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  1. Morgan Sullivan | Staff Writer @sadsquadch F rom an early age, we all tend to be a little curious. For children, this sometimes includes sticking their hands in or on things they shouldn’t. Most mothers have a story of their children getting their fingers stuck in a hole or burning their hands on the stove. As humans, we have a natural curiosity. We want to know how things work, why they are the way they are and how we can make them better. With the development (and dependence) of technology, however, humans have lost this natural spark. Google is incredible. There’s no denying that. In seconds, it has answers to age-old questions like why the sky is blue or gives a somehow simple explanation of string theory. It’s the instant gratification we have come to depend on. If the answer to these questions aren’t in the first page of results, we stop looking. Anything that might be challenging to find is suddenly deemed not worth the effort. Google has made us lazy. Part of why curiosity is so fun is the fact that it isn’t always easy. People spend many years holed up in libraries and research labs chasing curious subjects. Research includes the possibility for follow-up questions, a chance to stray from the path. When you search for something online, the possibilities are all very direct, thanks to semantics. Most people don’t run to an encyclopedia when they have a question; they turn to Google. Curiosity has a lot to do with your effort, and these days effort is hard to come by. Your feeling of accomplishment is diminished by hitting the enter key. With the availability of finding nearly anything you search for, Google has managed to diminish our interests into a shallow pool. The instantaneous answers allow us to know a little about a lot of things. Instead of having a deep-rooted attentiveness to a few things, we are in an endless game of leapfrog from one topic to the next. Our questions skim the surface, receive the obligatory “best” answer deemed by the search engine, and then we move on to the next topic. We aren’t engaging, we’re consuming in an idle, haphazard pattern. We know enough about a topic to answer a pointed trivia question, and nothing more. That’s certainly fine, if our lives functioned like a game show. View Full Article
  2. Scott Sidway | News Editor @ScottyWK A fire broke out on a second floor apartment at the Woodvine Apartment Complex Wednesday around 11:45 a.m. Nobody was inside the apartment at the time of the fire, and no pets were inside either. The Denton Fire Department arrived on the scene shortly after the fire broke out, according to multiple witnesses. Fire trucks and ambulances were lined up on Avenue H by 11:50 a.m. “All we heard was fire trucks. We didn’t know where they were going,” Harold Smith, a resident in Woodvine Building 3, said. “I thought they may have been going past here, but the next thing you know, boom. The next thing you know, we heard something going off, and I was like ‘Whoa. Fire trucks everywhere.’” The resident for the ablaze apartment is Carlos Martinez, the brother-in-law of property manager Jesus Martinez. Carlos did not respond to any phone calls from family and was at work, according to his wife, Diana Martinez. Jesus lives in the apartment directly underneath Carlos’ and said the resident behind Carlos reported smelling smoke in the apartment Tuesday night. Jesus said he went to personally inspect the residence, and no sign of fire was evident. “I checked everything. I didn’t find anything wrong,” Jesus said. “We didn’t smell it again. It went away.” Jesus said the fire department asked him how many people lived in the apartments, though nobody appeared hurt. Fire fighters initially entered the apartment through the front door through a wall of smoke, but they eventually boarded the truck’s crane and entered from above to cut through the roof and find the fire. The fire was eventually extinguished. Woodvine Apartments are located only a couple of blocks from UNT campus, located at the corner of Charlotte Street and Avenue H, between Bonnie Brae Street and North Texas Boulevard. To make matters worse, today was Jesus’ last day on the job and was set to retire tomorrow. “What a day to make your last day as apartment manager,” Smith said. “Can you imagine your last day as apartment manager and this happens?” North Texas Daily will continue to update this story. View Full Article
  3. Matthew Reyna | Staff Writer @bucko_rodgers Lynn Stucky decisively defeated Read King in the run-off election for Republican representative for District 64 in the Texas State House. He will move on to challenge Democratic nominee Connor Flanagan in the general election to determine in November. “Never expect the same results in a run-off,” Stucky said, referencing a strong finish in the March primary. “Supposedly, about 75 percent of the time, the number two person in a three-way race wins the run-off.” Stucky, a Sanger veterinarian, garnered 66% of the vote to King’s 34%. Stucky won a plurality of the vote on March 1 at 42%, but he did not earn a majority of the vote that was needed to avoid a run-off with King. King had experience running for this office prior to this election cycle. He previously fell short against Crownover in the 2014 Republican primary elections. King said he did not consider his two attempts to win the District 64 seat a failure. “I have seen several reasons for me stepping forward to run this time, not to mention last time,” King said. “Dominos were set in motion when I filed to run.” King gave a passionate concession speech to supporters at El Guapo’s, vowing to act as a watchdog at the Texas State Capitol. “We need more people with flashlights at [the State Capitol],” King said. He concluded by calling for “eternal vigilance” in the fight for liberty in Texas, before being given a standing ovation from his supporters. Stucky was endorsed by local Republican establishment figures, including former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey. King had used social media to boast endorsements from local Tea Party organizations and far-right state representatives, including Matt Krause and Tony Tinderholt. But Stucky also had a couple of high profile Denton officials in his corner, including outgoing representative Myra Crownover and Denton County Commissioner Hugh Coleman. “I think Dr. Stucky as a school board member really had the background to help us,” Coleman said. “Denton has three big state institutions: TWU, UNT and the state school. And we need somebody who will actively support these organizations.” Stucky said he was grateful to have Coleman and Crownover’s endorsements. “Without their support there’s no way I could have won this,” Stucky said. “I look forward to working with these people in the future.” The November 8 election between Stucky and Flanagan, a 21-year-old UNT student, will determine who replaces the retiring Crownover, who has held the office since 2000. Flanagan surprised some pundits by winning the Democratic primary against Paul Greco on March 1. With his sights turned toward November’s general election, Stucky was complimentary of his Democratic opponent. “Have you ever spent time with Connor Flanagan? He’s a wonderful young man,” Stucky asked. “He’s got the guts most people wouldn’t have at 21 years of age to do what he’s doing.” In the end, his goal is still to win the general election, with one primary goal in mind. “Number One: Diplomacy,” Stucky said. “I’m going to find common ground with anybody and everybody.” View Full Article
  4. Scott Sidway | News & Sports Editor @ScottyWK Editor’s Note: I contacted Rick Villarreal minutes after it was announced he and UNT mutually decided to part ways. Here is the transcript of the exclusive interview between myself and Villarreal. From your point of view, what played into the decision to step down? RV: I think a lot of things. The time I’ve been here and the amount of things we’ve done, all those were great. But at the end of the day, you have to do everything, and we struggled in football, we struggled in basketball, and those are the sports we have to win. Somebody’s held accountable for that, and I think that along with the fact I had been contemplating how much longer I was going to do this. With conversations between the president and myself, we came to this decision and felt like it was best. You mentioned to me off the record awhile back you had considered retiring sometime in the next couple of years. Is this sooner than you were planning, or did this feel like the right time? RV: It just felt like the right time. I think with a new football coach coming in, with basketball in a situation where there may have to be a decision made, and then Jalie [Mitchell], I believe she’s going to be an unbelievable coach in only her second year – I think the time was right now because of all of those things. Somebody who’s going to be here for an extended time needs to step in and help Seth [Littrell] through his first season and consecutive seasons, and make those decisions that may have to be made during this year. Is this retirement for you, or are you thinking about staying in the field and fielding offers? Or are you ready to just sit down and spend time with the family? RV: Scott, I can tell you, I don’t think I can sit around in a house, and anybody that’s been around me for any length of time knows I go 100 miles per hour. I don’t know that I can just sit around and play with the grandkids every day. I am going to do a lot of that, but I’m going to take a little bit of time off here, decompress, lose a little more weight and get myself in good shape. Then, this may sound crazy, but I believe all of us are led somewhere to do certain things. So I’m going to take my time and kind of see what comes my way, because that’ll be what I’m supposed to do. How long has this thought process been going on? Did you approach President Smatresk, or did he approach you? When did this become a decision in either your head or his? RV: It was kind of a mutual decision. I had commented to him earlier about my length of time I was interested in staying, and we had another conversation about continuity in the program. So again, it was really a back-and-forth conversation, and at the end of the day, this week felt like the best decision. At the end of the day, how much of a better position do you think you left UNT in than it was when you first arrived 15 years ago? RV: I think if you’d ask anybody, they could answer the question for you. But the one thing that has happened, I’ve been through four and a half presidents here – four and a half administrations. So you don’t have somebody who kind of knows what things were like at this time or that time. But I can tell you, it’s night and day. From facilities, from fundraising, from academics, from the culture – I think one of the things, whether people agree with this or not, we changed the culture. When we got here, there was no pride. We were losing games left and right, and you didn’t hear a word. I think today, people take great pride, and I’m excited about that. Even when people aren’t happy with it, I get why they’re not happy with it because I wasn’t happy losing. Nobody is happy losing. But we’ve changed the culture to where people care. And hopefully, and I mean this, I hope that part of this situation is that those who have been away from the program will come back to the program, and that more and more and more people that are North Texas grads will come back and find out what we have here today and help grow this program the way it needs to grow. So what’s on the agenda then between now and June 20? RV: Just going to tie up some loose ends, make sure of projects that are in process, that people will need to take over the completion of those if they’re not completed by then. To make sure that we get everybody up to date on what’s going on with so many things going on in the NCAA and those kinds of things – making sure everybody knows who’s going to take what piece of the pie to make sure we stay on track until an interim is named. And again, when the new person comes in, I want to make sure they come into the very best possible situation. You said restoring pride back in North Texas athletics is one of your biggest accomplishments. If you have any, what would you say is your biggest regret or thing you wish you had accomplished in your 15 years at North Texas? RV: I wish we won more games. I look around and see our facilities; I look around and see the academic progress. This past fall, we raised $6 million or so. I regret that we didn’t win more games and thereby attract more people back to the program. I’m not sure that winning solves everything, because after four straight bowl games 2001-2005, even though we were out there, we couldn’t get 10,000-12,000 to buy season tickets when we’d been to four straight bowl games. But I wish we would have won more games. If you have one thing you could say to fans or North Texas students before you step down, what would that be? RV: That it’s been an honor to be the athletic director here and that I poured 24 hours a day into this job. And sometimes things have been really great, and sometimes they haven’t been so good. I hope that students, fans and everybody involved will stay green, regardless of wins or losses. Regardless of who’s in what place, this is still their institution. I hope they will learn to love it in a way they will support it day in and day out. View Full Article
  5. Scott Sidway | News & Sports Editor @ScottyWK UNT Athletic Director Rick Villarreal will step down from his post June 20, according to a university news release. He has held the position for just over 15 years. “UNT President Neal Smatresk and I recently have been in discussions about the future of the university’s athletic program and a transition of athletic leadership, and we have come to this mutual agreement,” Villarreal said in a statement. “With the support of dedicated staff members, I have accomplished almost everything that I imagined possible here. I am satisfied that the work we have undertaken together has placed our coaches and student athletes in a better position to succeed, both on and off the field.” Villarreal took over as athletic director in 2001 and helped UNT make big strides athletically, including a move from the Sun Belt Conference to Conference USA in 2013. He also played a pivotal role in improvements to athletics facilities, like the construction of Apogee Stadium and the Mean Green Village. “Rick has taken pride in helping to put our coaches and teams in the position to succeed, and he is one of the most effective community advocates in the history of our university,” Smatresk said in a statement. “But his biggest contribution of all is to the bright futures of our student-athletes. And for that, especially, Rick will always have a place in the heart of this university. We all appreciate and respect what he has accomplished.” Villarreal’s most gaping hole in his resume at North Texas, however, is the lack of production in the win column in the three major-money sports: football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball. In 107 games under head football coaches hired by Villarreal, the football team went 29-78 and endured four 10-loss seasons. His coaches also are connected to all-time lows in the program’s history, including three of the five worst totals for most points allowed in a single game. In men’s basketball, Villarreal found success in the hire of Johnny Jones early in his tenure, but since hiring Tony Benford as head coach, the program failed to replicate that success. Since hiring Benford, the men’s basketball program has gone 54-73 and has failed to make it out of the first round of the C-USA tournament. For women’s basketball, the program has endured eight straight losing seasons under Villarreal-hired coaches. The team did make a positive turn-around in 2015-2016. Since 2008, the program has gone 79-163 and has never finished above .500 in conference play. In two of those seasons, the team recorded five wins, and four times the team finished with 20 or more losses. Smatresk will identify an interim athletic director and make decisions about a national search for a new one at a future date, according to the release. “I’ve taken pride in serving as this university’s athletic director,” Villarreal said in a statement. “Even when the work was challenging, it was gratifying. I will miss being part of daily campus life, but will forever treasure memories of the experiences I’ve had at UNT.”
  6. Preston Mitchell | Staff Writer @presto_mitch Open nearly every day from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., located in the northeast corner of Interstate 35 and Loop 288, Golden Triangle Mall is one of Denton’s best known shopping centers. But, best known does not exactly mean it’s the best option. Many citizens agree their biggest shopping center leaves less to be desired. All it truly has to offer are kid-friendly activities, one food court and free Wi-Fi hotspots. Construction in Denton has become a staple, and restructuring the Triangle is the city’s safest bet to bring in more customers and new money. The center needs a more notable array of stores. Granted, it has Dillard’s, Barnes & Noble, Sears and Macy’s to its name, but not much else. Beyond those, we have the same requisite Spencer’s and cheap accessory stations that every mall has. This makes for a local thrifting experience without originality. To be blunt: our mall is very bland. Events for the whole community are held so sparsely there that whenever they do happen, it comes across as a relevance check. The majority of the mall’s attractions – primarily the baby grand piano and the children’s play area – aim to attract families and people with children. In a growing college town like Denton’s, there’s no wonder why one walking trail and a giant piano straight out of “Big” has some students driving elsewhere across North Texas. We know malls in the Dallas-Fort Worth area have taken a beating lately, but this should offer Denton investors an opportunity. The Vista Ridge Mall in Lewisville has faced the threat of foreclosure for quite some time, and Plano’s Collin Creek Mall foreclosed a year ago. Once the Vista Ridge is gone, the Triangle’s biggest competition from traditional retail stores will be The Shops at Highland Village. So, why not offer a better shopping to bring in all those potential customers? Individual stores price matching with e-shoppers would heavily increase mall traffic. Additionally, lessening the toddler-geared activities and putting that money toward college conducive stores would benefit everyone greatly. In the meantime, the Triangle Mall has shown slow (but sure) improvements by acquiring an H&M and Francesca’s. Both are traffic-inducing clothing chains that consistently satisfy their markets in the nation, which is a quality that the whole center should focus on. In reality, the entire mall needs to follow in Denton’s fashion (pun intended) and build more accessible stores that support children as well as the enrollees of UNT and Texas Woman’s University. The beauty of the community mall, in theory, is that its stores and attractions fulfill the needs of all ages and offers a place to socialize with friends and family. Ultimately, the tone and mood of the Triangle feel equally dated. Therefore, if it wants to keep up with the Joneses, our mall should follow suit and make better attempts to market its relevancy to all of us in Denton and beyond. If not, it won’t be long until Denton investors find something else to build there. View Full Article
  7. Julia Falcon | Staff Writer @falconjulia22 On Friday, The UNT System Board of Regents approved a renovation project for the first floor of Sage Hall that will change it into a student academic success center. The board agreed to amend the University of North Texas System Fiscal Year 2016 Capital Improvement Plan with a given budget of $1.85 million to pave the way for renovations. James Maquire, vice chancellor for administrative services, proposes to amend the University of North Texas System Fiscal Year 2016 Capital Improvement Plan to make renovations in Sage Hall at UNT for a first-floor student acedemic success center. The Board of Regents passed the motion. Tomas Gonzalez | Visuals Editor They did not pave the way, however, for a proposed increase of the recreational facility fee to about $7 per month. “The amount of waivers that have come through have been high. There is $1.8 million of revenue lost,” vice president of student affairs Elizabeth With said. “Each year we replace equipment. Now we have settling issues to take care of. The newness is very important to us.” UNT President Neal Smatresk said he would like to support the increase in use of the recreation center and is in favor of the fee raise. However, Chairman of the UNT System Board of Regents Brint Ryan said that there is not enough information to pass this motion. Elizabeth With, vice president of student affairs, proposes an increase the student recreational fee to renovate the Pohl Recreation Center at UNT. The Board of Regents met May 19th and 20th at the University of North Texas System Building. Tomas Gonzalez | Visuals Editor While the motion was withdrawn from the agenda, Smatresk’s support indicates it will likely be reexamined at a later meeting. The board also approved language in its Policy for Prohibition of Sexual Assault. House Bill 699 requires that each of the UNT campuses adopt specific sexual assault policies. Title IX coordinators at the university created these policies to enforce rules and training to avoid sexual assault on campuses, and these policies are in compliance with state and federal laws. Nancy Footer, vice chancellor and general counsel, proposes that each UNT campus adopt sexual assualt policies. These policies are to ensure safer environments on school campuses. Tomas Gonzalez | Visuals Editor A motion for UNT to become the exclusive higher education partner to the Dallas Cowboys also passed Friday. The partnership would theoretically bring internship possibilities and hospitality skills to students, though no final dollar amount or specific details have been made yet. Vice president for university relations and planning Deborah Leliaert said the university will not use student tuition fees or any legislative appropriated funds to fund any future agreement. “I think we will be expanding our brand awareness, expand opportunities with students, tap into talent and give real world skills,” Smatresk said. “Our students will benefit from having access to their staff, and if you don’t tell anyone what you’re doing, then no one knows.” UNT President Neal Smatresk proposes to negotiate and execute a multi-year agreement for UNT and the Dallas Cowboys to the Board of Regents May 19. The agreement is expected to be signed before or in August, Deborah Leiliart, vice president of university relations and planning, said. Tomas Gonzalez | Visuals Editor Smatresk also said he thinks the university will benefit from the marketing by maximizing the value and exposure at Cowboys games, as well as on television, radio and websites. “We hope we build a thoughtful contract,” Smatresk said. “If it’s successful we will continue, and if not we will have it out. It’s been in talks for a couple of months. We would like to be there before the next recruiting season.” Featured Image: Brint Ryan, chairman of the UNT System Board of Regents, argues, ” It scares me to learn that in this environment, the utility cost went up 25-percent in three years,” The Board of Regents withdrew the motion from the agenda. Tomas Gonzalez | Visuals Editor View Full Article
  8. Kyle Martin | Staff Writer @Kyle_Martin35 Preston Mitchell | Staff Writer @presto_mitch Key to understanding this record is the inspiration behind it: Kinsley Bennett, daughter of Chance the Rapper. In his recent Reddit AMA, Chance answered major questions about his influences and this record with “You’re right. Everything is pretty much for her now.” This means that his latest mixtape is more or less a dedication to Kinsley. With that in mind, the record makes more sense as a complete package upon repeat listens. This record is a revamp of Chance’s style and outlook on the music industry, different from his two previous projects. Moreover, his place in Chicago culture and hipster-hop seem to be finally cemented. With features ranging from Young Thug, Jay Electronica, Jeremih and even Justin Bieber – this mixtape is diverse to say the least. Where it hits The intro, “All We Got,” kicks off with a fabulous first verse from Chance, who reflects on the birth of his daughter and his growing love of music. Unfortunately, Kanye West’s hook bastardizes the smoothness of the track and is oddly and abrasively double-tracked. It’s an uneven opening, but nonetheless holds value. Luckily, Lil Chano earns back his goodwill with the requisite banger “No Problem.” Well known for his nonconformist method of providing free music, Chance transforms his indie ideologies into a braggadocious (but clever) party song. Continuing the project’s momentum is “Summer Friends,” which details Chance’s thoughts on the Chicago’s rampant violence. Last year, the artist was awarded Chicagoan of the Year from Chicago Magazine, according to musictimes.com. He uses his music to spread crucial messages as an advocate for his city and other causes. “Acid Rain/Paranoia” from his sophomore tape was an intimate piece about inner-city violence and a cry for help for Chicago, and “Summer Friends” is a polished track that’s glossy, bright and seems to carry on with the rapper’s history of advocacy. The next track is an interlude where the singer D.R.A.M. croons a lullaby to Chance’s daughter, a charming interlude fitting for the record. This is where the harmonization begins to hit its stride, wonderfully segueing into “Blessings,” a gospel celebration of Chance’s child. Next is “Same Drugs,” a tender ballad and a favorite on the mixtape. It slows the project down after “Blessings” to tell an intimate story of Chance’s waning relationship with a woman he knew from childhood. It’s a brilliantly ubiquitous song that speaks to anyone with nostalgia. Where it misses The project begins its misses after this, starting with the Young Thug and Lil Yachty-featured “Mixtape.” Even though Chance has the potential to bring the best out of anyone, he joins in on his friends’ vocal shenanigans to create an uninspired trap song that sounds like most of today’s radio fodder. Simply put, this is more Thug and Yachty’s track than Chance’s. While “Angels” briefly brings the artistry back, “Juke Jam” continues Chance’s musical flip-flop. He appears to copy the style of his featured artists to disappointing results. And since that artist is Justin Bieber here, it’s an attempted slow jam with all sizzle and no steak. Another dent is “All Night,” the project’s weakest song. Here, Chance goes too far out of his safety zone to tribute ‘80s house music, and his chorus is so repetitive that it causes chronic ear bleeding. This track might be heard at that next frat party, but will not make it much further than that – definitely not impressed with this one. “How Great” hits home for those who appreciate gospel work, as this song has been played throughout churches in America by their worship bands for decades. Chance’s powerful lyricism and Jay Electronica’s feature work seamlessly together. The mixed bag of tracks stems from Chance speaking to different audiences throughout the entire LP. “No Problem,” “Mixtape” and “Angels” are meant for turn-ups, but ballads like “How Great” and “Finish Line/Drown” are geared toward more conservative crowds. While you might soon hear “Mixtape” on a night out, there’s no doubt that his rendition of “How Great” and “Blessings” will soon find their ways into churches and praise bands throughout America. Final words In particular, the last two tracks shine all on their own. “Finish Line/Drown” is a 7-minute gospel epic that reunites Chance with Kirk Franklin to encourage listeners to never give up. Chance’s verses, Franklin’s ad-libs and an amazing T-Pain feature wrap up the project well before it concludes with a “Blessings” reprise. Both songs nicely end the endeavor, and Chance’s motives behind making this mixtape have clarity by this point. Ultimately, “Coloring Book” contains too many misfires to be labeled as a classic. Within this record lies insight into Chance’s life, his ability to use features and major developments in his songwriting. If Chance the Rapper can hone talent and not rely on trendiness, he may grant us a rap classic someday. As for now, “Coloring Book” is merely enjoyable. Featured Image: Courtesy | Chance the Rapper View Full Article
  9. @adaltoledo29 Two cold and wet spring nights will forever stay with three Denton Police officers decorated with the Denton Police Department’s medal of valor Thursday night. More than 200 people packed a ballroom in the University Union Thursday for the 18th annual Denton Police Department awards and appreciation banquet in recognition of National Police Week, presented by the Hundred Club of Denton. At the end of the night, officers Hunter Gay, Tony Fletcher and Jared Stevenson had medals pinned to uniforms as they recalled their life-changing evenings. “We did what we had to do,” Gay said. “It feels good, but it feels good that we could have been there.” A life-saving plunge On May 14, 2016, Gay and Fletcher received a notice that two people had fallen into a drainage ditch and were being carried by the rushing waters as heavy rain poured down on them. Both officers immediately began the search, and after hearing a woman’s cry, they jumped into the chest-deep waters and rescued her. The other victim was deceased and found further downstream. Fletcher acknowledged he and Gay were lucky to have been in the right place at the right time, saying the floodwaters could have easily carried her further away. “We were already soaking wet from the rain, so we didn’t notice how cold it was,” Fletcher said. “When we found her she was under the bridge, and she was moving pretty fast.” Gay said if it wasn’t for her location, they may not have found her. “We got really lucky circumstance-wise, where she was and when she was,” Gay said. “We were lucky we got to her.” Hunter Gay (Right) and Tony Fletcher (Left) receive medals of valor May 19th in the Union at UNT during the 18th annual Denton Police Department Awards and Appreciation Banquet hosted by the Hundred Club of Denton. Fletcher and Gay were recognized for their response to two drowning victims who fell in a drainage ditch in March of this year. They were able to save the female victim, however the male victim died. Tomas Gonzalez | Visuals Editor A not-so-happy ending For Officer Stevenson, the story behind his medal was much more tragic. On his way home from dropping his kids off at his in-laws’ house, Stevenson saw an accident on Lewisville bridge, which involved a man’s car that had fallen into the lake along with a man who tried to rescue him. Off-duty, Stevenson jumped into the freezing waters, swam toward the man, grabbed him and swam toward the shore where others awaited. Unfortunately, he was too late. The man had died from the impact of the crash. “I feel honored, but at the same time humbled because somebody lost their life,” Stevenson said. “The end goal wasn’t this.” Stevenson said it’s difficult to remember certain parts of the night, but he does remember being cold and wet while seeing the man through the murky water. The next memory he said he has is pulling the man up to the shore and realizing there were four other good samaritans around him. “There’s good people out there,” Stevenson said. “We [the police] are supposed to do that, but these were just average citizens. It was a big learning lesson for me.” Erin Stevenson, Stevenson’s wife, said she was worried when her husband had not gotten home, but it was when she got a call from an unknown number and heard his voice when she really knew something was wrong. She said not being able to save the man’s life has haunted her husband. “I’m worried since then about his mental state. I guess you could say it was traumatic,” Erin said. “I know that he’s beating himself up because he thinks he could’ve done something different. I’m humbled by his bravery.” Jared said he couldn’t sleep that night and routinely thought of things he could’ve done differently. “Should I have jumped off the bridge? Should I have not let him go for a second because I was tired from swimming?” he said. “It comforts me that I didn’t fail, but at the same time, I would rather have met him the weekend after and met his family rather than go to his funeral.” Jared Stevenson received a medal of valor May 19th in the Union at UNT during the 18th Annual Denton Police Department Awards and Appreciation Banquet. Stevenson was recognized for his off-duty response to a drowning victim who’s vehicle had fallen off a bridge into Lewisville Lake. He was able to pull the victim onto shore, however the victim had died from the impact of the crash. Tomas Gonzalez | Visuals Editor Denton PD receives contribution from Hundred Club The remainder of the banquet consisted of giveaways, other awards, a silent auction and speeches from Hundred Club of Denton board members. Since being founded in 1954 in Detroit to help a police officer recover from his wounds, the Hundred Club has raised over $80 million to help educate new officers, provide financial help for families of deceased officers and provide life-protecting equipment. The club gave the Denton Police Department a check for $20,000 to buy lightweight bulletproof vests that are not as cumbersome and hot for the officers. “If someone is injured in the line of duty, or if they just plain need help with something, we’re here for them,” Hundred Club of Denton chapter vice president Frank Dudowicz said. “We ask what they need, and we provide it for them.” Chapter president Janey Howell emphasized the immediacy of the financial help, which she said is made possible by the support of local business, citizens and officers who support the Denton chapter. On Thursday night alone, they estimated $60,000 in funds raised for the department. “We’ve never had this many people before,” Howell said during her speech. “This is a perfect way for officers to acknowledge each other’s achievements and for the community to show support and encouragement to them.” As attendees exited the ballroom, many stopped by to shake the hands of the three newly decorated officers. Members of the public, city council members, Denton mayor Chris Watts and congressman Michael Burgess of the Texas 26th congressional district all attended the banquet and extended their congratulations to the officers. “It means a lot that you do what you do,” Burgess said to the trio. “I try to do what I can for you when I can. We truly appreciate all your hard work.” Other award recipients from the evening: Patrol Officer of the Year — Chris Plank Medal of valor — Hunter Gay, Tony Fletcher, and Jared Stevenson Special Assignment officer of the Year — Derek Bradford Supervisor of the Year — Lt. Frank Padgett Rookie of the Year — Marqui Kilson Communications officer of the year — Saul Dominguez Civilian of the Year — Tiffany Wei Volunteer of the Year — Diane Dunn View Full Article
  10. Alumni news from Alex Hahn

    Alex Hahn, who completed his bachelor's in Jazz Studies at UNT in 2014, recently graduated with a Master's Degree in Jazz Studies from USC. In the fall, he will be attending the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and will be working alongside Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. He won two Downbeat Magazine Student Awards and received First Place in the North American Saxophone Alliance Jazz Saxophone Competition. He's endorsed by D'Addario Woodwinds and plans to record his next album this summer. View Full Article
  11. Clay Massey | Staff Writer @Clay_FC Just a day after stopping its losing skid that would have been the worst in school history, the Mean Green softball team struck for a win again against the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the final game of the season, this time off the bat of junior outfielder Danielle Gregory. It is just the second Conference-USA series North Texas has won this season. With two runners in scoring position and one out on the board, Gregory floated a single over the left fielder’s head, scoring junior shortstop Kelli Schkade to give the Mean Green (22-33, 5-19) a 3-2 win. “It means a lot after having such a rough season,” Gregory said. “It’s a great feeling to win on a walk-off and show them what we’re made of.” North Texas was held in striking distance after strong bullpen performances from juniors Stacey Underwood and Jessica Elder. The duo combined for 4.0 shutout innings, only allowing two hits, both off the hands of Underwood. The two relieved freshman pitcher Lauren Craine, who gave up just two runs across 3.0 innings. “The victory’s big,” said head coach Tracey Kee. “I thought they did a great job and [Craine] gave us a couple of good innings. [Underwood] again came out and dialed it up. [Elder] is a competitor and came in and got it done.” But it was not all sunshine and rainbows on a cloudy day at Lovelace Stadium for the Mean Green. North Texas left the bases loaded in the first inning after a leadoff double from Schkade that tied the school single-season double record at 16. UAB (25-30, 14-10) struck in the third with two RBI doubles for a 2-0 lead. The Mean Green cut the lead in half in the fifth when second baseman Karly Williams singled home Schkade to cut the deficit in half. The senior was big in her final game, going 2-for-4 with an RBI. The other senior for North Texas was just as big. In her last at-bat in a Mean Green uniform, catcher Bryana Wade tied the game at two with a solo shot in the sixth to dead center. Wade was emotional when she hit home plate surrounded by her teammates, wiping away tears from her eyes. “As soon as I felt it I looked up and saw how high it got,” Wade said. “I just thought, ‘keep going, keep going,’ and then I saw it went over. I just started crying and rounding the bases.” It was a first for Kee when she greeted Wade as she rounded third. “I think that’s the first time in my career I’ve had somebody come around crying on a home run,” Kee said. “But my big question was if she came up again if I would pinch hit for her so she could go out on that positive note.” Kee hopes her young squad can learn from this season as she will be returning a majority of the team. Despite this, when asked about the certainty of her future with the team, Kee said she’s not thinking too far into the future. “I’m just going to enjoy today,” Kee said. View Full Article
  12. Editor’s Note: The North Texas Daily sports staff steps back and takes a look at the entire academic year for North Texas athletics, spanning from August 2015 to May 2016. Between the soccer team making the NCAA tournament and the football team making a mid-season coaching change the night of Homecoming, the year definitely had its highs and lows. But through the good times and the bad, we as a staff have been thrilled to be a part of the ride and provide news reports, analysis, opinion and fun every step of the way. Without further adieu, the North Texas Daily sports staff puts a cap on a captivating year of Mean Green athletics. Our staff: Scott Sidway (SS), Reece Waddell (RW), Alex Lessard (AL), Clay Massey (CM), Brady Keane (BK) 1. Give a letter grade to UNT athletics this year, and explain how it was earned. SS: D+. It’s somewhat of a contradictory grade, when you think about it. Congratulations, you didn’t quite fail, but you just barely skated by really well! Still, D+ sums up the year perfectly. Attendance was poorer than poor, the wins were few and far between for the many of the more recognizable sports and coaches were either getting fired midseason, fired by the fans and media, or blasted by their own players. If it wasn’t for the brilliance of John Hedlund, the dominance of Carnae Dillard or the homecoming for Jalie Mitchell, the sad-Jordan meme would be an acceptable substitute for Scrappy’s head. RW: D. It’s hard to earn a passing grade when your three major revenue sports all post losing seasons, and it’s really hard to earn a passing grade when your head football coach is fired after a 66-7 route by an FCS school on Homecoming. Men’s basketball was below average and softball has completely fallen apart over the past month. However, women’s basketball improved under first-year head coach Jalie Mitchell and soccer won Conference-USA. So I mean, those are two bright spots. AL: C. Football’s self-combustion weighs the grade down a ton, but men’s basketball and softball were surprisingly dreadful as well. Yet, there were still plenty of positives to take away from 2015-16. Soccer racked up the most wins in the nation, tennis came one match away from a shot at the C-USA championship and Carnae Dillard had arguably the best individual year in Mean Green volleyball history. But at the end of the day, earning just one C-USA title in 12 sports is a major disappointment. CM: D. Tennis and women’s basketball made the conference tournaments, and men’s golf and soccer made the national tournament. Those successes created a curve for the F-worthy performances of football, men’s basketball and softball. BK: C+. I’m basing my grade on the three major revenue sports (football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball), but the success of other sports helped to bring the grade up a little bit. The men’s and women’s basketball teams were both wildly inconsistent, but I think both of them have a lot to look forward to for next season. Football was awful, but they made a solid hire in Seth Littrell. So there is actually some excitement back in the air, which is good for the program. 2. What’s your fondest memory this year in athletics? SS: The way Dan McCarney handled his abrupt firing was the classiest moment I’ve ever been a part of in my short sports career. How many people in this world would, after abruptly receiving the pink slip 10 minutes after your most humiliating moment on the job, willingly walk out to a pool of reporters and colleagues and talk about it in the heat of the moment? The firing needed to happen, don’t get me wrong, though I still stand it was poor timing on Rick Villarreal’s part. But it was extracurricular for McCarney to go out of his way and tell us he wanted to give us one final press conference, shake our hands, and thank us – even after some of us questioned the direction of his program. Class personified. North Texas interm coach Mike Canales celebrates with the team after a 30­-23 victory over UTSA. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer RW: It’s hard to choose because there were so, so few. Mike Canales getting carried off the field in the football team’s lone win of the season was laughable, but my favorite moment of the year was Darvin Kidsy hauling in a Hail Mary pass as time expired during the first half of a game against Western Kentucky. Why? Because I predicted it seconds before it happened. Honorable mention: Carlos Harris getting ejected for targeting and posting a photo on Snapchat before he even made it into the locker room. What a guy. AL: Soccer’s first round NCAA Tournament game versus Texas Tech. Jackie Kerestine got injured in warmups and wasn’t able to play, forcing freshman Brooke Bradley into her first career start with the team hoping to win its first tournament game in school history. It was almost like watching someone grill the most perfect steak anyone’s ever seen and then dropping it on the ground. Life really is unfair. CM: Softball head coach Tracey Kee was tossed from a game against Louisiana Tech for arguing balls and strikes. To be fair, she did it very calmly, but the ump still gave her the boot. But she was still always watching – Kee went out past the left field fence and pulled up a folding chair to watch the rest of the game. Always. Watching. Honorable mention: Sunday’s softball season finale against UAB. Lauren Craine had a 2-2 count with the bases loaded and two outs, and she squared around to bunt. The pitch ended up being a ball, but I was screaming on the inside and shaking my head on the outside. BK: Without a doubt, it was the football team’s lone win over UTSA. Seeing the passion and excitement on Mike Canales’ face and the “roaring” student section was a good moment for the football team. The only good moment, actually. 3. Which senior UNT athlete will be missed the most? SS: Jackie Kerestine is going to be missed for more than just her dominance in net. The amount of leadership goalkeepers have to exhibit is often unnoticed by casual soccer fans, and even though Hedlund is entering the fall with a couple of talented keepers, I wonder if either of them will be able to organize her defense as seamlessly as Kerestine did. They played a huge role in padding her sometimes mind-boggling stats, but she played just as much a role in helping her defenders as they did keeping balls out of her net. Can’t wait to see your North Texas Hall of Fame induction someday, Jackie. RW: Either Jackie Kerestine or Carnae Dillard. Dillard holds the UNT all-time kills record for volleyball and Kerestine was a brick wall in net for soccer. Both were vital to the success of both teams, and it’ll be tough to match their production when they’re gone. Redshirt senior soccer goalkeeper Jackie Kerestine and senior volleyball outside hitter Carnae Dillard are two of the top athletes in their respective sports. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer AL: Carnae Dillard. She essentially did everything and more for Mean Green volleyball, racking up over 700 points and almost 400 digs. She set all sorts of career school records and provided the leadership and experience needed as the team’s lone senior. There’s no way North Texas can replace her with just one person, so it’ll take a complete team effort to match or exceed last season’s 20-13 record. CM: Definitely Carnae Dillard. Dillard led the team in kills her senior season with 687, and the next most was junior Alexis Wright with 199. I’m not sure where those 488 kills are going to come from next season. BK: Carnae Dillard. Nobody was more important to their team, and she holds so many records with the volleyball program that I think the team is going to be a little shell-shocked when they can’t lean on her to carry them anymore. The volleyball team has a young roster, but Dillard will be the most missed senior by far. 4. Which team is going to have the most success in 2016-2017, and why? SS: I would not be shocked to see the women’s basketball team make a deep run in the Conference USA tournament next season. The work Jalie Mitchell did with one of the most shallow teams in the history of basketball was almost Rick Carlisle-esque in terms of turning what looked like nothing into something. Other than John Hedlund, there isn’t a coach better than her at North Texas. It should be fun to watch a Jalie-led team compete after a full recruiting cycle and with another year of experience under Kelsey Criner and Candice Adams’ belts. RW: I’m inclined to say men’s basketball because of the supposed “talent” they have returning and coming in. Plus, it’s a contract year for head coach Tony Benford, and he knows another sub .500 record and first-round exit from the C-USA tournament will get him a one-way ticket out of Denton. Sure, people are going to want to talk about football and new head coach Seth Littrell, but even the offensive guru himself does not have a magic wand that will cure all that ails the football program. It will be a slow, arduous process to even get Mean Green football back in the bowl conversation. AL: Men’s and women’s basketball are under pressure to take a leap next year, but tennis should be expected to make the biggest stride. Head coach Sujay Lama struck gold with the freshman duo of Maria Kononova and Tamuna Kutubidze, with each earning C-USA First and Second Team honors as a doubles pair. The squad is saying goodbye to three seniors, but added growth from its best doubles team and a strong incoming freshman class should give the Mean Green a great shot at a C-USA title. Junior guard Kelsey Criner (3) drives the baseline against Louisiana Tech. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer CM: Softball is primed for a run next season, assuming the pitching staff gets a little deeper. It seems like this season’s struggles were partially due to a young team who wasn’t ready for the grind of a long season. After only losing two players and bringing back eight talented freshmen who were major contributors toward the team’s hot start, watch out for North Texas softball next season. BK: I’d like to be optimistic and say the men’s basketball team is going to have a breakout season. They have talent, especially with Jeremy Combs continuing to improve, and they added a lot of transfers that could make an immediate impact. Tony Benford is going to have to get the guard heavy roster to mesh together, and I think it’s obvious that if this team under preforms, he won’t be returning again. Final editor’s note: This sports section has made incredible strides in the last year, and in my personal opinion, has become a go-to source for North Texas sports news. The reporters working their way up this publication don’t treat this like a college newspaper – we treat it like it’s our full-time job. I hope and trust the sports staff in future years will build on the reputation we’ve established in the last year, and I hope you, the reader, continues to visit North Texas Daily for Mean Green Athletics news. We will continue to be the absolute first source to publish game stories after North Texas games, and we will also continue to keep improving on breaking news and providing quality content. Thank you, readers and writers, for helping us grow this enterprise and joining me on this wild ride that has been North Texas athletics in 2015-2016. Also, I still have the transcript. – SS Featured Image: Senior Jackie Kerestine clears the ball with her fists following a free kick in the final minutes of the game on Sunday. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer View Full Article
  13. Jynn Schubert and Julia Falcon | Staff Writers Incumbent Greg Johnson lost his spot on the Denton City Council while incumbent Joey Hawkins survived a recall election to keep his seat. Sara Bagheri, Johnson’s challenger, ran a tight race. She won the place 6 spot with a 117-vote cushion. “For me personally, it’s a victory,” Johnson said. “I get my family back and I get my business back.” Hawkins’ recall vote went overwhelmingly in his’ favor, with about 71 percent of residents supporting him. “The past seven months have been an ass kicking,” Hawkins said in his tearful victory speech Saturday night. “I’m so glad it’s over.” Incumbent Denton city council member Greg Johnson talks with supporters at a results watching party at the Best Western Premier on Brinker Road in Denton. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer Sara Bagheri could not be reached for comment. Incumbent Dalton Gregory will keep his place 5 seat. Gregory could not be reached for comment. Deborah Armintor was the closest behind Gregory in final results, with about 32 percent. “I’m not giving up yet, there is still 50 percent of the town not satisfied with the status quo,” Armintor said. “I will still be involved with city council and attend meetings, and I would run again. For a five person race, we held great forums together and I would like to thank all of them.” View Full Article
  14. Alex Lessard | Associate Sports Editor @alexjlessard With a 13-game losing streak weighing on its shoulders, the Mean Green softball team headed into its Saturday doubleheader with the University of Alabama at Birmingham looking to avoid a not-so great milestone. North Texas (21-33, 4-19) couldn’t break out of its slump in game one, but avoided what would have been the longest losing streak in school history with a victory over the Blazers (25-29, 14-9) in game two. “Credit to our kids,” head coach Tracey Kee said. “That could have gone either way. They could have rolled over. This group’s been gritty and fighting all season.” UAB 9, North Texas 1 Junior southpaw Jessica Elder got off to a good start in her first inning of work, but was the culprit of a lengthy two-out rally. After getting two groundouts right back to her for easy outs, Elder allowed three walks and four singles, giving UAB a 4-0 lead before the Mean Green came up to bat. Elder settled down to post four consecutive scoreless innings, but the offense simply couldn’t get things going. A walk and a double in the bottom of the first put two runners on base, but freshman Harley Perella struck out to end the threat. North Texas didn’t put multiple runners on base in an inning again until the sixth. The Blazers caught fire again in the sixth, pounding Elder for two runs on three hits. The inning could have been extended further, but a wild sequence with two runners stuck between bases gave the Mean Green the third out it needed to prevent any further damage. At that point, all of UAB’s runs had come with two outs. Kee elected to let Elder finish the game, but the runs weren’t done flowing in for the opposition. A three-run home run gave the Blazers a 9-0 lead, marking the sixth time North Texas has given up at least nine runs in a game this season. “For us, [Elder] knew unless our offense was going to put some runs on the board, she was going to have to eat those seven innings to save our pitching,” Kee said. The Mean Green headed into the seventh looking to avoid a one-hit shutout and delivered thanks to one of its bench contributors. In her first at-bat of the game, sophomore Lauren Miller ripped a solo home run over the left field wall to put her team on the board. However, that would be the only run for North Texas, marking the ninth time the team has scored one or fewer over the course of the losing streak. “We just talked about playing for pride,” Kee said. “If you’re going to put that uniform on, you’re expected to bring it.” UAB 0, North Texas 5 Nearly everything that went wrong in game one went right in game two, as the bats and pitching both turned things around. After a Perella homer put the first run on the board in the second inning, the Mean Green erupted for a three-run inning, ignited by a successful double-steal to go up 2-0. From there, freshman Rhylie Makawe was hit by a pitch to load the bases and North Texas took advantage, getting an RBI walk and scoring again on an infield single due to an error from the UAB shortstop. “We were struggling to hit with runners in scoring position, so I think those couple runs on that walk and double steal kind of got us going,” senior Karly Williams said. Meanwhile, junior righty Stacey Underwood was dominant on the hill. The HIco native went the full 7.0 innings, only allowing two hits and two walks on the way to her first shutout of the season and second of her career. “I knew UAB was a good hitting team, so I knew I was going to have to come out and pitch good anyways,” Underwood said. “Once our offense started kicking in, I felt a lot less pressure to put up zeros every time.” An RBI single off the bat of junior Kelli Schkade gave Underwood a five-run cushion headed into the seventh and final inning. At that point, Kee said the team remained calm and refused to panic. Yet, the excitement showed once the game’s final batter popped up to Schkade at shortstop. Underwood took a few hops towards the dugout and threw her arms into the air out of pure excitement when the ball hit her glove, finally earning the win she said her team desperately needed. “It’s hard to come back every single day after such a long losing streak and long season,” Underwood said. “I think it shows a lot of grit and who we are as people as players.” Seniors Bryana Wade and Williams will play their last games in North Texas uniforms to close out the season on Sunday. First pitch is at 1 p.m. View Full Article
  15. Austin Jackson | Staff Writer @a_jack17 The postseason dreams of North Texas men’s golf are still alive. The NCAA announced Thursday that the No. 62 Mean Green are the No. 11 seed in the NCAA-Tucson Regional. The Mean Green got the nod as one of 41 non-automatic qualifying teams to play in the tournament. NCAA Regional play takes place May 16-18 in six different locations. In Tucson, the Mean Green enter a West Region loaded with elite programs and Conference-USA foes. The field boasts five top-25 ranked programs and the nation’s No. 1 ranked team, Stanford University. The Mean Green will essentially be revisiting last week’s C-USA semifinal field, as the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Louisiana Tech University each were placed in the region. La. Tech, despite entering the regionals as C-USA champs, was seeded at No. 12behind the two teams they outdueled in match play, No. 7 UAB and No. 11 North Texas. The Mean Green will need to separate themselves as one of the top five teams in the region to advance as one of 30 teams vying for a national title at the NCAA Championships May 27-June 1 in Eugene, Oregon. North Texas has finished in the top five nine times this year and hasn’t finished worse than fourth since the second tournament of the spring. The Mean Green will take three 2016 All-Conference players to the regional, including recently crowned 2016 C-USA Freshman of the Year Ian Snyman. Snyman joins professional golfer Rodolfo Cazaubon as one of the only North Texas golfers to receive the honor. Snyman’s season stroke average was only outdone by another North Texas freshman, Thomas Rosenmueller, who was named Second Team All-Conference alongside junior Cory Churchman. It marks the fifth NCAA regional appearance under head coach Brad Stracke and the 35th all-time in program history. This year, Stracke will look to advance the program to the NCAA Championships for the first time in his career. NCAA Tournament coverage can be found on golfstat.com with TV coverage for the Championships May 30-June 1. Update: The story has been updated to show the Golf Channel will be airing coverage May 30-June 1 rather than May 16-18. View Full Article