TAMUT Shows Greek Pride

Leslie Arietta

It was a long week full of activities from trivia to bubble soccer. Texas A&M University-Texarkana had another successful Greek Week filled with fun and a little bit of competition. The activities went from Monday, April 4th to Saturday, April 9th. The participants of this years Greek Week consisted of Phi Lambda Chi fraternity and two Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority and Omega Delta Chi sorority.

Greek week began with Family Feud on Monday night. This game of family feud was very competitive. Alpha Sigma Alpha was in the lead with majority of the answers, but unfortunately for those that know how Family Feud works, it is easy to steal points just with one answer. Phi Lambda Chi got together and strategically stole the points away for the night with the win in Family Feud.

Tuesday was filled with fun community service events. Each Greek organizations collected as many cans as possible that were donated, but the challenge was to create a miniature golf course with the cans they collected. Time was crunching down and everyone was getting creative. The results of the miniature golf courses were; 1st place Phi Lambda Chi, 2nd place Alpha Sigma Alpha, and 3rd place Omega Delta Chi. The easy part was making the golf course, but the challenging part was getting through the golf course the results ended in Phi Lambda Chi 1st place, Omega Delta Chi 2nd place, and Alpha Sigma Alpha 3rd place. Putting aside all the competition at the end of the day the organizations came together and built picnic tables for the university.

Water Wednesday came around and the games were on. Water Wednesday consisted of water balloon dodgeball and slip n slide kickball. Unfortunately canoe racing got cancelled due to the windy weather, but the water activities still continued. Water balloon dodgeball was all fun and games with Phi Lambda Chi taking the win in both dodgeball and kickball.

Taking it back Thursday was filled with yard games. The activities started off with an egg toss that was a close game with Alpha Sigma Alpha taking the win. Next was life size Tic-tac-toe each organizations using their brains not to get cats game. Following tic-tac-toe was minute to win it relay which consisted of eating Oreos, stacking cups, emptying Kleenex boxes and shaking your tail feather. The last event of the day was bubble soccer which was an activity to remember and fun to play.

Friday was the beauty pageant for each organization. Each organization chose one person to participate and others to be back-up dancers. The boys had to dress like a girl and the girls had to dress like a boy. It was all fun filled with singing and different talents. Alpha Sigma Alpha took the win for the pageant show.

The last event was on Saturday to show support of the baseball team. Each organization put together a tail-gating party and showed up with the most spirit. They also had creative signs to support the baseball players during the game. Greek Week was filled with fun activities and competition.

 

Outstanding Young Men Celebrated

Christopher Hart

Not coming from Texarkana I had my mind on other things and moving here wasn’t the first thing on my agenda. Moving here my sophomore year of high school made me extremely angry, with a terrible perspective of living in a smaller city filled with anger, love and racism. Yes, racism. I have received it more here than any other city I have lived in. Now I am possibly one of the nicest people anymore could meet, but some things just do not change in life, until I received a letter in the mail to invite me to an organizational ball to recognize my fellow outstanding young men of Texarkana.

I received the letter, and I really didn’t know what it meant.  Honestly, my first mind wanted to throw it away, because I just did not want to be here. I was wrong. Meeting my peers who were invited were friends of mine from school and the basketball team. The Texarkana Alumni Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority celebrates this every year around the end of January.  The chapter recognized 28 exceptional high school seniors for their academic achievements, leadership abilities, involvement in the community and commitment to excellence, giving back to the kids, showing us elegance, stability, and brotherhood amongst each other.

Having us donate and have a fundraiser to earn scholarship money for college was a great investment. When I was in it in was 2013, three years ago, but t the event is so private and beautiful it makes you feel really special about yourself. Wearing a black suit and white gloves, giving a speech in front of our parents and fellow peers and their parents showed me that we all can get along and have a good time. We all can turn a bad situation into a good one just by following our hearts. The women and men over the organization did a fantastic job with us, feeding us, taking care of us and helping get our names out in the world at such a young age. Being a part of the event and the outstanding young men around this town should carry a lot of weight for whoever gets the chance to experience this type of celebration.

Only 28 people are selected. That means someone is always watching, and someone can introduce us to new heights if we let them.  The event is always held at the Pleasant Grove High School Performing Arts Center, giving us a great venue to showcase our people skills amongst each other. The most recent event was January 31st 2016 and it was nice seeing new faces chosen now to be the outstanding young men of Texarkana. As an alumni, it made me  proud to see what I was a part of in high school, and I greatly appreciate them for taking me in and making us all brothers. Hopefully these events keep going through the town so it gives more black American men an opportunity in this world unlike the others. With me saying the others that’s for who ever is not with the OYM organization. The OYM organization should meet greater heights over the next few years and I hope Texarkana will open its eyes and see the great mark its making on these kids lives.

March Madness’ Mad Math

Kevin Luthringer

Wow… After the smoke clears following another exciting first weekend of the greatest sports event of the entire year, all I can say is WOW.  Trying to recap a weekend packed with great college basketball in one post isn’t easy but I am going to give it a go.

Well, I feel like natural place to start is good ole Sparty.  Mr. Final Four, Tom Izzo, and his Michigan State Spartans got bounced in the first round to the 15 seed Middle Tennessee State. This one surprised the heck out of me and most likely took me out of the running since I had MSU as a lock to get into the Final Four and the championship.

Now to some of the other awesome games, UALR, or University of Arkansas Little Rock, played in one of the most exciting games I watched this weekend. They had a little guard, number 3, who seemed to be shooting into the ocean. The kid could not miss.

Then the boys from Yale, who have never been to the Big Dance in school history, pulled off the big upset against Baylor (the Baylor kids’ post-game interview after the game was priceless if you haven’t seen it: Taurean Prince Press Conference). Keep in mind however these were both 12 / 5 games, and if you do this often then you know this happens almost every year.

Then you have one of my favorite teams to watch, Steven F. Austin. This team was my biggest concern with the seedings. Somehow SFA with Senior guard Thomas Walkup, who has not lost a conference game in 2 years and made a run in the tournament just a year or two ago was a 14 seed!  Now let me remind you, as I am writing this I still didn’t pick them (banging my head in to a wall) because I really liked Press Virginia and Bob Huggins to wear them out. I was wrong and big time!  SFA looked like the better team all game long. They were unable to hang on in the next game against Notre Dame, however.  And, why?  Because they did what has killed many a team; they played not to lose at the end.  Looking in control most of the game, they got out of their game plan and started running clock.  As time expired and on the THIRD offensive rebound, a Notre Dame player tips it in at the buzzer to send the Lumber Jacks from SFA home.

Among the other upsets a few that don’t seem quite as noteworthy because we have seen these teams make noise in the tournament in the past: VCU, Wichita State, Gonzaga, Syracuse.

But then you have the last two big ones. Hawaii beating Cal, which wasn’t a huge surprise if you caught the news of their leading scorer being injured during a practice right before the tourney and being unable to play.

The big one however, which leads us into the second round, is University of Northern Iowa. (Flashback: I instantly thought of one of their players the year they made the run to the Sweet Sixteen, who had my favorite name I think I have ever seen, Ali Farokhmanesh – and, yes, I did look up the spelling on that). Northern Iowa was able to take out the Longhorns thanks to an amazing one-handed half-court shot by their leader Paul Jesperson at the buzzer.

As UNI was going for the elimination of not one but two Texas teams they gave up the largest lead anyone has EVER given up in the last minute in ANY college basketball game EVER!!!  Sorry for being repetitive and redundant.  Texas A&M went on a 14-2 run with under 44 seconds to play and forced overtime where they would eventually pull the game out in the 2OT. Just to give you an idea of how crazy this was, ESPN has a “Win Percentage Calculator”, and with 44 seconds to go, up by 12, Texas A&M had 0.0% chance to win… Obviously, the reliability of said WPC is in question as A&M was able to pull off the win.  What a crushing loss for the Northern Iowa kids and fans.

Much as in that game, most of the “Cinderellas” lost their slippers for good in the round of 32 except for Syracuse (who could hardly be called a Cinderella, especially considering they were playing lower seeded Middle Tennessee State), Gonzaga who has made a name for themselves in this Tournament in the past, and Wisconsin.  The Badgers win over Xavier was just about as crushing as the Northern Iowa loss. Up by 3 with 11 seconds left Xavier gave up two threes to Wisconsin sharpshooter Brandon Koenig.  One to tie and then the winner with 2 seconds left (here’s the video if you didn’t see it Watch Bill Murray’s face). This led Koenig to say that he “went into his inner Steph Curry” after the game.

Man, I love March Madness.

The Woes of the Veterans’ Administration

Anthony Hamilton

It is very difficult in recent years to have paid any attention to any news outlet, and not realize that there are major problems as well as challenges facing the veteran’s administration here in the United States. Speaking for myself, as a disabled veteran, I feel the way that we are treated in many cases in downright disgraceful.

We are sent away for months at a time to “protect our freedoms” while in many cases our very family relationships suffer, due to missing births, graduations and every other family function that anyone can think of. There are also the injuries and casualties of war that ultimately can make life exceedingly difficult.

If we were to take a look at the average person (lawmakers) that have a say so about going to war, etc. they generally have no ties to the military, and not only would they not consider going in harm’s way to protect the country, but you hardly see any of their family members on the battlefield either, so why are these same people allowed to block funding to those who come home changed mentally or physically?

In most instances it’s like you go to war, give the best you have to give, then you come back home battle-scarred only to realize that the government has cast you aside, and no longer view you as their problem. It’s almost criminal, the fighting you have to go through with the government in order to get disability when you don’t come back home whole. If it doesn’t flat out take forever, you end up having to file twice and get what you have coming the second time around.

With all the missteps that the VA has recently encountered, some might wonder what type of people they’re hiring, or just how diligent these people might be. While these are fair questions, one thing we all must keep in mind is the budget cuts that the VA has been sustaining. Anytime you have the same amount of work to do with fewer employees, there will definitely be some hiccups along the way.

According to www.blogs.va.gov , there were 1.4 billion dollars in budget cuts in 2015. These cuts will have an adverse effect in Medical care, where they will lose $690 million dollars, meaning 70,000 less vets will have access to VA health care, there will be reduced staffing, and there will be delays in research. There will also be $592 million lost in new facilities, meaning the St. Louis rehab facility, outpatient clinic in Alameda, California and the French Camp CBOC in Livemore, California will either be delayed or not built at all. There will also be 18,000 less military families having the ability to seek a military funeral for loved ones who served.

There have also been recent incidents of veterans being infected at military hospitals because protocol wasn’t properly followed: www.cnn.com broke the story about 1,800 veterans of a VA Hospital in Missouri being infected with HIV due to technicians handwashing instruments before using the cleaning machines, when correct protocol is to only use the cleaning machine. Also the 3,400 vets infected at the Palomar Hospital in San Diego, California during colonoscopies performed with dirty endoscopes.

Another recent misstep was reported by www.foxnews.com regarding the 26.5 million veterans whose social security numbers and birthdates stolen when a VA laptop was stolen from an employee who took this information to his home without authorization.

Despite these discrepancies, there are many VA employees who are very diligent, and who also happen to love their jobs, and as a disabled vet, I have plenty of dealings with these workers. Ambulatory Care Dietician Karrie Cole, at the Texarkana CBOC has worked with me since 2010 trying to help me to take control of my diabetic ills. She has worked for the VA since 2009 and says she loves the job. “It’s very rewarding to know that you’ve helped people become healthier through diet” Cole said. She sees 8-10 patients a day, and she follows up with each patient and documents their progress.

Doctor of Physical Therapy Blair Culbreath at the Overton Brooks VA Medical Center in Shreveport says she also loves her job. “It’s very rewarding to work with someone who may have been injured, and be a major part of helping them regain their strength,” Culbreath said. She sees 5-8 patients in a day depending on whether the patient is new or returning. “I like to spend more time with a new patient to find out about their medical background.” Culbreath also pointed out that the wound care physical therapist sees more patients because they don’t have to spend as much time with each patient.

According to www.thehill.com, the Democrats blocked a VA funding bill from the Republicans in hopes of brokering what they feel would be a better deal for veterans and their families. In my opinion, as long as those in congress continue to play with VA funding like little kids fighting over toys, the VA is going to continue to have their missteps, and unfortunately, the veteran will continue to ultimately pay the price.

The Stars of Dallas

Jamie Williamson

When it comes to Texas sports teams the Dallas Stars are usually the last team to come to mind. The Dallas Stars often get overlooked since they share a city with another Dallas team, the Cowboys. Many often assume the Cowboys are the only Dallas team worth watching or following the games, but that is not the case. The Dallas Stars are currently ranked number two in their division and third overall in the National Hockey League. The Dallas Stars have had a great season so far this year. The Dallas Stars have finally reclaimed the success they had in the early nineties.

The change in the Dallas Stars started in 2013 when they hired Jim Nill as the new general manager. As soon as Jim Nill came on board he made a six man trade deal with the Boston Bruins. The Dallas Stars acquired Tyler Sequin and soon he became a staple in scoring points on the first line. Another part of the change was in stating a new captain, Jamie Benn, and getting new uniforms to make them stand out. With the new captain, new uniforms, and new point scorer the Dallas Stars were well on their way to becoming a sports team Texas could be proud of.

The Dallas Stars made the playoffs tin 2013 thank in part to all the new changes the general manager put into effect. Even though the Dallas Stars did not make it past the first round in the 2013 playoffs, they have worked hard the past two years to get where they are now. The Dallas Stars made crucial trades in the off-season to become on of the best teams in the 2015-2016 season. One of the trades was with Chicago where the stars gained Patrick Sharp to play on the first line, and Johnny Oduya as a defenseman. These two players fit seamlessly into Dallas like they had been playing there for years. They brought a sense of renewed energy to the team, and helped propel the Dallas Stars to the top. Another pivotal trade for the Dallas Stars was Antti Niemi as a goalie. He has made some pretty impressive saves this season to keep the Stars ahead of the competition.

The starting of the 2015-2016 season seemed to unfold perfectly for the Dallas Stars. Jamie Benn has had a tremendous season so far he has led the league in goals followed closely by Tyler Seguin. The Benn-Seguin line has become one of the most successful lines in the league since they started playing together in 2013. The two players have such a good chemistry on the ice it sometimes seems they can read each others mind. If they continue to play with the success they have shown this season there will be no limit to what they can do in the future for the Dallas Stars franchise. The Dallas Stars may not be the go to team for many Texans, but they are fast proving to people they can be a big name in Texas sports.

 

Chick-Fil-AYE

Kelsea Kregel

As a college student, eating in the school cafe can get old quickly. On days where the only food available is mysterious meat and unseasoned vegetables, I treat myself to a meal off campus. More often than not, I find myself at Chick-Fil-A (unless I’m having a typical late night study session and the only chain open is Taco Bell). Not only does Chick-Fil-A satisfy my desire for tasty food, but it is also relatively inexpensive, saving me a text from an angry mother complaining I’m spending too much money.

As college students, most are on a tight budget and try to find a quick fix to aid their hunger. Between juggling classes, work, athletics, and studying, it is difficult to find the time to cook a meal. Not to mention the limited resources if you live on campus. What’s the next best thing to do when you aren’t able to cook yourself a meal? You go buy one. As a college student on a budget, it can be difficult to find quality food for a low price. Chick-Fil-A makes a point to appeal to their customers. Not only is food reasonably priced, but they also have excellent customer service. They go out of their way to ensure the customer has an enjoyable experience and based on personal experience, the employees have always ensured I have everything I need refills, extra sauce, the whole 9 yards. They also make the experience more enjoyable with their friendly, well-known phrase “my pleasure”. There are several options to choose from on the menu (all chicken, of course) and an average meal costs $7. For the quality of food you are paying for, $7 is a steal. A meal includes a chicken entrée, a classic side, and a medium drink.

The company also prides itself in the quality of its products. This appeals to customers because no one wants to pay for low quality food. The chicken itself is 100% breast meat with no fillers or additives and is cooked with 100% refined peanut oil which is a healthier choice to use for their chicken. The chicken is hand breaded in their kitchens and salads are fresh and hand chopped. Lemonade is freshly squeezed and tea is freshly brewed. The company also draws in customers by annually participating in Cow Appreciation Day. Every July, Chick-Fil-A franchises across the nation gives customers a free meal if they come dressed as a cow. This is a costly event and the company loses thousands of dollars on this day alone.

It is no secret the company operates under strong political beliefs. The franchise is closed on Sundays to offer employees a day of worship. This is a tradition that has been around since the franchise was founded in 1967. Chick-Fil-A is one of a few American businesses that is closed on Sundays due to religious beliefs. The CEO of Chick-Fil-A has also vocalized his religious beliefs. Dan Cathy, son of the original founder, made comments that turned the company’s several franchises into a temporary battleground between those supporting the comments made by Cathy and those opposing the comments. Several LGBTQ supporters held “kiss-ins” in front of Chick-Fil-A restaurants across the country to protest the fast food chain. Others supported Cathy by supporting former governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee’s declaration of August 1st as Chick-Fil-A appreciation day in light of the recent turmoil.

However, Chick-Fil-A has recently supported a LGBTQ film festival recently. This wasn’t a corporate sponsorship, but a franchisee sponsorship, and the film festival “Level Ground” is a faith-based film festival whose mission statement reads “Our mission is to create safe space for dialogue. We create the best and brightest minds to help us think through what’s happening in the world of faith, gender, and sexuality, and more importantly, how to talk about it.” Chick-Fil-A’s Christian values sets them apart from other fast food chains.

Chick-Fil-A is a successful fast food chain and is admirable due to its strong business model. According to the Journal of Law and Politics, the average individual Chick-Fil-A franchisee annually brings in roughly 2.7 million a year while it’s closest competitors McDonald’s and Panera annually brings in 2.4 and 2.2 million. Remember, Chick-Fil-A is closed on Sundays. This is a religious practice, but the reason this proves Chick-Fil-A has an excellent business model is because the company loses 1/7 of all potential sales by closing once a week. Yet, they still manage to bring in millions of dollars and keep up with top competitors.

Chick-Fil-A is one of the most successful fast food chains in the United States and there is no doubt they are a top competitor for many businesses. Their strong business model and their emphasis on customer satisfaction makes them an admirable and successful company. Chick-Fil-A offers customers more than just a meal, they offer customers an enjoyable experience leaving college students very satisfied.

All Work and No Play

Leslie Arietta

Being a 22 year-old college student with one year left to graduate means that I have to spend my time wisely. Many college students in their 20s can relate to the exact lifestyle I live. Some college students have all the free time in the world and others have to plan accordingly to fit things in their schedule. My life is literally all work and no play.

There are many events to attend on campus of Texas A&M University-Texarkana that are happening now and the near future. These events include super lectures, talking events with special guests, activity events, intramural sports, and collegiate sporting events. There is an event occurring on campus at least once a week. If you have time it would be a great opportunity to attend an event because it could be beneficial for your day.

Unfortunately in my situation I do not have a lot of free time to be able to attend campus events and get involved. My focus in life right now is school and work. I am currently taking 18 hours of class and on top of that I work at least 35 hours a week at my job. For some college students, the college life is all fun and games, but for my college experience it is about getting my degree and being able to pay for my education.

Coming from California to Texas I have learned to be independent and take care of myself. I currently pay for my own tuition through scholarship, loans, and out-of-pocket costs. In order for me to pursue my degree I must have a job to support myself by paying my bills and providing necessities.

In the beginning of the semester I was beyond stressed because I had no time for anything unless it was school related or work related. I did not have a fun life while people around me had plenty of leisure time. Now in the middle of the semester I have learned to appreciate the way my time is spent. Sometimes you have to work hard now in life in order to have a successful future and that is my life motto to get me through this semester. It is no longer about my life now, but it is about my life in the future.

If you are a current college student who is going through the same experience my advice to you is to take a deep breath. The college life is about building a lifestyle for yourself that can help you be successful in the future. It is okay to have a lifestyle of all work and no play, but remember to give yourself a little break when possible so you do not have stress. The key to stay motivated is to get organized and have a plan and all this hard work will pay off in the end. Appreciate your success that you are building now.