Attend bookstore reading by university writing professors

love_imaginedChristine Stark and Sherry Quan Lee, Metropolitan State community faculty members, appear at local bookstore Subtext Books, 165 Western Avenue North, Saint Paul, on Sunday, Nov. 23rd at 3 p.m. Lee reads from her book Love Imagined: A Mixed Race Memoir, and Stark reads from her upcoming 2015 novel Carnival Lights.

Admission to the event is free.

Lee approaches writing as a community resource and as culturally based art of an ordinary everyday practical aesthetic. Love Imagined tells Lee’s personal story of growing up in 1950s’ South Scandinavian Minneapolis as a child of mixed, Chinese and African-American descent. Lee teaches Intro to Creative Writing and Advanced Creative Writing at Metropolitan State. She has also taught at Intermedia Arts and the Loft Literary Center. A Minneapolis native, she is the author of A Little Mixed Up (Guild Press, 1982), Chinese Blackbird, (Asian American Renaissance, 2002; Loving Healing Press, 2008) and How to Write a Suicide Note: serial essays that saved a woman’s life (Loving Healing Press, 2008).

Starks’s groundbreaking novel, Nickels: A Tale of Dissociation, was recently released. A novel about a victim of sexual abuse, the book was a finalist for the 24th Annual Lambda Literary Awards. Her poem, “Momma’s Song”, is part of a CD/manga by musician Fred Ho and The Afro Asian Ensemble. The Minneapolis-based author is also a co-editor of Not for Sale, an international anthology about violence against women. Stark’s poetry and prose have been published in numerous periodicals and anthologies and she has won awards for her writing, including a Pushcart nomination, a McKnight grant and a Loft Mentorship in creative nonfiction.

Welcome Week includes prizes and giveaways

UABThe University Activities Board (UAB) invites students to attend Welcome Week events, taking place from Nov. 18–20 on all university campuses.

Welcome Week features “Coffee and Cookies on Your Campus,” an event where UAB shares information about OrgSync and the calendar of upcoming student activities at Metropolitan State. Free coffee and cookies are available at all Welcome Week events.

Students that RSVP here before the day of “Coffee and Cookies on Your Campus” also receive a free t-shirt at the event. Students must be enrolled now or for next semester to attend.

The “Coffee and Cookies on Your Campus” schedule is as follows:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 18—from 4–6 p.m. in the upper level atrium of Midway Center, 1450 Energy Park Drive, Saint Paul.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 19—from 5:30–6:30 p.m. in the fourth floor student lounge at Saint Paul College Temporary Campus, 235 Marshall Avenue, Saint Paul.

Thursday, Nov. 20—from 5–6 p.m. (after Gallery Walk with Charting the Future) at Minneapolis Community and Technical College’s “T Building” skyway, 1501 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis. Map available here.

Food drive by Psychology and Nursing departments

The Psychology and Nursing departments at Metropolitan State and Inver Hills Community College are coordinating a food drive on two dates for the First Lutheran Church in Dayton’s Bluff—Thursdays, Dec. 4 and Dec. 11.

The First Lutheran Church staff and volunteers have served hot meals to community residents for several years. Their wellness program delivers a variety of services for community residents every Thursday evening that provides community members with warm clothing, canned foods and health check-ups.

The theme of the hot meal for Dec. 4 is Mexican food. Donations of rice, beans and fresh meats are needed. The Dec. 11 meal theme is Asian food. Donations of rice, pork and fresh vegetables are needed.

To donate fresh or canned foods to the church, contact either August Hoffman, psychology professor, at august.hoffman@metrostate.edu or Deb Matthias-Anderson, School of Nursing assistant professor, at deborah.matthiasanderson@metrostate.edu.

Six affordable home insulation tips for winter weather

cold_weatherThe winter weather conditions experienced over the past few days is a good reminder to prepare your home for winter. Frozen pipes are the second most common cause of home insurance claims in the United States. according to the Insurance Information Institute. Pipes that are either inadequately insulated or exposed to outside temperatures can freeze causing them to rupture, resulting in costly damage. The nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) recommends the following six inexpensive tips to ensure your home is well insulated. These steps will protect your home, save energy and money.

Prevent Pipes from Freezing

For as little as $1 per 6 feet of insulation, you can stop pipes from freezing.

  1. Foam: Insulate pipes exposed to the elements or cold drafts. For as little as $1 per 6 feet of insulation, you can stop pipes from freezing and save energy.
  1. Dome: Placing an insulating dome or other covering on outdoor faucets and spigots also reduce the likelihood of the water in your pipes freezing, expanding and causing a costly leak.
  1. Drip: Drip your faucets, to reduce the build-up of pressure in the pipes. Even if the pipes freeze, you have released the pressure from the water system reducing the likelihood of a rupture. If you are going out of town, and you suspect that temperatures will drop, turn off the water to your home and open all of the taps to drain the water system. This way you won’t return to a frozen, soggy mess.

Insulate Your Windows and Doors

  1. Check for air leaks around windows and doors using a lit incense stick. If the smoke is sucked out of an opening, seal the leak with caulk, spray foam or weather stripping.
  1. The easiest place to insulate that will generate the biggest results is your attic. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggests at least 12–15 inches of insulation on the floor of your attic (more if you are in a colder climate).
  1. If you don’t have energy efficient windows, consider using a shrink film window insulation kit from a local hardware store.

For more information on protecting your home from extreme cold conditions, visit the Protect Your Home in a FLASH Blog and the Great Winter Weather Party preparedness campaign.

Library staff thanks community

Library_AnniversaryIn October, the Library and Learning Center celebrated its 10-year anniversary by hosting an open house and reception. The anniversary open house was a successful celebration of the Library and Learning Center and how it has enriched the lives of Metropolitan State students and people living in Dayton’s Bluff. The reception was a time to reflect on the progress of the community and the Library and Learning Center’s contribution to that progress.

Llibrary_Read2
Interim President Devinder Malhotra reads to children during anniversary event

Library staff thanks the many people who helped to make the celebration events a success.

Library_Read1
Safety and Security Director Thomas Maida shares the joy of reading

More information, including the complete thank-you message and event credits, are available online at the Library and Learning Center’s blog.

Veteran Spotlight: Mike Anderson

Mike_Anderson1In honor of Veterans’ Voice month, Metropolitan State spotlights Mike Anderson.

Anderson began his active duty military career in the United States Army in 1987. After graduating from basic training in Fort Jackson, S.C. and the Psychological Operations Specialist Advanced Individual Training in Fort Bragg, N.C., he was assigned to the 4th Psychological Operations Group (also in Fort Bragg). There, his 23-year career began as a tactical loudspeaker operator. Over the next three years, he perfected his craft with intense training in radio and television broadcasting, interviewing techniques, defensive/aggressive driving techniques, expert weapons marksmanship and completed airborne and Russian language training.

Mike_Anderson2In 1990, Anderson deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Desert Shield. In January, 1991, he was attached to the 3rd Armored Division to provide psychological operations expertise in support of the main effort against Iraqi Republican Guard units which included the Battle of 73 Easting. His actions were recognized for saving lives on both sides of the conflict. Upon his redeployment to Fort Bragg, Anderson was assigned to learn “the other side” of his profession in a Psychological Operations Product Development Center. There, he would learn target audience analysis and the design, development and dissemination of printed media.

Now considered an expert in his field, Anderson held numerous positions over the next twelve years. He secured a staff position, which allowed him to assist with the day-to-day planning and scheduling of activities for more than 1,500 soldiers. He was later selected for an assignment at the JFK Special Warfare Center and School, where he worked as an instructor at the Instructor’s Training Course and was the course manager of the Small Group Instructor’s Training Course.

Following this assignment, Anderson took charge of a Tactical Operations Detachment. His time at Fort Bragg culminated with a return to the JFK Special Warfare Center and School as the non-commissioned officer in charge of the Psychological Operations Advanced Individual Training School from 2004–2006.

Mike_Anderson3Knowing that he was going to retire from the military and move to Minnesota, Anderson found a suitable position as the operations non-commissioned officer in charge of the 13th Psychological Operations Battalion in Arden Hills. After working diligently at this challenging position in support of numerous operational and training missions, Anderson decided to “hang the boots up for good” and begin the next chapter in his life.

He graduated from Metropolitan State University in December 2012 with a BA in independent studies with concentration in leadership in business and communications. He has continued to maintain a leadership position in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, coached youth soccer for five years, acquired a double major in organizational communication and has been accepted into the Masters in Technical Communication Program beginning in the spring ’15 semester.

Anderson is a student worker in the Military and Student Veterans Services Office on the Saint Paul campus assisting current and prospective student veterans achieve their educational goals.

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By a unanimous vote of the Minnesota Legislature, and with Governor Mark Dayton’s signature, October is designated as “Veterans’ Voices” month. The month of October was chosen as a lead up to Veterans Day, Nov. 11, the national holiday honoring all who have served.

Veterans Voices is an effort to create a common understanding between men and women who served in the military and those who have not experienced military service. The legislation is intended to raise public awareness of the positive impact that veterans have in communities, occupations or professions, higher education and other ways, once they have returned home and leave active military service.

University construction update

Under_Construction

This update provides students and the community with the status of the construction projects around Metropolitan State’s Saint Paul Campus. Construction updates may also be viewed online at the Capital Projects: Construction and Planning Web page.

 

Interim parking and construction websites and webcam

The “Interim Parking” and “Construction” links may be found on the home page of the university website. The “Capital Projects: Construction and Planning” page features current information on university construction projects and links to a live webcam view of the parking ramp, student center and science education center worksites.

Remote parking site

It is reported that the shuttle and remote parking system continue to function well with the extended shuttle hours for fall semester, accommodating students in evening classes. Spring 2015 classes are relocated to Saint Paul College due to limited parking at Saint Paul Campus. The university is staying abreast of developments with the Kellogg Bridge and will continue to use the bridge for the shuttle route.

Parking ramp site: Soil contamination, testing and mitigation

It was previously reported that environmental safety consultants discovered soil contaminated with gas and diesel along with evidence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Although no evident risk to persons on or near the worksite has been found, health and safety is the university’s highest priority. The university has:

  • Completed an environmental site assessment;
  • Removed contaminated soil immediately below the ramp footprint;
  • Consulted with MnSCU’s finance and facilities leadership team and appropriate regulatory agencies including the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Capital Region Watershed District; and
  • Developed plans to replace the intended storm-water infiltration system with a filtration system that will keep storm-water from the site from entering the watershed.

The soil contamination issue clearly impacted the project, with the contractor stating that the project is about 18 weeks behind schedule from its original completion date of late January 2015. While costs are still being refined, the current financial estimate of the contamination mitigation and delay costs exceeds $3.4 million. The university is working with the MnSCU system office to resolve funding issues.

The soil contamination is resolved and construction is moving forward. The main stair tower is being constructed, the first level is paved with asphalt, utilities are in place, the second level will be formed soon and concrete will be placed in November. The contractor is taking steps to continue construction throughout the winter.

Student center

Student center construction progresses, as viewed from the web cam on Seventh Street. Most foundations are in place and block walls are rising. In November, roofing steel arrives and building-exterior brick will be laid.

Like the parking ramp, the student center site had contaminated soils which were substantially removed under the building footprint. Because the ground still has vapors that can seep into the building through cracks and holes, a soil vapor extraction system has been designed and will be installed under the building. The cost of the soil removal, testing, and vapor extraction system is estimated to be approximately $580,000. As with the parking ramp, the university is working with the MnSCU system office to identify a way to fund the additional costs.

Science education center

The university hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on Oct. 10, which was attended by local elected officials. The science education center is well underway, as approximately 300 cubic yards of contaminated soil have been removed from the site and hauled to an approved landfill. Prior knowledge of the existence of contaminated soil led to the cost of removal being included in the construction contract.

Foundations are being placed, formwork for the first story walls is being constructed and utility connections to the site have been completed. Foundations for the skyway next to Founders Hall have also been completed. The building’s second floor will be formed and concrete poured in the coming weeks.

Maria traffic calming measures

In partnership with the city of Saint Paul, the university plans to implement traffic-calming measures on Maria Avenue between East Sixth Street and East Seventh Street. That work will begin in the spring of 2015 while the parking ramp is under construction in order that both projects are completed together.

Ask a Public Health Nurse: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Ebola Q-and-A

By Debra Eardley, DNP, RN, PHN, assistant professor, Metropolitan State University.

Question: what are Ebola signs and symptoms?

  • Fever
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal (stomach) pain
  • Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)

Symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is eight to 10 days. Recovery from Ebola depends on good supportive clinical care and the patient’s immune response. People who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years.

Question: I am experiencing some flu-like symptoms (such as fever, headache, muscle aches). How do I know if I have seasonal influenza or Ebola?

Seasonal influenza and Ebola virus infection can cause some similar symptoms. However, of these viruses, your symptoms are most likely caused by seasonal influenza. Influenza is very common. Information about current levels of U.S. flu activity is available in CDC’s weekly FluView report.

Key points:

  • In the United States, there have been two travel-associated cases and two locally acquired cases among healthcare workers.
  • There is widespread transmission of Ebola virus disease in West Africa.
  • It is usually not possible to determine whether a patient has seasonal influenza or Ebola infection based on symptoms alone.
  • There are tests to detect seasonal influenza and Ebola infection.
  • Your doctor will determine if you should be tested for these illnesses based on your symptoms, clinical presentation and recent travel or exposure history.

Question: how do I protect myself against Ebola?

If you must travel to an area affected by the 2014 Ebola outbreak, protect yourself by doing the following:

  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Avoid contact with blood and body fluids of any person, particularly someone who is sick.
  • Do not handle items that may have come in contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids.
  • Do not touch the body of someone who has died from Ebola.
  • Do not touch bats and nonhuman primates or their blood and fluids and do not touch or eat raw meat prepared from these animals.
  • Avoid facilities in West Africa where Ebola patients are being treated. The U.S. Embassy or consulate is often able to provide advice on medical facilities.
  • Seek medical care immediately if you develop fever, headache, muscle pain, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bruising or bleeding.
  • Limit your contact with other people until and when you go to the doctor. Do not travel anywhere else besides a healthcare facility.
  • For travel notices and other information for travelers, visit the Travelers’ Health Ebola web page.

Question: where can I find Metropolitan State University information on pandemic planning and Ebola information?

  • Click here to access Metropolitan State’s pandemic planning and Ebola information.

Question: what happened with the newly confirmed case of Ebola in the state of New York? 

  • 23, 2014—The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reported a case of Ebola in a medical aid worker who had returned to New York City from Guinea, where the medical aid worker had served with Doctors Without Borders.
  • The diagnosis was confirmed by CDC on Oct. 24.
  • The patient is in isolation in a New York City hospital, and public health officials are investigating and conducting contact tracing. 

Question: are there any important updates from the World Health Organization?

  • Industry leaders and key partners are discussing trials and production of Ebola vaccine
  • 24, 2014 — WHO convened a high-level emergency meeting on Oct. 23 to look at the many complex policy issues that surround access to Ebola vaccines. Ways to ensure the fair distribution and financing of these vaccines were discussed, as well as plans for the different phases of clinical trials to be performed concurrently rather than consecutively, partnerships for expediting clinical trials, and proposals for getting all development partners moving in tandem and at the same accelerated pace (WHO.org, 2014, para 1).

Question: how can we maintain our routine lives without being fearful of the Ebola outbreak? 

American Psychological Association responds to Ebola outbreak:

Worries about Ebola outbreak

  • Unfortunately, news about the spread of Ebola may give rise to feelings of stress, anxiety and fear of the future. Such responses are understandable, given the disease’s uncertainties and the poor prognosis for many who contract it.
  • Although Ebola is a threat that is being taken very seriously by public health authorities worldwide, do not let your worry about this disease control your life. There are many simple and effective ways to manage your fears and anxieties. Many of them are essential ingredients for a healthy lifestyle; adopting them can help improve your overall emotional and physical well-being.

What you can do to prevent worry

  • Keep things in perspective. Limit worry and agitation by lessening the time you and your family spend watching or listening to upsetting media coverage. Although you’ll want to keep informed—especially if you have loved ones in affected countries—remember to take a break from watching the news and focus on the things that are positive in your life and things you have control over.
  • Get the facts. Gather information that will help you accurately determine risks so that you can take reasonable precautions, if appropriate. Find a credible source you can trust such as your physician, a local or state public health agency or national and international resources such as the S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.
  • Stay healthy. The risk of Ebola transmission is low. A healthy lifestyle—including proper diet and exercise—is your best defense against any threat. Adopting hygienic habits such as washing your hands regularly will also minimize your exposure to all types of germs and disease sources. Eat healthy, avoid alcohol and drugs and take a walk or exercise. A healthy body can have a positive impact on your thoughts and emotions.
  • Keep connected. Maintaining social networks and activities can help maintain a sense of normalcy, and provide valuable outlets for sharing feelings and relieving stress. This may also be an ideal time to become more involved with your community by receiving and sharing effective information obtained from reliable sources.
  • Seek additional help. Individuals who feel an overwhelming nervousness, a lingering sadness or other prolonged reaction that adversely affects their life, work or relationships should consult with a trained and experienced mental health professional. Psychologists can help people deal with extreme stress. These professionals work with individuals to help them find constructive ways to manage adversity. The SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline is another resource for people experiencing signs of distress related to the Ebola outbreak. This helpline provides 24/7 year round crisis counseling and support at 1-800-985-5990.

*Thanks to psychologists Ester Cole, PhD and Gerard A. Jacobs, PhD who assisted with this article.

References

American Psychological Association. (2014). Managing your fear about Ebola. Retrieved from, http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/ebola-fear.aspx

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Ebola Update. Retrieved from,             http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/index.html

World Health Organization. (2014). Global Alert and Response (GAR). Retrieved from,             http://www.who.int/csr/en/

Employment opportunity for students

cardinal_scholarsCardinal Scholars is an in-home and online tutoring service that gives exceptional tutors the chance to be matched with local students in need of additional academic support. They connect tutors with students seeking help with college, high school, middle school and elementary material.

Cardinal Scholars is seeking tutors who:

  • are excellent teachers and have experience teaching others,
  • are academically curious and intelligent, and
  • attend or have graduated from Metropolitan State as either an undergraduate, graduate or professional student.

The benefits of becoming a tutor with Cardinal Scholars include:

  • Freedom to set your own schedule. There is no set hourly requirement, as Cardinal Scholars expect tutors to be taking classes as well.
  • Competitive compensation ranging from $15–$35 per hour.
  • Get to know great families from the community who appreciate your assistance.
  • Tutors are connected with students all over the United States and online for sessions—tutor in your hometown during breaks and in your college town during the school year.

While Cardinal Scholars offers the opportunity to be considered for an assignment if a tutoring request is received in your area for in person tutoring and/or around the country for online tutoring, it is not a guarantee of immediate tutoring work.

Metropolitan State students that meet the criteria above and are interested in a position with Cardinal Scholars may apply by visiting their application page.

To learn more about the company, visit http://www.cardinalscholars.com.

Snow season parking, important information

snowflakeThe winter season is upon us. Students and community members are encouraged to visit the Snow Emergency Information Web site for the latest information on snow emergencies declared by the city of Saint Paul.

When a snow emergency is declared, community members are asked to follow specific parking guidelines to allow for efficient snow removal operations. Vehicles in violation of parking restrictions will be ticketed and towed. Vehicles parked at the Union Depot are not affected by snow emergencies.

Learn when a snow emergency has been declared by:

  • subscribing to the city of Saint Paul’s “Snow Alerts” by texting STPAUL SNOW to 468311,
  • calling 651-266-PLOW,
  • or viewing updates online at http://www.stpaul.gov/snow.

Snow_Plow

Snow emergencies begin with night plow routes at 9 p.m. the day of the declared snow emergency.

Night Plow Routes are marked with signs that say “Night Plow Route” or “Night Plow Route This Side Of Street.”

  • All of downtown Saint Paul is part of the Night Plow Route, even though no signs are posted.
  • Parking is banned on night plow routes until the street is plowed full-width.
  • Vehicles not moved from night plow routes by 9 p.m. on the day of the declared snow emergency will be ticketed and towed.

Snow emergencies continue with day plow routes the morning following the declared snow emergency.

  • Plowing starts after night routes are plowed, which is typically around 8 a.m.
  • There are no signs on day plow routes.
  • Parking is banned on these routes until the street has been plowed full-width.
  • Vehicles not moved from day plow routes by 8 a.m. the day after the snow emergency has been declared will be ticketed and towed.

After the first two phases of the snow emergency are complete, follow-up plowing, sanding and salting and miscellaneous cleanup follows for as long as is required. Any vehicle parked in an area that has not been plowed full-width is subject to ticketing and towing for 4 days (or 96 hours) after the emergency has been declared.

It is strongly recommended that students and the community familiarize themselves with snow emergency routes map which shows snow emergency routes that are in close proximity to the school. A PDF version of the map is available here.

If your vehicle was towed during a snow emergency, visit the Ticketing, Towing and Storage Fees Web page to find impound lot location information.

Community members with questions can review Snow-Related FAQs.

A newsletter for the Metropolitan State University community