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Montage The

St. Louis Community College–Meramec

April 1, 2010 Vol. 45 Issue 13

‘We demand a reason’

Meramec students, faculty and staff defend former vice president of student affairs Stephen Petersen at board of trustees meeting


Facility study

Missouri Department of Higher Education reports on STLCC infrastructure


Health care bill unconstitutional Have state rights being violated by ‘Obamacare?’


(LEFT) Vincent Hayden, Meramec student, speaks at the March 25 board of trustees meeting, expressing his discontent with the decision to get rid of Petersen. (CENTER) President of the Meramec campus, Paul Pai, Ed.D., attended the meeting but did not speak before the board of trustees. (RIGHT) Eric Meyer, English professor at Meramec, also spoke at the meeting, criticizing certain administrators who “create a climate of fear.”

Carlos Restrepo - Editor in Chief -

Following Stephen Petersen’s removal, a large part of the student and faculty population at STLCC-Meramec were outraged and puzzled by this decision. However, it was at the March 25 board of trustees meeting that faculty, staff and students finally came together to express their opinions freely and out of anonymity. Out of the 13 people that spoke before board members, 10 addressed the Petersen issue. It was a mix of students, faculty and staff. They were all given a two-minute limit imposed by the board when there are “large crowds desiring to address the board.” Michael Roman, Student Governance Council president, had a speech prepared, representing his and the SGC’s plurality opinion regarding Petersen’s removal. “We believe that Dr. Petersen is the heart of the student affairs side of our campus. He has proven time and time again that his interests lie with the students,” Roman said. “In a regular meeting of the SGC, we decided unanimously to support him.” Roman also said that the removal of Petersen meant a loss of both “leadership and friendship” to the students. “When you take the heart away from the college, you take away its soul,” Roman said. However, shortly before Roman was able to finish his speech, Joann Ordinachev, board of trustees chair, announced Roman’s time was over. When it was his time to speak, Eric Meyer, English professor at Meramec, condemned Ordinachev and the board for doing this. “I am a little disappointed that you

cut a student short,” Meyer said. “The student [Roman] was representing all of thousands of Meramec students.” After this statement, Meyer went on with his words of support for Petersen. “We were very fortunate to have someone of his caliber walk through our doors...” Meyer said. “…He deeply cared about the college and especially our students. He cared about St. Louis Community College, and when I saw him represent us nationally and all over St. Louis, he made us look very, very good.” Meyer continued even after his time limit was over - and over Ordinachev’s hit of the gavel. In his words Meyer did not mention any particular administrator but was clear to indicate that some administrators use the institution as a “stepping stone.” “We cannot sit here and let a temporary administrator run the college into the ground, doing damage that will take years and years to repair. We all have to live with the long-term consequences of terrible decisions,” Meyer said. “The deciders will be long gone. Remember this: we hire administrators collectively; we give them the power to lead us, not to boss us around and create a climate of fear. I am not scared anymore. They have a power through our collective consent and we have to make it very clearly be known that when that power has been abused, we suffer, our students suffer, and our future students suffer. We then, the faculty and staff, have not just a right, but a responsibility - a duty to speak up and to take action to ensure that the administration is doing what is right, not for the short term, but what it’s right for the long term of the college.” The audience attending the meeting applauded, while Ordinachev stressed the rules of the meeting. “Again I ask that you please respect


April 6 elections

Pai faces tension at Meramec Collin Reischman - Managing Editor -

Over spring break, several posters appeared on STLCC-Meramec campus, reading, “Dr. Paul Pai should be impeached and Dr. Stephen Petersen should be reinstated as President!!!!” Signed “Rebel,” the posters, which call for campus president Paul Pai, Ed. D., to be “impeached,” reflect new tensions on campus, something Pai has seen before as an administrator.

Pai’s crisis in California

Continued on page 3 this board – and this board respects you – and all of you that have come up here, until now, have been very diligent in using two minutes. A lot can be said in two minutes, and we are listening… Please adhere to the two-minute rule,” Ordinachev said. student Vincent Hayden, vice president of communication for Phi Theta Kappa, who demanded transparency in the decision making process of the administration. “It maybe in board policy that a probationary employee does not have to be given a reason, but it is unethical in this situation. We demand a reason,” Hayden said, as he turned around to face Meramec president Paul Pai and saying determinedly, “Dr. Petersen was a good fit for our campus.” Hayden went on to say that “In his [Petersen’s] vision, he always put the students first and it is sad that his vision will not be fulfilled.”

Board of Trustees Meeting Continued on page 3

A voting guide on the issues that matter to Meramec students

Montage Reader Poll

How much will Dr. Petersen’s absence affect the Meramec campus?



A. Everyone on campus will be affected by his absence. B. His absence will not make much of a difference. C.I do not know enough about the issue.

April 22 Poll Question

Where do you choose to eat in between classes? To vote, visit:


April 1, 2010

Meramec shoots down MoPIRG in reaffirmation election

Students vote to remove $7 fee from registration forms after 25 years Andrea Royals -News Editor-

The election results for the Missouri Public Interest Research Group (MoPIRG) Reaffirmation were ratified by the Student Governance Council (SGC) on March 23. Students voted for the $7 removable fee paid to MoPIRG at the time of class registration each semester to be taken off registration forms. The fee funds the presence of MoPIRG on the STLCCMeramec campus. MoPIRG has existed at Meramec for 25 years. A total of 548 students voted in the reaffirmation election, resulting in a 328 percent increase in voter turnout since the last reaffirmation in 2008. The number of students who voted for option one, to maintain the current waived $7 fee on student registration forms, was 105. The number of students who voted for a voluntary fee was 181, and a total of 262 students voted to remove the fee. Mike Roman, president of SGC, said he was pleased with the voter turnout. “I was hoping for a 10 percent voter turnout increase since 2008,” he said, “But I’ll take 328 percent.”

Archived Illustration

This illustration was published in a 1986 issue of The Montage while MoPIRG was seeking to create a chapter at the Meramec campus. After 25 years, students voted to defeat the non-profit organization in the reaffirmation election by removing the optional $7 fee from registration forms. The three-option ballot had been a concern for the members of SGC, as it did not adhere to the ballot language provided by the board of trustees that called for only two options for campus organization elections. The decision to include the voluntary $7 option was upheld by members of SGC at the March 2 meeting. “[SGC] was right for leaving

option two on [the ballot],” said Roman. “With 181 people voting for [option two], it goes to show it is a valid option.” The validity of option two had been extensively debated by members of MoPIRG and NOpirg, as it is unclear if the second option voters preferred to remove or maintain the fee. Student Kyle Swift said he voted for option two because it was a compromise between

one and three. If the election had provided only a twooption ballot, Swift said he would have voted to remove the fee. “Option two keeps MoPIRG on campus and it is easier for people to take [the fee] off,” Swift said. “I would have voted for option three because option one is hard to deal with [while registering online]. If MoPIRG is going to force us to pay, then I’d vote not to.” Roman said the success of option three was a result of extensive campaigning efforts headed by NOpirg, a campus organization dedicated to removing the fee from registration forms. “A lot of hard work went into this campaign,” Roman said. “NOpirg had a lot of people canvassing and I think that had a big effect.”

Steven Vollenweider, president of NOpirg, and Sarah Clader, MoPIRG campus organizer, canvassed the Meramec campus for 14 hours the days of the election. “Electioneering was difficult at times, but it was worth it to inform the student body of the way their money is being used,” said Vollenweider. MoPIRG collected $70,000 from Meramec students this past year. Vollenweider said that the results are a victory for the campus. “This is a large step toward the future of our college and hopefully we can continue with the services our campus truly needs,” Vollenweider said. Roman said SGC is currently addressing issues of public interest on STLCC campuses through the District Student Interest Committee (DSIC). The committee is exploring options that would maintain child care services at the Meramec and Forest Park campuses and provide preventative health services for students across the district by implementing a mandatory fee on registration forms. MoPIRG may maintain its presence on campus and continue with campaign efforts for Pell Grants, public transit, global warming, and hunger and homelessness on the condition that the organization’s funding is not provided through a student fee. “We’re not saying, ‘MoPIRG, get off our campus,’” said SGC vice president Safia Madani at the last council meeting. “If MoPIRG wants to be here, they have to provide their own funding.”

Official Correction

In the March 11 issue it was reported that the Meramec wrestling team finished in fifth place at the national 2010 championship. The wrestling team actually placed second.

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April 1, 2010

What’s happening at STLCC NEWS BRIEFS New campus president at STLCC-Forest Park On March 25 the board of trustees approved the appointment of Cynthia Hess, Ph.D., as the new president at the STLCC-Forest Park campus. Hess is to assume the position June 1, 2010. Hess has most recently served as the executive vice president and chief academic officer at Craven Community College in North Carolina. She is a graduate of Oklahoma State University where she earned a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and a bachelor’s degree in English. “I look forward to strengthening the college’s relationships with all community partners to ensure that we are meeting their specific needs, while continuing to focus on Forest Park’s capacity to provide a rigorous and supportive learning environment for students,” Hess said.

Writing Festival The 2010 Meramec Writing Festival takes place April 6-7. The theme, “Taking Care: Medicine for the Mind,” focuses on health in literature. The festival is sponsored by the English department and features writers of several genres, including fiction, poetry, drama, technical writing and children’s books. The event kicks off at 8 a.m. with a Literary Walk on Tuesday, April 6 featuring multi-media presentations by students in the library breezeway. For more information, call 314-984-7543.

Textbooks too expensive? Applications for the Student-to-Student Book Scholarship are available in the Campus Life office, student center room 221. Each student interested in receiving the scholarship is required to submit a 300 word essay with the application addressing why he or she should be considered for the scholarship, as well as a description of both onand off-campus extracurricular activities. Applications are available April 5.

Pai’s crisis in California Continued from page 1 Pai has been dealing with his fair share of controversy at Meramec over the last few months. With the economy struggling, and an expected 5.2 percent reduction in the STLCC budget, it’s time to “weather the storm,” said Pai. “People feel concerned because of the budget cuts. We’ll need to sustain the viability of our college,” Pai said. Pai, who was campus president at Imperial Valley College in California before working at Meramec, is more than familiar with a budget crisis. In the spring of 2006, while serving as president at IVC, poorly calculated enrollment numbers left faculty, staff and administration in a panic. The Imperial Valley Press reported that a projected budget deficit at the time for IVC would have been more than 7 million dollars. “Those… what you’re reading, those were during the scare times. We did not lay off a single person due to that situation,” Pai said. However, before IVC was able to solve its financial crisis, faculty and staff at IVC were demanding the removal or resignation of Pai. One editorial, published in February 2006, was written by English professor David Zielinski of IVC, and called for Pai’s termination. “Ask anyone who works at IVC: this fiscal nightmare was caused by the superintendent/president Paul Pai, aided by his supporters on the board of trustees. The general feeling is that Dr. Pai should resign or be fired by the board, and then compliant board members could, in turn, voluntarily resign,” wrote Zielinski in the Imperial Valley Press.

Finding Pai More than 20 candidates submitted applications for the Meramec campus president position in 2007, according to a member of the hiring committee who did not wish to be identified. As the search was eventually nar-

Board of trustees meeting

Continued from page 1 The board then adjourned the meeting. STLCC Chancellor Zelema Harris, Ph.D., said that it was good for the students to come to the board meetings and voice their opinions. “I think it is very important for the process to work to hear from students their comments seriously,” Harris said. “Their involvement means they are going to be better students and ultimately be better citizens.” Harris also said that the comments faculty, staff and students make at board meetings will matter. “They do make a difference, believe me. Not every statement - but I think that the fact that those who have come down here have taken their time to voice their concerns means that they love what they are doing and they love their campus,” Harris said. Chancellor Harris also confirmed that the handling of probationary administrative contracts is between her and the president, and that the board does not get involved thought it can “certainly influence it.” “They can talk to me about something they are not comfortable with,” Harris said.

rowed down to three possible applicants, STLCC sent representatives from Meramec to conduct background research on the final candidates. Daniel Herbst, former interim vice president of student affairs, was sent from Meramec to Imperial Valley College to research Dr. Paul Pai’s administrative career. Herbst, who had already been notified that his contract with STLCC was not going to be renewed, and that he’d have to reapply for the new position of vice president of student affairs, returned with a “glowing review,” according to a hiring committee member. Herbst confirmed that he traveled to Imperial Valley College. He refused to comment further.


Faculty response at Meramec It’s not just budget issues that are causing tensions to run high at Meramec between faculty and administration. The recent decision made by Pai to not renew the contract of former vice president of student affairs, Stephen Petersen, Ed.D., has brought even more negative attention on the president. “I’ve been here 11 years and I’ve never seen morale this low. I’ve never seen people this upset,” said Stephen Collins, Ph.D., history professor. At a recent board of trustees meeting, students, faculty and staff addressed the board to demand for the reinstatement of Petersen. Regardless of future board action, members of the National Education Association (NEA) on campus conducted a faculty survey from March 11-24, asking respondents to gauge their confidence in Pai. The responses, which were all taken anonymously, are overwhelmingly critical of Pai. Some call for a vote of “no confidence” for the president, while others call for his termination. The responses, which range anywhere from a paragraph to more than two pages, outline multiple grievances with recent administrative decisions, including the closing of the child care center, the soundproofing of Pai’s office last

National Educators Association speaks up

John Messmer, Ph.D, political science professor, is one of seven representatives of the National Educators Association at Meramec. Messmer said the NEA collected the opinions of faculty regarding the dismissal of Petersen. All were submitted anonymously, but represented a similar feeling. “I am very bothered about Dr. Petersen’s situation. It should not be secretive. The morale is very bad at Meramec. People are afraid of losing their jobs; this is almost like a dictatorship. It should be Pai, not Petersen, who should be fired,” stated one of the opinions submitted to the NEA representatives. However, after NEA representatives had collected these opinions, and pronounced officially at the board of trustees meeting, some members of the NEA felt as if though not enough was being done about the issue. “Put it bluntly, we do have some representatives - and these are the faculty representatives - that are more reluctant than others to act quickly and decisively when it comes to this issue,” Messmer said. Messmer said that the problem is that some representatives are not as energetic to move forward as others. Although there is general agreement on some issues, all representatives must agree. “A lot of faculty would tell me that


Two of the posters found on Meramec’s campus the week after spring break. October, and the fear that many faculty members have of “retribution” if they voice their concerns for the president out loud. The soundproofing, which cost the college $7,434 according to Carla Chance, vice chancellor of business and administrative services, was out of necessity, according to Pai. “If you stand close to the door, you can actually recite what’s going on in here. I did it after serious consideration for two years. You’ll probably notice we have spent the least on presidents’ offices. I don’t even have an easily accessible conference room. It’s an economic solution,” Pai said. Whether it’s the budget crisis, a personnel matter, or an increasingly tense relationship with faculty, Pai may have described the Meramec environment best when he met with faculty on Wednesday, March 24. “I can see that there is a storm coming,” said Pai. there is a consensus to move fast when it comes to two things: protesting the firing of Dr. Petersen specifically, and more generally, protest the leadership of Dr. Pai,” Messmer said. “I agree with that. However, this can’t be something that can be done by just the most energetic of us that are representatives. This has to be with the consensus of all of us that are representatives. Sometimes democracy is aggravating.” Messmer said one of the steps that can be done to solve the tension between students, faculty and President Pai is to offer a reason as to why Petersen’s contract was not renewed. “To president Pai’s credit, he still sticks by ‘he’s not a good fit.’ That’s not good enough,” Messmer said. “A good leader works to make it a good fit, especially when that good leader realizes that this is a person that works well with others without exception. “ However, Messmer said Petersen’s issue is not the only cause of the tension. “This is beyond the Petersen issue. Reinstating Dr. Petersen will be a long way in easing the tension that exists. I think we are a forgiving lot,” Messmer said. “I think theoretically that could ease some of the tension, but realize, criticism specifically of Dr. Pai runs longer and deeper than just the Steve Petersen issue – that’s just the final brick in the wall.”


April 1, 2010

SGC President learns leadership skills at nation’s capitol Meagan Roth-Roffy


-Staff Writer-

hile many students were holding on to the last moments of spring break, Michael Roman, president of the Student Governance Council, along with 13 members of other STLCC campuses, attended the American Student Association of Community Colleges’ (ASACC) conference held in Washington D.C. According to the ASACC web site, it is the only national group that specifically focuses on community colleges, representing more than 12 million students. The conference, which was held March 20-23, focused on promoting leadership in student governments and helping those in leadership roles advocate for their student population. Roman said the conference was beneficial to his role on campus. “I gained some new tools in this arena at the ASACC conference,” Roman said. “I gained confidence and wisdom through experienced speakers. I gained knowledge and skills through workshops. I advocated for students in Missouri and around the country by lobbying congressmen and I learned and shared


STLCC chancellor Zelema Harris speaks with Michael Roman, president of the Student Governance Council, at the March 25 board of trustees meeting. Roman addressed to the board his experience at the American Student Association of Community Colleges’ spring conference in Washington D.C., citing lessons he learned from keynote speaker Frank Mensel. ideas with peers from all over the United States.” Keynote speakers included Ralph Nader, attorney, author and four-time candidate for president of the United States, and current ASACC Public Policy Advisor Frank Mensel, former chair of the ASACC

trustees and one of the founders of ASACC. Roman was able to discuss some of the current issues Meramec is facing with Mensel, including discontinuation of Stephen Petersen’s, Ph.D., employment. Mensel offered Roman a

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quote: “When you take away the heart of the school, you take away its soul.” The quote prompted Roman to address the board of trustees at the last board meeting on behalf of SGC, stating that Petersen was the heart of the STLCC-Meramec.

Roman also brought back some new ideas for the campus. The first is to have a nonvoting student member on the board of trustees. Roman said he intends to create this position by meeting with all campus presidents, the chancellor and board members to suggest an amendment to the Constitution. “We already have a positive start because our SGC has shown interest and commitment by having council member Charlie Hartman attend meetings regularly,” Roman said. The second idea was to sign a one-year contract with a reputable company to allow online voting access to students on issues, such as the MoPIRG Reaffirmation Committee’s planned vote. Those who attended the conference also got to meet with the liaisons to their congressmen. “It is good for our congressmen who support us with educational legislation and funding to hear personally from those whom they invest in,” Roman said. “We let them know that their past and present investments were not wasted and their future investments will provide a return of educated, voting taxpayers.”

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April 1, 2010


MDHE reports STLCC campuses are in ‘fair to excellent condition’

Yet projects for further repair and renovation are still under way Shane Rice -Staff Writer-

In 2009 the Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE) made a report based on visits done to all state public colleges and universities. According to the MDHE, “the point of these visits and the report was to collect information on campus conditions and to develop a baseline on which future reviews would be based.” Though the report did not single out one campus from another, it did make condition comments regarding STLCCMeramec, Florissant Valley and Forest Park. The report stated, “The three campuses were in fair to excellent condition.” Each college maintains a six-year plan where $5 million is invested annually among all the campuses for facility maintenance and repair. These funds are then used on projects that STLCC considers a priority. “I believe we are, for the most part, ahead of the game, but each campus has their own issues,” said Willie Wright, building and grounds manager for Meramec. “I think we are doing very good with our maintenance and staying on top of any issues that arise, but as a district we need to work together to stay successful.” Wright said that the plan this year includes repairs to older buildings and the parking lot at Meramec, as well as athletic restoration projects. “We also plan on addressing the deteriorating dugout on the baseball field, renovations on the softball field, and laying new grass on the soccer field,” said Wright. Some of the other projects that STLCC campuses face are elevator and roof repair, especially on at Florissant Valley, Forest Park and Meramec, which are nearing 40 years old. “The elevators and lift units have become a reliability and life safety issue,” states the MDHE report. Meramec has addressed some of the issues with the aging elevators by adding life jackets to arrest the fall in the event of an elevator failure. “Codes for safety enforcement have changed in the last few years and STLCC has not had all the necessary resources to fix all units yet,” said Wright. “It always is a struggle because we are set on a six-year plan, and as issues arise it forces some priorities to change.” Wright said roofs that leak and aged elevators are the main focus of the repair projects. “We are planning


Chairs like these in Lecture Hall room 101 are outdated and in need of repairs, according to the MDHE. Each college maintains a six-year plan where $5 million is invested annually among all the campuses for facility maintenance and repair. this year on renewing two of the older buildings’ roofs and also making sure all elevators are up to code,” said Wright. Another issue is renovation on 45 science labs among the three older STLCC campuses, which were built in the 1960s. So far only 15 of these labs have been updated and the other 30 have issues that need to be addressed, including outdated equipment and energy inefficiency problems. According to MDHE, these problems limit student learning and are not appropriate for modern scientific instruction. “Several labs on campus have been updated, such as three biology labs and three chemistry labs,” said Wright. “The district does plan on updating more labs but we have to wait for funds to become available.” George Wasson, vice president of academic affairs, said in order to determine the priorities of laboratory updates, the faculty and staff must be consulted to create a priority report. “Based on these reports, we move forward with updating those that have the bigger needs, such as the chemistry and biology labs that were recently updated,” Wasson said. Based on a study done by STLCC in 2009, more than 90 percent of the space in buildings on all campuses was utilized during enrollment peaks, with almost 12,000 students attending during

spring and fall semesters. “Growth is a good thing according to the district, but also poses a problem when dealing with these updates,” said Wright. According to Wasson, there are several options that Meramec is considering to help with the capacity and growth issues. “We are trying some different things, but it is a huge problem for us,” said Wasson. “We are going to start an accelerated hybrid program which will be an 8 week class on Saturday mornings, as well as introducing more evening classes.” Another concern by the MDHE report is energy efficiency on the STLCC campuses. “A few years ago, we went through a T.A. (Technical Assessment) study, which is a technical study to help determine our energy efficiency,” said Wright. “With the information gathered, we changed the lighting and pumps and also set up an energy management system to help us monitor our efficiency.” According to Wright, funds have already been spent toward cosmetics and energy efficiency issues. “We have redone the sidewalks; cooling towers; put in new boilers and already done some repairs to some of the other roofs on campus,” said Wright. “During the last ADA (American Disability Act) visit we went through,


According to a report from the MDHE, the elevators and life units have become a reliability and life safety issue. Life jackets have been installed to arrest the fall in a possible elevator failure. we did meet all requirements, but there is always room for improvement.” Both Wright and Wasson agree that the report given by MDHE is accurate, but focuses on issues that are currently being addressed.

“We need to think about where we want to go in the future,” Wasson said. “We need to keep our campuses modern and be able to have facilities that serve students in a way that you expect and I think students deserve.”


April 1, 2010


Joe Douglas

- Jr. Copy Editor -

A woman calls Life Crisis Services. She talks in a low voice, looking for help from herself. Clicks register over the phone as she continues talking about the little things in life that made her happy. Click. Click. Sheryl Bergin, former Life Crises worker, talks to her and tries to calm her down, making every effort to convince her to remove the gun from her mouth. Many of us are faced with similar situations. Whether you, a family member, or friend have contemplated suicide, we have all been affected by these frightening situations. On March 16, Cornell University student Matthew Zika jumped from the suspension bridge over Fall Creek Gorge to his death. In the previous week, two other students from


the same institution committed suicide, all of these adding to the already alarming six suicides within the last six months. Contrary to popular belief, suicide is actually more common during the spring season, specifically during late spring and early summer, according to, and lowest during the holiday seasons. April and May have the highest number of suicides; December has the lowest. It’s more important now than ever to stay positive. For many people it just comes with the sunlight and warmer weather. For others, doctors speculate, they remain depressed for other reasons than seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and are faced with their own sadness in the presence of popular joy. In combination with other personal and environmental factors, life’s stresses can boil to a dangerous, life-threatening point. We are responsible for supporting our friends, coworkers and family when they are showing signs of depression, a leading cause of suicide. If someone you know is showing signs of contemplat-

ing suicide including making a will; unexpectedly visiting family or friends; and/or purchasing a gun, rope or hose, first and foremost, encourage him or her to get help. Let him know how much he makes a difference in your life. If someone is exhibiting symptoms of depression, and doesn’t want to do activities that he normally enjoys, try to invite him and get him back involved. If you are contemplating suicide, it’s very easy to focus on why you shouldn’t stick around. Instead, keep a positive outlook on how you make a difference. Ask a close friend or family member. If you aren’t comfortable doing that, try to think of ways you make a positive difference. In any case, if you or a friend is having suicidal thoughts, or is showing signs of depression, feel free to contact Life Crisis Services, a free 24/6 support service, or make an appointment with a counselor at your college (314-9847575 for Meramec). You have the right to pursue happiness. Feel it. Recognize it. Be happy.


- Managing Editor -

Politicians, voters and concerned citizens are now capable of predicting the future. Well, not really. Nobody can accurately and routinely predict what is yet to come, though you wouldn’t know it if you follow politics. You hear it every day. You’ve heard if from White House officials, claiming that the new health care bill will actually reduce the deficit over the next 10 years. You’ve heard it from conservatives, who claim that soon our nation will be in shambles. While one group of the politically active seems ready to tout the overwhelming success of health care legislation, another talks of dark times to come. Thankfully for us, our media does not indulge such nonsense. They would never allow politicians and activists

to make outrageous claims about future events that have no merit. While opponents of the bill vow to amend or even repeal the legislation, supporters cry out that they will defend it until their last breath. Why do we feel that we must have a stance on hot-button issues immediately? Why must you be in support of or opposition to health care legislation before it has even begun to work? Right now there are millions of Americans with strong thoughts on this new debate, and they haven’t even read the bill. Literally thousands are protesting in the streets, or writing in favor to their congressmen, and they don’t even know what is going to happen yet. Before the ink has dried on President Obama’s signature, it’s already being called an epic failure, or resounding success. Be wary of these pseudointellectual soothsayers. They don’t posses some magic power. Whether Democrat, Republican or something in between (read: normal) only time will tell how this new bill will affect the scope of American politics.


Penetrating the Kama Sutra

Crystal Ball Politics Collin Reischman


If successful, Democrats will have a new flag ship issue, one that could carry them through more than one election cycle as the “party that brought us health care reform.” The Tea Partiers and loudest Republican naysayers will be labeled as the children who cried “socialism” and all their hard work, and genuine contributions, would be undone. If a failure, we might see the end of modern progressivism as we know it. Republicans will ride a wave of populist rage all the way to the White House. Liberals, progressives and even blue dog democrats will be laughed out of office, labeled as irresponsible, do-gooders, meddling hippies that want to tax you to death, literally. If the health care bill is going to be the worst thing to ever happen to America, it won’t happen overnight. If it saves our nation from high medical costs, and poverty-induced death, it won’t happen right now. You can’t predict the future and you can’t see beyond the now. Right now, health care reform is law. Everything else is speculation.

Jacob Hight

- Graphics Editor -

No doubt every bookstore’s sex shelf has a version of it somewhere, the Kama Sutra, a Hindu text on sex and “love,” is older than Shakespeare’s works, and probably the more popular, though Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 is the more insightful read on the topic of love. Editions of the Kama Sutra may be abridged and marketed for a modern readership, the philosophy and controversial material replaced with clarifying illustrations or pictures. Thank goodness! The Kama Sutra’s grotesque pretense of class and refinement is an exotic mask over a painfully ordinary face. “The Complete Kama Sutra: The First Unabridged Modern Translation of the Classic Indian Text,” by Alain Danielou, is devoted to presenting Vatsyayana’s Kama Sutra in a complete, scholarly and sacred light (the original spirit of the text as perceived by the translator). This translation includes ancient and the translator’s commentary, turning it into a veritable tome. While most of the techniques cataloged in the Kama Sutra can be used in any age, its philosophy is genuinely depressing (red flag for genderarchy). It might do just as well to go to a bar or locker room for advice. Then again, there’s always Sonnet 130 if someone is seeking a deeper, more sacred approach to love and sex. The sacredness of sex is simple, unadorned, like a cup of tea. To clutter it with too much flare, techniques and ego, lovers might get drunk on pleasure and miss something more fulfilling; though, to abandon skill completely, lovers never arrive. Whatever

is distracting should be discarded; that is, whatever is too exciting/skillful, too boring/ unskillful, or too revolting. The Kama Sutra tries to seduce its readers with the same exotic and embellished flare it proposes its readers seduce their target with. The Kama Sutra should be dubbed the “Common” Sutra because its perspective is, at best without higher insight, and at worst tainted with ingorance. Its philosophy includes the idea that women who’ve had a lot of partners or previously married women are like prostitutes and should be treated with the same degree of respect. Its advice for homosexual masseuses is more or less how to molest their male clients, using technique to illicit sexual arousal, and taking advantage of the client’s shock or embarrassment to follow through with the act; outrageously and explicitly claiming sexual arousal proves the client wants it (a passage fostering homophobia and condoning sexual abuse). It advises that young girls (younger than 16) should study the Kama Sutra so when they are of age they will know how to satisfy their husbands. It is also not above citing sex as a means to accomplish financial/political gains. Even esoteric ritual to influence someone is not beyond the advice of the Kama Sutra. A part of the text that is precious and beautiful, is the tact, patience and respect it advises new husbands take with wives in the case of arranged marriages. The empathy of this passage stands out like a star, though it is seemingly out of character. Despite everything, the Kama Sutra has anthropological and historical merit – not to mention technical merit. The kindest thing that can be said of its philosophy is: at its heart, the Kama Sutra encourages us to enjoy our sexuality; to make it beautiful. Next time “knowing the exquisite vagina.” Until then, make love. Read The Montage online for exclusive phoGod.Music.Politics.Chants.Texting.Baseball. tos of the ‘ChalkBoyz,’ The Improv group, Smoking.Writing.Photos.Art.Bands. and Meramec Magic wrestling. Staff blogs are online. Get exclusive content, photos and videos. Only at



April 1, 2010



Health care legislation is unconstitutional Julie Wells

- Sr. Copy Editor Fourteen attorneys general across the United States are standing up to challenge the constitutionality of the recent health care bill. Amid controversy, partisan bickering and consumer confusion, many are left asking “Why?” Why is health care so polarizing? Why wouldn’t conservatives, especially professing Christians, want to provide health services to all in need? Unfortunately, too many hot button issues, including morality, legality, tradition and the Constitution, are being pressed into one argument, so no concise answer seems possible. Though providing for the health care of millions of Americans seems ideologically sound, there are religious principles at stake. Various religious groups do not choose to partake in the health care system at all, believing that dependence on modern medicine lessens one’s faith in God and the remedies of nature. Under the new, federal law, these groups of individuals would be forced to either partake in funding the mandated coverage or pay a penalty. A monetary punishment, in effect, for the personal and spiritual beliefs which have never before been under federal jurisdiction, and that isn’t even counting the more bitterly debated health care issues. Even if abortion and other religiously controversial issues are eventually completely removed from the bill, Constitutional issues are still on the line, and the attorneys general may have more legal ground than the Democrats in power would like to admit. Federal law has usurped the individual rights of states on more than one occasion. However, the essential argument, states’ rights vs. federal power, still lingers. Most famously, states’ rights were soundly defeated through the arduous battles of the Civil War where more was at stake than the ending of slavery. Almost every rational adult would say that the end of slavery was one of the best decisions ever made by a legal system. However, the fact that the rights of the states to be left to decisions not specifically designated to Congress were wholly denied has certainly had a ripple effect on the precarious balance of powers in

Dear Editor,


Proud member of

our governmental system This is where the state attorneys general of Florida, Colorado, Alabama, Indiana, Nebraska, Texas, Pennsylvania, Washington, Utah, South Dakota, Idaho, Michigan, South Carolina and Virginia are registering their complaint. For the federal government to forcibly mandate purchasing of anything for every citizen is unheard of. No, car insurance does not count. If you choose to drive (a privilege, not a right) then you choose to partake in the system. If you are a working citizen, you are forced to pay into social security. However, health care reform takes it a step further: being a citizen obligates a person to partake. Moreover, the powers of the states are being stripped away. Individual states cannot opt out of the health care overhaul, and so the federal government encroaches deeper into the lives of individual citizens and elevates itself above the balancing power of the states. As citizens who are witnessing historical decisions being made, there is confusion and difficulty in deciding what is “right.” What is morally, legally,

constitutionally and ethically best? Only history will reveal that. Could providing health care be as paramount to human rights as the end of slavery? Doubtful. Could this legal conflict bring about a fundamental split in the unified country of America? Hopefully not. However, it is a debate worth having. Brushing one more issue underneath the proverbial rug will only widen the crack that is forming beneath foundation of American politics. Instead of encouraging the debate that could preserve the founding document of our country, partisan fighting has turned to name calling and rushed legislation on both sides. And it all needs to stop. Rallying, arguing and even suing are perfectly within the bounds of tradition and legality, and are actually a part of the healthy development of a functional society. It is only when one side is overwhelmingly ignored, silenced or forced into submission that dissonance turns to discontent and vigilance to violence.

Letter to the Editor

Your article in “The Montage” under “Politics” and “The American Dream,” dated 2-25-2010 shows your bias which blinds you to the truth of the Tea Partiers. Your ignorance of the Tea Party purpose can be alleviated by calling me, or 99 percent of the Tea Party Members. The true purpose is not violence, revolution or killing innocent people, as you suggest. Neither is it “Hot Air” when honest, peaceful, hardworking, THE


freedom loving citizens disagree with others. That is America, and our freedom and right, per the Constitution. Derogatory name calling is bias at its worst and accomplishes little. You, I’m sure, were taught that in college journalism classes. We will vote this fall. Watch the results. Conservatives do have an important role to play in America, as do liberals. Thank you.

Shannon Philpott Faculty Adviser Carlos Restrepo Editor-in-Chief Collin Reishman Managing Editor Jeanetta Roberts Online/Photo Editor Joe Ray Asst. Online Editor Jacob Hight Graphics Editor Andrea Royals News Editor Stephanie Stough Art & Life Editor Anna Nowotny In-Depth Editor Spencer Gleason Sports Editor Julie Wells Sr. Copy Editor Joe Douglas Jr. Copy Editor

Joe Agnew Staff Writer Shawn Bruce Staff Writer Curtis Daniels Staff Writer Alex Ferrario Staff Writer Emi Gardner Staff Writer Jayson Gifford Staff Writer Emily Hertlein Staff Writer Anna Johnson Staff Writer Aram Karapetyan Staff Writer Paul Lauer Staff Writer Shane Rice Staff Writer Meagan Roth-Roffy Staff Writer Stephen Sealey Jr. Staff Writer Janelle Turner Staff Writer Amy Winstead Staff Writer Lamar Yancy Staff Writer

Nate Corley Staff Photographer Robyn Ehrmann Staff Photographer Dan Handing Staff Photographer David Kloeckener Staff Photographer Jennifer Roberts Staff Photographer Nashara Robinson Staff Photographer Courtney Stark Staff Photographer Laura Spenke Staff Designer

-Darold E. Nelson South County Campus If you’d like to submit a Letter to the Editor, visit

To place an advertisement, contact the advertising manager for rates, sample issues, etc., (314)984-7955. Editorial views expressed or content contained in this publication are not necessarily the views of St. Louis Community College, the Board of Trustees or the administration. The Montage is a student publication produced seven times per semester at St. Louis Community College - Meramec, 11333 Big Bend Blvd., Kirkwood, Mo., 63122. (314) 984-7655.

One copy of The Montage is free of charge. Up to 10 additional copies available, $1 each, at the office of The Montage, SC 220. Bulk purchases may be arranged with circulation manager. Editorial policy: All letters should be no longer than 500 words and must include identification as a student or faculty member, phone number and address for verification purposes. Phone numbers and addresses will not be published. All letters are subject to editing for content and length. All letters submitted will be published in print and online.





Nelson: Handling the heat of the game Robert C. Nelson, of Kirkwood, was elected to the board in April 2004. He has faced tough times and made not-so-popular decisions. He is the only trustee to have been elected to position of chair for three consecutive years. Before becoming a board member, he was coach of both men’s and women’s basketball team at Forest Park. “I spent half of my life with this college, and I firmly believe in it,” Nelson said. “I know what we’ve been through and what we are going to go through. I tell you it’s not going to be any fun.” Nelson said “it’s not going to be fun” because of the 15 to 20 percent budget deficit the college may be facing in 2012, which will inevitably bring cuts in areas that affect the students. “Our situation, it’s going to be worse, but we don’t know how much worse,” Nelson said. Nelson said regarding child care center that he did not want to cut the program, but that it was an unavoidable decision in these tough financial times. “I did not want to vote to cut child care,” Nelson said. “I was convinced that with the cost of child care, it would be better to cut that than to cut the number of classes that are available.” If re-elected, Nelson said he wants more input in the decision-making process from faculty.

Larson: From high school to college Craig H. Larson, Ed.D., retired from his position as Rockwood School District superintendent, which he held for seven years. Now he wants to graduate from his experience in high school and move on to college. “I think I’m qualified. I’ve worked in some big school districts. Rockwood is a huge district, as is Parkway. I think they are comparable in size to the community college level,” Larson said. “I’ve run a lot of board meetings, I’ve seen a lot of school boards, good and bad, and I think it’s given me the knowledge to be effective.” Larson said that if he gets elected, one of the ways he expects to get things accomplished is by working together with other board members and listening to their ideas. “The most important thing is to listen. We don’t have to agree or even like each other, but if we don’t listen to each other, then how are we going to get better? How can we improve without working together?” Larson said. “I’m a collaborator by nature. I’m going to listen. That’s how you accomplish things.” Larson’s received his doctorate in education from Saint Louis University. His master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and his bachelor’s degree in education are from the University of Kansas.

Odo: A woman of law Tina A. Odo, J.D., knows the law and the ins and outs of St. Louis Community College. In 1989, Odo, a member of the Missouri Bar Association, was hired as the college’s legal counsel, or in-house attorney, for the entire district. She stayed in that position until she retired almost 20 years later. Odo said her experience with the college is what makes her the best candidate for board of trustees. “I was very dedicated and I believed in the mission of the college. I truly know education expands minds and changes lives. I would like to continue to be involved in the institution,” Odo said.

Mike Johns

The upcoming district elections are around the corner. On April 6, four candidates will contest for one seat of the board of trustees at St. Louis Community College. The board of trustees is a six-member board that represents the four subdistricts of the college service area. “The board is responsible for determining the policies of the college within the legal framework established by statutes of the state of Missouri,” according to STLCC’s website. “The board makes all final decisions concerning employment, termination of services, expenditure of funds, contracts, establishment of new programs, student fees, tax levies and construction of facilities. Regular board meetings are scheduled each month and are open to the public.” This year, Bob Nelson, of subdistrict 4, will be challenged by Craig Larson, Tina Odo and Mike Johns for his seat.

“I want to see faculty and staff have a greater voice in the overall decision-making process,” Nelson said. “I don’t like decisions to be made without their input.” Nelson has a master’s degree in education from Kansas State University. His bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in physical education is also from KSU.

Tina Odo

- Editor in Chief -

Craig Larson

Bob Nelson Carlos Restrepo

Odo also said that after all those years of giving advice, she wants to “actually make decisions.” Odo also said she disagrees with the recent decision of the board, such as the elimination of the Child Care Centers at Meramec and Forest Park. “I am terribly disappointed with the vote on the closing of the day care centers at Meramec and Forest Park. Those are needed,” Odo said. Another factor Odo said she would like to improve upon is the hiring of full- vs. part-time faculty members. “I think the number of part-time faculty has increased dramatically over the years, and the value of a full-time faculty member cannot be overstated,” Odo said. “It’s important to be able to meet with students, to mentor students, to have the time to be on campus. If you are a part-time faculty and you are going in teaching one class on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, you don’t have the same level of dedication to the institution that I think we need.” Odo’s juris doctorate is from Saint Louis University’s School of Law. Her bachelor’s degree in English is from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Johns: Troubleshooting expert Robert M. Johns dealt with the technical difficulties of Meramec in the past as a system server analyst. As a board of trustees candidate, John said he will deal with the fiscal difficulties of the district. “What I would offer that I have not seen before is an attitude of fiscal conservatism,” Johns said. Johns said that during his time at the college he saw that the college’s practices were not beneficial toward the students, nor represented the tax-payers desires, but instead favored the salaries of those working at the Cosand Center, the STLCC’s administrative building downtown. “My primary concern, as a member of the board of trustees, would be number one, what’s best for the students; number two, what’s best for the tax payers; number three, what’s best for the staff; and somewhere further down the line, what’s best for the administrators. Johns has served as a committee chair for Fair St. Louis as well as vice president of the Microsoft Infrastructure Professional Users Group. He is also a Citizens Emergency Response Team member. Johns’ bachelor’s degree in information technology is from Almeda University.

April 1, 2010





2 PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION Emily Hertlein - Staff Writer -

On April 6, the fate of St. Louis’ public transit is in the hands of students, parents, grandparents, and friends. Proposition A will be the second attempt at saving what is left of St. Louis County’s public transportation, allowing for economical growth, and easily accessible services within the counties. “Metro’s plan proposes expanded bus service and expanded Metro Call-ARide service for the elderly and disabled; new transit services like Bus Rapid Transit and, when economically feasible, expanding MetroLink light rail,” said John Nations, mayor of Chesterfield. Proposition M, the precursor to Proposition A, was rejected in November 2008, resulting in job loss and city revenue. Every thriving city in the United States, New York, New Jersey and Washington D.C. have a public transit system in place due to the tax allotted for transit spending. Most of these thriving cities also have a high percentage of citizens who choose public transit over driving their own vehicles. The Missouri Legislature allotted one-year of reinstatement of the cuts made in 2008. This gave St. Louis $12 million dollars toward public transit which will expire in May. The Proposition A will allow for a half- cent tax increase with revenue adding up to $75 million dollars. This increases the public transportation in Missouri and affects its overall economic status. One-third of St. Louis public transit has already been eliminated, the next step would be to decrease that number by 50 percent, if Proposition A is rejected. “There are people in our city who will lose their job [if Proposition A is not passed] we want students in the county to understand that it will affect our cities economy overall,” said Kristen Huyett, STLCC-Meramec student and member of the Committee for Public Transit. Since 700 students have already been forced to no longer continue their education due to transit cuts, this is a vital issue for STLCC campuses, according to Huyett. “[Proposition A] will affect the student directly, this is an accommodation we have lived with for a very long time, to take it away from us now would be bad,


A St. Louis Metro bus outside of the STLCC-Meramec campus.


there are so many people in St. Louis dependent upon it to keep their jobs,” said Charlie Hartman, student and member of Committee for Public Transit. On April 1, the Committee for Public Transit will be hosting a Transit Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the library quad. There will be chips and soda, along with activities, including an opportunity to decorate a shirt supporting Preposition A. Special guest at the transit fair include Liz Kramer, member of Citizens for Modern Transit, John Burns, member of Citizens for Better Transit and MetroLink representatives. To check voting locations visit,


The new touch screen voting machine.


The April 6 elections apply only to voters residing within St. Louis County, not the city. Besides the issues presented in this article, every district will have other issues, candidates and proposals that are specific to different cities within the county. For a complete list of voting locations, go to St. Louis County’s website, These elections will also display a new way of voting. While voters can still vote the old fashioned way, there will also be touchscreens at different polling locations. The St. Louis County website has a step-bystep guide on how to use the machines.


April 1, 2010

Practical, fun April Fool’s jokes Some people are good at coming up with new pranks to pull, but for those that need a little help figuring out what to do for this day of pranks, here are a few ideas to help out.

Salty Toothbrush

Tailpipe Pop

One good prank is to put salt on his or her toothbrush. Wait around to see the nasty look on their face.

Get a balloon and put it on the tailpipe of a car or other motor vehicle. Make sure the car isn’t already on! When the car is started the balloon give a nice big pop.

Chocolate covered... cotton balls? PHOTO BY: STEPH STOUGH

Shane Rice - Staff Writer -

There’s one day out of the year when a person might get away with teepeeing a neighbor’s car, or filling all the toilets at the school with clear Jell-O, or perhaps even turning a best friend’s kitchen sink into a garden planter, April Fool’s Day is the day of pranks and practical jokes. Even though the origins of this day are uncertain, skeptics believe it started around 1582 while France was still under rule of Charles IX.

Take a bag of cotton balls and stems off of cherries. Place the stems in the cotton and submerge them in chocolate. Offer them only to the intended victim and watch as they get an unexpected mouthful.

Jell-o Toilet There’s always room for Jell-O…in the toilet. First thing to do is get approximately six to 10 packets of clear, non-flavored gelatin. Dump all packets into the toilet and allow it to set for four hours. The next person to use the rest room will find their prize is sitting on the water rather than floating in it.

Fog Horn Gag The worst thing about this prank is patience. Wait in the stall of any restroo. When someone walks in to to do business, blow a fog horn, and run. They will either drop more than they anticipated or pee all over themselves.

Garden in the Kitchen Get a bag or two of potting soil and a few small plants. Try to get something pretty. Plug the drain empty the soil into the sink and plant the flowers. The intended victim will get a beautiful surprise when going to get a drink of water the next time.

MovieREVIEW: The Hurt Locker Nate Corley - Staff Writer -

In an empty marketplace in Baghdad three American soldiers investigate a report of an explosive device. After the device has been identified the team tries to use a robot to detonate the explosive however dues ex machine intervenes and the robot fails. Two of the soldiers pack their comrade into a modern “bomb suit” as the temperature in the market reaches above a sweltering one hundred degrees. “The Hurt Locker” brings the tenacity and ferocity of the Iraqi occupation home to Americans. The film follows the daily tasks of an explosive ordinance disposal squad as they fight wave after wave of improvised explosive devices that plague the Baghdad area. The squad consists of three members, Staff Sgt. Matthew Thompson (Guy Pearce) who is killed by an explosion in the opening sequence of the film, Sgt. 1st Class William James (Jeremy Renner) who is the replacement for Thompson, Sgt. J. T. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie), and Specialist Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty). The film follows the new


squad through the rest of their tour of duty in Baghdad. The Hurt Locker was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won six, among those were Best Picture and Best Director. The film is the lowest grossing movie to ever with the Academy award for Best Picture The film does a good job of bringing an unpopular war back into Americans eyes by showing the hardships that our soldiers endure in a constantly hostile country. The film rates an easy four and a half out of five stars for its never ending series of spine gripping, teeth clenching events that leaves the audience with sand in their hair and dust on their clothes.

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11 A Day In the Life of Rick Menendez ART & LIFE

April 1, 2010

Part-time teacher, student; full-time carefree spirit Emily Hertlein - Staff Writer -

As part-time astronomy photographer Rick Menendez sits on top of his desk, squinting his eyes, he recalls the adventures he’s had and talks about his love for anything “high energy.” Menendez, a South County native, said his entire life is based on the motto “seeking the truth and finding fun in everything.” “I’m single, so I like to have fun. I like going bar hopping and chasing girls,” said Menendez. Menendez said he

[doing something], then why do it?” asks Menendez. He describes himself as one who is generally, “wild, always having fun, and doing crazy stuff within reason,” Menendez describes astronomy his passion, something that keeps him questioning “Where did everything come from? Why we are here… while admiring the beauty of it all,” said Menendez. Besides astronomy, there are many other things to that Menendez said exhilarate himsuch as skiing, ice hockey and snowboarding. He explained

almost every day in the winter,” said Menendez. Aside from being a thrill seeker, Menendez takes a moment to slow down and put aside everything else in order to care for his mother and her twin sister, both 90 years of age, but also to play with his cat, Bumpkin. Menendez said he enjoys things that allow him to grow intellectually, while allowing him to have some fun as well. This may explain why, though he said real passion is astronomy, he actually obtained a Bachelor of Arts. in Physical Geography at University of

“If you’re not having fun [doing something], then why do it?”

-Rick Menendez

lives with the mentality of a teenager. “If you’re not having fun

this is because he enjoys the cold weather and being outdoors. “I ski and snowboard


Rick Menendez, part time astronomy teacher and part time STLCCMeramec student teaches his class how to work a telescope in one of his classes on the roof of Science West. To see more photos, visit

Missouri–Columbia. “There was simply too much math involved in an astronomy degree,” said Menendez. Even when listening to his preferred progressive rock music, he is looking for the logistics as well as seeking the entertainment. “Other than a pretty face, [what makes me most excited], is when I am involved in something that is both intellectually stimulating and physically enjoyable; that’s why I like going to auto races,” said Menendez. He was even given what he describes as, the opportunity of a lifetime, being able to attend race car school at the Indie 500 track. Menendez recalls the highlight of the “high energy” trip, when being able to cruise around the track going 180 miles per hour with a professional race car driver then enjoying dinner with the Indie 500 champion himself, Rick Mears. With many areas of interest in his life, Menendez recently re-enrolled as a student at Meramec. “I’m keeping my options open, possibly thinking about going into a different field, depending on the economy.” As a professor, Menendez said his goal is to design the class around the student. Once again a student himself, Menendez understands the heavy work load many professors burden students with, which is why he chooses to do just the opposite. “A lot of introductory science classes


Rick Menendez brings out a telescope to his evening astronomy class. He said his passion is astronomy and is a member of the St. Louis Astronomical Society. throw too much math into it; they need to cut that down. I try to make it fun,” said Menendez. He says he’s just “not rigid” and could never be “the corporate type.” Menendez is involved in many astronomical events in St. Louis, outside of being a part time student and professor, and says he attends lectures in the city, whenever they are offered. As a member of the St. Louis Astronomical Society, SLAS, Menendez has many opportunities to participate in events in the area, such as: Washington University lectures, the Astronomy Club, Saint Louis Science Center, and even radio appearances. Many of these events are strictly volunteer-based, which Menendez explains as an important aspect of his life. Recently, Menendez was a guest speaker for the radio show, “The Dave Glover show”, during which he discussed the String Theory. “The String Theory unites all forces of the universe explaining what caused the Big Bang Theory. It’s the cutting edge theory which involves parallel universes,” said Menendez. He has also had the privilege of meeting one of the original Apollo astronauts, Edgar Mitchell. Menendez said it was

the big race to the moon that sparked the excitement of astronomy for him. Long before Menendez had begun to envision the various adventures he would have in his life, he was a young boy with his eyes glued to the television with anticipation. The race was full speed ahead, both the Russians and Americans fighting for the title of first country to land a man on the moon. “It was a race, trying to beat the bad guys,” said Menendez after this exciting historical era, he grew fascinated with the philosophical aspect of astronomy. “Astronomy is a form of recreation. You’re looking back in time, it makes you think about where things came from,” said Menendez. “It’s a little different than keeping up with baseball; it’s inspiring and mind boggling.” It’s the idea that astronomy not only gets Menendez’s brain flowing but his blood pumping as well which is one consistency he maintains in all forms of involvement and entertainment in his life. “Do good things and still have a good time,” is Menendez’s ultimate goal. His advice is simply, “Don’t take things too seriously, laugh at your problems, and laugh at yourself.”

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD Students in the sciences study our green roof and the restored prairie on campus. They work alongside scientists at the UIS Emiquon Field Station along the Illinois River – the premier research facility associated with one of the world’s largest wetlands reclamation projects. These extraordinary resources are one reason we’re a rising university in:

Biology Chemistry Environmental Studies Environmental Sciences

Tuition grants for STLCC transfers

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UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD FOUR CAMPUSES Florissant Valley (95 mi. to UIS) Forest Park (98 mi. to UIS) Meramec (107 mi. to UIS) Wildwood (130 mi. to UIS)

St. Louis Community College students



admitted to UIS are eligible for grants


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up to $16,000 – renewable each year.

or arrange for a private tour and visit with professors



Earn a world-class University of Illinois degree at a cost comparable to


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UIS Preview Day April 24


Florissant Valley


April 1, 2010


Local skateboarders build their own skate park Steph Stough - Art & Life Editor -

According to STLCC-Meramec students Max Berglin, 21, and Kyle Crandall, 19, skateboarding in the county has been difficult over the years, from being kicked out of places to being threatened. In February of 2009, Crandall and his friends looked to the city for a place to skate, a place where they could congregate. “We wanted to build something to skate. There wasn’t a skate park in the city. We have ideas for stuff that doesn’t exist, and we make it happen,” Crandall said. It was then that they found an abandoned parking lot, just smaller than the size of a football field, which lies under an old bridge off Kingshighway. Its located close the intersection of Kingshighway and Southwest Avenue by the Don Brown car dealership and the U-Haul. The park has been simply dubbed, “Kingshighway.” They got permission from the city and then decided that this would be the perfect area for a skate park. “Our agreement with the city is that we have to paint over the graffiti and pick up all of the trash, and they will just let us build and skate there,” Crandall said. To get started, Crandall needed to know how to work with concrete, which would be what the ramps are made out of. He found guidance from two guys that had heard about the project, J.P. and Chris. After they had heard about the idea, they helped

teach Crandall how to do some concrete work that helped launch the park. Crandall said that Chris works for a skate park company, Air Speed. “He travels around the country building skate parks, but when he’s home, he’s helping us out at the bridge. He taught me how to do a lot of concrete work, along with my friend J.P., who built a skate park out in Hermann, Missouri,” Crandall said. To get the skate park underway, Crandall and his friends organized two fundraisers that brought in more than $4,000. “We had two fundraisers, both of which raised around $2,000 each. They were at a place called Skatium, a roller hockey rink, on South Broadway. We set up a bunch of ramps, sent out flyers and told a bunch of people about it. We had a really good turnout. Before that, it was just money coming out of our own pockets. We had 10 people throwing in to make it happen,” Crandall said. Berglin said that everyone who utilizes the skate park brings in a sense of community. “Most of the time we go down there, there’s someone we know. I think it’s really cool because when someone goes down there and sees someone working, they help. Everyone is welcome to give a helping hand,” Berglin said. Since they started building the park, something they say they will continue to add on to, they have had five professional skate teams come out

TheatreREVIEW: Tivoli


The Tivoli Theatre in the Delmar Loop was built in 1924, but reopened in 1995. The theatre has won many awards such as Best Art Cinema and Best Movie Theater.

Shawn Bruce - Staff Writer -

With mid-terms finished and finals creeping slowly to the forefront of students minds, sometimes seeing a movie is the perfect release from the stresses of college. Going to the movies shouldn't bring more problems though. The Tivoli Theatre in The Loop is just the place to get away. From the street the 1920s style is noticeable, from the intricate molding at the top all the way to the outdoor box office at street level. The building was originally built in 1924 and closed in 1994. The owners of Blueberry Hill bought the building to restore it to its original beauty. On May 19, 1995 the building opened its doors for all to see. The theater was reopened as the threescreen theater today. Landmark Theatres has operated the theatre for many years, starting in 1977 until 1991 and again from 1999 until present.


The theater has been home of many independent films as well as some big box office hits. When walking into The Tivoli, there is a more relaxed feeling that can't be found at many competing theaters. The first noticeable things are the movie posters and display cabinets showing off memorabilia from movies, past and present. The lighting inside is dimmed with large dome chandeliers hanging from an intricate ceiling. All of the molding painted tastefully gives the impression of stepping back in time. A single concession stand stands on the left between the two restrooms. Alcohol can be purchased by those of age, wine and a few beers are available. A $4.25 soda and popcorn are also available for those younger than 21, along with Ted Drewes Frozen Custard and coffee. The people throughout the building are friendly and willing to answer questions about the films showing. There are small tables and chairs sitting in the room, allowing a person to eat there instead of in the movie showing. After getting a soda or beer, finding a place to sit is easy. The newer, high-back chairs are comfortable enough to sit in for a long movie. The seats are set in a lower angle stadium style that makes the screen still visible at almost every angle. One thing that stood out: none of the floors were sticky. When the movie finishes, it's no wonder that the Riverfront Times gave the theater awards. The Tivoli won the Best Art Cinema award in 2004, Editors’ Choice, Best Movie Theatre from 1996-2004, and Readers Choice from the Riverfront Times. Anyone looking for a chance to see a movie in a relaxed setting should check out The Tivoli. The mixture of independent films and old-time style make this theater a definite win.


Kyle Crandall, 19, completes a Frontside Smith Grind on one of the ramps he bulit with friends at the skate park dubbed “Kingshighway” near Kingshighway and Southwest Avenue.

to the facility and have an average of 30-60 skaters each day in the summer, according to Crandall. “I’ve seen people there from Pacific and even Columbia,” Berglin said. They said that even crime and burglaries around the area have decreased, gaining support from businesses around the park. “The people at the Don Brown and the U-Haul place really like us and the skate park being there. Since we have been there, their break-ins have been significantly lessened. There’s not al-

ways a homeless man spending the night under the bridge since we are keeping them out. They have been really supportive,” Crandall said. They said they plan to have more added on to the park by summer and welcome St. Louis skaters to make use of the park. “Skateboarding wasn’t like this at all two years ago,” Berglin said. “This place has completely reshaped skateboarding around St. Louis, and it has brought people together.”

Featured Photo


At 7:30 p.m., March 11, in the STLCC-Meramec Theatre, the symphonic band joined efforts with performer Robert Faust and his mask show, “Face: The Music – A Symphony of Masks” Faust and his mask creations danced and performed alongside the sound of the music created by Meramec music professor Gary Gackstatter, who is also the conductor of the Symphonic Band. Visit for more photos.


April 1, 2010

Meramec alumni continue documentary after plane crash in Africa Amy Winstead - Staff Writer -

After spending time in Nairobi, Kenya, Dan Parris, an alumnus of STLCC-Meramec, decided to educate people about the disease and poverty in third world countries and to "speak up for those who can't speak for themselves," He created a the Give A Damn? project. While a student at Meramec, Parris founded the Global Justice Project which educates students about human rights issues and holds fundraisers for organizations that work to alleviate poverty. For the documentary, Parris convinced his friends to join him on a journey to live on a dollar a day and to film what Americans think about their role in alleviating Third World poverty and what actually works to alleviate poverty. “We were also very interested in documenting how an average American could practically get involved and help them help those who are in need,” said David Peterka, another Meramec alumnus, once a president of the Global Justice Project and current member of the Give a Damn team. Parris, accompanied by Rob Lear and Peterka, toured

the United States and Europe before traveling to Africa. “We did man-on-thestreet interviews in St. Louis; Springfield, MO; San Diego; San Francisco; Los Angeles, CA and Canterbury, England,” Parris said. The Give a Damn team then traveled to Africa to film what is being done to fight extreme poverty by visiting organizations. On Aug. 1, 2009, Lear and Parris were flying above Nairobi to capture on film the slum of rusted roofs for their documentary. The plane, in which Lear and Parris were traveling, lost altitude and then crashed through power lines and into a building. Lear, who sustained a head injury, walked away from the crash, then returned to free Parris and the pilots. Parris broke his collarbone, compressed his spine, and suffered abdominal injuries. One pilot died on impact and the other pilot died later in the hospital from his injuries. Both pilots, Frank Toews and Ryan Williams, were missionaries living with their families in Kenya. “Five seconds prior to impact, Dan and I realized that the worst was happening. We

were going down, and the only thing in front of us was a building. I secretly hoped that the pilot saw something that I could not, and we were headed for a field or something of that nature,” Rob Lear blogged on http://www.bit. ly/95XTiv. Due to the deaths of the pilots, Lear and Parris have decided to honor them and their contribution to the film. After the plane accident, Lear and Parris have been invited to film other enterprises combating poverty across Africa. Lear and Parris returned to the United States to recover, but Perterka and his brother Tim Peterka, also a Meramec alumnus, went on to film well digging in Kenya, an orphanage in Kenya, micro finance by Kiva in Rwanda, an HIV clinic in Tanzania and other projects by nonprofit organizations. So far, the team has captured more than 125 hours of footage for this film. “My brother and I stayed in Africa about three and a half months and traveled through six countries including: Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, D.R. Congo, Tanzania, and Sudan…Most of what we did was visit organizations in Africa on the front lines of fight-

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STLCC-Meramec alumi Tim and David Peterka pose in Africa where they filmed their documentary, Give A Damn. The documentary is about capturing the life of Africans who live in poverty, which is less than $1.25 a day. Filming was put on hold after the crew got into a plane crash in Kenya but they said they plan on having the film finished by the end of the year.

ing poverty,” Peterka said. Being in Africa, Peterka discovered cultural differences between the United States and Africa regarding family and community. Africans, as he saw them, have a greater gratitude for their family and for the value of community. “We are so individualistic and separated in America even from our own families that live in the same house, but in Africa, they are so good at truly cherishing one another. eEspecially within their own families,” Peterka said. Parris emphasizes that the extreme poverty he saw in Kenya is different from the poverty we know in America. Extreme poverty is usually characterized by living on less than $1.25 a day, without clean water, sanitation and education. In many places, malaria and even diarrhea are fatal. One meal a day is typical for those in extreme poverty. “Anyone in America can walk into a restaurant, get a glass a water, use the bathroom, beg for more than $1.25 on the streets and not have to worry about malaria. I don't want to minimize poverty

here in America; I could not live in it for long, but when compared to the Third World, it's just two different scenarios,” Parris said. Parris suggests a stepwise approach of becoming active in the global community and hopes to inspire others to search for ways to fight extreme poverty. “There are so many ways to get involved: sponsor a child, give a micro-loan, buy fair trade, the list goes on and on. I think most young people are overwhelmed and feel like they have to do everything. Just start small and work from there. I think documentaries can also be a great tool to learn about the rest of the world,” Parris said. “The documentary is continuing. I have been struggling with my health and that has made editing a slow process, but we are hoping to have the film finished this year,” Parris said. Parris will submit the film to The Sundance Film Festival next January and hopes that the film will be picked for commercial distribution in the U.S.


April 1, 2010

Building up their line of defense


Left-handed pitcher, Brett Wolf, begins his wind-up against Southwest Illinois College as his defense gets set. The Magic defeated the Blue Storm on March 10, 8-3.

Meramec Magic sharpens its ‘killer instinct’ Joe Ray

- Assistant Online Editor -

Up to this point, STLCCMeramec Magic baseball is 1211, with a conference record of 0-2. Coming off back-to-back losses to Jefferson College, the team felt like they just took the day off from Magic baseball, according Magic coach Tony Dattoli. “In the loss to Jefferson, we just beat ourselves. Talent wise, we haven’t played against a team that is better than us. We need to improve on not making mistakes and quit beating ourselves,” said Magic outfielder Les Smith. Last year, the Magic exited

early in the playoffs and had a roller coaster type year, according to Magic shortstop Gerald Roam. This year is different for the Magic. This year there are 16 freshmen on the team and Les Smith, who transferred from Louisiana Lafayette. “It was closer to home and I heard great things about Meramec. I love coach Dattoli. He is a great guy and knows a lot about baseball,” Smith said. Roam and Dattoli believe there is always room for improvement. The biggest thing the Magic conveyed that they needed to improve on is their defense. “That is what really has crippled us for our

first 23 games,” Dattoli said. Roam mentioned it was killer instinct. At times, they would show up with that killer instinct to play the game and other times they would lose that killer instinct and believe that will be a big impact on the how the season progresses. Every year is a different year for the Magic, with new freshmen and returning players. Many players come and go to four-year universities and there isn’t time for teams to build chemistry. However, the 2010 Magic has already built chemistry. Roam feels the chemistry is a lot better and that they get along with each other.

“On and off the field, team chemistry is perfect and that’s what you need to win ball games,” Smith said. The team has shown the tenacity to refuse to lose and mentality to win games. Dattoli feels they are going to be in it and can compete against anyone in the nation and the region. He often preaches to them about striving for perfection and believes they will work everyday to strive to get there. “When we play together as a team, everyone does what is expected of them, just as a routine. We are a very good team and we are tough to beat,” Dattoli says.

The Magic are starting five to six freshmen on any given day. “They have competed well. If we do what we are suppose to do, compete and come out ready to play no matter who it is, we will be ok,” Dattoli said. Smith believes it is still early and tells the team not to panic, even from the record they have. He preaches that teams who get hot down the stretch usually are the teams that pull out on top. “As far as improvement, just keep working hard, quit beating ourselves, relax and have fun playing the game of baseball,” Smith said.

‘Exceeding expectations’ Magic softball points toward surprising opposition Steph Stough

- Art & Life Editor -


A Magic softball player steps toward the batter’s box on March 24 against Florissant Valley. The Magic lost, 9-3.

March 2 served as the beginning of the games for the STLCC-Meramec women’s softball team. This year, the Magic has a new coach, new players and an optimistic attitude regarding the season ahead. The team won its first game 1-0 against Lindenwood in extra innings. Now they have a record of 5-13. The team consists of 11 new players, and one returning player, Tiffany Stock. They are led by a new coach, Kim McCall. This is her first season with the team after graduating from Lynchburg College in Maryland, where she was the graduate assistant softball coach for two years. McCall said that her favorite part of softball is the fact that it revolves around the female athlete and that she enjoys coaching for more than

one reason. “[My favorite parts] are helping them, watching them grow, seeing them learn about themselves, and having fun,” McCall said. As a relatively new team, McCall said that in order to prepare for each season, they set team goals. “We make goals and then we reassess them at different stages of the season. We practice and work hard and learn from ourselves,” McCall said. Meramec student and player for 14 years, Jamie Aldrich, said this year’s goal is to play better than expected. “No one expects us to do well since we are such a small team. Our goal is to exceed expectations,” Aldrich said. Tiffany Theobald, transfer student from Texas, said what she is looking most forward to this season is using the fact that they are a small team of 12 to their advantage. “Since we are a small team, we can focus on that to

play well. I’m looking forward to doing our best and winning more games,” Theobald said. But the common theme of what the team is looking forward to the most is having fun. “We are a tight group of girls. We look forward to having fun,” Aldrich said. McCall said what’s most important for the team’s success is to discover each girl’s strengths. “[We] learn from each practice and game and proceed in a forward direction,” McCall said. The women’s softball team has their next game on Friday, April 2 in the Indian Hills tournament in Ottumwa, Iowa. Visit




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April 1, 2010 issue of The Montage  

April 1, 2010 issue of St Louis Community College's student newspaper "The Montage"