Re-enactors straddle Civil War past, present in mock battles
Nov04

Re-enactors straddle Civil War past, present in mock battles

By Joshua Thiering First Hand Account One would be surprised by the thoughts that run through the mind when lying on the ground playing dead after succumbing for the second time during a Civil War re-enactment. A young recruit to the Confederates was one casualty who just happened to conveniently run into Union soldiers in front of a bleacher full of modern onlookers. I was the young recruit participating in the Battle of Ogletree Bay in Copperas Cove, Texas. While dying, this private wasn’t thinking about home and country, his lady, or who would look after his sister. He was thinking, “Why did I die with my face staring at the sun? I wish they had sunscreen back then. The next time I die, I will be more careful.” Like Lazarus, I died twice. The second time was much more convincing. Though the enemies were aiming above and away from the Confederates (for safety), a rogue Union “bullet,” powered by destiny, struck my chest, causing a violent effect. The redeeming thing about re-enactments is that participants die at their own discretion, and nobody want s to be the first to die. This spat of necrophobia led to 15 minutes of fighting without a single casualty. “It must have taken the soldiers about 15 minutes to perfect their aim,” Noelle Renfro, a spectator, said. The smoke from the rifle and cannon fire put a fog over the hard-fought territory of Ogletree Gap, a city park in Copperas Cove. The smell of sweat and gunpowder assaulted soldiers’ nostrils. As I was loading the rifle, cannon fire startled me. I poured half of the gunpowder down the barrel of the gun and the other half down the collar of my shirt. The blackened collar now served as a badge of rattled nerves. In order to load a Civil War era rifle, infantrymen have to pull a pouch of gun powder out of their back holster, tear a hole in the top, pour it down the barrel, and put a small cap over the pin while half cocked. Many of the men use their teeth to tear the powder pouch. Following their example, as a baby-faced private I earnestly bit a little too hard into my packet, getting a mouthful of gunpowder, which tasted like dirt. Once dead, I watched as Union soldiers walked past after the retreating Confederates. I began to entertain thoughts of last-second heroics. I could just climb to my feet daringly and fire shots with my pistol at the backs of the enemies as if I wasn’t really dead. I could even yell, “Die you bluecoat scum. I was...

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Coastal Coverage: Hurricane Ike’s devastation provides service opportunities
Nov04

Coastal Coverage: Hurricane Ike’s devastation provides service opportunities

After the tragedy of Hurricane Ike, thousands of Texas residents were left with nothing but the clothes on their backs. While many seemed to stand idly by, junior economics major Tommy Wilson and a group of 23 other UMHB students saw an opportunity to serve. “Tommy is the incarnation of the spiritual gift of service,” Baptist Student Ministry Director Shawn Shannon said. “If Pavlov’s dog’s salivate when they hear a bell, Tommy goes into action when he sees a need. He came in to contact me about the trip within a week of the hurricane, and this was while he was working with the evacuees at the First Baptist, Belton.” The student-led mission trip to Bridge City, Texas, was independent of the university but was supported by both the BSM and the Bell Baptist Association. Wilson, who has been involved in various mission opportunities throughout his college career, including spending a year in Hong Kong, was highly qualified to spearhead the trip. “As I was nearing the end of my China experience, the earthquake hit,” Wilson said. “I was ready to jump out of a helicopter, with a Bible and a shovel and start digging people out. God gave me the opportunity to go in with a team there … and that experience really prepared me to jump in and lead ministry here.” To Wilson, giving back to those in need is a way for him to show thankfulness for all he has. “I’ve been blessed with a lot,” he said.  “First off, I haven’t been hit with a hurricane. I have an able body and good health, and I want to use what I’ve been given to give back.” The group of students and one adult sponsor from Wilson’s home church were able to serve for three days over fall break. During this time period, they were able to work on three homes as well as replace the roof of Lamar University’s BSM building. “We mainly did mud-outs,” Wilson said, “which is going into homes … and tearing out anything that had water damage. We would tear it back to the foundations of the house and the wall and let it dry out and disinfect it.” Houses in need of the same type of work number in the hundreds in the surrounding areas. Freshman social work major Bethany Franz went on the trip. “It was very humbling to serve these people affected by the hurricane,” Franz said. “I could not imagine losing everything; it made me truly thankful for the blessings God has given me. It really brought to mind that we shouldn’t take what we have for...

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New university logo seeks to enhance image
Nov04

New university logo seeks to enhance image

After nine months of tedious planning and thorough research, the university will unveil a new tagline. Project developers believe it will reflect what UMHB is all about. “The main purpose of the branding is to create an emotional connection to what it is we do at Mary Hardin-Baylor,” the Director of Marketing and External Relations, Carol Woodward, said. “When you think about some of the major commercial products out on the market place, they have very strong branding. It is equally important for universities to be branded.” For the past six years the school’s tagline has been “For Life,” so about a year and a half ago, the administration decided the school needed a new generation of the logo, something “solid for the university to hang its hat on,” Woodward said. In order to do this, the university hired Details Communication of Birmingham, Ala., to analyze the school’s needs and develop an identity that would capture the essence of the campus. Woodward said it wasn’t an easy task. “It is a real trick to come up with something that will speak to multi-generations,” she said. “It has to be appealing to younger people but still make sense and ring true for the older generations that have gone through our halls and are now out in the community.” Details Communications provided three different concepts that were presented to a series of six focus groups in March. The Belton community and various faculty, alumni and students were included in the decision-making and injected their opinions, negative or positive, into the project. A student-led survey was also tallied. It became obvious which tagline connected most to the various audiences. The company then used the responses to put together a presentation for the President’s Council, which was quickly approved. It included samples of billboards, advertisements and a Web site design. The new tagline will be “Education for life. Experience of a lifetime.” It will feature purple on reverse white background, rounded corners, the chapel symbol and the use of an original, trademarked font. But most importantly, it will seek to more adequately share individual Crusaders’ stories. “The guys from Details Communication said we weren’t doing justice to the fact that people have had such great experiences here,” Woodward said. “(They) challenged us to show visitors how much people love Mary Hardin-Baylor.” The university has already begun compiling the stories of alumni and current students to put on the new Web site, which will be more interactive Woodward said, the most impacting for current students. Web services manager Chris Webster and webmaster Ross Gebhart from the Information Technology department created the new site which...

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Blog: Three steps to help keep your sanity
Oct30

Blog: Three steps to help keep your sanity

Amid the myriad of voices in the student publications lab, it can be hard to gather thoughts in an orderly way. Students are drowning in the noise − from cell phones ringing, the neighbor’s television and seemingly constant conversations. There are worries about graduating on time with the course plan that is so easily misread. Anxiety caused by the process of getting three internships (needed as a mass communication/journalism major) aligned for the summer and getting hired for them in the first place. With all the activities held on campus, it’s easy to stretch yourself too thin. This problem of “over-commitment” strikes with force. To end this problem and the stress it causes, I have a few techniques for finding relief. Number one: learn to say “No.” Too many students find themselves over involved in activities that all the while may be good, but are just too much for the 24 hours in a day. Just like Thanksgiving dinner offers many wonderfully tasting options, but if too much is eaten it results in a stomach ache, rather than a “happy cat” nap. No one can do everything. Accept the best and let the good keep passing by. It’s better to be deeply and fully committed to a few things, rather than overwhelm yourself doing nothing well by trying to undertake too much. Between full-time student status, a work study job, intramural sports and church commitments I find myself running out of breath more than once a semester. Sometimes I think it’s time to leave campus and sit in Texas Java to sip a nice coffee with a friend. Number two: plan a time to get away. For me, this meant missing out on a couple of religious meetings that I enjoy, but knew was too much for my schedule. I found myself attending three meetings in addition to Sunday morning services, yet feeling guilty for not attending the new Sunday night Bible study led by college students. I had no reason to feel remorse for not being able to attend every thing that crossed my path. Even the desire to go didn’t mean I needed to take on yet another weekly time commitment. Especially during the middle of the semester, when academics become particularly burdensome, it’s important to leave enough time to study and rest. Getting away to a local park for a walk or finding a secluded place to read a book for leisure are a couple of ways to let the mind rest. Leaving the daily routine will also provide the chance for spiritual renewal. Leave the phone in the car. Leave the laptop along with its...

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Video of the Week Oct. 27 – Nov. 2

There are no words to describe the embarrasment Bill Cosby brought on himself in this...

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Blog: What happened to the American Dream?
Oct21

Blog: What happened to the American Dream?

As I listen to the two presidential nominees argue against one another as a way to somehow win the hearts and votes of the populous, I can’t help but wonder what happened to America? When the Founding Fathers laid down the Constitution for the United States, they did so with the great ideals, hopes of freedom and dreams of liberty. Their stance against the tyrannical monarchy of oppression, from which colonists fled, was a radical new idea. The idea that all are created equal. When were liberty and hard work replaced with the socialistic ideas of governmental control and handouts? The current administration as well as the upcoming administration that is to be elected in November have much more in common than they would have us believe. The so-called partisanship of Washington fades away when citizens see the voting records of those running. Both John McCain and Barack Hussein Obama have voted with the Bush administration; they have also both voted against it. When will the American people wake up and realize that the freedoms they once enjoyed in this country have been traded away for a false sense of so-called “safety?” Benjamin Franklin once said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” The Founding Fathers would never have agreed to things like the recent government buy out or the Patriot Act of 2001. These blatant power grabs are just two examples of the extent of corruption that the powers that be have jumped into. “If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy,” James Madison said. Our government has scared its people into blind submission through threats of terror and foreign enemies. They have policed the world as a way to slowly leech our liberty. They have perverted the very foundation of our nation – the Constitution – into some kind of living document that should be changed instead of followed. “Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government,” Madison said. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of the press as a way for the government to be held in check. Constitutionally, the media should be having a field day with this current way the government is being run. Why is the media so slanted toward pushing one party’s rhetoric or the next? Those who would say that the media should not criticize and critique the government are not in agreement with the Founding Fathers. “To...

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