Monday, April 9, 2007

Photo by Columbus State student Lori A. Henderson.

Weather watchers worry and waitCampus admirers have noted that the severe return to winter temperatures last weekend--a 50-degree drop from last Tuesday's 80s--might damage our beautiful flowers and flowering trees. Don't worry, says Grounds Supervisor Michael Ryan, "With more than 100 years of landscape experience, the grounds crew has taken many steps to protect the campus' plants."

"Our campus is always about five degrees warmer and two weeks ahead of things in the spring..."

"Our campus is always about five degrees warmer and two weeks ahead of things in the spring than areas outside of I-270," says Ryan. "We typically have our bulbs up and flowering before the end of March. Our trees start the blooming in April.

" Most plants are not killed by cold temperatures unless under some other stress," continues Ryan. "A healthy plant will suffer cosmetic damage to any new green growth if temperatures get below 30 degrees but will not die. Rain and wind will remove flowers more than the cold. Flowering bulbs will be damaged when temperatures get below 25 degrees, and again, this is only cosmetic."

Ryan adds, "Our crew spends endless hours to protect our landscape from radical weather. Our staff is trained to keep plants in good health by plant care and planting methods. We are also trained at dealing with many micro-climates on our campus and select plants for those locations ."

AQIP action project development teams meet to take next stepsAQIP Action Project Development Teams will meet April 13 from 1-3 p.m. in WD-409. The meeting will consist of a briefing on what was learned at the AQIP Strategy Forum and an overview of the work leading up to submission of the project plans to AQIP by June 1. If you have any questions, please contact Sunday Zidonis at ext. 5987.

Automotive brakes, radiators, electronics to be inspected by classesThe AUTO 155 class, Brake Systems Diagnosis, will accept vehicles to do brake inspections only. If you feel that your car is having a problem with braking, then let the AUTO 155 class check it out for you. Just send an e-mail to to get an appointment. Please be advised, there are a limited number of spaces available for this class. The date for the class will be April 11.

Also, the AUTO 165 class, Electrical and Electronic Diagnosis and Repair, will be accepting vehicles with electrical problems. If your car is having starting problems, battery issues, interior, exterior light problems, alternator, power window, seat, or door lock problems, this class may be able to help. The dates for AUTO 165 will be April 12 and 19.

Finally, AUTO 175, Heating and A/C Diagnosis, will be accepting vehicles with heating and air conditioning problems only. If your car is overheating, has a temperature gauge that's not functioning, a radiator fan that's not functioning, a heater that's not getting hot, or a 1996 or newer car that has an A/C system that's not working or getting cold, the AUTO 175 class may be able to help. No radiator leaks, head gasket leaks or cars with R-12 A/C systems will be accepted.   They do accept cars with "Check Engine" lights, but if the check engine light does not lead to a temperature problem, they will not be able to help. The dates for the class will be April 10, 17, 24, and May 1.

Appointments for each class will be taken by email to

Red Cross Blood Drive to be held April 10The next Red Cross Blood Drive will be held in the Nestor Hall lobby on Tuesday, April 10, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. To make an appointment to donate blood, please click here. For more information on how to participate in the blood drive, contact Heather Borland at

May is the month to learn about risks for skin cancer The American Academy of Dermatology has designated the month of May as Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, with the first Monday in May (May 7) as Melanoma Monday.   

Most skin cancers are attributable to overexposure to the UV radiation of the sun. Unfortunately, admonitions to avoid sunburns and to wear sunscreen and protective clothing often fall on deaf ears.

Recent reports show that cancer in general is on the decline; however, this is not the case with melanoma, the deadly form of skin cancer. Since the early 1970s, the incidence rate of melanoma has increased an average of 4 percent per year, from 5.7 per 100,000 in 1973 to 13.8 in 1996.   

Melanoma tends to occur at a younger age than most cancers.

The number of new cases of melanoma in the United States is on the rise. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2007 there will be 59,940 new cases of melanoma in this country. About 8,110 people will die of this disease in 2007. Melanoma accounts for about 3 percent of skin cancer cases, but it causes most skin cancer deaths.

Melanoma tends to occur at a younger age than most cancers. Half of all melanomas are found in people under age 57. Adolescents can have melanoma, also.

According to the American Cancer Society, "The sun's ultraviolet rays are strongest during the midday hours (10 a.m.-4 p.m.); exposure at these times should be limited or avoided. When outdoors, cover as much skin as possible with a hat that shades the face, neck, and ears, and a long-sleeved shirt and long pants. Sunscreen comes in various strengths, graded by the solar protection factor (SPF). Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.

"Because of the possible link between severe sunburns in childhood and greatly increased risk of melanoma in later life, children, in particular, should be protected from the sun."

Early detection is critical. Recognition of changes in skin growths or the appearance of new growths is the best way to find early skin cancer. Adults should practice skin self-exam. Suspicious lesions should be evaluated promptly by a physician. Basal and squamous cell skin cancers often take the form of a pale, waxlike, pearly nodule, or a red, scaly, sharply outlined patch. A sudden or progressive change in a mole's appearance should be checked by a physician. Melanomas often start as small, mole-like growths that increase in size and change color.

A simple ABCD rule outlines the warning signals of melanoma: A is for asymmetry. One half of the mole does not match the other half. B is for border irregularity. The edges are ragged, notched, or blurred. C is for color. The pigmentation is not uniform, with variable degrees of tan, brown, or black. D is for diameter greater than 6 millimeters. Any sudden or progressive increase in size should be of particular concern."

The ABCDs of melanoma can be obtained from your dermatologist or at this internet site: