spread through contact with the opposite sex. They’ve been a shadow over elementary schools for generations, but until now our school has been safe. Most concern with the germs has faded by senior year, but there is still an uneasy tension amongst the incoming freshman. Spawning in Little League locker rooms and slumber parties, the only way to protect yourself from these Satan-germs is the medical fallback- the cootie shot. Circle, circle, dot, dot: now you've got a cootie shot— and now another life is saved. Due in part to lack of exposure in the liberals’ media, this locust-of-theyouth has come to be nothing but a groundless insult. Originally, the term 'cootie' was originally slang used amongst World War One soldiers for body lice. The word cootie itself is believed to have been derived from the Maylay word kutu, meaning louse. Seriously, I looked that up. Why the denouncement of this perilous plague? This phenomenon has no explanation, other than the misguided perspective by the opposite sex. The older we grow, the less concerned we are with what could be lurking on fellow classmates. "Cooties are disgusting...but I like boy cooties," said Bridget Michaels, 12. Whether all kids have cooties or just a creepycrawly few, no one can assume that they’re safe. So while the newest underclassmen have enough to worry about in this big new school, they should be sure never to underestimate the power of a few deadly bugs. Remember, get checked regularly, and if you do choose to hold hands, always wear a rubber… glove.

OCTOBER 18, 2006

Cold sore: Safonov works to heal stinging race relations By Anton Safonov staff writer

I have a confession to make. Prior to the assignment of this story, I did not believe I had an opinion strong or interesting enough to grace the fine pages of the Editorial Section. That is, until I was provided with a completely different angle. "Safonov?" my editor exclaimed, peering intently over the computer. "Why, that's Russian, isn't it? You could run a story on the world around you from a Russian perspective!" Boy howdy, he was on to something! I was born in Russia, and even though I moved to America when I was about three, surely the fact that I have a Russian name means that my beliefs reflect those of the Russian people. Excited to begin my study, I donned my fur hat and KGB badge, and set out marching through the halls of our seemingly politically correct school. Being Russian, I face a lot of meaningful questions in my dayto-day life. These range from: "Dude, so can you like, speak Russian at home?" to "What are you opinions regarding the socio-economic factors contributing to the downfall of the Stalinist regime?" and "Can you shoot lasers from your eyes?" Seeing as my personal views are representative of my culture as a whole, and even though my knowledge is limited to the first three years of my life, I am still the go-to guy for all your Russian needs. I am also glad when people welcome me into their home by telling their parents that a Russian person is coming over. It makes me feel secure to know that my reputation, based purely on the sound of my name, precedes me. One mom reduced my levels of anxiety dealing with Americans by saying "Oh a Russian! My sister got arrested in Russia for taking a picture of a toilet!" This provides me with a way to relate to the strange customs (such as freedom) of this country, and is also an excellent conversation starter. Another common encounter is the ever-so-welcoming, "We've never had a Russian


Be afraid! Or at least disgusted: Have movies gone too far? By Ryan McGrath commentary editor

person in our house before, how delightful! What do your type of people eat?" This then carries on into a conversation with me describing several foreign recipes, and listening with wide-eyed wonder at the explanation of traditional American dishes such as: pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, apple pie, and democracy. This overly keen curiosity about my culture extends even further. People are constantly fascinated by my exotic behaviors, such as checking my voicemail and talking to my parents. Every time my phone rings, the conversation screeches to a halt, and everyone huddles around close to listen to my mysterious moon language. After I'm finished, I get several requests to repeat what I said in English, as if it is a matter of national security. However, I don't necessarily blame my friends. In this day and age, even though the Cold War is over, we live in constant terror and confusion of "the bear in the woods," "the typical James Bond villain," "the shifty-eyed foreigner trying to take our jobs," or whatever metaphor is currently relevant. And at the same time, we are getting more and more exposed to diversity in the world around us through such fine mediums as Hollywood movies. Sometimes, when this diversity clashes with certain cultures, one may experience feelings of alienation and insecurity. Even though many people are making sure (and quite thoroughly at that) that I am comfortable with the circumstances I have dealt with for most of my life, some immigrants may not be fully grasping the culture they are constantly being bombarded with. So my modest proposal is this: take part in "Red October: Russian Awareness Month." Do you know anybody that's remotely Russian? Whether it is a pen pal who lives in Bulgaria or the kid who immigrated to America at the age of four, it is our duty to make them feel like a part of this fine American culture. Take them to a baseball game, bake them an apple pie, take them to the voting booth, and may these actions diminish the deep-seated differences between our two societies.

So... how are the children? By Ashley Aram staff writer

illustration by Graham Clark

Being an escapist living in our post 9/11, orange alert society, I sometimes get the itch to just sit out reality for a few hours. A scary movie normally distracts me for long enough to forget about the impending doom that no doubt awaits me as I leave the theater. Freddy Krueger, Jason, Chucky, and all their evil pals have long kept me insulated from real life issuemongers like Bill O’Reiley and filmmaker Michael Moore. But lately, these movies just don’t block out the thoughts of a state sized anthrax cloud or a hand-

photo courtesy of

Leatherface and his “buddy”.

made WMD lobbed from North Korea using a Wal-Mart water balloon launcher. Movies have officially become too violent for my viewing pleasure. It wasn’t but a few years ago that I could take a girl or squeamish friend to a scary movie and laugh at the screen, stuffing myself with snacks as they cowered in their seat. But now, even the sound effects are violent enough for me to just sit on the floor with a blanket over my head and still be afraid. I have long been a player and advocate of violent video games and other taboo media, but now I am left wondering, “What have we created?” I recently made the mistake of seeing The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. The acting was the most frightening part of the film, second to the writing. The people who made this movie were obviously very confused; they mixed up suspense with having long, silent scenes interrupted unexpectedly by loud noises. But of course you can’t “scare” people any more without de-boning someone alive or meat hooking a young woman out of a moving vehicle. I was in such a state of shock by the half way through the movie, I barely winced when Leatherface traded in his original leather mask and peeled the face off of a young traveler who was conveniently bolted to his

Dear Viewer, Reading about dance fever “infecting” the Mounds View student body in Nikhil Gupta’s piece in the September 29th issue of the Viewer was a very fascinating experience for me. Once I had read it, something I have believed for quite a while was reaffirmed in me: some people are simply incapable of happiness, particularly liberals. Yes, it’s true. There are self-loathing people in this great country who just insist on constantly beating the drum of negativity, pessimism, and doom and gloom. Unfortunately, most of them are in the journalism profession, which makes it even harder for us to avoid. I don’t know why these people are this way - perhaps it is guilt, perhaps it’s just their personality, or maybe their political ideology requires it to advance a “progressive” agenda

As the U.S revels in its democratic ideals, the parents of America are being tempted by a gadget to complete their quest for totalitarianism. In the current form of propaganda, this gadget is called the Disney Mobile Phone. To an unsuspecting child, this gadget looks like one of the hottest must-haves for current adolescent: a cell phone. But underneath, like most unexpected gifts from parental units, lies a sinister motive. This “family plan” comes complete with a GPS system, so the child’s location can be determined at all times. The plan allows parents to limit the amount of minutes and texts on the child’s phone, and also sends the parents warnings on

Letters to the editor: or cause. Regardless, I do not understand it. I don’t understand how the Homecoming hype is unethical, or why Americans are “shallow” for spending $8 billion on cosmetics while our nation’s total charitable giving reached a record $248.52 billion in 2004. Maybe I would if I walked around with a cloud of guilt over my head all the time, but I don’t. Now, of course we should all “care” about the plight of the downtrodden, but sadly much of it is in fact beyond our reach. I can’t help it if there’s suffering in the world because corrupt Communists, sadistic socialists, intolerant Islam-o-fascists, and third-world tyrants oppress their

their phone when the set amount is close to being reached. These settings can be changed from the “master phone” at any time. They can even control what days and at what times the phone can make calls. Up to 20 numbers can be blocked, but Disney has already generously blocked 900 of them for you. MASTER phone? Blocking calls? GPS system? Giving your child a cell phone has gone from a symbol of freedom to something from the Truman Show. It’s a mini KGB conveniently packed in a portable, pocket-sized electronic device. Now the real question is, what is their reasoning behind such a privacy-invading phone? If you

meat-cutting table. In ancient Rome, people flocked to the Coliseum to watch slaves take part in naval battles, fight each other to the death, or take on just about any exotic animal that money could buy. We study these epic Christian v. lots of hungry lions fights and marvel at that a society had allowed this kind of behavior to go on, purely for the sake of amusement. But have we come so far? The unprecedented level of violence in our media coverage, television programming, and video games has done little but instill a seemingly unquenchable thirst for blood. We consider ourselves to be an advanced civilization, people who respect (and watch) law and order, people who don’t enjoy watching blood run in the streets. Now, instead of seeing someone stabbed behind a curtain or hearing a scream from off camera, we need to watch the character’s life slip away in super close-up shots. Forget suspense, forget writing, bring on decapitation, and bring on gaping gunshot wounds. Each “horror” movie that is released must reach new heights of bone crunching, sledgehammering, blood spattering depravity. I can’t say I didn’t see the tides turning when the first movie in the SAW series was released, but I never expected this trend to stick so well. For now, I avoid sleeping alone at night. When sweet slumber eventually overtakes me I dream of the day when I can watch movies again.

people. What’s more outrageous is that Mr. Gupta’s United Nations legitimizes these types of so-called leaders! Anyway, I continue to be amazed at how some people are just unable to enjoy their Godgiven gift of life, especially when they live in a nation with more freedom, more opportunity, and more prosperity than any other (Hey, Americans wouldn’t buy all those cosmetics if they weren’t available or if we didn’t have the freedom to do so!). I understand there are issues out there, but enough of this effort to make me feel guilty just because I may be having a good time. So while I personally don’t have my head in the clouds, I’m not going to allow myself to be overcome by the misery-mongers of the left. I hope others won’t either. -Kyle Nordling

feel the need to give it to your 13-18 year-old children, then I must say you either lack the ability to trust, or you failed to raise your children so you could trust them at all. I know that some are thinking, “What about those naive 10-12 year olds who need constant guidance?” Personally, I believe that’s what parents are for. But I guess if you’re willing to pay hundreds of dollars a year to have your phone raise your kids, then by all means be my guest. Just remember that if kids can find a way to sneak out of an alarm-set, floodlight, camera-ready house, they’ll find a way around the grasp of a ten-ounce phone.


OCTOBER 18, 2006

A’s for everyone! Gateways ensure that students possess skills for success By Alice Liu staff writer

“How am I supposed to know what the integral of cosecant squared is?” said Calculus II student Gina Lin, 11. Such yelps of frustration are commonly heard as students hastily attempt to recall several important math identities before taking their gateway test. As the passing deadline approaches, students rush into their math classrooms before and after school to take the gateway… sometimes again and again and again. A gateway exam assesses a very narrow skill, not a concept that students need to be proficient at. Students must either ace the test to pass or have a bare minimum of problems incorrect depending upon the class. Math Department teachers Dan Butler, Mike Huberty and Leah Higgenbotthom originally applied the idea of having gateway exams at Mounds View from the University of Minnesota’s Talented Youth Math Program (UMTYMP). All three have been teachers in the UMTYMP program, and Huberty is a former UMTYMP student. It was believed that bringing gateway exams to Mounds View would allow math teachers to

assess certain computational skills. According to math teacher Dan Butler, students have shown improvement with the implementation of gateways. “Gateways test technical

photo by Nick Cairl

Kenzie Cole, 12, Claire Whitmore, 12, Pat Barrett, 11, Danny Wolter, 11, and Brendan Flaherty, 12 work hard on their gateways. skills which we think everyone students enrolled in Pre-calculus should have,” said Butler. “You and Algebra I also must endure can’t do the math unless you such tests. And now, the math have the technical skills.” department is beginning to introThis year however, the genduc geometry gateways to help eral deadlines for gateways have students get to a certain skill been moved to earlier dates. level. According to Mike Huberty, the “[Gateways] give students a reasoning behind this is to disbetter grasp on what the math is courage students from procrastiabout; things that students nating. shouldn’t take that long to do,” “By having longer deadlines, said Higgenbotthom. students just keep putting it off. Butler explained that the

Fall Play ‘On Air’

By Audrey Benkemoun staff writer

It seems that everyone has heard the story of George Bailey, the helpful citizen of Bedford Falls. This famous Frank Capra production has been the Christmas movie classic for Americans since the 1970s. A box-office flop in 1946, the film earned no fewer than five Academy Awards: Best picture, Best actor (James Stewart), Best sound recording, and Best film editing. It’s A Wonderful Life, based off of Philip Van Doren Strern’s short story, “The Greatest Gift”, began as a nineline short story on the back of Christmas cards. From its humble beginnings to a classic feature length film, this post-war tale is coming to Mounds View this fall with a new twist; director Victoria Sadek is producing a radio show adaptation of It’s a Wonderful Life. “This story is very popular, and it let me involve a lot of cast members. This script, written like a radio show, is exciting because it’s different and challenging,” said Sadek. About 40 people were attracted to the auditions early in September. For Karly Bergmann, 10, and Josh Bornstein, 12, playing the main characters Mary Hash and George Bailey, the radio show is a new way to demonstrate their talent in vocal performances. Both rehearse often and exercise different strategies to learn their parts. In a radio show performance actors have to take a new look at how they develop their character. “Everybody will be on the stage for the whole show, with

Having earlier deadlines, we can see the progress sooner,” said Huberty. This year, students in Calculus I and II continue to have gateway exams. But since it was implemented last year,

four microphones on the pedestal, and costumes from the 1940s,” explained Sadek. “I’ve never done that before. It’s a new challenge for me,” said Bergmann. The principal technique is to read the script many times and find a good tone for voices because some have many characters to play. With such a unique theater style more emphasis has to be placed on the actors’ voices and facial expressions. “I practice my lines in different voices,” said Bergmann. “It’s easy because I love my character, she is the perfect wife and mom.” “I pump myself up and try to be more animated,” said Bornstein. Both Bergmann and Bornstein have stage and oratory experience behind them. Bornstein a three-year member of speech team, practices acting outside of school. He is currently in his second year in “The Brave New Workshop,” an improvisation comedy theatre in Minneapolis. He explained that he wanted to be a part of a school production because it was one of his last chances to act at Mounds View. Bergmann, also a member of the Speech Team, said, “I participated in Play On [last year’s fall play] too. I would like to find the same experience here.” Others involved in the play also look forward to a great experience together and seem very motivated. “Theatre is just amazing,” said Pat Burt, 12, “and we can meet a lot of people.” It’s a Wonderful Life opens on Nov. 9 and will run through Nov. 11, with performances starting at 7:30 P.M.

gateways for Algebra I and Geometry test technical skills that are going to be more like the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) tests. The MCA mathematical test is an academic exam that juniors must take in April. All students must pass this exam in order to graduate. “If you can pass the gateway, you can pass the MCA tests, which means you can get your graduation diploma,” said Butler. “We’re putting them [gateways] in those classes to inform students of the basics we want them to be able to do,” said Higgenbothom. “We want to make sure they know the material that’s on the MCA so they can do better,” “Mr. Huberty and I have both noticed better technical skills with students who have taken gateways. I don’t have to worry if students don’t know what a certain function looks like because if they passed the gateway, they should know what it looks like,” said Butler. Passing the gateway is not just a matter of trial and error or luck. Students have to learn the necessary techniques and skills and be able to apply them to the specific problems. In other words, you actually have to know what you’re doing. “Doing homework is impor-

tant, but it doesn’t necessarily mean students know what they’re talking about,” said Butler. From a student’s perspective, gateways can be aggravating when you don’t pass simply due to a small, harmless mistake and you to have to take the whole exam over again. “I think they’re very stressful but I think they’re very important to learning key concepts,” said calculus student Max Arndt, 12. “However, if you don’t pass the first time and you have a busy schedule, it’s hard to come in and make it up. It would be more helpful if there was an alternative to taking them before or after school.” The success is satisfying when you finally do pass the exam. After all, unlike a homework assignment, the only score you receive from passing a gateway is an “A.” “I like gateways because you’re guaranteed to get a hundred percent, and basically it’s because you have to get the concept to move on. It forces you to know a certain concept which you have to know anyways, so it’s just like free points,” Irene Saunders, 11 “I think students feel really good when they pass the gateway. It’s the test you love to hate,” said Butler.

Thursdays get glam treatment David Bowie phenomenon hits halls once a month By TT Phan staff writer

These halls became an outlet of appreciation for all forms of music when the school was hit with a new fad dubbed “David Bowie Thursday.” Created by Steph Schwartz, 11, and Vanessa Dunne, 11, the day takes place once a month and brings the school back to the 1970s glam rock movement by adorning faces with make-up and paint. The first Bowie day was Sept. 14 and kicked off with a handful of participants, mostly in the junior class. Participants photo by Nick Cairl took on one of Bowie’s Vanessa Dunne, 11 and Steph Schwartz, 11, get excited over an approachrenowned looks: vibrant eye ing David Bowie Day. shadow or the signature lightning bolt across the face. discover his music. Others decided to opt out on These looks, taken from Many who participated were the makeup, although fully supmoments of Bowie’s four-decade quick to agree. porting the day. career, are ones that that made “It’s time to release the “It’s really sweet, actually. I him an icon in have a lot of respect for the peoglam rock, a ple who [participated],” said rock and roll Damien Chevallier, 12. movement that During the day, most of the emphasized student body became aware of ome people actually edgy attitudes what was going on. and flashy outthought it was a national “I recognized the look by the fits. Bowie end of the day,” said Nick remains famous holiday ... that’s awesome. Barkve, 11. today for his Not only turning Bowie into musical innoa known name at Mounds View, vation, reinventhe day morphed into an inspira- Vanessa Dunne, 11 tion, and visual tion for others. It encouraged presentation. students to proudly support their “David favorite artists, the latest being Bowie is the greatest musical David Bowie in us all,” said Prince, an eccentric musician genius of all time — not debatSean McSteen, 10. from Minnesota. able,” said Schwartz. However, “David Bowie Bowie Day proved to be a The girls thought of the Thursday” didn’t appeal to a huge success. event before school began, when portion of the student body. The “Some people actually Schwartz and Dunne decided to reasons varied from lack of thought it was a national holidedicate a day to their favorite interest to simply a dislike of day,” said Dunne. “That’s aweartist. The point, according to Bowie himself. some.” Schwartz, was to allow Bowie “David Bowie is mediocre, The next “David Bowie fans to expose themselves and at best,” said Brian Bradbury, Thursday” takes place on Nov. enrich the lives that had yet to 11. 9.

“ S

OCTOBER 18, 2006

Forgot to Drop?


Students who wait too long to drop a class receive a “W” for withdraw

By Vicky Kelberer staff writer

On Monday, Sept. 25, an announcement was made: No more dropping classes without a “W” on your transcript. Few students paid any attention. “I don’t know what the ‘W’ stands for, and I honestly don’t care,” said Garrett Rehkamp, 12. But perhaps he should care. Many MV students find themselves wanting to drop classes later in the semester – and not understanding the consequences. “I’ve tried to switch out of classes before, but I’ve always been told that I was too late,” said Nick Kuschke, 12. “I never even knew there was a deadline.” He’s not alone. In the guidance office, there is no written copy of the class-dropping policy for student use, causing much frustration among those who suddenly found themselves wanting to get out of a class. To drop a class and be able to get into another one, students must contact their dean within the first week of school. The second week, students may still drop classes without any mark on their academic record but their only option is to take a study hall or a TA instead. However, starting September

25, the beginning of the fourth week, students who dropped a class did not get it erased. The letter “W” will take the place of the normal semester grade on their transcript, though it is clearly beyond the normal grading scale. This conspicuous “W” is

why the student couldn’t [stick with the course].” The policy becomes more serious further into the school year. If a student tries to drop a class two weeks after the second quarter of the semester, instead of a “W,” they receive an “F”. When informed of the policy,


f we make an exception for one, we have to for all. - Lia Reich, dean

meaningless to students, however. Most wonder what it stands for. “Maybe it stands for ‘wonderful,’” said an optimistic Jake Robuck, 11. Unfortunately for Robuck, reality is not quite as pleasant. “It means ‘withdrew,’ and while it doesn’t hurt [a student’s] GPA, it’s still not the best in terms of college applications,” said Lia Reich, MV dean. “It would raise the question of

many students finally understood why they haven’t been able to drop a class in the past. “It makes more sense now, all things considered,” said Erika McGregor, 11, who tried to drop a class just one day after the deadline. “I just wish I’d have known of it before.” What many students do know, however, is that to drop a class there must be a qualifying reason for the switch. This usually has to do more with sched-

uling conflicts than with personal feelings about a class. “I tried to get out of [a teacher’s] class because she is really mean and hard, but my dean said that it wasn’t a good enough reason,” said Ben Moberg, 11. “I think that’s unfair to kids because now I don’t feel comfortable enough to ask for help.” In response to this type of attitude, Reich said, “Of course we have to care about the individual, but it’s important that we keep the big picture in mind as well.” Keeping the big picture in mind, she explained, “means balancing class sizes so that teachers and students have the best learning environment possible. If we make an exception for one, we have to for all.” Some students have figured out how to work within the system. “I just wasn’t into art this year so I talked [to my dean] about three days after school started and had no problems,” said Alysha Allen, 12. Another scheduling success story, Jenae Quarve, 11, had a few tips to share with hopeful students looking to get out of a class. “I had a scheduling issue as well as a personal one. When I

Gettin’ YIGGY with it MV students play politics at Youth In Government By Josh Bornstein staff writer

Not only for government nerds, the Minnesota Youth In Government (YIG) program is “really… a four-day underground party disguised as a learning experience,” said Kate Fifield, 11. Since 1946, YIG members have been convening annually to hold the Model Assembly, a four-day meeting in the State Capitol imitating a real session of the state government. Participants act out roles in each government branch, each of which is led by student-elected leaders: justices in the courts, the attorney general in the legislation, and the governor and lieutenant governor in the Cabinet. Initially, the program only consisted of a student Senate and House, along with a Youth Governor. Now in its 60th year, the YIG program has grown immensely. The organization’s website,, states that “participants have opportunities to serve as legislators, leadership corps members, judges, justices, attorneys, lobbyists, cabinet members, and to work in the offices of the Youth Attorney General and Youth Secretary of State.” If members are looking for a way to be indirectly involved, there is also a student press corps, which includes a daily newspaper, television news broadcast, and radio program— all produced by students. MV student Katie Seifert, 12, first participated in the Court of Appeals, but thought that it was “super hard,” so the next year she decided to work for the

newspaper, which she enjoyed. “This year I’m hoping to be part of the TV station,” said Seifert. YIG attracts a fairly large number of students, but it’s not easy to get lost in the crowd. All participants are part of their own delegation that comes from one of the many YMCA branches across the state. Fifield is the 2006-2007 St. Paul Northwest Delegation President, making her responsible for “meeting with the state office, drafting agendas, and strategizing for recruiting.” It sounds like hard work, but Fifield says, “Anyone who’s done YIG will tell you that however much you put into the program you will get out of it.” The workload, she added, is flexible. “So if a person doesn’t want to put a lot of care into it, they don’t have to, but his or her overall experience will reflect that.” Fifield is not the only one shouldering responsibilities for the delegation, however. MV student Calvin Wessels, 12, is the Vice President, and Mounds Park Academy student Katherine Andrews, 10, is the Secretary. Their job is to help Fifield with teaching the delegation members about how the Model Assembly works, as well as taking the minutes of each meeting and organizing the paperwork. Below them are a group of not-yet-official committee leaders, who are responsible for organizing things like the delegation’s finances, food, entertainment, and clothing. The remaining bulk of delegation members work in each of these committees. At the same time, the delegation meets twice a month to learn about the differ-

photo by Calvin Wessels

Youth in Government members work to establish their place in politics. ent government branches and the begins. YIG has several offerjobs in each. ings of fun and games. “On one Wessels describes the day as night there’s a casino where you beginning at 7 or 7:30 upon win Monopoly money and can wakeup. After grabbing breakgo bid in auctions,” said Wessels. fast and catching the bus from In addition, there’s a formal the hotel to the Capitol, the proGovernor’s Ball, an informal gram begins at around 8. There dance party, and a live band is a break for lunch anywhere Trent Huhn, 11, said between 11 and 2 (depending on “Everyone’s friendly, and I have your assignment), and then the no trouble making friends, espeprogram continues till 4. cially when we have plenty of During these hours, YIG par- time to interact.” ticipants do the respective jobs The time has already come that they have been assigned. and gone for interested students Some examples include legislato join. However, if you are in tors presenting and voting on grades 8-12 and wish to join bills, court members arguing for next year, keep an eye on YIG’s cases, lobbyists supporting or website, opposing legislation, and the “It’s really just such a great press corps working to cover it balance of work and play,” says all. Seifert, “and you meet a ton of Afterwards, the real fun sweet people.”

dealt with the technical problem I also arranged it so I could switch out of the other class. Students just have to tie in personal troubles with a ‘serious’ one,” said Quarve. Even if a student’s schedule turned out fine this year, they may also experience course changes indirectly in the form of expanding and shrinking class sizes. AP classes experience this more than most, with high expectations that cause many to switch within the first week. “In our AP Language class, we started with 36 people and now we have 15,” said Scott Barcus, 11. “[The teachers] have had to change the entire [lesson plan] because of it.” Deans are certainly affected by the flood of schedule changes as well, and this year more than most due to the late arrival of a master schedule. Usually completed in April or May, the schedule was finally completed after the 05-06 school year had ended. “Without the master schedule complete, there was no way to guarantee a requested change was possible,” said Reich. “Students were informed of this, but there seemed to be many misunderstandings, in that students thought the requested change was given.”

Attention Mounds View artists This year, the Mounds View Viewer is producing a literary magazine for the first time in over four years. This magazine is a compilation of a variety of short stories and poems as well as artwork and photographs that are written and created by the student body. Any MV student is encouraged to contribute their talents to the magazine by submitting their work. For those who are interested in partaking in this rare opportunity, contributions can be turned in to rm 240 or emailed to no later than Dec. 1. Please keep in mind that the sooner the contributions are received, the greater the chances of them being printed in the magazine. Work can be done specifically for the literary magazine, but it can also be something that has been done for a previous class or done on one’s own free time. The topic or theme of the submission is chosen by the student. However, it is required that the topic be appropriate for the Mounds View school environment.

Contact Courtney Bona, Literary Magazine Editor, or Martha Rush, Viewer Advisor, in rm 240 with questions, comments, or concerns

Eating: the good, the bad, and the greasy By Katelyn Schwieters staff writer

According to Judith E. Foulke, a writer in the FDA Consumer Magazine, teens are generally completing their final growth spurt and becoming adults. This means that the kind of food they eat is crucial to their development. Even though teens should start thinking about eating healthy, not all of them do. Foulke says teens add extra muscle and there is an increased volume of blood which causes weight gain during this time of change. This often encourages girls to diet, while boys overeat to satisfy their appetites. “I diet to stay slim. I pack my own lunch and eat only healthy food,” said Vanessa Kissoon, 12. Other factors, like the school cafeteria food affects the way teens choose to eat. Tyler Ahlstrom, 12, said, “I think we should make more healthy [school] food readily available.” Out of 40 teens surveyed at Mounds View, almost half of them do not consider

themselves healthy eaters. Many teens eat unhealthy and know they do, but do not care to change their habits. Foulke says that teens have a difficult time projecting a healthy weight for themselves. She also reports that fats are the most concentrated source of energy and supply about 40 percent of the total calories in a typical American diet, while dietitians usually recommend only about a 30 percent intake of fats. For now, teens get away with eating whatever they please. “I know I eat unhealthy, but we are young and allowed to eat what we want, ” said Eric Hodkinson, 11. “I could eat healthier, but I don’t because bad food tastes so good,” said Amy Leh, 12.

Athletes alter eating habits By Sarah Hupperts staff writer

Athletes are expected to perform flawlessly every time they step onto the athletic field. What they do is physically (and mentally) exhausting, and if their bodies are not in top shape, they may not be able to perform their absolute best. It is up to the athlete, therefore, to do their part and eat healthy to keep their body in shape. “I try to eat healthy all the time during my season, and I don’t worry about it too much in the off-season. In general, if I eat healthy, I perform better," said cross-country runner Dan Polasky, 11. As early as 580 B.C., there have been descriptions of special diets and food that Greek athletes ate to help them perform their best. More recently, in the 1950s, it was found that successful Olympic athletes’ diets tended to be very high in energy, fat, and protein. Today, athletes have found that maintaining a well balanced diet is a critical aspect of staying in shape. “I want to eat healthy because it makes you compete better,” said Mike Shelendich, 12. “Our coach tells us to eat healthy, but most of us are already eating healthy because we want to.” Tommy McNamara, 12, said that one thing he does to stay healthy is not to drink any pop. “It really screws up my muscles, plus it breaks down my sparkling white teeth,” he

NUTRITIONAL I D Name: Mike Kosiak Grade: 10 Activities: Soccer and Alpine Skiing. Favorite Fast Food: Taco Bell and White Castle, I eat it about three times a week. Daily Lunch: Pizza or breadsticks, cookies, and chocolate milk. Why do you eat the way you do? I have a really high metabolism so I can eat whatever I want and I am not in bad shape.

said. However, there are some athletes who don’t watch what they eat. “I eat what I want,” said Liz Hayne, 12. “I feel like I’m going to burn it off anyway so why not eat what I want to?” “I like to eat McDonalds three to four times a week," said Louise Dickson, 12. "Sometimes I feel sick, but overall it’s definitely worth it. I think I perform the same in my match as I would if I ate healthy.” Some athletes routinely eat specific foods before an upcoming athletic event. “Before my volleyball match I always eat a peanut butter sandwich," said Hayne. The combination of carbohydrates and protein a peanut butter sandwich provides is a common option for getting some quick energy before a match. “On meet days I always drink a 17 oz water or Propel every class hour,” said Aaron Thompson, 12. “That way I know that I will be ready for the meet.”

Cafeteria choices change meal plans By Jackie Schwerm staff writer

The school cafeteria at Mounds View offers a wide array of choices, from yogurt and turkey sandwiches to corndogs and breadsticks. For some, this may seem great - a place to eat whatever you want, without your parents controlling what you get. Others dislike the cafeteria because of the tempting choices presented to them. “The school has so many different kinds of junk food. It is hard to eat healthy when all of these [choices] are right in front of me,” said Jamie Splett, 12.

The school has made some attempts to provide healthier options in the cafeteria. Last year all candy sold during lunch was eliminated, and the price of three cookies was bumped up to $1.20 to reduce the incentive to buy three. The cafeteria offers fruit bowls, veggie trays, and other healthy alternatives. Some students like to take advantage of the healthier options available. “School lunch is the only meal during the day where I eat something from all the food groups,” said Danielle Bender, 10. Others feel the healthy options are not enough. “They don’t have a lot of options for people who

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are trying to maintain a healthy weight. Most of the food here is pretty high in calories,” said Dan Mahoney, 12. Although the school made the switch to promote healthier eating, there are still many junk food options available. “I don’t really have to eat healthy in the cafeteria, because when I get home I will,” said Allison Jones, 10. For other students, cafeteria choices do not really affect their eating habits. Nicole Becchetti, 12, said, “I just eat whatever looks good!”

Religious practices restrict diets By Alicia Hilgers staff writer

Mounds View students practice many religions, each with rules affecting the way they eat. Many of the religions, such as Christianity and Judaism, go through fasting periods. Presently, Muslims are observing Ramadan. Followers take part in fasting for an entire month. "We fast from sunrise to sunset, where there is no eating or drinking," said Junaid Saiyed, 9. Muslims fast in order to deepen their faith, and test their willpower. The Qur’an, the sacred book of Islam, says, "O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may [learn] self-restraint." (2:183) Muslims are strongly encouraged to follow the Islamic readings more closely, and not to participate in any sinful actions such as sexual intercourse or smoking during the fasting period. If there is a health concern, the person is excused from fasting, but they are required to feed a needy person in return. If a person breaks their fast, they may not eat for the rest of the day, and they have to make up for it by fasting for 60 days or feeding 60 people. "[Fasting is] kind of hard at first, but after a few days it gets easier and it levels off. I usually stay in a classroom instead of going to lunch," said Saiyed. On Jewish holidays such as Yom

Kippur and Tisha B’Av, followers fast for an entire day. Yom Kippur is the holiest day on the Jewish calendar and people fast on that day to ask forgiveness for their sins. On Tisha B’Av, they mourn tragedies that have struck the Jewish people by fasting for 25 hours. They lament the destruction of the first and second temples, along with events such as the Holocaust. Fasting on this day has many restrictions, including not eating, drinking, having sex, bathing, or wearing leather shoes; all to show regret for wrongdoings, to mourn, and to focus spiritually. Some Christians cut out a specific vice, or follow traditional rules during Lent, a 40-day period before Easter. "During Lent I can’t eat meat on Fridays because I’m Catholic," said Caitlin Lahr, 11. Restrictions on eating habits, such as avoiding meat on Fridays or fasting during religious holidays, creates yet another challenge for students when faced with the choice of what to eat.

NUTRITIONAL I D Name: Crystal Dyer Grade: 12 Activities: Yoga and The Funk. Favorite Health Food: Raw almonds, Brazil nuts, and cranberries Typical Dinner: Salad, sandwich, or sushi from an all-natural food store like Fresh and Natural orThe Wedge. Why do you eat the way you do? I have more energy and I feel better about myself when I eat healthy food.


OCTOBER 18, 2006

Witch costume is perfect for you? Scary


The Medusa

The Waitress


- 100 green and black toy snakes or make your own out of balloons or tissue paper - gold fabric - black lipstick - wire, and aluminum netting - optional items: black necklace, rope belt, and bracelets


apron black skirt tights any color T-shirt tray notepad

HOW TO PUT IT ALL TOGETHER: Once you have your snakes using the wire, connect them to the aluminum netting that will be placed on your head. Make a toga dress out of gold fabric and complete the look with black jewelry and lipstick.

WHERE TO FIND IT: - borrow an apron from your mom or a neighbor - black skirt, shirt, and tights can be borrowed or bought at Ragstock - borrow a tray from the cafeteria or your cupboard from home

- toy snakes can be bought at Party America, tissue paper or balloons can be bought at Target - fabric- Joann Fabrics

TOTAL COST: under $20

TOTAL COST: $20 and up


Another option: The Bride of Frankenstein

Another option: The Roman Goddess


Courtney Bona, 12, models a witches costume.


staff writer

HOW TO PUT IT ALL TOGETHER: Spray hair black except for two white stripes on each side of head.


one white bed sheet flip flops/sandals gold Rope leaf Garland

By Courtney Bona

Ashley Aram, 11, poses as a waitress.

- white bed sheet- take one out of your By Ashley Aram house, or borrow from someone staff writer - flip flops- use a pair of your own, or buy some at Target - gold rope and leaf- Michael’s or Joann Fabrics


black dress black and white hairspray black lipstick white face paint

WHERE TO FIND IT: - wear your own bleack dress or buy one at any clothing store - hairspray, lipstick, and face paint can be bought at target

TOTAL COST: about $20

TOTAL COST: under $10


Previous Costume Contest Champions

Harold and Kumar from Harold and Kumar go to White Castle

WHAT YOU’LL NEED: - khaki pants

The winners are chosen at the annual halloween dance, by MV students. The costume with the largest

- t-shirts - white Castle bags

applause wins. The 2005 winners were the Ambiguously Gay Duo with David Afdahl and Nathan


Wegmann, and in 2004 the Jamaican Bobsled Team won

- clothes- your closet - bags- White Castle

with Zach Dyer and Austin Savat.

TOTAL COST: under $5

Nikhil Gupta, 12, and Eddy Kwon, 12, pretend to be Harold and Kumar.

By Josh Bornstein staff writer

all photos by Nick Cairl

Another option: The toaster WHAT YOU’LL NEED: - cardboard boxes - aluminum foil - paint

WHERE TO FIND IT: - boxes- recycling - paint- Michael’s or Joann Fabrics - aluminum Foil- your kitchen

TOTAL COST: under $5


T h e w o n d e r f u l l i g h t n e s s o f b e i n g Scorsese OCTOBER 18, 2006

By Nikhil Gupta staff writer

Soviet tanks rolled down the streets of Prague, crushing a resistance movement trying to free Czechoslovakia from the grip of the Evil Empire. The Prague Spring of 1968, when the Czech people rose up to break free of the oppressive Warsaw Pact and breathe vitality into their stagnating culture, finally came to an end. Life under the communist regime was dangerous and fast, with informers behind every closed door and all aspects of life regulated by the government. Against this dramatic backdrop, Milan Kundera has created a masterpiece: The Unbearable Lightness of Being. It is a window into another time, a portrait of the Communist Bloc. But, more importantly, it is a snapshot of human life, the struggles and triumphs we all partake in, the issues we wrestle with in the depths of our minds, and the philosophies that govern our actions. The story is a relatively simple tale of two couples: a man, Tomas, deeply in love with his wife yet unable to stop his philandering, and one of his mistresses with her devoted lover Franz. The lives of these four form the backbone of the novel, their shared experiences illustrating a wide breadth of human philosophy. Kundera weaves philosophy into the plot with the grace and expertise of a maestro, not once making these intellectual discussions seem extraneous or tangential. In fact, every mention of philosophy furthers the plot and allows you to better understand the characters. It is these philosophies that make this novel moving fascinating. Kundera explores the nature of human existence, arguing that since we are not condemned to literally repeat history, we justify heinous crimes of past leaders. He writes of the French Revolution, “In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia, even the guillotine.” This idea forms the central tenet

“The Grand March is the splendid march on the road to brotherhood, equality, justice, happiness … what makes a leftist a leftist is not this or that theory but his ability to integrate any theory into the kitsch called the Grand March.” Woven in underneath all of these philosophical debates lays a scathing commentary of Communist Era Europe. When the Iron Curtain fell across the continent, Czechoslovakia had the misfortune to find itself under the autocratic rule of the Soviet Union. Kundera uses the characters to show the paranoia, fear, stagnation that destroyed a once photo courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers and vibrant culture. Tomas loses his job as a in his arguments about the unbearable surgeon, status, and residence because of lightness of being: humans value lightan article he wrote during the Prague ness over heaviness, yet it is only Spring condemning Communists who through heaviness that we find meaning. claimed they did not know the “road to Kundera also delves in to the meanParadise” would be lined with mass ing of love and intimacy. Tomas loves graves. Without explicitly condemning his wife with fervor, yet cannot stop hav- the ideology, Kundera tears gaping holes ing dozens of affairs. And yet this is a in it, illustrating how a society ceases to paradox, as Tomas reserves his emotions function normally when people betraying and attachment solely to his wife. She, their friends for self-preservation. unsurprisingly, cannot accept this arguIn spite of the complex ideas prevament. Ironically, despite their years of lent in the book, it is a surprisingly unhappy marriage, they still love each accessible and genuinely enjoyable read. other deeply. Kundera’s beautiful prose and narrative The most interesting argument that voice capture the reader. The way he the author brings up regards kitsch: the phrases sentences is itself a work of art, idea that humans do things simply for and his ability to explain the deepest of the sake of doing things and conformity, philosophies with a humorous or ironic abandoning the ideals their actions stand anecdote is astounding. The four main for in the dust of history. It attacks how characters in the book relat to all, their everything falls into trends and catestruggles triggering memories in our own gories, how even those who are part of lives. Most importantly, the book the counterculture are within the culture, changes your perspective on the world. It following the very principles they claim picks you up like a tornado and spins to repudiate, a concept not unfamiliar you around. When it has run its course, it within a high school setting. He illusdeposits you back where you started, trates this through a Grand March, staged your mind spinning, unable to compreby prominent leftist intellectuals to stop hend all that you have seen. the Vietnamese government from perseKundera has created an amazing cuting refugees. From the onset it is piece of literature, a timeless story that apparent that the motives of these indisparks the readers’ imagination. It is both viduals are not the vaunted ideals the humorous and serious, heavy and light, a movement claims, but rather the desire to paradox in itself. Only one thing remains conform, to perpetuate the movement. constant: it will change you.

Boys and Girls lets the kids down

By Andrew Larkin staff writer

photo courtesy of

If Separation Sunday, The Hold Steady’s previous album, was a collection of drunken anecdotes about the St. Paul party scene, Boys and Girls in America, their latest, is the point where the same intoxicated storyteller starts whining about his feelings. A Brooklyn-based bar-rock band with strong connections to Minneapolis, The Hold Steady have already released two albums to critical acclaim. Their early October release fails to match. Boys and Girls in America falls apart in its attempts to move their style in a new direction. It is generally accepted (and expected) for musicians to expand their musical horizons, but not when the “expansion” consists of lazily adding one piano track and the occasional countrywestern twist. Though their previous albums were hardly musically groundbreaking, there was an undeniable style to the rough electric guitars and the flat-out shouts of the vocalist. It was the work of a group who knew what they were doing; they played consistently, they played well, and they rocked out. Boys and Girls in America opens with an awkward piano line that takes hold of the music and hardly ever relents, making it sound like piano pop-rock smoking cigarettes, or a Tom Petty who spent his teen years in grungy Minnesota bars. The incessantly cheery, clean piano feels out of

place amidst guitars scratchy as singer Craig Finn’s voice. Where Separation Sunday switched back and forth between the mean (“Your little hoodrat friend makes me sick”) and the tragic (“There are strings attached to every single lover, but they still can’t tether us together”), Boys and Girls in America just feels sappy. Complaining about how a girl “Won’t even let [him] touch [her]” to pop-punk “woah-oh-oh’s” in the chorus of “Chips Ahoy, the album sounds like 45 minutes of Craig Finn shouting about his inability to mate. Other musical additions detract from the quality even more. An attempt to add a harmony between the lead singer and a female vocalist only results in a disharmonious clash of hoarse shouts and an overly sweet hum. The same female vocalist returns later on to chant a single line in the background of the album’s uninspiring finale, where twangy guitars finally take over in a mess of stylistic schizophrenia. The Hold Steady don’t know if they want to be Tom Petty or Lynyrd Skynyrd. They fail to realize that they shouldn’t be either. Though the group could benefit from proliferation of their rambunctious style, they won’t accomplish this by adding a few new instruments to the same sloppy musical technique. Boys and Girls in America is a perfect example of change not leading to progression. Especially not when Craig Finn still sounds barely sober enough to be screaming clever rhymes about the Mississippi.

scorches By Erin Hagen staff writer

Scheming, twisted, and violent, rats are lowly, disgusting creatures. The rats in “The Departed,” director Martin Scorsese’s latest, are two men infiltrating the secret, investigative police force and its biggest threat, the Irish Mob. The two “rats,” portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon, are large chunk of the movie’s appeal. Billy Costigan (DiCaprio) is a motivated police officer trying to escape his inherited life as a criminal. Most are well acquainted with the teenage heart throb DiCaprio, but his new tough guy disposition unshaven face, and prison tattoos – seems to fit him even better. Damon keeps his character believable while managing two distinctly different personalities, honest and suave versus violent and merciless. In some scenes, “The Departed” is the stereotypical action-filled cursing fest. When it gets predictable, though, a plot twist rips you out of your comfort zone, leaving you grasping for more. On top of being loaded with violence, the film is constructed of simple and artistic scenes in unexpected locations. In the end, whatever good the “rats” believed they were doing for their organization becomes tangled in their character flaws of doubt and suspicion. Fitting for a bunch of sewer rodents.

photo courtesy of

Tough guys Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio duke it out in “The Departed.”


OCTOBER 18, 2006

Childhood dreams make present day champions By Kathleen Gormley staff writer

When Eric Thompson was five years old, his dad taught him how to ride a bike. Twelve years later he is competing among the top mountain bikers in the country. In September, Eric, 12, biked in the annual Chequamegon Festival Race in Cable, Wisconsin and took second place out of 800 competitors. “Two years ago I placed 101st, and this summer I was second. My dad got fourth,” said Thompson. This contest drew top racers from all over the nation, and was separated in two different age groups: under 18, and 18 plus. The oldest finisher was 82. “For some people it’s all about fun,” said Eric, “People travel from all over the U.S. to do it, it’s just that big.” Each racer brings with them their own motivation and Eric’s is simply the love

of the sport. “It’s definitely fun, I really like to race. I try to do better each time I race. That kind of motivation keeps me going,” said Eric Kenny Smith, 12, often races in the same competitions as his lifelong friend Eric, and they train together on a regular basis. “We bike out to Stillwater once or twice a week. It takes 45 minutes to an hour one way. There’s some really nice hills out there that we train on,” said Kenny. In order to prepare for their more competitive races, the boys challenge each other on longer training routes. “The shortest we’ll do is an hour and a half, but we’ve gone up to five hours on a ride, and that’s a long way, even for us.” The two kinds of races the boys compete in are short track and normal cross-country track. The short track is one

mile long with enough room to pass people the whole race. “Normally those races the racers are a lot tighter together and the pace faster,” said Kenny. During a normal crosscountry race, “you race up a downhill ski hill, then there’s a single track route at the top. As the race goes on people make mistakes and other people just blow by them. Crosscountry races are normally four to five times longer than short track races, so you have to conserve energy a lot more,” said Kenny. Racers can use the mistakes of others to their advantage and get ahead when a competitor is down. Not only do they have a strong motivation to win, the boys have an even stronger concentration in keeping the end in sight. “When I’m going that hard for two hours, all I can think about is dropping the guys behind me and catching

the guys in front of me,” Eric said. With a top 15 finish in a 30 competitor race this June in Rochester, MN, Eric qualified for nationals in Sonoma, California. “I just went down there for fun, not knowing what the competition was like, and I just wanted the experience of racing at the national level,” said Eric. Eric took fifth out of 22 competitors, and he is already looking towards next year’s competition. “I’m planning on winning nationals next year so I can go to Junior Worlds next summer in New Zealand,” said Eric.

Enough effort, not enough yards By Cara Morphew staff writer

Losing Adam Weber, Maurice Turner and Brandon Hoey has put a damper on the Mustangs so far this season. The football team seems to be stuck in a rut and struggling to gain points. They have opened the season with a 3-3 record, highlighted by their second half comeback against the Stillwater Ponies. Although the Ponies got off to a 17-nothing lead, our Mustangs scored 18 unanswered points, proving to be the stronger equines. Quarterback Turner Tracy’s, 12, most memorable play of the season thus far occurred in the second half comeback. “I threw a pass in the Stillwater game and it bounced off a bunch of guys, then my receiver, Evan Moen, ended up catching it,” said Tracy.

On this particular play, fans exploded out of their seats in awe. Though the Stillwater game was thrilling, it has not all been good news for the Mustangs. They lost in the third game of the season to Forest Lake. Not only did they lose the game, the Mustangs also lost their captain and starting linebacker, Erik Anderson, 12. “The hardest thing about being injured,” said Anderson, “is not being able to play.” "Being on the sidelines and watching the guys has been tough. But that is all a part of football, and that’s what makes the game great.” While Anderson’s injury is unfortunate, he still has an optimistic point of view: “My injury has resulted in a lot of players getting the opportunity to play and the chance to step up and help the team,” said Anderson. The Stillwater game was not the only victory for the Mustangs this season. Mounds View pulled through with a 35-12 win against Lakeville North in the season opener. The game in which they scored 5 touchdowns

and kicker Gerald LeGarde, 11, successfully converted five extra points. Though the season has started well for the Mustangs, Homecoming was not a game to remember. Mounds View worked hard to prepare for Cretin but just couldn’t pull through against the eighth-ranked team in the nation. With a 42-0 loss, the Mustangs have to put their best feet forward and will go for the win for the remainder of the season. On October 6th, the team held Hastings to a tie to go into overtime. However, the ‘Stangs came up short, and could only kick a field goal. When Hastings was given the chance, they scored a touchdown off of a 15yard pass, to win their homecoming game 13-10. The upcoming competitions for the Mustangs include Park and Roseville. The schedule is difficult but as the team confirmed in the Stillwater game, they have the toughness and talent to prevail against the opponent.

photo by Dan McMahon

sports11 Underclass athletes make the grade OCTOBER 18, 2006

By Andy Madsen

or mentally, prepared to compete up underclassmen to play on the with upperclassmen. varsity team. The rigorous sport But for Lauck, Ian of football requires the athletes During her summer tryout, Goldsmith, and Allie Phillips, to be in top physical shape to Megan Lauck, 9, expected to age doesn’t seem to be a barrier. compete and few sophomores make her freshman volleyball Each not only share the title meet this criteria. team. Little did she know that “underclassmen,” but all three However, a new, young star she would be approached by her share the unique ability to comhas joined the ranks of the coach and asked to attend volpete at the highest level of high Mustangs. Ian Goldsmith, 10, leyball camps that would preschool athletics — and succeed. moved into the starting line-up pare her for the 2006 varsity The Mounds after a great two-a-day’s practice View volleyball with the varsity, and suited up as team has had its one of 2006’s starting outside share of greats linebackers. come through its “It’s not a coincidence that program, but not Ian is as good as he is. He works many freshmen hard everyday, on the field and get the chance to in the weight room. He deserves prove themselves to be the starter,” said Joe on the court. Johnson, 11. Lauck, however, Ian’s hard work and dedicahas broken that tion has helped him be one of Allie Phillips, 10, plays a major role on the soccer team this year. barrier, getting the top tacklers on his team. Girls soccer team has had more But, like many sports, posisignificant playing Another underclassman that of a history playing younger ath- tions are not simply handed out. time. has taken a key role on the field letes. Underclassmen throughout Being an underclassman and “She’s real tall is girls soccer player Allie the years have stepped into key playing on the varsity squad is which makes her a Phillips, 10. The Mounds View positions to support their team. quite an honor and Phillips has good blocker,” had a tremendous impact on her said Molly Jansen, team. Not only does she dodge, 11. dip, and swerve around defendA freshman ers with her dazzling footwork, stepping up to but she is also the team’s leading play volleyball, a scorer as a sophomore. sport that most “Allie is an amazing soccer girls don’t start player, she can school anyone until high school, with her foot skills. She makes it is most impreslook so easy,” said Taylor sive. There are Randle, 11. very few leagues Underclassmen often get Ian Goldsmith, 10, has made a huge contribution to around the state for overlooked in high school athletthe varsity football team this year. younger girls to ics, and for a fair reason: Few learn how to play, and Lauck’s have the ability to step up and volleyball season. success with little experience is play at the level required of a In this day-and-age of high a huge accomplishment. varsity sport. But in the case of school athletics, varsity sports “She’s getting a lot better Lauck, Goldsmith, and Phillips, are becoming more and more through the year and will probaeach has brought hard work and competitive, and the athletes are bly be one of the key players talent to their sport and proven required to be in top shape. next year” said Anna Nordby, that age doesn’t make the athJuniors and seniors normally lete. meet this requirement, and rarely 11. On the football field, do freshmen or sophomores Mounds View has rarely brought Megan Lauck, 9, is the varsity volleyball team’s newest member. photos by Nick Cairl come close to being physically,

staff writer

An end in true April fashion By Stu Batten staff writer

There’s no coming back from this one. The Twins capped probably the most remarkable comeback in club history with an 8-3 loss on Oct. 6 to the Oakland Athletics. The loss brought to a close a 0-3 playoff series in which the Twins weren’t their normal scrappy selves, looking more like the team from April than the one that had won the AL Central Division just days before. It is easy to feel down, since the team has been disappointing fans for the last several years, with Friday being their eighth playoff loss in a row. But the Twins did something remarkable this season. “This is something we are going to remember for the rest of our lives,” said closer Joe Nathan, according to the Pioneer Press. In April, as the Twins were competing to be the worst team in baseball, a wild card spot in the playoffs in the powerhouse AL Central Division seemed improbable, if not impossible. In the last week of baseball, the Detroit Tigers, one of the best teams in baseball this season, would get swept by the Kansas City Royals, one of the worst, thus giving the Twins a division championship. All of baseball’s ducks seemed to be in a row. Despite their early shortcomings, the Twins assembled some of the best players and statistics

son. Catcher Joe Mauer was the best hitter in the American League. He batted .348, winning the AL batting title, the first catcher in league history to do so. Many young players on the team also had breakout years. Short stop Jason Bartlett, third baseman Nick Punto, and outfielder Jason Tyner all had standout seasons. Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen affectionately referred to these players and the bottom of the Twins batting order as “piranhas.” “All those piranhas,” said Guillen. “Blooper here, blooper here, beat out a ground ball, hit a home run, they’re up by four. They get up by four with that bullpen? See you at the national anthem tomorrow.” Guillen summed up the style of play the Twins have had this season. Just like they managed to come from behind in so many games with their scrappy play, so they managed to resurrect their defunct season. “It is remarkable how many players stepped up, the team is photo courtesy of Minnesota Twins so inspirational. There is absolutely no reason they should Twin’s center fielder Torii Hunter dives for a ball in game two of the ADSL against Oakland. Hunter missed the ball, have made it this far with the leading to an inside-the-park homerun for Mike Kotsay. players they have,” said Pat Delahunt, 12. in the league. They owe much of ger role after rookie phenomena pitched his heart out in the final People counted them out, and their success in the final months Fransisco Liriano, who could week of the season, battling the Twins battled back to win the of the season to their pitching give Johan Santana a run for his through a busted up shoulder. Division Championship. They staff. Great pitching from unlike- money, went on the disabled list Twins hitters deserve just as ly players such as Boof Bonser, with an elbow injury. Santana much credit for the season’s suc- went three and out in the playoffs, but we’ve seen how they Matt Garza, Carlos Silva, and has been pursuing his second Cy cess. First Baseman Justin can play. Sure, their season is Scott Baker gave the team a Young Award given to the best Morneau is in the running for over, but we’ve got a lot to look solid foundation to win games. pitcher in the league. Brad MVP, with a .323 batting averThese players had to take a bigRadke, the veteran of the team, age and 34 homeruns on the sea- forward to.


OCTOBER 18, 2006

You enjoy the tricks, not to mention the treats, but how much do you really

Halloween? know about

By Amelia Narigon staff writer

The Celts thought that Samhain was the night when the boundaries between the Living and the Spirit world became blurred, allowing spirits to come back and wreak havoc upon all of their mortal souls.

Halloween was traditionally the day before the Celtic New Year, also called Samhain. It was a celebration associated with the end of the harvest and the beginning of the dark cold winter, a time often associated with death (and yes it is just a coincidence that the beginning of school lands in a time the Celts associated with death and despair).

On Samhain (Halloween) night, the Celts honored the Lord of Death or Anwinn. Spirits of those who had died during the year were said to gather this night and need the help of the living to be set free into the realm of the dead. In order to do this, the Celts hollowed out turnips and gourds to store their relatives’ spirits in.

Now that the Celts’ spirits were inside of a turnip, their family members had to protect them from the evil spirits that were also out roaming this night. So what did they do? Carve a scary face on it. Thus, the Jack-oLantern was born.

In Mexico, Day of the Dead (or Dia de los Muertos) is not only a celebration of those who have died but of children (ironically enough) as well. People visit the graves of their relatives and tidy them up by putting flowers and decorations on and around them. However they do not tidy up and put flowers on the children.

The threat of Celtic Faeries was also increased upon this night. While not pure evil, they did enjoy mischievous tricks, such as turning your cow’s milk sour or, heaven forbid, making old Bessie run dry. So should an old beggar come to your door asking for food or a Twix, by all means give it to them.

In Japan, the Oben festival of the Lanterns is the equal to Halloween. The Japanese, like those celebrating the Day of the Dead in Mexico, believe this is not a night for evil spirits to come wreak chaos upon our mortal souls, but rather a night for the spirits of the deceased to come back and visit their relatives and maybe catch up on the gossip. After the festivities of that night, those celebrating the Japanese Oben festival send off colorful paper lanterns lit by candles into bays and rivers. These lanterns will help guide the spirits back to the realm of the dead.

Cambodians celebrate P’chum Ben at the Pagoda. This is a 14 day long celebration where those celebrating get up before sunrise to give an offering of food and gifts to the monks in the local pagoda and the spirits of their ancestors. The celebration comes to its culmination on the fifteenth day when villagers visit the pagoda with sticky sweet rice and other special treats (although probably not of the candy persuasion) to mark the ending of the celebration of the dead.

Photos courtesy of Ask Images and affiliated websites

October 18th, 2006 - MVHS Viewer  
October 18th, 2006 - MVHS Viewer  

INSIDE THIS ISSUE: •Eric Thompson’s biking career Sports p. 10