CSU football team ready for season

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Jul 302002
Authors: Jon Ackerman

As the college football season draws nearer, anticipation mounts around the country. Luckily for CSU, it doesn’t have to wait any longer.

Newcomers to the CSU football program have already reported and endured orientation, while the entire team wrapped up media day Wednesday and prepares for the beginning of workouts Thursday morning. With their first game just three weeks away, the Rams are one of the few teams allowed to begin practices this early. Many schools around the nation won’t begin workouts for more than a week.

“We’ll be completed with our two-a-day (practices) when most other schools start,” said CSU Head Coach Sonny Lubick.

But that’s fine by this group. With all the anticipation surrounding the team’s common sentiment of optimism, the players and coaches are ready to live up to the hype.

Starting Aug. 22 against Virginia in the Jim Thorpe Classic, CSU embarks on a daunting 13-game schedule that includes five teams that played in bowl games a year ago. Six of the Rams’ 2002 opponents were ranked at some point last season; four finished in top 25 polls. Seven teams finished last year with a winning record and four won 10 games or more.

“We’re ready to get this thing started,” said sophomore tight end Joel Dreessen during the media day activities. “We’ve got a 13-game schedule, we’ve got some quality opponents and we’re going to be on national TV. This is what we want so we can get the recognition we deserve. We just have to step up to the challenge.”

The biggest challenge figures to be CSU’s first four games of 2002. After opening up on national TV against the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Virginia Cavaliers, against whom CSU has never played, the Rams square off with Colorado in the annual Rocky Mountain Showdown at Invesco Field in Denver.

CSU then departs for one of three trips to California this year, this time to play UCLA. The following week the Rams will host their first game at Hughes Stadium against Louisville.

But the one that has everyone talking is CSU versus CU, which has turned into one of the premier college football games each season. Last year the Rams were embarrassed 41-14 by CU in front of 75,022 people. When the game comes around this year, the Rams will already have the Virginia experience under their belts, as opposed to last year when CU was the one who had already played a game before the Showdown took place.

With a starting quarterback already decided on, a highly touted running game, a stellar trio of returning linebackers and a special teams unit that Lubick said was named No. 1 in the nation by a national sports publication, CSU expects its match-up with the Buffs to be much different than last season.

“If you beat (CU), it puts you in the national spotlight,” said junior linebacker Drew Wood. “But we feel like we have the team that can beat them, and that’s what we’re planning on doing.”

Lubick is a bit more reluctant to boast about the quality of his team this year, but does admit it has tons of potential. He mentioned the tough schedule his players and staff face, and is eager to see how the team responds.

“Everybody thinks we’re going to be fairly good, so as coaches we kind of roll with the punches,” he said. “Maybe (media members) know something I don’t know, but I think we have a chance to be a real good football team also,”

People won’t have to wait much longer to find out.

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Letter to Editor

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Jul 302002

Dear Editor:

I was one of the several hundred citizens who gathered signatures on the petitions for Citizens for Five Commissioners. As I talked with people, I was astonished by the enthusiasm for this idea. I want to thank the commissioners for voting to refer this question to the November ballot. Clearly, this is an issue that deserves to be decided by the citizens of Larimer County.

The three people who serve as commissioners currently oversee an annual budget of over $200 million and a staff of more than 1,300. With a population of more than 250,000, the county needs more than three people to determine public policy and regulations. The cost of salaries for two new commissioners would amount to less than one dollar per county resident per year.

Additionally, commissioners should represent districts, rather than be elected at large, as in the current system. We vote for our federal and state legislators by district; why should our county legislators be elected at large? Commissioners elected by district would be more familiar with district-specific issues and constituent concerns, bringing government closer to the people represented.

I urge all county residents to learn about this issue and to vote on it in November.

Margi Williams

Fort Collins Resident

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Rush to rebuild may be premature

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Jul 302002
Authors: Ben Koerselman

How does one fill a void created in the middle of a city by a disaster that even 10 months on still seems incomprehensible? That’s the problem facing officials in New York City as they try to come up with a plan to rebuild the 16-acre World Trade Center site.

Six preliminary designs unveiled a couple of weeks ago seemed to lack any sort of vision or architectural panache. Each of the plans called for a series of office towers between 30 and 80 stories tall surrounding a memorial park, and each were summarily rejected by the residents of New York and most of the rest of America.

To be fair to the plans designers, they were only trying to appease the huge number of people with interests in the sites future. In order to please the current leaseholders of the site each plan retained the 11 million square feet for offices, and 600,000 square feet of retail space that made up the original. In a nod to Gov. Pataki and the victim’s families each plan (for the most part) kept the new development from infringing on the “footprints” of the two towers. Additionally, each plan called for the creation of a large memorial park at its center.

Unfortunately, all of these requirements led to the uninspired designs put before the public, and the designers have been sent back to the drawing board.

Meanwhile, several more designs have been popping up on the Internet – some visionary, some beautiful, some retched and some a little bit odd (vote on your favorite at buildthetowers.org).

All of this planning and designing seems a bit premature to me. In a rush to rebuild something on the hallowed ground of the World Trade Center complex, designers may not have to meditate on an appropriate architectural masterpiece to capture the American mood following Sept. 11.

To discuss rebuilding on a site still referred to as “ground zero” in many a news report or water cooler conversation seems rushed at best, and inappropriate at worst.

It took years for an appropriate memorial to be designed and built at the site of the Oklahoma City bombing. Now, a quiet reflection pool shares space with rows of chairs (one for each victim) and an on-site museum offers visitors the chance to learn more about the victims and even listen to a recording of the bombing.

Like other powerful memorials (the Vietnam Wall comes to mind), the Oklahoma City bombing memorial allows each individual visitor a chance to reflect on the tragedy in their own way.

Such a fate may never befall the World Trade Center site, with its need to mix office and retail space with some kind of memorial to the worst terrorist act in United States history.

A quiet, reflective place may never be able to exist amongst the 24-hour hustle and bustle of New York City. But before we lock ourselves into a design that pleases nobody, a national conversation needs to take place on whether this country is ready for a new World Trade Center, regardless of the form.

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the attacks, we need to ask ourselves whether this nation is still in mourning, or whether we are ready to rebuild on ground where thousands lost their lives.

One thing is certain, the official designs that have been proposed do not meet our shared requirements for the site. We do not want just another complex of office towers, jumbled together to meet square footage requirements. Instead we want a powerful architectural message that captures the full magnitude of what happened on Sept. 11.

So far the official designs have not come close.

-Ben Koerselman is editor in chief of the Collegian. He can be reached at bkoersel@aol.com

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City to pick up old sofas for free

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Jul 302002
Authors: David Schneider

For anyone who needs a couch or who needs to get rid of one, the Great Sofa Roundup is the place to be on Friday.

From 7:30 am to 3 pm, anyone can drop off their old, unwanted sofa or pick up a used sofa for free in the parking lot next to Moby Arena.

This is the second sofa roundup to take place this year, the first of which was held at the end of the spring semester. Organizers of the event believe that this roundup will be as successful as the first. This event is being sponsored by a number of departments from both CSU and the City of Fort Collins, including Off-Campus Student Services, the police, and the Neighborhood Resources office.

For any questions about the second Great Sofa Roundup, contact Community Liaison Coordinator Cree Bol at (970) 224-6047.

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Little Shop of Physics receives $7,200 grant

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Jul 302002
Authors: David Schneider

The Little Shop of Physics at CSU will be able to enhance its educational television program, Everyday Science, thanks to a $7,200 grant from the Fort Collins Community Foundation.

The program, which is housed in the College of Natural Sciences, was provided the grant from the Foundation’s Growing our Gifts Fund, an annual Fort Collins area giving campaign. The campaign is a joint partnership between the Fort Collins Community Foundation and the Fort Collins Coloradoan to fund local projects in the areas of education, health, human services, community development and the arts.

In addition to the television program, the Little Shop of Physics presents instructional workshops for teachers all over the country and occasionally in other countries. It also is a traveling, hands-on science program sponsored by the physics department at CSU.

“Our main goal is to show children and their families that science is fun, that anyone can do it and you don’t need expensive equipment to get great results.” Said Brian Jones, the director of the Little Shop of Physics and a physics instructor at CSU. “This grant will help the Little Shop introduce more area children to the wonders and excitement of science.”

Undergraduates who also assist in presenting the program to more than 15,000 middle school and grade school students each year throughout Colorado develop the experiments that form the basis of the curriculum.

For more information about the Little Shop of Physics and a sampling of online experiments, visit the website at http://littleshop.physics.colostate.edu or call Jones at (970) 491-5131.

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CSU professors identify natural herbicide

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Jul 302002
Authors: Melissa Pester

CSU horticulture professors recently identified and isolated a natural chemical called catechin that acts as an herbicide.

Catechin is found in spotted knapweed, and is environmentally friendly. Scientists, who speculated that spotted knapweed had the capability to kill surrounding plants, believe that catechin may revolutionize the way homeowners and farmers fight weeds.

“For years, scientists have talked about spotted knapweed releasing this chemical, but they couldn’t find it in the soil because it was almost impossible to separate from all the other compounds that naturally occur in soil,” said Jorge Vivanco, assistant professor of horticultural biotechnology at Colorado State, in a release. “We looked for it in the plant. Spotted knapweed releases catechin into the soil through its roots.”

CSU was able to identify and isolate catechin by growing knapweed roots in vitro in the Department of Horticulture laboratory. Team researchers are investigating the many variations that the chemical can be used. Funding for this study came from CSU’s Invasive Weeds Initiative.

Researchers have found that when sprayed on a plant, catechin can kill plant cells within an hour and can kill the entire plant within a week. They are working with commercial companies to make a spray available to consumers in a year or two. They are still testing how long the chemical stays in the soil, potentially prohibiting plant growth in the treated area.

A promising application of the discovery is the fact that spotted knapweed has such a complex defense mechanism. Spotted knapweed produces and releases chemicals at the slightest hint of a threat. By tapping its leaves automatically activates the plant’s chemical response.

“It is a clever root to produce, secrete and protect itself from this chemical,” Vivanco said, in a release. “There are only small amounts of catechin inside the root at any given time; it secretes it as it produces it.”

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No camping for CU-CSU tickets

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Jul 302002
Authors: Craig Bonnot

Tickets for the CSU-CU football game are scheduled to go on sale Saturday, Aug. 24 (the weekend before fall semester classes begin), but unlike in previous years students will not be permitted to camp out the night before.

This year’s ticket line will not be allowed to begin forming until 7 a.m. on Aug. 24. Tickets will go on sale from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Since this year’s game is considered a “home game” for CSU, students will be allowed to get one ticket for free and purchase one additional ticket for $45.

The ticket line guidelines (available at ramfest.colostate.edu) state that “no camping, tents, upholstered furniture, sleeping bags, fireworks, cooking, open flames pets or alcohol will be allowed.”

The guidelines also say that visibly intoxicated students will not be allowed to purchase tickets for the game.

“After looking at what happened last year, administration wasn’t pleased,” said Ryan Miccio, assistant director of student empowerment for the Associated Students of CSU, adding that the lawn outside the student center was a mess last year, and there were a number of disciplinary problems.

“They’ll trying to downplay that this year and not have such a mess outside the student center,” Miccio said.

Donn Hopkins, chief of CSUPD, said they decided to change the way the tickets were distributed because of many public safety concerns. He said that he had CSUPD staff on site last year that said there were several alcohol overdoses. A few students had to be taken off campus to area hospitals.

“We also had reports of sexual assaults,” he said. ” People groping people.”

Hopkins also said that because many students were drinking they were violating a Fort Collins city ordinance against open containers, and students camping out in front of the student center was in violation of another ordinance against camping within the city limits.

“It’s a city ordinance that’s been in place for at least a decade that says you can’t camp in the city,” Hopkins said.

Moreover, many people felt the old system was unfair to students, he said.

“There would be someone who would hold a place in line and before tickets went on sale a bunch of their friends would show up and crowd the line,” Hopkins said. It was felt that it was unfair for these people to go ahead of others who had waited all night.

Hopkins said despite the changes this years ticket sales will be as much fun for students as previous years.

“A tremendous amount of programming is going into events around the student center around that time,” he said. “There will be events all day long Saturday.”

Also ASCSU will participate in the event in the same way they have in previous years.

“In the past, we’ve kept order and circulation in the line,” Miccio said. “We still will be helping to regulate the ticket line.”

This is the fifth year that CSU has played CU at Mile High Stadium. Five years ago, tickets were sold at Moby Arena, but for the last four years, tickets have been sold out of the Lory Student Center, Hopkins said.

“Part of the idea was we could handle it better at the student center,” he said.

Neal Eskin, senior associate director of athletics at CSU, could not be reached for comment Tuesday on the changes in the ticket line setup.

Some CSU students were disappointed that they would not be allowed to camp out for tickets this year.

“I didn’t know they were doing that,” said Jason Johnson, a senior public relations major. “We were going to camp out. I know a lot of people like to camp. It’s the whole experience of doing it.”

Robert Miller, a graduate student studying education, had a similar opinion.

“You take way the excitement of the game,” he said. “You take away the experience of the game. That’s what college is all about, camping out for tickets.”

CU-CSU game ticket distribution guidelines:

* Tickets will be distributed from 3 locations in the Student center: the main plaza entrance on the east side, the Barrel Vault entrance to the Lower Level on the west side, and the Sculpture Garden entrance to the west side.

* Only 10,000 student tickets are available

* Lines will begin forming no earlier than 7 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 24.

* Entertainment will begin at noon.

* Placeholder tickets will be distributed, one per person, to allow students to briefly leave the line to get food, and still return to their original spot. If the placeholder ticket is lost. That person will need to return to the back of the line.

* To purchase a ticket, students must have a placeholder ticket, CSU Student ID, and a current activity card

* No camping, tents, upholstered furniture, sleeping bags, fireworks, cooking, open flames, pets or alcohol will be allowed.

* Violations of these policies will result in a loss of the student’s game ticket, possible disciplinary action and potentially the discontinuation of this tradition.

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Collegian fall publication schedule

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Jul 302002
Authors: Collegian Staff

The fall Collegian begins publication on Thursday, Aug. 22, and publishes every day classes are held through Dec. 13.

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`K-19′ a thrilling, well-acted sub flick

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Jul 232002
Authors: Ben Koerselman

“K-19: The Widowmaker” is a horrible title. Harrison Ford admitted as much on a recent appearance on “Late Night with Conan O’Brian” where he asked, probably only half-jokingly, “why’d they call it K-19, and why did they have to be Russians?” From the get-go that is two strikes against this movie in the eyes of most Americans; at least “U-571” (another horrible title) had the good sense to substitute an American crew for the British one in the actual events upon which that movie was based. For anyone who grew up on this side of the Cold War, it’s hard not to snicker when the actors talk in a “wink-wink” fashion about being good Communists.

But if you forgive the movie its title, and realize that the characters being Russian is essential to the story – which, by the way, was inspired by actual events – “K-19” is actually a taut, well-acted and strangely intense thriller. Most of the tension of a movie of this sort is sucked out by what we already know – surely a thermonuclear war will be averted before the end of this “inspired by true events” story. Instead, the tension comes, for the most part, from an invisible beast that haunts the second-half of this movie. The beast is radiation from the nuclear reactor and it begins spreading after a coolant leak. In the confined spaces of a submarine, it is impossible to escape something that cannot be seen, felt or heard.

Further tension is supplied by Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson (both sporting passable Russian accents), who play the sub’s captain and executive officer. The two men have widely varying leadership styles, Neeson’s character believing a sub should be like a family, while Ford’s believes that a captain should push his men hard and expect nothing less than the best. This conflict is furthered by the fact that Ford took over the command from Neeson, who Moscow considered less than capable.

The movie essentially tells the story of K-19’s maiden voyage, which, like the Titanic’s, was fraught with complications. The sub, the Soviet Union’s first that was nuclear powered, had been nicknamed “The Widowmaker” by its crew because 10 men died during its construction. Another sign of impending disaster came when the champagne bottle failed to break at the ship’s christening, causing one crewmember to cry out “We’re cursed.”

Indeed it seems they are, as the crew struggles to repair the damaged reactor, deals with the ever-present threat of radiation poisoning and looks on as the two leaders of the boat continually butt heads. The tension is kept up for the most part by the sure direction of Kathryn Bigelow, and even though the ending may leave something to be desired, it, like the rest of the movie, feels true. The performances by the leads, and those of the mostly unknowns playing the crew, along with the unobtrusive special effects, further the realistic feel of this movie.

A title card at the beginning states that “for 28 years this story could not be told,” I for one am glad that once they could tell it, they did it in a way that does the story justice. *** stars

Side note: A story on CNN.com said that the survivors of the real-life K-19 were unhappy with the script, which Harrison Ford brought for them to peruse, because they said it portrayed them as drunks. On the contrary, to me it seemed that they were portrayed as heroes. It will be interesting to note their reaction when the film opens in Russia next month.

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Snakehead, greedy CEOs cut out of same cloth

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Jul 232002
Authors: Ben Koerselman

Scientists in Maryland are considering a plan to poison a pond in order to rid it of an exotic Chinese fish that threatens to alter the eco-system in the rivers and lakes of that state. The fish, called a northern snakehead, is known for its voracious appetite, its ability to live outside water for several days breathing with a primitive lung and also its amazing knack for “walking” across land on its tail fins.

So far around 80 baby snakeheads have been found in the pond, which appear to be the offspring of a pair that were dumped there by a local man who had purchased the fish to make into soup for a sick relative (Asian cultural beliefs say that snakeheads have curative powers). So far the fish, which can grow to be several feet in length and eat native fish whole, have been found in six other states including, California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Florida and Rhode Island.

Compare and contrast this natural disaster with that of a man-made one: stock options. This insidious little practice, made enormously popular during the Internet boom, may have led some corporate executives to overstate profits using cheap accounting tricks in order to artificially inflate the stock prices of their companies and then cash in. The result of all this greed is the constantly falling stock market – the Dow Jones industrial average closed at around 7,700 points on Tuesday – and that many people have lost their jobs, their savings or both in the ensuing corporate scandals.

According to Newsweek, stock options represent fully 16 percent of outstanding shares at the largest 200 companies in the United States, and some CEOs get paid virtually on stock options alone. If the company does well, even if it is just on paper, and the stock prices rise, CEOs and other company heads can stand to make a fortune. It is clear that greed pushed many of the people at Enron, WorldCom and others to pursue illegal means of inflating their companies’ worth. Also according to Newsweek, the CEOs of four companies now surrounded by scandal managed to cash in close to $300 million in stock before their firms collapsed. For that large of a chunk of change, wouldn’t you at least be tempted to sellout your stockholders and your personal ethics?

Someone needs to poison this pond.

Sadly, someone already tried and failed. Sen. John McCain tried to get an amendment passed that would have required companies to list stock options as expenses in their accounting books. The amendment was unceremoniously voted down.

If such a law had been in affect during the high and heady times of the late ’90s, Fortune 500 companies would have posted annual profit growth of 6 percent, rather than 9 percent, according to Newsweek. That’s right, a third of the profits listed during the Internet Boom resulted from accountants moving stock options around the balance sheet. Due to this accounting trick writes Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter, “insiders got insanely rich while regular investors bought into phantom profits. This is not a few bad apples; it’s practically the whole barrel.”

Our nation’s leaders need to counter the corporate greed that has so far this year lead to the two largest bankruptcies in United State History at Enron and WorldCom. Along with the proposed changes by President Bush in a speech on Wall Street early last week, John McCain’s proposal may have helped to prevent Enron-type scandals from happening in the future. Sadly, it was not to be.

Like the people in Maryland may find out with the Snakehead fish, it may be impossible to keep these things from spreading. Greed and nature are two forces that we may never be able to fully reckon with.

-Ben Koerselman is editor in chief of the Collegian. He can be reached at bkoersel@aol.com

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