Friday, July 31, 2015


Despite almost 300,000 people converting religions to the Mormon church in 2014, these numbers up against the number of missionaries are lagging. This 9 percent increase marked the largest number of converts in this history of the church, but the 44 percent increase in missionaries make the total number seem better than it was in actuality, according to the Associated Press.

Elders Andrew Jefferies and Zhuofeng Li are two of the local missionaries in Pullman, Washington, focusing on students at Washington State University. During the regular school year they get about three to four individuals interested enough to give them their phone number and about two who actually come in to the church per day, according to Jefferies.

During their walk around campus, Jefferies and Li make an effort to say hello and be friendly to everyone they pass. If an individual seems interested to talk, they try to engage them in conversation, asking if they have a religion and if they would be interesting in coming to a service at their church. They don't identify themselves as Mormon unless they get deeper into conversation, however, with the slacks in 95 degree heat and the white shirt and tie, they are easily recognizable as Mormon missionaries.

Many people will just put their head down and walk past, ignoring the missionaries and hoping they don't engage them. Logan Pillings, a student at WSU, says his first reaction when he sees the missionaries is thinking to himself, please don't talk to me. However, if the missionaries do engage him, he won't be rude and will talk to them for a minute or two. Eventually, if they go on too long he will give them his opinion on religion and go along his way.

This seems to be a common reaction around campus, especially with the Mormon religion seeming behind the times on matters like marriage equality and feminism, hot-button issues for the millennials. With news stories like the church considering cutting ties with the Boy Scouts of America over their recent vote to allow openly gay leaders as well as documentaries like "8: The Mormon Proposition" explicitly displaying the funding coming from the Mormon church to make gay marriage illegal in the state of California with proposition eight in 2013, the church is fighting an uphill battle with socially liberal college students.

The church has changed in the past to keep up with modern times, banning polygamy in 1890 and allowing blacks to become full members of the church in 1978. Institute of Religion support specialist Barbara Jo Vandehey said any changes within the church come from God, and the prophets praying about it. Elder Jefferies doesn't expect any major changes in the near future for the church.

In order to conduct an official interview with the Elders, permission had to be granted by the office of public affair for the Mormon church in Salt Lake City. There were certain things that were allowed to be discussed, and certain things that were off-limits. Anything considered controversial was not to be talked about.

NARRATOR: I talked to Elders Andrew Jefferies and Zhuofeng Li about the differences in missionary work in a college town like Pullman versus a town like Hayden Lake, Idaho

LI: No, because Hayden Lake I used to talk to the families but I guess it depends


LI: That the people, the person you are talking to

JEFFERIES: It's different, I wouldn't say it's more hard or easier.They're just more honest, maybe. They just tell you, more upfront.

NARRATOR: With the changing times, I asked Barbara Jo Vandehey where she thinks the church is moving in the future.

Vandehey; Those decisions are not made unilaterally by one person or even by a group of people, but they're prayed about, received answers to types of things

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cecil the Lion

I would run the name of the poacher because it is no different than running an investigative journalistic piece about a corporation using illegal labor practices or a preacher molesting children. Even though he is not officially charged with a crime yet, that doesn't mean what he did isn't reprehensible and something he needs to answer for to the public and hopefully the court of law at some point.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Commas. Ugh.

These little fellas often appear at random in stories.

* So here’s a basic rule to commit to memory: When a conjunction (and, but, or, or for) links two clauses that could stand alone, use a comma before the conjunction.

a.              We are visiting Washington, and we also plan a trip to Williamsburg.
b.              We are visiting Washington and plan a trip to Williamsburg.

Think of it this way: The subject of sentence b. is “We.” The verbs are “are visiting” and “plan.” We don’t want to separate the subject from the second verb – so no comma.

Exception: Very short phrases (three words or less) do not require a comma, even with two independent clauses and a conjunction.

Correct the following sentences. If the sentence is already correct, write “correct.”

1. He looked through the door, but he did not see anyone inside the church.

2. "We could wait to see if anyone else came, or we could go back home," she said.

3. Reed, a graduate of Washington State University, was elected Secretary of State in 2000.

4. The organization paid the speaker $1,000, but their officers were unable to attend the event.

5. According to Washington state law, bars will become smoke-free on February 15th.

6. He saw Karen, and they had coffee. correct

7. The bales are then sold to a processing center in Tacoma, Washington, which ships them to Moscow, Idaho.

8. It was raining all day on Monday, so we stayed home. correct

9. Later, he phoned again.

10. This will end up having an affect on consumers, she said.

11. He introduced the speaker to Johnson, Williams, and Smith. correct

Appositions, hyperbatons and non-restrictive relative clauses: We don't need to remember the names of these grammar tools. But let's look at how they can help us form shorter descriptive phrases. In other words, squish these two sentences into one.

1. Sam Reed, a graduate of Washington State University, spoke at the Honors College on Wednesday, Sept. 22.

2. The concert will be held on Friday night as part of WSU's Homecoming Weekend.

3.  Frustrated by cuts to higher education, president Elson S. Floyd promised he would lobby legislators in Olympia.


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Interview audio

An Endangered Species Survives in the Palouse

Along the right hand wall of Howard Hughes Video in Moscow, Idaho sits a section dedicated to the Criterion Collection. In the Criterion Collection you will find "Seven Samurai," the 1954 live-action samurai film directed by Akira Kurosawa.

Marc Cramer, a regular customer of Howard Hughes Video since it opened 30 years ago, knows firsthand just what a luxury this is. Cramer briefly moved out of Moscow to Twin Falls, Idaho. In an attempt to find a comparable store in his new town he walked into the Twin Falls local video store. He asked the clerk where he could find "Seven Samurai." Um, I think you can find that in the anime section, the clerk told him.

In Howard Hughes Video, Marc Cramer can find "Seven Samurai" as well as over 30,000 different titles among the neatly organized shelves festooning the aisles and walls of the establishment.

Howard Hughes, not the subject of the Martin Scorsese film "The Aviator" as portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio, but a Palouse local businessman, first started Howard Hughes Video simply as a rack of VHS's offered for rental inside his other business, Howard Hughes Appliance, in the mid-1980's.

The store continued to grow as home theater systems became more accessible and affordable, and eventually moved out of Howard Hughes Appliance and into its own building.

Hughes sold off his businesses about ten years ago, and when Howard Hughes Video stopped turning in the profits it had in the past, the store was sold again. The group did well initially, but with the wave of streaming options and RedBox over the past couple years, Howard Hughes Video, like all video stores, has struggled, according to majority owner Patricia Engle.

Hundreds of stores like Howard Hughes Video have been forced to shut their doors over the last decade. Massive franchises like Blockbuster and Hollywood Video have ceased to exist.  Scarecrow Video, in Seattle, who has one of the largest video collections in the country with over 117,000 titles, had to turn non-profit in order to continue operations.

So what has kept Howard Hughes Video operational when so many others have shut down? It's the community, said Jamie Hill, manager of Howard Hughes Video. The people of Moscow continue coming in to rent their new releases, the hard to find Criterion Collection movies and their British TV programs.

The community aspect is evident anywhere you look in Howard Hughes Video. One example is right next to the employee recommendation section is a customer recommendation section where two customers have their favorite films on display.

In order to have your films on display you have to first answer the trivia question posted on a whiteboard behind the counter. This week's question asks "What do Bill Bixby, Edward Norton, Eric Bana and Mark Ruffalo have in common?" When you correctly answer the question your name goes into the monthly drawing to have your taste on display.

Even so, employees like Ian Pannkuk and Ben Hardcastle worry about the fate of Howard Hughes Video. "People would rather sit on their asses and choose between a few hundred titles than come in and choose between a few thousand.," Hardcastle said.

Engle has reached out to the loyal customers of Howard Hughes Video as well as members of the Moscow community in an attempt to keep the store operational. Howard Hughes Video has not been profitable in about three years, according to Engle, and they are working desperately to try to find a solution to keep it open.

Howard Hughes Video is such a big part of the Moscow community, it would be a shame to have to close down, said Engle. A group headed by Engle and including members of the community meets every few weeks for brainstorming sessions on how to save the business.