Category Archives: Front

Front page article

Letter to the Editor

Healthcare Q&A

John Dawson
Organizing for Action

In the hyperpolarized political landscape in which we live, the topic of healthcare has landed somewhere between tax loopholes and budget deficits in the public consciousness.
Yet unlike deficits or tax loopholes, healthcare has life changing immediate impacts on all of us.
Whether it is your physical or financial wellbeing, or the health of one’s parents or children, we cannot afford to let healthcare fall into the partisan divide.
Below you will find no nonsense answers to the vital questions regarding health reform.
• When do I need to enroll? March 31, 2014 is the last day of open enrollment.
• How do I apply for healthcare? You can enroll at healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596.
• Who can apply at healthcare.gov? You can apply at healthcare.gov if your employer does not offer a health insurance option, you are self-employed, or you are currently unemployed.
• If I go to healthcare.gov am I obligated to buy insurance? No, there is no obligation, you can simply go there and get a quote without having to buy.
• Isn’t healthcare.gov only for the poor? Not at all. The healthcare law provides subsidized premiums for households making up to 400% of the poverty level. For a family of four that’s an income of $94,200 a year.
Hopefully I have taken the issue of healthcare out of the murky realm of half-truths and myths which has surrounded the topic.
I encourage you to share this new information with whomever you think would benefit from it.
Our surrounding rural areas contain many farming families and small business owners who have been without access to healthcare for decades.
Get covered, the life you save may be your own.

Pot full of bills

WeedSmokinMichigan and marijuana: where we stand
Angie Stoecklin

Copy Editor

As a small number of states are making the decision to legalize and/or decriminalize marijuana, it may lead Michigan residents to wonder where their state stands.
There are four bills related to the use of medical marijuana that are either on the table or pending review through the Michigan House of Representatives and the Michigan Senate.
Only one out of four proposed bills have become law, but it still requires the federal government to change the classification of marijuana in order to go into effect.

Here’s how it works:

Senate Bill 660 allows pharmacies to sell pharmaceutical-grade cannabis to patients with debilitating medical conditions. However, this law only goes into effect if the federal government reclassifies marijuana from an illegal drug to a prescription drug.
“Because the federal government has yet to reclassify marijuana, we will not see an impact anytime soon,” said state representative Jeff Irwin, who seems to have high hopes about marijuana’s future.
Irwin is a state representative of District 53, which includes Ann Arbor. He is responsible for introducing House Bill 4623, a legislation that would reduce minor marijuana possession to a civil infraction in the state of Michigan.
Under this proposed bill, a person caught with an ounce or less of marijuana which they illegally obtained will no longer be immediately subject to jail time, substantial fines, or probation.
Instead, on a person’s first offense, the punishment is a $25 fine, on the second offense, the fine is no more than $50, and on the third offense, it is no more than $100.

Why this matters:

According to the FBI/ Uniform Crime Reporting Program Data report, Michigan spent $94,838,792 enforcing marijuana possession laws in 2010.
The amount has only grown in recent years. The almost $95 million expense includes court costs, and probation costs; which, if House Bill 4623 is adopted, would nearly disappear. “(If passed,) the state would immediately save millions of dollars each year,” Irwin said.
According to Irwin’s proposal, decriminalization is not a new concept. Seventeen states have already decriminalized possession of marijuana, and eight others are considering legislation to do the same.
Since House Bill 4623 has only been proposed and not yet voted on, it’s unclear whether or not Michigan will join the 17 states.
St. Clair and Sanilac counties representative, Paul Muxlow, is unsure whether House Bill 4623 will lead to decriminalization: “I cannot say for certain if Michigan will decriminalize marijuana in the near future, however, I do not think the votes are currently in the legislature for such an action to occur.”
Despite the decriminalization bill standing at the gate of proposal, the House has just passed two other bills related to marijuana. One of those bills, 4271, allows provisioning centers (dispensaries) to operate under the Medical Marihuana Provisioning Center Regulation Act.

How this changes things:

According to the current Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, a person holding their medical marijuana card has to go through their own registered caregiver in order to get their medicine.
To be a caregiver, a person must be over 21 years of age and hold a valid registration card allowing them to grow marijuana for registered patients. With provisioning centers back in operation, a person can obtain their medicine by going into any dispensary and purchasing it.
The bill also states that the existence of a provisioning center is controlled by the local communities that they are in and cannot be within a thousand foot radius of a school or church.
The Michigan House of Representatives passed House Bill 4271 in mid-December. It now joins another bill that is also waiting to be reviewed by the Senate.
House Bill 5104 restores the rights of patients to use other products such as topical ointments and edibles. If this bill passes through the Senate, medical marijuana patients will be able to consume the substance in other forms as long as they are pertinent to the patient’s condition.
These marijuana infused products can be obtained through a person’s primary caregiver or through the provisioning centers, if 4271 passes through the Senate.

What all of this means for marijuana legalization:

Although there is no specific law or bill indicating that marijuana will be sold recreationally in Michigan, Rep. Irwin believes that it should be legal and regulated like alcohol.
According to Rep. Irwin, he isn’t the only one with that belief.
“The idea is gathering a lot of momentum, and we are starting to see opinions coming together from both sides of the political spectrum.”
Whether or not the current bills making their way through the process of approval or disapproval will pass remains to be seen, but if they do pass, their success may determine whether or not a bill approving marijuana for recreational use is on the horizon.

Contact Angie at angelastoecklin0814@gmail.com

Dead air

The discontinuation of the communications program

 

   The holidays may take a stressful turn for the worse with the new program cuts at St. Clair County Community College.

Students majoring in communications will notice that broadcasting and journalism are not in the fall 2013 program catalog.

Although, don’t fret just yet, the change may not be as bad as initially assumed. Continue reading Dead air

Student Government Elections yields thrills and disappointment.

SC4 Student Brian Heidt, had a beaming smile on his face last Wednesday night when he was told that he had won the position of Treasurer for SC4’s student government. Brian, who was a write in candidate, won the position with 96 votes. “I’m just thrilled that I won,” Brian said happily.

The Student Government Elections took place in the SC4 Cafeteria on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week. Unfortunately, the election only yielded just over 100 votes, making it the lowest vote count in SC4 history.

The second write in candidate, other than Heidt, was Jessica Fye, a write in for Secretary who took home the position with eight votes.

Unlike the other positions, the position for Vice President featured two candidates. They were SC4 students Eric Merril, who ended up with 51 votes, and Steven Dilloway, who won with 20 more votes.




After the votes were tallied, Steven said, “As a student of SC4, I have a new found respect for our community’s access to learning. After enrolling for four semesters at SC4, I understand what it takes to be a successful college student. With that said, I believe that I am more than capable to be a representative of the student body. All in all, I look forward to working with the student government an attempt to better the SC4 environment.”

Last but not least, the position of Student Government President went to candidate Sean Lathrop. Sean ran unopposed for the position. Sean had this to say about his 94 vote victory: “I am severely disappointed that no one is running against me. I feel that Michael Keith could have possibly been a better president than myself. But since he was unable to run it makes me feel that this is a hollow victory for me.”

Angie Stoecklin

Staff Writer

Affordable Care Acts Arrives at SC4

Adjunct instructors received an e-mail from the SC4 human resource department informing the educators they will no longer be able to teach more than ten contact hours or pyramid jobs within the college.

This e-mail represents one of employers’ many reactions to the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare.” It is a response to institutions’ growing need to develop policies in-line with the law before the 2014 deadline.

The proposal states employers with more than 50 employees must provide health benefits for full-time workers or face fines and penalties. A full-time work week would be 30 clock hours, but doesn’t define a way for colleges to determine how contact hours tie in to regular clock hours.

The IRS issues regulations to tell us what the statutes mean,” said Ken Lord, executive director of human resources and labor relations at SC4, “and the first one that came out said that adjunct faculty positions were to be defined by the academic year.”

The academic year at SC4 is defined by contract as the fall and winter semesters. To reach full-time status, professors must teach at least 14 contact hours per semester, which means the minimum a full-time instructor needs to work during the academic year is 28 contact hours.

Lord says the American Community College Association suggested taking three-fourths of the full load for full-time faculty, which is 10 hours maximum for adjunct instructors.

Shawn Starkey, the executive director of public relations, marketing and legislative affairs for SC4, explained out of 187 adjuncts instructors, 50 of them are currently teaching more than 10 contact hours and 19 of them have other positions in the college.

Adjuncts are not the only ones to be affected; 14 support staff and 19 administrative staff members will feel the effects of the law.” Starkey said.

Staff opinion is mixed. Many members of the affected staff expressed frustration and concern over the cuts.

I don’t really know what I am going to do,” one adjunct faculty member, who wishes to remain anonymous, explained, “I’m considering applying at other campuses, but I’m so involved on the SC4 campus that I’m not sure I would be able to handle that.”

Another unnamed staff member expressed her understanding in regards to the policy change: “I am deeply saddened by the effect this has had on many adjunct faculty members, but I understand the need for administration to be careful to avoid harsh fines that would ultimately hurt the entire college.”

Lord does not believe the students will notice a substantial difference, although he did mention the law may initiate the consolidation of certain classes. Also, he stated many full-time instructors will be teaching more contact hours, including department heads.

According to an article published by the American Federation of Teachers, many colleges and universities across the nation are enacting similar policies regarding adjunct and part-time staff.

I think we’re all disappointed with the law,” Lord said, “it’s unfair to employers and it’s unfair to employees but we have to deal with what the law is and we have to do what is safe for the college.”

Erick J. Fredendall

Business/Advertising Editor

 

 

 

Blue Water Music Awards brings musical community together

Sure, there was a drunken clown who puked on the red carpet, but that was expected.”

That was the case for David Peters, the lead singer for Mountain Babies, but to everyone else at Lynch’s Irish Tavern, the Blue Water Music Awards (BWMA) was a night of unexpected excitement, friendship and a community coming together to appreciate what founder David Whitt calls the cities greatest commodities—the musicians. Continue reading Blue Water Music Awards brings musical community together

Port Huron Sports Hall of Fame Comes to Campus

 

The Port Huron Sports Hall of Fame officially opened its new location at SC4 on Jan. 26. The Hall’s board of directors welcomed the public to the new location in the lower level of the North Building on campus.

Some of the visitors to the grand opening included inductees and their friends and families, who lingered to talk and locate their pictures along the walls.

Continue reading Port Huron Sports Hall of Fame Comes to Campus