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Presidential Primary may be over, but it’s not too late

How and where to register to vote in Michigan
Mel Buskirk
Copy Editor
With billboards and signs everywhere, commercials on every television, and memes dominating Facebook, it is easy to see that it is a presidential election year. While the primaries may be over in Michigan, it is not too late to have a say in who shall be our country’s leader for the next four years.
Michiganders who were registered to vote by February 8 of this year had a say in the presidential primaries. According to, Donald Trump won the Republican Michigan primary with 36.5% of the registered Republican vote with 483,751 votes. Bernie Sanders won the Democrat Michigan primary with 49.8% of the registered Democrat vote with 595,222 votes.
According to, in order to vote in the general presidential elections, you must be registered by October 11, 2016. In order to register to vote in Michigan you must be a U.S. citizen, be age 18 by Election Day, be a resident of Michigan, and be a resident of the city or township you’re applying to register in.
To receive an application go to the local Secretary of State branch office, the local clerk’s office, the Department of Human Services, Department of Community Health, the Department of Labor and Economic Growth, or online at Remember when applying, the same address used for your driver’s license or state ID must be used for registering to vote.
After registering to vote, the city or township clerk will mail the voter’s registration card. The card will state the registered city/township, county, ward, and precinct. It will also state the following districts where you reside: US Congressional, State Senate, State Representative, and School District. The card will also state the address of the polling location for those districts.
If you have any questions on where to vote, where to register, or if you are registered, check out

Exploring Religions: Islam and Christianity

Student essay comparing foundations of faith
Tara Elizabeth
Guest Writer
Islam and Christianity have always been viewed as two completely different religions, each with their own rules. Each have been viewed as radical due to the nature of the people who follow the religions, but are they really?
It’s all about interpretation of their own sacred text. Most of us know about the different sects in Christianity; Catholics, Orthodox, Protestant and many more within each category, but Islam also has their own sects within the religion. Shia and Sunni are the main two different sects, with groups of people who interpret the Qur’an in a multitude of ways within each sect.
Although both religions have their own laws given to them by their God, interpretation of the laws vary by each sect. Christians accept the Ten Commandments but core beliefs, according to The British Library: Elements of the Abrahamic Faiths, are:
The belief that there is only one God
Jesus Christ is the Messiah, sent to save the world as prophesized in the Old Testament
God’s Character is in threefold, The Father (the Creator), the Son (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit (unseen guiding force).
Jesus Christ died to save the world and rose from the dead.
Muslims follow the Five Pillars of Islam, the Five pillars being that there is only one God, Allah and the messenger, Muhammad; that they are to pray 5 times a day; donate to charity; pilgrimage to their holy city of Mecca at least once in their lifetime; and to fast during Ramadan each year. According to the British Library: Elements of the Abrahamic Faiths, the core beliefs are:
There is only one God: Allah
Muhammad is the final prophet of God and the Qur’an is God’s truest revelation
Reverence for many of the prophets of Judaism and Christianity, particularly Moses and Jesus
This brings us to the prophets of each religion. To explain lightly, it began with a prophet named Abraham. According to the British Library: Elements of the Abrahamic Faiths, they all believe that Abraham was told by their God that if Abraham followed their God’s laws, he would become the father of a great nation. They also believe that he was told by their God to sacrifice his son, to test his obedience to God. Abraham listened but at the last second, their God sent an angel to intervene with the sacrifice. Christians believe the son who was to be sacrificed was Isaac but Muslims believe the son is named Ismael.
All three religions also recognize that a man named Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, to freedom of new land. They all believe that God dictated laws to Moses to pass down to the Israelites as well.
There stops the agreement on Prophets and other religious figures. Christians believe that a man named Jesus, is their Messiah, and gave him the name Jesus Christ. Muslims believe that Jesus was a great prophet but did not believe he was divine.
The last Prophet is a man named Muhammad. Only Muslims recognize him as a figure of importance, as he provided them with the Qur’an over a period of 23 years. They believe that the Angel, Gabriel, provided Muhammad with the sacred text. Muslims do not believe that Islam is a new religion but a restoration of God’s word, revealed by earlier prophets. They believe that that religion was corrupted and misinterpreted and they are merely restoring the religion itself.
It is described on the British Library: Elements of the Abrahamic Faiths that there are three Abrahamic faiths and “each religion acknowledges the proceeding text and draws from them, with difference of interpretation and emphasis.” Basically, Christians draw some of their faith from Jews and the Hebrew Bible (also known as the Tanakh or Old Testament) as they also use their own book, simply called the Bible (the Old Testament and also the New Testament). Muslims draw from both Christians and Jews and both their sacred texts but Muslims also have their own sacred text, called the Qur’an. The beliefs of each religion differ in some areas but are quite similar when you look at the origins of each religion.
Overall, this is just a small summary of each religion, the way that an individual interprets a religion is completely their own. Some honorable mentions to how people can interpret their sacred text in some questionable ways include: the Westboro Baptist Church, the KKK, and ISIS. All three of these groups are viewed by the religions they claim to be a part of as severely radical and are not very well accepted by many others who practice the religion.

A big heart in a young kid

Student collects hygiene products for homeless
Jamie Koebke
Business Editor
Imagine being a high school student, a college student, working part time and collecting items for local homeless shelters all at the same time. This is exactly what seventeen year old Macy Wurmlinger is doing.
The Landmark Academy and St. Clair County Community College student was researching when she came across an article that pointed out there is a desperate need for feminine hygiene products amongst the homeless, when she came up with the idea to collect hygiene products in general for the local homeless shelters.
“I have always cared about homeless people since I was a little girl and even more so since I’ve become more exposed to how prevalent the problem is,” Wurmlinger said.
In 2014 MidCity Nutrition served more than 1,661 individuals from the area. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported that in Michigan 12,227 people were homeless in a single night.
Collecting items was an easy decision for Wurmlinger to make. With the support of her friends, coworkers, family and community this project has gone over well so far. “My parents have been so supportive! They’ve been helping collect things and have helped me organize everything!”
Partnering with local radio station 88.3 FM located at 2865 Maywood Drive in Port Huron, Wurmlinger is having any items donated dropped off at the station. She is taking the items to Pathways and MidCity Nutrition in Port Huron. Collecting will be continuing until the end of May. Wurmlinger is hoping that this project will help motivate more people to help out and make a difference in our community.

Give it your best shot

Bringing change to the community
Jenelle Kalaf
Photo Editor

While it’s not easy to dedicate one’s life to making a community great again, that doesn’t stop Trina Kern-Avedisian.
Born in Port Huron, Avedisian, founder and president of the Citizens for a Vibrant Community (CVC) and employee of Wolverine Market, made it a goal to show the world Port Huron stands just as relevant as it did many years ago.
Avedisian’s father worked as a pressman in his print shop on the corner of Griswold and 9th Street. He then bought Riverside Printing in 1976.
“I went to work in the shop when I wasn’t in school,” Avedisian said.
In 1986, she married and had a son, Joshua in 1988. Her husband wanted to sell cars for his brother in Florida, so they moved out of state.
Avedisian then moved to Honeoye Falls, New York until she divorced then returned to Port Huron.
“When I moved back into Port Huron in the mid-90s, I saw how ridiculous Port Huron was being run,” Avedsian said. “They had just announced the $186 million sewer separation project. I was outraged that the state of Michigan would make us do that so I started writing letters to the DEQ as well as the Governor.”
Avedisian found out the city of Port Huron kept information from the public and began writing letters to the editor of the local paper exposing what she had learned.
This lead Avedisian to getting involved with a local activist group called the Mavericks.
It was Avedisian’s job to take any information she was given and share it how she best saw fit to make sure the public knew. Avedisian took to writing letters to the editor of newspapers and speaking at City Council meetings.
“I was told on more than one occasion that I had a target on my back,” Avedisian said. “Since I had been through a lot with an ex-boyfriend (who was very abusive and the son on the devil himself) I had very little fear of what the Powers that Be could do to me so I basically took on the attitude of ‘give it your best shot’.”
In 2007, Avedisian met a few women who wanted to see Port Huron grow again. They formed a group and called it Citizens for a Vibrant Community. The CVC formed first as a political group, speaking at City Council meetings.
The group started to tackle events as well, the first being Car Show Afterglow in 2008, followed by Happy Apple Days in 2009.
“Unrest in the group and infighting prompted me to shut the group down for a year (as I was president), take a step back and find something we could do that we could all agree on. After much thought, we came up with Art on the River,” Avedisian said. For the last 6 years, Art on the River brings music and art to Downtown Port Huron.
“This year we will be bringing Black Oak Arkansas as our headline band on Saturday, as well as hosting the Traveling Michigan Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Tess Tobolic, an award winning chalk artist, and much more. We are very proud of our efforts with Art on the River,” Avedisian said.
Trina Kern-Avedisian proves the attitude of “give it your best shot,” can make a difference.

Don’t fox around, “Zootopia” has all the koalafications

“Zootopia” movie review
Nick “Chico” Hernandez
Managing Editor
Fur flies, criminals scatter, and hilarity ensues within the one hour, 48 minutes of Disney’s new animated movie “Zootopia.” The movie hit theaters on March 4, and has made $233.9 million in the box office so far, according to Google. The movie is rated PG.
Many reviews paint “Zootopia” as a must see movie. A review from The Washington Post says, “The genius of ‘Zootopia’ is that it works on two levels: it’s both a timely and clever examination of the prejudices endemic to society and an entertaining, funny adventure about furry creatures.”
Popular user/critic website Rotten Tomatoes has also given “Zootopia” their seal of approval with a 99% rating, filing it under the “fresh” category.
In “Zootopia” there are two types of animal categories: predators and prey. While the world of “Zootopia” lives (mostly) in peace, the rift between predator and prey is obvious and shown throughout the movie.
The story begins not in the metropolis of Zootopia, but in the hopes and dreams of one bunny that wishes to be a big city cop. Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) initially has trouble getting traction within the police academy along with the police force.
Hopps, despite criticism for her being a bunny, works her way to the top of her class in the police academy and becomes the first prey to join the police force in the city of Zootopia.
Although she is assigned to parking duty while the police chief hands off more important assignments to the other officers, Hopps’ quick wits lead her a scam artist fox named Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), whom she ends up befriending in order to crack a case that threatens to tear apart the city of Zootopia in the form of creating mistrust between the prey and predators.
“Zootopia” not only has enough comedy and simplicity to appeal to the younger, but plenty of references and a deeper story for the adults. Two big name references come in the form of a “Godfather” shrew, and a chemist sheep with two partners named Walt and Jessie.
What makes “Zootopia” a great movie is the willingness to mirror the prejudice in America by using fuzzy (and scaly) animals as placeholders. It also serves as a reminder that people (and animals) can be different, but that should not be a dividing wedge. Instead, “Zootopia” shows what can happen when two different people from two different backgrounds (Hopps, small town bunny; Wilde, big city fox) come together as a team.

“The People V. OJ”

Series based on famous ‘90s murder case
Jamie Koebke
Business Editor
“The People V. O.J.: American Crime Story” on the FX network, enlightens viewers on one of the most famous murder cases in American history. The murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman in 1994. The television series takes viewers on a trip from when the bodies were found, how LAPD handled evidence, the cut throat fights of O.J.’s “Dream Team” of defense attorneys’, and the struggles of prosecution.
I was born in 1993, I grew up reading about O.J. Simpson and the trail, but this show makes me feel like I lived during this time. Although at first I thought that Cuba was just being very over acting, after looking up videos on Youtube, I realized that he is actually pretty spot on with playing O.J.. David Schwimmer both looks exactly like Robert Kardashian as well as reads O.J. suicide letter identically to the press conference that Kardashian gave in 1994.
It’s miraculous to me that I can watch the past press conferences and pieces of the trail on the internet while I’m watching a show, and compare what actually happened to what the show is portraying. Even the Bronco chase was accurate to the videos I found online.
Overall I love this show. I think that it’s been educational to me in the way that I never would have researched the O.J. Trial before watching the show. I like that it gives the audience a chance to see what happened between the “Dream Team” along with what happened behind the scenes with the prosecution. It was also mind blowing to see what was happening during the Bronco Chase, I never knew that O.J. wasn’t the driver of the Bronco when that was happening.
The drama in the show keeps viewers on edge, especially if anyone watching it does the same thing I do while watching and are constantly googling to see if what’s happening in the show lines up with what happened in real life.
Overall, it’s binge worthy in my opinion.
“The People V. O.J.” airs Tuesdays at 10pm on FX.

Late to the Game

Glory to Arstotzka!
Jenelle Kalaf
Photo Editor

Congratulations! You have been chosen for the honor to protect your great country at the border. Your task: to control who enter the great country of Arstotka!
What if they needed help running from war, though? Maybe their papers weren’t up-to-date but they haven’t seen their child in years?
What if they were a terrorist group bent on taking down your oppressive government, but your family would suffer because of it?
Exploring themes of government control and balancing the needs of people, “Papers, Please” starts simple but grows more and more complex. Broken families, human traffickers, and terrorists all bribe, lie, and cheat to get your sympathy.
“Papers, Please’s” themes create an interesting atmosphere for the game, but is it worth $9.99?
“Papers, Please” doesn’t really have gameplay.
The game stand along the lines of a point and click adventure. Given a new task and set of rules each day, the player must decide who will enter, who’s turned away, and who faces larger consequences.
The player, timed, with a quota over their head, is given a choice with each new person. Meaning if the player doesn’t meet standards or gets caught doing illegal things, the player can’t feed their family that night.
As long as the player can last through the month, no one will starve.
Depending on if the player’s kindness will get themselves in trouble.
While not impressive looking, “Papers, Please” uses the dark graphics and depressing sound effects to pull together an atmosphere of hopelessness.
Even if the player gets paid enough to feed the family, the game’s music doesn’t reflect any feeling of accomplishment. The player needs to find the feeling of doing well on their own, through little victories such as a small thank you from a dying women who wants to see her children.
“Papers, Please,” while a worthwhile experience, uses guilt to control what the player should do, compared to what they are told to do.
While “Papers, Please” is not for everyone, anyone who is interested in history or a good story would enjoy their time at the border crossing.
Happy gaming.

Making the world better, one classroom at a time

Local college grad teaching Tanzanian teens
Nick “Chico” Hernandez
Managing Editor
Schooling, healthcare, food variety, what do all these things have in common? Most Americans have easy access to these things but across the pond, the story changes. Enter the United Republic of Tanzania in East Africa and the scenery changes metaphorically and literally. Besides being one of the poorest countries in the world, Tanzania is also home to Mount Kilimanjaro.
Tanzania is also home to Jason Sausser, 26, a Michigan native from East China, a graduate from Western Michigan University (Bachelor’s Secondary Education) and Peace Corps (PC) volunteer who teaches English in a secondary school in Rukwa.
Sausser said in an email interview his reason for joining the Peace Corps, “As a Christian, I believe we’re not supposed to stay in our comfort zone and we can’t ignore the needs of the world. So, those things led me to pursue teaching overseas and that led me to the PC. The PC also a way to get paid to see a different part of the world and get a new perspective on the world.”
Sausser also said, “I teach English to the equivalent of freshmen and sophomores. Most of them come in their first year knowing almost no English. And by the end of their second year they are expected to write essays in all their subjects for the national exam. I’m usually at school for 3-4 hours depending on the day.”
For many students, however, English is their third language. Even though Kiswahili is the national language, there are approximately 120 languages spoken in Tanzania. Especially in rural areas, a tribal language is often the first language learned by children.
When it comes down the education in Tanzania, the situation could be better. The annual tuition of a government secondary school is 20,000 Tanzanian shillings. This doesn’t include testing fees, lunch fees, and many others. In American currency this equals to about $10, but comparing America to one of the poorest countries in the world isn’t a fair fight.
Like any human, Sausser has missed his family, friends, and Taco Bell. He explained that, because of advances in technology, the communication bridge has been gaped mostly thanks to WhatsApp and Skype, “but really the best way to cope with missing family and friends is to seek out and develop friends where you are. My fellow volunteers are more than just friends. They’ve become my family and support system. And then developing friendships in my village has been key to making my home feel like a home,” Sausser said.
This does not mean the idea of living in West Africa for 27 months, learning a new language, eating new foods, or dealing a polar opposite climate didn’t put a mountain’s worth of weight on Sausser.
“For me, the hardest part was adjusting to a new culture. I had to relearn how to interact with people. Even after a year and a half of living here, I still have a hard time feeling like I’m able to express all of my personality. And it can be hard feeling like no one truly knows you, because of cultural and language differences.”
Sausser also added, “There is another Peace Corps volunteer who has made the joke, ‘Sometimes it feels like the only thing I’ve accomplished is turning sticks of chalk into chalk dust,’ and that can be a real feeling for a lot of us education volunteers. And the truth is that most volunteers never get to see the real impact that they make.”
Even after his backpack was stolen off a bus, Sausser never gave up no matter how much he might have wanted to. “I lost my computer, camera, bible, and other things that were quite important to me. The week or so after that I would wake up and say, ‘I’m not going to quit today… Maybe tomorrow… But not today,’” Sausser said.
As per PC requirements, Sausser has to do a project during his time in Tanzania. He has decided to build a library, as the school does not have one. Sausser has set up a GoFundMe ( for paint, bookshelves, tables and chairs, and more books. As of March 1st, people have donated $1,970 and the goal is $2,500.
“I recommend the Peace Corps as an avenue to pursue volunteering, because the Peace Corps strategy for development is solid. The Peace Corps doesn’t want to build monuments, they want to build people’s capacity,” Sausser said. The Peace Corps isn’t limited to any one individual. While most positions require Bachelor’s degrees, everyone can find something to help out with.
Sausser added, “I think everyone has something to offer as a volunteer, whether international or domestic. Find something you love and use it to make the world a little better. What the world needs, including our own country, is more people helping their neighbors. Whether that’s your neighbor across the Atlantic or across the street.”

Frosty fundraiser for Special Olympics

2016 Polar Plunge a splash
Mel Buskirk
Copy Editor
From superheroes to Star Wars, scantily clad men to an individual donning a Donald Trump getup, participants paraded to from the Voyager Bowling Alley and Restaurant to the shore of the St. Clair Boat Harbor to jump into the water for the 2016 Polar Plunge.
The Polar Plunge is an annual fundraising event for the Special Olympics of Michigan. Sponsored by the local non-profit group Water Warriors, an estimate of almost $19 thousand was raised for the Special Olympics by this event alone, according to Tom Chauvin, spokesperson for the Water Warriors. Since 1991, the Water Warriors have raised almost $2.5 million for the Special Olympics.
60 participants jumped into the icy waters for the cause. Danny Woody, 64 of Casco Township, wearing a felt purple pimp suit claimed that he hadn’t participated in a Polar Plunge before, “At least not on purpose,” he laughed.
Woody was not the only first timer to the Polar Plunge. Annatte Bilek, 36 of Troy, was a new plunger and one half of “The Mighty X-Women,” accompanied by veteran of one year April Ryniewicz, 39 of Harrison Township. Both beautiful ladies dressed as characters from Marvel’s X-Men comic book series, with Bilek as Rogue and Ryniewicz as Phoenix. Last year Ryniewicz appeared as Wonder Woman.
Though spring is fast approaching, there still is a chance to participate in a Polar Plunge this year. The Special Olympics of Michigan hosted 28 Polar Plunge events for 2016, with three events still remaining on March 3 on the Capitol Steps in Lansing, March 19 on Marquette Mountain in Marquette, and March 20 at The Elks in Sault Ste. Marie.
The Water Warriors are also holding more events to raise money for the Special Olympics of Michigan. The Water Warriors are holding a bowling event at the Colony Bowl in Algonac on Sunday, March 13.
For more information on fundraising events for the Special Olympics of Michigan, check out
For more information on the local non-profit Water Warriors and to see other upcoming events, go to or call Tom Chauvin at 586-850-3187.

Upcoming human trafficking seminar

Free panel educates about horrendous crime affecting Michigan
Mel Buskirk
Copy Editor

“Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery that occurs on an international, national, and local scale. Whether in the smallest town, rural areas, medium sized cities, villages, big cities – there is nowhere in Michigan that has not been touched by this issue,” according to the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force website.
The Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force (MHTTF) is a non-profit organization through the School of Criminal Justice of Michigan State University founded and directed by Jane P. White. White will be presenting “Human Trafficking: A Michigan Reality” on March 22 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm in SC4’s Fine Arts Theater.
The purpose of the MHTTF is to encourage collaborations between law enforcement and local communities as well as advocate support for victims of human trafficking. For more information about the MHTTF email Jane White at
For more information on the “Human Trafficking: A Michigan Reality” panel, call (810) 989 5678.