About Sharon Weltz

Sharon Weltz is a web content editor/writer and member of the GCC Drupal Team. She is an award winning marketing and advertising professional, and a proud Glendale Community College alumnus.

Mary’s Story: Shelter last hope for abandoned pets

The little dog’s broken jaw hung grotesquely open. Her right eye was crushed in its socket. Medical staff examined her extensive wounds as she nervously scanned her new surroundings. She had no identification tag and no microchip.

Mary, as she was later named, was found in October, 2010, suffering from multiple injuries.  She was rushed to nearby Sun Valley Animal Shelter in Glendale, Arizona, where she became one of the 5 to 7 million pets admitted into animal shelters each year.

Mary’s story is an all too familiar one.

“It’s frustrating,” said Kurt Olsen, spokesperson for Sun Valley Animal Shelter, who sees the results of irresponsible or abusive pet ownership every day.

The reasons pet owners cite for relinquishment became the subject of a first ever study conducted by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP).

The NCPPSP conducted personal interviews at 12 animal shelters in four regions of the United States with people who were surrendering their dogs or cats. The top ten reasons cited for giving up a pet were: Moving, Landlord issues, Cost of pet maintenance, No time for pet, Inadequate facilities, Too many pets in home, Pet illness, Personal problems, Biting (behavior issues), and No homes for littermates.

Part of the mission of many shelters is to educate pet owners with options that would allow them to keep their pet.  But the best proven strategy for reducing pet abandonment takes place even before a pet is adopted.

Screening is a prevention tool as much as it is a matching tool. It increases successful adoption rates. Potential adoptees are asked about their residence, income, time constraints, household occupants and if other pets are already in the home. Many shelters employ volunteers to help with the screening process.

Olsen himself started out as volunteer, and gradually became a full-time staff member. One of his main responsibilities today  is that of Volunteer Coordinator. “We depend upon volunteers for a lot of things,” said Olsen.

Volunteers may be asked to run food drives, help with fund-raising and tackle daily tasks such as feeding, walking or socializing pets. He encourages people with special skills such as marketing, grooming and obedience training to volunteer.

Olsen presses a flier into my hand.

It’s an update on Mary. It’s been six months since she entered the shelter and the flier displays Mary’s before and after photos. Except for her right eye, which had to be sewn shut, she looks like a normal, cute little dog. The transformation is amazing.

Mary’s medical costs, over $6,000, were covered thanks to the generosity of independent supporters.

Animal shelter volunteers and staff work tirelessly to provide abandoned or relinquished pets with medical attention and a chance to be adopted into a well-matched loving home. They also offer education to pet owners and provide a second chance for animals picked up by overburdened and underfunded local animal control agencies.

“I love my job,” said Olsen.

To volunteer, make a donation or adopt a pet visit http://sunvalleypets.org/

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Smokers overlook important key to quitting : One reason why 95 percent of smokers try and fail to kick the habit

Anyone who has ever tried to quit smoking and failed is in good company. A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Magazine found 70 percent of current smokers want to quit, and only 3 to 5 percent of those who try to quit smoking remain smoke-free after one year.

My mother has tried to quit smoking many times. There have been occasions when she had successfully quit for months. She says smoking is just something she enjoys with a cup of coffee, after meals or socially. As an observer, I know that as long as there is no stress in her life she is able to resist. Stressful situations are her undoing. She worries about a lot of things: illnesses, events, money and the stress she hears about in other people’s lives. It does not take much before she is back smoking. Smoking is a “go-to” impulse she uses to calm down and relax her nerves. My brother is the same way. Both my mom and brother are trying to quit again. Continue reading

No gas, no power plug, no problem

Imagine driving off the new car lot in a sexy little two-seater with no need for gas. Ever. No gas, no electrical plug and no hydrogen fuel cells. Just sunshine.

The sleek curves of the SolarWorld GT are only surpassed by its award winning inner technology. Power is generated by six square meters (almost 20 square feet) of solar cells. Its battery management system and in-wheel motors are designed for long distances. It is the first street legal solar car ever built, and is en route to a record breaking trip around the world. Thirty students from Bochum University of Applied Sciences in Germany built the solar powered car.

“In the media the name is The Bothum Beauty, but we call it Bo,” said SolarWorld GT team leader Tim Skerra. Skerra spoke about the project saying that they hope to earn a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for traveling more than 21,000 miles across four continents in a solar powered vehicle.

An opportunity of a lifetime came last Friday when the SolarWorld GT stopped at Glendale Community College. A crowd quickly gathered and was invited to enter a free drawing for a chance to win a ride in the state-of-the art solar powered bullet.

When it came time to draw the winning number, audible groans filled the air as the disappointed looked around to see who had won. The lucky winner raised his hand, grinning from ear to ear, and came forward.

“It was great!” said GCC student David Turner. “I could hear the wheels powering up.”

“We have a plan to become carbon neutral,” said GCC President Irene Kovala as she addressed the crowd. This event is part of ongoing activities and actions since signing the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. Kovala announced that GCC is a finalist in the 2012 Second Nature Climate Leadership Awards, saying “…if we won the national award it would be spectacular!”

The SolarWorld GT project is sponsored by SolarWorld. SolarWorld is one of the largest manufacturers of sustainable, socially responsible Photovoltaic (PV) energy in the world. The word Photovoltaic means energy from light. Learn more at http://www.solarworld-usa.com

Follow the SolarWorld GT around the world at: http://www.hochschule-bochum.de/en/solarcar/circumnavigation/diary/usa.html

And on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SolarWorldUSA

GCC professor to speak at Avondale’s Black History Month celebration

GCC professor and counselor Bruce Thomas will be presenting “My Life as a Crow” at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 8, in the Avondale Center Library located at 11350 W. Civic Center Drive in Avondale. Entrance and parking is free.

Bruce Thomas has been at Glendale Community College since 1991. Thomas is a Fulbright recipient, has been listed in the Who’s Who among American College Teachers and has taught in Germany and China.

For more information about the City of Avondale’s Black History Month celebration call 623-333-2602 or visit the Avondale website.

Study Abroad programs offer cool adventures

In its sixth year, the Maricopa Community Colleges’ Study Abroad Program offers amazing opportunities to live and study in the heart of Prague. The first of a series of information sessions will be held 6 – 7 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012, at Glendale Community College in the Student Union’s Royal Palm room. If you cannot make this session, two more opportunities will be offered at Gateway Community College (see below). Studying abroad in Prague is a no brainer. What is hard is choosing from the eight programs of study.

Those interested in traveling May 31 to June 28 can choose from the following four-week programs: Art History, Contemporary Cinema, Introduction to the Holocaust or International Business.

Those interested in traveling July 2 to Aug. 2 may choose from Digital Photography, Introduction to Multiculturalism, Psychology of Religion or World Religion. Past participants claim the classes and excursions exceeded their expectations.

Classes are held in a modernized sixteenth century building. A short distance away, double room dorm style accommodations are comfortable and participants share a community kitchen and living room on each floor. The price of $2,664 covers all lodging, classes, excursions and local transportation. Airfare, food, and spending money are not included in the price of the four-week programs. While your friends and relatives battle the summer heat at home, you’ll be enjoying Prague’s cool, mid-seventy degree weather.

The Study Abroad program is open to the public. Come for college credit or simply for the adventure. GCC English Professor and adjunct professor at Gateway Community College, Dr. Ruth Callahan is GCC’s contact for the Prague Study Abroad program. Please visit Dr. Callahan’s web site for more information. Registration is through Gateway Community College.

In addition to the GCC information session, two other sessions will be held at Gateway Community College from 3 – 4 p.m., Monday, Feb. 20, and from 6 – 7 p.m., Monday, March 19, in Gateway Community College’s Main Building.

Please visit the GCC Study Abroad website for more information. And if you’re strapped for cash but passionate about going on one of these excursions, be sure to look for the information about a possible scholarship grant.