Kick off the new year with a new pet!

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The Quad Cities have had a mild winter mostly this year, no real snow falling until after Christmas. But with the fall of snow comes falling temperatures, which can put stray animals at risk. The QC is full of stray cats, and it’s a pandemic across the world. Stray dogs are less common in our area, so I’ll be focusing on cats for this article.

Most people, when they see a stray cat – especially during the winter – want to help somehow, but they aren’t sure how. Feeding them is a good start; any cat food would do, but don’t leave canned food out for an extended period of time during the winter as it will freeze. A person shouldn’t just put food out whenever, though. Wait until you see the cat hanging around your house before putting the food out. If you leave food out, you will attract other animals such as raccoons or possums.

But even better than just feeding them, you could make a home for a stray cat. I don’t mean bring them into your home, as stray cats can carry diseases or fleas. But you can build an inexpensive house for stray cats with items you can buy at a local hardware store that also sells foam insulation sheets. You can get instructions on how to build one from alleycatadvocates.org.

To build a cat home, you’ll need

  • 2 Rubbermaid storage containers (one must be small enough to fit into the other with room for the insulation, so probably an 18 gallon for the larger one)
  • straw
  • an 8 ft x 2 ft sheet of foam insulation (I used styrofoam because it was much cheaper and works about the same in my opinion. Also you can snap it instead of cutting it.)
  • a box cutter

You cut a six inch by six inch hole in the larger tub a couple inches from the ground, cut styrofoam to fit into the tub along all four walls (don’t forget to cut a whole where the door is), put the smaller tub inside (also with a matching door hole), put lots of straw in the bottom of the smaller bin, put the lid on the smaller bin, put a styrofoam lid on top of the bin, then put the larger bin’s lid on. Don’t put it somewhere dogs could get to the cat, or directly onto the cold ground. Put a couple 2x4s underneath the cat home to lift it off the ground. I have a garden table on my deck with a lower shelf, so I put mine there.

You can download better instructions from Alley Cat Advocates, as well as instructions on building even more cat homes, from AlleyCat.org.

If you’d rather not build a cat home, but still want to help animals, you can visit the Rock Island County Animal Welfare Shelter by the Airport with donations. They’re always accepting cat and dog food, kitten food, bleach for cleaning, paper towels, towels, cat litter, and leashes. To see more of their wish list, visit the QC Paws page on Facebook. QC Paws is the non-profit volunteer organization that works with the RICO Animal Shelter to help staff the shelter as well as help to get the animals adopted. You can see many of the pets available for adoption on the QC Paws page.

If you want to adopt an animal from the RICO Animal Shelter, their hours for adoption are noon until 5PM Monday through Friday and Noon until 4PM Saturday and Sunday. The RICO Animal Shelter also has a Vaccination Clinic from 1 PM to 4PM on Wednesdays.

Written by Anna Headley

Gabbing with Grunt: I want YOU to have a voice!

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When I first joined the Chieftain, a year ago this semester, I already knew exactly what I wanted to accomplish. I’ve always found pleasure in writing, and hoped I could find a way for others to express themselves through it as well. When I made the decision to start this column last semester, my plan was to reach out to as many people as I could, students particularly, and give them a platform.

There are students at BHC of almost any age from 18 and on, from almost anywhere around the globe, and our diversity at this college is impressive for its size.

Have you ever just walked up to a stranger in the hallway between classes and just talked to them?

When I worked in the ESL Department here on campus, I interviewed students about their lives, their cultures, and about how different life was here in the United States as compared to their country. Just in that first semester, I began to look around in the Hawks Nest and appreciate how BHC has really brought all of us together.

What I wanted then is the same as what I want now: to be a voice.

Throughout the next semester, my final semester at BHC, I’ll be out attempting to gather quotes and thoughts from our diverse community of students. So if you see a short, blonde girl randomly walking up and talking to people, humor me. I’m officially on a mission.

Written by Gayle Grundstrom

Where to go when it’s -10 below?

ski-snowstar-winter-sports-park-1381476616There’s no denying that winter is here in full force. There’s already been at least two days in January where the windchill was -15 or less, and the forecast doesn’t look much warmer for the rest of January. But that’s part of the fun of living in Illinois in the winter. But there’s more fun to Illinois winters than just freezing; there’s activities, too.

 

Most people have fond, cold memories of sledding as a kid. And while it’s sometimes not as fun when you’re in college, it’s still a thrill. Acting like a kid sometimes is the best stress-reliever. But as you grow older you need to find different hills than those from your childhood – unless you used to sled at Camden Park in Milan. Camden Park used to be a ski hill called Mount Camden back in the day, but then the rope-tow was removed so you could go down the hill, but walking back up was a little tougher. Camden Park has tall, steep slopes, perfect for zooming down on a toboggan and losing your toque on the way.

 

Snowstar in Andalusia also offers a great place to ski, snowboard, and go tubing. They offer lessons for first-time skiers and boarders for low rates, as well as lessons to fine tune your skills. You can find out their hours of operation and the conditions at the park at skisnowstar.com.

 

Saukie Golf Course in Rock Island is open for winter golf if you prefer a more Scottish winter past-time for only $10 a game. However, sometimes the course is closed due to weather or snow. When there’s three or more inches of snow on the ground, a person can cross-country ski at Saukie Golf Course.

 

And of course there’s the classic ice skating, whether inside or outside. The River’s Edge in Davenport has public skate a few days a week for only $5 a session. You can also rent skates for $3. Or if you’d rather be outside to do your skating, there are several ponds around here on which you can skate for free providing the ice is thick enough, including Riverside Pond in Moline, Vanderveer Park on Brady Street in Davenport, or the volleyball pit in Longview Park in Rock Island. Or for another Scottish-Canadian past-time, you can try playing hockey on the pond. While hockey became what it is today in Canada, it had its beginnings in the United Kingdom. Hockey has evolved from being “ice polo” to the international sport which has claimed the hearts of millions.

 

So this winter, between the classes and the homework and the work, take time to enjoy the weather. You don’t know when you won’t get any more.

Written by Anna Headley