Feb 13 2017

“Fifty Shades Darker” whips in $46M debut weekend, to trail “LEGO Batman”

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Between violence, sex, and cartoons, moviegoers had several new films to choose from this weekend.

The LEGO Batman Movie,” “Fifty Shades Darker,” and “John Wick: Chapter 2” were among the films released this Valentine’s Day weekend.

A vast amount of Fifty Shades fans flocked to the theatres to see Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan return as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in the second installment to E.L. James’ bestselling trilogy, “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

In the sequel, we delve deeper into protagonists Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey’s S&M, dominate and submissive, and overly complicated relationship. This story is filled with intense, steamy sex scenes, semi-dramatic suspense, and slightly authentic acting.

The newly released, big screen production did not live up to the overly hyped-up expectations.

During the opening weekend, “Fifty Shades Darker” grossed over $46.7 million compared to the first film, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” with $85.2 million released two years earlier.

Even though “Fifty Shades Darker” was not a huge winner this debut weekend, the film whipped in over $145 million worldwide and nearly tripled its budget.

FullSizeRender“Fifty Shades Darker” did not surpass its main competitor from the weekend, “The LEGO Batman Movie.” According to Box Office Mojo, “The LEGO Batman Movie” grossed over an estimated $55.6 million throughout opening weekend with about $37 million worldwide.

Floor staffer for the Classic Cinema Theatre in Fox Lake, Emmanuel Echeverria, said “For Fifty Shades, it hasn’t been too busy.”

With a large turnout from fans, the erotic drama is playing almost completely to the fan base market geared towards adult women.

“Every night it gets busy, but during the day, no one really wants to come,” said Echeverria. “It is a bunch of older women and their husbands.”

20-year-old, Fox Lake Hills resident, and Fifty Shades fan, Lauren Hucker, is among those adult women who turned out to view the second endowment.

“I read all the books and I absolutely loved the first movie,” said Hucker.

Even with mixed results, the film had a strong turnout.

“This movie was very well done,” said Hucker. “I cannot wait to see the third film; I might even have to reread the third book.”

The controversial book turned movie is expected to bring in more money just in time for Valentine’s Day.

“We are anticipating higher traffic on Tuesday than regular,” said Echeverria.

Wanting more? Check out your local movie listings for times and locations to all three films.

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Dec 20 2016

A Burn Victim’s Story

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Nov 17 2016

Arsenic and Old Lace

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Oct 25 2016

Jobs: Personal life lessons to help graduates

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“I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation,” announced Steve Jobs.

The former college drop-out turned technology tycoon and billionaire, Steve Jobs, attended Stanford University’s graduation ceremony yesterday, Sunday, June 12.

The founder of Apple Computer, Inc. and Pixar, delivered the commencement speech.

The 50-year-old addressed the 2005 graduates with excitement as he discussed how his life has taken him to where his is now. Jobs stated the importance of following one’s dreams, finding what one is passionate about and how time is limited.

During his commencement speech, Jobs laid out his three personal philosophies as lessons that anyone could follow.

Connecting the dots

Jobs was only six months into his college schooling at Reed College in Portland when he decided to drop out. This was a big issue with his birth mother, she made his attendance to college a requirement for his adoption.

Jobs was not sure what he wanted to do with life and felt college would not help in figuring it out. Jobs did not want to waste his parents’ life savings.

“So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out okay,” said Jobs.

For the recent drop-out, it was “scary,” but Jobs claims it was the best decision he could have made.

Jobs was not completely dropped out of school. He stopped taking the required classes and took those of interest to him, including calligraphy. This course explored the different types of fonts and spacing between letters.

Thought to be useless, the class was able to help differentiate Jobs’ first computer, the Macintosh, from others during the time. This was the first computer with typography and Jobs pointed out how others, such as Windows, copied the operating system.

“Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backward ten years later,” Jobs said.

“So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”

Love and Loss

Jobs was publically dismissed from his job at Apple in 1985 by John Sculley, an executive Jobs himself had recruited and hired. Jobs questioned how he could be fired from a company he started.

Jobs took his mistakes to heart and believed he let his mentors, David Packard and Bob Noyce, down.

“I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley,” said Jobs. “But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did.”

Over the course of five years, Jobs founded NeXT, Inc. and Pixar Animation Studios; he also met his future wife, Laurene Powell. His new companies flourished; Pixar created the “world’s first computer animated feature film, ‘Toy Story.’”

Apple eventually came to the conclusion that they needed Jobs, and they purchased NeXT, which required his return.

“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did,” said Jobs.


In the final philosophy lesson, Jobs shared a quote about living each day as if it were you’re last, because it one day, it will be. The quote stuck with him and he followed the mantra for the past 33 years.

The thought of facing death has helped him make all the tough decisions in life.

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose” said Jobs. “You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

In 2004, Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Jobs was told that it was incurable and should expect to live no longer than three to six months. After a biopsy, results revealed the tumor was a very rare form of pancreatic cancer “that is curable with surgery.”

This was the closest that Jobs has ever faced death and states in his speech his desire to live longer.

“Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new,” said Jobs.

This generation, this graduating class is the new.

Jobs reiterated the importance making use of your life because time is limited.

Wrapping up his speech, Jobs mentioned one of his favorite publications, “The Whole Earth Catalog.” When the catalog had its final issue, the back cover had a photo “of an early morning country road.”

“Beneath it were the words: ‘Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.’ It was their farewell message as they signed off,” said Jobs.

“And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.”

Jobs’ commencement speech was met with great applause and cheers. His speech was inspiring, emotional, and simple.

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Oct 18 2016

Sixth annual pumpkin chucking festival

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Fall is in the air and all of the autumn activities are moving in full swing, specifically at Niko’s Red Mill Tavern. (*)

The bar and restaurant hosted its sixth annual pumpkin chucking festival last Saturday on October 15.

Bands, food and drinks, and pumpkin chucking contests are just a few of the fall festivities that occurred at Niko’s, located at 1040 Lake Ave, Woodstock, Illinois.

Pumpkin chucking was the main event, taking place in the bar’s back yard.

After paying a $15 entrance fee, players paid a $5 sign-up fee to participate throwing 10 plus pound pumpkins over a bar. After each throw going above or over the bar, the bar would rise half a foot. The bar maxed out at 27 feet.

Each contestant would have three tries to make it pass the bar. The top three winners would move on to the championship.

The adults league began at 3 p.m. The championship round was held at 9:30 p.m.

The top three winners, for both male and female, won prizes with first place winning a $200 cash prize along with hats and gift cards.

The highest throw of the day was 25 feet and won the men’s first place.

Niko’s put on the festival to get the town and surrounding communities together to meet and engage.

“This festival is a great way to get the community involved and interacting as well as celebrate the fall,” said special guest MC Christine Bachman.

“We are hosting a great family event with kids’ activities during the day and adult activities at night.”

There was kids’ pumpkin carving and decorating and a children’s league of pumpkin chucking.

“We have everything, you name it, here at Niko’s Red Mill,” said Bachman.

Bands performed all day from noon to midnight. Bands that played were Derringer and Rye Suburban Cowboys, Cinful, Nashville Electric Co., Modern Day Romeos, and Bella Cain, in this order.

Alongside the bands, there were two 10-foot by 10-foot TV screens displaying the Chicago Cubs play-off game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. During the bands’ performances, the singers would shout out the score of the game in between songs.

Dawn Kline, participant of the festival, said “We loved watching the bands and Cubs game at the same time. It was such a good idea.”

The bar and restaurant were open in case festival-goers wanted more than just burgers.

Towards the end of the night, the festival flourished with people. Niko’s started using shuttle busses to take participants to and from their cars.

“It was a great night and very well put together. The staff and everyone did a great job,” said Kline.

The pumpkin chucking festival is one of the biggest events Niko’s put on during the year, and it is highly anticipated.

“I cannot wait for the seventh chuck fest,” said Robert Frank, participant of the festival.

For more information and future events, call 815-338-6455 or visit redmilltavern.com.

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Oct 11 2016

Proposed budget faces criticism

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Mayor Gustavus Petykiewicz released his proposed budget for 2017 yesterday prior to the city council meeting and has faced harsh criticism and backlash.

Tax increases, lay-offs, and additional bills are just a few of the biggest changes that are in the proposed budget for the city of Kittatinny.

“It is with a heavy heart that I propose this new budget for our beloved Kittatinny,” said Petykiewicz while addressing the city council and towns people.

With the decrease in the tax base due to August’s closure of a furnace at Susquehanna Steel Corp., mayor Petykiewicz has proposed to raise taxes from 4 mills in 2016 to 4.3 mills in 2017. This tax increase will add $30 to the end-of-the-year bill.

In addition to the 600 jobs lost with the furnace closure, two police officers and two AFSCME personnel, one city clerk, and one city engineer, will be laid off as well to lower the spending. Schuylkill County sheriff’s deputies will address emergency call when needed in Kittatinny.

To save more money on spending, many city workers will have their salaries froze.

Kittatinny will save about $187,000 on garbage pickup but will no longer have taxes pay for the service. It will become a user fee and be an additional line of $35 per month on each tenant’s water bill. Tioga Sanitation Comp. will continue to provide service.

Petykiewicz believes that the town is in a financial emergency. By adding in tourism and increasing parking fees/tickets and police citations, Petykiewicz said it would help close the budget hole.

Petykiewicz looks to the future by increasing and promoting tourism to rebrand the town.

While Mayor Petykiewicz look to the future, Chief of Police of Kittatinny, Roman Hruska, looks at the present. Hruska opposes the proposal and is unhappy.

“I cannot stand idly by and watch a city of this size be deprived of regular police protection,” Hruska said.

Hruska believes that the lack of officers the town at a higher risk of crime and most importantly, peoples’ lives are in danger.

In order to saves the two officers’ jobs, Hruska said, “I will take a 10 percent cut in pay if the mayor does.”

Denelda Penoyer, president of Kittatinny City Council, wants to challenge the mayor. Penoyer will oversee the budget proposal and changes.

“I think taxes should go higher to 5 mills,” said Penoyer.

Penoyer also wants to raise money to save the police officers’ jobs. Martha Mittengrabben, president of AFSCME Local 644, would like to save the jobs of the city personnel who are in her local union.

“It is our job to protect the interest of our members and our city must sacrifice together in order to rebuild itself,” said Mittengrabben.

Once city council and the mayor can come to agree on terms, the new budget will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

If you would like to know more or share your thoughts, attend the city council meetings held every Tuesday at 6 p.m.




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Sep 27 2016

Whitewater alum and senior to start two new businesses

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Alumnus Richard Guidry, 25, and current Whitewater senior, Leigh Olszewski, 21, have broken the status quo to fulfill their dream of opening two businesses: a donut shop and a farm.

Guidry, an integrated science and business major, quit work and Olszewski, an entrepreneurship and business management major, dropped out of school to put all their time and money into opening Go Nutz Donuts and Future Tech Farms.

Go Nutz Donuts is a consumer inspired donut making food truck. A consumer can ask for a specific flavor of donut and Go Nutz Donuts will make it. Guidry and Olszewski were inspired when traveling in North Carolina and decided to take the idea back to Whitewater.

Go Nutz Donuts is a partnered franchise wanting to expand throughout the whole Midwest.

The company will start in Whitewater to test and expand as it grows and figures out processes.

Guidry and Olszewski are optimistic to add in a mobile app and delivery service via bike peddlers after a high return on investment.

Their other business is more complex. Future Tech Farms is an aquaponics and hydroponics farming business. “We grow contra seasonal fruits and vegetables so things that cannot be grown in the winter can be,” said Olszewski.

The company will create systems that will grow produce and sell these systems to grocery stores and consumers and also use the systems for their regional distribution network set to start in the Chicago-land area. The types of produce grown will be based off of local demand.

Being a part of the campus organization Enactus lead Guidry and Olszewski to the creation of Future Tech. “We were helping some students in Honduras who came up with the idea of hydroponics and we helped them find the funding and gathered the materials,” said Olszewski.

“We started to research more into our markets and essentially found out that it is a feasible idea here,” said Olszewski.  “We added in a couple more steps because me have more access to technology here and other resources that we weren’t able to teach them down in Honduras.”

Similar to Go Nutz, production will begin in Whitewater and branch out as the company grows.

Typical when starting a new business, Guidry and Olszewski are facing funding issues. The business partners are looking for investors to get Future Tech in motion. Small business development center, SBDC, is working alongside the pair with funding for Go Nutz Donuts. Once Go Nutz Donuts brings in more profit, some money will be sent to fund Future Tech.

“Future Tech is a huge amount of money whereas Go Nutz is something where we are trying to get it started and get it moving so we can use some of that money to fund Future Tech,” said Olszewski.

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Sep 15 2016

Travel is always an option

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Fear is probably the number one factor that prevents people from traveling. The fear of a foreign language. The fear of cultural differences. The fear of getting lost or hurt. The fear of going alone. The fear of not knowing.

When I was considering studying abroad, I faced all of those fears. I was nervous. I have never traveled outside the country (a little in the U.S.), but my dream was to venture my way outside, in particular, to Ireland. When I saw that my school was offering a study abroad trip to Ireland, I knew I had to jump at the opportunity! For as long as I could remember, I have always had this strong connection with Ireland and the culture, food, and people. Plus, my father’s whole side of the family is  either England, Scotland, or Ireland, with most from Ireland. This way, I will be able to see where my ancestors came from, what they did, and the things they have seen.

Now, I knew I needed to be a big girl and overcome my fears. All of them. I applied for the class. Next thing I knew, it was five months later and I was on a plane to Ireland. This was a big step for me. I usually never go places alone, let alone to another country.

I stayed in Ireland and Northern Ireland for just under a month. Let me tell you, it was the most magical time of my life. I went to places I had only ever dreamed of. I was taught slang by Irishmen in pubs. I ate absolutely the most amazing food ever. The whole trip was unbelievable! We started in Dublin, Ireland, and worked our way around counterclockwise. We visited Belfast, Derry, Sligo, Galway, the Aran Islands, and Cork among some other tiny towns.

This is me kissing the Blarney Stone in Blarney, Ireland.

This is me kissing the Blarney Stone in Blarney, Ireland.

The biggest fear I had was not knowing anyone, but by the end of the trip, I made so many terrific friends. The study abroad program I went through was called a travel-study. Basically, a travel-study is where you take a class that has a trip connected to it. You participate in a class that will teach you something related to where you’re going and at the end of the semester, you will go to that place. For example, my class was a communications class discussing cross culture communication. We talked about the advantages and disadvantages when trying to communicate cross-culturally and we gave speeches on certain popular culture activities, foods, books, legends, etc. There will be more, obviously, but it was fun and interesting to learn about a culture you do not know much about. To make a long story short, I went into this class knowing no one, scared I would not make any friends, to coming out with 20 plus new friends. Most of the people on my trip I still keep in touch with or spend time with. Even though we only spent a month together abroad, the people on my trip easily became some of my closest friends ever.

Here are some of my friends at Dunluce Castle, in Bushmills, Northern Ireland.

Here are some of my friends at Dunluce Castle, in Bushmills, Northern Ireland.

My other fear was not knowing. I was not sure where I was all the time because of being in a foreign land with a foreign language all around. I am not going to lie, I felt lost a few times. But luckily, with a travel-study, you are never alone. There is always someone there for you, whether a professor or classmate. Sometimes, I was not sure wheat we were doing that day or where we were going. I am so use to structure and scheduling that when it came to this trip there was a lot of improvising. We would have made plans but for some reason they would fall through, maybe because of traffic, time, or other conflicts. By being on this trip, I learned that somethings you need to not know. You need to just wonder and come up with something new and go with the flow. I am usually never like that, but I learned that sometimes you have to go off the path. I did end up learning a lot about myself, who I am, and what I want out of life.

This trip was the perfect stepping stone. If you are afraid, and it is totally okay to be, try taking a travel-study. Most travel-studies are about three weeks long. If you can handle that, you should be able to handle a semester abroad! That’s what I did. Even if you have the slightest inkling, do it! Overcome your fears because this is the most gratifying and rewarding thing you can ever do.

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Sep 15 2016

A little about me!

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Hello everyone!

My name is Hannah Jewell. I was born and raised in Clearwater, Florida, up until I turned 15-years-old. Unfortunately, my father’s job uprooted and relocated my family, but luckily we moved to the Windy City, Chicago. Even though I am a down home country girl at heart, there is a sweet little home in my heart for the city (alongside deep dish pizza!).

During high school, I found my passion for newspaper and magazine journalism. I was the Editor-in-Chief for Lakes Community High School’s literary magazine, Mosaic, and the center spread editor for the high school newspaper, the Talon Times. After high school, I decided to study for two years at a community college and obtain my associates degree then transfer to a four-year university. I am currently a senior at the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater majoring in communications with an emphasis in print, broadcast, web journalism as well as minoring in marketing.

Outside school, I have several passions that have shaped my life. I love crafts and all things DIY! I actually have a personal blog where I get tutorials on the projects I create and share how to create them and also make the cost effective. Alongside blogging, I love traveling, whether in the United States or internationally, and being outdoors.

My dream job would be to work for a company as their social media marketer and/or write for a magazine. I would like to combine my knowledge of journalism and marketing and marry it with my love of crafts, travel, the outdoors, possibly becoming a writer for a travel magazine taking pictures and posting about my adventures.

A girl can dream, right?

Here I am in Northern Ireland at Giant's Causeway.

Here I am in Northern Ireland at Giant’s Causeway.

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