Category Archives: Opinion

What Winter Means to Me

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Illustration by Isabella Schreckhise

Cristopher Carlson
Staff Writer

Powdered snow sucks. Helplessly trying to pack handfuls of powder together to form a snowball while my two older brothers are rushing at me is like someone being charged by a bear while trying to load a gun. I tried to run but as I got up they were already grabbing at me ready to dump me head first into the snowbank. These are the memories I’ll never forget.
Growing up in Anchorage, winter time has always been a big part of my life. Anchorage averages 102 inches of snow per year while the US average is only 26 inches. According to CNN, the record of 132 inches of snowfall, set in 1954-55, was broken by an inch in 2011-12. I was 12 years old with a backyard filled with 133 inches of snow.
My brothers and I always came up with plenty to do in the winter. With snow towering over our heads the ideas were endless. When our parents weren’t looking we would snow-skate off the lower roof into the giant mounds of powder. The neighborhood kids and my brothers built a treefort about 10 feet or so off the ground in our backyard and by winter time we would be jumping out of it and pushing each other off the platforms carelessly because the soft snow would brace our fall.
Winter time was always our favorite growing up. Winter meant frozen ice, which meant hockey season. We all started playing hockey by age 3, it was one of our favorite things to do competitively or on our own in the cul de sac with our friends. My oldest brother Owen played all the way into the Western Hockey League and the Canadian Hockey League while Jayce and I were running around the stands and rink watching his games and playing around getting in trouble.
My older brother Jayce and I started to get into snowboarding pretty seriously around age 7 and 10. We went almost everyday after school from 3:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. at Hilltop Ski Area. We would be out on the hill for so long we would get wind burn on our faces and horrible chapped lips, but that never stopped us from going out again. We would go inside the small crowded lodge, take a break for about half an hour to get a soggy piece of flavorless pizza and a hot chocolate to warm us up, and then we’d be back at it.
I’m always going to be looking forward to winter because of all the great memories it brings back of my brothers and I. Even though half of the time they were giving me a whitewash or locking me outside without a jacket or snow clothes.

 

Don’t waste your time with horror movies

Connor O’Bryan
Staff Writer

A common Halloween tradition is to watch horror movies throughout the month. Personally though, I don’t like horror movies, and a lot of the ones coming out now tend to have the same problems. They rely really heavily on jumpscares and have a paper thin plot. Most of the time you’re watching them, it just feels like you’re watching an extended cut of the trailer. The acting is bad, the lighting is bad, and they’re not even scary most of the time. There are still good horror movies being made, but the majority of them being put out now are hot trash and almost the same movie. Another problem is that the only successful ones are all based on old, worn out franchises. Movies that are based on original ideas tend to fail because either they’re not good movies, or they didn’t do any advertising so nobody watched it. Most of the popular horror franchises now are from the 70s and 80s. Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Friday the 13th were some of the most successful from this era and they got a ton of sequels and spin offs. Production companies don’t want to risk the tens of millions of dollars it costs to make a big movie on something that nobody knows or is already a fan of. They’d rather play it safe and make a bad movie from a popular franchise already well established because they know it’ll sell. That’s why there are 12 Friday the 13th movies, 11 Halloween movies, 9 Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies, and 8 Nightmare on Elm Street movies. Most of these are terrible, but they sold, and that’s all they really care about.

National Peace Day

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Photo by Sarah Campbell

Madison Rose
Staff Writer

How can one make the world a more peaceful place? How about starting by promoting National Peace Day. Imagine a place of no violence and troubling disputes between one another. A utopia of safety, kindness and love. It is great to think of such a wonderful place, but as humans we are not perfect. Does that make peace an impossible thing to acquire? I believe peace can be attained through a single person, with a simple act.
Here are three things anyone can do to help.
1. Be nice. (Seems pretty self explanatory that peace and kindness accompany each other, which is exactly why people should be.)
2. Spread the love. (Exposing others to being treated with grace and love is part of creating peace)
3. Give. (Giving is a representation and example of how to show peace.)
Everyone is aware and understands what peace can do for society. But now it’s time to take charge and put peace into action. Being friendly is an easy task and requires minimal amount of effort. Even if you’re not feeling your best, it’s important to remain considerate of others. Often times we become absorbed in our own problems and forget how our behavior can cause a ripple effect. Bad events and negative things can be a drop of poison, destroying all things beautiful. But, an act of kindness or an example of peace, can restore good and maybe create something that wasn’t there before.
I have seen the impact that peace can do and hope it continues to grow throughout the world. Peace can be applied to any situation, whether its investing in the world or to your inner self, it can make a more positive and happier atmosphere.
Honoring Sept. 21 as National Peace Day was the first step the United Nations took in realizing the need for peace. But why have just one day when everyday can be peace day. This is how you spread the love and get the message across to others. Softening your hearts towards one another and doing good deeds will not only create a better world, but also a more superior life of living. This is why people should part take in Peace Day. In attempt to motivate others and find refuge.
Peace can be described as many things, one of which “giving” plays a big role in. For instance; Instead of thinking about your next shopping spree for the latest fashion, perhaps save that money for a cause or donation. Same thing goes when it comes to spending your free time. Maybe instead of watching the news about dramatic events that drain you, direct your attention to healthy living and ways you can enhance your life. If you’re a very enthusiastic (outgoing)  person, I highly suggest investing your energy towards acts of peace. Point being that giving doesn’t have to be something extravagant, and it can easily be applied to your lifestyle. It’s the impact that giving has to offer and how it’s a step towards making a difference.
People go wherever the light goes, and if one person stands then soon others will follow seeking to reach the light. If people can come as one and express gestures of tranquility, then to me the world will build its way into a better place.

 

Ketchikan By the Numbers

Jenna Miller
Staff Writer

There are 13,376 people in town today.
That would be the 4th largest city in Alaska.
That’s 26,752 eyeballs (ideally) 133,760 fingers (hopefully) 133,760 toes (theoretically) Average Snapchat user opens the app 18 times daily so it will likely be accessed 240,768 times in Ketchikan today.
Jack.ramsay just posted him arriving in Ketchikan on a cruise line.
Codieannie “making his way downtown, walking fast, faces pass and he’s homebound” at Ketchikan Creek.
Ketchikan is light__catcher’s favorite town so far.
The average person has seven social media accounts that roughly adds up to 93632 active accounts roaming Ketchikan.
The average person spends about two hours on social media each day.
If I begged a dollar from each of them, I could fly to the Bahamas ($1441) stay at the British Colonial Hilton Nassau ($186) for 45 nights and back with $3500 for spending money.
Or I could take the ferry to Wrangell and back 110 times. If I wanted, I could get berths take all my friends, and go six times.
I could buy a 2016 Nissan Versa SV with only 34,000 miles on it.
I would be able to pay for one year of college tuition at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.
1 in 10 people have athlete’s foot making an extra 1,300 people wandering around Ketchikan with it.
This is what I think about when Leah stops and lets half the town cross in front of me.

Google Pixel 2 Review

Largim Zhuta
Staff Writer

The smartphone market is dominated by Apple and Samsung, and rightfully so. These two tech giants have been duking it out for over a decade — always trying to one-up the other by creating the better phone to attract another consumer. And a decade is a long enough time to build an army of followers *cough* *cough* Apple. But every once in awhile, an underdog will build the courage to enter the market.
This year’s underdog, the Pixel 2 by Google. Mind you, the most these underdogs do is scalp the undecided buyer or the one bored with the usual selection of phones. They are never a threat to the two powerhouses’ customer base. To put it into perspective, Google sold a total of 3.9 million smartphones (Pixel and Pixel 2) in 2017. On average, it took Apple a week to sell the same amount of smartphones according to The Verge. Let that sink in. Regardless, here’s why I think the Pixel 2 is the best smartphone on the market.

Camera and Storage
One of the biggest promises Google made was that the Pixel 2 was going to have the best camera out of its competitors. Boy, did they deliver on its promise. The pictures you can take with Google’s flagship are breathtaking. It delivers a clear, crisp, vibrant, and high-quality image that may be better than actually seeing it with your own eyes. All new smartphones take amazing photos, but the Pixel goes above and beyond.
Google has also generously given Pixel 2 owners unlimited Google Drive storage for pictures and videos — but there’s a catch. Users can store full resolution photos on Drive until 2020, after which all future files stored will be compressed to Google’s “High Quality” size (16-megapixel photos & 1080p videos). It will only compress the files if one were to go over the free 15GB of Drive data all Google-users receive. Don’t forget that phone also has 64 or 128GB (depending on what you choose) of internal storage. So to all the moms out there who love taking photos, Google has answered your prayers. Go on and click that camera button without feeling guilty, they have your back.

Price
The Pixel 2 redefines the term “bang for your buck”. Taking on the biggest names in the smartphone realm, creating an amazing product, and doing it for — wait for it — $650. That is a steal. It keeps up with some of the most daunting competitors such as the iPhone X & Samsung Galaxy S9, in terms of performance and storage, for a fraction of the price. Did I mention that you can buy it factory unlocked and use it with any carrier? Well, you can.

Charging and Battery Life
The battery life on the phone isn’t impressive compared to the competition. It won’t outlive an iPhone or a Samsung. But if you use it moderately, a full charge on the Pixel 2 will get you through a majority of the day. I have yet to have the phone die on me before dinner time, but then again I’m a below-average phone user.

Hey, do you have a charger I can borrow for my phon—-forget it.

You better get used to that. The Pixel 2 further separates itself from the competition by having a USB C charger. What that means is that iPhone and Android chargers (micro USB) won’t work on it. There are benefits to the change in charging design.
For starters, it charges ridiculously fast. I remember plugging it in with 10% remaining on the battery life right before I showered, when I came out, the phone was at 92%. USB-C is the next step in data transfer and charging evolution. All new devices will begin to adopt and use it–that is until they figure out the next best thing. But not only does USB-C transfer data and charge quicker than its predecessors, you can plug the head in either way. No longer will you have to flip over your USB-A head because you had it on the wrong side (which happens every time). We are indeed living in the future, my friends.
This phone doesn’t disappoint. It truly is a great smartphone for a great price; one can’t go wrong with this buy. But by setting the bar so high with the Pixel 2, Google might be setting themselves up for failure with the Pixel 3. I truly believe it will be hard to top the second generation Pixel in terms of performance and value.

 

Kayaking in Southeast Alaska: From a Kayak Guide

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Photo By: Brittany Slick

Brittany Slick
Staff Writer

Last summer I guided over 100 tourists on assorted kayak adventures. My tour is scripted but genuine and my goal is to come back safe, but also have a good experience.
It’s easy to have a good time because it’s kayaking in Alaska, but there are some basics that can’t be looked over.
If guided:
Bring water
Kayaking can be relaxing, but also vigorous and exhausting depending on your effort. In either levels of activity, I highly suggest bringing water. You are using your muscles to fight the tide or waves so your body needs to hydrate.
Wear layers
You never know what the weather is gonna be like, especially in Southeast Alaska. It could be super sunny one hour and then pouring down rain the next. I would definitely wear multiple layers that are easily removable. You may get hot and sweaty while paddling, but it might also be raining and blowing sideways. Just always be prepared.
Waterproof everything- NO COTTON
This one is especially geared to outer garments. While paddling, water comes up in your lap, you might even find yourself dipping your arm in, let me tell you, you will definitely get a little wet no matter what. The most important thing is wearing and bringing things that you can waterproof as much as possible. Any gloves that are not neoprene material are the worst things you could ever bring kayaking. Once they get wet, they will never dry and your hands will slowly become numb leaving you miserable the entire trip. Same with sweatshirts or pants, NEVER WEAR COTTON. I recommend a fleece material for warmth and a rain jacket and rain pants over.
Dry Bag: The Ultimate Alaskan Purse
Waterproof camera, waterproof phone case, waterproof GoPro– all these things are great, but they won’t be so great at the bottom of the ocean with the whales. A dry bag is a great solution to bringing what you want on a kayak without having to worry about waterproofing everything and making it float. The handy dandy little floating neoprene bag of goodness can fit anything and everything you would need: phone, camera, sunglasses, extra layers, snacks, water, etc.
https://www.seallinegear.com/
If unguided:
Bring a radio
You never know what will happen out on the water, so you always want to be prepared with a communication device. When crossing major traffic areas, especially cruise ship paths, you need to do a “securite” call to make other boats aware of your crossing. They can call back on the main channel and tell you to wait for them to pass or go through.
If you can’t go with me, always go with a buddy
Kayaking is even more enjoyable when you have someone alongside you. But, bringing a buddy isn’t just for enjoyment purposes. You never know what is gonna happen out on the water, and it is crucial to have at least one other person with you in case of an emergency.

 

Dear Juniors…

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Illustration By: Zoe Spencer

Largim Zhuta
Staff Writer

Dear Juniors,
Senior year is fast approaching. Many of you have told yourselves you have plenty of time before having to worry about the college application process–you don’t. The time to start preparing is now.  I’ll be blunt, senior year is brutal. The biggest lie you will be told — next to Santa Clause not being real — is that senior is the best year of high school. Here’s what you need to do to make it — you know what nevermind. You won’t take the advice. Go on doing what you were going to do anyway. I know you won’t listen, but I’ll still give my speel and hope some of it sticks with you.
Standardized Tests
Almost all colleges require an SAT or ACT. The announcements you hear from the counselors’ center regarding standardized tests aren’t for seniors. They are for you. Sign up and take both tests at least once. You will do better on one than the other. Once you figure that out, check out a practice guide from the library and get to work trying to improve it. The ACT and SAT aren’t IQ tests. You can study to improve your score. If you can squeeze in more tests your junior year, do it. You will thank yourself when you won’t have to wake up at 7 a.m. on a Saturday to come take a test during your sleep-deprived senior year.
Essays
The next most important task you can invest your time into is writing college essays. The single most important essay you will write in your high-school career is probably your Common Application Essay — the online application that is used to apply to many colleges and universities. This single essay will be used virtually in every school you apply to and could potentially be the thing that makes you stand out if your test scores aren’t spectacular.
College app essay writing is an art. It requires certain a certain style of writing that highlights you as an awesome and capable student without making you sound arrogant. The reader needs to see and feel who you are through your writing — one thing numbers and test scores can’t do.
That being said, go online, find the most common college essay prompts, and at least be brainstorming about some of them from now until when the Common Application opens up again at the beginning of August. At that point, you should start writing it.
Letter of Recommendations
“Hey Professor Lundsworth, could you write me a letter of recommendation for The University of College?”
“When is it due?”
“In two days.” Awkward silence
Don’t wait until the last minute to ask for letters of recommendations. It’s not fair for the teacher or you. There is some etiquette to follow when asking for a letter: Give at least two-weeks notice (I’d shoot for three), a resume, and background on what it is for.  It gives teachers time to brainstorm. Many will still write it towards the end of the deadline, but they know what they are going to say and how because they have had it in the back of their minds for weeks. Think of it as a less destructive form of procrastination. Have a letter of recommendations from a math/science teacher and a humanities teacher (English, history, the arts, music, etc). If you know what you want to major in and have taken a class that pertains to it, ask for a letter specifically from that teacher. For example, students who have taken Medical Terminology and plan to make a career in the medical field can ask the teacher of that class to write a letter–it looks good.
You know what forget about it. I don’t expect you to follow the advice. That’s the tragic flaw of high-school seniors: realizing the truth only when it’s too late. I don’t want you to have to go through what I did, but I guess there is no better teacher than mistakes. Enjoy your senior year.
P.S. Stock up on stress balls, caffeine for the late nights, and excuses for every conceivable situation that you think will arise your final year of high school.
Sincerely,
Largim Zhuta