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

Stop For The Bus

With all the safety lights, driver knowledge, and the size of a bus, no child should ever be hit by a car while entering or exiting a bus.  Unfortunately, while everyone seems to know the law, not everyone honors it.  Recently a family was devastated when their three children (9 and twins age 6) were killed while crossing the street to get on a bus.  As a nation read the news in shock, a fourth child continued to fight for her life in a hospital.  While prosecution is certain to follow for the driver, there is no amount of enforcement, jail time, fines or any other things that can be done to bring back those three children.  There will be no middle school, high school, football, basketball, cheer, dance, or even college years or beyond for Mason, Xzavier and their sister Alivia.  They are dead.  They are dead because some driver failed to yield to the flashing lights of a school bus.  People are outraged, but some bus drivers are implementing further protections for the children in their care. The average school bus can weight between 25,000 lbs and 36,000 lbs, and that is a lot of steel moving down the road.  In recent years some bus drivers have been taking what could be considered pointers from police when it comes to child protection and the bus.  Most police officers are trained to use their cars as potential weapons, and most importantly a potential defense if needed.  Many bus drivers have figured out with the recent accidents that they can do more.  With a bus weighing 25,000 lbs, it makes one large and almost immovable object on the road when stopped.  Some bus drivers have started utilizing that large bus as a shield. I first saw this within a few days of the accident that has gained national attention.  Driving down a two-lane road a bus was a few blocks in front of me.  The driver put on his flashers and all traffic began to slow down, but then he did something different.  Rather than stay in the lane coming directly toward me, stopping with his red lights on and stop sign out in that lane, the driver turned his bus slightly and cut into the middle of the road.   I thought he was intending to turn or perhaps he had moved to miss something, but then he stopped and the red lights started flashing.  The driver had angled his bus across the center line and now took up two full lanes with the body of the bus.  If anyone was going to go around the bus, that person either had to go off the road or run into the bus.  For most, hitting 25,000 lbs of steel would not be the best option.  I thought the driver must simply be doing something different until I started seeing several posts on Facebook and other social media about bus drivers doing the same type of action. The picture above was taken from a friend’s video feed on Facebook.  It was shared with the hope that it would be widely shared, discussed, and implemented by other bus drivers.  The entire video shows the bus’ yellow lights coming on, the bus moving to take up the entire road at an angle and then the red lights come on when the bus is stopped.  Children were able to exit the bus and go in any direction while the bus effectively served as a shield to protect them. Hopefully, bus drivers around the nation will see this video and other pictures like it, share the information, and implement this simple procedure.  Maybe if more drivers will do this, we won’t read another story like Mason, Xzavier and their sister Alivia’s in our national headlines.  Maybe next time the headline will read, “Moron Kills Self While Failing to Stop for Bus and Crashes Into 25,000 lbs of Yellow Steel…No Children Injured.” Continue Reading →

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11-11-18

Today, 11-11-18, at 11 a.m. Paris time, the guns went silent.   One hundred years ago today in 1918, the world collectively let out a sigh of relief as the killing officially ended. Europe remembered the end of World War I earlier today.  It was designated that on the 11th day of the 11th month, at the 11th hour in that cold morning of 1918, the great war would end as swiftly as it had begun.   We are seven hours behind the hour that marked the end of the war one hundred years ago today.   For Americans living in the four states area, World War I would have ended on November 11, 1918, at 4:00 a.m. in the morning. As the end came, one single gun was designated to fire the last shot.  The 11th Field Artillery Regiment of the United States named their gun Calamity Jane, and she fired her last shot of the war at exactly 11:00 a.m.  The day would become known as Armistice Day and it would be celebrated around the world.  The great war was over.  A war that had introduced trench warfare to the world, the ability to kill almost unseen from the air, a modified machine gun that could rip down rows of men, and chemicals that could cripple, burn, and kill a person through the air had ended.  Up until this point, the world had never known so much destruction, death, and warfare as was introduced during those early years of the last century. In the years that would follow, annual celebrations would be held around the four states area and most of the world.  War memorials would be built to honor those who had fallen.  Parades would celebrate those who survived.  Widows, orphans, and parents would tell stories of their brave soldier who went “Over there” and never came back when it was finished over there. Today, 100 years later, as we face a time period when all those who fought in the war and even those who remember the war have faded, it is fitting and right that we should take a moment to remember them.  There is no better way to honor them than a moment of silence since that is what so many on the front longed to the hear back then…the silence of the guns. Continue Reading →

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Community Marketplace Saturday at Sand Flat Glendale Shannon Center

Texarkana, AR:  Bridging the Gaps of Arkansas, a non-profit serving Texarkana, will host a community marketplace Saturday the 10th at Sand Flat Glendale Shannon Center in Texarkana.  The event will be hosted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will feature local small business vendors offering a variety of products for sale.  The sale is a follow up to the successful Holiday Marketplace held on the first and second of this month. Many handcrafted and items made at the center will be up for sale. Booths have been purchased at $25.00 per vendor with proceeds going to support the non-profit.  The center is located at 209 East 14th Street, Texarkana, Arkansas, and the community is encouraged to attend and view items.  There is no cover charge, but everyone is encouraged to bring your pocket change – you are bound to find an item you can not live without and you’ll be supporting a great local non-profit!   Continue Reading →

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Friday Night Football Scores on the Four States News

For the past two seasons, the Four States News has maintained a scoreboard through an app with local high school scores.  The listing is found to the right on the main page (https://fourstatesnews.us) and is found at the bottom of the page on phones and handheld pads. Scores are updated throughout the night and the Four States News covers high schools in about a sixty-mile radius of the Texarkana area.  Other schools can easily be added if they have been overlooked in the area.  All someone would need to do is drop a quick email to the Four States News at (press@fourstatesnews.us). In addition to Friday night football scores, basketball, volleyball, baseball, and other scores from the area also maintained on the site.  An easy navigation bar at the top of the application allows the user to scroll back through previous games and sometimes move ahead to next week’s schedule. Friday night has become one of the Four States News’ most visited nights of the week.  We hope you’ll join us in watching all the action, seeing the updated scores, and following your favorite high school team into the postseason! Continue Reading →

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Sidney Masonic Lodge to Host Scholarship Fundraiser

Fouke, AR– Sidney Masonic Lodge in Fouke will host a BBQ and Hamburger Scholarship Fundraiser this Saturday (27th) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.  The event proceeds will go into the lodge’s scholarship funds.  Scholarships are awarded annually to a student from Fouke. The event will start at 11 a.m. and last until 2 p.m. with $5 purchasing your choice of a BBQ Sandwich or a Hamburger with chips a drink and a desert.  The lodge is located next to the famed Monster Mart in the downtown area of Fouke.  The community is invited and encouraged to attend, enjoy the fellowship and support this fantastic community cause. Sidney Masonic Lodge is a part of the F&AM of Arkansas (Grand Lodge of Arkansas).  The lodge number is 455.  The Grand Lodge of Arkansas and its lodges across the state are 501 (c) 3 organizations providing charitable donations, events, and programs across the state of Arkansas and beyond.  If you would like more information about charities or the Masonic Lodge, visit the Grand Lodge website above, or the Southwest Arkansas Freemason’s site or visit an event such as Sidney Lodge’s fundraiser this weekend and speak with a member. Continue Reading →

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Diane Green, Forever in Our Hearts

On Monday, October 22, 2018, at 3:15 p.m. Texarkana lost a little bit of southern charm and a lot of grace.  Diane Green a beloved school teacher, friend to many, mother, wife, and member of too many civic groups to list passed away from this life and to the gates of Heaven. When I heard of Diane’s passing, like many in the Texarkana area, I was shocked.  I had been blessed to know Curt and Diane through several political events and various functions.  Immediately after hearing of her passing, I began to look over social media and found that my respect for Diane was not alone.  There were state representatives sharing memories, Texarkana business leaders sharing memories, former students of Diane’s sharing memories and even people as far away as Little Rock talking about how her death was affecting them. One former student called Diane “A class act, a kind soul, a lady.”  Another student stated that she had been in Diane’s first kindergarten class and that as one of Diane’s students she would sing when coloring.  The lady said that Diane came over to her, told her she could not sing in class but promised to come to see her when she sings on stage someday.  The student reported that true to her word, years later Diane would watch the former student sing on the stage at the Oaklawn Opry. Another Texarkana business leader posted a picture of himself with Diane at a celebration of someone’s citizenship being completed.  In the comments, the leader stated that Diane “was such a true friend to so many!  I always appreciated her down to earth attitude, her concern for others, and just being Diane, which encompassed a multitude of wonderfulness!”

A former state representative would sum up many feelings around Texarkana when she posted simply, “Forever in our hearts.”  The caption was found above a picture of Diane and the representative on Facebook. As for me, I met Diane first at a political function.  I tend to stand back and observe at many of these events.   I was in the process of observing when Diane must have noticed I was looking around from the side of the room.  She came over, introduced herself, and talked for a little while.  I remember having the immediate feeling that I was talking with a lady of southern charm, and of the kind of grace you did not simply respond to with a “yes” or a “no,” but instead, you responded with a “Yes ma’am,” or a “No ma’am.”  I would later assume that the feeling must have come from the overpowering presence that Diane presented.  Maybe that presence was something from her time as a teacher, or it was just something from the way she carried herself.  Whatever it was about Diane that projected this positive presence I quickly observed it from others in the room as well.  Everyone at the event was responding with the same respect that seemed appropriate to Diane’s status and to her person. Continue Reading →

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Remembering Otis Henry

Bowie County, TX: Many people have heard the name Otis Henry around Texarkana.  The VFW Post 2549 has Otis’ name as did the previous post.  Rose Hill Cemetery has a historical designation for the monument at Otis’ grave and children have heard stories about the grave being haunted for years.  One person said that if you go up to the gates at Otis’ grave and ask “Otis, what are you doing?” that Otis will respond, “Nothing.”  It was not clear if the response would be the word “Nothing” or if nothing would be heard by anyone listening, but it was shared by one person who did this in his youth.  The cemetery is now locked at night, but the memorial remains. While people have heard the name Otis Henry, they may not know the story behind the young man.  It is really a simple story and there is not much to it as it goes.   On June 22, 1894, Susan Henry brought into this world her pride and joy, a small baby boy, in Denison, Texas.   They would name him Otis.  Otis would grow up in Denison until his father passed away in his youth and mother and son would move to Texarkana.   Otis’ mother would remarry once to a Mr. Tate while Otis was still alive and again after her son passed away.  Otis was by all accounts just a regular young man of the times.  He went to school, graduated, and went to work to help the family.  When the world war came along, Otis would respond to his draft, go to war, get gassed in the trenches of that war to end all wars and die a few days later.  In all, it would be a simple footnote in history except for two facts.  Otis would be the first to die in what would become known as World War I from Bowie County, and he would leave behind a mother determined to ensure her son would be remembered forever. When Otis Henry answered his draft call he was working as a soda dispenser out of Shreveport, Louisiana.  The company most likely delivered soda fountain supplies and bottles in the Texarkana area.   Otis lived at 1002 South Lelia Avenue with his mother and step-father in Texarkana.   Otis was twenty-two at the time of his draft and listed no reason that he could not be drafted.  As happens in war, Otis was drafted,  enlisted in the United States Army, and trained for war. Otis would end up serving with the 359th Infantry, 90th Division and company H.  He would become a Corporal, and his military service seems fairly routine for a soldier fighting in the war. Continue Reading →

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The Oaklawn Rotary Club

Many of our readers are aware that Texarkana has a Rotary Club called the Oaklawn Rotary Club of Texarkana.  They meet weekly, complete charity work, host luncheons, and invite guests to speak.  It just so happens that I visited the group a few months ago and was blessed with the opportunity to speak at today’s lunch meeting.  My topic was community journalism and how it is affecting our future.  I arrived at the meeting early, set up a slideshow and waited.  Fortunately, I was the last person to speak or have anything to do in today’s meeting.  This placement in the schedule afforded me the opportunity to watch the club in action. Within a few minutes the Texas Middle School Choir arrived.  The young ladies and their director had completed a competition recently that permitted each student to sing solos.  The Rotary event would be their first event to perform as a group.  The choir was made up of seventh and eighth graders dressed in black and carrying their music to the front of the room.   I considered momentarily how nervous I would have been to be singing in front of a group as a group for the first time but quickly noticed these girls were not nervous.  The group and their director had confidence and from the first note to the last, it was obvious why they had that confidence.  The performance was amazing.  Each note was perfectly pitched to the Rotary group by voices that, though they had not performed together, could have easily competed with a well-trained adult choir.  I did not get the name of their director, but I would highly encourage anyone to seek out these young ladies for any event in need of musical support. Later in the program, Outstanding Student Awards were presented by the Rotarians to two Texas Middle School Students.  Out of about 514 students, these two students had stood out academically and with positive teacher recommendations.   A short bio background was given on each student just prior to the award.  It was clear that not only were the Rotarians proud to be able to provide the awards, but the students and their groups were beaming with pride too. Various other topics were discussed by the group including fundraisers, social events, and community work.  It was obvious that this club is not going to sit on the sidelines and not be involved in the community. When my time to speak came, I must admit being a little nervous after following the choir, the discussions, and the award ceremony for the students.  Somehow, my topic of community journalism did not seem as important or as needed as those other areas had been.  Nonetheless, the Rotarians listened, watched the slides, and seemed interested in the material presented.  Once I finished, the group even had a few questions and insights to provide.  I was made to feel welcome and appreciated by each member present. Continue Reading →

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Congressman Visits Local Committee Meeting

Miller County, AR: A group of supporters and friends turned out this evening despite the rain to hear Congressman Bruce Westerman and others speak at the Miller County Republican Committee Meeting.  Wayne Smith, the committee chairman, welcomed the group and made announcements before recognizing public figures present.  

Among the guest was former State Representative Prissy Hickerson, State Representative Carol Dalby, and State Senator Jimmy Hickey.  Several county officials were present including JP Earnest Pender, County Assessor Elect Nancy Herron, and County Judge-Elect Cathy Hardin-Harrison.   Several officials spoke before the congressman’s arrival and answered questions with the people present. Congressman Westerman brought the group up-to-date on a growing economy and attributed that growth directly to tax cuts supported and passed by himself and fellow Republicans in Congress.  He noted that there has been an increase in job growth with a tremendous decrease in the unemployment rate.  He also noted that the women’s unemployment rate is at the lowest it has been in years. According to the Congressman, he has been amazed by some of the statements regarding the economic growth made by opponents.  He said that those same people have stated that Republicans did not make the tax breaks permanent; however, those making the statements failed to point out that they blocked a Republican-supported bill that would have made the cuts permanent.  Now Democrats are openly stating that if they can take back the majority in Congress, they will repeal the tax cuts and in fact place new taxes on the American people. Westerman noted that the trade deficit is down to 43 billion which is a 2 billion dollar drop from where it had been.  Westerman attributed this positive for American industry to the tariffs put in place.  He said that we are currently seeing a 4.2% growth in the economy. Continue Reading →

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Miller County Republican Meeting to Host Congressman Bruce Westerman

Miller, County:  The Miller County Republican Committee (MCRC) will hold their monthly meeting on October 9 at the New Haven Golf Course at 6:30 p.m.

The meeting is open to everyone and will feature a guest speaker Congressman Bruce Westerman. Congressman Westerman represents the Fourth Congressional District of Arkansas which includes Miller County.  He is currently running for reelection in the November 2018 elections.  The public and press are encouraged to attend, visit with the Congressman, and take the opportunity to obtain support material. The MCRC works to elect qualified Republicans to office in Miller County, Arkansas, the state level of Arkansas, and the national level representation for Arkansas.   The following serve as officers for the MCRC:  Chairman: Wayne Smith, 1st Vice Chair: Diana Lowe, 2nd Vice Chair: Andy LaGrone, Treasurer: Cathy Hardin-Harrison and Secretary: Clint Thomas
More information may be obtained online at the Miller County Republican Committee website Texarkana-MillerCountyGOP.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/millercountyrepublican.  You may also visit Congressman Westerman’s site at westerman.house.gov Continue Reading →

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