Hidden among the pines, The Blue Hole is preserved as a Texas treasure

Nestled in the Angelina National Forest in Deep East Texas, 36 miles southeast of Lufkin, is one of the hidden jewels of Texas. The Blue Hole, as it’s known, is a brilliant blue-green-colored lake surrounded by the craggy white sandstone cliffs of a former rock quarry. First opened in the late 1800s, rock was removed…

An unfamiliar place: Making sense of the current political landscape

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…

Behind the Scenes: My annual tie tribute

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…

How to capture spectacular shots on your next flight

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…

‘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…

Will people know the color of your heart?

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…

New spacecraft named after astronaut killed in E. Texas space shuttle tragedy

The next cargo spacecraft to launch to the International Space Station will bear the name of an American astronaut killed in the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy over East Texas. An Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo resupply spacecraft bearing the name S.S. Rick Husband will launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida on March 22. Husband served as commander of…

Where to find the best gumbo in Texas

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…

East Texas Symphony presents ‘Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant’

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,…

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…

WATCH: A vacation with a greater purpose

When was the last time you received a postcard? I received one in the mail this week that has a great story that comes all the way from Taiwan. Click here to watch.

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…