Bravo to Springfield mayor Bob Stephens who, seeing 10,000-plus citizens semi-mobilized in mourning the recent loss of Hailey Owens, said to them in the nicest way possible: now do something about it! Imagine the impact that it could have if everyone who attended a vigil or donated money also donated just a few hours of their time this year to a good cause.

Here’s an excerpt:

There are agencies and programs throughout our city that need our involvement. The Every Child Promise works to increase children’s
readiness for kindergarten. Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Ozarks has a waiting list for Big Brothers. This means there are a number of
boys who are waiting for someone to step up to be a friend. The Northside Betterment Association works every year to help increase
school attendance for north Springfield schools. They are always looking for additional members.  The list goes on and on and there are
many needs in our community.

…[I]f we truly want to honor the memory of Hailey Owens, we can do that by helping the young people in our city. As a community, we need to make a commitment to feed them, to teach them, and to protect them. If we make this long-lasting commitment today and moving into the future, then Hailey’s legacy will be one of beauty and love.

Read the full transcript full transcript of the speech or view the video.


Last March, the subscription-based site eMusic gave away $500 in free music each day in March. (If you aren’t familiar with eMusic, it’s a lot like the old Columbia House or BMG subscription services for CDs except its for mp3 files.) To participate in the sweepstakes, you had to go to their website and enter every day to have a chance to win.  I set a bookmark and entered almost every day. But it’s a big site and I wasn’t surprised when March ended and I hadn’t won.

Then on April Fool’s Day, I received an email informing me that I’d won. At first I thought it might be a cruel April Fool’s Day joke, but everything checked out. I had a year to spend $500 on the eMusic site. I was pretty excited, but I didn’t know just what I was getting into.

I had been an eMusic member since 2006 when I decided to delete all my illegally downloaded music and start supporting the artists I love. Every month, I would download $12 worth of music. The tracks are discounted, ranging from $0.49 to $0.79, so each month I’d get fifteen to twenty tracks. That means I had already downloaded about 1500 of my favorite songs.

Now I had one year to find 700 to 1000 more songs to buy. Plus, I still had my existing monthly subscription, which amounted to around another 200 tracks. You would think that buying 900 to 1200 tracks in a year would be a blast, and it was, but it was also a lot of work.

It quickly became apparent that unless I wanted to waste my winnings, I was going to have to discover a lot of new music, which was very time-consuming.

Today, I finally spent the last of my winnings, bringing my account balance to just eleven cents.

I’m sure I would have found a lot of great music in the last year anyway, but I would have been nowhere near this ambitious. Here are my favorite albums I downloaded for each of the last eleven months (click the link to listen):

April – The Head and the Heart – The Head and the Heart

May – Neil Young – Live at Massey Hall 1971

June – The Thermals – The Body, the Blood, the Machine

July – Jason Isbell – Southeastern

August – Harrison Hudson – American Thunder

September – Lake Street Dive – Lake Street Dive

October – The Lumineers – The Lumineers

November – Lucious – Wildewoman

December – Daniel Romano – Sleep Beneath the Willow

January – Cuff the Duke – Morning Comes

February – Doug Paisley – Strong Feelings

If you are interested in joining eMusic, you get a 25% to 50% discount and you get $25 worth of free music just for trying it out. All of the mp3s you download are DRM-free and can be shared between multiple devices.












This seems like the kind of thing I should have already known, but I found the MSTA’s explanation of Missouri’s snow day policy very enlightening and thought I’d share:

A few years ago, the state legislature passed a bill that was intended to put an end to the practice of piecemeal legislation forgiving snow days. Every year, different parts of the state would face inclement weather and the legislature would be asked to passes laws to forgive excessive days off.

.   .   .

School days missed for weather cannot be made up by adding minutes or hours onto remaining school days.

.   .   .

Every school day missed must be made up until you miss the seventh day. At that point, one day must be made up for every two days missed until 14 days are missed. After the 14th day, no more days are required to be made up.

Days Missed

Days to Make Up

1 Day


2 Days


3 Days


4 Days


5 Days


6 Days


7 Days


8 Days


9 Days


10 Days


11 Days


12 Days


13 Days


14 Days


14 + Days



wrv grant shakespeare

Thanks to a nearly $500 grant thought the White River Valley Electric Cooperative’s Power Up Grant program , I was able to purchase classroom sets of Romeo & Juliet, MacBeth, Hamlet, and The Taming of the Shrew.

These “No Fear” editions are in the less intimidating side-by-side format, presenting both the original text and a paraphrase in modern English.

Abby Maggard wrote a piece about this return of Shakespeare for the school website called “Thou Shalt Read Shakespeare“:

Earlier this school year, high school English teacher Mr. Walker applied for a Power Up Grant from the White River Valley Electric Cooperative for about $500 to purchase copies of Shakespearean plays for use in his classroom.

Mr. Walker said Romeo and Juliet will be taught to English I, Macbeth and Taming of the Shrew will be taught to English II, and Hamlet will be taught to English III.

The books that were purchased were from Sparknote’s “No Fear” series, a side-by-side edition that has Shakespeare’s works printed on one side of the page and a paraphrase on the other. Mr. Walker said he hopes these versions will help students comprehend the plot and dialogue while still giving them an appreciation for the complexity and poetry of the original language.

Freshman Haley Farris said, “I think it’s a really good opportunity for all students to be exposed to different kinds of literature. I have personally really enjoyed stepping out of my comfort zone. So far my favorite part of Romeo and Juliet has been the language and how Shakespeare includes plenty of puns and jokes.”

Alex Hicks said, “I enjoy reading Shakespeare since we get to act out all the parts. I also really enjoy all the violent parts.”


You may have noticed a familiar face in your mailbox recently. Our own Faith Wheelock graced the cover of White River’s Current Times along with the two other winners of last year’s Youth Tour essay contest. Faith is one of two Chadwick students to win the contest in the last five years. (David Hahn won in 2009.)

If you’d like to follow in Faith’s footsteps, the contest is open to all juniors. Students can compete by writing an essay or producing a video on the following topic:

Research “Rachel’s Challenge” and give your interpretation of Rachel Joy Scott’s words that “Tomorrow is not a promise, but a chance’ and what it means in your own life.”

Written and video finalists will compete orally for one of the three opportunities to participate in the annual Youth Tour in Washington D.C.