Sunday, May 25, 2014

Powdered Alcohol Coming? by Megan Sukovich

“Palcohol,” powdered alcohol, has initially been approved for consumer use by the Food and Drug Administration. Similar to Gatorade or Ice Tea, the powder can be added to liquid, or showered on food, but also snorted to feel the full affects of an alcoholic beverage.

State Senator Tim Carpenter plans to introduce a bill to ban the sale of powdered alcohol in Wisconsin. Carpenter says, "The potential for abuse is simply unacceptable."

Criticism is coming from many substance abuse groups across the nation. "Like alcohol-laced energy drinks, this appears to be another attempt to market alcohol irresponsibly to young people. Add to this the fact that Wisconsin is the only state in the nation where the first OWI is not a crime, and you are mixing a dangerous cocktail with powered alcohol. It took several tragic deaths before alcohol laced energy drinks were pulled off the market. I don't think we need to wait for a similar tragedy and we should ban the powdered alcohol,” says Carpenter.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Wisconsin is the 8th highest in the nation per capita in alcohol consumption. states that, “A package of Palcohol is 4" x 6".... almost five times bigger than a 50ml bottle of liquid alcohol so Palcohol is much harder to conceal.” The site also states that it is not any more dangerous than liquid alcohol, but will be sold only to individuals 21 and up.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

How universities affect the environment, by Sam Giunta

            Universities, while benefiting thousands of students in many ways, have a large impact on the environment and sometimes a bad one.
            Universities have a wide range of needs required to sustain the campus.  They need large supplies of energy, water and paper—these are the most prevalent environmentally impacting resources.
Students, teachers and faculty use about 900,000 tons of paper per year.  Though this is decreasing with the rise of technology, paper is still a staple on the college campus.  This aspect of universities’ effect on the environment is often overlooked because of what is thought to be a necessity for hard copies of any sort of writing or assignment.  To combat this use of paper, recycling is the main tool.  By recycling one ton of paper, seventeen trees can be saved and sixty pounds of air pollution can be avoided. 
A UW-L sophomore sees these environmental effects and argues, “there are some necessary things we do that aren’t the best for the environment, but paper use can be greatly reduced.  Teachers and students just have to be willing to trust in technology and go beyond the hard copy.”
Energy is also a large part of campuses’ environmental footprint.  Universities need energy to provide a number of services to students: food services, maintenance services, good lighting in classrooms and so on.  With the advancement of technology and its prevalence, an increasing amount of power is needed by universities, especially considering many students have their own technological devices.

Lastly, just as energy, water is widely used.  Water is not only needed for cleaning, personal use, drinking and other student related things, but campuses must also irrigate water to care for on campus green areas and sports fields that require water to preserve aesthetically pleasing looks.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

College Students and Multiple Stress, by Stella Nathan

Consulting many different lists of top stressors for college students, and asking different sources, the results will be varied.  But finance always showed up somewhere on these lists and was always near the top.

Many college students are worried about debt and the cost of college. They are also worried about the job market. On BusinessTime’s list of top stressors for college students, four of the five stressors were related to money. Students needing to repay loans, the cost of education, borrowing money for college, and needing to find a job after college were the most stressful things.

Other lists said that roommate conflicts, relationships, time management, and family responsibilities were contributors. A UWL counsellor can attest to that: she says that students at UWL also stress over academics, depression, anxiety, family-related issues, other non-family relationship issues, or finances.  

A number of students on campus at the University of Wisconsin Lacrosse said that they felt pressure to succeed. Some said that they felt pressure from their parents to be perfect, and others said that they just put it on themselves to be perfect.

Jason Ebbeling, director of residential education at Southern Oregon University, says that “These days, students worry that even with a college degree they won’t find a job that pays more than minimum wage, so even at 15 or 16 they’re thinking they’ll need to get into an M.B.A. program or Ph.D. program.”

Freshmen in college and 5th year or beyond college students have the most stress, but for different reasons. 5th year students worry about increasing debt as they continue their education. Freshmen stress over their new-found responsibilities in college.

One thing not prevalent in the past that contributes to the stress levels in college students is the unemployment of their parents. Students have to take out more loans and get summer jobs to help pay for living with their parents or save up for college, as parents can no longer support them.

Some students are ok at handling stress, but other students find that stress triggers mental health problems, some that they were not aware they had. Stress is linked to depression and anxiety in college students. In young adults (18-33) stress levels are higher than the national average, according to USAtoday. 39 percent of young adults say that over the last year their stress levels have increased. 52 percent of young adults report having trouble falling asleep.  Depression and anxiety is the most common mental health problem.  In the last 10 years, counselling and health services at campuses have seen an exponential rise in the number of students who need help, according to Theglobalandmail.

A counsellor at UWL says that from her own personal experience she’d say that 30 percent of students are using the counselling and testing services. She also says that anxiety is the number one pressing concern for students at UWL and she thinks that it is the same for other campuses.

Asking students at the end of spring semester which is more stressful, their answer would probably be the spring semester because they are in the moment of the stress. The results might be different if asked during winter finals. In spring students are moving out, having to worry about living arrangements, graduation and summer jobs on top of their finals.  A junior biology major at UWL says that the end of the year is the most stressful time for him. He says, “I’m dying. I just want school to be over. In the winter session you’ve still got energy, you’ve only been here a couple months, and the weather is nice in September, usually until October. But it was a horrible winter when we came back from break and it’s still cold in May!”

Another student who is a Junior English major at UWL says that she prefers the spring semester because the end goal is summer, and that all she has to do is write papers instead of take a bunch of exams.

A student who is graduating from UWL on Sunday says he prefers the winter session. He wishes there were more weeks for him to get everything done, and that he is worried about his future after college.  

Monday, May 19, 2014

La Crosse Bluff Hikes, by Danielle Cook

            La Crosse residents have the unique opportunity to explore nature when the weather gets warmer and spring approaches western Wisconsin. The Myrick Hixon EcoPark provides a hub to many bluffland and marsh trails. Grandad Bluff Park is another popular location for visitors, offering a complete view of the city below, from La Crosse’s most famous bluff, part of the Hixon family gift to the city.

            The EcoPark is a collaborative nature reserve supported by community organizations such as the earlier Hixon Forest Nature Center, seven local Rotary Clubs and the City of La Crosse. In 2007, the Myrick Park Zoo was transformed into a community nature attraction designed to be environmentally friendly and teach visitors about La Crosse’s wildlife and natural landscape. The EcoPark has six suggested hiking paths, and bikes can also be ridden on some trails.

            Grandad Bluff Park was first made accessible to the public in 1912. It is celebrated for its spectacular vista of the city of La Crosse down below the bluffs, with an expansive view of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa from the top. Wisconsin Trails readers voted it “the most scenic view in the state.” Grandad Bluff is the largest bluff in the La Crosse area, with an elevation of 600 feet.

In April 2012, a renovation of Grandad Bluff Park was completed. The park itself has a shelter, coin-operated binoculars and picnic areas. The connected bluffs also have six trails suitable for hiking, trail running, or biking. In the winter, specific trails like the Medary Quarry or Welch Trail can be used for snowshoeing and skiing.
            “I love hiking the bluffs,” noted UW-L sophomore Dani Cox. “There are different trails you can take depending on how adventurous you want to be. No matter which one you choose, the view is always worth it!”

            Some trails close temporarily, for safety and to prevent damage during wet Spring and rainy weather.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Thousands in Grandad Bluff Half Marathon & Other Races, by Danielle Cook

About 3500 La Crosse residents and visitors participated in the annual Festival Foods Grandad Bluff Half Marathon recently, a variety of events, including a relay, a 5K run and walk, Coulee Region bike tours, a running time trial, and free youth races held at the riverside.

“I was really nervous before the race,” explained Lexie Krueger, a UW-La Crosse sophomore in the half marathon. “When we sang the national anthem, though, it became real. The coolest part of the run was going down the bluffs, and then seeing the waterfront with everyone cheering you on at the end is the best feeling ever.”

Registration fees pay for permits and personnel who organize the event, with additional profits donated to charities including the St. Clare Health Mission, the La Crosse Youth Enrichment Association, and Special Recreation of La Crosse. The top three male and female participants in 5K run, half marathon, half marathon relay, and bluff challenge received special awards for their achievement. Awards ceremonies were held at the band shell in Riverside Park.

The event is funded by extensive sponsoring from local corporations, as well as the entry fee for registrants. The half marathon is capped at 3000 participants, who run and walk a course beginning at the top of Grandad Bluff and descending through bluff forests and residential neighborhoods. The race finishes at the banks of the Mississippi River downtown.

The event began in 2009, with the goal of celebrating La Crosse’s ambition to become America’s healthiest city. Annual partners include the City of La Crosse, Festival Foods, Gundersen Health System, Mayo Clinic Health System, Altra Federal Credit Union, Ho-Chunk Nation, Smith’s Cycling & Fitness, and Advertising Concepts.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

De-stressing for Finals, by Danielle Cook

With exams and end-of-semester projects piling up, learn how to relax when the studying gets stressful. Here are a couple proven ways to calm down when a break from all the hard work is much-needed.

First, exercise is a perfect method to put your mind and body at ease. Doing yoga can help relax and even breathing, which balances heart rate and promotes improved blood flow. It also allows for muscle stretching and release of tension. Running or playing sports can flood the body with endorphins, giving the athlete a positive influx of hormones, which combats stress signals. Psychologists suggest that just ten minutes of walking can be as effective at relieving anxiety as a 45-minute heavy exercise session.

Getting enough sleep each night is crucial to maintaining focus while studying during the day. Students should try to sleep at least six to eight hours a night. Pulling all-nighters to work on a paper may seem like a good idea at the time, but lack of rest will eventually exhaust the body to an extreme. Turn off lights and put electronics away, since bright lights trigger staying awake longer.

Listening to music can be a great way to de-stress! Positive, calm music can help lower blood pressure and promote heart health. When trying to memorize something, associating facts with music can assist in information retention. Research has proven time and again that music can improve intelligence. One in four people, according to a study by the mental health charity Mind, reported that listening to music on the way to work helps them de-stress.

Violinist Yehudi Menuhin once said, “Music is a therapy. It is a communication far more powerful than words, far more immediate, far more efficient.”

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Heroin in La Crosse, by Megan Sukovich

The La Crosse Police continue to battle a heroin. “I see heroin in our community almost every day that I work,” says La Crosse Drug Unit Supervisor Detective Sergeant Andrew Dittman.

Heroin is cheap and accessible, a continued euphoria, but not as expensive as prescription narcotics. “I believe it is a combination of people desire to finds a cheaper source of opiates when they engage in prescription drug abuse as well as the fact that it has become much more readily available,” says Sergeant Dittman.

Heroin is not commonly seen on the college campuses in La Crosse. Scott Rohde, Chief of the UW-L Campus Police says, “We’re an island. Like meth, we typically don’t have it on campus.”  But he adds that the low cost could change that.

Heroin, scientifically known as diacetylmorphine, is an extremely addictive opioid that contributed to 3,094 deaths in 2010, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An average addict spends between $100 -$250 a day to support their drug habit.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention Drug recorded that overdose was the leading cause of injury death in 2010 among people 25 to 64 years old. Drug overdose caused more deaths than motor vehicle traffic crashes.

“We have had several overdose related deaths this year,” says Sergeant Dittman. However, city officials are able to use the drug Naloxone, also known as Narcan, to aid in preventing death. This drug is used to counter the affects of opioid overdose by boosting blood pressure and heart rate, often times immediately awakening people who have overdosed. In 2013 emergency responders say they've used the antidote at least 200 times. That number is 5 times higher than just 6 years ago. 

Sergeant Dittman advises students to play their part to keep the community drug free. “Hopefully we can help people make informed decisions about what they put into their body.  Students should study the causes of addiction to empower themselves. They should have discussions about the causes and effective solutions to opiate addiction.”

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Cell Phones and Cheating, by Sam Giunta

            Increasingly, schoolchildren 13-17 are using their cell phones to cheat in school instead of paper notes, writing on arms or on the brims of hats.
            According to, 83% of high school students have cell phones, and over half of them since they were twelve.  Compared to even five or ten years ago, this number is drastically changing.
            Even more startling, over 35% of students with cell phones admit to using them to cheat on tests.  52% of these students say that they used the Internet on their smart phones to cheat. states that the problem lies within the mindset of students and parents.  Parents whose kids have cell phones are unaware and unwilling to consider that their kids use their cell phones in school.  65% of kids admit to using their phones in school, whether for cheating or other reasons, but only 23% of parents think their children do this.  Additionally, many students do not even realize that they are cheating or doing something against school policies.  One in four students think that accessing notes on a cell phone, texting friends with answers, or using a phone to search the Internet for answers during a test isn't cheating.
            This sort of cheating carries over into the home as well.  38% of students say they have copied things from the web and passed them off as their own work. It also carries over into college, but not in the same ways.  “My teachers don’t seem to care if I have my phone out during class.  I could cheat but it would be difficult.  Tests are really different than in high school,” says a University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.         

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Public support of the LGBT community has grown significantly among Wisconsinites, by Stella Nathan

The acronym, LGBTQ+ has been getting more letters added on to it over the years.

 LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. People more familiar with or apart of the LGBT community also add on the letter “Q” which stands for a person who is questioning their sexual orientation or identity. The letter “A” is added on sometimes for asexual, not “ally” as people often think. The letter “P” is included sometimes and stands for pansexual.

Over the years the country has become more accepting of the LGBT community, according to FairWisconsin. 17 states have legalized gay marriage, Wisconsin is not one. However limited rights to same sex couples in Wisconsin have been recognized. Domestic partnerships in Wisconsin provide select rights, such as the ability to inherit a partner's estate in the absence of a will, hospital visitation, and the ability to access family medical leave to care for a sick partner. Wisconsin was the first state in the Midwest to enact any form of recognition for same-sex unions. 

All of Dane County bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, county government (public) employment, and for companies that contract with the county. The City of Milwaukee also bans discrimination based on gender identity and expression in private and public employment, housing, and some public accommodations. Madison as well takes part in banning discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

According to Fair Wisconsin, Wisconsin has become significantly more accepting of the LGBT community. Support for marriage equality in Wisconsin stands at a 51 percent majority. Voters also support basic discrimination protections for the transgender community. Republican and conservative voters are also experiencing a cultural shift in acceptance, says FairWisconsin.

For more information on LGBT support in Wisconsin, visit  

Friday, May 9, 2014

La Crosse Marsh Flood, by Madison Norris

The La Crosse marsh flooded after last week’s rain and because of the winter melt-off being much later this year. The water appears to be five inches deep by mid-week in the innermost part of the path. It was impassable and people were forced to turn around.

It can be a dangerous situation to try to pass through moving water even at this depth.

The low section of the pathway in the photo was put in a few years ago to prevent widespread flooding damage and it seems to be working. This section is sloped downward in order to keep the flooding isolated to this particular spot and to prevent washing-out the entire path.

Culverts are also working in order to keep down the pressure from the rising water. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

La Crosse Police Department Focus on Bycicle and Pedestrian Safety, by Madison Norris

The La Crosse Police Department has been awarded two Department of Transportation grants recently to place additional patrols in the community to focus on Bicycle and Pedestrian laws and safety. The goal of the project is to educate the community on the existing laws and ordinances to pedestrian, bicycle and traffic laws.

“It is more common for cars to keep going at crosswalks than actually stop for pedestrians. Crossing West Ave can be a nightmare at times. It is common for one lane to stop for a pedestrian, but the second lane will fail to see someone crossing and they just drive right through,” says UWL sophomore, Michelle Kilby.

The La Crosse Police Department will be using high visibility pedestrian and vehicle enforcement in areas determined to be places of concern in the 2012 Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan.

There will be several officers at peak times and locations to enforce pedestrian, bicycle and traffic laws. The enforcement will include bicycle patrol, foot patrol, pedestrian, and traffic enforcement. Both uniformed officers and plain clothes officers will be on duty. There will be tickets written.

The first of several enforcement actions began on April 4.

Locations of concern in the City of La Crosse for pedestrian and bicycle safety:

West Ave: at State, Cass, King, and Pine Street.
Losey Boulevard: at Ward, Mormon Coulee road, and corridor in general.
Jackson Street: at 9th, 10th, and Market Street
4th and La Crosse Street
7th and Cass Street
Campbell Road and State Street.
Gillette Street and George Street.
33rd Street; No sidewalk area.

Specific rules and regulations for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians can be found by visiting Chapter 9 of the Municipal codes at

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Renting & Privacy Rules, by Megan Sukovich & Madison Norris

Renting presents issues of privacy for the involved parties. Tenants want privacy to be respected while landlords and inspectors want to perform effective jobs.

There is a myth that landlords have to give a 24-hour notice before entering a rental property. According to The Wisconsin Way tenant’s rights fact sheet, a landlord has the right to inspect, repair, and show the premises at reasonable times with a 12-hour advance notice. The landlord may enter with less notice in the case of an emergency or if the tenant agrees to a shorter notice.

“It can sometimes feel weird when a landlord comes over. You’re nervous they will come in and hate the mess, find something they didn’t like, or worse, find something to charge you for,” admits La Crosse student renter, Brandon Forcier.

Landlord-tenant law provides that a tenant has the right to exclusive possession of the unit during the tenancy, unless the landlord and tenant have agreed to a Non-Standard Rental Provision that specifically authorizes the entry. The landlord has no general right to enter the unit without the tenant's permission.
State law does authorize the landlord to enter the premises without advance approval under certain circumstances regarding safety and emergency situations.

Tenants are uncomfortable with inspectors entering their home as well. According to the La Crosse Chief Inspector, Dave Reinhart, tenants sometimes fear the property will be condemned or they evicted if an inspector finds a major issue. Tenant eviction is always a process that involves a court order.

A landlord who receives written notice from a law enforcement agency that the dwelling unit has been declared a nuisance under Wisconsin statutes may evict the tenant. Depending on the purpose of the eviction, failure of pay rent or other contract violation, the tenant will receive either a five or fourteen day notice.

“Some tenants will call with complaints, but when we try to make an appointment to inspect their rental, the tenants change their mind about us coming over,” says Reinhart. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Inspection Program Can Improve Rental Quality, by Danielle Cook & Samantha Loomis

            Many students at UW-La Crosse choose to move off campus as upperclassmen. The streets around campus are largely recognized as student housing areas, with residents occupying duplexes, triplexes, single-family homes and various scales of apartment complexes.

            In order to ensure physical as well as economical safety for the landlord and the tenants involved, La Crosse has rental inspecting guidelines. A new rental inspection program began April 21, requiring landlords to register every year, as well as other new requirements. Among them is a 67 degree Fahrenheit base temperature requirement during the winter, smoke and carbon dioxide detectors and three to five residents allowed per unit, depending on zoning.

            This change in rental guidelines has resulted from a continuing trend of poor property appearance.

            “If you do your research, you can find a decent place to live, but there are some pretty legitimate complaints. Some are tenant issues, and some are landlord issues,” said Dave Reinhart, La Crosse’s chief inspector since 2008.

            Reinhart also explained that single-family dwellings cause the most citations during inspection; most of them were converted by landlords without permits.

            One example of a single-family home with “life-safety issues” is UW-L sophomore Brady Gross’ single-family home on the west side of campus that he shares with four other male roommates. He has been renting his room for about nine months, paying around $210 each month. He and his housemates pay for water on their own and pay for heating to Xcel Energy. Gross notes that his decision to live in that home was very “last-minute,” during the rush for off-campus housing that students encounter on an annual basis at UW-L.

            “Heating is our main problem,” he explained. “Our insulation isn’t great, and drafts come through the door all the time. In the winter, we try to seal the house up, so we don’t lose as much heat, but we keep the temperature down too. It’s easier to just put on more layers than pay for an expensive heating bill.”

            This winter was one of the coldest in history, causing it in turn to be the worst winter for pipes freezing. A house with insufficient insulation will cause the heating bill to increase, especially when a certain temperature is required to prevent pipes from freezing.

             Reinhart says his department receives 5 to12 complaints a week, usually a variety, including heating and freezing pipes, and there could or should be more complaints. “Tenants are afraid of being evicted; some call after leaving with complaint but can’t be helped when they don’t have keys.”

            Gross and his roommates have encountered other problems with their home. A plumbing problem at the beginning of fall semester resulted in a backed-up toilet and sewage filled their basement. Their landlord sent in a professional to handle the situation. Other instances, such as faulty wiring and holes in the walls, have not been reported to their landlord.

            “Our foundation is pretty bad, too,” said one of Gross’ roommates, “You can see cracks in the brickwork, and that worries us a bit as to the stability of the house.” If Gross wants this problem evaluated, the city recommends he goes to his landlord to explain the situation first. After this, an inspector can come to the property and write an order to correct, or a citation. Then, it is the landlord's responsibility to fix the problem.

            One frightening circumstance came to Gross and his roommates in the form of an unwelcome bat in the house. The wind had blown their door in one night, and a bat flew into the house. Gross and his roommates were unable to catch it, and the bat ended up biting one of the renters during the night. He had to get a rabies shot to prevent the possible consequences of infection. The roommate informed the landlord of the problem.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Public Speaking Center Adds Hours during Finals Week, by Madison Norris

The PSC added staffed hours May 12 and May 13 of finals week for those in need of help on content or delivery for final outlines and presentations. The center may be busy during these times, so appointments are encouraged.

Monday, May 12: 10:00 am- 4:00 pm

Tuesday, May 13: 11:00 am- 4:00 pm

The PSC offers peer consulting for UWL students needing aid on presentations, public speaking assignments, as well as extracurricular public speaking events.

Peer consultants at the PSC provide guidance on topic selection, outlines, content, delivery and visual aids. Consultants also strategize techniques for reducing speaking anxiety and improving confidence.

The advisors are able to provide these additional hours because students are now allowed to work on campus during finals week.

The PSC is located in Murphy 251. Visit  to schedule an appointm

Friday, May 2, 2014

"Neknominate" Is Dangerous Game, by Mikayla Peters

Students around the world are participating in an online drinking game known as neck and nominate, or neknominate. 

The rules of the game are the participant films himself or herself drinking a pint of an alcoholic beverage in one gulp. They then upload the footage to the web. After posting the footage, the participant nominates or challenges two others to complete the challenge. The nominated person must complete the challenge in under 24 hours after being nominated. On YouTube alone, not including social media, there exist over 30,000 videos of neknomination. 

The “challenge” theme is very popular on YouTube, for a variety of risk-taking activities.

UW-L Rec Sports puts a positive twist on the game, following in the footsteps of South Africans. UW-L participates in "NICEnominations. Building managers of the Rec Center perform random acts of kindness in an attempt to spread the kindness across the web and social media. They shovel ice from the common ground, then nominated the Intramural Supervisors. “Students like to one-up each other, so we decided to make a challenge that would be positive,” says Zach Scola, a REC student building manager. “We figured random acts of kindness would easily catch on and spread.” 

Cara Knipfer, a sophomore at UW-L, says “We’re making it a competition of doing something good for your community and working to make that spread farther.” However, this isn't stopping the spread of neknomination across the globe and campus.

Jason Bertrand, the wellness resource coordinator at UW-L, states, "I have met with a few students that were either caught doing this activity illegally (underage drinking or drinking in campus buildings). These students have had a one on one intervention meeting with me.I also was shown a neknominate video of a Wisconsin high school teacher and coach that did this on his public profile page. I am sure he is no longer a licensed teacher." This shows that neknomination is not just a game between twentysomethings to show their own prowess. Adults are being nominated into playing the game. Younger kids connect to the videos through social media and simple internet searches.

"This is a lethal game. The point about alcohol is that it affects your ability to recognize that you're in danger. And it absolutely affects your ability to react to danger. So we have a double whammy," said Dr. Sarah Jarvis, a medical advisor to Drinkaware.

Gundersen Health Systems has on its website a list of things to remember when drinking in order to stay safe. On this list is "Avoid drinking games." Drinking games often lead to acute alcohol poisoning, vomiting, falling unconscious, breathing slowly, becoming confused, turning a bluish-color, and lowering the body temperature. A blood alcohol content four times the legal limit is lethal.

Lawyer Julian Young said that anyone who nominates someone could find themselves before a court - even if the drinking doesn’t end in tragedy. Young said, “Any person would have to prove that the person who did the nomination knew with a degree of certainty what was likely to occur.”

According to Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, more than 1 shot of hard liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer puts a person at risk for intoxication. Gundersen says, "Drinking too much alcohol impairs judgment and can lead to actions that put your health in jeopardy." 

Johnny Byrne and Ross Cummins lost their lives trying to complete this challenge. Johnny drowned after drinking a pint and choosing to jump into the River Barrow in Carlow. He was 19 years old. 

His brother went on Facebook to urge others to stop playing the game. He says, "He [Johnny] thought he had to beat the competition and after he necked his pint, he jumped into the river." What began as just a beer-drinking game turned into an outdo-everyone game. People have upped the alcoholic content, the chemicals added, and the other things they have added to drinks or what they do afterwards to outdo the person who nominated them.

Jason Betrand says, "I first heard about the history of the activity more than a year ago and actually didn't think it would catch on here in the U.S.  Many people don't really know what ‘nek,’ means or the history behind it. I have seen various students performing such acts online. Many students have brought this up to me as well as similar challenges involving alcohol."

“Neck” is English slang for drinking in a swallow; “necro” is also Greek for “death,” suggesting risk-taking, death-defying activity.

"Alcohol in teenagers can be very dangerous. They don't have a lot of experience, they don't know what they're limits are and by the time they've drunk too much it's often too late," said Dr. Richard Besser. However, teenagers and adults aren’t the only ones playing the game.

Nine-year old Rhiannon Scully and two other girls, ages eight and eleven, stole alcohol from Rhiannon's mother. They had seen a video of neknominate on Facebook. They went to a shed behind Rhiannon's house and drank a mixture of vodka, whisky, and orange juice. Rhiannon was in the hospital and needed to have her stomach pumped. 

The mother of the eleven-year-old girl told Facebook to ban all videos of neknomination "to protect the children." The grandmother says that Facebook is fuelling neknomination. She says, "I don't agree with the craze or Facebook allowing them [the videos] to be posted at all. It should be banned. It worries me that children younger than nine can be on there looking at these things."

However, Facebook has clear rules, stating that no one under the age of 13 can use Facebook. They are not responsible for young children who lie about their age to gain access to social media. Facebook said in an interview with CNN, "We do not tolerate content which is directly harmful, for example bullying, but behavior which some people may find offensive or controversial is not always necessarily against our rules. 
We encourage people to report things to us which they feel breaks our rules so we can review and take action on a case by case basis." Facebook cannot confirm the age of every single person using their website. Children may have Facebook pages set up by themselves, their friends, or even their parents. Even children without their own Facebook page can sometimes gain access to these videos through a Facebook page left up by an older sibling or parent.

Drinkaware, a charity funded by the drink industry, said more than a third of 10 to 17-year-olds who use social networking sites have seen photographs or videos of their friends drunk.

"I'm sure we can all remember feeling invincible as a child and keen not to be left out of the crowd, but as parents we know the real danger of a trend which encourages young people to take unnecessary risks and to put pressure on their friends to do the same," Drinkaware chief executive Elaine Hindal said.

A teacher from a Canadian university said, “If you think about the people that are university-aged, they're going to have friends in high school. They're probably going to dare people from high school to do it. And then those people aren't that far removed from somebody in junior high. So you know, the age gets younger as the limits get pushed.” 

In Calderdale district of West Yorkshire, a 10-year-old boy filled a glass with Nando's sauce, cream, mayonnaise, and vodka. He had been nominated by his friends. He had to be seen by a doctor after almost immediately being violently ill.

A 16-year-old girl from Newcastle says about her under-18-year-old friends, "They mix things like mouthwash, raw egg, and ketchup, then add vodka shots."

Neknominate is thought to have originated in Australia, and has seen participants post videos of them drinking alcohol mixed with dog food, raw eggs, live goldfish, and dangerous chemicals. It became popular in 2014. Due to the nature of the game, it spread quickly. One person nominates two, those two nominate two each, and those four continue the tradition. Participants began drinking more alcoholic drinks in an effort to outdo the person before them.

In Dunbar, East Lothian, rescue teams had to save a teenager. The teen had downed wine and gin before diving 40ft into a harbor at low tide. The teams were under pressure, because another teen boasted he would jump off Redcar Pier in North Yorkshire.

A YouTube videa was uploaded entitled "31-year-old man from London in serious condition after drinking de-icer." The video shows the man drinking a pint of kitchen cleaner, de-icer, chilli powder, and vodka. 
At least five deaths have been linked to neknomination. One Cardiff man is thought to have drunk a pint of vodka. A London Hostel worker mixed a bottle of white wine with a quarter bottle of whiskey, a small bottle of vodka, and a can of lager.

The popularity of the game in the UK came from Ross Samson, a London Irish rugby player. He posted a video on Christmas Day, saying, "I nominate all of you whose birthday it's not."

Neknominate seems to have been around for a while. A British man mentioned it in 2011 on Twitter. A group of South Africans adapted the game in 2014, making it a challenge to perform random acts of kindness.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Writing Center Offers Pre-Finals Hunker Event, by Madison Norris

The University of Wisconsin- La Crosse’s Writing Center invites students to the very first Writing Center Pre-Finals Hunker.

The event offers students a concentrated, four-hour period to work on papers due during finals week, says Writing Center director, Virginia Crank. From 6-10 p.m. on May 7, students are welcome to utilize the Writing Center tables and receive help from the available Writing Center tutors.

“The Writing Center tutors have really helped me out in the past. They can help with big concept ideas or even help identify grammar errors throughout the paper,” says UWL sophomore Michelle Kilby.

Snacks and beverages will be provided as well as periodic breaks for activities like stretching and playing games. Students who stay the entire time are eligible to win a $25 gift card to MOKA.

“This event is not a social; it’s designated to be an isolated time to finish papers,” says Crank. The periodic activities and the chance to win a MOKA gift card are being used as an incentive for students to stay the entire time to complete assignments.

Registration is required and is limited to 20 students. Sign up by emailing
The Writing Center is located in 253 Murphy Library. The event will happen in rooms 253 and 256 Murphy.

Those interested in making another appointment before the end of the semester can visit Walk-ins are welcome as well.