Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sometimes corpses have familiar faces

Fiction writer and Pulitzer prize winning journalist Edna Buchanan continues to strike gold with her best selling novel The Corpse had a Familiar Face.

Originally published in 1987, Edna Buchanan ruthlessly grabs readers by the wrist and drags them down the rabbit hole that is the life of a news reporter on the police and crime beat, like no one else can.

Throught the course of this journey readers will realize three very important truths:

#1 - Finding your dream job is often just a matter of looking for it. Early in the book Edna talks extensively about her passion for telling stories. As the book progresses she talks about her move to Miami and how she managed to turn the personal escape of a creative writing class into a lifelong career.

#2 - Sex is the bane of human existance. "Sex gets people killed, put in jail, beaten up, bankrupted, and disgraced, to say nothing of ruined -- personally, politically, and professionally." (pg. 84)

#3 - No matter how many times they screw up, the judge is still more likely to rule in favor of the mother. (pg. 316-317) Sam, an almost three and a half year old, had "swallowed bleach, overdosed on pills, escaped from his room when it mysteriously burst into flames so intense that they shattered windows, and turned blue and stopped breathing, his air cut off by a plastic laundry bag found over his head" before drowning in a mere seven inches of bathwater. His father sought custody, and the judge ruled against him in spite of all of this, and the fact that the mother's first child died in the same squalid drowning.

At a glance:

Who: Edna Buchanan

How: The Corpse Had a Familiar Face published by Pocket Books

When: 1987 and revised and updated in 2004

Why: Because it's just damn fun to read.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Albany Democrat-Herald presents a unique learning experience

Linn-Benton Community College journalism students received an opportunity to tour the offices of local newspaper, the Albany Democrat-Herald, late Wednesday morning.

Since the offices have switched to running a morning edition paper (with an 11 p.m. deadline) six weeks ago, the environment was rather subdued and serene, which made for a much more intimate experience than it might have been, had the presses been up and running to meet the out the door deadline.

Steve Lundeberg led the tour throughout the editorial offices, and production centers, showing students the entire process of putting the paper together. From typing up the stories, running off the production plates and printing through the press, all the way to packing and binding for distribution.

Seeing first hand how much paper is used in the printing process, approximately 900 lbs and 7 miles of paper (unrolled end to end) per day, questions come to mind regarding not only the viability of continuing a print edition, but also along the lines of ecological sustainability.

In the editorial conference room, a month's worth of papers decorates the wall, charting the sales and income each edition generated, to help staff better understand not only what is economically viable, but also what readers enjoy seeing in terms of content. The Democrat-Herald has it's volumes archived back through 1900, which stands as a testament to the paper's heritage.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Profile: Art Robinson

No security guards.

No roadblocks.

No obstacles.

Just an average guy standing on the side of the road in a weathered Carhart jacket, holding his own campaign sign.

Meet Art Robinson.

Who is this man, and why does anyone care if he gets elected?

According to his website he's a scientist and an educator. He has earned a BS from the California Institute of Technology and a PhD from the University of California at San Diego. He's been on the faculty at the University of California San Diego, he's been the President and Research Professor for the Linus Pauling Institute, and he's currently President and Research Professor for the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine.

Looking at his website might imply that Mr. Robinson is a true, dyed in the wool patriot, with red, white and blue colors, and antiqued flag and copy of the U.S. Constitution behind him in his header. It says that he carries the message of "American freedom and American exceptionalism" for every voter to hear.

According to Noah Robinson, Art Robinson's 33 year old son and campaign manager, Art Robinson is a "fine man," an exacting scientist who is knowledgable and has a high degree of personal character.

Art Robinson is proving himself to be a tenacious individual, not only with regard to his working and educational backgrounds, but also for having declared his intentions to run for office again, on the same night as his defeat.

In his own words, Art Robinson is a good candidate for office "because I'm for smaller government, and more liberty."

At a glance:

Where does Mr. Robinson stand on the issues?

Jobs: Reduce federal taxes and regulations on corporations to encourage them to hire more people.

Medical care: Rolling back government regulations on the healthcare industry and changing tort laws will raise the quality of and lower costs for medical care which already is the "best in the world."

Immigration: "Restore American borders."

Dealing with Congress: "Require that every Congressional action conform to the U.S. Constitution in every respect."

The Federal budget: "Balance the federal budget and defund all pork barrel and earmark projects - and prohibit by law the purchase of Congressional votes with tax-funded favors."

LBCC celebrates the grand opening of the Lebanon campus learning center

With an air of excitement and the smell of freshly baked pizza wafting down the corridor, staff couldn't wait to talk to students about the new learning center on the Lebanon campus.

As campus staff stood ready to address questions regarding the services the new learning center can provide, Marcia Chambers, Heather Townsend and Karen Hill took a few minutes to give a short tour of the facility and offer pertinent information for students who couldn't make it to the event.

The new learning center is designed to mimic all of the same services that are provided at the Albany campus, to help alleviate their burden, and offer support that is closer to home for students in Lebanon and Sweet Home. The new center has 5 computer workstations available for general use, a testing center, tutoring services, and even a TV/VCR available for those who might need to utilize it. Although the testing center is currently only set up to cater to the classes offered at the Lebanon Center, the possibility of opening availability to classes offered at the other campuses might exist for the future. Students present at the event were excited for the new center, as these services had not been previously offered on site to this extent.

When asked what the primary goal of the new learning center was, Karen Hill replied, "To give the students a sense of support." It is the hope of staff that by having a learning center in Lebanon more students will utilize the campus for filling their course schedule and take advantage of the smaller, quieter location. "Students need to express their needs, so that we know what classes we need to make available [at the satellite campuses]."

Lebanon Center Director, Mary Sue Reynolds says "We would like to see more students to take advantage of the Lebanon campus and come and visit the new learning center." If students would like to express an interest in expanding the courses offered at the Lebanon Center, they are encouraged to call Mary Sue Reynolds or Dawn McNannay (Director of Linn County Centers) at 541-259-5807.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Diversity a priority on LBCC campus

At an impromtu press conference this afternoon, Toni Klohk (Diversity Achievment Center {DAC} Coordinator), expressed the importance of having a safe space for students of all orientations and cultural backgrounds.

The DAC is a dedicated space on campus for students to gather, talk, learn and educate each other about what it means to live and be a part of diverse community. Mrs. Klohk's stated 'mission' for the DAC is to "promote understanding, acceptance and provide an opportunity for students to experience culture and diversity that they have not experienced before."

Students can come and eat lunch, do homework, read, use the computers or just hang out and talk to staff and fellow students. The DAC is intended to faciliate open and honest dialogue about topics that students might feel intimidated by talking about elsewhere in their day to day lives.

The DAC receives funding to allow campus clubs to have events and host presentations, and so far this term, has been buzzing with activity having already hosted 2 events for the Gay Straight Alliance and one for the Peace Studies Club. Students who work in the DAC are integrated as part of the student life and leadership program, and help to facilitate their own multi-cultural programming as well.

The DAC is located in Forum room 220, on the second floor just above the Hot Shot Cafe, and Mrs. Klohk is typically there to assist students Mon.-Fri. until 5:00.

At a glance:

Where: Diversity Achievement Center, Forum room 220

What: Native American Flute Workshop

When: Nov. 10th at 3:00

Sponsored by: The Native American Student Union

Why: To teach people about the importance of the flute to Native American culture.

Parking lot complaints abound at LBCC

"That's the fourth time I was almost hit!"

Exclaimed student Raul Laurence, after explaining his frustration over the amount of large trucks speeding through parking lot, oblivious to the speed reduction bumps in place to encourage safe and cautious driving.

So far, since the beginning of the Fall term, there have been 66 traffic citations written by security in the parking lots on campus, that's a 600% increase from the total amount of 11 written in the entirety of the previous Spring term.

Marcine Olson, the head of Safety and Loss Prevention, provides a sense of what is going on with the parking lots on campus, and it seems a lack of respect and common courtesy coupled with careless driving and inattentative behavior seem to be the main culprits to LBCC's parking lot woes.

Looking at the serious side of things, to date there has been two car to car incidents, one pedestrian (an employee) hit by a car, one vehicle break in, one vandalized vehicle, one case of menacing a pedestrian with a vehicle, and roughly 3 speeding warnings a day.

Student Jordan Turnstill says "I think if the school were to make part of their big field into more parking, then everything would be a lot nicer."

There has been a work order in place since the beginning of the term to have a lane division with directional arrows painted into the new one way exits to mitigate some of traffic backing up when leaving the parking lot.

The office of Safety and Loss Prevention has been stepping up additional efforts to make educational materials more visible to the student body, but stresses the importance of students to take the initiative to be courteous to one another and slow down to try to make the campus safer for everyone.

To report and incident or to voice additional concerns, please contact Marcine Olson in the office of Safety and Loss Prevention at 541-917-4309.

At a glance:

Who: Average LBCC students

What: Parking lot safety concerns

When: Fall Term

Who to contact: Marcine Olson at 541-917-4309

Friday, October 22, 2010

Event to cover for story #3

Meeting or speech story used for story #2, GSA bullying presentation.

News story for #3, LBCC low-cost dental hygiene program.