Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Crime Scene: Two Views

By Brendan Dolan

          Philadelphia, PA- A hooded thief robbed two young adults at gunpoint in front of a discount store this past Saturday. Brian Pritcher, 19, from New York, and Ashley Worrling, 18, a Philadelphia resident, were walking from a local pizzeria on their way back to Temple University for an ongoing party. Suddenly they were  stopped by a hooded robber with a revolver and demand they give him cash.
          “He was asking for directions, but I had told him that I could not help,” said Brian. “He had then told us to turn around, and that’s when we saw the gun.” The robber was demanding money. The victims gave him what they could scrounge for. “I only had two hundred dollars in my pocket at the time; I was not sure what to do, I just gave him the money,” Brian recalled.. Luckily the girl, Ashley, was not harmed during this ordeal, he added.
          The suspect quickly fled. Brian and Ashley then ran back to the campus and called the police. While stating what happened at the scene, the local discount store owner, where the robbery occurred, had witnessed the entire incident. Unfortunately, there were no other witnesses. Neither victim was able to give a clear description of the suspect, but noticed he was wearing a black puffy jacket with a hood over his head and a scarf or neck warmer covering his mouth. He was last heading south on Sixteenth Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue. The suspect has not yet been reported again and no other descriptions of him have been reported.

          Q- Can you describe the robbery, what exactly happened?
          A- I was with this girl, Ashley, at the time. On our way back to a party, a man wearing a black hoodie had asked me if I knew how to get somewhere. I had told him that I was not from this city and that I could not be able to help him. He had then told us to stop. We looked at him and noticed he had a gun pointed right at us. Ashley and I were terrified. He demanded we give him money and that he would not harm us if we did. I had made sure Ashley was standing behind me. I did not have my wallet on me at the time, but I was carrying two hundred dollars in my pocket. Distraught by what was happening, I had quickly given him the money. Thankfully he had run off and did not ask for anything else. Ashley and myself than ran back to the campus to the party.   
          Q- Did you get a good description of the suspect?
          A- Unfortunately no. He had his hood over his head and I think a scarf covering his mouth.
          Q- Was there anyone around to witness it or call 911?
           A- There was a cashier in the store we were in front of when the robbery occurred. He said he called the police during the ordeal.                               
          Q- Did you call the police as well?
           A- I called them on my phone after we got back to the campus. I didn’t call right after just in case the robber had noticed and were to come back.                   
          Q- Why did you decide to leave the party?
          A- Well I was with Ashley most of the night, she said she wanted to go for a walk and look for a quiet place to talk for a while. So I went with her and took her to get some pizza.
          Q- Did the police manage to find him?
          A- As of right now I don’t think so. Like I said I didn’t get a good look at the guy and neither did the cashier.
          Q- Why did you come down to Philadelphia? You mentioned you are not from here.
          A- Myself and my two friends, Mike and Jason, were invited down by a friend of ours to Temple University for a party to start off the new semester. We had driven down from New York City, where we are from.
          Q- Is your friend Ashley okay?   
          A- She’s okay now yeah. She was pretty shaken up when it had happened and directly after. But she is back to normal now, which is good; the more you move on, the less you forget.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Lucky to Be Alive

By Michele Beach

          When I asked Christopher Bucco how he felt after an unforgettable moment in his life, he responded slowly, “After what happened, I felt very lucky to still be alive. This event kind of made me look at life differently.  I know I got a second chance.” 
          What happened to Christopher Bucco two days after September 11, 2001 was a personal tragedy that has now turned into a lucky incident in his eyes.  It was a nice, autumn day and Chris and his brothers had off from school because the 9/11 attacks.  The ice cream truck came down Chris’s street and like any child, the boys wanted a treat.  Although Chris’s thoughts told him not to get something because he remembers his mom was bringing home lunch, but Chris decided to go get a candy for him and his older brother.
          “I remember I wanted a lollipop and he wanted a ring pop,” Chris said, smiling as he reminisced.  What started out as an innocence day off, quickly took a turn for the worst. 
          While walking back across the street, ten-year-old Christopher was hit by a Fed Ex van that was speeding down his private road.  The ice cream truck had stopped in front of a double parked car and did not have a stop sign out.
          “I couldn’t see too far into the street and I didn’t know what was coming,” he recalled.  Chris flew about fifteen feet into the air and suffered multiple bruises and other injuries including three skull fractures, “I almost choked on my blood, but my neighbor was able to turn me over and help me.”  The impact resulted in four days in the hospital for treatment of Christopher’s injuries and a month off from school. 
          Looking back, Christopher Bucco now considers himself a lucky man.
          “Well, I’m alive!” he said. Celebrating life isn’t the only thing that this now twenty-year-old college student has to be happy about. After the accident, his parents and family lawyer filed a lawsuit against Fed Ex.  The lawsuit ended in Christopher’s favor; his four years at St. Thomas Aquinas College are paid for in full, as well as a stipend of $2,200 a month when he turns 25 years old.  In addition to this sum, at the age of 35 years old he will be receiving over $120,000.  “So all in all, I consider myself lucky after what happened.” 
          Call it good luck or bad luck, what happened to Christopher Bucco is most certainly unforgettable.

The Most Dangerous Race

By Cassie Michelotti

          “Everyone line up--don’t go until we say so!”
          Jordan Lytton-Smith led the way through the crowd; this was her first year attending “The Broadway Bomb,” an annual longboard race straight down Broadway in New York City. “I’ve never skated 8 miles in my entire life,” she said, turning to her friend Jess. Her heart was racing, but the time for nerves and self-doubt was over.
          Over 1,000 longboarders took off at a sprint from Riverside Park up 116th Street towards Broadway at noon on Saturday, October 8. Once on Broadway it was too crowded to even put your board down; some attempted, but most took off running or got caught in the traffic jam. Jordan and Jess were caught in the jam, but jumped on their boards as soon as there was an open piece of pavement.
          When 1,000 longboarders try to start skating on one road all at the same time, there are bound to be accidents.  Some chose to hop the divider and skate against traffic. On the other side, people were stepping on each other’s boards and wheels, running into each other, and running each other over.
          Jordan was watching people go down left and right. The next moment changed everything.
          “He was swerving in and out of everyone and cut off the person in front of me. When the person in front of me flew, I just remember skidding on the cement. I bounced up and found my board a while behind me,” said Jordan.
          Jess saw the whole thing; she skated over to see the extent of Jordan’s injuries.“My hand and elbow were bleeding. It didn’t hurt much, just tingling. But the race was a lot more important than some scratches,” said Jordan.
          Adrenaline took over; she was still only on her first mile. People were lined up on the sidewalks watching as hundreds of skaters passed by; many questioned the racers. “Are you protesting? Is this part of Occupy Wall Street? Why are you doing this?” Other cheered and gave the racers high fives as they passed by.
          “I was high fiving people with the bloody hand,” Jordan recalled. Later she would come to find that she had broken her wrist and would have to spend the next six months in a cast. But she was caught up in the moment, and unwilling to leave a friendly stranger hanging.
          The race stopped traffic as skaters blew through red lights, some hitting unlucky pedestrians, or slamming into cars, buses, or taxis. “I saw a racer hit the side of a car, their board got caught under the back wheel and snapped,” said Jordan.
          She passed Central Park, went through Times Square dodging pedestrians, and avoided the police and barricades when passing the actual Occupy Wall Street protestors at Zuccotti Park. She finally arrived at the Wall Street Bull statue, the official ending point of the race.
          Jordan and Jess went into the nearby pharmacy to tend to Jordan’s wounds. But she considers herself lucky. A few scratches and a broken wrist are minor injuries in New York City’s most dangerous push race.

When You Lose Everything

By Dominique Scarinci

          Megan Williams is just 19 years old and has gone through some life-changing experiences living in New York City at a young age.

          Q: How long have you been living in New York City?
          A: I have been living in the city for nineteen years.

          Q: Do you live with family or do you live on your own?
          A: I live with my family. My brother was living with us but he moved out ten years ago. Once my brother left, it was just me and my mom. My father recently moved in with us this past year.

          Q: What was it like to witness your brother move out at a young age of nine years old?
          A: It was difficult because I never knew where his current location was. He did not have a permanent residence until many years later. My mom was always worried about him, but she felt like she was teaching him a lesson by kicking him out.

          Q: Did this make you dislike your mother for a period of time?
          A: Yes, because she allowed my brother to leave. I missed having him around the house to watch after. After he left, I was alone and never picked up and played a video game again. That was our bonding time together.

          Q: What building do you live in?
          A: I currently live in Co-op City in the Bronx, NY. I used to live in New York City Public Housing.

          Q: Why do you no longer reside in New York City Public Housing?
          A: My mother was falsely accused of not paying rent, when in fact she did. She went to court several times and they continued to dismiss her case. But it was not until the moving people came and knocked down our door and said that we were being evicted that it felt real.

          Q: At what age did you go through this experience?
          A: 18, just about a year ago.

          Q: How did it feel going through something this outrageous?
          A: It was difficult because my mom had a city job; she was not collecting money from the government. She has a good job and to see this happen to her, it made me upset. I’ve seen my mother work hard for so many years to give me a roof over my head and to see it taken away in a blink of an eye was a traumatic experience for me.

          Q: What was the aftermath of this event?
          A: The court put a stop to the eviction, which was good but bad at the same time. My mom and I were able to go back to our apartment but had to unpack what movers had packed already and deal with our property being stolen by the movers. My mother wanted to move out as quickly as possible and that is why I now live in Co-op City.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Family Shocker

By Mary Hackett

          It’s strange how everything can change in someone’s life in the blink of an eye. Tara Whelan’s life played that role in August 2011. Tara’s summer was occupied with being in Ireland for a whole month with fun-filled parties, new experiences, and being independent, flying there and back by herself. When she returned home in the great mood she was in after her relaxing vacation, she received some news that rocked her world.
          Tara was informed that her father, Bill Whelan, a forty-five-year-old outgoing family man, was diagnosed with leukemia.
           “ I just couldn’t believe it when I heard the news. I’m still worried for his recovery, and shocked by the situation,” said Tara. She added how healthy and involved her father was and how especially close she was with her father. Tara's the oldest of five, with the youngest girl being 6.
           “Even though I am only 20 now, it is the shock of my lifetime so far and the most frightening thing I am still trying to accept and get through. I am the oldest child and the closest to my dad. I felt as though I was losing my best friend and although I am still scared, I have to continue being strong.”
          Tara realized how “extremely weird and scary life can truly be.” When this devastating news hit, she just couldn’t believe this was happening to her and her family because everything was just going great.
          However, after all the doctor’s appointments in the next few months, after the depressing August diagnosis and the chemo treatment, Bill received news of where he stood in the cancer stages. Bill was declared to be in the chronic stage, which was a little above the acute stage. With all the prayers, hope and faith everyone had, he was found to be on the less risky side of cancer. Of the  two sides of cancer, the worse one to have would be the acute stage. The other  is treatable, which is the stage  he was diagnosed with.
          Over the past two months, the chemo has kicked in and the white blood cell count is decreasing slowly but surely. Tara noted that this kind of news “turned her world upside down.”
          Being that the medication to fight cancer is ridiculously expensive, Tara had to take on many more responsibilities and her personal money expenses into her own hands and adjust to the major change. This bad news was a very horrific event for Tara and her family that has taken a big toll in her life, but she couldn’t do anything but be positive and strong. Bill Whelan, from a small friendly town in Emerson New Jersey, is still trying to beat this cancer and he looks better then he has. Of course he still has his days, Tara said, but he refuses to give up.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Calm Before the Storm

By William Gilmartin

          It was such a sunny day, blue skies with flat calm water; how could this beautiful day suddenly turn into such a nightmare?
          It was Labor Day weekend 1973, when Stacey McDonough of Glen Rock, New Jersey and three friends took her 16’ foot Cobia motorboat for a 45-minute trip to Kismet on Fire Island, an easy and familiar trip. The foursome was meeting McDonough’s parents, where they would have dinner and celebrate her 18th birthday at the Kismet Inn.
          Once out in the open waters of the Great South Bay, they saw dark ominous clouds coming in from the west, but figured they would be safely docked at the Kismet harbor before the clouds would reach them. Stacey and her boyfriend, both experienced sailors, misjudged, and half way to Fire Island they were hit with ferocious winds and driving rain. The 16’ Cobia bounced about the bay on top of waves of frothy white foam. The situation was out of control, but sink or swim, they had reached the point of no return.
          “We figured we were somewhat safe because we were going into the wind and the thing about sailing is you always want to take the wind and waves head on,” said Stacey, who has been sailing since the age of 12. “We were close to the ferry lane and thought we could follow the ferries in. Little did we know, they shut down the ferry service,” she added.  They hoped to get to dinner without taking on too much water, but there was no chance of that happening.
          “Remember, we are dressed to go to dinner," she said. "Now all four of us are drenched and very cold.”
          Unfortunately, Stacey’s luck was about to go from bad to worse because they needed to head south towards Kismet, which means the waves were now hitting them broadside, violently rocking the boat side to side.
           “I go flying from the port side of the board to starboard, and if I didn’t have long hair at the time I would’ve fallen out of the boat into the water, because my boyfriend [who was driving] grabbed me by the hair and kept me in the boat.”
          Stacey got lucky because now it was so dark they couldn’t see a thing. “Even with our running lights on, we couldn’t see anything except waves, so we had to reduce our speed and watch out for – and hope for – land!” Finally, 2 hours later, at 6 o’clock they arrived at Kismet, wet, cold, and exhausted.
          What a way to celebrate a young woman’s 18th birthday, in soggy, seawater-soaked cloths. While it wasn’t the birthday Stacey was expecting that year, she did learn that she wasn’t invincible and walked away with a much greater respect for the water. Stacey still loves water sports and goes sailing and boating with her family every year. This goes to show that even if a single event scares you, it should not prevent you from doing what you love to do.

Ryan Weaver’s 10,000-Foot Drop

By Ashley Walter 
          It was a pleasantly warm Saturday morning in June of 2009 at the Sussex Skydiving School in Sussex County, NJ, Ryan Weaver recalls as he sips on his Red Bull energy drink. The Red Bull seems ironically symbolic for this thrill seeker.
           “I always wanted to go skydiving, because I figure if I could overcome this fear and adrenaline rush, I could pretty much overcome anything,” Ryan said with a sort of memorable cloud fogging over his eyes.
          The drive down to Sussex seemed to take forever with the suspense beginning to build in both Ryan and his brother Michael and two cousins George and Christie. Ryan said that when they arrived they had to watch a video and a quick tutorial before going up in the plane. They also had to sign many waivers.
          “It was quite comical signing my name 15 plus times and initialing my life away practically. There was even huge, bold, red print that said, 'Jumping may end in death.' ” Yet, the nerves didn’t set in for Ryan until they were forced to wait two hours for clouds to clear. You can’t skydive until there’s clear skies.
          The wait was finally over and into the plane they went. The fear still hadn’t come over Ryan while the plane ascended. When the door of the plane opened and he had to step out onto the wing is when the wave of fear washed over Ryan’s body.
           “When I looked down and realized how far up I was, is when I said to myself, ‘O my God what was I thinking?’ When I had to step out onto the wing, I remember being so scared not to fall… which made no sense since that is exactly what I would be doing in a matter of seconds.” Ryan was strapped tandem to the professional skydiver. This is when the professional is harnessed behind you, jumps with you, and tells you when to pull the parachute. Ryan said, “My heart felt like it stopped beating, my lungs were frozen with suspense, and I couldn’t even get out a scream when I realized the pro jumped without me really truly ready too.”
          Ryan said that the first four seconds of falling, you feel as if you’re flying because you are still moving at the same speed of the plane, falling slightly sideways. After that, it feels like a continuous roller coaster drop. When you are far enough from the plane, you sprawl out opening up your arms and legs. The pro tells you when to pull the chord for the parachute, when you are a certain distance from the ground.
          The pro has a safety parachute; Ryan had a safety parachute and the initial parachute. “I felt pretty safe. I mean if all three didn’t open up--than God’s got other plans for yah.” Ryan got to control the parachute with the two handles and could steer where he wanted to go and even do a few flips. When you come close to the ground you hike your legs up on a 90-degree angle and can land on your butt. Ryan chose to land on his feet and run, which can be quite tricky with the speed and the weight you're coming down with. “My brother tried to run in, and fell flat on his face!” Ryan said, chuckling.
          The second Ryan hit the ground, he wanted to do it all over again. His adrenaline was so high his hands were shaking and his heart was beating out of his chest. He free fell for about 30 seconds and the rest took about 4 minutes gliding with the parachute.
          “I have a video to remember this extreme first time experience, which I look for every excuse possible to show off to family and friends,” Ryan exclaimed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bad Things Came in Threes

By Dana Godwin

          Interview with a friend, Sara, about her recent terrifying car accidents. Sara is a screen acting major at Chapman University in California and lives in Orange County, CA.  This was done via Internet.

          On January 3, 2012, a car accident occurred that turned into a nasty forecast of many more events.  Frequent driver Sara  found herself in a less than exciting day of travel.  Sara, 22, has been a driver for about five years now and got herself in the first of a series of three accidents in two weeks.  There were no injuries that were reported and the cars were able to be repaired.  She shares her story about those mushrooming events that seemed to just keep happening and have scarred her for life.
          The first accident happened on a Tuesday at approximately two in the afternoon. 
          “I was coming out of the Post Office in my car and I realized when I turned out into the road that I was in a ‘Right Turn Only’ lane.  I wanted to go straight and there was no way that I could get over and out of the lane.  So I think ‘okay I’ll just turn right and then turn around by pulling a quick u-ie.’  So I turn right and right there on the right hand side of me is the driveway to the Post Office.  Right before I turn into the drive way to pull a U-turn, I check behind me and no one’s there," Sara recalled.
          "I pull in to turn the car around immediately to go in the opposite direction and little did I know that right after I looked in the mirror another car had turned right and was behind me.  When I pulled outta the driveway for the Post Office I crashed right into the car that had been behind me!  It was the worst sound ever!  I thought I was seriously going to die because my entire front bumper came crashing up and was pulled off of my car.  The car was honking at me and we both were swerving like crazy.  I sort of just stopped in the middle of the street in shock and started crying.” 
          Sara was fortunate that there were no injuries.
         Sara had been driving her Hyundai Accent and the person she hit had a large silver SUV.  Damages to the car seemed unavoidable, but she said, “Her car had less damage than mine. I had my entire front bumper torn off the car. It would up being around $4,000 worth of repairs, but my insurance covered all but $500, I think.”  Sara remembers the hardest part of the accident, aside from her shock, was how bad she felt for the woman she hit.  “It was a crippled woman with a walker and she was so upset. It sucked more because I felt so bad for scaring her.”
          Having been involved in a shocking accident such as this one would envision a more cautious attitude while driving.  Sara was involved in two more mini-accidents within the next two weeks!  She has become a wreck when it comes to driving now.
          “My car was in the shop getting repairs, so I had a rental car.  I went to visit my friend at her apartment complex and I was in this tiny little visitor parking square.  I was trying to turn around because there were no spots and I ended up backing the rental up into a truck!  It made a dent in the back of the car and my parents had to pay another $500 for that.”  She was already so fed up with the drama from these accidents that you would think that would be enough for her, but bad things tend to come in threes. 
          Her third and final accident of that month occurred when she finally got her own car back from the body shop.  “I finally got my blue Hyundai back.  I was excited to be driving in a car I was familiar driving.  I was driving down the road and someone rear-ended me.  It didn’t even do anything to my car really and I was so sick and tired of calling and making claims for these accidents!  So I told the woman who rear-ended me that I didn’t care and then got back into my car and drove home.” 
          Since then she says that she is a “stressed and spastic driver” because she doesn’t like the stressful driving situations that everyday driving can put you in.  She has since decided to try to avoid driving unless she needs to for work-related reasons.  Sara urges caution and patience when driving in order to avoid these terrifying and unforgettable experiences.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Explorations into the Unknown

By Kelsey Robbins

          When I asked my father about the scariest event that had happened in his life, I got a reaction that I did not expect.  Silence, and then he began his tale.

          On a breeze  Saturday afternoon  in the 1960’s, two curious children set out on an expedition.  Their mother was attending to her garden in the front yard. She was not keeping an eye on the siblings, who were bored in the  confines of their yard. They decided to take advantage of their mother’s inattention. They slowly crept  out through the front gate and started their descent into the aqueduct. They had always wondered what that great tunnel across from their house was. Today they were going to find out what mysteries it held.
          Joyce, the younger of the two, wanted to go first. Johnny, her older brother, did not agree since they were not sure what was in the tunnel but he eventually gave in. She reasoned that  the tunnel  did not lead to anything and judging from what she could see  had flat, even ground. Johnny did not feel like arguing her point and simply decided to let her take the lead for once.  They begin their exploration of the tunnel; they walked for quite a while without finding much of anything. Then they were walking in complete darkness; Johnny could just make out his sister’s silhouette.
          Suddenly  Johnny looked up and saw  Joyce plummet, as if the ground just dropped off. He lunged forward just in time to grab her wrist. Luckily their mother had noticed they were missing and heard them scream. Together they were able to pull Joyce back to safety. Turns out they had been wondering through an aqueduct  that had various drop offs, like the 20-foot one they encountered.

          After he finished his tale, I asked him what was so terrifying about this experience. He answered “well ,one moment my sister was there and the next she just disappeared!  I did not know what was going on.”

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Bad Night Out

By Michele Piscitelli

          People get arrested every day, but does anyone think it will actually happen to them? According to 19-year-old Katie D------, jail was not a place she ever thought she would be, but one night that is where she ended up.
          On a Thursday night last December, Katie and her best friend, Melanie, were excited to go to Webster Hall, a 19-and-over dance club in New York City. They had been planning this outing for a long time and now that her friend’s sports season was over it was a perfect time to go. “Melanie plays soccer and she always has games on the weekend, so we never get a chance to do anything,” Katie said. They had arranged to go with Melanie’s boyfriend, Luke, who is 24, because he could drive them into the city so they wouldn’t have to pay for the train.
          “The plans were working out perfectly; it seemed like it would be a fun and drama-free night,” Katie stated. They did not know what was about to happen to them and that they wouldn’t even make it to the club. “Luke picked us up at Melanie’s house at 9 at night and we started driving to the city, but he thought it was too early to get to the club (since it only takes a half hour to get there from her house) so he decided to stop at a lookout,” she recalled. The three of them stopped at Rockefeller Lookout, which is a little north of exit 1 on the Palisades Interstate Parkway in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.
          “When we parked, me and Melanie started to fill our empty water bottles with cranberry juice and vodka that we brought with us because we wouldn’t be able to drink in the club,” Katie said. “I know we are underage, but we don’t even do it as often as everybody else; this was our one night to go out in months.” They didn’t realize a cop was lurking on the other side of the lookout. He began to walk over and they scrambled to hide their drinks and act as if they are doing nothing wrong. Luke rolled down the window for the officer.
          “The cop just came over to tell Luke to put on his headlights if he was gonna park there, but as he was leaning inside the car he smelled pot. We saw him sniffing and we knew we were in trouble,” said Katie. The cop told all three of them to step out of the car and started patting Luke down. “He told us our rights and then said he has reasonable suspicion and is going to search the car. I could not believe this was happening. It was like something out of a movie. A minute later, four more cop cars showed up and it looked like a complete crime scene.”
          When the cops searched the car they found Luke’s marijuana, pills that were not prescribed, open alcohol in the trunk, and the girls' bottle of vodka and both their bottles. “They asked us if the bottles were ours and we said yes. Later we learned if we denied, we wouldn’t have been arrested, but we thought if we were honest they would let us go.” They did not let them go.
          Katie was charged with possession and consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle. Melanie was charged with the same, plus the fake I.D. they had found in her wallet. Luke was charged with eight different crimes, ranging from drug possession to not having headlights on at a lookout. They were handcuffed and brought into the Alpine police station on exit 2 where they spend the night getting booked, fingerprinted, and getting mug shots taken.
          “It was a traumatic experience. I never in my life thought I would be in the back of a cop car, let alone spend the night in jail,” said Katie. “Now it makes me realize I cannot just break the law and think nothing will happen. Even though everybody drinks underage, it is still illegal and there will be consequences.” 

Twenty-one and Ready to Gamble

By Delilah Scrudato

          As soon as one enters college, this day can’t come soon enough. For DJ Picinich, he had been waiting for this day since he was 17 years old.  High school was easy for DJ.  It seemed like he had it all: grades, goals, girls and guy friends.  Being popular and attending all of the coolest “bangers” (as DJ and his friends call their parties) was the best, said DJ. The only problem was not being 21. DJ rolls his eyes and says casually, “our friends would always have to get us beer and it was always such a hassle.”
          DJ’s “problem” finally went away on October 22, 2011 when he turned 21. When asked, were you looking forward to becoming 21? DJ’s eyes lit up and he said, “Yes! I was ecstatic.” At midnight that night, DJ went to a local bar in Hillside, NJ with a few of his friends to have his first legal drink. He let out a deep sigh of relief as he said, “It was absolutely exhilarating. It was nice to actually legally drink as opposed to worrying about getting caught.”
          The next day DJ took a trip with his girlfriend, Delilah, to Atlantic City, NJ, where they met his sister Michele and her husband, Jamie.  They stayed and played at the Showboat Casino. The first thing DJ did was play roulette. He had long anticipated this moment, where he could sit down, gamble and have a drink. The question of, “is roulette your favorite game?” strikes DJ in a good way. With a smirk on his face he turns to me and says, “Yes. I like the odds. It’s a fun game to play and I love when I’m winning.” DJ wins often, betting one hundred dollars at a time. The most he was up was one thousand dollars, and it was his first time! Beginners luck? Not necessarily, DJ says, “I try to play smart. I only bet the money I’m up with and pocket the rest, this way I always come out ahead.” He certainly did come out ahead, traveling home with an extra three hundred dollars in his pocket.
          “Gambling and winning is always fun,” remarks DJ. He goes on to say, “I had an exceptional time.” Although a majority of his time was spent on the roulette table, he also experienced Atlantic City in other ways. DJ, Delilah, Michele, and Jamie all walked the boardwalk, went out for dinner and drinks, and took plenty of pictures. “I was with my family and the one I love. They showed me an amazing time and it wouldn’t have been the same without them,” DJ comments. Wondering if DJ would go back, without hesitation he says, “Yes. To relive what I had experienced all over again.” His expression was priceless when he answers this question, “Can you finally believe you're 21?” DJ glances at me and says “yes!” with a broad smile on his face.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

To Lose One’s Thumb

By Joseph McCabe

          In the following interview, a series of questions are discussed between my Uncle Paddy and I. These questions pertain to the near severing of my Uncle’s thumb.

          What is the most frightening experience you have ever been in?
          “Definitely the day I nearly cut my entire thumb off.”
          How did it happen?
          “Well, it was two summers ago in mid August. We were working on your Cousin Mike’s house all day. Everyone at the house had gone out for lunch while I was stuck doing clean-up in the yard. I noticed the frame-work for the outside door was still not finished yet, so I decided to measure up some planks of wood. After measuring out the size of the doorway onto three eight-foot long planks, I figured I’d get to sawing them up. Taking off a solid foot on each of the left and right door frames, the top archway needed to be completed. It was only about twenty-seven inches wide for the doorway, so that in turn would be the length I needed of plank. When using the table-saw, you always wear a pair of goggles to keep the dust from hitting your eyes. For some reason, my goggles fogged up on me and I couldn’t see what had happened, but I ended cutting my thumb off down to a little thread of flesh.”
          How frightened were you?
          “Unfortunately, I didn’t notice it until I had gotten inside the house. I started to feel weak and when I turned around, there was a trail of blood leading up to my feet. That’s when I started screaming like a sissy-marry.”
          What was your initial reaction on seeking help?
          “I knew I shouldn’t have tried to drive myself to the nearest emergency room, so I wrapped the hand up in a towel and tried to get a hold of someone on the phone.”
          Why didn’t you call 911?
          “Mike’s house was a ‘hole in the wall’ type of place far upstate. It would have taken paramedics forever to get up there. I ended up calling Mike and telling him to get his ass back up to the house.”
          When you did get picked up and driven to the hospital, how long did it take before they could reattach your thumb?
          “Seeing as how it took us two hours to get back to Queens, plus another hour wait in the E.R., I nearly lost it. Two doctors and a surgeon took a look at it and put me under. They transferred me to North-Shore LIJ where I spent two days sleeping on account of all the blood I lost. They fixed me up and now my thumb is as hard as a diamond.”
          Any advice for my readers if they should ever find themselves in a fearful situation?
          “Yeah; don’t ever use a table-saw without someone there to spot you. So really just make sure you got a friend with you.”

Auctioning Tutors for a Cause

By Michele Beach

          Just about everyone has heard of a date auction, but a tutor auction?  On February 22, the Science Club held an event in the Romano Center to raise money for the Bleed Purple Organization. It started as just a small idea at one of the club officer meetings last semester. 
          The Science Club had planned many charity events before and has always raised money for the Susan G. Komen Fundation in the fall semester, but the tutor auction was different.  At the event, students were able to bid on 15 tutors that were being auctioned off.  In return for the price of the tutor, the purchaser would receive a two hour private tutoring session with the tutor of their choice.
          The students being auctioned off all volunteered their time to tutor in a variety of subjects including science, math, history and English.  All of the proceeds from this event were donated to the Bleed Purple Organization to support college students with cancer.  The president of the Science Club, Matt Fagnan, commented about the cause for the event and said “As college students ourselves this is a great group to donate to because we are able to relate to something like this and be able to give something more.” 
          Once 8:00 pm rolled around, the tables quickly started to fill up in the Romano Center and auction paddles were being handed out left and right.  The Science Club officers worked hard on the set up and execution of this event; there were refreshments, a 50/50 raffle and purple ribbons being sold to support the cause.  The highest bid on a student tutor was $51 for Stephanie Jankovic!
          Dr. Ryan Wynne and Dr. James Kearns were proud advisors of the Science Club that night.  Dr. Wynne even bid himself at the end of the night.  “I couldn’t be more proud of all of you for putting this successful event together,”  said Dr. Wynne. Due to the camaraderie and support for the event, students raised a total of $481 for the Bleed Purple Organization.

This article also appeared in The Thoma, STAC's campus newspaper

Taking Pride in Writing

By Delilah Scrudato

          After reading Lillian Ross’s rules of reporting, I learned a lot of techniques to incorporate into my own writing.  I agree with Ross that it is important to report feelings of the subject by quotes and actions. With the use of actions one can capture the readers’ attention and make the writing piece come to life with quotes. Ross says, “Often, when I write my stories, it feels a bit like creating a short story, but it’s more difficult, because I’m working with facts.”
          After my first journalism assignment, I understand Lillian’s point of view. I am used to writing based on my opinion or feelings, whereas in reporting it’s not like that. I now know to portray my feelings I can create my own short story filled with facts, details, actions and quotes. When I think of writing, as a story it makes it easier and allows room for visuals, which Ross uses.
          The best part about writing is getting to write about what one enjoys. Ross only writes about what she is passionate about. I believe that writing a story that is relevant to oneself and pleasurable makes for an appealing story. Lillian writes because she loves it and it gives her a wonderful life. I agree with her; I feel exuberant after I’ve written a piece and made all the final touches. I always take pride in my writing as Miss Ross does. By taking pride in one’s work, it enables him or her to put forth more effort to gain a masterpiece every time.
          Only when I write, like Lillian, it comes naturally, which is why pursuing a career in writing makes sense.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Lillian Ross: Hard Truths in Reporting

By Cassie Michelotti

          It is impossible for a reporter to take on the role of “fly on the wall.” In the book Into Thin Air, reporter for Outside Magazine, Jon Krauker accompanied an expedition of climbers to the summit of Mount Everest. Krauker himself was afraid that his presence as a reporter would cause the expedition’s guides to take risks they normally would not have. Ultimately, the expedition’s guides did take unnecessary risks in hopes of getting a positive report in the magazine, and this resulted in their deaths along with a portion of their clients.
          The truth is that everyone notices the fly on the wall, and they are not going to leave their food out if they know it is there. This is something Lillian Ross was fully aware of when she wrote her letter on the rules of reporting. The presence of the reporter changes the story. But Ross contradicts herself, claiming tape recorders distort the truth. Just as a reporter changes the story, so does a tape recorder; just as a person can have a way with speaking, so can a reporter have a way with writing. The story is going to be distorted and the lack of tape recorder makes the reporter less accountable for the truth, with more freedom to write to his or her own opinions. This is a very outdated way of thinking; technology can help to document the truth, notes can be embellished but a recording is hard truth.
          Ross also trusts first impressions, which I find to be deceiving. Reporting is meant to uncover truths, not to base your opinions on a person when they are trying to put their best foot forward. While I respect Ross for her morals and passion for writing, I disagree with some of her working guidelines.

On Reading Lillian Ross

By Michele Beach

          Before reading Lillian Ross’s writer’s rules of reporting, I had a very narrow perspective on how journalists did their job.  I learned that even though journalist articles are based on facts and observations, there are still a lot of thoughts and feelings that make a story.  Ross made an excellent point that really captured my attention by saying “thoughts and opinions and feelings, including those of a reporter, should be demonstrated in the reporting of quotes and actions.”  This quote conveys the theme for her piece on the rules of reporting.  By emphasizing the need for quotes to show feelings of a story, it brings light to the importance of this element in journalism. 
           Ross has a unique style of writing; in her essay her voice really comes through because of her simple, yet meaningful phrases.  Writing simply is also one of her working guidelines, which I find to be quite straightforward.  Even though this may not be a concept a reader might think about when browsing an article, for a journalist it is a key concept in writing in order to keep the piece readable and relatable, which is how I feel about Ross’s writing.  Lillian Ross stresses the use of judgment and common sense when writing pieces.  For a reporter these elements are crucial, and I am now aware of how to use these tools properly. 
          Above all, the use of listening is an element that must take priority in order to remember not only the words and phrases, but the direct context in which it is used.  Hearing is something we all do every day; as a journalist and reporter one must stretch beyond those abilities in order to capture a successful story.  I like the idea of thinking visually, as she does when writing a journalism piece; by putting stores together as a beginning, middle and end, the story because concise and fluent.