Monthly Archives: February 2008

VCU prof to study water-pipe smoking

Brett Tignor and Matt Becker

Water-pipe or hookah smoking is increasing in popularity on many college campuses, including at VCU. That’s according to a recent study by an associate professor in VCU’s Department of Psychology and Institute for Drug and Alcohol Studies.

The study also found that smokers don’t know much about the health impact of hookah smoking.

“Well, that’s the sixty-four thousand dollar question. We don’t know the answer to that, and it’s for that reason that I just got a grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to try and understand the answer to that,” said Dr. Thomas Eissenberg.

Hookah Unit
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VA congressman a VCU alumnus

Photos by Phillip Ranallo

Slide show and story by Emily Smith


Rob Wittman has a new and very exciting job. He is the newly elected congressman for the 1st District of Virginia.

Wittman says one of his top priorities is to focus on the people be represents. He says he enjoys hearing from his constituents and working hard on the issues they say are important.

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VCU sings its way to Beijing


Phillip Ranallo

Forty VCU singers are preparing for their upcoming trip to Beijing to promote the August Olympics.

The singers are part of VCU’s Commonwealth Singers. They will join over 160 vocalists from around the world as part of a concert event series in promoting the Beijing Olympics.

Jim Ed Wills, a VCU junior and Commonwealth singer, says he’s not only excited about the trip to China, but also thrilled about the music he will be performing.

“I was listening to the CD in the car and thought it was just going to be another choral piece,” said Wills. “Then…I recognized it and was like ‘whoa’…we are in an epic movie soundtrack!”

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Movement to ban the drug salvia catches fire

By Alexander Harris and Suzanne Hoyle
Capital News Service

From Maine to Missouri to California, state legislators are pushing to outlaw or regulate salvia divinorum, an herb that has become a popular recreational drug among young people.

Until recently, it has been legal throughout the United States to possess and distribute salvia, a plant grown in Mexico and used for centuries by the Mazatec Indians. But since 2005, Missouri, Delaware, North Dakota and Illinois have banned salvia by classifying it as a Schedule I hallucinogen, putting it in the same category as heroin, LSD, marijuana and ecstasy.

In January and February, by unanimous votes, the Virginia General Assembly passed a similar law banning salvia and sent it to Gov. Tim Kaine for his signature.

“Putting it on the Schedule I will not harm anybody,” said the bill’s sponsor, John O’Bannon, a Republican delegate representing suburban Richmond. He said his legislation would strike “a reasonable balance between public safety and civil individual liberties.”

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VCU victorious in Homecoming game

Robert Broyles

VCU’s Homecoming game against Towson featured a sell-out crowd of 7,590.  Fans came out to watch the action on the court and the crowning of a new Homecoming queen and king.  This third sell-out crowd of the season at at VCU’s  Stuart C. Siegel Center has the team on pace to break VCU’s all-time season attendance records.

VCU defeated the Towson Tigers 65-42.  Freshman point guard Joey Rodriquez tied a team single-game record with seven steals as the Rams defense was able to shut down the Towson offense by limiting the Tigers to only 25 percent shooting from the floor.

Freshmen Lance Kearse and Larry Sanders along with junior Eric Maynor each had 11 points as VCU continues to battle for the top slot in the CAA standings, heading into the last half of the regular season.

The Rams will be back in action at the Stuart C. Siegel Center Wendesday night, February 13th as they play host to James Madison University at 7:00pm.

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Braves leaving town


photos by Phillip Ranallo

Emily Smith and Phillip Ranallo

After an announcement in January that the Richmond Braves will move to Gwinnett County, Georgia, many are wondering what this means for the city and for VCU.

The Diamond has been home to the Braves for 41 years, and many will be sad to see the team go.

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Animals Tracked From Birth to Deli Counter

By Alexander Harris
Capital News Service

GORDONSVILLE, Va. – Collins Huff makes the day’s final rounds surrounded by rooting Red Tamworth pigs and grazing Cotswold sheep, while more than a hundred Devon cattle settle down for the night in the rolling pastures of Gryffon’s Aerie, an independent farm specializing in raising rare breeds of livestock.

Huff, an independent farmer who started his business in 1999, has found a niche selling high-quality, grass-fed, free-range organic meats in a market dominated by multinational meat producers.

But Huff says his livelihood is threatened, not just by his competition, but by an unfunded governmental program that tags and tracks farm animals from birth to the deli counter.

“It is basically not so much a round across the bow of the natural food movement, as it is pretty much a broad side attack against the natural food movement,” Huff said.

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