The Winchesters have really messed up this time.
“Supernatural” season 11 premiered October 7 and it, at the least, exceeded my expectations. Past this point there will be spoilers, so SPOILER WARNING!
Introducing: the big, the bad, the “Darkness!” The Winchesters have released the “Darkness” via a witch and so far it hasn’t turned into a Disney Halloween movie from 2005.
The script seems to be taking a “dark” road with simple solutions wrapped around more lies and apocalyptic endings. The Winchesters are known to have died multiple times throughout the series but the writers said, through the mouth of a reaper, when the Winchesters die, they will stay dead.
As usual though, Sam and Dean are emotionally tortured and are still keeping secrets. At this point, Sam’s whole life is revolved around one lie after another with a side of disappointment from Dean. The “Darkness,” in the form of a little girl, is in Crowley’s hand as he tries to bribe her into joining him. I predict he will soon tuck tail and run to the Winchesters when he realizes she is too powerful to control. Castiel is, as usual, the writer’s personal punching bag as they try to think of ways to incorporate him into a story with the “Darkness.”
The bright side? The occupants of the cage in hell is stirring from the news of the newly released “Darkness.” This is a potential to bring back some great characters for this doomed apocalyptic world.
Supernatural is in the making for another great season; that is, if they can make the “Darkness” a big enough threat to the Winchesters.
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.
Pearson leads the education industry, but that isn’t good
Nick “Chico” Hernandez
Nothing in this country is safe from monopolization and corporate greed, and the education industry is no exception. All over social media, students of every age are voicing their dislike for today’s education industry, and the rising obsession with standardized testing.
Walk into a school book store, and all over the shelves will be Pearson published books. Attend any number of classes, and it might use Pearson’s MyLab (MyMathLab, MyITLab, MyHistoryLab, etc.) website. Talk to a teacher, and many of them are certified by Pearson. Take an ADHD test, and Pearson probably made it. In addition, high school drop outs can take a GED test made by Pearson.
Pearson sits at the top of the American education industry, with bad publicity littering the ground below them.
According to prwatch.org (a watchdog site), “Apart from $8 million spent lobbying from 2009 to 2014, Pearson also underwrote untold sums on luxury trips for school officials. A crackdown by the New York attorney general led to a $7.7 million settlement in 2013, and the shuttering of the ‘charitable’ organization used for the scheme”.
With the lobbying from Pearson and other big name education corporations (ETS, Houghton Mifflin, McGraw-Hill) the “expanded testing has fueled a testing boom worth nearly $2 billion annually, giving the main corporations getting the testing contracts a huge return on investment for their lobbying” as stated in a report by prwatch.org. Lobbying is no new tactic for big corporations trying to get their way when it comes to Congress, the Senate, or any other high-ranking area of government. Keep in mind this is an education corporation.
On November 29, 2012 Pearson was trying to hire people to score the tests (tests that Pearson writes and administers as well) through many means, including Craigslist. The ad offered $12 and said “Bachelor degree required – any field welcome.” This was brought to light by a coalition of people in Texas that wanted to reform standardized testing in the state.
Jennifer White is an elementary school teacher with 15+ years of experience and she, curious about Pearson and PARCC exam, applied to Pearson as a test grader for the 2015 4th grade English Language Arts exam.
In an article White wrote for the Washington Post, “Pearson’s offer of employment came to me even though I never actually spoke to anybody at the company. The offer is conditional upon verification of my college degree, completed project training and signature on a confidentiality waiver. The company, valued at well over $10 billion, did not verify my information before its offer of employment, and seems interested only in verifying my college degree.”
White went on to mention that besides her 15+ year’s experience in teaching, she has “multiple advanced degrees in education”, and that Pearson was only interested in verifying her college degree. “I very well could have invented my resume,” she added. Pearson did not call her, they did not schedule an interview, they didn’t ask for references, and they couldn’t have performed a background check since White never gave Pearson her Social Security number.
Dan DiMaggio, a former test scorer for Pearson, wrote this in on monthlyreview.org, “Scorers often emerge from training more confused than when they started. Usually, within a day or two, when the scores we are giving are inevitably too low (as we attempt to follow the standards laid out in training), we are told to start giving higher scores, or, in the enigmatic language of scoring directors, to ‘learn to see more papers as a 4.’ For some mysterious reason, unbeknownst to test scorers, the scores we are giving are supposed to closely match those given in previous years. So if 40 percent of papers received 3s the previous year (on a scale of 1 to 6), then a similar percentage should receive 3s this year”.
Holding an untold number of children’s futures in your hand is as easy as having a college degree in anything. Shady company tactics are nothing new in America, but even the education industry isn’t safe anymore.
Pearson has also been involved in using Tracx — a website that calls themselves, “the first true social media management system” — to spy on students via social media, particularly Twitter. This has prompted a hashtag #PearsonIsWatching over social media. This all started with a teenager in New Jersey whom posted a tweet that, according to USA Today, “Referenced a question on the PARCC exam, one of two Common Core-aligned tests some states are using.”
Bob Braun is an anti-PARCC education blogger who got ahold of an email a New Jersey superintendent, Elizabeth Jewett, sent about the issue of Pearson monitoring students on the internet and explaining how her testing coordinator received a late call from the state education department.
According to Braun on his website, bobbraunsledger.com, “The unnamed state education department employee contended a student took a picture of a test item and tweeted it. That was not true. It turned out the student had posted–at 3:18 pm, well after testing was over–a tweet about one of the items with no picture. Jewett does not say the student revealed a question. There is no evidence of any attempt at cheating.”
Pearson has made it clear that they are “Absolutely not” spying and that “Only when it is confirmed that a test question has been exposed or compromised does Pearson work with states to address the breach.”
Pearson wants to expand K-12 testing, but have fought against legislation that is made to protect student privacy from commercial data mining including, but not limited to, not signing the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
The position that Pearson has risen itself to is akin to Time Warner Cable, meaning they have a hold on their industry. 54% of their business comes from America. With the urge for more kids to attend school, and attend higher education schools, it looks like Pearson will continue to profit no matter what they do. Forget the oil companies, forget big pharma; Pearson holds a market you have no choice but to pay for.
The Skippers OneCard is not just students school ID. But it also the key to discounts to places around Port Huron.
The Skippers OneCard allows students access into SC4’s fitness center, along with use in the library and bookstore and provides easy access to financial aid refunds.
Students who do not have a Skippers card can easily get one by visiting the M-Tec building at One-Stop Student Services in room 105. At the time of application, students must have a photo ID. The card will be ready in about two weeks.
Business that take part in discounts for showing a Skippers ID are…
• Alexander’s Fine Jewelers- 15% off
• A Little Something- 20% off
• Casey’s Pizza and Subs- 15% off all food only purchases.
• Cavis Grill- 10% off
• Daybreak Café- 20% off entrees (excludes happy hour and kids eat free)
• Little Caesars Pizza on 24th Street- One free crazy bread with purchase of any deep dish pizza.
• Lynch’s Irish Tavern- 10% off on food and drink purchases.
• Mosher’s Jewelers- 20% off
• The Palace Sports and Entertainment- Pistons Pass – College Offer: Present your Skippers card at the Palace ticket store and receive a $10 upper-level game ticket. Offer applies on game nights only. Limit one (1) ticket per ID, while supplies last.
• Zebra Lounge and Bowl O’Drome- 10% discount (excludes alcohol and daily specials).
More Offers are available, for a full list of offers check out the Skippers OneCard link under Student Resources in the Portal.
SC4’s Art Night brings in a crowd of the creative.
SC4 once again hosted Art Night where students of all ages could come and learn something about art and get a hands on experience.
It began at 6 P.M. and went to midnight, with four class sessions during the night in each section.
Being mainly student run, most of the instructors were students, including: Natalie Mainguy, Demond Jones, Marcus Taylor, Cortney Roles, Haley Hoyt, Shelby Wright, and Alyssa Diebolt. These students taught classes in categories such as theater, drawing, music and ceramics to anyone who registered for the event. Just a few of the classes that happened that night consisted mask making, music theory and still life drawing.
Kelsey Kittridge, who is planning on attending SC4 in the winter, said she enjoyed the event. Kittridge first tried the mask making class in the theater category. “I’ve always wanted to be involved in theater, but my nerves get the best of me.”
Kittridge also stated, “It was something new. It’s an opportunity for me to do art.”
Celeste Skalnek, head executive coordinator of the Visual and Fine Arts department at SC4, said that she wanted to bring the community together through art, so anyone could experience creating.
If you missed Art Night, but still interested in the many events the Fine Arts department will be hosting, you can find a calendar at sc4.edu/arts.