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SHSU receives grant funding to combat nursing shortage

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HUNTSVILLE – Sam Houston State University’s School of Nursing (SON) has received a grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) as part of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief fund. The program will utilize the funds by hosting three major events this summer in an effort to address shortages in the state’s nursing pipeline, particularly the shortage of nursing faculty and simulation simulators heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Texas has the second-highest nursing shortage in the country,” said Devon Berry, director of SON. “This is all about building our capacity to meet head-on the needs of the workforce shortage that exists in the state.”

SON will hold the Simulation Educator Summer Institute as its first major event. Nursing simulation provides an opportunity for students and qualified nurses to practice responding to realistic clinical situations and assess their performances afterwards.

“We will bring in educators from all over the Greater Houston area to The Woodlands Center and work with Avkin, the industry-leader in wearable simulation technology,” Berry said. “We will be providing educators with advanced training through a three-day workshop.”

The second event will be the Preceptor Training Summer Institute, a two-day workshop. Preceptors are licensed clinicians that help students learn the nursing role.

“Similarly, we will be bringing in preceptors that work with our School of Nursing from all of our area clinical sites,” Berry said. “For the third major opportunity, we will be working with a design firm to create models for what we refer to as shared-employment between academic and practice settings.”

An academic-practice partnership, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, is a mechanism for advancing nursing practices to improve the health of the public. Such intentional and formalized relationships are based on mutual goals, respect and shared knowledge. An academic-practice partnership is developed between a nursing education program and a care setting.

THECB has dedicated $8.5 million of GEER funding through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act to alleviate the nursing faculty pipeline challenges that exist in the state.

The request for applications for the grant was published in November and the applications were due at the end of the same month. The grant period will conclude on Aug. 31.

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Coach JoJo to compete in World Championships

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By Chris Edwards
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WARREN – From setting records as a high school track and field standout to winning marathons as an adult, Amanda Jordan, a teacher and coach at Warren Junior High, has an iron resolve. Her determination is such that one of her former coaches said “you don’t let Amanda do anything. You either help her, or you get out of the way.”

Jordan, who is also an alumna of Warrior Country (Warren HS Class of 2006) received a surprise send-off last Friday afternoon in the Warren Junior High gymnasium. The venue was packed full of colleagues, family, friends and various well-wishers, and the happening was a complete surprise to the honoree. The event for which Jordan was feted was her upcoming competition at the World Championships in Ibiza, Spain.

Jordan, who is representing the United States in a duathlon event, a run-cycle-run competition, will compete this Sunday, April 30.

She qualified for the event last year, and said she is “so excited and blessed to represent the United States of America” at the World Championships.

“I am dedicating this race to my God, family, community and country,” she said.

Jordan joined the Tribe’s faculty two years ago, and coaches the Lady Warriors in volleyball, basketball and track and field. She is affectionately known as “Coach JoJo” around the district and is passionate about racing and coaching.

When Jordan competed in the qualifying rounds for the World Championships, she was clocked at the second fastest time in the nation. For her duathlon, Jordan will run a 10K, bike in a 40K race and then run a 5K. Her success in the event could result in her qualifying for the 2024 Summer Olympics,

which will be held in Paris, France.

Jordan was overjoyed by the outpouring of support at the surprise pep rally. “Whoa! I didn’t expect this,” she said to the crowd.

Her friend and colleague Sarah Mannino took to the microphone to speak about her first and said that in addition to her competitive obligations and the duties of her career, she is devoted to her family.

“If you don’t know her personally, you are missing out,” Mannino said. “Amanda and I have sat for hours and talked about her life and her training. Her stories are truly the best.”

Lin Ellis, who coached at Warren as a track and cross-country coach, spoke, and said he was immediately impressed with Jordan the first time he saw her run.

Ellis told a story of how Jordan, unbeknownst to him, ran in the state cross-country meet her senior year with a fever of 102 degrees. Jordan collapsed on the finish line, and when Ellis asked her why she did not tell him of her illness, she replied with “You wouldn’t have let me run.”

“She works like no one else you’ve ever met,” Ellis said.

Jordan said that she hopes to inspire and lead young people by teaching them how to mentally and physically tackle their goals, through consistent hard work and dedication.

The fervor of the yells for the beloved coach and educator coming from the crowd of students, faculty, staff and community members on Friday afternoon inside of the gym indicated that Jordan is, indeed, a role model and the unexpected hero’s send-off she received was well-deserved.


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Statewide tax holiday for emergency supplies, April 22-24

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AUSTIN — With the severe weather season upon us, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar reminds Texans they can purchase certain items tax-free during the state’s sales tax holiday for emergency preparation supplies, which begins at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, April 22, and ends at midnight on Monday, April 24.

“While we can’t know in advance when the next flood, tornado or hurricane may strike, we can make sure our families, homes and businesses have the supplies they need to face these and other emergencies,” Hegar said. “This tax holiday can help Texans save money while stocking up for emergency situations. Don’t wait for disaster to strike. Take the time now to get prepared.”

Hegar’s office estimates shoppers will save nearly $2 million in state and local sales taxes during the tax holiday, which was approved by the Texas Legislature in 2015.

There’s no limit on the number of qualifying items you can purchase. These include:

• household batteries, fuel containers and flashlights priced less than $75;

• hurricane shutters and emergency ladders priced less than $300; and

• portable generators priced less than $3,000.

For purchases made online, note that delivery, shipping, handling and transportation charges are part of the sales price. Consider these charges when determining whether an emergency preparation supply can be purchased tax-free during the holiday.

For example, if you purchase a rescue ladder online for $299 with a $10 delivery charge, the total sales price is $309. Because the total sales price of the ladder is more than $300, tax is due on the $309 sales price.

Purchases that do not qualify include:

• batteries for automobiles, boats and other motorized vehicles;

• camping stoves and camping supplies;

• chainsaws;

• plywood;

• extension ladders and stepladders; and tents.

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High-speed chase ends with crash

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By Chris Edwards
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MUGSHOT VenableFRED – A high-speed chase on the morning of Friday, April 7 ended with a crash of a stolen vehicle and a suspect having to make a detour at the hospital en route to jail.

Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford said that the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office received word of a stolen Chevrolet pickup truck, which was headed northbound on FM 92 from Hardin County into Tyler County. Deputies saw the truck in Fred, and when they attempted to instigate a stop, the driver, who was identified later as Christopher Allen Venable, Jr., a 25-year-old Silsbee man, headed south back toward Hardin County.

Venable lost control of the truck when he turned onto CR 4700 near Spurger and crashed into a tree. The vehicle was so mangled, according to Weatherford, that Venable had to be rescued by firefighters.

The suspect was initially taken to Tyler County Hospital for treatment of his injuries, which Weatherford described as minor, and then taken to Tyler County Jail where he was booked on a variety of charges.

Venable is still in custody on bonds set at a combined $165K.

He is being charged with evading arrest (previous conviction); unauthorized use of vehicle (two charges); assault of family/household member (previous conviction); engaging in organized criminal activity; theft of material (aluminum/bronze/copper/brass) and theft of property (greater than or equal in value to $2,500 but less than $30K).

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Toxins warning issued for fish in Neches, Steinhagen, Rayburn

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From Staff Reports

The Texas Department of State Health Services has issued an advisory related to the presence of toxins and the consumption of fish from local rivers and lakes.

Within the region, the advisory covers the Neches River from Lufkin to Evadale, along with both Steinhagen Lake (Dam B) and Lake Sam Rayburn.

The advisory said that the concern in those waters is Dioxins and Mercury.

The advisory contained the following warnings:

• Adults should limit consumption of certain fish species as indicated below. Women of childbearing age and children under 12 should not consume the indicated fishes from these waters.

  Smallmouth buffalo: Do not eat.

  Flathead catfish and gar: No more than one eight-ounce serving per month.

  Blue catfish over 30 inches long, largemouth bass over 16 inches and spotted bass over 16 inches: No more than two eight-ounce servings per month.

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