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“Giving Tree” helping selflessly during holiday season Donations helps out members of the MSU community.

ALEX KERKMAN Staff Writer Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, the Christmas season is officially upon us. Many Americans braved the crowds last Friday to get the best deals on a wide range of products, often selfishly throwing and trampling others in their path. As disgusting as Black Friday can be, it is heartwarming to know that there are just as much selfless acts taking place throughout the world. One of those is the Minnesota State University Giving Tree.

The Giving Tree was founded by Steph Stassen, a graduate advisor for Registered Student Organizations and Leadership. Stassen founded the program last year at MSU, after starting a similar program at North Dakota State University. “When I came here there was a huge need for a giving tree,” Stassen said. The giving tree focus was to help out members of the MSU community. Only university students can register to be helped out for the program, and only members of the MSU community donate and sponsor the children.

“The whole mission of this program is to help our own out,” Stassen said. “MSU students helping other MSU students out.” This year 31 families signed up for the program, which included 68 children. There were also 36 sponsors, over half of which were MSU students. This number was raised by more than half from 2012. “We had so many sponsors we had to turn a few away. It was a good problem to have,” Stassen said. Those who didn’t sponsor children donated food and gas cards to the parents.

Gifts included a little bit of everything, from necessities, including clothing, to toys. Some parents said they would provide “the needs,” while asking the sponsors to provide “the wants.” Both sponsors and registers were asked to stay in a $30 price range. The event started at the end of October, when registration first opened up. Registration ran all the way through November, and donations officially end on December 3rd. On December 4, parents will receive emails letting them know that their gifts are available to be picked up. All sponsors and those who

registered to be helped out are kept in complete anonymity. Neither group will know the identity of one another. Roughly 54% of all sponsors were students at MSU. The rest of the sponsors were made up of faculty, staff or entire departments. Even though Stassen will not be at MSU next year, she hopes the program will carry on. “I think this is a tradition to look forward to at MSU for years to come,” Stassen said. The Mankato Giving Tree was sponsored by Non-Traditional Student Organization and Community Engagement.

Community Engagement Office delivers food, help to Mankato PRATAKSHYA BHANDARI Staff Writer

Providing care and support to the Greater Mankato community through student engagement, The Community Engagement Office is an effort from the MSU community to provide students with a unique opportunity to make a difference in the community while gaining valuable service learning experience, a separate part of their main goal of organizing various events all year long. The campus kitchen is a student driven hunger relief effort from the Community Engagement Office (CEO) along with the Campus Dining Services and various other facilities on campus. With the help of student volunteers, food recovered from area restaurants is packaged and delivered to provide nutritional meals to a neighborhood. It is an effort to end hunger that has not only helped the Greater Mankato area but many other US cities where it is becoming a very popular service on University

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campuses. While combating hunger, the effort also helps eliminate food waste in restaurants who are more than willing to become a part of the ongoing effort. Some of the Mankato Area restaurants that participate in Campus Kitchen include Chipotle, Red Lobster and Caribou Coffee. The food is collected and packaged in a licensed kitchen located at the Crossroads Lutheran Ministry at MSU. The kitchen in collaboration with University Dining Services is equipped with necessary facilities and managed by a certified staff. The Campus kitchen delivers more than 6000 meals each year, while also eliminating 7000 pounds of food from going into landfills each year. While hunger is a problem that requires year round attention, it is especially difficult for many families during the holidays. Not only will the campus kitchen be open and delivering during the winter holidays, the CEO also has an event called the giving tree, to spread cheer during the holidays.

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2 • MSU Reporter

News

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Double Trouble? A growing number of couples attempting pregnancy are contemplating the safety of having twins. To add heft to the advice, the guidelines say women should be counseled on the risks of multiple births and embryo transfers and that this discussion should be noted in their medical records. “In 2014, our goal is really to minimize twins,” said Dr. Alan Copperman, medical director of Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York, a Manhattan fertility clinic. “This year I’m talking about two versus one. Several years ago I was talking about three versus two” embryos. The one-at-a-time idea is catching on. Only 4 percent of women under 35 used single embryos in 2007 but nearly 12 percent did in 2011. It’s less common among older women, who account for fewer IVF pregnancies, but it is gaining among them, too. “Patients don’t really want multiples. What they want is high delivery rates,” said Dr. Richard T. Scott Jr., scientific director for Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey, which has seven clinics in that state. Better ways to screen embryos can make success rates for single embryos nearly as good as when two or more are used, he contends. The new techniques include maturing the embryos

a few days longer. That improves viability and allows cells to be sampled for chromosome screening. Embryos can be frozen to allow test results to come back and more precisely time the transfer to the womb. Taking these steps with single embryos results in fewer miscarriages and tubal pregnancies, healthier babies with fewer genetic defects and lower hospital bills from birth complications, many fertility specialists say. Multiple studies back this up. In May, doctors from the New Jersey clinics did the kind of research considered a gold standard. They randomly assigned 175 women to have either a single embryo transferred after chromosome screening or two embryos with no screening, as is done in most IVF attempts now. Delivery rates were roughly equivalent — 61 percent with single embryos and 65 percent with doubles. More than half of the double transfers produced twins but none of the single ones did. Babies from double transfers were more likely to be premature; more than one-third spent time in a neonatal intensive care unit versus 8 percent of the others. Chromosome testing and freezing embryos adds about $4,000 to the roughly $14,000 cost for IVF, “but the pregnancy

rates go up dramatically,” and that saves money because fewer IVF attempts are needed, Scott said. Using two or more embryos carries a much higher risk of twins and much higher rates of cerebral palsy and other disorders. After explaining the risks, “this is the easiest thing in the world to convince patients to do,” Scott said of screening and using single embryos. But Dr. Fady Sharara of the Virginia Center for Reproductive Medicine in Reston, Va., found otherwise. For a study, he offered 48 couples free medications and embryo freezing if they would agree to transfer one at a time instead of two. Eighteen couples refused, including one-quarter of those whose insurance was covering the treatment. Some who refused said they viewed twins as two for the price of one. “I tell my patients twins are not twice the fun,” Shahara said. “One is hard enough. Two at a time is a killer for some people. Some marriages don’t survive this.” The New Jersey couple, who had a daughter using a single embryo, has eight more frozen embryos. When it’s time to try again, Abigail Ernst said, “we would do the same thing” and use one at a time.

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vocacy group. “We as a society think twins are healthy and always come out great. There’s very little reality” about the increased medical risks for babies and moms, she said. The 2009 case of a California woman who had octuplets using IVF focused attention on the issue of big multiple births, and the numbers have dropped, except for twins. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent numbers show that 46 percent of IVF babies are multiples— mostly twins —and 37 percent are born premature. By comparison, only 3 percent of babies born without fertility help are twins and about 12 percent are preterm. It’s mostly an American problem — some European countries that pay for fertility treatments require using one embryo at a time. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine is trying to make it the norm in the U.S., too. Its guidelines, updated earlier this year, say that for women with reasonable medical odds of success, those under 35 should be offered single embryo transfer and no more than two at a time. The number rises with age, to two or three embryos for women up to 40, since older women have more trouble conceiving.

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BOSTON (AP) — In the five years since the “Octomom” case, big multiple births have gone way down but the twin rate has barely budged. Now fertility experts are pushing a new goal: One. A growing number of couples are attempting pregnancy with just a single embryo, helped by new ways to pick the ones most likely to succeed. New guidelines urge doctors to stress this approach. Twins aren’t always twice as nice; they have much higher risks of prematurity and serious health problems. Nearly half of all babies born with advanced fertility help are multiple births, new federal numbers show. Abigail and Ken Ernst of Oldwick, N.J., used the one-embryo approach to conceive Lucy, a daughter born in September. It “just seemed the most normal, the most natural way” to conceive and avoid a high-risk twin pregnancy, the new mom said. Not all couples feel that way, though. Some can only afford one try with in vitro fertilization, or IVF, so they insist that at least two embryos be used to boost their odds, and view twins as two for the price of one. Many patients “are telling their physicians ‘I want twins,’” said Barbara Collura, president of Resolve, a support and ad-

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

MSU Reporter • 3

News

Student profile: Jacob Moe Moe’s contributions can be felt in Greek Life.

LISA STEVENS Staff Writer Jacob Moe, a well-known student at Minnesota State University, Mankato, provides an excellent example of how being involved in something you’re passionate about can tremendously shape your college career. Moe is highly recognized for serving as president of the Delta Chi fraternity on campus for two years. Several of his fraternity brothers credit him with saving their chapter. During Moe’s first presidential term, the Delta Chi, Mankato Chapter, was close to being shut down by its nationals because of its small size and probationary status. To keep the chapter running, Moe spoke with its nationals about what needed to change and wrote an appeal letter. Changes were soon implemented, and the chapter grew bigger and has been going strong ever since; however, Moe doesn’t take full credit for the chapter’s turnaround. “It wasn’t just me,” Moe said.

“It was a lot of people’s hard work and dedication.” Moe was awarded “President of the Year” twice by a panel of judges for the two terms he served as president of Delta Chi. “I think I was recognized because of all the strides our chapter made as a whole while I was president,” Moe said. When his second presidential term for Delta Chi ended, Moe received the honorable position as president of the Interfraternity Council at MSU. The Interfraternity Council is the governing body for the nine men’s fraternities on campus. As president, Moe oversees the Interfraternity Executive Board. He is also the master of ceremonies at All-Greek Meetings, which are held once a month in the Ostrander Auditorium. In 2013, Moe attended the Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values Conference that was held in Indianapolis. AFLV is an annual gathering about fraternal values and Greek life. Moe said he has been involved in extracurricular activ-

ities his whole life. He attended high school in Richfield, Minn., where he played sports and was a member of band, choir and student government. He didn’t plan on joining a fraternity when he enrolled at MSU until he met some of the members of Delta Chi. He said his favorite things about his fraternity are his brothers and knowing that there’s always somebody there for him. “I can’t really imagine my life without Delta Chi,” he said. Moe, a senior, is double majoring in Business Management and Marketing. His minor is Business Administration. Moe currently works two jobs. He’s a cook at Tav on the Ave and a bartender at Number 4 in Mankato. He hopes to continue working in the food industry and eventually own his own restaurant. “I used to feel overwhelmed,” Moe said, “But not so much anymore. Everything always works out.” In his free time, Moe said he likes playing basketball and video games, golfing and hanging

out with his fraternity brothers. Moe has maintained a positive and respectable reputation on campus, mainly through his mature demeanor. “I’ve always

tried to act professional,” Moe said. Moe has been described by many as not only professional but also humble.

Web Photo Jacob Moe (Pictured here) is known for saving a fraternity


4 • MSU Reporter

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Dressing nice important in college setting

Minnesota State University, Mankato

STAFF FALL 2013

While taking a few minutes, the results are well worth it. RYAN BERNDT Staff Writer

Time; a rare luxury many students never have enough of. From finishing homework assignments that are due at midnight, to trying to find time for a quick lunch; time slips by too quickly. Cutting out numerous activities is a sacrifice we’re accustomed to, but one aspect of life has been reduced to a few moments or even completely removed from our schedules: putting on a decent outfit. Although jeans and a t-shirt are the norm here, it’s not uncommon to look back at photos from the mid 1900s and see students on campus sporting ties and intricate dresses to class. Such a campus would seem alien her in the land of tight yoga pants, dusty baseball caps, and squeaky sneakers. Now, more than ever, students are always in a rush, never getting enough sleep, which makes getting ready for the day an inconvenience. I challenge students, however, to allow themselves a few extra minutes in the morning to put together a nice outfit, take care of the hair, and wipe the dirt off that shirt. We all have those days (Mondays) where we throw on a pair of sweatpants, put on our favorite sweatshirts, and head out to class. But why should that trend continue? The professional world grows more and more competi-

tive each year, shouldn’t students dress as such? The Career Development Center emphasizes how important first impressions are when it comes to getting hired. That doesn’t mean it’s okay to just have a spare suit or dress in the closet just for that purpose, you should try it on to class once and a while! Professors may not include a dress code on their syllabi, but as students advance into harder courses and the class size shrinks, the subtlest of differences in people’s outfits will echo loudly in such a focused environment. The harsh reality is that we won’t always be able to put on a t-shirt, pants, and shoes in five minutes and head out for the day. Many of our degrees will lead us towards a corporate life, a life that requires us to put on formal attire and a formal attitude. College should be a time of change and new experiences, not of familiarity and timidness, even when it comes to dressing up. Adding a little bit of professionalism isn’t hard to do, a simple change of a t shirt to a polo goes great lengths to show maturity; coupled with a pair of good fitting jeans and clean dress shoes is all it takes to make a better first impression. However, don’t forget to add a personal flair; a favorite tie or a pretty bow, to make yourself stand out from the corporate drones. Style is an important part of

who we are as human beings, and we should be proud of the clothes we wear. It’s always possible to throw a bit of uniqueness into any outfit, but if wearing

jeans with holes in them and a pair of converse are your thing, be proud of that. Being lazy with your appearance, however, isn’t something to be proud of.

EVAN MASTERS, JUNIOR AVIATION “ It’s a good idea, but everyone should be able to choose what to wear .”

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POLICIES & INFORMATION • If you have a complaint, suggestion or would like to point out an error made in the Reporter, call Editor in Chief Reece Hemmesch at 507-3895454. The Reporter will correct any errors of fact or misspelled names in this space. Formal grievances against the Reporter are handled by the Newspaper Board. • The Minnesota State University Mankato Reporter is a studentrun newspaper published twice a week, coming out on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The Reporter generates 78 percent of its own income through advertising and receives approximately 22 percent from Student Activities fees. The Reporter is free to all students and faculty, but to start a subscription, please call us at 507-3891776. Subscriptions for the academic school year are $55.00 and subscribers will receive the paper within three to five days after publishing.

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“Should people dress nicer on campus?”

VANESSA AKINYANGE, JUNIOR PSYCHOLOGY “Yes, they should, appearance is everything.”

EDITOR IN CHIEF: Reece Hemmesch.......389-5454

MATT KYROLA, JUNIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT “Yes, most people are going into a field that requires a professional look.”

LIZ DOPPENBERG, SENIOR MATH EDUCATION “Dress how you want, but keep it classy.”

• Letters exceeding 400 words may not be accepted. The Reporter reserves the right to edit letters to fit space or correct punctuation. The Reporter reserves the right to publish, or not publish, at its discretion. Letters must contain year, major or affiliation with the university, or lack thereof. All letters must contain phone numbers for verification purposes.

Compiled by Arnold Bagamba

JOANNE NAMUTEH, POLICAL SCIENCE “The way you dress says so much about who you are.”


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

MSU Reporter • 5

News

People, Budgets need to be more accepting to welfare recipients SAM WILMES News Editor With budget battles dominating the headlines, a debate is raging, not only in the mindnumbingly juvenile halls of congress, but in the main streets of America. The debate centers on where we should cut- what programs can stand to become more efficient. Lost in the shuffle amidst the statistics, however, are human beings- people whose wellbeing is dependent on the government, some through no fault of their own. The less fortunate among usthe ones who receive welfare checks, food stamps and government housing, are real people with real needs, and some of us struggle to grasp that concept. Some equate these people with bums who don’t do anything in life but lounge around and collect checks while buying $400 big screen TV’s. While there is some cheating in welfare undoubtedly- steaks and shrimp are no doubt bought

on the public dole, it is important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Some people undoubtedly can use a little more compassion toward their fellow man. I remember a quote by Billy Fleming circulated by my friends on Facebook this summer. The quote read “The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is proud to be distributing the greatest amount of free meals and food stamps ever.” “Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us to ‘Please Do Not Feed the Animals.’ Their stated reason for the policy is because the animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves. This ends today’s lesson.” While the post on my friend’s page received 13 likes, for me it was one of the most shocking examples of dehumanizing the least fortunate among us. For me the comment was extremely upsetting, partly because I have family on food stamps. My sister Rachel, a 25- year

old living in a structured home in Rochester, struggles with Autism. She works at Wal- Mart, making about $8.00 an hour. Not really applicable to her situation right now, but she was an extremely hard working student in High School. After every day of school she would come home and work on homework. She hoped she could get accepted at The University of Wisconsin- Stout, or Iowa State, but unfortunately sometimes life gives us a slap in the face. Despite frequent visits to universities, and a nearly 4.0 GPA, she couldn’t handle the mental aspect of school- it literally

might of led her to the edge of sanity- it is all part of the struggles of an autistic youth. Now she receives around $150 a month in government aid. While thankful for her job, this amount of money is not enough for her to go on any special trips or spending sprees. She doesn’t choose to receive government funds- if she could she would get a great paying job with great benefits. While she would take it in a heartbeat, unfortunately for her that is not possible. While Billy Fleming’s comment may only be there for shock value, the comment is indicative of a culture that doesn’t have

much tolerance for “Free- Loaders and leeches.” Their perception of reality, however, is a little different than mine. While comparing welfare recipients to animals borders on barbaric, even animals have a responsibility to take care of the members of their pack. If we took the time to know Welfare recipients like Rachel, people who have been dealt a tough hand, we could connect with them, and some of us could learn that painting with a broad brush and judging welfare recipients is never appropriate until you know their individual stories.

Web Photo With the budget one of the biggest challenges facing the US, priorities need to be set for those in need.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Five tips to get you through the homestretch of fall semester It’s crunch time everybody, and though things just keep piling on and you think you might not make it, these tips might just help. make it through as will everybody else swamped during this time, so just realize you have a full couple of weeks and get on it.

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REECE HEMMESCH Editor in Chief With one more week of class left on this semester and finals week peaking its ugly head out of the future and inching towards the present, you are currently looking into the abyss at everything you have due in the next couple of weeks. A few more assignments followed by finishing up papers and presentations due at the end of the semester all to finish up and take those dreaded finals that will make you push everything you have towards winter break. It’s not uncommon, we all are feeling that same pressure as more and more work begins to pile up on the desks in front of us with just a couple weeks left of it all. You’ve busted your tail all semester, but now it comes down

to closing it in the final stretch, the homestretch if you will. With that being said, we are all under a lot of stress right now, so here are five things to help you get through finals week and the last week of class. 1. Remember the light at the end of the tunnel This light I speak of is one day on the calendar that falls on the same date every year, of course I am talking about Christmas. The holiday season is upon us but before we can go caroling and watch ABC Family Christmas programming for hours on end, we have to finish up school first, but keep Christmas in the back of your mind at all times as a reason to push you through all of this. I love Christmas time, so for me, everything I get done from

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now until the end of finals week is like one more push towards the holidays after endless tasks and due dates involving classes. Christmas also gives us a full month off before returning again in January, so think of it as making up for what will happen midDecember through mid-January. 2. Realization that everyone has been/is going through what you are going through I know it may seem like you have more work to do than anybody but besides from the few kids who get let-off easy during this time, everyone else in college throughout the United States is going through the same thing. It’s not like MSU is the only school that packs things tightly around the end and finals week, so just buck-up and realize it needs to be done. You will

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3. Make a schedule of what’s due and when you should do it I rarely keep my schedule updated; for that matter, rarely do I even keep a schedule unless I have a few meetings in a week’s time. But for this stretch down the road, I keep mine handy and updated so that I have a sure-fire plan on when stuff needs to be done. The perk of this: it also helps you realize it is not one big thing, it is just a bunch of little things and makes you more confident that you can get it done. I wrap up everything a week from today, and knowing that I have two tests, two presentations and two research papers due until then almost make me want to cry, but when you break it down that I have this test one day, and a presentation two days later and a paper due the day after that, for whatever reason it makes you feel like you can handle it. Plus, every time you finish a day or the tasks for that day on the list, you’re a percentage closer to being done.

4. Have fun in your spare time, don’t just dwell Have you ever met one of those people who has a day off in the last couple of weeks and spends all their free time that day trapped inside their own mind with the thought of everything due? To me, that has to be one of the unhealthiest things you can do during this time and can only make you feel more overwhelmed, or that you have to constantly be working the whole time? Remember my schedule idea from before? Well that can also help you find a few moments in this hectic stretch when you could just relax for a night, even if it is just for a bit. If you take a test Monday and don’t have another until Wednesday and feel you don’t have to study until the day before, don’t spend Monday night worried that you won’t do well, go out and live a little. If you cage yourself in the library or your house for that period of time and tell yourself you can’t take any time to stop and relax, you are going to be burned out pretty fast, so make time to

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

MSU Reporter • 7

News

Ukrainian leader courts EU

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Facing huge anti-government demonstrations after spurning a deal with the European Union, Ukraine’s embattled president sought Monday to quell public anger by moving to renew talks with Brussels. The opposition, meanwhile, e scrambled to secure enough votes in parliament to oust the f Cabinet and try to force an early f presidential election, in the bigd gest unrest in the country since t the 2004 Orange Revolution. n President Viktor Yanukovych - struggled to reaffirm his grip e on power as thousands of dems onstrators besieged government d buildings in Kiev, his party sufe fered defections and three cities o in the west of the country openly e defied the central government. The protests were sparked by a Yanukovych’s decision to ditch o the political association and free s trade pact with the EU, followed u by the violent dispersal of a n small peaceful rally in Kiev over the weekend. d Russian President Vladimir - Putin, who strongly opposed o the EU deal, denounced the opt position protests in Kiev as “pot groms.” e On Monday, Yanukovych e called European Commission - President Jose Manuel Barroso u and asked to renew negotiations d on signing the association agreed ment. He also said in an intero view with Ukraine’s main television channels that he remains committed to European integration, but would like to negotiate better terms for the fragile Ukrainian economy. Yanukovych urged the opposition for calm and dialogue with the government. But his call fell flat with opposition leaders who were hoping to summon enough parliamentary votes Tuesday to oust the Cabinet led by Yanukovych’s loyal supporter, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, and force an early presidential vote. “We need to change the system. There must be a complete reloading of the leadership,” world boxing champion turned opposition leader Vitali Klitschko told reporters. It was unclear whether the opposition could muster the 226 votes it needs in the 450-seat parliament to oust Azarov and his Cabinet. The opposition controls about 170 seats, but independents hold 35 more and the governing Party of Regions was shedding support. At least three of its lawmakers quit in protest and one of them, Inna Bohoslovska, previously a vocal government supporter, called on other legislators to leave the party. A top Agriculture Ministry official also resigned Monday. Oleksandr Yefremov, head

of the Party of Regions faction in parliament, said lawmakers would discuss the situation Tuesday morning and might then put a no-confidence motion up for a vote. But he argued that there were no grounds to dismiss the government because of the protests, which have centered on Kiev’s main Independence Square, popularly referred to as Maidan. “Our goal is to make sure that the people on Maidan calm down,” Yefremov said. Opinion surveys conducted before the protests showed about 45 percent of Ukrainians supporting closer integration with the EU, with a third or less favoring closer ties with Russia. But the protests, and the police violence, appear to have unleashed anger against the government and tipped the balance more strongly in favor of integration with the EU. Azarov criticized the opposition for blockading the government buildings and said the actions have the makings of a coup. Putin, speaking Monday on a visit to Armenia, called the demonstrations an attempt by the opposition to destabilize the government. “The events in Ukraine look more like pogroms than a revolution,” he said. Officials in the western cities of Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Ternopil announced they were going on strike and called on their residents to turn out for protests. Lviv’s mayor warned that police in his city would take

Protests have been held daily in Kiev since Yanukovych’s Cabinet announced on Nov. 21 that it was ditching the EU agreement in favor of closer ties with Russia. Yanukovych was also reluctant to liberate his top rival, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, whose imprisonment the EU called political revenge and whose freedom it set as a condition for signing the deal.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman reaffirmed the willingness of Berlin and Brussels to sign the association agreement, saying the protests clearly showed that Ukrainians want the EU deal. “For the German government, these demonstrations send a very clear message,” he said. “It has to be hoped that ... Yanukovych will hear this message.” U.N. Secretary-General Ban

Ki-moon, speaking at a conference in Lima, Peru, appealed “to all parties to act with restraint” and “avoid any further violence.” In Washington, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki also called for calm. “We continue to stress there is no room for violence in a country that aspires to a democratic future,” she said.

Web Photo The Ukrainians are protesting President Viktor Yamukovych.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Fatal beating followed police threat

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Police Officer Manuel Ramos (Far) has been charged with second degree murder in connection to a homeless man being beaten to death.

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A bloody beating by police that left a California homeless man dead began when one of the officers on trial in his death grew frustrated with his evasiveness, snapped on a pair of latex gloves and told him, “’See these fists? They’re getting ready to (expletive) you up,’” a prosecutor said Monday. The warning came after the officer, Manuel Ramos, had bantered with Kelly Thomas, a 37-year-old mentally ill man, for about 13 minutes while investigating a call that Thomas had been tampering with cars at a Fullerton transit center, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackaukas told jurors in his opening statement at the trial. “There was a change at this point, a significant change for

the worse,* Rackauckas said. “This was the turning point where Ramos went from casual to malicious.” Ramos, 39, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter and is the first officer charged with murder for on-duty actions in the history of Orange County. Jay Cicinelli, 41, has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and use of excessive force. Much of the incident was captured on surveillance tape and audio recordings from officers’ body microphones that promise to be the centerpiece of the trial. Thomas, whose family says was schizophrenic, died five days after the July 5, 2011, confrontation with six officers. Moments after Ramos and Thomas began struggling, Ci-

cinelli used a Taser on Thomas and hit him eight times in the face and head with the blunt end of the stun gun, prosecutors say. In court, Rackauckas showed jurors a photo of the Taser, covered in blood, and the bloodsoaked sidewalk where Thomas had struggled with police. “He’s pinned to the ground, he’s face up, the back of his head is on the pavement and so there’s no give there. Cicinelli repeatedly pummeled Kelly in the face, without mercy. In his own words, Cicinelli said that he ‘smashed his face to hell,’” Rackauckas said. “Kelly didn’t really last very long after that. He continued to cry out to his dad for help, he pleaded for mercy, he kept crying out that he couldn’t breathe.” John Barnett, a defense attor-

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ney for Ramos, painted a different picture of the encounter. The trial is not about “some bully cop who beat a homeless person to death,” Barnett said during his opening statement. “This case is not about a homeless, helpless, harmless mentally ill guy. This case is about a man who made choices in his life — bad choices — that led to his tragic death.” Thomas had been taking methamphetamines since the 10th grade that caused him to have spontaneous, violent outbursts, Barnett told jurors. He said Thomas’ history of violence included attacking his 73-year-old grandfather with a fireplace poker in 1995 and trying to choke his mother, who took out a restraining order against him. Thomas was convicted of assault in the 1995 case, Barnett said. Ramos’ threat to harm Thomas with his gloved fists was conditional — only if he didn’t start listening — and it was clear Thomas didn’t take him seriously because he replied, “’Start punching, dude,’” Barnett said. A desperate struggle fol-

lowed, with police officers fearing for their safety, Barnett said. They were so overpowered that they called a “Code 3” — an emergency call for all available officers to respond — three times as they tried to wrestle Thomas into handcuffs, he said. “That means officers are in trouble. That means, we’re losing this fight,” Barnett said. “The amount of force they were using was not only not too much, it wasn’t enough.” Cicinelli’s attorney was expected to give his opening statement later in the day. Thomas, who some called “Crazy Kelly,” was familiar to police and known around town for his disheveled red beard and erratic behavior. Ramos had been called on seven previous occasions to remove him from private property, and Thomas had been written up for trespassing, urinating in a fountain and vandalism, among other things, according to court documents. A third Fullerton officer will be tried separately. Three other officers involved in the incident were not charged.

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MSU Reporter • 9

News

Accelerated speeds helped facilitate train wreck

5 TIPS “You’ve busted your tail all semester, but now it comes down to closing it in the final stretch, the homestretch if you will. With that being said, we are all under a lot of stress right now, so here are five things to help you get through finals week and last week of class.” continued from 6 do whatever makes you more comfortable and more prone to work later.

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YONKERS, N.Y. (AP) — A commuter train that derailed over the weekend, killing four passengers, was hurtling at 82 mph as it entered a 30 mph curve, a federal investigator said Monday. But whether the wreck was the result of human error or mechanical trouble was unclear, he said. Rail experts said the tragedy might have been prevented if Metro-North Railroad had installed automated crash-avoidance technology that safety authorities have been urging for decades. The locomotive’s speed was extracted from the train’s two data recorders after the Sunday morning accident, which happened in the Bronx along a bend so sharp that the speed limit drops from 70 mph to 30 mph. Asked why the train was going so fast, National Transporta-

tion Safety Board member Earl Weener said: “That’s the question we need to answer.” Weener would not disclose what the engineer operating the train told investigators, and he said results of drug and alcohol tests were not yet available. Investigators are also examining the engineer’s cellphone, apparently to determine whether he was distracted. “When I heard about the speed, I gulped,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. The engineer, William Rockefeller, was injured and “is totally traumatized by everything that has happened,” said Anthony Bottalico, executive director of the rail employees union. He said Rockefeller, 46, was cooperating fully with investigators. “He’s a sincere human being with an impeccable record that I

know of. He’s diligent and competent,” Bottalico said. Rockefeller has been an engineer for about 11 years and a MetroNorth employee for about 20, he said. Outside Rockefeller’s modest house in Germantown, N.Y., police told reporters that at the request of the family, anyone who trespassed would be arrested. Calls to the home went unanswered. The NTSB’s Weener sketched a scenario that suggested that the train’s throttle was let up and the brakes were fully applied way too late to stave off disaster. He said the throttle went to idle six seconds before the derailed train came to a complete stop — “very late in the game” for a train going that fast — and the brakes were fully engaged

5. Take advantage of university activities It may seem a little corny (or at least it did back in the dorms) but if you’re pulling the late night on campus next Monday, stop by Mav Ave in the CSU for their finals late night breakfast. A good study break will help you prepare and who’s going to turn down food at that hour of the night?

Also you can schedule free 10-minute messages for Monday and Tuesday anywhere from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There are tons of events going on even though class is not during finals week and they are all aimed at helping you get through this treacherous time. I know, if they really wanted to help you they would not have scheduled so much, but some pancakes and a message could be what gets you over the hump for finishing everything up.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

DERAILMENT “A properly installed PTC system would have prevented this train from crashing,” he said. “If the engineer would not have taken control of slowing the train down, the PTC system would have.” continued from 9 five seconds before the train stopped. It takes about a quarter-mile to a half-mile to stop a train going 82 mph, Kevin Thompson, Federal Railroad Administration spokesman. Asked whether the tragedy was the result of human error or faulty brakes, Weener said: “The answer is, at this point in time, we can’t tell.” But he said investigators are not aware of any problems with the brakes during the nine stops the train made before the derailment. The wreck came two years before the federal government’s deadline for Metro-North and other railroads to install automatic-slowdown technology designed to prevent catastrophes caused by human error. Metro-North’s parent agency and other railroads have pressed the government to extend Congress’ 2015 deadline a few years because of the cost and complexity of the Positive Train Control system, which uses GPS,

wireless radio and computers to monitor trains and stop them from colliding, derailing or going the wrong way. Steve Ditmeyer, a former FRA official who teaches at Michigan State University, said the technology would have monitored the brakes and would not have allowed the train in Sunday’s tragedy to exceed the speed limit. “A properly installed PTC system would have prevented this train from crashing,” he said. “If the engineer would not have taken control of slowing the train down, the PTC system would have.” On Sunday, the train was about half full, with about 150 people aboard, when it ran off the rails around 7:20 a.m. while rounding a bend where the Harlem and Hudson rivers meet. The lead car landed inches from the water. In addition to the four people killed, more than 60 were injured. Seven victims were still in intensive care at one hospital, and

two patients were reported in critical condition at another. The injured included five police officers who were heading to work, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on NBC’s “Today” show that he thinks speed will turn out to be a factor in a crash he called “your worst nightmare.” The train was configured with its locomotive pushing from the back instead of pulling at the front. Weener said that is common, and a train’s brakes work the same way no matter where the locomotive is. Ditmeyer said the locomotive’s location has virtually no effect on train safety. The dead were identified as Donna L. Smith, 54, of Newburgh; James G. Lovell, 58, of Cold Spring; James M. Ferrari, 59, of Montrose; and Ahn Kisook, 35, of Queens. Lovell, an audio technician who had worked the “Today” show and other NBC programs, was traveling to Manhattan to

A train derailed in New York on Sunday, killing four and injuring dozens more.

work on the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, longtime friend Janet Barton said. The treelighting ceremony is Wednesday night. “He always had a smile on his face and was quick to share a friendly greeting,” ‘’Today” executive producer Don Nash said in a message to staffers. The NTSB has been urging railroads for decades to install Positive Train Control technology. In 2008, Congress required dozens of railroads, including Metro-North, to do so by 2015. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs Metro-North, awarded $428 million in contracts in September to develop the system for MetroNorth and its sister Long Island Rail Road. But the MTA has asked for an extension to 2018, saying it faces technological and other hurdles in installing such a system across more than 1,000 rail cars and 1,200 miles of track. “This incident, if anything, heightens the importance of ad-

ditional safety measures like that one,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, which is also served by Metro-North. “I’d be very loath to be more flexible or grant more time.” MTA spokeswoman Margie Anders said the agency began planning for a PTC system as soon as the law was put into effect. “It’s not a simple, off-theshelf solution,” she said. The derailment came amid a troubled year for Metro-North, and marked the first time in the railroad’s 31-year history that a passenger was killed in an accident. In May, a train derailed in Bridgeport, Conn., and was struck by a train coming in the opposite direction, injuring 73 passengers, two engineers and a conductor. In July, a freight train full of garbage derailed near the site of Sunday’s wreck.

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12 • MSU Reporter

Sports

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

MSU Reporter • 13

Sports

MAVE RICK FOOTBALL: THE SEASON OF FI RSTS

MAVERICKS RANKED NO. 1 FOR THE FIRST TIME IN PROGRAM HISTORY BEFORE FALLING TO ST. CLOUD STATE his receiving yards into triple-digits while Reider earned his first 100-yard receiving game of his career with 131 and a touchdown. On the ground, the Mavericks did their thing, totaling 246 yards. Wolf, once again, led the rush with 103 yards on 26 carries and scored two touchdowns. Junior running back Andy Pfeiffer was part of the explosive third quarter with a three-yard touchdown right before the quarter ended, reducing the deficit to six points. He finished the game with 91 yards on 10 carries and should have had more, but two holding calls in a row took away two impres-

went all out. Even as Wolf, aka “The Project”, produced some big numbers and made huge plays in 2012, the Oak Forest, Ill. native came to fall camp bigger and stronger with a vastly improved throwing arm. Everybody knew the guy could run, but if he added the ability to hit open receivers at-will, he was going to be destructive in the NSIC. He did just that. After 11 regular season games, his game improved so much it led him to become the NSIC Offensive Player of the Year. His 1,047 rushing yards, 1,719 passing yards on a 63.4 passing percentage and 29 total touchdowns during the regular season spells out MVP, but the scary part is he didn’t even play in the fourth quarter for the majority of the season due to the team being up by a lot. One of the great storylines of this 2013 season was the return of Dennis Carter. After missing out on last season, he came out and proved to be one of the most explosive players in the NSIC. With a team leading 964 receiving yards, including Saturday’s game, the 5-foot-10 senior was put on every defensive coordinators notes with an asterisk as a ‘watch out for him’ player. As a member of the AllNSIC South F i r s t -Te a m O f f e n s e team, Carter was named sive runs in the fourth the Return quarter. Right behind Specialist on University Of Mary..................(W) 34-21 him was sophomore the first team Minnesota Crookston.............. (W) 68-26 running back Connor as well, afThomas with 61 yards ter returning Minnesota Duluth................... (W) 21-17 on nine carries with a two punts for touchdown. tou c h d o w n s Northern State........................(W) 42-14 To compare, if Wolf’s and excited Concordia-St. Paul................... (W) 27-7 56-yard touchdown refans in the ception is added, Wolf stands as Augustana..............................(W) 20-10 totaled for 495 yards soon as they SW Minnesota State.................(W) 52-27 and scored five touchsaw no. eight downs while Klaphake jog out to reWinona State..........................(W) 44-10 totaled up 473 yards ceive a punt. on his own and tallied On the Wayne State .............................(W) 45-3 six touchdowns—talk defensive Sioux Falls ..............................(W) 52-17 about caring the team side, the on your back. NSIC knew Upper Iowa ..............................(W) 73-7 Senior defensive the MaverSt. Cloud State (Playoff Game) ..(L) 54-48 end Chris Schaudt and icks could the defense just had a shut down rough time with the the run. Huskies mixing up The questhe plays between pass tion floating and run, but the NSIC Co-Defensive Player around the conference was can they of the Year was a force, making his way into also stop the pass? It was a little the backfield and made the biggest plays on shaky in the beginning of the season the defensive end. To go along with his five as some players were getting use to tackles, Schaudt sacked Klaphake two-andthe starting roll, but they developed a half times in his last game in the purple and into an interception machine. For yellow. the first time in 2013, the MaverThe season started with very high exicks failed to get in interception or a pectations after the miraculous run to the fumble in the matchup on Saturday, NCAA Semi-finals in 2012 before losing but before that, they led the NSIC to the eventual national champion Valdowith 22 interceptions. sta State. From when that clock spelled out The secondary developed into three zeros, this season began, and the team the South Division’s best with three

players named to the NSIC South Division All-Conference First Team Defense with senior safety Jordan Hale, junior safety Nathan Hancock and sophomore cornerback Patrick Schmidt. Both Hancock and Schmidt finished the season with five interceptions, which is tied for second most in the NSIC. Schmidt and sophomore linebacker Tyler Henderson were two players that had to fill shoes left by two MSU football legends from a year ago, and they filled them nicely. With 69

2013

Despite everything that happened during the game, the Minnesota State University, Mankato football team got what they wanted with a minute left to go in the game—the ball in Jon Wolf’s hands. It was one of the most epic quarterback battles at Blakeslee Stadium, but after Wolf’s last pass of his career didn’t connect with Keyvan Rudd in the back of the end zone as time expired, the team’s historical season came to a close, losing to St. Cloud State 54-48. Taking all of the video game like stats away, these two squads looked to their guys taking the snaps to lead them to victory, and there aren’t two better players to do so than Wolf and Phillip Klaphake. As both squads came out for the third quarter with the Huskies up 34-14, no one knew the most member able offensive quarter in the hisJOEY DENTON Sports Editor

tory of the program was going to take place. With 41 points scored between both teams, three touchdowns were scored from 50 or more yards out, including a 75-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Dennis Carter to start the second half. Interim head coach Aaron Keen spiced things up in the third quarter with some timely trick plays that turned into key touchdowns in their comeback. Of the combined 1,153 total yards of offense, the Mavericks contributed 637 of those. Wolf arguably played his best overall game of his career, no doubt his best through the air. He completed 15 passes on 26 attempts for a career-high 335 yards with two touchdowns and one pick. This also marked the first time this season two Maverick receivers reached 100 yards receiving with Carter and junior receiver Austin Reider. Carter’s team-leading 140 yards was his fourth game this season getting

ALL NSIC SOUTH FIRST TEAMS OFFENSE AND SPECIAL TEAMS 8 Dennis Carter Receiver 52 Andrew Essman O-Line 63 Josh Meeker O-Line 11 John Wolf Quarterback 18 Sam Brockshus Kicker Return Specialist 8 Dennis Carter

68 20 4 33 22 93 3

DEFENSE Barry Ballinger Jordan Hale Nathan Hancock Tyler Henderson Isaac Kolstad Chris Schaudt Patrick Schmidt

D-Line D-Back D-Back Linebacker Linebacker D-Line D-Back

SEASON RESULTS

M A V E R I C K S

tackles and twoand a-half sacks, Henderson also found himself on the first team defense list. The Mankato native started slow but got

his feet wet in the University of Minnesota, Duluth win with a teamhigh 11 tackles and a sack. From then on, the fan base started to see what this guy can do and the future is bright for him. Before the season started, senior placekicker Sam Brockshus was rated 61st in D2Football.com’s top-100 Division II players in the country, and he lived up to that rating throughout the year.

Photos by: David Bassey • MSU Reporter


14 • MSU Reporter

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MSU earns weekend sweep after scoring 10 times on Alaska Anchorage The Mavericks men’s hockey team had gone over six weeks without a sweep until their 3-2 and 7-3 wins over AAK in the WCHA.

Johnny McInnis netted a goal on the power play coming from Palmquist and Lehrke with just four seconds to go in the period. The second period saw the Seawolves and the Mavericks trade goals after Anchorage’s Scott Allen put one past MSU goaltender Stephon Williams, and then Stepan tallied a power play goal from Blueger and Matt Leitner. An early third period goal by Allen gave the Seawolves some hope only trailing 5-3, but the floodgates were already open for the Mavs. McInnis scored another power play goal to regain a threegoal spread at 6-3 with assists coming from LaFontaine and Leitner. With another chance on the power play, the Mavs put the nail in the coffin when LaFontaine scored his third goal with the man advantage on the weekend, assisted by Leitner and Palmquist, giving the Mavericks a 7-3 and a sweep over the Seawolves. While the sweep over Anchorage gave the Mavs four essential points in the league standings, bringing them up to third place behind Bemidji State and Ferris State, the biggest story of the surging Mavericks may be Zach Lehrke. Lehrke has been a top-two line player the past two seasons and had seen top power play minutes in that time. It was no secret when he announced his retirement from hockey that it would be a big blow to the Maverick lineup, but Lehrke’s presence in the lineup the past two weekends seems to be that of a spark plug. David Bassey • MSU Reporter

HOCKEY • Page 18

Of the Mavericks’ seven goals Saturday night, Johnny McInnis (22) scored two of them to obliterate the Seawolves 7-3.

DEREK LAMBERT Staff Writer The Minnesota State University, Mankato men’s hockey team didn’t quite get off to the start they were looking for this season. They had a lot of weight on their shoulders early on after being unanimously voted as the preseason Western Collegiate Hockey Association champions. Heading into last weekend’s series versus the University of Alaska-Anchorage, the Mavericks sat tied for sixth in the ten team WCHA conference with a 3-3 conference record and 5-7 overall. With a good weekend, the Mavs propelled themselves to third place in the WCHA, one point behind Bemidji State, who has played two more league games than the Mavericks. On Friday night, a new but familiar face got the scoring started for the Mavs. Early in the first period, senior forward Zach Lehrke scored his first goal of the season in just his third game this year, with assists going to J.P. LaFontaine and Teddy Blueger. Lehrke retired from hockey before the start of the season due to a medical condition but returned two weekends ago in the series at Bowling Green. These three players would connect again, as later in the first period LaFontaine scored on the power play with Blueger and Lehrke recording assists on the play. Anchorage was able to sneak one in past the Mavs before the end of the period from Matt Bailey, leaving the score at 2-1 in favor of the Mavericks after one period of play. The Seawolves tied the game at 2-2 with the only goal of the second period coming from Brett Cameron, but the Mavericks found a way to get the much needed win. Freshman defenseman Sean Flanagan scored the third goal of his rookie campaign early in the third period to give the Mavs a 3-2 lead, and from there they were able to hold on for the win and two very important points in the WCHA standings. Saturday night may have been the kind of game the Mavericks needed to end their scoring troubles. LaFontaine buried the first goal of the game early in the first period, his second power play goal in as many games, with assists going to Casey Nelson and Blueger. The lead wouldn’t last long, though, as Anchorage’s Blake Tatchell ties things up at one a piece minutes later. Then sophomore forward Bryce Gervais opened things up for the Mavs with his fifth goal of the year to take a 2-1 lead, his fifth of the season. Minutes later, junior defenseman Zach Palmquist pumped home a goal after a feed from Zach Stepan to give the Mavericks a 3-1 lead. Nelson also garnered an assist on the goal, his second of the night. On the power play late in the first period, the Mavs took a commanding 4-1 lead. Senior captain

David Bassey • MSU Reporter MSU forward Teddy Blueger gave the Mavericks two assists each night as they swept Alaska Anchorage last weekend in Mankato.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

MSU Reporter • 15

Sports

Mavericks enter tough NSIC schedule with 81-64 win over Concordia St. Paul Assem Marei finished with 24 points and nine rebounds as no. 11 ranked MSU pounded the Golden Bears last Saturday in St. Paul. LUKE RYAN Staff Writer

The Minnesota State University, Mankato men’s basketball team never trailed in their Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference opener against Concordia. The Mavericks received superior play from their post players throughout the game. MSU outscored the Golden Bears 40-18 in the paint and finished the second half shooting 61.5 percent from the field en route to the 81-64 win. Seven minutes into the second half, the Golden Bears managed to cut the lead to three points, ebut MSU went on a 19-4 run to give themselves an 18-point lead with five minutes remaining. The 11th rated Mavericks were led by junior forward Assem Marei, who returned to the starting lineup after missing four games with a sprained ankle. Marei finished with s24 points and nine rebounds oand made 11 of 12 field goals tattempted. s Senior forward Conner tO’Brien also filled the box score, recording 18 points, six rebounds, five blocks, three assists and a steal. “It was a good team effort today. Assem and Connor came up big,” junior guard Zach Monaghan said. “They make my job a lot easier. When they are floating like that and we

r

are knocking down shots, we’re tough to beat.” Monaghan is the Mavericks current leading scorer this season and finished with 12 pointsand seven assists in the game while senior guard Gage Wooten contributed six points and five assists. MSU (7-1, 1-0 in NSIC) will open a weekend home stand against NSIC teams, when it hosts Upper Iowa at 8 p.m. Friday followed by a Saturday matchup with rival Winona State. “It was good to come out on the road and get our first win in conference,” Monaghan said. “We got a little momentum here. We will sleep on this one and we will start working Monday and Tuesday getting after Winona and Upper Iowa and looking forward to it.” Upper Iowa holds a 2-5 record, coming off a loss to Winona State in both teams conference opener. Senior guard Joey Woods is averaging 15.2 points per game and leads Upper Iowa with 27 assists. Freshman center Josh Webber averages 13.2 points per game for the Peacocks, and junior guard Grant Lang is shooting a .486 percentage from behind the arc, scoring 51 of his 83 points off three-pointers. The Mavericks can’t look past Upper Iowa in anticipation for the game against the team (Winona) that ended their season a year ago. Upper Iowa

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has lost some very close contests this season as they have suffered only one loss by more than 10 points. The Mavericks returning players from last year’s team couldn’t have forgotten how their season ended a year ago. Winona State ended MSU’s season by handing the Mavericks a 76-73 overtime loss earning the Warriors a spot in the NCAA DII Elite Eight. Those players will get a chance at some redemption Saturday night when MSU hosts Winona State. The Warriors have started the year with a 5-2 record, including an NSIC win against Upper Iowa. The Warriors have shot 50.2 percent from the field and have averaged 10 more rebounds per game than their opponents. Cameron Taylor is Winona’s leading scorer, averaging 12.2 points and 5.5 rebounds a game. Riley Bambenek is averaging nine points and leads the team with 19 assists. The Warriors have had a balanced offense with just one player averaging less than 5.7 points per game. Winona has also used their ability to get to the free-throw line to win games. The Warriors have attempted 67 more free throws then their opponents this season.

Ronald Sejjoba • MSU Reporter Connor O’Brien also led MSU over Concordia St. Paul with 18 points and six rebounds while finishing 8-12 from the field.

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Sports

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Efficiency and goaltending the key as Mavericks sweep Ohio State To say senior Danielle Butters was lights out on the weekend is an understatement, as the goaltender finished stopping 79 of 81 shots to pick up two key victories. LUKE CARLSON Staff Writer The final buzzer sounded after a thrilling and goal-filled third period of hockey came to a close at All Seasons Arena. On Friday, November 22nd, the Minnesota State University Women’s Hockey team defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes at home for the first time since 2007 with a 4-1 victory. During Friday night’s tilt, the Mavericks painted the ice gold and purple behind terrific defense and an impressive flurry of offense against its Western Collegiate Hockey Association rival. The Mavericks struck early in the first period of the game when junior forward Natalie Stoltz picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and raced into the offensive zone with line mate and fellow forward, freshman Savannah Quandt. Stoltz fed Quandt, who had her first shot at the goalmouth saved by Buckeyes senior goaltender Chelsea Knapp, but then buried a juicy rebound to put the Mavericks in front 1-0. The game still favored the Mavericks late into the second period when, with just 10 seconds left in the middle round of action, the Buckeyes evened the contest at 1-1 off a slap shot from the point that was deflected in to the net by one of the Buckeye’s forwards. At 4:57 of the third period, the Mavericks responded with a deflection goal of their own when senior forward Lauren Barnes fired a slap shot from the blue line that senior forward Kelsie Scott tipped to the right post and in past Knapp to give the Mavericks a lead that they would not again give up. Senior forward Kari Lundberg brought that lead to 3-1 at 7:48 with a slap shot from the top of the right circle that managed to beat Knapp inside the right post. Finally, the Maver-

icks would make it three unanswered goals when at 17:45 of the third, senior forward Nicole Germaine scored an empty net goal right as Knapp was coming to the Buckeye bench. Senior forwards Tracy McCann and Melissa Klippenstein and junior forward Kathleen Rogan all earned an assist in the win, while senior goaltender Danielle Butters was solid in net en route to earning a 38-save win. Even though the Mavericks were outshot 39-34, they were efficient on the power play, converting on one-of-two opportunities compared to the Buckeyes’ one-for-seven mark on the woman advantage. Saturday night, the Mavericks were at their winning ways again against Ohio State. In a much closer hockey game than the night previous, the Mavericks took the weekend series sweep against the Buckeyes with a 2-1 win, improving to 5-9 on the season with a 2-8 record in the WCHA. The early goings of the game were rough on the Mavericks when at 12:08 of the first period, after MSU succumbed to two penalties to give the Buckeyes a six-on-four woman advantage, Buckeye senior Ally Tarr beat Butters on the left side of the crease to put OSU up 1-0. At 14:16 of the second period, Germaine had her shot saved by OSU senior goaltender Lisa Steffers, but Rogan was there to pounce on the rebound and shelved the loose puck for her fifth power-play goal of the season and to tie the match at 1-1. Butters and the rest of the Mavericks shined going into the final period of the night, with the home team playing responsible defense and executing effective passing plays. The Mavericks game-winning goal came just 3:53 into the third period when McCann picked up a rebound in the slot and

MSU Reporter Archives 38 saves out of 39 shots is a great start to a weekend, but Butters followed that performance with a 41-save effort in game two to give the Mavericks a sweep over the Buckeyes.

beat Steffers on the right side to make it a 2-1 game in favor of the Mavericks. Lundberg and senior defenseman Dani Scholzen each tallied an assist on the play. Butters was excellent for the Mavericks all night and for the second game in a row, stopping

41 of 42 Buckeye shots, including 15 in the first period. The Buckeyes once again outshot the Mavericks 42-33, but it was MSU that once again converted more power play chances, going one-for-three on the man advantage compared to OSU’s one-for-four.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

MSU Reporter • 17

Sports

Minnesotans could see a rise in college football throughout the state The state of Minnesota has never been a force to be reckoned with when it comes to college football, but a strong showing in 2013 could change all of that.

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MSU Reporter Archives Finding out-state products like QB Jon Wolf out of Oak Forest, Ill. have helped college football teams in Minnesota become more nationally known, as in-state talent has been on the decline.

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as them returning to their normal state, falling to highly-ranked Wisconsin and Michigan State, but eight wins for the maroon and gold is huge for a program and a state that saw most of its talents head north to Fargo in recent years to play for I-AA powerhouse NDSU. With an 8-4 record at the end of the regular season, Minnesota could see a Jan. 1 bowl game for the first time in a long time and even if it falls short, the Golden Gophers are making a statement for years to come. After St. Cloud State’s narrow defeat of our Mavericks last Saturday afternoon, the Huskies remain as the only DII squad from Minnesota left to play after UMD’s fall to top-ranked Northwest Missouri State. It doesn’t look good for SCSU, but sending three teams to the Division II tournament like this state did is a step-up from the usual UMD-ran side of Division II in the upper

MINNESOTA • Page 18

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When it comes to the state of Minnesota and college football, the last half-century or so has been nothing as the state rarely sees its name in big headlines come December. Aside from Division III, where Minnesota schools that compete in the MIAC (Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) like the University of St. Thomas, St. Johns University and Bethel University have achieve marginal success in their respective region, schools from Minnesota have rarely been making a name for themselves for a long time now. In fact, even in Division III, SJU has claimed the only national championships won by a Minnesota school in the past 40 years, taking it in 1976 and again in 2003. When you move up a division to the middle-child Division II, only Minnesota-Duluth and its twice-in-three-years stint in the late 2000’s has brought the hard-

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ware back to the land of 10,000 lakes. In similar fashion, the last Division I national championship brought here was in 1960 by the Minnesota Golden Gophers, more than likely the last time they were even near relevancy post World War II. But 2013 has been a different story for Minnesota Universities and Colleges, as the state is finally starting to see some winning ways on the gridiron throughout all facets of collegiate football. Though the Gophers will not bring in the Coaches Trophy this holiday season, they did take a strong step back to significance in the grand scheme of college football. Most of their publicity this season has come in the wake of their almost-dual head coaching stint with HC Jerry Kill stuck in the booth while defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys has been turning out a decent amount of wins. Most still see the last two weeks the Gophers have played

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Sports

HOCKEY “On Friday night, a new but familar face got the scoring started for the Mavs. Early in the first period, senior forward Zach Lehrke scored his first goal of the season in just his third game this year, with assists going to J.P. LaFontaine and Teddy Blueger.” continued from 14 In his four games this season, Lehrke has totaled six points and is seeing time on the power play. Also, since his return to the lineup, other players’ production has soared. Playing alongside Lehrke, LaFontaine had a five point weekend against the Seawolves and has jumped to first on the roster in scoring with 11 points through 14 games. LaFontaine also now leads the Mavericks in goals with six. Another notable improvement is Leitner. Selected as the preseason WCHA player of the year, Leitner got off to a slow start early on, but after a three-point weekend has brought his scoring total to nine points on the year. More importantly, is the turnaround of the Maverick power play. When Lehrke returned to the team for the series at Bowling Green, the Maverick power play percentage was an embarrassing 8.7%. In the four games that Lehrke has played in, the Maverick power play has been 42.8%, bringing the season average to 19.4%. While Lehrke may not be a savior, he is a key ingredient for the Mavericks’ recipe for success, and has surely contributed to their improved play as of late. The Mavericks look ahead now as they take the ice this weekend in another important conference battle at home. The Northern Michigan University Wildcats come to town, and the Mavs look for another sweep at home to move them into second place in the WCHA. Puck drop is scheduled for a 7:37 p.m. start on Friday night at the Verizon Wireless Center in downtown Mankato with a 7:07 p.m. start for Saturday’s series ending matchup.

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MINNESOTA “In similar fashion, the last Division I national championship brought here was in 1960 by the Minnesota Golden Gophers, more than likely the last time they were even near relevancy post World War II.” continued from 17

Midwest. Those three teams are beginning to emerge as perennials atop the NSIC, which means competition will be spurred by outplaying, out-recruiting and beating the other two squads. As a point of pride, this recent stint of MSU atop the national polls has shown how much this University has gone to recruiting outside the state of Minnesota and bringing in talent from all around the Midwest to field a better team. I am an in-state kind of guy, which means I believe that talent in this state should stay exactly there, but I also do realize the amount of talent this state pushes out is not enough to field a good Division I squad or a plethora of Division II’s for that matter. In a recent study done by Football Study Hall, football recruits out of the state of Minnesota have been abysmal over the last five years, bringing in the 38th highest amount of college football

players per capita out of the 50 states in the union. States like Texas, Florida and California bring about 10-15 percent each to the table, while Minnesota falls to about less than one percent in the national spectrum. That is not to dog this state, as I know its potential in athletics falls to the sport of hockey where Minnesota pushes out more players than any other state, enough to satisfy five Division I programs within the state, but if the Gophers, like the Mavericks, can get out of the state more and bring in some national talent, the sky is the limit on how far football can go here. If possible, this state might see a boost in its collegiate football programs which will also boost the high school programs in the state, making Minnesota a better place to play football for years to come.

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MSU Reporter • 19

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

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A guide to Panda Express MIRANDA BRAUNWARTH Staff Writer I can honestly say I was overwhelmed with my first experience at Panda Express, which opened in Mankato a little over two weeks ago. With the opening, and being someone who has never had Panda Express, I stopped over for a dish to tide me over. Walking into a very vibrant facility with modern pendant lighting and industrial surfaces, I smelt vegetables being fried in giant woks and was excited for my first encounter. If there is an overall impression, it’s “how am I ever going to choose what I want” and upon doing so, “yum”. The moment I walked in I was greeted by the girl behind the counter and offered a sample. She had to have seen the look on my face, completely overwhelmed with all the options. Over 20 dishes stretched out along the counter including beef, chicken, seafood and veggie options.

Though Panda Express is known for their Orange Chicken, I decided to be daring and go with the Kung Pao Chicken that had been recommended. This maybe wasn’t orange chicken but this was the best Kung Pao Chicken I had ever had. I warn you it was on the very delicious, very spicy side. What struck me as the best part of this Kung Pao Chicken was that it was part of a Wok Smart Plan. One of many dishes that have 250 calories or less, this chicken was overwhelming with flavor and was my favorite of the meals. In general, I was impressed with the amount of fresh ingredients being used. Almost every dish had fresh veggies that were steamed in giant woks, as well as coolers filled to the brim with more fresh, colorful veggies for dishes. The veggies were crisp and you could see all of the food being made in front of your eyes. Having eyes that are bigger than my stomach, I went with a two entrée meal but if you’re not that hungry, or even more hungry, they have one, two and three

entrée meals all coming with a side of noodles, rice or mixed veggies. I’m going to put it out there and say I can eat quite a bit and was stuffed from my plate full of food and even had leftovers, not to mention a side of Cream Cheese Rangoon. Even the Cream Cheese Rangoon is part of the Wok Smart Plan and has a hint of veggies with green onions in the mix, a flavor I had never guessed would be delicious with cream cheese. Panda Express can be compared in price to Noodles and Co., Chipotle, and Panera Bread. Meals are about $8 to $10 and are piled high with very flavorful food. Panda Express is certainly express. I received my food in a little less than five minutes. That would have been faster if I could have made up my mind but I appreciate having many options to choose. To increase their speed the new establishment has a built-in drive through so you can get your gourmet Chinese even faster. Panda Express has had time

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to get this point as they celebrate being in business for thirty years. The chain works on building community and looking for ways to share gourmet Chinese food in a quick manner. Their motto shows in their efficiency and array of tasty items. The only thing I would have liked with my meal is a fortune

cookie but I was too full of the tasty food to eat it anyway. A little out of the way for lunch between classes, Panda Express is located on Madison Avenue and Raintree Road next to Cub. So go try for yourself, I recommend the Kung Pao Chicken and if you really enjoy it, Panda Express is currently hiring.

The Walking Dead finally brings some meat ANDREW SIMON Staff Writer It took four years but The Walking Dead is finally a show worth watching. Or, finally, the series got a showrunner (Scott Gimple, replacing Glenn Mazzara and Frank Darabont) who understood that excessive gore and beautifully ugly zombie makeup is absolutely nothing if there are not characters worth investing in. With skyrocketed ratings and an emphasis on character, The Walking Dead has never been better, and as the first half of season four concluded Sunday night and a fifth season renewal already inked, it’s clear the show is in good hands. A month after Rick’s group suffered losses at the hands of the Governor (David Morrissey), there has been peace in the prison, their home sheltered from the zombies gnawing at their fences. But that peace quickly comes to an end. A sickness infects zombie and human alike, and even

with a mission dispatched to find a cure, bodies are dropping rapidly, and they may not return in time to save them. Meanwhile, the Governor is walking the earth, trying to reform from his Woodbury ways, but reminders of his past and a need to protect those he cares about draws him closer to find a place he can keep them from harm’s way – something like a heavily fortified prison. For three years, The Walking Dead never was better than the pilot, the two-hour masterstroke of television that balanced humanity, a dark atmosphere, loads of zombies and a well written script. The second season devolved into a poorly paced arc where cardboard cutouts substituting as characters spouted off every clichéd line ever written, and the third season was so concerned with plot it forgot that three dimensional characters are paramount to create emotional investment. Season four, thus far, has learned its lesson. Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Carol (Me-

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lissa McBride), Carl (Chandler Riggs), Hershel (Scott Wilson), Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) all become fully realized people and all have their moments to shine. The writing is on a caliber it’s never been before. The first seven episodes are dedicated to nothing but character and the show is gripping because of it. Carol’s

darkness becomes realized in a the consequences and Rick is chilly three episode arc, Glenn’s trying to live in peace, despite health deteriorates to a point that outside events doing everything his survival is in question, Mag- they can to disrupt it. Interestgie puts everything she holds ing character arcs complimented dear on the line to be with the with improved dialogue – that people she loves, Carl is running alone is worth celebrating. the risk of becoming a triggerAreas the show always exhappy sociopath who Rick needs celled at, such as the guts and to keep and check, Hershel will do the right thing regardless of WALKING DEAD • Page 22


20 • MSU Reporter

A&E

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December Blu Preview From great stocking-stuffer ideas to a movie worthy of fireplace kindling. JAMES HOUTSMA A & E Editor

ute of footage, and the recent tragic death of star Paul Walker will bring in those curious to see what is likely his final performance, so while a purchase will probably be in order for die-hard fans of the series, a rental is better suited for everyone else.

The Wolverine It’s a shame this movie even needed to be made but thank goodness it was. X-Men Origins: Wolverine is far from the solo outing the mega-mutant needed in the first place (and further from an acceptable filmmaking effort, at that) but now we’ve got the final puzzle piece we need to forget it completely. That piece is a flick that delivers both the madcap XMen action we’ve come to expect and a more realized, restrained look at Wolverine that reminds us why we’re so fascinated with the character to begin with. The Wolverine does more than enough right. Hugh Jackman is given another chance to excel as Logan/Wolverine, which he graciously delivers on. The script, while uneven in sections, has a truer core to it, especially when it comes to a wounded Logan learning his place in the world after tragedy befalls him. The action set-pieces are on par with the grittier aspects people expect with the character and, with a complication that robs Logan of his healing factor, every blow matters so much more. It’s only in the third act that, like so many other action blockbusters this summer, the action gets too ridiculous for its own good. Snake women hiss venom while giant samurai robots leap about with fire-swords and all of it clashes with what came before. And yet, all the ridiculousness is never dull and only detaches from the rest briefly. Otherwise, the film is a highly satisfying look at Wolverine that sets the

The Lone Ranger

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stage for a new look at the X-Men universe. It remains to be seen what the confirmed director’s cut will bring to the table (more blood = correct answer) but we can rest easy knowing The Wolverine isn’t in dire need of it to become a good movie. Fast & Furious 6

One of the strangest series transformations, the Fast and the Furious series has evolved from vehicle-centric racing thrillers to all-out zany action blockbusters. True to its new approach, Fast & Furious 6 is all out action madness and fun in the “what are story, compelling characters and scriptwriting?” way but still gets far too long for its own good by

the final prolonged battle on a plane. Some may be enticed by the Extended Edition that consists of less than an additional min-

Armie Hammer and the whole cast and production team on The Lone Ranger can bemoan American critics for supposedly “ganging up” on their movie and causing its financial failure but in the end it won’t change the fact that their movie was almost complete crap and they failed to ask themselves two important questions before shooting: besides Johnny Depp fanatics, who is going to rush out to see this movie and why should we keep funneling obscene amounts of money into it? Another in long line of epic bombs for Disney, it’s not hard to see why The Lone Ranger underperformed so immensely. All the original fans of the character are likely pushing 80 years old and even if they made the trek out to the theater, it’s hard imagine them enjoying the tonal whiplash of the shenanigans that take place over two and a half hours. In the movie’s defense, the opening and closing 15 minutes are fairly entertaining on their own, as is Hans Zimmer’s score, but not enough to excuse the two hour cacophony the comprises the middle.

DECEMBER BLU • Page 23


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sticking with the old generation of consoles

ADAM MILLER t Staff Writer

Anyone who calls his or her l self a gamer has seen one main d topic in news the past month, - that, of course, being the launch of the next generation of consoles this November. However, with price tags in the four to five hundred dollar range and supplies being limited, it is fully in m the realm of possibility that not n everyone has upgraded yet. This doesn’t mean that those people with Xbox 360s and Playn station 3s are stuck in a gaming limbo until they have a chance - to upgrade. First off, many of the k big name games coming out in - the next few months are scheduled for both an old and new - generation release. Titles such as Watch Dogs, Thief, Dragon - Age: Inquisition and Destiny are y all scheduled to release on both generations of consoles. In addition to that, there are games that won’t be touching - the next generation -- games that promise to have gamers who have the next generation holding on to the Xbox 360s and Playstat tion 3s because they won’t want e to miss out on them. One such game is Telltale e Games’ The Walking Dead Season Two. With no current plans - for the next generation, this next e season of the 2012 Game of the Year will pick up where the story left off from the first season of the game. Season one had you playing as Lee, a man trying to survive as he travels through the 3 same zombie infested landscape

MSU Reporter • 21

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that comes from the popular comic book series and television show of the same name. The Walking Dead plays as an interactive movie, with each choice you make having consequences the player must deal with. With season two promising to put you in the shoes of young Clementine, you would be a fool to get rid of your current generation system before playing this game. Another high profile game not planned for the next generation is South Park: The Stick of Truth, which was recently pushed back until March 2014. This game developed by Obsidian Entertainment sends you to South Park as the new kid in town. You quickly get thrown into the craziness one can expect from the town of South Park. Mixing the classic roleplaying, turn-based battle system and the humor one expects from Trey Parker and Matt Stone, this game is one title that many gamers have been looking forward to for over a year due to its multiple release date delays. So there is no hurry to move into the next generation of gaming if you opt not to, but how long will this overlap last? Well in an event that happened over the weekend, publisher Atlus said that the next installment in their popular Persona series, Persona 5, will be launching on the Playstation 3 in winter of 2014 in Japan. This normally means that North America won’t get it until early 2015. In any case, you will want to hold on to your Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 for a while still.

Homefront delivers the obligatory redneck beatdowns ANDREW SIMON Staff Writer Homefront delivers exactly on what it promises: Jason Statham breaking bones and beating rednecks. And with the addition of James Franco as Gator, the head meth dealer in the middle-ofnowhere town of Rayville, a Statham movie has never been as entertaining. Statham’s recent body of work, like The Mechanic, Parker and Killer Elite, are serviceable action films that display his knack of violence just right, but lack of a certain charm and fun to them. Homefront, while being more of the same, is different enough to make it one of his better outings in recent years. DEA agent Phil Broker (Statham) relocates himself and his daughter, Maddy (Izabela Vidovic), to the small town of Raybville after an undercover operation goes wrong. After Maddy puts down a bully at her school, the Broker family becomes a target of the Bodine clan. Gator (Franco), finding out Phil’s DEA affiliation, informs the gang Broker had infiltrated of his location in an attempt to build his meth empire with the gang’s help in distribution. Time is ticking for Phil and Maddy as the gang’s leader, Danny T, orders a group of seven hitmen to take Broker out.

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First and foremost, James Franco has had three wide-release movies come out in 2013 (not counting his directorial debut, As I Lay Dying): Spring Breakers, Oz: The Great & Powerful, and Homefront. Of the three, Homefront is definitely his best performance. He is clearly relishing the opportunity to be a big bad guy and has never been better because of it. Even more frightening is that Franco actually emotes. There’s a scene near the end where he’s just heartbroken and his face conveys that – perhaps Franco at his finest. The other performance highlight comes from new-comer Izabela Vidovic as Broker’s daughter. She’s headstrong, smart, independent and innocent. It’s not a big thing to say she holds her

own against these experienced actors and it’s her charm and the father-daughter relationship that elevates Homefront into a far more entertaining movie than it has any right to be. The action and short and concise, Statham hitting each opponent with just enough energy and force to bring them down, and as the climax nears, his near-mathematical punches give way to a more animalistic brutality. Statham movies are celebrated for their action scenes, and Homefront is no different. Despite gruelingly bad work from Winona Ryder and Kate Bosworth, Franco and Vidovic’s talents and a script with action and heart easily makes Homefront a recommendable adventure, either in theaters or on DVD.

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22 • MSU Reporter

A&E

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Vince Vaughn delivers a good film? ANDREW SIMON Staff Writer There was a time when Vince Vaughn could open a movie to big weekend box office numbers. There was a time when Vince Vaughn was one of the most hilarious leading men in Hollywood. That was almost a decade ago and Vaughn’s career and talents have been on a downward spiral ever since. After Wedding Crashers, there didn’t seem to be a movie that blended well with Vaughn’s style. Either it was Vaughn who failed to bring the funny (The Watch) or it was the movie being so mediocre not even his attempts could save it (The Internship). Delivery Man is the in-between, a movie that actually boasts some delightful laughs, has a smarter-than-average script and gives Vaughn some decent room to be the uproarious-yet-sentimental goof he was in Crashers. Vaughn is David Wozniak, an incompetent meat deliveryman who owes a lot of money and just happens to be the biological father of 533 children thanks to a mix up at the sperm bank. Turns out, 142 of his children have filed a lawsuit to reveal the identity of their father, who donated under the pseudonym “Starbuck”. Given an envelope with the names and identities of his children, David walks into their lives, helping whenever and wherever he can, all the while struggling with what the right thing to do is – reveal his identity or fight the lawsuit to ease his fi-

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nancial debts. By calling Delivery Man a smarter-than-average movie, it’s a way of saying that everything ends up exactly how the viewer will expect it will but the entertainment value comes in from the rather clever way the story connects the dots and plays out the expectations. Meaning, it’s a family movie through and through but the script just put a bit more thought into the story and its characters than the rather low bar that’s been expected from others of this ilk. Whether or not that’s truly a thing worth celebrating is up for debate, but considering the onslaught of paint-by-the-numbers comedies that have made their way to multiplexes in the last handful of years, it’s highly appreciated. There are still plenty of areas that need improvement, and although the film has its laughs, it’s not outright funny. But for what sheer entertainment it provides, it’s hard to fault Delivery Man too much. The most interesting aspect of the movie is David’s attempts at being a part of his kids lives, acting as a guardian angel in

some cases or just a friend in need in others. David is a very compassionate character, something Vaughn doesn’t frequently play, but his ability to emote is surprisingly impressive. Seeing the diverse careers and paths his kids are on, and how he decides on helping in any way he can, is when the movie is at its best – that and the ever-lovable Chris Pratt being hilarious in everything he does. The worst comes in the shape of a so-so romantic component with Cobie Smulders, which deserved more attention than it was given and the subplot involving the mob, which seems straight from another movie. Delivery Man isn’t Vince Vaughn back on his A game and it doesn’t quite redeem the abominable Internship from this summer, but it’s the first movie of his in a while that isn’t completely a mess, with enough humor and heart to make it an entertaining comedy.

WALKING DEAD “For three years, The Walking Dead never was better than the pilot, the two-hour masterstroke of television that balanced humanity, a dark atmosphere, loads of zombies and a well written script. The second season devolved into a poorly paced arc where cardboard cutouts substituting as characters spouted off every clichéd line ever written, and the third season was so concerned with plot it forgot that three dimensional characters are paramount to create emotional investment. Season four, thus far, has learned its lesson.” continued from 19

zombie effects, still maintains the absurdly amazing level of quality it always has. Four seasons in, the makeup and special effects department continues to push the boundaries to create new and innovative variations of zombie body parts and appearances – the accolades the series is given in this respect is certainly deserved. The cinematography continues the AMC tradition of being unconventional, feeling more cinematic in its framing and favoring medium shots over close ups for dramatic moments. Bear McCreary’s musical composition is a force to be reckoned with. When the sequences allow McCreary to go all-out, he crafts intense, erratic and terrifying cues that stick with the viewer

long after the images have left. The first half of Walking Dead season four has put human drama to the forefront, culminating in a midseason finale blasting with action sequences, old grudges, unexpected deaths, and a new direction for the series to take in its final eight episodes upon its return. Everyone has experienced loss or tragedy in some way by the end of this first half and it will be interesting to see whether or not they succumb to the pain and darkness like Carol did and Rick last season, or if they band together and push through to be a fully functional group again. The Walking Dead returns on AMC February 9 at 8:00 p.m.

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DECEMBER BLU “And yet, all the ridiculousness is never dull and only detaches from the rest briefly. Otherwise, the film is a highly satisfying look at Wolverine that sets the stage for a new look at the X-Men universe. It remains to be seen what the confirmed director’s cut will bring to the table (more blood = correct answer) but we can rest easy knowing The Wolverine isn’t in dire need of it to become a good movie.” continued from 20

Elysium District 9 creator Neil Blomkamp burst onto the scene with his first feature about discriminated aliens in South Africa and was hailed by some as a visionary for the unique world he built. With Elysium, Blomkomp returns with another tale of social injustice and grimy hovels. But while this story of the have-nots struggling to join the haves on their titular space station utopia boasts a vast, realized world as the setting, the characters that inhabit it are disappointingly flat. Matt Damon eventually becomes just a conduit for action and Jodie Foster is in the movie for… some reason or another. While it won’t likely go down as a sci-fi classic, Elysium features enough action and thrills to sit down with. Prisoners In an odd twist of fate, most people would find more joy out of receiving coal on Christmas than finding Prisoners, one the best films this year, in their stocking. That might be due to the fact that the crime thriller is one of the most depressing, drab films in, quite possibly, ever. This morose tale of a father being pushed to the extremes after his daughter vanishes (presumably

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kidnapped) and the mystery behind it is riveting, if a bit slack in the pacing. Nevertheless, Hugh Jackman delivers another stellar performance here (his best?) and that alone makes it worth watching, to say nothing of Roger Deakins’ gloriously gloomy cinematography. Prisoners is most definitely worth witnessing and perhaps even buy but maybe wait for the holiday season to pass first to avoid an instantaneous case of the Christmas blues. Insidious: Chapter 2 Hot off his success with this summer’s eerie horror masterpiece, The Conjuring, James Wan returns to the franchise he built two years ago with Insidious: Chapter 2. Starting right up where the first film ended, Chapter 2 features a few scares and a deeper exploration behind the events of the first film. Unfortunately, the sequel is an example of not measuring up to the standard of the first film. The explanations provided are interesting on a story level but Insidious: Chapter 2 ultimately skimps on the thing people want to see: actual scares. Definitely worth a watch for fans of the first movie but not casual viewers won’t find much that needs watching here and should stick to Chapter 1 in most cases.

Speed examined by officials as family and friends remember Paul Walker LOS ANGELES (AP) — Investigators sought to determine the cause of a fiery crash that killed “Fast & Furious” star Paul Walker while the actor’s fans erected a makeshift memorial Sunday near where the Porsche he was riding in smashed into a light pole and tree. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said speed was a factor in Saturday’s onecar crash, though it will take time to determine how fast the car was going. Because Walker is so closely associated with the underground culture of street racing portrayed in the popular “Fast & Furious” film franchise, the fatal accident had an eerie quality — a tragic end for a Hollywood hero of speed. The crash also killed Walker’s friend and financial adviser Roger Rodas, according to Walker’s publicist, Ame Van Iden. She said Walker was a passenger in the 2005 red Porsche Carrera GT when they drove away from a fundraiser in the community of Valencia, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Sheriff’s deputies found the car engulfed in flames when they arrived at the site of the crash, near the fundraiser at Rodas’ sport car dealership. Officials have not identified either person found in the car. On Sunday, fans of Walker, 40, gathered to leave flowers, candles and memorabilia from the action movies. His “Fast & Furious” co-star Tyrese Gibson broke down when he visited the crash site. “Paul is the heartbeat of this franchise and we’re gonna see to it that his energy and presence lives on forever,” Gibson later posted on his Instagram account. He also posted a video of the film cast and crew recently celebrat-

ing Walker’s birthday. Sheriff’s deputy Peter Gomez said investigators are working to determine how fast the car was traveling and what caused it to go out of control, including whether the driver was distracted or something in the road prompted him to swerve. After the Porsche crashed into a light pole and tree, it burst into flames. The downed light pole had a speed limit sign of 45 mph. Walker rode the “Fast & Furious” franchise to fame, starring in all but one of the six action blockbusters, beginning with the first film in 2001. He had been on break from shooting the seventh installment; production began in September and while much of the film has been shot, it’s incomplete. Universal Pictures has not said what it plans to do with “Fast & Furious 7,” which currently is slated for release in July. Walker and Rodas had thrown a fundraiser benefiting victims of the recent typhoon in the Philippines. The event was held by Reach Out Worldwide, a charity Walker founded in 2010 to aid victims of natural disasters. The fundraiser and toy drive took place at Rodas’ custom car shop, Always Evolving, in an area of warehouses and office parks. Rodas, 38, and Walker coowned an auto racing team. Rodas competed in 10 Pirelli World Challenge GTS races this year, the racing organization said in a statement. Attendees rushed to the crash, which was nearby but out of sight, to try to put out the flames with fire extinguishers. One attendee of the event, Jim Torp, said he heard the loud sound of a car’s engine revving and then an explosion. Walker and Rodas planned a quick ride, Torp said.

“The last words Paul said to anybody were, ‘Hey, I’ll be back in five minutes. All right?’ And that was it,” according to Torp. Torp said Rodas had a young son, whom he tried to stop from running to the accident scene, but could not catch him in time. Walker left behind two completed films. He stars in the upcoming Hurricane Katrina drama “Hours,” which Lionsgate’s Pantelion Films is to release Dec. 13. He also stars in “Brick Mansions,” a remake of the French action film “District B13” that Relativity plans to release next year. His “Fast & Furious” co-stars reacted in shock the actor’s death. Vin Diesel posted a photograph of him and Walker arm-in-arm on Instagram with the message: “I am absolutely speechless.” Lucadris said on Twitter: “Wherever you blessed your presence you always left a mark, we were like brothers.” Walker is survived by his 15-year-old daughter.

Photo Courtesy of Associated Press

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