Student challenges mental health stigma College can be tough time for those with disorders

Alexa Thornblad

photo by Hannah Panten

Studying at the coffee shop

By Hannah Panten

“I’m bipolar,” Chico State freshman Alexa Thornblad says casually, sipping her white mocha. Thornblad uses the tattooed back of her arm to wipe milk froth from her lip. Giggling, she holds up a No. 1 with her tiny index finger, then explains: “Bipolar 1 Disorder.” Tugging on her four-sizes-too-large corduroy pants, she sits in the corner of Naked Lounge — an eccentric cafe she frequents sometimes when she feels no drive to go to class.

Thornblad, an 18-year-old Los Angeles native, is majoring in sociology and liberal studies. Contrary to popular practice, she has no issue speaking up about her recently diagnosed mental disorders. Her first glimpse of depression came in 10th grade, soon after realizing she’s bisexual, but it wasn’t until last winter that she got diagnosed with Bipolar 1 and Borderline Personality Disorder. Thornblad attributes her late diagnosis to her parents not believing in mental disorders. She also believes that her parents’ lack of concern about mental health is not unusual.

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When Hate Speech Became a Movement

Image via Flickr Creative Commons
Image via Flickr Creative Commons

by Andrew Lam,   New America Media 

Just over a year ago Microsoft introduced Tay, an AI chatbot that was designed to learn from and replicate online chatter. Tay, according to Business Insider, “responds to users’ queries and emulates the casual, jokey speech patterns of a stereotypical millennial.”

But within 24 hours, Tay was gone, the casualty of an online universe of hate a bigotry that is now shaping America’s political and social landscape.

“bush did 9/11,” and “hitler would have done a better job than the monkey we have now.” That’s just a sampling of some of Tay’s choicest quips.

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Police-the-park plan is a “fork in the road” Public safety, park rangers and disposable people

photo by Karen LasloSome rangers are not interested in undergoing police training.

photo by Karen Laslo

Some rangers are not interested in undergoing police training.

by Steve Breedlove

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stomping on a human face forever” – George Orwell.

At this moment, Chico’s unelected city bureaucrats are in the process of moving Park Rangers into the Police Department, arming them and sidelining their function as naturalists and stewards of our recreational commons. Apparently, “broken windows” enforcement of minor infractions is the preferred method of addressing very real and material social problems.

In a public hearing (April 24 Parks Commission), the assistant city manager tried to deflect the dissent of citizens in attendance, advising us that the Council had not approved it. Curiously, he also argued it was imperative to set Police Academy dates this calendar year.

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Group may ask for CPD citizen oversight board David Phillips pushes for independent probe of police killing

photo by Karen LasloDave Phillips at a recent meeting of Chico City Council

photo by Karen Laslo

Dave Phillips at a recent meeting of Chico City Council

by Dave Waddell

In the wake of the killing of Desmond Phillips, community activists expressed support Monday for establishing a citizen board to review the Chico Police Department’s internal investigations.

Pastor Vince Haynie said proponents of citizen oversight are researching the practice in other cities and gathering support from various community groups.

“In light of recent events, we really need that,” Haynie said at the May 1 meeting of the Human Relations Network of Butte County.

Haynie’s reference was to the killing of Phillips, who was black, mentally ill and 25 years old. Phillips was shot 10 times by officers Alex Fliehr and Jeremy Gagnebin on March 17 in his father’s living room.

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Professor finds a home in nature Former KZFR host keeps it simple in classroom

photo by Karen LasloRandy Larson

photo by Karen Laslo

Randy Larsen

By Hannah Panten

In an “Environmental Ethics” class of 10 students who would rather be sleeping, it’s a few minutes before 8 a.m. when Randy Larsen enters, exclaiming “good morning scholars!” with a wide grin and scruffy beard.  Pulling up a chair to the family-dinner-style seating arrangement, Larsen begins class with his usual pep (and his red, ceramic coffee mug, of course).

When interrupted by a student trailing into class late, he greets the tardy student with a genuine, “thanks for coming,” then proceeds teaching.  Sporting a plain T-shirt, patched denim, and a neon-green knit hat, his appearance sums up his personality and teaching style quite well — unconventional and refreshingly simple.

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