Sunday, February 28, 2010



By Samantha Latora

Since December the Monmouth City Council has been discussing a proposal to increase the sales tax by one percent from 7.25% to 8.25%. But what does that mean to the everyday consumer?

The increase for everyday items such as toothpaste, toilet paper, or razors is very small, but on larger items such as a television , a camera, or a coffee pot, the difference increases the total price of the item after tax substantially.

After visiting Monmouth’s own Shopko and County Market I have compiled a list of items and determined their price pretax, the price after tax if the tax remains the same as it is now at 7.25%, and finally what the price after tax would be if the proposed increase of one percent to 8.25% goes through.


Price Pretax

Price after tax at 7.25%

Price after tax at 8.25%

1 lb of hamburger




Gallon of milk




Angel Soft toilet paper (12 pack)




Tylenol Extra Strength (100 caplets)




Northcrest bath towel




30 gallon plastic bin




Crest toothpaste




Mr. Coffee coffee pot




3 pack of Venus razors




10 piece cookware set




Vtech cordless phone




Kodak digital camera




Sony 32” LCD TV




The difference after the one percent increase is surprisingly small, unless of course you are shopping for a 32” LCD television.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


By Ross Donnan

MONMOUTH, IL- After months of painstaking and tedious work, the Deficit Reductions Committee of the Monmouth-Roseville School District, presented its recommendations for reducing an expected budget deficit of over a million dollars.

Among the recommendations was instituting a 1% sales tax across Warren County that would directly fund the Monmouth-Roseville and United school districts. That proposal suffered a setback later in the week, however, when the Superintendent of the United School District said he may not support such a tax. According to a report in the Monmouth Review Atlas, Superintendent Jeff Whitsitt said that such a tax may not be in the district’s long term best interests. Whitsitt also put a damper on suggestions that the United School District might be consolidated with Monmouth/Roseville. He said there have been no discussions about consolidation and he doesn’t intend to pursue that possibility.

A second proposal was for a one year salary freeze for all district employees. That would have to be approved by the teachers union, which has not expressed an opinion one way or another on the possibility.

Some examples of other cut-backs recommended include the following:

-Dropping of certain programs (i.e. Life Skills courses), saving $90,000
-Elimination of Business and P.E. Class overloads, saving $24,000
-Raise Drivers Ed. Fee by $20, saving $1250
-Reduce teacher supplies, saving. = $25,000
-Ask Athletes/Boosters to cover Uniforms, saving $7,000-$10,000
-Cut one assistant coach from nearly every sport saving $35,936
- All proposed cuts would result in savings of $259,000

“We understand that some of these cuts will be affecting the students learning directly” said DRC chairperson Tim Tibbetts, who then turned to possible plans for closing three schools.

The first option was to close Willits and Harding Schools, and re-locate students to Lincoln, Central, and Roseville Elementary. This was the least likely option because the numbers were not significant enough to make a large enough difference in the deficit. None of the DRC council members supported this option.

The third and final option seemed to be the most preferred and most reasonable. That proposal was to close both Roseville and Willits Schools. Class levels would be split fairly evenly throughout Harding, Lincoln, Central, and the Junior High School. This does however create the ever present issue of increased amounts of transportation, (via school bus) and busing fees. Nine of the fifteen committee members supported this option.

With the closing of these two schools, there would be two empty school buildings to address. There was mention of a new Hospital Unit being built, but that seemed unlikely. The option that seemed most plausible to the board was “mothballing” the buildings and putting them up for sale, which could increase revenue, if they were purchased.

The recommended budget would bring the total revenue to 1.2 million dollars, which would successfully reduce the deficit facing the School District.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


By Meghan Calvagna

(MONMOUTH) Monmouth College announced this week that it is taking a dynamic leap into the future of public relations strategy and technology. The college has hired an advertising consulting group that specializes in getting positive news about the college onto social networking sites. President Mauri Ditzler introduced the consulting group at this week’s town hall meeting. The consulting firm, Moosylvania Advertising of St. Louis,was hired by the Vice President for Strategic Planning Don Capener.

“Rather than just play defense, we want to play offense,” Don Capener said while talking about the main objective for hiring Moosylvania Advertising, “by creating a positive buzz for Monmouth College.”

Shelly Wolfe, who describes herself as the” head moose”, described Moosylvania’s work as a two-prong approach. The first step is to generate positive buzz around the campus. Secondly, the group would figure out the best way to highlight the good and get the word out on social networking sites.

Rachel Hamblin describes Moosylvania’s advertising skills as helping “put the tools in place to create a working system” the college can use to promote itself and “let Monmouth College tell its own story”.

“The competition for recruiting strong student candidates is more competitive than ever,” said Jeff Roegner, formerly of General Motors Public Relations: “This is a notable step in using the technological innovations that almost all prospective students have access to and turning it into a PR promotional tool showing all that Monmouth has to offer.” Roegner is now a Visiting Professor at Monmouth College.

Saturday, February 20, 2010



By Derek Keist

MONMOUTH - The year was 1909. Chicago publisher William D. Boyce was lost in the London fog. Boyce asked a boy for his help. The boy, after guiding him through the fog, turned down a tip. When Boyce asked why, the boy explained that he was a Scout and would never accept money for doing a Good Turn.

Boyce was so inspired by the boy's kindness that he researched the Scouts, which had been established in Britain in 1907, and brought the concept to the United States. As a result, the Boy Scouts of America was founded on Feb. 8, 1910.

Now 100 years later, the Boy Scouts can be seen all across the country teaching young men skills and values that carry on to shape their lives.

Daniel Reck, director of the leadership and involvement program of Monmouth College, said those in the lower ranks of Boy Scouts learn important skills needed to be a good scout, along with a good person — including creating and following a budget for 90 days.

"They go over everything from basic first-aid, how to cook, over a campfire or in your house, how to plan a menu," Reck said. "There is a lot of different personal development going on in Boy Scouts."

Gary Distin, a long-time Monmouth optometrist, first joined cub scouts when he was in third grade. He said Boy Scouts is an important program that teaches people important survival skills, such as life saving, swimming and first aid.

"There's a lot of those activities, and if you're going to be a leader, you have got to know them all," Distin said. "In the instance of a snow storm, (the scouts) teach you how to build shelters and you learn how to build different kinds of fires."

The Boy Scouts are designed to give young men a "well-rounded experience," Reck said.

"It's very intentional that you receive opportunities to learn and grow in lots of different parts of your life. It comes together to help you learn what you need to learn to be successful," he said.

Jon Sims, pastor of the First United Methodist Church, said those skills will most likely stick with them their entire lives.

"Be prepared. I think of that all the time," Sims said. "Whether it be getting in the car and driving in bad weather and thinking about 'OK, if I break down, what will I need.' Even when I go canoeing, I still use the same strokes that I learned in Boy Scouts."

In addition to vital survival skills, the scouts also teaches children the importance of staying active in the community as they grow older.

"One of the things that scouting does is it also teaches you to want to do community things, to do civic things. Even just be generous when you're donating to United Way and things like that," Distin said. "It teaches you how to be part of the community."

Scouts also teaches people how to work for the greater good.

"Learning to work with others is an important aspect of the scouts," Sims said. "You figure out very quickly that if you work together things go a whole lot better than if you're just trying to do it all on your own."

But the Scouts provide more than just merit badges — they provide memories.

"We climbed a mountain called Mt. Phillips and camped on top of that thing and had a snowball fight in July," Sims said.

Distin recalled a canoeing trip in Canada.

"We woke up one morning and there was a huge moose right in the middle of our camp," Distin said. "They're huge. I couldn't believe how tall that thing was."

Boy Scouts also can shape the future of people's lives. Upon earning the rank of an Eagle Scout, Sims was given the opportunity to shadow a professional for a day, and he chose his pastor.

"There were four fellows who got eagle the same time I did," Sims said. "One went and worked for a dentist, and he is now a dentist. One worked for an engineer and he is now an engineer. One worked for a professor in history, and he's a historian. And then myself picking my pastor, and now I'm a pastor."

As he reflected on the Boy Scouts legacy, Reck was also high on the organization's future.

"This is a great opportunity for young men to learn to be great men," Reck said. "And (Boyce) brought that concept back to the United States after that fateful encounter in the London fog. Now 100 years later, it's still going strong. That says something about the institution."

Thursday, February 18, 2010



By Derek Keist

MONMOUTH — The coming release of the iPad will change the way people perform their everyday activities. That was the prediction of Bryn Lawrence, Monmouth College's Coordinator of Web Services.
Lawrence said tablet computers have been around for a while with little success. However, he believes the iPad will change all that.

“This could be a water shed moment for tabloids because it brings together good hardware, solid battery life, a much better touch screen, an operating system which is designed for a tabloid and software that is also designed to run by touch,” Lawrence said. “There is also the 3G component makes it usable anywhere."

However, there are still some who worry about the iPad's limitations. Marta Tucker, a Monmouth College professor and the department chair of mathematics and computer science, said her concern is the lack of a USB drive and the inability to support multi-tasking.

“I think most of us have gotten used to computing environments where we have lots of different programs running simultaneously and I think to go back to running one program at a time would be a real step backwards,” Tucker said.

That is also a concern among some who have grown up using computers.

"It's [the iPad] got all this processing power, all this battery power, and you can't do more than one thing at one time," said Andy Drea, a sophomore at Monmouth College. "You either can work on a word processor or you can update your twitter. There's no multi-tasking."

Others are hesitant about the decision to create a sole touch screen computer.

James Mayfield, an assistant computer science professor at Monmouth College, said he owns a tablet, which features touch technology, but also has a keyboard.

"What’s nice about this [tabloid] is that it’s a Swiss army knife,” Mayfield said. “If I need the screwdriver — a keyboard — I can use my keyboard. If I need the pen, I can use the pen. If I need the touch, I can use the touch. Apple says no, it’s all touch based.”

Tucker, who owns an iPod Touch, said she loved the interface and the number of activities she could perform on it.

“It’s great for accessing e-mail quickly, for looking something up on the Internet, and for having basically mobile access to the Internet,” Tucker said. “It’s a really nice device.”

While the iPad might lack certain capabilities, it could become a major part of people's everyday lives.

“They [Apple] are able to influence people well,” Mayfield said. “They will probably sell like hotcakes and people will claim them to be absolutely wonderful, because people already do that with Apple products, whether or not they’re any better or worse than other products."
Tucker said she believes the iPad will filter out into the community, starting with high school students.

Lawrence said the iPad, much like the iPhone, will bring the technology to the attention of the general public.

“The iPhone’s launch was an interesting time because the smart phone market really took off after that was introduced,” Lawrence said. “Apple does a good job of making a big show when they launch a device, and I think it will make people more aware that there are devices out there like this. They don’t only do a good job of marketing stuff for themselves, but it gets the word out that there is technology out there like this and makes it more mainstream.”

Locally, however, the iPad might not make a large mark, at least early on. Alpha Omega, a Monmouth computer store, said they do not deal with Apple and will not carry the iPad. Monmouth College will probably not be placing a large order for the new Apple product either.

“Most schools are really looking at things like pen-based technology, which we [Monmouth College] are already starting to use here,” Mayfield said. “Using our hands is pretty fundamental. The mouse is an obvious precursor to that. Pens are a little nicer and just being able to touch some stuff and interact with it in a way is good. It makes a lot of sense that that’s the way things will be going.”

The launch of the iPad is a step forward in touch technology, but some still contend there will always be a place for desktops or laptops.

“There are still certain kinds of work that require a different kind of interface than the touch, Tucker said. “For example, I would rather not write a 10-page paper on an iTouch. I need to sit down at my desk and interface with the computer in a different way than if I’m reading a book or browsing the Internet.”

Mayfield also noted that while mobile phones and other touch technology will take on a bigger effect on our everyday lives, there will still most likely be a place for desktops.

“There’s no silver bullet with technology," he said. "There’s always going to be a place for desktop and desktop-like computers.”

Wednesday, February 17, 2010



By Maureen Soso

Where are you from? How did you get here? Why did you come here? These are just a few questions the Buchanan Center for the Arts is trying to help the community answer through its newest exhibit "Journey Stories." The traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Institute features several journey stories of those coming to America and what they did upon arrival.

However, the most exciting part of the exhibit comes from those in the Warren County area. The Buchanan Center put together its own collection of local history and - thanks to generous citizens - historical artifacts dating back to early Native American times. Susan Twomey, the Director of the Buchanan Arts Center says the exhibit is helping break some classic Hollywood portrayals of different ethnic groups throughout time. The exhibit is not only trying to explain the communities within Warren County, but also why some us are here.

The local stories include photography and memorabilia showing the 1920s arrival of hundreds of Hispanic families that worked on the railroad, lived in "boxcar camps, and helped build the cities and towns that make up Warren County."This is about making connections, especially for the Hispanic community. It makes them a part of the community instead of "them" over "there." Twomey hopes to give credit to the different groups of people who really helped develop Warren County. "I chose to tell stories, not just spark interest, but spark discussion and pride...I want to remind people to take care of their heritage."

Early indications are that Twomey has succeeded in sparking interest within the community. The exhibit is getting 50 to 100 visitors a day, which is unusual for a local exhibit. If you have not gotten a chance to visit "Journey Stories" it will be available until March 14, 2010.

The Buchanan Center for the Arts is located at 64 Public Square. Open Tuesday through Friday 9am-5pm and Saturday 10-2.