Football predicted as eighth in MWC for 2008-2009 season

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Jul 222008
 
Authors: Collegian Staff Report

Rams football was predicted to come in second-to-last, topping only UNLV, in the Mountain West Conference’s preseason annual media poll, released Monday.

According to an MWC press release, BYU maintained its top spot for the second year in a row in the prediction, the University of Utah came in second.

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Do away with uncontested elections and save money

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Jul 222008
 
Authors: Seth Anthony

Did you know that there’s an election in just a few weeks? It’s OK if you didn’t, because you can safely skip it; there’s no way your vote could possibly matter.

The elections being held on Aug. 12 are the Democratic and Republican party primaries, to choose each party’s candidates for races from U.S. Senate down to county commissioner.

The reason your vote won’t matter is that none of the races are contested — there’s only one candidate for each position and there are no write-in lines. In short, the results of all 20 contests that Larimer County voters get to cast ballots in are already a foregone conclusion.

For all of this, Larimer County will still open multiple voting sites and early voting locations. All told, this will cost about $250,000, according to Scott Doyle, the Larimer County Clerk and Recorder, whose office will manage these non-elections. That’s money we could save by canceling these unnecessary events.

Canceling uncontested elections is actually fairly common in Colorado — it happens frequently in special districts and quite often in small municipalities. Funding party primaries where there is no competition, on the other hand, amounts to free publicity for those parties and their candidates.

We can do without these uncontested elections and save the taxpayers money, and we can put the savings to good use by making mail ballots and voter registration forms postage-paid.

Here’s the situation: About 30 percent of Colorado voters cast their election ballots by mail. For Fort Collins municipal elections, all balloting is done by mail. But even though the clerk’s office already pays for sending out ballots, it’s required that voters pay the postage themselves to send them back.

In the 19th century, when people were required to pay a fee in order to vote, it was called a poll tax and ruled to be unconstitutional. In the 21st century, where helping out everyone who wants to cast a vote is a nearly unquestioned social goal, why hasn’t Colorado taken this easy step?

Covering the return postage on a mail ballot isn’t at all unprecedented: Hawaii, Minnesota, Nevada and West Virginia already do so, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Even more cover the postage on their official voter registration forms, including the large states of California, New York and Texas.

But here in Colorado, it’s illegal for anyone except the voter to pay the postage on a mail ballot envelope. As a consequence, we’ve created yet another barrier to voting — the cost and hassle of finding the right stamp.

I know I’ve paid more than one bill late because I couldn’t find a stamp in time; consequently, I’ve switched all my bills to electronic payment and ballots are one of only a handful of items I have to find stamps for anymore. Businesses include postage-paid return envelopes to encourage responses; our government can learn from this example.The requirement that voters pay postage themselves is most likely to burden people like students, who move frequently and are often disorganized, as well as the elderly, disabled or housebound, who may not be able to get out to buy the right stamps in time.

In this era when we have deliberately chosen to facilitate participation in the democratic process through electronic voting machines, accommodations for those with disabilities and mail ballot elections, why do we retain this barrier to voting?

The cost of postage-paid mail ballots would be minimal compared to the savings we’d get from canceling the multitude of uncontested primaries held throughout the state of Colorado. In the high-turnout presidential election year of 2004, about 50,000 Larimer County residents voted by mail. Canceling the uncontested primaries this year could have paid the postage for their ballots 10 times over.

At present, Colorado paradoxically spends money on elections we don’t need while refusing to pay the small costs of increasing participation. We can do better — we can save money on elections while at the same time making it easier for everyone to vote. All it takes is a little political will from our legislators to make the necessary changes in state law.

Seth Anthony is a graduate student working towards his doctorate in chemistry. His column appears occasionally in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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Our View – Get out and get green

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Jul 222008
 
Authors:

How many CSU students does it take to make a green event?

If you’re talking about an event the size of the Democratic National Convention, you’re looking at a pretty hefty number.

CSU’s Live Green Team is looking for 520 able-bodied members of the CSU community to do an unthinkable task in the quest for DNC “greendom:” They want volunteers to root through the political waste — literally — in an attempt to reuse or compost 85% percent of the trash generated by the event.

So far, the Team has 310 members signed up and ready to go for the event, but they still have a long way to go. That’s where you come in.

Registering to help out is as easy as jumping on the Internet and stopping at the Live Green Team Web site at www.livegreen.colostate.edu.

Free transportation to and from the event will be provided to volunteers, as well as nifty T-shirts, water and hand wipes on the way back.

Sure, it’s a dirty job, but it’s a small price to keep Denver clean and green. And it’s a great way to get a front row ticket to the happenings at the DNC.

If you aren’t down to get your hands dirty at the DNC, though, there are still plenty of other opportunities to get involved. The team’s Web site is full of opportunities to get out and make our Fort Collins communities a little greener, most of which require minimal time commitment.

So get out and get your hands dirty, CSU. Our planet needs you.

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President Bush needs to get serious about withdrawal

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Jul 222008
 
Authors: Sean Reed

Apparently, it’s not just the presidential candidates that are pandering to voters this election season.

On Friday, President Bush released a statement announcing an agreement between the U.S. and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal Al-Maliki to “a general timeline” for the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq.

For years now, Bush has resisted calls from Democrats and some Republican groups for a pullout timeline citing fragile progress and the dangers of leaving prematurely.

Because of his previous attitude, many in the media, including the usually accurate New York Times, are calling this move a “shift” in Bush Iraq policy, but, in reality, it is nothing more than continuation of previous policy in a more election season friendly frame.

Now, to give Bush credit, the fact that he is willing to even entertain considering a troop withdrawal is a huge step in the right direction. But the problem is, this move is all rhetoric and no action.

While the White House is telling the nation it is willing to “allow for the agreements now under negotiation to include a general time horizon for meeting aspirational goals such as . the further reduction of U.S. combat forces from Iraq,” there has been no information released on what the “time horizon” in question will look like.

In addition, White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe made clear the primary focus of any timeline will be to hand over security duties to Iraqi forces, and not necessarily to get U.S. soldiers out of Iraq.

The problem here, of course, is that without the added pressure of a deadline for troop withdrawal, the result of handing over new duties to Iraqi forces is likely to end in failure as it did in the past.

I like to think of it in terms of teaching a child to ride a bicycle. At first, you need to stand beside your child to steady the bars. But eventually, you have to step back and let them balance for themselves.

Is your kid going to fall? Sure. But they’re also going to learn from that fall. The same is true of the Iraqi forces.

Now this isn’t to say the U.S. should pull out all or even some troops immediately.

A poor execution of this plot isn’t going to end in skinned knees. If we do it wrong, people will die and the country could plunge back into chaos and end up in an even worse state then when it was under the helm of Saddam Hussein. Nobody wants this.

However, we need to send a strong message to Iraqis that we cannot and will not take care of their country forever. To do this, it will require more than the creation of a fictitious timeline without any actual dates.

It will require negotiations with hard deadlines and a true commitment to bringing our troops home.

The fact of the matter is, many Iraqis don’t even want us there anymore.

According to the New York Times, a member of the Iraqi Prime Minister’s own Dawa Party went on the record saying the core focus for Iraq in these talks was the withdrawal of foreign forces.

“I don’t know what the American side thinks, but we consider it the core of the subject,” he said.

Given the necessity of removing American troops to the autonomy of Iraq and public sentiment of both the American and Iraqi people, it’s time to talk about withdrawal deadlines. Bush’s current “plan” is nothing more than wide-scale pandering for his Republican counterparts in the fall. It’s high time he actually got serious about policy in Iraq.

Editorials Editor Sean Reed is a senior political science major. His column appears occasionally in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com

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Man found dead on campus

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Jul 222008
 
Authors: Aaron Hedge

A man was found dead with a gunshot wound in his upper left chest in the Summit Hall parking lot Friday night, the CSU Police Department said in a press conference Saturday.

The identity of the man is not being released pending contact of his family, but he is not believed to be a current CSU student or a member of the group of law enforcement students that have been on campus all week.

The CSUPD received the report of the body at about 11:08 p.m. Friday, Police Chief Dexter Yarbrough told reporters at the press conference.

Campus police are working with Fort Collins Police Services to conduct an investigation into the case, which Yarbrough said was suspected to be foul play. He said the investigation was at the forefront of their to-do list.

“CSU and Fort Collins police have established a large presence in the area,” Yarbrough said. “We’re making this investigation a top priority.”

The investigation sectioned off the Summit Hall parking lot and the parking lot of an adjacent apartment complex.

He encouraged campus residents to be “extra vigilant” and report any suspicious activity to police immediately.

The last murder on campus was in 1982, Yarbrough said.

The suspected murder comes on the heels of two accidental deaths in the campus community, one of a CSU staff member and the other of a student.

Rebecca Allen, an adviser in the Department of Journalism and Technical Communication, was hit by a car while riding her bike early Tuesday and William John Szlemko, a graduate psychology student was struck by lightening Thursday in a forested area of campus called Sherwood Forest.

University officials say unusually high number of deaths has taken a toll on the campus community.

“The events have really deeply impacted a lot of people,” said Anne Hudgens, the dean of Students. She said she has been working at CSU since 1984, and has never had to deal with a student death.

“It’s been a very, very sad week for Colorado State University,” Yarbrough said. “We are determined to bring the case to justice.”

Yarbrough said anyone with more information about the murder should call CSUPD at 970-491-6425.

The vice president of Student Affairs office provides info and counsel for families and concerned callers at 491 1000.

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

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Hundreds gather at Oval to remember late cyclist

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Jul 222008
 
Authors: Shari Blackman

Rebecca Allen’s memorial service drew a crowd of 300 at the CSU oval today.

Nearly 300 students, faculty, family, friends, and bicyclists, gathered today at the CSU oval to honor and remember avid cyclist and CSU staff member Rebecca Allen who died Tuesday when she was hit by a car while riding her bike.

Allen graduated CSU in 2002 with a degree in technical journalism. Department Chair, Greg Luft said the faculty and staff of the journalism department recruited her back to fill the position of undergraduate program administrator.

“Over the years we talked about ways to keep Rebecca around because we thought so much of her,” Luft said.

At the request of her family, attendants of the memorial wore flip-flops, because Allen was a self-described “flip-flop kind of girl,” said friend and co-worker Chris Bartholomew.

The CSU oval was chosen for Allen’s memorial service because, “The oval was a special place to Rebecca,” said her brother Jon Gumtow. “She spent a lot of time here.”

The memorial was followed by a celebration at the Rio Grande Restaurant, another of Allen’s favorite places.

Staff writer Shari Blackman can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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Two students struck by lightning, one killed

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Jul 222008
 
Authors: Collegian Staff

Just three days after two CSU employees on bicycles were hit by a motorist, lightning struck two CSU graduate students on campus, killing one of them and putting the other in intensive care at Poudre Valley Hospital.

William John Szlemko and Marc Vernon Richard were struck at approximately 7:30 p.m. Thursday in a forested area of campus known as Sherwood Forest during a thunderstorm, according to a press release from the university.

Szlemko, a 35-year-old psychology graduate student, was pronounced dead at the scene after CSU police tried to revive him and Richard. Richard is in intensive care at Poudre Valley Hospital.

The Larimer County Coroner’s office performed an autopsy on Szlemko at 10:30 a.m. Friday. The coroner’s office did not answer an after-hours call from the Collegian.

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ATF conducts explosions, Black Hawk helicopter event on campus

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Jul 222008
 
Authors: Kelli Pryor

Excitement spread through the crowd as the time grew closer to detonation. Hundreds of teens lined the hills of CSU’s West Lawn waiting for the much-anticipated display of heavy explosives — TNT and dynamite — to blast off a few hundred feet in front of them.

The announcer called upon the audience to countdown to explosion time.

“Three, two, one.”

At ‘one’, a massive explosion went off on the lawn. The sound reverberated in the spectator’s chests as if they were standing in front of a speaker at a rock concert. Some screamed, but most simply stared in awe.

The detonation of several large explosives began Friday’s festivities celebrating the end of a weeklong conference held at CSU for members of the National Law Enforcement Exploring Program, consisting of teens interested in joining law enforcement.

Members of the Explorer Program came from all over the country to CSU last Monday so they could participate in activities aimed at teaching them about law enforcement.

“We [the Explorers] help out police officers,” said Nikita Tietsort, a 16-year-old from Columbia, Mo. “We are an extra pair of hands for them,”

The Explorers, ranging in age from 14 to 21, “want to get into law enforcement after school” said Jerry Blevins, coordinator for the Explorer Program in Dearborn, MI.

Friday’s finale to the conference showed the teens the more exiting areas of police work.

The explosives demonstration by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives detonated live commercial and military explosives. Spectators could feel the heat from some of the displays, particularly the “wall of fire.” The grand finale of the explosives exhibition sent two tires shooting into the air at least a hundred feet.

“It’s a reduced demo of what we [ATF] normally do [out in the field], but it’s still pretty neat,” said Special Agent Don Yorke.

Next, the West Lawn became the stage to a canine attack demonstration. The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office showed the audience how they use dogs to search for evidence as well as apprehend suspects.

At one point, the “suspect” in the demonstration began to flee from the police, but was quickly taken to the ground by Justice, the team’s German Sheppard.

The culmination of the event came with a demonstration by the US Marshall Special Operations Group.

The members of SOG surprised the audience by landing a Colorado Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopter a few hundred yards in front of them and performing a simulation of a special mission complete with an armored vehicle and explosions.

It might be a long time before CSU’s West Lawn sees this amount of action again though.

Special Agent Carrie DiPirro said the conference is held at different places every year and CSU was the sponsor for this year.

Staff writer Kelli Pryor can be reached at news at collegian.com.

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Officials warn against high water levels [AUDIO SLIDESHOW]

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Jul 222008
 
Authors: Lindsay Mitchell

With a higher water level in the Cache La Poudre River this year, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office and river experts warn river rats to use caution when rafting or tubing the stream.

The sheriff’s office reports four drowning incidents in Larimer County already this season, two of them from water sport-related accidents on the river. Experts say five is an unusually high number this early in the season.

“This year, water levels are equal to a very good year,” said Dave Mosier, an emergency services specialist with the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office. “We had a pretty good amount of snow this year, so as the snow melts, it is creating a high amount of run-off Poudre Valley Hospital, where she died of her injuries.

Now, in grief over their loss, friends and coworkers remember Allen, 32, as an energetic, inspirational person in their lives.

“Rebecca was the kind of person who leave an indelible impression on everyone she meets,” friend and colleague Jenny Fischer told the Collegian Tuesday.

Allen, who worked as an undergraduate program administrator for the Department of Journalism and Technical Communication for a year before her death, is remembered as an energetic person who was meticulous in making sure that the undergraduates under her care received the best educational experience possible.

But she was also all about having fun. Fischer remembers what she called “TLDs,” or “the longest days,” which Allen and her husband used to distract friends from the monotony of everyday life by enjoying the outdoors and following the activities with beer and barbeque.

Fischer wrote about one such day, which started at 8 a.m., with a long bike ride, after which the Allens and friends “reconvened at her house for barbeque and Pabst Blue Ribbon — their favorite beer.”

“The goal of the parties is to get outside, enjoy the great outdoors and ‘kick your own ass,'” Fischer wrote on a piece of office paper to the Collegian.

Greg Luft, chair of the Department of Journalism and Technical Communication, said Allen was an asset to the Journalism Department.

“She was dedicated to her work and loved her job,” Luft said in a telephone interview. “She was very energetic . She had a wonderful spirit.”

Allen and her husband, Greg Allen, participated in a co-ed softball league called Fuller’s Loaded Bases with several other members of the CSU Journalism Department. Rebecca and Greg played the positions of first base and outfielder respectively.

She worked for the CSU Department of Journalism and Technical Communication during her time as a graduate student at the university from 2000 to 2002.

Allen’s passion for bicycles was also an important part of her life, Luft said. She and Greg worked at Recycled Cycles together shortly after graduating.She had always placed a great amount of emphasis on safety in her cycling career, always wearing a helmet. She encouraged all of her friends to ride bicycles, Luft said.

“Rebecca loved bicycling, and everyone that knew her knew that about her,” he said.

Staff writer Kate Bennis can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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CSU hosts NLEEC

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Jul 222008
 
Authors: Tim Maddocks

Monday night was marked by a euphoric patriotic kick-off to the National Law Enforcement Exploring Conference at Moby Gym.

The conference, which is held every two years, began in 1979 at Michigan State University. Law enforcement exploring is club designed to train teenagers ages 14 to 20 how to pursue a career in law enforcement.

After a laser show, a color guard exhibition and a video showcasing local law enforcement history from Wyatt Earp’s age tomodern technology, Governor Bill Ritter gave the keynote speech.

Ritter, whose career began as a District Attorney for City and County of Denver, came to support the national conference and encourage the more than 3,200 explorers that a career in law enforcement is an “honorable” goal.

“One of the most noble ways to serve your community is to make law enforcement a career,” Ritter said. “It is a noble service. It is a noble profession.”

The theme of nobility was also reemphasized with a tribute to a fallen officer Thomas F. Ballman from Kirkwood, Mo. Ballman, an advisor for a Kirkwood explorer troop died in the line of duty. Ballman’s uniform and badge were retired by his explorer troop in a somber moment accompanied by bagpipes playing “Amazing Grace.”

The week will continue with seminars hosted by law enforcement professionals and individual and team competitions. Competitions range from arrest and search to hostage negotiations to traffic accident investigation events.

Conference Director Bill Taylor said that 60 percent of all explorer participants go on to careers in law enforcement.

The event also serves as recruitment venue for law enforcement agencies nationwide. The career fair, which will be held all week on the second floor of the Lory Student Center, has booths hosted by myriad of agencies.

Federal agencies represented include the FBI, U.S. Marshals, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Drug Enforcement Administration and Department of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, among others.

State law enforcement agencies ranged from Garfield County Sheriffs Department to Denver Police Department to Weld County Sheriffs Department.

DEA spokesman, David Ausiello, described the conference as a “hotbed for law enforcement recruitment.”

Fort Collins resident Madeleine Smith contributed to this report. Staff writer Tim Maddocks can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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