Archive for November, 2009

By Jeremy Hubsher, Montco Radio


“3 Balloons” on What Are Records? is the new studio album in quite some time from singer/comedian Stephen Lynch, who the record label bills as “everybody’s favorite musician trapped in the body of a comedian.”

Gone are the smoky comedy clubs; Lynch traded them in for recording booth and Pro Tools. That means it’s going to take some time to get used the album’s polished sound.

Normally, a Stephen Lynch album consists of him and his guitar recorded before a live audience. That’s because humor is a shared experience, and those other works had me laughing right along with the crowd. This time, the tracks are a little larger in scale with a full band supporting Lynch’s comedy.

Nevertheless, “3 Balloons” is hilarious from start to finish. And it’s more mature. Lynch relies a lot less on “cringy humor.” Yes, “the cringe factor” is there, but in smaller doses. They arrive via four, short (less than a minute), tracks. By the time I groaned, and said “that’s not right,” the track was over.

Lynch’s voice sounds excellent, as usual. His songs could be considered sweet folk ballads — if only it wasn’t for the fact that he’s singing about drug-smuggling, a woman’s pubic hair and waiting for the results of an HIV test.

This could be Lynch’s funniest album yet, and I cannot recommend “3 Balloons” enough. But be warned: he does curse a little and the album is for a mature audience that’s not easily offended.

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By Renee Bergandino, Editor-in-Chief


Here we are again! Fall has officially arrived and we begin our journey to the holiday seasons in November and December.  It always amazes me at how fast time flies.

In this issue of The Montgazette, there is a special trend in the stories–one of reaching out to help students achieve their goals. For example, the issue features the Faculty/Staff Annual Giving Campaign, which helps to provide scholarships to students.

And as always, our students make us proud. The ever-wonderful College Choir had a stellar performance at the Phillies game with hundreds of MCCC students, faculty and family at the game to show their support.

As we move along into November, I believe the we become more aware of the kinds of turmoil the world faces.  During the week before Thanksgiving, a number of schools, communities and cities take part in a nationwide effort to bring greater awareness to the problems of hunger and homelessness, which is why November has been deemed Hunger and Homelessness month.  Montgomery County Community College is no stranger when it comes to helping and being active.

I believe that our family at MCCC is very supportive to these concerns, and during the month of November, you will see many clubs and organizations get involved.  Not only will the school be holding a canned food drive, but other student groups will get involved as well, such as the Medical Assisting Club’s annual coat drive.

I believe that every little bit counts, and I am positive that I am not the only one who believes that.

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By Evan Kravitz, Staff Writer

It’s a creative way to help fight HIV and AIDS, and also a way to promote safe sex.

Students from Montgomery County Community College are invited to design a condom wrapper based on the theme of “HIV awareness, care and support.”

The deadline to enter the “Custom Condom Design Art Contest” is Nov. 15; students can submit more than one design.

Voting takes place during the county’s observance of “World AIDS Day” on Dec. 1 at the county Health Department’s Health and Human Services Center in Norristown.

The winning design will be announced Feb. 14, which apart from being Valentine’s Day is also “National Condom Day.”

The prize: 25 condoms packaged in the winning artist’s wrapper. Another 1,000 condoms will be distributed to students.

Besides the contest, the Health Department and Project Hope will also host and display the “Names Project AIDS Quilt” from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the “Worlds AIDS Day” commemoration. Additionally, the department will also conduct free and rapid HIV testing and HIV and AIDS awareness programs.

Shaista Ajaz, the Health Department’s HIV/STD supervisor, said the contest is unique in that it informs young people about the risks of practicing unsafe sex.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an individual infected with a sexually transmitted disease is at least two to five times more likely to acquire an HIV infection through sexual contact than an individual not infected with an STD.

For more information on the contest or HIV or AIDS prevention, contact the Montgomery County Health Department at 610-278-5117.

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By Emmanuella Jean-Ulysse, Staff Writer


We’ve all heard the bad news: consumer spending is down, the housing market has yet to hit bottom and the labor market has deteriorated.

But if one looks hard enough, one could find something positive amid the harsh economic news, according to Dr. James Diffley, an economist at Global Insight who lectured at Montgomery County Community College on Oct. 21.

In his talk, Dr. Diffley explained that education and health services were areas that have yet to be affected by the economy.

His lecture primarily focused on the changing economy of Pennsylvania and Montgomery County.

At Global Insight, Dr. Diffley assumes overall responsibility for U.S. regional services, including the Global Insight Real Estate and Construction Service, which provides detailed residential real estate forecasts for all states and 300 metropolitan regions.

The lecture, titled “The Economic Outlook After the Great Recession,” covered topics such as the job market, healthcare benefits and the housing market.

The college’s Business and Computer Science division sponsored the lecture series.

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Submitted by MCCC New Choices Program


Montgomery County Community College is working to increase the public’s awareness of domestic violence.

Through a grant from the Verizon Foundation, the college has partnered with Laurel House, a local women’s shelter, and the Women’s Center of Montgomery County, which offers counseling to domestic violence victims, to offer domestic violence awareness workshops. The college’s New Choices staff is working with Minna Davis of Laurel House and Janine Kelly and Kristine Wickward of the Women’s Center to bring the programs to the college.

The workshops are held on a Wednesday each month throughout the academic year from 12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in ATC 101 on the Central Campus and the same time in South Hall 220 on the West Campus. The workshops that remain for the academic year:


·      Impact of Domestic Violence on Children:  Nov. 18, Central; Dec. 2, West

·      Domestic Violence in the Healthcare Setting:  Jan. 27, Central; Feb. 7, West

·      Domestic Violence & Law Enforcement:  Feb. 17, Central; Mar. 3, West

·      Dating Violence Awareness & Internet Dating Safety:  March 24, Central; April 7, West


The workshops held in September and October drew students and staff from both campuses.  Faculty from the Criminal Justice and Human Services programs encouraged student attendance to add a real-life component to their understanding of the presence of domestic violence in their college and community.

New Choices Director Nancy Mellon said she hoped that faculty from all disciplines would take advantage of these presentations, and find a way to weave the material into their programs.

Additionally, the three organizations are using the grant to provide weekly drop-in support groups for students who have experienced domestic violence. The support groups provide a safe place to explore the dynamics of abuse, to learn how to build trusting relationships and to connect with other students experiencing abuse. Facilitated by staff from Laurel House and the Women’s Center, the support groups are held every Wednesday from 12:15 p.m. to 1:20 p.m. on the Central Campus in ATC 107; on the West Campus, South Hall 115. Please contact Nancy Mellon at nmellon@mc3.edu or 215-619-7390 prior to dropping in to ensure that the groups are running on a given Wednesday.

Future plans include a “Professional Day” for clinicians, counselors and educators from area organizations and agencies.  The program is designed to enhance the participants’ ability to screen for domestic violence, recognize obstacles to providing service and to identify local and national resources for support and intervention.

Brochures and fliers are posted around campus with a complete listing of upcoming workshop topics and dates.  For more details, email Nancy Mellon at nmellon@mc3.edu or call 215-619-7390.

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By Kevin Devine, Staff Writer

I’ve come to notice two things while walking on campus: it’s getting cold and there are cigarette butts everywhere!

There are signs and a policy promoting a “Clean Air Zone” on campus, but there are too many people who – judging by the butts – ignore it.

“Students, employees, independent contractors and visitors” aren’t allowed to smoke on campus, the policy states.

But as early as 8 a.m., the time when I drag my feet to my political science class with a coffee in hand, my heavy morning eyes spot several students near a set of bushes gathering to smoke.

And on my way to the library I pass far too many students with cigarettes in hand. They are walking quickly, looking out for the security guards.

Noticing so many people smoking on campus prompts me to ask one question: why don’t we create a designated area for campus smokers?

The only reason why students are smoking all over campus is because they have nowhere else to go.

Personally, I think smoking is gross, but I also think that saying “no” to smokers would do nothing to stop their habit. Look at Prohibition. Did everyone stop drinking alcohol?

Prohibiting smoking only means finding butts scattered all over a campus that’s supposed to be “going green.”

In an interview, engineering technology major Michael Stadnycki said a smoking area would also benefit non-smokers because they would know which area to avoid.

“They should have a designated area because a lot of the students don’t want to be around it on campus. I can’t say much because I smoke once in awhile, but I do it in the parking lot.”        Sophomore Pete Schmidley added: “While I don’t smoke, I do believe they should have an area for smokers because students are already smoking on campus anyway.”

So what have we learned? No matter how many times you say “put down that cigarette!” no one is going to listen. The best thing to do is to set up a spot on campus where students can smoke. If you don’t like to breathe the smoke, then don’t visit the area. I promise you that you won’t see me there.

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By Shauna Gallagher

With the recession on everyone’s mind, the “Faculty Staff Annual Giving Campaign Kick-Off” on Sept. 30 was needed more than ever.

The event helped raise money for the Montgomery County Community College Foundation, which provides scholarships and emergency loans.

Student Donna Kelp recalled how an emergency loan helped her buy a chef’s uniform and shoes for her culinary arts program.

The mother of seven had been attending classes at the college’s West Campus but her financial aid package hadn’t yet arrived. She credited the loan with getting her one step closer to becoming a pastry chef.

Stories like Kelp’s are far too common, according to college administrators.

Even the Student Government Association president has her own story of dealing with challenges. At the fundraiser, Patricia O’ Malley expressed her one-time dream of becoming a professional dancer.

“My aspirations were cut short when my mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor,” O’Malley shared, adding that she decided to attend the college and major in biology. She said she found her decision to be very rewarding, adding she appreciated the foundation’s work helping students.

Dr. Kathrine Swanson, the vice president of enrollment management and strategic initiatives, spoke on behalf of college President Dr. Karen Stout.

“I have experienced every day, students at risk of not being able to continue their education,” Swanson said.

Debra Khateeb, the executive director of foundation relations, organized the kick-off along with Terri Goertel, prospect researcher and database developer, and Shirley Suder, the college foundation’s administrative assistant.

Last year, about 43 percent of full-time faculty had contributed to the fund. Of that number, there were 243 people whose donations totaled more than $38,000.

Annual Giving pic by Dennis

Annual Giving Campaign Kick- Off

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By Nikeisha J. Williamson


They rehearsed on the campus quad to get used to performing outdoors. And they also sang in stairwells to experience the echo.

So by the time they stepped onto the field at Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 29, Montgomery County Community College’s West and Central campus choirs were ready to give a major-league-worthy rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Included in the 45,082 fans that paid to see the Philadelphia Phillies play the Houston Astros were about 400 students, staff, faculty and alumni. They also attended the game to support the singers. The sold-out game was not only a success for the Phillies, who won 7-4, but also for the 40-member combined choir, which had been preparing for the performance since last spring.

At that time, the choir collaborated with the communications department to make an audition recording of “The Star Spangled Banner,” which they sent to the Phillies front office. They were picked in the late spring and scheduled to sing in the fall.

As soon as the spring semester began, the choir began rehearsing a new arrangement of “The National Anthem.”

Choir director and Assistant Music Professor Andrew Kosciesza said he wanted the performance to be as polished as possible, and had the group rehearse on the quad and in stairwells.

Helping to get that polished look was the college’s Office of Student Leadership, which provided the choir with new custom polo shirts. The office also provided bus transportation for the group and their fans.

A pure combination of anticipation, excitement and nervousness filled the bus on the ride to the ballpark. There was an exchange of storytelling, laughter and candy on the way to the big performance.

A hostess for the Phillies greeted the group. The walk to the locker room was the group’s absolute favorite experience.

One choir member said on the way: “Look! We just passed a celebrity baseball player talking on his cell phone!”

Following one last rehearsal session in the locker room, the choir made its way onto the field.

Again, the same combination feeling of anticipation, excitement and nervousness was enough to fill the entire field.

Following Professor Kosciesza’s every direction, and despite the echo, the choir gave a performance that was extremely well-received. The crowd was almost silent for the entire piece – even the final few notes – and gave the MCCC choir a rousing ovation.

“Probably the most fun part of the whole thing,” Kosciesza said, “was when the [Phillie] Phanatic came up to the group while we were lining up to sing.”

The world-famous Phanatic actually pulled his four-wheeler up behind the choir and fussed outrageously with MCCC choir member Avery Kachline.


Assistant Professor of Music Andrew Kosciesza contributed to this story.

Choir at Phillies

Choir at Phillies

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By Paul Dittmar


“I’m not a celebrity yet, but hopefully someday.”

Daniel Burnam’s words broke through the thunderous cafeteria noise in College Hall.

Dressed in a crisp brown suit that one could easily spot from across the room, the 19-year-old student recently sat down to talk about his first book, “The Warrior-Priest: Book One of the Tales of Qire-Mersnal.”

Fantasy, suspense and betrayal are among the themes he explored in his story about Nedum the banished warrior.

Though its title reads like something out of medieval literature, the book is largely based on a Christian allegory.

“God gave me the idea of the story and I wanted to include him in it,” Burnam said in an interview. “My book could be the first of many to bring the secular movement in fantasy literature back to the spiritual.”

While the allegory is a core part of the work, it is expressed in such a way that anyone can enjoy it, he said.

“The book has a world like ‘Lord of the Rings’ and a theme like ‘[The Chronicles of] Narnia,’” he said.

Burnam said the 289-page book took him about a year and a half to write and about two years to edit. He said he did most of the editing and paid Xlibris Publishing to put out the finished product.

What’s next for Burnam? Besides working on book two in the series, titled “The Magicians,” he’s planning the other 66 sagas in his head.

With some luck, one of these will get picked by a major publisher. But his ultimate goal is to own a movie-making company and get his big ideas on the big screen.

Burnam may not be a celebrity yet, but there’s plenty of time ahead.

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by Bonnie L. Mauger, Staff Writer


Oct. 10 – It’s raining outside and I’m thinking, “not today.”

I can only hope the weather forecaster is right. He predicts clear skies by the afternoon.

Turns out he is right and I end up spending a windy but rain-free and fun afternoon at the Schuylkill River Festival.

The festival at Pottstown’s Riverfront Park was situated across the street from South Hall on Montgomery County Community College’s West Campus. The event’s sponsors included not only the college and borough but also the Schuylkill River Heritage Area and the Pottstown Mercury newspaper.

Jewelers, painters, photographers and furniture makers were among the several artisans featured at the event. From clothing and candles to crystals and stoneware, there was something for everyone to buy. Pottstown Pottery made souvenir crocks with the heritage area logo. Besides the crocks, there were souvenir T-shirts and tote bags.

College and community leaders who attended the festival included the event’s founder, former college Vice President Dean Foster, who recently retired from full-time work but has maintained a part-time role to help the college develop 140 College Drive in Pottstown into a Riverfront Academic and Heritage Center; college President Dr. Karen Stout and Kurt Zwikl, the executive director of the Schuylkill River Heritage Area. They received proclamations from Pottstown Mayor Sharon Thomas, Pottstown Council President Stephen Toroney, North Coventry Township Board of Supervisors Chairman Andrew Paravis, state Sen. John Rafferty and Patrick Beck, a representative from U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach’s office.

A Native American exhibit in which young children learned to dance with hoops and a “Latino Village” were among the cultural exhibits at the festival.

The college had several booths to provide information about the school and its transfer programs with Albright College and Temple University.

Face painting, a moon bounce and arts and crafts were among the activities in the “Kids Camp.”

Many showed their enthusiasm for the river and its beauty by kayaking or canoeing. Or they biked along the Schuylkill River Trail.

Pottstown native John Comperson sat on the riverbank and reminisced about how he used to canoe the Schuylkill many years ago. He and his wife, Elizabeth, have been married 52 years. He said that they were glad to see the amount of progress in Pottstown.

As we chatted, I learned that Comperson had served in the Navy. I thanked him for his service.

He was surprised to find out I was a new student and encouraged me to continue pursuing my studies.

At the West Campus, the “Scenes of the Schuylkill” art exhibit hosted a reception in the college gallery.

Overall, the river festival and art exhibit made for an exciting day.  Next year, I hope to see you at the annual festival.

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