In the age of warfare, all the way back to Hitler’s Lightning war, many people who fought for our country were killed on the front lines. In the past decade, the U.S. Military had a solution that would cut back on the number of people mowed down in the battlefield: Drones. Before these Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s) were militarized, they were used all around the world for reconnaissance missions, and to spy on other countries. After drones acquired the power to wipe out an enemy threat, they changed the age of warfare in many ways.
Today, the number of different drones has increased, each one having a specific use. For example the reaper: sleek, fast, and deadly. It’s used to go somewhere, take out a target, and return. Its capability for longer flight time is limited. Another is the global hawk: used only for surveillance, its name lives up to its meaning. It can survey up to 40,000 square miles in a day. Lastly, the predator: the #1 drone that is the perfect hunter-gather UAV. It has been used for the mission to track and kill Al-Queda’s, Abu Yahya al-Libi. It carries hellfire missiles that pack a punch. You, the reader are probably being watched by one of these.
The U.S puts millions of dollars into their drone budget for the highest up-to-date technology to add on to the superpower of the skies. Last year, Iran's armed forces shot down a US spy plane that violated Iranian airspace along its eastern border. RQ-170, the drone shot down, had high technology ranging into the billions of dollars. The Iranians have probably copied the technology for their own.
UAV’s have come a long way from the original: camera attached to a glider. Today’s unarmed drones are sold privately around the world for people to experience the thrill of flying around an area behind a TV and a controller.
We departed from Hanna’s house for Hilltop. I then realized that I had to pick up my goggles and my money from my mom’s. Russell changed course from Hilltop straight to my mom’s house. As soon as we arrived, it looked like no one was home; the door was locked. After knocking on the door a few times, Michael answered. I grabbed my goggles and a few snacks for the road, and then I hopped in the van and took off for Hilltop.
After driving down the busy Glenn Highway, Russell had me find the way to Hilltop on my smart phone. “Turn onto Boniface Parkway, drive all the way down to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, then hang a left on Elmore Road. Drive till you hit Abbott, and then hang another left.” He later had me repeat the directions when we came to the right stop light.
After we paid for our $26 lift ticket, we were already on our way up. Our first run consisted of multiple major wipeouts from Caleb, Russell and me. Russell and I had to get back into the groove. Getting into the groove was a little harder for Caleb since he was a “first timer.” A few minutes later we finally made it to the base, where Jared and Hanna were patiently waiting.
On our second round attempt, Jared and I rode up together, Hanna and Caleb together and Russell all by himself. Jared and I talked over a few tips to get down. On the way up I noticed another boarder who had gained speed, hardly using any effort to turn on his edges. Jared said, “That’s how it’s done!” “What?” I asked. He replied, “Speed.”
When you hear the word “foreign aid,” what comes to mind? The U.S. Department of State says “(USAID) Foreign Aid, supports U.S. businesses, protects Americans at home and abroad, and weapons of mass destruction.” They also say it “supports our allies and partners, prevents conflict, promotes democracy, and reflects our core values.” The federal government shouldn’t be giving countries foreign aid because we have our own national problems.
After President Obama’s election in 2008, the foreign aid budget was $49.1 billion. Since then, aid cuts took effect to several countries leading up to 2011. When you add the $11.6 billion in war related to Afghanistan and Iraq for counterterriosm and humanitarian assistance, the 2012 foreign aid budget is up to $47 billion. What I think Obama and his administration should do is to cut the aid to all countries down so all the amounts are roughly the same. Use that savings to start bringing down our big national debt which is $16,485,315,000,000, and climbing, will not stop until we take action.
When you look at the overall amount of the foreign aid budget from 2011 to today, it’s estimated at $151.4 billion. That’s a lot of money if you ask me, if not just ask a politician. One politician said “A billion there, a billion here; now you’re talking real money.” The U.S should think of a plan to work something out with our “ally” countries who receive foreign aid such as the following: cutting aid off completely for a few years or cut it down almost half. We could use that money not only for our national debt, but also use it to pay the teachers, hard workers, and skilled professionals, who were laid off during the recession. Then use that money to bring the teachers, hard workers, etc, to boost the businesses back up. Not only so the people of U.S.A. are happy, but our country isn’t in such a tough situation. If the countries that we cut aid from aren’t happy, well, they should be grateful for the past foreign aid.
When we give foreign aid, it’s for a specific purpose. Each amount of money sent is split into different sized chunks for different reasons. Harvey Stelman, an illustrator at Helium.com says, “It’s a truly wonderful thing for our country to give foreign aid, but where does the money actually go?” We keep giving and giving money to foreign countries, but have no idea if they will use it for what its intended. For example: We give money to Pakistan so they don’t become aggressive with nuclear weapons. Do you really think they will use that money for food etc. or will they use it to build bigger weapons of mass destruction? You tell me.
What should our federal government do to take care of all this? Cut the aid off completely, and tell the countries what’s up? Or, cut the aid back to a smaller amount? When you look at the big picture foreign aid is only 1% of our Federal Budget. In that 1% the number is large, but it’s a start to lowering our big national debt, and can be used to give jobs to the millions of unemployed.
During this Christmas break, my buddies Hanna, Caleb, Jared, Aaron, Russell and I decided to take a trip to Hilltop Ski Area in Anchorage. It was the 23rd of December when Hanna brought the idea up. The weather was horrible. It was cold and windy; the wind scoured the ground of snow. I was worried Hilltop would be as bald as Bruce Willis’s head.
The next day, the weather report called for a break. That day, everyone prepared for the excitement we would experience. There was a problem: I didn’t have a snowboard or boots. So, in that moment of “What!!”, we all packed into the van and took a little trip to my friend George’s house. I kindly asked if I could borrow his board and boots; he said “Sure!” With a board, boots, and $26 for a lift ticket, I was set.
After getting back, Shannon, Hanna, and Caleb’s mom made each one of us pull out all our gear to make sure all of it was there and that it was appropriate for the occasion. “I don’t want you kiddos forgetting anything,” she said. Later we packed our gear into the van, each board looking like a can of sardines. If we wanted to make it for the 12 to 5 p.m. session we’d have to wake up around 7 a.m., and we all vowed not to stay up too late. It was 10 p.m. and the beds were calling our names.
The next morning I was the second to wake up, (counting Shannon). I ended up having to wake everyone else up with a handy tool I call the blow horn. While laughing so hard at everyone barging into the living room, we were greeted by Shannon’s chocolate chip pancakes. Russell, our designated driver, showed up from Big Lake. He made sure the van was fueled up and also had somebody that knew their way there (me). To Be Continued…..
After running out of the library with joy, I went back to study hall. Before school ended, Mrs. Doty told me she had ordered the book, and it would arrive in the mail in a week or so.
Almost a week past and all I could think about was what I’d be reading after I flipped open the cover page. Monday morning, when arriving at school, Mrs. Doty was in the entry way to inform me that my book would be sent from Anchorage in a day or two. The school day came and was almost gone; it was fifth period. Before digging into my work, Mrs. Doty mentioned that the tracking code said the book was sent off from Anchorage and would be here the next day. The rest of the day my anticipation was blowing through the roof. I couldn’t wait to spend those boring hours at home reading a fascinating book.
A few days later, after getting off the bus at school, I bolted straight to the library, where Mrs. Doty was standing with a square package in her hand. I was so excited to open the box, and when I did it was like a child opening Christmas presents not being conservative with the wrapping paper but just tearing away to see what’s inside. While walking to my class, Mrs. Doty shouted “Don’t let that book get you in trouble.” All throughout the day, I skimmed the first five pages to gain a sense what I’d be reading. What I saw interested me even more.
We as people of the United States of America never fully understand what takes place in our country until we dig deep into the past and present. Once I realized that, I, a fellow citizen, fell into the category of the not knowing, I had to know. You may ask, “What is there to know?” Well, the truth of what the U.S is doing and how they are doing it.
That day, when I realized that I had no clue what was happening, I browsed the web. As I was skimming site to site, a commercial brought to you by State Farm aired. There, talking to each other, was an actor an actress. They conversed back and forth about how everything you hear on the internet isn’t always true. I know it was a commercial, and what they said was just written up, but now I always look at the internet wondering whether or not the information is factual.
Later, I was listening to a podcast from Alex Jones on Prison Planet.com. Talking, was a special guest: Jesse Ventura. Mr. Ventura went on about the presidential debate, New World Order, and his book: DemoCrips and Rebloodlicans. As he gave an overview about it, the book began to intrigue me. I had to have it. That next week, I was in plus period wondering how to get the book, when it hit me. Mrs. Doty, the school librarian, had access to Amazon books and could order it for me for a good price. At lunch I asked if she could order the book for me, she replied “Yes, I’d be glad too.” After saying, “Thank you,” I slowly ran out of the room with joy. To be continued…….
Once fall passes and winter begins, everyone’s mind is on the snow to come. Some people look at it with a smile because it’s time to uncover the pair of skis, wax the snowboard, or gas up the snow machine. Others look at snow and see that it will cover up the summer mess or wood that never was brought in for those cold winter days.
Every cold winter morning I wake up to look out my bedroom window, hoping to see a big blanket of fresh powdery snow. I realize that the snow brings a sport in my life that’s been a part of me for 10 years: Hockey.
Arriving at school each winter day the sight of the hockey rink is sublime. A skatable surface of ice is only a week away. That’s all I can think about during the day: When will the rink be finished so I can slap on some skates and get back in the groove?
This year, I found out that Kenny Lake wouldn’t have a hockey team; the chill up my spine dispersed. The first hockey meeting of the year showed that there would only be eight players. Eight players means more ice time and harder work. During that meeting, Coach Somerville asked if the players were committed (school grades, family and harder work, etc.) to playing for Kenny Lake. I was the only one who raised my hand. Coach then brought up the idea of sending kids to Glennallen to play for the Panthers, and that’s when everybody else became interested. Not a month later, the second meeting was about who “really” wanted to play for Glennallen; six out of the nine wanted to play.
Knowing that Kenny Lake won’t have a team really bugs the community and me. The choice for me to play for Glennallen is still up, but that means a $100 players fee, buying a Panther’s jersey, and four days a week to practice in Glennallen. The choice is mine and right now I don’t know yet.
My name is Wyatt Miller; I am a junior at Kenny lake school. This is my second year enrolled in Mr. Voley’s Writers’ Workshop class. Last year I had my ups and downs. My ups included turning blogs and other writing pieces in on time, which made me happy, and Mr. Voley as well. My downs were the headaches of turning in projects three days to a week after they were due. For example, my 900-word book report I wrote on Last of the Bush Pilots by Harmon Helmericks. It was so late I almost wasn’t able to go to hockey playoffs in Fairbanks. I wasn’t going to let some 3 1/2 pages keep me from the sport I love. With some help, I finished and emailed it to Mr. Voley by 2 a.m. The next day I found out I was eligible to go on the trip, which was a relief but scary.
This summer, I had enjoyable times doing a lot of activities. The best was about two months ago when my dad and I decided around 8 p.m. to fly the Copper and Tonsina Rivers to look for bears. We took off and headed straight for the Copper River. My dad told me that instead of flying the Tonsina, and coming back up the Copper and getting blinded by the sun, that we would fly down the Copper toward Chitina and come up the Tonsina. The Tonsina bluff would hide the sun.
As my dad and I descended down about 100ft over the river, we spotted a six-foot grizzly. After watching it run/swim away from us, we made our way down the Copper. Not a mile farther, my dad spotted a bigger grizzly chowing down on a fish. Once it heard us, he stood up and looked, and bolted through the water toward the trees. While flying over I noticed him giving us a smile (not an actual smile but snapping and growling.)
With the sun setting and darkness lying upon us, we decided to head home. My dad and I caught a glimpse of a grizzly bigger than the other two making its way across the river. We landed safely at the hangar.
This happens to be my last blog. At the start of the school year, I found out that my English class would be Writers Workshop with Mr. Voley. At that time English was my number one weakness as far as school goes. Throughout the year I had my bumps in the road. I wasn't able to turn my assignments in on time because I struggled to write.
At the beginning of the third quarter, I started to turn my small pieces of writing in on time, but when it came to the 900 word essay, it was a struggle. It was such a struggle that I almost wasn't able to travel to Fairbanks for hockey. With help, I was able to go. Since then my writing has improved and slowly I’m getting better at turning my assignments in on time. If you’re wondering if this blog was turned in on time, it was.
With this being my last blog, I say farewell Writer’s Workshop. I had a lot of fun this year being able to use film equipment, recorders, a team of editors to improve my stories, and to top it off, a website to show you, the reader, our work over the course of the year. There are only a few weeks left, along with a radio play, till the end of the school year. I want to thank you Mr. Voley for showing my class and I how to write concisely, how to use proper conjunctions, and overall how to use the right grammar.
This year in world history, my class is learning about World War I and World War II. Mr. Voley, our teacher, touched bases on how the two wars started and the events that occurred during the wars. One of those events, during WWII, was the holocaust. For the past month we have been learning about the Holocaust and its effect on the war and the people.
Mr. Voley introduced the class to the book Night by Elie Wiesel and the movie Schindler’s List, a film by Steven Spielberg. The book Night is the author’s story of survival, and takes the reader through his challenges in a concentration camp. The movie Schindler’s list is a true story of enigmatic Oskar Schindler: a member of the Nazi party, womanizer, and a war profiteer who saves the lives of more than 1,100 Jews during the holocaust.
After reading and watching, the world history class was assigned to write a story that placed us in a similar situation as Elie Wiesel. The class has showed that when putting themselves in a situation, their writing comes alive. When the class starts to write, Mr. Voley plays calm music to put us in the mood to write. I’ve noticed that when my classmates fall into the trance, the room is filled with the sound of fingers hitting the keys on a keyboard. The noise drives me out of my writing mood and sometimes gives me writer’s block, but I still fight through it and achieve what I need to get done. Mr. Voley said, “Before school ends I would like to try to get Elie Wiesel to come visit us.”