Reality show or campaign ad?
Nov16

Reality show or campaign ad?

The premier episode of TLC’s Sarah Palin’s Alaska featured the former vice presidential nominee and her family of five enjoying the long, sunny summer days of Alaska. Scenes of shooting skeet, white water rafting, rock-climbing, deep-sea fishing and dog-racing provided viewers with a sneak-peak of the adventurous attitude and lifestyle Palin lives. For eight weeks, the Palin family will be scrutinized by viewers all over the country; however, this time Palin’s calling the shots. She invites members of all political parties into her home where viewers get the first glimpse of what Palin is like on a daily basis. Although, there are several times throughout the show when most people cannot relate to her. In one instance she is filmed walking 20 feet to a studio to do a correspondent interview with FOX News before going to trek through Denali National Park. Palin is   mainly viewed as a mother who enjoys spending quality time with her family. Viewers watch scenes of  mother-daughter bonding over baking cupcakes,   family fishing trips and bear-watching, chiding her teenage daughter, Willow, for trying to sneak a boy upstairs, riding in an RV with her parents to mountaineering lessons and glacier-hiking part of Mt. McKinley with her husband, Todd. All of this is carefully edited and knit together perfectly by TLC’s family-minded editors, and of course Palin.  She is thought to have earned as much as $1 million per episode and is one of the executive         producers. TCL President Eileen O’Neill said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, “Ultimately, the network has creative control and approval over the show, but really, across the production company and the Palin family, it was quite a collaborative effort.” And why was it a collaborative effort? Is Palin using TCL as a platform for the presidential election in 2012, or is she simply showing off her beautiful state and shedding positive light on her family for once? Some viewers could easily watch the show and see it as the latter, but most paid attention to every political analogy. At one point, Palin is in her backyard and the camera pans to a man sitting on his porch next-door reading a book. He goes unnamed throughout the episode, but not unnoticed.  She criticizes journalist Joe McGinniss for spying on her and her family while he conducts research for a book about her. Todd built a 14-foot wall to keep him out and Palin said, “By the way, I thought that was a good example, what we just did, others could look and say, ‘Oh, this is what we need to do to secure our nation’s borders.’” Perhaps the...

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150 students behind the scenes
Nov16

150 students behind the scenes

The tradition of Miss Mary Hardin-Baylor Pageant has reigned in the lives of Crusader’s for more than 50 years. About 1,150 contestants and more than 7,000 people have been involved with the production since its beginning. Although Pageant is focused on the 23 contestants,  an army of students behind the scenes supports and works together to ensure that the spotlight is always on the women. These students volunteered more than 15 hours a week and in the weeks leading up to the Pageant. It became like a part-time job for some. This year’s director, junior speech education major Corbin Simmons, knew that it would take a team of people to see out her vision of the theme, Beautiful. She wanted to change Pageant to make it more personal and not so broad like a production. One way the idea was achieved was through the use of videos that introduced the contestants before their talent. “The videos are my favorite thing because I wanted to give the girls an outlet to express their platforms and why they are so passionate about it to the audience,” she said. “Platform speeches are weighted the most in who wins, but nobody ever knows that.” More than 120 hours went into making the videos and between 200 and 300 hours were spent creating the stage. Simmons said, “Something I think a lot of people don’t understand is the time put into Pageant — the committee heads, the committees, the time and the passion that it takes to bring it all together,” she said. “It’s not just the four directors and Mike (McCarthy) and Jeff (Sutton). It’s an army.” There were 21 committee heads with about five people working on each committee. Add in the escorts and students who just show up to help along the way, and it adds up to about 150 students. Director of Campus Activities and Pageant adviser McCarthy is always impressed by what students can do when given the resources. “Students truly come together to put on a first-rate production. To handle and solve any problem that pops up along the way and execute it as well as they do in six weeks is amazing,” he said. Because so many people are involved with the pageant who do not run in the same social circles, it gives students an opportunity to meet and form new friendships. “Pageant brings people and puts them working together with one another over a short time period, which inevitably leads to the development of relationships that cross any natural boundary,” McCarthy said. However, friendships are not the only type of relationship that are formed thanks...

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Garner Hall hosts dedication
Nov02

Garner Hall hosts dedication

The university is changing. There are more mouths to feed in Hardy, more bodies that need beds and more cars than parking spots. Students do not have to fight however, for a place to call home and rest their weary heads at night.  The university has been proactive in planning and preparing for the amount of growth projected for the future at UMHB. The first building that will start this domino effect of construction on campus is Garner Hall.  Completed this fall, the new residence is home to 141 students and a residence hall director, Patti Johnson. “I believe adding the additional beds and having them to offer has been a benefit for allowing more students to live on campus and continue to be involved in campus activities,” Johnson said. To officially recognize the hard work and commitment put into the latest building, a dedication ceremony was held in honor of John Hood Garner and Alleen Weatherford Garner Oct. 22. Both longtime residents of Belton, the Garners always had a passion to help young people in Bell County further their education.  The couple left behind no children to inherit their property and valuables. A charity was founded in their name to help support organizations that give young people a better opportunity in life. Several years ago, the trust stepped in to partner with the university on the project. The speech that President Randy O’Rear delivered during the ceremony recognized the growth and need for development on campus. “The hallmark of UMHB education has always been the personal attention we provide to our students,” he said. “As we grow, we believe it’s important to provide our students with safe affordable housing on campus, so they can learn and live in a supportive Christian setting during the important years when they are transitioning from living with mom and dad to living on their own.” The board of trustees, faculty and staff, students and members of the Garner family were in attendance to witness the dedication. John Garner’s brother and sister-in-law, Bill and Nancy Garner, along with Wendell Williams, a trustee for the Garner Charitable Trust, accepted the plaque as a token of appreciation and assisted with the honors of cutting the ribbon. Student body President and senior international business major Tommy Wilson also addressed the crowd of several hundred by inviting them to look at several apartments and thanking the family on behalf of the students. “Thank you for all your hard work, prayers and support that you have invested into our university,” he said. “Through God using students, administration, donors, trustees and friends, we have seen this place become a...

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Irish cafe serves up more than espresso to teens

In the Irish culture that is stereotyped by people drinking Guinness for breakfast, a local coffee shop seems like the last place young adults would want to hang out. The youth would rather drink beer than sip a cappuccino and eat at a pub not a café.  This was the problem that Missions Emphasis Week speakers Kelly and Susan Curry ran into when they decided to open a coffeehouse in Ireland. Fourteen years ago, the Currys knew they had been called to leave their familiar American lifestyle and become missionaries on Ireland’s west coast. Not having any idea of what they were going to do when they got there, the family took a leap of faith and headed overseas. “We didn’t know what our mission was. We just knew we were supposed to go,” Susan said. “We knew that Ireland has a very young population and, through prayer and finding different pieces of the puzzle, we knew that we wanted to minister to them.” After searching for a year, the Currys found the perfect building in Galway, an old and dilapidated army barrack along the canal that they carefully restored to become the city’s first coffee shop.  It was given the name An Tobar Nua which is Gaelic for The New Well. In the beginning, business was slow and customers were leery of going to the shop because it was “different.” The Currys were discouraged and at times wanted to give up, but members of the community kept encouraging them to just wait it out …. And it is a good thing they did. By ministering to their local, multi-denominational employees, the Currys began to bridge the gap in their small part of the world between religions. “We work alongside each other, Catholics and non-Catholics, as a team, and they (the community) see us as a model. We are focusing on the Lord and building a deeper relationship with Him rather than worrying about religion,” Susan said. Au Tobar Nua is thriving and branching out into more ministries. Aside from the daily witnessing to customers by building relationships, the Currys have started and maintained community Bible studies, hosted guest speakers, put on events for the youth and built a retreat program with the local schools. Students come to the shop for a day in which they receive a meal, hang out and listen to talks about drugs and alcohol abuse and the importance of purity. After graduating in May, UMHB alumna Sarah Crawford moved to Ireland to work in the coffeehouse. She met the Currys at Missions Emphasis Week and felt as if God was calling her to work...

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Artist enjoys adventure
Oct19

Artist enjoys adventure

The little red line is what artist James Tealy loves the most about being a musician. He remembers when he was a child watching Indiana Jones movies and being fascinated by the iconic travel scene at the beginning. That line always led to a new adventure, a new destination and a new challenge. “My favorite part of all this is not being on stage or hearing one of my songs on the radio. The coolest part to me is the little red line – the sense of adventure,” Tealy said. With a background in music and a master’s in Christian education, Tealy has been able to combine the two as a songwriter in Nashville, Tenn. He works for Centricity Music, an independent, family owned, full-service music company, as a staff writer during the weekday. Tealy has learned that living in Music City means he has to recognize his own talent and find his own specific area of giftedness. “Nashville is a unique town in that there are literally top-notch musicians bringing you pasta at Olive Garden and checking you out at the gas station,” he said. “Everyone who has come to this town is a stellar musician .… My focus has always been as a lyric writer.” Inspiration is a key factor in the process of writing a song.  Tealy is constantly searching for that one big key idea that is worth building a whole song around. He uses an app called Evernote on his iPhone to record titles, hook-lines, lyrics and thoughts that pop into his head throughout the day to use when he arrives at a meeting. “As a staff song writer, it means that I have to be ready to write, to do the disciplined act of crafting a song at any given point,” he said. “When somebody brings me in to co-write, they are bringing me in because they expect me to focus on finding a great way to say things.” Tealy not only writes lyrics for musicians, but he also performs his own pieces on college campuses and at youth camps and concerts around the world. His favorite memory of being on the road was playing in the Himalayas right after an earthquake. The band set up on the side of the road outside of a college campus and within 30 minutes of playing, a crowd of a couple hundred had gathered around requesting songs like “Beat It” by Michael Jackson. “There was a giant language barrier, but we were speaking this kind of international language of music,” he said. “I’ve been to some really remarkable places to sing and write … strapping my...

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