Monthly Archives: October 2014

Johnson receives Teacher of the Month Award

During the Oct. 10 Fund Run assembly, Medical Lake sixth-12th grade band director Craig Johnson got a surprise when he received the KHQ/Eastern Washington University Teacher of the Month award.

Johnson has been teaching for 18 years. He started in the Medical Lake School District 14 years ago as the fifth-eighth grade band director. He has held his current position for four years.

Johnson’s love of music and teaching began when he was younger. His junior high instructor inspired him to play the saxophone and clarinet.

“I practiced for 2-3 hours every night,” Johnson said. “I knew I wanted to be a band director by the time I left junior high.”

After high school, Johnson attended Central Washington University where he received his bachelors degree, then went to EWU to get his masters. For Johnson, who is from Kent, Wash., being in band helped him with his social skills.

“Being able to interact in a music ensemble and being a part of a team like that helped me with my social skills a ton,” Johnson said. “I find that with some of my students. Some of them are shy like I was. They don’t say much but they can speak through their instruments.”

Johnson said he enjoys working with students. He explained that music teachers bond with their students through their instruments.

“You get to really see them grow up with them and their instruments,” Johnson said. “You get to watch their whole progression, from beginning to advanced stages of musicianship. It’s very rewarding.”

Students can nominate their instructors for Teacher of the Month by writing a letter to KHQ. Eighth-grader Megan Goertz nominated Johnson for the award. Goertz has been in the band for three years and plays the flute and baritone saxophone. She said Johnson is an amazing teacher and is dedicated to his work.

“He’s always doing something for us and I wanted to do something for him,” Goertz said.

Goertz said Johnson challenges her and the other students when it comes to learning music.

“He pushes us to help us get better,” Goertz said. “He’s also always upbeat and that helps make the learning experience better.”

Johnson said winning Teacher of the Month during the assembly was both exciting and humbling.

“It’s such a huge honor to receive something like this, especially when I’m surrounded by so many awesome teachers, who are equally deserving of receiving this award,” Johnson said.

Johnson said being a band director is a year-long commitment. He explained that band directors have to prepare all summer if they want their programs to be successful. This includes writing shows, finding music for students and meeting with kids during the summer.

Although the job can be overwhelming, Johnson said his band officers are willing to help whenever they can.

Johnson said he loves his job and hopes to continue teaching for many years.

“I’ll teach as long as I can physically handle it,” Johnson said.

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Cheney volleyball defeats West Valley on senior night

volleyball senior night 6

The Cheney High volleyball team defeated West Valley in a Great Northern League (GNL) match on Senior Night, Oct. 23, but it wasn’t easy.

While the Blackhawks swept the Eagles in their previous encounters this season, Cheney had to dig deep to beat West Valley, 3-2. The game scores were 9-25, 25-13, 23-25, 25-19 and 15-10.

The Blackhawks had a rough start in the first game after West Valley took a strong lead early. Cheney found their groove to win game two. They went back and forth with West Valley in game three, until the Eagles clinched the win. Cheney battled back to win the final two games.

Head coach Courtney Webb said this match made her a little nervous.

“It was unpredictable and volleyball can be that way,” Webb said. “It was a rollercoaster, but the end result was what we wanted and that’s the positive of it all.”

Freshman Peyton Stark led her team with four aces and 18 assists, bringing her season total to 85 for the latter. Senior Katie McGourin recorded two blocks and 10 kills.

Twelve seniors from the JV and varsity teams were honored for Senior Night. Webb said many of the girls have been playing on the same team forever and the emotions added to the chaos.

“But they came together toward the end,” Webb said. “It’s always nice to end Senior Night with a win.”

Cheney, 5-6 GNL, 5-7 overall, now sits in third place in the GNL standings. After their final regular season match against second-place Pullman (7-4, 8-5), Oct. 28, the Blackhawks travel to East Valley, Oct. 31 – Nov. 1, to compete in the district tournament. Cheney went 1-2 in last year’s district championships, defeating Deer Park and losing to Pullman and Colville. The top two teams from this year’s tournament will move on to the regional tournament Nov. 8.

Webb said her team will work on various aspects of their game in preparation.

“We’ll be looking at offense, working on playing against teams that have big players at the net and brushing up on our basics,” Webb said.

Update – Courtney Webb was selected as the Great Northern League coach of the year. She did a good job with the team in her first year as coach.

Cheney swimming falls to Pullman, Norman qualifies for state

Sports - Alexis Scmidt swimming

The Cheney High girls’ swimming team finished their regular season on the road, Oct. 25, losing their final meet of the regular season to defending state champions the Pullman Greyhounds 106-62.

Despite losing in team points, several Blackhawk swimmers did well at the meet. Makenzie Norman qualified for state in the 200-yard freestyle, after she finished first in 2 minutes and 4.31 seconds. She also took first in the 100 freestyle in 56.16.

Alexis Schmidt placed first in the 100 butterfly in 1:03.32. Schmidt also took second in the 200 individual medley. Tenley Nelson finished second in the 500 freestyle while Sam Abbott took third in the 100 backstroke.

In team events, Norman, Schmidt, Nelson and Kaylie Geschke took second in both the 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relays. Izzie Corlett, Catherine Ghana, Melissa Johnson and Brittany Meyer finished second in the 200 medley relay.

The Blackhawks travel to Ellensburg to compete in districts, Oct. 31-Nov. 1. The team finished fourth at last year’s competiton. Head coach Jennifer Hochwalt said she is taking 14 swimmers to districts. She hopes to get a couple of wildcard entries for the state championships.

“Most of the swimmers will be fine tuning their speed and quick turns,” Hochwalt said. “We’re focusing on getting their bodies ready to swim fast.”

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Swimming is an individual or team sport that involves using arms and legs to move the body through water. Typically, the sport takes place in pools or in open water (e.g., in a sea or lake). Competitive swimming is one of the most popular Olympic sports,[1] with events in butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle, and individual medley. In addition to these individual events, swimmers take part in relays. Swimming each stroke requires specific techniques, and in competition, there are specific regulations concerning the acceptable form for different strokes.[2] There are also rules put in place to regulate what types of swimsuits are allowed at competitions. Although it is possible for competitive swimmers to incur several injuries from the sport, there are also multiple health benefits associated with the sport.

Open water swimming is swimming outside a regular pool, usually in a lake, or sometimes ocean. Popularity of the sport has grown in recent years, particularly since the 10 km open water event was added as an Olympic event in 2005, contested for the first time in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.[25]

New recent technology has developed much faster swimsuits. Full body suits have been banned, but swimmers at the very top levels still wear suits that have been lasered together because stitching creates drag. The disadvantage of these suits is that they are sometimes uncomfortable and tight.

The largest Ocean Swim’s in terms of numbers of participants are in Australia, with the Pier to Pub, Cole Classic and Melbourne Swim Classic all with roughly 5000 swimming participants.

Theater: Ghostbusters the video game (or Ghostbusters 3)

In celebration of Halloween and everything spooky, I decided to watch a playthrough of “Ghostbusters: The Video Game,” which features the voices of the original cast. This game could be considered a sequel of the movies. Although you’ll see Ghostbuster icons like Slimer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, the team encounters other ghosts.

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Ghostbusters: The Video Game is a 2009 action-adventure game based on the Ghostbusters media franchise. Terminal Reality developed the Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 versions, while Red Fly Studio developed the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, and Wii versions, and Zen Studios developed the Nintendo DS version.[1][5] The game was released after several delays in development and multiple publisher changes.[6] In North America, all versions of the game were published by Atari,[7][8] while publishing in Europe for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 3 versions was handled by Sony Computer Entertainment.[9]

The game follows the player’s character as a new recruit in the Ghostbusters, a team of parapsychologists who pursue and capture ghosts. The game features elements of typical third-person shooters, but instead of using a traditional gun, players are equipped with a “Proton Pack”, a laser beam-like weapon, and a ghost trap to fight and capture ghosts.[10] The game’s plot is set two years after Ghostbusters II, around Thanksgiving in 1991, with the Ghostbusters team training the player’s character while investigating paranormal activities in New York City.

Many of the principal cast members from the films were involved in the game’s production. Each of the actors who portrayed the Ghostbusters in the films (Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray, and Ernie Hudson) lent their voices and likenesses to the in-game characters.[11] Aykroyd and Ramis, who wrote the films, also aided in script doctoring for the game.[12] Other film cast members such as William Atherton, Brian Doyle-Murray, and Annie Potts lent their voices and likenesses to the game’s characters as well. Max von Sydow also reprised the voice of Vigo the Carpathian. Ghostbusters: The Video Game also contains the soundtrack from the original Ghostbusters film along with various characters, locations, and props featured in the films.[11] Ghostbusters creator Dan Aykroyd has said, “This is essentially the third movie.”[13] The game received generally favorable reviews from critics and more than one million copies have been sold.

Happy Halloween from Al Stover’s Desk

Here is a picture of Parks and Rec characters April dressed as a sumo wrestler (center) and Andy as Chuck Liddell (right).

Just wanted to remind everyone to have a fun, safe and spooky Halloween. If you’re planning on partying, make sure you have a designated driver or a good way to get home.

Halloween or Hallowe’en (a contraction of All Hallows’ Evening), also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints’ Eve, is a celebration observed in a number of countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day and Reformation Day. It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed.

Halloween activities include trick-or-treating (or the related guising), attending Halloween costume parties, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing, divination games, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories and watching horror films. In many parts of the world, the Christian religious observances of All Hallows’ Eve, including attending church services and lighting candles on the graves of the dead, remain popular, although elsewhere it is a more commercial and secular celebration. Some Christians historically abstained from meat on All Hallows’ Eve, a tradition reflected in the eating of certain vegetarian foods on this vigil day, including apples, potato pancakes, and soul cakes.

Today’s Halloween customs are thought to have been influenced by folk customs and beliefs from the Celtic-speaking countries, some of which are believed to have pagan roots.Jack Santino, a folklorist, writes that “there was throughout Ireland an uneasy truce existing between customs and beliefs associated with Christianity and those associated with religions that were Irish before Christianity arrived”. Historian Nicholas Rogers, exploring the origins of Halloween, notes that while “some folklorists have detected its origins in the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, it is more typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain, which comes from the Old Irish for “summer’s end”.

It is widely believed that many Halloween traditions originated from Celtic harvest festivals that may have pagan roots, particularly the Gaelic festival Samhain, and that this festival was Christianized as Halloween.

My first murder mystery

I’ve always been a fan of mysteries whether it’s the classic whodunnit where the killer is revealed during the parlor scene or the thriller where a plot twist reveals that the murderer wasn’t whom everyone suspected. I always wanted to be a part of a murder mystery dinner party and I got a chance to do so last weekend.

My friends Amye and Kurto were having a murder mystery party at their apartment. The theme was a 1940s circus theme.

Reflecting on covering girls’ swimming where everyone played a role at the circus. You had the eccentric ring master, the bumbling magician (Kurto), the fraudulent fortune teller, a snake charmer (played by Jane) the strong man, the bearded lady who was married to the strong man, a groundskeeper, an acrobat, a bar matron (Amye) a spectator and me – the lion tamer. It worked well because Amye and Kurto adopted a stray kitten named Bruce and I had the little guy play one of my lions.

Getting the costume wasn’t easy but with $40, some rope and a blanket I managed. It was a classic murder scene: Romeo the star of the circus was slain at the hands one of one of the workers. Some of the characters’ motives for wanting to murder Romeo were simple. The man was involved with several of the female – and some male – characters.

The motives of the other characters were different.My character thought Romeo was good looking though the star wouldn’t give my lion tamer the time of day. It didn’t say my character was in love with Romeo and I was supposed to be jealous of the barmaid – which made for some funny comments – but sympathetic for the acrobat, who was also spurned by Romeo. During the night my character got increasingly drunk – which the Samuel Adams’ Oktoberfest help with – and my speech was slurred. I went from trying to immitate Severus Snape to being Mark Hamill’s Joker. I also had to keep reminding myself to not flirt with the snake charmer and the barmaid.

In the end we learned it was the strong man who murdered Romeo. Apparently the star wanted the strong man, who refused his advances. When Romeo threatened to ruin his life, the strong man crushed him. After it was over Kurto thanked Amye for a “homophobic mystery.”

All in all I had a good time at the event. I met some new people and I got to be in the middle of a mystery. My 30th birthday is coming up soon and I’ve thought about hosting my own murder mystery. Maybe even a western or a superhero theme.

Short review: “The Best in the World at What I have No Idea”

The New York Times bestselling author, WWE champion, international rock star, and over-the-top media personality returns with a hilarious memoir of his adventures in the worlds of pro wrestling, music, and showbiz.

In The Best in the World, Chris Jericho treats his fans to a completely uncensored chronicle of his misadventures within WWE rings and onstage with his band, Fozzy. Written with his trademark self-effacing humor, this memoir is laced with behind-the-scenes looks at the preposterous situations he’s all too prone to get himself into, including incredible stories about his dealings with WWE head honcho Vince McMahon; his feuds with Rey Mysterio and CM Punk; his legendary battle with Shawn Michaels; how he took one on the chin from Mike Tyson and Mickey Rourke; his encounters with pop culture icons such as Ozzy Osbourne, Lorne Michaels, Slash, James Hetfield, and Bob Barker; and his six-week stint on Dancing with the Stars.

I finished Chris Jericho’s “The Best in the World at What I have No Idea” last Sunday. All in all it’s pretty good. It’s not like “A Lion’s Tale” where he gives lessons about how to get started in wrestling and there aren’t as many hurdles for Y2J as there were during his first WWF/WWE run like they were in “Undisputed.” Don’t get me wrong, Jericho gets into some pickles, but the situations he finds themselves in are some of the pitfalls that come with being a top WWE star.

My favorite run of Chris Jericho’s during his time as a heel in 2008 so it was interesting getting his perspective on the events. Still there were moments where I kind of hated Jericho – or his alter-ego Drunkicho – for what he did. One complaint I hear from pro wrestling veterans like Jim Ross and Steve Austin is how heels don’t go out of their way to get heat and Jericho is an example of someone who did that – probably too far in some cases. What impressed me was how he reinvented himself. It wasn’t just a few tweaks in his persona or ring gear. Jericho did a complete 180 degree turn on his character.

Some of my favorite moments from the book include various road and party stories with his WWE colleagues, including the trip to Iraq with his “CockNBallz” group (sorry if I spelled that wrong) or the night where John Cena tucked him into bed.

Jericho is an amazing storyteller and his narrative will keep you hooked. I highly recommend this for any WWE fan.