Monday, July 26, 2010

Summer Eastern Conference Rankings

By: Kenneth J. Chang

1. Miami Heat

Key Additions: Lebron James, Chris Bosh, Mike Miller, Zydrunas Illguaskas
Key Losses: Michael Beasley, Quentin Richardson, Jermaine O'neal

Prognosis: With the signings of three of the top ten players in the NBA, the Heat instantly becomes the most talented team in the East with Dwyane Wade, James, and Bosh all in their prime. Pencil in the addition of the league's most accurate three-point marksman in Miller, the resigning of rugged rebounder/defender Udonis Haslem, and veteran floor spacer Illguaskas, the Heat has a relatively inexpensive but talented bench. Keep in mind Miami will have money available to add to their core in the coming years in what can become a potential dynasty down in South Florida. There are concerns with the size of the frontline and its point guard play but the most important question is how this team will gel with two alpha-dogs in James and Wade.

2. Orlando Magic

Key Additions: Chris Duhon, Quentin Richardson
Key Losses: Matt Barnes

Prognosis: Just two years removed from an appearance in the NBA finals, the Magic looked for cohesion this offseason after overhauling the team last summer. GM Otis Smith and company hope that another year in the system will help guard Vince Carter settle into the role he was expected to fill. Minor tweaks were made to the roster with the signing of Duhon who is expected to soldify the reserve point guard position that has been musical chairs in past seasons. Richardson will essentially replace Barnes and will provide more accurate three-point shooting and similar toughness. More important though is the continued development of superstar Dwight Howard who has been working with NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon this summer.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Orlando Filmmaker David Nixon Hopes to Change People's Hearts

By: Kenneth J. Chang

ORLANDO, Fla. - The release of the 2004 movie The Passion of the Christ opened the doors necessary for Orlando-based Director/Producer David Nixon to begin the series of projects he always dreamed of making.

The film's popularity helped Nixon shed any fears he had of offending Hollywood by eventually producing successful faith-based films such as Facing the Giants and Fireproof.

Nixon stopped by the West Campus of Valencia Community College on Thursday, Dec. 3 to discuss his latest film Letters to God, which is set to open across 800 theaters nationwide on April 9, 2010.

The movie is based on a true story about a young boy fighting brain cancer whose powerful letters written to God inspire his community and bring hope to those around him.

Nixon hopes the movie will change people's hearts and help those families going through the disease. "Each and everyone of us has been touched by cancer at some point in our lives," said Nixon.

Nixon's 3.5 million dollar film was successful in completion due in large part to the cooperation of the staff and volunteers and through daily prayer meetings on set.

Filmed in Winter Garden, Florida and several other locations across the area, Letters to God will have 150 screenings around the country to help promote the film.

Nixon, founder of DNP studios, believes Central Florida has all the facilities to become a major film producer.

For Nixon, much of the credit for his success goes out to his parents, missionaries in his native Australia, for teaching him the core values in life. "For 30 years my calling was to use my talents specifically for God," said Nixon.

With the growing popularity of Christian-based films, Nixon sees an opportunity to produce "more and more movies like this" that will give hope to people and bring them closer to God.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Peer Educator Helps Improve Body Image

By: Kenneth J. Chang

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Eating disorders impact up to 20% of college students. Many more students struggle with feeling good about their appearance and bodies.

Students packed the auditorium at the Osceola Campus on October 8 to learn and educate themselves on an issue that affects many around the world.

Peer educator Mia Henry spoke to students about the dangers of image self-consciousness that lead to problems such as eating disorders and low esteem.

The event focused on many of the components of eating disorders and spent quite a time discussing body image issues.

The role of the media in the development of body image issues was examined and the costs of pursuing our culture's beauty ideal were also explored.

"Young people are influenced very much by what they see on television," said Henry. "We live in a culture now where the acceptable image is downsized to a specific way of looking and being."

Aside from the cultural influence on body image, eating disorders may arise as a result of stress and overload from school.

Henry said, "It can seem difficult to have a balanced life while in college."

Peer educators focus on promoting a positive campus community that reflects the attitudes, behaviors, and values of a healthy lifestyle.

Valencia student Ryan Rodriguez was personally impacted by this presentation as his older sister passed away as a result of an eating disorder. "I think it is important for people to ask for help if they have a problem they cannot control."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Why Use Google, Databases May be More Reliable

By: Kenneth J. Chang

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Attention college students! There may be a more accurate, credible, and informative way to research information online than through the use of standard search engines like Google and Yahoo.

"School databases are reliable, very well researched, and unbiased," said Peggy L. Gunnel, a reference librarian at Valencia Community College in Orlando, Fla. "It is a very risky situation when using sites like Google and Wikipedia because much of the content you are linked to is self-edited, biased, and not credible. With databases you can search dependable sources that are proven to be legit and peer-reviewed."

Close to a dozen people attended Gunnel's presentation Wednesday afternoon at the Osceola Campus of Valencia Community College to learn about the functioning of online databases.

Databases are school subscribed links only accessible electronically through a validated school identification card.

Valencia works in partnership with the other 27 community colleges in Florida to pay for annual subscription fees.

Gunnel reveals, "There are as many as 100 databases in the school's online library system."

One of the unique features in using databases according to Gunnel is that each research database has its given branch. "If I wanted to research a historical figure I would search under the Biography Resource Center database which contains biographies and images of many important people throughout history."

Other electronic databases include scholarly business journals, visual arts, health and nursing journals, electronic books, articles on controversial issues, and full-text access to newspapers around the nation.

So are students more inclined now to conduct their research through databases or will they still favor search engines like Google? The results are mixed.

"Databases are all well and good but what happens when I leave Valencia," said Valencia student Jeffrey Anacius. "I will no longer have any access to these databases so I will be left researching the way I used to."

"I like the fact that each database has their own department which allows me to search for what I am specifically looking for," said Nina Ross. "It is much easier than having to Google something and look for the article that seems most credible."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009