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by: Saba Hamedy and Richard Verrier – MCT Campus

The nation’s leading theater chains are pulling the plug on screening “The Interview.”

Regal, AMC and Cinemark — the three largest chains in the U.S. — have decided not to screen “The Interview” when it debuts on Christmas Day in the wake of threats made by Sony hackers, said people familiar with the decision. The chains have asked Sony to postpone the release date of the controversial film.

The decision represents a major blow to Sony Pictures Entertainment, which has been under siege by a hack attack that became public Nov. 24.

A representative of Sony Pictures Entertainment declined to comment.

Late Tuesday, Carmike Cinemas, the fourth-largest theater chain, with 2,917 screens in 41 states, became the first major exhibitor to scrap plans to screen “The Interview.”

New York-based Bow Tie Cinemas also said Wednesday it was scrapping plans to screen the Sony comedy at its 55 movie theaters, which have roughly 350 screens. Bow Tie is one of the oldest theater chains in the country with theaters in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia and Colorado.

“We at Bow Tie Cinemas are saddened and angered by recent threats of terrorism in connection with the movie, ‘The Interview,’” the theater chain said in a statement.

“It is our mission to ensure the safety and comfort of our guests and employees. Given that the source and credibility of these threats is unknown at the time of this announcement, we have decided after careful consideration not to open ‘The Interview’ on Dec. 25, 2014, as originally planned. We hope that those responsible for this act are swiftly identified and brought to justice.”

Landmark Theatres said Thursday’s New York premiere of “The Interview” at Sunshine Cinema has been canceled.

At an emergency meeting of the National Association of Theatre Owners, Sony executives told owners that they could drop the film from their holiday schedules without breaching their contractual agreements or jeopardizing future bookings of Sony films.

The owners group said in a statement Wednesday that it is “working closely with the appropriate security and law enforcement agencies.”

“We are encouraged that the authorities have made progress in their investigation and we look forward to the time when the responsible criminals are apprehended,” the association said. “Until that happens, individual cinema operators may decide to delay exhibition of the movie so that our guests may enjoy a safe holiday movie season experiencing the many other exciting films we have to offer.”

Federal officials are taking seriously the possibility that, in retaliation for “The Interview,” North Korea could be behind the massive cyber attack at Sony, which became public Nov. 24.

The Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg-directed film is about an attempt to kill North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong Un. In June, North Korea called on the U.S. government to block the film’s release or face a “decisive and merciless countermeasure.”

“We will clearly show it (our Christmas gift) to you at the very time and places ‘The Interview’ be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to,” the hackers wrote on Tuesday.

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The Boise State Taekwondo team hosted its first tournament since 2009.

The Boise State Taekwondo club has been around since the late 80s, but it seemed to have been forgotten. It hadn’t hosted any tournaments since 2009. However, on Dec. 6 the Taekwondo club held a six- hour Taekwondo open tournament in the Student Union Building Simplot
Ballroom.

Overall, there were 95 competitors at the tournament. The teams from Idaho included the Taekwondo Training Center, Sun Valley Taekwondo, McCall Taekwondo, Jerome Taekwondo, Martial Way, Stanley Taekwondo, Dragon Fire Martial Arts of Tang Soo Do and, of course, Boise State Taekwondo club.

The tournament ran in a round-robin format, where everyone went up against each participant in their division.

“It provides more opportunity for learning and competition than single or double elimination tournament formats,” Boise State Taekwondo master and club advisor Jason Jeffries said.

Divisions are organized by age, height, weight and rank.

The tournament started at white belts then moved to yellow, green, blue, red, red/black and black. Competitors were judged on poomsae, which is a display of balance, rhythm and technique, and sparring. The practical combative application with one’s opponent.

Kyorugi consists of two individuals facing off, one blue and one red.

To score a point one needs to strike with a part of the foot below the ankle or the front of the fist that delivers a “trembling shock” or “abrupt displacement.”

Non-turning kicks to the body earn one point, turning kicks to the body earn two  points, non-turning kicks to the head earn three points and turning kicks to the head earn  four points.

Boise State had three of its club members place in
the event.

Junny Foo, a black belt,  and also the clubs treasurer,  hadn’t competed in any Taekwondo tournaments before. She came in second in poomsae and third in sparring.

Kody Bensinger, a Boise State  alumni and a green belt, received gold in sparring and silver in poomsae.

Luis Urias received gold in both sparring and poomsae.

Urias who also served as judge for the event was impressed with what he saw.

“I was very pleased with the turnout for my first time hosting a tournament,” Urias said. “As a judge, I’d say I saw pretty good competitors, especially with how young some of the kids were. I wasn’t as impressed with the older, more experienced competitors; they lacked flexibility and timing that they should have had with their experience level.”

According to Urias, the instructors, all of whom have gone through training through USA Taekwondo, seemed to have enjoyed  their experience and made the best out of it.

“Every instructor I spoke to was very pleased with the quality of the tournament,” Urias said.  “It was fast, fun and fair.”

After the success of this tournament the Taekwondo club doesn’t plan on going so long in between tournaments again.

“I think starting from now we will try to host this tournament annually and make it even better next year,”
Foo said.

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The Boise State Track and Field team opened up their season at the Jacksons Open.

The Boise State track and field team is off to a running start after hosting 11 teams at their first meet of the season at the Jacksons Open on Dec. 13.

Individuals had great success at the meet, with three Broncos finishing first in events.

Freshman Alexandru Terpezan debuted for the Broncos in the men’s 400-meter dash, finishing second in the race with a 49.46. Junior Chelsey Washington placed fourth in the women’s 400-meter dash with a 59.75.

Senior Kelly Megan scored her fourth career first-place finish at the meet, taking first in the women’s 500-meter dash with a time of 1:16.47.

The men’s team also had success in the 500-meter dash, with freshman Fernando Martinez debuting with a first-place finish at 1:06.14. Freshman Kyle Kelley finished close behind in second with 1:06.88. Senior Bret Scheve placed fourth at 1:07.20 and junior Rex Stanley at fifth with a time of 1:07.42.

The men’s 4×400-meter relay seized second place, with a combined time of 3:21.60. The women’s 4×400-meter relay team finished fifth at 4:30.10.

The field events also saw great triumphs for the Broncos.

Sophomore Jordan Ward cleared 1.72 meters on her third attempt in the high jump, earning first place. Sophomore Courtney Hutchison placed third in the shot put with 14.11 meters, while juniors Britlie Silvester and Lacie Rasley took fifth and sixth with 13.21 meters and 12.64 meters, respectively.

The weight throw was a successful event for the Broncos, with Silvester taking second (17.50 meters), Karyna Armstrong third (16.41 meters), Rasley in eighth (15.29 meters) and Hutchison tenth (14.39 meters).

Freshman Juston Lindsley debuted his Bronco career in the shot put and weight throw. Lindsley placed second in the men’s weight throw with 16.07 meters and took third in the shot put with a distance of 14.30
meters.

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A proposal set forth by the  Task Force for Improving Education is making waves in Idaho’s teaching
community.

The proposal introduces a two-tier system to the certification of public school teachers. Teachers fresh out of college and teachers new to the state enter the first tier: a nonrenewable residency level. After three years at this level, teachers move on to the professional tier.

If teachers are not found eligible for the professional tier, they will no longer be able to teach in the state of Idaho. At the professional tier, teachers can maintain certification by completing credit requirements. The certification is renewable every five years.

Currently, all public school teachers maintain their certification by completing courses that ensure they are continually growing as educators. These credit requirements will continue to suffice as a measurement of growth for teachers who make it to the professional tier.

If the proposal is passed by the legislature in 2015, local evaluators will become responsible for judging whether teachers can move into the professional tier or if their certification will be taken away.

The State Board of Education’s communications director, Marilyn Whitney, doesn’t believe the legislation will have any significant effect on teachers new to public education in the state of Idaho.

“The expectation is that there will be very, very few who are not able to meet the criteria to get a professional certificate,” Whitney said in a phone interview. “I don’t think that there would be any impact.”

For Whitney, this new process will simply ensure that the rotten apples of public education aren’t granted renewable, professional certification. She believes teachers who are doing their jobs should easily move past the nonrenewable residency tier.

However, Penni Cyr, the president of the Idaho Education Association, argued in an Idaho Ed News article that placing teacher certification screening in local administrators’ hands is an ethical breach.

“For other professionals such as physicians, lawyers and various skilled tradesmen, there is a clear delineation between licensing and employment, with third parties handling the licensing aspect, while employment is the purview of individual businesses,” Cyr wrote. “Combining or confusing these very distinct areas of responsibility is not the appropriate direction for any profession.”

For Cyr, the problem is not the evaluation component. She instead takes issue with the power local employers will have over teachers’ ability to continue their careers in the state of Idaho.

A division between local employers and licensure ensures employers’ biases don’t have an impact on an employee’s ability to legally practice their profession in the state.

If the proposal is passed the division will be dissolved.

Third-year language arts teacher at South Boise’s Lake Hazel Middle School, Jordan Sims, is wary of her legal ability to teach being placed in the hands of an evaluation, even if the intent is to identify only particularly lousy educators.

“If they’re going to tie our licensure to evaluation, (administrators) need to (see us in the classroom) every single day,” Sims said. “There’s so much that we do … and yet it could hang in the balance over something little or even a personal thing with an evaluator.”

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As the semester comes to an end, many graduating students imagine what Winter Commencement would be like: traditional dreams of black flowing robes, square hats and proud parents fawning over their new graduate.

Unfortunately, for many of this year’s graduates a different concern is on their mind as they take the next step after their academic career. What happens now?

According to Boise State’s At-Graduation Survey, the average number of students from 2008-2012 that graduated and became  employed in their completed area of study was only 17 percent.

The soon-to-be graduates who have held out for a job in their specific field are finding the job market pretty
barren.

“There aren’t a ton of openings,” said Jaime Madsen, psychology major. “It’s really all just part-time retail kind of things. I’ve worked retail for the last five years and I do not want to do it anymore, especially not with my college degree.”

This lack of opportunities in their chosen fields could be influenced by the time of year they are graduating in.

“I know that when I looked in the spring there were a lot more openings,” Madsen said.

Karl Eckert, a communication major who currently freelances in film projects buts hopes to get a more steady job within the field, has found it hard to find work in the winter.

“By graduating in December the job market for freelance is lower than warm months,” Eckert said. “The issue is that people don’t want to be filming while it is cold outside, so a lot of the shoots hold off until the spring.”

While there may be fewer positions available, there are steps that students can take while in school to help their chances.

“From what I have already seen, experience is much more important than a degree,” Eckert said.

As Eckert explained, students have opportunities for internships and networking with classmates who have similar interests while at Boise State.

An issue some future graduates are facing is that they are not getting opportunities that could help to make them more employable when their time comes to walk across that stage.

According to the survey, only 36 percent of graduates had been able to work within an internship and from that same year period only 33 percent of the graduates participated in program-specific field education.

“All of the networking and connections in the industry have been made through Boise State, and that is by far the most important takeaway for me,” Eckert said. “The only reason I’ve gotten work is because of the people I’ve met in classes.”

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The College of Business and Economics is hosting the first ever Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge. The contest has a grand prize of $40,000 and is open for any prospective student entrepreneur to enter.

The project consists of a series of workshops and events that lead up to a statewide business plan competition in March 2015.

“We’re trying to drive the entrepreneurial spirit throughout not only Boise State, but throughout the state of Idaho,” said Ebo Makinde, co-chairman of the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge. “Our goal is to raise awareness, to push innovation and ultimately to drive the economic vitality through the students.”

The program is designed in order to benefit more than just the grand prize winner. With several smaller rounds before the final competition and with workshops along the way to help students develop their business plans, this competition serves as a teaching method in which participants will receive valuable advice and feedback from business professionals.

Koby Conrad, marketing director for the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge is also entering the competition.

“I think it’s great for Boise State because, obviously, it makes us look good but I think it’s even better for Idaho in general,” Conrad said. “It’s not just the winner who launches a business; there’s over a hundred thousand (dollars) in prizes so there are probably going to be four or five solid businesses that get launched every year because of this.”

According to Makinde, students involved in both hosting and competing in the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge do not have a conflict of interest because the students don’t have a say in the actual judging process. Students enter their business model but are not given the exact details of the judging process.

The student directors of the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge cannot influence the judges’ opinions, although they do invite the judges.

It’s not too late for students late to get involved. Students who want to enter the competition or be a part of the director positions in the program, there is still opportunity to enter.

“We’re always looking for more associate directors who would be really committed to the cause,” Conrad said. “It’s a thousand dollar scholarship and we’re looking for associate directors that are really interested in business and want to do it because it’s something that they love—not just because it’s a scholarship.”

This project will serve to promote business opportunities within the state of Idaho. With major funding from Zions Bank, this program can be expected to run for the next three years.

The winner of the individual Boise State competition, which ends Jan. 31, will advance to the big business plan competition, which will take place March 5-7 in the Stueckle Sky Center. This event will gather all Idaho university entries and will be the culmination of the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge.

For more information, visit the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge page on the Boise State College of Business and Economics website.

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Courtesy Maria Shimel
Online Testing Center

Congratulations on surviving the semester! As we get closer to Finals Week, all your preparations this semester should be paying off. For those last minute studies, here are a few ideas that could help tip the scales in your favor.

First off, be sure to take care of yourself and get enough sleep, water and nutritious food. A well-rested and energized mind will give you an easier time remembering information and thinking on your feet.

For your last minute studies, try reviewing study guides and class notes with a focus on subjects that your professor has emphasized in class. Be sure to attend review sessions and study groups offered in and outside of class; this offers a great opportunity to ask questions about subjects that are unclear to you and might give hints as to what will be on the exam.

I also recommend taking advantage of campus finals resources such as extended library hours, test taking workshops, free massages, puppy therapy and many other services. Remember, everyone on campus wants to see you succeed and there are resources available to help make that happen.

Good luck!

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While meal plans offer many options for students, they come at a cost and have limitations.

Residential plans range from $1,610 to $1,820 and offer a variety of meals per week and flex dollars for the semester.

According to Jennifer Cornwall, bronco card and information desk manager, there are approximately 946 students with commuter plans and approximately 1,548 students with residential meal plans this semester.

Commuter plans expire a year from the date of purchase and residential plans expire at the end of each semester. Guest meals and flex dollars also expire.

According to Bob Beers, Aramark marketing coordinator for Boise State, any unused flex dollars on residential plans go to Aramark at the end of the semester.

“Usually there’s not a ton (of flex dollars) left,” Beers said. “It’s not just a Boise State thing or an Aramark thing. It’s just a general policy that everyone adopts.”

Even though Lindsey Bays, sophomore political science major, has an unlimited meal plan, she still feels that flex dollars should carry over to next semester.

“We already paid for it. If you break down how much each meal costs, it’s still like $15. I don’t know, it’s just a lot of money,” Bays said.

Although Brigham-Young University-Idaho has the same policy as Boise State, other four year universities such as the University of Idaho, Idaho State University and Northwest Nazarene University, allow students to roll over fall flex dollars if a spring semester meal plan is purchased.

“(Boise State should have this policy) especially for the people who don’t have that money spent,” Bays said. “(Some friends) have enough left over that it would be nice for the people going into next semester.”

Although the flex dollars won’t roll over for Boise State students, some are accepting of the policy.

“I’m fine with it because I use them a lot,” said Aline Elquist, sophomore materials science major.

Other students find spending them a struggle. For Avi Steiner, sophomore mechanical engineering major, his gluten allergy limits his dining options.

He used less than half of his flex dollars for the fall semester.

“I’m kind of bummed about (flex dollars not carrying over), but I mean it really doesn’t matter because it will get reset (next semester),” Steiner said.

Despite these setbacks, Beers still feels that the meal plans are worth every penny.

“Parents just feel better knowing that their kids are more or less taken care of and students, you don’t have to worry about (cooking),” Beers said.

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Igor Hadziomerovic is the 6th man for the Boise State Broncos this season.

Boise State senior guard Igor Hadziomerovic isn’t a guy that is going to blow up the stats sheet night after night. But his play is crucial to the success of the Boise State men’s basketball team this season.

Hadziomerovic is what is referred to in basketball as the sixth man. He has become the go-to guy off the bench and has played a vital role in the Broncos’ last two home wins.

“He is a big spark off the bench,” senior guard Derrick Marks said.  “There is no better player to
bring in.”

Against Adams State, Hadziomerovic led the team in points for the first time  with 12 and against Northwest Nazarene University he had a team-high seven
assists.

“I just wanted to be the guy to go to on the defensive end and get stops on the best players,” Hadziomerovic said.

Defense has been Hadziomerovic’s game this
season.

“He understands his role and playing his role at the highest level,” head coach Leon Rice said.  “When you get guys like that buying in it bodes well for
your team.”

During his time at Boise State Hadziomerovic has always done what the team has asked him to do.

“Over the years his role has evolved,” Rice said. “He was asked to score less and he accepted that role because he wanted to be part of a championship team.”

While Hadziomerovic has been having a great season,  he knows he couldn’t have done it without his fellow teammates.

“These guys have helped me a lot in practice just pushing me in practice,” Hadziomerovic said. “I just want to thank them
for that.”

The Australian native is in his fourth year playing for Boise State and couldn’t be happier with his decision to become a Bronco.

“The coaches have been great and they have always given me an opportunity to play,” Hadziomerovic said. “I just have always tried to capitalize on it.”

Hadziomerovic credits the coaching staff for always motivating him to do better and for helping him turn him into the player he is today.

“The coaches are always harping to give 100 percent effort, especially on me so I can always make an impact,” Hadziomerovic said.

Hadziomerovic is expecting a great season for the Broncos and would like nothing more than for him and his fellow seniors to go out with a bang.

“We all want to win a Mountain West Championship,” Hadziomerovic said. “I have been here for four years working hard and wanting to get that achieved so we can make an NCAA run.”

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Every morning you have to decide what to wear. For women, several outside factors influence the inevitable choice between plaid and rainbow print or black leggings and torn jeans.

Mainstream media and culture tends to place strict parameters for clothing and make-up. These pressures can skew personal identities for many students.

For Kara Stefani, senior psychology major and healthy relationship peer educator for the Women’s Center, the external pressures to dress a certain way were internalized.

“The things I was doing to get myself ready for the day in the morning were very much focused on who am I going to be seeing and where will I presenting myself and my gender,” Stefani said. “I wasn’t comfortable leaving the house without make
up on.”

Stefani put a lot of emphasis on what other people thought of her appearance, but since her revelation she has chosen to take a different route when it comes to what she wears.

“I quit wearing make up all together for a while,” Stefani said. “For the next few weeks I was a whole different person.”

Many women feel the same sociological pressures that Stefani faced, including pressures from family and media.

“Usually I dress for comfort,” said Annie Blake, senior communication major. “But with magazines there’s pressure to dress to impress. Kind of showing ‘if you don’t wear this you aren’t on the same level of the people who wear it.’ I definitely think society tells us what we should and shouldn’t wear.”

Blake tries to maintain her style but she does recognize that she’s been shaped on what to wear since a young age. The television show “What Not to Wear” helped dictate what clothing choices should be made.

“They say that if you’re not put together or that you don’t look like you’re put together then your life isn’t together,” Blake said.

Women are not alone when it comes to societal influence; everyone is influenced by society to dress a certain way.

“Our ideal is deconstructing those social pressures,” said Adriane Bang, associate director of the Women’s Center. “We’re all individuals and we need to respect whatever that looks like.”

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It is students’ favorite time of the semester again: Finals week.  Instead of spending all of your time with notecards and textbooks, here are a few website recommendations to reward yourself between bouts of studying.

Take a break after each exam with memes, awkward conversation and apple-inflated old women.

www.theuselessweb.com

The whole webpage speaks for itself. As one clicks on the pink button in the middle, the user is redirected to a random and useless webpage. The webpage’s content may range from entertaining animations of bouncing cats to farting bats.

Some students will be shocked by some of the web selections but will instantly switch to being mesmerized once they realize that they have things to study and chapters to cover.

www.9gag.com

A compilation of trending memes and funny pictures is definitely a way to stall one’s productivity. While students always tell themselves that they will close the window and prepare for another final, their finger will just keep scrolling on reflex. Normal brains are far more interested in Bad Luck Brian stories than the downtime between Calculus II and UF 200.

And even when there are no more new memes to see, users can always click on other categories, such as “fresh,” “hot” or “trending” to enjoy more time-squandering entertainment.

www.cleverbot.com

Spend some precious time talking to software programmed to have a conversation. It’s like gossiping with a quirkier version of Siri — Cleverbot’s responses tend to be more random and, sometimes, hilarious. It is a bit challenging to keep a meaningful conversation up with Cleverbot as he (or she) tends to run out of content from time to time.

Most of the time, the chat will remind you of a talk between two oblivious androids, but it is surely worth the time.  Cleverbot tends to respond to simple greetings with “Go away, peasant” and other heartfelt messages.

Take a few moments after a grueling science exam to voice your frustrations to someone that will always listen.  The break will be worth it.

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“Happy holidays” tends to evoke images of Santa Claus, decorated evergreen trees, menorahs and colored candles swimming in the minds of students.  But for some Boise residents, winter celebrations include a little more chanting, rum and self-reflection, and far fewer ornaments.

Some residents do away with traditional holidays altogether.

Yule celebrations

Heidie Webb, a Treasure Valley Witches pagan apprentice, looks forward to her coven’s Yule celebrations each year.  This particular celebration is usually held on the winter solstice, which marks the longest night of the year.  Each proceeding night becomes shorter and shorter in terms of darkness.

“It’s when we start getting into the light,” Webb said.

Woventear, the leader of the coven, explained that Yule can be celebrated in several different ways, depending on the pagan group putting the celebration together.  Her coven celebrates with a Crystal Ball.  At the ball, everything is decorated in white and several desserts are served.

In addition, the coven chooses a king and queen to represent the group and promote the Treasure Valley Witches over the next year.  This year, Webb has been chosen as the Yule Queen.

“We’re chosen to educate others about the group,” Webb said.

Woventear prefers to celebrate Yule in place of Christmas or other common winter holidays.  Instead of putting up a Christmas tree, she chooses a live tree, decorates and cultivates it, and plants it in the spring.  This is a Yule tree, which is what traditional Christmas trees are based on.

“We have made these a celebration of gratitude, giving and growing,” Woventear said.  “Spiritual growth and community is a big part of being a member.”

Christmas’ flexible identity

On the other side of the spectrum, sophomore accounting major Aram Kim, an international exchange student, is used to celebrating Christmas with her family in South Korea. She usually adheres to the staple American traditions that she witnesses in Idaho.

Kim decorates a tree and gives gifts each year, but generally steers clear of the Christian undertones and traditions associated with the holiday.

“Some Christians go to church, but most of (Koreans) just enjoy the holiday with family and friends,” Kim said.  “I feel like (Christmas) in America is more Christian.”

Even though Christmas traditions may vary, Kim still sees Christmas as a universal celebration to be had in various different ways.

Karma-based resolutions

When it comes to less religion-centered holidays, some Boise residents take a new spin on mainstream traditions. This is especially apparent in terms of New Year’s Day and the resolutions that come with its celebrations.

On New Year’s Day, the Boise Institute for Buddhist Studies will hold a special service centered on purifying negative karma and setting new goals.  Attendees will participate in a series of prayers, mantra recitations and several forms of visualizations.  Within these visualizations, participants acknowledge and think about things that they regret and want to change.

“That first set of prayers is based on a somber mood,” BIBS executive director Dan Black said.  “It’s not festive in particular.”

After dwelling on and considering those regrets, participants are then asked to move from a feeling of remorse to a renewed focus for improvement.  They then set new goals and resolutions for the coming year.

Black found that this process, though very similar to the traditions circling New Year’s resolutions, has the tendency to inspire more follow-through.

“If you’re casual about it, it won’t stick,” Black said.  “If you’re focused on the reasoning behind it and reflecting on the cause and the effect that is karma, you will remember your own motivation.”

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Sustenance for Late Night Cramming

Albertsons Library Room 201C

Sunday-Thursday

While students cram for finals week, the library staff and ASBSU will provide snacks and coffee at 10 p.m. There will also be activities throughout the week such as a comic book break, Zumba at 12 a.m. Monday for students who wish to shake off their stress, and yoga on Tuesday at 12 a.m.

Free Massages

Student Union Atrium,

Monday-Thursday
11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Professional massage therapists have been provided to help relieve the stress from a semester of carrying all those books. Massages are first come, first serve, so students should sign up early on the day that works best.

Puppy Love

Student Union Atrium

Monday-Thursday
11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Who doesn’t love puppies? Come get some much needed puppy love from members of local therapy and service dog programs. Twenty dogs will be around all week for students to pet and talk to. They will also be making visits to a different residence halls Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m.

Knitting Away Stress

Albertsons Library, near Starbucks

Monday and Wednesday 2 p.m.-3 p.m.

Learn how to knit while helping build a collaborative piece at the library’s circulation desk in the library. Supplies will be provided and anyone is welcome. There will also be needles and yarn available to those who wish to continue relieving stress at home for the duration of the week.

Cupcake Happy Hour

SILC Offce in the Student Union Building

Tuesday, 2 p.m.-4 p.m.

For students who haven’t heard, the Student Involvement and Leadership Center offers free cupcakes every Tuesday from 2 to 4 p.m.. All that’s needed is a student ID number and an appreciative smile. They are first come, first serve, so don’t dawdle.

Argentine Tango
lessons

Student Union, Lookout Room, Thursday,
7 p.m.-11:30 p.m.

Come alone or bring a friend, Argentine Tango is dance that anyone can learn. No experience is required. For students who want to shake off the rust a beginner’s lesson will begin around 7 p.m.

Finals completion Celebration Booth

Student Union Atrium

Monday-Thursday

11 a.m. -2 p.m.

After students finish with finals, stop by the celebration booth in the Student Union Atrium to get a surprise for a semester
well done.

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Boise State wrestler Geordan Martinez was the only Broncos to claim victory against Oregon State.

In war there are always casualties. Unfortunately for the Boise State wrestling team they suffered high casualties  to Oregon State in what is known as the Border War.

The Broncos got run out of their own gym on Saturday, losing 31-3 to the 20th ranked Beavers.

“We’re right there with Oregon State, but they had the mental edge tonight,” head coach Greg Randall said. “The score looks like we got dominated, but until we learn to win the close ones, these guys are going to be so-so wrestlers. They need to figure out, `this is how I win,’ not `this is how I lose.’”

With the loss the Broncos failed to take back possession of the Border Axe which goes to the winner of this conference match-up.

Boise State was taken out of the match in the early goings. They fell down 16-0 to the Beavers and could never recover.

“The season is pretty young and we have plenty of time to figure it out,” freshman Geordan
Martinez said.

It didn’t help the Broncos that two of their best wrestlers, redshirt junior Chris Castillo and freshman Michael Cook, were out for the night’s contest.

The lone bright spot on the team was Martinez who picked up a 4-2 minor decision at 141 for the Broncos.

“It came down to who wanted it more,” Martinez said. “I was going to go down without a fight and I ended up coming out
on top.”

Following a fifth place at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, Martinez moved up the rankings and is now 17th in the country.

“I had no idea of what to expect,” Martinez said. “I just take it one week at a time and always work hard for the team.”

It has been a little rough in the early goings for
Boise State.

The Broncos don’t have a lot of experience with many new faces in the lineup and are without a returning NCAA Nationals wrestler for the first in several years.

“It’s just one of those things where you just have to learn,” redshirt senior Cody Dixon said.

Boise State will be looking to back on track when they head to the Reno Tournament of Champions on Dec 21.  They return home for the annual Beauty and the Beast competition against Arizona State on Jan 23.

“We just have to believe in ourselves,” Dixon said. “It’s not just one thing we have to get better at but everything.”

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By Justin Kirkham and Patty Bowen

From waving grass and setting suns to photographic-like portraits and catch phrases, student tattoos come in endlessly different forms.  But, such a permanent, bodily imprint often comes with a distinct set of reasons and back stories which are as varied as the tattoos themselves.

Local tattoo shops like Chalice Tattoo Studio on Latah and Devotion Tattoo on Broadway are easily accessible to students, making the thought behind the ink that much more important.

A deeper meaning

Sporting 11 tattoos, junior health sciences major Jade Lowber uses her body as a canvas to convey her upbringing and identity.  Each tattoo has its own underlying meaning, many of which  were purchased in tandem with friends and family.

“I think all tattoos tell a story. Whether it’s a tribute piece or just a drunken mistake, there is a story about it,” Lowber said. “For me, my tattoos tell my story.”

Lowber’s collection of ink includes two tattoos reflecting her strongest friendships.  One is a “Supernatural” pentacle that reflects her love for the television show as well as her deep-set connection to a friend with whom she watches the show.  The other is of cuddling yin and yang cats.

“The cats describe my unhealthily close bond with my best friend Sammi and how, even though we live in different states now, she’s still my best friend,” Lowber said.

In addition to birds and subtle white-ink phrases of empowerment, Lowber also has a portrait of her late grandfather decorating her thigh. 

“I’ve always had love for my grandpa on the inside,” Lowber said. “Now it’s on the outside too.“

The importance of family

The decision to get a tattoo for senior environmental and occupational health major Jessica Porter was very connected to her  family.

“Basically, (my sister and I) wanted to get a sister tattoo,” Porter said. “We both got something that was symbolic of Japanese culture because we’re both from Hawaii. We wanted to tie in the Hawaii theme with something else from back home.”

For Porter, that symbolic Japanese theme led to a cherry blossom tree growing up her right side with her sister’s Hawaiian name inside it.

“Her name means the flower of heaven and my name means gateway to heaven,” Porter said. “She didn’t want to get a gateway on her side so she chose a koi fish.”

Porter’s sister got her tattoo a year before Porter did. Porter decided to get her tattoo on her sister’s birthday last August.

Porter also has a tattoo on her shoulder of a hand.

“It’s the sign language symbol for ‘I love you’ and the palm is a heart,” Porter said.

The tattoo matches with similar tattoos that Porter’s mom and sister got. According to Porter, her sister also has a tattoo that has their family motto, along with her own sign language
tattoo.

“(Our motto) is to stick to it, so that was a cool little thing she added to her (tattoo),” Porter said. “I think that if (tattoo is) something you want to put on your body and you’re open to it and you’re not afraid of the pain, then I say go for it.”

Porter hopes to get more tattoos in the future and encourages other students
to do so.

“If it’s meaningful to you, then it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of it,” Porter said. “For me it was just I really liked it, and I really like how tattoos look and I wanted one, so I got one.”

Sticking to a theme

Senior English major Michelle Telleria has two tattoos, both of which coincide with the overarching nautical theme that she chose for herself.  Instead of selecting a variety of tattoos and themes, Telleria wanted to maintain a singular concept within her body artwork.

“I know plenty of people that have several different tattoos that have no attachment or association with the other. They are each stand out pieces,” Telleria said.  “But for me, having a theme feels like it is somehow organized, and the theme carries itself out on a canvas which is my body.”

Telleria’s current nautical tattoos are comprised of a self-designed anchor accompanied by the words “forever hope” in French, as well as the quotation “I am not afraid of storms for I am learning to sail my ship.”  She explained that the ocean and all of its associations have always been interesting, enticing and full of potential symbolism.  The messages embedded in this theme tend to speak to her more intensely than others.

“We remember that we are just learning how to sail the ship called life,” Telleria said. “Therefore, we shouldn’t be afraid of the difficult times, for that is what makes us stronger and ultimately molds our
character.”

When discussing her tattoos with acquaintances, Telleria has often found that others don’t consider her a “girl who would have tattoos.”

“I really don’t think there is a ‘type’ of person you need to be in order to have tattoos, which is why I find their comments amusing,” Telleria said.

Stay up to date on campus news at arbiteronline.com.
Catch Arbiter Minute broadcasts in the Student Union Building throughout the semester and online. New videos are released every Monday and Thursday throughout the semester.
Featuring Brandon Walton
Directed by Farzan Faramarzi
Edited by Farzan Faramarzi
© Boise State Student Media 2014

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Students walking down the Quad Dec.10 found their path blocked in a rather unexpected way; students imitating dead bodies laid out across the sidewalk slowing foot traffic.

Students laid down as part of a die-in staged by Multicultural Student Services, part of a larger string of peaceful demonstrations that have been popping up across the nation as a way to draw attention to current police protocols and the recent deaths of citizens such as Michael Brown and Eric Garner. The die-in was an attempt to bring the national conversation here to Boise State.

“Often we like to think that because we are in the middle of a small state population wise that those problems happen somewhere else and that it has nothing to do with us; it doesn’t affect us,” said Jasmine Herrick, director for the Tunnel of Oppression. “That’s not true. Violence happens everywhere and it succeeds when people don’t engage with it.”

The die-in was successful in bringing the discussion to campus as many students walking by the signs and the bodies laying down stopped to see what was going on. Many even joined in on the event and laid down onto the cold cement themselves. Some students had a different response to the demonstration, though.

“Today we’ve overheard some comments that aren’t necessarily as open,” said Justin Baxter, peer advisor for Multicultural Student Services.

Most of the negative feedback came in the form of social media attacks from the popular app Yik Yak as students used the anonymous format to share their opinions about the demonstration. Quotes ranged from the constructive, “I’m trying to avoid being closed minded but those who are protesting should look into the facts of some of the cases,” to the decidedly less so, “fucking idiots.”

Yik yak online 3

“The Yik Yak comments definitely show what people are thinking but aren’t saying straight too us. Frankly it’s a sign to me that we do need to have this conversation,” Herrick said.

Ro Parker, Multicultural Student Services coordinator, believes that the taboo nature of race is what most threatens the students who used the anonymous means to critique the event.

“I think you get to a campus like this that is predominately white and a lot of people that are here might be coming from smaller towns and I think they’re not used to that and it makes them feel really uncomfortable and they think, ‘oh wow, we’re talking about something we shouldn’t be talking about,’” Parker said.

The focus on race within the context of the national discussion was a concern voiced by many of the students as they approached the Multicultural Student Services booth and asked why race had to be considered over other elements of the story, such as police procedures.

Many of these students were uneasy at the idea of analyzing the deaths of citizens such as Garner within the context of racial inequality.

“It is something we have left undiscussed and unexamined in this country because it makes a lot of people feel uncomfortable, but we have to do that and we have to see the underlying issue of race within this,” Parker said.

Not every student shied away from the topic and many voiced their support of the discussion that was happening joining in. Cynthia England came to the Quad to participate after she read about the event on Facebook.

“I wanted to show my support I think this is something that needs to be talked about, racial injustice,” England said.

Students wanting to learn more about Multicultural Student Services or who are looking for a forum to discuss various racial issues can attend a weekly debriefing session in the Student Diversity Center every Friday between 2-4 p.m.

“Basically our message would be to definitely engage with Multicultural Student Services and the situation at large, and our focus today was to increase student activism and to get people involved,” Herrick said.

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Despite legislation passed the last five years, some may feel not enough is being done to regulate the tobacco industry.

On June 22, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. This gave FDA authority to regulate the manufacturing, marketing, and sale of tobacco products.

Dr. Victor J. DeNoble, scientist first involved in helping the tobacco company Phillip Morris create a safer cigarette, found out quickly that there was no such thing. After he was prevented by Phillip Morris to publish his research on the subject, DeNoble was fired. He soon became the first ever whistle-blower against the tobacco industry.

On Monday Dec. 8, The Tobacco Free Idaho Alliance and Idaho Public Health Association screened a documentary titled “Addiction Incorporated,” at the Special Events Center in the Student Union Building. DeNoble was in attendance for the screening.

The act passed in 2009, he said, was a step in the wrong direction.

“Regulating tobacco is the worst thing we could have done in this country,” he said. “We should have taken them to court, we had them on the ropes … we were going to bankrupt them, but now they’ve got the protection from the government.”

The documentary covered the history of the tobacco industry during the last 30 years and DeNoble’s involvement from first helping create a safer cigarette, to helping a group of 51 law firms attempt to bring the industry to its knees.

The film shows audience members the deceit and corruption which goes hand-in-hand with the tobacco industry and ends with the president signing the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which DeNoble said is not the real ending to the story.

On April 12, 2014, he pulled his support for the film.

“I pulled my support because you didn’t see the real ending, you saw the ending that Steve Parrish wanted,” DeNoble said.

Parrish is a former tobacco executive who spent years defending the tobacco industry before helping persuade his company, Philip Morris, to support U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulation, according to an article by the New York Times.

According to DeNoble, since the bill was enacted in 2009 there has been no other legislation toward regulation of the tobacco industry.

“Unless you move, you meaning towns, cities, local ordinances, local legislatures,” DeNoble said. “You need to protect your citizens because the federal government, FDA is not going to do it for you.”

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With finals looming right around the corner and the final crunch of studying before break, the Campus Recreation finals hot spring trip is the perfect way to relax and de-stress after finals.

“This is a great option for de-stressing because you really get to get away from technology, from the rush of the city,” trip manager Preston Hu said. “You get to get out into the mountains and the woods and just breathe the fresh air and go places where not as many people get to travel.”

The potential locations for this trip are the Kirkham Hot Springs, Hot Springs Campground and Skinny Dipper Hot Springs.

Campus Recreation will decide which one based on the water levels of the hot springs at the time of the trip.

The hot springs are located in some of Idaho’s most pristine wilderness in the local area outside of the city.

The registration deadline is Dec. 15 and will cost $30. The trip will be on Dec. 20.

Transportation will be provided by the Recreation Center.

This trip will also give students a chance to go explore the outdoors.

“We are looking at doing a little bit of hiking and depending on the amount of snow, it might just be hiking, or it might be snowshoeing,” Hu said. “If it’s at a campground, we can do a campfire. We can hang around have lunch and talk. Just getting to know each other also to warm up and end the trip in the hot springs.”

The trip requies a pre-trip meeting to determine the exact logisitics of the trip.

Those interested in the trip should make sure that they bring the following basics for the trip: warm shoes , whether it’s tennis shoes or a pair of hiking boots, a good pair of socks wool socks, a good base layer, a thin long underwear and a outer layer that can block the wind and insulate as well as a bathing suit for the hot spring and a towel.

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For students that are fried from the stress of finals, going to a game and letting loose can be one of the best things to get one’s mind off finals.

With all of the home games that are coming this next weekend, Boise State athletics has students covered.

Women’s Basketball

The women’s basketball team has had a fair season so far with a 5-3 start.

The Broncos will face rival University of Idaho on Dec. 10, followed by a game against Eastern Washington on Dec. 14, both at Taco
Bell Arena.

So far this season the team has beaten Idaho State University, Carroll College, Yale, New Mexico State, and Montana State.

Wrestling

Boise State returns to the mat to face rival Oregon State this upcoming weekend.

After finishing the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational in Las Vegas, with the likes  of freshman Geordan Martinez, who took fifth place in the 141-pound weight bracket, the Broncos will hope to get revenge on the Beavers.

Oregon State has won four of the last five meetings of the rivalry.

The rivalry is dubbed “Border War” due to the two schools’ proximity, geographically and competitively.

Matches start 7 p.m. Saturday Dec. 13 in the
Bronco Gym.

Track and Field

The Boise State track and field team will be opening up their indoor season Saturday Dec. 13 at Jackson’s Indoor Track at the Idaho Center in Nampa, Idaho.

This will be the start to head coach Corey Ihmels’ second season at Boise State.

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Black Bean Chili:

Ingredients:

  • 2 onions chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp. sweet paprika
  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 oz.  tomato sauce
  • 15 oz. undrained black beans
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

Heat the oil, garlic and onions in a heavy pot. Add paprika, chili powder and cinnamon. Add ground beef and black beans and cook until meat is done. Add tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce and stir. Simmer 20 minutes for flavors to blend.

Snickerdoodles

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar

Directions:

Mix 1 1/2 cup sugar, egg, flour and shortening into a bowl. Shape dough into 1/4 inch balls. Mix 1/4 cup sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll balls in cinnamon sugar mix.

Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.

Truly Lovely Homemade Hot Coco

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 10 cups instant dry non-fat milk powder
  • 2 cups instant non-dairy creamer powder
  • 4 3/4 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

Whisk all the ingredients together in large container. Store in an air-tight jar.

Add 3 Tbsp. of mix to eight oz. of hot water, stir and enjoy.

Grilled Fluffer-Nutter Sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices white bread
  • Peanut butter
  • Marshmallow fluff (or 12 mini marshmallows)
  • Chocolate chips

Directions:

Apply peanut butter to one slice of white bread and marshmallow fluff to the other. Add chocolate chips and slap slices together. In a medium skillet over medium heat, butter pan and place sandwich. Cook each side until chocolate becomes runny. Enjoy!

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Whether rain or snow, some students are determined to wear whatever they choose this winter. Warm buildings and short walks around campus provide weather-resistant opportunities for students absorbed in winter denial to wear shorts, skirts, T-shirts and other non-winter gear. Other students adapt to Idaho’s chilling season changes when undone laundry gets the best of their wardrobe.

Here’s what some students had to say about cool clothes in cold weather:

“It actually felt like pretty nice weather to me. I’ve lived in Idaho pretty much all my life and I was planning on going out and doing a couple things that were a little bit nicer than wearing jeans. I was going to head to the gym later too. (If it snowed) I might have worn a Northface jacket. The other day I just wore flannel when it was raining.”

- Mackenzie Erhart, freshman health science major

“It was a little colder than I thought it was going to be but I only have a few classes, so it’s worth the walk to be out and I’ve lived here all my life. Once winter comes around it’s like 45 degrees is like no sweater shirt weather, but like 43 is way too cold. (If it snowed) I would make sure to spend all my time in the library or in classes and then (go) straight to my truck.”

Nick Zylka, junior geoscience major

“Today I was just looking for something different since my long sleeve shirts are dirty because I don’t do laundry that often but I’m super stoked that I wore it (my tank top) because the sun was out most of the day and then this fleece is super hot. I’m sweating by the time I get to my building and then when I get in I can cool off quickly even though the buildings are hot. I usually take an umbrella with me if I’m expecting weather and my car’s never too far way and I have winter gear stashed in my car if things get bad.”

Lou Lou Stevens, senior philosophy major

 

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The Sleigh Bell Shooter

This zippy shot was crafted for the diehard merry-makers amongst us. The key to layered shots is a steady hand — so mix this drink first, for God’s sake!

Pour ½ oz. sour apple schnapps into a shot glass. Slowly, pour in 1 tsp. grenadine — it will sink to the bottom. (Physics students, rejoice!) Here comes the tricky part: Measure out ¾ oz. cinnamon schnapps. Holding a spoon upside down over the glass, pour the schnapps over the back of the spoon to form the top layer.

Sip or shoot it, but make sure to preserve the memory on Instagram first in case it slips away from you later. Recipe adapted from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/

The Grinch

“You’re a rotter, Mr. Grinch,

You’re the king of sinful sots,

Your heart’s a dead tomato splotched with moldy purple spots…” – Dr. Seuss

Fortunately, there is nothing rotten or moldy about this cocktail, though it is sinfully delicious. In the viridian spirit of the Grinch himself, combine 2 oz. melon liqueur (such as Midori), 1 oz. lemon juice and 1 tsp. simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. You know the drill: shake and pour. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

(Get it? It’s his heart, “two sizes too small…”) Recipe adapted from: http://cocktails.about.com/

French Kiss

Present this cocktail suggestively to someone special as a subtle New Year’s Eve hint. If things go awry, you can always make out with your drink instead. The ingredient list is a little lengthy, but it is worth the trouble:

Combine ½ oz. Chambord, ½ oz. vodka, ½ oz. white crème de cacao, a splash of Cointreau and 1 oz. half-and-half in a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour into a martini glass and garnish with a chocolate-covered strawberry for a decadent finish to this licentious libation.

Recipe adapted from: http://www.popsugar.com/

The Blue Christmas

Let’s face it: the holidays are not all fun and reindeer games and can occasionally be a time of loneliness. Cheer up with this concoction:

Dissolve 3 oz. blueberry jello in 1 c. boiling water. Let it cool slightly to preserve the booziness before adding ½ c. champagne and ½ c. Blue Curacao liqueur. Pour into shot glasses and garnish with mini marshmallows or whipped cream.

Yes, this makes a lot of shots, but only enough to survive the holidays. Refrigerate jello until set and listen to some Elvis blues in the meantime. Recipe adapted from: http://drink.betterrecipes.com/

Glögg

No punny names are required for this drink to pack a punch. If you have not yet spent a winter’s eve nursing a pint of glögg, you aren’t doing the holidays right, let alone life. Don’t worry, it’s not too late to mend your ways. But hurry:

Pour a bottle of cheap red wine (think bottom-shelf Pinot Noir), 1 c. brandy (can substitute with vodka), 1 c. whiskey (can still substitute with vodka), the sliced peel of 1 orange, 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 Tbsp. whole cloves, ¼ c. sugar and a dash of other spices you may find in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and stir occasionally for 15 minutes. Remove your brew from the heat and store in the refrigerator for 6-12 hours. This will let all the flavors combine in a holy union of deliciousness. Then, stir in 1 c. raisins and reheat until it is soothingly warm. Serve in large, medieval style goblets. A toast to your health!

Recipe heavily adapted from: http://goscandinavia.about.com/

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The Boise State women’s volleyball team surprised many by ending the season 18-12, one of its most successful seasons in years.

The Broncos’ triumph this season was recognized with five post-season MW honors, the most received by a Boise State volleyball team since 1981.

True freshman Sierra Nobley ended her first season by setting a new record for kills by a freshman, totaling 432. She ranked 48th nationally and earned two honors: freshman of the year and a spot on the All-MW team.

Junior Sarah Baugh added her first honor to her volleyball resume by making the All-Mountain West team.

“I remember picking up the phone and calling my grandpa and telling him. I got all choked up,” Baugh said. “I couldn’t have done it without my team.”

Other MW honors included Newcomer of the Year for redshirt freshman Kaitlyn Oliver and sophomore Maddy O’Donnell’s spot on the All-MW team.

“I think it shows that we’ve got a lot of good, young talent and we’ve been able to develop that talent in the program. The future is really bright,” said head coach Shawn Garus.

With the successful season at an end, the team is already preparing for the off-season.

“It’s going to be overall defensive focus this spring,” Garus said. “Defense starts with serving tough, and then it’s our presence of the net blocking and our back real floor defense.”

While the Broncos were ranked second in the conference for offense, the team ranked sixth for blocks and eighth for digs.

Baugh and Nobley have set personal goals to work on their defense to become well-rounded players on
the court.

“As an individual, I want to get better at things that I’m not so strong at, like blocking digging, and defense,” Nobley said. “We had really successful offense weapons this year and I think having a strong defense and getting more balls up and blocking more balls will make us that much better.”

With almost all of the team returning, Garus anticipates a successful season next year.

“I think our players got a taste of success this year. I know they’re hungry for more,” Garus said. “We’ll try to hold everybody to a high standard and set high expectations. I think we’ll be trying to compete for a Mountain West Championship next year.”

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‘Tis the season for holiday shopping, finding the perfect gifts and holiday cheer. As holiday shoppers are rushing through the mall this month, they will most likely hear a seasonal greeting from a retail employee.

However, two simple phrases, “Happy holidays” versus “Merry Christmas” have sparked massive debate in recent years.

It’s two words. Boycotting a store because the company chose to say “Happy holidays” or yelling at a retail employee for wishing a “Merry Christmas” is quite ridiculous and honestly unnecessary.

Companies must choose one or the other. By saying “Merry Christmas,” companies are ostracized for being insensitive to other religious affiliations. By wishing a customer “Happy holidays” instead, criticism arises for following a liberal agenda.

As of 2010, 3 out of 4 Americans claim Christianity as their belief system. While this is a majority, this excludes almost 25 percent of possible customers ready to spend big bucks for presents.

The American Family Association, an organization who promotes fundamentalist Christian ideals, fights big-name retailers who switch to the politically correct term, and encourages their readers to boycott companies and demand “Merry Christmas.”

For other companies, saying “Happy holidays” is not only being politically correct—it opens the possibility to make a larger profit by trying to appeal to every belief system.

Here’s the truth though: Many Americans don’t care.

In 2013, a study by the Pew Research Center found 8 out of 10 non-Christians celebrate Christmas in the United States. It’s a safe bet that companies aren’t taking a large risk by saying “Merry Christmas” if the Christmas shopping crowd is so large.

Yet, despite the vast majority celebrating Christmas this year, so much emphasis is put on the issue.

In another study conducted by the Pew Research Center, nearly half of Americans don’t have a preference for which seasonal greeting they receive.

Approximately 42 percent said they preferred “Merry Christmas” while the remaining 12 percent prefer “Happy Holidays.”

The whole concept of Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and every other holiday celebration in between is about love, tradition and spending time with family.

Focusing on such a simplistic issue draws attention away from the real meaning of the season for many cultures.

Don’t be an Ebenezer Scrooge and bring bah-humbug to the joy of the holidays by focusing on such a petty issue.

Tear open the presents, indulge in vast amounts of food and enjoy time with family and friends.