A Student Publication of Lorain County Community College

Biomimicry transfer technology center opens on campus

LCCC President Dr. Roy Church and GL Bio founder CEO Tom Tyrell announced the opening of the first biomimicry technology center for a community college to promote innovation development in Northeast Ohio on Feb. 25.        
Alex Delaney-Gesing| The Collegian

  Alex Delaney-Gesing Editor-in-Chief Biomimicry studies nature’s best ideas and imitates those ideas to solve human problems. It has the ultimate goal of creating new ways of living that are well-suited to life on earth over an extended period of time….

From the frontline to the classroom

LCCC student veterans like Tom Blackburn, a Navy veteran,  benefit from the use of the Veterans and Military Service Center located on the second floor of the campus’ College Center. 
Alex Delaney-Gesing | The Collegian

Alex Delaney-Gesing Editor-in-Chief Transitioning back into civilian life can be a shocking and disorienting adjustment for veterans and returning soldiers fresh off the battlefield. Tom Blackburn, a ten-year Navy veteran, enrolled at Lorain County Community College last year in order…

Catalytic converters stolen on campus

Suspect vehicle 
Submitted by LCCC Campus Security

Alex Delaney-Gesing Editor-in-Chief Three vehicles were reported to have had their catalytic converters stolen on Lorain County Community College’s campus on Feb. 23. Two of the thefts took place in parking lot eight, while the third incident occurred in parking…

Shock of war on the homefront

Alex Delaney-Gesing Editor-in-Chief   When ‘‘G.I. Joe’’ arrived home after time in the service, his transition back into civilian life was haunted by nightmares and flashbacks of  the inescapable vivid images he witnessed in the Iraq War. As the symptoms…

High time for legalization?

Kristin Hohman Staff Writer Lorain County Community College students, faculty, and staff may have the opportunity to vote to legalize marijuana across the state of Ohio later this year. “I think marijuana should be legalized in Ohio for those that…

Snow bounds onto campus

LCCC was blanketed by snow after Feb. 2 snowstorm that closed campus.  
Alex Delaney-Gesing | The Collegian

Alex Delaney-Gesing & John Goold It seems as if Punxsutawney Phil and Mother Nature were on the same page when welcoming in the month of February with a white blanket covering the northern parts of Ohio. In Lorain County, an…

Board votes to increase tuition

Alex Delaney-Gesing Editor-in-Chief Lorain County Community College’s District  Board of Trustees ruled in favor of raising the tuition rate for students on Jan. 22. Set to take effect beginning the start of the 2015 summer semester, this change comes as…

LCCC Police Academy training to protect

LCCC Police Academy students attend the program Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.    Kim Teodecki | The Collegian

LCCC Police Academy students attend the program Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Kim Teodecki | The Collegian

Gabe Garcia & Austin Remo

At Lorain County Community College, the men and women who choose a career in the police force can find exactly what they’re looking for at the LCCC Police Academy. Students are trained physically and mentally to be prepared for life as a uniformed police officer.

The academy was launched in January of 2002, with the first scheduled classes beginning that summer. Since its inaugural year, it has seen a number of students graduate and move on to careers as police officers all over Ohio.

Patty Ferritto, assistant to the academy’s Commander Paul Graupmann, said that the course offers a maximum of 20 students to enroll each semseter, and that it’s “usually full up to the 20 spots offered.”

Currently, there are 18 cadets enrolled in the academy this spring semester, with training running until June.

As far as scheduling goes, Ferritto said the classes aren’t offered on a traditional college schedule, but rather on their own separate times.

“Students are required to complete 632 hours of instructional classes,” said Commander Graupmann. “While doing that they are working through the Ohio Attorney General to pass the state certification and start looking for employment. My job is to train the next generation of law enforcement correctly to produce quality individuals that will serve the public the way it deserves to be served.”

Physical training and exercise is the main focus behind Graupmann’s course plan, who started as an instructor at the academy before he became the commander in 2010.

“Students must pass the physical training portion offered at LCCC before they are qualified to take the state-administered written exam to become a police officer”, said Ferritto.

A physical demand of the program includes two weeks of firearm training, according to Steven Lumadue, a 2010 graduate.

“We did [physical training] two times a week that consisted of a lot of running, sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, and plenty of other variations of exercise,” said Lumadue, a current police officer in Milan, Ohio. “The physical training helped me be more confident; just the matter of staying in shape [was a big confidence booster].”

Before becoming a police officer in Milan, Lumadue spent time in Olmsted Falls and Sandusky as an officer, and credits the academy for helping him get to where he is today.

Current students like Devin Woods hope to receive the same opportunity.

“I’ve been working in the security division at Cedar Point for a few years,” said Woods. “It was there that I decided this is what I wanted to do with the rest of my life and my goal is to meet the right people so that I may secure a job in law enforcement.”

The academy is a full-time commitment, running Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Biomimicry transfer technology center opens on campus

LCCC President Dr. Roy Church and GL Bio founder CEO Tom Tyrell announced the opening of the first biomimicry technology center for a community college to promote innovation development in Northeast Ohio on Feb. 25.         Alex Delaney-Gesing| The Collegian

LCCC President Dr. Roy Church and GL Bio founder CEO Tom Tyrell announced the opening of the first biomimicry technology center for a community college to promote innovation development in Northeast Ohio on Feb. 25.
Alex Delaney-Gesing| The Collegian


Alex Delaney-Gesing

Biomimicry studies nature’s best ideas and imitates those ideas to solve human problems. It has the ultimate goal of creating new ways of living that are well-suited to life on earth over an extended period of time.

Lorain County Community College has teamed with Great Lakes Biomimicry (GL Bio)  to house the center for biomimicry innovation development in Northeast Ohio. Partnered since 2012, this new expansion includes the opening of a technology innovation and commercialization center at LCCC’s campus in the Richard Desich SMART Commercialization Center for Microsystems.

“[This] center is the first of its kind to integrate the discipline of biomimicry and business development resources of a community college that fosters product innovation and commercialization,”LCCC President Dr. Roy Church said during the announcement event at the SMART Center on Feb. 25.

Already a national leader in industry focusing on microsystem product development, the center currently serves as a multi-user, shared resource center for companies, entrepreneurs and workforce training and certification.

GL Bio was created in 2010 by entrepreneur and current CEO Tom Tyrell, LCCC’s Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise (GLIDE) Innovation Fund founder Don Knechtges, and University of Akron evolutionary biologist Dr. Peter Niewiarowski. The organization is made up of an association of northeast Ohio groups and individuals focused on developing a place-based, living learning ecosystem based on biomimicry, according to their website.

As a result of the alliance with GL Bio, an estimated $1.3 billion and 1.6 million jobs is expected to be added to the nation’s economy over the next 10 years, according to a media advisory published by LCCC.

With LCCC’s devotion to promoting economic growth and resources for Lorain County businesses, it is well suited to provide a setting for biomimicry technology innovation and commercialization. By serving as the center for this new development, it will promote entrepreneurship, long-term economic growth as well as job creation by means of modernization for the county.

“We are very excited about this partnership because we believe that this approach to economic growth and development represents one of the best bets that northeast Ohio is going to be able to make on a prosperous future for years to come,” said Church. “We believe that Lorain County needs to be an integral player in that process.”

A biomimicry incubator will also be included in the center, open to entrepreneurs who are using biomimicry approaches in starting their businesses, Tyrell said. This will include free of charge resources such as use of space and business advice sponsored by a GL Bio team who will be based in the center.

“We’re going to develop the [center] into a specialized, focused water based sensor laboratory that provides that kind of capability to anybody who want[s] to apply biomimicry notions to the product development of their business,” said Church.

Besides a collaboration with LCCC, GL Bio has already partnered with the University of Akron on biomimicry with their Biomimicry Research and Innovation Center (BRIC) that provides doctoral degrees and scholarships in the field.

Avon Lake Municipal Utilities intends to sponsor a current Ph.D. fellow working in biomimetic research to determine the ways zebra mussels respond to contaminated water through the use of water sensor research. One other Ph.D. fellow from the college, presently operating at Lake Ridge Academy, will also be working within the new water sensor lab.

In addition to the accessibility of the water sensor lab to fellows of UA, LCCC faculty and students will be given the opportunity to conduct research in the area of biomimicry. This will be done with the advanced equipment from the campus’ Fab Lab as well as onsite aid from GLIDE. Three members of LCCC’s Chemistry department were a part of the lab’s development; Professor Dr. Celeste Lau, Associate Professor Dr. James Beil and Assistant Professor Dr. Regan Silvestri.

“A goal of this innovation model is to bring together institutions like the University of Akron and LCCC,” said Tyrrell. “Also, to bring in [other] institutions where we can go ahead and share ideas [and] our resources as a way to build and strive for greater excellence.”

Along with UA, GL Bio has partnered with Lorain County schools including Amherst, Elyria, Wellington and Lake Ridge Academy with the intent of fostering courses aimed towards the study of biomimicry.

Other new developments at LCCC include a new addition to the academic programs offered, including an Associate of Applied Science degree in environmental technology. With a primary focus water quality, students will be able to take courses in the field of Operator Training Center of Ohio in order to become eligible for the Ohio Certified Operator Level 1 examination. Pending on approval of the Ohio Board of Regents, the degree will be offered starting fall of 2016.

From the frontline to the classroom

LCCC student veterans like Tom Blackburn, a Navy veteran,  benefit from the use of the Veterans and Military Service Center located on the second floor of the campus’ College Center.  Alex Delaney-Gesing | The Collegian

LCCC student veterans like Tom Blackburn, a Navy veteran, benefit from the use of the Veterans and Military Service Center located on the second floor of the campus’ College Center.
Alex Delaney-Gesing | The Collegian

Alex Delaney-Gesing

Transitioning back into civilian life can be a shocking and disorienting adjustment for veterans and returning soldiers fresh off the battlefield.

Tom Blackburn, a ten-year Navy veteran, enrolled at Lorain County Community College last year in order to pursue an associate of science degree in public administration. Like many veterans, he is familiar with the struggles faced by service members upon returning home.

“Being in the service, you operate within a structure; you know where you have to be at what time. You don’t have to wonder about what to wear for job interviews, for example,” he said. “Those are all decisions [you] never have to make. Uncle Sam gave you a uniform and you know how to dress depending on what the function is. You operate within a bubble, where you’re told where you’re going to be, when to be there. Now you’re left to your own devices; how do you get somewhere? It’s all kind of new.”

LCCC, a nationally recognized Military Friendly School, provides support and service opportunities for veterans while they earn their degree in a timely manner.

Vietnam War veteran and Distinguished Professor of LCCC Dr. Bruce Weigl has also recognized the difficulties those who have been severely affected by their experiences in the military often face upon return.

“Veterans share an important bond and we know from a great deal of research that one of the most effective tools in dealing with veterans issues is utilizing peer support,” Weigl said.


A place to call home
The recent dedication of a new Veterans and Military Service Members student lounge and office last November has provided a home base for veterans and active duty service members to congregate and develop a sense of camaraderie and encouragement as they pursue their education.

“It’s a great place for [veterans] to come and relax for a little bit, talk to other vets and network about benefits that are available to them,” Blackburn said. “Other vets are a great resource to help each other and ask for assistance because we’re used to working as a team.”

“Today’s returning veterans deserve all the support we can give them, and then some,” said Garis Distelhorst, executive director of the Lorain County Community College Foundation as well as a veteran lieutenant of the Navy. “My best piece of advice [for veterans] is [to] look ahead into the future at the kind of life you want to have, at the kind of job/career you want to have, and then work every day to get yourself one step closer.”


Benefits for veterans
Finding a post-secondary school that is military-friendly with access to numerous resources for veterans in the transition process is a key first step, Weigl advised.

A key benefit to be utilized by service members is the GI Bill, the federal government’s primary educational funding program for qualifying veterans, active duty and dependents.

The number of veteran students and their beneficiaries accessing VBA [Veterans Benefits Administration] educational benefits across the United States has increased from 397,598 in 2000 to 564,487 in 2009 and to 1,014,227 in 2012, totaling over $10.5 billion in utilized benefits (in 2011 alone), according to the VBA Office of Educational Services.

At LCCC, veterans are offered opportunities such as career guidance, priority registration, academic advising/counseling, job search preparation and evaluation of military credit. With these resources, the transition to education and post-military life can be made easier.


Overcoming roadblocks
“Some of the typical barriers and obstacles [veterans run into] can be just getting started in the process and understanding the paperwork involved in using their Veterans benefits and financial aid,” said Krista O’Neill, coordinator of counseling and advising services in Enrollment, Financial and Career Services at LCCC.

By meeting with a VA certifying official, veterans can set up an education plan for their future. Whether hoping to earn an associate degree, bachelor’s degree or master’s degree through LCCC and any of its 12 university partnerships, veterans have a plethora of options. Specialized orientations are provided as well as various scholarships pending on meeting specific requirements. All information can be found at lorainccc.edu/Veterans.

“I think a lot of veterans kind of feel funny about taking “free stuff” because they’ve earned their way all those years in the service,” Blackburn said, “..but these are benefits that they’ve earned, that they’ve paid for by serving their country.”


Veteran education rising
In the past 15 years, the percentage of veterans receiving post-secondary education has steadily increased. Of the  projected 21,937,000 population of veterans in the United States, (with  866,481 in Ohio), nearly 40 percent of male veterans and 45 percent of women veterans have earned some form of a college degree, 2011 research by the US Department of VA found. Comparatively, 25 percent of non-veteran males and 29 percent of non-veteran females who delayed starting college earned some type of post-secondary degree.

Academic completion rates for veterans vary, with 67 percent of Air Force veterans,  47% of Army veterans, and 45% of Marine veterans acquiring vocational certificates or other degrees (associate, bachelor’s), according to a 2013 report published by the Student Veterans of America (SVA) service organization.
Veterans versus civilians

A major difference found between non-veterans and veterans included motivation.

Three out of four veterans who pursue a college degree are more likely to follow through to completion. Civilians who delay entry to college have a significantly lower chance of obtaining a degree, the SVA discovered.

“Veterans are mission oriented and used to being very busy during the day,” O’Neill said.

“Overall, [they] do very well [at LCCC],” O’Neill said. “The discipline and training they receive in the military translates very well to being a successful and disciplined student and we see this evidenced in their overall academic performance.”

Use your leadership and responsibility experience in the service as keys to the person you want to be.  Look at the service as an important building block, and at LCCC as another,” Distelhorst said.

“[There’s] an old saying; today is the first day of the rest of your life.  The service was yesterday; your future is tomorrow, and working on what you will be in the future is today.”

Enrollment down eight percent

Kim Teodecki
Staff Writer
This spring semester, 10,626 students are currently enrolled in classes at Lorain County Community College.  Compared to the 11,542 students enrolled in the fall semester of 2014, there has been a near eight percent enrollment decrease, according to Stephanie Sutton, dean of Enrollment, Financial, and Career services at LCCC.

Research prepared by Ohio Governor John Kasich and John Carey, Ohio chancellor, showed that  between the fall of 2013 and 2014, enrollment in community colleges decreased by two percent.

Writers from Bloomberg Magazine provide possible reasons as to why enrollment could be decreasing, not only in Ohio, but on a national level as well. The number of 18-year-olds in the United States is considerably low, but not dramatically low enough to be the sole cause for decreasing enrollment, according to their website. The economy is also stated cause of the decline.

Until the end of the spring semester, LCCC stands in second place for the lowest tuition cost in community colleges across Ohio, with Cuyahoga Community College in first place.

Despite the decrease, students who choose to enroll at LCCC do so as a result of the various advantages it has to offer.

“I chose to come back to LCCC this semester because I got a scholarship and because the campus is close to [my] home,” said Valerie Connor, a second year student at LCCC. Connor continues to take classes each semester because of the benefits of the financial aid program and the “steady and low” tuition cost.

“I can always depend on [LCCC] to offer the best programs that will help my future at the lowest cost,” she said.

Catalytic converter crimes sweep campus

Recent thefts bring to light dangers for vehicle owners

Kristin Hohman
Staff Writer

Alex Portik, a fire science major at Lorain County Community College, returned to his locked Pontiac Grand Am after class on Feb. 23 and discovered something amiss.

“I came back from class and that’s when I noticed [my catalytic converter] was stolen,” Portik said. His wasn’t the only one, either.

As part of a vehicle’s exhaust system, catalytic converters are located underneath its outer  structure. They reduce dangerous emissions such as nitrogen oxide, hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide. As a result, the gases are converted into water vapor and other less detrimental gases. The equipment has been an auto-industry standard since the 1970’s.

“A catalytic converter [is] placed between the combustion engine and the muffler on a car [and] acts to decrease vehicle emissions,” said LCCC Assistant Professor of Chemistry Dr. Regan Silvestri. “In terms of chemistry, a ‘catalyst’ is a substance that promotes an otherwise unfavorable chemical reaction.”

Other than Portik’s Grand Am, two Chevy Cavaliers also had their converters stolen from, mere minutes apart. The first theft occurred in the southwestern corner of campus in Lot 3, while the other two took place on the northern edge of campus in Lot 8.

Thieves take pieces of catalytic converters to scrap yards, according to Kenneth Collins, manager of LCCC Campus Security. “[Converters] are made of metal components, which makes them valued,” he said.

Fabricated of small amounts of platinum, palladium, and rhodium (used to speed chemical reactions and help clean emissions at  high temperatures), catalytic converters are already valuable. With today’s economy’s recent hike in precious metal pricing, that value has only accelerated.

“The catalysts are typically small quantities of precious metals … on a high surface area carrier such as silica or alumina,” said Silvestri. “The precious metals are quite valuable, but not easily extracted from the silica or alumina carrier.”

Vehicles like SUVs and trucks, with higher ground clearance, are more prone to thefts of their converters. This higher level allows thieves to slide under a vehicle with ease and gain access to the sought-after device.

Thieves remove the catalytic converter by slipping underneath a vehicle’s carriage and using battery-powered reciprocating saws and blowtorches. The more experienced thieves can remove a converter in mere minutes. Since there are no obvious signs of a break-in, car owners rarely notice that something is wrong until they start the ignition. The sound is usually accompanied by a loud roar – similar to that of a missing muffler.

On campus, Portik said the suspect behind the thefts used a car jack to steal his converter.

Because there is no Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) engraved onto converters, they are difficult to trace once stolen. In today’s market, scrap metal recycling centers pay top dollar for used catalytic converters. Payouts can range anywhere from $20 to $200, according to edmunds.com. Scrap metal recyclers typically draw out the metals from converters and resell them for as much as $6,000, depending on the types of metal used.

Across the state of Ohio, just over half of the private auto insurance market noted an increase in thefts over the last 24 months, according to the Ohio Insurance Institute. Typically, most insurance companies file these theft claims under vandalism or general theft categories. Because of this generalization, companies are unable to track the catalytic converter thefts specifically.

While converter theft statistics are not tracked nationally, car theft crimes in general have risen in tandem with rising metal prices. States such as Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Ohio and Texas have seen the most converter thefts occur.

Many insurance companies cover catalytic converter theft and related repairs under “other-than-collision” or comprehensive coverage plans. For most insurance plans, this is optional coverage. Out-of-pocket expenses can range from $200 for universal replacements up to $1,000. If a vehicle’s exhaust line was damaged during removal, repairs could cost up to thousands of dollars.

To avoid having a converter stolen, Portik suggested parking next to other cars.

“Park in a row so no one can come up to your car,” he said.

LCCC’s security is staying up to date on the recent criminal activity.

“[LCCC Campus Security] has stepped up mobile patrols,” Collins said. The prime vehicle in LCCC’s suspected burglaries is a maroon Honda Civic, he said.

Unfortunately, there are not many ways to deter thieves from stealing converters. However, there are some precautions that can be taken. One includes having the VIN or license plate number of the vehicle etched onto the catalytic converter, so that if the need arises, the piece is more easily traceable. Since converter theft is more common in large, long-term parking lots and parking garages, parking as close as possible to a building’s entrance or road access is highly advisable, the Nationwide Insurance website reported.

“[Campus security] was a huge help,” Portik said. “They showed me the video [of the crime] and answered all of my questions, then suggested I file a report with the Elyria Police Department.”

Parking in well-lit areas free of any bushes or trees (where thieves can easily hide) is also ideal. Vehicle security systems that trigger at the slightest motion can discourage theft as well as having a converter welded to the frame of the vehicle by a mechanic. “These were not cars that were parked all by themselves,” said Collins. “These occurred in parking lots mixed in with other cars.”

Collins suggested that if students on campus see any suspicious activity, they need to notify security.

“Keep an eye out,” he said.

Catalytic converters stolen on campus

Alex Delaney-Gesing

Suspect vehicle  Submitted by LCCC Campus Security

Suspect vehicle
Photo courtesy of LCCC Campus Security

Three vehicles were reported to have had their catalytic converters stolen on Lorain County Community College’s campus on Feb. 23.

Two of the thefts took place in parking lot eight, while the third incident occurred in parking lot three, according to LCCC Campus Security Manager Ken Collins.

Two of the vehicles stolen from were Chevy Cavaliers and the third a Pontiac Grand Am. All thefts took place in the late morning to early afternoon. Campus Security identified the suspect vehicle as a maroon Honda Civic. The Elyria Police Department has been notified of the incidents.The investigation is ongoing.

In September of last semester, three Hondas had their catalytic converters stolen from them. The suspects were later caught and charged after being connected to similar crimes at the Cleveland Clinic.

LCCC Campus Security advises all students and faculty to be alert and aware of their surroundings and to notify the security office of any suspicious activity they may witness on campus grounds at (440) 366-4053 or (440) 366-4444.


Shock of war on the homefront

Alex Delaney-Gesing


When ‘‘G.I. Joe’’ arrived home after time in the service, his transition back into civilian life was haunted by nightmares and flashbacks of  the inescapable vivid images he witnessed in the Iraq War. As the symptoms worsened, he was clinically diagnosed with post-traumatic  stress disorder (PTSD), a common occurrence  among military veterans.

A Lorain County Community College student and veteran, Joe (who wishes to keep his identity private), spent eight years in the military. Completing two combat deployments, he spent the last two and a half years of his second deployment in Tikrit, Iraq.

As a medical specialist nearing the end of his final deployment, Joe and his fellow service members sat outside a provincial governor’s building waiting to securely transport high-ranking civilians and government officials.

Enduring the sweltering humidity of the Middle Eastern climate, they waited hours for their charges to emerge from the structure.

“We always felt that we were pretty safe,” he said. “Plus, we had been to that building a hundred times. Nothing ever happened.”

In the 120 degree heat, “normally, some of us would doze off; four hours sitting in all that gear in the hot sun,” Joe recalled. “It was really close to when we were going home and as we were out there, I started hearing this plinking sound. Then next thing I hear is ‘holy shit’ and [my gunner] spun around and I just saw brass [casings] falling down. I said what the hell is it; he said we were taking fire. So I got on [the radio] to my platoon leader and we were told to suppress the threat.”

The insurgents, as it later  turned out, were three adolescents, although what remained of them was not identifiable to the untrained eye.

“I had never seen human bodies look like ground beef,” he said. “We went and picked up pieces of these kids’ faces. That stuff will sit with you [and] you’ll feel guilty about it everyday.”

Dealing with the burden of ending the lives of children took Joe years to deal with.

“I don’t care how tough you are, it’ll knock you into a hole and you’ll grow up so fast,” he said.


Signs of PTSD 

Common signs shown when a soldier or civilian experiences a traumatic event include re-experiencing the ordeal (typically through nightmares or flashbacks), as well as a lack of interest in regularly-enjoyed activities.

“What we’re worried about is if someone’s isolating [themselves], which means they’re not getting any support,” said Quentin Kuntz, a licensed professional clinical, crisis intervention and career counselor in Enrollment and Financial Services at LCCC. “If they’re alienated or estranged from their family, friends, [or] from things they like to do or they used to do for pleasure.”

While not all former service members develop signs of the disorder, 49 percent of those who saw combat while on active duty have been diagnosed, helpguide.org found. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) officially established PTSD in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders third edition (DSM-III) . According to the DSM, the links between trauma of war and the post-military civilian life was established, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) reported. Since its original printing, the criteria of PTSD has been revised four times as research on the disorder continues.

A serious indication of the disorder in veterans and other trauma victims is the abuse of any type of medication or alcohol substance.

“Over-medication, whether it’s pills, booze [or] pot, the drug itself doesn’t really matter. It depends on what relationship that individual has with it,” Kuntz said. “People crave relief. [They] crave a break from all this anxiety and tension.”

In Joe’s case, nearly two years passed before he began to respond to the aftermath of the event.

“I started noticing nightmares, night sweats, [and] excessive drinking,” he said. “I started drinking a lot and abusing pills.”

Nearly 31 percent of Vietnam veterans, 10 percent Gulf War (Desert Storm), and 11 percent of veterans from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq suffer from PTSD, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reported. This equates to one in five veterans being diagnosed.


Coping with trauma

“The big thing is at some point to establish a relationship of trust with a person,” Kuntz said. “Not every veteran wants to talk about what they’ve seen, heard or what they’ve been through. But it’s important [that] there comes a time where they can, if not specifically describe what they’ve been through; at least acknowledge how intense it was.”

In a study published by the U.S. Army Medical Department, it was found that exposure to combat in Iraq was considerably higher than those deployed to Afghanistan. PTSD and major depression were more likely to occur in returning soldiers from Iraq (with 17.1 percent) compared to those who fought in Afghanistan (11. 2 percent). Further, of those who were professionally diagnosed with PTSD, only 23 to 40 percent sought treatment.

“It got to be so bad with depression, that I would take an Ambien at nine in the morning so I could go back to bed,” he said. “ I finally got a hold of a whole set of Ambien pills and… ate them up and woke up in the ER  with a bunch of charcoal over my face because they had pumped my stomach.”

“PTSD does not mean anybody’s crazy. It does not mean that they’re going to hurt anybody,” he said.

While a majority of those who suffer from PTSD have developed symptoms that affect their daily lifestyles, the extent to which they’re judged on the homefront is not always as extreme as it is often made out to be.


Stereotypical viewpoint

“Some cases are very severe and some people do have triggers, but it’s no different than any trigger that you have that pisses you off,” Joe said. “PTSD is a very severe case of having a pet peeve. It’s just things that irk you, it’s things that drive you, things that’ll make you change your way of life because you don’t like the way it makes you feel, period.”

“Most of the people whom I’ve worked with accept the fact that it’s going to be with them in one form or another,” Kuntz said. “All the symptoms may not leave, but it’s just like any medical condition; you manage your condition.”


Accepting help

Veterans dealing with the effects of PTSD can find it difficult to seek aid. The VA provides two types of cognitive behavioral therapy for those in need; cognitive processing therapy (CPT) and prolonged exposure therapy (PE). In CPT, patients learn to understand and shift their outlook on their trauma and its impact.  PE includes gaining control of thoughts and emotions surrounding the source of the trauma while learning to not fear their memories.

While seeking professional help is highly advised, less than 40 percent of veterans who suffer from symptoms receive treatment, the PTSD Foundation of America found.

“There are some [veterans] out there who really are shell shocked, who will never be the same and will never be able to function in society again,” Joe said. “But not all of us are like that, and the bottom line is we all get treated like that.”

Self-help methods have been found to be just as effective in dealing with various symptoms of shell shock. Learning more about common reactions to trauma allows a person to realize they are not alone in their experiences, the VA reported. Connecting with those who have suffered through similar events provides much needed support.

“Other people are mirrors to our faces,” Kuntz said. “When we see people who have gone through similar trauma, it’s like, ‘I’m not alone; I’m not the only person who’s going through this’.”


Living life in the present

Dealing with and moving on from the guilt took Joe years. Today, though, he has since made peace.

“The biggest thing that I was able to do was stop living in the past and apply my mind to something else that’s in the future,” he said.  “Those kids made the decision five years into this war to go up there and shoot at an armored vehicle. We had better weapons, we had better training, we had better soldiers; it was the dumbest mistake they’d ever made.”

“It’s happened, there’s nothing I can do to change it,” Joe said.” Look towards your future, not the past. You can’t change anything about it.”

For student veterans at LCCC struggling to live a normal life as a civilian, maintaining achievable goals to work toward is key.

“One of the biggest things I did to help myself was enroll in classes here [at LCCC],” Joe said. “I started working towards a bachelor’s degree. I tried to remember that I was in the military but now I’m a civilian.”

Focusing on what’s to come and not what has come can make a world of difference in the long run.

Experts urge caution for students on social media

Kim Teodecki
Staff Writer

Business professionals are using today’s generation of social media-trending habits as helpful decision-making aspects when choosing who to hire, who to enroll, and whose application to shred without a second thought.

Nearly one fifth of the entire world population has an existence on Facebook, according to the Washington Post.  To put this into perspective, the human population is estimated to total 7.125 billion, leaving 1,425,000,000 of the world population on just one of the many social media websites, the National Census Bureau reported.

As of Jan. 28, Lorain County Community College had 10,594 students enrolled for classes during the spring semester. Based on these statistics, at least 2,119 of those enrolled take part in social media, specifically the Facebook community.

Presently, seventy-seven percent of employers now use social networking to recruit candidates, up from thirty-four percent six years ago, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

Tony Schweppe, manager of business engagement at Lorain County Community College, expressed the need for students to be careful when using social media for personal reasons. Often times,  he said, employers like seeing someone who is capable of using such outlets in a professional manner.

“I have employers call in all the time looking for people who can do things like web design and other social media-related things,” Schweppe said.

While young adults are told to be cautious when using social media, some students feel they don’t have anything to worry over.

“I wouldn’t mind my future employer or college administration seeing my Facebook or Twitter. I comment and post respectfully and responsibly, but I know this cannot be said of everyone,” said Maya Beirs, a business management major at LCCC. “I’m not sure what kind of work I want to do yet, but I don’t want anything that I say or post on Facebook to ruin my chance at getting whatever dream job I decide I want in the future.”

Of 260 students surveyed in the fall of 2013, 95 percent said they were on Facebook, eighty percent on Twitter, 73 percent on Instagram and 48 percent on Pinterest, according to Study Breaks Magazine.

Additionally, it was reported that 40 percent of students check Facebook six [or more] times a day [and] 63 percent check Twitter at least once a day, including the 33 percent who check six [or more] times a day.

On behalf of LCCC, Kionna McIntosh, staff assistant in Enrollment, Financial and Career Services, said that the college does not currently check social media sites during the admissions process. Additionally, she stated, there are no future intentions to begin checking these outlets.

“I don’t think [employers and college administration] should be allowed to use what they see on Facebook and Instagram as grounds to hire anyone because a lot of people like to just have fun with social media,” Jackie Sowell, a second-year student at LCCC, said. “They use it when they’re drunk [and] as a way to have a few laughs with their friends.”

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has yet to issue specific rules governing social media, so  it is not illegal for employers to use it in their decision making process, Study Breaks Magazine reported .

A survey conducted by PCWorld magazine found that “20 percent of companies admitted to checking out candidate’s profiles on social-networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace before deciding to employ them. A further 9 percent said they planned to start reviewing potential employees’ social-networking pages in the future.”

It was also revealed that 24 percent of employers hired a member of staff based on their social-networking profile, and 33 percent decided not to make a job offer after reviewing content on a profile.

High time for legalization?

Kristin Hohman
Staff Writer

Lorain County Community College students, faculty, and staff may have the opportunity to vote to legalize marijuana across the state of Ohio later this year.

“I think marijuana should be legalized in Ohio for those that are 21 and over,” said Holly Wood, a telecommunications major at LCCC.

An amendment to legalize the personal and medicinal use of marijuana across the state is waiting on approval from Ohio Attorney General, Mike Dewine and the Ballot Board Review.

“Many people abuse the drug because it’s something that is seen as ‘forbidden’, Wood said. “But I believe that if it became legalized and is brought to light and governed like cigarettes and alcohol are it would possibly take away the desire for those who see it as a ‘thrill’.

The ballot initiative would legalize medical and recreational use of marijuana for adults age 21 or older.

“This is not an issue we should enter without considering the consequences,”said LCCC Professor of Microbiology in the Science and Mathematics division, Harry Kestler.

The organization behind the amendment, Responsible Ohio (a political action committee, or PAC) is seeking a constitutional amendment that will provide a highly regulated, fairly taxed, and lab-tested marijuana marketplace in Ohio, according to the organization’s website.

The amendment to the state’s constitution lays out the groundwork for the legal growth, manufacturing, testing, and sale of recreational and medical marijuana. The Marijuana Control Commission – created by this proposal – would be made up of seven members overseeing and regulating the manufacture, sale, distribution, licensing, and taxing of marijuana and marijuana infused products.

Ten tightly regulated growing locations are being planned throughout the state if the measure passes – three of which are in Northeast Ohio. Nearly 77 acres near Cromwell Park along the Black River in Lorain have been designated as a grow site, the proposed amendment reports. Other grow facilities would be located in Butler, Clermont, Franklin, Hamilton, Licking, Lucas, Montgomery, Stark and Summit counties, according to the initiative.

The measure also calls for five facilities where raw materials will be tested for safety, potency, and proper labelling. This ensures Ohio’s legal marijuana is pharmaceutical grade and safe for patients and consumers, the Responsible Ohio website states.

Manufacturing facilities will produce edible and other consumable marijuana products using raw materials. Marijuana production manufacturers will only be able to sell their product to legally licensed retailers and not-for-profit medical marijuana dispensaries.

Ohio based adults over 21 years of age would be required to obtain local precinct voter approval before being licensed to open a marijuana retail store. Much like current alcohol laws, marijuana would not be legally sold to those under the appropriate age.  The amendment calls for up to 1,100 retail locations across the state.

The city of Lorain could stand to take in an estimated $2 million annually, while Elyria could see revenues near $1 million. Colorado, one of four states to have already legalized recreational marijuana, earned roughly $44 million in revenue during its first year of legalization.

“Making marijuana legal would take the industry out of the hands of drug cartels and generate revenue for the state, empty prisons of low risk inmates, and hopefully fund drug and alcohol addiction treatment.” Kestler said.

Medical marijuana will only be sold to patients with a doctor’s recommendation at wholesale prices.

While the whole plant is not approved for any medical uses by the Food and Drug Administration, many states allow the use of medical marijuana for a variety of illnesses and conditions. Several states permit use for chronic pain, severe anxiety and depression, PTSD, and cancer.

“It would be impossible to limit an amount per person,” said Rose Walther, a psychology major at LCCC. “It should be legal for medical reasons only.”

The Marijuana Control Commission would hold the authority to provide financial assistance for those in need.

“There are also many medical benefits that marijuana can help with, such as relieving pain to an illness or disease that isn’t treatable yet,” Wood added.

The guidelines for establishing grow sites, retail locations, and manufacturing and testing facilities include being at least 1,000 feet from schools, publicly owned libraries, day cares and houses of worship. These locations would also have to pass an annual audit from the Marijuana Control Commission.

Up until Feb. 17, Responsible Ohio’s amendment had not included any instances where a person could legally grow their own marijuana plants. However, after receiving criticism, the organization expanded its amendment language to include personally grown plants. It now states that Ohioans would be able to grow up to four plants for private use. These private planters would not be permitted to sell to the public and must be licensed.

That amendment expansion also altered the tax rate for recreational marijuana. Initially, marijuana for recreational uses was to be taxed at a 15 percent flat rate.  Instead, the number has been set to go down to a 5 percent flat tax rate.

Proceeds from the tax on marijuana will be split according to a formula laid out by the new proposition. 55 percent would go to municipal and township governments, 30 percent to county governments, and 15 percent would fund the Marijuana Control Commission to oversee the industry.

“This is a product that is smoked,” Kestler noted. “And some of the very same chemicals that are produced in the smoking of tobacco get produced with marijuana smoking.”

The proposal does not come without concern. To some, health and safety risks are a factor.

“I think it should only be legalized for medicinal purposes,” said Kathryn Durham, a professor of biology at LCCC. “If it is legalized for recreational activity then it could potentially lead to harder drugs and I also worry about people being impaired and driving or doing some other activity that the impairment would impact.”

The federal government considers marijuana a Schedule I substance, meaning it has no medicinal uses and runs a high risk for abuse. Steadily increasing in use among young people since 2007, it is the most common illicit drug in the United States, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

In 2013, 13.4 percent of 12 to 17 year olds reported using marijuana in the last year, while 31.6 percent of 18 to 25 year olds reported the same, according to a NIDA study.

“The use of THC in a medical setting has a great deal of promise,” said Kestler. “ Medical use of marijuana is much less of an issue then the recreational use.”

However, when ingested regularly by young people, marijuana can have permanent effects on brain function, like thinking and memory.

Since smoke is an irritant to the lungs, frequent marijuana smokers can have many of the same problems as tobacco users – such as daily cough, more frequent acute chest illness, and heightened risk of lung infections. Marijuana can also raise heart rate by 20 to 100 percent shortly after smoking – effects which can last up to three hours, according to NIDA.

High amounts of marijuana can produce a temporary psychotic reaction – involving hallucinations and paranoia for some users – and can also worsen symptoms for schizophrenic patients. According to NIDA, there are also some links between marijuana use and other mental health syndromes like depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts in adolescents, and personality disturbances such as lack of motivation.

Contrary to popular belief, marijuana is addictive.

“As is the case with alcohol, some individuals will experience debilitating addiction problems,” Kestler noted.

An estimated 9 percent of marijuana users become addicted. That number increases to 17 percent among those who start use young, and up to 25 percent for those who use daily.

The truth behind students’ sleepless nights

Kristin Hohman
Staff Writer

Most students will admit to falling asleep in class at least once during their time in college. Sleep deprivation, daytime sleepiness, and irregular sleep schedules are very prevalent among college students. So, why is lack of sleep such a problem?

Sleep deprivation is defined as inadequate sleep to support adequate daytime alertness, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

An astonishing 70 percent of college students do not get sufficient sleep, with half reporting feeling sleepy throughout the day. Compare that to 36 percent of adolescents and adults who report daytime sleepiness, it becomes clear how widespread the issue is across college campuses, the NIH has found.

“College forces us to alter our sleep schedules for the worst,” said Jesse Keating, a Lorain County Community College student majoring in communications. “If you want to graduate on time, you have to make that sacrifice. We are expected to have the utmost concentration in class, while we are literally walking around like zombies.”

Among college-aged students, sleep deprivation is one of the major causes of daytime sleepiness. Sleep deprivation can be caused by a number of things. Some are physiologic, while others are behavioral. The most problematic causation of sleep deprivation on college campuses tends to be behavioral. Behaviors such as pulling all-nighters and staying out late are prime examples.

“The problem I run into is that I’ll stay up however late it takes to do homework and write papers and then it eats into how much sleep I get,” said student Hallie Brown, an undecided major.

Of greater concern to college students is the impact sleep deprivation can have on grades. Students rank sleep only second to stress in factors that negatively impact academic performance. Sleepiness and irregular sleep schedules can have negative consequences on memory, learning, and performance.

“We don’t have margins. We give ourselves windows to sleep and by at the end of the day when we’re in that window, we’re too wired from school and work,” said Tammy Bosley, an instructor of communications at LCCC.

In studies performed by NIH, researchers have found that sleep actually strengthens memory. Lack of sleep affects the hippocampus, the part of the brain where new memories are formed. In fact, without proper sleep, the brain’s ability to learn new material can drop up to 40 percent. Grades can plummet as well, due to sleep deprivation, which can result in lower GPAs and compromised learning.

“Students with sleep deprivation can not focus in class,” said Barbara Schuckman, a psychology instructor at LCCC. “With sleep deprivation, attendance is sporadic. Students are not prepared and do poorly on tests.”

Sleep deprivation can have a major impact on health and wellness. A person’s central nervous system, immune system, and brain activity can become impaired due to lack of sleep.

In a study from the Mayo Clinic, evidence showed that an insufficient amount of sleep can weaken the immune system and increase the likelihood of bacterial intruders like the flu or common cold. The central nervous system suffers as well, with an overall drop in cognitive  function.

Poor sleep habits (also referred to as sleep hygiene) can affect temperament and behavior as well. Irritability, mood swings, tension, depression, and confusion are all symptoms of poor sleep behaviors. Such bad behaviors can include consumption of alcohol and energy drinks, use of technology before bed, and even nicotine, which can act as a stimulant. Add in the fact that most college students have at least a part-time job, sleep often gets disregarded.

“This semester I’m taking 13 credit hours and also working 25 to 30 credit hours at my job,” Brown said. “I usually start my homework when I get home from work and stay up late to get it done.”

Some community college students have more than one job and a full schedule.

“What is backwards to me is that most of us who are in community college have jobs as well,” Keating stated. “I’m juggling two jobs while going to school full-time.”


Approximately four out five college students drink alcohol – and nearly 40 percent of those students report binge drinking four to five drinks in a row within the last 14 days, according to NIH. Further, 11.6 percent of students report using alcohol as a sleep aid. Alcohol shortens sleep latency (the time it takes to fall asleep), but it also promotes fragmented sleep in the latter part of the night. If you’ve ever woken up every few hours after a night at the bar, this may explain why.

With over 11,000 Starbucks across the country, caffeine has become an easy, temporary substitute for sleep. Nearly 34 percent of 18 to 24 year-olds consume caffeine in the form of energy drinks or coffee, making it particularly popular with the millennial generation.

The equivalent of two to four cups of coffee can increase sleep latency roughly 6.3 to 12.1 minutes, on average. Used to reduce sleepiness and sustain wakefulness, the effects of caffeine can last 5.5 to 7.5 hours after consumption, according to NIH. This suggests that if consumed in the afternoon, caffeine could interfere with the ability to fall asleep.

“For my early classes, there isn’t an all-out absence – more tardiness. And they [students] walk in carrying a cup of coffee, so you know they had to take the time to do that for a reason,” Bosley said.

Poor sleep hygiene also encompasses the use of technology before bed. A 2011 Sleep in America Poll studied the use of technology by ‘Generation Y’ (adults aged 19 to 29 years-old). 67 percent use cell phones, 43 percent use music devices, 60 percent use computers, and 18 percent play video games prior to bed. Most young adults leave their cell phones on through the night, and only 33 percent turn their phone on silent or vibrate while they sleep. The light from a device like a cell phone or tablet blocks melatonin, which can help you fall asleep.

Many college students engage in these behavioral activities that increase stimulation and alertness before bed. To fight off daytime sleepiness, students reach for a cup of coffee, which then interferes with their ability to fall asleep at night. The problem becomes cyclical.

“It seems like I’m in a pattern for the first couple weeks into the semester and I feel like I function pretty well,” said Brown. “Then it catches up to me and I start to feel exhausted all the time, but classes keep moving along and I have to keep going to work so it’s just like I have to accept the fact that I’ll be in a constant state of sleep deprivation. But hey, I’ll sleep when I’m dead, right?”

In order for students to receive a restful night of sleep, developing healthy sleep regimen is necessary. These habits include regular sleep-wake schedules, a quiet sleep environment, avoiding caffeine after lunch, and reducing thought-stimulating activities before bed.

“Routines help,” said Schuckman, “And exercise. It improves your decision-making, mood and eating habits.”

Maintaining a consistent schedule is as equally important as sleep itself.

“Establish a schedule,” Bosley said, “Turn off the technology and try to shut off the ‘to do’ list.”