Grapes of the Plains: Lubbock Wineries Explain Why Texas Wines Are the Best Wines

When people think “good wine,” their minds drift to thoughts of Napa Valley, Italy or France. When they think of Lubbock, Texas, they envision a desert, maybe some cotton and some cattle.

Well, it’s time to rethink wine and Lubbock.

Lubbock is home to several wineries. Llano Estacado, Pheasant Ridge, CapRock Winery and McPherson Cellars are just four of those and all produce award-winning wine.

To read more about their wines and how they feel Texas wines beat all others, click on the photo below.

A New Era of Crisis Management: How Texas Tech Protects Red Raiders

By: Rachel Blevins, Laura Duclos and Megan Reyna

From shootings, to knife attacks, to bombs, today’s universities have to be prepared for a variety of emergencies. In this story, we look at how the students, faculty and staff at Texas Tech University can prepare by utilizing active shooter training, obtaining their license to carry a handgun, and making sure they are aware of both their surroundings and their options for contacting police at all times.

Click here for the full story.

Global Climate Change: More than melting ice bergs

By: Callie Yardley, Elizabeth Hale, Joseph Marcades, and Violeta Trevizo

Scientific studies across the world indicate climate change is real. The effects climate change has on the world extend further than our oceans and ice caps, it effects the way we live in every aspect. From the products we consume to the way governments handle policies, climate change is a driving force even if we don’t realize it. In this story we break down some of the aspects through which climate change affects humanity, specifically in West Texas.

Click here or on the image below to read the full story.

Global Climate Change

SGA proposes legislation to protect pedestrians



Enrollment at Texas Tech University is at an all-time high – 36,551 students enrolled this fall, the biggest class in the university’s history.

With that many students on campus, the question of safety has become even more of a priority for members of the Student Government Association. External Vice President Alex DeRossi said one issue the organization is focusing on this session is pedestrian safety on campus.

DeRossi, a senior energy commerce major from Flower Mound, said earlier this semester, he was in a pedestrian safety meeting and began discussing the possibility of closing a portion of 15th Street with Sean Childers, Texas Tech assistant vice president for operations.

“We have a lot of support across campus, but we’re really looking for that final touch,” DeRossi said Childers told him. “Without student support, it’s dead.”

By Amanda Castro-Crist // The section the legislation focuses on is one of the busiest areas for pedestrians on campus, with about 5,300 people walking through the area each day.

By Amanda Castro-Crist // The section the legislation focuses on is one of the busiest areas for pedestrians on campus, with about 5,300 people walking through the area each day.

DeRossi and other members of the SGA began work on a resolution to address the issue soon after that. They proposed closing the stretch of 15th Street from Boston Avenue to Detroit Avenue, about half the distance from the Student Union Building to the College of Media and Communication.  The street is one of the heaviest areas of pedestrian traffic on campus, DeRossi said.

“There are 5,300 students on average who walk through that area per day, which is a huge number,” DeRossi said. “So when you eliminate vehicular traffic from there, you almost entirely take out the risk associated with that area.”

Claudia Bohanon, a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Marshall, said she walks through the area at least twice per day. Though she said she hasn’t heard of or seen any accidents in the area, she said the proposal could still make a difference.

“I think it would help because there’s a lot of students that walk right there,” she said. “If there’s 5,300 that’s a lot kids walking on the street and I know a lot of people just cut right through in front of cars.”

“We should hopefully see something by the start of next semester, so we’re really excited about that,” DeRossi said. “Especially with this SGA administration, safety is one of our number one priorities so we would hope the faculty and staff senate share our sentiments as well.”

DeRossi said so far, he hasn’t heard any negative feedback on the proposal. He said he doesn’t expect the closure to affect most of the people who park on campus. Most drivers who park in the Administration Building parking lot generally don’t enter the campus on 15th Street from the west on Flint Avenue, but instead use other entrances like those east of the campus near University Avenue.

“One thing I have heard from professionals here, faculty and staff, is they say, ‘I avoid that street at all costs because there’s way too many students,’” he said.

By Amanda Castro-Crist // Students cross 15th Street near Boston Avenue on the Texas Tech University campus. New legislation by the Student Government Association proposes the closure of the street between Boston and Detroit avenues for pedestrian safety.

By Amanda Castro-Crist // Students cross 15th Street near Boston Avenue on the Texas Tech University campus. New legislation by the Student Government Association proposes the closure of the street between Boston and Detroit avenues for pedestrian safety.

DeRossi said he doesn’t expect the closure to cause any parking and transportation infrastructure changes. Collapsible yellow barricades would be in place from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., which are the hours the campus is already open to only those who work on campus and select visitors.

Benny Paul, a sophomore university studies major from Buffalo, New York, said he agrees with much of the proposal, but would make some slight adjustments.

“I would extend that further, I would actually close all internal traffic,” Paul said. “Not just during school hours, I’d probably go 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.”

Paul, who operates a pedicab on campus, giving free rides to students, said closing the campus to traffic would force people to use the commuter lots he said he often sees empty. As for faculty and staff who currently drive on campus, he said the answer is simple.

“If that means that employees and faculty have to walk?” he said. “(Then) walk.”

The most important thing is that students can get through the area and where they need to be without the risk of an accident, DeRossi said.

“Our main mission and our main priority for SGA is student safety and this directly affects student safety – cars come flying by there,” DeRossi said. “We really didn’t see a great need to keep it open. When you eliminate risk to that amount of students, that’s a win in our book.”

To Gift or not to Gift? Animals During the Holiday Season

We’ve all seen the heartwarming viral videos before: on Christmas day after all presents have been unwrapped, a final box manages to appear holding a small puppy or kitten inside. Excitement ensues, and while it may be magical in the moment, most people who work with animals advise against gifting them during the holiday season.

Kia Reimath, the Assistant Director at the City of Lubbock Animal Shelter, said if you do decide to gift an animal, make sure it is an appropriate choice based on different factors like energy level

“Before anybody really considers getting anything for Christmas, make sure it’s a good fit for the family both size and the temperament of the dog” Riemath said.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ website, when it comes to giving pets as gifts, the ASPCA recommends “giving pets as gifts only to people who have expressed a sustained interest in owning one, and the ability to care for it responsibly. We also recommend that pets be obtained from animal shelters, rescue organizations, friends, family or responsible breeders—not from places where the source of the animal is unknown or untrusted.”

Riemath also said around March they seen an increase in animals surrendered at the shelter. While there is no one specific reason for the increase, she believes animals growing out of their puppy stage may be a factor.

“They’re adorable when they’re babies, you know a little kitten popping out of a box, all the kids are going to oh-and-aw and giggle, and that’s going to be great fun, and it’s a same thing with a puppy,” Riemath said. “And then they start getting bigger, and then their not quite so cute”

According to the ASPCA’s website 31 percent of dogs and 41 percent of cats entering shelters are euthanized. This includes strays, lost pets, and owner surrendered animals.

Richard Evans, the owner of Pets Plus, only recommends gifting animals to children when it is clear the parent will take responsibility of the animal.

“If parents are buying it for a child, and the parents are going to be the ultimate responsible person, then you can surprise a child, but you don’t ever surprise an adult with a pet, it’s just to much of an obligation” Richards said.

According to the ASPCA website, “If the recipient is under 12 years old, the child’s parents should be ready and eager to assume care for the animal. If the gift is a surprise, the gift-giver should be aware of the recipient’s lifestyle and schedule—enough to know that the recipient has the time and means be a responsible owner.”

Mr. Peanut is Probably from Texas

By Laura Duclos

Yes, you read that headline right. If you are not a part of the agricultural community here in Texas, you might not know that the Lone Star State is actually the fourth largest peanut producer in the United States, and a lot of those farms are on the nearby plains.

Individual farmers from around Texas join together via the Texas Peanut Producers Board to bring awareness and advocation to the crop they all work so hard to grow. The Board, located in here in Lubbock, is comprised of nine board members who are all peanut farmers from around the state and are staffed by the various directors who keep things running smoothly, rather than crunchy. Hallie Bertrand, director of communications for the Board, explained how the Board affects farmers. She said the TPPB is known as a check-off organization, which means the Board receives two dollars from every ton of peanuts sold in the state. That money is then put towards research, education and promotion of peanuts in order to help farmers to the best of its ability.

“It’s so important that our board is made up of farmers,” Bertrand said. “They’re spread across the state so that they know what’s going on in their area and in their community, so farmers can then go to them and say, ‘Hey, next time you’re in a board meeting, this is a concern I’m having that needs brought up.’”

Ricky Bearden, a peanut farmer in Yoakum county, has grown peanuts since 2000 and said he enjoys growing the crop and hopes the rest of the country enjoys consuming them. “I feel very fortunate that I live in this part of the country and get to do something I like,” Bearden said. “Hopefully the rest of the United States realizes that this is a very viable industry that we have and that it’s important.”

Interested in doing your part to support a Texas peanut farmer? Well, you are not alone but you are not exactly in luck. Bertrand pointed out there is no specific way to make sure you are helping a certain farmer. They are all together and every peanut counts. “The way the industry is set up – they may be grown in Texas, shelled in Texas – but they could be shipped to a manufacturer in Tennessee and turned into peanut M&Ms,” Bertrand said. “It’s just about the market and where it’s needed and where it’s going. It’s not vertically integrated in that way.” She said it is more important that manufacturers, peanut purchasers and importers to know when they purchase Texas peanuts, they will be receiving high-quality peanuts.

“We aren’t selling a product, necessarily,” Bertrand added. “We aren’t selling peanut butter that was grown in Texas. We’re just trying to get people to eat peanuts in general.”

With that, go forth and eat as much peanut butter as you would like, knowing that it is not only healthy for your body, but good for Texas peanut farmers, too.

Substance Abuse in College: A Higher Education

An increase in binge drinking and drug use across college campus’s does not come off as a shock to many.

Assistant professor for the department of community and family addiction and director of the Center for Addiction and Recovery Research, Spencer Bradshaw said he was aware of the party school reputation Texas Tech has prior to working for the college.

“College we know is a time of a lot of different stuff,” Bradshaw said, “a lot of experimentation, binge drinking, experimentation with different drugs,mixing drugs, or a lot of different things.”

According to The National Survey on Drug Use and Health, In 2012, nearly half of full time college students in the United States admit to binge drinking or using drugs at least once a month. Bradshaw said It’s important to know the difference between an addiction and experimentation.

“It’s important to say not everybody who uses drugs or drinks alcohol or both, are an addict,” Bradshaw said.

However, reports of mortalities of college students from drug overdoses have been popping up across the nation. Several of these deaths result from various causes.

“Compound drugs are when you take two drugs at the same time and you don’t know how they are interacting chemically,” Bradshaw said, “inside you, inside your blood, as their flowing through your blood and getting into your brain.”

Bradshaw said a frequent combination popular amongst college students is mixing alcohol with cocaine, which many students do not realize, is deadly.

“Their going to create a new chemical compound that can kill somebody, whether your dependent on this stuff or not, whether your just playing around this or not, whether your experimenting with this or not.”

Texas Tech’s Center for Addiction and Recovery Research serves is best known for their collegiate recovery program, where students who have been sober for a year or more enter while they attend college, in order to stay not the right track.

But the center has resources for any Texas Tech student, outside of the program.

“To have a place on campus where students can go to get help and to get support, and to not be sucked up in that stuff and if they are addicted in that stuff get back up on their feet, that’s what this recovery center is all about.”

There are students who continue to experiment with drugs, regardless of the dangers. One, Texas Tech senior said he uses and mixes drugs with alcohol, whenever it is easily available.

“It just depends on how far you take it,” Texas Tech seniors said, “for me I don’t feel like it’s an issue or people who take it as far as I take it but for people who take it further and do a lot more then I do it’s probably an issue.”

Lauren Edwards, human development and family studies major chose to volunteer at the research center, and said she disagrees.

“I think people are very ignorant on how dangerous using different substances can be,” Edwards said, “I think people just think it is a part of college life and it’s just a part of college life and It’s acceptable because they don’t realize the dangers of using and mixing different substances.”




Veterans Find Help From Horses

Veterans find help through horses

Several different cultures around the world have depended on horses for thousands of years. Horses have been used for battle, to gather food or simply riding for fun but at the refuge services, they use horses as one of the many therapeutic tools for veterans who suffer from trauma or post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Started in 1999, the Refuge Services hosted a Veterans family night as a way to give back to the vets.

“Refuge Services is a non-profit organization here in Lubbock and we serve clients with disabilities as well as mental health issues,” Mandrell, director of Refuge Services said.

The Refuge Services also have a special veterans program which is available to vets at no cost to help them transition back to civilian life.

As a child of a veteran herself, Mandrill said she saw the need of assistance for veterans in Lubbock so she utilized the resources she had in front of her.

“As the need of assistance continue to grow,” Mandrel said, “I saw that the system was not able to accommodate the demand as we had so many soldiers coming back so I began to think about the resources and the benefits that we have right in front of us with the horses and using horses for therapy.”

One of the major ways the horses help the Veterans is through the relief of trauma, she said.

“When you look at post-traumatic stress symptoms, the horses are a natural tool to address all of that.” Mandrell said.

Mandrell recalled an instant where she had a student intern who was also a veteran.

“What I noticed in his time with us was how he grew personally even as he was giving to others.” She said, “He was able to articulate what was happening within him when he was around the horses.”

As a counselor, Mandrell started doing research while exploring the programs available through horses.

A lot of the times, Mandrell said Veterans have really high anxiety while their minds are racing and calming down seems impossible due to their previous experience.

That is where the horses come in.

Research shows that the arrhythmic movement in a horse helps with anxiety. It will slow the body down while helping the brain heal from trauma.

Because the brain operates in rhythm, she said that any type of trauma can knock it out of it’s rhythm.

“While riding a horse, the slow rhythm of the horse helps the brain slowdown while assisting in restoring rhythm.” She said.

Former air force firefighter, Nancy clemmy is now considered a disabled veteran after serving in the military for 4 years.

“I came out with a series of back injuries as well as shoulder injury which have gotten worse over the years.” Clemmy said. “My hearing was also impaired.”

One of the things we are really trying to get the public to understand, Clemmy said, is that a disability is not always something that you can see. It is not always a missing limb especially with the veterans coming back from combat.

Disability is not always visible.

While veterans are not good in asking for help because they are supposed to the helpers, Clemmy said her mission is to destigmatize the notion that vets do not need help just because they are not asking for help.

When she heard of the program, Clemmy said she knew she wanted to join because of her love for horses.

Little did she know she would learn a lot about herself, she said.

“The horses are the therapy.” Clemmy said. “Whether you are one of the client or the counselor, they have taught me about myself when I was out there learning.”


For some, success is literally at their fingertips

Nail salons are all over America, they are next to corner stores and inside malls, and for the most part this is a business that is dominated by Vietnamese immigrants.

According to Nails Magazine, Vietnamese-Americans make up 48 percent of the nail industry, Hung Dong is part of that statistic. He along with his wife Melissa own Dove Nails Salon in Lubbock, Texas.

The couple bought the business in 2001 and have kept it a family affair since. Their business is something Melissa refers to as a “Mom and pop shop.”

“From working with other people in salons, we decided to be very different, and decided in a sense of keeping it in the family,” Melissa said. “It’s hard to find people with a long working history in one specific area so we decided to keep as in a two-person salon.”

For Hung, his business is more than a source of income, it represents his blood, sweat and tears coming to the United States as a refugee.

Before making it to the U.S., Hung was stuck on the ocean for days during Typhoon season, and even after that he had to live as a refugee in the Philippines.

“We didn’t have enough food or water,” Hung said.

He is no stranger to hardship or poverty, but once he and his brother were able to apply for visas, Hung’s life changed forever.

“We could apply to any country, Australia, France, Canada, America,” Hung said. “I applied to America.”

Although Hung and Melissa met working at a restaurant, he knew that wasn’t what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. In a few years Hung went from living on $2 a day to owning his own business. A story of success, that many like himself share.

Hung believes many fellow Vietnamese immigrants get into this business because they lack English-speaking skills and it doesn’t take a lot of money to start off.

“When we come to America, you don’t speak English. What kind of job do you get? Work at a restaurant? Be an office cleaner?” he said. “Nail business doesn’t require a lot of education. You get out, you don’t need to speak a lot of English. Third thing they have skills.”

Skills he decided to put to use to achieve the coveted “American Dream.” The couple has loyal customers that aren’t leaving them anytime soon. And Hung says he couldn’t be more grateful for his life.

“I’m glad I came to America, I’m glad God brought me here for a reason. I’m glad I have my wife to help me.”

Melissa too, believes their success is a blessing and works hard to continue on that path. She says her husband’s story is admirable and inspires her every day.

“For anyone who’s wanting to open a business or become something totally different, you can do it. If you put your mind to it and God first, you will make it.”

The Importance of Eating Healthy While Managing School


When students start college, they are essentially free to do whatever they want without the guidance from their parents; including making decisions about their eating habits.

According to an article from Health Marketing Quarterly, when students transition to college, their eating habits worsen.

Natalie Baker is a nutritional Consultant for Healthy Meals To Go, a healthy fast food establishment that provides provide individually packaged fresh healthy meals that you microwave. She said it is a good option for busy college students like her.

“It’s really hard to fit all of that into your schedule,” Baker said. “To try and get it done, yeah you can for maybe a week or two but then you fall off the wagon a little bit, but this just makes it so easily accessible.”

She said that in order to get healthy you have to start somewhere.

“It’s like the rule of thumb that if you keep at it for four weeks, you actually form a habit,” Baker said. “So as long as you do it for that long, you’re able to do it, and you’d be surprised at what you’re capable of doing once you set your mind to it.”

Baker added that lack of time contributes to unhealthy eating.

“I think because so many people are so busy nowadays that they don’t have time to go to the grocery store, cook their food, actually meal prep,” Baker said. “I’m like a walking example of that between school and work itself.”

Tayler Parker is a full-time psychology student and premedical student taking 18 hours of classes and working two jobs. Whether it is studying for her senior Spanish class, volunteering at the Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research, being a supplemental instruction leader for an organic chemistry course, or working as a health unit coordinator at UMC, Parker has a full schedule.

“I’m extremely busy; I have two jobs and take 18 hours of classes, but I still find time to cook and eat healthy,” Parker said.

The last thing on most students’ mind is what they are going to be eating. However, Parker manages to find time in her schedule to make sure she is eating health consciously. Parker’s usual meal consists of sautéed chicken, with different sautéed vegetables, and some type of carb to go with it, like rice.

“Sometimes it’s really difficult especially with classes but meals like I prepared tonight, they don’t take very long to make,” Parker said. “As long as you have everything prepared you can have a healthy meal in 10 or 15 minutes.”

Parker said that even if she doesn’t have time to cook something for herself, she would make the healthiest decision she can with the resources she has. For example, if she sees Chick Fil A, she will grab a grilled chicken sandwich rather than a fried sandwich.

“Just be conscious about the food decisions you’re making,” Parker said.

Also, she added that students forget about their health once they get to college.

“So I think it’s important to establish healthy eating habits while were in college,” Parker said, “and to exercise and stay healthy so we can be prepared to do that for the rest of our lives.”


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