tuesday october 7, 2008 blacksburg, va.
news ABSENTEE BALLOT DEADLINE Students registered to vote in Virginia must have applications for an absentee ballot in their local voter registration oﬃce by Oct. 28. The last day to vote in-person absentee is Nov. 1. The deadline to register to vote in the state of Virginia was yesterday at 5 p.m.
VICTIMS’ FAMILIES MEET WITH POLICE Families of the victims of the April 16, 2007 shooting began meeting with Virginia Tech police chief Wendell Flinchum yesterday. The meetings are not open to the public, and are part of a June settlement that also mandates that Gov. Kaine and senior Tech oﬃcials meet with the families.
sports TIME SET FOR BOSTON COLLEGE SHOWDOWN The ACC announced that the Hokies’ Oct. 18 matchup against the Boston College Eagles is scheduled to take place at 8 p.m. The game will be televised on either ESPN or ESPN2.
MEN’S SOCCER IN ACTION TONIGHT The Tech men’s soccer team will host the Radford Highlanders at 7 p.m. The Highlanders come into the game with an overall record of 6-3-1, while the Hokies currently sit at 3-6-1.
RING PREMIERE TOMORROW The class of 2010’s ring design will be unveiled tomorrow evening in Burruss Hall Auditorium. The Ring Premiere will take place at 7 p.m. followed by ﬁreworks on the Drillﬁeld at 8 p.m.
weather SUNSHINE high 73, low 46
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coming up TOMORROW’S CT Take a look inside Tech’s very own recording studio and meet a local artists who records there. See a photo gallery of life inside the Montgomer County Registrar’s oﬃce.
index News.....................2 Features................4 0pinions................5
Classifieds..............9 Sports....................6 Sudoku..................9
An independent, student-run newspaper serving the Virginia Tech community since 1903 105th year issue 90
Wideout arrested for drunk in public
Voter registration ends DAVID GRANT
editor-in-chief It was a day of many, many phone calls for the Montgomery County Registrar’s office. “I think I processed about two or three absentee ballot applications today because the rest of the time I was answering phones,” Wertz said. Yet, despite the lack of headway during the day, the deadline to register to vote passed yesterday without a noticeable hitch. Wertz had worried that voter registration drives would, in a repeat of an episode from the 2005 gubernatorial election, deliver a thousand registration forms within minutes of the 5 p.m. deadline to have the registrations delivered. Instead, several campaigns brought boxes of registration forms into Wertz’s office around 2 p.m. yesterday totaling 1,000 forms, Wertz estimated. With roughly 1,500 registration forms on hand, the registrar’s office has until the statewide deadline of seven p.m. Friday for all registration forms to be processed. Getting all of the registration forms into the statewide voter database is a tedious and difficult process. When a voter registration form appears in Wertz’s office, the forms are first cut apart. The top part of the form is discarded, the middle filed by the registrar’s staff and the bottom mailed off to a registrant’s former locale to cancel the previous registration. Much of the paperwork is handled by members of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program. One volunteer, Candace Grindel of Christiansburg, said that she’s worked almost 40 hours at the registrar’s office in the previous few weeks. Presiding over five stacks of registration forms and a tub of KwikSort, a lubricant that prevents those doing paperwork from having to lick their fingers time after time, Grindel said that the urge to get things done has kept her at a small desk on the side of the office for up to 7 hours in a single sitting. “I’m thinking, ‘Oh, I just want to get this pile done,’ and then I look up and it’s 7 hours later,” Grindel said. Penmanship also poses significant problems for the registrar’s office. “It’s a challenge. We have to go to the telephone directory or the Internet to look their names up sometimes,” said Virginia Giles of Christiansburg, another RSVP volunteer. With registrations from students, Wertz said he sometimes searches student names online at vt.edu to help clarify poor handwriting. After the forms are alphabetized, they go to the two deputy registrars, Wertz and members of the Montgomery County Board of Elections to be entered into the statewide voter registration system. And then there are the phones. An automated phone message of indeterminate origin circulated around Tech’s campus Thursday and Friday of last week, asking students to call Wertz’s office to check on the status of their voter registration. “Students are getting antsy about their cards,” said George Hemingway, assistant registrar. “What most of the students don’t realize is yes, they handed over a voter registration form over to a voter drive. But that doesn’t mean that it came to us the same day.” While Hemingway said he understands concerns from students who had not yet received
T. REES SHAPIRO
ct campus editor
A volunteer alphabetizes registration applications before the voter registration deadline.
Voter Registration by VA Locality City/County
September 4, 2008
October 2, 2008
see REGISTRATION, page two
ct politics editor
Nobel Laureate Smithies speaks on gene therapy LAURA DUKE
ct news staﬀ writer
SARA MITCHELL/COLLEGIATE TIMES
While most were expecting to see vice presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), Sen. Evan Bayh (D - Ind.) visited Roanoke Sunday. move us in a fundamentally better direction.” Bayh noted the importance of Virginia’s vote to the Obama campaign. “Your state and my state aren’t used to being battleground states in presidential elections,” Bayh said. “Not this time. This time, the people in Virginia are going to have a major say in who the next president of the United States is. This is a big-time election.” Bayh spoke to the crowd in the open courtyard and answered some of their questions. Questions ranged from how Obama and Biden plan to better welcome veterans returning to the states, to how the ticket plans to tighten up on illegal
see WHITAKER, page two
SARA SPANGLER/COLLEGIATE TIMES
Filling in for Biden, Bayh speaks in Roanoke Those who gathered in Roanoke Sunday to hear and possibly meet Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden did not get the chance. Biden canceled all weekend campaign events because of his mother-in-law’s severe illness. Sen. Evan Bayh (D – Ind.) filled in for Biden at Century Plaza in downtown Roanoke at 12:30 p.m. Sunday. According to ABC News, Biden canceled two days of campaigning events to be with Jill Biden’s mother, Bonnie Jacobs. Jacobs was in Pennsylvania receiving treatment for a serious illness, but died on Sunday. Biden’s son also started training in Fort Bliss, Texas, on Sunday in preparation for his deployment overseas. Along with the Roanoke rally, Biden also canceled a speech at the Human Rights Campaign National Dinner, a fundraiser in Washington, D.C., and rallies in Richmond. Suzanne Renaud, deputy director of Virginia Voter Protection who attended the rally, said that Bayh, Biden’s replacement for the rally, has been campaigning for Barack Obama. The Roanoke Times reported that Bayh was considered for Biden’s position as Obama’s running mate. He originally supported Sen. Hilary Clinton (D-N.Y.) for the Democratic nomination for president, but he stressed his support for Obama on Sunday. “We’re not having the kind of peace and prosperity that our country deserves,” Bayh said. “Obama will
Virginia Tech wide receiver Ike Whitaker was arrested on public intoxication charges early Friday, Oct. 3, outside Oge Chi’s dance club. Whitaker, who was recently suspended by head coach Frank Beamer, said he is still on scholarship and will finish out classes to complete his degree. The hearing for Whitaker’s case is scheduled for Nov. 6 at the Montgomery General District Court in Blacksburg. After being released on his own recognizance Friday morning, Whitaker’s parents drove down from Germantown, Md., and picked him up that afternoon. He has since spent the weekend relaxing with WHITAKER his family at home and plans to come back to Blacksburg today or Wednesday. Last Wednesday, Whitaker sat down with Beamer and learned he would be indefinitely suspended for missing a morning meeting. Beamer then told Whitaker he should transfer to play his final year of eligibility at another school. “He said ‘best thing for you to do is finish your degree and look to transfer,’” Whitaker said. Whitaker left the meeting with Beamer in a tailspin. The following Thursday night Whitaker went downtown to Oge Chi’s on Draper Road to let out some steam and have fun with some friends after the week’s tumultuous events. He wasn’t looking to get in to any trouble, he said, but he ended the night in handcuffs. “Half the reason I was down there is because I was suspended. And I feel like I wasn’t supposed to get suspended,” Whitaker said. “I’m not selling drugs, shooting nobody, killing nobody, carrying guns; I’m not doing any of that. And for me to get suspended for missing a meeting is crazy.” Whitaker said the Blacksburg policemen who arrested him, including Officer S.C. Hayes, who was listed on the arrest record, knew he had been suspended. “I don’t think I was being wild (or) rude to anybody downtown,” Whitaker said. “But I knew the cops know I was suspended. They were talking about it. I was talking to the cops, explaining to them how hurt I was that I had been suspended … So I’m explaining to the cop that honestly I’m mad, I’m frustrated and the way I dealt with it was going downtown with some of my friends and trying to enjoy myself as much as possible. And then I got a drunk in public.” Whitaker has had trouble with alcohol in the past. Whitaker was arrested previously for public swearing/intoxication charges on March 1, 2006. He pleaded no contest, and was ordered
immigration. Several audience members asked about the Obama ticket’s health care plan. “Obama doesn’t want the government running the health care program, but he does want to deal with the problem of the uninsured,” Bayh said. “McCain voted against extending health care coverage to 3.5 million kids. We extend health care coverage to kids because it’s the right thing to do.” Bayh added that extending coverage is “a way to bring the insurance cost down for all of us.” He explained that people who come into emergency rooms without coverage are often much more sick than they would be
see BAYH, page two
What are the secrets to a happy life? According to Oliver Smithies, 2007 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine and keynote speaker at last Friday’s Via Research Recognition Day, sponsored by Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine, the answers are work, hobby and family. The focus of his most recent visit to Blacksburg, however, was his work. Smithies, an Excellence Professor of SMITHIES Pathology and Medicine from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, spoke to an eager crowd on the history and development of his research in a speech titled, “Turning Pages: From Gels to Gene Targeting.” Hara Misra, professor and associate dean for Biomedical Research Affairs at VCOM, secured Smithies as a speaker at the event after having worked with him for years at the Duke University Medical Center. “It’s wonderful to have him here. As the keynote speaker, he’s the one who sets the tone for the day,” Misra said. “Our conference theme this year
is genetic disease and gene therapy and he’s the right person, right in the middle of research.” The audience mostly consisted of second-year VCOM students, many of whom were thrilled to learn a Nobel Laureate was speaking at the event. “I knew we had a Nobel Laureate coming, but I had no idea that Dr. Smithies would be speaking,” said second year VCOM student Jenna Shenk. “I was very excited.” Smithies was awarded the Nobel Prize last year along with his two colleagues, Mario Capecchi and Martin Evans, for their genetic discoveries of “principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells.” This is also known as gene targeting, where homologous recombination is used to artificially alter DNA. This discovery resulted in the creation of the first knockout mice in 1989. Knockout (or transgenic) mice are now commonly used in the biological sciences to test the purposes of certain genes, usually by removing the gene and observing the effects. In addition to gene manipulation, Smithies has a long history of other accomplishments in his field, including instrumental work on gel electrophoresis, a technique used for separating genetic material such as DNA. His current research focuses
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see NOBEL PRIZE, page three