NASA shifts space agency to telework after workers test positive for COVID-19

NASA’s administrator has ordered the space agency’s employees and contractors to telework after a limited number of workers tested positive for COVID-19. “Although a limited amount of employees have tested positive for COVID-19, it is imperative that we take this pre-emptive step to thwart further spreading of the virus among the workforce and our communities,”…

Cloistered Dominican nuns mark 75 years of prayer in East Texas

The Monastery of the Infant Jesus is celebrating 75 years since its founding in East Texas. Located on Lotus Lane in north Lufkin, the community of nearly two dozen cloistered Dominican nuns are devoted to praying for the needs of the world around them. “I wanted to be hidden so that God could be the…

World’s largest airport chaplaincy provides peace in busy DFW Airport

At the start of the holiday travel season, countless East Texans will be among the passengers navigating crowds at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Despite the airport being one of the busiest places on Earth, people are finding their faith inside one of the five DFW Airport interfaith chapels. “You don’t ever know how travel is…

Oklahoma boasts ‘tallest hill’ in the world

Poteau, Oklahoma claims to be home to the tallest hill in the world. Located on the far eastern side of the state, the elevation of Cavanal Hill’s summit is 1,999 feet. According to the local chamber of commerce, geographical features 2,000 feet or higher are typically classified as mountains. Whatever you want to call it,…

Understanding the Wall: How the Berlin Wall divided a nation

Three decades after the so-called ‘Peaceful Revolution’ toppled the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany, people are celebrating the anniversary of its climax — the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989. More time has passed since the Wall came down than the nearly three decades it stood, but painful memories associated with…

Art installation sends ‘wishes’ fluttering over post-Wall Berlin

Freely moving in the wind, independent, yet seemingly in harmony, 30-thousand ribbons dance in front of the Brandenburg Gate, Germany’s most visible symbol of unity. The vision of American artist Patrick Shearn and his studio Poetic Kinetics, a massive public art display drapes the setting for one of Germany’s biggest celebrations in years — the…

International broadcaster exchange brings German journalist to KLTV/KTRE newsroom

An international exchange program is bringing another journalist from Germany to work side-by-side with the largest news organization in East Texas, KLTV and KTRE. Andreas Mitzkus will spend the next week shadowing and learning from producers, anchors, reporters, photographers, digital content producers, and news managers in the KLTV and KTRE newsroom. Mitzkus is a producer…

Retired NASA astronaut reflects on two Shuttle missions, future of human spaceflight

Two visits to low Earth orbit have forever changed the outlook on life for former NASA astronaut Byron Lichtenberg. Even though he’s now retired form the space agency’s astronaut corps, he’s still using those experiences to inspire the next generation of aerospace professionals. As a professor at LeTourneau University, he’s currently working with students to…

How to make the most out of a journalism fellowship

For journalists, a fellowship can provide unmatched mid-career professional development and opportunities for meaningful personal growth. Having completed fellowships with the RIAS Berlin Commission and the East-West Center, I was recently invited to share my own experiences in a panel discussion at RTDNA/SPJ’s annual ‘Excellence in Journalism’ conference. These international reporting experiences required a significant…

NASA opens $5M Apollo mission control room restoration for public tours

As the country marks 50 years since the history-making Apollo 11 moon landing, visitors to Space Center Houston are getting an inside look at the landmark that helped make the ‘giant leap’ possible. Three weeks ago, NASA and Space Center Houston unveiled a $5 million dollar renovation of Mission Operations Control Room 2, which was…

Wine-making family weathers seasons of change by relying on prayer

Kiepersol Estates Winery is marking 20 years in East Texas. Their journey from South Africa has become a testament to the power of prayer. The homegrown business has weathered everything from weather extremes to the loss of its founder. But there’s now a sense of peace at the vineyards in Bullard, according to proprietor Marnelle…

Passing along some words of wisdom to Northwestern State University’s senior class

As president of the Northwestern State University Alumni Association, I recently had the distinct honor of helping present class rings to the graduating seniors. Before joining university president Dr. Chris Maggio in the presentation, I was asked to share some reflections as they prepare to receive their baccalaureate degrees. Congratulations on making it to this…

Walk on the wild side at Tyler’s Caldwell Zoo

Caldwell Zoo in Tyler, Texas recently welcomed two new African elephants to its family of more than 3,400 animals from around the world. The 85-acre park first opened to visitors in 1953 and has grown considerably in the decades since. Open seven days a week, the zoo is an ideal destination for families, school groups,…