As our four-year drought continues into 2015, it foreshadows far more consequences than just a few barren ski slopes.
LEFT, THE DROUGHT has affected many parts of the country including the South West and some of the plains regions, but it has been worst along the Sierra and most of California. BELOW, Because of the drought, the lake to dropped below its natural level during the last two months
In the Lake Tahoe Basin evidence of the California drought is not as apparent as in other parts of the state, but with lake water levels dropping and a high number of wildfires, signs are apparent. According to U.S. Drought Monitor, the entire state of California is in a drought of the most extreme level. State and federal lawmakers approved more than $1 billion of emergency drought relief in 2014.
Droughts are part California’s climate, for the sunny weather, you give up the rain. But, the one we have been experiencing since fall 2011 is the driest since recordkeeping began in 1895. Lately, a majority of the local community and business owners are economically impacted by the recent weather.
“Given all the above, our favorite commodity play is not gold, oil, copper, wheat or even rare earth metals. It is something far more mundane but critical—it’s water,” U.S. Trust’s Joseph Quinlan said. “That may sound rather ironic given that most of the globe is covered in water. However, 97 percent of mother earth’s water supply is salty and therefore not fit for daily use. Of the remaining 3 percent, 2 percent, while considered fresh water, is locked in snow and ice. That leaves around 1 percent for human use—or for a global population of 6.5 billion heading for at least 8 billion in the next two decades. Without any doubt, water—two atoms of hydrogen joined to one of oxygen—is the world’s most precious commodity.”
This is a “commodity” that should to be appreciated and conserved. This problem is experienced locally. The Lake Tahoe Basin is a tourist driven economy. Workers and business owners are being affected by the lack of revenue due to a decrease in tourism.
“The drought affects my business because without snow, that alone pushes the customers away and those are the customers that I provide my service to,” said Northstar employee Brandon Reed
In the basin we receive more precipitation than the rest of the state and are not experiencing all of the major impacts of the drought.
“You wouldn’t assume we were in a drought, people don’t act like it at all,” said SNC Senior Payton Roberts.
The drought is affecting the economy but, the economy is affecting the drought as well. This is a result of climate change and how the population has been consuming too much water.
On Jan. 4, 16 students set out on a two-week long trip to visit Japan. While this trip has been regularly offered during May, this was the first time that Sierra Nevada College students got a chance to go during the winter months. Chair of Fine Arts Sheri Leigh O’Connor has been taking art students toJapan for several years to explore and experience Eastern arts and culture. After their recent trip in May 2014, a student approached O’Connor with the idea of going again in the winter for skiing and snowboarding.
Major: Fine Arts
Hometown: Costa Mesa, California
Miranda is a surfer gal with a twist from Southern California. Bringing her artistic flare
to Northern Tahoe she hopes to send sustainable messages through her art in radical ways to shake up
the community while being a part of the lacrosse team and as many clubs as she can.
BY KYLY CLARK
As a fine arts student here at Sierra Nevada College, what have you gained from the school, and what will you bring in return to the art department?
I’ve gained a lot of perspective and new ways of thinking here at SNC. I apply my classes from the core themes like sustainability, even entrepreneurship, and I always consider those themes when working with my art projects. I’ve really been learning a lot, by taking a broad range of art classes, and exploring different mediums. What I have to offer is my extraverted personality. I am very out there, and I’m not afraid to express myself or be loud as an artist.
What is your favorite art project that you’ve created?
My deer mask! I still haven’t named it because it hasn’t come to me yet, but the project was to create a mask from Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). I wanted to saint-ize road kill, so I made a deer mask, and I painted it like a skull candy to honor the Spanish culture. It turned out great, and I’ve had so much fun with it by taking it on road trips for pictures along the coast, scaring people with it and just being out in public and seeing how people react. Now I’m making a miniature ceramics piece of myself with the mask, so it’s really an endless experiment, as if I resurrected road kill.
BY REBEKAH ASHLEY
Asst. News Editor
Tears ran down the side of Senior Kailey Lewis’s face, landing on the keyboard of her Macbook as she read Rick Normington’s Facebook post.
“Well, it’s official; I’m retiring again,” the post read. “This time from on-ground teaching at SNC. As my ALS progresses, I’m getting too weak to open and get through doors when there’s no one around to assist. I will continue to teach 10-12 online classes per year and train new online instructors. I will also teach one on-ground night class per semester at Truckee Meadows Community College… God willing.”
Lewis is one of many students whose heart broke when hearing the news of Rick Normington’s retirement from on-ground teaching at Sierra Nevada College. A reception will be held Dec. 4 to serve as an opportunity for students to say goodbye, or simply thank you.
“If any current or former students of mine or professional colleagues can make it, I’d love to see you one more time,” Normington said on Facebook.
Normington began teaching at SNC in 2005. Two years later he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
Rather than retire, Normington remained actively involved with the college. According to President Lynn Gillette, Normington has handled the atrocious disease with professionalism, grace and honor.
“I will never forget the day Rick told me he had ALS. He has served as inspiration to all of us and I will miss seeing him on campus,” Gillette said. “It has been an honor to work with him and to call him my friend.”
During his nine years at SNC Normington has taught the Principles of Management, Leadership and Business Strategy and the majority of the entrepreneurship classes. He is also responsible for training the online instructors and leads workshops for many of the undergraduate instructors.
“He has been a great teacher and an excellent leader for both the business department and the college. I have never worked with anyone who was more committed to student learning and development than Rick,” Gillette said.
Today, Normington holds the titles of dean of Business and the Harold Walters Siebens Entrepreneurship chair. He also held the title of dean of Continuing and Online Education from 2008 until August 2014.
As his ALS has progressed, Normington has had to change how he goes about teaching.
“I was once an energetic and flamboyant teacher. Well, I can’t do that anymore,” Normington said.
According to Normington, the scorecard is still the same: do students leave his classes more educated and capable than before?
Junior Kayla Meltzer and Seniors Jake Bricklin, Cory Johnson and Rebecca Roberts have taken several of his classes. According to Johnson, Normington’s passion for education and teaching are what make him a great professor.
“Rick’s classes this year are just as informative as they were three years ago,” Johnson said.
Protect Our Winters teams with winter sport industry to generate activism to slow climate change.
BY DANNY KERN
As Jeremy Jones glides along the wind-scorned ridge, his split board crunches through the sun baked snow like teeth biting into a piece of toast. He’s been skinning since the sun rose over the vanilla dipped peaks that line the eastern horizon. His excitement boils as he nears his favorite bowl hidden away deep in the Sierras. Sweat droplets emerge from the pores of his face, instantly freezing once released from the security of his warm scruff covered chin.
He stops to take a break. Looking around like a night owl in search of prey, he notices unfamiliar faces painted across the surrounding mountains. In past years, the rocks in front of him were hidden under the snow. He can’t recall a time he has witnessed such low snow levels.
Jones continued to his destination, breaks down his skins, put his board together and begins his descent back to civilization.
Thousands of people have witnessed scenes similar to this in Jones’s documentary snowboard films, “Deeper”, “Further” and “Higher”.
Jeremy Jones is a renowned professional snowboarder and activist who has seen first hand the impact of climate change on our mountains, according to his story on Protect Our Winters website. POW, is a non-profit organization based out of Truckee that was founded by Jones in 2007 to address the gap between the winter sports community and action being taken to address the issues of climate change.
As Sierra Nevada College finds its footing in the realm of financial security, the budget remains as delicate as ever, and the college faculty have certainly felt the pinch.
“In general, salaries at the institution are something that we are very concerned about,” Provost Shannon Beets said. “We know that the unemployment rate is going down in our part of the world, we know that there is more competition in the market for good employees, and we know that as we sort of find our feet institutionally in terms of financial sustainability, we need to reinvest in our people.”
The college’s revenue stream has indeed been growing over the last few years. SNC’s IRS 990 forms shows a deficit of -$1,393,525 in the 2009-2010 calendar year, and a revenue of $519,834 in the 2012-2013 calendar year.
“In the last few years our finances have become quite stable,” President Lynn Gillette said in a September 2014 Eagle’s Eye interview.
Although the college’s revenue is growing, growth in the faculty salary portion of the budget has been slow compared to national trends such as inflation and growth in the local cost of living.
A cost of living adjustment to faculty wages was recently approved by the SNC Board of Trustees outlining a 4 percent raise for every faculty member, effective Nov. 1, 2014. This was the first cost of living adjustment for faculty since 2009, Beets said.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, the rate of inflation between 2009 and 2014 was approximately 11 percent in total. Cost of living has grown by approximately 10 percent since 2008, according to Suzanne Gollery, SNC professor and Science and Technology department chair.
A fulfilling life choice for some, a
devastating turn of events for others
BY JAMIE WANZEK
The evening is coming to a close at the Sierra Nevada College campus.
The hustle and bustle of students is replaced with moonlit shadows from the canopying pines, while the library and art studio hold quiet whispers of the remaining students working on their studies.
One student who can be found working diligently in the art studio on her degree in Fine Arts, is Sophomore Miranda McFarland. Before McFarland retires for the evening, she works on homework and artwork in the Hollman Art Building.
While many students will head home after their studies, Miranda’s home looks much different than her peers. With a bedroom under the stars, a mattress made of sand, and a 1,600 foot deep bathtub known as Lake Tahoe, Miranda’s home is a collection of paradisal conveniences shared with the back of her car.
In order to obtain a self-sustained lifestyle, Miranda has made the conscious decision to be homeless in paradise.
“The biggest reason I made the decision to be homeless was for simple living. I have so much freedom making this dramatic lifestyle change,” McFarland said.
This choice has allowed Miranda to gain a rich experience with lessons of self-sustainment. While living in the back of her car, McFarland finds herself with freedom and resilience to experience college and Lake Tahoe. With the studio and library as her living room, McFarland uses her resources at SNC to assist her experience without a roof.
“I am taking more classes and not stressing. I have a lot more freedom in the end. I have time now. Time is the essence. The world we are living in, we are always running from the clock. It’s a lot more stress free, I enjoy my new lifestyle,” McFarland said.
Major: Global Business Management
Hometown: Redwood City, CA
What is it that brought you to Sierra Nevada College?
I needed to be in a place with ample outdoor recreation options, because that is such a vital part of my life. I did a Google search for “colleges for outdoor enthusiasts” and I found this one. Once I found out it was interdisciplinary/liberal arts focused where I could pick and choose from different programs, it was entrepreneurship and ODAL that solidified it for me. Which is ironic, considering I’m not majoring in either of those anymore.
What inspired your participation in the Sustainability Department?
I have spent the last few years living in the mountains, and I realized how important the environment is for those communities, especially when you live in more of a ski town. When I was out in Colorado, I lived in Vail for a few years, I started paying attention to what we were doing to the water and just to the surrounding environment. I thought that’s pretty neat and saw that Sustainability was an up and coming field, to get jobs in. I thought that it would be really interesting to learn about even if it’s not the career path that I choose, because it includes things that you can implement into your daily life. And so, coming here and having that be a major, and knowing that I could just learn what it means to be sustainable. Then, my mind was blown when I learned about Social Sustainability, because I didn’t even think about that before I got here. I started thinking holistically about the term, the environment and the people.
How do you integrate Sustainability with Global Business?
That’s a very interesting question…. And it’s a continuous battle. You know, in Global Business we talk about globalization a lot, the pros and cons of that and how it affects communities around the world. It’s definitely evident that globalization can be harmful to society and to the environment, especially with small, marginalized communities who don’t have as much say or power. I want to figure out how to bring all of that together, to where people planet and profit can all be a thing. This ’triple bottom line’, sustainability, is a code that really hasn’t been cracked yet. But what I find fascinating is trying to figure out how you could be entrepreneurial and come up with a business idea that solves a real problem, but actually addresses a true need where it can help people at the end of the day. Where it’s not focused around consumerism and taking advantage of people just to make a buck, but where you can still be sustainable from a monetary standpoint.