Recent Articles

UofA at Texarkana Overlooked in Local Article

An editorial in the local paper discussed higher education in Texarkana today, but it has some residents scratching their heads and wondering why the University of Arkansas at Texarkana was left out.  The editorial, written by a local reporter, does a fantastic job presenting the facts about the higher education options in Texarkana.  It points out the Texas A&M system, and Texarkana College.  Both schools are well represented, discussed, and the merits of attending locally are presented. Within a few short hours of the article hitting the streets, social media was alive with questions about why the UofA was left out of the article.  One resident stated it was “shameful” to have left out the school.  Another resident felt like it was the UofA’s fault for not clarifying their name, being linked with Hope, and for not clarifying degrees offered.  While everyone can theorize as to why the UofA was left out, the author of the article himself stated what is perhaps the best reason.  In the midst of the social media comments, the author stated, “It wasn’t an intentional slight. We know it’s here. Just slipped my mind while writing.”  The debate may continue, but it should be clear it was an oversight by the local paper. On the plus side of things, most residents responding were already well aware of the campus located in Texarkana, Arkansas across from the Bobby Ferguson Park.  Located on UofA Way, the school can be found next to the UAMS clinic and directly across from the lake portion of the park.  The campus is easily seen with its large “UofA” sign from I-30, and in fact is the only school in Texarkana easily seen from the Interstate.  A website at http://www.uacch.edu/ uses the same type of address as all the UofA schools in Arkansas.  The concept was to present the name University of Arkansas Community College at Hope in this case, the home campus for the Texarkana branch.  Other schools around the state also have a similar designation.  For example, the branch located in Batesville, Arkansas is known as UACCB. Continue Reading →

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Rep. Ratcliffe commends students on completion of congressional internship in Texarkana office

WASHINGTON – Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) congratulated Harrison Benefield, William Humphrey, and Mayten Lumpkin today for their successful completion of a congressional internship in his Texarkana district office this summer. “I’d like to thank Harrison, William and Mayten for their hard work in my Texarkana district office this summer. Serving 700,000 people across 18 counties in Northeast Texas wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the selfless contributions from young folks like them who have such an inspiring heart for civil service,” Ratcliffe said.  
Harrison Benefield

Benefield graduated from Pleasant Grove High School in 2016. He is a senior at University of Arkansas, pursuing a degree in communication studies. Continue Reading →

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Texarkana Death Investigation

On July 26, 2018 Detectives with the Texarkana, Arkansas and Texarkana, Texas Police Departments began investigating a lead concerning the remains of a missing person previously reported to Texarkana Police. Late Thursday evening, Detectives were able to locate a person of interest in the case, Chad Jernigan, 41, of Texarkana, Arkansas. While interviewing Jernigan, he admitted to detectives that he had buried a body under a storage building in his backyard. After obtaining a search warrant, detectives have located a body in a shallow grave covered in concrete and dirt. The body is being recovered and will be sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab in Little Rock for an autopsy. Continue Reading →

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Bobby Ferguson Park Sign Progress Continues

Texarkana, AR – Enter Bobby Ferguson Park near UofA Way or pass it as you come off the Interstate and you’ll see a nice, rock sign on the hillside just inside the park informing you of the park’s name.  However, if you enter from the Fairgrounds end of the park, there is no sign to indicate the name of the park.  Soon, the lack of a park sign will not be a problem near the Four States Fairgrounds. The Texarkana Arkansas Beautiful Commission works to improve the appearance and beautification of Texarkana, Arkansas.   In addition to having clean-up days, dumpster trash days, planting days, and coordinating education about keeping the city clean, the commission has overseen the implementation of signs for city properties.  The most recent sign, the huge “Welcome to Texarkana” sign on the Interstate was one of the larger sign projects the commission has undertaken in recent years. The commission usually, through suggestions of need, etc. attempts to take on a sign project whenever it can afford to do so.  Funding is supplied through the A&P Commission and the City Beautiful Commission seeks bids, designs the signs, and implements the projects.  Once completed, several other groups, including city maintenance, the Master Gardners, and other volunteer groups join in to assist in planting, watering, and maintaining the signs for the city. The commission’s latest project is underway right now.  The unfinished sign is coming together on the southwest corner of Bobby Ferguson Park.  When finished, there will be two flag polls, the sign, lights, water, and plants to celebrate and enhance the new sign’s location. Continue Reading →

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Regional Christian Methodist Evangelical Convention held at Texarkana, Texas Convention Center

TEXARKANA, TX- Approximately 350 members of approximately 70 CME churches in the region converged on Texarkana for the East Texas CME Convention this week. Reverends, wives, missionaries, youth and children were among the attendees who filled up the Hilton Garden Inn and held their worship services, church business meetings, and conducted training at the Texarkana, Texas Convention Center. Pastor Van Williams is the planner for the state of Texas CME conventions. “This is our third time hosting our annual conference in Texarkana,” he said. “This staff has set the standard for hospitality and service with their accessible location, modern amenities and stellar customer service.”

The conference began as guests arrived on Tuesday, July 10th and finished up Saturday, July 14th. Continue Reading →

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A&M-Texarkana Presents Young Writers Workshop

TEXARKANA, Texas – Texas A&M University-Texarkana and The East Texas Writing Project are sponsoring the 28th annual Young Writers Workshop July 16-27. The workshop, which is open to students entering the 1st grade through the 12th, focuses on age-appropriate material for each grade level. Grades 1st-2nd: Welcome to Whoville
Grades 3rd-4th: Food for Thought
Grades 5th-6th: Monsters in the Closet
Grades 7th-8th: Be the Change
Grades 9th-12th: Tales from the Peculiar

The cost for the two-week workshop is just $40 per participant. Dr. Corrine Hinton, who runs the program at A&M-Texarkana, says that while many universities charge between $150 and $300 for this type of program, A&M-Texarkana intentionally sets prices much lower. “We want to give as many children as we can the opportunity to come to this program. Continue Reading →

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Social Media Responds to Renaming of Hobo Jungle

Texarkana, AR – Hobo Jungle Park, at least as far as anyone seems to remember, was named after the “Hobos” who once frequented the area when it was owned by the railroads.  The term Hobo started in the late 1890s and referred to a person who would travel around the country seeking work.  Often this group of people would travel by train and stay near train yards or train stops.  When the train would prepare to leave, and the Hobo needed to travel to work, he would usually follow the tracks to the next town or he might “hop a train” and ride in an open freight car as far as he could.  After the city obtained the land, a park was put in that has eventually become a baseball and softball complex in the city of Texarkana, Arkansas.  The park has been named “Hobo Jungle Park” for as long as most citizens can remember, but on Saturday, June 23rd, the City of Texarkana Board met and renamed the park by a unanimous vote to the “Ermer Dansby Pondexter Sports Complex”. As it seems with most change, it did not take long for social media to come alive.  The pictures of the Mayor and others holding a certificate of the name change was published on the Texarkana Arkansas Facebook page and comments started flying.  While there were many positive comments on the name change, there appeared to be an overwhelming number of negative comments.  Comments ranged from “STOP CHANGING OUR LANDMARKS” to “I will still call it Hobo Jungle” and many others. People questioned the meeting and when it was announced.  Some noted that the Texarkana Gazette carried a short article about the meeting on Saturday, the same day as the meeting.  Someone else stated that they had seen it posted on the Facebook page on Saturday, again the same day as the meeting.  A quick look at the Facebook page did not show a note about the meeting and a look at the city calendar showed all stated board meetings on the first and third Mondays, which is normal for the city.  On the calendar for Saturday, June 23, 2018, there was no entry for any meeting or event on the city calendar.  

The posting on Facebook has continued to extend well beyond the twenty-four-hour mark now.  People go on to question facts like the recent poll by the Gazette where the majority did not want to rename the park, the odd timing of the meeting, and the fact that it appeared to be changed without allowing public input from citizens.  Most questioned who Mrs. Pondexter is and what she had to do with the park.  Theories ranged from she was a lady killed when the trains derailed, to she was an outstanding citizen advocate. While citizens continue to debate whether the name should or should not be changed, whether the city should have given more notice or not,  there should be no denying that Mrs. Pondexter is one of Texarkana, Arkansas’ shining stars. Continue Reading →

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City urges residents to recycle right

TEXARKANA, TX- The City of Texarkana, Texas has been asked by Waste Management to remind residents what items are acceptable for curbside single-stream recycling inside the city limits. According to Waste Management District Manager Jarrod Miller, approximately 1/3 of Texarkana, Texas residents are not recycling correctly. “We have been informed by the recycle facility that if we do not clean up our single stream recycle, they will no longer take it,” Miller said. Waste Management began tagging contaminated carts yesterday, in an effort to remedy the issue. “Waste Management will not dump the contaminated recycle cart in the trash,” Miller said. Continue Reading →

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My First Visit to an S.C.V. Camp Meeting

Although I have attended a Sons of Confederate Veterans (S.C.V.) grave dedication, I had never attended an actual S.C.V. camp meeting and when I learned my friend Paul Gramling would be attending a local S.C.V. meeting in Texarkana, I decided to go.  I really did not know what to expect, so the first thing I did was ask if it would be okay for me to attend a meeting.  As far as I knew the organization might have secret handshakes, passwords, and might not smile too kindly on an outside, especially a writer, attending their meetings.  After gaining the reassurance that I would be welcome, and in fact that anyone is welcome to attend, I made my way to Smokey Joe’s in Texarkana last night for the meeting of Red Diamond Camp #2193 of the S.C.V.

Upon arrival, I was happy to find I knew a couple of people in attendance.  I visited with them while waiting for Paul to arrive.  Once Paul and his wife arrived, the meeting got underway in what appeared to be a normal fashion.  The pledge to the U.S. flag and Texas flag were given and an honor to the Confederate fallen was extended.  A prayer was offered by the chaplain ending in the name of Jesus Christ.   One of the interesting things I noted during the pledge was that several of the members saluted the flag which is a clear indication of them having served in the U.S. military.  So far, these men and women gathered did not seem like an “anti-American” group assembling to rant about politics a raise the old Confederacy up.  At that point, the business portion of the meeting started. The business portion of the meeting proceeded much like any fraternity meeting might go.  There were discussions about new and old business, new members, visitors – where I was recognized as “the press” – and naturally, an introduction to Paul and his wonderful wife was given.  Paul currently serves as the Lt. Commander-in-Chief for the entire SVC organization.  If you are not familiar with my first meeting with Paul, you should read the article The History and meaning of the Shreveport Confederate Monument.  He is a wealth knowledge when it comes to the history of the war. During the meeting, I learned that this particular camp has painted flag poles in cemeteries as a community outreach and that they provide bottled water to local law enforcement during the summer months.  I did not ask if each camp had a specific charity, but it seemed that this camp had a solid focus on serving as they could in the community.  I also learned that they provided the cannon for the recent Scout-O-Rama at Spring Lake Park.  The annual event brings in Boy Scouts from around the area and the S.C.V. group was able to provide a live demonstration of a cannon’s operation.  Again, this group appeared to be very community minded.  It reminded me of my visit with the group during a grave dedication.  You can read about the grave dedication here S.C.V. Camp Places Memorial Stone in Miller County. When Paul addressed the group, it was noted that he is running to be the highest leader in the S.C.V. organization.  While I do not know much about the voting process of the organization, I could certainly tell that Paul was passionate, dedicated, and had a solid plan for the organization.  He began to talk about recent attacks on the S.C.V. and how the media often portrays the organization in a negative light.  Paul feels strongly that the S.C.V. must start standing up and defending itself, the history, and the heritage.  He noted that the recent attacks on Confederate Monuments is just a starting point.  He also told about the attacks on monuments to Andrew Jackson and others.  He feels that there is a concentrated effort to remove not only Confederate history but also various aspects of the history of the U.S. as a whole. Continue Reading →

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Movies in the Park to kick off May 24

TEXARKANA, TX- The City of Texarkana, Texas Parks and Recreation Department will host Movies in the Park at Spring Lake Park beginning May 24th. The movie schedule for Summer 2018 includes:

Coco on May 24

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle on May 31

Wonder on June 7

Paddington 2 on June

The movie will start around 7:45 p.m. and concessions will be available. Sponsored in part by Clayton Homes of Texarkana, Movies in the Park is a free event and open to the public. Everyone is encouraged to bring a blanket or lawn chairs for seating. No smoking or alcohol will be permitted. Continue Reading →

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