‘Virus hunter’ astronaut shares details of science mission to Space Station

In July, a self-proclaimed ‘virus hunter’ astronaut will launch aboard a Soyuz rocket to the International Space Station, embarking on a four month, science-intensive assignment to the orbiting laboratory. NASA’s Kate Rubins is counting down the days until the scheduled July 6 launch of Expedition 48/49, which will be the first spaceflight for the molecular…

Remembering a pioneer in East Texas television history

This week, we learned of the passing of KLTV’s first chief engineer, Hudson Collins, who lived a long life of 94 years. While I never had the opportunity to meet him, I’m fascinated by many of the details of his pioneering career. An engineer is an important position in any television station, but he holds…

In memory of longtime NSU President Dr. Randall J. Webb

It’s been a tough week for many at my alma mater, Northwestern State University, with the passing of former president Randall J. Webb. While he had been retired for almost a year — you’d never know. His devotion to the success of NSU never waned. You’d see him on campus, at alumni events in Shreveport, and doing…

Pastor’s spiritual walk leads him from orphanage to Capitol Hill

As a coach, pastor, and foster parent, Reverend Jerome R. Milton has touched the lives of hundreds of East Texans. On December 12, 2012, his devotion to spreading the word of God earned him an invitation to lead the U.S. House of Representatives in prayer as guest chaplain. After an introduction by East Texas congressman…

Major relics of youngest saint in history visit Tyler cathedral

Thousands of East Texans journeyed to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Tyler this week to venerate the youngest saint ever canonized. The major remains of Maria Goretti left Italy for a first-time tour of the United States. For the faithful, it was an opportunity to reflect on the life and sacrifice of the…

Actor Kirk Cameron shares his spiritual walk from atheist to evangelist

Actor Kirk Cameron became a pop culture idol as the star of the 1980s hit TV comedy ‘Growing Pains.’ Raised in a family without God, he found his faith while portraying teenager Mike Seaver on the ABC sitcom. Now, as one of the most prominent Christian voices in Hollywood, Cameron is inspiring others by sharing…

Advice from a 105-year-old with no intent of slowing down

What a privilege and honor it was Wednesday morning to visit with Tyler resident Earline Andrews on her 105 birthday. She happens to be the oldest living graduate of my alma mater, Northwestern State University! I don’t think she could have been more delighted when we arrived with a beautiful bouquet of flowers on behalf…

General Erbon Wise’s impact on my education

Some truly exceptional individuals have connections to Northwestern State. This weekend, I got to catch up with General Erbon Wise, a noted author and the publisher of several newspapers in Louisiana and Texas. He wrote for our newspaper as a student at NSU and later served in World War II during the Normandy invasion. He…

Emotional ESPN film profiles heroic death, legacy of NFL great Joe Delaney

This month, the heroic story of NFL legend Joe Delaney will be shared with millions of people around the world in ESPN’s latest ’30 For 30′ film. Wednesday night, I got the chance to attend an advance screening of ‘Delaney,’ the short film profiling the life and legacy of the Kansas City Chiefs running back who died…

The magical musings of illusionist Penn Jillette

Magician Penn Jillette and partner Teller have been entertaining audiences for decades. Their magic, illusions, music, comedy, and myth busting are known around the world. According to their website, the duo have produced “sold out runs on Broadway, world tours, Emmy-winning TV specials, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and hundreds of outrageous…

Jimmy Kimmel Live returns to Texas for South By Southwest

Austin’s iconic South by Southwest festival has gone from an eclectic festival featuring arts and entertainment to a showcase of innovation and ideas. Techies, foodies, and celebrities have also found a home at SXSW, including late-night TV comedian Jimmy Kimmel. This year, the funnyman brought Jimmy Kimmel Live back to Austin for a week of shows,…

Inspirational ‘Chef Jeff’ taping national TV show in E. Texas

A celebrity chef is visiting kitchens across East Texas this week, tasting the comfort foods that stir-up smiles. Chef Jeff Henderson is taping a new syndicated TV show, ‘Flip My Food,’ which promises to take favorite family recipes and make them better, with fewer calories. Henderson’s rise to the top took a different path than…

Dallas Cowboys great Drew Pearson recalls his ‘Hail Mary’ catch

The number 88 on a Dallas Cowboys jersey seems to signify greatness. Drew Pearson, Michael Irvin, and Dez Bryant have worn the number — earning star status on the team and in the league. Pearson, celebrated as one of the all-time greatest wide receivers, he now hosts his own radio show. While he focuses on…

Meeting moon-walking astronaut Buzz Aldrin

As a life-long space enthusiast, meeting astronaut Buzz Aldrin was a great honor for me. He gave a lecture and signed copies of his new book, “Mission to Mars,” at the American Airlines CR Smith Museum in Fort Worth on June 22, 2013.

Tonight Show ties to East Texas

This weekend I had the great pleasure of attending a performance by Doc Severinsen, the longtime bandleader of NBC’s Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. The East Texas Symphony Orchestra brought him to Caldwell Auditorium for a concert with his band, The San Miguel Five. They were phenomenal! As a fellow trumpeter, hearing his high notes…

Legendary musician B.B. King sings the blues for East Texas audience

It’s not every day one of the most prolific musicians of the modern era performs in East Texas. Living legend B.B. King performed Thursday night in front of a crowd of hundreds at Tyler’s Caldwell Auditorium. Fans were treated to a trip through decades of musical magic from the moment the 87-year-old strapped on his…

E. Texas priest awaits ordination as bishop of Tyler diocese

In the two months since the announcement that Pope Benedict XVI had chosen a local priest to become the fourth bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler, Reverend Monsignor Joseph E. Strickland has kept a whirlwind schedule. Through his blog, “Run Father Run,” Bishop-elect Strickland has provided an inside look at his latest spiritual journey…

Coach’s post-game rant after loss to SFA catches national attention

Visibly riled over a dismal loss, Lamar University Head Basketball Coach Pat Knight never minced words in a post-game press conference that has now gone viral. After dropping a critical conference game Wednesday to Stephen F. Austin in a 62-52 loss, the first-year head coach lashed out, placing blame on his senior players. Knight’s heated…

Comedian Tom Green runs amok in KTRE studio

The news isn’t always serious in nature. It took an unpredictably turn on January 24, 2011 when comedian and actor Tom Green visited the KTRE studio prior to performing in a sold-out show in Nacogdoches. When asked if he’s calmed down any since his MTV years, he created a bit of commotion in the studio….

Lessons in leadership from Lt. General Russel Honoré

Lt. General Russel Honoré commanded the U.S. military’s response to the Hurricane Katrina-ravaged Gulf Coast in 2005. His leadership style is widely credited with turning around the situation in New Orleans. Now five years after the devastating storm, I had the opportunity to talk to the decorated general about his new book, Survival: How Being Prepared…

Larger than life: Remembering Congressman Charlie Wilson

The outpouring of comments, calls, and e-mails made it quite apparent that most every East Texan had at least some memory of Charlie Wilson’s influence. Following his death from cardiac arrest on February 10, 2010, everyone I came in contact with had an opinion of some sort. Many recalled the first time they met Wilson….

Meet the woman profiled in ‘The Armless Marvel’

I’d like to introduce you to Mary Belle de Vargas, a woman whose remarkable story of overcoming adversity highlights the importance of celebrating the abilities of all people. I’ve worked for the Natchitoches Convention and Visitors Bureau for almost four years. Our office is situated in historic downtown Natchitoches, in a small stucco and brick…

Raymond Strother: The Father of Political Consulting

Using the word “colorful” to describe Louisiana’s political scene has become so cliché. With grandiose political personalities in every corner of the country from Senator Robert Byrd, to Governor Schwarzenegger and Senators Larry Craig and Ted Kennedy, Louisiana isn’t the only state with famous politicians. Louisiana, however, still maintains control of its own style of…