Friday, June 5, 2009

LBCC picked for HP grant

LBCC has been selected as one of 10 colleges in the United States to receive a $284,000 Hewlett-Packard Innovations in Education Grant.

The grant will consist of HP technology, cash, and professional services, including wireless HP Tablet PCs, HP DesignJet printers, and remote access to HP Blade Workstations – all of which will be used to teach students and equip the new science building that is scheduled to open in January 2010, according to an LBCC press release.

The grant, which is designed to address the need for more students to pursue and complete high-tech undergraduate degree programs, comes on top of a previous grant from the National Science Foundation that provides each student up to $10,000 of scholarships for for studying math, physical science, engineering and computer science.

Instructors in physical science, engineering and computer science will work together to develop a coordinated set of classroom activities around the technology, to improve the computing skills of students and offer them a path from high-school, through community colleges and into university science and engineering programs.

“It’s kind of an exciting project,” said Greg Mulder, grant coordinator and LBCC Physical science instructor. “ I have wonderful colleagues here at LBCC, all with great ideas … the grant from Hewlett-Packard will allow us to share and coordinate our best classroom activities in order to give our students the best educational experience possible and prepare them for challenging and highly rewarding careers in science and engineering fields.”

Mulder said that the proposal was put together by a group of instructors over spring break via e-mail and that LBCC was the only community college chosen.

“Innovation is key to expanding educational opportunity and HP is privileged to collaborate with educators around the world who are committed to exploring the exciting possibilities that exist at the intersection of teaching, learning, and technology,” said Worldwide Program Manager for HP Global Social Investments Jim Vanides in a press release.

In addition to students at LBCC, middle and high school students throughout the region will have access to workshops and activities using the equipment provided by the grant.

For more information about the 2009 HP Innovations in Education, go to

(Photo Credit: MCT)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Hurling: give it a whirl.

Do you feel like you might want to hurl? A nursing student at LBCC can help you.

Dustin Herron is the founding member of the Benton Brigade, a local hurling club that is sponsored by Block 15 in Corvallis. The club is searching for new members, and will hold a workshop for those interested on Thursday, May 28, at 1 p.m. on the LBCC football field.

Herron says the sport is a great option for people who may be looking to get active and compete in a way that is an alternative to traditional sports.

“It’s a good sport if you want to pick up something new,” Herron said."It’s challenging… because it incorporates so many different skills, but once people come and play they’re hooked.”

According to the Gaelic Athletic Association’s Web site, Hurling is an ancient Irish sport that is played with a small paddle-shaped stick (called a hurley) and a small ball with raised ridges (called a “sliothar”). Points are scored by smacking the ball with the sticks, or the hand, past a goalie stationed in a netted goal (for three points), or up over the cross bar and between a set of goal posts (for one point).

Herron and his teammates move gracefully around the soccer fields in Willamette Park. They crisscross through a row of orange cones while balancing the ball steadfast on the flat side of their hurleys. They strike the ball off of the ground like in hockey. They strike the ball out of the air like in baseball or cricket.

Another member of the Benton Brigade, Mark “Wingspan” Mills, feels the sport is a challenge and joined up because he found the nature of the sport to be so interesting.

“It’s a mixture of soccer and lacrosse, among other things, and it’s a lot of fun,” Mills said.

To generate interest, members of the Benton Brigade stand in a small patch of grass between the main stretch of the Corvallis Saturday market and the Willamette River. They use their hurleys to volley the ball back and forth and invite onlookers to give it a try. According to Herron, the move has worked and he has given out a few of his cards – a white business card emblazoned with a skull and two hurley sticks as cross bones.

The Benton Brigade, which was born last June when Herron came across the Portland area club’s MySpace page, currently holds two practices a week — one of which is in the soccer fields at Willamette Park on Thursdays at 6 p.m. and one on Sunday at Avery Park at 2 p.m. All that are interested are encouraged to show up and join Herron and his teammates.

A game has been scheduled with Columbia Red Branch (Portland area club) for June 20, and Herron and other team members are working to get a club started at Oregon State University so they can compete with other club teams that exist in the Pac-10 conference. In addition, a tournament is being planned in Corvallis for the first week in October and has generated interest from clubs in Texas, Wisconsin, California, New Hampshire, and Maryland.

“We’re not just getting together, hitting the ball around for awhile, and then going out and drinking beer. We are actually pretty dedicated,” Herron said.

(Photo credit: Max Brown)

Friday, May 22, 2009

LBCC Budget Reductions

As result of what state economist Tom Potiowsky calls “Oregon’s deepest recession since the great depression,” LBCC administrators continue to try and bridge the school’s budget gap.

In a series of campus wide e-mails over the past two weeks, Marlene Propst, director of college advancement, listed proposed fee increases, reductions in activities, and reductions in personnel, explaining that over the next few weeks even more would be announced.

On Wednesday, May 20, at an LBCC board meeting, Rita Cavin will recommend a number of fee increases for the school to help reach a target revenue of $164,490.


Late payment fee increase = $30, 500

Payment plan fee increase = $23, 860

Agency/third party fee increase = $4,630

Distance education fee = $51,000

Increased application fee from$25-$30 = 27,500

Increased ABE/GED/ESOL enrollment fees from $25-$30 = $27,000

To reduce part-time faculty costs, there are several activities that will be cut for next year for a savings of $81,141.


The cancellation of Math Awareness Week and math regional skills contest

The reduction of clinical section in nursing

The reduction of offerings in Business and Employer services.

The waiver of Science, Technology, and society AAS degree requirements for the 09-10 academic year.

Reduction of two photography lab classes (previously reported)

Reduction of two writing classes that produce the Ezine. (Previously reported)

Eliminate financial support for faculty to participate in innovative student recruitment efforts

Reduce release time for faculty involved in educational quality projects such as assessment, a preading project with developmental studies, general education assessment.


Arlie Bell, computer lab specialist 1, will be taking early retirement on July 1.

Risk management clerical specialist 3 position reduced to .5

Office of Disability Services secretary 2 position eliminated

Food and Conference services has been hit hard by the personnel reductions — an action necessary, according to Propst, because they have operated at an annual loss between $160,000 – $200,000 a year. In addition to a previous decision to reduce operating hours at The Courtyard CafĂ©, to reduce part-time hours, and to eliminate a food service worker 3 position, Propst explained that additional reductions in personnel are needed to enable food services to operate without generating a deficit for the college.


Food Service Worker 1 position eliminated

Retail assistant position eliminated

Food service worker 2 position

Accounting specialist position eliminated through early retirement (Irene Allen)

(photo credit: tednmiki @ flickr)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Get those Clips: Work for the Commuter

Dear future journalists,

As some of you may have heard, I have been appointed as editor in chief of the Commuter and will begin by overseeing the Web site over the summer.

I call out to those of who maybe considering a career in journalism and ask that you get involved with the Web site this summer and with the new printed version that will debut next fall. By working for the Commuter, you can obtain the crucial skills (and clips) needed to make it in this field.

Starting this week, I will begin interviewing for all editor positions -- including managing editor, photo editor, online editor, news editor, a&e editor, sports editor, and opinion editor. Also, in addition to the editor positions, I am looking for cartoonists, columnists, photographers, and news reporters. Tuition credits may be available.

To obtain an application, see the Commuter's faculty advisor Rob Priewe in his office (F-112) or stop by the Commuter (F-222).

Hope to hear from you,

Ryan Patrick Henson

(Photo Credit by by seychelles88 @ Flickr)

Legal eagle says legalize drugs.

Years ago, Jim Doherty was a prosecuting attorney, and put people in jail for their use of drugs. Today, he says we should legalize those drugs.

Last Wednesday in F-113, LBCC’s Democracy Club sponsored a speech by Doherty, a legal consultant and representative for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. He believes that drugs and drug addiction are a social and medical issue, and that they should not be handled in the criminal justice system but with a regulatory and educational approach.

“A lot of people, myself and the other members of LEAP, who worked as drug enforcement agents and as undercover agents, worked for years thinking we could fight our way out of the problem. It just doesn’t work,” Doherty said.

According to Doherty, the war on drugs has done nothing to curb drug addiction, and that we spend nearly $61 billion a year of taxpayers’ money. He used examples of the United States’ attempt at alcohol prohibition, and the current situation in Mexico, to make the point that criminalization fuels the black market, creates an opportunity for huge profits, causes wide spread violence, and fills our prisons with people caught on non-violent possession charges. Despite the government’s efforts, he says, “drugs are cheaper, more potent, and as accessible as ever.”

“It’s not like drugs are hard to get. For some kids it’s easier to get marijuana than it is to get cigarettes,“ Doherty said. “So, what have we accomplished with our drug war? We aren’t keeping drugs away from people. What we are doing is screwing up people’s lives.”

According to Doherty, his organization doesn’t make specific recommendations for the nature of the regulatory policies needed, and that states will need to experiment individually to find out how they can establish a policy that reduces the harm and helps protect their communities.

He asked those in the audience to think about what would happen if drugs were available in state stores and state medical clinics. He says that, if heroin were available at state medical clinics, addicts could get pure doses so they do not overdose and would have access to clean needles, helping prevent the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C. In addition, the move would put a stop to the illegal drug industry.

“What’s going to happen [if drugs were regulated]? The drug dealers are going to be out of business. The black market is going to be gone,” Doherty said.

The key to stopping drug abuse in our country, according to Doherty, is not by throwing people into jail, but by shifting the money from the criminal approach to more counseling and rehabilitation services for the addicted and more educational resources for our youth. Right now, Doherty said, we are spending 20 times as much on criminal costs than on rehabilitation.

“As a society we need to help people if they’re abusing drugs, and we are not helping them if they are going to jail. We are de-socializing them,” Doherty said, “If they aren’t criminal when they go into jail, they come out as criminals.”

Not all in attendance agreed with Doherty’s views, and questions arose to whether or not the costs for rehabilitation were less than incarceration. Another student wondered if these policies would discourage addicts from seeking recovery.

Robert Harrison, the faculty advisor of the Democracy Club, says that what Doherty was saying is a viewpoint that we should consider because so much of what we hear promotes the war on drugs. “I thought this was a way to bring more balance to the issue,” Harrison said.

Check out this link for information about possible changes in U.S. drug policies.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Iraq Veteran Gives Testimony

An Iraq war veteran and LBCC student, Benji Lewis, spoke to a room full of students, staff, and community members, telling them “it is not natural for a human being to take another human being’s life.”

The speech, which took place in the Board Room last Thursday, was sponsored by LBCC Peace Studies and Veterans for Peace Chapter 132 and was part of Lewis’s state-wide “We Can Say No” speaking tour. Lewis, a former Marine, gave a personal testimony that focused on the events that led him to refuse involuntary reactivation and the experiences he had with, what Lewis calls, military and cultural indoctrination.

In order to illustrate a point about the breakdown tactics used by the military, Lewis talked about “water physical training.” According to Lewis, he and his fellow recruits were told that in order to not dehydrate, they had to drink large amounts of water in a short amount of time. If they vomited, they were prompted to roll around on the ground in order to “mop the floor.” Once they all could hold the water down, they sat in a set of bleachers in the heat without anyone around. Because of a fear of the consequences of using the restroom without permission, the recruits urinated themselves.

“I want to bring to light that both of these techniques for breaking people down are what the CIA is using now for torture techniques… we are using these tactics on our own American troops,” Lewis said.

After boot camp, Lewis told the crowd that he was given a number of false promises and that his unit was told they would not be going to Iraq.

His unit was sent to Iraq, however, and served as mortar patrol in the first siege in Fallujah. One day, after Lewis had spent days without sleep, a woman whose family had been killed by his mortar fire asked him for help. Orders from above told Lewis he could not transport her to the Red Cross. She was handed a bottle of water and sent back into the city - “a breech… a war crime,” Lewis said.

Although the incident with the woman stuck with Lewis, What he calls his “Buddha moment” happened during his second tour in Fallujah. While guarding a gate outside of the city, Lewis had to turn away a man because the gates had been closed for the day. The man, angered by this, told Lewis he just wanted to go home and see his family. Lewis looked at the man and told him that there was nothing he could do about it. He told the man that he wanted to go home as well. The man turned to Lewis and said, “ I have this great idea. Why don’t you all go home, and then I’ll go home.”

“This made so much sense to me,” Lewis said to the crowd. “When I came home, I said I was never going to Iraq again because it was madness over there… Americans were dying and Iraqis were dying, for a senseless conflict, for profit, for other people.”

Last October, after being honorably discharged in 2007, Lewis said that he was called back from the Individual Ready Reserve, and knew that he wasn’t going back. He showed up for a physical in Missouri to prove he was fit for duty and to let the Marine Corp. know that he was not going back.

“I fought for my country, now I am going to fight for myself… it was time to fight for my brothers and sisters in the military, to let them know that they don’t have to stand for the injustices that are going on.

Lewis said he publicly refused his activation and began his “We Can Say No” campaign. For a while, he faced court-martial. However, on April 16, while speaking in Olympia, his orders were canceled.

“So, this big campaign has been a huge success. Not only do I get my orders canceled, but also I tell recruiters all the time that I feel bad for them. They are trying to get two people into the military a month, and I am able to talk all these other people out of it,” Lewis said.

(Photo credit: Max Brown)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Nations First Face Transplant

In 2004, Connie Culp’s husband, Thomas, aimed a shotgun at her face and pulled the trigger. Soon after, he turned the gun on himself.

Miraculously, both of the Culp’s survived. Thomas received minor injuries and is now serving 7 years in jail. Connie was left deformed beyond recognition. She had everything taken away from her. Last December, she got some of it back, becoming the nation’s first recipient of a face transplant.

According to the Web site “The shotgun pellets blasted away the middle of her face, removing her nose, cheeks, roof of her mouth and destroying an eye. She lost the ability to breath through her mouth, to eat solid food, to feel a kiss. She was in constant pain.”

For the last few years, in addition to the physical pain, Culp has dealt with the emotional pain of being viewed as a monster. Children ran away from her. People called her names.

Yahoo News reports that on Tuesday, May 5, she unveiled her new face – the result of 22 hours of surgery by a team of doctors who replaced Culp’s face with bone, muscles, nerves, skin, and blood vessels from a woman donor who had just died.

According to Fox News, only seven face transplants have been reported worldwide, with three of those occurring in just the past two weeks.

“I guess I’m who you came to see,” Culp said to the cameras at a news conference at a Cleveland clinic.

In my opinion, Culp's outcome makes me feel as though we are living in the sci-fi future I've waited for since I was a child. If we are able to replace or transplant a face from one person to another, the medical breakthroughs that are to come excite me and make me wonder what else is possible.

(Photo Credit: jacquiscloset @ Flickr)