Tag: Featured

Buffalo Springs Lake hosts annual balloon round-up

By Autumn Bippert

There’s no need to travel all the way to the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival to witness hot air balloons in flight.

Buffalo Springs Lake hosted its annual South Plains Balloon Round-Up on Sept. 7 and Sept. 8.

Photos by Autumn Bippert, Kendall Rainer, and Victoria De Souza

The balloon lift-off was held at 7 a.m. with the sunrise. Seven hot air balloons took off from in front of the lake on both mornings. A night event was held at 8 p.m. on Saturday, featuring glowing hot air balloons.

Betty Brown, Buffalo Springs Lake crew member, said that the Balloon Round-Up has been around for 15 years, and that the idea to start the Round-Up came from the Albuquerque International Balloon Rally.


Brandon Powell, general manager for Buffalo Springs Lake, said that the Balloon Round-Up has drawn more people to the event each year.

“Anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 roughly (attend), and that’s for each event,” Powell explained.

Powell explained that the Saturday morning event normally draws the biggest number of attendees.

Hundreds of people pulled up before dawn on Saturday to watch the hot air balloons take off. For some, it was the first time seeing a hot air balloon.

Among those is attendance was Angela Jones from Lubbock, who said that her family and her were excited to see the hot air balloons for the first time and it was a great activity to do with her kids.

Others have been attending the Balloon Round-Up for years.


“ My husband and I come here every year to camp, and we stay to see the balloons too,” said Janis Armour of Lubbock. “It is something fun to do around Lubbock. We like to come to watch them blow up the balloons, and they are so pretty. ”

Hot air balloon rides were not open to the public. However, pilot Glen Cambel had his hot air balloon tethered to the ground and took attendees up and down in the balloon.

Brown explained that the hot air balloons at the event were all from Texas, with one pilot from Amarillo, another from Corpus Christi and the rest from Lubbock.

The overall success of the event is highly dependent upon the weather, which means if the conditions weren’t right, the hot air balloons would not take off.

ballon cutout 2

“We need fairly calm winds to launch,” explains Brown. “Otherwise the (hot air balloon) envelope will rock like crazy and it would be unsafe to launch it. Once you’re up in the air, the winds, they’ll carry you. You just go with the winds. But the closer you get to the ground, the more calm you need them.”

The hot air balloon envelope, which is the bag holding in the air, uses heated air that’s created by an open flame caused by burning liquid propane. The heated air inside the envelope makes it buoyant, since it has a lower density than the colder air outside the envelope.

The envelope does not have to be sealed at the bottom, since the air inside the envelope there is at about the same pressure as the surrounding air. In modern sport balloons, the envelope is generally made from nylon fabric, while the inlet of the balloon, which is closest to the burner flame, is made from a fire resistant material such as Nomex.

hot aire balloon ride

There was more than just watching hot air balloons to do during the weekend at Buffalo Springs. There were also food trucks and inflatable bounce houses at the Round-Up.

“We’re on a lake,” Powell said. “You can go fishing, or camping out here. We do have a bunch of vendors scattered throughout the lake (for the event). But for the kids there this morning we had a movie playing. We had ‘Up.’ Then we’ve got the jumpers as well, and we do have little playground areas. There’s a lot for them to do. It’s just getting them out here and doing it.”

Powell explained that there were 15 vendors around the lake for the weekend.

“Last year, we had a little less,” Powell continued. “So hopefully with the more balloons we have next year, we’ll have more vendors.”

Texans place second at Howard College Rodeo

After the dust has settled, the Texans placed second while the Lady Texans finished sixth at the Howard College Rodeo on April 13 in Big Spring.

With one rodeo remaining on the schedule and the Southwest regional title up for grabs, the Lady Texans currently sit in fourth place with 2,885 points. Tarleton State (3,330) is the front-runner, followed by Clarendon College (3,120) and Weatherford College (3,095).

The Lady Texans are in third place with 1,777 points. They sit just 50.5 points behind second-place Weatherford, which has 1827.5.Tarleton is atop the leader board with 2,621. The top two teams from the men’s and women’s region advance to the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming.

Colton McCarley had the sole team win for the Texans. In the roping finals, he teamed with Texas Tech’s Cameron McCarley. The team ran an 8.3 in the long round and won the short round with a time of 6.1. They averaged 14.4 for the event, adding 120 points for their team.

Grandy Quam placed sixth in team roping, adding another 60 points for the Texans. He ran a 6.5 in the long round, before missing the finals. He averaged 106.3 in roping. Britton Bedke added 30 points for the Texans by running a time of 6.7 in the long run. He also failed to make the finals, but placed seventh and had an average of 106.5.

Bedke finished fourth in tiedown roping, adding 75 points. He ran a time of 10.1 in the long run and 12.7 in the short run, finishing with a 22.8 overall average.

  Logan Kenline finished fourth in steer wrestling. Kenline had times of 5.2 in long run and 8.5 in the short. Kenline had an average of 13.7, adding 90 points to the team.

  Dawson Stewart added 65 more points with a sixth-place finish in steer wrestling. Stewart ran times of 5.1 in the long run and 9.8 in the finals. He had an average 14.9.

  Kaytlyn Miller led all the SPC women with 1,087 points. She placed fifth in breakaway roping, taking 70 points after running a 2.9 in long run but missing the finals. She averaged 102.9.

  Elle Eagles made the goat tying finals after running a 9.9 in long round and 11.9 in the short round. She had an average of 21.8, giving the Lady Texans 2.5 points.

The teams conclude the regular season by competing in the Tarleton State University Rodeo, which will be held April 25- April 27 in Stephenville. Results were not available at press time.

Green continuing basketball career at University of Pittsburgh

Sophomore Gabbie Green signed her intent to continue her basketball career at the University of Pittsburgh on April 17 during a signing ceremony held in the T-Club at Texan Dome.

“I know that what made you successful here, Coach White at Pittsburgh is going to love,” Cayla Petree, head women’s basketball coach at South Plains College, said to Green at the signing. “The same great things I see in you is what’s going to make you, and his team, very successful.”

IMG_8914The 5-foot-7 guard from Bellville, Texas, left her mark on the SPC women’s basketball team that will not soon be forgotten. Green accumulated many honors during her sophomore season, including being named the NJCAA Region V Player of the Year, the Western Junior College Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player, and WBCA First Team All-American, as well as the first Lady Texan in 10 years to receive the honor of NJCAA All-American.

“Everything I’m doing now is for my mom,” Green said. “I want her to see me do what she knows I can do. I think working hard in the summer has gotten me to where I am now.”

Green helped lead the Lady Texans to a share of the WJCAC title, as well as an appearance in the NJCAA Region V tournament and an Elite-Eight showing at the NJCAA National Championship tournament, where they were bested by Gulf Coast State College 68-66 in the quarterfinal round.

She also helped the team achieve a No. 1 national ranking for the first time in program history during the 2018-2019 season.

“I’m proud of the way we came from the bottom and made it to the top,” Green added. “It couldn’t have been done without my teammates.”

Green reminisced about some of her favorite memories at SPC.

“My best memory from SPC was our last game,” said Green. “That was the best I think everyone has ever played, and it was great competition.”

Green was a dominant force on both ends of the court, shooting 43 percent from the field in her two years at SPC. She shot 30 percent from behind the three-point line, and averaged 14.4 points per game in her sophomore season.

Green said she chose the University of Pittsburgh because it was the best choice for her to achieve the goals she wanted to achieve in her basketball career.

“Since high school, I always knew I wanted to go to the highest level,” Green continued. “Pitt is that level. I love everything about Pittsburgh, the city is big, and I will have great coaches and teammates.”

Some other universities that recruited Green were Central Arkansas, Sam Houston State IMG_9210University, University of Texas at San Antonio, University of Texas at Arlington, University of Colorado, Boise State, Illinois State, and a few NCAA Division II schools in Florida.

Green said her final two choices came down to Illinois State and the University of Pittsburgh.

Green said,“I look forward to building up the program at Pitt.”

She says that Coach Petree has toughened her up and taught her to not be comfortable.

“I learned who I am as a person first,” Green said about what she learned from Coach Petree during her time at SPC. “She taught us to always work to get better, and to never be complacent.”

At the end of the news conference, Green looked to the freshmen on the team and gave them some words of wisdom.

“Don’t be complacent,” Green told her younger teammates. “As y’all can see, this year we worked so hard, and you saw how far we got. Be leaders next year.”

Experience provocative universes in ‘Love, Death, & Robots’

In a world where a bowl of yogurt takes control of the United States government and charges its leaders with fixing the economy via a strict, but perfect plan, the only fallacy, as it is in real life, is human greed.

“Love, Death & Robots” (or “LDR”) is a collection of animated short stories that reach into different genres such as science fiction, fantasy, horror, and comedy. Each episode debuts its own art style, actors, and universe, which kept me at the edge of my seat for witness2every episode.

The first episode in the Netflix series, “Sonnies Edge,” is a sci-fi, cyberpunk action episode where a female gladiatorial protagonist takes control of an alien to fight in what seems to be an underground arena for sport and money. “Sonnies Edge” is also a story about vengeance and strength. The visuals are stunning, with an incredible amount of attention to detail. Each character and monster has its own unique style that clearly sets them apart from the rest.

In the second episode, “Three Robots,” there are three sentient, deadpan robots exploring post-apocalyptic Earth trying to learn more about how the humans lived while on a vacation. Each robot has their own personality, and the humor between them is dark, unattached, and inquisitive. The truth about the end of the world is hilarious and plausible.

From the first episode, “LDR” makes it very clear that some of the episodes are going to be very risqué. The third episode, “The Witness,” is a complete mind-bender that tells the story of an exotic dancer who witnesses a murder. The entire episode is a thrilling chase through a city with lots of blood, nudity, with an intense twist at the end.

The rest of the episodes include anything from stories of Dracula, how Yogurt came to rule Earth, alternate histories where Adolph Hitler died at a younger age, mech suits, cyborgs, and an immortal robot artist searching for the most beautiful thing imaginable. By the end of the show, expect to have seen full frontal nudity of male, female, and infernal bodies alike, and copious amounts of blood, red or otherwise.

Episodes range from 6 to 17 minutes. You can watch a handful of episodes in the time it takes to watch the new “Game of Thrones” (Who wants to pay for HBOgo anyway?), and there is so much more to enjoy.


Some episodes are adaptations of popular stories such as a rendition of “127 Hours,” titled “Helping Hand.”

The show sports different directors and artists for most works, and differ greatly from one another. The two Alastair Reynolds adaptations, “Zima Blue” and “Beyond the Aquila Rift,” are both solid sci-fi stories. With good twists and beautifully-realized plots, both of these episodes rank among my favorites in the series.

“Love Death & Robots” is the quintessential series to watch in 2019. It’s raunchy, beautiful, intense, scary, and filled to the brim with strong messages that relate to the world around us.  I give “Love, Death & Robots” a nine out of 10.

Anitta impresses with trilingual album

Looking to build a successful career internationally, Anitta is bringing a new trilingual album to the world.

Larissa de Macedo Machado, better known as Anitta, is a Brazilian singer, songwriter, dancer, actress and businesswoman. After building a strong, big national career in Brazil, Anitta started promoting herself internationally in 2017. Now she is having more success in Latin America and parts of the United States as she brings an album full of diversity in rhythm and languages.

rs_300x300-160805202343-600.Caetano-Veloso-Anitta-Gilberto-Gil-olympic-rio.tt.080516“Kisses” is the newest album Anitta brings to her fans. It features all the different versions of Anitta and her different personalities. The album, released on April 5, contains 10 songs followed by 10 videos. It is a shocking marketing move by the singer. The switching of languages between Portuguese, Spanish and English during the songs definitely calls a lot of attention and teaches a couple words to those listening.

“Atención” (Attention) is the first song on the album that is in Spanish. This music brings a version of Anitta as a strong, independent woman with a lot of attitude who is not afraid to do what she wants and believes in the empowerment of women

“Banana,” the second track of the album, is a more funny and dancing song in English and Spanish, featuring Becky G. With a really playful beat, the music makes you stand up and move.

To represent her Brazilian funk roots, Anitta brings the song “Onde Different” (Differente Wave), with participation from Snoop Dogg, Ludmilla and Papatinho. The funk beat mixed with American Rap turns into a very fast dancing song with such great party vibes.


The same can be found in the song “Sin Miedo” (No fear), which features Dj Luian and Mambo. It shows a more impulsive version of Anitta, someone who is not afraid of the consequences her actions can bring.

The tracks “Poquito” (Little Bit), “Tu y Yo” (You and I), and “Rosa” (Rose) are more romantic songs. They are slow dance songs that bring a young idea of love. The Anittas in those songs are more mysterious, a woman who knows how to use her ingenuity as her invisible weapon in the seduction game.

The last song on the album is definitely one of the most interesting on the album. “Você Mentiu” (You Lied) is the representation of the MPB (Brazilian Popular Music), with the incredible voice of Caetano Veloso. The slow song talks about the disappointment of Anitta with inhuman attitudes and her hopes of living in a better world. It is definitely a very sweet melody, which makes the song an amazing way to close such a diverse album with a lot of information.

As someone who has followed Anitta’s career since the beginning, I believe this new album brings her closer to her fans, and she nails it on that.

The album leads you through happy and dancing songs to explore the seduction and corporal beauty presented in each person. It also brings more human and sentimental music that will make you remember an old story or an old love.

I give “Kisses” a 9 out of 10.

Sufferers of anxiety at higher risk of suicide

Anxiety plays with your thought process, leaving you feeling hopeless and depressed. Your soul empties as the stress piles up, and you start feeling alone. Your brain starts whispering, “What if I wasn’t here?” while trying to find relief from everything.

“Anxiety left untreated can lead to people feeling hopeless and having a void of hope, which is kind of the primary factor of people who actually have serious suicidal ideations,” said Lynn Gregory, a counselor at South Plains College.

“I do believe that, left untreated, anxiety plays a huge role because people feel like they just can’t go on with those kinds of emotions that the don’t know what to do with,” she added.

Richard Herbert, professor of psychology at South Plains College, said that there are six basic types of anxiety disorders: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Anxiety, Specific Phobias, Panic Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Herbert said that all six anxiety disorders deal with the sensation of a loss of control.

“An individual no longer has ‘command of the situation’, or just a sense of overwhelming powerlessness,” he explained. “That we are at mercy of other forces than just ourselves. Causing your own death is one way to imagine taking back control. If I cannot control my life, by dying I can at least stop those other forces from remaining in control.”

Herbert mentioned an article by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) that said the researchers found that “the presence of any anxiety disorder, in combination with a mood disorder, was associated with a higher likelihood of suicide attempts in comparison with a mood disorder alone.”

“The fear of dying during a panic attack is an independent risk factor for subsequent suicide attempts among individuals with depressive disorders,” added Herbert.

According to Gregory, anxiety may lead to suicidal actions because the person might get frustrated with dealing with a mountain of anxiety to the point when they feel alone and helpless, concluding that they need to end their life.

“It’s feeling like no one can help,” Gregory said. “People who are feeling suicidal are feeling hopeless. Having panic attacks or having phobias feels like the person can’t fix it, that is a false concept, because there is treatment.”

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, signs and symptoms people should be aware of in a suicidal person include changes in behavior such as increased use of alcohol or drugs, withdrawing from activities, or giving away prized possessions. Other warning signs are mentioning wanting to kill themselves, feeling hopeless, and feeling they are a burden to others. People who are considering suicide often display moods such as depression, anxiety, and agitation.

According to Herbert, poor job security or satisfaction with their job, history of being abused or witnessing continuous abuse, being socially isolated or a victim of bullying, and family history of suicide, also are possible triggers.

Gregory explained that a person might also say that they are not sleeping or eating. Also, selfharm, such as acting out against themselves and cutting themselves, can be warning signs.

Another risk factor is alcoholism and drug abuse, according to Gregory.

“Any mental health disorder increases an individual’s risk of suicide ideation and/or attempt,” Herbert said.

Gregory stated that there are different levels of suicide.

“Somebody might just have fleeting thoughts of ‘I don’t want to be here anymore, life sucks’,” she said. “The other end of this spectrum is a serious, suicidal person who has been planning suicide.”

According to Herbert anxiety and mood disorders are probably most frequently associated with suicide attempts. However, he said that depression tops that list because it is the feeling of being “trapped.

Herbert also said that panic attacks is probably the leading anxiety disorder as a factor in suicidal attempts.
“Usually, the causes of the onset of the panic attacks have to do with extremely stressful situations where we do not feel like we have any control,” Herbert said.

According to Herbert, panic attacks with physical/biological origins are different, and a person will have to see a doctor before the panic attacks subside.

Herbert said that men, people age 45 and older, and certain races, such as Caucasians, American Indians, or Alaskan Natives, have shown to be at a higher risk for suicide.

“Depressive moods are the most likely moods to indicate suicide ideation,” Herbert said. “Increases in anxiety, especially for no apparent reason, are also indicative of suicide ideation.”

Gregory said there is help available for those who are having suicidal thoughts, such as outpatient therapy.

“For somebody that’s having those feelings,” said Gregory, “I would never try to hold that inside and just feel like you can cope with this by yourself. I would at least tell a friend.”

Gregory said telling a friend is a good bystander intervention, which is like the buddy system.

“It’s making sure that you take care of your friend,” she explained. “It’s the whole array of things. You could take your friend to the emergency room. You could call the Star Care intake number. You could sit with that person and not let them be alone.”

Gregory encourages people who are having dark thoughts to tell a friend so the friend can make sure they get the help that is needed.

Herbert suggests calling prevention lifelines such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, while Gregory suggests a call to Contact Lubbock at Contactlubbock.org, or text 741741. SPC students can go to the Health and Wellness Center to talk to any of the counselors at both the Levelland and Reese campuses.

“If someone is repeatedly suffering from anxiety attacks and not seeking help, the best thing to do is to get them help,” Herbert said. “If they have tried to get help but do not improve, then watch for the mood changes of anxious and frustrated to calm and serene. When someone is suffering from anxiety disorders rapidly moves from anxious and frustrated to calm and serene, it can be an indicator that they have decided upon suicide, and that they are at peace with that decision.”

Silent Wings Museum preserves memory of key role in World War II

Glider planes had an important role in the success of the Normandy Beach Invasion that ended World War II.

The Silent Wings Museum is dedicated to preserving the memory, as well as the history, of these gliders.

0Q6A1985The only museum in the world dedicated to the glider program is located near the Lubbock International Airport, on the edge of the city. In 1971, former pilots of the United States Army Air Force Glider Program formed the National World War II Glider Pilots Association. The main goal of the Glider Pilots Association was to preserve the history of the glider program.

From the inception, the Glider Pilots Association set out to collect artifacts, archival material, and personal accounts of pilots and people working in the program. The main goal the Association wanted to achieve was the procurement of a WACO CG-4A glider.

Pilots from the program in the Dallas area found out about a CG-4A glider sitting on top of a building in Fresno, California. The aircraft was being used as an advertisement for a store. The glider was purchased, and restoration efforts began. It was completed in 1979.

Once the restoration of the glider was complete, efforts began to build a museum to house the CG-4A. The first Silent Wings Museum opened its doors in November of 1984 in Terrell, Texas.

propIn 1997, the pilots who ran the museum as volunteers realized the glider needed a more permanent home. The majority of the pilots of the Glider Pilots Association trained in Lubbock, so the City of Lubbock offered to provide a site for the museum. The Terrell site was closed in 2001, and the new location in Lubbock opened in October 2002 at the former site of the South Plains Army Airfield, where the CG-4A glider sits as the centerpiece of the museum.

Sharon McCullar, curator for the Silent Wings Museum, said, “We have one of only seven fully restored CG-A4 gliders in the world.”

The U.S. Army established a large training facility in Lubbock in 1942, known as the South Plains Army Airfield, for an advanced glider program. The program trained pilots to fly unarmed gliders into enemy territory, land and unload cargo such as anti-tank guns, anti aircraft guns and small vehicles such as jeeps and light tanks.

The South Plains Army Airfield trained 6,000 to 7,000 glider pilots who earned Advanced Training in gliders and the Silver ‘G’ Wing from July 1942 to January 1945.

The glider squadrons played an important role throughout World War II, as they were silent and could fly closer to the front to unload cargo. The gliders also played an important role in the D-Day invasion, landing before dawn and helping to unload Jeeps 0Q6A1928as well as anti-tank guns, Howitzer anti-aircraft guns, and quarter-ton trailers full of ammunition and supplies.   

The Douglas C-47 Skytrain was the main tow plane used for leading the gliders into combat.

The museum is supported by the City of Lubbock for operating costs, according to McCullar. The museum is also supported through memberships. The Silent Wings Museum Foundation helps to obtain grants and get funding for exhibits and projects.

McCullar also said that the busiest time of year is around April, near the end of the school year, when there are a lot of field trips. She added that the annual visitation is around 20,000 people.

Other exhibits at the museum include information about other military training and operations in and around the Lubbock area. One of these programs was the Civilian Pilot 0Q6A1976Training Program, a nationally-sponsored program at select universities. In September 1939, Texas Technological College was accepted into the program with a quota of 40 students.

In July 1940, the Civil Aeronautics Authority designated an advanced flight training course at the college. The course began in October 1940 with an enrollment of 20 students.

In 1942, the college became the screening program for potential military pilot candidates.

The Silent Wings Museum is located at 6202 North  I-27 in Lubbock. It is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays, and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. each Sunday.

Admission prices are $8 for general admission, $6 for senior citizens 60 years of age or older, and $5 for children ages 7 to 17, while children under 6 are admitted free. They also offer free admission to museum members and Active Duty Military.

For more information about the Silent Wings Museum, call (806) 775-3049

Local residents voice concern about Lubbock expansion

The South Plains College Board of Regents recently played hosts for a public forum to discuss issues such as the college potentially adding another campus in Lubbock and a need to attract more students to the Levelland campus.

Approximately 100 members of the Levelland community met with the Board during an early-morning session held on March 28 in the Sundown Room of the Student Center Building on the Levelland campus.

During the March meeting of the Regents two week earlier, Joe D. Brooks, a Levelland resident, discussed issues about the college’s potential move to downtown Lubbock.

While Brooks spoke, he asked for transparency from the college’s leadership, especially when it came to the decision-making process for another Lubbock campus.

“Some things develop over time,” Brooks said during the public forum. “But if no one is going to show up at meetings or question people, whose fault is it? This is on all of our shoulders, and the Board even agreed that they need to be more transparent and let the people know what they are doing and why they are doing it.”

At the conclusion of the March Regents meeting, Brooks asked the Board for growth on the Levelland campus in terms of more classes being offered, rather than expanding in Lubbock.

“I know there has been a lot of discussion about South Plains College over the past few weeks, and I want you to know that we are listening,” said Dr. Robin Satterwhite, addressing the audience at the morning forum. “First and foremost, the conclusion we came to is that we need to hit the pause button, and we need to hope and make sure there is understanding and an agreement on the direction of the college and that our Regents have some more time to discuss it.”

Dr. Satterwhite later expressed that he felt very strongly about his opinions about SPC’s presence in Lubbock and how he feels that the college can reach more students. However, the Board needs to come up with a strategy to reach those students.

During the public forum, Dr. Satterwhite discussed how renovating Lubbock City Hall and turning it into classrooms could help students and shift arts and sciences classes from two buildings on the Reese Center campus to downtown Lubbock. This could help future students who are not able to drive to Levelland.

Dr. Satterwhite also articulated ways the Boards plans to expand the Levelland campus and how they are going to draw more students to the Levelland community.

“What I have discovered from this whole discussion is that everyone loves South Plains College,” said Dr. Satterwhite. “That’s probably the most prevalent message that I have heard throughout this entire discussion.”

Brooks explained it was time for all members of the community and the employees of South Plains College to come together and help the Levelland campus grow.

“I think it shows that we need to claim it if we’re all going to be involved,” said Brooks. “When you look across this room, there’s not a better room of people anywhere, a better room of leadership and people who can make opportunities.”

Brooks acknowledged that SPC needs a strong relationship with Texas Tech University, but stated that, economically speaking, the best thing Levelland has is South Plains College.

He explained that it is not Lubbock’s intention to compete with Levelland. However, some of Lubbock’s leaders feel that they deserve a community college.

“We have agreed to sit down with all of you to listen and put groups together and really try to find ways to overcome some of these obstacles,” he stated.

When the meeting was opened for questions and comments, Billy Mack Palmer, a Levelland resident, stated the importance that students have on local restaurants and how the loss of these students have greatly impacted the local economy.

“Students are leaving campus on Thursday, and coming back on Sunday,” said Palmer. “There is also no night classes offered, and with them not here, it’s hard to pick up any business.”

He went on to say that when SPC went to a four-day schedule, it had a negative impact on local businesses.

Dr. Satterwhite responded by saying that there are some classes that are offered Monday-Wednesday-Friday, and there are students taking those courses.

Dr. Satterwhite also pointed out that students stopped signing up for night classes because more students are taking classes online. He explained that if SPC did not offer online courses, then they would lose more students who would decide to take their classes at another community college that offers what they want.

Dave Cleavinger, professor of agriculture at SPC, noted that the change in classes was driven by the students not signing up for the three-day classes, adding that it was because of students who are supporting themselves with jobs or other reasons.

Pat Sykora with Smith South Plains mentioned the importance of the college’s local automotive program, which has been duplicated at the Lubbock campus, and how more students are attending those courses rather than in Levelland.

Annette Sykora of Smith South Plains added that the automotive industry faces a shortage of 37,000 technicians almost every year, and she worries the local automotive program at SPC will deteriorate.

“This is a concern of ours,” said Annette Sykora. “We need to make sure that if we do something on one campus, that it doesn’t make this campus deteriorate.”

Dr. Satterwhite responded to this by saying that the duplication will be revisited, and that they should be careful not to duplicate programs within driving distance.

Eric Rejino, city manager of Levelland, noted that the college’s future is a community-wide issue, and that the city is coming up with new opportunities for growth.

Richard Husen, an attorney in Levelland, said that times have changed, with more college students having to work to afford to go to college.

“There are some things we can be proactive in,” Husen said, “but, there are things we can only be reactive in. If we sit down and look at the records for SPC, I think we’ll find that more and more students are supporting themselves. But this also ties back to the reason why we are at a three-to-four day class schedule.”

The forum concluded with Mike Box, chairman of the Regents, saying, “I am proud to see how many seats are filled this morning. If you look up here, there is not a person up here that you can’t talk to. We need more participation from everyone in the community, from the school district, from the hospital, from the county, and the city. We’re all in this together; this is our town.”

CampusShield app provides safety measures for students

CampusShield is an app that is being used by colleges across the nation with a goal of strengthening communities by connecting campus safety forces with those who are in need.

Personal safety and security on campus are big concerns for students, faculty and parents across the country.

color shieldSouth Plains College was looking for better ways to ensure the safety of students through integrated software and a single solution. The new smartphone app, which was launched March 18, features an Emergency Button, which can immediately connect to campus safety forces, along with Safety Escort, which allows an individual to request a safety escort on all SPC campuses. There also is an anonymous tip button that allows photos and/or video to be submitted to law enforcement.

According to Chief Nickolis Castillo, director of Campus Police at SPC, it took roughly three years to work through service agreements, contracts, and to get approval for the app to be introduced at SPC.

“To me, there are two important aspects of safety,” said Castillo. “There is the actual safety of the campus, and the perception of safety on the campus.”

The college is required under state law to perform a safety audit every three years, and, according to Castillo, when it came to safety across all campuses, he wanted SPC to be a leader in this area.

Castillo hopes that students will be able to use the app as a way to rely more on themselves and their peers for safety, as well as to have access to officers on duty at a greater capacity whenever a student or faculty member needs help.

One of the most unique and important features of the app is called Geofencing. Once the user opens the app, they will notice an emergency button at the very top of their screen. This button is a Geofence  to the user’s current location on any campus. If the user is off campus and finds themselves in an emergency, they can still use the app. Pressing the emergency button will dial 911 and call the nearest police dispatch for them.

If a user encounters an emergency, they do not have to find specific phone numbers tocolor shield call the right office. If the emergency button is pressed using the CampusShield app, it will give officers on duty at that campus their location.

“ I encourage everyone to download the app,” said Dr. Stan DeMerritt, vice president for student affairs at SPC.  “In an emergency, only the authorized personnel at the scene will be able to see the information and will be able to communicate it to hospital personnel. Overall, this is a great solution for SPC.  Hopefully, students will use the Submit a Trip and FriendWatch on a regular basis.”

The FriendWatch feature allows for peer-to-peer monitoring. The police are not involved unless the user, or a third party, decides that they must call campus police to get them involved.

It allows for users to monitor each other. When they create their own profiles, they are able to select a group of friends who are part of their contacts in that profile. When they use FriendWatch in the CampusShield app, they can select the activity that they’re planning to do and then select a time period when they’re expecting to be completed with their activity.

After the user selects a time period, they are required to enter a pin number that they will have to put in a second time once their activity is supposed to be completed.

If the user does not enter their security pin number that was created within that time-frame, then it notifies their friend that was selected that they did not make it to their destination, or that they weren’t able to complete that activity. Once their friend is notified, then they will be able to see each others location in order to see if something had happened to them.

This is a way that students can monitor each other and make sure that the others are safe. It is all voluntary. Nothing is required, and it stops tracking once that pin is entered by the user.

The app comes with many other features for students and faculty, and more features may be added in the future. If any student or faculty member is just in need of service, do not hesitate to call campus police, and use the CampusShield app for emergencies only.

Students garner 14 awards from Texas Intercollegiate Press Association

The Plainsman Press staff recently was recognized with 14 awards from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association.

The awards were announced during the annual TIPA spring competition and convention, which was held March 14 – March 16 at the Omni Hotel in Corpus Christi. There were 267 participants representing 30 colleges and universities from across the state at the event. TIPA is the largest student press association in the nation.

The Plainsman Press placed second in the category of Overall Excellence and second for Overall Newspaper Design.

“Good use of graphics and several headlines drew judges to the story,” judges of the Overall Excellence category commented. “Several of the individual features were laid out nicely.”

Said judges of the Overall Design, “Liked the Spotlight page design the best. Good use of color …”

In the competition for previously published material, Adan Rubio, now a print journalism major at Texas Tech University, placed second in the category of Breaking News for a story the Lubbock resident wrote about Senator Bernie Sanders making an appearance in Lubbock.

Kyle Ewing, now an electronic media and communications major at Texas Tech, placed second in the category of Sports Column for a story the Lubbock resident wrote about Justin Hobbs, assistant track and field coach at South Plains College, and his opportunity to compete for the television show “American Ninja Warrior.”

Autumn Bippert, who currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Plainsman Press, received four awards. The sophomore photojournalism major from Georgetown placed third in the category of Ad Design and received an Honorable Mention award in the category of Photo Illustration.

Bippert placed second, along with Kaitlyn Hyde, a freshman photojournalism major from Pearland, in the category of Photo Story for their feature and photos for “Street Eats,” showcasing a food trucks competition held in Lubbock.

Bippert also received an Honorable Mention Award, along with former staff member Tina Gonzalez of Lubbock, in the category of In-Depth or Investigative Reporting for a multi-part series on “Fake News.”

MaKayla Kneisley, a sophomore print journalism major from Abernathy, received three awards. She placed second in the category of Feature Story for her story on “Goat Yoga.”

Kneisley also placed third in the category of Feature Photo for her photo of a woman practicing aerial hoop exercises and third in the category of Environmental Portrait for her photo of chef Patrick Ramsey at the Lubbock Center campus.

The Plainsman Press staff placed third in category of Headline Writing. Said judges, “Headlines are thorough and set the stories apart. Some days, that’s the best you can hope for. Keep up the good work!”

The Plainsman Press staff also received an Honorable Mention award in the category of Overall Excellence for a Website and an Honorable Mention award in the category of Feature Page Design.

Plainsman Press staff members have won 184 awards in TIPA competitions since 2004.

Strange case of child abuse leads to murder in ‘The Act’

When a mother’s love becames toxic and suffocating, a daughter makes a desperate decision to commit an “act of kindness” to escape.

“The Act” is the Hulu adaptation of the murder of Dee Dee Blanchard. The series, directed by Nick Antosca and Michelle Dean, is divided in eight intense episodes that are slowly  being released on the platform every Wednesday. It shows how the murder takes place and the  motivation of the two killers.

rs_1024x759-190212145004-1024.the-act-gypsy-rose-blanchard.ct.021219-2The series is based on life of Gypsy Rose Blanchard, played by Joey King, a young girl who supposedly suffers from every possible disorder, such as leukemia, asthma, muscular dystrophy, and several other chronic conditions. It is said that she had the mental capacity of a 7-year-old due to brain damage. Dee Dee Blanchard, played by Patricia Arquette, is the devoted mother who is obsessed with her daughter’s life and chronic conditions.

There are many flashbacks between seven years before the incident and during the investigations on June 14, 2015, when Dee Dee is found dead and her sickly daughter Gypsy is nowhere be found.

From an outside view, the life of Gypsy and Dee Dee was inspirational and hopeful to so many families. They even received a new house as a charitable act in the small town of Greene County in Missouri. But nobody would expect, that in reality, their lives was a gigantic Pandora’s box of secrets.

The first episode begins with Lacey, played by AnnaSophia Robb, and her mom Mel, 03-the-act.w1200.h1200played by Chloë Sevigny, calling 911 to report that something is wrong with her neighbor after she sees a very strange post on Facebook.

Following through the timeline of after the Blanchards move to the new house, the series starts showing how Dee Dee and Gypsy live with doors closed and the process of Gypsy discovering her mother’s lies.

In the second episode, the dead body of Dee Dee is introduced, and the disappearance of Gypsy is alarming. Also in the flashback presented in this episode is when a doctor doubts Gypsy’s sickness, since she appears physically strong, expect for the bad self-maintenance of her teeth.

Dr. Lakshmi Chandra, played by Poorna Jagannathan, notices that something is off. Doing her own investigation, she feels that Gypsy is in danger, but manipulative Dee Dee is convinced that everything is fine.

In later episodes, a friendship with her neighbor Lacey influences and introduces Gypsy to the teenager world. She spends most of her life locked in this little kid fantasy, and this friendship starts to reveal her wish to be the teenager that she is and rebel against her mother.

One changing moment is when Gypsy meets Nick Godejohn, played by Calum Worthy, online, and this relationship takes them to a very dark version of themselves. This later will become a main key in the show.

It does not take long to realize that Dee Dee’s stories do not seem quite accurate. Dee Dee has been abusing her daughter by drugging her, faking illness, and in other ways that are revealed later. All this was to receive sympathy and free money from neighbors and the government. For Gypsy, this process was slow and painful.

The show does a very good job of showing this bipolar side of Dee Dee as she wants to always protect her daughter, along with the fighting and rebellion of Gypsy.

Directors Antosca and Dean really focus on Gypsy’s emotions of being a teenager and a prisoner in a child life. They want viewers to be uncomfortable and feel trapped.

Even though this murder case was very famous in the media and the ending is well known, the series still engages viewers very well to the point that you want to see more. What many may have heard about the case, is seen in a closer visualization and the intensity of the facts involved in the story.

I give “The Act” an 8.5 out of 10.

‘Generation Zero’ offers great concert, poor execution

Upon returning home from a short island vacation, you quickly realize that things are not the way they were. Without a soul in sight, and with every car, house, and street seemingly abandoned, the only thing to do is push forward.

“Generation Zero” is an open world, post-apocalyptic shooter where lethal machines have eradicated human life. The setting for the video game is an ‘80’s Swedish countryside setting with a retro vibe and small details that take the player back through time.

Generation-Zero-Screenshot-Tank-02-900x506Between the retro synth-wave music and neon-colored floppy disks lying around, the attention to detail in “Generation Zero” is impressive. The game is not without its issues and oversights, however.

“Generation Zero” falls into the survival genre of video games, but without as much depth as games that require the player to stay hydrated and well fed. The survival tools used are first-aid kits, boom boxes, fireworks and adrenaline shots, all of which are used to outsmart the machines or keep the player alive.

The idea of the game is very appealing, as the setting, the multiplayer options, and the combat against the machines all make for a top-tier game. Unfortunately, the game falls short in many areas. The first issue I noticed is clunky, outdated menus. The menus are next to impossible to navigate quickly and take up the entire screen. The inventory should be more of an overlay that only takes up half of the screen, with a special hotkey to pull it up quickly.

One complaint I’ve seen online is the way missions are handled. The player receives all instructions through old letters, notes, and answering machine recordings, with very little detail or direction regarding where to go and what to do. I enjoy the vagueness of the missions, because it encourages the player to explore and think about what they need to do.Instead of having a point on the map, or an arrow pointing to the objective, the “go here, do this” missions turn into adventures instead of errands.

The Swedish countryside is beautiful throughout all of the weather changes, sunrises and sunsets. The abandoned homes are packed with detail. However, there is not much variation in the homes you find throughout the game’s world. In a short, two-hour session, I visited the same residence five times at different regional locations. The only runnerdifference is where the loot spawns (if any) in the house.

The machines in this game HURT. It is what they were made to do, after all. The combat design and tools provided encourage outsmarting and ambushing machines by using guerilla tactics. But the machines can detect the player much sooner than the player can detect the machines, and set up a proper ambush or trap. This design ruins any actual depth and thought in initiating combat, forcing players to skirmish with the machines by throwing as many bullets and grenades at them as fast as they can.

“Generation Zero” is conceptually an excellent game. However, these issues cloud any good experience that comes with it. The combat is clunky, while the setting is beautiful yet repetitive. The game is much more fun with a team of friends, but playing in multiplayer crashes the game more frequently. It needs some work. Until it receives the polishing and attention it deserves, I rate “Generation Zero” a 4/10.

Green New Deal aiming to reduce carbon emissions entirely

A bill to reduce America’s impact on global climate change is being developed by Democrats, much to the dismay of the many Republicans who claim it isn’t feasible or even that it’s radical.

The Green New Deal (GND) echoes a portion of Obama’s stimulus package from roughly 10 years ago, which primarily focused on improving the economy and avoiding a depression. Tens of billions of dollars, however, created jobs and infrastructure to produce clean energy. While many Republicans don’t afford much attention to climate change, some Democrats have talked about the Green New Deal in a radical way, suggesting changes that are beyond reasonable considering our country’s dependency on fossil fuel.

AOC photoAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez, upcoming Democrat and state representative of New York, has repeatedly said on the record that the goal of the Green New Deal policy is to reach 100 percent emissions-free energy production, a noble goal with a caveat. Reaching zero carbon emissions just isn’t achievable overnight. Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) pushes it as a goal, making Republicans nervous that a green energy initiative will prove a costly, radical undertaking in which Democrats bite off more than they can chew.

Details about what the new policies will look like, and if they will affect other energy resources, are slim. But to much Republican delight, AOC is not on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s committee to create the GND.

Despite Democrats praising the green initiative, AOC has been given most of the credit, since she has acted as the catalyst for it and fanned its flames through interviews and social media. AOC has released a preamble to the GND, boasting goals of creating jobs, focusing on renewable energy and charging companies for carbon emissions. Her intense support has led to her having to shelter the majority of the criticism for the concept, though. Her Socialist affiliation also has left a sour taste in the mouths of many Republicans.

Stimulus packages have proven necessary to protect the economy from excessive decline in the past, but the huge sums of money put into a select industry does constitute a redistribution of wealth. The GND is already being defamed as a socialist policy before it has taken any shape that will actually pass a vote. While a stimulus package could once again prove necessary in the future, most stimulus packages aren’t so heavily focused on a single industry, but are more diversified. The opposition of the GND has been quick to cite the half a million dollars Obama’s stimulus funneled into a failed solar energy company, Solyndra.

President Donald Trump has already mocked AOC publically, referring to her indirectlyGND speech as a “bartender,” and vowed to oppose the GND in 2020. The plan may prove to be unreasonable, but writing it off so early also is troubling, considering the evidence stacked in favor of climate change. The GND poses the risk of making the nation’s energy production far less efficient than countries with less moral hang-ups and wasting taxpayer money on dying solutions such as Solyndra. But the concept of green energy shouldn’t be written off.

As a military, economic and political superpower, the United States can influence the world and should pursue green energy while encouraging others to do so. Environmental specialists have already predicted that climate change will become somewhat irreversible in less than two decades. This, paired with other countries contributing mass amounts of carbon emissions to the problem, means a complete, instant switch to green energy might not be enough to prevent this.

The world is already behind the curve on the problem, and politicians will fight about solutions for years to come. But the reality is that it is too late to avoid serious repercussions, and green policies can’t reasonably be enacted all at once, but gradually.

Rushed marriages lead to higher divorce rate


There are many important decisions one will make in life, and picking the right mate ranks at the top.

It seems that today so many kids are encouraged to start liking the opposite sex so young. You can hear any parents ask, “Is he your boyfriend? Or do you like him/her?” I was blessed that my parents encouraged me to not rush that. Enjoy just being a kid, they said.

When I was raising my sons, I taught them the same words of wisdom.

couples arguing DebbieIt breaks my heart when I see men and women around 30 years of age breaking up families with divorce. Getting a divorce not long after getting married is so hard on the children.

So, what can be done to avoid that heartbreak? There are several things that can be done to decrease the divorce rate.

Don’t start dating so young. This starts the hormones racing worse than normal. You have plenty of time in your adult life to date. Use your childhood to take in this amazing journey called life. Don’t look for a happy life in another person. Work at being wholly happy on your own.

When you start dating, date long enough to see them in tough situations.  When you rush into marriage or a committed relationship, you don’t get to see them at their worst, and that will bug you later.

Life will be so much better when you are not sucking the life out of the other person. If you date the wrong one, there are some red flags to watch out for.

One big red flag is if you fight all the time. You will make yourself sick. If you have kids, 5b9e33ac250000360036c1fbthey will not be healthy either. An ugly divorce will most likely be in your future.

Another red flag is the feeling of being “ignored.”  He/she doesn’t like to be friendly or cordial. This will set the marriage up for infidelity.

If he/she gives attention to the opposite sex in a “too friendly way,” it will cause jealousy and lots of fights.

Sometimes people are too needy. They need reinforcement of the relationship all the time. This will get “old” fast.

Marriage is about a partnership. If one side is always first, there will be resentment.

When you are in public, does he/she hold your hand, or does he keep his distance? This is a big red flag, because he/she could be ashamed to be seen in public with you.

Another big red flag is when you are in public, do their eyes wonder to the opposite sex, or is their attention on you?

Ask yourself these questions: Is he nice? Is he kind? Is she thoughtful? Is she patient? Does he think of himself first all the time? Listen and trust your heart.

Another question that you need to ask yourself often, and be open to the truth, is “Does his actions match his words?”

Don’t pursue the male. He was created to do the pursuing. If he doesn’t pursue you, he is not “into” you. I promise you do not want to be with someone who doesn’t want you. If he lets you do all the work to stay in touch, he is letting you know how little he thinks of you, or how lazy he will be.  It is a lonely life if you get him.

When he catches you, it will be so much better.

Board of Regents discuss CampusShield app, rank promotions

The new CampusShield Smartphone App, the Scholarship Gala Update, and the Online Resume for Prospective Students, Parents, and the Public were among the topics discussed during the March meeting of the South Plains College Board of Regents.

Dr. Stan DeMerritt, vice president for student affairs, presented the Emergency Preparedness Efforts which include classroom posters that will be available on all SPC campuses. The posters provide information for students and faculty, as well as telephone numbers to call during an emergency.

“These will be hung in every classroom and every public space around campus, across all facilities,” Dr. DeMerritt said.  “People will look at these posters and immediately see what to do in an emergency, and we are looking forward to that.”

Dr. DeMerritt also discussed the new CampusShield Smartphone App which was launched March 18. Features of the new app include an anonymous tip button which allows photos and/or video to be submitted to law enforcement, Safety Escort, which allows an individual to request a safety escort on all SPC campuses, and an Emergency Button, which can immediately connect to campus safety forces.

“Students can also do a Friend Watch, which can help students around campus but also when they are outside of the community,” Dr. DeMerritt explained. “A person can set up three to four friends at a time, and the app will let their friends know then they are leaving a destination, and it can also tell their friend(s) how long it will take them to arrive to their next destination.”

The CampusShield App also has maps of all SPC campuses and a Bus Tracker, which provides contact information for Spartan. The new app is easy to use, and it is free to download.

Dr. Ryan Gibbs, vice president for academic affairs, reported information regarding the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) 5th Year Report update. SPC has until Sept. 13 to present a report that address 24 of 33 standards that are reviewed for the 10-year accreditation, along with a summary of the college’s quality enhancement plan impact report.

“This process started in May 2018,” Dr. Gibbs explained. “Currently, we are on schedule to have a final draft complete and mailed a month before the due date.”

Steven John, vice president for institutional advancement at SPC, discussed the Online Resume for Prospective Students, Parents, and the Public that is available on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s website.

The resume provides comparative data from a peer group that SPC has been assigned to which is comprised of Amarillo, Central Texas, Navarro, Tyler JC, Blinn, North Central, Del Mar and SPC. The report also presents enrollment, financial aid costs, and student success, as well as degrees and certificates awarded by peer institutions.

John said that overall, the college is performing on par with its peers. From data given, it shows that students at SPC are successful in the classrooms.

Julie Gerstenberger, director of development and alumni relations, presented the results from the 21st annual Scholarship Gala. The gala raised more than $228,000, with 100 percent of the going to to benefit SPC scholarships.

“This is what that Scholarship Gala does,” explained Gerstenberger. “We want to reward excellence, and we really look for the students who have earned the opportunity to have an award.”

Gerstenberger also announced that next year’s gala could possibly be held on the third Thursday in February of 2020.

Dr. Robin Satterwhite, president of SPC, presented the Faculty Rank Promotions, along with the Faculty Tenure Recommendations.

Faculty promoted to the rank of professor include Hye-Gyung Ji, John Kennedy, Glenda Bryant, Kay McClellan, Sharon Race, and Stephen Williams.

Faculty promoted to the rank of associate professor include Debra Gelber, Keila Ketchersid, Amanda Rakhshandeh, Angela Roberts, Christopher Neal, Nancy Smith, Brent Wheeler, and Robert Wood.

Faculty promoted to the rank of assistant professor include Kevin Beaugh, Sherley Bedore, Tamie Coltharp, Janine Fox, Janet Hargrove, Ryan Heth, Timothy Holland, Benjamin Keltz, Kiley Leone, Fausto Montes, Raylene Nuffer, Michael Slaughter, Tara Strawn, Jessica Williams, Camy Brunson, Caleb Humphreys, Stephen Sanders, and Sarah Thompson.

Faculty granted tenure include Laci Alexander, Kevin Beaugh, Clinton Bishop, Rodney Busby, Kristie Cole, Janine Fox, M. Travis Hawk, Susan Horn, Megan Keith, Larry Kirk, Allison Maddox, Fausto Montes, Eric Niederhauser, Patti Thompson, Bang Wang, Darren Welch, and Marc Wischkaemper.

Community comments were made at the end of the meeting by Levelland residents Joe D. Brooks and Mary Siders regarding the new facility in downtown Lubbock.

Brooks addressed the Board of Regents by asking for transparency among the college’s leadership.

“I have visited with some of the Board of Regents members, and not once has this issue been on your agenda,” said Brooks. “I take it personal, because I am from Levelland, and I know the tax dollars don’t make up for it. But when we haven’t been asked, or been given a rod to fish with, how do we know if and when these things are already done?”

Mary Siders, with the Levelland Chamber of Commerce, also addressed the Board. She, along with Brooks, expressed concern and asked the Board to find options to bring more students to South Plains College.

“South Plains College does a lot for our community,” Siders said, “and we realize that. But the Board should reach out to the business community and ask for our input. Business owners are very fluent in sharing things with the Chamber of Commerce… So we just ask that you communicate with us.”

Both Siders and Brooks asked the Board to think of what is best for South Plains College and for the community.

Dynamic treatment options make PTSD manageable

You trap your feelings into a time capsule. But it eventually becomes too full and explodes. The memories spill out and replay in front of your eyes over and over like a slideshow.

Your body is in the moment, while your brain is in the past. You become terrified to sleep because the nightmares bleed into your dreams.

ptsd-featured-imageAccording to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) develops in some people when they experience a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.

Dr. Alicia Barr, professor of psychology at South Plains College, said people who are placed into situations where their lives are in danger can develop PTSD, such as “people who serve in the military, women who are raped, people who are in car accidents, and people who are exposed to natural disasters.”

Marcie Miller, associate professor of psychology at SPC, said that people can develop PTSD if they’ve experienced a serious threat to their life, witnessed some things that happened to somebody else, or learned about something happening to someone who is interpersonally close to them.

“Some people think you have to had almost died,” Miller said. “But it could be learning about your mother almost dying that could even trigger PTSD.”

Miller explained that people who were exposed to war can experience PTSD, as well as first responders, victims of domestic violence, and people who were mugged or who were held hostage.

Symptoms usually begin within three months of an incident, according to NIMH. ptsd-treatment-2797659_FINAL-5c12be374cedfd00010f866aHowever, it can sometimes begin years after as well. In order for  adults to be diagnosed with PTSD, they must have: a re-experiencing symptom, an avoidance symptom, arousal and reactivity symptoms; and two cognition and mood symptoms, for at least one month.

Miller also said that PTSD will show up in an average person within three months, but sometimes symptoms will develop as early as within a month, though sometimes it can be years.

A common misconception, according to Miller, is that if symptoms don’t show up right away, then you’re fine.

Sometimes people will have some symptoms but not enough to be diagnosed, Miller said, and they might not be diagnosed for another six months or later until they have enough symptoms for meeting the criteria for PTSD.

“Symptoms generally include the person reliving the traumatic event,” said Dr. Barr.

Dr. Barr said someone who has experienced a traumatic event will have a very detailed memory of it.

“If their memory is triggered, the event unfolds in their head,” explained Dr. Barr. “It feels like they’re reliving that event.”

Dr. Barr said that sleep problems or recurring nightmares are common and can even develop into the person not wanting to go to sleep because of trying to avoid the nightmares, so they become sleep deprived.

“Folks who develop PTSD are hypervigilant,” said Dr. Barr.

Facts-About-Concussion-and-PTSD-722x406Miller explained that two people could have the same diagnosis but will experience different distressing symptoms.

“Intrusive thoughts that are distressing, such as memories or images that kind of intrude into their thinking, can take over and cause distress,” Miller said.

Avoidance is very common, and people with PTSD might avoid certain environments, people, places and objects, according to Miller. Some people may have trouble experiencing positive emotions and may lose interest in things they used to be interested in.

“Reckless and self destructive behaviors can be real common too,” Miller pointed out. “That could include substance use, or excessive speeding. Doing physically risky things. “

PTSD also manifests a little differently for children and adults, according to Miller.

“Adults will have these intensely detailed emotional dreams about their trauma,” Miller explained, “where as children might have dreams that they identify as distressing, but don’t remember what it was about.”

Miller also mentioned that children might reenact traumatic events in the way they play or story tell. They might describe how they are feeling as “they don’t feel good,” as if they were sick, while adults are better at explaining how they feel.

“For children, you’re often looking for changes,” Miller said. “They become socially withdrawn or avoid certain people in certain places.”

Dr. Barr said she thinks that PTSD is the kind of disorder that will always be with someone on some level after it develops.

About half of the people who suffer from PTSD will always have it during their life, but the other half could find relief within a matter of months, according to Miller.

Some resilience factors that may reduce the risk of PTSD are seeking out support from people, finding a support group, learning how to feel good about actions during danger, learning a positive coping strategy, and learning how to act or respond despite of fear, according to NIMH.

“I think sometimes the myth behind PTSD is that there’s some kind of weakness or inability to cope,” said Miller. “Having social support, from family, friends, or wherever can kind of validate that we’re behind you, and can increase positive emotions.”

Miller explained that when people feel isolated and alone, it could lead to more avoidance and more negative emotion.

pexels-photo-326559-1280x429Dr. Barr says that humans are social animals and need each other.

“Deep down, we know that we’re better off when we have people close to us,” said Dr. Barr. “It gives us a sense of safety. For someone who has developed PTSD and does not feel safe, to suddenly be abandoned by family and friends or who aren’t trying to understand, would absolutely make it worse.”

Researchers thought that if they had people who just experienced a trauma to sit down and tell them in detail what they experienced, that it would help them debrief and get over it, according to Dr. Barr. However, what they found is that it increased the likelihood of developing PTSD, and essentially people need room to decompress on their own, because some people can work through it by themselves.

Researchers are studying risk and resilience factors, along with genetic and neurobiology, taking more of a biological approach.

“With any disorder, there are different theoretical explanations,” said Miller, “and that’s kind of taking more of a biomedical explanation that people who have genotye A are more likely to develop PTSD than people with genotype B.

“Structurally speaking,” she added, “there are some findings that suggest that folks with PTSD show structural differences in memory, in emotional centers of their brain… the limbic system specifically.”

Miller explained that the Limbic system is the part of the brain that is involved in human behavioral and emotional responses, especially negative and fear.

The Limbic system is just above the brainstem and underneath the cerebral cortex.brain-limbic-system

“If you were to find your temples,” Miller said, “picture your fingers all the way into the center. That’s where those structures exist, one in each hemisphere.”

Within the Limbic system, there are two major structures, the Hippocampus and the amygdala.  According to Queensland Brain Institute, the amygdala has a big role in emotional responses. The amygdala also plays a key role in forming memories, specifically memories related to fear.

“If it’s altered and does things differently, than I’m going to do things differently,” Miller explained. “Those differences were always there, and that’s why this person’s more likely to develop PTSD, or that trauma created these changes, and that’s why they responded to the world differently now Post-Trauma.”

The most studied medicines for treating PTSD are antidepressants, according to NIMH, because it can help control PTSD symptoms such as worry, anger, and feeling numb.

Beta blockers can be used if the doctor feels it is right for the patient, Dr. Barr said.

“Beta blockers basically decrease blood pressure,” Dr. Barr said, “in theory decreasing epinephrine or adrenaline.”

Dr. Barr explained that some people who have PTSD will remember the trauma. So when the memory is triggered they remember the event, and adrenaline or epinephrine is released in their system. This gives them a physical reaction, and the chemicals will help to sear this memory deeper, and in more detail, causing the memory to become more potent. So the next time that memory gets triggered, they release more epinephrine. It is the cycle that makes the memory stronger and stronger.

“Beta blockers will decrease levels of these chemicals, and essentially make that person less likely to be creating this super potent memory that’s harassing them,” said Dr. Barr.

Antidepressants can help control sadness, worry, and anger, which are commonly seen with PTSD symptoms.

“Antidepressants are a pretty common approach,” said Miller, adding that while some may be classified an antidepressant, they can work well for alleviating symptoms of anxiety in PTSD.

Miller also said that antidepressants can help with sleep disturbances, mood swings, hypervigilance, and emotional reaction.

julie-berman-therapy-and-counseling-in-portland-or-trauma-therapy-picture-1“A lot of antipsychotics are also approved for antidepressant treatments as well,” Miller mentioned.

Miller said Psychotherapy (talk therapy), Cognitive Behavioral Therapies (CBT), and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) are often used to help treat PTSD.

Psychotherapy may help people identify and change their troubling thoughts, according to the NIMH.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), CBT helps individuals learn how to be their own therapist with exercises in sessions and outside of sessions. This helps the person to develop coping skills to learn how to change thinking of problematic emotions or behavior.

CPT is a specific type of CBT which can help people with PTSD learn how to challenge or modify unhelpful beliefs, according to the APA. CPT is usually delivered during 12 sessions. By practicing this therapy, patients create new conceptualization of the traumatic event.

CPT is strongly recommended to help treat PTSD, according to the APA.

Some self-help tips include working on slowing your breath, relaxing your muscles, working on grounding techniques such as describing objects as you touch them, saying the alphabet backwards, and facing your fears and building upon bravery.

Miller said she thinks that acceptance of the idea that humans change in response to trauma is a step toward helping oneself overcome PTSD.

“More often than not, it was nothing they did wrong,…” Miller said. “Coming around to that idea of this isn’t a flawed state of me, that this was trauma induced, could be very beneficial.”


Former student become published speech professor


Before becoming a professor at South Plains College, Kelley Finley was a student who was involved in many campus organizations.

After getting her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wayland Baptist University and Texas Tech University, respectively, she returned to SPC for the opportunity to teach speech to college students.

Finley grew up in Bledsoe, Texas on a cotton farm. She had to commute to school every day.

“I went to school in Whiteface, 23 miles from my hometown,” she recalled. “We didn’t have a middle school or high school, so we had to commute.”

According to Finley, she chose to attend SPC because it was so close to home.

“I had no career aspirations,” she said. “I just didn’t know what else to do after high school. SPC was affordable, and my parents had both attended SPC. So it was an easy choice.”

As a Texan, Finley was very involved on campus. She lived on campus in Smallwood Apartments. She was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for two-year colleges, and served as a Campus Ambassador and as president of the Baptist Student Ministry during her time at SPC. She was also a member of the forensics team and participated in the Miss Caprock Scholarship Pageant.

“At SPC, I met Laura Dickinson, who taught Public Speaking and was the coach for the forensic team,” said Finley. “She encouraged me to continue my education and to think about getting a Communication degree.”

After attending SPC, Finley transferred to Wayland Baptist University. While at WBU, she pursued a Mass Communication minor. Finley was very involved at Wayland, just as she was at SPC. She participated in plays with the Theater Department and also helped with the TV department.

By her final year at Wayland, Finley found what she wanted to do.

“My senior year, I decided I wanted to teach speech to other college students,” she explained, “so I knew I had to get my master’s.”

After Wayland, she attended Texas Tech University to get her master’s degree. While attending Texas Tech, she served as a Teaching Assistant. Being a TA helped Finley know that she truly wanted to teach. While attending Texas Tech, she worked at a daycare, as a waitress, and at Cavender’s Boot City in Lubbock.

After Texas Tech, Finley taught English and speech to high school and middle school students in Whiteface for four years. At the end of those four years, there was an opening at SPC.

“I loved my time at SPC, and I knew it was where I wanted to end up,” she explained. “I applied as soon as there was an opening, and when I was offered a job, I jumped at it! It’s a great place with great people and great students.”

Finley currently teaches Public Speaking, Introduction to Communication, and Business and Professional Speech. She also has been serving as the president of the Faculty Senate.

Finley also recently wrote a textbook with fellow instructor Janine Fox. They wrote the textbook “Entry Level to Executive: All Communication Counts” because they believed students shouldn’t be paying upwards of $100 for a speech textbook. They also decided to write the book to fit the needs of their students.

“We like that it’s a consumable, that we have tear-out pages in the back,” explained Finley. “We like that our students have that option. We like the way it looks. We like that it’s marketed to South Plains College, and when you get that book you don’t say, ‘Wow, that was a huge waste of money.’ It’s got resumes and interviewing,  so even if you only use it for public speaking, it’s got stuff you can use well into your adult life. We’re proud of it, and it was a labor of love.”

When not teaching, Finley spends time with her family and is very involved in the community.

“In my spare time, I read and watch movies,” Finley said. “I have three kids,  so my spare time is usually spent with them.”

Finley is also on the King’s Kids PDO board and helps on Wednesday nights with the children’s program at First Baptist Church in Levelland. She also enjoys researching issues relating to health and essential oils.

For students who want to obtain a Communication degree, Finley says it is a very useful degree to pursue.

“You can do so many things with a Communication degree,” she explained.

Finley also encourages teaching at the collegiate level.

“If teaching is your thing, then I highly recommend you teach in college,” Finley said. “It is the best job ever!”


Final ‘Madea’ movie emphasizes families sticking together through tragedy

After receiving awful news about a family member passing away, Madea and her family gather around as she announces that she will be planning the funeral. This family meeting will be the starting point of the journey that Madea will take.

“A Madea Family Funeral,” released into theaters on March 1, was directed by Tyler Perry. This hilarious movie is a must-watch.

The dynamics of this film has a plot twist you won’t see coming. “A Madea Family Funeral” is the 13th and closing chapter of the Madea movie series that has been directed and produced by Perry.

Perry created the character Madea, also known as Mable Simmons, an elderly African American woman who is tough and will do anything to keep her family together, even through the toughest times. She is very blunt and is not ashamed of how she acts. Her character is very genuine and fun to laugh at while watching “A Madea Family Funeral.”

With her family’s support, she will put together her family and a funeral, no matter how hard she has to try or how loud she has to yell.
tyler-perrys-a-madea-family-funeral-133906This amazing film is about what families go through. The movie is set in a small town in Georgia. The family comes together for an anniversary party, but then the event turns into a mixture of different family situations.
This comedy film is aimed toward family with its PH-13 rating. Even though this is a movie centers around a funeral, there are moments filled with joy, along with moments that can bring tears to your eyes.

I enjoy movies that I can relate to because I have experienced a family funeral myself. This movie hits the jackpot with how crazy it can get. Family funerals are very hard, and it can get dramatic.

Throughout this film, there are family secrets and twists that are interesting, and Madea will do everything to keep her family from tearing apart. Madea always seems to know what to do and what to say to her family to keep them from breaking apart.

This movie reveals how, even in the saddest times, families can come together, no matter what. The comedy is a perfect balance for this type of film. Madea will bring you to tears by laughing so hard.

Her unique way of getting things done is what makes this film so hilarious. Her character is very funny, and she will show her family just how important it is to be there for each other. Even though Madea is crazy and loud, her wisdom and sense of family is what always makes the Madea films so enjoyable to watch. Her character will definitely make you laugh.
I rate this movie an 8 out of 10, because it wasn’t my favorite Madea movie. It was just a different film with some new characters. The audience was introduced to a new side of the family, and I just wasn’t used to that side of the family. But this movie is still very funny. My family and I could not stop laughing.

Exciting gameplay overshadows forgettable story in ‘The Division 2’

Most humans have been wiped out by a fatal biological super-bug, but somehow this bug is weaponized.

Secret groups of government agents, or “Division Agents” are considered to be the last line of defense in rebuilding and defending the nation.

In “The Division 2” players get to create and play their own Division Agent and scour post-apocalyptic Washington, D.C., looking for supplies, weapons, and, most importantly, reclaiming the enemy-occupied landmarks and neighborhoods by force.

The-Division-2-Review“The Division” franchise has some history as a pretty bland third-person-shooter with loads of potential. The genre of “shoot-and-loot” games maintains a meager standard in the massive multiplayer online role-playing game (or MMORPG) world.

The first “Division” game was fairly bland. The beginning was strong, the story was decent, but the “endgame” was severely lacking at launch. Ubisoft’s developers were very receptive throughout all of “The Division’s” lifespan. They listened to their players and offered fixes and content to respond to the suggestions of their fans.

“The Division 2” is almost similar to the first game, but with all of the balance fixes, loot, and content that it had lacked from the beginning. It is a much better game that raises the bar in the MMO shoot-and-loot genre.

The story is reasonably engaging, though a little boring for my taste. I find myself not paying attention during the more significant events, but that is because my taste in shooters does not include semi-realistic, hyper-tactical super soldiers. I don’t like working or playing for “The Man.” I am more of a sci-fi fan. However, this does not take away from my experience, because the gameplay is excellent.

The beginning is not very challenging, but the endgame is. “The Division 2” truly starts after 20 to 30 hours of gameplay, when you start unlocking “World Tiers,” which are the_division_2_gold_art_1.jpgessentially harder versions of the world the player is already roaming. The open world also becomes much more dynamic after level 30. The world is always moving, changing, and being occupied or invaded by different enemy factions.

After reaching the level cap of 30, the gear-score grind begins, along with openings for different “specializations” that unlock more ways to play the game.

There are three specializations, and each gives a new tree of “perks” that help refine your preferred play style. “The Division 2” does not emphasize, but merely includes, the “Tank, healer, DPS” style of MMO, albeit with a more complicated execution. The specializations have something for (almost) everybody, whether a player wants to focus on explosives, sharpshooting, survivability, or pure gun damage-per-second.

  “The Division 2” would not be complete without “Dark Zones.” or DZ. Dark Zones are contaminated, quarantined areas that are unlocked later in the game. The DZ is where players go for some of the best loot, and player vs. player conflict. The DZ was arguably the best part of the first “Division” game.

In “The Division 2,” the Dark Zone is split into three smaller areas instead of one large one. The three DZs “normalize” each player’s gear score, which balances everybody’s armor and damage output. This way, nobody has the edge over another player by having better gear, so players are rewarded for higher skills.

Each DZ has a unique landscape which forces players to move and react in certain ways. One DZ is compact and busy, while another is very open and spacious. The third is a bit of a balancing act between the other two. Additionally, Dark Zones can gain an “Occupied” status if the “big bad” faction, the “Dark Tusk,” takes over the zone. That changes the mechanics to be much more unforgiving. In Occupied Dark Zones, normalization is turned off, gear score matters, and the NPC enemies are harder and smarter.

Dark Zones also have the option for a player to go “Rogue,” which toggles PVP activity for somebody who would rather hunt other players instead of the PVE content. The Occupied Dark Zone removes the rogue option entirely so that players can shoot other players on sight.

“The Division 2” is a step in the right direction regarding the genre and triple-A games in the first place. “The Division 2” is the first game released in 2019 that does not feel like a $60 beta test. Yes, there are bugs, as annoying as they are, but they are few and far between.

Props to Ubisoft for their successful releases during the last few years. “The Division 2” is a breath of fresh air. The gaming industry is in a very greedy state, bringing a world full of battle royals, and unfinished, cash-grabbing piles of hot garbage as far as multiplayer games go. –cough- “ANTHEM” –cough- (Good job, staying true to your reputation, EA). The rest of the gaming industry should consider letting their developers make the games, not their shareholders.

“The Division 2” is far from perfect, and I fear the redundancy of the first game might leak into the second a little bit. But I also have a little faith that Ubisoft will keep listening to their players, and consider fan’s suggestions when creating future content. I give “The Division 2” an 8/10.

Former SPC professor achieves bluegrass dreams


Alan Munde was a traveling musician and 40 years old. He traveled a lot, but he had a wife and daughter and was ready to settle down a little.

He was in a group called “Country Gazette” and had performed at South Plains College a couple of times. In 1986, he got the opportunity teach and settle down in Levelland.

“I sure do miss it.” Munde said of the Creative Arts Department at SPC. “Buildings used to be just opened for the day. But here, people didn’t want to go home, so the building was open all night. It is a good place here, for sure.”

Munde performed with the Pickin on the Plains band, Steve Williams, Ed Marsh and Flatlands Bluegrass on March 1 in the Tom T Hall Recording and Production Study in the Commercial Music Building in Levelland.

Munde was a professor at SPC until 2006. He now resides in Wimberly, Texas.

IMG_6302“I’m retired from teaching” Munde said. “But I am still trying to be a banjo picking star. Put your thumb and index figure almost together, and that is how close I am to achieving that.”

Munde was about 14 when he started playing the banjo. He played the guitar first, and about a year later he started picking the banjo. His brother and sister played the accordion. He enjoyed his playing so much that he did not keep track of how many hours he practiced.

“Ask my mother,” Munde said jokingly. “She is the one who kept track of the hours. She probably notched it in the door frame with a knife.”

Munde said he would never put the banjo down unless he had to go somewhere. He would play for a while, set it down, then go back and play more.

“It was about getting your fingers to these magic places,” Munde explained. “It’s like a pilgrimage. You walk where others have been. Your fingers are where other famous people have played. People can tell you to play this cord, but it isn’t the same as when your fingers make the sounds.”

Munde counts bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs among his role models.

“To this day, I can still listen to his music and be thrilled by it,” said Munde, who also lists Doug Dillard from the “Darlins” band of the “Andy Griffith Show” and Eddy Shelton from Dallas as his influences.

He said his favorite form of music is, “any music that is creative,” adding,” I like pickers, what ever it is. Country, jazz, classical guitar players. If rock and roll has a guitar base, then I like that.”

When asked how many CDs he has made, he paused, then said, “24 sounds good, but before that was LPs.”

As for advice for aspiring musicians, Munde offers, “Get as good as you can on your instrument.” The good musicians I knew not only had their music good, but their life was in order, where their lifestyle didn’t demand more than their music brought in.”

“Play your music all the time, and be around musicians where music is made,” he added. “Just make music your lifestyle. It’s not the money. You get to know some of the best people in the world. You meet people who want to know you, be around you, and play music with you. That’s really good. It is the best you can do. Work really hard at your craft.”

When Munde arrived at SPC, the bluegrass program was already going, but he influenced it and helped it grow into what it became. The program started in 1975 with IMG_6305John Hartin. When Munde arrived, the program was called “Country and Bluegrass Music.”

“With Munde being at South Plains College, he drew people from all over the world to come here,” says Steve Williams. “He is world known and highly respected.”

Once a year, Munde comes back to Camp Bluegrass at SPC in the summer. Joe and Paula Carr helped manage the camp with him. The camp has been in session more than 34 years.

Some of the famous musicians Munde has played with include Johnny Bush and Fiddlin Frenchie Burke. He played in the band County Fair with Burke, who Munde says “had a hot band.”

“They could really play,” Munde said. “They just burned it.”

Steve Williams first taught at SPC in 1989, then left for 10 years to go on the road to play music. He came back in 1999 and has been teaching for 20 years.

The associate professor of commercial music plays the guitar, dobro, steel guitar, lap steel, bass and harmonica. He was 12 when he started taking lessons and playing music. He grew up loving blues, soul, and country. Williams enjoys playing old country music and blues, though he can also be heard playing ‘60s music and more modern pop.

Back in the 1990s, Munde, Williams and Marsh put together the Steve Alan Trio and would jam on any given Friday night.

“He is one of the heroes,” Williams said of playing with Munde.

Like Munde, Williams’ words of wisdom for a rising artist is to “take it seriously, work hard, practice and keep your head on straight. Don’t get into drinking and all that bad stuff. It is hard, and people are always encouraging and tempting.”

Also performing on March 1 along with Alan Munde was the “Pickin’ on the Plains” ensemble and the Flatland Bluegrass band.

Levi Humphreys played the mandolin and shared vocals in the “Pickin on the Plains” band. Jason Sain played the guitar and shared vocals. Sain described playing with Munde as “Incredible.”

Leah Bynum played violin and vocals. Her twin sister Megan Bynum performed on bass, violin and also vocals. The sisters said playing with Munde was “Once in a lifetime, iconic and surreal.”