Thursday, November 18, 2010 La Roche College • 9000 Babcock Boulevard • Pittsburgh, PA 15237 • 412.847.2505
the whole fracking story L
by Kurt Hackimer
ocal protesters have sent a loud and clear message to gas companies: Don’t frack with Pittsburgh. On November 4, 2010, hundreds of concerned citizens marched from Pittsburgh’s North Side to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. This was all done in an effort to stop gas companies from drilling for natural gas in Pennsylvania. “We are to the front of the Convention Center where there is a huge Marcellus shale convention going on,” said Josh Fox, native Pennsylvanian director of the documentary Gasland, which discusses the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing.“The keynote speaker is Karl Rove. This group is here to protest fracking in Pennsylvania. To try to get a ban in Pittsburgh and a ban across the state.” Natural gas drilling has been a hot button issue in Western Pennsylvania. Gas companies are interested in Western Pa. as a potential digging area due to its location over the Marcellus Shale formation. The Marcellus Shale is a shale formation that formed over millions of years and underlies much of the North East, including most of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and New York. Due to the processes of decomposition and fossilization, the shale formation also houses significant amounts of natural gas.
Hundreds of Pittsburghers came together to protest fracking in Pennsylvania on November 4. © Amie Hackimer Recent proposals have expressed interest in drilling wells in parts of McCandless, North Park, and Lawrenceville, among other places in Allegheny County and
throughout Western Pa., to harvest the natural gas encased in the shale. Gas companies have frequently targeted traditionally low-income
see Macellus Shale, page 6
McCandless to open new town center by Rebecca Jeskey
cCandless Township started construction on the McCandless Crossing, a new town center located along McKnight Road at the intersection of Duncan Avenue. The $100 billion project is a partnership with AdVenture Development, LLC, an eastern North Carolina real estate and development company. On-site Development Manager Robert McGurk stated that the partnership began working on the plan assemblage in 1992. The company only started the physical
Study abroad broadens horizons
construction of the 81-acre site in August 2009. Since then, the first business to open was a Lowe’s home improvement store on November 4, along with a Fidelty Bank on November 8. Other developments, McGurk added, are in the works. “Our master plan calls for an additional phase for a grocery store, a movie theater, townhouse units, and additional retail and restaurants,” McGurk said. “We also will have an LA Fitness and a hotel. We’ll be building two hotels and additional retail small shop space. There are 60 townhouse
units scheduled to be built along Cumberland Road.” McGurk also stated that McCandless Crossing will be beneficial to the surrounding communities, with one advantage being employment opportunities. “Lowe’s alone is going to hire plus 250 people. For the community itself, it’ll be convenience for the community – shopping, dining,” he said. The McCandless Crossing website, www.mccandlesscrossing. com, says the town center will also include medical and professional office space.
by Joe Ziegler
a Roche College established a new program for incoming freshman in 2009 titled Study Abroad+Study USA. The costs for the program are included in student tuition, and students will earn college credit for their travel experience. The program will allow students, who were freshman in 2009 and have earned 60 credits with a minimum 2.0 GPA, to participate in an educational trip either abroad or within the United States, based on their individual interests. The first group of students will become eligible after the spring 2011 semester. Nicole Kubit, coordinator of the Study Abroad+Study USA program, said, “The program has been in the works for roughly six years.” Kubit said that she operates as coordinator between faculty, students, and travel agencies. Faculty present trip ideas to Kubit, and then she tries to arrange the trips through the travel agents to make them possible for students. The trips typically range from one to two weeks and are primarily funded by tuition. “Everything on the trip is covered aside from incidentals,” Kubit said. “The student is required to provide their own passport. Most of the trips aren’t going anywhere
see Study abroad, page 4
Inside this issue © Michelle Bauer
Vol. 15, Issue 2
see Ink, page 4
This publication reflects the views, attitudes, interests, and tastes of the writers, editors and contributors to The Courier. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the administration, faculty and staff of La Roche College.
The La Roche Courier < November 18, 2010
What you don’t know about Facebook
by Travis Thornton
o you have a Facebook account? Do you check it every day? How many friends do you have? According to Facebook, an average user has 130 friends. Although it depends on your privacy settings, you might think that only your friends have access to your profile. However, it seems as if you and your friends aren’t the only people watching your online activity. Take a quick glance across visible laptop screens in the Zappala College Center Square, or have a peek at your neighbor’s monitor in the computer lab. Are your peers writing a paper, or are they doing some social networking? With more than 500 million active users, Facebook is the leader in online social networking. There is a Facebook Application for most cell phones, allowing a reported 200 million users to post updates and poke their friends from virtually anywhere. What happens when Facebook is down? People get upset. On October 22, 2010, the site was down for a few hours, and Twitter was ablaze with people expressing their opinions on the matter. Choiceopinion.com lists some of the tweets from that fateful day: - Facebook Is Down.. Major Epic Fail - I hate when facebook is down. I become obsessed with trying to see if it’s back. - When the little ones nap I enjoy my hour of computer time so it really sucks when facebook is down.
- Yeah, Facebook is down. Get over it. Life will go on.
Facebook can be addictive. So much so that, according to MSNBC.com, a 22-year-old woman shook her baby to death because “the threemonth-old would not stop crying while she was playing Farmville on Facebook.” While this case undoubtedly involves other psychological issues, it is an extreme case of Facebook Addiction—a term for which Google fetches 58,000 results. The social networking giant’s move from computers to cell phones is likely to result in more bizarre behaviors in users. I can imagine news headlines like, “Status Update Made Seconds Before Vehicle Collision,” in our immediate future. Becoming obsessed isn’t the only thing you need to worry about when using social networking sites. You should also be concerned with who can access your information and how that information is being used, or in some cases, sold. Unbeknownst to most, social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook are being used for more interesting reasons than just helping you connect and share with the people in your life. For instance, new research from Indiana University-Bloomington suggests that Twitter can predict the stock market. Researchers analyzed the text of daily Twitter feeds with mood tracking tools that identified and measured positive and negative posts. Mood was measured in terms of six dimensions: Calm, Alert, Sure, Vital, Kind, and Happy. The researchers found that they could improve predictions of the closing values of the Dow Jones Industrial Average with 87.6 percent accuracy by including specific public mood dimensions. Your mood has an effect on global markets. Wall Street traders are not the only ones interested in your mood on any given day. It is likely that you have never heard of Cisco Systems SocialMiner software, but it was designed to monitor your social network posts. According to Cisco’s website, the software is “a social media customer care solution that can help [companies] proactively respond to customers and prospects communicating through public social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, or other public forums or blogging sites.” In short, the program scours your posts and blogs for what you are saying about a particular product or service and relays that info to a company’s social media customer care team. Companies are interested in what you have to say about them, even if you don’t intend for them to find out. When software isn’t being specifically designed to read and analyze the text you are typing, advertising and data firms find other ways to get to know you. Cnet.com reported in October of 2010
Editor-in-Chief: Rebecca Jeskey
Sports Editor: Brian Fischer
Lead Designer: Michelle Bauer
Fashion Editor: Shay Badolato
Managing Editor: Maggie Kelly
Outdoor Editor: Michael Hassett
News Editor: Joe Ziegler
Entertainment Editor: Kurt Hackimer
that App developers were acquiring and selling Facebook user IDs through popular Apps in use by users, in violation of Facebook’s rules. Oops. Some of those software developers were given a slap on the wrist by being placed on a six-month suspension. Facebook considers your privacy very important, almost as much as the federal government does. The Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security might also be interested in knowing what you have to say. RawStory.com reports that e-mails obtained via a Right to Know Request by the website PARevolution.com show that a private firm, contracted by Homeland Security, used Twitter to collect intelligence on anti-war protests. According to the Associated Free Press, the US Coast Guard admitted to using Twitter as a monitoring tool during the G-20 summit held in Pittsburgh. Big Brother would like to add you as a friend. But what if it wasn’t you that posted that tweet or status update? Firesheep, an add-on for Mozilla Firefox released on October 24, allows its handler to view and control any Facebook, Twitter, or Flickr account being accessed over the same WiFi connection. The add-on captures cookies—files that allow auto-logins—that essentially “float around” when you access your account via a public WiFi hot spot, such as a coffee shop. Firesheep has been downloaded over 600,000 times in about two weeks and has prompted the release of BlackSheep, an add-on that monitors Web traffic and alerts users if Firesheep is around on the network. So what are we to make of all this? You have freedom of speech, just watch what you say and make sure you self-censor. Others are obviously already watching your speech for you. I guess the real question is whether or not you care. Are tech gadgets and Apps worth potentially sacrificing your freedom to say what is going on in your brain? Or are the things going on in your head already censored enough by years of indifference and reeducation? Only you can decide.
“Facebook can be addictive. So much so that, according to MSNBC.com, a 22-yearold woman shook her baby to death because “the threemonth-old would not stop crying while she was playing Farmville on Facebook.”
Advisor: Ed Stankowski Contributing staff: Ellen Dong Therese Joseph Lacey Lau Travis Thornton
The La Roche Courier < November 18, 2010
Top trends of fall 2010 T he fall fashions of 2010 may have originated from top designers with high prices; however, there are ways to get the trends on a college student’s budget. Designers like Marc Jacobs, Gucci, Prada, Chanel, and Dior have determined the trends for the fall. This season, there are several dignified styles to be incorporated into a woman’s wardrobe to create an off-the-runway look. Fur: fluffy, fuzzy, faux To add texture to any outfit, fur is the way to go. Fur is this fall’s statement piece that can complete any look. This season, you can find fur in the form of a vest, jacket, scarf, handbag, or boots. However, this year’s most popular kind of fur is in a vest. Fur is a dramatic piece of clothing that comes in many different styles, colors, and prints. Styles range from sheep fur to fox fur. The fur can be in any color: purple to add glitz to an outfit or white for a more natural look. The fur can also be in a print like leopard or cheetah. Animal prints are one of the trends this
by Shay Badolato
year, adding texture and design when incorporated into an outfit. Stores like Forever21, Macy’s, and Wetseal sell fur vests for under $30.
Military: active duty
The military look is everywhere this autumn. The trend consists of a neutral color palette, colors like: khaki, military green, tan, denim, brown, and gray. The staple piece to complete the army style is the jacket. The typical military jacket has a box type fit; it’s then gathered with a belt around the waist to give you more shape. The jacket has numerous pockets, shoulder marks, and chunky buttons. You can find the uniform style in a cargo pant, skirt, boots, and a variety of accessories. Kmart and Walmart have the military jacket for under $20.
in legwear. Legwear includes items like leggings, knee socks, or tights. Lace is also used in all different patterns and colors. You can find blazers in stores like Target, Forever21, and Old Navy for under $25. To buy lace tights or leggings for under $7, look in JCPenny, Forever21, and Kohl’s.
Flannel: the lumberjack The typical outdoorsman fabric of flannel is in style for this fall. Flannel is available in items such as shirts and accessories like the trapper hat. However, the most common is the flannel shirt. The standard colors for a flannel item are red and black, but there is a wide range of color combinations to choose from. To complete the look, it’s important to incorporate jeans and a favorite pair of boots. Target and Forever21 sell flannel shirts for under $15.
Retro: leather and lace
Fair Isle: arctic flair
The idea of a strong and independent woman with a feminine touch is the style to achieve. Leather is the main material to represent the look. Jackets, shoes, bags, skirts, or shorts are a few leather items in stores this fall. An essential piece for this trend is the blazer, whether it has a touch of leather or not. The blazer is a structured clothing item that gives women a professional and powerful appearance. To create the trend of a strong woman, it’s important to soften it by adding lace. Tops, skirts, leggings, dresses, tights, or even lace detailing on any item, are great items to add with a blazer. The most popular type of lace this season is
Towards the end of the fall season, when the weather is cold and dreary, a Fair Isle patterned item in the wardrobe is necessary. The Fair Isle knitting technique brings color and design into an outfit. The designs or patterns typically resemble snowflakes, but they can also include shapes like triangles or basic lines. A typical item created in a Fair Isle print is a sweater. However, this season, the print is popular in handbags. Stores like American Eagle and Nordstrom’s have sweaters in the Fair Isle pattern for under $26.
The earrings are a teardrop shape with pale pink diamonds covering the chandelier frame. They are from XXI Forever and cost $3.80.
Pink and brown bangles bring the outfit together. The bracelets cost $ 3.99.
© Shay Badolato The boots are made out of brown leather and have a brass buckle detailing on the sides. The boots cost $9.99.
This bohemian style dress is from XXI Forever. The idea of floral prints, tunic tops, and fringe detailing are categorized as bohemian.
The tan scarf with fur puffballs costs $4.99. The scarf incorporates the fall trend of using fur.
Think before you ink
Social security numbers, constellations, and heritage tattoos hold meaning for students
© Therese Joseph
Senior Michael Hassett shows off his celtic cross tattoo, located on his upper right arm.
Study abroad continued from page 1
that requires a Visa, except for Russia. They require a Visa the moment you set foot on the ground.” She added, “We don’t give a perdiem for the students. In general, most of the trips have breakfast and dinner included. Lunch is usually not included because of the nature of the trip, you don’t know where you’re going to be over lunch.” Although tuition funds the trips, Kubit said that tuition rates were not raised only to fund the Study Abroad+Study USA program. “We didn’t raise tuition for the program,” Kubit said. “It was the standard tuition increase, but the budget was divided differently.” A student may still be required to pay a per credit rate for the course if the course falls outside of the traditional school year. If the trip is during summer or winter break, students are required to pay the discounted tuition rate that is attached to all regular summer courses. However, if the course falls during the regular academic year, the 18-credit maximum rule applies, and if students exceed 18 credits, they are required to pay the credit overload fee, according to Kubit. Dr. Azlan Tajuddin, department
by Therese Joseph
he social acceptance of tattoos by the future leaders of America, 18 to 24-year-old La Roche College students, reflects a growing national trend. “America has become a tattooed nation. If you turn on your television, open a magazine, or go see a movie, you will likely encounter a tattooed body,” Assistant Professor of the State University of New York, Mary Kosut said. David Whelan’s 2001 study said older adults view tattoos as signs of deviant behavior, but younger adults view them as positive objects of self-identity and body. As a result, a tattoo and piercing study completed by Myrna Armstrong found that 20 percent of 18 to 25-year-old adults have a tattoo. Reflecting on the reasons why this change is occurring, Kosut further stated, “New generations of American children are growing up in a cultural landscape that is more tattoo-friendly and tattoo-flooded than at any other time in history.” In interviews, a few La Roche students shared their own tattoos. Malory Young spoke of her tattoo of the Big Dipper constellation. Michael Hassett shared his tattoos of the Polish flag on his shoulder and of St. Michael on his left arm. Adam Minnaugh described his tattoo of a girlfriend’s social security number. Just as recent psychology articles and case-studies claim, each La Roche student related personal meanings, or self-identifying features, of their tattoos when describing them. Young’s Big Dipper is a tribute to her father, affectionately known as Big Dipper. Hassett’s polish flag is a tribute to his recently discovered Polish heritage. Minnaugh’s social security number, though now belonging to his exgirlfriend, was a twist of the devotional name tattoo. Even students who did not have tattoos related their reasons to a lack of self-identifying meaning. Kaylee Kenz said her inability to come up with a tattoo of meaning is all that’s holding her back from her first one. Contrastingly, April Schreckengost said, “I change my purse a couple times a day,” when explaining how a tattoo’s meaning would not last for her. Some students had similar responses to whether they though tattoos decreased the chance of being in the workplace. Leslie Haines said, “I think it depends on what the job is, and if it [the tattoo] is visible.”
chair of the sociology department, said he advocates the creation of a specific semester dedicated to study abroad. Dr. Tajuddin referred to the time period as a “miniterm” or “minimester.” “The best time of the year to visit any place in the world, like Europe, of course the equatorial countries will always be hot, but some people say you can’t go to the southern hemisphere in May because it’s winter,” Dr. Tajuddin said. “But there’s no place in the southern hemisphere that gets so cold in May that you can’t go. New Zealand, Argentina, Australia are about 60 degrees, perfect.” Tajuddin added, “So the May term should be a miniterm of about a month, where courses can be designed for this time. We don’t have a specific term for travel abroad or study abroad. Some plan to go during winter break, some during summer semester, and some during spring break.” Dr. Tajuddin also said that students can use the minimester for classes that aren’t necessarily part of the La Roche core course of study, but are ones that they express interest in, such as golf, bowling, lacross. “I think we need to institutionalize this, through a particular office, in the long term run by a professional staff. None of us [faculty] have any experience with this.” Dr. Tajuddin said. “I actually only know of the study
abroads because I applied to teach at other colleges before I came here,” he said. “And those colleges all talked about their study abroad programs, and they all had it like I described, as a separate semester.” According to Kubit, many of the trips are currently still in the proposal and developmental stages. When the trips are ready for student participation, they will not require additional class time or credit hours outside of the trip. “Every trip that has been proposed to date is all inclusive,” Kubit said. “All the learning will be done during the trip because most of the ones that have been proposed so far are one credit courses.” Kubit said that one of the few courses that is more than a one credit trip is Dr. Gail Rowe’s three credit trip to the Galapagos Islands slated for departure in 2012. “Dr. Rowe’s trip actually counts as a Community course,” Kubit said. “It is just very academically intensive, so I wouldn’t recommend it for students who don’t have a love of biology or the outdoors.” Dr. Tajuddin said he is an advocate for courses that are not assigned to specific majors. “It can be an integrative course, a global course, or a special travel abroad or study abroad course, that is separate from normal courses,” he said. “I think it would be better, and I think it would be more meaningful.”
Hassett also showcases a black and white St. Michael on his upper left arm.
© Therese Joseph
Before students select a trip, Kubit said, “Students are supposed to come to me so they can see what the trip is, where it’s going, what points it’s hitting, what the course is. They are supposed to come to me to get a copy of the syllabus, so they can see before they register for them.” For instance, if a student is afraid of flying or not interested in going overseas, then Study USA may be geared more toward their interests. “There were some students who were terrified of flying, who were excited to know that we are going to run some domestic trips,” Kubit said, “or other places that we could bus them to. Kubit added that she thinks the Study Abroad+Study USA program offers interesting opportunities and experiences for students. She said, “And you get credit for it. It’s not just for fun. It’s an actual academic experience, and it’s documented. We hope it’s going to make everyone more competitive [in the work force] because it is a rough economy right now, and the job market is tough.” Dr. Tajuddin said, “Study abroad in general is an excellent way of getting students to practice or experience what they have been taught, in the field, whether it be a service learning project or a paper project on a particular country or culture. It is the best way to learn concerning communities outside of your own.”
Sports and Outdoor The La Roche Courier < November 18, 2010
Geese vs. gators
Faux alligators fend off geese in motherhouse pond
Around the NFL Injuries, personnel changes rattle Super Bowl predictions by Brian Fischer
A predator lurks, awaiting his prey. © Lacey Lau
by Brian Fischer
here are alligators in the pond near La Roche College. Well, just alligator heads. And don’t worry, they’re not real. Lisa Mosser, executive director for the Office of Property Management for the Sisters of Divine Providence, chose plastic alligator heads to help prevent geese problems on the property. “Because geese are attracted to venues where water is present, the plastic alligator decoys were suggested by many experts as a deterrent, as alligators are natural predators of geese,” Mosser said. Apparently, Pennsylvania Canadian Geese are a growing problem in our area. Their population has increased 45,000 in one year. Eating four to five pounds of grass
a day, geese defecate every eight minutes and therefore produce over one pound of feces a day. Aside from discouraging people to enjoy the outdoors in such areas, the feces can contain harmful pathogens, or germs, such as giardia, salmonella, and shigella. While these bacteria are not seriously harmful, they are the number one cause of diarrhea in the United States. Before the Sisters of Divine Providence placed the four alligator heads in the pond on June 14, a female Border Collie and trainee in geese control named Corky roamed the area leash- free. According to Mosser, Corky died at the end of May this year, and Director of Maintenance Gavin Walker investigated other methods of geese control. “Most of our research about ef-
fective methods of geese control was done on the Internet,” Mosser said. “A lot of information is available on this subject.” The Providence purchased the alligator heads for $69 a piece from online store Gempler’s, which sells landscape, farm and safety supplies. Mosser said, “The response from the geese to the alligator heads was interesting. They still landed in the water but seemed to stay away from the immediate areas where the alligators were.” She added, “You would see many groups of geese gathered in one area of the pond as far away from the alligators as they could get. However, I have to say they did not do the job we hoped they would.” Mosser said they are continuing to search for other, more effective ways to control the geese before the spring semester begins.
hile it’s too early for an NFL team to secure a playoff spot, it isn’t too early for a team to lose one. It is week nine in the NFL and Dallas and Minnesota are having very disappointing seasons. The Dallas Cowboys sit at 1 – 6 and are the worst team in the NFC East. Some NFL analysts call them the most talented team in the NFL. Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t. One thing they are not, however, is a team, and this goes back to the basics and fundamentals of football. Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones faced tough questions regarding the future of head coach Wade Phillips’ job for the remainder of the season. “You’ve got really some serious limitations or some serious challenges when you start talking about changing philosophy, which (is) why I don’t go there,” Jones said. Whether Phillips is fired or not probably won’t have very much impact on this year’s season. They only have a .143 winning percentage, one of the lowest in the NFL, and they have lost their so-called star quarterback, Tony Romo, who suffered a broken left collarbone in week seven. He’s expected to miss up to ten games, so he may only come back for the last several games of the season, if he comes back at all. Dallas was originally picked to the play this year’s Super Bowl in their own stadium. If the team continues to crumble, who even knows if the
see NFL, page 6
How to prepare for winter driving
by Michael Hassett ith winter approaching, drivers face an array of hazards that are absent during the rest of the year. These dangers range from black ice to white outs and occasionally impassable roads. These seasonal road hazards, coupled with the hilly terrain of western Pennsylvania, pose drivers with many potentially dangerous situations. Though people can’t change the weather, they can take precautions to how they respond to winter’s mood swings. Each driver should prepare for these unexpected situations, and carry in their car a variety of items to combat these unknowns. One of the biggest hazards facing the winter driver is the increased risk of an obstructed view, which is a major cause of accidents. Winter roads are coated with salt, slush, and cinders that form a paste. When driving, other cars fling this paste behind them, which adheres to others’ windshields.
To prevent this, a driver should ensure that their windshield wiper fluid is full and that their wiper blades are functional. It would be wise to even have an extra bottle of wiper fluid in the vehicle, just in case. With every pass, wiper blades should effectively remove all snow from the windshield. If your wipers are not removing the snow, it may be time to buy a new set. Ice-scraper An ice-scraper is another important asset to have in your vehicle. Before even turning the key, a responsible driver scrapes off all debris that obstructs their view. According to Pennsylvania law, a driver is re-
sponsible to remove all debris from one’s vehicle. Negligent drivers are responsible for improperly removed snow and ice that cause accidents.
Sunglasses Sunlight is another threat to the safety of drivers. During the winter months, when the sun is closer to the horizon, reflective white snow worsens the intensity of the sun’s glare. This glare can cause a blinding effect for individuals, potentially causing accidents. Having sunglasses that are readily accessible can lessen these occurrences and help drivers see the road.
see Preparing for winter driving, page 7
Macellus Shale continued from page 1 communities, such as Lawrenceville, as drilling sites. Citizens of low-income suburban or rural communities are far more likely to comply when the gas companies approach them about leasing their land for a nominal reward. Dr. Joshua Bellin, environmentalist and La Roche College professor said, “Lawrenceville is a community that has suffered, and so the people who are there are in a difficult position because they want to do what is best for them and their families. Gas companies approach them with money, and people find it hard to say no. Nobody in Squirrel Hill or Shady Side is going to sell to them.” Despite the advantage of introducing wells in a struggling job market, there is much concern over the safety and environmental effects of drilling for natural gas. Recent reports by the States of Colorado and Wyoming concerning benzene pollution as a result of hydraulic fracturing, as well as local instances of malfunctioning natural gas wells, have fueled these concerns. In April of 2010, the state of Pennsylvania banned Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. from drilling further in Pennsylvania after a water well exploded on New Year’s Day 2009. State investigation showed that the drinking water of 14 homes were contaminated after a combustible gas escaped into the groundwater supplies. Also, the State of Pennsylvania ordered EOG Resources and the well completion company C.C. Forbes to cease operations after a well exploded on June 3, 2010, sending 35,000 gallons of hydraulic fracturing fluids into the air and around the forest area. Horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is the preferred method for drilling for natural gas. The process involves pumping millions of gallons of water, mixed with sand and several chemicals, through a well in an effort to fracture the earth and release natural gas. Fracking requires approximately 15,000 m3, equivalent to about 3,962,580 gallons of water, per frac. In recent times, it is not uncommon to frack a well more than 300 times. Assuming a well is fracked 300 times, that would require the use of more than 1 trillion gallons of water. When mixed with sand and the mixture of chemicals used to fracture the shale, the water becomes a toxic waste that is entirely unusable after its initial path through the well. “What often happens is that these chemicals are either evaporated into the air or stored in open pits, which allows the [polluted] water to seep into the ground. One of the key things people don’t look at when they think of the cleanliness of natural gas is that it fowls the most essential natural resource: water,” Bellin said. Families who live close to natural gas wells have reported many instances of water supplies being contaminated by excessive and unnatural amounts of chemicals such as kerosene, benzene, and formaldehyde. These are chemicals that have
www.larochecourier.com been found in the hydraulic fracturing solution. Josh Fox’s film Gasland chronicles families who blame their house’s proximity to natural gas wells for physical illness as a result of polluted drinking water. The film’s most famous scenes feature people being able to light their tap water on fire due to the water’s toxicity. “The gas industry would like to tell people that the water was like that before. They say ‘Oh, it’s not our fault. This is naturally occurring. This is something that existed before we got there,’” Fox said. “Well, that’s in contradiction to the facts of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in Amee Ellsworth’s case that verified that was gas that could not have come from anywhere but the lower layers.” The case Fox referenced was a 2009 investigation in Ft. Lupton, Co. in which natural gas seeped into Amee and Jesse Ellsworth’s water supply and caused the water to become flammable. Despite fervent complaints from concerned citizens and increasing media criticism, gas companies continue to drill for natural gas throughout the United States. This is largely due to the fact that, to this point, hydraulic fracturing is entirely unregulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. The Bush/Cheney Energy Bill of 2005 gave gas companies using hydraulic fracturing exemption from the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Clean Water Act. In this bill, natural gas was promoted as a transitional fuel that will help the United States become less reliant on foreign oil. “What exactly is the motivation for people once they tap into this new fuel source? Oil and gas companies have not given any indication that they are going to stop producing as they are. It’s a dodge, it’s a faint, it’s a trick,” Bellin said. “If we honestly believe this is a bridge to anything, it’s another way of locking us into a fossil fuel.” The Obama Administration has made significant strides towards forcing gas companies to expose some of their secrets concerning hydraulic fracturing. The Halliburton Co. even announced that they would release the chemicals included in their fracking solution, but only after the threat of E.P.A. investigation. In 2009, the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act, which was dubbed the FRAC-Act, was proposed to Congress. This act would force the gas industry to coincide with the terms introduced by the E.P.A. and the Safe Drinking Water Act. The gas industry opposes this legislation. Locally, Pittsburgh City Councilman Doug Shields recently proposed an ordinance that would ban natural gas drilling in Pittsburgh. The organization PennFuture proposed a severance tax on gas companies, a practice that every natural gas mining state implores. However, hydraulic fracturing currently continues to become more prevalent and remains relatively unregulated. Many say that the continued growth of the natural gas industry is inevitable. “In 1850, they would’ve said slavery was inevitable,” Fox said. “Fracking, I don’t see it as the inevitable steamroller that a lot of people think
it is. I think fracking is an insane idea. On-shore drilling, near where people live, in America. This is just against every direction we have had over the last, I don’t know how many years. It seems to me a fringe idea that has been made public. They wouldn’t be doing it if that hadn’t gotten that exemption to the Safe Drinking Water Act. And that’s something that should never have happened.” Despite efforts to peak interest concerning the negative environmental effects of natural gas drilling, American consumption of natural gas rose 10.1 percent from July 2009 to July 2010. For antifracking activists, this number is discouraging. “We, as a society, are so deeply dependent on fossil fuels. We’ve made so little effort to cut the cord and break ourselves from fossil fuels,” Bellin said. “We can look at ourselves, and think about how we, as ourselves as a society, are patterns of consumption. If we really want to have a change as a society. We are the consumers. If we were to demand something else or consume less, we wouldn’t be in this boat.” Both Fox and Bellin said they agree that America needs to seriously consider alternative forms of energy. Energy sources such as solar, geothermal, or harvesting wind involve zero pollutant extraction technologies and are renewable, as long as the sun shines and the wind blows. Fox said he is optimistic in America’s ability to look ahead of transitional fuels such as natural gas and move on to renewable energy resources. “I’ve never seen a movement like this so fast. Hundreds of thousands of people are springing up all over. And it’s the arrogance [of the oil companies] that’s going to bring them down,” Fox said. “I see this as a very inevitable thing that we will make the transition to renewable energy. That time in history is on our side. It’s on the side of progress. It’s not on the side of scaling back. But they will take over if we don’t wake up and work on it really hard. They will bull over people if people don’t stand up. What I’m seeing is that people are standing up. People just got to get off their butts. You’ve got to get involved. Otherwise Pennsylvania will become toxic.” In the mean time, natural gas drilling will remain a prominent issue in Western Pennsylvania. Fox tells you what to do if a representative of the gas company approaches your front door trying to lease your land. “You should not sign the lease because then you are responsible for the contamination and responsible for the pollution. So, if you don’t sign and they contaminate you, which they will, you can sue them. But if you sign, you can’t sue yourself,” he said. “It should be my right as a citizen of Pennsylvania, and as a citizen of the United States, to control what is happening in my environment and on my land. And the fact of the matter is they can’t do this drilling next door to me without devaluing my property and contaminating my water supply. So they can’t do that drilling without infringing on my rights as a citizen.” Fox added, “I think that the oil industry is desperate. Because they know the direction that the world is going. They’re trying to hang on. They’re trying to keep us indignant, and it is not going to work.”
some end up being long-term,” he said. Childress not only has receiver problems, but quarterback problems as well. Forty-one-year-old Brett Favre made his 292nd consecutive start in week eight, despite having several broken bones in his foot. He wasn’t sure if he would finish the game, because of his foot. New England Patriots’ defensive tackle Myron Pryor kept Favre’s foot safe in the 28 – 18 Patriots’ win. Instead, he split Favre’s chin open, giving him eight stitches. After the game, Favre said, “I played with a broken foot, and I am getting eight stitches in my chin and then the elbow.” He continued, “I have been battling tendonitis. I thought I threw the ball as well as I have thrown it in quite awhile. We ran some bootlegs. Now, talk to me in 10 years and we may think differently, but then again, we may not. Here I am, 20 years [in the NFL]. I don’t know how many games -- a lot -- and
I still feel like I can play at a high level, getting hit like that. I think what would keep most guys out for a long time obviously hasn’t kept me out. Call it dumb. Call it hard-headed. Call it what you want. Maybe all of the above. I love to compete.” So far Favre has thrown 11 interceptions, fumbled five times, and has only thrown seven touchdowns. He may love to compete; he may just not be able to do it anymore. The Oakland Raiders haven’t made the playoffs since 2002, the same year they fell to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl. Scoring 92 points in the last two weeks and giving up only 17 points, the Oakland Raiders sit at 4 – 4 in the AFC West. In a division featuring the struggling Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers, the Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs battle for the number one spot on Sunday, November 7.
continued from page 5 team will make the playoffs next year, let alone the Super Bowl? Brad Childress’s Vikings are 2 – 5 and are coming off a poor personnel acquisition and release. The Vikings traded for wide receiver Randy Moss several weeks ago, only to release him a couple weeks later. Known for his loud mouth and aggressive behavior, Randy Moss is now a Tennessee Titan, playing for three different teams in a matter of nine weeks. Childress didn’t give a straight answer as to why he released Moss so soon. He attended a press conference, but no one really knows why he let Moss go, including his players. “You hope all your personnel decisions work out for the best, and whether you talk about the Jared Allens or the Steve Hutchinsons or the Visanthe Shiancoes or the Chester Taylors or the Percy Harvins -- some work out and some don’t work out, and some end up being short-term and
Entertainment The La Roche Courier < November 18, 2010
“Conviction” depicts true story with emotion by Ellen Dong The incredible true story –they give the name to it. For a while, Conviction, based on the true story of a New England woman’s long struggle to win freedom for her imprisoned brother, feels as if it just might escape the conventional pieces of the fighter-for-justice melodrama. The film, directed by Tony Goldwyn and scripted by Pamela Gray, begins with a chronological essay: The lives of the characters are shattered, and the filmmakers are sorting through the shards, offering us extraordinary journey of fighting for your beloved ones. Conviction is based on the true story of a 1980 murder case—Katharina Brow was stabbed and beaten to death. All evidence immediately targets Kenny Waters (Sam Rockwell). Although Kenny is originally found innocent, two years later he’s convicted guilty, sentenced to life without parole. Now Kenny’s sister, Betty Anne (Hilary Swank), decides to spend what seems like the rest of her life to prove Kenny’s innocence, including attending a college, then a law school and becoming a lawyer. She pushes through all these while working as a waitress and raising two sons. Her family life suffers, as does her marriage, something that often happens to movie heroes who embrace a miserable life and a righteous fight. As expected, the best moments in Conviction are all between Kenny and Betty. There are moments that the two at various stages of growing up. They come from a damaged family, and then separated by foster care. But you always believe they are siblings, and this is helped through the use of flashbacks. They have a lot of fun, albeit of an antisocial way— stealing candy from the supermarket and sneaking into empty houses to eat it— and their youthful outlaw bond explains the intensity of Betty Anne’s loyalty later on. Once Kenny is put behind bars, the scenes between Rockwell and Swank are super-charged with emotion. When he was convicted with murder at the courtroom, she stands steadily at the crowd, looking at her brother and says: “We’ll get you out, Kenny. Do you hear me?” Nevertheless, we can deeply feel the affecting sisterhood when the movie unleashes our emotions through legal barriers. “I’m sorry you’ve wasted your life on this,” Nancy Taylor coldly remarks, stating a thought many might feel about Betty Anne, who believes she’s losing her family to an unending devotion toward the cause. Luckily, Kenny has Betty to carry on his fight outside of the prison walls. She makes a promise that she will take every chance to set Kenny free, and she made her promise. When he says, “The time beats time living your life,” she answers back, “This is my life.” I wonder who would put his or herself through law
school to set me free? Who would dig up the evidence that would prove I wasn’t there, or that the weapon wasn’t mine, or that the testimony from witnesses was bogus? Then I wonder if I would be so bold as to enroll in law school to save my loved one from an unjust sentence? I really don’t know. As the story of a sister’s love and determination to fight for her brother against all the odds, Conviction packs a heavy emotional punch? While sometimes the handheld camera style gets a little distracting in the home-front parts of the story, Goldwyn never lets things fall into the melodramatics of television and keeps things at a higher level. The movie stands out from many similar ones because it’s braver, darker, and more willing to explore odd corners of feeling. Along with many A-level movie actors, Rockwell excels at this kind of volatility — at playing men who are angry, charming and foolish all at once. Hilary Swank, in another award-worthy performance, shrinks in scope as her character’s monomaniacal devotion to freeing Kenny takes over the movie. While Conviction may not be one of the best films of the year, I won’t be surprised if it gets a nomination. Instead of wasting your money on the worse than the first Paranormal Activity 2, which is worse than the first film, or the supposedly final Saw 3D until it makes more money than any of its predecessors, why not seek out the underdog? It deserves as much of a fighting chance as Kenny did in real life.
Preparing for winter driving
continued from page 5 Flashlight
When driving in hazardous conditions, it is wise to be prepared for the unexpected. During winter, daylight hours are shortened, which makes nighttime driving near unavoidable. If something were to go wrong, a flashlight becomes invaluable, because it allows you to see in the dark. This handy little tool of illumination should definitely be somewhere in your vehicle. Jumper cables and spare tire One unforeseen situation that is fairly common is a dead car battery, which can be very frustrating, especially in cold weather. If this situation does arise, it is easier to rectify the problem by having jumper cables
and waving down a fellow driver, rather than waiting the two plus hours for AAA to arrive. You did think to pay for AAA, just in case, didn’t you? Road conditions can also become problematic. Between the freezing and thawing cycles and the salts used to melt snows, the poor road conditions of Pennsylvania rapidly deteriorate from bad to worse. Potholes are common enemies to drivers and cause countless flat tires each year. Having a spare tire is a good move to make before facing these conditions. If your tire does happen to lose the battle against potholes this winter, or worse, you are involved in or encounter another accident, flares and a first-aid kit are handy. You will not only be able to treat minor cuts and
bruises, but you will also utilize the flares to alert other drivers to proceed with caution. Sleeping bag and extra clothing Among unexpected situations, the rarity of being stranded somewhere for an extended period of time is another reality. Keep a sleeping bag and an extra-change of clothing in the trunk. If a sleeping bag is too cumbersome, you can readily store single-time use space blankets under the seat or in a glove compartment. These items will ensure that you are snug and warm until help arrives. With these items, the winter driver can face whatever Jack Frost throws at him or her. Remember, drive safely!
Dear Maggie: by Maggie Kelly
Dear Maggie, I’m a sophomore, and this is my second year away from home. I have three younger siblings, ranging from fourth grade up to freshman in high school. My parents never had the best relationship, but my family was never totally dysfunctional. Recently, during my visits home, my parents talked about getting divorced. Since I’m the oldest child, I discuss these problems openly with my parents, and I understand their respective sides of the story. However, I’m torn between them. My younger siblings have some idea of what’s going on, but they still come to me with questions. I think I worry too much about the rest of my family and not enough about myself and my feelings. How can I make myself not feel so torn apart? Sincerely, Ripped at the Seams Dear Ripped, It’s normal for you to feel torn. Your parents are pulling you into their own marital problems, and you shouldn’t be part of these conversations. Psychology Professor Dr. Janet Gates said, “No matter what problems exist, these people will always be your mom and dad, and you can’t possibly be objective. Despite mistakes both parents make, you will always love them, and it’s hurtful to feel that you are betraying either parent by listening or agreeing with one ‘side’ or the other.” Gates noted that couples often seek support from their older children. “However, this pattern of making the oldest child a confidante is destructive and insensitive to the feelings of the child,” she said. “You, too, are hurting and wanting reassurance, and instead you must feel like the weight of the family is on your shoulders.” Make your parents aware of how these conversations are hard on you. Gates said, “First, when you go home for visits, tell both parents that your conversations about their marital difficulties are too painful for you, and you no longer wish to be the recipient of confidences about the many problems in the relationship.” When you do this, tell your parents that you love them but that you feel torn in two directions. Gates said you could suggest that they see a marriage counselor in case their relationship can be saved. If marriage counseling is not an option, Gates added, tell them that they need to end their marriage with the least impact on the entire family. “If your younger siblings ask you questions, you can state that it’s obvious to you that mom and dad have some serious problems,” Gates said. “And if they have questions, ask them to speak directly to your parents. If they feel shy, you can go with them. But simply say to your parents with your younger brother or sister present that ‘Johnny is worrying about all the fighting, and I suggested that he tell you what’s bothering him.’” However, Gates said that you shouldn’t act like the parent to your younger siblings. Don’t be afraid to confront your parents or speak with a college counselor. “No matter whether we’re 10 or 20, parental problems are scary and troubling. Be sure to take care of yourself, and ask for the support you need,” Gates said.