Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Giving children with autism a voice

By Olivia Cahill

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – Picture the obnoxious coworker who seems to overact

every time there is a change in plan or schedule. Imagine your relative that seems to

fixate on what would seem to be insignificant details of a movie. Imagine the “weird kid”

in class that cannot seem to go into the bathroom alone because of the loud automatic

toilets. Now picture your reaction when you learn that your coworker, classmate, or

relative has autism spectrum disorder.

Autism is one of the fastest-growing developmental disorders in the U.S. and

affects 1 in 68 people in the country. According to Autism Speaks, the worlds leading

autism advocacy organization, autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by

social-interaction difficulties, communication challenges and a tendency to engage in

repetitive behaviors. But the biggest misconception is that each person with this diagnosis

is the same. Many believe that it is a cookie cutter diagnosis, but it ebbs and flows on a

spectrum from being high functioning vs. low functioning.

In Plattsburgh, there are several options for families and caretakers that aid people

with autism; the first is to get a diagnosis. The only way to truly receive aid is to have the

piece of paper certifying the diagnosis. That is where the North County Regional Center

for Autism Spectrum Disorders can help. One of six centers in New York State, the

government funded program can offer a detailed analysis of each patient through the

Center for Neurobehavioral Health. They also aid in school consultations, creating

behavior intervention plans, and can refer people to private local practitioners such as Dr.

Jeanne Ryan.

Project coordinator Jessica Matthews said, “The diagnosis is nothing to be scared

or ashamed of, anyone with the diagnosis becomes eligible for many services. It opens

the door to so many possibilities.”

Many parents and caretakers struggle with the diagnosis. “When I began my own

journey, I was clueless. You go through the stages of grief; the things you wish your child

could do might not be possible. I was overwhelmed and stressed until I gained more

knowledge about; once I reached that point, I was able to move forward. ” said Genie

Denton, Program Coordinator for the Autism Alliance.

The next step would be to gather information about the disorder. “Some people

think you deal with it when they are younger and they will grow out of it. That is not the

case, at any age the children need services. You can never stop learning. I give kudos to

the parents that keep educating themselves, that don’t shy away from the diagnosis and

keep their minds open to the possibilities for their children.” Matthews said.

NYS is consistently ranked in the top 10 areas for serving people with disabilities.

The Autism Alliance of Northeastern New York has a massive amount of knowledge on

the subject. They provide a book with a database of providers that is passed out to

schools, parents, or anyone that wants one to seek knowledge about autism. The book

aids in improving and enhancing the lives of people with autism, which goes in

accordance to their values. It began as a grassroots movement created by parents with

autistic children to raise funds in the community. Everything raised in donations goes

specifically to educational opportunities in Clinton, Essex and Franklin county


After gaining the knowledge about autism, enrolling a child or caretaker in the

local programs provided would be a helpful way to aid in managing the sometimes-

difficult behaviors of autism. The North County Regional Center for Autism Spectrum

Disorders coordinates tri-county events such as an eight-week parent skills workshop.

The Autism Alliance provides several grants to the community where any

organization such as a schools or day care can apply, as long as their program directly

impacts people with autism. In addition to the grants, the alliance helps fund programs

such as conferences for anyone who’s life has been impacted by autism, community

concerts, and even sensory films once a month at Cumberland 12.

Another resource would be the autism intervention program called Nexus. They

work on social skills to help children be as high functioning as possible. In doing so they

teach children how to apply social skills in different settings from going into schools and

having lunch time buddies that work with the children and their “typical” classmates to

peer networking. Everything is individualized because no two children have the same

issues. Through structured and unstructured activities, they help the children manage

their behaviors in a social setting. They also provide family training of the signs and

symptoms of autism and how to manage them.

Program coordinator for Nexus, Andrea Martino said, “The real issue is you have

to walk the line between their typical peers behaviors and allowing the children to have

their own set personalities.” Breana Syslo, volunteer for Nexus and president of Autism

Speaks U at SUNY Plattsburgh, said, “One behavioral management technique with one

student, may not work for another.”

Because the North Country is located near the Adirondacks, there are not a ton of

services in each area. “We have one child that has to drive forty-five minutes each

Saturday because there are no resources located close to his home.” Martino said.

However Plattsburgh seems to be the central hub for behavioral management programs.

There is also a program called MVP Kids. This sports league is for children ages

5 - 12; there is also MVP Teens for children ages thirteen and up. There are 6 sessions

per year and each one has a different sport to play from bowling to soccer to swimming.

The object of the program is to help prepare the children so that they can be integrated

into their own community sports teams. It helps with social skills, coping skills for when

they lose a game, and learning how to play the game.

Martino is also the assistant director for MVP kids. “It is all about contextual

learning - children with autism don’t typically generalize. If you teach them one skill,

they may not be able to apply it to several different situations.” Martino said.

Lastly, the best way to truly come to terms with autism is to get involved in the

community. “I feel strongly for advocating for people that need a voice.” Denton said. On

the SUNY Plattsburgh campus, Autism Speaks U held their annual color run on April 30.

To end autism awareness month, the Autism Alliance is hosting their autism awareness

walk on May 7 at the Clinton County Fairgrounds – giving plenty of opportunities for the

community to get out and volunteer or donate to the cause. “The best advice I can give to

anyone about autism is to keep an open mind; don’t jump to conclusions if you see

someone that is a little different.” Martino said.

Eyes one the prize, or rather their phones

By Kristine Giurcio 

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y.− When we think of social media, we tend to think of millions of tweets being sent out, Instagram photos being posted for everyone in the world to see, and possibly even RSVPing to Facebook events. Social media has become integral to our society for people of all generations. Have we ever thought of social media in a more productive way? Is it possible we have overlooked the many ways social media has changed our businesses, education, and overall lifestyle?
Christina Cottone, a senior at Beekmantown High School, said she likes the opportunities growing up with social media has granted her.
“One of my classes did a semester long project where we had to pick a topic and E-mail businesses about their products. I picked to research pretzels, so I talked to Auntie Anne’s, Utz, and many other pretzel companies,” Cottone said.
The project that Cottone and other students were given was to teach them that this generation was given the outlet that we utilize each day, known as social media and the Internet.
“We sent out around ten e-mails to different companies and the feedback was surprising to me. While writing to them, we basically just complimented their products and acted interested. One company sent me 8 bags of free pretzels. Other companies sent coupons and informational books,” Cottone said. “It was unexpected, I didn’t think they would even read what I wrote.”
Cottone said she thinks of social media in a different light after this assignment. She said she thinks that her teacher proved her point that the access to the internet can be used for more than creating online profiles for other people her age to see.
Colleen Kallop, a junior at SUNY Plattsburgh, also found social media to be beneficial to her education process.
“I have a lot of friends who I can’t even have a conversation with without pulling them away from their phones, which is annoying. I use social media but only during my free time and not as much as the average person my age,” Kallop said. “I like using it though. Facebook has a lot of do it yourself videos that I follow a lot.”
Kallop said that she believes that social media has helped her get assignments done and communicate with other students taking the same classes as her.
“For one of my psychology classes we have a group chat app where we ask each other questions on every assignment. It’s beneficial for me to hear how other people in my class interpret the questions we are asked, because sometimes I find myself unsure of what I’m doing,” Kallop said.
Karin Buck, a SUNY Plattsburgh alumna, said that she thinks she owes everything to social media.
“When I didn’t reach my full degree requirements, I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to get a stable and consistent job. People in our society put this emphasis on having a college degree but in reality, a degree doesn’t secure your future either,” Buck said.
Creating a Linkedin profile helped to set up Buck’s future endeavors. Linkedin is a social networking site specifically for the business community. The objective of the site is to aid  members in establishing professional relationships with employers and colleagues that they trust. The former Plattsburgh student had the profile for only 6 months before an employer contacted her.
“I don’t know if anything would have worked out the way I wanted if I didn’t land a job through Linkedin. I don’t know where I would be working or living right now,” Buck said.
Buck recently moved to Washington, DC, to work for an organization called Student Veterans of America.
“People, especially older generations, look down on people constantly on their phones. I just feel like social media was a positive thing for me and it can be for everyone else too! People are just using it for the wrong things,” Buck said. “We should take advantage of being able to communicate with people across the world and mostly anyone we want for that matter.”
As well as Buck, Suzanne Denig, a Plattsburgh community member, utilizes a bulk of her social media accounts for business purposes. As a mother of 3 teenagers, Denig often works from the comfort of her own home as a tax agent.
“Everything I do in the office, I can also do sitting in my living room on my Ipad. I talk to clients all day long through all different accounts that they prefer using, I have them all,” Denig said. “More along the lines of professional communication such as, Linked-In and Email. You won’t find me on Facebook seizing any businesses.”
Utilizing access to the internet allows Denig to be a part-time stay at home mother for her 3 children.
“You can’t put a price on time with your family but, for me it doesn’t matter because I get paid the same while having my husband and children 8 feet away from me,” Denig said.

It’s easy to see all the negatives that social media has caused in our society. Although, many Plattsburgh community members are not blind to all the endless possibilities that it has created for us.

Sororites, honor societies aim to prevent child abuse

By Nicole Collado

Plattsburgh, N.Y. – With blue and sliver pinwheels in hand, the Plattsburgh

community came together the morning of April 23 rd for the second annual Prevent

Child Abuse Walk.

The inside circumference of the Plattsburgh State field house track was set

up with tables from local organizations like Adirondack Helping Hands, The Child

Care Council of the North Country, Healthy Families New York, and the Joint Council

for Economic Opportunities. Along with pamphlets and resource information for

parents and guardians, there were coloring and play stations for the children who

attended the event.

SUNY Plattsburgh’s Human Development and Family Relations Student

Organization organized this year’s walk in conjunction with the Phi Upsilon

Omicron National Honor Society.

HDFR is geared toward anyone who desires to work in the human services

profession. Kenneth Koleman treasurer for the HDFR student organization at

Plattsburgh State said, “By doing this walk and raising money, were coming together

as a campus and community to help combat this issue.” Koleman continued on,

“Many of us have taken a class called Child Abuse and Neglect. This course opened

my eyes to the hardships children face everyday.”

Koleman is currently a junior and hopes to work in law or health


As a family support worker for Healthy Families New York, Kathryn Girard

goes to the homes of families who needed guidance and support in hopes of

bettering their families wants and needs.

Girard said: “Child abuse is a very real issue. While many homes I’ve visited

just wanted outside support and community outreach, some of them showed

serious signs of child neglect. It’s heartbreaking to see but I’m glad I’ve been able to

help make a difference in those children’s lives.”

After stopping to take a group picture in front of a “help stop child abuse”

sign, Alexis Vetro president of Sigma Delta Tau sorority said, “There was no way that

we were going to miss this walk.” Prevent Child Abuse America is Sigma Delta Tau’s

national philanthropy, and they put on events throughout the school year in support

of PCAA.

“We’re always doing our best to raise awareness and support. PCAA is a

cause that we hold close to our hearts, and they’ve don’t a great job with combining

information and fun at this year’s walk,” Vetro said.

Working the helping hands coloring station, Christina Rodriguez, a

graduating senior in the HDFR program said, “It’s amazing to see all of these people

show up to support a cause that’s so meaningful. Getting support workers in the

homes of children in need is so important and we’re helping do just that.”

The walk raised an estimated $900 and all proceeds will be donated to PCAA.

Why is voter turnout for young voters down?

By Jasely Molina

PLATTSBURGH -- According to the U.S. Census, the voting turnout rate among young adults ages 18-24

within the last decade has decreased to 30.8 percent. The race for presidency in 2016 has

intensified leaving presidential candidacy striving to win the votes of millennials; however, the

low turnout voting rate has left candidates and locals asking themselves: why aren’t enough

young adults voting?

“A lot of young adults just don’t care to keep up with politics. If they do, many feel that

their voices don’t matter,” Plattsburgh Resident Maribel Vitagliani said. Vitagliani is a registered

Democrat. Vitagliani accredits the low turnout rate among young adults to the voting system.

She believes that young adults are discouraged to vote because they cannot directly vote for their

preferred candidate. She also believes that many of these young adults feel that because their

vote is in the hands of a representative, their vote or opinion is not important. “Maybe if we can

electronically vote, it would make things easier for people since they don't have to go out their

way; however, people just have to keep educating and involving themselves in a friendly and

accepting environment,” Vitagliani said.

Operations and Technology Associate Michelle Quimi acknowledges her right to vote;

however, she has decided not to vote. She believes that it would not be fair to exercise her right

to vote because she is not completely informed about politics or the stances held by the

presidential candidates. “I did not want to make a decision because of what I heard other people

say. I did not want to vote because one candidate was a woman or the other was a ‘good fit,’”

Quimi said.

“People have this sense that due to their age, they believe that anything that happens in the

election will not directly affect them. Yet, in this election it’s different. You can tell that the race

is fueling up. Some people may not like the candidates, but four years now, they’ll be impacted

by the laws imposed by the president,” PSU Junior Julian Breyette said. He believes that the low

turnout rate is also a result of confusion. He explained that many young adults are exposed to

political and economic terms; however, they do not have a clear concept of what the terms mean.

According to Breyette, despite the rise of social media and political videos, the lack of education

discourages the young adults to vote. Breyette, however, intends on voting in this year’s general


“There was actually a huge increase [in voting turnout] in that age group,” Democrat

Commissioner of the Clinton County Board of Elections Mary Dyer said. “There were deadlines

and registrations imposed by the state. Although a lot of these people didn’t meet requirements,

they were registered to vote.” Dyer said that the voting booths were very busy during the NY

primaries and were as busy as a general election. Dyer accredits this voter turnout among young

adults to the presidential candidates. She believes that the presidential candidates are eclectic and

“hit all spectrums of this age group.” Dyer anticipates that the general election will have the

same turnout as it did during the NY primary.

Social media has made efforts to encourage young voters to go out and vote. Tumblr, a

free microblogging and social network website, has a spotlight page that allows users to easily

find links that relate to current events, campaign updates, statistics and political experts. This

ensures that young voters have accurate sources to rely on and the accurate information on the

presidential candidates.

Facebook has set reminders for online users. Users are giving the option of placing a

template on their status that states that they are currently watching a political debate. This can

encourage the person’s followers to be on top of trends and actually watch the debate. The

Washington Post has also collaborated with Facebook to show behind-the- scenes footage of the

March 9th Democratic presidential debate.

For the NY primary, Bernie Sanders purchased geofilters from Snapchat, which is an image

and video messaging phone application. Snapchat allows users to take photos and place filters

on them. One of the filters read “You’re Up, NY! Vote for Bernie today!”

Local campaign groups in the North Country have also created pages dedicated to gathering

residents in neighboring counties to help promote their preferred candidate.

It is still unknown whether millennials will decide to vote for the general election in

November; however, it is clear that with the millennials outnumbering the Baby Boomer

population, an increase in turnout from the millennials could potentially sway the vote for the

presidential candidates.

Color run provides smiles for new and old faces

By Emily Kim

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – It’s the paint, the exploding colors, and the smiles on every

face in the field; it’s the dedication and promotion for healthiness and happiness that

makes the Color Run the single largest event series in the world.

It’s 10 a.m. on April 30

Plattsburgh beings. Colors of blue, pink, green, and yellow cover the area for a second

time. The Color Run is a nationwide 5K run that was founded in 2011 to bring

communities together and promote healthiness and happiness. The City of Plattsburgh

decided to host a Color Run of its own in 2015. The money goes towards Autism Speaks

U, a national organization, with a portion going to the women’s soccer team at SUNY


“We wanted a fun way to raise awareness and raise money for Autism Speaks,

which is helping people who have Autism,” Will Hodge, Secretary of Autism Speaks U


Bringing it back for a second year, more timing and planning had to be made in

order for this year’s turn out to be bigger and better for the community and for the cause.

President Breanna Syslo and Soccer Coach Tania Armellino, oversaw all of the

committees that were created for this event. It has been an ongoing project since the day

after the first year’s run ended.

th and the 2

nd Annual Color Run at Memorial field in

“It’s a years worth of work,” Syslo said. “This semester we have had weekly

meetings to coordinate, as well as large group meetings every month.”

The ultimate goal for the upcoming years in Plattsburgh is for the Color Run to

continue annually. It’s an opportunity for the community of Plattsburgh to come together

and spread knowledge of the issues of autism.

“We are raising the money for the National organization, but more than that, we

are raising awareness,” Hodge said.

People of the community joined together as participants, volunteers, and

supporters to help the cause. It also encourages fitness and health, in which participants

can run for five miles while being splattered on with paint, creating an exciting and

colorful victory at the finish line.

Nicole Rescigno, participant, said, “It was overall a great experience, especially

because it was not a timed event with any winners or prizes.”

It’s refreshing for people when they can be a part of something that doesn’t

consist of physical prizes and titles. The Color Run gives the ultimate prize: individual


Some people like Rescigno, come to the Color Run for the health and happiness

aspect, while others, come because of personal relations with autism. Hodge became a

member of Autism Speaks U because of his cousin. He grew up with autism and Hodge

and his mother took care of him for a couple of years. His cousin’s development skills

were slow, and so Hodge’s mother helped him learn how to speak more, develop social

skills, and other things that people with autism are not able to learn as well as people

without it.

“I am a part of this club for him to get the services he needs,” Hodge said.

It’s an event with incredible scenery. People are smiling different colors while

exchanging laughs and comments about how the paint looks on their white t­shirt.

Claire Murphy, a volunteer, got to experience how much joy and fun this event

gives to the community as it was her first time at a Color Run. She was stationed behind

the Plattsburgh High School and was in charge of throwing purple powder over the

runners. She encourages people to volunteer for this event and is eager to come back

another year to throw more colors and watch the runners enjoy the event as much as she


“It gets a lot of the students excited to volunteer for it because it’s so much fun

and it also gets the entire community together because there are not only students that run

in it, but also families,” Murphy said.

Serena Thomaidis, participant, is a big supporter of the Color Run. She’s moved

around a lot in her lifetime and has gone to different Color Runs. This was her first time

going to this event in Plattsburgh, and she had no complaints. Like others, she has a

personal connection with autism, and with this Color Run donating to the cause,

Thomaidis had a deeper appreciation to the event.

“I run for awareness and for love and support,” Thomaidis said.

Half marathon brings runners, support.

By Kristen Suarez

Plattsburgh, N.Y. — On Saturday morning the streets were filled with screaming

fans as hundreds of runners made their way to the U.S Oval during the 7 th annual

Plattsburgh Half Marathon.

“Running 13.1 miles with hundreds of people by your side and amazing friends

and strangers cheering you on brings an indescribable sense of euphoria,” Christina

Niglia, half marathon runner, said.

The runners met at 7:30 a.m at the City Recreation Center. Seven hundred people

lined up to begin the race at the Oval that overlooks the lakeshore. Everyone seemed

calm but eager to start the race they had been training hard for.

“The hardest part of the marathon was keeping up with the twelve weeks of

training and preparation, while balancing work, school, and a social life,” Meghan

Giacalone, half marathon runner, said.

Every two miles volunteers handed out water and Gatorade to sweaty runners

pushing to the finish.

“The SUNY Plattsburgh soccer team volunteered and handed water and Gatorade

to the runners at the 6 mile mark, and we did our best to cheer them on and keep them

running,” Max Delavalle, volunteer, said.

The marathon has raised over $200,000 for Team Fox for Parkinson's Research

charity since the start of the event back in 2010. The race takes runners along the Saranac

River, through SUNY Plattsburgh campus, and along Lake Champlain.

Delavalle was inspired by the amount of young kids running the race with their

parents. He says that it was amazing to watch them accomplish something so difficult at

such a young age.

“It made me want to go out and run a half marathon myself,” Delavalle said.

During the final loop runners head back towards Bridge Street, and crossed over the

bridge over the Saranac River for the second time, towards the U.S Oval where the finish

line awaits them.

At the end of the race people stand waiting for their loved ones to finish strong.

Music is playing loud, and the energy is high as the race is about to come to an end. Not

even the rain can stop the excitement of the race.

“I knew how hard my friends trained for this marathon, and watching them cross

was extremely emotional. We just held each other and cried,” Erin Kelly, supporter, said.

Supporters banged cowbells, and embraced the runners after they finished the

13.1-mile race.

“I was overwhelmed with emotions because of how many of our friends came to

cheer us on,” Emily Bida, half marathon

runner, said.

As soon as runners crossed the finish line they

received a water bottle, medal, t-shirt, and

goodie bag for their accomplishment. Inside

the bag was a pint glass that allowed them to

receive a free drink at Olive Ridly’s, a local

bar/restaurant, along with discounted food.

Emily Bida, Christina Niglia, Meghan Giacalone. All seniors

at SUNY Plattsburgh.

Runners, and supporters gathered inside the City Recreation center waiting on line

for their oranges, pizza, and hero’s. The big race was over, and now it was time to


“Crossing the finish line as the people I loved cheered me on was symbolic and

empowering. This race showed me the power my mind has over my body and I can't wait

to one day run a full marathon just to prove I can,” Niglia said.

Domestic abuse has warning signs

By Eve Barnofsky

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — He controlled everything about her, how to dress, who to hang out

with and how to act. Keryn Ketterer did not want to admit it at the time but her boyfriend was

becoming abusive.

“I know most people know the obvious signs, and I guess I did too. I just didn't want to

believe them.” Ketterer said.

He was older than Ketterer, she was 16 and he was 22 when they first meet. They meet

through a mutual friend and were attracted to each other immediately.

Ketterer didn’t tell her parents because she knew that they would not approve so they

kept its secret. As they got more serious things started to change.

“He pressured me, made me insecure and basically broke me mentally.” Ketterer said.

According to the United States Department of Justice they define domestic violence as

“A pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain

power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual,

emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person.

This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize,

coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.”

Domestic violence can affect one out of four women with in their life time.

Sage Lewandowski was also in a abusive relationship for over two years. They were

inseparable at the beginning of the relationship but then things started to change.

“The closeness became suffocating for both of us and things such as common courtesy

and respect weren't a part of our relationship anymore.” Lewandowski said.

He controlled her, she was not allowed to see her friends or family because he didn't want

her to.

“No hurtful words were spared on his end, he took every opportunity to physically

overpower me. When it came to money he had no respect for what I had earned, he just took it.

He said he would pay me back, but I never saw any of that money again.” Lewandowski said.

Jane Colquhoun, is a private practice therapist. Colquhoun specializes in helping patients

deal with past traumas of abuse.

Colquhoun uses a special therapy technique called, eye movement desensitization and

reprocessing, or EMDR. It is a fairly new technique, it is a bilateral therapy, which is the

stimulation and coordination of the right and left body through eye movement. It helps patients

deal with past traumas.

“The body has memory and when a traumatic event happens the body still remembers it,

so the approach is revolved around the mind and body to resolving the trauma.” Colquhoun said.

Working with people who have been abused in the past Colquhoun feels that EMDR has

been very helpful in working with people.

“Often with the EMDR work it’s about letting yourself sit with what happened and kind

of facing it. You begin to realize the true messages, that you didn't do anything thing wrong, that

there was something wrong with your abuser and not you.” Colquhoun said.

Amaris Amos, a nurse who has dealt with domestic violence before, has dealt with

victims before they get to the stage of therapy.

“Once I saw a lady who had a dislocated shoulder, but she also had bruises on her arms

and neck. She said she had fell down the stairs but the bruises looked over a week old and the

shoulder injury was from that day.” Amos said.

Amos says as a nurse the tell tale signs of abuse is multiply injuries that are recent and

old. Sometimes there aren't physical injuries. Which Amos says is harder to know if they are

being abused because they have to tell you personally.

“The best thing to is to listen and watch closely to how he or she acts when you ask

certain questions. Sometimes patients are nervous, or if their partner is there, they are jumpy

around them.” Amos said.

If Amos is to find out that they are being abused she is to not leave them alone and to

perform a physical consult.

In the cases of adults she is to ask if they want to press charges but in the case for

children she is to immediately to contact the police to start an investigation.

“If someone asked me to identify the red flags of an abusive relationship, I would tell

them that they are the lack of basic respect by your partner, more than one physical altercation

and the constant draining of your resources and support.” Lewandowski said.
By Sean Messier

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – Bill Colquhoun is a relatively well-connected name in the

Plattsburgh community, according to his friends, such as Peru High School Math Teacher Lin

Chen. But before Colquhoun moved to Plattsburgh, retired, and began a portrait-drawing hobby

group, he led a life that took him across the country and through a variety of careers.

Colquhoun was born on Long Island, but moved to Stamford, Connecticut age 10, where

his father joined a yachting club that Colquhoun described as the start of one of his most

formative interests: tennis. The club had a tennis team, and it is when he joined this team that he

discovered his passion for the sport, which he plays to this day in Plattsburgh with a plethora of

community members. Part of the reason for this passion was the calling in of then MIT Tennis

Coach Ed Crocker, who Colquhoun described simply as “a wonderful person.” Colquhoun

explained that under Crocker’s guidance, the team improved leaps and bounds, effortlessly

winning regional competitions.

        His experience on the tennis team was more than just enjoyment, too, he said. There is a

lot to be learned about life and about people through tennis, Colquhoun said, including the

concept that some people will always play more fairly than others.

        By the time high school came around, teachers noticed Colquhoun’s shyness and broke

the news to his parents that they did not feel he measured up as college material, so he was sent

to a technical school for the remainder of his high school years.

        Colquhoun defied the warnings of those teachers with ease, however, showing

exceptional academic aptitude and getting accepted into Cornell University, McGill University,

and John Hopkins University, among others – though his final choice was John Hopkins, where

he entered as an oceanography major.

        Colquhoun bounced around multiple ideas for a college career, including journalism, but

realized he excelled at scientific research, which he eventually chose as the focus for his

academic career, eventually graduating and moving on to undertake graduate school at

Rockefeller University and Princeton University.

        Post-graduation, he got a job as an electron microscopist at the University of

Pennsylvania – a career that he would be a large part of his life. He only held this particular

position for a year, though, before deciding that the need to travel the country and see what it had

to offer outweighed the need to stay in one place with one job.

        So he headed to the Florida Keys, where he experienced what he described as one of the

scariest moments of his life after being asked by an acquaintance to crew on a sailing ship.

        Everything was going smoothly until one day, Colquhoun said, when a crewmate,

looking quite sick, motioned for Colquhoun to glance at the sky behind him. The horizon was

unnaturally dark and stormy; the crew had met a hurricane.

Luckily for Colquhoun and the rest of the crew, the ship had a large anchor, and with its

aid, they managed to ride out the hurricane for a day and a half before being picked up by a

helicopter and transported back to the Keys.

After this nerve-wracking situation, Colquhoun decided it was time to see what the rest of

the country had to offer, so he headed west. After a lengthy trip that involved a particularly

strange experience of driving over a road covered in snakes due to flooding in Alabama,

Colquhoun eventually found himself in California. Here, he met two important figures in his life:

Connie Mason, who became his girlfriend for a time and increased his already somewhat present

interest in the arts, and Zeke, who Colquhoun described as a small, yet comically dominant dog

who became an important pet and instilled in him a love for animals.

After the stint in California, the couple headed to the University of Oregon, where

Colquhoun intended to seek out another job as an electron microscopist. Upon arrival at the

university, Colquhoun said, he was decidedly grubby after the time spent traveling, and his

original plan was to simply ask for a catalog, then clean up, then return to seek an interview.

But the university employee that he asked for a catalog immediately introduced him to

the man in charge of jobs, who mentioned that all the janitorial positions had been

filled. Colquhoun made it clear that he had his sights set just a bit higher, and luckily, it appeared

there was an open position. Colquhoun was soon hired, and spent 6 years with the position, aside

from taking a 1-year break to help a friend build a house in Maine.

This was also the time where Colquhoun’s interest in art advanced greatly. He took

classes in art at a local community college, he said, and particularly worked in sculpture and

metalworking, with the latter being a solid source of money for him at the time.

His departure from Oregon was triggered by art, too, when the city of Eugene held an art

gathering where famed artists were invited and given $10,000 to produce a piece for the city.

Colquhoun said that most of the artists ended up drinking the money away, but one in particular

was successful — and ended up influencing Bill’s decision to head back to the east coast.

Multiple plans to study art on the east coast fell through, though, so Colquhoun found

himself leaving a short stay in Boston for another new job, this time in line with his original

scientific interests, at SUNY Albany.

While this job had its benefits, he said, including the ability to do a lot of his own

research, Colquhoun eventually decided that his work was going largely undervalued, and after 8

years, left to become a technical writer. While pursuing this career, he did a variety of jobs

including but not limited to editing a book written by a medium that predicted a number of future

calamities. Colquhoun noted that none of the predictions came true, but he did get paid for the

job. He continued technical writing with a position at the SUNY Research Foundation, but after

having some problems with a boss that showed preferential treatment, he jumped ship before

perusing the final sector of his career path in web design and programming for New York Legal

Publishing Corporation. He soon moved to the Plattsburgh area, where he continued this job

remotely until his retirement.

And for now, much of his time is spent playing tennis, leading the aforementioned

portrait group, which meets at the Champlain Wine Co. to draw portraits of willing volunteers,

gardening, and building relationships with community figures through these activities.

Champlain Wine Company co-owner Colin Read has only known Colquhoun for a year,

but lauds his organization and said he has a knack for keeping his group active and the members


Portrait group member Mary Hinsman described him as both nice and fair, with the latter

hearkening back to the lessons Colquhoun learned during his years playing tennis. She

mentioned that he is socially inclined and easily befriends locals through his kindness.

. Colquhoun said he often donates food locally, and is interested, after developing a love

for animals, in trying to make the portrait group a vessel for donations to the local animal shelter.

After much of his life was spent during turbulent years of war, particularly his Vietnam-era

youth, Colquhoun said he now tries to spend his time as peacefully as possible.

“So here I am doing nothing but peaceful art, hopefully not hurting anyone,” Colquhoun


And based on Lin Chen and Mary Hinsman’s depictions of Colquhoun as an

indispensable, selfless friend and community staple, he’s seeing achieving these wishes with


Animals get second chance at happy life

By Kevin Morley

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y.—For about three years now, Ben Sokolovsky, has gone to

the Plattsburgh City Beach every Sunday, weather permitting, to play catch with his

dog Rocky. The dynamic between the dog and his owner is simple: Sokolovsky

throws and Rocky chases.

As the rope that, Sokolovsky crafted himself for specific soaring purposes

flies through the air, Rocky instinctively tracks down the object in stride. However,

there is something peculiar about the stride of Rocky. His front left leg buckles with

every step. This is a result of the neglect Rocky suffered prior to having Sokolovsky

as his owner. Although the catches between the owner and his dog are lively, they

have become shorter and shorter in recent weeks.

The American Society Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recognizes

April as the Month for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, in order to raise

awareness of the issue. According to, dogs are the more common

victims to animal cruelty, where 64.5 percent of cases involved canines. 25 percent

of those dogs were identified as pit bulls, just like Rocky.

Local shelters such as Elmore SPCA, located in Peru, deal with animals that

have been subjected to neglect and abandonment. According to their website, they

are currently holding 313 dogs alone, 243 cats and six birds. Although the entire

population of this shelter has not been affected by neglect, shelter manager, Rebecca

Burdo has witnessed the effects of the issue.

“Some people are just nasty,” Burdo said. “However, most of the cases we see

are due to a lack of care for the animal rather than abuse.”

In many cases, the neglect is a result of hoarding by the owner. This means

that the owner of the animal has taken on the responsibility of more pets than he or

she can handle. As a result, the animals are malnourished which often leads to

emaciation, where the animal enters a state of being abnormally thin.

This was the case for Rocky. The buckle in his front left leg is a result of

muscle loss from malnourishment. Unfortunately, no veterinarian was able to fully

rehabilitate the leg of the now eight-year- old pit bull. Although Sokolovsky is

saddened by how Rocky was treated before adopting him, it does not stop him from

having a positive outlook on the situation.

“He’s a fighter anyways,” Sokolovsky said. “That’s why I named him Rocky.”

For dogs under similar circumstances as Rocky, the journey from being taken

into the shelter to being released to a home can be a long and tedious one.

According to Article 26 of the Agriculture and Markets Law relating to Cruelty to

Animals, if an animal is subjected to neglect or cruelty, a law officer must bring them

in. At this point, they are considered evidence and must go through the court

system before they can be touched or seen by anyone besides a veterinarian.

According to Burdo, this can sometimes take months.

After the court date passes, the animal is then eligible to be place in a home.

The time this process takes usually depends on the temperament as well as the

breed, when it comes to dogs specifically.

Although dogs may be the most common victims to animal cruelty, wildlife

animals are also struggling, but in different ways. Donna Fletcher, one of the

rehabilitator’s at Elmore, specializes in fawns. For years, Fletcher has been helping

injured fawns return to the wild by easing them into the wilderness. She does so by

putting them in a preliminary enclosure prior to actually entering the forest to

assimilate. Fletcher marks the deer with an ear tag, so she can later see which ones

went on to raise families and fend for themselves.

The fawns are not being physically harmed by anyone in particular or

necessarily neglected in this case, however, new regulations that are being

negotiated by the Department of Environmental Conservation could put the young

deer at risk. The proposal if passed, will make it a law that rehabilitators like

Fletcher will no longer be able to accept wildlife further than 20 miles from her


“It’ll be a shame if the DEC passes that,” Fletcher said. “There are going to be

a lot of fawns that aren’t going to have a safe place to go anymore.”

Fletcher will no longer work with fawns this year as most of her land has

been taken over by poachers.

The SPCA’s mission is, “To provide shelter and comfort to animals in need

that are on their path to finding loving lifetime homes.” Their care is not limited

strictly to neglected dogs like Rocky; it is shared equally from fawns and foxes to

domestic dogs and cats. Every animal deserves a safe place to call home.

As we leave April behind us this calendar year, it is important to remember

the importance of putting a stop to animal cruelty. Mike O’Donnell a student at SUNY

Plattsburgh recognizes this important issue weekly as he volunteers his time to

walk dogs at the Elmore shelter over this past year.

“You know you’re doing something good because some of those dogs were

either abandoned or mistreated,” O’Donnell said. “It’s nice that they can come to a

place like this to feel love. It’s a privilege to walk them.”

Plattsburgh proactive about clean water

By Alexis Archilla

PLATTSBURGH N.Y. ­ When it comes to our natural source of water, it is vital to make

sure that we are drinking and using the best of the best. But when things go wrong it’s

up to the Water Pollution Control Plant to make sure that the city of Plattsburgh receives

quality water.

Kristofer R. Gushlaw, the assistant chief plant operator sees all the actions that

are made to cleansing the water so that it is accessible for public usage.

“I created a booklet that is a step by step process on how things work” said


Not only does he help with assisting the chief operator David Powell but he

maintains stability by making sure that the machinery is working properly and makes

sure that the water is ready for testing.

The Water Pollution Control Plant began running on November 3, 1973. It took

around 3 years to build the plant and averages around 4 million gallons a day. It costed

11,960,000 dollars with close to 7 million given from the Federal and State grant.

There are 7 steps that are broken down, to ensure that the water is safe for the

public. First there is the screening phase, next is grit removal, followed by the low lift

pumping then the primary clarification phase, aeration, disinfection, the sludge

dewatering which is then taken to the laboratory.

This past August the Plattsburgh City Beach had failed a public safety test in

which it took only a couple days till Plattsburgh officials discussed the issue to let people

swim, even though there were people at the beach the day after the testing, a couple

people were ill due to the bacteria and enterococci.

Liz Strzepa, a reporter for WPTZ, mentions that the enterococci and bacteria is

formed from soil runoff and fecal matter. Another reason why it could've been triggered

was due to the warm water and the lack of rain. Robert Asomaning who was there at

the beach at that time remember the unpleasant experience of being there.

“ We didn’t get to go in, which sucked but I saw a couple guys soaking there feet after

the workers told them not too”.

Both Mr. Asomaning and his friend Clay Sherman were not happy when they

couldn’t step foot in the water.

As the water was cleared, Mr. Sherman went back for a nice swim and to soak in

the summer sun. A couple days after he started to notice a gruesome rash growing,

“ I was freaking out, I didn’t know what to do”. Sherman later did what anyone

would do, when the rash didn’t go away. “ I rushed to the hospital because I had gash in

my arm and it kept bothering me, they told me it must of been from the water”.

Later Sherman received antibiotics and his arm was treated, the wound healed

four days later but the doctors told him that it was best for him to stay away from the

water till further notice. It’s safe to say there hasn’t been any other incidents concerning

the closure of the beach due to enterococci. The tests of the beach have helped keep

the public safe and harmless since.

Forever young

By Yesenia Reynoso

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — His eyes wandered towards the ceiling as he recollected his thoughts,

thinking intently on what his response would be, the resemblance to the statue of the Thinker

was uncanny, and on his own, David Young became his own work of art.

David Young, who recently turned 35, is a man of many experiences. A father, a son, a

husband and friend, his life has been a journey of many destinations.

From an early age, Young understood what it meant to assume responsibility.

“I grew up very quickly,” Young said. “I helped raise my two brothers and my sister,

although they might not agree.”

Although his siblings might not agree, Martha Ashline, Young’s mother remembers all of

his helpfulness as a kid.

“He was a pretty good kid,” Ashline said. “He helped out a lot and I think because of it

he matured faster.”

“He was always curious, always asking questions, smart for his age,” Ashline said.

This natural curiosity transcended his childhood and spread like wildfire as he was

growing up.

“He would ask me questions, and I would respond as best as possible,” Ashline said. “I

made sure he knew what was what.”

Despite an upbringing that caused him to grow up faster than most, Young never lost his

sense of playfulness and his outgoing nature.

“He was a very outgoing kid,” Ashline said. “One time he and his brother took their

sister’s toys, and threw them out of the second story window, and after, well, they peed on it.”

Young recalls the incident, “it’s a funny story, probably not for my sister though,” Young


DJ, as many of his relatives call him, grew up with a sense of wanting to help others, and

that desire landed him in interesting places.

“Growing up, I was very patriotic,” Young said. “My father was in the Air Force and my

stepdad was in the Navy, so I felt like it was my civic responsibility to give back, so 4 days after

my high school graduation, I joined the Air Force.”

For reasons beyond his control, Young was medically discharged on October 2001.

“I was upset, happy, and relieved all at once,” Young said.

“It was a rough transition for me,” Young said. “There’s no structure in civilian life.

Everything in the Air Force was routine. It was a whole different life.”

This transition would prove to be even more difficult when in 2004 Young was diagnosed

with a tumor the size of a softball in his intestines.

“I had surgery followed by a year of chemotherapy,” Young said. “I had six spinal taps,

and that affected my memory which is why I can’t remember some details.”

This experience affected him in ways that were unprecedented.

“During my chemotherapy, I almost committed suicide,” Young said. “I felt that people

pitied me, and that I was a burden on everyone, and I didn’t want to be; I thought how easy it

could be for me to just end it all.”

“My mom was the person who put it all in perspective for me,” Young said. “I just

remember talking to her and there being a lot of crying.”

For Young’s mother, the experience wasn’t easy either.

“I was scared,” Ashline said. “He looked so sick; he had no hair. I was just so scared.”

His mother was not the only person Young had by his side during that year, he also had

the support and love of his high school sweetheart Mia.

“We had met in eighth grade study hall,” Mia recalled. “My friend introduced us and

later that day he kind of came out of nowhere and pushed me up against my locker, and kissed

me. It was like something out of a movie.”

“We dated on and off for a couple of years and finally one day we ended it for real,” Mia


Both Mia and DJ went their separate ways, but eventually circumstances brought them

together again.

“I was at the hospital one day and I saw his mom,” Mia said. “I asked her about DJ and

she said he was okay and that he was getting chemotherapy, I was so angry, I didn’t know. I sent

him an angry email saying ‘you can’t not tell me things like this’!”

“After that, he gave me his hospital schedule and I was there for him,” Mia said.

At the time, both Mia and DJ were in relationships with other people, and it would be a

while until they finally found themselves willing and able to be together again.

“We took a road trip together to get some of her stuff from where she was living with her

ex, and that road trip is what brought us back together,” Young said; a road trip that neither

would ever forget.

“That road trip was on May 20 th , 2006,” Mia said. “I remember it.”

From then, things changed quite quickly.

“The doctors had told DJ that he couldn’t have kids, and so one day we just decided to

try,” Mia said. “Then, I found out I was pregnant, and I told myself ‘wow so that’s what happens

when you have unprotected sex’.”

“I was super happy, but scared,” Young said. “My children are gifts.”

After finding out about the pregnancy, both Mia and David decided to move up their

timelines, and on June 21 st , 2007, they were married. By November their daughter Eliza was


“My dad is fun, and he plays with us,” Eliza said. “He’s really good at tests.”

Shortly after Eliza’s birth Young returned to work at three jobs to support his family.

Sometime after, Young returned to school at Clinton Community College, first for

nursing and later changed it to human services. The desire to help others was obviously still


While at school at Clinton, Mia became pregnant with their second child, Kellan. In a

matter of time his family of three, became a family of four.

In January 2015, Young quit his job and decided to pursue school full-time. He is now

studying Communications at SUNY Plattsburgh.

“I want to be some sort of inspirational speaker,” Young said. “I’ve experienced a lot in


Young now owns his very own business, and is at the same time an advocate

for diversity and social justice. His life experiences have shaped him into the person he is today,

whether it’s as a husband, father, student or friend.

“He’s so complex,” Mia said. “There are so many facets to him. He’s an amazing father,”

a statement that his family agrees with.

Kellan, his youngest child believes that he is most like his father, “Except that I’m not

bald,” Kellan joked.

The influence he has on others does not stop at his abilities as a father.

“As a husband, he is amazing,” Mia said. “He loves me in a way I’ve never been loved

and he sees me in a way that I don’t understand.”

A man of many skills, Young has persevered through every obstacle thrown his way, and

has emerged as a man of strength, endurance, and love.

“If there’s one lesson that my life has taught me is don’t be afraid to live and don’t be

afraid to love,” Young said. “Do both as deeply and as powerfully as you can.”

Stuff of nightmares

By Noah Cooperstein

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – Auschwitz. Adolf Hitler. Death Camps. Gas Chambers. These

are only a few words that have been implanted into the minds of many but are fully understood

by few. With history often repeating itself, people must learn about tragedies, like that of the

Holocaust, to prevent such horrors of recurring. However, to teach the Holocaust is an emotional

yet beneficial struggle.

Dr. Richard Schaefer, associate professor in history and coordinator of the religious

studies program, believes that studying history and the events that have shaped the course of time

is essential into seeing the full picture.

“You can’t just hear a blurb about something and think you know it. To study history is

to open yourself up to learning complex things,” said Dr. Schaefer. “History and historians aren't

just giving you a script. You are being challenged to think about complex things.”

Many educators of the Holocaust, however, come across various other challenges when

discussing these events.

Dr. Jonathan Slater, associate professor of public relations and director of the Jewish

studies program, Dr. Carol Lipszyc, associate professor of english and Dr. Howard Gontovnick,

adjunct professor of interdisciplinary studies, have found it is often difficult to separate the

personal connection they have when discussing the Holocaust.

“Being the daughter of two survivors, it is integral to who I am and my world view,” said

Dr. Lipszyc. “My father never spoke of it while my mother began speaking to me about it when I

was an adolescent.”

Dr. Slater, who had distant relatives who were affected by the Holocaust, views these

events as an ongoing matter.

“During the Passover Seder we talk about the liberation of Jews. We are taught to speak

of our liberation as it is ongoing,” said Dr. Slater, discussing the story of Passover and the

Exodus from Egypt. “This goes for any period of Jewish history. That is when I think of the

Holocaust, I think about my people being murdered. I could have been there.”

For Dr. Schaefer, the personal connection to the Holocaust is a side that is not often

talked about.

Dr. Schaefer, who is of German background, had two distant uncles that were members

of the SS, the Schutzstaffel, a paramilitary organization under the Nazis.

“When you know that, it makes the Holocaust very personal, but in different way.”

One of the biggest issues that many educators find with teaching the topic is the

Holocaust deniers.

Dr. Schaefer believes that many of the misconceptions and denial comes from what

students and other individuals find on the Internet.

“Something, somewhere is happening. Student’s have a real problem using computers,”

said Dr. Schaefer. “They think just because it appears on a screen, it’s true.”

Dr. Gontovnick notices that some individuals don't see it as something real and thus

leading them to have a hard time in understanding the Holocaust.

“I am amazed at the ignorance that people have towards the Holocaust,” said Dr.

Gontovnick. “A lot of people make assumptions. They don’t understand the greater issue.”

To help students gain a greater understanding of the Holocaust, SUNY Plattsburgh

alongside the Jewish Studies Program, helps the community, both campus as well as local

residents, to understand the observance of Yom Hashoah.

Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, is internationally recognized and is in

remembrance of those who were affected by the Holocaust. This year the day is recognized on

Thursday, May 5 while the school will hold it’s annual Day of Remembrance event on Tuesday,

May 3rd.

The Day of Remembrance event is held in the Douglas and Evelyne Skopp Holocaust

Memorial Gallery, located in the Feinberg Library.

During the commemoration, there is a feature speaker as well as an exhibit that

showcases a different theme of the Holocaust each year, with this year’s theme being rescue and


While all of these educators, who each teach as well as discuss the Holocaust or other

aspects of the Jewish religion, all see a larger meaning on this matter, morality and the human

“We are shaping human beings here to be good citizens and be tolerant. I see a

transformation among the students, that it brings the best out of them,” said Dr. Lipszyc. “They

become more outraged by the injustice of things. It opens them up to being better citizens of any

country. They become more informed.”

Dr. Slater finds that there is an importance of telling the stories and discussing these


“It’s the stuff of nightmares,” said Dr. Slater. “How can you even think of undergoing

something like that? It is so important not to just talk about it, but to teach about it.”

Color run brings light to autism awareness

By Emily Gregoire

PLATTSBURGH – Gathered behind SUNY

Plattsburgh’s Memorial Hall a large crowd of

runners prepare to set off along the Saranac

River. Each is dressed in white awaiting their chance to be splattered with color for a good cause.

“If you bring awareness to a cause in another way, it makes it memorable,” said Breanna Syslo,

President of Autism Speaks at SUNY Plattsburgh.

The 2 nd annual Color Run/Walk attracted about twice as many people as it did last year. The local Autism

Speaks group at SUNY Plattsburgh is relatively new, but with a little creativity they have been warmfully

welcomed by the Plattsburgh community.

“We are hoping to spread the word,” said Tania Armellino, head women’s soccer coach at SUNY


SUNY Plattsburgh’s woman’s soccer team has partnered with the Autism Speaks group last year for the

first Color Run/Walk fundraiser.

Autism Speaks allows families who are affected by autism to have the available resources needed for

positive growth.

“Raising awareness as well as raising money for families is what we try to do. Many families are provided

with assistance for the kinds of therapy and behavioral treatments needed for someone with autism,”

said Molly Fryer, a social work student and member of Autism Speaks.

Autism Speaks creates a sense of community within the city of Plattsburgh. Although student clubs and

organizations host the Color Run/Walk, the event is for the community.

“Even teenagers come by, we get to see the families with little children and they are all involved,” said

Elizabeth Paul, member of Autism Speaks.

Along with being a member of Autism Speaks, Paul is a masters’ student in SUNY Plattsburgh’s Special

Education department. Paul has been participating with Autism Speaks since its debut, last year.

Part of Paul’s education requires student teaching. This has allowed Paul to see people affected by

autism in a different light.

“Doing the color run helps to bring awareness on the topic of autism,” said Jillian Conway, member of

Autism Speaks.

Like Paul, Conway is also a masters’ student in the Special Education program.

For the past 3 years Conway has worked at Whiteface Mountain, where she encountered a child on the

autism spectrum whom she admired so much. Having a personal connection with autism only motivates

Paul, Conway and Fryer even more in their professional lives.

“Being a part of Autism Speaks means that we are helping the community and we are raising awareness

and it’s on a major issue that affects many people,” said William Hodge, secretary of SUNY Plattsburgh’s

Autism Speaks.

It has been about a year that Hodge has been involved in the Autism Speaks group. Hodge noted the

turn out this year had nearly doubled from the year before.

Syslo, as president of Autism Speaks, was high energy and had many things going on all at once.

“My favorite part though, is all the fun that comes with it,” Syslo said.