Drought predictions get watered down

By Roddy Heckelman

Phoenix Lake’s spillway is now overflowing after recent rains this February.

Phoenix Lake’s spillway is now overflowing after recent rains this February and March.

Recent rains have quelled the mandatory rationing proposal by the Marin Municipal Water District. After the storm on the fifth thru the ninth of February, and 15 inches of rain, the Marin reservoir system increased from 53 percent capacity to 66 percent.

Marin’s reservoir system is now above 78 percent capacity, and at close to normal for this time of year. Although not much rain is in the forecast, the reservoir system has enough water to last Marin’s residents until next winter if necessary.

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Marin reservoirs thirst for water: Governor Brown declares state of emergency [UPDATE]

By R.J. Heckelman and Max Wolf-Johnson

Alpine Reservoir south of Fairfax shows the affects of the drought. According to Marin Municipal Water District, the county’s reservoir system is only at 55 percent of its capacity.

Alpine Reservoir south of Fairfax shows the affects of the drought. According to Marin Municipal Water District, the county’s reservoir system is only at 55 percent of its capacity.

California is facing its worst drought in recorded history. Reservoirs are dry, entire communities are in danger of running out of water, and Governor Brown has declared a state of emergency. We need more rain, that much is obvious, but what may not be so obvious to most residents of Marin is the scale and impact of this year’s dry spell. Since 1895 the National Weather Service has been recording and tracking rainfall in California. To date, 2013 was the lowest amount of rainfall in recorded history, at less than two inches in some areas of California.

Although the recent storms have brought a few inches of rain to Marin, the county is still suffering from the drought and needs more rain. California’s snowpack also needs to increase to meet future demands. Normally by this time of year the state has around 15 inches of rainfall. The last storm brought only 4 inches.

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Academic Center slated for completion in Summer 2015

By Max Wolf-Johnson

Just when it appeared as though construction of the Academic Center would never take off, steel beams went up seemingly overnight.

Just when it appeared as though construction of the Academic Center would never take off, steel beams went up seemingly overnight.

Another academic semester begins at College of Marin, and the school’s seemingly unending “modernization project” continues. For returning students the sight of neon-vested workers in hard hats and the sound of shrill beeping have become part of the campus’ backdrop. These minimal distractions, however, are the price to pay for the 17 state-of-the-art-classrooms that students will be able to enjoy once the new academic center finishes construction.

Additionally, once the project is completed, students will no longer need to fear registering for a class potentially taught in one of the portable bungalows. The building is scheduled to be opened for use at the start of the 2015 Summer semester, and at its current stage it is estimated to be 20 percent complete.

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Campus kidnapper still at large

By R.J. Heckelman

An unidentified person kidnapped and sexually assaulted a COM student at gunpoint.

An unidentified person kidnapped and sexually assaulted a COM student at gunpoint.

It’s been almost three weeks since a student was allegedly kidnapped at gunpoint, forced to drive to another location, and sexually assaulted. So far there have been no new leads or arrests in the case. The incident, which occurred at 8:15 Thursday night, January 23rd in the gravel parking lot, behind the portable village, remains a mystery.

A man reportedly was waiting for the student in the back seat of his car. After the student entered the vehicle, the assailant informed him that he had a gun, and forced him to drive to a remote location in Tam Valley.
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Spring Break moves to February

By Chandra Smith

With Spring Break pushed back to February, students next fall will be forced to rethink their vacation plans.  A wardrobe change may be in order.

With Spring Break pushed back to February, students next Spring will be forced to rethink their vacation plans. A wardrobe change may be in order.

College of Marin students will soak up the Spring Break sun for the last time this April. Starting next year, COM will be doing away with the week-long break in April. Instead, students and faculty will be joining Marin’s schoolchildren and high schools, and taking off for what traditionally has been called “Ski Week.”

Additionally, the winter recess will be extended by a week, giving students four full weeks away from school, testing, and classes. Students are ambivalent about the subsequent short time between vacations, to be implemented in January and February of 2015.
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COM jazz ensemble hosts Tommy Igoe’s Big Band

By R.J. Heckelman

A saxophonist in Tommy Igoe’s Big Band, who played at COM earlier this month.

A saxophonist in Tommy Igoe’s Big Band, who played at COM earlier this month.

The College of Marin jazz ensemble played their final show of the semester on December 5, in the James Dunn Theatre. The concert was opened by some little guests from Mill Valley Middle School, directed by COM Jazz instructor Cayce Carnahan.

The Jazz Band was backed by the Tommy Igoe Big Band, a nationally revered ensemble which included special guests like the former guitarist for Steely Dan, Drew Zingg.

The College band portion of the concert started with the slower jazz tune, “Lester Leaps In,” followed by a trumpet solo-led song, “Boy Meets Horn,” which featured COM jazz student Phil Lieb on trumpet.
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What will happen to the media center?

By Brady Meyring

Nancy Kutcher, who runs the Media Center, is set to retire by the end of the month. Her absence leaves some uncertainty about the Media Center’s immediate future.

Nancy Kutcher, who runs the Media Center, is set to retire by the end of the month. Her absence leaves some uncertainty about the Media Center’s immediate future.

When speaking about her 15-year career at the College of Marin, Nancy Kutcher’s passion for helping students is clearly evident. What is unclear is exactly what will happen to the Media Center after she leaves. She is set to retire on December 31st of this year. According to VP of Student Services, Jonathan Eldridge, “[Kutcher’s] position will not be filled, at least not in the short term.” The most likely scenario is that the Media Center computers and other resources will be moved into the library.

Eldridge says that the process of moving the Media Center, if it goes through, will not be completed by the start of Spring semester but should be done soon thereafter.

The Media Center, on the top floor of the Learning Center Building, offers 18 computers networked to printers for student use. Many of these computers are loaded with specialized software that students need for certain classes. In addition, teachers often place DVDs and other media on reserve in the Center for students to access. Kutcher is present to manage the Center and help students troubleshoot issues with the Microsoft Office suite, printers and other equipment.
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The faux ‘War on Christmas’

By Nash Kurilko

How FOX News and the radical right are co-opting the holidays

The latest argument on FOX News is that Santa is white.

The latest argument on FOX News is that Santa is white.

 

For years now, prominent right-wing politicians and pundits on FOX News have been warning Americans of an insidious left-wing secularist plot to take ‘Christ’ out of Christmas and subvert the holiday into some sort of non-Christian, pagan ritual of gift-giving.

The irony of this right-wing, FOX News propagated controversy, is that Christmas itself has mostly pagan origins, and as a holiday, has already been converted into a celebration of mass consumerism.

Consider the following. The ancient Roman holiday “Saturnalia” – celebrated from the 17th to the 25th – commemorated citizens’ disregard for the laws of the time.

Sometime in the 4th century A.D., Christian leaders converted large numbers of Roman pagans, who were numerous throughout the sprawling empire, by promising that despite whatever huge demands Christianity would have on their daily lives, they would still be able to practice Saturnalia. Only now it would be a one-day holiday on the 25th of December – and not one commemorating lawlessness, but Christ’s birth.

The Christmas tree itself, arguably the most prominent image associated with the holiday, was co-opted as well from other pagan religions, as tree worship was common throughout most of the pagan world.

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Hoop Dreams: Congolese star basketball player looks ‘forward’ to his role

By Shirley Beaman

Stan Kaya points to the spot on the globe where his country is located. Marin County is 8,725 miles from his home, the Republic of the Congo in equitorial Africa.

Stan Kaya points to the spot on the globe where his country is located. Marin County is 8,725 miles from his home, the Republic of the Congo in equitorial Africa.

International student Stan Kaya will never forget the day rebel soldiers came knocking at his door.  He was only 5 years old at the time. What started off like any other evening with his family would quickly turn into the most terrifying night of his young life.

The pounding at the front door that night was so loud it startled the whole family, with the exception of his father, who was napping in a back room.

As Kaya’s mother hurriedly crossed the living room to open the door, the shouting became louder and more urgent. It seemed as if the door would bust open at any moment.

Even at his age, Kaya knew that his country, the Republic of Congo, was in turmoil. There were powerful factions at odds with each other.  Boniface Kaya, his father, was a prominent physician, not only in his hometown, Dolisie, but throughout the Congo. As a supporter of former President Pascal Lissouba, who had been overthrown in a coup, Boniface was a target. Rebels were scouring the countryside for Lissouba sympathizers.

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