Masquerade Ball

The Future Teachers’ Association will be holding a Masquerade Ball on October 7th, 2017 at 6:30pm-10:00pm in Eagle Hall. Tickets will be $15 per person/$25 per couple, and all are welcome. Formal dress attire is encouraged. There will be a silent auction featuring items such as jewelry from Micah’s, Racquet and Jog merchandise, and local gym memberships.

In addition, there will be a buffet of light refreshments, including a dessert bar. Come dance and get a photo from the photo booth for a selfie! It is the perfect place to take a date or meet new people. This is a major fundraising event for the Future Teachers Association; they have had various fundraisers throughout the year to raise money for a teacher’s conference taking place in Boston, Massachusetts on February 2018. The funds raised will go to registration and travel expenses.

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A silent protest with a loud message

Dallas Cowboys team and owner lock arms in moment of silent protest on Monday September 25. Photo from ESPN.

In 2016, Colin Kaepernick drew nationwide attention for not standing during the national anthem before games. His silent protest was against the oppression of people of color in light of events of police brutality. This form of protest has gained more attention since Sunday, when more players were shown with arms linked, kneeling on the field, sparking a debate over what the players are protesting and whether they should be able to protest at all.

On Monday September 25, the Dallas Cowboys team and its owner, Jerry Jones, linked arms and knelt on the field before the national anthem was played amidst jeers from the crowded arena. Jason Garret, Dallas Cowboys head coach, said in an interview with NFL Total Access they chose that moment to demonstrate for a reason.

“The biggest thing for us was to show support and to demonstrate, but do it in a way that didn’t involve the American flag and the national anthem, and everybody was behind that,” said Garret.

“The reason that I’m particularly proud of this team and the coaches that coached them, is because we all agreed that our players wanted to make a statement about unity and we wanted to make a statement about equality,” said Jerry Jones.

Jones is not the only owner to kneel with his team. Arthur Blank of the Atlanta Falcons and Dan Snyder of the Washington Redskins also kneeled with their teams. Donald Trump has spoken out against the NFL, urging for a rule that forces the players to stand for the anthem and sees kneeling as a sign of disrespect on the United States rather than a silent protest for social equality. He shared his opinion through a series of tweets.

Many Americans agreed with his statements. Taya Kyle, widow of ‘American Sniper’, Chris Kyle, shared her thoughts about the issue in a letter to the NFL on Facebook. In the letter, she claims the NFL’s job was to “bring people together and heal the world” and feels that their recent protests go against that.

“You are asking us to abandon what we loved about togetherness and make choices of division,” Kyle said.

Not all Americans feel the same way as President Trump and Taya Kyle.

Olivia Okoye, freshman, also supports the players kneeling. “It’s their right to kneel. If they feel that they should do it, it’s their right.”

“I think they are standing as a team no matter what race they are because it affects all races. There are all races in the NFL,” said Arlena Lightsey, freshman.

Zane Watson, freshman, was on the fence about the issue.

“It’s their right as human beings to represent their opinions, but those opinions can reflect badly on the organization,” he said.

Fans rally behind popular DJ

Popular radio DJ Mimi Campbell was dismissed from her position with Townsquare Media almost three weeks ago.  Following a post by a disgruntled fan in the Facebook group Texarkana Cheers and Jeers, Campbell’s fans and friends rallied to show her support.

Campbell had worked as a radio DJ for nearly 17 years when she was told that the station was going in a different direction.  Listeners could hear Mimi on Power 95.9 in the mornings and Magic 93.3 in the afternoons. “I guess those corporate folks just didn’t know how much of a chameleon I can be. I can go with the flow; just tell me what needs to be done,” Campbell said in a Facebook post regarding her dismissal.

When a disgruntled fan heard the news, she took to Facebook to air her frustrations on Texarkana Cheers and Jeers.  Neither the disgruntled fan, nor Campbell, expected such an overwhelming response.  The post generated over 300 likes, 23 shares, and more than 90 comments.  Fans posted moving messages, such as; #teammimi, #bringmimiback, and “I WANT MY MIMI AND MORNING SHOW BACK.”  The general consensus of the commenters was that, without Mimi, the listeners were changing the channel.

Attempts have been made to contact the management at Townsquare Media Corporate Office in Shreveport.  No one was available for comment at this time.

Posted in A&M

Animal rescue saves lives

There is more to animal rescue than puppy breath, furry faces, and unconditional love.

Animal neglect and abuse are responsible for a large number of rescue animals. According to Whitney Harrison Stokes, Director of Ark-la-tex Animal Rescue, they get two or more calls a week regarding animal abuse or neglect. Recently, the rescue responded to several dogs abandoned in Nashville, Arkansas. In two separate yards, a total of nine dogs were left on chains to starve.

“There is a lot more going on in our rescue than just giving dogs second chances,” Stokes said.

Ark-la-tex Animal Rescue currently has 37 dogs in foster care. Stokes fosters six of them herself. With only 20 volunteer fosters, each volunteer has an average of two foster dogs each. The rescue is always looking for volunteers to foster.

“Would it be a big deal to allow a dog to come stay with you instead of sitting terrified in a shelter, or starving on the streets, or neglected at the hands of some idiot,” Stokes pleaded.

As badly as fosters are needed, each volunteer has to be carefully vetted. This strict rule was invoked following a horrendous tragedy where more than a dozen animals lost their lives at the hands of a once trusted volunteer and her boyfriend.

Since June of 2016, unbeknownst to Stokes, an established volunteer, Whitney Smither, had been pulling countless animals from the animal shelter in Fort Worth, Texas. Smither and her boyfriend, Brian Moore, had pulled close to 130 animals.

“I can’t tell you how many animals she actually had in her possession,” Stokes said. “I keep hearing that she was pulling dogs from shelters all the way up in Arkansas.”

In November of 2016, after receiving a call from a concerned neighbor, Stokes learned that Smither had skipped town, leaving countless animals to fend for themselves. When Stokes arrived at the deserted home, she was met with more than just abandoned animals. There were more than a dozen dead animals, skeletons, and tufts of fur scattered around the property. The bones told a story of cruelty and abuse.

“If I had any inkling of an idea that she was doing this, I would have shut her down real fast,” Stokes said. “This kills me, it’s devastating, sad, makes me mad, there’s just not the right words out there.”

Smither has not been located to answer for her crimes. The boyfriend, Brian Moore, was charged with eight counts of cruelty to animals and is scheduled for court on March 14, 2018. He could face a fine or up to 10 years in prison for each misdemeanor charge.

Following this tragedy, the surviving animals from the property required veterinary care. In fact, every animal brought in to rescue usually requires some form of medical attention. The rescue spends an average of $500-$700 per month on vet care.

“We spend right at $250 just getting a dog their shots, a fecal exam, heartworm test, and their spay or neuter,” Stokes explained.

With the average adoption fee being $150 per animal, the vet expenses are rarely fully covered. Expenses must be covered in other ways; such as fundraisers and adoption events.

“Adoption events are fairly successful, but we really don’t want to do on site adoptions,” said Stokes. “We prefer to do the home check and interviews before anybody takes the dog home.”

Running an animal rescue is a lot of work and it comes with more than its fair share of heartbreak. However, Stokes believes it is worth it.

“My favorite part is getting updates on dogs that have been adopted,” Stokes said. “Some of them have the most amazing lives compared to where they came from. It takes my breath away.”

Posted in A&M

Speak up or stay quiet?

Women are supposed to be quiet. Women are supposed to be polite. Women are supposed to be delicate creatures to be seen and not heard. These are just a few of the misconceptions people have about women that can be very damaging to women and society. Growing up, I was taught the importance of being a lady, but did not realize what that could convey to others. While my mother always told me to speak my mind, I realized at a young age that the girls that spoke their minds were viewed negatively. Teachers and students thought they were being bossy or rude when they were behaving like the boys.

Many women struggle with assertion because it is a quality that is more acceptable in men. If a woman is outspoken or bold in her approach to a situation or person, she is at risk of being viewed as less of a lady. This is a problem when they are put in situations where it is very important that they assert their opinions and feelings, such as the workplace.

On July 26, Utah nurse, Alex Wubbels, was arrested when she refused to let police take blood from an unconscious patient. Her arrest sparked outrage because she was following the correct legal protocol for her job and was put in handcuffs. However, how would this situation have been different if she had not spoken up? If this was the case, Wubbels could have lost her job for going against policy.

Because more women are choosing to be in careers that are traditionally male dominated, there is an increased need for assertiveness to ensure that these women are taken seriously in their profession. One step is for women to speak up. They should feel more comfortable making requests and asking questions. While some may feel uncomfortable asking their boss about a promotion, this can open a conversation that can lead to career advancement. It is also important to assume responsibility for emotions. Using “I” statements shows that they are not blaming anyone else for how they feel. The next step is to be ready for the consequences of assertion.

Women are showing their assertion through feminism and following celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence and Lady Gaga, who have spoken their minds on controversial subjects. This country is more welcoming to this behavior than others. Gauri Lankesh, an Indian journalist, was sentenced to prison for a story about a local leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party last year. On the evening of September 5, she was found dead on her porch from gun shots. Although it is unknown the reason for her murder, she was known to be outspoken.

While there are still grave consequences for assertion, it is still an important skill for women to work on. It can help women move forward in both their professional and personal lives. It truly is a skill to communicate thoughts, ideas, and opinions without being disrespectful. The absence of this skill can keep women from advancing further in their lives, which counteracts with what many women are working very hard toward.

Stressed

Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. Basically, we have all been under stress at one point or another. Do you know what happens to your body when it is stressed? “Stress tends to be a physical response, so when stressed, the body thinks it’s under attack and switches to fight or flight mode. In doing so, it releases a complex group of chemicals and hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine to prepare the body for action.”[1] Stress causes physical actions with “blood being diverted to muscles, and pausing unnecessary bodily function such as digestion.”¹ Essentially, stress messes with your tummy which explains why some people get so stressed they can’t eat, they overeat, or overall feel sick to their stomach.

However, not all stress is bad, occasionally when you are faced with a situation where you need to fight or run stress comes in handy as it decreases blood in the brain to put it into your muscles. This allows one to think quickly without over thinking and if one needs to run that is a split-second decision. By chance, if, one needs to fight that is also a split-second decision.  Stress in these situations is how we survive. Stress also allows us to meet deadlines and teaches us to perform under pressure. Stress in itself is a motivator in these cases.

What happens “when our body goes into stress in inappropriate situations?”¹ With blood flow going away from the brain at this point it leads to being unable to think straight. Which, as some of you know it only causes ones stress to become worse. By staying in a state of stress for extended periods of times it ends up being bad for our health by increasing blood pressure and sugar levels. By staying constantly stressed it can lead to depression, anxiety, sleep problems, getting sick easily, skin conditions, weight problems, and even problems with memory.

Some signs and symptoms of stress overload can cause many wide-ranging symptoms like; being more pessimistic than usual, moodiness, irritability, feeling overwhelmed, loneliness. Some physical symptoms are headaches, getting sick frequently, aches-and-pains, nausea, and upset stomach. Stress can even cause one’s behavior to change, where you are unable to relax, nervous habits like biting your nails and pacing become worse. You smoke and or drink more than normal. You end up eating too much or not enough and the same goes for one’s sleep. You either sleep too much or not enough.

Okay, so you are stressed. Now what can you do to relieve some stress? You can become more active. By being active, it helps drop one’s stress level.  Talk it out, don’t be afraid to talk to someone. By communicating with another person, it releases a hormone that relieves stress.  Engage your senses, listen to music, watch TV, take up a hobby like painting, anything that keeps the senses busy is a fast way to reduce one’s stress. Try getting a better night’s sleep because that can do wonders to one’s stress. But ultimately know your body and know how it works. Try to become aware of when it is stressed and then learn how to relax. You know your body better than anyone else, so it’s up to you to take care of it and learn how you handle stress.

[1] What is Stress? (2017, January 04). Retrieved September 06, 2017, from

What is Stress?

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Trees Need Baths Too

Richardson Rutter-Reese

Local crepe myrtles have been home to a nasty infestation that has only been spreading. The pests are known as Crepe Myrtle Bark Scale. These pests invade the tree, and suck out tree sap. After the pests eat, mold grows on their secretions. This mold creates a layer over the tree, which slows the process of photosynthesis. Given enough time untreated, the tree will die.

On February 19, the city of Texarkana decided enough was enough. With the help of students at A&M – Texarkana and a few residents, the city tackled its infestation problem downtown. On a breezy Friday morning students showed up ready to clean their city. After a little instruction by a wildlife representative, students got to cleaning. All it took was warm water, some dawn dish soap, and willing volunteers. Over the course of two hours, trees were giving a bath, and got cleansed of their scales and mold.

Although downtown Texarkana trees were washed, the problem is not over. The Crepe Myrtle Bark Scale is an invasive species, and since it was first spotted in Dallas in 2004, it has spread over Texas, and to other states in Louisiana, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The most active time for the species is in the summer time, so it is important to inspect any Crepe Myrtles before the have an opportunity to hatch and reproduce. It is recommended to give Crepe Myrtles at least one cleaning a year. This will not only keep local trees infestation free, but slow the spread of the infestation to other areas.

Organizations represented are, Phi Lambda Chi Fraternity, Omega Delta Chi Sorority, and the Student Government Association.

trees need baths too

Left to right is Erin Beach, Ruth Kliewer, Bryan Huynh, Michael Canales, Alex Claiborne, Kacie Gray, Emily Rios-Rojas, Elizabeth Vargas, Braxton Wood, Aaron Harp, Austin Greig, and Heath Coston.

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Unsung

Leira Moore

Have you ever noticed how clean the rooms look as you enter them for class or how pristine the bathrooms and halls are? If you have then thank a custodian, because they pick up after you when you accidentally leave trash or paper lying around. When I first came here to study I was actually rather surprised at how friendly the custodian staff is. It’s not just one particular person but the whole group are great people, and I guess you have to be when you find empty cups laying everywhere, including bathrooms.

Major props to the cafeteria staff as well. They make your food! They put in the hard work to feed an army of students and staff everyday! Some workers are up here really early and others really late. They take the time to prepare for an event that the school is hosting, all while the food is delicious. So remember to thank the staff for cooking you a meal so you weren’t left hungry.

Other very important people include ground workers, security, book store, library, and advising staff, and tutors, for they give students everything they need to make their time at the campus easier and more successful. They take their time to help you with your needs and often enough if they can’t help you they give you other ways or options to help yourself. They are knowledgable in what they do and one cannot forget to thank them either.

Ultimately I just wanted to bring light to all the people who come together to make an experience here pleasant and rewarding. I wanted to remind people to be thankful and polite to everyone no matter who they are. So, as the semester comes to a close I would like to wish the students good luck on finals while wishing everyone to have fun and a safe summer break.

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TAMUT Hosts Casino Night in Eagle Hall

Andy Verke Jr.

On Sunday, April 24th Eagle Hall, on the campus of Texas A&M University-Texarkana, turned into “little Las Vegas”. The room was full of blackjack tables, roulette, a craps table, and a bunch of eager students/faculty earning chips to put towards a raffle drawing.

Each person was given a cup full of colored chips and could earn black chips while playing different games. For every five regular chips, a person was given one raffle ticket. For every black chip, a person was given four raffle tickets. The casino opened up at 6p.m. and students/faculty could play until 8:30p.m. before they had to put their raffle tickets in which ever gifts they were trying to win. Some of the prizes that were available included: 20 oz. Yeti Bottle, 30 oz. Yeti Bottle, $50 gift card to Bass Pro Shops, and a $50 gift card to Texas Roadhouse.

Just as in Las Vegas, not everyone came out with a prize but everyone had a great time. There were small competitions for “table pride” between each table on which table could win the most prizes. Although there was no announced winner, every dealer at every table was proud that at least one person from their table took home a prize.

TAMUT Baseball Program Continues to Make History

Andy Verke Jr.

The Texas A&M University-Texarkana baseball team is in its inaugural season and have already set the bar high for years to come. In its first year they have gained national recognition from social media with Kenneth Fudge’s walk off grand slam epic bat flip and against Georgia Gwinnett for having fireworks going off in the middle of game two. In addition to the fame from social media, on March 15, 2016, The 2016 NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll was released and the TAMUT Eagles Baseball team receiving four votes in the top 25. Now that may not sound like a big deal but for a first year program it shows what they have accomplished.

To put the cherry on top of the season, the TAMUT Baseball Team qualified for the A.I.I. (Association of Independent Institutions) Conference tournament as the #3 seed. Their first game will be on Saturday, May 7th at noon as they take on Edward Waters College (the #6 seed) out of Jacksonville, Florida.

All conference tournament games will be streamed on Grizzly Digital Network. Prices for streaming are $7.95 for a single game or $29.95 for the all tournament pass which includes every game.

There are eight teams in the double elimination tournament and the first, second, and third place teams will receive automatic qualifying bids to the NAIA Baseball Regional Tournament.

Congratulations to the TAMUT Baseball program and continue to make history.