From the daily archives: Tuesday, July 27, 2010

By Chris Furguson

Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman from the Discovery Network’s hit show Myth Busters are introuduced by Chris Hardwick (The Nerdst) at this years Comic Con in San Diego California.

For five cooler than normal days in San Diego, over 140,000 fans, retailers, celebrities and professionals spent time mingling and celebrating the popular arts at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International.

This year, fans lined up for hours to get glimpses of their favorite celebrities or artists.  Hall H, the convention center’s largest area, saw one line that crossed into the next block due to the popularity of some panels.  People waited hours to see glimpses of stars like Sylvester Stallone and Angelina Jolie.

The convention itself also saw trailers and announcements of upcoming projects, including “Thor,” “Captain America,” “Green Lantern,” “Green Hornet” and many others.

In recent years, Hollywood studios have used the Comic-Con to generate hype, or “buzz” for upcoming releases and eventual projects.

While the focus has been on Hollywood movies that need the buzz that Comic-Con generates, others are focused on television, video games and other forms of popular art.

Shows like CBS’s “NCIS,” a forensics crime drama with a tech-savvy feel, has a following among “geeks” who attend events like Comic-Con.  Additioanlly, the upcoming Hawaii Five-0, which stars former “geek-friendly” actors Daniel Dae-Kim (Lost) and Grace Park (Battlestar Galactica) showcased their show as well.  Established shows, like Burn Notice (which stars Comic-Con icon Bruce Campbell) and Psych also had popular panels.

One of the hardest to get into panels for the convention was for the Discovery Channel show “MythBusters.”  The room, which holds over 2500 people, was packed for hours prior to the panel and those in attendance saw previews for the NBC “Nikita” remake and Fox’s “Human Target.”

There was even an emphasis on comic-books, the genre that started the whole convention.

Stan Lee, the creator of much of the Marvel Universe, arrived at the comic-con to huge crowds to plug his latest venture, Boom! Comics while other artists and writers spent their time hawking their current projects and talking about new and upcoming ones.

Outside the convention, a display for the upcoming Green Hornet movie, including a replica of the car used in the film, took over a portion of the area while a local restaurant replicated the set of an upcoming Fox TV series “Bob’s Burgers.”  Other displays could be seen throughout the “Gaslamp” district of downtown San Diego.

One of the more interesting elements of this year’s Con was the arrival of protestors from the Westboro Baptist Church.  The church, led by extreme fundamentalist Fred Phelps, is known for protesting the funerals of soldiers and other popular events.

However, in Comic-Con tradition, the WBC was met by several attendees across the street carrying their own signs in a peaceful counter protest.  Not getting the confrontation they were expecting, the WBC eventually left the area.

One other reported incident occurred on Saturday when two friends became embroiled in an argument and one slashed at the other near the eye with a pen.  The incident was described as “highly unusual” by attendees, as incidents like these are few and far between.

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Imperial Valley College will be asking voters to extend Measure L to develop funding for a new phase of its 10 year facilities plan that includes new job training and workforce development facilities as well as continued modernization of the 50-year-old campus.
The measure, which will be on the November General Election ballot, would raise up to an additional $80 million over the life of the extended taxing authority. There would be no increase in existing property tax rates.
“We desperately need vocational, career and technical facilities, but at the same time our board felt it would be irresponsible to ask for an increase in taxes. This extension will fund much needed projects at our current tax rate to get our community back to work,” said IVC President Ed Gould.
“This extension of Measure L will allow us to expand facilities specifically for nursing and other allied health programs, solar and alternative energy technical programs, and public safety training including law enforcement,” he said.
The planned career/technical center will include labs for training the alternative energy workforce as well as classrooms and other facilities to house a law enforcement training academy.

Through leveraging bond proceeds with state matching dollars, IVC could potentially realize up to $104 million in improvements. The state already has committed a $12 million match for the career technical center, pending approval of a future state school facilities bond measure. In addition, IVC will be applying in 2011 for another $12 million match to assist in funding a new library/technology building.
Bond Funds could also be used to replace IVC’s air conditioning systems with highly efficient water-cooled HVAC chillers, finish rehabilitation of classroom buildings that started with Measure L, construct the new technology center/library building and a student union/community meeting area.
With nearly 9,000 students, IVC today is a medium-sized community college and over the next decade, IVC’s enrollment is expected to increase to 13,000 students. Many of the structures on the main campus opened in 1962 when the campus had less than 1,000 students. Many of the classrooms and facilities are nearly fifty years old and need to be replaced or modernized to improve seismic safety.
The need for a student union is a direct result of this campus growth and demand for more space for student services, such as counseling and transfer offices. IVC plans to convert the existing student union for that purpose, thereby creating the need for a new student union and community use center.
Leveraging of existing Measure L funds has already benefitted the campus. The original $58.6 million approved by voters in 2004 has been augmented by $11.5 million in state and federal funds.
While Measure L money was used to construct a new science building as well as fund classroom modernization, IVC received an additional $8.8 million from the state to assist in this effort.
“We have been able to stretch the impact of Measure L because of this state support and we intend to do the same with any future bond levies,” Gould said.
The remainder of the current bond proceeds will be used to modernize four classroom complexes on the campus, including the old science labs and classrooms that were vacated with the completion of the new science building.

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