Recent Articles

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 →

Filed under: , , ,

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 →

Filed under: , ,

Charity BBQ Rib Cook Off Saturday

Texarkana, USA – Saturday, April 28, from 8 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. the Texarkana Moose Lodge will do their part for the Texarkana Fallen Bikers Memorial Wall and the Moose Riders.  The one day, all day event will feature a BBQ Rib Cook-Off contest, games, live music, and more. Teams will provide their own 3 racks of ribs for the contest.  BBQ plates will be sold for $10 which includes ribs or chicken, potato salad, and beans.  The word is you need to come hungry and come early as the BBQ will be served until its gone and once it’s gone, it’s just gone! All proceeds from the event will go to the Texarkana Fallen Bikers Memorial Wall and the Texarkana Moose Riders.   The Moose Riders raise funds for the “Mooseheart” and “Moosehaven” along with other local charity needs in the Texarkana area.  The Fallen Bikers Memorial Wall raises funds for the wall memorial to remember riders who have died and educate the community about the need to pay attention to all vehicles, especially motorcycles, on the road. Mike Thacker, president of the Texarkana Fallen Bikers Memorial Wall organization, noted that everything received goes directly toward the development and building of the wall, park area, and education.  The organization is a 501 (c)3.  Mike also noted that there will be a “Run for the Wall” event on June 23rd.  This event will feature a 10k and 5k run as well as a one mile run for kids.   In addition to fundraising events, anyone in the public may donate to the organization to help build the wall.  
Both organizations may be found on Facebook:

Texarkana Fallen Bikers Memorial Wall on Facebook

Texarkana Moose Riders on Facebook

  Continue Reading →

Filed under: , ,

International Conference of Police Chaplains hosted at the Texarkana Texas Convention Center

TEXARKANA, TX- Approximately 200 police chaplains and spouses descended on the community Monday for the International Conference of Police Chaplains being held at the Texarkana Texas Convention Center. Participants traveled from cities across the nation such as St. Louis, Missouri, Lubbock, Texas, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and even Upland, California. The conference will run through Thursday, April 26, 2018. Since 2016, Texarkana Texas Police Department Lieutenant Shawn Fitzgerald has been working with local TTPD Chaplain Tommy Gaither, also the Pastor of Walnut Church of Christ, who is a member of the group, to bring this conference to Texarkana. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , ,

City Beautiful Commission Presents First “Yard of the Month” for 2018

Texarkana, AR – The Texarkana Arkansas City Beautiful Commission awarded the first “Yard of the Month” Award for 2018, last Monday night.  Jeff Brown, the Chair of the City Beautiful Commission, was on hand at the City Meeting Monday the 16th to provide the award to Ms. Toni Nix.   Ms. Nix’s home is located on the corner of 23rd and Laurel and will proudly display the award sign presented Monday. For several years the City Beautiful Commission has awarded “Yard of the Month” Awards to various homes and yards around the city.  The only criteria to be nominated is for someone to recommend the yard to the commission.  Once recommended, the Commission members review the yard, present the information at the monthly meeting and vote.  The public is encouraged to recommend yards to commission members or through the commission’s Facebook site. Jeff Brown stated that he always enjoys the opportunity to provide an award to a homeowner.  Jeff said, “You’d be surprised at how many great yards there are in Texarkana.  Sometimes we have a real struggle picking out just one.”  Jeff also said he would encourage anyone to nominate a yard.  “Community involvement is very important to the Commission whether it’s in nominating a yard or helping with one of our clean-up projects throughout the year.  We need everyone in Texarkana to help make our city beautiful.” The Texarkana Arkansas City Beautiful Commission is an all-volunteer commission meeting on the second Tuesday of each month.   The commission maintains a Facebook site at:  https://www.facebook.com/TexarkanaArkansasCityBeautifulCommission/ Continue Reading →

Filed under: , ,

Neighborhood Specific Demolition Phase to Begin May 1


TEXARKANA, TX- Beginning May 1st, the City of Texarkana Texas will begin demolition of nine substandard structures in the Beverly neighborhood, as part of the Neighborhood Specific Demolition initiative. Demolition is expected to take three weeks to complete. The properties selected for demolition are located on Wilson, Melton and Jerome streets. “Removing these substandard structures is yet another step towards improving our city and keeping our residents safe,” said Dustin Henslee, Director of Public Works. “In the past couple of years, we have brought down around eighty substandard structures in our city, which is good progress, but there is still so much to be done. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , ,


TEXARKANA, TX- Service Line Warranties of America (SLWA) will send out mail outs to Texarkana, Texas residential customers to offer protection for homeowners for their Water Service Line in the month of March. The coverage is voluntary and available at monthly or annual prices. Founded in 2003, SLWA has partnered with over 400 leading cities and municipalities in the U.S. to provide repair service plans that offer peace of mind and convenience. The city agreed to allow SLWA to offer the product in the city limits of Texarkana, Texas, but is not sponsoring or administering the program in any way. The program is also not a product of Texarkana Water Utilities. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , ,

Texarkana’s Night to Shine

Texarkana, AR – Social media came alive last night as people started to notice unusually bright lights to the north of the Interstate in Texarkana, Arkansas.  Almost immediately people began to post questions such as “Anyone notice those lights?” and “Anybody know what’s going on in Texarkana with the lights?”  It did not take long for the answers to come flowing in as people responded it’s the “Night to Shine” event at the convention center.  Spotlights could be seen from across town as they cut into the night to announce that the party was about to begin. Several hundred people descended into the Arkansas Convention center between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. in the evening.  At about 6 p.m., hundreds more began to flood through the doors.  They were met by police officers, the Pleasant Grove Hawks, and Liberty Eylau Football teams, Arkansas High Redline and the Arkansas High Cheerleaders along with dozens more as they entered the room.  The focus of all the volunteers from Football teams to dance teams and church groups and police groups was to welcome a special group of people to a Night to Shine. The annual Night to Shine is sponsored by the local organization of Night to Shine Texarkana  The local organization is part of the larger Night to Shine Sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation and is designed to allow people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities to gather and party in a formal prom styled atmosphere and dance.  Surrounding organizations such as Evergreen Life Services, Opportunities, and many others worked to ensure the people they serve had formal dresses and suits for the evening.  Once they arrived, the Pleasant Grove Hawks and Liberty Eylau players helped escort the ladies and the Arkansas High Redline and Cheerleaders escorted the men onto the dance floor. The party rocked on from 6 p.m. until just after 10 p.m. Friday evening.  Several people noted that parking was full and that cars were parked as far away as the restaurants and other hotels around the area. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , ,

Equality Texarkana Starts Fundraiser

Texarkana, USA – a group known as Equality Texarkana is currently running a fundraiser on Facebook to raise funds for a Pride Parade and Picnic.   The organization is a 501 (c) (3) organization and as such donations are tax deductible. The organization’s website (https://equalitytexarkana.org/) promotes Equality Texarkana as “the preeminent non-profit organization in the greater Texarkana area dedicated to equality.”    While the group exists to advocate and defend LGBTQ rights in the area, they also promote standing up for anyone affected by inequality in society.  Membership is open to anyone wishing to help promote equality.  Members come from not only the LGBTQ people in society but others affected or wishing to make a stand against inequality have joined.   Parents, friends, and others are encouraged to get involved. Equality Texarkana has grown and is currently offering scholarships, counseling, and the opportunity for people to join and be involved in a non-judgemental setting.  There is also monthly social dinners, book clubs, and other events.   A recent Halloween Party was a huge success in October! Donations of any amount are being accepted on the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/donate/209229366306796/1668856383136053/ and contributions will be used for the planned Pride Parade and Picnic in Texarkana.  

  Continue Reading →

Filed under: , ,

Vehicle Thefts Increase in Texarkana

Texarkana, AR – The Texarkana Arkansas Police Department has received a sharp increase in auto thefts in recent weeks. Since December 16, 2016, a total of seven (7) vehicles were reported stolen in the city limits of Texarkana. The vast majority of these vehicles were either left running unattended or were unlocked with the keys in the vehicle.  

Of the seven (7) vehicles stolen in that time period, six (6) vehicles have been recovered. Additionally, the Texarkana Police Department has recovered three (3) stolen vehicles from outside jurisdictions in that time frame. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , ,