Month: April 2016

For Goodness Snakes…

Rattlesnake Roundup continues to educate, entertain


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

SWEETWATER – Rattlesnakes are only as dangerous as you make them.

Watching where you step, place your hands when sitting down, and resisting the urge to harass or kill a snake are among the ways you can avoid having any bad encounter you could possibly have with a rattlesnake, according to experts.

Rattlesnakes are native all over America, but mostly in the Southwest. There are 36 known species and more than 65 subspecies. The name ‘Rattlesnake’ was given to the reptile species for their ‘noisemaker,’ also known as the rattle, at the end of the snake’s tail. The rattle is an effective warning sign. A new segment gets added every time the snake sheds its skin.

Rattlesnakes go into hibernation during the colder months, and do not come out until the weather gets above 60 degrees fahrenheit, typically around the month of March.

During the time that the rattlesnake is out of hibernation, it typically moves through the area, sunning itself or looking for a place to hide. Rattlesnakes tend to move around in the area that it considers its ‘home range,’ but they are not territorial.

Rattlesnakes are usually born between August and October, and are about 10 inches long at birth, with a small button on the tip of its tail. Rattler babies have venom, short fangs and are dangerous from birth.

Newborns are unable to make a rattling sound, and the youngsters throw themselves into a defensive pose and strike repeatedly when disturbed.

Rattlesnakes reach sexually maturity at about 3 years of age. Mating usually occurs in the spring after emerging from hibernation, but can also occur in the fall. Females are able to store the semen for months, allowing them to fertilize the ova sometimes six months later.

The female rattler may carry anywhere from four to 25 eggs, with an average of about 10 young born live. A female rattlesnake usually reproduces about every three years.

The Sweetwater Jaycees have held the World’s Largest Rattlesnake Roundup every year during the second weekend of March for the past 58 years in the Nolan County Coliseum at Newman Park in Sweetwater, Texas. The event attracts more than over 25,680 attendees each year, with about 21,314 non-local attendees ranging in age from 30 to 60 years old, and about 4,366 local attendees, ranging from the age of 18 to 50 years old, according to a 2015 event survey.

The Rattlesnake Roundup starts on Thursday night with the Rattlesnake Parade, followed by a carnival featuring rides, food, and games for everyone to enjoy. The Miss Snake Charmer Pageant also is held that same night in the Municipal Auditorium, where the young ladies in the pageant have a chance to show their talent, dress up, and try to charm the judges, just like at any other pageant, except this one is more for the community to enjoy.

On Friday and Saturday, they open the doors to the Nolan County Coliseum, where rattlesnakes can be seen at four different stations: Safety and Handling Demonstration, Milking Pit, Skinning Pit, and Research Pit. You can also participate in a guided hunt early in the morning, and see the rattlesnakes in their natural habitat. But participants are required to have a non-game Texas General Hunting License.

The Safety and Handling Demonstration is represented by David Sager and Dusty Hoskins. They talk about what to do around a rattlesnake, and what to do if you are bitten by a rattlesnake.

“The Safety and Handling Demonstration is mostly for you to know how to safely live in the same area as the rattlesnakes,” said Hoskins. “Most of the time, the rattlesnake won’t want to bite you. It is just as afraid of you as you are of the snake.”

Learning the safety of rattlesnakes and what to do if you come across one, whether they are highly populated in the town or city, such as Sweetwater, is really important.

“I work at the Abilene Regional Medical Center,” said Hoskins. “I see a lot of patients who come in with rattlesnake bites.”

The rattlesnakes are milked in the Milking Pit by Dennis Cumbie and Brad Willis, who demonstrate the process of grabbing the rattlesnake and milking out the venom.

“Milking the rattlesnake is important for medical research,” said Cumbie. “I originally hunted. But one day, the Jaycees were shorthanded and asked me to fill in. I’ve been milking them since.”

The venom from rattlesnakes is sent off to medical labs, where they use it in more than 70 different drugs. The snakes’ venom extracted during the milking is used to create anti-venom. Medical research is showing that venom can be used in medicines to help with strokes and malignant tumors.

Miss Texas can also be found during the Rattlesnake Roundup entering the pits and getting involved with the Sweetwater Jaycees crew and the crowd.

“Miss Texas shows up every year,” said Shannon Sanderford, 2015 Miss Texas. “It is a Miss Texas tradition.”

Sanderford, a 23-year old graduate of The University of Oklahoma with a degree in journalism, learned how to a hold the rattlesnake with the help of Cumbie. She even posed for the audience to take pictures of her and Cumbie holding the rattlesnake.

Just on the other side of the Milking Pit is the Skinning Pit, where you can watch Jaycees volunteers skin snakes, and roll up the snake skins. They also have a section where you can gut and skin your own rattlesnake, and put your snake’s blood on the wall behind the pit with your hand print. They use the skin to make different unique items, such as souvenirs, pens, snake heads, and even just the skin dried up and flattened.

At the end of the Coliseum is the research pit, where they measure the length and weight of the rattlesnakes. The Sweetwater Jaycees harvested 24,262 pounds of rattlesnakes for 2016, which broke the 34-year record with 17,986 pounds set in 1982.

The McIntyre team had the most pounds of rattlesnakes at 3,428 pounds, and Eric Timaeus had the longest rattlesnake at 75-1/2, just under the record of 81-1/2.

The Rattlesnake Roundup ends on Sunday with a snake eating contest, beard contest, longest snake, and the person with the most pounds of snakes. Rattlesnake Roundup has visitors from all over the country, as well as the surrounding areas of Sweetwater.

Jaycees Junior Chamber International is an international organization with nearly, 200,000 young active members, more than 5 million alumni, including several world leaders, and spreads across more than 5,000 local communities and 100 other countries around the world.

Jones uses mental, physical strength to succeed in distance running

by NICK ALVARADO//Editorial Assistant

Long distance running for any athlete can be challenging.

For Kassidi Jones, it has built toughness, both mentally and physically.

“I believe that running is mental,” said Jones, a sophomore on the South Plains College track team. “It’s 90 percent mental, and if you can overcome through your mind, you can be the best. I don’t know what really got me into it, just motivation and wanting to be the best and win, anywhere I go.”

Jones says that it was “weird” getting involved in long-distance running events, also stating that she has been “super competitive.”

“I started weird,” Jones said. “I’ve always have been super competitive my whole life. I started running in high school as a freshman, and I was good at it.”

Before she was a runner, Jones was taking part in rodeo events in her hometown of Bangs, which is located 15 minutes west of Brownwood.

“My parents used to always have me in rodeo,” Jones said. “I used to train my own horses and go to the big rodeos. It was real expensive and we had to stop doing that, and my horse got pregnant. There was no way I could have done it in college anyway.”

While at Bangs High School, Jones competed in the mile and two-mile run. Now, she participates in longer events.


“I do the 3,000-meter steeplechase, the 1,500-meter run, the 5,000-meter run, 10,000-meter run,” Jones said. “It’s really just whatever Coach (Chris Beene) put me in.”

Jones has been struggling with injury, limiting her chances to get a personal record. She is currently recovering and hoped to set foot on the track for the outdoor season with her first meet last weekend being at Abilene Christian University.

“I’ve been struggling with an injury, so I haven’t been practicing,” Jones said. “I just go to the meets and run.”

Her plans for the future involve transferring to a NCAA Division I University and continue to compete in track.

She added that she will be looking to head out-of-state to transfer.

“I’m looking into Oklahoma University or Florida University.” Jones said.

Outside of track, Jones likes to hangout with her track friends and they have become like a family.

“We go to Lubbock and do whatever,” Jones said.

Jones added that she is lucky to be a part of a national championship track team at SPC.

“I’m very lucky to be here,” Jones said. “Everybody on the track team is very lucky to be here, since we are a national champion team. We really are the best in the nation at the junior college level. It’s really such an honor to be a national champion. This program is the best.”

Track teams open outdoor season on high note with national qualifiers

by JOSHUA RAMIREZ//Sports Editor

The South Plains College men’s and women’s track teams posted more than 61 national qualifying marks in the opening weeks of the outdoor season.

The SPC track teams outran their competition at the ACU Kittley Invitational on April 9 in Abilene.

SPC entered the meet with 61 national qualifying marks following their performance to begin the season.

Sophomore Kelvin Keter had on of his best performances of the year, placing first in the 800 and 1,500 meters with times of 1:55.29 and 4:00.1, respectively.

Sophomore Hassan Abdi raced alongside Keter in the 1,500 meters before placing second with a time of 4:04.42.

Robert Dunning placed first overall in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.21, while DeVante Lacy placed first in the 400 meters with a time of 47.4.

Nicholas Rotich placed first in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 9:45.51, and Kwaume McGee placed first in the high jump with a height of 6-6.75.

In the men’s 4×400 relay, Okeen Williams, Lacy, Dedrian Windham, and Cordell Richardson placed first with a time of 3:17.21.

The men swept the top three spots in the 5,000 meters behind the efforts of Jose Silva, Connor Hughes and Omero Rodriguez.

Silva took the top spot with a time of 15:44.09. Hughes was close behind in 16:06.3, and Rodriguez placed third with a time of 16:24.28.

The first-place finishes continued for the SPC women’s team as the Lady Texans dominated the competition at the ACU Invitational

Aaliyah Telesford posted two first-place finishes, placing first in the 100 and 200 meters with times of 11.71 and 24.79, respectively.

Medinah Spencer placed first in the 100 meter hurdles with a time of 13.97.

Latriceia Smith placed first overall in the 800 meters with a time of 2:23.95, while Poro Gahekave placed first in the women’s 5,000 meters with a time of 19:34.38.

Telesford, Smith, Mauricia Prieto, and Deja Harrison posted a first-place finish in the 4×400 with a time of 3:46.04.

The Lady Texans won their second relay event behind the combined efforts of Alexis Hyshaw, Joi Gill, Spencer, and Telesford, placing first in the 4×100 with a time of 46.38.

The Lady Texans also finished the day with two first-place finishes in the discus and javelin.

Tasha Crosse placed first in the discus with a throw of 146-6, and Salena Orlenas placed first in javelin with a throw of 113-6.

SPC entered the second week of the outdoor season with 30 national qualifying marks.

The Texans competed in the 2016 Nike Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays at the Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas on March 30.

_DSC0431 copy
Okeen Williams practices for an upcoming track meet at the SPC track on April 7. TOVI OYERVIDEZ/PLAINSMAN PRESS

Gabe Moore showed his versatility by competing in 11 events for the Texans (discus, javelin, decathlon, 110 hurdles, shot put, long jump, pole vault, 100 meters, high jump, 1500 meters, and 400 meters) and finished the day with eight top-10 finishes.

Moore’s top marks came in the discus with a throw of 136-2 placing him third overall, and in the javelin with a throw of 167-8, placing him fourth overall.

Along with his success in the throwing events, Moore place fifth in the 100 meters with a time of 10.92 and seventh in the decathlon with 7,039 points.

Abdi placed third in the 5,000 meters with a time of 14:31.13.

Fabian Edoki had two top-10 finishes, taking the top spot in the triple jump with a leap of 51-7.25, and placed ninth in the long jump with a distance of 7.51 meters.

Keter performed well in the 1,500 meters, placing second with a time of 3:51.56.

Derric Monroe finished ninth in the long jump with a distance of 23 feet. Adrian Williams finished second overall in the javelin with a throw of 219-8.

Williams competed in the 400-meters hurdles, placing fifth overall with a time of 52.59.

The Lady Texans finished 11th in the 4×400 preliminaries behind the combined efforts of Spencer, Prieto, Saqukine Cameron, and Harrison, who posted a time of 3:47.86.

Telesford, Prieto, Gill, and Cameron finished 15th overall in the 4×100 meter preliminaries with a time of 46.32.

Felicia Frimpong finished 11th overall in the long jump with a leap of 16-4.5, and Spencer finished 18th overall in the 400 hurdles with a time of 1:00.44.

SPC has racked up 61 national qualifying marks following performances at the 2016 Nike Clyde Littlefield Texans Relays.

The Texans kicked off the outdoor season on March 25 at the 2016 UTEP Springtime Invitational in El Paso, Texas.

Edoki placed first in the long jump with a distance of 26-3.75.

Moore posted three top-10 finishes in the pole vault, javelin, and discus. He finished third in the pole vault with a height of 14-7.25, second in the discus with a throw of 141-2, and third in the javelin with a throw 177-7.

Keter had two top-10 finishes, placing first in the 800 meters with a time of 1:55.43 and third in the 1,500 meters with a time of 3:57.53.

Logan McBride competed in five events for the Texans (pole vault, 110 hurdles, javelin, discus, and the 100 meters), finishing the day with four top-10 finishes.

McBride’s best marks came in the pole vault, placing fourth overall with a height of 13-1.5, and in the javelin, placing fifth with a throw of 36.47.

Kwame McGee faired well in the triple jump and high jump, finishing the day with two top-three finishes.

McGee placed second in the triple jump with a distance of 43-7.75, and third in the high jump with a leap of 6-6.75.

The SPC women also competed well at the UTEP Springtime Invitational, racking up multiple top-10 finishes.

Morgan Hartsell placed second overall in the pole vault with a vault of 12’3.5”.

Anyi Garcias recorded two top-10 finishes with her performance in the triple jump and high jump events. Garcias placed fifth in the triple jump with a jump of 38-1.5 and eighth in the high jump with a height of 5-3.

Kionna Bradshaw placed third in the shot put with a throw of 44-6.75, and was ninth in the discus with a distance of 135-1.

Selena Orlenas placed fourth in the javelin with a throw of 38.89.

Harrison and Hairston each finished in the top five in their respective events. Harrison placed fourth in the 400 meters with a time of 56.39, and Hairston placed fourth in the high jump after clearing 5-5.

The Lady Texans’ A-squad for the 4×100 finished second with a time of 45.72 behind the four-women team of Alexis Hyshaw, Prieto, Hill, and Cameron. The B-squad, which consisted of Gill, Lewis, Brianna Jones, and Shirley Vunatup, placed fifth with a time of 47.46.

In the 4×400 relay Smith, B. Jones, Vunatup, and Sanders finished sixth place with a time of 4:07.28.

Success of UCONN women potentially impacting viewership

by NICK ALVARADO//Editorial Assistant

The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team has won their fourth consecutive national title with no surprise this season, with blowouts in both games in the NCAA Final Four.

Many people who have watched this dominance by the Lady Huskies have been amazed at how the games are ending in blowouts.

No other team was able to get closer to UCONN than 20 points, though the University of Texas lost to UCONN by 21 points.

With the dominance of the Lady Huskies, some are questioning whether the women’s basketball television audience and the competitive edge of the other teams is dwindling.

It seems like every year, UCONN wins a national title in women’s basketball. Currently, UCONN has won seven national titles. Their workouts are intense, and the players are pushed to their limits.

The TV audience has been up by about 36 percent, according to ESPN, in women’s college hoops when a regular-season game is featured. But crowning the same team a national champion can be mundane.

If you have the same team winning the tournament, most likely the viewership will go down, since people will already know the outcome of the tournament. In this case, fans will know UCONN could win the national title next year and maybe the year after next. Money is a big part of sports, and this could lead to economic issues in the future.

Teams are hyped that they get the opportunity to play the best teams in the country. Teams can also be overwhelmed by their opponent as well. The competitive edge could also be lost in games UCONN plays due to the fact that they are blowing out teams by 30 points or more. This could be an intimidating factor for other teams because of how good UCONN plays. The opponent could be hurt by that as well.

With the blowouts that UCONN is handing out, the schedule strength is also in doubt during the season. While the strength of the schedule is in doubt, they eventually get a number one seed when it comes to tournament time due to the gameplay and their current form.

With UCONN being one of the few women’s teams that are televised on a national network such as ESPN, it hurts the TV audience when there is a blowout almost every game they play during the season. Other programs that are on the rise and are playing well during the course of the season should also receive attention on the national stage and receive recognition for the great run they are having. They can get an eye test for being a potential tournament team.

Teams should receive the same amount of attention when it comes to television, instead of a powerhouse program hogging the spotlight.

New rule allows players to maximize draft stock

by STEVEN GEHEGAN//Staff Writer

The National Collegiate Athletic Association finally put in a rule that benefits the players, and John Calipari is taking full advantage of it.

The new rule that the NCAA put in place allows college basketball players to enter the National Basketball League draft and get a draft grade from the NBA, before graduation. If the player is not happy with the grade, he is allowed to return to school, as long as the player does not hire an agent.  With this new rule in place, all players should take advantage of the rule as Calipari, head men’s basketball coach at the University of Kentucky, is doing.

Calipari is sending his whole team to the NBA draft, including the walk-ons. This way all of his players will receive a draft grade so they can make an informed decision about their future. Not all of the players will actually enter the draft, but all of the players will have a good idea of what the NBA thinks of them. That is what more schools need to be doing for the better players. The more that schools do this for their players the better players, will want to come to their school.

Steven OP

It might not sound like an effective way to run a college basketball team and build for the future, but this action will help out already dominant Kentucky even more.

But not all players who put their name in the draft will keep their name in the draft. Some of the bench players who do not show enough to get the draft grade that they would want will come back for another season.

Even though the names of all Kentucky players went into the draft, it does not mean they will stay there. For the players who do come back, they will know what the NBA thinks that they need to improve on so that next year they can raise their draft stock.

Then there is the way this will help Kentucky recruit. Since Kentucky and Calipari are already great at recruiting, it might seem that they cannot get any better. But they just did. Since most of the top recruits have an eye on the NBA and want to jump after one year, knowing they will have the support of their head coach no matter what will go a long way. Even if a player needs to come back for a second year at a university, he will know that he has the support of Calipari, who will do what it takes to get them to the NBA.

This new rule put in by the NCAA has made a great Kentucky team even better.

Questionable call on opening day causes debate on rule

by DOMINICK PUENTE//Staff Writer

Opening Day has come and gone earlier this month for Major League Baseball this 2016 season.

However, it was an eventful day for the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Blue Jays kicked off their season on the road against their rival Tampa Bay Rays, but failed to start the season off in a positive way.

As the top of the ninth got under way, the Blue Jays managed to load the bases with one out, and Edwin Encarnacion at the plate to take his final swings of the game. With a 1-2 count, Encarnacion caught a hold of a fastball down the right side of the plate and hit the ball to Rays third baseman Evan Longoria. Longoria was able to field the ball cleanly and get the throw to the Rays second baseman, Logan Forsythe. As Forsythe began to shift toward the first baseman’s direction, Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays sprinted into second for what seemed like a clean slide into the base and Forsythe, causing the ball to pass Rays first baseman Logan Morrison. Two runners crossed home plate on the bad throw, giving the Rays a 4-3 lead.

However, the play was reviewed by the umpiring crew working the game. The umpires came to a conclusion that Bautista’s slide into second base was illegal because his left arm caught the back foot of Forsythe. Due to the illegal slide, both Bautista and Encarnacion were called out, and the Rays took the win, 3-2.

In the MLB rule book, “rule 6.01(j), a runner will have to make a “bona fide slide,” which is defined as making contact with the ground before reaching the base, being able to and attempting to reach the base with a hand or foot, being able to and attempting to remain on the base at the completion of the slide (except at home plate) and not changing his path for the purpose of initiating contact with a fielder.”

Even though most professional leagues attempt to establish rules in hopes of having the answers for all scenarios, there always manages to be gray areas in the game.

Many professional players and well known retired players expressed their dissatisfaction with the new rule, due to how easily a runner could be called out if a body part such as an arm or a leg slightly comes into contact with the thrower.

Dom OP

I can understand how the MLB committee wants safety to be a top priority. But if it interferes with the integrity of the game and causes the play of the game to change because a simple arm cannot come into contact with a defensive player, that is somewhat ridiculous. The sport of baseball has become a part of the American culture and has adopted new rules and better safety guidelines.

But I believe there is such a thing as being too safe. If more rules are added such as this one, the sport of baseball will not be baseball anymore. Sliding will become illegal, and batters will have to wear full-body gear because people feel more safety guidelines should be implemented.

Many more rules will be put into effect in the following seasons. But there should be a limit as to how many are implemented in a season, and more people should be allowed to have a say in whether the rule is used in games. The players themselves should have more of a say in the passing of rules since they are the ones who play 162 games a year.

I understand that it is the committee’s job to make the game better. However, they are not the ones putting the wear and tear on their bodies playing baseball.

The game of baseball will never be perfect. But the way the game is played could be headed in a better direction than what it is right now. There is a reason why only a few can make it into the big leagues. This game was not meant for everybody and should not be made for everybody. Different types of rules will be added. However, I think that this rule should be gone.

Flatland Zombies feature aggressive sound in debut album

by DOMINICK PUENTE//Staff Writer

The up-and-coming trio, Flatbush Zombies, released their debut album in early March, and it is gaining ground swell.

After multiple mixtapes throughout the past few years, Flatbush Zombies released their 12-song album, “3001: A Laced Odyssey.”

The group features three members, Meechy Darko, Zombie Juice, and Erick Arc Elliott.

The new album shows their realistic and violent lyric styling, along with their tag-team style rapping. Throughout the album, all three artists alternate positions on the songs and manage to change the style of their raps, keeping listeners on their toes and not expecting what the next song will sound like.

I feel that is the best way to create an album. Even though Flatbush Zombies has a psychedelic vibe to their songs, the entire album has various shifts in beats and solid melodies, giving it better variety for different music lovers.

As the album begins with the first few songs, such as “The Odyssey,” and “Bounce,” there is a faster and more hard rap beat. Although they have an increased tempo within the songs, the group managed to stay within their usual solid lyrics, keeping the song dark and violent.

“Bounce” became a popular song that created a solid buzz in the mainstream industry with a trap-music vibe that is gaining a lot of attention in the rap and underground rap community. All three artists do a fantastic job of spreading out the amount of time in their sections of the song while creating smooth transitions.

Toward the middle of the album, songs such as “Fly Away,” “R.I.P.C.D,” and “Smoke Break” showed their true roots of lyrical writing, along with their style of beats. These songs showed their slow, smooth and gloomy lyrics, giving them a dark profile. Some of the verses from the group can be hard to follow throughout the album. However, that did not discourage me from enjoying the songs all the way through.

The group does include some vulgar and explicit material in all 12 songs. But the way Flatbush Zombies handled the material keeps each song amusing and interesting at the same time. The music is respectable, enjoyable and gives off a good vibe. 

I found the hard-hitting songs to be my most favorite, such as, “Ascension,” and “Good Grief.” Many rap artists can produce hard-hitting lyrical songs, but Flatbush Zombies goes the extra mile in talking about various situations, such as the life of a street hustler and the things they have seen throughout their time together since they were children.

Most songs on the rap scene have similar themes, such as the use of drugs, partying, gang-related events and women. But the Flatbush Zombies find a good way to incorporate these things into their songs without being direct. Dark metaphors and vague verses kept me listening and trying to understand the real meaning of the song.

This album should be able to please a wide variety of music listeners. The songs are put together well and have some thought in each and every verse. I find the album and rap group to be great, as their music is entertaining and joyful. Even though their music is not club oriented and intended to hype people up, there are a few songs on the album that I would listen to no matter the mood I am in.

I would recommend this album to listeners who care for a deep and dark meaning behind music. Even though some of the songs have a fast beat, this type of rap music is not made for mainstream listeners.

I rate this album an 4 out of 5 on how well the songs are produced and lyrical content. Overall, it is a great album to listen to all the way through.

‘Batman v. Superman’ disappoints with boring storyline

by RILEY GOLDEN//Editorial Assistant

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” only contains about 30 minutes of action for an entire two and a half hours of a comic book movie, and it’s all at the end.

The first time Batman and Superman meet is very anti-climactic. Superman is chasing Batman through the streets of Metropolis for a bit, only to lead up to the two heroes coming face to face for nothing violent or physical to really happen. And that’s one of the most exciting scenes in the movie.

Sadly, the movie is made up of mostly different scenes that don’t really flow. The result is a choppy film that leaves the viewers wondering how the heroes got from one scene to the next. Most of the movie shows Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent doing things that might or might not be related to the previous scene. Most of the movie features the heroes in their civilian clothes, which is quite disappointing. One scene shows Bruce Wayne sneaking into Lex Luthor’s party to download some information. Why couldn’t Batman do this?

Thirty minutes or so into the movie, the audience gets the first glimpse of Batman. And he’s standing in the corner in a very odd position. Then a very animated-looking blur moves through the room (that’s supposed to be Batman). Other than that, Wayne doesn’t really put the Bat-suit on in the movie much.

There’s one scene toward the end of the movie when Batman takes out 10-plus guys, and it’s so awesome. Fans of Batman finally get to see the Bat that isn’t stiff but flows through combat. Watching it is like playing one of the “Batman: Arkham” games, and it’s thoroughly enjoyable. I wanted the whole movie to be as satisfying as that one scene, That scene was extremely satisfying. That fight scene was on par with the Marvel movies.


But, sadly, the rest of the movie wasn’t. It dragged on so much in the first two hours. For all of that time spent on developing the storyline, there isn’t much to it.

The conflict between Batman and Superman is really pretty weak. It has a decent start, as Batman’s rage stems from Superman’s battle with fellow Kryptonian, General Zod. During the fight, the Wayne Tower gets destroyed with all of the employees still in it, and this sets Bruce off.

After that, Batman’s rage doesn’t grow into much. Batman is an extremely smart and wise person, and he’s never been this blind. It’s obvious that Superman is doing good in the world, and Batman ignores it. He’s willing to kill Superman, breaking his one rule of not killing people. Except he has already killed in this movie.

Batman wrecks a few cars that would have definitely killed the passengers, and he blows up multiple vehicles from the Batwing, killing at least 12 people. Did Warner Bros. not watch this movie? Did they not ask where Batman is for the first two hours?                                                                                                                                       

The movie really doesn’t get all that good until about the last 45 minutes. They show what’s on the flash drive, and it’s early footage of the Justice League. It shows Cyborg being built, Flash saving someone in a convenience store, and Aquaman spearing an underwater camera.

Eventually Batman and Superman fight, and, sadly, a lot of that action was revealed in the trailers for the movie. The fight only lasts around eight minutes, and the fight ends essentially because Bruce’s and Clark’s mothers share the same name. It was kind of ridiculous.

Soon after that, Luthor unleashes Doomsday on the cities of Gotham and Metropolis. The fighting at the end, with Superman and Wonder Woman tag teaming Doomsday, is pretty cool.

All that being said, the first two hours of the movie are super boring. Yet the fighting at the end was very enjoyable. I give “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” a 3 out of 5 stars.

‘WTF’ depicts life of war reporter with satire

by ALEX PEREZ//Staff Writer

Looking for a way out of her boring life as a script writer in New York, Kim Baker finds herself in the middle of a war zone in Kabul, Afghanistan, fighting for the chance to make her life exciting and meaningful.

“Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” dances around the sharp corners of war with satire and successfully weaves in the dramatic life of Kim Baker. Baker, played by Tina Fey, ventures out from her very modern, comfortable lifestyle and her boyfriend in New York City, to the war zone in Kabul, Afghanistan. She decides to invigorate her dry life by taking on a new assignment as a war reporter.

She soon meets Tanya Vanderpoel, played by the beautiful Margot Robbie, and gets sucked into the high of war reporting. They become best friends and endure the Iraqi war together.


On her first assignment, Baker gets thrown into real combat and is shown the reality of it all. After interviewing a soldier who describes the war as “forgotten” and being in a real shoot-out, she finds out the reality of the war, jump-starting her interest and passion to get the Afghanistan war to the public.

Baker also finds a friend in an Afghani man named Fahim, played by Christopher Abbott, who becomes her cameraman and guide through the Afghanistan customs. Fahim and Baker venture through the dangerous reality as Kim continues to get into more danger as her war high is getting stronger. He keeps her level in the surreal place they live in.

As Baker goes through trials throughout the movie, she must partake in the traditions of women in the Middle East and deal with the normality of war on a daily basis. She also gets confronted with the dilemma of having to deal with the reality of Kabul being her new home and not a job. Baker also starts a romance with a freelance photographer, which enhances the normality of the war and scares her. Ultimately, it makes her realize that her reality in Afghanistan is not normal.

The contrast between the comfortable lifestyle and the war-stricken world in Kabul create the theme of the movie. The audience goes through the change with Baker as she realizes her meaningless life of boredom and fights to change that to an exciting and adventurous life of a war reporter.

Baker gets addicted to the high of being in the action, which puts her life and her friends in danger at times.

Like in many reporter movies, Baker gets too involved in the job and does anything to get the story, which does make the movie a tad cliché. But overall, it was an exciting and great movie. The satirical edge to the action and romance makes “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” a movie to watch for the weekend.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Fourth season of ‘House of Cards’ ends on suspenseful note

by HAIDEN HAWKINS//Staff Writer

The third season of “House of Cards” was a bit of a letdown, and leaving many questions unanswered.

Will Frank (Kevin Spacey) be able to keep himself together without his powerful partner Claire (Robin Wright), now that it seems that the two have split? Then there is Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly), whose conscience is getting the best of him in the last few minutes of the final episode of season three.

If you’re a true fan of “House of Cards,” then you probably have already binge-watched all of season four. Thankfully, the fourth season begins to answer those questions that some have been asking themselves since the end of season three.

It starts with a dramatic bang when the audiences comes to find out not only has the power couple spilt, but they are at odds with one another. Bringing Wright’s character to new heights, it’s a new Claire that the fans have never seen before. Claire has been there every step of the way for Francis as his partner in crime, plotting and scheming to get the power they had dreamed of.  But now that the tables have turned, she can now take down Francis. She is the only person who can bring him down, because she knows how to hurt him. She knows Francis better than anyone, making her a very powerful person.


On the other hand, Frank Underwood looks as though he’s tired and drained from his duties as being the commander in chief of the United States. With Stamper doing his dirty work, that won’t be enough to get the votes he needs for another term in office. The election is right around the corner, and the odds of winning back the White House are slim. He must do everything he can to get Claire back beside him doing what they do best together. As Claire tries to use this to her advantage, running for a Senate seat, she will soon come to realize that Francis will double cross her.

In this season, Frank makes new enemies and has new threats to contend with. This includes the Russian president and his own party, as Frank will have to put up a fight for the running mate he desires to have on board with him. Then he has to deal with the introduction of the cocky and deceitful Will Conway (Joel Kinnaman), the Republican nominee who is no threat to Underwood, but Conway does keep Frank on his toes.

Season four is intense season with its twists and turns. It will have you at the edge of your seat every episode.

Season four had an amazing ending, leaving you wanting more. However, there is reason to be cautious, since the original creator, Beau Willimon, isn’t returning for season that leaves the question of whether season five will be as good as the rest of the series.

Lamar suprises fans with unexpected release of ‘untitled unmastered’

by JONATHAN BROOKSHIRE//Social Media Coordinator

Kendrick Lamar is arguably one of the best rappers of all time.

With the release of his newest extended play (EP), Lamar makes his way that much closer to the top of the game.

The album, “untitled unmastered,” is not a full-fledged studio album, but rather a collection of unreleased demos that originated from his last major work of art, “To Pimp a Butterfly.”

Lamar uses the same political and religious lyrics, along with jazzy free-form beats previously used in “To Pimp a Butterfly.”

On the second track, the intro has Lamar chanting “pimp-pimp! Hooray!” This part of the song was obviously a part of his last album, and a play on the popular cheer hip-hip hooray.

It’s my understanding that the intro is used to accentuate the sarcasm that the line expresses.

Lamar is obviously against the evils in the world, such as racism, corrupt politics, and religion. This line uses sarcasm to criticize the problem of prostitution.

Every song in this collection is meaningful, expressing his worries with politics and religion.

One of the other main points in his work is racism.


Grammy Award-winning artist Anna Wise helps Lamar speak his opinion on the topic of race.

On the third track, the verses are divided by a question from Wise, asking what did the Asian say? What did the Indian say? What did the [African] man say? And what did the white man say?

Lamar shows how each race gives advice, while showing how the white man is materialistic.

At the end of the song, he shows his love for his race by singing the chant, “Tell ‘em we don’t die, tell ‘em we don’t die, tell ‘em we don’t die, we multiply.”

There is a reason he is called “King Kendrick.” The flows of his raps, along with the combination of jazz instruments, quirky sounds, and interesting slang, make his music undeniably Lamar.

Before he released the EP, Lamar performed some of the songs on TV shows such as “The Colbert Report,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” and also the 2016 Grammy Awards.

It was at the Grammys where Lamar revealed that he had a collection of tracks that didn’t make it onto the album “To Pimp A Butterfly.”

“I got a chamber of material from the album that I was in love [with],” Lamar said, according to Rolling Stone. “Sample clearances or something as simple as a deadline kept it off the album.”

“Untitled unmastered” doesn’t really sound like a mixtape. It is exactly what Lamar said. The lyrics and messages of each of the songs sound like it’s from “To Pimp A Butterfly.”

To even verify this, the dates of the songs were written and recorded are imprinted on each of the tracks, spanning from 2013 to 2016.

The EP gives the listener different sounds for different moods.

My favorite song to just jam to was track eight. The funky upbeat sound and flow of the song, coupled with the chorus, just makes me want to dance.

On the other hand, track two is my go-to song for a real rap sound. The deeper bass and more prolific lyrics make it feel serious. The second half of the song is where this really takes place. The first half was sort of slow, which amplified the social ridicule that Lamar has throughout the EP.

Track six features Cee-Lo Green. His lyrics are calm, but thought-provoking and accentuate the funky sound of the track.

Out of the entire EP, the only thing I didn’t like were the slow starts and heavy use of instrumentals. They were nice, but it’s sort of like teasing your ears. You get a taste of the lyrics, but when Lamar stops, you expect him to start not long after. But the pauses are a bit too long. I found myself skipping some of the songs more than usual because of that.

Some might say that “untitled unmastered” is nothing more than the scraps of his last album, but it should be considered as something separate.

Given that, “untitled unmastered” is just as classic as his last album.

Lamar never disappoints when he releases a song, whether he is featuring on another song or creating a studio album.

I give “untitled unmastered” a solid 4 out of 5 stars.

‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ falls flat with choppy scenes, overused concept

by SARA MARSHALL//Photo Editor

I am an avid believer of reading a novel before watching the movie or television adaptation.     Though this leaves me disappointed much of the time, I still avidly watch movies after having read the books.

Burr Steers’ adaptation of the novel by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” is about five sisters growing up in 19th-century England. Each sister must cope with the pressure to marry, all the while protecting themselves from the growing hordes of zombies.

The key characters were portrayed extremely well by the actors, despite the inability of the plot to attract the attention of viewers. Lily James (“Cinderella”) plays the beloved character Elizabeth “Lizzy” Bennet, bouncing from dancing to deadly art training like it’s child’s play. Lizzy’s counterpart is played by Sam Riley (“Maleficent”), who portrays the ever-scowling, yet handsome and caring Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. The fearsome zombie assassin, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, was luckily played by none other than Lena Headey (“Game of Thrones”).

Yet, the wonderful capabilities of all actors involved did not make up for this truly disconcerting adaptation. “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” left key components from the book off the movie screens, causing much confusion and frustration to any viewer who read the book previously. I felt lost and confused while watching, since I was waiting for key moments to come about, much to my disappointment.

Lily James

I especially disliked how jumpy the plot seemed. From one scene to the next scene, there were no lead-ins or transitions. Everything in this movie was rushed and choppy, adding to the overall movie viewing discomfort.

On the other hand, if one had not read the novel before watching “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” it may have been a pleasant enough movie. There were many moments which added suspense and thrill to the movie, yet it seemed to lack something.

However, I honestly think the overall cinematography of the movie was very well executed. I believe the scenes which were lucky enough to be in the final cut portrayed 19th century England rather well. The acting, costumes and scenes were reminiscent of old England and the styles of the 19th century, accurately portraying the movie’s setting.

But the whole zombie apocalypse is such an overused idea in movies today. Everything that can be imagined has been done with zombies, such as super-inhuman zombies or slow, dumb zombies. The whole concept of civilized zombies and raging zombies seemed extremely gimmicky in “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.”

No amount of flashy movie making could possibly dissuade me from my negative opinion on the movie’s jumpy scenes, disjointed plot and overall terrible movie quality. Although I went into the movie knowing it would be in some ways different, I was severely disappointed by how little it lived up to my expectations, which were set by its book counterpart.

I would give “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” a sad 1 out of 5 stars.

’10 Cloverfield Lane hooks audience with suspenseful plot

by CHESANIE BRANTLEY//Editor-in-Chief

The walls and the ceiling tremble underground while they fly overhead.

“10 Cloverfield Lane” opens with Michelle, played by Mary Winstead, leaving her home and husband behind and driving off into the night. She gets into a car accident and wakes up in a dungeon-like room. Her knee is chained to the wall, and an IV is stuck in her arm. She rips the IV out and reaches for her phone. Of course, there’s no signal. Then Howard, played by John Goodman, walks in.

Up until this point, the movie was quite boring, but when Howard walked in, the entire audience was sitting on the edge of their seat.

Did he kidnap her? What is he going to do?

But all he did was give her crutches and the key to unlock her chained knee. She immediately began to fashion a weapon by whittling the end of the wooden crutches into a sharp point with the metal key. As soon as he comes back, she attacks.

Howard continues to be kind to Michelle. He gives her food and anything she needs. But he makes the comment about how Michelle should be more appreciative and talks about his daughter Megan to the point where it starts to get weird. Later, he tells Michelle that the air above ground is toxic. He is not sure if it was a nuclear attack or something extraterrestrial. Michelle does not buy it.


While Michelle and Howard are in her room, they hear a loud crash. Howard gets up, and there is more yelling and crashing. At this point, Michelle does not know about anyone else in the bunker. Howard comes back with a bloody fist.

When Michelle does come out, she meets Emmett, played by John Gallagher Jr. His arm is in a sling, and he is laying behind shelves of food. Michelle asks him about the crashing, and that is when Howard sneaks up behind them and answers that Emmett had spilled food for an entire week.

Michelle is still unsure about Howard’s story, even when Emmett tries to convince her it’s true. She hears a car above the bunker and tries her first escape that first night. She makes Howard angry enough for him to start yelling in her face, and then she slips the keys from his belt loop and heads for the door. She sees the car with a woman whose face looks like it’s being eaten away.

After the woman dies trying to get in, Michelle believes the story and the three live in peace for a while. Then Howard gives Michelle some of Megan’s clothes to wear, because hers could be “contaminated” from the incident of her escape attempt.

When the walls and ceilings begin to shake, the air filtration system is turned off, and Michelle is the only one small enough to get it back on. She climbs through the air vents, and finds something interesting. “HELP” was scratched and smeared with blood on the inside of a window at the top of the bunker. Winstead did a phenomenal job of acting in this scene, because the fear and wonderment is written all over Michelle’s face.

Michelle and Emmett begin to uncover more of Howard’s dark secrets, but they can’t be divulged because that would give away too much of the story.

“10 Cloverfield Lane” keeps the audience in the dark. If your are into crazy, suspenseful science fiction movies, this is the movie to see. The entire time I found myself wondering what the heck was happening and what was in still in store.

But in the end, there was almost too much happening. I give “10 Cloverfield Lane” a 3 out of 5 stars.

‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2’ entertains with comedic plot

by JENNY GARZA//Entertainment Editor

She only wanted her daughter near her.

This is all Toula Miller wanted in the second installment to “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”

The first film, which came out in 2002, begins with following the life of Fotoula “Toula” Portakalos (Nia Vardalos), who is Greek and not very pretty. By the age of 30, she was still not married. In a  Greek family, this is very bad for her and the family.  She is stuck until one day a very handsome man comes into her life.

After that, her life changes. She begins changing the way she looks, her job, and who she has in her life.

She begins dating Ian Miller (John Corbett),  and they become very serious and want to marry. When this happens, he decides to become Greek and enter into their faith.

Her father is very close to her, so when she begins making all these different changes, her father becomes worried that she will leave him and not return to him.

As the film continues, Ian must be baptized and begin learning the traditions of the Greeks. Also, Toula must figure out how to balance her family and Ian.

They are all working their way to having one big fat Greek wedding.

In the second film, all of the original cast members have come back. It begins with Toula and her daughter Paris getting into her father’s car to go to work and drop all of the grandkids off at school. Like Toula before her, Paris is given a hard time by Gus that she will need to find a husband soon and have babies.

MBFGW2 copy

Toula is helping raise her daughter and keep her close, as her husband also is busy  helping her parents with everything they have to do. So Toula begins to feel stuck, not being able to help herself be the person she was before she was a mother or a wife.

Gus gets an idea one day to prove that he is a direct descendent of Alexander the Great. So Toula and the rest of the family must show him how to run a computer. He begins putting all the information he needs into the website when he discovers that he and his wife Maria are not married by the church and have basically been living in  sin for more than 50 years.

This creates tension all around the family, from them fighting about whether they should be married, to Toula and Ian just worrying their daughter will leave them and they won’t know what to do with themselves because they don’t know how not to be parents.

Gus one day gets stuck in the bath tub and his sons and son-in-law must help him out of the tub because he does not want anyone to call an ambulance. When the others start getting hurt, Toula breaks down and calls the ambulance.

Her father gives in and asks Maria to marry him because she chooses not to go to the hospital with him because they are not married. Maria, of course, agrees, and they immediately start planning one big, fat Greek wedding again.

At the same time, Paris asks a boy to prom. It’s also the same night as her grandparents’ wedding.

This sequel is just as amazing as the first one that came out.  It shows how a family that did not like change grows and is introduced to the changing world around them. They are OK with change and all the things that come with it, from having a son who is gay to getting a son-in-law who is an Anglo.

It also shows how a mother must let go of her daughter, let her grow and find out things on her own. It involves two sets of parents who must find their footing after their daughter wants to leave, or they discover something that was not supposed to happen.

The comedic plot is absolutely superb and will get you to laugh so hard it hurts your sides.

I love this movie and will gladly watch it at least another time. I advise viewers to take their mothers because it is an excellent movie to watch to see how they handled a situation that you both may have been in recently or in the past.

For all these things and more, I give this film 5 out of 5 stars.

Chief McDowell retiring after 34 years


Reasons to retire are different for everyone, and sometimes it can be difficult to leave a job that you enjoy.

Joe McDowell was born in Oklahoma, but grew up in Levelland. He attended Levelland High School, and worked at Smith Funeral Home for two years. After graduating from high school, he joined the Army for three years.

He attended boot camp in Fort Lewis, Washington, and after boot camp, he was stationed overseas in Nuremberg, Germany for two years.

Once returning home from the Army, McDowell worked with AMOCO, which is an oil company, around Levelland.

After working for AMOCO, McDowell attended SPC, but didn’t graduate. He decided to go into SPAG (South Plains Association of Governments) academy in 1983 in Lubbock. The police academy lasted for about three months.

“I was just amazed about police officers,” explained McDowell, “and I just wanted to be one.”

Adorable Retiring Officer
Police chief Joe McDowell is retiring at the end of June. BRANDI ORTIZ/PLAINSMAN PRESS

He started working for the Levelland Police Department at 31 years old, and continued there for 23 years. After just two years, he became a sergeant. When he reached age 55, McDowell decided to retire the first time. But it only lasted around eight months before he took a job as a police officer for SPC, thinking that he would only be doing the job for a few years to save up money.

Joe McDowell’s last day as the SPC Police Chief will be June 30. He says he will be saying good-bye to spend more time with his family and enjoy his free time.

The chief that was here before McDowell quit not long after he started at SPC, so he was offered the chief position. He has held that position for 10 years, bringing him to 34 years of service.

“I decided to come out here to go to work for a short time,” said McDowell. “Then I was asked if I wanted the job. I said, ‘yes’, and that was 10 years ago.”

McDowell says that he is ready to be able to enjoy his retirement and his family.

“I plan to sleep, play golf, and go fishing, but not necessarily in that order,” said McDowell. “And definitely go see my grandkids and spend time with them.”

McDowell says that he has enjoyed his time at SPC, working with the faculty, and getting along with the students.

“I don’t know if I would miss anything or not,” said McDowell. “I have been doing this business for so long. It’s been a good ride, but I am ready to be out of the job and spend more time with my family.”

If given a second chance at life, McDowell said that he would go down the same path with SPCPD.

“I have made a lot of friends here at SPC,” said McDowell. “But I’ve also lived here all my life, so I already knew most people in Levelland.”

Steinhauer looking for new opportunities after retirement

by STEVEN GEHEGAN//Staff Writer 

Cat Steinhauer has helped many students during her time at South Plains College.

But now she is ready to explore the next part of her life. After 15 years of teaching at SPC, Steinhauer has decided to step down.

She has been teaching the same class for the past 15 years and had an impact on the students that she taught.

But she has not always worked in a classroom. Her previous work experiences range from being a bank teller and a loan interviewer in Richmond, Virginia, to be a clothing store department manager and a residential real estate agent. Teaching at SPC has been her fifth career, but likely not her last.

“All have their pluses,” Steinhauer says. “The previous ones were a good foundation.”

Steinhauer professed interest in a couple of different jobs after leaving SPC. She says she is planning to explore a new career, seeking work at the University of Georgia or in sales.

Steinhauer plans to move to Athens, Georgia, where she may seek a job at a university. Steinhauer says she would like to help at-risk students be successful when they are trying to attend college.

“I want to try something different, like student success or work with at-risk students,” said Steinhauer.

Cat Steinhauer in her office in the Administration Building on March 24. MATT MOLINAR/PLAINSMAN PRESS

She expressed interest in this because it was of the things that she has taught at SPC, and she enjoys helping all of her students be successful now and later on in life.   

Another career that Steinhauer plans to look into is a job in sales. She has had previous success in sales, as she stated that she once worked as the regional sales manager for Inter Bake Foods. Her sales territory covered a five-state area where she would sell products. She explained how her previous sales experience helped her in the classroom

“Even though am not selling a tangible product, I am selling higher education,” says Steinhauer.

Steinhauer says she enjoyed her time in sales, especially all of the travelling that she got to do.

The past 15 years at SPC have meant a lot to Steinhauer, she says, and it has made an impact on her.

“It has been rewarding to help young people,” says Steinhauer, “not just teaching sociology, but teaching skills for life, and it will help them in the future.”

Steinhauer says she has lots of fond memories of teaching at SPC, “too many great memories at SPC to narrow it down to just a few.”

She is very fond of her time at SPC, adding that this was a great job to have, since she had so many. She says she will enjoy all the memories she made here, while she is also looking forward to making many new memories in her next career.

“I’m excited about the next chapter in life,” Steinhauer says. “I am also going to be following SPC’s success.”

She added that she hopes the college will continue to be a great place for students to go and get an education.

Travel plans in store for math professor after retirement

by NICOLE TRUGILLO //Editor-in-Chief

Finding a dream job may be tough for some people.

But it wasn’t hard for a Canyon native who found her dream job at South Plains College.

Pat Foard, professor of mathematics, grew up around Canyon and Amarillo. She later moved to Oklahoma, where she attended Davis High School in the Arbuckle Mountains.

“I graduated from Oklahoma,” says Foard. “So, I went to college at the University of Oklahoma and received my Bachelor’s of Science there.”

Foard didn’t know she wanted to be a teacher. In fact, she didn’t even pursue her teaching career until after she decided to get her master’s degree.

“I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in math,” explains Foard. “But I didn’t think I wanted to become a teacher. I worked in an office for a few years, and that’s when I decided I wanted to go back and get my master’s.”

Foard worked in a Cablevision office in Amarillo. She worked with new accounts, processed payments, and dispatched the service men and installers.

Foard received her Master of Science Degree at West Texas State University in Canyon. After she received her master’s, she worked as a graduate assistant. That’s when she decided she liked teaching.

Foard eventually moved to Levelland and taught math for three years at Levelland Junior High School.

Pat Foard in her office in the Math Building on April 7. CHESANIE BRANTLEY/PLAINSMAN PRESS

“I was in Littlefield for one year and Levelland for two years,” explains Foard. “When I was in Levelland, that’s when I came to SPC and applied. I taught for one year at night and when the college had a full-time opening, I got the job here.”

Foard teaches college algebra, statistics, trigonometry, and nursing math. She is currently residing in Levelland, where she has lived for 32 years. She says that she has decided to retire because of health reasons.

“I have a disease called fibromyalgia,” says Foard, “and it just means it causes me a lot of pain.”

Fibromyalgia is a disorder marked by widespread pain all over the body. Studies and researchers have found that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way the brain processes pain signals.

“[The disease] has been really bothering me through the last year,” Foard says. “It’s the only reason why I’m retiring.”

Foard says that she used to own a scooter. But, unfortunately, it wore out.

“I don’t have a scooter right now, since it’s worn out,” explains Foard. “But I rode it to school for many years.”

Foard has a passion for rock n’ roll. She says that Ozzy Osboure is an idol of hers.

“I really love rock n’ roll,” explains Foard. “In recent years, I have seen Ozzy Osboure, Metallica, Aerosmith, Motley Crue, and Alice Cooper. I was really excited to get to see Ozzy a few years ago. He has long been one of my idols.”

Foard plans to travel after her retirement, though she doesn’t have any trips planned.

“I have always wanted to see more of the United States,” says Foard. “I also have several hobbies I enjoy. I quilt, embroider, work with stained glass, and really enjoy reading and going to movies.”

Foard says that she doesn’t have a particular favorite moment of her years at SPC. But, she explains that she is going to miss the students and the people she has worked with the most.

“When I came here from junior high, I just thought to myself that I have died and gone to Heaven,” Foard says with a laugh. “I really enjoy when former students come back and talk to me about what they are currently doing. It just seemed where I wanted to be. When I did receive the job, I knew for sure this is where I wanted to be. Once I started here, I knew I wouldn’t want to leave.”

Youtuber, musician turns interests into successful pursuit

by NICOLE TRUGILLO//Editor-in-Chief

We all have something that inspires us.

Whether it’s a person or a place, it helps inspire in ways that can’t be described.

Tyler Sederwall, a YouTuber who creates video games and music for others, says that he was inspired by other YouTubers as well.

He explains that the people who he watched as a teenager inspired and helped him forget about the bad things in life. So, he decided to be a YouTuber and make a job out of it.

“I like to try to help entertain people,” Sederwall told the Plainsman Press in a recent interview. “I was into videos, so I thought why not get an early start and try to make people happy and exercise my video skills at the same time.”

Sederwall is a full-time college student in Missouri, where he is pursuing a film major and plans to go into television production.

“I think I’ve been making videos for about five or six years now,” says Sederwall. “I mostly make video game-related videos, whether they are video game races that we like to call Versus, or Let’s Plays, where I play through games and try to commentate and try to be funny. Try is the key word here.”

Sederwall, along with Josh Jepson, a friend of Sederwall and another YouTuber, have a YouTube channel named Versus. They each pick a game and race through it to see who wins. Sederwall also has separate YouTube channels named “Tyler Sederwall” and “AttackingTucans.” The channel “Tyler Sederwall” features videos that Sederwall develops for popular Let’s Play games, while his other channel has videos that he makes just for himself.

“I like to make a bunch of different types of videos, whether they are blog-styled or talking to the camera,” Sederwall explains. “Sometimes I do get frustrated trying to find new ideas for videos. Sometimes, when you’re in a bad mood, the last thing you want to do is try to be funny and being upbeat. But I kind of push through it and try to be silly anyway.”

Sederwall recently released his second album, “Game Face,” which incorporates video games in the songs that he created. His influence for making music started when he was in high school, where he would listen to music which helped through hard times.

“The music improved my mood, and it made me happy and made me forget about the bad things in the world,” explains Sederwall. “I just wanted to try to do it and see what it’s like. I don’t think I’m the best at it. But I think it’s a fun hobby to use to create a freedom for myself and challenge myself in ways I wouldn’t with making videos.”

Sederwalls says that before “Game Face” there wasn’t a lot of pop video game-related music that he liked. He wanted to create an album that followed his kind of genre.

“I wanted to listen to that type of music,” explains Sederwall. “So, since it didn’t exist, I decided to make it and at least have it for myself more than anything.”

The creative process for Sederwall starts off with him listening to hundreds of beats that he wants to go along with the style of music he wants to create.

“I purchase those beats, and then I spend hours coming up with melodies to go along with those beats and the lyrics for those melodies,” explains Sederwall. “Then I go through the recording process.”

Sederwall uses a type of software application called Garageband to put his music together. But, eventually he wants to push out of his comfort zone and use more advanced music creation tools.

Photo courtesy of Tyler Sederwall

“The music recording I use now is about eight or nine years out of date,” says Sederwall. “So, I want to get up with the times on that. I record the lyrics and kind of just spend a lot of time to perfect it and make sounds that I think work well together.”

“Game Face” includes 14 tracks (not including the bonus tracks), most of which incorporate video games.

“The first song on the album is “Taking Charge,” and that song is about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone,” explains Sederwall. “Even though things are hard sometimes, you feel like giving up, to continue trying because I think that everyone thinks they’re not good enough. I think we’re our own worst enemy when it comes to that. It was kind of a motivational track for me to finish the album.”

The next track is named “Gamer Revolution,” which, according to Sederwall, was the braggy song of the album that many rappers use on their albums.

“I mean I can’t brag about having Ferraris and that kind of stuff,” says Sederwall with a laugh. “But I think it’s every teenager’s dream to make money by playing videos games. Teenager Tyler would never have thought it would happen to him in the future.”

“Do It Our Way” is the third track, and Sederwall says that it’s not video game-related. But he wanted to include a party song based on a Kesha theme.

The next song is “Chasing Happiness,” which has emotional ties that Sederwall included in the lyrics.

“I was going through a sad time when it came to somebody that I liked, and financially,” says Sederwall. “I made a song about how we’re kind of in a fish bowl trying to find something that makes us happy, and we try to find different things in our lives to try to bring ourselves up, just trying to find something that makes us happy.”

“Pokégod ” is a song based on the game Pokémon. It’s about being the best poké master.

“It’s mostly a fiction song, because I suck at Pokémon,” Sederwall says jokingly. “I think it’s the new version of I want to be the very best like no one ever was. Taking that song and giving it a 2016 spin to it. It has a more pop feel to it.”

The next track is “Get Bananas,” featuring the video game character, Donkey Kong. According to Sederwall, he took some inspiration from the original Donkey Kong rap and put a new 2016 feel to it. He added dubstep to the song and fun rap lyrics.

The seventh song on the track is “Old School,” with lyrics Sederwall wrote based on old-school video games from childhood. He says that he did grow up with old-school games, but not the same way someone who was born 10 years before him.

“It’s kind of about how old-school games were difficult,” explains Sederwall. “Even though they were more simplistic, you would play them over and over again, because they were just so much fun. There’s lyrics in the song that say even though they’re about 30 years old, they are still fine games. Games now won’t hold up 30 years from now, when some of the old-school games are still fun. It’s kind of like the oldies.”

The next song is “This is War,” which, according to Sederwall, is about the video game “Super Smash Bros.” This song was part of the three singles he released before the album.

“Release the Beast” doesn’t have too much meaning to it, according to Sederwall. He says he heard the beat and it made him feel like a beast. So he thought he would try to make that song sound over the top and vicious.

“This is probably my favorite song on the album,” says Sederwall. “This was the first song that I started working for the album, and it’s the second to last song I finished.  It was the most difficult to make. It was a song that I went back to like every month for a couple of hours. The vocals were really out of my range, and it took a lot of practice to try to record them. Another thing I was trying to do with that song is have each part of the song different, not having any repeating elements whatsoever, and I ended up doing that.”

The next song is “Still See the Sunshine,” with a storyline about the video game “Super Mario Sunshine.” Sederwall says that it’s a rap song with more of a rock feel.

“I tried to do screamo vocals to the best of my abilities,” says Sederwall. “I’m not very much of a screamo person, but it fit more into the song, so I tried to do it.”

“One I Love” is a love song, but, according to Sederwall, it’s not a traditional love song. He wrote the song when he was in love with someone, putting his personal feelings into it.

“Smash It Up” was the first song he released from the album, and it’s the type of song that amps you up, according to Sederwall.

“I’m Ratchet” is a rap song about the video game “Ratchet and Clank.” Sederwall explains that it was a pun he wanted to make, because on his other YouTube channel, Versus, He likes to say a lot of jokes about the word ratchet.

“My friend Josh hates me saying new phrases,” Sederwall says with a laugh. “The song doesn’t make a lot of sense if you don’t know about the game, because it’s not just about being ratchet.”

The last song is named “Game Face (Outro).” Sederwall explains the song is about thanking everyone who supported him financially, and it gave him the will to finish the album.

Sederwall says that he has gotten positive feedback on the album, having received hundreds of tweets and comments on websites.

“Fortunately, it’s due to the fact it reached the audience I catered it for,” explains Sederwall. “The only bad comment I’ve gotten is when someone said this wasn’t the music for me. I can see where people like it.”

Sederwall says he has put in hundreds of hours into the album, recording each song about four times.

“Like I said before, I’m not a great singer,” says Sederwall. “But I had to go over it again and again and try to hit the vocals. I’m no Adele or anything. I don’t have the pipes. I just like writing songs, and it was fun.”

Sederwall says that his future plans are to keep promoting this album for the next few months. He plans to make a lot of videos for each song on the album, whether it’s lyrics or silly videos.

“Once I’m finished, I will do the same thing I did with “Party Right” (first album) and upload the whole finished album to YouTube for the people that can’t stream or afford to buy it,” says Sederwall. “Since I’ve squeezed everything out of it as much as I possibly can.”

Sederwall’s next person goal is to try and release an EP for the summer. He says that his EP won’t be video game-related, and he probably won’t release video game-related music in the future.

“If I do, I’ll probably release them as single songs,” says Sederwall. “Maybe when I make enough I’ll put them all on an album and release it.”

If anyone is interested in listening to the album, it can be found on iTunes. It also can be streamed on Soundcloud and Spotify.            

Death of friend motivates Lopez to pursue nursing

by RILEY GOLDEN//Editorial Assistant

The loss of his bestfriend has solidified a career choice for Zavier Lopez.

Zavier Elijah Lopez has had an interesting life, from being raised on the east and north sides of Lubbock, to riding motocross, to majoring in Pre-Nursing at South Plains College.

Lopez attended school in the Frenship Independent School District for most of his childhood. Having grown up in so many different cultures, he has seen it all. According to Lopez, the north and east sides of Lubbock are more of a family-oriented culture, compared to the west side of town.

Lopez did most of his growing up as an only child, until his brother was born during his sophomore year of high school.

“I was an only child for 15 years… He was planned and I was the accident,” Lopez said with a laughed.

Student feature
Zavier Lopez strives for success in his pursuit of a career in nursing. RILEY GOLDEN/PLAINSMAN PRESS

Although he didn’t participate in many extra-curricular activities in school, he did compete in motocross, although it’s more of a hobby for him now.

“I started out on a little 50 CC (cubic centimeters),” Lopez recalls. “It went about 10 to 15 miles an hour. As I got older, I moved up to 85 CCs, which went about 35 to 40 miles an hour. Now I ride a 450 CC, which probably guns about 90 miles an hour. As far as brands go, I’ve had a Kawasaki and a Suzuki, but now I ride Yamaha and Honda.”

In addition to motocross, Lopez has played baseball for most of his life.

“I’m in the process of trying to transfer to Frank Phillips to go play baseball,” said Lopez. “If that works out, it’ll be pretty dope. But there’s still a process.”

Lopez will be going to Borger, Texas, to attend summer tryouts at Frank Phillips College. If that doesn’t pan out, he plans on possibly going to Texas Tech University in the fall.

Lopez also just got engaged. His fiancé is Kirsten Garza, and they have been together for four years.

“We met on Facebook through a mutual friend, and we just hit it off,” Lopez said. “Then it just turned into something more.”

They do not have a wedding date yet, because they had one set and Lopez says he felt like something was just hanging over him and it constantly stressed him out.

Although the engagement is a happy event, it is shadowed by the recent loss of Lopez’s best friend.

“Jonathan Mayorga was 23 years old when he passed away just last month from testicular cancer,” Lopez said. “He was a couple years older than me, but I met him in elementary school when I was 8 or 9. I guess it changed everything, because you never think that it’s going to happen to you. I think that’s why nursing is calling my name, because cancer is a big deal and no one ever thinks it’s going to happen to them.”

Mayorga was fairly healthy, according to Lopez, right up until his passing.

Lopez said that helping people is his passion and makes him feel good about himself. Two things that Lopez has taken from his life is to help people as you can and to think about your future.

“Don’t take life for granted,” said Lopez. “Appreciate things around you and the people around you. Just be you, and live the life you want to live.”

Adjunct instructor illustrates love for art, helping students

by MARCELLA IVINS//Staff Writer

Creating art and helping students do the same has been the way of life for the past 41 years for John Hope.

Hope was an art teacher at Levelland High School for 29 years. He said he loved working with the students, and he had a few young artists who earned many state and national awards.  After Hope’s retirement in 2004, he and his wife, Bette, took a trip backpacking to Europe.

“Bette and I had save and planned for years to take a trip to Europe,” Hope explained. “After I retired, we spent six weeks backpacking across seven countries, seeing that beautiful part of the world and the amazing art and architecture, while enjoying the wonderful people and different cultures.”

Hope and his wife also own “The Hope House Bed and Breakfast” in Levelland.  They opened in 2001 and have hosted guests from all around the United States, as well as from, South and Central America, Germany, and South Korea.

Sometime after Hope’s retirement from Levelland High School, he received a call asking him to teach at South Plains College.

“When I retired in 2004, Lynette Watkins was teaching in the Fine Arts Department, and she called me to ask if I would consider coming to teach drawing and advanced drawing at SPC,” Hope recalls. “I did that for several years, then began teaching art appreciation classes.”

Hope currently serves as an adjunct instructor, mostly for non-art majors. 
“I enjoy helping students from many areas of study learn about all aspects of art and how to look at the world differently from a creative perspective,” says Hope.

John Hope, SPC graduate, teaches art to current students MARCELLA IVINS/PLAINSMAN PRESS 

Hope and his wife continue to create all kinds of art.  Both studied in Ravenna, Italy. They have also have been featured on “Texas Country Reporter”, along with the Levelland Mosaics, in 2006.

“My wife, Bette, and I, have created several large-scale mosaics and murals,” Hope said. “The glass-tile mosaic that is on the Student Services Building at SPC, I designed and we created in 2001.  It depicts the windmill, symbol of SPC, and the beginning of a new day, a new beginning.  That’s what I experienced as a young student and what each individual begins to realize as their full potential as they attend South Plains College.”

The mosaic is made of thousands of colored glass tile from Italy and Mexico, including 24-karat gold leaf tile.  He said he and his wife learned this difficult technique from Don Stroud and Burl Cole, his former art professors at SPC.

Hope was born and spent most of his years growing up on a farm outside of Levelland.  He graduated from Levelland High School and saw South Plains College as the obvious choice to continue his education, considering it was close to home.

“South Plains College offered the basics I needed,” recalls Hope. “I also wanted to take some art classes, and that ended up being my major. South Plains College helped me realize so many things about the potential that I had.  I had caring instructors, and many became close friends after I graduated. When I went on to Texas Tech University, I focused my major not only in all kinds of art but got my degree in art education.”

This semester will be the 41st year in the classroom for Hope. Hope and his wife have two sons and two granddaughters. Hope and his wife will be celebrating their 42nd anniversary in June.

“I still enjoy getting to work with students very much,” Hope said. “I would tell students to choose a worthwhile goal, and work as hard as they can to get the knowledge and training to realize their dream.  Never stop learning, and always treat everyone the way you wish to be treated.”