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

Saying Goodbye to Rodney Phillips

Rodney Phillips 1968-2019

Today I said goodbye to a friend of nearly twenty-three
years.   When you’ve known someone for
twenty-three years, it’s not uncommon to see them at their good points of life,
tough points of life and their high points of life.  It’s also not uncommon to really get to know
the person and sometimes to forget that person has other associates, friends,
and family.  Today, I said goodbye to one
such friend, Rodney Phillips. I’m not going to try to recap all of Rodney’s life because
there isn’t enough time to do that.  I
will say that he has touched many people. 
Rodney’s reach was more than apparent at his family visitation when I
saw page after page of signatures in the visitation book.  It was even more evident as I stood just
outside the chapel where standing room only could be found for his funeral
today.  Rodney had a far reach in life,
but rather than recap all of that, the only things I can recap about Rodney is
what I directly know about him.  Rodney
was a son, a husband, a father, a Christian, a hunter, a fisherman, a mason,
and he is my friend.    Rodney lived the
life of a Christian man and a mason until his last day on this earth.  So, rather than focus on his birth,
experience, and death, I’d like to share with you a couple of stories that sum
up who Rodney was and in fact who he still is. 

Rodney was a Christian. 
Rodney not only believed entirely in Christ, but he also had no shame or
fear of speaking about God.  While
speaking is excellent, actions are, and Rodney knew this.  Several times, I saw Rodney act in a
Christian manner.  Recently when some disagreements
broke out over a situation we were both involved in, I turned to Rodney because
I knew he would have a calming answer. 
Not to be underestimated, Rodney had the best solution of all.  He said of the situation, “Well, all I
know is we just need to forgive and let bygones be bygones.  We just need to all get along.”  He did not preach it; he stated it.  That is the type of Christian Rodney is, he
wants to forgive, move on, and continue in harmony.  While that situation is not yet resolved, I
certainly hope those who heard his words, or perhaps those who are reading them
now, will remember that Rodney wanted nothing more than peace and harmony and a
forgiving atmosphere.  I think we can do
that, if not for ourselves, then for Rodney. Rodney is a friend, and real friends are hard to find.  Rodney is not only a friend, but he is also a
true friend.  Rodney was the type of guy
that met no strangers and helped anyone at any time.  Several years ago I was traveling back from
Dallas pulling a trailer when my vehicle broke down.  I called “friend” after friend and received
no help.  I had answers like “I’m already
in for the night,” or “I’ve been drinking,” or “I can not come that far right
now,” etc.  As I went down my list of
numbers, I reached Rodney’s. When I was about to give up, I called Rodney’s number.  His response was simple; he said, “I’m
on my way.  We’ll pull the trailer back
first, and then we’ll get my trailer and get your vehicle.”  When Rodney arrived, I started to hook up the
trailer, and I noticed he was watching and doing little to help hook it
up.  In fact, Rodney was directing me,
something I learned he is very good at doing. 
He seemed tired, and I assumed that he had just woke up and was maybe
still sleepy.  When I said, “Rodney,
are you okay,” his response shocked me. 
Rodney said, “Yeah, man, I’m fine. 
I just had surgery last week, and I’m not supposed to lift anything or
do anything stressful.  So I’m a little
tired.” As we talked, it turned out this was no minor surgery; in
fact, it was major surgery.  I was
humbled and surprised by Rodney’s actions. 
Out of all the people I called for help, Rodney, who had just had major
surgery a week before, was the only one to come to help me.  We hauled the trailer back, picked up his
trailer, and pulled the vehicle back. 
Rodney reluctantly allowed me to put gas in his truck and refused to
take any money for helping.  Even when
Rodney was tired and had more than a good excuse not to help, he never
complained and came to help a friend in need. 
That is what true friendship is and will always be in my mind. 

I never got the opportunity to repay Rodney for his
brotherly love, his Christian attitude, and his friendship.  Through the years, we worked on many projects
together and shared many laughs.  I
always reminded him of the time he came to help me when nobody else could or
would, and I always told him, no matter where I was in life, he could still
call me from anywhere, and I’d help.  When
I would say this to Rodney, he would laugh and say, “I know you’d do the
same for me.”  Well, Rodney, I never
got the chance.  You’ve gone home to
Heaven now.   Someday when I get there,
I’m going to ask God why he needed you home when you had touched so many lives
here on earth.  I’m going to ask God why
I couldn’t have kept my friend, and the friend to many others, for a little
longer here on earth.  I know God will
have his reasons, and I know they will be good ones.  So, in the meantime, Rodney go fishing with
those who have gone before you, say hello to your dad for me,  do some hunting, and enjoy Heaven.  Oh, and if you decide to send a message this
way, I want to know how the steaks taste in Heaven and if you’re cooking them. Continue Reading →

Filed under:

Bullying Reported at Local School District

Local Bikers prepare to ride against bullying at Liberty Eylau School District

Bullying is a word no parent wants to hear or even think about when it comes to their own child’s safety.  School districts around the area have added policies to address bullying, cracked down on it, and even had the training to help promote “anti-bullying” agendas.  Despite the progress by many schools, the parents of some students in the Liberty Eylau School District feel that enough is not being done in the district. 

At this time three parents have come forward and contacted the Four States News with complaints about the Liberty Eylau schools.  One parent has pointed out that bullying of her daughter has been going on for well over three school years now with no real action from the district.  Another parent indicated that bullying has progressed from verbal threats of violence and even sexual threats to acts of violence and sexual assault.  There is a police report being investigated at this time. 

One parent stated that much of the bullying has now progressed into assault and even sexual assault for her daughter.  She has reported this to campus police, and there is an investigation going according to the parent, but no action or corrective action has been taken as of this date.  This parent stated that since she has reported the incidents, she has now learned there are other parents with the same problems for their children.  The parent said that “we are banding together to make a statement and to not let our daughters’ voices be left unheard.”  Based on her initial discussions, she feels the problem is district-wide, and while her daughter’s incident occurred at the middle school, she has been notified of issues in other schools within the district as well.  The parent said it was not okay for these students to continue in mainstream school while her daughter and others live in fear of being bullied daily.  

Last Friday several local bikers including members of the
Texarkana Fallen Bikers Memorial Wall and others joined together to escort the
children to school in an effort to promote “Stomp Out Bullying” at Liberty Eylau
and make a positive impact.  The bullying
has allegedly affected not only young girls in the district but also many of
the young boys in the schools.   After
the escort last Friday morning, one parent attempted to escort her child into
the school and was denied access.  When
she questioned why she could not enter the school to help her child feel
comfortable, she was told that only her child could enter.  The parent stated that no other reasons were
provided for why they could not enter the school and they only stated that
“no adults would enter the school.” 
Options such as signing in at the office and visiting her child’s
classroom were not offered.  When the
parent asked about eating breakfast or lunch with her child, it was denied as
well despite those options being part of the daily options for parents in the
district. Overall the parents are merely asking the officials at the Liberty Eylau school district to address the problem of bullying at the schools.  They feel that they have brought it to the district’s attention and at this time the district has done nothing to address their concerns.   They now think they have no choice except to reach to outside news sources, connect with other parents, and band together to address their concerns.   The Liberty Eylau Handbook states on page 38 that Bullying is prohibited by the district.  The handbook goes on to describe how the district will investigate and who may report bullying.  The handbook also notes that bullying may be reported on the district’s website and that it may be reported anonymously.   Anyone having knowledge of Bullying, assault, or sexual assault occurring on any Liberty Eylau campus is encouraged to contact the district and report it.   The district offers the online reporting at Liberty Eylau Website.   Those feeling their concerns are not adequately addressed, may reach out to other parents and local authorities. 
Continue Reading →

Filed under:

Genoa Dragons 5K Trail Run

Genoa, AR- On May 11, the Genoa Central Boys and Girls Track Teams will host the Third Annual Dragon Fire 5K Trail Run. The race starts at the elementary school on Highway 196 in front of the Dragon Gym. Entry fees should be received by mail by May 10 and will be accepted for an additional five dollars on race day. Entry fees are $20 through May 10 and $25 on May 11. Families of 3 or more from the same household may register early for $15 per person and $20 on the day of the race (must have 3 or more). Continue Reading →

Filed under:

Fishing Memories

It’s fishing time again! 
I know there are people thinking, “It’s always fishing time,” but for me
fishing time starts after winter and ends about the time my teeth stop
chattering from the cold.  In simple
terms, I fish in the Spring until the end of fall.  I’m what you call a leisure fishing guy.  I’m not so serious about fishing that I have
a five hundred dollar rod and reel, but I also enjoy the use of good equipment.  I enjoy fishing equipment so much, that once
I have the basic stuff together, I rarely buy new.    This
year as the fishing season kicked off for me my favorite reel from 1989 (A
Zebco Rhino) broke.  After thirty years,
the reel finally gave up.  I trudged off
to the store to get a new one and while I was there I decided it was time to
invest in a new tackle box as well.  This
was not an easy decision for me.   As old
as that reel was, my Plano 6300N is actually older.  The box dates back nearly forty years
ago.  I decided it was time for a new
tackle box to go hand-in-hand with the new rod and reel.   As a blessed man that I am, my wife stood
nearby encouraging me to get the best tackle box I wanted and planned to use
for the next several years. I was happy to find that Plano still makes their tackle
boxes in the USA.  I was also happy to
find a wide variety of new models.  I
selected one, purchased it and the rod/reel and headed home.  In a few days I sat down to move over the
tackle I wanted to continue to use, store away old lures like my grandfather’s
and others from my childhood, and get the new Plano ready for action.  It was then that I began my walk down a
“fishing” memory lane with that old box.   

While I fully intend to use the new tackle box, I did not
realize how hard it would be to actually move stuff from the old box to the new
one.  Naturally, the act of moving it was
easy, but the symbolic aspect of the move was deep in my mind and history.  As I looked at the old tackle box a flood of
memories came rushing back to me.  I
remembered the first time I got the box at a Walmart that closed at eight
o’clock when Walmart was still two words. 
I remembered the special offer inside the box!  I could send away for a nameplate for my new
tackle box and I did.  I remembered the
day it arrived and how I proudly stuck it on the indented spot for nameplates
on the top of the box. 

As more memories washed in, I had to smile.  As proud of that nameplate as I was back
then, I can also remember the day it finally fell off and I lost it.  I could remember the day I got a scuff on the
box next to a fishing pond.  In fact each
scuff, scratch, and mark had a memory attached to it.    The
old box is faded now, and I could remember all the days it sat out beside me in
the sun.  I could remember other scuffs
from carrying the box on my bike, hauling it in the back of my grandfather’s
old Ford, and even a time or two I dropped it a little too hard near the
fishing spots.  I could remember hauling
it on boats, to lakes, rivers, and streams. 
I could remember each time my grandfather gave me a lure to place in the
box – I was and still am very proud of those old fishing lures.  I could remember each time I pulled the fish
stringer out for that perfect fish, and each time the line snapped, and I had
to dig into the old box for more tackle. 
I could remember using it all through school and then taking it with me
to college.  As nearly forty years of
fishing memories ran freely through my mind, I closed the box with many of the
old lures still in place. 

I placed both the boxes back in storage – one ready to go,
and one ready to tug at my memories forever-and decided to look to see if my
old Plano 6300N was still around.  A
quick search on E-bay found dozens of them ranging from $10 to about $30.   They are now called “vintage” and “Old”
tackle boxes.   Many of them are marked with the same type of
memory marks of scuffs and scratches as mine, and others looked as if they had
sat up on a shelf with no use at all.  I
found myself feeling sorry for the ones that appeared to not be used, and then
I was sorry for the ones being sold.  The
ones that appeared not to be used, missed a lifetime of fun and fishing.  As for the ones with the memories, it was sad
that someone’s fishing memories had been posted on eBay at a rate of between $10
to $30. 

I decided long ago I would not sell my Plano box.  In fact, I think I may have decided not to
ever sell it after the first fishing trip with it.    Somewhere down the line my children may
decide to sell the box and that will be okay, because it will not hold the
memories for them that it does for me. 
Maybe…just maybe if I’m lucky though…this new Plano box will become
theirs and will hold memories for them. 
Who knows, in another thirty or forty years, one of my children may be
looking back with fond memories at the Plano box that replaced my old 6300N
today. Continue Reading →

Filed under:

Arkansas House Update April 12, 2019

More than 900 bills have been signed into law this session. This General Assembly has reduced taxes, addressed infrastructure needs, increased funding to education, and transformed state government. One of the last bills we passed was the amendment to the Revenue Stabilization Act. This outlines the $5.7 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2020. It includes a 2.2% increase in spending from the current fiscal year. Continue Reading →

Filed under:

Sandflat-Glendale Shannon Neighborhood Clean Up Saturday

The Sandflat-Glendale Shannon Center will host a Texarkana, Arkansas clean up day Saturday, April 13, from 8 a.m. to 1p.m. Crews and volunteers will meet at the center located at 209 E. 14th Street and work out from that location. There will be dumpsters on site for community use. Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend the event. According to representatives, they will “be going around the neighborhood helping clean up yards and pick up trash etc. ” The dumpsters will be available to the community, but they will not accept Tires, Electronics, Appliances, Trees or branches, or yard waste. Continue Reading →

Filed under:

Arkansas House Updates For Week 4-1-19

The state budget is guided by the Revenue Stabilization Act (RSA) which is typically one of the last items passed every session. 

Members will be reviewing RSA in the Joint Budget Committee Monday morning.  We have posted details of the proposed budget on our website. We expect to vote on the budget next week and conclude our business for this session. This week, the House passed two proposed constitutional amendments for the November 2020 ballot. SJR15 addresses term limits for legislators.  This amendment would limit state legislators elected after January 1, 2021 to 12 years of consecutive service. Those legislators would not be eligible for subsequent service in the General Assembly until four years after the expiration of the last term in office. 

Current legislators could serve under the existing term limit of 16 years.  Those members would be subject to a 4 year waiting period for before running for a subsequent term in the General Assembly. 

The House also passed HJR1008. Continue Reading →

Filed under:

Masonic Lodge to Hold Medical Fundraiser

Walter Burnett

Doddridge, AR – Bright Star Lodge in Doddridge, Arkansas will hold a medical fundraiser for Walter Burnett on April 6. The fundraiser will start at 5:00p.m. and will consist of a fish dinner. The event will be held at the lodge and is open to the community. All proceeds from this fundraiser, and donations will be put toward medical expenses for Walter Burnett. The original posting can be found on the Doddridge Facebook page (Facebook Page). Continue Reading →

Filed under:

Vote for Texarkana in America’s Main Streets Competition

Mainstreet Texarkana is encouraging citizens and friends of Texarkana to vote for Texarkana. “America’s Main Street’s” is offering a $25,000 award to the winner. STIHL company is the sponsor of the award and the last day for voting will be June 3. Mainstreet Texarkana is accredited and recognized by both Texarkana, Arkansas and Texarkana, Texas. The unique position of Mainstreet Texarkana allows the organization to serve both cities. Continue Reading →

Filed under:

Arkansas Municipal Auditorium Prepares for Life Again

It was once the the place where the music blazed out into the night from piano players, guitar pickers, drummers, and vocals arriving by way of Highway 67. Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Conway Twitty were just a few of the names to become legends that would perform in the early days of the Texarkana Arkansas Municipal Auditorium. Perhaps the most famous performer of them all was Elvis Presley, the boy who would become the King of Rock and Roll. But, all those greats faded away from the Texarkana spotlight over forty-five years ago. For Texarkana, the Interstate arrived, planes began to carry the performers from city-to-city and Texarkana’s small auditorium simply would not accommodate the growing crowds of fans. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , ,