Clocks Go Back This Sunday

first_imgA reminder: don’t forget to change all your clocks tomorrow (Sunday).last_img

Puppies sniff out student stress

first_imgWet noses warmed student hearts at the first “Puppy Days” event, held at Notre Dame’s Knights of Columbus building Friday. The event, sponsored by student government’s Constituent Services Committee and Circle K, brought five dogs and a rabbit from the Humane Society of St. Joseph County to campus to relieve student stress, event coordinator Lizzie Helpling, a sophomore, said. “Because we live on a college campus, we’re isolated from ‘petable’ animals,” she said. “Talking to my friends, pets are what they miss most at college.” More than 500 students attended the event, five times the number organizers planned for, Helpling said. “From having a dog at home, I know how relaxing it is to pet an animal,” she said. “This gives students a taste of home and shows them the responsibilities of owning a pet just out of college.” The Humane Society welcomed the chance to come to campus, outreach coordinator Genny Carlson said. “I’m glad there are so many students who love animals,” she said. “We always look for events like this.” Carlson brought dogs she knew could handle a crowd, such as Jack, a chow mix known affectionately as “Happy Jack.” Another dog, a yellow lab and Shar Pei mix named Alex, spent the morning at a grade school before visiting Notre Dame. “I saw him coming in from the school and brought him right here,” Carlson said. “It gets them out of the shelter for an afternoon. They get lots of love and dog treats.” Many students said they attended the event because they miss their pets from home. Freshman Katie Bascom said she attended because she misses her golden retriever, who lives 600 miles away from campus. “I actually didn’t come because of stress,” she said. “I miss my dog.” Bascom said she would love to attend another Puppy Days event featuring another popular pet. “I would love to see kittens here,” she said. “Everyone loves to play with kittens.” The Humane Society saw the event as a chance to promotevolunteering opportunities to students, she said. “For volunteers, we want people who have the time to dedicate to [the animals,]” Carlson said. Sophomore Lindsay Rojas said the event helped her cope with being away from her pet Shih Tzu, Gizmo. “I couldn’t pick a favorite [dog],” she said. “It really helped with stress.” On-campus service organization Circle K volunteers support at the Humane Society, senior Jessica Choi, leader of that volunteering effort, said. “It means a lot to me that we got the Humane Society out to campus,” she said Friday. “The project died down, and I’ve been trying to revive it for the last three years. Bringing it back as a project and event, especially with all these people here, is amazing.” Choi said Circle K is always looking for more volunteers to add to the group, which trains the animals for adoption by walking them and spending time with them. “In terms of volunteers, we want dedicated people with lots of love for service and animals,” she said. “They have to have a lot of time.” For more information on the Humane Society and volunteering with Circle K, visit http://www.humanesocietystjc.orglast_img read more

‘Legally Blonde’ takes the stage

first_imgAfter months of preparation, an entirely student-run production of “Legally Blonde: The Musical” opens this weekend as PEMCo’s main-stage winter show.PEMCo, the primary student musical-theater group on campus, chose the pop musical for its upbeat nature and vocally demanding female parts, director and sophomore Jacob Schrimpf said.  Lesley Stevenson | The Observer “This seems like a traditional fit for the actors and resources of PEMCo,” he said. “The overall vibe of our group right now is very fitted to the show. We definitely have the right performers. We have a lot of energetic people in the group, which is great because the show is very high energy.”After former producers and directors chose the winter show’s production team in May 2013, Schrimpf said he and the producers chose “Legally Blonde” from a list of four musicals.“The rights for the show just came out a few years ago, so there hasn’t been a lot of time for amateur groups to perform it yet, which is exciting,” he said.Schrimpf said cast selection was particularly difficult because more than 100 people auditioned for only 25 parts.“It was amazing because we could have cast the show two or three times over with the amazing talent we had come in,” he said.Senior Emily Nash, who plays the lead role of Elle Woods, said she joined PEMCo her freshman year when she auditioned for the company’s main-stage winter production. She said she is excited to see the growth in the quality of the group’s productions over the years. “The fact that it’s students having put together this entire show without any professional assistance is a big deal,” she said. “It’s cool to see the costumes, props, staging and set come together, knowing it’s all put together by young adults, makes it really unique.”Nash said she appreciates the unique opportunity she has had to participate in musical theater even though she has no formal vocal or theatrical training.“Audition, and keep auditioning, because you never know what they’re looking for, who they might need, and what spot they need filled. … It’s a really low-key, accepting, relaxed environment,” Nash said. “There’s nothing to be afraid of.”  Lesley Stevenson | The Observer Schrimpf said the cast has been rehearsing for four hours a day, five days a week, since Thanksgiving, making participation a serious commitment for students.“People are really passionate about it, so people make it a priority, but it requires a lot of time management to balance the production and schoolwork,” Schrimpf said. “It’s a demanding process.”As a Film, Television and Theatre major, Schrimpf said working on the show offered the opportunity to apply what he learned in his theater courses to a real production. Although he receives no academic credit, he said he enjoys the chance to explore future career possibilities.“I find that things in my classes inform my decisions as a director, and my experience as a director is informing my learning,” he said. “This is helping me figure out if this is something I’m looking at pursuing professionally or not.”Not everyone in the production studies theater academically, Schrimpf said.Choreographer Maggie Miller majors in chemical engineering. Miller, a junior, has been active in Dance Company and recently discovered musical theater, although she began dancing when she was five.“I didn’t do theater at all until last year,” she said.Although audiences may be familiar with the film version of “Legally Blonde” and have expectations for the main characters, Nash said the musical features a more developed, quirky role for Elle.“Knowing that there are certain expectations from the people who originated the role and taking those expectations and trying to live up to the role at the same time has been really challenging but fun,” Nash said.Nash said she loves the musical version of “Legally Blonde” even more than she likes the movie.“The premise of the movie is so ridiculous and fun-spirited that putting it in a musical setting, … adding over-the-top theater elements, takes it to another level that makes it even more fun,” Nash said.Beyond unique elements like two live dogs as on-stage characters, Nash said the pop genre of the musical offers a relatable style of music and dance that is familiar and accessible for students, both on stage and in the audience.“It’s a show where the music encourages you to let loose,” she said. “It’s really fun that way and makes the dancing more modern. … It’s fun that we can relate really well and bring that to the stage.”Schrimpf said PEMCo’s hard work for the past three months makes the production exciting to watch.“It’s a special group of people, and the show is a joy to watch,” he said. “If people are looking for a few hours to escape their stresses, this is a great opportunity.”Miller said she looks forward to sharing the production with students.“It’s a hilarious show, you can’t watch it without smiling,” she said. “It’s really upbeat. It’s so much fun. If you want to be put in a good mood, you should come. I still am laughing at rehearsals.”Performances of “Legally Blonde” will be Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Washington Hall. Tickets are available in advance at the LaFortune Box Office.Tags: Legally Blondelast_img read more

Drug Legalization Debate Heats Up in Mexico

first_imgBy Dialogo December 14, 2012 Even when a feared drug lord lied dead in a funeral home, Mexican authorities could not prevent the cartel kingpin from slipping away. Mexican marines scored big against the powerful Zetas criminal gang when they killed their boss Heriberto Lazcano in a gunfight in northern Mexico on October 7. But instead of basking in a key victory in the drug war, authorities faced a new embarrassment when gunmen stormed the funeral home hours later and spirited away the body. The death-and-disappearing act summed up a year of successes overshadowed by failures in Latin America’s drug war, which took more capos off the streets but was unable to stop trafficking to the United States. Lazcano was among 25 of the 37 most wanted drug capos who were either killed or captured during Calderon’s administration. The government also dealt a huge blow against the once powerful Gulf Cartel when it caught its leader, Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez, alias “El Coss,” in September. But Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the country’s most wanted man and chief of the most powerful gang, the Sinaloa cartel, remained on the run a decade after he escaped from prison in a laundry basket. The death toll surpassed 60,000 in Mexico over the past six years, experts say, with cartels dismembering enemies or hanging them from bridges. At the same time, a debate heated up across the region on whether governments need to change the US-backed strategy, or even legalize drugs. “I think we are headed toward full-scale legalization, at least of marijuana, in the long-term, but it will be a slow march,” David Shirk, director of the Trans-Border Institute at California’s University of San Diego, said. The US states of Washington and Colorado voted in November to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who opposes legalization, told Time magazine that the votes open a debate “about the course the drug war should be taking.” The US military stepped up its involvement in the anti-drug battle, deploying vessels and aircraft to stop trafficking along Central America as part of the multi-national Operation Martillo (Hammer). Around 200 Marines were sent to Guatemala to provide communications support and aircraft. While cocaine, crystal meth, heroin and marijuana continued to flow into the United States, the cartels maintained their campaign of terror, cutting their enemies to pieces and hanging men and women from highway bridges. In another example of the brutality in May, authorities discovered 49 dismembered bodies in black plastic bags on a roadside near the northern industrial city of Monterrey. A note signed by the Zetas was found at the scene. But the Trans-Border Institute said violence fell in key parts of the country, notably in Ciudad Juárez, once known as the world’s murder capital, which could translate into a drop in the overall number of drug-related murders this year.last_img read more

Should the Lakers favor DeMarcus Cousins over their youth and draft picks?

first_imgThe ping-pong balls salvaged the Lakers a coveted lottery pick, leaving general manager Mitch Kupchak both relieved and eager to pop open a champagne bottle to celebrate.It appeared that by securing the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday, the Lakers would finally have a young prospect capable of becoming the franchise’s next star. But amid the Lakers’ endless evaluations on which player would fit that description, would Kupchak ever just trade the pick? “It would have to be a heck of an opportunity for us,” Kupchak said last month, “to consider doing something like that.” Numerous reports suggest the Lakers have discovered something they would consider. At what cost?If the Lakers acquired Cousins, they would land an established 24-year-old center that has already made an All-Star team (2015) and won a gold medal (2014 FIBA World Championships). Though the Lakers may have to ensure Cousins’ various outbursts with the Kings would not follow him here, his transition may take less time than Duke center Jahlil Okafor. Okafor is considered the draft’s most offensively skilled post player after averaging 17.3 points per game on 66.4 percent shooting, while also averaging 8.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks, in his lone season at Duke. Yet, concerns persist about his defense and conditioning. • Bonsignore: Lakers should draft OkaforBut would that backdrop make it worth it for the Lakers give up a combination of the Lakers’ Nos. 2, 27 and 34 picks, as well as Julius Randle or Jordan Clarkson, just to land Cousins?“There’s something to be said for having the No. 2 pick in terms of building going forward,” Kupchak said in general terms last month. “You know you’re going to get a really good player. You know you’re going to get a player under a contract that you’ll be able to control for at least five years at a reasonable amount before you have to consider an extension. So those are pluses in addition to getting a heck of a talent.”Those who hope the Lakers can somehow land Cousins without giving up their youthful assets may want to wake up to reality. Bryant, Randle, Ryan Kelly and Nick Young mark the lone players with guaranteed contracts next season. The Lakers would never ship Bryant anymore, while Randle (three years, $10.54 million), Kelly (one year, $1.75 million) and Young (three years, $16.1 million) do not have the skill or salary to match Cousins (three years, $49 million).Larry Coon, an independent NBA salary cap expert who works as an IT director at UC Irvine, said the Lakers could only acquire Cousins without matching salary after free agency begins on July 1. All of which might mean the Lakers will just proceed as planned, using their No. 2 pick to select a promising rookie who will grow through the next generation. But before that, it seems likely Kupchak’s phone will not stop ringing. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img An ESPN article said the Lakers have “pursued trade scenarios” in recent weeks involving Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins. Yahoo! Sports also reported Sacramento coach George Karl has led a campaign for the Kings to ship Cousins amid philosophical differences.• Mock Draft: What will Lakers do with the No. 2 pick?The Lakers have declined to address any moves they are considering leading up to Thursday’s draft. Kings owner Vivek Ranadive and vice president Vlade Divac have publicly maintained in numerous interviews they would not deal Cousins.But Kupchak admitted earlier this month, “I’d hate to go into training camp with just rookies and Kobe (Bryant).” Kupchak added that he wanted to “add a veteran or two,” which could happen either through free agency or through a trade. “You have to weigh it against who you think you would get with the second pick,” Kupchak said. “We’re a little bit impatient. If you came across something that made your team better quicker, he would probably be a veteran. Then that’s something you would consider.”last_img read more