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Indiana Daily Student Articles

Indiana U. program offers 'learning vacation'

Karen Yancey University Wire 06-17-2004 (Indiana Daily Student) (U-WIRE) BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University Alumni Association and the Bloomington Division of Continuing Studies will hold Mini University, an adult educational program, this weekend. The program was named one of the nine best campus learning vacations in America by "Frommer's Magazine." More than 100 of IU's faculty will deliver one-and-a-half to two-hour presentations on their research interests directed toward a general audience. This is Mini University's 33rd year of providing the learning vacation program. Three hundred and ninety people, who represent 32 states and Canada, are expected to come to IU to attend a week of classes held throughout the Indiana Memorial Union. Registration begins at 3 p.m. Sunday in the IMU East Lounge. Tuition is $195 and covers admission to the faculty reception Thursday, as well as three coffee hours that will be held throughout the week. A wide variety of classes are offered covering topics including computers, taxes, health and university attractions. One such class is "New Treasures of Indiana University," which features new art in the Kelley School of Business and the IU Health Center. There also will be a tour of IU's Old Crescent. The celebrated jazz musician and IU faculty member David Baker will conduct a class on Count Basie. There are two social events during the week -- a picnic Monday and the play "Steel Magnolias" at the Brown County Playhouse Wednesday. Tickets can be bought during registration and are $15 for the Wednesday show. "The majority of people [who attend] are retired folks," said Jeanne Madison, who is a co-director of Mini University. Madison said 50 percent of attendees are alumni. Nicki Bland, co-director of Mini University and director of Alumni Programming, said 74 percent of participants have attended one or more years. "We are impressed by our returning members," Bland said. "The majority of our advertisement is through word of mouth." Madison said a number of the participants have favorite professors. Faculty who participate do it on a volunteer basis, Madison said. She said the faculty help make Mini University happen. Timothy Baldwin, a professor of business administration, said he is a "raving fan" of Mini University. "You have an attending population that is eager to learn," Baldwin said. "They are excited to be there, and you don't have the problems of academic life, like grades." Baldwin has taught at Mini University for three years. He taught a class on emotional intelligence last year, and this year he will teach a class called "If You Really Want to Understand Something, Try to Change It." "I am excited about [Mini University]," said Bloomington resident Winifred Wickes. This will be Wickes' fourth year attending the event. Her sister flew from Chicago to attend the program with her this year. Wickes said this is one of the best academic vacations because of the number of choices available. "Once you experience Mini University, you will come back for more," Bland said.

Posted November 13, 2010 at 5:43 PM

Indiana U. support staff to receive 2.5 percent pay increase

Karen Yancey University Wire 06-14-2004 (Indiana Daily Student) (U-WIRE) BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Agreements approved by both of Indiana University's unions will give support and service employees at least a 2.5 percent pay increase beginning July 1. Workers who make less than $25,000 a year will get an additional $625, which will be distributed as a percentage in each paycheck throughout the year, said IU's union members. The two employee unions at IU, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 832 and the Communications Workers of America Local 4730, approved two-year agreements on employment policies. The wage agreements are for one year. Of the members who voted, an overwhelming majority voted yes. Of the AFSME members who voted, 85 percent voted for the agreement to be approved. CWA board member Peter Kaczmarczyk said the 2.5 percent raise is comparable to the increase in the cost of living and will keep salaries even with inflation. He said the increase is similar to raises of the last several years. IU President Adam Herbert proposed giving the higher pay increase to the estimated 1,100 Bloomington employees who make less than $25,000 a year. "It shows a great deal of compassion on the part of the administration to recognize the significant number of employees making under $25,000 a year at IU," said Randy Pardue, president of the local AFSCME. Michael Crowe, vice president of CAO, helped in negotiations and said the important thing is that Herbert recognized something needed to be done for the lower-level employee. "This was his best shot within available resources," Crowe said. This year, CWA proposed a 10-step wage progression program that would provide uniform annual pay raises for experience to clerical and technical staff. The proposal will be considered for the 2005-2006 negotiations. In this longevity-based plan, after 10 years an employee would be considered highly proficient and should be paid at or near the top of the pay scale. The cost of living raises would still be negotiated each year. Since about 70 percent of all support staff at IU are below the midpoint on their pay scale, part of the proposal is to infuse a large amount of money to bring people up to where they should be on their pay scale. This infusion would happen over a span of four years. For example, if an employee who has been working for the University for 15 years was on step five of the plan, there would need to be a large raise over the span of a few years to bring that person up to step 10. Kaczmarczyk said the plan would greatly simplify the need to negotiate wages. He said the University has recognized there is a problem and Herbert continues to be favorable of the plan. State law does not permit public employees to engage in collective bargaining. However, in 1967, the IU board of trustees approved "conditions for cooperation" under which employee unions and the University can negotiate. The CWA represents about 1,750 support staff in Bloomington and the AFSCME represents about 1,100 trades, maintenance, custodial, food service and law enforcement workers at IU. Crowe said he felt negotiations went well, but he would like the University to look at the IU police force in an attempt to provide them with all the tools available so they can best serve the campus.

Posted November 13, 2010 at 5:45 PM

Tornados hit Indiana over weekend

Karen Yancey University Wire 06-03-2004 (Indiana Daily Student) (U-WIRE) BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A tornado hit northeast of Ellettsville, Ind., Sunday afternoon damaging 23 houses and causing about $45,000 in clean-up. No fatalities or injuries were reported in Monroe County. One house in Ellettsville was completely destroyed while others sustained minor damages, said John Hooker III, director of Monroe County Emergency Management. Damage assessment is still being conducted. Severe weather sirens -- all 26 stationed throughout the county -- sounded Sunday afternoon. However, there were some difficulties with the overall warning system. "We had some problemswith the cable override system," Hooker said. "The system didn't work on Thursday night or Sunday afternoon. We have Insight working on it now," referring to the cable operator. Steve Haines, a meteorologist who was part of the survey team that assessed the damage, said the National Weather Service detected tree damage from north of the Lake Monroe Dam going northeastward through the Paynetown area to Gilmore Ridge Road. Hooker said he received reports of damage near Paynetown and its water treatment plant. Hooker also said he spoke with bystanders who witnessed a tornado near Gilmore Ridge. As a result of the storms last Thursday and this Sunday, the state declared Monroe County a disaster area. This is not the only time a tornado has hit this area. Two years ago an F2-grade tornado caused extensive damage in Ellettsville, Martinsville and surrounding areas. In order to reach the F2 rating, winds must reach speeds between 113 and 157 mph. Angeline Protogere, a spokesperson for Cinergy, said about 6,400 houses and businesses had disrupted electrical service in Monroe County. "Around 2:30 p.m. on Sunday we started noticing outages in Ellettsville, Bloomington and the Spencer area," Protogere said. Protogere said Cinergy has over 200 of its own crew, 70 from its sister company, Cincinnati Gas and Electric and about 30 contractors all working in Indiana to repair the electric grid. There were no estimates on cost as of press time. Joseph Nield, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said it is unusual to have such a strong low-pressure system this time of year, but more storms are expected throughout the summer. Nield said a collision between a cold front that was moving eastward from Michigan and a warm front coming in from the south caused the severe weather. In total the system caused 15 to 20 tornados over the entire state, Nield said. Maria Carrasquillo, director of Emergency Services for the Red Cross in Monroe County, said the organization is helping 23 homes in Monroe County. "It is amazing how (much) people in Monroe County and other counties have given of themselves to help others," Carrasquillo said. "Neighbors and families (of the victims) have been helping by providing shelter, food and clothing." In the case of an emergency, Red Cross disaster assistance can be contacted at 332-7292.

Posted November 13, 2010 at 5:46 PM

Lower gas prices return to Indiana

Karen Yancey University Wire 06-14-2004 (Indiana Daily Student) (U-WIRE) BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Even though gas prices have decreased over the last week from a high of approximately $2.10 per gallon to an average of $1.82, Bloomington, Ind., area residents say the decrease in gas prices will not affect their driving habits. Shellie Goetz, an IU alumna, said she commutes four hours a day to her job and she is happy the prices are down. "Instead of spending $20 to fill my tank, I am spending about $15," Goetz said. Junior Leah Oren said she recently took a road trip from Seattle to Chicago, so she is aware of the price change and is happy to see it. "I used to drive around to find the lowest gas prices," Oren said. "Usually it was a few cents difference. But now I am not as stressed about finding a good price." Al Phillips works for Bloomington News, a company that distributes The New York Times. He said since he has to pay for gas anyway, the change in gas prices don't bother him one way or another. "I drive 240 miles a day delivering papers and I fill up the tank every morning," Phillips said. Kenny Burner, a Bloomington resident who bought a Toyota Tacoma last October, said the high gas prices made him choose a small vehicle that gets better gas mileage. He said he was not likely to go on any road trips now that the prices are lower. "I think Bush is trying to get re-elected," Burner said. According to an article on the CNN Money Web site, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, said in April that his country wants to stabilize world oil prices because of the effect a price spike might have on economies around the world, including Saudi Arabia. "Certainly over the summer, or as we get closer to the election, they could increase production several million barrels a day and the price would drop significantly," Bandar bin Sultan said later that month in a CBS 60 Minutes interview. Lana Wykoff, the manager of the Circle S #50 gas station, said people are just buying whatever they need. She said the prices are not stopping them from buying gas. However, some people are doing some extra driving. Jennifer York, a Bedford resident, said she came to Bloomington to do some camping at the Hardin Ridge campground and go shopping. She said she was more likely to take another trip now that gas is cheaper. Roger Clark had just bought an RV for the purpose of pulling racecar trailers when he stopped at the Mac's on Third Street to put $20 worth of gas in his vehicle. He said he is glad the price has gone down because now that he has the RV, it will cost a lot to fill the tank each time. "It is good that the price is low, but it needs to be a lot lower," Clark said. "I think they are gouging us a little bit."

Posted November 13, 2010 at 5:47 PM

Indiana U. to eliminate "add" fee

Karen Yancey University Wire 05-24-2004 (Indiana Daily Student) (U-WIRE) BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University will no longer charge a $44 late program fee for adding and dropping courses after the first week of classes. It will only assess a $22 fee for each course dropped after the first week of classes. Last April, a new policy was announced introducing a $44 charge. But this month the university announced it would charge half that amount. For example, if a student drops a course and then adds a different section of the same course, the student will only be charged one $22 fee, as long as the add and drop occurs within the same day. Roland Cote, the IU registrar, said in an e-mail, "The late program change fee is assessed beginning the second week of classes, after the 100 percent refund period has ended. The change being implemented this year is that this fee will no longer be assessed for added classes. It will only be assessed for dropped classes, hence $22 instead of $44." Cote added that the schedule adjustment access fee, which is $6 each time a student accesses the registration system, has no relationship to the late program change fee of $22. "The schedule adjustment access fee is assessed for students who process changes to their schedule through the end of the first week of classes," Cote said. "It is not assessed per drop, add or section change. It is assessed once on any given calendar day when the student accesses the system to process changes. It may be assessed multiple times if the student processes changes on multiple days." Associate Bursar Kimberly Kercheval said the reason for the fee change was neither budget-driven nor due to student complaints. The Student Information System, which is the university's new PeopleSoft integration software, is dealing with existing fees. It is working with current policies and trying to evaluate them. Kercheval said this last weekend was a big implementation period for bringing up the system to all bursar and financial aid functions. Students have varied reactions to the change in fee policy. "It frustrates me," graduate student Enbal Shacham said. "The fact that we get charged for every change we make is ridiculous. What are the fees being used for? Where are all the charges going and what are we getting in return?" Some students expressed relief at the reduced fee. "It's good that they are bringing something down in price," junior Adam Levy said. "Not that it really makes that much of a difference. There are so many other outrageous fees, it is not going to help much. The more fees they add on, the less likely people will return after they graduate to join the [IU] Alumni Association in order to donate money." Senior Michael Kim said it was good that students will be paying less. "As a person who makes schedule changes a lot, I wish they did not assess the fee," Kim said. "For people who want to get ahead by taking a lot of classes, it is disadvantageous that they have to pay the fee in the first place." Another change was announced in April. According to the Web site for the Office of the Bursar, undergraduate students in the "flat fee" range, meaning those enrolled in 12 to 17 credit hours per semester who adjust hours after the first week of classes will not have any change in tuition fee if the drop and add occur on the same calendar day and if they maintain enrollment in the flat fee range of hours after the adjustment. Students who are enrolled in fewer than 12 credit hours will receive partial refund for the dropped course, but will pay in full for the added course, according to the Web site. In both cases, the $22 late program fee will be assessed.

Posted November 13, 2010 at 5:48 PM

The Battalion articles

Article: Texas A&M launches joint enrollment program

Karen Yancey University Wire 06-16-2003 (The Battalion) (U-WIRE) COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M University and Texas A&M-Kingsville recently launched a joint enrollment program between their agriculture colleges to provide educational opportunities for the expanding minority population in South Texas. The South Texas Joint Enrollment Program allows agriculture students to transfer to A&M after spending their freshman and sophomore years at A&M-Kingsville. Students must have a 3.0 grade point ratio to transfer. After completing 75 class hours, they must leave the program and enroll at A&M. However, participants may not change majors outside the College of Agriculture. Fifty freshman will be admitted into the program this fall. Next year's enrollment will increase to 100 freshmen and 300 should be accepted into the program in 2005. Dick Creger, associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at A&M, said Ronald Rosati, the dean of college of Agriculture and Human Sciences at Kingsville, approached him with the idea. "I think it's great," Creger said. "It gives kids access to A&M who want to come here but who may need more preparation." Creger also said the program aims at increasing diversity at A&M. "We hope to do this with other A&M System universities or universities that aren't part of the system," he said. The University runs similar transfer programs with Blinn College and San Antonio's Palo Alto College. "From our University's perspective this is a major new development," Rosati said. The college of agriculture has two other joint enrollment programs with A&M but neither are as encompassing as the South Texas Joint Enrollment Program. Rosati, who came up with the idea a year ago, said both campuses were supportive and getting the program started was not difficult. "We have a history of close cooperation among the agriculture programs in Texas A&M System universities," Rosati said. A&M's current Agriculture Program is an agreement between the Texas Cooperative Extension and agriculture colleges in the A&M University System to deliver programming to the people of Texas. The Texas Cooperative Extension is a state agency that provides research information to the public.

Posted November 13, 2010 at 5:51 PM

Texas A&M employees await ruling on retirement benefits

Karen Yancey University Wire 06-30-2003 (The Battalion) (U-WIRE) COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M University System employees are awaiting a ruling from Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott concerning their eligibility to receive state insurance benefits after retirement. The Texas Legislature passed two bills this session that change the age and years of service requirements for A&M System employees who want to retire with full insurance benefits. Only the A&M System will be affected by these bills. Under the old law, employees who are at least 55 and have at least five years of state service can retire by Aug. 31 with full health benefits. But under the new law, any employee who wants to be eligible to receive full health benefits and retires after Aug. 31, must be age 65 and have at least 10 years of state service. A memo from the Human Resources Department sent out to A&M employees last week said that the new bills have not been signed by Gov. Rick Perry, but could have an impact on A&M employees who plan to retire in the future. Bob Wright, director of communications for the A&M System, said one of the new bills has a grandfather clause that allows current A&M System employees to remain under the older law even after Aug 31. However, Wright said, A&M officials are waiting for a decision from Abbott on whether the grandfather clause applies to both bills. Wright said there are several hundred potential retirees in College Station and several thousand in the TAMU system. "A lot of people are trying to figure out what they want to do and time is running out," he said. Sen. Robert Duncan, the primary author of one of the bills, could not be reached for comment.

Posted November 13, 2010 at 5:50 PM

Article: Texas cities train for possible attacks

Karen Yancey University Wire 06-11-2003 (The Battalion) (U-WIRE) COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The cities of College Station and Bryan, Texas, as well as Brazos County and Texas A&M held a mock scenario Tuesday as part of their first emergency response drill involving weapons of mass destruction. As part of the drill, organizers held a press conference dealing with a suspected case of smallpox at the Hilton Hotel in College Station. Preparations for the mock scenario included the closing of Easterwood Airport and A&M due to the discovery of two bombs at Baylor University, all done to prepare the city in case a similar scenario happens. The two-and-a-half day exercise is being run by the Texas Engineering Extension Service at A&M and is funded by the Texas Department of Public Safety-Division of Emergency Management. "The city holds these emergency exercises once or twice a year, but this one is different because it is concerning weapons of mass destruction," said Marilyn Martell, director of public information for TEEX. Patti Jett, interim public information manager for the City of College Station, said the scenario is good practice. "This particular incident is set up to really overload us," she said. "It puts us all to the test to see how we are doing so when a real incident occurs, we have the basic skills." This drill is only a functional exercise that involves management officials in Bryan-College Station and the University. In a full-scale exercise, ambulances and fire trucks would be sent out on the streets. Bart Humphries, public information officer for the College Station Fire Department, said preparation for the exercise started several weeks ago. Training classes for city management officials were conducted to help them participate in the exercise. Jett said the drill uses its own time clock and the discoveries were made early in the morning. "In game time, the press conference was only two hours after the event," she said. The press conference consisted of Jett and Humphries standing at a podium at College Station City council chambers announcing the mock incident while members of TEEX pretended to be reporters. Tony Fink, an observer on the project and a mock reporter, said most of the people involved have worked as assistants. Some have served in city organizations such as fire or police departments. "We are a variety of people who come from different walks of life," Fink said. Fink said it is challenging to play his role under pressure, but that he has accumulated valuable experience and is more knowledgeable on what to do during a terrorist attack. He said that the involvement is gratifying and fun. "It brings people together who wouldn't normally be working together," he said.

Posted November 13, 2010 at 5:53 PM

Corps aims to diversify its ranks at Texas A&M

Karen Yancey University Wire 06-10-2003 (The Battalion) (U-WIRE) COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The new Junior Cadet Achievement Program at Texas A&M University, started by the Corps of Cadets in 2002 to diversify the Corps, is expected to bring results this fall, Corps staff said. The program focuses on recruiting high school students from the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, said Sgt. Gen. Maj. Dennis Hastings, assistant director of recruiting for the Corps. The Junior ROTC is a program that offers leadership training mirroring that of the military. "We are focusing on the Junior ROTC because it is beautifully diverse," Hastings said. About 38 percent of the Junior ROTC is black, 37 percent white, 24 percent Hispanic and the remaining 1 percent consists of Asians and other ethnic groups. Forty-nine percent are women and 51 percent are men, Hastings said. "Among the ladies, 60 percent are in leadership positions," he said. There are half a million Junior ROTC cadets nationwide, and 650 high schools in Texas have Jr. ROTC programs. The JCAP recognizes the achievements of Junior ROTC cadets and invites them to see the Corps at Texas A&M, Hastings said. "The first time they ran the program in 2002 it was a success, and they have run the program two more times since then," he said. "It is significant for A&M to be attracting these outstanding minority students because they are highly sought after by other schools." Applicants to the JCAP are represented by 30 different states, and requests for applications have come from Italy and Germany. Students coming from the JCAP will be more diverse in gender and ethnicity than the typical class entering the Corps, Hastings said. "[A&M] President [Robert M.] Gates has been extremely supportive of our progress in this program," he said. The key factor of success in the program is the Commandant of the Corps of Cadets, Lt. Gen. John VanAlstyne, he said. Since he came here, he has been a strong force pushing the program forward. Maj. Joseph "Doc" Mills, director of public relations for the Corps, said they will not know what the numbers for the freshman class will look like until freshman orientation week. However, he pointed out that the Corps can only admit students who are already accepted to A&M. "Since A&M is not very diverse, the Corps is not very diverse," Mills said. Hastings said current cadets are aware of what is happening because they are directly involved in the Spend the Night with the Corps program where they see the people who are interested in joining. "The cadets are involved in contacting these outstanding students, hosting them and in the post-recruiting effort," he said. Commander Paula Monge has hosted many Spend the Night with the Corps programs. She said students ask the usual questions about what it is like and if it is hard to balance academics with the Corps. "I enjoyed it and always encouraged them to accept the challenge of the Corps," she said. "Not all of them may join but they are exposed to A&M and they just love it." Monge said the JCAP is wonderful because it exposes in-state and out-of-state students to the Corps at A&M. "The good thing about being in the Corps is that once you are in a military institution there is no race or gender," she said. "The only distinction is the color of the rim on your bider and the color of your belt. You are judged based on your performance." There are two other initiatives to make the Corps more diverse beginning in the fall. One is a new equal-opportunity officer position. The other is an initiative to increase the Corps retention rate of freshmen female cadets.

Posted November 13, 2010 at 5:54 PM

Article: Legislators support Texas A&M's employee retirement stance

Karen Yancey University Wire 07-14-2003 (The Battalion) (U-WIRE) COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Sen. Steve Ogden and Rep. Fred Brown expressed support for Texas A&M University's position on the question of new requirements for A&M and University of Texas employees seeking retirement, said Mike O'Quinn, A&M's vice president of governmental affairs. The office is hopeful that Attorney General Greg Abbott will quickly rule in its favor to help employees make informed decisions regarding their retirement, O'Quinn said in an e-mail. "I do know that Rep. Fred Brown has sent a letter to (Abbott) expressing his support for the A&M position," he said. "Sen. Ogden has also expressed support in favor of our interpretation of the statutes. At the end of (last) session, we felt that Senate Bill 1652 grandfathered our employees. However, the UT System lawyers feel differently, and since the statute being affected only deals with A&M and UT Systems, clarity is needed to administer the retirement programs according to the law." In June, A&M sent a letter to Abbott asking him to decide whether a clause that appears to grandfather A&M employees from the new requirements overrides another law that does not contain a grandfather clause but makes the same changes. The two laws were passed during the spring session of the Texas Legislature. The bills change eligibility requirements for retirement benefits for workers in the A&M and UT Systems to make them more consistent with other state agencies. Both bills change the minimum retirement age from 55 to 65 years and the number of years of service to the state from five to 10 years. Mike Gross, vice president of Texas State Employees Union, a lobbyist group for state workers, said three systems of healthcare exist in Texas. There is one for A&M, one for UT and one for the rest of the state. In the past, all Texas universities had separate health care systems, but they were merged into the Employee Retirement System. SB 1652 was authored by Sen. Florence Shapiro and is the bill with the grandfather clause. The other bill, SB 1370, was authored by Sen. Robert Duncan. According to a statement from Shapiro's office , the current law in action before SB 1652 allowed retirees eligible for retirement under the Teachers Retirement System or Optional Retirement Program to maintain or enroll in UT and A&M group retiree insurance benefits after three years of service. "What SB 1652 does is amend the insurance code to require 10 years of service," Shapiro said. "This measure will result in a cost savings because the UT system and A&M will not be required to pay for the cost of lifetime premium sharing group insurance participation for those hired after Sept. 1, 2003, who have worked less than 10 years." The office of Human Resources at A&M sent a letter to all employees in June informing them that they may want to retire before Aug. 3, the end of the fiscal year, if they do not meet the new requirements for eligibility for retirement benefits but do meet the old requirements. Many employees are awaiting Abbott's decision before they make their own.

Posted November 13, 2010 at 5:54 PM

Texas A&M task force develops energy-saving ideas

Karen Yancey University Wire 07-29-2003 (The Battalion) (U-WIRE) COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Several projects have begun to develop energy saving ideas that will involve Texas A&M University faculty, staff and students. A report from a temporary energy task force appointed earlier this year by Charles Sippial, vice president for administration, recommended the creation of a permanent energy task force. Sippial said the task force was created to come up with ideas of how the University can get consumers to conserve energy by turning off copiers over the weekend or using a sleep mode on computers. The report said most of the low-investment solutions to to conserving energy have been implemented. The most difficult task will be communicating how to participate in energy-saving techniques and how it will benefit the energy consumers on campus. "The yearly utilities bill for operations is $58 million," Sippial said. "All energy savings get passed onto the customers so there is an indirect financial benefit to conserving energy." A&M has spent several years trying to find ways to cut energy costs, Sippial said. It currently has a $63 million utilities capitol plan, of which $33 million in energy saving projects have been completed, he said. The Board of Regents approved three projects within the plan that total $4.3 million. The projects include a new chiller and boiler for the central utility and West Campus plants.. These projects include a $5.8 million new boiler that is 90 percent complete, which will go to the central plant on campus, Sippial said. Also within the energy plan are two projects under design. One idea is a 5.4 million, 138 kilovolt electrical transmission line that will provide the campus with a backup commercial electrical power source, Sippial said. "If we lose the power feed that comes to us from off campus, 60 percent of our facilities would be affected," he said. The project has been in the works for several years, and it is not a result of the three hour blackout that occurred in the spring of 2003, Sippial said. Sippial said A&M has a policy that is called the Continuous Commissioning process that continually improves systems in buildings on campus. The process observes systems such as thermal and mechanical systems. For example, if a building has a change in design, the Energy Systems Lab will reevaluate the load requirements of the building and make the systems energy efficient. It will then monitor the adjustments.

Posted November 13, 2010 at 5:55 PM

Texas A&M tries to save energy

Karen Yancey University Wire 08-05-2003 (The Battalion) (U-WIRE) COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Student input is vital when beginning the campus energy awareness program, said John Weese, a regents professor who leads the temporary Energy Task Force at Texas A&M University. A campus energy awareness program was recommended in a report from the task force, a group appointed by Charles Sippial, vice president of operations, to come up with ways to reduce energy consumption on the Texas A&M campus. The report said the campus energy awareness push should be a multi-faceted communications program that comes up with creative ways to gain people's interest in energy energy conservation. Weese said the program will involve everyone on campus, but the program needs student opinion. "Students will inherently come up with ways of communicating that do not occur to faculty," he said. "If we work together with students we will come up with a far better system than if we try to do it ourselves. We want to find useful ways to conserve energy that people will respond to." Suggestions for involving students in the program were submitted through the Eisenhower Program, a group of multidisciplinary students who are given special projects, and a public relations media course through Journalism 357. The report suggests providing budgetary benefits and recognition to employees who participate in the effort. It also recommends educating the campus community on heating, ventilation and air conditioning costs, and familiarizing them with behaviors that conserve energy. Examples of suggestions made in the report are putting computers and copiers in sleep mode over the weekend and turning off lights in unused areas. The recommended budget for the first year of operations is $5,000, Weese said. It will pay for advertising and a slogan contest that will kick off the program. The report also suggests widely broadcasted testimonials about the importance of energy conservation A hotline for reporting energy waste and a Web site where feedback can be entered were also mentioned as possible ideas. The Web site could include a chat room, and Neo e-mail updates in the form of a newsletter Weese said. "People will be more responsive if they are well-informed about progress that is being made," he said. The report also stated that definite steps must be taken to dispel an erroneous, but apparently pervasive, belief that A&M is not following good energy practices and has done little to update its systems. Weese said the Energy Systems Lab and the people who work at the physical plant have done a good job conserving energy. He said retrofits for more efficient lighting have made a big impact on energy savings. Unoma Ndili, a graduate student in electrical engineering, said raising awareness of the need to conserve energy is a good idea. "It is an important issue," Ndili said. She said helpful information and ideas on how to save energy should be communicated to students. Ndili said she saw a broken water pipe on her way home one day but did not know who to talk to or what number to call to get it fixed. If she had known the number, the university would have saved some money. Heidi Threadgill, a senior wildlife and fisheries major, said she likes the idea of getting students involved. "Students are more likely to get involved if they are encouraged by other students to take action," she said.

Posted November 13, 2010 at 5:56 PM

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Ten Things I Wish I Knew as a New High School Teacher Karen Yancey, Yahoo! Contributor Network Dec 6, 2010 I have spent three years as a high school teacher in the Texas independent school districts. These are some things I wish I knew during my first year. 1. Read about a specific teaching method program that integrates classroom management and role play with other teachers. Doug Lemov's Taxonomy of Effective Teaching Practices is a good methods list to practice. 2. The first week of school is a very important time to firmly stick to class rules. Be consistent in enforcing them. I knew one teacher who required her students who did not do their homework to stay after school fifteen minutes the same day to finish it. The children had to use her classroom phone to call their parents to let them know they had a referral and had to stay fifteen minutes after school to complete their homework. If the students didn't show up, the teacher recorded it as a no-show and it became a detention the next day. Sometimes a third of the class would not have done their homework but they all had to call and stay after school. 3. Establish a routine and prepare your students before you change it. Conducting class in a consistent way helps your students to know what to expect from you as a new teacher and prevents frustration. 4. Don't start out assuming students will work hard for you out of principle. Directly reward your students for their work. Throw pizza parties following between classroom competitions. Keep class progress charts on the wall to show how well they are doing compared to other classes. 5. Until you have established a relationship of respect from your students, pushing them too hard academically will only make them resent you. Once you have created a productive, learning environment, you can assess your class to determine how hard they can be pushed academically. 6. Logical consequences are a good way to handle discipline. Special Connections features an article on Natural and Logical Consequences But, I also gave them chances to earn their way back from upcoming consequences of they worked quietly or did their homework during lunch. 7. To make your classroom a place where students show respect requires a firm attitude of "you are not going to win this power game" on the part of the teacher. The culture of disrespect is a challenge to all teachers. However, it is important to remember that it is present everywhere, not just in the schools. I asked one teacher how she handled the tough students she had in her classroom that year. She said, "I just don't let their behavior bother me. I hold them accountable for their actions. When they complain about having to endure the logical consequences of their actions, I just say, 'You made me do it'." Conscience Discipline is a method being used in some schools to teach students how to think through their behavior. 8. Observe other teachers during conference times. Don't just stay in the classroom. 9. Read about current issues in education. Subscribe to the teacher focused Phi Delta Kappan magazine or use the internet to find free articles. 10. Join a teacher union. The American Federation of Teachers does not allow administrators to join. The Association of Teachers and Professional Educators is also a good teacher union which provides free legal advice.

Posted December 6, 2010 at 1:48 PM

Unique College Station Gym Opens to Offer Fitness Through Mixed Martial Arts

Unique College Station Gym Opens to Offer Fitness Through Mixed Martial Arts Martial arts training has been growing in popularity for many years. Windy Sport and Fitness is a unique, new gym that recently opened in College Station, Texas. It offers physical fitness and weight loss through self-defense training. It is the only fitness gym with a certified Krav Maga instructor in the city. Windy Sports and Fitness has four martial arts instructors who each have years of training experience. Jermaine Anugwom started his martial arts training in Capoeira when he was twelve years-old. He worked his way to rank of Professor when he was twenty-two. In 2008, he started his own Groupo Capoeira Unido that teaches multiple styles of Capoeira. In 2003, he continued to study martial arts and became a certified Krav Mage instructor in 2006. He is currently an amateur cage fighter who competes in the southern U.S. and Kathryn Mikita is a certified fitness instructor. Mike Jackson trained under Anugwom and also competes in the southern U.S. Matt Budjenska has years of wrestling and mixed martial arts experience. Adult programs being offered include Krav Maga, Muay Thai, Capoeira, Missouri City Boxing and Submission Wrestling. Krav Maga translates as "close combat." It is regarded as one of the most lethal hand-to-hand combat styles because of its simple and effective techniques. Krav Maga was created by Imi Lichtenfeld who combined sports competition and street fighting skills. He first taught it to the Israeli Defense Forces. Krav Maga is now taught throughout the world. Muay Thai or Thai Boxing is the national sport of Thailand and is highly regarded in the kickboxing community. Capoeira is a Afro-Brazilian style martial art that incorporates music, singing and dance. Many of the programs require the purchase of 12, 14 or 16 ounce gloves, groin protectors and mouth pieces. Capoeira requires the purchase of a special kind of pants called abadas. Children's classes in Muay Thai and Cardio are offered for children ages six to twelve. Unique College Station Gym Opens to Offer Fitness Through Mixed Martial Arts Karen Yancey, Yahoo! Contributor Network Dec 6, 2010 The 3200 square foot facility offers a 20X20 boxing ring, a 22X20 martial arts cage, matted flooring for practice sessions, thirty hanging Thai boxing bags and equipment for strength training and cardio workouts. The gym is open from 9 a.m to 9 p.m Monday through Friday and 12noon to 4 p.m on Saturday. No contracts are required and the monthly membership allows you to take any of the classes that are offered.

Posted December 6, 2010 at 2:58 PM

New Year's Diet Resolutions: Easier Than You Think

Karen Yancey, Yahoo! Contributor Network Dec 13, 2010 The new year is around the corner. It is time to think about losing weight to have a body that will turn heads on the beach this summer. But what are the best ways to do that? First, exercise is important. According to Mayo, aerobic workouts can increase metabolism, circulation and maximize oxygen use. In other words, it reduces that sluggish feeling during the day when you are eating less and feeling hungry. I prefer to exercise outside so I run in my neighborhood during my weight loss regimens. I started jogging four miles three days a week using the run-walk approach. I make sure to kept my heart rate at an aerobic workout level for thirty to forty-five minutes. You can determine a target heart rate for your age by using the Mayo Clinic's Target Heart Rate calculator at Over time, my run intervals increased and my walk intervals decreased. I could tell my oxygen use was becoming more efficient because I was less tired during my workouts. Of course it is important to maintain flexibility and do strength training along with your aerobic workouts. I like to use the Wii Fit Plus program. It offers yoga and strength training with a digital fitness coach. It also takes weight measurements each time you login and helps set weight loss goals for each week. There is a time bank feature that records the amount of time a person exercises. As more time is accrued, different exercises are unlocked. The balance games are a fun way to end the session and they increase agility. Other good Wii games for weight loss are My Fitness Coach which suggests dietary menus and exercises. Also, Wii Sports provides aerobic workouts through boxing and tennis. Next, decrease calorie intake. A safe rate of weight loss is one to two pounds a week according to the BBC Health website. A pound is 3,500 kilocalories so that means reducing your calorie intake by at least 500 calories a day. It is also a good idea to watch portion size so get a food scale to measure recommended grams especially for breakfast cereal. I prefer to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans while cutting out meat to only two servings a week of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids. I get more fiber and vitamins and less fat and cholesterol. To maintain the twenty grams of protein I need each day, I supplement my diet with a whey protein shake. Two tablespoons of lentils or beans are considered one serving of protein-rich food. What about those hunger cravings and other temptations? Celery and lots of water keep me to my diet. I also find baby carrots are a great snack for when you really need an extra boost. I also like to take my lunch to work as it keeps me from being tempted to eat fatty foods at fast food restaurants. If I must order-in during an office meeting, I choose a salad. One thing I allow myself is ranch dressing as it makes the salad much easier to eat. I also encourage adding avocados to your salad. Avocados are rich in potassium with two to three times that of bananas which is good for people who exercise. Also, the fat in an avocado is monounsaturated which is the kind that can lower blood cholesterol. A serving size is two tablespoons. Here are some recipe suggestions. Steamed vegetables with low-fat cheese sauce, whole-grain pasta with tomato sauce and fruit juice makes a simple and soothing warm meal after a day at work. Also, pickles and jarred jalapenos can spice up a bland diet. Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning added to canned red beans, tomato paste and stir-fried onions and bell peppers make a spicy dish. Tony Chachere's seasonings can be found at most grocery stores or it can be ordered at

Posted December 13, 2010 at 6:03 PM

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