Monday, March 31, 2014

Off Campus Food Costs Rising, by Bryan Hall

A 50 meal block plan for the UW-L campus currently is listed at $345, a cost of $6.90 per meal. It’s a popular option for students after their freshman but only provides just over three meals a week for the 15 week semester.

Sophomores and upperclassmen getting used to life outside of the dorms struggle to find a balance between affordable and healthy dining, especially those used to the standard 14 and 19 meal a week plans for those living in the dorms.

Students looking to avoid eating out have two options: increase their block plan at $50.50 per ten meal additions, or prepare their own meals at home. Both options can be difficult to afford for those working on tight budgets and busy schedules.

Many off campus students will choose to eat out when not on campus, but the options for healthy eating in walking distance are limited. The convenience and price of Taco Bell, or the $5 “Hot and Ready” pizzas from Little Caesars are popular options, though Subway does get a respectable amount of traffic. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

State Senators Weigh in on new Voting Restrictions, by Bryan Hall

Sixth District Wisconsin Senator Nikiya Harris and 32nd District Senator Jennifer Shilling are expressing disappointment in new restrictions on Wisconsin voters.  Gov. Scott Walker has signed into law a bill to limit in-person absentee voting to no later than 7 p.m. during the week and no weekend hours.

According to Harris, “Bill 324 wages a battle against the hard-working men and women of this state by making it harder for these individuals to have their voices heard. This bill will deter early voting among Wisconsin’s most vulnerable populations—the elderly, low-wage workers, and the sick.”

The bill would restrict voting with absentee ballots to Monday to Friday between the normal office hours. .  The so-called “early” voting has been particularly popular in university cities like Madison and LaCrosse.

"We should be working to strengthen voting rights, not make it harder for our seniors and working families to vote," Shilling adds.

The bill was introduced on March 11th by  Senator Glenn Grothman.

Harris adds, “The hard-working men and women of this state are the casualties of the battle that Republicans have waged on the constitutionally protected right to vote. Republicans should be ashamed at the role they are playing in attacking the freedom to vote in Wisconsin.” 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Study Abroad Safety, by Lara Spillmon

             Chancellor Joe Gow’s Open Forum on March 11 started with a  heated discussion about the topic of students in the international studies program.
              Students are being overcharged, said  Donna Anderson, Professor of Economics.  Students are able to receive very limited help due to the school having a lack of funds. However, she  asked  that if this was the case, why were  two new staff members added to international studies.
            In response, Gow offered that a meeting be set up for a later time because he wasn’t sure of what she was talking about. Gow said that he “hasn’t been involved in this” so he would be unable to answer the questions. 
            Anderson added that there was a lack of safety felt by the faculty being forced to work in this department in regards to a lack of support towards the students studying internationally. She implied that the only reason why the students that studied internationally were safe at all was because of the faculty that accompanied them. Gow countered this by saying “to imply that there are bad things going on, you can’t just do that!” He went on to imply that Anderson was conducting an attack rather than asking questions that she felt needed to be answered.

            Anderson  answered  “it doesn’t have to be friendly….just because I ask hard questions doesn’t mean it’s an attack.”  In regards to the lack of safety, Gow  said “I can assure you we are very particular when people go abroad.” Shortly after this Gow opened the floor to the rest of the room to see if he could get some different opinions from others that had done international studies through the school,  leading to the end of the conversation. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

St. Baldrick’s Fundraising Results, by Megan Sukovich

UWL raises nearly $3,000 at the seventh annual St. Baldrick’s Foundation event on Saturday March 8th for childhood cancer research. 108 students, staff, faculty and community members cut or shaved their hair in unity with those afflicted with cancer.

Worldwide, 175,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s goal is to work with pediatric oncologists to research and create funding to impact the lives of the many children that are impacted by cancer. St. Baldrick’s has already raised $ 17,049,198 nation wide in 2014.

UWL plays a part by raising money for the cause and donating locks. Student staff member, Tricia Fredrickson, was one of the many people to fully shave their head. Fredrickson has a deep emotional connection to the cause. She states, “ After my hair had been completely shaved off I felt exhilarated, almost like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. That is what ensured me that I had done the right thing even though it was a completely impulsive decision.”

Fredrickson encourages all students to participate in future St. Baldrick’s events. “I would encourage everyone to try it at least once. There is so much good that comes out of the experience even if you don't get to see all of the positivity first hand.” 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

UWL Students Protest Pipeline, by Megan Sukovich

Nine UWL students traveled to Washington D.C. on March 2 to participate in the largest act of youth civil disobedience that the White House in a generation, according to participants.  An additional protest will occur on April 27th, before President Obama has to make his final about the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

UWL student, Natalie Newcomer, was one of the 398 arrests of civil disobedience for “chaining” herself to the fence of the White House to represent commitment to the cause.  

1,200 youth gathered in Georgetown and began a march towards the nation’s capitol. Posters in hand, they chanted, “Hey Obama, we don’t want no pipeline drama,” in hopes to persuade President  Obama against approving the creation of the pipeline.

The company TransCanada wants to bring tar sands oil all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. The company states that it will be the safest oil pipeline in America, despite history of frequent oil spills.

In 2011, TransCanada was responsible for 12 oil spills. One of its pipelines, Exxon, spilled 1,200 barrels into the Yellowstone River in July of 2011. A separate pipeline was responsible for 21,000 barrels of oil spilled into North Dakota.

The pipeline would carry over 800,000 barrels of semi-viscous, carbon intensive, and toxic tar sands oil. It increases cancer and asthma, destroys ecosystems, and infringes the treaty rights of Canadian First Nations.  The Environmental Protection Agency notes that the tar sands carbon emissions are 82% greater than the average crude refined oil in the United States.

The youth fight for climate protection against the carbon emissions that would be released by the deadly oil. Newcomer protests to make a change. “Today’s youth want to send a strong message to Obama that they are not okay with the pipeline. We need to find long term energy sources that are renewable and sustainable,” says Newcomer.

The pipeline would exist well after 2020. Newcomer believes that “Our small steps are for our future and our children’s future.”

“It was a neat experience to make a difference and it was a cool chance to bring UWL students together. No change will happen if no body does anything,” states Newcomer. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Whitney uses composting services, by Samantha Loomis

Whitney dining services, along with all other food sources on campus, utilizes a newly implemented composting system. Coffee grounds are composted from cafes all over campus as well as all the trimmings from fruits and vegetables. 

Manager Nori Yamashita says, “We have a truck that goes around campus and picks up all the compost. I notice there are two buckets full by dinner time. Still a lot going into the waste, [we are] not capturing as much [compost] as we can.”

At this time composting is off-site, taken away by trucks. In the near future, Western Technical College is building a new facility that University of Wisconsin-La Crosse will be able to utilize and work with the composting program at Western Tech. The composting facility will still be off-site; however, there will be greater benefits from working closely with Western Tech.

Currently, UW-L’s student-powered composting crew ordered a vermicomposting system which is “a natural method for speeding up the breakdown of vegetable scraps through the use of worms.” This crew is separate from the dining services composting; both receive the waste from the same sources.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Feel safe on campus?, by Stella Nathan

The University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse doesn’t have security guards around the school grounds or in classroom buildings. Last year on campus a student walked into one of the classrooms with an empty rifle slung over his back. The teacher did not even notice the student. The situation was taken care of and luckily no one was injured.

There have been at least 44 school shootings since the Newtown school shooting on December 14, 2012. 36 percent of the 44 shootings took place on college campuses and universities. 

K-12 schools have safety perceptions put in place to try and protect the students. The school doors are supposed to be locked at all times. In many cases, visitors must ring a bell to be buzzed in to enter, and they have to show some form of photo ID, and sign in. Sometimes visitors have to wait at the door and may not even go back to the classrooms.

These safety measures are put in place for k-12, but colleges and universities work a lot different. At UWL the side doors to the dorms are locked and one can only gain access with the correct student ID. But the front doors of the dorm halls are unlocked until 10 at night. Anyone can walk in. The school also does not have security guards standing at the major entrances checking IDs.

The classroom buildings are open to the public. They are not locked. Very few teachers keep their actual classroom doors locked as well.  The teachers most likely do not have the keys because the classroom buildings are used by many different teachers and staff. If a threat were to enter the school, there wouldn’t be very many forces to stop it. Campus police are one call away, but there isn’t any presence of security.

People could argue that UWL is a very safe school and that not a lot of crime happens here; But it only takes one person who decides that they want to shoot up a school.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

UW-L Area Sidewalks Difficult to Navigate, by Bryan Hall

Poor sidewalk conditions have recently made UW-L student’s walk to campus a danger. Freezing rain followed by low temperatures and snowfall created paths ridden with large divots, patches of ice, and piles of snow.

Most areas on campus have been maintained well enough. They are frequently shoveled and salted, but many of the connecting walks right outside of campus are in worse condition.

Large stretches of sidewalk throughout the area have been left unkempt. Even a week after the ice storm of Feb. 20, which closed the campus that day, LaCrosse Street from City Hall to West Avenue was ice-covered the whole distance, both sides.

The City of La Crosse requires residents to clear the sidewalk areas that extend around their property of all snow and ice. This snow should be deposited in the border areas between the curb and the sidewalk. The problem with these policies occurs when snow and ice are frozen into a hard pack, which can be difficult or impossible to break up with a standard shovel.

La Crosse City Ordinance 5.08 states “If packed snow cannot be removed; it should be treated as ice and sprinkled with ashes, sand or salt until such a time that it can be removed.”

The fine for an infraction of this ordinance is $2.50 per lineal foot of sidewalk for properties that are not shoveled a day after snowfall. Most student leases will require the tenants to uphold the shoveling ordinances, but they are not always strictly enforced.

Warming temperatures have brought a temporary respite, but the 2014 Farmer’s Almanac predicts average 25 degree temperatures and consistent snowfall throughout the month of March. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Winter Meter Reminders from Wisconsin Public Service and Xcel Energy, by Madison Norris

An abundance of snow this winter and more in the forecast prompts reminders about snow removal, piling of snow and melting icicle information from Wisconsin Public Service and Xcel Energy.

Customers choosing to clear roofs from snow using shovels or rakes should be extremely cautious working near power lines. Xcel Energy suggests staying more than 10 feet away from power lines when removing snow from roofs.

Electric and natural gas meters covered with heavy snow should be cleared by hand or broom. Use of shovels, rakes and other tools can damage the equipment.

Radiant heat from the sun can melt snow even at below freezing temperatures. It is important to remove icicles that grow too long to prevent dripping water from refreezing on meters. Large icicles that break off could cause damage to the meter creating a safety hazard or loss of gas service.

Xcel Energy says a gas meter covered in snow or ice can also cause a natural gas leak.

“I had no idea that I even needed to check my meters for snow or ice buildup. It is scary to think that it can happen so easily and can quickly lead to really dangerous situations,” says La Crosse resident Brandon Forcier.

Customers who notice ice on the meter or are concerned that the meter's regulator vent may be blocked should call their local energy company for assistance. There is no charge to call Xcel Energy for these types of situations.

Xcel Energy reminds customers to always maintain a clean pathway to the gas and electric meters in case of an emergency or routine maintenance check. The city of La Crosse mandates owners must clear public sidewalks in front of their houses within 24 hours of snowfall. During these times, home or business owners can make it a habit to clear a safe pathway and check on meters as well.

“I can look out at my neighbors and very easily notice no one, including myself, has a clear path to the meters. I suppose no one really thinks about clearing a path in their yard,” admits Forcier.  

Renters should check with landlords to determine whose responsibility it is to clear and maintain meters and pathways.  The utility will send an average bill if a meter isn’t visible, and the full amount could come due at move out and provide an unpleasant surprise, after a winter as cold as this one.

Public or private snowplowing services should use caution when moving snow near utility services and meters. This is primarily important for meters near businesses. Plowing heavy snow onto meters could cause damage resulting in loss of service.

Snow piles should not be piled high enough to be in close proximity to overhead power lines.
In the event of an emergency Xcel Energy customers can call the provided 24-hour emergency contacts. For an electric emergency/power outage call 1-800-895-1999 and for a gas emergency/gas leak call 1-800-895-2999.

For additional cold weather tips regarding heat, carbon monoxide, vents and meters, visit

Sunday, March 16, 2014

World Cheese Championship, Where Else?, by Mikayla Peters

The 2014 World Championship Cheese Contest is coming to Madison, Wisconsin on the 18-19 of March at the Monona Terrace Convention Center.  It is in Exhibit Hall B, from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm. It hasn’t been held in Wisconsin since 1988. Other years the contest has been in Wisconsin include 1960, 1962, 1966, 1968, 1974, 1982, 1984 and 1988. The only other state the contest has been held in is Iowa in 1970. 

              Tickets are sold in advance online at The event features cheese samples from around the world, hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.

               Each Manufacturer of cheese can send up to four entries of cheese in over 35 categories, including two butter categories. There’s a choice of over 50 classes to enter cheese in. Entries can be made from cow’s milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk or mixed milk.

                The World Championship Cheese contest happens every two years. The contest has also been held in Canada, Italy, Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Australia and Switzerland. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Typical spring puddles or a bigger problem?, by Stella Nathan

The University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse has a problem with standing water blocking the pathways outside.

Puddles are one thing, but these areas of standing water are more troublesome. During a hall council meeting, one disgruntled student described the puddles as “lake road blocks soaking their feet.” Large bodies of water are all over campus as well as off campus by the curbs and in the middle of walkways. Sometimes there are ways to get around the puddles but that requires students to try and go single file through the shallow parts of the puddle. 

Students also try walking along the side in the grass but that has melted ice and is slippery. Some students are even avoiding certain areas and taking different routes to class so they don’t have to wade through the water.

The problem doesn’t seem to be getting fixed. A city worker can push the water from the puddles into a sewer, but there are more puddles showing up that are wider and deeper. Near the student health center and in the middle of the pathway far right of Drake Field are just some of the places these puddles won’t drain.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Inexpensive and fun spring break alternatives, by Stella Nathan

Many college students want to do something fun and productive over spring break, but money and time is an issue.

Spring Break doesn’t always mean leave the state or country. There are fun alternatives in close proximity such as volunteering. The YMCA volunteer match system can give you opportunities to volunteer coach and teach youth.

You can also find out how to volunteer in soup kitchens and at your local Goodwill store. Goodwill, along with the YMCA, has volunteering options for mentoring youth. A lot of students at UWL are interested in some type of career path that involves working with young children. Volunteering and mentoring are great ways to get started.

“I started volunteering because I needed to do it for a class. Then I just really actually enjoyed it. It made me feel like I was doing something in the community, not just sitting around,” says Zachary, a business major at UWL.

A road trip can also be another inexpensive way to have fun with friends over spring break. It shouldn’t cost too much money with the costs for gas and hotel arrangements split. Camping is another way to have fun and be productive without spending too much money.
A long time resident of Wisconsin, Lou Ann, says, “I went to a camping site called Silver Springs, in Rio Wisconsin. I took my family and we stayed for a week. It was much better than you would expect. It’s probably more fun to go when it’s warm out.”
There are some camp resorts that allow for camping all year round. They are inexpensive but not your typical “roughing it” experience. Camp resorts will have electricity, TVs, running water hot and cold, as well as pluming and refrigerators. Camp resorts also sometimes have activities planned for guests so you won’t even have to figure out what to do.

The University of Wisconsin Lacrosse goes on spring break March 15th through the 23h.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Alcohol and Cold Weather: Safety First, by Danielle Cook

Combining drinking alcohol with cold weather can have serious consequences, sometimes fatal. Several important tips help avoid danger in chilly conditions.

The best idea for people wishing to drink alcohol in cold weather is to stay indoors at all times. Drinking too much can lead to poor decision-making, such as spending too much time outside. Staying in groups can help reduce the risk that someone will end up on their own in frigid temperatures.

“Whatever decisions you choose to make regarding alcohol, please make sure that you and your friends are dressed appropriately for the weather,” urges Katie Helbing, a senior and Residence Assistant at UW-La Crosse.

Layering clothing is critical for people in pubs or bars and have to walk outside to get there. Bundle up in long sleeves and consider wearing long underwear under pants for extra warmth. Coats, hats, mittens/gloves, and scarves should be worn at all times on cold winter nights to prevent frostbite and hypothermia.

Drunk people often believe they are warmer than usual, due to blood vessels near the skin dilating. This can lead to a false sense of security about going outside during cold temperatures, but people drinking lose heat much quicker in cold weather, since the blood is closer to the skin.

Taking care to avoid slips and falls on ice or snow is also important to one’s safety. Drinking impairs movement and judgment significantly, so maintaining balance is often more difficult in these conditions.

Last winter, UW-La Crosse student Neala Frye died from hypothermia after leaving a bar by herself. The death was ruled accidental.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wisconsin Earns Failing Grade for Drunk Driving Prevention, by Madison Norris

Mothers Against Drunk Driving gives Wisconsin a failing grade because the state does not do enough to prevent people from drunk driving. Wisconsin received a 2 out of 5 rating. 

The state received this rating because Wisconsin categorizes a first drunken driving offense as a traffic case, not a criminal case. In a criminal case blood samples can be taken via search warrant. In a traffic case blood samples cannot be taken.

"Conservative estimates show that a first-time convicted OWI offender has driven drunk at least 80 times prior to being arrested," says MADD. "According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, a majority of drunken driving deaths and injuries are caused by offenders with no prior convictions."

MADD says because a first-offense is considered a traffic case, the punishment for drunk driving is not severe enough. MADD believes this does not give drivers incentive to stay off the roads after drinking.

Michigan, Minnesota and Iowa also received 2 out of 5. The only state to earn a lower rating was Montana.

This poor rating for the region comes after the recent story on national drug and alcohol arrests. According to, five UW institutions ranked in the top 20 in the nation for on-campus arrests per 1,000 students. The University of WI-La Crosse ranked third.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Is your college degree worth it?, by StellaNathan

College students are finding degrees, more expensive each year, won’t get them their desired careers, at least not straight out of college. 40 percent of recent 2013 college graduates are unemployed, and 16 percent are working part time positions, according to a study.

Half of college graduates are underemployed or jobless, says USA today.  One reason for unemployment among recent college graduates is because certain majors don’t have as many job opportunities as others. Unemployment rates are generally higher in non-technical majors. Future employers are finding that college graduates do not have the skills and training that is needed for the current positions, and people are getting jobs or careers not specific to their major, says Forbes.

Over time, a person with a college degree will earn more money than someone with a high school degree. They will also get selected for more job opportunities and have a chance to further their education with grad school and obtaining master’s and bachelor’s degree.  Those with more education and skill would also be the last to get laid off because not everyone would have their credentials.

Moving to a bigger city can make it easier to find a job, as well as getting more training and education after college.  

Monday, March 10, 2014

Intramurals and Their Benefits, by Sam Giunta

            Intramural involvement serves as one of the main outlets for regular physical activity and healthy competition on many campuses. This becomes increasingly more important during the winter months because of the prevalence of varying degrees of seasonal affective disorder.  This physical activity is shown to have emotional and academic benefits in addition to the obvious physical ones.   

             Sports such as volleyball, basketball, trench-ball, tennis, soccer, futsol and flag football are scheduled throughout the academic year at UW La Crosse.  Paid employees of the Eagle Recreational Center referee them.  For many, the incentive of a championship t-shirt is enough to drive competition, leading to exciting shows of amateur sporting.  One UWL sophomore says, “Everyone knows that you’re nobody unless you have a Rec. sports championship shirt.”

            The competition is fun and friendship building, but there are hidden benefits too.   The CDC says that regular physical activity has a significant impact on mental health.  Regular exercise three to five times per week for between thirty and sixty minutes is enough to reap these health benefits, studies have shown.  It has been proven that this regular exercise can keep one’s ability to learn, think and make judgments sharp as he or she ages.  Regular activity also reduces the risk of depression and can even help the active person sleep better.

            Intramural sports play a key role in encouraging this sort of regular physical activity and even standing in for it.  A student who just finished a basketball game said, “Wow, that was a heck of a game, and I’m tired. ”  Another student and intramural volleyball participant sited his experience saying, “If it wasn’t for intramurals, I might never have stepped foot in the REC.”

Friday, March 7, 2014

Smoking on college campuses, by Sam Giunta

       The rate of those who smoke in college has fluctuated the past twenty-five years hovering around 20%. 

      The majority of lifelong smokers start before the age of twenty-four, says the Center for Disease Control.  This implicated college students.  Because of this, smoking bans are increasing.  There are a variety of bans, but the UW- La Crosse currently restricts smoking in and within twenty-five feet of buildings.

            There are some very concrete statistics for why this is and has been a problem in the U.S.  In many cases, about 33% of college smokers, the use of tobacco products is for reducing anxiety.  Academic and social anxiety can cause feelings of depression, making cigarettes an appealing option. 

Another reason for the relatively high smoking rates among college students is weight loss.  Especially among college women, the pressure to be thin is increasing.  The CDC sites nicotine as a proven appetite suppressant, and so frequent use of cigarettes is an effective means of dieting. 

A third cause for many college students to smoke is social interaction.  Social smoking often takes place during study breaks, but is most prevalent when alcohol is also involved.  Smoking is often more acceptable when drinking is involved because of false notions that smoking will reduce the feelings of inebriation.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Technology in UWL Classrooms, by Stella Nathan

Many teachers allow students to bring laptops and ipads to class to take notes or look at assignments online. The technology is great when it works and is not a distraction. 

Some teachers are all for the technology and like to be able to go on computers or laptops and look up information quickly and relay it to the students. Computers used in classes like Journalism are a benefit. Other teachers are more traditional and like to work straight from the textbooks.

Some teachers rely heavily on technology but it doesn’t always function properly. In a 55 minute conjoined class, with creative writing students and art students, the two teachers spent 20 minutes trying to get the doc cam and projector to work. A lot of people are not prepared for technology mishaps and fails. The schools printing system crashes occasionally, once 30 minutes before a class and would not print completed homework.

When the printing system crashes, some teachers allow students to email their assignments instead. When links don’t work, or D2l crashes, or has technical difficulties, teachers and students are not always able to do the assignments planned. And class time is wasted trying to get technology to work.

Technology can also be a distraction. The teachers who allow laptops and ipads into class usually tell students to sit in the back as to not disturb the others. Students with personal computers will sit in the back less than half of the time and are an immediate distraction. The sound of the key board is intriguing. Some students are usually on pinterest or facebook.

“Desire2Learn” otherwise known as “D2L” is used in many universities and colleges. Some schools also use something called “Blackboard.” With Blackboard and D2L, and other tools similar to it, all of the students’ assignments and grades are online. At UWL most of the teachers will use D2L as an easy way for students to know all of the assignments, their grades and look at the syllabus. At UWL, teachers, staff, and the chancellor, use email to keep in touch with students and give them continuous updates about school. Teachers also have doc cams and projectors.

It is helpful to have a computer in class if one wants to look at readings or material for class. Most of the time if a student needs to look at something for class it can be done before or after the class. The teachers will make it so that one need not look at something on a computer. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

UWL Receives Another Commercial Rating, from Kiplinger's

UW-LaCrosse is the 4th best "value" among public universities costing under $30,000 a year. It is ranked behind Unv. Minnesota-Morris, given a 91st ranking overall, to LaCrosse's 57th, but significantly ahead of Unv. Minnesota-Twin Cities, 44th overall.

It's another rating feature from a commercial magazine, Kiplinger's, not an academic accreditation.  UWL also is regularly featured by U.S.News & World report.

Nor is the "under $30,000" category ranked by estimated cost. Minnesota-Morris annually is $4,000 higher than UWL.  Other categories divide colleges into five regions (also sub-divided into public, private and liberal arts).  Unv. Wisconsin-Madison is 2nd in the Midwest and 8th overall, Minnesota-Twin Cities is 9th in the Midwest but only 23rd in UWL's "under $30,000" category.  UWL is not ranked in the Midwest category.

There are other categories for Small Colleges, Large Colleges, and Lowest Debt, also sub-divided.

Overall rankings don't seem compatible with other comparisons. Minnesota-Morris is rated 91st nationally for in-state students and 50th for out-of-state, while costing more than UWL, which is 57th for in-state and 49th out-of-state, but 2nd to UWL's 4th in the "under "$30,000 public" category.  Individual data  includes SAT and ACT scores, application and graduation rates, costs and financial aid, and male-female enrollment. There is no reference to courses, programs, degrees, or employment.

"Under $30,000" is the only cost measure for "value."  UWL's most recent budget data shows 14.3% of budget subsidized by the state of Wisconsin, the rest paid by students.  A Pell Institute study shows Wisconsin would be the 13th state in line to end funding for higher education entirely, by calculating budget cuts since 1980 - not just the recent recession years.

Kiplinger's overall ranking includes 100 universities.  More are included in sub-categories: Marquette, for example, is 52nd for Private Colleges.  Many colleges can find a complimentary ranking in some category.

Note: There was not time or convenience to count total of rated colleges.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Drake Field Suffers "Winter Kill," by Sam Giunta

             Drake Field is suffering a trampling effect.  It impedes grass growth in the spring when the snow melts and leaves streaks of bare ground,  unappealing to the eyes and less useful for recreational activities.

            Students living on and off the UW-La Crosse campus are constantly looking for faster ways to get to class, the dining hall or whatever their destination might be.  In the warmer months, Drake Field is a popular path to take in order to shave a couple seconds off of travel time.  In the middle of winter, with deep snow, there develops a highway of crisscrossing paths.  The paths are uneven, but one can make it across the field with little or no snow on his or her shoes and legs. 

           “It’s not our job to keep the grass nice” says one student, while another says, “I don’t want to get in trouble and it’s not a big deal to take ten extra seconds to get to class, so I avoid Drake Field.”

            A shortcut seems like the perfect solution, but a large pile of snow, blocking one of the most used paths, appeared on the morning of February 2nd.  This did not stop students from carving out an alternate route.  The consequences are not immediate because they affect the grass beneath the trampled snow.  Only time will tell whether the short cuts cause enough damage to the grass to deter short cutters in the coming years.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Mt Lax Missing an Opportunity?, by Bryan Hall

2014 is the first year that slopestyle skiing and snowboarding events are in the Winter Olympics. In slopestyle, riders navigate a course to slide multiple rails and land tricks on large jumps. The sport, however, has been extremely common on ski areas for the last 10-15 years. Mt La Crosse has taken a minimal approach in building courses.

Its freestyle terrain features three small jumps and ten rails. These features are rarely maintained and as a result can be quite dangerous. Last year’s commemorative rail jam was the first event of its kind at Mt Lax, but the state championship for ski racing is held there each year.

While Midwest ski areas lack the elevation and snowfall of major resorts on the West Coast, a slopestyle course, or terrain park requires a minimal amount of snow. As a result, most Midwest resorts invest a lot of time and energy into building a fun and safe course for their riders.

Voted Transworld Snowboard magazine’s number one resort in the Midwest, Granite Peak in Wausau, Wisconsin has taken great steps in catering to the freestyle snowboarders and skiers in the area. The parks feature over 20 jumps ranging up to 65’, and more than 40 rail features. Each year the resort sets up rail jams, big air competitions, and sponsored events from major industry brands. People from all over the Midwest pour in to ride their features, and participate.

“We have two staffed employees that run the groomer for the park,” says Granite Peak employee Kelsey Basylnd. “They’re out there every day to make sure everything is maintained and safe.”

While adoption of these features isn’t required for a resort to be successful, looking at the local population causes some to question if Mt La Crosse is missing an opportunity. Skiing and snowboarding is very popular among college aged men and women, and effectively built terrain can be a deciding factor for these riders, especially when they are struggling to afford lift tickets.