Devos the New Boss

By Kevin Kurz

On February 7th, Vice President Mike Pence voted in favor of Besty Devos, breaking a 50/50 tie in the Senate and confirming her as the Secretary of Education.

Devos's nomination was extremely controversial. Senators received a record-setting average of 1.5 million phone calls a day until her confirmation hearing. With such a controversial figure becoming the head of public education, I wondered how Lake Sumter felt. Asking a variety of students and staff at the South Lake Campus what their reaction to Devos's confirmation was, I got answers ranging from surprised and appalled to "Who is Betsy Devos?" The one reaction I did not receive was excitement.

The biggest criticisms were over her lack of experience and allegations of bribery. Jerod Cinco, (student), said, "If you're the head of public education, you should have experience in public education." Before being confirmed, Devos had never attended nor worked in a public school. Others worried she bought her position. Florida Senator Rubio received $93,000 from Devos and voted yes on her confirmation. Kristian Algarin, (student) commented, "The money shows she had influence over him."

Despite these apprehensions, some believe she can have a positive impact if she focuses on the right issues. David Walton, (professor) says, "I hope she addresses macro level issues, she won't be able to fix every little problem. She should focus on larger matters such as the college debt crises."

Love or hate her; she is in charge. Let's hope her success is our success.

Dual Enrollment Students Want More Campus Life

By Kelsey Griggs

Lake Sumter State College offers qualifying high school students an early feel for college life through Dual Enrollment, but do the Dual Enrollment students at LSSC feel like a part of the college community? Many Dual Enrollment students split their time between campuses, leaving them unable to participate in some campus events or clubs.

Matthew Devernoe, a Dual Enrollment student, says he only really goes on campus for classes. “I think, as a Dual Enrollment student, it’s just not my place in those activities and groups.” Another Dual Enrollment student, Carina Vitale, feels her split time hinders her ability to participate in campus activities. “Our high school schedule can conflict with the times of clubs and activities.” She also feels as though Dual Enrollment students’ opinions aren’t always seen as valuable due to their age. As a student body and as a school, it is important that we cater to all of our students’ needs and make everyone feel welcome. Dual Enrollment students are an imperative part of the LSSC community, and with a little bit of work, they can surely become more involved in the excitement of campus life.

Keeping Up with Trump

President Trump’s Executive Memos and Orders from His First Week in Office

(research collected from Reuters and, list compiled by Katie LeJeune)

The following list contains approximately 60 Executive Memos and Orders that were all issued within President Trump’s first 5 days in office:

Proclamation 9570: National Day of Patriotic Devotion

As one of his first official acts, President Trump declared his inauguration day to be a "National Day of Patriotic Devotion." The tradition goes back to President George H.W. Bush.

Executive Order 13765: Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal

Trump's first executive order was as much a messaging document as a policy-making one, emphasizing the Trump administration to seek the repeal of the health insurance law known as Obamacare.

Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies: Regulatory Freeze Pending Review

An immediate halt to the publication of any new regulations. The freeze lifts when Trump's nominees to lead agencies are confirmed by the Senate. The White House Office of Management and Budget may make exceptions for health, safety, financial, or national security matters.

Presidential Memorandum: Withdrawal of the United States From the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and Agreement

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, was a 12-member trade pact of countries along the Pacific Rim. Trump's directive made it 11, formally withdrawing from the trade agreement.

Presidential Memorandum: Mexico City Policy

The Mexico City Policy, known to critics as the global gag rule, was a Reagan-Bush policy that restricted the use of foreign aid money to support family planning organizations that promote abortion. Trump's memorandum reinstated that policy, which had been rescinded by Obama, but also vastly expanded it: The restriction now applies not just to the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development, but now all federal funding. And the ban applies to all global health aid, not just family planning.

Presidential Memorandum: Hiring Freeze

Most recent presidents have instituted some kind of hiring freeze, often just long enough for the president's new cabinet members to be confirmed so they can make their own hiring decisions.

Presidential Memorandum: Construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline

The Obama administration scuttled the proposed 1,179-mile cross-border pipeline from Alberta to Nebraska, which Republicans had supported as a job-booster. Trump invited pipeline company, Transcanada, "to promptly resubmit its application," and ordered the Secretary of State to make a decision within 60 days, fast-tracking existing procedural requirements.

Presidential Memorandum: Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline

A separate order applied to the Dakota Access Pipeline, a 1,172-mile pipeline from North Dakota to Illinois. That project has been the subject of heated protests by American Indian groups and environmentalists. Because the pipeline crosses waterways, it needs approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Trump ordered the Army to "review and approve in an expedited manner" the permit.

Presidential Memorandum: Construction of American Pipelines

Trump asked the Secretary of Commerce to review ways to mandate the use of American-made steel in pipeline projects. for all new, expanded or retrofitted pipelines in the United States. The plan is due in six months.

Executive Order 13766: Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals for High Priority Infrastructure Projects

The order sets up a new system to fast-track infrastructure projects. Under the executive order, any governor or cabinet secretary can ask for a project to be designated as high-priority. If the chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality approves, the project will go to the front of the line for any agency required to review and approve the project.

Presidential Memorandum: Streamlining Permitting and Reducing Regulatory Burdens for Domestic Manufacturing

Under this order, the Secretary of Commerce will launch a review of manufacturing regulations with the goal of streamlining those rules. The secretary will seek input on the issue over the next 60 days, with a report to Trump containing specific proposals 60 days after that.

Proclamation 9571: National School Choice Week, 2017

Trump proclaimed the week of Jan, 22 as National School Choice week. Though the proclamation was entirely ceremonial, Trump is the first president ever to proclaim this week, which is sponsored by a coalition of charter, magnet, private, online, and home schools.

Executive Order 13767: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements

This is the "build the wall" executive order, directing the Customs and Border Patrol to "secure the southern border of the United States through the immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border." The order does not specify how the wall would be paid for, but does request a report on all U.S. foreign aid to Mexico over the last five years.

Executive Order 13768: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States

Complementing the border wall, this executive order applies to immigration enforcement in the interior, and specifically targets so-called "sanctuary cities" by cutting off their federal funding. The order also expands the enforcement priorities in order to give immigration officers almost unlimited discretion in instituting deportation proceedings, to include any non-citizen not yet charged a crime but who, in the judgment of an immigration officer, poses a risk to public safety or national security.

Executive Order: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into The United States

Trump promised to keep "radical Islamic terrorists" out of the country, largely though a ban on entry from seven countries for 90 days. Those countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) are all majority Muslim, and the order allows an exception for religious minorities, which Trump said was to protect Christians there.

National Security Presidential Memorandum 1: Rebuilding the U.S. Armed Forces

The presidential national security memorandum — a first-of-its-kind presidential directive — calls for a 30-day review of military readiness. It requires the Pentagon and Office of Management and Budget to come up with a plan to bolster the military, and calls for an examination of the nation's nuclear arsenal and missile-defense capabilities.

Executive Order: Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Employees

The order imposes a lifetime ban on administration officials lobbying foreign governments, and a five-year ban on other types of lobbying. But that ban covers only people who were lobbyists before they joined the administration, leaving a loophole for non-lobbyists, ethics experts said.

National Security Presidential Memorandum 2: Organization of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council

Every modern president signs an order early in his term reorganizing the National Security Council. Trump's order most notably added his chief political strategist, Stephen Bannon, to sit on the influential Principals Committee.

National Security Presidential Memorandum 3: Plan to Defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria

This memorandum calls for the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with other national security officials, to develop a plan within 30 days to defeat the Islamic State. The plan should include "recommended changes to any United States rules of engagement" as well as any diplomatic, financial or cyber measures the Trump administration can take.

Executive Order: Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs

Trump's so-called "one in, two out" executive order would require agencies to remove two existing regulations for every one new regulation — and that the regulatory costs of those new regulations balance out.

President Trump’s Executive Memos and Orders from His First Week in Office

(List compiled from Emphasis added.)

The following Executive Memos and Orders were all issued within President Trump’s first 5 days in office. This list was compiled and published by Fox News:

An order directing the Treasury secretary to review the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulatory law.

A memorandum instructing the Labor Department to delay implementing an Obama rule requiring financial professionals who are giving advice on retirement, and who charge commissions, to put their client's interests first.

An order instructing agencies that whenever they introduce a regulation, they must first abolish two others.

A memorandum to restructure the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council.

A memorandum directing the Secretary of Defense to draw up a plan within 30 days to defeat ISIS.

An order to lengthen the ban on administration officials working as lobbyists. There is now a 5 year-ban on officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government, and a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.

An executive order imposing a 120-day suspension of the refugee program and a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. from citizens of seven terror hot spots: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan.

Two multi-pronged orders on border security and immigration enforcement including: the authorization of a U.S.-Mexico border wall; the stripping of federal grant money to sanctuary cities; hiring 5,000 more Border Patrol agents; ending “catch-and-release” policies for illegal immigrants; and reinstating local and state immigration enforcement partnerships.

A memorandum calling for a 30-day review of military readiness.

Two orders reviving the Keystone XL pipeline and Dakota Access pipelines. He also signed three other related orders that would: expedite the environmental permitting process for infrastructure projects related to the pipelines; direct the Commerce Department to streamline the manufacturing permitting process; and give the Commerce Department 180 days to maximize the use of U.S. steel in the pipeline.

An order to reinstate the so-called "Mexico City Policy" – a ban on federal funds to international groups that perform abortions or lobby to legalize or promote abortion. The policy was instituted in 1984 by President Reagan, but has gone into and out of effect depending on the party in power in the White House.

A notice that the U.S. will begin withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Trump called the order "a great thing for the American worker."

An order imposing a hiring freeze for some federal government workers as a way to shrink the size of government. This excludes the military, as Trump noted at the signing.

An order that directs federal agencies to ease the “regulatory burdens” of ObamaCare. It orders agencies to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement” of ObamaCare that imposes a “fiscal burden on any State or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden on individuals, families, healthcare providers, health insurers, patients, recipients of healthcare services, purchasers of health insurance, or makers of medical devices, products, or medications.”

LSSC Learning Centers

By: Sarah Oulman

Most students aren’t aware, but there are facilities on each campus which provide free tutoring and assistance. The LSSC Learning Centers are designed to help students excel in their classes, provide quiet areas to study, and more; however, many have never utilized these resources.

The staff includes paid tutors and volunteers who specialize in a variety of subjects. Whether you need help on your homework or don’t know how to study for your test, the tutors are always available.

In addition to tutoring, the staff provides Rosetta Stone tablets to anyone who wants to practice a foreign language. In fact, you don’t even have to be taking a foreign language class to do so. The Learning Centers also have equipment for students with disabilities and quiet rooms for those who want to reserve a space for group study sessions.

Unfortunately, many students don’t know these services are available. Lexie Johnston and Christina Lott, students at the Leesburg Campus, told me that neither of them have gone to the Learning Centers for help. According to Lott, “Most students know about the Learning Center, that I know of, and they use it when they need to.” Meanwhile, Johnston told me that she knew many students “who don’t know where [The Learning Center] is or what they offer.”

While some have discovered what the Learning Centers offer, many others haven’t. Next time you’re struggling with homework or can’t grasp a concept from your lectures, head over to the Learning Center on your campus!

Changing Focus on Trump’s Travel Ban

By: Rachel Ilardi

Travel ban. This phrase alone has been enough to make people’s blood boil. For those avoiding the political fray recently, here’s a low-down on what this phrase signifies.

According to CNN, President Trump issued an Executive Order on January 27th stating immigration from seven Middle Eastern countries be halted, effectively immediately for 90 days, while Syrian refugees are barred indefinitely. The President’s focus is on improving our nation’s security. On February 9th, a federal appeals court ruled this ban be overruled.

Opinions differ on this issue. Garrison, a freshman, doesn’t believe the ban was a racist action against Muslims. For others, this discussion hits home. Dyandra, a 21-year-old at South Lake campus, has been told there’s a good chance her stepmother with a green card could be detained in Colombia.

However, there are credible sources showing that ISIS plans to infiltrate other countries by posing as refugees; wherein The Washington Post reports it has happened in Europe.

What can we do? Let’s put aside our differences and stop these politically charged attacks.

Let’s have a civil discussion and care for those running for their lives like the Syrians who are being taken advantage of by ISIS. So while Washington figures out a solution, let’s shift our focus away from our political agenda and toward those really in need.

According to the Preemptive Love Coalition, it is possible to have compassion for refugees, while also wanting to protect our country. It’s not an either-or choice. Let’s show those in need that we still care.

Find out more or donate at

Be a Valentine's Day Dream Beau

By:Joshua Lebron

Valentine's Day is a day many guys around the world struggle with every year. This year I'm here to help you with that. Here are two ideas from myself and two interviews from female students here at Lake Sumter.

1. The first date idea is for girls who aren’t into new and crazy stuff. Instead of going to an expensive restaurant, find a nice open field, bring a blanket, some bug spray, a picnic basket full of all her favorite foods and drinks, and spend the night talking and stargazing, just the two of you!

2. This second date idea is for a guy who really wants to show off his romantic side. Find out the one place in the world your girlfriend wants to travel to. Then, decorate your home or dining room in the style of the place she wants to visit. For decoration ideas try craft stores. Then for the food follow a recipe from that region. You can even have music from the area she wants to travel to playing the background for ambiance! This idea would take more time and effort than others but your girlfriend will see just how romantic you are!

If neither of those ideas go your way let me offer some insight from girls here at Lake Sumter.

One student expressed herself as a lover of conventional dates and wouldn't mind a Valentine's Day just spent with her and her boyfriend. She said she would enjoy a nice movie date at home.

Another student expressed the same. She enjoys dates on the more conventional side but as long as they both enjoy it, it's good enough for her. She said she would enjoy a nice date in the city so both she and her boyfriend can do things they enjoy.

LSSC Softball’s Bri Bennett Featured on espnW Top 10 Plays of the Week

By: Kevin Yurasek, LSSC Director of Marketing & College Relations
LEESBURG, Fla. (February 9, 2017) – Lake-Sumter State College Softball was featured on espnW’s Top 10 Plays of the Week for a walk-off grand slam by Brianna Bennett in last Friday’s game.

Thanks to Bennett, LSSC Softball won 7-6 on Friday at home against Polk State College.

The sophomore catcher says that the grand slam wasn’t even the best part of the game. “Winning the game for the team was the most important to me,” she says. “Everything we do on the team; we do for each other.”

As for the rest of the season, Bennett says the team is off to a great start and she’s “looking forward to continuing their momentum throughout the season.”

Bennett is a Jacksonville native studying criminal justice.

The Lady Lakehawks play at home tomorrow, Feb. 10, against Palm Beach State and away at Pasco-Hernando State College on Saturday.

Clip on espnW: LSSC Softball Twitter Video:

espnW connects young women with the sports they love and follow. It is ESPN’s first dedicated content and digital business initiative designed to serve, inform and inspire female athletes and fans.

Lake Sumter’s Second Annual African American Read-In

By Kevin Kurz

The second annual African American Read-In came and went this past Wednesday, February 1st, and by all definitions, it was a smashing success. The event was presented on both the Leesburg and Southlake campuses and featured African American fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Toni Upchurch, the host of the event on the South-Lake Campus, said she wanted it to be a chill, relaxed, coffee house-like environment. While the feeling of the room was very inclusive, speakers delivered their messages with the passion of Civil Rights champions. The air conditioner was blowing hard and made the room quite cold, but the audience's goosebumps came from the feelings inspired by the performances. South-Lake student, Giancarlo Osorio stole the show with his reading of Barack Obama’s 2008 Inaugural Address, "A More Perfect Union." Shawn Simms, also a South-Lake student, said in regards to the speech, "[i]t spoke to me." Other highlights included Toni Upchurch who felt this event had to include Martin Luther King Jr's "Letter from Birmingham Jail," and Professor Kennedy who performed five different pieces of literature, one completely from memory. The whole event was well received. Aimee Lewis had this to say about the experience,"[l]ots of black history isn't represented; it's been swept to the side. Black Literature doesn't get as much exposure. Hopefully, events like this will help bring that to light and change some perspectives." Despite the fact that Aimee Lewis doesn't plan to be at Lake Sumter next semester, she still plans on attending this event next year, and she's bringing friends. I don't suspect she'll be the only one.

Amber Karlins hosted the Leesburg campuses’ African American Read-In and reported a successful event,“[a]pproximately 50 students and faculty members gathered together to read a variety of seminal works from the African American literary canon. There was something deeply hopeful and encouraging about seeing so many people from all walks of life come together to share in a literary tradition that celebrates perseverance, courage, the fight for justice, and the triumph of the human spirit.”

Both events were well received and did a fantastic job in celebrating African-American culture while highlighting unity. The third annual African American Read-in will have some pretty high expectations as this past one has set the bar pretty high.

Music therapy, an excellent tool for doing better this semester

By Sarah Oulman

For most students, the start of a new semester means preparing for those first important tests and dealing with the stress involved. Music, through music therapy, is an excellent tool for doing better this semester, as it can aid in studying, increase students’ test scores, and reduce stress levels. According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy is “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship.”

Several studies have shown just how we can use music to help us get higher test scores, as well as relieve stress.

Don Campbell, author of The Mozart Effect, shared a study performed by the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning in Irvine that could prove to be helpful to students. Campbell explained that researchers found that listening to Mozart’s music increased students’ test scores, and there is a direct correlation between music and the brain’s abilities to work. During a separate study, researchers also found that those who listen to music can memorize more material than those who don’t.

Not only can music help you study for your next test, but it can also help you relieve stress. According to Campbell, the vibrations in music can influence the human body. As a result, the body’s blood pressure, breathing, heartbeat, and stress levels can be influenced this way to increase or decrease.

James Smith, a student on the Leesburg campus, explained that although he had heard of using music to help with stress and studying, it didn’t work for him all the time. “If I’m reading, I can’t listen to music and read at the same time. When I’m writing, I’ll listen to music, and it does help,” Smith said.
While music and music therapy may not work for everyone, it’s something that would be worth a try. Next time you sit down to study for a test, pull out your headphones and turn on some calming, if not classical, music. This study tip might just help you memorize more from your notes and lower your stress levels!

To love and to hate Tom Brady

Take 2 different takes on Tom Brady: To loathe Tom Brady 
By Kevin Kurz

The Super Bowl is just around the corner. For many this means Parties, a halftime show from a pop star usually past their prime, and “cringy” Dorito commercials your dad somehow finds hilarious. But for those like me who watch the game because we love the sport it’s less than a joyous occasion. This is because for another year we're forced to watch 'Mr. Perfect', Tom Brady.
To be fair some of my hatred for Brady does stem from jealously. As a Rams fan, the last time I got to see my team have a winning record was in 2003. Meanwhile, this will the 6th time the Patriots and Tom Brady will have been to the Super Bowl since 2003. However, my distaste for Brady goes far beyond jealousy. I don't hate Brady because he's great, I dislike Brady for how he handles his greatness
Brady comes across as smug, conceited, and whiny. Whether he's demanding other players to pay their respects to him, kicking a player after they tackle him, or acting as if he's a victim for destroying evidence while under investigation for cheating, he never fails to be an egotistical cry baby that refuses to take responsibility. But why should he be held accountable for his actions? After all, he's Tom Brady. So while for many Super Bowl Sunday will be a fun day, for those like me, the day will be spent anxiously praying that Brady doesn't add another championship to his résumé.
Superbowl LI (51) will air this Sunday, February 5, 6:30 PM on FOX. The Patriots will play the Falcons.

To love and to hate Tom Brady

Take 2 different takes on Tom Brady: Ode to Tom Brady 
By David Vallecillo

With the Super Bowl kicking off next Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons face a team more than just the New England Patriots; they play against the man, the myth, and an NFL legend, Tom Brady. Fans of the games can once again take the opportunity to see the greatest quarterback of all time take the field on the game’s grandest stage.
Making his 6th Super Bowl appearance, it is no question that Tom Brady is considered a Hall of Fame Quarterback after winning the Super Bowl four times and was honored MVP three times. His efficiency in passing, effective leadership on the field, and the fact that the Patriots are always relevant in the NFL make it easier for a novice fan to root for the athlete that always wins.
Tom Brady can be appreciated as a football star, but off the field he is a man that recognizes good deeds after rewarding an Elementary school football team season tickets with field passes for standing up to bullies.
If exhilarating fans on the football field weren’t enough, Tom Brady also made you laugh after his appearance in a humorous scene in the movie “Ted 2”.
So as you're watching the super bowl next weekend and don’t know which team to root for, you can observe history in the making along with admiring the kind of quarterback and person Tom Brady is.

Music Fest 2017

By Emily Schmidt

Nothing brings people together like the power of music. Right outside of Central Florida and just two hours away from Lake Sumter, lies the warm, swampy Okeechobee Music Festival, which will make the true Floridian in you shine through at this three-day camping festival. The festival features over 100 artists, including Kings of Leon, Bassnectar, and Wiz Khalif; this festival has a little something for everyone in your friend group.

Throughout March 2-5th, you’ll be able to enjoy musical gathering that has the perfect balance of relaxing nature and thrilling music, including multiple stages for artist performances, multiple lakes perfect for swimming, and a group yoga session every morning.

This relaxing getaway could be just what every student needs before the stress of midterms. Besides making memories with your current friends, you would be able to make so many new friends in your time at the swamp.

This is a camping festival, so quarters are tight and you are almost always around people; you can make connections with college students from around Florida, and possibly from around the nation!

Okeechobee Music Festival is helping to push start Florida’s music scene.This is Florida’s first major multi-genre music festival, so it’s important to get out and support the festival so that we can keep live music thriving in our beautiful state.

Okeechobee Music Festival is March 2-5th, with tickets starting at $249. The full lineup and more information can be found at

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