2022 Spring Poetry Contest First Place Winner.

Sunlight

by

Courtney Danis

A flower cannot grow without sunlight,

It must bathe in its glow.

Its petals cannot bloom without sunshine,

Or of its beauty, it will never know.

It might have water, and its roots in soil,

It will embrace all the rain.

But if you deprive it of the sunlight,

It will only grow in pain.

If all the days are cloudy,

Not even a spec of sun will break through.

The flower will whimper as it dies,

And the blame must go to you.

You chose to get a flower,

To raise it from its seed.

Yet you never let it bud,

You only “protect” it from the weeds.

You provide it what is obligated,

Some water and space where it’s been planted.

But you refuse to let it see outside,

And even in protection, it feels abandoned.

No light is ever shown,

And now only thornes grow in the pot.

It never learns of its power or beauty,

It thinks it’s everything it’s not.

Growing will be hard,

It has to fight for its place in the shine.

But all the pain and lack of love,

Will be worth it to find the light.

2022 Spring Poetry Contest Second Place Winner.

A Vixen of the Sea

By Alexandra Berghelm

She is a vixen of the sea

Revealed to those of bravery.

With eyes like emeralds she gazes

And nothing in the world her fazes.

She is a siren and she knows 

Her charms are spreading as she goes.

Her singing’s filled with many tunes

As sweet as Sunday afternoons.

The waves are yielding her the way,

Sea-horses are pages for the day,

And she would dare anyone

Who challenged her, the tempest one.

The humble ones she patronizes

Courageous souls get precious prizes,

But when the arrogant ones come

Her rage is hot like blazing sun.

She is a vixen of the sea

Revealed to those of bravery.

She is a daughter of Neptune

And carries powers of the moon.

She shows the way to sailor ships

When lighting strikes and moon eclipse.

She gives asylum to the needy

And teases those who are most greedy.

The play of dolphins her amuses

Her softer laugh is warm, she muses.

Her hair sparkles in the sun

Sea grass turns pearls when she is gone.

Her touch is cool like a fresh source,

She gives herself with no remorse.

Her energy runs through the creatures

Revitalizing their features.

But it’s not easy to reach her

She only comes when pleases her.

Invisible all other times

Or resting in her chamber vines.

And Jupiter brings out her magic

Her beauty—mystic of old legend.

She is a vixen of the sea

Are you the one of bravery?

2022 Spring Poetry Contest Third Place Winner: Sarah Lee “Disability’s Power.”

Their condescending tone is the root of the problem 

they don’t understand 

they don’t get eye fatigue from reading tedium 

grow cold as they wait hours for their bus ride home 

scatter possessions trying to find bus tickets 

They can work a fast food joint 

$9/hour 

without familiar panic surfacing 

worrying they’ll make it wrong 

can’t find 

the carrots 

can’t keep up 

not fast enough 

can’t remember 

ingredient measurements 

can’t read 

the signs for a reminder 

can’t locate 

a manager to ask 

can’t trust 

the managers anyway 

register buttons blur 

seek respite in the quiet breakroom 

only dare to take two minutes 

lest they discover 

—“you aren’t getting paid just to stand there”– 

—“alright, you really need to work on speed”– 

can’t discern the exit 

can’t hit escape 

can’t quell anxiety 

too expensive to keep 

not worth staying 

can’t argue 

energy sapped 

panic 

persists– 

After work in the late August sunshine, I crouch, exhausted. I wait for my ride home. 

I can feel the cold cement below me. 

I can smell juniper. 

I can taste the pickle, pepperjack, chicken and bun flavors playing on my tongue. 

I can hear cicadas singing in the trees, far above the red roof. 

I love that sound.

How FRCC Lost its Solar Panels

FRCC’s Westminster campus began construction in 1975. Originally a new location for Community College of Denver’s (CCD) North Campus, it was built at the height of the oil crisis, when energy efficiency and fossil fuel consumption were at the top of everyone’s mind. As a result, the Westminster Campus was built with energy efficiency as a top priority. According to an article published in CCD’s student newspaper, The Solar Times in 1977, the whole building was designed around energy. It was set into the side of a hill to take advantage of the insulative properties of the earth and was built with a (for the time) state of the art energy recovery system, which brought fresh air into the building while retaining 60% of the heat of the exhausted air. Most impressive of all, the Westminster campus was originally built with a massive system of solar-thermal panels, designed to keep the building warm in the winter and cool in the summer. At the time of its construction, it was the largest such system in the entire world, and the only one in the world to be installed in an educational institution.

If you look for it, you’ll find surviving hints to the existence of this system all over the campus. For example, the old logo for FRCC, which is still in place on the front gates and some of the back entrances, shows a sun in the top left corner, shining above the mountains.

The angled glass windows by entrance 3 always looked a bit strange to me, so it’s no wonder that they were originally intended to look like a continuation of the angled solar panels on the roof directly above them. In fact, the panels themselves are actually still there, but they’re covered by metal sheets. Many of the corners on the front of the building have strange angled walls coming off of them. Those angled walls made a lot more sense when they matched the angle of the solar panels on the roof above them. This is also why the building is so long – it was necessary to have enough exposed area for the solar panels. So important were the solar panels to the school’s identity, that it was often referred to as “The Solar Campus,” and before the creation of The Front Page in 1989, the school’s student newspaper was called The Solar Times.

The system worked by pumping a 60:40 mixture of glycol and water through panels that were designed to capture the heat of the sun, and then further heating the fluid through the use of boilers. That heated fluid was used to warm the building in the winter, and it powered absorption coolers which cooled the building in the summer. When it was built, it was projected to save the college nearly $200,000 a year in energy costs. However, according to Andy Dorsey, president of FRCC, while the system may have saved the college some money while it was installed, by the mid-1990s, the system was degraded. The pipes that carried the heating fluid were leaking at their joints, and they were difficult to repair because they were (and still are) three stories up on the ceiling of the college, above the various open-plan seating areas.

And it wasn’t just the panels. By 1996, the entire building’s HVAC system was wildly outdated. According to the March 1996 issue of The Front Page, problems with the HVAC system included, but were not limited to: incorrect zoning, resulting in some rooms being too hot, and others being too cold, increased load from new office equipment, and added rooms that the existing system couldn’t cope with, original pneumatic control systems that were reaching the end of their life, and air from the swimming pool, which recirculated throughout the building, causing the air in certain classrooms to smell like chlorine. That’s right, along with the largest solar-thermal system in the world, we also used to have a heated swimming pool.

Along with the disastrous state of the HVAC system, FRCC itself was in a bit of a desperate shake in the 1990s. Tom Gonzales, president of FRCC at the time, referred to the school as a “dying college” in 1997, when the school was standing in the face of a nearly two million dollar deficit and a 17 percent drop in enrollment. So, when the college got state funding to hire a contractor to fix the HVAC system in 1996, and that contractor recommended replacing the panels with a central boiler, the college wasn’t exactly in a position to negotiate. 

Of the 1,400 panels that were on the roof, only 303 were kept in service after the 1996 renovation. They were used to heat the swimming pool and provide hot water to the school’s taps. Eventually, though, they were all deactivated. Today, the few panels which remain on the front of the school are covered with metal sheets, the swimming pool has been filled in (it’s now the fitness center), and the building is heated and cooled with a traditional natural gas boiler.

So, what kind of impact did this have on the college’s budget and carbon footprint? Not much, or so Dorsey told me. As it turns out, the old solar panels were never really that great. On cold winter days, most of the heat was generated by the auxiliary boiler anyways and whenever it snowed, the panels were basically useless. Because the water-glycol mixture always flowed through a boiler before going to heat the campus, it was pretty much always burning some natural gas. So, with the new more efficient boiler system, Dorsey suspects that we might actually be using less natural gas than we used to be. Of course, that may not be the case for the solar-powered absorption cooling system, which likely worked better in the summer than the heating system did in the winter. Unfortunately, exact data on this is not available.

Even understanding the reasons why they were removed and covered, it really seems a shame that we lost the solar panels (and the pool, but that’s a separate discussion). Unfortunately, functional solar thermal panels are unlikely to ever return to the roof of FRCC Westminster. If solar panels are to return, they’ll take the form of solar photovoltaics, Dorsey told me. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t want solar back, though. About ten years ago, the college did an analysis on the prospect of installing solar-PV cells. It wasn’t worth it financially at the time, but with the drop in the cost of solar panels over time, Dorsey says it may be time for another analysis. So it is possible that one day, the sun will rise once again on the Solar Campus.

Let the BRKN cure your wintertime blues

The winter gets pretty bleak sometimes, especially this year. With all the goings-on it is sometimes hard to appreciate good things in life. If you’re like me you turn to music to find some self-help, that’s where the BRKN comes in. Despite the name, this Denver born band delivers on good vibes and energetic beats to launch them on a sound that has its roots in new wave such as The Cars yet retain Pop-Punk riffs and drum beats that could easily be billed next to bands like Paramore and Panic! At the Disco.

When questioned about the seemingly “hard” band name, “I’ve always been in love with bands that have really happy songs but sad lyrics” replies frontman Jacob Cade.

Jacob Cade

“ I like the idea of melancholy, and feeling kinda sad, and listening to really happy songs with sad lyrics”.

This is reflected in songs such as “Lying All the Time” which depicts a slow demise of a relationship lyrically while Guitarist MJ Younkers and Drummer Mike Bokenkamp deliver solid upbeat Indi-Rock riffs.

The 2021 Self Released album “Come Outside” displays the range of the band’s musical tastes from the established Pop-Punk of its first track “Calm Down,” to the “sexy” blues-rock-inspired track “Fake Love”. The latest song and accompanying video is a return to what the band does best. Producing feeling.

“Coffee”, the band’s first release of 2022, is an upbeat composition with infectious hooks that will bury themselves in your head for the rest of the afternoon, and a rock tune that is the gold standard for what a summer song should be. Along with an entertaining music video shot completely on iPhone by guitarist MJ. “ I actually got my degree in filmmaking” MJ admits,

Jacob Cade(vocals) with MJ Younkers(Guitar)

“We just kinda wanted to go for a completely different vibe for Coffee”. “We filmed 

the whole thing in one day, just went to the thirst shop, found a coffee maker and some random accouterment and had fun with it. It was awesome!”

In response to my burning question, about the fate of the KIA Soul whose fate was memorialized in the credits of “Coffee”, Drummer Mike Bokenkamp sheepishly replies,

Mike Bokenkamp (Drums)

“ My engine failed due to an engine recall thing, and it happened on the day that we filmed the video for “Coffee”. So I was late to the video, and on my way home my car completely died, I was out of a car for three months”.

COVID has not slowed down the BRKN with the band kicking off their tour with The Dangerous Summer in the UK, Europe, and the U.S. in 2022.“I’m incredibly thankful to TDS for having us out on tour again. This run is the biggest thing we’ve ever done collectively and as individuals. It’s gonna be an experience and I cannot wait to get out there,” says frontman Cade.

The latest song & video “Not The Same”

The BRKN’s 2021 EP “Come Outside”

For More information on tour dates and where to follow the BRKN

https://www.thebrkn.com/

https://instagram.com/thebrkn

https://twitter.com/the_BRKN

https://facebook.com/thebrkn

Exploring Uncharted. (From a Person Who’s Never Played The Game).

Is this movie the next major film franchise to blow up or just a one-trick pony headed out to pasture? That’s a question one has to ask themselves based on the box office numbers for the new action movie, released in theaters on the eighteenth of February this year, starring Tom Holland and Mark Walhberg. 

This film follows Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) and Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Mark Walhberg) as they trek across the globe in search of the treasure left behind by Ferdinand Magellian. Along the way, they run into others searching for the treasure and discover that trust is hard where treasure is involved. 

So, what do I think as someone that wanted to see the film without even knowing it was based on a popular Playstation game. Honestly, I thought that overall the movie was entertaining. There were plenty of laugh-filled moments, offset by twists and turns full of backstabbers and double-crossings. I can’t say that the plot was all that unpredictable. Though, if you ask me, there are few movies made these days that truly are.  

If I was going to try and paint a picture for someone that is considering seeing the movie I would say it is a bit like the grown-up version of The Goonies. Though some of the reviews that I read before going to view the film compared Uncharted to the National Treasure films, I was not able to see that comparison in action. (There’s no Nic Cage wanting to steal the Declaration of Independence).

So, I enjoyed the film as someone who had not played the games. But how would a fan of the games rate the movie? I took a friend along who had played them in the past to help give some insight into how the film stood up against its Playstation original. According to him, it is a good movie, but if you are looking at it like it’s going to be exactly like the games, you’re going to be sadly disappointed. The main movie characters don’t even look like their counterparts in the games and the plots are noticeably different. Though he was much more excited about a certain cameo than I was because of his knowledge of the games. 

As far as I’m concerned, there are few film adaptations that stick to the originals anymore, whether it be a remake, a book, or in this case, a video game. The film industry is happy to cast the current big names, like Tom Holland, despite their similarities to the characters they are brought in to portray. Overall, I’d recommend seeing the movie. Though if you do, and you like history, be warned the ending will sting a bit. For that reason, I only give it four out of five treasure maps. And with that, I will leave you to chart your way to the nearest movie theater and enjoy Uncharted on the big screen. 

Spring Break Day Trips for the Adventurous Student

With spring break quickly approaching, many FRCC Westminster students may be dreaming of long days filled with sleep and Netflix shows. But for those of us who can’t afford a trip to warmer tropical destinations yet still dream of some fun activities to fill our days off, I present to you a list filled with the wacky, weird and wonderful things in our own backyard here in Colorado. 

The time estimates that appear next to the towns are given in reference to a starting point from the FRCC Westminster campus, but all can be found with a quick google search to chart your own routes. Make the most of our week off and take some friends to make some new memories!

Paint Mines Interpretive Park – Calhan (2-hour drive)

https://communityservices.elpasoco.com/parks-and-recreation/paint-mines-interpretive-park/

This is a perfect road trip for people who like the great outdoors and going someplace off the beaten path. Located in a very much middle of nowhere town, which is about 45 minutes outside of Colorado Springs, you cannot even see the amazing landscape from the road or parking lot. A short hike in will reveal amazing views and over three miles of trail to follow that can easily fill an afternoon. This attraction is amazing due to the variation of the rocks that have eroded away, leaving behind the bands of color left behind by different sediments over thousands of years. 

Baldpate Inn (Seven Keys Lodge)- Estes Park (1 & ½ hour drive)

https://sevenkeyslodge.com/

Another spot that can’t be seen from the road is this inn that sits just outside of Estes across the street from a beautiful lake with trails to walk around. When you walk in, just say that you are there for “the keys,” and you will be directed to a room filled with keys of all shapes, sizes, and origins from all over the world. It is free to enter, but stick around for a while and read up on the history of why the keys are collected. It’s also a great place to grab some homemade lunch that truly is the definition of mountain deliciousness. 

Swetsville Zoo (sculpture garden)- Fort Collins  (1-hour drive)

https://www.uncovercolorado.com/activities/swetsville-zoo/

Want something even a little stranger to fill your time? Check out this amazing sculpture garden created just outside of downtown Fort Collins. The sculptor, Bill Swets, loves to transform old metal into living creatures, and the property is filled with so many sculptures to explore it will make for a great afternoon activity. Afterward, head into town and walk around and try some of the great restaurants, maybe even check out the local art galleries while you’re there. 

The Wild Animal Sanctuary- Keensburg  (1-hour drive)

https://www.wildanimalsanctuary.org/

Though this spot is a bit on the pricey side compared to the other destinations to fill your spring break with, it is definitely one worth the trip if you have never been. The tickets for an adult are $50, but that money does go to the operations of the sanctuary, which rescues animals like lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!) but is also home to camels, wolves, bobcats, and so much more. Not only are they doing so much to help protect and save these animals from horrible living environments, but they are giving them a place to roam free. The sanctuary has acres upon acres of property out in this rural farm town and visitors get to view the animals from a mile-long suspended walkway above their habitats. A fun little fact: many of the tigers rescued from the zoo that Joe Exotic owned ended up going to this sanctuary. 

UFO Watchtower, Gator Farm, The Great Sand Dunes National Park  (4-hour drive)

https://www.alamosa.org/directory/835-ufo-watchtower

These three are all lumped together for a bit of a longer road trip experience, but they are all in the same area and on the way to The Sand Dunes. The UFO Watchtower is an…eccentric stop to say the least. This little igloo-looking hut is surrounded by a bit of a shrine or as they call it a portal that is filled with all the weird wonders that people decided to leave behind for outer space visitors to discover. It’s a great stop to look at the stars at night from the upper deck and maybe even see something out of this world.

The second stop is another strange attraction of course! A gator farm in the middle of nowhere in Colorado may sound a little strange, but these chompy little dudes were brought in to help control tilapia populations at a fish hatchery nearby and came to stay. Visitors even have the opportunity to hold smaller gators for a picture if they are brave enough before walking through to see the bigger gators, lizards, turtles, and other reptiles on the property. 

The Sand Dunes are always a great stop if you are eager for outdoor activities. From sandboarding (think snowboarding but on sand) to hiking the dunes, this natural wonder is a great place to see at least once in your life. Fair warning, be prepared for warm and cold temps, pack sunscreen, and if you are unlucky to be there on a windy day just know that having your legs sandblasted is pretty painful. 

Hope this list provides you with some great starting points for your spring break adventures and let us know here at the newspaper what you thought!

Welcome to our new columnist

Darby Holman is a staff writer for the Front Page, who is double majoring in communications and English. During her time at FRCC, she discovered her love for creative writing and one day hopes to publish a fiction novel. Though she is new to the newspaper writing game she is excited about the new experience and to be able to share the stories surrounding the FRCC community. When she’s not in school she can be found adventuring to strange destinations like the gator farm in southern Colorado, listening to classic rock music, or spending time reading and snuggling with her adorable little pup named Shadow. 

Meet your New Columnist

Seth Ciancio is a staff writer for the Front Page, studying computer science with the aim of transferring to CU Boulder. He wrote for his student newspaper in high school and opted to do the same at FRCC. Outside of school, you might find Seth working on his project car, a 1979 Mustang, or digging through obscure internet archives to find decades-old declassified government documents, or maybe just playing video games.