Skipper

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  1. Weekend rain won’t tarnish festivities View Full Article
  2. Seeking sanctuary View Full Article
  3. District dedicates school to lifelong advocate View Full Article
  4. Friday, December 2 Calendar View Full Article
  5. Blotter: Police arrest woman on drug charge View Full Article
  6. About 200 students walked out of class Thursday afternoon, calling for UNT to become a sanctuary campus after a petition gained over 1,000 signatures. “People are scared,” Misaki Collins, a political science sophomore, said. “That’s really why we’re all out here.” Students were calling for UNT to allow undocumented immigrants to stay and finish their education without fear of deportation. President-elect Donald Trump expressed throughout his campaign and in recent weeks his plan to deport more than 3 million illegal immigrants with criminal records. He has also staunchly opposed sanctuary cities and campuses and vowed to cut federal funding to them. Student-protesters also focused on Trump’s plan to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act, also known as DACA. President Smatresk addressed the walkout and said the question of making UNT a sanctuary campus is “not on the table.” “It’s safe to say that I don’t support designating [UNT] as a sanctuary campus,” Smatresk said. “We follow the law at UNT. The question is ‘are we doing all we need for our students.'” Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted Sunday vowing to ban sanctuary cities. He also tweeted Thursday vowing to cut funding for any state campus that establishes sanctuary status. Texas will not tolerate sanctuary campuses or cities. I will cut funding for any state campus if it establishes sanctuary status. #tcot https://t.co/2wN4eo1YLG — Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) December 1, 2016 Yes. I’m going to sign a law that bans sanctuary cities. Also I’ve already issued an order cutting funding to sanctuary cities. #txlege https://t.co/uYXa2QFrvE — Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) November 28, 2016 Political science junior Destiny Lambert attended the walkout because she wants to help make the campus safe for everyone. “I don’t want anyone to be scared to be here,” Lambert said. “It’s not a safe place everywhere, and this is the place you’re going to school and paying tuition for. The people who wrote the petition really want to help everyone.” More than a decade ago, though, sympathy for undocumented immigrants was not as loud as its opposition on the UNT campus. In the Jan. 27, 2005 edition of the Daily, UNT’s Young Conservatives of Texas chapter organized the “Capture the Illegal Immigrant Game.” Three Young Conservatives walked around campus in orange t-shirts with the words “Illegal Immigrant” on the front and “catch me if u can” on the back for the game. The game’s aim was to show the organization’s opposition of then-president George W. Bush’s temporary worker plan. Collins said that this demonstration and the show of solidarity with her undocumented colleagues and peers is important for the university to address. She is a member of SGA, an Eagle Ambassador and president of the UNT Eagle Angels and marched with her peers in protest. “Up, up with education. Down, down with deportation,” protesters chanted, marching down Hickory Street towards the downtown square. UNT alumna, Queen Janeta Montgomery, made her return to Denton to show her support for the petition. “When I got the call last night, I went on my social media and got to work to raise awareness of what’s going on here,” Montgomery said. “I don’t tolerate any mess and I stand in solidarity for this.” Finley Graves, the university provost and vice president of academic affairs, said that President Neal Smatresk is planning a town hall meeting in January to address concerns in an open forum. The time and place is still to be announced. He also praised students’ use of their first amendment rights. “Students are certainly welcome to express their opinions,” Finley Graves said, the university provost and vice president of academic affairs. “It’s a matter of freedom of speech.” University officials have seen the petition, and UNT spokesperson Margarita Venegas said that students can reach out for help if they need it. “There is a lot of demand in the petition for what we already have,” Venegas said. “We provide support to everyone, and we aren’t going to be relaying immigration information about students.” View Full Article
  7. UNT, TWU students gather on Square to call for both schools to be sanctuary campuses View Full Article
  8. Headed by sophomore duo Rosalyn Reades and Jalie Mitchell, the Mean Green women’s basketball team took the court at the Super Pit. Their opponent, for the second time in the 1999 season, was the dominant SMU Mustangs. The Mustangs came in with a 15-2 record, while North Texas was struggling at 9-8. But with Mitchell as the team’s leader and best player, they never feared a challenge. The Mean Green defeated SMU 90-77 in what was a monumental win for the program and Mitchell. The victory is one of the memories she relives every time that she steps on the court in the Pit. “We didn’t lose much on this floor, only four losses at home in my time,” Mitchell said, reminiscing. “I have a lot of great memories, like buzzer beaters, and my career high in points [game], and beating SMU here.” After her playing days finished, Mitchell found a job in banking until she discovered an opening in coaching that she could pursue on the side. “I knew I wanted to coach, and I got into it around 2006,” Mitchell said. “I was still banking, but I was helping out with an ABA men’s team in Fort Worth for a couple of years before I got my first coaching opportunity as an assistant here in 2008.” From banking and assisting the Texas Tycoons’ ABA team, to finally getting a shot at North Texas, Mitchell has never really wanted to be anywhere else, despite taking a few assistant gigs elsewhere to build her resume. She admits the opportunity to coach in Denton has been extraordinary, and in a way, feels like it was just meant to be. “The advantage I had is that I came to a place that I already knew and loved and really had a passion for,” Mitchell said. “I had the pleasure of already bleeding green, so it was a no-brainer for me to come back and take the position.” Her passion has spilled onto the court, where in practices, timeouts, and games she has shown an intensity that pushes her players on a consistent basis. In her first year, Mitchell posted an 11-19 record, including nine home losses, more than twice what she had in her four years as a player. Despite this, she has shown major signs of improvement, not only with her coaching, but also with her recruiting and ability to draw players from other prominent programs. “[She has] a lot of competitiveness and she pushes us,” senior guard Terra Ellison said. “Now, we’re pushing to get somewhere with this program. Her mindset and how much passion she has for basketball just helps us and also the program.” Mitchell attributes a large part of her success to her years at the University of Texas at Austin under Karen Aston. While Mitchell is still fairly young, she already has the intangibles that allow her to connect with players — an ability that few coaches possess in college basketball. Players new to the Mean Green feel this connection early in their arrival at North Texas. “What stood out to me [is] how she cares for us,” sophomore guard Tyara Warren said. “She’ll push us. If we’re not doing something the way that she thinks we can, she’ll push us in practice until we do it .” Just like when she was a player, Mitchell wants to be the best. While she pushes her team in practice, they know her experience as an assistant and a player shape how she views the game. Warren said along with caring for her players, Mitchell also prepares them for challenges and obstacles that come with the grind of a full season. “Being mentally tough, she teaches that a lot,” Ellison said. “Without her here I probably would not have that [as much]. A lot of the things she tells us I bring off of the court as well. The way she pushes us in practice is the way I push myself in life.” Back on the hardwood, Mitchell’s squad has loaded up with talent, and after an influx of transfers and freshman, appears ready to compete at a high level. Now more than ever, the ceiling is high, and the expectations are lofty. But just as she did against the 15-2 Mustangs nearly 16 years ago, she never backs down to the challenge ahead. “[I want to] build and expand the program and put North Texas basketball in a place that it hasn’t been,” Mitchell said. “Even myself as a player, we didn’t go to the NCAA tournament, so for me taking on this challenge, [I want] to make it the best, not just continue to be mediocre.” With a young core and only three seniors on this year’s team, the women’s basketball team is poised to contend for Conference USA titles in the near future. The Jalie Mitchell at North Texas is in full swing — again. And she expects to hang some banners. “When I think about the A&M’s and the Baylor’s, they all started somewhere,” Mitchell said. “Look at them today and they’re a different program because somebody’s came in there and turned it around, so it can be done, and that’s the goal.” Featured Image: Before the beginning of the first overtime in a game last season, North Texas head coach Jalie Mitchell gives the team a game plan. Colin Mitchell View Full Article
  9. Denton art teachers go on craft store shopping spree View Full Article
  10. Petition asking for senior tax freeze on ballot gets nearly 8,800 signatures View Full Article
  11. Award-winning UNT staff member pursuing master’s degree View Full Article
  12. Denton man faces long road to recovery after golf club attack View Full Article
  13. For public relations junior Leah Barker, every day gets scarier. Instead of stressing about finals or making it to class on time, her worries are bigger. Barker stresses about how much longer she’ll have with her mom. She gets nervous about her future. She gets discouraged about the deadly disease that’s made its way through her family. She gets scared about what’s going to happen next, but she’s decided to try to make the best of it. The Huntington’s Disease Society of America describes Huntington’s Disease as “a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. It deteriorates a person’s physical and mental abilities during their prime working years and has no cure.” Because of this, Barker, 24, is crowdfunding money to take her mother, Anna Capp, traveling around the world before the symptoms of Anna’s Huntington’s Disease take over her mind and her body. Barker’s GoFundMe page, “Moving Mountains for Mama,” was launched early November. Leah’s grandfather died of HD, both she and her mother have it and her younger sister, Courtney, is at risk of developing it. “I understood something was wrong with my mom and I knew she was struggling,” Leah said. “I became very self-aware at a very young age.” If a parent has HD, that parent’s children have a 50 percent chance of inheriting the disease. Around 30,000 Americans show symptoms of HD and over 200,000 are at risk of inheriting it, according to the Huntington’s Disease Society of America’s website, hdsa.org. As of now, there is no cure and minimal treatment for HD. “I started having some extreme mental problems within myself that I kind of wanted something to blame,” she said. “I didn’t just want to be crazy, so I went and got tested.” The disease is a genetic disorder – a mutation in one’s DNA shows the whether or not one has inherited the disease. According to Predictive Testing for Huntington Disease, “the gene causing HD has been shown to have a region in which three of the bases (CAG) are repeated many times. A normal gene contains 35 or fewer CAG repeats, while the Huntington disease-causing version has 36 or more repeats. A gene with 36–39 repeats falls into a ‘reduced penetrance’ (RP) range, which may or may not be associated with the onset of HD symptoms.” Two years ago, Leah got tested for HD. The results revealed that her CAG repeats were at 43. She will progressively develop HD in her coming years, losing portions of both mental and physical capabilities. From a young age, Leah said she was told by her family that only males could get it “so that [she] wouldn’t be scared.” Being that she and her sister were raised by their single mother, times were tough and they had plenty to worry about without having to think about HD. “I remember crying because I was so thankful for my mom and the things she did for us,” Leah said. But as her mom develops harsher symptoms and while Leah has been tested and diagnosed with the disease, this is the reality they live in. Anna’s symptoms will only worsen, alongside Leah’s. The two of them, together, will have to continue living knowing that their symptoms will get no better and their disease will eventually take over their lives. “It’s really, really hard to sit and watch somebody that you love at such a young age, she’s only 46, forget who you are, forget normal daily things,” she said. “Basically you have to watch the one that you love turn into somebody different, both mentally and physically.” Leah said her project, “Moving Mountains for Mama,” is her way to give back to her mother for single-handedly raising her and her sister to be what they are today. “I want to see her happy more than anything,” she said. “I want to surprise her for once.” Courtney Barker, Leah’s 22 year old sister living in Denton, spoke highly of her mother and of her sister’s goals to give back, even in the face of such a destructive disease. Though she herself has not been tested, she has a 50/50 chance of developing symptoms and says she still struggles daily with heavy anxiety, which could be an early sign of HD. She shared perspective on growing up and losing her grandfather to the disease. “As a child, seeing my grandpa continuously twitch and turn super, super thin – it really frightened me,” Courtney said. “It’s something you don’t really describe, it’s something you have to see for yourself. “ Uncontrollable twitching is another symptom of HD, often causing patients to burn a lot of extra calories and lose weight. Eventually, most HD patients will need a caregiver to help maintain their own health, as they themselves will lose the ability to do so. “I don’t think people are aware of the fact that Huntington’s Disease affects your whole entire life, not just when you’re older,” Courtney said. “You are automatically different in the head because of Huntington’s Disease.” Now that her mother and her sister both have HD, she sees “Moving Mountains for Mama” as a chance to give something back. Even though her mother will not be the same in the years to come, they now have an opportunity to show her the world, or at least some of it, while she still has some of her health left. “Our mom, literally our whole entire life, she has taught us how to love unconditionally and not just for us as her daughters, but for everyone else around her,” Courtney said. “She has been the first person to give, she has been the first person to make somebody smile.” View Full Article
  14. There has been a shakeup at the Denton County Elections Administration following a series of glitches and issues counting votes on Election Day. Three election officials departed the administration. Lannie Noble, the former elections administrator who oversees Denton County voting, resigned Nov. 16. The former elections administrator for Tarrant County, Frank Phillips, was chosen this past Wednesday to replace Noble, who’s last day as elections administrator was this Monday. “The election commission can’t tell them [employees] how to do their job, but they can come in and say they aren’t happy with something, and ultimately fire them if deemed necessary,” Denton County Judge Mary Horn said. “As soon as Lannie heard I called a meeting, I think he saw the hand on the wall, and decided this would probably be a good time to retire.” Although there was a record-setting turnout of voters throughout this year’s election, election officials noticed there were still problems counting the votes. Ultimately, some ballots were counted three times, however, officials said results were not affected. During early voting, there were signs posted at polling sites that allegedly mislead voters into bringing the wrong forms of identification to vote. On Election Day, polls at some sites were in “test mode,” and voters were left to fill out paper ballots. These paper ballots were either not counted or counted more than once, officials said. Election officials found out that memory cards designated to scan paper ballots were mislabeled. They were also uploaded into a machine used to calculate electronic ballots. This caused election officials to believe there was a miscount. On election night, officials noticed there was still something wrong with the votes. Once the ballot boxes were closed and sealed, they can only be opened by court order. Some of the Denton County boxes were out of order. They looked like a birds nest, Horn said. After unfolding and straightening out the ballots, the numbers seemed more normal. Horn said something still didn’t seem right. “We got back to the company we buy our voting machines with and we discovered that five precincts had not been tabulated. We determined what was missing and had it redone,” Horn said. “Everything then made more sense. This whole process took almost two weeks.” Texas law requires all votes be certified by Nov. 22. Horn said Denton County had everything finished about 7 p.m. the day before, Nov. 21. “I’d call it the perfect storm, if it could go wrong, it did,” Horn said. “I never want to see that happen again. Protecting the integrity of the vote is important.” There were three people who applied for the position as election administrator, and then it was narrowed down to two. It came between Phillips and Kerry Martin, deputy elections administrator for Denton County since 2013, for the job. Phillips has been with Tarrant County since 2014, but before that was deputy constable in Precinct 3, a chief administrator in the Precinct 3 commissioner’s office, and director of administration to Horn in Denton County over the span of 18 years. Phillips is set to return to Denton County on Dec. 7. Horn said that she trusts in Phillips to to great and knows he has the management and organizational strengths that an elections administrator needs. “The first thing you do is find someone with the skills Frank’s got, then is was necessary to let a few people go from the elections office, which did happen,” Horn said. “One of them was in their probation period, no issue there. The other one was a civil service employee, and with that we gave him a letter with intent to terminate and in a required period of time he has the opportunity to respond if he wants. Frank will fill those applications. They haven’t been posted yet because we want Frank to filter those and decide who he wants to put in those elections.” View Full Article
  15. The US Congress funded NASA’s five-year initiative to promote interest in learning of space science and encourage young students to pursue careers in the STEM field. NASA’s Heliophysics Education Consortium partnered with UNT’s Institute for the Integration of Technology into Teaching and Learning will set up programs to further this goal. Professor Gerald Knezek and his student team are investing their time in a research project to find ways to educate younger generations on the importance of the STEM field for future space travel and to advance climate change research and prevention. “The argument is no longer whether climate change was caused by humans or by nature,” Knezek said. “The argument is what we’re going to do to ensure our survival.” Knezek has been researching to figure out how to gauge young, middle school aged students’ interests in the STEM field. He uses a “career interest questionnaire” and a “STEM semantics survey” to figure out where these students land in their interest. The results are based on the scaling methods he uses. “I think this is exciting research,” TAMS student Bihan Jiang said. “We have the opportunity to apply what we’re learning.” Jiang, one of the students on Knezek’s team, has been analyzing the data Knezek’s surveys has gathered. Through her research, a trend she has seen is that before the students are exposed to scientific technology they generally aren’t impressed. But once the team gets hands-on experience through technology-infused activities, the students gain interest. “It’s good that we introduce these concepts to young kids,” said TAMS student Anna Ko. “We keep gathering data that shows there is potential.” Ko, another student participating in data analysis, notices that young students are generally enthusiastic about scientific innovation. In fact, studies have begun to show that young girls are more likely to feel driven to make a difference when it comes to solving environmental problems. However, there’s an overall trend that goes against the favor of mathematics. She said this lack of mathematic enthusiasm could have an effect on the STEM field, but that’s what the project is trying to combat. “This research is important because the graphs show room for opportunity,” TAMS student Andy Wu said. “We’re working on analyzing this data to figure out what NASA’s initiatives should be in the future.” Wu said he’s excited to be a part of Knezek’s team because he’s optimistic about the impact their research can make on future generations. He has been involved in 2-D and 3-D printing to help design UV protective glasses for the total eclipse in August 2017. The process he’s using to develop these glasses will be used during seminars and camps to allow children to design their own protective glasses to use during the eclipse. These kinds of projects are what Knezek’s team are looking forward to. “Next summer, we’re hoping to host a seminar at the Dallas Arboretum that will make children aware of how space weather effects our weather,” said graduate research assistant Samson Den Lepcha. “As a PhD student, I’m glad to have an opportunity to not just have the classrooms and textbooks to learn from, but also applying my research in this project.” Den Lepcha oversees the work of the TAMS students and helps them. The hands-on opportunity of working with local schools and students is something he appreciates. He’s also looking into pursuing connections with indigenous communities and testing the potential there. Based on the historical connotation of indigenous people’s belief of taking care of the Earth, he’s hoping that those communities will feel encouraged to contribute to environmental initiatives, the end goal encouraging them to pursue STEM careers. “One day, our research will go to Congress so they can vote on initiatives to encourage STEM in schools,” Knezek said. “We need to find where the motivation is so we can further our goal of going to Mars or surviving climate change.” View Full Article