Friday, June 28, 2013

EPA Grants Funds For Hazardous Waste Cleanup Training

Cleaning up hazardous waste is a dangerous job and requires special training in order to handle the toxic materials. Saint Louis Community College will soon be conducting such training on campus, thanks to nearly $200,000 in federal funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Plans for the funds involve graduating 81 students as qualified handlers of hazardous waste, place 55 of said graduates in environmental jobs, and keep track of these graduates for one year. 

The college will recruit residents of Saint Louis City and County, East Saint Louis, and surrounding counties in Illinois who are either unemployed, low income, or receive public assistance. Recruits will receive more than 200 hours of instruction in courses including environmental technology, chemical hazards and blood borne pathogens. 

More information can be found at the EPA website:

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Jennings Middle School Visits Florissant Valley

by Steven Bell

Has you child given any thought to his future? Do they have any interest in furthering their education when they get out of school? Do they have an idea of what college they want to attend?  Jennings Middle School is thinking of these questions and has teamed up with Florissant Valley Community College to give students a tour of its campus and fields of study that the students may be into.

The students of Jennings Middle School are taking an interest in their future. On June 5th Florissant valley welcomed the 117 middle school students and introduced them to a wide range of studies that caught the attention of the young scholars.

The students were split up into groups and toured different parts of campus while participating in biotech/nanotech and physics activities. The students constructed a DNA molecule model out of macaroni and followed that with a discussion of rocket fuel. In the engineering technology based activity, they learned how to print 3-D pictures with computer aided design.

Jennings Middle School students visit Home Plate,
the educational sustainable community garden at Florissant Valley.
The students also got to look into earth sciences as well. The students had an opportunity to visit the Mobil Tech Center. There, they looked at different soil types, grasses and made grass beads. They also went to the pond and were intrigued by the dragonfly nymphs and snails.

They visited the garden on campus and learned about the native flora and were allowed to sample organic vegetables. Students were told about the drip irrigation system and how it was used to water plants and crops.

Another activity the students enjoyed was the tour of the KCFV-FM radio station. There they learned the difference between analog and digital signals and also audio production. They also worked with voice tracking as well.

The students of Jennings Middle School had a great time on Florissant Valley’s campus. The staff members that were involved with the program were delighted to see the students take great interest in the activities and tour. They all look forward to seeing the students come back to Florissant Valley.  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Film Review: “Iron Man 3” Turns into the Billion-Dollar Man

by Devese Ursery

Spoiler warning: Film review contains spoilers for the story of the "Iron Man 3" film.

      “Iron Man 3” is on its way to being the best of the franchise with $1.1 billion in ticket sales worldwide, on its way to toppling the combined earnings of both “Iron Man” and “Iron Man 2” (1.2 billion), making it the most watched of the trilogy and arguably the best of the comic book movie craze.

The third installment of the franchise has Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr., getting introspective, with the film being more about Tony Stark the man, instead of Iron Man, the suit of armor.  In this epic Stark begins to analyze and rationalize his life as well as his relationship with his love interest Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). The movie also delves into the psychological makeup of Stark as he deals with anxiety attacks and nightmares, both stemming from the battle in New York as he teamed up with the Avengers in last summer’s blockbuster movie "Marvel's The Avengers". Even though the true blue comic book enthusiast are upset about some of the not-so-subtle changes made in the movie version, like the spin of the Mandarin character, director Stan Black seems to pull off the changes flawlessly.

Even the novice moviegoers can appreciate the story line and plot of the film that seems to be written specifically for Downey as it showcases his wit. Downey performs the perfect balancing act between arrogant, egotistical billionaire and super hero genius with a humongous heart by mixing in his brand of sarcastic humor. This is a rekindling of sorts as Black and Downey made “beautiful music” together previously in the 2005 comedy-crime-adventure flick “Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang”.

The third installment on the film introduces the Mandarin played by Oscar-winner Sir Ben Kingsley, as an Osama Bin Laden-type figurehead in the Ten Rings, the same terrorist organization that was responsible for ambushing and kidnapping Tony in Afghanistan during the first Iron Man movie. Yet in Iron Man 3, it is Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.) head Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), who turns out to be the man behind the scenes pulling the strings – having recruited a half-baked British actor to play the Mandarin in a series of broadcasts, where the (fake) terrorist takes credit for “bombings” around the U.S. The explosions were caused by malfunctioning patients in A.I.M. and scientist Maya Hansen’s (Rebecca Hall) Extremis program. This program used disabled military veterans as guinea pigs to test their experimental enhancement drugs on. The experimental drug was made to tap into human DNA in order to regenerated limbs and enhance strength, but an overdose of the drug would turn the soldiers into walking time bombs – literally.

In Iron Man 3 Killian destroys or takes away everything that Stark loves, virtually stripping him of everything. The movie starts off with a bang as his mansion gets blown into the ocean, along with him and all of his suits of armor. Left with nothing but his wits and ingenuity Stark begins on the road of redemption and revenge, with a 10-year old sidekick named Harley, played by Ty Simpkins. One character that is getting more screen time along with added responsibility is Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes (Don Cheadle), Stark’s trusted friend and controller of the battle suit War Machine.

Without giving too much away, this movie is a must see full of action, suspense, plot twist, and humor. Not only is Iron Man 3 one of the biggest money makers of the year, breaking over a billion dollars in ticket sales worldwide, it is also arguably the best film of the year.  

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Film Review: Pine, Quinto “Trek Into Darkness” For Sequel

by Sarah Hayes

After the success of the 2009 film “Star Trek”, which rebooted the beloved science-fiction franchise that originally sprung from the brain of Gene Roddenberry for a new generation, it’s only logical that director and producer J. J. Abrams would bring the crew of the new USS Enterprise back for a sequel. Capitalizing on the success of the first film, the sequel “Star Trek Into Darkness” manages to be twice as exciting and explosive as the first and still embrace the core ideals that attracted fans to the original series.

The events of “Star Trek Into Darkness” take place several months after the first film, with James Kirk still settling into his role of captain of the Enterprise. After getting in trouble for violating the Prime Directive, the rule of law that governs the conduct of all Starfleet officers, Kirk has scarcely any time to consider the consequences of his decisions. He and the rest of his crew are quickly thrown into action when a lone terrorist strikes at a secret Starfleet facility. It is revealed that the terrorist is ex-Starfleet agent John Harrison, and the Enterprise is sent on a mission to hunt down and kill Harrison – but in usual Trek fashion, not everything is what it seems and the Enterprise is put in the crosshairs of a man bent on revenge against the Federation.

As usual for an Abrams flick, “Star Trek Into Darkness” dazzles on the screen – and not just because of the producer’s infamous love of the lens flare effect. Despite clocking in at over two hours, everything moves at a brisk pace, jamming every scene with action and explosions galore. Some of the best scenes, however, are its quietest – the scenes in which the characters themselves shine through, and Abrams shows his understanding of the original series. Even as Hollywood ‘rebooted’ versions of them, its old crew is clearly still helming the Enterprise, albeit with new uniforms and fresher faces.

Those who had well founded doubts about Chris Pine’s ability to take on the role of Captain Kirk should find themselves appeased by film’s end, as Pine truly grows into the captain’s shoes to become a worthy successor to William Shatner’s legacy. In turn, Zachary Quinto continues to shine as Kirk’s right-hand man, the half-Vulcan half-human Spock. His performance in “Into Darkness” is a masterful blend of controlled human emotion and a subtle underscore of Vulcan sass, coupled with the ever-present quirked eyebrow.

Overall, “Star Trek Into Darkness” works well on several levels. It’s a good summer blockbuster that’s already making lots of money, and it’s a solid addition to the “Star Trek” canon, with a villain reveal that will thrill (or irritate) long-term fans of the program. Don’t wait for this one to hit Netflix; it’s worth the price of admission to see the Enterprise warping onto the big screen.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Flo Valley Hosts Relay For Life Event

Florissant Valley Community College will be the host of this year's Relay for Life, scheduled to take place June 29th on the FVCC campus. Seventeen teams of 121 North County residents have registered for this event, which raises money for cures for cancer and celebrates those who have survived the disease.

The Relay will begin at noon with a lap run by cancer survivors as well as those currently fighting against their cancer. Other events at the Relay include various fundraisers by teams, a Luminaria Ceremony that takes place after sundown, and a "Fight Back" Ceremony where participants are challenged to take a pledge of action that will change their lifestyle for the better. 

Florissant Valley's radio station, KCFV-FM 89.5 The Wave, will also be broadcasting live from the Relay For Life event.

The Relay for Life event has been occurring on a yearly basis across the United States since 1985 and was started by the American Cancer Society. For more information, visit the Relay for Life website at, or call the organization at 1-800-227-3245.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Former STLCC Chancellor In Hospice

Gwendolyn W. Stephenson, former chancellor of Saint Louis Community College and president of the college's Meramec campus, is now in a Tampa-area hospice due to health issues.

Stephenson worked for the Saint Louis Community College for fifteen years; her chancellorship ran from 1992 to 1997. When she left STLCC, she went on to be president of Hillsborough Community College. Upon her retirement in 2009, Stephenson was the longest-serving president in Hillsborough's history.

Parties wishing to send cards or letters to the Stephensons can do so by sending them to the following address:

700 S. Harbour Island Blvd.
Unit #216
Tampa, FL 33602

Friday, June 7, 2013

Congressman Clay To Host Local Career Fair

On Monday, June 10th, the Harris-Stowe State University's Emerson Physical Education & Performing Arts Center will host over one hundred area employers as they look for Saint Louis citizens to potentially gain employment with their companies. The 8th Annual 1st District Congressional Career Fair, presented by Democratic Congressman Wm. Lacy Clay, is free to attend for all interested parties and will run from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Among the employers who will be present are Boeing, BJC Healthcare Systems, Best Buy, Office Depot, and Wells Fargo. There will also be representatives from the U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and other state and federal agencies.

The Performing Arts Center is located at 3026 Laclede Avenue, down the street from the Harris-Stowe Bookstore. More information can be obtained by calling 314-367-1970 or by going to Lacy Clay's homepage.

KCFV Giving Away "Man Of Steel" Tickets - Today!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Saint Louis County Health Warns About Flood Waters

In light of the recent flooding that has shut down several highways and spurred evacuations in West Alton, the Saint Louis County Department of Health is warning residents about the serious dangers of flood waters. These waters can contain toxic materials such as raw sewage and are considered a severe public health threat. The threat of these sewage-filled waters will only become greater as flooding continues to threaten multiple areas of Missouri and Illinois.

In order to cut down on citizens unknowingly bringing disease and injuries onto themselves, the Department of Health has issued a number of warnings for those in flood-prone areas:

  • Keep children away from flood water and items that have been in said water.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after contact with flood water.
  • Keep children's hands washed frequently, especially before eating.
More information about staying safe around flood water can be found at this CDC website: Flood Water After A Disaster Or Emergency.