Thank you Flathead - Exchange Student Shows appreciation

of the Flathead Arrow

Becoming an exchange student is basically like jumping off a cliff, blindfolded. You have no idea what is going to happen nor what you should expect, besides being completely on your own in a foreign country whose language you don't fluently speak and staying with people you have never met before. Is it scary? Absolutely. Would I do it again? Without even thinking for a second.

Sometimes you need to travel around half of the world to appreciate where you come from, this was true for me. The more time I spend in the US, shared my culture and tell stories from my home country, the 

more I realize how lucky I am to be able to say “I am from Austria”. But not only did I gain greater appreciation for my own culture, I also fell in love with America’s. When I arrived here in Kalispell on August 7th, 2017, I felt as if I woke up from a dream and were right back home. Honestly at first I was slightly disappointed. Thinking of America before, I thought like most people of big cities, or, for Montana, Cowboys and old men sitting in a Saloon. Well not so much as I was stuck in a valley with little towns and a big city ten hours away. As time was passing by and school started that feeling vanished instantly. Every day had something new to offer, I was constantly excited for whatever crossed my way next. I might have annoyed some of my peers and teachers got annoyed about my forever lasting excitement and happiness.

For I have no school sports back home, Football games, Basketball games, Soccer games, Wrestling matches, Track meets - all the average American teenager High school life was like discovering a new planet. Also choosing my classes, theater, spee

ch and Debate, HOSA, BPA, a school owned farm; all of that was new to me, as sports and extracurricular activities are club only and directed outside of school. I am excited to be able to answer the question I hadasked myself at the beginning of the year, ”Is really like in the movies?”, with a no. Because it is not just about the football players and the half naked Cheerleaders. Flathead High School was so much more. It was about supporting each other and showing team spirit at the games and plays. Yes, there are different worlds associated with different parts of the school, like theater and the athletes and band and choir and full IB students, yet they all have one thing in common: they are not just segregated groups, they are families. It neither is just black and white, star athletes are in the highest choir and football players play the main role in musicals. I participated in sports all three seasons, soccer, cheerleading, tennis, and was part of the Cinderella musical production. In all activities I got to know so many incredible people and learned that FHS has definitely one of the best school spirits in the State of Montana. Everyone included me and made me feel so welcome, it was so great to experience everything I could possibly do. Though one disappointment were the school dances, especially Prom. No offense but it is highly overrated compared to balls in Austria.

If I was to describe Americans I would probably say "Any excuse for a party", which is great in my opinion. Thanksgiving, Graduation parties, Baby Showers, Super Bowl,..., all these festivities are basically big get togethers to eat. My favorite holidays were definitely Thanksgiving and Superbowl. Thanksgiving because everyone gets together and you stuff yourself with super delicious food before passing out on the couch watching your favorite football team. I remember watching the Dallas Cowboys scoring, the next thing I know is a little baby slobbering on my face. After then standing up we continued eating. And the left overs lasted for about 10 days. Superbowl was also really fun because since American football is not really big in Austria, we don't watch it on TV. So coming together to celebrate this for American society apparently so important event to eat wings and cake is funny to watch. I spent that night with the Twichel's and it was a blast. They had set up two TV's, outside and inside and the men were screaming at the TV, that's what I call entertainment.

My favorite part about Montana though is neither the landscape nor the school, it is the people. Montanans are incredibly friendly, welcoming and humbled (for the most part) people, and everyone I met during this year has contributed to my experience being as amazing as it was. There is not anything that makes you feel better than the feeling of gratitude, and genuine interest in people's eyes when you tell them about your country. After all, that is all that matters – sharing. I also loved to see my friends eyes brighten up when they found a new slang term or word I didn't know, there were a lot. Some of my favorites are “roll with the punches” and “use your noggin”. In my opinion slang terms are the most interesting part of every language, because every language has its own and they are not translatable.

Today, on Thursday, May 31st, I have 43 days left of my 11 months in the States, an unbelievably short amount. Thinking about going home makes me sad for having to leave all my new friends and families and also Montana, my second home. This year has changed me in so many ways, some I will probably first realize when I come home and see my country with different eyes. I want to thank everyone who was part of my year, all teachers, friends and peers. 

Sincerely, your FES


 Political Cartoon

Gun Control
of The Flathead Arrow

School shootings have been a problem all over for too many years. We have been very lucky in the Flathead Valley with these issues. Many facts and reasons school shootings happen have been misleading in the big news, especially since the shooting in Florida on Feb. 15, 2018. 
    What many call “assault weapons” have the same functions of any other firearm sold to citizens in America. An “assault weapon” can be a rifle or an AR-15. These weapons do the same amount of damage when used in the wrong way.
    As many know the shooter in Florida used an AR-15 as a weapon, what many don’t know is what AR-15 means and how it works. AR does not stand for automatic rifle, AR stands for ArmaLite Rifle, which is the name of the company that made and manufactures these weapons. An AR-15 also is not a fully automatic weapon; the definition of a fully automatic weapon is according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary “a firearm that continuously fires rounds as long as the trigger is pressed.” An AR-15 is a semi automatic weapon, which by definition is “a firearm that fires one round with each individual trigger pull. An example of an automatic weapon is an M4A1, which is a military service rifle, this rifle is fully automatic. Automatic weapons are not legal for purchase to citizens; this law was made in 1986. The U.S. Military and civilian police forces are the only organizations that have these weapons.
    The next question many ask is why AR-15’s are necessary, many use these guns for target shooting, not all guns are made for hunting, just like how not all cars are for hauling things or towing other cars. Again, any type of gun that is bought can do the same amount of damage to a human life.
    Therefore the second amendment is there for our protection and if something were to go wrong in our government or something happens to one personally we as Americans can protect ourselves, it is our right to protect ourselves from harm.
    Many think this is only a problem in America and this is false information, many do not realize that this is a problem all over the world, gun control has been a major issue for a very long time. In Australia guns are illegal to own, but problems have still occurred, on April 7, 2017 a stabbing occurred when a pair of 15 and 16 year old boys entered a service station and stabbed a 29 year old Pakistani decent man by the name of Zeeshan Akbar. Also a more recent stabbing that occurred on Feb. 9, 2018 when a Bangladeshi man by the name of Momena Shoma stabbed a 56-year-old man asleep in his home. Once guns were taken away predators turned to something else. Who is going to be able to make kitchen utensils illegal? The people taking innocent lives will find a way to do the damage they desire.
    Other weapons have been seen that do more damage then even a gun; in 1927 in Michigan the most horrific bombing took place at Bath School. This occurred on the last day of school that year, a man by the name of Andrew Kehoe pulled up to the front of the school with a car full of dynamite and set it off killing 44 people, 38 of those were students. At this time in history mental illness was never deeply explored but from recent research Kehoe was mentally ill. He did things as bad as killing his own dog and beating a horse to death. As a result of this research people are the problem of this, not the weapons.
    The counterargument to this issue is that people are doing a large amount of damage with guns and yes it is easier to disarm a man with a knife instead of a gun, and yes there are reasons that aren’t for hunting or target shooting. There are different harmful reasons that people own guns and they use them the wrong way. Having more control would ease people's minds on the situations that have been occurring, especially in schools.
    What people need to realize is that it’s a very big world with many different people, and some of those people are mentally disturbed and believe what they are doing is okay. The weapons can’t pick themselves up and injure someone. There are ways we can help these people with medical attention and facilities, there are better ways to handle this issue instead of taking away people’s rights.
    In Montana we are seeing more and more people fighting for their right to own and carry a weapon to ensure their safety, Montana’s Sport Shooting Association president Gary Marbut is fighting for educators to be armed in schools for the protection of students and staff, which is made clear that not all staff will have firearms but only those who are comfortable with them. Many have different opinions then this such as State Senate Margie MacDonald who disagrees and states that harsher background checks must be in place in order to own and handle a gun.
    Within the years there have been gun incidents in Montana within schools and public places, the most recent was in Missoula on Friday March 16 at Big Sky High School. There were several students that were being investigated for a situation that at the moment is unknown, when a student was contacted to be investigated he ran. The schools resource officer fired shots in the school parking lot when the student tried to run him over. The student proceeded to drive away until he crashed into the Denny Menholt Honda Dealership where the 17 year old was arrested and is now being held in a juvenile detention center in Missoula. On the scene of the dealership Mario Lucero who was a pedestrian that was nearly hit by the teen found a pistol by the road and reported it to the police.
    The real reason that innocent people's lives have been taken for horrible reasons, it really isn't the gun that does the damage, it’s the people behind the guns that are pulling the trigger intentionally to fire every bullet at every person they hit. The people who are doing the damage are the damaged, for example the teen that opened fire in Florida early last month has a history of mental health issues and different types of problems that the police were aware about. This person was mentally ill and is the real reason the kids in Florida have lost their lives. Yes, the bullets did the damage, but the pulling of the trigger always comes first.
    In conclusion, many people have more opinions about this issue, and have a right to their opinion, but the reason we have a say is because our founding fathers thought of incredible ways to make our country work and make it a place for all, the same men who wrote the second amendment, ensuring our security for ourselves by letting citizens buy and own weapons.


Are fish hatcheries a real solution?
of The Flathead Arrow

    A trout is a trout, right? I mean they're all fish and they all look the same. Why would it matter where we get them from? This was the attitude of fish management in Montana during the early 20th century. To create more fisheries in Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks would ride out to mountain streams on horse back carrying milk jugs full of fish to streams. Upon arriving at the streams, the hatchery grown interbred fish were released into the ecosystem. The problem with is was they were not native fish to those streams, most were not even from Montana they were whatever was easiest to get at the time. These fish would go into the habitat of the native west slope cutthroat trout and bull trout and either out compete the other fish or they would interbreed and ruin the genetic purity of the fish. To put the cherry on the top we also introduced fish that we thought would do well into our lakes like kokanee salmon, which is a very popular and great tasting fish, but also another competitor in the food web. When the salmon population began to decline they introduced the Mysis freshwater shrimp to provide another food source for the salmon. That idea looked great on paper but there was one small detail we didn’t know, the shrimp feed at night where as the salmon feed during the day. So, what happened was the salmon never saw their new food source and continued to decline until they disappeared. But this was great for another introduced species, the lake trout was able to take advantage of this
    It didn’t take long for the new invasive species to take hold and toy with the food web of our lake and stream ecosystems. Soon our bull trout and west slope cutthroat populations began to plummet and in many places completely bottomed out. By the time we realized what had happened it was too late. So, what did we do? We used the same method that got us into this predicament to fix the problem. We began to grow native species in hatcheries to reintroduce to their native streams. But is that really a solution?
    Currently the fish that are grown in hatcheries are put in a tank and fed pellets instead of the real food that they would see in their own habitat. After generations of fish being feed at the top of the tank when the fish are released into the streams they tend to stay around the surface of the water, which gives way to predation. Now its understandable that we do not feed the fish live food because of cost and the whole debacle of what do we feed the food? But the current food being fed to the only bull trout in the state is made in Japan (because there is no commercially made food for bull trout in the US). Since the bull trout program is only been going on for about a year there is no data on whether or not they are successful but their other species such as the west slope cutthroat and rainbow trout that are grown in Creston are highly successful.
    Now the future of our native fish may sound bleak but every year the situation is looking better and better. With new studies and finding coming out every year we are improving the hatchery process to increase the survival of these species. What I would like to see in the coming years is less nonnative species being grown such as rainbow trout and replacing them with other species like bull trout and maybe artic graylings or any other struggling species missing from our beloved ecosystem.

Youth shows Immaturity with Tide Pods  
of The Flathead Arrow

    “The Tide Pod Challenge”, something that has been heard from all over the country. This “challenge” started hitting the news big around Jan 17, 2018. Teens are eating the laundry detergent pods that hit the market in 2011 as an easier way to handle laundry, but why did this now happening, why are teens decide that it’s funny or worthy of doing. In my opinion I do not think one should think about eating laundry detergent, not just because it causes chemical burns within the human body, but because these are the future generations that our nation will rely on one day. It should and makes this generation look very very immature.
Many challenges have been taken on by teens, such as the water bucket challenge, or the cinnamon challenge, all of these videos have gotten so many viewers on social media. Now the tide pod challenge has became the newest challenge to social media.
    The whole reason teens are doing this, isn’t because it’s fun, it’s because teens this day in age are obsessed with social media and live for the attention of others. These teens are receiving huge amounts of attention from other teens and also many upset people including doctors who are now posting all over to not eat tide pods because of the physical harm it causes to internal bodies.
Many convenience stores have been forced to lock all laundry detergent up so that they may not be consumed inside their store which could be a huge lawsuit against stores.
    There is no reason other than publicity that these kids are doing what they are doing. I truly believe that the human intelligence is much higher than these teens portray. Social media causes one to do things one wouldn’t usually do such as the tide pod challenge.