Category Archives: Issue 66.5

Tuition increase on the horizon

Tuition rate rises explained
Angie Stoecklin

SC4’s yearly tuition rise is approved to go into effect for the upcoming fall semester. Each tuition category, in-district, out-district, student fees, etc. are on the rise for varying amounts.
Here’s how much each category will increase:
In-District: $3 rise
Out-District: $6 rise
Out-State: $9 rise
Student Fee: $7 rise
Technology Fee: $2 rise
Nursing Program Fee: $2 rise
Online Fee: $3 rise
While SC4 increases their tuition rates about once a year, this is, according to Board of Trustees Chairman Dr. Nicholas DeGrazia, a part of SC4’s strategy to avoid having to increase tuition all at once. Some other colleges freeze tuition, keeping it the same for a couple years, then when costs for the college increase over the period tuition is frozen, the college is forced to increase tuition by a much greater percentage. For this reason, DeGrazia said, “It’s a lot smarter to have a small annual increase.”
According to SC4 student Emily Atherton, 18, sophomore of Port Huron, if other community colleges freeze tuition, than SC4 should do the same, “If that’s how other community colleges are doing it then we should probably follow in their footsteps.”
While students like Atherton would like to see a less frequent rise in tuition, DeGrazia says that SC4’s tuition and fee level is lower than the state average, so SC4 is neither the lowest nor the highest in regards to tuition average.
The college has three sources of revenue. One being tuition and fees, which is the only category that DeGrazia says SC4 can control, and the other two being state appropriations, and property taxes. DeGrazia says that SC4 operates on about a 2 to 3% per year tuition increase, to maintain the things the college already has.
Some students may be wondering why with the college receiving money from the state tuition is still rising? Well according to Vice President for Administrative services Kirk Kramer, the money received from the state is the same amount as it was in the year 2000. The amount of money received by the state is determined be several factors, one of which being graduation rates. “The graduation rate comprises over 25% of a formula the State of Michigan uses when determining the state aid appropriation for Community Colleges,” Kramer said.
Since graduation rates haven’t changed much in the last 15 years, the college continues to receive the same amount through state appropriations.
The final factor in the college’s budget is property tax, which makes up for about 31% of the overall budget. The money from property taxes is split up into two millages, one being a general or perpetual millage, which has been in effect since 1967 according to Kramer, and is currently in effect for 1.394 mills.
To better understand how a millage works, the explanation of a “mill,” according to an article from, “applied to taxes, 1 mill is equivalent to $1 in taxes per $1,000 in taxable value.”
The second millage, a smaller one that is voted for re-approval by voters in the St. Clair County Community College district every four years, and is currently in effect for .4951 mills.
“This additional millage is used to support buildings, infrastructure, and additional items not possible without the additional funding,” Kramer said.
One could ask so why doesn’t SC4 raise the millage instead of tuition? Well again, SC4 is not in control of anything except for tuition as far as sources of revenue go. DeGrazia explains how the money from property taxes is determined, “If a college is in a district with a higher tax base, their percentage of their total revenue from property tax will be 50% or more, so they’re far less dependent on tuition and fee revenue as a component of the total revenue.”
And, since Port Huron and SC4 have had their fair share of financial hits from the recession back in 2008, the tax base for this area hasn’t changed much.
“In 2008, we and many other colleges across the country took a major hit in the recession, state appropriations went down, and property taxes went down because property values fell. We now find ourselves in a situation where about 20% of our revenue comes from state appropriations,” DeGrazia said.
Although the recession is largely to blame for the frequent increases, some students are still not satisfied with the way SC4 increases tuition rates on a yearly basis.
SC4 sophomore Adam Kentchuski, 24, of Port Huron said, “It’s a load of bullshit that goes straight to the top of the food chain. I get that SC4 is the cheapest school in the area, but for how long?”
While tuition rises may seem “overly frequent” to some students, SC4 Freshman Stacey Kish, 20, of Marysville, sees an annual tuition increase in an understanding light. “I can understand their reasoning for raising the prices frequently, rather than all at once. The lesser of two evils, I suppose. We can’t all have cheap, affordable college like the rest of the world,” Kish said.
According to DeGrazia, tuition increases are a part of maintaining a balanced budget.
“Students should know that we the trustees approve a balanced budget each year, balanced being that the revenue and expense projection each year is equal. You don’t know that you’re going to receive all that revenue or that you will have that exact amount of expenses, so it’s an allocation of money assuming that you will have expenses that will arise in various categories. 80% of the budget on the expense side is people, and a very high percentage in addition to that is support (technology, supplies, etc.) for those people/academic programs (employees, teachers, etc.)
You may or may not spend each of those items in the budget. In some cases, you’ll get halfway through the year and realize that you’re not going to need to have to spend all of that money in that particular category, and so the administration would have the flexibility to move that into a different category where the need is greater,” DeGrazia said.

It’s just good business, Jack

Marketing and Management club hosting events to help you
Tyler Smith
Sports Editor

The Marketing and Management club are holding to two events on St. Clair County Community College’s campus.
Representatives Dan Lauwers, Andrea LaFontaine, and Paul Muxlow along with Senator Phil Pavlov and Deputy Director of Strategy Mike Brownfield will be welcomed to the St. Clair County Community College Campus by the Marketing and Management club to discuss what the state is doing to promote local jobs and growing the economy as well what role community colleges play. The Port Huron community and students are invited to the March 30th event at 4:30pm in the SC4 Fine Arts Theatre.
There will also be the Countdown to Career Fashion show after spring break on April 14th from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Fine Arts Theatre to show the best and worst clothes to wear to a job interview and to educate students before going out into the workplace. Local human resource representatives and business owners from places such as Semco Energy, St Clair County, Talmer Bank, and Detroit Edison will be present to give tips and advice to help you conduct an impressionable interview.

SC4 players brings stalking to the spotlight

Performance of the play “Boy Gets Girl”
Jenelle Kalaf
Photo Editor
Who’s to say that your blind date from last week, the one that you weren’t into, won’t turn on you? You just met them and you already gave them your cell phone number and a Facebook invite.
How can you know they already want to control you?
On March 19-22, SC4 players acted out just this situation in the stage production, “Boy Gets Girl,” and it very well could be anyone’s story.
The story follows Thersea Bedell, a reporter for The World played by Leah Gray. She goes on a blind date with Tony, played by Marcus Taylor.
When the date doesn’t go the way Thersea imagines it, she breaks it off with Tony, but he won’t let go.
His “romantic pursuing” turns quickly into stalking and death threats.
In the end, she can’t take the fear and changes her name, moves to another town and leaves her old life behind.
The subject and the acting were all executed perfectly. The play also dealt with subjects such as the act of “thanking women for sex,” the victim feeling as if it was all their fault and stereotypes on both men and women.
“I think it’s one of those responsibilities of art, and theatre in particular, to reflect the realities of society, both positive and negative,” Tom Kephart, the play’s director, said.
“It’s important for us to understand how this subject affects everyone,” Ashley Hall, the assistant director, said.
Hall also said how interesting it was that the audience found some of these rude comments said in the beginning funny until they realized how terrible the situation really was.
The audience left with the feeling of uneasiness, leaving one question in mind:
What’s stopping this from happening to me?
Interested in being part of the next production? Auditions for The Fantasticks will be held on March 30 and 31, from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m in the Fine Arts building in room 26. Call backs will be on April 1, if needed.
Auditions are open to all SC4 credit and non-credit students, all alumnus, SC4 staff and faculty, and community members. Please call Tom Kephart at (810) 989-5721 for any questions.

Board of Trustees chair vacant no more

Geoffry Kusch fills board seat
Angie Stoecklin

After James Relken’s resignation from the SC4 Board of Trustees, the board received over 20 applications from those interested in filling the vacant seat. After carefully reviewing the applications, the board selected Geoffry Kusch, 66 and a retired physician and Port Huron resident since 2011.
Kusch and his wife moved from Midland, Michigan to Port Huron in 2011 to be closer to their daughter and her three children. Since the move, Kusch and his wife have been pleased with the welcoming atmosphere Port Huron offers them.
“Port Huron has been very welcoming and has given us opportunities to get involved, we really appreciate that,” Kusch said.
The Board of Trustees seat that Kusch now fills is a volunteer 2-year position that expires on Dec. 31, 2016. Other than volunteering at SC4 as a board member, Kusch and his wife both retired early and now help out the community through helping out with various organizations.
“My wife and I both had set a goal to retire early and devote as much time as we could to doing volunteer work, which we did and we continue to enjoy our volunteer activities,” Kusch said.
Kusch is on the board of directors at the Blue Water YMCA, and is also a member of the board at Marwood Manor nursing home. He also volunteers at the Port Huron soup kitchen Mid City Nutrition.
“I enjoy all of the things I do,” Kusch said.
Prior to his retirement, Kusch worked as a family physician for 15 years, he then left family practice in Midland to work as an occupational physician for Dow Chemical Company.
Kusch said that he ended up getting into the benefits side of human resources at Dow and spent the last 5 years or so of his career as the director of global benefits at Dow.
“I’ve had two very different careers and enjoyed both of them immensely,” said Kusch.
Kusch said that he applied for the board position because he believes that the community college is extremely important in today’s world because it trains people who do not have the ability to go away to a four year college. “I felt like there are huge challenges right now for SC4 and I felt that maybe I could make a contribution,” he said.
In regards to his new position on SC4’s Board of Trustees, Kusch said, “I want to do whatever I can to help the college be successful.”

SC4 Alumni finish the Charity Hockey series

Alumni hockey team vs. Port Huron Police Department
Mel Buskirk
Copy Editor

On March 12, the SC4 Alumni hockey players faced the Port Huron Police Department on the ice at McMorran arena for charity. The PHPD teamed up with and against the SC4 alumni to raise money for the local D.A.R.E. program and the Alumni foundation.
This is the second year that the SC4 Alumni has paired up with the PHPD for the Charity Hockey series. Other opponents from the 2014-15 season have been the Blue Water Young Professionals, Port Huron Northern High School Band and Alumni, and Port Huron High School Band and Alumni. However, the game against the PHPD was the last in this year’s series.
Although the SC4 Alumni did manage to score a couple times, they lost to the PHPD with the final score of 2-6.
According to head of Port Huron’s D.A.R.E. program officer Adrianne Mynsberg, “We try to do a game every year and if SC4 wants we’d be happy to do it again.” This means that the SC4 Alumni will most likely get a rematch next year.

What are SC4 students’ plans for spring break?

Springing forward for a look at spring break
Mel Buskirk
Copy Editor

As the winter 2015 semester drags on, there is one thing on every student’s mind – spring break. In just a couple weeks, beginning on Friday, April 3 and ending Sunday, April 12, students will have an entire week off without classes. But what are students going to do with their time off?
Out of a survey of 19 students, 32% stated that they would be busy working over their spring break. Sophomore Christine Gwisdala, 19, said, “I’m working at my internship Monday through Thursday.” Gwisdala interns at, an online local news station.
Though the majority of the surveyed students, 63%, stated that they were not going anywhere for spring break, some students plan on travelling over the week. One of these students is sophomore Riley Niver, 19.
Niver said, “I’m going to CMU to visit my boyfriend for the week. I’m excited since I don’t get to see him a lot. We’re just going to binge watch Netflix and cook stuff.”
Jess Grey, 22, also plans on travelling during the break. “I plan on travelling to South Carolina to visit my grandmother,” Grey said.
A lot of students will be stuck at home this spring break, that doesn’t mean that they won’t be having fun. Sarah Zimmer, 21, sophomore, said that she plans on hanging out with her friends at one of the local beaches.
With or without plans, the consensus from the students is universal: everyone can’t wait for spring break.

Stressbreaker takes over the cafeteria

Student Government hosts Stressbreaker
Angie Stoecklin

This semester Stressbreaker’s “Game” theme sparked lines of students at various corners of IMG_0126 the cafeteria on Wednesday, March 18.
The event featured hard hitting activities such as guitar hero, PTK’s Buzz Feed quizzes, chair massages from employees of Lakewood School of Therapeutic Massage, and psychic readings from psychic consultants Robert and Pamela Taylor.
Student Government also brought in local DJ and SC4 alumni Matt Gossman, 24, of Port Huron.
“It’s cool to see the stuff that SC4’s student government is putting on and I’m glad to be a part of it,” Gossman said.
Gossman’s DJ set up was more than that, he also had a photo booth and a karaoke machine set up for anyone who felt the need to express their singing talents.
The activities inspired many smiles and encouragement for future Stressbreaker events. SC4 Freshman Trevor Lumpkins, 19, of Port Huron played drums on the WSGR sponsored Guitar Hero game. After many laughs and musical enjoyment, Lumpkins said, “we need to do this more often.”
Stressbreaker takes place every semester and is always completely free. Keep checking the Portal this fall for the date of the next one!

“In-tents” St. Paddy’s celebration

Beer tent in front of McMorran Place
D.J. Palm
Staff Writer1426505107806[1]
Protection from the wind, ice cold beer, live music and space heaters made for a very comfortable setting as McMorran Place held their annual beer tent for Pub Crawl 2015.
Downtown Port HuronurHurionhh streets were filled with the color of green on the clothing and accessories of patrons who walked and “crawled” on the 18 pub stop event.
McMorran Place provided the tent on the east side of the building where the next to the fountain. On a 31 degree day, the McMorran was kind of enough to provide space heaters for people who wanted to stay inside the beer tent and drink.
Not everyone was able to keep warm as bartenders serving beer were finding that to be a bit of a challenge. “We’ve always had the beer tent ‘inside’ we’ve never done the Pub Crawl tent outside,” said Grace Gabler, a McMorran Bar tender helping serve guests at the tent. “Keeping your fingers warm is difficult. Grabbing the beer in the ice after a while your fingers start to go numb, you can wear gloves but they do you no good obviously.”
One of the bands performing at the Pub Crawl tent was the Decamp sisters from Port Huron, Libby and Riley as they were accompanied by the Schreiber brothers Adam and Brandon, also of Port Huron.
McMorran had live music playing in the tent from 12-7 p.m. the day of Pub Crawl. Dave Peters of the band “Mountain Babies” was partly responsible for helping the DeCamp sisters get their gig at the tent.
The sisters said they have fun playing anytime they get the opportunity to perform and are grateful for every chance play in front of an audience.
The beer tent downtown closed at 7p.m. but that didn’t mean the party was over as many downtown businesses (mainly bars) stayed open until the 2a.m. closing time, giving people that much more drinking time after the tent folded up.

St. Patty’s parade


Jamie Koebke
Staff Writer
Brisk temperatures, a sea of green and excitement filled downtown Port Huron on Saturday GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAMarch 14 for the St. Patrick’s Day parade.
The St. Patrick’s Day parade took place at noon, starting before Pub Crawl at 1pm. The parade route started at Pine Grove Park and ended on Quay Street. The Irish-American Club of St Clair County hosted of the parade.
Metro Detroit Police and Fire departments, the Knights of Columbus, the Irish-American Club and Troy’s Pub were just a few organizations who participated in the parade.
Tiffany Powers, 31 of Emmett said I like the parade happening on pub crawl.” Although it could be argued that the parade not happening on St. Patrick’s Day takes away from the allure. Bonnie Burns, 39 of Smiths Creek, said, “I think the parade happening on pub crawl is good. It brings a lot more out of town customers’ downtown.”
Not everyone feels that way though. “I wish the parade still happened on St. Paddy’s day, it’s more festive,” Larry Powers said. Larry, his wife Tiffany, and their son Shane rode on the Kearns float this year.
Although it was brisk out this year, there were quite a bit of people who came out to support the community. Larry and Tiffany Powers said they’ve been going to the St. Patrick’s Day parade for four or five years, bringing their son Shane for the last two.
Bonnie Burns said she and her daughters have been going for eight years. “The Parade gets everyone together for a festive holiday, it’s a fun day!” said Bonnie Burns.
“The St. Patrick’s Day parade is entertaining and gives the children something to look forward to,” St. Clair County Community College student Patricia Koroly, 22 of Port Huron said.
Whether or not it happens on St. Patrick’s Day, the children in the crowd couldn’t have cared less, their faces showed every ounce of excitement in them as a leprechaun came by and high-fived them while another threw them candy.

Microsoft Makeover

Project Spartan brings Internet Explorer to a close
Lily Petit
Staff Writer

A leader in technology since their debut in 1975, Microsoft is trying to uphold their reputation by fixing their weakest link. Microsoft is discontinuing their 19 year old browser, Internet Explorer.
Internet Explorer (IE) has been reviewed as slow and prone to freezing and viruses. One Microsoft video ad pokes fun at all the negative reviews it has received even calling Internet Explorer, “only good for downloading other browsers.” By the end of the video Microsoft dubs IE “The browser you love to hate.” But in the same ad they also promise a comeback.
The comeback began on March 16. Microsoft’s marketing chief, Chris Caposella, announced the change from Internet Explorer to codenamed Project Spartan at Microsoft Convergence. According to Microsoft’s website, Microsoft Convergence is, “That one moment in time when the Microsoft business community members come together to share “Aha!” moments. It’s their chance to network with other users, see things for the first time, learn about the latest features and updates, get answers to tough questions from Microsoft product experts, and find new ways to stay ahead of their competition.”
Project Spartan is still in production and has no official name yet. Caposella demonstrated the browser at Convergence. Caposella says Project Spartan will be reliable because it is coded the way the web is written today.
New Features include the ability to annotate directly on web pages and a new reading mode. Additionally, Cortana, Microsoft’s virtual assistant, will claim a larger role in the new browser. Familiar to Windows 8 users will be the Metro styled look of Project Spartan.
Project Spartan will be completely revealed when Microsoft 10, the newest operating system, is released. Microsoft 10 currently has no official release date, but is estimated to come out this summer.
While Project Spartan is meant to replace Internet Explorer, Microsoft is choosing to keep the latest version of IE in Windows 10 to give all clients time to switch to the new browser.
Those involved in Computer Information Systems here at SC4 are definitely not clients of Internet Explorer. CIS majors Toby Matthews and Josie Trupiano were excited to hear Internet Explorer would be discontinued. Matthews said “One of the first things we learn in class is to download all the other browsers.” Hopefully with the introduction of Project Spartan CIS majors will use it for something other than just downloading other companies’ browsers.
Microsoft will need to employ some strong persuasion to garner respect for their new browser. IE’s reputation has caused those with computer knowledge such as Matthews and Trupiano to regard the browser as a joke. Matthews says, “The only people who use Internet Explorer are people who don’t know anything about browsers.”