In Dear John, letters keep love alive
Feb10

In Dear John, letters keep love alive

All the single ladies, you don’t have to join Beyonce at the dance party to enjoy this romantic emotional roller coaster ride about getting a ring put on it. Dear John, starring the ever- attractive Channing Tatum of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, is a pretty good film for girls’ night out − or the movie to beg your sweetie pie to take you to see for Valentine’s Day. Tatum, as John Tyree, joins Amanda Seyfried, who plays Savannah Curtis, a college girl who fi nds love by dropping her purse off a pier into the ocean. (John quickly jumps in, making Savannah’s then current boyfriend look like he cares more about his Polo shirt, even though he’s the reason the purse ended up in the water). Because the film is based on a book by Nicholas Sparks, also the author of The Notebook, viewers expect to be swept away by a gripping tale of passionate young love and the conflicts of living within different social strata. Passion, yes. Conflict, yes. Believable? Not completely. Without spoiling the film’s unexpected twists, it is obvious from the start of the movie that there is no easy way for most girls to put themselves in the shoes of Savannah. In fact, little that happens in this film is realistic, despite the fact many girls in relationships with soldiers deployed might relate more easily. For starters, the love story begins when John rescues Savannah’s purse from the ocean and is offered a beer for his walk home, and just two weeks later he is shipped back overseas. “I love you’s” are exchanged, as well as the first of many letters, which will be the only form of communication for the two lovebirds as they spend an entire year apart. Even though Tatum’s seemingly monotone declarations of love don’t always match the charm in his physique and intense gazes, girls will fall for his character right along with Savannah. For many love-hungering college ladies, it’s still necessary to bring the box of tissues to the theater. In one letter, Savanah claims that the two weeks she spent with John on the beach in North Carolina were so great that they will be more than enough to carry her through “just” one year apart. There are many similarities to Sparks’ previous chick flick hits, and though this brings predictability, it is what most viewers have come to expect. A scene that pulls heart strings is when Savanah takes John to see the Habitat for Humanity home she is helping to build. John says the way she uses her spare time is further proof that...

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World travelers share faith
Jan26

World travelers share faith

Junior psychology major Erica Jenkins found herself, along with Caleb Lasater a sophomore from Texas A&M, rushing to catch their connecting flight. The pair, along with eight other students, went to Nicaragua during Christmas break through Go Now Missions. Jenkins said, “I never thought I’d be like one of those people running through the airport, but we were.” After a warm four-hour plane ride, the group of students arrived. Being a “pastor’s kid,” Jenkins grew up talking about missions. She said she used to say, “‘I love other countries (and) other cultures. I have a heart for missions,’ but I’d never done anything about it.” But she decided to put actions to her words after being encouraged by her roommate, junior Stacy Davidson. Once in Nicaragua, the team’s mission was to leave the masses to go to the few. After eight hours of driving and nearly 10 hours of hiking, the team reached a village where they passed out copies of the Gospel of Luke and invited people to watch the Jesus film. After the movie, the children wouldn’t leave. So the team taught the children a song in Spanish. Jenkins said that was the moment she knew why she came. “I just said, ‘OK, this was completely worth it. I just hiked through mud and cow poop. (I’m) sweating because it’s humid, and it rained on us.’ We had to go through a river, and bathe in it. There were leeches in it,” Jenkins said. “I got chiggers the first day. “Despite all of that, … this is completely worth every meal of beans and rice, all three meals every day.” The team didn’t get to see the fruit of their labor, but hope they planted seeds in the hearts of the Nicaraguans. Jenkins said the trip “was more like seeing God work in me.” She realized no matter what God has called her to, “there’s nothing more satisfying,” and encourages other students to pursue mission opportunities. Jenkins said, “I definitely learned life lessons I couldn’t have learned if I would have stayed in the United States.” UMHB freshman Ben Baeker also went to Nicaragua. From the moment the team arrived in Managua, he said he knew “this is going to be good.” Baecker returned with stories of sleeping in hammocks on porches, listening to the sounds of dogs barking “like crazy” and monkeys chattering high in the trees. The trip wasn’t exactly what he expected. Baeker said, “I was hoping to really minister… but God’s plans were totally different. He wanted me to take in the trip and use it for my life here.” From the international...

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Men’s Golf goes for first in history

Under the new leadership of Aaron Rodeffer, the men’s golf team won three tournaments last year, including the American Southwest Conference for the second year in a row. The Cru came just four strokes short of making the second-day cut at the NCAA Division III National Championship in Port St. Lucie, Fla. The closest the Cru has come to a tournament win in the fall was at the Schreiner Fall Classic, where they finished second. UMHB scored four strokes behind U.T. Tyler. With the fall behind them, the team and their coach alike anticipate the spring tournaments. Rodeffer said, “I know through the success we have had, we’re just going to continue to build on that.” This year, the team dynamics have changed. The newcomers outnumber the returning players. However, a significant amount of the team’s success last fall was due to the squad’s five freshmen. One notable accomplishment came for freshman Ryan Berry, who is ranked first place for par three scoring for the Division III by Golfstat.com. Freshman Bryce Myburgh from Ballito, South Africa, said his first season was a period of adjustment. “I feel I’ve adapted pretty good with the big change and the courses themselves,” Myburgh said. In addition to new, strong talent, the Cru is led by upperclassmen returning players such as sophomore Mike McQuaid. McQuaid averaged 74.78 for four tournaments and nine rounds. The 2009 ASC win his freshman year gave McQuaid a hunger for more wins. “It definitely motivates you more,” he said. “You want to keep winning those tournaments (and) definitely keep bringing home the trophies.” Another team veteran, senior Garrison Nordt, finished the fall with an average 73.86 for three tournaments and seven rounds. Nordt tied for eighth place individually at the UMHB Fall Invitational, leading the Cru men to finish fourth. Rodeffer said the team looks forward to the spring with expectation. “The goal this year is to make history to win three conferences in a row, which has never...

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Memorial marks new beginning for Fort Hood
Nov24

Memorial marks new beginning for Fort Hood

Families of Fort Hood, Texas, are starting the healing process as they wade through feelings of grief, distrust and pain after a shooting Nov. 5 that left 13 adults and one unborn child dead. A memorial service Nov. 11 on post marked the start of a new beginning, one with the servicemen and women of Fort Hood wrapped in the arms of the community. The shooting also left 43 soldiers and civilians wounded. Thirty-four of those injured were from gunshot wounds. The alleged shooter, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, remains at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. He is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder in a military court, according to the Associated Press. The hearing was held in Hasan’s hospital room where he is reported paralyzed. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has called for a 45-day review of the tragedy. The Defense Department said the investigation is expected to take four to six months. Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. John Carter, whose district includes Fort Hood, pushed legislation in Washington that would give combatant status to the casualties. If the proposal becomes law, families could receive the maximum life insurance available as well as other benefits. In a statement from his office, Carter said that the legislation is military family focused. “This bill is not about investigations or assigning blame,” Carter said. “It is about taking care of our troops and their families first. That’s why we have such strong support from both sides of the aisle, and why we hope and expect this to move quickly.” National and local leaders attended the memorial service on the front lawn of the 3rd Corps Headquarters building, marking the start of the healing process for families. President Barack Obama spoke at the service, describing each of the lives of the 12 soldiers and one civilian who were killed. The details about them, such as where they lived, their family life and their hobbies, served to remind those attending of the gravity of the loss of life. During his speech at the service, Obama said, “Long after they are laid to rest … it will be said that this generation believed under the most trying of tests; believed in perseverance – not just when it was easy, but when it was hard; that they paid the price and bore the burden to secure this nation, and stood up for the values that live in the hearts of all free peoples.” Between 10,000 and 15,000 people attended to honor the fallen soldiers and remember the high price of freedom. Military spouse and mother Heather Dickinson said as she held one of her two children,...

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Annual event hosts holiday hay maze
Nov24

Annual event hosts holiday hay maze

Bell County residents are tending to the needs of local children who are victims of abuse. Aware Central Texas is a nonprofit advocacy group with the mission of preventing local child mistreatment by offering counseling classes and mentoring families. Christmas on the Farm is an annual event hosted by ACT at the Bell County Expo Center and helps combine fun with fundraising. University students helped with the recent effort. Executive Director of ACT Sue Ellen Jackson said, “Bell County has one of the highest rates of child abuse and neglect in Texas. In fact, they historically and presently rank in the top five counties, out of all 254 counties, for reports of child abuse and neglect.” An estimated 8,000 people, including volunteers, participated in the holiday event Nov. 14. “Christmas on the Farm (helps) to provide education, encouragement and mentorship to at-risk families all across Central Texas,” Jackson said. “ACT hopes to reach families and help them to avoid situations that are harmful and hurtful to children and families.” A maze built with cardboard boxes and hay bales for children to play in is one of several exhibits at the Expo that helps raise financial support. Jackson asked Professor and Department Chair Hershall Seals to help. He and several others volunteered their time to design and build the maze. Seals said, “It’s just another way to know that there are existing needs out there for people to care about other people and to contribute time and energy, not necessarily money, because it didn’t cost anything to create this maze.” The students, he said, are giving their “time, energy and ingenuity” which is a worthwhile endeavor. “What we’re trying to do is a service-oriented learning experience to provide the opportunity for our students to do something nice for someone else without expecting anything in return,” he said. Realizing that they could afford to give their time for the effort made the difference for volunteers. Senior professional studies major Ginger Braun said, “They needed help, and I don’t have class on Friday. It’s a good cause. There’s no reason not to do it.” Braun lives in Harker Heights and said her desire to help the local advocacy center played a role in the decision to volunteer. “It’s all been fun figuring out how much room (the kids) need,” Braun said as she crawled through a passageway taping up the loose edges. She said she wishes she were a kid so she could go through the maze, “but some of these (tunnels) I don’t think I’m going to fit through.” Freshman nursing major Lauren Courtney is a student worker in the art...

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