All posts by Skyler Lambert

Author, photographer Connolly grips audience

Although most convocation speakers who visit Adrian College come with an inspiring message to deliver, Kevin Michael Connolly represents one of the few exceptions. The man who has been hit “twice and a half” by cars delivered a compelling speech last Wednesday at noon in Dawson Auditorium as part of the James Borland Convocation Series and Disabilities Awareness Week.

“I liked how he used humor and how he thought he was not an inspiration,” said sophomore Annie Gigowski.

Despite having a sporadic birth defect, which caused him to be born without legs, Connolly continuously asserted he was not an inspiration. Instead, he explained, he’s just a normal guy who takes pictures and has a book.

Connolly’s book, Double Take: A Memoir was published in 2009 as a follow-up to a photography project he started as an undergraduate at Montana State University. Labeled “The Rolling Exhibition,” Connolly’s idea for the project arose while he was traveling in Europe in 2006.

“This project is more about stare and not share,” he said. “It’s more of a portrait of you and who you are than it is about the guy without legs.”

In Ukraine, he was handed money and blessed by people he encountered. One man even picked up Connolly in an attempt to safely transport him. One day while he was riding his skateboard in the city he noticed a man on the street staring at him so he decided to take a picture.

“We stare at people outside of our idiosyncratic realm of normal,” Connolly said. “We only do that with the thought of not getting caught.”

He continued snapping photos during the remainder of his trip, eventually coming out with nearly 1,200 pictures by the time he was done.

“For the first time in my life, I was able to turn stares and make them into a two-way street,” Connolly said.

Connolly was contacted by representatives from the Winter X Games in 2007 who asked him to participate in the inaugural mono-skier event. He received a silver medal and $7,000 in winnings which he spent on an “around-the-world” ticket and to develop adaptive devices such as special gloves and a camera strap to pull of his photo project.

In a few short months, Connolly traveled to 17 countries with nothing but his skateboard and camera equipment and recorded nearly 33,000 pictures with the same lens and same angle. He would skateboard between nine and 20 miles each day and snap quick photos of people on the opposite side where he was placing his focus.

“Every photo is shot while I’m on the move,” Connolly said. “One thing I found when I was shooting was the stories people told about you were specific to their locale.”

For example, when Connolly was in New Zealand he was asked if he was attacked by a shark. Back in the U.S., however, people assumed he had lost his legs while serving in combat.

Publishers caught wind of Connolly’s project and felt he had gathered enough thoughts to produce a book. It also includes background information on his life in Montana.

Connolly was born Aug. 18, 1985 with rare disease known as bilateral lower Amelia, a sporadic birth defect, which left him without legs. He was recommended by doctors at Shriners Hospital in Spokane, Washington to obtain metallic legs, but refused and instead began using a “butt boot” for comfort and travel. Connolly grew up in Montana participating in childhood activities such as riding sleds and shooting guns. At time people didn’t give him odd looks because of his condition.

“The novelty of seeing a legless dude dies pretty quickly,” Connolly said.

It wasn’t until he embarked on his study abroad trip to New Zealand that he began to perceive others’ reactions toward him and his body.

“I started to see how different I really was,” Connolly said. “One of the things I realized really quickly was that I got picked up really quickly.”

To date, Connolly has been to 26 foreign countries and has also arranged a deal with the Travel Channel for a television series with scheduled dates of release in the near future.

The speech opened with comments from senior Tiffany Taylor, president of Promoting the Rights of Individuals with Disabilities Everywhere (P.R.I.D.E.) and disabilities specialist Danielle Ward. Connolly ended his speech with a challenge for the audience to consider the questions we ask about less-able persons rather than considering the individual.

“It’s a person with differences and abilities, not a person with disabilities,” Gigowski said.

A number of students, faculty, and staff joined Connolly with lunch following his presentation.


Adrian College community responds to severe winter weather conditions

After ‘Snowpocalypse 2011’ swept through Adrian College in early February, the winter weather significantly decreased. But the groundhog must’ve been mistaken as a massive winter storm downed trees and power lines on campus, leaving a number of students in the dark for a 20-hour period. The storm also marked the second time in three weeks AC classes were canceled due to weather conditions, a new milestone in campus history.

“It’s a rarity because we’re a residential campus,” said Charles Decker, interim director of campus safety. “Most of our students live here on campus and we always would advise, if there’s inclement weather, I would not chance it. I like to err on the side of caution. The safety of the students comes first. Especially when there is that much ice and snow in one night, we have to think of the students’ safety.”

Eight additional campus safety officers were called in Sunday night and Monday morning to handle the problems ensuing from the ice storm. Aside from picking up loose branches and helping physical plant workers clear sidewalks, Decker’s main concern was alerting students of the dangerous situation outside.

In addition, Decker said, officers hung signs on all academic buildings to notify students the campus was closed due to power outages and severe weather. The public relations department sent a mass email to students, staff and faculty at approximately 7:30 a.m., but with most power out on campus, old-fashioned signs, along with text messaging, aided in communicating the message around campus.

“We usually don’t have that many officers on at once, but in a time of need, when there’s an emergency, it’s crucial for us to have that many on in order to effectively cover our bases,” Decker said. “All of our officers are trained to deal with most emergency situations on campus. We did a great job and plant did a nice job. We have to act fast, and, as a college, we did.”

Resident assistants were also informed by Decker of campus closing and passed word along to their residents.

According to Decker, several areas on the AC campus lost power at approximately 11:45 p.m. on Feb. 20, along with several thousand other Lenawee County customers of Consumers Energy, which also supplies AC’s electricity.

The buildings where electricity remained intact included all themed and fraternity housing–excluding Cornelius House–and the College View South apartments. Caine Student Center and Ritchie Marketplace both ran on “partial-power” with small generators.

“It’s awesome because I get to miss class and hang out with my friends,” said sophomore Alex Pistilli. “I get to experience something that most of college students don’t get to experience.

Decker explained much of the campus’ electricity is generated from a main power line behind Ritchie Marketplace. Most buildings at AC are equipped with generators producing 110 volts of electricity in a crisis situation, as compared with the normal 220 volts. With the amount of technological devices and electrical currents surging through each building, half the usual required power wasn’t enough to generate a consistent amount of energy.

Those locations which still had power are on a different electrical grid, and thus, were able to maintain electricity, Decker said.

The breadth of power line damage occurred behind Arrington Ice Arena on a cable that ran from US-223 to central area of campus behind Ritchie Marketplace.

“That was one of our critical issues that we had to take care of with power,” Decker said.

John Johnston, site manager for campus services, contacted Aladdin electrical company from Jackson to remove tree branches leaning on a wire behind Pellowe Hall which had cause a majority of the campus’ problems. Consumers Energy made the final adjustments to ensure the cable had been restored to full capacity.

“We try to do the best we can,” John Johnston, site manager for campus services, said. “There are certain limitations like the power outage the other night.”

Johnston’s team of workers from the physical plant department had spent most of the day clearing up strewn branches and other messes left from the ice storm. During this time, a number of electrical contractors were asked to remove the tree branches, but Aladdin was the first company to respond.

“We take them out of priority first, that’s to be expected,” Johnston said. “The biggest problem was that everything inside campus is the college’s responsibility. The guys have been really good about responding and working.”

Workers from the physical plant department came in early at approximately 5 a.m. Monday morning, while Johnston and Bob Hottenstein, campus services, remained on campus Sunday evening and through the night.

Campus-wide, there were a few close calls to some of the dormitories and Rush Hall, but the only known damage is a broken window near the planetarium in Peele Hall.

Electricity was restored to campus around 7:30 p.m. Monday, 20 hours after the storm started. The blackout left a number of residents wondering what to do without computers, the Internet and cable TV.

“You learn to be resourceful,” sophomore Leah Edwards said. “We highly rely on modern electronics.”

Students without power slept late, tried to find ways to keep warm, hung out with friends, and studied for classes or read by sunlight. All athletes were required to attend practices during the day.

The AC website also crashed due to the numerous power outages. The email system, however, was up and running because the host server is owned and operated and by Google, Inc., rather than the college.

Once power was restored, IT workers were able to reboot the network server and update the AC website within an hour. Despite the brownout situation on campus, a new batch of power supplies helped conserve the server.

“Luckily we didn’t have any significant hardware damage,” said Brad Maggard, assistant director of information services.

Employees of Ritchie Marketplace helped relieve stress and provided dining options during the severe weather. Although the marketplace operated with partial-power, employees were able to offer three hot meals for students. A basic breakfast of sausage and eggs was available, followed by burgers, hotdogs and macaroni and cheese for lunch, and roasted pork loin and baked pasta for dinner.

Ritchie Marketplace lost electricity early in the afternoon, and employees were forced to find a solution for the dinner option. Candles were placed on each table in lieu of the overhead lights, while canned soda was also provided to compensate for the inoperative fountain machines. Power was restored at approximately 5:30 p.m. to aid in dinner options, but was lost an hour later.

Additionally, all coolers weren’t working, so all food had to be transported from units in Caine and Ritchie to a Gordon Food Service truck to keep it fresh. Despite the efforts, approximately $5,000 – 6,000 in food was lost.

“It makes for a challenging day, but it’s fun as well,” said Tim McLaughlin, general manager of Sodexo. “It’s definitely a little different from the norm. Our biggest thing was the majority of the students were really grateful we were able to do what we were able to do.”

Decker said one thing he is looking into establishing is a mass text messaging system to keep students informed in emergency situations.

Students collect copious awards at 2011 Michigan Model Arab League

Students in Adrian College’s Model Arab League (MAL) program traveled to Grand Valley State University this past weekend to compete in the 2011 Michigan Model Arab League. Ten AC students received honors for their efforts.

“This the best year we’ve ever had,” said Philip Howe, founder of the AC chapter of MAL and associate professor of political science and department chair. “First of all, I’ve always had a personal goal that I want to outperform U-M Dearborn. They’re exceptionally good and they tend to send a team that includes a lot of Arab-Americans, so personally I wanted to do better.”

Senior Sara Smither was awarded outstanding chair for the council of Palestinian affairs, while seniors Brian Dearing, Mitch Harris, Josiah Vincent and Perry Kuipers, and juniors Andy Felder and Jordyn Shekell won best overall delegation for their work representing Oman. Sophomores Ben LuBrant and Katlyn Westmass won outstanding delegation to the council of Arab social affairs ministers.

Felder also won outstanding delegate to the joint defense council, while Kuipers was named outstanding delegate to the council on political affairs and Harris received an award for outstanding delegate to the council of Arab environmental affairs – all for their work with Oman.

Shekell received honorable mention delegate to the council of Arab social affairs ministers for Oman, while junior Peter Tomasek was awarded honorable mention delegate to the joint defense council for his work with Bahrain and Dearing and Vincent were named honorable mention delegation to the council of Palestinian affairs for Oman.

This was Tomasek’s first year competing in the event. He was forced to switch agendas (social to joint defense) at the last minute due an absence on his team.

“I thought it was real sweet,” Tomasek said. “I’d be willing to say it was one of my best weekends since I’ve come to school. I didn’t really expect it to be that cool, but I had a really good time, met a lot of cool people and debated about stuff that doesn’t really apply to everyday life here. It was neat (and) took me out of my comfort zone.”

AC alumnus Shane Hinson (’10) organized this year’s event at Grand Rapids. Hinson had been serving as the secretary general of the Michigan Model Arab League for the first time.

Students also heard a lecture from James Zogby, founder and president of the Arab American Institute in Washington, D.C., senior advisor for Zogby International and author of the book Arab Voices: What They are Saying to Us and Why it Matters.

MAL is a leadership program which functions under the National Council on United States – Arab Relations (NCUSAR). It allows students to learn about the politics and history of the Arab world, while simultaneously building their public speaking and mediation skills.

The program was formed in 2008 by Howe and professor of communication arts and sciences Sheri Bleam. It is now under the direction of Howe and David Takitaki, adjunct professor of political science.

“It’s increased in the number of students who’ve participated,” Howe said. “It’s definitely grown from the first year in terms of how well we do at Michigan, and the major thing was that we got invited to nationals last year. We’re (also) going this year and that appears to have become a permanent part of the program. At this point we’re getting some national-level recognition for the team.”

The team is currently in the process of planning for the national competition, set to take place March 31 to April 3 in Washington, D.C.

“I think we’re in a really good position,” Howe said. “Last year we went for the first time (and) picked up some delegate awards. I’m really proud of that. This year, I think we have a much better idea of what we’re in for and we also have a really great pool of students to choose from. I expect it to be a good year.”

Smither leaving impressive MAL legacy

As an Adrian College senior with a major in political science and minor in women’s studies, Sara Smither already has a hefty amount of classroom knowledge under her belt. But she isn’t content with that. In her third year with the Model Arab League (MAL), Smither has been developing a legacy that will be difficult to match.

“I really want to make my mark on the world, as cliché as that is,” Smither said. “I’m coming from a small town in the Midwest and people from my hometown haven’t really done a lot of big things. I feel like I need to prove something to myself and to my hometown that I will be influential and I will make a difference.”

MAL is a program on campus (co-chaired by Philip Howe, associate professor of political science, and David Takitaki, adjunct professor of communication) that operates under the administration of the National Council on United States – Arab Relations (NCUSAR). It is designed to allow students to learn more about political issues and cultural differences in the Arab world, and how these factors tie in with international relations. Adrian College’s program was founded during the 2008-2009 academic year under the direction of Howe and Sheri Bleam, professor of communication arts and sciences.

“The primary thing it gives you is a chance to work on your public speaking skills, your writing skills, your negotiation skills, and you also learn a lot about current events in the Middle East,” Howe said.

The program has offered Smither a number of opportunities. In addition to being a Fullbright Scholarship recipient (an award given to exemplary students for research in their field of study), she held a 10-week internship under the direction of NCUSAR working with U.S. – Arab relations in Washington, D.C. this past summer.

“I found out that I was interested in U.S. – Arab relations through this class because I was in a culture that was different than my own and a religion that was different than my own,” Smither said.

During her time in Washington, she worked with embassies, organized pamphlets for NCUSAR conferences, and worked with other interns to develop the MAL regional and national agendas for the 2011 competition. She lived on the campus of George Washington University with other students from around the country. Smither received a tour of the White House from Congressman Mark Schauer (D), explored the Smithsonian Institute museums, and had a weekend excursion to New York City.

Smither also visited locations in Washington, D.C. such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Supreme Court, Capitol Hill, and the Embassies of Bahrain, Morocco and Saudi Arabia. She attended biweekly lectures focused on the “oil-rich” countries in the gulf region of the Arab world, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and Palestine and Iran for political tensions they were facing from people such as the president of NCUSAR, Thomas Pickering from the Pickering Fellowship, and retired CIA secret operatives.

“I learned a lot about the difference in the language (and) a lot about how although they’re all Arab and share that cultural identity, the societies are different, depending on where you are in the Arab world,” Smither said.

Prior to the internship in Washington, she went on a one-month service learning trip to Guam in May. There, she became certified in scuba diving and participated in intricate wilderness hikes called “boonie stomps.”

“It was more of testing my own ability and expanding my own mind in a different field that wasn’t political science,” Smither said. “It was definitely life-changing and completely changed my outlook on a lot of things, whether it was culture or the environment.”

The first year Smither was involved with MAL, the program traveled to a regional competition where she received an award with senior Perry Kuipers for their portrayal of Iraq. Last year, she was awarded at regionals for her representation of Lebanon, and at the national competition she and senior Mitchell Harris received an award for their depiction of Djibouti.

“It’s overwhelming at times, but I’m happy that I have these ties,” Smither said. “I see these networking opportunities as opening doors for my future. One thing that surprised me is when I got to (Washington,) D.C. that you meet a person one time at a conference and that’s your connection. It’s a different atmosphere than what you’re used to in the Midwest. I think those type of networking opportunities are allowing me to expand and do more in the field of U.S. – Arab relations.”

The internship has led to an invitation for the Beirut Exchange, a two-week conference in January in Beirut, Lebanon. Smither will meet with top Lebanese officials to discuss issues in the country, as well as problems in Syria and Palestine.

She will receive 20 hours of Arabic instruction and a sightseeing tour of Lebanon.

“(It’s) a big deal for a U.S. citizen because we don’t have direct flights or ties to Lebanon because their leadership is seen as a terrorist organization,” she said. “The fact that I’m actually going is a little scary, but exciting at the same time.”

Currently, Smither works as an intern in AC’s office of government and public relations. During this election season, she has been able to help organize political events since local candidates were running for office.

“She has been a model of how to do this,” Howe said. “She’s been very good at stepwise using each opportunity to do something else, and every step accomplishing something more impressive. It’s exactly how people should do things. I see her going far, no matter where that is.”

Smither and Howe encourage students to try MAL as a way to expand their knowledge. MAL participates in the NCUSAR program each spring. Students are required to take the Model Arab League course (PSCI 355) prior to participation in the program.

“The class is an eye-opener because you’re learning what our countries believe that is not from the West, so that separates you from your upbringing and the way you’ve always seen things” Smither said. “It’s good to see from the eyes of someone else. There are other people out there who have different view from ours and I think that’s important to realize.”

Michigan students will represent Bahrain, Libya, Palestine and Oman at the 2011 regional competition. If they qualify for the national competition students will travel to Washington and visit the Embassy Oman for which they will be a representative.

Bulldogs picked to finish fourth in MIAA standings

After finishing third in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) with a 15-12 record overall, the Adrian College men’s basketball team is looking to maintain its presence in the conference and reach new heights.
“We’re really proud of what we were able to accomplishment last season considering [it] was my first year as a coach,” AC coach Mark White said. “We exceeded expectations for a first year, but we have high expectations for ourselves. What we want to do this year is continue to do those things that made us successful last year and try to do even more so we can achieve at a higher level.”
Last season, there were 12 first-year players on the varsity squad. Yet, even with this in mind, White believes the team’s experience will be a vital part of its success.
“(Last year) we didn’t know what to expect,” White said. “But that year of experience, you have to consider the value of that. Our young guys got a lot of experience last year. They were thrown into the fire and a lot of pressure situations. A lot of the success we had last year, you have to attribute to them and what they were able to accept and accomplish. I think they’ll be better this year. Although we’re young, we feel more confident.”
AC will return seven players to the varsity squad: sophomores Wesley Reed, Cody Barnes, Delano Collins, Raymond Reed, Dennis Mason, Sean Gallant and senior Jovon Mosley. Three players (sophomores Kadean Roberts, D’Ante Thompson and Mitchell Gabriele) move up from the junior varsity roster, and juniors Derek Clark and Joshua McPherson, sophomore Matthew Zantop and freshman Babajide Bamiduro are welcomed as new players on the team.
With a new group of young players, the Bulldogs will be tested in their ability to compete against MIAA powers like Hope and Calvin who return a number of more experienced men.
“Last year we were the youngest team in the league,” White said. “Again this year, we will probably be the youngest team in the league. That one year of experience will help us. We know it’s going to be a challenge to achieve third place (in the MIAA) this year. It may even be more challenging than last year because the teams in the league returned a lot of great players.”
The Bulldogs were also a defensive power in the MIAA last season. They were first in conference scoring defense (60.7 ppg), second in rebounding defense (32.6 average per game), second in steals (7.52 apg) and first in offensive rebounds (12.63 apg). In addition, Adrian was ranked 13th in NCAA Division III scoring defense. Players like Mosley hope to keep that precedent.
“We’re a defensive team,” Mosley said. “We understand that we have to score, but we understand in our minds that if we can stop people we’ll always have a chance, no matter who we play.”
There were three seniors last season (Matt Wayne, Lamar Cardenas and Michael Staley) that helped younger teammates make a smooth transition into the competitiveness of the MIAA. During the 2008-2009 season, Wayne set an MIAA record for best field goal shooting percentage (.721).
“Their pride, determination and experience was tremendous for us,” White said. “This year we don’t have the seniors (that) we did last year.”
Mosley, an all-MIAA second team selection last year with a 13.3 ppg average and 5.5 rpg average, is the only senior on the team this season. White looks to him for leadership and guidance for the younger players.
“I expect even more because he’s our only senior and he’s our most talented player,” White said. “We’re going to ask him to carry our team (and) set the example for the younger players. He’s going to be our go-to guy in critical situations. We expect him to produce a basket for us or create a basket for us. We’re going to go through him.”
Mosley helped lead AC to the semifinals of the MIAA tournament last season. The Bulldogs were defeated 75-66 by Hope in the second round.
“I try to do anything to win, if it’s scoring, rebounding, getting assists (or) playing defense,” Mosley said. “Any aspect of the game to try to win – that’s what I want to do. I want to be the best basketball player I can be. I’ve been playing basketball for a long time now and I don’t want to stay at one level. I always want to try and evolve.”
The ultimate vision is for the team to win the MIAA championship. In addition to working on offensive and defensive techniques for overall improvement, White looks to a strong fan base for support. Last year, AC was third in MIAA game attendance.
“I’m really proud of that and I’m really appreciative of our support base,” White said. “We wouldn’t have had the success we had last year without that support. We need that support and collective spirit so we can achieve our goals this year, too.”

Political candidates visit campus to campaign for votes

The newly-installed Adrian College office of government and public relations teamed up with the Lenawee County Association of Realtors to host the first-ever “Meet the Candidate Day” Sept. 24 at 10 a.m. in the Adrian-Tobias Room.

“It is essential for higher education institutions to work with our officials on a local, state and national level in order to see continued growth in academic programming and funding,” said Katie Frye Hammond, AC director of government and foundation relations, in an email.

The event featured local candidates seeking judicial and legislative seats in the Nov. 4  election.  Michigan House of Representative candidates for the 57th district Nancy Jenkins (R) and Harvey Schmidt (D); state senate candidates for the 16th district Bruce Caswell (R) and Douglas Spade (D); and judicial candidates for the Lenawee County 2nd District Court John Glaser and Laura Schaedler were on Friday’s program.

Candidates were given five minutes for an opening statement, time for answers to three submitted questions and five minutes for closing comments. Questions were selected from those given to the office of government and public relations by AC students, faculty and community members. Students are encouraged to participate in the election Nov. 4.

Nancy Jenkins (R), candidate for the 57th district. (Photo courtesy of Janet Creque)


Jenkins has previously served as a district representative for Lenawee County under Sen. Cameron Brown in the 16th district.

“By far, the top concern is jobs,” she said.  “We need to make the state business-friendly. We (also) need to find some kind of tax structure that’s consistent.”

In addition to reduced business taxes, Jenkins is concerned about agriculture, Michigan’s second-highest source of income. As for her stance on other public issues, she is an advocate for the pro-life movement and would not be opposed to building a freeway in Lenawee County.

“I want to use this experience to be a voice for the people of Michigan,” Jenkins said.


Harvey Schmidt (D), candidate for the 57th district. (Photo courtesy of Janet Creque)

Schmidt, a pharmacist, currently serves as the mayor of Tecumseh. He owns three pharmacies in Tecumseh, Blissfield and Clinton, respectively.

“I understand the challenges of our residents and our businesses,” he said. “I believe the government needs to get out of the way of small business.”

Schmidt said the political structure in Lansing should be reconfigured and tax dollars spent should be posted online. He also is committed to creating more small businesses in Lenawee County and making education affordable for all residents.

“I’m the voice you need to get things done,” Schmidt said. “We deserve a better government and we deserve it now.”

Bruce Caswell (R), candidate for the 16th district. (Photo courtesy of Janet Creque)


Caswell, a graduate of Michigan State University, has served as supervisor for Adams Township in Hillsdale County for 20 years.

“We have to get people working again in this state,” he said. “We have to make things much more efficient. We have to go back to free enterprise.”

In addition to jobs, Caswell believes students at risk are a top priority in education. He also advocates for building a superior infrastructure, thinks unnecessary government funding should be slashed and supports programs for citizens who are mentally challenged.

“I want solutions to problems,” Caswell said. “[But] no matter how things work out, we’re American first.”


Douglas Space (D), candidate for the 16th district. (Photo courtesy of Janet Creque)

Spade, an AC alumnus, served as a state representative for the 57th district from 1999-2004 and is a partner in four local businesses.

“We are at a very challenging time at our local, state and federal level,” he said. “We need to get this economy turned around and we to get jobs [in the state].”

Spade believes needless government policies should be eliminated and legislative pay should be lowered to save money. He is also concerned with educating Lenawee County youth.

“I’m not running for this position to make money,” Spade said. “I’m running because I want to serve the 16th district.”

Laura Schaedler, candidate for the Lenawee County District Court. (Photo courtesy of Janet Creque)


Schaedler is a Lenawee County resident with 30 years of experience in trying domestic cases and who has also worked as a county prosecutor.

“I do believe there are some things [in the district court] that can improve,” she said. “We could improve on the way we handle drunk driving in our county.”

In addition to minor adjustments to the district court system, Schaedler believes the Constitution should be preserved for its worth, but interpreted for modern technology and troubled youth should be given flexibility in the judiciary rule.

“The zest for volunteerism was handed down by my parents,”  said Schaedler, who grew up in Blissfield and has been active in a variety of local philanthropy and community service groups.


John Glaser, candidate for the Lenawee County District Court. (Photo courtesy of Jante Creque)

Glaser has served Lenawee County as assistant prosecuting attorney and currently co-owns a private practice in Adrian.

“I think our district court and our whole court system runs well,” he said.

Glaser is focused on preserving the groundwork laid by other judges for the Lenawee County District Court system. He believes offices should have the right to enter a home without acknowledgement as long as they have a proper search warrant and is opposed to the idea of “victimless crime.”

“I think I could be an excellent judge,” Glaser said.

Commentary: Sex crimes statistics horrific on campuses

When considering which college or university you’d like to attend, you keep certain things in mind, such as average class size, majors offered, athletic programs and the cost of tuition. But one thing I’m sure you don’t normally consider is the number of sexual assaults that occur each day.

In 2004, the AAUW (formerly the American Association of University Women) reported 20-25 percent of women will experience rape or attempted rape at least once during their college career. That’s a pretty staggering percentage. What’s even more shocking is that 95 percent of these cases are unreported.
Let’s travel back in time to 1986. The date: April 5. The location: Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. The time: 6 a.m. Jeanne Clery is fast asleep in her dorm room, when an unknown perpetrator bursts in through the door that should have been locked and rapes her. But he doesn’t stop there. In fact, the stranger tortures Clery repeatedly before finally strangling her to death.

Clery’s parents are not only distressed, but outraged. How could something like this happen to their beautiful daughter? And why? Howard and Connie decide to do a little bit of investigating for themselves. What they find is horrifying and repulsive. According to Security on Campus, Inc.’s website, the couple discovers “students hadn’t been told about 38 violent crimes on their daughter’s campus in the three years before her murder.”

In an effort to combat the violence, Howard and Connie went to Congress and had the Jeanne Clery Act passed in 1990. The proposal states that colleges and universities must disclose all reported crimes to the public. (Pretty smart, huh?) The act was supposed to force schools to crack down on their sexual assault policies, but according to the statistics listed above, it doesn’t seem like many have followed through.

Here’s another factoid: during a 12-month investigation in 2009, the Center for Public Integrity found that about 130 colleges and universities asked for federal funding to maintain better security when dealing with sexual assault cases. And of the cases those same schools have dealt with, only 10-25 percent of the cases have ended in the expulsion of the alleged perpetrator. Wow, unbelievable.

Still not convinced? How about this one: in the same AAUW study I mentioned above, 48.8 percent of women didn’t believe that what happened to them was rape, despite the fact that researchers conducting the survey did. (I know your jaw has probably dropped by now, so grab it from off the floor and listen up because there’s more to the story.) This isn’t the first time in history we’ve seen this trend.

In a 2002 article on the National Organization for Women (NOW) website called “The Sexual Victimization of College Women,” Cindy Hanford states, “Campus officials try to discourage the reporting of rapes to the proper authorities and to handle the matter through campus disciplinary measures – a totally inappropriate response to violent crime. This is done in order to protect the image of their campus…” So, a college’s image is more important than a woman’s well-being after sexual assault?

By now you probably think I’m just throwing out statistic after statistic to demean the security on college and university campuses. But I’m not. I’m simply reporting the facts to make you aware that this isn’t one of those easy, tuck-under-the-rug ideals. This is serious. And sadly, the most effective way for women to combat these overwhelming statistics is to be educated. Here are some tips to take with you:
1. If you’re drinking, be cautious of people who encourage you to drink more.
2. Guard your drink and don’t drink anything with unknown contents.
3. Stay with your friends.
4. Go with your gut instinct and use your best judgment.
5. Know how to get home.

But these tips are just the first step. The Clery Act has opened some doors, but there is still a long way to go. Be aware of your surroundings and stash these hints and statistics in the back of your mind.

Make your personal safety your number one priority.

Second annual Make-A-Wish dinner raises funds, adds laughs

The bride and groom share a romantic moment on the dance floor. (Photo by Skyler Lambert)
The bride and groom share a romantic moment on the dance floor. (Photo by Skyler Lambert)

The drunken and flirty wife wandering around in cahoots with everyone.

Daniel comforts Megan during their speech. (Photo by Skyler Lambert)
Daniel comforts Megan during their speech. (Photo by Skyler Lambert)

The tipsy best man still in the immature college party mindset.

The bride’s sister focusing the spotlight on herself at all times.

These and other wedding party members were all on stage this past Saturday in the Adrian-Tobias Room for the second annual Chi Omega Make-A-Wish benefit dinner.

“I feel like it went really well,” organizer and junior Emma Donelson said. “I think that it was a good follow-up to our first year and we built off of it. We have enough room to build off [of] for next year. The style of the play this year was a lot better than last year. I think the audience had a lot more fun being involved in it, as opposed to just sitting and watching.”

This year’s event, “The Magical Happily Ever After Wedding Reception,” benefitted six-year-old Heath from Jasper, Mich. Heath, diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, had his wish granted to visit Walt Disney World in December. The dinner raised funds to foot the bill for Heath’s trip.

The dinner began with a short speech by Chi Omega president and junior Jessica Shovan about Heath and his background. Following the introduction, senior Ashley Bujega was asked to give the invocation over the food and have a moment of silence for the recent victims of the earthquake in Chile.

Donelson (Marissa-Clare, wedding planner) opened the “reception” by explaining how the groom (freshman TJ Behling as Eean Vanderson) met the bride (freshman Sammy Flores as Isabelle Vanderson). The audience watched a video of the proposal while the salad course was served.

In the film, Eean is nervous about the situation, so he consults his friend (and later best man) Caleb DeMartzo (freshman Bryce Greenfield), who gives him some tips on how to approach Isabelle when he pops the question. After stumbling, Eean finally finds the right words and things fall into place.

Eean and Isabelle were then introduced to the stage where they gave thanks to all who were in attendance and announced their decision to donate all funds from their “reception” to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. They couple then presented the remainder of the wedding party to the audience with flashy introductions. As the wedding party was seated, the characters were brought to life.

After introductions, Marissa-Clare rushes around to accommodate the final details of the reception. Her assistant, Natalie Block (director and junior Angelica Lopez), consults with her on a major issue about how “the band isn’t exactly a band.” Tom (junior Nathan Marks), the DJ for the reception, enters with a swagger in his stride, but Marissa-Clare doesn’t buy it for a second. As she prepares to give Tom the boot, Isabelle convinces her to let him stay. In the process, she discovers Eean went behind her back to help pick out the musician for the reception and she becomes distressed.

A second video was shown, detailing a scene between Isabelle and Christopher Michaels (junior Jacob Norman), Isabelle’s best friend and one of the groomsmen. Isabelle feels undermined because no one is aware it’s her wedding. Plus, her sister, Casey DeMartzo (sophomore Gabrielle Piazza) is grabbing all the attention and Eean’s  widowed mother, Victoria Vanderson (junior Sherry Linton), doesn’t like her.

Isabelle’s parents, Daniel (freshman Garrett Beitelchies) and Megan Tifton (junior Dominique Fernandez), take the stage to give a small speech about how they are so pleased with Isabelle. Megan then invites Victoria to say a few words, who keeps it short and simple. Casey prays over the dinner, before relating the reception to her own personal experiences.

After the prayer, “guests” were dismissed by table to fill their plates with food from the buffet. The Sodexo-catered menu included green beans, mashed potatoes, pasta primavera, chicken marsala and rolls. During the dinner portion, the wedding party mingled with audience members.

“They were very generous and gracious and accommodating,” Donelson said of Sodexo. “They’re a really good company to work with. They were very personable and very good to have at the event.”

Following dinner, Caleb decides it’s time for him to make his best man speech about how he and Eean will no longer be as close as they once were. He then asks for Isabelle’s ring which has been resting on a stand next to the wedding cake. When Casey (his wife) opens the box, she discovers the ring is missing and problems arise among everyone. Isabelle storms away, while Chris vows to find the thief.

Emmaleigh Monroe (sophomore Laura Ashley Greer), takes the microphone to explain (in her obsessive nature) how grateful she is to be the maid of honor. Isabelle returns to the front table to be comforted by Rachel Walters (freshman Stephanie Pridgeon), one of her maids of honor. Chris continues his quest to find the ring by pestering audience members for their rings, but still comes up empty-handed.

The dance floor was then opened with the couples dance, daddy-daughter dance and dollar dance. (All money donated for this was also added to the Make-A-Wish fund.) Guests were permitted to boogie down after the preliminary dances took place.

Isabelle and Eean seem to patch things up a bit as they cut the cake (and feed it to each other in the traditional sense). Then, they toss up the garter and bouquet to the guests at the event.

Meanwhile, Chris’ rampage to the find the ring reaches an all-time high as he badgers all the audience members. Fed up with the chaos, Isabelle steps forward to protest against the harassment.

“What it comes down to is Eean and I’s happiness,” she declares loudly.

Victoria steps forward at last to admit to the thievery. Through gritted teeth, she reaches a compromise with Isabelle and all the pieces seem to fit back together.

Aside from Victoria and Natalie, the wedding party all leaves in pairs: Isabelle and Eean, Daniel and Megan, Casey and Caleb, Emmaleigh and Tom, Chris and Rachel and Marissa-Clare and guest Josh White all exit the “reception” for the after-party.

“Having the end result, knowing that we’re granting Heath’s wish, made it a lot easier,” Lopez said. “When things come up, I know that I have an entire sisterhood full of sisters who are willing to step up to make this event good, not just for this chapter, but for Heath’s family as well.”

Throughout the night, guests were permitted to place bids in a silent auction. Items which were up for sale included pictures, articles of clothing, a clock, candles, jewelry, gift cards, a pillow, a handbag and gift baskets.

Counting the Chi Omega sisters, approximately 160 guests attended the dinner. Each individual was seated at a table with seven other guests with personalized name cards at each setting.

Despite last minute changes, including a switch from senior Laura Shank to Piazza for Casey DeMartzo, Lopez believes the event allowed the sisters to bond together under pressure.

“It just shows how close we are,” Lopez said. “No matter what came up we were able to handle it and we are all happy with how the show went.”

In addition to the benefit dinner, Chi Omega also volunteers in other community service projects throughout the semester. A number of sisters recently participated in the Daddy-Daughter Dance at the Adrian Community Center for a second straight year. They also hold a Pie-A-Chi event during the fall semester and many sisters volunteer at institutions like the Humane Society and the local nursing home.

Victoria exposed herself as the ring thief. (Photo by Skyler Lambert)
Victoria exposed herself as the ring thief. (Photo by Skyler Lambert)

Lopez and the other sisters are considering a children’s birthday party theme for next year’s event.

Eean and Isabelle cut the cake together. (Photo by Skyler Lambert)
Eean and Isabelle cut the cake together. (Photo by Skyler Lambert)

Chi Omega prepares for second annual Make-A-Wish dinner

Adrian College’s Mu Zeta chapter of Chi Omega will be hosting its second annual Make-A-Wish Mystery Dinner this Saturday at 6 p.m. in the Adrian-Tobias Room.

Spawning from the success of last year’s event, the sorority decided a second try would be beneficial not only for the community, but for the sisters as well.

“It went really well last year,” said junior Emma Donelson, organizer for the benefit dinner. “I feel like it’s the kind of cause and we have the kind of commitment where we need a large, yearly event that everybody can look forward to. It’s a good event [and] it’s a crowd-pleaser, but it also incorporates all of our sisters’ different talents to make something that everybody can have a good time working on together.”

This year’s theme, a variant from the previous year, will be a wedding reception. Donelson hopes the lively atmosphere will help incorporate more audience involvement.

“We chose to have it like a wedding reception because last year the sit-down dinner was cool, but it wasn’t as interactive with the audience necessarily,” Donelson said. “By staging a wedding, we can better incorporate dancing and the cake cut and all that kind of stuff that the audience can have more fun with, rather than just sitting and watching.”

Last year, the sorority hosted its first-ever benefit dinner which helped raise approximately $2,500 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Ragan, the daughter of two AC alums, had her wish granted to meet her idol and favorite singer, Miley Cyrus, from the hit television series “Hannah Montana.”

Similar to last year, the reception will feature a play with a cast list starring Chi Omega sisters and male fraternity members on campus. The show, “A Magically, Happily Ever After Wedding,” was written and will be directed by junior Angelica Lopez.

The story follows the wedding and aftermath from Isabelle and Ean’s wedding. Problems begin to ensue as they adjustment to the newlywed life and Isabelle’s wedding ring turns up missing. Initially, the ring is too small for her hand and has been placed on a display stand. The plot flops into a whodunit, with all the characters pointing fingers at one another in hopes of uncovering the culprit. The end meshes the mystery with the wedding, bringing everything together.

“It’s kind of the same style of the whodunit [from last year] because something is missing and you’re going through to find it,” Lopez said. “But, in this one, the way it’s discovered is different and there’s more meaning in it. It’s not just all these different characters looking for the ring, it’s more togetherness in not only finding the ring, but the [true] meaning of the play.”

The cast list for the show will include freshman Samantha Flores as Isabelle Tifton-Vanderson (bride), freshman T.J. Behling as Ean Vanderson (groom), sophomore Laura Ashley Greer as Emily Monroe (maid of honor), junior Jacob Norman as Christopher (Isabelle’s best friend and Emily’s date), freshman Stephanie Pridgeon as Rachel (bridesmaid), senior Bryce Greenfield as Caleb DeMartzo (best man and Kaci’s husband), Laura Shank as Kaci DeMartzo (Isabelle’s sister, bridesmaid and Caleb’s wife), Donelson as Marrissa Claire (wedding planner), Lopez as Natalie (assistant wedding planner), junior Dominique Fernandez as Megan Tifton (Isabelle’s mother), freshman Garrett Beitelschies as Daniel Tifton (Isabelle’s father), junior Nathan Marks as Tom (wedding singer) and junior Sherry Linton as Victoria Vanderson (Eean’s mother).

According to Lopez, the actors will also remain in character throughout the night, interacting with the audience and performing as if an actual wedding reception is taking place.

“Last year when I wrote the play, there was a lot of audience participation, but not as much as we would’ve liked to have seen,” Lopez said. “This year I had an idea of how it was last year and I wanted to incorporate as much audience participation as I could.”

Those who attend will be served a catered dinner consisting of pasta primavera, chicken marsala, potatoes, salad and rolls. They will also be able to bid in a silent auction featuring the “wedding gifts” consisting of jewelry, gift certificates and AC student artwork. In addition, further donations can be made for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“We’re expecting it to be pretty open, [with] a lot of audience involvement,” Donelson said. “We requested semi-formal attire, so it’s going to be a nice dinner and dance event.”

The price for entry is $15 for students and $30 for adults.

Psi Chi to hand out matches

Adrian College’s chapter of Psi Chi, the international honor society for psychology majors and minors, will be having a Valentine’s Day Matchmaker survey today and tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Ritchie Marketplace.

“We will have a questionnaire,” said senior president Ashley Bugeja. “Based on their [the students’] answers, we will decide who their top matches are.”

Bugeja came up with the idea after seeing a survey used for one of her sorority (Chi Omega) events. She said the group wants to do this as a fundraising event and because it will help to utilize the skills she and her colleagues have learned in the field of psychology.

Bugeja is optimistic for the matchmaker.

“I hope a lot of people will do it,” she said.

Psi Chi is also involved with other events and activities on campus such as fundraising and community service. A database containing several questionnaires was also recently created for the group.

“One of the major things we do is give students opportunities to attend conferences and present their work at conferences,” Bugeja said.

The requirements to become a member of Psi Chi are that a student is at least a second-semester sophomore, is enrolled in a psychology major or minor program, has taken nine credit hours of psychology courses, has an overall grade point average in the top 35% of his/her class and has an overall GPA of at least 3.00 (based on a 4-point scale).

“I would definitely say it’s one of the most competitive honors organizations,” Bugeja said.