Nothing Can Replace Water

December 14, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Aileen Garcia
aileeng@smu.edu

Fort Worth is among the ten major U.S. cities experiencing water drought conditions and is struggling to keep up with water demands for its growing population. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. is experiencing a water drought because of the way it conserves water. The typical American uses an average of 101 gallons of water per day, while the average European uses 53 gallons. As the population continues to grow, cities like Fort Worth are looking for ways to sustain their water supplies for the upcoming years.

Fort Worth’s population is increasing at a fast rate and by 2060 the city expects its population to grow to 4.3 million. Besides Fort Worth, both Houston and San Antonio are also struggling to sustain the water demands for the cities growing population. Experts say without proper planning the population will exceed the amount of water that is available.

Ruben Solis, director for Surface Water Resources for the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), said that the projected water demands for Fort Worth are tied to demands for Region C. This region reviews water resources for the following 16 counties: Collin, Cooke, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Fannin, Freestone, Grayson, Henderson, Jake, Kaufman, Navarro, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant and Wise. He said that all of Region C demands would increase from about 1.8 million acre-feet per year in 2010 to 3.3 million acre-feet per year in 2060. Many experts, including the Texas Water Development Board, recommend undertaking major projects to ensure the sustainability of the projected water demands.

Steve Murdock, a sociology professor at Rice University and former state demographer of Texas, said that in the 50s and 60s experts suggested Texas would experience a water shortage by the year 2000. Murdock said historically experts have predicted that the U.S. would not be able to sustain its water demands with the growing population, but as of today those demands have been meet.

Aiguo Dai, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, has dedicated most of his career to climate related research, such as how global warming might affect the water cycle. He said global warming has already dried many regions, which will greatly impact society and the environment.

“The water shortage in the U.S., Africa, the Middle East, and other regions will likely become worse in the coming decades, as global warming continues and the surface becomes drier over many of these regions,” Dai said.

Mark Olson, the conservative coordinator for the Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD), said that the water supply of today is the result of planning that was done after the drought in the 1950s.

“The City of Fort Worth not only focuses to give water to its residents, but to 24 different municipalities in Tarrant County,” Danny Scarth, mayor protem of Fort Worth, said.

“We have surpassed the population rate and [the availability of] water is still adequate for those areas,” Murdock said.

Solis said water shortages can be averted with good planning and implementation of strategies identified in the plans. He said TWDB is aware of water demands, availability and need throughout Texas. The Texas Legislature, in response to a severe drought, created TWDB during the 1950s to develop water plans for the state to minimize the impact of future droughts in Texas.

Jennifer Bishop, a resident of Fort Worth, said she just moved from Denton two months ago and has not heard about the Fort Worth water drought nor the restrictions placed on residents.

“It makes me a little nervous about moving here,” Bishop said.

Michael Slattery, director of the Institute of Environment at TCU, said that in the next 20 to 40 years Texas is going to double its population. He predicts the issue will not be turning on the faucet and getting water, but maintaining the needed amount of water for agriculture.

“People are not aware of how significant we are over pumping our resources,” Slattery said.

According to TRWD, about half the water in the district is used in residential and commercial settings.

“We need to make sure we are not wasting water outdoors in order to make the grass greener,” Olson said.

Scarth said stage one of the conservation efforts restricts Fort Worth residents not to water plants from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., which eliminates water being lost through evaporation. If reservoir levels continue to decrease it would lead to stage two restrictions, which only allows residents to water every other day.

“The city can run for 18-months while in stage two,” Scarth said.

Bethany James, a Fort Worth resident, said it is unbelievable that a city like Fort Worth could be in danger of running out of water.

“It’s a big population and you can’t just give people 18-months of water supplies and hope for them to find another place to live,” James said.

Scarth said the city is trying to move toward the ability to use gray water. Gray water is water that is used to clean dishes or wash clothes and then used to water grass.

“We need to find ways to save water [because] nothing can replace it,” Olson said.

Olson said most of the water in Fort Worth comes from surface water, lakes, and reservoirs.

“Three major suppliers in the area are all working to secure supplies in order to make sure we don’t experience water shortages,” Olson said.

TRWD is working on the George W. Shannon Wetlands Water Reuse Project that will soon become a functional water supply alternative for the district’s rapidly growing service area.

Carole D. Baker, executive director of the Texas Water Foundation, said Texas is possibly one of the most aggressive states regarding water conservation issues. There are 16 regional water-planning groups in Texas, outnumbering most states.

“No other state meets what we are doing,” Baker said.

Baker said Texas was ranked the number one state in conserving water from a survey done by allianceforwaterefficency.org.

In 2060, 23 percent of Texas water is supposed to come from conservation measures.

Scarth said the city has filed a federal suit against Oklahoma to get access to ground water from the Oklahoma Red River. If granted access, Fort Worth plans to use the river’s water before it reaches the border of Texas. Once it reaches Texas, the salt levels make it difficult to treat and the water is no longer cost effective to use. Oklahoma is resisting selling that water until they produce their own state water plan. This plan looks at population versus water supplies to determine what they need for the future and if they can spare water for Texas.

Olson said an option of last resort is building a new reservoir because doing so will destroy habitats and it will end up taking people’s homes in Texas. He said the city is seeking 460 thousand-acre feet of water, which is equivalent to 325,851 gallons of water per acre-foot.

Baker said some counties are using ocean water, but that using ocean water as a statewide use is a reach.

Eventually this is going to happen, but cleaning out the salt and the amount of energy used makes the process expensive.

Baker said right now it is important to look at resources that are less expensive. If people are smart and the proper measures are taken the city will not have to go to such measures.

Olson said the City of Fort Worth plans to meet the demands through various methods including securing water from Oklahoma.

Daily Update: Wednesday, Dec. 1

December 1, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Daily Update: Wednesday, Dec. 1 from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.

Tune into the Daily Update today to see what changes are being made to make air travel from Dallas easier. Also, unemployment benefit extensions are coming to an end and Cracker Barrel is providing electric vehicle charging stations. All this and more on your Daily Update.

Campus News Blog: Finding the Perfect Law School

November 10, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Aileen Garcia

Deciding to attend law school is a big step, but choosing a law school that fits your needs is very important. When looking at law school your options can be limited because of geographical necessities, your performance as an undergraduate or you’re your LSAT score. The annual cost of law school can also be a deterrent to making your final choice.

It is important to examine each potential school, find out about the school’s programs and what they have to offer. Some good key points to look for in a school are the moot court programs, clinical opportunities and the availability of internships.

You need to do the research and dig deep to find your answers. It’s like purchasing a vehicle. People don’t generally go to a dealership and purchase the first car they like. They look for the best price, the reliability of the car, and the overall performance of the make and model. So take those law schools for a test drive and see which school has the most to offer you.

One option is to consider law schools that are on the verge of being fully accredited by the ABA. These law schools tend to offer larger sums of money to give students an incentive to enroll in their programs.

Make sure to look at every key aspect that is important to your needs in finding that perfect fit. Click the link for a list of law schools listed by state, yearly tuition and GPA and LSAT scores. Remember that law school is a huge step into your career and finding a school that caters to all of your needs is just as critical as making the next step.

Democrats Gain Control in Dallas County

November 3, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Aileen Garcia
aileeng@smu.edu

As the 2010 elections came to an end, the American Airlines Center, which hosted the Democratic Party, began to see supporters for its victorious night.

With plenty of seats up for grabs, the Democrats gained control in the county level. What was largely at stake was whether the Republicans or Democrats would control the Commissioners Court.

The Dallas County Commissioners Court is responsible for overseeing state law in county jails and over all the courts in its judiciary.

Candidates Elba Garcia-D and incumbent Kenneth Mayfield-R fought a close fight to gain control of Dallas County District 4, which presently includes Coppell, Irving, Grand Prairie, Cockrell Hill, Duncanville, Cedar Hill, and parts of Oak Cliff and West Dallas. The District 4 Commissioners Court has been in control of the Republican Kenneth Mayfield for four terms.

Garcia was able to win Tuesday’s election and is the first Hispanic member assigned to the Commissioners Court for the City of Dallas. This is the first time that the Democrats have gained control over the court in almost three decades.

City Council member Steve Salazar says the Commissioners Court controls only what is within their budget, like the county, which is relatively smaller than the city’s two billion dollar budget. He says Garcia will definitely make a difference in the Commissioners Court along with the county judge and district attorney.

“There will be a different approach on how they discuss issues and how they work with the other Democratic officials,” said Salazar.

Garcia is a dentist who served eight years on the Dallas City Council board before stepping down last year due to term limits. She has been an active leader in the Hispanic communities, and has gained their recognition and support. Her husband is former state Rep. Domingo Garcia.

“I felt that it was a good turnout for the election due to low voter numbers in non-presidential election years,” said Linwood J. Fields, an SMU senior majoring in political science.

In 2006 there was an influx of Democrats in the county level and voters elected District Attorney Craig Watkins to office, the first African-American DA in Texas. Watkins defeated challenger Danny Clancy for re-election Tuesday night.

In the race for county judge, the Republicans were in control for 30 years until the election of 2004, when a Democratic female sheriff was elected to office.

Democrat Clay Jenkins was able to defeat opponent Wade Emmert-R for county judge this year.

With Democrats dominating Dallas County, Salazar says, it will be interesting to see how the Democrats will interact with the other two Republicans.

Melissa Garcia, a resident of Dallas, hopes the agenda will now favor the majority of the population as opposed to the “rich white voters.”

Campus News Blog: What Matters Most your LSAT score or your College GPA?

November 2, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Aileen Garcia

With the downfall of the economy more students are prolonging entering the work field, which leads to a more competitive market for law school applicants. There are many factors that are considered in evaluating one’s law school application.

A students LSAT score and GPA are two major factors that are looked at by admissions counselors. They don’t evaluate all aspects of an applicant, but they play a huge role in rejecting the unprepared.

Law schools have different policies for weighing LSAT scores and GPA’s. Many law schools weigh your LSAT score more than your GPA. It might sound absurd that your LSAT score counts more than your four-years of hard work in college, but take into consideration the many degrees you can receive while in college.

The scoring range for the LSAT is 120-180. The average LSAT scaled score is around 151, and more than 50 percent score between 145-159. To enter an elite school candidates typically score a 165 or higher.

Your score is also ranked in a percentile, which is the percentage of test takers that you outscored. If you ranked in the 50 percentile then you outscored 50 percent of the test takers and 50 percent outscored you.

If you don’t score as high as you would have liked and have to settle for your second or fourth choice in law school. Remember that your goal is to get into law school, and once you are there the only thing that matters is your hard work that will pay off once you graduate.

Tech Blog: Review of Newsday’s iPad app

October 17, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Aileen Garcia

iPad app review: Newsday

  • Immediacy/Urgency:
  • Non-linear news presentation:
  • Multimedia:
  • Interactivity:
  •  

    One of my biggest complaints is that the Newsday website only offers a fraction of a news article. To see a full version you have to subscribe to the website, which is NOT FREE and charges $5 a week. However, the app allows you to view the entire website’s content in addition to paying not a single dime.

    I wasn’t able to evaluate the site much on the non-linear presentation aspect, but the app was amazing. Every article offered you the option to view photographs in a slideshow or view streaming video coverage of an event. It was interesting how the featured sections on the Website and app promoted different articles on their main pages. The immediacy and urgency was right on point with the latest news being published four hours prior.

    An interesting point is that the website categorizes the news content by different genres if it’s a sports article, entertainment or lifestyle. However, the app opts to having fewer categories that are much favorable like a tab for just the articles that made headlines, a section for photographs or plain video. There is also an option to receive notification of news coverage being pushed by zip code.

    There was an overwhelming amount of multimedia content with great coverage. I can only speak for the app on behalf of reader interaction because the website didn’t provide that information with free access. The app allows reader interactivity by filtering news content through Twitter, Facebook and e-mail. However, I was not able to see a comment section where viewers could submit their opinions and views, which I feel is a feature that adds to news content.

    Basically you can receive the same information on your iPad as you can on the website, but the app provides you with all the news content for FREE, which is a definite plus. I think it’s a matter of preference spending the extra money on an iPad because you get the same value of news content. Because the NewsDay Website cost $5 a week just consider that in two years you could have purchased an iPad and viewed the news content for free. Overall I gave the NewsDay app 19 stars out of 20.

    Campus News Blog: Is Law School Worth the Sky Rising Tuition

    September 29, 2010 by · Comments Off 

    Posted by Aileen Garcia

    During these tough economic times there seems to be no mercy on the price of law schools. Tuition rates vary between public and private institutions and whether the student is local or from out of state.

    Experts say that the main factor to the increase in tuition is due to competition among schools for higher rankings, which has students relying heavily upon education loans.

    For a list on what to expect regarding schools tuition rates and school rankings visit the U.S. News & World Report.

    In your search for that prestigious university, keep in mind that price will always play factor. Full-time tuition at a public schools averages from $4,711 to $35,502 and almost doubles for private schools. Before embarking yourself on mountains pilled high in debt, justify the cost of law school and a lawyer’s average salary.

    Financial assistance is also available to students who qualify in the forms of scholarships, grants, loans and work-study, so make sure you fill out a FASFA application. For more information about law school financial aid you can contact your pre-law adviser.

    A New Place Education Majors Can Call Home

    September 22, 2010 by · Comments Off 

    By Aileen Garcia and Aida Ahmed
    aileeng@smu.edu, aahmed@smu.edu

    The Daily Mustang met with David Chard, the dean of the new Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, this week. The new school is built to give 900 students seeking degrees in education a home. Annette Caldwell Simmons, the school’s biggest contributor, is a graduate from the school of education and has taught in Dallas and in the Island of Guam.

    Before the new building, education majors were scattered across campus in any classroom that was available. For the past five years on the same site an old apartment complex housed faculty offices for the school of education. The dean’s office was located off campus for two years.

    However, the new building now houses faculty offices and classrooms for both undergraduate and graduate students giving them a place to consider home.

    “This brings us all together, before we were in 11 different places,” Chard said. “We had no campus home, so this is the beginning.”

    The education school catered to graduate students for years. Last year they started an undergraduate program offering a psychology and sport management major. The building also offers a psychology lab for research on the human development.

    On Friday Sept. 24 the unveiling of the red ribbon will take place at the new building from 10 a.m. to noon. Guest speakers will include the Simmons family, President Gerald R. Turner and the Chair of the Board of Trustees.

    Assistant professor in the education school, Scott Davis, also gave the Daily Mustang a quick tour of the new applied physiology laboratory in the applied physiology and wellness department. Take a look for yourselves.

    The Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.

    Video and Editing By Aida Ahmed

    Remembering The Lives That Were Lost on Sept. 11

    September 10, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

    Hundreds of American flags wave on the front lawn in memory of those lost on September 11, 2001. (PHOTO BY AIDA AHMED / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

    By: Aileen Garcia
    aileeng@smu.edu

    After spending time in Washington, D.C. this summer, SMU senior Rachel Duke felt it was the perfect time to honor the people who died and served our country during the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11.

    Duke saw other universities getting involved, like TCU, and felt SMU should start an event to honor all the lives that were lost.

    With the help of her parents, Tom and Suzanne Duke, plans went underway to organize SMU’s first 9/11: Never Forget event. Signs decorated the lawn with victims’ names along with 2,977 flags for each individual killed.

    Duke is also encouraging people to donate one dollar to receive 9/11 buttons and five dollars for wristbands to raise money for the Dallas Fire and Police Relief Fund

    Although Duke reassures the memorial is not a political rally, the Dallas Tea Party is expected to be in attendance, along with guest speaker Pastor Steven Broden from Fair Park Bible Fellowship.

    It took Duke three weeks to organize the event and she says the hardest part was getting the event approved on campus.

    “I felt the school was a bit unorganized and there was a lack of communication,” Duke said.

    The Meadows School of the Arts jumped on the wagon right away sponsoring the event and Dean José Antonio Bowen was very supportive of the idea says Duke.

    “This event is to remember how precious and fragile is our freedom that it is a freedom worth fighting for because it’s a blessing for not just the people of this land, but to the nations of the world,” Tom Duke said.

    SMU junior Christina Rancke’s father Todd Rancke, who worked on the 104th floor of the South Tower, was killed during the attack.

    “I just remember my family surrounding the TV,” Rancke said. “Everyone was worried.”

    Rancke, who had just turned 11, remembers her mother calling her father once the first plane struck the North Tower.

    “My dad told my mom he was alright and not to worry,” Rancke said. “That was the last time they got to talk.”

    Rancke’s mother, Debbie Basham, was also interviewed on 60 Minutes on the steps her family had to take to try and find her husband.

    “It’s just great knowing that there’s still so many people that care,” Rancke said. “If my dad could see what is going on right now he would be so grateful, I know I’m grateful. I hope this continues throughout the years and I am happy to see people like Rachel and her parents who have such a passion for remembering this day without having to experience their own loss.”

    “I don’t want people to recognize me for what I did,” Duke said. “I want this to be about the people and those who died and gave their lives.”

    The Richardson Fire Department loaned their boots to help commemorate and honor the lives lost on Sept. 11. (PHOTO BY AILEEN GARCIA / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

    Michelangelo Living on Paper

    September 10, 2010 by · Comments Off 

    By Aileen Garcia
    aileeng@smu.edu

    Leonard Barkan, a Princeton Professor of Literature, has always had a passion for literature. At the age of five he took an IQ test and the results were impressive. At this young age Barkan was able to read at the eighth grade level. From that point on Barkan remembers picking up a book and never letting go.

    Barkan has studied Michelangelo, a famous artist and writer whose work was published 60 years after his death, for years.

    Michelangelo was known for his multiple markings. During his time paper was not a throw-away commodity. Due to the high cost of paper he permitted himself to occupy each corner.

    “You would sort of lose yourself looking at his work,” Barkan said. “There were these expressions of words and drawings of randomness and without large-scale interpretation, which suggest in a way his self-expression.”

    In some of his work, Michelangelo would draw rectangles around his drawings to represent future work to come. His work consists of many uncompleted projects and unpublished text.

    Barkan demonstrated to the audience that by rotating Michelangelo’s work one can always find a new image. Barkan humored his audience with his “Where’s Waldo” theme to find a specific image in Michelangelo’s scribbles.

    “Sometimes he’d doodle on letters or wrote letters on doodles,” Barkan said.

    Everything on a page is a fragment of aesthetic challenges to what Michelangelo wants his final project to be. In some poems the writing breaks off and the poem is never completed. In one particular poem, he fails to finish his last thought about the loss of a loved one, so he draws his left hand and points to the last word at the end of the stanza.

    There is an uncertainty in what Michelangelo is doing in his unfinished work, and then you end up seeing that same product in a finished piece with slight changes from his original intention.

    His relationship to a sheet of paper is a continuation of orientations on each side.

    “It’s amazing how in today’s world we often take paper for granted,” said Katherine Michaels, an attendee at the lecture.

    “Sometimes it is almost 30 years in between before you see a second marking on the page,” Barkan said.

    For more information on Michelangelo’s work check out “Michealangelo a Life of Paper” by Leonard Barkan.

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