Essays/Opinion

Recent Articles

Why Trump’s Afghanistan “reversal” is still America First

In February 1989, Soviet General Boris V. Gromov in dramatic fashion, exited his armored vehicle and walked the remaining distance across friendship bridge into Uzbekistan, becoming the last Soviet troop to leave Afghanistan. “There is not a single Soviet soldier or officer left behind me,” said General Gromov, “Our nine-year stay ends with this.” By Christmas 1991, Soviet Veterans of the Afghan war would no longer be Soviets, as the empire collapsed in swift and spectacular fashion, ultimately breaking into 16 separate nations. The loss in Afghanistan was a crushing public relations blow for the Soviet government. The Soviet politicians as well as their citizens suffered a catastrophic loss of faith in their system. 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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Author of What’s Really Eating You? Tells How to Keep Back-to-School from Becoming Back to Emotional Eating

 

ARLINGTON, TX- As lazy summer gives way to Back-to-School time, stress levels rise. Families coping with new teachers, new schools, new extracurricular activities and new schedules are in danger of turning to old friends for comfort: cookies, cakes, salty snacks and fast-food, says Renée Jones, author of the new book What’s Really Eating You? Overcome the Triggers of Comfort Eating. Jones says, “Parents are stressed about getting their kids settled, managing the routine and such, so they’re likely eating to soothe themselves—and they are harried, so the drive-through is an easy if not so nutritious option. They may think it will be easier to establish a nutritious lifestyle once things settle down, and yet it’s often easier to start amidst the transition.” Continue Reading →

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Fouke Food Pantry Opens with Success

Fouke, AR- The small town of Fouke has a lot going on these days.  If you haven’t heard, they have an outstanding Farmers Market, great schools, a growing community, some sort of monster legend, and a mayor that’s….well, we think he’s a pretty good guy. Yesterday that pretty good guy – Mayor Terry Purvis- shared a Facebook post for the Fouke Food Pantry noting that it had just opened last Tuesday and Thursday.  Since we honestly did not know this pantry was in operation, we’re thankful to the Mayor for sharing the news….. now it’s our turn…. The pantry is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 am until 2 pm and is located at the Fouke Family Clinic next to the Dollar General Store.  They have served well over 50 families in the area and the list may grow.  People in the community and friends of Fouke are encouraged to stop by during operations and see what’s going on at the pantry.  The post on the site notes that you can come by and “see our community at work.”

The pantry is encouraging people to spread the news not only for the hope of reaching more people in need, but also for the hope of reaching people willing to serve or donate.   Currently the pantry is in need of two large freezers and volunteers.  We are sure they can also use donations of canned food items and other things.  We encourage you to check out their Facebook page at Fouke Food Pantry. Remember, this organization is a non-profit organization – so all you big companies in town, restaurant suppliers, and others keep in mind that you are midway through the year – you may need a few tax write offs come January of 2018 – what better way to get those write offs than driving a large freezer down to Fouke and making a difference in people’s lives? Continue Reading →

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Texarkana’s Dorothea Towles Church

 

In the 1950s the barriers set up against African-Americans managed to exclude them from almost everything unless they fought ten times harder than anyone else to get it.  African-Americans were still segregated during these times and one of the many areas of segregation included the fashion industry worldwide.  While superstars rose as models in New York, Paris, and California and often managed to capture leading roles in movies, the African-American women were left out of this elite circle that often led to fame and fortune.  One African-American woman walked boldly up to the barriers set up by society, stretched out her long, elegant legs, and leaped over them in one historic move. Mrs. Dorothea Towles Church was one of seven children born to Mr. Thomas Towles and Anabella in Texarkana, Texas.  She was born July 26, 1922.  Among her siblings, Dorothea’s sister Lois would also work to break down barriers for fashion models, but she became known as a concert pianist and music professor.  It would be from those early 1920s in  Texarkana that Dorothea would leave to conquer the world of fashion and defy the prejudice barriers often found in the United States at that time. Continue Reading →

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Miller County Delinquent Business Tax List Hits Social Media

Miller County, AR – Some are calling it “Public Shaming,” but for the Miller County Tax Collector, she is calling it “Public Accountability.”  What is that “Public Accountability”?  It’s a list of  over $200,000 of taxes owed to the county that is hitting social media today.  Several media outlets have already published the list.  Most of the responses from the public have been supportive so far; however, there have been a few that prefer to call it all “Public Shaming” and feel that it should not have been done. Continue Reading →

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Best Ways to Cut Funeral Costs

I have been an Insurance Agent for quite some time. When one becomes a Funeral Director, Insurance is one of those collateral duties that compliments your skill set and assists clients as they come to the funeral home looking for assistance for their future end of life (death) needs. Insurance offers a vast selection of products based on the needs of the client. The issues related to product selection are that although clients can vocalize their concerns, they often do not understand which product provides the most efficient solution for them. In most cases, their purchase decision will be based on one of two facts. Continue Reading →

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Senator Jimmy Hickey, Getting The Job Done

Laws and requirements are always changing no matter what state you live in, but when a law changes, you expect a certain level of cooperation from the government that changed the law.  Unfortunately, that cooperation does not always come as easily as you might think and sometimes you just have to have an act of Congress to get anything done….or in my case an act of a State Senator. When I went to get my updated driver’s license, I had been warned in advance that a new law required me to have my birth certificate with me for my CDL renewal.  Like a good driver, I carried my old CDL, my birth certificate, and my checkbook down to the revenue office.  After taking a number and waiting my turn, I finally got to the counter and to a new surprise.  I told the lady that I had a CDL and that I understood I had to have my birth certificate to get it renewed.  She agreed, looked at my birth certificate and then told me that it would not work. The problem was I did not have a certified birth certificate.  I had the only copy I have ever had in my life.  I had used it for school, college, proof for my first driver’s license and everything which has ever required a birth certificate.  Nonetheless it wasn’t good enough now.  It had to be a certified copy from the state. Continue Reading →

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Isolation Increases Risk of Suicide

Last night I was surfing social media when I came upon a friend’s post stating that upon reflection, he was taking a break from social media.  He stated that since the passing of his wife six months ago, his opinion posting had become offensive to his son.  He was confused and hurt by his son’s chastisements, and to discontinue causing his son discomfort or embarrassment, he had concluded that his withdrawal was in order.  His post was filled with sadness, despair, pain, and anguish.  Regret was apparent that he had not foreseen that his posts might wedge a wound in his father/son relationship, and he was solemnly announcing his intention to bend to his son’s harsh rebuke. To show my support of this man’s right to post his opinion on a social media platform based solely on opinion posting, I went through his history and began liking every one of his opinion posts with which I could agree.  It was not enough though.  As I lay in my bed last night, I found that sleep was elusive.  I tossed and turned all night worrying about this friend.  
Grief Brief 7
Social Withdrawal
People who have recently lost a loved one may tend to withdraw from family or friends in intimate and social situations. This tendency is generally brief and usually corrects itself without intervention. If one continues to withdraw from social interactions over an extended length of time, one might find it comforting to consult with a counselor. Continue Reading →

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