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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

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Volume 148, Issue 14

The Western Front

An independent student newspaper serving Western Washington University since 1970 |

Hostel plans set in motion

Veterans await federal aid

Community members form club to begin hostel development

Bellingham community members formed a club that will be in charge of developing a hostel in Bellingham at a meeting of the state chapter of Hostelling International on Monday. The purpose of the meeting was to gather a group of community members who would develop a hostel. The community members are the driving force behind the project, State Council Treasurer Mike Ruby said. “Hostelling International is not going to put a hostel in Bellingham,” he said. “People in Bellingham are going to put a hostel in Bellingham.” Western senior Tiffany Range, who was appointed president of the club, said the club’s first step is to meet with Chris Koch from the city of Bellingham’s Planning and Community Development Office to look at potential building sites. Western senior Lara Buelow, who was appointed secretary of the club, said she has been interested in starting a hostel for five years and thinks Bellingham is a good place for one. see HOSTEL page 2

Increased number of people qualified for G.I. Bill causes delay in tuition, housing stipends

photo illustration by Hailey Tucker THE WESTERN FRONT


It was a traffic jam really. “Everyone's trying to get their benefits and [the VA office] can only go so fast.

- Chris Rowell, Western junior and veteran


Talithia Taitano THE WESTERN FRONT

housands of people all over

the nation who receive educational benefits through

the military are still waiting to get their tuition and monthly stipends for fall quarter.

photo by Rhys Logan THE WESTERN FRONT

Robare Smith, Hostelling International member and former president of the council board for Hostelling International in Washington, explains how hostels in Seattle and Portland have thrived successfully for years.

Wendy Gegenhuber, program coordinator for Western’s Veterans Affairs, said the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill is fairly new, and each person must be processed manually. “The Post-9/11 [G.I. Bill] is delaying everyone’s payments,” Gegenhuber said. The bill, which provides financial support for education and housing to people who have served 90 days of aggregate survice, was passed Aug. 1, 2009. Western junior Chris Rowell, a veteran who works in Western's VA office, said the VA office,

which processes the educational benefits in Oklahoma became overwhelmed by the high volume of new applicants and people who switched over to the new bill from a different educational benefit. “This is the first time [the VA office has] done this, so there’s going to be a lot of mistakes made and stuff that’s going to have to get redone,” Rowell said. Rowell said he has been waiting for his tuition and basic housing allowance for two months. Rowell said because his work-study job is also funded through the VA office, he has not received any of his paychecks yet either. “It was a traffic jam really,” Rowell said. “Everyone’s trying to get their benefits and [the VA office] can only go so fast.” Western junior and veteran Phil Coomes said the benefits of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill are great because eligible veterans can get 100 percent of their tuition paid for plus a housing allowance and also increases the number of people who qualify for monthly stipends. The living allowance is determined by the VA of approved accredited universities. Coomes said the main VA office in Oklahoma hired 600 people to process the high increase of people switching over to the new G.I. Bill since the VA office in Oklahoma was not big enough to handle it. see VETERAN page 5




See more online at Tuesday • November 10, 2009 | The Western Front

Cops Box


University Police Nov. 8 • University Police arrested a 35-year-old male at 11:27 p.m. on the 1300 block of Varsity Place on suspicion of possession of less than 40 grams of marijuana.


photo courtesy of Daniel Berman

A cyclist pedals past a puddle outside the Fairhaven residence halls toward campus Oct. 16.

HOSTEL: Selection of building site next step from 1 “I think it will really create a good place for low-budget travelers,” Buelow said. Buelow said opening the hostel would create an opportunity for students to find seasonal jobs and be a good place for students to stay while finding a permanent place to live. She said a hostel will be useful for students who participate in outdoor activities, especially in the Mount Baker area. “I’ve been looking at doing a hostel myself for about six years now,” said Catherine Chambers, 56, the vice president of the club. “I wasn’t able to secure the funds, so I was just happy this came about.” Chambers just finished running her campaign for Bellingham City Council against Michael Lilliquist, who won. The hostel is one of the projects she is shifting her focus toward now, she said. “I think it adds to us becoming a destination spot,” she said. “Not just a stopover.” She said Bellingham is a great city with unbeatable recreational opportunities to share with visitors.

The turnout of the meeting was what Hostelling International expected, Mike Ruby said. Approximately 30 community members attended the meeting, 14 of whom were Hostelling International members, Ruby said. Ruby said Hostelling International enthusiastically supports community members. The hostel will either be owned by Hostelling International or affiliated with the organization, which means that a community member or group of people will own the hostel, Ruby said. The affiliate will be responsible for drafting a business plan that will be approved by Hostelling International. He said a guest should not be able to tell the difference between an affiliated hostel and a hostel owned by the organization, because Hostelling International holds their affiliates to high standards. Hostelling International has no preference to either one of these options, Ruby said.

CORRECTIONS An article in the Nov. 6 issue of The Western Front titled Bail, trial date set for armed robbery suspects misspelled Derrick Ophiem's name.


Nov. 9 • University police arrested a 57-year-old male at 12:31 a.m. on the 2100 block of Electric Avenue on suspicion of driving under the influence, driving with a suspended license, felony drug possession and use of drug paraphernalia. Bellingham Police Nov. 9 • Police responded to a report of a shoplifter at noon on the 1400 block of McKenzie Avenue. Police reported the suspect refused to cooperate with store employees, ran out of the store and down the street while concealing the merchandise. • Police responded to a report of malicious mischief at 10:47 a.m. on the 2100 block of Alabama Street where the suspects took the victim's tires off his vehicle and damaged the doors.

Cops Box compiled by Nicholas Johnson


Western Washington University Communications Building 251 Bellingham, WA 98225 SEND PRESS RELEASES TO:


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Editor in chief ............................................................ Rebecca Rice, Managing editor ..................................... Audrey Dubois-Boutet, News editor .......................................................... Nicholas Johnson, News editor ............................................................. Kipp Robertson, Arts & Life editor ................................................ Chris Collison, Arts & Life editor ......................................... Elizabeth Olmsted, Sports editor ............................................................. Kevin Minnick, Opinion editor ....................................................... Tristan Hiegler, Photo editor ............................................................... Skyler Wilder, Online editor .............................................................. Alex Roberts, Copy editor .................................................................... Julia Means, Copy editor ............................................................. Jeremy Schwartz, Faculty adviser ........................................................................... John Harris,


(360) 650-3160

Advertising manager.....................................................Michele Anderson Business manager........................................................Alethea Macomber The Western Front is published twice weekly in the fall, winter, and spring quarters and once a week in the summer session. The Western Front is the official newspaper of Western Washington University, published by the Student Publications Council and is mainly supported by advertising. Opinions and stories in the newspaper have no connection with advertising. News content is determined by student editors. Staff reporters are involved in a course in the department of journalism, but any student enrolled at Western may offer stories to the editors. Members of the Western community are entitled to a single free copy of each issue of the Western Front.

NEWS | | Tuesday • November 10, 2009


State dubs northwest seas, Sound 'Salish'

photo courtesy of Bert Webber

For the last 21 years, Bert Webber, retired Western marine ecology professor, has worked to rename a collection of water bodies along Washington's coast.

Alan Crow THE WESTERN FRONT On Nov. 12, the United States Board on Geographic Names will meet to decide the fate of a proposal made by Bert Webber, a retired Western marine ecology professor, which places the Puget Sound, Georgia Strait and Strait of Juan de Fuca under a collective moniker: the Salish Sea. After initially proposing the idea in 1988, Webber finally saw his proposal adopted in Washington state on Oct. 30 in a 5-1 vote by the Washington State Board on Geographic Names. All the parts of the proposed Salish Sea will maintain their individual names, but they can officially be referred to as the Salish Sea when grouped together, at least in Washington state and British Columbia. The Geographic Names Board of Canada will adopt the name addition if the U.S. Board approves the proposal. The purpose for the additional name,

Webber said, is to promote understanding of the problems the area is facing, such as bottom fish dying off, along with herring, halibut and salmon populations dwindling due to human exploitation. These problems extend throughout the area, not just within Puget Sound or the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Webber said. “If we are going to be successful in reversing the decline of the ecosystem, we need to focus on more than the individual bodies of water that make up the whole,” Webber said. Webber said it could be difficult to understand the area without a proper name. “It gives a name, a term, to be able to talk about the whole area,” said Stefan Freelan, a graphic information systems specialist in Western’s environmental studies department. Freelan said before the addition of the new name, it would sometimes be difficult to talk about the collective waterways without somehow offending someone by not being inclusive. It cannot be called Puget Sound because Puget Sound ends at Whidbey Island, and that could offend the Canadians, Freelan said. Another name, which the area has been unofficially known by, is Georgia Basin Puget Sound. Freelan said this is offensive to geologists because Georgia Basin and Puget Sound are two separate parts of the whole, and they do not make up the whole. “It is like mixing apples and oranges,” Freelan said.

He said this name also ignores the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The proposed name, Salish Sea, is politically correct and recognizes the indigenous people of the area, Freelan said. The name comes from a grouping of Native Americans and First Nations called the Coast Salish in the U.S. and Canada. The group lives in Southwestern British Columbia and Northwestern Washington. Webber said the name is a good way to recognize the first people who inhabited the area. When Webber initially proposed the

idea in 1988 there seemed to be no reason to adopt the name, he said. The proposal did not go anywhere. People are now more aware of the problems facing the ecosystem now, Webber said. “Those who do not have a reason to know are learning,” Webber said. Webber said he thinks many people in the region care about the ecological issues associated with local waters; however, not everybody shares the same interests. “For people who have no interest in it, [the name addition] probably will not make any difference at all,” Webber said. He said it is mainly for those who hold an interest in the ecological issues. “It is a way of understanding our home better than we used to,” Webber said. Webber said Shirley Lewis, the sole vote against the proposal in the Washington State Board on Geographic Names, cited the lack of public knowledge on the issue as her reason for voting against it. “This is a big deal, and not enough people know about it,” Webber said. If approved, the name could be featured on maps, primarily from Washington state and British Columbia.

illustration by Alan Crow THE WESTERN FRONT

4 | NEWS

Tuesday • November 10, 2009 | The Western Front

Presentation pinpoints library service solutions Carey Rose THE WESTERN FRONT

Michael Lorenzen, a candidate for the assistant dean of public services position in Western's Wilson Library, gave a presentation on the future of library services Monday. Those who attended, most of whom were library staff, were given the opportunity to ask Lorenzen questions concerning library service and use of space. photos by Carey Rose THE WESTERN FRONT

Michael Lorenzen, candidate for Wilson Library's assistant dean of public services position, answers questions for the audience following his presentation Monday.

Western Front: What does the assistant dean of public services do, and what are the position's highlights? Michael Lorenzen: The person basically oversees the public services roles in the library, and that involves working with the library administration, going out around campus, and finding out what people need and working with the campus community in a way that helps the library and the patrons in getting the best service.

WF: What do you hope to achieve should you get this position? ML: To make sure that I am running the place in such a way that we’re teaching people how to use it and, being good stewards of the resources that we’re given, spending money wisely and actually contributing to the university. WF: Why is information literacy important for Western students? ML: Students can’t always evaluate information. Stuff is biased; stuff is put up by special interests just to make money, to make a particular viewpoint. So, [literacy involves] teaching people to be able to identify information, find it and evaluate

it, and know when to look for more information. I think the library is primed to teach about this, and it’s a very important part of our role in higher education. WF: The library is often seen as a passive entity where you find information yourself. How can a library more actively help students? ML: [Students] can come in and they can get help, be it in person, they can get help right there at the desk immediately. They can do it by e-mailing us, by calling us, they can post a message on our Facebook page. We need to be there when they need the help, and we need to be set up so that people don’t even necessarily need to ask us

NEWS | | Tuesday • November 10, 2009


VETERAN: Distribution of educational benefits slowed due to increase in applicants from 1 “They rented an old grocery store [next to the main office in Oklahoma] right next door to the processing building,” Coomes said. “They turned it into an office space for these 600 people to sit there and work through all these files, so it’s pretty crazy.” Rowell said he was lucky enough to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid application three days before the June 30 deadline for the 2008-09 school year. With the help of Gegenhuber, he got the process expedited so he could get the money in a reasonable time. He also has a second job working at YMCA to help him get by. “I was eating cans of beans for breakfast,” Rowell said. Rowell said when he transferred to Western from Whatcom Community College summer quarter 2009, he was offered the President’s Scholarship but turned it down because he wanted it given to someone that needed it more than him since he was expecting money to come in from the new G.I. Bill. Coomes said he and his wife used his credit card to get by while waiting for his payments to come into effect, even though the new bill is meant to support one veteran and not dependants. “[My wife and I] were really hurting, and summer is hard because the tuition is just so much more expensive,” Coomes said. “We were just basically racking up the credit card debt.” Veterans at Whatcom Community

photo by Talithia Taitano THE WESTERN FRONT

Western junior Chris Rowell is one of many veterans waiting for educational benefits given through the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, which was created in August.

College are also waiting for their tuition and monthly housing allowance. Whatcom freshman Renatta Richardson said her mom, who has terminal lung cancer, has been trying to help her out while she is waiting for her money. “I’m grateful for what I do have,” Richardson said. “At least my classes are paid for, so I have gratitude.”

Richardson said she and other veterans in the same situation find it easier to get through their tough time with emotional support from other veterans at the community college's VA office. Rowell said he remains optimistic about not getting paid because other people have it worse than him, such as families of three or four depending on money

from the new bill who have not received payment. He said being in the military has also helped him become mentally prepared to deal with stressful situations. “Nothing’s blowing up around me,” Rowell said. “I’m not getting shot at, I’m not tired, I’m not cold, I’m not hungry, I’m not wet. This is paradise, really.”

ARTs &

6 | Tuesday • November 10, 2009 | The Western Front

Green noise Katherine Garvey THE WESTERN FRONT

An entire show powered by one bicycle. A touring van fueled by biodiesel. A communal practice space paid for by donations. While novel in theory, one Bellingham organization actually turned their ideas to promote the local music scene into a reality. Make.Shift, a federal nonprofit organization, is the realization of these ideas, dreamt by founders Cat Sieh and Meg Coulter. Sieh, 26, and Western senior Coulter, 22, started Make.Shift summer 2008 after seeing too many of their friends struggle as independent touring musicians. Hurdles such as trying to pay for gas and dealing with broken-down vans inspired them to look for a way to provide bands with tools to continue playing. “A lot of people chuckle when we say we support struggling musicians because every person is like, ‘Oh, like my brother’ or ‘Oh, like my niece,’” Sieh said. “It’s like a butt of a joke. Everybody knows

Make.Shift provides strugg

a joke about how hard it is to be a musician so why aren’t there [more] organizations helping musicians?” Make.Shift also employs people with different skills to help with everything from grantwriting to maintenance on projects such as the Power-Wheel, a bicycle-powered generator used to provide electricity for shows. Bellingham resident Vaugn Larsen and Sieh took turns pedaling the Power-Wheel Oct. 9 for Bellingham-based band Baltic Cousins’ waterfront concert at “Junk Beach” at the end of Cornwall Avenue. “I don’t think it really gets more DIY [do-ityourself] than that, just being able to plug people into where they can help, when they can help,” Sieh said. A membership to Make.Shift gives bands access to resources such as the Power-Wheel, a Schwinn exercise bike converted into a generator. The Power-Wheel takes energy from pedal-

Shawn Stalberger (left) drums with his band, Baltic Cousins, Oct. 9 at "Junk Beach" at the end of Cornwall Avenue. Cat Sieh (right) peddles the PowerWheel, a bike-powered generator that provided electricity for the show. photo courtesy of Paul Israel

ing the bike, inverts it from DC to AC power and uses it to charge a battery that can power a show for 20 to 30 minutes. JD Martin, an electrician at Mac & Mac Electric and a friend of Sieh’s, worked after hours with materials donated by owner and head electrician Eddie Pankow to build it. Sieh approached Martin because of his electrical skills, but anyone with any sort of skill is encouraged to participate in Make.Shift, he said. Sieh and Coulter showcased the PowerWheel at Bellingham’s Saturday market on State Street. It powered two house shows in July 2009 and was featured at the What’s Up! Magazine benefit show Oct. 19. Make.Shift recently acquired another bike and plans on having it up and running within a month. Coulter said Casa Que Pasa, the Mexican restaurant on Railroad Avenue where she works, has also been supportive of the project. Through Dec. 31, the restaurant is showcasing donated art and donating the proceeds to Make.Shift. Other projects include the Magic Van, an old SWAT van acquired at the Bellingham Auto Auction that Coulter converted to run on biodiesel for musicians to use while on tour.

& LiFe | Tuesday • November 10, 2009

gling bands with peddled power, biodiesel transportation background photo courtesy of Matt McDonald

Make.Shift is waiting on car insurance and fuel donations to put the van into action. “We always talked about where we can get a really amazing van. We were always dreaming big about it looking weird,” Sieh said. “That is where [graphic designer and artist] Scott Rickey’s art came from." Sieh said Make.Shift's logo, a bus with the appendages of several aquatic animals jutting out the sides, reflects the spirit of the project. The Make.Shift logo came from, ‘Okay, we’re going to have this wacky bus and it’s going to take people to the moon using vegetable oil!’” Make.Shift’s board of directors chose to use biodiesel after Coulter presented her research on alternative fuels, Sieh said. Coulter made sure she could justify the decision to people who believe another fuel source is more effective, she said. Coulter and Sieh said they plan to include position papers about their decisions on the Make.Shift Web site. “What we’re trying to do is provide enough information that people know that we’re not just a bunch of kids who are like, ‘This is green, I think.’ We’ve done our homework,” Sieh said. By publishing the research, Sieh said

she hopes to prevent people from thinking that Make.Shift is just greenwashing their information by exaggerating their use of environmentally conscious policies. They also plan to provide practice space, funded by donations, for bands to use. While Sieh said she believes Make.Shift is beginning to get the attention and assistance they need to take off, at its inception, the idea of actually establishing an organization to help musicians was taken with a grain of salt by those who had already heard similar pledges. “We got a lot of resistance in the form of, ‘Yeah, whatever, that sounds like a good idea, but what are you actually doing?’” Sieh said. Sieh and Coulter spent much of the time after creating Make.Shift working to receive nonprofit status as a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization. The process cost them several months and hundreds of dollars, Sieh said. During this time, they could not focus on realizing many of the projects they planned to do.

Trying to fundraise through a grassroots campaign proved difficult since many people Make.Shift tries to help are living paycheck to paycheck, Coulter said. “It’s hard to think in the long term when you have to put all your energy toward not getting evicted,” she said. Since it began, Make.Shift received donations of money and labor from individuals. Businesses such as Boundary Bay Brewery and Innate Snow and Skate have provided everything from tables and chairs for benefits to designs for graphics. By being able to provide support such as transportation, bands are able to expand their base by playing in more cities. This not only benefits the band but also the audiences that would not get to see them otherwise, Sieh said. “It’s way more exciting to play to 15 kids that are just going bananas and having a great time than the super jaded kids standing around in Seattle going, ‘I guess this is okay,’” Coulter said. Sieh said she sees that excitement along with a sense of idealism in the Western students who make up some of the project’s most active volunteers. Sieh said she encourages anyone to get involved so that Make.Shift can achieve their goal of emphasizing environmental responsibility through the help of volunteers using a do-ityourself scheme. “This isn’t a handout to musicians,” Sieh said. “What Make.Shift is trying to do is give musicians a leg up to do what they can’t do themselves.”

Make.Shift can be found at

Upcoming Make.Shift events Make.Shift powers Sugar Sugar Sugar at 9 p.m., Nov. 21, at Cabin Tavern on 307 W. Holly St. A Menagerie of Miraculous Oddities, a multimedia art show to benefit Make.Shift, runs through Dec. 31 at Casa Que Pasa.



Tuesday • November 10, 2009 | The Western Front

Crispy Craze Sizzling strips of pork become a trend Mark Stayton THE WESTERN FRONT For Ryan Hill, bacon is more than just a fried staple. He and his girlfriend go through three to four packs per week, he keeps a bottle of Baconnaise—a vegetarian, mayonnaise-type condiment with the flavor of bacon— in his fridge and he uses the greasy meat to improve the taste of a vast amount of other foods. Then he complements that with more bacon. “I put it on everything,” he said. “Anytime I make anything with bacon in it, I always make a lot by itself. It’s just better on all kinds of [food].” Hill, a lean 18-year-old, personifies a typical member of what the Baltimore Sun called the “Bacon Nation,” a growing group of people across the U.S., Canada and the U.K., connected by the goal of turning this lowly strip of pig belly into an icon. Over the past few years fans have spread their ceaseless love of the greasy meat over the Internet like a dollop of Baconnaise over more bacon. Blogs such as Mr. Baconpants and Bacon Today offer followers a running commentary on the world of bacon. Major post topics include heart-attack recipes such as the Bacon Explosion— a recipe employing two pounds of bacon, two pounds of Italian sausage and as much barbecue sauce as possible, experiments with bacon and alcohol and reviews of ba-

con-themed products (bacon lip balm, anyone?). Yes, the blogs and their subscribers are obsessed with bacon, but they are not alone. The Bivings Group, a public relations firm specializing in tracking Internet trends, published a report in May 2009 demonstrating bacon’s power in social media. According to their findings, the word bacon and its derivatives such as baconitis and baconization have been included in more than 1.6 million tweets since the start of Twitter in 2006. Sausage, another pork-based breakfast food, has received only 120,000 tweets. Two standout heroes of the bacon movement are Dave Lefkow, 35, and Justin Esch, 30. They are selfproclaimed “bacontrepreneurs” who created Bacon Salt in 2007, according to their Web site, “to make everything taste like bacon.” The duo was featured on Oprah, who interviewed them via Skype while they sat in their Seattle warehouse. The pair also created Baconnaise, which they marketed by holding a wrestling match between a man dressed as bacon and a man wearing a mayonnaise costume in Heaven, a Seattle nightclub. The ring was filled with 6,000 pounds of mayo. Bacon emerged the victor. Bellingham has not escaped the greasy gaze of the bacon gods. “There’s definitely been an increase [in bacon sales] in the past couple years,” said Ryan Caillier, who owns and cooks for Arlis’s Restaurant on Cornwall Avenue. Maybe it is because their thick slices are what Hill con-

photo illustration by Skyler Wilder THE WESTERN FRONT

siders to be the best bacon in the city, something he said he enjoys inside his BLT, with extra bacon on the side. Maybe it is because they serve bacon-topped waffles with bits of bacon in the batter. Whatever the reason, Caillier said Arlis’s now goes through 20 pounds to 25 pounds of bacon per day, whereas previously they would use 10 pounds to15 pounds. Rocket Donuts is cashing in on the trend with their Bacon Maple Bar, a maple bar with bacon on top. Johanna Schmitz, who works behind the counter, said her shop got the idea from Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, Ore. Formerly a “donut of the month” flavor, the bacon bar was granted full-time status at Rocket Donuts due to popular demand. The most pervasive peddler of bacon mania in Bellingham is Merch Bot, a downtown merchandise retailer. Nick Bild, an employee of the store for two years, said the store has sold meat merchandise for a long time, but approximately one year ago, meat and especially bacon item sales took off. “Between lunch boxes, wallets, mints, I think we have a bacon sweatshirt…It’s a pretty sizable chunk of our business,” Bild said. Bild said he does not think the craze will last forever. “It probably won’t be the pop culture phenomenon it has been for the past year or so,” he said. “I hope I’m wrong for the sake of our store.”

See more online at Tuesday • November 10, 2009 | The Western Front

Viking Voices

Opinions from around campus

How would you get students involved in voting? Compiled by Jordan Stead

Australia Cosby Sophomore "[By] having interested students go to clubs with different types of backgrounds. Get students of color and disability involved too."

Cecily Nix Junior "Make it so people think they're subverting the system—that's all you really need."

Noah Magen Sophomore "Get it out in the media more... put up fliers... get candidates out on campus. Get it out loud that there is an election and you should be heard."

Laura Barsalou Sophomore "Encourage people to join clubs, because at clubs you talk about things that usually get voted on. If you surround yourself with people who are interested in those things, you realize how you [want to do something] about it."

opinion | 9

Respect religious diversity this upcoming holiday season Frontline

Opinions of the Editorial Board Recent legislation has banned religious displays inside Olympia’s Capitol Building. The ban is in response to two warring displays last year, one Christmas related and one dealing with the winter solstice sponsored by an atheist group. However, a holiday tree is still an acceptable display within the capitol, which begs the question of how seriously Washington’s government is taking the separation of church and state. A tree draped in lights and decorations is still a Christmas tree—disguise by name change does not remove its religious associations. Religious displays do not belong in public locations, especially government locales or institutions supported by state funds—an institution such as Western, for example. Images and figures that invoke religious overtones are exclusive. People who do not celebrate the holiday on display can feel left out and alone, which is completely contrary to institutions whose goals include promoting diversity and in-

clusiveness. Perhaps the legislators who allowed the holiday tree did not realize their hypocrisy. Perhaps it did not occur to them a holiday tree is an obvious icon of Christmas and thus a Christian holiday. But it should seem foolish in hindsight to allow such a display. Unless they intend to display icons from Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other seasonal religious ceremonies, all these legislators have done is promote one religion over another when they should have been completely neutral on the topic. We are not saying people should not celebrate Christmas and other winter holidays or that expressions of religion are always inappropriate. But they are inappropriate in some public places. Public insitutions are supposed to be neutral in their legislation. If preferential treatment is constantly being awarded to one religious holiday over another, what does that say to people who celebrate a different holiday or no holidays at all? Many people like bright lights and cheery decorations in the winter months. As it gets dark early, the temperature beings to drop, and people find themselves

huddling in their coats with heads down as they walk from place to place. A little bit of color against dark skies and leafless trees is certainly welcome. However, keeping such decorations from becoming holiday-specific is key. Instead of Christmas ornaments, menorahs and other holiday icons, the decorations should simply be winter-themed, using lights and snow to create neutral images in public spaces—images everyone can enjoy. One should not have to be subjected to religious displays in government buildings and public institutions. These places belong to everyone. Placing specific religious iconography in them sends the message that those who don't identify with the displayed faith are not welcome. Legislators should consider how to best include multiple belief systems and holiday celebrations before hoisting the good ol’ “holiday” tree. The Editorial Board is comprised of Editor-in-Chief Becca Rice, Managing Editor Audrey Dubois-Boutet and Opinion Editor Tristan Hiegler.

Hollywood hysteria rings false Scott Burger Guest Science Columnist The scary time of Halloween has come and gone, but like the grocery store candy that goes on sale for a dollar a garbage bag, remnants of the mentality that underscores those few frightful weeks is still around. It’s about to get worse, too. Much worse. Normally the film industry shouldn’t boil the blood of a typical science major, but this month really goes overboard. Over the weekend, “The Fourth Kind” was released, depicting in a quasi-factual manner the interviews of alien abduction survivors through regressive hypnosis. Regressive hypnosis is when memories of a time that cannot be recalled during normal, conscious thought are brought to light via hypnosis. However, there are terrible problems with this, not the least of which is implanting false memories into people—albeit accidentally, though in most cases not. By suggesting ideas about alien abduction to someone under hypnosis, it suggests to them they have actually been abducted, when in all reality

they have not. This is the basis for “The Fourth Kind.” The movie itself goes on to proclaim it was based on actual events (which it wasn’t) in hopes of building up a case for the legitimacy of alien abductions (which they aren’t). The second aggravating movie of the season is the simply-named “2012.” “2012” is based around the destruction of the earth as predicted by ancient Mayan prophecy. It pulls directly from the fascination with the Mayan calendar in popular culture in the Western world today. However, most people don’t realize these claims of Armageddon are all rehashed arguments from people in 2003 who proclaimed the exact same things. The world was supposed to end six years ago and didn’t. It stinks of the Y2K phenomenon that people quickly forgot after willingly buying into another obviously fraudulent conspiracy. 2012 believers claim a planet called ‘Nibiru,’ that was predicted to exist by ancient astronomers, will come close enough to the Earth to force the crust to move independently of the mantle, causing all sorts of global catastrophes. Ignoring the fact that they say this with a straight face to geologists, they claim Nibiru hasn’t been found due to a global scientific cover-up to deny its existence. Using calculations you learn in freshman-level physics

courses, I figured out that, if Nibiru is supposed to arrive in 2012, it should be by the orbit of Jupiter right now. Planets also reflect a great deal of light from the star they orbit, so it should be visible now and as bright as Jupiter or Mars at least. However, the thousands of astronomers that comb the night sky all across the planet have yet to come up with proof for the existence of such a place. Those who are writing books discussing 2012 doomsday prophecies are providing the only proof of Nibiru’s existence. I could write a book (maybe several) on the damages to society that proponents of failed doomsday prophecies bring, especially with regard to things with no scientific backing to begin with, like alien abductions or 2012 doomsday prophecies. It’s demeaning to me and every like-minded, somewhat skeptical science person on the planet when big-budget blockbusters hit the silver screen telling people to look up information on a movie which directly correlates to pseudoscientific quackery. It’s underhanded, devious and makes the movie-going public look like complete idiots when they buy into their fear mongering. Personally, I don’t buy into it. Scott Burger is a Western senior majoring in physics.

Have an opinion? E-mail a 200- to 250-word letter to the editor to

10 |


See more online at Tuesday • November 10, 2009 | The Western Front

Women's soccer ends on high note Top 3 GNAC finishers W

1) Seattle Pacific 9 2) Western 8 3) Saint Martin's 8









Jeremy Smith THE WESTERN FRONT It was a sunny 60 degrees in Billings, Mont., when Western’s women’s soccer team defeated the Montana State University Billings Yellowjackets 2-1 Saturday afternoon in the final game of the season, sealing a sevengame undefeated streak. However, Western failed to win the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) league title and the automatic bid to the National Collegiate Athletics Association Division II tournament. Western placed second in the GNAC behind Seattle Pacific University. The victory put the Vikings at 11-4-4 overall and 8-13 in the GNAC. Despite the strong finish, Seattle Pacific shut out Northwest Nazarene 6-0 Saturday to finish 16-31 overall and 9-2-1 in the GNAC, clinching the conference title and earning the automatic postseason bid. The Vikings headed to Billings aware a victory was crucial if they hoped to return to the national tournament for the second consecutive year. “We were determined going in,” Western head coach Travis Connell said. “We knew we had to win.” Western junior forward Molly Shannon scored the first goal of the match nine minutes into the first half off a pass from Western senior midfielder Kasey Hostetler.

photo courtesy of MSUB Athletics

Western sophomore midfielder Emily Warman (left) tangles feet with Montana State midfielder Jennifer Larsen Saturday.

Hostetler later had a goal herself in the 26th minute with an assist from Vikings junior forward Claire Morgan. Aided by Western senior goalkeeper Kylie Broadbent’s four saves, Western managed to hold off the Yellowjackets through nearly the entire game. In the last minute of play, Montana State forward Jaucelyn Richter put one past Broadbent with an assist from Montana State defenders Samantha Boehm and Jennifer Larsen. “The team feels good coming off the victory,” Connell said. “I’m proud of their performance.” The Oct. 5 loss, the first in league matches for the Vikings this season, is the first league loss for the team over the past two seasons. This season is the last for many of the team’s players; the Vikings have 10 seniors on the team, including Broadbent. “[Playing for Western] was the highlight of my collegiate career,” Broadbent said. “[Saturday’s] game went really well.” Her sentiment on the final game of the season is shared by Western junior defender Keller Haden. “We worked hard and had fun,” Haden said. “We did the best we could [this season].” Monday afternoon, the NCAA released the names of

48 teams from around the country that will take place in the national tournament this year. Seattle Pacific secured one of the bids with their league title. The other two selections were up in the air, but Connell said he believed the Vikings or California State University Chico would secure one of the at-large bids. Broadbent said the Vikings were going to have another training session Monday before the announcements of the bids. “If we get in, we’ll be ready for it,” she said. “We’ve done all we could do.” Haden said she shares this sentiment with Broadbent, as well as with the rest of the team. “We’re all crossing our fingers, hoping for the best,” Haden said. Connell was not mistaken in believing Chico State was the biggest threat to Western. The California school was eventually selected for the other bid in the region Monday afternoon and will now advance to face Seattle Pacific in round one of the tournament this Friday. “We had a great season,” Connell said. “We had a great record in the second half of the season. It’s a good testament to what the seniors, as well as the rest of the team, can accomplish in their [soccer] careers.”

sports | Tuesday • November 10, 2009

Cross country regionals: Men 2nd, Women 4th NCAA Division II Nationals Nov. 21 at the University of Southern Indiana Elizabeth Hansen THE WESTERN FRONT Western’s cross country teams both qualified to advance to the national meet with a second-place finish from the men and fourth-place finish for the women at the NCAA Division II West Regionals Saturday in San Francisco. This is the second time since joining the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in 1998 that both teams have qualified for the Division II National Championships. Western junior Jordan Welling, who placed second individually and finished the 10 kilometer race in 30 minutes, 59 seconds, led the men’s team.Welling said the runners were grouped together for approximately the first three miles until the pack began to break up and stronger runners moved ahead. “Going into the last lap I was able to pull away from the pack of Chico State runners and take second,” Welling said. “But unfortunately [Western junior] Bennett [Grimes] and [Western senior Anthony Tomsich] couldn’t quite break up that pack of them.” Tomsich finished seventh with a time of 31 minutes, 23 seconds and junior Bennett Grimes placed 12th, coming in at 31 minutes, 42 seconds. The Western women’s team improved from last year’s fifth place finish and were led by Western junior Sarah Porter, who placed second individually with a time of 20 minutes, 42 seconds in the six-kilometer course. Though happy with the second place finish, Porter said she did not run like she

has all year. “I ran pretty stupid today, and it’s a miracle I took second,” Porter said. “Normally I start out pretty far behind [Seattle Pacific senior Jessica] Pixler then try to reel her in. But today I went out with her, and when we hit the two-mile mark she pulled away. I cannot run like that at nationals or I am going to be passed by a hell of a lot of girls at the end.” Grimes received all-region recognition for the third straight year, along with the second consecutive season for Welling. Porter, Tomsich and sophomore Lauren Breihof also earned all-region honors for the Vikings. Welling said the course, which was set up at the Golden Gate Park’s Speedway Meadow, was flatter and easier than they were used to and did not showcase the strengths of the Vikings’ teams. “I think we’ll fare better at nationals on a tougher course,” Welling said. “Overall as a team, we are more endurance-trained and better equipped for the hilly courses, like the one at nationals.” Welling said the Vikings are looking to their previous experience at nationals to help them mentally prepare for success. “We are still young on paper, but we are fairly experienced,” Welling said. “The first time at a national meet can be a little bit shocking. You’ve got fans on both sides of you screaming and you can’t hear anything else for the entire course. We know what to expect going into it so it won’t affect us negatively like it may to other teams that haven’t been before.” Welling said the Vikings will be in contention for the podium at nationals. “There are two tough top teams, Adams State [College] and Western State [College of Colorado] who always battle it out at nationals,” Welling said. “After that it’s going to be a dogfight for three through six. I think our team will be right in the mix.”

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Volleyball falls to CWU in error-ridden match Final Match vs. MSUB Yellowjackets 7 p.m., Nov. 14 Carver Gym Andrew Barrows THE WESTERN FRONT The Central Washington University Wildcats upset the Vikings' volleyball team Saturday night in Ellensburg. The Vikings won the first set with ease, committing only one error. The next four sets were an offensive nightmare for the Vikings resulting in 29 errors, allowing the Wildcats to capitalize. Western would lose three of the next four sets, losing the match in five sets. Western has dropped three of the last four matches and is now in fourth place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, a half match behind the Yellowjackets of Montana State University Billings for

“We are struggling right now, and we can't seem to put together a steady rhythm of any kind in our last few matches.” Diane Flick, Volleyball head coach third. Saturday’s loss drops Western to 16-10 overall and 9-6 in the GNAC. The Wildcats improved to 14-10 overall and are 6-7 in the GNAC. The Wildcats finally broke out of their slump against Western, snapping a seven-match losing streak against the Vikings, whom they beat last in 2007. One bright spot in the match was Western freshman outside hitter Marlayna Geary, who picked up 18 kills and 14 digs. It was Geary’s 12th double-double of the season and her 21st match in which she

recorded more than 10 kills. Geary has put together a strong season and is a possible candidate for GNAC freshman of the year. The Wildcats have posted a 6-16 record against the Vikings since the inception of volleyball into the GNAC began in 2001. This is the first year that the Vikings, who were preseason favorites to win the GNAC title, have lost 10 matches in a season under head coach Diane Flick and will need to win out the rest of the season in the GNAC to even be considered for a berth in the NCAA II tournament. “We are struggling right now, and we can’t seem to put together a steady rhythm of any kind in our last few matches,” Flick said. Central held up just well enough to stymie the vulnerable Viking offense. The Vikings would go on to commit 16 errors in next two sets, dropping set two 25-21 then getting blown out in set three 25-15. “We did not play our game and it showed, we never usually commit that many errors, but our team struggled and it’s hard to win when we play like that,” Western junior libero Allison Gotz said. The Vikings committed 30 errors in the match, their highest since committing 31 against the University of Alaska Anchorage in September. In the fourth set the Vikings and the Wildcats combined for 21 errors as the ugliness continued. Neither teams could put it together on offense, but Western prevailed, winning the set 25-21, squaring the match at two games a piece. The fifth set was much like the previous three as the Vikings did not get their game on track. Western dropped the set 15-11 as the Wildcats pulled off the upset. “This match was not pretty but what counts is that we got the win,” Andaya said. “Sometimes you win ugly and sometimes it comes easy, this was one of those ugly ones.”

12 | sports

Tuesday • November 10, 2009 | The Western Front

Western stomps on Quest Vikings: 111 Kermodes: 58 Willy Delius THE WESTERN FRONT

The Western men’s basketball team opened their 2009-10 home schedule with a 111-58 exhibition rout of Quest University Monday night in Carver Gym. Western senior forward Michael Duty’s 17 points on 8-11 shooting and senior guard Derrick Webb’s 16 points and seven assists led the Viking scoring onslaught that included six players scoring in double figures. “Offensively we moved the ball well and took pretty good shots, so that’s encouraging,” Western head coach Brad Jackson said. Western’s record remains 2-1 because of the game’s exhibition status, and Quest’s record stays at 2-3. Quest, hailing from Squamish, B.C., jumped out to an early 7-1 lead before the Vikings went on a 21-3 run over the ensuing five minutes to take control of the game, extending their lead to 35 points by halftime. “We were a little lazy the first few possessions,” Jackson said. “ You don’t like to start a game that way.” Western guards Morris Anderson and Cameron Severson also provided a scoring boost with 15 and 12 points respectively. As a team, Western shot 57 percent from the field and 56 percent from 3-point range, both well above the team’s season averages. Jackson said the Vikings physically overmatched the opposing team and this led to many easy baskets. Western senior center Dave Vanderjagt, who stands a massive 7 feet tall, took advantage of his 7-inch height advantage over Quest’s tallest member, Jesse Norris, to score six points and grab six rebounds in 16 minutes.

photo by Alex Roberts THE WESTERN FRONT

Western senior center Zach Bruce finishes a drive to the hoop against Quest sophomore forward Sam Jeanes on Monday.

“They were little,” Vanderjagt said. “We probably won’t see that again.” This was Western’s first home game, aside from the intrasquad scrimmage held Oct. 24, and the team was very glad to be back in front of their fans. “It’s good to be back home again,” Vanderjagt said. “It’s good to have some fans cheering for us again.” Jackson said approximately 250 fans showed up to Carver Gym for the scrimmage. However, the team hopes that number will increase as the season moves along, Jackson said. The Vikings were in full control by the second half, never leading by less than 32.

“We got our entire roster in and got them some minutes,” Jackson said. Quest head coach Sean Shook, a Western alumnus, said he expected this to be a tough game for his third-year program to compete in, but he said he was proud of his team's effort. Coming back to a gym he spent a great deal of time in when he was younger was exciting, Shook said. The Vikings out-rebounded Quest 50-23, led by forward Rory Blanche and his game-high 10 rebounds. The Vikings will be back in action 7:30 p.m. Oct. 12 in Carver Gym against Team Another Level, a team that includes several Western alumni.


Community members form club to begin hostel development their tuition and monthly stipends ucational benefits through the nation who receive...


Community members form club to begin hostel development their tuition and monthly stipends ucational benefits through the nation who receive...