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Fort Lewis College News Magazine


September 2012 FREE

Haley Pruitt

Kaitlin Martinez

Indy Editors & Staff



Allie Johnson DESIGN



Amanda Penington


Allie Hutto Alex McIntosh Adam Mohsin Graeme Johnston ONLINE

Lexi Demos Lindsy Fuller Haylee Knippel Trevor Ogborn


Courtney Ragle

Julian Martinez

Jimi Giles


Daniel Huppenthal Bryanna Kinlicheene Andrew Mangiona Hana Mohsin REPORTING



Jordan Alexander

Meagan Cunha


To contact The Independent or a Indy staff member, please see “Contact Us” on The Indy Online.



Jandrea Fevold Rachel Giersch Meagan Prins Megan Ripe Carter Solomon Meesh Villaire


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© The Independent 2012

FROM THE E d i t o r ’s D e s k Dear faithful Indy readers,

CONTENTS Durango Bears Provide Research for State


Story by Jimi Giles

Voter Necessities Before Election Day


Story by Jandrea Fevold

Gas Station Wall Becomes Changeable Canvas for Artists


Story by Jandrea Fevold

Fort Lewis Hits Largest Census Number to Date


Story by Megan Ripe

New FLC Field Benefits City and Campus in Professor’s Honor


Not to use this letter as a moment of self reflection, but I have been with the Indy for three years. Issue 37 is the 37th production I’ve seen develop from a brainstorm to the product we proudly distribute to you. I have seen numerous banners, logos and layouts and I am proud of every one. In addition to being a three-year Indy addict, in my fifth year at the Fort, I’m a fairly seasoned Fort Lewis student. A perk to being a super senior is I have met and worked with so many students. So with a good amount of credibility from my experience with this organization and my time up on this campus, I feel that I can confidently say that the students I work with in this organization are some of the most talented, driven and enthusiastic people I have met. They are visionaries. They confront challenges with innovative solutions. They go above and beyond excellence. They exceed expectations. Working for this organization is, at the very least, a part time job, and we do it because we love it. We are dedicated to delivering a quality product to our readers. We are passionate about this work. In the last year of my undergraduate academic experience, I can credibly and confidently say, most of what has made my experience at the Fort life changing is the Indy. I would not be the student that I am, facing the unpredictable post-baccalaureate world with my head held high and faith that I am prepared to tackle the media industry, if I had not dedicated myself to this organization. So, thank you for reading, Indy readers. We aspire to deliver you a quality product and by reading our publications, you give us the chance to learn, add to our college experience and make us into better professionals.

Story by Megan Ripe

Student Resources: Career Services and the Writing Center

It’s great to be back in another semester here at the Fort. Although summer break is always welcomed with open arms, it feels equally comforting to jump back into the intellectual grind each semester.


Keep picking up The Independent News Magazine, and visit us on the new and improved Indy Online, Thank you for reading!

Story by Meesh Villaire Kaitlin Martinez Editor in Chief

Got something to say? We want to hear from you! We encourage reader participation through our perspectives section. Submit letters, cartoons, or anything else you’d like to see in print to Editor in Chief Kaitlin Martinez at or News Editor Jimi Giles at Note: The Independent reserves the right to edit submissions as necessary or deny publication. News tip? Contact Jimi Giles at For any other inquiries, contact Kaitlin Martinez at

If you would like to receive the Indy straight to your campus P.O. box, contact Jordan at:

A bear lays in the grass temporarily immobilized in order to process information regarding the numerous bear-sightings in town.

Durango Bears Provide Research For State Story by Jimi Giles



lack bear-human conflicts have been evident this summer and fall in Durango’s town area, but the addition of repetitive bear sightings on Fort Lewis College caused an official FLC announcement to be sent via email on Sept. 19. The email informed recipients that the FLC Police Department have received reports of bear sightings on the Front Hill and the Chapel and informed recipients of proper behaviors if bear encounters occur. Colorado Parks and Wildlife implemented a black bear research study in Durango because of the town’s consistently high rates of bear-human conflicts, principal investigator of the project Heather Johnson said. Bear-human conflicts appear to be increasing in Colorado, particularly around urban environments, and the CPW wants to better understand how to manage and reduce these conflicts and learn about factors that exacerbate them, she said. “We know very little about bears in terms of their population size, their trajectories in terms of whether their populations are increasing or decreasing in size,” Johnson said. The study, referred to as the Durango Bear Research Project, is projected to last five to six years and is gearing for its second winter session, Johnson said. The study has four goals, the first of which involves testing different management strategies to reduce bear-human conflicts, she said. A bear-human conflict is one where a bear damages property or poses a threat to public safety, she said. “The second one is we want to better understand what the influence of urban environments is on bear populations, both in terms of their behavior and population dy-

namics, because a state like Colorado has human development throughout,” Johnson said. The third goal is to better understand human attitudes and perceptions of bears, bear-human interactions, and bear management, and the fourth goal is to develop better population and habitat models to support bear management, she said. A major component of their second goal involves trapping and collaring adult female black bears, which is done during the project’s summer sessions, Johnson said. Females are collared because they provide more information about population dynamics as they are the reproductive segment of the population. An adult bear is considered able to reproduce, typically between ages four and five, she said. Once a bear is trapped, blood and hair samples are collected. If the bear is an adult female, a tooth is pulled for age verification and the sow is fitted with a collar, Johnson said. Blood and hair samples allow for DNA extraction and the premolar tooth sample, roughly a half-inch long with root, allows age analysis, she said. The tooth extraction doesn’t detrimentally affect the bear, and age analysis is done in a separate laboratory where views of its cross-sections allow technicians to determine the bear’s age, Johnson said. Collars placed on an adult female transmit a signal of the bear’s location every six hours. The collars’ batteries last two years, and the collars are estimated to work for four years. Each collar costs up to $4,000, Johnson said. By tracking a bear’s location, researchers are able to see how

bears use the urban environments, and how that use influences their survival and reproduction, she said. So far, Johnson and her team have collared a total of 51 bears but have had several mortalities this summer due to harvest and vehicle collisions, she said. Their goal is to have a sample of 40 bears collared per year. Currently, there are 37, she said. Bears evolved to hibernate as a means to deal with a lack of food availability in the winter, Johnson said. Hibernation usually begins in the month of November and lasts until around the first of April, she said. Right now, in preparation for hibernation, bears are in a state of hyperphagia, or overeating. In this state, bears can eat up to 20 hours a day, FLC professor of wildlife management Erin Lehmer said. Energy wise, bears can eat up to 20,000 calories a day leading to hibernation, Johnson said. “Within a month they can increase their body mass by 30 or 40 percent,” Lehmer said. Bears have a large home range: for females, it is 10 to 15 square miles, and for males, it is double, Johnson said. Because bears can smell food up to 5 to 10 miles away and digest foods that humans consume, bears can perceive town as a food source, she said. The normal fall food staples for bears include acorns, serviceberries and chokecherries, Johnson said. Johnson and her research team have been surveying the study area looking at the acorn and berry production after this dry season. “In most places, it’s just flat-out failure,” she said. The low amount of natural foods for bears this year is a strong factor in why there have been a higher number of conflicts between bears and people and why people have been seeing and experiencing them this summer and fall more than usual, she said. “This year, in particular, we’ve had more conflicts and more bear mortalities around Durango than is typical,” Johnson said.

Bear mortalities are generally attributed to harvest, vehicle collisions, or conflict removals. If bears spend more time in town, vehicle collisions and conflict mortalities have the potential to increase, she said. “Most of the bear encounters are just a nuisance,” Lehmer said. Many Durangoans have experienced their trash being scattered by wildlife, and some may not realize that it violates a city ordinance. “The way our ordinance is written, any wildlife scattering trash is considered a violation,” Durango Police Code Enforcement Officer Steve Barkley said. Most of t he bl a me is d irected towa rd s bea rs, wh ic h a re pr ima r y c u lpr its, but bl a me is a lso g iven to raccoons a nd dogs, Ba rk ley sa id. If the ordinance is violated for the first time, trash owners are given a courtesy warning about obtaining a wildlife-proof container, he said. After a warning has been given and whether or not the violator has changed containers, a $50 fine is given. If trash continues to be tampered with, the fine raises to $100 and then again to $200. After a $200 fine, violators are scheduled for a hearing with the Municipal Court, where a maximum penalty for a city ordinance violation is a $1,000 fine or up to 90 days in jail, Barkley said. About 90 percent of the citations given have been warnings, he said. “Five fines have issued so far this year, and I suspect that to increase pretty rapidly because most people are converting to wildlife cans but they are forgetting to lock them,” he said. Hot spots for trash tampering via wildlife in town is from East Fifth Avenue towards Skyridge, from Third Street to 15th Street, and from North 30th Street to 37th Street, Barkley said. By bringing in bird feeders or putting out trash cans the day of pick-up, citizens can avoid inducing unwarranted bear behaviors, Lehmer said. In a state like Colorado, there are not many places that bears can live without interacting with human development, Johnson said. In a city like Durango, bears will always be present as the area is high quality bear habitat with an abundance of oak brush and berry-producing plants, she said.

The way our ordinance is written, any wildlife scattering trash is considered a violation.

Photos Courtesy of Heather Johnson A collared bear had just woken up from a snooze after processing her information.


Voter Necessities Before Election Day F

or many incoming freshmen, the upcoming election will be their first chance to exercise their voting rights, and more voting information may be necessary for older students. Oct. 9 is the last day to register to vote, said Hank Searfus, a student intern at the La Plata Democratic Headquarters. If a student has had a change in address, is a new voter, or is an out-of-state student who would like to vote in Colorado, all need to register, said Caroline Jacobs, a New Era Colorado ballet table representative. “You are encouraged to register in Colorado, and you can do so after living in Colorado for 30 days,” Searfus said, concerning out-of-state students’ voter registration. If students don’t want to register in Colorado they will have to request an absentee ballot from their home state, allowing them to send in their vote by mail, he said. “It’s also very important to know that, if you are receiving any scholarships through or from your home state, you cannot register in another state, for risk of losing scholarships,” Searfus said. If Alaska residents are participating in the Permanent Fund, they cannot register in another state because they will become ineligible to utilize those funds, he said. Students are able to register to vote or change their address on campus in the Student Union Building, Jacobs said. There is a table inside of the Student Union Building where students can go to ask questions about voter registration, she said. This table is open on Mon, Wed, and Thu, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Students are advised to bring their Colorado issued ID or social security number, she said. Students may also register off campus at the La Plata County Democratic or Republican headquarters. Students can register online at, Jacobs said. Students will receive a registration confirmation in the mail from the County Clerk, she said.


Story by Jandrea Fevold The location of where a student will vote is dependent on where they live, Searfus said. The city is divided into precincts that determine where a student will vote, he said. Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 6, he said. Students must bring valid identification to their polling place, he said. Students can find out their polling place by going to, he said. Those living on campus or on the mesa will vote at the Concert Hall, and students living downtown will vote at Sacred Heart Church, located at 255 E 5th Ave., he said. Students who want to avoid polling locations can vote with a mail-in ballot. Colorado is actually one of the few states that allow permanent mail-in ballots, allowing anyone to utilize them. Ballots should arrive by Oct. 15. Photo identification should be included with a vote. A Fort Lewis College ID, Colorado ID, or a passport will all be accepted, but identification cannot be out of state, Searfus said. If a student is unable to vote on Election Day, early voting begins on Oct. 22 and continues through Nov. 2 and will be held at the County Clerk’s Office, located in Bodo Park, at 98 Evertt St., said Donna Arriza, an Elections Administrator.

Photos by Bryanna Kinlicheene

Photos by Bryanna Kinlicheene

Story by Jandrea Fevold ust before school got out last semester, the wall so many students walk and drive by at the Everyday Gas Station on Eighth Avenue became a canvas. Artists spent days making over the matte white wall by adding colors, characters, and vibrancy to the building, and it has been that way ever since. “Customers like it,” said Kathy Chastain, the manager of the Everyday. Since starting the street art, the Everyday has raised $550, which is kept in a plastic jug near the register, Chastain said. The street art at the Everyday is now a permanent piece of art that will change every four months, a decision made through the Durango Arts Center and the Everyday staff. However, the last piece of art did not last four months because the wall space paper it was created on peeled off before scheduled due to rainfall, she said. That piece was a portrait of a Native American riding a horse and was done by a doctor from Arizona, she said. The guidelines for the art at the Everyday differ from other street art in downtown Durango. “When posting any form of street art in town, everything has to go through the City’s Design and Review Board, which is made up of members of design professionals,” said Nicole Killian, a city planner for Durango. The art downtown has to be a reflection of the historical character that Durango is known for, but there is some leeway for street art outside of town, Killian said. As long as property owners are okay with what’s going up, and it’s not inappropriate or portraying advertising, then it’s acceptable and can be approved through staff, she said. “We don’t want to censor art,” Killian said. Artists and the community are encouraged to get involved. Using their ideas and skills they can be a part of Durango street art by going through the DAC and getting in touch with the previous artists, Bryan Simmonds and Aaron Schmitt, she said. The Everyday will no longer be seen with white walls, It will always be covered in art, Chastain said.


Fort Lewis

Hits Largest Census Number to Date


new school year and new census numbers yield a bump in the number of student enrollment, with Fort Lewis College enrollment showing nearly a one percent increase in student population. Last year’s on-campus student enrollment totaled to 3,748 students. This year, FLC attendance is up by 88 students, bringing the total to 3,836. “The bump that we are seeing in the numbers were a direct result of the bump we saw in the freshman class,” Julie Love, Director of student housing and conference services, said. “We have the same number of returning students this year, so it’s mostly transfer students and first- year students where we see the increase.” The freshman class alone is up by 105 students from last year bringing the total to 1,436 first-year students, Love said.


Story by Megan Ripe

For bigger campuses the difference is fairly minimal, but for FLC, the increase brings attention to some needed adjustments. Capacity on some classes had to raise but all composition English classes stayed at the 25 student limit said Ana Hale, writing program instructor. “We did have to open at least one other section of a TRS class,” Hale said. The increase in the number of students isn’t a normal trend for the college and enrollment numbers were staggering in the past due to the higher admission standards enacted in 2008 as well as the budget cuts in 2010 that took away three student programs, said Mitch Davis, the public affairs officer for FLC. “We are bucking the trend of downward enrollment,” Davis said. There are several factors that have contributed to the upward





2011 2012 2011 2012 Freshmen

trend in enrollment. Marketing and the growth in multimedia have been tools the college has used to attract people to the school, Davis said. In 2002, state legislation introduced a bill attempting to reduce the Native American Tuition Waiver, which also brought attention to FLC. That bill gave the tuition waiver a lot of publicity, and though it did not pass, more Native American students are utilizing the waiver, he said. The number of off-campus students has decreased by 53 but still leaves the student total for this fall semester at 3,981 students, 35 more than last year, Davis said. If the upward trend continues, the college might run into some issues due to limited space. “We like to see enrollment increase, but if it continues to increase, I think there will come a point to say, how much is too much?” Davis said. FLC prides itself on small class sizes and personal student attention, and the college doesn’t want to lose that characteristic. It’s deciphering if the college really wants to be that big, Davis said. With the surge of students from the freshman class, only half of a residence hall is left open. If student numbers continue to increase the college would have to look into alternative ways to accommodate the growing number, Davis said. The sudden rise in the freshman class wasn’t a troubling shift for the housing department. They saw the rise in numbers and were easily prepared to make some alterations, Love said. Housing was already prepared to reopen Escalante Hall, and Camp Hall was supposed to be worked on for maintenance and used for meetings, Love said. However, with the freshman student increase, Camp Hall was re-opened for housing. “The expansion into Camp Hall wasn’t too much of a difficult shift, and it also benefited those looking for employment,” Love said. “We got to employ a couple more students as RA’s and rework

Photo by Daniel Huppenthal

Total Students

our staffing patterns.” The difficult part wasn’t the number of freshmen moving in but getting all the dorms ready just three days after housing all the cyclists, as well as their crew, who were involved in the USA Pro Challenge, she said. “That took more effort than accommodating for a few 100 students more,” Love said.

FLC prides itself on small class sizes and personal student attention, and the college doesn’t want to lose that characteristic. It’s deciphering if the college really wants to be that big.


New FLC Fields Benefit City and Campus in Professor’s Honor Story by Megan Ripe

County and College officials celebrate the new fields at the ribon cutting event on Sept. 14. Photo by Daniel Huppenthal


new sports complex has been constructed on the Fort Lewis College campus to benefit both the City of Durango and FLC. The complex is fully equipped with four new fields, a concession stand, a playground, and a parking lot. The Smith Sports Complex was dedicated on Sept.14 in honor of Duane Smith, a history professor at FLC who has been teaching since 1964. FLC and the City of Durango have an agreement set in place to share the fields. “We are leasing them to the city and have a kind of multitiered contract with them,” Steve Schwartz, FLC’s Vice President of Finance and Administration, said. “The city has put all the money into the fields in exchange for a 25 year lease.” The city had been looking for an area for recreation fields but had trouble finding the right spot. They looked into the Three Springs area by Mercy Regional Medical Center but it became too expensive and was too far from town, Schwartz said. The fields cost approximately $4.4 million and the lighting will cost approximately $456,000. FLC has an agreement to pay for the lights, he said. “Once all the accounting is done, if there is money left over, we’re going to pay for the lights,” Schwartz said. “We’re the last dollar in the project.” The fields will be used mainly as practice fields and for club sports. This will include men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and


women’s rugby, men’s lacrosse and also ultimate frisbee, Jeff Dupont, director of recreational services, said. The city will be in charge of the scheduling of the fields, and the school can establish set times to use the premises through them. “Our times are mutually exclusive in a way,” Schwartz said. The city will be mostly using the fields on weekends during the day, where FLC would be using the complex mostly in the evening and sometimes on the weekend, he said. The complex opens up opportunities to expand city sports programs as well as the college sports. Having a field with lights will allow athletes to play on into the night. “Without lights, it would have been really difficult for us to utilize this to its potential,” Dupont said. “But now it just opens up so many doors with hosting games and having our club sports have home matches on campus where we can promote that, get fans, and get students out there. I’m excited.” The new field complex also opens up an opportunity to relieve pressure from the existing fields, Schwartz said. “Right now our fields, both varsity and practice, are grossly overused,” FLC Athletic Director, Gary Hunter said. “We’ve got athletic department use, club use, intramural use, and some of our teams practice at 5:30 in the morning just to get use of the fields and sometimes 7:30 at night.” The fields should be ready to use as early as this coming spring, but if the new sod isn’t ready, the complex will open up next school year, Schwartz said. “It’s more for the many,” Hunter said. “We just broadened the use of it, and we have more students with more needs.”

Student Resources: Career Services and the Writing Center Story by Meesh Villaire Fort Lewis College provides students with accessibility to a wide range of resources on campus and online. Career Services is available for all students to help find, refine, and achieve their goals. Patricia Dommer, Coordinator for the School of Business Administration branch of the recently decentralized Career Services, encourages students to utilize this service as soon as they start their college education until their graduation. According to Tana Verzuh, Coordinator for the School of Natural & Behavioral Sciences, students with undeclared majors can be given an assessment to help determine their areas of interest. These students can be guided through the assessment process by Verzuh, Dommer, or Jill Kolodzne, Coordinator for the School of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. The test costs $12.95, and after the off-site evaluation, a coordinator spends about an hour going over the results with the student and collaborating on a course of action, Verzuh said. “Students should come see us as soon as possible, as often as they want,” Dommer said. Students can receive assistance in writing resumes and cover letters, finding internships, and making plans for graduate school at Career Services. They also have resources available to students such as preparatory materials for the GRE, and books about graduate schools and possible careers. Additionally, there are events planned throughout the year such as guest speakers, career week, the graduate school workshop series, job and teacher fairs, and the annual Etiquette Dinner to be held Tuesday, Oct. 2nd. Students looking for more information about Career Services may visit its website through The webpage also provides a link to a new resource called Skyhawks Job Source which is a tool for students looking for a full or part-time job, an internship, and volunteer opportunities. Students can search job postings by type, industry, location, and work-study applicability to find the appropriate match. Using the Skyhawks Job Source, students can build a resume and a portfolio which can be directly submitted to employers with available postings. The interactive events list and calendar built into this tool has many useful features including an “RSVP” button for each event to send students an email reminder

Photo by Andrew Mangiona

about the function. The Career Services coordinators generally have an open -door policy but recommend scheduling an appointment via email. Emails for respective coordinators for each school are found at ContactUs.aspx. FLC incorporates the Writing Center as a resource to help students with their writing abilities. It’s located in Jones Hall 105 C and directed by, Stephanie Vie, an assistant professor in the writing program. Student peer tutors, who have gone through composition and English classes, are typically strong writers and work well with others, Vie said. Student tutors at the Writing Center are trained in a nationally certified program by the College Learning and Reading Association, which requires face-to-face tutoring experience, disability and diversity training, and upperdivision education classes. With this expertise, tutors can assist students at any stage and for any class as well as writing that’s not for class, such as resumes, scholarship applications, and creative writing, Vie said. The Writing Center strives to meet student needs and Vie encourages students to visit for any sort of writing-related feedback, or just a receptive audience, she said. Students can bring an assignment, resource materials, or just an idea to brainstorm with a tutor. The Writing Center is not an editing service, Vie said. Its goals are face-to-face communication about students’ assignments, struggles, and strengths. Vie urges even those who feel they are strong writers to visit the Writing Center. “Even if you’re a good writer, what sounds good to you in your head maybe doesn’t make sense to others,” she said. “Remember that you’re writing to an audience.” The Writing Center provides an online appointment scheduler to set aside times with tutors. The tutor will help the students fix their errors in writing as well as provide positive feedback, she said.


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Issue 37