The problems (and solutions) of the tarmac
Whoever said finding a needle in a haystack was difficult obviously had never tried finding a parking space on a community college campus.
Parking can be a challenge to begin with, but add in the fact that many students have only a narrow window separating the end of a work shift from the beginning of a class, and the experience of searching for a parking space can become an all-out frazzling experience, especially if there are surprises involved.
“On Monday, I got here about 15 minutes before class. I got to McMorran and saw the long line of cars to get in,” said Capac commuter Jacquelyn DeMink.
DeMink, unaware of the event taking place at McMorran that morning, arrived surprised that they were charging a fee to enter the north McMorran lot, which is usually free student parking. She traveled around town, significantly out of her way, and ended up parking in the “boonies” near the M-TEC Building. Zipping to her class on the opposite side of campus, DeMink arrived minutes later obviously flustered and completely out of breath.
Although parking is not as bad when the north McMorran lot is functional, there seems to be a consensus that something is lacking.
“I think we need more parking!” Declared Jen Brock without hesitation. Brock, who commutes to campus every day, finds parking especially challenging in the mornings when the majority of students have classes. Additionally, with the south McMorran lot under construction and out of the picture at the moment, she has no decent backup plan.
However, there is no doubt that parking has improved immensely over the course of the past several years. “I could expect students to be 10 to 15 minutes late because they couldn’t find a parking spot,” said Janice Fritz, SC4 Biology professor, referring to the time periods immediately preceding the 2010 parking lot remodel. Enrollment was through the roof at that time. “Now, I almost think we could not rent McMorran and not have a problem,” she concluded.
The best way to beat the parking lot blues? Avoid driving altogether! Fritz has been an active advocate for alternative forms of transportation, specifically bus and bicycle. As part of the transportation subcommittee, she attempted to land a student deal on bus passes, but Blue Water Area Transit wanted the college to subsidize the deal. Unsure the number of interested students, SC4 declined.
Fritz’s next goal was to get the campus bike racks covered so inclement weather would not be as high a concern, but as the racks see little use, it did not seem a worthy cause. Lastly, Fritz advocated for lockers on campus. Many people keep their belongings in their cars during the day, so lockers would meet that storage need for those electing to use alternative methods of transportation. However, we “didn’t get very far with that,” said Fritz.
Although parking at SC4 is often perceived as challenging, many options are available to ease the burden of finding that needle in the haystack. There is the parking lot on the SC4 campus, the north McMorran lot (which is free to students entering the lot before 2 p.m.), and a mass of parking spaces on downtown streets. Alternative transportation is also a guaranteed means of avoiding the rush of traffic!
For a complete map of parking options in the vicinity of the SC4 campus, visit www.sc4.edu/maps-and-directions.
McLaren holds free screenings to raise awareness
October 8 was National Depression Screening Day, and to celebrate the day McLaren health professionals partnered with St. Clair County Community Mental Health to offer free depression screenings at SC4.
Students gathered in an enclosed section in the back of the cafeteria to sip on coffee and nibble on cookies and other sweets while filling out a confidential questionnaire. The questionnaire listed off symptoms of not only depression, but of anxiety, bipolar disorder, and PTSD as well.
Students handed the completed questionnaire to one of the several counselors available. Then they were taken to a different room to talk about their symptoms and given resources to contact and receive professional help if the counselors and students agreed if it was necessary.
Several students took advantage of the free service including Kayla Flanagan, 22, Liberal Arts major. “Like many, I had an idea there might be a problem, but I wanted to make sure,” Flanagan stated. She was able to receive contact information and counseling through the screening.
Flanagan also remarked that the screening was very helpful to students since the event was free and it was open for a long period of time from 9 am to 5 pm, which allowed students more opportunities to attend between classes and work.
“You can’t have a healthy learning environment without having an opportunity to get help when they (the students) need it,” said Flanagan.
Amy Kandell, a supervisor and therapist from St. Clair County Community Mental Health, was one of the counselors present to assist the students. While she was there to screen students for potential mental ailments, Kandell also wanted to raise awareness of mental health disorders and reduce the negative attitudes surrounding them.
“I think it’s really important to reduce stigma around mental health disorders,” Kandell said. “A lot of people struggle to seek help because of the negative stigma.”
In order to reduce this stigma, Kandell believes that education is the key. “Education is really important. We should be starting at a young age and giving kids correct information about mental health disorders.” She continued to say that we should compare mental illnesses within the medical model in which we treat mental disorders like one would treat a broken limb.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health’s website, www.nimh.nih.gov, a study done in 2011 by the American College Health Association in students in both 2 and 4 year colleges concluded that 30% of students felt “so depressed it was difficult to function” within the past year of the study. Depression is a leading risk factor for suicide. The study also found that 6% of students contemplated suicide within the past year and almost 1% of students actually attempted suicide within that past year. Depression is not uncommon in college students.
College students aren’t the only ones that can suffer from depression or other mental health disorders. People of any age, race, gender or background can be afflicted by mental health disorders.
Symptoms of depression and other health disorders include (but are not limited to): confused thinking, prolonged sadness or irritability, feelings of extreme highs or lows, excessive fears or anxieties, social withdrawal, dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits, strong feelings of anger, delusions or hallucinations, growing inability to cope with daily problems or activities, suicidal thoughts, denial of obvious problems, numerous unexplained physical ailments, or substance abuse.
If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the listed symptoms above, there is help available. The Thumb Access Mental Health Crisis Line is open 24/7 and can be reached at 1-(888)-225-4447. Professionals will be able to talk you through mental health crises such as suicidal thoughts, anxiety attacks, or substance abuse. They can also direct you to a proper health facility or professional near you to help you get the help you need.
A review of Blake’s Apple Orchard
The first things I think of when I hear the word “fall” are sweaters, apple orchards, pumpkins and haunted everything. Another thing I think of is Blake’s Apple Orchard.
Located in Armada, MI, Blake’s Apple Orchard offers not only apple picking, but they also offer array of other fruits for picking, pumpkin picking, and a variety of haunted attractions including a new attraction Zombie Paintball. They also offer a cider mill with freshly made doughnuts and apple cider.
They have also started offering over 10 varieties of hard cider. I recently tried Flannel Mouth, which is a hard cider also available at Meijer. It was very sweet, yet crisp. If 21 or older I would recommend giving it a shot. They also offer a variety of other flavors, one being El Chavo. El Chavo is a mixture of Habanero peppers, mango and, of course, apples. According to the website, it has a kick. All of the “beer” type ciders are based at 6.5% abv.
The cider house is open Sunday through Wednesday 11am-6pm and Thursday through Saturday 11am-11pm. They offer ½ off drinks during happy hour from 4pm-7pm. They also offer ½ off all drinks during Tigers games Monday-Thursday and Sunday starting May 1st.
Now what started my investigation into Blake’s was me seeing post after post on Facebook about people going there. I was curious if Blake’s was really the place to go during autumn. So I dragged my boyfriend there as a date.
The prices for the haunted attractions were reasonable and they even offered package deals that I thought were more than fair. Spooky Land 3D Maze cost $10.95, the Three Story Haunted Barn cost $13.95 per adult and $9.95 per child, the Haunted Hayride cost $16.95 per adult and $12.95 per child. The final haunted attraction is Zombie Paintball Safari, this is priced at $19.95 and lets you shoot at real life zombies! The package deals range from two attractions for $22 per adult and $18 for children (with a lower price on Sundays) to the VIP special (includes all four attractions) for $49.95 (with a lower price on Sundays.) They also offer a $5 off discount on Halloween night for any combo pack.
The apples, on the other hand, I felt were a bit over priced at $1.49 a pound. I did however have the most fun while picking them, and they were delicious. In the end it was worth it. I had a blast, and got some really cool experiences, plus some pretty tasty doughnuts!
What I really found cool about Blake’s is that while they offered the typical haunted stuff, but they also offered a petting zoo, face painting, a fun maze (that wasn’t haunted) for the kids, so that a family could go and not have to worry about the kids being freaked out.
Joshua Drouillard, 20 of Fort Gratiot, said, “It was a great environment for both family and friends. They do a great job every year, I’m glad I got to experience it this year.”
If you’re looking for something to do in the next few weeks, be it fun for the family, or spending time with someone special in your life, Blake’s Apple Orchard should be on your list of things to do.
A local legend
Nick “Chico” Hernandez
In the darkest nights, at the quietest of times, fear can grip the sanest minds. Many people have experienced the fear when they made a pilgrimage to the infamous Morrow Road. The southern part of the road is located in Clay Township (on the outskirts of Algonac) and northern part rests in Cottrellville Township (on the outskirts of Marine City). In the 19th Century, Morrow Road was a cow path but was later expanded when more people moved in. Until recently, the road was all dirt but is now paved.
The legend begins with a mother and child dying in the late 1800’s. While there is several theories about what happened to the mother and child, one of the most popular theories is that the child left the house late one night and wondered outside. The mother discovered the child wasn’t in the room and ran outside to find the child in her nightgown. During this search, Morrow Road was getting hit with an unpredicted winter storm. Legends state that the mother froze to death before finding the child.
Continuing on local lore, it is said that the spot where the bridge once stood can be used to see the mother. Some claim that by lighting a fire there, she will appear in the flames which supports a different theory that the mother and child perished in a fire and not in a winter storm. The other popular way of trying to “summon” her is by honking the horn of a car three times at the bridge. Some people have said the sounds of a child crying can be heard on the road, while other claim to have been chased by the mother or “flying orbs.” The police have filed all these as false claims.
Morrow Road has spawned more than local legends, such as a book, an upcoming movie, and an appearance on Unsolved Mysteries. Francis J. Sampier covers Morrow Road in his book, Legend of Morrow Road, and goes into detail explaining the other theories of the mother’s demise, among other things. The movie, “Morrow Road,” has been in the works since 2005 but has not been confirmed on when it will be finished. Sampier, who is the director for “Morrow Road,” could not be reached for comment.
As with many local legends, the story is based on accounts from several people over many years and continues to draw people to the supposedly haunted road. As Halloween draws, Morrow Road may become a popular spot for people looking for a possible spooky scare.
Mark Bates, 34 of St. Clair, expressed his excitement to visit Morrow Road, “I’ve had some friends that went there in the 90’s and this time it’s my turn. Ghost or not, I’m ready to jump.”
What to during the Spooky holiday
It’s that time of the year.
Where small children dress up and ask strangers for candy, and parents then “check” the candy and eat it themselves.
Yes, Halloween, the spookiest of the Holidays.
For those of you who can’t partake in free candy, there is still plenty of things to do. And not just Haunted Houses.
House of Judgment
Just because Port Huron is a smaller city, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t house some of the greatest frights. House of Judgment was featured on HBO as one of the largest Haunted Houses in the country. Taking place in the old Washington School building, the haunt covers all 3 floors. Tickets are $15, or $12 with student ID. The house is open Fridays and Saturdays all October. All profits go to the Grace Ministry Center. For more information, visit houseofjudgment.net.
Panic at Pine Stump Hollow
For those looking for haunted adventure in the woods, this might be the place for you. The half mile walk leads guests to sights of ghosts and ghouls. A haunted house is also featured at the attraction. Each haunt is $12 or $20 for a package deal. Dates and locations for the haunt is listed on the website. For more information, visit panicatpinestumphollow.com.
Family Haunted Village and Spook Walk
If you’re in the Sanilac Area, head over to the Historic Village for Halloween family fun. Tour the village, meet the residents of the old town, and walk through the woods. The event on Oct. 17 and starts at 7 p.m.. Price for admission is $3 for adults and children. The event welcomes all ages. For more information, visit sanilaccountymuseum.org.
The Rocky Horror Show
This one is for all the freaks and geeks of the night. The cult hit returns to the McMorran Place for another Halloween show. The story follows a newly engaged couple who, after breaking down on the road, discover a strange house and are pulled into the world of singing, dancing, and transvestites. Tickets are $20 to $30 and the shows Oct. 23 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. and 11:55 p.m. For more information, visit Mcmorran.com.