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T-birds tidbits: Michigan lawmakers approve Right to Work

T-birds tidbits:

Michigan lawmakers approve Right to Work

Twana Pinskey

Managing Editor


In a move that would rival the “War of the Roses,” Michigan legislators have voted to make Michigan the 24th state to become a “Right to Work” state.

This move allows Michiganders the right to work at jobs without being forced to pay union dues.

I believe it to be a smart move. Others may disagree and might ask “why Michigan?”

According to Detroit Free Press writer John Gallagher’s Nov. 17 article it’s “An upbeat outlook for Michigan’s economy.”

University of Michigan economists predict moderate economy growth and job gains during the next two years.

I agree with that.

From what I have seen, housing is slowly turning around as well. As encouraged as I am about these positive signs, I don’t think we can rest on our laurels.

I would like to see a more intensified growth in our state. We are headed in the right direction, but need to pick up speed, not slow down.

This is why I am not opposed to taking another look at Right to Work.

Ok, so I understand those who oppose Right to Work believe the move will weaken unions and feel it can lead to lower wages. But what I have always had a problem with is employees being forced to pay union dues as grounds for employment, even if they do not join their company’s union.

I can see right in both perspectives.

As a realist, I believe if you opt out of a right to work union, then you should not be able to reap the benefits of those who do choose union membership.

Right to Work can lead to more businesses, and opponents of Right to Work are right in their concern over lower wages.

On the other hand is the success in other Right to Work states.

According to the Bureau of Census, between 2000-2011, Right to Work states have seen an over 11 percent increase in residents ages 25-34. Growing pay checks lead to increased populous in these states.

Accordingly, non-Right to Work states has seen a 0.6 percent increase in the same time frame.

I believe Right to Work is not the cure all, but is one of the necessary ingredients for growth, yet ensures a state’s politics are not dominated and controlled by unions.

The SC4 survival guide to finals week

The SC4 survival guide to finals week

Hayley Myron



The end of the world is nigh, at least according to the Mayan Calendar.

However, fear not, because the reasoning behind it isn’t because our finals are coming next week. In order to avoid a disastrous demise I have found ways from across the campus on how to survive and pass the dreaded finals.

To begin I roamed the student center looking for other students who were bunkering down with books and pencils.

I stumbled across Melissa Bratton, a freshman from Marysville, who looked ready to take on the college world. I asked her why she though that it was important to study for the finals and she replied, “It is to make sure that the information sticks, because the finals make or break your grade.”

The tools to being successful on your finals are within your own grasp. The best approaches I have found to do for studying are easy to do.

Whenever I begin my study process, I make sure that I am comfortable and there are no distractions within the room. Along with that I make sure I have something to drink and something else to snack on.

When studying it is best not to just do it all at once.

Ashley Smith, a freshman from Marysville, told me, “Don’t cram all in one night, and don’t stay up all night before the test.”

It is much better to spread out your studying time over a longer period of time. You will be much more likely to absorb the information that you read.

If you would like more tips on how to study, go to

Winter’s chocolate fix

Winter’s chocolate fix

Christina Stoutenburg



Winter’s coming and the cold weather’s not letting up, so why not try something new?

Hot chocolate from scratch, or maybe even some no-bake cookies?

Sure, it’s easy to head to the nearest store and purchase premixed powder, whether it be in tub form or packet, but it’s just as easy to concoct hot chocolate from scratch.

Most of the necessary ingredients can be found around the house, some might need to be purchased.

Hot Chocolate by Josh Moody under a Creative Commons license

For two servings the ingredients are:

  • 4-5 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder, the kind often used for baking.
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar, a sugar substitute maybe used, refer to the package substitutions
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups milk, or for a lactose free version try plain soymilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Mix sugar, cocoa, and salt in a small bowl then set aside.

Next heat the milk, or soy milk on the stove or microwave, until hot. Separate the milk into two mugs, and then evenly divide the powder mixture into the two mugs.

Stir and maybe add some marshmallow or whipped cream, if desired.

No-bake cookies are another chocolate fix that most ingredients if not already stocked, are cheap to purchase.

No bake cookies by Rick Measham under a Creative Commons license

To make two to three dozen cookies, it takes about 20 minutes and the following  ingredients:

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats

First prepare a wax paper lined cookie sheet for dropping, and then set aside.

Add the butter, sugar, milk and cocoa powder to a 4-quart saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Let the mixture boil for one minute, and then remove from heat.

Add the peanut butter and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Next stir in the oats.

Now grab the wax paper lined cookie sheet and drop heaping teaspoons of the mixture onto it, leaving a little space for the cookies to settle.

Let cool until set, then they are ready to eat.

These recipes were found online, the hot chocolate one is courtesy of Meijer Healthy Living Advisor Tina Miller, and the no-bake cookies to the Brown Eyed Baker website.

Ways to help with holiday depression

Ways to help with holiday depression

Mairead Warner

Staff Writer


For some of us the holidays are a joyous time, but for others the holidays are not so joyous.

If you know someone who is having a rough time during the holiday, you can make a difference.

Volunteering can help those who are not feeling the holiday mood. Cooking Christmas dinner for someone who is unable, or inviting someone who is alone over the holidays for dinner.

Visit a homeless shelter and help feed the homeless.

For those who have had a loved one pass away, try making a Christmas memory box that includes all of the good memories that you have with that other person.

Send someone a holiday card. If a love one is not with you during the holiday, send them a care package.

One can donate money, food, clothes, etc. to a charity they wish to support. Charities like Toys-for-Tots.

Helping out in your community is an option. Start a community food drive, or maybe have a hot chocolate and cookies bake sale. Donate the profits to local community schools.

The holidays can bring out the good times in light of the bad times.

Depression affects many people in all shapes and sizes, including Bev Sykes. Photo Credit: Mairead Warner

Throwing a neighborhood Christmas party can help one get to know their neighbors better. It can also help those in need of company, and could bring those in need of some to talk to people to talk to.

During neighborhood Christmas parties, have the kids exchange gifts. For those whose holiday depression is caused by lack of income, create a Christmas budget. The budget can include food, decorations, gifts, etc.

Try organizing holiday menus, party ideas and a gift exchange.

If you, or someone you know, is feeling depressed over the holidays, there are people willing to help just a phone call away.

For the National Suicide Prevention Hotline Lifeline call (800)273- 8255. Here are the numbers for St. Clair Community Mental Health Services (810)987-6911 and (888)225-4447.

Both services provide 24 hour and seven days a week assistance.

SC4 students lack involvement in clubs

SC4 students lack involvement in clubs

Liz Whittemore

Photo Editor


College is the time where young adults tend to experiment with their newfound independence.

Students involve themselves in campus life, living away from home, making new friends, taking on big loans, working long hours, and developing coffee addictions from late nights, in addition to their academic responsibilities.

Community college students have many of the same tasks as university students, yet attending a commuter school carries over the responsibilities of home and family into their years of educational pursuit.

Such is the case with SC4.

On a survey of 500 SC4 students on their awareness and involvement with campus clubs, 77 percent of students answered that they are not involved in a campus club.

Yet only 34 percent of students said that they do not have an interest in becoming involved, though many students expressed concerns that they are interested, but lack the time.

More than half of the student participants, 53 percent, said they do not know where to find more information on campus clubs.

Alyssa Ferri, alumni of SC4, noted the struggle with membership during her time with the Music club.

“I feel that faculty needs to be more aware and involved in spreading the word of clubs,” said Ferri. “I think a lot of students don’t go searching for them, so more measures need to be taken to put it right in front of their nose.”

Vice President of Student Government Sean Lathrop thinks it is difficult to get students at a two-year college to become involved with student activities and campus clubs.

“SC4 students are here to get an education and transfer out. I believe the amount of work a club must do to stay afloat is a deterrent,” said Lathrop.

SC4 currently has 16 campus clubs. Among these clubs are the Music club, the Criminal Justice club, the Health and Wellness club, Phi Theta Kappa honor society, the Erie Square Gazette, WSGR radio, the Gay-Straight Alliance, the Marketing and Management club, the Drama club, and SC4’s newest campus club, Magical Gathering.

For a full list of SC4 clubs and meeting times, visit

Global Awareness club President Bridget Cadena thinks that clubs are a great way to spend time at school.

“Clubs are a good opportunity to meet new people and fill in your break time during the day,” said Cadena.

SC4 Student Activities Coordinator Angel Niedekohr believes that involvement in campus clubs has a good impact on students, giving them experience with leadership and having a good impact on the college.

“They give you a sense of belonging to your college,” said Niederkohr.

During the distribution of the survey, some students stated an interest in an art or a magic club.

SC4 clubs photo

Students interested in creating a new club would need to make a charter that states the proposed new club’s name, goals, and a mission that ties back to SC4’s curriculum or a program sponsored by them, such as the athletic department.

The club also needs the name and signature of at least four students who are willing to serve as officers of the club. These students will be the club’s founders.

Lastly, the club needs a signed memo from a college faculty member that states that they are willing to serve as the club’s advisor.

The rise of a new classic

The rise of a new classic

Hayley Myron



All the mystical figures you loved as a child jam packed into a full feature film?

I say heck yes.

Last weekend I went with my family to go see “The Rise of the Guardians” and let me tell you, it was worth every penny.

This movie is the story of how the main character, who is Jack Frost, finds his purpose. In the beginning, all he knows is that the moon man told him his name.

However, the Boogey Man, also known as Pitch, begins to fill the children of the world with fear and nightmares, so the Guardians realize they need more help.

The moon man tells Santa, the Tooth fairy, Sandman, and the Easter Bunny to let Jack join the Guardians.  Throughout the film they begin to develop an everlasting friendship.

“The Rise of the Guardians” displays how much each of our childhood idols help out one another.

The best part about this movie is that it is far from the general idea of how we have always viewed these characters.

The Easter Bunny is Australian and fights with boomerangs. Not to mention the Tooth Fairy looks like hummingbird.

The Sandman is small and of course, made of sand. Lastly, my favorite is the Russian Santa Clause.

Nothing says Santa like dual sword fights and stupid elves.

So, when you get the chance I highly encourage you to go out and see it in theaters. It won’t disappoint.

Secret santa

Secret santa

Zachary Penzien

Production Editor


Did you know Santa fought the Devil? And won!

He is not as concrete of an idea as one may think.

The modern Santa as we know him has only been around as long as Coke. Santa as we know him now is a combination of the 1920 Coke advertising department and the art of a man named Thomas Nast.

Santa Photo Credit: Zack

Since the late 1800’s, there have been some odd myths that have been taken into the Santa lore around the world.

Here are two of the weirder ones culled from the book “History of Santa clause” by Duncan Royale.

In middle ages, Holland, Black Peater was the name of the Devil. Santa didn’t stand for that. According to legends, he defeated Black Peat, also known as Zwarte Peat, and made him deliver presents to the children of Netherlands by dropping them down the chimney and into their shoes.

The bad kids didn’t get coal; they were taken during the night. In later versions of the story, they were taken to hell, which because of Spanish rule in Holland, was Spain.

In the 1850’s he was depicted as a black caricature, leading it to come under fire for racism in modern times.

Father Ice is an ancient Russian bedtime story, and like all ancient bed time stories, it’s terrifying.

According to legend, there was a woman who had a bad daughter and a good step daughter. The mother always treated the step daughter more harshly than her real daughter.

One day, the mother through the step daughter out into the cold, and she was found by Father Ice. He was impressed by the step daughter’s kindness and rewarded her with diamonds.

When the mother tried to repeat the events by throwing her real daughter out in the snow, Father Ice punished the daughter by turning her into a pillar of ice.

Slowly, for some reason, he became associated with Christmas.

Like most myths and fairy tales, Santa is very malleable. He has gone through many variations around the world due to the primitive communication.

Only one more episode to go

Only one more episode to go

Hayley Myron



Two words: gut wrenching.

I just finished watching the second to last episode of Showtime’s hit TV show “Dexter” and let me tell you, it wasn’t easy.

“Dexter” is one of the greatest shows to ever grace the flat screen TV. I started watching this drama three years ago, and since watching the pilot I have been hooked.

Whenever there is an episode, whether it is cable, DVD, or even online, there is nothing that can pull me away from the screen.

“Dexter” is about the protagonist Dexter Morgan, who is a serial killer that ironically murders other killers to please his “dark passenger,” also known as just his feeling to kill.

Now there are huge spoilers up ahead, so read with caution.

In this season, Dexter has fallen in love with the infamous Hannah McKay. Who is she you may ask? Well she is a serial killer herself.  However she does not have a code to follow, the only reason she kills is to protect herself from harm’s way.

Honestly, I can say that I absolutely adore their somewhat morbid relationship, but this episode took that away from me.

After Dexter turned in his beloved Hannah to the police I feel there is nothing else that will ever bring me happiness.

At least that is until the season finale premiers.

So go home and set your DVR to record “Dexter” Sunday night at 9 p.m.

You can thank me later.

Secrets of the Underground Railroad not left untold.

Secrets of the Underground Railroad not left untold.

Amber Oile

Staff Writer


On Nov. 16, the Port Huron Museum announced their showing of “The Passages of Freedom: Secrets of the Underground Railroad” exhibit.

Monday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., viewers may have their memory refreshed and learn new information on this period in time.

It also touches on the Quilting Sisters from different parts of Michigan, along with their stories, some in relation to the hardships from a different time.

Port Huron Museum exhibit. Photo Credit: Amber Oile


“Seeing the history again really brought the reality back to life in my mind,” said Julie Cowny of Yale, Mi. Her son, Joe Cowny, also found some fascination in the secret facts of history kept behind closed doors.

“I am always interested in learning new things about history, especially the Civil War,” said Joe Cowny.

In North America, the first African Americans were brought in 1619. The slave trade was abolished in 1808 in the United States, but you can find that out in anyone of your history books.

Safe houses were known as the secret hiding places for slaves attempting to escape. Slaves were hidden, sometimes behind staircases, in cramped areas for hours on end. Remaining quiet until word was given and the coast was clear to move.

Port Huron Museum exhibit. Photo Credit: Amber Oile

Gardeners, or guides, were known as conductors, and actual conductors were known as abductors.

Most had little chance of even knowing about the safe houses, because they were kept a secret.

Marilyn Heberer, a Port Huron Museum employee for 31 years and counting, had never even heard of this until the exhibit was shown. Heberer said, “It’s nice to learn new facts about history, although it must be hard to interpret a part of history that was never allowed to talk about.”

The Underground Railroad and Quilting Sisters exhibit is set to stay on display until Feb. 24, 2013.



Liz Whittemore

Photo Editor


Force yourself to smile, say thank you, and look enthusiastic.

We’ve all had that moment during the holidays. A distant relative suddenly feels the need to buy you a gift, though they have no idea what you need or would like. Upon presentation of the gift, we have two main options: either pretend to love the gift or try not to hurt their feelings while being honest.

I still cringe at the thought of the year my parents got me almost all Twilight-themed gifts based solely on the fact that they knew I had read the books. Since then I’ve developed an Amazon wish list, though I still live in fear throughout the month of December.

Illustration by Liz Whittemore

Regifting is a common practice during the holidays. According to Arizona Business Magazine’s writer Shelby Hill, 40 percent of regifters live in the northeast region, and more than one third (36 percent) of regifters are between 18 to 29-years-old.

“If you receive a gift that doesn’t fit into your personality, it is perfectly fine to regift it,” said SC4 Student Government Treasurer Andrew Kreiner.

“A couple years ago at a Christmas party I was given a cheetah print snuggie. I knew I would never wear it, so I rewrapped it and gave it to my little sister. She absolutely loves it and wears it often during winter,” said Kreiner.

Though you are most likely stuck if you receive a creepy china doll that resembles you, items such as gift cards are much easier to regift.

Websites such as,, Ebay, or are common options for either trading or selling your gifts or gift cards.

“If I found that I didn’t have a use for it, and that someone else would enjoy the gift more I would regift,” said SC4 student Kayleigh Barnowske.

You can avoid unwanted gifts by advertising the fact that you have a wish list. Having it online where it is easier to access and not at risk of getting lost means family or friends won’t have to struggle to find something to get you. In turn, you are less likely to receive something undesirable.

Should you luck out this holiday and enjoy all that you receive, has bad gift horror stories. Feel free this holiday to sit back with a cup of hot chocolate and chuckle at other people’s misfortune.