And the Oscar Goes to… Controversy

by Brook Gassman

Lights! Camera! Action!  Welcome to the 2016 Oscars (aka the 88th Academy Awards, even though no one calls it that), where there is not only a fantastic lineup of movies, actors, and actresses, but also quite a bit of controversy. So, find a soft couch, a bag of popcorn, and get ready for one of the most interesting and heated Oscars ceremony in many years!

Let’s begin with the movies that have been nominated for Best Picture this year. The eight nominees include: The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Room, and Spotlight. There are so many impressive choices from this list, it should be a difficult choice deciding which one will win the oscar. This leads us into our next segment, the actors.

The list of nominations for leading actors are as followed: Bryan Cranston (Trumbo), Matt Damon (The Martian), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs), and Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl). For this fantastic selection of actors, there is bound to be an equal selection of actresses.

The female nominees include: Cate Blanchett (Carol), Brie Larson (Room), Jennifer Lawrence (Joy), Charlotte Rampling (45 Years), and Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn).  

As for the most debated issue the controversy of the oscars. People have been upset about this year’s oscars nominations because there are no African Americans who are included into anything, including Best Picture.  “I think that Chris Rock was chosen as the 2016 host mainly because of the nomination list. It was as if the people who chose the nominees knew that this would happen, and that there would be some backlash. By having an African American host, they assumed that the controversy surrounding the Oscars would subside,” says Nettie Potter (‘16).

Many believe that this year’s Oscars has been rigged because of the overwhelming number of whites including in the Oscars, this wouldn’t have been that big of a problem, except that this is the second year in a row that this has happened. But, was it really rigged? That’s all up to what you think.  “At the Oscars…people of color are always welcomed to give out awards…even entertain, but we are rarely recognized for our artistic accomplishments. Should people of color refrain from participating altogether? People can only treat us in the way in which we allow. With much respect in the midst of deep disappointment,” says Jada Pinkett Smith.  

And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for…the winner!  Drum roll please…  Leonardo Dicaprio!  After many years of missing it by a hair and thousands of memes later, Dicaprio finally comes out on top!  So now we can all stop making fun of him for just missing the oscar and start picking on someone new (just kidding)!  I hope that this oscars has been controversial and nail-biting enough for you all.

 

Flint Water Crisis

by Bridget Kelley

After budget cuts in Flint, Michigan, 8,657 children under the age of six have been exposed to unsafe levels of lead. The decision to switch the city’s water source from Detroit’s water system to the Flint River in the spring of 2014 saved the city money, but at what cost?

Mayor Dayne Walling assured his citizens in June, 2014 that the water is “a quality, safe product,” but the higher levels of lead in the blood of the children of Flint say otherwise.

Lead water pipes were banned by Congress 30 years ago, but 3.3 million still remain in use today. These pipes toxify the water, due to corrosion or other factors. This leads to the murky tap water that the residents of Flint were assured as recently as July, 2015 is “safe.” The city sent residents a letter saying that they were “pleased to report” this information.

The American Civil Liberties Union conducted an investigation on the city, stating that the city did things that would “skew the outcome of its tests to produce favorable results.” The city had been testing for lead, but only in homes it knew had low levels of lead to begin with.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder declared a state of emergency in the city on January 5th and has sent in the National Guard to help distribute and deliver bottled water. President Barack Obama declared a federal emergency in Michigan, freeing up federal aid to help.

Since citizens are unable to use city water for cooking, cleaning, and bathing, many organizations–such as the American Red Cross or the Catholic Charities of Genesee County–are collecting bottled water, water filters, and other amenities, such as baby formula and wipes to distribute.

 

It Takes a Village to Help the Future

by Kevin Donovan

On Saturday, February 13th, people from all around Platteville came together to help their community, specifically local students: the future. After nearly a year’s worth of coordination and planning, Platteville’s own Scholarship Fund’s Auction Committee returned with their 2nd Annual “It Takes a Village” Dinner and Auction to raise money for scholarships for the current class of seniors at Platteville High School.

The Auction Committee, which is about 20 members strong, has the goal of helping us, the students, one class at a time. For years, they have been raising money to distribute to Platteville’s higher education-bound students based on their applications. Around 250 community members came to Ullsvik Hall at UWP to attend the dinner and auction. A silent auction started at 4:30pm Saturday evening running for over three hours while the live auction began.

As well as having an excellent turnout from people all over town, the fundraiser drew support from many businesses and families who contributed to the auction. Benvenuto’s Italian Grill donated a pizza party for twenty, TRICOM/Radioshack donated a 32” LCD TV, A&A Aviation donated a half hour sightseeing tour, Tashner Vision Clinic and the Green Bay Packers donated an autographed football, and many more businesses pitched in, as well.

But, the giving didn’t stop there; local businesses and citizens also teamed up to help out. Mark Hirsch and Cindy Shave donated a couple of prints from That Tree, Hirsch’s photographic documentation of a bur oak tree over the course of a year. Momentum Bikes and Heidi and Rob Serres donated a bike tune up from the local Main street bike shop, and many, many more families and local businesses all over Platteville gave up their time and worked to make this auction a good one.

Pages of items were available to bid on, and the above-mentioned contributions don’t  even make up a full page. The same generous sentiment goes for the silent auction portion of the night, with many local businesses, private sponsors, and citizens donating items and offering their services for people to bid on.  

Many, many thanks go out to the PHS Scholarship Fund for continually taking their time to help further students’ education. And, of course, the fundraiser would not be a success without the generous longer-than-my-arm list of Platteville Community businesses and private sponsors who donated to the fundraiser. Much of the money raised will go to the current senior class and will be given on the scholarship awards night in May. The students and fundraiser organizers would like to thank the people of Platteville who came to the auction, as well. After all, it takes a village to do something like this. The Platteville High School Class of 2016 thanks them for helping move everyone forward and hopes to repay the community with their successes.

The 2015 Emmy Awards

by Erin Bowden

With all of the award shows these days, people are bound to get them confused. The Oscars, the Video Music Awards, the Country Music Awards, the Emmy Awards, the Grammy Awards…no one really knows exactly what they are watching. The Emmy Awards, recognizing achievements in  television shows, reached  its 67th year this past month.

To win an Emmy is to win the most prestiegious award television has to offer. Each category, ranging from “Stunt Coordination for a Comedy or a Variety Program” to “Outstanding Lead Actor,” start with multiple nominees and end with one winner.  

Some of the people who came out on top  from this year’s awards include Richard Jenkins as Henry Kitteridge in Oliver Kitteridge for “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie,” and Viola Davis as Annalise Keating in How to Get Away With Murder for “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.” Davis became the first African American woman to get this award.

Davis quoted Harriet Tubman in her acceptance speech, saying, “In my mind, I see a line. And over that line I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me over that line, but I can’t seem to get there no-how. I can’t seem to get over that line.” She went on to thank the outstanding African American women who helped transform the culture of Hollywood into a more accepting community.  

When a person wins an Emmy title, they are given an Emmy statuette. This statuette stands 16 inches tall, weighs six pounds twelve and a half ounces, and is made of copper, nickel, silver, and gold.  Manufactured at R.S. Owens in Chicago every year, one statue takes five and a half hours to make and is handled with white gloves to prevent fingerprints. The statuette was designed by television engineer Louis McManus, who modeled it after his wife.. The sphere the winged woman, Emmy is holding is an atom, symbolizing the art and science of television. “The wings represent the muse of art; the atom the electron of science,” according to the Emmys.

Although there are only 26 award categories on the Primetime Emmy Awards Show, there are many more awards available in various categories, including Creative Emmy Awards and Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards. It is a huge honor to even be nominated for an Emmy Award, so in the words of Viola Davis, “Thank you for taking us over that line, and thank you to the academy.”    

PHS Voice Poll Results: WIAA

The Voice polled 170 PHS students on the recent controversy over the WIAA. The results came were as follows.

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Some students chose to share their feedback on the matter, as well.

  • “I believe that the WIAA isn’t helping any of the students by limiting what we say as much as they do. The real world isn’t all flowers and gumdrops. There is criticism, there are harsh words, and people are mean. Treating us like we can’t handle those things at this point in our lives is making it so we won’t be able to deal with this in the future.”–Skye Herber (’18)
  • “The WIAA is treating us like we are 4 years old. It’s like they’re going to hand out participation trophies instead of first place trophies. They need to realize this is the real world.”–Josh Reuter (’16)
  • “There will always be people protesting, regardless of what is said. Although I believe in standing up for what you think is right, you can never make everyone happy. If a chant meant to motivate is received as disheartening or offensive, that defeats the purpose of said chant. I don´t really know what this is about, but these are my opinions.”–Zach Brunette (’18)
  • “As a player, I don’t care what is being said, as long as there is something being said.” —Austin Wein (’19)
  • “Who cares what students chant, it creates an exciting atmosphere for athletes.”–Ethan Bernhardt (’18)
  • “The WIAA and school officials need to worry more about the REAL bullying that goes on in school. Student section cheers are harmless and initiate a more fun, energetic vibe to sporting events and also motivates athletes to perform at a higher level. Banning harmless chants not only dulls the climate of the gym, but also lessens the attendance of games.”– Emma Udelhofen (’18)

You Can’t Say That: Protesting the WIAA

The silence was never before so deafening.

With duct taped mouths at the home basketball game on January 14th, PHS students joined student sections around the state in protesting a recent ban on certain chants at sporting events by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association.

Backlash over an email sent out to athletic directors in late December has received national attention, even reaching audiences of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Sports Illustrated, the latter stating in an article, “The ‘W’ in WIAA technically stands for ‘Wisconsin’ but it should really stand for ‘Whining.’”

So, what would an email, something PHS athletic director Mr. Foley says is “always sent out right before tournament time,” contain that could teach high school students a thing or two about the first amendment? Well, frankly, points of emphasis.

“Airball,” “There’s a net there,” “Fundamentals,” and “You can’t do that” were among the examples given by the WIAA of cheers that may be seen as offensive or possibly disrespectful. In response, Hillbert High School senior athlete April Gehl tweeted a profane comment directed at the WIAA and was slapped with a five game suspension, setting of a firestorm of passionate opinions from spectators, parents, and athletes, both present and former.

PHS, in particular, has seen action on social media induce consequences on a larger front. But, Mr. Foley believes that it’s not a bad thing when “used properly.” In fact, he says it’s great to “get a group of people together for a common cause.”

Still, as the student section’s actions at PHS and a poll conducted by The Voice proved, students overwhelmingly oppose the WIAA’s handling of the situation. Multi-sport athlete Rachel Emendorfer (‘16) comments, “To promote good sportsmanship, I think the WIAA should focus more on eliminating players being called out personally. I think that is an issue where the WIAA should focus their attention, not on students yelling ‘airball.’” She believes the chants are usually directed at the other student sections and draws motivation, rather than distraction, from the loud and intense atmosphere.

On the flip side, while Mr. Foley understands that students are “standing up for what they believe in” and maintains that the student section at PHS has not had problems, he says, “I think it’s a respect thing,” and that the issue is about “respecting your opponent and having your opponent respect you.” At the end of the day, Mr. Foley feels, behavior at college sports and high school sports are separate areas.

Note, however, that Mr. Foley says, “I’m never going to issue a consequence to a student for making statements if it’s done in the right way.” Enforcement from the administration side of things will be the same as it was before. Mr. Foley simply asks that everyone keep communicating and for students to remember, “They’re a reflection on the community and that actions do speak louder than words.”

In the meantime, Wisconsin State Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) will re-introduce legislation in the assembly to make the WIAA more accessible to the public through open records and meetings. Rep. Nygren says of the WIAA’s latest efforts, “Policies like these, which suggest a mere suppression of speech, deserve more oversight and scrutiny.”