As Swine Flu outbreak intensifies Elon University plans what to do if an outbreak occurred on campus

By Patrick McCabe

Written April 27, 2009

A new strand of Swine Flu has broken out across the world reaching the United States, Mexico, New Zealand, Europe, Canada and parts of Asia. The Swine Flu is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza virus that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza in pigs. The virus

pigcauses high levels of illness and low death rates traditionally only found in pigs.

Many college campuses across the nation have implemented plans on how to deal with a health outbreak, like Swine Flu. At Elon University Jana Lynn Patterson, Assistant Vice President of Student Life, keeps students and faculty aware of health updates.

jpatterson“The University also has a thorough flu pandemic preparedness and response plan that has been developed in accordance with state and national guidelines,” Patterson told students in an email. “While we do not anticipate having to initiate the plan, we do want [students] to know that we are prepared for escalated risks of exposure to the campus community and will respond if conditions warrant.” 

While there is no immediate threat to the Elon community the University is prepared to tackle any health threats that may occur.

A case of the virus was discovered on the coast of North Carolina and students have begun to worry.

“I don’t have the best immune system,” freshman Rachel Long said. “If the virus comes to Elon I am pretty sure I will get it.”

Other students are worried that the school may have to close early if an outbreak occurs.

“I don’t know what I would do if that happened.” junior Noelle Clemente said. “I still have a lot of assignments for my classes and don’t know how my grades would turn out.”

As of now the university has not detected an outbreak on campus or in the surrounding areas but university officials assure students and faculty that all protective measures are being taken.

St. Francis Preparatory High School in Queens, N.Y. see the largest outbreak in the United States

St. Francis Preparatory High School in Queens, N.Y. see the largest outbreak in the United States

There have been 20 cases of the virus confirmed in the United States and St. Francis Preparatory school in Queens, New York seems to have seen the largest outbreak with eight confirmed cases. The school has been shut down temporarily and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has asked anyone showing symptoms of the virus to stay home and call their physician. 

The biggest outbreak of the disease has been seen in Mexico City where the death toll has exceeded 100 individuals. Many cases in New Mexico did not seek medical attention soon enough and those that are now seeking medical treatment have been quarantined. In Mexico City they have closed down the majority of restaurants, bars, shopping centers and other public facilities.

“Given the reports out of mexico I foresee more outbreaks here in America,” Richard Besser, Director of the Centers for Disease Control told the press.

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April 27, 2009 at 3:24 pm 2 comments

Sweet Signatures hosts ‘A Pink Tie Affair at Elon University

By Patrick McCabe

Written April 26, 2009

Elon’s only all female a cappella group had it’s last concert of the year on Saturday. The group is made up of 14 women and is very well known in the world of college a cappella. Their last album, Coming Into Focus, was runner-up for the Contemporary A cappella Society award for Best Female Collegiate Album and in 2007 the group placed third in the International Championship of Collegiate A cappella quarterfinal competition and was awarded Best Choreography.

Freshman Amy McNabb singing Guns N' Roses' Sweet Child O'Mine

Freshman Amy McNabb singing Guns N' Roses' Sweet Child O'Mine

Drawing in a crowd of over a hundred people the concert was a huge success. Seniors Lauren France and Lizzie Napier performed a special version of the song “For Good” from the musical Wicked.

“They sounded amazing,” said Elon senior Jenn Keldie. “I was blown away at how good the concert was, especially their duet.”

Keldie came with 15 friends who were all really excited to see their friends performing.

As the only two seniors France and Napier were pretty emotional after the concert.

“It is really bitter sweet,” France said. “I mean it feels great to see how all our hard work paid off but it is sad when I realized that this is my last concert with Sigs.”

Napier shared similar sentiments and was surrounded by friends and family following the concert.

“I just can’t believe it’s over,” Napier said. “I am really going to miss it all.”

While this was the last concert of the year for Sigs Elon’s all male a cappella group, Rip Chord, will perform Thursday night and the coed group, Twisted Measure, will have their spring concert on May 8 and 9.

See Senior Lizzie Napier sing Taylor Swift’s Love Story:

April 27, 2009 at 2:52 am 2 comments

High winds postpone Earth Day awareness project at Elon University

By Patrick McCabe

Written April 22, 2009

At 11 a.m. today members of the Elon University Sierra Club and other organizations planned on spreading trash, collected from the University, in front of the student center. The members of the club planned to dress in hazmat suits and sort out things that could have been recycled.

The landfill on the lawn, outside of the Moseley student center.

The landfill on the lawn, outside of the Moseley student center.

The high winds that swept campus today postpone the “landfill on the lawn.”

“We’re hoping the wind will die down and we will be able to sort through the trash later today,” sophomore Griffin Sager-Gellerman said. “We want to make students aware of how much they should be recycling.”

The “landfill on the lawn” was a part of Elon’s Earth Week. Earth Day events include “Moving Towards Carbon Free Living: Practical Steps to Reduce Carbon Emissions and Increase Energy Dependence” where authors of The Carbon Free Home, Stephen and Rebekah Hren will speak on “carbon free living.” The final event of the day will be cooking smores using alternative resources, reducing our carbon footprint.

Events for Earth Week will continue tomorrow and Friday, anyone interested in learning more about Earth Week should click here or stop by the Sierra Club’s table in the Moseley Center.  

Watch sophomore Griffin Sager-Gellerman talk about the “Landfill on the Lawn:”

April 22, 2009 at 7:36 pm 1 comment

Elon students celebrate Earth Day in a week long event called ‘Earth Week’

By Patrick McCabe

Written April 17, 2009

Earth Day is celebrated annually on April 22 as a day to inspire awareness and appreciation for Earth’s environment.earth day Elon students are doing their part to help conserve the Earth.

Earth Day was founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970, Earth Day is celebrated annually in the United States and many other countries every year.

At Elon students celebrate Earth Day by hosting “Earth Week,” a week of events to celebrate the environment and raise awareness on environmental sustainability.

Environmental conservation has become a big issue at Elon and many students and faculty are taking the initiative to raise awareness through educational efforts.

Over one hundred Elon students were polled on how environmentally aware they were and what steps they are taking to conserve the environment.

90 percent of students polled claim that they are environmentally aware in one aspect or another. 

 64 percent of students polled believe that Elon’s educational efforts have made a considerable difference in their environmental awareness.

“El0n does a lot to educate students,” junior Maria Wyka said. “I was actually able to take part in the sustainability board and I have noticed a lot of changes on campus.”

What Students Are DoingStudents are taking various steps to reduce their carbon footprint through water conservation, recycling, reducing their carbon footprint and walking or using less gasoline. 

“I try to do the little things like turning off the lights when I leave the room or simply using less water,” junior James Wesley Lynch said. “We only have one planet and we have to preserve it for future generations.”

See James Wesely Lynch talk about why he thinks conserving the planet is important:

April 17, 2009 at 3:57 pm 1 comment

Elon professor Ken Calhoun discusses storytelling, responsive visuals and conversation with journalism students

By Patrick McCabe

Written April 14, 2009

On April 8 Communications Professor Ken Calhoun spoke to journalism students about the importance of interactive media.

Ken Calhoun

Ken Calhoun

“There are three flavors to interactive media,” Calhoun said. “storytelling, responsive visuals and conversation.”

The restrictions that once existed for different types of media used to tell a story are gone. Interactive media allows the storyteller to use pictures and video to effectively tell their story using all sorts of media entities. 

Responsive visuals are the next key component or flavor are simply online experiences that are visually based.

“They have to be open, organic and fed by the changing world,” Calhoun said.“They’re graphics, info graphics, data visualizations, timelines, maps, stuff like that.”

The final aspect of interactive media is conversation. Through online media people have found a new way to communicate, whether through online blogging sites or social networks.

“These sites set the conditions for conversation while we host a conversation,” Calhoun said. “Whether it is through one of these sites or not interactive media must be a part of conversation.”

Calhoun graduated with an M.F.A. from Emerson College. His professional background includes work in interactive television, corporate and entertainment industry multimedia production and creative writing. 

He will be teaching in Elon’s Interactive Media Master’s program in Fall of 2009. The one year program will prepare students for work in all different media platforms. This program is the only one offered in the state of North Carolina.

To learn more about the iMedia program check out the iMedia blog here.

See Calhoun speak about the importance of interactive media:

April 16, 2009 at 12:16 pm 2 comments

287(g) program causes serious immigration issues in Alamance County, N.C.

By Patrick McCabe

Written April 9, 2009

Article available on issuu.com.

Alamance County resident Maria Perez-Mejia faces deportation due to 287(g).

County resident leaves three children behind as she is deported due to 287(g) program in Alamance County.

In Alamance County, a deputy arrested a Hispanic woman after a traffic stop on Interstate 85. Traveling with her three children, she was forced to leave them on the side of the road until their father could pick them up, eight hours later.

Marxavi Angel-Martinez and one of her children.

Marxavi Angel-Martinez and one of her children.

 

The women identified herself as Maria Chavira Ventura and spoke limited English. She was pulled over from driving with expired tags and was unable to produce any form of identification, registration or proof of insurance. According to authorities the only thing she was able to produce for the officer was an address in Burlington.

Ventura had lied to authorities; her real name is Maria Perez-Mejia. She was traveling from her home in western North Carolina to Maryland to visit her children’s father before she was stopped. Another man from her church was traveling with Perez-Mejia but left shortly after authorities took her to jail, leaving the children alone.

While Perez-Mejia is in the process of being deported her children will remain in the United States with relatives.

Maria Perez-Mejia is just one of the many cases that have been seen in Alamance County.

Tom Vitaglione, chairman of the state Child Fatality Task Force, fears that officers who are taking part in the 287(g) program will focus more on someone’s immigration status than protecting an innocent child involved in a case.

“Incentives are on identification and deportation rather than protection of the children, and that worries us,” Vitaglione said. “We just worry that we’re gonna have some real tragedies come down the line.”

Vitaglione fears that there may be many more cases like Perez-Mejia. Her children are just three of the victims of the new immigration laws.

William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration sympathizes with the children of the Illegal immigrants but he does not feel that the children are the victims.

“The problems that are being caused for these families and for American citizens are the results of the bad choices and criminal behavior of illegal aliens,” Gheen added. “The real victims of illegal immigration are the Americans that are losing their lives, their jobs, their wages.”

Marxavi Angel-Martinez is another Alamance County resident who has struggled to maintain legal residency. Angel-Martinez worked as a librarian in Graham and was arrested for aggravated identity theft. She told the judge that she, her sister and parents entered the United States legally when she was about 3 years old but that they later overstayed their visas.

ICE agents began investigating Angel-Martinez just after she was in court. Her immigration status came up as a result of an investigation into the use of aliases for Hispanic clients by members of the Alamance County Health’s Department.

Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson told media that a confidential source alerted him about Angel-Martinez’s immigration status and that the information had not been obtained through confidential medical records.

Angel-Martinez’s husband has also been arrested and he along with her sister and parents have entered into the deportation process.

 The truth behind the 287(g) program

287(g) plays a larger role in issues plaguing Alamance County.

The 287(g) program is only one component under the ICE ACCESS umbrella of services and programs offered for assistance to local law enforcement officers.

The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRAIRA) effectively added Section 287(g) to the Immigration and Nationality Act on September 30, 1996. This authorizes the performance of immigration officer functions by state officers and employees. It also authorizes the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement permitting designated officers to take on the role of immigration agents as long as they receive the proper training and function strictly under the guidance and supervision of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers.

In order to become an ICE officer trainees must go through a four-week training program held at the Federal law Enforcement Training Center ICE Academy in Charleston, S.C. Officers must be United States citizens, undergo a background investigation, have two years of experience in their current position and have no pending disciplinary actions.

The 287(g) act has been credited for identifying more than 70,000 individuals who were suspected of entering the country illegally and there are currently 63 active 287(g) Memorandum of Agreements which define the limitations of designated authority. Throughout the United States more than 840 officers have been trained and certified thru the 287(g) program. There are eight MOA’s in North Carolina alone and in Alamance County a jail enforcement officer MOA was implemented January 10, 2007.

Alamance County reacts to the 287(g) program

287(g) program causes a lot of controversy in Alamance County for all residents.

Alamance County has seen its own share of immigration issues and many members of the county refuse to sit back and let these issues go unnoticed.

Elon University political science professor, Laura Roselle works as an advocate for immigration issues. While studying at Stanford this past summer, Roselle was made aware of immigration issues in Alamance County, especially the story of librarian Marxavi Angel-Martinez.

“Her story was so compelling. Her documentation was never right, she couldn’t get it right,” said Roselle. “She was caught in a circumstance that just seemed so horrible.”

Roselle began to research other cases involving section 287(g) and was horrified by the results. As she got further into her research, Roselle began to look to the local government for answers.

“I was just so unable to get my questions answered,” said Roselle. “The issue then became more about local government and transparency.”

Section 287(g) was created to allow police officials to remove illegal immigrants who partake in criminal activities and are seen as a threat to society.

“People thought that it would make [the county] safer but that is not what happened,” said Roselle.

Racial profiling has become a serious issue when looking at section 287(g). Roadblocks have been set up near the Burlington Flea Market and police officials are checking licenses of any individual they expect to be illegal.

When questioned about the issue, Alamance County Sherriff, Terry Johnson refused to comment.

“He is extremely hard to get a hold of,” said Elon University senior and immigrant activist Kelly McCarty. “We struggle to get him to answer any of our questions.”

McCarty and Roselle are both members of Fairness Alamance, a coalition of Alamance County residents who are dedicated to promoting fairness and equality in Alamance County and beyond.

“As a Spanish major, I got involved volunteering as an assistant ESOL teacher in Alamance County,” said McCarty. “I dealt with legal and illegal students and this experience made me realize what a big issue this is.”

As one of two college-aged students in Fairness Alamance, McCarty is working to raise awareness on university campuses.

“I became a part of the Coalition for College Access, which works to promote collegiate education for all students, regardless of their immigration status,” said McCarty. “While there is no chapter at Elon, I am actively involved in the chapter at Chapel Hill.” Alamance county residents are pretty torn on this issue. Both Hispanic and Caucasian residents are up in arms about the issue of immigration.

At an Alamance County Board of Commissioners meeting held earlier this year residents voiced their opinions on the immigration issue.

“A large segment of this community is now afraid,” a Latino resident told commissioners.

“This 287(g) program is tearing families apart,” another resident said.

While there are many advocates for assisting illegal immigrants others are in favor of law enforcement efforts. At the commissioners meeting others shared their stories of crimes committed by illegal immigrants.

“My wife gets a letter. There are two individuals in this country illegally using her Social Security number,” a person told the crowd.

The issues that plague Alamance County are just some of the issues that surround the 287(g) program of the Immigration and Nationality Act. How Alamance County will handle illegal immigration is still up in the air but it is an issue that will remain at the forefront of many county officials and residents minds.

Roselle’s independent study challenges Sheriff Johnson’s report

Elon University professor faces off against Alamance County Sheriff terry Johnson on immigration issues.

Elon professor Laura Roselle’s independent research on 287(g) and enforcement in Alamance County has provided new challenges to Sheriff Terry Johnson. Roselle conducted a study to analyze traffic data using information filed with the state government and found that 850 traffic violations went unreported by Sheriff Johnson.

Alamance County Commissioners meeting.

Alamance County Commissioners meeting.

Roselle has worked very closely, analyzing information from the county sheriff’s office in order to ensure that all citizens are being treated as equals, no matter their race. She is concerned that the big difference in figures puts the sheriff’s accountability into question.

“There are many good people working in the sheriff’s office,” Roselle said. “They work so hard to protect and defend and it is unfortunate that the entire department has become wrapped up in this issue.”

Roselle and other immigration advocates claim that Johnson and his deputies are racially profiling Hispanic individuals.

Johnson has attempted to prove that he and his deputies are not racially profiling in order to catch illegal immigrant suspects. He accuses Roselle as attacking the government.

“This is absurd and goes against the very moral fiber our country was founded upon,” he said of illegal immigration.

An investigation was conducted by Roselle, comparing numbers reported by Johnson and reported by the state government.

Roselle was shocked by the results of her investigation.

“I attempted to contact Sheriff Johnson but I was never able to get a response out of him,” Roselle said. “I just couldn’t believe my findings.”

Roselle’s continued frustration with the Alamance County sheriff’s department led to much of her research.

She continues to face off with Sheriff Johnson and his office at County Commissioners meetings.

“The people of Alamance County deserve better,” Roselle said. “Yet they are not getting it.”

Roselle will continue her efforts until she feels justice is being served to all Alamance County residents.

 

 

 


April 10, 2009 at 7:26 am 1 comment

The man behind the ‘Blow’ bust will speak at Elon University

Michael McManus will share his experiences from his work in the DEA with Elon students tonight.

By Patrick McCabe

Written April 6, 2009

Ever wondered who the real people were behind the characters in the Johnny Depp’s film Blow?

Michael McManus, former Drug Enforcement Administration supervisor, posed as a dealer and gained the trust of drug lords in order to bring down George Jung, the man responsible for establishing the American cocaine market.

Michael McManus, former DEA agent.

Michael McManus, former DEA agent.

McManus arrives on Elon’s campus on April 9 to share his experiences as a part of the American drug world. He hopes to promote knowledge and awareness among the student body.

My father was a Federal Agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration and was undercover for over 17 years,” daughter Kelly McManus said. “He has spoken all over the world and I know he will do a great job of educating us all at Elon.”

As a part of the Isabella Cannon Leadership Program, Kelly is completing a common good project on drug education at Elon. She has been working all year on various projects to make all Elon students aware of the serious drug issues that plague college campuses. Teaming up with the Office of Greek Life, Kelly was able to bring her father to campus as a part of her education effort.

 He’s been in a lot of life or death situations,” said K. McManus. “Its hard to ever think that your father could not come home one night. It was scary but he was fighting the war on drugs.”

While going undercover and meeting all sorts of rich and powerful people may sound like a dream job to some Elon students, Kelly says it is a hard way of life.

McManus spent much of his career as a Drug Enforcement Administrator befriending and than arresting hardened criminals. He has had experiences with some of the top drug lords in America and he has helped put many of them behind bars.

“Going back and traveling to certain parts of the Bahamas can be risky for my family,” said K. McManus. “When we lived there my father put so may people in jail that people know his last name. So every time I travel back there I never tell people my last name unless I have to.”

Michael McManus will help Kelly continue her efforts in educating Elon students on the serious issues that go hand in hand with drug use and abuse, as well as share some of his experiences, including the role that was modeled after him in Johnny Deep’s film, Blow.

See McManus Thursday, April 9, at 7:30 in Alumni Gym.

April 9, 2009 at 3:03 pm 2 comments

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