Monday, November 2, 2009

One Last Chance at Greatness

In the classic 1986 film, Hoosiers, head basketball coach Norman Dale lead a scrappy bunch of high school kids from a small town in Indiana to the State Championship game and a chance of a lifetime.

He led kids, who had no particualr hopes for the future, to a date with the best high school basketball team in the land for the opportunity to be remembered forever in the rich history of Indiana basketball. Obviously, coming from nowhere, a sense of doubt and the proverbial "Can we do this?" crept in to their heads.

To Dale's credit, however, one piece of advice can change the impossible into the probable. He simply told a team doubting their abilities, "If you put your effort and concentration into playing to your potential, to be the best that you can be, I don't care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, in my book we're gonna be winners."

This brings us to the Philadelphia Phillies and game five of the World Series. It is rare for a Philadelphia fan to feel hope when all seems lost. After blowing what seemed like two easy wins, the Phils find themselves in a three games to one hole with their season on the line in the matter of minutes.

Facing an uphill battle, they'll need to beat, in order, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettite, and C.C. Sabathia. If you combined their salaries and the amount that their World Championship rings are worth, you could put the entire state of New York off of unemployment.

It's a well known fact that this is the greatest challenge this franchise has and most likley will ever face. A franchise, that has gone over 100 years and has only one two World Championships, now has a chance to win a second. Just beat the greatest single franchise in the history of sport, with a team that has been assembled with the care and precision of the engineers who put together the space shuttle.

So why am I optimistic? Because sports allows us to sit back and watch the impossible happen before our eyes. There are no scripts to these games, and to every statistic that is shown to emphasize precedence, a new statistic emerges each year to create new ones. Maybe it's a longshot that a team can come back three games to one. But stranger things have happened.

What if Herb Brooks, told his team to just lay down and don't even try, the Soviets are too good? Do you remember the shock of a nation as, then, country bumpkin Eli Manning did the unthinkable as he led the Giants to an unprecedented victory by ending the undefeated season of the New England Patriots? And yes, following precedence, whoever thought that a team could come back from three games to nothing to win the pennant?

If these men who are entrusted with the hopes and dreams of a city, can muster up everything they have and find a way to win tonight, then it will officially be a series. They've done it before, and they can do it again. If they can give it that extra effort that they have all season and combine it with their overall natural ability, then who knows?

So maybe there is a chance. Sometimes all you have is hope, but even if its just a little, that still makes the game worth watching.

Just as the preacher said before Dale's team took the court in that infamous game, "And David put his hand in the bag and took out a stone and slung it. And it struck the Philistine on the head and he fell to the ground. Amen."

You tell me who won the game.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Nuclear Power: How it Affects Us?

American University's Eco-Sense President Meg Imholt and enviornmental science
expert Christopher Tudge talk about the dangerous aspects of nuclear power that is related to the Millstone power station leak and some of the alternative energy solutions to nuclear power.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

DC Tenants Coalition Meeting

DC Tenants Coalition Meeting
By Steven Rosenberg

A major protective body for the 70 percent of Washington, D.C., residents who are renters could disappear through budget cuts, members of the Tenants Coalition said last night in gathering potential testimony to fight the cuts.

Some seven members began preparation for the City Council hearing on April 8 that will determine whether or not the RHC will be abolished. The RHC is comprised of three people who represent landlords and renters, and acts as an appeal committee for renters and building owners who are in dispute.

If the RHC is removed from the budget, an appeals process will be unknowingly taken away from the renters of the community, said Michael Colonna, a former vice president of the Tenants Association.

“Most people don’t know what their rights are, and they don’t know how to defend them,” he said.

When a tenant and landlord have a dispute, their case automatically goes to the Office of Administrative Hearings. After a decision is reached, either party can take his or her case to the RHC and then finally to a Superior Court of law. While the cases are before the RHC, the tenants can represent themselves, but once they get to the Superior Court, a lawyer will most likely be needed. The removal of the RHC, a proposal before the City Council, could hurt some renters who do not have the money to spend on a lawyer, according to Colonna and others.

“Tenants who get an unfavorable position will have to go to court,” Colonna said.

Colonna said he is contemplating whether to give any testimony at the City Council meeting. He said he would only be repeating the arguments of thousands of other tenants who face the same problems of constant rent increases, lack of services, and lack of cooperation from the landlords.

“I’m having trouble coming up with fresh things to say,” Colonna said.

Tom Gregory, a tenant at 4000 Massachusetts Ave. NW, said that his building is the target for the largest rent increases in D.C history, at an extra $14 million over an eight-year span. Gregory said he is also upset about surcharges for renovations that should be paid for by the landlord.

“To have real capital improvements, there needs to be real improvements,” he said.

The coalition is also concerned that the superior court system is not equipped to handle renter disputes because it has no prior experience in cases in tenant law. Campbell Johnson, chair of the Urban Housing Alliance, said that most rent control laws are complex and judges tend to defer to attorneys who are experts on such

“If you don’t have an attorney, it’s your loss,” he said.

Karen Williamson, chair of the D.C. Tenant’s Coalition, says there needs to be more involvement from renters to ensure that this ordinance does not pass.

“Renter apathy is one of the worst problems that you can have,” she said.

Over 70 percent of D.C. residents are tenants. Still, Colonna said renters are looked down upon as second class citizens. He said landowners are not willing to make concessions because they want new tenants, so they can raise rent.

“Model for renting in D.C. is becoming a dorm mode, “he said. “They encourage rapid turnover.”

Kenneth Rothschild, who is considering giving council testimony, applauded the work of activist tenants.

“There has been a core group of tenants that have stuck with the tenant issue and made sure that the legislative and the agency issues that are critical to good housing law, and the enforcement of that law, that we have been able to at least do a lot to keep it as strong as it is,” he said. “ It could be better, but it could be a lot worse.”

Still, according to Colonna, more renters need to take a stand against constant rent increases, the mismanagement of rental payments, and the overall mistreatment of renters by their landlords

“Most people in the building don’t think an extra $100 a month is a lot. I do,” he said.


The Importance of Tenant Advocacy in D.C.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

On Campus Story

Masters Anniversary
Steven Rosenberg

Brooke Cashman wouldn’t trade being stranded by a typhoon, followed by Communist rebels and having her best friend almost shot for anything. In fact, it was the best time of her life, because she was making a difference as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Cashman was one of four former American University students who returned to campus last night for the 10th anniversary celebration of the Teachers of English to Speakers of Another Language Master’s International Program (TESOL) which is part of the Peace Corps. TESOL allows graduate students to continue their education while helping students in over 70 countries learn English.

“I’ve learned more from that experience, than any other professional experience,” she said.

The students shared their experiences with dozens of prospective students, emphasizing that American University currently has the third most amount of alumni volunteers of any school of its size. In introducing the students, University Provost Scott Bass said that the peace corps is “a profound and life changing experience” and talked with great pride of the impact American University has had on the success of the program.

Cashman, who now teaches in the English department at Georgetown University, volunteered on a small island in the Philippines, in a job she says she believes got her where she is today. Learning how to interact with people of another culture has helped her prepare for the many different cultures that she interacts with at a major University such as Georgetown.

She recalled how openly friendly everyone was to her. As the only Caucasian on the island, she was given a celebrity status.

“I understand what it means to be Angelina Jolie,” she said.

Still, she said it wasn’t always glamorous. She said it takes a certain type of individual, one who can overcome stressful situations, to complete this type of program.

“Everyone should not do the Peace Corps,” she asserted.
The program requires a three year commitment. Students spend one year in graduate school, one year in the Peace Corps, and then one more year in graduate school.

Jody Olsen, acting director, stressed the importance of the student’s task. She reflected on one story, in particular, involving Peace Corps members who tried to teach Pride and Prejudice to students in Kazakhstan, a nation in Central Asia. These were kids who would have known who the author of the book, Jane Austen, was until these interactions. She said she felt proud to witness two cultures coming together.

“It’s about how people think,” she said. Olsen was referring to the idea that these volunteers are able to help mold the minds of these young kids and they themselves learn from them.

Volunteer Ben Houle, who now teaches elementary school kids, said that teaching in Russia taught him that the Russian people are “some of the hardest working people I’ve ever met.”

Still, the majority of the speakers talked about how rewarding they found the experience of serving in the Peace Corps while studying abroad. They have all added a great amount of life experience that cannot be replicated in a normal work environment.

Olsen said the Peace Corps and the Master’s International Program have grown in their ability to reach students since she first started volunteering 43 years ago. She said the 200 percent increase in applications is a testament to the commitment of a new generation of students. It has gotten to the point where she wants to track down former volunteers to tell them of the great impact they have left on the students they have taught in their respective countries and to discuss with them the impact these experiences have had on their lives.

John Mark King, who studied and volunteered in Uzbekistan, said he was writing obituaries for a local newspaper, and he knew he needed a change, so he joined the program and it changed his life as it allowed him to discover new important skills like learning Uzbek.

He said the two happiest times in his entire life were recently when his son was born and one evening while eating dinner as the sunset, which he described as “the perfect moment in the perfect place.” Now, King is using his skills to open an ESL school in Istanbul.

After 10 years, the American University TESOL program has touched what Olsen calculates are thousands of lives across the world, from Tunisia to Armenia. For people like volunteer, Ben Houle, the effects are just as strong in the other direction.

“It’s the hardest job you’ll ever love,” he said.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Broadcasting story

The first two clips are of me introducing and closing the story.
The next few clips are both of b roll film of Lucky swimming and
fetching the newspaper while also attaining quotes from the owner
Ted Rosenberg.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

State of the Business

There are not many businesses today that have not been affected by the crisis that is occurring in regards to our nation's economy. This includes journalism as well. Many well known publications have hit hard times lately. One example includes The Chicago Tribune. The paper will soon be cutting its broadcast operations from its budget in attempt to save money.

One of the most shocking examples of how the economy is affecting journalism, would have to be The Rocky Mountain News. This paper, which has been around for 150 years, published its last edition on Friday. Many say that print journalism had been struggling before, and this economy is not helping.

How will publications survive, when it seems all businesses are struggling?
Can they develop ad revenue from businesses that struggle?
Is there room in cities for more than one newspaper at this point?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Garrett Winters:Facilities Coordinator of Housing and Dining

One of the many duties of American University’s Housing and Dining Department is to make sure that all furnishing in the six dormitories on campus are in their proper place. On one day in August of 2007, however, not only was the furniture not in the right room, it wasn’t even in the building.

In Leonard Hall, a dormitory housing 422 students on campus, a couple of students decided to bunk their own beds, unsuccessfully, on top of each other in order to create more space in the room. As a result, the bed fell through the window. Throughout the incident, Garrett Winters was taken aback, but stayed calm enough in order to make sure no one was hurt and to help clean up the area where the bed had landed.

Such is the life of Winters, 28, the facilities coordinator of the Housing and Dining Department at American University for the last two years.

Winters everyday tasks include, supervising the maintenance crews for the five dormitories on campus, emptying the eagle bucks machines every week, setting up the 62 floor lounges and the study areas with furniture, and doing anything else having to do with the physical buildings that house the 2,312 students on campus.

Winters came to the job wanting to combine a new challenge with his love of campus life.

“I was looking for something different. I enjoyed college campus and thought it would be fun to come back.”

One of Winters biggest challenges has been the 2008-2009 school year with its record enrollment of freshmen. As a result of having approximately 1,400 new freshman on campus, more “triple” rooms have been formed, which means many freshman will have to room with two people instead of the normal one. More than 180 new sets of furniture have been installed in the dorms.

Despite the extra work, Winters still manages to keep a smile on his face.

Michelle Smith, the Guest and Public Relations coordinator, at American University says that Winters helps make the day go by faster.

“He’s fun. He lightens the mood,” she said.

At work, they have developed a give and take relationship. When Michelle needs something such as a monitor, Winters is always there to help out, and when Winters needs something, Smith is right there to help as well. On Super Bowl Sunday, for example, he helped her move into her new home.

“I couldn’t have done it without his help,” she said.

But with all the responsibility of the physical plant at AU, Winters is not immune to frustration.

Mike Tsugawa, one of the Resident Maintenance Crew members who works for Winters, says Winters looks for top performance from the resident maintenance crew members that work directly for him.

“He’s been stressed because he wants people to work up to their potential,” Tsugawa said

Even Winters admitted there is room for improvement in the facilities area on campus such as in his bi-weekly meetings with the resident maintenance crew members.

“I need to come into these meetings more prepared rather than just winging it sometimes,” he said.

It’s been a long road for Winters to Housing and Dining. Winters, born in Washington, D.C., now resides in Prince Georges County, Md. After high school, Winters attended the University of Maryland where he majored in Criminal Justice. He also worked in its equivalency to American’s Housing and Dining Department, which gave him a new perspective on dorm life.

“I now have a greater appreciation for the people behind the scenes,” he said.

Winters wishes there was a reason he hasn’t gone into criminal justice yet. He has taken the LSAT exam, but for him, the timing just hasn’t been right.

Sometimes, though, he said he wishes that some on campus would show a little more appreciation for all of the hard work that his staff does on a daily basis. He said there are times when they rearrange furniture for students even though there only job is to place it in the room. Some students will not even thank them and ask them to do it over.

“We’re not a rearrange your furniture service to make your room look good,” he said.

After graduation, he worked in an apartment complex doing similar things to the tasks he has now at AU. Still, Winters wanted to work in a college, as he felt it would allow for a friendlier atmosphere. He decided that his skills would be best served continuing to work in dormitory life at AU.

Winters describes one of his best skills as not panicking under pressure, especially when people are unprepared. This is a necessary trait to have in this kind of work because things are always changing like the number of students attending the university.

One of the primary reasons he decided to work in dormitory life was because of his own experiences in the dorms and the people whom he lived with. He says that he still speaks to them on a regular basis.

“I was in a triple and I enjoyed my experience in the dorms unlike other students,” he said.

Something that Garrett finds amusing is the fact that students at American complain about the long walk from Anderson Hall to Leonard Hall, which is about 500 yards. He remembers the two mile hikes he had to take to the other sides of campus at the 38,000-student University of Maryland.

Still, Winter’s youth, gives him an advantage when it comes to working with college students, he said.

“I think anyone working with college students, the age is a factor,” Smith said.

Garrett said he would eventually like to go to law school and focus on corporate law. He also says he is open to whatever the future might bring.

“I love my staff, but you got to do what you got to do,” he said. Besides, it’s less likely that a bed would fall through a window at a law firm.