Accounting students volunteer to help locals with their taxes
Mar07

Accounting students volunteer to help locals with their taxes

Accounting students of the McLane College of Business are helping Central Texas citizens by working with United Way of Central Texas through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA). The students are gaining experience and helping people get their tax forms in to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to receive their tax return refunds or pay what they owe before Tuesday, April 17 (Tax Day). With VITA, Central Texas residents come to various locations in Temple, Belton, Killeen and Harker Heights to have their taxes prepared and e-filed for free. VITA is set up to help clients with an income of $50,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and taxpayers with limited English. Last year, VITA filed 844 returns in 2017, but according to United Way Director of Public Relations Veshell Greene, they would like to file 1,000 returns this year. “VITA is hope,” Greene said. “The fact that these people can come get their taxes done at no charge… that’s more money they can spend in their home and on their kids. Greene stressed that VITA is a reputable program, and that volunteers must go through training with the IRS before filling out returns. The sites also have reviewers with advanced certification to validate every return before filing. “All the volunteers have to be certified by the IRS. It’s not just someone doing the returns in a garage,” Greene said. The tax filing process takes about an hour. Clients are required to fill out an intake form with questions about their financial background for 2017. They must bring their social security card or an equivalent and a picture ID. After filling out an intake form, the client will meet with a volunteer to go over the form and answer any clarifications the client might have. The volunteer will input the client’s financial information from their W-2 and any other forms the client brings in. The clients can see how much they will be getting back as soon as their information is plugged into the site. Then, the client will sit with a reviewer to go back through the return. Volunteers in the program include not only UMHB students, but also Temple High School students, community members, and United Way staff. Associate Dean Dr. Kirk Fischer teaches Federal Income Tax students, and he has encouraged them to volunteer with the program. Dr. Fischer also serves as a site coordinator in Belton for VITA. “This year we have over 45 volunteers with the VITA program because we have branched out with the pilot program at Temple High School,” Greene said. Senior accounting and management major Noe Diaz started volunteering...

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Caleb Fitzwater dubbed Mr. Crusader Knight
Mar07

Caleb Fitzwater dubbed Mr. Crusader Knight

Junior Caleb Fitzwater, representing McLane Hall, won the title of Mr. Crusader Knights on Saturday, Feb. 25. “It was definitely shocking,” Fitzwater said of his win. “I’ve never been given so many hugs in one night, which is kind of cool.” The show featured many funny moments, along with several surprises, including a green screen that the contestants used during a group dance. Junior Isaac Felan directed Crusader Knights along with assistant directors junior Daniel Martinez, senior Tori Bradbery and senior Ben Roark. “I worked with contestants, I worked with ticket sales and ushers, and I did anything I was asked to do,” Martinez said. “My role was to help the guys feel comfortable with the show, while offering input on the production.” Martinez said that he was proud of all the hard work that the men have put in since they began practicing and it showed on the night of the competition. “The show was amazing, and the guys brought it,” he said. “The introductions, the spotlights, the videos, the top six answers… all of it was amazing and hilarious. I am proud of these men for rising up and owning the stage.” This year, as part of the theme, it was announced that NBC liked Crusader Knights 2017 so much that they decided to film the 2018 Crusader Knights competition before a live studio audience. Ellie Ball hosted the competition, while Aria Flores, Anthony Tharp, Jenna Forester, and Chris Box emceed. The night began with the contestant videos. Each contestant prepared a one-minute video before the competition to be projected on the screens. The contestants picked TV shows to base their videos off of. Some featured TV shows included The Andy Griffith Show, I Love Lucy, Happy Days, The Office, Even Stevens, and more. Following each video, the contestants were given pre-determined questions, which they had to act out. The competition also included several group dances. The top six finalists for Cru Knights included Mr. Phi Mu Alpha James Jones, Mr. Farris Hall Jacob Hindman, Mr. McLane Hall Caleb Fitzwater, Mr. Junior Class Chase Mariott, Mr. Sophomore Class Patrick McElyea , and Mr. Burt Hall Peter Zuniga. The six finalists were required to answer two finalists’ questions read by 2018 Miss Mary Hardin-Baylor Tori Pharris before the judges made their final decision. The competition also included several individual awards. Senior marketing major Vincent Sigler, representing University Ambassadors, won Best Spotlight. Best Video went to Freshman biology major Steve Villalobos, who represented First Year Council. Sophomore marketing major Christian McConnell, representing Independence Village, took home Best Interview, and Freshman mathematics major Andrew Berg won the Timothy Award, which...

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Dr. Randy Dale campaigns for Bell County’s 264th District Judge seat
Feb21

Dr. Randy Dale campaigns for Bell County’s 264th District Judge seat

From being a Hardin Simmons graduate to spending two years in Afghanistan teaching law, to becoming an adjunct professor at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Dr. Randy Dale is looking to add Bell County’s 264th District Judge to his list of accomplishments. Dale grew up in Memphis, a small farming community in the Texas Panhandle. He graduated from Hardin Simmons in 1976, and received his law degree from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio in 1979. He also holds a master’s degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D from Texas State University. Dale believes that part of what made him want to become a lawyer stemmed from being raised by a former highway patrolman. “My dad was a highway patrolman before I was born,” he said. “You can take the person out of the law enforcement, but not the law enforcement out of the person. He drove a truck for a living, but I was raised by a highway patrolman. I had that kind of law-enforcement-follow-the-rules-be-held-responsible kind of mentality.” Dale began teaching classes at UMHB almost 10 years ago. Originally he taught Business Law for the McLane College of Business, but as of last year he is now teaching classes for the criminal justice department too. “I am a product of a small Baptist school. I love the kid that kind of school draws, the faculty it draws.” After teaching at UMHB for two years, Dale got the opportunity to go to Afghanistan with a private corporation to teach the rule of law system to Afghan government officials. “We held classes that we invited them to. We talked about evidence, procedure, and all elements of criminal justice,” Dale said. “They would come to our class because they would get $5 a day for going. For a three day class, 15 American dollars was a bunch of money to them, so they would smile and listen, but they weren’t going to make any changes.” Dale made his career as a trial prosecutor at the Bell County Justice Center after returning from Afghanistan. He also got his job back at UMHB. “I’ve always loved prosecuting. I’ve always loved being on the side that brings the case and tries to hold people responsible for their conduct,” Dale said. Dale is now campaigning for the 264th District Judge seat to replace former Judge Martha Trudo, who retired a year before her term was to end. Dale was approached by several defense lawyers in the area, who thought that he should run for the position. “I went home, talked to Melinda, and we prayed about it. The more we thought and talked...

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Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia: a fraternity that mixes a love of music with community service
Feb09

Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia: a fraternity that mixes a love of music with community service

Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia is a fraternity on campus that is dedicated to young men who are passionate about serving the community through music. This nationally recognized fraternity was founded by Ossian Everett Mills in Boston, Massachusetts at the New England Conservatory in 1898. It is the oldest music fraternity in America, and UMHB’s chapter is just one of over 300 active chapters in the United States since its founding. According to President DeAundre Lewis, a senior computer science major, the organization serves the community through the concert they put on every semester along with several service projects. Their project for last year, was painting the choir room in Presser Hall. Every spring semester the fraternity has a rush process for students wanting to join. The rush officially began this Sunday; however, if a student is interested in joining, they can contact either Lewis or Vice President Logan Gwin, a junior accounting major, to begin the process. “You don’t have to be a music major to be a part of this organization. You don’t have to be able to read music or sing. You just have to like giving back to the community,” Lewis said. The fraternity has regular business meetings on Sundays at 7:30 p.m. in the Choir Room of Presser Hall. “We discuss literally everything that you could think of that goes with being an organization. This includes money, the wellbeing of brothers, we see if anyone has any prayer requests, and we plan rush events. Then, we practice,” Gwin said. Every semester the fraternity puts on a concert where the members sing. Their most recent concert was on Tuesday, Jan. 30, but they will have another concert on April 19. “The one that we did on Tuesday is our American music recital, so we sang a lot of songs that have an American feel or have American composers,” Gwin said. For this semester, the fraternity is planning on visiting Stoney Brook Senior Living of Belton (located behind Grand Avenue Theatre) in early March to sing for the residents. “We have a former brother who is in that home, and he loves to hear us,” Lewis said. “They always ask for us to come back… For a group like this to take a little time out of our day to sing for them makes their day.” Gwin said that being in Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia has impacted his college career. “As a freshmen coming into college… I didn’t have very many friends… I went to a couple of interest meetings that we usually hold, and I just got hooked. It teaches good values for a musically inclined...

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Campus men rehearse Crusader Knights
Feb08

Campus men rehearse Crusader Knights

Practices are already underway for the annual Crusader Knights competition on February 24. Crusader Knights first began in 1993 as a fundraiser by the senior class. Since then, it has evolved into an annual competition where men are chosen to represent various organizations to compete for the title of Mr. Crusader Knights. Last year, the title was awarded to senior Alex Miller. Junior education Isaac Felan is directing this year’s competition, along with assistant directors Ben Roark, Daniel Martinez, and Tori Bradburry. “We’re in charge of deciding what the show’s going to look it…getting all the guys together and making sure they have a good time doing Crusader Knights.” The 18 contestants will be judged on their interview, unique video, individual spotlight questions, and campus vote. Felan said that this year’s competition is going to have a few surprises, and that he’s excited about seeing the audience’s reaction. “I’m not going to spoil anything, but [Crusader Knights] will be a little different this year,” he said. “I’m looking forward to seeing… the smiles and laughs from the crowd as a source of encouragement that change was good and that what me and my assistant directors [changed] was good for Crusader Knights as a whole.” Felan said that he feels a little weird being a young director. “Some of them are older than me. It’s weird being in a position of command when I’m one of the youngest in the room, but it’s encouraging that they’re listening to me.” Junior international business major Jacob Hindman enjoys going to the practices and spending time with the contestants. “[Practices] are like getting together on a weekend with a bunch of really close friends and sharing stories like everyone was there,” said Hindman, who’s representing Farris Hall. Junior multimedia and information technologies major Chase Mariott who’s representing the Junior Class said that he’s having fun working with the contestants. “I feel honored to be representing the junior class and UMHB,” he said. “It’s such a pleasure to get to be a part of this… We all have our own personality and quirks, and everyone just has a good time.” Be sure to come to Crusader Knights on Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. in Walton...

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