Alternate Route to Success

Jessica Youssefi, Reporter 

Students attend college for different reasons, but the desire for success is a common trait.

Whether they are using community college as a way to familiarize themselves with the nuances of college life, or as a way to re-acclimate to an academic lifestyle, community colleges around the country offer opportunities and hope for individuals looking to achieve their goals.

For some, like UT graduate and former student at Northlake Community College in Dallas, Texas, Reihaneh Haijibeigi, community college served as a segue from high school academia to college-critical curriculum.

“I took my first community college courses while I was still a high school student,” said Haijibeigi.

“The handful of courses I took allowed me to juggle many different passions without falling behind in rigorous coursework.”

Community college is known for its diversity; it is very common to find people of different ages, ethnicities and financial backgrounds.

Community college provides an avenue for students who may be facing financial difficulties, hectic schedules and apprehensions about embarking on their education.

ACC currently enrolls more than 43,000 credit students and serves an additional 15,000 students each year through non-credit programs.

Community college has been the beginning of many success stories for students who are eager to get their foot in the door of knowledge. It continues to help students, young and old, connect the bridge between just starting out in college, and preparing them for the leap to a university.

It is vital that there are adequate resources extended to people who have the desire and drive to gain an education, and the tools needed to gain success in higher education can be found within community college.

The Road of Exploration In Texas

Story and Photo by Kimber Lee Falkinburg,Contributor 

Waste deep in a cool-water pool, I waded the waters of Chinati Hot Springs nestled among the Chihuahuan Mountains just inside the Texas border. Chinati proved to be the surprise highlight of my 1,300 mile Texas adventure that began in Austin.

The springs are near to Marfa, a city known for its art scene. Marfa rose up as an art destination due to artist Donald Clarence Judd’s interest in the area. Hosting regular events in Marfa, Judd brought the New York and international art communities to area businesses. Today, the Chinati Foundation in Marfa pre-serves and presents permanent, large-scale, art installations to the public.

Economical accommodations can be found in Marfa at the Tumble-In RV Park. Travelers can park recreational vehicles, pitch tents or sleep in their cars. Wi-Fi, shower, laundry and kitchen facilities are provided. However, water and electricity are not included. Pets are allowed if kept on a leash.

Comida Future is a cafeteria located less than a mile from the RV park. It was bustling with locals on the day I visited.

“I created the cafeteria style presentation as a way to expose people to fresh, local ingredients,” owner Krista Steinhauer said. Menu items include kale Caesar salad, roasted autumn vegetables with quinoa and beets and shrimp in coconut tomatillo sauce, all of which I enjoyed immensely.

The Wrong Store is a must-see for Marfa visitors as it represents the juxtaposition of the culture and surroundings of Marfa. Buck Bosworth is the owner and curator of the store, and her husband Camp Bosworth is an artist whose works are on display there.

In Big Bend State Park, my mid-size sport utility vehicle rose to the occasion of an afternoon of explorer’s delight through Fort Leaton, up San Piedra Road, on to the Sauceda Ranger Station and a picnic at Fresno Vista overlooking the Solitario, a geological formation that covers 52 square miles. From my viewpoint, it was all spectacular.

Flora and fauna of West Texas are abundant in the hills of Big Bend State Park. With informative and courteous rangers, I would highly recommend the Saucedo Ranger Station and over-night accommodations for families seeking educational and wildlife experiences.

West Texas is a vast and beautiful landscape with many opportunities to explore and admire, and is perfect for a relaxing break from everyday life.

Important Trip Tips:

West Texas is vast and expansive. Take these seriously…

  1. Travel with a spare tire and gas can. Road- side assistance may not be available.
  2. Fill up in Junction, Marfa and Presidio. Gas stations are often few and far between.
  3. Take extra water. You should plan on consuming twice as much water as normal.
  4. Chinati Hot Springs and Big Bend State Park offer limited resources. Buy groceries in Presidio.
  5. Wear sunblock, take hiking shoes and be aware of wildlife. Mountain lions and javelinas roam the area.
  6. Radio stations are limited. Take extra equipment and CD’s unless you want total silence.
  7. To shoot pictures of stars, you need a special camera lens. Ask your local camera store.
  8. Water. Hydration is very important.
  9. Be flexible when planning. Adjustments may be necessary.
  10. Enjoy. Stay away from electronic devices and soak in the majesty around you!
Kimber Falkinburg_Road of Exploration_#18
SOUTHWESTERN CULTURE — Camp Bosworth and his wife, Buck, moved to Marfa in 2001. After renovating their adobe home and gallery, Camp began working on pieces such as the well-known La Frontera Del Norte.
Kimber Falkinburg_Road of Exploration_#39
DESERT AIRWAVES — Marfa public radio station 93.5 promotes cultural enrichment through presentation and focus on the importance of art, education, science, quality of life and the local economy.


Restaurant Review

Adriel Vigo, Contributor 

Sawyer & Co. :
4827 E. Cesar Chavez Street

For those craving a taste of Southern Louisiana, Sawyer & Co. serves traditional favorites like jambalaya, crawfish and corn bread.

Less than a 15-minute drive from the Eastview and Rio Grande campuses, the restaurant is also accessible by Capital Metro buses.

Although Sawyer & Co. serves the standard fare of burgers and salads, the daily specials such as the chicken and smoked sausage jambalaya are among the most popular menu items.

Full of flavor and soft in texture, the jambalaya is a filling dish. Only slightly spicy, it’s an easy introduction for Cajun food novices. The mashed potatoes are soft yet firm and served with Cajun gravy and steamed broccoli.

The fried pickle appetizer with jalapeno sauce is crunchy, tart and scrumptious.

ACC student Nick Lorenzen, who ordered the catfish special with french

fries and broccoli, said he is generally satisfied with the food and prices, although, “the catfish can be mushy at times.”

The restaurant provides a menu with a wide selection for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with breakfast being served all day.

Although the outside of the restaurant gives off a sleek and modern appearance, the interior has a retro feel.

A 1950s-style TV runs a loop of black-and-white footage from the ‘60s featuring familiar faces such as John F. Kennedy, while Bill Haley & His Comets can be heard in the background.

Booths and chairs under a covered pavilion provide a pleasant alternative to indoor dining, especially when the central Texas weather is moderate.

Overall, I highly recommend this restaurant. The authentic Cajun and southern food, affordable prices, friendly wait staff, retro feel and proximity to campus make Sawyer and Co. a convenient option for students.

A Merry Friggin Christmas


Joseph Van Vranken, Multimedia Editor  

“A Merry Friggin’ Christmas” tells the story of Boyd Mitchler, played by Joel McHale, whose Christmas spirit and belief in Santa Claus were stolen at a young age by his alcoholic, ill-tempered father Mitch, played by Robin Williams.

Now a father himself, Boyd slaves tirelessly to ensure that his son doesn’t experience the same holiday disenchantment.

However, when Boyd is informed of his nephew’s baptism, which is to take place on Christmas Eve, he is forced to pack up his wife and two children and return to the last place he’d want to spend Christmas — his childhood home.

Upon arriving back home, Boyd realizes he forgot to bring his son’s Christmas present. He must then make the eight-hour, round-trip drive to save Christmas before the kids wake up.

For a film about family, the characters need to be well-written, well-acted and most of all believable.

Unfortunately, the Mitchlers don’t really fit into any of those categories.

Outside of a few stand-out performances by Williams and occasionally McHale, the Mitchler family seems as if they are meeting each other for the very first time.

Most character dialog serves only as exposition, including but not limited to stopping dinner to explain what Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is and how a particular character developed it. It is clear that no one at the table is being told this for the first time. The dialog only serves to inform the viewer instead of building any kind of meaningful, let alone believable, relationships among the characters.

About 30 minutes into the film, Boyd embarks on the road trip with his father. At this point the film does pick up a little in terms of pace and interest.

Fortunately, placing the two best acted characters alone in a truck for the majority of the film helps the family dynamic just enough so that they start to appear believable. However, about half way through the road trip, the writers deem it necessary to add a third wheel to split up the father/son dynamic, after having just created it. Although the third wheel does put a damper on Williams’ and McHale’s best efforts to bring the film back, there are still a few laughs to be had during the trip itself.

Overall, “A Merry Friggin’ Christmas” doesn’t feel like the proper send off for an accomplished and beloved actor such as Robin Williams, who died earlier this year. Instead, it just feels like a mediocre Christmas flick.

Nonetheless, there are enough laughs and a sufficiently well acted performance from Williams to make the film worth renting once the Christmas season is in full swing come December, even if only to see Williams in one last leading role.

“A Merry Friggin’ Christmas” is available now for digital purchase or rental from Sycamore Pictures, with a limited theatrical release beginning November 7.


Karen Zimmermann, Contributor 

“There’s no such thing as pure black or pure white,” Thomas Hilton said, pointing to the almost-black circle in the center of a pop-art geometric piece. Hilton, the exhibition director, pointed out how there was a slight amber glare on the spot from the studio lighting above.

“So pure black and pure white are more… theoretical?” I asked.

“When you add light, yes,” Hilton said.

The theme of the Monochrome exhibition was a limited palette — not just black and white, but those were the colors featured most prominently.

Lines, contrast and an emphasis on form filled the space. In fact, visitors found themselves walking on artwork composed of light variations alone — a human shadow dominated the floor.

Sketches and black-and-white photos were a natural presence, as were several kinds of prints, which were created by using a carved material like a stamp, making art from the difference between. The presence and absence of ink on the paper created the artwork. Each three dimensional piece was a single color, not simple black or white, but one that served to summarize its character.

The paintings that did incorporate an actual color – a hue – did so with power, as they stood by the black, white and grays, forcing the viewer to really con- sider the hue.

In an accidental way, Monochrome seemed to hit just in time for Halloween. A good number of the works had a spooky sense to them: undeterminable, vaguely writhing forms, sullen women looking away, unattended life- style objects, skulls and organs.

“Black-and-white images can have a dark association,” artist Anthony Curia said. Curia, a graphic design student, displayed his print of a skull and candle in the exhibition.

The next exhibition scheduled for the Rio Grande Gallery is the ACC Art Majors Exhibition. Student artwork will be on display from Nov. 12 through Dec. 11. The annual ACC Holiday Art Sale which will feature student art is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 4.

Student Life

Hien NguyenContributor 

A delegation of six students and two staff members represented the Office of Student Life at this year’s National Association for College Activities. The conference was held in Arlington, Texas from Oct. 23 to 25.

The annual conference brings student leaders together from different colleges for professional development sessions and activities to help improve leadership and networking skills.

To participate in similar activities, students may contact the Office of Student Life on any ACC campus for more information on how to get involved.

Midterm Election Recap, ACC Outcome

Andrew Blanton, Contributor 

Gubernatorial Race 

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott defeated Democratic nominee Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, by receiving nearly 60 percent of the votes cast, making Abbott the first new governor-elect since Rick Perry took office in 2000.

Davis, who soared into the national spotlight last year after leading a 13-hour filibuster against new state abortion legislation, received just under 39 percent of the votes.

The Texas gubernatorial race resembled midterm elections across the nation where Republicans gained ground and Democrats were left to reconsider their strategies.

“Just a few minutes ago, I called Greg Abbott to congratulate him on being elected governor of this incredible state that we call home, and I wished him the best because it is in every Texan’s interest that he have a productive four years as our next governor,”

Davis said to her supporters.
In his victory speech, Abbott said, “Whether you voted for me, against me, or didn’t vote at all, I’m going to work every single day to keep Texas the best state of America.”

Davis withdrew from a campaign to be re-elected to her Fort Worth State Senate district 10 to run against Abbott. Konni Burton, R-Colleyville, defeated Democrat Libby Willis Tuesday to take the seat.

ACC Bond Election 

ACC Bond Propositions 1 and 2 were approved by voters. The college will now be able to raise nearly $400 million for projects such as district- wide renovations, construction of a new campus in Leander and land banking for a new workforce training center.

“This is a huge win for ACC, our students and the community. The voters have overwhelmingly decided to invest in the future of their college,” Jeffrey Richard, chairman of the ACC Board of Trustees, said in a press release.

Although Propositions 1 and 2 passed with 56 percent of the vote, the tax cap increase put forth in Proposition 3 was rejected. The tax cap increase would have raised the tax rate by 1 cent each in fiscal years 2016, 2018 and 2020. The increase would go toward freezing tuition rates over the next four years, hiring teachers and establishing the college’s first bachelor of science in nursing degree.

Board of Trustees Election 

Mark Williams, former Austin school board president, beat incumbent Tim Mahoney with 53 percent of the votes for Place 1. Places 2 and 3 are to be decided in a runoff elections. The ACC board consists of nine members who are elected for six year terms.