Feature Stories

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Army veteran attends AC

By Craig Reese


An established and naturally valued leader who possesses an ability to advance and improve any business’s security structure, Sgt. Christopher L. Powell has a wide-ranging background with more than 20 years, fourteen months and nineteen days in the span of six tours while serving in the active duty army as well as operating as a counterintelligence special agent throughout multiple theaters worldwide.

Powell has experience in reconnaissance for tracking and locating highly valued targets and individuals, and he spent most of his time doing this in the Middle East. He has also taken every enlisted leadership position during his career. While working on active duty, he said, “I really enjoyed combat time.” In total he spent 41 months in combat during his career.

Powell started his career in Fort Meeks, Kentucky, in 1998 as an enlistee, and became the leader and tactician of a small scouting reconnaissance platoon during the beginning of the 2003 Iraq invasion.

He led countless combat missions while also training and mentoring 18 other scouts in close-quarter combat, counterinsurgency, asset and executive protection, and all phases of reconnaissance. Their missions consisted of nighttime raids on high-value targets, personal protection details, and a plethora of counterinsurgency operations.

Additionally, after the 2003 Iraq invasion, Powell worked alone and was stationed in Kuwait for a year where he helped set up a security system for the country’s border. After his year in Kuwait, he was hand selected on several occasions as the sole Task Force Counterintelligence Officer to give direct support to combat operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria between 2012 to 2019. He also engineered and implemented strong security programs for countermeasure threats to safeguard American and foreign personnel, as well as their equipment.

He said, “I did get to travel a lot in Europe with my family during my career.”, Powell retired in February 2019 at Fort Meade, Maryland. He is currently attending Angelina College to complete his degree block and hopes to transfer to get a bachelor of arts in criminal justice. Originally from Longview, Powell graduated from Gladewater High School in 1997. He is currently living today in Hudson, and he is married with two children. 

POW reminisces about atrocities of World War II

By Matthew Gresham

Contributing Writer

On July 13, 1944, 18-year-old Henry Bailey from a tiny town in deep East Texas was called to fight for God and country toward the tail end of World War II. He rode a bus from San Antonio to Boston where he began basic training at Fort Standish.

After weeks of training, Bailey boarded a boat to France. “One thing that stands out in my mind throughout the war was worrying about the other boys,” Bailey said. “Some were 18, drafted, and away from home for the first time.”

As the grueling days rolled by, they pushed their way into Germany, taking villages as they went through. They eventually reached Tier, Germany. They had speared dozens of enemy bunkers along the Siegfried line when the enemy overpowered them. “We had been on a push and had dug fox holes with two of us in each one. In early morning, the Germans counterattacked, ran in on us, and took the whole company. We were wiped out.” The remnants of the troops were captured and ordered to march. They walked more than 700 miles, being strafed by planes, eating snails and suffering from rampant sickness.

“I still think about it”, Bailey said. “I wake up at night and remember little details. Some things amaze me, like how smart people were.” He recalled an Air Force pilot who built a radio to contact pilots and get status updates on how the war was going.

A hellish two months later, they would find their salvation. Bailey recalled this fateful day saying, “We were liberated when the war was over. We saw it happen. It was about 7 o’clock on a Sunday morning. The German army had been retreating. We were being held at a big dairy barn in Urden, Germany. There were lots of cows, and we slept on hay in the barn.” Some men were so malnourished that they had to be carried when the group moved. They refused to move unless they absolutely had to. The night before they were freed, the Germans had said if they did not move, they would be executed. They woke up the next morning to machine gunfire. “We thought they might be shooting prisoners”, Bailey said, “so we went outside.” But no prisoners were being executed outside. Instead, there were three tanks from the U.S. Army’s 12th division. The POWs were taken by truck to Munich, Germany, and from there, they were flown to Lahara, France where Bailey got his first shave and haircut in months. Bailey returned home and went on leave to recuperate for a few months.

In 1946 he reenlisted, now as a Colonel, and then went to Fort Ord, California, where he would have a much different military experience.

A movie was being made in nearby Monterey, and the production needed extras. Bailey played a French prisoner of war in a very small part alongside Hollywood beauty Greer Garson, and actors Robert Mitchum and Richard Hart. The film was called “Desire Me.”

After his time on the silver screen as barrack Sergeant, and a chauffeur, Bailey returned home to help raise a family.

Bailey is now 93, and he is more of a hero to his family than anyone on the planet. He fought for freedom for all Americans. 

Contributed photo

Origins of Veterans Day

By Kendall Cole


Veterans Day is a holiday in the United States that is annually observed on Nov. 11 in honor of all past members living or dead of the U.S. military for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for our country.

The first Veterans Day occurred in 1919 on the first anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended of World War I and was originally called “Armistice Day.”

In 1926, a resolution was passed by Congress for the day to be an annual observance. Veterans Day became a national holiday in 1938.

At the urging of every major U.S. veteran organization, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 to honor all veterans, not just those from World War I.

You may celebrate Veterans Day in many ways such as donating to the many causes that are designed to help veterans and their families or by writing letters or postcards to veterans to let them know they are recognized for their service.

VA hospitals have policies that allow visitors and they have special events, so the veterans can be recognized and appreciated. Visiting a hospital is also an opportunity to spend time with a veteran who may have no visitors during the day.

You do not have to be a veteran to participate in Veterans Day. Let the veterans know that they are appreciated and respected for their service to our country.

Hispanic Heritage Month

By Craig Reese


Every year across the United States we observe National Hispanic Heritage Month, which starts on Sept. 15 and goes until Oct. 15, by celebrating the cultures, contributions and even history of Hispanic.

Between 1968 and 1988 Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan issued a series of  proclamations annually, which designated a week in September that included the 15 and 16 as part of National Hispanic Heritage Week.  These proclamations not only celebrated the contributions to America of men and women of Hispanic origin but also recalled the work of the early Spanish explorers and settlers.

The observation of this event was started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week during President Lyndon Johnson’s term and was later expanded to cover a 30-day period which would start on Sept. 15 and end on Oct. 15. This was enacted during President Ronald Reagan’s term and went into law on Aug.17, 1988.

Sept. 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for many Latin American countries like Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, on Sept. 16 and 18 celebrations for Independence also occur for Mexico and Chilé, respectively. Oct. 12, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, falls within this 30-day period also.

Illustrations by Nylan Holifield.

Selena Quintanilla-Pérez

Selena Quintanilla-Pérez was a beloved singer, songwriter, model and actress of Mexican descent. She is one of the most celebrated Mexican-American entertainers of the 20th century and is the best-selling female artist in Latin music history. After her death on March 31, 1995, at age 24, her birthday (April 16) was declared as Selena Day in the State of Texas where she lived. 

Roberto Clemente

Roberto Enrique Clemente Walker was a professional baseball right fielder who played for 18 seasons in Major League Baseball on the Pittsburgh Pirates and was the first Latin American and Caribbean player to help win a World Series. After his death on Dec. 31, 1972 in a plane crash, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He was also the first Latin American and Caribbean player to be enshrined. Clemente was born on Aug. 18, 1934 in Barrio San Antón, Carolina, Puerto Rico. 

Gabriel Iglesias

Gabriel Jesus Iglesias is a highly-celebrated comedian of Mexican descent, who is known all over the world. He is the youngest of six children and was raised by a single mother. Iglesias has been a full-time comedian since 1997 and is also a producer and actor, having starred in several films such as “Coco,” “Ferdinand” and “Planes.” He was born on July 15, 1976 in San Diego, California. 

Sonia Sotomayor

Sonia Maria Sotomayor is an associate justice of the Supreme Court and is of Puerto Rican descent. She is the first Hispanic in American history to be named to the Supreme Court. She has been a judge since 1992, but she has been a member of the Supreme Court since August of 2009 after being nominated by Barack Obama. Sotomayor was born on June 25, 1954 in New York City, New York.

How Halloween came to be

By Kendall Cole


Halloween is based on the Celtic festival of Samhain in which the Celts believed that ghosts would return to the earth at the beginning of the winter season on the night of Oct. 31. To keep the ghosts from returning, they would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward them away. Oct. 31 marked the end of summer and the beginning of winter, which was already associated with death. It was originally called “All Hallows’ Eve” but was changed to Halloween over the years.

Illustrations by Nylan Holifield



Like the bats, pumpkins became associated with Halloween in an attempt to ward off the ghosts. Originally, the Celts carved turnips and lit fires in them to keep outside of their homes instead of large bonfires outside of their doors.

Black Cats

Black cats became a Halloween symbol based on their association with witches. Black cats were believed to be witches’ familiars, or witches shape-shifted into black cats.


Skeletons are a Halloween symbol because of being associated with death, which was the basis for Halloween.

Contributed photos

Problems arise in school

By Craig Reese


School can be challenging for anyone, whether prepared or not. Failure is easy to gain if not being ready to face what is ahead. It is also linked to other problems like management, disorganization, health, eating right, communication, grades, time and money. Each show a basic issue that might be present when attending school. Sometimes it might be difficult to find a way to remove negatives like the ones listed above it does not mean that it will be impossible. Many students will be affected by at least one of the problems during their experience at college.

First, it’s important to find organization and be managed otherwise it will lead to lost time. This is important for new students who may not already be aware to have some form of preparation. A calendar or planner might be a great start for keeping track of assignments and events that might occur soon or later in the semester. Otherwise students may find grades lowering if not good a keeping track of the assignments or lacking set time for studying to succeed in their selected classes. Even poor sleep habits can leave students unable to complete work and do activities at the college. Take it as a challenge and read a current study related to the need for sleep and the effects of sleep deprivation on physical and mental health to help and receive information on the topic. 

Second, it might be tempting to skip classes. It is the student or parent’s money that is being spent to gather information given during class times. When not present in the class room, especially the information that could be beneficial of the instruction as well as information regarding grades, future assignments, and opportunities outside the classroom which may be important to take advantage of instead. This may also include failure to spend time with instructors and classmates who may, upon graduation, become part of a valuable network for future endeavors after going through class. When not spending time to speak with classmates, professors and other academic advisors, students will lack support and a place to go for when problems occur. Opportunities like internships should always be taken advantage of even when having practical experience already to provide additional opportunities for students to create networks.

In addition, knowing what resources are available to use is important as well as developing an appropriate spending plan. Seek the advice of a financial planner or counselor if needed, but do not spend any money if not necessary or borrow any money that may be difficult or impossible to repay back as only the federal government can do that. It might be safer to avoid careful credit card opportunities offered to college students as it is never “Easy cash” and may also come with high interest rates waiting around the corner.

Again, students will face more considerable freedom than the grade school years, coupled with a lack of accountability it can become easy to fail the necessary reading and studying to increase odds of academic success in college. Missing the dedicate time needed for studying and reading is likely to have a negative impact on grades. Some ideas to raise success are to be in class, if possible in every class, be accountable to others in academic performance, know each course, the syllabi, the requirements and the professor along with his/her expectation during the semester.

While college is a social as well as an academic experience, these must be a medium to find success in both areas. Procrastinating may have been an acceptable exercise in grade school, but it is an issue and will likely cause failure in college. While it is crucial to get to know other students/faculty of the college, establish deadlines for assignments that minimize stress levels through managing time. In relationships that are taking up the time need for assignments or study, they cud cause bitterness, resentment and anger. Any of these feelings can cause loss of focus on the goals set to achieve in the semester. Even if a move, separation or even just an “agree to disagree,” it is important to try to successfully resolve the relation if it creates such conflicts as it is necessary to improve the environment and time that might be needed for college. 

Likewise, eating right and staying healthy are key to accomplishing academic goals and making the college experience much more fun and memorable. It is important to get enough exercise, while also monitoring the amount and quality of food and drink that is consumed as too much or little will affect the ability to process information correctly. Otherwise this will increase the odds of staying physically and mentally healthy through college and beyond. This also includes healthy relationships that are beneficial and won’t cause problems for schedules. Maybe even with family as many students might find it difficult to be far from their family.

Furthermore, students may find feelings of homesickness difficult to overcome, but for some it might be accomplished by remaining on campus during the week and on weekends instead of leaving on the weekends or on days that classes might not be on. This may help students learn more about their campus and become more involved and active in athletics and social events or organizations on the campus. Students learn more about campus resources and are will likely make friends with other students, with whom they may find common ground and interests on. It is important to keep in contact with family through phone, social media or email, but also to try and become part of the vulture within a new academic world.

Overall, college is a time when many can feel overwhelmed with tasks of life, do not allow it to exist for long. Consider seeing a professional counselor to help organize, prioritize and better manage the demands being placed so preparation is placed for the challenge and issues ahead.

Bats have been associated with Halloween since the very beginning. They came to be Halloween symbols because the bonfires set by the Celts attracted their food supplies during the attempts to ward off ghosts. The bats, swooping in to grab the insects and other small flying creatures, mimicked the spirits they were trying to keep away. Like the bats, pumpkins became associated with Halloween in an attempt to ward off the ghosts. Originally, the Celts carved turnips and lit fires in them to keep outside of their homes instead of large bonfires outside of their doors. Skeletons are a Halloween symbol because of being associated with death, which was the basis for Halloween. Black cats became a Halloween symbol based on their association with witches. Black cats were believed to be witches’ familiars, or witches shape-shifted into black cats. Coaches pick Roadrunner basketball team for No. 1