New music shop rocks belton
Jan22

New music shop rocks belton

Music and ministry merge together at a new music store off Highway 190 and Loop 121 in Belton.   Texas Tour Gear co-owners Seth Vance and Jon Cooper are both Christian, “and people who come in here definitely know that,” Cooper said, “and we don’t try to hide it.”   Both play a vital role at Vista Community Church.   Cooper used to work at Heart of Texas, Temple’s music store, before it closed down.   He developed relationships with local musicians during his time there.   “A lot of guys know my background. I had a rough past, and I’m pretty open about it,” he said. “They still come in and talk about stuff.”   Vance and Cooper also don’t hide good deals. For $20 an hour, bands can come into the store’s fully stocked stage and practice. For $150 a month, bands can rent the space. They receive a guaranteed two-hour time slot each day.   Senior Christian studies major, musician and Texas Tour Gear employee Matthew Boden believes that’s a great deal when it comes to renting practice time. He noted that some places in Austin charge $100 a day.   “UMHB students who bring their Cru Card can receive an extra five percent off their purchase,” Cooper added.   Vance is involved in doing professional church installations which include sound, lighting and all things A/V.   “We’re going to start having live events here,” Cooper said.   Since the May 5 opening, business has been steadily increasing.   “It’s really cool working for these guys because they’re my friends and my bosses,” Boden said.   “It’s neat because I like music and I’ve learned about pro audio, guitar care and they rely on me for guitar theory.”   Customers find Boden to be an asset when they’re looking for that perfect sound.   “Finding out more on how guitars work on the mechanical side,” has been beneficial to Boden’s own music, he said. “It’s been a really enriching experience. And plus, I get to play music all day.”   Boden said they see a lot of high-school-aged kids come into the store. Also, they’ve seen an influx of an older demographic, which used to frequent Heart of Texas.   “Really we get a bunch of different ages and a bunch of different people coming in.”   Texas Tour Gear also offers rentals, repairs and lessons as well as a variety of guitars, drums, keyboards, gear, both new and used, for sale.   Shop employees welcome anyone who wants to go in and talk about the music industry.   It is, after all, as Cooper put...

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Students find community
Jan22

Students find community

The primary purpose of college is to provide education. However, the connections that are made along the way can last a lifetime.   What is sometimes difficult for new students is finding ways to get involved on campus. Luckily, First Year Council can help them do just that. The organization allows first-year students to coordinate events and build leadership skills.   Junior psychology major Ross Jones serves as head leader for the group. He said the group strives to encourage its members in hopes that they will then encourage others.   “First Year Council is an organization on campus that’s main goal is to build first year students up as leaders on campus as well as foster community and growth among the group,” Jones said.   FYC is in charge of Date Auction and Spring Formal. Last semester, the organization brought the Red Bus Tour to campus to spread awareness for orphan care.   One way for students to make an impact off campus is with Best Buddies, an organization which was started by several members of the women’s soccer team. Best Buddies is a program that pairs college students with adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities.   Sophomore pre-physical therapy major Kristen Hoelscher was instrumental in bringing the program to UMHB. She said that even though the group has about 40 members already, they are still in search of more volunteers.   “We are in need of guys for the organization because we do same-sex matches for the adults with … disabilities and peer buddies, and have more guy buddies than peer buddies,” Hoelscher said.   This semester, the group is planning a Valentine’s Day party and an Easter egg hunt.   For those just looking to have fun and play some games, Cru Players is the club to join. It started as a group of friends who just wanted to play board games and video games, and now they are a student organization that meets at Bawcom Student Union every Friday at 5 p.m.   Cru Players plays everything from Magic the Gathering to Dungeons and Dragons to Hero Clix as well as board games and video games.   On Jan. 31, they are hoping to host a Madden 15 tournament in Bawcom’s Great Hall. The group also has a board game night scheduled for Feb. 7 for students to bring their favorite games to play with others.   Sophomore music education major Julia Bussey said the club is a great way to unwind.   “This club is for anyone who just wants to hang out and relax after a long week of studying to come...

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Campus welcomes new student body president
Jan22

Campus welcomes new student body president

It’s not often a political position is vacated mid-term. When it does happen, it’s imperative that someone step up and fill the role. When Student Body President Christian Harper resigned following the fall semester to pursue his education at Texas Tech University, senior international business major Jonathan Kendall eagerly took his place to become the new voice of the student body.   Kendall previously served as the junior class president before running for Student Body President for the 2014-15 academic year.   After losing that election to Harper, Kendall was appointed to the position of senior class president. Once it was established Harper would not be returning, the application process opened again.   “Once we knew about the vacant position of student body president, we notified the current senate members as well as the student body,” Student Organizations Director Tiffany Wurdemann said. “You have to serve on the senate for at least one semester and have junior hours to be able to apply for the position. Jonathan has served multiple years in the senate…. He applied and was unopposed, therefore we did not have to have a campus wide election and he could step right into the position.”   Kendall said he is honored to be able to serve his school and the student body throughout this semester.   “I believe in the mission of UMHB and see our school as a leader in private Christian higher education,” he said. “We are small but this serves to allow us to focus on people and relationships. I’m one of many that advocate for our school, and so I am blessed to serve in this capacity.”   Wurdemann said that even though Kendall didn’t come into the position through traditional circumstances, she still believes he is more than qualified for the role.   “I am a huge Jonathan fan. It is a great gift when you are granted a student under your care who is passionate and willing to learn,” she said.   Although he did not step into the position through traditional circumstances, she still believes he is more than qualified for the leadership role he has now assumed.   Kendall will only serve for one semester as he will graduate in May, but he still wants to leave the student government in a better state than when he found it.   “I hope to set up SGA for success going forward. I want to sharpen this group to be a clear voice of students as we serve the needs of this campus,” he said.   Internal Vice President and junior psychology and communication double major Spencer Sims doesn’t think...

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Crusaders traverse globe for missions, academics
Jan22

Crusaders traverse globe for missions, academics

While many students spent most of their breaks relaxing at home and binge-watching Netflix, some students decided to use their time to serve on mission trips and study abroad during the Christmas holiday.   Senior Christian studies major Hannah Bolin took courses in Israel over the break. The trip was 10 days long and covered six hours of courses needed for her major.   “We explored the Holy Land sites. We visited all throughout the land where Abraham’s descendants, the 12 tribes lived,” Bolin said.   The group that went on the trip had to wake up at 8 a.m. to visit four sites every day. These excursions delved deeply into the material covered in the upper level courses of Old and New Testament while also providing the students who went on the trip with a richer understanding of the stories contained in the Bible.   “I want to become a mission’s director or a mobilizer for missionaries in the future,” Bolin said. “This trip really made scripture come to life for me and I can’t wait to share that with others in the future.”   While the trip was a smooth success for the students, there were many preparations that to place during the planning that began long before the trip.   They had to attend prep meetings, which occurred weekly. These gatherings ensured that everything was ready to go and covered a lot of what the students were going to be experiencing during their time abroad.   They also had to discuss travel safety and the research project that would also occur throughout the trip while they were learning.   Each student kept a travel journal during the 10 days and went over their itinerary to stay on track.   “This trip really put the Bible into color for me,” Bolin said “Walking in the land where Jesus walked really was beautiful. We read scripture at every site, and we could really see the Bible come to life at that time.”   While there were several groups that studied abroad, there were also students who went to different countries and served on mission trips.   Senior Christian studies major Leah White went to India over the break with three other students and her sister. With no major commitments holding her back and with the help of her church, friends and family, her decision to spend two weeks in India was easy.   “The decision to travel to India over Christmas started off as a whim of love and turned into an exciting adventure. As I was growing spiritually in the beginning of last semester, the Lord touched...

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New fossils wow students, professors
Jan22

New fossils wow students, professors

At the end of last semester, a local woman, Marion Mount an area native, donated her assortment of fossils to the university’s science department.   “Ms. Mount was very interested in assurance that the collection would be displayed, and after this was promised, she decided donate the collection to UMHB,” Dr. Ruth Ann Murphy chairperson for the environmental science and geology department said.   Murphy is excited about the new possibilities the collection will provide for students during their learning experiences and for faculty as they teach.   She said, “It allows students to see a greater variety of samples from various places in the world and provides professors with more options for maintaining student interest and involvement. Often our geology students become teachers themselves, so this can benefit their future students as well.   The collection offers multiple examples of many of the fossils, making it easier for a classroom full of people to view them.   “There are many, many specimens so large numbers of students could look at them at the same time, but many of the items are tiny. The entire collection would probably fit in a large file cabinet drawer, except we protect the items by wrapping and cushioning them with felt or the equivalent so that requires more space,” Murphy said.   Not only is there a greater quantity of specimens, but there are some special ones.   “We can show the students lots more examples of fossils including sharks’ teeth, turtles, shark vertebrae, a whale tooth, porpoise ear bone to mention a few. It is a phenomenal collection,” she said.   Bill Lukens is an adjunct professor of geology at UMHB and a doctoral candidate at Baylor University. He believes hands-on experience and visual aids enhance his ability to teach as well as his students’ ability to learn.   “Geology is the study of the Earth, its contents, processes and how each change through time. Ideally, I would bring my students to the best examples of every rock and fossil that exists for any particular lesson. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough time and money to venture out into the great beyond twice a week! So instead, my job is to bring the geology to them,” he said.   Lukens is thrilled by one specific fossil in the new collection. “My favorite specimen is a well-preserved tortoise shell from a critter named Stylemys. Stylemys tortoises enjoyed the temperate, woody savannah landscapes of the Great Plains around 30-35 million years ago.”   Students are just as excited for the enhancements provided by the specimens.   Junior organismal biology major Victoria Camenisch believes the fossil...

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Churches touch lives of Temple residents
Jan22

Churches touch lives of Temple residents

One thousand families ministered to, 725 families fed, 465 families clothed. The previous numbers are averages of families served each month by Churches Touching Lives for Christ (CTLC).   CTLC is a group of more than 30 churches that work to provide food, hygiene items, clothing and emergency assistance to people in need.   Since its inception in 1994, 14,000 different families have been served. CTLC operates in Temple, Texas, through the support of organizations and businesses in the community.   As an all-volunteer organization, CTLC depends on church groups and individuals to further its ministry.   On designated days, volunteers register clients, distribute food and clothing, and meet with clients to counsel and pray with them.   Their mission is to meet the needs of individuals in order to lead them to Christ. Executive Director Jim Hornsby is a volunteer who runs the organization as well as Feed My Sheep not far away.   CTLC aims to provide “an atmosphere of spiritual encouragement for those who some, regardless.”   The ministry gives Central Texans who qualify the basic necessities including but not limited to toilet paper, toothpaste, soap, a variety of food items, clothing, shoes and lunches for children for the weekend.   Their partnership does not stop with churches. Businesses and agencies in the community including Wal-Mart, Capital Area Food Bank, Holy Trinity Catholic High School and AARP are a few who either donate directly or help finance CTLC.   Tenille Smith is a client of Reaching Out Crisis Ministries, a ministry dedicated to “guiding and leading women that struggle with substance abuse problems and/or life-centered problems to victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”   She and other women from Reaching Out volunteer at CTLC every Tuesday.   “It’s very beneficial for the community. Mr. Jim does a lot of work back there. I think we’ve helped close to 80 people so far today,” Smith said.   The Tuesday before the Thanksgiving holiday was busy with client’s getting their monthly food cart in time to prepare a meal.   Hundreds of turkeys were donated, which contributed to the large numbers of clients and a hectic day for volunteers.   Women from Reaching Out, teams from churches, and individuals and families helped fill the food sacks.   They grabbed from stacks of peanut butter jars, loaves of bread, canned goods, meat and non-perishables to fulfill client’s food vouchers.   Denise Doyle is a retired special education teacher and band director. She and her autistic and deaf son David volunteer once a week. Doyle says it’s a good opportunity for David to get out and interact. They have been...

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