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East Texas Review » » Featured
The Community Paper Everyone Should ReadWed, 02 Sep 2015 21:57:52 +0000en-UShourly1Breaking Poverty
http://www.easttexasreview.com/breaking-poverty/#commentsWed, 02 Sep 2015 21:23:49 +0000http://www.easttexasreview.com/?p=17320
The problem of poverty is complex and more so in rural areas like east Texas. According to Center for American progress, there are more women in poverty then men in America and all over the world. Currently 37 million women are living in poverty in America, the richest country in the world. What is more, the poverty gap between men and women in America is wider than anywhere in the Western world.
The facts are glaring. Women are poorer than men across racial and ethnic lines. Latest data shows 26.5 percent of African American women are poor compared to 22.3 percent of African American men; 23.6 percent of Hispanic women are poor compared to 19.6 percent of Hispanic men; 10.7 percent of Asian women are poor compared to 9.7 percent of Asian men; and 11.6 percent of white women are poor compared to 9.4 percent of white men. Go to www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/report/2008/10/08/5103/the-straight-facts-on-women-in-poverty for detailed analysis.
For this reason, City of Longview Partners in Prevention have a program called “Longview Bridges out of Poverty.”(LBOP). Just like the name, Longview Bridges Out of Poverty (LBOP) enables participants to climb out of poverty.
According to the City of Longview, LBOP is based on a national construct known as Bridges out of Poverty, Strategies for Professionals and Communities. LBOP looks at poverty with a “triple lens” of the individual, institutional and community/policy focus.
Furthermore, LPOB builds relationships across class and race lines. It draws on individual experiences to help better address the concern of individual economic instability in the area. In addition, it paves the way for community-wide common goal of building sustainable communities.
To this end, a person in poverty can climb up the economic ladder to self-sufficiency when she/he goes through “Getting Ahead.” Getting Ahead is based on a 16-session curriculum called, “Getting Ahead in a Just Getting by World.” During the sessions, participants co-investigate barriers to reaching self—sufficiency. Moreover, they construct their own stratagem for moving out of poverty.
There is more.
Available to participants are: Financial, emotional, mental, spiritual, integrity and trust, physical, support systems, relationship/role models, motivation and persistence plus knowledge of hidden rules resources.
LBOP recently graduated seven excited local families. The graduates are thrilled about the future.
B.R. and Pam Whitehead, a husband and wife said, “Going through the class we discovered that everybody had something in common. We now have great leadership and lifestyle management
Another graduate, Carmisha Mayfield is inspired because she has a new lease on life going forward. “I needed a different outlook-another way of looking at things,” she said. “There are more resources to help me do better than I knew before.”
The program works. One graduate was present to testify to the efficacy of LBOP.
“I am a 2012 graduate of the LBOP program and I have noticed great results with my checking account,” said Faye Haskin. “For example, I don’t spend money excessively as I have in the past.”
Even more, Lyndell McAllister Partners and Prevention social worker put LBOP into sharper focus. “There is a lot of networking and interaction during the classes. We keep our participants engaged and active because it is a part of the learning process,” she said. “If we want a healthier, productive community, we must educate and unleash the power of knowledge and resources that are available to them.”
Besides, Holly Fuller Manager for Partners and Prevention could not agree more. “There are many struggles and barriers when it comes to poverty, such as finding money to pay for bills, groceries, and health care,” she said. “Our counselors provide a structured guidance curriculum and responsive services.”
Another significant factor in LBOP is the success of its graduates. Sekettia Brantley graduated from LBOP in 2014. Even though she is a graduate of Oral Roberts University, her problems seemed insurmountable until she enrolled in LBOP. She passionately spoke to the graduates. “I was emotionally, mentally and sexually assaulted.” And, I questioned my identity,” she said. “This program helped me put all that behind and got me on my feet again.” Brantley currently works at City of Longview Partners in Prevention, PIP. She performed a praise dance for the graduating class and their families. From personal experience, she advised the women, “It is time to build each other up.”
In fact, LBOP is accepting applications. For more information, please call Partners in Prevention at 903.237.1019
According to police report, Longview Police Officers were investigating suspicious activity at 559 Mobberly Avenue, Tuesday at 3:42 am when the least unexpected happened. Police officers were standing in front of This Our Store when an African American young man came around the corner and produced what looked like a handgun from the waist band of his trousers. One police officer fired his weapon several times striking victim who was taken to Good Shepherd Medical Center. He had non-life threatening injuries. Later, the victim was identified as 17 year-old Joshua Kennon Thomas. Furthermore, Police determined Thomas’ weapon was an Umarex SA9 CO2 powered pistol which closely resembles a semi-automatic handgun.The Longview Police Department (LPD) says transparency is tops in their books. Hence, it is typical for LPD to ask Texas Rangers to conduct investigations when Longview Police Officers are involved in a shooting as in this case. The Texas Rangers on completion of the investigation will send their findings to the Gregg County District’s Office to be reviewed and presented to a grand jury.
Meanwhile, Longview Police Department Internal Affairs is also conducting its own investigation to make sure officers adhered to LPD policies and procedures. While the investigation is going on, the three officers involved have been placed on paid administrative leave.
That is not all.
Roy Smith, the brother of the man who owns This Our Store is concerned about Joshua Thomas. “Why would a young man be out at that time,” he asked? “Should he not be in bed and why did no-one notice he was not home.” What’s more, “Everyone should be at home and not on the street after midnight,” he said.
According to Smith, Joshua has been hanging around This Our Store, a 24-hour convenient store. The employees have been feeding him from time to time. By the same token, Smith has his own analysis of what transpired between Joshua and the police. He believes sometimes people want to commit suicide. For that reason, they put themselves in harm’s way. In this case, Smith called it cop-suicide-Joshua wanted the police to shoot and kill him because he is tired of living. In addition, Smith was perturbed because Joshua’s mother was rather interested in suing the police than going to Good Shepherd and finding out the condition of her son. “I am not saying that police do not shoot people in other places, Smith stated. “But what I am saying which no-one should forget, police protect more people than they hurt. They work to protect innocent citizens.”
]]>http://www.easttexasreview.com/police-shoots-teen/feed/0RadioShack Customers Deserve to be Treated Fairly
http://www.easttexasreview.com/radioshack-customers-deserve-to-be-treated-fairly/#commentsSun, 09 Aug 2015 16:00:43 +0000http://www.easttexasreview.com/?p=17024
AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton recently added a new count to the lawsuit against RadioShack to protect the interests of consumers holding unredeemed gift cards with the company. The count alleges RadioShack violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act by selling 16,700 gift cards to consumers between January 1, 2015 and February 6, 2015, when the company clearly knew it was about to file bankruptcy and terminate its acceptance of gift cards.
“While the company knew it would be filing for bankruptcy in the coming weeks, RadioShack continued to sell gift cards to its customers, falsely representing that they would never expire,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Consumers deserve better, and we will fight to ensure that they are treated honestly and fairly by former RadioShack in this process.”
On July 22, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware denied former RadioShack’s motion to dismiss Texas’ case seeking to protect the interests of 2.9 million customers holding approximately $46 million in unredeemed gift cards with the company. The states of Arkansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Tennessee and Virginia have filed similar or identical proofs of claim in the bankruptcy case on behalf of consumers in their respective states
To date, RadioShack has failed to give any notice of the claims process or notice of the filing of bankruptcy to holders or purchasers of unredeemed gift cards. Texas filed the lawsuit to protect these consumers in June.
To view the filing, please visit: https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/files/epress/files/2015/20150730_RadioShack_First_Amended_Complaint_re_Gift_Cards.pdf?cachebuster:
]]>http://www.easttexasreview.com/radioshack-customers-deserve-to-be-treated-fairly/feed/0LETU FALL CLASSES BEGIN AUG. 24
http://www.easttexasreview.com/letu-fall-classes-begin-aug-24/#commentsSun, 09 Aug 2015 13:30:31 +0000http://www.easttexasreview.com/?p=17021
(Longview, Texas)—LeTourneau University classes for new and returning students for the Fall 2015 semester begin on Monday, Aug. 24. Check-in to the residence halls for new students is Thursday, Aug. 20, with registration for new students and orientation beginning Friday, Aug. 21. Returning students will check into their residence halls beginning 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 22. The last day to register or change registration is Friday, Aug. 28. LETU will hold classes on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 1.
LETU has added academic degree offerings that launch this fall, including its new aviation program in Remotely Piloted Aircraft.
“The value of a LeTourneau University degree continues to attract students not only from Texas but from across the nation and all around the globe,” said LETU Vice President for Enrollment Services Terry Dale Cruse. “Fall enrollment should be strong, with the addition of the new nursing and remotely piloted aircraft programs and expansion of our dual-credit and early college high school programs.”
LETU has given specific attention to increasing regional recruitment. This fall marks another year East Texas students can experience residential campus life at a special discounted rate, thanks to the Future of East Texas Grant that provides $4,500 per year in additional tuition assistance to those local students living on campus.
New faculty members for 2015-2016 include: John C. Barrett, assistant professor of political science; Stanley K. Coppinger, professor of literature and language arts; Richard A. Helling, II, Instructor of applied aviation sciences; Jered C. Lease, assistant professor of aviation and aeronautical science and assistant chief flight instructor; Jong Cheon Lee, assistant professor of psychology; Richard J. Martinez, associate professor of business and chair of the undergraduate business programs; Mark G. Moland, assistant professor of history-political science-criminal justice; James M. Page, instructor of aviation and aeronautical science and assistant chief flight instructor; Velma L. Payne, assistant professor of healthcare administration; Bryan C. Schneider, program coordinator for healthcare management; Shelby Ware, librarian; Lesley-Anne Dyer Williams; assistant professor of English; George Willis Williams, III, lecturer in residence; Walt Williams, head men’s and women’s golf coach.
Holidays for the Fall 2015 will include Fall Break on Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 19 and 20; and Thanksgiving Break Wednesday through Friday, Nov. 25-27. Final examinations will be the week of Dec. 7-10, with graduation slated for Saturday, Dec. 12.
Students L-R: Nathatlie Serrato, Deborah Cortez, Kalyn Anderson, Dkaylon Bush, Tavion and Kysean Dixon surrounded by LISD, LETU officials and parents
The Longview Independent School District (LISD) and world-famous LeTourneau University (LETU) are joining forces in an early college program that will accelerate young scholars into the job market. Such a program combines high school and college curricula in a challenging but supportive project that reduces the time typically required to earn a high school diploma and then complete the freshman and sophomore years of college. Early college programs seek to boost high school and college graduation rates while simultaneously lowering college education expenses.
Starting with this school year LISD 9th graders will be permitted to attend free college courses at LETU through the school district’s Early College High School (ECHS) that will provide the costs of tuition, books and transportation. The program will expand each year until it includes, sophomores, juniors and seniors.
Longview High School (LHS) is among 44 schools to be designated by the Texas Education Agency as an ECHS, and is the only one so honored in Gregg County. Texas is home to 154 ECHS. LHS students participating in this program can complete a maximum of 60 college credit hours on route to a college degree. Typically, dual credit programs offer just 12 to 30 hours, and do not include a degree plan. LETU and LISD are providing a realistic means for students interested in aviation to earn a bachelor’s degree in aviation management along with other programs to be introduced later.
Students who qualify for the ECHS program will have scored high on math and English segments of the STAAR test and already selected their appropriate career path endorsement. The two ECHS parameters are that students must be on track for an associate degree, and it must be free to the student. The school district will pay for it. Students must be capable of collaborating with the educational institution that offers the highest attainable level of instruction at the most affordable rate. LETU President Dr. Dale Lunsford is enthusiastic about this new initiative.
“Increasing the affordability for local students to attend LeTourneau University has been one of our goals,” he said. “Depending on the academic program, a student could save as much as $50,000 in college-related expenses by participating in the Early College High School Program.”
This entire program was indirectly made possible by House Bill 5, which makes it compulsory for 9th graders to decide on a vocational interest endorsement before entering high school. LETU Vice-President for Enrollment Services Dr. Terry Dale Cruse explained the attractions of the initiative.
“For the students, this program provides another great benefit because they would not be considered transfer students, but would be eligible for more lucrative freshmen scholarships when they attend LETU immediately after high school,” he said. “LETU identifies transfer students as those who have completed up to 12 hours of college credits after graduating from high school.”
Students are given a gentle beginning by taking just three to six college hours their first year. The load increases to 10 to 30 hours their sophomore, junior and senior years. Every course taken applies to a degree, insuring that young scholars waste no time and effort taking unneeded subjects. This process not only eases the financial burden of higher education, but enables students to learn earlier about vocational options.
State law requires every student to select an endorsement. School districts decide on their individual entrance requirements. LISD students who meet entrance qualifications by achieving high scores on the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test are eligible to take part in this project. LISD Superintendent Dr. James E. Wilcox explained the specifics of how potential candidates are selected and prepared.
“This program identifies talented and promising students in the 9th grade, connects them with a vocational interest of their passion-an endorsement, and partners with the Early College High School and the institution of higher learning, like LeTourneau University,” he said. “It creates a roadmap of success for that student in a structured, nurturing environment with a built-in support system.”
Brothers Tavion and Kysean Sells attended the orientation with their mother Karen Sells. These siblings will be high school freshmen in September. Kysean aims to study electrical engineering, while Tavion is concentrating on business administration.
Another freshman who is eager to get started in the ECHS program is Deborah Cortez. She plans to go to a local school after graduation. Her mother Kylie is proud of what her daughter has already accomplished.
“Her STAAR test scores were good,” said Kylie. “That is why we are here today.”
Deborah is considering an aviation management degree from LETU.
“Local schools are the foundation for the community. We are investing in the future, opening doors of opportunity and affordability while giving these students access to an earlier college education,” said Lunsford. “This partnership is investing time in high-quality, motivated students to be directed into the aviation management program.”
Wilcox is delighted with how the ECHS program makes it possible to simultaneously train young bodies, minds and souls, and with how LETU is enabling this to take place.
“We want to be more involved with LeTourneau,” he said.
Like everyone else involved with this promising new initiative, Wilcox is bubbling with enthusiasm and impatience to get started.
“This is a great start of a long relationship, and there will be many more to come. These students who are given access to earlier higher education will eventually be world leaders,” he said. “The reach of both this fine institution stretches around the world to spread the gospel, and we are just delighted to be a part of it in order to give our students every opportunity to achieve their goals.”
Aviators and volunteers started arriving at Maude Cobb Convention Center at just after 5:00 a.m. By 6:00am the place was teeming with a crowd ready to get the balloons off the ground.
Jerry Trice has sat on the GTBR board of directors for more than 25 years, and his enthusiasm just keeps growing. Early on this big day, he had Longview High School Coordinator and close collaborator Joe Brashear at his elbow. Trice, Brashear and others make up the Landowners’ Relations Team. This panel secures permission for aerial participants to lift off from private land. And when they do land on private property the team pacifies landowners and make sure they do not take the balloon. Carrie Sanders is another involved volunteer because of Trice.
Trice has moved through GTBR. He started out by keeping score before he became a crewman. He served in this capacity for some time until he moved to the landowners’ team. He has watched a generation turn into regular, deeply involved volunteers with the event.
Spitfire fired up
“The kids were crawling and following their parents to the race,” he said. “What you see here are generations of people following the balloon race.”
Jim Tachias is a regular crewman for renowned balloonist Dr. Bill Bussey, who has long been a major player in the race in multiple capacities. Tachias has crewed for Bussey and is learning to fly a hot air balloon.
“I travel with Dr. Bussey, and have a great time with him,” he said.
Overton resident Robbie Carnes is a medical instructor with a fascination for ballooning. Her interest moved her to become involved. She now schedules her medical career around the GTBR.
Tanner Carroll and Billy Adler
Kelsey Pryor shares this love of the sport and the event. She started attending at age five. It is now 20 years later and she is sailing high with the GTBR.
“I love it,” she said. “I came one time when I was five, and since then I come every year to volunteer my time.”
Carnes and Pryor are two of pilot Dale Wong’s crew members. Wong comes all the way from Rancho Cucamonga, California. On Tuesday morning of the race, Wong was let down by the wind. Still, he considers safety a higher concern.
Spitfire with Pilot Billy Adler
“Tomorrow is another day, and hopefully we will be able to get up there,” he said.
His wife Tina agreed.
“The weather has to be perfect for pilots to fly,” she said.
Longview resident and pilot Billy Adler was also dismayed by the stiff breeze, but agreed that crew safety is the main concern.
“The wind is right at ground level,” he said. “But anything could happen with that kind of wind.”
His wife Jean nodded and pointed at some swaying crepe myrtle trees. “When a fast wind is moving like that and comes to the ground it makes for a windy landing,” Billy Adler explained. “The balloon meister Jim Birk made the right call. Balloons are so weather-related, and the sole purpose for a great race is air safety.”
Weather is indeed the traditional main factor in balloon racing. Although Tuesday’s weather was ideal for other sports, it was a little too windy for hot air ballooning, and East Texas did not see the colorful flying machines that day.
But the balloons have been in the sky flying high in the competition.
For a full schedule please visit:
Spitfire’s safe landing
Ramey Carroll, Jean Adler, Billy Adler, Sam Roby – student pilot, and Tanner Carroll
]]>http://www.easttexasreview.com/billy-adler-spits-fire/feed/0‘Sanctuary Cities’: Cornyn Co-sponsors Bill for Crack Down
http://www.easttexasreview.com/sanctuary-cities-cornyn-co-sponsors-bill-for-crack-down/#commentsWed, 22 Jul 2015 13:41:44 +0000http://www.easttexasreview.com/?p=16822
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) today cosponsored the Improving Cooperation with States and Local Governments and Preventing the Catch and Release of Criminal Aliens Act of 2015, a bill introduced by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) to crack down on so-called “sanctuary cities” that provide safe harbor for illegal immigrants, including those who have committed violent crimes.
“Sanctuary cities flaunt our nation’s immigration laws, decrease public safety and undermine the public’s trust in government,” Senator Cornyn said. “It is unconscionable and unacceptable for the Obama Administration to allow dangerous criminals who entered our country illegally to remain on the streets.”
Earlier this month, Sen. Cornyn sent a letter pressing Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson for answers about the Department’s policies regarding sanctuary cities.
Improving Cooperation with States and Local Governments and Preventing the Catch and Release of Criminal Aliens Act of 2015:
•Limits federal funding for state and local governments that fail to cooperate with federal officials with respect to illegal immigrants deemed to be a priority for removal by the Secretary.
•Requires the Obama Administration to publish a list of sanctuary jurisdictions.
•Increases the mandatory minimum prison sentence to five years for individuals who re-enter or attempt to re-enter the country after being denied, excluded, deported, or removed.
July 24-26, 2015
at East Texas
(Hwy 322 @ Hwy 349 * Longview)
4:00pm to Midnight
5:45am to 11:00am
4:00pm to Midnight
5:45am to 10:00am
Friday & Saturday
(advance tickets $12.00 at area Super 1 Foods, Brookshires or Outhousetickets.com)
Sunday – FREE
Children 12 & under FREE
Sodas, water, & festival food can be purchased
No Pets, except service animals
No glass containers
Schedule of Events
– Monday, July 20, 2015
6:30am US Nationals Practice Flight over Longview Area
– Tuesday, July 21, 2015
6:30am US Nationals Competition Flight of Longview Area
– Wednesday, July 22, 2015
6:30am US Nationals Competition Flight over Kilgore Area
6:30pm Kilgore event hosted by Kilgore Chamber of Commerce
– Thursday, July 23, 2015
6:30am US Nationals Competition Flight over Longview Area
– Friday, July 24, 2015
6:30am US Nationals and Great Texas Balloon Race Competition Flight over Longview
4:00pm Gates open at East Texas Regional Airport for Great Texas Balloon Race Festival
8:15pm Special Shapes Spectacular
8:45pm Great Texas Balloon Race Opening Ceremony
8:50pm Balloon Glow
9:30pm Cooder Graw in Concert
Midnight Gates Close for the Day
– Saturday, July 25, 2015
5:45am Gates Open at East Texas Regional Airport
6:30am US Nationals and Great Texas Balloon Race Competition Flight over East Texas Regional
Ring Toss Competition and other Navigational Tasks for both US National and GTBR
(Balloons will be launched from at least 2 miles away and fly over the event grounds at
ET Regional Airport. Launch site and time will vary depending on weather and wind
11:00am GTBR Festival Closes for Midday
4:00pm GTBR Festival Re-Opens for Evening Entertainment
8:15pm Special Shapes Spectacular
8:45pm Opening Ceremony
8:50pm Balloon Glow
9:30pm The Oak Ridge Boys in Concert
Midnight Gates Close for the Day
– Sunday, July 26, 2015
5:45am Gates Open at East Texas Regional Airport
6:30am US Nationals and Great Texas Balloon Race Competition Flight over East Texas Airport
Ring Toss Competition and other Navigational tasks for both US Nationals and GTBR
(Balloons will be launched from at least 2 miles away and fly over the event grounds at
ET Regional Airport. Launch site and time will vary depending on weather and wind
All times are approximate and schedule may change without notice. All events at US National Competition and at the Great Texas Balloon Race are dependent on prevailing weather conditions. The safety of our pilots, volunteers and spectators is our primary concern. All competitive flights Tues – Fri will NOT be seen at the East Texas Regional Airport but will take place over the City of Longview and parts of Gregg County. Each morning the flight launch and targets will be determined based on prevailing winds.
]]>http://www.easttexasreview.com/balloon-glow-nightly-at-sundown/feed/0Peters Chevrolet Rewards Health Care Professional
http://www.easttexasreview.com/peters-chevrolet-rewards-health-care-professional/#commentsTue, 14 Jul 2015 21:26:27 +0000http://www.easttexasreview.com/?p=16762
For the second year in a row Randy Peters, owner of Peters Chevrolet in Longview, has presented a brand-new car to an employee of Longview Regional Medical Center (LRMC) as a reward for excellent service to East Texas patients. This year, the vehicle was a 2015 Chevy Colorado. Randy and his three sons, Scott, Mark and Keith, were in attendance along with a host of LRMC employees at the live presentation on Tuesday, July 14 at the hospital’s main entrance. LRMC staff came out not only to learn the winner, but to enjoy the event and refreshments.
“Exceptional healthcare is vital to every community, and we are proud to partner with Longview Regional Medical Center to reward a deserving employee,” said Randy Peters.
“I want to thank everyone from Longview Regional Medical Center. This is an unusual situation since no one has to buy a raffle ticket to actually enter into this drawing. Most of my employees are regulars at Longview Regional Medical Center,” said Peters. “I appreciate all the businesses and employees for everything they have done and for everything Jim Kendrick has done. He has done a great job building this hospital and giving it back to the community.”
The hospital has made the annual car award a part of its “Employee Recognition Program.” Outgoing hospital CEO Jim Kendrick explained the significance of the event and what it signifies.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be here and to work with so many great people. This vehicle could go to anyone employed here at Longview Regional Medical Center – a doctor, nurse or even a custodian,” said Kendrick. “Each and every one shows true dedication even if they are just coming into work to clean the rooms or make the beds.”
Kendrick also declared the hospital’s gratitude for Peters Chevrolet for its unselfish dedication to compensating outstanding workers for their devotion and ability.
“We are grateful for Peters’ generosity towards our hospital employees and value his continued commitment to recognize the dedication of our hospital employees and their care to our community,” he said.
Nikki Taylor a respiratory therapist was the winner of the brand new 2015 Chevy Colorado truck.
Congratulations Ms. Taylor.
Anup Bhandari, Sean Scott, The Thorn Family: Gabriel, Jametria, Lashuna, Terry and Keith; and Carl Darnell Sr.
Longview’s Art Walk provides artists with inspiration as well as financial support as art lovers and philanthropists come together to assist fine arts in East Texas and the less fortunate in the area.
“It was a success!” cried delighted Art Walk organizer Anup Bhandari.
The event was a heart-helping gesture to come to the aid of Longview’s homeless residents. Compassion and love radiated from the Art Walk.
The Thorn family from Newgate Mission (Gabriel, Jametria, Lashuna, Terry and Keith) were on hand to share their artful inclinations with every concerned citizen who also showed. One of the family’s paintings reads, “God’s most precious work of Art is the warmth and love of a mother’s heart.” There was lots of warmth and love at this occasion.
Another Newgate artist, Carl Darnell, Jr., uses his hands for more than holding a paint brush–he is a carpenter. He has been creating art and structure for a long time, too.
“I love doing [all of] it,” he said. “It gives me a chance to do stuff with my hands, to create stuff I have been doing since I was eight years old.”
It is also an emotional outlet for him. He draws and builds when he is aggravated and needs to let off steam.
The Art Walk is technically called the “Healing Art Project,” and serves as a drawing point for those who yearn not only to assist the less fortunate, but to congregate and share their love for art. One of the participating artists, Sean Scott, is glad he got talked into attending. “Anup talked me into it,” he said. “I immediately felt a common bond with him–just the way he spoke to me.”
While attendees were admiring his on-display works, Scott explained how he and Bhandari met three years ago, and that for Scott, meeting his new friend aroused a sense of determination to further his own career.
“I feel like a businessman sometimes,” he said. “I had a product [speaking of his artwork] and somebody wanted it.” Yet Scott’s involvement in the Art Walk runs much deeper than his own career. His desire to assist the needy is very apparent. “This is a great cause,” he said. “I am about a worthy cause. Whatever I can do to help others–I will do it.”
Bhandari goes to great lengths to explain why this project means so much to him.
“As a child I observed my father reaching out to those in need. My dad passed away several years ago, but he inspired me to help people in need,” he said. “I met so many homeless people when I started a blanket drive for the area’s homeless during the winter of 2010, and it became an annual drive. I got to know many wonderful people. I became friends with them and heard their stories.”
When Bhandari sees a homeless person he does not pass judgment. He realizes being homeless does not mean somebody is guiltless. This also does not mean they do not deserve help.
“Everybody makes mistakes in their life,” he says. “Some homeless people have mental disease, depression, bipolar, some have alcohol or drug abuse. We are all human beings. They all need help and support.”
Bhandari started working with Newgate Mission in 2011. He had the idea of starting an art class, but Newgate did not have the money to purchase art supplies.
“I went and talked to Texas Bank & Trust,” he said. “They donated $500 to buy art supplies.”
Slowly students began to arrive, and Newgate Mission held its first art show at the Longview Museum of Fine Arts, and it was a great success. The money raised from these shows is divided 50-50 between the artists and the mission. “I wanted to use my artistic skill to help others,” said. Bhandari. “My main goal is to bring hope to the homeless and send an important message that people who are suffering from homelessness are no different from the rest of us.”
He believes we all have a responsibility to help one another, and that our talents give us the opportunity to do this to the utmost. This year, the Art Walk raised $1400 for the needy.