Category Archives: Opinion

Opinion

Donate to save a life

And get a free sticker too
Colleen Viger
Guest writer

When we look at a driver’s license we see such things as name, height, weight, and possibly a little red heart? That red heart symbol could be the symbol of life for some people.
The Gift of Life Michigan website has a lot of great information available regarding organ donation. It does not cost anything to donate and a person can even choose a specific organ they would like to donate.
At the beginning of March 2015 there are a total of 3,427 Michigan patients who are waiting for a transplant. The top three organs that are needed for transplantation are the kidney, liver and heart. One person could potentially save up to eight lives by becoming an organ donor and about fifty lives could be saved through tissue donation.
Anyone can be a donor! Did you know that there is also something called being a “living donor?” That’s right; a person can donate a kidney, part of their liver or a lobe of their lung while they are still living. Not everyone may be qualified for this but for most people that are eligible are able to live healthy and long lives after donation.
So how can you become a donor? It is an easy process! Just go to www.giftoflifemichigan.org, go to the bottom left side of the screen and click the link that says “become a donor” that is next to the little red heart. It will ask you if you have a driver’s license or state ID card and then all you have to provide is your identification number, name and date of birth. If you are unable to do this online, call the Gift of Life phone number at 1 (800) 482-4881; it only takes about 30 seconds. For further information visit www.giftoflifemichigan.org to possibly change someone’s life!

Proposition 1 raising taxes to fix the roads

Is it worth it?
Nick “Chico” Hernandez
Managing Editor

On May 5, the people of Michigan will vote on Proposition 1 which is an attempt by Governor Snyder to raise funding to fix the roads. According to 2014 data from the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council, only 17% of Michigan’s roads are in good shape, 45% are in fair condition, and 38% where considered to be in poor shape. Many Michigan residents will agree that the roads are always being rebuilt, or are full of potholes. Even memes on Facebook have popped up about this problem.
Prop 1 would raise the state fuel tax (currently nineteen cents for a gallon of gas, fifteen for a gallon of diesel) and be adjusted for inflation annually. No exact number has been given for the fuel tax increase so far. This would also cause vehicle registration to go up, and increase the state sales tax from 6% to 7%; however, the sales tax would be taken off the sale of fuel.
According to a Detroit Free Press article, “Roads 101”, this proposition will bring “a little more than $1.2 billion a year” to repair the roads.
Raye Gardner, a 27 year old junior of SC4 and Port Huron resident said, “I don’t think that it is worth it, or that it will make a difference. We already had taxes put on top of the fuel prices in the past, and we still pay them with every gallon we purchase, and it’s made us one of the top most taxed states in the way for fuel expenses. In the sense that we are being taxed so to fund road repair, it’s interesting to know that the state government had never fully designated that money to its purpose. Why fund more reasons for politicians to line their pockets?”
Matt Watson, 21 of East Pointe, stated his opinion by saying, “Personally, I suspect most of the funds will not go towards road development. It’s a way for the state to solve spending problems with a road tax on it. I think anything that says ‘tax increase’ has a higher chance of failing.” He added that “without a doubt” the roads are terrible. “It’s tempting to drive in the turning lanes because of how bad they are.”

Help to quit smoking

Colleen Viger
Guest writer

There have been many changes over the years in regards to tobacco use — from the banning of smoking in bars and restaurants to the tobacco free campus campaigns throughout the U.S., including our very own SC4 campus. Some jobs, such as nursing, even require that a person gets screened for tobacco use before they are hired and if they test positive for tobacco then they will be denied the nursing position.
With all of these changes happening many people either want to or have to quit smoking. It can be a very tough challenge to accomplish but it is possible! There are many great resources and different strategies to help a person quit smoking. If you are looking to quit or have already made that decision, here are some tips from smokefree.gov to help you accomplish your goals!
1. Plan a quit date: write a quit date down and place it where you can see it or circle the date on the calendar. Make sure to plan it on a day where you are less likely to run into stressful situations or situations where you will be tempted to smoke.
2. Let the people close to you know you are quitting: it is very important to have support through this process. Letting them know what they can do to help will help you in your journey to quit smoking.
3. Get rid of any reminders: throw away anything that reminds you of smoking such as cigarettes, ashtrays and lighters. Also, get rid of that smoky smell which can also be a trigger for smoking.
4. Why do you want to quit?: Having a reason to quit can help keep a person on track with the ultimate goal of living a tobacco free life. Making a list of reasons why you are quitting can serve as a helpful reminder, especially on those tough days.
5. Know what your triggers are: write down what your triggers are and then come up with ways to either avoid them or overcome the urge to smoke when you are around your triggers. More information about dealing with cravings can be found on www.smokefree.gov/cravings
6. Coping strategies: develop coping strategies that work for you. Some people may try medications such as a nicotine patch, gum or lozenge (though it is advised you speak with your healthcare provider before starting any medications). Counseling in person or over the phone is an option as well as hypnosis, acupuncture, and laser therapy according to www.smokfree.gov/explore-quit-methods.
7. Have a support system: there are many different options for support. One option is a text messaging service called Smokefree TXT. To sign up visit www.smokfree.gov/smokefreetxt. There is also something called Quitlines where you can talk to a counselor over the phone by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW. Other options would be quit smoking apps, family and friends or support groups.
8. Have a rewards system: give yourself a nice reward such as a movie night or going out to dinner when you have reached a milestone such as one day, one week or one month smoke free.
It is never too late to quit smoking. The benefits are seen after just 20 minutes when your heart rate and blood pressure decrease according to the American Cancer Society. They also state that within 2 weeks to three months the function of your lungs and your circulation improve, within 1 to 9 months you can see a decrease in coughing and shortness of breath, and after 5 years your risk of certain cancers and stroke decrease significantly. To see a list of more benefits of quitting visit www.cancer.org
The choice is yours! It is never too late to quit and there are many different ways to achieve your goal of a tobacco free life. To learn more about quitting visit the American Cancer Society, smokefree.gov, or the American Lung Associations websites, just to name a few! Good luck and best wishes on your journey.

By: Colleen Viger

Christianity, Luciferism, Polytheism

Facts and opinions of these three religious ideas
Tyler Smith
Sports Editor

DISCLAIMER: this opinion piece consists of data and facts researched as well experiences over a 10 year span of my life. The content of this piece is not the collected opinions of the Erie Square Gazette. These are my own opinions formed over a period of maturing from my young inquiring years to my present mature self.

We all see God in a different way; some see him as loving, merciful, and caring. These are the views of many Christians I have encountered in my life. Others believe in multiple gods who are seen as sub humans or new ideas of religion that are out there. And many of us let this get in the way of trying to know somebody.
Many Christians are selfless people who will do anything to help a person. Christianity is such a peaceful religion following the teachings of Jesus Christ and his father where you treat others with respect and love because they are just other people living life the same as you. I admire Christians for they are such a persistent people and can overcome anything.
Although, some Christians give Christianity a bad reputation, such as the Westboro Baptist Church, who protested soldiers funerals and burned holy text of other religions such as the Islamic Quran. Christians like these are the ones that cause childish fits and attack other religions as well their own Christian brothers and sisters. All in all, the Christian faith has come a long way since its birth spreading love, caring, and peace to this world.
Another religious idea that is not as old as Christianity and Paganism but has been around for a while is Luciferism. Luciferism does not really follow a certain person really, but it emphasizes on the story of the angel Lucifer and his skirmish with god.
In Luciferism, it is believe that Lucifer, not God, created the universe, the earth, and mankind. Like every creator he loved his creations and took care of them. God did not tamper with any of Lucifer’s creations except for humanity. In the story, God creates the tree of knowledge and forbids Lucifer’s humanity creations to eat the fruit and bans Lucifer from entering the Garden of Eden. And everyone knows the rest, but really the belief of this idea is that mankind should become knowledgeable, not blindly follow others.
To me though, the idea plays on the grounds of morality and the role of good and bad, making the little of the good and innocent things and not fully enveloping them to what they lead to. Morality is a huge thing in our society since the dawn of time, to play with such a thing as that is some sketchy thinking. Though we have new ideas coming up some old ideas are re-emerging in our time.
Polytheism or the belief of multiple gods is coming back a little bit. If you missed the clues I left you its ok but I’m a Polytheist. I believe in the Norse gods Odin, Thor, Baldr, Tyr, Loki, etc. I’m not going to list all my gods because there is a lot and that would be rude of me. With Polytheism most of the multiple god religions sets our focused on our ancestors and are not earth based.
With Asatru Paganism, which is my specific religion, we believe we are literal descendants of the gods. Worship of the gods has changed since the Christian crossover, sacrifices of nine animals of every kind including humans were seen as to satisfy the gods. With a Christian morality the human sacrifices stop. Polytheists are a very honorable, respectful people; the belief of treating others was very similar to Christianity.
With many different beliefs out there, it is better to respect what they believe in with the three religious ideas from the old, modern, and new ideas. People are people, and some are complete jerks and think that religion is something to boost their ego and believe they are above everyone else, but we can change that by showing a little love no matter what we believe in.

Microsoft Makeover

LilyArticle
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.”

Books to beat the heat

beat-the-reaper deweycover1
Two titles to pick up this summer
Nick “Chico” Hernandez
Managing Editor

With summer creeping in, the time to sit outside with a good read in hand is now. Two books worth investing time into are “Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World,” and “Beat the Reaper.”
The first, as stated by the title, is a feel-good book about an orphan kitten who isadopted as a library cat in Spencer, Iowa. Written by Bret Witter and Vicki Myron, the furry ride begins in the dead of winter of 1988 when a librarian (Myron) found Dewy (full name – Dewy Readmore Books) in the book return slot and decided to adopt him. Without spoiling anything else, Dewy ends up gaining fame, one paw print at a time. Even going so far as to become an official member of the Library Cat Society.
The cost weighs in at about $10 for an E-Book, and around $8 for paperback across the internet, or could be checked out at any library for a much smaller fee.
Grey’s Anatomy, this is not. “Beat the Reaper” may feature a doctor, technically an intern, working a Manhattan hospital but that is as close as they ever get. When a new patients arrives in the hospital, he begins to wonder if Dr. Peter Brown is in fact, a Pietro “Bearclaw” Brnwa; a hit-man for the mob. Things escalate quickly, and Dr. Brown finds himself caught in the middle of the mob, the government, and death itself.
The book picks up quickly and never truly drops the adrenaline ride. Besides being chock-full of violence and swear words, it also has a high hilarity rate. Laughs and cuss words aside, “Beat the Reaper” is an easy book to read and digest. “Beat the Reaper” is written by Josh Bazell, and costs around $9.50 for an E-book, and around $11 for a paperback.
Whether reading one or both of these books, keep in mind it doesn’t matter what you’re reading but where you read it. According to the thermometer, the temperature has been on the rise and should be a call to all to pull up a chair on the porch, or drop a blanket on the ground and read.

Don’t be a jerk

MelOpinion
A quick blurb about being nice
Mel Buskirk
Copy Editor

Everyone has those days where nothing seems to go right. You lost your wallet. Your car won’t start. You completely spaced about that presentation that you had to give in front of fifty-something people today. Or maybe, you might have some bigger problems to deal with. Your family member goes missing. Your relationship with your significant other is crumbling. Your federal aid is getting cut so you can’t afford college next year. Sometimes, life really sucks.
In this world, our friends are on a screen and we broadcast our problems onto a virtual wall for the world to see. We have hundreds of followers and friends. Everyone seems connected, yet we have grown so far apart from each other. Our culture has evolved into a narcissistic machine, where everything is about “me.” Sometimes it’s hard to remember that, despite all of your problems, each and every individual around you has their own. We are all the protagonists to our own stories. Every extra in every scene of your life have their own movies that they star in.
It is impossible to understand what is going on in everyone else’s lives, even with Facebook and Twitter. We couldn’t possibly know or understand the struggle of each person we walk by the street. We don’t know if they are having one of those days where nothing goes right. So why be a jerk to someone you don’t even know?
I’m not saying that you have to go out of your way to help every passerby that you encounter solve their life’s problems. I’m saying just be a little more considerate of others. Hold open the door for an extra second for the guy trailing behind you. Let that pedestrian cross in front of your car. Give that poor man on the corner the change in your pocket. The smallest action can lead to a huge positive impact in someone else’s life.
You might ask, “So what? How does this benefit me?” Truth is it might not directly help you. It would, however, help someone else out when they’re having a bad day. Wouldn’t you like to be helped the same way if you were in their situation?

The Millennial misconception

AngieOpinion
Is technology to blame?
Angie Stoecklin
Editor-in-Chief

Millennials. According to a document by the Council of Economic Advisors for the White House Millennials are the generation of Americans born between 1980 and the mid-2000’s. As a person who is considered a part of the millennial generation, I have come to notice that we are looped into the stereotype of being so dependent on technology that we have become afraid of face to face human communication. But really, are Millennial’s really to blame for this?
Technology is something that people in my generation are very dependent on. It’s easy to see when in what seems like every public setting people are attached to their cell phones to a point where a room packed full of people is close to silent. This is a travesty to me that people have seemed to have lost the desire to communicate with other humans. But with all of the flack Millenials have gotten from older generations about becoming “lazy and selfish” as said by Joel Stein of Time Magazine in his article “The Me Me Me generation,” the question of why this perception exists still hangs in the air.
Not that long ago, no more than ten years ago as a matter of fact, most of the simple tasks us humans encounter on a daily basis were done over the phone or in person. Examples of this would be ordering a pizza, calling the movie theater to see when and what movies were playing, or going to check your balance and make transactions at the bank or credit union.
Now, not only can you build a pizza online using virtual toppings to place your order, the movie theaters have phone apps, and of course, banks provide phone apps too, that even allow you to pay your bills without ever having any human contact at all.
So who’s to blame here? Well, really no one as far as I can tell. Businesses want to increase productivity and convenience for their customers and employees. If you can order a pizza online, it saves the time of whoever answers the phone to take your order, get your address, card number, etc. But is convenience going too far?
Really it’s not very hard to go to a bank and pay your bills confidentially by talking to another person. I personally still deal with my banking responsibilities in this sort of way simply because the internet, while banks and similar corporations take the highest precautions, is still vulnerable to hackers.
The point I am trying to prove is that no generation or group of people is directly responsible for this lack of human communication. It’s an individual choice. I doubt I’m alone in hoping that my generation is not conceived as “lazy” for too much longer, so I propose a challenge to my fellow Millennials.
Next time you are in a public place, be it an elevator, restaurant, bar, or whatever, turn off your phone. The world is not going to blow up if you turn your phone of for an hour. Also, talk to a stranger. Just strike up a conversation with the person closest to you, you may be rejected, but don’t stop. Human communication is one of the things being lost among the flood of technology. You’d be surprised how much of an impression a complete stranger can have on your life and you on theirs.

Occupy the Bookstore wants to save you money on textbooks

IMG_0019New Chrome plugin made for college students
Nick “Chico” Hernandez
Managing Editor

“Occupy the Bookstore” isn’t another gathering of protesters in New York, it’s a gathering of college kids looking to save money on their school books.
Going to college is expensive. Collegedate.com published an article stating, “According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2013–2014 school year was… $8,893 for state residents at public colleges.” Add in, “College Board reports the average cost for books and supplies for the 2013–2014 school year was $1,207 at public colleges” and it shows why occupythebookstore.com came to be.
Occupythebookstore.com allows you to download a free plugin for the Chrome browser. This plugin, which works automatically once downloaded, will show you the price comparisons on different sites all while sitting on a college bookstore’s website.
If a student were to look up a Psychology book on neebo.com (SC4’s bookstore site) they would find a bar on top of the screen, showing different listings for different sites, such as Chegg, Amazon, and Bilbo.
Occupy the Bookstore plugin opens a new tab to the different site, allowing you to keep a metaphorical bookmark in the original website. Students can also sell their textbooks to the site for free once they create an account.
This new plugin may be the end of high priced college bookstores, but it is too early to tell, being that the app didn’t launch until the beginning of Jan.

All I want for Christmas is, well everything

3 reasons why the holidays are so stressful
Jenelle Kalaf
Photo Editor

What happened to the holiday spirit?
What used to be considered the most wonderful time of the year now only brings stress to families who should be celebrating togetherness.
Over the last week, I took the time at my place of employment (retail) to observe what seems to stress people out during the holidays from a customer service point of view, and compiled a list of what I’ve noticed.
The season of wanting.
The selflessness of giving and expecting nothing in return has turned into a competition on whether grandma can out-spend mom and if little Timmy gets a brand new PlayStation 4.
From fathers’ yelling at me for selling the last of a game that was already reserved to children crying because mom and dad still have to have enough money for food, the holidays seem to transform into a festival of “want, want, want,” and nothing about giving back.
Stressful hours and grumpy customers.
The rush to buy presents causes stress for employees as well.
Last minute shoppers run into stores looking for the hottest items and are usually given the “we won’t be restocking until Jan. 2” response which causes the shopper’s mood to drop and stress to soar. That entails the employees to become stressed when they have to deal with the same situations when they get off work.
While shopping in July like some do might be considered a little ridiculous, stressful shopping holidays such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be avoided and make the holidays a little easier.
Not being thankful.
Some people don’t realize how good they have it. The holiday madness makes people forget that the whole world doesn’t revolve around the problems of gift giving.
Some people just want someone to spend the holidays with, and others just want a meal for their children and they can’t afford big presents for them to smile.
If everyone can sit down and just be thankful for what they have, even if they don’t get the new IPhone 6, then maybe the holidays would be a little bit happier