Thursday, December 19, 2013

UW-La Crosse: One of the Safest Campuses in Wisconsin, by Shelby Phillips

The University of Wisconsin – La Crosse can add campus safety to its yearly achievements.  Campus police Chief Scott Rohde reports that constant patrols and visibility make up for the bulk of UW-L’s low crime rates. 

This phenomenon is in stark contrast to the amount of crime on the city streets.  According to Chief Rohde, UW-L’s campus police have a habit of always showing a presence around campus, to reduce the opportunity for individuals to commit crimes.  Students are not only benefitting from the campus police’s vigilance, and the immediate community receives better safety as a byproduct.  “Those who live near campus are glad to live in the area because of patrols, thus lower crime levels.”

Patrol methods used regularly by UW-L’s campus police include patrol by car, golf cart, bicycles and undercover foot patrols.  Police received $16,000 this year in grant funding from the state for these low-profile patrols. “We do un-uniformed officers in the early part of Fall semester; We’ve actually walked into marijuana sales and seen a cocaine transaction.”  The younger officers can usually pass for college students, thus they are used in a manner that is reminiscent of 21 Jump Street

Most of the problems on campus are alcohol related.  “Alcohol-related offenses, the bar graph is really high, for everything else it’s very low.  We think underage citations are about 10% of what’s happening.  Alcohol-related are noise, damage or drug sales. Violent crimes or threats are really low, 10-11 per calendar year.  Nationally, only 50% of crimes are ever reported.”  Low crime numbers are a good indication but by no means a total estimate of criminal activity.  On campus too there is typically low reporting .

Campus police headquarters has recently moved its location from the corner of East Avenue and Farwell Street to its updated location connected to the new parking ramp down the road.  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas "Gay" or "Fun?" by Melissa Koch

After apologizing last month for changing the word of a well-known Christmas song from “gay” to “fun” on an ornament, Hallmark continues to sell the product.

Hallmark received much criticism from shoppers, some of whom stated they would discontinue shopping at the company, after it came out with the new ornament. The ornament is in the shape of a sweater in printed with the lyrics to “Deck the Halls.”  Instead of the traditional “Don we now our gay apparel,” it reads “Don we now our fun apparel.”

There have been many complaints that the change is unnecessary and offensive. By eliminating the traditional word, people argue that Hallmark is making the statement that it is not ok to be gay.

Director of the Pride Center at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse, Willem Van Roosenbeek, says it didn’t make sense for Hallmark to change the lyric. “I think it was a little foolish. Gay meant fun during the time period when that song was written. It can be heard in a number of Christmas Carols. It was appropriate for that time.” Van Roosenbeek is discouraged that the meaning has changed. “I don’t hear any people using it in that way today; which is unfortunate, because it had a very positive connotation.”

Asked if Hallmark should stop selling the ornament, Van Roosenbeek said he didn’t want to force them to stop selling it. Instead, he believes this story can be used to set an example. “Hopefully it will open up dialogue about the word use, have people discuss what to do about these traditional holiday songs now that the meaning has changed. We should use this as an opportunity to talk about the subject.”

Hallmark first tried defending the lyric change last month. “‘When the lyrics to 'Deck the Halls' were translated from Gaelic and published in English back in the 1800's, the word 'gay' meant festive or merry," according to a statement released in November. "Today it has multiple meanings, which we thought could leave our intent open to misinterpretation."

When some customers argued that this statement was not enough, Hallmark issued an apology over Twitter saying, “We never intend to offend or make political statements with our products, and in hindsight we realize we shouldn't have changed the lyrics on the ornament.”

The ornament can still be found on the Hallmark website selling for $12.95.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Students Targeted by "Voter ID" Laws, by Mikaela Kornowski

Voter fraud in Wisconsin is virtually non existent, yet the public doesn’t object to the establishment of laws to ensure against it. Professor Joe Heim, the legislative liaison at UW-L, says “It’s a solution waiting for a problem.”

People without proper identification often are the young, old, minority, and low income. For this reason, students are a target for this legislation. Heim explains that some lawmakers believe young people don’t have the capacity to make an informed decision when voting.

The majority of the public has no problem with the voter ID law. Heim explains that most people reason that ID’s are necessary for driving and cashing checks, so why not for voting as well?

Heim believes that voting, unlike cashing checks or driving a car, is a right, not a privilege.

In Wisconsin, 30% of people have no ID or an ID that is invalid. Drivers licenses that do not have a photo on them are considered invalid.

Heim states, “We should encourage voting without asking about their [voters] motives, that’s my opinion.”

The voter ID legislation was passed by Republicans after Democrats unanimously voted against the bill. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Restest for WI Drivers License? by Mitchell Spoerl

Alcohol and distractions, such as texting, are the cause of a majority of traffic accidents. However, there is another factor that contributes to the accident total, age.

The general consensus is that the older people get, the sooner they should have to renew their license. Even Scott Rohde, chief of police at UWL, weighed in on the topic. “There are five incidents that I can think of where we had elderly drivers try to go through campus. If we’re concerned about the mental or physical health of an older individual we can refer to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and they can force a driver to re-take their exam.”

 On the topic of automatic retesting after a certain age he commented, “I would support retesting after age seventy-five or above.”

There is a natural decline in a person’s vision, reaction time, flexibility, hearing, and memory retention. While the age varies from person to person, the age when driving becomes especially dangerous is past seventy years old.

Elderly people only account for roughly nine percent of the population. But according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, they cause fourteen percent of all traffic fatalities and seventeen percent of all pedestrian related fatalities.

Cars are a common form of transportation, also the leading cause of death for healthy individuals. And almost every fatality is the product of human error.

Each state has its own laws regarding elderly drivers, but there is very little consistency across states. Virginia, Florida, and California all require elderly people to renew their license after a specified age. The states require them to pass an eye exam and a written test. This is repeated every so many years. In Arizona, a license won’t be renewed until age sixty-five, and then it’s renewed every five years. Wisconsin has all of its drivers renew their license every eight years, but has no special revisions for elderly drivers. 

These accidents don’t occur because elderly people are reckless drivers, quite the opposite in fact. Elderly people tend to avoid driving at night or in bad weather, they don’t drink and drive, and they are less likely to speed. The problem is the physical decline of health that comes naturally to all drivers.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

See Rotary Lights, Empty Your Pantry Before Break, by Melissa Koch

Students looking to clear out their cabinets before winter break can do so by visiting the Rotary Lights display put on this month at Riverside Park. Non-perishable donations to be given to fourteen area food pantries will be collected at the display by the Rotary Club.

The Rotary Lights were first displayed in 1995. Since that time, the Club has acquired over 2 million food items. Last season 232,580 food items were collected.

UW-L senior Krystal Simos has made seeing the Rotary Lights a tradition. “My roommates and I go to see the Rotary Lights every year. It’s a great break from studying for finals!” Simos also sees the benefit others receive when she goes to see the lights. She says, bringing food donations “is a great way to help those in need during the holiday season.”

The lights are displayed annually beginning after Thanksgiving and continuing until New Year’s Eve. Admission is free. The lights turn on at 5 pm and can be seen until the park closes at 10. Visitors have the choice to walk or drive around the display.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

End Semester, Take a Break, Recycle, by Shelby Jacobson

UW-L is not changing recycling laws for 2014.

UW-L, unlike the city, does not limit its recyclables to paper, cardboard, and comingled recyclables. Comingled recyclables include plastics #1-#7, glass, aluminum, and bi-metal cans.

Fines will be issued to those dropping off recyclables on campus but do not live on campus, according to the UW System Administrative Code 18.06.

·         Scrap metal
·         Tires
·         Wood pallets
·         Appliances (stoves, refrigerators, microwaves, etc.)
·         Electronics (monitors, computers, etc.)
·         Tree Stumps and landscaping brush
·         Compost

The above recyclables must be labeled with which building and or department they came from. Residence halls pay recycling fees for the different items recycled.

The different recyclables for people living on campus can be dropped off into white, blue, or green dumpsters. White dumpsters are for paper and cardboard. Blue dumpsters are for comingled recyclables. Green dumpsters are for waste to Excel Energy.

To view UW-L’s recycling statistics visit 

Recycling units in residence halls and academic buildings do have regulations. The “Do”s and “Don’t”s are available at  A more detailed list is available at

UW-L’s recycling is a five step program. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Re-buy. Rethink.

Any suggestions to better the R-5 Programm, contact Kim Tiber.   

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

"Homeless Hounds" Have Christmas Wish, by Shelby Jacobson

The Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration and the La Crosse Tribune are teaming up to grant three wishes this holiday season.

The FSPA asked the La Crosse tribune to find worthy organizations, people, and programs that deserve a little extra help. 

There are twelve candidates featured in the La Crosse Tribune.  These stories will appear under “Three Wishes” the first twelve days of December on the La Crosse Tribune website.

From this list, one candidate voters will be able to choose Homeless Hounds run by Jennifer Lengel, owner of Puppy Palace. Puppy Palace is a doggie daycare and boarding house. Homeless Hounds program was made so homeless families would not have to surrender their animals. Lengel says, “When you lose your home, you lose your kids; your animals are like your kids.”

Lengel’s new program has become nationwide. Just last week, Lengel’s program was featured in USA Today.  

Homeless Hounds is 100 percent dependent on public assistance. Donations help support vaccinations, spay and neutering, feeding, and making the dogs as comfortable as possible during their stay.

Families housing their dogs at Homeless Hounds are required to report to Lengel weekly on their situation looking for a job and home.

Homeless Hounds is currently seeking donations to fund a new facility. According to Lengel, Puppy Palace is able to take in thirty dogs at a time.

There are fewer spots available for daycare or boarding dogs because of the growing number of homeless dogs coming to Puppy Palace. Homeless Hounds houses eight to ten homeless dogs at any given time. This limits the amount of money Puppy Palace takes in.

Homeless Hounds program is in dire need of dog beds, collars, leashes, towels, and blankets. A variety of dog food is also essential. Due to a large quantity of senior dogs, quality senior food is greatly appreciated.

Volunteer opportunities are also greatly appreciated. To view volunteer options and donations needs visit, Puppy Palace La Crosse on Facebook or stop in at Puppy Palace at 3821 Mormon Coulee Road La Crosse, WI.

Votes will be taken on the La Crosse Tribune website December 13 through December 16, 2013.

Heroin Use not Significant Problem on Campus, by Carly Vail

            There typically is not a problem with heroin use on the university.  According to Chief Scott Rohde of the UW-L police department, this could be because there is always a high police presence on campus.
Rohde states that this drug is more readily available in bigger cities. Heroin use typically depends on a person’s personal behaviors and life experiences, including hometown (big city vs. small town).  Heroin is not common to the typical demographic of the UW-L student, Rohde says.
Heroin use is on the rise in many areas of the United States, commonly bigger cities such as Minneapolis/St. Paul, Madison, and Milwaukee. Even though La Crosse is not a big city, it is still prone to high amounts of heroin use.
            Heroin is an opioid drug synthesized from morphine, a substance extracted from the Asian opium poppy seed.
            Between the years 1995-2005 the amount of Americans age 12-17 trying heroin increased 300%. This number continually increases. It could be due to the cost of heroin now decreasing compared to years past.
Rohde mentioned if heroin was cheaper for college students to attain, it may be more desired by the college population. This does not decrease the amount of watch police officers have towards the drug however. As of recently UW-L seems to be an “island,” says Rohde. This means that even though there are frequent amounts of heroin use going on around the university, there haven’t been cases of the drug on campus.
A man from Madison allegedly sold La Crosse County resident Tom Treiman heroin on September 6, 2013. Treiman then overdosed from this drug and the dealer will be tried in La Crosse County with first-degree reckless homicide under the state’s Len Bias law.
            In St. Francis, MN, a smaller, northern suburb of the Twin Cities, three teens have died because of heroin since May 2012. There were an additional three more hospitalized. One student at the high school stated there were at least 20 students using heroin in the last year. Parents of the teens who overdosed fear there will be many others who unfortunately follow.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Bill to Ban "Revenge Porn," by Crystal Oravis

The Wisconsin legislature has a bill to outlaw posting “revenge porn” (nude photos or videos of an ex-lover), due to many recent harassment cases.
Under current state law, anyone possessing, reproducing or distributing an image of a nude person taken without consent faces a felony charge with a maximum sentence of $10,000 in fines and three-and-a-half years in prison.
The bill is designed to discourage people from posting naked pictures of their ex-lovers in hopes of embarrassing and harassing them. Free speech advocates worry that this bill will interfere with the first amendment. These revenge porn laws need to make it clear that in order to be found guilty, an offender must distribute these photos or videos with the intent to hurt the subject, and that the offender was well aware that it was expected to be kept confidential. These specifics need to be covered in order to avoid an abundance of charges relating to teenagers ‘sexting’ with friends.
A common myth people believe is that there is a law that already covers the topic of revenge porn as harassment. Even when revenge porn amounts to criminal harassment, police may refuse to get involved, telling the victims that the behavior is not serious enough for a criminal investigation.
Under current law a picture is the photographer’s copyright and the photographer’s call to have it taken down. If the subjects took the photo themselves, the suing rights are practically nonexistent. Revenge porn sites usually ignore requests for removal because most victims don’t take the time, or spend the money on a lawyer.

Under the new bill, anyone who disperses a nude picture without the subject's consent or regardless of whether the subject granted consent to capture the image could be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and nine months in jail.

Volunteer for Big Brothers/Sisters, by Ellen Barrett

Students on campus are always looking for new ways to get involved in the community or volunteer hours to add to a professional resume. A growing organization in the 7 Rivers Region is Big Brothers Big Sisters.  Lyndsey Langer, Big Brothers Big Sisters Program Delivery Specialist, says “Big Brothers Big Sisters is a non-profit organization where an individual can change a child’s life and help enhance the organization in a variety of ways.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters is always looking for caring and committed volunteers. Bigs are given the opportunity to mentor a child in the community, one on one, who could deeply benefit from a mentor. Bigs and Littles are matched based on common interests and personality type.
There are two programs Bigs can choose to participate in. The Site Based Program currently partners with 7 schools in the area through an after school or lunch program. The Big meets with the Little at the Little’s school once a week for about an hour while school is in session. The Community Based Program involves a commitment of 2-3 hours per week where the Big is partnered with one specific Little.
This Big must be able to provide transportation for the Little if participating in the Community Based Program. These matches are able to go anywhere in the community and participate in any activities they see fit. Examples of activities include anything from playing basketball to going to a Loggers game. Many area businesses provide discounts or free tickets to Bigs and Littles in support of their service. Both of the programs require a one year minimum projected commitment. It is not uncommon to have matches last 10+ years.
College students are specifically encouraged to get involved by becoming a volunteer Big Brother or Big Sister in either one the BBBS onsite or offsite programs. There are also multiple internship and service learning opportunities throughout the organization. Both the internships and the service learning opportunities are unpaid positions.  To qualify, you must submit a completed application and pass the interview process and reference checks. Students who desire to participate must be at least 18 years old for the Community Based Program and in at least 10th grade to participate in the Site Based Program. Couples are encouraged as well. These service hours can be applied as volunteer hours to fulfill a student’s graduation requirements. Volunteer hours are ultimately flexible. A  Big may complete as many hours as desired and set a unique schedule based around a student’s school or work availability.
Big Brothers Big Sisters also accepts donations online and at their offices.
To donate, or find the closest location, visit

For more information on Big Brothers Big Sisters, visit

Friday, December 6, 2013

WI Politics: Less Money for Higher Ed, & Fewer Votes for Students, by Shelby Jacobson

The biggest issue among legislation affecting UWL is state budget.

Legislative liaison Joe Heim says nothing comes close to the issue of the state budget.

Loss of graduates out of state is a main concern in the limit of financial assistance one is given for school. In other words, the more students leave after graduation, the less the state wants to support students financially. When a state gives financial aid to a student, the state hopes the student remains for employment.

Budget-cutting and voter suppression is ”payback” for being a net-loss state for graduates moving, Heim said.

A majority of graduates in the La Crosse area stay in Wisconsin after graduation. Madison typically loses approximately 1/3 of graduates to other states, says Heim.

On average, more campuses vote for Democrats. This is because Democrats typically support lower interest rates for student loans. Republicans are typically in favor of higher interest rates, limiting the amount of students enrolling for fear of debt after graduation.

Stricter laws on voter ID’s is placed on college students to limit the amount of student voters.  According to Heim, higher education and income affect voter turnout.  Universities do not have PACs or fund candidates. The power for universities is voting. Voting is a right, a voice, he says.

UW-L is one of the higher turn-out campuses for voting. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Storm Emergency Information, Mitchell Spoerl

It is important to know what to do if a tornado were to touch down in La Crosse. University designated Emergency Response Number is (608)-789-9999. This number is a direct line to a live representative at the University Police station.

According to the National Climatic Data Center, there are approximately twenty-four recorded tornadoes annually in Wisconsin. The last time La Crosse had a tornado touchdown was in May 2011. No one was killed, but there was extensive property damage.

If in a campus building, go to the lowest interior hallway and do not use the elevators. Make sure to be near a TV or a radio in order to receive updates as the storm progresses. If in a house, get away from the windows and go to the basement or cellar if available.

Tornadoes typically appear around late spring/early summer in the Midwest. However, it is important to remember that tornadoes can appear at any point in the year.

Over eighty tornadoes were sighted on a weekend in November, spanning across Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. Six people were killed and over 50 were injured in Illinois. Thousands of people in the state were without power. Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois reported that seven counties were disaster areas.

New Way to Shop for Apartment On-Line, by Mikaela Kornowski

A free search engine can locate rental housing in Wisconsin,

The site was recently created to provide affordable, accessible, and, when necessary, emergency housing. This web-based service provides information to the general public as well as to housing professionals seeking clients.

Properties can be searched by county and provide a quick index for wheelchair accessible, pet friendly, smoking friendly, and washer/dryer accessible. The site also provides pricing information and income based options. Photos of the property and maps are also accessible.

Listings can also be sorted by cost, date availability, proximity to medical facilities, public transit, and schools, number of bedrooms or bathrooms, and by realty company.

Users can add prospects to their “basket,” where the renter’s favorite locations can be compared until a final decision can be reached. also offers tools such as an affordability calculator, rental checklist, and information about renters’ rights and responsibilities.

Landlords can upload their rentals at no cost. Landlords will be provided 24-hour access to update their listings and availability. They can also call in the property information.

The site is just several weeks old, and its administrators have updated the search tool since its opening. Users can now narrow their search by their preferences or budget.  The amount of rental listings is also increasing.

The site is promoted by the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and the Wisconsin Department of Administration, Division of Housing.The site is supported by a toll-free, multilingual call center, 1-877-428-8844.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

No "Vampire Electricity" Bleeding Your Apartment, by Crystal Oravis

             Given that the vampire electricity idea is in fact, a myth, students can save money in other places, mostly time-proven, common sense advice.

Vampire electricity is the belief that cords left plugged into outlets, even when not connected to a device or being used at all, are still sucking electricity and raising electric bills. Students don’t need to purchase expensive power strips advertised to protect against the sucking of electricity.

Myth-busters, a television show dedicated to solving life’s myths, looked into this. Using Kill-A-Watts (a device placed between an outlet and a plug to measure the wattage being used), the Myth busters measured the wattage on a wireless phone charger, and a MacBook Pro power adapter. With the devices not plugged into the chargers, the vampire electricity myth proved to be false.

            With heating apartments and houses, there are proven ways to keep electricity bills as low as possible. Covering all bare floors with carpeting or rugs adds to heat retention, especially if little to no floor insulation.  
Lowering temperature on heating devices when leaving the house is another way to lower the use of electricity.

            Always leave an open space for heating to work and move throughout the house; do not cover air vents with drapes or shades so that the air is able to not work as hard to heat the entire space. Opening blinds during the day can help to heat spaces using sun’s natural heat.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Wisconsin Insurance-Buyers Less Affected by ACA, by Melissa Koch

Majority of health insurance plans in Wisconsin will not be cancelled because of the health care reform.

A report from Families USA co-released in Wisconsin by Citizen Action of Wisconsin stated that few people in the state who buy health insurance on their own keep their policies for more than a year.  Most people qualify for more affordable plans with the new changes than what they have now.

“It is clear that most who buy insurance on their own will have more stable and affordable insurance options because of the Affordable Care Act, and that a small fraction risk the cancellations of policies that would have cost them less,” stated Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin.

Further results of the study show
     6.5% of Wisconsinites under the age of 65 buy health insurance on the individual market.
     73% of Wisconsinites who purchase health insurance on the individual market are eligible for tax subsidies to make them more affordable under the Affordable Care Act.
     0.6% of Wisconsinites under 65 are at risk of paying more next year, because their current policy is being cancelled under the new policy.

Other states are dealing with well-publicized cancellations to health insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act. The website for Affordable Care Act has been dealing with problems since its launch. There was a deadline to fix the website by November 30, and administration spokesman stated yesterday that it is now operating up to target.

Wisconsin Sees Early Start to 2013 Flu Season, by William Ricioppo

Colder than average temperatures have brought an early start to flu season.

Holiday travel, family gatherings, and students traveling home from around the country brings large groups of people together, increasing chances for the spread of a virus.

“The good news is that if people who haven’t been vaccinated yet get a flu shot right now, they will be protected” (for the next holiday), says Dr. Henry Anderson of the State Health Office.

Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that anyone over six months get a flu shot.

College students traveling home for Thanksgiving may return to school with a bug or bring one back home for Christmas, so now would be a good time for this group to get inoculated.

“No one wants to be sick for finals or the holidays, and they don’t want to be responsible for spreading illness, either,” adds Anderson.

This year’s flu vaccine covers all currently circulating strains of the illness.

So far this season there have been fewer than 10 hospitalizations in Wisconsin, a number that is expected to increase. Cases of Influenza A and B have already been reported across the state.

In addition to getting a flu shot, frequent hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, and keeping commonly touched surfaces clean can help prevent the spread of the flu.

Both injected and nasal mist applications of the 2013 flu vaccine are available at most health care providers, public health departments, and some drug stores. College students can contact their school’s health services for campus immunization schedules. For more information on where to find a nearby vaccination clinic or participating pharmacy, visit

Monday, December 2, 2013

USPS Raises the Cost of Postage, by Shelby Phillips

The U.S. Postal Service has plans to increase its prices for postage, but not until after Christmas.

These changes will be put in place to increase revenue for the U.S. Postal service by $2 million.  Effective in January of 2014 the prices are as follows:
·         1 oz. Letters: rises 3 cents to 49 cents
·         Letters greater than 1 oz.: increases 1 cent to 21 cents
·         Letters with international destinations: $1.15
·         Postcards: increases 1 cent to 34 cents

Typically the Post Office keeps up its prices with the Consumer Price Index’s rate of inflation.  This year inflation has risen to 4.2%.  According to Governors of the Postal Service, these new prices are higher than the inflation rate.  Even though U.S.P.S. mostly caps prices with the CP index, this elevation was deemed necessary to keep the Postal Service still operating. 

Every year the Postal Service faces serious financial challenges because revenue does not keep up with operation costs.  Last fiscal year alone a total $15.9 billion debt was accrued.  This year it is expected that an additional $6 billion will be added to the debt, surpassing the $20 billion checkpoint.  The Post Office no longer receives any government subsidies. 

These price proposals will be reviewed further at the legislative level, but should they become effective, those increases will start on January 26, 2014.

2013 Wisconsin Deer Season Opens— Old Traditions, New Information, by William Ricioppo

The 2013 nine-day deer hunting season brings new technology and specific information.

DNR officials recently announced the first free DNR mobile hunting app for both iPhone and Android. The app allows hunters to find hunting locations, register, and access rules and regulations. It also has a GPS safety mapping tool that lets users notify designated contacts of their whereabouts.

“By bridging the tradition of hunting with new technology, we aim to make it even easier for hunters to connect with each other, with DNR, and help deliver information hunters are looking for to have a safe and successful season,” says DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp.

The new DNR app will also have other benefits for fishing and general outdoor recreational activities. “This app will have something for everyone who has an interest in the outdoors of our state,” notes Stepp.
A “Trophy Case” feature on the app allows hunters to share stories and photos from their hunt.

Numbers of deer in farmland regions were presumed to be high this year. However, hunters participating in the recent bow hunt reported fewer sightings in northern parts of the state.

This year Minnesota reported numbers of deer down by about 6% from the 2012 season.

One way hunters  increase their chances of finding good animals is to spend more time in the field. “Nearly ten percent of Wisconsin residents will take to the field for the annual hunt,” says DNR ecologist Kevin Wallenfang, “putting potentially hundreds of thousands of outdoorsmen in the woods.”

Also this year DNR is encouraging hunters to participate in wildlife surveys. Hunters are asked to track and record their wildlife observations while on the hunt, and submit the information to DNR. State officials are hoping to gather information to help biologists track population changes and improve management decisions.
Information on the survey can be found at and information may be submitted online or through the mail.

“This is a great opportunity for hunters to inform wildlife biologists what they are seeing,” stated DNR survey manager Brian Dhuey.

Hunters can record and submit information until January 2014.

Wet conditions could impact hunter accessibility and deer activity according to Wallenfang. Not only is it tougher for hunters to get around in boggy conditions, but the late start this year could also mean reduced rutting activity.

The  deer season ended Sunday, December 1, at sundown.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Gas Prices Are Holiday Gift, by Melissa Koch

People traveling by car for Thanksgiving will be filling up with gas at its lowest price across the nation in 2 years.  The national average for regular gas is $3.268 per gallon while Wisconsin’s average is $3.150 per gallon.

Dan Ketelsleger is traveling over 400 miles from Chicago, Illinois, to Apple Valley, MN, to see his parents this Thanksgiving.  He says, “it’s been a while since they’ve (gas prices) been this low.” In past years, Ketelsleger has found it cheaper to fly, but this year he will be driving.  He said the change in gas prices “makes it easier to make the decision to drive 400 miles than deal with the stress of flying.  It's nice to be on your own schedule.”

Anybody traveling this Thanksgiving can figure out the cheapest stations on the route to fill up on gas, by visiting AAA Fuel Price Finder at  This website shows the most affordable gas prices in any given city or state.

There are many factors being credited to the low prices of gas, including people buying more energy efficient cars, a quiet season for natural disasters, and easing tensions between the US and Iran. Gas prices typically drop around the holiday season and bottom out in December.  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

University Layoffs on the Way?, by Melissa Koch

UW-L Legislative Liaison Joe Heim predicts that layoffs directed toward younger, more recently employed professors will follow the tuition freeze currently occurring  at all UW schools.

Heim has worked with legislative issues at UW-L for about 15 years now and has seen this happen before. He says the results of the tuition freeze will be “painful.” The freeze will reduce surplus funds for a year or two.  After the initial effects, universities will begin to suffer and layoffs will occur.  Layoffs are likely to affect young professors recently out of school. Many older professors have tenure or other security with the universities.

It was discovered that the UW system as a whole set aside 648 million dollars at the end of 2012 year.  Universities set aside money in case of emergencies.  According to Heim, 10-15 percent of money at UW-L is put aside.  A bill passed in the summer of 2013 froze university tuitions.  Legislators believed that if tuitions had much surplus, it didn’t make sense to continue to increase the cost students pay.

Some of the university’s money is "segregated." It can’t be spent on anything other than what it is designated to. The money that students pay for school parking lots, for example, goes to the funding it took to build the parking structure and cannot be re-allocated to salaries or anything else.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bike Theft, & Prevention, by Carly Vail

            A continuous problem on University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s campus is bicycle theft. This is the number one reported crime on the campus. This statistic prompted the police services to launch a bike theft prevention program this fall.
            About 300 bikes have been stolen on UW-La Crosse’s campus in the past five years. Chief  of the UW-L police department, Scott Rohde, said this is an exception to the very low crime rate on UW-L’s campus.
            Officer Dave Pehl would like students or anyone using bikes around campus to register their bikes.  Pehl said that many bikes have been sent to the police services, but they are not able to return them to their owner without registration.  The form is free and takes about one minute to complete. This form in located on the UW-L Police Services bike theft prevention website, along with forms for the La Crosse Police Department and the National Bike Registry.
            The UW-L Police Services bike theft prevention website provides multiple tips for preventing bike thefts. These tips include how to properly lock up one’s bike, the right kind of lock to use, or how to properly lock up bikes without removing the front wheel. The tips also include recommendations on the best types of locks for bicycles.
            Pehl is working with the Office of Residence Life to try to place notes on each unlocked bike around campus. Officer Pehl is also working with local bike shops in the area to offer discounts on locks to students and those biking on campus. These bike shops include Smith’s Cycling & Fitness, Bikes Limited, and River Trail Cycles.


Friday, November 22, 2013

New Art for LaCrosse, with UWL Students Participating, by Shelby Phillips

Downtown La Crosse is expected to receive a makeover by the end of spring 2014.  Internationally-acclaimed muralist John Pugh has been selected by the City Arts Board to design and install a mural for La Crosse’s emerging arts district, after years of planning. 
Pugh has selected three UW-L students, Molly Duggan, Alyssa Schubert-Hetzel and Shelby Phillips, to be his apprentices during the mural’s creation and installation in May.

The city of La Crosse received a $25,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, according to the La Crosse Tribune.  The city has also contributed $55,000 to the mural, needing an extra $30,000 from patrons for the mural’s completion.  There are no current specifics regarding the subject matter to be painted. 
Jennifer Terpstra, associate professor of Art at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, was influential during the early stages of the project in securing Pugh as the possible designer.   Pugh was selected by the board because of his demonstrated interest and experience in engaging the community and success in working with student apprentices.”  She is currently acting as Pugh’s liaison while he is in La Crosse. 


Thursday, November 21, 2013

50th Anniversary of Kennedy Assassination, by William Ricioppo

November 22nd marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. The name sounds familiar to most UW-L students, but few can offer many details about the life of America’s 35th President.

“I know he was president and that he was shot, but that’s about it,” admits David G., a sophomore and sports medicine major. “It happened so long ago that it’s hard to relate to.”

The Kennedys are an American legend, and their political legacy spans four generations. There was at least one Kennedy serving in an elected office over the 64 year-period until 2011. Kennedy’s daughter Caroline was recently appointed as US Ambassador to Japan.

JFK was a World War II Navy veteran decorated for heroism in the South Pacific. He entered public service in 1946 when elected to the US House of Representatives. In 1952 he would be elected to the Senate, then president in 1960.

A democrat, Kennedy won the election with a narrow defeat of his Republican challenger Richard Nixon, and at 43 Kennedy was the youngest president ever elected.

Entering office at the height of the Space Race, his presidency is in part remembered for his initiation of NASA’s Apollo project. The endeavor would beat the Soviets to the moon by the end of the decade.

A more dubious mark on the presidency of JFK was the attempted invasion of Cuba in the spring of 1961.
In 1959 Fidel Castro took power in Cuba and established communist rule. Under Kennedy’s predecessor Dwight D. Eisenhower the CIA had begun a secret operation to overthrow Castro, and an amphibious invasion was launched just four months after Kennedy’s inauguration. The landing force sent from US warships comprised pro-Western paramilitaries and Cuban exiles. The invasion was soundly defeated within days by Cuban military forces commanded by Castro himself.

The failed Bay of Pigs invasion was an embarrassment to the administration, and the incident set in motion events that would culminate with the Cuban Missile Crisis a year later.

The Cold War was also at its height during Kennedy’s administration. His handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis ultimately defined his time in office.

Over a two week period in the fall of 1962, Kennedy faced the Soviets in a standoff over the small island nation. The USSR had deployed nuclear missiles there just 90 miles from Florida, and the threat of nuclear war has never been higher.

“I was growing up during the Cold War in the 1960s,” says Professor Thomas Pribek of UW-L’s English department. “Although I don’t exactly remember  the missile crisis, I can say the early 60s was the only time in my American history when people were genuinely afraid. We were afraid of war after the assassination.  All through my second grade class, every day one boy in the class wore a fireman’s hat and was supposed to be on the lookout for bombers covering over the bluff.”

“It seems ridiculous today,” Pribek says, “But my second grade teacher had us convinced that LaCrosse, Wisc., was going to be a major bombing target of the Soviet Union.”

Considered an enormous strategic victory, Kennedy’s opposition and tough diplomacy forced the withdrawal of the missiles.

Kennedy became solely credited for keeping Soviet military presence out of the Western Hemisphere.
Other noteworthy accomplishments of JFK’s presidency were the establishment of the Peace Corps in 1960 and the US Navy SEALs in 1961.

Kennedy is also remembered for his work concerning domestic labor relations and civil rights.

The loosening of monetary policy early in his presidency was deemed responsible for economic expansion and prosperity in the US during the 1960s. Kennedy’s fiscal policies also resulted in a marked increase in America’s GDP.

The only US President to ever win a Pulitzer Prize, his 1955 book “Profiles in Courage” chronicled the heroism and contributions to America made by patriots throughout US history.

President Kennedy’s life was cut short on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas. Riding in an open limousine, Kennedy was shot in the head by Lee Harvey Oswald. The shots were taken from the window of a building overlooking the motorcade, and the event shocked the world.

Oswald was himself shot and killed while in police custody before he could be tried.

Kennedy’s assassination would become the lore of conspiracy theorists for years. His policies and an infamous personal life of purported extramarital affairs have fueled speculation about the President’s death for decades. Questions of the identity of the shooter and debates over facts of the assassination still continue today.

The last US President to be killed in office, JFK was popular with many Americans during one of the most uncertain times in American history. His shooting shocked the world, and his life, death, and legacy continue to captivate a nation.

The Laptop: The Environmentally Unfriendly Computer, by Shelby Jacobson

Many students bring their laptops on campus. In doing so the energy level being used skyrockets. According to Gargi Chaudhuri, a UWL Conservation of Global Environments professor, the changes that people need to make are more behavioral than anything else. She claims she has not yet seen an energy efficient laptop.

A few ways students can help reduce the amount of laptop energy use are

         Shut down the laptop between uses
 -         Use campus desktops
         Limit time spent in front of the laptop (limit video games/movie time) describes the approximately twenty different metals going into laptop production, including mercury. Also shown is the amount of water used in laptop production.

Laptops are not something people can live without. Laptop moderation will provide relief in energy levels.

When fans dwindle, Prof. Gary Konas explains his laptop reaches up to 180 degrees!

Chaudhuri believes the future will have more need for tablets because they are more energy efficient and portable than laptops.

Check out to see how each laptop affects the earth. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sign Up to Receive Recall Notices on Children's Items, by Shelby Jacobson

Awareness of items being recalled is important for the safety of children. People cannot rely on the media for every recall. It is important to be aware of potential dangers to children.

To subscribe to Keep Your Kids Safe newsletter, go to

According to, on September 9, 2013 200 Infant Motrin were recalled because they possibly contained plastic particles from a third-party supplier.

In September there were seven recalled items alone. These products listed below were recalled due to danger to children.

·   -  The Land of Nod recalled bed-frames due to entrapment hazard
- -  The Children’s Place recalled footed pajamas due to violation of Federal flammability standard
·  -      Hachette Book Group recalled children’s books due to choking and laceration hazard
·  -    Be Amazing! Toys recalled Monster Science Growing Spiders due to serious ingestion hazard
·   -     Eco-Novelty recalled Jumbo Size and Jumbo Multipurpose Cosmo beads due to serious ingestion hazard
·   -    Toys R Us recalled Journey Girl Travel Trunks due to laceration hazard

Anna Nguyen, editor of Healthy Kids blog, claims there have been six reports of incidents involving the metal handle on the journey girl travel trunk. One incident involved a child needing stitches.

For any questions or concerns regarding a children’s item that has been bought, contact:
Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Bureau of Consumer Protection
2811 Agriculture Drive
Madison, WI 53708

(800)422-7128 (toll free in Wisconsin) 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ballroom Dancing club: Learn, Compete, Socialize, by Ellen Barrett

The UW-L campus promotes diversity and student involvement by listing various student run organizations on MyOrgs page. A less widely known student organization present on the UW-L campus is the Competitive Ballroom Dance Team.

As stated on the CBDT page, this organization provides students with the opportunity to learn ballroom dancing, to compete at ballroom dancing competitions, and to socialize and network throughout the ballroom dancing community in La Crosse.

The organization currently has 15 members and is run by Cheryl Brye.

For questions regarding the organization, contact Nicole Bottelson at or call (608)963-8136.

Monday, November 18, 2013

New Digs for the UW-L PD, by William Ricioppo

UW-L police welcome a long-awaited new home with the addition of a new parking structure on campus.

“After operating from a 1,600 square-foot house for as long as I can remember, it’s good to be able to stretch-out into 8,200 square feet,” notes UW-L Police Sergeant Scott McCullough. “This is great.”

The university police force of around 15 members made do in a cramped, single-story house across the lot from Wimberly Hall until the move into the new building just before the Fall 2013 semester.

Campus cops are feeling revitalized after utilizing nearly every inch of their former home for multiple purposes. “Aside from using the kitchen in the old building as a meeting room, it wasn’t uncommon to be interviewing a suspect in there with the smell of someone’s lunch still in the air,” McCullough adds. “Not only was it impractical and inconvenient, but embarrassing at times. We also relied heavily on the city police space for things like interviewing and booking. Now we have our own facilities for all that.”

Recently, the UW-L Police Department hosted an open house in the new headquarters on the south east corner of the new covered parking ramp. The ramp is located on the north end of campus between Farwell and La Crosse Streets.

The new building not only has its own booking area, but two interview rooms, an armory, plenty of office space, a reception area, and a large media room. Additionally, the modernized dispatch and communications room features state-of-the-art equipment, on the same platform as all other area law enforcement agencies.
Sealing-off operational areas from public space in the building provides the force with a disaster and emergency response facility as well. “What now becomes the command and control center here, when locked-down, is blast, impact, and bullet-proof,” adds parking manager Victor Hill.

The new structure has not only given the force a new home, but also doubled available parking space for students and staff. “We had roughly 300 uncovered spaces there previously. Now we have 600 stalls, and the ramp is designed to be expanded upon,” notes Hill. With the addition of two new levels in the next few years that number of spaces will increase to roughly 1,000. “After parking space being so restricted in the past, so many new spaces available is a fun problem to have,” Hill says.

Friday, November 15, 2013

UWL Winter Rec Sports = Hockey, by Ellen Barrett

As winter approaches, it is time for UW-L students to find other ways to be involved outdoors. Fortunately, UW-L is home to various organizations from academic clubs to sport teams.

The UW-L men’s and women’s hockey club teams provide new friends while being involved on campus and outdoors.

The Eagle Women’s Hockey Club is a woman’s only ice hockey team to compete with other club teams across the Midwest. The season runs from October to late February. All skill levels are welcome to play or learn the sport. Practices run twice a week usually on Tuesdays and Thursdays with a few games on the weekends.

Games are held at the La Crescent Community Arena with free admission for the audience.

For more information on the Eagles Women’s Hockey Club, contact To join the club, visit their page at

The UW-L men’s Hockey club team, as stated on its page, is “a group of dudes trying to have fun and play hockey.”

For questions about the organization contact Max Carrey at or call (818)312-4120. To apply for membership, visit

Thursday, November 14, 2013

High Ed. Shouldn't Be Higher Debt, by Crystal Oravis

            The “Higher ED, Lower Debt” bill is circulating for co-sponsorship in the state legislature. All local officials, Sen. Jennifer Shilling, and Assembly Representatives Jill Billings and Steve Doyle, are supporters. This proposal could help thousands of students in debt, and also the residents affected by the economic backfire in Wisconsin’s economy.

The “Higher Ed, Lower Debt” bill represents solutions for Wisconsin’s student loan borrowers. This bill will enable students using state loans to have the ability to refinance student loans at lower interest rates.

The bill will also allow Wisconsin’s student loan borrowers to deduct student loan payments from their income tax. According to Senator Chris Larson, this aspect of the bill could result in an annual tax savings of approximately $172 for the typical borrower, or as much as $392 for some people.

“According to recent studies, there are 753,000 Wisconsin residents with an average student loan debt of $22,400,” Larson says. The more money spent on student loans and interest, the more money not put back into the state’s economy on cars, new houses, and other purchases.

The bill will provide students and parents with detailed information about student loans and the best and worst private lenders. The Bill will ensure that students receive loan counseling to make informed financial decisions about student loans.

This bill also releases data collected about student loan debt in Wisconsin to help the public and policymakers better understand the depths of the debt crisis in the state.


Sexual Assault Treatment, Response & Prevention at UWL, by Shelby Jacobson and Ellen Barrett

The University of La Crosse has a registered nurse devoted to helping students after a sexual assault. She is known as a sexual assault nurse examiner.

SANEs can collect forensic evidence suitable in court, inform victims of the importance of reporting the assault, provide medication to prevent sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, and provide the victim with additional resources to receive help.
SANE nurses can be found on campus and off campus. Ingrid Peterson is a sexual assault victim advocate and prevention specialist available on campus in 149 Graff Main Hall. She can also be reached at 608-785-8062.

At UW-L sexual harassment is impermissible and subject to disciplinary action in accordance with applicable due process requirements including but not limited to reprimand, temporary suspension, expulsion, or discharge if a student is found guilty.

For someone has been sexually assaulted, take the following precautions
Preserve the evidence.  Don't clean up, bathe, douche, or change clothes.
Go immediately to the emergency room of the nearest hospital.  Both Mayo Clinic Health System (10th & Market) and Gundersen  (1836 South Ave) provide sexual assault services, including SANE nurses and counselors. Both will help with reporting the assault to law enforcement if desired. UW-L University Police or the La Crosse Police Department is available for transportation to an emergency room.
Write down details about the assailant (height, weight, hair color, physical oddities, clothing and the name in the case of date or acquaintance rape) and circumstances as soon as possible.
Report the crime to UW-L University Police, 608-789-9999, or the La Crosse City Police, 911, or the UW-L Student Life Office, 785-8062, as quickly as possible.  Reporting the crime does not mean asking for prosecution of the alleged perpetrator, but it does help provide resources, as well as helping to ensure the safety of other students.
Get help for yourself no matter how long ago or circumstances of assault.  Immediate and ongoing help is available from First Call for Help, 782-8010 (24 hours) and the UW-L Counseling & Testing Center, 785-8073 (8:30-4:30 Monday through Friday). The sexual assault services at the local hospitals are also available for support, counseling, and information about the different options are available -- Mayo Clinic Health System, 608-392-7804 or (800) 362-5454, X7804, and Gundersen, 608-775-3845 or 1-800-362-9567, X53845.

Local off campus help includes Mayo Clinic Health System (608-392-7804) and Gundersen (608-775-3845). Options Clinic can be reached at 608-775-8390. Options Clinic does not require insurance. Always call La Crosse police about an assault.

According to city data, there are currently 19 registered sex offenders living in La Crosse. La Crosse has higher crime rates than the neighboring cities of La Crescent, Onalaska, Hokah, and West Salem.
The legal definition of sexual assault is any unwanted sexual contact. Sexual assault is any forced or coerced sexual intercourse or contact. It is a crime of violence in which assailants, whether known to the victim or not, are motivated by a desire to humiliate and have power over the victim.  Refer to Wisconsin State Statutes 940.225 and 948.012.

Students can decrease their risk of sexual harassment and rape by staying responsible and taking these precautions:
  1. Limit their alcohol intake and not receive open drinks.
  2. Avoid engaging with strangers.
  3. Students should not walk alone. Students can start a buddy system or have somebody designated to call if uncomfortable. The Safe Ride bus is also available Thursday through Saturday nights through campus and off campus.
  4. Students must make their own choices and stick by them.
  5. Students should not be persuaded by others. Students can learn to defend themselves in case of an attack. Various kickboxing classes are always offered the UW-L Rec.
  6. Students should always trust their gut instincts. On campus, Blue Light Emergency Phones are placed throughout campus and at the entrance to residence calls in order for students to directly communicate with campus police in case of emergency.
  7. Students can also learn about rape and what drives those to rape. Educating will help students learn situations to avoid.
UWL is always looking to make students feel safe on campus. If someone feels unsafe or uncomfortable, call campus police at 608-785-9000 (nonemergency) or 608-785-9999 (emergency).
For UWL's 2007 statistics for sexual assault, visit
For more information for students about sexual assault, visit
To learn the Safe Ride schedule, visit

To find Blue Light Emergency Phones locations, visit