Ms. Matich,

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Dec 112005
 
Authors:

I apologize if my letter about the recent downslide in quality of the Collegian offended you, as this was not my intent. As to your complaint that I didn't back up my argument with facts, I would like to take this opportunity to do just that. Hope this helps clear up any confusion.

Fact: On Dec. 2, the Collegian printed an erroneous graphic on the front page detailing the number of deaths from AIDS. This graphic included glaring mistakes that made it both nonsensical and completely irrelevant to the article. I feel this sort of mistake should have been caught by an editor somewhere along the way.

Fact: On Monday, Nov. 28, the Collegian printed an article in which they misreported the starting date of Hanukkah. This type of mistake leads me to believe that reporters at the Collegian have a difficult time utilizing research materials and checking their facts.

Fact: At one point during the semester, the Collegian printed an entire article that was a review of a festival that had taken place the previous year, instead of the festival they were supposed to be covering. The editorial staff issued a lengthy apology for this mistake.

In addition to these problems, there have been numerous typos, spelling mistakes and instances of, quite simply, bad writing that indicate to me a lapse in the previously high standards of the Collegian. As responsible, discerning adults attending an institute of higher education, I believe that the poor writing and editing of the Collegian reflects badly on the school and on the students, especially if we fail to speak up and demand better.

As to your question of why I still read the Collegian, I will say that it's the only readily available, free source of news on campus, and I like to have something to read when I'm eating lunch or bored at work. Why you choose to continually belittle people in the Collegian is another story. Best of luck with all of your future endeavors.

Emily Moreland

senior

English education

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

In Response to Jenna Ellis’ column

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Dec 112005
 
Authors:

There seems to be no end to the indignation of Christians when it comes to others' holidays infringing on Christmas. Ms. Ellis is obviously upset that her rosy colored vision of Christmas is being destroyed by reality.

Let's start with the "Christmas Tree." This tradition can be traced back to the Pagan celebration of the winter solstice. People decorated trees with candles to make a warm place for the winter elves to stay on the longest night of the year. The birth of Christ? Judging from the young animals that were purported to be in the manger, this birth must have occurred in the spring, not the middle of winter. The holiday of Christmas was invented by the Romans circa the 4th Century, present era, to compete not only with the holiday of the pagans that the Romans were "civilizing," but also to compete with Hanukkah.

Why can't everyone just admit that Christmas is nothing more than a commercialized spending spree? How many were up before dawn on black Friday to start shopping? How many have spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on presents that people don't need? And why is Christmas the only "religious" holiday that is also a federal holiday?

Mike Scott

graduate student

chemistry

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Best of ramtalk

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Dec 112005
 
Authors:

To the gurl who called football players jurks: I apologise on behaf of my teem member. Sometims we are reely dum. He is still lerning how to be humun. I wuld never hav dun that to a pritty gurl like yurself. We cant all be nise and like gentelmen.

All right, so I'm OK with the people who ace the O-Chem tests and ruin the curve for everybody. But if in 20 years they haven't found a cure for cancer…I'm gonna be pissed.

To the squirrel that's been eating our pumpkins: Yes, we do have your tail.

My Dearest Tom Welling (Superman from "Smallville"),

Yesterday was the most magical night of my life. Not only because of your super strength, but because of your super speed. I want you, I need you, I need you more than Lucky needs his Lucky Charms…Shimmy Shimmy Cocoa Pop….Shimmy Shimmy Why???…Because I love you!

P.S. Remember to bring the strawberry syrup next time…you know what brand I like!

While making supper, my boyfriend (an engineer, NOT a biologist) suggested we cook the chicken a bit longer so we didn't get "ovarian flu." Mmhmm, like he could get that.

Looking for female nanny with fun personality and lots of energy to look after 20-year-old male. Must like moonlit walks on the beach, poetry by candlelight and UNO.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Our View

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Dec 112005
 
Authors:

The lights are up, the snow is here and fall finals are stressing out the student body. It must be time for the holidays. Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza are right around the corner, which in turn means a month off from the stresses of college.

We encourage everyone to take this month to relax and spend some quality time with the people you enjoy.

The holidays are meant to be a special time of the year. They offer plenty to everyone, regardless of religion or beliefs. Hopefully, the holidays mean more than just gifts. They should be celebrated in their entirety, which means remembering the roots and traditions.

Whichever holiday you choose to celebrate, we wish it to be great.

But along with this joy and celebration, it also seems that the holidays and the winter season bring about accidents and other unfortunate events. We would encourage everyone to behave safely. While the holidays and the New Year are great reasons to party, it should be done responsibly.

To those who finished their first semester of college – congratulations. To the graduating seniors, good luck.

To everyone, use this time off wisely and remember to have as much fun as safely possible.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Intelligent, not by any design

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Dec 112005
 
Authors: Yasaman Sadeghipour The Pitt News U. Pittsburgh

(U-WIRE) PITTSBURGH – Bring out the pitchforks and torches. We must cleanse our society of any and all liberals — gasps of horror — and their negative, liberal influence on our children. These liberals have taken over our media and education system and are brainwashing our impressionable and innocent children.

These are the same unpatriotic heathens who want to teach our children about evolution in biology classes. And they have the audacity to criticize the war and our president at a time of war. We must have their heads now. March onward let us rid our society of this great evil.

There is a perception among conservatives in this country that there exists a liberal bias everywhere. The aforementioned liberal bias, of course, is most obvious in the education system and the super-duper liberal media.

I am not going to argue that some media outlets do not have a liberal slant. Of course, no matter how unbiased one may try to appear, it is at times inevitable that one's feelings will show up in their work. However, to argue that all media — movies, TV and news shows — are tools of liberal propaganda is simply not true. Let us, for example, take my very favorite TV commentator: Bill O'Reilly. Yes, Fox News' very own Bill O'Reilly who has reached a level of one-name fame matched only by Madonna and Cher.

O'Reilly is one of the people who believes the media is super liberal and out to indoctrinate every child out there. This is, of course, the same person who has rewritten his book, "The O'Reilly Factor," for children — I guess it's not indoctrination if you're a conservative. Added to the league of conservative news channels — not unlike the Fox News — and radio shows, like that of Rush Limbaugh's are the religious networks.

Ahhh, the religious networks. It is obviously for the purposes of liberal indoctrination when our friend Reverend Pat Robertson told the people of Dover, Pa., that they shouldn't turn to God next time they have a problem. Because, of course, they had the audacity to vote out the school board for forcing biology teachers to teach intelligent design. But then again, "Cornerstone Television" isn't really part of "the media."

Let me point out that I have no problem with people believing whatever they want to believe. My problem is, however, with people wasting my tax money to investigate the existence of such things — regardless of whether it is a liberal bias, a conservative bias or a whatever-the-hell-else type of bias that they hope to investigate.

Our very own, beloved University was the site of one such instance of foolishness a few weeks ago. This was when the state of Pennsylvania decided to hold hearings on whether there is a liberal bias in state-run universities. Really? Does the state not have more important things to do? Is our state so free of problems that we are scraping from the absolute bottom of the list?

I'm a little surprised. The last time I checked, tuitions were going up, minimum wage was staying the same and education and health care plans were being cut. I mean, if the state has extra money to spend on investigating whether there is a liberal bias in state run institutions, I would be more than happy to take some of it off their hands.

Do not misunderstand. I am not naive enough to argue that there are no liberals in institutions of higher education. But there is a difference between saying that some — or even all — of the professors are liberal and that affects how they grade students. All I have to say to that is if that was the case, then my QPA should have been a 4.0 — but it's not. So, the next time the government wants to investigate something, ask yourself if it's worth a few thousand dollars more in tuition and taxes.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

New face needed in 2008 for Democrats

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Dec 112005
 
Authors: Sarah Howard

(U-WIRE) MADISON, Wis. – It's never too early to start thinking about 2008. Just ask political pundits who have already started speculating about the DFL presidential nominees. On multiple news stations and in plenty of newspapers, Americans can find talking heads who are eager to share their analysis of every political movement Democrats make, followed by an explanation of how each plays into their supposed future campaign. Whether criticizing the handling of Iraq, commenting on a Supreme Court nominee or discussing the detention protocol, high-profile Democrats are painted as posturing for the nomination.

This may be a result of the apparent breakdown of the current administration. Little has gone right for the president, his staff or his party since the start of his second term, and the strain of persisting failures is reflected in Mr. Bush's record-low polling numbers. Political commentators who recognize Mr. Bush's weakness, and are always happy to highlight the adversarial tone of Washington politics, are thus focusing their attention on Democrats they believe will seek the Oval Office in '08.

At the present time, they are directing their attention at some old favorites. Familiar names like John Kerry, Wesley Clark, Al Gore and even George McGovern pepper speculative political analysis. Although these politicians have not officially declared their candidacy, pundits seem to be honing in on an increasingly defined pool of presidential candidates. And given the current political climate, this could be cause for Democratic concern.

The country has signaled it is ready for a change. Democrats especially are hungry for new leadership and a strong candidate who can excite their base and the wider electorate. After hair-splitting defeats in 2000 and 2004, members of the Democratic Party want a victory, but they would prefer a landslide — and that is the problem with the old favorites.

Though Messrs. Edwards, Kerry, Gore and McGovern have proven viable in the past, it is unlikely they will prove victors in the future. These men are admirable public servants and experienced politicians, but they already failed to convince a sufficient number of voters that they are presidential material. And for desperate Democrats, there is no time for second chances. History has shown time and again that even when political conditions for the opposition party appear favorable, a strong and outstanding candidate must campaign hard to secure any public office.

Take the example of Walter Mondale in Minnesota's race for U.S. Senate in 2002. Following the tragic death of Paul Wellstone in a plane accident, Democrats were anxious, or more accurately desperate, to rally around his replacement. When Mondale agreed to run, the relief in the Democratic Party was palpable. Dems believed that Mondale, despite a crushing defeat in his presidential bid, had the name recognition and the lingering popularity to defeat now-Sen. Norm Coleman.

However, as the election results would show, Mondale failed to stir the necessary voters to secure the senatorial seat. Despite his familiarity and popularity, he could not fill the void left by the passionate Wellstone.

Then, because Election Day was so imminent, Democrats had few candidates to turn to. Now, with the media pushing an ever-earlier commencement of the campaign season, the Democratic Party has time for careful selection. Old mistakes and former campaigns must not be repeated.

Instead, Democrats should seek a fresh start by supporting a new face among their presidential hopefuls. Their past two presidential campaigns lacked the personality and passion that stirred Americans to vote for Bill Clinton, who remains popular despite the trauma of his second term. Old favorites come with comfortable campaign messages and nostalgic memories, but they lack the fervor Clinton inspired in voters. As the march toward 2008 continues, Democrats would be smart to push some of their boldest members to the frontlines of presidential contenders.

Govs. Mark Warner of Virginia and Bill Richardson of New Mexico are both rumored to be considering presidential campaigns. Here in Wisconsin, Sen. Russ Feingold is a particularly tempting option for a party in need of a new and courageous candidate.

The past five years have been difficult for Democrats and many in this country. Now is the time for Democrats to throw their support boldly, but wisely, behind a candidate who offers a true alternative to our current president and whatever successor emerges from his party. The political limelight — and the hopeful voters — are waiting.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Colorado Resort Information

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Dec 112005
 
Authors:

Arapahoe Basin

Snowfall: 367 inches

Number of Lifts: 6

Number of Trails: 69 (15% Beginner, 45% Intermediate, 40% Advanced)

Terrain: 490 acres

Terrain Parks: 1

Travel Time*: ~2 hours

Cost: Open – November 23: $38; November 24 to December 16: $45; December 16 to Close: TBA

Aspen Highlands

Snowfall: 300 inches

Number of Lifts: 5

Number of Trails: (18% Beginner, 30% Intermediate, 52% Advanced)

Terrain: 970 acres

Terrain Parks: 0

Travel Time*: ~ 4 hours

Cost: window price: $78

Breckenridge

Snowfall: 300 inches

Number of Lifts: 28

Number of Trails: 147 (15% Beginner, 33% Intermediate, 52% Advanced)

Terrain: 2,208 acres

Terrain Parks: 5

Travel Time*: ~ 2 hours

Cost: November 23 to December 16: $69; December 17 to April 15: $75; April 16 to Close: $49

Copper Mountain

Snowfall: 284 inches

Number of Lifts: 22

Number of Trails: 125 (21% Beginner, 25% Intermediate, 54% Advanced)

Terrain: 2,450 acres

Terrain Parks: 3

Travel Time*: ~ 2 hours

Cost: November 4 – December 16: $69; December 17 – April 1: $72

Crested Butte Mountain Resort

Snowfall: 240 inches

Number of Lifts: 15

Number of Trails: 121 (23% Beginner, 57% Intermediate, 20% Advanced)

Terrain: 1.125 acres

Terrain Parks: 3

Travel Time*: ~ 5 hours

Cost: November 19 to December 16: $35; December 17 to April 2: $69; April 3 to April 9: $35

Durango Mountain Resort (Purgatory)

Snowfall: 260 inches

Number of Lifts: 20

Number of Trails: 85 (12% Beginner, 34% Intermediate, 54% Advanced)

Terrain: 2,870 acres

Terrain Parks:

Travel Time*: ~ 2 hours

Cost: Regular Season: $56; Holiday Rates: $62

Keystone

Snowfall: 230 inches

Number of Lifts: 11

Number of Trails: 85 (23 % Beginner, 47% Intermediate, 30% Advanced)

Terrain: 1,200 acres

Terrain Parks*: 1

Travel Time: ~ 2 hours

Cost: November 23 to December 16: $69; December 17 toApril 16: $75

Steamboat

Snowfall: 334 inches

Number of Lifts: 20

Number of Trails: 142 (13% Beginner, 56% Intermediate, 31% Advanced)

Terrain: 2,965 acres

Terrain Parks: 1

Travel Time*: ~ 3.5 hours

Cost: November 24 to December 14: $60; December 15 to December 22: $72; December 23 to January 3: $76; January 4 to February 15: $72; February 16 to March 26: $74; March 27 to April 9: $60

Vail

Snowfall: 346 inches

Number of Lifts: 34

Number of Trails: 193 (18% Beginner, 29% Intermediate, 53% Advanced)

Terrain: 5,289 acres

Terrain Parks: 4

Travel Time*: ~ 2.5 hours

Cost: November 23 to December 16: $69; December 16 to Close TBA

Winter Park

Snowfall: 346 inches

Number of Lifts: 24

Number of Trails: 134 (9% Beginner, 34% Intermediate, 57% Advanced)

Terrain: 2,762 acres

Terrain Parks: 3

Travel Time*: ~ 2 hours

Cost: November 16 to December 16: $49; December 17 to April 1: $72; April 2 to April 16: TBA

* All travel time is estimated starting from I-25 and Prospect Road in Fort Collins. Actual travel time may vary depending on traffic and road conditions.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Governor proposes tuition cap under Referendum C

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Dec 112005
 
Authors: Skylar Rick

The balloons and confetti thrown in celebration of the passing of Referendum C have long been swept up with only a lingering thought hanging in the vacant space – what now?

Referendum C passed with the promise of helping education, along with transportation and health care, and now it is up to the Joint Budget Committee to make sure the right funds are designated to the right places.

"The Joint Budget Committe is made up of three people from the House and three from the Senate [from the Colorado Congress]," said Kirsten Osgood , director of public affairs for the Capstone Group, a government relations firm. "They decide what different programs and priorities get funding."

Most students who voted in favor of the referendum did so because of the promise to slow down tuition increases, which is part of the proposal right now.

"Both the governer and the Colorado Commission for Higher Education (CCHE) are proposing to cap increasing tuition by 2.5 percent each year," Osgood said.

If this proposal is successful, this will make a huge difference on how much students pay each semester.

"It doesn't stick it to the students for CSU to make ends meet," said Alec Jeffries, director of legislative affairs for the Associated Students of CSU . "It ties the hands of the university and is good for students in the long run. The increase was 15 percent last year, so 2.5 percent is incredibly low."

Another help students will see in the fall semester if the proposals are approved is an increase in the College Opportunity Fund, which is split into the stipend and the fee for service.

"There is a proposal to increase the stipend from $2,400 to $2,580," Osgood said. "There could also be an increase in the fee for service contracts, which was created so higher education functions like professional and graduate education do not come out of the stipend."

The last part of the higher education proposal is to increase the amount for finacial aid.

"The governor is proposing a six percent increase, and the CCHE is proposing another 4.1 percent on top of that, which will go down to loan programs," Osgood said.

 

The committee will discuss the funds until April when the General Assembly will vote.

If all proposals of higher education pass, they should be available by the fall semester.

How the money will be split among the colleges will come through various ways.

"The money for CSU goes to the College Opportunity Fund, but there are many different university requirements to the CCHE to receive the funds," Jeffries said. "They range from needs to lobbying down at the capitol."

Unfortunately, a threat to higher education came in the form of Gov. Bill Owens' proposal requesting the majority of the money to go to transportation.

"The governor wants around $80 million of the $94 million available [a year] to go to transportation because Referendum D didn't pass," Jeffries said. "But there are enough people fighting for a reasonable amount to go to higher education because that was the intention of Referendum C in the first place."

The failure of Referendum D caused some conflict because of its connection to Referendum C. The plan was to have $100 million from Referendum C be spent each year to pay back the bonds of Referendum D, and now its unclear as to what will happen to that extra money.

"Its obviously not going to Referendum D, so its my assumption that it will be split up by the legislation, but it is still up in the air," Jeffries said.

What is certain is the relief of the student body if the proposals are passed.

"It is going to be great for students to be able to focus on their grades during the semester, not how they will be paying for the next term," said Bret Preston, freshman business finance major .

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Retail tobacco outlet offers tranquil atmosphere to Fort Collins residents

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Dec 112005
 
Authors: Hallie Woods

If you came into the small, muted lounge looking for craziness, don't let the door hit you on the way out.

"It's the flavor and the atmosphere that relax me," Fort Collins resident John Gray said while aromatic bursts of smoke wafted from his mouth.

This tobacco doesn't provide the same nicotine "buzz" or atmosphere that cigarettes do.

"We don't want liquor. We don't want the craziness," said Charles Klamm, co-owner of Algiers, a cozy hookah lounge nestled beneath the popular Alley Cat coffee shop. "We want a nice, relaxing place."

Since Fort Collins officials have said "hookah bars" are illegal within city limits, the owners of Algiers refrain from using the forbidden phrase. Instead, Algiers is a retail tobacco outlet providing sampling of the flavored blend – shisha – through hookah pipes.

Shisha, the most common form of tobacco smoked in the hookah pipe, is a mixture of tobacco, dried fruits and sugar. Algiers, the newest shisha provider to Fort Collins, sells more than 10 different flavors of the tobacco ranging from rosemary to strawberry.

Although historically present all over the world for hundreds of years, shisha has made its way into the Fort Collins tobacco market. Traditionally smoked from a large hookah water pipe, residents need not travel far to experience this Middle Eastern tradition.

Hookah smoking originally began in India centuries ago. The water pipe was later perfected in Turkey and spread to other countries in the Middle East and North Africa, including Iran and Egypt. The tradition of hookah smoking is non-gender-discriminatory and is most often a form of relaxation for men and women alike.

Compared to cigarettes, shisha "lasts a lot longer. It's a lot smoother and not as harsh on my lungs," Gray said.

The hookah uses a water base as a vacuum along with charcoal to ignite the smoking process.

"It's not a direct combustion process, the charcoal never touches the tobacco," Klamm said.

Algiers, having just opened Dec. 2, is small but very peaceful. Middle Eastern style draperies line the tables and booths, with colorful lamps dimly lighting the room. Shoes are left outside of the sampling area, and warm tea is offered complimentary to everyone choosing to sample their products.

However, with the city's strict smoking ordinances, this retail tobacco outlet is not to be confused with hookah bars that populate California, Miami Beach, Las Vegas, Chicago and even Denver.

"There is a no smoking ordinance in Fort Collins, so hookah bars are illegal," said Fort Collins city council member David Roy, dist. 6.

Because Algiers, located near the intersection of Laurel Street and College Avenue, is considered a retail tobacco outlet, establishing itself as a Fort Collins business was not difficult.

"We got all our licenses without any problems," Klamm said.

Regardless of their legal titles, Algiers has succeeded in providing a tranquil place where people can enjoy the sweet flavors of the shisha tobacco and relax from daily stress.

"This is my first time," Gray said, "but I plan on coming a lot more."

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

College Opportunity Fund helps students

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Dec 112005
 
Authors: Melissa Edwards

With constant tuition raises, some in-state students are grateful they stayed in Colorado for college. Three of Colorado's largest universities, CSU, University of Northern Colorado (UNC) and University of Colorado (CU), hiked tuition somewhat drastically since the 2002-03 school year. However, the College Opportunity Fund can reduce the effects of skyrocketing tuition for Colorado residents.

"I would hope students value the financial aid the state is putting toward higher education. Some students automatically expect not to pay as much money because of all the forms of financial aid. But the state really does try," said Alec Jeffries, director of Legislative Affairs at CSU.

Universities hiked the tuition because of Tax Payers Bill of Rights (TABOR). TABOR limited the amount of money the state could keep, and because public institutions are funded by the state, they were not getting substantial state funding to pay for the increasing numbers of students enrolling in college each year. Therefore, universities were forced to raise tuition due to inadequate state funding.

During the 2002-03 school year, CSU's tuition for in-state residents was $3,744. For the 2005-06 school year, it rose to $4,532 – a 21 percent increase. CU tuition has been more drastic, rising 50 percent since 2002. The current tuition rate for CU students is $5,372, up from the 2002-03 rate of $3,566. CU is the most expensive public university in the state. However, while it is the most costly, students at UNC have suffered the worst wrath of tuition hikes. In 2002-03, tuition was $2,290. For the current school year, rates have risen to $3,837 – a 67 percent increase. The increase is high, yet UNC still remains more affordable than both CU and CSU.

Jan Blewett, junior apparel and merchandising major at CSU, is glad he stayed in state because the COF softens the blow of tuition increases.

"I like not paying as much," he said. "Being a college student, it's hard to get money, so it's a nice little break for us."

 Posted by at 5:00 pm