Monday, July 16, 2012

Brush up on your Math with Math Boot Camp

  The Math Boot Camp is an intensive review that will help identify a student’s particular area of weakness and provide individual help and problem solving practice. The boot camp will be held in a workshop format,  where students will take a pre-test and the results will be used to identify areas of weakness for each student. There will also be mini-lectures given by instructors on key topics covered by the Pre Algebra section of the COMPASS Placement Test. Upon completion of the boot camp students will be allowed to retest on the placement test and hopefully eliminate or reduce the need for developmental courses.
  Classes will be offered at all the STLCC campuses, but class dates vary from campus to campus. Classes will take place Monday through Friday and will cost students $49. Students can register through Continuing Education and by calling 314-984-7777. For Florissant Valley the dates are as follows:

 •    7/23-7/26     6p-9p     B-120
 •    7/30-8/2        1p-4p     B-120

FV New Student Registration Workshop

  Florissant Valley makes transitioning from high school to college that much easier by having a student registration workshop. The registration deadline is July 18,  2012. The cancellation deadline for this event is also on the 18th at 7:30am.
 Once first-time college students are admitted they are required to attend a New Student Registration Workshop before they are able to register for classes. New college students must have their COMPASS test scores or documentation of appropriate ACT/SAT scores must be on file prior to attending.  The event is sponsored by Academic Advising and is held in the Student Center, Room SC-257.

Laura Sternman Dedicates 25 Years

  Laura Sternman, vice president of student affairs at the Florissant Valley campus has recently retired after 25 years of dedicated service. Sternman devoted her entire career to helping students and making them welcomed. A retirement party was held in Sternman’s honor to celebrate her selfless commitment to the students of Florissant Valley.

Free Concerts at Soldier's Memorial

The tradition of free concerts downtown continues, beginning with Fair St. Louis and continuing with Celebrate St. Louis Summer Concerts (formerly known as Live on the Levee.) In the summer of 2012 there will be two weekends of free music in downtown St. Louis.
  The concerts used to be held on the St. Louis Riverfront but because of flooding, as was the case last year, the location has been moved to Soldier’s Memorial. This is a safer option because of the frequent summer flooding along the riverfront. Streets around Soldier’s Memorial will be blocked off from Tucker to 14th Street and Market to Pine.
  There have been a few changes and security measures implemented into this years summer concerts. Everyone must go through one of three security checkpoints to gain access onto the grounds. Attendees can bring one plastic water bottle per person. Coolers, cans or alcohol will not be allowed on the grounds. There will be vendors, at the concerts selling food and drinks. Fireworks will no longer be set off after the concert and the kids activity area is gone, as well.
  The headliners will take stage at 8:00pm. Plan ahead, be safe and enjoy the free music downtown.

                                                       Here is the 2012 concert schedule:

July 13 – Neon Trees
    July 14 – Michael Franti and Spearhead
    July 20 – The Offspring
    July 21 –

A Shrine to Honor STLCC's 50th Anniversary

  A Blue Sand Shrine is being erected to honor the 50 years of STLCC’s existence. The shrine will house various photographic images from Florissant Valley’s first days. It will also have pictures of this campus’ construction, as well as snapshots of its first students will be included.
  The outside of the structure will be constructed of stained wood. The interior will be painted metallic silver. A sand pendulum will be installed in the middle of the shrine. This pendulum will draw patterns in a basin of blue sand. The blue and silver theme will represent STLCC’s official colors.
  The sculpture was designed by Professor Michael Quintero and is being constructed with the help of Mark Heil. This project is sponsored by Florissant Valley Community Relations with support from Florissant Valley’s Art Department

Bus Stop On The Move

Photo by Holly Shanks / Forum

by Dee Brandy of The Forum

  The Metro bus stop has been located between the Administration building and the Social Science building in the arch of the Campus for the past several years.  A proposed move due to the high volume of traffic from the buses and cars dropping off and picking up students was approved on the June Board of Trustee’s agenda and construction is anticipated to start in July or as soon as possible.
The new bus stop locations will be near the Child Development Center and the main entrance sign of the campus, near the Terry M. Fischer Theater.  The groundwork and reconstruction for the two areas will structurally reinforce the ground to accommodate the added weight and traffic flow.
  Florissant Valley President Marcia Pfeiffer suggests faculty, staff, and students find alternative routes such as the entrance closer to West Florissant near the Center for Workforce Innovation building or the back of the campus off of Hudson Drive. Traffic congestion is expected during the construction period, and during that time commuters will need to allow themselves extra time for dropping off children, arriving to work, and getting to class.

Student Discount Movie Tickets On Sale

Purchase Wehrenberg and AMC movie tickets at the Flo Valley Cashiers Office located in the Student Center. Tickets cost $5.50 each and a valid STLCC ID card is required at purchase. Tickets are limited to EIGHT tickets per day, per person and tickets can not be used for screenings with restrictions listed.  Please contact the movie theater for more information and show times.

Got Mud?

Photo by Bradley J Rayford / Forum

A play day in the mud became an annual event known as International Mud Day. It started out as a project to help Nepaul children buy clothes in their city. The event ballooned into a worldwide sensation that emphasizes the connection between the Earth and everyone. The event was spponsored by the Florissant Valley Child Development Center on June 29, 2012 and was the first time that these students participated. Jan Meyers, office manager of the CDC believes it will become an annual tradition from this day forward.

Joplin Tree Dedicated

Photo by Bradley J Rayford / Forum
The Joplin tree dedication was a ceremony that celebrated the efforts made to raise money in relief of the survivors of a deadly tornado that ravaged the city over year a ago. The tornado caused 162 fatalities. Florissant Valley along with many others across the nation joined hands to lend a hand in the clean up efforts of Joplin. The catastrophe caused millions of dollars worth of damage and forced hundreds to become homeless. Of the three STLCC campuses, Florissant Valley raised the biggest amount ($2000). That amount was matched, dollar for dollar by the Harbor Day Foundation.
 The Student Government Association of Florissant Valley planted a maple tree near the Time Capsule, right behind the Terry M. Fischer Theatre to memorialize the citizens of Joplin that lost their lives and to celebrate the accomplishment of raising an enormous amount of money for a worthy cause.

Flo's Campus Garden is Ripe and Ready for Harvest

photo by Bradley J. Rayford / Forum
by Jeff Siler of The Forum

  It’s summer so that can only mean it’s time to pull out the tiger trowel, shrubbery fork, and bulb planter and see what you can come up with out in the garden. Make sure to have good planting soil before you can start. One place that does have the technique down is the Campus Garden right here on the campus of Florissant Valley.
  With help from a handful of students, Dr. Mark Manteuffel, an adjunct professor at Washington University and the assistant professor of Biology on the Florissant Valley Campus, has been working tirelessly to see this project through. Since last fall the garden has been up and running and it is harvest time for a majority of the vegetables which include, but are not limited to, beets, cabbage, basil, green and red onions, zucchini, sweet peppers, and jalapenos.
  According to Manteuffel, “It’s going. We’re encountering issues here and there but it’s producing wonderful vegetables.” Surprisingly, no mammals have attacked the crops but the few issues that have all been fixed included things like worms, light fungus, and minor insects.
The lack of rain and excessive heat over the summer have not posed a threat to the garden as the crews have been working day in and day out to make sure all of the vegetables and plants get plenty of water. Student involvement has also continued throughout the summer and has expanded to include the Ecology Club. Manteuffel hopes to increase student participation in the coming months and numerous members of the community have also expressed interest in the Campus Garden, so there is no lack of contribution in the process.
  For the fall, Manteuffel says, “We’re working on a big sign so that people can be aware of what we’re doing, t-shirts, more physical club activities, and fundraisers where we sell the produce,” and curriculum wise, “We are developing a Soil Testing Ecology Lab.”  
  If you are interested in helping with the garden or just want to see what it looks like, take the time out to make a trip to the old baseball diamond located on the southwest corner of campus and see what the Campus Garden has to offer.  For any questions on how to become involved with the garden, contact Mark Manteuffel at

Siler’s Television Season Recap

by Jeff Siler of The Forum

This has been one of the best seasons of television in recent memory

With every end to a television season we have to say goodbye to some of our favorite shows and this season had some of the longer running shows, leave us for good. Dr. House did what he does for the very last time, the original “Housewives” left us, everyone’s favorite spy in recent memory said goodbye, and the Scott brothers left us after nine years.
Along with the shows that willingly leave us, there are also the shows that leave us because of how their network viewed the show. CBS has the best case in this having to pull shows like: CSI: Miami, A Gifted Man, and Unforgettable because they needed the space to fill new shows into their slots. All three of these shows had rather good ratings and viewership. All the other networks did not have that kind of luxury by having to pull shows because of low ratings, viewership, and new shows. It was no surprise to see NBC pull Harry’s Law (I’m surprised it didn’t go last season). I know FOX is kicking themselves for reviving Breaking In. There were a few shows like Charlie’s Angels, Pan Am, and The Playboy Club which sounded like good ideas on paper but they both didn’t make it to winter break before being cancelled. I was perplexed by one cancellation, and that was the CW pulling The Secret Circle from its lineup. The show was the network’s second highest watched show behind The Vampire Diaries, but the network decided to keep other shows that got killed in the ratings. I just found that odd.  
Some of the better things from the world of sitcoms were: How I Met Your Mother (who I felt had their best season in three years), Parks and Recreations (best season to date), Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory (of course), Community (better than last)… I could go on and on about good sitcoms from this past season because there are legitimately twenty-five sitcoms on my “must watch” list.
The world of drama is a much shorter list for me because I am picky with my time and when a show is twice as long it takes a lot more to keep me watching. For me, shows like Unforgettable, Person of Interest, A Gifted Man, Grimm, and a few others are very good shows, but they just got too repetitive and I stopped watching. The big thing I look for is something original and something that keeps me entertained throughout. Smash was one of my favorites from this past season because of the writing on the show. The Secret Circle also made this list but it’s gone for good now. The one network show I highly recommend is Revenge. This show is one of the best written shows on television with so many twist and turns in each episode. When it comes to cable I say to just turn your tv to AMC and watch the “masterfulness” ensue. The Walking Dead is one of the best shows on television, Hell On Wheels is really good, I hear the Mad Men and Breaking Bad are really good as well (I regrettably have never seen either one) but above all, If you are listening to me at all, I HIGHLY recommend The Killing. The show has some of the best writing I have ever seen and the characters on the show are some of the most likeable characters on television. The plot turns are another great thing about this show.  
So, there is this past television season in a nutshell, so to speak. Make sure to pick up the August issue for my preview of the upcoming season.

An "Ivory Wave" is Rushing the River City

photo by Devese Ursery/Forum
by Devese Ursery of The Forum

A Synthetic Drug Labeled "Bath Salts" is Ravaging the St. Louis Area

An “Ivory Wave” aka “bath salts” has made its way across the Atlantic Ocean, from the U.K. and landed on the front porch of St. Louis. This fad has now swelled into an uncontrollable phenomenon causing its abusers to act savagely toward unsuspecting and innocent bystanders. Police and drug tactical units from the St. Louis area and in St. Clair County have raided over 13 convenient stores and head shops, uncovering numerous amounts of weapons, boxes loaded with synthetic drugs and tens of thousands of dollars. The Midwest is the latest region to succumb to the psychotic influences of bath salts. According to Peggy Kinamore, public education coordinator of the Missouri Poison Control Center, this menacing designer drug has been on the upward swing in Missouri since 2010. During that year there were 18 cases of exposure to the drug. The following year, in 2011, cases of exposure had risen to 269. So far, this year there have been 69 reported cases of exposure.
Bath salts, 20 years ago were absolutely harmless, as a matter of fact, they were deemed beneficial to the skin, body and mind. Bath salts, when used in their natural, absolute form, contain many minerals and nutrients that are advantageous to keeping the skin soft, smooth and supple. The various minerals found in bath salts include magnesium, potassium, calcium, bromide, and sodium. These minerals are freely absorbed into the pores and are known to cleanse and purify the skin, on a molecular level, enhancing the skin’s radiance, tone and texture. Bath salts used to be known as a soaking agent that was found in your grandmother’s medicine cabinet. Now days it is known as a designer drug that turns its user into flesh eating cannibals.
Fast-forward 20 years and the once harmless soaking agent has now transformed into an inexpensive designer drug under the guise of “bath salts”. For the past few years there has been a new phenomenon that has taken a hold of the streets and is eating away at the souls of its populace. This form of “bath salts” does more harm than good, causing its users to have hallucinations, extreme paranoia, and psychotic episodes. Drug Enforcement Administration studies and researchers have discovered three major chemicals that make up the active ingredients to this fatal synthetic drug. Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MPDV), mephedrone and methylone.. These chemicals are neither controlled by the DEA nor approved for human consumption by the Food and Drug Administration. Other tests have found products containing 2-DPMP (desoxypipradrol), an amphetamine-type stimulant related to Ritalin, Lidocaine (an anesthetic) and Pyrovalerone (a hallucinogen).

This Molotov cocktail of chemicals causes its users to succumb to “zombie-like” or cannibalistic behavior. The people that have allowed this deviant stimulant to come into contact with their bloodstream have been prone to “psychotic fits” committing gruesome acts of violence like eating the flesh of their victims, rape, murder and suicide.
This new sensation that is turning “Generation Next” inside out is thundering across America, like a stampeding herd, making stops in Washington State, Los Angeles, Louisiana, Texas, West Virginia, New Jersey, St. Louis and other cities in Missouri, to name a few. Bath salts are geared toward the younger generation. They have found ways to sell it legally in smoke shops, gas stations and online, by marketing it as plant food and “bath salts.” Although it is labeled “Not for human consumption”, users ingest, smoke, snort or inject the lethal combination. This deadly concoction is sold under an assortment of names, including Ivory Wave, Red Dove, Blue Silk, Cloud Nine, Charge +, Lil Butterfly, and Yellow Jacket, Ocean Snow, Lunar Wave, White Lightning, Scarface and Hurricane Charlie.  It is described as a white, off-white, tan, brown, or yellow-colored powdery substance, sold in small 50-milligram to 500-milligram packets or 500-milligram jars. Prices range from $25 to $50 per 50-milligram packet. The cheap prices and easy accessibility, combined with its addictive qualities make this a ticking time bomb, ready to explode in countries like the U.S. and the U.K.
The number of calls to poison control centers concerning “bath salts” rose 6,138 in 2011 from 304 in 2010, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. As of May 31, 2012, there have been 1,302 cases of people being exposed to this newfound epidemic. There were 720 calls to the poison control center in the month of May last year concerning “bath salts”. This year in May there were 295 calls. Jana Morris, executive director at the Bangor-based addiction treatment center Recovery Revolution, said bath salts legislation cannot keep up with the pace of its manufacturers. By the time a synthetic drug is banned, a legal alternative has already been developed.
Many states have recently passed laws making “bath salts” illegal, including Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota and West Virginia. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) has drafted a bill nationally that would add the chemicals that are used to manufacture “bath salts” to the list of federally controlled substances. In November 2010, Great Britain banned imports of 2DPMP after at least two deaths were linked to products containing it. Australia, Canada and Israel also have implemented some form of ban on the products.

For more information on “bath salts” and other illegal drugs visit In Missouri contact the Missouri Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Happy 25th Anniversary “Shark Week”

Artwork by Marcus McDaniel / Forum

by Holly Shanks of The Forum

Sharks, sharks and more sharks. That is what the Discovery Channel has brought yearly to a captivated viewing audience around the world, and this August marks the 25th anniversary of the famed series.
Multi-generational viewers wait in anticipation for “Shark Week,” the week-long television extravaganza of nothing but sharks.
The visual feast offers the best and the latest in camera technology and advancements, as well as the most up-to-date shark science that allows the viewer to get up close and personal with the star of the show. 
This year’s silver anniversary line-up has plenty to offer the faithful follower and new comer alike. 
  The awesomeness of the “Air Jaws” series shows off just how stunning this predatory creature can be. 
After 400 million years in the ocean, sharks have learned a thing or two about adapting and survival. The Great White shark’s evolved seal hunting skills have lead to a fan favorite named “Air Jaws.”
Great White’s have been captured on film forcefully propelling their possible one ton mass from the ocean depths to breach the top of the water with amazing agility and speed, with its prey often times caught between it’s teeth. 
The shark’s entire body can be hurled entirely out of the water to twist, flip and turn back beneath the surface to its domain.  
The 2011 Emmy-nominated “Ultimate Air Jaws” was just a precursor for this year’s next installment of the popular show, “Air Jaws Apocalypse.”
Fans will also be treated to this years new shows, such as “Shark Week’s 25 Best Bites,” as- well-as “Mythbusters’ Jawsome Shark Special” and “Adrift: 47 Days With Sharks,” a premiere documentary that showcases an American plane crash during WWII into shark infested waters. According to Discovery’s Shark Week website, “This is the inspiring true story of two war heroes who survived 47 days at sea, fighting off sharks, with only the food they were able to catch from the ocean and the water they were able to collect from the rain. But when they finally did reach land, it was only the beginning of their troubles. What happened to these two men is one of the greatest test of faith, will and endurance of our time.” 
Discovery also is scheduled to premiere “How Jaws Changed The World” and Discovery describes it by saying, “There are very few movies we can honestly say truly changed the world- and “Jaws” was one of them…In the aftermath of the film’s release, great white sharks were vilified and killed, leading to their near-disappearance from the eastern seaboard. At the same time, public fascination with sharks led to a golden age of shark science and conservation efforts.”
Many scary movies, documentaries, and thousands of scientific facts about sharks are continuously bombarding the airwaves, but people still continue to find sharks mysterious and extremely fascinating, along with one of the most scary things about swimming in the ocean.    
The 25th anniversary of “Shark Week” is gearing up to be a fantastic voyage of fun facts, enlightening historical stories, visual spectacles, continuing shark conservation efforts, and shark filled memorable moments. 
“Shark Week” airs August 12th on the Discovery Channel. Visit to find Shark Week, games, phone apps, facebook and twitter links, show line-ups, top 100 shark facts, video links of past shows, photographs, shark news, and a live virtual feed of the “Ocean Voyager” exhibit at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta GA.

Spider-Man Redo A Much Needed Reboot

Artwork by Marcus McDaniel / Forum

by Marcus McDaniel of The Forum

It’s rare that a successful film franchise gets a reboot just ten years after its debut, but that is exactly the case with one of Marvel’s flagship heroes, the Amazing Spider-Man.  Ten years ago, I found myself in a theater mesmerized by a film I had been waiting to see since I was just a boy.  After years of wishing, my favorite super hero, Spider-Man, had finally made it to the big screen.  I can’t recall the exact amount of times I saw the movie in the theater, but let’s just say I spent a lot of money at the cineplex that summer.  While the original film mesmerized me when it first hit the big screen, the film has not aged well.  The original is plagued by bad dialogue and lacking a few things that made Spider-Man a favorite in the comics.  There was hardly any wisecracking, not too many acrobatics from the wall-crawler, his web-shooters weren’t mechanical, and you never really saw Peter Parker’s scientific genius at play.  
With the release of the new film, the Amazing Spider-Man, all of these flaws are rectified.  Spidey’s web slinging is as graceful as it is in the comics.  Each fight scene leaves you bewildered at the sheer speed and agility of Spider-Man all while making you laugh with a load of one-liners.  His mechanical web-shooters are self-made, and there are tons of instances where you get to see just how much of a genius Peter Parker really is.
The plot of the new film has a few similarities to the original but follows more closely to the origin story that was told in the Ultimate Spider-Man comic books.  We all know a radioactive spider bites him, so I won’t go into that but here’s the rest of the plot in a nutshell.  Peter Parker (played by Andrew Garfield) lives with his Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) after the tragic and mysterious death of his parents.  One day as Peter is cleaning out the basement, he finds a briefcase that belongs to his dad and goes searching for answers about the contents of the briefcase.  That quest leads him to Oscorp Industries where he meets his father’s old science partner, Dr. Curt Conners (Rhys Ifans).  Dr. Conners is obsessed with splicing human and lizard DNA to regrow lost limbs (since he’s missing an arm himself) and with the help of Peter, comes up with the equation to do so.  Although the formula is not ready for human trials, Conners is forced to use it on himself and turns himself into a reptilian beast, dubbed the Lizard.  Peter feels responsible and takes it upon himself to stop the Lizard.
While the synopsis of the film may be a long read, it seemed even longer to watch.  The pacing of the movie was extremely slow, and the film seemed to be more of a drama/love story than an action film.  The film dealt more with how Peter Parker copes with all the tragedy in his life, while discovering who he is and balancing his love life with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).  The slow pace is not necessarily a bad thing though.  The character development actually makes you feel for the characters, and in my opinion, sets things up for a sequel that should be pure action since we know all we need to know about the main characters.  
This version of Spider-Man feels like something right off the comic pages. As I previously stated, the web swinging, wise cracking and action sequences are enough to wow any moviegoer.  Although these aspects do make the movie enjoyable, I do have a few gripes about this adaptation.  Maybe it’s the Spiderman fanboy in me, but I was not pleased with the look of the Lizard or the fact that he talked.  The Lizard in this movie looked less like an actual lizard and more like a “weird monkey-thing” and the Lizard I know from the comics rarely spoke, if at all.  If he did, they were simple words and made him seem more beast-like. Also, during the web-slinging scenes there were random cut aways to Spidey’s hands and feet.  Again, these are minor gripes I have as a Spider-Man fan that won’t take away from the film.  
While the pacing may have been slow, Spidey fans and movie lovers alike should enjoy this film.  This movie has something for everyone.  Whether it’s the great fight scenes or the love story, super hero enthusiasts and Spider-Man fanatics will flip for the Amazing Spider-Man.   8/10