Tag Archives: Jessica Meneghin

New programs and classes coming to SC4

Jessica Meneghin

Staff Writer

Coming this fall to SC4 are two new associate’s degrees in alternative energy, one newly-revised degree in alternative energy, and 10 all-new classes.

The two new programs are Renewable and Alternative Energy Technology, which prepares students to work as renewable energy technicians; installing, services, modifying, troubleshooting, and designing wind power systems, solar domestic hot water and space-heating systems, and solar electric systems.

The other is Architectural Design/Green Building, a second-year option within the Alternative Energy Program for those who wish to pursue a career in the architectural green building design field.

Facility and Energy Management is the program that is newly-revised. It is an interdisciplinary program of study that prepares students to work in the growing field of facility and energy management.

Energy conservation and energy efficiency are integrated throughout the curriculum. According to Shawn Starkey, Executive Director of Public Relations, Marketing, and Legislative Affairs at SC4, the curriculum was revamped to add even more alternative energy components to it.

All of these programs, Starkey revealed, come to SC4 on the wings of a grant from the federal government.

“We are a leader in alternative energy,” Starkey said. And with these new programs, on top of the windmills and solar panels and student-built recycling bins that already punctuate SC4’s campus, that would certainly be hard point to argue.

The new classes to be launched this fall include three that are part of the new alternative energy programs. They are AET 100 Electrical Power and Control Circuits I, AET 102 Programmable Logic Controllers, and AET 143 Fluid Power and Control Circuits I.

The other new classes belong to existing programs.

Four of the classes fit with the Architectural Design Program that was launched in the fall of 2009, which encompasses three new architectural design degrees and one architectural design certificate.

The remaining three classes are HIS 195 American Maritime History, BIO 195 History of Science and PE 195/THA 195 Choreography Workshop.

Registration for these and all fall 2010 classes, which begin on August 23, is going on now.

‘Alice’ sitting comfortably in box office wonderland

“Alice in Wonderland” © Walt Disney Pictures
“Alice in Wonderland” © Walt Disney Pictures

Jessica Meneghin

Staff Writer

If you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of people who have already stepped through the looking glass and into Tim Burton’s 3D Wonderland, you probably have just one question:

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

“Alice in Wonderland in 3D,” Tim Burton’s film-attempt at the legendary Lewis Carroll writings, does not answer this pestering riddle for you. What the movie does do is the absolute best to-date job of re-visioning Carroll’s classic story, in its entirety, for the big screen.

In other words: exactly what Tim Burton set out to do.

While “Alice” was still in its infant stages, Burton told the internet magazine, the “Sci-Fi Wire,” that he’d never seen a version of the fabled story where he felt like they had “gotten it all.” He said he thought trying to make the stories work as a whole, and as a movie would be “interesting.”

He also compared the stories to drugs for children.

“It’s like, ‘Whoa, man,’” he said. “The imagery; they’ve never quite nailed making it compelling as a full story…so I think it’s an interesting challenge to direct.”

“Interesting” is perhaps not as appropriate a word as, say, “crazy”; especially once you consider the fact that Burton had never read the original novel, and was largely unfamiliar with anything Carroll-related, until this “Alice” project fell into his lap.

At a Feb. 20 press conference, he admitted, “I’m from Burbank, so we never heard about ‘Alice in Wonderland’ except for the Disney cartoon, the Tom Petty video, Jefferson Airplane…”

This recent trip to the box office even awarded Burton a new top domestic grosser, as “Alice” has now earned a healthy 10 million dollars more than his old top-earner, “Batman.”

For three weeks in a row now, and with the sixth-biggest third weekend of all time, Tim Burton’s latest vision has been drifting peacefully in box office wonderland.

And with worldwide ticket sales now topping 565.8 million dollars, it doesn’t look like “Alice” is going anywhere anytime soon.

Ice Ice Baby

Jessica Meneghin

Staff Writer

   The dead of winter is an icy time in St. Clair County. From the glacial build-up on

Lake Huron to the thick sheets covering the Black and St. Clair Rivers, locals have ice on all sides.

   And yet, how much thought is really given the frozen element surrounding us?

   At Knowlton’s Ice Museum of North America, the answer is: a whole lot.

   The history of ice harvesting has very close ties to the Great Lakes, and even though the industry is mechanized today, Knowlton’s makes a unique effort to keep memories of the “iceman” days alive.

   Knowlton’s Ice Museum, located at 317 Grand River Ave., not only features a collection of ice industry memorabilia spanning at least 30 years, but also provides their guests an original crash-course in the history of ice.

   Judy Knowlton, who runs the museum “pretty much alone these days,” is a treasure trove of information all by herself.

   As the daughter of Norman F. “Mickey” Knowlton, founder of Party Time Ice, Judy is full of cold, hard facts about the ice business and its history.

   For instance: Did you know that ice, at one point, was one of the 10 largest industries in the U.S.? Or that there was a time when Port Huron had over 30 operating ice companies?

   Judy Knowlton nurses a lifelong sentiment for the ice industry, and she has reserves of these kinds of facts just waiting to be accessed.

   “We‘re one of the only museums dedicated to the natural history of harvesting ice” is one of the first things Judy tells her patrons.

   Before she begins an official tour, Judy leads visitors through the middle of the museum passed rainbow walls of antique ice tongs, saws, chippers and crushers to a small film-screening area, where everyone is treated to a 15 minute educational video called “The History of Ice Harvesting.”

   “The History of Ice Harvesting” was made about three years ago and features Norman F. Knowlton, himself.

   Pride for St. Clair County shines through the film’s every minute, and accordingly, it begins and ends the story of ice on the shores of Lake Huron.

   According to film (later verified by Judy), in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, farmers would chop out and drag back to their barns large chunks of ice. They covered it with a little dirt and straw, and it would last through spring and summer.

   As of 1790, the film said the farmers and the flush were the only people indulging in the luxury that was provided by storing ice. But a crazy business venture by a Bostonian merchant named Frederic Tudor would soon change that.

   After a trip to the Caribbean, Tudor thought that he could make a fortune exporting ice from the lakes and ponds of his home state, Massachusetts, to Havana.

   In 1806, The Tudor Ice Company successfully transported an 80-ton load of ice from Boston to Martinique.

   And so the international ice trade began.

   The 1807 Jeffersonian Embargo would cause the business’s rise to be slow, but it gained speed, seeing more success around 1817-1818. And soon delivering ice from northern states to warmer southern climates became the norm.

   In 1833, ice was shipped from Massachusetts to India. 

   By the 1840’s ice was regularly being sent all over the world.

   Here in the U.S., methods of ice harvesting had to improve to keep up with the explosion in the industry. And improve they did, when an American inventor named Nathaniel Jarvis Wyeth attached a metal saw to a horse and called it the “ice plow.”

   According to “The History of Ice Harvesting,” crews of ice-cutters would scrape the ice clean of snow, and use the ice plow to mark the ice into a grid of identical 300-lb blocks. The blocks were then floated out and raised by ramps into ice houses for storing.

   Most ice houses could store up to 10,000 tons of ice. It would take about two weeks to fill an ice house, and they used sawdust as an insulator, keeping the ice cold and fresh.

   Judy reported that many ice houses still pepper the shores of northern lakes and rivers today.

   In 1861, the ice industry took another leap with the invention of the icebox.

   Improved technology for harvesting and storage equaled cheaper, more efficient production. Because of this, the United States became the first country to have refrigeration become commonplace.

   By the turn of the century ice was a hot commodity with Americans consuming more than two million tons of ice each year, and the iceman was a familiar sight on the streets of town.

   Every week when the ice wagon made its rounds, housewives all over America were posting in their front windows the amount of ice they required: 25, 50, 75 or 100 pounds.

   On sweltering summer days, children gathered in the street around the iceman’s truck hoping for handouts of ice slivers.

   Refrigeration completely transformed the American diet; before that the only options for food preservation were salting, smoking, spicing or pickling.

   At this time, companies such as the Lakeside Ice Co., Port Huron Ice, Canal Ice, the Purity Ice Co., and many others littered the Port Huron area.

   Judy Knowlton’s eyes become as wide as saucers when she talks about the huge ice houses that sprung up along the Black River and Lake Huron and how the railroad had to get involved to help service the overwhelming demand.

   Unfortunately, even every great era must someday see its end.

   As the populations of big, northern cities like Detroit grew, the waters became polluted.

   The Downriver News Herald reported the Detroit River getting so bad that consuming ice from it meant risking developing Typhoid fever.

   The industry started to start looking even further north; to cleaner waters and colder winters.

   But it was with the 1913 invention of the Domelre, which stood for domestic electric refrigerator, that the ice industry took its final blow and ice companies all over the country shuttered to a close including the many here in Port Huron.

   Today, ice is not harvested; it’s manufactured by big machines at about 800 pounds per day.

   Twenty-first century refrigerators, with their freezers and newfangled ice-makers, conveniently provide people with the ice they need for the home but there is still a demand for commercially-made ice.

   It’s produced using one of several different modern processes. Then it’s bagged and shipped to warehouses, bars, party stores and restaurants everywhere.

   In 2004 the Knowlton family sold Party Time Ice to a national conglomerate, Arctic Glacier Premium Ice. But even though Arctic Glacier is the sole ice company in Port Huron these days, the Knowltons still work hard to ensure industry’s history here is not forgotten.

SC4 Offers Free Software Help to Small Business Owners

Small business owners experiencing software problems can now turn to SC4 students for help – completely free of charge.
The college’s Workforce Training Institute has developed a Software Solutions Center where supervised Microsoft-Certified student advisers take and answer call-in, and e-mail software support questions.
The students at the Software Solutions Center are registered in a one-year long training program called “Computer and Office Skills for the Administrative Assistant”. As they progress through their training, they become certified in multiple Microsoft applications: Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint.
The program is taught by Cheryl R. Russell, and supervised by Bonnie DiNardo. Both women are Microsoft Office Certified.
Bonnie DiNardo is the Workforce Training Institute’s Training Administrator. She says she recognizes that “employees in small companies wear so many hats. Sometimes they just don’t have the time to devote to troubleshooting problems.”
The idea for this program, she said, came from a focus group on campus that her boss, Michelle Mueller, heard and relayed to her.
“I thought to myself, this is a great idea; there really isn’t a negative to this initiative,” said DiNardo. “The benefit for the students is that they get real problems to help find a solution. The benefit for the company is that they can get some free assistance.”
SC4’s Software Solutions Center, which is intended for St. Clair County businesses, offers assistance in many areas, including: building an Access database; using Excel; doing mail merges in Word and creating PowerPoint presentations.
Small business owners wanting help from the Software Center can call (810) 989-5787 or e-mail wtisupport@sc4.edu. Requests are received on Tuesdays and Thursdays, between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. (so long as the college is open).
This costless support is designed for general software application questions from local business owners. SC4 does not warranty work or provide data confidentiality assura