Former student awaits trial

Brett Starkopf

A former CLC student, who was arrested and charged with first degree murder in connection with the beating death of his then girlfriend’s mother, remains detained at the Lake County Jail as he awaits trial.

Daniel Baker, 21, was arrested April 5 and is accused of bludgeoning Marina Aksman, 50, with a baseball bat. Baker and Kristina Aksman, 20, also a former CLC student and the woman’s daughter, were found in Montana after leaving the state the previous week.   

Baker appeared in front of Judge Fred Foreman on Aug 20, wearing a red shirt, greased back hair, and a full beard. He was escorted by two sheriffs for a status hearing. Assistant States Attorney Patricia Fix said the red shirt was because he was in an altercation and he needed to be restrained.

The altercation occurred in the jail when he reportedly attacked two guards and needed to be Tasered in order to be restrained. He will face additional charges.

Baker could potentially face the death penalty. His attorneys, Mike Nerheim and Ed Genson, asked Judge Foreman for a continuance to review Baker’s medical and school records to prevent the sentence.

“We are in the process of getting his medical records and treatment history,” Nerheim told the Chicago Tribune on August 25. “Hopefully (the records) will convince them that seeking the death penalty would not be appropriate in this case.”

Genson said he will be able to prove Baker “was not legally responsible for his actions” at the time of Aksman’s killing. Baker is thought to be mentally ill.

On April 1, Baker allegedly drove his car into the Aksman’s home and beat Marina to death with a baseball bat. According to the Chicago Tribune, Marina Baker was trying to end the relationship between Baker and her daughter. Baker allegedly took $1,000 to $2,000 in cash from Marina’s purse and drove off in her 2009 Nissan Rogue. He and Kristina were caught five days later. Kristina is said not to have any involvement in her mother’s murder.

Baker is due back in court Sept 28.

Blago declares victory, Convicted of one charge

Kevin Miller
 Staff Writer

On the afternoon of Aug. 17 at the Dirksen Federal Building in downtown Chicago, former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich was convicted by federal prosecutors of one of 24 corruption charges he is faced with for lying to federal officials.

Shortly after the trial, Blagojevich proclaimed that the one charge he was convicted of was “a nebulous charge from five years ago.”

“I did not lie to the FBI.” Blagojevich said shortly after being convicted. Initial reactions were swift and protracted.

“This guy [U.S. Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald] is a master at indicting people for noncriminal activity,” said Blagojevich attorney Sam Adams Sr. “This guy is nuts.”   

The retrial is expected to cost in excess of $25 million dollars.

“With all due respect to justice and all, how much more money are we going to waste on this?” Ron, a Chicago Tribune reader, said. “The prosecution screwed up their case and they lost. Would the world be a safer place if Blago(sic) was found guilty on all counts? This is all about saving political face, and it has now become a waste of taxpayer money.”

The reaction on CLC campus was also decidedly manifest
“My initial reaction was, ‘Well, at least he didn’t completely get away with being corrupt,’” CLC professor Lynn Harper said via Facebook.

However, not all agreed with such an indictment of the former governor’s character.

“I think they should have been found not guilty on all counts. The government should be ashamed,” Chicago Tribune reader Deloris said on

Tamara, another Chicago Tribune reader, substantiates this opinion.

“Give it up, Patrick,” Tamara said. “You lost. At least one person on the jury recognized this as a witch hunt. Move on.”

The retrial, which has yet to be scheduled, would almost certainly cripple Blagojevich’s already ailing finances, which are currently in the red from the one and a half years spent on this trial.
Robert Blagojevich, Rod Blagojevich’s brother, will not be retried by prosecutors. He was charged with four of the 24 charges Rod was charged with. He was acquitted of all four counts.

Rod Blagojevich will be retried by prosecutors, though it’s unclear who will be representing him. Rod Blagojevich has hinted at a future return to politics and has not ruled out any options for additional revenue streams. By Illinois law, former governor Blagojevich is barred from participating in politics due to his impeachment in early 2009 by the Illinois General Assembly.

Illinois has a history of governors being impeached or convicted of corruption.

In 2006, former Governor George Ryan was convicted of corruption charges stemming from a trucking license scandal that reached its culmination during his governorship. During Ryan’s trial, it was revealed that trucking licenses given to unqualified recipients in return for money could be traced to several automobile fatalities across the country.

Ryan, who is currently serving time in a federal penitentiary in Indiana, is seeking clemency from President Obama due to his failing health. Ryan is 76-years-old.

Rod Blagojevich is not the only Democrat in the country is having issues with corruption. In Washington D.C., Democrats have corruption problems of their own.

New York representative Charles Rangel, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and former House Ways and Means chairman, is facing charges of corruption. Rangel is accused by a House ethics committee of receiving bribes to lower the tax rate for business partners. The House Ways and Means committee is a powerful Congressional tax writing committee. Rangel is also accused of failing to report income and certain offshore properties to the IRS, thus evading property and other taxes. Rangel was forced to step down from his chairmanship of the committee.

California representative Maxine Waters is accused of misappropriating funds. During the financial crisis of 2008, when Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was being created, Waters allegedly used her position of power to arrange a meeting between TARP officials and a minority owned bank that her husband was on the board of and had investiture in. Shortly after that meeting, Waters’ husband’s bank received a vital cash injection from TARP officials. The allegation against Waters, who was not present at the meeting, is that had she not arranged the meeting between TARP officials and the bank, that the likelihood that the bank would have received TARP funding, and to the extent that the bank received the funds, would’ve been minimal.

Neither Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson nor House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were present at the meeting..

Both Rangel and Waters are seeking reelection, and have vowed to fight the charges against them. President Obama said that Rangel should resign from Congress “with dignity.”

North’s relationship with U.S. Contingent on Aid

Kevin Miller
Staff Writer

Though a transition in the North Korean leadership seems imminent, this should not necessarily be viewed as a negative development. Current leader Kim Jong-il, who is severely ailing after a purported 2008 stroke, has rarely been seen in public since and has had his propaganda apparatus issue decrees on the imminence of a possible successor taking over, that successor being the 26-year-old son of the reclusive leader, Kim Jong-un.

The most recent evidence of Jong-un’s succession has been the much covered media harbinger: a visit by Jong-il and Jong-un to China while former American President Jimmy Carter traveled to North Korea and attempted to secure the release of an American hostage in North Korea.

The most obvious explanation that I can think of as to why the “Dear Leader” didn’t remain in North Korea, whereby he could usher in new found relations for his successor, is that by shirking Carter, successor Jong-un would have more latitude in his official foreign policy dealings with the outside world.

 The trip served a purpose of many fold, since it allowed for the North’s leadership to cultivate an understanding between them and the Chinese leadership that will serve them well, if possible reunification talks go forward for the peninsula as the incoming Jong-un sees fit. Though the “Dear Leader’s” son is young, his popularity in North and South Korea should not go unobserved. He is known for his intellect rather than his military exploits, and his proximity in age to the nascent intelligentsia in South Korea makes him a popular figure. In South Korea, the aging ruling class, who still harbor resentment toward the North over the Korean War, will still control the reins of power at the time of the North’s plenary session, which is rumored to be the official handing over of power to the younger Kim.

 However, this doesn’t mean that unification talks won’t take place while they’re still in power. It does mean it is unlikely there will be complete unification between the two countries until the South hands over the reins of power to the younger ruling class.

 The unpredictability of the North’s leadership will not be lessened by this change in leadership either. Some are certain that from Thanksgiving of 2006, when the North first detonated a nuclear device, to the present, that there has been a high stakes contest between certain elements within the North’s leadership to rule the country-- a contest which Jong-un by his elevation is assumed to have won. It also doesn’t help that this contest of wills may have also coincided with extremely provocative acts by the North such as the testing of a new longer range missile, the Taepodong-3, and the detonation of nuclear devices in underground laboratories.

It’s also worth noting that these provocative measures have ebbed and flowed according to the “Dear Leader’s” sporadic health scares. A destabilized Korean peninsula is in no one’s self-interest, and if six-way party talks are to resume, an emboldened, yet conciliatory, Jong-un may be the correct way to go.

The Koreans are currently suffering through one of the worst food shortages in their history. This should be taken as an opportunity of rapprochement with the North, and as a test of the revolutionary ideals and East Wind versus Western Bloc attitudes of the newly-installed leadership. By being gracious and forthcoming with food aid for the North, the U.S. ingratiates itself with the leadership. More importantly, the arrival of new stores of food, in time for the jubilee celebration of his ascendancy, will no doubt be a lesson to the younger Jong-un that if he hopes to do more than survive within the stringent international world order, he should take care to reciprocate quid pro quo with the U.S.

 If we take one thing away from the North Korean leadership’s recent harbinger in China, it should be that the North sees itself on par with the Chinese and hopes to project that stance throughout the world. We can facilitate that point of view only if they’re willing to compromise in the agreed nuclear framework. A policy that is heavy on carrots and light on sticks will serve us well in the opening salvos of the nascent government’s beginnings. A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.  

Questions, comments, concerns? E-mail the Chronicle at

CLC offers new Gender Roles Courses

Ashley Meyer
Staff Writer

Beginning this Fall, CLC has given students the opportunity to enroll in three new classes geared toward the new  Gender and Sexuality Studies degree. The classes include: Introduction to Gender Studies (GXS 121), Sex, Gender, and Power (GXS 229), and Special Topics in Gender and Sexuality Studies (GXS 299).

With the new Associate’s Degree available, program advisors have noticed a somewhat equal turnout between men and women in the provided classes.

Although these classes are new to the school, related classes were  previously offered by CLC, which helped administration measure the students’ interest in the new degree. Current classes such as Human Sexuality (SWK 124), Communication and Gender (CMM125), and Philosophy of Gender (PHI 129) all provided staff with an estimate of the number of students interested in the classes and degree.

Although the program might commonly be found in four-year universities, CLC is one of the first community colleges to offer a Gender and Sexuality Studies degree, which proves to be an accomplishment for the community.

“It’s a very inclusive degree because of the interdisciplinary nature of it,”said Department Chair Suzanne Pryga. “Although the new classes are taught primarily from a social science perspective, [it is still possible] to pursue a wide variety of occupational areas.”

Some professions that might result from the degree include work in sociology, criminal justice, and social work.

Contrary to what one may think, Pryga states, “These classes are not only for women, though.”
A first-year male student, LaShawn Hubbard, decided to take the class because he thought it would be interesting.

“It will be useful in interacting with both women and men—hopefully we’ll be able to better understand their traits and phobias,” Hubbard said.

Coming into the class, Hubbard had specific expectations.

“I’m hoping this class covers sex, gender, and power in an international way,” Hubbard said. “I’d like to know the world view,  what’s happening now, [and] what happened in the past,”

Although gender studies are a newly-explored educational path for some students, Pryga said it has become a popular study in today’s major universities sinceits establishment in the 1970s.

In addition to Hubbard, another ambitious first-year studen, Brandi Buie, is also interested in gender studies.
Buie’s decision to pursue a career in Gender and Sexuality Studies was a spontaneous decision. According to Buie, she “stumbled across” the new degree while flipping through the CLC class catalogue and she enrolled from there.

After thinking it through, Buie said, “I hope to pursue a career as a sex therapist or relationship counselor. This class will help me to better understand both male and female thought patterns, emotions, and behaviors, allowing me to be able to give future clients a more well-rounded understanding of what they’re going through together and individually.”

Like other students in her Introduction to Gender Studies class, Buie hopes to gather a better understanding of both men and women, as she hopes she might be able to apply the things she learns in class to everyday situations to see what really works.

With such a high turnout, it seems that the new degree has high hopes in its future. It has been one of the few degrees in the school’s history with such a high enrollment in its first year, and almost all of its corresponding classes are full.

Culinary program expands, awareness remains inert

Arely Alvarez
Staff Writer

Imagine attending a class and focusing your attention not on note taking but rather engaging in the process of food preparation. This concept is more than a wishful thought for culinary students at CLC. It is a reality.

Students enrolled in the Hospitality and Culinary Management (HCM) program, previously known as Food Service Management, enjoy a variety of certificates and degrees to choose from.

“The HCM program is always growing,” Chef Lynn Destry said.

In fact, starting Fall 2010, four new culinary courses and two new certificates were added to the program.

The new courses include Patissiere II (Pastry Art), Hospitality Supervision, Garde Manger (Cold Food Preparation), and Culinary and Hospitality Internship.

The Hospitality Manager certificate and the Baking & Pastry Assistant certificate are now available as well.

In addition, the Professional Cook certificate, Hospitality Supervisor certificate, and the Professional Chef certificate have been revised. The Hospitality and Culinary Management A.A.S degree has also been altered.

These improvements allow students to further expand their culinary skills and take full advantage of the up-to-date 9,000 square culinary laboratory located across from the University Center of Lake County in the Lake County High School Technology Campus. The culinary facility also boasts two demonstration kitchens and a state of the art instructional lab complete with induction cook tops.

“CLC’s [HCM] program is a great program to launch your culinary studies,” Destry said. 

Chef Teresa Novinska agreed with Destry, “We give you all the information needed to get you started.”

Unfortunately, lack of knowledge about this program’s existence immobilizes those who are interested in a career in culinary arts to study at CLC.

“Most people don’t know the program exists,” Destry said.

The culinary programs are isolated in the High School Technology Campus building and as a result, few know about it.

 The HCM program at CLC nurtures the curiosity and love of food that each of its students possesses, while providing budget friendly and flexible courses.

The program name and some courses have changed. However, the ideals of the program remain the same: to provide students with all the base knowledge needed in food production and food operations. After all, once a student has a solid base to build on, nothing can tear it down.

For those who feel they have an interest in culinary arts but lack funds and fear commitment to a four year institution, CLC’s Hospitality and Management Program is a fantastic option. For more information, visit

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