Ithaca Ink Slingers

The new department of environmental studies and sciences at Ithaca College struggles to interest students

November 18, 2009
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By Emily Stoner

Reduce, reuse, recycle. Pay all workers a living wage. Stop discrimination against marginalized social groups. Many students at liberal arts institutions like Ithaca College would agree with those three statements, which go with the environmental, economic and social parts of sustainability.

But these same students are often unsure of what exactly sustainability is or how they can lead more sustainable lives. According to Marian Brown, special projects assistant to the provost and unofficial sustainability advocate for Ithaca College, the conventional view of sustainability puts the three facets – environmental, economic and social – into a Venn diagram.

That is not how Brown likes to view sustainability.

“What that would almost lead you to believe is the only place you can be sustainable, or even approximate, is the narrow range in the middle,” she said at a talk on local successes in sustainability at 7:30 Monday night at Cornell University. “That’s a pretty limiting factor.”

So what, then, is sustainability?

“You really should think about the economy and society as being explicit parts of the environment,” Brown said. “If the environment’s not functioning, you’re not going to have functioning systems within that.”

This theory of sustainability is in accordance with the environmental studies and sciences department at Ithaca College, which was created and is funded by grants from the National Science Foundation “for incorporating sustainability into students’ education… with a bit of an emphasis on the environmental side,” according to Ithaca College assistant professor of environmental studies and sciences Jason Hamilton.

Ironically, the Center for National Sciences, which is where the department of environmental studies and sciences is located, is the most energy-consuming building on campus, according to Michael Rogers, assistant professor of physics at Ithaca College. But Rogers feels the educational opportunities provided by this new department outweigh the problems caused by the building’s energy consumption.

“If we can get sustainability into the curriculum, that seems to be a more powerful thing long-term than just doing a sustainable campus,” Rogers said. “If we can take advantage of the fact that this is a place of learning, being able to provide opportunities through courses, projects, etc. seems to be a good starting point.”

Much of the money from the National Science Foundation is going towards classes, internships and unique experiences for students interested in environmental studies and sciences.

“In terms of hands-on opportunities for students, as well as the number of offerings, Ithaca College is as good as anybody and better than almost everybody,” Hamilton said.

According to Brown, Ithaca College could go much further with sustainability if incoming students already it already incorporated into their every day lives.

“Unfortunately for higher ed sustainability, we’re still getting you guys 18 years too late,” she said. “We really need to have you coming in from your K-12 experience fully understanding sustainability and having a good balance of experience and work in it. When you come to Ithaca College or Cornell, we really need to work on your skill development to take it to that next level.”

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ACL Injuries pose threat to college athletes

November 18, 2009
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By Maura Gladys

Ithaca, N.Y. – Turn. Plant. Pop. In one swift motion, Thomas Bergerstock dropped to the turf of Bobcat Stadium in Frostburg, Maryland. A senior running back for the Ithaca College football team, Bergerstock took a handoff in the second quarter of the Bomber’s Oct. 17 game against Frostburg State University. As Bergerstock planted to accelerate up field he felt his knee buckle. “I went to make a cut up field and I could feel my femur slide over my knee. I heard a pop and I was down.”

Although Bergerstock left the field under his own power, he knew what had happened, and that his football career was over three games too soon.

“I kind of knew. I was trying to convince myself it wasn’t what I thought it was.”

Three days later, Bergerstock was diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Bergerstock is one of roughly 56,000 athletes a year who tear their anterior cruciate ligament, commonly known as an ACL, an injury that requires intense surgery and rehabilitation and can threaten an athlete’s season and sometimes their career.

The ACL is the main stabilizing ligament in the center of the knee located behind the kneecap. It connects the femur, commonly known as the thighbone to the tibia, commonly known as the shinbone, the two major weight-bearing bones in the leg. The ligament prevents the tibia from moving forward on the femur.

“ACL injuries can occur in both contact and non-contact situations and in almost all sports,” said Sonya Comins, the head trainer at SUNY-Cortland.

“It happens in basketball soccer, football, gymnastics, lacrosse, pretty much anything. It also tends to be more prevalent in females due to the Q angle, the angle of the hips in relation to the knee,” Comins said.

The telltale sign is the pop, says Bernie DePalma, head trainer at Cornell University. ACL injuries are most commonly caused when an athlete’s foot is planted and they turn or cut, rupturing the ligament and causing the dreaded popping noise.

“The upper body and the femur start moving before the tibia, which is connected to the foot, does,” DePalma said. “When that happens, you rupture the ligament.”

“It’s disgusting,” said Meg Malone, a member of the Ithaca College field hockey team who has suffered multiple ACL injuries. “You can tell something is wrong the second you feel it. It is almost like your leg is disconnected.”

Swelling and instability usually follow the initial injury, and make it hard for athletes to put weight on the leg. An MRI then gives a more definitive answer.

When Bergerstock learned his diagnosis, his mind immediately jumped to surgery.

“My ACL was torn right in half. It wasn’t there anymore. I didn’t have a choice. If I ever wanted to do anything again, I had to get surgery,” he said.

According to DePalma, reconstruction surgery is the most common and surest way to ensure that further damage to the knee does not occur.

“If you don’t repair them you run the risk of having a more arthritic condition later in life,” he said. “You can cause a lot more damage if you don’t have them repaired.”

The most common method of surgery involves replacing the ruptured ligament with a graft from the athlete’s patellar tendon, the tendon below the kneecap that attaches to the tibia, or part of the hamstring. The graft is then held in place by two screws inserted into the tibia and the femur.

Once the surgery is complete, the athlete is able to walk within a week, however they must undergo six months of rehabilitation before they can consider returning to the playing field.

This recovery timeline meant that Bergerstock’s collegiate football career was finished. “It’s hard when you find out you’re not going to be able to play anymore,” he said. “It’s just tough when you’ve been working so hard and on one play, something pops and you can’t play anymore.”

For athletes whose ACL injuries are not career-ending, even when they are physically healed, it can still take time to mentally recover from the injury.

“Athletes definitely have a lot of apprehension when they’re returning from an ACL injury,” said Sonya. “They don’t have confidence in the knee so they’re hesitant to really plant or cut.”

Malone felt that apprehension when she took the field following her first ACL injury. Unlike Bergerstock, Malone sprained her ACL, which means that it did not tear completely, but instead only stretched. She did not undergo reconstructive surgery and began training and playing field hockey this past summer and fall.

“I was really nervous to get back on the field,” she said.

Malone experience early success during the first week of pre-season training, however, five days into the season Malone re-injured the ACL, most likely tearing it completely.

She did basic rehabilitation to regain her range of motion, but opted not to have reconstructive surgery.

“At this juncture, I don’t think I’m going to commit to surgery,” she said. “It’s expensive, it takes up a lot of time and requires a lot of physical therapy. Mentally, I just don’t think I have the energy to do it.”
The next step for medical professionals is exploring ACL injury prevention. Much is known about the causes and treatments of the injuries, however, prevention still remains a mystery. But according to DePalma, young athletes are being introduced to basic training in an effort to reduce injuries like Malone’s and Bergerstock’s.

“Researchers don’t know if it’s due to biomechanics, body alignment, hormones or something else,” DePalma said. “Prevention-wise, young children are learning how to keep a good base of support. They’re learning proper ways to cut using agility and strength training. It helps, but nobody knows at this point what prevents them.”

To check out Ithaca College athletic trainer Chelsea Welsh describing the basics of an ACL injury, check out this video.

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Dumpster fires on the Ithaca College campus concern safety professionals

October 30, 2009
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By Emily Stoner

There have been six dumpster fires on the Ithaca College campus since the beginning of the fall 2009 semester. The fires have not caused damage beyond melting the paint off of dumpsters and destroying several recycling bins. Some safety professionals on campus have different opinions on how these fires are being started and what should be done to prevent them in the future.

Tim Ryan, the assistant director of public safety and the manager of environmental health and safety at the college, thinks the fires are being started by careless smokers throwing away their cigarette butts in dumpsters instead of in the designated ashtrays.

“They’re believed to be set by someone throwing a cigarette in them,” Ryan said. “They smolder for a while, and then they catch on fire.”

But Colin DeMatteis, a member of the student auxiliary safety patrol and a junior journalism major, is not convinced.

“I do think they’re intentional,” DeMatteis said. “I don’t think someone’s accidentally setting dumpsters on fire, on six different occasions, at six different locations.”

The first dumpster fire occurred at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 3 outside of Holmes in the lower quads. The next two fires were both outside Emerson Hall, at 4:15 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 7 and at 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 9.

The most recent fires took place in parking lots. At 12:20 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 5 and at 2:45 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 21, there were dumpster fires in D-Lot. At 3:45 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 22, there was a fire in B-Lot. Both parking lots are in close proximity to the lower quads.

To reduce the risk of large fires being started, Public Safety has changed the trash pick-up schedule for the lower quads. Instead of collecting trash first thing in the morning, trash in the lower quads is now picked up between 3:30 and 4 p.m. every day. That way, if a fire were to start in a dumpster, it would contain less flammable material.

There have been no dumpster fires since the trash pick-up times were changed.

SASP is also changing its schedule in response to the fires. In the past, student patrollers worked from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. Because the most recent fires took place between midnight and 5 a.m., patrollers are now required to work until 3 a.m. on weekdays.
DeMatteis said the later schedule has not yet affected his class performance. When DeMatteis was patrolling Wednesday night, he was sent home early due to the rain.

“The officer in charge didn’t think there was any reason for us to be out there if it was raining,” he said.

According to Ryan, Public Safety is now working with Residential Campaign on an educational campaign designed to teach students safe ways to smoke outside. Smokers should stand at least 20 feet away from all exits, entrances and operable windows of both academic and residential buildings. And, of course, cigarettes should always be disposed of in properly labeled cigarette receptacles, not in dumpsters where there might be flammable materials.

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Dryden Fire Department thriving thanks to abundance of volunteers and family atmosphere

October 30, 2009
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By: Maura Gladys

Dryden, N.Y. – The path to becoming a volunteer firefighter is anything but glamorous. It requires large amounts of time away from family, 160 hours of certification training, peak physical stamina in order to answer any call, and a willingness to sacrifice ones life.

“Realistically, you’re putting your life on the line for nothing,” said Dryden Fire Department Chief Tom Warner. “You’re going into structure fires or doing a human rescue where you could get hurt or killed at.”

The dangerous nature of the job, large time commitment and strict certification requirements have caused a steady decline in volunteers at fire companies across the nation. But the Dryden Fire Department is unique. It is currently thriving with an abundance of volunteers, thanks to strong family-like bond built on a foundation of trust.

“We have a great team here,” said Adam Talbot, a captain with the fire department. “All the members get along which is rare. Everyone works great together and we have fun doing it.”

The Dryden Fire Department, which is an entirely volunteer fire company, has approximately 40 volunteers, 27 of whom are fully certified to enter structure fires.

This is a stark contrast to volunteer fire companies on the whole. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, there were 884,600 volunteer firefighters in the United States in 1983. By 2007, that number dropped to 825,450, a deficit of 59,150. However, the number of fire departments in the United States has increased by almost 2,000.

“Times are changing and volunteer fire services just doesn’t have a way of catching up,” Talbot said. “It’s certainly not good, that’s for sure. But this place itself is really good about getting volunteers.”

The large amount of volunteers allows the department to provide more comprehensive protection to the community. But its contribution doesn’t stop at safety. In 2008, Dryden Fire Department’s volunteers donated 10,606 hours to the community and Dryden Ambulance donated 14,195 hours which, according to the New York state volunteer value rate, is a $649,294 taxpayer savings.

“The Dryden Fire Department is extremely fortunate to have volunteers in the area,” said volunteer firefighter Frank Palmer. “It is made up of postal workers, business people, insurance salesmen, people in the grocery business and retirees.  But when the hammer drops, you’re going to have people show up. We have the responders here.”

One thing that attracts volunteers to the fire department is the strong family bond that the station forges.

“You really do need a sense of family,” Talbot said. “It starts from the top, works its way down and everyone does their part.”

“I feel that I have a bunch of brothers and sisters at the station,” said volunteer firefighter Jennifer Wildridge.  “We work together, we have fun together, we go through bad and good times together.  It is like having a boatload full of little brothers who I get to beat up on, but who I know would take care of my family and me if I needed it.”

This family-like atmosphere is extremely helpful during emergencies when firefighters need to depend on each other.

“You have to trust people,” Warner said. “You go into a structure fire and you need to trust the person behind you to make sure they’re going to be with you in case things get bad.”

For Talbot, working with friends outweighs the excitement of going on a call.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to jump in the front seat of the engine and blast the horn going down the road, but I guess I’d have to say that the best part of my job is the people.”

Listen to Captain Adam Talbot of the Dryden Fire Department share his experiences with the department and see the department in action.
Some photos were obtained courtesy of the Dryden Fire Department.

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Ithaca High School cheerleaders do more than just support the football team

October 14, 2009
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By: Sarah Craig

Not rain nor injuries nor a losing football team could keep the Ithaca High School cheerleading squad’s spirits down on Friday, October 9th as they shouted encouragements to their counterparts on the gridiron.

The glittery-faced, ribbon-haired, and giggly-voiced 14-girl squad used their bubbly personalities to maintain morale throughout the game, despite the football team ultimately losing and breaking their 5-0 winning streak.

The crowd consists of mostly high school students to whom Friday night football games have become habitual, though there are plenty of proud parents, fidgety children, and other town locals there who have come out to show support. Perched on one of the bleachers closest to the field, Alaura Lampke, who graduated from IHS last year, shrugged from within her blue parka when asked what she thinks about the cheerleaders and said, “Eh, they do what they do.” Cheerleader Melissa Hull admits, “Sometimes they don’t really understand what we’re doing, but most of the time they’re pretty responsive.” For the most part on Friday’s game, the crowd readily interacted with the cheerleaders and was easily coaxed into roaring applauses.

Though cheering at the football games is a very important part of what cheerleading is all about, they aim to be much more than just football groupies. And the real appeal of any sport has always been its competitive element and the rivalries that arise because of it.

This upcoming November, the squad will be attending the Third Annual Elmira College Cheerleading Classic for the first time. The Elmira competition will judge the girls based on a two-minute routine in which they are required to jump, perform stunts, build a pyramid, and tumble. In past years, they’d entered a different competition, the sectionals for this region, but never placed very high. But this year the girls have high expectations.

Captains Hannah Shockey and Regina Penepent both agree this is the best squad they’ve ever had. “We’ve been working on it a lot and I think out of the three years I’ve been doing cheerleading, that this is the most prepared we’ve been so I’m really excited,” said Shockey.

Despite the skirts and pompoms, the IHS squad feels they do just as much work as other sports. “Just come to one of my practices,” Coach Tammy Manning said with a knowing smile. She explained that the girls go through a rigorous workout five days a week which includes running, lifting weights, stretching, and practicing their routines and stunts until they have them perfected. Cheerleaders are forced to be just as fit as other athletes. “You’re throwing girls up in the air and you have to catch them. You’re putting them up with one hand and it takes a lot of strength and a lot of dedication and balance to do that,” said Coach Manning. “These girls have worked really hard to condition themselves.”

Injuries occur in cheerleading, just as they do in contact sports. Callie Griffen joined the squad for the first time this year and was diagnosed with Lumbar Hypermobility Syndrome, which means her back is very flexible and she overextended it, causing her back joints to become inflamed. Because of her injury, she’s not allowed to do any of the stunts or jumping with the other girls. But she doesn’t let her condition get in the way of her cheering. “I can’t get discouraged about it because I just need to keep my head up and know that it’ll get better,” said Griffen. Griffen fully intends to participate in the upcoming competition and even wants to jump if her doctor will allow it.

The close-knit squad syncs well together and is hoping to go far this November. “Actually, I think we’re going to dominate the competition. We’re going to do great,” said Hull confidently, eliciting thrilled agreement from her teammates. The IHS cheerleaders are looking forward to jumping, cartwheeling, and performing all the way to first place.

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Ithaca High School Football experiencing turnaround season

October 14, 2009
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By: Maura Gladys

Ed Redmond is not so much a man as he is a force. His eyes sparkle with a sharp, engaging intensity and his presence is immediately felt when he enters a room. He has a booming authoritative voice and an affable disposition that commands respect but motivates at the same time.

Redmond is the force behind an Ithaca High School football team that has defied logic and odds and captured the attention of an entire city.

In just his second season as head coach of the Little Red, Redmond has guided the team from a winless 2008 season to a 5-1 start in 2009.

“The kids have really gotten what they deserve,” Redmond said.

Ithaca High School’s football program has seen limited success in recent years. It’s teams has gone a combined 2-25 in the past three seasons and have not won five games in a single season since 1994.

“When we played modified football, the high school team was really bad. It was kind of embarrassing,” said junior wide receiver Joe Bucci. “It’s good that we’ve gotten better.”

Although it appears as if the Little Red’s success has come virtually overnight, Redmond planted the seeds immediately after the team’s final loss of the 2008 season, a 66-0 drubbing at the hands of Binghamton High School. Redmond did this with a challenge and a promise.

“We were at a point last year where we needed to decide if we had the kids that were going to commit themselves to an off-season workout,” Redmond said. “We challenged them to make that commitment to hard work.”

Redmond and his team began an off-season weightlifting program that began in November and had the players weightlifting three times a week, including Saturday.

Redmond coupled his challenge with the promise that the team’s hard work would pay off, a risky move that could have potentially backfired if the Little Red didn’t see an improvement in the win column.

“If you talk to an athlete about what hard work can get you, and they don’t see the result, they really don’t believe it,” Redmond said. “We talked all off-season about hard work and what it can get you in the end and now they are getting rewarded for it.”

The first game of the season against Cornwell Central caused butterflies for many members of the team.

“Going into our first game I was really nervous about how we were going to react if we lost,” said senior quarterback Scott Boettger. “We weren’t trying to get too worked about everything, but I was definitely nervous.”
The Little Red won the game 26-14 and followed it up with a four game win streak with wins over Norwich, Windsor Central, Southside. The streak culminated in a convincing 34-6 stomping of Horseheads High School on homecoming weekend.

“The game against Horseheads was tremendous,” Redmond said. “The atmosphere and the crowd was great. It was like when I played here in the ‘70s and the stadium was packed every night. For these kids to experience that was something special.”

“The locker room after the Horseheads game was a lot of fun,” Bucci said. “It was homecoming and it was a big win, so it was just great to celebrate. It’s something that I’ll remember for a long time.”

The Little Red has suffered setbacks in their breakout season. They endured their first loss of the season on Friday, a 34-23 loss to Binghamton.

However, Boettger said that the team’s rigid off-season regimen and shared experiences have bonded the team together.

“If we just stay together when adversity comes around then we’ll be ok,” he said. “We were all together during pre-season and the off-season and we all experienced what it was like to win a game. We just need to stick together.”

Although there are still two games left in the season, Redmond credits the 2009 squad with establishing the groundwork for future Little Red success.

“This team will always be remembered for laying the foundation for future years,” he said. “As years go on people will talk about this team in 2009 as laying the foundation. They began to build back this once-proud program and I think there is going to by many years of success to come.”

Check out what an Ithaca High School football experience is like from a fans perspective with this video from when the Little Red took on Binghamton High School on Oct. 9.

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Ithaca: Best College Town in America?

October 14, 2009
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By: Nicole Lawrence, Ithaca, NY

The votes are in, and the results might shock you…

“I think Ithaca’s a great place, but best college-town in America?”

Matt Torchia, owner of the Mahogany Grill in the Ithaca Commons, gazed around his nearly-empty restaurant.

“You’d think we’d have more business then,” he says with a chuckle.

According to a national poll conducted by USA Today, Ithaca is the “Best College-Town in America”.  However, disbelief about the integrity of this claim permeates the Ithaca Commons.  Citing economic depression, bankrupt local businesses, and consistently increasing living and rent costs, a few chose to demean their city instead of congratulating it for earning the title.

“We’re the best college town in America?  You’re kidding… But then again, what is in a title- does it mean anything?” said longtime resident Susan Rank.

Julia Krushinski is a member of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, the local group responsible for encouraging business and spurring economic growth in the Commons.  She feels this title can bring Ithaca long-overdue credit, saying,

“Prospective students and professionals can take this ranking quite seriously. USA Today is renowned for their polling, and as a creditable news source.  It’s about time they give some recognition to Ithaca!”

Though it may seem unlikely to some, researchers agreed- Ithaca is number one.  Criteria for ranking included:  academic environment, quality of local enterprise, cost of living, entertainment venues, professional opportunities, and immigration/emigration of college-educated people to the city.  Ithaca, home to two accredited institutions (Cornell University, and Ithaca College), achieved top rank in each category.  Particular notice was given to Ithaca’s noteworthy support of local enterprise.  Offering full-time professional help for local entrepreneurs through the Downtown Ithaca Alliance program, Ithaca routinely stresses locality.

So, how did Ithaca do it?  Despite a population of fewer than 250 thousand, which defined being labeled as a “town” in the study, Ithaca has a lot to offer.  The area boasts 140 restaurants and cafes, four state parks, over 100 infamous gorges and waterfalls, multiple museums, galleries, and cultural attractions. Statistics don’t lie- Ithaca has more to offer (per square mile) than any other college town in America.

In the past year, college towns have suffered under the recent economic recession, Ithaca is no exception.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Ithaca has seen a 2.5 percent increase in unemployment rates over the past year.  That did not stop professionals with bachelors and masters degrees from immigrating to the area; this demographic had a 1.6 percent increase since July 2008.  Ithaca ultimately edged out the competition by endorsing small-business development.

Jonathan Stone, an entrepreneur who moved to Ithaca to open a restaurant, gave his take on the situation.

“I moved here [Ithaca] a few years ago.  Ithaca is encouraging small-time business enterprises- the Downtown Alliance helped me figure out funding and was really supportive…”

Regardless of the receding economy, Ithaca’s initiatives have earned recognition for pursuing truly “gorges” practices.

For more information on the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, contact: Gary Ferguson, Executive Director, at (607) 277-8679 or

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Cheerleaders add spirit to Ithaca’s big game

October 14, 2009
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By: Emily Stoner

Ithaca high school’s 5-0 winning streak gave players, cheerleaders and fans a lot to talk about at the Friday night football game against rival high school Binghamton. Some members of the cheerleading squad wondered if they would see a successful football season for the first time in their high school careers.

“We haven’t done this in like ten years,” said sophomore cheerleader Haley Sammis. “It’s nice, because it’s my first year cheering and the football team is finally starting to win some games.”

Other veteran cheerleaders are viewing this season as a reward for their hard work.

“It’s not that I didn’t have fun before, and I don’t regret cheering in years past,” said senior Hannah Shockey, co-captain of the squad. “It’s always good to be cheering for them. But to be cheering for a winning team is even better.”

The other co-captain, senior Regina Penepent, was glad to see an increase in audience enthusiasm.

“The fans are so excited that we’re 5-0 already,” said Penepent. “We’re down right now, but we’re really hoping for a win tonight.”

The Ithaca football team got off to a difficult start Friday, and the cheerleaders worked hard to keep the crowd engaged despite the drizzling rain. Shockey, Penepent and the other 13 members of the squad rarely stopped moving during the game, breaking into choreographed routines and spontaneous cheers to keep everyone motivated. They jogged around the track twice to perform cheers for Binghamton fans. Senior Melissa Hull said the football team’s victories have inspired the cheerleading squad to better their own performance.

“This year I feel like we’re a closer team,” said Hull. “We just seem to work together… Our mounts have been a lot better, and we’re advancing.”

The cheerleaders’ performance on the field is just a fraction of the work they do toward motivating the football team. Like the boys, the cheerleading squad practices five days per week and for at least two hours per day. They run around the track and up and down the steps of the bleachers, lift weights alongside football players in the weight room and practice their choreography over and over again.

Beyond splits and lights, the cheerleading squad also provides emotional support for the football players, often surprising them with gifts to psyche them up before a big game.

“Every game we bake for the team. We split up the list… Each girl has two guys, and we bake cookies or cupcakes and decorate their lockers,” Penepent said.

“Lots of the girls are friends with boys on the team,” Shockey added.

Despite the football team’s winning streak, the cheerleading squad’s gold pom-poms, call and response cheers and baked goods were not enough to carry the team to victory Friday night. Ithaca lost to Binghamton 34-23, leaving behind disappointed players, cheerleaders and fans.

“I really thought they would win tonight,” said Julie Pagliaro, Ithaca resident and former Ithaca High School cheerleader. “I’ll keep on coming to the games anyway, but it was exciting to be on a winning streak.”

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Urban Evolution

September 23, 2009
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By: Emily Stoner

Urban Outfitters, a hip youthful clothing store based in New York City, is showing its face first time in the Ithaca Commons This is cause for celebration for many college students on both Cornell and Ithaca campuses who before had to make do by doing their shopping online or waiting to buy until a school break or holiday.

However, some worry that the introduction of such a hip, expensive and popular clothing store will take away business from local Ithaca favorites.

“I’m a little nervous about what it might do to some of the independent stores in town,” said Ren Ostry, a sophomore environmental studies major at Ithaca College.

But local business owner Katie Spallone takes the opposite approach. She’s actually excited that competition is on the way.

“I’m psyched!” Spallone exclaimed.

Spallone, also originally from New York City, grew up shopping at Urban Outfitters. She moved to Ithaca to pursue an English degree at Cornell University and began working at House of Shalimar while at school. She eventually bought the space for Evolution 102 from the owners of House of Shalimar ten years ago, and has been her own boss ever since.

Recently Spallone opened up Avanti, which is a smaller, accessory-based boutique. She loves both the stores’ locations in the Ithaca Commons and has no interest in relocation.

“I get asked all the time to move to the mall… or to move downtown. I can’t imagine having the store anywhere else.”

Because Spallone has been a business owner in the Commons for a decade, she feels that although the current changes are drawing the attention of many, what they really are is simply the cyclical business structure of the Commons. With a competitive spirit, Spallone hopes to see all the storefronts on the Commons busy and bustling in the near future.

She hopes Urban Outfitters might increase traffic to the Commons, especially by Cornell students like she once was.

            “Right now our customers are about 90 percent Ithaca, 10 percent Cornell. We’d love to see that even out a little bit. Maybe Urban will bring some Cornell students down to the Commons for the first time.”

            Whether Urban Outfitters will harm or help local businesses like Evolution 102 will remain to be seen, but some students already know where the biggest impact of Urban Outfitters will be – their wallets.

“It’s dangerous!” joked Frances Reyes, a junior English major at IC.

            Ithaca, N.Y. is the third city in New York state to have an Urban Outfitters, the other two being New York City and Buffalo. The company is currently opening new stores in many college towns, including Haven, Conn., Cambridge, Mass., Providence, R.I. and Ann Arbor, Mich. The Ithaca Urban Outfitters is located on Green Street, across from the new Cinemapolis. Urban Outfitters could not be reached for comment.

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The New Cinemapolis

September 23, 2009
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By: Sarah Craig


            After pouring $200,00 into the new and improved downtown theater to meet the town of Ithaca’s request, Cinemapolis is bigger and better than ever. As the Ithaca Commons changes around in, the brand new Cinemapolis attempts to step up its class while still holding onto its independent values and vision.

            As states, “Good film enriches human experience with meaning and understanding,” and Cinemapolis has been enriching the Ithaca community since 1986 when Lynne Cohen and Rich Szanyi opened it. Over the years, the non-profit theater has been an integral part of Ithaca, providing not only films, but also film education programs, public forums and discussions, and other special events. It even participates in a yearly collaborative film festival with Ithaca College, known as the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, which promotes sustainability and, of course, independent films.

            “Cinemapolis plays movies you wouldn’t find in other movie theaters. So it’s not just trying to please people with the top box office sellers, they actually play awesome movies,” said moviegoer Carrie Davidson. “Normally you’d have to drive much farther to see a lesser known movie, so it’s nice to have one of those theaters only 5 minutes away.”

            After the city of Ithaca decided it wanted a new movie theater downtown, it approached Cohen and Szanyi who, seeing the opportunity it presented, accepted eagerly. They worked together with the city for several years and, with money raised from donations, foundations, and the State of New York, the theater was reborn. The new Cinemapolis contains five theaters instead of three, each more spacious and comfortable than the older ones. Cohen claims the screens are bigger, sound is better, and the stadium seats provide a better view. “It’s just a better place to watch a movie,” Cohen said.

            When it comes to films, Cinemapolis has always looked for the best, ignoring those made by Hollywood and opting for those that present a new and fresh look at the world. When asked if Cinemapolis would ever break down and buy into more mainstream movies, Lynne Cohen responded, “I don’t think that’s going to happen. We don’t want that to happen. It’s not our vision. And Regal wouldn’t allow it anyway.”

            When it comes to Regal Cinemas, the gigantic corporate theater that is located in the Ithaca Pyramid Mall, Cinemapolis doesn’t have any trouble with their business being taken away since they go for different types of movies. Cohen is content to let Regal take all the blockbusters and claims that those movies never were, and never will be in their area of interest. “That’s not our mission,” Cohen says of blockbusters, “That’s not what we want to do.”

            Cinemapolis has other perks to offer movie-goes, besides just that of showing movies that would normally be a scarcity to find. Davidson said, “There aren’t as many people. It’s really annoying when you’re trying to go to a theater and it’s packed with screaming children and people who talk during movies. That’s the nice thing about Cinemapolis, there’s just enough people there to make you feel like you aren’t in some sketchy place.”

            Despite Cinemapolis’s determination to remain consistently independent and unique, Cohen acknowledges that it’s not necessarily true for the rest of Ithaca. “It’s not just Ithaca, but the whole world is moving away from the independent. I think it’s a shame. Big corporations are controlling more and more of the economy I think.” But for now, business is good for the newly opened Cinemapolis. With its impressive new place and steadfast morals, Cinemapolis truly is, as their tagline claims, “A Theater As Good As Its Movies.”



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