Ebola: Global concerns spur Texas response
Nov07

Ebola: Global concerns spur Texas response

Ebola –– That mysterious African disease that had never been detected in the United States until a couple of months ago and never diagnosed on U.S. soil until earlier last month. It’s the recent culprit responsible for bursting America’s bubble of relative security, protecting its inhabitants from exotic, life-ravaging illnesses. The fresh memory of the death in Dallas and the not-so-distant scare in Belton has Central Texans wondering what their schools, workplaces and government are doing to protect them.   Although the virus is communicable and has been posing a threat from Texas to New York, according to the Centers for Disease Control, it is not airborne and is difficult to transmit unless a person comes in direct contact with an infected patient’s bodily fluids or a surface that has.   However reassuring this news may sound, many are still paranoid considering that trained medical professionals are still contracting the disease.   Something else feeding the uncertainty and fear is the virus’ 21-day incubation period. People who have come in contact with the disease may not exhibit symptoms for three weeks. This is the reason for quarantine among medical professionals, missionaries and others who have traveled to West Africa are imposing on themselves.   Senior nursing major Kristiana Bohene believes it’s necessary for those working with Ebola patients to think of the common good and quarantine themselves during that incubation period.   “If they were potentially exposed to Ebola, they should be quarantined until they are not showing symptoms. The quarantine of one can be good for all to prevent the further spread of illness,” she said.   A potentially disturbing precedent is the refusal of Maine nurse Hickox to self-quarantine.   Bohene said, “I can’t imagine being in her shoes, but I do think that sacrificing 21 days for the good of others is the right thing to do if she is showing symptoms.”   The state of Maine is working to bring her into compliance.   After the CDC began re-evaluating the health risk to passengers on the Frontier Airlines Flight #1143, from Cleveland, Ohio, to Dallas, Texas, it was discovered that two Belton ISD students, one from North Belton Middle School and one from Sparta Elementary, along with their family, were traveling on the same plane with one of the nurses who cared for Thomas Duncan, the Liberian man who died at Texas Health Presbyterian.   School district officials cancelled classes for thorough cleaning at those two campuses as well as Belton Early Childhood School because students are bussed between that building and Sparta Elementary.   Many are expressing frustration with the federal government’s seemingly slow...

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Texas divided on immigration issue
Nov07

Texas divided on immigration issue

The election of a new Texas governor had the whole country watching because of huge implications for all parties involved.   With a Greg Abbott win, the republicans keep Texas a red state while a Wendy Davis win would ultimately change the whole make-up of our country’s voting patterns, sending Texas to the democratic side.   One of the major issues on the minds of voters this election is immigration, continually making headlines not only in Texas but across America. Pressure has been put on the administration in Washington but little action has been taken regarding the problem, reinforcing the importance of the gubernatorial race.   With about 1,810,000 illegal immigrants residing in Texas according to fairus.org, this puts a burden on the public school system as well as the economy.   Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis have both made their stance on immigration clear when it comes to their home state. Abbott is the first one to tell voters that something has to be done with the current immigration laws. “The law as it’s structured is flawed. All these laws like the in-state tuition law — those are symptoms of larger problems. We have a broken immigration system,” Attorney General Greg Abbott said. And when asked if he would veto a repeal of the Dream Act, Abbott answered no.   Davis’s stance on immigration more takes a more laid back approach. She believes the illegals should be allowed to pay in-state tuition.   “I’ve met immigrants who are dreamers who work hard. I support it and will veto attempts to repeal the Dream Act because it makes sense for students and the economy,” she said.   Both candidates believe that the immigration laws need to be improved. But Republican Greg Abbott has made it clear that he is in favor of immigration as long as it is done within the law. Otherwise it puts the safety of the immigrants themselves as well as the citizens of Texas at risk.   “What the administration must do is make clear [to those seeking to cross the border], don’t risk your lives. No way should the U.S. have an open-door policy to Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras,” he said.   “Immigration does seem to be a key issue in the mid-term elections because most of the competitive gubernatorial and congressional races are not in states/districts where Hispanics represent a significant percentage of voters,” UMHB Professor of History and Political Science, Dr. David Holcomb said.   With the majority of Texans voting Republican in the past, outsiders are beginning to see that trend slow down. The reason for this is...

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When trafficking stats become human
Nov07

When trafficking stats become human

A young Cambodian girl sat slumped on the curb outside of a church, her body rocking with heaving sobs. After attending a Christian church service, the girl’s Buddhist family beat her for betraying their faith.   But it wasn’t their disapproval or her own physical pain for which she cried. She had lost her Bible.   In a display of their disapproval, her family had burned her Christian scripture, and she was brokenhearted about the loss of the book that meant so much to her. Senior nursing major Allison Toy remembers this moment vividly, recalling the passion with which the child mourned.   “She looked at them (the missionaries), and told them she wasn’t upset about being beaten. She hadn’t been able to read the word of God in three days,” Toy said. “So my team gave her a Bible, and she came to the community center every day just to escape and read it.”   Five years ago, Toy attended a conference where a man spoke about surviving the killing fields in his homeland, Cambodia. Even though his own people sought to kill him, he had nothing but love for them. “It broke my heart. I prayed about it a lot, and I really felt like God was calling me there,” she said.   Toy embarked for Cambodia first as a student, then transitioned into leading for two years before staying on her own this past summer. What made this summer different, though, was the combination of joy and unimaginable hardship.   Toy led a team of Americans for 10 days, serving through medical missions in clinics, working at the hospital, ministry in the church, teaching in the community and volunteer work. Toy’s parents joined the effort for the first time, too. Toy’s mother, Terri, knew Cambodia as a country ravaged by the regime of Pol Pot.She realized their need for love and was excited to experience the land that captured her daughter’s heart.   “While her dad and I have always had a great respect for Allison, it was an incredible opportunity to watch her live out her passions … her purpose, her respect for and understanding of the culture,” Terri said.   Dad Eugene made use of his skills as a doctor, teaching Cambodians about sanitation. He was amazed at the provision of God. When one supply would run out, patients required something different and needs could be met.   “For me, I learned so much from the people we met. The missionaries there have so few resources … yet zeal and desire to do more,” Terri said.   After 10 days, the other Americans left...

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Week highlights foriegn missions, brings visitors to campus
Nov07

Week highlights foriegn missions, brings visitors to campus

Missions Emphasis Week is one of the busiest weeks on campus, bringing people from all over the world together. The event is also one of the most popular traditions since it began in 1999 with Dr. George Loutherback.   It has grown exponentially in recent years, bringing missionaries from around the world to come speak to classes, chapel and scattered gatherings throughout the week.   “We do missions emphasis week because we believe you can touch the world from here,” Director of Baptist Student Ministries Dr. Shawn Shannon said. “It helps raise awareness of global issues and opportunities and creates ways to make connections with those with specific people and agencies.”   A steering committee of 43 students have been planning this year’s MEW for nearly a year. A lot of organization goes into preparing for the week-long event.   The students split up into groups that work on different things that involve interviewing, hospitality, public relations, prayer, seminars and special events.   “We want to engage the whole campus. We are engaging students, but also, we have missionaries in up to 90 classes now, and they’re there to communicate with anyone in the classroom. We had a luncheon for faculty and staff. There were more than 120 people there,” Shannon said.   Of course, with all the thought that goes into getting missionaries to come speak, there is a lot of planning into what else is going on during the week.   There were different places on campus where students could go listen to the missionaries, but there were also more hands-on occasions. This included having coffee with international missionaries, a special speaker at Wednesday night Focus and a recently added activity, the global runway.   It was first done two years ago, and was held again because it was such a hit with students.   Music and fun filled Brindley as people walked up and down the stairs and across the stage to show off a different cultures traditional clothing.   Student involvement is a big part of what makes MEW happen every year.   Senior nursing major Allison Toy has chosen her last year to be a part of the week. She served on the faculty relations sub-committee.   “We have a list of missionaries and their bios and what they’ve done and we connect them with faculty members. A faculty might request a missionary who has a business background or a specific missionary, and we pair them up,” Toy said.   She also said that being involved in the committee instead of just participating in MEW has been a great experience because she gets to...

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Smashaton: Destruction for a cause
Nov07

Smashaton: Destruction for a cause

A vehicle was vandalized on campus the evening of Oct. 25. It wasn’t crime, however, but rather a charitable event dubbed “Smashathon.”   The organized-chaos was sponsored by the university’s ASTRA club, which stands for Ability, Service, Training, Responsibility and Achievement. Proceeds from the event went to Project Angel Tree, which purchases Christmas presents for children whose parents are incarcerated.   Junior computer science major and ASTRA treasurer Riley Massey said the event was a community-wide effort.   Two junk yards worked together, one towing the vehicle, and the other actually donating the junk car.   Students could pay $1 for three swings at the vehicle,” he said. “We also purchased pumpkins from a local church in Temple and students could pay $1 to $4 depending on the size of pumpkin, to smash it up with a baseball bat or small sledgehammer.”   According to junior organismal-biology major and ASTRA secretary Victoria Camenisch, students made good use of the opportunity to take out frustration on the vehicle while supporting a good cause.   “We managed to bust a hole in the car, knock off the bumper and dent up the hood pretty badly,” she said.   ASTRA incorporated carnage into the event in other unique ways as well.   “We also played ‘pumpkin walk’ where students would walk around a numbered circle until the music stopped and then a number would be drawn to decide who won a free pumpkin to smash,” Camenisch said. “We encouraged students to wear a costume by offering six free swings at the car and we were a little surprised by how many students showed up in all-out costumes.”   ASTRA is a community service organization. The campus chapter was started three years ago and is sponsored by the Altrusa Club of Temple.   “The goal of ASTRA is basically to connect college students to a variety of service projects in the community, as well as connect them with the respectable members of Altrusa, whose careers and experiences range across almost all the majors offered at UMHB.”   Camenisch said ASTRA is always striving to find new ways to impact the community through events, volunteer work and creative activities.   “This is the most involved organization I’ve ever been a part of, ranging from campus-wide drives, Feed My Sheep lunch-packing to volunteering in local community fundraisers too.”   The group chose to donate to Project Angel Tree because Massey has seen firsthand the impact it can have.   He said, “I personally know a few people in my life who benefited from this organization while growing up and could see the positive impact that...

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Campus goes pink for breast cancer
Nov07

Campus goes pink for breast cancer

Breast cancer is the second most common cause of cancer-related death. Two diagnoses this year alone make it a life-threatening and eye-opening disease.   October was Breast Cancer Awareness month, and several UMHB clubs and organizations created events to highlight the severity of the disease.   Light the Night Pink, sponsored by the Pre-Health Professional Club, was a beautiful display of creativity.   Because of her personal experience with an aunt who survived breast cancer and a godmother who died after three battles with reoccurring breast cancer, freshman pre-med, psychology major Lexxi McBride showed her support by attending the event, Oct. 28.   She said she enjoyed the pink-frosted popcorn, delectable pink lemonade and other tasty pink treats.   The speaker, Dr. Heidi M. DiFrancesca, is an assistant professor for anatomy and physiology I and II as well as cancer biology.   Dr. DiFrancesca she participated in an eight-year effort in breast cancer research where she studied the effects of enzymes on the prognosis of breast cancer.   She enlightened students on what cancer actually is and what happens to the tissue of a person diagnosed with either benign cancer or malignant cancer. Normal cells in the human body grow, divide then die.   However, cancer cells grow, divide, continue to divide but don’t die. Malignant cancer has the ability to invade neighboring tissue, but benign cancer does not.   Diagnostic technology and better medicine have reduced the mortality rate of men and women; but 1/1000 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer next year, and 4,000 women are estimated to die of the disease in 2015.   Still, Dr. DiFrancesca said she “is excited that research, awareness, and survival rate of breast cancer has increased and the death rate has declined.”   Those participating may not have years of research experience like Dr. DiFrancesca, but their simple donation and presence made a difference in the growing awareness surrounding the...

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