System a plus or minus?

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Aug 292002
Authors: Colleen Buhrer

I don’t know about anyone else, but I find it extremely frustrating to work my butt off for a class and end up with the same grade as other people who barely did any work at all. Teachers who do not use pluses or minuses are usually at fault for this frustration.

If the students voted to have the plus-minus system put in place on campus, it must have been for a reason.

The argument I hear is that we already have five designations for grades; there is no reason for 12. There is a reason for twelve though when students can do more than five levels of work and teachers refuse to bump grades up for hard work.

An argument against the system usually comes from people who get grades with minuses, but I don’t agree that just because someone gets an A minus instead of an A that the entire system should be trashed. I have had many instances in my educational career when teachers gave me A minuses, and I was just as angry as the next person, but in most cases I didn’t work as hard in those classes as I did in the one’s I got A’s in.

The biggest complaint I have about the plus-minus system is that it is not consistent throughout campus. The system can be very beneficial to students, but only if all the teachers use it. It can completely screw with grade point averages if different teachers grade differently.

I think the system can be seen as a very positive for students. I am typically more motivated to work harder in a class that uses a plus-minus system, than one that doesn’t.

If people know they are going to get a B from the work that it takes to get an 80 percent as opposed to getting a B minus for that work, then they are not going to work as hard. I know I wouldn’t. Whereas, if they know they will get a B minus for only getting 80 percent they may be more encouraged to work harder.

In my BZ110 class I took my sophomore year, I worked really hard for an A in that class. My study guide for my final was 75 pages typed (before I found out she reuses the questions from previous exams). When all was said and done I ended up with an 89.7 in the class. The teacher gave me a B.

It made me angry because I know other people in the class who did not work as hard as I did, but got the same grade. Thus, I think the plus-minus system should stay. It can encourage students to work harder, instead of discouraging them from working hard.

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Meet the candidates for the 2002 gubernatorial race

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Aug 292002
Authors: Melissa Pester

The 2002 gubernatorial race has two candidates striving for the position and awaiting Colorado’s vote on November 5.

Democratic candidate Rollie Heath and Republican candidate Gov. Bill Owens both have their campaigns up and running in the state.

Heath, who has become known as the healthcare candidate because of his healthcare initiative, has spent most of his life working in the business, civic and educational communities.

Coming out of the primary, Heath was one of three Democratic candidates interested in running for governor. Heath outlasted state Senate President Stan Matsunaka, D-Loveland, who originally wanted to run for governor but changed campaigns when Democrats urged him to run for U.S. representative in Colorado’s 4th District, which includes Fort Collins.

Heath would like to implement his personal plans, if elected, on solving many of the issues Coloradans are facing this year and in the future. For example, rather than focusing on growth in the sense of urban sprawl, Heath thinks the state needs to focus more on water distribution and conservation in the state. The Democratic candidate vows to restore lost jobs because of Colorado’s dwindling economy.

“Colorado’s revenues are dwindling, transportation projects go un-funded, children still lack the education they need and deserve, people are losing jobs, health care is becoming more and more unaffordable, and only half-hearted efforts have been made to address the impacts of growth,” Heath said on his campaign website.

Owens is looking to take on a second term as governor of Colorado. After four years as the state’s governor, Owens is responsible for the implementation of the Colorado Student Assessment Program, or CSAP, tests in the state’s public schools and the planning of Denver’s T-Rex road construction project.

If elected, his stance on the issues of Colorado looks to stay similar during his current term. He plans to continue the T-Rex project in order to alleviate the transportation issues in the Denver Metro area and soon all over the state. His growth plans leave more power to the local communities in Colorado.

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Recovered bicycles have yet to be claimed

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Aug 292002
Authors: Megan Fromm

Twenty-five bicycles recovered after being stolen and pawned remain unclaimed at the CSU Police Department, said Detective Eric Lintz.

This summer, approximately 50 bicycles stolen during the 2001-2002 school year were retrieved by CSUPD after being located at pawnshops, bicycle shops and inside the house of the offenders.

About half have been returned to owners after being correctly identified, and those that are not claimed within two months will be labeled for auction in the spring, Lintz said. However, no new bicycles have been recovered since the initial find in July.

“If you’ve already contacted us, and we didn’t have your bike, we don’t have it now,” he said.

Lintz is asking students whose bicycles were stolen last spring to e-mail the police office with a description of the bicycle including brand, model and color as well as a serial number and any special equipment. His e-mail address is

He also asks e-mails include a relative time frame in which the theft occurred and from where the bicycle was stolen.

“We will check the inventory and e-mail you back to set up a time to identify the bike,” Lintz said. “We also will respond if we don’t have the bike and will file the e-mail for future reference.”

Lintz said he stresses people e-mail instead of call the station in order to keep phone lines clear and to be more accurate and efficient with the information.

To prevent further bicycle theft, Lintz said he recommends students use U-locks and lock the frame of the bicycle, not the front tire, to the bicycle rack. He also suggests registering all bicycles with the CSUPD, which makes recovering and returning stolen property much easier.

Any questions about stolen bicycles on campus should be e-mailed to Detective Eric Lintz of CSUPD. His address is

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On-line courses connect to students

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Aug 292002
Authors: Jeremy Scurlock

For those who dread the 8 a.m. trek to campus, registering for an online course may be an alternative.

There are fully online courses for every college at CSU and approximately 60 courses total, and the number is still rising, said Karen Kaminski, assistant director of the Office of Instructional Services.

“[Online courses] take the pressure off going to class,” said sophomore Eric Hall. “So far it looks like a good idea for me. The instructor has been very helpful and the technology seems easy to use.”

Hall, an agricultural business major, said he took his A140 Technology and Agriculture course online because he could not get into the lab class.

Besides being convenient to traditional students like Hall, Sherry L. McConnell, an associate professor and assistant dean for Admissions and Student Affairs and an instructor for an online anatomy course, said the large number of non-traditional students prompted her to make the course available in a non-traditional manner.

“There are more and more people coming to CSU that can be considered non-traditional,” McConnell said. “Offering classes online make it easier on full time workers and parents who want to continue or come back to school.”

McConnell said she was unsure at first if relating the concepts of her course in histology (the anatomical study of the microscopic structure of animal and plant tissue) would be possible outside of a lab situation. McConnell said her lectures for the course are accessible at all times, but exam times are specified.

“Students can go back and review the lectures if they didn’t understand something,” McConnell said. “The material is always there.”

McConnell’s problem with presenting microscopic images to her students was solved with the help of computer technology. She said the mouse becomes the microscope, just point and click to increase the size of the image and view it closer. The program has over 5000 interactive images.

Besides expressing the content in a format understandable online, McConnell said she worried she would lose the bond she develops with her students in a lab setting.

“That’s why I got into teaching,” McConnell said. “I want the students to feel like they know me, it’s easy when you’re running a lab, but hard to do with computers.”

McConnell has been at CSU for 18 years and says she makes a conscious effort to add a personal side to her online course. She said she does what she would do in a classroom, tell stories about herself and try to get to know her students.

A real time, online chat room is available at an established time where students can discuss material with her and other students.

“If the student wants to, it is possible to bond with a person in an online environment without seeing them,” McConnell said. “I had a student enrolled in an online course and an on-campus lab. We talked regularly through the online course but I was not aware she was in my lab until the end of the year. On campus contact doesn’t guarantee a relationship.”

McConnell’s efforts to make her online courses enjoyable were recognized nationally in 2000 by the company who owns and operates WebCT, a program CSU regularly uses to put course materials online. She said the award came with no financial rewards or grants, but was given for academic rigor and presentation.

While some online instructors make the effort stay in good contact with their students some do not. Junior graphic art education major Sarah Urbanek said her online astronomy class was great for time management, but her instructor’s slow response to her efforts to contact him was frustrating.

“I liked working and learning the material at my own pace, but it’s hard when you have a question, even a simple one, and there is no one accessible to answer it.”

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Textbooks sometimes stolen at CSU

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Aug 292002
Authors: Monique Lewis

About a half dozen reports per semester are made to the CSU Bookstore from students whose textbooks were swiped. Knowing what to do when textbooks are stolen or lost can save students hundreds of dollars.

Aretha Broughton, a junior accounting and computer information systems major, said someone took her book in the computer lab. Broughton let another student use her book during class. Just when she was about to leave home, she remembered it. She discovered the book and the student missing when she returned.

“It taught me that although just being friendly in general is good, by being too friendly, you could loose it all,” she said.

The majority of the offenses the bookstore deals with, such as Broughton’s case, occur in the library and math modules.

“It increases as we get closer to the end of year,” said John Parry, director of the CSU Bookstore. “The number one way to prevent them is to not leave them unattended. Maintain control of your possessions. Don’t give (thieves) the opportunity.”

If a book is stolen, students need to positively identify the book. Write your mother’s name, a birthday or pictures on specific pages to make it as distinct as possible. However, make sure to do this after you’ve decided to keep the book. If it is stolen, contact CSUPD first to place a case number. Then, report the stolen books to every bookstore location around campus. Specifically describe the book and the markings.

“We have the ability to go into our computer buyback system to note if the book was stolen,” Parry said, who will then ask for identification and notify CSUPD if the student is not the original owner of the book.

It’s important to take precautions such as holding onto your receipt and never leaving your backpack unattended.

“We had a customer stealing books from the School of Mines and selling the books at school buybacks across the Front Range,” Parry said. “We probably get one or so a semester. We certainly don’t want to see that happen (here).”

If your books are missing, check the main lost and found location at the information booth in the Lory Student Center. Every item is logged, remains there for 30 days, then donated to the community. If you’re tired of hauling around books all day, use the lockers in the Lory Student Center, math-testing center in the Weber Building and the Morgan Library.

“Every once in a while we have thieves who target those areas,” said Carl Swenson, CSUPD Lieutenant. “If students lock their items there won’t be as many problems. Replacing books is a hassle. Just don’t leave your items sitting out or unattended. It takes less time to do that than to replace credit cards (and other valuable possessions).”

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Plans to extend passing periods on back burner

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Aug 292002
Authors: Christopher J. Ortiz

Initial plans to extend the passing period between classes from 10 minutes to 15 have been put on the backburner for now.

CSU’s Faculty Council and Associated Students of CSU had been in talks about extending the 10-minute passing period between Monday, Wednesday and Friday classes to 15 minutes. For now the ASCSU cabinet has stopped pursuing the issue, but it may arise again in senate over the next few weeks, said David Bower, president of ASCSU.

“Dr. (David) Allen, head of Faculty Council, came to me at the end of last year, interested in looking at changing the class schedule on Monday, Wednesday and Friday to include a 15-minute passing period,” Bower said. “What I told him at that time was it was very difficult for us to look at it, let alone make a decision about it on the last week of school,”

Bower said ASCSU needs time to look at the issue before deciding it was beneficial to students. Also, he feels that research will need to be conducted in order to discern how students feel about the issue.

David Allen, head of Faculty Council could not be reached for comment.

“(ASCSU) did a little bit of research about it, and talked about it at the retreat (earlier this month)… because of the timeline, we needed to have made a decision late August, early September to go ahead with an implementation for fall of next year,” Bower said. “What ASCSU decided was we need substantial time to look into the issue.”

Some students think the passing period extension would be a good thing, or were at least sympathetic to other students who may have longer walks between buildings.

“I could use more time between classes,” said Tracy Hanzel, an open-option sophomore. “If you have classes on the other side of campus, you don’t get much time or even a break between classes.”

Brian Wilkerson, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering agreed.

“I don’t think it would be worth the time because all my classes are close together, but I guess if students need to get across campus than it is worth the time,” he said.

Bower discussed the merits and disadvantages of the proposal.

“There are merits to the issue, we would be helping students who are possibly disabled get to classes on time, or students walking to buildings across campus,” Bower said. But he added that he wants to answer the question of whether the change would be “benefiting all the students or… only benefiting students who want to stay for an extra smoke break.”

Another disadvantage to the extension is it would add approximately 45 minutes to the Monday, Wednesday and Friday class schedule.

Bower also brought up the issue of the new extended passing period coordinating with the bus schedule.

He anticipates that the ASCSU senate will discuss this matter further in the next few weeks.

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Counseling center offers someone to talk to

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Aug 292002
Authors: Adrienne Hoenig

The University Counseling Center wants to make sure students always have someone to talk to.

The University Counseling Center offers a variety of services to students. Academic support, skills training, focused workshops and individual counseling are among the services provided. Student fees support all counseling center services.

“The center’s goal is to contribute to the overall educational mission of the university by facilitating the academic, emotional and personal development of students,” said Charles Davidshofer, director of the University Counseling Center.

Other organizations on campus also have links to the counseling center.

“We do a network with other services on campus to better serve students,” said Cindy Swindell, psychologist with the center.

The Office of International Programs, Residence Hall Association, Hartshorn Health Center and the Student Recreation Center are among the programs on campus that work directly with the University Counseling Center to benefit students.

“We specifically do shared programming with members of wellness programs such as Hartshorn and the Rec Center,” said Davidshofer. These joint programs are designed to help students with eating disorders, depression, anxiety and low self-esteem.

Though there is a correlation between these student services, information about a student or his situation cannot be shared without written consent from the student.

“Confidentiality is a legal and ethical principle and is very important to our work,” said Swindell. Only in rare cases, when a person is considered dangerous to himself or others is any information passed between these agencies.

“It’s a very serious judgment call, but it’s designed to protect confidentiality,” said Swindell.

The University Counseling Center offers many group-oriented services. Self-esteem, depression, assertiveness, and anger management workshops are offered once a semester. There are also themed groups such as “Loss and Transition,” “Exercise and Depression” and “Stop Thinking – Start Living” that meet regularly throughout the semester. However, individual counseling is generally more popular among students.

“In our culture, people are more comfortable to start with individual counseling,” Swindell said.

Group sessions have a maximum of eight members and usually fill up in early October.

Counseling services are offered 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to students registered for at least six credit hours. The Counseling Center offices, located in Clark C-36, take drop-in or scheduled appointments Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. After-hours or on weekends and university holidays an on-call counselor can be reached by calling the campus emergency hotline at 491-7111.

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‘Full Frontal’ shot of Hollywood

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Aug 282002
Authors: Eric Patton

The Academy Award winner Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic” and “Erin Brockovich”) was able to get a fully loaded cast together for his latest picture “Full Frontal” and besides Catherine Keener, they have all fallen just slightly shy of what an avid fan would expect.

Sharing a ‘throne’ with Parker Posey (“Waiting for Guffman” and “Best in Show”), Catherine Keener and Posey reign as the independent film queens. Lately Keener has been breaking out of her usual role and making a run at Hollywood mogul status.

This film is again going to put her ahead in that race seeing as she out-shines David Hyde Pierce (TV’s Frasier), Enrico Colantoni, David Duchovny, Blair Underwood, Nicky Katt the high profile, over-priced veteran, Julia Roberts. So how is it that she was the one to watch although the film is basically a ‘reality show?’

There is a presence about her, and that seems like a clich/d term, but that is all I have to describe it. Emerging from very low-profiled films she came up into slightly high profiled films such as “Your Friends and Neighbors” and “Being John Malkovich.” Her latest roles have included “Death to Smoochy” with Edward Norton and Robin Williams and “The Good Girl” with Jennifer Aniston.

“Full Frontal” is the full frontal view of the under-belly of Hollywood life. We follow around different people associated with those in Hollywood power and watch how seemingly disconnected they find themselves from the ‘real life,’ yet we notice how very connected they all are, not only with each other, but with ‘real life.’

There is a movie within this movie, one titled ‘Rendezvous,’ which stars Francesca (Julia Roberts) and Calvin (Blair Underwood). Soderbergh splices the two films by shooting ‘real life’ (“Full Frontal”) on video, giving it a much softer appearance, and then shooting ‘Rendezvous’ on 35mm. As all their problems plague each individual, the final problem attacks them all.

I cannot remember the last time I have been so conflicted over what to think of a film. The acting was very good, the script was well written and I have never been disappointed with Steven Soderbergh’s films. The problem is, I never found myself really caring for anyone in the film and my emotions were never elevated to that level a good movie should take them.

So, technically, this was a perfect piece of strict filmmaking, which should ultimately improve the final grade. But as far as entertainment value, it is lacking significantly. So what grade do you give a film like this? Do I balance it out? Give it a C- for entertainment value and an A for technical excellence? I think so. So it isn’t a perfect balance of the two, but this gets a C+. Go see it, and let me know…

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Acting master Pacino refreshes ‘Simone’

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Aug 282002
Authors: Eric Patton

I call it Simone Effects.

It is the fantastic effects that Hollywood can use in order for you, the audience, to see anything they want you to see.

When you see a photo of a star walking out of a porn shop, it may actually be him walking out of his home and the shop is put in there later. When you see a woman in a film and she has flawless skin and a killer body, they may have add one beauty mark, digitally remove any acne or pock marks as well as slimed the stomach and the legs. And all of this is what “Simone” addresses, as well as it addresses the idea of live actors one day becoming an obsolete necessity.

Al Pacino stars as a struggling director, Viktor Teransky, who needs a starlet in order to re-ignite his career. After failing to meet the needs of the over-priced and high-maintenance actress, played by Winona Ryder, he hits rock bottom and gets no extension on his contract with the appropriately named, Amalgamated Films. This is appropriate because its new star, Simone (which is short for Simulation One) is an amalgamation of numerous actress that made it big over the years, including the flawless Audrey Hepburn.

Ripped straight from the magazine covers and model life she was living, Rachel Roberts was cast as the lead, Simone, who soon becomes the world’s biggest star and Teransky is the only person “allowed to see her.” She becomes the studio’s dream actress, as she requires no make-up or hair stylists, she has no problems with nudity and her rates remain consistent.

But what if the creator wants her to disappear? How easy is it to get rid of her? Teransky soon finds out that his creation may be his demise.

Al Pacino is refreshing. Coming from a 62-year actor that made his name with dramatic roles in “The Godfather,” “Serpico,” and “Scent of a Woman,” seeing him in this unlikely role is a special treat for anybody who has ever loved Pacino, and in this film, he is at his best.

The supporting cast, including Catherine Keener, Jay Mohr and Pruitt Taylor Vince, works perfectly with the leads, like they are all dancing together. You find yourself just waiting anxiously to see what is going to unravel next. Although some ideas become outlandish and go too far with the simulation story line, and although most scenes just touch on comedy without ever really making that extra drive, it is a well-worthwhile film.

If nothing else, you get to watch Pacino, a master at the acting craft, and Rachel Roberts seems to glimmer up there for the camera. And despite the tract record of past models turned actresses, Roberts actually does a relatively decent job at acting. But remember, what you see in film may not be what is really there. B.

Other suggestions with Al Pacino; Serpico, The Godfather, The Godfather II, Dog Day Afternoon, Scent of a Woman, The Insider, Heat, Author Author, Revolution, Carlito’s Way, Scarface.

Suggestions with Catherine Keener; Being John Malkovich, Lovely and Amazing, Your Friends and Neighbors, Death to Smoochy.

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Corn maze grows patriotism

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Aug 282002
Authors: Josh Hardin

An amazing time awaits visitors to LaSalle, Colo. where patriotism has been planted into a cornfield in the middle of America’s heartland.

This is the third consecutive year farm owners Glen and Kim Fritzler have created a corn maze, the latest harvest in the growing world of “agritainment.” This year’s maze is in the shape of a waving American flag with an eagle in flight in front of its stars and stripes. The design is completed with the message: “God Bless America” on the top.

In previous years the Fritzlers chose designs based on the Denver Broncos’ logo, but this year after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks the decision for this year’s maze was immediate.

“It hit me like a ton of bricks,” Glen said, “It didn’t even take me two seconds to decide what design I wanted to do. Everyone has patriotism inside of them. We just wanted to show that and do a patriotic design.”

The design was created in cooperation with Brett Herbst of the MAiZE Corporation. Herbst has created more than 330 mazes contributing to the “MAiZE craze” which includes nearly 140 affiliated sites across the United States, Canada and Europe. There will be five mazes, three of which are affiliated with MAiZE, which will be sprouting up in Colo. this year.

Glen said since his grandfather and father were farmers, the natural thing for him to do was to become one too. He enjoys how his job gives him the freedom to make his own decisions and the freedom to watch his children grow up.

“I love watching crops grow,” he said.” This corn is as pretty as any you’ll see in the state.”

So how does an everyday farmer become a ringleader in the “agritainment” industry?

According to Glen the reason was monetary. The Fritzlers farm had been consistently losing money for almost a decade. It finally came to the point where the family considered giving it up for good. Although a new opportunity for profit arose when a cousin of the Fritzlers came back from a trip to a corn maze in Arizona. When Glen first heard the idea his reaction was “why would anyone want to do that?”

Although the idea soon began to take root in his mind and he decided to give it a try in the fall of 2000. The maze has been successful ever since. About 25 to 30,000 people are expected to visit the maze this year.

Preparing the maze is what takes the most work. The only tools Glen used to create the maze were a bag of herbicide and a map. The map, provided by MAiZE, was printed on a paper grid that was divided into 24 segments showing where to remove the corn. It took about six days for the corn to be extracted. Unlike some cornfields across the country, Glen did not use GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) photos to create his maze.

Despite working on the maze on his own, Glen admits he has yet to walk through it all at once since its completion. During orientations for his staff this year, Glen has gotten lost three times.

“No matter where you are in the maze it looks about the same,” he said. “I even had a map with the correct trail highlighted. All the employees were laughing at me.”

The time an average visitor should expect to finish navigating the labyrinth of corn is about an hour. The maze will feature more than two hours of twists and turns that spiral through 85 decision points.

“It’s going to be a hard one this year, especially in the area where it says ‘God Bless America,'” said Tom Horn, a friend of the Fritzler family. “I like this design better than the Broncos designs they did,”

There will be 14 different stages that will let people know if they are getting progressively closer to the exit in order to prevent visitors from becoming too frustrated.

In addition to the maze there will be “corn cannons” that shoot ears of corn at targets of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, a barrel train for children and a sandbox filled with 4,000 lbs. of corn kernels. Portions of the maze will also be haunted for Halloween starting on Sept. 27.

Glen said he enjoys the Maze most at night, especially the ambiance of the wind blowing and rustling through the corn. However, to Glen, even the night doesn’t compare to the experience of seeing the reaction of visitors who come to “get lost” somewhere on the plains of Colo.

“As an owner, watching people smile, laugh and have fun makes me feel good,” Glen said. “We want them to enjoy the time they are here.”

The MAiZE will give visitors the chance to “get lost” Aug. 30 through Nov. 3. Their hours will be:

Monday – Tuesday: Closed

Wednesday – Thursday: 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Friday: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Saturday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Sunday: noon to 8 p.m.

The MAiZE will have special hours, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Labor Day Weekend and will offer special field trips during weekends that are available by reservation. The MAiZE is located four miles south of LaSalle on Highway 85. The cost is $7 for ages 13 and up, $5 for ages 6-12 and free for kids 5 and under. Discounts are available for families, groups and field trips. For more information or to make reservations call (970) 737-2129 or visit

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