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Archive | March, 2012

What the Frack?

Posted on 31 March 2012 by Beth Karapandzich

Three experts talked about the economic benefits, potential public health concerns and environmental concerns hydraulic fracturing raises among northeast Ohio residents.
The environmental non-profit group Green Alliance sponsored an informative panel presentation on hydraulic fracturing Tuesday, Feb. 28 from 7 to 9 p.m.
Panelists included Dr. Jeffery Dick, geologist/hydrologist from Youngstown State University, Samantha Malone, communication specialist and PhD student in public health from the University of Pittsburgh and Dr. Theodore Voneida, a neurobiologist from Northeastern Ohio College of Medicine.
The presentation began with Dr. Jeffery Dick, the chair of the department of geology and environmental science at Youngstown State University.  Dick talked mainly about Utica shale which is prevalent in Ohio.
Estimates deduce that the Utica shale in Ohio alone could contain up to 15 trillion cubic feet of natural gas as well as up to 5.5 billion barrels of oil underlying the shale seam.  Currently, there are ten different drilling companies operating in Ohio throughout eighteen counties, with Stark County being one of the highest density drilled areas in the state.
“It [the Utica] has the potential to be a much more profitable oil and gas play than the Marcellus; it could easily become one of the largest plays in the country if not the world, but that’s yet to be seen,” said Dick.
Dick explained the environmental concerns that come with the drilling and fracking process as well as issues concerning injection wells, such as the recently recurring earthquakes in Youngstown.
“There’s been a lot of speculation that injection wells cause earthquakes.  They can trigger earthquakes and I think that’s clearly the case here in Youngstown, but keep in mind that that’s one well and that the other 180 or so are operating quite nicely and it’s actually the best management practice for taking care of these hazardous materials.  There generally is very little correlation between where you find earthquakes and where you find injection taking place,” said Dick.
The second panelist, Samantha Malone, communication specialist for FracTracker.org and PhD student in public health from the University of Pittsburgh, talked about the potential public health concerns associated with hydraulic fracturing, which typically depends on how well the process is done.
Public health concerns associated with drilling include but are not limited to water and air quality issues, emergency preparedness, and community impacts. Still, there is currently a lack of public health information as far as horizontal hydraulic fracturing is concerned since the process is relatively new.
“If you drill for natural gas in the way that it was intended, in the ideal design, most likely you would not see many public health impacts at all, but because there’s a lot of water required, there’s a lot of seepage and leaks that come from the compressor stations, the frack ponds were originally poorly lined or not lined in some cases, that can create pathways of exposure,” said Malone.
“The epidemiology data, or the population-wide health data on whether or not drilling causes cancer―causes anything―is just not available.  We do not have long-term health studies that have been conducted that sufficiently show a correlation.  What we have been able to collect real data on are the community―the smaller level impacts―and I’m talking social health burdens, road infrastructure degradation, and the fact that if your water is contaminated, that is a potential cost burden as well, and it’s stressful,” said Malone.
Working for an organization that deals primarily with data, Malone recommends finding ways to accurately record data.
“Right now we’re in the process of collecting data for Ohio.  This is a major issue that I think should be addressed prior to any really intense drilling, to get electronic data systems in place to manage data because if you don’t have a good idea of what’s occurring, there’s no way for you to address any problems or really take action unless you know exactly what’s happening,” said Malone.
The last panelist, Dr. Theodore Voneida, the founding chair and professor emeritus of neurobiology at Northeastern Ohio University’s College of Medicine, spoke on behalf of the environment.
One of Voneida’s biggest concerns was the large volumes of wastewater laden with chemicals that occurs as a result of horizontal hydraulic fracturing.
“The Youngstown wells had injections totaling 15 million gallons of Pennsylvania wastewater last year.  Ohio is accepting this wastewater because as of May 2011, toxic wastewater was no longer accepted at Pennsylvania sewage treatment plants.  Furthermore, we are now negotiating with New York State to accept their toxic wastewater as well.  I’m concerned that Ohio may just become a dumping ground for gas wells’ toxic waste,” said Voneida.
Voneida then explained the scope of horizontal well drilling operations in Ohio.  Presently, Chesapeake Energy alone holds drilling leases for 3.6 million acres in Ohio.
“Chesapeake in one of the most frequently fined companies.  In February of this year, Chesapeake was fined $1.1 million by the state of Pennsylvania for fracturing a major aquifer and another $88,000 for destroying the wells of 15 families,” said Voneida.
Voneida repeatedly referenced a recently published paper entitled Impacts of Gas Drilling on Human and Animal Health written by two Cornell University researchers.  Voneida explained several of the recommended reforms for future drilling operations mentioned in the paper, putting emphasis on the suggestion of outlawing the use of non-disclosure policies which are commonly included in gas company leases.
“Non-disclosure policies should not be allowed.  I never tell a farmer not to lease; that’s their business.  If they can get good money for leasing, fine.  What I do say is get an attorney―that’s extremely important―and get your water tested,” said Voneida.
Other recommendations Voneida mentioned were to expand the EPA study of hydraulic fracturing to include air quality impacts and to conduct complete testing of air and water prior to drilling and at regular intervals after drilling has commenced.
The three panelists then took questions from the audience, an assortment of Mount Union faculty, staff, and students, landowners, farmers, local politicians, and concerned citizens.
Sophomore physics major Jen Reed, who worked as a security guard for Chesapeake Energy the majority of last year, defended the drilling company after it received criticism from several audience members.
“The policies and safety procedures that they have on-site about trucks that are coming in and out―anyone that comes in and out―the vehicles have to be manually inspected three times by the security guards and Chesapeake officials before entering site and before leaving site to make sure that it’s not leaking.  It’s really rigid; they’re really careful about what goes on, but accidents do happen,” said Reed.
However, Tiffany Gravlee, co-chair of Green Alliance, commissioner for the Green Commission for the city of Alliance, and a community member on Mount Union’s Sustainability Committee, expressed concern over the supposed environmental and health implications associated with fracking.
“Honestly, it scares me to death because I think there’s so much we don’t understand yet,” said Gravlee.
Gravlee also expressed concern over the accelerated rate at which fracking operations are currently being conducted in Ohio.
“I’m concerned that the companies are trying to get as much accomplished as they can before the EPA’s study comes out.  I do wish that we would have been able to put a moratorium on the process until we have all the facts because I’m not necessarily against trying to get natural gas, but if you do it quickly and not carefully enough then you do run risks, and if our town loses its water, what do we do?  We don’t have a lot of options,” said Gravlee.
The bottom line, as all three panelists repeatedly mentioned, is that residents near drilling operations should get their water tested by a government official before and after drilling commences and have an experienced lawyer at the ready.

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Carr Lecture Photos

Posted on 30 March 2012 by Katie Proch

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Food waste at Mount Union

Posted on 30 March 2012 by Beth Karapandzich

In order to determine the kind of composting program appropriate for Mount Union, Dr. Chuck McClaugherty’s environmental case studies class conducted a food waste audit from Jan. 23–27.
Dr. McClaugherty, director of the Brumbaugh Center for Environmental Science and chairman of the Sustainability Advisory Committee for the University of Mount Union, explained his rationale for choosing food waste as the class’s first case study.
“I looked at some of the possibilities of things that have been discussed by our Sustainability Management Committee that were sort of stymied for lack of information, and food waste through our campus dining services was one of the largest things we’ve been talking about for two or three years and while we hadn’t made any decisions, I thought it would be a good opportunity for students to gather data that actually would be of value to the university and decide how to manage that amount of waste,” said McClaugherty.
Over the course of five days, food waste from Kresge Dining Commons totaled 2,541 pounds or 600 gallons.  Senior biology major Cali Granger, a student in the case studies class, said she was surprised by the food audit results.
“For being a small school, we wasted food like we were a large school,” said Granger. “I figured we would have been similar to YSU, which is 350 pounds a day.  We’re more on a larger scale with the food waste, like a larger school would have. Then, if you were to include our back-of-house waste, that would just increase it to another couple hundred pounds so yes, I was surprised.”
Dr. McClaugherty’s class made several recommendations based on the results of the food audit.  Going tray-less could reduce food waste up to 30 percent, as well as reduce food costs and conserve water and energy.  In addition, permanently displaying posters discouraging food waste could potentially reduce waste by 15 percent.  As far as composters go, the class recommended either obtaining a pulper- a self-contained machine that instantly turns food waste into a slurry mix- or installing an in-vessel system- a unit that intermittently stirs food waste, eventually turning it into compost.
“I’d like to see an integrated program where we look at reducing waste up front by helping students to be more mindful where we put on amounts or ask the servers to put on amounts that are sort of close to what we anticipate we would need―that may or may not involve going tray-less―keeping students aware that what they don’t eat they’re still paying for and by throwing more away, that keeps the cost of the food service higher,” said McClaugherty.
Granger believes that a conspicuous composting program would be beneficial to Mount Union.
“It would allow us to reduce the waste to the landfills, but it would also open up the education because a lot of people don’t realize what you can compost or what happens to it, how it becomes compost, and if you implement a composting program, then you can start having people involved with it,” she said.
McClaugherty also mentioned the educational aspect of implementing a visible composting program at the university.
“It would be helpful to develop a program that students were aware of and could see that the university was actually doing something rather than just doing it behind a fence and nobody knows that it’s going on besides the few people that are involved because then it would serve an educational role as well―make people think, ’Oh, well, I could compost in my house when I get one,’” he said.
The environmental case studies class has submitted a proposal for a Scholar Day presentation on Mount Union’s food waste.
“I think it’s a really big project.  They spent five weeks doing pretty intense work, researching it and collecting the data and doing the food audit so I’m hoping it’s accepted,” said McClaugherty.

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One Book One Community

Posted on 25 March 2012 by Shyanne Bowman

Everyone has their own story to tell. That is the message that attendees left with after the finale event for the Alliance One Book One Community event last Wednesday.

Chitra Divakaruni, author of One Amazing Thing, spoke in the Mount Union theatre to a group of community and university members that participated in the One Book events. The evening began in Bracy Hall with a reception that featured invited guest and Indian food. The event was then moved to the theatre for a presentation by Divakaruni.

Divakaruni, a native of Kolkata, India, is a well-known writer as well as an award-winning author, poet and teacher of writing. Divakaruni came to the United States to peruse her Master’s degree in English from Wright State University in Dayton. She then went on to obtain her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Divakaruni and her family currently reside in Texas.

At the event, Divakaruni embraced attendees for choosing and reading her book for the program. She then took time to speak about what inspired her to write One Amazing Thing. Although the book tells stories of nine people, stranded in an Indian Visa office, Divakaruni was inspired to write the story while evacuating her home in Texas during a Hurricane. “One Amazing Thing” tells the story of how every person has one amazing thing or story to tell people.

During the question and answer session of the night, Divakaruni was asked by an audience member what her one amazing thing was. Divakaruni explained being stranded on a glacier during a pilgrimage. A man helped to save her life. She had never met the man nor has she to this day, but he was her one amazing thing.

One Book One Community has been a program in the Alliance area for nine years. Harry Paidas, professor and board member of One Book, believes that the author appearance is a great way to end the program series. “During our nine years of this program, every one of our authors has made an impact on the community,” said Paidas. “Chitra was outstanding in her public appearance. She spoke with the same grace and entertainment quality that mirrors how she writes. She was very well received by the audience.”

Divakaruni has written many novels, two of which have been made in to motion pictures. Other writings by Divakaruni in the last ten years include: Shadowland, The Palace of Illusions, The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming, Queen of Dreams, California Uncovered: Stories for the 21st Century, The Conch Bearer, Neela: Victory Song, Vine of Desire, and The Unknown Errors of Our Lives.

Although One Book One Community has concluded for this year, suggestions for next year’s book are currently being accepted. If one has a suggestion, visit the Rodman Public Library’s Facebook page. For more information on One Book One Community, visit allianceonebook.org

The One Book One Community program is sponsored by Friends of Rodman Public Library, the University of Mount Union, the Greater Alliance Foundation and “The Review.”

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BREAKING NEW: WALL STREET UN-OCCUPIED

Posted on 19 March 2012 by Steven Kaufman

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March Madness Heats Up

Posted on 16 March 2012 by Matt Doyle

March has arrived and the first signs of spring are in the air- the weather is warming up and the 2012 NCAA tournament is in full swing. This year 68 teams headed into the big dance with one goal on their mind: hoisting the trophy on April 2 in New Orleans.

For those adamantly opposed to the continued rejection of a playoff in Division I college football, March Madness is the perfect antidote as 64 teams each have an equal chance to be the champion.

Over the years, the tournament has never ceased to display the seemingly impossible: historical upsets, buzzer beaters and launching the legends of players like Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, and Larry Bird. Across college campuses, offices, and online on ESPN this week, many furiously filled out brackets; hoping their team would pull out the championship and receive all of the glory.

It is no secret that March Madness may be the most entertaining sporting event of the year rivaling and perhaps topping the Super Bowl. Even non-basketball fans are pulled in every year and hooked to the action. In Mount Union alone, many students compete in ESPN.com’s free “Tournament Challenge” to pick their winners. Students this week have been glued to the televisions in HPCC during lunch and dinner hours to watch each thrilling moment. This year’s tournament has definitely not been short on the drama.

Ohio State was one of the few high seeded teams to not have to sweat out a first round victory, easily defeating Loyola (Md.) 78-59. However, for many of the other top seeds, it has been an all-out fight to survive and play another day.

Syracuse narrowly avoided being the first 1 seed ever to lose to a 16 after receiving the benefit on a few sketchy calls near the end of the game, beating UNC-Ashville 72-65. There were some surprises though as VCU beat Wichita State 62-59. With VCU’s win, a 12 seed has beaten a 5 seed in 22 of the last 24 tournaments.

The second day of this year’s tournament featured two of the most shocking upsets ever. Since 1939, the first year of the tournament, only four number 15 seeds had ever won their first round game. Last Friday, it happened twice in the same day.

First, Norfolk State shocked Missouri by knocking out the Tigers 86-84. Norfolk State, located in Virginia, only has slightly more than 6,000 undergrad students and was making their first tournament appearance. Later in the day, perennial power-house Duke also fell, this time to Lehigh University of Bethlehem, Pa., 75-70, a school with just under 5,000 undergrads. Also, 13th seeded Ohio University  knocked off Big Ten Co-Champs and 5th seeded Michigan 65-60. These “Cinderella” teams always seem to provide a great underdog story to the tournaments as fans will rally around the “Little Engine That Could”.

In just the past six years, unheralded teams from George Mason, VCU and Butler have crashed into the final four, with Butler nearly pulling off one of the most improbable wins of all time in 2010 as their last second desperation shot hit off rim giving the Duke Blue Devils the national championship.

Sophomore Martin Chaffin, feels that the NCAA tournament is the most exciting sporting event of the year.

“It’s fun to always do brackets and compete against my friends and it’s always thrilling to pull for the underdogs and get bragging rights against your friends.”

Chaffin predicted that Michigan State will win the national championship over North Carolina. In the ESPN.com tournament challenge, over 66 oercent of the nation believes that Kentucky will win the championship. However, as the early tournament results have shown, in March Madness anything can happen and always expect the unexpected.

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Republican Primary Results from Super Tuesday

Posted on 16 March 2012 by Russell Castellucci

People in ten states voted for who they wanted to be the Republican nominee on Tuesday, March 6.

After all the votes were counted, Mitt Romney won the most states and delegates, followed by Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. Romney won in six states, including Alaska, Idaho, Massachusetts, Ohio, Vermont and Virginia. Romney received 165 electoral votes for the six states he won, plus 47 from other states, for a total of 212. Santorum had victories in three states, including North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee. He received 51 electoral votes for the states he won, plus 35 from other states for a total of 86. Gingrich won one state, his home state of Georgia, and received 47 electoral votes. He also received 27 electoral votes from other states for a total of 74. Paul didn’t win any states but did receive 21 electoral votes for close finishes in Alaska, Vermont, Virginia and North Dakota.

Most states were won by large margins, but Ohio came down to the wire when determining the winner. Romney held a slight advantage all night while the votes were being counted, but he was never able to pull away from the other candidates. When all the votes were counted, he achieved victory by a less than 1 percent margin with just over 10,000 more votes than Santorum.

“Ohio was definitely a nail-biter, it was interesting that it was actually that close,” said Nick Howley, vice president of the College Republicans.

Besides Ohio, things on Tuesday turned out mainly as expected, according to College Republicans.

“I think the fact that Newt Gingrich won his home state of Georgia wasn’t a huge surprise, a lot of people thought he would win Georgia,” said Tyler Anderson, president of the College Republicans. “I think the results of Super Tuesday were pretty much what people expected going into Super Tuesday.”

“It was no surprise that Rick Santorum carried the states that he did, as those are typically heavily evangelical, very conservative voters. It’s also no surprise Mitt Romney carried Massachusetts, his home state,” said Howley.

Some are saying that with none of the candidates dropping out after Super Tuesday and a long primary continuing Barack Obama could be considered the big winner of the night, since the Republicans are still spending their resources attacking themselves instead of him, but others feel a long primary won’t hurt the party.

“I don’t buy into that, I would like to see the candidates take a pledge to focus their negative attacks on Barack Obama and not on each other, because I think negativity, once you get late into a primary isn’t a good thing, and I don’t think anybody wants to see Republicans attacking Republicans, but I don’t think that a longer primary is going to hurt the eventual nominee as long as it ends by May or June,” said Anderson.

“A long primary does not hurt us because by the time we go to convention, as long as we have our nominee set no one is going to remember this long primary battle, everyone is going to rally around the candidate we select, no matter who that is,” said Howley.

At this point in the Republican Primary race, Romney is leading with a total of 495 electoral votes, Santorum is in second with 252, Gingrich third with 131 and Paul last with 48. A total of 1144 electoral votes are needed to secure the nomination.

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The Changes of Cope Music Hall

Posted on 16 March 2012 by Georgia McCartney

A redesigned theater and changes to room 114 are two of the major changes planned for Cope Music Hall.

Changes to Cope, including improvements to the heating and cooling, are still being planned and won’t take place for two or three years.

When improvements begin, one of the biggest planned changes is building a bigger theater.  The theater will be redesigned to house a larger audience with an expansive stage and possibly provide a work area for theater members to build sets.

“The improved auditorium can also be used for concerts and musical theater productions,” said Dr. James Perone a Professor of Music.

Another major change is the transformation of room 114 into a combination of a choral rehearsal room and a multi media class.

“I think that it will be wonderful to have the choir and instrumentals in two different rooms because it will help with scheduling and acoustics,” said Perone.

The heating and cooling system of the building will also be repaired.

“If it’s too dry wooden instruments crack and pianos become more difficult to keep in tune,” said Perone.

“I am very excited about the changes because not everyone gets a chance to be a part of renovation planning in their career and we get the rare opportunity to answer the question of what our dream building would look like,” said Patricia Boehm, Associate Professor of Music.

“I hope the renovations will be built with the goal of attracting more student musicians to our campus as well as providing the general student population with more opportunities to participate in the arts,’ said Suzanne Moushey, a music librarian.

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Baseball team article

Posted on 16 March 2012 by Sarah Kelly

The Men’s Baseball team won both games of their home opener doubleheader against Allegheny on Tuesday.

The Raiders swept the Pennsylvanian team 8-2 in the first game.

“The first game was played really well,” Senior pitcher Cory Douglass said. “Michael Horning threw a great game; he battled through a lot of diversity. We played great defensively and offensively. It was a close game until our offense exploded with a lot of runs in the last inning.”

Mount scored four runs in the sixth inning, putting them in the lead 8-1. Allegheny managed one run in the seventh inning for a total of two runs at the end of the game.

The second game was tied in the seventh inning but was won after a line drive to center field was hit by sophomore pitcher and third baseman, Zach Carlino, sending sophomore outfielder, Connor Mathis home, ending the game 9-8.

“We’re making plays when we need to, which is why we’ve won a lot of close games,” Carlino said. “All around we’ve been pretty solid- hitting and pitching wise.”

Second baseman Evan Knott thinks some of the games are ending too close for comfort.

“We didn’t play great but we still won. We had little mistakes that could be costly in a game against a better opponent,” Knott said. “We’ve been winning a lot of games but we’re not playing our best. We can get a lot better.”

Douglass and Carlino both agree with Knott, saying that they have a lot of work to do to get to where they want to be.

“Pitching and fielding have a lot of room for improvement,” Douglass said.

The Raiders now have a record of 9-2, after winning seven games while in Florida over Spring break.

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Fashion Star

Posted on 16 March 2012 by Katelyn Chef

The average American Joe gets a chance to express their true life’s passion- fashion design. NBC’s new reality show, Fashion Star hosted by the ultra-supermodel, Elle Macpherson, focuses not only on design, but teaches the contestants how to build their brand.

The show’s premises follow the contestants through their design dilemmas and triumphs while being mentored by fashionable faces. Jessica Simpson, Nicole Riche, and John Varvatos are the three featured mentors on Fashion Star.

According to thehuffingtonpost.com, the mentors have the power to decide who continues with the design challenge, but it is the merchandise buyers (Macy’s, H &M and   Saks Fifth Ave) who decide what challenger become a fashion victim.

It is the buyer mechanism that separates this fashion reality show from the others. While the buyers hold the key to who stays and goes they also offer the winning designs to be sold online (and select stores) the next day. This way, the audience at home can indulge in their favorite designer’s creations.

Fashion Star seems like the ultimate fashion competition not only focusing on design, but schooling the designers in branding. At the end, the last one standing will be awarded a prize worth more than $60,000 featuring their line in all three stores.

It’s hard to say whether Fashion Star will flourish or fade, but that is the gamble in the fierce world of fashion.

Fashion Star shines Tuesday nights, 10 p.m. on NBC.

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