CSU baseball continues to breed success with fifth World Series win

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Jun 302009
Authors: Justin Warren

Over the past six seasons the CSU men’s club baseball team has been the program to beat in the National Club Baseball Association with five NCBA World Series Championships in six years, including 2009.

The Rams began their 2009 season with a 4-5 loss to Otero Junior College in LaJunta, Colo., on Feb. 7.

“Last year, losing the first game hurt more than this year’s loss. This year I was very confident we could come back up in the winner’s bracket. We just focused game to game and took care of business,” head coach Mike Abernathy said.

The season-opening loss did not slow the Rams down as they concluded the 2009 spring season holding the NBCA World Series trophy for the fifth time in school history.

The Rams began NCBA World Series play on May 22 with a 10-6 loss to Maryland. CSU would then knock off Weber State 2-1, defeat Clemson 7-3, sweep Maryland 25-7 and 4-3 in two games, and win the World Series over Arizona 3-1 on May 28.

The championship season was coach Abernathy’s third title since taking over the head coaching position in 2006 from Frank Gonzales, who led the Rams to two consecutive World Series victories in 2004 and 2005.

“There are three things that go into our success. First the talent in Colorado is exceptional and it is a good place to play. The coaching I think is superb. We have four coaches and three of them are ex-players that have gone through the system and know how we do things,” Abernathy said. “Most importantly the kids want to play. They pay to play so they want to be there and be better.”

Brian Dilley was awarded the 2009 World Series’ Most Valuable Player for the Rams. The senior outfielder concluded the series with a .440 batting average along with two home runs and 12 RBIs.

Dilley also helped his team out during the regular season with a batting average of .438, 12 home runs and 46 RBIs in 112 at bats.

Another factor for the Rams this season and for the past four years has been senior Eric Zaruba at first base. This season Zaruba drove home 20 runs while hitting .306 at the plate.

“Three out of four for me,” said Zaruba when talking about the World Series championships he had been a part of. “You always want to end your career on a good note and I definitely ended on a good note . the season went well and we did not give it away at the end.”

The 2009 CSU baseball season was one of the best seasons in program history with an overall record of 48-7. Four games this year were not played due to weather.

The Rams also managed to go undefeated in the Mid-America West Conference by sweeping rival CU-Boulder twice, University of Northern Colorado twice, and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in three games.

From April 10 until May 10, the Rams went undefeated with 21 consecutive wins before losing to Maryland in the first round of the World Series.

Next season coach Abernathy and his players will look to continue the dynasty they have created in the NCBA with another World Series title.

The new season will begin at the start of February 2010.

Staff writer Justin Warren can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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New sports announcer shares life experiences

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Jun 302009
Authors: Matt L. Stephens

It’s hard to fill the shoes of someone as well-known and well-liked among the CSU community as the Rams’ former radio play-by-play announcer Rich Bircumshaw, who passed away from a stroke in April at age 54. But that is the task at hand for Jerry Schemmel.

In June, Schemmel was announced as the newest Voice of the Rams, replacing Bircumshaw after eight years on the job. Fans in Colorado will most likely recognize the South Dakota native’s voice from listening to the Denver Nuggets radio broadcasts, a job he has been doing for the last 17 years.

He will continue to call all Nuggets home games.

For the graduate from Washburn University in Topeka, Kan., a school where he patrolled the middle infield for the baseball team, it has been a long journey to the broadcasting summit.

“My first job was doing high school games for a small station in Topeka during my senior year of college. I did high school football and basketball,” Schemmel said in a phone interview from his house in Littleton. “It was a long haul — almost 10 years before I made it to the NBA. Every step of the way I learned something new I could use to get better. I started out doing high school games, then small college games then major college, the CBA then to the NBA.”

Still, despite his 25 years of broadcast experience, there is no preparation for filling the shoes of someone like Bircumshaw.

“It can be strange. I’ve never done anything like this before. I just tell people that I have big shoes to fill both as a broadcaster and a person. As far as a supporter, there isn’t a bigger supporter of CSU than Rich. I’m just going to try to be as prepared as I can possibly be and do the best job I know how and hopefully that’s good enough for the people who have followed Rich over the years.”

For fans of college athletics, there is generally more media coverage of confrontations a head coach has with a member of the press than focus on good relationships, and any fan of CSU basketball knows that both Bircumshaw and the Rams’ men’s head basketball coach Tim Miles had a great relationship, sharing jokes on the air, even after losses. For Miles, it has been tough losing a close friend, but he said Schemmel is as good a hire as any to take the reigns.

“Well, Rich was a dear friend, and he was a guy that I worked with on nearly a daily basis. It was a time when we were struggling to get this ship (the basketball program) going in the right direction, and he was an unconditional supporter and an unconditional ally, and you’re never going to replace that.” Miles said. “At the same time, Jerry Schemmel is a professional, he’s awesome at what he does, and we’re lucky to have him.”

“It’s a great hire for Colorado State. A guy as talented and experienced as Schemmel, his resume is so impressive and I think that it will really soften that blow with the loss of Rich Bircumshaw.”

To replace a man that many saw as a hero to the community, there is no better way to do it than with another philanthropist such as Schemmel. Schemmel, whose brother serves as the Athletic Director at San Diego State University, is very involved in the Denver community raising money for local causes, almost giving his own, personal twist to the “NBA Cares” campaign.

In both the summers of 2003 and 2004 he rode his bike from the West Coast to the East Coast, once raising money for a Denver Christian school to help them build an athletic field, the other for Children’s Hospital. He helped raise more than $250,000 during those rides.

While he loves giving back to his community, he can’t ignore a life-changing event that happened 20 years ago this month. While on a United Airlines flight from Denver to Chicago on July 19, 1989, Flight 232 had a mid-air engine explosion that forced the plane to crash-land in Sioux City, Iowa where 112 of the 296 passengers lost their lives. The death total would have been 113 had Schemmel not gone back into the wreckage to save an infant.

“It has completely reshaped me. I’m not the same guy I was 20 years ago,” Schemmel said. “A lot of priorities in my life are completely different now. To me, my Christian conviction is now my priority, then family after that, followed by my career. I think I have my priorities back in order now.”

Schemmel agreed that in an odd way the crash of Flight 232 has turned out to be a positive experience.

A loving husband, a caring father, a community hero and a strong survivor, Schemmel is excited for his first game as the Voice of the Rams on Sunday, Sept. 6, when the CSU football team opens their season against CU-Boulder at Folsom Field.

Sports Editor Matt L. Stephens can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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Yays and Nays

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Jun 302009

Yay | to Gov. Sarah Palin resigning from her frigid Alaskan post. But nay to the frightening revelation that she may run for president, despite how exciting it may be for comedians and journalists alike.

Nay | to former Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve “Air” McNair being shot and killed in Nashville. This loss took the “Air” out of our sails.

yay | to leftover fireworks from the Fourth of July celebration. Now your neighbor can annoy you late at night for another month.

nay | to finals this week for second session summer courses. But hey, it’s another excuse to hit up the Ramskeller.

yay | to free music on campus at the Lagoon Summer Concert Series. Hopefully the weather will hold out because the Underwater Lagoon Summer Concert Series doesn’t sound as appealing.

Nay | to the Rocky Mountain Showdown tickets being $72. I don’t know about those rich Boulderites, but we Rammies need to save our money for important things — like good beer.

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Fallen branch in Oval an ‘act of God’

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Jun 302009
Authors: Madeline Novey

An almost century-old tree branch fell and crushed two unoccupied vehicles parked on the southwest end of CSU’s historic Oval Friday afternoon.

Compressing a classic 1996 Jaguar and a Jeep, CSU Spokesperson Dell Rae Moellenberg called the occurrence “extremely rare” and tree experts said the fall was most likely related to the increase in recent rains, making the trees more susceptible to breaking.

“With the moisture and the amount of growth this year we’ve seen increased crown density,” said Scott Simonds, CSU arborist and horticultural supervisor, referring to the leafy area of plants. “When trees and shrubs get a lot of water, they like it and they grow.”

After investigation, it is believed there was a flaw or weakness in the approximately 87 to 89-year-old-tree that was accelerated by increased moisture this spring.

There was not an indication that the branch would fall, Simonds said, calling the incidence “act of God stuff” as “rare as the lightening striking the tree last (summer) in the Sherwood forest.”

The Facilities Management Outdoor Services Group inspects the dozens of historic trees, residents of the Oval as early as the 1880s, on an ongoing basis for possible hazards. They look for risk factors based on training by the International Society of Arboriculture, which develops methods for high-quality professional tree care.

The trees are regularly treated to prevent them from getting Dutch Elm Disease, which is transferred to the trees by the elm leaf beetles who carry it.

Carolyn Worden, owner of the Jaguar and a Student Financial Services employee, expected to find scratches on her newly detailed vehicle after receiving a phone call from the CSU Police Department. Upon arriving at the scene to find her roof “not four inches above the windowsill of the door,” Worden thanked the lord the branch fell just “minutes after (she locked the car).”

News Managing Editor Madeline Novey can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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PVHS saves Fourth of July celebrations

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Jun 302009
Authors: Stacey K. Borage

Due to citywide budget cuts resulting from a $5.6 million revenue shortfall in the last fiscal year, the City of Fort Collins wasn’t able to foot the bill for the Fourth of July celebration at City Park this year.

In an “effort to address economic challenges and concerns” the city eliminated live entertainment and canceled vendors prior to the fireworks display in order to save approximately $10,000, John Litel, a public relations specialist for the City of Fort Collins, said in a press release from the city last Sunday.

“Budget shortfalls have determined that the City of Fort Collins Parks and Recreation Department needs to identify expense reductions,” Litel said.

When the city said it wouldn’t pay for the fireworks display, Poudre Valley Health Systems donated $25,000 to keep the tradition — the largest event they’ve sponsored to-date — alive and well.

“(The money) is actually coming out of the marketing budget, which we set aside every year for marketing (projects) and sponsoring community events,” said PVHS Marketing Director Gary Kimsey.

But this isn’t the first time PVHS has saved the Fourth of July festivities. The same thing happened last year and it might again next year, said David Roy, city council member for District 6, the same district City Park is located.

Assistant Fire Marshal Shawn Brann said he didn’t notice a significant decrease in event turnout last year despite entertainment cuts. “Even though some activities (were) scaled back, the event was still well-attended.”

Regardless of the cancelled activities, police, traffic control and other services will still be available, Litel said.

The mayor was unavailable for comment.

Staff writer Stacey K. Borage can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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New energy source represents CSU’s sustainable future

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Jun 302009
Authors: Jessica Cline

Installation of the 38th and largest new solar panel system in the Fort Collins area was completed last week on top of CSU’s Engineering Building, and after powering up last Friday, university officials say it will produce cheaper, “carbon free” power.

With 108 total panels, the project is expected to save about $3,000 to $4,000 a year in electrical costs right now, and as electricity gets more expensive it will save even more money in the future, Facilities Management officials said.

Officials also said the new solar panels will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 18.3 metric tons a year, a feat they said communicates a message of sustainability to the CSU community.

“We think (this solar panel system) will provide as a good demonstration project for students who want to see us all move away from traditional fossil-fuel powered electrical generations,”/said Carol Dollard, an energy engineer for Facilities Management.

“While the contribution of this system is relatively small, additional systems in the works . will start to produce more significant amounts of power,” she said. “Since these other projects are in less visible parts of campus, we just wanted to have a system that the campus community could see.”

Putting together the solar panel system on the roof took about a week to complete after all plans were finalized and after CSU received a grant from the Governor’s Energy Office, which awards institutions money for the installation of sustainable energy sources.

The project cost about $110,000, but it was a one-time, up-front payment for a system that will last 30-plus years, Dollard said. It was funded mostly by the grant and partly from rebate money that CSU received for other energy efficiency projects including CSU’s pending Maxwell Ranch Wind Farm and the biomass boiler installed in the Animal Reproduction and Biotechnology Laboratory.

The new solar panels were situated in a central location on top of the Engineering Building where students can see them every day while walking across campus. This was a way to remind students of CSU’s goal to be more sustainable, and show students one of the ways the university gets its electricity.

“When you turn on a light or an electronics device, you don’t really think about where this energy comes from,” said Mary Warren, a Facilities Management student intern. “But when you see the source on your route to class, you become increasingly aware of the energy used along with your consumption habits.”/

Warren said these types of projects will become more popular as time goes on, and that educating students now and getting them used to new energy sources will help make the transition to different energy resources easier.

“This type of education is beneficial to students because rising energy prices are something that we will have to face in the near future, and renewable energy is a solution in dealing with these rising costs.”

This project represents the start of an initiative to power several areas of campus using solar energy, but a timeline is uncertain. Plans to install panels on the top of the Lake Street Parking garage are underway, and if everything goes accordingly, they should be up and running about a year from now Dollard said.

Citing skyrocketing electricity costs, Dollard said projects like this are becoming more popular in the community and around the world. She said the allocation of stimulus money and grants further encourage these endeavors.

Eric Sutherland, a local entrepreneur and energy industry expert, said he agrees that finding and providing renewable energy sources is vital to our future.

/”Solar panels are great because they provide electricity when we need it the most,” he said. “We are going to run out of electricity in the future and if we do not come up with new ways of generating electricity now, we will have to find new ways in the future that might be more expensive and less environmentally friendly.”

The CSU-Pueblo campus and several California universities recently installed large solar panel systems on their campuses, which experts predict will pay for themselves in saved energy.

“I would think that this is especially the case with schools because not only are they investing in themselves but also the future,” Dollard said. The people that attend these schools are the people that are needed to keep the momentum going in the future for developments in renewable energy.”

Staff writer Jessica Cline can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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CSU summer enrollment numbers hold steady

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Jun 302009
Authors: Emily Johnson

Despite the economic downturn, summer enrollment at universities and colleges nationwide seems to be holding steady, and CSU undergraduate summer enrollment saw a 2 percent increase over last year.

And while overall enrollment stayed about even from 2008 to 2009, CSU officials said more students are taking a fewer number of classes.

“Even though the undergraduate head count is up by 103 students, the numbers of credit hours are even with last year,” said Barbara Gotshall, the director of CSU’s Summer Session.

Though current numbers do not represent the final head count for the session, they are very close, Gotshall said, reporting the following enrollment figures:

For summer 2009 there are 5,857 students enrolled, not including veterinary students, compared with summer 2008’s figure of 5,821.

There are 4,983 undergraduates taking classes this summer, representing a 2 percent increase over 2008, and

There are 94 fewer graduate students enrolled in summer session 2009.

The University of Colorado reported a similar increase.

“It’s about 1 percent,” said Carol Drake, director of Summer Studies for CU, of the summer enrollment increase. “With the economy, we didn’t know what to expect.”

Like CU, most universities are falling within their projections this summer.

Registrar Sandra Phillips with Michigan State University, a land grant institution like CSU, said they are right on target.

“We’re pretty consistent. Each summer we see about a 1 percent increase in enrollment,” Phillips said.

Kansas State University, another land grant school, has seen a very slight fluctuation in summer enrollment over the past few years.

Statistical and Information Officer Ann Stearns reported that since 2006, each summer saw increases and decreases of between 50 to 190 students. The numbers for 2009 aren’t in yet.

A few schools, however, have seen slight decreases.

Linda Schoepflin, director of Summer Studies at Washington State University, said the economy was her best guess for why WSU saw 290 fewer heads this summer than last.

“We were up in the beginning of the session, but it’s down now,” she said. “We’ll see in the fall if the economy is really making a difference.”

Registrar of Summer Sessions, Kathy Pace, said things are looking up for Cornell University.

“Summer sessions are a great time for classes here because they are much smaller in size so that’s more one-on-one time with faculty,” Pace said.

“Cornell also offers open enrollment for summer sessions, so it’s a great opportunity for returning students, or those who just need a few classes to complete their academic goals,” she said.

While university summer numbers are holding steady, community colleges across the nation are enrolling significantly more students this summer from last.

“There’s no definite research right now but usually when the economy takes a hit, people will go back to school because they are out of work or want to update their skills,” said Pat Mead, director of Institutional Research at Front Range Community College, whose enrollment is up 22 percent from last summer.

Mead said while she didn’t know of all the factors contributing to FRCC’s increased enrollment, she had some guesses.

“Community colleges can offer degrees and certifications in programs quicker than a four-year institution,” Mead said, saying that two-year degrees in health care and the emerging “green” industry are very popular right now.

Pueblo Community College too saw a 20 percent increase from last year, enrolling 150 more students than projected.

“We were pretty flat for a few years but when the economy slows, there are less jobs and people go back to school,” Marketing Coordinator Erin Ragulsky said. “It’s more affordable and they can quickly join the workforce.”

Ragulsky also said that community colleges are a great springboard to eventually attending a university, as it’s an affordable way to get core requirements out of the way. She’s concerned about Colorado’s budget crisis though.

“If the state doesn’t solve (budget constraints) in two years, tuition everywhere will increase,” she said.

Cheryl Roland, executive director of Relations for Western Michigan University said while their summer enrollment is within plus or minus 1 percent of enrollment projections, there is an increase in community college attendance in the growing Detroit area.

“Families are keeping their students at home to save on the cost of education and commuting. Community colleges across Michigan are seeing a tremendous increase in applications and admissions because of this,” Roland said.

Even so, Barbara Gotshall doesn’t believe this is bad news for our university. She’s not surprised that community colleges are seeing increased enrollment, especially during summer sessions.

“We can’t compete with community college tuition. Students who go home for the summer can pick up classes that transfer to CSU more affordably,” she said.

“But most CSU students are juniors and seniors,” Gotshall said. “I’m not worried about losing students (to community colleges).”

In fact, Gotshall said she has received an increased number of phone calls from parents in Colorado and around the nation that are opting for CSU because tuition is a little more affordable compared with others across the nation.

“There may be a trend beyond the summer session,” Gotshall said, referring to potential fall enrollment fluctuations as a result of the economy. “We’ll see.”

Staff writer Emily Johnson can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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CSU scientist granted $240,000 for cancer cell research

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Jun 302009
Authors: Lauren Leete

Smiling from behind her desk as she reached up and alternated both arms like she were crossing a set of monkey bars, animated Jennifer “Jake” DeLuca, researcher and assistant professor at CSU, flashed back to when her cell biology professor Dr. Salmon, showcased these epic moves.

This little comic maneuver, used to illustrate microtubule dynamics, sparked her interest in an area, which would one day become her career. Leaving her early college endeavors behind — anthropology and the Greek classics — DeLuca pursued cell biology.

“I was one of those kids who would change what they wanted to be every day. I changed my major five or six times. (But) when Dr. Salmon put up his arms to describe (microtubules), it inspired me to go into cell biology,” said DeLuca with a genuine laugh.

History and a scientist

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, DeLuca moved to Santa Barbara, Calif. for graduate school, where she worked with Dr. Less Wilson on microtubule dynamics research.

Microtubules are tiny barrel-like projects within the cell that aid in the process of cell division, otherwise known as mitosis. Her thesis encompassed the isolation and study of mitotic microtubule motor proteins –/or the microtubules that attach to chromosomes and allow for cell division –/in an effort to understand how cancer and genetic birth defects develop during cell division.

Wanting to pursue a post-doctoral degree in cell biology and microscopy, DeLuca and her husband moved to Chapel Hill, N.C., where the humidity got the best of her husband as he unpacked in the summer heat, blanketed with sweat.

Back to her roots at the University of North Carolina, she not only enjoyed working with her mentor and long-time friend Dr. Ted Salmon, but also took some time for school spirit, witnessing both times the basketball team made it to the national championship.

In 2007, DeLuca and her family ventured back to the drier land in Colorado. Opening her lab on CSU’s campus that year, DeLuca and her team set out to understand the cellular mechanism, or microtubules, used to evenly divide chromosomes.

Chemicals used in anti-cancer treatments including chemotherapy kill not only cancer cells, but healthy, rapidly dividing body cells like hair, blood and stomach cells, causing nausea and hair-loss, among other side-effects. With her research, DeLuca hopes to understand specifically how microtubules help to divide mutated cancers cells, hopefully leading to the development of treatments that will halt cancerous cell division and spare the healthy cells.

“By studying how the microtubules attach to chromosomes during cellular division and the proteins involved, we can potentially identify new targets for rational anti-cancer drug design,” DeLuca said.

Humans, rat kangaroos and a lab

Her lab team —- involving three undergraduates, two graduate students, one post-doctoral, one research scientist and one technician — is now working specifically on one microtubule-chromosome complex called NDC80 using human and rat kangaroo cells.

Far from a typical joey, the rat kangaroo cells provide the team with a unique way to observe the cells during division because they’re huge, even though the animal is about the size of a hamster. More importantly, the cells remain flat during mitosis, whereas human cells puff out like a blowfish, making all the chromosomes easily visible on one plane.

Another key aspect is rat kangaroo cells have very few chromosomes, compared with humans who have 46 total, making it easier to pin-point particular microtubule interactions.

“We are lucky (we can) visually watch the process using a light microscope,” DeLuca said.

As a new investigator, DeLuca was awarded the 2009 Pew Scholars Award earlier this month. Unlike other grants given for research, the Pew Scholar is unique in that the money endowed to those chosen is not limited to one experiment. DeLuca, granted $240,000 for the next four years, has the creative freedom to follow any path depending on where her research takes her.

“(We) have an opportunity to pursue and expand our research. Most other (grants) fund outlined experiments, (and you are) restricted by the outline. That’s what makes this award so neat because (we) have the flexibility to use money at (our) discretion (and) pursue exciting and unexpected results that might arise,” DeLuca said.

DeLuca plans to use the grant money to further her study of the binding interactions between microtubules and chromosomes, and examine the proteins outside of the cell, called in vitro, to understand biochemical properties including how they bind.

Partnering with other universities including CU-Boulder, DeLuca is working with their engineering department to create a 3-D image of this binding site by taking photos on multiple planes and putting them together. They hope to publish the results of this experiment by next spring.

The people behind the microscope

Walking down the hall of the Molecular and Radiological Biosciences Building, DeLuca enters her lab to find everyone each working on their piece of the puzzle. Walking around the small quarters to greet everyone, the trustworthy relationships DeLuca shared with her team were evident.

Geoff Guimaraes, a fourth-year graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in biochemistry, unlatched a plastic container holding the results for his experiment to show to DeLuca. His ultimate goal is to build a graph showing the maximum limit of proteins a microtubule can hold, which influences how a cell divides.

Working with DeLuca in the lab for two-and-a-half years he said, “I can’t imagine working in another lab. Science isn’t always easy, it’s great to come in and work with good people.”

As for her Pew Scholars grant, he said, “I’m stoked. Usually only people from (schools like) Harvard, MIT, and Yale win this award. (It shows) what a top notch scientist she is. (It’s) extremely prestigious and great. She totally deserves it.”

Betsy Buechler, a senior biochemistry major, has worked with DeLuca’s lab “pretty much since it started,” and said of the experience, “it’s been really fantastic. She answers questions and takes time to work with me . (and) help with the lab as a whole. (She’s) always smiling. It’s great.”

When asked what makes DeLuca unique, Buechler said, “she’s a really well-rounded person (and) takes time to get to know people as people.”

Having had her as a cell biology professor as well, Buechler said as a professor, DeLuca is very interactive and goes beyond the norm.

“The way she explained stuff wasn’t just reading words off a slide. (She) used visuals,” she said. “(With) microtubule motor proteins, her acting that out helped me more than any video or words on a PowerPoint could.”

Speaking on the importance of research on campus, DeLuca said, “I think that research as a whole at an academic institution is essential for biomedical progress to occur. Undergraduate research is an extremely valuable part of (their) education whether they plan to pursue a research career or not.”

She added, “It provides an opportunity to be creative, to become a critical thinker and to carry out ideas to an endpoint. Gaining these skills is important no matter what career you choose.”

As for what she wants students to know, DeLuca said that she wanted them “to know how enthusiastic I am. I love what I do and I hope the passion is infectious. I hope they develop their own passion for whatever their projects are and are as excited about it as I am.”

“There are so many things in the world to do and to see. (You’re) lucky to find something (you’re) truly happy doing,” DeLuca said.

A mother, a national park passport carrier, a mentor, a runner and now a Pew Scholars grant winner for biomedical science, DeLuca’s journey, though it started with a little hand gesture, continues in leaps and bounds. Her research takes a unique view at “curing” cancer by not only killing what’s there but preventing it.

Staff writer Lauren Leete can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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Consumer fireworks draw concern, use restricted by city

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Jun 302009
Authors: Stacey K. Borage

With the Fourth of July just around the corner, many students anticipate setting off their own fireworks despite warnings from authorities: risk takers won’t just get a slap on the wrist; instead, they’ll get slapped with a $250 fine every time they’re caught playing with fireworks.

“(We) advise people that fireworks are illegal within city limits,” Assistant Fire Marshal Shaun Brann said. “Unfortunately, many people choose to ignore that, and we try our best to educate (them).” Poudre Fire Authority and CSU send out press releases every year, hoping to persuade the public against the use of consumer fireworks within city limits.

Regardless of the efforts, many students are willing to risk it.

“(My friend and I) are definitely going to set off our own fireworks,” said Derek Boyd, a senior liberal arts major. Luckily for Boyd, he lives outside city limits, and even though it’s legal to set off his own, the choices are limited.

“In the most basic of terms, if it leaves the ground or goes boom, then it is not legal in the state of Colorado,” Brann said.

In accordance with these restrictions, fireworks stands do not sell bottle rockets, anything that flies above 15 feet or is unpredictable in its movements or flight.

The restriction leaves the deprived craving more and speaking out.

“I think limiting it to sparklers (in the county) is pretty lame,” Boyd said. “Usually around the Fourth of the July, (the restrictions) used to pertain a lot to whether the fire dangers were really high on how strict they got.”

Contrary to popular belief, the threat of drought or floods doesn’t dictate the fate of fireworks, Brann said.

Despite the overly wet season this year, some people are starting early, said Blue Hovatter, a CSU math tutor.

“I’ve already seen the remnants of fireworks on the streets as I walk by,” he said. “People are already starting to fire these things off. It’s funny because this is always been how it works every single year.”

Lori Frank, a Fort Collins crime analyst, reports nine citations issued and 392 complaints made last year — eight fewer citations and 61 fewer complaints from the previous year.

And based on the current state of the economy, Brann thinks those numbers will go down.

“Based on recent sales information, I anticipate . many people may not spend their hard earned money on fireworks,” he said.

Pete’s Fireworks, a stand just east of Fort Fun on Mulberry, stays quiet in the day with only a few customers stopping by; regardless, owner Pete Sakala disagrees with Brann.

“We think it’s going to be a better year because people are staying in town,” he said. “It picks up on the weekends and then a little before July 4.”

Pete’s Fireworks is permitted to be there because its location is outside of city limits and doesn’t sell anything that the consumer wouldn’t be able to control, like Bottle Rockets.

Even with a fireworks shop outside of town, there’s still talk among students about making a road trip to Wyoming to acquire the unauthorized kind.

Legal or illegal, senior psychology major Rebekah Kennedy doesn’t think defining the current policy will change minds.

“(I think) people who go to Wyoming and go to all the work of buying fireworks are going to light them wherever they want to anyway,” she said.

To Brann, that’s still no excuse, and he stresses the fact that authorities will be on the lookout for any fireworks in the city and any illegal fireworks in the county.

“(People) who are caught risk being issued a summons and losing their fireworks, time and money,” Brann said.

Staff writer Stacey K. Borage can be reached at news@collegian.com.

Civic Center Entertainment

Time: Begins at 11 a.m.

Where: Civic Center Park (Just behind the Justice Center on LaPorte Ave. and Mason St.)

Festivities: Includes music, gymnastics, snocones, food, a petting zoo and craft booths, along with bounce castles and hands-on games

Old Town Square Entertainment

Time: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: Fort Collins Old Town Square (at College and Mountain Ave.)

Festivities: Live music, a beer garden and more

Fireworks at City Park presented by Poudre Valley Health System

Time: Fireworks begin at dusk (estimated time 9:35 p.m.)

Where: Fireworks are shot over Sheldon Lake

Price: Free admission and open to the public

Transportation: Free TransFort shuttle service will be available to and from the fireworks display from the Downtown Transit Center and CSU Towers Parking Lot to City Park. Shuttle rides begin at 5:30 p.m. and end at 10:30 p.m.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm