 Alan Page (Pages 1-3)  School winners (Page 15)

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May 19, 2008

The Digest

What’s Happening at KVCC

What’s below in this edition


Alan Page (Pages 1-3) School winners (Page 15)

Jefferson exhibit (Pages 4/5)  History fun (Page 16)

Animation camps (Pages 5/6)  ‘Raise the Roof’ (Pages 16/17)

Top mechanic (Pages 6/7)  Fitness challenge (Page 18)

 ‘Interns 3’ (Pages 7-9)  Making bio-diesel (Page 19)

Smitten kitten (Page 9)  ‘Artist to Icon’ (Pages 19/20)

Relay for Life (Page 10)  Excellence in Ed (Pages 20/21)

Electric codes (Page 11)  Space camps (Page 21)

Romanian film (Pages 11/12)  PharmOptima (Pages 21/22)

Keeping trim (Page 12)  New exhibit (Pages 22/23)

Auto academy (Pages 12-14)  Dead batteries (Pages 23/24)

Health techs (Page 14)  New Blue Line (Pages 24/25)

And Finally (Page 25/26)


Justice Page is Monday keynoter for OFE

Alan Page, who used football at the college and professional levels as a vehicle to the law career he wanted, will keynote the KVCC Foundation’s fourth annual Opportunities for Education (OFE) fund-raiser on Monday (May 19).

The banquet, designed to raise scholarship dollars and underwritten by National City Bank, features the former All-American from Notre Dame and National Football League Hall of Famer. It will begin at 6 p.m. at the Radisson Plaza Hotel and Suites in downtown Kalamazoo.

In his remarks about “Challenges and Opportunities for the 21st Century Community,” the Minnesota Supreme Court justice will address the importance of adult mentoring and leadership in guiding the youth of today in the right direction toward education and success as a citizen.

Using events and situations in his life as signposts, Justice Page will highlight the win-win value of young people giving something back to their communities and why these communities should strive to make certain each and every child has a decent shot at educational success.

He wants all people to share his passion about America’s future riding in tandem with America’s commitment to properly educating and guiding the nation’s youth.

Page, 62, made the complete circuit as a football player. The 1964 graduate of Central Catholic High School in Canton, Ohio, went on to gridiron glory at Notre Dame, and then played defensive end for 15 years in the National Football League, primarily as a member of the Minnesota Vikings’ famous “Purple People Eaters.” He was inducted in 1988 to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which is located in Canton.

Page, the father of four, majored in political science at Notre Dame from which he graduated in 1966. His Fighting Irish team won the national championship his senior year, which merited Page being the Vikings’ No. 1 draft pick that year.

As he carved out a career as one of the NFL’s greatest defensive players, Page continued his studies and earned a degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1978. After five years of private practice and during which he wrapped up his football career as a member of the Chicago Bears, Page became an assistant attorney general in Minnesota.

In 1992, Page was elected as an associate justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court. He was re-elected to six-year terms in 1998 and 2004. In the latter election, Page attracted the most votes of any candidate in the state’s history. Justice Byron White of the U. S. Supreme Court and Page, a nine-time All-Pro selection, share the distinction of being the only notable football players in the nation’s history to serve on high courts of the land.

Instead of using brute strength to overpower opponents that is generally the case these days, Page used his quickness and agility to beat blocks and make tackles. He registered nearly 150 “sacks” (tackling the quarterback attempting to pass) in his NFL career. In 1971, he was the second defensive player in league history to be named its Most Valuable Player

Page, who is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame located in South Bend, served as the Vikings’ representative for the National Football League Players Association. In 1999, he was No. 34 on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.

An example of his athletic endurance is the fact that in 1979 Page became the first active NFL player to complete a marathon. His best time was 3 hours and 27 minutes. Because of his long-distance running, Page played the toughest position in professional football at 225 pounds.

Page and his wife, Diane, established the Page Education Foundation that assists minority students in their pursuits of a college education. He has expressed an interest to teach in a public school for a few years once he leaves the bench.

In speaking about the challenges facing children in the 21st century, Page flashes back to the paths he took to achieve success and the difficult decisions he had to make to stay on those paths when there were easier ways to travel.

Keenly interested in American youth, Page conveys a philosophy - one that he lives - that sports are not the end of the journey. They are the means to reach that end.

“Athletics can help you,” he says, “if they are used in the right way. If used in the right way, they can help in academic pursuits.”

The Pages use their foundation for their own version of “No Child Left Behind,” urging young people to be as passionate about their education as they are about sports. Because too many don’t understand that message, the foundation stresses mentoring roles. The foundation has awarded more than $5 million in scholarship assistance to 2,600 students.

Page thinks of football as a good chapter in his life, but a past chapter. “If I could choose a way to be remembered, it wouldn’t be my association with football. It is the past, and a good past, but I’d want to be remembered with children - my children and other children.”

The KVCC Foundation was formed in 1980 and has accumulated nearly $10 million in assets. Its mission is to enhance educational opportunities and the learning environment at the college by supporting the academic, literary and scientific activities of KVCC students and faculty. Its assists the college’s Honors Program, minority enrollees and non-traditional students through scholarships and awards grants that promote innovative approaches to learning.

“Because KVCC’s tuition is the lowest among the state’s 28 community colleges and fees are practically non-existent,” said Steve Doherty, executive director of the KVCC Foundation, “scholarship dollars take students a very, very long way toward their goals. We want to help even more in the coming years, now that state and federal sources of scholarships are either drying up or are in jeopardy because of budget cuts.”

In the fall semester of 2007, the foundation was able to assist 212 students. For the 2007-08 academic year, scholarship and grant assistance should reach nearly $350,000 for tuition, fees, books and supplies, as well as for the child-care and transportation costs that students face in pursuing a degree or a new career.

“That represents a minimal fraction of the dollar value of scholarships that are available through the KVCC Office of Financial Aid,” Doherty said. “That type of assistance has federal and state sources that carry restrictions. So do some of those scholarships established by organizations or individuals. And all of those are very important.

“Ours, however, are more open-ended, less restrictive, and available to a broader representation of students who choose to attend KVCC,” Doherty said. “They are what our ‘Opportunities for Education’ event is all about.”

While the unprecedented, nationally recognized gift to this community that is The Kalamazoo Promise is a blessing to families living in the Kalamazoo Public Schools district, Doherty said, during a typical semester no more than 15 percent of KVCC’s enrollment are Kalamazoo graduates.

That means a large segment of the other 85 percent still need various levels of scholarship assistance.

Tickets for Opportunities for Education are $125 per person. A corporate sponsorship for a table of eight is available for $1,500.

For more information about Opportunities for Education, how far scholarship dollars go at KVCC, and tickets for spending an evening with one of the nation’s most respected citizens, contact Steve Doherty, executive director of the KVCC Foundation (sdoherty@kvcc.edu), or Denise Baker (dbaker@kvcc.edu) at (269) 488-4442.

Exhibit spans Jefferson’s supreme curiosity

Thomas Jefferson’s far-reaching interest in the sciences is the theme of an exhibition that will fill the first-floor gallery of the Kalamazoo Valley Museum from June 14 through Sept. 1.

Featuring scientific instruments, furniture, maps, and Native American objects from the period of Jefferson’s life, all are from the private collection of Paul Millikan, retired professor of history at KVCC..

“I have always had an abiding interest in the genius that was Thomas Jefferson,” said Millikan, who taught history at KVCC for 32 years. “A true Renaissance man, he was statesman, architect, political philosopher, author, diplomat, designer, musician, collector, inventor, and always the keen observer, analyst and recorder of the things around him.”

Born in 1743, Jefferson grew to adulthood during the Age of Enlightenment, and lived to see the beginnings of America’s Industrial Revolution before his death on the Fourth of July in 1826. In one of U. S. history’s most remarkable coincidences, fellow American Founding Father John Adams died that same day – the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

Jefferson had a passionate interest in learning, from political philosophy to the latest invention or scientific discovery. That curiosity was not only a personal thirst for knowledge, but was aimed at applying that knowledge to better the lives of humankind.

In Jefferson’s time, scientists were often referred to as “practical philosophers” who were trying to learn as much as possible about the natural world and scientific phenomena.

Jefferson, who came to be recognized as a pioneer in numerous branches of science, said: “No inquisitive mind will be content to be ignorant of the sciences of astronomy, natural history, natural philosophy, chemistry, and anatomy.”

Following his two presidential terms, Jefferson in retirement at his home in Monticello said: “Nature intended me for the tranquil pursuits of science by rendering them my supreme delight.” The exhibition provides a glimpse of the range and breadth of his scholarship and pursuits.

“Upon my first visit to Monticello in 1962, I was very much taken with Mr. Jefferson’s interest in natural history and his collections of specimens,” said Millikan, who is also a prolific collector of Civil War artifacts. “I began to read about all of Mr. Jefferson’s scientific interests.

“When I purchased part of the petrified tusk of a mammoth,” he said, “the collector bug had bitten and I determined to collect duplicates of as many of the scientific instruments, specimens, and objects in Mr. Jefferson’s inventory at Monticello as I could. The results of that collecting interest are presented in this exhibit.”

In the exhibition are an 18th-century electric-generating machine, surveyor’s equipment, telescopes, maps, and a replica of a painted buffalo robe given by the Mandan Indians to Lewis and Clark, who sent it to Jefferson.

Specially featured is a pair of Country Chippendale chairs that were made to Jefferson’s order for him at the joinery at Monticello. All other pieces are duplicates of items that Jefferson owned. The originals are found at Monticello, the University of Virginia, and the Peabody Museum at Harvard University.

“It is my hope that the exhibit will add to the education, inspiration, and enrichment of this community and the surrounding area,” Millikan said. “I believe it to be a unique look at an often overlooked facet of one of our most diverse and complex founding fathers.”

Camps for future animators, video-game designers

Elementary, middle-school and high-school students who are energized by the creative medium of animation and by the lure of video games can sign up for “do-it-yourself” workshops this summer.

Designed for interests and skills of children as young as 9 and through the upper teens, the 13 Kalamazoo Animation Festival International (KAFI) Academy workshops – from three to five days each, and one that spans nine days -- will all be held in the KVCC Center for New Media in downtown Kalamazoo beginning June 16.

Costs for the multi-day series of instructions and hands-on activities range from $150 to $300.

Here’s the summer-camp schedule:

Aspiring Animator: Characters and Players – June 16-19, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., ages 9 and up.

Guerilla Filmmaking – June 16-20, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., ages 11 and up.

Game Design – June 23-June 27 and June 30-July 3, 1 to 5 p.m., ages 15 and up.

Filmmaking: The Cutting-Room Floor – June 23-27, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., ages 11 and up.

Aspiring Animator: The Magic of the Bouncing Ball – June 30-July 3, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., ages 9 and up.

Aspiring Animator: Claymation Creation – July 7-10, 1 to 5 p.m., 9 and up.

Aspiring Animator: Experimental Animation – July 14-17, 1 to 5 p.m., ages 9 and up.

Animation I: Fundamentals – July 14-18, 1 to 5 p.m., ages 15 and up.

Animation II: Production – July 21-25, 1 to 5 p.m., ages 15 and up.

Animation III: Putting It Together – July 28-Aug. 1, 1 to 5 p.m., ages 15 and up.

Art of the Comic Strip – July 28-31, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., ages 9 and up.

Graphic Novel and Comic Art Foundations I – July 7-8 and July 10-11, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., ages 13 and up.

Graphic Novel and Comic Art Production II – July 14-15 and July 17-18, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., ages 13 and up.

“These are one-of-a-kind opportunities,” said Valerie Eisenberg, who coordinates special projects at KVCC’s Center for New Media. “All of the workshops are project-based, and each participant will leave with a finished product to take home.

“The quality of the 2007 KAFI workshops was terrific,” she said, “and was demonstrated at one of the Art Hop exhibits the center hosted. We plan to do that again at the September 2008 Art Hop. We expect even better results because the workshops are greater in number this year.”

She said family members and friends will be able to view the results themselves because, built into each of the workshops, will be a two-hour block of time at the end to allow for exhibitions of comic-art drawings or screenings of the individual animation projects that will vary in length up to one minute.

The week-long workshops will be structured to allow participants to continue their efforts at home if they have the required computer software. For example, the graphic-novel workshops will convene for the first two days and the last two days, with the Wednesday set aside for massaging ideas and concepts at home.

“Our programs for those who are just beginning in the art form – the kids 9 to 12, and even younger,” Eisenberg said, “are designed for them to take their drawings and artwork to the next level, which is animation as they see on television. They have a chance to learn animation from soup to nuts, from the basics through each step, each component of an animated product.”

With the acquired step-by-step skills sets, the youngsters will be able to take what they learn and continue to create animation on their own because they will understand the process.

“None of this is taught in a school nor at any other arts-enriching organization in this part of the state,” Eisenberg said.

The “Game Design” workshop runs for nine days this time around. “We learned from last year,” Eisenberg said, “that five days was not long enough to create a finished product to the satisfaction of the participants.

For more information and details about each workshop, or to register, call (269) 373-7920 or go to the KAFI Academy website at http://kafi.kvcc.edu/academy.

Sharing the instructional duties will be:

 Jason Byrne, a recent graduate of the Center for New Media as an animation and video-game major who is a freelance 3-D artist and game creator.

 Aubrey Jewel Hardaway, a part-time instructor of animation at the Center for New Media and an art teacher at The Montessori School in Kalamazoo. She is a graduate of the Columbus College of Art and Design.

Amy (Levine) Stermer, an independent producer of documentaries and videos who teaches English on a part-time basis at KVCC and serves as an instructor in video and digital media for the Education for the Arts program in Kalamazoo.

 Paul Sizer, a part-time instructor in Western Michigan University’s program in graphic design and the creator/author of graphic novels.

McClung is ‘Diagnostic Dandy’ in auto challenge

The five finalists and alternate in the “Tech Challenge 2008” competition shared almost $2,700 in tools, computerized diagnostic equipment, hats and gift certificates as they demonstrated their automotive “debugging” skills earlier this month.

The winner, Matt McClung, a Kalamazoo Central High School graduate, took home around $900 worth of prizes while the runner-up, Adam Cagle, also a Kalamazoo-area resident who attended Comstock High School, received gifts valued at $520 for his mechanical and diagnostic skills.

Finishing third, fourth and fifth, respectively, were Adam Dombrowski, Adam Frazier and Kyle Munson. Even alternate finalist Mark Hamill, who attended the day-long competition, received some tools for his time.

McClung and Cagle are both enrollees in the KVCC Automotive Academy that will complete its first year this summer, while the other three finalists are enrolled in the college’s degree-and-certificate-granting automotive program.

Among the judges were: Ken Rakoski, fleet maintenance coordinator at KVCC; retiree Terry McIver, who managed Harmen Service Station in Portage; Rick King, who manages Tuffy Auto Service Centers in the area; Brian Murray, a technician for DeNooyer Chevrolet; and Mike Rhodes, service manager at M & M Motor Mall.

“These fellows were pretty amazing,” Rakoski said. “They had to jump into the middle of an automotive mess and had to figure it out in a fairly short period.”

Thee friendly competition that attracted a field of 27 contestants required brain power, diagnostic resources, and manual dexterity to figure out why vehicles were not operating on all of their cylinders. Two levels of the competition required competence on a written phase that tested their working knowledge of automotive technology and maintenance.

The winner of the 2007 competition, Chad Beimer of Richland, was the commencement speaker at the college’s 61st graduation ceremony on April 27. The automotive-technology major is a graduate of Gull Lake High School.

Each of five vehicles, provided by the Harold Zeigler Auto Group, were programmed to have a particular problem with its electrical system, air conditioning, alignment, a fuel-related misfire, and power-train management.

“The overall theme of the competition is complaint, cause and correction,” said Douglas Martin, the automotive instructor who oversaw the 2008 competition. “Each of the contestants had 40 minutes with each car to hear the ‘customer’s’ complaint, find the cause using available resources, and, given the type of the problem, determine the path to how to fix it.

“Determining the winner was not easy,” Martin said, “because only a few points separated first place and fifth. These problems were hard to figure out within a certain time period. They made KVCC’s automotive program look pretty darn good.”

Commented one of the judges: “Every one of them had the train on the right track, but they ran out of time to reach the station.”

Listening to the judges explain the “bug,” how it could be found, and ways to fix it shows just how technical the field has become. They use a language that is as complex and detailed in their automotive pursuits as medical doctors use in discussing all facets of the human machine.

The “bugs” were planted by members of the KVCC automotive-technology staff. Each of the participants faced the same “bug” for the sake of fairness and balance.

The tools and gifts were donated by the competition’s corporate sponsors that included Snap-On Inc., Mac Tools, NAPA Auto Parts, and Wright Tool. Other businesses contributed to the event as well, including the food for a cookout lunch.

3 KVCC students land intern$hip$

A high-tech internship program offering major scholarship dollars and priceless job experience will have three KVCC participants this summer.

Simony Breviglieri, Mark Meninga and Elizabeth Woolley will be among the college students taking part in the joint venture between Southwest Michigan First and the Kalamazoo-based Monroe-Brown Foundation. The train-your-own workforce-development program awards each student as much as $8,800 in revenue to apply to their college educations.

It is open to eligible KVCC, Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo College students. In KVCC’s case, students must be entering their second year of studies. They will be exposed to valuable networking opportunities and valuable on-the-job training in their chosen fields.

Breviglieri’s experience will be in information technology, while Meninga’s internship will target drafting and design. Breviglieri, an international student from Brazil, is majoring in business administration. Meninga, a graduate of Comstock High School, is specializing in computer-assisted design and manufacturing. Both will be assigned duties at KVCC.

The home-schooled Woolley, an April graduate with an associate degree in computer-assisted design and manufacturing, has been assigned to Landscape Forms in Comstock. This marks the second consecutive summer that a KVCC’er will intern there.

In addition to KVCC and Landscape Forms, among the companies taking part in the 2008 edition are: ADMETRx, MPI Research, ProNAi, CSM Group, Proteos, A. M. Todd Co., Tekna, Stryker Instruments, Riley Aviation, Workforce Strategies Inc., NanoVir LLC, Jasper Clinic, Treystar Holdings Inc., W. Soule & Co., AVB Construction, Wolverine Pipe Line Co., and Parker Hannifin Corp. Brass Division.

According to Southwest Michigan First’s Jill Bland, the 21 available internships attracted more than 300 applicants, 56 of those being affiliated with KVCC.

Each intern will work for the employer for a minimum of 400 hours from May through September. The interns are paid at least minimum wage. The 10-week post is regarded as full time, but it can be customized to fit the needs of each company and intern.

Upon successful completion of the internship - as decided by the company and the foundation - each of those parties will pay the intern a $500 bonus - a total of $1,000. On top of that, the foundation will award a pair of additional payments of $2,500 at the beginning of each of the two semesters following the internship.

"The program worked very, very well in the summer of 2007,” said Ron Kitchens, president and chief executive officer of Southwest Michigan First. “It is designed to keep the talent that we train here in our part of the state. Companies learned whether they could be getting quality employees. I’m already hearing talk relating to long-term employment for these interns. That’s the whole idea.”

The reasoning for the initiative called the Southwest Michigan First Talent Network is simple -- one of the key components to sustained economic development in high-tech fields including manufacturing is “lots of smart people.”

“The interns will receive great experience for their careers,” Bland said. “They will build a valuable network of business leaders and fellow interns while earning significant funding for their educations. We hope that they not only learn more about what they want out of life, but that they begin to see Kalamazoo as a place where they can grown from student to young professional.”

For many enterprises - and not just those in emerging businesses - the No. 1 factor for achieving success is finding the right people to fit the right jobs. Internships are tried-and-true ways to “grow your own” and identify prospects with high potential.

It’s the classic win-win equation: great experience for those who are selected as interns and a no-strings-attached arrangement on the part of the employer because internships are basically akin to temporary jobs.

The employer gets essentially a low-cost look at a potential permanent employee who could either be somebody who would not be a good fit or somebody who has “the right stuff” to be a future leader.

In order to find that out, interns - while supervised and operating within a structured work environment - should be given enough autonomy and enough leeway to determine their own direction. That allows the employer to evaluate the person’s judgment, how he or she works with other people, and work habits. Few one-on-one interviews provide those types of measurements.

One tough little cat; two mighty-fine people

Its name is Fluffy, but it should be Tuffy because this cat still has another 8½ lives to work with.

Texas Township Campus custodian Nancy Conrad and spouse Art Ziehlke, KVCC’s retired security chief, have big – really big – hearts when it comes to animals.

Last fall, a stray cat took up residence with her litter of kittens under the couple’s deck and, being good-hearted folks, they provided some food throughout the winter. Two of them lost their stray ways and befriended their feeders, particularly Art.

This spring, the one named Fluffy came up missing. Driving on U. S. 131 in the vicinity of the couple’s home a couple of days later, Art thought he saw the gone-astray stray along the northbound lane, but, heading southbound, he couldn’t immediately stop.

Instead of chalking it up to an optimistic mirage, he did make the turn-around and went to the perceived sighting. No Fluffy. As a matter of fact, no cat at all. Nancy even made a couple of forays, but no stray.

The next day, the incident repeated itself exactly. Art again spotted what he thought was Fluffy on the opposite side of the highway. Another turn-around and another fruitless search.

“Art was determined to find the body of his little pal and bring it home for a proper burial,” Nancy said. “So he went back to the spot he thought he had been seeing the little guy. He finally found the kitten many yards from where it had been seen before. I got the phone call I never expected. ‘I found him, and he's alive! Call the vet!’”

The diagnosis was that the cat must have been struck in the face because his nose was pushed to one side and there was bleeding in the eyes. There was a deep cut on a back leg. The fact that he survived being whacked by a vehicle was itself a miracle.

After a five-day stay at the office of the veterinarian, Fluffy began eating and his eyes had cleared. The couple brought him “home,” his leg has healed, and he’s resumed being a playful feline.

“Our intention was to find him a good home,” Nancy said, “but we have become quite attached to Fluffy, so I think he has already found his home. We just have to explain that to our other six cats.”

Instead of Fluffy, he should be known as Lucky.

28 Relay for Life-ers want more company

KVCC will be participating in the 2008 Relay for Life, the annual fund-raiser of the Kalamazoo County Chapter of the American Cancer Society, and the Cougar team is in need of more participants.

This year’s event will be staged on Saturday and Sunday, May 31 and June 1, from 11 a.m. to 11 a.m. at The Air Zoo, 6151 Portage.

The aviation museum and amusement center will be open for the entire 24 hours, and there will be discounted and free admission for qualified participants.

Faculty, students and staff, along with their friends and family, can sign up to walk or run from one hour to the full 24 hours.

In addition to co-organizers Lynne Morrison and Mary Johnson, those who have signed up for the blue-and-white Cougar squad are:

Sue and Denny Hollar; Robert Sutton; Theresa Hollowell: Stephen Doherty; Marlyre, Julia and Nick Morrison; Tasia Hayes, Ashley, Sami and Brian Graening; Pedro Soto; Katie Pitcher; Mark Sigfrids; Emily Mohney; Montiella Robertson; Staci Jackman; Nancy Vendeville; Katrina Barber; Erika Hartman; Bianca Harris; Jonnie Wilhite; Ruth Baker; Ann Lindsay; and Brenda Gardner.

While the teams are coming together for a very serious issue - - the fight against cancer - - there is a great deal of fun and camaraderie for teams of family, friends and co-workers who choose to camp out for the entire event.

There is entertainment and family activities, plus the victory lap by survivors and the luminaria ceremony at dusk that remembers those that have faced cancer.

To sign up as a participant and walk with Team KVCC, contact Mary Johnson at extension 4182 or stop by her office in the Student Commons.

The team’s goal is to raise $3,000. Another contact is Lynne Morrison at extension 4164. Both can also detail other ways to help in the initiative. This hyperlink connects folks to the available times for walking: http://classes.kvcc.edu/relay/

At least 30 staff, faculty, administrators, students and family members are being sought to man the KVCC team, but the more the merrier.

KVCC’ers can also help the Relay for Life team reach its goal by donating their 10-cent bottles and cans in the so-designated containers located in the Texas Township Campus cafeteria, the Student Commons, the advanced-technology wing, the faculty lounge, and in the lounge by the computer lab.

“Teams of family, friends and co-workers camp out for 24 hours, taking turns walking the track,” Johnson said. “Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times, a reminder that cancer never sleeps.”

The Relay for Life supports those who have lost a loved one, offers encouragement to those who are currently battling the disease, and celebrates life with those who have survived.

But most of all, it is an inspiration to all who participate. All dollars raised go toward supporting services for cancer patients and their families, providing education and early-detection programs, and funding cancer research.

Kalamazoo is one of more than 4,000 communities across the continent that stage Relay for Life events in the fight against cancer. More than $1 billion has been raised.

M-TEC hosts updates on electrical codes

Licensed electricians in Southwest Michigan needing an update on national and state codes, along with those who are prepping to test for that mandated certification, can enroll in a four-day seminar in June at the M-TEC of Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

The new partnership is in conjunction with the Michigan State University Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering’s Office of Extension and Outreach.

The sessions in Kalamazoo are slated for four consecutive Tuesdays – June 3, 10, 17 and 24 – from 5 to 9 p.m. in the M-TEC, which is located in The Groves, the college’s business-education-technology park located along I-94 off of Ninth Street near the Texas Township Campus. The fee is $150.

The update will comprehensively cover “the significant changes” being made to the National Electric Code, which was established by federal legislation in 1972, and the latest version of the Michigan Residential Code for electricians.

Instructor John Negri of Kalamazoo will design the instructions by using “common field questions” to illustrate some of the codes’ changes that cover such topics as voltage-surge suppressors, swimming-pool installation, standby-power installations, and the new technical power systems.

“This is an approved code update course for those seeking state of Michigan electrical-license renewal for the 2009 license year,” said Cindy Buckley, director of training and development for the M-TEC of KVCC. “We believe that this will be the first in a growing series of training opportunities that the M-TEC will offering in conjunction with MSU’s outreach program.”

There is a discount price if three or more enrollees from the same company sign up for the code update.

“There is no particular schedule for when these code-update trainings are required,” she said. “They are booked when it is determined that there have been some significant changes in the state and national electrical codes.”

For more information, call (269) 353-1253 or e-mail mtec@kvcc.edu. Online registration is available at www.mteckvcc.com.

Life in Communist Romania is film theme

A Romanian film that depicts life in that nation during the height of the Community Party’s regime is the Thursday (May 22) billing in the Kalamazoo Valley Museum’s foreign-movie series.

“The Way I Spent the End of the World” will be shown that Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Mary Jane Stryker Theater. Tickets are $3.

Wrapping up the museum’s award-winning, Thursday-evening billings on June 19 will be the Swiss production of “Fraulein.” :

Released on Sept. 15, 2006, the film is about 17-year-old Eva and 7-year-old Lilu, a brother and sister living in Bucharest under the communist regime of Nicolae Ceauşescu.

After Eva is expelled from her school for her uncooperative attitude, she is sent to a technical school where she meets Andrei, with whom she plans to escape communist Romania by crossing the Danube into Bulgaria and relocating to Italy.

More information about events and attractions is available by checking the museum’s web site at www.kalamazoomuseum.org or by calling 373-7990 or (800) 772-3370.

Trim the grass. . .and your body this spring

If cutting the grass and having one-on-one combat with dandelions are not enough to keep you fit and trim this spring, then the KVCC employee-wellness program has a full regimen for you.

Staff, faculty and enrolled students are eligible for five days of physical activities designed to exercise those extra calories off of the frame.

Through July 31, open swimming is available on all five days – 11 a.m. on Monday, 7 a.m. on Tuesday, 11 a.m. on Wednesday, 7 a.m. on Thursday, and 11 a.m. on Friday.

A variety of classes will also convene through July 31 in Room 6040 of the Wellness and Fitness Center on the Texas Township Campus.

Here’s the schedule:

♦ Core conditioning: Monday at 1:15 p.m. and Wednesday at the same time.

♦ Yoga: Tuesday at 11 a.m. and Thursday at 11 a.m.

♦ Pilates: on Tuesday at noon.

Blake Glass, the manager of the employee-wellness program, also advocated that staff, faculty and students available themselves of walking and jogging routes that are available both indoors and outdoors. Call him at extension 4177 for route details.

He reports that personal-training appointments are available with Shelia Rupert by contacting her at extension 4184.

Stay tuned for some additional program options that will be available at the Arcadia Commons Campus.

May 30 last day for Auto Academy 2

The deadline to apply for KVCC’s second Automotive Academy and its accelerated training model to provide the next generation of technicians for employment in the profession has been extended to May 30..

The inaugural 18-member academy, which convened in early September of 2007, is in the middle of its second phase of training and will conclude in August after some “in-the-shop” experience.

Among the selection criteria in the competitive process are the quality of the written applications, a “documented work ethic,” interest in and knowledge of automotive technology, letters of recommendation, and driving records.

As part of the process, David “Charlie Fuller, KVCC’s director of career academies in advanced technology, and members of the automotive program’s advisory committee will interview each applicant.

The three-phase, 42-week approach to fast-track training has been requested by Southwest Michigan auto dealerships and automotive shops.

The fee for the second academy is $9,000 for more than 1,500 hours of intensive, targeted professional instruction.

This includes uniforms valued at $300, $700 worth of textbooks, and $7,000 in high-tech tools that automotive technicians need to function.

“The automotive academy is like a job,” Fuller said. “We look for students who can make a full-time commitment, not somebody who will skip a class here and there.”

Beginning on Sept. 2, the enrollees will be in class or in the lab from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays, and 8 to 2:30 on Fridays.

“For example,” Fuller said, “our regular introductory course in shop fundamentals spans 15 weeks and meets twice a week. In the academy, it is done in eight consecutive class days. In other words, don’t miss a class.”

Fuller said the KVCC academy rates as a bargain because similar programs across the country carry a price tag of $25,000 to $30,000, and many of those don’t include the tools offer.

In the college’s regular auto-tech curriculum, the cost for a two-year degree is about $6,000, including books. Students generally provide the basic tools, while more sophisticated equipment is available in the KVCC lab.

The thrust to create an automotive academy came from the advisory committee and the dealerships they represent, Fuller said. “They wanted a fast-track training program and to offer another avenue for students interested in targeted instructions in this field. They told us what we needed to teach students and they recommended lots of hands-on learning.”

After two busy phases of five-days-a-week training, the academy’s third stage comes into play, and even more reality enters the picture.

“Over the summer when our auto labs are generally not used,” Fuller said, “we’ll turn them into an authentic repair shop. Students will learn about and practice customer relations, business skills, the process of ordering parts, communication skills, and preparing accurate estimates.”

In addition to working on the vehicles owned and operated by KVCC, the shop will be open to the public.

The only caveat is that the prospective customer is driving “a decent vehicle that has educational value,” Fuller said. Fuller said “the shop will be run like a business. At the end of each day, the students will gather to learn whether they were productive and assess their efficiency.

If some kind of problem crops up, it’s back to the classroom to review procedures, the diagnoses, and what went wrong in the repairs.”

In addition to stressing the eight automotive-knowledge areas that are certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and preparing students to reach those standards, the KVCC academy will explore advanced-technology and hybrid vehicles and alternative fuels because, in many instances, a different branch of knowledge is required.

Auto-body repairs may also some day come into play, Fuller says.

Financial aid is available, and scholarship funds awardable through the Kalamazoo Promise also qualify for the KVCC Automotive Academy.

While the accelerated-training modules are non-credit entities, those who successfully complete the academy, which will be 100 percent directed toward automotive courses, can be eligible for 33 credits.

Those can be applied toward a two-year degree (66 credit hours) by completing additional technical courses and passing classes in college and technical writing, technical math, political science, social science, and wellness/physical education.

Fuller can be contacted for more information at extension 4178.

Pharmacy-, phlebotomy-tech training begins June

With it highly unlikely that Americans will reduce their use of medical prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs, Arcadia Commons Campus will host a training program for pharmacy technicians this summer.

It will also be offering a second course in preparing people for jobs as phlebotomy technicians. Both will begin in early June.

Prospective enrollees in both of the non-credit courses should be equipped with at least a high school diploma or GED equivalent. The pharmacy-technician certification program also recommends a working knowledge of science and math.

The 50-hour program in pharmacy technology will begin June 10 and conclude July 29. The class will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 9:30 p.m. The fee is $999.

Training to become a phlebotomy technician will run from June 10 through Aug. 18 on Mondays, Wednesdays and some Saturdays. Weekday classes will be from 6 to 9:30 p.m., while the Saturday sessions are planned for 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The fee for the 90-hour program is $1,599.

Among the duties of a phlebotomist is the drawing of blood from patients for testing purposes. He/she usually works under the supervision of medical technologists or laboratory managers.

Phlebotomists are employed by hospitals, neighborhood health centers, medical-group practices, public-health facilities, veterans hospitals and insurance carriers.

A pharmacy technician works under the direction of a registered, licensed pharmacist in retail establishments, mail-order pharmacies, hospitals, long-term-care facilities, clinics, other health-care settings, and in large industrial complexes.

Among the responsibilities are filling prescriptions according to a physician’s order, preparing medications for dispensing to patients, retrieving correct dosages and forms, measuring exact amounts of components, and producing labels. The pharmacy technician works with drugs to be administered orally and topically.

Other on-the-job duties include tracking inventories, ordering supplies, assisting customers, keeping work areas tidy and clean, and completing insurance forms.

The trend is for employment in this field to continue to grow because of the expanding availability of new drugs, the national shortage of registered pharmacists, and the aging of the population.

The registration deadlines for these training opportunities are June 2-3. All of the sessions will be held in Anna Whitten Hall in downtown Kalamazoo. Course descriptions, schedules and registration forms are available online at www.kvcc.edu/hcce.

For more information about these and other offerings, call (269) 353-1253 or contact Grace Gant at ggant5005@kvcc.edu.

Gant, Bryant winners in Allegan, Parchment

Two KVCC’ers were elected to their respective boards of education in the May 6 school elections.

Grace Gant, KVCC’s coordinator for continuing education and the Center for Health Careers in Allegan, was one of a quartet of candidates seeking a pair of four-year terms on the Allegan Board of Education.

She is a former past president of the Allegan Area Chamber of Commerce. She finished second in the balloting to win her first term.

Geology instructor Deb Bryant topped the ballot among the trio of hopefuls running for two-four year stints on the Parchment Board of Education. She is a board incumbent.

The year-end retirement of Kalamazoo District Judge Quinn E. Benson has attracted five contenders for his seat, including estate-planning attorney Julie K. Phillips, who is the daughter of KVCC counselor Judy Sullivan.

The top two finishers in the Aug. 5 primary will face each other in the Nov. 4 general election.

Also in the Aug. 5 primary, Julie Rogers, daughter of KVCC nursing instructor Marie Rogers, will be making a second attempt to win a two-year term in the Michigan House of Representatives.

She faces opposition on the Democratic Party ballot from Alan E. Brown.

Rogers lost to Republican incumbent Jack Hoogendyke – 21,073 to 20,610 – in the 2006 balloting to serve the 61st House District that includes the city of Portage, a portion of Kalamazoo Township, and Prairie Ronde, Alamo, Texas and Oshtemo townships.

Hoogendyke must give up his seat because of Michigan’s term-limits law. Two members of the Portage City Council – Margaret O’Brien and Larry DeShazor – have already announced their candidacies in the Aug. 5 GOP primary.

A third Republican hopeful is David J. Yardley.

There’s a crowded field for the post of Kalamazoo County sheriff.

In the Republican primary, incumbent Mike Anderson will be facing opposition from Ricky L. Combs, a former seven-year member of the department.

In the Democratic primary are Richard Fuller, a Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department sergeant, and Ray Roberts, a Kalamazoo Township Police Department dispatcher who prepared for his career in law enforcement by enrolling in KVCC’s program in criminal justice.

On the Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners, Carolyn Alford, a payroll specialist at KVCC and a former member of the Kalamazoo Board of Education, is unopposed across the board in her bid for re-election to represent District 2 that represents central Kalamazoo.

In District 10 (west-central Portage), there is a two-candidate race to succeed Com. Thomas Drabik who is not seeking another term.

The Republican in the field is James Graham, a former mayor of Portage, who is a graduate of the Kalamazoo Regional Law Enforcement Training Center based at KVCC. His Democratic opposition is Michael Quinn.

Family History Camp is fun ‘pastime’

Because everybody has a story to tell and to retain for future generations, the Kalamazoo Valley Museum will host a “Family History Camp” the week of June 23-27.

Adults and children can attend the week-long practicum that will immerse them in such “tricks of the trade” as instructions in interviewing techniques, collecting and preserving family photographs and documents, using digital media for collecting and storing data, creating a family tree, and developing a family website.

Each daily session will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The fee is $100 for an individual adult or $150 for a family of three.

“The camp is designed for kids with parents and/or grandparents to learn how to record, preserve and edit oral histories, to be introduced to the basics of genealogy, and to identify family heirlooms,” said Donna Odom, who will guide the camp.

She is the interpretation coordinator at the museum and president of the Southwest Michigan Black Heritage Society. “And it’s all a lot of fun,” she said.

Odom believes it is as gratifying to collect one’s own memoirs as it is to read about the lives and times of athletes, politicians or entertainers. For some, she said, it is cathartic to record the things that have happened to them.

“When people begin to tell the things they’ve done and the experiences they have had,” she said, “some of those stories are so fascinating, and they need to be documented.”

What a person does with his or her oral history is not what’s important, she said. Few seek to have them published.

Most are satisfied knowing their little piece of the world has been documented for future generations.

The “Family History Camp” has a limited enrollment.

Call the museum at 373-7965, or check the website at HREF="http://www.kalamazoomuseum.org/" MACROBUTTON HtmlResAnchor www.kalamazoomuseum.org for details about registration..

Last chances to see ‘Raise the Roof’

The Kalamazoo Valley Museum’s nationally touring exhibition about the wonders and miracles of building complicated edifices will close its doors on June 1

in the Havirmill Special Exhibition Gallery on the museum’s third floor.

“Raise the Roof” probes the secrets, surprises, science and extraordinary engineering feats that have produced amazing buildings around the world. Visitors can travel to great heights and distant ages to investigate the foundations of architecture and engineering.

They can step over the threshold of an authentic Mongolian house,  climb to the top of a skyscraper under construction, learn building secrets from a 9,000-year-old city, watch mighty buildings crumble, and raise the roof of a dome.

They can enter a full-scale “ger”
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