Monday, October 19, 2015

There could be family living under your porch

By: Madison Winters

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y.— The population of stray cats that call the streets of Plattsburgh home is growing at an alarming rate. Residents are starting to take notice.

“It started out as paw prints on my car in the morning,” Jason Morrill said “and before i knew it, my wife had names for them.”

Morrill, a Plattsburgh resident, had a family of stray cats living in his garage.

Morrill noticed the first set of prints on his car at the end of August, two weeks later he found a cardboard box with blankets, water, food and a new mother with three kittens.

“After my wife saw the kittens it was a done deal,” Morrill said.

“I was looking for the garden hose and i found them lying in the corner on top on some old newspapers,” Kristen Morrill said.

Kristen Morrill found a box, some old blankets and looked online to figure out what food was “the best” for the new mother and her babies.

“She was hesitant to let me near her at first but I think after an hour or so she could tell that i was just trying to help them,” she said.

The Morrill’s took care of the family for five weeks.

“One day I came home from work and the box was empty,” she said “I just assumed that they found somewhere else.”

 The Morrill’s experience with stray cats didn’t end there. Within two weeks of finding the first liter, a second appeared.

“One family was one too many,” Morrill said. “I knew that it was time to take action.”

Morrill repaired the hole in the wall of his garage, the cats have since relocated.

Plattsburgh resident Carlene Keegan and her roommates recently took in a stray cat.

Keegan found 10 kittens under a porch of a Plattsburgh home.

“They were covered with fleas and had mud all over them,” she said.

Keegan and her roommates decided to rescue one of the kittens.

“We brought it to the shelter,” she said “they gave it medicine that would get rid of the fleas.”

Living in poor conditions and being exposed to harsh weather can have detrimental effects on the animals.

Dr. Jamie Miller is a veterinarian in upstate N.Y., knows all too well how cold winters can be in the area.

“Imagine walking across the snow in just a pair of socks,” Miller said. “Their paws are designed to withstand exposure to the elements but not for long periods of time.”

Stray cats reproduce at alarming rates, kittens born during the winter face extreme danger.

“With winter approaching this issue is a very sensitive topic for me to talk about,” Miller said.

Last winter a women came it Miller’s office with a box of kittens that she found living in her wood shed.

 According to Miller, the kittens were severely malnourished and infected with worms and fleas. The women who rescued the kittens didn’t want her cat to come in contact with the parasites, so she brought them to Miller for treatment.

“I treated all of the kittens for a two week period,” she said. “During that time is when I fell in love with Mittens.

Miller formed a strong bond with one of the kittens and decided to bring him home with her every night.

“The first few nights were a little scary, i felt like a new mother,” she said. ”I woke up probably once an hour just to make sure he was warm enough and breathing fine.”

Miller’s kitten took a turn for the worse by the end of their first week together.

“He was wheezing constantly and couldn’t handle taking nutrients,” she said “that’s the issue with these animals, because of the poor environment they are born into disease spreads like crazy.

The diseases that stray animal carry can easily be contracted by the pets of Plattsburgh residents.
John Bailey is an animal control officer in the Plattsburgh area.

“If I had a dollar for every time I’ve received a call about stray cats, i would be a millionaire”

Bailey said that he gets at least seven calls per week to report issues with stray cats.

“Usually they’re reporting cats that appear to be sick or if they appear to have an aggressive demeanor,” he said “But lately it’s been a lot of calls for removal of a cat or  litter of kittens.”

Bailey says that with the temperatures at night getting colder cats are finding their way into garages,sheds and even basements of houses.

“They’re very agile, they can squeeze through even the smallest opening,” He said, “They carry disease and toxins into your home and could spread it to your pets and family.”

Most of these animals aren’t vaccinated like a pet of a responsible pet owner would be. One scratch from one of these cats could have pretty serious side effects.

“The community just sees these cats as someone's neglected pet and by feeding them they are doing a good deed,” Bailey said. “If they knew how sick they could get from contact with these animals they would view the situation much differently.”


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Womens rights

By Antonea Griffin

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y – In society today, women are looked at as incapable, weak-minded individuals, says some men. Though times have changed and the world still goes on, women still lack basic freedom and opportunities as well as face huge inequalities within the world of work.


            The focus that are being looked at with workplace inequalities is that women are being held back from working in corporations and other jobs because of the idea of maternity leave and finding someone to watch the child.


            But it doesn’t just have to do with being a mom because even women who aren’t moms go through inequality in the workplace.


            The Women Ice Hockey Team assistant coach is a female and when you hear the word hockey most people look at that as a sport for males. But women are just as capable and athletic; which some are better, as guys. The Women Hockey team has won multiple games and championships.  The Women team averages out 500 fans a game, which is more than most male’s sports on campus with the exception of Men's hockey who has had a program for a lot longer than that of the Women's team.


            Danielle Blanchard, Women’s Ice Hockey Coaching Staff, “I don't think that the Women's game is a sport only looked at in the eyes of males and I don't believe that I coach in a sport that is dominated by males.  I would understand if I was coaching a men's team but I am coaching a Women's game. Women's hockey is a completely different game than that of the Men's game and many people have come to appreciate the difference.”  


            Although women look as if they are not capable of completing the job there are a lot of women who set great examples to show it’s not about who’s doing it, its about how its being done and if the job is being completed.


            Janet L. Duprey, Council Assembly Woman,


“ Feminism isn’t about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s about hanging the way the world perceives that strength”, said G.D. Anderson.


Connie Oxford, Gender Women Studies Professor,



Leigh Mundy, Rotary International/Secretary for The Strands Center for Arts, 


Butterfly Blaise, Title IX Coordinator,


Inequality has played such a big role in society today and each different characteristics of it are shown how we are divided as people. Whether it’s through gender, social class, economic, wealth and many more.


An example of inequality is the upcoming elections, on the next president of the United States of America. There have been on going debates between Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump. Donald Trump criticizes Fiorina looks and bashes her and the work she does in her business career. Trump, who is also a candidate, shows a massive amount of sexism and bullying on live TV. Although he tries to explain his reasoning’s on why she wouldn’t be a great fit, in his own perspective, do you think this was a good idea?

The right to know

By Kevin Morley

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y.-- In the year 2013, the state of Vermont passed a bill of legislation that would change how people look at their food for years to come. Better known by the people of Vermont as the “Vermont Right to Know GMO’s ” campaign, the organization looks to put an abrupt end to the use of genetically engineered products.

            GMO’s, which stand for genetically modified organisms, have been present in our daily lives for quite some time now. In the year 1982, the FDA approved the first genetically engineered product in the form of Humulin, insulin that is a genetic mutation of E. coli. Roughly a decade later in the year 1994, The U.S Food and Drug Administration approved the sale of genetically modified tomatoes that could remain on store shelves for longer periods of time due to their delayed ripening features.

Dee Morse, a retail sales associate at Harlow Farm, looks past the benefits of genetically modified foods to take a deeper look into how they are bad for a consumer.

“We’ve been selling non-GMO products for over three years now.” Morse said. “It’s important to me because I know the effect that sprays and chemicals can have on the body.”

Although GMO’s are believed to increase both the lifespan as well as the taste of some products, there still is a dramatic price that the customers pay. One of the consequences to having mutation in food is that the product becomes less resistant to dangers such as pesticides and disease. Harlow Farm, one of the farms in support of “Vermont Right to Know GMO’s,” has a constant mission of trying to educate consumers.

“Lately, people have become more fearful of how GMO’s can harm them.” Farm Manager, Jon Slason said. “People always come to me with questions and my answer is always really simple; with organic products, you know what you’re getting.”

Slason along with many other farmers hope to educate more people so they can make the healthier choice. In addition, the fact that companies can patent their genetically modified foods has taken a toll on local farmers.

Once a company patents their seed, they have complete control over that product. In other words, if the seed accidentally enters a farmer’s crop and eventually blossoms, the company that created the seed has rights to that crop rather than the farmer who actually owned it. This is a problem that the people at Wild Carrot Farm have become all too familiar with.

“My neighbor once bought genetically modified seed from a company.” Owner, Jesse Kayan said. “I guess the wind picked up some of that seed and transferred it to my crops and I wasn’t able to sell that crop.”

Through various testing, companies are able to prove in cases such as Kayan’s that it is, in fact, their crop. This poses a financial burden for many farmers due to the fact that they had no intention of stealing the seed.

Even though farmers such as Kayan and Slason fight the battle against GMO’s daily, the people of Plattsburgh are still not fully aware of the harms of genetically modified organisms. New York State has not yet adopted the legislation that is necessary to place GMO labels on food products, and as a result the people of the state are bewildered by the thought.

“We don’t have labels on any of our products.” Jenna Lieberman, Manager of the local smoothie joint, Smooth Moves said. “I can’t recall one customer that has ever asked about GMO’s.”

Although awareness of genetically modified products is indeed less sufficient here in Plattsburgh, there are select individuals making a push for organic products. Caitlin O’Donnell, a member of the Botany Club at SUNY Plattsburgh is passionate about her mission. She hopes to one day have GMO labeling on campus and hopes to educate her peers on the benefits of organic products.

“Most of the time you can’t know for sure what you’re putting in your body.” O’Donnell said. “All the chemicals and other things that are added could be harmful.”

Vermont has proven to be the head of the non-GMO movement and their consumers seem to be supportive of the results. American Flatbread, an organic pizza restaurant, has teamed up with “Vermont Right to Know GMO’s,” as they have rid of GMO products in their menu.

“The food tasted better and appeared to be more fresh than generic restaurants.” Customer, Tilo Moeller said. “If I’m paying for something, especially a service, I have every right to know exactly what is or isn’t in it.”

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Friends of library influence community

By Laura Schmidt

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — A local nonprofit organization has been making strides in the development and improvement of the Plattsburgh Public Library and has no intention of quitting.
            The Friends of the Plattsburgh Public Library — or simply the Friends — celebrated 25 years of supporting the library this past year and expect more successful years to come.
            The Friends have a mission to promote the library and its programs by advocating for public support, public use of the library and facilitating financial support, according to Pat Loughlin, president of the Friends.
            In other words, “showing people that the library is more than just books,” Loughlin said.
            Loughlin has been an active member of the Friends for 12 years and took on the position of president about four years ago.
            The group became an official charitable organization five years ago and since has continued to spread knowledge about what the library has to offer. They've been trying to get the community involved by hosting a number of events and fundraisers open to all members of the Plattsburgh community.
            Events such as their biannual book sale and dinners with guest speakers have been extremely successful in providing money needed to replace old items with new, updated ones and introducing the library with items it has never had before. Book sales are usually successful but result in a surplus of unsold books.
            Volunteers from SUNY Plattsburgh take part in helping the Friends with their book sales by packing up unsold books and transporting them into trucks to be taken to Better World Books, a business that collects and sells books online to donate books and promote literacy around the world.
            “Recently we've been using the EOP (educational opportunity program) from SUNY and that's working out very well,” Loughlin said.
            There are usually five to eight volunteers ready to help out, according to Jonathan Reid, assistant director of the EOP.
            “We put up a sign up sheet and let everybody know that it's going down,” Reid said.
            Students volunteer only an hour or two of their time but it really improves the efficiency of the book sales.
            Another way the library supports local community members is by having dinners with guest speakers such as local artists or authors. This gives locals a chance to talk about their work and educate people about topics not all are familiar with.
            Events aren't always about money but rather getting information out to the public about what great facilities the library has to offer and recruiting new members. Membership has been lacking in past years but the Friends have been working very hard to encourage new members to join and spread the word about the library and its events.
            “We, almost every year, fund summer programs for children” Kim Bailey, vice president and treasurer of the Friends, said.
            Over the years, the Friends have done a lot in the children's room of the library, according to Anne de la Chapelle, director of the library.
            “They (the Friends) are a part of our community outreach program,” Chapelle said. “They come in and help with special projects and host events.”
            The library has started a community outreach program in hopes to get feedback and suggestions from city members on how to improve the library.
            The Friends are vital when it comes to the efficiency and modernization of the library. They recently replaced a 1970 version of their book check machine, a machine that checks magnetization strips in books to ensure no one steal them, with a new one. They also allocate $3,000 for the library to buy new and best-selling books and new videos so the community has access to new and desirable material.
            “The Friends paid for new LED lights in the director’s office,” Chapelle said. “And that was really terrific.”
            PSUC student Haley Mooney, 19, enjoys going to the public library because some days it helps clear her mind and focus.
            “I like walking to the public library because sometimes the school's is too noisy and distracting,” Mooney said. “I also really like going to look at the art work.”
            The Hale-Walter Art Gallery is located in the library and features four local artists each year. Artists have a chance to showcase their art for a few months out of the year and this is a great opportunity for many.

            The Friends work to support the public library, Plattsburgh as a community, and all of its citizens. They have been a vital part of Plattsburgh's library for many years and have an incredibly positive influence on the entire town.

Puppies of Plattsburgh

By Sarah McMullen

PLATTSBURGH N.Y- From a shaggy mutt to a pampered purebred, all dogs are welcome at the Clinton County Canine Club, a non for profit organization that educates people how to train their dogs. The club is a membership only organization that focuses on the making the dog community more knowledgeable and safe for both people and pups.

            The Canine club offers a variety of services. There are six committees within the club; Agility, outreach, match, spay/neuter, and training. These programs are available to those who are members to the program. There is an application that is available online along with class options and schedules. The class options are 8 to 9 weekly, 45 to 60 minute classes. The classes are priced moderately at 75 dollars. Which poses the question why are classes not being filled?

            Though the classes at the Clinton County Canine Club, CCCC, are affordable and are available all year round. Not many community members are signing up to participate in the classes or get their dog neutered/ spayed foe a reduced rate. Tatiana Windley, a Plattsburgh local and dog owner, had no idea the CCCC even existed. Windley who has a beagle and pug mix wishes that she would have taken advantage of the reduced prices of neutering her dog. Windley said, “I would have liked to know about this club. Owning a dog is really expensive so every cent saved is a big help.” Windley went on to say that she adopted her dog from the Elmore SPCA which didn’t inform her about the CCCC.
            Volunteers at the Elmore SPCA like Vicky Scott, are supporters of the CCCC. Through volunteer work they have seen dogs with severe behavioral problems that could have benefitted from attending training programs by the CCCC. Scott Said, “Since I have been volunteering, I’ve seen many dogs be brought in because their owners cannot handle them anymore.” Scott went on to elaborate about how she has seen adopted dogs go through training programs and change their behavior for the better.
            After many studies, it has been found that 90 percent of dog behavior is a direct result of training and enabling of the owner. According to Sarah Cutler a veterinarian in Westchester County, dogs are as much trained as their owners train them. Cutler said, “It is absolutely crucial to socialize and train your dog. Dogs who are not properly trained sometime develop behavioral issue and in a small amount of cases need to be euthanized.” Cutler continued to say that this problem is a rising epidemic in many communities so to have an organization that provides moderately priced training is a great resource for dog owners.
            One Plattsburgh dog owner that has participated in training classes for her dog is another local. Victoria Eastman just adopted her dog last month and has enrolled in the next session of training classes. Eastman has had many dogs before and has taken them to get professionally trained. However the training has cost over one hundred dollars. Eastman said she doesn’t mind spending money on training her dogs because she doesn’t want to have to give them away for behavioral problems. Eastman said, “It’s a great club to be a part of. I wish more of my friends took advantage of their service so that their dogs were more well behaved.”

After researching this topic many people of the Plattsburgh are have no idea that the Clinton County Canine Club exists. The CCCC is a helpful service that educates owners and their furry friends. So why not take advantage of it?

North country honor flight

By Kyle Richardson

PLATTSBURGH—North Country Honor Flight flew 14 World War 2 and Korean War veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials on Oct. 3, 2015.  The veterans were escorted to the airport by police for their send-off ceremony at 7 a.m. and had a return home ceremony at the Oval base when they arrived back at 10 p.m.
            On Dec. 7, 1941, the United States officially entered World War 2, sending 16 million Americans over to serve in the armed forces. These soldiers left their homes and families to fight in the battlefields of Europe and Africa, and in the Pacific. They are the reason for most of our freedom and prosperity today. 
            Honor Flight in a non-profit organization that exists to honor these brave men and woman who sacrificed so much for this country.  Out of the 16 million soldiers that served, almost a million are still alive today; however, with the youngest possible age for a World War 2 vet being 87, they are passing away at a fast rate.
            “There isn’t much time,” said Barrie Finnegan, Executive Director for North Country Honor Flight.  “We want to find all the World War 2 veterans in this region and give them a chance to see their memorial before they pass away.”
            Plattsburgh’s PRE 314 Campaign Planning and Development class took on Honor Flight as a client this year.  “Right now we are trying to formulate research and come up with a plan to help Honor Flight reach more veterans,” said Evan Bowker, project coordinator for PRE 314. “Once we have gathered all our primary and secondary research, we can then come up with a campaign to reach these veterans.”
            The Plattsburgh community is aware of Honor Flight and its cause and helps fundraise and donates to the organization. The annual Rotary Club Bed Race took place Sept. 12, as a part of the 2015 Battle of Plattsburgh Commemorative weekend. The Plattsburgh State Men’s Basketball team won first and second place. With a first place prize of $500 and a second of $150, the team won $650 to donate to any charity or non-profit organization of their choice.
            “When we heard of their cause and how these men and woman sacrificed so much for this country, there was no question as to who we were giving the money to,” said team captain Xavier Thomas.
            When the veterans arrived in D.C., volunteer guardians who can be family members, friends or nurses, escorted them the whole day. They got to see the memorial, and Arlington National Cemetery, meals were provided for them as well. After a long, memorable day, the celebration wasn’t over. When they arrived back to Plattsburgh, they were welcomed home by family, friends and the community.
            “Presenting the poster to the veteran and seeing a smile on his face was a great experience,” said Sean Murphy, Plattsburgh student who attended the ceremony. “Going to the return ceremony was the least I could do for people who fought for our freedom.”
            “It was great seeing Plattsburgh’s sports team coming out and supporting these veterans,” said transfer basketball player Elijah Bryant. “It’s a good feeling knowing I came to a team who gives back to the community.”

            Honor Flight is having another flight Oct. 17, and invites anyone to join them in celebrating our veterans. If you know any veterans, want more information, or want to make a donation to Honor Flight, visit  

Death with dignity?

By Emilie Mullin

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. -- A ferry ride and a few minutes of driving is where the rules change. In recent years, 2013, Vermont’s governor, Peter Shumlin, signed the Death with Dignity act.
            This act allows for terminally ill patients who have less than six months to live obtain drugs that take their lives, known as physicians assisted suicide.
            There are only 4 states that have this law, Oregon, Washington, Vermont and most recent California.
Montana doesn't currently have a law saying they can use physician-assisted death. But in 2009 Montana Supreme Court ruled that nothing in state law denies physicians from honoring a terminally ill, mentally sound patient's request to have their life ended prematurely. There have been many bills attempting to ban the practice but none have been found sound enough to be put into law.
            State Representative Linda Rosenthal introduced the bill to the Assembly, which was then referred to the health committee. State Senators Diane Savino and Senator Brad Hoylman introduced the “New York End of Life Options Act / Patient Self-Determination at the End of Life Act” and Senator John Bonacic is one of the first republicans in the senate to show his backing of the bill.
            There is a lot of support for this bill in organizations such as the Death with Dignity National Center. It’s a website that allows others to see where the bill is in each state.
            There is several groups that are not as supportive of the bill. Religious groups are a large portion of the anti-physicians assisted suicide. It goes against their teachings of sanctity of life from conception to natural death, stated by Mary Skillan.
            Skillan is the Director of Campus Ministry at the Blessed John XXIII Newman Center.
Skillan had close family member who had cancer. When the cancer got so bad that there was nothing else the doctors could do, she received pain medications. Skillan along with the rest of her family was able to spend the rest of her life, with her, and journey with her through the last stages of her life. “She was still able to die with dignity. They made sure she was comfortable,” stated by Skillan.
            Modern medicine makes it so that people are not as uncomfortable on their last portion of their lives. People may opt to end their life prematurely because they don’t want their families to have to deal with them being sick. But they are taking away the option of being there for them, according to Skillan.
            Although it is not clear when New York will be voting on the bill, one thing is, the death with dignity act is growing momentum and support while also having its opposers. 


Shooter trend sets the schools response higher than ever

By Angela Lince

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — Just a few days ago, Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, was struck by an unfortunate event. Students and faculty at the college went about their daily lives, until Chris Harper-Mercer, a twenty-six year old, local resident, disturbed the Umpqua day-to-day peace by killing nine people, with a slight press of a trigger. 
We’re beginning to live in a world of corruption, where with just the press of a button, we’re watching a new segment of a news panel reviewing yet, another shooting. Looking back at the United States past with school shootings, we’ve come to see that it’s a growing “trend”. This leaves “What if’s” lingering in the air. What would you do in a situation like Umpqua Community college? What about the countless other school shootings, like Sandy Hook which took place Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut? What procedures are put into place, IF this situation occurred in Plattsburgh?
                Plattsburgh City School District Superintendent, James Short, finds that the Plattsburgh City School is well-prepared if anything dangerous did occur. All faculty and staff have practiced countless times, the procedure in case an intruder was to enter the school. The school has established a set of ‘barriers’, in which keep the intruder at a slower pace. Buzzing in and having doors locked at all times, is a small, yet important part of the schools safe system.
                Reflecting back on the Sandy Hook tragedy, Lanza simply “shot through the plate-glass window next to the lobby door to enter the school. The elementary school’s doors were locked and secure at 9:30 a.m. with a video camera and buzzer system that can allow entry after that time from three monitoring locations,” according to Emily Miller of the Washington Times.
                Nothing seems to hold these killers back, but could there be a better tactic? Short believes that keeping the school’s perimeter secure is the first contributor in keeping the school safe. Beyond the grounds of the school, what’s most important is inside. If anyone feels unsafe, a report is immediately sent to the office as well as Plattsburgh City Police, which is then shared with other schools, including local colleges. All faculty and staff are given a warning over the loud speaker. From there, they can distinguish the hoax warning from the real warning. They are then told to lock their doors, shut their lights off and remain quiet and away from “line of sight” areas in the room. If things begin to worsen, or if the physical building itself is unstable, everyone is ordered to evacuate the building, but this is last resort because of the amount of people leaving. This could cause more of an issue than needed.
                Plattsburgh City School holds an incredible partnership with the Plattsburgh City Police Department, as well as the SUNY Plattsburgh on-campus police. Every year during summer, Plattsburgh Police uses the Plattsburgh City School building as a training ground, which really eases Shorts mind knowing that the police are familiar with the school. Would it be even more at ease knowing his faculty could possibly be able to carry a gun with them, in case of an issue similar to Oregon or Sandy Hook?
                “Police officers, security guards… People that are trained in the profession should hold these positions to protect with guns”, says Short. Short also adds in that if teachers did carry guns, it is possible that they could go missing, which leads to more headaches.
If it’s that easy to lose a gun, how easy is it for killers to retrieve guns? According to New York Times reporters, Larry Buchanan, Josh Keller, Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Daniel Victor; Harper-Mercer, bought his fourteen guns legally through a federally licensed firearms dealer, while others were purchased by members of his family. Harper-Mercer was armed with six guns which include a Glock pistol, a Smith & Wesson pistol, a Taurus pistol and a Del-Ton assault rifle, according to The Associated Press. Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter, Adam Lanza, shot and killed his mother in their home, then killed 26 people, mostly children, using a Bushmaster XM-15 rifle and a .22-caliber Savage Mark II rifle, which were both legally obtained and registered by his mother. Lanza was familiar with the guns because his mother would allow him to use them for target shooting at ranges. Who’s to blame here? The guns? The person holding the gun? What about the persons illnesses or things they do to keep occupied, like Lanza’s fascination with violent video games?
                Peter Visconti, President of Plattsburgh Rod and Gun Club, holds a strong belief that guns don’t kill people, the people holding the gun is at fault. Visconti has been a gun user for years. In his early life, he was a target shooting champion, which led towards achieving scholarships for his talent.  With law enforcement training, as well as NRA training, Visconti has developed a strong understanding for a guns purpose, how to accurately use a gun and the laws regarding the gun. 
Target shooting is a “lifetime sport”, says Visconti adding that, “It helps strengthen the mind, body, and helps your ability to focus”. Visconti feels that guns are developing a bad reputation, so for the ones who are responsible with their guns and use them for appropriate purposes only; like hunting for meat to feed your family and save money, their gun use shouldn’t be questioned. But Visconti questions, “Why not arm teachers? Why not use security guards?” Yes, there is a six month lengthy process in receiving the permit to obtain a pistol, but “why not” allow them to protect their students and selves from danger? Have you noticed, most killers use pistols in their killings?
Visconti explains each gun, saying that pistols are used more often because they are a common gun to own. Assault weapons are used more often to “scare” people. They normally have certain devices you attach to the gun, and they are larger in size.
Reflecting back on the Harper-Mercer’s past, recent articles have stated that he has Asperger’s. Visconti feels that mental health plays a big role in the devastating activities brought by criminals, and should be a focus for mental health clinics to seek people in need.  Short also felt that it’s a large factor that should be overlooked.
According to the research novel, “School Shootings: International Research, Case Studies, and Concepts for Prevention”, empirical studies often characterize school shooters to be “introverted loners with deficient social skills.” These deficits can be attributed to problems in “their family, their peer group, and their school.” As we collect data that proves this on-going problem to be true, schools want to prevent it from happening by offering adolescents a space that fosters their “psycho-social development”.
Director of Emergency Management for SUNY Plattsburgh, Michael Caraballo, does many things for the campus, one being, assisting the students after a situation, like the Oregon shooting. Caraballo is the “man behind the scenes” which prepares training for the faculty and staff of the college, and handles anything from flooding to fires. Caraballo described the training to be important. “WeComply” is an online program all faculty and staff must accomplish before classed begin. It allows faculty and staff to keep up with any policies that have been changed or have remained. In one of the “WeComply” modules, there is a section on active shooters, which teaches you the basic principles in protecting yourself, as well as the students.
“In the section you have three options; evacuate, hide, and if you can’t do either, you fight”, says Caraballo. Once you’ve completed the program, you’re certificated. SUNY Plattsburgh also offers a campus outreach program where certain individuals like Resident Assistants from living facilities on campus can be trained.

Overall, the Plattsburgh school district, as well as SUNY Plattsburgh, are well equipped and professionally trained in the field of unfortunate events, with or without guns to protect us. There are many resources to contact if you feel in danger, or you feel as if you or a loved one could use help. 


USA Hockey learn to skate program makes strides in Plattsburgh

By Anthony Calabrese

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. - Learning to skate is important in the sport of ice hockey. Plattsburgh Youth Hockey Association has followed the recommendations of USA Hockey, a sanctioned organization that recommends age appropriate training, by implementing their own version of Learn to Skate.
According to, “The focus and goal of the Learn to Skate (L2S) curriculums are designed to teach beginner hockey players the fundamentals of skating.”
            Plattsburgh area youth hockey has had an overall increase in participants.
           Rob Knowles, Plattsburgh Youth Hockey president said “Our organization has grown so much we only had 100 at the start that includes the whole organization, 10 years ago and now we are at 300 skaters and participants.” 
            Getting started can be tough, hockey equipment can be expensive and many pieces are needed. In Plattsburgh youth can rent the equipment needed for learning to skate.
            Robby Knowles, coach/instructor, said “we have some equipment from USA Hockey that are rentals. Most kids bring their own stuff, (and) don’t need a stick. (A) helmet is required, pants and elbow pads.”
            Plattsburgh area Learn to Skate starts on Oct. 28, and continues through March 2016. It will take place at the Plattsburgh Ronald B. Stafford Fieldhouse on Wednesdays from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. and will be at either 9:30 or 10:45 a.m. on Saturdays. It is free for children ages six and under. The cost for older children for 30 ice sessions is rather inexpensive when looking at camps throughout the state. For example one camp in New Jersey was 500 dollars for four days of a total of six hours of ice time. Rob said “It is 150 dollars for 30 hours of ice time.”
            People have very different perspectives of learn to skate. Rob said “Yes, Learn to Skate is our intro to hockey. I think hockey is a sport that offers not only positives that kids are going to be active, it is also a huge family event.” Knowles continued, “A strength about hockey is that you are always together in the car (travelling). You can bond a lot and learn lessons as a family.”
            Hockey is a sport that takes time to develop skills.  Spencer Graves Head coach of Plattsburgh Youth Hockey Peewee team said “it gives an opportunity to not just build hockey skills, it’s good for overall coordination, and if they are interested in playing hockey this is a good time for them to figure out if they would like to stick to it or not.”
            Ten year old Drew Knowles, Rob’s son, who is a player for the Peewee Plattsburgh Youth hockey team, started Learn to Skate when he was four years old. He said “They always allowed us to use the pushers, I really like sockey (soccer and hockey in one).”
            Drew’s favorite thing that he has done while at Learn to Skate is playing 1 on 1s, and 2 on 1s. He said “I have made a lot of friends through Learn to Skate and while I’m playing hockey now at the peewee level, some of the same kids were in my Learn to Skate class.”
            One major thing that Drew learned from Learn to Skate is being able to skate backwards during the play.
            Richard Botting, a local Instructor/ Plattsburgh State men’s ice hockey player said, “I think they get someone who has hockey knowledge and someone that the kids can look up to. I think that allows them to listen better which ultimately makes them get more out of it.”
            Botting wants all kids to know “Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t do it.”
            Rob offered some tips to first time parents. “The most important thing is to be patient, take as much success as your children provides. If your kid only goes out there for 10 minutes be happy he stayed for ten minute before crying. That is something to work off of, and hopefully the next time that they go out they will be able to stay out longer and longer each time.”


Did Pro-life activists finally take it too far?

By Noelle Tedford

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. -- Planned Parenthood has been accused of selling baby fetuses for profit. Although these accusations have been proven false the topic is still creating a lot of controversy throughout our nation.
            In July 2015 the Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion and Pro-life organization, leaked a video of Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical services, it featured Nucatola discussing the harvesting of tissues and organs of aborted fetuses. The video was a sting in which CMP posed as a medical research organization looking for fetuses. The video was later found to be highly edited with many things taken out of context.
            Following the video leak, Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood’s president, spoke to the House Committee on Oversight and Government reform. Although the video was tampered with, Richard’s did apologize for the overall tone of the video.
            Katie Gibbons, a former Planned Parenthood employee said, “I did not feel that Richard’s should have apologized for a highly edited clip. She did nothing wrong and that is what people need to realize.”
            During the meeting given to the House Committee, Richards was “spoken over and berated with questions,” said Karen Case. Case is the OBGYN at Planned Parenthood and a Midwife at CVPH Medical Center and has been with both organizations for five years.
            Case said, “I felt Richard’s presented herself and Planned Parenthood in a very dignified light. She wasn’t able to get her point across because of the rapid-fire questioning they were throwing at her.”
            A huge issue that is being brought up with all of this talk of fetuses is government funding. Pro-life groups are using this story to bend facts and manipulate public opinion.
            Case admits, “People are always trying to breach the system. In order to even access my computer I have to go through at least five passwords.”
            These system breaches can include anything from people calling the receptionist to give faulty information to people making fake appointments and trying to trap workers outside protocol.
            With Pro-life advocates comes the protesters. Each day from about 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. picketers can be seen outside of the local Planned Parenthood. Generally, the group consists of two elder gentlemen and an elderly nun. This poses the problem that people might not realize: not everyone who goes to Planned Parenthood is getting an abortion!
            Robin Marie, Planned Parenthood employee said, “I have never been harassed but I stood outside in support one day. The protesters were yelling things implying that we were all lesbians and that we live in condos with all the money we get from abortions.”
            The protesters are known to give dirty looks to incoming patients as well as forcefully handing out antiabortion pamphlets.
            The fact that no government funding is even used towards abortion shows how little these antiabortionist groups really know about the Planned Parenthood organization. Pro-choice isn’t just a phrase about the woman’s choice to keep her baby or not. It goes so much deeper than that. The whole picture of Pro-choice is about preventive measures as well. In fact, abortion is the lower than any other test or procedure at Planned Parenthood.
            Chris LaRose, a local male youth said, “I don’t know why people address Planned Parenthood as just a woman’s service. Clearly men use the organization as well for things such as testing and family planning.”
            So what is government funding used for at Planned Parenthood? It is used for things such as mammograms, pap smears, STD/STI testing and prevention. These things are very important to the health of adults and Pro-choice advocates. Pro-life has a powerful message but Pro-choice lets a woman choose what is right for her. After all it is her body to do as she pleases.
            Susan Kier-merrihew, OBGYN at Planned Parenthood said, “Pro-choice means you have the right to choose whether you will be a mother or not. Birth control is also Pro-choice and is the safest preventive measure, aside from abstinence. What a woman does with her body is a personal choice and it is nobody’s business what that choice is.”

            There will always be people on both sides of the Pro-choice and Pro-life conflicts. However, fabricating and falsifying information to damage an organization that looks out for the over-all health of its community is not morally correct. Should a group so close to God be more understanding of the God-given right to choose?

Volkswagen scandal hits the north country

By Vicky Scott

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y.—Friday, September 18, it was all over every newspaper, television and radio talk show. Volkswagen, the German car company, well known for their Jetta and Golf models, was caught in a scandal involving cheating on emissions tests for their diesel vehicles.

The “diesel dupe” is affecting 11 million cars worldwide, which are equipped with the “defeat device,” which can detect when the vehicle is being tested and change performance accordingly to yield better results.

The EPA discovered this by noticing the engines had computer software that could sense test scenarios by monitoring speed, engine operation, air pressure and even the position of the steering wheel. The device appears to have put the vehicle in a type of safety mode, making the engine run below its normal levels of power and performance.

Full details of how this system functions are fuzzy, but Volkswagen has openly admitted to purposely conducting unethical business. The Volkswagen American boss, Michael Horn, put it best, “We’ve totally screwed up.”

Approximately 500,000 vehicles have been recalled in the United States alone. Former chief executive, Martin Winterkorn, said the company knows it has lost the trust of its customers and currently, its most urgent task is to win it back.

In the North Country, there are three Volkswagen dealerships around Lake Champlain and many other car companies who carry Volkswagen vehicles. People are loyal to this brand because of their overall safety ratings, numerous awards on multiple vehicle models and reputation among competitors.

Some customers have reacted very negatively to this scandal, while others are willing to give the company a chance to bounce back.

Cleirys Perez, of Plattsburgh, currently owns a 2001 Volkswagen Golf and has not taken the scandal well. She has decided that she will be purchasing a Honda Accord in the near future because, “they were disloyal to their customers. They lied to us.”

Other Volkswagen owners have a more lenient opinion about the scandal. Sean Murphy, of Plattsburgh, first heard about the situation in one of his classes at SUNY Plattsburgh and was shocked. “I do not trust the company and will not until they earn it back,” said Murphy. Murphy has no plans of getting rid of his 2008 Volkswagen Passat anytime soon because his car has not been recalled and has been a reliable ride back and forth to school.

What are Volkswagen owners advised to do? Currently, the EPA said you should continue using your car as you always have. They are still safe to drive; just not safe for the environment.

Just because they are safe to drive doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stay informed; Volkswagen’s resale value may drop and states could require proof that the problem has been fixed before they are registered or renewed.



By: Antonea Griffin

PLATTSBURGH – Greek Life is an essential on many campuses. There are many different types of sororities and fraternities that stand for its own beliefs and works towards a change in each individual and the impact of others. But with the expanding of minorities and the attending of predominantly white school how could these minorities decide where they would want to fit in at.
There are some that are multicultural, Hispanic, and some that stands for the empowerment of women and men. But in some schools there aren’t any that stand for those. The Divine 9 is a black Greek organization that is broken up into nine, historically African Americans.
Abdoul Barry, 21, I attended school where there was no divine 9. Nothing but Caucasian Greek life and I grew knowing that anything I put my mind to, I could achieve. So, I decided to bring a black chapter to my school and we made it through, so if you want it as bad as you say you do, you wouldn’t let nothing stop you from making it happen.
With the idea of not having a black organization on campus where minorities are attending separates each individual from making a change in their life or believing that someday they can be a person to impact another person life.
Zina Mingo, 49, I went to predominantly all-white school but I knew where my heart was and where I wanted to be. Delta Sigma Theta was my dream from since I was a kid and nothing was going to stop me from being just that.
The diversity level in many schools is uprising with minorities attending them but their dropping with the lack of involvement of minorities. If any school can bring up a chapter and have different chapters on campus so can divine 9s be available.
Hazing is a big factor when looking at black Greek organizations.
Mashari Gournee, 23, we stand for no hazing but we have to understand a limit of what our ancestors went through for us and how they sacrificed for us to live the life that we did. And pledging DST was the best thing that happened to me.
Bringing diversity to campuses puts a better view on it. People look for things that interest them when deciding a college to attend.

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