May 12, 2016

Local Eco-Centers Provide Information and Family Fun

By Ryan Costello

Children look on as busy honey bees work in their observation hive.

If you are looking for family fun and information about our rich natural wildlife areas, local eco- centers deliver all that and more! Between Clinton and Jackson Counties, three eco centers stand out. Just south of Camanche, Rock Creek, which provides camping, fishing, eco tours, and hiking has a center that has recently been improved. North of Maquoketa, the Hurstville interpretive center provides hiking and wetland bird watching. Lastly, just a few miles from Baldwin lies Eden Valley, which provides camping and hiking.

Underneath the Rock Creek terrarium tunnel, looking up.
8000 gallon fish aquarium at Rock Creek
Rock Creek’s eco-center has been recently renovated to provide a more hands-on approach to some of our native animals. This includes a terrarium with a tunnel that winds beneath it, so you can get a view of a simulated marshland from beneath. It’s like being on the bottom of a pond or creek looking up at the turtles and small fish that inhabit these areas. They also have an 8000 gallon fish tank with many indigenous species including Crappie, Blue Catfish, Northern Pike, Sunfish, and more. There is also a touching area below the tank that houses mussels and some small pan fish. Rock creek also has a great many scale model species that hang from the rafters and adorn the terrarium area. These were all caught or captured in the Mississippi and Wapsipinicon river areas.

In Maquoketa at the Hurstville interpretive center, many native animals can be viewed in the main center of the building. The have acquired many animals that have been stuffed, and put into simulated areas as though they are alive in their environment. Hurstville also sports an observation hive for European honey bees. Onlookers can watch the comings and goings of these essential creatures, and can literally look into an active hive to see how the bees live. Around the building, there are many trails that wrap around a wetland area, so avid bird watchers can view various waterfowl in their natural habitat.

Eden Valley is a hidden gem, bordering on the Clinton, Jackson county lines. A small camping area is available, and just up the road there is an eco-center as well. It is a bit smaller than the other two, and provides the same kind of wildlife experience and information. This eco center also has an observation hive for honey bees. Surrounding the campground and eco center, there are miles of trails and breath taking upper bluff views of the valley itself.

All of these eco-centers provide interactive stations and exhibits. It is truly educational and fun for young and old alike. For more information visit 

Scale model castings of fish caught or captured in the Mississippi and Wapsipinicon rivers grace the Rock Creek eco-center ceiling.

Taste of CCC Culture is a delicious part of diversity week

By Jamie Jones

The CCC community enjoyed food from all over the world during Taste of CCC Culture
Eighteen countries were represented during the Taste of CCC Culture on April 13 at Clinton Community College.
Collard greens is a Southern family tradition.
 Many faculty staff, students, and friends attended to taste the many different foods that were on display. Jacqueline Cannon, a student at CCC, brought a traditional southern dinner of collard greens, fried chicken, and cabbage. Cannon stated this was a Sunday tradition in the south for her family, after church. Student Becky Emmert said she tried the collard greens and that they were very good.
Tostones (fried plantains) were enjoyed with a special sauce and a dreamsicle.
The Dominican Republic was also on display with tostones, which is a fried plantain snack, as well as a dreamsicle drink, fresh Starfruit, and pineapple. Student Laquint Mcdonald said this was his first time trying tostones. McDonald stated that the dish was “more than was expected”. Mardell Mammsen, head of registration at CCC, provided this Dominican treat.
The flan was one of many desserts at Taste of CCC Culture.
Flan, a Mexican custard desert made of eggs, sugar, evaporated milk with a caramelized glaze, was provided by Dean of Student Development Lisa Miller

Many countries were showcased including Israel with hummus, Africa with homemade flatbread, Italy with orzo salad, Jamaica, and others proving that Clinton Community College is diverse when it comes to culture.

Students, staff, and friends participated in the event.

April 5, 2016

Get Out and Get Active: Disc golf is a sport anyone can enjoy

By Ryan Costello

As spring gets closer, and the trees begin to bud, there is a relaxing and enjoyable pastime that can be enjoyed by almost anyone. This activity is called Disc Golf. There are many disc golf courses right here in Clinton County.

The name is pretty much explanatory. This game is played like golf. In a basic equipment set up, the player will have three discs, which are a driver, a mid-range, and a putter. Courses are designed to mirror typical golf holes, with water hazards, deep woods, long stretches, tall grasses, and more. One of the only differences is that there are no sand traps, as the player picks up the disc to throw. The object is to make your discs work for you, to get the putter or mid-range into a large basket with chains that captures the disc. Holes are labeled the same, as in golf holes that grade them by pars. (Par 3, 4, etc.)

Believe it or not, there are several courses that are close by in Clinton, and surrounding areas. Eagle Point Park has 18 holes, and is set in the beautiful northwestern area of the park. Millcreek Park in Fulton provides 9 holes. Just a run up Hwy 30 is Lake Malone Park, with 12 holes, and West Brook Park in DeWitt, with 18 holes. There are other places around as well, such as in Folletts, Savannah IL, Sterling, IL, and numerous ones in the Quad Cities.

Disc golf allows players to take it easy and relax, or provide challenge to the enthusiast. Since most of them are centered around woods, bringing a bird journal would not be a bad idea either.

March 23, 2016

Team Trivia means fun for CCC Students

By Jamie Jones

A fun afternoon and maybe a break from class took place in the CCC auditorium on February 7, as students got together to form teams and participate in Team Trivia.
            Eight teams participated including the Jetsons, Maniacs, and Titans to name just a few. The victory of the day went to the Regulators who won by getting the most right answers in the first round. The second round was won by the Titans.

            Some students brought in their children, and faculty even formed teams for the event. Competitors displayed their knowledge on a variety of topics which included black history and general knowledge. Team Trivia did not disappoint and was well worth taking a break from class.

March 9, 2016

The food industry operates behind closed doors

By Jennifer Matje

Artificial, processed foods have been controversial ever since they made an appearance on our grocery store shelves. Why do we buy these chemically driven foods? This would be because most of us do not care what we eat as long as it tastes good. The flavor industry is very good at getting us to buy their products even though we don’t know what they are really made of. Not that this information is easily available to us these days, but they sure know how to work our stomachs and help us enjoy these unfit foods. The flavor industry may be important to our society today, but they need to scale it back and be aware of how their products could affect the common everyday person.

The flavor industry has become so important to us because this is how we have adapted to eating our food. We have become accustomed to the taste of the artificial and natural flavorings. Eric Schlosser, an award winning journalist, explains, “The distinction between artificial and natural flavors is that we focus more on how the flavor has been made rather than what it actually contains”. If we took all of that away the fast food industry would take a huge decline. The food industry plays an important role in our society, but in terms with caring about the health of the people they are selling too and how they take natural foods and turn them into something that will sell is going a little above and beyond the point.

The corporations that produce our yummy snacks always try to make their packages look nice and appealing because that’s what the little kids will look at and want their parents to buy. How about

Synthetic marijuana a problem for Clinton residents

By Ryan Costello

It is sold in gas stations and tobacco shops, with the appearance of a harmless sachet of potpourri, incense, or a natural herbal smoking substance. But underneath the retro styled colorful packets, lies a very dangerous, and usually unrecognized combination of drugs.

Commonly known as K2, Spice, or Fake Bake, these potpourri like concoctions of different herbs are not what they appear to be.

The truth is, these herbal combinations have been sprayed with synthetic cannabinoids, most of which have never been tested by pharmacology. Side effects experienced from smoking, vaping, or ingesting these products can be extreme, including psychosis, heightened heart rate, heightened blood pressure, hallucinations, heart attacks, strokes, or even death.

These products have been on the scene since the early 2000’s, and most of the chemicals sprayed on the herbs are made overseas in uncontrolled labs. One impending problem with these products is

February 29, 2016

Now or later? Almost half of CCC students are ‘non-traditional’

By Jamie Jones
            When I graduated from high school the plan was to get a job and move out of my parents’ home. My parents didn’t go to college so it wasn’t really an option I thought of, yet years later I always find myself having a weekly conversation with my teenage daughter about attending college. I felt it was time I practiced what I preached.
It’s not uncommon to see older adults attending college this modern day. If you take the time to look around at your classmates, many are just as old as, if not older than, the instructors.
The Dean of Student Development at Clinton Community College, Lisa Miller, said that 45 percent of CCC students are non-traditional, meaning they did not attend college right out of high school.  Miller stated that the number of non-traditional students has stayed pretty consistent over the