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Cascade Drive-in Fights Against Extinction Will the resurgence caused by the pandemic be enough to save Cascade?

Youth and Minority Groups Influence 2020 Presidential Election More Than They May Think Every voice counts. Every vote counts.



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THE TEAM EDITOR-IN-CHIEF·············································· Sadie Romeo MANAGING EDITOR········································· Nicole Littlefield ENTERTAINMENT WRITER···························· Cody Wagner STAFF WRITER···················································· Kevin Ashley STAFF WRITER···················································· Dominique Thomas STAFF WRITER···················································· Rogelio Valdes STAFF WRITER···················································· Gabriella Gallardo MULTIMEDIA EDITOR······································ Danny Olivares GRAPHICS EDITOR··········································· Jessica Tapia PUBLICATIONS EDITOR································· Brenton Russo ADVISER································································· Jim Fuller


How to Improve Your Speaking Ability See what you can do in order to be a better public speaker and conquer the national fear.

First Presidential Debate Showcased the Worst of American Politics This was one of the most outlandish and unprofessional events one could ever witness.

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editor@cod.edu • (630) 942-2679 • codcouier.org The Courier is published every Wednesday during the fall and spring semesters, except for the first and last Wednesday of each semester and the week of spring break as a public forum with content chosen by student editors. The Courier does not knowingly accept advertisement that discriminate on the basis of sex, creed, religion, color, handicapped status, veteran or sexual orientation, nor does it knowingly print ads that violate local, state or federal law.


Many baby boomers recall metal speakers sitting on the car window that filled the enclosed space with scratchy movie audio, or packing friends in the trunk like sardines to see how many of you could get in for free. The 1950s was the heyday for drive-in theaters with more than 4,000 drive-ins across the country. Drive-ins were popular for families because it allowed parents to relax, while their children had the freedom to run around. Movies like Grease and American Graffiti depict the stereotypical drive-in as a place for teenagers to get together, to be alone, and drink. Stanford Kohlberg, who was early in the popularization of drive-in theaters, owned more than 50 drive-ins throughout Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan – including the currently closed Cascade Drive-in in West Chicago. Jeffery Kohlberg and his six sisters worked at the drive-ins growing up. From cutting the lawn to filling in for projectionists, Kohlberg has worked in the drive-in business his whole life. Like Kohlberg, Don Dobrez Jr. grew up at the drive-in. Dobrez and his family frequented drive-in theaters because the admission was inexpensive for a double feature, and the children had the freedom to run around. “There once was a double feature where the first movie was a Charlie Brown featurelength movie and the second movie was the Godfather,” said Dobrez. “My parents at intermission basically told everybody to put your heads down and go to sleep. Of course, I couldn’t because I’m a night owl and the only boy in the group. So, all of my sisters are basically sleeping, and I’m looking in between my parents’ chairs to see bits and pieces of the Godfather.” Before retiring, Stanford decided to sell the chain to developers, who tore the theaters down. Developers looking for land to create residential housing is one of the biggest reasons why drive-in theaters close down. Kohlberg bought two drive-ins: the Keno Drive-in opened in 1949 Kenosha, Wis., and the Cascade Drive-in opened in 1961 West Chicago, Ill. For his documentary about drive-ins in

the Chicagoland area, Dobrez documented the end of the Hi-Lite Drive-in in Aurora. Although the community voted to keep it, the drive-in was shut down and demolished in 2006. According to Dobrez, “14 years later and it’s still an empty field.” “What happens a lot with these drive-ins is the people who run the drive-in don’t own the land that the drive-in is on,” said Dobrez. “Then the people who own that land tend to sell it. The community tried to save it [Keno Drive-in]. They got voted down and then tore down and dismantled the big wooden screen.” In 2015, the land Keno Drive-in was on was sold to developers and demolished to make new residential housing. Kohlberg’s second drive-in, the Cascade Drive-in, shut down in 2019. The Kuhn family, the property owners of the Cascade Drivein land, sold the property and surrounding areas, which forced Cascade to stop operation. Kohlberg sold all of the equipment, materials and merchandise before shutting down entirely. Many community members were sad Cascade closed, especially since drive-ins are rare now. There are only 325 drive-in theaters left in the country. With Cascade shutting down, the McHenry Drive-in is the only remaining drive-in in the Chicagoland area. Daily Herald film critic, Dann Gire, compares the owners of “hard tops” or an indoor movie theater to the owners of drive-ins. Unlike the chain corporations that typically run movie theaters, “drive-ins tend to be operated by characters. The people who take on drive-ins are not normal, in the best way. For instance, Scott Dehn.” “He [Dehn] did something the Cascade couldn’t do, bought the property around the McHenry,” said Gire. “So, he is good to go for life. And he is committed, he views this thing as a community outreach program and he views himself –and I view him– as a guardian of the culture. As a result of that, he owns the land and he’s got the place so as long as he wants to have the thing running, we will have the McHenry. And maybe, the same piece of magic can befall upon the Cascade and it can do what the McHenry does. Have the land owned and operated by people who

generally love the business and the community connection.” Although the West Chicago community is sad about the loss of the Cascade Drive-in, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a resurgence for drive-ins. As social distancing and the coronavirus remain on everyone’s mind, the big, white drive-in screen that still stands at the old Cascade property has become a beacon for movie fans hungering for buttery popcorn and a safe, big screen entertainment option. Wood Dale resident and drive-in supporter, Roy Larsen, recalls one of his last memories at Cascade. Larsen said, “The last thing I saw there was one of the Avengers movies. It’s a nice place and it’s one of the last of it’s kind. To see that go, it’s really hard.” For years Dobrez and his sisters would meet at Cascade for inexpensive summer entertainment. Dobrez said, “We’re all going from different directions and then we’re setting up camp. Somebody gets there first, they secure the next two places, people pull up, and suddenly it’s like this mini-family reunion. We did it for years, to all of my nieces and nephews when they were little kids this is one of the fundamental experiences they had every summer was us going to the drive-in.” The City of West Chicago will host a public hearing to determine if the zoning is appropriate for the Cascade Drive-in. The hearing was originally scheduled for Oct. 6th, but has been postponed until a later date in Nov.



This upcoming generation of voters, Gen Z,—many of whom will be first-time voters in this 2020 general election—have been particularly active in the past months leading up to this November. Following the death of George Floyd and recent traction within the Black Lives Matter movement, social media has become an epicenter for political call-toactions. Predominantly within the younger generations, fundraisers have been shared, links have been posted, and there has become an adamant push for voter registration in recent months. With the millennial generation and below totaling over half of the current American population, there is a big focus on their votes during this upcoming election. According to the Census Bureau, of the population comprising millennials, Generation Z, and post-Gen Z, just over half of them are considered a minority in terms of their race and/or their ethnicity. With large diversity, large representation is needed. In almost all past U.S. presidential elections, the more racially and ethnically diverse populations tend to vote Democrat. In January, projections made by Pew Research suggested Hispanics would account for the largest ethnic minority group eligible to vote in the 2020 presidential election for the first time. Historically, they have been represented slightly behind the Black community, making this a unique election year for the previously underrepresented. These substantially high percentages—in comparison to previous election years—will make one-third of eligible voters in 2020 from minority communities. In 2016, both leading minority communities were documented to have voted a majority left, giving possible insight to Biden’s rising numbers for this upcoming election on Nov. 3. However, the stance of their eligibility does not account for voter turnout, which can only be calculated following election day. Not only do younger generations— millennials and Generation Z—have more personal ties to this election, given the high percentage representing people of color and


other minority groups, but also considering the social issues that they have been exposed to throughout their lifetime within the 21st century, and the activism that has followed. Subsequent to the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012, there have been 2,654 mass shootings in the U.S., according to Vox. This has brought rise to the national movement toward stricter gun laws, which, again, draws a direct line to the younger generations, many of whom are living through the repercussions of fear in classrooms, movie theaters and shopping centers, to name a few. The younger generations also witnessed the legalization of gay marriage, while also seeing the negative byproducts and public disapproval. They have seen efforts to roll back Roe v. Wade, which could ultimately eliminate the reproductive rights of women.



In America, public speaking is the No. 1 fear; people would rather be in a casket than give the eulogy. However, public speaking is a very important skill. Being able to convey one’s thoughts in an informative and meaningful manner is a good way to succeed no matter what profession you choose or how your life ends up. Being able to talk to one person or 100 with confidence and certainty can take anyone far. COD students can improve their speaking ability through the speech and debate team, also known as forensics. This club has been at COD for a very long time. The members of it over the years have won hundreds of awards on both the individual level to the team as a whole, yet not a lot of people are aware the club even exists or how to join it. Kacy Abeln-Stevens, the director of forensics at COD, said joining is a chance to experience where public speaking takes on a sport-like aspect. “Speech and debate is a competitive team at the college where students prepare speeches and performances and compete against other college students with those same performances,” Abeln-Steven said. “Think of it as competitive public speaking.” As a member of the forensics team you take part in something bigger than yourself. Similar to other team-based activities you are not only competing for yourself but also your fellow teammates. However, unlike other activities like football or basketball, one does not need to have any hand-eye coordination or any

athletics ability. People just need to be able to talk and have the willingness to use your voice to convey a message you believe is important. A lot of people have a preconceived notion about the individuals who do forensics. That the activity is filled with extroverts who enjoy talking and are very cliquish. However, that isn’t necessarily the case. A lot of people who join the forensics team at COD are introverts or shy people who want to get better at communicating. A lot of people who join have a specific message they wish to share with people. And a lot tend to want to do an activity that will boost not only your confidence in your communication skills but also your confidence in yourself. Forensics is an incredibly inclusive community. No matter what you want to do or talk about there is a niche for it, and the coaches will help you expand upon your ideas and make them viable. They will help you find your voice, and they will share it with hundreds of people. Mix that in with an incredibly supportive team, and alumni who will come back to the team years after they have graduated in order to help the next generation of speakers and debaters, and you have a recipe for not only a fun time but one of the most supportive club activities you can ever be a part of. Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the forensic teams across the nation to transition to an online format for debates and speeches. Now this task may seem daunting to some, but the college’s forensics team has risen to face this new hurdle.

“I am really proud of the speech and debate students,” Abeln-Stevens said. “They are willing to try a virtual environment. Public speaking is traditionally you standing up in front of a live audience giving you immediate feedback. The concept of your now doing a speech that is streaming on live video to an audience that you can’t see is changing the nature of what public speech is.” Ablen-Stevens said public speaking was already going that route thanks to the rise of YouTube influencers and other predominant people on online platforms who don’t directly talk to their audience but still have an impact. This pandemic has only accelerated that process. Now the forensics team is adapting rather quickly to a new way of public speaking. How does one captivate an audience they aren’t in front of ? How does one use body language and facial expressions to help show emotions if people aren’t in front of you to see it? These are the news issues, and this is what the COD forensics team is starting to master for their new competitive season. It is not too late to join the team, however, since the pandemic reduced a lot of the requirements the club had before the outbreak. Meaning now is a better time than ever to join the team and see what they are about and how they can help you. If you are interested, send Kacy AbelnStevens an email at abelnk@cod.edu and see what your voice can do.



The presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump was one of the most outlandish and unprofessional events one could ever witness. The two candidates for the presidency squared off against each other on Sept. 29 and debated a wide range of issues from the elections and its integrity to the current race relations in America to the economy and the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The debate boiled down to a shouting match between the two candidates. No one was really able to get a point across except their obvious contempt for each other. At one point during the debate, Trump was asked to clarify, without any room for doubt, denounce white supremacy. He could not do that. Instead, he tried to avoid the question. Then he said, “Stand back and Stand by” to the Proud Boys – a known white supremacist group. The quote is now being used as a rallying cry for white supremacists. The lack of condemnation is concerning. Trump tried to keep eyes off him and

attacked Biden about his son’s drug problem. Biden defended his son, Hunter Biden, for overcoming his drug addiction, which has only been good optics for Biden. COD Director of Debate Matthew Beifuss said it was clear Trump wasn’t able to fully execute his debate gameplan. “He came into that debate thinking he was going to be really dominant,” Beifuss said. “He was expecting Biden to be weak and easily confused. He was going to badger him and make him look dumb. Overall, the thing that I got was the level of argumentation was really poor and disorganized. He would go off on random tangents, and it didn’t feel like he had any of the control that he was trying to assert.” This wasn’t a real debate. This was the personification of the current political tension of our nation. On the Right, we have a level of rudeness and unwarranted confidence toward their position and values and an unwillingness to communicate appropriately. On the Left, we have a dismissiveness and a sense of

superiority when it comes to their position and values. This has created an environment where no one is listening to the other, and it just ends in a shoutting match and nothing gets done. The president refused to let Biden speak on most issues. Even when Biden’s answer was weak and Trump would have looked better by just letting Biden speak. He interrupted him and derailed the current topic letting Biden slide on an issue he should’ve been hammered on. Biden wasn’t necessarily better because he was dismissive and rude to the president during the debate, calling Trump a “clown” and telling him on national television to “shut up.” Nothing of substance came from the presidential debate except for the attitude that America lost. It is an idea that has been shared on both that Right and the Left that the debate was a dumpster fire. If this is the best our country has to offer then what does this say for the nation as a whole? Is this what America’s future will look like?

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