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Montana Adventist Middle Schooler Wins Google Logo Prize — and More News Shorts


In this week’s Adventist news round-up, a Montana Adventist middle schooler wins the Google logo prize, triplets from California make SDA church auditorium their Eagle Scout project, a 17-year-old Nashville youth deacon is murdered, Adventists open a vegan café in Massachusetts, a Loma Linda University study emphasizes benefits of dark chocolate, and two former Adventist employees are arrested for sex with minors.

Montana Adventist Middle Schooler Wins Google Logo Prize. Nathanael Botes’ “Lessons from Ants” was among 53 state and territory winners of the contest, in which K-12 students nationwide were asked to redesign the Google logo guided by the theme “What inspires me?” Botes, a home-schooled fifth-grader, found out he had won on Thursday, May 3, when representatives from Google appeared at an open house at the Libby Seventh-day Adventist Christian School in Montana where Lelia Mercill serves as home school facilitator. He was “shocked” at winning. “I saw all these people wearing Google shirts,” Botes said. When they announced the winner was in the room, he said he looked around in surprise, wondering who else it might have been. It wasn’t until they revealed a clue about the winner — his love of origami — that Botes realized his drawing had won. The Google people presented Botes with a Chromebook laptop computer, as well as a T-shirt, canvas bag, certificate, wall plaque and wall hanging, all displaying his drawing. The next step in the contest is a nationwide, online public vote for five national finalists at Voting opened Monday and will last two weeks. The five national finalists and the final winner chosen from among them will be announced in June, and on that day an animated version of the winning doodle will go live on According to Google, the winner will be awarded a $30,000 college scholarship, and his or her school will receive a $50,000 Google for Education grant to apply toward a computer lab or technology program. From The Western News, “Troy 11-year-old boy is Montana finalist in google contest.”

Triplets from California Make SDA Church Auditorium Their Eagle Scout Project. Mitchell, Garrett, and Spencer Fraye, triplets from Simi Valley, California, have earned the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest attainable in the Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America. Eagle Scouts must organize and complete a major project to earn their official status. The Fraye triplets worked together to repair the Shrillo auditorium at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Simi Valley. Mitchell replaced the entire stage floor. Garrett widened a 5-foot green room door to six feet and made a six-foot barn door that is now on a rail system. Spencer painted the floor-to-ceiling walls of the stage area.Combined, their work took hundreds of hours. Garrett’s project alone took him more than 200 hours, he said, including preparation and execution.“I think the Eagle Scout title itself isn’t going to be as useful for me as the skills I’ve learned in the process,” Garrett said.Mitchell said, “Eagle Scout is more or less a way of life, rather than an achievement….Although it is an important honor and award, it is the Eagle Scout mindset, work ethic and morality that I will carry with me into my adult life and into my future endeavors.”Spencer added, “Eagle Scout is something that has taught me a great deal of life skills, such as leadership and problem solving,” he said. “I don’t regret one minute of all those hours put in because I feel that I am ultimately a better person because of it.”D’Anne Fraye said that seeing her sons rise through the Boy Scout ranks “has been a great experience for them, and for my husband Vern and I.” From VC Star, “Simi Valley triplets earn rank of Eagle Scout.”

Nashville First Seventh Day Adventist Church Mourns Loss of Youth Deacon.A church family is grieving the loss of La Vergne teen, Yudgy Cherubi, after a violent set of circumstances they find hard to understand. “He was one of our youth deacons,” said Pastor Mervis Santos of the Nashville First Seventh Day Adventist Church. “He would be right there in front collecting offerings. He was there wanting to help God’s church.” Santos said there was an uncommon work ethic in the 17-year-old old, and his hard work was always for his little brother, little sister, and mom. “He got part-time jobs after school, and he would just give all of his money to his mom to just help out,” said Santos. “Yudjy was baptized in this church. I remember him responding to God, wanting to serve him.” Monday, La Vergne Police said Yudjy responded to an ad for an iPhone for sale at a vacant condo on George Buchanan Drive. Yudjy was shot to death and two 17-year-olds have been arrested for his robbery and murder. Police said Yudjy’s two younger siblings were in a car in the parking lot at the time of the shooting. “The mother was telling me if she didn’t have God in her life, she would be falling apart right now,” said Santos. “She said, ‘pastor, for $500, why did they have to take his life?’ There’s no words to really say. There’s no way to explain it. You just have to put your arms around them and just cry with them.” From WSMV4, “Pastor shares kind words, memories of murdered La Vergne teen.”

SDA Owners Open Pulse Vegan Café in Massachusetts. Pulse Café in Hadley, Massachusetts, was opened in August by Seventh-day Adventists Keith Rehbein and Ted Crooker as a way to do good in the community by promoting healthy living. They believe there’s a connection between the physical body and the spiritual realm. “It’s beyond just a café,” said Evita Wilbur, general manager of the Route 9 eatery which also has an attached food market and caters events. “The vision behind this establishment is to promote wellness.” Pulse—derived from the Latin word for plant—serves globally inspired, 100-percent vegan food with a focus on “comfort foods that most people miss when they switch to a plant-based diet,” says Wilbur. “It’s a way of showcasing the practical aspect of what we believe. It’s how we can be a light in our community and impart what we know to others,” she said. “The intent was to be welcoming and inclusive. Looking ahead, Wilbur says, she hopes to host two wellness classes per month at the cafe. Past sessions have included a class on diabetes and another on breast cancer. “Cooking classes seem to be really popular. We hope to have two each month teaching how to cook this way,” she said. “The vision behind this establishment is to promote wellness, not just through food, but through education as well.” From Daily Hampshire Gazette, “Vegan Comfort food: Pulse Café in Hadley serves up plant-based burgers, pizza and mac and cheese.”

Loma Linda University Studies Emphasize Benefits of Cocoa and Dark Chocolate. Studying the brain benefits of chocolate—cocoa and dark chocolate, mainly—has become a big area in recent years. Numerous studies have suggested that high-potency cacao has significant effects on things like cognition, mood, cholesterol, insulin sensitivity, and blood vessel function. Now, two new studies from Loma Linda University find that some of chocolate’s benefits may also occur at fairly doable doses: A serving or two of dark chocolate may boost memory, cognition, the immune system, and mood. Both studies were presented at the 2018 annual meeting of Experimental Biology. “We suggest that 48 g 70% cacao consumption with a concentration of antioxidant activity…is associated with subsequent [gamma wave] increase in the cerebral cortical brain,” the authors write. “We suggest that this superfood of 70% cacao (organic cocoa beans from Tanzania) enhances neuroplasticity for behavioral and brain health benefits.” In the second study, participants ate the same variety of chocolate as above every day for a week. They were asked to abstain from high-antioxidant foods in the days leading up to the study. The genes involved in the immune response (e.g., white blood cell activation) were boosted while those involved in inflammation were reduced. The expression of genes involved in neural signaling and sensory perception also increased. From Forbes, “Dark Chocolate May Boost Brain Function, Immunity, And Mood.”

Two Former Adventist Employees, in Separate Cases, Accused of Sex with Minors. Billy Leveille, 51, a former Rio Grande Avenue SDA pastor in Florida, was arrested this week, facing charges of sexual activity with a 17-year-old girl. According to incident reports, Leveille had sex with the teenager three times at different hotels. The girl told investigators Leveille would say that “he was really stressed and needed a stress reliever.” While “she did not feel comfortable with this, [she] was scared to tell Leveille anything as he was the pastor of her church,” the report states. Investigators started looking into the case because of a video circulated on Facebook that showed him having sex with someone believed to be an underage female.

In a second case, Angelica Eclar, 46, a former music teacher at Escondido Adventist Academy in California is facing multiple felony charges of sexual misconduct with a minor student off campus. The six misconduct charges against relate to six different alleged encounters that occurred between December 1, 2017, and January 22, 2018, while she was an employee of the school. In a statement, Principal Larry Rich said school administrators reported the alleged incidents to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSO). Eclar was immediately placed on leave after the school first learned of the incident. From WFTV9, “Report: Orange County pastor had sex with underage church member” and from NBC San Diego, “Former Escondido Teacher Accused of Sexual Misconduct with Student Off Campus.”


Pam Dietrich taught English at Loma Linda Academy for 26 years and served there eight more years as the 7-12 librarian. She lives in Redlands, California.

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