Texas

Recent Articles

Will The Alamo Fall Twice?

During the Presidential election of 1960, then-Senator John F. Kennedy while campaigning in Texas, made a brief visit to the Alamo. His speech, given in front of the historic mission yielded an iconic photo. Having completed his remarks and pressed for time, JFK reportedly asked San Antonio attorney Maury Maverick, Jr. if there was an exit in the back of the Alamo, to which Maverick replied, “there is no back door, that’s why they were all heroes.”

And so it is, that the Alamo and its remarkable history have been seared into the consciousness of our national character. It is the 19th century’s version of the Spartan 300, who stood defiantly against an overwhelming Persian army. The Alamo story is, in essence, our American Thermopylae, and the lodestar and standard of courage to which our fighting men and women aspire to till this day. Continue Reading →

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HCSO Tweet Shows America is Alive and Well

Texas, USA- A little over three hours ago the Harris County Sheriff’s Office tweeted the picture seen here.  Along with regular updates on the status of 911 calls, evacuations, and areas of need, the sheriff’s office is using social media to update the world and the people of Texas on Harris County, Texas.  The picture tweeted came with the reassurance “HCSO deputies are out in the Blackhorse subdivision still working high water rescues. #Harvey”

As the picture was being tweeted, out in California newscasters were tweeting a different type of picture.  They were busy tweeting the “faceless,” masked participates of ANTIFA as they took over a park.  They chanted “This is our park” and attacked several people.   Their hate-filled and fueled propaganda routine continued to blast across the twitter feeds.  Fortunately, those tweets do not represent who we are as Americans.  They do not represent what we do as Americans.   They do not represent how we as Americans act.   There are pictures of African Americans helping Caucasians, of Caucasians helping Hispanics, and so on.  People of all races, backgrounds, sexual orientations, sex and religions are coming together to help with the disaster in Texas. Surrounding states, like Arkansas and others, have governors sending aide and supplies – not because the Texas problem is an Arkansas problem, but because the Texas problem America’s problem.  We are America.  The people going into the flood areas and bringing others out, the people giving blood, the people helping with evacuees across the state, and the service people already on the ground wading through water to carry out children, elderly and others are the true representations of America. 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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New Driver Course to Combat Distracted Driving

Required for drivers 18 and older starting Sept. 1

AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) today announced a new one-hour driving course to educate drivers on the dangers of distracted driving – called Impact Texas Young Drivers (ITYD). This course will be required for certain drivers beginning Sept. 1, 2017. “Driving is one of the most dangerous things we do on a daily basis, and it should command our undivided attention,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. Continue Reading →

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July 4, Fireworks, Shows, Parades, and God

It started with a suggestion in June, followed by a meeting on July 2, and finally a formal signing on July 4, 1776.  From that moment on, the cry would go up around the world that the colonies of the North American Continent, all thirteen of them, had declared independence from Great Britain.  Like any country, Britain would not take kindly to losing the colonies.  In fact, no country in the history of the world has ever simply said, “Sure, go ahead and leave us and take all the investments we made into your area with you.”  No, instead the greatest empire in the world set out to reclaim the colonies and force them back into the British realm.  The rest of the story, you know as the United States won independence in the war that followed.  To this day, we still hear our friends across the pond in England wish us a “Happy Traitor’s Day.”  Naturally, this is done more in good humor now that we are friends so many years after the revolution. The founding fathers were by no means blind to the fact that they were setting in motion something that would be celebrated for years, and perhaps forever.  John Adams wrote to his wife of the importance of the entire event that officially started on July 2 and ended on July 4.  He sent his letter on July 3, 1776 that included the following statement:

“The second day of July 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” Continue Reading →

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Thrifty Bird Brings Walmart Markdowns To Email

A few months ago a friend of mine shared a new business he has running with me called Thrifty Bird (Thriftybird.com).   He signed me up with my permission and I started to receive daily emails at roughly 3 a.m. each morning.  By the time I would stumble out of bed, I could pull my Thrifty Bird email and see all the latest mark downs at my local Walmart stores. Now I’m sure that a lot of folks are thinking, “Big deal, I can see the sales paper or go see the mark downs myself.”  Yes, that’s one way of doing business, but then you miss the bigger picture.  Thrifty Bird does something that sale papers cannot do.  It captures daily mark downs.  Did you know that Walmart marks prices down daily on many items?  With such a large inventory, they have clearance items, stock reduction items, and even outdated items – think digital copies free with a purchased DVD or Blu-ray that have expired.  These items do not always make the local sales paper because the item or items may be exclusive to one or a few stores.  Let’s say that all the Walmart stores nationwide sell out of a “Top Notch” television sets – don’t worry, there is no such thing to my knowledge as “Top Notch” – but the store in Texarkana, Texas still has three units on the shelf.  The main Walmart sales paper- which goes nationwide – is not going to advertise that those “Top Notch” televisions are about to be marked down.  You cannot have people in Dallas running to a store, searching for a “Top Notch” and then not finding one!  So, “Top Notch” never makes the main sale paper.  If you happen to go into Walmart in Texarkana, Texas, then you find “Top Notch” televisions have been marked down from $300 to $75 and they only have three of them left.  Because you happened to go into the store, you lucked out and got a “Top Notch” television for a great price.  But, what if you don’t go to the store that day?  You miss out and there’s no “Top Notch” television in your future.  Enter Thrifty Bird! Thrifty Bird will send you an email with your selected store – in this case Texarkana, Texas – and you’ll see a post that says something like this:  “Top Notch” Television set, 3 in stock, Reg. price $300, marked down $75 in electronics row 33”.  Now you know how many sets are there, what the mark down price is, and where to find the television once you get to the store.  You’ve received your email early in the day – remember, they just marked it down around midnight – and you can quickly run to the Texarkana, Texas Walmart and buy your set.  Thrifty Bird brings you the clearance or reduced prices before anyone else gets them…. well, before anyone other than other Thrifty Bird uses. Continue Reading →

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SPRING LAKE PARK POND DREDGING SCHEDULED FOR JULY

 
TEXARKANA, TX- Beginning in July 2017, the City of Texarkana, Texas will work in conjunction with Tatum Excavating Company (TEC) to dredge the Spring Lake Park Pond. The project is part of the City’s current Capital Improvement Plan and is estimated to cost approximately $875,000. Dredging activities will bring the pond to a depth of 10 feet, and the pond will be dewatered to facilitate the construction efforts. The project will also include the installation of gabion baskets with rock to support and enhance the perimeter of the pond. Annual pond maintenance will not be conducted this year considering the scope and time frame of the dredging project. Continue Reading →

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Emergency Responders Working Together in Miller County

Miller County, AR-On June 15, 2017, the four states region received news from the Miller County Sheriff’s office that the body of Ryan Shane Johnson of Fouke, Arkansas had been recovered from the Sulfur River at the Smith Park Landing.  While the news was devastating to family, friends, and the community, there was a positive side regarding the efforts that were made to find Mr. Johnson.   The search for Mr. Johnson was not an exclusive Miller County Sheriff’s Office operation.  The fact is, much like any disaster or search to take place in the area, the entire region came together. For the search for Mr. Johnson, there was no concerns about state boundaries, districts, county lines, city or county officials.  There was only a concern to search and find Mr. Johnson.  That concern transcended boundaries not because of pay, or legal standings, but because Mr. Johnson needed people to care and search for him, and they did just that.  People came from the city, from Texas, from other areas of Arkansas and all around to help.  In the words of the Press Release from the Miller County Sheriff’s Office “Each of these entities devoted many hours assisting in the recovery.”

Too often we limit ourselves to our own cities, towns, states, or counties.  People sometimes think in terms of “Well that’s a county problem” or “That’s a Texas side problem” or “That’s an Arkansas side problem,” but we forget that the people acting as responders do not think that way.  Their thought patterns are different and instead they think, “Someone needs help.”  These people, regardless of boundaries or their assigned areas, are the ones you see running toward a disaster, or a need when others are running away.  When the call goes out for help, they are the ones who come. When the call went out for help to find Mr. Johnson, true to their oaths, their dedication, and their training, they came.  Below is a list of those who crossed the lines and boundaries because someone needed them.  They are owed a huge amount of gratitude from everyone in the area and especially from Miller County, Arkansas:

Corp of Engineers

Texas Parks and Wildlife

The Salvation Army

Red Cross

Bowie County Sheriff’s Office

Genoa Volunteer Fire Department

Boggy Creek Volunteer Fire Department

Mandeville Volunteer Fire Department

Doddridge Volunteer Fire Department

Bowie County Dive Team

Miller County Office of Emergency Management

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

Pleasant Valley Volunteer Fire Department

Bright Star Volunteer Fire Department

Many volunteers from several communities

 

We should all be thankful to know that living in this region affords us access to some of the finest emergency response people in all the country.  The groups above dedicated many hours and for that the entire community should show gratitude and thanks.   Continue Reading →

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Four States News Expands Social Media Reach

The Four States News (FSN) is proud to announce we have added additional Facebook Groups online. The FSN is a “Community Journalism site.”  We focus on events in communities such as church happenings, school events, and other issues often not covered by mainstream media.  We are not looking to cover the latest wreck or the latest Congressional issues.  Instead of a broad focus, we might focus on a Congressional leader who visits the four states area, or we might focus on the impact someone had on others who happened to pass away from injuries of a wreck.  We want stories based on what’s important to you and your community.  Anyone can write that a great citizen passed away at a certain age and left behind a list of relatives, but we want to know and share how that great citizen changed his family, his or her friends, and touched the lives of those she may have known.  Community Journalism is driven by two factors – contributors or people taking time to write something and submit it, and the community’s desire to know more, understand what’s happening on a deeper or more “hometown” level. We also recognize that we can not possibly cover all the stories.  In our area we have several outstanding, online publications.  You may have seen Texarkana Today or Jeff Easterling’s outstanding Texarkana FYI  .   You have also likely seen the long-standing, now-online also publication for the Texarkana Gazette .   It also seems like new publications are popping up daily like the new  ArkLaTex Post. Because we focus not just on Texarkana, but on the surrounding area of the four states, we thought it was time to allow those areas to have a reference point for articles directly related to them and to share articles.  These new groups will allow people to easily share post from any news outlet with links back to the original publication.  Together we can share news not only published from FSN, but also from any major or minor publication touching on important events or happenings. Currently we have Four States News Community Post  our first set up to allow sharing of news from around the Texas and Arkansas.  We have just added Oklahoma Four States News Community Post  and Louisiana Four States News Community Post. Continue Reading →

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2017 Bandit Run Marks 40 Years of the Bandit

Texarkana, USA – It’s been 40 years since the words “East Bound and down…” screamed out at silver screens across the nation.   Those words continued into the theme song right up until the point where Jerry Reed sang, “The boys are thirsty in Atlanta and there’s beer in Texarkana.”  At that moment Texarkana added another star as a place in cinema history.  Burt Reynolds tore out of Texarkana in that black Trans AM and cleared the way of “Smokies” by keeping them busy so the big truck could get the beer to Atlanta. 

40 years later the town given credit for where it all started will be celebrating again June 17-18. Continue Reading →

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