For those of you who don’t know, Odyssey of the Mind is a program where teams of five to seven kids have to solve problems. There are different competitive divisions: Division I is grades 3–5, Division II is grades 6–8, Division III is grades 9–12, and Division IV is for college. Last, there’s the Primary Division for grades K–2. You only compete with your division. 

Jay Johnson, the UofA’s Head Baseball Coach, is ready for his second season with the Wildcats after finishing 49-24 last year and making it all the way to the National College World Series Championship.

Johnson says there are a lot of good things about being the head coach of the Wildcats. 

“I get to wear a baseball uniform to work every day. I’ve grown up my whole life being a part of a team, and I get to be a part of the team every day,” he says. 

This past month was the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show. This year’s theme was “The Minerals of the Mid West.” The show displayed many beautiful gems and minerals including geodes, calcites, turquoise, fluorite, wulfenite, and more. You haven’t herd of wulfenite? Nether had I until I found out that there Is a house bill to make wulfenite the state mineral of Arizona. If the bill passes Arizona school children will all know what wulfenite is.

National Gumdrop Day was on Feb.15. Gumdrops are a chewy candy that are madde with gelatin and sugar coated. The origin of the gumdrop is a mystery, but legend has it that the gumdrop was created in 1801. Percy S. Truesdell, chemist and candy manufacturer, gets credit for making the first gumdrop, according to National Day calendar. He was known as the gumdrop king.

Scientists are developing toilets that do not use water. Water is a limited resource, but each year 1.5 trillion gallons of clean drinking water are flushed down toilets in the United States.

Three promising types of waterless toilets are solar toilets, composting toilets, and bio-toilets. Each of these toilets recycle human waste into something useable.

Solar toilets burn up waste using the energy of the sun. Waste is cooked until it becomes a charcoal-like substance called “bio char,” which can be used as fertilizer. 

 Recently, a select few of Bear Essential News Young Reporters were chosen to take part in a program to be paired up with one University of Arizona science graduate student. I was able to work with Cassandra Lejoly, who is studying to obtain a Ph.D. in Planetary Sciences. 

This past holiday season, Sydney Johnson visited the Ritz-Carlton Hotel at Dove Mountain to get an early view of a life-size gingerbread house. Johnson received a personal tour from Janice Macy, Daniel Mangione, the executive chef, and Amanda Taylor, the pastry supervisor.

The gingerbread bricks/tiles were made in September and they have made more than 5,000 tiles. The enormous structure was build large enough for visitors to even dine in. The chefs ordered supplies like honey in June and candy palettes in May. The main ingredient was honey—275 gallons of it!

The Arizona Theater Company performed the musical “Fiddler on the Roof” in Tucson Dec. 3-31, and is performing the production in Phoenix from January 6-29.

I saw the show in Tucson on Dec. 3 at the Temple of Music and Art, and the performance lasted about three hours. This five-star performance was a joy to see and a wonderful experience.

Tucson has a new non-stop flight to New York’s JFK airport.

A non-stop flight is better than a flight with a connection because you don’t get stuck in a place that’s not your destination. The inaugural flight was on Oct. 7, 2016, and I was on that flight. Before I got on the plane, I got free giveaways like a water bottle, a bag, a statute of liberty crown, and a bagel for breakfast.

There was a singer that sang songs from the 1970s about New York. He is a football player for UofA and a singer.     

Have you ever seen a painting and wished that you had the talent to create a masterpiece? Now you can even if you’ve never picked up a paintbrush in your life.

You can tell Luca, a new Phoenix-based magazine, is different the minute you see it. Christine Robertson, the CEO, explains that Luca is Italian for “bringer of light.” As you hold the magazine the gloss title does just that, it reflects the light. The magazine is different inside as well. Of course Luca is filled with the professional photo layouts and articles on fashion and make-up that are fun to flip through, but it is so much more. Robertson saw the need for a more positive message for girls and Luca is the result.

Two famous ex-Wildcat basketball players, Nick Johnson and Kaleb "Zeus" Tarczewski attended the Nick Johnson Basketball Camp at Sal Pointe High School in Tucson, Ariz. 

Johnson and Tarczewski only played together briefly when their careers overlapped in 2012. At that time, Johnson was a senior and Tarczewski was just starting his basketball career at the University of Arizona.