Check out Fitness Fever on Sunday, February 16

This coming Sunday, February 16, Polk County Public Health invites you for some FREE winter movement indoor fun at the Functionally Fit II building (located at West Robert Street and Main Street) where they’ll have Zumba, Yoga and Tae Kwon Do. Next Sunday, February 23, they’ll have FREE skiing and snowshoeing at Central Park plus families can bring their sleds. There will also be hot cocoa and a small bonfire. T.H.E. Bus is providing FREE rides to and from the activities if you call 281-0700 the Friday before each event. Enjoy the month of February with fitness and fun.

A little appreciation for the Academy’s efforts

Leading into Sunday's Academy Awards, as is often the case there was consternation and people up in arms over an apparent lack of gender and cultural diversity among those nominated for the major Oscars. This isn't unusual, but, once again, the actual telecast seemed to celebrate gender equality and cultural diversity, with one reminder after another from those speaking and performing on stage that the world is, in fact, a stage, and there is room on it for everyone. Granted, a few poignant words from behind a podium or a timely shout-out don't necessarily add up to the reality unfolding on the ground, and a cynic could conclude that much of Sunday’s show was the Academy pandering to its critics. But, still, Sunday's Oscars was an effort to be diverse; it was something, which is better than nothing. And the fact that the South Korean film "Parasite" was the evening's biggest winner, well, that's something even more.

No sympathy after a bad week for the Boston Red Sox

The Minnesota Twins eventually got their man, pitcher Kenta Maeda, from the Dodgers on Sunday, trading flamethrower pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol to get him. But the Twins thought they'd traded Graterol to the Boston Red Sox five days earlier as part of the blockbuster trade involving Red Sox all-stars Mookie Betts and David Price. But the Red Sox brass, when their fans revolted at the perceived lack of return for Betts and Price, panicked, and subsequently held up the trade over concerns about Graterol's injury history. Sure, they didn't get to see his medical records until the trade had been agreed to in principle, but let's not pretend the Red Sox brass weren't aware of each of Graterol's injuries over the past couple of seasons. Let's not pretend they didn't know the Twins brass had decided to move Graterol to the bullpen, instead of starting, because of those injuries. They knew, but they got scared when spoiled, petulant Boston sports fans freaked out. This was not done right.

Watch Pixar short ‘Piper’

Have you ever seen the 2016 animated short film “Piper” by Pixar Animation Studios? If not, look it up. It was released in theaters alongside Pixar’s “Finding Dory” movie, the sequel to “Finding Nemo,” and the “Piper” short charmingly captures a young, hungry sandpiper bird overcoming her fear of water. If you’ve ever been to Florida and spent time on the beach, chances are you’ve seen one or even dozens of sandpipers scouring for food on the shoreline. They’re small, delicate birds who race to the wet sand between waves hoping they’ll find a shell with something inside. Their mannerisms are expressed “to a T” in Pixar’s rendition of the sandpiper’s quest and watching the short will make you feel like you’re right on the beach with them.

Hope that the XFL is able to stick around

The XFL has started out well, but we will have to wait to see if it can maintain its success. The last spring football league, the AAF, went bankrupt just 8 weeks into their first season. Hopefully the XFL can maintain the same buzz and publicity they are getting now, and keep it going for the whole season. ABC reported that the first XFL game drew 3.3 million viewers. One of the exciting things about the league is the new rules it has. Their are no extra point kicks in the XFL. Instead, teams can choose to go for either 1,2, or 3 points after scoring a touchdown. Viewers also get to hear from head coaches after every play, as well as listen in to the replay booth when a play is being reviewed. The XFL is a very fun and exciting league, and hopefully they can learn from the mistakes of the AAF and other failed leagues and stick around.
– Cooper Brown, student writer