Grandparents scam hits close to home for students on campus

Some scammers feed off people’s desires for wealth and greed. Some take advantage of honest people who are simply trying to conduct straightforward business transactions, and some scammers, perhaps the worst of all,  victimize people who are motivated only by a good-hearted desire to help those in need. A grandparents scam which has affected several UMHB students, falls into the last   category. Although it is the first time this particular crime has affected campus, it is not an original idea. Two to three cases of a UMHB student being affected by the grandparents scam have been reported. Each story follows a similar pattern no matter where it happens. The scammer acts like a grandchild and calls the grandparents telling them that they are stuck in some situation and that they need money wired for help. The concerning part is just how much information the callers are able to find on their victims. University Police Chief Gary Sargent warns students crooks can get information from Facebook and random Internet surveys. “In the scams that happened on campus, there was no breach of university security,” he said. “The reported incidents said the scammers knew information that (UMHB) doesn’t even collect.” Senior sport management major Josh Pownall was one of the UMHB students who fell prey to the grandparents scam. “The scammers called my grandparents and impersonated me and told them that I had run into trouble in Canada and that I needed bail money,” he said. Pownall’s grandparents followed through with the request and wired money to the number given. However, upon realizing that it was a scam, they were reimbursed. Grandparents are often the target of these criminals because some grandparents rarely have contact with their grandchildren and, therefore, are less likely to remember what their voice sounds like or if they were      traveling. “Grandparents are more vulnerable and trustworthy,” Sargent said. “The scammer plays into emotions and the desire for their need to help.” Most crimes of this nature are conducted via the telephone. However reports have surfaced from around the country in which the scammers used email, text messaging and even instant messaging. The best protection from scams like this one is awareness and knowledge. “Realize that there are people out (in the world) who make money by stealing yours,” Pownall said. “Make yourself aware of the current scams.” Calling grandparents and informing them that criminals are impersonating grandchildren and asking for money will help ensure that  they don’t become a victim. An email sent out by the campus police department listed several guidelines to help avoid the scam: •Make sure your family is aware of the scam....

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Students fall into hammock trend

Kammok is the new camping hammock that is doing more than just hanging between two trees. With a UMHB alumnus as one of the five founding partners and students buying into the trend, Kammok is a revolutionary brand that brings technically innovative outdoor products to the socially conscious adventurer. Founder and CEO of Kammok Greg McEvilly desires that the company inspires and equips customers to fully live out the company motto, Life Changing Adventure. “We hope to be the conduit that helps people engage in the greatest adventure of all – the adventure of changing lives,” he said. In a year and a half, five guys have been able to create a business from just an idea of revolutionizing the traditional camping hammock. Through an online pledge system for funding creative projects called Kickstarter, the company was able to sell more than 2,500 pre-ordered products in less than two months. Director of mobilization Grant Hickman, UMHB alumnus ’07 and college pastor at First Baptist Church Belton, realized that they were on to something after the success with Kickstarter. “In 50 days instead of raising $15,000, we raised just under $209,000,” he said.  “At the time, when we finished the 50 days of funding, we were the tenth most successful Kickstarter campaign in the history of  Kickstarter.” Although this is not a new concept, Kammok is more than just a product-driven company. The company logo is a kangaroo, so the followers and fans have been dubbed “the mob.”  Hickman believes that their mission is changing the world through business. “A group of 10 or more kangaroos is called a mob, so anybody that is involved with Kammok in any shape or form, whether you work on staff, are an intern, buy a product or like us on Facebook, you are a member of the mob,” Hickman said. “And we want to know how you are changing the world.” For Kammok the sky is the limit, but to get their feet off the ground, owners have launched their first product line: the ROO and Python Straps. Senior international business major Tobin Davies fully supports Kammok as both a business and a product. “I believe their product is superior to other camping hammocks, and I think the guys who run the company have their priorities in the right places,” he said. The Kammok ROO is a single travel hammock that is lightweight, made of LunarWave fabric with Diamond rip-stop weave and stuffs into a waterproof compression sack about the size of an “angry blowfish.”  Currently the product is only available in ROO Red with dark gray sides, but more colors are in...

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Family tree finds roots on campus
Oct18

Family tree finds roots on campus

Fifty-seven years ago, a family began all because two people fell in love at UMHB. Some may call it a tradition, but to the Kemp family it was a coincidence that three, sons followed in their parents’ footsteps and met and married women from the university. The year was 1954. Leroy Kemp was tall and had dark brown hair, and she was charming and beautiful. He had noticed her while attending First Baptist Church in Belton and realized he wanted to take her out on a date. “Gee, I kind of liked her looks and was kind of attracted to her,” Professor of Christian studies Leroy Kemp said. He decided to write Professor of education Dr. Jean Kemp, asking her to accompany him to the 4th of July Belton rodeo that summer. She was a student at the all-female school, Mary Hardin-Baylor College, and he was attending Baylor University. He pulled up in front of Stribling Hall in his 1952 black Ford sedan and waited for his date to be called down. “Back then you had to have a formal letter from your parents saying you had permission to date a certain young man,” Jean said. “That night I was brought down by the dorm mother for my date.” The rules were a little different in 1954 from what they are now at UMHB. The freshmen women had one weekend night and one weekday night per month that they could go out. They had to be back by 8:30 p.m. during the week and 11 p.m. on the weekends, and there was no exception for the Kemps’ first date. “It got closer to 11 p.m. that night, so I called the dorm mother to ask permission if we could stay out a little later,” Leroy said. “She said no. Bring her in.” Jean remembers being embarrassed that night and thought he would never ask her out again. Little did she know, Leroy was smitten. Due to the strict rules and the distance, they wrote many letters. However, there was an exception to the curfew. If the women were attending a church service, they were allowed to be back in the dorm 15 minutes after the service ended. “So that summer we went to a lot of revivals and church services because we weren’t allowed to see each other besides that,” Jean said. By fall they were in love, and Leroy proposed to Jean in the car after a date in front of Stribling Hall. It wasn’t until Thanksgiving that he put a ring on her finger. Their love story involvingUMHB was just the first in the history of the...

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More than just the campus police
Oct18

More than just the campus police

During the 2010-11 school year, UMHB police officers responded to 12,308 calls for service, performed 52,121 building checks and has issued 2, 642 citations. For a university of about 3,100 students, the campus law enforcement office stays busy. “We are the primary contact for criminal investigation, traffic violations and overall safety here at UMHB,” Director of Campus Police Gary Sargent said. Often times the officers are faced with the misconception that they are not real cops, but rather just security or rent-a-cops. This assumption is false. Among the nine officers are an estimated 200 plus years of experience in various fields ranging from arson investigation to service in Afghanistan. Criminal Investigations Officer John Ellison believes that the campus is fortunate to have a real police department that cares about the students, faculty, staff and buildings. “Not only can our officers handle crime, but we can actually spend time investigating the cause and following up the situation,” he said. “The city police officers don’t get to know the students like we do and in return wouldn’t care as much about the campus.” According to the  2010-11 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report that the campus police sent out to all the students, the number of criminal offenses and non-criminal incidents occurring on campus decreased by 5.1 percent from the previous year. “One of the key reasons why our crime rates are lower is because of our emphasis on crime prevention,” Ellison said. “We have called the student body to help us and be our extra eyes…. If you are unsure of something or somebody, just call us.” Although their main focus is on protecting and serving the campus, the police officers have jurisdiction in Bell County. This past year they have responded to 64 calls to back up the Belton Police Department in either providing protection for the Belton officer and/or to stabilizing an event until the BPD arrived. The campus police serve as law enforcement but also as solution finders. “I would like to describe our team as problem solvers with police powers,” Sargent said. “We are 60 percent non-law enforcement.” The department urges students to call the police if they have a problem and are unsure whom to contact. Officers will either get the right contact or take care of the situation. Senior performance study major Rachel Jeske has been a student worker for the police department for four semesters and has witnessed firsthand how the police officers help people. “They help the students who are on campus by offering to unlock cars if they leave their keys inside or jump-starting a car if your battery is dead,”...

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New home for art department
Oct04

New home for art department

Not only was this past weekend the university’s Homecoming celebration, but it was also the first groundbreaking for the campus master plan. A ceremony was held Sept. 30 on the corner of 9th Avenue and Shine Street where next fall the Baugh Center for the Visual Arts will stand. During the welcome, President Dr. Randy O’Rear commented on the significance of the groundbreaking. “This is the beginning of a new chapter here at UMHB,” he said. “This is the first official groundbreaking ceremony of the new master plan, and we couldn’t be more excited.”  The $5 million project will unify the art students, faculty and staff in a state of the art two-story building. Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts  Ted Barnes realizes the impact the new building will have on the current students as well as prospective ones. He listed five reasons the center will be important: Students and faculty will have top studio classrooms for their art; the layout will be designed for common areas to create interaction; it will feature an exhibition space; it will help with the first impression prospective art students have of UMHB; and create a positive impression on visitors. “The new art building will really show the students that the visual arts are valued as a part of UMHB’s academics,” Barnes said. The 27,000 square feet facility, will allow students to spread out to work on projects as well as use the lounge area for brainstorming and gathering inspiration. Junior art education major Maddie Phillip spoke on behalf of the art department students at the groundbreaking. “Art students learn from the things around us,” she said. “We are excited to study in a beautiful building.” All of the speakers at the ceremony placed emphasis on the building’s being a home for art students and not just a structure. “Since art students spend so much time working on projects, it’s good that the design is open and spacious,” Phillip said. Of course, the new center could not be completed without a philanthropic donation to the university. In 2009, The Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation offered $1 million to the development of the arts at UMHB. The foundation was established in 1995 by John Baugh and his wife to continue their philanthropic donations to Baptist programs and institutions after they passed away. During their lifetimes, they also gave generously to UMHB to help in the construction of the Frank and Sue Mayborn Campus Center and the Paul and Jane Meyer Christian Studies Center. John Baugh started his career in Waco, and eventually founded the world’s largest food company, Sysco Corporations....

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