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September 26, 2013 / Ashleigh

UNLV and RTC Facing New Changes

Students and those who frequent campus at the University of Nevada Las Vegas are already being affected by changes from the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, and can expect that more changes are on their way.

The new addition of the UNLV Transit Center on the South side of the campus had many students voicing their opinions.  This 6,460 square-foot facility is the new home to what was once 43 parking spots, and the Centennial Express route which will be the first route that will be directly service the facility, The 24-mile route currently carries approximately 25,000 passengers per month

David Sparrow, director of engineering services for the RTC and UNLV alumni, recently spoke with UNLV students of the changes that are already affecting the campus area and the changes that are planned for the near future. 

Sparrow and Angela Castro, government affairs and media relations manager for the RTC, have received feedback from UNLV students that are concerned that the transit center would bring unwanted crime activity to the area.  Castro assured that action had been taking to ensure that this does not happen, she went on to explain that have a security officers of their own that will be riding the buses that will be using the center.  The possibility of adding video surveillance to the area was also mentioned, so the area could be monitored by both RTC and UNLV police without the necessity of having staff located in the area at all times, and hopefully deter unwanted night visitors.  “Student’s giving feedback, that’s hugely important because we’re coming directly to your front door,” stated Sparrow.  To leave your own opinion, praise or concern you are encouraged to visit www.rtcsnc.com

Another project in the works will make sizable changes along Maryland Parkway, including the to the face of the university, the commute for many students, and businesses surrounding the area.  “[The Maryland Parkway Alternative Analysis is a] study to really evaluate different transportation options that are available.  Maryland Parkway is a critical roadway for the valley, not just the university,” revealed Sparrow.  Maryland Parkway is the targeted area of improvement as it extends to multifaceted amenities of the city including the airport, UNLV, malls, medical facilities, and extends into the Downtown Las Vegas area.  Many different ideas are being taken into consideration including narrowing the lanes, adding a bus lane, center bus lane or possibly a rail, all with the aim of improving the area and commute.  This study will pass through the committee stakeholder process before reaching the expected decision in December, once a final decision is has been reached construction is projected to take 1 ½ to 2 years to complete.

 UNLV has already begun what looks to be a long journey filled with many changes with its relationship with the RTC.   These changes directly affect the students and their everyday choices of how they commute to and from the university and events around town involving the university.  

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September 17, 2013 / Ashleigh

Even with an estimated over $66 Million in awarded in scholarships and grants to UNLV students in 2012-2013, many students and their families are still seeking ways to make ends meet to be able to complete their degree.
As the economy still attempts to get back on its feet, many are headed back to school on student loans, with nearly 20 million Americans attending college each year 12 million of these students, 60 percent, annually take out student loans to help cover costs such as tuition and housing. But, with between $902 billion to $1 trillion outstanding loans today, leads many to wonder if the piling debt is worth the repercussions in the long run.
Personal Banker Mario Santamaria of J.P. Morgan Chase, Chase Investments reveals that majority of the student loans they disperse are completed online, with the average amount borrowed being just under $22,000. The initial fear that students are confronted with when taking out a student loan are the amount of the payments and chipping away at debt the years following graduation, Santamaria suggests opting to pay as you go to avoid the student loan process all together.
But for some of the over 27,000 UNLV students, taking out a student loan is the only option when it comes to completing the degree they have been working towards for years. Such is the case with senior Rochelle Richardis who transferred to UNLV as a part of the Rebel Challenge Transfer Scholarship from Northern Kentucky University. Utilizing student loans was not Richardis’ first choice, but necessary to fill the outstanding balance that was left after receiving both scholarships and federal grants. UNLV Alumni, Heather Branscum also found herself in a similar situation when it came to financing her education; trying to cover the final outstanding balance after aid other options had been exhausted. Originally avoiding the opportunity in efforts to minimize debt, Branscum feels that taking out the loan was worth being able to graduate on schedule.
Both Branscum and Richardis chose loans that defer payment until 6 months after graduation. Richardis feels that this aspect to student loans could be improved, that in this job market many new graduates have yet to find a job with sufficient income to begin making those initially steep payments, but with time to spare before graduation, it isn’t an eminent worry of hers at the moment. Having just graduated spring of 2013 Branscum’s payment plan is due to kick in November 2013. Branscum is hoping to be able to maintain the payments, having yet to find a job with her bachelor’s in Business Management after relocating out of state in effort to find work, “I am just hoping to be able to keep my payments under control and under the designated 120 payments, but it all really depends on my financial situation at the time.”
Student loans are utilized by 69 percent of UNLV students. While this may not be the ideal method to pay tuition for many, students find that it is worth being able to complete their degree and begin work in their field of study.

July 7, 2013 / Ashleigh

Battle on the Home…Screen

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Video applications have taken on a life of their own in a short amount of time.  Vine, owned by Twitter, launched in January 2013 allowing it’s users to create looping videos to share with their followers.  Vine almost instantly grew a fan base in a short amount of time, followers flocked to the video application.  After only four months of it’s launch, it had already gained 13 million active users.

But as of June 2013, Vine has had a competitor step up to the plate, creating a war of the short video clip applications leaving users to pick their loyalties.

Vine vs. Instagram Video

Instagram, owned by Facebook, which had previously only allowed the sharing of photos, released its answer to Vine adding video to its application.  In doing so, the day that Instagram video launched the Vine shares on Twitter dropped 40 percent.  Those are staggering numbers, but many faithful users believe that Vine has lasting power and is rumored to making competitive upgrades in the near future.  It may to be early to tell, but let’s take a look at the differences and similarities that have the video application world up in arms.

Here are a few of the basic differences of each application.

Instagram Video:

  • Allows 15 seconds
  • Allows edits
  • Available to use filters
  • Choose cover fronts
  • Ability to delete last clip
  • Allows to share to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, Email and Foursquare

Vine:

  • Allows 6 seconds
  • Loops video
  • Embeddable
  • Allows to share to Facebook and Twitter

While each of these applications have their strengths and weaknesses, I find that the large weakness that they both share is lacking the ability to import videos.  The photo aspect of Instagram allows you to do so, leaving many surprised and disappointed that this feature is not yet made available.

But comparisons aside, the users have the opportunity to reap the benefits of the updates to come with both applications.

July 3, 2013 / Ashleigh

Perks of Avocado

Avocado

With its numerous health benefits and delicious flavor, summer is the perfect time to add a little avocado into your diet.

The avocado is commonly mistaken for a vegetable  but is in fact a fruit. In America, the number one producer of this fruit would be California, but world wide, the number one rank in production goes to Mexico.

While many watching their diet may be deterred by the calorie intake of avocados, when consumed in moderation, they can be a great asset to healthy balanced diet.  Avocados are a great source of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and B6.  It is a little know fact that they actually contain more potassium than bananas!  Avocado is also linked to maintaing other assets of healthy lifestyle. These are just a few of the nutritional perks you can expect from avocados.

So how can you enjoy the health benefits and flavor of this delicious fruit?  Preparation is the perfect place to start. Once an avocado is picked, it takes between 7 and 10 days for it to ripen. Keeping the avocado in the refrigerator will help to slow down the ripening process, while putting it in a paper bag with a ripe apple will help to speed up the ripening process.

Now what is there to cook up once the avocado is ripe?  The possibilites are endless.  Don’t know where to start?  Try looking at a few recipes to help come up with a delicious idea.

A few delicious choices include:

  • Avocado Egg Salad
  • Avocado Dressing
  • Avocado Banana Bread
  • Avocado and Tomato Salad

More recipes can be found, including the details fo the ones listed above,  and many more facts about avocados can be found on my board “Cooking with Avocados” on Pinterest.

The possibilities are truly endless with this delicious wonder fruit.

 

June 30, 2013 / Ashleigh

Hitting the Streets: Motorcycle Safety

The United States has over 55,650,943 miles of paved roads, approximately 88% of the adult population in the United States currently has a drivers license, which is an estimated 193,552,000 people 18 and older, and the annual motorcycle death reached 4,612 in 2011. The annual motorcycle death nearly doubling with 2,320 deaths in 1994.

The numbers are truly stacked against the average cyclist out on the road, which makes the practice of motorcycle safety even more prominent in our day to day lives.

  • The first step towards safety would be to become better educated through a motorcycle course.  These courses help cover safety basics, as well as more skilled courses for experienced riders.
  • Before hitting the road, it is crucial to have the proper safety attire. This includes, but is not limited to: proper foot wear, sturdy outerwear, fingered pair of gloves, and a DOT approved helmet is prominent.
  • Perform a ‘preflight inspection’ of the bike prior to hitting the pavement to ensure that everything is properly working, and avoid any mishaps during the excursion.  Be sure to check key components such as brakes, tires and lights.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.  Keep a look out for cyclists and vehicles alike while maintaining a safe distance in an effort to keep both parties safe.
  • Observe the posted signs and rules of the road.  This includes maintaining a safe speed, obeying street signs, street lights and signals, and be sure to always practice good judgement.
  • It is crucial to ride within your ability.  Know personal limits, strengths and weaknesses and judge accordingly.  Accidents are common when riders push the envelope beyond their skill level.

These few points simply scratch the service when it comes to safety on our roadways.  Vehicles and cyclists alike must work together to lower the ever growing number of fatalities on our U.S. roads.  For more information, please contact your local DMV and watch this brief video  above outlining key points in cyclist safety.

June 27, 2013 / Ashleigh

Reviving the Heart of Henderson

Eldorado

With the noticeable boom in renovation and renaissance of Freemont Street, many locals have turned their attention to Downtown Henderson’s Water Street wondering if it too can be rejuvenated.

Water Street is the heart of Henderson, filled with culture, a homey small town Main Street feel, and events for all ages and interests.  With the recent and seemingly daily transformation and revival of Freemont, many have wondered if this quaint part of Henderson can use a similar formula to generate similar results.  Yet, the major disconnect is in the audience each of these districts pertain to.

Some feel, with a fair argument, that the Water Street District has failed in trying to kick of similar renovations using a like strategy to that of Freemont.  But while many are comparing the two, it is being missed that each of these Downtown go to spots may be similar in nature; yet each caters to a drastically different audience.  While one harnesses an impressing art district, bars for all walks, and constant entertainment, even though locals don’t miss out on the fun, it is highly tourist driven.  Henderson’s heart lies in the locals.

There is a different formula for the necessary rejuvenation of the Water Street District and the locals are the key.  The streets are lined with ma and pop shops, beauty parlors and restaurants instead of themed bars and a random strip club. Locals gather at a coffee shop long after closing hours that is called simply The Coffee House, just to sit and chat with the owner and a group of friends. It’s a much different feel than what you would find in downtown Las Vegas.

The Water Street District has a different flow and feel, but this unique vibe compliments the city and should not be held in comparison to the lifestyle that surrounds Downtown Las Vegas.

The Water District is full of life and constantly hosting events year round including parades, music and car shows to name a few.  For a full list of events and to learn more, visit the Water Street District’s website.

The photos where shot with a Nikon Cool Pix L22 on Water Street in Henderson, Nevada.

June 23, 2013 / Ashleigh

Tweet All About It: Journalism and Twitter

Tweet

I can just see the look now on journalist’s faces if you told them ten years ago part of their job would include “tweeting”.  They probably would have thought you were off your rocker.  But low and behold, today there is a nest full of benefits for the journalists who have embraced the act that is “tweeting”.

Why Twitter for journalism?  There are few factors that make Twitter a handy tool in the journalists arsenal, such as ease.  Twitter is very simple to use and very user friendly. There are 140 characters to say what you need to say, which can include links and pictures.  So not only is Twitter simple, but it’s to the point.

Pairing nicely with its ease of use, Twitter is becoming the go to tool for breaking news.  Not only can journalists reach their followers quickly with breaking news, or any information, but the rate at which followers receive this news  is astounding it it’s own right.   Such as when a 5.9 earthquake rocked Richmond, Virginia and the people of New York read about it on Twitter 30 seconds before they even felt it.  This is an amazing feat for technology, as well as the ability to report at the drop of a hat.

Twitter also harnesses the power of being a social network by not only reaching out to the people, but also having them reach out in return with a response.  Twitter allows you to reach a large audience and be able to complete tasks such as surveys.  Sending a question out to followers and responses are returned directly to you.  This power can be harnessed in multiple ways on the journalism platform to appeal to your audience and still be personable.

Twitter has become a tool for journalist’s in the few ways listed, and is sure to grow and develop with the trade.  Ultimately Twitter and journalism are an ideal combination that share similar objectives: brevity, clarity and immediacy.