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WCFL Teens Blog

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News from the Teens of Washington County, MD
Updated: 41 min 41 sec ago

Roses

Sun, 03/26/2017 - 15:03

By Isabella Hendershot, Staff Reporter

Well, ma, I’ll tell you:

Life for me is gonna be like a bundle of roses.

Sometimes my thorns will hurt people, sometimes I’ll be down, sometimes people will look at my

beauty, outside and in.

I’ll grow and thrive with the care I’m given.

Sunlight and water I take in.

Some days will be good, my colors will be vibrant and pure.

But some days will be bad, dryin’ up an witherin’ off my stem.

I’m still gonna be growin’ and fightin’ ’till i can’t no more, ma, i promise you that.

An life for me is gonna be like a bundle of roses, i promise you that.

Image via Flickr.


Humor for Your Heart

Wed, 03/22/2017 - 17:21

By: Hunter Seymour, Staff Reporter

Have you had a good laugh today?

If you have not then you better get a good one in before the day is over because it could save your life. Laughter is our bodies biological reaction to moments of humor. Humor is an aspect of our everyday lives that many of us easily overlook, however, it can increase your quality of life.

Humor and laughter have long been considered to have some positive impacts on our health but, their benefits have not been scientifically revealed until the past couple of centuries. Humor therapy was first revealed in 1979 when MD-holder Norman Cousins authored the book “Anatomy of Illnesses”.

His book elaborated on how Norman used laughter to help ease the severe pain of the inflammation of his tissues he was experiencing due to a non curable disease. Since then research has led to the revelation that laughter has many mental, physical and chemical benefits to the healthy life that all of us want to live.

Everyday life has its stresses.

These stresses can cause our everyday lives to be tougher than they should be. They can also cause us to be more susceptible to infections and cause our personal behavior to be affected. However, according to the Mayo clinic, laughter has some short term effects that help reduce our stresses and the effects they have on our bodies.

Our bodies stress response can be quickly fired up and cooled down when we react to humor. This causes a temporary increase in our blood pressure and heart rate that results in an overall relaxed feeling and helps to relieve our stress. Many of us also suffer from physical symptoms of stress such as tense and achy muscles.

Laughter can also help with these symptoms through relaxing the muscles not included in laughter while you’re laughing and follow up with relaxing the utilized muscles after your laughter has ended. Having a good laugh every now and again can help you cope with even the most problematic of situations and help to release some of the stresses that always seem to come with them.

I now want you to close your eyes and think of something that makes you laugh whether it is your basic video of a cat chasing a laser pointer and runs into a wall or just a good “Yo’ Momma” joke.

If you could laugh at that for at least one minute then you just gave your body a very effective workout. According to William Fry, MD, Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University, one minute of laughter equals ten minutes of working out on the rowing machine. This workout stemmed from laughter can provide good conditioning for your cardiac, facial, back, and abdominal muscles and is said to be the equivalent of “internal jogging.”

 

Humor also has many positive effects on the different systems of our body. One of the higher effected systems is the cardiovascular system and the heart. University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore has done a recent study that shows that there may be a connection between laughter and prevention of heart disease. The study found that patients with heart disease had a lower sense of humor, were 40 percent less likely to laugh in different situations, and displayed more hostility and anger in different situations.

The reason that laughter seems to have some correlation with heart disease has not quite yet been fully determined but it does have some effect on our heart’s overall health. Our immune system is critical for fighting diseases. Studies at Loma Linda University have revealed that laughter strengthens that process by increasing the amount of antibodies, which fight infection, in our blood.

Overall, humor helps support our body’s systems in ways that we did not know it could.

Hormones are molecules that circulate through our bodies and regulate our physiology (normal functions of living organisms) and behaviour. If these hormones fluctuate between their normal levels in the body, they can cause illnesses, stress, and other problems for our health.

However, laughter can help regulate hormone levels as well. According to the University of Kentucky’s Health Education Through Extension Leadership program, laughter has been proven to reduce at least four of the neuro-endocrine hormones associated with stress and other illnesses. These hormones are cortisol, dopamine, growth hormone, and epinephrine. Laughter can also increase the production of neuropeptides which help fight stress and other serious illnesses.

Overall, everybody needs to have some form of humor and laughter in their lives. This behavioral action, however small and quick it may be, is vital for the homeostatic balance and improvement of your health and quality of life.

Laughter is so important in our lives that babies began to laugh at the age of four months. This is two months earlier than the earliest an average baby will start to form words such as “mama”.

It is not even just that laughter has many health benefits that we may not have known about, but the fact that it lightens up our moods and everybody around us. This makes the highly tense and stressful world  around us seem a little more bearable. And who knows, it might just save your life one day.


Classic Book of the Month: March

Wed, 03/15/2017 - 18:50

By Marinia Powell, Staff Reporter and Senior Staff Photographer

Our Classic Book of the Month for the month of March is Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.

What is it about? Usually, with classic books we’re able to conclude that after some reflection on the story. “The Great Gatsby” was a cautionary tale, “Pride and Prejudice” was about looking beneath the surface, and, yes, “Frankenstein” proved why grave robbing is illegal now. But seemingly, when reflecting on this book, there is no meaning.

Zora Neale Hurston, the author, was born in 1891, although she changed the date throughout her life. Hurston experienced financial insecurity throughout her life, but maintained a unique personality throughout her life. She co-wrote a play with Langston Hughes and was a part of the Harlem Renaissance but also criticized the school integration decision in the case of “Brown v. the Board of Education.”

Image via neh.gov.

At her first award dinner she won four awards, and at the after party she strode in, dramatically threw her colorful scarf over her shoulder, and called out “Color Struck!” the name of her award winning play, forcing the party to temporarily stop and look at her.

While traveling through Haiti recording stories from the black community she wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God over the course of a few weeks (this was probably not one of the stretched truths she put in her autobiography, “Dust Tracks on a Road” but with 256 pages worth of well written story I wish it was).

It was published in 1937, with little praise. Her fellow Harlem Renaissance writers found it to have too much emphasis on the folk aspect of the black community as well as a misrepresentation of black men with no real meaning.

At it’s core, the book is the story of the protagonist Janie Crawford’s life. But what is the meaning? It doesn’t follow her from birth to death, it follows her from seventeen to forty, and she never really reaches an epiphany.

One way to view her story is as a lesson. All major changes in her life come from other people. Maybe that’s not because she’s passive, but because of the world she lives in which also means that her choices were more rebellious than they seem. Instead of staying on the farm her whole life, Janie follows a smooth talking stranger to a completely new place.

Instead of staying as a proper mayor’s the wife the rest of her life, she follows another, younger man to a new place and changes in her fancy skirts and dresses for overalls. Janie’s story is, like any other book, what you take away from it.


Views and Lessons from the Potomac

Sun, 03/12/2017 - 15:45

A Collection of Photos of the Potomac River and Thoughtful Quotations

By: Hunter Seymour, Staff Reporter

Scenic view of the river and mountains from the rocks.

It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.(Sir Edmund Hillary)

Beautiful sunset through the trees from the view of the trails.

Even through the darkness, the beautiful things in life always shine through.” (Hunter Seymour)

Sunset from behind the clouds.

There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story.” (Linda Hogan)

The reflection of life through the reflection of a sunset on the clear canvas of water.

Everything starts with a sunrise, but it’s what we do before it sets that matters.” (K. McGraw)

Sunset over the trees for the beach of the lake.

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.” (Anonymous)


Librarian Picks: A Tyranny of Petticoats

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 17:53

By Ms. Sarah, Group Adviser

A Tyranny of Petticoats: 15 Stories of Belles, Bank Robbers, and Other Badass Girls, edited by Jessica Spotswood, is the perfect read for Women’s History Month. Why, you ask?

It’s all in the title– this selection of short stories by several wonderful authors feature girls throughout history making history. You may have heard of big-name authors like Marissa Meyer and Marie Lu. Now, you get to explore their creative minds in a new way. You may also discover some new favorite YA authors!

By Simini Blocker (www.siminiblocker.tumblr.com)

Whether it’s on a pirate ship or in the middle of a bank heist, these stories will draw you in immediately. From murders to marriages, the characters are thrown into some situations that would be hard to believe if they weren’t so similar to things that actually happened to real women in history. It’s amazing!

I also like that the stories are in chronological order. You can skip from one era to the next like flipping channels on the TV….except there’s something good on every channel and they’re all like the History Channel (when it had actual shows about history) and each one is about a woman taking charge of her life and being, in most cases, generally awesome!

 


Words on a Page

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 18:29

By Isabella Hendershot, Staff Reporter

From cover to cover, front to back, page to page, word for word. I believe the words I am reading are more than just words on the page in front of me.

To me the words in the books I’m reading make me feel like I’m not alone. They make me feel like someone is with me. The words that I read take me somewhere else, away from reality, to somewhere I can be a someone else, feel like I have someone else with me.

When my best friend moved, I wanted to be in one of the stories that I love to read. I believed that reading those words from page to page, that mean so much more to me than just a book in my hand or on a screen, was the only thing that could keep me sane on that day.

My reading takes me somewhere else and I am one of the few people who don’t just see words on a page or screen but I see them as a different life, an adventure, a new journey that I’m on.

I remember that day so clearly. It was the 1st or 2nd day back to school after Halloween and for the past two days she wasn’t in school. I was a worried, i thought that something was wrong, I then remembered that she also told me she might be moving soon but that it would probably be in the middle of the year. But that day I was crushed.

Image via Max Pixel.

I knew that if she did move it would crush me. So when I went to the library for lunch and one of her other friends told me she moved I didn’t know what to do. It felt like everything stopped, I couldn’t breath, I couldn’t think straight, but the one thought I remember so clearly that was going through my head was “how could this be happening to me right now? I just saw her 2 days ago and now she’s gone.”

After having my moment of shock, I distracted myself with my reading, trying to forget at least until classes were over because I knew if I didn’t I would have a breakdown in the middle of school and I didn’t think I would be able to handle that, then continued on with the my classes for the rest of the day.

In class if I didn’t work I was reading just so I wouldn’t have a break down. Reading was the thing that I needed that day I found out she was gone because whenever I read I’m somewhere else, I am living in someone else’s shoes, even if it is one of the many great fiction stories that I have read.

Now that I think back to that day I think the book that I would have wanted to be a part of the most was a story I read the previous year. The book was called Entwined. I think that book fit my situation more than any other book I can remember reading because Azalea, the main character, thought it was unfair that her mother died. She thought it was unfair her mother was taken away from her just like how I thought it was unfair that my best friend was taken away from me. Azalea also had her way of coping with it by dancing just as I have my way by reading.

I could relate to Azalea because we both wanted to be somewhere else,

to be in a fairy tale where we could have no worries and do the things we loved most because it was the one thing that would keep us sane in one of our most heartbreaking situations that we have experienced.

The words on the page of the books I read are much more than that. Those words helped me when I needed to get away from everything and when I needed to feel like someone is there for me. I hope you can see them as more than just meaningless words because to me they are more than just words on a page.


How to #Resist

Sun, 02/26/2017 - 15:05

By Marinia Powell, Staff Reporter and Senior Staff Photographer

In the wake of the recent election, many people are still feeling jilted and displaced, and that’s good. The election gave us new perspectives on what feels like an above-our-heads political system.

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

People go their entire lives not getting involved with the political system and not gaining an understanding of how it works, which is not good. At the end of the day, our representatives, senators, mayors, and even the president, work for us.

And even if you can’t vote yet, it’s still our job to remind them that they’re there as long as we elect and we will be in a few years. Every one-in-four Americans is under 18, so if we want change, then we can make change.

Resisting isn’t all protests, here are a few simple ways you can get involved at any level you are comfortable on:

  • Write a postcard to your local senator (the local senators for Washington county are Sen. Benjamin Cardin and Sen. Chris Van Hollen).
  • Join a place like Meetup.com to find local groups with shared interests.
  • Look into a political volunteering opportunity.

 

How to contact our local senators:

Senator Benjamin Cardin

509 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, DC, 20510.

Phone: 202 224 4524

https://www.cardin.senate.gov/contact

 

Senator Chris Van Hollen

B40c Dirksen Senate Office Building

Washington, DC, 20510.

Phone: 301 942 3768

https://www.vanhollen.senate.gov/content/contact-senator


The Coffee Shop

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 17:37

By a Teen Writer

   I watch as the little rain drops tap against the wide window. Listening to the traffic beyond that point, interrupted with a jingle of the door every now and then. My hands are filled with warmth, as I slowly wrap my boney fingers around a white coffee mug. Lifting the cup to my chapped pink lips, I inhale the fragrance of hazelnut. Closing my eyes to enjoy the almost silence, aside from the hum of the music.

   “Kayla!” my best friends voice breaks me from my thoughts. A warm smile grows on my face as I already picture the radiant glow of her face. “I have so much to tell you.” she continues, making herself comfortable in the seat across from mine.

“As do I.” I looked at her with a comforting smile. She looked at me funny and my stomach started to turn, wondering if somehow she already knew what I was about to tell her. My hands become clammy and I try to focus on what words are coming out of her mouth but I fail.

   “I’m pregnant.” I blurt out, straight word vomit. My eyes grow wide as the realization sets in on what I just said. Abbey sits there in front of me with a blank stare. With my stomach feeling like a volcano just exploded, I grow weary.

   A bright white perfect smile appears on my best friend’s face. With that smile, as if every worry about the baby slipped from my mind, I knew everything was going to work out okay.


Classic Book of the Month: February

Sun, 02/12/2017 - 16:32

By Marinia Powell, Staff Reporter and Senior Staff Photographer

When people think February, they usually think romance. You know, the kind where you go back to your home town and go stab-happy-revenge-questing.

So, most people don’t know there are two kinds of romance. One is the kind we’re all familiar with; the hearts, kisses, and chocolates kind. The other is a form of writing that puts emphasis on individualism, nature, and (I cannot stress this enough) emotion and was especially popular in art, music and literature.

The Count of Monte Cristo is based on the true story of Pierre Picaud, who was in 1807, France, framed for treason by three men whom he thought were friends. He returned seventeen years later a different, darker person leaving a wake of destruction and murder in his former town until he was eventually abducted by the last living friend-turned-conspirator and stabbed to death, the same fate he had inflicted on the others. (Irony much? Crime resulting from revenge doesn’t pay, kids.)

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

The story then got a second life when it came to the attention of multi-racial Parisian playwright Alexandre Dumas. From there he was inspired to write an alternate story and, collaborating with Auguste Maquet, he wrote the Count of Monte Cristo.

Romanticism is tricky for me, especially the kind based on true stories. That’s usually the kind that turns people with good reason to be doing what they’re doing into despicable villains, or alters monsters into heroes for the sake of what the author finds is a more exciting story, but I believe Dumas uses it well.

The Count lives a considerably longer time than Picaud, ( i. e. he’s not stabbed to death within a few weeks of initiating his plan) which gives him time to complete his plot, which is similar to the real story in that it’s packed full of murder and complicated plans, (X3 more than Picaud’s, plus swords instead of knives and really, really complicated family trees with some stuff that is thankfully illegal now) but it also gives him enough time to look around and wonder if he’s gone too far and that, in a way, gives Pierre Picaud a happy ending because he never got the chance to.

But as I was reading it, it made me wonder if someone who had caused so much destruction, ripped so many people whom he had never met lives apart and had completely driven into the ground those who he did, deserved a happy ending, or if he had gone too far?

That’s a big part of the Classic Book of the Month. It’s for you to form your own thoughts and opinions and maybe even alternate theories on and hopefully give you other people to discuss them with.


Blonde: A Review

Sun, 02/05/2017 - 13:41

By Farene Shahid and Maria Mir

After four years of silence, Frank Ocean released “Blonde”– a collection of 16 mesmerizing and hypnotic songs. His first album, “Channel Orange” was standout in 2012 with Ocean debuting its decadence, disregard of sexuality, and discussion of his romantic life.

However, “Blonde” has a different twist; the psychedelic, eloquent melody that Ocean creates- it has a more intimate, more mature nature in conveying his sentiments.

 

Image via Flickr.com

The subject of “Blonde” travels from the matter of the African-American struggle to the Ocean’s personal struggle regarding heartbreak. Nikes, the leading single, exemplifies Ocean’s style in its unconventional lyrics, “his girl keep the scales, some little mermaid” while a few lines before Ocean references a key figure in the Black Lives Matter movement: “Rip Trayvon, that n*gga look just like me.” The disassociated, yet deceptively real way in which Ocean captures your attention, deserves album of the year.

 

While this message appears political in nature, “Blonde” goes far beyond a statement about the police; Ocean conveys stories about everyday life and sorrow, heartbreak, and everything else, all wrapped up in a smooth, intoxicating delivery that is as addictive as the intrinsic melody behind each track. The focus revolves around emotions, heavy or light, and that itself makes “Blonde” relatable to nearly everyone.

One of Ocean’s more notable song includes “Godspeed,” popular among fans for a

Image via rootdownrecords.com

multitude of reasons. Rather than the more harsh, forward style that rappers usually performs in- Ocean soulfully articulates a letter, wishing someone good luck. The substance itself, deviates from the expected; the artist even commented on the influence on the sixteenth song of the track in a Tumblr post, “I wrote a story in the middle – it’s called ‘Godspeed’. It’s basically a reimagined part of my boyhood. Boys do cry, but I don’t think I shed a tear for a good chunk of my teenage years. It’s surprisingly my favourite part of my life so far. Surprising, to me, because the current phase is what I was asking the cosmos for when I was a kid. Maybe that part had it’s rough stretches too, but in my rearview mirror it’s getting small enough to convince myself it was all good. And really though… It’s still all good.”

Not every person has the same taste, especially regarding music. However, Frank Ocean transcends the traditional genre of rap and music by miles.

 


Quiz: What Classic Book Should You Read?

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 18:21

By Marinia Powell, Senior Staff Photographer and Staff Reporter

What classic book are you? Play along and keep track of your score!

Question 1:

You’re deciding how to get to your destination. Which path do you choose?

A; the dark and foggy one. It might not look all that great but it’s the shortest one.

B; the one that may hold the most dangerous but also the most exciting.

C; you decide to take the shortcut and try to get there faster than everyone else.

D; the sunny, scenic one of course!

 

 

Question 2:

You see an accident on the side of the road which disabled a vehicle, leaving the driver stranded. What do you do?

A; you hurry over to see if anyone’s hurt and if you can help.

B; you look at it from a distance and decide to keep going.

C; you immediately turn around and go for help after seeing no one is mortally wounded.

D; you note what they did wrong and continue on your way. It’s none of your business what went down there.

 

Question 3:

You come to a stop at a bridge. There’s a woman who decides who goes through and who doesn’t, and she doesn’t look like she wants to let you go very much. You:

A; decide you’re not going to embarrass yourself and beg her. It’s not an emergency, after all, and she’ll come around.

B; come up with an emergency excuse for getting across. A little fib isn’t gonna hurt anyone.

C; you honorably beg.

D; you turn on the charm. You’re sure you’ll go through in minutes.

 

Question 4:

You’ve made it across somehow and you’re making your way down the road, when a stranger asks if he can tag along with you. You:

A; ask every question you can think of after his credentials.

B; slip out of sight and go a different way.

C; kindly refuse.

D; respond yes. He can be anybody from anywhere, not just a mugger!

 

Question 5:

You’re utterly lost. The sun is setting and the party is starting soon. You:

A; keep walking. You’ll find your way.

B; stop and look around for any landmarks to tell you where you are.

C; stop dead. If you see a way out then good, but you’re not going anywhere until someone comes along.

D; ask the tag along buddy!

 

Question 6:

You’ve made it! Now it’s time to make your entrance. You:

A; just walk in, no fan fare needed.

B; sneak in and surprise your friends!

C; you go in immediately. No lateness on your account today!

D; stop and wait to be fashionably late.

 

Question 7:

You’ve made your entrance, but it seems you’ve stolen the show from your friend, whose party this is. You:

A; wonder how it’s possible for to steal the show from anyone.

B; feel bad because you wanted to be a show stopper but wasn’t expecting the consequences, then try to make it up to them.

C; fall back immediately. It’s their party, after all.

D; clap him on the back and call for the crowd to give him some love.

 

Final question:

It’s time to go. You can stay and clean up, but it would involve doing it with the girl who shares way too much personal information and is a gossip monster, and if you stay, then she’s gonna think you’re besties. You:

A; stay anyway to help and see how much you can take.

B; you want to help, but…

C; decide to send something nice for the host in the morning.

D; not gonna happen. Thank him for the party and exit.

 

Score Tallies:

 

Mostly A…

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

Like the main character you like to be understated most of the time, but when it comes to it your friends know you’re there no matter what.

 

Mostly B…

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.

You like to take the road less traveled and be inventive. You don’t take everything people say as how it’s suppose to be. If you can’t find adventure where you are, then you’ll just have to find it where you’re going.

 

Mostly C…

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

You know what you want and you immediately look for ways to get it. You’re a go getter and inventive. You have fun when the time calls for it, but when it doesn’t you’re onto your next idea.

 

Mostly D…

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

It’s not that you don’t pay attention, you just look at things as how they seem and don’t make a habit of doing it another way. However, if you’re suddenly proven wrong, which does not happen often, you’re willing to look at it a different way.

 

 


Teen Romance

Sun, 01/29/2017 - 16:19

By Marinia Powell, Staff Reporter and Senior Staff Photographer 

   Teen romance is highly publicized and, in some cases, overly so. Although there isn’t anything wrong with it, it can make the rest of us feel, well, alone. The teen love/first love thing can put pressure on some people who feel like they’ll die alone as they watch all the TV characters and personal friends go out and have first kisses as they sit alone.

Image via Flickr.

   Sometimes it can even put pressure on people to go out with someone they don’t actually like. I’ve had to catch myself, or even been caught before, almost going out with someone I had nothing in common with or wanted to go out with me for the wrong reason. But as I sit on the couch watching my favorite shows and seeing romances form between characters, or reading a book where the relationship of my dreams is played out like a reality, I can’t help but feel like I’ll never have one of my own. This can be especially hard for people in the LGBTQ+ community because the large majority of relationships depicted involve straight people.

   But I’ve realized something; I don’t particularly need anyone like that in my life right now. Of course I want to be in a relationship someday, but so little of my life has been played out that I shouldn’t be thinking about dying alone. And although you should always keep in mind how much you actually have in common with someone, that doesn’t mean you only have to date people on your level. It means you need to wait for the right person.

   What if you’re midway through your night out when you learn that your date routinely make fun of your favorite things and try to make you see it their way, no choices? And if you don’t know what you want in a person? Then maybe you should stand back and figure that out. Although you shouldn’t write an entire page of your diary on what your dream mate is, come up with the basic things you find attractive.

Image via MaxPixel.

   For instance, say you couldn’t hang out with someone who couldn’t make you laugh, or someone who wasn’t up for trying something new? It’s not a crime to gather information on someone before going out with them. Maybe monitor their speech to see if they talk about themselves a bit too much? Or crack a few jokes to see if you have the same sense of humor? Or maybe ask them what their favorite and least favorite things are?

   And once again, if you don’t find anyone interesting enough or interested in you enough, then save the questions for another day, because there is someone out there waiting for you, you just need to be patient. Plus, as everyone is getting dates left and right and you’re not, it’s not anything bad. It just means that maybe you’re a little more of an acquired taste, so when you find someone with that taste, it’s all the more likely to be much more fulfilling.


Consumed: A Poem

Sun, 01/22/2017 - 15:04

By Anonymous Teen Writer

 

The thoughts consume me,

Image via Flickr.

almost every day.

The more I push,

the more they stay.

I try to sleep,

but I’m in defeat.

They twist and turn,

in my head they burn.


Book of the Month: January

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 18:00
A Series on Classic Books

by Marinia Powell, Staff Reporter and Senior Staff Photographer

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

By Mark Twain

   The story of Hank Morgan – the aforementioned “Connecticut Yankee” – begins when he is thrust from 1870’s America after a lively brawl with a coworker to medieval England.

There, he is quickly thrown into danger (and nakedness), but Morgan soon realizes that the actual king Arthur and his court aren’t as bright as they appeared in the stories. Using his knowledge to predict an ominous (enough) event, he changes his position from prisoner to “the Boss.”

Using his new position, he runs the scheming Merlin out of town and uses his knowledge of the 19th century to establish various facets of modern technology with his eye on turning England into the world’s first republic.

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Although this is a comedy and basically a self help guide for anyone who finds themselves in medieval England after a work brawl, there are also startling looks at the oppression this whimsical world of chivalry is built on.

   This isn’t one of the better known classics out there, but it holds a special place in literary history and a small cult following. And with the Boss’s journey of starting anew in a strange land, I can’t imagine very many others better suited to bring you into the new year. Or, you know, any unintentional time travels.

This book is available through the Washington County Free Library as a book, an audiobook, an e-audiobook, and an e-book.


21 Things To Do When You Are Bored

Sun, 01/15/2017 - 13:11

By James Langenstein, Contributor

Do you have time, but don’t know what to do? Feel like you’ve already watched paint dry and grass grow? Here are some ideas for your winter evenings:

  1. DIY something
  2. Watch your favorite movie
  3. Play a board games with friends or online
  4. Do a puzzle with friends or online
  5. Send postcards to long distance friends and family
  6. Try to do intricate art
  7. Learn origami
  8. Reorganize your books/movies/room
  9. Do crossword puzzles/ word searches
  10. Go on a walk
  11. Work out
  12. Bake something
  13. Watch music/fail videos on youtube.com
  14. Read a bookbook
  15. Write a poem
  16. Take a nap
  17. Color
  18. Go to the library
  19. Shop online
  20. Organize the apps on your phone
  21. Update and maintain your gadgets

Men and Feminism: The Struggle?

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 18:19

By Marinia Powell, Senior Staff Photographer and Staff Reporter

  Throughout history, all the way back to arguably the original feminist, Mary Wollstonecraft, the number one thing standing in the way of female empowerment was men.

Portrait of Mary Wollstonecraft painted by John Opie c. 1790-1791

  They hurled insults and blunt objects at Suffragettes advocating for their right to vote, demanded women leave the factory and go home after World War I and World War II, and now, in many countries including several in the Middle East, deny girls their right to education.

  However, it’s worth mentioning the youngest Nobel Prize winner ever, Malala Yousafzai, has mentioned that what she’s accomplished could not be possible without her family, especially her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, who taught school to the girls of Swat Valley even after the Taliban entered their town.

  Feminism is not an exclusive club; it’s a movement

and like any movement, we don’t just need one group of people. We need the support of as many people as possible. Male feminism may seem like it’s uncommon. In reality, it’s just as easy to find a man who prefers a woman not be the one to ask him out on a date as it is to find a man who thinks equal pay for equal work is a right.

  Maybe you’ve heard of #heforshe before (co-founded by Matt Damon) or heard a speech given by President Obama, but chances are

you’ve seen men begin to stand up for women, whether in small everyday situations or during UN Summits.

  To bring it full circle, Mary Wollstonecraft married William Godwin, a journalist possibly drawn to Mary because of her philosophy on women being seen as inferior to men because of their lack of education, but one thing is for sure: he never stood in her way.

   As Mary once said, “Make women rational creatures, and free citizens, and they will quickly become good wives; – that is, if men do not neglect the duties of husbands and fathers.”

 


Dark Figure of Dark Woods: Part II

Sun, 01/08/2017 - 11:00

   Mark ran up to Mackenzie and said, “ We have to go NOW!” His heart was pounding out of his chest.

   “What is wrong? what’s happening?” Mackenzie said wide-eyed and worried.

   “It’s him! It’s the dark figure from when we were 12. He is outside. We must get him out of here.” Mackenzie grabbed everything they might have needed and Mark started towards the back door so that he and Mackenzie wouldn’t be seen by the figure of evil. He opened the closet door and grabbed his and Mackenzie’s coat.

   When he turned around, no one was there.

   Then he heard it.

   Mark ran out the front door and saw something he thought he would never see in his life. He saw Mackenzie being sucked in by a strong, inhaling force created by the dark figure’s mouth.

   He ran closer to her and reached for her arm and she reached for his. The finally grabbed hold of each other, and Mark pulled and pulled. His hands were sweaty causing Mackenzie to start sliding from his hands.

   “I won’t let him take you,” Mark said before their hands slid apart. Both the dark figure and Mackenzie were both floating in the air before purple sparkles filled that spot in the sky and the two vanished in the afternoon light.

   Mark couldn’t believe it. He had lost he again. The dark figure didn’t return the next day or the next. He waited and waited the dark figure had never appeared. He remembered something, something he had not remembered before. He remembered the sign that he saw when he arrived at the dreaded place. It had said, “Welcome to the Atlantic Shore.”

   He grabbed the supplies that Mackenzie had packed for when they were ready to leave and hopped in the rugged old car that Mrs. Lane had owned and started down the mountain. He started heading east and traveled for a whole 24 hours until he reached his destination. He saw that sign that he saw when he first arrived at that place. Again, the beach was bare. No one seemed to be there. He searched the shoreline.

Image via flickr.com.

    Then, the dark figure that he dreaded so appeared. As he walked up to it he began to mutter to himself. I don’t know what. The figure stood still not saying a word or moving. Not even breathing. Mark looked behind the dark figure seeing hundreds of thousands of people behind.

   He scanned the area of people and as he was going he say a face he recognized. He had not seen this face in a long time. It was Mrs. Lane, his foster mother. Mark ran to her, toward his mother. Mrs. Lane did nothing. Mark’s eyes started watering. He was so relieved to see his mother’s face again.

   A little farther down the line was Mackenzie. Once Mark spotted her all he did was pull and she broke free from the trance and fell to the ground. She and Mark hugged and set Mrs. Lane free, too. All these years they thought she was gone, but she had just been in this trance for many years.

   Mark, Mackenzie and Mrs. Lane walked up the beach.

    Mark spotted the glass bottle he had thrown at the figure when he was twelve. He picked it up planning to throw it at the figure again . As he did so, the figure awoke. The figure spoke Mark’s name, and when the bottle had released from his hands the dark figure said the following, “I am your grandfather.” It was too late.  The bottle had collided with him. And he disappeared.

   Mark stood with his eye wide.


Resources for Teens in Washington County

Sun, 01/01/2017 - 15:35

It’s no secret that the stresses of everyday life can be physically and emotionally taxing. 2016 was a rough year for many.

There’s always hope, though, no matter the issue or obstacle. There are people in Washington County who care and who want to help however they can.

Educating yourself about the issues, reaching out for assistance, and telling your story could make a huge difference in 2017. It may be difficult to ask for help sometimes, but these programs have been created and maintained for that very purpose!

This list includes many of the services and resources available for teens in Washington County, MD.

Behavioral Health Services

24 North Walnut Street, Suite 300 Hagerstown, MD 21740

(301) 766-7600

Mon, Tues, & Thurs, 9:30AM-5:30PM; Fri, 9:30AM-4:30PM; Wed. 12:30-8PM.

Offers individual counseling for persons ages 18 and older with mental health and/or substance abuse problems. Call to schedule an appointment. Medical Assistance/Insurance/Sliding Fee Scale.

 

Big Brothers Big Sisters, Washington County

1135 Virginia Avenue Hagerstown, MD 21740

(301) 739-4711

http://www.bbbswcmd.org

Mon-Fri, 9AM-5PM.

A mentorship program in which volunteers spend three to five hours a week with an assigned child sharing experiences or in which volunteers spend 45-60 minutes per week in school with a specific child. Volunteer opportunities for ages 18 and older with means of  transportation.

 

Boys and Girls Clubs of Washington County

805 Pennsylvania Avenue Hagerstown, MD 21742-3103

(301) 733-5422

http://www.bgcwc.com

Mon-Fri, 1-9PM; Summer, 8AM-4:30PM.

Offers programs and services promoting and enhancing the development of boys and girls by instilling a sense of competence and belonging. Programs include weightlifting, life skills, arts, sports, computer programming, and outdoor programs.

 

Brook Lane

13218 Brooklane Drive P.O. Box 1945 Hagerstown, MD 21742

(301) 733-0330 (800) 342-2992

http://www.brooklane.org

Office hours: Mon-Fri, 8AM-7PM; Admissions- 24 hrs/day, 7 days/wk.

Offers outpatient services, inpatient hospitialization, short-term inpatient hospitalization, substance abuse treatment, special education and transitional care services. Contact Admissions Office or have referral from physician, if person is already in treatment.

 

CASA, Inc.

116 West Baltimore Street Hagerstown, MD 21740

(301) 739-4990

(301) 739-8975

http://www.casainc.org

Mon-Fri, 8:30AM-4:30PM.

Offers a 24-Hour Domestic Violence Hotline [(301) 739-8975], emergency shelter services, and legal advocacy program.

 

Children In Need, Inc.

131 West North Avenue Hagerstown, MD 21740

(301) 671-2014

Mon-Fri, 8AM-1PM.

Offers students (grades pre-k through 12th grade) eligible through the Free or Reduced Lunch Program or Head Start five gently used outfits, coat, shoes, new underwear and socks, new school supplies, and new toiletries. Call for more information.

 

Community Free Clinic

249 Mill Street Hagerstown, MD 21740

(301) 733-9234

http://www.cfcwc.com

Mon- Fri, 8:30AM-4PM, closed 11:30AM- 12:30PM for lunch. Nurse Clinic: Mon-Fri,1- 3PM.

Serves medically uninsured persons by offering free primary medical care and limited prescription medications. Diabetic program, doctor/provider clinic, GYN clinic, labwork, medication clinic, mental health clinic, orthopedic clinic, and pediatrics all available. Call for more information.

 

Girls Inc. of Washington County

626 Washington Avenue Hagerstown, MD 21740

(301) 733-5430

http://www.girlsinc-md.org

Mon-Thurs, 8AM-8PM; Fri, 8AM-5PM.

Provides after school, evening, weekend and summer programs for girls, ages 6-18 years old.

 

Hagerstown Area Pregnancy Center

109 West Baltimore Street Hagerstown, MD 21740

(301) 739-8717

http://www.hapconline.com

Mon-Wed, Fri, 9AM-1PM; Thurs, 1-5PM. Open 4th Sat. of each month 9AM-1PM.

Provide pregnancy services with strict confidentiality. This includes pregnancy tests; pregnancy verification; pregnancy counseling. Appointments preferred, walk-in is available.

 

Hagerstown Community College

11400 Robinwood Drive Hagerstown, MD 21742-6514

(301) 790-2800 (301) 766-4422

http://www.hagerstowncc.edu

Mon-Thur, 9AM-6PM; Fri, 8:30AM-4:30PM.

Offers more than 100 programs of study for immediate career preparation, two year degree, or to transfer to a four year institution. Has an extensive non-credit program providing lifelong learning opportunities and professional training.

 

Hagerstown Community College Teen Parent Program

11400 Robinwood Drive Hagerstown, MD 21742-6514

(301) 790-2800 x 329

http://www.hagerstowncc.edu/services/jobtraini ng/

Mon-Fri, 9AM-4PM

Provides educational support services to Washington County residents who are 28 years of age or younger and who are or were teenage parents.

 

Maryland Children’s Health Program (MCHP), Washington County Health Department

1302 Pennsylvania Avenue Hagerstown, MD 21742

(240) 313-3330 TDD: (240) 313-3391

http://dhmh.maryland.gov/washhealth/Pages/childrens-health.aspx

Mon-Fri, 8AM-4:30PM.

Provides health benefits for children up to age 19, and pregnant women of any age who meet the income guidelines. No fees if eligible. Applications are available by phone or the Local Health Dept., school-based health centers, Head Start, WIC Centers, or DSS.

 

Mental Health Center of Western Maryland, Inc.

1180 Professional Court Hagerstown, MD 21740

(301) 791-3045 (301) 791-7891

http://www.thementalhealthcenter.net

Mon-Thurs, 8AM – 8PM, Fri 8AM-5PM, Sat and evening appointments available upon request.

Offers community based psychiatric treatment and rehabilitation for children, adolescents & adults, as well as support groups.. Anyone in need of services is eligible.

 

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Washington Co.

11944 Comanche Drive Smithsburg, MD 21783

(301) 824-7725 (800) 950-6264

http://www.nami.org

A support group for individuals affected by mental illness and their loved ones. Meets on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 7PM in Memorial Hall at Trinity Lutheran Church, 15 Randolph Avenue in Hagerstown. Volunteers ages 16 and older are welcome to assist with clerical and maintenance duties. No fees. Call or visit the Web site for information and meeting times and places.

 

Office of the Public Defender, Washington County

100 West Franklin Street Hagerstown, MD 21740

(301) 791-4735 (887) 430-5187

http://www.opd.state.md.us

Mon-Fri, 8AM-5PM.

Provides legal representation to income eligible individuals who have been arrested or summoned for a jailable offense. Visit website for more information.

 

Reach of Washington County

http://www.reachcaregivers.org

Mon-Fri, 8AM-5PM.

Available 24 hours a day for

Provides assistance and guidance though 24 Hour/Day Crisis Intervention. Responds to acute shelter crisis and related needs such as food, medicine, fuel, car repairs, bus fare, etc. Provides homeless adults a safe shelter. Also provides information and services to shelter guests for specific needs. Volunteers ages 18 and older needed to help with transportation, short term respite care, household chores, as well as many other opportunities. No fees.

 

Washington County Community Mediation Center

101 Summit Avenue Hagerstown, MD 21740

(301) 665-9262

http://www.wccmc.org

Provides mediation services to assist people in resolving disputes. It is a voluntary and confidential conflict resolution process in which neutral mediators help people find solutions that work for everyone. Volunteers, age 16 and older are welcome for clerical duties. Services offered for free or on a sliding fee scale. Call or visit website for further information.

 

Washington County Department of Recreation

11400 Robinwood Drive Hagerstown, MD 21742

(240) 313-2805 (240) 313-2808

http://www.washco-md.net

Mon-Fri, 7:30AM-4:30PM.

Offers sports leagues, sports clinics, arts and crafts, exercise classes, nature seminars and fine arts classes. Call or visit website for information.

 

Washington County DSS, Child Protective Services

122 North Potomac Street P.O. Box 1419 Hagerstown, MD 21741

(240) 420-2222 or (240) 420-2100

http://www.dhr.state.md.us/washington.htm

24 hrs/day, 7 days/wk.

Child Protective Services (CPS) Intake is responsible for investigating reports of child abuse and neglect, determining safety of children and assessing families’ needs for service. At risk children under age 18 are eligible. No fees. Call during office hours for information or call 24 Hour line to report suspected abuse.

 

Washington County Free Library

100 South Potomac Street Hagerstown, MD 21740

(301) 739-3250 

http://www.washcolibrary.org

Lends books, audio-visual materials and equipment; provides community information from a file of agencies and organizations; and maintains a special collection of historical and genealogical materials covering Western Maryland and neighboring areas. Open to public. No fees.

 

Washington County Health Department

1302 Pennsylvania Avenue Hagerstown, MD 21742

(240) 313-3200 or (240) 313-3355

http://www.washhealth.org

Mon-Fri, 8AM-5PM.

Offers case management, systems of care, treatment plans, drug testing, evaluations, communicable disease control, dental care, family planning, STD testing, vital records program, and other health services. Those aged 16 and older interested in volunteering should call 240-313-3200. \Contact specific programs for eligibility requirements. See notes. Some programs are free and others vary in cost. Call or visit website for more information.

 

Washington County One Stop Job Center

14 North Potomac Street Suite 100 Hagerstown, MD 21740

(301) 393-8200 or (800) 765-8692

http://www.dllr.state.md.us or http://www.mwejobs.com

Mon, Tues, Wed. & Fri, 8AM-4PM; Thurs. 8AM-3PM.

Free, statewide information on local apprenticeship programs, a 24 Hour Job Service Hotline, interview experience, typing tests, job counseling, and job matching services available. Persons, ages 16 and older are eligible. No fees.. INTAKE: Call, walk-in, or visit website for more information.

 

Washington County Public Schools

820 Commonwealth Avenue Hagerstown, MD 21741

(301) 766-2800 or (301) 766-8776

http://www.wcboe.k12.md.us

Mon-Fri, 8AM-4:30PM.

Provides traditional and special education from prekindergarten through high school. Children, ages pre-k to high school and individuals interested in an education. No fees.

 

Washington County Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition, Inc. WCTPPC

P.O. Box 3647 Hagerstown, MD 21742-3647

(301) 670-3000

The Coalition provides free information resources for youth and parents to assist them in their discussions and decision-making about sex, values and relationships. The Coalition participates in and partners with many groups and individuals in the County to develop and promote teen pregnancy prevention activities.Open to the public. No fees. Call or visit website for information.

 

For more lists of the services and programs available in Washington County, visit: 

WCPS– Community

Women of Valor– Resources

UMM– Centers and Services

Reach– Resources

 


Librarian Picks: Lumberjanes

Sun, 12/18/2016 - 13:53

By Miss Sarah, YA Librarian & TLC Adviser

The Lumberjanes’ experiences at Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types are just a bit different from anything you might have experienced in scouts. Jo, April, Mal, Molly and Ripley have noticed a lot of supernatural creatures hanging around their camp cabin and that can only mean one thing: adventure! These friends aren’t afraid to try and figure out “what the junk” is going on before the end of summer.

Photo via nerdist.com

The Lumberjanes series is Gravity Falls meets Indiana Jones meets Scooby Doo meets Girl Scout camp. There’s a great balance between mysterious adventures, silly predicaments, and heartfelt moments. There are puns abound and even the campers’ exclamations are the names of notable women in history (“Oh my Bessie Coleman…”). The characters are diverse, the friendships are positive, and the messages are empowering! What’s not to love?

If you’re ready for some sweet, goofy fun for all ages, you’re ready for Lumberjanes

Check out the graphic novels from your local Washington County Free Library branch or find single issues at a local comic store:

Lumberjanes Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy

Lumberjanes Vol. 2: Friendship to the Max

Lumberjanes Vol. 3: A Terrible Plan

Lumberjanes Vol. 4: Out of Time

Lumberjanes Vol. 5: Band Together


Warm Up to What’s Hot in the Big Apple

Wed, 12/14/2016 - 17:38

By B’Elana Provard, Staff Reporter

What’s trending in the world of fashion right now? Winter is coming and these looks are perfect for the cold weather:

Photo  via Pexels.com

It’s cold and frigid, causing everyone to put all of their coats on, but you can be warm and look good. Velvet and furs are big right now. Long skirts and dresses are trending. Dark colors are also really popping this season. This Renaissance style is very gorgeous and glamorous.

Photo via Pexels.com.

For the boys out there, the coats that will make you look amazing this season are long coats. They are very classy and warm, and look great in almost any style. From thin to bulky, this style of coat is amazing. These coats are comfortable and warm; I suggest investing in one right away!