Our political panel in Austin included Ted Jarrett, Josh Phoebus, and Major General Tom Carter.
Time and again the current presidential campaign has defied tradition, shedding any familiarity to previous election cycles. After a brutal primary season for candidates, the two presidential nominees and their running mates are ramping up the rhetoric.
The next 100 days are sure to mired in mudslinging, with more tweets, nicknames, and distractions from the real issues facing the nation.
Not all political discourse is petty. This weekend, I had the great opportunity to moderate a round table discussion in Austin, Texas. Three panelists with extensive backgrounds in politics and government provided a fascinating look at what is steering the national conversation into uncharted territory, including what one panelist called our “Kim Kardashian culture” that invents drama for entertainment.
Crowds of people gather every Summer evening around dusk to watch as many as 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from the world’s largest urban bat colony, the Congress Street Bridge over Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin, Texas. Click the video below to watch.
Each year, I dust off this necktie as a tribute to my grandfather, who I give credit for encouraging me to pursue a career in journalism.
I’ve really grown to love this tradition. Every year, I pull this necktie out of the closet and wear it on or around my grandfather’s birthday. He retired it from his collection and “passed it down” to me when I was in high school, a few years before he died.
Sunday would have been “Paw Paw’s” 91st birthday. He deserves a great deal of credit for sparking my interest in journalism. We would watch the news together when I was a kid and he would save newspapers so I could read them at his house each weekend.
“Paw Paw” even encouraged me to try out for KPLC 7 News Teen Reporter program almost 20 years ago and gave me feedback when I wrote for the Lake Charles American Press teen page.
He was an extremely intelligent man, a loving grandfather who never knew a stranger, and could cook like nobody’s business.
The romanticism of flying isn’t lost on commercial flights unless you willingly let it become routine. I fly several times a year and still find each opportunity to take to the skies an exciting adventure. Sure, I find myself reading, listening to music, working, and sleeping at times, but I’m intentional about dedicating a few critical moments on each leg of my trip to simply enjoying the view.
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins trains for spacewalks at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. (Source: NASA)
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 biologist. Before her selection to the space agency’s astronaut corps in 2009, the 37-year-old helped developed the first ran a biomedical research lab that studied viral diseases like Ebola, Marburg, and Lassa Fever. Rubins even traveled Central and West Africa to conduct research and supervise study sites, her biography stated. Once aboard the orbiting outpost, she is planning to conduct several biological and human research investigations.
Rubins will spend four months in low Earth orbit along with crewmates Anatoly Ivanishin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. The trio will join NASA astronaut Jeff Williams, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka, who are already on orbit. Continue reading →
I was very honored to have the opportunity to speak to the graduating seniors of my alma mater, Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. On Thursday, May 5, NSU threw a ‘Fork Em Farewell Crawfish Boil’ for seniors and their families. As a board member for the NSU Alumni Association, I was asked to share some advice for these soon-to-be graduates as they set out into the world.
Judging the Official Texas Gumbo Cook-Off was no easy task.
Texas is proud of its culinary heritage — a figurative and literal melting pot of cultures and signature dishes known the world over. Drawing discerning foodies from around the world, the Lone Star State is no longer catering only to those with a taste for barbecue.
Kitchens are serving up creations by world-renowned chefs and recipes handed down for generations are known in every corner of the state.
It appears our palate is expanding again, with help from Texas transplants from Cajun country. On Saturday, March 5, I got to help judge a ranking of the best gumbo served up in 2016. Continue reading →
Narrating “Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant” with the East Texas Symphony was an opportunity to share my love of the performing arts with young audiences.
Have you ever heard of a “Zipperpotamus,” a “Panthermometer,” or a “Pop-Up Toadster?” These imaginative animals come to life illustrated in the children’s book, “Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant” were brought to life in the East Texas Symphony’s Family Concert on Saturday, February 27.
I had the great privilege of serving as narrator for the poetry, written by Jack Prelutsky, which inspired the musical arrangement composed by Lucas Richman.
The concert in Tyler’s Liberty Hall featured many of the Symphony’s resident performers: concertmaster Mark Miller on violin, Zachary Mansell on cello, Rebecca Wenck on clarinet, Andrew Merideth on horn and Maria Guénette on piano. Continue reading →
Hudson Collins, the first chief engineer of KLTV, has died at age 94.
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 the distinction of being a true pioneer in local television.
After speaking with his family, former colleagues, and even the workers at a Whataburger restaurant, I quickly developed great admiration for “Hud,” as he was known. Continue reading →
Yahoo ranked the Natchitoches, Louisiana Christmas festival the number three light show in the country, behind Rockefeller Center and Disney World. Click the video below to watch highlights of the fireworks display.
Randy Webb exemplified the final word of the Northwestern State University Alma mater, “loyalty.”
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 whatever he could to tell the world about his beloved “Old Normal.” I wouldn’t expect anything less from someone who has more than 50 NSU graduates in his family tree. Many are convinced that he truly bleeds purple and white. What many didn’t know — Dr. Webb also spent much of his brief retirement fighting an illness.
Just two weeks before his passing, he got in touch with me to ask how I was doing, seeming more concerned with my career and travels than his own health. That’s just the way he was — a very humble man with a caring heart. He and “Mrs. Brenda,” as many know his wife, have earned a special fondness in my own heart over the last decade. Continue reading →