By Kierra Pixler, Managing Editor
Erica Garrett, an AP English teacher at Belton High School recently held a Tiger Journalism Camp for a group of students who were interested in learning more about writing and journalism. The kids were able to choose which topic they would like to write about and were encouraged to put their creativity to use.
Tony Adams, Sports Editor at The Belton Journal, spoke with the kids about journalism and what it means to our community to educate future journalists.
“It is important for the children of today to understand the complexities of the world that we deal with,” Adams said. “Whether a writer’s passion is current events, sports or other subject matters, it is always beneficial to have a voice that works in the journalism field to help students understand the everyday requirements.”
Adams said that the students were very receptive of the information provided to them.
“The students in the workshop were incredibility attentive and asked open-ended questions,” Adams said. “I communicated best practices and stressed keys, such as preparation, confidence, and research.”
Working outside of your comfort zone is a key part of the journalism field. Adams, whose major is business administration stressed to the students to take advantage of opportunities presented to them.
“Never pass up a writing assignment,” Adams said. “Working outside of your comfort zone is always a plus. Building a writing portfolio and subject matter that you are not accustomed to covering or writing about makes a writer better rounded and more marketable. You will never know when that first big break will come.”
The following five articles are the first set of two that will be published. Watch for the second set of articles in next week’s Belton Journal.
Why our political parties need to be busted
In our modern day and age, no singular word can spur up as much resentment and controversy as “Trump.” This past election was controversial, to say the least, so much so that I still hear people fighting over who should have won. Many Democratic states ended swaying towards the Republican Party, and many Republican states ended up almost 50/50; even our quaint town of Belton, a Republican-dominated town in a Republican-dominated state, was split apart during the election, with 40 percent of votes going towards the Democratic Party. And with this going on, tensions were high; families fought among themselves, protests broke out, even middle school kids, children, people who couldn’t even vote, and mostly had yet to even form their own opinions, were quarreling over who should be elected, and it’s not a new thing, either.
This same kind of tension has been present in our country almost since its inception because of the way the American political system is structured. Our political views, our voting, every decision our government makes is structured around two major political parties. It’s always left versus right, red versus blue, conservative rednecks versus liberal hippies, fighting over which extreme is better, sometimes even purposefully lying if it means their team wins. With all the arguing and lying we still aren’t even able to fully, finally agree on whether or not the Earth is heating up, which anybody with a thermometer and a bunch of spare time should have been able to do years ago. “It’s insane that for 300,000,000 people, we only have two primary parties,” says Jamie Garrett, a local radio broadcaster.
It’s not like the idea of our current partisan system being wrong is a particularly novel idea either; according to a poll done by The Washington Post, as well as ABC News, 84 percent of people disapprove of congress’ actions, 62 percent disagreeing with the Democrats in congress, and 75 percent disagreeing with the Republicans. With so many people disagreeing with these major parties, why are they still around? In a sad but ironic twist of fate, the primary reason that the Republican and Democratic Parties remain the top dogs of U.S. politics is not because the beliefs of the independent and third party candidates aren’t supported by the general public, but because the general public doesn’t believe that an independent or third party candidate could receive enough support to hold office, despite it happening several times in the past, and instead looks for a compromise in one of the two major parties.
So, what can your average citizen do to help fix this? There has to be something, right? Well, there’s not really any way to completely disassemble the partisan system overnight, but there is one thing you can do. The next election, try to vote for a third party or independent candidate, and not just in the presidential election. Vote for congress, vote for your state government, vote for your city governor, do all that you can to bring new people, new ideas, into our government. It’s plain to see that we need change now more than ever in our government, and the only way to ensure change in government, is to have change in ideals in our government. Voting for the same group of people and expecting them to do something different, to change the country, is insane.
-Steven Ellis will be a freshman at Belton New Tech this fall. He’s an avid reader, and reached a college reading level in the sixth grade, as well as a guitarist, part-time songwriter, gamer, and craftsman. He’s also a hobbyist artist, and has entered several art competitions (although he has yet to win one). He loves finding new trades to take up and new skills to learn, and finds variety to be the spice of life.
Zebra mussels are taking over Belton Lake
Zebra mussels are a small, destructive, invasive species that are taking over Belton Lake and can spread through Texas by clinging on boats and trailers that are not properly cleaned after trips to the lake.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website says, “The first Texas infestation was found in Lake Texoma in 2009.”
Zebra mussels can reach a maximum height of 1 ½ inches and one small zebra mussel can produce to about one million larvae, making them difficult to get rid of.
According to texasinvasives.org, “They can cause tremendous environmental and economical damage-hurting aquatic life, damaging boats, hindering water recreation and even threatening the water supply.”
If you ride a boat in a lake that has zebra mussels, always clean, drain, and dry your boat otherwise you can carry them to different places and that can be illegal: some boat owners will be required to get their boats inspected, and if found guilty, they can be fined.
If you want to know how to help this problem, or get more information about zebra mussels, call the Amy Corp Of Engineers Belton, TX at (254) 939-2461.
By: Hansini Raol
In the Freshman-National league at Heritage Park
Dodgers beat Nationals 10-6 in the tiebreaker game.
At the Belton Youth Baseball Association’s Freshman-National division, the Dodgers and the Nationals were tied with seven wins, two losses, and one tie. They had their tie-breaker game on Monday, June 5 2017.
The Nationals had three runs and the Dodgers had three runs in the fifth inning. In the top of the sixth inning, the Dodgers scored three runs, so the score was now 0-9. It was the bottom of the sixth inning and the Nationals were up to bat. They needed to score at least three runs to tie the game. And that’s exactly what they did. They scored exactly three runs and tied the game. The Dodgers and the Nationals had to go into overtime. It was the seventh inning and the Dodgers were up to bat. In that inning, the Dodgers scored four runs. The Nationals had to score four runs to tie and five runs to win. But in that inning, the Nationals didn’t score five runs, or four runs, the got no runs. The Dodgers won the tiebreaker game and got first place in the Freshman-National league.
The Nationals will still go to the city tournament, but will start in second place.
After the game, Nationals coach Michael Ware told his team, “You guys have to get excited about baseball.”
-Clayton Oaks, I play baseball for the Belton Nationals.
In 1954, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finished the Belton Dam to stop flooding and make a lake. This lake came to be the Belton Lake. In the northern part of Belton, this lake is known for its fishing of bass. According to Texasbassfishing.com, Belton is ranked in the top 15 lakes in bass fishing. Around 3,000 people visit the lake on average every weekend during the summer, mainly for fishing. The lake has a surface area of 12,385 acres and it has seven species of fish that aren’t very common in other parts of the world.
“This lake will will never get old. It will continue to bring us amazing memories that you can’t take back,” said local resident Howard Dotson.
But there is one thing that scares a lot of Belton residents: The trees. A lot of people have drowned doing almost anything in the lake because the trees catch the person and keep the people under the water. There’s one thing you can do and that’s put on a life vest. It will keep you and your family safe and not have the risk of dying.
Wear a life vest; it will save your life.
My name is Porter Dotson from Belton, TX. I have spent multiple memories in Belton Lake. I have gone fishing and swimming, and I hear all the time about someone drowning in the lake. I just want everyone to be safe.
Climate Change in the White House
An editorial by William Asuncion-Crabb
Recently, U.S. President Donald Trump has made several actions against climate change prevention. For example, pulling us out of the Paris Climate Agreement last Thursday, joining the only two (now three) nations that did not join the agreement, and silencing many environmental organizations. Additionally, he has threatened to cut funding from several scientific studies related to climate change, forcing scientists to find other funding for their research. People, this is serious. Not only is Trump making it harder to understand climate change and its effects, he’s making it difficult to make a dent in climate change. With the U.S. still using fossil fuels, the Paris Agreement (a pact signed by over 190 nations to help stop climate change) may not reach its goal of a climate similar to one before major industrial activity.
I know that some may point to Trump’s many negative “facts” that climate change and the Paris agreement are fake and unfair. If you would like to see the truth behind these statements, please, take the time educate yourself. That should clear things up.
While there may not be much we can do directly on a national or global level, we can still try to keep the environment clean by taking small steps, such as walking or biking from place to place instead of driving, or picking up trash, or recycling.
As John F. Kennedy once said: “We chose to do this and the other things, not because they are easy but because they are hard.” Because it’s true. It may not be easy to stop climate change, but we can try.