Vaping is a dangerous habit that we need to take immediate steps to stop

Humanity must have a death wish.

As a species we choose to ingest substances which have been scientifically proven to have harmful effects on our bodies.

Over the years, we have experimented with LSD, cocaine, heroin, tobacco, and now, vaping.

For those who don’t know the mechanics of this new age vice, a nicotine- or THC-laced (THC is the chemical which causes the high produced by smoking marijuana) liquid is vaporized by an e-cigarette, and then inhaled into the lungs where it apparently has been doing significant amounts of damage.

Just last week, the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, in its weekly update on vaping, attributed 39 deaths in 24 states and the District of Columbia to e-cigarette use. Further, it said that 2,051 cases of vaping associated lung injuries had been reported from 49 states (Alaska is the lone exception), the District of Columbia and one US territory.

According to the CDC, the symptoms of lung injury are cough, shortness of breath or chest pain, nausea or vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, chills or weight loss. It can develop over the course of several weeks or in just a few days.

That weekly update from the CDC also contained this little nugget of information, the samples of fluid collected from patients suffering lung injuries who vaped contained vitamin e-acetate which, when consumed orally, or applied to the skin, does no harm. However, research suggests that vitamin e-acetate can interfere with the normal function of one’s lungs.

This research and these numbers have been in the news for the last several months but, for whatever reason, we continue to use these products.

The sales of e-cigarette devices have gone from 2.2 million in 2016 to 16.2 million in 2017 and the industry leader Juul forecasts its revenue for this year to be $3.4 billion.

It is estimated that the US market for e-cigarettes will reach $16.5 billion by 2024.

Apparently, as a species, our craving for the high brought on by consuming the THC in e-cigarettes overwhelms the common sense which is telling us that sucking this stuff into our lungs is damaging them.

Given the sub-glacial speed with which our government moves, there is no real hope of legislation to curb the sale of e-cigarettes. Besides, any such attempts would likely be met with a hail of lawsuits launched by the tobacco industry which owns most of the companies producing vaping paraphernalia.

It would seem that the bottom line is that we must be left to our own resources to combat this latest assault on our common sense.

Yes, the choice to ingest any harmful substance is just that, a personal choice. But what rightminded person would willingly make that choice?

It is the equivalent of walking blindfolded across the Indy 500 race track on Memorial Day. You might survive, but chances aren’t good.

So, let’s not take that walk across the race track. Let’s let common sense dictate our choices for a change and not find ourselves in a hospital faced with the prospect, as one vape using patient did, of a double lung transplant.

If we’re going to suck something into our lungs, let it just be air.

This is the last issue of The Settler which it has been my honor to edit. I have been extremely lucky to have had the assistance of a talented staff of writers, photographers and advisors.

Thank you.

–Jim

Wrong Grant reported by The Settler

By Jim Hayes

A reporting error in last week’s edition of The Settler indicated that Volunteer State Community College had received a $1 million Tennessee GIVE grant from Tennessee Governor Bill Lee for a job training program.

In fact, the school received a GIVE grant for a program aimed at “growing the skilled technology workforce” in Middle Tennessee, according to the grant documentation.

GO TECH, as the program is called, will rely on a partnership of educational and workforce entities to allow “interested teachers to build tech skills” while providing students various ways to gain technical skills before entering the workforce according to the documentation.

The grant proposal was created in response to statistics which show that Nashville is rapidly emerging as a technology hub. According to RentCafe, the city’s tech job base has grown by 22.7% over the last three years. In addition to Vol State, other partners in the program are: Workforce Essentials, Gallatin Economic Development Agency, Nashville Chamber of Commerce, Williamson, Inc., Nashville State Community College, Robertson County Schools, Sumner County Schools, Wilson County Schools, Asurion, Brookdale, Center for Medical Interoperability, Dollar General, Golden Spiral, Guarino Advisors, HCA, HPA/Cognizant, Kraft CPAs, Metro Nashville IT&S, Nissan North America, Red Hat, Stratasan, Surgurai, Veristor and 3-D Technology Group.

The Settler regrets this error.

The day is about sacrifice not service

By Jim Hayes

With the publication date of this edition of “The Settler” being Nov. 11, or Veterans Day, it goes without saying that nearly every veteran will likely hear the platitude, “thank you for your service,” or some variation of it over the course of the next few days.

Although I am not certain, I believe this expression originated as a sort of national mea culpa for greeting our servicemen returning from Viet Nam in 1969 by cursing and spitting on them.

Thus, it has become fashionable to utter the phrase upon determining that someone in a conversation has served in the armed forces.

That being said, it is time to examine exactly what that service entails.

Service is an 18-year-old Marine spending his first Thanksgiving and Christmas away from his family at boot camp, learning to be a Marine.

Service is that same Marine spending the next Christmas and Thanksgiving standing guard duty over an armory in Okinawa, Japan.

It is a sailor battling to secure an aircraft while his ship is being battered by wind, wave and rain in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Or maybe it is the soldier hunkered down for two days in a field in Korea while he and his platoon are battered by a typhoon, leaving them to eat out of tin cans until the weather blows over and they can return to their base.

Air and coast guardsmen face similar hardships in the name of service every day of their military careers and here in the states, we rarely give it a thought.

Yes, military service is a choice, but it also is a calling.

Science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein summarized military service perfectly in his book, “Starship Troopers,” when he wrote, “The noblest fate that a man can endure is to place his own mortal body between his loved home and the war’s desolation.”

It is not only war that is desolate.

The Quonset huts shared by a company of Marines in the middle of the Philippine jungles are miles from anything resembling civilization.

Our servicemen currently deployed in the Middle East are in a land with morals, ethics and religious beliefs that are foreign to most of us.

They deal with those differences every day and face consequences should they happen to commit a faux pas.

Even those lucky enough to have assignments stateside are committed to services with which most of us are unfamiliar.

Guard posts are still manned regardless of the hour of the day or even if the day is a holiday.

Planes, trucks and tanks need to be serviced; ships need to be kept on course through weather that doesn’t take a break for the calendar.

Having said all that, “The Settler” wishes to extend a heart-felt thank you to every member of the Volunteer State Community College community who has ever laced up a combat boot, stepped aboard a ship, or flown or maintained an aircraft as a member of the military forces of the United States.

“The Settler” does know what service is and that, in the case of military personnel, service is usually a synonym for sacrifice.

So, thank you not only for your service, but also for your sacrifices.

Spring registration opens today for soph, tomorrow for freshmen

Registration for the Spring 2019 semester at Volunteer State Community College opened for sophomores and veterans (regardless of their academic year) this morning.

Freshman registration will open tomorrow morning.

“Its an opportunity for current Vol State students to get the classes they need before registration opens to the general public,” said Tim Amyx, the college’s Registrar and Director of Admissions.

Registration for new Vol State students will begin Monday, Nov. 18.

The spring semester will begin Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020.

According to Amyx, certain classes are hard to get. “Our anatomy and physiology classes always fill up first,” he said. “That’s because those classes are required by our nursing department.”

Amyx said that, because of the limited number of seats available, all of the Vol State science classes tend to fill up fast. Because they are required for virtually every degree or transfer program the college offers, English composition classes also tend to be in short supply said Amyx.

“Returning students should see their advisors to help them select classes before enrolling,” he said.

Students registering for the the Spring semester must select the My VolState link from the college’s home page.

The next step is to select the Pride Online Tab, click the “Add or Drop Classes” link and then select the term for which to be registered.

A screen containing the various Vol State campus sites will then be displayed. Students should select only the campuses which they wish to attend before clicking on the Save and Continue button.

Students then will be presented with a screen displaying the course plan they worked out with their advisor (however, they may have to load courses from your plan to the courses list).

Clicking the “Generate Schedules” button will create a series of schedules from which the student can select.

The selected schedule will be sent to the shopping cart by clicking the corresponding button. To finalize the registration process, click the “Registration” button and the schedule will appear on the Current Schedule page.

Returning to the “Pride Online” tab and selecting the “Concise Student Schedule” link will make the schedule available for printing or viewing.

Once registration is complete, clicking the “Account Summary” link will take the student to a page containing a bill and statement of fees.

The bill and fees can be paid online by Visa, Visa Check Card or MasterCard.

Once the transactions have been completed, the student needs to logout of the My VolState and then the Student Logout screens to complete their session.

When college is about learning, not money

To life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness which Thomas Jefferson asserted are the unalienable rights of every man we would like to humbly add education.

Educators have been revered since the time of Plato, Socrates, and Jesus and those who impart their knowledge and wisdom to others are certainly following one of mankind’s noblest callings.

And while the idea of gathering teachers in one place where they can interact with their students is undoubtedly a good one, that idea begins to falter once the students stop being viewed as students and begin to be viewed instead as income streams for what has become the big business of education.

We have mentioned in this space before, the unregulated money grab that is the educational publishing industry, but the visit to the Volunteer State Community College campus by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) opened our eyes to another such scam which will be perpetrated on future generations of Vol State students.

Apparently, SACS has declared that student retention is an issue (yes, if the students leave school, the school no longer receives grant, loan or personal monies for tuition, books and fees) and thus has decreed that schools will take actions to encourage students to stay enrolled.

Vol State will be implementing two courses which all incoming students will be required to take (oh and by the way, pay for too).

Designated FYEX-1030 and FYEX-1030, the courses will, according to Vol State’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP),” provide students with the tools they need to be successful in the classroom and beyond.”

This is the sheerest form of gobbledy-gook.

At what point did it become the college’s responsibility to teach rudimentary skills such as note taking, studying, and even the three Rs (reading, writing and arithmetic) to incoming students.?

In fact, it is the responsibility of high schools (or even earlier) to prepare students for higher education.

And while encouraging students to want to go to college is certainly within the purview of community and regular colleges (remember that crop of money to be harvested from each pupil?) the fact is that not everyone is cut out to attend college.

Yes, the world needs doctors and lawyers, but it also needs plumbers, electricians and construction workers (and in greater numbers than it does the doctors and lawyers) too.

It was suggested earlier that education should be made one of those unalienable rights which Jefferson wrote about, but that education does not always have to end in a Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctorate degree.

Earning knowledge to live one’s life does not always have to consist of writing research papers and cramming all night for tests.

The knowledge which will enable one to make a respectful living can also be acquired by serving an apprenticeship or in the armed forces.

By definition, most of the students at an institute of higher learning are adults, ergo, they should be treated as such.

Students who are motivated enough to enroll and attend, certainly should know how to take notes, read and even maintain a check-book.

Yes, many of the students arriving on the Vol State campus lack those skills, but when did it become the college’s responsibility to instill them.

That is the job of Tennessee’s high (and even middle) schools.

Students should not graduate from high school until they are capable of reading critically, writing an appropriate analysis of written material and performing rudimentary mathematical calculations.

These are the baseline skills needed for the successful attendance at an institute of higher learning.

Accepting students without these skills is nothing short of theft and a waste of those students’ time.

Forcing them to attend FYEX-1030 and FYEX-1040 is just adding insult to injury by sucking more money from the unsuspecting marks.

Instead of conning these unprepared students out of their money, Vol State should be honest with them, tell them they aren’t prepared for college and that they should come back once they have acquired the appropriate skills to succeed in the college environment.