Shady Pines Celebrates ‘Cause It’s Fall Y’all!

Shady Pines Celebrates ‘Cause It’s Fall Y’all!

How Do You Explain This New Season?

Hey, kids, do you want to learn some cool facts about Fall?   

I’m Zulah Talmadge. Here in The Shady Pines Gazette news headquarters we’ve been getting all sorts of questions from parents and teachers. They want to know how to explain this new season to children. So we did some research. Here are some fun facts:

Did you know that Fall and Autumn are the same seasons? Autumn is considered the formal word for Fall. Fall is when the weather starts getting cooler, leaves change color and some animals start searching for food to store for the winter.  

What Exactly is Fall?

Fall or Autumn is one of the four seasons.  The four seasons are Winter, SpringSummer, and Fall.  Fall is the season between Summer and Winter.  The first day of Autumn this year is Wednesday, September 22nd. 

The unofficial end of the summer season and the beginning of the Fall season is when the children go back to school. 

Colors associated with the season are red, yellow, orange, brown, and black.

When is Fall?

Fall begins on the Autumnal Equinox.  On the Equinox the sun spends almost the same amount of time above and below the horizon.  The sunrise and sunset are about 12 hours apart everywhere on Earth.  The daylight hours are a little longer.

In the Northern Hemisphere (where the United States is located) October is the first full month of Fall.

Fall ends on the Winter Solstice. Believe me, it can get cold here in Shady Pines!

The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year.  The day has the least amount of sunlight.

The Winter Solstice usually occurs on December 21st or 22nd.

That’s right before Christmas. But let’s get back to the season at hand.

What Happens in Fall/Autumn?

In Fall you will notice that the leaves on the trees start to change color. Before you can say, “Quick Change Artist” they’re now red, yellow, orange, and brown. 

There are two types of trees – Deciduous and Evergreens.  Deciduous tree leaves change color but Evergreens do not. Christmas trees are evergreens.

So why do the leaves change color and drop from the trees?  Lack of food and water is the answer. Look around downtown Shady Pines and you’ll see the change of color in the plants and flowers.

During the Fall the days get shorter and the stuff in the leaves called, chlorophyl cannot get enough light from the sun needed to make food.  The leaf lives off the stored food and starts to lose chlorophyll and its green color.

As the chlorophyll leaves the leaf the yellow and orange colors start to show.  When all the stored food is used up the leaf dies, turns brown, and falls from the tree.

                         Fun Fall Things To Do

Do you want to know something else?

A lot of fun activities happen during Fall. For many Shady Pines families, it’s become a tradition to take the children out to pick pumpkins and apples during this time of year. Besides carving pumpkins, (sometimes for prizes) there are also good tasting recipes for pumpkin bread and apple cider.

We’ll have more on that later.

In the meantime, you might want to go shopping. The temperatures are getting cooler and it’s time to get ready for sweater weather. 

You might want to stock up on warm socks, hats, mittens, boots and galoshes. Yes, even those rubbery boots will come in handy. Kids can find so much to do even on those rainy, puddle-filled days.

With each new season there’s another chance to think about ways to be kind to our family members, neighbors, and friends.

And that’s not just a Fall thing. It’s and everyday thing in the small Southern town of Shady Pines.  Happy Fall to one and all!!!  – Zulah Talmadge

Shady Pines Remembers 9-11 Twenty Years Later

Shady Pines Remembers 9-11 Twenty Years Later

Where Were You on 9-11?

If you lived through the events of September 11, 2001, you still remember that awful and emotional day.Hi, everyone. Zula Talmadge here from The Shady Pines Gazette news. Twenty years later, it ocurs to me there are kids today who may not know much about this historic event.

We need to explain the horror of seeing the twin towersof the World Trade Center in downtown New York City reduced to ash. We must remind them about the other places that were attakced, too.

Kids need to know on this date every year we all say, “Never Forget.” We do this to honor the thousands of lives lost that day and in the days that followed. So many innocent people going about their daily lives never made it home. Planes were hijacked by bad men and flown into their targets.

I know I’d never experienced an act of terrorism like that before. I was stunned as I watched with disbelief as news of the tragedy flickered on our TV screens. It seemed like a bad movie. It couldn’t be real.

First, there was shock. No one could believe that our country was being attacked in this way. And then we saw so many brave policemen, firemen, and other first responders race in to help others. Many didn’t come back alive. It was all too much to bear.

I’m sure it’s hard for anyone who did not live through that day to understand the full scope of the emotions we felt. None of us at the time could know the impact it had not only on our country, but on our individual lives. We would never feel as safe again.

September 11th is now known as Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance.  To the children in Shady Pines Story Town today, this date may only be a chapter in a history book. Our challenge as reportrs, parents or educators is to explain the true significance of this day in our nation’s history.

As you try to explain 9/11 to your child, here are two truths to be learned from that day. These are lessons that go beyond the news reports, textbooks, or facts associated with this tragedy.

America Is Strong

A remarkable reaction on 9-11 was the unity, compassion, and strength that flowed through our country. Strangers cried together, held hands, ran to help each other, stood in lines to donate blood, and rallied together. It was an inspiring bond we shared through our tears.

As deep and painful as our wounds were, a sense of brotherhood swept over our nation in a way many of us may have never before seen in our lifetime. Above the black smoke and rubble, America still stood as a country ready for the long fight ahead. We could really feel hope and determination because of the spirit of our people.

Heroism lives within us

In the days and weeks following September 11th, stories we heard countless stories of the heroes who  went above and beyond. Emergency personnel and first responders ran into buildings when everyone else was running out. Some must have known they could be running to their deaths. Co-workers turned around back into the smoke to save someone they heard calling for help.

The heroism demonstrated that day by so many is overwhelming. The thing is, these people woke up that morning just like the rest of us. They did not know what was to be asked of them in the next couple of hours. But, when it came time, they got up the courage needed and answered the call.

It is important while discussing the events of September 11th that you listen to any questions a child might ask. I know when I talk to kids about 9-11, I do my best to ease any fears or worries they have. One of our teachers has them draw a picture or write a letter. By doing that, kids express their thoughts and emotions after learning about this tragic yet courageous day.

To the innocent mind of  a child, it may be difficult for them to really understand the importance of Patriot Day. That’s OK. What they can learn, is that we live in a country that turned fear into bravery, and vulnerability into strength. They should realize that, just like the heroes of 9/11, being a citizen

and a friend means helping those around you. Here in Shady Pines we always encourage volunteering in the community, being a kind neighbor and classmate, and being aware and concerned when they see a friend in need.

If you live near any of the September 11th memorials like the one in New York City, Patriot Day is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of hands-on learning. Children will be able to witness firsthand or on the internet, the tributes to the victims and heroes. The legacy of these brave men and women live on in these memorials and museums. The lessons of their heroism lives on in each and every one of us.

May we indeed truly never forget the lives lost that tragic September day, and may this Patriot Day 2021 be spent soaking in the beauty all around us, while celebrating the bravery of Americans then and now. Let us celebrate the strength of their efforts, our country, and cherish every moment with our loved ones.

What Do You Really Know About Labor Day?

What Do You Really Know About Labor Day?

Why is Labor Day a Big Deal?

It’s almost time to trade in your summer flip flops for your fall hiking shoes. Why do I say that? Because Labor Day weekend in Shady Pines is nearly here. Do you know why we celebrate the first Monday in September as Labor Day? Or, why most people view Labor Day as the unofficial end of summer? I’m Zulah Talmadge in The Shady Pines Gazette news office and I’ve been looking into the answers to those questions.

You probably know that Labor Day is the holiday when we celebrate the hard work and accomplishments of workers in America. On this day each year, we honor how they help make our country strong and successful.

How Labor Day Started

I’ve got a little history to share with you about how this holiday began. Way back in the 1800s, many people worked very long hours in unsafe factories or mines. Not only was it scary to work in those places, the workers didn’t make much money. Even young children woul work all day in these places and made even less money than the adults. Their job was much harder and more dangerous than the chores kids do today, like cleaning their room and taking out the trash.

These workers decided they had to do something to improve their situation. So they joined unions, which were organized groups of workers created to look out for their members.

Sometimes the union workers would hold marches and protests to complain about the bad conditions in which they worked and the low pay they received.

In September 5, 1882, union workers from many different trades, or kinds of jobsgot together to hold a big event. The workers took a day off and lost a day’s pay to march in New York City. They demanded better pay, fewer hours, and safer working conditions.

After the march was over a whole bunch of those people stayed around to have a picnic and enjoy their day off with other families in New York’s Central Park.  This became the first unofficial Labor Day parade and may be the beginning of the Labor Day picnic tradition!

Labor Day Becomes an Official Holiday

That first march sparked a movement. From then on the celebration of workers became more popular in other parts of the United States every year. In 1887, Oregon was the first state to pass a law making Labor Day a holiday.

Just like playing ‘follow the leader’, other states like Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York also began passing laws in 1887 recognizing Thousands of union workers participated in the 2018 Labor Day Parade. New York City’s biggest labor unions came flooded the Midtown Manhattan street as a reminder of the hard-fought rights won by the nation’s labor unions and, according to the prevalent chant of the day, that “New York City is a Union Town.”

Normally, colorful parades are held in cities all over the nation, including St. Louis, Missouri. This year just like 2020, there may not be as many parades as we’ve seen in years past. With the number of Covid cases on the rise again, a lot of cities may not think large gatherings are a good idea right now. Guess we’ll have to wait and see about that.

In the meantime, back to the story. In 1894, Congress passed an act to celebrate American workers. That’s how Labor Day became a national holiday that would be held on the first Monday . Some people say the September date was chosen because it falls between the 4th of July and Thanksgiving.

But to tell you the truth, no one knows for sure if that’s the reason. One thing we do know. You can still celebrate the day with a picnic or a Bar-B-Q. Being outside, even with social distancing, you can have plenty of good, old fashion, fun!

Thank goodness working conditions have greatly improved in the United States since the 19th century. Even so, we still have a long way to go before all workers are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. You should ask your parents about the jobs they’ve had in the past and how they were treated. That could get really interesting.

Not every worker gets time off for Labor Day. Take me and Scoop the Cub Reporter for example. We’ll be all over the place this weekend. And do you know why?
Because we have a lot of ground to cover. We’ll be checking in with folks in and around Shady Pines reporting on what y’all are doing to celebrate this special holiday.
Why don’t you let us know in the comments below what you and your family are planning for this last unofficial weekend of summer!
See ya later. – Zulah
Summer Heat – Southern Style

Summer Heat – Southern Style

If You Can’t Take the Heat…

I think we can all agree the South is a land of epic weather.  I’m Zulah Talmadge with The Shady Pines Gazette news and I’m going to be talking about how we cope with the extremes of summer.

Now we know that in a single year, we can experience hurricanes, tornados, floods, droughts, a blizzard’s worth of snow, and a heast index in the triple digits. That’s already happened in Shady Pines.

What is it about the Southern heat that speaks to us like nothing else? It’s kinda like our sweat badge of courage—proof, in our minds, that we can stand mercury levels which would surely undo any of those folks up north. And we do it gracefully.

Southern women don’t sweat—we “glisten.”

It’s not enough, of course, for Southerners to bravely endure the heat. No, we need to talk about it! We are always searching for ever more colorful ways of describing the heat’s intensity.

Here at The Gazette, we took a poll and asked our neighbors for things they say when it’s hot. Let us know if we missed any.

The Heat’s On:

It’s not the heat—it’s the humidity.

It’s hotter’n blue blazes.

Is it hot enough for ya?

Man, it’s hot as all get-out!

It must be 90 in the shade.

This one’s gonna be a scorcher.

You could fry an egg on the sidewalk.

You could fry an egg on the hood of that car.

How Hot Is It Really?

It’s so hot the swimming pool is boiling.

It’s so hot the ice cream truck melted.

It’s like a steam bath out here.

It’s like walking through soup out here.

If it gets any hotter, I’ll have to take off stuff I really ought to keep on.

You could have a stroke out here.

I’m wilting.

I’m burning slap up.

I’m sweatin’ like a hog.

Could I stick my face in your deep-freeze for just a second?

Final Thoughts

Well, there you have it.

Some great expression to haul out this summer when you’re trying to explain just how dang uncomfortable it really is in you neck of the woods. Any other favorite expression you’d like to share? Please leave ’em in the comments below.

Stay cool y’all!

– Zulah Talmadge, Editor of The Shady Pines Gazette

5 Fun Tokyo Olympics Facts For Kids

5 Fun Tokyo Olympics Facts For Kids

It’s Time for Olympic Competition

The countdown to the 2021 Tokyo Olmpic Games is on! Hi everyone.Breaking News I’m Scoop the Cub Reporter with The Shady Pines Gazette news and I’m getting pumped.  We’ve had to wait an extra year for the Olympics to roll around. Remember how it got cancelled last year becuase of the pandemic?

Well my editor, Zulah Talmadge, has given me a really cool assignment. I’m supposed to find some of the best reasons why kids in Shady Pines should watch this big sporting event.

I know most of them would rather be watching cartoons. But, hey, the Olympics only happens every four years. And there are some fun facts to know. Let’s get started.

1. The first modern Olympics took place in 1896

The Olympics themselves have been around for a really long time. Written records in Greece date the games back to 776 B.C. They might have been going on for years before that! Athletic competitions took place every four years near Olympia, Greece, during a religious festival honoring Zeus. Zeus is the god of the sky in ancient Greek mythology

But these ancient Olympic Games weren’t very well organized. The idea got a second chance in 1896 in Athens, and that event featured around 280 athletes (all male) who hailed from 13 countries and competed in 43 events.

2. The Motto & Five Olympic Rings

The Olympic motto is made up of three Latin words : Citius – Altius – Fortius. These words mean Faster – Higher – Stronger.

There is no greater symbol for the world’s biggst sporting event than the Olympic rings. You’ll find them featured on flags, fields of play and on buildings. These well known rings represent atheletes from around the world coming together to compete in a whole bunch of sporting events for two weeks.

Each ring symbolizes one of the five continents and they are all color coordinated. If you look closely you’ll see what I mean: Africa (yellow), the Americas (red), Asia (green), Europe (black), and Oceania (blue).

3. This Year’s Mascot, MIRAITOWA

The name MIRAITOWA is based on the Japanese words “mirai”, meaning “future”, and “towa”, meaning “eternity,” representing the wish that the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games will lead to a future of everlasting hope in the hearts of everyone around the world.

Isn’t that a great message? And that’s not all.

For the first time in Olympic history, the mascot for this year’s games was chosen exclusively by elementary school children. Children in 16,769 Japanese elementary schools, at home and abroad, participated in the voting.

4. New and Old Sports In the Lineup this Time

Remember Olympic baseball and softball? They’re back! After missing the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC)  re-added the two sports.for this year’s Olympics in Japan, one of the most baseball-crazed countries in the world. We still won’t see any Major League baseball players taking part, but there’s a good chance we’ll see some stars in the making.

On the softball side, the U.S. team remains one of the best in the world and a matchup against Japan for the gold medal on their rival’s home turf would make for appointment viewing.

Skateboarding is another high-profile addition to the Games visitors will be able see in 2021. Some are questioning whther this should be an Olympic sport. You’ll have to watch and decide for yourself.

Some other sports are being added to the line up this year. Like skateboarding, these are considered by many people as non traditional Olympic events. Still, we will be seeing surfing, sport climbing and karate (duh, Japan) in the Games for the first time ever. 

5. The Ever So Important Olympic Torch

The Olympics are as much about peace and friendship between competing nations as they are about the results of the competition. One of the most famous symbols every four years is the Olympic torch. The Olympic flame is already on its way from Athens, Greece to Tokyo with the help of the torch relay. Each runner carrying the torch passes the flame to the next in line. Being selected as a torchbearer is a special honor.

The arrival of the flame in each town on the relay route signifies the lead up to the games, as well as a message of friendship and peace.

When the torch finally arrives at the Olympic stadium in Tokyo during the opening ceremony on Friday July 23rd, it will be lit in a spcial container and the Games will officially begin.

You won’t want to miss any of the action. That’s why I found a Guide for kids 8-14 years old that your family can use to follow everything. It covers all 41 Tokyo Olympic sports including the history, basic rules, trivia, featured athletes and where to watch.

Each sport also has a full page of activities including word searches and scrambles, crosswords and math puzzles, mazes and discussion questions about the sport.

The digital version is free and can be downloaded at (Shady Pines Story Town is not affiliated with this guide)

– Scoop Out!!!!  Please leave a comment blow