Monthly Archives: March, 2010

Strip Mall Paradise Creates Environmental Hell

By Katherine Lloyd

     If a resident inhabiting central Long Island is asked to depict an image of their physical surroundings, composing a general aesthetic as to what their town appears to be, it may be a rare occasion to hear one describe forests, wetlands, and beaches. It may be a more common notion for one to envision chain stores, housing developments, and strikingly similar architectural arrangements; welcome to Long Island, the “strip mall capital” of America.

     While this mentality has been embedded in the minds of many Long Island residents, who is really at fault? Those born into this suburban sprawl are environmentally determined to conform to this way of life.

      “Many, but not all young people are swallowed by suburban sprawl,” commented Richard Amper, Executive Director of the Pine Barrens Society. He added “Most Long Islanders are surviving and not thriving”, while explaining the positive effects that acknowledging and appreciating Long Island’s physical environment will have on the lives of its residents.

     “People are lazy and just don’t care. I do, but I’m only one person,” commented Kara Tobin, a criminal justice major on the Ammerman Campus. “Some people don’t even leave their home town unless they’re brought outside of it,” she later added after being questioned about those who are “swallowed by suburban sprawl”.

     The Pine Barrens Society has focused on the preservation of water along with protecting open spaces on Long Island, and like many environmentalists, Amper’s critique on suburban sprawl is not an attack on corporate America or politicians; it is a concern for the fixation many corporations have with placing a monetary value on what is not meant to be a commodity. “There is nothing the matter with capitalism. The problem is greed,” commented Amper when asked about the effects capitalism has on the environment. “They are money grubbing hustlers using an economic theory to the detriment of everyone else,” explained Amper while commenting on the politicians backing housing developers and franchise owners who promote this mediocrity. Residents of Long Island, and owners of successful chains of business are an easy scapegoat.

     Another factor in this battle with suburban sprawl is its political support. In 2009 civic leaders had filed suit in the New York State Supreme Court to challenge the approval of housing projects in Middle Island’s section of the Pine Barrens. An article released in May 2009 by pinebarrens.org, explained that it was a “give away to developers”, emphasizing the disregard for environmental laws. This permit (given by local officials), for the construction of 135 housing units violates state and local laws which stated the developers were only allowed 34 residences. The area in which these housing units were to be built is known as “Sandy Hill,” a designated area for groundwater protection.

     An article later published by pinebarrens.org pertaining to this issue in June 2009 states that “the recession is likely to give the government a second chance to meet the 35,000 acre goal by providing more time before the Island is built out,” explaining the collapse in the real estate market, and how it has allowed the government to reduce the speed of their preservation of land. Because of the decrease in land purchases by housing planners and developers, environmentalists agree “there is still hope” in preserving land on Long Island.

     Along with environmentalists, young residents of Long Island who are beginning their journey into the corporate world, have noticed the effects of industrialization on the perception of Long Island by its residents.

     “Before suburbs were developed, people had to go out of their way, but once strip malls were developed younger generations were born into this convenience,” commented Lauren Sebestyen, a young professional who manages the piercing department of Cliff’s Tattoo in Centereach, NY. “It’s ridiculous to drive down the street and see an intersection with a gas station at all four corners,” Sebestyen added when questioned about chain stores and housing developers disguising rapid industrialization as a concern for consumers’ convenience. The appeal of comfort and simplicity has evidently been instilled in the minds of Long Island residents leaving no room for environmental concerns. “People don’t want to leave their comfort zone,” Sebestyen said.

     In reference to the idea of government backing housing development over environmental issues Amper stated that “When government protects air, water, and land everyone benefits” then continued to say “That’s not socialism, its social responsibility.” This “social responsibly” may seem impractical considering a majority of Long Island is made up of franchises and neighborhoods where woodlands once existed.

      Although it may be a struggle, it is up to the young men and women who aren’t “swallowed by suburban sprawl” to stay in touch with our environment. Involving themselves in community issues, and exercising their constitutional rights pertaining to matters of local politics may be a stepping stone in saving Long Island from losing its natural beauty entirely.

Exhibit depicts horrors of extermination of Polish Jews

By Donna Lynn

      A Jewish woman, so emaciated her bones protrude from her body, is being observed by a doctor. A Jewish girl stands on a bread line. Polish Jews embark on a train ride to the concentration camps. As they enter the train, dead bodies can be seen near the walkway. The inside of a soap factory, where soap is made from human bodies, is depicted.

     These are some of the scenes pictured in the exhibit “The Occupation of Poland and the Extermination of the Jews” currently running at the Riverhead campus in the Orient building March 17 through 26 and sponsored by The Suffolk Center of Holocaust, Diversity and Human Understanding.

     The pictures tell a story of genocide at a time when Nazi Germany exploited religious stereotypes and the Jews were targeted, persecuted and destroyed. Jews were portrayed as subhuman. They were portrayed as a criminal element and responsible for Europe’s economic problems.

     The pictures are from a book entitled “Extermination of the Polish Jews.” It was originally published in Poland after World War II. The book was the work of Alex and Henia Charych. Alex and Henia Charych were Polish Jews who escaped persecution. They immigrated to the United States in 1959, bringing the book with them.

     Henia Lin Charcyh was born in 1924 and raised in Grodno, Poland. AT age 14 she was sent to boarding school in Russia. Germany then invaded Poland, and Henia did not return to Poland until the war ended. When she returned she discovered her mother, father two brothers and two sisters had died in Auschwitz.

     Alex Charych was born in 1914, married and had three children. He and his brother were sent to Dachau where Charych survived because the Nazis used him to work as a sheet metal worker. His brother, who did not survive Dachau, was shot dead right in front of Charych.

     After the war ended Charych was freed. He then learned that his wife and children had perished and only his sister had survived.

     Alex Charych and Henia met in Warsaw where they married. The moved to Lodz, Poland, and started a family. They published the book of photos and the world was shocked at what had transpired in occupied Poland. It was the first photographic documentation of the Holocaust.

     The Charychs immigrated to the United States. They brought the book with them, and when they passed away left it to their children. They have two sons Arthur and Harold who live in Setauket and a daughter Deborah who lives in California .

     At the exhibit is a video documentary of the persecution of the Jews and of the Holocaust victims and Polish people who were also persecuted , and who tell their stories.

     Teresa Sass was a Polish Catholic. She and her mother were standing on line waiting to get vaccinated when they were approached by a German soldier. Sass had blonde hair and blue eyes. “She is beautiful and will make a perfect German,” The soldier said. She was taken away from her mother and put in a program that was supposed to convert children to perfect Germans. She was taught how to read and write in German.

     Pepi Fuschs was a young Jewish girl who was separated from her parents by the Nazis. She and 500 other girls were put in a concentration camp and sent to the gas chamber. The chamber was not working correctly and the gas was not strong enough to kill them. She escaped extermination.

     Emilia Knipscheer was half Jewish. Her father went to the military and informed the Germans that he was not a Jew and wanted his daughter. She was released to her father. She eventually was separated from him and lived on the streets in the town she grew up in.

     “I was sleeping in doorways, in rags, no shoes in the winter and hardly ate anything” Knipscheer said.

     The people in the town knew her and would sometimes take her in and feed her. They could not completely provide for her because they had their own problems. After a year of living on the streets , the war ended, and she was reunited with her mother.

     Kurt Fuschel was part of the Kinder Program. Ten thousand jewish children were separated from their families and sent to live in England with foster families. Fushel boarded a bus as his parents said goodbye.

      “I had an ideal life till the Nazis came into Poland,” Fuschel said.

      The last thing he remembers about his father was that when he was looking sadly out the bus window, his father told him to smile. He would never see his parents again.

     Rufolph Pins, a non-Jewish Pole, described the top military men who served under Hitler. He said they were intelligent and self controlled. After the war ended many of Hitler’s officials claimed they had to follow orders or they and their families would be persecuted.

     At the end of the video is a segment about the persecution of African Americans in America. The documentary correlates the persecution of blacks with the persecution of Jews.

     World War II was over 70 years ago but we still have had incidents of genocide. There was the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and the genocides in Rowanda. The world was supposed to learn from what happened in WWII. 

      “We should teach the importance of treating people with dignity. We need to direct the attitudes people have with each other,” said Steven Schrier, Executive Director of the Suffolk Center of Holocaust, Diversity and Human Understanding.

Students Benefit From De-Stress Express Massages

By Donna Lynn

     Relax and enjoy! Destress Express was on campus giving free massages to Suffolk Community College students March 10. Students who attended complained of being stressed and tense. Some students complained of neck and back pains. Those who attended said they benefited from the massage.

     Massage therapists Wayne Brack and Shirs Marqules were administering the treatment. Both have more than 10 years experience in massage therapy. They are employed by Massage on The Go. Student Activities hired them to de-stress those who were feeling the effects of the semester.

     Allison Ciminello, a student, has a herniated disk and complained of soreness in her neck. After the massage she said she felt relaxed and the discomfort was gone.

      “I was feeling tension in my upper shoulders. After the massage, the tension was gone,” said Squaleen Aikinson, a student.

     “After the massage my body felt loose, and I was much more relaxed,” said Jessica Rivera, a student who complained before her massage that her body was tense and she was feeling stressed out.

      Massage is the manipulation of superficial layers of muscle and connective tissue. It enhances the muscle and tissue function and promotes well being and relaxation. Target tissues may include muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, joints or other connective tissue. Massage is applied with the hands fingers, elbows, forearms and feet.

     All students who attended remarked on how much better they felt. They were much more relaxed, less tense and ready to tackle the rest of the day.

Campus Activities Board contemplates mascot

By Siobhan Cassidy

     Imagine an 800-pound gorilla doing back flips across Veteran’s Plaza. If members of the Campus Activities Board (CAB) have their way, you may see it sooner than you think.
     CAB members announced at their Feb. 22 meeting that they are hoping to feature a mascot to promote the club and events on campus in the Babylon Student Center. The club is hoping it will be different approach to gaining the attention of the students at on campus.
        “We’ll spend the money (on the mascot’s suit) as long as you guys do it,” CAB adviser and Counselor Mary Sierra told club members during the meeting. Sierra mentioned after the meeting, the idea of a mascot has been years in the making. However, what exactly the mascot will be is still in question.
        “It’ll be a lot harder to ignore a giant ape doing flips in the plaza during common hour,” Executive Financial Coordinator Amber Butler commented following the meeting.
     Along with a mascot grabbing students’ eyes, location and distribution of flyers were also discussed. Executive Administrative Coordinator Stephanie Sanz discussed the process of solving the problem of students overlooking flyers on bulletin boards around campus.
        “I’m trying to narrow down where our [flyers] aren’t visible,” Sanz told the members. Members began discussing where flyers should be hung. Locations included bulletin boards inside classrooms rather than hallways, flyers placed in faculty mailboxes, Facebook, and bathrooms; however, Sierra commented CAB will need permission to hang flyers in bathrooms prior to the distribution.
   Advertisements were a main discussion at the latest CAB meeting because of the new event, Murder Mystery Dinner the club has planned for Thursday.
     “A whole bunch of actors come [to the campus] like a real life game of Clue,” Sanz explained. It’s an exciting event for CAB this semester because the students and attendees may be involved in the acting session.

     “Your name is thrown into a raffle. You’re going to be involved by buying your ticket,” Sanz said as she shared the details of the event. Several actors from Murder Mystery Inc. located in Huntington, have Broadway experience, Butler said.
   “The murder mystery was mentioned as a joke, but was eventually added to our list of events for the spring semester back in December,” Butler explained after the meeting through an email. CAB chairs and executive members attended leadership conferences last semester, where they learned event planning, communication skills, and confidence and quality in their campus activities.
   “We’re definitely going to need help setting up,” Sanz explained to members in reference to the Murder Mystery Dinner event. CAB not only holds events for students on campus, but puts time, effort, and money into each event and the scenery.

     The annual Halloween Festival held on the Ammerman campus, is a community wide event and features a haunted house each year with astonishing special effects and decorations. Volunteers are needed for most CAB events and most members are willing to help.
        CAB member and newly elected Vice President of SGA, Hargun Anand said he volunteered to set up for this event because he wanted “to see inside scenes,” Anand said he enjoys helping CAB. “It’s exciting to get to do the fun things on campus,” he said.
        For the rest of the semester, CAB will be sponsoring numerous events such as movie nights, trips to Broadway plays with provided transportation, Stay-Awake-Athon as a Haitian Relief Effort, where donations will be given to the Red Cross, a Talent Show, Spring Festival, and Night of Appreciation.
      “We have added an oxygen bar to one of our massage sessions,” Butler mentioned in reference to the bi-weekly DeStress Express CAB sponsors. CAB offers discount movie tickets to AMC Loews and Island 16 cinemas for $5 to students along with $20 tickets to Six Flags Great Adventure with Water Park and Safari attached.
     “We care for the majority on campus rather than the minority,” Butler said during the bi-weekly meeting. Sierra explained the club is completely run by students in order to provide educational and entertaining events for the student body.
     “It takes a lot of hard work to plan, promote, and execute successful events, but we have a great time doing it,” Butler said. CAB gives the campus a sense of community, which is important on every college campus, Sierra said.

     CAB meets every other Monday at 11 a.m. in the Mildred Green Room located in the Babylon Student Center. Discounted tickets to local venues can be bought at the Office of Campus Activities.     

      Upcoming events sponsored by CAB can be found at http://www.sunysuffolk.edu and on numerous flyers across campus and possibly by a dancing gorilla in the plaza.

Voters elect 4 senators, vice president to Student Government Association

By Brian Farkas

In an unprecedented event, the Student Government Association had a series of open elections, and within one hour on the evening of March 2, the association left with four new senators and a new vice president being sworn in.

When the fall semester ended, five seats for senator were open and a sixth opened up during the latest meeting as John Lois, business major, resigned from his position. With many empty seats the SGA opted to have open elections to fill these chairs for the remainder of the spring semester. After a series of unanimous votes, Michael Ferrara, Nusral Rahman, and twin brothers Moon and Juan Sun, all took an oath as the newest senators of the association. While Rahman has experience as the president of the Muslim Student Association, the experience and backgrounds of the other newly elected senators is yet to be seen.

“We’re always excited to have new senators; it gives us more insight towards who makes up our student body, and gets us closer into connecting to the entire community,” Patty Munsch, faculty adviser, said. However, when it came to the vice president position it was more of a battle as Secretary Hargun Anand, and Senator Kaitlin Augsbach both ran for the title. After a series of speeches and open forum, where both candidates spoke about their ethics, time management and goals they’d like to achieve, the body voted in Hargun as the Vice President of the association.

In a post victory speech, Hargun made his ambitions clear, “College is a place that without students would be nothing. Our job is to leave an impression behind, leave a mark. Everyone might know our name and what the initials stand for, but it’s time to show them what we do. It’s time to put a face to the name.” Hargun had also formally resigned from his secretarial position which is now accepting open application with an election slated for March 15.

 With an agenda heavily filled for the student government, including upcoming events such as the SUNY-palooza rally and an upcoming advertisement campaign, one would imagine the body has so much going on that elections at this time would only disrupt the flow of the association; however, President Michael Carroll disagrees, “We have a really great group of people here and we’re always looking into expanding. While there might only ever be so many positions open right now, people are coming in and out all the time and they all have a voice, ideas, and opinions that we want to hear. We will always make room for people that want to be involved no matter what time of year, because this is your student government.”

Survey reveals work, school dominate students’ time

Full-time student and full-time employee, Courtney, a social work major on the Ammerman campus, juggles her job in Port Jefferson Station and her classes in Selden.

By Donna Lynn

             A recent Ammerman campus survey shows that students are studying hard and working hard. According to the survey taken on campus in February, half of students participating the in survey were working more than 30 hrs per week and attending school full-time. One third were unemployed, and the remaining students surveyed were working 25 hrs or less and attending school full-time.

                Of those who were working more than 30 hrs per week, most were taking early classes so they could fit their work  into their  schedule . They were up late at night studying and studying in between classes. There were some complaints about lack of social life but most students said they were able to squeeze time to play into their schedules.

                Stacy Rosales, an education major, works two part –time jobs . She takes early classes, studies on weekends and studies on breaks in between class. She complained of lack of sleep.

                 “I am constantly on the go and sometimes up to three in the morning studying,” Rosales said.

                     She said she works the two jobs because she needs money to pay for tuition and books. She is not alone.

                “Its tough balancing school and work but I need money to pay for tuiton and books” said  Carlo Brucculeri, a liberal arts major who works more than 35 hours a week. He takes early classes and finds himself up late at night studying.

                Diana Smyth, a journalism major, works 40 hours a week. She takes early classes and studies on her days off, which are Sunday and Wednesday.

                Students were asked if they drink Red Bull or coffee to keep going. The majority of students said they did not rely on caffeine or other stimulants. Students claimed to rely on their own personal energy to keep going.

                Those working less than 25 hours a week had no complaints about balancing school and work. Most of these students were getting their tuition paid by parents, financial aid or other outside sources.

                Tara Vassino, a business major, works 20 hours a week . She is a full-time student and works part time just to pay for her phone and have extra spending money.

                Emilia Balestria works 20 hours a week and said she has no problem balancing school and work. She is a education major and claims to have plenty of time to devote to school work.

                Unemployment was a problem with one third of the students surveyed.

                “I was laid off five months ago and I still can’t find work” said  Dana Hamer, a nursing student . She is actively seeking employment and has been having a difficult time retaining work.

                Kayla Castillo, a chemistry major, has been looking for work since January. She blames the economy for her inability to find work.

          “I have been on several interviews but nobody is hiring. The economy is why I cant find work” said  Matt Dorsi, a liberal arts major,  also looking for work.

                Sylvia Camacho, director of career services and co-operative education claims it has been more difficult for students to retain employment. Career Services has an on-line job site.

             “A year ago there were 1000 postings now there are only 450,” Camacho said.

              More students are requesting work-study but financial aid is not supplying the funds to create more jobs. Between  280 to 300 students are currently participating in the work-study program.

                The majority of students interviewed who were working over 30 hours a week claimed even though they have to work long hours they were still keeping their grades up.

                It is estimated that students require three hours of study and preparation for every one hour in the classroom. Not all teachers agree with that rule. Dr. Frances Baer, social science instructor said she believes it should not be that students study more but study more efficiently. Professor Dennis Detore, accounting instructor, views this rule as a good rule of thumb but believes “every student is an individual and may require different study time”

Whether students adhere to this policy is not known, but those interviewed said that despite long working hours and tough class schedules, they are still making the grades.

L.I.E.:Film offers brutal dose of honesty

By Brandon Mazzei

Although it is rare for a film to effectively depict many of the complex issues facing pubescent suburban males, L.I.E. is one such film that accomplishes such with a brutal dose of honesty.

Highlighting issues of sexual identity among  teens, as well as social deviance and pedophilia, L.I.E. paints a mesmerizing portrait of the troubled life of a directionless young man as he struggles to find his way in a world that lacks adequate role models. Viewers will have a hard time directing their attention away from the screen, as the movie is loaded with many surprising elements that provide us with a stark image of reality, no matter how disheartening it may be.

The letters L.I.E., represent the Long Island Expressway, a miniature character in the film, as it is responsible for taking the life of a mother whose son’s life is consequently ravaged as a result of her untimely demise. Thrust into a world in which his father is more interested in pursuing sexual endeavors with his new girlfriend than he is in raising his son, Howie Blitzer (played by Paul Franklin Dano) must learn to readjust to life in which he is offered little guidance. While growing up and dealing with puberty are two uncomfortable issues for most teens, Howie is faced with the daunting task of going through the motions on his own.

It is when Howie begins experiencing homosexual urges and tendencies that the film truly takes an interesting turn, as one is left to wonder how a 15- year-old boy can cope with such complex issues without the support of a traditional family.

If the lack of a functional family wasn’t bad enough, Howie’s problems persist as his relationship with his friends takes an interesting turn when they decide to burglarize a home which one of them is familiar with. When the man whose house was broken into gets a hold of Howie, the two forge an unlikely bond. Coupling Howie’s loneliness with Big John Harrigan’s (played by Brian Cox) pedophile tendencies, the two are a somewhat odd, yet legitimate pairing.

Howie is able to find solace in his newfound mentor, who attempts to help Howie sort out many of the uncertainties that he is facing. By displaying a sense of love and dedication to the young boy, Harrigan is able to earn Howie’s friendship. Despite the fact that Harrigan is a child molester, Howie is in desperate need of a father figure, so he has no choice but to forge an interesting bond with a man who is interested in perpetrating criminally sexual acts on him.

The film is subtle in its approach, never allowing its complex characters to be watered down to fit a specific societal role, so it is up to the viewer to decide who is at fault for the bizarre situation at hand. One of the more important, reoccurring themes of the the film, is that innocence is lost far too quickly, especially among those forced to deal with the complexities of the world around them at such a vulnerable age. While most other 15- year-old suburban boys are concerned with video games and sports, Howie finds himself looking deeper towards a sense of self. When he is shown little regard by those closest to him, he is left susceptible to finding comfort in the form of an older man, who seems to be the only one interested in offering Howie some sense of guidance.

This movie is an incredible example of how one tragic event, specifically the death of a parent, can send a child’s world into a tailspin that they may find extremely difficult to pull themselves out of. L.I.E. is a powerful film, one that blurs the lines between black and white revealing a much more disturbing shade of grey. Despite its NC-17 rating, L.I.E. is a film that stands to benefit the viewer regardless of their age. Along with a thrilling plot, L.I.E. boasts some incredible performances from a few relatively unknown actors that will leave viewers shocked at the level of realism achieved.

A thought provoking film, L.I.E. succeeds in both entertaining its audience, as well as exposing some of the evils that lurk beneath the surface of any seemingly normal town. This film is a must see for audiences both young and old, as its ability to address the flaws of its characters without exploiting them mimics the manner in which most real life situations unfold. Oftentimes resembling a documentary more so than a fictional piece, L.I.E. is a powerful film that is necessary in understanding how suburban America can truly be hell on earth for some.

Course Repeat Policy Revision is Considered

By Colleen Maidhof

              A College-wide Freshman Seminar Advisory Committee meeting Feb, 4 concluded that the course repeat policy may be revised.  

           “We are requesting additional data from the Office of Institutional Effectiveness to help us further evaluate the ramifications of any possible change. Our next meeting is March, 4,” said Arthur Lundahl, counselor and member of the freshman seminar advisory committee. The Office of Institutional Effectiveness supplies studies and analysis for policy and decision making, and statistical data to aid in the final decision.

          “Rules are all over the map, and there is no consistency. We plan on making things more assembled here in the near future,” said Lundahl. The system is currently only programmed for one repeat grade, with the second grade being the grade that counts. The new policy would either be an average of the two grades, or the highest grade will be taken as the final grade. In other colleges such as Stony Brook University, the grade received in the repeated course gets averaged into the cumulative grade point average.
Students have mixed opinions on what they think the new policy should be.

          “I think the policy, as it is currently, is rather unfair to students. The second grade may not always be a true reflection of the student’s knowledge. It can be influenced by circumstances. The same way a first grade may not reflect knowledge of the subject, but also may reflect the circumstances. Likely, these circumstances are the reason the course is being retaken in the first place. An average of the two grades is also unfair. Circumstances may dictate a less-than-responsible and timely response from a student. This is unfortunate, but it does occur. A student who earns a C due to poor circumstances retakes the course. The second time that student earns an A. Now, after working hard to make up for their shortcomings, the student is punished with a B. A lot of that hard work is negated. The student has truly earned an A, but he is punished due to circumstances. The only clear solution that I see here is for only the highest of the two grades to be taken into account; it is fair,” Says Ryan Ruland, a liberal arts general studies major.

          Another student argues “The second time around will not always guarantee a higher grade. An average of both grades is the most accurate way to determine how well the student knows the subject. Taking the higher grade will superficially make the student look better as opposed to an average,” says Melody Cronin a music major.