Attempted kidnapping of Governor Whitmer


Earlier this week, Governor Gretchen Whitmer was the target of an attempted kidnapping. Thirteen men were charged in the kidnapping plot; seven of the men face state charges and the other six face federal charges.

Of the six federal charges, five men were from Michigan: Adam Fox, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, and Brandon Caserta. One man was from Delaware: Barry Croft. Other people are still suspected in the crime.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has been holding tight restrictions on public gatherings and mask mandates in Michigan. While some citizens of Michigan are grateful for her restrictions, but there are people who are displeased. A group of men decided to kidnap Governor Whitmer and leave her on her boat in lake Michigan.

Adam Fox was the leader of the “Michigan III%ers, and they worked together with the Wolverine Watchmen to plan and train for various acts of violence including kidnapping politicians and storming the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing.

In early discussions, before the conspirators focused more exclusively on Governor Whitmer, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, who like Governor Whitmer is a Democrat, was mentioned as a possible kidnapping target.

“This was a highly strategic operation with a lot of moving parts, and that would be up to law enforcement to inform people who needed to know. [Whitmer] received the information confidentially, said Dana Nessel, Michigan’s Attorney General. “One person talking to the wrong individual could have cost numerous law enforcement officers their lives.”

Through confidential informants and undercover agents, federal agents learned that some of the men had staked out Governor Whitmer’s vacation home in northern Michigan. They had also planned to detonate a bomb to divert law enforcement away from her home. Other elected officials and members of law enforcement were also targeted.

“I believe they should be tried for the premeditated attempted kidnapping and any other charges connected to the surveillance,” said Kayla Koepf (’23). “Those people made a plan, thought it out, and were going to act on it if their plan did not go wrong.”

The men trained together in tactical exercises, and they discussed plans to kidnap Governor Whitmer before the November election. They were also preparing for “the boogaloo,” or a racial or political civil war.

“Training with weapons and learning how to use them seems like they were intending on actually hurting her,” said Emily Krolikowski (’21).

In early discussions among the Michigan III%ers and the Wolverine Watchmen, Fox and others took close-up still photos and videos outside Governor Whitmer’s vacation home as part of the planning to kidnap her. Prosecutors showed in the courtroom photos of Fox shooting photos just outside the cottage, in daylight.

By the time the Michigan III%ers and the Wolverine Watchmen conducted a second surveillance outside the cottage, this time at night, they had been so thoroughly infiltrated by the FBI that two undercover FBI agents and two confidential informants were part of the surveillance group.

“There is a reason we as a country have set up a system in which we can protest rather than enact violence,” said Sarah Ward (’21).

A suspect in the case, Paul Bellar, is facing extradition from South Carolina where he was arrested last week. Bellar had the role of “Sergeant,” based on his expertise in firearms, medical training and his ability to design tactical exercises.

The other suspects facing state charges are in custody in Michigan jails according to the attorney general’s office.

The environment cries for help


Graphic by MEREK ALAM

There has been a lot of talk about the climate in the news lately, and there have been protests across the world; however, without large changes across the globe, I don’t think there will be much headway. People have been organizing climate strikes around the world, and they have brought a lot of attention to the climate change issue. People have been using less plastic and have found better ways to reuse items before throwing them away.

People have posted videos of them changing things they would normally throw away into useful items, and life-hack videos are all over the internet.

These are all great ways for people to alter the amount of waste they produce, and I think most of them are really good ideas. That being said, there are only a few people that actually use these hacks to reduce waste. There will always be people that will do everything in their power to try and lessen the impact their waste has on the environment, but individuals shouldn’t be the only ones trying to help the environment.

Large corporations need to realize that they have a much larger impact on the environment that individuals, and they need to be trying to help the environment more.

For example, the Nestle conglomerate has been pumping a lot of groundwater from Michigan, and it’s hurting the environment. Residents in Osceola Township have noticed that water levels are continuing to decrease the longer that Nestle drains water from below ground. The wellhead Nestle is pumping water from runs directly into two Muskegon river tributaries. Trout populations in the area are beginning to decrease.

This affects more than just people. Food webs and food chains are being impacted, and that is going to change the entire environment. Animals feed on other animals, and when one animal population becomes exceedingly small, other animals suffer as a consequence. There are thousands of populations being affected by large corporations, and there’s little that individuals can do by themselves. I’m not saying that people should stop their efforts to help the environment; I’m saying that their efforts are small and pale in comparison to what larger groups could be doing.

Besides corporations harming the environment by drawing resources to make money, companies are harming the environment by what they leave behind.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), 700,000 tons of fishing gear is left in the ocean every year. We’ve all heard that fishing nets in the ocean are much more harmful than using plastic straws and cups. While people mainly think of pollution as plastic bottles and containers floating on the surface of water, there is plastic that sinks in the ocean and causes harm too.

There are pieces of plastic that sink in bodies of water and hurt organisms like crustaceans and corals. In the past, there has been talk about the Great Coral Reef off the coast of Australia dying, and talk of this tragedy has not been talked about in the media lately. Coral is one of the biggest types of organisms on the ocean floor, and it is a very large portion of the ocean’s ecosystem.

There are many ways that people are trying to help the ecosystem. From reusable straws to eating less meat, people are doing what they can to keep the world from collapsing upon itself. Personally, I try to buy products that seem to be made using more reusable material than others, but there’s only so much that I can do by myself. Corporations need to be more cognizant of what they’re doing to the environment, and they need to think about what they’re doing to the planet. We all live here. We all need to save our home.

Nestle Extracts Water from Michigan


Photo by Emma Grossbauer

Nestle, the largest food and beverage food conglomeration in the United States, has been extracting groundwater from Michigan, and people are not happy about it.

In July of last year, there was a zoning dispute between Osceola Township and Nestle Waters North America. Nestle wanted to build a booster station (in Evart, Michigan) to pump water to their Ice Mountain bottling plant in Stanwood. Osceola Township denied Nestle’s request for a building permit due to environmental concerns.

Nestle proceeded to sue Osceola Township on the grounds that their request met zoning regulations. Osceola Township lost the lawsuit and was ordered to issue a zoning permit to Nestle.

“I had no idea this situation was happening, but I think that the people living in the town might know what’s best for the safety of the town,” said Katherine Maiville (’20).

Another issue surrounding Nestle involves their attempt to extract water from a wellhead in Osceola Township. Currently, Nestle extracts 250 gallons of water a minute from the wellhead, but they’re attempting to have that amount increased to 400 gallons a minute. Without the booster station, Nestle’s pipelines won’t be able to withstand the increased pumping.

There are negative effects on the environment with the current amount of water being extracted.

Due to the amount of water being extracted, there have been decreases in the trout population since Nestle has begun extracting water.

“[Large Corporations] tend to produce a ton of waste including wastewater, and large companies use millions of gallons of water in a short period of time,” said Hannah Flemming (’20). If Nestle continues to extract water from the wellhead in Osceola Township, the trout population will continue to decrease.

Despite the outrage from the Osceola Township population, the extraction was deemed legal by EGLE (The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy).

To combat trout populations decreasing, Nestle has submitted environmental monitoring plans at the wellhead. That being said, EGLE won’t allow the pumping capacity at the well to be increased until results from the monitoring plan have been analyzed. “Even though it is legal under the EGLE, I think that they need to test and see what some long-term causes are to be sure that it is 100% safe for the people and environment,” said Maiville.

Nestle has mentioned that they’re putting the water they’re pumping to good use. Nestle said that they have donated water to Flint during the water crisis, and “we are always prepared to provide assistance where and when it’s needed,” said Anderson-Vincent, a management spokeswoman for the Ice Mountain plant.

Although Nestle has been giving its pumped water to people that need it, they’re still selling some of their bottled water with little profit being given to the state of Michigan. For each facility that extracts water, Nestle pays a $200 paperwork fee, but that price is small compared to the issues both Detroit and Flint are having with drinkable water.

“I think [giving water to Flint] is very thoughtful, how ever it does not dismiss the fact they Nestle uses a lot of resources,” said Flemming. “I am all for philanthropy and helping out, but maybe using more water from other places would help the environment in Osceola Township.”

The trout population has been decreasing due to the amount of water being extracted, and once Nestle drains too much water from the wellhead, the population may never recover. Other places in Michigan could be affected in the same way if Nestle continues to pump water from the environment in a similar way.

What we wish we knew about campus


There are a lot of unknown features around campus that both freshman and upperclassmen might not know about. Two of these are how to use green boxes and how to use the resources at the library.

Green boxes are used around campus to transport food from the dining locations to other places. Green boxes can be bought at Joe’s Place for $5. They can either be purchased with cash, card or Munch Money. Once a Green Box has been purchased, it belongs to whomever bought it, and he or she can use it for the rest of his or her time at Alma College.

“The green boxes were advertised around campus last year when I got here, and upperclassmen told me about them,” said Mia Arkles (’21).

Once students are done with their Green Box, they can hand the Green Box back to a worker at either SAGA (Hamilton Commons) or at Joe’s Place. Once returned, the worker will hand a green clip back to the student.

When a student would like to get food in a Green Box again, they can go to Joe’s Place and order their food and ask that it be put in a Green Box. The worker will put food in the Green Box and the student can proceed to pay for their food. When checking out, the student gives the green clip to the Joe’s worker behind the counter.

Another option is to return the green clip to a worker at SAGA to fill the Green Box with food from the dining options at that time.

This semester, SAGA has invested in a new type of Green Box. This Green Bowl is smaller and is used specifically for soup. The process of obtaining one of these smaller Green Bowls is the same as purchasing a regular Green Box, but an additional $5 must be paid to acquire the smaller Green Bowl.

Emma Grossbauer (’22) said that she did not know that Saga started using Green Bowls because she rarely goes to Saga to eat anymore.

Filling a Green Bowl with soup at Saga will count as a meal swipe, but if a student comes in with a regular Green Box as well, then the student can fill the Green Box and the Green Bowl for a singular meal swipe. When returning the Green Bowl to Saga, a smaller green clip will be handed to the student. The smaller green clips are different from the Green Box green clips.

Along with unknowns about Green Boxes on campus, there are also some unknown things about the library. To check out book from the library, a student needs to find the book he or she is looking for and bring it to the front desk. A library worker will scan the student’s ID card, and the worker will tell the student how long he or she can have the book out for.

If students do not know where to find what book to look for, there is an online catalog of all the books in Alma’s library. Simply go online to and search the library for books using key words. After searching for the desired book, students can find the book he or she is looking for and can also ask a library worker for further assistance locating it.

Another hidden feature inside the library is the document scanner. The scanner is located on the right side of the library after entering through the McIntyre Mall entrance. The scanner can be used to scan book pages, documents or pictures. Scanned documents can be printed after scanning or emailed to someone from the scanning menu.

“I didn’t know that there was a document scanner in the library,” said Ellie Woertz (’20). “If I had known that the library had had a scanner, I would have used it so many times.”

Another thing that some students may not know about printing at Alma is the price comparison between printing in color and printing in grayscale. Students begin each semester with $15 in print credit, and printing in grayscale costs less money than printing in color. When printing documents, the Papercut website will tell students how much money each print job will cost. After printing, the cost of the print job will be taken out of the print credit balance.

Fall brings new happenings


Autumn is one of the most wonderful times of the year. From going to cider mills to jumping into piles of leaves, fall can be full of fun times and fond memories.

One of my favorite things to do in the fall is go on long walks on trails. Once the leaves change color and the temperature drops a little, going out for walks can be extremely relaxing and help relieve stress. The different shapes and colors of the leaves are so calming and let me destress.

Besides taking walks and admiring the leaves, I also enjoy jumping in piles of leaves with friends. I haven’t done that in a couple of years, but its one of my most vivid memories of my childhood. I used to rake giant piles of leaves with my sister and we would take turns jumping into the piles. My mom particularly liked us doing this because it got us out of the house (and out of her hands for a little bit), and we also raked the yard whenever we wanted to have a little bit of fun.

More recently, I’ve enjoyed going out to pumpkin patches with my friends more than I did when I was a kid. I used to only like going when I knew I was going to get to carve a pumpkin, which every kid loves to do when it starts to get a little colder. Now, however, I prefer to spend time with my friends, and walking around in pumpkin patches reminds us of how beautiful fall can be.

One of the most obvious ways to tell when fall is approaching is when coffee shops and stores begin to sell pumpkin spice and ciders. Personally, I prefer apple cider to pumpkin spice, but I like to “spice” things up every once in a while. Most of my friends prefer pumpkin spice, but you can find me drinking some apple cider.

Through the fall months, there are two major holidays: Halloween and Thanksgiving. From getting spooky to getting thankful, people love fall holidays. Students on campus love decorating their doors for Halloween. They cover their doors in fake cobwebs and skeletons to fully bring the haunted and spooky feelings to Alma’s campus. There are even some students who leave candy in baskets on their doors for other students to take and enjoy.

After Halloween comes Thanksgiving. People get together and remember all the things that they’re truly thankful for. Some people are thankful for their families and pets, or maybe they’re thankful for opportunities that they’ve had in the past. I’m thankful for being able to go to college and pursue degrees in things that I’m extremely passionate about: chemistry and music. When students go home for Thanksgiving break, they have time to relax and destress from the classes they’re taking on campus. Personally, I enjoy seeing my family the most over Thanksgiving break because I rarely get to see them when I’m in Alma. Also, I love getting to have a nice meal prepared by my family as opposed to the microwave mac n’ cheese I’ve grown accustomed to eating while on campus.

One of my favorite things about fall is the fact that I can wear sweatshirts and hoodies all the time. I love when the weather turns chilly and I’m able to put on layers upon layers and get as bundled up as possible. Personally, I prefer colder weather as opposed to warmer weather, and that makes fall one of my favorite seasons.

There are many more wonderful things about autumn, but these are just some of my favorites; there are a lot more things that I really enjoy, but I love spending time with my friends around town and around campus the most. Besides fall activities, my friends are my favorite thing about autumn.

Alma pilots google classes


There are different ways to learn on campus. Professors teach groups of students in classrooms about subjects pertaining to students’ majors. A form of teaching that is appearing more often is the Google Classroom setting.

Classes that are taught in Google Classroom styles perform the same functions, but they include students from different universities across Michigan. The classes are connected using cameras to show all classes involved in the class.

Google Classrooms differ from traditional classroom settings in many ways, but the purpose of Google Classrooms are the same as traditional classrooms. “In my opinion, the purpose of a Google classroom is to expand and broaden the horizons of learning,” said Victoria Centeno (’20).

Besides solely teaching students about their studies, Google Classrooms also serve another purpose; they bring other schools together.

Kara Andersen-Denike (’20) believes that the main purpose of Google Classrooms is to include students from other colleges in order to gain outside perspective on common classes that [students] have. Along with Centeno and Andersen-Denike, Kelsey Weiss (’20) believes that a goal of Google Classrooms is to have students collaborate with students from other colleges.

Centeno, Andersen-Denike and Weiss are all in Professor Wallmenich’s African American Literature class (ENG 367).

There are pros and cons to Google Classroom. “The ability to understand another perspective is a huge pro for me,” said Centeno. AndersenDenike said that one pro of being in a Google Classroom is the ability to have new perspectives. Also, “[a] pro of being in the Google Classroom is the expanse of knowledge that we can share,” said Weiss. “Also, you are not limited to just the ideas of those on your campus.”

There are also cons to being in Google Classroom setting as opposed to traditional classroom settings. AndersenDenike says that one drawback to being in a Google Classroom environment is the lack of oneon-one interactions between the professor and students.

“There are pros to being in traditional classrooms rather than being in Google Classrooms,” said Weiss. “For example, in a traditional classroom, it’s easier to focus on the topic being taught rather than focusing on a screen, and it’s also easier to have a discussion in person and break into groups.” Teaching in person has the advantages of being able to use physical examples and methods to explain concepts, where Google Classrooms do not have the same advantage.

Andersen-Denike said that she likes the traditional classroom setting better because she is able to get more one-on-one time with her professor, and she believes that there are less distractions when the professor is teaching in person, rather than teaching over a video connection.

Centeno, Andersen-Denike, and Weiss all said that they prefer traditional classroom settings as opposed to Google Classrooms. “If given the choice, I would go back to traditional classrooms,” said Centeno. “A subject such as English takes such an intimate approach on the subject matter. I have taken classes with this professor before and I think that is a strength of her teaching is how engaged she gets the class and the use of collaboration. This is just hindered by the Google classroom.”

Friendships define the college experience


There are many ways to make friends on campus. “One day I decided to make dinner for some people in one of my classes.” said Olivia Flemming (‘20). “We had a lot of fun we talked and laughed for hours. Within that week, my new friends gave me a coffee mug as a thank you for making dinner for them. To be honest I almost cried because I was not used to having people do things like that for me.”

Some students met some of their best friends on campus while having their most memorable moment on campus.

“One of my fondest memories while at Alma College was the night of Sorority Walk-Outs because I gained so many new friends that night.” said Lauren Sandtveit (’21). “I met some girls who are my best friends now, and I never would have met without recruitment.”

Students on campus interact with both friends and strangers on campus. “I would say that your classes are probably the easiest places to make friends.” said Kirstyn Cotton (’21).

“Small class sizes help to create close relationships with your classmates. Saga (Hamilton Commons) is also a decent place to make friends because with the campus being so small, that’s where most people are going to go for their meal,” said Cotton.

There are other places on campus where students can make new friends. Sandtveit said that she has met some of her best friends at social events, parties and clubs. Some students also connect better with certain groups. “If you are a freshman and have an FYS, it is awesome to make a friend that you will graduate with. Another good place to make friends is Chapel. Everyone there is very nice, considerate and welcoming,” said Flemming.

Sandtveit believes that others need to have an open mind when trying to make new friends, and she thinks that people should get out of their comfort zone a little bit. “For anyone having trouble making friends, I would tell them to reach out to someone in their classes. Maybe ask if they want to study together or even just walk to Starbucks or something,” said Cotton.

There’s nothing wrong with having many friends on campus. “I would recommend having a few very close friends because it feels like a little family,” said Flemming.

Cotton said that there’s nothing wrong with continuing to make friends, and that people can never have too many people in your life that help you, care for you, and enjoy spending time with you. Sandtveit said that its never a bad thing to make more friends, but people should always remember who their true friends are.

There are always ways on campus to make friends. “There is a lot to do on this campus, so go out and enjoy it; make the most out of the years that you are here,” said Flemming.

Sandtveit said that going to events on campus is one of the first steps toward making as many new friends on campus as possible, and once you start meeting new people, it gets easier to continue making new friends.

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