PHOTO SLIDESHOW: Raise the Woof Kicks Off White Rock Lake Celebration

March 29, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Jefferson Johnson
jwjohnson@mail.smu.edu

White Rock Lake Dog Park celebrated its 10th anniversary of the “Raise the Woof Pup Rally” as part of the Comerica White Rock Lake Centennial Celebration Saturday.

The fundraiser will go toward renovating the first North Texas dog park.

“It’s going to be bigger and better than ever than ever,” promised event coordinator Andie Comini.

But the fun didn’t stop there. White Rock Lake still has 98 more days of festivities to celebrate its 100th birthday.

Texas Woman’s University No Longer On Lockdown, Student In Custody

March 1, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

By Andy Garcia
atgarcia@smu.edu

Updated at 11:15

Texas Woman’s University’s homepage confirms the Denton campus is no longer on lockdown. According to the page the student alleged to have made the threat is in custody.

Updated at 11:05

According Texas Woman’s University student Katrina Jankiewicz, TWU is no longer on lockdown and students have been notified the threat is over.

A North Texas university is on lockdown after a student threatened to bring a gun on campus.

According to the Dallas Morning News, Texas Woman’s University issued an alert at 9:30 a.m. warning students to remain inside in the building.

Katrina Jankiewicz, a student locked inside the TWU Ann Stuart Science Complex, said she heard a student is threatening to kill everyone in the Arts and Sciences building.

The TWU homepage warns students of the lockdown and will be updated as information is released.

SMU Women’s Basketball Takes On North Texas Tonight

December 7, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Kimmy Ryan
kryan@smu.edu

The SMU women’s basketball team is set to host North Texas tonight at 7 p.m in Moody Coliseum. The Mustangs are 27-15 all-time against North Texas.

Look out for SMU senior Delisha Willis and North Texas’ Jasmine Godbolt and Dentra Kellum on the court as big scoring threats.

Tonight’s game is $1 hot dog night. As well, American Airlines is giving away one voucher for air travel in the U.S. during a half-time contest.

For live stats and streaming during the game, visit SMUMustangs.com.

1 in 12 North Texans Go Hungry

April 27, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Emily Kogan
ekogan@smu.edu

Seven-year-old Miracle sits patiently in a chair in the front room of the Cedar Hill Food Pantry, chewing on a candy and telling the men around her how much fun she had in the snow this weekend, but how scary it was when the electricity in her house went out.

Her mother, who does not want to give her name, is nervous and her eyes are downcast. She is about to apply for emergency food and electricity help at the pantry, located at 403 Houston St. Cedar Hill, TX.

Larry Miney, President of the board at Cedar Hill Food Pantry, said new families like Miracle’s come in all the time needing emergency food and sometimes help with electricity as well. They can get food for one time, even if they don’t have the proper documentation.

“If someone is hungry they can come here no questions asked and get food,” said Miney.

The Cedar Hill Food Pantry is just one of the 290 agencies The North Texas Food Bank distributes food to. The NTFB provides emergency assistance to approximately 64,000 people a week, an 80 percent increase from 2006.

Colleen Brinkman, Chief Philanthropy Officer of the NTFB said a major misconception is that the hungry and the homeless are the same. In reality, the homeless are only nine percent of the population the NTFB serves.

“The majority of the people in America and in North Texas are the working hungry,” said Brinkman.

She describes the face of the hungry as not much different from the rest of the community. They are people who work, or used to work until the economic downturn. They could be a neighbor, a relative, or someone who makes seven, eight, nine dollars an hour and has a family to support.

“These are people with college degrees, that have worked, that pay taxes, that follow all the rules of society but have been laid off and they have run out of resources,” said Brinkman.

In the 13 North Texas counties served by the NTFB, households with children who are going hungry have increased by four percent since 2006. Teachers in suburban elementary schools have told Brinkman that students will peel the paper off crayons so they can eat.

“There are kids that eat the food off the floor of the cafeteria because they are hungry,” said Brinkman.

Teachers have told Brinkman that some children come to school on Monday mornings having not eaten anything since Friday, at least not anything of substance. The NTFB distributes 9,000 backpacks filled with highly nutritious food to these chronically hungry kids every Friday afternoon in over 20 school districts.

“Volunteers come here and fill the backpacks,” said Brinkman “it’s a great sign of hope.”

Jean Sims, Executive Director at the Cedar Hill Food Pantry works with ministers from around the community to send families in need over to the pantry and make sure they receive the proper amount of food.

Junnie Suggs has been coming to the Cedar Hill Food Pantry since August of 2009. The Suggs family moved from Kansas City to Dallas in late July. Suggs said she had a steady job as a banker for eight years but has not been able to find work in Texas.

“I guess a bunch of people need a bunch of jobs so it’s been real difficult,” said Suggs.

Suggs’ daughter works in the thrift store, Second Chance, which helps fund the Cedar Hill Food Pantry. Suggs said she feels like she is able to give back to the place that has helped her family in their time of need.

“My kids haven’t known a hungry night because of the Cedar Hill Food Pantry. They are wonderful, truly,” said Suggs, who has two children.

Brinkman said 10 years ago people came into a food pantry looking for one time emergency aid and in most cases they were back on their feet within 30 days. But hunger has now turned into a chronic issue.

“Do we need to tell Austin? Do we need to tell Washington? What do we need to do to raise our voices and say hunger should not exist here,” said Brinkman.

Brinkman said that $1 provides four meals. She added that, for instance if the 10,000 students at SMU all gave $5 that would add up to $50,000. With $50,000 the NTFB could provide 200,000 meals.

Money isn’t the only option. There are soup kitchens and food pantries all over North Texas who welcome volunteers. SMU junior Ellen Stapleton has found her way helping the community while feeling good herself.

“I like to volunteer because it is important to give yourself, especially to those less fortunate. But I also like to volunteer because I enjoy witnessing acts of selflessness and kindness,” said Stapleton.

The Monarch Butterfly May Be Endangered

April 20, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

A butterfly in its habitat at the Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park. (PHOTO BY GLORIA SALINAS / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

A butterfly in its habitat at the Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park. (PHOTO BY GLORIA SALINAS / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

By Gloria Salinas
gosalinas@smu.edu

Nestled in the heart of Dallas, Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park is host to tropical plants, flowers and trees from around the globe. This flora makes up the home and serves as food for hundreds of butterflies. Streaks of blue, green, red and yellow pass in a flutter through the trees and ponds but there is one type of butterfly missing; perhaps the most popular of all of the butterflies for its gracefulness and beauty— the Monarch.

Monarch butterflies arrive in North Texas during the second or third week of March. However, the number of returning monarchs has dwindled over the few past years because many are dying in Mexican forests from lack of heat. Deforestation mixed with climate changes have impacted the monarch’s migration and habitat. Today the monarch butterfly is the smallest and most delicate creature on the World Wildlife Fund’s endangered species list.

“The world’s most spectacular insect migration happens in our backyards and we as humans should try to protect it because it teaches us how the world works,” said Dr. Orley R. Taylor, an ecologist, and director of Monarch Watch at the University of Kansas,

Dr. Taylor conducts the world’s largest tagging project on monarchs to track their fall migration. The tags, which are nine millimeters in diameter, are placed on the large mitten shaped cell on the underside of the hind wing of the monarch and have no effect on their flying abilities or travel. Dr. Taylor’s Web site, Monarch Watch, has a database of sequential seasons for tag recoveries and provides the location where the monarch over-wintered in Mexico.

The monarch butterfly completes an incredible fall migration annually from parts of northern Canada and the United States to the Oyamel fir forests of the Sierra Madre in Mexico. The monarch travels to the tropical forests of Mexico since its existence and the ancient ancestors of today’s Mexican population welcome them with rituals.

The migration of the monarch is considered one of nature’s most amazing phenomena. Nearing the end of February, millions of monarchs in their overwintering locations in Mexico will begin to make their journey back to the north as temperatures begin to warm up.

It is a quiet day at the front desk of the Butterfly House at the Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park where Susan Arnold greets guests and many school children on a typical day. Arnold is well versed on the Butterfly House, and continues to be fascinated by the creatures.

“Butterflies are creatures of beauty and the school children learn a lot about the world from these delicate creatures,” Arnold said.

There are currently no monarchs in the Butterfly House because they are over-wintering in Mexico. However, Arnold said they do stop by the Texas Discovery Gardens backyard on their trip north because they maintain flowers and plants that the monarchs like.

According to their Web site, the Texas Discovery Gardens mission is to have a constructive impact on the future of Texas by teaching people helpful ways to “restore, conserve and preserve nature in the urban environment through the use of native and adapted plants that illustrate the interrelationship of Butterflies, Bugs and Botany.”

“I can’t imagine a Texas spring without the monarch butterflies beautiful presence, to go out in the gardens and not see them fluttering around would be so unusual,” Arnold said.

Angie Case, a pre-kindergarten teacher at First Presbyterian Dallas, recently visited the Texas Discovery Gardens with her class of four and five year olds. The pre-kindergarten curriculum at the time of the field trip was “My Family, My Community,” which focused on animal families and communities.

“We continue to visit the Gardens each year because it is a field trip that encompasses a variety of lessons: we learn about sequence-of-events through the story of the life cycle of the butterfly,” Case said.

In his studies of monarchs, Dr. Taylor is most interested in monarch conservation. “We’re losing a lot of habitat, nearly two million acres a year due to habitat and climate change,” Dr. Taylor said.

The loss of the monarch butterfly, like many endangered species, would have no obvious impact on the ecosystem but the circle of life is the obvious indicator that if the monarch were lost it would change other insect interactions.

“We do know that on their trip back north female monarchs lay up to 300 to 400 larvae apiece and many are eaten by other organisms so if that food source is pulled from an environment things will surely be affected and change for many other creatures,” Dr. Taylor said.

Dr. Taylor’s life work to save the monarch and its habitat is gaining the interest of the three governments of Canada, the United States and Mexico. The countries are creating national committees that are committed to saving the monarch and its habitat by reviewing deforestation policies, but there is still much work to be done before the monarch is safe.

“Imagine sipping your glass of sweet tea on the front porch in the spring and there are no orange wings of the monarch fluttering by. I can’t imagine my childhood without the monarch,” Arnold said.

Case, who spoke through an e-mail interview, said the Butterfly Gardens is one of the most popular field trips because of the beauty and playful interaction the children encounter in the garden while learning a variety of lessons.

“At this age, children learn through play, and the Butterfly Garden does an excellent job of incorporating play into their educational activities,” Case said.

Women’s Basketball Improves to 7-1

December 3, 2009 by · Comments Off 

By Robby Gillespie
rgillespie@smu.edu

The SMU women’s basketball team took the lead early and never looked back on its way to a 80-58 win over in-state rival North Texas Wednesday in Denton, Texas.

Sophomore Christine Elliot earned her first double-double of the season with 18 points and ten rebounds. The Mustangs had two other players in double digits, Haley Day with 16 points and Raquel Christian added ten.

SMU got off to a quick 14-7 lead connecting on three 3-pointers. The Mustang defense held the Mean Green to one point over the next six minutes, as SMU took a 24-8 lead.

The Mustangs hit a cold streak and allowed North Texas to cut the SMU lead to six at halftime.

Led by scoring by Day, the Mustangs shot 50 percent in the second half from the field to seal the 22-point victory.

SMU returns to Moody Coliseum to take on crosstown rival TCU Wednesday Dec. 9 at 7 p.m.

Campus News Blog: Highland Park Church Behind the Times

April 7, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Samantha Criswell

As North Texas moves towards relaxed rules regarding the ordaining of gay clergymen, a Highland Park Presbyterian Church pastor is one of 182 clergy and lay leaders still opposed to the change. Reverend Scates calls the move “one symptom of the greater demise of the American church.”

While employers, legislators, and society in general have moved towards a more accepting stance towards gays in the workplace, the Presbyterian Church in North Texas decided to move in the same direction. The general sentiment is that nationally, the change in language will not pass, but may be a closer vote than in previous years.

In a country where it is illegal to discriminate in the workplace against someone for their sexual orientation or a number of other characteristics, the church remains sluggish as best to keep up with changes in society.