Category Archives: Local News

NLA Alum Ryan Johnson deploys to Afghanistan

Ryan

Over the years at North Lakes Academy,many alumni have made their marks upon NLA history. One 2011 graduate in particular, Ryan Johnson, has made a huge impact in the lives of many in the NLA community as a student, friend, and coach. Now, he is beginning another important role: soldier. On Wednesday, March 6, Johnson deployed to Fort Bliss, Texas, with the Cambridge-based Minnesota National Guard 850th Horizontal Engineer Company (HEC).  There, he will train for and then be deployed on a one-year mission to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Fond Memories

Johnson’s fondest NLA memories are those of his basketball career. One such moment was his first sectionals game. He met a lot of great people in the NLA community, especially on the varsity basketball team.

“Johnson was one of the biggest assets the North Lakes Academy basketball team has had,” said head coach Judd Yaeger.

After graduation, Johnson returned as an assistant coach. He has made a huge impact. Most of the upperclassmen have the utmost respect for Johnson, but also consider him a close friend. Brandon Flom (12) has a strong bond with Johnson; before and after daily practices, Flom and Johnson would chat and catch up.

Johnson’s influence on Flom and the rest of the team impacted the group as a whole, particularly freshman players Kyle Spillman and Noah Nei. As freshmen, it’s difficult to transition into the high school setting, especially in sports and athletics. Ryan really brought the two players into the group and engaged them with the program. He encouraged them every step of the way, and never let them get discouraged. It was kind acts of this sort that united the team.

A New Role

As a member of the 850th HEC, Johnson will be involved in construction missions.  After spending March and April training for deployment, his company will provide maintenance and do road construction, emplace culverts, haul materials, and perform limited clearing operations in Afghanistan, according to the unit overview published by the Minnesota National Guard. Additionally, the HEC will provide construction training to the Afghan National Army.

Thoughts and prayers are with Johnson and his family for a safe journey and a happy homecoming in Winter 2014.

Break-in at Upper School offers few clues

The North Lakes Academy Upper School building was broken into on January 24.

The front door of North Lakes Academy Upper School. The board temporarily replaces the glass panel that was shattered in the January 24 break-in.

The front door of North Lakes Academy Upper School. The board temporarily replaces the glass panel that was shattered in the January 24 break-in.

The police found many clues that may help solve the case.

According to police, the incident took place between 4:30am and 6:30 am. Two intruders broke into the building. They shattered the glass front door and left plenty of fingerprints. Mrs. Cheri discovered the break-in when she arrived at school about 7:00 a.m.

Nothing was stolen from NLA; however, Dance Tech, which shares space with NLA, had items taken from its side of the desk.  Those items were not disclosed to protect Dance Tech’s rights.

Nearly a week later, a suspect has not been identified.  Police are going to check video footage from the Mini Storage and Wal-Mart for more information.

It is unknown whether the intruders were involved with Dance Tech or NLA. There haven’t been any other issues with break-ins at the Upper School building or at the other campus.

Today, students are carrying on as normal and are ready for their Frozen Five spirit week and Snowball Dance. The break-in hasn’t affected the ability of students and staff to keep doing day to day tasks and enjoying school.

2012 – The Year in Review

Happy New Year! Now that we have we have leapt into 2013, it is time for a glance back, for a look at 2012 in retrospect.

Gold medal winner, Gabby Douglas

Gold medal winner, Gabby Douglas

The world was awed by the 2012 London Olympics, which began on July 27th with the dramatic opening ceremony. Favorite American athletes included swimmer Michael Phelps and Gabby Douglas, a member of the U.S. gymnastics team.

Pop culture made it’s mark in 2012 as well. Boy band OneDirection rose to fame after finishing third on The X Factor. There were also many memorable movies, the three highest grossing were “The Avengers”, “Dark Knight Rises”, and “The Hunger Games”. And who will ever forget that lovely little single, “Call Me Maybe”, or that catchy tune, “Gangnam Style”?

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The presidential election was also a major part of the year. The fourteen month-long campaigns ended with President Barack Obama being reelected in a close race with Mitt Romney, winning 277 electoral votes to Romney’s 261.

2012 had it’s share of tragedy as well. The shootings in the Colorado movie theater and Connecticut school were unfortunately also a part of 2012. And in October, Hurricane Sandy swept through the Caribbean and the east coast of the United States.

Many celebrities passed away in 2012, such as:

– Ray Bradbury: author, wrote Farenheit 451
– Andy Griffith: star of the long-running Andy Griffith Show
– Neil Armstrong: first man on the moon
– Whitney Houston: iconic singer
– Sally Ride: first American woman in space

However, there were many positive moments in 2012 as well. Creative 9 year old Caine and his homemade games went viral in the video, Caine’s Arcade. And of course, there was Red Bull Stratos, the space diving project with Feliz Baumgartner.

Lastly Google has released their annual video,  Zeitgeist 2012: Year In Review, which is definitely worth checking out.

Breaking Dawn: Part II Movie Review

Breaking Dawn part 2 came out November 16 2012. However the movie played  at 10pm on November 15th in Forest Lake, Minnesota. The line to get in the theater started forming around 8:15, so that people could get good seats. Although there really are no bad seats in that small of a movie theater!

THE FOLLOWING PASSAGE CONTAINS SPOILERS! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

Breaking Dawn Part 2 is the fifth and last movie in the the Twilight Saga. The series only has four books but the last book was split into two different movies. The first part, Breaking Dawn Part 1 came out November 18th, 2011.

Breaking Dawn Part 2 starts right after Bella opens her eyes from the last last movie, when she has officially become a vampire. When she wakes up she looks around at the things that she never saw when she was a human. But from the moment that she woke up, she didn’t think about being thirsty like most vampires, in fact, that was the last thing she thought of. Instead she was thinking about her love, Edward, and her daughter she had just given birth to just two days ago.

Along with trying to control her thirst, Bella is also worrying about her daughter Renesmee and her extraordinary growth. In the two days that Bella was unconscious, Renesmee grew to the size of a 3 month old baby. Bella and Edward and the whole family are worried about her. She will be full grown in a matter of a year.

Now Bella gave birth to Renesmee Carlie Cullen when she was human, yet her father is a vampire, so Renesmee is a half vampire half human. Having a vampire  child is very dangerous and the Volturi will come and destroy the child no matter what. The word got to the Volturi about having a vampire child running around and the Volturi are now coming for the Cullens.

The Cullens now have to deal with trying to get the Volturi to understand that the child is not all vampire, that she is mortal, has a heart beat, has blood running in her veins, and grows faster than an average human before they kill of the entire family.
They also have to worry about how long Renesmee has until she grows so fast that she will look really old. Another problem is trying to get Bella’s father far away from the truth, for his own safety.  If he wants to be part of  Bella’s life, he will need to live life with lots of questions unanswered about why his granddaughter looks ten years old at four months old.

There are so many problems to overcome in the movie, which ones will be completed? Will the Cullen’s find a way to get through to the Volturi and save their lives? Will Renesmee growth soon come to slow, or continue until she has an old body? “I nearly cried when (A CERTAIN CHARACTER)’s head got punched off!” said Brianna H.

The movie was a success with lots of hoots when Jacob took his shirt off. There’s some confusion at the ending where everyone was fooled and mad, but it all worked out at the end. ” I thought it was really good and probably the best out of the series! I liked how they added some humor into parts and it was super cute!” says Breanna K.

“The Hobbit” – Movie Review

Home is now behind you. The world is ahead.

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The long awaited prequel to the wildly successful Lord of the Rings trilogy was released in theaters last Friday, December 14th. This adventure film follows the journey of Bilbo Baggins, (Martin Freeman) a hobbit quite content to ignore, and be ignored, by the bigger folk. However that is not the case, as the wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) sweeps him off into the world on a daring quest along with a hearty group of thirteen dwarves. It was directed by Peter Jackson, who also directed the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The Hobbit has received generally favorable reviews. Out of 102,354 votes on IMBd.com the average score was 8.5/10. And it received  65% rotten (despite the name, that’s actually pretty good; it’s equivalent to 3/5 stars) on RottenTomatoes.com. They say, “Peter Jackson’s return to Middle-earth is an earnest, visually resplendent trip, but the film’s deliberate pace robs the material of some of its majesty.” This is probably in part due to the fact that The Hobbit was a single book, but it is being made into a movie trilogy.

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Bilbo is shocked when thirteen dwarves show up at his house, uninvited, one night.

What The Hobbit has that the Lord of the Rings Trilogy lacked, is humor and lightheartedness. While LOTR had plenty of battle scenes and somber moments, The Hobbit has a good amount of funny parts and is more kid-friendly. I would have to agree that it was just a tad slow at parts, but definitely did not feel like the 169 minutes that it actually was.

Many North Lakes students went to see the Hobbit as well. Margret Krueger loved the part when Gollum, (the hideous yet somewhat lovable creature who first had possession of the Ring) and Bilbo have a game of riddles, where Bilbo plays for the high stakes of his life.

If you’d like to see The Hobbit (which I would recommend) it is still playing in theaters and is rated PG-13 for for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images. To see the trailer, click here!

Christmas Wants and Hot List

Christmas is coming really soon and it is time to pull out a pen and paper and write to Santa about what you want for Christmas. It’s always nice when your child, sibling, or friend opens up the perfect gift. Below is a list of what is wanted for Christmas by some North Lakes Academy students.

Margret K: Skating dress, Swiss Army Knife

Abbey M: All the One Direction dolls, they will be worth a lot in the future!

Jesse G: Shoes and clothes, painting canvas, cassette tape — Motley Crue.

Kaylee K: Records, sweaters, and a kitten.

Autumn P: Sweatshirts, iTunes gift card, hair straightener.

Sadie T: Snowboard, laptop, new iPod, sparkly Ugg boots.

Shylo S: Gas cards, iPod, new laptop.

Kirsten T: Jeans, lotion, new laptop.

Allen W: Rubik’s cube, socks, blue tooth speaker, and Allen wants you!

Noah: Nelson. JK, JK, my two front teeth, Browning or Remington.

Cody: A wonderful Christmas with my family.

Some gifts are simple, and others require more thought and money. There seems to be a high amount of requests for laptops. That’s one of the hot gifts. There is a stream of hot gifts that are out for the 2012 Christmas season.

What is hot right now for Christmas?  Furbies seem to be on high demand. Furbies are cute electronic pets that can be played with. This is an enjoyable toy for both children and teens.   The iPad Minis are also in demand. Any teen would love to get their hands on one of these!

The hot movies right now are The Hunger Games, Snow White and the Huntsman, Madagascar 3, Brave, Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spider-Man.

There are also many children’s gifts on high demand. Lets Rock, Elmo is one of them. Yes, another fun, cuddly Elmo is out, ready to rock!  Dora the Explorer pillows, stuffed animals, blankets, and pretty much Dora anything is hot right now, too! Pillow Pets are another great gift. The InnoTab 2 is just like an iPad with a camera, apps and a touch screen, but the InnoTab 2 is more padded for protection.  And Babies are still big thing for kids. What kid doesn’t like to play with Barbies for a day?

Now that you have a few ideas on what to get your child or friend, finish your shopping and watch their faces when they open up the perfect gift on Christmas morning!

 

Is the End Near?

Is the end near? According to the Mayan calendar the world is supposed to end Friday December 21st 2012. The Mayans sat down and calculated this calender many many years ago. The theory behind the world coming to the end is that at the winter solstice the sun and the earth is aligned with the galaxy. So some say that there is going to be a solar flare that will be set off from the sun and blow up the earth. Other beliefs consist of aliens invading the earth and taking it over. Still others say that the world will be flooded. But some religious people say that the only thing that can happen on the 21st is judgment day, the day where all people will be judged by God.

The Mayans never predicted anything concrete about 2012. That may have something to do with our limited knowledge about the Mayans . When the Spanish destroyed  the land, they burnt literally every Maya book they could find. Only a handful of scriptures survived. And in them, there’s not a clue about what happens when the Mayan calendar ends.

The Mayans did not really believe in endings, either. Their idea was that with every end, there comes the beginning of something new. The Mayans knew a lot about stars. They calculated the exact duration of a year to a thousandth of a decimal point, much more precise than any Greek or enlightened philosopher ever did. Also, they were able to predict every solar and lunar eclipse until this day

The following answers are from the students at North Lakes Academy. Do you think the world will end December 21st?

Brooke Unze: No! It is not something I believe in.

Rachel Lau: For sure! Aliens, zombies , martians, and evil leprechauns are going to take over with marshmallow lasers and cover the earth with s’mores!

Allan Whitney: No, but at the end of the next Mayan Calendar.

Margret Krueger: Nothing is going to happen.

Kirsten Thiele: Heck no!

Alicia Radatz: Hahaha! That’s all I got to say! Oh and I am graduating this year so the world cannot end! No way!

Noah Branum: No I do not believe that the world will end. No one can predict it according to God!

Breanna Knutson: No I do not believe it. The world was supposed to end so many times, why does this make it any different?

Everyone has a different world view on weather the world is at risk or not. Some do not believe it all all and will go on through the day calmly,others will be at home sharing what they think will be their last moments with their family. “The worst thing that will happen on that day is that there will be mass murderings and suicides,” says Joey Christensen. I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens!

Is White Bear Lake Turning Into a Pond?

The White Bear Lake over the last decade has shrunk over six feet! It’s height is currently 919. 17 feet. White Bear Lake is at the lowest it has ever historically been. It used to be the cleanest, deepest lake in the Twin Cities. That fact is now changing.

It has slowly been shrinking from 2003 but every time it has gotten back to almost normal, but all of the shrinking is adding up now, creating the great shrinkage. This has angered many, many of the citizens of White Bear, especially the ones with lake front property. President of the White Bear Lake Preservation Association, Greg McKneely, called the situation a “disaster”. In response to this catastrophe for the citizens, they plan on suing the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

This has impacted the citizens greatly, it has caused a 70% decrease in boating and the lake has become discusting to swim in because the bottom has become mush. The lake has also become patchy, creating more of a swamp atmosphere. The swamp-like atmosphere has also attracted some poisonous plants and animals such as, “Eurasian watermilfoil, as well as other severe deleterious ecological impacts” (Lawsuit against DNR).County beaches have started shutting down not only because of the unpleasantness of swimming, but because the shrinking has developed many dangerous drop offs, which are a hazard to anyone trying to enjoy the lake.

This shrinking has caused problems for many people. The homeowners are furious because their retail value has gone down tremendosly. The lake businesses are also hurting from this disaster. Now there are houses after houses for sale. McKneely also adds that “It’s really hurt the morale of the community”.

The DNR is getting the blame for the lake shrinking, a lawsuit has been made against them by the White Bear Lake Restoration Association. It has apparently broken it’s own rules by letting the lakes shrink. The DNR allowed high capacity pumping from the lake in 2008. They were pumping a whopping 6 billion gallons of water. Although the DNR has impaired a lot of groundwater pumping because of the elevation of the statistics.

The US Geogical Survey study wanted to figure out why the major decrease in water occurred.  The study they conducted is still just preliminary. They said that “rainfall and droughts could not explain the decline in water levels.”

Most lakes are fed by rivers and streams whereas White Bear Lake’s water comes from rain and the groundwater in the Praire du Chein aquifer underneath it. Over the years the lake keeps on leaking into the aquifer beneath it. The climate has goten warmer and the amount of rain has decreased. The evaporation is affecting the lake greatly. Because of the way White Bear Lake is structered, it is extra sensitive to climate changes and percipitation and evaporation.

To veiw the lawsuit go to this link.http://www.wblra.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/WBLRA_DNR-Complaint-Exhibits-Final-Web.pdf. Not only is White Bear Lake shrinking but many others in Minnesota; many are calling it a drought. Even Lake Superior is currently low.

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

Last year in Minnesota, it was a dry winter with only a few snowfalls which melted right away. Christmas 2011 was a brown Christmas . Some people were really disappointed with the zero snow on the ground while others were overjoyed because they do not like snow.  But with the snow coming late this year, will it be the same?

The statics say that Minnesota is behind the snow fall by over 8 inches. Is this a sign that it will be another dry winter, or will we get lucky?  A dry winter is what some people want. The question was asked to a couple of North Lakes Academy students, “What did you think of last year with no snow?” Abbey M. said, “AMEN!” She is just one example of someone who does not like snow.  Breanna K. said “Well, personally, I don’t like snow that much so I guess I was kind of happy that there wasn’t too much!!” Keeley G. said, “Skiing wasn’t as fun and I missed the snow.”

But this weekend, December 8th and 9th , there are going to be 8 – 12 inches of snow. Pretty soon the roads will be covered with sheets of ice and will be slippery. But the kids will soon be able to go out and make their snowmen and snow angels, have a snowball fight and make a fort.  But the real question is, will the snow stay? Or will it melt  in a couple of weeks?

Another question that was asked was “Do you like snow?” Once again there were varying opinions. Abbey M. said, “No, I hate it! It’s too cold!” Breanna’s opinion was, “Well, I hate shoveling it, but I love snowmobiling and making snowmen!! But overall I do not like it.” Keeley G. said, “Yes, I love it!”

The results that were received from teenagers and adults were so much different than asking the same questions to a bunch of little kids. The same question was asked to a couple of kids from a daycare at Wee-Folks Wonderland. Mackenzie M. said, “Yes! Because I can make snow angels, eat snow, make snowman and build forts.”  Another girl, Brianna said “I love the snow so much!  I love it, I love it!”  The results are different between the kids. Now if you hate snow now, think back to your childhood, did you think differently then?

Minnesota is a weather changing state. So if you don’t like the snow, you may have chosen the wrong state to live in.

Texting and Driving: The Dangers

Its a scary and dangerous thing how many teenagers text and drive. In 2011, 23% of crashes were from texting and driving. That’s crazy! Thats 1.3 million crashes! Many teenagers overestimate what they can do, and are confident that they can text and drive, which can be lethal. It’s also against the law in 10 states. Studies show that texting while driving is actually worse then being under the influence while driving because usually when one is intoxicated they are trying to focus on the road, while when texting the mind is completely distracted. It takes only a second to get into a crash and the average text takes the eyes off the road for 5 seconds as showed in this video: http://stoptextsstopwrecks.org/#videos. Megan Peters, a student at NLA says that she doesn’t even think about it, that it is just involentary.

There are many horror stories from texting and driving. One of them was a only 23 year old guy named John Breen. He wasn’t any normal person he was in the army, thinking if he would die young it would be because of bravey, but no it was a single read of a text that took his life on March 15th 2009. John had a family as well, a little 2 year old who will never know her father. His last text? yeah t. Was it worth his life, no in no way is a text ever important enough for the driver to indanger him/herself.

Another story a little closer to highschool age was a young girl of seventeen named Bailey Goodman.  She was killed along  with four of her fellow cheerleaders when she swerved into oncoming traffic, hit a tractor-trailer and her SUV burst into flames. Five days earlier, the five teenagers had graduated from high school. Two minutes before the crash was  reported, her phone was used to send a text greeting to a friend.
Read more: http://www.momlogic.com/2008/08/texting_and_driving_deadly_for.php#ixzz2EDk1s1sP

In 2010 alone the number of deaths from texting and driving was 3,092, and the number is rapidly increasing with the years. Before texting and driving was not always a problem and not always talked about it’d awakened against, but now it is very much inforced negatively. There are many new technologies and apps making it easier and easier to look at that text, which is getting very dangerous.

What is the solution? It’s easy just put down the phone while driving. Just one little text is not worth anyone’s life. There are so many organizations promoting putting down your phone while driving. Many students say they don’t text and drive, there are many who take the pledge not to like a student from NLA named Danielle Zachrison. There are even websites including: http://stoptextsstopwrecks.org/#home, http://www.distraction.gov/,etc.

Many lives could have been saved if they even just put down the phone for one second. Some tips from stoptextsstopwrecks.org are to put the phone where the temptation isn’t even there, like putting it in the glovebox or if you’re a girl, putting in a purse in a different seat, or giving it to a friend while driving. Turn off the noise and vibrations on phones so there is no notification, which means no need to check the phone.