Heartland leaders not worried about Obamas free community college proposal
- Published: 26 March 2015
By Ben Stinemates
NORMAL – President Obama’s free community college proposal could impact Heartland and the community, according to local leaders who don’t’ seem nervous about the president’s proposal.
“The president’s proposal would offer more access to community colleges for anyone who wants it,” said Widmer. He also explained that he supports anything that promotes access to community college, but that the proposal would be a challenge for Illinois because of its financial debt.
Robert Widmer, President of HCC, said: “Heartland’s enrollment has held strong over the past four years despite a decline of enrollment in other community colleges across the country.”
Under the proposal, the federal government would spend about $60 billion to finance the plan and then call on individual states to assist with the rest of the cost, according to the Washington Post.
Widmer explained that the proposal would benefit diversity at Heartland because people of all different backgrounds who weren’t able to attend college may now have an opportunity to. He said there is still a lot of work that needs to be done with the proposal, but he is looking forward to public debates about it.
In January President Obama unveiled his plan to make two years of community college free for anyone willing to work for it, known as America’s College Promise. The president released this message right before the annual January 20th State of the Union address.
Despite the criticism, a local leader is excited about the president’s proposal. “There are so many untrained people in the workforce today,” said Chris Koos, Mayor of Normal. “An educated workforce is hugely important across the country.” He also said that America should look at European university systems and model after it because they offer low-cost access to colleges.
Koos also explained that Heartland is a major attribute to the economy of Normal. “There are so many students from around the state and across the country that shop, eat, live, and spend money here as they attend college.” He said that if the plan did happen the future would be bright. “In the long term there would probably be more people living in Normal and attending Heartland which will help the economy.”
The proposal will need to pass through the Republican-controlled Congress, which is already skeptical, according to Inside Higher Ed.
Local comedians raise money for scholarship fund
- Published: 26 March 2015
By Jasmine Randle
NORMAL—Local comedians came together to raise money for the Challenger Learning Center’s scholarship fund.
Susan Evens, Flight Director/Educator at the Challenger Center said: “the scholarship is for local schools K-12 and teachers to gain hands-on experience that strengthen their knowledge within science, technology, engineering and mathematics” or STEM.
Admission to the event was $20 on or before Feb. 25 and $30 after the 25. The event included Rosati’s of Normal, a silent auction and a cash bar.
At 7 p.m. the first comedian took the stage.
During its “Funnyraiser” stand-up comedy night, the sold out event brought in an approximately over $13,000 prior to expenses, which was an increase of $3,000 from last year. Susan Evens, Flight Director/Educator at the Challenger Learning Center.
“A total of 250 tickets were sold for the event, whether the individuals who purchased a ticket or not attended,” Evens said.
Besides its regularly scheduled missions for groups of children and adults, the CLC also hosts themed events throughout the year.
The prices of a mission vary from season to season, $500 for a fall mission, $600 for a winter mission and $700 for the spring. When schools sign up for their mission schools have the option to fill out the scholarship form which is located on the CLC website.
“The fundraiser(s) help bring the cost of a mission down to half,” Evens said
On Tuesday, April 7th, the CLC will be hosting a Challenger SparkFest Singles Mission from 6-8 p.m., which is geared towards adults in the community who are interested in a unique socialization experience. The cost of admission is $20 which includes a pizza dinner and the mission.
HAC hosts events on campus
- Published: 26 March 2015
By Trevor Lehr
Normal— The Heartland Activities Committee (HAC) hosted its first free family movie night of the year on February 21st. Free family movie nights as well many other spring events are in plan for the HAC.
“Big Hero 6” was presented Feb. 21 in rooms CCB 1406 and 1407.Adults and children filled the two conjoining rooms, as the Golden Globe and Oscar nominated Disney film was projected on an overhead projector near the front of the room. Attendees also signed up for Raffle tickets for free prizes at the end of the film. Once the movie concluded “Big Hero 6” posters were handed out to the winners.
“It was a very lively and family oriented atmosphere; everyone seemed to be having fun before the movie even started.” Said Brendan Bond, a Heartland student who attended the movie “ I’ve seen a couple of the musical artists sponsored by the HAC and very interested in future activities the HAC will offer” he added.
The HAC hosts a wide variety of events including movie nights, bingo, a hypnotist, a mentalist, fall and spring fests, and concerts, that every Heartland student can attend. The HAC hopes to provide free and family friendly entertainment with its activities, said HAC advisor Ronnie Robertson.
“We try to offer one event per week, and take any suggestions student may have, in fact many of our activities are based off of what students suggest, so just email the HAC any suggestions and we will try to take them into consideration” he said.
Students don’t have to sit on the sidelines, The HAC also has multiple positions available that students can apply for including executive producer, managing producer, marketing producer, and recruitment and retention producer.
To be eligible to apply for these positions students must meet certain criteria including having at least six credit hours for a given semester, as well as maintaining at least at 2.00 grade point average throughout the time the position is held.
HAC leaders are looking forward to a great semester filled with fun and student involvement, and the more students that participate, the greater the events could be, said Robertson.
Run: Student organization supports students
- Published: 26 March 2015
By Taylor Soifer
NORMAL— Open Doors is a student run support group at Heartland Community College for students suffering from depression, anxiety or any other issues that they may want help managing.
Open Doors is a peer support group for students in search of acceptance and emotional support, it is a place of trust and confidentiality for people to share their thoughts and experiences in a judgment free environment.
Helena Presswood, president and founder of Open Doors, said, “Open Doors has made me feel like I am not alone in the world in dealing with my issues. I have friends in the room – or at the very least, people who understand what I'm going through on a daily basis. It's a good feeling to know that someone else understands and is there to help keep you moving.”
Nichole Loftus, secretary of Open Doors, said, “The group is open to any students at Heartland, and attendance is not mandatory. Priority number one of the group is that people can come in and feel safe and supported by all other members.”
“Open Doors is a way for students to interact with others that understand what you are going through. Open Doors has helped me to understand my emotions a little better and my boyfriend's emotions as well” said Loftus.
According to Presswood, Open Doors works with HCC Student Counseling Center and is committed to keeping anonymity within the group. Open Doors meets on Friday afternoons from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Instructional Commons Building (ICB) room 1700 at Heartland Community College.
Softball team takeoff
- Published: 26 March 2015
By Brandon Campbell
NORMAL- Head coach Steve Leverton expects much of the same success for Heartland Community College’s women's softball team this year as they’ve had in past season.
“We expect to compete again for our conference championship,” said Leverton, preparing to enter his second season as the head coach for the Hawks’ softball team.
Leverton’s expectations are backed by a string of recent success for the Hawks. Since 2008, the team has won six out of the last seven Mid-West Athletic Conference titles, including a span of four-in-a-row spanning from 2009 all the way through 2012.
On a national scale, The Hawks achieved third place nationally in 2008, and were the NCJAA D-II national champions in 2009, according to http://www.heartland.edu/athletics/softball/. The Hawks will start the 2015 campaign ranked 16th nationally.
This year’s team is a mix of returning sophomores and new coming freshman. Among seven sophomores on the team is Alexis Tarver, who, as a freshman, led the nation in homeruns, runs batted in, and total bases (16, 67, 155). She also led the nation in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage (.477, .531, .901). These accomplishments netted her a spot as a First Team All-American athlete, meaning she was among the best of the best in the entire nation.
But even with the slight tilt of seven sophomores and 10 freshmen on the current roster, Leverton says that the experience the sophomores hold is gold, and that the freshmen will look towards the older group for guidance at times. “The freshmen have the skill and the ability, but they haven’t been on a road trip to where they get back at 11p.m. and have to be up at 8a.m. for classes, or when we stay in a hotel for a couple of days,” said Leverton.
Freshman third-baseman, Riley Phipps, agreed that the sophomore’s experience is crucial, and feels that it’s present on this team. “It’s always important to have experience and to have leadership from the sophomores, and that’s something I feel we have,” said Phipps.
Briley Spencer, a sophomore catcher/first-baseman, feels that the team chemistry will play a part in this team’s success.
“We’re at that point where we know each other’s weaknesses and strengths, so we can pick each other up, and no matter who’s up in the lineup, we feel that they can pull through.”
Home games for the lady Hawks are played at The Corn Crib, just down the street from HCC.
Last 3 seasons:
2012: 57-15 (24-4 Conference record), M-WAC Champions.
2013: 48-12 (21-1 Conference record), M-WAC Champions.
2014: 35-21 (22-6 Conference record), M-WAC Tri-Champions.
Zoo adding new exhibit
- Published: 26 March 2015
By Madison Collins
BLOOMINGTON—Miller Park Zoo is starting construction on its first new exhibit in 11 years this spring.
Jay Tetzloff, zoo superintendent, said: “The new exhibit will feature Greater Flamingos. These natives of Africa are the largest of its species and will have a new home just inside the entrance of the zoo.”
The positioning of the Flamingos’ new exhibit is intentional to draw visitors’ eyes to the “colorful active animals (that) greet you as you enter the zoo,” said Tetzloff. The area is currently unused and just part of the landscape, making the new habitat easy to build, he added.
The zoo is open 7 days a week from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Admission is free for children 2 and under, $4.95 for ages 3-12, $6.95 for adults 13-59 and $4.95 for seniors age 60 and up. Carousel rides are also available for $1.75 depending on staff availability and weather, according to the zoo’s website.
Besides being a place for younger kids, Miller Park zoo is also an excellent resource for college students interested in zoology, said Heartland zoology professor Verona Carr. The zoo also enables students to observe animal behavior and find out the details and qualifications for being a zookeeper, she added.
Funds for the addition come in part from the city of Bloomington and part from funds raised privately through the Miller Park Zoological Society.
When construction bids came in over budget for the flamingo exhibit, the Bloomington city council voted to allow rebidding from other construction companies.
The zoo is changing the plans for the flamingo exhibit including decreasing the size of the pool and the holding building while still allowing room for 20 or more birds, Tetzloff said.
The addition of the flamingos is just the beginning of Miller Park’s 15 to 20 year master plan to renovate the zoo. The master plan includes making a new path through the zoo, more parking space, and new exhibits, according to Tetzloff.
The path will travel through different areas of the zoo divided by continent, including Africa, Asia, Australia, South America, and North America. The renovation will also include a new children’s area.
The zoo is not currently divided into continents, but the flamingos will be starting the continent of Africa when the master plan is fully accomplished, according to the zoo curator Jonathon Reding.
In the summer of 2014, Miller Park Zoo was awarded a $700,000 grant to apply to the master plan. The money came from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in the form of Public Museum Capital Grants program.
The grant will be used on a three phase project including a new parking lot, a concession stand and expanded gift shop inside the zoo, and a new monkey exhibit, according to Reding.
The monkey exhibit will be home to the Debrazza monkey, according to Tetzloff. Debrazzas are native to Africa and olive green in color, easily recognized by their white beard, he added. They hope to break ground this fall.
Miller Park Zoo hosts a variety of family centered events throughout the year. On March 7 there is a 5K to support the Miller Park Zoological Society, Earth Day celebration on Apr. 18, and on May 9 a Star Wars Day at the zoo, according to the website.
For more information call (309) 434-2250 or visit millerparkzoo.org.
Heartland campus delayed opening
- Published: 03 March 2015
NORMAL– Heartland Community College campus is closed until 11 a.m. this morning due to bad icy road conditions.
All classes before 11 a.m. are cancelled. Students should be ready to attend their 11 a.m classes.
According to the weather.com it is currently 30 degrees outside. Wind and freezing rain this morning and more rain this afternoon is expected with a high of 41 degrees. Winds SW at 20 to 30 mph.
As for the rest of the week weather.com is saying cold, but more snow. Saturday and Sunday predictions expect sunny with a high of 43 degrees both days.
Heartland increases tuition
- Published: 20 February 2015
NORMAL– Students may notice an increase in their tuition when they go to pay their next bill.
Open enrollment for summer classes starts March 3rd. A $3-per-credit hour increase was approved by the board Tuesday night. Total cost per credit hour will now be $142. This total includes a $7 per-credit-hour Student Life Fee and a $2 per-credit-hour Program Development and Facilities Fee.
Dean of Enrollment Services Padriac Shinville said that the reason for the increase is the need for more funding.
"We hope to make decisions to positively affect our students rather than negatively affect them" said Shinville. Although tuition is going up, the college has the students full interest in mind and worked with the Student Government Association to make the call.
Tuition is increasing but "the goal is to make the total cost for college go down" said Shinville. The college is trying to balance and save students with direct costs such as textbooks. Shinville also noted that scholarship opportunities have doubled in the past two years and the college has created many on campus jobs for students.
Enrollment on the rise
- Published: 12 February 2015
By Abigail Phinney
NORMAL– Enrollment is up this spring at Heartland Community College.
According to the Tenth Day enrollment statistics at Heartland Community College the total headcount for Spring 2015 is 4,881 students, 132 more than were enrolled Spring of 2014.
Padriac Shinville the Dean of Enrollment at Heartland attributes the increase to several factors, first being “the amount of work the college has invested to welcoming new students to campus.” Second, “the work faculty do to support student success in the classroom” said Shinville. He also believes the increase is a result of the expansion of the College Now program.
Hawks prepare for 2015 season
- Published: 12 February 2015