Rhinoceros Poaching

1,338 of these iconic animals were killed for their horns in Africa last year. Since 2008, as many as 5,940 rhinos have been killed for people’s desire for their horns. The illegal trade of their horns are the main reason why there are around 29,000 rhinos left in the wild, according to statistics provided by Save The Rhino.This number has changed from 70,000 rhinos in 1970. So, as you can see rhino poaching has escalated over the years. One reason for this is the belief by many that grinding down the rhinoceros horns and mixing it with water or alcohol will make a medication, called powdered horn. Powdered horn is used in traditional Asian medicine as a supposed cure for a range of illnesses from hangovers to fevers and even cancer.But the current rage has been driven by demand for rhino horns in Vietnam. As well as its use in medicine, rhino horns are bought and consumed purely as a symbol of wealth. Rhinos horns are worth 60,000 per kilo with some even being worth 100,000 per kilo. Higher priced horns are often engraved with precise designs and sometimes have gold jewelry implanted within the horn.

With only 3 northern white rhinos left, I feel the poaching needs to stop. Rhinos once roamed many places throughout Eurasia and Africa. They were widespread across Africa’s savannas and Asia’s tropical forests. Today very few rhinos survive outside national parks and reserves. Two species of rhino are Critically Endangered. Rhinos are going against extinction. Only with our help, to stop the killings of  the rhinos will they have a chance of survival.


Boxer and Father Fight Together

In La Puente, California, a young boxer, Leo Santa Cruz, is preparing to win back his super featherweight boxing title. In July of 2016, Leo lost his first professional fight to undefeated Carl Frampton. During Leo’s training, he says he still can hear the ringing of his loss like a direct blow to the head which gives him a drive to avenge himself as one of the best. Leo’s father and trainer, Jose Santa Cruz Sr, is also fighting a hard fight. Except it’s a fight for his life. He has taken the ultimate body blow… cancer. However, Jose still manages to make it to the rink to watch his son fight. Leo’s fight will take place on January 28, 2017.


Leo Santa Cruz

My opinion on this topic is that it is a very sad for the boxer and his family. However, it made Leo desire the win in his championship fight even more because he wanted to win for his father and he was dedicating the fight to his ill dad. I think that this is a very dear thing that Leo Santa Cruz did for his father because it shows how much love and respect he has for Jose. Leo says that he was training the hardest he has ever trained in his life and his dad was with him through the whole thing. This shows that Leo and his father Jose have a very strong relationship with each other and how much Jose cares for Leo’s career even through his hardships.


Therapy Dogs


For my blog post this quarter, I have decided to write about therapy dogs and how they help those who need it most. Therapy dogs are dogs that are trained to provide affection and comfort to people in places such as hospitals and nursing homes. There are three basic types of therapy dogs. The first type of therapy dogs are called “Therapeutic Visitation” dogs. These are common household pets whose owners take them to visit different places such as hospitals, nursing homes, detention facilities and rehabilitation facilities. Visitation dogs helps people who are away from their family due to mental or physical illnesses and make them feel loved. These truly special dogs help brighten the day of those who are away from their loved ones. The second type of therapy dogs are called “Animal Assisted Therapy” dogs. Animal Assisted Therapy dogs help improve a patient’s mental, physical, social and emotional state. There are many different settings that they may visit. The most common places where dogs make their appearance are hospitals, nursing homes and therapeutic boarding schools for teens. However, there is a reason why the dogs take an adventure in a place like hospitals. Some are involved with specific therapeutic goals, such as assisting with patients who are working towards gaining motion in some limbs and  increase their motor control by completing an easy task such as basic pet care skills. Finally, the last type of therapy dog is called a “Facility Therapy Dog”. These dogs mainly work in nursing homes. They are often trained to help keep patients with diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease from getting into trouble. These types of dogs usually live at the facility.


I think that therapy dogs are so important to the community. They can give someone so much love that they may be missing in their life. These extraordinary dogs help people deal with depression, anxiety, cancer and so much more. They are there to listen, to comfort and to love without judgement. There is a sort of feeling that that is hard find with other people and it helps some open up. There are so many ways that therapy dogs help everyone around them. Depression and anxiety have recently become a big part of lives all across the world. Those with depression try to avoid the outside world because of the fear and stress of what may happen. “Anxiety and depression involve emotional turmoil and negative internal ‘self-talk,’” Dr. Katie Kangas, co-founder of the Pet Wellness Academy, explains. “These thoughts typically spiral into unrealistic negativity and this continues in a vicious cycle.” Kangas goes further into explaining how dogs provide a comforting companionship. Her and her group of colleges discussed whether or not having a dog for depression was a good idea and they come to the conclusion that it would help with so many more ways to help than doctors can even prescribe. It helps them have one focus and one responsibility. “A dog needs to be fed, needs to be walked, and needs to be pet, so on days when a person feels least motivated, a thump of a happy tail motivates a person to get back to living,” Demling says.

Along with an opportunity of responsibility, dogs also give their owners and companions unconditional love. After some studies, it was a unanimous agreement that 100% of the time, a dog does not judge when a person is depressed, anxious, lonely, wearing the same clothes as yesterday and can’t get out of bed. It makes people feel like they have a true friend during their difficulties.

One of the most important things about therapy dogs is that when working with people with depression, anxiety and almost any other disease, they are able to recognize signs of a panic attack or seizure coming. “The mere presence or non-reaction to a stimulus of a trusted companion often calms an attack,” Demling explains. “Dogs can also be trained to use passive methods to block strangers from approaching their handler unexpectedly.”

With someone to always be able to talk to, to be comforted at difficult times and for unconditional love without judgement, I believe that therapy dogs are a necessity in this wonderful world. Just think about how happy it will make someone feel, how they will have comfort that is difficult to find in people, as well as the smile on their face when they find a beautiful animal lying down next to them.


The Ringling Brothers Draw the Curtain on Their Famous Performers

The Ringling Brothers recently promised to retire elephants in the circus after animal rights activists found out the way elephants were treated when they traveled with the circus and demanded them to be released. The circus used dangerous weapons to force the elephants to cooperate and they lived in harsh living conditions, while getting poorly taken care of. On March 6th the elephants performed their last show two years earlier than the scheduled date. In May they will be sent to a 200 acre preserve in Florida where they can finally be free and not have to perform for “The Greatest Show on Earth”.

The last 11 Asian elephants performing on Sunday, March 6th closed the curtain and are now living freely, with other elephants in a preserve where they will be cared for, and not punished or forced to perform. Maybe not, while they won’t be performing they will be undergoing medical research and animal testing because Dr. Shipman has studied elephants for a while now and realized elephants rarely get cancer so they should be medically tested. Stephen Payne, vice president of communications for Ringling Brothers said “We’re working with Dr. Shipman to see if we might be able to find novel new treatments for cancer for kids, and perhaps for everyone.” They will be forced to undergo tests and treatment to help everyone.

The elephants should not be tested at the preserve because they have been through alot and have worked basically their entire life. They should be free in the preserve like any other elephant in the wild. Elephants are already endangered and we don’t need unnecessary tests and to put anymore cruelty on these gentle giants that have already been through so much. That is not how an animal should live.


Chocolate! It Actually Helps!

Many people believe that chocolate is unhealthy for the body. It turns out, there are some benefits to this delightful candy! There are three types of chocolate: white, milk, and dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is supposedly the healthiest kind of chocolate there is. However, all three types of chocolate have their benefits for people. Some benefits of chocolate are that it strengthens the brain, improves the mood, and helps prevent illnesses.  

Eating chocolate can help the brain become stronger. Researchers at John Hopkins University found out that dark chocolate shields one’s brain cells. The chocolate also protects the cells from damage. Testing out this study on mice, the researchers found that the cells in the brains of the mice were protected from damage, especially from strokes. Epicatechin is an ingredient in chocolate. It was found that this ingredient helps improve memories. Chocolate can help make the brain stronger, and can also improve the mood of humans. A study was conducted, and this philosophy was proved right. Participants were asked to complete many tasks. Before the tasks, though, one group of the participants consumed a cocoa flavanol drink. It resulted with that group having less “mental fatigue” than the other participants. While improving the mood, chocolate helps prevent illnesses. Many studies have been conducted, some with heart attacks, cancer, or blood inflammation. It is proven that chocolate can help reduce the likelihood of these illnesses. Eating chocolate can actually benefit us. Many have never known that, but now, parents can let their children go eat their chocolate, especially on Halloween.

I personally believe that chocolate is not that all harmful. It can, in some ways, help one. It also lets one’s mind let go of all the stress they have, or their tension and worries. I eat chocolate all the time, and it calms me down. When I eat it, I forget about everything, and I just live life!


A Cancer Test That Only Costs Three Cents!


Have you ever experienced a loved one being diagnosed with cancer. If you have, it’s apparent that cancer is no easy battle. In this day and age, technology has enabled researchers to do more and more research on typical cancers (like breast cancer). But what about the more rare cancers, such as pancreatic cancer? Today, I’m here to inform you about Jack Andraka’s process of creating this breakthrough and the challenges he dealt with through this process.

After losing a family friend to pancreatic cancer, Jack started doing some research. From the start, he found out that 85% of pancreatic cancers are detected late (when there is a 2% chance of survival). He knew that he wanted this to change, but how? All great minds start somewhere, and Jack started out by pinpointing a protein (in the bloodstream) that is present in all pancreatic cancer cases and in the earliest stages. This protein is mesothelin. After having an epiphany in the middle of a high school biology class, he was on to something. Basically, he would “lace antibodies to [carbon] nanotubes so that they would react to mesothelin,” (blog.ted.com). Now, this theory may seem confusing to the average middle schooler, but Jack states that, “it’s as easy as making chocolate chip cookies.”

In Jack’s seminar, he talked about a preexisting pancreatic cancer test, pointing out how costly such tests were (as high as $800) and that they often didn’t produce accurate results. Now the hard part is over… or is it? Finding a lab to conduct his research was a challenge for Jack. In fact, he wrote to 200 scientists to use their lab and got 199 rejections. John Hopkins University was willing to take him up on his idea, but not without asking him tons of questions. Nonetheless, he kept going and, in the end, produced a sensor for pancreatic cancer through hard work and minor improvements to his plan. This just goes to show how, no matter your age, anyone can achieve great things.

To me, Jack’s story is really inspirational. I guess, whenever you have an idea, you should never be afraid to pursue it. In Jack’s case, he received many rejections, but, in the end, produced a cancer detector that will change millions of people’s lives. The best part about his invention, to me, is how inexpensive it is. At a mere 3 cents, it’s incredibly affordable and has close to a 100% accuracy rate. Jack had spoken in a TED seminar a few months ago. Be sure to watch this video, as you can hear the full story behind Jack’s discovery. This just goes to show that innovation takes hard work but really pays off in the end. It just takes one idea.

~ Mehreen


Amazing Gift for Bat Kid


The city of San Francisco raised approximately $105,000 for a little boy named, Miles Scott, who is suffering from leukemia, a dangerous cancer. Much of the money was used to buy sound systems and video screens so that the huge crowd could see and hear Miles. Miles had one wish and that was to be a Superhero.  His favorite Superhero was Batman so “Make A Wish Foundation” took notice and planned a special day for him. On November 15, 2013 the foundation rented out a part of San Francisco and replicated it to look like Gotham City. The crowed gathered to see 5 year old Miles Scott, aka, “bat kid” receive a giant chocolate key for the city. Soon this amazing event captured national attention and “bat kid” became a star.

After reading this article I felt a  very heartwarming feeling which I am sure the people in the city of San Francisco felt as well. I hope this story is noticed by others who will be inspired to then want to help sick people in our world. It is special moments like Miles experienced that mean so much to a person who is struggling to live and may not live long enough to enjoy a full life. I am very grateful for what “Make A Wish Foundation” did for this young boy and to cross the line by making even San Francisco look like Gotham City and raised all this money just to make a kids wish come true. Not only was this a great thing to do but imagine how happy Miles must have been to feel like a superhero and save the day.But I also hope he is saved from cancer himself. This story was so cool and amazing that my family and I made a donation to the “Make a Wish Foundation” so they could continue to make these special days for young children suffering from cancer. Now, what can you do?



Government Shutdown Killing People?

The government shutdown might have seemed like a silly fight between the Republican and Democratic parties, but could possibly be something deadly. Other than parks and many other national parks being shut down, clinical trials are also being put on hold, which is very bad news for the thousands of sick patients holding on to their last strand of hope. Many cancer patients and other sick patients with various diseases hope to find refuge in new and hopefully successful drugs that have been tested and found to work towards their own type of health problem. These drugs are still in phases where they are being tested but have been found successful, and to these people who mostly have little to no treatment options, they can only pray that this will be the cure, and it quite possibly could. Weekly, hundreds of patients are admitted into these facilities run by the National Institute of Health. According to NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, over one-third of the patients accepted in their clinic are cancer patients, and about 15% being children. About 15,000 employees of the NIH(National Institute of Health) are on a temporary leave as well. Numerous studies would have began this week, but due to this ridiculous shutdown, people must wait before once again receiving government funding to run these life-saving programs.

I believe that this is certainly absurd, and can not imagine how the families of these people are feeling. The government should stop this nonsense and agree with the other party about these things before things get worse, because ignorance should not have to be payed with these innocent lives. Furious cannot even begin to describe how much hate must go towards the government at this crucial time. Would you like to know that what you are doing could be taking lives away? Especially as one of the main concerns being talked about during the shutdown is funding for Obamacare, which is directed towards giving everyone the benefits of healthcare. Although some of these treatments could possibly be a failure, most of the people willing to apply for these clinical trials don’t have much of a choice in front of them. Most have already gone through countless doses of chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and much more pain. It would be very possible that they realistically had months, even days to live. Now with the government shutting down, they are being denied treatments when they most need it, for people that are battling cancer that have no time to spare and early treatment can save millions of lives. These days with the government shutdown, people in need of miracle may just not be able to get one, and who is to blame?



It’s the time of year again to help out St. Jude’s Children Hospital. Every year many families go in and out of St Jude’s without having to pay a penny. For more than 30 years, Math-a-Thon has been America’s largest education based fundraiser. This program includes a free math curriculum supplement for grades K-8 that students can complete after getting sponsors from family and friends. All the proceeds go to St Jude where doctors and scientists work to eradicate childhood cancer and other childhood diseases. Our school is participating in this fundraiser,arranged by NJHS students. Students from NJHS were each assigned a homeroom throughout the school and have gone into the classrooms to talk about this program. Not only Dodd, but many other people have taken their time to donate to St. Jude and talk about it. People on twitter/social networking sites have also been trying to get people to donate.

This is a great cause. Math-a-Thon can help improve math and comprehension skills and donate money to help saving lives! This is a way to benefit yourself by doing the math problems while helping thousands by making the money that goes to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

~Sophia Qiu

Lights of Hope Takes Action


Since 2005, Cheshire’s neighbors have turned to each other to find hope in the midst of darkness.  All while raising more than $310,000 for local charities that are important to our neighbors including Cheshire’s Food Pantry, Cheshire Youth and Social Services, Petit Family Foundation,  American Cancer Society and Multiple Sclerosis Society.   The now-annual Cheshire’s Lights of Hope event has brought together neighbors to help neighbors all with the simple act of lighting a single candle in a bag and illuminating our wonderful town. Upwards of 100 volunteers turn out every year to bring the event to fruition.  From street captains to clean up crew, the town has made this event its own and has helped hundreds of area families with donations to local charities. 100% of proceeds raised go directly to charities.

I feel like this is a very good activity for everyone is Cheshire and its helping and making Cheshire look nice at the same time. My family helps and we put them on the edge of our driveway to make a difference.  I think every family in Cheshire should do this because then we could show that Cheshire cares and we can make a difference. This goes out to tons of people and organizations. Questions I still have for this, is, how can our town make even a bigger difference and show that we care while still keeping the same subject, The Lights of Hope. Another Question that I have is what are some other things that our town is already doing to help and is there any openings for volunteers?

~Vicki Palmer