Archive for 2009

Lawmakers Leave Out Promise

by Published: Sep 23, 2009

$140 million for scholarships stricken from state budget

Katie Tibbe has already started the process of finding financial aid for next year, as funding for the Michigan Promise scholarships has been left out of the budget to be sent to the governor.

“I’ll have to take out more private loans to cover it,” said Tibbe, a junior in the Dental Hygiene program. Tibbe has been relying on updates from Ferris’ financial aid department to keep her updated on the status of her Promise scholarship. The Promise scholarship amounts to about $1,300 a year for Tibbe.

An estimated 96,000 students, like Tibbe, could be seeking alternative means to help pay for their higher education.

The budget, which before the proposed cuts from last week was $2.8 billion, has been reduced to $1.8 billion between the state House and Senate with the Promise scholarships totaling $140 million being removed in full.

Federal stimulus dollars are expected to fill in the rest of the state’s budget shortfall.

Megan Brown, a spokesperson for Governor Jennifer Granholm, said there would be continued work before the budget is officially presented to the governor sometime this week.

The funds were credited to student accounts, but not included in any disbursements.

“They were only awarded so students could see them as part of their financial aid award,” said Director of Financial Aid at Ferris State University, Rob Wirt.

Ferris awarded over $1.8 million in Promise scholarships last year to 1,825 students in the 08–09 academic year.

The completed budget could potentially be vetoed by Governor Jennifer M. Granholm, at the risk of a government shut down if a new resolution is not passed before Oct. 1 when the completed budget is due. Sources close to the governor said there is a lot at stake and the governor continues to support the Michigan’s Promise scholarship program.


Grand Rapids Hosts International Art Exhibition

by Published: Sep 23, 2009

Jay Constantine and his wife Patricia are professors at Ferris’ Kendall College of Art and Design and just two of the artists competing in ArtPrize.

“There is a real benefit to be able to show your work,” said Particia.

“There are quite a few students and faculty in the competition,” said Sarah Joseph, director of exhibitions at KCAD. “We’re working to put a complete list together,” she said.

Other faculty entrants from Kendall include Deborah Rockman, Molly Alicki Corriveau and Darlene Kaczmarczyk.

ArtPrize, an art competition hosted throughout downtown Grand Rapids starting today and continuing through Oct. 10, is the product of Rick DeVos. Heir to Amway, the 27-year-old DeVos announced his plans for ArtPrize in April.

“It’s time to reboot the conversation between artists and the public,” said DeVos in an April press release. “ArtPrize will be a celebration of art, design, and innovation that will bring artists and the public together like never before,” said DeVos.

With pieces from 1,262 artists from 41 states and 15 countries, ArtPrize could boast as much as a $250,000 prize to the winning artist. A total of $449,000 in cash prizes is expected to be awarded to winners selected by individuals pre-registered on the ArtPrize Web site, artprize​.org. Registration must be completed in person and voters must be at least 16 years or older and have a valid photo ID.

The nearly half-million dollars in awards to the top 10 artists will be funded by The Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation.

For more information or to learn more about some of the entries and where they are on display, visit artprize​.org.


Patrol Horse Dies

by Published: Sep 23, 2009

Officer Jesse, beloved patrol horse for the Department of Public Safety (DPS), died Sept. 14, 2009 after suffering a stroke.

Jesse, who was owned by Officer Erik Little, became ill in Feb. 2009 with an unknown disease that caused intestinal damage. The 1,600-pound Percheron and Quarter-Draft horse lost 600 pounds during his illness.

With several months of medications to heal the wounds to his intestines, Jesse regained a weight of 1,360 pounds, but had lost much of his muscle mass.

Although Jesse recovered in July and patrolled the rest of the summer, he fell on Maple St. while Officer Little was riding him a week before his death. Jesse and Officer Little sustained only minor injuries from the fall.

Before his fall, both Jesse and Officer Little had worked 81 hours in an eight-day period in 80-degree weather.

“Jesse had a long, hard week,” said Little. “The veterinarian believed the fall was one of many strokes Jesse endured before his death.”

Photo Courtesy of the Department of Public SafetyRecently deceased Department of Public Safety patrol horse, Officer Jesse, goes about his work with, Officer Erik Little.

Jesse became colic, a symptom of digestive issues, and exhibited neurological damage and loss of balance the morning of his death. Jesse, 14 years old and in the prime of his life, was put down after several hours.

During his illness, the city of Big Rapids accumulated $4000 for medical and general care fees. Carleen Rose, from the Old Pioneer Store and Emporium, headed the Jesse fund.

Jesse became a patrol horse in 2005, although Officer Little had introduced the idea to DPS in 1999. When gasoline prices increased to $3.00 a gallon, DPS revisited the idea of a horse patrol.

“Jesse was an instant hit with everyone,” said Officer Little. “He was a good, strong horse who craved peoples’ attention.”

According to Little, Jesse saved DPS $58 per day for each patrol car. Horse patrol was more efficient for lower speed streets because the horse patrolman was not bound by traffic rules.

“Routine traffic in a car would usually take 8–10 minutes,” said Little. “With Jesse, it only took 4–6 minutes.”

Little also said he could do more police work in two hours than most cops could do in an entire day in a patrol car.

Although Jesse is gone, Officer Little is training another Draft-cross horse. Midnight’s Gentlemen Bob, or Bob for short, is expected to be ready for patrol in 2010.


A “Clunker” of a Plan

by Published: Sep 23, 2009

Cash for Clunkers temporarily helped the automakers, but did nothing for consumers

Though the recent “Cash for Clunkers” rebate incentive sounded like a great idea, it did not stimulate the American automakers or help consumers.

The incentive program, formally known as the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), was signed by President Obama on June 24 as a means to facilitate car sales for Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler.

CARS was designed to allow people to save up to $4,500 toward the purchase of a new vehicle. However, there were many restrictions and guidelines for each type of vehicle being traded in and each type being sold.

The major issues with the so called “rebate” plan are not the cost of the vehicles themselves, but the incurred costs that automatically come with the purchase. The instant you drive a new car off the lot, it loses tremendous amount of value. A new vehicle depreciates as much as 35 percent of its value within the first two years off the lot.

One could argue that it worked great because they got a new car and saved money off of the total price. The problem is that the payments of a new car are obviously more than the payments for the clunker. Also, the buyer’s insurance premiums will skyrocket compared to what they were. Add it all up and people really did not save any money.

CARS required customers to trade-in their vehicles to be scrapped. Dealerships typically offer much less for trade-ins than if someone would have sold the vehicle themselves. The rebate is given to offset the trade-in, but the customer still takes a loss because he or she could have gotten more for the vehicle by not trading it in. The Obama administration may have been trying to help automakers and consumers, but the consumers were on the wrong end of that deal.

The purpose of CARS was to encourage consumers to stimulate the economy. However, the government forgot to tell customers it was the United States economy they were talking about stimulating. A Sept. 2 article from Forbes​.com reported that 19 percent of vehicles purchased through the clunker program were Toyota models. I am so glad the government gave us a great savings program so that we could help Japan sell cars in our country.

The article also stated that August was the highest month of car sales nationwide through the first eight months in 2009. Hyundai, Subaru and Kia all had increases of at least 47 percent over August of last year, while Ford had a 17 percent increase.

Congress allotted $3 billion toward the program and when it ended on Aug. 24, it had used $2.87 billion, according to CARS​.gov. The program was scheduled to end Nov. 1 or until funds ran out. Since the government knew that the funds would not last until then, they cut the program short.

I purchased a vehicle over the summer while cash for clunkers was still available, but I didn’t “take advantage” of the offer. I am all for being green and helping the environment, but CARS just didn’t seem to make sense to me. For now, I am perfectly happy with my six-year-old, four-wheel drive that gets 18 miles to the gallon.


Home Cooking

by Published: Sep 23, 2009

Photo Courtesy of Ferris State University AthleticcsTaylor Crossman (#97) and Alex Best (#92) compete at the Ray Helsing Bulldog Invitational last Friday at FSU’s Katke Golf Course. 16 of the top 19 places were won by the men and women of the Ferris State cross country team.

Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams had strong performances at the lone home meet this season.

The women’s team took eight of the nine top individual places and the men’s team matched that pace by scoring eight of the top 10 runners in its meet.

“I feel pretty good about our effort today from both teams,” said Coach Steve Picucci, “It’s really early in the year, so I’m not really worried about times; I’m more focused on effort at this point.”

Leading the women’s team was junior Tina Muir, who convincingly won the women’s 5K event with a time of 18 minutes, 4.74 seconds.

“Tina’s our number one runner for our women, she really helps set the pace for the team,” said Picucci.

The women’s team had solid performances from its freshman runners. Anna Ruud placed second (18:49.39), Shelby Janutol came in third (19:35.90), Alyssa Osika captured fourth (19:37.76), Jordan McGuire finished seventh (20:24.66), and Felicia Peacock placed eighth (20:27.79).

“Our younger girls are really starting to run well right now,” said Picucci, “It really helps having them come in as freshman and making a difference for our team right now.”

The Bulldogs also had two juniors placing in the top nine, with Paige Onweller placing sixth (20:09.03) and Sarah Creed coming in ninth (20:30.54).

The men’s team claimed 10 of the top 13 finishes in its 8K meet. The Bulldogs were lead by senior Curtis Begley, who finished in second place (26:24.59). Sophomore Tyler Crossman followed with a third place finish (27:10.31).

Junior Alex Best placed fifth (27:27.33), junior Derek Childs came in sixth (27:51.65), sophomore Steve Neshkoff followed in seventh (27:51.89), freshman Ryan Chute took eighth (28:03.60), senior Brian Reynolds was ninth (28:08.88) and freshman Josh Kyser claimed tenth place (28:09.70).

“Both the younger guys and the older guys did well for us today. I was pretty happy with all the guys and the performance they had,” said Picucci.

This year, The Bulldog Invitational was renamed to honor former coach Ray Helsing, who led cross country and track and field at Ferris from 1968–82. Helsing was also inducted into the Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001.Helsing also coached more All-Americans than any coach in Ferris State history. This year also was the 34th running of the Bulldog Invitational, which first started in 1971 and was later restarted in 1976.

Both the men and women cross country teams are next scheduled to participate in the Wisconsin-Parkside Lucian Rosa Open on Oct. 10, in Kenosha, Wis.


OTR: Crime Cruising Through FSU

Published: Sep 23, 2009

A round up of this week’s crime across the FSU campus

Dorm Room Party

On Sept. 13, officers were called to Brophy Hall in reference to a party. Numerous subjects were found to be Minors of Possession of alcohol. Six subjects were cited and given appearance tickets. They were referred to the Office of Student Conduct.

Over the Limit

On Sept. 13 at 1:40 p.m., officers were on patrol near State and Maple Street. They observed a vehicle traveling at a high speed. The driver was found to be OWI (operating while intoxicated). The subject was lodged in the County Sheriff’s Department.

MIP in Miller

On Sept. 12, officers were dispatched to Miller Hall on a check of well-being complaint. A subject was found to be MIP (minor in possession).

Stolen Electronics

On Sept. 11 at 4:34 p.m., officers were called to Lot 4 for a larceny from a vehicle complaint. The subject advised that numerous electronic items were stolen from his vehicle. The vehicle was parked the day before. No suspects. Investigation continues.

Temper Tantrum in Timme

On Sept. 10 at 3:50 p.m., officers were dispatched to the Timme Center on a disorderly complaint. The complainant stated that there were several people yelling because they were upset. Officers found three subjects and referred them to the Office of Student Conduct.

Child Unsupervised

On Sept. 10 at 5:00 p.m., officers were called to Lot 65 in reference to a child being alone in a van. Upon arrival the child was not in the van or the surrounding area. A short time later, the subject was located and stated that they had gone to a neighbor’s house after school because they were locked out of their home.

Ticket Totals: From Sept. 10 through 17 public safety identified 754 violators. Each violator was ticketed for a total of $13,655. Actual amount depends on whether the ticket was paid, voided, or reduced.


Jennifer’s Body

by Published: Sep 23, 2009

Photo Courtesy of MCT CampusMegan Fox in “Jennifer’s Body” as Jennifer, a friendly girl turned mysterious, demonic, boy-killer.

Satanic rituals, demonic transferences, thriving off of human blood to stay full; “Jennifer’s Body” is not really what I expected.

Why did Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried take on a movie like this? I mean, from their hit movies “Transformers” and “Mamma Mia” to a movie line about a girl killing boys?

Maybe this movie will be big because of that, but I wasn’t too impressed. It’s the typical movie where I knew how it ended. I can’t deny the great acting from the two young stars, but this is not the type of movie I see them doing.

Fox plays Jennifer Check, the girl everyone wants to be friends with. Seyfried plays Jennifer’s best friend, Needy Lesnicky. After a night out to a tavern, Jennifer goes with a mysterious band and is used for a satanic ritual. Next thing Needy knows, Jennifer is killing their school’s boys for their blood to stay full, healthy, and beautiful.

The graphics are okay, the gore is not bad, but the general storyline was pretty lame. The good girl into a demonic killer reminds me of a “Carrie”/”The Exorcist” mix.

Not to mention what happens at the end; I wasn’t expecting what happens, I’ll admit, but it still follows the storyline of a lot of horror movies. I want something new that I didn’t see coming. I did like how it was put together though because it made me ask myself questions like, “How’d this happen?”

I liked the actors in this movie so I figured I’d take a risk and go see this one, as I did with “Whiteout,” but I didn’t have the same reaction. It’s a typical horror movie, but with more sexual innuendos. If you like that mix, the movie is all yours.


Imogen Heap: Ellipse

by Published: Sep 23, 2009

An album ripped straight from the imagination of its quirky creator, Imogen Heap’s “Ellipse” is a must listen.

“Ellipse” was released in late August by RCA/ Megaphonic and is Heap’s third major solo album.

What struck me the most at first was the huge variability between tracks. “First Train Home,” the first track on the album, has a great upbeat pop backtrack which is melded with Heap’s light airy voice over the top.

The track “Canvas” has a dark drawn-out synthetic organ that mixes with her voice. Both the vocals and the backtracking on this song are dark, mysterious, and powerful.

My personal favorite track on this album has to be “Wait it Out.” It starts out as a pseudo acapella piece, with her own voice in the background singing some interesting supporting harmonies. The song also slightly showcases her skill as a pianist. But the lyrics were what made me want to put the song on repeat.

“And lackluster, in dust we lay around old magazines. Fluorescent lighting sets the scene for all we could and should be being in the one life that we’ve got.”

The song builds to a great crescendo and ends quietly with some ambient sounds and synthetic harmony with a sound that gives me a mental image of a warm pliable aluminum tube.

One of the greatest features of this album is that an instrumental version of each track is included. This is perfect background music for reading or studying.

Compared to Heap’s previous two albums, this one has more radio playability. Many of the songs are simple, fast-paced, and interesting lyrically. I think that Heap may disappoint some of her long time fans though, as the construction of some of the tracks lacks the complexity of those in her previous albums. This is particularly apparent in the vocals.

Overall, this is an excellent album. I would recommend it to anyone and especially to musicians who can appreciate some of the less apparent aspects. I would warn long-time fans though to be prepared for a potential let-down, as “Ellipse” is a little less complex compared to her last album. “Speak for Yourself.”


Back in Action

by Published: Sep 23, 2009

Men’s club volleyball team has held tryouts and is set for a new season

Photo By: Kate Dupon | PhotographerMen’s club volleyball held tryouts to prepare for this season, which will mark their fifth year as a club sports team at Ferris.

After not competing against other schools last year, the men’s club volleyball team is back and ready to begin the 2009 season.

In 2008, the club volleyball team did not even play. The team never got started and was unable to work out tryout and scheduling issues. Team president Brian Stohl said the team has been in existence less than five years.

“Last year nothing got started, but we had been going for three years before then,” said Stohl.

Stohl, a sophomore, has been playing volleyball since he was 12 years old. He is from Parker, Colo., where he won three state championships at Chaparral High School.

The team conducted two tryout sessions over the past week at the volleyball arena in the sports complex. Co-captain and advisor, Justin Scheidt, said the team will have between 18 and 20 players this season. The team will be split into an A team and B team, with nine or 10 players on each squad.

Club sports at Ferris are on a “pay to play” basis. Each member of the club volleyball team has to pay $100, which goes toward the cost of jerseys, equipment, and tournament fees.

The players on the team vary in height, ability, experience and age. Justin Scheidt, co-captain and advisor, said the team definitely has potential and he is excited about the upcoming season. He is eligible to play on the team this year also.

“I still have one year of eligibility somehow, so I’m going to play this year and help them,” said Scheidt.

Scheidt is in his second year as a geography professor at Ferris. He brings experience from the Division I level as he played for the University of Florida for three years and Michigan State University for two years. He also brings coaching experience to the team as well.

“I was the head coach at Great Lakes Christian College for two years before I came here,” said Scheidt.

The team has practiced at both the University Recreation (UREC) facility and at the volleyball arena in the sports complex this year. The tryouts were held in the sports complex and Scheidt is hoping the team will be able to play in the volleyball arena permanently.

“We hope to be here,” said Scheidt, “we’ve been in the UREC, but we worked a deal where we could get this.”

There is no regular season schedule for the club volleyball team. The team currently has three tournaments scheduled, two at Michigan State and one at Central Michigan, with the hope of adding one at Indiana University. The Bulldogs’ first scheduled tournament is Oct. 24 in Mt. Pleasant, Mich.

Tournament Breakdown

  • Range from 12 to 30 teams
  • Broken down into groups of 4 or 5 teams
  • Round robin style, not single elimination
  • The top two from each group advance
  • The Bulldogs play against schools such as Michigan State, Ohio State Central Michigan and Grand Valley State among others

Bookstore Not to Blame

by Published: Sep 23, 2009

Publisher has power to set prices

The Barnes and Noble bookstore on the Ferris State University campus is charging students outrageous prices for textbooks, but it may not be the bookstore’s fault.

Last fall I experienced my first encounter with the bookstore on the Ferris State campus. The bill for my books came out to be around $300. Thinking this was normal, I purchased the books without a second thought.

A few days after I purchased my books I overheard students talking about how overpriced the books at the store were. When I asked them why, and they told me that new books online were about half the price of those in the bookstore.

Being a little concerned, but thinking it was too late to do anything about it, I quickly forgot about the bookstore crisis as I enthralled myself in schoolwork. When the second semester came around I paid the outrageous prices again, not thinking twice.

This semester, however, is a little different. Being in a tighter financial situation has made me pay closer attention to the price tags on my textbooks. I was shocked to find that buying my books online cut my costs in half.

Students are not the only ones that are upset with the bookstore. Several professors I have spoken with have expressed concern that the store does not seem to be a student-oriented place. Some professors have even gone so far as to tell the store they are over charging students, but nothing has been done.

While some professors are looking out for the students’ pocket books, other professors actually make their students purchase a textbook they authored. Everytime one of their books is purchased, they make a profit. These books are often harder to find online and would be available only at the bookstore. Are these professors looking out for their students or just trying to make more money?

At first, I was extremely upset with the bookstore and thought their intentions were only to take advantage of the students, but after speaking with Jade Roth, Vice President of Barnes and Noble Booksellers, I came out with a new prospective on book pricing.

Roth said that the publishers set a base price for textbooks that the store can do nothing to change. A margin is then added to the cost so the bookstore makes a profit. This profit is actually smaller than I expected. Roth said that a portion of the profit made by the bookstore is actually given back to the school and put towards other programs, as stipulated in their contract.

Roth also said that the professors chose the books for their courses and sometimes the store has no other choice than to go through an expensive publisher because they are the only people that publish that text. This poses the question about whether professors should look at how much the books they choose will cost their students.

Professors should be more considerate of the costs of their chosen texts. If a professor has a student’s interest at heart they would put in the extra time to research all the options available and find a good book at a suitable price.

Textbook companies do research every year to make changes that professors say they want. Publishers often change only a few minor things about a textbook and often bundle the newer editions with study guides and CD’s and raise the price even more.

Another problem students are faced with is new editions of books coming out every year. Publishers will also buy back the used textbooks students sell at the end of the semester so that there are less used versions available.

It seems that the publishers’ main goal is not to serve students, it’s to serve themselves under the guise of serving the professors, even though students are the consumers.

Also, if the publisher decides to put out a new edition for an upcoming school year, the current edition is worth practically nothing when students go to resell it.

As a student in less than perfect financial circumstances, it matters a great deal to me how much I pay for a textbook. My research and experience has shown me that cheaper options are available to students who look for them and they are definitely worth investigating. I strongly believe that until publishers and bookstores can work together to come up with a suitable and affordable price for textbooks, students should seek other options vigorously.