Clinton S. Thomas, Th.D.

Clinton S. Thomas, Th.D.

A published writer of  poetry, fiction and non-fiction in both the digital age and the pre-digital age of publishing.  Currently serving as editor and writer for the Four States News all while living life across the four states region from Texarkana, USA.

Recent Articles

Social Media Responds to Renaming of Hobo Jungle

Texarkana, AR – Hobo Jungle Park, at least as far as anyone seems to remember, was named after the “Hobos” who once frequented the area when it was owned by the railroads.  The term Hobo started in the late 1890s and referred to a person who would travel around the country seeking work.  Often this group of people would travel by train and stay near train yards or train stops.  When the train would prepare to leave, and the Hobo needed to travel to work, he would usually follow the tracks to the next town or he might “hop a train” and ride in an open freight car as far as he could.  After the city obtained the land, a park was put in that has eventually become a baseball and softball complex in the city of Texarkana, Arkansas.  The park has been named “Hobo Jungle Park” for as long as most citizens can remember, but on Saturday, June 23rd, the City of Texarkana Board met and renamed the park by a unanimous vote to the “Ermer Dansby Pondexter Sports Complex”. As it seems with most change, it did not take long for social media to come alive.  The pictures of the Mayor and others holding a certificate of the name change was published on the Texarkana Arkansas Facebook page and comments started flying.  While there were many positive comments on the name change, there appeared to be an overwhelming number of negative comments.  Comments ranged from “STOP CHANGING OUR LANDMARKS” to “I will still call it Hobo Jungle” and many others. People questioned the meeting and when it was announced.  Some noted that the Texarkana Gazette carried a short article about the meeting on Saturday, the same day as the meeting.  Someone else stated that they had seen it posted on the Facebook page on Saturday, again the same day as the meeting.  A quick look at the Facebook page did not show a note about the meeting and a look at the city calendar showed all stated board meetings on the first and third Mondays, which is normal for the city.  On the calendar for Saturday, June 23, 2018, there was no entry for any meeting or event on the city calendar.  

The posting on Facebook has continued to extend well beyond the twenty-four-hour mark now.  People go on to question facts like the recent poll by the Gazette where the majority did not want to rename the park, the odd timing of the meeting, and the fact that it appeared to be changed without allowing public input from citizens.  Most questioned who Mrs. Pondexter is and what she had to do with the park.  Theories ranged from she was a lady killed when the trains derailed, to she was an outstanding citizen advocate. While citizens continue to debate whether the name should or should not be changed, whether the city should have given more notice or not,  there should be no denying that Mrs. Pondexter is one of Texarkana, Arkansas’ shining stars. Continue Reading →

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Battle Royal to Benefit The Parker Lee Project

Texarkana, AR – The Texarkana 67 Speedway is gearing up for the 3rd Annual Smackdown event presented by KR Promotions.   The event will kick off Saturday evening at 7:00 p.m. with the 3rd Annual Smackdown and the 2nd Annual Battle Royal. The Smackdown portion of the event helps bring awareness to the Parker Lee project while the Battle Royal portion of the event is donated directly to the Parker Lee Project.  Several local drivers have committed to striving for “King of the Ring”.  Drivers and their videos can be seen on the official Smackdown Facebook page. The evening promises fun for all from 7:00 p.m. until! Awareness of the Parker Lee Project, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit helping families of children with medical needs is perhaps the most important aspect of the night.  More information may be obtained on their Facebook page and Website.  The community is encouraged to come out, have fun, and support this great charity that helps children daily!   Continue Reading →

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PRIDE Academy 2018 is Coming to College Hill Middle School

Texarkana, AR – The Texarkana Arkansas Police Department and the Texarkana Arkansas School District are preparing for the annual PRIDE Academy.  The event will be held from July 30 through August 3, at College Hill Middle School.  Upcoming 6th graders can attend, and this academy is open specifically to you and your class, but you need to hurry because the deadline for signing up is July 15! The annual event has been described by some who have attended it as a “life-changing event.”   Tonya Dunphy of Arkansas high works directly with high school’s students who serve as peer leaders throughout the week of events.  Tonya said that this is the seventh year for the academy and that it has been a huge success in the past. The PRIDE program was started by the Texarkana Arkansas Police Department in 2012.  It is designed to help kids learn the skills needed to deal with “life, people, and behavioral” areas according to the program’s publications.  Students learn decision-making skills and other skills which also includes anger management.  All students have the opportunity to complete two community service projects which can include things like cleaning up a local park, helping with a food bank and other related opportunities.  According to the Texarkana Arkansas Police Department, the goal of the program is to “reduce at-risk behaviors by promoting healthy lifestyles, educational achievement and financial stability in youth by building positive influences in their lives.”  Many of those in PRIDE develop strong and supportive relationships not only in the community but also with local law enforcement, school officials, and community volunteer organizations. It should be noted that since the development of PRIDE, juvenile arrest rates in Texarkana, Arkansas have fallen by about 57%.   This significant decrease of arrest over the last six years is likely due to the increased partnership between children in the schools, police officials, teachers, and volunteer organizations.  All incoming 6th graders are encouraged to join up PRIDE for 2018.  Parents are encouraged to support their children and promote attendance and participation in the program. The weeklong PRIDE Academy will start on July 30 at 8:00 through August 3.  The event will take place daily from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.   All events will start at College Hill Middle School at 1600 Forrest Street.   The deadline for signing up is July 15.  More information and pictures can be found on Facebook. Continue Reading →

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Third Annual Benefit for the Texarkana Fallen Bikers Memorial Wall

Texarkana, USA- The Third Annual Benefit for the Texarkana Fallen Bikers Memorial Wall will kick off in the morning in downtown Texarkana.  The run for the wall, a 5K and 10K event. will start at 7:30 a.m.  The rest of the events to benefit the wall will start promptly at 10 a.m. on at the Front Street Festival Plaza in Texarkana, AR.  There is a $15 donation admission, but that includes a BBQ plate and access to all the events. There is a long list of events which includes a 5k and 10k Run and a Kids Fun Run, a live auction, bounce houses and kids activates, a poker run and more.  The opening ceremonies will start at 11 a.m.  The public is encouraged and invited to attend this event which will also feature vendors, concessions stands and the music of The Dusty Rose Band and friends. The Texarkana Fallen Bikers Memorial Wall is 501 (c) 3 project located in Texarkana to recognize fallen riders and help bring awareness to safety for riders and the community.   So far the work of this non-profit has raised not only awareness of the need for sharing the road, but it has also raised the funds to purchase property and start the work toward a community park which will include a wall with names of those who have lost their lives while riding. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association motorcycle deaths have risen overall from around 2,200 in 1995 to over 4,200 in 2014.  Recent numbers for the four states area have shown that in 2015 there were 455 deaths in Texas, 77 in Arkansas, 83 in Louisiana and 80 in Oklahoma.  The Texarkana Fallen Bikers Memorial Wall project hopes that through awareness, education, and community involvement those numbers will decrease in the coming years. Continue Reading →

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June 6, 1944, The Day We Came Together

June 6, 1944, has now been 74 years ago and the accomplishments, valor, bravery, and determination of those who lived is still a shining example of courage against tyranny to the world.  June 6, 1944, is called “D-Day” by most historians, but it could just as easily be called a “Unified Day.”  In the United States, we tend to think of our brave men storming ashore under the constant gunfire with tracer bullets zipping past them, tearing into, and for some ending them before they could even reach the beach.  It’s a day of honor because these men went in knowing the worst was waiting for them.  Many of them had fought in Africa and other places around the world.  They knew that Nazi Germany was not simply going to roll out a welcome rug and open their doors.  No, the soldiers waiting on the beach had no intention of simply allowing the allies to come ashore untouched.  Americans stormed in, and Americans died.  But while we tend to see pictures in our mind of the heroic Americans, we sometimes forget that this was the day the world truly came together. Across the landing places of D-Day, the nations joined forces to go against the greatest evil threat the world had ever known.  They came as forces from governments in exile such as the Dutch Government, the Norwegian government, Free Czechoslovak forces, Free Luxembourgish forces, free Belgian forces, Free France, the Greek government, and even the Polish armed forces in the west converged on the beaches that day.  They came without homes because the Nazis had taken those homes.  They came to free their homes, free their families and in some cases to avenge the losses of their homes and families.  Some of them would never return to their homelands as they once had been, but on June 6, 1944, that did not matter.  What mattered was beating the Nazis back, forcing them back to Berlin and retaking each beach, farmland, forest, city, town, hamlet, and home the Nazi’s had so brutally taken. While the forces of the exiled and lost nations took to the beaches, they were joined by the countries that had allied themselves with the United States.  The United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand all sent men to the beaches.  These men went not because their homelands had been taken, but because they knew that with the Nazi goal of world domination they would be next.  The United Kingdom itself had watched as thousands of their civilians had been slaughtered by the Nazi air raids.  Defiant to the last, the Kingdom served as the launching point for the invasion, a logical choice, but certainly one that would have brought harsh repercussions had the allies failed on that day. Together, thirteen nations swarmed the beaches on D-Day.  Thousands would die in the water, on the beaches, and from wounds received on that day and the following days.   The ones that made it through would push to take bunkers and reach toward the troops dropped behind the lines to join them.  The world, on this day 74 years ago, would collectively hold its breath as the largest invasion of all time started.  In the end, a sigh of relief would be let out as we all held the beach together. Continue Reading →

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Equality Texarkana and Special Guest to Host Major Event in Texarkana

Texarkana, USA – The non-profit group, Equality Texarkana, will sponsor a “Day of Pride” Parade and Festival this Saturday, June 9, in downtown Texarkana.  The event will start officially at 10:00 a.m. with a parade, followed by a picnic at 11:15, entertainment at 11:30 and a raffle at 3:00 p.m.  The public is welcome and encouraged to participate throughout the day’s events. This year the “Day of Pride” event will feature two nationally known guest.  Stephanie Rice, a recent major contender on the NBC television show The Voice, will serve as the MC and perform during the entertainment portion of the event.  Ms. Rice shared her history while on the show The Voice.   She suffered through being disowned by her family when she came as a lesbian out at eighteen.  Despite being alone and facing the world, Ms. Rice was able to attend college, earn her degree, contribute to HIV research, and become a major contender on The Voice.  Ms. Rice used her birthday celebration on Facebook to raise significant funds to assist Equality Texarkana in putting together this year’s “Day of Pride”. Another special guest this year will be speaker Kimberly Shappley.  Mrs. Shappley is a conservative Christian mother who found herself in the position of having a transgender child.  Her acceptance and encouragement that she promoted toward her child and to others has caused her story to be featured on The Today Show, and other shows and networks.  Articles about Mrs. Shappley have appeared in Good Housekeeping, the Huffington Post, and many other publications.  Mrs. Shappley is an R.N. and an ordained minister.  She has spent her life proclaiming love and acceptance to churches in Texas, Louisana, and Mississippi. In addition to the scheduled events, the day will also feature vendors, games, and various other events throughout the day.  The event is open to anyone and the public is welcome and encouraged to attend. Equality Texarkana is a 501 (c) 3 organization promoting equality and fairness for all people regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation.  To learn more about Equality Texarkana or the “Day of Pride” event, see the webpage at Equality Texarkana or the Facebook Page. Continue Reading →

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Miller County Chief Deputy Tax Collector Retires

Miller County, AR – Mary Kay Hicks has spent the last three and a half years as the Chief Deputy Collector for the Miller County Tax Collector.   That short stint in Miller County does not do her justice when looked at alone.  Hicks has spent twenty years serving the citizens of Miller County.   She was also appointed by the Quorum Court to serve as the Tax Collector before the election of the current Collector, Cathy Hardin-Harrison.    Many people will recognize her from her work at the Tax Collector’s office where she has answered questions, assisted with problems, and…as the Tax Collector’s office does…taken your payments. Today at 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., employees that the courthouse will celebrate Mary’s twenty years of service.  She will be retiring soon and this celebration is meant as an appreciation and a send off to a wonderful retirement.  The event is open to the public and Tax Collector Elect Laura Bates has extended invitations to friends, family and through social media.  Even if you miss the retirement party, drop Mary a line and say congratulations and thank you for many fantastic years of service to the people of Miller County! Continue Reading →

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Genoa Band Banquet 2018

Genoa, AR- Genoa Schools held their band banquet for the beginner and advanced band members last Saturday the 19th.  This was the first banquet for Mr. Gray, the band director, and the last banquet for graduating seniors.  The guest and band members enjoyed a meal and a slideshow presentation of pictures from the 2017-2018 band year.  Pictures included game performances, public performances, and competitions the band had participated in over the year. During the event, Gray thanked the parents, students, and Band Boosters.  He noted that he could not do everything without the support group in the Genoa community.  Graduating seniors were recognized and given a gift.  Students Chris Battle, Skyler Burris, Faith Overcast, and Harley Hendrix will be graduating this year.  They took pictures with Gray and were each allowed to speak to their fellow band members if they wished from the stage. Mr. Gray was presented with a framed picture of the 2017-2018 Genoa Band.  Students then also gave Gray a case of Monster Drinks – apparently this is one of the band director’s favorite drinks.  The group closed out the evening taking fun pictures with rabbit ears over their fellow band students, fingers on noses, pointing at one another, and making silly faces.  While the crowd could not be certain from where they were seated, it appeared that these pictures may have been taken at the direction of Gray.  At the heart of it all, it was apparent that Gray is not just the band director for these kids, but he is also a committed and dedicated member of the Genoa community willing to hang out and just be “with the band.” Continue Reading →

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My First Visit to an S.C.V. Camp Meeting

Although I have attended a Sons of Confederate Veterans (S.C.V.) grave dedication, I had never attended an actual S.C.V. camp meeting and when I learned my friend Paul Gramling would be attending a local S.C.V. meeting in Texarkana, I decided to go.  I really did not know what to expect, so the first thing I did was ask if it would be okay for me to attend a meeting.  As far as I knew the organization might have secret handshakes, passwords, and might not smile too kindly on an outside, especially a writer, attending their meetings.  After gaining the reassurance that I would be welcome, and in fact that anyone is welcome to attend, I made my way to Smokey Joe’s in Texarkana last night for the meeting of Red Diamond Camp #2193 of the S.C.V.

Upon arrival, I was happy to find I knew a couple of people in attendance.  I visited with them while waiting for Paul to arrive.  Once Paul and his wife arrived, the meeting got underway in what appeared to be a normal fashion.  The pledge to the U.S. flag and Texas flag were given and an honor to the Confederate fallen was extended.  A prayer was offered by the chaplain ending in the name of Jesus Christ.   One of the interesting things I noted during the pledge was that several of the members saluted the flag which is a clear indication of them having served in the U.S. military.  So far, these men and women gathered did not seem like an “anti-American” group assembling to rant about politics a raise the old Confederacy up.  At that point, the business portion of the meeting started. The business portion of the meeting proceeded much like any fraternity meeting might go.  There were discussions about new and old business, new members, visitors – where I was recognized as “the press” – and naturally, an introduction to Paul and his wonderful wife was given.  Paul currently serves as the Lt. Commander-in-Chief for the entire SVC organization.  If you are not familiar with my first meeting with Paul, you should read the article The History and meaning of the Shreveport Confederate Monument.  He is a wealth knowledge when it comes to the history of the war. During the meeting, I learned that this particular camp has painted flag poles in cemeteries as a community outreach and that they provide bottled water to local law enforcement during the summer months.  I did not ask if each camp had a specific charity, but it seemed that this camp had a solid focus on serving as they could in the community.  I also learned that they provided the cannon for the recent Scout-O-Rama at Spring Lake Park.  The annual event brings in Boy Scouts from around the area and the S.C.V. group was able to provide a live demonstration of a cannon’s operation.  Again, this group appeared to be very community minded.  It reminded me of my visit with the group during a grave dedication.  You can read about the grave dedication here S.C.V. Camp Places Memorial Stone in Miller County. When Paul addressed the group, it was noted that he is running to be the highest leader in the S.C.V. organization.  While I do not know much about the voting process of the organization, I could certainly tell that Paul was passionate, dedicated, and had a solid plan for the organization.  He began to talk about recent attacks on the S.C.V. and how the media often portrays the organization in a negative light.  Paul feels strongly that the S.C.V. must start standing up and defending itself, the history, and the heritage.  He noted that the recent attacks on Confederate Monuments is just a starting point.  He also told about the attacks on monuments to Andrew Jackson and others.  He feels that there is a concentrated effort to remove not only Confederate history but also various aspects of the history of the U.S. as a whole. Continue Reading →

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Obituaries

  var mem_per_page=”100″; var sort=”date”; var alpha=”0″; var search_last=””; var search_first=””; var start=”100″; var start_top=””; var previous_page=”0″; var curr_page=”0″; A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z | 20 50 100 Records Sort by: Date | Last […] Continue Reading →

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