If I were to do it all over again …

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May 112008
Authors: Nick Hemenway

In this final week of my college career, I have been pondering the decisions I have made over the past five years. In retrospect, I can see how the smallest decisions I made years ago affected my whole college experience.

As my time as a CSU student comes to an end, I want to leave you with some tips I think will make your college experience the best it can be.

The first piece of advice I have is to take everything you can get from CSU. This is the sound advice many of us engineers received from our statics professor Dr. Sunada years ago.

College is an opportunity unlike anything else you will have in your life — so enjoy it.

Go to sporting events, even if we keep getting slaughtered. Enlighten an environmentalist on the plaza with some facts — trust me it can be a lot of fun. Those of you continuing on this fall will enjoy the campus debate and mayhem surrounding the next presidential election. Before you know it, all the small things you take for granted on this campus will be gone.

The second thing you should do is to listen to those who have made the journey before you. Whether this means family, faculty or friends, knowing what is about to come is always an advantage. This is something I wish I had done more consistently.

If countless friends tell you the professor teaching a certain course next semester is terrible, avoid it like the plague. I made the mistake of passing off that advice by saying, “whatever, how bad can they really be?” Then I found out how right they were.

Maybe the most important advice I can give you is to network. No matter what your major is, get to know as many people in your field as you can.

Take it from a graduating senior who is about to enter the workforce; when it comes to finding a great job, personal connections and references are ten times more powerful than a resume with a high GPA. Get to know your professors as much as you can, because it turns out several of them are real people who want to help you in your future endeavors.

My final piece of encouragement is to get involved. CSU has more than three hundred student organizations for you to choose from. There has to be something you love to do that is formally represented here, although I never did get around to starting a long-overdue curling club. Perhaps the most valuable decision I made my freshman year was to get involved with the Navigators.

Until two years ago, I was bound to merely reading my copy of the Collegian during my mechanics of solids class and drawing eye patches and mustaches on the plethora of liberal columnists. Then I decided to get involved and bring some heat to this rag.

It is with this I lay down my virtual pen as a columnist. I wish you all the best of luck throughout the rest of your stay at CSU, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

I can’t think of any better way to end my final excursion into journalistic excellence than quoting the man, the myth, the legend, Ronald Reagan, who said: “Each generation goes further than the generation preceding it because it stands on the shoulders of that generation. You will have opportunities beyond anything we’ve ever known.”

Nick Hemenway is a senior mechanical engineering major. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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Leaders need to re-exmine 3-unrelated

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May 112008
Authors: Dolores Williams

Something isn’t quite right about the city of Fort Collins’ noise ordinance.

The noise ordinance fine can reach about $1,000, but nobody seems to know that the City Council mandates that the criminal record stay on the individual’s record for seven years.

So upon graduating, when a future employer or landlord accesses the criminal and credit records, a red flag sits, lowering one’s chances at a job requiring an identity clearance, a place to live or purchase of insurance.

The police officer has discretion as to loudness (no decibel measurement is specified) and time of day that would constitute a violation.

A recent experience of two tenants shows this problem more clearly.

One “party” of friends sending off a CSU graduate to the Peace Corps was breaking up and most had left for downtown. On their citation, the officer wrote up that he “broke up the party.”

He then went next door where six adults were visiting and wrote a ticket that he “broke up that party.”

Upon checking with three nearby neighbors, nobody was bothered by noise.

It is understandable that an officer may want to show a few tickets for a night’s work, but if the violation was civil instead of criminal, less harm could result.

Upon checking with members of City Council, they are surprised that the violation was not made civil along with other ordinances. However, not one council member said he/she would fix the problem.

I wrote CSU President Larry Penley asking him to show his interest in the city’s treatment of his students. His assistant suggested I contact the ACLU. I asked his assistant if he would write a short letter to the City but the request was refused.

I also wrote Doug Johnson, UniverCity Connections, who supposedly is interested in CSU-City cooperation in return for many hours of student volunteer work from Cans Around the Oval, assistance to teachers in Poudre R-1 and volunteer clean-up days in the community. No interest.

In addition, I wrote David May, director of the Chamber of Commerce, knowing that he sells a “University town” and “educated workforce” to entice companies to come to Fort Collins to provide jobs. No interest.

I talked with Police Chief Harrison, and he feels that a criminal record stemming from a noise violation is not a problem when he hires policemen.

The City Neighborhood Office, which administers the ticket program, is aware of the criminal records given for noise violations, but they don’t want to rock the boat. The criminal-industrial complex in the U.S. houses one in a hundred in jails at $100 per day, thanks to attitudes like this.

Recently, I personally asked some of the city officers who came to the CSU-Council meeting if they would change the noise violation from criminal to civil, as I have by letter and e-mail several times already.

I also asked why, if the city supported affordable housing and minimizing air pollution from vehicle trips to the university, were they penalizing CSU students and their landlords by forcing them to leave empty a fourth (or more) bedroom in a house while paying rent and utilities on the whole house.

Landlords are not allowed reimbursement on their property taxes because of forced vacant rooms, which is illegal considering real estate law of “taking.”

For instance, when a governmental agency needs to cut a road through a property by reimbursing the landowner for the portion “taken.”

Granted, a few young people — not all students — have been inconsiderate of their neighbors, prompting the city to write the noise ordinance and three-unrelated laws. Penalizing all students and young people seems unfair.

Students bring a lot of money to town and volunteer in the community.

They should instead spend time on studies and homework until the city council sees fit to change the laws to make housing costs more affordable and to not hinder the future employment that is needed to pay back the student loans.

Dolores Williams is a Fort Collins resident. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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Dont’ spend your rebate check

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May 112008
Authors: Seth Anthony

If you filed a federal tax return, Christmas may just come in June this year.

Sometime between May and July, depending on your social security number, you’ll be getting a gift from Congress and President Bush: a tax refund check for several hundred dollars, part of the economic stimulus package that was passed into law earlier this spring.

This was a bad idea. Not the idea of returning Americans’ tax dollars to them — in general, that makes worlds of sense — but the way it was done.

The whole notion was that, with a few hundred extra bucks, millions of Americans would go out and do what we do best: spend. If we buy more food, iPods, furniture or gasoline, we stimulate the economy and spur jobs at every level of the economy from retail clerks to mortgage brokers.

The problem occurs when that stimulus does not happen. Sure, some people spend a little more, but most plan to be responsible with their bonus checks.

According to a survey conducted by CCH, an online tax preparation service, 47 percent of Americans plan to pay down debt with the money, and 23 percent expect to put it into savings. This data matches what people actually did the last time tax rebate checks went out, in 2001.

I’ll be using my check to save up for this fall’s bill from CSU. Saving, paying down debt, and investing in education are the smartest and most responsible ways we can use a sudden windfall of cash.

President Bush and the Democratic Congress passed this stimulus package with the intent that we’d spend, spend, spend. In order to stimulate the economy the way they intended (at least in the short term), both Republicans and Democrats are encouraging us to be irresponsible.

Of course, that shouldn’t come as a surprise, because they were irresponsible themselves when they authorized these tax rebates. Sending out $150 billion in checks means that the federal government won’t have that money to pay for highways or the Iraq War or Social Security.

Instead, our rebate checks this summer mean that Uncle Sam will have to whip out the government credit card and add that $150 billion to the federal debt. Someday, perhaps decades from now, we, or our kids, will get around to paying off that debt — with interest.

Unfortunately, in an election year, politicians are all too eager to give us a short-term, feel-good measure, rather than something that will help in the long term.

If they were serious about strengthening the U.S. economy in the long-term, they’d permanently lower the tax burden on lower-income families (don’t confuse that with President Bush’s tax breaks for the richest few percent).

Instead, we’re discussing a “gas tax holiday” where the federal government drops the 18-cent-per-gallon tax on fuel during the summer months.

This one’s about as silly. In exchange for an average savings of $30 per person, it’ll briefly shift the economics of the gas industry toward higher gas consumption, increased profits for oil companies and greater reliance on the foreign oil that the same politicians rail against. Oh, and another $9 billion or so on the national debt.

But that’s the way Washington tends to work, and it usually nets politicians just enough votes from the gullible to get them through the next election.

So, when your check comes in the mail, you already know the most responsible way to use it.

On that count, you’re already miles ahead of many of our political leaders. Remember that when you go to vote in November.

Seth Anthony is a chemistry Ph.D. student. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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Our View: Undie run undie-niably awesome

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May 112008
Authors: the Collegian Editorial Board

One thing that most college students love is semi-naked people and the Collegian editorial board is no exception. So when we heard a CSU student was bringing a nation-wide, age-old tradition of American college life to campus, needless to say, we were very excited.

Kudos to freshman open option major Josh Heuerman for having the great insight to realize that in past years, CSU has missed out on one of the cornerstones of a college education — people running around in nothing but their underwear and running shoes.

Heuerman says non-sanctioned university events ultimately flop such as the failed attempt to break the world record for largest streaking party. But Friday night greeted him with the first non-sanctioned success as over 400 students dressed only in their skivvies showed up to race around campus.

And it wasn’t just for kicks. The clothes that were cast off by students formed a mountain of warmth for needy families. All the clothing that students didn’t wear (and trust us, there was a lot) will be donated to GoodWill.

And Heuerman organized it all using another favorite of college students — Facebook. The social networking Web site had over 1,000 students confirmed to attend the event. It just goes to show that Facebook can be useful for something other than that hottie in your chemistry class.

Good work Heuerman. Please continue to wow CSU with your wonderful ideas. We’re looking forward to three more years of your social insight.

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Collegian resumes weekly printing tomorrow

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May 112008

Tomorrow, the Collegian will begin a weekly edition that will run this summer every Wednesday through Aug. 6.

As a reader, you can expect to see many feature articles typical of a weekly paper, but also hard news coverage and entertainment.

We have added another Sudoku puzzle and will continue to bring you staff editorials and regular opinion content.

If you have anything you would like to see in the paper, don’t hesitate to call Editor-in-Chief Aaron Montoya at 491 1688 or Managing News Editor Aaron Hedge at 491 7513 or e-mail us at news@collegian.com.

This is your student paper. We look forward to serving you.

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Student Media set to seperate from CSU

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May 112008
Authors: Erik Myers

Student Media is set to become an entity independent of CSU, following a unanimous vote of the Board of Governors Tuesday afternoon.

The decision puts Student Media on track to shift its operations to follow a not-for-profit model, also known as a 501(c)3 model. It also will parlay publishing rights to a new board of directors, effectively replacing Student Media’s current publishing board, the Board of Student Communications.

Student Media consists of The Rocky Mountain Collegian, Campus Television (CTV), KCSU – CSU’s student-run radio station, and College Avenue Magazine.

Amy Parsons, associate legal counsel for CSU, said former Student Media director Larry Steward would become the interim director of the new board, and would begin the lengthy process of launching the corporation as early as Wednesday.

Under Steward’s direction, Student Media is expected to become fully independent by August 1.

“The burden is now really on (Student Media) to do what they need to do to establish themselves as a non-profit,” Parsons said.

Steward said he plans on working and talking with “everyone” at Student Media during the transition process, which includes developing a operating agreement with the university, negotiating with state government to establish a 501(c)3 status and iron out a charter and the managerial structure.

Despite the massive change in Student Media’s upper operations, Steward said students shouldn’t expect any massive changes come August.

“For students, this process will seem totally seamless,” Steward said. “That’s what we hope to put into place.”

The decision marks the end of the efforts of the Collegian Advisory Committee, a board of faculty, students and community members. President Larry Penley assembled the board days after he quietly met with executives with the media conglomerate Gannett Corporation who expressed interest in acquiring the Collegian.

Staff writer Erik Myers can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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Arrest made in Linnea Dick homicide

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May 112008
Authors: Aaron Montoya

Joseph Curl, 29, was arrested Monday afternoon for the murder of Linnea Dick according to a Fort Collins Police Services press release.

Curl was contacted by Fort Collins police around 2 p.m. and was voluntarily transported to the police station where he was interviewed and taken into custody at approximately 4:15 p.m.

Curl is presently in the custody of the Larimer County Detention Center on the charges of first-degree murder and sexual assault.

Firefighters found 20-year-old Linnea Dick in her home Friday. The coroner’s office says she died of asphyxiation.

Dick’s body was found in an upstairs bedroom. One fire was burning in the bedroom and another in the basement.

See related story

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August Ritter posts photos from party at guv’s mansion

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May 112008
Authors: Aaron Hedge

9News reported Thursday that pictures from parties held by August Ritter at the governor’s mansion were posted on an online social networking site. The photos showed Ritter, the governor’s son and a senior global tourism major at CSU, drinking from a keg tap and holding a flag that is kept at the publicly owned, but private residence.

Invitations for parties at the governor’s mansion were also posted online.

The invitations dictated rules for the parties, which included “No throwing up,” and “no sexy time,” according to the 9News report.

Evan Dreyer, the chief spokesperson for the Ritter administration did not answer phone calls from the Collegian left at about 10:30 p.m.

News Managing Editor Aaron Hedge can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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As summer approaches, specialists say tanning can be healthy, but warn against excess

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May 112008
Authors: Chelsea Brown

Summer is fast approaching, and at its heels is a common decision — To tan or not to tan? Rather than focusing on one extreme or the other, however, people need to make an effort to have a balanced approach to sun exposure and safety, expert say.

Many people agree that having a tan makes you look better and feel better about your appearance. This explains why the tanning industry is so big.

Skin cancer education efforts have seen a surge in recent years. Advertisements for sunscreens, UV-free tanning methods and testimonials from skin cancer survivors and families of those who were not as lucky can be found in almost every magazine.

Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, has increased among women by more than two percent a year for the last 20 years.

Exposure to ultraviolet light is known to be the number-one preventable cause of all skin cancers. But according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, only about 18 percent of women use sunscreen daily.

Cindy Furtado, a phototherapy technician and medical assistant at The Fort Collins Skin Clinic, said doctors in her office are not suggesting people never expose themselves to the sun.

“We’re realistic,” she said. “We don’t expect you to hide from the sun, but just be smart about it, use sunscreen. Sun exposure is always best in safe amounts.”

Kiley Clippinger, a student at CSU, tans on recommendation from her doctor. Clippinger has pityriasis rosea, which causes dry, raised, red oval-shaped bumps to appear on her arms, chest, back and stomach because of a vitamin D deficiency.

Ultraviolet light treatment under the supervision of a dermatologist is a common way for patients to deal with pityriasis rosea. Clippinger is also careful to check any moles or marks on her body for changes, and since she is a naturally freckled person, she regularly undergoes full-body skin screenings from her doctor.

Kacey Wojdakowski, a 22-year-old elementary school teacher in Colorado Springs, was diagnosed last July with stage II melanoma. By the time she noticed that the mole on her chest had changed color and had it checked by a doctor, the cancer had spread to the inner layer of her skin.

“I was lucky enough that it didn’t spread into the tissue below the skin or into my lymph nodes,” Wojdakowski said.

Once melanoma works its way deep into the skin, the cure rate drops to about 50 percent. If it spreads to the lymph nodes, the cure rate decreases to about 25 percent.

“This was one of the worst experiences of my life, and I’m grateful to be alive and healthy,” she said.

Wojdakowski had always been an avid tanner, spending her summers outside in the intense sun of the Colorado mountains and tanning indoors about two times a week during the winter, to maintain her color. She now uses “Mystic Tan,” a brand name of airbrush tan offered at most tanning salons, as well as various products from the drugstore such as body lotions that give skin a small dose of color daily.

“I’ve wanted to tan since my surgery,” Wojdakowski said. “I love the sun, and I love being tan, but I’ve decided that taking care of my skin is more important than how I look. I was just one of many who got skin cancer. People always think, ‘It can’t happen to me,’ but it can, and it did happen to me.”

Clippinger and Wojdakowski are each examples of moderated, well balanced approaches to safe UV exposure tailored to their unique situations.

Most tanning salons offer education on using tanning beds in a safe manner. Of course, the safest solution is to use UV-free tanning options, such as spray or airbrush tanning, which is widely available in the Fort Collins area.

For a listing of salons in Fort Collins, visit http://yellowpages.aol.com and search “tanning salons.” For recommendations on UV protection from the American Cancer Society, visit www.cancer.org.

Staff writer Chelsea Brown can be reached at news@collegian.com

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Gibson authors legislation

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May 112008
Authors: Aaron Hedge

It all started in a small bowling alley in Casa Grande, Ariz. over Thanksgiving break last year.

Blake Gibson, the current president of the Associated Students of Colorado, sat with Erin Hertzog, then president of the University of Arizona’s student government, and talked about ways to make college cheaper for students.

Gibson, the author of a progressive textbook industry transparency law signed last month by Gov. Bill Ritter, was struck by Hertzog’s passion for making textbooks cheaper.

When he returned from his Arizona trip, he found that Katie Gleeson, current president of the Associated Students of CSU, was running on a platform for implementing tax-free textbooks.

Gleeson’s effort ultimately failed, but Gibson was undeterred.

When he became the first president of the ASC this year, he immediately began a campaign with Dan Palmer, the director of Academics for ASCSU, to lighten the strain textbooks put on students’ budgets — which makes up nearly a third of the average student’s cost of education.

Just less than seven months later, Gov. Bill Ritter signed a bill drafted by Gibson that requires textbook publishers to do three things that student organizations across the country say will slow the price of textbooks from skyrocketing at four times the rate of inflation, as it has for 20 years.

But Gibson, a Montana native from a family who considers politics a “four-letter word,” said he never expected to be a student activist until he got to Colorado and noticed students dropping out because they couldn’t afford college.

As a sophomore biomedical sciences major, his real passion is medicine, but he draws parallels between his desire to treat patients and fixing what he calls a “sick society.”

Colorado fell to last place in the nation for higher education funding this year as the state is feeling further effects from a series of constitutional citizen initiatives that restrict state lawmakers from raising taxes enough to continue funding all state programs. And higher education receives the sharpest blows from the economic debacle.

“We have a state in Colorado where not everyone can get an education who wants to,” Gibson said. “That’s an illness. It needs to be diagnosed. It needs to be cured.”

He says the way to fix Colorado’s situation is to bring the student interest into the view of voters and looking past partisan politics to find a solution that makes sense — something he said will be difficult for Colorado’s polarized voters.

“Colorado is a state of extremes,” he said. “You’ve got Colorado Springs. You’ve got Boulder. And Denver is right in between.” Gibson said people view him as conservative, but he doesn’t see himself as affiliated with either end of the political spectrum.

“A lot of my friends tell you I lean right,” he said. “(But) I lean toward what makes sense.”

With two years of school left before he graduates from CSU, Gibson looks forward to starting a career as a doctor, but hopes to continue his involvement in politics in some capacity.

News Managing Editor Aaron Hedge can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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