Cleaning up the damage: Hurricane Harvey sweeps through 54 Texas counties, 70 dead
Sep18

Cleaning up the damage: Hurricane Harvey sweeps through 54 Texas counties, 70 dead

The long clean-up process continues for those affected by Category 4 Hurricane Harvey after it hit the Texas shore four miles east of Rockport with winds reaching up to 130 miles, on Friday, Aug. 25, at 9:45 p.m. It retreated only to return and hit land once again at midnight as a Category 3, at the northeastern shore of Copano Bay. Hurricane Harvey brought record amounts of rain to other areas, dumping more water than Hurricane Katrina, Sandy and Andrew combined. Over 50 inches of rain accumulated in the state of Texas, and Governor Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster in 54 counties (gov.Te xas.gov). Many people found themselves stranded on the roofs of their homes, and had to be rescued by boat. The death toll for Harvey has reached at least 70, and now Hurricane Irma has added to the nation’s death toll, as at least 15 have died in Florida. Senior public relations major Lynsey May, who is from Kingwood, Texas, said that her family was forced to evacuate due to the rising waters. Although the waters have now receded, when we spoke with May last Monday, water levels in her home were still rising. “The water has reached the inside of my house that is seven feet off the ground,” she said. “It has affected my family’s business and forced us not only to evacuate ourselves but our 29 horses as well.” May worried that her home would not be there when the waters finally receded. “We laid every brick of our barn. We danced on the floors of our house when we were building it. The memories will always be there, but the actual place that I call home might not be there.” Senior public relations major Paige Mareth, who is from Victoria, Texas, said that her parents chose to remain at her childhood home and weather the storm. “They’re without water and electricity and it may be that way for a while,” she said on Monday, Aug. 28. Mareth said that although it’s been an emotional week, she is thankful that her home sustained minimal damage. “Not everyone else in my little city was as fortunate, and that’s hard to know,” she said. Evacuees began arriving in Bell County from Brazoria County early Monday, Aug. 28. They were first transported to the Expo Center, where they were given dry clothes and shoes, and then taken to shelters that had been set up around Bell County. Vista Community Church took over the process of receiving donations. Volunteer Coordinator for Bell County, Lacey Dove, said that it was truly humbling to see the evacuees arriving...

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Loss of house, not home
Sep18

Loss of house, not home

By Rachael Hopson Contributing Writer The words house and home are usually synonymous, but to the residents of Memorial Hills, the word “home” has taken on a com pletely new meaning. This neighborhood on the northeast side of Houston stood together through the excessive flooding of Hurricane Harvey and after. People came from near and far to help the area with rescue efforts. Anne Mentlewski, a homeowner of 28 years in the neighborhood, was particularly worried about her neighbors in the hours prior to the flooding. She lives across the street from several elderly couples who she loves dearly. “I don’t see them every day, but I always know what’s going on in their lives.” As she watched the news and heard the forecast of water levels at eight feet above record, she couldn’t believe it, especially after they had survived hurricanes Alicia and Ike with no water damage. Throughout the weekend of Aug. 26, she continued to watch the drainage ditch in the center of the neighborhood. She always checked on it when flooding was a possibility, and knew that even if it filled, they should still be fine. It wasn’t until Sunday evening that she started to realize evacuation may be necessary. As the water continued to rise into her street, she decided she was going to leave, but first wanted to check on her neighbors and hopefully convince them to do the same. While some had already had their families pick them up, others decided that they would stay through the storm. Before Mentlewski left, she asked her brother-in-law to check up on them and rescue them if necessary. After Mentlewski safely got to her son’s house, rain continued to pour, and overnight, the water got high enough to reach the houses on her street. It was only after several feet of water got in their houses that two of the elderly couples decided they needed help evacuating. Since no vehicles could get through, Charlie Mentlewski found an inner tube and, one by one, rescued five people from their flooded houses over the next three hours. After everyone was safely out of the area, they had to wait to be able to re-enter the neighborhood and assess damage. It wasn’t until Wednesday that they were able to see their houses. “The worry wasn’t about the physical aspect of the damage, but about my neighbors and what they would have to deal with,” Mentlewski said as she spoke about seeing her street for the first time after the flood. While the devastation was incredible, the amount of love and support from everyone’s friends and families was even...

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Hurricane affects students
Sep15

Hurricane affects students

By Emily Mahan Contributing Writer Many students experienced hurricane damage to their homes. Sophomore Kirsten DeSpain’s home, which is located north of Houston’s city limits, was flooded. “I think that the majority of relief efforts are focused in Central Houston, but what people don’t realize is that other communities lost their homes, and it’s important to remember those towns and cities as well.” Many other students like DeSpain live outside of Houston’s city limits in smaller communities that saw the effects of the hurricane. However, much of the media coverage has been on the impact inside the city. Smaller cities that saw massive flooding include Lake Jackson, Alvin, and Freeport, which are located in Brazoria County. Evacuees of this county were sent to Bell County on buses when the flooding reached dangerous levels. Many students have volunteered to assist these evacuees who arrived in Belton, Killeen, Temple and Harker Heights. Students donated clothing, food, toiletries, and a variety of other items to Vista Community Church, who collected donations for the evacuees. In addition to dropping off donations, many students volunteered to help sort through and organize these items throughout the week after the hurricane. Some students volunteered to spend time with and prepare meals for the evacuees at local churches. UMHB junior Kelly Taylor spent time with the children staying at First Baptist Church Belton, which served as a temporary home for refugees. “Getting to play with these kids who have already lost so much and…just being able to distract them and love on them was really cool.” She developed a special bond with two little girls in particular, and enjoyed playing games with them throughout the week. “One of them was old enough to understand what was going on, but the other was too young. She was just upset that she had to wear an identification bracelet.” Taylor said that she is glad that she volunteered with the evacuees, because it gave her a chance to comfort children who had lost everything they owned. UMHB has offered to help students who were affected by the storm. Students requiring additional financial support because of the hurricane are encouraged to contact the Financial Aid office in order to discuss their situation. In addition, the school has resources available for students who need extra academic support, prayer or...

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‘RGV Navy’ rescue mission successful
Sep15

‘RGV Navy’ rescue mission successful

By Brianna Bullion Contributing Writer On Monday, Aug. 28 a team of 12 boat owners from the Rio Grande Valley went to help fellow Texans affected by Hurricane Harvey, just three days after landfall as they saw the need for help and ran to the rescue. Randy Bullion, a member of the ‘RGV Navy’ received a phone call as he was leaving church on Sunday, Aug. 27. A team of boaters was heading to Houston the next morning, and in response, Bullion gathered his things and left early Monday morning. “These people needed our help, and I couldn’t stand back and just watch,” he said. The team touched the lives of many families and were touched themselves by the generosity of those who had already lost everything. Bullion rescued a family from their home who were flying a Texas flag and an American flag that remained untouched by the destructive winds. Bullion asked if he could fly the flags on his boat, and the family responded with “Yeah! Texas rules,” and added, “Don’t bring them back, you can keep them.” The Texas flag now flies at the Bullion household. The ‘navy’ saved more than 1,000 people and a handful of pets from flooded homes. “The whole thing was awesome,” Bullion said. While Harris County faced the brunt of Harvey, several smaller areas received damage and needed help as well. Among these areas was Brazoria County, which is a ‘sister’ county to Bell. Evacuees from Brazoria County were welcomed into Bell County by several churches. Emily Mahan, a student at UMHB offered her help by sorting donations that came through Vista Community Church on Tuesday, Aug. 29. Mahan organized shoes, sorted clothes, and put together toiletry bags for the evacuees. She also donated items such as toys, diapers, and infant medication. “I felt that I needed to help because these people had lost so much, and I knew I needed to help in whatever small way I could,” Mahan said. She was glad to have gotten the experience, though she was saddened by the number of evacuees. “One lady came in with a newborn baby who couldn’t have been more than a few weeks old,” Mahan...

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Universities hit hard by Hurricane Harvey
Sep15

Universities hit hard by Hurricane Harvey

By Dylan Jones Contributing Writer Fellow Texas universities and their campuses felt the impact of Hurricane Harvey as well. While some students may have been content with delayed classes, the affected universities were dealing with much larger problems. Joe Miller, the Director of Community Outreach at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, said the university lost power, which included a failing backup generator. Along with losing electricity, the campus was hit with some wind and water damage. While the physical damage and long lasting effects may not have been terminal, the university faced complications involving students and faculty. “Personally I have talked to one student whose parents lost their home, and I have talked to one colleague who lived in Rockport and commuted to TAMUCC who lost everything,” Miller said. He also made note that the university instructed faculty to be flexible with students facing challenges. Miller said universities at risk of natural disasters use a common system to prepare for such an event. “When there is a crisis, we go into incident command mode.” Miller said. He adds positions like “incident commander” take presidence over positions like provost and president. TAMUCC classes were originally scheduled to begin Aug. 28, but were delayed until Sept. 5. The university is unsure of an extended semester. That decision will be made by the Texas Higher Education Coordination Board. Damage assessment teams went through campus to examine the impacts of the storm. Miller said that there was more damage to housing than classrooms and that an insurance company came through and has begun working on housing. Islander Athletics faced some hurdles as well. The girls’ soccer team had a contest in San Marcos at Texas State on Aug. 24, the day TAMUCC closed their campus. The Islanders were sent one day early and spent time in a hotel for an extra day before, and multiple days after due to the closing of the campus. The team also had to cancel a home game on Sept. 1, and an away game at Prairie View A&M was cancelled as well. Despite the damage they suffered. TAMUCC sent out UAVs to the Rockport area. The unmanned aerial systems center has been going to Rockport every day for assessments of the affected region. Having assets in the air to provide information in regards to chemical spills and damage to local officials has been a huge help for Aransas County. Many other universities have bn affected as well. Texas State, Texas A&M, University of Houston, TAMU Kingsville, Prairie View A&M, and Houston Baptist among others, have seen delays in classes and other issues around campus. “I essentially just...

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Health Center gives tips for healthy students
Sep14

Health Center gives tips for healthy students

For any college student, there is no time to be sick. There are always classes to go to, quizzes and tests to take, or organizational meetings to attend. While some illness is an inconvenience, some contagious diseases can be really harmful and be potentially deadly, which is why it is important for all students to be aware of certain diseases. Influenza, also known as “the flu” is one of the most common illnesses that occurs in college students. It commonly lasts anywhere from a few days to over a week. Symptoms of the flu include fever or chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, fatigue and body aches. According to the Center for Disease Control, if you have the flu symptoms as well as sudden dizziness, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, pain in the chest or abdomen, or confusion, you should seek medical attention immediately. You can prevent the flu by getting the flu shot. “If you get the flu after getting the flu shot, it does not mean that the shot gave you the flu. It means that you were already infected with it before you got the shot,” said Debbie Rosenberger, BSN, RN, BC coordinator of health services. According to data collected by the American College Heath Association’s National College Health Assessment, 48 percent of college students get the flu shot annually. “Only about 10 percent of [UMHB] students got the flu shot on our campus,” Rosenberger said. “Flu shots are being offered on campus starting on Sept. 19. The cost for a shot is $20.” Another disease that has caused concern for many college students is meningitis, which can be viral and bacterial. “It is much rarer for people to die from viral meningitis; it is typically treatable. However, bacterial meningitis is very fast moving. People either recover or they don’t. Bacterial is what causes people to lose limbs,” Rosenberger said. According to the CDC, symptoms of viral meningitis are fever, headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to bright light, sleepiness or trouble waking up, nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite, and lethargy. People usually get better on their own within 7-10 days. Bacterial meningitis has the same symptoms but they are much more intense and happen more quickly. The CDC says that later symptoms can be coma or seizures. It is best to see a doctor if you think that you may have meningitis. Meningitis typically attacks young people, which is why it is a concern among college students. However, Texas law requires students to receive the vaccination before they can attend a college. According to the data from the ACHA, only 66 percent of students across...

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