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.
BY saGE SAUERBREY
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.
BY sage Sauerbrey
The tradition of bringing incredible writers to Sierra Nevada College continued on Nov. 7-8, with a visit from Kevin Fedarko for the latest Writers in the Woods event. Fedarko worked as a staff writer for Time Magazine from 1991-1997, senior editor for Outside Magazine, and his first and latest book, “The Emerald Mile”, won the National Outdoor Book Award.
Fedarko was not on track to become an award winning author after college, but a bilingual degree threw him into the world of journalism.
“I sort of stumbled into the field backwards,” said Fedarko. “I did my graduate degree in Russian History at Oxford and when I came back to the states I was hired as a fact checker for Time Magazine because they thought I spoke Russian and were led to believe I was more fluent than I actually was. Over the next seven years I gradually worked my way up to staff writer and eventually to correspondent.”
When Fedarko was offered a promotion to become foreign correspondent but he turned it down for a job at “a little magazine in Santa Fe” called Outside Magazine.
“I packed up, left New York and drove west,” Fedarko said. “I was the senior editor there and it was my job to commission writers and send them off to really exotic and amazing parts of the world, and I was overcome by an incurable sense of jealousy. I didn’t want to be sending people off and then cleaning up their prose for them when they got back, I wanted to be one of the people that was dispatched.”
After five years Fedarko quit his job at Outside Magazine to become a freelance writer.
“I enjoyed everything except the poverty,” Fedarko said. “There are very few ways to make less money than you can as a freelance magazine writer. Well, one of them is to become an unpaid baggage mover in the Grand Canyon so I managed to find both of them.”
Fedarko lives what he writes. For about five seasons he rowed a gear boat down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon for a company called O.A.R.S, which happens to be the ancestor of the outfit the majority of his book is about.
According to Fedarko, “The Emerald Mile” is essentially a long winded love letter to the Grand Canyon and the dories that brave its waters, as well as an exciting narrative of the fastest speed run through the canyon and the Glen Canyon Dam spillway crisis of 1983. Fedarko does not hide his fixation with dories, the craft that carried Kenton Grua, Rudi Petchek, and Steve Reynolds down the Grand Canyon in less than 37 hours.
“There’s a swan-like grace to those boats that even someone who doesn’t understand boats and doesn’t understand whitewater can apprehend, and appreciate the grace and sinuosity and beauty in the simplicity of the boats,” Fedarko said.
The speed run, the proclaimed focus of the book, actually inhabits a very small portion of the narrative itself. While Fedarko was writing he stumbled upon a host of other tales which all came together to make the epic run possible. One of these was the spillway crisis of 1983, when enough water was released from the Glen Canyon dam to increase the speed of the Colorado river exponentially.
“It almost became so big that it threatened to take over the narrative of the book, because it was so fascinating,” Fedarko said. “As all river guides do down there, I had been encouraged to view the dam as a monstrous act of evil and the men who built it as villains. The problem with non-fiction is that at some point during the course of your work, you actually have to go and talk to the people you are preparing to villainize. I came away from those interviews kind of shocked and messed up because my assumptions had been overturned. I still don’t necessarily agree with the dam, but those engineers are men of integrity who did their job very well.”
“The Emerald Mile” turned out to not only be a story of three boatmen racing against time and the river, but also a team of engineers racing the very same foes. It also represents two other aspects of the american identity, Fedarko said.
“The story of the spillway crisis of 1983, that was the greatest challenge of their lives; stopping that runaway river and repairing the integrity of one of the largest hydroelectric dams in the West. So for me I neither view the dam as benign, nor evil. I view it as an essential part of the story the Grand Canyon contains. It represents two different aspects of how we view nature: our desire and our need to control it, and the emphatic and passionate desire to celebrate and immerse ourselves in it,” Fedarko said.
BY Meghan Tebow
In Gayle Brandeis’ classroom, the students read aloud stories from their lives that they have just put onto paper. Brandeis smiles warmly and adds supportive commentary after every piece. Writing has been at the center of her life since she discovered poetry at four years old.
“I was always writing as a kid, just poems and stories. I put together a little neighborhood newspaper. I was a shy girl, but I would go door to door and interview my neighbors,” Brandeis said.
A visiting professor at SNC this year, Brandeis is from Riverside, California, where she has held the title of local literary laureate for the past two years. With three published novels and a collection of poems, she has established a name for herself in the literary community.
Brandeis fondly remembers being invited to teach at the school by English Department Chair June Saraceno last spring. “It was just such a beautiful, generous, unexpected offer. I have had fantasies about living in the mountains for the last two years,” she said.
Brandeis and her family relocated to the Lake Tahoe area last month, and she says they are enjoying the small town atmosphere and beautiful locale. Although she has lived in California since the 1990’s, Brandeis was born just north of Chicago in the suburb of Evanston. She spent much of her childhood writing, and at 18-years-old she was selected to be one of six writers whose work was placed into a time capsule at New York’s centennial celebration for the Statue of Liberty.
“It was an essay on the meaning of liberty, and I wrote it about how our imaginations are what makes us free. Even if we are in jail, our imaginations can go anywhere,” Brandeis said.
Brandeis now has three published novels and a collection of poems in print. Recently she has also experimented with electronic publishing.
“Being published by a traditional publisher is great, but traditional publishers aren’t doing so well,” she said. “ There are so many options available to writers now in terms of bringing our work out into the world. It’s become much more democratic and accessible.”
Asst. News Editor
Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
This quote came to mind while discussing post graduate plans with Senior Tom Letson, an Art and Environmental Science major. He says he feels that if you care enough about something, it will work its’ way out.
“I may never find my way to success, but the way I see it there are two ways to fail: not trying, and trying to please everyone,” Letson said. “I’ve never made a painting to please anyone, and I’ve never played a song to impress anyone; it’s just what I do, nothing more.”
A Massachusetts native, Letson’s creative efforts and passion for his studies have led him to stand out to faculty and students at Sierra Nevada College, such as Associate Professor Rick Parsons and Senior Peter Rispoli.
According to Parsons, Letson is a prolific painter with an innate need to create.
“His paintings are not only layered with paint, but are layered with rich layers of personal meaning and history,” Parsons said.
Parsons said Letson is known to reference paintings from the Italian Renaissance while critiquing modern American culture and its root in Manifest Destiny.
Rispoli, a good friend and colleague of Letson, describes him as humble and extremely talented.
“I’ve known Tom for two years now. On top of studying fine arts and environmental
science, he rips on the snow, shreds the guitar, banjo and mandolin, just to name a few,” Rispoli said. “He is a true wildcard.”
BY Kelly Mahoney
With his paws placed firmly on the cement floor, Ralphie looks up with a dimpled grin. His stubby tail wags in excitement for the promise of a walk into the heavily-wooded Truckee forest.
This 6 year-old boy has called the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe(HSTT) home for the past three years. Snuggled in blankets that adoring volunteers have specifically gifted this special dog, Ralphie is the portrait of a guy who just wants a home and a human to snuggle with.
Over the past few years Ralphie has received extensive training and love from volunteers who found a special place for this German Shepherd/ Whippet/ Great Pyrenees/ Rottweiler/ American Staffordshire mix or a “Gerwhippyrotamst” as the HSTT staff like to call him.
Ralphie is looking for a fantastic forever home where he can be the man of the house.
He is not too fond of other dogs or cats, but is a legendary snuggler and would make a great companion to anyone who is looking for a little love in their lives.
If you are interested in adopting Ralphie please contact the HSTT at 530-587-5948 or stop on by at 10961 Stevens Ln. in Truckee, California.
If you cannot currently adopt Ralphie but are interested in donating your time or finances, please visit
BY JAMIE WANZEK
With a small patch of snow, blue skies and 60 degree weather, Boreal Mountain welcomed its 50th season on Nov. 8.
“Opening weekend has been going extremely well. Everybody in California wants to come up here and ride. We are starting the season off right because it’s our 50th season,” said Tucker Norred, Sierra Nevada College alumnus and events & social media coordinator at Boreal Mountain.
Many SNC students can be found riding at Boreal in the winter months, being the only resort in the area with 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. operations.
“It was fun to ride with everyone while getting sunburn in 60 degree weather. The park was much better than I thought it would be,” Junior Brain Walther said.
Due to the drought and warm weather, Boreal was the only ski area open in California as of Nov. 8. The mountain kicked off the season with a local DJ and outside BBQ to complement the excitement of the new winter.
“Opening weekend got me ready to ride. Boreal starts everything off right, every year. There are always a bunch of weird people doing weird stuff,” Junior Bryant Davis said.
Boreal was able to open the Castle Peak Quad lift with mid-mountain operations, on a minimal patch of snow to the bottom. As the only section of snow on the mountain, the Boreal terrain park crew was able to set up six features of rails and boxes.
“Opening weekend at Boreal was a blast! Nothing beats wearing sunglasses and t-shirts while riding at Boreal in November. Even though the conditions were minimal, it was fun to be back snowboarding with everyone,” Sophomore Jada Garcia said.