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

Texarkana Arkansas Schools Prepare for Eclipse

 

Texarkana, AR – Monday will mark the first total eclipse in the United States since 1918.  Like many parents, I wondered what would be the safest thing to do.  I thought about taking kids out of school, watching it on television or the Internet, or maybe just sending the approved glasses with the kids to school.  I had asked that they find out what was being done at school. We had heard nothing until today when Texarkana Arkansas School District Superintendent Becky Kesler issued a statement. Arkansas side citizens have come to expect a thoughtful and professional approach from Dr. Kesler, and with her message she did not disappoint.  As would be expected, the care of the students was the main concern for the district.   The memo indicates that live streams will be available in school, those with approved glasses and permission slips may view the event, and that the outside transition of classes will be limited.  The message further noted that a parent or guardian could check a child out for the event and the school would not count that day against attendance. The Four States News commends the Arkansas School District and Dr. Becky Kesler for taking advanced precautions and putting plans in place to ensure this educational event can be safely experienced.  Taking the additional step of allowing children to leave school so that they can experience the event with guardians or parents shows a forward-thinking step above and beyond what is required. A copy of the memo may be viewed online at the Texarkana Arkansas School District Facebook page. 
 

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Fouke Citizens Start Scavenger Hunt

 

Fouke, AR – Have you ever wanted to do something, but then just found you did not have the funds to make it happen?  Maybe you wanted to go on a fancy vacation, or a trip to the lake, or even a trip to McDonald’s, but when you pulled that pocket book out, the bank said, “Not today”.  If you have found that to be case, or even if you have the funds, but you’re just not about to spend them, the “We Love Fouke” Facebook page has an answer for you.  It’s time for a good old fashioned scavenger hunt. The concept is easy and can be applied for a “family fun activity,” or for a “cheap date” – ladies, do not hold the Four States News responsible if you get a cheap date – all this easy scavenger hunt needs is a little gas in the care and a digital camera.  You can use your camera, phone, or whatever takes pictu

res.  Using the list provided on the Facebook page (as seen here too) you simply download the list and look for things indicated.  Once you find them, take a picture or just make a note of the information being sought.  Points are awarded for each find. While it may seem like a simple concept on the outside, the group plans to update the challenges and expand it as time goes.  With so much in the Miller County area, you will not only be getting out for a little while and maybe moving the kids away from the video games, but you also have the potential to learn a little history.    The bottom line is this group in Fouke has found a way the whole family can join in the fun.  The page is growing, the scavengers are growing, and the list is getting longer- you had better jump onboard now and get started. We Love Fouke

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Ladies It’s Tea Time in Fouke

Fouke, AR-Elaborate and fancy tea party stories filled the imagination of a young girl named Ashley years ago.  Her father would tell stories about her great grandmother attending tea parties at such places as the Grim Hotel in Texarkana.  Participants would attend the formal dressed parties, many on the roof top of the hotel, where the ladies would talk of fashion, the news, the events around town and naturally they would drink tea.  Ashley thought these stories of a bygone time were like fairy tales where noble ladies would chat for hours on end and make remarks about “how fair the weather is for this time of year,” or “how the clouds provide just enough shade for a cooler gathering.”

Years after those stories were told to the little girl, she grew up, and has a family of her own.   Ashley Mathews is now at a stage in her life where she is remembering and telling others about the fairy tale tea party stories of her childhood.  She realized that she had never been able to participate in such a party and had never had the excitement of dressing up before tea.  It was during conversations with some friends that the idea struck and stuck…. why not have a tea party now?  Instantly the idea developed from talk, into plans, and into a date.  Ashely stated that the general feeling in Fouke was “How fun it be to bring this tradition alive again!”

With a little thought and planning, the group has their first Tea Party scheduled in Fouke.  The ladies will be at the Scoggins house Saturday, October 7 at 2:30 P.M.  Tea and refreshments will be on hand, yard games, and socializing will be on the schedule of events. Ashley says the event is open to any ladies, any age wishing to attend and a photographer will be on site to take pictures.  They even have a make-up artist available for “make overs.  When asked if formal dresses are the requirement for the event, she stated that they hope to have donations of dresses, costume jewelry, over the top hats, long elegant gloves and “all things girly” – and yes, your Four States News just published the word “girly” – for those who may not have access to such dresses or formal wear.   The group plans to make this a seasonal event in the Fouke area. Ashely stated that anyone wishing to donate the costume jewelry, over the top hats, long elegant gloves or dresses should contact her directly.  Ladies, church groups and non-profits from the area are being encouraged to sponsor a table at the event which would mean you could provide some of the decorations.  Those interested in attending may contact Ashley, Courtney Miller, Brittany Gearlds, Angela Swatsell or Melissa Mims for more details on Facebook.  You may also call 903-824-3942.  

 

 

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From Confederate, to Klan, to African American Advocate

After the Civil War ended, one officer did what most Confederate officers did and returned home to resume a routine daily life.  He also returned to the status of a U.S. citizen, founded a town worked various jobs and then rose above many of his fellow southerners as an advocate for equality and rights of African Americans. However, before the man would make the transition to advocate, he joined the Ku Klux Klan in the early days of the organization.  Originally he felt that the Klan was founded to protect people in the south from people attempting to take advantage of the defeated area.  Although history clearly records that the Klan always targeted African Americans and whites attempting to help them, this early member apparently saw it differently. The former Confederate officer left the organization and began to take a firm stand against them.  He told them they should disband and should never cause harm to African Americans or anyone.  The Klan dismissed him and continued their core mission of hatred toward anyone not considered white or helping African Americans. When Klan members attacked several African Americans at a BBQ celebration and killed two of them, the former Confederate officer wrote to the governor and volunteered to help ‘Exterminate’ those men responsible for continued violence against African Americans.   With knowledge of the inner workings of the Klan, he felt he was best to track down and punish the men who kept causing harm and promoted hatred. The same former Confederate officer would recognize tensions between the United States and Spain later.  At a time when it appeared there would be war between the two countries, he wrote to the General of the Army and offered to fight and serve in the United States Army.  The affair ended without war, but the United States General wrote back and stated that had war been declared, this officer’s services would have been an honor for the United States. Continue Reading →

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Elvis Left The Building Forty Years Ago Today

Forty years have slipped by since Elvis Presley left the building for the last time.  Jimmy Carter was President, and would speak to the nation later in the afternoon about the legend and impact on the country.  Millions of people would flock to Memphis, stand in the August heat, and mourn the man.  At roughly 3:30 p.m. Central Standard Time all three of the major television networks would interrupt their broadcast with the news that “Elvis Presley had died in Memphis, Tennessee at his home, Graceland.”

It seemed like from that moment forward a musical legend would rise to mythical proportions.  Fan clubs would triple overnight, an entire new generation of impersonators would pop up around the world, and a small-town boy from Mississippi would go from stardom to iconic status.  People would continue even to this day to argue that he’s still alive.  Other people would argue that he was killed as part of a mob hit, and still others would argue that he had to go into hiding because of his work with the DEA. Long after Elvis died, his impact on the four states area is still felt and known.  He had been a regular on the Louisiana Hayride show, often to get to that show he would drive down U.S. Highway 67, like other performers of the late 1950s, into Texarkana.  There are reports that he would fill up at a gas station just across the state line where Almost Everything is located today near downtown.  He would then perform at Walnut street on the Arkansas side.  Today there are still stories circulating about the man who would become the King of Rock-n-Roll and his early days in Texarkana.  Highway 67 outside Texarkana has been dubbed “Rock-N-Roll Highway 67” and there several pictures and stories recorded about Elvis in Texarkana. A few years ago, I had the honor of visiting with a friend of mine from Texarkana whose father had been involved with the stage work in downtown Texarkana during those early days when Elvis and other performed.  She and her friends spent time with him between his performances walking the streets from Walnut down through Broad Street.  This friend told me that at one time a group of them were walking down Broad Street when a Cadillac went by them.  Elvis pointed at the car and said, “One day I’m gonna have me one of those and it’s gonna be pink.”  She recalled that she had looked at Elvis and said, “No you’re not.”  As she told the story, she looked up at me and said, “And do you know what?  I’ll be darned if he didn’t go and get one and it was pink!”

Naturally there are hundreds of other stories about Elvis from Texarkana and the surrounding areas, but here’s a few interesting facts forty years later that you may not know about Elvis Presley:

Elvis’ 1972 Hawaii Concert was the first concert to ever be broadcast worldwide by satellite. During the 1972 concert, commentators talked so much that fans around the world heard more of them than they did of Elvis. During that concert a fan gave Elvis a crown. Continue Reading →

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S.C.V. Camp Places Memorial Stone in Miller County

Yesterday with the horrible events of the weekend still fresh on my mind where people from two radical, and in my opinion un-American, groups clashed in a wrong and shameful way over a Confederate Monument, I decided to attend a Confederate graveside service.  For those that may not know, since the United States recognizes Confederate army, navy and marine veterans as American veterans, the country places markers on graves which can be verified.  This act of honor is done for veterans from the Revolutionary War clear through our recent wars on terrorism.  It is a last honor, or tribute, to an American veteran.  Since the mainstream media seems content to overlook the fact that Confederate veterans have been recognized by the United States as American veterans, I felt it was important to go see this ceremony and see exactly what is done. I met a friend of mine who is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (S.C.V.).  This group is not be confused with any white supremacist group, klan, or any other hate group.  This group works to promote the history of the Civil War, honor their ancestors, give scholarships, promote unity, and ensure that the healing that begin after the last shot was fired in the war continues well into the future. We drove out into the backwoods of Miller County to a small cemetery.  Once there I observed the prayer, a dedication, and the placement of the memorial stone.  As we drove up I saw vehicles from Texas and Arkansas.  I saw elderly and young.  I saw decedents of the soldier being honored.  I also saw a truck of one member that brought the equipment to place the stone.  On that truck a Disabled American Veteran (DAV) sticker was present on the front and the back.  The men present were members of the Major John B. Burton S.C.V. Camp #1664.  They were dressed in jeans, button up shirts or t-shirts, boots or tennis shoes, and several wore ball camps.  I would estimate that their ages ranged from late 70s, maybe the early 80s, down to 8 years old.  They laughed, talked, and joked just like any other gathering that might take place in the community. What I observed at this ceremony was perhaps as important as what I did not observe though.  I did not see or hear anyone utter a single racial slur.  There were no calls for the “South to rise”.  There was no rallying behind a Confederate Battle Flag or cries about how the government mistreats all southerners.  No, what I observed was a group of men diligently dig a hole, place a monument, pour concrete around it and set it up for a man who died in 1905.  I then observed some pictures after the dedication and prayer.  But I also observed these men go further in their acts of preservation and honor.  It would have been enough for them to place the stone, recognize it, and then fan out and go home.  They could have done this simply because it was hot.  But they decided to do more. Continue Reading →

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Miller County Republican Committee Sets August 2017 Meeting

Miller County, AR – The Miller County Republican Committee will hold a monthly meeting Tuesday August 8 at 6:30 p.m.   The meeting will be held at the New Haven Golf Club on 2321 Line Ferry Road, Texarkana. An executive session will be held for officers from 6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. with the general meeting following after. The Miller County Republican Committee maintains a Facebook page and during elections 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. Continue Reading →

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Intellectual Disabilities and Openings in the ICF/IID Programs in Texas

Despite efforts in Texas to move forward with services for people with developmental or intellectual disabilities, the state still lingers far behind most others in the nation.  United Cerebral Palsy conducts surveys on Inclusion of the states, and Texas is always near the bottom.  In 2012, out of 51 states and districts surveyed, Texas ranked number 50 at the bottom of the list.  In 2016, that ranking had not changed and the only state lower than Texas was Mississippi.  While the inclusion survey covers several areas such as employment, housing, services, treatment, etc. of people with developmental or intellectual disabilities, the disheartening fact is that one of the largest, wealthiest states in the union is unable to raise its level of services in a four-year period.  This shows either a lack of concern on the part of the state, a lack of effort, or a combination of both. The state currently operates thirteen “State Supported Living Centers” or SSLCs.  These are the large institutions were once called “State Schools” prior to the reorganization a few years ago.  According to the DADS website, which is currently transitioning into the HHSC website, all thirteen of these facilities have vacancies, or openings to serve people with developmental or intellectual disabilities.  There are currently 376 openings in these facilities according the latest update at the DADS website completed on August 5, 2017. There are 796 facilities in the state of Texas offering Intermediate Care Facilities services for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ICF/IID).  These facilities unlike the SSLCs are usually smaller six or twelve bed styled facilities in the community.  Many are operated privately by organizations or small corporations.  Some are considered non-profit and some are considered for profit. Out of the 796 facilities, 199 of them have openings of one or more vacancies.  There is currently a total of 415 open beds in ICF/IID programs across the state of Texas. Continue Reading →

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Fouke City Website Arrives Online

Fouke, AR – Late Wednesday evening Fouke Mayor Terry Purvis made the announcement that the city of Fouke now has a new website.  It’s unclear at this time if the website will feature a “Monster Cam” or any other pictures of the famous “Boggy Creek Monster,” but for now it will feature important news for Fouke citizens.  The site should share information about school events, council meetings, agendas, and other information. Mayor Purvis released the following statement on Facebook:
I am pleased to announce that the City of Fouke has launched a new website today for our Great City. On this site you can stay informed of upcoming events, keep track of resources in our area, keep informed of upcoming City Council Meetings as we will be posting agendas of the meeting and minutes of the meetings. We have an alert icon you can click on and sign up to receive alerts from the City such as water outages, sever weather alerts, or emergencies in our town. I invite you to visit our site and look around. Continue Reading →

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Janet Satterfield Quietly Retires

Miller County, AR-If you have been to the Miller County Clerk’s office lately, then you may have noticed a change.  If you made your way there in July or even the first of August, then you may have felt something was just a little different.  No, there is no new paint and no new pictures on the wall.  Yes, you still have the same clerk and wonderful staff….well, most of them.  The change you should have noticed is the absence of Deputy Clerk Janet Satterfield. While you may not know the name, as she worked diligently in the background for 35 years at the clerk’s office, you certainly will know the face.  Janet was the employee that all the other employees seemed to refer you to for questions.  You wanted to know about your voter status?  They called Janet.  You wanted to ask a detailed question about some form?  They called Janet.  Simply put, Janet held a wealth of information for the county.  Some people say she practically served as the right hand of the clerk through Stephanie Harvin and Ann Nicholas’ terms.

Janet always had a smile, always had a kind word, and could always be found in meetings sitting somewhere near the back and silently taking notes for the clerk’s office.  To be frank, she had several different jobs and people seemed to turn to her for just about everything even if it wasn’t related to the clerk’s office. As I said, you may have noticed in the last month that Janet hasn’t been around the Clerk’s office.  On June 30, 2017, just as quietly as she had entered the job, Janet Satterfield quietly walked out the door of the Miller County Courthouse as an employee for the last time.  A small party had been held on the 28th at noon to celebrate her service.  She smiled for the camera, shook hands and hugged friends and made her final preparations to leave. Janet Satterfield was one of a kind and a huge asset for Miller County.  Already I have heard of at least three people who were surprised when they went to the clerk’s office and Janet was not there to help them.  At the Four States News we knew Janet was leaving on June 30.  We also knew that she is a quiet person who prefers to stay in the background and work hard.  Well Janet, we gave you a little time before we posted anything about your retirement, but that time is up.  You should know the county will never be the same and your smiling face will be missed in the day-to-day workings of our little southwest corner of Arkansas.  Enjoy that retirement. Citizens of Miller County, if you happen to see Janet at a store, event of somewhere else, you should return her wonderful smile and tell her how much you appreciate her 35 years of service to your county. Continue Reading →

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