Nov. 3, 2010 The Digest

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Nov. 3, 2010

The Digest

What’s Happening at KVCC

What’s below in this edition
A KVCC winner (Pages 1/2) ‘About Writing’ (Pages 5/6)

Artists Forum (Pages 2/3) Art Hop at KVM (Pages 6/7)

CBN contest (Page 3) Transfer forum (Page 7)

Financial Freedom (Page 4) Our settlers (Pages 7/8)

Underground Railroad (Page 4) Getting hired (Page 8)

Global ‘Opps’ (Pages 4/5) Louie, Louie (Pages 8/9)

Win a Harley (Page 5) And Finally (Page 9)


Alford to receive NAACP service award

KVCC’s Carolyn Alford will become the second person with significant ties to the college to receive the Humanitarian Award from the Metropolitan Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

At its 30th annual Freedom Fund Banquet on Saturday, Nov. 13, Alfred, a KVCC staff member for nearly 20 years, will join ranks with Anna Whitten, a pioneer member of the college’s board of trustees who received the award in 1992.

Since 1979, Kalamazoo’s chapter of the NAACP has been honoring men and women who “have dedicated their lives to help the underserved and underrepresented population in Kalamazoo regardless of race, creed, gender or religion.”

It also honors those who “have made significant contributions to the advancement of people of color in the areas of politics, education, religion, civil rights, community service, and the military.

Alfred, a Kalamazoo resident since 1969, served a quartet of four-year terms on the Kalamazoo Board of Education starting in 1989 and on Tuesday was elected to her fourth term on the Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners.

Alford was first appointed to the Kalamazoo school board to replace civil-rights activist Duane Roberts, a recipient of the award in 1983 and a community activist who led the effort to desegregate the Kalamazoo public schools. Over her 16 years, she held all of the board’s offices.

In addition to the presidency of the local NAACP branch, Alfred’s roster of community service includes the League of Women Voters, the YWCA’s domestic-assault program, the Douglass Community Association, Ministry With Community, Loaves and Fishes, and the Kalamazoo North Side Nonprofit Housing Corp.

In an article in the college’s CareerSource magazine, Alford said the genesis of her commitment to public service came from family tradition and from the words of Martin Luther King Jr. that still ring in her ears.

As a youngster she took part in King’s legendary march and peaceful protest in Selma, Ala.

Alford said she gains satisfaction from impacting on “a person’s life in a positive way,” and when those people are students, the feeling increases tenfold.

“I like it when we do the right thing for children,” she said. “Life is not about us anymore. We are adults. But it’s all in front of them. Giving children the best we can is what it’s all about. . .I want to be a strong advocate for children.”

The 2010 Freedom Fund Banquet will be held in the Bernhard Center at Western Michigan University beginning at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $50 for adults, $40 for seniors and students, and $25 for children 10 and younger.

The keynote speaker will be Charles Warfield, reigning president of the Kalamazoo chapter. Both he and his wife, Martha, are recipients of the Humanitarian Award.

Others have included District Judge Charles Pratt, Mary Mace Spradling, Arthur Washington, Margaret Minot, Beverly Moore, Moses Walker, Robert Jones, Romeo Phillips, Moses Walker, Eva Ozier, and Rosa Parks, regarded as “the mother of the Civil Rights Movement.”

Rock ‘n’ roll legend booked for Artists Forum

An inductee into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame who has shared stages with the greats in contemporary music is bringing her band to Kalamazoo.

Called “the most underrated diva of the century” by Rolling Stone magazine, Chicago-born Mavis Staples, lead singer of a famed singing-family act, will energize this year’s Artists Forum concert at KVCC on Friday, Jan. 28.

Tickets for the performance in the Dale Lake Auditorium will go on sale in December, while the time of the concert and price of admission will be announced later.

One interesting aspect is that Staples’ Kalamazoo appearance will be followed by tour stops in London, San Francisco, The Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Scotland.

Initially instrumental in gospel music in her Chicago roots, she and her two siblings evolved into rock ‘n’ roll headliners and used their celebrity to add muscle to the Civil Rights Movement.

Illustrating that she still carries a bit of clout, the 71-year-old performer was part of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's “Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear” in Washington on Oct. 30. She performed the title track of her new CD, “You Are Not Alone,” which has become the most successful recording of her solo career.

For the grand finale of the day's events, Mavis lead all the participants, including Colbert, Stewart, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens), Sheryl Crow, and Tony Bennett in a version of "I'll Take You There,” the family act’s biggest hit.

Nominated for more than her share of Grammy awards, Staples began singing with her family group in 1948 at churches and appearing on a weekly radio show. A big voice belied her young age.

Her father, Roebuck "Pops" Staples, had grown up on a Mississippi plantation in an area key in the development of the blues. He had learned to play the guitar from the great early bluesman, Charley Patton. After he moved north to Chicago in 1936, he began to organize gospel quartets after finishing work at a meatpacking plant.

With a 1956 hit under its belt, the family took its music on the road as “God’s Greatest Hitmakers” shortly after Mavis’ graduation from what is now Paul Robeson High School in 1957.

By the mid-1960s, The Staple Singers, inspired by the head of the clan’s close friendship with Martin Luther King Jr., became the spiritual and musical voices of the Civil Rights Movement. They covered contemporary pop hits with positive messages, including some of Bob Dylan's renditions.

The Staple Singers hit the Top 40 eight times between 1971 and 1975. Staples had made her first solo in the late 1960s with her version of "Crying in the Chapel." A solo album came in 1969.

Later albums were directed by rock superstar Prince. Staples also did one honoring gospel legend Mahalia Jackson, a close family friend.

She and her family performers were inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1999. Staples, picked to sing "America the Beautiful" at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, is among Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Singers of All Time.”

Both the state of Illinois and the city of Chicago have staged a Mavis Staples Day to salute her musical career and dedication to civil rights.

Perhaps more popular than she had ever been, Staples told Jet magazine that "Nobody is going to send me out to pasture. My voice is my gift from God, and I'm going to use it."

Student projects vie for Art Hop support

The Center for New Media will be using this Friday’s Art Hop crowd to judge the latest round in a semester-long contest for its students.

“Project: Multi-Media” is a series of monthly art-oriented challenges for student teams. The format is similar to that of the reality TV show titled “Project Runway,” which involves fashion designing.

According to Maggie Noteboom, events manager at the Center for New Media, seven teams will present their creations to a panel of three judges at noon.

The judges are: Peter Brakeman, creative designer for Brakeman Design; Kalamazoo architect Michael Dunn; and local illustrator/cartoonist Paul Sizer.

After the three judges score the submissions, those visiting the center for Art Hop activities that evening will be able to vote on their choices.

After the tally, four teams will be eliminated and the remaining trio will gear up for the December Art Hop. A similar project is in the works for the winter semester.

The November challenge for the teams is to create a single piece of art using any medium or combination of media

The theme for the piece is the team’s reaction to the sitting exhibition at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, “RACE: Are We So Different?”

Travel the Underground Railroad

The bus is full for Saturday’s flashback to Southwest Michigan’s role in the Underground Railroad that helped slaves flee bondage in the pre-Civil War South and make their way to freedom.

Organized by Marie Roger for full- and part-time instructors, it is set for Saturday (Nov. 6) and will run from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The free experience, part of the Faculty Success Center programming, will include a 19th-century-style lunch, and six stops, including the Western Michigan University Depart of Archaeology, along with sites in Schoolcraft, Cassopolis, Vandalia, Battle Creek and Marshall.

The tour will culminate with a performance of poetry, music and readings from “So This Is Fire.” The bus will leave from instructor Denise Miller’s Fire location at 1249 Portage Road at 8:30 a.m.

Traveling back into history with Rogers will be Valerie Jones, Gloria Barton Beery, Cynthia Schauer, Rod Albrecht, Nancy Taylor, Victoria Hileski, Cindy Wilson, Susan Ayers, Kate Ferraro, Lisa Winch, Al Moss, Bill DeDie, Anora Ackerson, Laura Cosby, Rick Brill, Nancy Beers, Tom Hughes, Keith Kroll, Bala Balachandran, Lena Cool, Lisa Wininger, Carol Roe, Tim Kane, Byron Foster, Denise Miller, and Michelle Johnson.

For more information, e-mail Rogers at

In search of financial freedom

Students and staff struggling with balancing their personal finances or wanting some insights into making sound investment decisions are invited to "Financial Freedom" on Wednesday (Nov. 3).

The presentation will run from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in Room 4380 off of the Texas Township Campus cafeteria.

The topics will include budgeting, savings, spending, credit and planning for the future.

The presenter will be Chris Palmer, financial counselor from GreenPath debt solutions.

For more information, contact Pamela Siegfried, coordinator of life resources for the Student Success Center, at extension 4825.

Sample ‘Global Opportunities’ today

Getting more worldly by either the passport route or by global interaction in your own community is the mission of a two-hour experience at Kalamazoo Valley Community College on Wednesday (Nov. 3).

Sponsored by the Student Success Center from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Student Commons on the Texas Township Campus, “Global Opportunities” is free and open to the public.

Participants will learn about study-abroad, teach-abroad, volunteer-abroad and work-abroad opportunities, how to join the Peace Corps, what is needed to host a foreign-exchange student, and the value of learning other languages.

The guest speaker will be Cathleen Fuller, director of the Transnational Education Program and manager of International Degree and Articulation Partnerships for the Haenicke Institute for Global Education at Western Michigan University.

The purpose of “Global Opportunities” is to foster a concept of global citizenship in a community and abroad and to offer ways to get connected with other nations and cultures.

For more information, contact LaJoyce Brooks, student-advocate coordinator for the KVCC Student Success Center, at (269) 488-4685 or

Win a Harley by helping United Way win

That 2011 Harley-Davidson Road King, which was on display on the Texas Township Campus last week, can be yours.

Those college folks who make a new gift of $50 to the Greater Kalamazoo United Way’s annual campaign now under way or to hike their yearly pledge by $50 will be entered into a drawing for this “hog.”

The deadline to make a pledge or submit an entry form for the drawing is 5 p.m. on Nov. 22. The drawing is set for Dec. 15.

Meanwhile, as of early this week, the college was still 20 percent away from reaching its goal for the GKUW campaign and the fund-raising effort has been extended.

"We are still accepting donation and pledges from those who are still interested in participating but have just let it slip through the cracks," says Steve Doherty.

The current total is $32,157 and the target is $40,000.

Doherty requests that KVCC'ers wishing to help the college reach the goal should contact Denise Baker.

"Should we hit the $40,000 mark," Doherty said, "the college would become the 10th largest contributor in Kalamazoo County for the annual fund-raiser. KVCC was 11th in the 2009 campaign."

Author Wade Rouse on campus Thursday

With one of his latest works described as something like “David Sedaris meets Dave Berry,” Saugatuck-based writer Wade Rouse will make a return visit to KVCC to launch the 2010-11 “About Writing” series.

He’ll be on the Texas Township Campus for a 10 a.m. craft talk on Thursday (Nov. 4) in the Student Commons and do a reading later at 1:30 p.m.

Rouse, author of “At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream,” spoke on campus in October of 2009 about his third book under the auspices of the KVCC English Department.

All of the “About Writing” events are free and open to the public.

Here are the remaining bookings:

  • Patricia Clark, poet in residence at Grand Valley State University, next Feb. 17.

  • U. S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan for a two-day visit on March 23-24.

“Some English faculty members are having their students reading Ryan’s ‘The Best of It: New and Selected Poems” to promote dialogue and discussion at her presentations,” says “About Writing” organizer Rob Haight. “If faculty from other disciplines want to add the book to a class or classes, they can e-mail me to join the group.”

Haight said Ryan’s poet-laureate project was to promote her chosen form of literary creativity at two-year colleges. Her background includes teaching developmental writing at a two-year college in California.

Rouse’s journey is that of a small-town boy raised in the Ozarks who dreams of the vigor and energy of big-city life.

He takes that trip, first to Chicago and then to St. Louis, tires of life in public relations and designer fashions by the age of 40, and yearns for a return to his roots of a simpler life, which took him to Saugatuck where the Kalamazoo River empties into Lake Michigan as the Midwest’s version of Cape Cod.

As urban life ground into Rouse’s spirit and emotions, he began to have “a growing appreciation for what I had run from.”

He recalled his grandmother quoting passages from Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden,” instilling a deep reverence for nature.

He soon realized he was no longer “an arch urbanite, sneering at those stuck in the sticks, doomed to doing the same thing day in and day out.”

After purchasing a log cabin on a five-acre wooded parcel, Rouse decided to embark on his own version of Thoreau on Walden Pond.

He went cold turkey, quite his big-city job three years ago and sampled the rustic life. His experiences are chronicled in the book he will discuss on campus.

“I cannot imagine being anywhere else and being this happy,” he told The Holland Sentinel. “These places have heartbeats you don’t find that much anymore.”

Rouse’s other books are "Confessions of a Prep School Mommy Handler” and "America's Boy," both critically-acclaimed memoirs.

He was also a contributing writer to the humorous-essay collection on working in retail, “The Customer Is Always Wrong.”

Conda Kane’s creativity is Art Hop attraction

The Kalamazoo Valley Museum is again the place to be on Friday nights in downtown Kalamazoo.

The “Friday Night Highlights” series, with its bookings of classic movies, concerts, Art Hop events, and laser-light planetarium shows, has begun its 2010-11 series. The Art Hop events are free.

From 6 to 8 p.m., Art Hop is the Nov. 5 attraction with the creations of artist Conda Kane, who grew up in Holland and was greatly influenced by her mother's talents. She moved to the Plainwell area when she joined the staff of a K-12 school district. Kane recently retired after 30+-plus years of service. "I am looking forward to resuming my love of art,” she says.

Kane has taken instruction classes in watercolors, printmaking, and pastels at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts where Denise Lisiecki also had a profound impact on Kane’s appreciation for photo realism. But the intensity of pastel pigment on paper held such an appeal, that work became her focus.

Kane says she enjoys working with "found materials.” She incorporates nature's own sculptures of driftwood and buffed beach glass in some of her work. Other interests include refinishing furniture, matting, framing, jewelry design, and the training and portraiting of pets.

Also part of the "Friday Night Highlights" agenda each week is an 8:30 p.m. showing of the planetarium show featuring the music of Pink Flood. That has a $3 admission fee.

With a laser-light show in full color streaming across the planetarium's 50-foot dome, the 50-minute production, complete with 3-D animated images, showcases the classic hits of Pink Floyd.

Rotating on Friday nights are the group’s songs from the albums “Dark Side of the Moon,” “Wish You Were Here,” and “The Wall.”

Here are the upcoming “Friday Night Highlights” bookings:

  • Nov. 12 – “Fiddler on the Roof”

  • Nov. 19 – The music of Jay Gavan

  • Nov. 26 – The 1954 holiday film classic, “White Christmas”

  • Dec. 3 – Art Hop with the music of the Kalamazoo Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra

  • Dec. 10 – Gregory Peck’s finest film, “To Kill a Mockingbird”

  • Dec. 17 – The Hispanic sounds of Los Bandits

  • Dec. 31 – New Year’s Fest

  • Jan. 7 – Art Hop

  • Jan. 14 – Bluegrass tunes by Deadwood

  • Jan. 21 – A Celtic music jam

  • Jan. 28 – Ninth Street Bridge.

‘Adult Transfer Forum’ on Nov. 9

While most four-year universities and colleges welcome with open arms the growing number of adult, nontraditional students these days, there are some institutions that cater especially to that category of enrollees.

With that in mind, the Student Success Center is hosting an “Adult Transfer Forum” on Tuesday, Nov. 9, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. by the Tower Entrance on the Texas Township Campus.

“Adult students who want to continue their education to obtain a bachelor’s have more options than the traditional four-year colleges,” says Colleen Olson, director of prior learning assessment at KVCC. “These nontraditional, adult-focused institutions gear the completion efforts with more flexibility, accelerated programs, and an adult-friendly environment.”

It is this kind of higher-education school that will be sending representatives to KVCC for the three-hour forum. Scheduled to take part are Cornerstone University, Central Michigan University, the University of Phoenix, Spring Arbor College, Davenport University, and Miller College. They will be on hand to answer questions about the admissions and transfer processes.

For more information, contact Robyn Robinson at extension 4779.

Settlers are ‘Sunday Series,’ TV topics

The stable of white settlers, their origins and why they chose to bring their families to the wilderness known as the Michigan Territory are the topics for the next installment of the Kalamazoo Valley Museum’s “Sunday Series” and its TV show for November.

“Pioneer Settlers of Kalamazoo County” is title of the Nov. 14 presentation by Tom Dietz, the museum’s curator of research, at 1:30 p.m. in the Mary Jane Stryker Theater. All presentations in the series are free and open to the public.

Many long-time residents are familiar with the likes of Titus Bronson, Justus Burdick and Bazel Harrison when it comes to the white pioneers who came to this part of the Midwest, but Dietz brings forward the names of other men and women who were among the first families to put down roots in what is now Kalamazoo County

He narrowed the focus of the TV show to the life and times Harrison, the first white settler in Kalamazoo County. November of 2010 marks the 182nd anniversary of his family’s arrival in 1828.

The episode is being aired by the Public Media Network (formerly the Community Access Center) on Channel 22 on the Charter cable system at 7 p.m. on Sundays, 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. on Fridays, and 11 a.m. on Saturdays throughout the month.

Here are the “Sunday Series” programs through the end of January:

  • “The Smelting Pot: Kalamazoo’s Early Metalworking Industry” – Dec. 12

  • “Kalamazoo: Michigan’s 19th Century Carriage City?” – Jan. 9

  • “Celery Bitters and Sarsaparilla Bark: 19th Century Remedies for Everything That Ails You” – Jan. 23.

For further information, contact Dietz at extension 7984.

Nailing the job interview is Thursday

Students who are stressed out about an upcoming interview for employment can ease their tensions at an upcoming Student Success Center presentation.

“Ace the Interview” will be held twice on Thursday (Nov. 4) at 1 p.m. and again at 6 the Student Commons Lyceum.

Organized by the center’s Career and Employment Services unit, “Ace the Interview” is designed to assist students in their preparation for employment interviews by providing them with information on how to communicate a winning, first impression. Business attire and professional skills will be demonstrated and covered in the presentation.

Those students who attend will enjoy some snacks, be eligible for door prizes, and even be in line for some clothing.

For more information, contact Karen Steeno van Staveren at extension 4676.

‘Louie’ booked for return engagement at museum

New York-based entertainer Louie is coming back to the Kalamazoo Valley Museum this Saturday for yet another performance targeted for families.

His performance in the Mary Jane Stryker Theater begins at 1 p.m. Tickets are $3 and seating is limited. The next performer in this special series of entertainment is singer Joe Reilly on Dec. 4.

A bilingual singer, songwriter and early-childhood educator, Louie Miranda uses a variety of guitars and other “instruments” to entertain his audiences.

Miranda, who hails from Brooklyn, is known for using bilingual lyrics and themes of empowerment in his music and teaching to help children believe in themselves. 

Miranda encourages families to discuss his songs, some of which address environmental or social issues. By inspiring parents and children to interact, he hopes to make music a more complex part of their everyday lives.

Miranda moved to Brooklyn at six months of age from his native Puerto Rico. He grew up on the streets of Williamsburg and East New York, and managed to move around to different neighborhoods — mostly rough areas — about 25 times.

Coming from a family of nine children, Miranda always had a fondness for music. One of his earliest memories is being in a wooden playpen plucking a plastic ukulele with a felt pick.

Yet, he didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life and would often visit the local libraries, scouting out books, absorbing the world around him.

As a child, he yearned for something other than what he knew, but couldn’t exactly figure out what that was.

At a puppet show in his grammar school, everything changed. A shy kid, Miranda found himself wishing he could go up on stage and take part in the performance. From then on, he recognized that performing would play a big role in his life.

“When I play in the rough neighborhoods, I look out at these kids and they are so needy and want so much,” he said.

Miranda often has youngsters come up on stage to play or sing with him, and whether they bring an out-of-tune guitar or violin or even a harmonica is inconsequential. What matters is that the kids become “empowered by getting up on stage. I wish someone had done that for me when I was a kid,” he says.

Although he now plays at many fine venues, Miranda has a steady gig at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan each month, and does regular television appearances. He continues to play at local libraries — trying to reach the kids who are like he was once, kids looking for more in their lives.

“You may not have the power to change the world but you do have the power to do something that’s right in front of you,” he says.

And finally. . .

One foggy night at sea, a ship’s captain saw what looked like the lights of another ship heading toward him.

He had his signalman blink to the other ship: “Change your course 10 degrees south.”

Back came the reply: “Change your course 10 degrees north.”

A little chagrined at the challenge to his authority, the captain answered: “I am a captain. Change your course south.”

To which the reply was: “Well, I am a seaman first class. Change your course north.”

This infuriated the captain who decided to play his ace in the hole. He signaled: “Fool, I say change your course south. I’m on a battleship.”

To which the reply came back: “And I say change your course north. I’m in a lighthouse.”

Trumped and checkmate.


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