When used responsibly, credit cards are beneficial

As college students learn to embrace their newfound adulthood, they “Discover” the allure of credit. A card offers the world if you “don’t leave home without it.” After all, “it’s everywhere you want to be.” Professor of finance in the College of Business Larry Woodward said that having no credit is bad credit. “I generally disagree with some of the Christian counselors out there who say don’t use credit cards at all. I’m adamantly against that because this is 2009, and a credit card is a necessary thing to function in society,” he said. Responsible credit card holders who pay off their balance on time and don’t spend more than they need to should not run into any problems. “Having a credit card is one of the fi rst and best ways to start building your credit score. The better your credit score is, the lower the interest rate you’re going to have to pay on a mortgage,” Woodward said. The most economical way of building a credit score is with cards, not loans. Loans cannot be paid off without paying in interest. Waiting for a credit card to accrue interest is not good for credit scores either. “There (are) myths out there that people think they have to use a credit card and pay interest on it to build their credit,” he said. Chairperson of accounting, economics and finance Paul A. Stock said credit scores are vital for people wanting to purchase a house or buy a car. “If a person doesn’t have any credit, then the lender … is not going to have anything to base their decision on …. If you have no credit, you’re an absolute question mark,” Stock said. Students who use credit cards in their parents’ name are not improving their own credit score. “That really doesn’t help their credit card score.” Stock said. Accumulating debt from one month to the next not only accrues interest, but it hurts the credit score. “When you carry any balance over to the next month … that shows that you are charging more than you can afford, and that’ll have a negative effect on your credit score,” Stock said. Woodward warns students to be careful of teaser rates by predatory lenders who could take advantage of new cardholders.and potentially harm their credit for years. Credit card companies can charge over 6% annual interest fees. This can raise risks for debt. Charging an annual fee is another thing to look out for. He suggests trying to get a credit card without an annual charge. “I don’t pay a fee. There (are) lots of credit cards out there...

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Health care bill paves way for free abortions

In the emotionally charged thriller The Forgotten, Julianne Moore plays the role of Telly Paretta, a mother who searches desperately for her young son, who no one says exists. When the culprit meets her in a warehouse, he tries to convince her that she only dreamed of a son. She says, “I had life inside me. I had life. I have a child. I have a son. I have a son, and his name is Sam ….” In this country, we are slowly buying into the idea that the value of an individual is measured on the basis of another human’s desire for that individual. If a mother does not want her baby, she can walk into an abortion clinic and be rid of it without legal consequence. The doctors are not incarcerated for murder. Everything is done in the name of “choice.” A new health care plan, H. R. 3200, is bouncing around in Congress. While this plan is getting a lot of heat concerning abortion, the bill is not the issue. Congress needs to reevaluate abortion practices and the involvement of government. They need to overturn Roe v. Wade and the updated Hyde Amendment. House Republican Leader John Boehner said, “During his quest for the presidency, now President Obama declared that everyone deserves access to reproductive health care that includes abortion.” This funding would come from taxpayers’ dollars. While this is reason enough for many people to avoid the health care bill like the plague, it isn’t anything new. We are already funding abortions. We like to believe we are civilized. I think both sides of the political seesaw would agree that everyone deserves access to health care. But is abortion health care? The Hyde Amendment, which began as a pro-life response to Roe v. Wade, has changed dramatically. When Henry Hyde, Republican congressman of Illinois, created it in 1976, his intention was to keep government money out of abortions. In 1997, changes were made to the amendment. Now the federal government will pay for abortion practices if the mother is in physical danger or the conception is a result of rape or incest. The American Civil Liberties Union says, with a twinge of pain, that “currently only 17 states fund abortions for low-income women on the same or similar terms as other pregnancy-related and general health services.” The Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004, Sec. 919a. Art. 119a says that if a woman is shot and killed while she’s pregnant, then we call it a double homicide. It said anyone who “intentionally kills or attempts to kill the unborn child, that person shall … be...

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Million dollars for the arts
Sep29

Million dollars for the arts

The College of Visual and Performing Arts received a one million dollar donation from The Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation. In life, the Baughs were philanthropists. Today, their daughter and president of the foundation board, Babs Baugh, continues their legacy. Vice President of Communications and Special Projects Paula Price Tanner said the university received many gifts from the foundation. “The size of those gifts has steadily increased over the years, but this is the largest, by far, that the foundation has given to the university,” she said. The recent donation was given to the College of Visual and Performing Arts to help with renovations. “This is the first major gift toward this project. We hope that it generates interest and will lead others to give, as well.” Tanner said. In the spring, Dr. Randy O’Rear, Dr. Jerry Bawcom and Tanner visited with Babs Baugh and her daughters Julie and Jackie. O’Rear said it took many steps to solidify the donation. “Dr. Bawcom and Dr. Tanner had spent many months working with the Baugh family … stating … our needs on campus for visual performing arts facilities.” This year, they decided to help the College with renovations. “We’re pleased that (the Baughs) … have chosen to make an investment of that size in the university,” O’Rear said. Presser is structurally sound, but it was built in a time when only small practice rooms for individual lessons were needed. Since then, the college’s needs have changed to include giant rehearsal halls, classrooms and a larger art department. O’Rear said, “We have lots of needs. We need a new art building …. We need a band hall. We need to renovate Hughes Recital Hall. We need renovations to Presser …. At this point, I think we’re still … trying to put together the best plan for how to … adequately address the needs.” Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts Ted Barnes is excited about this renovation. “The art department and the music department both do a really, really fine job. They are dedicated and talented teachers,” he said. Barnes sees new opportunities opening up for the future because of the money being raised. “It certainly means, in my mind, better teaching, better instruction (and) better scholarship through better facilities,” Barnes said. The senior leadership met this past spring and summer about the project. Tanner said this fall the faculty and staff will comment on the plans. “Once that summary is finished, we expect to resume work on the visual and performing arts project and make some definite plans about where facilities will be, what they will be and...

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H1N1 pandemic hits, Texas under pressure to take action
Sep29

H1N1 pandemic hits, Texas under pressure to take action

All across campus, classrooms are perfumed with liquid hand gel. Students wield antibacterial soap like ninjas, fending off disease. They want to know how to keep from getting the novel H1N1 virus—swine flu. Epidemiology and TB nurse, DonnaLee Pollack,is a university alumna, and works in the Bell County Public Health District. She said that the term pandemic severity of the disease. “A pandemic spreads worldwide from person to person in a sustained way.” Death from influenza is not uncommon. “We average 32 deaths a year from influenza just in Bell County,” Pollack said. Texas has sustained 44 flu-related deaths since April. The state is expecting 3.4 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine to arrive by Oct. 15. “We ordered thousands of doses of H1N1 because we’re giving it for free …. We received extra money from the government for novel H1N1 vaccine clinics,” Pollack said. Pollack said students need to take precautions to avoid getting sick, “particularly students with asthma, anyone who has a chronic condition, any lung condition, especially if anyone’s pregnant.” She said, “The flu virus lives two to eight hours on surfaces …. Normal disinfectant will kill it.” Director of Public Safety Gary Sargent said the university is prepared for an emergency. “Back in 2003-04 the university began preparing for a pandemic … of biblical proportions, where we had mass casualties, high morbidity rate, high illness rate, high absenteeism rate. What we’re finding with this is it’s not as severe. It is basically just another strain of a seasonal flu.” Even though H1N1 hasn’t turned out to be the pandemic expected, the university is still taking precautions just in case. Sargent said, “Last year, we actually participated in a joint training exercise with the Bell County health district vaccination clinic on campus and run it relatively quickly.” Symptoms do not show up as soon as a person is infected. “You begin actually shedding the virus the day before the onset of symptoms. So you’re contagious 24 hours or more before you even feel bad,” Sargent said. Astonished by the number of deaths caused by the flu, Coordinator of Health Services, Debbie Rosenberger, said the seasonal flu kills around 30,000 people each year. Pollack believes people should think ahead and buy their supplies and comfort foods before they become sick. “Be prepared to get sick. Get your supplies ready …. I have my chicken broth in the freezer …. I like chicken soup, saltines and Canada Dry,” she said. People with H1N1 or the flu should not expose themselves to others with sensitive immune systems. “They need to think about not only their roommates but who they...

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Crusader sisters live, work in Morning Glory Inn
Sep16

Crusader sisters live, work in Morning Glory Inn

Two doors down from the university’s main entrance is the Morning Glory Inn. A velum banner hangs from the porch, “Grand Re-opening.” It’s a special bed and breakfast because new owners, Bruce and Valerie Mercer, have a third-generation connection to the university. When the previous owners had to sell, the Mercers jumped at the chance to run a bed and breakfast, with help from their daughters Erika and Andrea, both UMHB students. A cheery entryway welcomes guests. Old-fashioned transoms top the doors of this Victorian home and the original stained glass window is still in the parlor. Upstairs are three country-style guest rooms and bathrooms. In the 1920s, the house on the corner of Main and 11th streets was a school. “In the ‘20s, and maybe the ‘30s … UMHB actually had a kindergarten here,” Valerie said. From birthday parties for 12-year-olds to bridal showers, Morning Glory Inn is a busy place. Junior music education major, Andrea, enjoys this new venture. “One thing that took a bit of an adjustment was that now we don’t all live in the same house. Erika, Kristin, and I all live in the little cottage beside the big house …. It was strange at first … but now I love having our own place.” she said. Senior education major Erika Mercer balances her busy schedule at home and at school. “My day is filled with music. My family tries to eat dinner together every night, and we try to spend at least one night together to talk and enjoy each other,” she said. Cattle rancher Silas Bagget built the big house in 1886. The house across the street belonged to his son, Eli Bagget. The fireplace facade in the home built by Silas spurs a lot of questions. “That’s a mystery we’ve been trying to figure out because that home … is supposed to be a mirror image of this home. And you can see a fireplace over there. But there is no apparent evidence of (there) ever being a fireplace here,” Valerie said. Bruce’s father started teaching sociology at the university when Bruce was only 2 years old. Valerie and Bruce met as students. “I came for Welcome Week, and so I met him (at) my very first meal,” Valerie said. Breakfast at the Inn now features homemade granola, fruit compote and fresh baked bread. “I do have a bread maker. It’s a good servant,” Valerie said. She is always ready to cater the morning menu to the individual clientele. “I kind of try to listen and see or figure out what I think people like.” The Mercer children had the dream...

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