Evince Magazine July 2016: 20th Anniversary Edition

Interview, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

I had the opportunity to intern this past summer with Evince Magazine. Evince Magazine is a monthly news magazine covering the arts, entertainment, education, economic development, and lifestyle in Danville, Virginia and the surrounding areas. Evince Magazine is printed and distributed free of charge. Check out one of my stories from the July 2016 issue, titled “Mark & Wendy Hermann: Seeing Potential and Realizing Dreams.” It was featured on the cover of the magazine for that month’s issue. You can also read the article down below.

Dr. Mark Hermann attended college at Emory University in Atlanta, received his medical degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and completed his orthopedic residency training in Charlotte, North Carolina. The next move for Mark, wife Wendy, and newborn daughter Mackenzie was to Danville. He explains why, “The practice [Danville Orthopedic Clinic] and the town seemed like it had a lot of opportunity for growth. I felt like it was small enough that I could be part of change, but large enough to be significant and exciting.” Wendy shares similar sentiments, “We were impressed with the kindness of the people we interviewed and sensed it would be a great place to raise a family.”

During the two-and-a-half decades that the Hermanns have lived in Danville, their family grew. Joining first-born Mackenzie, who is now 26 and works in commercial real estate in Denver, is a sister, Chelsea, 24, who works in New York City, and a brother, Gavin, 22, a senior at Western State Colorado University. During their children’s younger years, the family spent a lot of time together. Their love of the outdoors included cycling, camping, mountain climbing and kayaking. “Our favorite memories with our family are those spent cycling in Italy, rafting the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho, mountaineering in Ecuador and spending time at Bald Head Island,” comments Wendy. Mark interjects, “We have always felt that providing our children with the opportunity to travel and experience new and unfamiliar people and cultures was far more important than material possessions. By doing this as a family, we have watched our children grow to be independent yet value our collective memories. Whenever we would go camping or do anything outdoors, any conflict they had would disappear.”

The children are adults now and there is more time to focus on other pursuits. For Mark, that is Spectrum Medical Center formerly known as Danville Orthopedic Clinic. Not only did the organization’s name change in April, but the new location for the clinic in the River District is currently undergoing extensive rehabilitation. Mark is the president and managing partner of a 10-member group consisting of six medical partners and four local businessmen who are developing the River District Tower at the corner of Main and Bridge Streets. When the renovations on the historic building are complete in early 2017, the top two floors will be home to Spectrum Medical. Danville Regional Medical Center will occupy the second floor and the ground floor will contain mixed commercial tenant space. The north annex will become the site of a new dining venue including an outdoor deck overlooking the Dan River.

This renovation project has encountered many obstacles over the past six years and Mark admits that rehabbing an historic building is not for the faint of heart. He explains why the development group accepted the challenge, “We chose to renovate because we were excited about the possibilities of this building and its impact on the future of the community.  It was a choice that met many challenges, but will offer a final product that is unique and exciting.  It is far easier to build new, however, and thus it (rehabbing) is a choice that many abandon.  Historic rehab facilities are incredibly interesting and have a special place in preserving history, but it is difficult for private groups to make this workable.  I am glad we were able to succeed.” With the finish almost in sight, Mark remains optimistic about what the future holds.

Medicine is extremely challenging in so many ways, in terms of the way it is delivered and the economics of it. It can be spirit-breaking,” he admits, but quickly adds, “However, this move and our name change is our chance to energize our entire practice. It is an opportunity for us to realize the dreams and goals we all have shared.” And with that statement, a smile appears on Mark Hermann’s face. He knows the best is yet to come, and that is why that move to Danville in 1990 was fortunate for all of us.

  • Spectrum Medical provides a full range of musculoskeletal services including general orthopedics and surgery, physical therapy, clinical research, rheumatology, pain management, spinal surgery, sports rehab, and sports medicine. Offices in Danville are at 125 Executive Drive and 800 Memorial Drive and at 1075 Spruce Street in Martinsville. The new River District Tower will bring all their clinical operations in Danville under one roof. For more information, visit http://www.spectrummed.com or call 434.793.4711 in Danville and 276.790.3233 in Martinsville.

  • The building at 201 Bridge Street, the new home for Spectrum Medical, contains within its 1915 and 1920 façade, the 1882 Mill #1 of Riverside Cotton Mills, which became Dan River Mills in 1946. It was the only textile mill within the Tobacco Warehouse District and was last used by the Dan River Mills Research Division.

Evince Magazine July Issue 2016: What Happened in 1996

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

I had the opportunity to intern in Summer 2016 with Evince Magazine. Evince Magazine is a monthly news magazine covering the arts, entertainment, education, economic development, and lifestyle in Danville, Virginia and the surrounding areas. Evince Magazine is printed and distributed free of charge. Check out one of my stories from the July 2016 issue, titled “What Else Happened in 1996?” You can also read the article down below.

What Else Happened in 1996?

In addition to Evince being printed for the first time, here are some of the major stories in the Danville area 20 years ago.

The Blizzard of ’96:

During the first weekend of January, a major winter storm hit Danville. About one foot of snow fell in the city while almost twice that amount covered areas just outside the city limits. Local schools were closed for a week.

George Washington High School Wins Basketball State Championship:

In March, the Eagles defeated Hopewell in the state finals in Lynchburg. The team finished the season ranked #4 in the USA Today Final Poll with a record of 28-0. The victory also marked the end GW coach Harry Johnson’s 20 year career.

Hurricane Fran Caused $50 Million In Damage:

Hurricane Fran caused $50 million in damage across Southside and Caswell County, North Carolina in early September. Heavy rain from Fran added to previous precipitation and brought the Dan River out of its banks. Official feared that the Dan River would reach record flood level but luckily that didn’t happen. Trees were uprooted and power lines fell. Thousands of people lost power, some from more than a week.

Twin Springs Elementary School and Gretna Elementary School Opened:

In September, two new local elementary schools opened: Twin Springs Elementary, in Mount Hermon, and Gretna Elementary. The schools were built with funds from a $23.5 million bond issue that was approved by country voters in May 1993.

The Danville Science Center Enjoyed Its First Full Year:

After opening in late December 1995 amid much fan-fare, the Danville Science Center really blossomed during its first full year. In 1996 alone, more than 400 local members signed up to support the facility, more than 100 people volunteered their time in varying capacities, and that May alone, about 1,800 school children toured the center.

Milton, N.C. Celebrated Its 200th Birthday:

The town of 216 people celebrated its bicentennial with proclamations, music and lights. The town was chartered by the state on Dec. 23, 1796, “to establish a Town and inspection of Tobacco and flour in Caswell County, near the mouth of Country Line creek on the land of Asa Thomas,” according to the town’s charter.


Wizards Introduce New Head Coach Scott Brooks


Picture taken by Bryna Kramer

(This article was originally written for WizardsXtra)

The Washington Wizards officially introduced Scott Brooks as the franchise’s new head coach during a press conference Wednesday afternoon at the Verizon Center.

The Wizards and Brooks agreed to terms last Thursday after Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld and Vice President Tommy Sheppard visited Brooks in California to seal the deal. According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, both parties agreed to a five-year deal worth $35 million. Brooks, 50, is now one of the six highest-paid coaches in the NBA.

During his time as the head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder, he had a .620 winning percentage during the regular season and made three trips to the Western Conference Finals plus a trip to the NBA Finals in 2012. He was also named the NBA’s coach of the year in 2010.

Here’s a summary of the major points from today’s press conference:

On hiring Brooks:

Grunfeld, who spoke first at the press conference, said that Brooks was the organization’s top candidate. “We just felt like he was right coach for our situation,” he said. “His record speaks for itself. He’s been where we want to be and where we want to go to.”

Ted Leonsis, the majority owner of the Washington Wizards, echoed these sentiments. “Ernie and I really believe that this was the right hire for our team,” he said. “We thought that, in this off-season, bringing Scott in, who was the most sought after coach out there, was the right thing to do.” 

On Brooks’ decision to sign with the Wizards now rather than waiting:

Brooks took last season off after he coached the Oklahoma City Thunder for six-plus seasons.

During this time away from the game, Brooks said he had “the luxury to really reflect on the things I’ve done in the past, and what I want to accomplish in the future.”

He said he came away from this time off knowing that “you have to have an outstanding owner, and we have that in Ted, you have to have a great leader in your general manager and president, and we have that in Ernie, and you have to have a great roster.”

Brooks said he looked at these things and realized that this is the team, when it became available, that he wanted. “I got everything I wanted. I wasn’t looking for anything else. This is where I wanted to be.”

On Brooks’ coaching style and player development:

One of the issues with the Wizards’ squad this past season was that all players were supposedly not being held accountable. When asked about this and what Brooks would do to change this culture, he said, “I love our players and you have to hold your players accountable.  But I always felt that the best teams in the history of this great sport have been teams that have held each other accountable. We will have that and we will work on it on a daily basis.”

Brooks, prior to joining the Wizards, had a reputation is being a players’ coach; he is credited with helping develop the likes of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka. However, he was regularly criticized for his offensive sets, lineup configurations and substitution patterns.

In terms of his plans for player development with the Wizards, Brooks said, “I love developing players … Once we are all committed to being an NBA player, we’re NBA players. Once you get drafted or you get picked up, you’re an NBA player. I’ll coach everybody from the guy that plays the most minutes to the guy that doesn’t play a lot minutes. I will coach them with every thing I have and I will build a staff that believes in the same philosophies that I believe.”

Brooks elaborated on the what that looks like: “Developing players isn’t just on the court. It’s off the court, its in the film room, its in how you talk to each other. It’s a variety of things… it’s challenging at times.” 

On John Wall:

With John Wall being the leader of the Wizards, Brooks was asked about his expectations for the three-time all star. He said that he expects all players, including John, to come back after this summer as better players. “I think John has another level. He’s been a three time All-Star. That’s incredible in itself… He has another level. Maybe even two or three more level.”

Brooks elaborated on this by specifically talking about his relationship with Wall moving forward: “Point guards are the coach on the floor. We will have a connection. We won’t agree on everything. But John and the rest of the guys will understand one thing, that we will find the best way to move forward in all situations. A lot of times it won’t be my way, it’ll be our way.”


Eventually, someone asked question on everyone’s mind: Is Brooks going to help sign upcoming free-agent Kevin Durant?

Brooks and Durant’s close relationship has sparked speculation that he was hired solely to help lure Durant back home to Washington this summer. Prior to the press conference, Grunfeld made it clear that he hired Brooks for reasons other than Durant; he wanted a coach that could foster the Wizards core’s development, rekindle their defensive identity, and had experience winning.

At the press conference, Brooks deftly avoided the question by focusing on the current team. “I’m excited about the team,” he said. “This is a great group of guys. I understand the question, but I’m excited about the group of guys we have here.”

On Washington, D.C. and Wizards’ fans:

Another topic at the Brooks was the Washington, D.C. community, specifically his thoughts on the impact he might have in the community.

“I love [the DMV area],” he said. “This has always been one of my favorite places to play as a player and as to coach in this great community. It’s a great fan base. They love their basketball. I’m thrilled and excited, honored and humbled to be in this community.” 

Later on, he ended the press conference by answering a question about Wizards’ fans, specifically why fans should not give up on the team after they did not make the playoffs. “Fans deserve to have a team that competes every year in the playoffs. We’ve had great fans over the years. We will put a product on the floor that they can be proud of, because that’s important. It’s important for our players to understand that our job is to play hard for our fans every night. This market is incredible. We have a global fan base and we can reach all over the world. We have an obligation, night in and night out, to play at the level that we are capable of playing at. I’m looking forward to continuing to connect our team with our fans.”

Can DC Rise Once Again?


John Wall, point guard for the Washington Wizards, prepares to shoot a free-throw in a game against the Houston Rockets on March 29, 2015. (By Bryna Kramer)

(This article was originally written as an assignment for my Digital Skills class.)

Despite a losing record since the All-Star break ended, the Wizards were able to officially clinch a playoff spot on Monday, March 30th when the Charlotte Hornets lost to the Boston Celtics, 116-104. This didn’t come as a surprise seeing as last season they qualified for playoffs for the first time in six years.

But, there is a huge difference between where the team is now with only a few games remaining in the regular season and where they were at this same point last season.

The Wizards went 18-11 after the All-Star break in the 2013-14 season. The current season is not quite over yet. But so far, the Wizards have gone 11-12 since this year’s All-Star break ended.

Last year’s team was on an upward path that led them to a first-round upset of the Chicago Bulls and pushed the number one seed Indiana Pacers to six games in the second round of the playoffs. This year’s team is slowly limping to the finish line.

The team’s recent play has left people to ask:

What has gone wrong for the Wizards, particularly in the second half of the season?

One of the biggest problems for Washington this season has been injuries. Bradley Beal has not been able to play consistently this season due to multiple injuries. He missed the first nine games due to a broken left wrist and eight more games in the middle of the season due to a mild stress reaction in his right leg. Kris Humphries missed 16 games after the All-Star break due to a groin injury. Garrett Temple has been out for the last 12 games due to a right hamstring strain. Martell Webster also missed the first 30 games while he was recovering from an off-season back surgery.

This does not even count all of the minor injuries that other players sustained throughout the season.

Another major problem has been their ability to regularly defeat quality teams. For the season, Washington is 12-22 against teams with a .500-or-better record. They are also a combined 3-10 against Eastern Conference contenders Atlanta (0-3), Cleveland (1-2), Toronto (0-3) and Chicago (2-2), all of which they have a chance of facing off with again in the playoffs.

The Wizards’ play this season, especially over the past two months, has left many fans with mixed feelings.

Brendan Smith, a longtime Wizards fan, said, “Their play really took a decline after the All-Star break. Losing to the likes of Minnesota and Philadelphia in a row just isn’t acceptable.”

Other fans, like David Dunn, disagree. “Wizards season appears to be a tale of two seasons, but it was actually one of consistency,” Dunn said. “Take out the outliers, and the team performed up to their talent level. This allowed them to dominate bad teams, compete with mid-tier teams, and struggle against the cream of the crop.”

However, most fans agree that the Wizards have to improve their game for the playoffs.

“To be successful in playoffs this year, the defense and just general effort needs to increase and Bradley Beal is going to have to have some of the progression that we all expected out of him this year,” Christopher Thompson, a lifelong Wizards fan, said.

If the Wizards cannot escape their troubles from the regular season, then it is possible that DC will not rise again this season.

Celebrities As The Face of Feminism


(This article was one I originally wrote for The American Word)

Feminism seems to be in the news a lot lately; the news focuses on a different celebrity’s opinion about feminism and women’s rights every other day. Within the last week, Carly Fiorina, the only woman in the Republican presidential field, blasted a “progressive view” of feminism, saying that it isn’t working. Teen star Zendaya also was in the news this week for sharing her personal definition of feminism.

But what is feminism? Feminism is defined by Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary as “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” Essentially, it means that you believe that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.

The reason this subject continues to get so much press is because, while many of celebrities clearly believe in what feminism means, many of them still shy away from the term.

There is a slew of celebrities who suffer from a fear of the “f-word.” Celebrities like Carrie Underwood have actually acknowledged that part of the reason they do not call themselves feminists is because of the stigma often associated with this word. “I wouldn’t go so far as to say I am a feminist, that can come off as a negative connotation. But I am a strong female,” said Underwood. There are also some stars who are more than a little confused as to what the term really means, like Taylor Swift. “I don’t really think about things as guys versus girls. I never have. I was raised by parents who brought me up to think if you work as hard as guys, you can go far in life.”

At the same time, many celebrities have embraced the term “feminism” and have called themselves feminists. Ellen Page does not understand “why people are so reluctant to say they’re feminists. Maybe some women just don’t care. But how could it be any more obvious that we still live in a patriarchal world when feminism is a bad word?” Others like Lena Dunham have acknowledged that “women saying ‘I’m not a feminist’ is [her] greatest pet peeve.”

This leads to the question: is it important for celebrities to publicly say that they are feminists?

There are two sides to this issue: the first claims that celebrities’ power and tendency to be in the spotlight can be used to further important conversations and the second side says that the same power makes the celebrities themselves the focus of the conversations instead.

It is important, though, to ask these celebrities why they are feminists; many members of society are actually interested in creating a productive dialogue about this subject and the power that celebrities have provides the platform for this conversation to take place. While celebrities won’t be criticized by these members for saying that “I’m not a feminist,” they might be criticized for what comes after the word “because,” simply because, as Amanda Duberman of the Huffington Post stated, “the ‘what’ is the headline, but the “why” is the teachable moment.”

At the same time, we also have to be aware of the celebrities themselves becoming the central focus of these comments as opposed to what they’re actually saying. Celebrities are increasingly becoming a part of an effort to re-brand feminism, as if there is the perfect combination of words and images that will make the issue of gender equality more appealing to the masses and erase the stigma behind the “f-word.”

The logic is that we are more likely to embrace feminism and feminist messages when they are delivered in the right “package.” This package is one that generally includes youth and a particular kind of beauty and fame, things that most celebrities encompass.

In my opinion, this side of feminism is the side that has the most problems. A lot of people are willfully ignorant about anything regarding feminism, including what the word means and what the movement aims to achieve. However, a pretty young woman mentions feminism, and all of a sudden that broad ignorance disappears or is set aside because, at last, we have a more tolerable voice proclaiming the very messages feminism has been trying to impart for so long.

As long as we continue to focus on who the next celebrity feminist might be and how they might package this message, then we avoid discussing the real problems and inequalities that women face, not just in the United States, but all across the world.

When we as a society focus on celebrity feminists as the subject of our news and not what they are saying, we are choosing to avoid having the difficult conversations about the pay gap, the all-too-often sexist music we listen to, the limited reproductive freedom women are allowed to exercise, and the continuous sexual harassment and violence too many women face, especially on college campuses. In reality, the only way to bring about the changes that this society will require to one day resolve this issue is by having these important conversations.

I truly think that feminism will ultimately bring us a better world, one that will be better for all people. But in order for this to happen, the topic needs to be able to be spoken about freely, without a stigma, and certainly without celebrities names being the focus of the conversation.

Procrastination At Its Finest: The Best Shows on Netflix to Procrastinate With



(This article was originally written for a print version of The American Word)

Binge-watching: also known as every college student’s favorite past time. We love to disappear in our dorm rooms for days, only to emerge with new knowledge about Vincent Chase’s movie career or Olivia Pope’s latest client. While it is true that too much binge-watching for long periods of time can affect our personal lives and our health, it is a fun way to procrastinate every now and then.

Here are some of the best shows on Netflix Instant to procrastinate with!

The One That Started It All: House of Cards
Seasons: 2

House of Cards was Netflix’s first step into creating their own original programming. And after two seasons, with the third season being released on February 27th, I’d say their risk was worth every cent. House of Cards is a political thriller starring Kevin Spacey as U.S. Representative Frank Underwood. I don’t fall into the category of the typical AU student who loves politics, so it took me a while to get on the bandwagon of people who are obsessed with this show. But once I started watching, I was hooked. It felt like Frank spoke directly to me and I couldn’t stop secretly rooting for him, despite the fact that he stops at absolutely nothing to get what he believes he deserves.

The One Everyone Has Been Waiting For: F.R.I.E.N.D.S.
Seasons: 10

Friends is the greatest sitcom in television history. There, I said it. So, I was really excited when Netflix finally released all 10 seasons on January 1st, like really excited. Despite the fact that I’ve seen every single episode multiple times, I always go back to Joey, Chandler, Phoebe, Monica, Ross, and Rachel because they remain the most re-watchable and entertaining of all the television characters that I know and love. When I find myself in need of a good laugh, I turn to Phoebe and her countless renditions of “Smelly Cat” or I watch Ross swear up and down for multiple seasons that he and Rachel were on a break. Just watch one episode and prepare to smile.

The One You Must Watch Since You Go to American University: The West Wing
Seasons: 7

The show known as television’s quintessential political drama is a must-see for any student at American University. Aaron Sorkin’s seven-season show chronicles the successes and failures of the White House senior staff under the administration of President Bartlet. The show, like other Sorkin pieces, is all fast pace conversations, sharp wit, and snark catchphrases. While some might consider it a little too idealistic and outdated for today’s world, I always step away feeling a little bit more uplifted and hopeful about myself and the world I live in after watching it.

The One Everyone Thinks Is Perfect: Breaking Bad
Seasons: 5

Many argue that Breaking Bad is not just the best series on Netflix, but the best television series of all time. Bryan Cranston stars as Walter White, a high school science teacher who learns he’s dying of cancer. He decides to start cooking meth in order to make some extra cash for his family before he’s gone. At first, I thought the plot was a little too over the top, which is why I put it on hold for so long. But, it truly gets better each season. And while it is sadly over now, it really is the best television series ever.

The One That I Want To Be A Part Of: Gilmore Girls
Seasons: 7

Last but not least is Gilmore Girls, my personal favorite show on the list. It’s a witty, pop-culture rich drama that focuses on the relationship between single mother Lorelai and her daughter, Rory. I adore this mother-daughter duo with their quick banter and kooky moments. However, I might love the town of Stars Hollow as a whole even more. Some days I wish I could just have a meal at Luke’s Diner and attend one of the town meetings run by the infamous Taylor Doose. I guess watching it on Netflix for hours and playing pretend will have to do for now.