Cooper River Bridge Run 2008, Charleston, SC

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Speaking Russian in Ukraine

In response to a request I will dab into this controversial topic, strictly opinionated. Being from the eastern part of Ukraine, I consider myself Russian. Why? Russian was the language I spoke at home, in school and everywhere I went growing up in the country.

I would say to most residents of eastern Ukrainian cities, Russian is their native tongue. They speak Ukrainian in official situations, such as schools or court for example, because our country acknowledges only one official language. However, when these same people come home, or even go on a smoke break, they are speaking Russian.

I’ve been told there are documents written with the first page being  “officially” in Ukrainian, and the rest of the pages in Russian, to make it easier for eastern Ukrainians to understand. Now how ridiculous is that?

Ukraine’s history with Russia is bound by the Slavic language, and by the blood that flows through our veins. Russia emerged from the Kievan Rus (Kiev is now the capital of Ukraine). For centuries eastern Ukrainians have spoken Russian.

I understand the argument  “we live in Ukraine, so we must speak Ukrainian,” but I am not going to go to Quebec and say “you bow down to the Queen, so you must speak English.” People should have the option to choose what language they want to speak, read and write in, especially if that language has been in that region for centuries. Why not take a lesson from Canada and adopt two official languages?

41 flee homes due to oil spill

AU Practice Assignment

By Konstantin Vengerowsky

Fairfax County, Va.- Officials have declared a state of emergency after 350,000 gallons of fuel spewed from a ruptured underground pipeline Tuesday. The oil flowed into a field behind Reston Hospital and gushed through Sugarland Run Creek, near Reston, Va. The creek feeds into the Potomac River.

There was no official evacuation, but 41 people living along Sugarland Run left their homes due to health concerns that have come out of the spill, officials said. The fumes could be dangerous to children and pregnant women. Officials are advising residents not to boat, fish or jog near the river.

Jane Doe, a local resident, said that she noticed the smell early Wednesday morning.

[Audio http://dl.dropbox.com/u/9452289/KVengerowsky1.mp3%5D

Dennis Reed, Chief Animal Warden for Fairfax County said that nine animals died due to the oil spill, including a 60-pound beaver. They have rescued 44 injured animals so far, including beavers, ducks, geese, otters and turtles from the creek.

[Audio http://dl.dropbox.com/u/9452289/KVengerowsky2.mp3%5D

Fairfax Water Authority has shut down water supply intake valves near the site where the creek empties into the Potomac. Therefore tap water has not been tainted, officials said. Residents may notice a drop in water pressure and are asked to reduce water use until the plant reopens.

A nice place to get lost in

Today I was sore. Sore from getting lost in the hills of D.C. A planned 45 minute jog turned into a one and a half hour run frenzy as I ran  from street to street trying to make it back to American University. I didn’t mind getting lost though. Tenleytown is one of those areas you dream to get lost in. Nice houses with plenty of greenery, hills and hundred-year old trees (although some of them were knocked down by Sunday’s storm). While to the residents of the city these may not be hills at all, to me they are mountains. I’ve lived in a pretty flat part of South Carolina the last ten years. The only thing hilly in Charleston is a bridge with a 4 percent incline. So its going take some time getting used to. Hmm…I wonder where will I get lost in next???

Elephant conservationist awarded $100K

By Konstantin Vengerowsky

A British man who has made it his mission to save the African elephant received this year’s largest individual monetary award for animal conservation. The $100,000 award, known as the Indianapolis Prize, is given out every two years to an individual who strives to preserve the world’s endangered species.

Iain Douglas-Hamilton was one of 29 nominees for this award. He led anti-poaching aid programs in Africa and is a guardian for elephants that are being threatened due to a renewed demand for ivory.

He will receive the award in late September and will then engage in a series of outreach programs designed to spread the conservation message. He will go on a national lecture tour as well as appear at local events at the Indianapolis Zoo, and throughout the city. He will also go live on international webcasts to schools, colleges and universities.

First day of Bootcamp

First day at American University’s journalism bootcamp. It has been fun learning about the basics of blogging and coding, something that modern journalists have to be on top of to be competitive. Since the internet age has created blogging and social networking, it seems like anyone can call themselves a “news breaker” these days. Hopefully, though, professionalism will prevail in trends such as blogging, and people will read the content that is backed up by fact and objectivity, and not just gossip.