LC debaters earn sweepstakes championship at latest tournament in Louisiana

The Mendoza Debate Society truly let the good times roll at the 16th annual Mardi Gras Classic tournament at Louisiana State University, winning fifteen awards and honors against top teams in the South and earning the fourth Overall Tournament Sweepstakes Championship of the 2015-16 competition season.

Despite taking a partial squad of only eight debaters, Lee College dominated the Mardi Gras competition by being named Debate Sweepstakes Champions and Top Community College after battling head-to-head with teams from the University of Oklahoma; University of Southern Mississippi; Louisiana State University; LSU-Shreveport; and Prairie View A&M University. It also marked the second consecutive time that LC debaters earned the Overall Tournament Sweepstakes Championship.

The debate duos of Kyle Diamond and Rigo Ruiz and Emmanuel Perez and Josh Lyrock finished as Team Debate Co-Champions, and Diamond was also the Varsity Debate Champion for the tournament. Carley Anderson, in only her second tournament with the Mendoza Debate Society, was named both Junior Varsity Debate Champion and Junior Varsity Debate Speaking Champion. In addition:

  • Ruiz earned second-place honors in Varsity Debate Speaking and finished as a Varsity Debate Semifinalist;
  • Diamond was fourth place Place in Team Debate Speaking;
  • Perez took home second place in Team Debate Speaking;
  • Lyrock finished third in Varsity Debate Speaking;
  • Cody Buchanan was fourth in Novice Debate Speaking and a Novice Debate Semifinalist; and,
  • John Prochazka was a Junior Varsity Semifinalist.

Lee College continues to lengthen its lead in the 2015/2016 IPDA Community College Season Rankings, with the No. 1  IPDA Team Debate duo, No. 1 IPDA Varsity Debater, No. 1  Team IPDA Debate Speaker and the No. 1 IPDA Junior Varsity Debater in the nation.  These national rankings are comprised of nearly 200 intercollegiate member programs across 30 states.

Lee College has also been the most prolific two-year college program in the nation since 2013, winning back-to-back IPDA National Community College Championships as well as besting the best programs in the Ivy and Colonial Leagues in the 2015 James Madison Cup Debates.

The Mendoza Debate Society will return to competition Feb. 19-21, 2016, at Bossier Parish Community College’s “Eddy Shell Invitational” in Bossier City, La. To close out the season, Lee College will host the International Public Debate Association National Championship Tournament in April 2016. For more information, contact Director of Forensics Joe Ganakos at or at 281.425-6502.

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Look who’s coming back! Asleep at the Wheel headlining the PAC on Feb. 27

When Asleep at the Wheel first played at Lee College, a sold-out crowd packed into the Performing Arts Center (PAC) to hear the Grammy Award-winning take on the classic western swing style born in Texas. With a second show set for Saturday, Feb. 27, and a set list featuring new songs inspired by western swing originators Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, the chart-topping country crooners are hoping to repeat their PAC success.

Asleep at the Wheel will hit the main stage at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $45-65 and available for purchase online, or by calling the Box Office at 281.425.6255.

It all started when Ray Benson, Floyd Domino and Lucky Oceans — along with a Vermont farm boy named Leroy Preston, Virginian Chris O’Connell and Gene Dobkin, a bass player and fellow classmate of Benson’s from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio — joined forces in West Virginia. They began with a simple goal: to play and help revive American roots music.

Since their inception more than 45 years ago, Asleep at the Wheel has won nine Grammy awards, released more than 20 studio albums and charted more than 20 singles on the Billboard country charts. In March 2015 they released “Still The King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys,” on Austin-based Bismeaux Records, owned by front man Benson. The album is the band’s third salute to Wills, featuring notable cameos from rising Americana stars like The Avett Brothers and Old Crow Medicine Show, as well as longtime country legends like Willie Nelson and George Strait. Read a Rolling Stone review of the new music here.

“It’s been an amazing ride. From Paw Paw to San Francisco to Austin, we’ve seen it all,” Benson said. “But, rest assured, there is still so many exciting projects in the works  …The Wheel keeps rolling!”

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Student group registers nearly 70 new voters through campus drives

When the members of PHOENIX: Women Rising decided to host a series of voter registration drives on campus, they hoped to prepare their peers and community for the March 1 presidential primary elections — and helped nearly 70 people join the Texas voter rolls in the process.

“This is what we were hoping for,” said Abby Vernier, public relations chairwoman for PHOENIX, a student organization that supports the academic, professional and personal endeavors of women. “We had a pretty good turnout and will likely hold voter registration drives in the future.”

The group offered assistance with registration from Jan. 26-28 to members of the campus community and the public  at large. To be eligible to vote in the upcoming primary, registrants had to send their applications to the Texas Secretary of State within 30 days of election day.

“Every voice counts,” said Micah Craft,  PHOENIX president. “We want all students to have the chance to be heard in our electoral process.”

Missed the campus voter registration drives, but still want more information about registering to vote in Texas? Get started today.

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Weekly Wellness from Jason Summers

10 Foods That Fight Allergies

By Zyana Morris

Taking antihistamines is the most common way to ward off seasonal allergies; however, there are certain foods that can help you alleviate the symptoms of a runny nose, sneezing, congestion and watery eyes. Some foods have anti-allergic properties mainly due to their anti-inflammatory, decongestant and bronchodilator effects.

Generally, a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables and nuts proves to be beneficial for fighting most conditions including allergies.
Here are a few foods that have anti-allergy properties:

1. Foods rich in quercetin: A bioflavonoid which has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-histamine properties. It works by stabilizing the cell membranes of mast cells and basophils, thereby preventing the release of histamine. Good sources of quercetin include onions, apples, berries, cabbage, cauliflower, and green and black teas. Research has proved that consuming diets rich in quercetin lowers the risk of certain cancers, blood pressure and hence the risk of heart disease and improves lung functioning.

2. Walnuts and flaxseeds: These are good sources of plant based omega 3 fatty acids. A high intake of omega 3 fatty acids is associated with decreased risk of allergies especially the ones due to bad dietary habits. If you are not allergic to fish- salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel, sardines and anchovies are rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids too. Be careful while eating fish as they may have high levels of mercury. Ground flaxseeds, flaxseed oil and anchovies also have a high selenium content which is a mineral with anti-allergy properties

3. Magnesium-rich foods: Cashews, almonds and kelp have excellent allergy relief effects as magnesium is an antihistamine and bronchodilator. It relaxes the muscles of the bronchial tubes and of the whole body. A study conducted on animals exposed to allergens found higher levels of histamine in those with magnesium deficiency than those with adequate magnesium levels in their bloodstream.

4. Turmeric: This native Indian spice used mainly in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine has many medicinal properties. This bright yellow colored spice contains curcumin, a powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory substance. Fresh or dried turmeric can be used to flavor foods like meat, fish, curries, rice, pastas, salad dressings, stews and vegetables or you can take supplements depending upon your lifestyle.

5. Fresh fruits and vegetables: Green vegetables and citrus fruits like lemons and oranges contain hesperitin/hesperidin. Both are potent phytonutrients, (hesperidin is bound to a sugar molecule) having anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, cholesterol lowering, anti-carcinogenic and anti-histamine effects. A research study that studied the diet of children over a year concluded that children who ate raw vegetables and citrus fruits were less likely to suffer from wheezing, shortness of breath and hay fever than children who ate white bread, margarine and processed foods.

6. Garlic: Garlic is known to have many curative properties since ancient times and this super food has been used to cure a wide range of ailments. Garlic, apart from improving heart health by lowering cholesterol, reducing blood pressure and preventing and treating cancer, can also help reduce allergic reactions. The ability of garlic to hinder the effect of certain enzymes that produce inflammatory compounds namely thromboxane and prostaglandins can help prevent allergy. Apart from this, garlic also contains a fair amount of vitamin C and selenium, both of which have anti-allergy effects.

7. Spices: Horseradish, fennel, anise and hot mustard have a sinus clearing effect and act as natural decongestants, by stimulating the mucosal cilia to break up congestion, hence relieving allergies. You can add them to spicy foods and look up recipes that include them when you start feeling stuffy.

8. Vitamin C-rich fruits: Oranges, apples, watermelon, strawberries etc. can help relieve symptoms like hives and itchiness as it prevents histamine release, helps breakdown histamine faster once released, reduces swelling as it has anti-oxidant effects that counteracts the effects of free radicals. Supplements or Vitamin C tablets can be taken to alleviate allergy symptoms.

9. Green tea: Normally used to aid in weight loss, catechins (the chemical compound found in green tea) is also known to inhibit the enzyme responsible for converting histidine to histamine. Use loose green tealeaves instead of tea bags and let it stand for five minutes. To enhance the absorption and availability of catechins in the body, complement it with a substance rich vitamin C like lemon, fruit juice etc.

10. Purplish-red colored foods: Beets, cherries, berries, red and dark purple grapes are rich in anthocyanin, a natural anti-inflammatory agent, thus reducing allergies. Increased intakes of anthocyanins from fruit and vegetables also reduce blood vessel hardening and improve overall heart health.


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College set to reveal McNair Center expansion Thursday at grand opening

Lee College will celebrate this Thursday, Feb. 4, the opening of the 50,000-square-foot expansion of the McNair Center, where students will receive hands-on technical and industrial training for well-paying careers in the booming petrochemical and construction industries.

The grand opening ceremony will be held from 5-7 p.m., at the McNair Center, which is located along Interstate 10 and easily accessible from all points of the Lee College service area. The event is free, and members of the public are welcome to attend.

Nearly 200 community members, education and business leaders and other supporters joined Lee College in December 2014 to break ground on the $12 million McNair Center expansion, which will house existing programs in machining, millwrighting, pipefitting and welding. Students will train with the latest tools of the trade in a state-of-the-art industrial environment closely modeled after what they will find upon entering the workforce. Welders, pipefitters, millwrights and machinists earn a median salary of $18-24 per hour, and have the potential to earn as much as $75,000 annually with a two-year degree.

Lee College has earned national recognition for its high-value curriculum that prepares students for high-paying positions in the petrochemical industry and related sectors. Brookings Institution ranked the college second in the nation for contributing to the economic success of its graduates, finding that Lee College alumni earn an average salary of $69,000 by the time they reach the midpoint of their careers.

Lee College is also the lead institution in the Community College Petrochemical Initiative (CCPI), an ExxonMobil-funded collaboration between the nine Texas Gulf Coast community colleges to help recruit and train new generations of skilled workers needed in the region.

The McNair Center first opened in 2008 and quickly outgrew the available space, prompting an initial renovation that was completed in 2011. The latest expansion project was funded through a bond issue approved in 2013 by 72 percent of voters.


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University reps to talk transfer requirements Thursday at College Day 2016

Representatives from the University of Texas System, Texas A&M University System and more than a dozen other universities across the state and beyond will be on campus Thursday, Feb. 4, for College Day, the annual event where students and their families can learn more about how best to prepare to transfer for a bachelor’s degree.

College Day 2016 will be held from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., in Rundell Hall. The event is free and open to the public, and all school districts in the Lee College service area are especially invited to attend.

Institutions that have confirmed participation in College Day include: The Art Institutes; Dallas Baptist University; East Texas Baptist University; Grantham University; Howard Payne University; Sam Houston State University; Tarleton State University; Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi; Texas Southern University; Universidad de la Americas Puebla; University of Houston Clear Lake; University of Texas at Austin; and the University of Texas at Dallas.

The Texas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers presents College Day each year. Refreshments will be served, and there will be prize drawings and goodie bag giveaways. For more information, contact Sharon Sampson at 281.425.6384 or

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Celebrate Black History Month with events & activities throughout February

After opening Black History Month with a sold-out improv comedy show featuring talented black performers from Houston, Lee College will continue its celebration of African-American culture and contributions with film screenings, a read-in, an open mic night, a fashion show and a theatrical tribute to great black inventors.

Make plans to attend these Black History Month activities, sponsored by International Education and the Reaching Excellence Against Limitations (R.E.A.L.) student organization:

Opening Reception
Tuesday, Feb. 9
2 p.m., Lee College Library

Movie screening: “Selma”
Wednesday, Feb. 10
2 pm., Edythe Old Studio

Documentary screening: “Thomlinson Hill”
Tuesday, Feb. 16
2 p.m., John Britt Hall 118

Open Mic Night
Tuesday, Feb. 16
6 p.m., PAC Black Box Theatre

“My Black is Beautiful” Fashion Show
Sunday, Feb. 21
3 p.m., Rundell Hall Conference Center

Read-In (Organized by Ray Whitlow, instructor)
Monday, Feb. 22
3 p.m., Edythe Old Studio

“I Am First:” Paying Tribute to Great Black Inventors
Tuesday, Feb. 23
6 p.m., Tucker Hall

Movie screening: “Skin”
Monday, Feb. 29
2 p.m., Edythe Old Studio

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Rebel Rousing: Employee kudos, news, views, hires & resignations

Congratulations to Delma Garcia, business operations manager at the Center for Workforce and Community Development, on her December 2015 graduation from Texas Woman’s University. She earned a Master of Business Administration degree and finished her studies with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

What an incredible accomplishment, Delma! Your Lee College family is proud of you.



Ehab Mustafa, director of the Lee College Veteran’s Center, will be the guest speaker this week for the meeting of the Goose Creek chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The organization collects gifts for veterans at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, which the college Veteran’s Center has also been actively involved in assisting.

Knock them dead, Ehab, and thanks for representing Lee College!


Kudos to the following members of the Texas Community College Teachers Association (TCCTA) who won door prizes during Professional Development Week:

Tamera Gross
Paul Lucke
Kim Martin
Marice Ivey
Karen Guthmiller
Jeff Earleywine
Gary Denson
Jack Baker
Maggie Barclay
Channell Cook

Did you know that Lee College will pay the registration fee if you want to attend the 69th annual TCCTA Convention, being held from Feb. 25-27 at the Westin Galleria in Houston? There’s still time to sign up to participate! Contact TCCTA campus representatives Jill Gos ( or DeDe Griffith ( for more information.


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Weekly Wellness from Jason Summers

Are You a Tooth Grinder? How To Prevent Worsening Symptoms

By Megan Minogue

Headaches, cracked teeth and sleep disturbance: Bruxism can take a heavy toll on a person’s quality of life. Treatment methods for bruxism are as varied as its causes, and now even Botox has been called into the battle against the painful disorder.

Bruxism is a condition in which you grind or clench your teeth, usually without even being aware of it. It affects about 8 to 10 percent of all adults, and its symptoms include:

– Aching or tight jaw muscles
– Headaches or facial pain
– Swollen gums
– Sensitive teeth

The human jaw is controlled by powerful muscles, and the pressure on the teeth during involuntary grinding can be as much as 20 times more severe than the pressure exerted during every day chewing or biting. A New York Times article described the force exerted during nighttime teeth grinding as, “Like a large football player standing on the tooth.” In light of that, it’s no surprise that bruxism can lead to chipped and cracked teeth as well as a host of other problems. Fortunately, wearing a mouth-guard to protect the teeth during the night is a simple and effective way to prevent further tooth damage.

Night and Day

Bruxism isn’t only a nighttime problem. If you unconsciously clench your teeth during the day, you can also suffer similar side effects to those who grind their teeth when they’re asleep. Bruxism during sleep often accompanies other sleep disorders like snoring or sleep apnea. If you’re a nighttime grinder, you may not have any idea you do it until your partner tells you what’s going on. Some people only find out that they grind their teeth after they seek help for headaches or jaw aches.

Beauty and the Bite

Botox injections are now being used to help tooth grinders. While Botox may be more commonly considered a tool in the quest for the appearance of eternal youth, a number of studies have shown it also to be an effective treatment for bruxism.

Botox is botulinum toxin type A, which is a purified form of the botulism toxin. When injected into a muscle, it prevents the release of chemicals that allow for communication between nerves and muscle, causing that muscle to relax.

Botox helps with bruxism by relaxing specific jaw muscles and stopping the involuntary clenching of those muscles. The effects are often immediate and can last up to four months. Since learning to relax your face and jaw is part of the standard treatment for bruxism, Botox is an aid in this area of treatment when other alternatives are unsuccessful. If Botox is done correctly to treat bruxism, it shouldn’t have any effect on the patient’s facial expression since it is injected into the masseter muscles of the jaw which don’t affect a great smile.

What Causes It?

The causes of bruxism haven’t been definitively proved. However, the condition has been linked to both psychological and physical causes that may include:

– Emotional issues like stress, anxiety and anger.
– Certain personality types: People who tend to be naturally aggressive or hyperactive often exhibit teeth grinding.
– Upper and lower teeth that aren’t in proper alignment.
– Use of caffeine or cigarettes.
– Taking antidepressants or other psychiatric medications. Bruxism can be a side effect although it’s uncommon.

How to Treat It

Since there are many other lifestyle modifications that can made to treat bruxism, botox should always be a last resort. Overall relaxation and meditation may play a significant role in reducing the condition. Enjoying a warm bath at night may help to induce a relaxed state. Other steps to consider include:

– Going to counseling or therapy to resolve problems with anger or anxiety.
– Learning relaxation techniques.
– Limiting or avoiding alcohol may help reduce bruxism.
– Having the bite adjusted, possibly through orthodontics or other measures, if the tooth grinder has an irregular bite.
– Wearing a protective mouth-guard at night.
– Avoiding hard foods like candies and steak.

There’s no definitive cure for every case of bruxism. Sufferers may have to try a variety of treatments before they find what that works for them. Relaxation may help in simple cases, but more persistent tooth grinding will probably require the use of a mouth-guard. A great place to get started is at your dentist’s office to seek advice on how to proceed.

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Bluegrass band The Hillbenders ready to bring ‘rock opry’ to the PAC stage

The Hillbenders – a chart-topping quintet of bluegrass musicians from the heart of the Missouri Ozarks – will perform their genre-blending take on The Who’s classic rock album “Tommy” this month at the Performing Arts Center.

“Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry” will hit the PAC main stage at 7:30 p.m., this Saturday, Jan. 30. Tickets for the show are available for purchase online at or by calling the Box Office at 281.425.6255.

Released in June 2015, “Tommy” is The Hillbenders’ third album on Nashville-based Compass Records. The full-length bluegrass tribute was conceived and produced by South by Southwest co-founder and music producer Louis Jay Myers, who wanted to put a new spin on Pete Townshend’s legendary rock opera – complete with the sounds of a banjo, dobro, mandolin, bass and guitar.

Already known around the country for expertly bridging the gap between bluegrass and more common musical genres, The Hillbenders were the ideal band for the project. The ambitious group defies traditional hillbilly stigmas by exploring their interests in rock, jazz, funk and Americana with raw talent and undeniable charisma.

“With our widely varied influences, we’re all trying to bring in songs that unify,” said lead singer and mandolinist Nolan Lawrence. “We wanted to pair bluegrass with the other American music we grew up with – rock and roll. If the music isn’t played with intensity, you can tell. You have to play the music with passion or it just isn’t going to sound right.”

Lawrence shares the stage with the same band members who helped form The Hillbenders in 2008: cousins Jim and Gary Rea on guitar and bass; Mark Cassidy on banjo; and Chad “Gravy Boat” Graves on dobro. The band is a favorite on the bluegrass festival circuit, wowing crowds with their high-octane performances, tight harmonies and instrumental prowess.

For more information about The Hillbenders and “Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry” at the PAC, contact the Box Office.

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