The Old Local

This is the story of The Old Local.


There once was an old man who owned a neighborhood bar in the small city where he was born.  One sunny Saturday in the middle of February a newcomer walked into the establishment and inquired, “What kind of people do you have here in this town?”  The old man looked at the stranger a minute and then asked a question of his own, “What kind of people did you have where you came from?”  Right away the stranger said, “The people in my old city were awful, you couldn’t trust them, they’re just backstabbers, terrible people, and they’re a big reason why I left.”  The old bartender replied, “I’m sure you’ll find people in this town to be just like that.”


Weeks later on a windy March day in the same small city a stranger sat down at the bar and asked the old bartender, “What kind of people do you have here in this town?”  The old man looked at the stranger for a moment and then asked, “What kind of people did you have where you came from?”  Right away the stranger said, “The people in my old city were the best!  They were friendly and kind, my neighbors became like family, we shared many wonderful times and honestly leaving them is the hardest part of this whole move.  I miss them terribly.”  The old bartender replied, “I’m sure you’ll find people in this town to be just like that.”


JOIN ME!!!!!

Tomorrow I will be participating in the Polar Plunge at Upper Lake Mary in Flagstaff at noon.  I need all of you to Plunge with me.

Ive got a donor that will be writing a check on our behalf to Habitat For Humanity based on the number of people I have.

Say yes to fun and no to hunger and homelessness.





Off To College

For a long time I have been meaning to write down some advice for college students to help them prepare for success.  Well this is something that should probably be published in August but if I wait until next year it still probably won’t get done until October.  This is also the perfect opportunity for me to pay tribute to one of the most influential teachers of my entire life, Brian Collier.  They say that imitation is the best form of flattery so here is an article that Dr. Collier published last year copied and pasted.  I can see him shaking his head saying, “not bad minus 15 for it being insanely late, you’re welcome CR.”

Thank you Dr. Collier

Link to the article



Off to College – A Simple Guide to Success

(dedicated to my sibling who is headed to college this fall)


The potential of the new school year always invigorates me…


So many young people are off to college this fall and a lot of them don’t know what to expect at all. In the fall of 1991 I was just like them – I was a first generation college student who’s only real experiences with college revolved around attending college football games and watching movies where the Dean’s car inevitably ended up on top of a building. My college experiences to that point were deeply shaped by John Belushi and Rodney Dangerfield and much less impacted by any academic that I knew.


As a result, I nearly failed out of college and this wasn’t for a lack of trying. However, I didn’t know what trying in college looked like, I didn’t know what studying looked like, and I didn’t recognize that hijinks wasn’t my first job, but rather attending classes was what mattered.


I eventually figured out that if I did three things I would get good grades and I became superstitious and obsessive about these things – but doing these things led me from the brink of failing out to earning a Ph.D. and now being a faculty member at one of the nation’s great universities.


  • Go to class. It seems so simple, but going to class was a hard thing for me – especially because I was up late at night trying to be involved in the hijinks and trying to be popular, but once I started going to class my grades started improving.
  • Take notes by hand. Write down lots and lots of notes – you may never use them, but take a ton of notes and write out questions that the lecture or other material spawns. Take lots of notes. Then if you want to really get ahead, transcribe these notes into typed documents – this is a form of studying as you get to interact with the material a second time. Try and transcribe these materials within 24 hours of hearing them. (For the really industrious you might consider, if it is allowed, selling your typed note sets).
  • Get to know your Professors. Make sure you get to know them and they you (in a good way). Go to their office hours, ask questions, try to answer in class, and thank them for things that you enjoy or spark your curiosity.


Like I mentioned I was obsessive about these things and my grades went up and up. I was never the smartest person in the room, but I knew I could outwork other people and these three things became my job. I later took on a few more things and this is where my career turned from trying to finish school to really succeeding at school and that happened when I made the leap with these few things:


  • Recognize that it’s not about the grade but about the process of learning. Once you quit working for a grade, but rather work to increase your own knowledge you will truly be getting a great deal out of college and surprisingly the grades will then take care of themselves.
  • Do the reading. The books are assigned for a reason and they may not be tested, quizzed, or discussed, but being involved with thoughts that are related to the lectures or other class activities helps you to expand your mind. Your mind is looking to make connections and a lot of times those connections can be found in the reading.
  • Use your resources! A lot of the learning that can go on in college happens outside of the classroom. So join a club, set-up a group study / review group, volunteer, get to know the graduate students and by all means use the University Counseling Center, the Writing Center, and other resource centers, Hall Assistants / Directors, etc. Too often college students make the mistake that the resource centers are for those who are struggling, but if you go inside any of the resource centers on any campus in this country you’ll find that the resource center is really filled with those who are about to succeed!


Doing those things helped me to succeed and I’m certain that doing those things will help any student who is looking to change their life and their patterns. It’s not about being smart it’s about goal setting and follow through and in that process hopefully students discover themselves.


Too often I hear of students making the mistake that I almost made when I started college which was having too much fun and not getting enough work done. If I could offer one more piece of advice it would be:


  • Have fun in moderation. If school is your 45-50 hour a week job this leaves only a little time for other work, exercise, sleep, and play. You can work hard now and play a bit throughout your lifetime or you can play hard now and work a great deal throughout your lifetime – the choice is yours.


I’m truly excited to greet the next class of freshman to arrive at our university in a few weeks. I hope they’re excited too and moreover, I hope they’re making a plan to be successful, safe, and happy in their new environments!

About Dr. Collier

Rethinking Columbus Day Event Held at GVSU

columbus wanted poster

Yesterday, Grand Valley State University’s (GVSU) Native American Student Association held a “Rethinking Columbus” panel discussion. The discussion offered an alternative to the prevailing mythology of Columbus as a great hero in American history and honored the legacy of indigenous people in the Americas.

The panel began with GVSU history professor Brian Collier discussing the origins of the “Columbus Day” national holiday. Collier explained that the Colombian Order first celebrated Columbus’ encounter with the Americas on its 300th anniversary in 1792. By 1892, a movement led by Italian-Americans developed to make the day an official holiday. That effort was largely spear-headed by the Knights of Columbus and it became more successful in the early 1900s as it was able to play off of sympathies directed towards Italians because of a series of natural disasters that struck Italy during that time. Denver became the first city to host a “Columbus Day” event in 1907, followed by New York City in 1909, and becoming a national holiday shortly thereafter. The day, according to Collier, has become a celebration of colonization and the killing of more than 100 million indigenous people–a number that dwarfs the 100,000 people killed in Italy’s natural disasters during that period. As an alternative to “Columbus Day,” Collier urged the audience to honor native peoples by respecting cultural knowledge, promoting sovereignty, supporting native businesses, and teaching others about natives.

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Sleeping Lion Martial Arts Flagstaff AZ

    When I was 14 years old I was looking for a martial arts school so I started calling places here in Flagstaff.  When I called the last place place on my list the man I spoke to was so knowledgeable energetic friendly that I knew I only had one place to visit.  That man was Neil Wilson and he has been my teacher and friend for the last 17 years.  In that time he’s helped me develop as a person physically and mentally in ways that can’t easily be summed up.
    GM Wilson is an understanding patient teacher, with a very wide knowledge base.  The school is very beginner friendly, as the instructors and students are welcoming.  Class difficulty can really be tailored to the individual’s goals and fitness needs.  If you have a past history in martial arts then Sleeping Lion is also a great school to pick.  GM Wilson values practical applications and does not profess his way above all others.  This school is very respectful of the individual student and free of instructor worship and para militant practices.
    If you are interested in martial arts, self defense, or fun approaches to fitness I strongly recommend taking  class at Sleeping Lion Martial Arts.
103 E Cedar Ave, Flagstaff, AZ 86004