Category Archives: Issue 64.1

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

One last show

pollock at lynchsSC4 president putting down the guitar after one last fundraiser
Liz Whittemore

Photo Editor

The SC4 Foundation and Lynch’s Irish Tavern is hosting “The sounds of SC4 President Dr. Kevin A Pollock” Thursday, Feb. 6 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. There will be no entry charge, though donations are encouraged.
After two successful performances, the college president is playing one last show, this time to raise money for SC4’s athletics.
According to Pollock, he was hesitant to agree to do the performances.
“I thought some people would say it’s not becoming of SC4’s president to be sitting at a bar playing music,” said Pollock. “Somebody asked me if I would do it and I said okay, one time. Now it’s three times, and that’s enough.”
SC4’s Director of College Advancement and Alumni Relations David Goetze has worked collecting donations at Pollock’s previous performances.
“Dr. Pollock has been wonderful, I don’t know of any other college president that raises money like he does,” said Goetze. “He’ll do whatever it takes to make things happen for our students.”
SC4 student Sarah Donaldson appreciates the personal time he takes to raise money for SC4 and the students.
“I think that he’s setting a really good example for the students and faculty,” said Donaldson. “I’d love to go if I didn’t have a prior commitment.”
Pollock’s first performance in Feb. 2013 raised $5,270 for the Nasr Natural Science Museum, now located in the Clara E. Mackenzie building on SC4’s Port Huron campus. The second performance in Oct. 2013 raised $3,278 for SC4’s Friends of the Arts.
“Between the other two we’ve raised about $8,500,” said Pollock. “If we raised $1,500 at this next one, that’s $10,000. For a fundraiser that doesn’t cost us anything, you have to consider that a success.”
A raffle for four tickets to a Detroit Tigers baseball game for Saturday, May 10 will be held during the performance.
SC4 women’s basketball players Nece Garrison and Aja Williams think the proceeds will greatly help.
According to Garrison, some team members are playing without the assistance of a scholarship.
Williams is hoping for updated equipment.
“Our team is ranked pretty high, but we don’t have a lot of gear to show that we’re from SC4,” said Williams.
Pollock thinks this may draw out a different crowd than past performances; community members who love sports.
“We have people that want to make donations to our student athletes; this gives them a chance to come out to one spot to show their support,” said Pollock.
Reservations are encouraged and can be made at Lynch’s Irish Tavern.

Campaigning for student education

SC4 community raises $2.2 million for college and student
Liz Whittemore

Photo Editor

The SC4 community dug deep and did not hold back for the All Aboard campaign.
SC4’s “All Aboard: Campaign for Talent, Technology, and Tomorrow” launched on Nov. 1, 2011 with an overall goal of $1 million aiming to raise money for five capital projects. One of these projects was a $100,000 goal for student scholarships.
The SC4 faculty, community members, and alumni did more than meet the $100,000 goal. Just over $1,487,000 was raised for SC4 students.
The campaign ended Dec. 2013 with just over $2.2 million donated, according to David Goetze, SC4’s Director of College Advancement and Alumni Relations.
“The campaign has far exceeded our expectations,” said Goetze. “Our community is very generous.”
Donations of thousands of dollars, amounts as much as $500,000, $100,000, and $75,000, came in to support the school and the students.
SC4 alumni Joseph Merika and his wife donated $25,000 and established the Joseph and Betty Merika Friends of the Arts Scholarship.
“I believe in SC4, the interests that they have, and their students. I don’t think there’s anything you can do for a young person that’s better than an education,” said Merika. “I feel like I owe something back to the college. It goes beyond their education; the faculty and staff at SC4, they truly want to see them succeed.”
Their scholarship helps incoming freshmen or sophomores taking 12 or more credit hours that have a 2.5 GPA or higher. Preference for this scholarship will go to students studying the visual and performing arts.
“It’s wonderful for people like me who need a little bit of help beginning their education,” said freshman McKahla Breck. “Scholarships make it possible for people in all stages of their life and careers whether you’re beginning or returning.”
Visible signs of campaign’s success can be seen around the campus. The completed McMorran Greenway and Street Closure project ensures that students can now cross between the north and main buildings safely. The Campus Innovation Center and the Nasr Science Museum are also results of the campaign.
“I think it’s really great that SC4 takes notice of technology advancements and continually tries to incorporate it into our experiences with our classes around campus,” said Breck.
The last project, the historic restoration of room 312 of the main building, is projected to begin work this upcoming summer, according to Goetze.
To see details about the projects and a list of donors visit

Pet of the issue – Princess

Angie Stoecklin
Copy Editor

Princess is a one-year-old Siamese mix. She was brought into the humane society with a litter of six kittens, who have since all been weaned and are awaiting adoption.
Princess is the kind of cat who keeps to herself, rarely seeking out attention, but will not protest if one wishes to pick her up or pet her. She is described by the employees at the humane society as a quiet, good cat.
Princess is now spayed and up to date on all her shots. Her adoption fee is $100.
For more information about Princess or other animals up for adoption, contact the Blue Water Humane Society at 810-987-4357.

Contact Angie at

Denver and Seattle light it up

Super Bowl XLVIII hosts the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks in New Jersey on Feb. 2, 2014.
Super Bowl XLVIII hosts the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks in New Jersey on Feb. 2, 2014.
Super Bowl XLVIII Preview
Brendan Buffa

Sports Editor

The polar vortex that has consumed the Midwest encapsulates the outdoor MetLife Stadium as Super Bowl XLVIII prepares to host the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks.
The last time both top seeded teams in the NFL made it to the Super Bowl was in 2009, with the Indianapolis Colts achieving victory over the Chicago Bears with the now Broncos star quarterback, Peyton Manning.
Manning was predicted to never play another game of football after his spinal fusion surgery in 2011.
After losing out on a franchise tag from the Colts, Manning was released and was later signed to the Denver Broncos in 2011 under a 5-year contract for 96 million dollars.
Manning has had a stand out 2013 season as he broke the all time season passing touchdown record (55 TD’s), and became one of six players to throw 7 touchdown passes in a game, breaking the league passing record of 5,477 yards.
The Denver Broncos, led by Manning, also known as “The Sheriff,” will have to bring out their big guns as they step up against Seattle’s historically strong defense and their famously coined secondary, the “Legion of Boom.”
Richard Sherman, a cornerback that dubbed himself “the best in the league” after the NFC championship post-game interview with Erin Andrews, serves as a threat to the elite passing offense on the Broncos.
After a game-winning tip of the ball in the end zone against the San Francisco 49ers that sealed the fate of the Seahawks, Sherman went on a fueled rampage after 49ers receiver, Michael Crabtree, clubbed Sherman in the face.
“When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the results you’re going to get,” shouted Sherman, who visibly frightened Andrews.
With 8 interceptions on the season, Sherman and the Seahawks defense, aided by the 12th man (the Seattle crowd, which at full volume has registered a 2.0 on the Richter scale) will be a tough obstacle to overcome on February 2, 2014.
Gary Davenport of predicts a 31-27 victory for the Seahawks, yet the predictions are seemingly split 50/50 between both teams.
As Peyton Manning strives for enshrinement into the Hall of Fame, whether the Broncos will be able to overcome the dominant force of the Seahawks defense will remain a mystery until game day.
Prediction: Manning throws for 300+ yards, yet falls short of a victory to Seattle, 34-28. Marshawn Lynch takes MVP and leads the Seattle Seahawks to their first Vince Lombardi trophy in franchise history.

Piracy of the future

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of
Google Glass growing controversy
Greg Garofalo

Managing Editor

Quite recently I read an article on and that caused a question to form in my mind: are the current piracy laws and restrictions holding up against current digital technology?
The article shed light on one of latest technological advancements; Google Glass.
The concept of the device is simple, it is a camera that is attached to an eyeglasses frame which projects laser images onto your eyes of your text messages, and allows emails to appear right in front of you.
As if we weren’t attached to our mobile devices enough. Now we have the ability to further isolate ourselves while saying: “Look Ma! No hands!”
The article I read was about a man from Ohio, who was wearing his prescription glasses with his Google Glass, and was removed from a movie theater by federal agents for suspicion of piracy.
As it turns out, the man was not recording the movie, but the AMC movie theater had every right to suspect he was. After all, the man was wearing a camera on his face.
As we slowly venture further into the second decade of the new millennium, one has to wonder just how long it will be before piracy laws are updated. It’s the middle of the digital age and we are still using some of the same laws and of the previous generation. I hate to sound like a politician looping on a record, but things have changed drastically in the world of technology in the past fifteen years.
Gone are the days where bootlegging was as simple as sneaking a camcorder into a theater, the days of technological thievery are upon us. With this new technology being created at a faster rate each day I wonder, how are theaters supposed to prevent patrons from wearing their own glasses?
Not to mention the fact that the technological world is continuously upgrading. How are theaters supposed to keep up with present regulations? If piracy is going to be taken seriously, then these new digital recorders must be considered when revising anti-pirate laws and methods.

Too cold to walk

Car maintenanceTips for maintaining your car during the winter
Liz Whittemore
Photo Editor

Cold weather makes problems that already exist in your car even worse. Before winter gets too deep, make sure your vehicle is in good shape and winter-ready.
Here are a few tips from the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) on how to increase your car’s reliability during the winter.
Refer to your user manual to know when to take care of oil changes and tire rotation. Replace bald, worn out tires and check your tire pressure once a month. Under-inflated and off-balance tires make your engine work even harder and use more gasoline, costing you even more money.
Speaking of gasoline, make sure to keep your gas tank filled. In case you break down, not only will this will be your only source of heat, it keeps moisture from forming in your gas tank. Also, adding a bottle of fuel deicer to your gas tank once a month helps to prevent any built-up moisture from freezing in your fuel lines.
Another vital attribution to the reliance of your vehicle is having your battery checked. If you need to purchase a new one; find the biggest, meanest battery that will fit in your car. The engine is harder to start in cold weather, regardless of if your battery starts perfect during the warm months, oil is not as fluid during the winter and will require more power to start.
Maintaining visibility in your car is essential. Replace windshield wipers and ensure that your heater and defroster are working. Also, check that there is enough windshield solvent in your car. In slushy conditions it does not take long to go through a gallon of solvent. Check it routinely or keep a container in the trunk of the car in case of an emergency.
Check your drive belt. According to my father, John Whittemore, a former mechanic for General Motors, newer cars only have one drive belt. This powers your car’s heating/air conditioning, water pump, alternator, etc. If that goes, you could lose everything from your car such as your head lights, heater, and engine cooling.
“It’s not a big deal in the summer, but in the winter it can be deadly,” said Whittemore.
Include an emergency kit in your car so you can stay warm and be able to get help during harsh weather in case of a break down. Include items such as gloves, boots, extra gasoline, a shovel, a flashlight with extra batteries, a flare, blankets, an ice scraper, sand to help with traction, a cell phone with a car charger, and some non-perishable snacks.
Lastly, drive safe. Although others may fly by you, don’t get pulled into a false sense of security. Four-wheel drive vehicles can end up in ditches too.

Folk music, booze, and coffee

MountainBabiesSHOUTSDave Peters and his Mountain Babies
Erick Fredendall

Local folk singer and songwriter Dave Peters’ band of one, Mountain Babies, started with an unusual dream.
“I was standing on a mountain, it was raining tomatoes, and there were babies everywhere.”
That dream lead to a brief recording session in 2008 that produced the now hard-to-find song, “Kingsley Hill.” Shortly thereafter, Mountain Babies was formed.
In 2012 Mountain Babies released their first studio album, “Whispers.” Two years later, the Port Huron native is now celebrating the release of his eighth recording under the band name Mountain Babies.
Mountain Babies has been described by fans and music bloggers as nu-folk, psychedelic folk, and Americana. A Detroit music scene blog, Hip in Detroit, likens Peter’s voice to Johnny Cash, while compares his music to Nick Drake and the Fleet Foxes.
Peters laughed after hearing mention of Hip in Detroit’s review.
“The best one I’ve had was when someone compared me to Johnny Cash on LSD,” he said, smiling. “It’s definitely a compliment. I grew up listening to a lot of Cash and other country, like Hank Williams.”
But if you ask Peters, his definition of Mountain Babies is a bit more nuanced than traditional folk music.
“Mountain Babies is still evolving,” Peters explained, “I usually play solo, just a guy with an acoustic, sometimes with a shaker duct taped to his foot. When I recorded my latest album it turned into something different.”
His latest album, “SHOUTS,” seems to back up this claim.
“SHOUTS” is the fourth studio released album produced by Mountain Babies. The album is a seven track line-up unique for its ability to jump from catchy, airy songs like “Mother Earth” to the haunting, psychedelic notes of “White Moon.”
Peters’ is joined in the album by Rachael Spangler as additional vocals, Brandon Leyva on percussion, and Saadat Hossain on the organ, synth, and vibraphone.
A raw, “Live From” series of songs from “SHOUTS” made by Poverty Art Productions is also available on Youtube.
According to Peters’, “SHOUTS” has become the most popular download on his Bandcamp site.
“I think because it’s laid out in a more personal manner, people could feel me more in the songs. It’s intimate; really intimate.”
Peters announced the song, “Mother Earth,” will be available as a single release on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Google Play, and other online music stores.
The Mountain Babies’ discography can be downloaded from Bandcamp. A digital download of “SHOUTS” is currently available for $5, and a cassette of the new album is announced to become available from Detroit based ZZZ Tapes at
A “SHOUTS” listening party will be held at the SchwonkSoundStead at 8 p.m., Feb. 8. The event is free and open to all interested participants.
The SchwonkSoundSteak is a house venue and community center located at 1521 7th St. in Port Huron, right on the corner of 7th St. and Griswold.

Contact Erick Fredendall at or follow him on Twitter @MrFredendall.

Financial Aid: come and get it

SC4 offers Financial Aid Night to students and community
Liz Whittemore
Photo Editor

On Tuesday Feb. 4, St. Clair County Community College opens their doors to students and the community to answer questions about financial aid.
Financial Aid Night is usually held the first Tuesday after New Years, but was rescheduled due to bad weather. It will be held in the Fine Arts Theatre on the Port Huron campus beginning at 7 p.m.
Information on loans, grants, scholarships, and how to apply for financial aid will be given regardless of if you are applying to SC4 or not.
Josephine Cassar is the Director of Financial Assistance and Services at SC4. This year she hopes to see more college students taking advantage of the opportunity.
“My gut tells me it’s mostly been community members,” said Cassar. “I think in today’s economy, we all have to think financially smart. If you can take classes here that will transfer to your four year school and it costs less, why wouldn’t you?”
According to Cassar, the financial aid office awarded students over $15 million for the 2012-2013 academic year.
Of the 6,751 that applied, 3,800 students received an award.
“At least 66% of our student body is receiving some sort of financial aid,” said Cassar.
Natalie Hillman, a nursing student at SC4, drives an hour to get to school. “I don’t have loans or scholarships, but I have financial aid,” said Hillman. “Driving an hour is hard, but I get money back each semester for books and gas.”
Another tool that has become available for student use is, SC4’s new website for finding scholarships. The new website replaced SC4’s previous system of physical applications.
“When it was the paper applications, we’d only have a handful of applicants and they all came in at the last minute,” Cassar said.
The website is designed to help make applying for scholarships easier. Upon signing up it will ask for your general information as well as a mandatory submission of a résumé. Once completed, a list of scholarships appears that is tailored to your personal information; what you are actually eligible for.
“We now have a more diverse applicant pool and more people are utilizing the new software. People are reaching out for these resources where they might not have before,” said Cassar.
For more information on Financial Aid Night and how to apply for FAFSA and loans, visit
“You owe it to yourself to apply to your dream college,” said Cassar. “What if it only comes down to $4,000 a year? For $8,000 and you’re at your dream school, wouldn’t you find a way to make it happen?”

Nashville Star Comes to SC4

Jenelle Kalaf
Staff Writer

Nashville star, country music singer Daryle Singletary, is coming to SC4.
Singletary, known for his hits “Too Much Fun” and “I Let Her Lie,” will be preforming in the Fine Arts building on Feb. 8.
Admission for the concert is $30. For students with their Skipper card, admission is $15. This discount is only given one per card.
The Fine Arts building will also be holding a dinner before the concert. Admission is $46, which includes the concert. Dinner will be held at 6 p.m., followed by Singletary’s concert at 7:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Theater.
For every ticket sold, 10 percent of the cost goes to a student club of the buyer’s choice.
All tickets can be picked up prior to the event in the business office from Celeste Skalnek.
If the show does not sell out, the remaining tickets will be sold at the door the night of the event.Daryle Singletary