Recent Articles

Texarkana Arkansas Police Offer Car Seat Exchange for Warrant Amnesty

Texarkana, AR-Currently, Texarkana Arkansas Police Officers locate many drivers who do not provide proper car seats for their children.  Arkansas Child Restraint Laws state that;

Infants from birth to at least twenty pounds should be restrained in a rear-facing or convertible seat rear-facing, and children from twenty to 60 pounds are required to be restrained in a convertible seat forward facing or forward facing seat or booster seat as applicable. Because motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children younger than 13 years of age we want to ensure that every child is properly restrained in a vehicle.  In an effort to raise awareness of the Arkansas Child Restraint Laws and reduce injuries due to motor vehicle crashes, the Texarkana Arkansas District Court and the Texarkana Arkansas Police Department will conduct a car seat exchange warrant amnesty period beginning May 15th through May 26th, 2017 for people who have outstanding warrants for Contempt of court for not paying fines.  By bringing in a NEW, in the box, car seat, the Texarkana Arkansas District court and the TAPD has agreed to waive the warrant fee and reset a payment arrangement without penalty. The upcoming car seat exchange warrant amnesty period was announced today by District Court Judge Wren Autrey, who said the amnesty program would enable those being sought on warrants to avoid being arrested, avoid being assessed additional court costs and resolve their case entirely.  Judge Wren Autrey said, “These individuals have had their driving privilege suspended and clearing these fines will also enable them to regain a valid driver’s license”.  Judge Wren Autrey will waive the $350.00 warrant fee and release your driver’s license for reinstatement. Pe’Tree Banks TAPD Dockets Coordinator says, “Many individuals in Texarkana, Arkansas unfortunately have outstanding warrants that could benefit from this.  Instead of being locked up in jail away from your families, bring in a car seat.  You will not only help yourself, but you will also be contributing to the safety of a child in this community.”

All donated car seats will be utilized by the Southwest Arkansas Prevention Taskforce to support the Safety Baby Shower program in the area.  The seats will be provided to parents completing the Safety Baby Shower program and installed by a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician. The seats can be donated at the Texarkana Arkansas Police Department located at the Bi-State Justice Center, 100 North State Line Avenue, 8:00am-5:00pm, beginning May 15th through May 26th, 2017. Continue Reading →

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Emotional Support

“Following the death of a loved one, there may be a significant need to reach out for emotional support. This can be accomplished through a support group, an understanding cleric, a professional funeral practitioner or a therapist. How do you know if you need professional assistance? If you find that you have unanswered questions or that you need a tool to help you cope with the loss, you might benefit from professional support. When you break your limb, you go to a qualified care professional for proper wound care. Continue Reading →

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The Master Healer

The older I get, the more I realize that people tend to develop their own distinctive doctrines in life.  In general, people will take a truth and alter it to comfortably fit it into their own understanding or habits.  The problem with this adaptation is that one day that which we have justified, almost always, inconveniently justifies itself.  A truth that is altered even slightly for convenience, comfort, or for any other reason, will at some point, reveal its truth in its entirety.  When this happens, one’s world rattles, and we see people who have always been confident in their convictions, falter.  The realization that our own justifications in life justify themselves, may well set us back to a place where we may question our abilities in almost every facet of life. I have a friend who is a retired medical practice manager.  She has a unique insight into the interpretations and justifications of medical practitioners.  One of the things she has always told me, is that certain medical professionals tend to callous themselves toward human pain.  To an extent, one might be able to justify some level of callousness in this profession.  One might suggest that to endure treating thousands of pain suffering human beings, one must shield oneself from their suffering.  On the other hand, one might suggest, to become blind to their pain is to become inhumane toward their quality of life.  It is an interesting argument, one that I am sure medical practitioners struggle with constantly. I have another friend.  She is a retired medical practitioner.  I have observed that she has lived by my first friend’s observations, and has to an extent, justified shielding herself from the acknowledgment of pain.  The problem with justifying a truth, is that it somehow spills over into other aspects of our lives.  I am sure that when my friend began her medical career, seeing people suffer physical pain was emotionally distressing to her.  As she became an experienced medical practitioner, I could see that the pain of others distressed her less and less.  In fact, as time pressed forward, I could see that not only did the physical pain of her patients seem to only be an inconvenient notation, eventually; their emotional pain became equally inconvenient.  Of course, for both issues, there were treatments she could prescribe, doctors she could refer, or labels she could assign. The loss of a loved one is immensely painful.  The loss of an immediate loved one is beyond that.  The pain of immediate loss is so overpowering that it can become instantly life threatening to the survivor.  I see it daily.  It is something over which I cannot callous.  Recently, my medical practitioner friend lost her husband.  Throughout her years of practice, she has had thousands of opportunities to study disease and recovery.  Opportunities to study the recovery of the human spirit, however, have been lost to her as she calloused herself to them.  Those experiences would be great resources to draw upon for application toward the pain she must now endure.  Instead, she faces her recovery through this experience as an infant. The master healer taught recovery through spiritual mastery.  Love, although encompassing elements of physical attraction and emotional fulfillment, is a spiritual endowment.  Grief, brought on through the death of a loved one, thereby, requires a spiritual recovery.  It is the most difficult and dreaded recovery man faces. Continue Reading →

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The Death Certificate

It seems that there is always confusion during the arrangement conference when it comes time to order death certificates.  When I ask the next of kin if they know how many they would like to purchase, I will usually offer an explanation about reasons death certificates are necessary.  At this point, families will respond with a quick answer, or they will begin counting reasons that they do, or do not, need a certain number of them. A death certificate proves dissolution of a decedent’s legal claims on properties and responsibilities over debts.  Therefore, anything that is legal, financial, binding, contractually consumable, or requires stewardship or ownership, requires a death certificate. If you are trying to count the number of death certificates you will need to order, it is easier to think in categories.  First, consider your decedent’s financial obligations, both positive and negative.  These would include bank accounts, retirement accounts, investments, insurance policies, loans, credit cards, dependent children, etc.  Second, consider properties your decedent owned or was purchasing.  These would include his or her home, rental properties, investment properties, vacation properties, automobiles, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, airplanes, boats, trailers, anything that requires a title, etc.  Last of all, consider any utilities for which your loved one was responsible.  These would include cell phones, cable, electricity, gas, water, sewer, waste removal, landlines, internet service, secondary property utilities, etc. Quite often families will suggest that they will merely purchase one death certificate and make copies to distribute.  The lists above are legal obligations.  Legal obligations require legal documentation to dissolve responsibility or ownership; a copy will not suffice.  Copies will work for a family member’s journal of family records and history. When considering the purchase of death certificates, it is always better to order at least one more than you think you will need.  As one’s privacy is protected while living, so too will one enjoy this right after death.  Obtaining additional death certificates later on is not a quick nor necessarily easy process, nor is it available to just anyone.  In order to obtain a death certificate after the immediate issue, one must be able to prove immediate kinship.  Quite often, this is not convenient.  Also, an amount of time involved adds to the frustration of obtaining additional certificates. Continue Reading →

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The Long Goodbye…The End of Bryce Number Two

When Bryce’s moved from downtown to Interstate, many felt a similar sadness as to what they are feeling this week, as we say our final goodbyes to a place that is as associated with Texarkana as the Photo Island Downtown that stands in front of the most photographed federal courthouse (and post office) in the country. Bryce Lawrence Sr. probably never imagined that his cafeteria would become the iconic landmark that it is today. Many famous people have dined in our famous Cafeteria over the years. Perot, a hometown boy was eating there long before he became the billionaire he is today. He even brought Barbara Walters along for a meal when he was running for President back in 92. Continue Reading →

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Texarkana Fallen Bikers Memorial Wall


Texarkana, USA – When anyone mentions a “Wall” these days, everyone seems to immediately think of President Trump’s border wall.  While taxpayers may debate, argue, and in some cases become outright violent over the wall, there is another wall people can and should think about when they hear the word “Wall.”  People in Texarkana and the surrounding areas should think seriously about the Texarkana Fallen Bikers Memorial Wall. The organization is working as a non-profit to build a wall in Texarkana that will pay tribute and remember bikers who have fallen.  Often there is a misconception in society that bikers are bad.  They show up in long beards, tattoos, loud roaring bikes and leather from top to bottom.  People meeting them on the road get an immediate image in their mind of some big, evil motorcycle gang plowing through town looking to do no good.  The truth is the overwhelming majority of motorcycle clubs and bikers are decent and great folks.  Many are lawyers, doctors, construction workers, and business leaders.  To go further many of them are friends, neighbors, brothers, sisters, fathers, sons, daughters, mothers, grandparents and many other social titles that are too often overlooked.  At times society does not see beneath the beards, tattoos, leather and roaring bikes to see men and women who are part of our community.  They are part of us and when they die in a motorcycle accident, they take a small part of us with them. The Texarkana Fallen Bikers Memorial Wall will list the names of those who have died in motorcycle accidents.  Often these accidents are not the riders fault.  Too many times a rider is not seen by motorist, ignored, or the motorist simply isn’t paying attention.  Unlike being hit in a car, when a motorcyclist is hit, his or her chances of survival drastically reduce.  It is the hope of the organization that the wall will serve as a memorial and bring attention to the need to “Look Twice” pay attention and “Share the road” with cyclist.  By giving Texarkana a place to see the numbers and know the names, this wall can make a difference. A few weeks ago, the need for the wall hit home with our family.  My brother-in-law was driving his motorcycle in Florida when he was hit by a car.  Fortunately, he survived and is going through rehab now, but it could have been worse.  My brother-in-law could have ended up like others we have known.   It could have been like a friend of ours who was killed just a little over a year ago.   We first met Thomas Robison, or “Cowboy” as we called him, when he was doing some work on our home.  He was an outstanding craftsman and your typical motorcycle-looking man.  He had the long beard, the tattoos, and a look that said, “Hey, I’d like to beat the crap out of you just because,” but Cowboy was nothing like that.  He was a father, and a grand-father.  He used to share pictures of his grandchild each time he came by the house.  He always invited me to come by the clubhouse and see the work he and other members of his motorcycle club had done.  I remember one day when he was showing me some motorcycles from a show on his phone I felt the sudden urge to throw in a joke so I asked, “So, is there any Gold Wings on here?”  For a moment Cowboy looked at me like I had lost my mind – which made me wonder for that second if I had misjudged the man’s humor level- then he laughed and said, “There ain’t no Gold Wings on this phone.”  I laughed, happy that this big man saw the humor in my statement.  He was a great guy.  In fact, the last time we saw him, we were planning to have some work done on a new stairway banister.  He seemed more excited about the project that we were. On April 7, 2016, Cowboy was driving south on 71 near the Sheriff’s office in Miller County.  He was on his bike and enjoying a wonderful April afternoon.  A car, driven by someone who did not see Cowboy’s bike, turned.  Cowboy’s motorcycle and the car collided.  He died that day because someone did not see him on his motorcycle.  He left behind a son, three daughters, brothers, sisters, and seven grandchildren.  Cowboy was 58 years young. Continue Reading →

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Church Lady

Last night, my husband and I were privileged to have a dear family of friends visit us.  We met our friends in Las Vegas NV at the very beginning of our journey into becoming funeral professionals.  We have not seen our friends since their youngest daughter was a toddler.  She is now a bright teenager and her older sister is on her way to college.  Their brother is an encyclopedia of historical facts. As the men of our families were in the back room excitedly exploring firearms and ammunition, the women were in the sitting room discussing life.  My friend began telling me about a woman from her church whose husband passed away as a young father.  His family was very active in their church and at the time of his death, his wife was out of town with their three very young children.  His death was discovered by my friend’s brother-in-law who was so alarmed by his friend’s absence from church one Sunday, that he went to his home to check on him.  It was then that this young father’s death was discovered. One can only imagine the devastation suffered by his widow; a young mother with three young children, suddenly finding herself the sole parent and provider.  Even more devastating, the guilt of being out of town, upon his premature death, had to weigh heavily upon her soul.  Of course, she was completely unprepared for such an unexpected, catastrophic event.  Everyone who knew her had concerns for her future. Under these circumstances, the outlook for most survivors is bleak.  This widow, however, although unprepared herself, was generously blessed by someone who was prepared.  My friend’s sister-in-law was this widow’s dear friend.  Upon the death of her husband, her friend became the friend we all wish for in times of crisis.  Her friend called her every day.  She took up the slack as the young widow mourned the loss of her husband.  She became her friend’s nonjudgmental confidant as she traveled through the difficult stages of grief recovery.  She sacrificed her time and her freedom, and became whatever and whomever her friend needed for recovery until her recovery was complete. After some time, a young father who had lost his wife, moved within the boundaries of their church.   The young widow and the young widower shared a life’s experience that none of us care to experience with them.  In time, the two families became one, and each of the living parents honorably filled the vacant roles of the lost parents. Continue Reading →

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Time Is Money

The funeral profession is a service-based business. Services are divided into three categories. First, there are services provided to the decedent. These services would include removal of his or her body from the place of death in a dignified, respectful, and modest manner. They also include preparing the body for and accomplishing final disposition. Continue Reading →

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Without You

When I was a young girl, my brother had a band.  He and his buddies would practice their music down in our basement and I would try not to listen to them.  Most of the songs they sang were sad in nature, or very loud, neither of which did I appreciate.  One of the songs they would sing was “Without You.”  I remember placing my hands over my ears and thinking, “If they sing that song one more time, I’m going to scream.”  “Without You” was both sad and loud.  Although my early memories of this song are not so favorable, as an adult, I can see where there is truth in this song; especially in my capacity as a grief counselor. Earlier this year filmgoers worldwide mourned the loss of mother/daughter actresses Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher.  Many were shocked that a mother and daughter would die just one day apart.  Many news reporters speculated that grief played a role in the close timing of their deaths.  As a grief counselor and funeral director, I wanted to shout at my television and pull my hair out, “You fools, grief didn’t just play a role in the closeness of their deaths; it was the leading lady.”  Now, just four months later, no one even thinks about the calamity of their deaths. How very strange that in a society where information is at our fingertips, we remain blind to certain things that kill us.  Doctors and researchers publish study after study on illnesses that kill us.  Yet, study after study, they ignore a very real killer that creeps into the hearts and minds of every person who has ever lived:  grief.   “As a funeral director, I am often asked, “What is the most important task of funeral week?”  The answer may surprise you…….………The number one task for the survivor during funeral week is survival.” (The Most Important Task of Funeral Week, Tracy Renee Lee, 2017)

Perhaps grief is just too painful a subject to address.  Perhaps doctors and researchers do not realize that grief is just as physically damaging, as it is psychologically damaging.  Perhaps the Ostrich Effect suppresses funding and renders grief an unsuitable candidate for in-depth scientific analysis.  Although we all battle illnesses, only some of us will battle cancer, some of us will battle heart disease, and some of us will battle death through a myriad of other causes.  Grief is potentially the single life-threatening battle that everyone, ever born, will battle.  It is a battle, that if left untreated, will kill you. The Ostrich Effect is the tendency to ignore a dangerous or risky situation, a way to avoid troubling information.  It is not the way forward.  No one wants to face his or her mortality, nor that of their loved ones.  I understand that fear.  I see it every day in the faces of my clients.  Unfortunately, fear nor ignorance keep grief at bay.  It comes whether we want it or not, and it will, one day, come for you. Last week, I directed a funeral for a family who had lost a young man through murder.  This week, I directed the funeral of his last living immediate family member, his sister.  Both siblings had suffered tremendously during their short lives.  As children, they were orphaned through extremely tragic circumstances.  Fortunately, their extended family had a strong leader, and these two children were raised together, rather than separately.  Now that they became young adults, they are dead – one through murder, the other through sorrow. Continue Reading →

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Friends of The Texarkana Library to Hold Book Sale

Texarkana, USA – The Friends of The Texarkana Public Library will hold a book sale April 28 and 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.   This sale will be the organization’s “Spring Clearance” so everything is half price. Friends of the Texarkana Library was founded in 1981 as a not-for-profit organization.  They serve to encourage people to show support for the library in Texarkana.   The Friends Used Bookstore is located at 320 West Broad street and is opened on the scheduled times listed below.  Donations are accepted in the forms of books, or financial contributions.  The organization published a newsletter Between Friends, and maintains officers as well as a site through the public library site at Friends. After this weekend’s sales, you can catch other sales on the following dates:

May 12, 26, 27

June 9, 23, 24

July 14, 28, 29

August 11, 25, 26

September 8, 29, 30

October 13, 27, 28

November 10, 11 (Everything Half Price Customer Appreciation Sale)

December 8, 9

Donations are accepted when the store is open.  Memberships are also available for individuals, families, and groups.  See the front counter at the store for more information. Continue Reading →

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