Great Valley Museum auction

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Great Valley Museum auction
By Wendy Mills
Staff Reporter
Thursday, April 27, 2000

The Great Valley Museum is extending invitations to everyone in the Modesto Community to attend its annual auction on Saturday, Ma6 6. The 7th Annual Arts and Adventure Auction will be an evening filled with fun, food, and entertainment. A live auction will be the highlight of the evening and those who attend will bid on such items as:theatre & concert tickets, vacations, original arts & crafts, and unique jewelry. Refreshments will include complimentary wine and hors d’ oeuvres like Salmon Crispies, marinated mushrooms stuffed with cream cheese, pesto, olive and tomato paste Arams and chocolate dipped strawberries. Besides bidding on items in the auction, attendees will have the opportunity to see some exotic animals up close. Pet handlers will circulate through the audience with their animals and answer questions posed to them.

The event will be head at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at 1528 Oakdale Road. The auction starts at 6 p.m.and will end at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10/members, $12/nonmembers. Tickets can be picked up at the Great Valley Museum at 1100 Stoddard avenue. For more information call 575-6196.

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First TRIO student sets her sights high

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First TRIO student sets her sights high
By Wendy Mills
Staff Reporter
Thursday May, 11, 2000

Elida Vizcarra, 21, enrolled in classes at MJC in the fall of 1997, and was the first student ever to join the TRIO/Student Support Services. She is the first person in her family to ever graduate from college. She hopes that her younger siblings will also seek higher academic goals for themselves. While she says that her family supports her, Vizcarra said that it was hard for them to understand why furthering her education was so important to her. Neither parent completed school higher than the elementary level.

Vizcarra is graduating from MJC with an associate’s degree in business with a minor in International in business. She admits that attending MJC was a struggle. “If it wasn’t for the encouragement and support I received from the TRIO Program staff and financial aid, I don’t think I could have attended MJC,” Vizcarra said, crediting the TRIO Program as being the main factor that enabled her to achieve her academic goals.

While succeeding in college was important to her, Vizcarra found time to enjoy it. Last summer she was selected for an internship through the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, affording her the chance to work for the United States Air Force on a Texas base. She won this year’s Latino Leadership Scholarship, was an active member in the Puente Club and has served as peer advisor for other MJC students.

“Elida is an all around outstanding student,” TRIO/Student Support Services Program Representative, Peggy Kroll said.

She plans to transfer to California State University at Stanislaus where she intends to earn a bachelor’s degree in business. Her ultimate goal is to work for the United States Embassy in Germany.

Uprising: Heroic true stories of Jewish resistance fighters film review

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Uprising: Heroic true stories of Jewish resistance fighters film review
By Wendy Mills
Staff Reporter

“Uprising,” is the accomplished, highly realistic four-hour miniseries that premiered on NBC Nov.4 and 5. It depicted the heroic true stories of Jewish resistance fighters who battled the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War 11.

After Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, the Nazis decreed that 350,000 Warsaw Jews be forcibly moved into a cordoned area of the capitol city known as the Warsaw Ghetto. The miniseries is a fictional retelling of the lives of the men and women who chose to fight for freedom, rather than submit to Hitler’s rule.

Watching his people forced into slave labor, brought to the brink of starvation and deported to death camps, idealistic teacher Mordechai Anielewicz decides the Jews must rise up against the Nazis. Undaunted by the seemingly insurmountable obstacles of organizing a resistance without arms, food or communication with the outside world, Anielewicz enlists fellow Jews to the cause and creases the Jewish Fighting Organization (JFO).

He tries to secure the support of Adam Czerniakow, the morally conflicted head of the Warsaw Ghetto’s Jewish Council. But Czerniakow declines because he knows that any act of resistance will provoke the Germans to kill even more innocent Jews to deter further acts of opposition. Determined to mobilize a resistance, Anielewicz recruits his best friend, Yitzhak Zyckerman and Yitzhak’s wife, Zivia, as well as his own girlfriend Mira, and friends Devorah and Marek Eldelman.

Joining their cause are Tosia, Kazik, Ari and Frania, covert couriers whose ability to pass as Aryan helps them smuggle in arms and explosives from outside the ghetto, building up an arsenal to fight the Nazis.

When the Germans begin deporting 300,000 Jews to the Treblinka death camp, the JFO initiates acts of resistance that culminate with ghetto fighters firing their first shots against the Nazis. Stunned Germans respond to the uprising with a massive military operation designed to eliminate the Jews entirely. Though Mordechai’s army of over 200 trained fighters is dwarfed by the tanks, artillery and professional troops that storm into the ghetto, the fiercely determined resistance fighters open fire on their oppressors, killing dozens of Nazi soldiers.

After it becomes clear that the JFO is a force to be reckoned with, the German High Council sends in General Stroop, who is determined to end the uprising in two or three days. Capturing the horror that unfolds is Fritz Hippler, a filmmaker assigned by Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s chief propagandist, to promote anti-Semitism with a film about Jewish life in the ghetto.

As the Nazis continue to suffer more casualties in battle after battle with the ghetto fighters, General Stroop decides to raze the ghetto. But even that can’t stop the JFO. Forced to go underground into sewer bunkers but energized by their success, the Resistance fights on. Fact: they held off the Nazi army longer than the entire country of Poland did when invaded by Germany. The Jews are determined to live with honor–and if need be, die with honor–while lighting the torch of resistance in occupied Poland.

The screenplay, written by Jon Avet and Paul Brickman, is character-driven, as would be expected in a television movie. The cast featured an international array of young adults who were sometimes hard to differentiate.

Jon Voight’s portrayal of General Stroop was comically ineffectual, but David Swimmer gave a more than believable performance as co-leader of the JFO Yitzhak Zuckerman. Hank Azaria’s portrayal of Mordechai Anielewicz, was passionate, yet restrained. Leelee Sobiesky gave a stellar performance in her role as Tosia Altman, a young woman who, after losing all her family in the events the film recounts, turns her grief into unwavering commitment to those remaining Jews who fought to survive.

New School Uniforms debut

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New School Uniforms debut
By Wendy Mills, Tamara Dow
Staff Reporters
Saturday April 1, 2000

The Modesto Junior College President’s office released a statement today confirming rumors that uniforms will be required of all fall and part time MJC students next fall. The rumors started after one student overheard two others discussing the college district’s decision.

“I was shocked!” said Ethan Allen, 25, a carpentry major. “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! Isn’t forcing us to wear uniforms against our rights as students? We’re not living in a fascist state!”

Allen stated that he was walking through the student lounge on the way to his next class when he overheard two students talking about the surprising change in policy. Recognizing ASMJC President Melissa White, he paused and listened, hoping that his ears were playing tricks on him. He was still recovering from what he had heard, when the two girls noticed him, exchanged funny looks and quickly left the lounge.

After the President and Chancellor’s offices were bombarded with incoming calls from concerned students, MJC President Maria Sheehan issued a statement to be read.

MJC spokesperson Linda Hoyle read the statement to a group of students, staff and faculty members gathered in the student lounge.

“It is with great concern for our students’ academic success that the Yosemite Community Colleger District has decided to issue a mandatory dress code to students attending our facility. We feel that MJC students are spending too much time on things outside of the scholastic environment and not enough time on their academic studies. In neglecting their studies, students are not only hurting themselves, but the faculty members as well. Drastic times call for drastic measures. By eliminating students’ worries over their appearance, we hope to see an improvement in study habits. By establishing a mandatory dress code, we believe that our students grades will improve dramatically.”

Uniforms for female students will consist of a white turtleneck, navy polyester slacks and white comfort shoes. Male students will wear short, black polyester knickers, a black bow tie, white short-sleeved dress shirt and white comfort shoes. Uniform costs will be $75.00

Hearing that the rumors were true, students leaped to their feet and angrily protested, stating that the school was infringing on their rights of freedom of expression. Fearing for her safety, Linda Hoyle rushed out of the student lounge and called campus security. Alfie Johnson, head of campus security, arrived moments later with his men and quickly brought the protesting students under control.

“I have never seen any MJC students react this way to a statement before, not even when we were fighting the Vietnam War,” said Johnson.

Laura Paull, advisor for the MJC newspaper commented, “Protest is their right.”

An emergency session of the Student Senate has been called for Sunday, April 2, at 4p.m.outside the ASMJC office, on the steps of the Student Union Building. All students are urged to attend.

Mayor Supports TRIO

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Mayor Supports TRIO
Sabatino lauds programs that encourage low income students.
By Wendy Mills
Staff Reporter
Thursday, March 16, 2000

Students from low-income families and others with special academic needs can succeed with support of programs specifically designed to help them, Modesto Mayor Carmen Sabatino said at a ceremony at the college in honor of Modesto Junior College’s TRIO Programs Wednesday, March 8. Emphasizing the importance of the TRIO programs in the lives of the students they serve nationwide, Sabatino said “TRIO Programs have had a record of success in providing low-income students with the assistance and motivation to succeed in college. An estimated 2,000,000 students have graduated from colleges with the support of our nation’s TRIO Programs.”

Among the 20 or so people who came to hear the mayor proclaim March 8 “National TRIO Day” were Maria Sheehan,president of Modesto Junior College, TRIO Director REgina Jennings and Eric Ivory, director of TRIO’s Student Support Services, as well as a sprinkling of students.

TRIO is a federally funded group of seven programs that encourage low-income youth whose parents do not have college degrees, to pursue a college education. TRIO services include: assistance in choosing a college, tutoring, personal and financial counseling, career counseling, assistance in applying to colleges, workplace and college visits, special instruction in reading, writing, study skills, and mathematics, assistance in applying for financial aid and academic assistance in high school or in re-entering high school.

Unlike student financial aid programs, TRIO programs for the past 30 years have provided valuable support services to help students from poor or working families successfully enter college and graduate for over 30 years. MJC offers three of the seven TRIO Programs: Educational Talent Search, Upward Bound and Student Services. Four additional TRIO Programs are offered in other locations throughout the United States: Upward Bound Math/Science, Veterans Upward Bound, Educational Opportunity Centers and the Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Program.

According to MJC TRIO Director Regina Jennings, “There is a TRIO Program that can help a student through any phase of their educational. We want more people to know that this federal program exists, and that it works. We would like to serve more Modesto students from low-income families.” For more information on the TRIO Programs at MJC, contact Jennings at 575-6815.

Jesse James Rides Again Film Review

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Jesse James Rides Again Film Review
By Wendy Mills
Staff Reporter
Thursday, September 6, 2001

American Outlaws is the newest western to gallop across the wide screen and into the imaginations of moviegoers everywhere. Writers Roderick Taylor and John Rogers’ mythically retell the life of infamous outlaw Jesse James and his band of bank robbers.

The movie begins amid a Civil War skirmish in which Jesse James, his brother Frank, the Younger brothers and other Confederates are seriously outnumbered by a contingent of Union soldiers. Jesse, in an attempt to even up the odds, leaps onto the back of a horse, jumps over the broken down wagon in which he, Frank, and Cole Younger have taken refuge and rides into the the Union encampment with guns a-blazing. Jesse’s ploy to draw the Union soldiers attention away from the others works, enabling him and the other Confederates to gain the upper hand and drive the Yankees into a retreat.

Their thorough beating of the Yankees occurs a day after Lee’s surrender, and is an ironic foreshadowing of what awaits them at home. They are barely given the chance to enjoy their homecoming before they are thrown into another war, this time against a ruthless railroad tycoon named Thaddeus Rains. When Zerelda James refuses to accept his bid to buy her farm, Rains has his men burn the farm down, killing Zerelda in the process, and spurs the James and Younger boys into vengeful retaliation against the railroad men and his minions.

Jesse not only experiences a loss of innocence but also receives a strong dose of reality as he and Frank and the Younger brothers learn what it means to take on the railroad. Amid the turbulence of planning bank and train robberies, fleeing from the law, and squabbling among the men, Jesse still manages to court and finally marry his cousin Zee Mims.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and would recommend it to other western enthusiasts like myself, there are some historical inaccuracies in it that I just can’t help pointing out. Zerelda James didn’t die as a result of the railroad company burning down her farm. She lived to be a ripe old age of 92. Another is the contention that the railroad was responsible for spurring the James and Younger boys into robbing banks and staging train robberies. It wasn’t the railroad company at all but the United States Army that was responsible for galvanizing the James and Younger boys into pursuing a life of crime and violence.

Actors Colin Farrell, Gabriel Macht, Scott Caan, Will McCormack, and Gregory Smith give commanding performances as the charismatic Jesse James, his Shakespeare-quoting older brother Frank and their cousins the Youngers: hotheaded Cole, comedic Bob and eager-to-please Jim. Actresses Kathy Bates and Ali Larter both give credibility to their portrayals of God-fearing Zerelda and feisty Zee. Yulin Harris gives an accurate portrayal of ruthless railroad tycoon Thaddeus Rains, Terry O’Quinn is believable as Rains’ right-hand man, Rollin Parker, and Timothy Dalton elicits both charm and cunning in his role as Jesse’s nemeis Allan Pinkerton.

With its dominating soundtrack, action filled scenes and youthful cast, American Outlaws is a movie that appeals to people of all ages.

Eric Ivory: man with a mission

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Eric Ivory: man with a mission
Counselor with heart wants students to succeed
By Wendy Mills
Staff Reporter
Thursday, March 16, 2000

Modesto Junior College students are fortunate to attend a college whose administration continually strives to assist students in achieving their academic goals. Many classes are geared toward stimulating student interest and some excellent instructors to teach them, But MJC also employs counselors to help students succeed in class as well as life. These people sometimes go beyond the call of duty to encourage their students to reach for what may seem impossible.

Eric Ivory is one of those staff members who really care about the students he counsels. He started working at MJC in the EOPS office, but recently became the Student Support Services Director in the TRIO Programs. Ivory meets often with students to discuss their academic goals. Not only does he assist student with planning their academic futures; he also listens to the students’ problems and helps them to come up with solutions. He is considered a role model by many of the students he has helped at MJC.

Born and raised in Oakland, California, Ivory grew up during the late 60s and 70s, a troubling time for him as well as for the rest of the country. The American people were in an uproar over U.S. Involvement in the Vietnam War. Protests against the ware were an everyday occurrence somewhere in the country. Although he was aware of the issues of that time, Ivory says he was a typical teenager. He didn’t let the weighty issues drag him down and concentrated more on playing soccer and his electric guitar.

He graduated from Berkeley High School and went on to attend several colleges, but never stayed at one school long enough to earn his degree. It wasn’t until 1990, when he found himself on public assistance, that he fully realized the importance of getting a college education. Determined to turn his life around, Ivory enrolled in classes that same year. He spent the next four years taking classes, and in the end he obtained both his bachelor and master’s degrees. Looking back at how much his life has changed since 1990, Ivory has a hard time believing that any of it actually happened. But it did, because he lived it.

Ivory’s main interest in life, besides his job, is traveling. He loves going to other countries and learning more about other people and their cultures. Visiting these countries and experiencing the things the hardships that people experience, reminds him of just how lucky he is. He also enjoys gardening, fishing, and any other hobbies or sports that allow him to be outside–anything that will allow him to be outside where “ the harmony between the human experience and nature occurs.”

Asked what he was most grateful for, Ivory said, “ Simply for being alive.” he is grateful, he said to have a family and a job that he loves, enough food to eat, clothes to wear and a house to live in. He is grateful for the chance to work with students and help them to achieve their dreams. For the opportunity to encourage students to reach for their dreams and admonish them to continually strive to achieve them. TO tell them that they should “be respectfully persistent by any legal means necessary when pursuing your education.”

Ivory says that the students are a constant source of inspiration to him, and that he is amazed at the obstacles they overcome in their personal lives. He admires the strength, determination and courage with which they endeavor to achieve their academic goals.

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