March 22, 2010 The Digest

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March 22, 2010

The Digest

What’s Happening at KVCC

What’s below in this edition

 

String music galore (Pages 1-3) ‘Visit’ Germany (Page 15)

Diversity confab (Pages 3-5) ‘Cedars’ dialogues (Pages 15-18)

Down-home pickin’ (Pages 5/6) ‘Star Trek’ (Pages 18/19)

Poet Tom Lynch (Pages 6/7) Strengths Week (Pages 19/20)

Trix Bruce (Pages 7/8) Career roundtables (Page 20)

Artists Forum (Pages 8/9) International Fair (Page 21)

Change your race (Pages 9/10) Sunday Series (Pages 21/22)

 ‘Techno’ teaching (Page 10) Financial Services (Page 22)

Wellness screens (Pages 10/11) In the news (Pages 22/23)

IRS aid (Pages 11/12) Dress for Success (Page 23)

3 sky shows (Pages 12/13) Pioneer hotels (Pages 23/24)

 ‘Peanuts’ pitch (Pages 13/14) Newspapers’ future (P-24/25)

KVCC grants (Page 14) E-mail alert (Pages 25/26)

And Finally (Page 26)


Kalamazoo reigns as ‘Fretboard Capital’

Every string will be attached and they will all pass over fretboards in a musical way when the Kalamazoo Valley Museum hosts its fifth annual Kalamazoo Fretboard Festival March 19-21.

Free to the public and nothing to fret about, the annual salute to the community’s legacy of “pickin’ ‘n’ singin’” will feature concerts, workshops, hands-on activities for children, vendors, and presentations over the three days.

The trio Four Finger Five will kick off the festival on Friday (March 19) with a pair of concerts at 6:30 and 8 p.m. in the museum.

The celebration of Kalamazoo's history of stringed-instrument design, manufacture and performance continues on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. with a full day of concerts and workshops. Sunday, designated as Family Day, runs from 1 to 4 p.m. with three hours of hands-on crafts for children, workshops and more performances.

Participants can meet instrument designers, learn about their trade, watch some of them in live performances, and pick up some tips on how to play the guitar, mandolin, banjo, and other fretboard instruments.

It is sponsored by the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Foundation. The concerts and events will be held in both the downtown-Kalamazoo museum on the first floor and the college’s Anna Whitten Hall next door.

Following the opening-night music of Four Finger Five, among the other performers for this mecca of string instrumentalists on Saturday and Sunday will be:

♫ Brothers Kalamazov, one of whose members, Jay Gavan, originated the first festival while a member of the museum staff – 4:15 p.m. on Saturday.

♫ Portage-based Joel Mabus, the nationally known fretboarder and veteran of past festivals with his alluring repertoire of bluegrass and folk originals – 4:45 p.m. on Saturday.

♫ Patricia Pettinga with Bill Willging and Friends, who specialize in traditional blues and folk music – 12:45 p.m. on Saturday.

♫ The duo of String Cheese with Ali Haraburda and Diana Ladio on the fiddle and cello – 3 p.m. on Sunday.

♫ Gerald Ross of Ann Arbor, a virtuoso on the traditional Hawaiian steel guitar – 3 p.m. on Saturday.

♫ Ren Wall and Friends (Richard Butler, Don Bradford, Rod Wall and James Bradford) – 11 a.m. on Saturday

♫ Celtic Roots – 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.

♫ Mark Sahlgren and Friends – 6 p.m. on Saturday.

♫ Two Track Mind – 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.

♫ Kalamazoo Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra – 1 p.m. on Sunday.

♫ Mockingbird – 1:15 p.m. on Saturday.

♫ Red Beans & Rice – 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.

The new wrinkle for the 2009 festival – and repeated for the fifth – was a “play-in” competition in which local musicians vied for a chance to perform as part of the festival line-up of concerts. The “play-in” was held March 5 at the museum and the winner, Small Town Son, will play at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Mabus and several other performers will double up as leaders of workshops on their specialty instruments, including the dulcimer, banjo, acoustic bass, Hawaiian steel guitar, electric bass, bottleneck slide guitar, mandolin and classical guitar.

In between workshops, performances and demonstrations, visitors will be able to view exhibits. Among those sharing their knowledge and their wares will be professionals who make brands of stringed instruments such as the Big Bend, Mark Ferenc Guitar, Swavson, Charters, and Bloom’s Old Time banjos.

At 11:15 a.m. on Saturday, the museum’s Tom Dietz will speak about “Kalamazoo’s Musical Heritage” as he brings back to life the community’s early bands and orchestras and the founding days of the Kalamazoo Symphony.

The documentary, “Buck Lake Ranch: Nashville of the North,” will be shown at 2 p.m. on Sunday in the Stryker Theater. Created by Mike VanBuren, a member of The Hoot Owls, it captures the history of this popular entertainment venue in northern Indiana from its opening in 1947 through its 60th anniversary in 2007.

The first festival in May of 2006 attracted about 800. It was switched to a March date in 2007 to avoid competing with the Kalamazoo Animation Festival International and future conflicts with the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival.

The 2007 turnout that packed the museum and Anna Whitten Hall led to the decision to move to being a two-day event. Now expanded to three days, the festival has tripled its attendance.

Participants are also invited to bring their instruments for some impromptu jamming with others who appreciate the genres of music created by fretboard instruments.

For more information and events scheduled for the fifth Kalamazoo Fretboard Festival, call (269) 373-7990 or visit this website: Information is also available at the festival’s Facebook page.

Keynoter, ‘How I Got Here’ panel part of 7th ‘Diversity’

The keynote speaker for KVCC’s seventh annual Diversity Conference has shared stage and microphone time with such luminaries as First Lady Michelle Obama and “The Fonz” from “Happy Days.”

In addition to remarks from Greg Forbes Siegman, the Friday (March 26) billing includes an entertainment package that delivers a message and a panel discussion.

Under this year’s theme of “Educating Ourselves and Others,” attendees from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. can listen to the perspectives of keynoter Siegman (8:15), enjoy, a performance by Portage’s Kinetic Affect (9:45), and take part in a panel discussion entitled “How I Got Here” (11 a.m.).

The latter will address family structures, how people grow up, the culture/environment of each person’s childhood, experiences with education, and the challenges and obstacles facing people as they try to move forward when it comes to tolerance.

Among those presenters will be:

  • Bruce Kocher, vice president for academic services, who will talk about how, while raised in a single-parent home, he moved ahead in life.

  • KVCC data-base analyst Jolene Osei, who was born in Zimbabwe.

  • David Hernandez, Puerto Rican from Chicago who is majoring in international studies at KVCC.

Free and open to the public, the conference events will be held in the Dale Lake Auditorium on the Texas Township Campus. Sponsoring the conference are the Educational Community Credit Union, Eaton Corp., Borgess Health, and the L. Perrigo Co.

Siegman’s book, “The First Thirty,” chronicles the first 30 lessons Siegman said he learned in his life that blossomed from college reject to honored graduate to substitute teacher to young philanthropist helping other overlooked students get to college.

The lessons revolve around such issues as community service, diversity, leadership and dealing with setbacks. It is a story of redemption and determination.

A major setback came as an 18 year old when Siegman was rejected by every college to which he applied. Given a chance by a school in Louisiana, he transferred with two years of passing grades to a college closer to his Midwest roots and graduated as a top scholar. He even served a Capitol Hill internship in Washington.

Already sensing more of a mission aimed at community service than material gains, Siegman chose to become a substitute teacher and created a mentoring program to break down racial, cultural and social barriers.

Within 18 months, he had established The 11-10-02 Foundation to help other overlooked students get to college as they encountered heartache, shut doors, and closed minds. In all, he spent eight years in the front of classrooms.

In 2005, he was honored by Princeton University as one of the nation's top social entrepreneurs under 40 for his dedication to speak before diverse groups of people and interests.

He has shared lectern duties with Nobel Peace Prize honoree Elie Wiesel, President Obama’s spouse, Nebraska athletic icon Tom Osborne, and actor Henry Winkler.

His writings have explored the impact of labels and stereotypes, the wisdom of grandparents, how to talk to students about the ramifications of 9-11, and the internal strength of those who deal with physical obstacles.

Siegman has coordinated and hosted hundreds of events to bring people of different races, cultures and backgrounds together in cities throughout the United States, Canada and Africa.

With the arrival of the new millennium, “Good Morning America” buried a time capsule that included a video narrated by Diane Sawyer about Siegman’s efforts to bring people together of different races, cultures and backgrounds.

As he strives to stay mentally, culturally and socially fit, he pays equal attention to physical fitness as a competitor in triathlons, quite an accomplishment for someone who has had four operations on his feet.

“People don’t remember how you were treated,” he says. “They remember how you respond.” It is this attitude that he says has helped him convert barriers into bridges.

The community of Enfield, Conn., in 2005 used “The First Thirty” as its version of Kalamazoo’s “Reading Together” program, which led to him delivering the commencement address at Suffield High School and to a presentation at Asnuntuck Community College where students were reading the book.

The Portage-based Kinetic Affect, the duo that won the recent “Kalamazoo Has Talent” competition, are two spoken-wordsmiths who joined forces in the summer of 2007 after being fierce competitors at local poetry slams. Gabriel Giron and Kirk Latimer have created a new kind of verbal experience.

Giron’s Latino background and hip-hop influences collide on stage with Latimer’s Native American heritage and academic nature. Despite apparent differences, they exhibit similarities. They challenge beliefs, push boundaries, embrace differences, and seek to increase awareness of local and global issues.

Giron admits to a difficult and angry past, vacillating from class bully to class poet. After lazily making his way through high school, he felt oddly drawn to the military. Eight months into his enlistment, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer and underwent cycles of chemotherapy and several surgeries over three years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

The cancer-free Giron said days spent wondering whether he would live or die gave him a new-found perspective on life. He is majoring in film and creative writing at Western Michigan University.

His reflection on cancer survival, military experience, and family relationships enabled him to write on topics with unique vulnerability not commonly explored or spoken by others. By sharing his stories and commenting on what he sees around him, others can be inspired to share their stories, making poetry real, honest, and accessible regardless of age, class or gender.

Now dressed in slacks, dress shirt and tie, Latimer had a history of fighting both inside and outside the ring. He turned his anger from his color-trunked opponents toward himself, resulting in his arrest at the age of 16. He continued a cycle of vengeance and retribution until his senior year of high school when five of his friends and classmates committed suicide. It took him nearly six months to change his approach to life.

Once on the right path, Latimer transformed from a violent boxer to a highly awarded English/education major at Western Michigan University where he began to write poetry. His style of writing evolved from his dedication to academics, the explosive power required of a boxer, and the unique juxtaposition of a prankster loving nature.

An acting coach and an English teacher in high school, Latimer discovered a way to convert his inner turmoil and aggressiveness into a passionate and impacting learning experience. Through sharing himself and past experiences, he seeks to change minds and hearts, while also challenging what he regards as an outdated educational system.

The former poetry-slam competitors challenge stereotypes and provide a forum to individuals who have become too comfortable with allowing their voices to remain silent. Their first production entitled “Word Weavers” confronted male stereotypes, such as the need for men to portray themselves as a dominant force that must remain independent and refrain from overly expressing emotions of love and sadness.

More information is available by visiting the KVCC Diversity Committee’s web site at People should register in advance for the 2010 Diversity Conference on the college’s home page.

Down-home Kentucky music is documentary topic

Those who have been energized by the fifth annual Fretboard Festival can get another dose of down-home music when the Kalamazoo Valley Museum rekindles its series of free Saturday-afternoon showings of documentaries and films.

The March 27 billing in the Mary Jane Stryker Theater at 1 p.m. is “The Rhythm of My Soul,” a PBS production that features rare performance footage of Loretta Lynn, Ricky Skaggs and Bill Monroe, chronicles Kentucky's roots in bluegrass, mountain, country and gospel music, and showcases regional fiddle, mandolin, banjo and dulcimer players.

Free and open to the public, these Bluegrass State musicians illustrate and illuminate Kentucky's rich musical heritage. More famous country stars were born and raised in southern and eastern Kentucky than in any other place in America.

“The Rhythm of My Soul: Kentucky Roots Music” also features a 77-year-old mountain banjo picker, an 80-year-old fiddle maker, and a gospel group made up of retired black coal miners.

Sunday-afternoon jam sessions are also part of the museum's musical attractions. The K'zoo Folklife Organization will gather at 1:30 p.m. on May 2, while the Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association takes over on April 18 and May 16.

These begin at 1:30 p.m. and are free. Concerts and workshops are on the billing, while musicians are invited to bring in their instruments for a bit of impromptu jamming.

Here is the rest of the documentary schedule:

  • “Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown” at 1 p.m. on April 10

  • “Paper Clips” at 1 p.m. on April 17

  • “The Hidden Child” at 3:30 p.m. on April 17

  • Films that are applicable to the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival at noon May 3-6

  • A two-weekend festival dedicated to film versions of Jane Austen classics – “Persuasion” at 10 a.m. and “Mansfield Park” at 1 p.m. on May 15; “Miss Austen Regrets” at 10 a.m. and “Northanger Abby” at 1 p.m. on May 22.

Poet Tom Lynch talks about writing this week

A funeral director whose poetry explores the mysteries of life and death is

the final attraction in the college’s “About Writing” series for the 2009-10 academic year.

Thomas Lynch, whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, Esquire, Newsweek, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Times of London, will be on the Texas Township Campus on Monday and Tuesday, March 22-23.

The “About Writing” presentations in the Student Commons are free and open to the public. He’ll talk about the craft of writing at 10 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. on Monday (March 22) and do a 2:15 p.m. reading on Tuesday (March) 23.     

Lynch teaches in the graduate program in creative writing at the University of Michigan, lives in Milford, and has been a funeral director since 1974. His commentaries have broadcast by the BBC and NPR. His wordsmithing has been assisted by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Michigan Council for the Arts, the Michigan Library Association, and the National Book Foundation.

Lynch has brought his message to audiences throughout Europe, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand. He is a regular presenter at conferences that target funeral directors, hospice workers, medical-ethics professionals, members of the clergy, and educators. That has also garnered exposure on C-SPAN, “The Today Show,” and Bill Moyers’ series on PBS, “On Our Own Terms.”

The author of three collections of poems and three books of essays, Lynch has two other publications due this year – a book of stories, “Apparition & Late Fictions,” and a new collection of poems, “Walking Papers.”

His work has been the subject of two documentaries. PBS Frontline's “The Undertaking,” aired nationwide in 2007, won the 2008 Emmy for “Arts and Culture Documentary.” Cathal Black's film, “Learning Gravity” and produced for the BBC, was featured at the 2008 Telluride Film Festival and the sixth Traverse City Film Festival in 2009 where it was awarded the Michigan Prize by Michael Moore.

Lynch keeps an ancestral cottage in and in Moveen, County Clare, Ireland. It was the home of his great-great-grandfather, which was given as a wedding gift in the 19th century. He traveled to that country for the first time in 1970.

“The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade” was a winner of an American Book Award and finalist for the National Book Award. It is a chronicle of small-town life and death told through the eyes of a poet who is also an undertaker.

"Every year I bury a couple hundred of my townspeople” is the opening line. Most poets seem inspired by death, but Lynch, unlike others, is also hired to bury the dead or to cremate them, and to tend to their families in a small Michigan town.

In the conduct of these duties, he has kept his eyes open, his ear tuned to the indispensable vernaculars of love and grief. In 12 pieces, his is the voice of both witness and functionary.

Lynch, as poet to the dying, names the hurts and whispers the condolences and shapes the questions posed by this familiar mystery. There is homage to parents who have died and to children who shouldn't have. He talks about the lessons for life that mortality teaches.

His “Bodies in Motion and at Rest” offers a reflection on time and its treasures, on love and its power, and on birth, death, and, most importantly, what comes in between.

The New York Times hailed him as "a cross between Garrison Keillor and William Butler Yeats” as he offers glimpses of ordinary people and the ways they approach their own mortality. Lynch, born in Detroit in 1948, guides his readers from the womb to the tomb with a brand of wit and humor.

He graduated from Brother Rice High School in Bloomfield Hills and then mortuary school, taking over his father's funeral home in Milford. He is the father of La daughter and three sons.

For more information about “About Writing,” contact English instructor Rob Haight at extension 4452 or at

She lets her fingers do the talking, acting

Trix Bruce, a deaf storyteller who features visual-gesture movements in her stand-up and theatrical performances, will offer her distinct style of creativity on Friday (March 19) at Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s Texas Township Campus.

Bruce’s show will begin at 7 p.m. in the Dale Lake Auditorium. General-admission tickets for adults are $7 if purchased prior to Thursday (March 18) and $10 at the door. Admission is $5 for children under 12, for students, and for those over 65. Tickets are on sale in the KVCC Bookstore.

Patricia “Trix” Bruce, who hails from Seattle, Wash., and who has been profoundly deaf since she was six months old, is regarded as one of the most talented ASL performers on today’s scene.

Her KVCC presentation, “Tales of a Mad, Mad, Mad ASL World,” artistically demonstrates the spectrum of ASL skills through audience interaction.

Through her creative storytelling, Bruce brings into play various handshakes, 3-D representations, personification, and role shifts.

It is described as a “roller-coaster ride through ASL poetry, storytelling and folk tales.”

As a child, she experienced oral, mainstreaming classes for the deaf and later online education training.

Bruce has been involved in the performing arts since 1980 that has taken her to roles in films and national stage productions of “West Side Story,” “Carousel,” Macbeth, “The Wizard of Oz,” “Snoopy and His Friends,” and “The Miracle Worker.”

Bruce has taken part in the annual Michigan Story Festival, crafting a performance about the experiences of a deaf person in a hearing world.

Earlier in the day, she will be conducting a storytelling workshop titled “ASL (American Sign Language) Role Shifting: He Said, She Said” for current and past ASL students from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Room 4380.

Sponsoring Bruce’s performance and workshop are the Instructional Development Advisory Committee at KVCC and Kalamazoo chapter of the American Sign Language Honors Society.

For more information about Bruce’s appearance in Kalamazoo, contact KVCC instructor Su Cutler at (269) 488-4482 or

Jorgensen Quintet in Lake Saturday night

If you don’t have a clue as to what American gypsy jazz is, the Sherlock Holmes of that genre of home-grown music is coming to Kalamazoo to shed light on the mystery.

The John Jorgenson Quintet, whose Grammy-winning guitarist leader is regarded as a pioneer of that jazz style, will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 20, in Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s Dale Lake Auditorium.

Tickets for the fivesome’s concert are $15 and are available at the college’s bookstores on the Texas Township Campus and in downtown Kalamazoo’s Anna Whitten Hall.

Artists Forum is co-sponsored by KVCC and the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation of Kalamazoo. The series began with the 1987-88 academic year.

The college’s two-concert Artists Forum series for 2009-10 will conclude with an April 17 performance by instrumentalist Darrell Scott, who has composed chartbuster songs for Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Keb Mo, Garth Brooks, Travis Tritt and The Dixie Chicks.

Formed in 2004, the quintet also features jazz violinist Jason Anick, rhythm guitarist Doug Martin, bassist Simon Planting, and percussionist Rick Reed.

Gypsy jazz was made famous by French guitarist Django Reinhardt. In the 2005 movie “Head in the Clouds” that featured Reinhardt’s music and starring Charlize Theron and Penelope Cruz, Jorgenson, who also plays the clarinet, portrayed the Frenchman.

Jorgenson was a six-year member of Elton John's band. Artists ranging from Barbra Streisand to Bonnie Raitt to Earl Scruggs have sought out Jorgenson's guitar work that has been described as “dazzling.”

Whether playing his own compositions or classic standards, Jorgenson and his musical mates John make music that is “equally romantic and ecstatic, played with virtuosity and soul.”

Jorgenson’s articles and lessons on gypsy jazz have appeared in prominent guitar magazines. He has given master classes around the country, and has performed with some of the most respected European proponents of this style. His “After You've Gone” CD is a collection of Reinhardt- and Benny Goodman-styled 1930s swing.

Growing up in Southern California, Jorgenson was playing both the piano and the clarinet by age 8. At 12 he got his first guitar and practiced voraciously while continuing to study classical music on woodwinds. By age 14, he was playing professionally.

Learning first to play rock guitar, Jorgenson absorbed other guitar styles as quickly as he discovered them. This broad musical palette has enabled him to play with artists as diverse as John, Luciano Pavarotti, Raitt, and Goodman.

Jorgenson first came to national prominence in the mid-1980s with the Desert Rose Band, which he co-founded. The band earned five No. 1 singles and Jorgenson won the Academy of Country Music’s "Guitarist of the Year" award three consecutive times.

Following the Desert Rose Band, he formed another award-winning group, the virtuosic guitar trio The Hellecasters. Originally conceived as a "one off" gig for fun, the group went on to produce three CDs and a live video, winning both "Album of the Year" and "Country Album of the Year" from the readers of Guitar Player Magazine in 1993.

In 1994, British rock legend John called and invited Jorgenson on an 18-month world tour. The 18 months stretched into a six-year period that included not only sold-out world tours, but also recordings, television appearances, and collaborations with many other artists including Sting and Billy Joel. In addition to acoustic and electric guitars, the Californian was also featured on saxophone, mandolin and vocals.

Although well-renowned in the pop, country and rock world, gypsy jazz is the style of music closest to his heart. His “Franco-American Swing” is full of infectious gypsy jazz music and co-features the Nashville Chamber Orchestra from Jorgenson’s home port in Tennessee.

In addition to gigs up and down all of California, the Jorgenson fivesome has taken part in “Jammin’ Java” in Vienna, Va., has played with the Les Paul Trio in New York City, been booked into the Hilton Hotel in “The Big Apple, and been the headline act for the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts in Anchorage.

Upon leaving Kalamazoo, the quintet will head for booking in Philadelphia, Boston, Germany, Scotland and London. Jorgenson describes himself as “a proud patron of the only dedicated gypsy-jazz venue in the world” in London.

‘Human Race Machine’ can ‘change’ your ethnicity

A week’s stay of the Human Race Machine on the Texas Township Campus will complement the college’s seventh annual Diversity Conference this week.

From Monday through Friday (March 22-26) in Room 4380, the magic of computer software will allow people to see what they would look like if they were of a different race.

Participants will use their own image to gain a sense of their appearance as a member of six different races.

The exhibit is based on the scientific finding that the DNA of any two humans is 99.97 identical and that there is no gene for race, adding substance to the premise that in a foxhole everybody is the same color – red.

In addition, throughout the week in the exhibit area, there will be showings of the PBS documentary, “The Illusion of Race.”

As with a similar format for the sixth conference in 2009, this experience is open to the public because KVCC’ers have stepped forward to serve as volunteers to monitor the exhibit in one-hour shifts from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The volunteer “watchers” are:

Nancy Taylor, Gail Fredericks, Kristine Goolsby, Rob Kilkuskie, Candy Horton, Lynne Morrison, Jean Snow, Deb Bevis, Robyn Robinson, Anora Ackerson, Carol Head, Ken Barr Jr., Russ Panico, Dan Maley, Sue Hills, Janet Alm, Jackie Howlett, Melissa Farris, Karen Steeno van Staveren, Ruth Baker, Colleen Olson, Joyce Tamer;

Marie Rogers, Bonita Bates, Mary Johnson, Kate Ferraro, Laura Cosby, Mike Collins, Kandiah Balachandran, Leona Coleman, Marion Melville and Marylan Hightree have committed to helping the college open this experience to the public.

Some have signed up for multiple stints.

‘Techno teaching’ topic of Faculty Success Center

“The Appropriate and Inappropriate Use of Instructional Technology” is this month’s topic in the ongoing series of presentations organized by the Faculty Success Center.

The new initiative is operating under the auspices of Grant Chandler, dean of the Arcadia Commons Campus, to assist the college community in focusing time, energy, and conversations on high-quality teaching and learning.

This month’s presentations are slated for Tuesday (March 23) from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., Wednesday (March 24) from 2 to 3:30 p.m., and Saturday, March 27, from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

All sessions are held in the lower level of the Center for New Media. Those who wish to attend can e-mail Refreshments will be provided.

Chandler can be contacted by extension 7849 or

The “Talking About Teaching” program will wrap up the 2009-10 academic year with “Designing Appropriate Learning Activities and Lesson Planning” on April 20, April 21, and April 24.

The Faculty Success Center has also scheduled a new series of presentations about instructional practices at KVCC that is under way.

Chemistry instructor Kim DeClerq will discuss “Inquiry-Based Instruction” on Thursday (March 25) at 2 p.m. in the lower level of the Center for New Media.

The other sessions, instructors and topics booked for the Center for New Media’s lower level are:

  • Marie Rogers (nursing), “Small-Group Discussion,” Tuesday, March 30, at 2 p.m.

  • Theresa Shane and Renee Mielke, “Panapto,” April 7 at 1 p.m.

  • Philipp Jonas (economics), “Learning Teams,” April 17 at 3 p.m.

  • Karen Matson (graphic arts), “Project-Based Instruction,” April 23 at 10 a.m.

Serving on the new center’s advisory team are Chandler, fellow co-chair Schauer, Lynne Morrison, Bill deDie, Jonas, Fran Kubicek, Jan White, Kevin Dockerty, Al Moss, Ron Cipcic, Theo Sypris, and Joe Brady.

Employee-wellness assessments are under way

Sue Avery, a registered nurse assigned to KVCC by Holtyn and Associates, is conducting free wellness screenings and counseling through Friday, April 16, for full-time KVCC employees and their spouses who are both new to the college’s program or continuing participants.

KVCC’ers and spouses can booked their own appointments through their own computer instead of making a telephone call. This can be done by going to the Holtyn website: and following the directions.

Appointments span 30 minutes, meaning the available time slots are on the hour and half hour.

Here are the Texas Township Campus dates and times, all in Room 6044 in the Student Commons:

  • Monday (March 22), Tuesday (March 23), Wednesday (March 24), and Thursday (March 25) -- 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Friday (March 26) – 8:30 3:30 p.m.

  • Monday, March 29; Tuesday, March 30, and Wednesday, March 31 – 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

  • Thursday, April 1 – noon to 6 p.m.

  • Monday, April 5; Tuesday, April 6, and Wednesday, April 7 – 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

  • Thursday, April 8 – 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Avery will be at the Arcadia Commons Campus for employees in Anna Whitten Hall, the Kalamazoo Valley Museum and the Center for New Media on these dates:

  • Monday, April 12 – 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

  • Tuesday, April 13 – 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Wednesday, April 14 – 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

  • Friday, April 16 – 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For those appointments, Avery will be based in 325 Whitten Hall.

While payoffs in the past have focused on one’s personal and individual health, it is now starting to pay off in the pay checks of employees.

The one-on-one appointments include a glucose analysis, an HDL and cholesterol evaluation, a blood-pressure check, a body-composition reading, an assessment of cardio-respiratory fitness, an overall health survey, an individual fitness assessment, and a personal consultation.

The 30-minute screenings can be done on work time. For more information, contact Avery at (269) 267-3712 or She can be contacted for assistance in enrolling in the wellness program for the first time and in registering spouses.

All full-time staff, faculty and administrators – and their spouses -- are encouraged to sign up for this college-sponsored program, even if previous screenings had not identified any health risks.

Participants should wear comfortable, loosely fitting clothing. Short-sleeve tops are recommended. Fasting is not required, but it is advised not to consume caffeinated beverages two hours prior to the assessment and to refrain from smoking.

The testing is paid for by the college.

Income-tax-filing aid still available for staff, students

With the deadline looming for Americans to make good their income-tax IOUs to Uncle Sam, free return-preparation assistance is being made available at KVCC for students and staff whose individual or family incomes were $49,000 or less for 2009.

Working in conjunction with the Kalamazoo County Tax Counseling Initiative’s “Helping You Keep Your Money” program, the college's Student Success Center is hosting the assistance that is supported by the Internal Revenue Service, which provides the software, training, and certifications needed to operate these sites.

As of Jan. 15, people could dial 211 on their telephones to get details on items and information to bring, the locations throughout Kalamazoo County including KVCC, assistance in setting up an appointment, and tax-preparation times.

The tax assistors will be on the Texas Township Campus from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on these Fridays: March 26, April 2 and April 9.

Another way to schedule an appointment is to go online at and click on “tax calendar.” That will take the user a list of locations, dates, times, and items to bring.

The service is provided by IRS-certified community volunteers from the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. E-filing will be available at all locations.

In addition to KVCC, partnering with the Kalamazoo County Tax Counseling Initiative are:

The American Association of Retired Persons, Bowers Manufacturing, Goodwill Industries, the Greater Kalamazoo United Way, Guardian Finance and Advocacy Services, Gryphon Place, the Kalamazoo County Community Action Agency, the Kalamazoo County Department of Human Services, the Kalamazoo Public Library, the Volunteer Center of Greater Kalamazoo, and the W. E. Upjohn for Employment Research.

Among what must – or should – be brought to an appointment to assist in the process are a copy of the 2009 return, a photo ID, Social Security card for the filer and dependents, all W2s and/or 1099s (Social Security), and information about student loans. A full list of documentation is available on the web site.

Mars, 2 other planetarium shows to end run

Time is running out to experience the three shows that were booked to welcome to the Kalamazoo Valley Museum the new, full-color planetarium technology of the Digistar 4.

With the arrival of the first week in April, there will be three new planetarium shows, while the Friday-night attraction of the music of U2 will end on March 26. It will be replaced by a laser show featuring the sounds of Pink Floyd.

There is a $3 fee for planetarium shows, although admission to the museum and its exhibitions are free.

The show “Invaders of Mars” makes it easier to accept that none of us will ever make it to that planet because, thanks to the Digistar 4 technology, we’ve already been there.

“’Invaders of Mars’ is the featured program through April 2,” says planetarium coordinator Eric Schreur. “Mars reached opposition in late January and, while it shines at its brightest, the planetarium show will reveal the discoveries made through telescopes and the space probes that have orbited and landed on the next planet out from the sun.”

“Invaders of Mars” is shown daily at 3 p.m. It is a 25-minute program that offers up-close-and-personal looks at great chasms, canyons and volcanoes from orbiting spacecraft. The robotic landers explore the icy caps and dust storms that sweep across the Martian surface. It will be replaced by “Secrets of the Sun” on April 3.

The planetarium’s family program through the first three months of 2010 has been a converted version of a regular feature, “Sky Legends of the Three Fires.”

Southwest Michigan Native American storyteller Larry Plamondon explains how a coyote scattered the stars into the sky, how a turtle race resulted in the Milky Way, and how a bear hunt resulted in The Big Dipper.

This feature is shown weekdays at 11 a.m., on Saturdays at 1 p.m. and on Sundays at 2 p.m. Taking its place on April 3 will be “Bear Tales.”

A program about finding constellations and planets in the winter nights is shown on Saturdays at 2 p.m. This backyard-stargazing presentation is titled “Winter Nights.” Effective April 3, it will be replaced by a show focusing on star gazing in the spring.

More information is available at the museum’s web site at

‘Peanuts’ team in spring training at museum

While the 1962 New York Mets (40-120) and the 1996 Detroit Tigers (53-109) rate as two of the worst baseball teams in Major League history, the hands-down, no-doubter in that category is coming to the Kalamazoo Valley Museum.

It’s Charlie Brown’s “nine, a bunch of hitless wonders, hands-of-stone fielders and throw-it-and-duck pitchers assembled by the general managership of legendary cartoonist Charles Schulz.

“Peanuts at Bat” is playing its games of fun and frolic in the museum’s first-floor “stadium” through May 1, just in time for spring training for the 2010 baseball season.

To complement the exhibit, the museum’s spring-break, hands-on happenings for youngsters the week of March 29-April 2 from 1 to 4 p.m. will focus on the fun and health aspects of all sports.

The April 11 edition of the “Sunday Series” of presentations will be “Play Ball! – Baseball in Kalamazoo,” a look at the community’s longtime affinity for the national pastime. On April 10, there will be a free screening of a Charlie Brown film at 1 p.m. in the Mary Jane Stryker Theater.

The creation of the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, Calif., “Peanuts at Bat” illustrates the foibles of the Hall of Shame squad that is comprised of a motley crew of uninspired ball players with a dog—Snoopy—as shortstop.

Every year for nearly 50 years during baseball season, Schulz sent this hapless team out to lose game after outlandish game, and entertained millions of readers in the process.

The games, as reported in the cartoon strip, were based, to a large extent, on Schulz’s childhood experiences playing sandlot baseball. Baseball was Schulz’s favorite sport, even though he remembered losing a game once 40 to 0.

That particular game, he said, gave him the idea for Charlie Brown’s string of losses. Schulz’s passion for baseball continued into adulthood. He played pickup games as often as he could, on baseball diamonds he had built at his home and near his studio.

Schulz rabidly followed Major League Baseball and was a keen admirer of Willie Mays, regarded as the greatest all-around player in the history of the American pastime.

“Peanuts at Bat” showcases some of Schulz’s most memorable baseball-themed comic strips. Forty-three digital prints from the original Schulz drawings will be on display, taking the visitor through five decades of the cartoonist’s famed characters engaged in America’s game.

Included in the exhibition are vintage baseball memorabilia and such diamond trappings as bobble-head dolls, banners, and a board game.

Also on display are a Louisville Slugger Joe Shlabotnik bat and an over-sized Snoopy doll decked out in his favorite team uniform. Shlabotnik is Charlie Brown’s favorite —underperforming—player, who’s never actually seen in the strip.

With the approach of each baseball season, “Peanuts” readers could look forward to no victories and tales of the game that were in turn whimsical, thoughtful, hilarious, and full of pathos.

The exhibition also features 47 high-resolution reproductions of Peanuts strips, three text panels that include photographs of Schulz, four large-size baseball quotes by Schulz, and one eight-foot-wide Peanuts strip mounted on Plexiglas.

Final deadline for KVCC Foundation grant requests

The KVCC Foundation has one last funding-request deadline for internal grant proposals for the 2009-10 academic year.

Those faculty and/or administrators seeking financial support must submit their proposals by April 23, with a decision coming May 7 by the KVCC Foundation Board of Trustees.

For more information, contact Steve Doherty, KVCC director of development and foundation executive director, at extension 4442 or

Thanks to a KVCC Foundation grant of $2,200, dialogues on race, diversity and teaching at the community-college level are under way.

It is co-funding a three-hour workshop for faculty on “What the Best College Teachers Do to Promote Inclusion.” Instructor Jan White is leading those sessions at 4 p.m. in the lower level of the Center for New Media with the next one booked for April 20.

The grant also led to the purchase of 50 copies of Beverly Tatum’s book titled “Can We Talk About Race?” Instructor Marie Rogers is leading those talks according to the following schedule:

  • Wednesday (March 24 ) at 7 a.m., in Room 7334 on the Texas Township Campus

  • Thursday (March 25) at noon in the lower level of the Center for New Media

  • Thursday (March 25) at 3 p.m. in Room 7334 on the Texas Township Campus

  • April 14 at 7 a.m. in Room 7334

  • April 15 at noon in the lower level of the Center for New Media

  • April 15 at 3 p.m. in Room 7334.

  • April 16 at noon in Room 7334.

KVCC’ers interested in participating in the “Can We Talk About Race?” sessions can obtain a copy of the book through Nancy Taylor.

All these discussions orchestrated by the Faculty Success Center will help lay the groundwork for the Kalamazoo Valley Museum hosting a major exhibition on race in the fall of 2010.

The exhibit will be the focal point for a communitywide examination of the racial issues that too often tarnish the nation’s democracy and Constitution.

Germany, Austria in spotlight as series continues

Students, faculty, staff and the public will be able to get a passport full of information about 11 nations, their people, cultures and food without leaving the community during the second half of the 2010 winter semester.

The KVCC program in international studies has booked a series of presentations about the countries featuring presenters who have been there for a variety of reasons – as citizens of the country, as students, as visitors, or as workers.

All of the presentations will be held in either Room 4370 or 4380 off of the cafeteria on the Texas Township Campus.

All are free and open to the public.

Here is the itinerary, the dates, times and the presenters:

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