Dec. 14, 2009 The Digest



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Dec. 14, 2009

The Digest


What’s Happening at KVCC

What’s below in this edition

 

Miller time (Pages 1/2) Streets’ history (Pages 10/11)

Extra clothes? (Page 2) $23,000 richer (Page 11)

For the troops (Page 2) Reading Together (Pages 11-13)

Grant deadline (Pages 2/3) Sweet Adelines (Page 13)

Spirit of the Mask (Page 3) 4-corners places (Pages 13/14)

Turbine timeline (Pages 3-5) Extra gym, shoes? (Page 14)

Thanks for the lube (Page 5) Calls to Santa (Pages 14/15)

Swap Meet (Pages 5/6) Thanks, callers (Pages 15/16)

Old cooking oil (Pages 6/7) Obesity, bipolar (Pages 16/17)

Exercise ‘opps’ (Page 7) Chemical Kim (Pages 17)

Music by Carmea (Pages 8-10) Free concert (Pages 17/18))

Surplus food? (Page 10) In the news (Page 18)

E-mail advice (Pages 10) Old batteries (Pages 18/19)

And Finally (Page 19)

☻☻☻☻☻☻


64th graduation is Dec. 20 at Miller

The college’s 64th commencement ceremony is set for Sunday, Dec. 20, in Miller Auditorium on the Western Michigan University campus. Some 550 are eligible to receive diplomas or certificates.

Those who have been assigned specific roles for the event should report to the auditorium by 3 p.m., an hour before the program is to begin.

The faculty speaker will be instructor Deborah Bryant. Brittany Nielsen, an accounting major from Vicksburg, will speak for the graduates. Other faculty members involved include Kristin DeKam, Nancy Vendeville, Charissa Oliphant, and Sandy Barker.

The diploma-day celebration will be telecast live on the Public Media Network’s Channel 22 in the Charter lineup, and then rebroadcast three more times. The dates and times will be announced later.

Also scheduled to make remarks is Jeff Patton, chairman of the KVCC Board of Trustees.

Providing the music from 3 to 3:50 p.m. will be the KVCC Campus Band with conductor Chris Garrett and Michelle Bauman’s KVCC Choir.

In addition to Marilyn Schlack and Bruce Kocher, also performing roles as part of the graduation ceremony will be Delynne Andres, Carol Orr and Jaime Rix.

Dust-collecting winter clothes can do some good

Clean, “gently used” winter wear for men, women and children is being collected by the Student Success Center through Thursday (Dec. 17).

Donated coats, sweaters, sweatshirts, and scarves, as well as “new” gloves and hats, will be distributed to either needy students or to residents of the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission.

Items can be dropped off in the Student Success Center (Room 1510) on the Texas Township Campus.

For more information, contact either Pamela Siegfried (extension 4825 or psiegfried@kvcc.edu) or Stefan Luke in the center.

Thinking of U. S. troops – in 2010

The KVCC Veterans Club will be orchestrating the sending of holiday gifts for U. S. military personnel serving away from their homes.

But instead of the normal push to collect the goodies in time for Christmas, the new wrinkle is to arrange for the collections to be shipped after the first of the year, once the yuletide is over, as a way to extend the holiday spirit.

"The Veterans Club endorses the idea of boxes to troops serving overseas," said Ferraro, a sociology instructor and one of the organization’s faculty advisers, "but have opted to start the winter semester with boxes so the troops get some after all the holiday boxes run out. We'll be deciding on appropriate inclusions for the boxes at the first club meeting of the year and will spread the word."

Next KVCC Foundation grant deadline is Dec. 23

For the 2009-10 academic year, the KVCC Foundation has established funding-request deadlines for internal grant proposals.

Those faculty and/or administrators seeking financial support from the foundation must make plans in advance and adhere to the established deadlines.

Here’s the schedule for the next round:

Proposal deadline: Dec. 23; decision by the KVCC Foundation Board of Trustees, Jan. 29.

Deadline: April 23; decision, May 7.

For more information, contact Steve Doherty, KVCC director of development and foundation executive director, at extension 4442 or sdoherty@kvcc.edu.

Earlier this semester, the foundation board approved a $2,200 grant, submitted by Marie Rogers, Helen Palleschi and Daniel Cunningham, on behalf of the Instructional Development Advisory Committee.

It will co-fund a three-hour workshop for faculty on “What the Best College Teachers Do to Promote Inclusion” next Jan. 7 and the purchase 50 copies of Beverly Tatum’s book titled “Can We Talk About Race.”

It will help lay the groundwork for the Kalamazoo Valley Museum hosting a major exhibition on race in the fall of 2010. The exhibit will be the focal point for a communitywide examination of the racial issues that too often tarnish the nation’s democracy and Constitution.

Masks illustrate cultures, not hide them

You could learn a lot by ignoring the advice in Jim Croce’s lyrics and pulling “the mask off the old Lone Ranger,” but so much more insight is possible by experiencing a mask and the culture it represents than seeing who is behind it.

That’s the idea behind “Spirit of the Mask,” a 95-item collection that is viewable in the Kalamazoo Valley Museum’s first-floor gallery through Feb. 14.

It is the work of Carla Hanson who realized that masks and “masking” were special the first time she dressed for Halloween in her hometown of Waterville, Kan. After taking anthropology classes at Kansas State University and meeting people from other cultures, she purchased her first ethnic mask, soon to be followed by many more.

Her collection now numbers in the hundreds, representing more than 40 countries and many Native American nations.

Masks have been used in diverse cultures on every continent except for Australia. They are composed of natural and man-made materials mask-makers usually find locally. While some are intricately decorated and some are very rudimentary or abstract, others can be lifelike as evidenced in Hanson’s collection.

Masks are ceremonial or theatrical, with functions ranging from entreaties for worldly interventions on the part of a deity or ancestral spirit, to assertions of social control to advance a particular culture’s mores.

Masks can serve a singular purpose in a specific celebration, but often they are used for multiple functions. Healing, fertility, and good fortune are a few examples of masking themes. Mask wearers traditionally are nearly exclusively men, even when female characters are depicted.

“The masking traditions can teach us how these cultures deal with their lives and their environment,” Hanson says. “While masks traditionally have specific purposes, they are so beautiful and powerful that they can be appreciated as works of art as well.”

Among the masks that are part of the Kalamazoo exhibit are those originating on five continents from indigenous people in more than 50 countries, including Bali, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Nigeria, India, Brazil, Bolivia, Germany, the Ivory Coast, New Guinea, Mexico, Mali, New Guinea, Zaire, Russia, Sweden, Holland and Switzerland. Masks from a dozen Native American tribes are also included.

They range in age from 10 to 60 years old, and are made from such materials as palm froth, root dye, stains, wood, papier-mâché, polychrome, cloth, leather, natural pigments, and white clay.

“Masks tell stories,” said Elspeth Inglis, the museum’s assistant director. “They don’t hide them.”

Late-December installation for student-built turbine likely


As students for decades have taken automotive courses to design, build and repair their own cars, so are their modern contemporaries concentrating on what many see as the nation’s energy future - wind turbines.


Designing a wind turbine, fabricating its components, assembling the power-generating unit, and making certain it produces electricity constitutes the mission of a new course that will be offered for a second time winter semester.

Meanwhile, the fall-semester edition of this course is winding down and students are in the process of completing their design and fabrication of the blades.

As they wrap up their interior chores, work is scheduled to begin – weather willing – on Monday (Dec. 14) to pour the student-built turbine’s foundations and to install the necessary electrical conduit. The site will be in the vicinity of the 145-foot turbine in operation on the west end of the Texas Township Campus.

Regarding the actual installation, lead instructor Howard Carpenter says that “it looks like we will be doing that in late December or early January, depending on when the mast is delivered. Most of the students will probably be there for that event, while the new class might have the chance to see what they can accomplish.”

He also reports that there is a possibility the student-built turbine will be painted before it goes up by a volunteer and will be decorated by KVCC decals.

With no technical prerequisites or prior knowledge of computer-aided drafting, machining, welding or electrical technology needed, the eight-credit, multidisciplinary offering (Mach 282) with a lecture-lab format is open to 18 enrollees on a first-come, first-served basis.

Lectures are slated for Mondays and Wednesdays from 3 to 4: 20 p.m. while lab sessions are booked for Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 to 10 a.m., and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

All will be held in the college’s technical wing on the Texas Township Campus in the shadow of the college’s turbine that has been generating electricity since early March. The 2009 fall semester ends Monday, Dec. 21. The 2010 winter semester begins on Monday, Jan. 11.

The fee follows the college’s normal tuition rate -- $71 per credit hour for KVCC in-district residents, $113 for those out of district, and $152 per credit hour for non-Michigan residents.

In addition to Carpenter (machining), the other lead instructors are Rick Garthe (drafting and design), Erick Martin (welding and fabrication), and Bill Wangler (electrical technology).

“The goal is to produce a functioning wind turbine that generates one to three kilowatts of electricity,” said Carpenter, the project leader who advanced the concept and received a two-year, $90,000 Innovative Thinking grant from KVCC to proceed with planning, equipment purchase and course design over the summer.

The enrollees perform the basic functions and tasks in the design, critical machining and welding phases that produce shafts, blades and other components. But the more detailed and complex jobs are handled by the instructors and advanced students. The electronics will be purchased units.

“It’s the process that is important for the students to see and understand,” Carpenter said. “The turbine we build will produce electricity, but that’s not the main function. Its function is to demonstrate the basic design, manufacturing, welding and electrical skills that are needed in making a turbine.”

Course components include what a practical electrical output would be for a turbine in a variety of locations, wind-energy terminology, how to connect a unit to the existing electrical grid, the basics of electricity, the wiring required, metallurgy, how to optimize efficiency through design variations, fabrication techniques, how to prevent corrosion, and how to incorporate a small wind turbine into existing structures and buildings.

“We think this course will target anybody who has an interest in wind turbines,” Carpenter said, “whether to build one yourself or buy one. It will provide answers to questions about what to consider and how to evaluate what is on the market.”

The lead instructors prepared for the prototype course by purchasing instructional equipment and software that will also be applicable to other technical courses at KVCC. They joined forces last summer to build the training components that are key parts of the instructional process.

The course-concluding wind turbine, which will have at least three blades that will each be six to eight feet long and stand as high as 30 feet off the ground, will find a spot on KVCC property to serve as a promotional prop for future eight-credit courses.

To register for this course and the winter-semester edition, contact Sue Hills at (269) 488-4371 or go to this web site: www.kvcc.edu/schedule.

Student project warrants gift of synthetic lubricant

The student-built wind turbine that is scheduled to be installed on the Texas Township Campus later this month or in early January will be smoothly rotating piece of equipment, thanks to a gift to the college.

The AMSOIL Corp., based in Superior, Wis., has donated a one-gallon container of its latest high-tech synthetic lubricating material for gear mechanisms for KVCC to use in the course in which students are designing, fabricating, assembling and installing a working wind turbine.

One of the students is an AMSOIL customer and the word worked its way up from his dealer to corporate headquarters about what the course is all about, and that generated a gift of a gallon of this synthetic lube for use in the turbine. Apparently, the new stuff is even available for sale yet. AMSOIL won’t even sell it in quantities less than 55 gallons so it had to make special arrangements for the gift.

AMSOIL was founded by Albert Amatuzio, who, as the commander of a squadron of jet fighters, had ample opportunity to witness synthetic lubricants in action. These oils are used exclusively in jet engines because of three performance characteristics: an ability to reduce friction and wear on engine components, an ability to function dependably at severe temperature extremes, and an ability to withstand rigorous and lengthy engine operation without chemical breakdown.

Recognizing that these same benefits would prove invaluable in combustion engines, Amatuzio formulated the first synthetic motor oil in the world to meet API service requirements for automobile engines. The first can appeared on the market in 1972, it signaled the birth of an entire industry.

Today, AMSOIL produces synthetic lubricants for motors, engines, gears, air filters and compressors.

‘Swap Meet’ – our eBay for the holidays

The Office of Human Resources’ web page contains a want-ad system to link KVCC folks with their colleagues in the sharing of talent, knowledge, skills, goods and services. There is also the technology to attach a photo to what you want to market.

It could be thought of as KVCC’s e-Bay shopping center for the upcoming holiday season.

The “KVCC Swap Meet” provides a forum to barter goods (made or grown) and to post information about services that can be provided -- painting, sewing, computer assistance, etc.

It can also be used to post an announcement about services or goods that are being sought.

There are four categories on the site: Services for Hire, Goods Wanted, Goods for Sale, and Miscellaneous.

This site is for KVCC employees only and is intended as a way for employees to network with each other for trade or sale purposes.

KVCC will not be responsible for any transactions or the satisfaction of either party, and will not enter into dispute resolution.

“KVCC Swap Meet” is housed on the Human Resources website under Quick Links.

To post a service or item, just click Post Ad, select the appropriate category, complete the online form and click submit.

“To attach a picture to an item that you put up for sale on the Swap Meet,” reports Sandy Bohnet, “all you have to do is go to the Swap Meet site and place your ad. Then, e-mail a digital picture to Kristine Goolsby, and she will attach the picture to the ad. Remember, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.......or dollars.’”

Co-workers will be able to view the posting by the next business day.

It is requested that the postings be made during non-working hours.

Among the services for hire are massage therapy, interior and exterior painting, drywall repairs, deck staining, a music ensemble for events, sewing, dog boarding, carpet cleaning, landscaping, floor cleaning, roof work, and window sealing.

For sale are a sofa with matching chair and ottoman, a video MP3 player, a 2007 Harley Davidson, military camouflage uniforms, poodle puppies, a bed and mattress for a toddler, an electronic piano, snow tires, a winter vehicle, a metal dog crate, two entertainment centers, and an upscale bike rack for a car. A 1996 Sony TV set is offered for free, while a two-bedroom apartment on a lake can be sub-letted.

Wanted are checkerboards and sets of checkers, a Plays Station 3, and goods for Denise Miller’s “Fire” project.

Under the Miscellaneous category are hosting an international student and renting a place for a Disneyworld vacation or a lakefront cottage.

Before dumping used holiday cooking oil, check with Charlie

If you’re thinking to dispose of that well-used cooking oil, think of what’s cookin’ in the automotive-technology lab and ask Charlie Fuller whether his supply is low.

Through the magic of chemistry under the lab manager's supervision, bio-diesel fuel is being converted from vegetable oils that had been used to cook chicken strips, perch, turkeys, mushrooms, French fries, jalapeno peppers – and possibly the Thanksgiving Day turkey. The same goes if you cook with oil over the Christmas holidays.

Larry Taylor, the coordinator of the automotive program, launched the initiative to convert cooking oil into bio-diesel fuel for two major reasons.

“The No. 1 reason,” he said, “is to take a re-usable source of energy that is normally thrown away and make a fuel that can power some of the college’s fleet of vehicles and machinery, which is a money-saving venture.

“The second big reason is to use what is called the ‘Freedom Fueler’ as an educational resource,” Taylor said, “and that is already become a reality for those who are enrolled in the program in chemical technology.”

The unit, with all of its bells and whistles, filtration system, fittings, nozzles, and pumps, costs $4,400.

So what’s the payback?

The used vegetable oils - from soybeans, peanuts, seeds, etc. - have been donated by KVCC staff members and by restaurants.

The automotive program has to buy methanol and sodium hydroxide - which is basically lye - to catalyze the concoction.

To 50 gallons of cooking oil will be added eight to nine gallons of methanol and about 100 grams of the other chemical. The result is an 80-percent conversion, or about 40 gallons of bio-diesel. When all the math is done and the costs are figured, KVCC comes out about $150 to the good with each batch.

The chemistry produces biodiesel fuel and glycerin. Those two are allowed to settle and be separated.

However, the bio-diesel still needs to be “cleaned” of suspended glycerin and other “nasties,” and that cleaning is done by water out of the tap.

The water cleans the fuel and takes the suspended solids down to the bottom of the container. After a day or two, the liquid is crystal-clear bio-diesel. The congealed stuff at the bottom is basically soap, and can be flushed down the drain. But it also can be used in back-yard composting and as a cleansing agent.

Be proactive by exercising before the holiday feasts

The Wellness and Fitness Center’s line-up of free activities to promote vitality and good health among KVCC employees is continuing for the fall semester through Dec. 23.

It’s your chance to pare off a few pounds before the holiday food orgies.

Here is the lineup for faculty, staff and enrolled students:



Monday – morning workout from 6:45 to 7:40 a.m.; swimming from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; and total body conditioning, 1 to 1:55 p.m.

Tuesday – swimming from 7 to 8:30 a.m. and yoga from noon to 12:55.

Wednesday – morning workout from 6:45 to 7:40 a.m.; swimming from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; and total body conditioning from 1 to 1:55 p.m.

Thursday – swimming from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.. and yoga from noon to 12:55 p.m.

Friday – morning workout from 6:45 to 7:40 a.m.; swimming from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; fitness cycling from 11:30 a.m. to 12:25 p.m.; and total body conditioning from 1 to 1:55 p.m.

Saturday -- swimming from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Except for the obvious site for swimming, these exercise opportunities will be based in Room 6040 in the Student Commons.

‘Carmea, I’ve just heard a trio named Carmea. . .’

The music of Carmea, the trio that won the 2009 Fretboard Festival play-in competition, will fill the Mary Jane Stryker Theater with its sounds as the Kalamazoo Valley Museum’s “Friday Night Highlights” series continues Dec. 11.

Tickets are $5 for the concert.

Before taking the rest of the year off, the programming series switches back to the silver screen with a Dec. 18 showing of Adam Sandler’s 2002 animated feature, "8 Crazy Nights." The curtain goes up at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $3.

Each of the "Friday Night Highlights" billings is actually a doubleheader because also planned for each evening is an 8:30 p.m. showing of the planetarium show featuring the music of U2. That has a $3 admission fee.

With a laser-light show in full color streaming across the planetarium's 50-foot dome, the 35-minute production will feature the classic hits of the Dublin, Ireland, combo that has earned 22 Grammys, sold 146 million albums, and warranted induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in its first year of eligibility.

In Latin, “carmea” can be translated to mean song, tune, poem or incantation. The folk trio was born in September 2007 with multi-instrumentalist Rachel Alexander, singer-songwriter-guitarist Catherine Ellis, and vocalist Alma Muxlow, who is also a percussionist and mandola player.

Only after choosing the name Carmea -- a combination of each band member’s first and last initials -- did the trio discover the Latin roots of the word.

Alexander grew up in a musical family and learned to read music before she learned to read words as she listened to her mother play Mozart and Chopin. A member of three groups that span musical genres, she has been the director of music at the Unitarian Universalist Church in East Lansing for a dozen years.

Ellis began singing and playing music when her first used Sears guitar was still larger than she. Debuting as a performer while a student at Central Michigan University, she has collaborated onstage with Joel Mabus and scores of others on the folk-music scene.

A Quaker, Ellis leads workshops in the healing power of music, and songs of peace, protest, and social justice. She is also a psychotherapist in private practice with programs available in stress management and diversity training.

Kalamazoo’s Muxlow began entertaining at a 9 year old with her ventriloquist dummy, Danny. Upon Danny’s retirement, she found her own voice and has been using it ever since. She has provided harmony vocals for Ellis’ music for 10 years. She plays a 1912 Gibson mandola.

During her K-12 years, Alexander sang in choirs and played violin in the school orchestra. By high school, she had switched to the cello and earned a bachelor’s in cello performance. She moved to Michigan in the fall of 1985 to study piano technology and has been a self-employed piano tuner-technician for more than 20 years.

In January of 1986, she founded Sistrum, the Lansing Women's Chorus and directed it for the next 15½ years. She has added a master’s in choral conducting to her educational credentials.

Carmea also will be among the performers at the Cooper’s Glen Music Festival in downtown Kalamazoo on Friday, Jan. 22.

Sandler’s first animated film has the look and feel of a Christmas special, but beware, as it contains a great deal of scatological jokes and references to mature topics.

The film's title is taken from a line in Sandler's series of songs called "The Chanukah Song" that compares the gift-giving traditions of Christmas and Chanukah: "One day of presents? Hell no, we get eight crazy days.”

Sandler’s animated character, a drunken troublemaker with a long criminal record, is arrested for not paying for his drinks. About to be sentenced to jail time, the character is rescued by a 70-year-old volunteer referee from the fellow’s former basketball league.

Instead of time in the slammer, the sentence is to become a referee-in-training for a youth basketball league. The community-service sentence includes the caveat that if he breaks one more law, it will be 10 years in prison.

The plot continues with Sandler’s character kicking off his shoes and smashing a lighting fixture, mocking an obese child, and taunting parents to toss food on to the court. Along the way, he meets an old flame.

When his mobile home is destroyed by fire, the only thing he rescues is a Hanukkah card from his parents. Living in his rescuer’s home begrudgingly, Sandler’s character begins to turn his life around.

The story unfolds with a revealing of the fellow’s difficult past: his parents, on their way to an important basketball game, were hit by an oncoming truck, which slid on a patch of black ice into traffic. The experience made him the delinquent that everyone has come to know.

But there is regression for a variety of reasons and he returns to his drunken ways. Breaking into a mall, he witnesses the logos and products of various stores coming to life, begging him to let his bottled up grief and pain out by crying. He refuses, until they open the Hanukkah card from his parents. In the card, the parents sing to him, telling him to never change and that they love their "12 year-old boy."

After finally letting out his pain, the police arrive, but he manages to escape, planning to relocate to New York City. The plot gets better – or worse – from there, including being reunited with his old flame.

Here is the “Friday Night Highlights” schedule of movies, concerts by local combos, and special events through the first third of 2010:


  • Jan. 8: Music by Belfast Gin.

  • Jan. 15, 22 and 29: The movies "Cutting Edge,” "Miracle," and “Cool Runnings,” respectively.

  • Feb. 5: Classical guitarist Jeff Dwarshuis.

  • Feb. 12: “An Evening of Chocolate” featuring a chocolate demonstration and the film, “Chocolat.”

  • Feb. 19: One of the most popular groups ever, To Be Announced.

  • Feb. 26: The 2007 blockbuster, “Transformers.”

  • March 5: Fretboard Festival play-in competition.

  • March 12: “Snow Falling on Cedars,” the film version of the book chosen to be the 2010 Reading Together selection.

  • March 19: Fretboard Festival kick-off concert.

  • March 26: “Star Trek Generations.”

  • April 2: “Terminator.”

  • April 9: EMBARR in concert.

  • April 16: The pop/rock music of We Know Jackson.

  • April 23: Performer Rob Vischer.

  • April 30: Concert by Waverland (topic/acoustic/alternative).

Bring that surplus food to campus

For the holiday season through Christmas, the college is coordinating a food-collection effort for Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes.

Faculty, staff and students can donate canned and bottled foods, along with edibles that are packaged and unopened, all of which will be distributed by the agency to needy Kalamazoo-area residents.

Donations may be made in Room 4220 in the Student Commons, in a receptacle near the faculty offices, and in the Student Success Center.

More information is available from Mary Johnson, student activities and programs coordinator, at extension 4182 or mjohnson@kvcc.edu.

Warning: E-mail can be L-mail, as in libel

Surfing the Internet and the worldwide webs of the planet can be as invigorating for the mind as riding Hawaii's Bonzai Pipeline is for the body, but there is potential for peril in what you communicate.

E-mail is publishing and broadcasting in the broadest definitions of those terms. As such, E-mail is subject to the laws of libel that restrain newspapers and television news. In other words, the E in e-mail can stand for “evidence.”

When you communicate via E-mail, it just doesn't zip out into cyber space and is lost forever. It can be captured, saved, printed, and distributed to somebody who may not like what you are communicating.

Case in point:

When a surfing college professor learned via E-mail that a group of colleagues were bound for London and were looking for reasonable housing while there, he read some of the suggestions coming in from all over the world. He E-mailed his comments, urging them not to stay at a certain hostelry for various reasons. When that hostelry read the assessment, it contacted a law firm that demanded an E-mail apology, or else.

What this all means goes back to what your parents used to advise: If you can't say something nice about somebody or something, don't say anything at all. . .especially via E-mail. And, if you don’t want to see it in print, don’t keyboard it on to your screen.

Street names in Kalamazoo County in Sunday spotlight

In watching for street signs while hunting for this place or that place in the car or while strolling the sidewalks of a community, no problem in figuring out the origins of Oak, Cedar or Elm.

But what about Toland, Romence, Charles, Cobb and Hotop?

“Where the Streets Got Their Names: The Sequel” will answer most of those questions as the 2009-10 edition of “Sunday Series” presentations at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum continues on Dec. 13.

Curator Tom Dietz will dig into that part of the county’s past at 1:30 p.m. in the Mary Jane Stryker Theater. All of the programs are free and open to the public.

In addition to Schoolcraft’s Lyon and Clay streets and Galesburg’s Toland, Dietz will be shining the namesake spotlight on neighborhood streets on Kalamazoo’s north and east sides -- Gilbert, Charlotte, Engelman, Hotop, Charles, Phelps, Cobb, Dunkley, Forbes, Blakeslee and Prouty, as well as Portage’s Bishop, Schuring and Romence thoroughfares.

Here are the “Sunday Series” programs through spring:


  • “The Making of the Paper City” – Jan. 10

  • “Welcome to the Hotel Kalamazoo: Kalamazoo’s Early Hospitality Industry” – Jan. 24.

  • “William G. Dewing: From Calcutta to Kalamazoo” – Feb. 14

  • “Poetry Artifactory VI” – Feb. 28

  • “Kalamazoo’s Argonauts: The Lure of California Gold in 1850” – March 14

  • “The Ladies Library Association” – March 28

  • “Play Ball! – Baseball in Kalamazoo” – April 11

  • “Kalamazoo’s Musical Heritage” – April 25.

For further information, contact Dietz at extension 7984.

‘Greeter guide’ earns Dr Pepper scholarship dollars – 23,000 of ‘em

A Kalamazoo Valley Museum “greeter guide” was one of six contestants taking part in a trio of big-money competitions for scholarships staged by Dr Pepper during halftime of three major college-football games last weekend.

Dillon Jepkema, a Comstock High School graduate now attending Western Michigan University, squared off with another finalist during the break of the Atlantic Coast Conference title game between Clemson and Georgia Tech.

The task was to throw 10 footballs through a two-foot hole from a distance of five yards during a 45-second timeframe. The contestant who bulls-eyed the most won $123,000, while the “loser” took home $23,000. Jepkema, who plays alto sax in the WMU Marching Band, lost 6-2.

How did he qualify for the opportunity? He entered a code from a case of Dr Pepper that he purchased and followed a link for a chance to claim scholarship dollars. His number came up and he earned a ticket to the ACC title game. Maybe he should take a buck or two from his winnings and buy a lottery ticket.

Why $123,000 or $23,000? In Dr Pepper lore, 23 is a magic number. That is supposedly the number of flavors used to concoct the beverage.

‘Snow Falling on Cedars’ great Yule gift

Timed to coincide with a fall major exhibit on race booked for the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, one of the most acclaimed books about prejudice is the Kalamazoo Public Library’s 2010 Reading Together selection.

“Snow Falling on Cedars” by David Guterson was the winner of the 1995 PEN/-Faulkner Award for Fiction and the 1996 American Booksellers Association Book of the Year.

Those looking for a holiday gift that will keep giving months should think about purchasing a copy of “Snow Falling on Cedars.” It will prepare the reader for Guterson’s appearance in Kalamazoo in March and for scores of special events/programs preceding his local remarks.

A showing of the 1999 film version of “Snow Falling on Cedars” that starred Ethan Hawke is scheduled for the Kalamazoo Valley Museum on March 12.

“Cedars” is set against the backdrop of a courtroom drama in the Pacific Northwest when a Japanese-American man is charged with the murder of a local fisherman. It is steeped in the World War II forced internment of these citizens, an interracial love story, and post-war politics.

KVCC’s Jim Ratliff is a member of the communitywide committee that makes the choice of a Reading Together volume.

This year’s book selection was driven in part by a request from the Race Exhibit Initiative of Southwest Michigan, which asked the library to choose a book that could help foster discussions about race in advance of an October 2010 unveiling of the traveling exhibition “Race: Are We so Different?”

The exhibition features photographs, movies and interactive displays — all of which explore the history of race in America, the biology of race and experiences of living with race. It will be on display at the m museum from Oct. 2 to Jan. 2, 2011.

“David Guterson does a wonderful job of creating a sense of place in this book,” said Lisa Williams, the library’s coordinator of Reading Together that asks community members to read the same book in the fall and winter and participate in discussions and programs designed around the book’s themes during March and April.

“The writing is very atmospheric,” Williams said. “And he has this gentle way of building characters without telling you how to feel about them.”

As was the case with past Reading Together selections, Guterson will come to Kalamazoo for a presentation on March 17.

A novelist, short-story writer, poet, journalist, and essayist, Guterson earned his master’s from the University of Washington, where he studied under the writer Charles Johnson. After moving to Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound, Guterson taught English at the local high school and began writing for Sports Illustrated and Harper’s magazine.

“What I like about the book is that many people, when they talk about race, focus on black and white issues,” Zarinah El-Amin Naeem, coordinator of the Race Exhibit Initiative that is housed in Western Michigan University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, told The Kalamazoo Gazette. “Because this book brings in a segment of Asian-Americans, it helps to broaden the discussions by moving it outside of the discussions of black and white.”

Naeem said Kalamazoo will be the smallest community to host the exhibition, and organizers hope that it can “be a catalyst for social transformation in Kalamazoo and southwestern Michigan as a whole rather than an exhibit that just comes and goes.”

Williams said the 24-member Reading Together steering committee already has been discussing programming, which may include events about internment camps, World War II and Japanese culture.

Williams said response has been positive. “People say, ‘Oh, I loved that book,’” she said. “People are looking forward to rereading it, especially with the idea that the author is going to be here and you can ask him questions and learn what he was thinking when he was writing this book.”

Previous “Reading Together” titles were: “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury in 2003; “Nickel and Dimed” by Barbara Ehrenreich in 2004; “The Color of Water” by James McBride in 2005; “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien in 2006; “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Mark Haddon in 2007: “Animal Dreams” by Barbara Kingsolver in 2008; and New York Times columnist Rick Bragg’s trio of memoirs this year.

Reading Together invites people of all ages from all walks of life to read and then discuss important issues raised by a selected book. Thousands of county residents have participated in seven previous Reading Together programs.

The Kalamazoo Public Library leads Reading Together with the collaboration of libraries, educational institutions, health and social service agencies, cultural, civic and religious organizations, businesses, the news media, and local governments throughout Kalamazoo County.

The Kalamazoo Community Foundation helped the library launch Reading Together with funding for the first three years with grants from it Better Together initiative. The library now provides major support for the program. Foundation grants, gifts and contributions from collaborating organizations make it possible to offer Reading Together to all of Kalamazoo County.

The book-selection process continues Reading Together’s tradition of democratic community participation. Community members consider dozens of titles gathered from last year’s evaluation process, suggested by library patrons, staff, and community leaders, and recommended by librarians and educators.

Committee members read and discuss the suggested titles with these guidelines in mind. A good Reading Together book features:

● an author who will come to Kalamazoo during the Reading Together period;

● availability in multiple formats such as large print, audio recording, Spanish;

● reading level, vocabulary, length, and subject matter that appeals to adults as well as high school and college students;

● treatment of social issues relevant to our community.

Sweet Adelines in Christmas concert Friday night

Math instructor Sue Hollar and her Mid-Lakes Chorus of Sweet Adelines International will be staging the group’s annual Christmas show on Saturday, Dec. 12, at 8 p.m. in St. Catherine of Siena Church, 1150 W. Center Ave. in Portage.

The billing will include the group’s gender counterparts, The Kalamazoo Barbershop Chorus.

“Admission is free,” Hollar said, “but we will be asking for a free-will offering. The proceeds from our ‘passing the hat’ will be shared by the Kalamazoo Free Clinic and Meals on Wheels.” She can be reached at extension 4667 or shollar@kvcc.edu.

County’s 4-corners gathering spots come back to life

A flashback to Kalamazoo County’s crossroads communities is the December installment of the Kalamazoo Valley Museum’s TV show.

Featuring Tom Dietz, the curator of research at the museum, the episode will be aired by the Public Media Network (formerly the Community Access Center) on Channel 22 on the Charter cable system at 7 p.m. on Sundays, 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. on Fridays, and 11 a.m. on Saturdays.

His “Four Corners of Kalamazoo County” sheds light on the crossroad settlements that dotted this part of the state in the 19th century and brings back to life the four-corner gathering places for pioneer settlers throughout the county.

“From the earliest years of the settlement of Kalamazoo County and continuing into the early years of the 20th century,” Dietz said, “small settlements developed in almost every township in the county. They were the focus of community life in the immediate region, offering a church, a school, possibly a tavern or hotel, a general store, and perhaps a carpenter or blacksmith shop.

“Frequently located at the intersection of two main roads,” he said, “they came to be known as ‘Four Corners” settlements, often deriving their name from a prominent local family or pioneer. Today, they are often forgotten or have been overtaken by urban growth.”

Dietz can recount McKain’s Corners in Pavilion Township where early residents danced at Charles Collins’ saloon and dance hall, Gardner’s Corners in Wakeshma Township, and McKee’s Corners in Portage Township, which holiday shoppers will soon hurry past as they drive on Westnedge Avenue.

“All once played a vital role in the life of Kalamazoo County,” said Dietz, who will also remove the dust from other early settlements named for pioneers, such as Howlandsburg in Ross Township, as well as the vanished towns like Williams in Alamo Township and Geloster in Richland Township.

Old gym shoes can get new life in Dominican

If those tennis/gym shoes you are wearing are due to be replaced soon, don’t junk them.

If there is any wear and tear left in them, some folks in the Dominican Republic would certainly appreciate the chance to completely wear them out as they engage in their passion of baseball and other sports.

The KVCC Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) chapter this fall has been collecting used gym shoes to ship to the Dominican..

Chapter adviser Dick Shilts said more than 50 sets have been collected with 31 of the pairs already on their way to the Caribbean nation at a cost of $135.

Shilts’ contact is Nancy Willmore, a former KVCC basketball player who runs the Willmore Christian Foundation there.

“She explained to me that most of the youngsters who love to play basketball at her foundation do some barefooted,” Shilts said. “After we discussed this at our FCA meeting, it was agreed that we would do whatever little bit we can to make some youngsters in the Dominican Republic enjoy the game a bit more.”

Willmore is returning to the Dominican Republic in the middle of December and will be able to take another box of shoes with her.

Other boxes may be shipped whenever they can be filed up.

KVCC folks can dropped off their donations in Shilts’ office. Financial gifts are also being accepted to help defray shipping expenses.

“The tennis shoes may be more than slightly worn,” Shilts said, “just so they are useable. We'll send whatever number of boxes we can come up whenever we fill one throughout the 2009-10 academic year.

“This small thing we have undertaken surely will not impact the world,” Shilts said, “but it will make a difference for each of those who will gratefully receive these shoes given from our abundance. Any help from the larger KVCC community is appreciated.”

Kids can make Christmas requests on Channel 95

For a couple of hours on Friday evening (Dec. 11), the Public Media Network will be transformed into the Santa Satellite Network, reports KVCC’s Tom Thinnes, who is on the PMN Board of Directors.

From 7 to 9 p.m., this will link North Pole’s favorite resident this time of year to Charter Communications cable-TV subscribers via Channel 95, allowing youngsters an opportunity to call in and speak to the driver of Rudolph and the rest of the reindeer squad on Christmas Eve.

The number to call and deliver Christmas wish lists is (269) 343-2391.

This will allow Mr. Claus to pack the sleigh with all the requested goods and wares in plenty of time for his Dec. 24 adventure.

And, if your son or daughter asks for an official Red Ryder B-B gun, the response will not be: “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.”

Parents are encouraged to dial the number for the kids so that stray calls are avoided.

They can also provide some details about who’s been naughty and nice over the course of the year.

Callers did yeopeople’s service -- thanks

Because a record number of folks came forward, the winter-semester calling campaign was, to quote our fearless leader Marilyn Schlack, “a piece of cake.”

Campaign organizer Pat Pojeta reports that nearly 4,600 telephone calls were made and, because of the scores of new volunteers, the burden was greatly eased on everybody.

And better yet, students who had not yet paid their tuition for winter-semester classes were alerted and had plenty of opportunity to meet the Monday (Dec. 7) deadline, and thus not lose their schedules.

The 2010 heroes are:

Melissa Farris, Lisa Gruber, Nick Ranking, Joylynn Gerow, Adrianna Collins, Sue Newington, Colleen Olson, Bonnie Bowden, Gordon Bielby, Steve Ott, Alana Green, Ezra Bell, Sharra Poncil, Stephanie Ceren, Chris Stroven, Michelle Davis, Steven Meeks, Ricardo Alexander, Amanda Fuller, Faith Muvuti, Zac Vanderpool, Su Cutler;

Lisa Peet, Amy Louallen, Laura Cosby, Gloria Barton-Beery, Sheila White, Lauren Beresford, Karen Visser, Dick Shilts, Jennie Huff, Gloria Norris, Steve Doherty, Steve Walman, Tarona Guy, Joyce Zweedyk, Patricia Pallett, Diane Finch, Candy Horton;

Helen Palleschi, Louise Wesseling, Lynne Morrison, Angie Case, Joyce Tamer, Judy Rose, Teresa Fornoff, Russell Panico, Sheila Eisenhauer, Rose Crawford, Carrol Targgart, Leona Coleman, Diane Lockwood, Jane Geschwendt, Lynn McLeod;

Nancy Young, LaJoyce Brooks, Sheila Rupert, Amy Triemstra, Jacob Johnson, Ebba Spyke, Diana Haggerty, Ray Andres, Catie West, Stephanie Strong, Laurie Dykstra, Marcia Shaneyfelt-Niles, Carolyn Brownell, Jim Tinsely, Amber Rees;

Jackie Cantrell, Ike Turner, Rosalie Novara, Chris Robbins, Denise Baker, Roxanne Bengelink, Carolyn Alford, Darryl Chapman, Patricia Wallace, Karen Phelps, Nancy Taylor, Ruth Baker, Mary Johnson, Robyn Robinson;

Connie Edlund, Jill Storm, Jim Ratliff, Mark Sloan, Brenda Moncreif, Marie Rogers, Mike Collins, Gerri Jacobs, Susan Reynolds, Pamela Siegfried, Jackie Zito, Marylan Hightree, Bonita Bates, Heidi Stevens-Ratti, Janet Alm, Dan Maley;

Nicole Newman, John Holmes, Jack Bley, Jonnie Wilhite, Anora Ackerman, Lois Baldwin, Maria Buccilli, Amanda Matthews, Martha Makay, Cynthia Schauer, Bruce Kocher;

Sheila Baiers, Bala Balachandran, Francis Granzotto, Harland Fish, Arleigh Smyrnios, Patrick Conroy, Jaime Robbins, Terry Hutchins, Sue Egan, Pat Pojeta and Tom Thinnes. See you all next August!

Obesity, bipolar disorder are ‘doc’ topics

As the nationally touring exhibition about genomes continues its stay at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, the Saturday showings of PBS documentaries are focusing on mental, medical and physical maladies that affect humanity.

The final double feature of the calendar year in the Mary Jane Stryker Theater is set for Dec. 12 at 1 p.m. with “Fat: What No One Is Telling You” and “The Medicated Child ” at 3 p.m. There is no admission charge.

With 66 percent of American adults either overweight or obese, girth is a serious public-health issue. Is being overweight a character flaw, a lack of self-control, or even a moral crime?

“Fat: What No One Is Telling You” explores the myriad psychological, physiological and environmental factors that can make it so tough to shed pounds and keep them off.

The documentary presents scientific knowledge about hunger, eating, and human metabolic operation. It explains a person’s psychological responses to food, and shows how external pressures -- such as oversized restaurant portions and the unending barrage of food advertisement -- make fighting fat so difficult, both on the personal and national levels.

Americans tell the story of the biological barriers, cultural habits, and economic realities that contribute to the nation's expanding waistline.

“The Medicated Child” chronicles the dramatic increase in the number of children being diagnosed with serious psychiatric disorders and being prescribed medications that are just beginning to be tested. Who knows whether they can cause serious side effects, because virtually nothing is known about their long-term impact.

"It's really to some extent an experiment, trying medications in these children of this age," child psychiatrist Dr. Patrick Bacon said in this “Frontline” report on PBS. "It's a gamble. And I tell parents there's no way to know what's going to work."

Psychiatrists, researchers and government regulators are probed about the risks, benefits and many questions surrounding prescription drugs for troubled children.

The biggest current controversy surrounds the diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Formerly called manic depression, bipolar disorder was long believed to exist only in adults.

But in the mid-1990s, bipolar in children began to be diagnosed at much higher rates, sometimes in kids as young as 4 years old. Are those diagnoses right? As many as one million children are now diagnosed with bipolar, with many initially believed to suffer from an attention-deficit disorder.

A barrage of medications can follow and can offer some help to ease temper tantrums that can allow a family to function smoother. But there can also be side effects.

“We're dealing with developing minds and brains, and medications have a whole different impact in the young developing child than they do in an adult," stated Dr. Marianne Wamboldt, the chief of psychiatry at Denver Children's Hospital. "We don't understand that impact very well. That's where we're still in the Dark Ages.”

Especially whether many of the children who are called bipolar have anything that's related to this very well-studied disorder in adults. It's not clear that people with that adult illness started with what is now called bipolar in children. Nor is it clear that they are going to grow up to have what once was called manic-depressive illness in adulthood.

While some urge caution when it comes to bipolar in children, others argue for intervention with drug treatments at even younger ages for children genetically predisposed to the disorder. Finding the right medication early could protect a brain so that these children never do progress to full bipolar disorder.

Instructor shows marvels of chemistry on Channel 13

KVCC chemistry instructor Kim De Clercq, who has become a regular fixture on the “Take Five & Company” segment on WZZM-TV, is booked for a final segment on Dec. 19 for the calendar year.

Her “Chemical Kim” episodes feature “fun” hands-on activities designed to spark interest in the sciences in children. Her segment will air at 9 a.m. on Grand Rapids’ Channel 13.

De Clercq took her concept to the airwaves initially by producing a series of radio spots -- “The Chemical Kim Science Minute” -- about interesting scientific facts, events and history for WKDS-FM, the 250-watt station that operates out of the Public Media Network (formerly the Community Access Center) in downtown Kalamazoo and is licensed through the Kalamazoo Public Schools.

That evolved into “The Chemical Kim Science Show” for PMN on the Charter cable system. The “kitchen-science” show is aimed at youngsters. Assisting her in the weekly shows are “scientists” who attend fifth-, sixth-, seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grades in local schools. It recently won a top award from the Alliance for Community Media.

The radio station, which is located at 89.9 on the FM dial, is part of the Education for Employment programs in radio and television broadcasting. De Clercq delivers “a quick, entertaining, educational and informative science lesson” in each one-minute spot similar to the “Earth & Sky Segments” that are aired regionally on WAKV based in Plainwell.

KVCC musicians, singers will not perform tonight

Instrumental and vocal music will not fill Dale Lake Auditorium on Friday (Dec. 11) because the KVCC Department of Music has canceled its semester-ending concert because of the weather.

Slated to begin at 7 p.m., the performances were to be free and open to the public. There is no re-scheduling date.

The 48-member KVCC Campus Band is under the direction of Chris Garrett, while the voices of the KVCC Community Choir are conducted by Michelle Bauman.

This year’s largest-ever campus band includes:



Flute: Shannon Love, Ruthie Medina and Stephanie Shaw of Kalamazoo, Hannah Lucero of Climax, and Kristen Vierkant of Allegan.

Clarinet: Christine Baker, Brooke Briggson, and Joyce Payne, all of Kalamazoo; Dawn Garrett of Vicksburg, and Steve and Jennifer Heimann, both of Comstock.

Oboe: Caitlin Brewer of Portage.

Bassoon: Ruth Birman and Hans Engelke, both of Kalamazoo.

Saxophone: Hugh Lynch and Ward Vanderberg, both of Portage; Mike Kalin of Battle Creek, and Leo Pulsinelli of Paw Paw.

Trumpet: Andy Duffield of Lawton, Mark Fitzpatrick of Plainwell, Rebecca Greene of Galesburg, Merle McCoy and Martin Wright, both of Portage; and Alex Gillum and George Sylvester, both of Kalamazoo.

Horn: Chris Channells of Richland, Joanne Decker of Mattawan, Frank Jess of Kalamazoo, and Luke Shepich of Plainwell.

Trombone: Aleks Copeland and Jeremy Koss, both of Comstock; Johnny Kilmarten of Kalamazoo; and Doug Lynes of Portage.

Euphonium: John Griffith and Cassandra Heyboer, both of Kalamazoo; Jim Woodhams of Scotts, and Kevin Coniglio of Sterling Heights.

Tuba: Bill Button of Kalamazoo, Ryan Ewing of Martin, and Terrance Spencer of Portage.

Percussion: Rebecca Bettig and Joshua Warr-Morgan, both of Mattawan; Randy Childress of Battle Creek, Bryan Stewart of Portage, and Brendan Cleary, Jamar McCaskey, Justin Union and Chris White, all of Kalamazoo.

KVCC’ers in the news

Thomas Mills, the graphic-design instructor at the Center for New Media who is part of the college’s branding-initiative team, does a bit more than conceive new ideas and approaches when it comes to creativity in communications.

He’s a do-er as well, having logged in excess of a quarter of century of service as a member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kalamazoo’s board of directors.

John Mulay, who did his own share of communicating ideas and strategies in a 33-year career on the KVCC faculty, has joined Solspring at the Kalamazoo Center for the Healing Arts as a service coordinator for the spa-ecial place.

Don’t dump those old batteries

In cleaning out your office and workspace to prepare for the winter semester, or going through your home with a fine-tooth comb, remember this –

● the KVCC initiative to recycle used and unused rechargeable and alkaline batteries, which keeps them out of landfills where their assets will be lost forever.

Recycling boxes for both rechargeable batteries as well as alkaline batteries are located in the following areas: the M-TEC Facility Shop; the Arcadia Commons Campus Facility Shop; Texas Township Campus Facility Services; the museum’s carpentry shop; the college’s audio-visual department; the automotive-technology and heating-ventilation-air conditioning labs; and in Computer Services.

The lead-acid batteries used in cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, and other motorized equipment can be recycled by taking them to the Household Hazardous Waste Center operated by Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services at 1301 Lamont Ave.

This drop-off center is on the edge of the county fairgrounds.

Information about what else can be deposited there is available by calling 383-8742.

The recycling containers for dead batteries generated by on-the-job use at KVCC are provided by the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corp. (RBRC).

RBRC's Charge Up to Recycle!® program is designed to keep rechargeable batteries out of the solid-waste stream, adhering to the federal and state laws requiring the proper disposal of some types of used rechargeable batteries.

This program offers community and public agencies the tools to implement a simple, no-cost recycling plan.

These batteries are commonly found in cordless power tools, cellular and cordless phones, laptop computers, camcorders, digital cameras, and remote-control toys.

And finally. . .

Certainly, digging out from under 18 inches of snow in the last few days may have us thinking about other places to be, but ponder this:

After having dug to a depth of 10 feet last year, New York scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 100 years. They came to the conclusion, that their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 100 years ago.

Not to be outdone by the New Yorkers, in the weeks that followed, a California archaeologist dug to a depth of 20 feet. Shortly after, a story in the LA Times read: “California archaeologists, finding traces of 200-year-old copper wire, have concluded that their ancestors already had an advanced high-tech communications network 100 earlier than the New Yorkers.”

One week later, The Petoskey News reported:

After digging as deep as 30 feet in his cow pasture near Advance, Mich., a self-taught archaeologist found absolutely nothing, concluding that 300 years ago, Michigan had already gone wireless.



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