Couple promotes commitment, love, faith for engaged
Sep28

Couple promotes commitment, love, faith for engaged

The national divorce rate for first-time marriages is 50 percent. Only 4 percent of couples who have gone through Dr. Byron and Carla Weathersbee’s marriage classes have ended in divorce. They must be doing something right. Carla and Vice President of Student Life Byron Weathersbee began in 1995 to minister to engaged college students in Waco. They formed a small group and worked through issues that married couples face. They called it marriage preparation. “If you could picture an oak tree, big roots strong trunks, lots of fruits. We see the family of foliage and the foundation is a strong marriage,” Weathersbee said. “The marriage institution is in need of help.” Carla is the main force behind the program, which has grown into Legacy Family Ministries.  Her experiences have helped paved the route they have taken. “I think when our son was diagnosed with cancer when he was 2 years old, we saw the value of church and family,” she said.  “A strong marriage is for life. Out of that time of struggle we saw the huge need for strong marriage and strong families. Then they can withstand when life comes hard at them …. Families and marriages are struggling. We wanted to do something about that.” Their son, Bo, successfully battled childhood cancer through two years of chemotherapy, radiation and surgeries. The ministry has grown dramatically. More than 1,000 couples have gone through the program they call Counting Down. Couples can take a six-week class, go on an intensive weekend retreat, or meet one on one with a mentor pastor. The courses are specially oriented toward men because, as Weathersbee said, “most guys get dragged to these things.” Dustin King has gone through the program. His wife, Ashlie, is an UMHB alumna and was an intern for Dr. Weathersbee. “This program was a great stepping stone in getting my wife and I communicating — not just about ourselves but things like financial planning, family life, getting into scripture and growing our relationship together in Christ, he said. “I think that a majority of today’s culture sees marriage as something that can be done but can also easily be undone. I have learned that marriage is something that takes time and commitment to see the fullest potential. There will be times when things are not always the best but in the end the reward of knowing you have someone by your side all the way to the end is the greatest feeling.” Sessions include discussions on in-laws, sexuality, money and conflict resolution. Carla believes leading the couples has also been beneficial to her relationship with her husband. “Its hard...

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U.N. sets unlikely goals

World hunger has decreased … sort of. For the first time in 15 years, the number of people facing hunger is 925 million, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. After the number swelled to 1.023 billion due to the global food and economic crisis, the drop is an important step in the right direction, or least a step of recovery, but it is not nearly enough for 2010. In 2000, the United Nations developed an ambitious program. They called it the Millennium Development Goals. As the calendars rolled into 2000, the U.N. wanted a goal for the future – something to aspire to. They decided to start the 21st century by attacking what may be the most significant world issues. The goals assert that developed nations have the resources and the responsibility necessary to finally provide for the most basic needs of the world’s poorest people. The goals to be met by 2015 are to cut poverty in half, increase education for children, end hunger and defeat HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. The U.N. gathered again on Sept. 20, and the goals must be a major focus of the General Assembly. 2010 is a road mark in the 15-year plan, and the goals are not being met. Not even close. The goals said poverty in developing countries would be slashed to 10 percent. Even with the drop this year, poverty sits at 16 percent. This is far from the goal, and most of the positive results are in a small sample of countries. In Africa, malnutrition and hunger are as daunting as ever. Disease is still rampant, and few HIV prevention movements have had significant results. To keep these goals from becoming just more U.N. rhetoric without action, nations will have to focus intently on aiding the continent. Life in the western world has changed dramatically since 2000, while poverty in developing nations has nearly stagnated. Even luxuries have changed. At the turn of the millennium, cell phones were uncommon, and now even middle school students spend hours texting friends. The iPod became another necessity, as the digital music market soared. TVs got bigger, sharper, flatter and of higher definition. Movies even added a whole new dimension, driving up ticket prices at the same time. Yet the number of people in Africa who die of starvation has hardly diminished. The buzz word “change” has been thrown around in politics. But where is the change in Africa? Young people are rallying behind organizations that aim to get clean drinking water or food for the African people, so why aren’t governments investing like their public? The U.N. has the...

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Live From Belton: Thugz of Normandy
Sep28

Live From Belton: Thugz of Normandy

When roommates Jack O’Briant and Branden Montgomery left their hometown in Magnolia, Texas, for college, they didn’t  just leave behind friends and family. They left behind the fellow members of their rap group Thugz of Normandy, who also were heading to college. “I think a lot of groups would fall apart in this situation, but for us it’s not just a rap group, it’s the thug life,” said O’Briant, a freshman biblical studies major who goes by the rap alias J O Breezy. The name of the group is also inspired by their thug lifestyle and outlook on life. “During World War II America stormed the beaches of Normandy. In 2010, the Thugz stormed the beaches of the world,” O’Briant said. The Thugz aren’t the normal amateur rappers, throwing together mismatched words on poorly made beats. They already have quite a following on their Facebook and Myspace pages. Songs like “Haterz Gunna Hate”  and “Ping Pong” have more than 450 hits, and their  album is on sale on iTunes. They even have been interviewed by the The Houston Press. Several girls found the music online and formed a street team to promote the band. When some of the team went to Utah for vacation, they took burned CDs with them. The Thugz of Normandy quickly began receiving Facebook “likes” from new fans in Salt Lake City. Another fan moved to New York City and is spreading the album to friends there. “The songs get stuck in your head all day long. And being on the street team was so random for us,” said Emily Novelli, a member of the team and high school student. “It was just something fun for us to do and get out there and be crazy and spread music. We even made shirts.” Other Thugz members, James Mills and Ryan Thornton, or J A Milly and Thorn Dawg respectively, are freshmen at the University of Texas. They helped establish a fan base in Austin. Thugz of Normandy’s debut album, Bringin’ Jaw, went on sale there Aug. 31. “We always been dishing, but now we’ve brought it to a whole new level,” Mills said of the release. “Ya’ll shouldn’t be surprised.” Other Thugz members are also “bringin’ jaw” to their towns. Will “Phat Wiggy” Boesel is attending Texas A&M. The album has already been played at a major dance party there. Ryan “Big Money” Welborn is at Southern Theological Seminary in Kentucky. Jacob Elkins, or J-Bawlzz according to the Thugz, maintains the fan base in the group’s hometown of Magnolia as he attends  Lone Star College. Despite the distance between the members, their writing and rapping...

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Baker speaks of leadership
Sep15

Baker speaks of leadership

Former Secretary of State James Baker took time to address students and faculty about leadership and the current political climate last week.  The lecture was sponsored by UMHB and The Salado Institute for the Humanities. Baker served under three presidents – Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. He was Reagan’s White House chief of staff from 1981-1985. He then became secretary of treasury from 1985 to 1988. Baker was secretary of state for the Bush administration from 1989 to 1992. In his speech on September 9, Baker cited Bush, Reagan and Winston Churchill as examples of great leaders, all of whom faced conflict and doubt. But they chose to do what was right, whether it was dealing with the USSR, Hitler or Iraq, despite criticism from the public. “He knew what he needed to do,” he said of each leader. “And he did it.” Baker stressed that the issues the world is facing cannot be solved by Americans alone, but they must be leaders in the global coalition towards progress. “Today we face a very complex metric of global challenges that demand serious and prolonged attention from countries that are becoming more and more interdependent,” he said. “The history of the 21st century will really be dependent on the quality of leadership that America provides in the coming years.” The one-time campaign leader for Ronald Reagan also candidly expressed his disdain for deficient spending in the speech. Baker helped lead the country out of the recession during the 1980s. “We’re spending like drunken sailors,” he said referencing the bailouts and the health care bill. “They have made no effort what so ever for free trade. We know free trade creates economic growth.” In an interview after the speech, Baker gave his opinion on how to fix the economy. “You’d have to cut across the board, and have to restrain spending. We have such a terrible debt situation now, everything will have to be on the table.” While the political affiliation of the audience varied, Baker was “well qualified to speak on the subject,” Dr. Randy O’Rear said at the conclusion of the speech. Andy Evans, a junior sports management and finance double major, was chosen to ask Sec. Baker a question during the lecture. He asked about the value of future inflation. “Having someone like Sec. Baker here just shows how dedicated the school is to bringing in the best of the best to speak to us,” Evans said. “He has accomplished so much.” Baker also had much to say about the current state of the Republican party and the impact of the new Tea Party...

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New degree opportunity
Sep15

New degree opportunity

Crusader football left and right guards Blake Heller and Ryan Krause are all business when they set foot on the gridiron. But in their nearly empty thermodynamics classroom—they are the only students—the two are all engineering. When both students began to study engineering, they hoped it would lead to successful placement in an engineering program at a larger university. Because UMHB did not offer an engineering degree, they trusted that chair of the computer science department Dr. Bill Tanner’s pilot program in pre-engineering would qualify them to transfer to a larger school. They could still play football and work toward their educational goal. When they started, knowing they could transfer to a full engineering program was less than a sure thing. But UMHB is often called a faith-based university. “You always had that question in the back of your mind,” Heller said.  “What if it doesn’t work out? But I had a feeling we’d get it done.” Thanks to the work of Tanner, “getting it done” is exactly what happened last summer when the school and Baylor University formed an agreement to officially create the UMHB engineering degree. “Any course taken here counts towards the same courses at Baylor. It assures students that every one of those classes will transfer,” Tanner said. “They do 117 credit hours here and then they transfer to Baylor,” he said. “After completing 12 hours at Baylor, they will receive a bachelor of engineering science degree from UMHB and then after completing 60-70 hours from Baylor they will be receive a bachelor’s degree in a specific engineering field from Baylor.” The engineering field is growing rapidly and most engineer-producing universities are at maximum capacity. These schools require prospective engineers to apply to the engineering program in their junior year. Tanner said many students see the tough competition to enter engineering school without ever experiencing hands-on work and abandon the field entirely. “Certainly the number of engineers that the nation needs are not being realized. We are somewhere behind 177,000 jobs in the United States,” he said. “We have no one to fill them.  Our emphasis was to create more opportunity for engineers to find out about the field  early and pursue a four- year degree in engineering.” Tanner hopes his 27‑student program can help. As freshmen, students construct model bridges designed to withstand thousands of pounds. In Waco, they will compete against Baylor students. The goal is to get them to experience the exciting aspects of engineering before they tackle difficult math and science courses required to advance into their final classes. The freshman class entering the program can be confident thanks to the...

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