October 26, 2007

Will candidates get student votes?

Flyers. Speeches. Door-to-door campaigning. Signs in yards across the city. These strategies are meant to catch the eye of the voter, but it may not be enough to win the hearts of the students at UMD. However, Don Ness seemed pretty confident in his campaigning efforts.

"We anticipate over 30 thousand votes being cast in the general election. Students could be a significant voice in November's election, if they choose to vote. I have always given more time and energy to getting students out to vote than any other city candidate - that will be true this year as well," he said.

I went out to investigate whether or not candidates Charlie Bell and Don Ness were actually reaching out to students like they say they are, and to find out what students think about their campaigns. What I found was a little surprising.

Over half the students enrolled here at UMD are from out of town, which is why they have some negative feelings about these elections. The candidates are trying to get the students to see that their votes do affect the lives of UMD's students.

"If they're not going to be living here, students should at least be informed if they're going to vote," said Bell. "If they aren't informed, then I understand why they wouldn't."

I talked to a couple students to see whether or not they thought their effort to vote would be worth it.

Sam Gransee, a freshman at UMD, is a native of Wisconsin who feels that these elections won't affect him which is why he's not going to vote.

"I saw Ness's brother out campaigning across from the bookstore," he said. "I was at my own table out in Kirby, and I saw a few people stop by their table, but not that many. I know who Ness is, but I'm not real up on politics in Duluth."

I think that although Bell and Ness are putting forth an effort to reach out to students, most are too busy or uninterested to care about the issues enough to vote. Or, they aren't going to be in Duluth much longer, so students like Sophomore Jenny Lokhorst, aren't going to vote for mayor here.

"I feel disconnected from the city, my feet just aren't planted in Duluth," she said.

The candidates have told me that they're doing everything they can to talk to students. Whether it's going door-to-door, handing out fliers in on-campus housing, or setting up tables in Kirby, I think they've got their bases covered. It's just up to us now, to get out there and have an opinion on Election Day.

September 26, 2007

Kayak in the Pool

"Whoa! I could like, die," said Sophomore Jeremy Anderson. "That wouldn't be any fun."

That's a thought that some people may have when they wonder what it would be like to kayak on Lake Superior. Anderson has seen people out on the lake and decided to try it. He's glad, however, that he decided to learn the necessary skills first.

Maybe you've seen kayakers out on the lake and wondered where you could learn to do what they're doing, but you don't want to look stupid trying to figure it out. Or maybe you've seen kayakers on Lake Superior, and wondered why they're not scared to death of tipping over and getting lost forever in the cold, dark water. Well, there's a group here at UMD that can help you get past those fears.

The Kayak and Canoe Club meets at the UMD pool in the Sports and Recreation Center every Monday afternoon from 3-5:00, and Thursday nights from 9-11:00. Your first session is free. The group averages about five to 15 people; the busiest night being Thursdays. Freshman Elizabeth Shmikler, who has canoed a lot before but hadn't tried kayaking, has been to three of the club's meetings so far.

"The instructors are really nice guys. They'll help you out."

There are six certified instructors, which makes it easy to get individual help when it is needed. A few of the participants in the club's activities are also quite knowledgeable in the art of kayaking, and are eager to help out.

"It's one of those things that gets in your blood, and you want to explain it to people," said Laura Schroeter, a junior who is also a kayak guide in the Apostle Islands.

The first time you go to a kayak meeting, the instructors teach you how to roll your kayak and to get back up again. Then they'll teach things like play boating (tricks), and how to go over small waterfalls.

"Sometimes the guys will put on shows. It's pretty cool," said Schroeter.

The club will take beginners out on a river, but if they want to do well, it's suggested that they have at least two sessions in the pool first.

"The learning curve isn't too steep," said Scott Ewen. "Kayaks are kind of spinney, so it can be hard at first, but you learn something new every time you try."

The Canoe and Kayak Club is also going to be co-sponsoring a big fall event for Friday, October 5th. It's called the Reel Paddling International Film Festival. It will be held on campus in Bohannon 90. Ewen, one of the officers of the Kayak Club, is pretty enthusiastic about the upcoming event.
"There'll be about six hours of film showing, and there'll also be awesome door prizes," he said.

Tickets are on sale now for this event. For more information on the club, and its events, call the Recreational Sports Outdoor Program at (218) 726-7128 or e-mail them at rsop@d.umn.edu.

May 5, 2006

Caffeine Feature

Walking past Northern Shores Coffee Shop, you catch the strong smell of coffee and chocolate. There’s a line that stretches past the tables, and almost out into the hall. You wonder why there are so many people there at this time of the day- it’s late morning, in between classes. Sure, maybe coffee sounds good right now, but you’re not willing to stand in that line. Why are these people so eager to wait?
“Today? I had two energy drinks and a bottle of pop, but that’s only because I had like two hours of sleep,? said freshman, Hana Dinku after a late night of studying.
As they stand in line at UMD’s coffee shop, or carry around a can of Red Bull like a safety blanket, it may seem to some that college students are big consumers of caffeine. There’s the student who just has to stay awake to finish the homework they’ve been procrastinating on for two weeks. And then there’s the partier and drinker.
“Carbon dioxide in pop increases the speed in which an individual feels the effects of alcohol,? Lauretta Perry, Health Educator at UMD, said. “In which case, a hangover can be worse.?
Have you ever thought about what non-beverage items contain caffeine? If you suffer from bad headaches or migraines, you may have taken Excedrine. Just read the package- in only two tablets of this drug, there is 130mg of caffeine- slightly less that the amount in a cup of coffee. In Midol, there is 64mg of caffeine in two tablets. So coffee, pop, and energy drinks aren’t the only things that can keep you up late at night.
There are some risks if you consume too much caffeine. If consumed daily, caffeine causes bone density to go down, and addiction can occur in the long run.
“Calcium is best absorbed in younger years, and with vitamin D,? said Perry.
There are some kinds of pop that add calcium to make it appear better for the consumer. However, without also adding vitamin D, the calcium is not readily absorbed into the bones.
“That’s probably more important for women,? said Shelly DeCaigny, another Health Educator on campus.
This is because women are more at risk for osteoporosis, the loss of bone density later in life.
Women need to consider the effects of caffeine on their bodies. There is a link between caffeine and fibrocystic breast disease. This is where cysts, or fatty tissue, develop in a woman’s breast. The cysts can be painful or uncomfortable. When caffeine is removed from a woman’s diet, the cysts are reduced in number, or disappear completely.
Many college students are substituting pop into their diet, instead of the healthy choices of milk, juice or water, according to Perry. This can cause not only weight gain, but also a dependence on caffeine. Tolerance can occur, so you need more and more caffeine to have the same effect on giving you that initial ‘lift’ that seems to give energy and alertness. But if you stop drinking coffee or pop, withdrawal symptoms can occur if you have become dependant.
“Cut back slowly, instead of stopping cold turkey,? said DeCaigny.
Students may not stop consuming caffeine because of all these reasons, however.
"Well, I suppose I wouldn't refrain," said freshman Justine Zins. "The only reason I don't drink a lot of caffeine is because I don't want yellow teeth."

March 8, 2006

Jazzy Weekend

Patti Labelle. Barbara Streisand. The Rolling Stones. There is one musician who has done recordings with all these famous people and more, and he came here to Duluth this past weekend. Robin Eubanks, the trombonist who won Down Beats International Critics Poll in five different years, performed with the UMD Jazz I Ensemble last Saturday.
Before he entered the stage, high school students were shouting to one another across the auditorium, mouthing the words ‘call me,’ doing the slow clap and the wave- over and over again. These band students, from different high schools in MN, had played on and off throughout the day on the campus.
“Good evening, what’s up, how’s everyone doing?? Eubanks shouted to the rowdy crowd just before he started to play.
Eubanks spent ten years as a faculty member at the Banff Center, and is the music director for Art Blakely and the Jazz Messengers. He began studying music at the age of eight, and studied it through college at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he graduated with honors.
UMD’s Department of Music presented the 33rd Annual Head of the Lakes Jazz Festival on March 4th. This festival originated here at UMD, which is why it has always been held here on campus. It lasted two hours, starting at 7:30 P.M. in the Marshall Performing Arts Center. Tickets were sold out, meaning that the auditorium was packed with about 300 high school and college students, and adults as well.
“The first time you hear it, it’s just an amazing sound,? said Don Schraufnagel, a sound engineer who has worked at 19 of the 33 Head of the Lakes Jazz Festivals.

February 13, 2006

The Ethics of Death and Dying

This last Thursday, Elisa A. Hurley, Ph. D and candidate for specializing in philosophy at UMD, gave a speech titled “The Ethics of Death and Dying? in the Humanities Building. Hurley is a professor visiting from Georgetown. She began the speech by asking those who attended,
“What is a good death? What are its features, and what is the role or obligation of the caregiver in defining or providing good death, if any??
Hurly discussed the case of Terri Shiavo, and pointed out both sides of her family’s battle. She told the audience that there are four different kinds of euthanasia: voluntary passive, non-voluntary passive, voluntary active and non voluntary active. Active means taking steps to bring on the death of a patient, and passive is withdrawing treatment and allowing the patient to die. Voluntary is when the person is competent and requests the assistance to die. Non-voluntary is where the person is incompetent and must rely on a living will or their written word. In Shiavo’s situation, non-voluntary passive euthanasia was allowed.
There was also mention of the Death with Dignity Act that was passed in O.R. in 1997. This permits physicians to write prescriptions for a lethal dosage of medication to people with a terminal illness, which is also known as physician-assisted suicide. The U.S Supreme Court has ruled that the Constitution does not protect the right to hasten death or terminate life. However, individual states can decide on whether physician assister suicide is legal or not.
Towards the end of Hurley’s speech there was room for discussion, where three different cases of terminally ill people were read. The discussion was on if it is all right for a doctor to follow their wishes and assist in taking their lives. There were mixed feelings, as this is a controversial subject, but it seemed as if most of the audience was not against voluntary active suicide.
Currently, competent patients have the right to forgo medical treatment at anytime, including treatment that would sustain life, such as feeding tubes and hydration. Will it only be a matter of time before other forms of euthanasia are legalized?