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The Festival of Lights:
ISA celebrates Diwali (pg. 3 )
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November 10, 2011 Volume 95, No. 10
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All shook up:
u n i v e r s i t y
Students share reactions Sneak peek to Oklahoma earthquakes
Jen Rainey Collegio Reporter There was a lot of shaking this weekend and it wasn’t just students shaking their heads at the surprising loss to Washburn. No, several earthquakes struck Oklahoma and many students on campus noticed the tremors. Candin Nelson was playing a video game in her room at Willard Hall when everything on her bookshelves started shaking. “I felt the one on Friday and Saturday,” said Nelson, junior in psychology education. “I was asleep when the first one occurred and playing games when the second took place.” The series of earthquakes were centered between Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The first occurred around 2 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 5 and it was a magnitude 4.7. This quake was considered a foreshock of the larger 5.6, which took place on the same fault line Saturday night around 11. A 4.7 aftershock occurred Monday, Nov. 7. “I was pretty scared,” Nelson said. “I’m not used to earthquakes and I don’t really care for them that much.” Amy Herron says she felt the earthquake Saturday night. “I felt my bed shaking and thought maybe my muscles were having a spasm,” said Herron, junior in nursing. “Then I looked at my headboard and saw it was shaking and a glass of water on the headboard was shaking as well.” Herron says she was at home in Joplin, Mo., and was unaware that the shaking was an earthquake when it happened. “It wasn’t until I signed onto Facebook a couple minutes after and saw everyone’s statuses that I knew what had happened,” Herron said. Saturday’s 5.6 earthquake was the largest in Oklahoma history. The second largest occurred in El Reno in 1952. While various buildings were damaged, there
More than a baby boom? Is population control necessary? (pg. 5)
Chad Devereaux works to clear up bricks that fell from three sides of his in-laws' home in Sparks, Okla., Sunday, Nov. 6, after two earthquakes hit the area in less than 24 hours. The weekend earthquakes were among the strongest yet in a state that has seen a dramatic, unexplained increase in seismic activity. were no casualties or reports of severe injuries. Bryan Tapp, structural geologist at the University of Tulsa, says the earthquakes in Oklahoma can be linked back 300 million years. In a report from Tulsa’s News on 6, Tapp said that the ground rose when the Wichita, Arbuckle and Ouachita mountains were formed. Just north of the area,
the ground sunk, forming the Anadarko and Arkomo basins. The result created a fault line between the two basins, which was the epicenter of the earthquakes. He says to expect more earthquakes in the future, but they will most likely be in the magnitude 3 range. “At first, I admit I was worried because earthquakes in Missouri, Kansas and
Smartphone syndrome: Carl Bachus Collegio Reporter With the introduction of Apple’s iPhone in the summer of 2007, the telecommunications industry has seen a boost in demand for smartphones. With the added convenience and falling costs, students are seeing an increased dependence on their handheld computers. “I could be without it, but I wouldn’t be happy,” said Lauren Holthus, a freshman in commercial graphics. Holthus attributed most of her phone use to Facebook and games. Facebook, Angry Birds and Pandora are among the most downloaded apps for Android and iPhone, the top smartphone operating system manufacturers. With all these features, some users have a hard time leaving their phones alone for long periods of time. “I check it every couple minutes,” said Holthus, about her Samsung Replenish. Although “every couple minutes” doesn’t allow for many uninterrupted study breaks, some students say that it helps, rather than hinders, their learning process. “It doesn’t interfere [with my education] much. I would say it facilitates it. I get my email much faster than I would if I had to go check my computer all the time,” Holthus said. Smartphones do offer a wide
Oklahoma are not common,” Herron said. “We have to remember, though, that we are on a massive fault line.” Herron, who was in the May 22 Joplin tornado, is no stranger to natural disasters. “I wasn’t really scared after it happened, especially after surviving the May 22 tornado,” Herron said. “I’ll take an earthquake over a tornado any day.”
Are students becoming technology dependent?
range of features that, in theory, could help bolster the educational process. Email, mobile Internet access, and word processors all have the potential to let students take their class work everywhere. “I use it to keep track of class work and tests,” said Annie Miracle, sophomore in social work, about her Motorola Droid 3. Miracle admits that although her smartphone can be a tool to assist her with her education, it doesn’t always work that way. “It’s a distraction sometimes, like when I’m taking tests. That’s when everyone wants to text me.” Although a recent survey done by the Nielsen Media Research firm reported that 43 percent of mobile phone users use smartphones, some students like Eric Hanses, junior in construction management, view the technology as a waste of time. Photo Illustraition by Hunter Peterson “[Smartphones] just seem too expensive, too much of a distraction, and not worth the risk,” he said. Hansen said that his Pantech Link, what one would call a standard mobile phone, does everything that it needs to do and that the only extra educational benefit is the calculator.
As the enrollment on Pitt State’s campus grows so does its diversity. One new student group’s mission is to highlight that trend. The Student Diversity Council was created in late September by five students from the Office of Student Diversity. The five students who initially started the council were Vernon Wiley, senior in marketing; Tyrone Woodel, junior in nursing; Keenan Soles, senior in elementary education; Olujimi (Jimi) Sode, senior in biology; and Matt Shortino, senior in technology engineering education. “It’s been a goal of mine for a while now to organize a group of students for a cause like this,” Sode said. “In the past years I’ve attended here, I’ve noticed a growing lack of recognition for diversity among other races, nationalities and cultures, and I’ve wanted to do something about it.” Members of the group informally consider Sode to be the president of the
Morgan Eastwood, Sophmore in nursing, texts in class while other students finish the teacher evaluations on Wednesday Nov. 9
ued to grow since its first event, though council. The Student Diversity Council has taken members remain focused on the task at hand. steps this semester to hold events advocat“Since we started, we’ve had members ing awareness of diversity. Members say join from vastly different backgrounds such that they’ve recognized the need for their group as they go out on campus more often. as Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, AfricanAmericans,” The Woodel said. council’s first “We’re still conpromotion tinuing to get the was called socio-economic Diversity perspective recogDogs, held in nized on camOctober on the pus.” Oval. Shortino Members say says the event - Olujimi Sode, senior in elementary education they believe that made them an understanding of diversity in society is realize how indifferent students were to the necessary to carrying out day-to-day life. problem. “It’s common sense that in our chang“We thought we’d try something different. The students would recite a list of facts ing era, people need to show respect for the about the wide variety of culture ethnicities vast differences in any individual,” Sode said. “People in the workplace are now and so forth, in order to receive a free hot more vulnerable to being fired for diversity dog,” Shortino said. “At one point during ignorance, and it’s easy to say something the event, a student just walked away, saying it wasn’t worth it. That shows how very that might offend somebody’s religion, culture or race.” real our problem is.” According to Woodel the council plans Woodel says that the group has contin-
...people need to show
respect for the vast differences in any individual”
Students line up for the release of MW3 (pg. 10)
Loss of face
Student group promotes unity, campus diversity Zach Wagner Collegio Reporter
Beyond the ‘Call of Duty’
to partner with the BSA (Black Student Association) to hold a “Winterfresh Formal” event, sometime before the semester is over, and will encourage everybody on campus to attend. “It’s basically going to be a black-andwhite formal open to the student body,” Woodel said. “The fraternities and sororities on campus are the only groups that really get to experience a formal dance, and this offers those who are not a part of those groups to enjoy a college dance.” Despite the group’s strong start, Sode says that he wants to see the council remain strong. “When I graduate in December, I want the group to continue to maintain their dedication. Most groups that form start out strong and then grow weak later on,” Sode said. “We want to continue to make knowledge of diversity more prevalent, and limit the ignorance.”
Football loses first game of the season at home (pg. 8)
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November 10, 2011
Missing Wash. boy’s relatives to take polygraphs BELLEVUE, Wash. (AP) — The father of a missing Washington state toddler and several of his relatives are voluntarily taking polygraph exams as hope for finding the child alive begins to fade. But Bellevue Police Maj. Mike Johnson told a news conference Wednesday that the boy’s mother still refuses to take a lie-detector test. He called that puzzling and suspicious. The woman, Julia Biryukova, told investigators that her 2-year-old son, Sky Metalwala, vanished Sunday in Bellevue when she left him sleeping alone in her unlocked car for an hour after it ran out of gas. Police say she told them she was on her way to a hospital because the boy didn’t feel well when the car stalled.
Dow sinks 3 percent as Europe uncertainty deepens NEW YORK (AP) — The Dow Jones industrial average dropped more than 400 points Wednesday after Italy’s borrowing costs soared and talks collapsed in Greece on forming a new government. The yield on the benchmark Italian government bond spiked above 7 percent, evidence that investors are losing faith in the country’s ability to repay its debt. Greece, Portugal and Ireland required bailouts when their bond yields rose above the same mark. Unlike those countries, Italy’s $2.6 trillion in debt is too large for other European countries to rescue
AP President Barack Obama shakes hands with Carolyn Colvin of the Social Security Administration, in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011, Obama signed an Executive Order to cut waste and promote efficient spending across the federal government. AP In this Aug.31,2006, file photo Warren Jeffs, the leader of a polygamist sect, appears in a courtroom in Las Vegas. Utah authorities have helped a women leave polygamous community along the Utah-Arizona run by jailed sect leader Warren Jeffs.
Obama signs order to cut travel, cellphones, swag
AP A specialist works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, Nov. 9. The Dow Jones industrial average lost more than 240 points in early trading after Italy’s borrowing costs soared.
U.S. OKs winding down BP spill cleanup NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A government plan that ends most of BP’s responsibility for cleaning up oil washing onto the Gulf Coast marks a shift toward restoration efforts by the company, but many in the region are worried about who will handle the monitoring of longterm effects from the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. Still, a top company official said in an interview that BP is ready to respond to any oil that’s deemed its responsibility.
WASHINGTON (AP) — With the stroke of his pen, President Barack Obama has sacked souvenirs federal agencies buy with taxpayer money to promote their work. The ban he signed Wednesday is part of a broader executive order to cut some $4 billion in waste and make government more efficient. Some office equipment will simply be scarcer, and fewer cell phones and laptops will be issued. Obama has been using his executive powers on modest proposals — Wednesday’s order targets trinkets like coffee cups, T-shirts and pens — to promote job creation, help homeowners or, in this case, redirect spending.
Utah drops case against polygamist SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah prosecutors dropped charges Wednesday against a polygamist sect leader serving a life sentence in Texas in a separate case. “As a result of the conviction in Texas, we decided not to bring him back to Utah for a re-trial,” said Brian Filter, senior deputy attorney for Washington County. Jeffs, 55, is the ecclesiastical head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He was sentenced to life in prison in August on charges of sexually assaulting two of his underage brides.
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Fashion, food and fireworks: ADRIANA GARMACEA Collegio Reporter
Diwali, the festival of lights, is a rich cultural celebration in India and the Indian Student Association hosts its own celebration at PSU, giving students a taste of the various cultural aspects of their native country. “It is nice to show our culture and wear all our traditional clothes,” said Navneet Kaur, president of ISA. “Even though I wear it normally, it feels good to wear it in front of people from other countries and represent ours.” Kaur says people in India show their happiness by lighting earthen “diyas” (lamps), decorating their houses, lighting firecrackers and inviting friends and family to their homes to partake in a sumptuous feast. The lighting of the lamps is a way of paying respect to God for attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace, valor and fame. Last Sunday’s Diwali Night included a fashion show, a presentation on the festival and a choreo-
Shantanu Gavai, a member of the Indian Student Association, sings a traditional Indian song during the Diwali Festival of Lights on Sunday, Nov. 6.
graphed Bhangra dance. The event also included classical music performances, examples of Bollywood dance, and traditional Indian foods. The celebration concluded with a bang as fireworks signaled the end of the show. According to Kaur, the name Diwali comes from two words: “Deep,” which means “lamps” and “awali,” which means “rows,” so the entire word “Deepawali” means “row of lamps.” “We celebrate it back home in almost every region of India and we do it by filling our household with lights and it is a very traditional occasion,” said Kaur, sophomore in accounting. “All the most important preparations have been made in the last month and that includes all the performances and presentations.” Kaur says that they organize the event every year to get people involved as much as possible, and they attempt to involve students who are not from India. According to Kaur, about 70 Indian students attend Pitt State. “I am actually performing one of the numbers, which is a folk dance from the north region and there will also be a Bollywood show,” Kaur said. “As well as music performances with classical infusion.” Traditional Indian meals were served, including chicken tikka massala, chicken cooked in cream sauce and spices. Guests also enjoyed the traditional Indian white bread called naan and a sweet mango lassi, made from yogurt and mango pulp. “We tried to make the meals a little mild this time because Indian food is usually really spicy and not everyone is used to it,” Kaur said. “But we kept the exact taste from home.” Kaur says that they got help for the event from the Student Government Association and companies like US Bank (through sponsorships). “They really like our event and they want us to make it bigger every year,” Kaur said. Students like Katie Laidler said they enjoyed the event. “This is my first time experiencing an event like this and it was really amazing,” said Laidler, senior in early/ late childhood development. “I had a blast getting exposed to the Indian culture, especially since I was a part of the fashion show tonight.”
Indian students celebrate Diwali
Nishjeet Mann, a member of the Indian Student Association, carries lights symbolizing enlightenment during the Diwali Festival of Lights in the Crimson and Gold Ballroom of the Overman Student Center on Sunday, Nov. 6. PSU students and faculty taste the traditional Indian food after the performance of Diwali Festival at Whitesitt Hall lobby on Sunday, Nov. 6.
Ananda Jayawardhana, professor in math, oversaw the students’ preparations and saw the amount of work they put into it. “It was challenging, but the result was very
successful,” Jayawardhana said. “Indian students are special in many different ways. Mostly because they are well-prepared kids and they are always willing to contribute to others.”
‘We’re a consumer society’: Author, producer offers economic insights Zach Wagner Collegio Reporter
America’s social and economic ills are rooted mainly in its health-care system, says author and economic expert John de Graaf. “Right now, Americans spend about 47 percent of the entire health-care budget of the world,” de Graaf told about 15 students on Tuesday in Grubbs Hall. “Yet we are 5 percent of the world’s population. We have the most expensive health care and the worst health.” De Graaf comes from Seattle, Wash., and he has written books and produced movies about the U.S. economy. His most recent work is a documentary titled “What’s the Economy for Anyway,” which was later published as a book. These works explain the wide variety of issues
contributing to the current economic state, breaking down complex issues into more simple terms. He illustrated the health-care issue with supporting clips from his documentary. One of the first concerns de Graaf addressed was the matter of how health care’s increasing cost is hurting the U.S. economy. In order to illustrate the issue, one clip shown referred to America’s health-care system as a house under a gold-plated roof with 47 million holes. The gold-plated roof symbolized the expense of health care and the 47 million holes symbolized the number of Americans who do not have health insurance. According to de Graaf, the country’s dependency on health insurance is directly tied to its citizens’ lifestyle. In de Graaf’s house example, the walls were labeled with different ways of changing an individual’s health. Smoking, exercise, sleep, diet and stress were all major components
of his display. De Graaf touched heavily on the varying issues to show how much the economy is influenced through individual choices. “We’re a consumer society,” de Graaf said. “In order to reach a stabilized life we must stabilize our own lifestyle, and the effect will show on the economy.” Along with the issue of health care, De Graaf says that the little time off Americans get from work contributes to the deterioration of family life. “Statistics will show 27 percent of our population is not given even one week of paid vacation. We are one of six countries in the world that by law do not require a full week’s paid vacation,” de Graaf said. “This is a contributing factor to, say, a parent who doesn’t spend enough time with their child.”
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November 10, 2011
Sidewalk cracks and black cats: Students share personal superstitions Jay Benedict Managing Editor Musician Stevie Wonder sang, “When you believe in things you don’t understand, then you suffer. Superstition ain’t the way.” Many students at Pittsburg State don’t heed his warning, and as Nov. 11, 2011, or 11/11/11, draws closer, more are taking the chance to get a lucky wish in. Students like Nick Born regularly make a wish when the clock strikes 11:11 because it is considered a lucky time. “I make a wish every time I see that it’s 11:11,” said Born, senior in psychology. “It gives me a good feeling in the pit of my stomach even if it might not always come true.” The hype surrounding the upcoming date is partially due to the rarity of the alignment—it happens only once a century. ABC News posted a story on couples planning weddings for Nov. 11, and mothers who go as far as having labor induced on that day. Numerologists say each number has a vibration to it and 11 is the number that makes the universe most open to us. “If you make a wish on 11/11/11 at 11:11, it’s the equivalent of finding a genie lamp,” Born said. Not all students buy into the phenomenon. Brittany Hilbert says she doesn’t see what the big deal is but understands why it might have significance to some people. “My wishes have come true a couple times, but I don’t really believe in chance,” said Hilbert, sophomore in Spanish and secondary education. “I think
everything happens for a reason Joseph Hausel considers 11/11 to be another day that people make bigger than it is. He likens it to the mania that surrounded June 6, 2006, and July 7, 2007, or 6/6/06 and 7/7/07. The first date is significant to those of the Christian faith because it is the mark of the devil according to the Bible. The latter is considered extremely lucky among gamblers and others with a vested interest in good luck. “People are forgetting that the actual dates included 2006, 2007, and 2011,” said Hausel, graduate student in sports management. “It’s not as big of a deal as people make it.” Other students try to make their own luck and some have traditions for supporting their sports teams. Kayla Arnold is a die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan. “I never, never wear my Lakers gear on game day,” said Arnold, senior in communication. “They always lose when I do.” Some students have more personal superstitions. Lindsay Nance says her superstition stemmed from an emotional situation. She was preparing to leave for Haiti when her boyfriend told her he loved her for the first time. She had no way to communicate with him when she left the next morning. Her inability to express herself after the bomb he dropped caused an emotional strain. Nance says she finally discovered a way to express herself and she has done it ever since. She pulled out the drawer in the nightstand in her room and wrote a
One is the loneliest number: Ali Clark Collegio Reporter Being a student at a university in a foreign country is tough, but imagine you are the only person from your country at that university. That scenario may seem unlikely but it is the case for 16 students this year at PSU. Most international students have someone to share their experiences with, whether it’s with someone from their university who came with them, or someone from their country that they met at school. Sunny Srijan, the only student from Nepal, says he never thought he would be the only student from his country. “I was thinking there would be someone else because there are so many students studying in the United States,” said Srijan, freshman in mechanical engineering. Shahid Iqbal, from Pakistan, says he began searching for another student from his country after deciding to attend Pitt State, looking in the student directory online for Pakistani names. “Finally, I catch only one name and it was the name of a girl and the name is Natasha,” said Iqbal, physics graduate student. “I became so excited, ‘Oh yes!’ I got her number from the PSU website and I called her. Unfortunately, I was very sad. She was from India.”
Some students sole representatives of their nations
Iqbal says he studied at a university in Ohio before coming to PSU. That school had nine students from Pakistan. Iqbal says he misses his family and friends sometimes. “Sometimes I become very lonely, I become very upset,” Iqbal said. “Still, I’m very happy because Americans are very nice people. So when the community is good, the people are good, you find it is OK. I’m OK.” Kusumbhawono Aji is from Indonesia and says that at first, it was a difficult transition. “It’s kind of maybe confused like shock,” said Aji, graduate student in business. “It’s like all new people, all new culture. At first it’s like, ‘I want to go home.’” Aji says he believes being the only student from his country helped him make more friends and it doesn’t bother him as much. Yana Kirichenko, from Kazakhstan, says she has a similar attitude. “For me, I’m not trying to find friends only from my country,” said Kirichenko, senior in finance. “You notice that a lot with Koreans and Paraguayans and Brazilians.” Srijan, the student from Nepal, says he has been able to meet people from many countries, learning about their cultures and teaching them about his. “It’s a good experience because you are the only one who is repre-
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senting your country so you have a good chance to do good things for your country,” Srijan said. “The sole responsibility goes on you.” Lone international students usually speak only their native language when Skyping with parents or friends back home, which many of them do regularly. Some of these students, like Srijan and Kirichenko, speak many languages, allowing them to communicate with the larger international student populations on campus. Kirichenko’s first language is Russian, so she has befriended many of the students from Russia and Kyrgyzstan and she can speak her first language with them if she wants. However, she says most of the time they speak English to each other unless they are telling a story from their childhood or something similar. “For us, it just doesn’t make sense,” Kirichenko said. “Why would we translate it into Russian and try to explain it when we could just say it in English?” Still, Kirichenko says, it’s hard not having common backgrounds to share with others. “It does make it hard to be the only one from Kazakhstan because there are some holidays or some traditions that my Russian friends don’t know about or understand it,” Kirichenko said. “And that does make it a lot different.”
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November 10, 2011
Control MICHELE BARNABY Social Sciences Instructor
TRAVIS IRION Guest Columnist
Although world population reached 7 billion on Oct. 31, the need for a world population control policy, or a policy to control or reduce the current world population, is not necessary. Most nation states already have a population policy that sets aside federal funds for family planning. Strict population policies, like China’s one-child policy, are not needed today. What seems to be more important and more successful is economic development. As economic development takes place, people choose to limit (or control) family size, and this makes sense. In rural societies, children are needed to help out on the farm, take care of younger children, and care for the older generation—children are assets. In urban societies, children are no longer needed to help out, are expensive, and a liability. As the world develops economically from primarily rural societies to primarily urban societies, couples choose to have smaller families. Where vigorous population policies do exist, they have tended to be successful at reducing population growth, but unsuccessful at meeting societal needs. Many negative outcomes are associated with these types of policies. China’s growth rate declined immediately after the installation of its policy in 1976. Today their natural growth rate is lower than the US’s. China could abolish its population policy and would not see an increase in family size or a change in its continued declining growth rate because China is now an economically developed nation. The negative consequences of this policy are still apparent. In China, the law states how large your family can be. If you ignore the law, the penalties can be quite strict from paying fines to losing certain privileges. Also, China’s culture favors males over females, resulting in an abnormal sex ratio at birth. Today, China has many more grown men than women. Other negative social problems have been associated with the strictly policed policy. Outside of China, vigorous population policies don’t always work as well, either. India has had a less stern population policy since 1952 with somewhat unorthodox approaches, such as focusing on providing incentives to voluntarily become sterilized. This has resulted in distrust among people in certain regions toward “help” from the government regarding family planning. A strict population policy today could cause a severe population decline if it worked as well as China’s. A declining world population would have negative results as well. Some regions already see population declines. Europeans no longer reproduce themselves. This has resulted in an aging population where more people are no longer part of the work force. Aging populations put financial stress on governments, can result in declining GNPs, and can even affect military policies. Europe relies on immigrants to make up for the hole in their work force. In Japan the declining population is so problematic and extreme that the Japanese have introduced policies to keep the elderly in the work force and even policies to assist in increasing the birth rate. Population worldwide continues to grow, but eventually, and probably not too far in the future, we will see more regions with a stable or even a declining population. Focusing on economic development allows people to move to a condition where conscious family size is a priority. Government “control” is not wanted or needed.
Did you know you can fit the entire world’s population into an area the size of Texas? And this would give each person about 1,069 square feet to live on, leaving the rest of the world uninhabited. Although this would not be ideal, this shows there is no land crisis in relation to population. As for food, American-grown food alone provides about 3,800 calories per American each day. That is 1,800 calories more per day than the recommended 2,000-calorie diet. Here is the kicker, 1,100 of those calories on average are wasted. This is not including the amount of foreign food consumed each day in the United States. The facts show that the U.S. produces enough food alone to sustain its own population. With no land crisis and no food crisis, this leads to the conclusion that there is no need for government regulation of population size. The real issue is with our culture of materialism. There is no self-control to Americans’ greed and indulgence. The government cannot legislate self-control for Americans. As much as governments have tried in the past, laws will not change people’s ways. In fact they may only serve to reinforce them. Try telling an American to eat only 2,000 calories per day! The real crisis is overconsumption, not overpopulation. The solution to this problem lies with America and its need to step back up to the plate and educate its population properly. Churches, private charities and health classes in school should be leading this campaign. There is a fundamental moral factor to this issue, too. Self-control would invariably feed more people and satisfy the needs of the hungry not only in America but the rest of the world. Again, this requires a total cultural reorientation, which is not something that the government has any lasting effect on. If anything, government is an expression of culture, especially our democracy in America. Thus, government is not the solution. Besides all this, the populationcontrol advocates’ solutions are patently illegal. Many support forced contraception, abortion, or sterilization and child limits. This would fly in the face of several fundamental rights that all Americans hold dear: religious liberty, privacy and family rights. To enact such laws, the government would need a legitimate reason to interfere and regulate public life. In America, the Supreme Court has ruled that for the government to make forays into reproductive rights, it must have a compelling interest, which is more than legitimate. The case that made that most clear is Roe v. Wade. Let’s see how many population control advocates would go for repealing that case!
4 BIRTHS 2 DEATHS
Michele Barnaby is a social sciences instructor at Pittsburg State University.
Travis Irion is a student at Pittsburg State University.
readers write back
No offense here, and it’s awesome that people are helping out, but it seems like some people are really really trying to make themselves out to be heroes in all of this. The first error I see is that people are making ridiculous claims as to what they did during the tornado. I personally would like to see another article about the guy that actually worked there, especially being that one of the home makeover houses is for another firefighter. If he goes to school here full time, then I think someone should run something about him, since I’m sure he’s helping out on makeover too. You guys should cover the real stories, not the people tooting their own horns Response to “Learning to teach” published 4/14/11 Restricting the presidential terms to two came in after Truman. The conservatives came back in power and passed that amendment to prevent having another FDR. Harry Truman is reputed to have said he’d have liked to be a “fly on the wall” when the conservatives noted they could have run Eisenhower for a third term.
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Response to “A registration nation: birth certificate required” published 4/14/11
could be previously registered and are now unable to exercise their right to vote.
Voter ID laws in those 30 some states have been enacted by conservatives to enhance their electability. Voter fraud was a manufactured issue. Instead of enhancing the electorate it will restrict it. The writer was at the county clerk’s office and asked, “I have my voter registration card you send out, can that be used at the polling place?” The answer was no, a photo ID would be required in the future.
Instead of “Jim Crowisms” we now have, with states’ legislative approval, “James Crowisms.” This has been nothing more than a successful effort to restrict the vote. It has come from a conservative effort in the legislatures in the various states affected. They knew President Obama’s partial winning vote margin came from minority voters, many of whom didn’t have government ID for one reason or another.
In many places in our country voters don’t have or sometimes need photo government ID of various types. Many in urban areas do not drive, college students who may not yet have drivers licenses and seniors in homes of various types use public transportation. Taking the trouble to get a government ID could be a hindrance. Many of these voters
Voter ID laws presently are just more sophisticated poll taxes (now you may have to pay for a birth certificate/ID and other background information which may be a great deal of trouble) and or “literacy tests” (that you can speak or understand English?).
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November 10, 2011
pittstatebriefs Group to observe education week Members of the Future Educators Association will celebrate American Education Week, Nov. 14-18, by handing out free apples on Monday, Nov. 14, free wristbands on Wednesday, Nov. 16, and by encouraging students to write letters to a teacher on campus on Thursday, Nov. 17.
International gathering Friday International Programs and Services is holding the Ghana International Gathering 6-7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, at the United Methodist Ministries Center. There will be a free meal and a cultural presentation. For more information, call Cathy Lee Arcuino at 235-4607 or email@example.com.
Movie night tonight A movie about Temple Grandin, a woman with autism, will be shown at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, in the U-Club theater in the Overman Student Center. Seating is limited and is on a first-come firstserved basis.
Seminars scheduled The Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology is holding two professional development seminars on Nov. 16 and 17. There will be an audio conference titled “Students and the Digital Shoreline” from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16, in 332 Hartman Hall covering topics that include the technologies most important to students, the impact of social media, and challenges of teaching in a new environment. There will also be a webcast titled “Universal Design for Learning and Online Education” from noon to 1:45 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, in 332 Hartman Hall. The webcast will cover topics such as ensuring online access and engagement of students with sensory and physical disabilities and personalizing the online experience. To RSVP, contact Treva Sherman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 235-4840 with the session you plan to attend.
It is Collegio policy to print corrections. To submit a correction, call 235-4901. - In “Jungle Kings,” 10-13-11, Jordan and Erica Brooks’ names were spelled incorrectly. Additionally, the article referred to Gorilla Street Kings as a Street Racing Club, when it is a car appreciation club
Published and proud of it
Chili contest Saturday The Office of Alumni and Constituent Relations is holding the Gorilla Chili Challenge to find “the best chili in Pittsburg” on Saturday, Nov. 12, at the Alumni Shelter House in Gorilla Village. Judging will be at 11:30 and the winner will be announced at 12:55 at the pep rally. Pre-registration is required and must be submitted by 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11. A list of rules is available at http://www.pittstate.edu/calendar/index.dot?id=356707.
Sabbatical talk slated A presentation for the fall Sabbatical Showcase series will be at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, in the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology in Hartman Hall 332A. Kent Runyan will present “Writing an Electronic Textbook and Constructing an Online Class.” This session will overview the construction of an electronic textbook and accompanying online class using narrated PowerPoints. To attend, contact Treva Sherman at email@example.com or call 235-4840 by Monday, Nov. 14.
Casting call tonight The PSU Film Club is holding an open casting call at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, in 123 Whitesitt Hall for the movie “Zombrains.” For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saudis to celebrate religious holiday The PSU Saudi Student Association is holding an Eid-Al-Adha celebration at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13, in the Crimson and Gold Ballroom. Tickets are $2 and available in the International Office, 118 Whitesitt Hall.
Internationalization speech President Steve Scott will give a speech for International Education Week titled “Internationalization: Each of Us Can Make a Difference” at 3 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14, in the Governors Room of the Overman Student Center.
Richard Samford, left, interlibrary loan assistant and Tatiana Sildus, associate professor in the College of Education read over bibliography together during the 28th annual Faculty Authors Reception, which recognizes 47 faculty and staff who have had their works published in the Browsing Area of Axe Library on Thursday, Nov. 3.
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November 10, 2011
Healthy as a horse
SGA plans for Smokeout
Students find health careers stable at career expo Jen Rainey Collegio Reporter
Rising unemployment rates had students feeling uneasy about their pending graduation, unsure of when they would find a job and what job it will be. “I am definitely nervous to graduate,” said Jessica Berberich, junior in English education and communication education. “When I came into college, my relatives and friends told me the job prospects for educators would get better in four years, but it’s only gotten worse. Budget cuts for school have become appalling.” Berberich says she knew education may not be the most financially promising career, but she has always wanted to be an educator. “I know it sounds cheesy, but I know that this is my calling in life,” Berberich said. “Regardless of whether I get a job right away or not.” Students in the fields of health, human services and education had the opportunity to meet representatives from graduate schools, area primary and secondary schools, businesses and organizations during the Health, Human Services and Education Career Expo on Thursday, Nov. 3. “I attended the career fair, but soon found out that even though psychology is termed as ‘human services,’ it wasn’t laid out in the career fair for health, human services and education,” said Tracy Fogliasso, graduate student in clinical psychology. “This kind of annoyed me.” Fogliasso says she was unable to speak with anyone because the career fair didn’t offer potential jobs in her field. She says she plans to speak with KU Med Rainbow Road for an internship next fall. Fogliasso says she is nervous about the economy but is positive about her job outlook. “I think psychology majors tend to end up with jobs based on if they did well at their practicums or internships,” Fogliosso said. “At the same time it
ANGEL. Under committee reports, Sen. Thomas Gregory announced a reminder of the Great American Smokeout event Nov. 17 from 10:30-1:30pm in the Oval, as well as a student survey which will be available on GUS all next week about taking a tobacco free initiative. “We are working on getting power supply so we can have computers set up in the Oval for students to take the survey.” Gregory said. Advisor David Adams added that the Sunday before finals week, the library dean has agreed to keep the library open from ten to midnight on December 11 and hopes to provide study kits for students who might attend. During open discussion, two of the five candidates nominated by President Eric Jones were approved to be a part of SGA’s judicial court, Brynn Blair and Audrey Gilbreath. However, because Scott Swaggart, candidate for Chief Justice was not able to attend Wednesday’s meeting, discussion over the position is postponed until next week. Treasurer Peter Kipp announced that he and the finance committee totaled allocations at $30,321.95 to be approved this semester for organizations, however it was moved to a second reading next week.
Stephanie Rogers Collegio Reporter The Student Government Association began its Nov. 9 meeting discussing the Higher Learning Commission and accreditation process with Dr. Dallman and Dr. Winters. HLC oversees the accreditation process over colleges and universities and Pittsburg State University. As part of the process, five members from the North Central Association for Re-accreditation will visit with staff members, faculty and students, as well as read over specific documentation before approval. According to Dr. Dallman, the university will be trying out the Commission’s new accreditation model called Pathways and will be evaluated over four areas consisting of writing, mathematics, communication and co-curricular classes. “It’s going to be quite a large task, and we certainly want to have a good outcome.” Dallman said. “But since we had a very good report last time, we are very well positioned to be the leaders involved in this new process.” During director reports, Lara Ismert, Director of Academic Affairs announced that Canvas will be the new learning management system to replace
Derek Pearson, senior in psychology education, speaks with officers from the Topeka Police Department about employment opportunites after graduation during the career fair in the Crimson and Gold Ballroom in the Overman Student Center on Thursday, November 3.
could be beneficial to be able to talk to employers from the field of psychology I want to go into.” Rebecca Wiens says she is positive about her career choice. “There are many opportunities for nurses all around the country,” said Wiens, senior in nursing. “Not only do most cities have hospitals, many have more than one. There are also many different specialties that nurses have the ability to specialize in.” Wiens says she chose her major because there will always be health-related issues, which means there will always be jobs for people in the health field. However, she says, some hospitals are cutting back on their work force. Even though there is a nursing shortage, the competition for a nursing job in some areas has become intense. “I plan to work in a hospital after graduation, on a general medical surgical floor or any area that is interesting to me,” Wiens said. “There are just so many options out there for nurses.”
n society from page 3 De Graaf says that a key step toward recognizing this problem was his cooperation in drafting a congressional bill in 2009 called the Paid Vacation Act. The bill proposed that at least one week’s paid vacation be provided at all U.S. companies. The bill gained Hours: Mon- Thurs 6:30 am-5:30 pm
outside attention, and de Graaf was asked to speak in front of a group of economists at the Rockefeller Center in New York City. He impressed many of the members and received a grant for his book, the documentary, and for two classes he would teach.
“Through our everyday lives, we are constantly making these different decisions.” De Graaf said. “Whether it’s how we maintain our health or the way we manage our time, our choices directly affect America’s economy.”
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Vs. Missouri Southern (Sonic Miner’s Bowl) The Pitt 2 P.M.
p i t t s b u r g
s t a t e
u n i v e r s i t y
A long time coming
Zac Dickey gets tackled at the end of a run against Washburn on Saturday, Nov. 5, in Carnie Smith Stadium.
Pitt State loses game, gains opportunity for growth
I am alluding to the tendency of Pitt’s offense to The Gorillas squandered their chance at perfecstart slow against its opponents, no tion this past weekend with matter who they may be. Against a loss to Washburn and they may become a better team Garett Washburn and Northwestern Misbecause of it. Mccollough souri, they began the games incredibly placid and the defense was forced In every sport, once greatness is seemingly reachable, Sports to stay on the field for most of the first half. They trailed at the half in it becomes much harder to Editor both games by more than two scores, obtain. This was the case last 28-6 to the Bearcats and 24-13 to the Saturday when the then No. 2 Ichabods. Gorillas were defeated by the A rough start against two top 10 teams like No. 9 Ichabods. Hopefully, what Pitt State, primarWashburn or Northwest can be understood, if not ily the offense, will realize is that starting slow will condoned, but Pitt had similar starts versus teams not work against the top teams in Division II.
Volkert advances for second consecutive year Zach Wagner Collegio Reporter Pitt State men’s cross country team attempted to qualify for nationals at the Regional 10K race in Wichita Falls, Texas, last weekend. However, they fell short of their goal, placing fifth with a total time of 2:44:07, but they did manage to send one runner to nationals. Junior Adam Volkert placed fourth overall in the race with a time of 31:10:40, and qualified for nationals. “I had getting in the top five in mind going into the race,” Volkert said. “After the race, I couldn’t help but think I could’ve done better.” Nineteen teams participated in the meet and Pitt State struggled to stick together in the large race. The rest of the team finished as follows: Colin Hubert 32:46.80, 30; Matt Haffner, 32:48.40; Brice Irving 33:24.50, 53.; and Nicholas Kiprono 33:57.20, 76.
The team collectively scored a 1 to 5 runners gap of 2:47. The team saw a need to develop an effective strategy before the race. “We needed to develop a race plan early on that would benefit us,” Coach Russ Jewett said. “It was a pretty uneven course so we settled on finishing strong with a kick right before the last 500 meters.” Pitt State ended in a tie with Northwest Missouri State, with both teams scoring 174 points. “Each time we go to a race, we always bring different dynamics to the course,” Jewett said. “Each individual was given a goal position, we wanted to be as close to that spot towards the end of the race and fight for that position.” Volkert says he will continue training for nationals, despite the team not qualifying.
see Volkert page 9
that most D-II schools only play their starters for one half. Pitt went into half up by only a touchdown to Fort Hays and was losing at half by three against Truman State because of an offense that isn’t producing. Pitt’s problem isn’t an inability to move the ball, but the fact that they fumble while driving down the field, killing all momentum. The Gorillas have only three more takeaways than giveaways, 24-21. They are fortunate to have only given the ball away 21 times as they have recovered nearly half their fumbles (12 of 27). Luckily these mistakes haven’t spelled disaster for the Gorillas as they were able to come back and win in all these games and even against Northwest,
thanks to stellar play and even better coaching in the second half. They weren’t, however, able to make up for their slow start against Washburn and it will prove to be the turning point for Pitt as the season nears its end. Will they crumble and fall apart, or will the leaders of this team get up off the ground, pull the team together and grasp the greatness we have seen glimpses of? Pitt needs to open the playbook we saw in the Northwest game much earlier in the tougher matchups that remain. Pitt State takes on Missouri Southern in the Sonic Miner’s Bowl this Saturday at Carnie Smith Stadium. The MIAA will be broadcasting the game for those who cannot make it.
Team effort earns trip to nationals Amelia Mallatt Collegio Reporter The Pitt State women’s cross country team finished second in the South Central Regional meet, qualifying for the 2011 NCAA-II National Championships. The meet was held over the weekend in Wichita Falls, Texas. Melissa Peden took fifth place overall with a time of 21:56.10. The next Pitt State runner to finish was Kaley Temaat, who finished 22nd with a time of 22:38.80. Bridgette McCormick came in 34th with a time of 23:01.80, Erica Testa finished 37th with a time of 23:07.90, and Katelyn Henderson finished in 23:18.30, earning her 45th place. Head coach Russ Jewett praised the team after the meet. “It was truly a team effort,” Jewett said. “Melissa had her best race of the season. She was our top runner
from start to finish, but our other six runners changed positions several times throughout the 6k race. That showed that each of them wanted to be the one to help pull her teammates through to a successful outcome. I was proud of all of our women today. Qualifying was not a foregone conclusion and they once again demonstrated that they are all very tough competitors. “ Katelyn Henderson was happy to be a part of the qualifying team. “I was supposed to just be an alternate for this meet, so I was thankful to just get another opportunity to race with this group of girls this season,” Henderson said. “We each went out and put in good, hard efforts. I’m now excited and honored to be able to take part in representing Pitt State in Spokane next week.” Erica Testa echoed the idea that it
see effort page 9
Gorilla grad opens local gym TYLER SMITH Collegio Reporter Aaron McConnell is no slouch when it comes to finding success. He earned big wins in both football and wrestling and even had a short stint with the Tennessee Titans. “I played at Pitt State from 2000-2003,” McConnell said. “I was the first four-time All-American at Pitt.” The former football player was a force to be reckoned with and he earned a national title while pulling double duty as a male cheerleader. “I have always been a guy that lived outside of the box,” McConnell said. “I love doing things that people say I shouldn’t.” One of his biggest accomplishments is his new gym, Mac Fitness Center, located off 11th and Walnut. McConnell hopes it will blossom into something great, something that can get athletes ready for the next step. Max Matter is one of the MMA trainers at Mac Fitness. “Aaron is an all-around great guy to work with,” Matter said. “He shows a great deal of care and respect to everyone that walks into the
gym, whether they be an employee or a client.” McConnell says that the gym is for all ages. “We train anybody from age seven to the college level,” McConnell said. “We will have a specified camp before every sporting season after this winter.” Mac Fitness Center will be a 24-hour gym with various types of training. There is a section of weight lifting machines and individual weights for people just looking to lift weights. “The most obvious thing that sets me apart is the 24-hour access you have to my fitness gym,” McConnell said. “The second main thing is the turf that is in my building.” The new facility has almost half a football field of indoor turf and also houses various training equipment for intense conditioning drills. What McConnell hopes people like is the diversity in training methods available. “If you can’t find what you need in one, you can go to the other,” McConnell said. “That is something that other gym owners can’t offer.” After all his success, though, McConnell appreciates the time he
spent at Pitt and says he couldn’t imagine his gym anywhere else. “Pittsburg has been an amazing town and that’s the reason I brought this idea to Pitt and wanted to have my gym in this town instead of somewhere else,” McConnell said. The idea for the facility came from his desire to help athletes. The first thing he did was start training kids on any field he could find, when he moved back to Pitt. “I was trying to find the funding needed to start my own indoor turf training facility,” McConnell said. “I spent the next two years looking for an investor and could never find anybody that believed in my idea.” McConnell found that investor in Dean Spears. “Dean had a building and the finances to help me start and the rest is history,” McConnell said. “I guess you definitely could say it was the right place, right time.” Other activities offered at Mac Fitness Center are wrestling, footwork and agility, and adult fitness and camps for all types of sports. “We have personal training in fitness, MMA, karate, sports specific
see Gorilla Grad page 9
November 10, 2011
n volkert from page 8
Belting out a baritone
“Last year I made nationals so it was a goal I had set for my self beforehand,” Volkert said. “The next weeks we’ll mainly just be resting and light work outs.” The men’s team is looking to have a promising season next year. “We have a pretty young group of guys returning next year,” Jewett said. “You never know for sure how the next year is going to lay out.” Volkert and Pitt State’s women’s team will be attending the nationals race on Nov. 19 in Spokane, Wash.
n effort from page 8 was truly a team effort. “We all pulled together as a team and did what it took to qualify,” Testa said. “It was great knowing that even though I didn’t run as good as I was hoping, my teammates were doing everything they could to ensure we had a spot to nationals.” The women will represent Pittsburg State University in Spokane, Wash., on Nov. 19 at the NCAA-II National Championships.
The University Choirs present their annual fall concert in McCray Recital Hall on Friday, Nov. 4.
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Grad from page 8
training, all girl-athlete classes, and adult total-fit classes,” McConnell said. “We will have batting cages in the near future.” McConnell says he loves training athletes of all ages, but digresses that he enjoys helping kids the most. “The adult fitness is fun.” McConnell said. “But there is nothing like training a group of young kids and seeing the look on their face when they figure out how to do a drill and make their feet work in a way that made them struggle before.”
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Jon Mack 620-232-9776 1214-A E. 4th (corner of 4th & Highland) Pittsburg
November 10, 2011
Campus gets hairy with the arrival of Jen Rainey Collegio Writer
Pittsburg State is hosting a Novembeard celebration at Fat Daddy’s Friday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m. The event will feature musical entertainment, prizes and drawings. Tickets for the
Crawford County. “The Novembeard ordeal Novembeard (also known has become really popular,” as No Shave November) is a said Ashley Jarvis, senior trend that has swept across in communication, marketthe country. For students like ing and management. Ian Perron, junior in biol“This event is a great ogy, it’s an excuse to not way to take advantage shave for an entire month. of that and help the “I’ve done this the past nytime groups community.” two years,” Perron said. can raise awareness Jarvis is the chair“It’s something fun to do person for the event. and gets me involved in a to help others and I She says although this somewhat obscure activhave an excuse not is the second annual ity.” Novembeard event Novembeard takes place to shave, it’s a good sponsored by the all across the country and deal.” is not only an excuse for - Clinton Bell, Junior in psychology PRAD club, this is the first year she’s been men to grow facial hair. It involved. The event will also has also been used as a way event are $3 and all proceeds feature a moustache contest. to raise money for charities. are being raised to support Females can also get inThe Public Relations and Big Brothers Big Sisters of volved, as there will be fake Advertising (PRAD) club at
moustaches available. Jonna Fearmonti, senior in communica-
tion is assisting with the event by contacting students and residents, as well as aiding anywhere else needed. “I got involved, because I’m in PRAD and it’s a real fun event with proceeds going toward a good cause,” Fearmonti said. “The student body and other groups really get involved and love this one, because it’s silly and fun. That’s the one thing we need is more student involvement
on campus.” Andrew Orpin, senior in communication, says he’s never participated in Novembeard as a fundraiser. However, he believes it’s a good idea and does partake in not shaving during the month. “I think it’s kind of like other events on campus,” Orpin said. “Any time groups can raise awareness to help others and have an excuse not to shave it’s a good deal.” Orpin says he has participated in the past, but tends to grow more facial hair if other people he knows take part. “If I don’t know anyone else participating I’ll at least shave my neck, but if I know others doing it then I’m more prone to letting my facial hair grow more,” Orpin said.
Operation: predictable Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is dry, ordinary Hunter Peterson Photo Editor Sometime you have something that you love, and as much as you love it, you might have to let it go. As far as I am concerned, the Modern Warfare saga probably should have been set free before round three happened. The game opens up to the exact same screen as Modern Warfare 2. In fact, all the menus look exactly the same. OK, the colors are different. Thanks for keeping it uninteresting, Infinity Ward. Call of Duty campaigns have always been great, and this one picks up where MW2 left off, but
it quickly became stale and repetitive. The levels are either too plain, just killing loads of Russians in various locations, or they are over drama-
tized. Some levels you go into the fuzzy vision, almost dying scenes multiple times, and it is used in too many levels as well. The storyline is very predictable, and adds very little element of suspense or drama. Honestly it probably would probably fare betHunter Peterson/Collegio ter if the Black Ops People wait in line outside of Game Stop during the rain to pick up their copy campaign of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 at the midnight release on Tuesday, Nov. 8. was not so of enemies. They start off with streaks. So you can use a UAV to great. This might be as good as easy to kill guys with shotguns, see where to set up your strafing MW2, but it’s a huge step behind but as the levels increase the run, finally. Black Ops. enemies quickly get much harder. The multiplayer maps are Of course, most people will They also throw in attack dogs, nothing spectacular. With Black run through the campaign quickly, Ops, you could tell they put effort helicopters, and even juggernauts or not even play it at all. The Call and thought into where everything in later levels. I honestly think it of Duty franchise sells so well is better than Black Ops’ zombie was, and it cut down on people because of its online multiplayer. mode, for the simple fact that camping. MW3 maps feel thrown You will either love or hate you get money and can upgrade together. Most of the maps don’t the multiplayer. It is obviously a weapons, as well buy armor and seem to have a logical flow, like direct descendant of MW2. The air strikes. the real life settings would. The guns all seem overpowered. If you designers also went overboard The second mode to spec ops are getting shot at, you rarely get are missions. Some are based off with the war rubble. On some the chance to hide or turn around levels in the game, some designed levels the streets are covered with and return fire. It makes camping just for spec ops. All of them that debris, but most of the buildings too effective. I will say they made I have played are frustratingly are intact. The maps also are not some nice changes. good. as interactive as most current One of the big changes was My final breakdown? Camgames. It seems like there are a lot that they made kill streaks a part of places you should be able to get paign is a good end to the Modern of the custom classes. So you can Warfare saga, but feels dry and it, but can’t. have kill streaks that fit with your ordinary. Multiplayer has some The best part of this game sniping, then switch to an assault good new features, but still caters is the special operations. They package and get a different kill to camping and noob-tubing too ripped off Halo’s wave mode, but streak set-up. Speaking of kill much. Special Operations mode made it work well. You start off streaks, they finally allowed you with nothing but a pistol and some really shines, and might just make to switch between multiple kill armor, and have to fight off waves the game worth owning.
‘Tower’ is an unexpected gem Todd Miller Collegio Reporter
I will just start by saying that this movie stars Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy. You’re probably cringing but surprisingly, they’re cast in fairly serious roles and do quite well with them. I expected this movie to be some action-comedy tripe that I would lambast here on paper. I was pleasantly surprised to find a well-written, action-drama that took itself seriously (it still had some comedy, but used it sparingly and to great effect). The movie starts by showing the main characters on a normal day. Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller) is the building manager of The Tower, a prestigious apartment building in New York City. Kovacs runs a tight ship and keeps things moving smoothly. Three of his employees are the front desk clerk, Charlie Gibbs (Casey Affleck) who is supposed to be fairly poor (though, we don’t really see any evidence
of this); Enrique Dev’reaux (Michael Peña), recently hired as an elevator operator; and Obessa Montero (Gabourey Sidibe), a Jamaican maid. We are introduced to Mr. Fitzhugh (Matthew Broderick), a Wall Street player who was living at the tower, but is being evicted, having lost everything in the stock market. An attempted escape, which Kovacs first interpreted as a kidnapping, leads to Arther Shaw (Alan Alda) being arrested by the FBI. Shaw is a rich guest at The Tower, and he was accused of stealing money people asked him to invest, including the pensions of the entire staff at The Tower and the life savings of Lester (Stephen Henderson), an elderly doorman who wished to retire. Kovacs confronts Shaw about it and breaks all the windows in Shaw’s fancy sports car, leading to his dismissal from The Tower, along with Gibbs and Dev’reaux, who had tried to stop him.
Kovacs plans to steal $20 million from Shaw, and enlists the help of Gibbs, Dev’reaux and Fitzhugh. However, the four soon realize they’re inept as thieves, leading Kovacs to seek help from Slide (Eddie Murphy), Kovac’s childhood friend and a known criminal in Kovacs’s neighborhood. At this point, the movie does something I liked. Slide is trying to teach the other four how to be criminals while they plan the crime. Of course, things don’t go smoothly. My favorite part of this, even if the solution is rather hackneyed, is the point where Slide says he has never dealt with a safe this advanced. It’s the perfect problem to come up, and I’m glad the writers included it. The problem, though, is too easily solved. Montero turned out to be the daughter of a locksmith and she’s able to break into safes. There was no prior mention of this, and it feels like the writers
tossed it in so they could use the character. The actual heist was entertaining to watch, too. I won’t go into much detail, but it is definitely the highlight of the film. I will say that the group is caught, but that part seems incredibly fake. There is no explanation of how the FBI knew who committed the crime, so I was incredibly disappointed that they were caught so quickly. I won’t say how, but despite being caught, they managed to basically get away with the crime (I’ll add that how they do it doesn’t seem forced at all). The ending is completely worth seeing after all the work to get there. Don’t let the look of the movie scare you away as this is definitely worth seeing. Though it is not infallible, it is well written and does a good job of mixing action, drama and comedy. In a season with little else to see, “Tower Heist” is a great choice.
“Tower Heist” 2011