A Student Publication of Lorain County Community College

Collegian staff shines at 44th annual Press Club awards banquet

Lauren Hoffman Editor-In-ChiefLorain County Community College’s student-run newspaper, The Collegian, again swept the floor at the Cleveland Press Club Awards on June 10, taking home eleven awards in the Trade/2-Year School category. Lauren Hoffman, editor-in-chief of The Collegian, won three awards, including…

LCCC graduates take flight for 58th commencement ceremony

Lauren HoffmanEditor-In-Chief“Today is the day that your hard work pays off and is the day we celebrate you.” Lorain County Community College President Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D., said as she welcomed graduates to the 58th commencement ceremony Saturday morning in the…

False fire causes campus confusion

A Elyria Fire Department truck (right) arrives to the college center to investigate alarms. College center sign is to the bottom left with the entrance to the college center in the middle.

Lauren HoffmanEditor-in-ChiefLorain County Community College experienced a different kind of emergency alert Thursday afternoon. At 2:45 p.m. Main campus’ fire alert systems blared to life urging students, staff, and faculty to evacuate the building following an “emergency situation.”  Within minutes,…

Intel breathes new life into LCCC’s DNA

Lauren HoffmanEditor-in-chief Lorain County Community College engineering students have big opportunities heading their way in the form of two new leading-edge chip factories being built in Ohio’s “silicon heartland” just outside Columbus. Technological giant Intel, a business whose computer chips run…

LCCC closes 4th time for safety

Lauren HoffmanEditor-in-ChiefLorain County Community College’s all campuses were evacuated following the fourth bomb threat in three weeks today (April 19). LCCC previously received bomb threats on March 24, 25, and 30 with the last threat causing campus to go remote…

Gen Z and their climate anxieties

Destiny TorresAssociate EditorGeneration Z, those born in the late 1990s and early 2000s, was brought into a dying world. They have had to watch as hurricanes devastate the southeast, fires rage through the west and tornadoes tear through the south.But…

Bomb threats investigation underway, LCCC not alone

Destiny TorresAssociate Editor“LCCC campus security is currently working with the Elyria Police Department and the FBI to find the source of these threats,” LCCC President Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D., said of the three threats that rocked the Elyria campus recently.LCCC is…

Collegian staff shines at 44th annual Press Club awards banquet

Lauren Hoffman 
Lorain County Community College’s student-run newspaper, The Collegian, again swept the floor at the Cleveland Press Club Awards on June 10, taking home eleven awards in the Trade/2-Year School category. 
Lauren Hoffman, editor-in-chief of The Collegian, won three awards, including two first places at her first outing for the event. Her story titled, “Post 9/11 generation learns of attacks” earned first in the Best Online Reporting section. Judge’s commented on the piece, “The use of quotes is where the reporter’s work shines.” 
Hoffman followed that, taking home first in the Best Press Feature Story category with her story titled “Covid-19 vaccine saves faculty’s life.” Hoffman’s final award was a third place in the same category for her work, “German student’s American Dream comes true.” 
Oscar Rosado, former editor-in-chief of The Collegian who graduated in May, made the event his second outing with awards earning a second place for his story, co-written by Jordan Yuhasz, titled “Local businesses revenue booms due to in-person classes returning” in the Best Print Newspaper Story category. |
Destiny Torres, a former associate editor of The Collegian who also graduated in May, also shined at the event earning two first places for her work. In the Best Print Newspaper Story section, Torres, alongside James Baron, took first for their story, Help is available for domestic abuse victims.” 
Torres followed that up with a first in Best Print Sports Story for her piece, “Stepping into the future with Esports. The judges commented, “The writer places the topic into context for the reader who may be unfamiliar, nicely setting the table for the remainder of the article.” 
The Collegian contributors Hayden Lowstetter and James Wade took home an award in the categories of Best Print Sports Story and Best Print Feature Story, respectively. Lowstetter’s article, “Jim Powers leads Commodores to the regional championship,” earned him a second place in the first, while Wade’s story “New tech in children Learning Center helps ECE students” earned him a second place in the latter category. 
Wade also took second place in the Best Radio/Podcast News Story category for his Boom Radio podcast, “Boy Scouts.” LCCC student Lily Smith followed Wade with a third place in the same category for her work, “Education.” 
Lily Smith took third place for her podcast on Boom Radio for her segment “Education.”
Finally, LCCC associate Janet Maltbie brought home first place in the Best Radio/Podcast in her Boom Radio segment titled “Blood Needles Show”. Maltbie’s work earned her a comment from judges who pointed out her “good use of subject and questions within the podcast.” 


LCCC graduates take flight for 58th commencement ceremony

Lauren Hoffman

“Today is the day that your hard work pays off and is the day we celebrate you.” Lorain County Community College President Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D., said as she welcomed graduates to the 58th commencement ceremony Saturday morning in the Ewing field house on campus. 

LCCC graduate Destiny Torres smiles anxiously while waiting to walk the stage at commencement to earn her Associate Degree in Arts.

The ceremony, the 11th in the field house, welcomed family, friends, and supporters to celebrate the 1,773 graduates as they earned a combined 2,193 Associate Degrees or Certificates. In addition to that, 351 graduates earned bachelor’s or master’s degrees from the college’s University Partnership program. 
The program recently celebrated its 25th year since its opening in 1997 and now plays host to an impressive partnership with 14 universities in the region. In honor of the program and graduates, this year’s commencement ceremony sported the theme “Soaring to New Heights” in which SOAR stands for Success and Opportunity Advancing the Region. 
“In this community, we are rooting for you, and you are never alone,” Ballinger said. “Because as you rise up, you elevate those around you. When you fly high, we all soar.” 
And the UP program is no longer comprised of just other colleges. In 2018, LCCC launched its own applied bachelor’s program in Microelectronic Manufacturing or MEMS, the first community college to do so. LCCC soon plans to add a second applied bachelor’s this time in SMART. 
During the ceremony, Ballinger enlightened attendees that among today’s graduates, over 40% were the first in their families to earn a college degree. One first-generation student, Zuleika E. Torres, shared her excitement. 
“I’m a first-generation college student, so I am proud. My dad didn’t even get to finish 8th grade when he was in school, so I know they are proud of me. But more importantly, I am also just so glad that it’s done. I am ready to continue on in life.” 
Many of the first-generation students are a part of LCCC’s Early College High School (ECHS) program, which offers students a chance to earn a high school diploma and an Associate Degree at the same time. During this year, 127 students were among those graduating, with most coming from the partnerships in both Elyria and Lorain high schools. 
“These dual enrollment programs are delivered at no cost-saving families of these 127 graduates more than $1.3 million in tuition,” said Ballinger. 
The new graduates contributed to LCCC’s 10,000 degrees of Impact program starting in 2019 in which the college plans to have offered 10,00 degrees to 10,000 students by 2025. They are now 72% towards reaching that goal. 
After the last graduate crossed the stage, Ballinger again took the podium to congratulate them one more time. “Now that you have earned your degrees, you are ready to soar. Like Birds that prepare to take flight, trust yourselves. You have built your foundation and now you are to soar. As you do, I hope you feel like you are on top of the world!” 
The graduates were showered in confetti as a final surprise, concluding their commencement and giving them a chance to relish in their accomplishments.
Graduate Emese Toth, the recipient of the Coca-Cola scholarship, said, “I guess I feel a bit overwhelmed by it all. It is a great honor to have the scholarship and I have a sense of pride because of the recognition for myself and for the campus. Overall I am proud to be an LCCC graduate.” 


False fire causes campus confusion

Lauren Hoffman

Lorain County Community College experienced a different kind of emergency alert Thursday afternoon. At 2:45 p.m. Main campus’ fire alert systems blared to life urging students, staff, and faculty to evacuate the building following an “emergency situation.” 

A Elyria Fire Department truck (right) arrives to the college center to investigate alarms. College center sign is to the bottom left with the entrance to the college center in the middle.

EFD arrives at the College Center to investigate the alarms.
Photo: Lauren Hoffman

Within minutes, the buildings emptied and Elyria Fire Department arrived to investigate the source of the alert. Two firefighters suited up in full protective gear and followed a member of LCCC’s campus security into the building. Students and staff looked on as they entered the building carrying a pike pole to breach any areas that might be deemed unsafe for even the firefighters to enter. 
After 10 minutes, the building was given the all-clear as the firefighters and campus security officer returned from the building. The source of the commotion? A defunct smoke detector in the northwest corner of the Campus’ basement tunnel systems. 
Campus Security officer Brandon Brown stated that “these kinds of things tend to happen from time to time. When one goes bad, it sets off the alarms which can cause minor panic sometimes.” 
The last time LCCC was evacuated due to a fire was about a month ago when a suppressor failed above the Marketplace Subway shop. 
This mechanical error has no relation to the devastating campus tunnel fire back in Feb. 2009 as well as no connection to the four recent bomb threats main campus received. 


Intel breathes new life into LCCC’s DNA

Lauren Hoffman

Lorain County Community College engineering students have big opportunities heading their way in the form of two new leading-edge chip factories being built in Ohio’s “silicon heartland” just outside Columbus. 
Technological giant Intel, a business whose computer chips run everything from laptops to smart cars, announced on Jan 21 that they would be building two state-of-the-art factories in Licking County, Ohio, which has the potential to be the largest foundries in the world. 
What this means for LCCC engineering students is new jobs by the tenfold. Currently, the college hosts one of the largest community college programs in Micro-electromechanical systems or MEMs. The program consists of both an associates’ and a new applied bachelor’s degree. 
The new facilities are an initial $20 billion investment into what is known as advanced manufacturing and are aiming toward creating jobs to over 3,000 individuals, 70% of which will be community college graduates of the MEMs programs. 
LCCC President Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D., is overjoyed by the news and what it means for the college. “LCCC and their programs that we have within our engineering area really prepared students for this,” she said of the news and added,  “We are at an inflection point right now, not only in Ohio but in America.”
But why is LCCC more ready than most? The answer lies in the community surrounding it. Ballinger said, “We are uniquely situated in LCCC because we have the technology and classes available thanks to community response.” There are a lot of manufacturing businesses in Northeast Ohio such as Nordson Corp. and Lincoln Electric that rely on the college and its MEMs programs for a highly educated staff base.

Whole New Industry
Vice President of Strategic and Institutional Development Tracy Green, agreed with Ballinger on the levels of success these new foundries will bring. She says “this brings a whole new industry to Ohio as well as strength to the economy. Advanced manufacturing breathes new life into Ohio’s already rich history of manufacturing with the automobile factories and steel plants.” 
And this industry is more than just Intel itself. Previously, 85% of all chip manufacturing was happening in China. The Covid-19 pandemic crippled the supply chain causing many of the chips to sit in factories unable to be shipped out. By moving the factories to U.S. soil, this issue is resolved. A second common concern that Intel’s moving will solve is the risk of encrypted cyber attacks. By being manufactured here in the United States and especially in Ohio, the foundries are closer to Washington, D.C., just in case problems were to arise. 
Back in 2008, the college began looking at expanding its education in engineering in order to answer community calls to do so. Around the same time, technology hit its first major boom as the invention of the iPhone and other smart devices came to fruition. This led to an increase in technological programs such as MEMs in order to fit the future workforce and technology that was on the way. 
Besides being one of the only community colleges in the world to offer a MEMs program, LCCC also is the only one to have the cleanrooms that are needed for work in the programs. And not just one either. LCCC plays host to three cleanroom labs in The Richard Desich Business & Entrepreneurship Center and The Richard Desich SMART Commercialization Center, located across from the Spitzer center connected to the main campus.
These cleanrooms are outfitted to be as sterile as possible so no particles can enter the room and interfere with the building process of the computer chips. Students working in these labs wear white gowns and full personal protective equipment including face shields, gloves, and shoe covers in order to keep the rooms sterilized. 
Another major difference between advanced manufacturing and regular is where the work is done. All equipment sits overhead and in the open. Green added, LCCC “has been developing opportunities in the past 10 years in preparation for this. The three cleanroom classrooms are named by number and the lower the number, the cleaner it is. We here have a class 10,000, a class 1,000, and a class 100. Even the class 10,00 which is the dirtiest so to speak is still cleaner than a standard operating room.” 

Lots of success
LCCC also runs these classes on the earn-and-learn model in which students can receive on-the-job training while learning at school. For the associate’s degree students attend classes two days a week and spend the other three at the businesses. Once a bachelor’s degree is achieved, students go on to work full time during the day and continue their remaining classes at night. 
The college’s success has even led to visitors from other colleges coming to see how the cleanrooms and MEMs programs are run so they too prepare for their own. As the industry continues to develop and change, LCCC is ready to adapt to it, with many developments still to come. 
The college was founded in 1963 as Ohio’s first community college with the goal to create an educated workforce for the industries in Lorain and the surrounding area to flourish. For Ballinger, technology “continues to be a large foundation of the college. It is in our DNA and we must continue to be involved to assure their competitiveness and success.” 
As Ballinger puts it, “This semiconductor industry is to Lorain County now as steel and automotive were before.” 

LCCC closes 4th time for safety

Lauren Hoffman
Lorain County Community College’s all campuses were evacuated following the fourth bomb threat in three weeks today (April 19). LCCC previously received bomb threats on March 24, 25, and 30 with the last threat causing campus to go remote for the remainder of the week. 
At 12:15 p.m. today, an emergency RAVE alert went out to all students and staff urging an evacuation after an unspecified security threat was made to campus. 
Students, staff, and faculty rushed out of the buildings and into their cars in a mass exodus within minutes. By 12:32 p.m., the main campus on Abbe Road was closed, and fire, EMS, and Elyria Police Department were on the scene at the main campus on Abbe Road to help mitigate panic and clear the campus as quickly as possible. One Elyria Police officer directed traffic outside the main N. Abbe Road entrance to campus. 
“Campus is closed for safety reasons following a threat through LCCC connect’s chat room,” said Tracy Green, LCCC’s vice president of Strategic Design.
According to Green, the Elyria Police Department is currently working with the FBI to assess the threat.
Elyria Police Department brought bomb-sniffing dogs to check out the buildings. 


Bomb threat closes LCCC campuses

Destiny Torres
Associate Editor
All LCCC campuses were closed Thursday afternoon following a bomb threat on an LCCC online chatroom.
“We take campus safety very seriously and are allowing the Elyria Police Department to do their job. All campuses and outreach centers are closed till further notice,” Tracy Green, vice president of Strategic and institutional Development, said. “We have no proof that this threat is credible, but out of an abundance of caution we are keeping the campuses closed as the Elyria Police department and bomb squad continue to search the campuses.”
The college received the threat Thursday at about 2:50 p.m., according to Green.
All students and staff were sent Rave alerts, email and text messages, urging them to evacuate the campus immediately. The campuses were closed immediately.
An Early College student, Malac Naser, said, “I honestly feel a little nervous about the whole situation but I feel safe that they evacuated us so quickly.”

The tales tattoos tell

Lauren Hoffman

Tattoos. Some love them, some hate them, but whatever the opinion, the act of permanently inking works of art into one’s skin has become quite the phenomenon in recent years. Tattoos have given people the chance to retell stories and have them live on more than just in memory especially here at LCCC.
Twenty-year-old Hayden Lowstetter, a journalism major from Elyria, sports two tattoos that for him have two very different meanings. His first, a smiley face with X’s for eyes on his right middle finger, he says “was just for fun”, but his other, a black and white ghost on his left inside bicep holds a deeper meaning like most tattoos.
He says of the tattoo, “Growing up I was called “boo” because I was very clumsy and would get scrapes and bruises all the time which my family called boo-boos.”
Lowstetter wanted to carry the fond childhood memory with him by memorializing it in ink back in September.
This wasn’t always the case, however.
When the practice first began commercially in New York in the mid-19th century, popularity lay with sailors, particularly those that had traveled to the Polynesian islands because of the artwork they experienced there.
First, it was tattoos of anchors or ship names, mixed with tribal designs from Polynesian work. After news of King Edward VII, then Prince Edward of Wales, getting body art on a trip to Jerusalem in 1862 and later his sons getting tattoos of dragons in Japan, Americans were keen to follow in their footsteps.
Soon, Martin Hildebrant opened the first commercial shop in New York where he gradually saw his clientele change from fishermen and sailors to the general public, particularly women.
While women in the 19th century would not be seen at parlors, tattoo artists would often make house calls to ink the cheeky ladies, promising them that their tattoos were as fine as extravagant gowns and shiny jewelry. The women would late go on to perform at circuses, letting their body art tell tales of mysticism and adventure in the late 19th century.
In the early 20th century, tattoos continued to gain popularity as a way to express freedom and liberation for men and women alike as well as continue the storytelling. Celebrities like Janis Joplin, one of the first to sport tattoos, readily picked up the torch in bringing the storytelling to life.
Today, tattoos are seen everywhere and on everyone from nurses to music stars and the average college campus like
LCCC is no different. According to comparecamp.com, “36% of US citizens ages 18 – 29 have at least 1 tattoo”. Of those numbers, “30% of US college students have tattoos” and “32% of higher education have tattoos”.
But why all the fuss still? Well according to local tattoo artists Jay Spaeth and Matt Cirino of “Tried and True Tattoo” parlor on Abbe Road  in Elyria, “it’s all about the stories.”
When Cirino first started in the business over thirty years ago, he said “it used to be pictures on the wall and now it’s their own artwork.” For Cirino, tattooing can have intense moments, “but it is a very rewarding career,” and he “always loves seeing people’s reactions” when he finishes one.
While Spaeth and Cirino will get requests of the most common tattoos like flowers, skulls, and clocks, they also get many requests for the more meaningful designs. Cirino says, “I’ve had people with meaningful tattoos that are brought to tears when they see it.” Spaeth quickly agreed, saying, “I think most meaningful is a card with “love mom and dad” and something like that with the actual signature”. For Spaeth and Cirino, the memorial tattoos tell the story better than words. As for who’s asking them to help spread stories, Spaeth and Cirino said that it’s the everyday American.
According to Cirino, “when I started it was bikers and sailors, but now you get nurses, police officers, doctors, lawyers, basically the same people that you would see at your local supermarket, including college kids.”
On LCCC campus, there is no exception.
Journalism major Ethan Lindenberger, 21, from Norwalk follows suit with Lowstetter in meaningful tattoos. Lindenberger has four tattoos ranging from his lower left leg to his right outside bicep. His first, a tiny stick and poke tattoo of the symbol from Pierce Brown’s Red Rising acts as a fond reminder of a good night with his friend. He says of the tattoo, “it’s a good memory of a fun time my friend and I had once. It’s definitely good for the memories.”
Lindenberger continued the Red Rising love with his latest tattoo, the infamous skull and snake from the series, on his right bicep. For him the art “lets me connect with my want to be a writer.” Lindenberger’s third tattoo also aids in his quest of writing, a suit-clad couple with TV heads from Neil Postman’s “Amusing Ourselves to Death.”
Finally, Lindenberger’s first tattoo, a Hermes’ Caduceus on his inside right forearm symbolizes the vaccine work that he’s done, while also serving as a good reminder of the craziest story of his life back when he was 18. For Lindenberger “tattoos are a form of art, one of the most expressive, you can’t take them off or change, instead you are wearing your heart on your sleeve. I just think self-expression is beauty.”
For those that have never gotten a tattoo and are nervous to do so, Matt Cirino assures that “you’re not gonna die, it will hurt a little, but more annoying than pain really” and that the old saying of “once you get one tattoo, you will want more” definitely rings true.

Online vs. in-person? Students weigh in

Lauren Hoffman

Covid-19. A word that has come to plague our generation and thrust the world into chaos. In the beginning, many businesses were forced to close and multiple jobs were lost. Now entering year three of the pandemic, many are still struggling.
The educational system is among the worst hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, closing schools and sending many worn-out teachers into early retirement. After the initial fallout, many schools were forced to go online in order to continue bringing students to graduation.
Even now, many in-person classes are still being forced to go virtual, including here at LCCC.
During last fall semester according to information gathered from enrollment advisor Marisa Vernon White, LCCC had 64% of the student body taking blended, online, and online live(BOW)\classes to 36% in-person. During this spring semester, the numbers have changed slightly to 63% BOW and 37% in-person. Still, many students on campus prefer in-person classes over remote learning.
LCCC student Anthony Levya said in a recent interview that he preferred in-person classes as opposed to virtual ones. “In-person classes build relationships with people, and I do not enjoy sitting behind a screen,” Levya said.
Ty Quintana, another student, expressed similar views. “It is much easier to stay focused and not get distracted in the middle of your (in-person) class,” Quintana said, adding that he often found himself waiting until the very last minute to do homework and exams in virtual classes. He expressed that virtual classes were a lot more challenging than in-person.
However, Jessica Stewart, another student, has a different view. Stewart said virtual classes are a safe bet from contracting Covid-19. Still, being an online student is a struggle because she now has to discipline herself to stay on schedule with her assignments. Stewart said in-person classes enable her to focus on her schoolwork better. In virtual classes, she has to learn to focus more and set time aside for her virtual classes.
Another student Eddie Rychel agreed. “I’m not a fan of online classes because I find it harder to focus in that environment,” Rychel said. “Online classes are not as engaging as in-person classes to me. I have to rewatch the videos wasting more of my time.”
International students Charlotte Novotny and Megan Yoong said they don’t want to be stuck in the same routine every day, preferring to go to the campus and make new friends rather than being stuck at home.
Regardless of whether students prefer online or in-person, the pandemic is on the rise once more, threatening online classes to become the new normal for many students.
JRNM 151 students Sean Burns, Pierce Eavenson, Kaelin Jenkins, Aiden Matta, and Aeshah Owaydhah contributed to the story.


Student Senate president juggles events, classes during the pandemic

Dylan Rice
JRNM 151

LCCC Student Senate President Zarai Aquino’s biggest challenge is “managing my classes and my job.” Aquino is majoring in Organizational Leadership at the University Partnership with Cleveland State University.
Aquino said during a telephone interview that she got “into my position the same way all senators get in. I gathered 100 signatures from students and then started to campaign.”
When asked what she does in her position, Aquino said, “As student senate president I attend council meetings. Give insight on behalf of the students. I reach out to students so they can voice their opinions, then I make a report and give it to the higher-ups.”
Aquino added, “I saw it as an opportunity to make changes.”
Aquino said that “gaining student participation during COVID-19” is another challenge. “Now that everything is online, we don’t have a student data base. Now with coronavirus everything is online, the meetings are on WebEx. We have been promoting them on our social media.”
Some of the upcoming events include a Facebook costume contest, Instagram scavenger hunt, and RealTalk meetings.




No Welcoming Week events due to pandemic


As the fall semester begins, the LCCC campus is missing many excited and eager faces as it used to seeing around this time of year. The coronavirus pandemic has changed the look of LCCC during the Welcoming Week.

No Welcoming Week festivities at College Center. Photo: Mackenzie Jonke.

“In the six years I’ve worked here, no other year has looked like this,” explained Marketplace cashier Leanne Failing. “I was aware of the changes, but having segregated entrances and your temperature taken was surprising.”

Covid-19 screening stations have been set up in select entrances to the campus. After the screening, students and faculty have to walk through connecting buildings to get to their classes.

With many classes opting for online learning and the strict precautions to provide a safe environment for students, College Center and other buildings were bare. Even with all the modifications, Failing was eager to return to the school.

“I was looking forward to coming back, but it definitely has a different vibe. I think this is just a time for us all to be patient”.

Campus Security Chief Kenneth Collins, who was working at the temperature check station in CC building on the first day back to campus, said the pandemic has left people confused on many new rules and regulations. He said there are a lot more students on campus than he expected. Many students have chosen a community college as opposed to a four-year university because of the coronavirus in an attempt to save money or preserve health.

Collins, who is also a criminal justice graduate, explained there is an influx of telephone calls his department was receiving due to most entrances being closed.

Collins said he was pleased that “everyone was pretty patient and polite” to him and to his coworkers at the screening areas.

Six feet distancing signs are posted in the bookstore. Photo: Mackenzie Jonke.

Peyton Kellick, a psychology major and a Commodore Bookstore staff, said she wasn’t sure what to expect on the first day of the class, but she was definitely excited to see people at the campus again. As she works in the bookstore, she is used to seeing a lot of foot-traffic. She said she thought a lot of people would order their books online, and she was surprised to see as many people as she did in the bookstore and it was a “pleasant surprise.”

However, the first day back was still nowhere near as busy as it was in years past.

Ana Marzan, a Student Life staff and a criminal justice major, said she also saw more people on campus than she expected to see, but the amount of people present today was nowhere near the amount of people that are usually seen roaming the CC building. In addition to there being fewer people, she said that she did not expect the temperature checks when she walked in at CC, and while she was expected to wear a mask, she said it felt “weird.”

Journalism students Taylor Anderson, Courtney Crell, Anthony LaRosa, Madison Leon, Dylan Rice, and Alyssa Watson contributed to this report.

Issue 17 levy passes regardless of covid-19 quarantine

Oscar Rosado

Despite social distancing and other covid-19-related restrictions, LCCC’s Issue 17 levy passed by 27,650 (59.5 percent) to 18,809 (40.5 percent) votes, according to unofficial results released by Lorain County Board of Elections on April 28.

The goal of renewing the existing 1.8 millage as well as adding a 0.5 millage won by 8,841 votes.

LCCC will receive an estimated $15.6 million per year with the passing of the levy. This levy amount will run until the next decade, lasting until 2030.

“We all won, together!”

“We all won, together,” exclaimed Vice President for Strategic and Institutional Development Tracy Green.“We are humbled by the results and by the confidence this community has and what LCCC means to the lives of the people here. Issue 17 has passed at about 60 percent and that is a phenomenal testament to how this community values higher education and the impact that LCCC is making on our community and our future.”

Won regardless of the coronavirus outbreak

Regardless of the initial setback of the election pushed from Mar. 17 due to the coronavirus outbreak, the levy has passed.

“It is absolutely remarkable, and I am so grateful for the continuation of the community’s support. It was this community that built LCCC as the first community college in Ohio in 1963,” said Green. She went on to say, “That tradition of investing in ourselves and in the best hope of our community’s future continues today. So this result just really reflects that continued commitment for our local access to affordable quality higher education and all the gratitude goes to our community. We are the community’s college and we will continue to fulfill that mission.”

Going forward with the future, Green said, “This is a ten-year renewal levy, so it keeps a foundation of support that has been part of LCCC since 1963. It is instrumental to making LCCC who we are and what we’re able to deliver to this community.”

Not a typical election

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, celebrations have been put on hold. “First and foremost is the health and safety of our community. So while prior election years when we had an issue on the ballot that has been up for renewal, we’ve had wonderful celebration times with large gatherings, but we want to protect the health and safety of our campus and our community,” said Green.

It was not a traditional celebration nor a watch-party to see results come up on April 28, according to Green. She went to say, “It was not a typical gathering, we were just watching the results come through with Lorain County Board of Elections.”

“It was a little quieter, but that doesn’t make the celebration any less enthusiastic just because we weren’t able to do it in that way. There is such sincere gratitude for the support of this community,” said Green.

Thank you to all students

Green also paid tribute to students. “Thank you to all the students. Our students are the reason why we exist and what we do every day, and it is their stories that I believe demonstrate the impact that we make,” said Green.

Green believes statistics are just half of what reflects the success of students and the college. “Certainly, percentages and numbers say one side of the story, but when you really tell the story, like the story of yourself and other students and the impact that our college was able to make on the individual lives, that is when it becomes real, and that’s when it becomes meaningful. We are grateful to our students for entrusting us with their futures and choosing us as their higher education providers.” 


Gen Z and their climate anxieties

Destiny Torres
Associate Editor
Generation Z, those born in the late 1990s and early 2000s, was brought into a dying world. They have had to watch as hurricanes devastate the southeast, fires rage through the west and tornadoes tear through the south.
But what is causing this to occur? The culprit behind Earth’s downfall is abnormal climate changes. Global Warming is a name given to the long-term heating of Earth’s climate system since the onset of the Industrial Revolution due to human activities. While the planet naturally goes through periods of heating and cooling, the increase in humans burning fossil fuels and other greenhouse gases has caused the Earth’s temperature to skyrocket, wreaking havoc on the planet.
According to climate.gov, the Earth’s temperature has risen by 0.14° F per decade since 1880 with the rate of warming over the past forty years doubling since 1981. This warming of the atmosphere doesn’t just make Earth hotter; it makes weather more unpredictable as well. Devastating droughts, freak snowstorms, and drowning monsoons are now a common occurrence in this day and age, terrifying those that are trying to grow up in them.
Anna Novak, a mother of two, remembers learning the bare minimum about global warming. “We talked about the ice caps melting and polar bears not being able to find enough food. Aside from that, it was more of a reduce, reuse, recycle kind of talk.”
Although Gen Z had been taught the basics of what global warming is, they were not taught how to stop it.
“Exposure to climate justice was very passive, not active,” Jocelyn Nunez Colon, a political science major, said. “I didn’t really learn about it until my freshman year of college, which was unfortunate.”
As young adults face the natural disasters that dare to tear apart their planet, anxieties wreak havoc on the outlook of their futures. According to a study done by Thomson Reuters Foundation, four out of ten young adults fear what lies ahead.
“The huge part of global warming is that the actions don’t compare to the consequences,” Nunez-Colon said. “I just started living my life but I’m worried if I’ll even have a future.”
For others like Axel Irizarry Negron and Anna Novak, the effects of climate change are affecting both their mental health and personal lives.
“I try not to think about it too much,” Negron said. “The more I think about it, the more anxious I get. It especially worries me for an island like Puerto Rico, where I’m from. With the ice caps melting, causing the water level to rise, what hope does a small island like Puerto Rico have?”
For Novak, she has her children to worry about, “I know it’s getting worse every day and that scares me. I’m afraid of what the world will look like for my children, with no sustainable air, food and water. That’s the worst part of it.”
With the world falling apart at the seams, Generation Z is calling for the government to do something, though most believe that their calls for help are falling on deaf ears.|
“The US has done nothing to work towards helping global warming,” Irizarry Negron said. “We’ve known about this since the ‘70s and nothing has been done. Besides the fake ‘going green’ propaganda. This problem won’t get solved with us switching from plastic to paper; it won’t until the world comes together to make a plan and act on it.”
“There are so many facets to global warming, there’s so much to learn about,” Nunez Colon said, “If you’re looking for a sign to learn more and help with ending climate change, this is it.”


Bomb threats investigation underway, LCCC not alone

Destiny Torres
Associate Editor
“LCCC campus security is currently working with the Elyria Police Department and the FBI to find the source of these threats,” LCCC President Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D., said of the three threats that rocked the Elyria campus recently.
LCCC is not alone in these threats. Five other Ohio schools and universities have received bomb threats since the beginning of 2022. According to the ATF and FBI, about 5% of bomb threats in the United States were to schools and universities, with threats having increased by 33% since 2014.
In 2018, there were 285 bomb threats to educational facilities with 19 being to colleges and universities. This has seen a sharp increase since then. A study conducted in 2015 found that most bomb threats have been made more frequently via electronic tools on international proxy servers. And, of the 800 violent school threats made, more than 70% included bomb threats. Also in 2015, more than 46 states received bomb threats, with Ohio being the number one recipient.
All the worry and fuss have left some students and staff feeling losses both academically and financially.
Margo Solis, a graphic design major, said that she was lucky enough not to be on campus during the threats.
“The whole situation just made me super anxious,” said Solis. “I was genuinely afraid that it would turn into a ‘boy who cried wolf’ situation. The threats would keep happening, we’d let our guard down and then BOOM.”
As anxieties rang high for some, others suffered scholastically. With the campus evacuated and classes canceled for an entire week, students who took in-person classes took a hit.
“I waited for the campus to be back open again after the pandemic,” Zander Taylor, a first-year student, said. “I prefer in-person classes since it’s easier for me to learn in person. So doing it all online wasn’t pleasant for me.”
For some students, like Taylor, they rely on in-person classes. “Academically, I took a real hit. It was difficult since I have issues with internet access at home. I’m a little behind because of the bomb threat.”
“I think the school took the right precautions; they did what they had to do. They’re doing their job, I don’t have to appreciate it, but I do have to accept it being a student here.”
The bomb threats did not just harm the education of the students, they had negative effects on the staff and faculty as well.
“We took a hit,” Tara Porter, an employee at the Marketplace Subway, said. “With campus closed, I missed a week’s worth of a paycheck and had to waste product.”
Making terroristic threats is a felony in the third degree.
If you see anything suspicious or have any information, please contact Campus Security at 440-366-4043.
Lauren Hoffman, editor-in-chief, contributed to this report.


Masks begone! Students hesitant to rejoice

Lauren Hoffman
Lorain County Community college students got to have a taste of Covid-19 freedom for the first time since March of 2020, but not everyone is ready for the change.
March brought a game changer to students on LCCC’s campuses as the mask mandate that previously covered campus was lifted for the first time since the fall of 2020 when it went into effect. While many students are elated to be able to show their full faces for the first time in two years, not all are as quick to jump for joy.
“Just not there yet,” Arts major Margo Aziza Solace says she does not agree with the mandate being lifted. “I don’t think it should be,” she explains, continuing, “Even though Covid-19 numbers are slightly down, it’s going to spike without the mandate. We’ve tried this before and again the same results.”
Solace wants to make it clear that she is not firmly against the mandate lift stating, “I would love to get back to normalcy, but we’re just not there yet. We need to get vaccine rates up, not just a dip in the numbers.”
Student senate president Zarai Aquino voiced similar concerns saying, “I actually feel weird without the masks, everyone can see my face.” Aquino laughed slightly before continuing, “I enjoyed the masks because I wasn’t being told to smile more and I enjoyed the sense of privacy they gave.”
English major Destiny Torres echoed Aquino’s mixed feelings saying, “I am so used to wearing my mask that it feels weird to take it off. I’m not quite ready yet.”

Safety protocols
Jonathan Volpe, vice president for Administrative Services and Treasurer, sat on LCCC’s Covid-19 task force. He says of the mask decision, “Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, we have followed the guidance as issued by the CDC, the Ohio Department of Health and Lorain County Public Health Department in order to establish safety protocols on campus.”
Because of the CDC’s recent decision to designate Lorain County as an area that is no longer experiencing a high level of infection, the Covid-19 task force ultimately decided to lift the mandate. For Volpe, “the LCCC community has demonstrated that we can live with the virus in a relatively safe manner by making knowledgeable decisions about our individual health.”

Mixed concern
Aquino and psychology major Danelle Johnson see the mandate lift as creating a possible whole different kind of problem. Aquino says, “One thing I can sense a problem with is the vaccinated against the unvaccinated. It is definitely something to keep an eye on as a student senator.” Johnson expressed similar concerns, but with a positive twist. She says, “I know everybody is still leery, “I know everybody is still leery but I like that I can see people’s faces. Despite the anger and fear that might arise regarding vaccination status, I feel like it’s more warm and inviting now and gives us a chance to be more inviting and personable.”
Volpe does understand the concerns that students like Solace, Torres, Aquino and Johnson have and asks students that “as we enter this new phase, please be patient, understanding and respectful with each other.” LCCC has been preparing for this changeover since last fall when it installed air purification systems across campus to purify the air and reduce the ability of the virus to spread.
Despite those students that are hesitant, many are also relieved. Elizabeth Tutak says she feels “pretty good, it’s just kind of uncomfortable because I’m not used to making proper facial expressions, but overall, I like it.”
Early College High School junior Katy Paige agrees with Tutak claiming, “I am so happy to feel free. I can breathe again without feeling stuffy all the time.”
Even still, some students and staff don’t have as firm of an opinion on the mandate being lifted.
Student Senate representative Julian Ortiz says, “I didn’t think it was that big of a deal except for the fitness center. It was a lot nicer to work out without a mask on.” English 162 professor Martha Williams concurs with Ortiz. She says, “I feel mixed. Sometimes I have it on, sometimes I have it off. I know it can prevent illness and honestly, I’m not too sure I want to invite germs back into my life.”
As we travel into this new phase in our world of education, the hope is that by demasking, students can get back to being themselves and classes can aim to have a sliver of their pre-Covid days.

Students talk about anxieties of a possible World War III

Anthony Leyva
A Correspondent

History moves forward, but war never changes. Throughout time man has sought dominion over man. The ensuing effect has brought about a vicious cycle of war and peace.
Within a century, America has participated in various wars and skirmishes. The most devastating instances of war were WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and the war in the Middle East.
Now after a reprieve from the most severe effects of war, America is facing another challenging situation, this time in Europe. The war began
On Feb. 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin began his invasion of the former Soviet Union country, Ukraine, in an attempt to overthrow their President Volodymyr Zelensky and reclaim Ukraine as a Russian satellite state.
On the day of the invasion, Putin stated, “Whoever would try to stop us and further create threats to our country, to our people, should know that Russia’s response will be immediate and lead to such consequences that [the world] has never faced in its history. We are ready for any outcome.” This subtle threat hits home to NATO and its allies, who are seeking to expand their influence in Ukraine.
As we near the 80-year mark since the end of WWII, Putin’s threat has caused many to fear a third world war. Students at Lorain County Community College are amongst those concerned and anxious of the threat.

Today we are more connected than ever.
Thanks to social media, it is easy to receive up-to-date news on current events. Some like Payon Regal, a student at LCCC, often come across memes chronicling current events.
Regal explains, “I was on Tik-Tok one night and saw what happened, but I didn’t think it was real. It’s shocking and upsetting to see everything that’s happening in the media. It just doesn’t seem real.” The surreal and unimaginable thought of war in today’s world is a common feeling among many young LCCC students.
For some students between classes, work, and personal time staying informed can be difficult. The conflict is a dynamic and elaborate situation.
Marissa Brigger, a Business Management major at LCCC, first heard about the situation from a friend on a phone call. Brigger followed the conflict intently for the first week, however; she said, “I’m not following the situation as much as I was early on, but I should because it’s important to stay informed.”
Furthermore, Brigger says she doesn’t blame the citizens of Russia but instead blames Putin. “Putin is acting like a bully to other countries.”

A war no one wants
The threat of the situation expanding into a global war is a fear of many individuals. An anonymous veteran student stated, “Obviously things have been tense for a while, we’ve had small skirmishes but nothing this big. I think things could potentially escalate, but it would take a lot to get there.”
The veteran was extremely concerned with the military actions taken by the Russian government. They would go on to say they hope that the soldiers would realize how horrible the invasion is. “Some of them joined to hurt people, but others joined to defend their country, not all of them are bad. I would hope Russian troops would know right from wrong.”
This idea coincides with videos of Russian soldiers who have defected or surrendered in Ukraine. Many of which state that their orders were vague and that they too want the invasion to end.
Some are skeptical of global war, however.
Kyle Offutt, a Computer Maintenance major at LCCC, says, “Everyone was expecting that Ukraine would fall within a week but obviously it hasn’t happened.”
Offutt has faith that Ukraine will be able to stave off the Russian occupation, at least for the time being.
Offutt does not disregard the threat of a global war, however. He explains, “It’s the nuclear threat that prevents us from getting involved directly.” Offutt believes if Russia were to succeed it may only be the beginning of their expansionary conquest.

Not sure how to cope
Of the students interviewed, should the situation escalate, many said it would be difficult to manage finances and cope with a global war.
Our anonymous source points out, “If the issues with the supply chain escalate, most people won’t know how to provide for themselves.” They also emphasized that stress management would be key to keeping a level head in such difficult times.
Marissa Brigger explains, “When I was young I was very active in scouts and I have some basic skills to help prepare me, my family is also well prepared. If there is something I can do to help others as well, that is something I would do.”


The way of the dog

Lauren Hoffman
Why is there a dog in the college? That doesn’t look like a service dog. Why is your pet here? These annoying comments are daily occurrences for service dog handlers when out in public. Everyone knows a service dog by their vest or harness, but few realize that there are so many different types.
Lorain County Community College students might be familiar with a type of service dog, known as a guide dog such as Greyson with his familiar leather harness and handler Asia Quiñones-Evans following closely behind. But what about the other dogs on campus?
Well, these too are service dogs – just a different kind. These precious pooches are known as psychiatric dogs as they help their handlers with conditions such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, and many others. Unfortunately for these handlers, according to Quiñones-Evans, they “have serious concerns that the public doesn’t view their companions as service dogs due to their illnesses often being invisible.”
|She explained it using the example of her own service dog, Greyson. “Greyson is obviously a guide dog, he has his harness and walks a bit in front of me to lead. Psychiatric dogs, however; do not always wear gear and are usually at the side of their handler. Because of this people do not realize that they are not pets, but are in fact still working dogs.”
Psychiatric dogs, better known as psychiatric assistance dogs or PADs, are largely unknown to the general public as people assume they are just pets acting as therapy animals. This can lead to them not being taken seriously. Therapy dogs are often not registered and do not go through the same extensive training that psychiatric service dogs do.
In 2019, a charity called “MindDog” out of Australia conducted a study on PADs and their handlers to try and understand the rising demographic better.
Their survey found that 37% of the participants had learned about PADs through the internet while 32% learned from their practitioner and the remaining 30% from family and friends. The study also found that there is no preferred breed or gender for PADs, unlike guide dogs in which labs have the leading advantage.
But what is it exactly that these dogs do that other pets do not? Like most service dogs, PADs are taught tasks that assist the handler in association with the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA law. Upon registration of the service dog, their handlers must state the tasks they carry out in order to be officially registered. Some of these tasks, especially for PADs include, nudging/pawing to bring back to the present, constant contact, deep pressure stimulation, and blocking harm to/or from the handler.
As aforementioned, PADs often do not wear service dog equipment. This is because all service dogs actually do not have to be visibly marked as service dog. In accordance with the ADA law, as long as two questions about the dog can be answered effectively, the dog is good to go. These questions being 1) is it a service dog, and 2) what tasks does it perform. PADs most often do not wear identification gear as it can get in the way of their tasks especially when it comes to tasks involving contact.
Still despite all of this, many people still do not take PADs seriously and do not understand the importance these dogs play in their handlers’ lives. Many PADs handlers, including some on campus who wished to remain anonymous, said that they don’t want to always tell people that their dog is psychiatric as well as medical because they feel they won’t be taken seriously.|
Quiñones-Evans explained that “psychiatric service dogs that are taught to prevent attacks will not stop the distraction, the comfort until their handler is okay” unlike most pets in general. They have gone through the same amount of extensive training as their guide dog counterparts in order to assure that their handlers are able to live their lives like everyone else.
Handlers such as Quiñones-Evans, who is holding a service dog awareness event April 18 from 1 to 5 p.m. in the college center commons, want to bring awareness on how to treat service dogs with respect.
She said, like most, always think of the handler first. She put it like this, “think like someone that’s wheelchair-bound, you wouldn’t want to touch or talk to their wheelchair so why do it to their dog?”
For most handlers, their service dogs are seen as a medical device first and should be seen as such. Still, unlike machines, these dogs are not foolproof. Quiñones-Evans says “a lot of people assume because the dogs are so highly trained that they’re robots. They’re not. They’re dogs, they are conscious, sentient beings that do have their own thoughts and feelings. They do get distracted, they do have anxiety, but us as handlers still want them to perform to the best of their ability.” This is why it is extremely important that all service dogs, regardless of what type, must be respected and not get distracted while they are working.
Quiñones-Evans concludes, “These dogs do get time to be dogs too, but when they are working, that is not the time for play. Please respect that.”