MCCC Chernobyl survivor - Page 5
Aug. 26, Vol.56, 55, Issue August 25,2010 2011 Vol. Issue 2 1
Adele, Bad Meets Evil live up to expectations pg. 7
Students visit Europe Group views art, different forms of government
Taylor Pinson Agora Staff
Tyler Eagle Agora Staff
From heart-wrenching tours of Holocaust internment camps to firey Czech soccer games, the 2011 Study Abroad trip was an eventful learning experience for all who attended. Dr. Joanna Sabo, professor of political science, led students and faculty on the Central Europe trip. The group from MCCC made stops in Vienna, Austria; Budapest, Hungary; Krakow, Poland; and Prague, Czech Republic. Students could take either or both of two classes while on the trip: POLSC 211 – Introduction to Comparative Politics, which Sabo taught, and ART 155 – Art Appreciation, taught by art professor Gary Wilson. Regular class meetings were held, and students were expected to complete projects and assignments like any other class. Each student was required to keep a comprehensive photo journal. Sabo was pleased with how students performed in the classes. “This was such an amazing group of students,” she said. “They approached it like a study trip.” Collin Keehn, a political science major, was particularly pleased with the class taught by Sabo. “The classes were great. Comparative Politics was right in my field of study, so naturally, I loved it. But Art was a class out of the ordinary for me; I really liked it.” Dennis Polzcynski, another student who went on the trip, was more partial to Wilson’s art class. “Gary Wilson really knows his art,” Polczynski said. “His class gave me a better understanding of what I was looking at.” MCCC students departed from Monroe on May 10, arriving at their first stop, Vienna, Austria, on May 11. They spent three days there. “I felt architecture was the most interesting thing about Vienna. All the buildings are absolutely breathtaking,” Keehn said. “The city was so clean, and looked very nice,” Polczynksi said. From Austria, the group headed to Budapest, Hungary. “Our tour guide claimed that the Hungarian people are very unique and unlike anyone else we would see on our trip; he was spot on with that claim,” Keehn said. While in Budapest, a group of students and faculty visited the Szécheny baths, which are heated through thermal ducts close to the Earth’s surface. “It was interesting to be at these baths, to know that
Enrollment declines 5 percent
photo courtesy of Dr. Joanna Sabo
Olivia Webb (left) and Brooke Sweeney (right) take part in a scavenger hunt in the Czech Parliament in Prague.
they’ve been here for so long and have such a long history,” Polczynski said. The group then travelled to Krakow, Poland, where they also spent three days. “Everything about Krakow was beautiful. The buildings, the landscape, and the art were all amazing,” Keehn said.
While in Krakow, students took a side trip to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. According to Sabo, it was an emotional experience for everyone involved.
See STUDY ABROAD, Page 3
Enrollment at MCCC for the 2011 Fall Semester is down 5 percent from last year. Preliminary numbers place enrollment at 4,244. Last fall semester, enrollment was at 4,489. “The decline in enrollment reflects the financial hardships students are facing these days, at a time when higher education is more important than ever,” said MCCC President David Nixon. When compared to the 28 other community colleges in Michigan, MCCC had the tenth largest decline in fall enrollment from the previous year. Tracy Vogt, MCCC’s registrar, attributes the decline to four major factors: a lack of jobs; new graduation standards for high school students; the end of certain government programs; and changing requirements for college courses. Due to the high unemployment in Michigan, many families are leaving the state and attempting to find work elsewhere. With fewer people living in Michigan, fewer people will go to college. State requirements for graduating from high school were recently changed. The 2011 class was the first to graduate since the policy change. The number of high school graduates was expected to be fewer than previous years, according to Vogt. Michigan’s No Worker Left Behind program, which provided unemployed and displaced workers with two free years of training or community college, has ended. Many students who participated in that program have graduated. Vogt also said counselors for MCCC have reported enrollment in sciences classes is down because of new prerequisites required to take those classes. Nixon said he hopes MCCC’s low cost will attract more people to the college. “Students will appreciate the fact that MCCC’s tuition remains one of the most affordable in Michigan,” Nixon said. “Recently, a U.S. Department of Education study suggested MCCC’s tuition was one of America’s low ‘net’ tuition rates of two-year public community colleges the similar in size,” he said. Mark Hall, director of guidance and admissions, said he thinks the decline in enrollment can be attributed to the new health care law. “They can enroll part-time or not at all and still have coverage,” he said.
MCCC revises two academic policies
COMPASS placement scores, limit on course repetition to be affected
Tyler Eagle Agora Staff
Two new policy revisions at MCCC may keep some students out of the classroom. The college’s course repetition policy now limits to three the number of times a student can repeat a course. Previously, students could repeat courses as many times as they chose, as long as a grade of “C” or better was not achieved. “Students should not need to take more than three times to pass a class; unless of course they are simply retaking to get a better grade,” said Dr. Grace Yackee, vice president of instruction. If a student has reached the maximum number of three repeats and wants to retake a course, the student must receive permission from the dean of the division. This type of situation will be approached on a case by case basis, accord-
ing to Yackee. As of now, if a student withdraws from a class, it will not count toward the limit of three attempts. This revision went into effect for the Fall 2011 term. The policy that defines how the ACT and the COMPASS tests are used to place students into college courses also has been revised. It shifts how students will be placed into reading and writing courses, and for the first time sets bottom cutoff scores for ENG 090 and RDG 090. Under the new revision, students who receive below a score of 50 on the COMPASS Reading test or 32 on the COMPASS Writing test will not be allowed to enroll in ENG 090 and RDG 090. Students will need to work on their skills elsewhere until they’ve improved their scores. Students who score between 50 and 60 on the COMPASS Reading test and between 32 and 40 on the COMPASS
Opinion...............................2 Campus News..................3,4,5 Features.................................. 6 A&E..........................................7 Sports. ..................................8
Writing test will be placed in 090 classes; students with higher scores can can be placed into higher level college courses. The changes only attach a bottom cutoff score to the Reading and Writing tests. At this time, students can take Math 090 regardless of their COMPASS score. Instead of cutoff scores, the Math faculty is experimenting with a phased approach to developmental courses. The new use of placement scores will go into effect for the Winter 2012 term. Students who test into RDG 090 will be required to complete the course before being allowed to take most 100-level or higher courses, while ENG 090 will need to be completed before students can take higher level English courses. Effective Fall 2012 term, students who test into the developmental education classes will have to complete both ENG 090 and RDG 090 to take higher-level courses.
See POLICY, Page 2
The figure above illustrates the shifts in how the COMPASS test will be used to determine where a student will be placed. Red text indicates score ranges that will require students to improve their scores before admittance to developmental education classes will be permitted.
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2 THE AGORA
August 25, 2011
New apps take parent snooping to new level Nicki Kostrewza Agora Staff
It has been a parent’s dream for centuries to be able to pinpoint their childrens exact location; especially when they hit the teen years. The only reason parents want this information is so they know their child is safe, and whether or not the child is always telling the truth about their whereabouts. Well, thanks to the new-fangled Android powered phones, parents now have the power! Certain GPS apps allow one to “check in” with a list of friends and family, allowing the user to see where people are at any given time. Some apps will actually show where in a house someone could be, either sitting or standing (creepy), and if you zoom in close enough you can see an image of the location and its surroundings. It’s like Google Earth all over again! Except in addition to getting an up-close picture of someone’s home, car, and front yard, you get to see where
someone is in the home. Some apps allow one to see local pedophiles and any other persons with criminal records in the surrounding area. Do parents have the right to protect their children? Well of course. Should parents know where their children are? Yes. However, does the new wave of android technology make the whole process more invasive and critical than it should be? Yes. Parents should trust their children. Kids are bound to make mistakes, or else how would they learn? When someone’s child is attending college, should their parents make sure they’re really in that classroom? Is anyone going to check and make sure they go to work every day? No, of course they’re not. People grow up, and move on in life. Parents do not have to let go right away by any means, but we have come to the point where “checking in” has reached a whole new level.
Cartoon by Jacob Thompson
Amish vacation ruined by imported goods
Agora photo by Lorrie Mayzlin
An Agora staffer’s vacation to an Amish community turned disapointing when she found the markets full of imported good from China and India.
My family and I took our vacation this year to Shipshewana, Indiana, one of the nation’s largest Amish populations. We paid over $600 for five nights stay in an Amish- built log cabin, which featured two queen beds, indoor-plumbing and a nice porch in a pine forest. We didn’t have a kitchen, so that meant everything would have to be cooked on the gas grill that we brought from home – creature comforts, I guess. It was quite interesting that it rained almost like clockwork around lunch and around dinner daily. The location was gorgeous and the countryside was dotted with big white farmhouses with pristine Lorrie Mayzlin Agora reporter yards. Having the benefit of arriving on a Saturday, knowing that Shipshewana would not come “abuzz” until Tuesday and Wednesday, we had several days to explore the surrounding area of northern Indiana on our own. It was quite enjoyable to sit on the porch and listen to the clip-clop of hooves on the pavement and marvel at how well Indiana integrated the Amish people into their world.
Greed has taken over what used to be an all-Amish market, and it has been replaced by all things made in China. Tuesday rolled around and Shipshewana was swamped with visitors from more places than I can count on two hands. We paid our $3 for parking at the market area and were excited to see rows upon rows of Amish horse and buggies tied to their respective fences outside the market area. For years I’d heard and seen signs to visit Shipshewana for the Amish experience, for their quality furniture, for pure American-made goodness – and I was deeply disappointed on that Tuesday morning, after we were raked over for parking. Shipshewana greed had taken over what used to be an all Amish market, and it has been replaced by all things made in China. As it was, there were no Amish vendors at all, no fruits, no vegetables, no Amish furniture, no fine fabric to make those beautiful dresses and no fresh flowers or fresh honey. It was all made in China. Perhaps it is because I am spoiled from Michigan, but if you haven’t been to Shipshewana, save yourself the trip, toll roads, hotel stay and frustration. We are graced with two different locations for Gibralter Trade Center. One location is close to us, in Taylor off Racho and Eureka roads. The other
location is Gibralter Trade Center North located in Mount Clemen’s near I-94 around 22-Mile Road. So you might wonder why I mention GTC? Well, if you take GTC and triple it in size and remove the actual building, you will have all that Shipshewana can offer you – which is mostly someone else’s used treasures with a Chinese flair. At least with GTC, you don’t have to pay for parking and they have some cheap food vendors inside. I went into several “shops” in the downtown area that appeared to have Amish tatted table runners, only to turn one over and see the “made in India” sticker — yet the label says “Yoder Linens.” At another little shop, they had “Yoder Cheese” and the location for the company; the “other” label says “Real California Cheese.” It makes me angry that they have stolen a name, a way of life, an identity, for greed. It makes me angry that the vibrant area which has a way of life different and slower than our own has been exploited. In the end, I won’t ever go back to Shipshewana until they go back to being the Amish centered community they used to be, instead of being treated like a circus sideshow. But what are the odds that the greed will go away?
Policy changes affect unprepared students CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Discussion of the changes began when the state recommended the college examine its course repetition policy. “A state audit suggested we have a policy to address lack of student progress among students who repeat courses,” Yackee said. “The State Audit emphasized the concern regarding duplication of costs.” The performance audit, done by the state in December 2010, found there were 834 occurrences in which a class had been retaken by a student more than three times. The 834 occurrences were linked back to 684 individual students, meaning that several repeated multiple courses more than three times. The audit examined the time frame between the Fall 2007 semester and the Spring 2009 semester. The audit noted that the courses repeated the most were English Comp I and English Comp II. The number of students taking the classes for at least the third time totaled 186, with some students repeating the courses as many as eight times. The second highest course was Introduction to Political Science, with 117 students retaking the course more than three times, and some taking it for seventh time. “The state of Michigan views that as a waste,” Nixon said. Humanities professor Mark Bergmooser shares a similar opinion. “Repeating courses is not the problem; the use of state funds for the repetition of these repeated courses is the issue at hand,” he said. According to Valerie Culler, director of financial aid, a student may only receive financial aid to repeat a course once. Nixon said he thinks there is a correlation between course
“We are not denying admissions... we are delaying admissions until students show readiness for college-level study. Would you throw someone into the middle of the ocean who cannot swim?” Dr. Grace Yackee
MCCC Vice President of Instruction repetition and students entering courses who are unprepared. “There is somewhat of a relationship between repeating classes over and over again and whether students were ready,” he said. Yackee stressed that the college is not denying admission to students, but trying to better prepare students for college success. “We are not denying admissions…we are delaying admissions until students show readiness for college-level study. Would you throw someone into the middle of the ocean who cannot swim?” she said. “We are doing just that when we enroll students into college level courses for which they are not prepared to learn. Look at the levels we expect…the high schools expect higher levels,” she added. According to Yackee, the revised policy’s cutoff scores are much lower than what the state of Michigan expects from students graduating from high school. “The state is expecting all high school students to graduate college-ready. Their definition of college ready is an ACT score that equates to an 82 COMPASS read-
ing (ACT 21) , 71 COMPASS writing (ACT 18),” she said. MCCC views students as college-ready when they have either successfully passed the basic skills courses (RDG 090, ENG 090, MATH 090) or achieve scores on the COMPASS that place them above the developmental education classes (scores of more than 60 on Reading and 40 on the Writing). “Our requirements are lower…the question in the future is whether we went high enough for the minimum scores on COMPASS a student must achieve to enroll in developmental education and/or college level courses,” Yackee said. The administration and faculty also looked at how unprepared students affect other students’ ability to learn. Yackee acknowledged that the atmosphere of a classroom can suffer because of unprepared students. “When emphasis is placed on teaching students content they should have already mastered before enrolling in a course, faculty are often forced to spend time remediating students to the detriment of spending time on the actual course content,” Yackee said.
“Students not prepared for the course suffer as do students who are prepared and distracted by the remedial efforts often taking place in class,” she added. Bergmooser said he thinks accurately placing students is important. “An unprepared student, just as a disruptive student, can affect the communication climate in a classroom, so it’s important for students to be placed accordingly,” Bergmooser said. David Waggoner, a chemistry professor, said he thinks a community college professor’s job is to help students to be successful. “Much of what determines if a student will be successful is beyond my control,” he said. “But what I can do is to make sure that each student leaves my class with the skills needed to be successful in the next class.” “When teachers and professors approach instruction with this attitude, there are fewer students repeating courses,” he said. According to Yackee, enforcement of the revised policies could prove to be beneficial for all. “Preparedness is a win-win for all, the under prepared student, the prepared student, the faculty, college administration, and the community at large. That being said, college preparedness is not a college issue, it is a community issue,” she said. Yackee said the college and the community are working together to find places students can go to find help if they aren’t ready for college courses. “Honestly, we have the answer; we know what works…the Learning Bank, which is a consortium of nearly two dozen community organizations and educational institutions,” she said. Yackee said she thinks it is the community’s duty to better prepare students who are not collegeready.
“The answer to under-preparedness for college lies within the community…it is a complex issue that begins way before a student starts even high school. It is a community problem that is in need of a community solution… the Learning Bank is the solution,” she said. The Learning Bank offers a wide variety of services, most notably in the area of adult education. While it would benefit students needing remediation, the funding for The Learning Bank will run out in September. “The Learning Bank will shut its doors on September 30, 2011, if we cannot secure funding,” Yackee said. “We hope to continue operating the Learning Bank…or at least the Learning Bank concept.
“The community must find a way to keep its doors open,” she added. Nixon said he thinks the Learning Bank has had a positive impact on the college. “The Learning Bank process has been essential to student success,” he said. The college also will offer some methods of remediationhelp for students who need to raise their test scores. The office of Corporate and Community Services is offering prep classes for the COMPASS test and will also be offering non-credit bridge courses. “For some students, simply better preparing for COMPASS is the solution, not remediation,” Yackee said.
The Agora Editorial Policy The Agora is published by the students of Monroe County Community College, 1555 S. Raisinville Rd., Monroe, MI, 48161. The editorial office is located in Room 202 of the Life Sciences Bldg., (734) 384-4186, firstname.lastname@example.org. Editorial policy: Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of The Agora staff. Signed columns represent the opinion of the writer. All letters to the editor must include a signature, address and phone number for verification purposes. The Agora reserves the right to edit for clarity, accuracy, length and libel. The Agora is a student-managed newspaper that supports a free student press and is a member of the Michigan Community College Press Association, the Michigan Collegiate Press Association, the Michigan Press Association, College Media Advisers, Associated Collegiate Press and the Student Press Law Center. Story suggestions are welcome. Let us know what you’d like to see in The Agora - it’s your newspaper. Submissions of stories or photos also are welcome. E-mail them to email@example.com or bring them to our office.
Editor Tyler Eagle Adviser Dan Shaw Designer Morgan Hofbauer
Staff Members Staff Mandi Davis Nicki Kostrewza Lorrie Mayzlin Jeff Papworth Taylor Pinson David Topolewski
Campus News THE AGORA 3 College adopts 2011-12 budget August 25, 2011
Taylor Pinson Agora Staff
MCCC is facing it’s third consecutive year of declining revenues sources. To compensate for this loss of income the school has decided on numerous budget cuts and a plan to build a Career Technology Center to teach additional programs in the hopes of attracting new students. Some of the cuts more likely to affect students include the complete defunding of the college’s radio station, Dream 97.5, the elimination of the Career Focus magazine, and the transfer of $2 million dollars to the construction of the new facility from the school’s Maintainance and Replacement Fund, which has resulted in the delay of some of the school’s maintainance programs. “We can make adjustments to the bud-
get if we have to,” said David Nixon, MCCC’s President. He attributed the staff’s and faculty’s willingness to accept pay freezes as one of the biggest reasons the budget cuts had not been deeper. “If it had not been for that, it would be much more of a challenge,” he said. The largest change to MCCC’s budget is a massive construction project called the Career Technology Center. The project will cost an estimated $17 million dollars, with half of the funds coming the state government. “It is necessary,” Nixon said when asked about the project. He said the school’s current facilities are old, outdated, and inadequate, and that a new building would be cheaper than expanding and modifying what the school already has.
“We have stayed within our means,” Nixon said. “The new building is on schedule and holding to its cost estimates.” “We expect to break ground after January 1,” he said. See page 6 for an article regarding Dream 97.5.
“We have stayed within our means. The new building is on schedule and holding to its cost estimates.”
Dr. David Nixon
MCCC proves to be affordable Mandi Davis
Monroe County Community College was ranked the fourth most affordable college in Michigan. The findings were posted by the U.S. Department of Education. During the 2008-09 academic year the net price per full-time student was $2,790. The national average net price is $6,780, almost a $4,000 difference. MCCC President Dr. David Nixon was notified and congratulated via email from Dr. Adriana Phelan, vice president of public policy for the Michigan Community College Asso-
ciation. Having a low tuition in times like these is not an easy feat, especially in today’s economy. State funding and property taxes have been decreasing consistently for MCCC. Nixon said he thought that MCCC’s Board of Trustees, faculty and staff have all been fully committed to helping keep tuition costs down, even with the recent increase. “This is a huge accomplishment for the MCCC Board of Trustee’s goal at keeping tuition affordable for students,” Dr. Nixon said.
Study Abroad CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
“The Holocaust museum at Auschwitz was far more graphic than any Holocaust museum in the US. Students were breaking down, crying.” Keehn shares similar sentiments, claiming that the trip was life-changing. “I can say with certainty that it was the saddest day of my life,” he said. During the ride from Krakow to the concentration camp, Keehn tried to prepare himself for what he was about to experience, but found that it was in vain. “The concentration camps are a long hour and a half bus ride away, and on the way there you try to ready yourself for what you are going to see, but there is nothing anyone can do to make what you see any easier,” he said. “Students learn about the Holocaust all throughout school but nothing can prepare you for what you see when you arrive there.” Hearing stories about what went on at Auschwitz while taking the tour had the greatest impact on Keehn. “When you go through each building, you see so many little stories from what went on during that time. A person can’t help but get emotional when they go to that place, I know every person I saw there had tears in their eyes,” he said. Polzcynski had a deeper connection to what he witnessed at the museum. “I have always been a student of the Holocaust,” he said. “The trip yeally showed the atrocities.” Polzcynski, who is a Jehovah’s Witness, felt a connection to the camp, considering how followers of the Jehovah’s Witness religion were treated during the Holocaust. “Many of Jehovah’s Witnesses were intermed [sic] in the camps. Many were shot to death,” Polzcynski said. “They would not sign their allegiance to the government.” Those who identified themselves as a Jehovah’s Witness were forced to wear a purple triangle, which indicated their re-
ligion, according to Polzcynski. During the group’s visit to Krakow, Polzcynski wore one, too. “I wore this in remembrance of those who lost their lives,” he said. Also, while in Krakow, the group visited a model Communist city, Nowa Huta, which was constructed to deliver a positive view of communism. Sabo said she thought the tour guides did an amazing job with the students, and offered them more than any American could. . “It covered so much. They taught the students with humor. It was almost directly out of the textbook,” she said. “They (the tour guides) came back with a different definition of socialism than any other American, because they lived with socialism and communism.” The group’s final destination was Prague, Czech Republic. They stayed in Prague for 11 days, to have a more indepth experience within a culture. “The city itself is busy and crowded more so than any other we went to. But photo courtesy of Dr. Joanna Sabo the people of Prague were the most gracious and friendly. Everywhere I went I On a side trip while in Poland, the group visited Nowa Huta, a model communist city. It had been constructed to project a positive would learn a new world in the Czech image of communism. Group members (above) pose upon a tank that had been placed in the city. language because the locals would help me,” Keehn said. While in Prague, the group visited sev- were generally positive. and domestic politics with the three in a small cafe is exactly why MCCC aleral historic sites, including the Prague lowed us to go.” “I would have to say one of the funni- strangers,” he said. Zoo and the Czech Republic’s Parliaest parts of the trip, outside of meeting “As it turns out, the couple was from This was Dr. Sabo’s third Study Abroad ment building. While at the Parliament many new people, was going to a Czech France while the single man was from trip. While she has been the coordinator building, students participated in a scavleague soccer match for the Club Bohe- Denmark. The conversation was held for the last three trips, journalism profesenger hunt. Sabo was impressed with the mians 1905,” Keehn said. in three different languages all trans- sor Dan Shaw plans to take over for the building itself. “The team would score a goal and lated between each other. I feel like this next trip. “Owls, loose peacocks were running would set a bench on fire. The firemen small interaction between a few people around the grounds. The gardens were came with buckets to put it out, and then beautiful,” she said. Journalism professor Dan Shaw said. “China, Africa, Europe, the they would wait for the next one. It was Keehn enjoyed witnessing firsthand pretty wild,” Sabo said. is already planning the next Study Mediterranean – I’ll ask students the differences between the systems of Abroad trip, scheduled for May for their thoughts and then we’ll deA chance encounter at a café in Prague government. 2013. cide.” was one of the trip’s defining moments, “Seeing the different types of govern- according to Keehn. Sabo and a few stuShaw went on the 2011 trip to He decided to lead a Study Abroad ments was very interesting. It was really dents, Keehn amongst them, partook in learn how to lead Study Abroad trip when Sabo announced the Eastunique learning about the forms of gov- an interesting exchange. classes. He plans to survey students ern Europe trip would be her last. ernments while you’re standing inside of during fall semester to help decide “Dr. Sabo and Gary Wilson are “We overheard a political conversation their country’s parliament building.” where the 2013 trip should go. incredible mentors for leading study at the table next to us. It was between a The group also experienced a Czech couple and another man. Interestingly “It’s wide open right now,” Shaw abroad,” Shaw said. soccer game. Reactions to the experience enough, we began to talk international Left: Some of the group climbed a peak in the Carpathian Mountains in the Czech Republic.
Right: Some of the group members pose outside the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria.
Briefly: International Students arrive The new and returning Youth for Understanding foreign exchange students have arrived. Patrick, 18, is from the Netherlands. He hopes to fine tune his English skills while in the US, as well as take classes that he may not have the opportunity to in the Netherlands. Johnny, 18, is from China. He hopes to study business courses while at the college and continue to work diligently on his English skills. Grace, 19, is from South Korea. This will be her second semester at MCCC.
Director of financial services named Deborah Beagle has been hired as the director of financial services. She is replacing Dan Schwab, who retired in June.
Previously, she worked as the business manager at Summerfield School District, and also has experience as a public accountant. Beagle is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and also holds a certification as a Chief Financial Officer from the Michigan School Business Officials. Beagle holds a bachelor’s degree of business administration from Adrian College. She began her duties August 22.
Special topics classes at MCCC
Every now and then, classes are offered at MCCC as a “special topics course.” These are classes that can be offered for up to two semesters and act as “feelers” before they are submitted to the Curriculum Committee for addition to standard classes. The Fall 2011 semester has one such class: Russian 1 (Elementary Russian), taught by Magdelena Kotanova. Generally, classes need to have a minimum of 10 students per class, or they cancel. A few days before the first class, eight people were registered to take Russian. According to Vinnie Maltese, acting dean of the Humanities-Social
Science Division, special topic classes are proposed by faculty members and suggestions from students can be sent through an electronic suggestion box.
Kevin Everett to speak at La-Z-Boy Center
Former NFL player Kevin Everett will deliver a presentation at MCCC in the La-Z-Boy Center on September 10. The event will begin at 7 p.m. A ticket will cost $10. After three years of playing for the Buffalo Bills, Everett suffered a spinal cord injury and was temporarily paralyzed. He has since regained use of his legs and arms. Proceeds will benefits scholarships at MCCC.
25th Annual Auto Show/ Craft Show The 25th Annual MCCC Auto Show and Craft Show will take place Sunday, Sept. 25. The auto show will be held throughout campus and will go from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The craft show will be held in the A Building, and will go from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free to both events.
August 25, 2011
MCCC hires instructors, administrator Culler accepts position of Director of Financial aid, off to smooth start
Tyler Eagle Agora Staff
Valerie Culler has joined MCCC’s administrational staff as the Director of Financial Aid. The position had been vacant since former director Tracy Vogt accepted the position of Registrar. Culler officially started working at the college on August 1. So far, she has had a positive experience at MCCC. “Everyone on campus has been welcoming. Everyone I pass has a smile and a hello,” she said. Culler also likes the community and where it is located. After coming from Wayne State University in Detroit, she finds the atmosphere more uplifting. “I love the area and I like the community,” she said. “The urban environment is very different than here. There was a lot of urban blight. It was disheartening.”
Culler most recently held the position of Assistant Director of Financial Aid at Wayne State University. She worked there for three years. “It was a promotional opportunity. I got my foot up in management,” she said. She also has experience working in the community college sector. Culler worked at Henry Ford Community College for three years. “I very much believe in the mission of community colleges,” she said. “They’re wonderfully diverse. I like the amount of variety that a student has at them.” In comparison to WSU, Culler feels there are more opportunities to interact with her coworkers and students. “WSU is a huge, huge campus. The financial aid office had more than 40 people,” she said. “MCCC is smaller in scope. You get to know your students, you get to know your community. It‘s a much more personal environment.”
Culler received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, and completed a Masters program at Madonna University. Currently, she is 75 percent of the way through the doctoral program at Eastern Michigan University. As a student who once needed financial aid, Culler feels its essential to give aid to students who need it. “Financial Aid has opened the door for many students,” she said. “That’s why it breaks my heart when I hear the government might cut any financial aid. They’re talking about cutting opportunities.” In her free time, Culler enjoys running and exercising. “It just clears my head,” she said. She also has several other interests. In the fall, Culler and her husband find cider mills and map out routes, to which they ride their bikes. “I love to read, just about anything I can get my hands on,” she added.
Agora photo by Mandi Davis
Valerie Cutler took over as MCCC’s director of Financial Aid on Aug. 1.
Health Sciences Division welcomes new faculty instructors David Topolewski Agora Staff
Tracy Giacomini lives in Plymouth but believes she will fit in just fine at MCCC. “I’m a country gal,” said Giacomini with a smile. The new MCCC Nursing professor believes her job here isn’t a fluke or wave of good luck. “I think it was one of those meant-to-be things,” she said. Giacomini, 44, is married to John Giacomini and has two daughters, Sabrina and Gina. She displays her family in a picture frame on a filing cabinet in her office. Growing up in a military family, Giacomini moved several times, but spent her senior year at Roseville High School. She attended Macomb County Community College, Wayne State University, and Eastern Michigan University. Giacomini has taught in the
Eastern Michigan University nursing program in the areas of obstetrics, fundamentals, and medical/surgical. She also has taught in the nursing program at Schoolcraft College and worked at Madonna University. Her staff nursing experience includes nine years of obstetrics and two years in the Progressive Care Unit at St. Mary’s Hospital. Her bachelor’s degree is from Wayne State and her Tracy Giacomini master’s degree is from Before being hired at MCCC, EMU. She also holds a Gradu- Giacomini had two full-time job ate Certificate in Teaching in offers, but she decided to take a Health Systems from EMU. chance in winning the opening At age 18, she was certified at MCCC. to teach fitness, which she did “It’s something I’ve always for 10 years. However, being a wanted to do,” she said. nursing professor is what she’s The drive from Plymouth always wanted to do. takes 45 minutes, but Giacomini “I’ve always loved teaching,” does not mind it. she said. “I love it out here,” she said.
David Topolewski Agora Staff
Nick Prush would be lying if he said it was not luck how he earned his new job. “It’s kind of funny how it worked out,” he said. The 31-year-old Wyandotte native was leaving his part time job at Oakland Community College when he ran into Dr. Cynthia Roman, dean of the Health Sciences Division. “I handed her my business card,” he said. The two met in a parking lot and the rest is history; Prush is now the instructor and director of Clinical Education, Respiratory Therapy at MCCC. He will be taking over for Jack Woltmann, who is retiring. Prush attended Henry Ford Community College and Sienna Heights University. He received his Associates Applied Science (AAS) in respiratory therapy from HFCC and his Bachelor’s in Applied Science (BAS) in respiratory therapy from Sienna
Jason Karamol Karamol has been hired as an instructor of welding. Karamol achieved his AAS degree in welding and GTAW and GMAW certificates at Owens Community College.
Heights. When Prush is away from his office, he likes to spend time with his family at his home in Carleton. He is married to Angela Prush and has two daughters Alexa, 2, and Ella, 8 months. This new MCCC faculty member will not be easy to miss; Prush stands about 6 feet 3 inches tall. “Yeah I guess I am pretty tall,” he said with a smile.
Kimberly Lindquist Lindquist has been hired as an intructor for the nursing program. She received her ADN degree from MCCC, her BSN degree from EMU and her MSN degree from University of Toledo.
Nursing program reaccredited David Topolewski Agora Staff
MCCC’s associate degree of nursing program has received full NLNAC accreditation for the next two-anda-half years. Although the accreditation was approved, the nursing program has been placed on warning status by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC). The NLNAC expressed concerns in three areas, resulting in a shorter period of re-accreditation than the standard 8 years. The three areas which need improvement include: hiring more adjunct faculty with Master of Science of Nursing (MSN) degrees; addressing inconsistencies in the curriculum; and developing a systematic plan for measuring student learning outcomes. “We have a lot of work ahead of us,” said Dr. Cynthia Roman, dean of the Health Sciences Division. The Nursing program hosted a three day visit for members of the NLNAC. The on-site visit by two visitors was one step of the accreditation process. Roman and the nursing program were also required to submit a self-study report. After the visitation, the site visitors then submitted a preliminary report to the NLNAC review panel, which made recommendations to the NLNAC board of commissioners, which then made the final decision.
photo courtesy of Mark Spenoso
Dr. Dean Kerste, associate professor of Mechanical Design Technology, was awarded a golden shovel in honor of his recently earned doctoral degree at the Fall 2011 Employee Recognition Breakfast. The shovel was passed on by Dr. Carrie Nartker, who received her doctoral degree two years ago.
Roman and Dr. Grace Yackee, vice president of instruction, traveled to Atlanta to attend the review panel discussion. The two MCCC administrators said the review panel’s recommendation was bittersweet. While the nursing program received accreditation for the next two and one-half years, it is much less than the expected eight years the college had expected. MCCC’s nursing program has held continued accreditation since 1987; not receiving the maximum number of years was a disappointment. “Our program has very high standards,” Roman said. Accreditation is optional, but is desired because hospitals can deny clinical experience to non-accredited schools of nursing. The nursing program is not opposed to making the improvements suggested and welcomes the feedback given by the NLNAC. “I am confident that the nursing faculty will accomplish this task, resulting in a stronger program,” Roman said In addition to the accreditation process, the nursing program has discontinued the online LPN to RN program. Despite the cancellation, the five students who remain. will be allowed to complete the program. The projected completion date is April 2012.
August 25, 2011
College cuts radio station funding By Taylor Pinson Agora staff
The fate of Dream 97.5, the college radio station, remains unknown weeks after MCCC chose not to renew its partnership with Monroe Public Schools. “Everyone’s trying to work together on a solution. We’d love to keep this radio station alive as long as possible,” said Joe Verkennes, MCCC’s director of marketing. “It’s a great asset to the school.” MCCC officials told representatives of Monroe Public Schools via conference call on June 16 that the partnership would be ending on July 1. A letter had also been sent prior to that. The partnership dates to 2004, when Monroe High School was faced with bud-
get cuts and low enrollment. To keep the station running, the high school formed a partnership with MCCC that allowed students from the college’s radio broadcasting program to use it for learning and experience. In exchange, the college was to pay all costs associated with operating and maintaining Dream 97.5, effective January 2005. Faced with three years of declining revenues, MCCC chose not to fund Dream 97.5 in its 2011-2012 budget and to terminate the position of radio station technician, held by Milward Beaudry, who also teaches the college’s radio and TV courses. “There’s difficult decisions to be made,”
Verkennes said. Beaudry declined to comment, referring questions to Verkennes. The college expects to save $31,290 by cutting the program. Despite the cuts, Verkennes said MCCC will continue to teach radio broadcasting, as long as enough students enroll in the program. The Radio and Broadcasting Club is also expected to continue, pending student interest. “We see the value of maintaining the station, even though we don’t have the demand from students” said Robert Vergiels, Monroe Public Schools’ public relations director. With MCCC’s involvement ending, the
high school has taken steps to keep Dream 97.5 on the air. A five-week agreement was reached to keep the station manned through August, and the school intends to broadcast the first MHS football game of the season on August 26. MHS has also been actively seeking a new partner to keep the station going, and is currently expecting proposals from two local entities. Bill LaVoy, director of Monroe Public Access Cable Television (MPACT), has confirmed that IMPACT has submitted a proposal to assume control of the station. The current proposal has a provision that would allow college students to continue using the station for educational purposes.
Agora Photo by Taylor Pinson
Kick and Pull MCCC professor credits Tae Kwon Do for his own success MCCC Speech professor Mark Bergmooser is in his 13th year teaching Tae Kwon Do at the college: “I hope everybody can take a class like this,” he says.
Taylor Pinson Agora Staff
Mark Bergmooser started teaching Tae Kwon Do at MCCC in 1998 and has been teaching it year round ever since. “I love it now more than I ever have,” Bergmooser said. Bergmooser started teaching part time in 1996 and became a full time member of the faculty in 1999. Besides Tae Kwon Do, he also teaches four speech courses, several humanities courses, and various self defense courses. “I’m very lucky in terms of all I teach,” he said. “I’m constantly learning new things as I teach.”
Teachers get smarter as they get more practice, he said. “We’ve got a great group of people out here. The school supports it, and I plan to teach it until I retire,” Bergmooser said. “It’s my place to go no matter how bad my day has been.” The class brings students and exposure to the college, he said. “I’m really lucky that I get to spend my life doing the things I love.” His Tae Kwon Do class is open to everyone, with students as young as 5 and as old as 72. “It’s a dynamic class all year. There’s always something new because of the students,” he
“When I went to that first Tae Kwon Do class, I knew it was my thing.” Mark Bergmooser
said. “I have people take it for a month. Some have been taking it for ten years.” Bergmooser believes that Tae Kwon Do teaches students discipline and gives them self confidence, and he credits it with his
own success. “I would have never gotten this job were it not for Tae Kwon Do” “I hope everybody can take a class like this,” he said. Bergmooser attended his first
Tae Kwon Do class in February 1985. “I just wanted to learn how to defend myself,” he said. He added that his cousin and “The Karate Kid” helped spark his interest in martial arts. “I tried Kung Fu class for a few months before discovering Tae Kwon Do,” he said. “It was reccomended to me by my Kung Fu instructor.” “When I went to that first Tae Kwon Do class, I knew it was my thing” he added. “After that there was no turning back. It’s been with me my whole life.” New classes start August 30.
Mark Bergmooser, center, instructs students in a Tae Kwon Do move during a class at Monroe County Community College.
Agora Photo by Taylor Pinson
Abandoned kitten needs home Lorrie Mayzlin Agora Staff
Four abandoned kittens that were less than 5 days old were discovered July 28 behind the E Building on the MCCC campus. Julie Edwards of Sienna Heights University and Amy Westover of Eastern Michigan University found the kittens. “I got out the door under the awning of the Administration building and I could hear them screaming.” Westover said. “I said, ‘They are little babies.’ ” Westover said no one would pick the kittens up. So since she worked at the Humane Society in Monroe County and was experienced with animals, she volunteered to put the four kittens in a box and take them home to try to nurse them to health.
Unfortunately, three of the kittens did not survive the weekend. One kitten, who is now four weeks old, just got his teeth and is starting to wobble around the house, Westover said. “They were so tiny they fit inside the palm of your hand. I tried to call for their mom, but there were no other cats on campus,” she said. The location where the kittens were found indicates they were not placed there by a mother cat. Cats usually choose a well covered area for their young. These kittens were out in the open without any protection. If you would like to adopt this month old, long-haired grey tabPhoto courtesy of Amy Westover by, contact The Agora staff for further information: agora@mon- The only surviving kitten from four that were found abandoned July 28 roeccc.edu. is now starting to wobble around the house.
Mary Lyons receives Life Saving award Jeff Papworth Agora Staff
On a fateful day last August, Mary Lyons’ love of helping others played a role in earning her the Life Saving award given by the Monroe Community Ambulance. For the past two years, Lyons has served as the MCCC Administrative Assistant for Events/Reservations. In the past, her jobs as a paraprofessional for a special education department, as well as a worker for Hospice and a flight attendant have also required the ability to manage people in a kindhearted way. “I feel the satisfaction I have received from all my jobs is the fact I was able to help others, which I love doing,” Lyons said. After Lyons and her friend, Shawn Maviglia, grilled their steak at Steve’s Tavern in Monroe, they went upstairs and found Chris Parlette on the floor, choking. Maviglia, who is a nurse, gave Parlette CPR for an uninterrupted 22 minutes. Lyons directed the crowd to give room for Maviglia and the paramedics. Lyon’s pulled a man away and realized it was Parlette’s son, Chris Parlette, Jr. after he said “No, no, that’s my father.” She then started asking Chris Parlette Jr. questions regarding his father’s medical history. Maviglia said Lyons fit the role as “equalizer” quite well. “She’s very caring. She’s outgoing, easy to talk to,” Maviglia said, adding that she is the kind of person who will take charge of a situation. Tom Ryder, who Lyons assists at MCCC, agreed with Maviglia’s assessment. “She is always the first one to volunteer when help is needed,” Ryder said. Unfortunately, Parlette perished, but as a result of Maviglia’s and Lyons’ efforts, he was put on a respirator and his organs were harvested. Parlette was the first tissue and organ donor at Mercy Memorial Hospital System. His donations improved the lives of over 40 people. “It doesn’t have a very happy outcome, except for the fact that he went on to donate his organs,” Lyons said. Lyons’ and Maviglia’s efforts also put the Gift of Life in motion at Mercy Memorial Hospital. The Gift of Life is a national organization that raises awareness of the need for donors along with providing assistance to patients, who want to donate. Mercy Memorial Hospital System decided to be a part of the gift of life, since Parlette donated his organs. In conjunction, the hospital has formed a committee to plan for future donors. Furthermore, Parlette’s family was grateful Lyons and Maviglia never gave up on Parlette. For their efforts, Parlette’s mother nominated them for the Life Saving award. Lyons was happy to receive the award but said she “would have done it for anybody, anywhere, anytime.”
Student government hosts Welcome Back Barbecue Lorrie Mayzlin Agora staff
The Fall Welcome Back Barbecue will be Sept. 13 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., sponsored by MCCC Student government. Other sponsors are Midas Mufflers, Buffalo Wild Wings, Siena Heights University, and MCCC. Last year, 440 students and faculty were served hot dogs and veggie burgers; about the same number are expected this year. “The picnic tables for the event are generously loaned to us by the Monroe County Fairgrounds,” said Tom Ryder,
Campus Community Events/ Student Activities coordinator, DJ Zarza will be providing music for the event. Midas Mufflers will provide deep-fried goodies like Snickers and Twinkies. Buffalo Wild Wings will be providing samples for students. Hot dogs and veggie burgers, along with carbonated beverages and chips, will be provided by Student Government. The event will take place in the courtyard outside the LaZ-Boy Centre. It it rains, the barbecue will move into the Administration Building. Student clubs and organizations will have tables available for interested students.
August 25 2011
After 25 years, Chernobyl still relevant Tragedy offers perspective on “clean energy” By Lorrie Mayzlin Agora reporter
The push for “clean energy” in the United States has never been greater than in the last few years. Our dependence on foreign countries for energy supplies and volatile price fluctuations have caused American citizens to consider other alternatives. 2011 is an important year in “clean energy” because it marks both the year that the Fukushima nuclear power plant melted down and the 25th anniversary of the worst nuclear plant disaster in the world, at Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union. This issue is relevant for MCCC students and faculty for several reasons. Aside from students’ cash-strapped budgets, MCCC has a new nuclear technology program, and it has a student who survived the Chernobyl disaster. There are 361 square miles in Belarus and Ukraine that have been designated as an “exclusion zone” around the Chernobyl site. They are mostly off-limits to visitors, but especially for residential purposes. The ground will remain contaminated for at least the next three generations. Although the “red forest” no longer glows red, undeniable signs of the long-lasting devastation still are there. In 1986, shortly after the Chernobyl reactor melted down, a temporary sarcophagus was placed over the exposed reactor to contain the nuclear fallout. Today, the reactor is still “melting,” the sarcophagus is cracked, and radiation is leaking. The government of the Ukraine does not have the $840 million required to build a new containment unit. Buried in Mitino Cemetery in Moscow, Russia, are 14 “liquidators,” who were the “first responders” (firefighters and operators). They were exposed only briefly to the immense radiation and were all dead within one month. William Lorenz of Belleville, who is the father of this article’s author, worked at the United States Embassy in Moscow, Russia, during the mid-1990s. “There is a cemetery in Moscow, which your mother and I used to pass on our way to and from our job in the United States Embassy,” Lorenz said. “When we entered this cemetery, you could see that there was a special section with decorative blocks surrounding about 20 graves, and there was a plaque written in both English and Russian which said that the graves were of the first helicopter pilots who dropped the cement to cover the hole created by the explosion.” Pictures of the villages and cities that surrounded Chernobyl are grim and ghostly – schoolbooks scattered in classrooms, apartment homes with furniture and clothing where people once lived, and finally, Mother Nature taking back the areas that man covered with concrete. When Fukushima melted down earlier this year after an earthquake and subsequent tsunami, the Japanese government tried to downplay the numbers of casualties and severity of the damage, thus putting hundreds of thousands of people (including our own military service members) in harm’s way. It took several months before Japanese government officials admitted their power plants had indeed gone through a full meltdown, and the grounds, food supplies and water supplies had been contaminated with radioactive fallout. Much like Chernobyl, the Japanese government simply told nearby citizens to “stay indoors and do not open your windows.” The stark difference between Chernobyl and Fukushima is that Fukushima was caused by a natural disaster; Chernobyl was caused by human error. The Chernobyl Forum (made up of eight U.N. agencies) put the death count as “just a few thousand,” while the Chernobyl Union, a non-government body, put the death toll at over 730,000 so far and Greenpeace estimates that there will be an additional 93,000 cancer deaths. One of the biggest problems from nuclear fallout is thyroid diseases and cancer. Many of the adults who died after the explosion were never acknowledged as casualties by the government. Another cost of Chernobyl is the care needed by the many children orphaned in the Ukraine and Belarus, without families to call their own and left there because of how their bodies developed after their exposure to radiation and other nuclear fallout. Some of them are living out the rest of their lives in state-run mental institutions; others moved with their families to other parts of the world. The cost to house them, clothe them, medicate them, feed them, and to educate them is in the millions of dollars annually.
The Funfair at Pripyat, the city closest to Chernobyl, was set to open on May 1, 1986, four days after the reactor meltdown. It never opened and remains abandoned.
MCCC student was 12 when he survived Chernobyl By Lorrie Mayzlin Agora reporter
MCCC’s Chernobyl survivor is a healthy (thankfully) 38-year old Dean’s List student, and my husband, Michael Mayzlin. I would imagine that he is the only Chernobyl survivor in all of southeast Michigan. Over the span of our 13-year marriage, I have listened to his thoughts, fears, dreams and memories of Chernobyl, which is about 60 miles north of his former home in Kiev. Generally, Michael is a shy and quiet person, who is not one to make too many waves wherever he goes. This being the 25th anniversary of the tragedy, it’s a good time to tell his story. Q. How old were you when Chernobyl occurred? I was 12 years old in April 1986, just before my 13th birthday. Q. What did you hear from the government? Absolutely nothing on the day of the accident. I think the first official announcement came May 1 in a 30-second blurb during the nightly newscast. The announcer read a short prepared statement about a small accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and said everything was under control. Q. How was it determined when you’d evacuate? The school year always ended at the end of May. One day, about two weeks before the end of school, local government officials in Kiev made verbal announcements in schools and various work places that the school year would end early and everyone under the age of 18 is to evacuate the city of Kiev within the next couple of weeks due to health hazards associated with the accident at Chernobyl. Q. Who determined where you’d go? Families were given a choice to take their kids out of Kiev. Those who did not have anywhere to go, would be taken in bus loads to summer camps. Luckily, we had relatives living in Chisinau, Moldova, deep in the south of the Soviet Union on the border with Romania. I was actually excited to go because it was like taking a summer trip to another country. Some of my friends simply left the city for their summer “dachas” in the countryside. Q. What if people had no money? Money was needed only for a train ticket and personal expenses if you were not on a “government bus” going to a summer camp. Actually, not too many people had too much money anyway back in those days. Q. How did you get there? I traveled by train with one of my parents, my mom, I think. My parents bought a ticket (which was not very expensive in those days) for the Kiev-Chisinau train. Took about 12 hours to get there. I loved taking the train because all long-travel trains had several rooms that would carry four passengers each. I would lie on the top bunk, look out of the window, and enjoy the countryside. Q. How did you know it was safe to come back? During the initial mass-evacuation, we were told that all kids who evacuate would be coming back for the first day of school on Sept. 1. Whether it was safe or not is a different story. No one really knew if it was safe. Most people didn’t re-
“Very few people in these (May Day) parades knew about the severity of what happened just four days before in Chernobyl. Ironically, everyone was out in the streets celebrating Communism Michael Mayzlin and the government, pretty much trapped below the cloud of radioactive air.”
After the Chernobyl explosion, the people of Pripyat flocked to a railway bridge just outside the city to get a good view of the reactor. Initially, they had been told that radiation levels were minimal and that they were safe. They found out later that the radiation levels here were very near lethal. Photo by Ben Vivo
ally know the severity of the situation. I heard from my case each in hand, my mom, dad, and myself were in friends that radiation makes living things explode in a taxicab on the way to the airport. The entire process growth, but I didn’t realize that the bushes in front of took about 4-5 months and included a trip to Moscow our apartment building will turn into large trees. for a visit in the U.S., Austrian and Italian embassies. I guess when I came back and couldn’t see the play- Austria and Italy were “transfer points” that we had to ground behind those “trees,” I knew that it was more go through. severe than what we were told. Q. How much did it cost to move to the U.S.? Q. What were your fears? Dreams? Worries? I can’t possibly begin to imagine the amount of monMy biggest fear was not being able to come back to ey my parents had to gather to make this move hapKiev again. Although we were told that everyone will pen. A lot of it was, of course, visa and paperwork fees. be back in September, I was afraid that this was going The bulk of it, however, was “under the table” money that had to be paid to various government agents that to take longer. Being 13 at the time, I really did not fully under- were processing the paperwork to get it moving along through the channels. I would think now that some stand the severity of amount was paid to the the situation. I didn’t local KGB and militia know about the mediagents to prevent them cal repercussions or from harassing our family. long-term effects. Back then, if you wanted My friend in Kiev to leave the “motherland” had his dad’s radioacyou were considered a tivity meter. He used traitor and the lowest eleto take it out on the ment of society and were playground and show constantly persecuted by it off to everyone. It the authorities in a variety would make a fast of ways. clicking sound when Q. What was that day radioactive levels Michael Mayzlin’s visa photo in 1987 like? were high. That May it was clicking like crazy. That scared me a bit, because It was actually unusually sunny, warm, and I reI knew something was wrong, but I was also fascinated member the sky being very clear. April 26 was a Satby it because I thought to myself that I am here while urday, so we were in school only until noon (school something big is happening. I was telling my newly in the Soviet Union was 6 days a week). I came back found friends in Moldova about the “clicking.” from school and went outside to be with my friends. Q. When did your grandparents die; were they Usually we would sit around and talk for a while, tell each other anecdotes, see who can tell the funniest one. exposed to the fallout? That day though, I remember someone said that his Only my maternal grandma; on my mom’s side. mother is packing up their rugs and valuables, which Grandma passed away in 1989. My mom has thyroid was unusual because expensive rugs were usually hung problems (which is associated with nuclear fallout and on walls and served as a room decoration. radiation exposure), and my grandma died of cancer. Another one of my friends said that he heard someQ. When did your family apply to thing was happening in Chernobyl but it was probably leave the country? nothing. In those days the first thing on your mind in The first time, we applied to leave this kind of a situation was if we were in a nuclear war in 1979, but were denied because my with the United States. mother worked in a factory at the time Q. Do you remember if you celebrated May Day? that was making airplane parts and Everyone celebrated May Day. That was one of the knew some information that the government didn’t want to get out of the biggest, most grandeur holidays of the year. What’s interesting about May 1, 1986, is that very country. few people in these parades knew about the severity Sometime in the early spring of of what happened just four days before in Chernobyl. 1987, my dad came back from work. He opened the daily mail, and ex- Ironically, everyone was out in the streets celebrating claimed: “We’re going to America!” Communism and the government, pretty much trapped We never had to apply a second time, below the cloud of radioactive air. My parents and I, too, went to the parade, came home the government approved our exit visa based on the application from 1979, and had a big family dinner, and then went right out at thanks probably in part to President dusk to watch the fireworks that celebrated our “great” Reagan and President Gorbachev com- communist country. ing to a deal that allowed more Russian (Anyone interested in reading more about my life in the old Soviet Union can visit my blog at: Pripyat, a ghost city that was abandoned after the Chernobyl catastro- immigrants to the United States. In the fall of that same year, one suit- http://musicalwristwatch.wordpress.com/.) phe, has grown to a forest.
August 25, 2011
Nicki Kostrewza Agora Staff
“Rolling in the Deep,” a popular song that can be heard at least three times a day because it’s been the number one single of 2011, is the most notorious track on Adele’s new album, “21.” While the album was released in February, it has been at the top of the album charts since, not only in the U.S., but in the United Kingdom as well. The album
Nicki Kostrewza Agora Staff
Love, finding love, making love, and keeping love alive seem to be the main point of Kelly Rowland’s new album, “Here I Am.” This album contains the chart-topping song “Motivation.” The song is said to have helped the album’s release on July 26, making it four years since Rowland’s last musical publication. However, the long hiatus has not caused Rowland to lose her touch. The main thing one would notice in this
Nicki Kostrewza Agora Staff
Eric Church, who was selected as the 2011 Academy of Country Music’s top new solo vocalist, has just released the album “Chief.” The title derives from a nickname given to him by his crew and close friends. He viewed this as a proud achievement, since his late grandfather had the same nickname. Many people can relate to Church through his way of storytelling. His most popular song, “Homeboy,” speaks of a young boy who has strayed
Mandi Davis Agora Staff
After a feud that lasted almost ten years, Eminem and Royce da 5’9” are back and they have brought with them a debut album that has a great mixture of both rappers: “Hell: The Sequel.” Initially, the duo had meant to collaborate on one song, but eventually created an entire album. The debuting album topped number one on U.S. Billboard 200 with 171,000 copies sold. Bad Meets Evil originates from the song on Eminem’s album “The Slim
even helped to revive the sales of Adele’s first CD, “19.” There is irony with this CD, as the first album was all about falling in love, and the second is about falling out of love. There were some songs on “21” that either repeated themselves, or were just too… whiny? Yes, whiny. Songs like “Don’t You Remember” and “Love Song” seemed redundant and unappealing. However, looking at the album overall, it deserves at least a 7/10. Yes, some songs were a little cheesy, but there were still some “wow” factors, one being that every song seemed to stick out from the rest. She wasn’t afraid to explore the world of instrumentals, giving each song the chance to carry its own tune. Another is that she really put feeling into the lyrics and into her voice, keeping you captivated and open at all times to all the emotions that were flowing out. In conclusion, there may be a wonderful future for Adele, but it might take a couple of tries and some lyrical improvement.
album, compared to the group works of Destiny’s Child, is that Rowland has personalized. She has the power to make her music the way she wants it. Being solo gives her a chance to show off her voice. It was clear that there were songs in the album that Rowland wanted to play with. There are two versions of the song “Motivation,” both featuring Lil’ Wayne, but only one is considered a Rebel Rock Remix. Also, the song “Commander” has a regular version, and an Urban Remix with Nelly. The song “Lay It On Me,” featuring Big Sean, is amazing. Rowland shows her potential as a soloist by hitting many different notes while the song holds a steady beat. Aside from the album topic, or featured artists, or Rowland’s popular past, this CD is brilliant. The music flows with a quick, steady beat, and sends women everywhere an empowering message. It speaks for what women think, need, and want. With the combination of lyrics and musical talent, it rightfully belongs in the genre of R&B/Soul. All of her songs put me in a chilled atmosphere, yet kept my attention. This album deserves an A, not just for its quality, but for its liveliness. into trouble and jail. It asks if the boy will ever come home to the ones who love him, or if he will stay with the ones who pretend to. Not only is the song touching, but it clues into the reality of most kids today. Another delightful song by Church is “Springsteen,” in which he describes flashbacks of his first love and everything that reminds him of her. Not only is it cute, but it carries a wonderful beat that makes you close your eyes and think of the past. The song allows Church’s listeners to, again, relate to him and his music. With the title “I’m Gettin’ Stoned,” the first thing one would think of is drugs, right? Church took it a different way. In this song, he explains how ‘she got a rock and I’m gettin’ stoned,’ or basically he screwed himself when he got married. This song shares the relatable opinion of some men after marriage. There were some transitions in the album that were awkward, but the overall quality was appropriate for the genre. Church is a little more upbeat and ‘in your face’ than most country artists now-a-days, which won him some brownie points. All-in-all, Church is a decent artist and shares his stories well. This album deserves no more and no less than a 7/10.
Shady LP.” The duo recorded the single almost 12 years ago. At the end of the track they sing “bad meets evil, see you in hell for the sequel.” Here they are with an album 12 year later. Two songs leaked before the album’s release: “Living Proof” and “Echo.” Both songs are bonus tracks on the deluxe edition; they are said to be songs that helped finish the album. “Echo” is used as a closing song with just a verse from each rapper with guest vocals from Liz Rodriquez. The album took six months to develop. It features nine singles with three guest artists. “Lighters,” featuring Bruno Mars, made its live debut performance at the 2011 Bonaroo Music & Arts Festival, and was considered the highlight performance of the festival. Just hearing Eminem and Royce creating music together is interesting. “The Reunion” seems to show that the duo has dropped the feud. Those who are familiar with Eminem and Royce have been waiting for more. Never did they think the two artists would get together after a feud and make music together. This album has proved otherwise.
Film balances sci-fi, western themes well Nicki Kostrewza Agora Staff
“Cowboys and Aliens” came into theaters July 29, fascinating people with its action packed storyline and creative twists. The film made a little over $36 million its opening weekend, beating “The Smurfs” by about $1 million. The main character, Jake Lonergan (played by Daniel Craig), wakes up in the middle of the desert, and can’t remember a single thing, well, except for English. As he fights to remember who he is, he runs into more and more trouble on his way; not just ‘the law’ or your typical ‘bad guys,’ but alien trouble. Figuring he has nothing to lose, Lonergan puts himself out there to save the many people who were abducted. Not to mention he’s determined to show these ‘outsiders’ that man will not tolerate them, and they will never give up a fight. This movie was simply fantastic. Major acknowledgements have to go to the writers of this screenplay. The place in time was not only creative, but the characters were as well. Then, of course, with Craig and Harrison Ford (who played Woodrow Dolarhyde) as the two leads, the movie only got better and better as it went along. These actors are not only famous for their performances in previous films, but for their ability to bring their characters to life. There is also the director, Jon Favreau, and the special effects crew, who also deserve recognition for the major influences they had on the film. The special effects weren’t too flawed, and Favreau planned out the scenes just right.
Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig star in this western sci-fi flick about a hostile alien invasion.
For any western and/or paranormal fans out there, or just lovers of major plot twists, “Cowboys and Aliens” is your kind of movie.
Conan film flops on-screen Taylor Pinson Agora Staff
“Conan: The Barbarian” is the worst movie yet this year. The film is a medieval fantasy loosely based on the works of Robert E. Howard. It stars Jason Momoa as Conan, a barbarian who to avenge the death of his parents against an evil war lord who seeks a powerful magic artifact with which he will rule the world. The film is overstuffed with characters. All of the actors involved turn in either poor or underwhelming performances. Left: “Conan: The Barbarian,” starring Jason Momoa, features poor fight scenes, a plethora of forgetable characters and an awful screneplay.
As a result, none of them have enough screen time to become memorable, with the exception of Momoa, who is given little to do except look angry, shout at things, and mutter incredibly awful lines to the film’s mandatory love interest played poorly by Rachel Nichols. The movie’s plot is a mess and does little more than move Momoa along from one boring, poorly choreographed fight scene to another. The fight scenes, already dull, are filmed with the bane of the modern action movie: the “shaky cam,” a technique that renders the action unwatchable. This movie is so terrible that it makes “Conan: The Destroyer” look good. If you want to watch a good Conan movie, stick with the vastly superior 1982 “Conan: The Barbarian.”
Ron Paul shares libertarian views David Topolewski Agora Staff
Republican U.S. Rep. Ron Paul is not a fan of the Federal Reserve. The New York Times #1 bestseller, “End The Fed,” expresses his feelings about the United States central bank. During a time of bailouts, national debt, and an expanding federal government, Ron Paul’s new book will increase distrust with the central bank. Paul explains how the Fed’s ability to print money out of thin air has created the country’s soaring debt and given the risk of hyperinflation. The congressman goes into detail about the current mess, describing that free-market capitalism was not to blame because the markets were never really free in the first place. Paul explains the influences of his free market mentality, such as living through the Great Depression, discussing the mistakes made by Presidents Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roos-
evelt, and his belief in a gold standard. He supports his belief in ending the Fed in his chapter “Why End The Fed?” “The Federal Reserve should be abolished because it is immoral, unconstitutional, impractical, promotes bad economics, and undermines liberty,” Paul writes. He discusses his position on the Fed, arguing with economic, philosophical, consitutional and libertarian angles. He defends each case with history and his personal beliefs. Paul admits the title of his book is not his own, but rather 4,000 students from the University of Michigan. After a Republican presidential debate in Dearborn, Paul spoke in Ann Arbor. When he spoke of monetary policy the crowd began to chant “END THE FED, END THE FED!” Ron Paul is a libertarian wearing the republican badge, and in his book he expresses his true economic beliefs.
U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, a Republican, shares his libertarian views against the Federal Reserve in his new book.
August 25, 2011
Balance of power shifting Wolverines attempt to rebuild
Spartans prepared to wage war
The Spartans continuity signals a power shift in the state of Michigan. It has been triggered by a 6-1 record against teams in Michigan over the last three seasons. Entering his fifth year as head coach for the Spartans, Mark Dantonio has compiled a 33-19 record. Every other year has been marked with successful seasons for Dantonio. In 2007 and 2009, the Spartans ended their season in a lower-tier bowl. In 2008 and 2010, they were one step away from “The Granddaddy of them all” by playing in the Capital One Bowl. Last season can best be described as unexpected. Besides their surprising wins against CoBig Ten Champion Wisconsin and Michigan at the Big House, they also caught opponents off guard with plays like “The Little Giants” and “The Mousetrap.” Maintaining success has been a problem throughout Michigan State’s history. Fortunately, they have a quarterback in Kirk Cousins, who has good head on his shoulders and was selected as the keynote speaker at the Big Ten luncheon. After hearing his speech, humbling and humorous can be added to his repertoire. When a child asked him if he wished he was as good as Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, he said he responded with a yes, and added, “I heard Denard’s only wish is that he could run like me.” Cousins will be leading the strength of the team with six other offensive starters returning. In his career, he has amassed 41 passing touchdowns, while accounting for 20 interceptions. The three years he’s been a captain have also been beneficial for the Spartans. “[Cousins] provides a lot of leadership for us,” Dantonio said at the Big Ten media day. “He brings a sense of calm, a sense of confidence to our football team. He’s got great game management skills.” The Cousins-led offense also has assurance from junior running back, Edwin Baker and sophomore Le’Veon Bell, who combined for 1,806 rushing yards last year. Larry Caper is also a dark horse after accumulating the most carries in 2009. Cousins also has a solid group of receivers, consisting of three seniors, to throw to. Wide receiver B.J. Cunningham is 10 catches away from being the receptions leader in Spartans history. Keshawn Martin has gradually progressed throughout his career. Martin caught 14 more passes than in 2009 with 32 and also contributes in other ways. He has rushed for 427 yards over his career. Keith Nichol got a taste of being a receiver after being at the other end of the spectrum as a quarterback during his high school and early college career. He had 22 catches last year and was a great asset as a blocker. In what is expected to be a tight race in the Big Ten’s Legends division, Michigan State’s kicker might give them an edge. Dan Conroy has missed only one of 16 attempts in his time with the Spartans, including a 5/5 mark from 40-plus yards. The Spartans did not lack motivation during the off-season after they were dismantled 49-7 by Alabama in the Citrus Bowl. The Spartans start the season with an easy non-conference schedule that includes Youngstown State, Florida Atlantic and Central Michigan. Their toughest test before the conference schedule begins will be at Notre Dame, which is always a hard-fought game. In their last 10 meetings, the victor has alternated every year, except for the 2007 and 2008 seasons, when Michigan State won two in a row, making them win-
The visual experience has been improved in NCAA Football 2012, providing realistic images and a collision-based tackling system.
Game Review: NCAA Football 2012 Jeff Papworth Agora Staff
NCAA Football 12 is best described as a pool of minor tweaks to its predecessor. The visuals have been improved, especially the lighting, and the game is now available in 1080p resolution on the PS3. The new game has a collisionbased tackling system; in the older version, defenders were sucked toward anyone carrying the ball. Zone-defense has been slightly improved, with defensive backs now covering receivers in their zone instead of standing around. The playbooks are customizable, which allows players to mix formations used by Brady Hoke and Rich Rodriguez if they don’t want Denard Robinson under center. EA has added an entire high school season to the game’s Road to Glory mode. It allows players to play on both sides of the ball in high school, unlike last year’s version. The growing hype over recruiting has resulted in EA having players pick their top three schools as well as other schools trying to gain the player’s interest. The player’s star rating will change during the season based on performance. Concurrently, players will accumulate scholarship offers, although there won’t be a cash incentive if a player becomes a 5-star athlete. The added seven to 11 regular season games to “Road to Glory” is a nice feature, and seems to draw its inspiration from the popularity of TV shows like Fri-
ners of six of the last ten games. The introduction of Nebraska into the Big Ten will make the Spartans conference schedule more difficult than last season. Michigan State will renew its battle against Ohio State in the Horseshoe after the Buckeyes were left off the schedule last season. While Tressel will not be at the helm, the Buckeyes do not lack talent. The two games after that will be at home against Michigan and Wisconsin. Quarterback Kirk Cousins will look to leave East Lansing with an undefeated record against the Wolverines in his three years as a starter. Due to a scheduling flaw with the Big Ten realignment, the Spartans will host Big Ten championship contender Wisconsin for the second year in a row. The end of the difficult stretch
day Night Lights. Its biggest problem is the lack of difficulty. Players can become superstars far too easily, sometimes as early as the third game of their freshman year. Rating increases should not be
of games will be a long shot for the Spartans. They will travel to Lincoln, Nebraska to play the Cornhuskers, who are the favorites to win the Big Ten. The last four games will be an easier task. They will face teams in Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana and Northwestern, which are in the middle-to-bottom of the pack in the Big Ten. Will the Spartans handle the pressure of the high expectations and the target on their back after clinching their first Big Ten Championship in 20 seasons? The answer to that question will determine if Michigan State is the Spartans of old or new. “We climbed one mountain and you think you’re getting to the top of the mountain, but you find out, there is another mountain there to climb as well,” Dantonio said.
earned so easily. The inability to call plays also gets frustrating at times. It does add another level of realism, but calling more run plays than passing plays on third and long situations is dumbfounding.
All in all, the good cancels out the bad making Road to Glory mode an average playing experience. Coaching Carousel is new to Dynasty mode. It starts players as an offensive or defensive coordinator and lets them move up the coaching ranks. The school you select will give you a contract that include tasks that must be completed, such as tallying a certain amount of touchdowns. It can be gratifying to start as an offensive or defensive coordinator at a doormat and work your way up to a head coaching position at a perennial power. It is a nice addition to the series because of the massive exposure college football coaches receive. The only thing that needs tweaking is the coordinator. He should only be able to recruit players on their side of the ball or not at all. The online mode is also fulfilling. Presentation is not the biggest concern for a video game, but it is frustrating in this one. The menu layout looks great, but suffers from severe lag. There are also a few issues with online play if you are using a low-end broadband internet connection, but otherwise the online experience continues to be almost perfect. Overall, NCAA Football will satisfy the avid college football fan clamoring to play in the untied shoes of Michigan’s quarterback Denard Robinson or use the arm of MSU’s gun slinger Kirk Cousins, but the casual fan would be better off sticking with a copy of last year’s edition.
Game Schedule MSU
U of M
09/02/11 Youngstown State 09/10/11 Florida Atlantic 09/17/11 Notre Dame 09/24/11 Central Michigan 10/01/11 Ohio State 10/15/11 Michigan State 10/22/11 Wisconsin 10/29/11 Nebraska 11/05/11 Minnesota 11/12/11 Iowa 11/19/11 Indiana 11/26/11 Northwestern
09/03/11 Western Michigan 09/10/11 Notre Dame 09/17/11 Eastern Michigan 09/24/11 San Diego State 10/01/11 Minnesota 10/08/11 Northwestern 10/15/11 Michigan State 10/29/11 Purdue 11/05/11 Iowa 11/12/11 Illinois 11/19/11 Nebraska 11/26/11 Ohio State
The Wolverines will be unrecognizable when the first play kicks off their season at the Big House. Rich Rodriguez is out, Brady Hoke is in. To Michigan fans’ delight, the spread offense and the 3-3-5 defense are out and the prostyle and the 4-3 are back into the fold. There will also be many nuances during the season. The Wolverines will face Notre Dame in the first night game in Michigan Stadium history. To commemorate the event, Michigan will join a long list of teams that wear alternate uniforms occasionally. Michigan will also play against new conference foe Nebraska at the Big House. One thing that does remain the same is quarterback Denard Robinson, who will enter his junior year at Michigan. Much like three years ago, many are wondering how the new coach will use a quarterback who does not fit his system, but luckily for Brady Hoke, he will have the Big Ten offensive player of the year in his arsenal instead of a walk-on. If there was a mid-season Heisman Trophy given out last season, Denard Robinson would have ran away with it. In three of Robinson’s first five games, he tallied more total yards than any Michigan player before him. However, injuries and stronger competition slowed him down, making victories for Michigan more difficult to come by. But even with these troubles, he still became the first NCAA player to amass over 1,500 passing and rushing yards in a season. Even though the firing of Rich Rodriguez did not spur any key players to transfer, the roster may still face a hit because of receiver Darryl Stonum’s uncertain future. Stonum was arrested in May for operating a vehicle while visibly impaired, and was punished for the same offense in 2008. “I wanted to wait and go all through the summer and see how he’s handling all the things he needs to do,” Hoke told AnnArbor.com. Brady Hoke’s record as a head coach sits at 47-51, but that has not stopped him from winning people over. His recruiting class is in the top five in most rankings. Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison looks to turn around a defense that was ranked 108th in points allowed last year. For going from coaching Ray Lewis and Co. to a defense that went from bad before Rich Rod arrived in Ann Arbor, to horrid after he was fired, Mattison’s yearly salary will be $750,000. Michigan’s non-conference schedule sets up well this season, with every game played in Ann Arbor. As always, whoever wins the contest between the Wolverines and Fighting Irish will gather national attention. An interesting matchup is set for the fourth game against Hoke’s former team, San Diego State. A game at Michigan State could be the toughest test on the schedule. Some say, Mark Dantonio has the most talented team he has ever fielded as the Spartans head coach. The end of the season will not be any easier. The Wolverines begin the last four games on the road against Iowa and Illinois. They end with traditional powers Nebraska and Ohio State at home. Brady Hoke and Luke Fickell will be roaming the sidelines in “The Game” for the first time. They’re also both entering programs that have faced NCAA violations. Unlike three years ago, new coach Brady Hoke is inheriting an experienced roster. Although chances of a Big Ten Championship look bleak, he should be expected to beat rivals Ohio State and Michigan State, which have dominated the series against the Wolverines over the years.