Posts tagged ‘California State University Long Beach’

September 4, 2012

Claiming antidepressants as a reason for wrongdoing is not a worthy plea

By Krista Brooks

Published Wednesday, June 20, 2012 – The Daily 49er

An ex-cop was charged with two counts of rape, assault and armed kidnapping, to which he blamed his medication for making him “unconscious.”

The former Westminster police detective, Anthony Nicholas Orban, claimed that his Zoloft antidepressant caused him to black out and was not aware of his actions.

Orban’s defense attorney, James Blatt, defended the seven charges further by explaining his client’s prescription change.

Orban had stopped taking the medication for a period of time, and then resumed taking it at full dose, which could have caused his zombie behavior and possibly psychotic break.

Orban’s victim reported he had threatened her with a gun to her mouth after unloading a round of his semi-automatic service pistol before her eyes.

He threatened to kill her if she had cried and to take her to the desert for more.

These are not acts of zombies.

These are acts of a drunk man.

Witnesses admitted to seeing Orban drink that night, and that he was looking to get laid.

His case has some substance to it, because the Zoloft prescription could have influenced lower inhibitions and motor skills—when mixed with large amounts of alcohol.

Most medications and prescriptions have warning labels to not mix with alcohol.

Even if the antidepressant was a factor in this man’s “black out,” the alcohol in his system is clearly the culprit.

The court denied his “Zoloft defense,” and the jury of eight women and four men found Orban guilty of multiple counts—rape, forced oral copulation, sexual penetration with a foreign object, making a criminal threat and a sentence enhancement of using a firearm in commission of a kidnapping.

Orban is a veteran of the Iraq war.

With the recent buzz of the “zombie” that attacked and ate another man’s face, this is another fail to add to the mess.

The man who was reported to be high on bath salts, contaminated LSD or other substances was an animal in his own way.

That man was tazered and shot repeatedly before being killed. Orban was distracted by a call on his cellphone when his victim ran free.

Zombies can’t work cellphones.

This man’s defense to blame an antidepressant was not extreme; commercials and advertisements warn against several severe side-effects, except becoming a zombie and raping young women.

Here are the factors that make this case, as the judge claimed, “baloney.”

A Zoloft warning label warning not to mix with alcohol, the common knowledge of becoming less thoughtful with alcohol consumption and the police background of Orban should grant him an insanity plea.

Orban will face a sanity hearing before sentencing.

Next time, think of something else wild. “Zombie” is getting old, when the apocalypse happens, you’ll know.

September 4, 2012

Should sugar be regulated by the government?

By Krista Brooks

Published Monday, May 21, 2012 – The Daily 49er

Excessive amounts of sugar can lead to several health risks including obesity, tooth decay and heart disease. Sugar can cause addiction, hormonal imbalances, headaches and increased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. These are just a few of the results of sugar intake over time.

New scientific studies show that among fatigue, pain and weakened immune systems, sugar also contributes to the way we think.

By testing two groups of rats in mazes they were trained for, one group showed a decrease in cognitive abilities over time. This group was given sugar in replace of water, and the other group excelled when given Omega-3 fatty acids.

The study conducted by University of California Los Angeles Professor Fernando Gomex-Pinilla concluded that sugar decreases our levels of intelligence as the health risks increase.

Gomez-Pinilla wrote in the Journal of Physiology, “Insulin is important in the body for controlling blood sugar, but it may play a different role in the brain, where insulin appears to disturb memory and learning.”

The highest death rates derive from chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. The major factors for these diseases are alcohol, tobacco, and junk food consumption, which all derive from sugar.

If alcohol and tobacco products are labeled with warnings and contribute to the same risks, why isn’t there a regulation on sugar? Where are all the warning labels?

The warning of addiction and obesity should be common sense. It should be implemented into our brains that sugar directly affects obesity and diabetes. Health facts and better meal suggestions should be available and more widely taught to American consumers. Sugar should not be regulated, but rather the risks and facts should be taught to individuals.

Adults and parents should be the regulators. Children should be raised with knowledge that too much of anything is detrimental, especially the intake of a substance with no nutritional value. Teachers, coaches and elders should teach and help their prosperity, not the government labels.

The US Department of Agriculture estimated that the average American consumes more than 47 pounds of cane sugar and 35 pounds or high-fructose corn syrup each year.

Sugar can become a serious addiction that can be fatal. Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum researched the type of sugar addicts. His advice to the on-the-go “sweet-tooth” is to increase the Vitamin B in their diets and turn to licorice in place of sugary desserts to avoid developing ongoing anxiety. Teitelbaum advises chronically fatigued sugar addicts to sleep more and eat whole foods to avoid depression and other psychological disorders.

The health risks of sugar and “sweet-tooth” addictions are dangerous akin to substance abuse. Just as adults still buy drinks and cigarettes with warning labels, the amount of sugar consumed by Americans won’t drastically change with skull and crossbones picture. If the government wants to help this issue, sugar health risks should be incorporated into schools and work to educate parents and children. Regulation on amounts of sugar acquired would make sugar a novelty, something withheld and out-of-reach; inadvertently creating a greater urge and craving for the substance that is making us all stupid.

May 18, 2012

The Next Step in Evolution (Origami Style)

Following the story of evolution and how humans have impacted their environment.
A student project at Cal State Long Beach, (made with paper puppets by journalism students with little to no origami skills.)

December 19, 2011

Investigation Story: JOUR 311 Project

Krista Brooks

Jour 311 / Reis

Dec. 8, 2011

Investigation Story

Krista Brooks | Daily 49er

DEC. 7, 2011- Long Beach, CA — Wednesday morning at 9:20 a.m. in the university’s Foundation building, a shrill scream was heard piercing throughout the rooms, and everyone was evacuated.

The scream was from a woman trying to save a coworker, according to Toni Beron, associate vice president of university relations. She was assisting a woman trapped in an elevator stuck between two floors.

Annette Lujan, 48, of Huntington Beach was crushed and killed on Wed., Dec. 7, 2011, by an elevator in the building where she worked. For nine years, she has been working in the Office of University Research.

The building was evacuated and closed for the day at 9:23 a.m., according to Terri Anderson, scholarship coordinator for the California Student Opportunity and Access program.

The elevator car was stuck between the second and third floors in the Foundation building. Lujan saw the elevator doors open and tried to emerge onto the third floor. When she tried to escape, the elevator dropped on her, according to Capt. Rich Brandt of the Long Beach Fire Department.

Officials are still investigating the circumstances of this accident that led to her death.

“I was about to approach the building when I heard a bunch of screaming and they had us evacuate the building,” said Shantasia McBride, a senior CSULB student.

At 9 a.m., University Police received a call reporting that an individual was stuck in an elevator. Beron said Lujan died before the police and Long Beach Fire Department arrived.

Anaheim Road was closed from the stop sign at the bottom of Hardfact Hill to the stop sign at the four-way intersection with Palos Verdes Street on lower campus. The commotion surrounded the students near the SSPA building on the opposite side facing away from the engineering department.

Four fire trucks, several police vehicles, a coroner’s van, investigators, and grievance counselors surrounded the building. It remained closed off as the firemen began to unload the pulleys and bungee cords. The Urban Search and Rescue Team used a rope and pulley system to lift the elevator, estimated to weigh about 2,000 pounds, to free the body — a process that took about an hour and 15 minutes, according to Capt. Brandt.

“We were hoping it was going to be a rescue mission but it turned out to be a recovery mission,” Brandt said.

Brandt said the tragedy is a reminder to people to never try to free themselves from a trapped elevator.

“Never try to get out of an elevator on your own because it’s a mechanical device that’s unforgiving,” he said. “What we ask people to do is remain calm and wait for help to arrive.”

The permits for the elevator are current and renewed yearly, according to Erika Monterroza, spokesperson for California Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The cause of the malfunction is still under investigation, according to Beron.

Beron said the Foundation building is approximately 15-20 years old. The building has three floors and two elevators.

Students and staff members present during the catastrophic event were brought to the University Student Union. In a closed room, these CSULB members were given therapy and support from the appointed grievance counselors. Many were affected by the incident, and the calamity of the tragedy.

“It seems like it’s a movie,” Nohemi Vargas Sophomore Communications major said. “Or something you’d only see in a horror film. It’s sad to know that so close to the holidays we lost a staff member who made a difference in student’s lives in Long Beach.”

CSULB administration knew the intensity and sentiment of the event, and notified all students, staff, and faculty via email and phone. The emergency notifications prompted students to take precaution and assured family members and students that no one else was hurt or injured in the event.

“I am very sad to inform you that this morning, due to an unfortunate incident at the Foundation Building, a member of our campus community has died,” Mary Stephens, Vice President, Administration and Finance, wrote. “At this time, we are notifying family members and a complete investigation involving University Police and the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office has been initiated,”

The university is in shock and has sent its “deepest condolences to the family,” she said.

CSULB President F. King Alexander addressed the students with his own statement.

“This is a very sad tragedy for our campus community,” Alexander said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with her family members and friends.”

When the news was infiltrated through the campus community, many students grew weary of their own safety. Students in the library began to avoid the elevators and climbed the stairs instead, according to many students in the library.

Janine Orozco, a freshman majoring in nutrition, was in the library lobby as soon as the news reached the library.

“When I got to the library this morning, everyone was taking the stairs and avoiding the elevators,” Orozco said. “It was odd, but no one questioned it.”

“I took the stairs in the library today and so did many others,” Nohemi Vargas, who was also in the library at that time said. “There was no one waiting for the elevators, but everyone crowded the stairs. They were packed and everyone was out of breath, talking about the incident.”

Among the students crowding the stairwell was Sharlene Dominguez, a sophomore business marketing major. Dominquez said she has had a horrific fear of elevators for a long time now. She will not take the elevator unless she is with a group or companion. This incident


just reiterated her phobia.

“Hearing this story made my fear of elevators stronger and now I will continue to avoid taking the elevator for a while,” Sharlene Dominguez, a sophomore business marketing major said. “It’s sad that something like that can cause a person’s death.”

“I was actually in the library elevator this morning when I found out what had happened in the Foundation building,” Ian Sneed, a senior kinesiology and communications major said. “I didn’t want to scare anyone in the elevator with me, but I was relieved when it reached my floor.”

Some students, however, did not alter their route in the library and continued to take the elevators.

“I feel back about what happened, but it’s not going to affect my usage of elevators,” Jenny Chin, a freshman nursing major said. “I used the elevator this morning to the 5th floor of the library.”

“Yeah, some people are afraid of using the elevators, but I think that using them is not that big of a deal,” agreed Melissa Chow, a freshman nutrition major. “One elevator shouldn’t affect the use of all the elevators on campus.”

The girls continued to reflect on the incident and wish the family and friend their condolences.

Funeral arrangements have not been made yet, according to the Press Telegram.


Collaboration with Daily 49er staff writers Valerie Graham, Zien Halwani and Stephanie Schoniger, Erin Spandorf, Kasia Hall, and Caitlin O’Connor.




December 9, 2011

‘Mystery Team’ comedians to offer laughs for leukemia on campus

By Krista Brooks

Published Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011 – The Daily 49er

Actors and writers from the comedy “Mystery Team” will contribute to “Comedy for the Cure,” a variety show at Cal State Long Beach, to raise benefits and awareness to find a cure for leukemia.

“Comedy for the Cure” will take place in the Beach Auditorium from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for general admission.

“This is a great way to get people involved for a good cause,” Zach McAnany, a sophomore business major, said. “Everyone can connect with comedy on some level.”

Jordan Morris and Jesse Thorn will host their comedy podcast “Jordan, Jesse Go!” on

According to the website, the show is frequently among the top comedy podcasts in the iTunes directory, and has been chosen as “Best of iTunes.”

The duo will be presenting comedians such as DC Pierson and Dominic Dirkes, two of the writers and actors in the “Mystery Team” trio.

Comedians Joe Wengert, Eliza Skinner, Daniel Eachus and Andy Kneis will also be featured.

These performers are not new to the comedy scene.

Wegnert is an academic supervisor and a regular performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) Theatre in Los Angeles. He is a former writer of the Onion News Network and he currently performs improvisational shows weekly.

Skinner also performs in the UCB Theatre in Los Angeles and New York. She is part of several comedy videos from College Humor and Funny or Die.

Eachus is the student host of “The Really Really Good Comedy Show,” held monthly in CSULB’s Golden Nugget.

Kneis, former editor of CSULB’s Union Weekly, is now a comedian at Flappers.

All tickets purchased will benefit leukemia and the Lymphoma Society. Tickets are available at the USU or at the door on the night of the event.

December 9, 2011

Student charity event showcases CSULB talent

By Krista Brooks

Published Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011 – The Daily

Inside the building, the room was decorated with garlands, Christmas lights and a large sign that read, “Tis’ the Season” in cursive writing with a gold tinsel border. The University Theatre was transformed into a holiday treat, decorated for this special event. The stage was illuminated with stars and lights to bring the focus of the decorations to the performers.

The newly-established Cal State Long Beach Event Planning class, COMM 337, held a music charity event, dubbed “Tis’ the Season for Talent,” in the University Student Union Theater on Thursday and Friday to raise money for an undergrad scholarship.

“Tis’ the Season for Talent” was created by Jonathon Evans, a COMM 337 student. The students of this class each pitched an idea, and Evans’ concert idea was chosen to execute.

Evans created the idea with Mario Max Granville in mind. Granville is a 21-year-old psychology and child development student at CSULB. He had auditioned playing piano for a performance in the Carpenter Center against several other talented musicians and performers.

Granville won the talent audition and was chosen to be given the stage out of all the other competitors. However, the plans fell through because Granville is not a music major, and therefore could not be funded by the school. Evans planned this two-night event so Granville could have the stage, and an audience that could hear Granville’s music and story.

Granville had lost his hearing when he was three-years-old, and had reconstructive surgery to salvage minor hearing when he was six. He is inspired by Beethoven, and knows many of his pieces by heart.

The concert began with Jennifer Rockett, a sophomore biology major, who sings for a church in Compton. She set off the night with a Christmas song, “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire).” Dressed in a formal black dress and heels, Rockett’s voice filled the theatre with holiday spirit and joy.

The holiday spirit continued with Kyle McElderry, a senior men’s volleyball athlete. Accompanied by Clint Keyworth, the two played guitar as McElderry sang his original song, “Place Called Home,” from his upcoming album. Their final song was an acoustic version of Kanye West’s “Heartless,” which the crowd clapped and sang along to.

Granville played next, with a grand piano center stage and lights glowing the entire stage a deep red color.

Granville played two pieces, one of Beethoven’s and one of his own. Dressed in a black suit, his stage presence and talent awed the audience.

After a 10-minute intermission, Adam Gomez, a communications major from St. Louis took the stage. He played his acoustic guitar and opened with an original song.

His voice and songs sounded soothing and alluring, much like singer Jack Johnson. He sang another original song named, “Adam’s Apple,” which was written for a former girlfriend of his, named Apple.

The concert closed with another performance by Granville. The stage was once again illuminated in red, and changed for each piece that Granville played. He ended the night with Beethoven, an original piece called “Love is Fleeting,” “Rhapsody in Blue,” and “Flight of the Bumblebee.” Granville changed the four-finger parts to two-finger parts for the last piece, a composition that very few pianists can play.

November 1, 2011

Beach News Episode 3

Videography for segment “Battle of the Beats” & Reporter for “Halloween Horror Nights”

Online Oct. 6, 2011 – Beach News

October 29, 2011

Haunted asylum brings the scares

By Krista Brooks

Published Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011 – The Daily 49er

In a low groaning voice, a mysterious creature in a robe with a candle in hand invited frightened groups through the Psychology building elevator to the asylum waiting room to anticipate the dark, narrow maze.

Cal State Long Beach’s Psychology Student Association (PSA) and International Honor Society in Psychology (Psi Chi) created a haunted asylum fundraiser in the campus Psychology building Wednesday, with $3 minimum donations going to “4 Paws for Ability,” an organization that provides service dogs for the disabled.

Psi Chi President Kaitlyn House, a senior psychology major, started CSULB’s asylum with influences from other Psi Chi organizations in different states.

“Basically, the idea of the haunted house is that it is an insane asylum,” House said. “There’s a maze with different rooms with different aspects of old-time insane asylums.”

The adventure began in a waiting room, where the brave participants signed in and sat to watch a series of documentaries on psychiatry as an industry of death.

After the educational and frightening video, the anxiety grew as guests were directed down the hall to Room 332.

Welcomed by a student dressed as a doctor, guests entered in small groups.

The maze began with patients behind bars in solitary confinement, spooking and reaching out to guests for help.

The asylum then transitioned into a shock therapy room where a doctor encouraged participants to push a button to cure the patient in the chair.

The button triggered an electric shock, and illuminated the small room as the patient squirmed and screamed in agony.

The third room was designed to be an examination room that invited guests to actually become patients, as well.

Guests transitioned to the “chain room,” in which patients were held down on tables and beds by doctors and chains.

With a stellar strobe light and severe screams, guests were convinced this was the end — until the chainsaw’s engine revved.

The masked deranged doctor chased guests out of the asylum and screams filled the halls.

“The maze was so great,” said Jessica Garcia, a theatre arts major. “But I’m glad it’s over. I get frightened very easily.”

The haunted asylum scared guests from 5 to 10 p.m

October 29, 2011

Annual student services festival offers free lunch, information

By Krista Brooks

Published Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011 – The Daily 49er

The first 200 students at the Central Quad today from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. may enjoy a free lunch at the annual Student Services Festival.

All students are welcome to attend the festival, which is put on by Cal State Long Beach’s Student Transition and Retention Services and Student Orientation and Registration.

Tables and booths for more than 30 student services, such as Disabled Student Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, and Associated Students Inc. will be available.

Everyone is encouraged to fill out a short survey about the festival, and the first 200 to complete it will be rewarded with a free lunch, including a sandwich, chips, cookies and a drink.

“The Student Services Festival is a follow-up to the SOAR orientation, which focuses on the academics,” STARS/SOAR assistant director DeAnn Martz said. “This festival is a reminder of the additional services available to students.”

Student resources and members of the department will be available to answer questions and help direct students to the help he or she needs.

“The Student Service Festival is great for students because it allows them to find out about services they may need, but didn’t know existed,” said Zach McAnany, sophomore business major.

The festival was formerly bi-annual, one in fall and spring, but was reduced due to budget cuts.

Next on the STARS/SOAR agenda is the President’s Scholars High School Visit Orientation Workshop at 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 23, as well as the CSULB Transfer Admission Workshop at 2 p.m.

For more information about the student services on campus, visit Brotman Hall, Room 337, or go online to

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