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

The Next Day

Seventeen years ago, today, September 12, 2001, it was the next day after the worst terrorist attacks the United States had ever seen.  The confusion of the day before was just starting to settle down to some extent.  Naturally, there were still questions such as “who was behind this attack?” “Why did they hate us so much?” “How many survivors might we find?” and dozens if not hundreds of more similar questions zipped around the nation. Most of America woke up on September 12, 2001, still shaken, upset, mad, and hurt.  Families had been torn apart with death and destruction. The eerie silence in the skies had ended as planes started to fly once more.  The various branches of the government worked vigorously to meet a President and Congress’ demand to know who did this to us.  The military stood on high alert around the world, many waiting for the word to go, find, destroy, and take out those who were responsible.  A President transformed from a leader intent on being an “Education President” to one now charged with leading the nation in a new kind of war.  Bush would now become like Truman, Roosevelt, Johnson, Lincoln and so many others.  He would become a “War President.”

As Americans stayed home, locked their doors, opened their Bibles and other religious text, some for the first time in years, it seemed like it all should have been a dream.  It should have been something we read about happening in other places, other countries, and somewhere other than home.  No generation living could remember a time that the U.S. mainland had been attacked with such destruction.  For a moment, as America stood frozen in fear, it seemed as if the terrorist had won.  They had brought America to her knees.  They had terrified citizens from sea to shining sea.  They had put the military on the highest alert it had been on since perhaps the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Around the world, those who supported the terrorist watched and cheered.  Those who thought of America as the shining symbol of hope, stood by perplexed, shocked, and wondering if this was how it all would end. As the world waited, something unique happened in America.  It was started with a small symbolic gesture of firemen at ground zero.  A photographer over 150 yards away used a telephoto lens to snap the picture of the firemen raising the American flag at 5 p.m. on September 11.  The flag had been borrowed from a yacht named “Star of America” and the next day, September 12, the picture appeared to the world. The raising of the flag at ground zero, where the worst of the destruction, the most loss of life, and the horrible pictures of planes hitting the towers had been seen, became a symbol of something more than hope.  It was from that moment at ground zero that the nation’s heartbeat began to spread.  Flags had always been a part of America, but now Old Glory went up with a vigor and pride not seen in years.  Flagpoles at government offices, hospitals, car lots, malls, businesses began to assert themselves to the world.  Some flagpoles that had been vacant for years, found the flag going up them.  Homes began to display the flag, and boats, trains, and even planes had them displayed. Continue Reading →

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Make Plans to See Governor Hutchinson and Abbott in Texarkana

Texarkana, USA – On September 4, Governor Abbott and Governor Hutchinson will share the stage together for an AR-TX REDI Meeting in downtown Texarkana.  The meeting will be held at the federal courthouse on Stateline at 3:00 p.m.  Traffic is expected to be complicated at this time and both Texarkana Texas and Texarkana Arkansas police are making preparations to handle the parking and routing.  Those attending will need to pay special attention to instructions from the police departments which can be at the link found here. Citizens of both Texarkana, Arkansas and Texarkana, Texas are being encouraged to attend this important event.  Citizens from surrounding towns with an interest in the area’s growth, development and progress should also plan to attend.  The general feeling in the community is that both Governor Hutchinson and Governor Abbott need to be aware that the people of Bowie County and Miller County have a vested interest in the success and growth of Texarkana. A few years ago a community member said during some heated times between the two Texarkanas that, “Texarkana, Texas needs Texarkana, Arkansas, and Texarkana, Arkansas needs Texarkana, Texas.”   It is our opinion that a truer statement could not be made.  While there are individual differences in the two cities, there is also a huge tie between the two.  For economic growth, the businesses located in both states need the citizens of each town.  Because of tax opportunities in both Miller and Bowie County, the growth of the Interstate system into the area, and the recent growth in community-based levels of higher education, Texarkana, USA has opportunities not available in many cities.  The time to act is now. Citizens should plan to come out on September 4, at 3:00 p.m. and support Texarkana, USA.  The governors of both states need to hear loud and clear that we want Texarkana to be the most successful area in the four states region.   The more people showing up to show support, the more clearly conveyed the message will be to both governors that Texarkana, Arkansas and Texas, as well as Bowie and Miller Counties,  are far more connected and together than we are apart. This amazing opportunity to show the governors a unity that stretches beyond a state line will rarely be seen in any other part of the country.  Make plans to get there early and make sure you show your overwhelming support for Texarkana, USA. Continue Reading →

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Potted Plants and Hanging Baskets at the Four States Fair

Texarkana, USA – As the Four States Fair rolls around once more this year, it’s getting close to that time when planters bring out their favorite potted plants and hanging baskets to the fairgrounds.  The Red Dirt Master Gardners will once again be overseeing the event.  This year entries will be September 12, from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the Fine Arts Building at the Fair Grounds. First places winners in each category will receive $25.  The rules for the event can be found online. The Red Dirt Master Gardeners are encouraging folks to bring out their potted and hanging baskets for this annual event.  Members will be at the Fine Arts building on 9-12 at 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. to accept entries.  
For more information about the rules, see the rules online.  For more information about The Red Dirt Master Gardeners see their Facebook page. Continue Reading →

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Four States News Now Offering College Scores

The Four States News is now offering college scores in addition to high school scores for the region with a new app.  As always, there is no subscription and no requirements to access the new scoreboard just as readers have always been able to access the high school scoreboard. On a computer monitor, the scoreboards will appear off to the right of the screen and can easily be scrolled through with your mouse or arrow keys.  Each scoreboard offers updated scores, final scores, and the next scheduled game. In addition, when you have that debate with your best friend about the outcome of a previous game, you can use the scoreboard to look at the last few games for your team. Continue Reading →

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Support for Coach Barker Grows in Fouke

Since the breaking news of Coach Ricky Barker’s public intoxication arrest, various opinions have been circulating on social media.  Some people have come right out and said that he should be fired, but in Fouke there also is a growing group of supporters for the coach.  That growing support seems to be based on the positive impact that Barker has had on the community and students. Several people have made positive statements such as “people make mistakes” and “shouldn’t we forgive” or “nobody is perfect”.  Others have gone as far as to say that what the coach did may have been wrong, but that it is certainly no reason to fire him.  One Fouke resident said, “Had the coach been driving with a bus full of kids and was drinking, then heck yeah he should be fired.  But he wasn’t.”

Along with the positive and negative discussion, there is even talk about a potential meeting at the school to discuss the issue.  Some people have suggested that the football team will line the roads and show support for the coach when there is a meeting.  Others have suggested that they will testify on the coach’s behalf.  One parent noted that his kid was going nowhere and had some major issues before Coach Barker came along.  The parent went on to say that Barker started working with the young man and that behaviors, attitudes and in fact the young man’s entire life turned around for the positive.  That parent said, “Nobody can take away how much it means to us that Coach Barker helped our son.”

Whether the football team and students show up to support Coach Barker will be unclear until there is a meeting.  Many residents have stated support already on social media for the coach and have also stated an intent to be at the any planned meetings.   There is currently a rumor that when there is a  meeting it may be closed.  At this time there has been no official posting from the school regarding a meeting.  Signs have been showing up on Facebook with one citizen making the sign posted above reminding people of the need for forgiveness.  At the time of this article, the sign above was posted on the “Miller County, AR Alerts and crime awareness” page had over twenty-six comments with people still commenting when we checked. The one thing that is apparent on social media is that there is overwhelming support and evidence from the community that Barker has had a positive impact on the students at the Fouke School District.  Hopefully, when there is a meeting held, they will keep in mind the positive attributes of the coach in any decision they feel compelled to make.   Continue Reading →

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5th Annual Fan Fest Held in Texarkana

Texarkana, TX- Football teams from around the area rolled into the Texas Convention Center for the 5th Annual Fan Fest sponsored by Fox Sports and local station 1400 am.  Teams were accompanied by cheerleaders, bands, and dance teams for each school.  The event was held today from 10 a.m. and will end this evening around 5:00. Various vendors from sports centers, booster clubs, and health food suppliers were on hand for the event. The local Fox radio center from 1400 am was interviewing coaches, band directors, and others for the day. With a variety of schools from the area, Arkansas High was given the honor by the announcer as having the “greatest fans for an Arkansas school here today.”  Naturally, the announcer neglected to point out the small fact that Arkansas High was the only school from Arkansas represented at the event.  Overall, the event was held with a spirit of sportsmanship and good, clean fun for all present. Continue Reading →

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Fouke Football Coach Suspended With Pay

Fouke, AR – As the school year starts and the lights great prepped for Friday night games, Fouke is finding itself one short in the coaching department.  Head Coach Rick Barker was arrested and charged with public intoxication Thursday evening. Fouke School responded by suspending the coach pending the outcome with pay.  According to local reports Barker spoke to some news outlets and informed them that he was in an accident.  He would not make any further comments. Coach Barker had previously coached at Pleasant Grove and is currently a coach at the Fouke Independent School District.  According to social media outlets Barker had retired from Texas as a coach and then took a job with Fouke.  There are several videos online of Coach Barker addressing the Fouke team, accepting donation checks on behalf of the school, and speaking at pep rallies.   Needless to say, there has been a lot of “chatter” about the incident, the coach and what will happen in Fouke online. Continue Reading →

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Miller County Republican Committee Meeting Tonight

Miller County, AR – The Miller County Republican Committee will hold a monthly meeting this evening, Tuesday, August 14, at 6:30 p.m.   The meeting will be held at the New Haven Golf Club on 2321 Line Ferry Road, Texarkana. The Miller County Republican Committee maintains a Facebook page and during presidential election, seasons rents a headquarters in the Texarkana area.  The committee has a goal of assisting Republican candidates to obtain office.  All current Republican officer holders are encouraged to attend meetings and provide updates regarding their offices. The committee also maintains a website at Texarkana-MillerCountyGOP.com 

The following list is current State and local Republicans holding office and representing the Miller County area:

Senator Jimmy Hickey

Representative Carol Dalby

Representative Lane Jean

Judge Roy John McNatt

Sheriff Jackie Runion

County Clerk Stephanie Harvin

Treasurer Teresa Reed

Tax Collector Cathy Hardin-Harrison

Circuit Clerk Mary Pankey

Coroner Josh Hawkins

JP 4 Carl Standridge

JP 5 Lois Toombs

JP 6 Ernest Pender

JP 7 Jimmy Hickey, Sr.

JP 8 Andy LaGrone

JP 9 John Haltom

JP 10 Jimmy Cowart

JP 11 Rodney Watkins

Constables Chuck Wise, Art Parish, Robert Tibbit, Bill Fuller, Tom Harness, Larry Burgess, and Hollis Rhoden Continue Reading →

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UofA at Texarkana Overlooked in Local Article

An editorial in the local paper discussed higher education in Texarkana today, but it has some residents scratching their heads and wondering why the University of Arkansas at Texarkana was left out.  The editorial, written by a local reporter, does a fantastic job presenting the facts about the higher education options in Texarkana.  It points out the Texas A&M system, and Texarkana College.  Both schools are well represented, discussed, and the merits of attending locally are presented. Within a few short hours of the article hitting the streets, social media was alive with questions about why the UofA was left out of the article.  One resident stated it was “shameful” to have left out the school.  Another resident felt like it was the UofA’s fault for not clarifying their name, being linked with Hope, and for not clarifying degrees offered.  While everyone can theorize as to why the UofA was left out, the author of the article himself stated what is perhaps the best reason.  In the midst of the social media comments, the author stated, “It wasn’t an intentional slight. We know it’s here. Just slipped my mind while writing.”  The debate may continue, but it should be clear it was an oversight by the local paper. On the plus side of things, most residents responding were already well aware of the campus located in Texarkana, Arkansas across from the Bobby Ferguson Park.  Located on UofA Way, the school can be found next to the UAMS clinic and directly across from the lake portion of the park.  The campus is easily seen with its large “UofA” sign from I-30, and in fact is the only school in Texarkana easily seen from the Interstate.  A website at http://www.uacch.edu/ uses the same type of address as all the UofA schools in Arkansas.  The concept was to present the name University of Arkansas Community College at Hope in this case, the home campus for the Texarkana branch.  Other schools around the state also have a similar designation.  For example, the branch located in Batesville, Arkansas is known as UACCB. Continue Reading →

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Parents Talk To Your Child About Threats

It’s that time of year again when kids are excited to return to school, teachers are thrilled to see new faces, and parents are relieved to be sending their children to school so laundry can finally be caught up and put up… well, maybe the parents are excited.  It is more likely that the kids and teachers are more than a little apprehensive about the new year.  There will be new faces, new classes, new friends, old friends, and in many cases it can be overwhelming for students from kindergarten to senior high.  You can buy all the supplies and get as ready as possible for the new year, but there is some stuff parents need to consider in this new age that was not as important years ago. Unfortunately, we live in a time of school shootings, threats that develop into actual events, and a general fear in society of what will happen next.  In the midst of all this concern, kids are still kids.  Kids joke, they talk, and sometimes, they simply do not think before they act.  Parents, this is where you have to step up.  I recently talked with a parent whose child had made a comment, a joke basically, about bringing a gun to school.  While the child thought nothing about the statement, the teachers, administrators, and law viewed it a little different.  The next thing that child knew, he was handcuffed, in the back of a police car, and on his way to stand before a judge.  Needless to say, for a ten-year-old little boy, this was terrifying.  The child explained that he was simply “joking” but his joke was taken seriously by all concerned.  A frantic mother had to rush to the courthouse and address the judge.  Parents, you have to take time to prevent this from happening to your child and the time to do that is now in a two-step discussion. The first discussion you need to have with your child is about idle threats.  You should explain how serious a threat can be taken by someone else, even if the child is only joking.  You need to inform your child that he or she should never make statements like, “I’m going to shoot you,” or “I’ll just kill everyone,” or even something as innocent as “I’ve got a gun in my boot!”  Your child should know that no threat, joking or serious, should ever be made.  Along those lines, your child should be told that if someone makes a threat to harm him or her or even others, that he or she has a responsibility to inform a teacher or school administrator immediately.   Depending on your child, it may be appropriate to set forth a rule or a consequence if the child does make a threat – joking or not.  Perhaps your child needs to know that X-Box will be off limits for the rest of the year, or that he or she might end up in jail.  You need to impress upon your child that threats, joking or not, should not be made at school or anywhere else.  If needed, tell your child about the kid who made a joke and ended up before the judge in handcuffs. The second thing you need to discuss in this area with your child is the need to not take any questionable items to school.  Questionable items can be things that someone might consider to be a weapon.  Some of these items are clearly marked in school handbooks, but your child may need a reminder.  The child should know to never take a knife, sharp fingernail file, razor blades, bullets or shells – used or not,  anything that looks like a weapon and most importantly never take a gun to school.  Any of these items could result in an immediate suspension or even expulsion from school.  The action could be taken regardless of the child’s age. Continue Reading →

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