State budget cuts yield discussion about tuition hike

Feb 1, 2017

Northwest prepares for state cuts, taking care in crafting beneficial plans for students and staff.

Gov. Eric Greitens announced his plans for cutting $67 million in core funding to four-year schools Jan. 16.

Since then, the Northwest Leadership Team has been working on solutions and strategies to work with Northwest’s planned cut of $2.2 million. Student Senate, along with Faculty Senate and staff council, are also being included in the conversation.

Student Senate President Hannah Sears was given the opportunity by the administration to join the recent conversations about budget cuts to higher education in Missouri. Sears said she wants people to engage with her organization to get student opinion in the open.

“We crave the presence of productive and vocal students that want to engage in the discussions that most directly impact the student body,” Sears said. “We value diversity in thought and perspective, and encourage students to attend our meetings or follow our agenda through social media platforms. The primary goal we set for ourselves this year was to be transparent and accessible to every student, every day.”

Sears said the Student Senate is prepared to share students’ opinions on the budget, but wanted people to recognize the challenges that lie ahead for Northwest.

“The administration, through the implementation of the strategic plan, strives daily to keep the Bearcat experience affordable and memorable,” Sears said. “Simply put, we have some extraordinarily passionate and dedicated people vying on our behalf to keep higher education attainable for all who desire to reap its benefits. The administration is determined to exhaust every available option before financially burdening the students.”

Vice President of Finance Stacy Carrick says Northwest has seen a decrease in funding at the state level already in years past.

“What’s happened over the last 20 to 30 years is a shift in funding,” Carrick said. “A lot of states have turned to higher education, and looked at higher education and the overall state budgets as discretionary funding. They have begun to decrease funding at the state level. It has forced institutions to look at ways to increase the tuition and fees.”

Carrick said Northwest is doing the best it can in being resourceful to lessen the impact on students with an increase in tuition.

“It is a constant challenge and something we make sure we are looking at when we are minimizing increases and doing our due diligence,” Carrick said. “To expect no increase is probably not reasonable.”


Published February 1, 2017 @TheMissourian

Historical military service records uncovered by recorder

Jan 25, 2017

Two historical books concerning military records of Nodaway County citizens were found when refiling records.

The first book documents Nodaway County residents who participated in the Civil War in handwritten records such as length of service, promotions and duty while serving. The second contains records for enlisted persons in Nodaway County from 1919-1920 that include relative details about the individual documented.

Field Archivist Becky Carlson inspected the books and confirmed their historical authenticity particular to Nodaway County.

Nodaway County Recorder of Deeds Sandra Smail led in the processing and uploading of the documents to the Nodaway County website.

Smail said geneology work helps people looking for missing links in family tree research.

“Anybody who does genealogy work is always looking for missing pieces of puzzles,” Smail said. “Things like ‘What did great grandpa do?’ and ‘Did great grandpa serve in the Civil War?’ It is information that helps in that sense unique to Nodaway County.”

Smail said she wants to put together more information on her own website to help as many people as possible. In addition to the recent find, Smail has uncovered other important documents while working at the Deed Office.

“It’s a matter of knowing what we have,” Smail said. “When this office moved from the courthouse into this building, we made a very significant discovery. We had drawers of loose papers, and I picked up a book that was falling apart, bound in leather.”

This was book number one of county deeds recorded in town, written by the first Recorder of Deeds, Amos Graham. These records date all the way back to 1845.

“The paper was brittle enough to the point of flaking off,” Smail said. “We took the book apart and sprayed solution onto the paper that made it supple again. We put all the pages individually in archival sleeves so that the paper is protected.”

Smail said she wants people to contribute to the Nodaway Historical Society if they find documents with historical relevance. She plans to submit her finds there soon.

According to the Nodaway County Historical Society’s website, the organization is dedicated to the study, collection and preservation of historically-significant data and material that reflects the story of Nodaway County and its residents through the years.

The Nodaway County Recorder of Deeds houses records dating back from 1967 to the present, including marriage certificates, land plotting records, surveys and others.


Published January 25, 2017 @TheMissourian

Donations to University allow students to obtain grant money

Jan 11, 2017

Northwest’s Pay it Forward Committee offers students funds in reassurance that they will pay it forward in the future.

The program began in 2008 as an emergency fund loan with a $75 limit. It has since expanded due to additional funds coming into the account from University board members.

Executive Secretary of Student Affairs Sue Nickerson holds a place on the Pay it Forward Committee.

“The program is intended to assist students who are struggling financially while engaging them in available resources to be successful financially, socially and academically,” Nickerson said.

Removing barriers that limit the opportunity to achieve higher education, therein creating equity for all students is one of the programs goals, according to the Pay it Forward Funds online information graphic.

Senior Assistant Director of Federal and State Programs Amee Wilmes said students will not pay back the loan monetarily. Volunteer work at the committee-run Pay it Forward Food Pantry, the Talent Development Center, organization events and office events will suffice as payment instead.

“If we do approve a ‘pay it forward’ [loan] it’s a learning experience for the student,” Wilmes said. “They will visit with financial aid and go over their financial aid to see if there are things they could do to help the student there. We have also had budgeting to help the student. It really depends on the individual’s situation and what they’re asking for.”

Most of the fund will go towards those students in the low to middle income group to assist with higher education. The Pay it Forward Funds’ information page states “student success is not only focusing on academic success, but on relationships, perspectives and well-being that allows students to gain from their experience at Northwest and the program is a form of intervention that will help students succeed not only now but in the future.”

Students may apply for a variety of needs including required medication, unexpected travel expenses and any higher educational expense. Requests are evaluated on a case by case basis.

Alongside the Pay it Forward Fund, the Pay it Forward Food Pantry is another way the Pay it Forward Committee is contributing to university students’ wellbeing. The pantry recently received a $5,000 dollar secret santa donation.

Questions about donating to the fund or the pantry may email be directed to


Published January 11, 2017 @TheMissourian

The Gift of Giving: Donation drive collects items for children in need

Dec 1, 2016

Maryville’s Calvary Chapel amassed shoeboxes full of gifts for struggling children in countries around the world for Operation Christmas Child.

The collection happened during this year’s National Collection week Nov. 14-21, offering the Maryville community a chance to donate child-appropriate toys, hygiene products and school supplies, as well as a friendly note to the child.

Samaritan’s Purse sponsors Operation Christmas Child and it includes a bible in the gift recipient’s language, as well as an activity book about Jesus. According to its website, Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world.

Maryville Residents Andrea and JC Dirks oversaw Operation Christmas Child in Maryville this year. Andrea and JC have previous experience volunteering for the weeklong event and took it upon themselves to run this year’s operation after enjoying their past experiences.

“This year went smoothly,” JC Dirks said. “We implemented some new promotion ideas that turned out wonderfully, which allowed us to get Operation Christmas Child into schools and clubs.”

This year roused 730 boxes from Maryville community members.

“It is an excellent family tradition of helping others. We encourage all who are able to participate and spread the word,” said JC Dirks. “We want to thank everyone in the community who participated this year. Every box is a child, and every child is a soul reached for Jesus.”

Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war poverty, natural disasters, disease and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through his son, Jesus Christ. The organization serves the church worldwide to promote the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

An article in Nodaway News has Andrea Dirks’ take on the impact of Operation Christmas Child.

“Over 11 million boxes are sent out worldwide each year,” Andrea said. “And many are into war-torn countries where children may not know about Jesus. The gifts we donate come with the message of Jesus and his love for them and that is huge.”

Other Samaritan’s Purse projects include International Crisis Response, The Great Journey, U.S. Disaster Relief, World Medical Mission, Children’s Heart Project and Operation Heal Our Patriots.


Published December 1, 2016 @TheMissourian

Forest Village to begin allowing pets

Feb 11, 2016

Forest Village Apartment residents will expect a new kind of neighbor this fall semester as change in policy will allow for man’s best friend to move into the apartments.

Hall Director at Forest Village Apartments Billy Steinman said that after so many students requested pets, a policy change was in order.

Feb. 4, Forest Village Apartments gave the community a chance to come in for discussion over the policy’s implementation. Attendees were emailed the policy layout that explained the new housing option.

The policy plans on allowing the average household pet weighing in at less than 35 pounds and measuring up to 18 inches in length at the shoulder. The number of pets allowed to live in the apartment may not surpass their human occupants. Students must also participate in a meeting with the Assistant Director to show proof of vaccinations, renter’s insurance and signed mutual agreement from all residents.

Freshman Ashley Herndon supports the change.

“I believe that, for some, the chance of having their pet on campus with them could be really good for them,” Herndon said. “At the same time, they will be responsible for attending their classes, having a job and taking care of their pet, which might prove to be a challenge for some.”

With previous regulations only allowing animals contained in aquariums and cages, the addition of others may convince students to move on campus.

This popular policy has already seen a lot of support from Northwest students and Forest Village Apartments residents.

When a request is heard, change obtains a higher potential for action. Policy is one of many things Northwest Students have the capacity to act on. Voices are louder when speaking together. Students here have been heard.

The New Nodaway Humane Society offers dog license tags, as a Maryville City Ordinance requires all dogs over the age of six months to be licensed. Information concerning animal welfare, care and training can all be found at the shelter. Those seeking guidance in owning an animal for the first time or who need the general assistance can find it here. Microchips are also available for $20.


Published February 11, 2016 @TheMissourian


Feb 2, 2016

The ocean was always bigger than me. There were a few things in life I was scared of, but water was never one of them. I couldn’t understand why everyone told me to be careful around the dock. If I happened to slip on the soaked wooden grain, I didn’t need to worry. A wave or two would always catch me, dampening my fall and leaving me with nothing worse than a sore belly and wet hair for a while. I actually enjoyed the smell of sea salt as it evaporated off my skin throughout a day of work.

Why they gave the clumsy kid the job of hook and reel repair, I’ll never know. Everyday meant the same rusty bucket full of newly cracked reels tangled in strings of bent hooks. The dock crew I was working with told every new dockhand the same three things: “Don’t bother showing up late,” “Keep the hell out of my way,” and “You’ll get paid after your bucket’s empty.” The soggy bread and dried fish weren’t the best payment. Taking what you can get in the Cove came as natural. At least I hadn’t resorted to digging in the fish-waste piles for food like some other folks I knew.

The days were long and heat tested hidden wills only found soaked underneath brows of inpatient men. My boss was one of these men. Three hours had elapsed since the sun had passed the quarter mark in the sky. It was descending fast and I soon began to suspect my hands would never allow for the sought after sight of an empty bucket. The wrapping of bandages that covered my hands were ripping off due to hooks digging their way into the soft gauze as I reached for more reels. Acknowledging pain wasn’t an option at this point. I had to get done before dark.

Bread always felt strange in my mouth when chewing it, but it really didn’t matter tonight. I hadn’t eaten all day. I sat on the same bucket that had caused me so much trouble. The last month had passed in what I thought were days, and everyday ended with me sitting on the edge of this bucket. Changes in the moon and stars filled me in on lost time. Things always looked different if you stared at them for a while. I decided to close my eyes. The ocean mist felt nice on my face and chest.

Darkness filled my eyes when I opened them. I wasn’t breathing. The sensation of a back and forth swaying motion overcame me. Swimming was still an option but with my vision taken, I couldn’t find solid purchase and I didn’t have to strength to stay afloat for much longer. As sound returned to me, I didn’t hear anything but the crashing of waves. I wasn’t able to drown after I tried to give up. The scent of sea salt was too strong for me to pass.


Published February 2, 2016 @TheMissourian