JESSICA RUSH / THE EAST TEXAN
SWAT school brings multiple precincts to Commerce page 4
Tegan and Sara bring infinite joy to writer
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DANIEL MENDENHALL / THE EAST TEXAN
Lions keep game close losing by two in end
The East Texan
S TUDENT NE WSPAPER OF TE X A S A& M UNIVERSIT Y- COMMERCE SINCE 1915
XCIV, No. 18, 8 pages
Thursday, Mar. 4, 2010
Lodge shut down due to gang violence Chance crane brenna martindale allyson ranuro-smith
JAMES BRIGHT / THE EAST TEXAN
The Feb. 25 edition of The East Texan went missing the same day it was published. All the issues distributed on campus were removed in the early morning hours. None of the stolen copies of the newspaper were returned as of press time.
Morriss: ‘I’m proud of my players for doing that’ Head coach advocates football team stealing newspapers JAMES BRIGHT editor
Between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. on Feb. 25, members of the football team stole editions of The East Texan, which were distributed throughout campus newspaper racks. On Feb. 26, Crime Information Officer Lt. Jason Bone interviewed head coach of the football team Guy
Morriss, who said he advocated his players’ actions. “I’m proud of my players for doing that,” he said. “This was the best team building exercise we have ever done.” President Dan Jones said he met with Morriss a few days later on Mar. 1. During the meeting, Jones said he and Morriss discussed disciplinary actions for the football
players involved. Morriss said he would not make any apologies for the team, and they would suffer the consequences as a team, since the team committed the action. Bone said he met with Athletic Director Carlton Cooper about the thefts. Cooper said he did not think the players involved could have planned the theft. See FOOTBALL page 3
Local gang violence has caused the revocation of a public dance hall license from The Lodge, a Commerce establishment. The Lodge, a local event center, had its license removed on Jan. 1 due to multiple shootings and one stabbing assumed to be related to gang activity in the region. “About the only time we have ga ng violence is when Commerce and Greenville get together,” Commerce Chief of Police Kerry Crews said. “There are some wan nabes [in C o m m e r c e] t h a t w i l l t hrow t heir gang signs and wear their colors… but they don’t commit violence here in town. Now, when Greenville people come over, there’s always been a longtime rivalry… and when you mix those [together] that is when the problems occur.” According to Crews, the violence is directed more toward the community of Commerce. “It is not Greenville people that are getting shot out t here,” Crews said. “The only ones getting hurt are Commerce people. I do not want anybody to get hurt.” Crews laid out the sta-
tistics of violent occurrences at The Lodge as of April 6, 2006. The police have responded to 17 disturbances. 10 of those disturbances were due to shots being fired. Three people have been shot on the premises and one person has been stabbed. Fights have also been reported. “In the last few months it has gotten worse,” Crews said. “Two of the times that we had shootings out there were within the last 4-5 months. The owner of The Lodge and I have spoken more than once about being particular to whom he rents to and calling in offduty security guards…it just wasn’t working out.” Dennis Waldman, the owner of The Lodge, does not think the violence is a viable reason to lose his dance hall license. “Now, there was a stabbing,” Waldman said. “This is a crime scene? I don’t see any blood. I haven’t washed it. Don’t tell me that he was stabbed…he had a cut.” However, Crews has a different opinion. “It wasn’t as minor as what was portrayed at the council meeting,” Crews said. “It wasn’t just a slice. From what I understand they did a roundhouse. Even if it was a minor injury, if you’re pulling a weapon like a knife or gun, See GREENVILLE page 3
Mayor Quay Throgmorton wants you to vote james bright EDITOR
There are roughly 1,500 students living on campus at Texas A&M University-Commerce, and Mayor Quay Throgmorton wants each of them to get involved with the community. Only 500 people voted when Throgmorton was elected mayor, and he wants to see that change. “There is a lot of power in the students,” he said. This is the third year in a row students have run for city council positions, and Throgmorton said he sees a definite benefit in this trend. “We need people who have ideas on how to change this community,” he said. See MAYOR page 3
JAMES BRIGHT / THE EAST TEXAN
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Thursday, Mar. 4, 2010
Above the Law Editorial: Taking papers Exporting jobs is greedy practice
JOSH LAW STAFF WRITER The practice of outsourcing, or sending jobs to foreign companies for cheaper labor, has been going on in the United States for years and has continued to grow as a viable option for companies. Hundreds of corporations in the United States are outsourcing and sending American jobs overseas because they do not want to pay workers here a fair salary. They would rather send our work elsewhere so they can line their own pockets, and this makes me absolutely livid. When you consider how many people in America are already unemployed, how many are coming into the workplace, and how many need supplementary income, you begin to see the bigger issue with outsourcing: the fact that it takes available jobs away from hard working Americans who need them. A company I worked for at one point told me I no longer had the position I had been performing for over a year. The job was being given to someone in another country who would work for a fraction of the pay. Sure, the company may save a few dollars, but what about the employees, their families, or more importantly, the customer? I have spoken to numerous people over the years that have dealt
with the effects of outsourcing, and very few have ever raved about the practice. As a matter of fact, the normal reactions I have noticed are of anger, frustration and disbelief. Take, for example, the software company whose product you have just installed on your computer and now need help with. This company tells you to call their technical support line where you pay a given dollar amount per minute, but when you get on the phone, you cannot understand the person on the other end of the line because their accent is so thick and end up wasting time, money and patience. This tends to make customers angry. Typically the jobs that are outsourced are low tech, repetitive, low skilled jobs. In other words, these are entry level positions. Jobs such as technical support and customer service are the jobs that young people often do. If you have ever tried to get a job, you know experience is desired, and if you cannot get a job easily to gain that experience or do not have the opportunity to get into that company because the entry level jobs are all overseas, you miss out on opportunity. I will concede to the point that outsourcing allows certain companies to offer services at a cheaper cost to us, as it does work that way. However, I feel I would be willing to pay a little more for a service if it means having more work available for the country. I absolutely love America and being an American, but there are times when our greedy practices are detrimental to our society as a whole. I believe outsourcing is one of those practices.
represents censorship When we ran the story “Football players arrested in drug bust” in the Feb. 25 issue of The East Texan, we expected the football team to dislike it. What we did not expect was for the team to retaliate by taking all the copies of the Texan on campus and disposing of them, an act Head Coach Guy Morriss called “the best team building exercise we’ve ever done.” Perhaps, as an encore, the team could try stealing firearms from NRA members, so they can violate the amendments of the Bill of Rights in order. Coach Morriss seems to think the way to stop criticism of his program is the same way you stop opponents on the football field: by hitting them in the mouth. The problem is, this is not a game, and just as Morriss seems to think he does not have to play by rules laid out in the U.S.
The The East East Tex Texan an Established 1915 The East Texan, official student newspaper of Texas A&M University-Commerce, is published 12 times per semester during the Fall and Spring by students in reporting and editing classes. Content is solely the responsibility of the student editors and writers. The comments and views expressed in The East Texan do not necessarily reflect the beliefs of other students, staff, faculty, administration, or the Board of Trustees. The East Texan is located inside the Journalism building on the east side of campus in room 113. Single copies are available in Journalism 113 for an additional 25 cents. Letters to the Editor are welcome and should be limited to 250 words. They will not be edited for spelling, grammar and libelous or malicious statements. We reserve the right to refuse publication. Letters should be typed or e-mailed and must include a signature, classification (grade level) and telephone number. Mailing address is The East Texan, P.O. Box 4011 Commerce, Texas 75428.
JAMES BRIGHT Editor JESSICA RUSH Managing Editor
JARED WATSON ONLINE Editor
ADAM TROXTELL Sports Editor
BECCA WHITT Photo Editor
CHANCELLOR MILLS CAMPUS LIFE EDITOR
MEGAN CAREY ARTS SCENE Editor
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CONTACT News Desk 903-886-5985
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teams we can believe in and root for. If Coach Morriss will worry less about “team building exercises” and more on running a quality program, perhaps that dream can still be achieved. Note: These opinions reflect the editorial board of The East Texan.
Watson’s Waisteline begins to shrink away
JARED WATSON ONLINE EDITOR It has been over a week since I began my quest to rid myself of about 40 unwanted pounds. So far it has gone extremely well. Within 10 days, I have already lost close to eight pounds. I’ve also gotten some great suggestions and support from readers. Thank you, and please keep them coming.
Though I’ve only just started, one thing has been made abundantly clear: old men like to be naked at the gym…a lot. I decided to buy a locker at the Morris Recreation Center. Little did I know that apparently it is required that one naked old man (and sometimes more) must be in the locker room at all times, walking around like it’s the most natural thing in the world. There must be some switch that gets thrown in your brain when you get over the age of 50 that makes you decide, “You know what, I just don’t care who sees my nether bits anymore.” Or maybe there’s a genetic trigger that makes them allergic to towels. All I know is every time I go work out I’m being forced to play a game called, “Where
Can’t I Look While I’m Changing Shirts?” In addition to adding regular exercise to my schedule, I’ve completely re-vamped my eating habits. I did a little research and decided to try the South Beach diet, which is basically a low-carb program that differs from the Atkins diet in that it’s named after Miami instead of an old dead doctor. As a result, I’ve gotten very familiar with every kind of salad available on the menu of every restaurant in Commerce, and I’ve found one at each that I don’t mind eating. Go ahead, quiz me. McDonald’s? Bacon Ranch. Taco Bell? Chipotle Steak Taco Salad (I don’t eat the shell). Subway? Convert any sandwich to a salad for $1.50 extra (I’m partial to the Roasted Chicken Breast and Club salads). You get the idea.
Let’s just say I’ve eaten more lettuce in the last week than a family of rabbits. I also have to give special mention to our cafeteria, as they do have several options for someone dieting. There’s a salad bar, of course, but those on low-carb diets can get cheeseburgers and sandwiches as long as they throw out the buns and bread and just eat the meat and veggies. I prefer taking the sandwich meat and cheese and rolling it up like a meat burrito. I’ve already gone up a notch on my belt, and at this rate I’ll get to put away my fat pants for a while, maybe forever. I’d love to hear your stories about how you’re staying in shape, and I might even throw it in a future column. But, if you’re in the locker room, put a towel on, man!
Small schools provide features where big schools lack
Random quotes out of context “She might devour me for the fun of it,” Chancellor Mills, Campus Life Editor “I thought your advice would be relatively relevant,” James Bright, Editor “You have a very slender head,” Megan Carey, Art Scene Editor
Constitution, we in turn do not have to let petty bully tactics interfere with what we feel is our duty: to report on what happens at this campus, both good and bad. With the amount of money being funneled into the athletic department now, the students paying the bills deserve to know how those funds are being used. If a team performs well, people want to know that. If players on one of those teams are arrested for allegedly selling drugs out of their dorm room, the people paying for them to be here, the students, want to know that too. The East Texan is not out to get the football team or any other organization on campus. We are proud of our school, and we want to have
JESSICA RUSH MANAGING EDITOR You don’t need to go to a big school to be happy. You can be just as happy or happier at a Division II school. Take my word for it. Having gone to both kinds of schools, I can debunk the big school myths for you. When I was in high school, I knew I belonged at a large university –the kind where the student section at a football game
was so packed the fire marshal was keeping additional students at bay like a bouncer at a club. I spent just one semester at Texas Tech University before transferring to A&M-Commerce. I won’t go into detail, but financial reasons and a love interest brought me eight hours east across the state to here, home. I remember I cried after my first day of classes here. Transferring felt like a huge mistake after I suffered through a class full of belligerent freshmen and a professor with a hearing problem. Where had all the school spirit gone? The majestic buildings with their matching facades were becoming a distant memory for me. It took awhile, as most revelations do, but I am truly grateful to have experienced both ends of the big school, small
school spectrum. At a big school you are going to get a lot more school spirit. At Tech anyone could yell out, “Wreck ‘em,” and get at least 10 other people to join in with their “guns up.” You’re also going to get more than you bargained for. With nearly 300 students in my introductory communications class, the probability of even sitting next to the same person twice severely limited the chance of making a friend. It’s actually a lot harder to make lasting relationships and friendships. I was never as lonely as when I realized I was another face swimming in a sea full of people just like me. My professor had no idea who I was, even though I had the top grade in the class. I was stuck in classes where I
was another number. Where the big schools lack is where A&MCommerce excels. Since I’ve been here, I’ve received more handson training than I could ever ask for at a large university. Even as a freshman, I got to do more with my major than most seniors get to do at a Division I school. I have made lasting friendships inside and outside my major and minor. I am a leader on campus, because I have chosen to be. I’ve had the opportunity to take my ideas and see them make a difference on this campus. And you know what? You have that chance too. Don’t wait until you move to another place before you step up. A&M-Commerce is your canvas, and you can paint into the scene whatever you choose.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Dear Editor, Several other campuses have bars that serve alcohol in their student centers, (I know UTD has one for sure). Although the thought of the campus officially offering alcohol to students leaves a bad taste in my mouth, I can’t deny the fact that this will give a safer environment for students to drink and will hopefully cut down on underaged drinking. Plus, the Club is closer to the residence halls than any of the other bars in town, so it will also cut down on drunk driving. --Michal Ellermann
Dear Editor, Perhaps giving us the month of performers on the calendar found on the homepage by clicking more events would help with turn out. I will certainly try to support this effort more often. --Kaye McCraw Note: Previous two comments in reference to the Feb. 18 article, “Club looks at alcohol license” by Amanda Goodman Dear Editor, My suggestion is ride a bike. You can get around faster than walking and you can go places on campus that a car can’t.
Walmart has some decent, affordable bikes so that is a good place to start looking. Good luck! --Morgan Corley Dear Editor, Get yourself a plot in the community garden! Grow some food. Once you taste a real tomato again, the ones on that foot-long will hold absolutely NO appeal for you. Come to yoga class. You don’t have to sweat it off; there are kinder ways to treat your body right. One more suggestion: read the labels on all the food you eat. Avoic High Fructose Corn Syrup. It’s being linked to obe-
sity in no uncertain terms. --MaryK Croft Note: Previous two comments in reference to the Feb. 19 article, “Watson’s Waistline: Writer’s weight is growing problem” by Jared Watson
Retractions In the Dec. 3 article, “Newton fascinated by art for life” by Jasmin Brown, Jeremy Newton’s Web site is jeremyrnewton.com In the Feb. 18 article, “V.I.S.I.O.N.S. event nixed until fall ‘11,” by Laura Doyle, the program starts fall 2010.
Thursday, Mar. 4, 2010
Football players arrested in drug bust JAMES BRIGHT EDITOR Students Dionte Garrett and Deandre’ Bowers were arrested Feb. 19 after several bags of marijuana, pills and other drug paraphernalia were found in apartment A1 of McGill Hall by Sgt. Chris Vaughan of the Commerce Police Department. The students are both football players for Texas A&M University-Commerce. Lt. Jason Bone of the University Police Department said the arrests made that morning were in the same apartment where
two previous drug-related incidents have occurred. As reported in the Feb. 18 issue of The East Texan, UPD police officers responded to an emergency call where a potential football recruit was vomiting last month. Upon arriving UPD questioned freshmen football players Danny Masson, Cherrod Si mpson a nd Bowers about the ill player. UPD ascertained information that the sick recruit and Simpson had smoked ma r ijua na i n apa r t ment A1 that evening. Another incident occurred
in the same apartment prior to last month’s. Bone said UPD was contacted by a resident adviser who said she smelled marijuana. Upon arrival Bone said UPD officers found evidence of a “roach,” but there was not enough marijuana to warrant an arrest. Bone could not confirm or deny if t he part ies arrested in the morning raid were the same involved in either of the previous incidents. The two players were arrested after an undercover narcotics investigation was conducted by Vaughan. According to a press release from CPD, Vaughan
began the investigation after he was approached by a confidential source regarding the issue. During Vaughan’s investigation purchases of marijuana were made at McGill Hall, one of the West Halls. After the sales Vaughan was able to obtain probable cause for a search warrant, which netted the arrests. The marijuana, which was seized during the arrests, was packaged to sell, according to the report. According to Bone, CPD led the investigation and UPD only aided in the area of perimeter security.
President Dan Jones said he was made aware of the current situation by Athletic Director Carlton Cooper. Jones, who is currently out-of-town, said he has not been informed of any developments since this morning. Jones said it is always disappointing to hear about students acting inappropriately, but is not jumping to conclusions. “It’s early in the investigation,” he said. Editor’s note: Stor y re printed to give context to the thefts of The East Texan. Story originally printed in the Feb. 25 edition.
...football team steals The East Texan CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
BRENNA MARTINDALE / THE EAST TEXAN The lodge in Commerce lost its dance license due to gang related violence brought in from Greenville.
...Cops blame nearby gangs for violence CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
the potential is there to have a major injury.” According to Crews, one of the gunshot victims had to undergo surgery to have a bu l let removed from her foot. The other victim was shot through the fatty part of his leg. There were 23 shots fired i n a l l o n N e w Ye a r ’s Eve n ig ht i n le s s t ha n two minutes. Waldman did acknowledge guns were an issue at The Lodge. “Why don’t you leave h ig h s c ho ol at home,” Wa ld m a n s a id. “ Wh at are you doing with guns i n your t r u n k i n Commerce? I understand noncollege students having guns in their trunk. But college kids with guns in their trunk?” Crews explained in a public meeting with city officials that most, if not all, of the violence at The Lodge is gang-related. “How did the police k now t h at t h e s e we r e gang-related incidences?” Waldman said. “During the police investigation and during the event, blue scarves and red scarves were observed.” Waldma n expressed concerns of racism. “While the shots were being fired [on New Year’s Eve], a female turned and went d i r ec t ly i nto t he gunfire,” Waldman said. “I wondered why. I was
told, ‘Well that’s because they’re used to it.’” Crews disagreed. “I don’t think it’s a racial thing,” Crews said. “Unfortunately, the parties that we do have a problem with [at The Lodge] are the African-American parties. There are AfricanAmerican citizens in the community that have expressed concerns about t he plac e, b e c au s e it ’s their family and their kids getting shot.” Crews stated gang-related violence has stopped at The Lodge since t he revocation of the dance hall license. “He can come back and keep applying to have his license reinstated,” Crews said. “The cit y council does not have to support that. At this point they would have to change it so it would still have to come to me. With the trouble [the dance hall license] has caused, and my just now revoking it, there is no way I can reissue it.” Since the dance hall portion of The Lodge has been shut down, Waldm a n h a s at t e mpt e d to contact the NAACP and LULAC because he fears c iv i l r ig ht s h ave b e e n violated. However, they have not acknowledged his concern. “ We l ive i n t h e Sout h,” Waldman said. “This is bigger that what you realize.”
Student arrested on drug charge JAMES BRIGHT EDITOR A student was arr e st e d Fe b. 2 5 on s u s p ic i o n o f i nt e nt to d i st r i b ut e d r ug s after a caller tipped off off icers t hat she smelled marijuana. Th e s t ude nt wa s identified as 21-yearold criminal just ice major Mic hael Rashad Horn. A police report re-
lea s ed by t he Commerce Police Department said off icers received information of drug trafficking at the Gant apartments located at 1901 Live Oak St. Officers investigated the apartment and smelled a strong o do r o f m a r i j u a n a . Up o n e n t e r i n g t h e apartment, the officers found several items of drug paraphernalia in the living room.
“I don’t t h i n k t hey are smart enough to do t h is on t heir ow n,” Cooper said. Bone led the investigation, which inevitably implicated the majority of the football team. Bone said since the papers were stolen in such a short period of time it seems likely several people perpetrated the act. “I would say almost all of the football team would have to be involved to do this,” he said. On Feb. 26, Bone said he was asked by Assistant Chief of the University Police Department Bryan Vaugh n to come to h is office. When he arrived, Bone said he saw Morriss in Vaughn’s office. Bone asked Morr iss if he had seen the most recent issue of the paper. Morriss replied with negative comments regarding The East Texan. “I don’t read that crap,”
he said. Bone said he t hen showed Morriss the top headline on the front page of the edition, which read, “Football players arrested i n d r ug bu st.” To t h i s Morris responded he did not pay any attention to that crap. Morriss then asked for clarification on how taking a free paper was considered theft. Attorney Advocate for t he St udent Press Law Center Adam Goldstein sa id t he ac t ion s ta ken by members of the football team are illegal. He said he did not think it would be a legal violation if they had a legitimate purpose for taking more than one. “I think the problem comes when they try to take so many that it interferes wit h t he basic purpose for why a newspaper ex ist s,” he sa id. “Publications can limit it to one. Certainly one is a rational number.” Bone said he told Mor-
riss inside the paper there is a statement explaining t hat t he f irst issue is free, but every issue after that costs 25 cents. Morriss said he was not i n ag reement w it h t he policy stated in The East Texan. “I guess I will be the first one out of the door in handcuffs then,” Morriss said. During the meeting, Jones sa id Mor r i ss expl a i n e d t h e c o m m e n t about him being taken out in handcuffs was reported out of context. Morriss said he made t he com ment referri ng to a story The East Texa n pr i nt e d a b out h i m when a r r ived at Texa s A&M Un iversit y- Commerce. He said he took severa l copies of t he paper and mailed them to f r iend s a nd fa m i ly, which is what he meant in the quote. Bone said he was able to obtain video of football players stealing copies
of t he newspaper. The v ideo shows footba l l players Stephen DeGrate and Dakota Burch taki ng mu lt iple copie s of the newspaper from the UPD office. Bone said he continue d h i s i nve st igat ion , which led him to witness reports saying football player London Hamilton was seen pulling papers from t he Sam Rayburn Student Center. None of the issues distributed outside of t he university were stolen. The top story on the f ront page of t he Feb. 25 issue was about two football players who were arrested in a drug bust, which may have contributed to t he mot ive for the thefts. Thos e who wou ld like a copy of t he Feb. 25 edition can come by Jo u r n a l i s m 113 w h i l e supplies last.
...mayor of Commerce looks to improve community involvement CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
There are roughly 1,500 st udents living on campus at Texas A&M University-Commerce, and Mayor Quay Throgmorton wants each of them to get involved with the community. Only 500 people voted when Throgmorton was elected mayor, and he wants to see that change. “There is a lot of power in the students,” he said. This is the third year in a row students have run for city council positions, and Throgmorton said he sees a definite benefit in this trend. “We ne ed p e ople who h ave ideas on how to change this community,” he said. “It would be great to see a large student turn out vote for a candidate of their choice.” Throgmorton said he is working to create a more communal environment in Commerce using both the citizens and the students. “We are a town with a university, but we need to be a university town,” he said. President Dan Jones said Throgmorton has shown he is committed to working with the university. “He is very involved with the idea of taking advantage of having a mid-sized university in a small town,” he said. With this initiative in mind, Th r og mor ton c r eat e d a g r oup known as the Big Six. The group is composed of A&M-Commerce, the Chamber of Commerce, Commerce’s government, the Commerce Independent School District, the Commerce Economic Development Department and the Commerce hospital. Its purpose, according to Throgmorton, is to aid in the development of the community. Representatives from each group show up to meetings to discuss ways of improving Commerce and then bring back the information to their respective organizations. “We ask each other, ‘What is
your strategic plan for moving forward?’” Throgmorton said. “Then we figure out how we as a group ca n help eac h ot her w it h long term goals.” City Manager Dion Miller said the Six is a wonderful idea, and the group is ready to grow. “We started out meeting quarterly, but I think we need to meet more often to keep the momentum going,” he said. The Six is fairly new and has on ly met a few t i me s, but ha s already made steps for ward to improve Commerce. Jones said the Six is great for the community. “It’s a major step forward for the university and the community,” he said. It had been awh ile si nce all six entities in the group have sat down and worked together prior to formation of the group according to Jones, but now that they a r e i nvolved p o sit ive c h a nge s can occur. “We all knew each other, but we did not have discussions like we do now,” he said. At t he moment t he g roup is gat her i ng i n for mat ion about t h e c om mu n it y. Th r o g mor t o n said the Six put out a city-wide su r vey to f i nd out what t he community needs. “This will give us direction to make improvements,” he said. Th rog morton sa id c urrent trends show Commerce being a city with a population of 16,000 by 2030, which is something the Six is looking at. “We are asking ourselves, ‘What do we ne e d a s a whole to ge t there?’” he said. Another goal of the Six is to instill more pride in the community for the university and high school. Throgmorton said the Six made a decision to have the fire hydrants near the Commerce high school painted the school’s colors of or-
ange and black as well as painting the hydrants near the university blue and gold. “We are calling on student organizations to help with little things like that,” he said. “It will create a better sense of community and hopefully bring a larger turn out to events.” Throgmorton said sometimes putting these changes into effect can be difficult. In regards to the city council, he said there are some differences in opinion. “When you get a group of five people together they are not going to agree on everything,” he said. In the end, Miller said the group has one common goal. “We ne ed to come toge t her and create a better Commerce,” he said. Entertainment venues in town are an area where opinions are spl it i n c it y cou nc i l accord i ng to Throgmorton. “We know as a community we need more entertainment,” he said. “Different groups want different things. The important thing is no matter how we get there we need to move forward in completing these goals.” Throgmorton said he does work to keep the entirety of the council involved in what goes on in the Big Six meetings. “We will have council workshops to keep members aware of what we are doing,” he said. There is one thing the group does agree on though. “We all know Commerce could be a lot better,” he said. With the election coming up in May, Throgmorton said he is hoping some of the work he is doing will start a new trend among the students. “I don’t want them here for four years,” he said. “I want them to stay here, and for that we need to become a community where people want to live.”
Ca mpus Life
Thursday, Mar. 4, 2010
CPD hosts SWAT training for local law enforcement JESSICA RUSH MANAGING EDITOR Commerce Police Department hosted its first weeklong Basic SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) School, which culminated in team practical exercises at the vacant former A.C. Williams Elementary building Feb. 25. Additional participating agencies included University Police Department, L3 Communications, Texas A&M police officers, and Commerce ISD school resource officers, with some of the training done by FBI agents. Public Information and Warrant officer for the city of Commerce, Alex Suarez, said it was helpful to have local, federal and state agencies participating together to work as a team. “We’re excited because of the fact that it’s several agencies that came together, and so we’re able to gather information from all different agencies,” Suarez said. “Having that many people from the city involved in this training is going to help us, because if something happens within the city…the schools or…the university, then they know what to do, because they’ve worked together; they’ve trained together.” The 60 hours of detailed training includ-
ed instruction on weapons of mass destruction, chemical weapons where officers shot OC spray, and FBI instruction on hostage negotiations. The officers worked with firearms, focusing on accuracy as specific as shooting dimes off of targets, using handguns and rifles. Typically this kind of training would cost around $500 a person to go through; however, the equipment and instruction for the CPD Basic SWAT School was donated and cost agencies only $40 an officer. “To be able to use tear gas, flash bangs, diversionary tactics…that’s another certification you have to have to be able to use that type of stuff,” CPD Assistant Chief of Police Steve Harrison said. “It’s teaching them different ways to do building searches as a team, work as a group, not as a single patrol officer answering a call.” The officers practiced hazardous warrants, barricaded person, and active shooter exercises at the old elementary school, using simunition rounds. These paint-tipped bullets sting when they hit someone, but are safer to use and as close to real life training as they can get. “Our biggest deal for doing this is because of the high-risk search war-
rants we do all the time, the drug warrants we do and the active shooter,” Harrison said. “Hopefully we never have one here, but this right here will help these guys out, give them some training ideas…whether it’s shooting or whether it’s building clearing or anything like that. Royse City Chief of Police Tom Shelton was at the school to lend advice on dynamic entry, which is where a group of officers move quickly through a building conducting primary and secondary searches. “This is an excellent training site,” Shelton said. “It’s perfect.” CPD Sgt. Chris Vaughan, who has been in law enforcement almost 17 years, said the school has been very effective and the officers have learned a lot. “It’s been really intense training throughout the whole thing, especially today,” Vaughan said. “You learn a lot when you bring the different agencies together.” According to Harrison the main motivation for the Basic SWAT School comes down to the training. “This is specialized,” he said, “This isn’t something you could go to a one day or two day school to learn how to do all this.”
CPD patrol officer Marcus Cantera swings a battering ram in a training exercise. Officers from CPD, UPD, L3 Communications, Texas A&M and Commerce ISD participated in the training.
Officers gear up for a training session. The weeklong Basic SWAT School took place in the vacant former A.C. Williams Elementary building, with some of the training done by FBI agents.
Texas A&M University-Commerce Spanish instructor David Hervas multi-tasks as he hosts “Latin Soul,” a music show that airs every Tuesday night on 88.9-KETR. The Coordinator of Spanish Language Prgroam, Hervas previously hosted a similar show at Tulane University when he was a student there. The show was designed to expose a different culture to the Commerce area.
Hervas brings “Latin” flair to campus radio programming ADAM TROXTELL SPORTS EDITOR In February of 2009, Spanish Instructor and Coordinator of Spanish Language Program David Hervas sat behind a microphone in the 88.9 KETR studios for the first time. Every Tuesday at 9 p.m. his show, “Latin Soul”, has aired the sounds of Latin jazz and other world music genres for all of Commerce to hear. Today, Feb. 23, is the show’s one year anniversary. This was not Hervas’ first brush with radio, and he refers to it as one of his hobbies. “When I was here in the states, taking classes at Tulane University, there was a student-run radio station,” he said. “I started there and had my show for two years.” After coming to Texas A&M UniversityCommerce, Hervas
learned about KETR and went to them with his idea for a Latin music show. “I suggested to them if they would be interested in having one musical show focused on Latin Jazz,” Hervas said. “Not Latin mainstream music you may find in the clubs for dancing, but Latin tunes related to jazz somehow. They liked the idea.” Director of Programming and host of the Morning Blend radio show at KETR Jerrod Knight said Hervas and his idea came at just the right time. “I’d been talking with the radio staff about ways to implement a program that went beyond Latino news and issues, something that could be done in-house,” he said. “David shows up with his own incredible music collection, and a passion for presenting the nuances
of various Latin genres to a radio audience. After working out a few production details, it was a no-brainer that KETR needed to be a home for David and ‘Latin Soul,’ a name he suggested when we were brainstorming the ins and outs of the show.” He started out with a producer in the studio with him, Matt Malliaros. He would operate the soundboard while Hervas spoke and played records. Occasionally, he and Malliaros would talk about the music, until Hervas was able to take full control of the show last summer. Hervas said he feels the show has been a success from the start. “The professional look of the whole thing was pretty rewarding, as was knowing the show was coming out fine while
I was still learning,” he said. “Sometimes people have called in and said they liked it, so being in the studio and receiving calls is helpful. It’s good feedback.” Some of the music played on “Latin Soul” comes from Hervas’ own collection. He said he enjoys the way Latin jazz differs from many traditional Latin genres. “When you say ‘Latin music’ maybe you associate it with salsa and things for dancing in clubs,” he said. “Someone who likes that probably doesn’t like Latin jazz, because it’s rhythmical but doesn’t follow those very strict patterns of rhythm that Latin music usually does. It’s not so contrained by a rhythmical pattern. It’s combining the freedom of the melody of jazz with some steady beats added by the percussion.” Hervas said part of the
show’s mission is to bring a different culture to the area, as there are few sources of Latin music. “That’s something I’m trying with this show, taking this music I like and offering it from a local station to the community and give the community an opportunity to listen to something that is not so common. Yes, you can go on the Internet and find that kind of music, but you have to make the effort. Here it’s just traditional radio.” Knight also said he felt the show had been successful. “The program has been received very well by all of Northeast Texas,” he said. “I believe that David brings more than music to the radio. He allows Northeast Texas a brief two-hour window into what it might have been like to come of age musically in a number of dif-
ferent cultures; what you might hear on the radio if home were someplace far away from here.” For the future, Hervas said he wants to add to the type music offered on “Latin Soul.” He still wants to have Latin jazz but with an extra twist. “I think for the coming year I’m exploring more musical genres,” he said. “So far it’s been more focused on traditional, instrumental music. There’s a music style around where they take these melodies and do remixes based on Latin jazz tunes, Brazilian tunes. I think I’m going to explore that branch of musical remixing.” Latin Soul airs every Tuesday from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. on KETR. Tonight’s one-year anniversary show will feature comments from listeners collected by production staff.
Ca Campus mpus Life Life
Thursday, Mar. 4, 2010
Sagging pants on young men is popular trend with no end in sight.
Located in northeast Commerce, the Norris Community is becoming the focus of a university-championed black history preservation project.
University looks at Norris preservation JASMIN BROWN STAFF WRITER Texas A&M UniversityCommerce has partnered with the Converging Literacies Center (CLiC) in a black history preservation project focused on Commerce’s Norris Community. Located in northeast Commerce, the Norris Community was organized in the 1890s within city limits as an all-black community, and remained home to the majority of the city’s black population during much of the 20th century. Associate English professor Dr. Shannon Carter is co-director of CLiC at A&M-Commerce. According to Carter, CLiC is a research institute in its developmental stages designed to bring together community and graduate level university researchers to “understand writing in a broader more active context.” Carter’s research centers on local literacies and activist projects with historically oppressed minorities. The deciding factor in Carter’s decision to become involved in the Norris Community’s history was a suggestion made by the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Christine Evans. Evans suggested that the various disciplines within her college encourage students to study the community in the contexts of environmental science, political science and history. A&M-Commerce University Archivist Dr. James Conrad become involved with the Norris Community about a year ago by partnering with Carter and CLiC to preserve local black history. “I’ve lived here quite a while and I knew there was a Norris Community, but knew very little about it,” Conrad said. “I proba-
bly am like a lot of whites in this area. I knew it was there, I knew that’s where the blacks lived, but I knew very little about its history. “I got interested in the community and she (Carter) got interested in it from the viewpoint of trying to understand what the relationship was between the university and the Norris Community.” Carter said she and Conrad’s research has helped her understand race relations in Commerce during the 1970s especially, as they pertained to the university, which was then East Texas State University (ETSU), the Norris Community and the Commerce City Council. “We’re learning something about what an incredible challenge it was for the community to get a voice on the city council and the mainstream population more generally,” she said. “This sort of becomes a really interesting kind of microcosmic moment to understand things that were happening everywhere, and things that happened in very particular ways in this town that happened to have a university…It’s like this seismic shift of a moment.” According to Conrad, after ETSU’s desegregation took place during 1965-1966, blacks from the Norris Community began attending the university, which began hiring black faculty members in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. The Norris Community Club (NCC) was formed in 1975 by community leaders to establish a channel of proactive communication among community residents, the city council and ETSU. According to Carter, black ETSU students were instrumental in the early successes of the NCC. “They’re very clear
that this is a community organization not a student one, yet it had its origins in interactions with the students – students who recognized the need for a chartered organization to give a voice to the Norris Community,” she said. “It was the students who made sure that voice was happening.” The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) chapter at ETSU was also instrumental in “making improvements and opening up opportunities” for residents of the Norris Community according to Conrad. Ivory Moore became ETSU’s first black administrator in 1972 as the first director of minority affairs, and was a leading mediator between the community and the city council as the first black mayor of Commerce. Among the accomplishments made by the NCC during the 1970s were street improvements and installation of modern sewage and water systems. “I guess the thing that I’m learning the most from studying this is that race is incredibly complicated and that they were able to make these inroads in the ’70s in a complex situation,” Carter said. “It’s just this delightful kind of mix of understanding of the evolution of race relations over time.” In order to reinstate its charter, the NCC changed its name to the Progressive Community Club (PCC) in 2004 and was modeled after the ideals of the NCC. However, Carter pointed out that black students, and students in general, are not as involved in the community’s affairs as they were 30 years ago. “There hasn’t maybe been that kind of commit-
ment to the issues from the students since,” she said. “I ask students all of the time, but this (PCC) is new to people, nobody really knows.” Yet, Mt. Moriah Temple Baptist Church, the largest and oldest church in the Norris Community, remains a link between the community and A&MCommerce students. Conrad said that according to community leader and Mt. Moriah member Harry Turner, approximately 80 percent of the church’s membership is comprised of black A&MCommerce students, who represent a “continuous connection” between the community and the university. Through CLiC, Carter and Conrad have been conducting oral history interviews with various Norris Community leaders including Moore and Turner. “Because we have a new media emphasis in our writing, we were able to develop a number of video projects with the Norris Community,” Carter said. “Underway right now is a pretty ambitious documentary about the Norris Community.” Previews and raw video of the interviews are available for viewing at convergingliteraciescenter.wordpress.com. “We’ll have it in DVD format and we’ll also publish it online,” Carter said. “It’ll probably be about an hour long.” According to Carter, the state of Texas has approved a historical marker for the Mt. Moriah church which will likely be installed this fall, which is why she hopes the documentary will be ready for inclusion in that celebration. “We hope it will come out by the end of the semester,” she said. “That’s our goal.”
History of sagging pants complicated CHANCELLOR MILLS CAMPUS LIFE EDITOR Much like other areas throughout the state, and even the nation, Texas A&M UniversityCommerce is not without its share of young men participating in the fashion trend of sagging their pants. Starting sometime in the mid to late 90s, pant sagging’s origins are a bit convoluted. However, one thing that is clear is the location from which it sprang: prison. The prevailing theory, as noted at nathanielturner.com, a website dedicated to literary and artistic African-American-themed writings, is that sagging pants originated in prison with inmates sagging their pants to advertise that they were open or welcoming to homosexual advances. Aside from having such sordid origins, the practice of saggy pants in young men has become evident in society and young women, like senior psychology major Aman Manhas, are taking notice. Manhas works five days a week at the information desk of the Sam Rayburn Student Center and has seen her share of droopypanted students.
“Almost every other guy that walks through here has his pants sagging,” Manhas said. “It seems like that’s how a lot of guys are doing it. But I definitely don’t find it very attractive and it kind of makes them walk funny too.” The perceptions of saggy pants does not only extend to members of the opposite sex. Sagging pants also mean something to community law enforcement officials like University Police Department Lieutenant Jason Bone. “I don’t necessarily think that people who sag their pants are criminals,” Bone said. “But [officers] do like it on crooks because, if they try to run away from us, they trip and fall flat on their face.” Although Bone and other law enforcement officials may not view sagging pants as a bellwether of a life in crime, certain lawmakers do look down upon the trend. According to an article published in the New York Times, sagging of one’s pants in southern Louisiana is a criminal offense, which can result in a fine of up to $500 or a six-month jail sentence.
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“Syphers” discover Second Life on A&M-Commerce campus JOSH LAW STAFF WRITER This semester, Texas A&M UniversityCommerce has a newly recognized science fiction club available for students to join. The club, recognized by its Greek letters Sigma Phi Phi, began last semester, but was not fully recognized as an organization by the university until the end of the term, effectively making this semester it’s first official term on campus. The members of the organization, called “Syphers” among their
peers, gather on the last Friday of the month as a whole for official meetings. Weekly meetings are held for special interest groups within the club. Given that science fiction is a rather large umbrella, many different groups exist within it and meet in their respective communities either to discuss, play or learn about topics interesting to them pertaining to science fiction. Some of the weekly meeting groups include but are not limited to; Magic: The Gathering, tabletop gaming, video
gaming, Local Area Network (LAN) gaming, book discussions, film, television and pod casting sci-fi related topics. “I have been a sci-fi fan since I was five years old and have participated in groups like this one on campus and elsewhere,” professor of literature and languages, and adviser for the club, Dr. Robin Reid said. “Many people are sci-fi fans, and since it has become a popular form of mainstream entertainment, it has become a big part of all of our lives.” Another interesting tool the “Syphers” utilize is called Second Life. This
is a virtual, online world that has a multitude of uses including social networking, a venue for role playing games and even as a meeting place for online university classes. A&M-Commerce has a region on this site for educational purposes as well. “The way that Second Life has merged with the educational system is very interesting to me. We are living in a sci-fi world now,” said Dr. Reid. The members of the sci-fi club cross many social boundaries and is comprised of a multitude of people with
different backgrounds and interests. “I think it is a great thing. It gives people with different interests in the science fiction world a way to meet and talk about the things they like,” sophomore painting major, and member of Sigma Phi Phi, Kenny Scarberry said. With all of the variety of interests offered through the club, it is expected to grow in size greatly in the future. At least one student thinks this has been a long time coming. “It is about time [the university] has come up with something like this,”
senior accounting and business administration major Josh Paroski said. “I think it is really cool the students finally have something fun they can get into instead of the normal academic-like groups. I am glad they have finally branched out to include an official club for something fun,” If you are interested in becoming a part of the science fiction club or simply want more information, you can show up to a meeting or email Dr. Robin Reid or Dr. Tracy Henley through their respective MyLeo accounts.
Art Art Scene Scene
Thursday, Mar. 4, 2010
The Canadian twin lesbian pop duo wore similar outfits at their Feb. 25 Palladium Ballroom show when they played to an almost full crowd.
Rock duo take Dallas after two years MEGAN CAREY ART SCENE EDITOR Although I’ve been a Tegan and Sara fan for many years, I’ve never had the opportunity to witness them live. So when I attended their Feb. 25 show at the Palladium Ballroom in Dallas, I was blown away by their stage presence and live performance. Tegan and Sara’s concerts are any fan’s dream and the type of concert any fan could hope to attend. For anyone who has a favorite band, they wish they could get to know the members of the band, meet them and maybe even be friends. Tegan and Sara take that extra step and talk to their audiences as if they are friends, sharing personal information and sin-
gling out certain groups in the crowd with a few words here and there. For the duration of their tour, Tegan and Sara invited Steel Train and Holly Miranda to open up their shows and, collectively, the two set up the perfect vibe for the twins’ own interesting show. As an introduction to their song “Call It Off,” Tegan, stood front and center on the stage while Sara stood farther back with her head down. She dedicated the song to their late grandmother, who died the evening of their last concert in Dallas two years ago. In the same moment, Tegan announced to the crowd how it was their grandmother who called them out as lesbians when they were five years old. Apparently, they were small, chubby little kids with long, beautiful hair and they demanded they
get the same haircut as their father’s, a short style. After their mother took them to get the cut, their grandmother proclaimed, “Oh my God, you’re going to turn them into lesbians!” The sisters own the indispensable finesse to connect with the crowd, seemingly effortlessly, while their fans melt in their hands. From their humble attitudes and friendly smiles, to Sara’s adorable, “Thank you!” at the end of each performance of their songs, Tegan and Sara relate to their fans at every turn. When Sara introduced the performance of their song, “So Jealous” as a dedication to us, the audience, while asking the crowd not to feel like she’s stalking them, I felt the tangible yearning of the crowd wishing she would.
The set list they compiled to perform was more than perfect and appeased every level of fan. They started out the show with several songs from their newest album Sainthood; they also touched on songs from their 2007 album The Con, So Jealous and If It Was You. I’ll admit I hadn’t memorized 100 percent of Tegan and Sara’s older songs, so this show further familiarized me with their music. “Monday, Monday, Monday” from the CD If It Was You impressed me, especially with the added effect of the live performance. After the show “ended” completely and the sisters along with the rest of their band left the stage, the crowd cried out for the sisters Quin to give an encore. After about five minutes, Tegan and Sara emerged by themselves with their respective guitars and played a few acoustic songs. Much to my surprise, they performed a song that not many Tegan and Sara fans are familiar with, “Feel It In My Bones.” It was even more satisfying without the background techno beat, which allowed the sisters’ harmonious voices to shine through. True to form, this twin lesbian power duo didn’t disappoint.
Although they’re identical, the twins are dirisively different when it comes to singing and writing styles.
“Always, Patsy Cline” pays tribute to legend JESSICA RUSH MANAGING EDITOR With 27 songs, a live band, quick pace, audience participation and a largerthan-life cast, “Always… Patsy Cline” is a theatrical tribute to music legend Patsy Cline. Director Jim Anderson has taken on the impressive task of bringing these aspects together in a University Showcase performance, open to the public this month and next. As a little boy, Anderson had the chance to meet Patsy Cline at the Big D Jamboree, and she made a big impression on him. Last year he directed “Hank Williams Lost Highway” and discovered there was an audience to see a theatrical play with country entertainment. “If you don’t like country music, most people do like a tender, heart-warming story, a feel-good story, and that is exactly what ‘Always…Patsy Cline’ is,” Anderson said.
In the play, Patsy Cline comes to Houston and meets a woman name Louise Segar, a big fan of her music. Segar becomes good friends with Cline at the concert, and they become pen pals. The play details their relationship with each other through the exchange of letters and telephone calls. Samantha Grace, who plays Segar, said it has been a lot of fun trying to discover who her character is. “She’s kind of broad where a broad should be broad, in all aspects of the word,” Grace said. “Louise, in a word, is like Texas. She’s big, she’s out there, and she commands the stage and audience.” Former Texas A&M University-Commerce alumna LouAnn Petty plays Cline. Although Petty does not claim to be a Patsy Cline impersonator, in an interview with President Dan Jones on “The President’s Table,” she said she has been lis-
tening to recordings and watching performances of Cline over the years to prepare for the role. “I hope to be able to capture some of the nuances, the way she holds herself and the way she pronounces words and that sort of thing,” Petty said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun just to sing all those songs that are timeless and classics. I don’t think there’s one in there that people won’t recognize.” According to Anderson, Cline was the first true cross-over artist, and she was recognized in her time as much a pop singer as a country artist. Cline began her musical career on a nationally televised talent show much like American Idol today. “She launched careers of people like Willie Nelson, Roger Miller, and she recorded some of the best American music ever,” Anderson said. All the players in this show are local musicians: including piano, keyboards, fiddle, steel gui-
tar, electric guitar, bass and drums. “Ted Swinley [the playwright] has done a really good job integrating the music with the story,” Anderson said. “Having high quality actors is really a blessing.” Performances are Feb. 25-27 and March 4-6 at 8 p.m., with 3 p.m. matinee shows Feb. 28 and March 7. After the March 7 show, playgoers can enjoy beverages, hors d’oeuvres and a concert with Grammy winning artists and local singers and songwriters. The last matinee and gala performance’s proceeds benefit the Ray Price Texas Culture Scholarship. “I can’t imagine anyone attending the play and leaving the theater without a smile on their face,” Anderson said. For ticket information or reservations call the University Playhouse box office at 903-886-5900 or e-mail email@example.com.
Matt Skiba, the lead singer and guitarist of Alkaline Trio, impresses with the lyrics on This Addiction.
Alkaline Trio release new addicting record JAMES BRIGHT EDITOR Alkaline Trio’s latest album, This Addiction, is just that; an addiction. Since I consider myself a Trio fanatic, and purist, I was a bit nervous when the release date for their new album was announced. After all, the last two albums with new songs were overproduced, bubble gum punk nonsense with sub-par, cliché lyrics. Thankfully, my fears were not realized. With This Addiction, the band goes back to their roots. Smooth punk rock guitar and mind-numbing bass lines had me listening to this album from start to finish and then starting over again. From the first song and title track “This Addiction,” the band lets listeners know they are embracing their old talents. With powerful lyrics comparing love to a heroin addiction, and the perfect voice of guitarist Matt Skiba, the first track of the album was an instant hit for me. It sets the tone for the whole album and successfully tells listeners that Alkaline Trio is going to pay homage to bands like The Smiths and The Misfits. Though the band managed to bring back the sounds of old, they still worked in some new styles. The third track of the album, “Lead Poisoning,” sounds like a type of punk with big band influence called ska. As I listened to this track, I found myself thinking all this needs is a trumpet to be perfect. And to my surprise, just as this thought had left my mind, a trumpet entered. The horn instrument is not overused, though. It’s
not all over the place and random. The brass is in the song for all of 20 seconds, but it’s a wonderful 20 seconds, which manages to bring this song to perfection. One vehicle, which has always brought the Trio luck, is the use of two lead vocalists. Although Skiba is the definitive front man of the band, bassist Dan Andriano has always provided back up vocals while singing lead on several songs with him since their debut album. This Addiction does a wonderful job of mixing up the vocalists. There are almost an equal number of Skiba led songs as Andriano tracks. This keeps the album varied and will keep new fans interested and replaying the record. Lastly, there is the length of “This Addiction”. With a deluxe edition available, which I highly recommend, fans will get six extra songs, a grand total of 18 brand new songs, making it well worth the three dollar increase in price. In addition to getting two more fast-paced punk gems, those who buy the deluxe edition will be rewarded with four acoustic versions of different songs from “This Addiction.” And Alkaline Trio’s acoustic music has been a staple and fan favorite in their music since debuting. The only downside to This Addiction is it may alienate some mainstream fans who got into the band after their 2005 release, Crimson. This potential risk is worth it, though, as the new album will bring old fans of the band running back. All in all, This Addiction is a drug I will be hooked on for some time. Congratulations boys, you have rekindled my love for your music.
Chancellor Mills Movie: The Hurt Locker Band: Jack’s Mannequin TV Show: Californication
James Bright Movie: The Crazies Band: Scars on Broadway TV Show: Spartacus: Blood and Sand
Adam Troxtell Movie: O Brother, Where Art Thou? Band: The Kooks TV Show: Seinfeld
Thursday, Mar. 4, 2010
Morgan has multiple dreams BRIAN BOYNTON STAFF WRITER
Ronnie Morgan rises above Southwestern Oklahoma players during the Lions’ last home game on Jan. 24.
Ronnie Morgan has accomplished many things in his playing career but he has bigger plans for himself after his career is over. A senior radio/television major and player on the Texas A&M University-Commerce men’s basketball team, Morgan leads his team in rebounds and is second in scoring. Morgan won a high school state basketball championship twice, once at Desoto in 2003 and the other at South Oak Cliff during his senior year in 2006. In addition to being an accomplished athlete, he was in the National Junior Honor Society. “I felt like I was on top of the world,” Morgan said. “It’s breathtaking to receive that gold medal around your neck from Rick Perry.” A highly recruited player out of the Dallas area, Morgan received scholarship offers from many Division 1 schools. He ultimately chose Louisiana Tech University; however, after a coaching change at the end of his freshman season, he decided to transfer to Paris Junior College. Ronnie said Paris Junior College head coach Ross Hodge was a major factor in choosing PJC as his next school. “He came to Dallas to
recruit me countless times and I felt, him being a young coach, we would relate and it turned out to be a perfect fit,” he said. In his one season at PJC, Morgan and his teammates went 19-0, won the conference championship, and finished fifth at the national tournament. He ended up choosing A&M-Commerce as his next destination, because his credits from Louisiana Tech would not transfer to a Division 1 school so he had to choose a Division II school instead. Coach Sam Walker was also a reason he chose A&M-Commerce. Walker once coached and mentored Hodge, and Morgan immediately fit in with his coaching style. Morgan was the first player in A&M-Commerce history to win the Lone Star Conference defensive player of the week award and he feels that it was a hard earned accomplishment and is grateful to have won the award. “I feel like I’ve taken pride in stopping people from doing what they like to do,” he said. His college career must come to an end this season. Being a senior, this will be Morgan’s last season to play for A&M-Commerce basketball, but he has plans for the future. Morgan is already a recording artist and has songs circulating among Dallas area clubs regularly. He has done shows around Texas and as far
as California. However, after graduation he has bigger ambitions. “I plan on going on tour with my music all over the southern states, performing and promoting my music,” he said. “I write all my own lyrics for my music.” He is currently being mentored by national recording artist LINK, who wrote “Crazy” for K-Ci and JoJo. He also plans on staying in playing shape so he can attend professional NBA and overseas camps for potential professional players. If his career takes off he hopes to move to California where his brother plays basketball at UCLA. Otherwise, he will go play basketball overseas and continue to make his music. “The overseas market (for music) is far better than ours in America,” Morgan said. Before graduating he plans to continue helping his teammates on their road to a championship. “It’s nothing like representing a school in a national or state tournament and winning,” he said. Once his playing days are over and his music career is done Morgan plans on turning his attention to religious work. “I study my bible all the time and have an intimate relationship with God,” Morgan said.
Men’s golf hoping to continue success KARLTON BROOKS STAFF WRITER The Texas A&M University-Commerce golf teams are getting prepared for their spring season. Coach Louie Bledsoe and first year volunteer assistant Buddy Jones are trying to build from last year’s success. The men’s golf team reached the 2009 NCAA Super Regional. At the Texoma Championship, senior Eric Westerman led the A&M-Commerce men’s golf team to an 8th place finish during the fall season. Westerman shot an 18-over par 234 (83-71-80) to finish tied for 22nd. Junior Dustin Gideon and freshman Darren Whitehouse were also in the top 30. Gideon tied for 27th after posting a 237(7981-77) and Whitehouse tied for 30th after posting a 238 (82-76-80). Bledsoe said he knows
what the team has to do to get better in the spring. “We have to play consistent,” Bledsoe said. “In the fall, we are inconsistent. We’ll have an 86 in one round and in the next round we’ll be in the 70s.” Bledsoe also wants his team to improve on their mental game. “The most important shot is the next one,” he said. “We have a hard time letting go of the bad shots. We have to just play golf.” The men’s best golfer may be senior Danny Jun. He’s ranked 9th individually in the South Central Regional. In the seven rounds he played during the fall, Jun averaged 73 strokes and was top finisher for the Lions in all three tournaments that he saw action in. He finished tied for 14th with a 220 (73-7978) at the Bruce Williams
Memorial Invitational on Sept. 28-29. “He’s a steady force and works harder than anyone on the team,” Bledsoe said. “He would be the captain of our team if we choose captains. You have to have a good work ethic to be good at the college level and he has that.” Westerman is also a key part to the men’s golf team. In 2008-09, he was second among his A&MCommerce teammates at the Charles Coody West Texas Intercollegiate on Sept. 15- 16, 2008 and the SOSU Choctaw Nation Championship on Oct. 6-7, 2008. “He can hit that ball a mile,” Bledsoe said. “He has all the talent to be a great golfer.” Bledsoe also said freshmen Tyler Duffy, Ryan Gornto, T.J. McColl, and Darren Whitehouse have all the talent to make an impact right now and
also carry the team in the future. “They all have strengths, but they just have to stay consistent and gain some experience,” Bledsoe said. Jones picked out Duffy as a freshman to watch for the future. “Tyler is a lefty and has all the skills,” Jones said. “He’ll have several good holes, but then a few bad ones.” Tyler played in three tournaments in the fall and averaged a 79.25 strokes per round. Junior Dustin Gideon, senior Brian Pearce and sophomore Borge Klungerbo can provide strong contributions to the team. Gideon played in four tournaments in the fall season, and averaged 77.20 in 10 rounds. The men’s first tournament was the Pepsi Crawford/Wade Invitational at Pottsboro, Texas on Feb. 28.
Dustin Gideon lines up a practice shot at an indoor training facility.
Upperclassmen lead women’s golf KARLTON BROOKS STAFF WRITER
A&M-Commerce women’s golf player Megan Benites addresses the ball before taking a practice shot.
The women’s golf team ended the fall season with a 12th place finish at the Oklahoma Intercollegiate. sophomore Malonie Oats led the Lions as she finished tied for 55th with a 170 (88-82). The remainder of the Lions lineup shared 59th place honors and a 36-hole total of 173 including Kathleen May, Megan Benites, Heather Pantalion and Mallory Kempf. The women’s team is filled with veteran golfers, as there are no freshman on the team. They are led by seniors Pantalion and Noelle Garcia. Garcia played softball at the University of Texas-Tyler before coming to A&MCommerce to play golf. “She’s a project; she was away from the game for a while, but can really play,” Bledsoe said. Garcia averaged 97 strokes in three tournaments of action and shot a season-best round of 86
in the final round of the Cheddar’s University of Central Oklahoma Classic on Oct. 6, 2009. Pantalion was the top finisher among her teammates in two tournaments during the fall season. She tied for 26th at the Lady Buff Stampede, shooting a 168 (83-85) to lead the Lions to a 10th-place finish and was third among her teammates and tied for 55th overall at the Cheddar’s UCO Classic, posting a 162 (82-80). “They all have solid game,” Bledsoe said. “They have to be more mentally tough when we are in tournaments.” Oats averaged 85.33 strokes per round in four tournaments of action during the fall season and shot a season best and career best round of 79 in the opening round of the Cheddar’s UCO Classic on Oct. 5-6. “She has improved each year,” Bledsoe said. “She’s only going to get better.” Kempf played in six rounds during the fall
season, averaging 86.67 strokes. She matched a career-best round with an opening round of 81 at the Cheddar’s UCO Classic. Kempf finished 58th at the Lady Buff Stampede to start the season with a 36-hole total of 184 (91-93). “I have to improve on my mental game, not being able to move on after a bad shot,” Kempf said. “When I have a bad shot, I have to get it out of my head.” May played in three tournaments this fall and averaged 85 strokes. She posted a career-best round of 73 in the second round of the Cheddar UCO Classic. Along with Benites and Oats, May was the top finisher at the Cheddar UCO Classic with a tie for 30th. “She’s very solid,” said Bledsoe. “She has to get the mental game right. She’ll shoot 85 one round and 77 in the next.” The women’s first tournament is the Oak Hills Women’s Invitational on March 7.
Thursday, Mar. 4, 2010
That Sports Thing? Can the Mavs make the NBA Finals? ADAM TROXTELL SPORTS EDITOR The Mavericks are sitting on top of the Southwestern Conference, third in the west, and on an eight game winning streak which included victories over Phoenix, Orlando, and even the Lakers. But, if there’s one thing I remember about this team from years past, it is there ability to not show up when they have to. There is still a lot of basketball to be played, and that means plenty of time to get caught in a slump. I do not think there is any doubt about Dallas making the playoffs. The trouble will start when they get there. Should the playoffs start today, Dallas would face Oklahoma City. They would obviously be the favorites in this clash, and I truly believe this would not be too difficult of a series for them. I mean, it’s not like the Mavs have a habit of losing playoff games they should win, right? Well, there was that season after they made the Finals, when Dallas was dumped out by a surprise Golden State team. Then there was New Orleans in 2007. This has been the problem with the Mavericks for a long time: they don’t have the stomach to deal with playoff pressure. If they did make it past Oklahoma City, there’s still the possibility of contending with San Antonio or those pesky Nuggets. Even then, should they miraculously pull off two playoff series wins, the Mavs would take on the Lakers. There really is no argument when it gets to this point. Los Angeles is the ultimate stumbling block when it comes to Finals talk, and that is just too big of a block.
STAFF REPORTS The Dallas Mavericks don’t have a history of going very far in the NBA playoffs. Their most recent (and only) trip to the championship game in 2006 proved two thingsthat they lacked the depth to pull off a series win and that Dwayne Wade can beat a pro team singlehandedly. This season the Mavs started out strong in what appears to be a more muddled Western Conference, but they hit a slump going into the AllStar break. Eight straight wins later, Mavs fans across the state are excited about their chances to make the NBA Championship series. Here are three reasons why they won’t be disappointed. 1. Brendan Haywood and a (healthy) Erick Dampier: If Dampier can get healthy in time for the playoffs, and that’s probably going to happen, the Mavericks are the only Western Conference team with two legitimate big men that can challenge the Lakers’ two towers, centers Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. If Haywood can keep up his current tempo, the Mavericks may take away one of the Lakers’ most dangerous aspects. 2. Dirk Nowitzki: The seven foot German is a perennial all-star, future hall-of-famer, and Dallas legend. He has no ring, but he’s hungry, and has a fade-away that’s impossible to block. If Dallas needs a player in the playoffs to step up and win a game, Dirk is fully capable of doing so. 3. The Rest of the West: The Western Conference is completely wide open. After the L.A. Lakers, the playoff teams are roughly equal. While the Nuggets, Thunder, and Jazz all pose threats, the Mavericks have the weapons they need to take care of each team.
Head Coach Mark Pryor gives his team a pep talk during a break in the action. Pryor spent two seasons with A&M-Commerce volleyball.
Volleyball coach Pryor resigns, joins Baylor ADAM TROXTELL SPORTS EDITOR The head coach for women’s volleyball at Texas A&M UniversityCommerce, Mark Pryor, has resigned from his position effective Jan. 26. Pryor has accepted the role of assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Baylor University’s volleyball program. “We are thankful for Mark and his contributions to our volleyball program,” Athletic Director Carlton Cooper said in a press release from Friday, Jan. 26. “Mark has always put forth an extraordinary effort and attitude to improve our program. He has raised its awareness to both local clubs and high schools that will benefit for us many years.” Pryor took the head coaching position at A&M-Commerce in 2008. That season he led the team to a 15-11 overall record and a trip to the Lone Star Conference tournament for the first time since 2002. Last season was also successful for volleyball, as they finished with a 22-year best 25-10 record overall, had an 8-5 record in the LSC, and went into the LSC tourna-
Women’s Basketball: Tues., Feb. 23 East. NM 59, ACU 75 Wed., Feb. 24 ASU 67, MSU 69 Cameron 42, N’eastern 71 ECU 46, UCO 96 SW Okla. 78, TAMU-C 75 W.T.A&M 81, TAMU-K 59 SE Okla. 63, TWU 65 Sat., Feb. 27 N’eastern 68, SW Okla. 59 TAMU-C 80, Cameron 82 TAMU-K 61, East. NM 75 TWU 93, ECU 81 ACU 78, W.T. A&M 72 UCO 101, SE Okla. 98 Tarleton 62, ASU 49 Men’s Basketball: Tues., Feb. 23 East. NM 74, ACU 71 Wed., Feb. 24 ASU 100, MSU 105 Cameron 51, N’eastern 63 ECU 79, UCO 109 SW Okla. 59, TAMU-C 65 W.T. A&M 62, TAMU-K 64 Sat., Feb. 27 N’eastern 70, SW Okla. 77 TAMU-C 76, Cameron 48 TAMU-K 56, East. NM 70 ACU 63, W.T. A&M 77 UCO 72, SE Okla. 67 Tarleton 81, ASU 90
LSC Tourament in Bartlesville, Okla. Women’s Schedule: Thursday, March 4 Game 1, Tarleton State v. Texas Woman’s, Noon Game 2, N’eastern State v. A&M-Kingsville, 2:30 p.m. Game 3, Central Oklahoma v. Abilene Christian, 6 p.m. Game 4, West Texas A&M v. SE Oklahoma, 8:30 p.m. Saturday, March 6 Semi Final 1, Winner Game 1 v. Winner Game 2, noon Semi Final 2, Winner Game 3 v. Winnger Game 4, 2:30 p.m. Championship Game Sunday March 7, 1 p.m.
Men’s Schedule Wednesday March 3 Game 1, N’eastern State v. Angelo State, Noon Game 2, Midwestern State v. SW Oklahoma, 2:30 p.m. Game 3, Tarleton State v. A&M-Commerce, 6 p.m. Game 4, Central Oklahoma v. West Texas A&M, 8:30 p.m. Friday, March 5 Semifinal 1, Winner Game 1 v. Winner Game 2, 6 p.m. Semifinal 2, Winner Game 3 v. Winner Game 4 Championship Game Saturday March 6, 7 p.m.
named Pryor as their head coach in 2008, Barnes took notice, saying he was “one of the top recruiters and top young coaches in America.” He appears equally excited about bringing him to Baylor. “We are very happy to have Mark on our staff and in our volleyball family,” Barnes said in an announcement on Tuesday. “He has been a very successful coach and gotten great experience as a recruiter. Ultimately, being an alumnus of Baylor, he has a real passion for Baylor. I think that will really come across when he is trying to get the top student-athletes to come here. Mark relates to players really well, and I think he is just a really good Baylor fit.” Pryor admits getting a job with Baylor is a dream come true for him. Aside from them being a Division I school, he said the competitiveness of the Big XII conference was an attractive offer. “The Big XII Conference had 5 of the final 16 teams in the NCAA tournament this past year, with Baylor being one,” he said. “It is one of the toughest conferences around. I think as a coach you always want to
try to test yourself at the highest possible level, and professionally, this was my shot.” As far as the future of A&M-Commerce’s volleyball program, Pryor is confident the players can continue their success. “It was really hard to tell them, but I was really proud of them with how they responded,” he said. “They know things like this can happen, and they were back to work in the gym and the weight room the next day. The team has a taste for winning and competing, and I know that will be a great asset for them next fall.” This, of course, means the athletic department will be actively searching for a new volleyball head coach ahead of the 2010 season in the fall. Pryor said he is confident the person to replace him at A&M-Commerce will be more than qualified. “I know of some highly qualified people who are interested, and I am sure the person they hire will do a great job here,” he said. “Within a couple years that coach will have the Field House packed, the team into the NCAA tournament.”
Women narrowly lose, men route Aggies SPORTS INFORMATION
Lone Star Conference Basketball Results:
ment in fourth place in the conference standings. Pryor said this progress made his decision to leave a difficult one. “It was a lot harder than I thought it would be,” he said. “I think that the players that have been with me the longest, the graduating seniors and the seniors to be, like Terra Ousley and Rachael Shelton, realize the strides we have made. It is very hard putting your heart and soul into something and then having to walk away. Also, realizing the promise for the future of this program has made it very difficult to leave.” An alumnus of Baylor, Pryor said he was contacted by their head coach, Jim Barnes, earlier in the year. “I have known Jim for a long time, and he knew I was an alum,” Pryor said. “I knew other jobs were available, but I always came back to one thing. Why go somewhere else and have to rebuild that, when I know how good A&M-Commerce is going to be for the next several years? It would have to be an amazing deal for me to leave what we have begun here.” When A&M-Commerce
Women Despite five players in double figures, the Texas A&M UniversityCommerce women’s basketball team dropped a heartbreaking 82-80 decision to Cameron on Saturday afternoon in Lawton. It is the secondstraight close decision for the Lions, who lost by three on Wednesday to Southwestern Oklahoma State. A&M-Commerce (4-22, 1-13 LSC North) battled back from a 19-point deficit to get within a possession of tying the game or taking the lead in the game in the final two minutes. Junior Mattilyn McIntyre scored a teambest 16 points and junior Genevieve Campbell added 15 more in the defeat. Senior Ashley Murphy, who was playing in her final collegiate game, finished with a double double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Juniors Anisha Ingram and Nikki Garner scored 14 and 13 points, respectively.
Cameron (9-18, 5-9 LSC North) shot 50% from the field and was led by the double double performance of Lyndie Neville, who had game-high honors with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Luv Rattler and Josie Stewart, who added 19 and 15 points, respectively, joined Neville in double figures. Alexis Williams chipped in 10 more points in the win. The Aggies built a 36-23 halftime lead on the strength of 55.6% shooting from the field and holding the Lions to 25.7%. Trailing 66-52 with 7:24 left in the game, Campbell hit a jumper to spark a 12-0 run by the Lions that culminated with a McIntyre lay-up to cut the deficit to 66-64 with 5:47 to go. The Aggies came back to score the next four points in the game. Again, the Lions proved its resiliency when they were down seven, 77-70, with 2:23 remaining. A&M-Commerce scored six of the next seven points to make the game, 78-76 with 1:24 remaining. After two Cameron free throws made it a four-point game, Garner scored three of the
next five points but the Lions failed to get any closer in the final seconds. Men The Texas A&M University-Commerce men’s basketball team held Cameron to a 26.4% shooting from the field in a 76-48 wins on Saturday afternoon in Lawton. A&M-Commerce (19-8, 8-4 LSC North) clamped down against the host Aggies and held them to its lowest shooting effort of the season. It is the lowest effort by an A&MCommerce opponent since Midwestern State on January 29, 2004. The tenacity on the defensive side lent its hand to a balanced offensive attack led by senior Ronnie Morgan, who had 17 points and junior Dallas Hunter (pictured) added 11. Freshman Preston Whitley had a game-high 11 rebounds in just his fourth start of the season. Cameron (10-16, 0-12 LSC North) was led by Milton Garner, who had a game-high 23 points on the strength of 5 three pointers and teammate Kallan Glasgow added eight
points and 10 rebounds. Following the second tie of the game, sophomore Brad Hambrick made his second-straight 3 pointer to put the Lions in front for the remainder of the game. Later in the half, a 10-1 spurt put A&M-Commerce in front by double digits sparked the rout. The Lions went into the halftime break with a 38-22 lead on the strength of a 12-4 advantage on points in the paint and led 8-0 on points from the bench. Cameron scored the first six points of the second half to get within 12 but that would be as close as the Aggies could get. In the second 20 minutes, Morgan scored nine points and Dallas Hunter scored all 11 of his points, as the Lions would post its second-straight win. Next up for A&MCommerce is the 2010 Lone Star Conference Tournament in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Quarterfinal action for the Lions gets underway on Wednesday at 6 pm for the Lions when they will face Lone Star Conference South Division runner-up Tarleton State.