EDITORIAL: Food changes at CCM have brought fewer options, lower quality, higher costs.

As many people are aware, the food options at CCM have changed drastically and not for the better. Over the summer, the cafeteria in the Student Community Center was removed and the menu at the Cohen Cafe was revamped severely. There are new options as well as new dynamics for the preparation as well as presentation of the food in the cafes.

The cafe in the student center was removed to make room for several vending machines. They removed the healthy options, such as salads and soups, and the wonderful hot entrees, such as pizza and pasta, in order to plunk down vending machines chock full of trans fats, carbs, and chemicals that you can acquire and consume for such prices in the $1.50 to $5 range. Isn’t that just delicious?

Not only are they full of trans fats, carbs, and chemicals, they’re all pre processed foods. According to Observation of Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Luxembourg, a study by Cambridge University found that “Increased consumption of ready-made meals was found to be independently associated with abdominal obesity.” Do we, as a community of students and educators, really want to be obese just because we do not have good eating options in 50 percent of the selection of foods? It is not that students are purposely choosing the food with the poor nutrition, they have to, as it is often the cheapest food that is available. A near broke student would more likely choose a cheaper snack than paying more for something that would be significantly healthier. While there is food in the vending machines that is slightly higher in nutritional value, it is not that much more healthy than the cheap garbage, yet they charge between three and five dollars for it. What a delightful price gouge on hungry students! For $6 at a local deli, a student can purchase a sandwich, bag of chips, and a soda. Those are some incredibly expensive vending machines and the food is not even as healthy as it’s claimed to be.

In the Cohen Cafe, they have reduced the total amount of available food from selections such as tater tots, chicken tenders, empanadas, Quiznos, and healthier soups down to fresh-to-order burgers, sandwiches, and breakfasts as well as the elimination of the Quiznos, one of the soups, and downsizing the healthier pre-made cold cut wraps and sandwiches. Despite the effort to offer more, they actually offer less. The burgers end up cold, missing requested ingredients, or including unnecessary ones. This is absurd as this will drive down the willingness of students to purchase the food.

Winston Courboin, a design student at CCM, said he’d rather go to the Starbucks on campus and “It’s not even a real Starbucks,” Courboin said.

Couple the bad results with a wallet murdering $8-$10 a burger, and one can see why the students are hesitant to purchase food on campus and why they complain that there’s nothing to eat on school grounds despite a positive response on the option of customizable burgers.

“The food options are kind of limited because there’s only one cafe and some vending machines, but I do like the options for creating burgers,” said Ashley VanSickle, a game design student

Not only is price and nutritional value a factor, but so are the cancer-causing chemicals created when the meat is grilled. According an article from cancer.com called “Chemicals in Meat Cooked at High Temperatures and Cancer Risk,” grilled meats contain HeteroCyclic Amines (HCA’s) which are created when proteins within the meat are heated at high temperature as well as containing Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH’s) are also created when the fat in the meat is cooked or burned. These chemicals can lead to cancers of the breast, colon, liver, skin, lung, prostate, gastrointestinal tract, and other organs. This is not something we want to promote on campus as one of the reasons for the renovation of the cafe’s was to offer healthier options.

Even the chicken tenders have decreased in quality. Instead of tasting like chicken, they seem to taste of fryer oil more and more as the semester goes on. This is nauseatingly unappetising. According to “Eating fried foods tied to increased risk of diabetes, heart disease,” a study from Harvard University, fryer oil is a cause of “weight gain, higher cholesterol, and higher blood pressure—all risk factors for type 2 diabetes and heart disease” (HSPH/NUS Study). The results, listed in the article, go on to say, “Participants who ate fried food 4-6 times a week had a 55 percent  increased risk.” For any student eating in the Cohen Cafe at that rate, roughly one meal a day, they are significantly more likely to suffer the symptoms of the over-consumption of the fryer oil.

On the other hand, there are some positive aspects to the upgraded food. Although the meat is not at the higher quality level we all hoped for, the vegan and vegetarian options are delicious yet limited.

In the new Cohen Cafe, the make-your-own burger and salad stations are great for people who are trying to avoid meat and even dairy. There is a veggie burger option that one can customize to his or her liking. The salad station is loaded with nutritious options for anyone looking to stay healthy. There are little slips of paper on which customers can check off what they want on their burger or salad. It is an effective way to stay organized.

Also, one of the many ways that the Cohen Cafe can improve is if there are more pre-made burgers and salads for students to pick up on the go. Often, students who many eat dinner on campus end up spending too much time waiting for their food to get prepared because of the amount of hungry students. If there are more pre-made burgers and salads, there would not be a waiting problem.

Unfortunately, the Student Center Cafe is not as vegan and vegetarian friendly as the Cohen Cafe. However, students can still purchase the processed foods from the vending machines.

For the students who might enjoy vending machine food, the Student Center Cafe may not be much of a disappointment. Perhaps some may find it faster and easier to grab things without having to conversate or interact with another human being.

In addition, some students are upset that there are no longer any pizza, pasta or soup options in the Student Center Cafe. Twisted Mac will be dearly missed. The mouthwatering basil pesto pasta will forever be remembered.

It seems as though the cafes are trying to drive students into over spending on food when the price of a college education is already exceptionally high. Considering that students tend to go get food with their friends it’s easy to see that students would buy the less-than-appetising fair in order to be able to share a meal with their friends.

“It seems like they’re trying to skim off financial aid a little at a time” and for students that are already broke, this seems to be true,” said Cameron Caceres, a electrical engineering tech major at CCM.

One could say that it would be easy to go off campus for food but the low cost healthier options are, often, too far to walk to, which seems to drive students away and back to the Cohen Cafe or the vending machines in the ruins of the Student Center Cafe. For a student body that generally believes Parking Lot 1 is too far to walk to, it seems that affordable and healthy options are an unpalatable distance away.

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Writers’ Club gives new voice to budding artists

By Gina N. Fico
Contributor

This semester, County College of Morris introduced the Writers’ Club, a new student organization to help students expand their skills in writing.

The club is designed for students who either want to succeed in their classes or utilize their creative writing skills, according to founder and president Michelle Mardis. The club meets at 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays in Cohen Hall 265. Three members of the club introduced the student body to the club at the Welcome Back Bash Thursday, Sept. 21.

Mardis, a liberal arts major at CCM, said she was motivated to start this club so CCM students’ “voices can be heard.” She said that this club will also benefit students using writing as a “stress reliever” and that it will present guest speakers that can help students learn how to get their work published.

Mardis said her hope for this club is that it will get more people talking about writing and will help students understand how much writing can extend one’s knowledge and open up students’ minds to “thinking outside the box.” The club will present guest speakers that can help students learn how to get their work published.

Writing is a key skill for students as taking English Composition classes is required to obtain a degree in most majors at CCM. However, some students feel uncomfortable with expressing their thoughts. Gabby Cuevas, a liberal arts major at CCM, said that is another aspect the Writers’ Club can assist students with.

“If you are afraid to tell how you feel in public, you can definitely write down how you are feeling,” Cuevas said.

She said that the club will also focus on helping students construct their thoughts better for essays if that is something they struggle with.

Louis Perez, a music recording major at CCM, said he looks forward to the variety of work this club will present.

“Just more expanding on music related works, it could just be short stories, songs, any sort of writing,” said Perez.

Perez said he hopes this club will make his own “creative juices flow” and he wants the club to push students to speaking their minds more than they may be comfortable with.

Mardis said that the club will host an event called “The Writers’ Block,” which will give students a chance to share their story in a forum similar to an open mic, and students will be free to share their writing and singing their songs. Mardis said there are many phenomenal writers whose voices are not heard, and this event and others like it can help these students more confidently share their work.

“I think it will really show that community college students are just as good as a four year school,” Mardis said. “And it’s really important to me that everyone has a chance to have their voice heard. That’s the main thing I’ve been saying all day. Make sure your voice is heard.”

Religious, ethnic clubs recruit new student members

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Muslim Student Association members recruit new members at the Welcome Back Bash. Photo By: Alexa Wyszkowski.

By Katie Coyne
Entertainment Editor

Country College of Morris has a vast array of cultural clubs to choose from, and most represented themselves Thursday, Sept. 21 at the Welcome Back Bash held on campus.

Music and the rich smells of ethnic cuisines emanated through the air.

Pertaining to culture and religion, there are a wide variety of clubs to choose from at the campus. These clubs include the Campus Christian Fellowship, Orthodox Christian Fellowship, Muslim Student Association, United Latino Organization, Asian Student Association, Diversity Organization, Jewish Student Association, and Black Student Union.

By joining each or any club, students are welcome to learn about different cultures, customs, and traditions of each native heritage.

The Asian Student Association is planning an upcoming cooking event to show students how to cook Asian cuisine, such as sushi right, at home. The Muslim Student Association had different types of food they were serving at the bash, such as baklava and halal.

Halal, a Muslim way of cooking, translates into English, as “lawful or permissible.”  Baklava is a dessert containing chopped nuts and honey baked within a pastry.

“We eat Kosher, too, said  said Saba Gatabi, the vice president of the Muslim Student Association and nursing major at CCM. “It’s the same thing; we have it in a different way … We have religion, and we have culture. So in culture, there’s different kinds of food and different people. In culture, there are different kinds of religions, too.”

A majority of different religions follow the same principle, which is belief in a sole God.

“Basically all religions are the same, like different ways of following them, different ways of doing things,” Gatabi said.

The Orthodox Christian Fellowship is based on the Roman Catholic religion which is also monotheistic. Any and all students who worship within the Christian faith are welcome to join.

“We discuss Orthodox Christian rules amongst ourselves basically,” said Simeon Brasowski, a member of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship and a business administration major at CCM. “We’re open to inviting any and all other denomination of Christian or whatnot and basically to discuss today’s issues with teens and problems that we go through to try to relate to our lives and to Christian beliefs, basically.”

Culture clubs are also about having fun and introducing different games to students from different countries.

The United Latino Organization plans events such as bingo and gymkhana, games that are played a lot in their native regions of Latin America.     Gymkhana translates into English as a “scavenger hunt.”

“Bingo games are something that is really popular in our countries,” said Sebastian Oroteo, a biology major at CCM. “It’s just like a challenge, and they make rules and they just start doing like a step by step challenge … Our club creates events to make people understand how Latin American culture works, like what we do and how we live, and how our culture works.”

The Welcome Back Bash attracted many students and each cultural club was looking to attract new members.  Any students who are interested in joining a club may access more information on the CCM website.

CCM website refurbished for modern look, easier navigation

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New CCM website homepage. Photo by: Screenshot from CCM website.

By: Tyler Barth
Contributor

County College Of Morris launched a new version of its website with a WordPress page Monday, Sept. 25, marking its first major update in eight years.

The site was created largely by John Hester, the digital communications coordinator for CCM, and his team made up of Marianne Perfetto, the technology help desk specialist in information systems; Claire Menzer, the data systems coordinator in Career Services; and CCM students Jeremy McArthur and Timothy Stapp. Their website project began in fall  2016.

“The site we’ve been using, we’ve had it since 2009, so the technology that was useful then, we haven’t been able to expand on that, so WordPress is pretty much a standard as far as large websites,” Hester said.

McArthur said that while the new site does still need progress, but he very much prefers it to the old version.

“A big problem students always said about the past website, and even parents, was that things were really hard to find,” said McArthur, a computer science and game development major. “So we spent a lot of time trying to make it as easy as possible with big pictures and easy-to-read text and all that.”

Kathleen Brunet Eagan, director of communications and college relations, said that the lack of mobile support and the upcoming expiration of the prior system were major reasons for the update. The college was not given a firm date on which the prior system would expire.

“The college community has known for quite some time that we have been in the process of redesigning the website,” Eagan said. “How well that has been communicated to students, I honestly do not know.”

According to Eagan, the new website will incorporate more visuals and video, and will also provide further information for transfer students who are trying to decide their major. Additionally, she said that CCM wishes to overhaul their online application process to make applying to the school easier. WordPress will provide the backbone of the site itself; however, the new application process will be done with other software.

Eagan said that the prior site’s lack of mobile support led to pages failing to load and improperly sized screens on tablets, phones or other handhelds, leading to a massive drop in individuals accessing the site from a mobile device according to unspecified analytics.

Anyone who is still confused about what the site has to offer has been encouraged to contact the college’s Technology Help Desk at helpdesk@ccm.edu to receive a short tutorial video on the site’s new features.

Veteran professor to run for US Senate on anti-cronyism platform

By Brett Friedensohn
Editor-in-Chief

Fueled in part by Senator Bob Menendez’s ongoing bribery trial, Alexander J. Kucsma, an English professor of 45 years at County College of Morris, has announced he will run against Menendez in the June 2018 Democratic primary election for one of New Jersey’s two seats in the United States Senate.

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Alexander J. Kucsma, English professor at CCM. Photo from Facebook 

Menendez is accused of favoring Dr. Salomon Melgen, a Florida-based eye doctor charged in 2015 in unrelated fraud case, for giving him campaign donations and lavish gifts, according to CNN.

In his unorthodox campaigning approach, Kucsma is running under Democratic Liberty Tea, a trademark federally registered to his name in December 2015, rather than under the support of a party. Kucsma said he is using this race in part to bring attention to his cause of eliminating money as a factor in deciding legislation and policy.

Kucsma is announcing his intention to run through Youngtown and said he wants to attain the needed 1,000 signatures on his petition to run at County College of Morris.

“This would be the first college ever to get a Senator on the ballot and that he is Democratic Liberty Tea, and the people just Google in there and see exactly what that is,” Kucsma said. “And we start getting out stories as to what is a trademark name? And we don’t need lobbyist money. We don’t need lobbyist money. I mean, one day, I’m offering Democratic Liberty Tea for somebody to run for Congress for $100. Maybe one day, that business is going to be $10,000 to run for Congress. That’s what it’ll be because people understand, if they understand the trademark name, they’ll buy into it. It’s like a McDonald’s franchise. It takes $150,000 to get it. Doesn’t it?”

Candidates who run under Democratic Liberty Tea must follow the set principles of the organization, according to Kucsma, who said that he can lose his trademark otherwise. Among these principles is the refusal to seek out campaign donations. Instead, candidates who use the trademark must pay to the organization a $100 registration fee and, if elected, a one percent royalty fee for campaign funds raised, according to Democratic Liberty Tea’s website. Kucsma said that he is legally obligated to report all of his organization’s funds as income as would any other corporation.

“It took me five years to get that trademark; I’m not about to lose it because somebody wants me to cut a deal and slash into a budget,” Kucsma said. “If the NRA knows I’m friendly to the Second Amendment, which I am, I’d certainly like their members to come out to support me, but I’m not going to ask them for a donation which would then obligate me to do that. Every politician of the world would do that.”

To create an environment that does not pressure its members’ opinions and policies, members of the organization are forbidden from discussing certain issues, including abortion and gay marriage, among each other, according to the website. However, other issues are included in the organization’s core principles. Upon signing up, members agree to strive toward reducing government spending to not unduly burden taxpayers and small businesses, increasing military spending to “keep our country the foremost military power in the world,” passing legislation to counter illegal immigration, and supporting to replace the Affordable Care Act with a system that will restrict omission of people with pre-existing conditions and force no one to maintain health insurance.

Kucsma received 6 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary of New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District in the House of Representatives election of 2016, when, according to his website, he received a public endorsement by New Jersey Right to Life Committee, a non-profit whose purpose is to legally combat abortion rights.

Kucsma hopes to become the first member of his trademark elected into public office.

“I think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell,” Kucsma said. “I think even if Menendez was indicted, but somebody’s got to do what I’m doing.”

Eighty four percent of likely New Jersey voters believe Menendez should resign if indicted, according to a Suffolk University poll.

If elected, Kucsma said that he does not plan on introducing legislation to limit the power of money in politics as members of the Senate and House of Representatives benefit too much from campaign donations to pass such laws. Instead, Kucsma said that such a change will only come when voters begin electing politicians who stand against cronyism.

“What I’m saying is you need a political reorganization here of what we do in political parties,” Kucsma said. “Never trust those who have created a problem to give you a solution.”

Multiple buildings at CCM behind on state-required inspection certificates

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A certificate expired in 2008 posted in Emeriti Hall. Photo by Jannat Sheikh

Campus officials say fire safety certificates have been issued, not displayed

By Jannat Sheikh
Managing Editor

County College of Morris has not posted in eight areas on campus updated fire safety inspection certificates required by the state, with many expiring before Youngtown first reported on the issue in November 2016.

The Randolph Township Fire Department has inspected the entire campus, but the college has not posted current certifications, according to Dawn Latincsics, compliance officer of human resources and former environmental health and safety coordinator department of public safety.

The areas behind on posting certificates are the Student Community Center, Student Center Cafe, Dragonetti Auditorium, Henderson Hall, Sheffield Hall, Cohen Hall, Cohen Cafe, and Emeriti Hall.

The New Jersey State Uniform Fire Safety Act of 1983 contains the state’s Uniform Fire Code which says that certain public buildings must be inspected periodically depending on their potential risk for fire-related incidents. It also says that when an area is inspection, there must be in it a certificate of inspection displayed in a conspicuous location. Each certificate includes dates of inspection and expiration.

Latincsics said that Richard Briant, Fire Official from the Bureau of Fire Prevention at the Randolph Township Fire Department, inspected every building on campus over the summer.

Briant said that the new certificates have not been issued because the college needs time to show that it has fixed violations and that the Fire Department gives CCM 30 days to take care of the violations. However, Latincsics turned over to Youngtown a copy of an updated certificate for the Cohen Cafe which has not been posted. The certificate says that it was issued Thursday, Sept. 14 and will expire Sept. 30, 2018 and explicitly says that there are no fire safety violations with the area.

In addition, Latincsics said there were “minor findings” that violated the code in some of the buildings during the inspection. Briant said that he expects to return in late October to re-inspect the campus.

Latincsics also said that there is no requirement to post the certificates although each one says, “This certificate must be posted in a conspicuous location in the above premises.”

In addition, Briant said that the updated certificates are required to be displayed in a prominent location.

“I think some of them are just old certificates that have been posted and just not taken down,” Latincsics said. “ There’s not a requirement to post them. But, [Briant] does come up frequently to check requirements of the code depending on the life hazard use of the building.”

Moreover, one of these certificates states that it expired almost 10 years ago. The certificate of inspection located in Emeriti Hall was issued Oct. 12, 2007 and expired Aug. 31, 2008. The one in Cohen Hall was issued Dec. 23, 2009 and expired Sept. 30, 2010. The Henderson Hall certificate was issued April 19, 2013 and expired Feb. 15, 2015.

“The inspections are done as required by the Randolph Fire Marshal,” Latincsics said. “Certificates are old or out of date, and some actually expired …We’re not posting them any further, as far as I know …There isn’t a current work order that has been put out, but that’s something that we can look at to see where [the certificates] are and bring them down so we don’t have the confusion.”

The Uniform Fire Code describes life hazard use as “the use of a building or structure that may constitute a potential risk to human life, public welfare or firefighters.” The majority of the campus’ science labs are situated in Sheffield Hall, and the culinary arts classes are taught in the Student Center.

Non-life hazard use buildings are checked periodically, Briant said. However, the CCM auditorium is required to be inspected quarterly while other buildings are checked annually.

Some concerned students at CCM  said they would appreciate updated certificates.

“They should update it unless they want problems if students start posting it on social media,” said Zay Ellison, an early childhood development major at CCM. “I don’t think the school wants to get in trouble over a simple task to just change a sheet of paper.”

Ellison said students should feel reassured that their safety is CCM’s first priority, but instead  these certificates might end up making students feel unsafe.

Like Ellison, another student believes that this can lead CCM to unnecessary trouble.

“To be honest, I think it’s a bad look for the college considering these forms are being publicly displayed,” said Fahad Siddiqui, a biology major at CCM. “They are expired for multiple years already, and I feel like some students who actually care might even complain to higher authority feeling as if they are not safe.”

On the other hand, one student tried looking at the situation through the school’s perspective.

“I would believe that running a college is a lot of work and very time consuming,” said Abbey Long, a journalism major at CCM. “They could just be busy and forgot.”

EDITORIAL: A Warm Welcome Back from Youngtown

As students say goodbye to beach days and long summer nights, they prepare for the back to school rush.

For some of us, this is an exciting opportunity for a fresh start: new notebooks, a planner (the true token to a successful semester) and an oversized pack of pencils that may or may not be missing by first week. Maybe we stock up on some new Titans gear to really show our back to school spirit. Regardless, we look forward to the gleaming potential of a new school year. The opportunity to raise our GPA’s, meet a friend or two, and snag the ideal parking spot every time we head to class (even if that means following student around Lot 6).

For others, the anxieties of a new school year may be taking over. What if I don’t pass all of my classes? What if I’m in the wrong major? What if Heart-Attack Hill actually gives me a heart attack? Maybe it’s your first year in college all together, or your first year at CCM. What building is what? What parking lots can I park in? (And why isn’t there any parking there?). The anticipation of a new semester can get the best of these students.

Or maybe you’re somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.

We at the Youngtown look forward to writing for everyone in this spectrum as we settle into our production room this semester. We are excited to deliver all the newsworthy  content CCM has to offer, from the groundbreaking changes to the Student Government Association, to the mysterious concoctions the cafeterias are stirring up this fall. Whether you’re thrilled or dreading the start of classes, we at the newspaper hope this semester is as eventful for you as it will be for us. We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled and our pads open as we take on this semester.

Feel free to join us as we kick off this academic year. Our next production is Thursday, Sept. 21 at 12:30 p.m. in LRC 216.